New Zealand – Pink Haze

Island Inhabitants

The Sip Advisor is a huge fan of New Zealand and it is perhaps the place I would choose to live if forced to leave Canada (it may happen one day!). I could become the country’s next big thing… and there are some serious high profile personalities to contend with. Here are some of the most famous citizens of New Zealand, affectionately known as Kiwis!

Kiwi Birds

Mrs. Sip’s sister (an avid reader) will love me for writing this piece on the kiwi bird, a national icon of New Zealand… so long as I don’t advocate for the mass consumption of the bird as a delicacy. The video game NewZealand Story focused on the adventures of Tiki, as he tries to save his mate Phee Phee and other friends, who have been abducted by a blue leopard seal. Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life, so Tiki and Phee Phee may have been together 25-50 years.

Kiwi Bird

AJ Hackett

An original bungee jumper and operator of the first commercial set-ups for the extreme sport, Hackett famously jumped off the Eiffel Tower in 1987, helping to popularize the whole concept. He also holds a number of World Records in the discipline. The Sip Advisor is a bungee enthusiast, completing my first jumps where else but New Zealand. I’ve even plunged off the Auckland bridge, dipping into the harbor far below and I have Mr. Hackett to thank for all of my thrills.

Sir Edmund Hillary

A distant ancestor of one Mrs. Sip, Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person (along with Nepalese guide Tenzing Norgay) to conquer the summit of Mount Everest. Forever grateful to the people of Nepal, Hillary spent a great deal of time there, setting up schools and hospitals to help the Sherpa people, through his Himalayan Trust foundation. The dude was knighted for his achievements, was viewed as New Zealand’s most trusted citizen, and is even on the country’s $5 bill.

Peter Jackson

The director most famous for taking on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its Hobbit prequel series, Jackson has also worked on such notable films as King Kong and The Adventures of Tintin. Jackson is so fond of his homeland that he chose to bring the filming of the J.R.R. Tolkien books to New Zealand. Mrs. Sip and I visited Hobbiton, as part of a tour stop, but were more interested in grabbing a snack than posing in front of miniaturized doorways!

Peter Jackson

Lucy Lawless

Xena: Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless was a perfect blend of strong and sexy when she starred in the mythological fantasy series. Lawless went on to appear in a number of other shows and has even launched a successful singing career. She currently has a recurring role on Parks and Recreation as the wife to Mr. Ron Swanson. If he can love her, then she should be in everybody’s good books!

Flight of the Conchords

Comprised of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Flight of the Conchords began as a musical-comedy performance duo before venturing into the TV world together. The boy’s HBO show is extremely funny, with fellow Kiwi Rhys Darby joining in the fun as band manager Murray and Kristen Schaal as their lone fan. Sadly, it only ran for two short seasons, but in that time, they created a number of great songs, including Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor and Hurt Feelings.

Lorde

While I’m personally not a fan of this young artist’s work, Mrs. Sip can be caught belting out her tunes from time to time, and she should be commended for hitting it big at such an early age. Hopefully, she doesn’t burn out like other teen stars. Born Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor (I can see why she shortened her stage moniker), Lorde’s first hit ‘Royals’ won her two Grammy Awards and she has enjoyed continued success with the song ‘Team’.

The Bushwackers

These rowdy New Zealanders were originally known as The Sheepherders, an ultraviolent tandem of brawling wrestlers, before they arrived on the scene of the child friendly World Wrestling Federation and became the goofy, loveable Bushwackers. Luke and Butch were known to do anything to win a match, from lick their opponent’s faces to use each other’s heads in a battering ram maneuver. The team even battled Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow on an episode of Family Matters.

New Zealand: Pink Haze

Pink Haze Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Blackcurrant Liqueur
  • Top with Sauvignon Blanc Wine
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

Also unique to New Zealand is Black Water Rafting, which Mrs. Sip and I participated in while visiting the country in 2008. In this activity, you explore the caves of Waitomo, repelling and ziplining into the dark depths, before floating downstream with vibrant glowworms lighting your route. You finish by scaling a small waterfall before returning to the surface.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink provided the first chance to use the homemade Grenadine Mrs. Sip and I concocted recently and it was delicious. The Sauvignon Blanc Wine from The Ned is a very interesting vino with a fruity flavour that’s hard to describe, but goes down easy. All in all, the cocktail was quite nice and enjoyable.

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January 18 – Crouching Tiger

Counter Culture

I fell asleep during the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, despite the fact I thought I’d enjoy the fantastical martial arts film with a name that sounds like a wicked sex position. This is far from the first popular film (at least according to most of the world) that I have walked away from disliking. Here are the top five movies I refuse to watch, despite their large fan base:

#5: The Hunger Games

Okay, so I only saw the first entry of this series, but it will be hard for Mrs. Sip to get me to return for more. Sorry to drop a spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film, but I absolutely hated how they built up this entire competition for what seemed like forever, only to kill off half the competitors immediately. Then, the fact producers wanted the film to be PG-13 eliminated any chance of serious themes from the book being examined. And so, we slowly wound our way to the inevitable and predictable finish. The Japanese flick Battle Royal is a far better offering in the realm of kids being challenged to kill one another in the name of survival.

#4: Moulin Rouge

Good lord, Mrs. Sip loves her musicals. The Sip Advisor, however, despises any media that is largely based around singing. Tragically, I’ve been dragged to a number of films or forced to watch movies where even the simplest dialogue is crooned. I’m not talking about Disney or other animated offerings, but live action movies where song and dance drives the entire production. Back to Moulin Rouge, I’ve actually been outside of the cabaret club in Paris, France and even without entering, cold chills were running through my system and I suffered flu-like symptoms just being in its presence.

#3: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Middle Earth is simply a place I don’t want to visit… and I definitely don’t want to get stuck there for six movies and 525 hours (running time is purely an estimate of Peter Jackson’s need to have super extended versions of his films). For most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mrs. Sip and I watched the DVD’s and I made sure a clause was put in our contract that we’d halt the movie half way through to take a break playing pool or throwing darts or something else to get me through the second half of the film. The tactic was not very successful with regards to my overall enjoyment.

#2: The Matrix

I just don’t understand these films and the truth of the matter is, I don’t really want to. When I saw the first installment many moons ago, all I could think about was how hungry I was. Thankfully, my McDonald’s feast afterwards wasn’t as disappointing as my cinema choice. Sadly, Mrs. Sip loved that first movie, so when the sequels arrived and we were now dating, I was dragged to midnight openings like I was some nerd who enjoys standing in lines for his entertainment. I only do that at Disneyland, thank you very much!

#1: Star Wars

Mrs. Sip was absolutely shocked when we started dating and I told her I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy. She had grown up on the films and in short order, made me watch all three of the original releases. I’ve never really been a huge fan of science fiction. I think some of the concepts are neat, but in general, the whole space setting isn’t my cup of tea and too much fantasy and made up stuff irritates me. I must say, this was one of the few new experiences we shared that summer that I didn’t enjoy!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crouching Tiger

Crouching Tiger Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Lychee Vodka/Liqueur
  • Splash of Lychee Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Looking back at my list, not only are most of my selections popular movies, they’re god damn franchises, meaning I’m usually forced to sit through multiple movies I’d rather not see. Movies like Twilight and Titanic should have made the list, but I’ve actually been able to avoid watching any of these, so I’ll just leave them off and pretend they don’t exist!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty strong, thanks to the Tequila and my choice to go with Lychee Vodka rather than Lychee Liqueur. I added the splash of Lychee Juice to try and lighten the recipe and that helped in getting the flavour across. A decent shooter, but nothing to go out of your way for.

September 29 – Negroni

Bittersweet

There are some legendary roles that have been passed up by actors and actresses for various reasons. That probably made some of these folks pretty bitter… let’s take a look!:

Tom Selleck – Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

The Magnum P.I. star and his moustache were slated to play the role of archeologist Indiana Jones, but Selleck wasn’t allowed to vacate his TV role long enough to film the movie. The role went to Harrison Ford instead and three sequels followed. Selleck has done okay since, but lost out on playing such a treasured character. At least Selleck didn’t have to suffer through the backlash The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull received.

tom-selleck-indiana-jones

Molly Ringwald – Vivian (Pretty Woman) / Molly (Ghost)

The 1980’s icon missed the boat on a couple big roles in 1990 including Vivian in Pretty Woman and Molly in Ghost, played by Julia Roberts and Demi Moore respectively. Instead, Ringwald was living and acting in France. When she returned stateside, she had parts in TV movies and series but hasn’t done anything of note since her heyday decades ago. Roberts and Moore on the other hand enjoyed strong careers after these movies.

Will Smith – Neo (The Matrix)

I am certainly not a fan of The Matrix trilogy of movies and apparently, neither was Smith. The Fresh Prince turned down the character of Neo, saying he found the script too hard to follow. Instead, Smith would go on to make Wild Wild West, a universally panned film, around the same time. Smith has also admitted that Keanu Reeves was perfect for the role, which I take to mean the character was always intended to be one-dimensional, monotone, and boring.

will smith as neo

Mel Gibson – Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman)

With all the uproar over the selection of Ben Affleck to play Batman, it’s interesting to note actors who previously passed on the iconic role. Gibson turned down the offer for Tim Burton’s 1989 film, believing the movie would be a flop… and this is all before his high-profile meltdown. Michael Keaton, of course, stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park before the franchise took a downswing with Val Kilmer and George Clooney behind the mask.

Sean Connery – Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)

The former James Bond legend passed on the role of Gandalf, reasoning that he didn’t “get” fantasy (because, you know, the James Bond plots are super realistic) and instead went on to make The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a movie that involves superheroes and is based on comics. Yup, that seems much more grounded in reality. Connery was paid $17 million for his part in the League, but it also pushed him to retire from acting. Had he accepted the Gandalf role and the offered 15% of the box office, he could have made $400 million through the trilogy!

sean-connery-gandalf

Denzel Washington – Det. David Mills (Se7en)

Denzel reportedly turned down the role later played by Brad Pitt, saying the movie was too dark. Apparently, he later regretted passing on the part, but he did alright for himself eventually, with an Oscar win for Training Day. Se7en launched Pitt into superstardom and also paired him with director David Fincher. Over the years, the two would also combine their efforts for Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Kevin Costner – Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption)

Costner was huge in the early 90’s and his acceptance of the Andy Dufresne role would have helped him avoid the total bomb that became his Waterworld passion project. After Waterworld, it took quite some time for Costner to rid himself of the stench of failure (must have been some stinky water on that set) and some could argue he’s never fully recovered. Tim Robbins took the Andy Dufresne part and went on to enjoy a renaissance of sorts.

Drink #272: Negroni

Negroni Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

I sincerely hope that every actor and actress whose career was launched by one of these roles originally turned down sends that person some kind of gift basket each year, thanking them for their poor judgment and decision making. Join us tomorrow for part two of this franchise!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
I knew going into this cocktail that I wasn’t going to like it very much. I find Campari’s bitterness to be too harsh and the Sweet Vermouth wasn’t able to bring it back to a tolerable level. I’m unclear as to why this has become such a classic cocktail. I guess there are enough people out there that prefer bitter drinks.