Sunday, September 30, 2007

Careless Backyard

In an effort to compete with Simon's beautiful garden, I have.... um... well I have no garden at all actually. But out the back of the section I live on there is an interesting little wilderness full of flora and fauna which is both native and introduced. But at the moment the most beautiful dispays are the koru unfurling from the tops of the tree-ferns.

It is raining today which is common for Auckland. There is no wind so the water falls straight down in no-nonesense drops which I am sure the ferns love.

The house is split-level & semi-detached and behind the back fence the land drops away quite sharply. Plumpy of course loves to go exploring in there but Maalie will be pleased to know he has never brought back a bird. I would love to stroke his ego and say it is because he is too wise to bring them to me, but in all my brutal honesty I would have to say it is probably because he can't catch anything. The sudden lack of all four eye teeth probably doesn't help.

See the difference in height between the top of the fern in the foreground, and the top of the fern just behind the fence. I am suspicious though that the lower one is also shorter ;-)
The next photo is just to the other side of our main foreground fern;

Good Golly Miss Molly!
Check out the koru in that one!!

The next door neighbours (who live in the other half of the building) don't bother with a back fence, which I think is a grand idea. Their lawn stops, and the wilderness begins!

The neighbours have used a convenient Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis) to help with the washing - which is getting wetter, not drier. Captain Cook made his crew eat the flowers of this plant to prevent them from getting scurvy. Hopefully Kiwi Nomad will not correct me and say it was rickets he was preventing....

I should like to invite Merisi to click and enlarge this last picture (and anyone else who cares to). Merisi displayed an interest in Simon's fern - though his had a lorikeet as well, and my birds are hiding from the rain! Look at the abundance of koru (fiddleheads)!

Lastly a quiz, which I expect Maalie to be able to answer. (No pressure Maalie). Captain James Cook of HMB Endeavour chose to fight off scurvey by feeding his crew sauerkraut. How did he manage to popularise this dish amongst the sailors?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pirate Speak

September the 19th be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! I know a salty sea llama be livin it up on her fine sailin ship - lootin a-pillagin an' a-plunderin on the fair ocean. We be hopin that saucy wench be havin a fine time an be stealin plenty a-booty, and not makin her way to the bottom of Davy Jones' Locker!

I be puttin up this lesson, so ye be talkin' like a sea dog yerself!

Yo Ho!

All the best me harties.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Things unInteresting

Tonight for some reason I had an inexplicable desire to share with you all the sorry state of my refrigerator. Now to be fair, the fridge doesn't actually belong to me. It was here when I moved into the flat. In order to protect my flatmates at least a little bit I am renaming them the uni-sexual pseudonyms Chris and Sam.

But first, here is an overview of my fridge.

When I had a little party here in this flat (I called it my flat warming, any excuse!) a couple of my friends from hockey came by. One in particular was astounded at the size of my cat, Plumpy (check out his blog here) and couldn't get over not just how big he was, but also how ummmm... engorged he appeared around the belly. So the next week at practice she brought in a news paper clipping and told the entire team my cat made it into the local rag. After passing it around the team (who all judged me for over-feeding my cat) she handed the paper to me and said it would pay to take the article home and give it some serious thought. Though I was offended she lied to the team about my cat (who was NOT the one featured in the photo) and though I was insulted she thought I should 'ease up' on the amount of food he was given, I did place the clipping in pride of place underneath all the other junk on the fridge.

Lets take a closer look at the healthy selection of food stored not a moment longer than its use-by date, shall we?

Here is the upper few shelves. See how the very top shelf is not used at all. This is because it has an extra door to lift, which is FAAAAAR to hard to get into. The juice on the next shelf looks fairly innocent, but I've seen it moving about the fridge from shelf to shelf over the last few months. I think it gets shifted when it's in the way. No one wants to drink it because it's old, and no one wants to throw it out in case it belongs to someone else.
The dip was my mistake, I made it but didn't have enough chips to finish it with. I put it in the fridge for safe keeping. It's probably the safest place in the house - no one will touch it. It's been there a week now and there's oil lifting to the surface. I don't want to talk about the potato dish that Sam made and refuses to finish.

Now I put the raw meat in for dramatic effect. It's actually dinner tomorrow night. I have hockey practice so need something quick and easy for tea. Pre-crumbed schnitzel it is! So you may rest assured I do not have 'off' meat in the fridge.

The bottom shelves are my pet hate. When we buy fruit and veges from the supermarket (even though they are better and cheaper at the fruit shop down the road, they are put into plastic bags which aren't even designed to allow the food to breath. There is a different supermarket a little further away which provides brown paper bags for my mushrooms, but that's not the supermarket we go to! No one, not even me, bothers to remove the veges from the bags before putting them in the crisper bin. Sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

At the moment there is tonight's mince (it will be lasagne soon MMMMMmmmmm) hanging around not so far away from Sam's emergency dinner. Again Sam has let me down not only by failing to finish a meal, but also storing it away in the fridge for further personal growth.

Last, and pretty much least, is the door. Mostly I include this because it is a little sad how empty it is. It isn't filled up with sauces and juices and exciting additions to one's evening meal. In fact, it doesn't even fit a standard 1.5L soft drink bottle! Sam's fantas, Chris's Coke and my Pepsi have to lie down on the shelves. But I can't drink cold beverages very well so mine lives in the pantry anyway! Oh for small mercies har har har! There is a little jar of crushed garlic in there now though. I added it today.

I tell you, Chris has to have his eggs. Not that they get eaten! But who knows, with the top layer coming up to their 'use-by' date, they might be about ready for use in a nice pavlova. (A Kiwi invention Simon, not Australian!!!)

It hasn't been a particularly pleasant post, I know. It was probably boring too. But I it has certainly produced at least one positive result. With the absence of both my flatmates (they are in the UK) I have now cleaned out the fridge! It is fresh, wholesome and healthy. Finally!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hootchy Kootchy Honeys

I know I have left my blog to die as quietly and as depressingly as the last embers of a fire are turned to filthy slush under the building weight of oncoming rain. But to be honest, that is how I have been feeling myself a little.

Perhaps it is anaemia, but I think it is just the daily rut of routine which has drained away the last of my imagination. I am used to this. Sometimes I will go through a stage where for several months I am up until the wee hours of the morning, tapping away at the computer. These are the moments I cannot stop for the story flows into and through my mind almost faster than I can commit it to record. At the moment I have 5 different stories saved onto this computer. I have probably about 3 on an old hard drive from my desk top which I think I will never be able to access again and countless more on paper written at work when there is nothing else to do, or school when there is nothing else to do, or when there is an important exam to study for and I'd really rather not. One of these stories some of you may have read earlier on this blog. Another (my favourite) is saved into four different files in Microsoft Word, each consisting of about 70-75 pages in justified, hyphenated text.
But sometimes, like now, I go through stages where I feel like I have come out of the swimming pool after swimming laps for hours. Drained. Washed out. Unrefreshed. Times like these I like to read everyone else's blog. I have forced myself to comment because though I have things to say, I can't be bothered loading the comments pages.

I complained about it at work;

TOOLS: How have you been Sez?
SEZ: Alright. Do you really want to know or are you just starting conversation?
TOOLS: Go on then.
SEZ: I'm sick of it. Sick of the same days, the same faults. I don't do anything in the weekends. I'm even over hockey - it's long past time the season should have ended.
TOOLS: Well I might be going surfing this weekend. Do you want to come?
SEZ: Do I have to surf?
Tools laughs at Sez and takes another drag on his cigarette.
TOOLS: No, but it could be good to get out to the beach, get some sea air. It's a bit of a drive out there too, always good.
Sez shrugs at Tools
Entrance Sergeant
SERGEANT: Have you finished those functionals on zero-five?
SEZ: Nah, just having a cuppa. Should be finished by lunch though.
TOOLS: Yeah, I better get back to my faults too.
Tools stubs out cigarette and places in ash-tray. Exit Tools
Sez drains last of drink.

But the surf-trip never happened. (I was paraphrasing, by the way) Instead, something better happened. My friend texted me. She asked if I was interested in joining her at The Classic on Saturday night to go see Hootchy Kootchy Girls Burlesque Show, $25? Well now - after all my bitching I could hardly turn her down - could I?

So to see New Zealand's up and coming Burlesque Dancers, I was about to go.

Hootchy Kootchy Girls

Burlesque is making a come-back!

There weren't many of us in the little theatre, but we had lots of fun!

The show actually started before we made it from drinks in the foyer to the main stage area. We were drinking our wine/juice/bourbon and happily minding our own business before the show. There were five of us and we were watching the two girls at the door. One appeared to be selling posters and the other candy. Hmmm. As the room became more crowded we noticed another lady who appeared different to the rest. She was in a trench coat and a pinstriped Dick Tracey hat. She had a large camera and was taking photos of everyone. Finally she came to our dark little corner.
"And 'oo do we 'av 'ere??" She asks in a heavy but well-executed French accent. "Four, non, Five people 'oo are 'ere to see the Hootchy Kootchy girls!! Canaoui 'av a photo of you all togtheur?"
I laughed to myself that we, five individuals, allowed ourselves to be directed into place by a woman we had never met for a photo we would never see. Human nature never ceases to amaze!

Finally the show was on! We moved into the main room and were politely informed that cameras were not allowed. But Peachy la Rue, their photographer would take many photos on the night, and we could leave our emails addresses with Miss Print in the Foyer so that we may be informed later how to view the photos she took on line. Miss Print was also selling posters.

Throughout the night we were entertained with corny jokes, hilarious 'dance offs,' sexy dancing, good fun and even a reverse strip. It was a great evening and during the break one of my party and I managed to drag Peachy la Rue out into the foyer to take photos of him (the friend) and a Kiwi Comedian (there to enjoy the show). This was because my friend is always told he looks like this comedian and he wanted photographic proof they looked nothing alike. Peachy was more than happy to oblige, but declared they did look the same.

I bought a poster, and for the same price as a plain one ($20) I could get one signed by the girls. Peachy (of course), Coco Martini, Pacific Passion, Crystal Night-Light, Judy Garment, The Hootchy Kootchy Queen (their director) and Tony (the MC).

We bugged Peachy, Judy and the Queen during intermission for personal autographs to accompany the show-names. After the show we bugged the rest of the performers.
Coco Martini was astounded to hear we had managed to get the personal autograph of Peachy. She told us the woman almost NEVER broke out of character. (We gleefully informed her we had actually heard her speak (for only a few moments) in a Kiwi accent.) CM laughed and said for the first two months of their acquaintance she had believed Peachy was genuinely French.


The next day was a very important hockey game. Although I am getting pretty sick of the season we have been playing better and better these last four games or so. And this was no exception. Before the weekend the tables had been:
Howick-Pakauranga = 39 points
Sommerville Blue = 32 points
Western Districts = 31

We are Western Districts, and we needed to win this game to beat Sommerville and play the Howick Pack in the final. As always, we played like champions (because we are!) and won the game 3-1
It's the finals this weekend. The points are now out the window. If we win on Sunday we take out the whole competition. It's getting big! I am very excited again!

There's always more...

AND!!! I have a farewell party to go to this Saturday, an old friend contacted me and we'll go out for some food and a movie next week. My sister - YES, JU! - and I spoke over the internet, web cameras and all for the first time ever. It was the first time I've seen her happy smiling face in over a year! (Ju is in the UK and I am here in Kiwi Land.)
Also... Peachy pulled us aside as we were leaving The Classic and invited us to another party later on in the year! It could be because we hassled her and her friends all night, or it could be because one of us (the one who looks like a well-known NZ comedian) happened to be sitting at a table with friends of the organisers. It's who you know!!!