Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I installed the little weather thingy on the sidebar (to the left) a few days ago, and ever since, it has insisted that our weather here in Auckland is 'partly cloudy.' This is rubbish, the sun is shining gloriously at this moment. Proof - a photo I took just minutes ago:

I am only pointing this out in case out-of-towners think we live in a city of perpetual gloom.


Despite my reservations about celebrating Halloween in this country (for reasons I am sure my astute readers can imagine), I used to contribute towards making the occasion fun for the neighbourhood's children.

"I believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way," so sang Whitney Houston, and it is true. Thus, it is never too early to teach the tiny ones that one is judged by what one wears, and so those with pleasing ensembles received my commendation and a handful of mini chocolate bars, and those who demonstrated little creativity or effort, got a stern look and a budget lollipop. This is the way of the world, and they should have thanked me for the lesson learned.

Rubbish Outfits (lollipops):
Princesses (snore)
Cheap, polyester things (Pooh. Pulling something off a shelf at the Warehouse does not count as effort. Imagine if I did that!)

Good Oufits (chocolate bars):
Unusual themes (one little fellow arrived at my door one year as a perfect replica of a WWI soldier. How splendid! I gave him four chocolate bars).
Home-made ones (a slightly lopsided Spongebob Squarepants made from papier mache – they got four also).

However – there has been a disturbing trend in latter years, which has meant I no longer participate in this event. Not all the children who crossed the Chez Smith threshold in search of treats were locals, and these interlopers are increasing in number every year.

How do I know they are not local? Firstly, they are sans costume – unless their attire is actually some very clever post-modernist statement on consumerist society, local children do not trick or treat in scruffy jeans and soiled tee-shirts. Secondly, the parents of local children do not wait in a rusting van in the street, nor do local children kick one's letter-box in lieu of thanks for their budget lollipop. And thirdly, they are entirely the wrong colour, which is an instant giveaway.

There should be some sort of rule about sticking to one's neighbourhood for such occasions. Or at the very least, they should know that you don't get the good things in life by kicking letter-boxes and wearing dirty clothes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


In the ceaseless (and I am sure - futile) search for magic elixir of youth, I am always prepared to try any new product – in case it is The One. Bio-Oil is extremely cheap ($20 for 60 mls), which is enough to rouse my suspicions, but one will try almost anything.

There is some blurb on the accompanying pamphlet about the oil’s similarity to duck oil, being a ‘dry’ oil, not an oily oil (snore!), but I didn’t really bother reading any more of that. If it staves off the wrinkles it could be made from sautéed ear wax for all I care.

The Good

Like most women, I imagine, there are days when one looks in the mirror, and feels great satisfaction with the divine reflection smiling back. Other days, one can wonder how a particularly horrible wildebeest managed to find its way into the bathroom, and realising it is indeed one's reflection is rather dispiriting. However – perhaps it is my imagination, but I do feel the horrible wilderbeest days are fewer since using Bio-Oil. My skin certainly feels nice, and I think the fine lines not as visible.

The Bad

The instructions warn that the product can stain sheets, which is a definite negative. I do not want my Egyptian cotton bedding thus marked, so the night-time position must be one of lying very prone and still on one’s back. Equally, should marital relations be desired, it would be best to apply the oil afterwards, as the aforementioned position is not particularly interesting for either party.


Forgive the lack of updates – I have been kept v. busy with a distraught friend. She found out her husband is/was having an affair, and apparently part of her break-down required updating me frequently on her current emotional climate. Last week – stormy, with frequent spells of swearing and crying. But I – a true fair-weather friend - was a bit bored with it all, as:

  1. They have only been married two years, so it’s not like the husband has any great sentimental value.

  2. He never got her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement, so if he leaves or stays, she’s not about to end up revoltingly poor, being forced to travel economy-class, and drink methode champenoise, or whatever it is that the revoltingly poor do.

  3. It seems a bit hypocritical, as she’s been having an affair herself for ages (although, officially, he’s just a "very good friend.").

  4. She thinks no one knows about her “Very Good Friend.” Pffft. Hitting the town with a small posse of gay-men friends is quite clever – who would notice another male joining the party? But not clever enough. The gay-men friends are admirable for their loyalty, but not their discretion.

  5. Appeased by the husband’s presentation of a $28K diamond ring, her outrage reduced from a ferocious cyclone to a chilly passive-aggressive breeze, which would seem to bring us back to point #1.

Friday, October 26, 2007


We were having a late lunch at the viaduct, when a startling thought of huge significance struck me – why are almost all boats white? Really, why? I can't think of any sensible reason, which is hardly surprising, but some of my more practical-minded readers may know the answer.


No one present knew, nor thought it half as compelling a question as I did, and they went back to discussing weight-loss strategies over glasses of wine.

Of course, everyone, including myself, denied use of diet pills.

Someone swore by colonic irrigation.
"You lose kilos after one session! And afterwards, the food just flies out of you – twenty minutes after eating, out it comes again." (I don't think this sounds very healthy. Rather like bulimia, but out the other end. Bottom-Bulimia?).

Apparently eggs are not good – hanging around indefinitely in one's colon like clueless guests who don't know the party is over. I have some disbelief about this - I love eggs, and if what they say is true, I should have more eggs (non-vibra) in me than a battery-hen house. Anyway, it was a frightful topic, and was glad when it turned to things other than having hoses put up bottoms.

I got a taxi home, and I made some polite noises to the driver about Auckland traffic. He had his own theory about why the Queen Street upgrades were taking so long.

"The road-workers are all Maoris and Pacific Islanders, and they don’t want to work evenings."
"Well," I said, yawning,"I can’t imagine anyone would want to, given half a chance."
"No – they're lazy," he said firmly, "they don’t like to work at all."
"Erm," I said, noncommittally.
"And they like to drink!" he exclaimed.
"Hmm," I said, gazing fixedly out the window.

Who knew I had so much in common with the working-class? It's a sobering thought. Kind of.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fashion Awards

Isn't Petra Bagust just the most absolutely fabulous creature? Beauty on the inside too - she lends her position to a variety of charity work. I think she is clearly the deserving recipient of my award for the most stylish and beautiful woman in New Zealand.

Left - Petra Bagust

It’s hard to believe that she was once an unappealing virgin with giant eyebrows.

Such a cute couple – Dave and Sarah Gibson, as seen at a movie preview in Auckland.

Her outfit is as sweet as apple-pie, and I like how their ensembles coordinate, but not in the creepy way that American tourists favour so much.

Last place-getter in my award ceremony, is the Velvet Gypsy. Cross her palm with gold, and she'll tell you your fortune.

Amendment: Photographer Olivia Hemus told me off for using her photos of Petra. Apparently I had stolen her "intellectual property." Not wishing to leave her bereft of her intellect, I have deleted them. The one used now is courtesy of the obliging Norrie Montgomery.

Labour Day

Thus ends Labour Weekend – Aucklanders celebrated in the usual sort of way with dismal weather, and by sitting in their cars for hours on clogged motorways.

For those who don't know - the first Labour Day Holiday in New Zealand was celebrated in 1890. It is a celebration of a lazy lout called Samuel Duncan Parnell who, in 1840, was asked to build a shop in Petone.

"I must make this condition, Mr Hunter," he replied, "that on the job the hours shall be only eight for the day." "Ridiculous, preposterous," demurred Hunter. "There are twenty-four hours per day given us," Parnell insisted: "eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for men to do what little things they want to do for themselves."

Wikipedia credits Australia as being the first in the world to achieve an eight-hour working day in 1900, but this article must have been written by an Australian, as in 1890, New Zealand was already celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the eight-hour working day. I blame their penal-colony gene pool - Australians will try to steal anything that isn't nailed down.

Nonetheless, it seems an antiquated thing for us to be celebrating. I don't know of anyone who still works an eight-hour day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


As seen in the city. It was after six, so I guess the sign's owner had knocked off for the day.

I like how 'cat' has been crossed out, and replaced by 'kids.' Did the cat get better? Or are 'sick kids' a more effective euphemism for 'beer'?

If anyone works in the city, and they see the sign's owner, ask how his cat is. I want to know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Say No To Norrie

Social-event snapper Norrie Montgomery has started his own website – filled with photographs taken at Auckland events, and a diary detailing stunning insights of product-launches and pay-phones.

(Note to Norrie, when you referred to Nicky Watson's ANUS horribilis, I think you intended to say Annus horribilis. However, I am not sure. Being one of the few people in Auckland who have not seen Ms Watson’s bum-hole, I am not able to confirm whether it was her year or her rear that was so dreadful).

The website is called 'The A-List.' Perhaps the 'A' stands for ANUS.

It does rather seem that the social butterflies are being replaced by a persistent swarm of flies. In any case, someone regularly snapped by the tiny tabloid tout is also displeased by the standards maintained. They write;

There is a secret Auckland society launching calling itself 'Say No To Norrie'.....members who accept that enough is enough. Members who urgently NEED to sign up to save themselves anymore embarrassment are:

Gilda Kirkpatrick, Nicky Watson, Ricardo Simich (who is known to throw his poor long suffering mother at the snapper), Aja Rock, Anna Jobz, Jacqui Ansin and did I mention Gilda? Dangerously close to total social annihilation Cameron Brewer, The World family trio and Hilary Timmins.

Do these people have absolutely nothing better to do than constantly inhabit this frighteningly sad world of dull par-tays every night? Could they not just pop their feet up in front of the telly for ONE night a week? As Tan-orexics are addicted to dangerous over-exposure to UV on solarium beds are these over-exposed fame hunters addicted to flashes going off in their faces?

The latest reason to say no, is of course he now works for the Herald On Sunday ... featuring in those pages is instant, swift and severe social suicide and symptoms include constant ridicule from your peers. Whatever you do DON'T get snapped with any of the aforementioned SSFA (Sunday Social Fame Addicted) members ... you will need to go into social rehab sooner than you think.

The A-List. Are you on it?

Monday, October 15, 2007


The NZ Herald reports a story about how a consumer rights group has found that many popular lipstick brands contain dangerous amounts of lead.

This may have been somewhat alarming, except that just days earlier, I had received an email from a well-meaning, but (apparently) gullible friend:

This is truly good to know. Be sure to pass this info on. Your lipsticks might cause you health problem. Brands don't mean everything...Lead is a chemical which causes cancer.

The Brands which contain Lead are:
1. Christian Dior
4. Y.S.L
7. RED EARTH (Lip Gloss)
8. CHANEL (Lip Conditioner)
9. Market America-Motives lipstick

The higher the lead content, the greater the chance of causing Cancer. After doing a test on lipsticks, it was found that the Y.S.L. lipstick contained the most amount of lead. Watch out for those lipsticks which are supposed to stay longer. If your Lipstick stays longer, it is because of the
higher content of lead. Here is the test you can do yourself:

1. Put some lipstick on your hand,
2. Use a 24k-14k Gold ring to scratch on the lipstick.
3. If the lipstick color changes to black then you know the lipstick contains lead.

Please send this information to all your girl friends.

Poohs! I thought. I don't care if my lips atrophy and fall off, I shall not be parted from my YSL lipstick. In any case, I am absurdly cynical by nature – my first instinct is always disbelief, so with a few seconds of effort, found that the lead claims were somewhat of an urban legend, and the email had been whizzing malignantly around the world since about 2003.

But what of the current claims? Cancer research UK thinks it sounds like utter bunkum. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), no doubt bored with testing lipstick everytime the hoax email springs back to life, states that "Similar past claims have not been confirmed," but in a sentence burdened with a heavy sigh, says that "it would look into claims from [the] advocacy group."

Is the internet making people more informed, or stupider? It's so hard to tell.

Incidentally, another friend sent me one of those chain-email thingys. You know the sort, I am sure... 'send this on to six people within the next ten minutes or something really horrid will happen to you' sort of thing. I hate these emails - of course I never forward them, except to my 'deleted items' folder, where they belong.

In future, any friend who sends me emails of such unsubstantiated rot will get a YSL lipstick for Christmas. I hope their lips fall off.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


A certain Miss confided (if telling everyone over lunch can be thought of as confiding) that she often pops in a vibra-egg before heading out for the day.

At this point, I must interrupt myself and admit that I am not entirely au courant on the varieties of inanimate objects available to insert in one's orifices. However, from the subsequent details shared (Alas! If only it were possible to Janola one's brain) everyone present became experts in vibra-egg specifications. I tentatively Googled it later, and a website primly and unhelpfully described the item simply as "Most valuable treasure for women." Hence, I have started (I think wittily) referring to Mr Smith's wallet as my 'vibra-egg.' He is not amused.

Where was I? Oh yes. Thus, the Miss gaily spends many a day with her egg installed. The thought persisted that perhaps the egg was a present and unwelcome guest, and this rather put me off my creme brulee.

"Ugh," I murmured, "I'm sure it can't be good for one's bits to be in an eternal state of stimulation," but most of the ladies seemed rather impressed.

As I fear a sudden run of sales of vibra-eggs in Auckland, one fervently hopes their users pelvic-floor muscles are up to the job. The consequences otherwise don't bear thinking about.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Please excuse me while I have a personal crisis. Again. I had a similar one this time last year.

With boring regularity, as soon as the winter season starts shuffling off, with the reminder of time passing, another year grinding to an unsatisfactory close, I start to think – what have I done? The answer is always 'very little,' and I give myself a stern talking to, about how it is time to do something with one's life, apart from the bare minimum.

The years of my life are not recalled by any grand moments or great achievements, but by where I went, and what I bought. I can think to myself, "Oh yes, 2003. I went to Mexico." To some that may sound quite good, and it is, but it is no great feat to travel. When I said I wanted to do something bold with my life, a friend suggested I go sky-diving. I said that, in theory anyway, a comatose person could be strapped to a parachute and pushed out of a plane, and my idea of 'bold' would have to be something beyond the capabilities of the unconscious. But what? There is a great burden to ambition without talent.

The smallness of one’s life seems a little claustrophobic at times, but I suspect I would feel like this no matter what I was doing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


In between bouts of sunshine and hail yesterday, I noticed beds of parsley in Aotea Square.

Makes me think of my dear Grandfather, who used to grumble about Grandmother's ranks of roses, as he thought it not worth planting unless it could be eaten (I think living through a few world wars makes one funny in the head. Grandmother - I believe - made rose-petal jam one year to shut him up).

I find it a curious choice of plant for the inner-city, although the local homeless contingent will be pleased to have a ready supply of garnish to accompany their a la bin meals.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


A dear reader and fellow blogger, G-Man, has emailed me with a problem. The full, unabridged letter is available on his site, so do go read it. Below is a brief synopsis:

G-Man goes to pub, and is introduced to a scantily-clad girl who likes pole-dancing and communicates only in nasal grunts and table-banging.

The aforementioned gentleman is then introduced to another girl. She seems nice, but knows nothing about rugby. She only wants to be friends. G-Man replies he doesn’t want to be friends. Nice-girl has since texted him forty-eight times in a desperate plea for coffee. Nice-girl has friend ring up and scream abuse.

Mr G-Man concludes, "What's up with that? What the hell is wrong with these people? How can I get them to just leave me alone?"

Dear G-Man,

What a tragic tale of woe!

Once upon a time, Mr Smith and I had been invited to a party that neither of us were especially inclined to attend. I fussed and bothered over how to politely disentangle ourselves from the obligation – worrying that the excuses I came up with were weak, or unbelievable. Then Mr Smith came home.

"I ran into Mr X today," he said (Mr X being the host of the party in question).
"Oh no," I cried, "Did he ask if we were going to the party?"
"Yes," replied Mr Smith.
"What did you tell him?"
"I said we didn’t want to go."
I gasped. "You didn't! What did he say?"
Mr Smith shrugged. "He said 'no worries,' and that was it."

I have always admired the directness of men's language – while women will couch their sentiments in a frenzy of obtuse ambiguities, men will say a cheery "fuck off!" and be done with it. Such a very efficient and tidy way of going about life. Unfortunately for men, this directness is not a language women generally appreciate or comprehend. While you, G-man, were very frank and honest to the women in question – they did not understand what you were saying.

Thus – the question remains – how to get clueless limpets to bugger off and leave a man to drink beer and watch rugby in peace? I would suggest the following:

1. Paint a dreary picture of your prospects. Say, "Could I borrow a couple of hundred? Dole-day isn’t until Wednesday, and I need to pay the board at my hostel… I'll pay it back when I get a job. Actually, can you make it five hundred? The lads and I are off to a strip-club tonight, and I haven’t had a lap-dance in ages."

2. Perhaps they see you as playing hard to get. Ring Nice-girl, and propose marriage. Tell her that she’s the girl of your dreams, and that your mother has booked the reception hall already, and needs her to come over next Wednesday to pick centre-pieces and napkin designs. This could back-fire, I suppose, but would be interesting to try.

3. You should so have asked the table-banger for her number. Without the ability to think or communicate in a human language, she would never bother you with questions such as "What are you thinking?" or pointless arguments about whether you think she is fat.

Hope I have been of some help,

Mrs Smith


Well, I am back. I left to have a respite from the bleak days of winter, and was satisfied that I left Auckland in a howling storm of thunder and lightning last Monday, and returned to the same yesterday. However, while I was away, the weather was apparently marvellous! Summer-like, I am told, and sufficient for dining outdoors at the viaduct. I am peeved. My sojourn was – given its purpose – an utter waste of time and money.

Also, my nose got a bit sun-burnt, and has turned a shade of brown that does not quite match the rest of my face. It is not a good look.

Voters on my poll seem to be, overall, on La Saunders' team. However, I shall declare both ladies joint-winners, in my gratitude for providing a bloody good laugh. More of the same, please.