Tuesday, 30 June 2015



I love that Steely Dan song and have fond memories of it.

The sentiment though - do it again - less so (except for some things).

I showed The Old Girl my picture hanging effort when talking to her on FaceTime video this morning (she's in UK).

She said "DO IT AGAIN"

I remonstrated to no avail so, this time, with a pencil and a ruler at work I did this.

I must admit it does look better.

Monday, 29 June 2015


After a morning's work I decided to go for a walk in the afternoon.

I needed to buy some 3M picture hooks as I'm 'dressing' the apartment before renting it out. I have a nice canvas triptych .....

Sorry about the quality - a quick snap before they fell down.

.......which is very light so I decided to use the removable 3M sticky hooks rather than nail in picture hooks.

I walked down K'Road and then along Ponsonby Road looking for some place that sold the 3M's.
The picture framer's, the poncy art shop and the various gift shops couldn't help me. The framers and the art supply shop said that they discourage their use as they cannot be guaranteed to support the weight of artwork. Fair enough as I told people the same thing when I owned and operated a picture framing business..

A thought though ..... picture framers should encourage the use as every picture that falls off the wall and breaks the glass is potential new business.

Anyway the last gift shop I called into along Ponsonby Road suggested the hardware shop 'just along Richmond Road'. I said thanks and toddled off wondering why I'd never seen a hardware shop 'just along Richmond Road' before.

I soon realised that 'just along Richmond Road' meant walking to Westmere a good two suburbs way.
The 'hardware shop' turned out to be a large Mitre 10 store where I was able to buy the 3M hooks so all OK.

I like walking and the 10 walk from home by the university was no problem but just a bit further than I'd planned especially as I was wearing shorts and a light T-shirt and the later afternoon temperature was getting a mite chilly.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Second Fiddle bowled me over the other day when he said that he was putting a gift he had been given on to Trade Me to sell it.

See here:

I thought that he was joking but did a seach on Trade Me for a Japanese ceramic bowl and found it.

It wasn't hard to find and match to Second Fiddle as his Trade Me nom-de-plume is made up of part of his name and part of his wife's. What a tricky dicky. I can't talk though as The Trade Me name I use is embarassing as the Old Girl created it and I hate it.

I decided to play a joke on Second and asked a spurious question on his site.
To give him credit he answered it in a funny way so.....I asked another question.

This could have gone on for a while but I decided that as it was Second's and his wifes' trading account that I shouldn't be a troll (it'll be illegal soon anyway).

Thursday, 18 June 2015


Good boy!

I got my WOF at the doctors today.
All parts accounted for and in good working order.
I have a very good doctor and she insists on making sure things are OK well in advance. To this end she makes me have blood tests twice a year and so sent me off to the lab this morning so I can have the results back before I go away at the end of the month.

The guy at the blood test lab stuck the needle in and proceeded to fill three small cylinders (it's usually two).
I was going to say "Hey that's nearly an armfull" but thought he wouldn't get the allusion to Hancock especially as English wasn't his first language:


Wednesday, 17 June 2015


 I had a meeting in Parnell today and when that finished I walked up to the rose gardens which is always a treat in fine weather.

As it was lunchtime I thought about a coffee and a savoury and was right by the PM's favourite cafe.

I ordered a coffee and the obliging waiter pointed out some nice items in the cabinet. The first was a jam-filled doughnut. One of those old-style ones with no cream but jam filling and sugar coating.

He didn't have to point out anything else as I immediately said "that'll do"
I hadn't had one of these since about the 1960's.
It was delicious. The raspberry jam in the centre was just like home made jam - rich and fruity. There was no cream - the light texture of the doughnut didn't need it. Wonderful.

I looked around. No Shonkey.

I looked again. The waitresses all had tight buns.

Not these.


It was almost as if they were making a statement.

I looked around again.
The customers, a true-blue set if ever there was stood out as a disproportionate number of the older women were sporting pony tails.

Were they hoping to get pulled by Shonkey?


Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Patrol car 114: 1410 in progress - attending now.

Despatch: OK 114 - logged in. Do you want support?

Patrol car 114: not sure control. Will let you know.

Despatch: Any updates 114?

Patrol car 114: Yes control. 1410 plus 1310 Violent assault and robbery confirmed.

Despatch: shall I send a van 114?

Patrol car 114: No need control. Offenders are Maori. New rules say no need to arrest. We've given them the official handout and asked them not to do it again within 3 months.

Despatch: OK 114. Please go urgently to Ponsonby. Some young Caucasian males were seen leaving a carpark without paying. Back- up is on the way. Tasers and pepper spray authorised.

Patrol car114: OK control. On the way.


Richard (of RBB) must be feeling down in the dumps. He's looking for that big win so he can quit his job and go to Acapulco or somewhere. See in his blog here:

Mind you I buy Lotto tickets too and incredibly always believe that I will win.
I build up this fantasy in my mind that we can clear our debt, have some security and create a trust fund to use the bulk of the winnings for charity donations. Administering the charity fund will give us something meanigfull to do.
I'm always surprised when the results come in and I haven't won.

With Richard he's looking to do this:

But with our luck this is probably more the reality:

Sunday, 14 June 2015


On Sunday tonight Dr Paul Callister (I knew him in Wellington in the 70's) was talking about changing roles in society and talked about 'woman' in the plural. He meant women. He might have thought that he was speaking in the plural and, if he was writing a thesis would have spelled the word correctly but he pronounced it incorrectly.

Big deal?

Yes, to me.

I get pissed off with journalists, media commentators and even, as above, experts, mispronouncing such a fundamental word. Women.

They don't have to say 'wimmin' as this conjures up a totally different image:

..... but they do need to differentiate between woman:

woo m-uh n

and women:


See here for a pronunciation guide:


OK, the guy is a bit of a pedantic git but he at least gets the pronuncuiation right.

 Pictorially here is woman:

and here are women:

And, for those of a different persuasion here are wimmin:


Or the two thousand yard stare according to the Americans who always want to do things bigger.

This describes the blank look of a shell-shocked soldier.

It is a useful deployment when walking up or down Queen Street while running the gauntlet of beggars, buskers, panhandlers, bums, bible-bashers, charity collectors, opinion surveyors and hare krishnas.

With the stare you can walk past them and entirely avoid the need to interact. You don't in fact get asked for anything as the other party immediately moves on to a more promising contact.

it is also useful when pretending to not look at the attractive female coming along in the opposite direction.

Saturday, 13 June 2015


Not OK

I was walking to the library today with a friend when a 20-something skateboarder barrelled into me.
I pushed the dickhead away and as I was entering the library he sent his board skidding towards me.

I turned around and booted it in the air and down some steps to the road.

The council and the police do nothing about this nuisance. I've remonstrated with these idiots before.

I guess things may only escalate like in the following video:


These idiots are to me what cyclists are to Richard (of RBB).


I don't mind kids using the things but when adults do, and act irresponsibly, they are just dickheads.

Friday, 12 June 2015



From the mouths of babies.

An Auckland parent has taken his daughter's school to court over them allowing religious instruction in school. It's voluntary for sure but is based on the bible and christianity and not on other religions.
The fact that this has gone to the High Court shows what stuff and nonsense still goes on with religion.
No wonder we have trouble around the world.

Some years ago a study was made on the bible and religious writings and concluded that it was indeed stuff and nonsense. The study team reported that

"it would be in the interests of those who believe in such nonsense as organised religion or creationism to accept the fact that religious books were written by men as a control system."
The control subjects were of course women and the masses. The study group observed that religions using reward/punishment (sins, indulgences, heaven, hell, twenty plus virgins, damnation etc) as control systems were losing grip on most of the world's population and only a minority of fanatics and nutters were carrying on this idiocy.

It really is about time that we, as a populace moved on instead of being controlled and bullied by ignorant people who cling to writings written not by god or gods but by men in unenlightened times.

Why else would we get situations like radical Islamic subjugation of women and poor people and this christian example of stupid intolerance.

This is a real depiction of two gravestones in Ireland. one cemetery is catholic, the other protestant, separated by a brick wall.
A husband and wife, one catholic and the other protestant weren't allowed by either bunch of idiots to be buried together so some enterprising person came up with this solution.

Clever but also sad.

Comments welcomed - Robert, you can go first.

Thursday, 11 June 2015


* with apologies to Aldous Huxley.

I got rid of the company car this week, driving it down country and returning it to the winery.

I had a meeting in Hawkes Bay so set off on Monday down to there (5 hour plus drive) first.

The weather was great - blue sky and sunshine with a nice winter chill. The roads were free of ice and snow but Ruapehu and Ngarahoe were snow covered and glistened. Beautiful.

The weather in Hawkes Bay was similar - blue sky, sunshine and no wind with just a hint of winter in the air. I stayed the night with family in Napier and headed off to Wellington on Tuesday afternoon.

The weather started to turn bad after Palmerston North and in Wellington was extremely windy. I haven't experienced winds like that since 1968.

I was booked on the Wednesday morning ferry and was concerned that it might not sail. As it turned out it wasn't cancelled but it was just a bit late arriving and leaving. The Cook Strait was interesting with the big ferry behaving like a wind surfer at times riding and dipping in the waves.

A ferry does battle in the Cook Strait in rough weather. Photo: Straithipping.co.nz

I delivered the car to the winery, had a meeting and then had to race off to the airport to fly home.

I didn't have time to catch up with anyone in wellington as I arrived late on Tuesday and left on Wednesday morning.

For the next few weeks until I leave I'll be without a car. This won't be a big handicap as I've hardly used the thing over the last 9 months preferring to walk and use public transport.
It's one more thing ticked off the list before the move.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


It all got sorted today - swapping one apartment for another.

I've moved houses a lot over my lifetime.
I calculate that since leaving living with my parents I changed 'flats' 21 times and bought and sold houses 9 times so I'm used to packing stuff, humping stuff, driving stuff to new locations and storing stuff. Done and dusted.

This time the move has been from the 7th floor of an apartment building up to the top floor (14th) of the same building. Easy peasy.

The seller (same buyer for my apartment) and the real estate agents have been very obliging and gave me access to the apartment on the weekend. This enabled me to get all the heavy stuff out of mine and up to the new one in advance of cleaning the old apartment. This was a great arrangement.

Today, before exchanging keys and waiting for the OK from the lawyers I was able to whisk the other stuff up in the lift and get settled. It's bloody amazing how much stuff we accumulate. We have a big house up north (it's tenanted with half of our furniture left for the tenants and the rest in a lock up). We'd thought that we were living minimalistically in the apartment but it's not until you move and have to pack and carry things that you realise the truth. Thank (Second's) god that all I had to do was  put the stuff in the building's trolley and wheel it to the lift (about 20 times). Better than loading trucks and cars and transporting across a city or a country.

The only difficulty was the bed.
It seems that when this apartment building was built it was to service a hotel.
The bed bases were big and solid things - one piece.
When we bought the apartment 4 years ago  we changed the mattress but kept the base.
With the move I assumed that all the furniture in the apartment must have got there via the lifts.


Because the building was purpose built 16 years ago the new owners knew what they were about. A hotel. They knew that they would need beds for guests. Good beds. Apparently they hoisted said beds up to the various floors from the outside before the building was walled in.

Nobody told me.

The old Girl, from Toronto, when checking up on, checking in with me, advised that I get assistance with the heavy stuff in the move. I of course, being male, said "Yeah, yeah, no problem".
I carried tables, dressers. chairs, sideboards and the mattress amongst other bits of furniture along the corridor and into the lift to the 14th floor with 'no problem'.
It was the bloody bed-base that was 'the problem'.

I managed to uplift it and drag it along the corridor to the lift. No problem apart from a slight concern of a strain.
I ordered up the lift. That's pretty easy really you just push the button. The problem with a passenger lift as opposed to a tradesman's lift as we were lucky enough to have use of in Toronto is that the passenger lift doesn't have a door lock key to hold the lift door open. Every time I was getting the bloody bed base in the door started to close. I had to drop the bed base and either jam my foot in the door or try and press the button again. Frustrating? Yes!
When I did manage to get the bed base in to the lift it was apparent that it wasn't going to fit.

I tried anyway.

Many times.

After dislodging the roof panels of the lift I decided to give it a miss.

I parked the bed base in the corridor and thought of alternatives:

  • Throw the fucking thing off the balcony.
  • Set fire to it
  • Walk away while whistling and pretend it wasn't mine.
A good catholic upbringing which instilled a sense of conscience in me led me to ignore all of the alternative plans (along with the knowledge that security cameras on every floor record unusual activity) and so I dragged the bloody bed base back to my apartment.

This was queen's birthday Monday. A holiday. I wasn't going to ring any friends and ask them to come around to help. A friend who lived closest to me had told me he was off to Australia that day. I considered calling him anyway  but   said "no".

It's a funny thing this common sense. Sometimes it says "no" and at other times it just sort of says "just go for it".

I just went for it.

The apartment building as well as having lifts also has a staircase. The staircase has wider openings and a much higher 'ceiling'. Choice.

I made the choice.

I dragged the bed base back from the apartment, along the corridor, to the stairwell. 
As I opened the door a nagging memory surfaced - "can you get out of this bloody stairwell once you 
enter it".

One of the good things about being an old bugger is that it's a case of 'been there, done that' and empirical knowledge is helpful.

I parked the bed base and went down (via the lift) to the rubbish room to see if I could find a stick or something to prop the stairwell door open - just in case.
Down there I bumped into the building manager. He's a nice guy and was, on his day off, just checking that all was OK. He was off to join his wife and kids for lunch.

"Just the person I wanted to see" I said and recognised in his eyes his response " and just the person I didn't want to see". 
Not to be deterred I told him of my problem.
Being a building manager which is like a Super Model in the cleaning world (Second take note) he knew that he had to come up with a solution (while checking his watch).
We went back up to the 7th floor and, at his insistence, tried to manoeuvre the bed base into one of the lifts. Now, while it was easier with two people, the simple logistics were that the thing was too big for the lift.

"What about the stairs" he suggested which what I was hoping he would do. I feigned surprise. "The stairs" I said "what a good idea"

We took the bed base to the stairwell. Being a building manager has its advantages. He had a special key that can access the stairwell doors from the inside. Useful that.

We started to take the bed base up the stairs. Seven stories of them. Halfway up the building manager said "Well I'll be blowed" (bowdlerised in case any sensitive souls are reading), "This is bally hard work. I go to the gym and this is harder than that".
"Tell me about it" I thought as I had the top of the stairs position and it was a hell of a lot harder.
Eventually we got the bed base up and installed into the new apartment. The building manager (half my age) staggered off to meet his waiting family.


I like John Oliver. His retakes of the news are insightful and very funny. Have a look via the link below at his latest review of Facebook...