June 30, 2004

O² required?

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, just settling to bed, I flick the radio to my 'weekly pick' - which this week was Solid Gold FM (93.4FM in Auckland).

Instead I heard a "Rock" ID. What the?, had I tuned right?
Yep, 93.4 - so what was on 90.2? (The Rock's Auckland Frequency)
I found Solid Gold there. It stayed thay way right through their respective breakfast shows later that morning. Can you imagine the horror to both sets of listeners that morning!

Media Sauces' Paul Kennedy informed us all that it was "Apparently a case of literally plugging the wrong cables back in after BCL testing/maintenance at the Sky Tower some time in the early hours. Oooooops."

It sparked a bit of deeper speculation on my part. I don't take things like this as 'real accidents', and like a conspiracy theorist Im now led to believe there is something sneaky going on over at Canwest.

After proof-reading this post, it somehow reminded me of the NuuFM launch years ago.
A day prior to it's launch, I spoke to one of the staff members and he gave off a great feeling of prelaunch excitment, as a magician would just before revealing the punch. He was thrilled about the the reaction from the existing listeners. It was a classical format and they won't wake to Mozarts 'Cosi Fan Tutte', instead Ace Of Base!! - as if to say 'suck eggs losers'. Of course NuuFM closed down not long after, it's frequency went to Radio Pacific and it's "broom closet" studio is now Mai FM production.

June 28, 2004


If you're familiar with the radio industry, you may be aware of discussions on IBOC. It's created a bit of a stir in many different countries. If you haven't, I will try and explain some more technical shite in simple terms.

IBOC stands for In-Band On-Channel, of which is its way of broadcasting data to a radio tuner. Oh, like RDS? Yes, and more - many say its the halfway house from AM/FM to Digital Radio.

You know when you tune a station into a clock radio, its fuzzy, then clear, then fuzzy as you tune across the frequency? You then go back and find the clearest place and settle there. IBOC works like a bracket around a frequency. It will help define the main frequency and adds redundant information on the edges. Kinda like putting soundproofing around it, making the main frequency "clearer".

IBOC also transmits a digital version of the analog broadcast simultaneously. These new digital signals are broadcast as "sideband" transmissions bracketing the top and bottom of the current "host" analog signal to help reception (think: driving under a bridge listening to AM - the digital will kick in and give you continuous reception). Heaps of US radio stations also face major interference from adjacent stations, so anything helps.

As for the RDS similarity mentioned above: IBOC leaves RDS behind in many respects, but so does Digital Radio (more on that later). RDS is only similar to IBOC in the respect of an 'extra signal' on a frequency, regardless how its done or what it does.
RDS displays scrolling or static text, along with "business card" info on an array of different services, and the RDS hat-trick is the ability to automatically locate your station if you go out of range, although rendered useless if theres no other freq to tune to. RDS is one-way, therefore not of this age.

With IBOC's digital inferface "HD Radio" (just launched in January at the US Consumer Electronics Show) you get interactive radio. "ID3" info is instantly available on the current song. If you use mp3 files, ID3 is used for adding Artist/Title/Album/Year information to the mp3, this info is available (that is to say if there IS a computer at one end rather than a turntable), as well as website integration. For example, while listening to your favourite morning show, you can read a bio of the host if your heart so desires. Plus theres breaking news, sport, traffic and the rest - blah blah.

With this, are a couple of interesting concepts. The ability to digitally record a radio broadcast and listen to it later. Thats On-Demand listening, which has nothing to do with the internet!. ~Radio evolves in its own medium! WOWEE!~

The other, is surround sound. So if your car just happens to be spec't to the max with da soundz bro, you can experience true surround sound. I await some shock-jock to play a DVD of the "101 Greatest Surround Sound Effects" during their show. SHIT! Was that the Enterprise flying over me?

So you'd think that this is a great thing? The theory is awesome really, but the real world effects are much different.

Because IBOC 'dampens' the edges, whilst trying to maximise the main frequency - the reality is that it still shrinks bandwidth (space where you can pick up the station). In Los Angeles, there are a ton of IBOC users of whom are unhappy with the outcome of installing this added feature. In their outer coverage areas where before IBOC, they could be heard they are heard no longer. Not only that, but you may know that AM signals have different properties at night, so radio engineers all over the country are ripping their hair out trying to re-engineer their station/s power (some not legally) to gain back that lost coverage. One disgruntled ethnic listener wrote in to her favourite station saying that she receives up to 5 different stations at once since this change! - A reverse effect?!?! That's unforseen.

The move to test and try IBOC all kinda stems at the base of digital radio. Sirius and XM over in the States are still signing up a shitload of users every week, and frankly I can't blame them due to the awful AM/FM climate in the US. I'd sign up if it were available here. These Digital Radio subscribers already get everything and more listed above. Just look at Digital TV. Compare Sky with regular VHF/UHF television... burp!

IBOC may help suck up the free range fat, but our dials are not (yet) that busy, and may only be useful to educate the NZ novice to grasp the beginning of radio's future. Time will tell, but signs so far seem to indicate that RDS is probably enough, and this hoop could possibly be skipped.

June 25, 2004

Bucket of GE free niblets

OK, the weekend is here and if you're scanning blogs (thats for visiting mine), then here's a few groovy spots on the net I'd like to share with ya:

• I would love to see Arnold Schwarzenneger on one of these
Base FM is finally online with a phat-az website
Test The Nation 2004 - My IQ is 119 - I got 50 out of 60 right (19 better than last year!)
• Wanna see what Transit are doing to our Central Auckland Motorways?
• The updated Radio & Records Website makes us dig a little deeper for U.S chart information.
• It's about time I shared this Radio link - just have at least an hour free.
Cow Freedom "A cow swims in a similar fashion to a dog"
• Plan a weekend NOW with your friends and rise through the ranks with DMG's Calendar.
• Tips, ideas and The Buzz on small business. Invaluable information!
• An insight into a Program Director's online life.
• Where will Live Music get a new lease of life in Auckland?

Its great to see after an intense campaign, we have got a commitment from McDonalds to seek a non-GE chicken feed supply. Much love to my friends at Greenpeace and all my fellow volunteers and cyber activists. more

June 24, 2004

The Top40 Faux Pax

Can I leave you wondering?

Visit the Top40 website, and select the Album charts for chart #1384 - should be 16 November 2003. Both #1 and #2 are new entries yet #2 had more sales. How did that happen?

The Chart Rules (revised April 2004) states in Section 4.1, paragraph 2:

"The Top 40 Album Chart seeks to rank the SALES performance of such hit products on an as common a basis as possible. To qualify for the chart, aspirant Top 40 product will have the following characteristic:"

- it then goes on to stipulate TPI and other requirements for eligibility, for which these two albums obviously have.

How can one brand new Album with platinum sales land at #2, under another brand new Album with only gold sales?

June 23, 2004


There is something menacing about Sopranos.

Is it when you get the impression that they will do one thing, they surprise everyone and do something else?

Do they smoke after the job?, and is there really a difference between a Soprano and a Mezzo?

• Soprano - "The highest singing voice of a woman or young boy"
• Mezzo - "soprano with a voice between soprano and contralto" ..ok then..
• Contralto - "The lowest female voice or voice part, intermediate in range between soprano and tenor".

And, yes I will now get to the point of "The" Sopranos, not our fair Dame Kiri Te Kanawa or any of the others at Soprano Central.

The questions above are still relevant (becuase I made them relevant), and gave me a chance to fool you from the get go. I wish the show could fool me, however.

Ever since my first post on this here blog about whats on our TV (I had to start simple, to figure out how this blog thing works, you see) I had anticipated the return of Tony Soprano and his basketcase of problems. I was enthusiastic to get back into my mafia alter-ego and start sending out emails tagged with 'kapiche?, but alas I now miss Nip/Tuck.

The stories are dull, slow moving and frankly, do not deliver the tension I was expecting. So what if the newest member to 'the family' (Christopher) screwed up a new 'opportunity', Tony gets mad, bashes his steering wheel yelling "fuck, fuck fuck", I just raise my eyebrow. Am I supposed to feel like clobbing Christopher with a Taiha in almighty rage, or am I supposed to sit back knowing full well he'll get a pair of concrete shoes next episode? I'm not convinced.

Instead, I have two weeks of 24 to catch up on, and the almighty web to view episode spoilers for the rest of the Sopranos season, so I can tune in when some real guano hits the capoli... speaking of lingo:

Soprano Quotes:
• "Fuck them. I ever see that prison doctor, God forbid, I'm gonna say, "Hey fuckstick, they ever show you these in medical school? They're called balls." - Larry Boy Barese
• "Don't get me wrong. I always liked your cousin. But whackin' Philly's brother was a major poke in the ass." - Silvio
• "In the old days, the ones that came over, that started this thing, they didn't get mad. They just smiled and nodded and made sure you got it later. That's the whole beautiful point. You know what they say: Revenge is like serving cold cuts." - Tony
• "To think. When I got out of the joint, I thought an airbag was Paulie Walnuts." - Tony Blundetto

Mafia Links
Mafia Origins / Learn more
Mafia Cookbook (& save your ass!)

June 21, 2004

Another log on the fire please

Camilles 'slag' of Coast 105.4 was a little off point.

"Wrong, wrong, wrong. If we are not careful, the music of our youth will simply be put through the blender and poured out as the allegedly 'timeless' but actually vanilla-flavoured stuff that they play on Coast. It will be piped through our retirement villages and we will forget that those decades actually did have some edge."

Coast Liner: "All the songs the other stations have forgotten" - Solid Gold have reason for skipping these whatever that is, and ZB's Nostalgia is really for over 60's. "Unforgettable Music" in Papatoetoe has returned on 106.7LPFM and wether it has anything to do with the arrival of Coast or not, this is a different colour again of the same crooner/boomer gap.

So its a slice of a musical pie that appeals to 45-59 years olds?
I listened to Jackie / Jaquie / Jacqui today (10-3) and while she invited us to email her, she only once specified how to spell her name. (the last sp was correct). I did however get a feel for Coast, and it sounds similar to Craig Newlands Goodtime Classics 1521 in Tauranga. In other words - an oldies 'hop'. I heard a mix of MOR sing along Carpenters/ABBA with Little Peggy March. It was pretty cheesy, and at times perfect for the older pink dollar but certainly gives competition to elevator music.
Mark Perry, err, I mean Mark Morgan is virtually On Air after 3pm (see: voicetracked considering he is a pirate on Hauraki in the mornings), so I can expect to hear him drop 3 more octaves to fit into the music, although he may go so low I may only hear silence when he does a break.

Seems to me, Coast is designed to suck up the Cool Blue loss through a small straw, and slide in as ZB's older brother as a sports massage. Camille may like to reconsider.

This week however, Diana Balham at The Listener made good with a complimentary piece on Times FM up there in Orewa:

"Rodneyites had to put up with weak signals from Auckland stations, and you can bet your triple-scoop hokey-pokey ice-cream that the good people from Warkworth, Helensville and Snells Beach didn't rate that too highly"

You may like to read the rest of the review here. I have been a friend of Times FM for almost a year now, having produced their 2004 Station Imaging from my CustomCuts Audio Production company (shameless self promotion!), but also watching that market's growth with one eye for a future home, and business venture.

Their 89.9 and 96.6 frequencies (great numbers huh?) get into most parts of Auckland and primarily cover the Rodney/Hibiscus Coast area right up through Whangarei. If you're reading from afar, then just think of your Radioworks Localworks station mixed with Classic Hits, or dare I say IXX or Coromandel FM, and you have community content mixed with safe AC/HotAC music plus a new breakfast host fresh outta Wanganui (who is already making an impact), plus Times FM are a child of Times Media, which also produces the Rodney Times Newspaper - so there are resources a-plenty.
Once Times FM purchases a transmitter capable of 5kw, they'll finally broadcast to their licensed power and reach further afield.

June 11, 2004

Cube2 - Hypercube

I watched Cube2 the other day. It's a great film, and not as gruesome as the first. If you are unfamiliar with the plot, here tis:
You awaken inside a bright square white room. In the middle of the four walls, ceiling and floor are small doorways. Put your hand on the door and it opens into another cube. Kinda like a maze. The door stays open until you either go through it, or move away from it - theory being you can look into two cubes at once.

The star of the movie has no idea which way is out, and along the way will run into other people moving between cubes. Some people are just as confused, while others are either right at home or dillusional.

Here the kicker. It's not a maze.

The Cube itself just opens into more and more cubes, exactly the same, but some have different properties - and this is why I liked the movie - and here's a few:

• Some cubes were based in the future, with doorways to the past, or
• a cube with no gravity, or an alternate gravitational pull, or
• One of my favourites was a cube that had a different time speed - imagine looking into that cube from another and you'll see what I mean about the mathematical science of it all! Watching someone age quickly/or them watching you age "depending which cube has the faster timespeed" is a mind trip when you start thinking about possible paradoxical scenarios!

This was a clever little scene where the female star of the movie was leaving one Cube into another, when a door on the other side opened, she looked back and saw herself looking back at her in disbelief. Following the star 20 minutes later, she opens a door and sees herself 20 minutes ago looking at.. herself about to go through a door. I'll give you a moment to think about that one!

It got me thinking about Three Dimensional objects and more interestingly, fourth dimensional and "Impossible" objects. Moo?

Two dimensional is what we see on South Park. There is no viewing angle.
Three dimensions are when you give things perspective, like drawing a triangle, then expanding it into a pyramid. We then get volume and other new things with 3D.
The mind can be manipulated with three dimensional images - remember those IMax goggles? Also, a lot of optical illusions that sometimes flood our emails or toilet walls, all use the 3D platform.

If you have 2 minutes now, then have a quick play with 4 dimensions (requires java) - click "mirror" and "thick lines", then move the image by click + drag.
If you have a further 5 minutes, then read up about it. Truly fascinating!

If you discover the trickery of four dimensions, you will get more out of Cube2 - that is, if you decide to watch it. Interesting twist at the end too.
Out now on DVD at your favourite video store! (in my best corporate voice)

-view trailer
-Official Site (in french sorry - the english one is down but you'll get the idea)

June 10, 2004

Riding the wave: Audioblogging and more...

Audioblogging is here*

We can now phone Blogger and make our blog from anywhere! "Wow the snow is awesome today! you should be here, your Majesty... and yes the Corgis will be okay".

Here come the extra add-ons to a neat piece of web - and I can't fault it as it seems simple enough. Ring the number, leave your message of up to 5 minutes much like an answerphone, and boom - your recording is uploaded to your Blog as an mp3 file for all to hear.
Here's a tip: If you are a musician, send riffs and ideas to your circle of blogreaders/bandmembers for comment, unless you're the bass player, which you should not have a blog. (joking) - You could even upload your own music.

Here's an example of how it works.

But that's not all. The good people at Blogger (of whom now have my status of Blogizzle Shizzle..) are working on Indexing, Categories, and Meta-search for our Blogs, and I would assume Googizzle Shizzle would be used considering they are the parents.

What else?
I suggested to Blogger that they should work in cahoots with Vodafone, so we can PXT 2 Blog! I can then take a pic of the gorgeous skifield and paste it online so that I can interrupt the Horrock machine. (evil laugh)

I know this is a bit of a plug for Blogger, but hell - you hardly get quality on the net for free these days, plus this make the internet just a little bit more mobile.

*not available outside of the US


I'm looking forward to Athens.

Remember the mystery that suspended most of us before NZ Idol began, although we knew exactly what was going to happen? Same goes here but luckily for me, as this post is published, there is no real attention on Athens, three months out. We only know about the troubles and fleeting deadline that Greece is trying to keep to, and thats about all that is crunched into the side of our brain.

I now have a couple of new facts for that spot on the side - which will be easy to remember:
June 9 - International Track Open 2004 & International Swimming Meeting.
July 9 - The Olympic Flame arrives back in Greece
August 13 - uh, thats the Opening Ceremony. Full games schedule>> .pdf

Check out the Official Site for a virtual tour of Athens, the goss on Mount Everest, learn the route of the torch after todays fanfare in Egypt, be bombarded with 'interesting facts', and check up on the Paralympic Games to follow during September.

I also found this cute wallpaper for your PC so you can quietly be ahead of the pack.

A LPFM users group

I'm hoping something of a comaraderie will eventuate from a LPFM Users Group instead of the current bootless supercilious outlook from some operators. The Yahoo forum serves its purpose to keep everyone informed on whats happening, and in front of MED - a common body of voices would prevent corruption and keep the LPFM spectrum robust and colourful.

Adjectives courtesy of Thesaurus.com

Nice quote Gadsby

Jon Gadsby and his head full of gunge:
"Radio announcers are not economists, either, although arguably some of them should be. Radio announcers, therefore, have to put up with what people who should know better have to tell them." - Listener Volume 194

June 9, 2004

Brickwall Brew

I often put my foot in it. I'm certainly no expert nor will I proclaim to have the right way of saying something or fixing problems, as I sometimes quite bluntly say exactly what people are thinking but are too careful to say it or post it online. Careers would be in question and its better to bite your lip. It's common sense when you are bound by not only your contract, but many have families to feed and mortgages to pay. Anyway, disclaimer over - I just had a few things that dont really have much strength to warrant their own posts (or do they?), so instead I have bundled together a few recent thoughts that have hit brick walls. This is a blog after all.

In my mind, I feel that the radio industry shines on occasion but the rest of the time, it's just the same old same old.
I'm not expecting every radio station to offer high quality platter 24 hours of the day, as this would probably turn me off. Could you handle a tightly-produced Ryan Seacrest, Rick Dees or even Ira Glass or Noam Chomsky types, all day every day for the rest of your radio listening days? I'm not expecting an answer. Channel Z have moments of brilliance (often with Bombers 'Talkback' or Jaquie's 'Pop Goes The Weasel'), as does Hauraki but most commercial radio stations are intended to be wallpaper anyway.

I have seen the growth of upcoming talent within the radio industry - some embracing the extra offers of work on the side, such as television [a][b][c] while others are quite happy to just exist in the broadcasting game and keep out of the public eye.
The people who have been in radio for more than 15 years are mostly intertwined into the entire media circle these days (91FM reunion anyone?) and can quickly spot where someone 'is' in their career. The radio world is healthy and spinning.

Over in Music TV land, C4's new MTV arrangement will see 30 minutes less music programming from Monday. MTV 30 includes shows like Pimp My Ride hosted by Xzibit and a hidden camera show called Boiling Points. To counter the missed 30 minutes of music, I understand that C4 are looking at extending their broadcasting hours also. Watch this space!

Watching the LPFM story unfold is really interesting. I can see new pioneers of our radio industry really making a go of it and some are doing astonishingly well, others just plodding along quite happily. No matter if a review decides to axe the entire concept or support it further, we are getting more moments of brilliance and sometimes better than the big boys. The only thing I really don't like about a handful of LPFM operators is one simple thing: Sort out your technical problems NOW. (Get a Limiter. Do not over-deviate. Stick to the rules!) - Thats my only gripe.

Have you turned on to a commercial radio station recently, and listened for the QUALITY of the audio?
Hauraki in particular sound awful. Two months ago they sounded like Rock Radio - wall of sound (loud and bright as hell) but still nice and clean. Is there something about NexGen that destroys the audio quality? It sounds horrible. (See my post: Wizard For Windows). Plenty of crossover songs that also air on i98 and Classic Hits (most of them older tracks) seem to be affected. More FM Auckland still sound distorted through their very expensive processor, and it's probably intended to sound 'dynamic' despite still playing CD's live to air (listen for "Summer Sunshine" by The Corrs and you'll see what I mean - its on high rotate at the moment) and Niu FM are in the process of getting something better than the two chained Aphex units in use, to prevent Usher (or Ben Lummis) from sounding like a Daft Punk production.

Is there something about the innards of a radio station that seems cool and 'look how busy it is', but then when you get an insiders explanation as to whats actually happening - you suddenly see under the shiny coat and bear witness - I just see these people suffering from routine.
From that outsiders perspective, its very easy to point finger and explain to them what they are doing wrong. Should they just stop what they are doing, and start dreaming again so they can visulalize a better way of doing what they do?
If you work for Radio X and you somehow get to visit the competition (Radio Y) when the PD is away, you will notice all the things you don't do yourself and your station fails to do. You will also spot a few things that you do better than these chumps. Is this the way you get yourself out of a doldrum or regimented way of doing your job at Radio X?

Have you been ignorant to your ways or have your hands been tied? That's the only thing I can say that encapsulates this post of bubbling thoughts. Cheers.

June 8, 2004

William Hung

The American Idol producers are brilliant (and why does Paula Abdul still look hot?!?!?).
It won't win them any credibility or awards (barf) but the William Hung idea is definitely this years Ketchup Song.

Every person on this earth can sing. Some good, many bad and in my opinion, he is the worlds worst singer. But still worthy of making an album.

Where would you be if you didn't know where the absolute bottom of the barrell was?

To clarify, there are a lot of different opinions about any new artist - from critics, to user reviews to publications like Real Groove or Uncut (hic) with album reviews. My point is, that they all have differing opinions on say, the new George Michael album.

I could almost guarantee that every one of these reviewers wherever they are, regardless of how much coffee they are (or were) swimming in - will give William Hung the same bad review. There is nothing good on his album - unless you like out of tune, karaoke-like slaughtered covers of gems like Hotel California, Rocket Man and I Believe I Can Fly, through to his American Idol audition piece "She Bangs".

I see the humour and apparent sincerity in the way Mr Hung presents his album, and as much as I would like to like it - even if just for novelty value, I cannot settle to like it.

-suggested note by a radio friend of mine today: This would be a good time for a certain NZ Asian Network DJ to release his own album - while the goings good (and add the proceeds to his on-air Fiji fundraiser).

June 6, 2004

Flag It

Did you enjoy your long weekend?
You know why it was a long weekend right?

Well, there it was again. Another debate about changing the New Zealand Flag. The first wind I caught of this was when I was back in High School, and here it is - still raging today. If we are still talking about changing the flag, then why don't we have a referendum for it?
I've heard this discussion plenty of times on Newstalk ZB, Good Morning, Dallow's new Agenda, and I guess Flipside and the rest too.

So what would we change it to?
It's fun to think about what we could possibly put onto a blank canvas and proudly declare that the New Zealand Flag. Something that is distincly New Zealand.
Many have suggested a silver fern or a kiwi inside the southern cross. How about just a black flag with a silver fern?
I could be here all day trying to come up with ideas better than yours.

I agree too, that it is difficult to recognise ours from the Australian flag - especially at events such as the Olympics.

Wouldn't it be helpful for the world to be able to recognise our flag also?

You're probably reading this thinking, I'm not learning anything new here. It's been discussed so much that we need resolution, coz frankly it's getting on my nerves now.

What of Maori?
Should we add a maori symbol also, or if that ruffles too many feathers on both sides, should we go for the two flag nation thing? This a kicker that puts a lot of pakeha in doubt. It would be great to have SOMETHING of Maori significance on our new flag, maybe that tiki thing, or a fish hook - or even that Koru based flag that Maori activists wave around?

I dug up some old pointers from my school debates and read without much surprise that most of my points are still valid today, and since this is my blog - HERE'S WHAT I THINK:

I am patriotic. I think it should be left alone.

New Zealand (and Australian) Anzacs fought for our flags. New Zealand Anzac Dawn services are having record breaking turnouts at 6am - on a SUNDAY morning! Even youth are accounted for (of course they may have just fallen out of a nightclub, but I digress).
Pakeha and Maori died for this flag, this country, our people and our way of life in our corner of the world. I respect traditions, heritage and culture. I also have great admiration and respect for Maori.

-I love the Union Jack. It looks like a bit of TukuTuku Panel Art to me.
-I love the Southern Cross - its unique to our hemisphere, and its old school navigation used by early maori settlers, and aided Cook in his travel to NZ. Symbols like these are key elements in our history.
-I like the colours. Blue, Red and White. Much better than black.
-I also like the fact that it looks like the Australian flag. Surprised?
We have similar flags, as we are similar nations. We fought as brothers in many Wars, we both have Tribal origins, we play Rugby against each other and can talk about it over a BBQ or Fish N Chips afterward. And our Anzacs can happily share a pint too. I like that association. How can I fault that?

I can only conjure the NZ flag when singing the National Anthem at my 11 year old sisters Intermediate School during Friday Assembly. Thats when families are invited to attend.
As for 'Advance Australia Fair', well that's their problem if they can't feel proud of their country by singing that.

Foundations of our nation are to be treated with utmost care. We are not our own Republic, we are a British Colony. We have more pressing issues such as the Treaty Of Waitangi to sort out before we even THINK of changing our nations flag.

June 1, 2004


Last week, during a whirlwind tour of Auckland for a visiting German friend, we visited One Tree Hill. "So THIS is where the tree was?" - she had read about the massacre and eventual removal of the tree back in Germany when researching NZ from afar. She has a photo now. On the way out, I was reminded of Toutatis while pointing out the Auckland Observatory.

Toutatis is a regular visitor to Earth, and visits much more often than Halleys Comet. The last recorded visits of this asteroid were in 2000, 1996 and 1992. It was discovered in 1989 after it had passed by the year previous - interesting that. "sacre bleu!, did you zee zat?"

Modern mathematics suggest Toutatis will again visit Earth this year. September 29th to be exact. Not only that, but will only be 1,549,719k's away! - to simplify - its like you and I standing on a tennis court ready to play, and I throw a marble which misses your head by a centimetre (your head being Earth, or earth-like anyway).
Toutatis is several k's long and looks like "a non-convex shape dominated by two components in contact, one approximately twice as large as the other"... In other words, like a giant peanut.

Auckland Stardome Observatory (where you can meet an astronaut June 13!) are quick to point out that we have had closer visits by other rocks in space.

Remember Obelix and his rock? These guys do.
Toutatis was the protector (God) of Asterix and his compatriots, who fear nothing except that someday the sky may fall on their heads.

To skew a bit although it ties in rather nicely, considering Obelix was always playing with death by carrying that big 'ol rock around with him...
I spotted Obelix, commonly known as Porthos (Man In The Iron Mask), better known as Gérard Depardieu is cast as Obelix in "Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre", amongst a handful of other French Asterix movies. He has been doing movies since the 70's and is still in demand. He is currently starring in four different movies, all in production right now. Busy busy!

Toutatis may continue to visit us, but it is predicted to actually have a 0% chance at hitting Earth for at least the next 400 years.

Toutatis: More Info