Offline Interests

Politics

My politics are a bit right of center. I am a supporter of Act which is a center-right party in New Zealand. I tend to be opposed to big government, morality based laws, high taxes and subsidies. I favor free trade, individual rights, strong policing (but not harsh sentences or reduced civil rights) etc.

Recently (Nov 1999) New Zealand elected a centre-left government. I'm not so optimistic about this. The Alliance (far left member of the coalition) tends to support high taxes, high welfare, big government and tarrifs. It's not good I think, trying to ignore the rest of the world, taxing those who succeed and rewarding those who fail is not the way to keep things going forward. Hopefully they will be kept in check by Labour.

Update (Aug 2000). Things are not looking so good. The Labour/Alliance Government seems to be intent rewarding their supporters ( Greenies, Unions, Teachers, The arts community, over-65s ) at the expense of everyone else. As far as I can tell they are not even helping the poor much and their promises to even out the telecoms market is going slowly. Confidence by business in the government is pretty low and the New Zealand dollar has dropped to it's lowest value for 20 years. I'm also not very happy with Act, it appears to be increasingly concentrating on digging up sleaze and Maori-bashing. From all accounts their are struggles within Act between hard-right and the liberal/libertarian (in most senses) factions.

Economics books I like:

Unfinished Business by Roger Douglas
The Lexus and The Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman
The Sovereign Individual by James Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Mogg
and of course 'The Economist' magazine.

Books

I like reading a lot, although I seem to get in less reading than I used to. I have about 300 books (rough guess) mostly science fiction and non-fiction. Favourite authors include J R R Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Katherine Kurtz, John Brunner, Philip K Dick, Robert J Sawyer,

Books I really Enjoy include:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
Edge City: Life on the New Frontier by Joel Garreau
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa ( translated by Charles S. Terry )
How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand

Movies and TV

I watch The Simpsons , The West Wing , CSI and a few other programs. I'm a fan of the Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister programs.

Up until about a year ago I used to go to the movies 2 or 3 times a week but lately this has dropped off to once a month or less.

Some of my Favourate movies are below, I tend to go for weird, sometimes violent romances. Most of the movies are from the early 1990s when I was going to just about every movie that came out.

Blade Runner     Everybody likes Blade Runner, don't they? Greatest Movie ever, haunting soundtrack.
Wild at Heart     For a long time this was my favourate movie. Violent, weird, David Lynch pic.
Brazil     Monty Python meets 1984
Reservoir Dogs    
Nikita     Original French version.
Near Dark     Vampire Western. Lots of style with a classic bar scene but a weak ending.
Highlander     There can be only one, There should have been only one.
Funny Bones     Little seen black comedy with Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt
A Clockwork Orange     Cheerful musical, watch out for the shrink with the scary hairdo near the end.
Stalag 17     World War 2 prison camp drama, classic.
Natural Born Killers     I was totally blown away by this, amazing over the top and very cool.
Delecatessin     Seriously Romantic, Black Comedy.
Dead Man     Dark Johnny Depp film.
Bad Boy Bubby     High Brow Australian Culture. "It is the duty of all men to think God out of existence" - Bubby
Cyrano de Bergerac     The original french version with subtitles.
Acción mutante     "Oh No!, Not the Stockholm Syndrome" . Very silly, low budget, foreign action movie.
The Shawshank Redemption    
The Usual Suspects    
Taxi Driver    
Se7en    
The Sweet Hereafter    
Clerks     Kevin Smith's first film.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai    
Fight Club    

Music

I are not really into music as much as I used to, I tend to find it distracting even if I just have it as background. The main music I listen to is the Ambient Nights mixes.

I like some techno, some metal, celtic, electronic etc. Artists which I like most include:

Iron Maiden ( pre 1991 )
Metallica ( pre 1991 )
Megadeth ( pre 1991, hmm I detect a pattern here )
Enya
Clannad
Depeche Mode
Tangerine Dream
New Order

A quick check of mp3's I have in my playlist turns up:

Unkle - Be there (feathuring Ian Brown)
The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds
Alex Patterson - Live at the Betalounge
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (sashe & digweed remox)
Greg Johnson - Hibiscus Song
Da Hool - Meet her at the love parade.
Faithless - God is a DJ

Other Stuff

I have gone through periods of interest in the following:

Wicca ( Religion just doesn't work for me however )
The Falklands War
Chess
History ( especially England from 1000AD to 1500AD )
Astronomy
Tax Havens
Small Countries / Microstates
Architecture

Usually these interest have not got past the level of reading every book I can find on the subject but some have gone a little further.