A random assortment of photos I snapped around Auckland City this week...
Tanks on Queen Street.
No - Aucklanders haven't decided to deal to Mayor Hubbard for once and for all. I was told they were there for a parade. I had no idea what the parade was for, but said that sounded like fun, and how I would love to join in the occasion and drive the tank.
Someone informed me later the parade was 'Boobs on Bikes'. That explained why the men giggled like girls when I volunteered my services.
More Component artistry on Ponsonby Road.
The latest L&P campaign, which I thought very funny.
Can't believe it's still legal to make jokes about junk food, the dole, and mothers who can't be arsed cooking (child abuse!).
Friday, August 24, 2007
A random assortment of photos I snapped around Auckland City this week...
Mrs S has been a long-time, dear friend, but surely that will change, if her current mood does not.
Mrs S is never what one would call a 'laid-back' person, least of all when in her car. She is the sort who swears and shouts at other drivers – often lowering the window to do so - for (often imagined) traffic infringements, yet never seems to consider how her unvarying speed of 30 kms per hour might annoy others. She will barely crack 40 kms, even when on the motorway.
Her high-powered European car must quietly sob in its garage late at night, for the misery of a life half-lived.
Despite this, she is very good fun. But not yesterday. I began to think, one of us has gone quite mad, and I do so hope it's not me.
So. We were in the car, and I was navigating. I am quite good at this, I think. I do not shriek "turn left now" at the last possible moment. My instructions are generally quite unambiguous, like, "Come off the next motorway exit, turn left, then continue straight ahead." Mrs S dutifully came off the next motorway exit, turned left, then got into a left-turn only lane.
"Er, we are meant to go straight ahead here," I volunteered, wondering which part of "straight ahead" sounded like "turn left again."
Mrs S rolled her eyes.
"Oh," she said, in tones that intimated my incompetence was unquestionable, "bit of a communication break-down there." She rolled her eyes again.
And so it continued, with every word I uttered scrutinised and found lacking, yet the meaning entirely ignored.
Standing at a counter, I gazed at a collection of Clarins products.
"What are you thinking?" she hissed.
Even doing nothing was annoying to her.
I finally made it home. Mrs S came in briefly, said hello to Mr Smith, who grunted a cursory acknowledgement from his computer without looking up.
"What's Mrs S on?" he asked, after she had left.
I collapsed in a chair.
"The end of a sharpened stick, if she continues like that. She was an utter bitch all day."
"She's on something," he said.
"Well, she's on a diet, so probably diet pills of some sort."
"Hmmm." Mr Smith looked unconvinced.
She has porked up lately, so my money is on diet pills. However, if she continues in her current mood, being fat will be the least of her problems. I will push Mrs S into the path of an oncoming vehicle, and I will make sure it is one doing more than 30kms an hour.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The sun showed its face long enough yesterday to make one think Spring might be on its way. I went to the Auckland Domain - one of my favourite places - to just sit and have a cup of coffee. It was really nice.
But then the clouds rolled back in, and it was rather cold and crappy again. I am not a fan of winter at all.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
What a dull week I have had. The weather is miserable, and activity on the social front-lines is minimal. Thus, I have little of substance to report (if, indeed, I ever do).
Who says Auckland has a man-drought? I passed SPQR last Wednesday, and there were two well-heeled gentlemen, sitting pensively at separate tables, drinking glasses of red wine. Went to Galbraith's Alehouse on the weekend (wet and sodden Sundays call for beer), and lo! No less than three gentlemen, drinking alone, reading books.
Get your best knickers on, Singletons, there are men ripe for the picking.
Sweat-shop labour and cheap, mass-produced goods - Ponsonby is becoming our own 'Little China.' All that is lacking is some dog-meat (no jokes about the All Blacks WAGs, please).
Far from being a stalwart stronghold of food and fashion, it is being infiltrated by nasty rubbish (I’m referring to the retail version of such, not the human kind, without which Auckland would be as dull as Wellington).
The hardware shop has gone, and has been replaced with some kind of 'two-dollar' shop monstrosity, a depressing accessories business down the Three Lamps end is openly flogging fake handbags (if Prada ever made anything as awful as what is in the window, Miuccia would be put in an institution), and the Goldmine warehouse has been happily pedalling its shonky cack for at least a year now.
Also, have discovered the secret to how local models keep their svelte figures – they can't afford to buy food! One young lady confessed that Karen Walker pays her models with a hundred-dollar clothing voucher to her own (sweat) shop. One hundred dollars! Goodness. That wouldn't even get one a t-shirt.
No wonder they are crying in her latest ad campaign.
Friday, August 17, 2007
A Few Of My Favourite Things...
1. I really like these tops, made by Locher's, a shop in Paris.
2. A Chanel bangle engraved with the message "L'elegance, c'est la ligne." My French is très crap, so I think it translates as "Elegance, it is a straight line" (??) This sounds appalling silly, so everyone who knows better, please let me know what it means.
3. Just as well Dr Gregory House is a fictional character, because I am fairly sure I could be arrested in several countries for the things I would like to do to him. Woof woof!
4. Stronger by Kanye West is currently my absolute favourite song. The line where he quotes Pamela Anderson, "...that [which does not] kill me, can only make me stronger" is brilliant. However, I'm bound to be caught quoting, "So how the hell could you front on me? There's a thousand you's, there's only one of me."
Labels: Things I Like
The Media Girl has an odd way of starting a conversation.
"Do you watch porn?" she asked.
This wasn't addressed to me, but to Mr Smith, so I naturally became rather interested in where she planned on going with this tête-à-tête, and whether to make a witty contribution of a stiletto heel through her foot.
Fortunately for her foot, it wasn't an invitation, but the start of an anecdote about certain predilections she shared with her flat-mates.
"I like being licked from behind," she concluded, cheerfully.
"How lovely," I murmured, "a truly delightful story. Quite heart-warming. Perhaps you ought to put it on your profile page."
She rolled her eyes. Instead of her foot, I imagined a Miu Miu spike through her bloated head, and her whizzing around the room like a deflating balloon. It was a satisfying thought.
I mean, really. What is wrong with the old standards of conversation-starters, like the weather? Dull, perhaps, but at least talking about the rain never made one lose one's appetite.
Sharing what one likes having done to one's nether-regions, should wait until you have known someone a little longer. Like an hour, at least.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I remember one time in science class at school, doing something with magnets. Being a resoundingly mediocre student, I didn’t understand what the point to the class was, but was fascinated by how the magnets would repel each other if their same poles were aligned. Moving one magnet closer to the other, would force the other to slide quickly out of range.
Perhaps it was the joint I had smoked in the toilets before class, but to me this was a simple yet perfect metaphor for human relationships, and even now, years later, the image of that sliding magnet often springs to mind.
(I just re-read that paragraph. Am now quite sure the joint was to blame. Therefore, should probably keep my later cocaine-fuelled insights on ants to myself.)
When I hear the Barbra Striesand song, "People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world," I feel a sharp surge in irritation. Not just for the cheap, hideous sentimentality of the lyrics, but for what I see as being a mental illness sublimated in song.
The Tedious Acquaintance had rung, and we had a brief conversation (I am not one much for telephone conversations, so with me they are inevitably brief). However, every time I attempted to wrap the call up, she would blurt out some disjointed question, or half-witted and dull anecdote.
"I really must go," I said finally.
"Oh, please don't," she said in a small voice, "please stay and talk to me. I'm lonely."
My brain veritably fizzed in my head. I could see the magnet sliding across the table.
"Only stupid people get lonely," I hissed, "if you are capable of holding a thought in your head, there is no excuse for loneliness. There should be plenty in there to keep you busy."
"Don’t you ever get lonely?"
“Never. Go take some drugs, or read a book, or something.”
Of all the unappealing traits that my fellow humans can manifest – neediness is the worst, an utterly selfish act. Who would really want company given for the sake of guilt or obligation? Is company grudgingly granted really better than none at all?
Friday, August 10, 2007
The furore over a lecturer’s email to a student – telling her she lacked the requisite skills for the degree she was studying - reminded me of a party I was at a few months ago.
A certain gentleman, Mr D, known for his investments in the local real estate market, had decided, as so many men of his age do, to dabble in foreign female property as well. He proved to be quite successful in his dealings with Russian Blondes and South American Brunettes, but his investment in a more exotic model proved less profitable.
I recognised her straight away; she has been on the cover of a fashion mag, and been seen lurking in the background of the 'About Town' social pages. Her body was astonishing – legs like stilts, and an arse that looked like Pamela Anderson was stuffed down the back of her trousers. However, despite her apparent genetic superiority, she was thick to the point where a surgeon might feasibly declare her brain-dead.
I attempted to strike up a conversation with her.
"I am at university," she said.
"Really? What are you studying?"
"A bachelor of what?"
"Yes. Quite. What is your major?"
Mr D joined us.
"So, I hear X is studying at university."
He laughed. "I know. Sad, isn't it? It would seem that the Creator spent so much time making that incredible arse, he ran out of time to install a brain."
I must have looked startled – after all, she was standing right there.
"It's okay," he said, "say what you like. If you talk fast enough, she doesn’t understand a word you are saying. In fact," he continued, drawing long on his cigar in a thoughtful way, "you don’t even have to speak fast. Just use some words of more than two syllables."
Could this really be an indicator of what standards we have for international students here? If so, I think Dr Buchanan’s email was an exercise in sublime restraint. He should have been promoted, not fired.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I'm off the Slimfast, so have had to look to other ways to prevent my thighs taking over the world. The Koreans and the Japanese have the lowest rates of obesity in the world, just 3.2% of the population are obese, as compared to the USA, which comes in a big fat first at 30.6%, or New Zealand at seventh place with 20.9% of the population popping their shirt-buttons (Can we really be that bad? I blame all the Pacific Islanders for skewing the results).
So, I thought the Japanese must know what they are doing, and bought "The Japan Diet, The secret to effective and lasting weight loss," by Naomi Moriyama.
Not only am I guaranteed to be healthier (pah) and slimmer (yes!), but rule number six, is "Be gentle to your food." This translates as cook the ingredients as little as possible. This is excellent, as I can't cook anyway.
However, the price for being healthier and slimmer may be divorce. Mr Smith quailed at the sight of last night's entrée – 'Firm tofu with spring onions,' a title that cleverly summarises the entire list of ingredients.
God knows what he will make of what's on offer tonight – dinner includes sautéed beetroot and miso soup with wakame (seaweed).
Too freaking bad. I’m on to G&T number three and am beyond caring.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
There is a woman in a local shop who appears to hate me.
Neither hate nor love are emotions I throw around too often; most things and people are far too mediocre to inspire such extremes. Perhaps it is just me – the depth of my Hate is a deep, dark place, with villainous thoughts of inflicting harm lurking in shadowy corners, so could never be applied to brussel sprouts or the colour red (I like both, incidentally).
Love, too, is rarely applied. Not because I possess a hard lump of stone for a heart (I probably do, but that’s irrelevant), but because I again dislike the idea of a powerful emotion being tagged to the mundane. Love becomes luuurve. Women who squeal with bulging eyes, "Oooh! I just luuurve those shoes!" make me think they must have a really rotten sex life. If one knows the feeling of really sweaty, dirty, animal-sex, then how could one possibly get so red-faced and excited about some straps of Italian leather? An exception would be for the sort applied with some vigour to a bare bottom.
Yes. I like shoes. But I am capable of selecting them with as much passion as if I were purchasing a box of tampons.
While on the subject, I despise (see! I avoided the 'H' word) the term 'making love.' It sounds far too tidy and sanitised to properly describe the act.
The woman in the shop. She really does seem to hate me – and quite irrationally so. I am not saying that it is unusual for me to inspire such a feeling, far from it (ha ha!), but really. Dishing out hate without giving me the opportunity of meriting it is just rude.
She glares at me, and whispers comments behind her hand to the other shop assistant, who, bless her, has the grace to look mortified, and becomes increasingly polite and deferential in precise proportion to the amount of bile leaking out of the other one.
I was trying on a jacket. I sighed.
"I do like it," I said, "but I did promise my husband only yesterday I was going to try to cut back on spending. I usually give it a week before I break a promise."
"It's not exactly expensive, is it?" she said, with a reasonable, yet unconvincing attempt at private school vowels. "Hardly more than buying one from Ezibuy."
Goodness! I was about to say, quite honestly, "I wouldn't know," but realised it would sound retaliatory - as if her opinion of me mattered. I bought the jacket anyway.
It's really very tedious. I would never bother hating someone who works in a shop. You have to be far more important to earn that honour.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Oh unhappy day! Knowing that BZP is to be become illegal, I kept meaning to stop by the chemist to stock up on my Slimfast. But alas – I procrastinated too long. No Slimfast is left! All sold out. Well, there is the new herbal variety, which the chemist insisted is just as good. I do not believe this for a moment.
As no doubt everyone has heard by now, hospitals are going to ask women the following questions to gauge if they have been the victims of domestic violence. Answering “yes” to at least one of these will be a potential indicator of abuse.
Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn’t want to do?
Guffaw! In my neck of the woods, answering "yes" to all of these questions, would indicate you’d had the usual sort of night out with the girls.
Wondering if Mrs Kirkpatrick needs a new pair of dentures? Either that, or her mouth has been glued shut. Smile, love. It might never happen.
Something rather strange happened to me the other night.
Doesn't one’s brain curdle in one’s head whenever someone utters those fateful words! One just knows some tediously un-strange incident is about to be told in horrifyingly long-winded detail. Not as bad, however, as when someone starts off with "I had this really weird dream last night…" and then proceeds to tell it in minute detail. Who cares if there were puppies flying in the sky that then turned into giant shoes made of butter? It never happened.
Anyway. The incident was strange, but it did happen, and horrifyingly long-winded detail is my style. So suffer.
A group of us had stopped off at a bar for a post-dinner sherry. Sherry was my idea. Someone pulled a face, but I nonchalantly said "Sherry is what all the cool kids are drinking these days." The bartender pointed out that sherry was increasing in popularity amongst the middle-aged set, "You know, like people in their thirties." Thirties! Middle-aged! Get your tongue ready, young man, you are kissing your tip a fond farewell.
I went outside for a cigarette. It was raining heavily, the sky dark. Someone passing by asked for a light, then moved on, and I was by myself, looking in at my friends inside.
"They’re bad for you, you know."
I turned, and saw a tall man in an precision-cut black suit standing next to me.
"Smoking makes you look cool," I replied with irritated terseness.
"I wasn't talking about the cigarettes," he said, and he turned his head, and looked into the bar. He was looking at my friends.
My blood ran a little cold. He walked away without giving me a second look. I looked up at the bar sign above, noted its meaning, and couldn’t help but feel I was acting in a movie, and this was the scene which predicted bad things that were to come.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
In my few cafe reviews, I have refrained from writing about my regular haunts, as I wouldn't like to think that I might run into some of the horrid riff-raff that read my blog. However, I shall make an exception this time, for a Malaysian cafe that I visited for the first time this week, and think is going to be new favourite place to dine. If I relied on my own cooking, I would have died of scurvy years ago, so I assure you, as someone who dines out regularly, this place is a cracker.
Lunch: Mon - Fri 11am - 2pm
Dinner: Mon - Sat 6pm - 10pm
It's not a fancy restaurant by any means, quite humble in appearance but nothing better lighting couldn't fix. I mean, look at bars like Mea Culpa - just a concrete shell, really, but with dim lighting, it takes on a suitably urbane mood.
It's located down the shitty end of Ponsonby Road, so an ideal locale to meet friends for dinner, before hitting the bars down the other end.
I had a lovely fish curry, but found I could not leave Mr Smith's lamb curry alone. I do so hate it when people eat off each other's plates, but I don't suppose it counts with one's husband, and anyway, it was the lamb's fault for being so irresistable. Oh, Lamb curry. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Also followed the Herald's advice and had the Sago pudding. Yes! It really is that good.
I am so determined you should all go at once, I have even thoughtfully provided a map.
Go. Now. I command you.
In New Zealand, "All Blacks" does not just refer to our national rugby team, it also describes the contents of most women’s wardrobes.
There are few women here who could go an entire week without their favourite black outfits, or if told to wear an outfit with no black at all, would not be able to leave the house.
I do like black – used judiciously it is always a chic shade to wear. However, visitors to the country must wonder what national calamity we are in eternal mourning for.
I ran into a friend in the city last week, and mentioned how I had just been tooted at by two truck drivers (a sure sign of impending middle-age when such attention is considered secretly thrilling rather than outrageously rude).
"It was probably because you were standing in the road," said the friend rather uncharitably, I thought.
"No I bloody well wasn't. It was entirely complimentary. And given I was bundled up in winter layers, I think it was because I wasn't wearing black. Wearing colour, I stood out like a beacon. A really hot beacon," I added haughtily.
"I mean, look," I continued, waving a hand towards the street. "A sea of black. They’ll never get tooted at by truck-drivers, because they just blend into the tarmac. They look like part of the road."
For special occasions, some brave ladies fight the All Black tendency, and choose a pretty frock in a becoming shade – then fail at the last hurdle, and plonk on a pair of black shoes and handbag, under the misguided belief that "Black goes with everything." It doesn’t, and it devalues the look of both the outfit and its wearer. In other words, it looks cheap.
If, for a special occasion, one decides to wear a black dress, don’t spend any time choosing it. Just grab the first one you see. In black, no-one will notice you anyway.
Forget the rising tide of P addiction – we need to wean women off their black fashion safety blankets. The Dark Ages are over.