Hamish McKenzie - internet reader, Wellington

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Loathsome people

Probably the best description of Karl Rove one could ever hope to read:

"A greasy pig whose only distinction in life is his total lack of decency. Rove is decidedly not a genius; he is simply missing the part of his soul that prevents the rest of us from kicking elderly women in the face."

America's 50 most loathsome people

Hamish McKenzie - intern, Wellington

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blue Canada

In five days' time I'll be heading back to a country much colder, much larger, and now much more conservative. From an academic standing point, it will be interesting, but I feel sorry for Canadians, who no doubt will subject themselves to another election in about a year's time when they remember how much they hate Stephen Harper.

Still, I don't feel too sorry for the Liberals, who have done a royal job of shooting themselves in their corrupt little feet (see: Adscam). They've been punished, which is kind of a nice indication that democracy can work from time to time.

And now, because of time constraints and an impending game of touch rugby in the rain, I have to suddenly stop writing.

Holly Walker - (Back in) Dunedin

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My pithy observations in easy to read form are better than yours

Like Hamish, and other bloggers too, it would seem, I have been taking a blogging holiday.

For me, this didn’t coincide with an actual holiday so much as an intense period of activity which included: selling almost everything I owned on Trade Me, shipping everything else to Wellington, driving to Wellington (with a stop in lovely Kaikoura on the way), Christmas with various family members, arranging new employment, moving into a new residence in the very cool suburb of Newtown, driving to New Plymouth to visit partner’s parental units, driving back to Wellington, moving more stuff into new residence, flying to Queenstown, losing cellphone, walking the Routeburn Track with partner and all 5 members of his immediate family (intense), and somehow, after all that, ending up back in Dunedin, back indeed in the Critic office, exactly where I started. This is only temporary, however, and within two weeks I plan to be properly in Wellington, starting new jobs and various exciting endeavours.

Blatantly copying Hamish then (and why not?), here are some observations from my busy “holiday” period:

- Trade Me is a seller’s market. Despite indicating in the description what was paid for an item five years ago, you can still get within $10 of that price. In some cases, you can get more than you paid for the item in the first place. I heartily recommend selling all your possessions, and watching your bank balance skyrocket. As long as your’re not actually planning to replace them.

- The Police are now operating “Driver Fatigue Checkpoints”. At first it’s scary, like being pulled over to be breath-tested, but then they direct you around the corner and there’s a party going on, featuring free sausages, bottled water and real coffee! While enjoying the spread you get to tell the nice man that yes, he heard right, you only slept 4 hours last night and no, you’re not sharing the driving task.

- Valentine’s family restaurant is an interesting place to have your Christmas meal.

- Singstar Party makes a compelling addition to any family Christmas gathering.

- Newtown is a great suburb, and as Che Tibby has pointed out, has a very cool coffee establishment. However, I am deeply concerned by the fact that I can see no less than 8 dodgy loan establishments from my new front door.

- New Plymouth has a very good Art Gallery with an excellent (if somewhat small) Len Lye exhibition currently showing. Also, the meeting of the waters is still a great place to swim in a river, and at 23 I still enjoy challenging 12 year old boys to jump off the highest possible tree branch into the water.

- Losing your cellphone is really, fucking annoying.

- Everyone should walk the Routeburn Track. Just don’t assume that doing it in January will protect you from blizzard conditions.

- When you find yourself back in Dunedin after all that, the best thing to do is play housie.

- It’s possible to have a baby in your bum.

Hamish McKenzie - alive again, Wellington

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pithy observations in easy-to-read list form

I've had a blogging holiday. You've all been affected severely, I know. It just so happened that my blogging holiday coincided with my real holiday, which was happily undertaken in the South Island of New Zealand.

I am now in Wellington, half-way through a four-week internship at a local media establishment. I am enjoying both the work and the city. But not today. Today the news has decided not to happen. At least, that is, to not happen on an insignificant enough scale for a lowly gofer boy to write stories on it. Consequently, I have been reading the Internet all day.

Time to distract myself on Fighting Talk then.

Some observations on life in Wellington (crucial words in bold):

- Even an outsider can't walk down the street without bumping into people he knows.

- The rumours of the wind have a basis.

- The escort service for which 'Carolyn' works for consistently runs a classified ad in the Dom Post, and, no, this isn't an indication that there's a shortage of sex workers in the region, nor is there a boom in the industry.

- The plentiful Malaysian curry purveyors are a delight to discover.

- Wellington's gnarly surf beaches don't have a lot more to offer than the beaches of Lake Dunstan in the South Island.

- The New Zealand accent really is quite horrific. I have no idea what North Americans find cute about it.

- That last point's not really about Wellington.

- Apparently there are no practitioners of music aside from Fat Freddy's Drop.

- Tapered jeans are in for indy grrlz. Funny what happens when you go away for a year.

- Big sunglasses are also in -- as they are in Canada -- which people just luuurrve because they're big enough to hide their ugly faces.

- Despite reports to the contrary, King Kong was actually pretty bad. That film was made in Wellington, so I think it's fair to include on this list. I would have blogged about this at the time, but I was on my blogging holiday. Its problem was chiefly related to the first hour, which had superfluous scripting, unnecessary character relationships, and a cringeworthily (note: word made up) forced Heart of Darkness analogy.

- The Aro Valley is just like Dunedin's Northeast Valley, and all the more endearing for it.

- I don't like wearing a shirt. Or tie. Or dress shoes.

That will be all.

Lyndon Hood - Unscheduled Announcement, Lower Hutt

Monday, January 16, 2006

I did say I'd mention new WIT shows, so here, several days after it started, is:

It's still not too late to catch The All-New Old-Time Radio Show at Bats. What may be the very first on-stage comedy improvised radio show. If they get their podcast running, that will be quite the novelty too.

I endorse it heartily, even though I am not in it.

Finishes Saturday! Oh no! Hurry!

Lyndon Hood - Pit of Depravity, Lower Hutt

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Street Art: Lower Hutt

Our local shopping centre - the Westfield Queensgate mall - has been expanding. I reckon it's alright, as far as big places where you can shop go. But probably not worth trekking out from Wellington for as a matter of habit.

Anyway, towards the end of last year - as I recall, around the end of the election campaign -
the attached Woolworth opened and we got to see the mall's new carpark signage. In the context of certain billboards, I found it kind of amusing:

I recently noticed another example of that kind of thing at Upper Hutt's "H20 Xtreme" swimming complex (which, I might add, is actually too much fun). Going back into the changing rooms the signs read:

 Women       Men     

From out of the mouths of architects...

I also want to share another view of the mall, on the outside of the food court. But first I should point out that my penchant for spotting unitended visual innuendo is such that it actually caused some distress to my classmates in design studies. So if I'm alone in my reaction, well I guess I'll apologise right now.

My, but she seems very pleased to be looking down the barrel of that saucy sausage.

To complete my survey of smutty corporate communication, I needed a Starbucks. And conveniently, one's just opened up across the road. What's so smutty about the Starbucks logo? Well take a look. And ask yourself, in particular, what bits of the picture they are hiding.

In case you didn't already realise, those bits at the either side of the mermaid are the ends of her tails.

Now, perhaps I'm overly influenced by post-feminist reconsiderations of mythological creatures (thanks to Amazon you can sign in and read up on the subject). But if that's your logo - that two-tailed mermaid* holding her lower extremities in the air and smirking - then your family-friendly image is showing some cracks.

Yeah, I said it.

Honestly - I am not the only person to notice this. In fact this guy Deadprogrammer's blog that looks good has a complete history of the Starbucks logo that ... um ... reveals everything.

Another site has a 'sea goddess' the full pose (with a figgish sort of leaf over the nautical bit) on an Italian church, and the mythology book I linked to above has something from a 12th century mosaic:

Now the question is: does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to go to Starbucks?

* Apparently that makes her a (non-homeric) siren, though whatever she's doing to lure sailors to their deaths it doesn't seem to involve singing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

ADDENDUM: There now. You see? Right-winger bloggers don't have a monopoly on softcore porn.