Not for the faint of heart

That is a fainting couch in our nearby Salvation Army. And somebody bought, good for them. I walked by it with exactly that much attention. But Lee was more observant and wow!

See the police car? And the homeless guy?

And the mugging?

I googled a bit… no idea.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Several of my band mates are in the orchestra for Selwyn College’s production of Priscilla, playing this week. And sometime trumpeter Neil, above center, has the lead!

Fabulous costumes, funny gags, and decent singing made for a good Sunday afternoon. But overall the show dragged (pun intended) and the blocking was really static… if it wasn’t a full production dance number then the actors sort of stood there.

As often happens, a few side characters stole the show, especially the extraordinary lady who emcee’d a bit at the beginning.

Take these broken wings

I awoke to carnage in the living room… feathers everywhere, the carcass of a thrush, and this sad bloody wingprint on the wall.

Her Marauding Felinity sat on her pillow washing her paws and blinking slyly while we cleaned up the mess.


Even though the puzzle has been taken apart and put back in its box, on its way to a new home probably via the local Hospice thrift store, it was rewarding to find the missing piece in a jacket pocket.

Queen City Big Band

We’re skipping rehearsal tonight to hear another big band, better than us, do a concert featuring music from Sammy Nestico and Chick Corea, both of whom died last year.

Before joining a big band I can’t say I was a fan of this stuff, but now…

Das Boot

Through some quirk of history, the Auckland Water Ski Club where Lee works part time owns the annual Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. It’s the Club’s major source of income, eclipsing the money they make from dues and ski fees many times over.

Club members (and a few of their friends and partners) help out at the event, stamping entry tickets to get people entered into a drawing for the $250,000 boat above. (Which by the way is pretty much the same boat I went fishing in a few weeks ago. I found it pretty uncomfortable and can’t imagine paying that kind of money for it.) (The young guy who won the boat was sooooo happy when he got the call on Sunday night.)

I’ve been to more than my fair share of conferences and exhibitions, but I’d never been to a boat show before.

It was fun! Thousands of people, several dozen exhibitors spread over multiple halls and marquees (which is what you call a large tent in New Zealand).

There were mostly fishing boats represented, and around here that mostly means aluminum hulls with big engines and relatively few comforts. I’m much more attracted to the idea of a cushy cabin cruiser, or even a sleek luxury sailboat, so a lot of these rugged fishing boats left me cold. But there were some other cool specimens like the Sealegs-equipped rigid inflatable boat above (just over $300K) or the fully-equipped fishing kayak below… $6,500. We see some of these kayak fishermen when we’re swimming, and it looks like a peaceful way to spend the morning.

These seminar topics below were all apparently real, but at first I had to wonder if somebody had a really mean sense of humor. … those topics are a parody of themselves. When I think of the young bait vendor earnestly prepping his slides for “Latest squid fishing tips” it somehow puts my own forays into academic and quasi-academic presentation in a lighter perspective… ain’t much difference between him and me, I reckon.

Lee worked four very long days; I was there for two. We were both tired at the end. I ate a lot of junk food and stamped a lot of tickets. I thought briefly of how it could have turned into a super-spreader event… but it didn’t.

All in all a fun event to be involved with, glad I could tag along.


We bought this puzzle last year during lockdown, but only got around to putting it together the last few weeks.

We have no idea why that one piece might have gone missing, but there you have it. When we think of this puzzle in the future, that is I suppose IF we ever think of this puzzle in the future, it won’t be the wonderfully cheesy picture that we remember. It won’t be the long period of tension where we thought we had two too many pieces to fit in the top border. It won’t be how we scooped the half-finished puzzle up and moved it to another room for a dinner party, although I suppose that might account for the missing piece. No, I think we will mostly remember that it was the puzzle that had the missing piece that time.

My day job includes a lot of thinking about large-scale reliability. We are responsible for millions of transactions in a month, hundreds of services have to stay online more or less all the time, and so on and so on. Just like in this puzzle, the rare failures are given far more attention than the common successes. That is as it should be… we want to eliminate the problems. But maybe there’s also some value in stepping back and looking at the whole picture from time to time as well.

What’s a Bosom Worth?

This very funky bike was parked outside the gym the other morning. I’d never heard of the brand Bosomworth before so had to go look it up.

Eddie Bosomworth built custom frames from a base in the town of Rotorua (a couple of hours from Auckland, famous for sulfurous hot springs) during the 70s and 80s. This “lo-pro” style was popular on the track for a while. The rider gets obvious aerodynamic benefits, but pays a price in comfort and maneuverability. So, all the funky frame designs of that era were eventually outlawed in competition.

Bosomworth bikes made it to the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Even the more “normal” frames he made were top of the line, and I found a few comments online about how wonderfully light and responsive they are. 40 years on, they’re much more likely to be found in a museum than on the street.

Whoever rode this to the gym, in the rain, must be quite a bike nut. I applaud the notion of actually riding the collectible bike instead of just hanging it on the wall. But I would still worry about getting a chip in the paint!

Mmm, yummy

I found myself in an Asian grocery the other day searching for something to take to an Indian colleague recovering from a recent operation. As you do.

I didn’t find anything useful for the visit (so ended up with some wonderful baklava from a different shop) but I did find the two surprising items above.

It turns out that Japanese curry is a thing… including apple and honey Vermont curry.

And it also turns out that Couques d’Asse sorta kinda exist… and if they’d spelled it like that (which means cookies from the Belgian town of Asse) it would still be kinda sniggery in a Beavin and Butthead kinda way. But as it is spelled here, those Asses are even funnier and serve as an important lesson in why grammatical niceties like pluralization can matter.

T minus 20

Setting up the Auckland Big Band for our gig at the Selwyn Village retirement community.

As public performances go, this is about as low pressure as it gets. We’re amateurs. The audience is, well, retired. Very retired.

But even so, there’s a lot of energy in the group, and it’s a little bit exciting, and that’s why you show up on a Saturday when you could be doing something else.

I’m bowled over

I’m at band practice tonight, in the Mount Eden Bowling Club. Lawn bowling is a big deal in New Zealand, and it evokes in me a picture of a bunch of very old people not doing very much, except for drinking stealthily between rounds.

But this score sheet that I am seeing tonight for the first time suggests that however slowly they seem to move, their sense of humor is completely intact.

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