Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill

One more volcano.

This time I didn’t actually climb to the top, which is sort of cheating except I make the rules.

Last Saturday the band played in Cornwall Park which surrounds the volcano. I figure that counts as a visit.

Lockdown again

We’ve had more new cases of COVID, so back to lockdown for a week. Obviously I’m not looking for sympathy… it’s still remarkable to mostly not worry about the virus.

No, for me lockdown means no commute, which means morning walks. Here’s some municipal cast iron…

And here’s a sculpture in the Chelsea Reserve just down from the house. The land was sold to the City in 2008 by the sugar mill which still operates. Those jaws were on a crane that dug the raw sugar out of ships holds from 1943 to 2005… not great art out of context I’d say, but pretty cool if you know the story.

New phone!

My iPhone 7+ lasted almost 4 years of pretty heavy use. But it’s been having a hard time holding a charge, and it wasn’t hard for me to convince myself that $2,000 for a new phone is the same as $200 for a new battery. Maths is hard.

As usual, the camera improvements are the most obvious change in the new iPhone 12 Pro. Above is “realtor mode”, a wide angle that really enhances our long narrow living room. Below is a zoomed in closeup, definitely better resolution than before.

Bike to work

Last week I finally managed to take the bike-ferry-bike route to work. There was a citywide challenge for cycling, and I got a ride in just before the deadline, so yay! for me.

I joined half a dozen other riders , with our mandatory masks, on the rear deck of the ferry. The morning crossing was lovely as expected.

In the afternoon we made a stop at the newly reopened Northcote terminal, which added a good 10 minutes to the trip.

Pleasant trip, but certainly the longest and most complicated way to go… sadly not something I’ll be doing often.

Grafton Volcano

Here’s Outhwaite Park, which sits on one edge of the Grafton Volcano. You wouldn’t even know it was a volcano, it’s mostly covered in roads and buildings except for this little park. It’s just across the street from the Auckland Domain volcano, and apparently their lava flows overlap (thank you core samples).

There are only a few more I can walk to from work…

Leroys Bush

… is the name of a nearby park we finally went walking in this afternoon.

It’s mostly made up of undeveloped land straddling some small creeks. There are nice boardwalk trails throughout the park because they don’t want people exploring the wild parts. Besides erosion and whatever hazards come from steep hills, the main worry is Kauri Dieback disease, which is steadily killing the 1-2% of native Kauri trees that weren’t logged or built over. Here’s a medium size one… the giants get really big.

As we got down to the coast, things opened up into marshland, and there was even a pool with eels.

I love these forest oases, have done since I first got here.

Winter is coming, but I’m ready

Just this past week I noticed that I have to turn on the headlights for the early side of my morning commute. And at New Years this glorious sunrise would have happened long before I joined my fellow swimmers at the beach.

Winter here is mild: it never freezes (except for car windshields get frost on them sometimes… why is that?). But ocean swimming gets really cold in winter. At the worst, it’s low 40s on land and low 50s in the water.

But I’m ready. Lee made me this poncho out of a couple of oversized beach towels. It will be perfect both to keep me warm and also more modestly change clothes in the parking lot. Win win!

Fishes would be great, but even some loaves would be ok

This was the bread aisle after 2 days of COVID lockdown last week. Actually there was some gluten-free nonsense available just outside the frame, but like everybody else I don’t count that as bread.

Apparently we dodged the contagious bullet, and the restrictions were relaxed after 3 days. Bread supplies yesterday were almost back to normal.


After months of guilty self-righteousness occasionally interrupting an otherwise idyllic summer, we enter a 3-day lockdown at midnight tonight.

An airport worker (and family) have tested positive forCOVID-19 disease. I hope they will be fine.

Although this setback sucks, I find myself grateful for all the precautions that person took up to now, and ditto for all the thousands of at-risk workers who gave us these past few months of freedom. Now it’s one day at a time like everywhere else.

Dining to die for

We had not one but two great Saturday dining treats…

First was Chocola in Glen Innes. We learned about Chocola because we bought a used patio table from its owner a few weeks ago. He is charming and we absolutely had to go try the food. It was amazing! Thick Mexican drinking chocolate, ceviche, tacos, enchiladas… That picture is me, doing my best to “look natural”.

After some more enjoying the day with shopping, driving around, etc., we were parched, and stopped at the Stafford Road Wine Bar. We had a pitcher of white sangria and a cheese plate… magnifique!

Te Tauoma / Purchas Hill

A volcano that’s been mostly quarried away. The concrete structure in the foreground is left over from the quarrying.

Now the land is in limbo… the long term plan says it will be turned into a park.

Maungawhau / Mt. Eden

Another day, another volcano. Yesterday an earthquake off of New Caledonia resulted in a tsunami warning for Northern New Zealand. I think there were some small waves and strange currents, but nothing significant. Nonetheless, I took the opportunity to go to the highest point in Auckland for a few minutes, just in case.


On my lunchtime walk yesterday I saw two pieces of litter more interesting than the usual.

First was the top of the package of a kid’s toy… the Pixel Sword! If your enemies are made of pixels then I can see the value of a pixel sword, but in real life? Well of course not… kids use toy weapons to pretend, not to fight. Which led me to the very meta idea that kids today play at acting out video games.

A few minutes later I saw this loveseat that had been left under a highway overpass. It’s been tagged, and the investigative team is on the case. Unlawful trash dump inspector… Now there’s a job I would like to know more about!

Power to the people

Updated 14/2…

Newmarket where I work is hardly the Auckland suburb you think of in association with the phrase “Black Power.” It’s a place where independent fashion designers wrestle against— and try to be noticed by — the big chain stores in the huge fancy new mall. It’s in the prized “Double Grammar Zone”, so aspirational boys and girls can live there and go to Auckland’s most prestigious public schools. It’s on the train line just a stop or two from downtown so a salaryman can take a miserable flat and work too much. Newmarket has parks and high-end retirement complexes and software businesses.

But this plaque with its clenched fist sits just at the entrance to my parking garage, next to a ramshackle fence bordering a vacant lot awaiting its inevitable mid-rise building. I don’t have any idea why or how long it’s been there.

What a bleak picture I snapped. The washed-out sky makes the whole scene look downright gritty, but the adjacent cupcake place and designer sushi bar (nasturtiums! purple rice!) would certainly disagree. If I were in a mood to ponder I would be thinking about the enormous power — and associated responsibility — of the journalists and Instagrammers we rely on to tell us how it is.

There is truth in this picture… that Black Power fist lives in that place. And of course, racism is a problem here like everywhere. But it’s not the whole truth, and it turns out — on this day of acquittal — that matters.

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