Out with the old

Compared to the USA, in NZ it’s much more common to move into a house without any appliances (or whiteware as it’s known here). We negotiated with our sellers to leave everything behind for us. Even though most of the appliances were somewhat older, they were good quality brands, and we didn’t want the hassle of shopping for those big items while we were moving.

But things break. Our stove lost a burner a few weeks ago, and we were pretty easily swayed to buy a new one instead of repairing it.

The new cooktop is about 6 inches wider, giving us an additional burner. But most importantly it’s induction!

So far we like the controls better than the old stove (although we wouldn’t have minded actual knobs you can turn, that’s basically not an option on these drop-in cooktops) and we REALLY like the quick heat and cool of the induction elements. All our good pans (thank you Costco in 2008 or so) work just fine on the induction surface.

We already replaced the oven last year… what will go next? Maybe our second-hand freezer, or maybe the microwave? Time will tell…


We spent New Years Eve with our friends Malcolm and Di, and amazingly made it to midnight still awake. We walked down to the end of their road to see the Sky Tower fireworks show.

We’re hoping that even more people get to have a great 2023 (except for the seditionists, the invaders, the deforesters, the propagandists, etc).

A moving image

At the start of yesterday’s swim we saw a photographer all set up to take sunrise pictures. It turned out I know her husband through work… another example of what a pleasantly small town Auckland can be.

She took this shot of us wading into the water and sent it along later in the day… beautiful! It’s created using a technique called Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) where you jiggle the camera using a slow shutter to create these blurry images.

Thanks Anna for the picture, a great way to remember my last swim of 2022.


Until recently, this house and yard were obscured by piles of stuff, old broken cars, etc. An old man would sit on the porch and watch the world go by.

One day, Lee saw it all organized into big piles on the lawn, and now there’s temporary fencing across the front. With all the stuff gone, we can see the house sagging and rotting more clearly.

It will likely be torn down and replaced by half a dozen townhouses. Densification certainly makes sense in the big picture, but it’s a little disconcerting every time we see this happen. Hopefully the man who lived there has been able to move somewhere with a little more social support… if he owned this property outright he just got a check that should cover his life’s expenses quite comfortably.

Browns Bay beach

I’m normally at this beach in the very early hours for swimming. But I had lunch nearby yesterday and so walked over to check it out. It’s been pretty hot (at least by Auckland standards) and humid (by any standards) so a perfect time to go to the beach and enjoy the breeze off the water.

On the one hand, most of Auckland is closed for the holiday week. But on the other, most people who can flee to the countryside do so.

As a result, our lovely local beaches aren’t crowded even now. Magnificent!

No dog for you!

We finally made it to Costco this week. Overall, it was not quite as great as we had hoped. We spent over $400 anyway and got some nice stuff, but somehow the experience didn’t quite live up to the expectation. Also, our house just doesn’t have the storage we’ve enjoyed previously, so that giant package of _________ is pretty hard to accommodate.

Much of the tone of our visit was set right at the beginning… see that empty condiments station up there? No hot dogs! You gotta have a hot dog at Costco… you just gotta!

Swim squad

My pool swimming buddies gathered for breakfast after the last workout of the year. We’ve been through a few coaches this year, and my working from home plus travel has eaten into my routine. So, I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it to continue. But it’s been great to get to know this group and so I will for a while longer at least.

Franklin Road 2022

After two years of COVID cancellation, Auckland’s Christmas light capital, Franklin Road in Ponsonby, was back this year.

We’ve been before, in 2017 and 2019. This time it felt a little less crowded, and maybe the decorations were a little less extravagant. But still pretty darn good. Our whole trip was easier this time… we now have a car, unlike in 2017, and knew just how to get there, unlike in 2019. And we got a really lucky parking spot.

Christmas kiwis always a hit.

I enjoy the lights of course, but maybe the best part for me is the sense of community this endeavor must bring to the residents and certainly brings to the many thousands of people who visit. There are so many divisions and distractions, but here’s a time when a whole lot of people get to be together and agree about something. Merry Christmas!

An arrogant prick ACTs decently

EDIT: the final amount raised was just over $100,000.

Our sainted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently made the mistake of saying — with a live microphone in front of her — what she really felt about David Seymour, the publicity-savvy leader of the opposition ACT Party.

What gets said on the floor of Parliament gets recorded into something called the Hansard, and so it is now a matter of historical record that Mr Seymour is an “arrogant prick.” No argument from me.

But he’s also very smart and enormously energetic at his job. He’s learned how to turn his nerdy debate-club superiority and prickly oligarch-apologist libertarian ideology into a potent political brand.

And so we have one of the best political feel-good stories in a while. They both signed a copy of the Hansard page in question and it’s being auctioned off to support prostate cancer charity. The bidding is already up to $60,000 with nearly a week to go.

“Supporting pricks everywhere.” Next year’s best campaign slogan.

Well done, Mr Seymour. It can’t have been the first time you’ve been called bad names by your exasperated opponents, and I’m fairly sure it won’t be the last. But you’ve deftly parried and scored, while doing something altogether decent with the fundraising power you hold.

Now it’s Christmas for sure

Growing up, our Christmas decorations always had a set of angel chimes like the one on the right side of this picture. We haven’t found proper candles for that one here in NZ yet (in a bit of interfaith cooperation, menorah candles work well, but we haven’t run across any). We found the tiny (and non-chiming) tea light powered example in a Christmas shop, and the big wooden German glockenspiel style one at a thrift store… so now we have a collection!

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