Take the Scenic Route

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bypass my arse

So I guess you're probably wondering why I'd bother taking an actual film print of such a rundown old dump? Well, my great great grandparents lived in this house during winter (their summer house was in eastbourne). And why does it look so decrepit? Well, it is (/was?) on Willis St, in the way of the unlovely bypass.

[I am stoked to have some photos back after my last debacle. But it does make me wonder whether it's not about time I finally purchase d digital camera, cause man some of these photos are such old news]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Limegreen's Rough Guide to the Wine Aisle for Christmas

I'd only ever consider buying these at full price if they have 4 stars...
Prices indicate specials rather than full retail, unless they're not usually on special

Queen Adelaide** (drinkable, pay no more than $7)
McWilliams Inheritance** (ditto)
Montana**** (slightly sweeter, lush, aim to pay $11-$12 on special)

Jacob's Creek*** ($9, much more refined than Lindauer)
Morton Estate**** ($18)
Lambrusco**** ($9, a sweetish, choclately sparking red!)

Pinot Gris
Corbans*** (aim for $12 special)
Sacred Hill Whitecliffs*** (ditto)

Burn in hell heathen

Montana** (if you really have to cater to a Chardonnay liker, then this is OK on special, and will probably do the trick)

Ok, so either my palate is changing, or drinkable cheap reds are becoming harder to come by

Villa Maria Cab/Merlot/Shiraz** (or something to that effect, Ok, for around $9)
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet(/Merlot?)*** ($12 on special)
Penfolds Thomas Hyland Cabernet**** ($16 on special)
Graffigna Malbec ($12)

Pretence on a Shoestring

For functions where something a little more interesting/obscure will win you brownie points

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc**** ($15)
Astrolabe Sauvigon Blanc**** ($19)
Pegasus Bay Riesling**** ($25)
Mt Difficulty Riesling**** ($22)
Ashwood Grove Cabernet Petit Verdot**** (Petit Verdot is part of the traditional Bordeaux blend and features in some of the very pinnacle of NZ reds, ie Stonyridge Larose)
Saddleback Pinot Noir**** (Peregrine's second label, sharply priced $26)

Shopped Out

I'm quietly pleased to have finished my christmas shopping. Actually, I'm quite pleased to have a respite from shopping full stop. As you may have inferred already, I've been doing a lot of shopping lately. I've spent evening browsing junkmail looking for cheap MDF, vacuum cleaners, fridges, DVD players, lawnmowers, rubbish bins, compost bins and so the list goes on[1]. Then to have this abut christmas shopping has meant far far too much time in shops. I've been to each of Briscoes, Mitre 10, and the Warehouse, among others, at least once most weekends.

I also have a bit of a reputation for being grinchy round christmas. It's not that I'm un-predisposed to christmas, just that I hate the consumerism and palaverishness and frenzying and neologising[2] that tends to accompany christmas. Pre-christmas ought to be a lovely and peaceful time (well it is around the university at least). Harumph.

[1] NB -- I haven't bought all of those things, I've just considered buying them.
[2] ahahaha. geek.

Monday, December 20, 2004


After moving the pinball machine, and various other pieces of physical labour around the house I felt very broken today. I couldn't even sneeze, as every time I tightened my diaphragm I got a stabbing pain in my back. Thus, with L*'s departure for a northern climes christmas this morning, it seemed an opportune moment to make use of my mint bathroom and gas hot water system. I didn't actually buy the house for the bathroom, but it was certainly part of a suite of compelling features. It has a lovely natural wood floor, but very light in colour (perhaps matai or beech?), more reminiscent of scandinavian design than the usual darker hues of rimu. The fittings are all new and stylish. And the gas hot water heating is sooooo good after a year of very forgettable showers (either the 3 minute wonder on a 40L hot water cylinder, or pressure so feeble that it hardly showered more dribbled). Mmmmm, so a rather forgettable red burgundy (pinot noir) and a nice long bath to sooth the aches.

My only current bitterness is why are the hot water pipes not insulated. It's all replumbed within the last year, so why not???? It's like the pitiful state of the building code with respect to insulation. We don't need more power stations, we simply need to keep better hold of the heat we have.... </rant>

Saturday, December 18, 2004

White Elephants

I've almost finished shifting everything into the house, after another carload out of my storage facility this morning. Those readers who have had the misfortune to live with me will probably know what is the last thing up there if I tell them it's very large, heavy, and impractical. Owning a pinball machine is a lot like being given a white elephant in Thailand. I believe in times past, people who had displeased the King were given a white elephant, which being a gift from the King had to be well looked after and cherished [actually I have no idea as to the veridicality of this story]. While looking after a pinball machine is unlikely to make one bankrupt the way a white elephant usually does, they are similarly heavy and awkward, take up a lot of space, do have an element of prestige, and it would seem like a travesty to get rid of the darn thing. The main body of it is about the size of a bathtub, and can just be lifted by two strong adults. Being quite old, there is no electronics whatsover, it's all full of large mechanical electrical relays and switches. I've often wondered if the solution would be to 'bruce' it. That is, not in the usual sense of 'brucing' something, but gifting it to said bruces, who would no doubt do a far better job or restoring and cherishing it than I would. At least I now have a workshop to park it in.

Friday, December 17, 2004

High brow..

Many of you will no doubt be shocked to learn that I possess not one, but two sets of Erotic Fridge Poetry (although more explicable is that the fact that I 'inherited' one of the sets from a friend who keeps going off on foreign jaunts and leaving miscellaneous things in my 'care'). Now I wouldn't deny that occasionally there aren't some relatively entertaing phrases on the fridge, but it's all a bit too, well, blunt to have that real charm. Such vocabulary as "moist" and "mound" are a little subtle, but "penetrate", "thrust", and "breast" just don't give that air of innuendo, which I, at least, find more amusing. Thus, I'm thinking that adding a Genius or Shakespeare set might make for more interesting musing.

        Thou doust tempt me with they mellifluous moans and whimpers...

Update Murray informs me that you can even get Yiddish and Boys are Smelly fridge magnets among many others.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Houseboat Parties and the Joys of Reminiscing

I haven't yet christened my new place of residence with a decent party. Truth be told, the weather has still not quite made it to "lounging on the deck" yet.

Having a party on a houseboat sounds completely splendiferous, however, and I'm completely envious. Perhaps grounds for a little less bitching from the Cambridge quarter??

While I haven't been to a bonfide houseboat party, I did have a bit of an adventure in Halong Bay, Vietnam, and we did have some far too warm French wine before sleeping on the roof of a boat. Halong Bay has over a thousand limestone islands rising out of the water with steep cliffs on most sides and bush clad tops. It was truly beautiful, and a clear highlight of a sometimes stressful trip. Some of the touristier stuff wasn't so cool, but getting fresh scampi from the locals, and generally just cruising round and swimming was wicked. Ditto sleeping on the roof under the stars with the water lapping against the side of the boat.

One of the weird things was talking and observing this older Australian couple. They were in their fifties, with children about the same age as most of the rest of us. However, they were travelling and living in ways that most of the younger people weren't. We'd all read the lonely planet, and would go swimming kind of one at a time, so that your travelling companion could keep your gear safe. You see, the boats we were travelling on were slow as, and one of the speed boats could flip alongside, lift some stuff and zip off in a matter of seconds. At one point, one of these boats was along side, and the younger crowd were all freaking out and checking on their gear. The australian couple were downstairs haggling over the price for the scampi they were acquring. I really admired their ethic, and I suspect they ended up having a much better and more interesting holiday for it. They were travelling Vietnam in the opposite direction to us, so we took lots of advice from them on where to go.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Better in Glass: Suburbia II

Met the milkie last night, and so we now have home delivery again. It's been a while. In a break from usual scarfie tradition, through the course of my university studies, I moved closer to university over the years, rather than the reverse. Thus, from living in leafy suburbia in first year, I found myself 30 seconds from the edge of campus at the end of my studies, seven and a half years later!

As such, I haven't had milk delivery since I lived here:

and here:

[And I haven't lived anywhere that looks that dramatic for a while either!!]

Friday, December 10, 2004

Tag Team Action

After a long absence, there is some great liberal tag-team action going on over at nzm on the Civil Unions Bill, with some of the usual partners in crime.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Home again

I've had most of my stuff in storage all year, so I've mostly just had the chance to visit. Every now and then I'd be in the same town as my CDs, and cycle a few new ones out, and put some overlistened ones back in. But it's so freaking cool to have them back in one place. Actually, ditto my clothes -- so many different t-shirts compared to the six or so I've been cycling through all year.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


It's now official. I live in suburbia. I met my first neighbour just before. He has been living in his house ever since it was built. He remembers my house being built. He also has that rather elderly New Zealander (or small town New Zealander) aesthetic of keeping all his plants small and trimmed. I admit I've been having a bit of a hack at a few things. This is partly because it seems that one of the previous owners shared his mentality, and thus planted a few things that grow very large less than a foot from the edge of the path to the house. Thus, you either trim a lot, or you need to take a machete to check the mail. I think I'll replant a little further from the path.

My new neighbour also asked if I was married, further confirming that I was in suburbia. Living with a partner/girlfriend is not so odd down in studentville -- actually being married probably is. He also wondered if I worked nightshift, because my car was there all day. No, I replied, I just choose to walk.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Moving Moments

There is so much other news that I don't know where to begin to start, from a 111 incident, moving, setting off an alarm....

Being Eaten by Media For Lunch

My relationship with the media has always been a bit fraught. My first quotation in a newspaper was at the age of 13, quoting from a conversation that never took place. By the middle of high-school, the journalism teacher had started sending journalism students to me for breaking in. The teacher had told them the topic on which I was to be interviewed (often about some geeky pursuit or happening) and some background information. The stories were largely written by the time I was interviewed, or at least they had developed a strong pre-conceived notion of what I should have to say. This usually didn't map up with what I had to say at all, and the production would grind to an impasse, and not usually be published.

I got a call in the January after my 5th form year, asking if I could be photographed opening my School C. results. Much to the horror of my parents, I straight out declined. On seeing the photograph the following day of someone faux jumping in the air, results in hand, I knew I'd made the right decision.

As a continuation of the "breaking in" method, I was interviewed at least once about University of Otago's wonder Summer Science School program. Said interviewer was intent on writing an article about how beneficial the science component of it was. It's not the official line, but the school is not really about science, but getting students excited about studying science. And this has to do with kicking round having a hell of a lot of fun in Dunedin, with a side helping of science. Apparently making Raro from distilled water with a magentic stirrer is not newsworthy. But I was attributed to have thought that it was a helpful educational experience which better prepared me for seventh form.

Since I moved to Dunedin, I've managed to keep my nose fairly clean with respect to journalists. The only notable foray was an appearance on Breakfast to find out about Susan Wood's experiences in public toilets. That interview was OK, possibly because I knew the topic inside out. Live-to-air means you can't be misquoted, but I can relish the amount I say "um", and the occasional awkward turn of phrase. I still have a copy of the video, which means I have archival footage of my old curly mane.

Then, earlier this year, out of the blue, I got a call from a prominent Australian newspaper. They were wondering if I could venture an informed opinion on why the Tasmanian wife of Denmark's Crown Prince had "lost" her Australian accent.

Today, I got to speculate on why Jacqui sometimes speaks cockney styles, and why American Hip Hop vernacular is so prevalent on TV...