Hot enough for ya?

These Korean wings were advertised as “dangerously hot.” But here in NZ, I’ve learned not to worry too much so I told them to bring it on.

The cook came out to say “are you sure?”

Game on.

Sweating, flushed, coughing, snot running from my nose, I finished the whole plate. They brought me more (un-spicy) chicken to honor my courage and fortitude.

We exchanged a ceremonial bow and went back to our respective days.

Cream of the crop -or- Tooting my own horn

The band is having a concert in a couple of weeks. I’d suggest you all fly in, but you wouldn’t be out of quarantine!

I don’t play a big role in this band… I’m one of the worst musicians in the group, so I mostly try not to goof too much or too loudly. My status is reflected in the poster… I’m cropped out except for a knee on the far right!

Around North Head 2020

For the second year running (no, swimming) I completed the Devonport Swim Club’s Round North Head swim.

Keen readers will see that I’m not wearing a wetsuit this year. This swim is known for its Freedom Division, which lets you enter the water in just your swim costume, chuck said costume into a boat which goes off toward the finish line, and then you retrieve your togs just before exiting the water.

Titillating but chilly! And losing the sleek floaty wetsuit meant I was about 8 minutes slower this time.

Surely the sight of all those beautiful nude swimmer bodies was worth the blue lips and shivers? Sadly no… (despite looking carefully) I didn’t see a darn thing I wouldn’t have seen on the beach due to the roiled-up cloudy water. As they would say if they were as clever as me: turbidity prevented turgidity!

The hula tree

I saw this tree on Halloween, so I don’t actually know if it was dressed up just for the day, or if it’s like this all the time. Either way it’s awesome.

The Beekeeper’s Butt

I came across this unlikely pair as I was walking to work a few weeks ago. The beekeeper, with proper personal protective equipment, was probably on call via her local apiarists club… that’s a thing here in NZ. When a swarm happens, someone comes along and scoops them all up and puts them in a hive.

But the local worker was unfazed by all of the buzzing bees, and wanted to record the whole thing, so she did.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day

Although it won’t be official for a few weeks, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party has won enough votes to govern NZ alone for the next three years. The opposition National party didn’t have a credible alternative policy, and its leadership was beset by internal and personal problems. Jacinda’s coalition partner NZ First (finally) self-destructed. The Greens, the Māori party and Libertarian ACT all did ok, but not enough to have a guaranteed role in shaping policy.

The most interesting parts of the election are the least certain till all the votes are counted: referendums on legalizing recreational marijuana and euthanasia. In my circles, sentiment seems to be leaning in favor of both, but let’s see.

Even with a pandemic delay, the campaign was blissfully short and substantive. NZ faces a lot of problems, as does the whole world. It’s not clear how this or any government will solve them… but by a lot of measures this government has in fact outperformed the entire world recently.

So congrats Jacinda and Let’s Keep Moving!!

Seven More Days

For the second time we got to be in the audience for the taping of Seven Days, a great NZ comedy panel show focused loosely on the week’s news.

This turned out to be the Election Special edition so we were treated to appearances by several MPs including Judith “Crusher” Collins, who is the Leader of the Opposition. If her party wins, she would be Prime Minister. Not bloody likely according to all the polls.

We disagree on most everything politically, but by all accounts her reputation as a person who eats babies for breakfast is undeserved.

Night Night

Our new neighborhood boasts the North Shore instance of Auckland’s traveling night market. Each Sunday evening part of the shopping center parking lot is crammed up with food and trinket vendors, and people like us wander around and buy stuff. People like teenagers wander around and try to get noticed by other teenagers. There was a pretty good guitarist, face painting, etc.

We had a perfectly good Japanese fried chicken burger. We probably won’t go back every week, but it was fun enough. More things to do and explore.

More Rainbow

There’s the homestead in the afternoon, rainbow and all.

I hoped to get the right angle so that the house was the pot o’ gold, but that would have required a drone. Next time…

A Good Kiwi Bloke

The iconic NZ outdoor work uniform: singlet, stubbies, and gumboots. It’s a look that some guys pull off better than others.

All three of those terms were on some Kiwi slang quiz recently flying around. I passed.

Your local

Although our old neighborhood had a reputation as one of the best dining districts in town, we never found a pub we loved. The closest bar had all sorts of identity issues, reflecting its owners quite accurately, and the most popular place was too Aperol spritz, pink shirt, and Mercedes convertible for us to really feel at home

But here in Birkenhead we’ve already discovered the Birkenhead Brewing Company Tasting Studio. Steve the owner brought us our nice craft beers, and the place has a good cozy vibe that has been surprisingly hard to find here. I wonder if it’s a consequence of the national no tipping policy… maybe waitstaff in the US interact with you because you pay them? Hmmm.

Anyway, although BBC’s brewing operations were suspended last year after too-rapid growth led to financial problems, the tasting room is still going strong. They’ve got hand sanitizer in Corona bottles and great sweet potato fries as part of a nice looking pub grub menu. What more could we want?!?

There will never be another Whetstone Station, but hopefully the BBC will keep our appetites at bay.

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