If you’re like me, you’ve probably often wondered what your face would like painted on a poppadom, which is then cooked and puffed up, distorting your likeness into a 3D landscape.

Blow 15

Rad, yes? This is part of Blow, which is part of AK07. I went along because my cousin Sue is, along with Tracey Collins, the designer and curator of the project.

The genre they work in is basically set design, but this is taken to more arty extremes, working with space.

Blow it’s based around a number of large, blown-up globs. Then a number of designers have designed their own thing with each one. Some had DVDs playing inside, some had stuff attached, and one had a fellow wearing a pair of bacon goggles, painting portraits on poppadoms.

I guess the main reason I went along was to support my cousin, but once I got there and started experiencing it, I was really drawn into it. I had so much fun exploring it. There was a lot to see, hear, feel smell and taste. It was engaging and challenging and totally drew me in, and I like that with art.

Plus, I got to eat my face.

It’s on display at the BNZ Foyer of the Aotea Centre from 12 to 24 March. Go and see it and get the poppadom guy to paint you!

Corned beef, dognuts and representing the Western Springs

I went to Pasifika. Man, it was hot. Ideally I would have gone there with an entourage holding a parasol over me and fanning me. Instead I had to make do with a sun hat and fanning myself with the information brochure.

As usually, there was plenty to see and do and eat (including fresh dognuts). I was on the look out for arts and crafts, and ended up getting a ceramic jandal.

One of the stages had an open mike singing situation. One singer came up and had this banter with the emcee.

Emcee: And where are you from?
Singer: (In a loud, proud voice) Yo, yo, I be representing Westside! Yee-yah!
Emcee: All right. Whereabouts out west?
Singer: (Sheepishly) Um… Massey?

I came a across an area where some guys were having traditional Samoan tattoos chiselled into their legs and backs. It looks so painful, but none of the guys showed any signs of pain. In fact, the most painful part of the experience was the improvised rapping coming from an nearby stage.

I was handed a flyer for an upcoming movie called The Tattooist. It’s a thriller about an American tattoo artist who rips off ethnic designs, but learns a lesson when he steals a Samoan tattooing tool and angers the gods or something. It sounds AWESOME.

At one point I felt really dehydrated so I got a drink and made a beeline for the nearest shady tree. While I was resting, I heard a song being performed about how, yo, everyone should get drunk in the ghetto, and that you don’t stop until it comes back up.

There were heaps of parody T-shirts there. I couldn’t decide between “Samoa’s Most Wanted” and “My Uncle Can Smash You”.

I ended up with a sunburnt neck (a red neck?), so I was glad when an air-conditioned bus took me to Newmarket, where I saw the delightful and charming “The Science of Sleep” in air-conditioned comfort.

Samoan dude


On Friday after work, I wandered up to Albert Park, and was just in time for the opening of the lantern festival.

I stood around with a group of people looking at a stack of double-happies rigged to go. In the distance someone was making a speech about diversity. Then a series of bangs echoed around the park, and the double-happies exploded. People took photos of them, but, well, you can’t really photograph loud bangs. Visually it was a giant cloud of smoke.

The lights came on, so I wandered around and took photos. My amateur advice for taking photos of decorative lanterns at night boils down to these four points:

  1. Deactive your flash. Your camera may be jonesing to flash, but remember, you’re taking a photo of a light, so you don’t need to bring any more to the party.
  2. Get up close to the lantern. Don’t zoom in from afar, physically walk as close as you can get. That’ll help use all the light from the lantern and make nice bright, colourful photo.
  3. Don’t get in the mode of documentarian. Often small features of the lanterns are more interesting than taking a full-length photo.
  4. If you’re getting blurring, go with it. There’s sure to be a Flickr group that is hot for Chinese lanterns with a bit of artful motion blur.

As I was walking around, I heard a middle-aged woman talking to her husband. They were passing a line of Chinese-clothing-shaped lanterns that were strung along as if on a clothes line. “Clothes line – a bit of a Kiwi touch there,” she commented. Yes, because they don’t have clothes lines in China.

There was a stand called No Chinatown, where visitors were invited to fill in a survey about whether Auckland needed a Chinatown. It could have easily been run by the council or a community group, but it was actually an art project. OMG – edgy. It seemed like they were taking the piss out of the idea that for Auckland to be a world-class city, it needed a Chinatown. Hey, forget a Chinatown – bring back the Hobson Street opium dens!

There was a stand giving out free books on Buddhism. I saw a group of 40-something woman all snap up one called “Diet and Health”, which attempts to entice punters to the world of vegetarians with such anecdotes as, “When I first started on a vegetarian diet, I had blisters on my chin. They contained a very toxic liquid waste causing sores whenever it came into contact with the skin.” Toxic waste?! What, was she eating veggies from the Love Canal farmer’s market?

But most importantly, the pork buns were good, in a food stall kind of way. And that is as good a way as any to see in the year of the fire pig.

Moving stars 2

Lack of fax appeal

I hate fax machines. Anyone using one should stop immediately. I thought they stopped making them in 1997, but it turns out that people actually still use them in this modern age.

Once I rang up my bank – which prides itself on its technological innovations – with a query. The call centre guy offered to fax me the information. I was like, “WTF? Has this phone call gone down a wormhole into 1986? Are you going to fax me information about the new GST tax that’s going to simplify sales tax for New Zealanders?”

I know that ’80s retro stuff is in vogue at the moment, but fax machines are not part of this.

I got on the subject of faxes when I was looking at videos of Sinead O’Connor* on YouTube. I found a totally awesome clip of her singing Mandinka at the 1989 Grammys, but I was distracted by Billy Crystal’s introduction. He starts with, “If any of the winners are not here, we’re going to fax them their Grammys.” In 1989 this was hilarious because faxing was new and novel.

But it’s now the new millennium. It’s the future. We live in plastic houses and housewives heat up readymade meals in their Food-o-matic 2000 machines. We have the email and the interweb and therefore there is no need for faxing.

* I was comparing and contrasting Ms O’Connor with another famous addition to the lady baldo club. Coming soon, if I come to a logical conclusion.

Page 123, prescription drug abuse

The Page 123 meme was flying around LiveJournal tonight and I was tagged twice. Demands were made that I ought to…

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag 5 people.

I was at work when I first read it and tried to have a go during my break. The nearest book to me was the Concise Oxford Dictionary, but while page 123 offered much in the way of words, it didn’t really do sentences.

I wandered off to find the next suitable book that came my way. Time Atlas, no. Maori dictionary, no. Trinny and Susannah’s “What You Wear Can Change Your Life”, er, OK. Except page 123 of that was a picture of the pair wearing nice clothes.

So at home I tried again. The nearest book was “We Could Have Been The Wombles: The Weird and Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders”. It sounds like, right, it could be a goldmine of choice sentences. Except page 123 offered up these three sentences:

Bud. Wise. Er.

This is an absolute shemozzle.

Instead I will muse upon the news that Robbie Williams has checked himself into rehab for addiction to prescription medicine.

Now, I’m not a Robbie fan in the traditional sense, but I bought his last album, Rudebox (and it’s really good, in a born-in-1974 kind of way).

One of songs is called Good Doctor, and it’s a cheerful, yet slightly dark, celebration of abusing prescription medicine. The song ends with this spoken bit:

Know what, doc? It’s not like I’ve been doing any research or anything, but if you could give me any of the following pills, I’d be very very grateful cos I feel poorly. So that’s codeine, morphine, opium, methadone, meperidine, hydro- and oxycodone, buprenorphine, butorphanol, Adderall, Doral. But not St John’s wort, cos I can get that at Boots.

See, Dr House is addicted to Vicodin, but he has a gammy leg and is a fictional character. Now, I’m not a doctor, but having just looked up all those drugs on Wikipedia, I can officially state that if you are a real person and write a song about desiring a shitload of powerful opiates, then rehab is probably a good choice.

More blending

Last night was another Public Address Great Blend event. This time it was held at the brand new venue atop the Auckland Museum. Initially the splendid panoramic views of Auckland city offered consisted of grey, rainy streets, but once the sun went down, the city lights looked completely awesome.

First on the evening’s programme were Matt Heath and Chris Stapp, who did a look back at a good 10 years of “Back of the Y”. I was delighted to learn two things:

1) The first film Matt saw on video was probablyClue“. This is one of my favourite films and one of the few I can quote dialogue from. (“Communism was just a red herring!”)

2) The first “Back of the Y” TV programme on Triangle TV was based on/inspired by the Mega Memory infomercial from the mid-’90s. The infomercial was centred around “The Danny Bonaduce Show”, which seemed to exist for the sole purpose of promoting Mega Memory. The house band, The Critics, were the vile inspiration for Deja Voodoo, and history was made.

Then it was time for the panel, this time discussing online media. The panellist were Ben Goodger from Google, Kristine Garcia from the Herald Online, Rob McKinnon of TheyWorkForYou.co.nz, and Rick Ellis, CEO of TVNZ.

So it was an interesting discussion, but a lot of the time it was Rob hassling Kristine and Rick. There’s a bit of a gap between the geek idea of how online media would ideally work and how things happen when big companies make it so, but it seems that people are moving in the right direction, albeit rather slowly at times.

After the panel we were treated to some dancing! The lights went down and a small group of dancers came out wearing LED suits, looking like something out of Tron. It was completely awesome and tickled the arty and geeky parts of me.

And then it was time to stand around and talk with everyone, which is often the most fun part of these events. The evening wound down and I wandered off into the night, inspired and stimulated, and with renewed motivation to work on my new website thing.

But, hey, where were the saussies this time? It just isn’t a Great Blend without a barbecue!

Isle de Waiheke

I spent the last few days on Waiheke Island with the whanau. Man, it was hot. It didn’t feel like Auckland – more like a tropical island.

While Waiheke is rapidly being overrun by holiday homes and vineyards, there is still a core of residents, many of whom look like they live there because they cannot, for whatever reason, live in a city.

Waiheke has several Old Waiheke Men. Their look usually consists of a long grey or white beard, messy hair, a threadbare singlet, rainbow-coloured shorts, tanned, leathery skin, and bare feet.

While there is a parking warden, locals do not like getting tickets. One guy dramatically ripped up his parking ticket on the main street (or at least attempted to, because it was made of that thick plasticy paper. Another guy attempted to sweet talk his way out of getting a ticket for an expired WOF, but when that didn’t work, he switched to verbally abusing the warden, before angrily driving off. Yeah, that’ll work.

There are lot of Waihekeans sporting tattoos that were en vogue in the mid ’90s. I saw one guy with an elaborate Nine Inch Nails tattoo, another guy with a Celtic snake wrapped around his arm, and many many of those thorny armband tattoos.

But for both locals and visitors, there was Sculptures on the Gulf. I trekked up and down and around looking the 2007 selection of sculptures, and I was very impressed. See hot pics at Flickr.



So I’d been wanting to upload a video to YouTube – or YouChoob, as we say in Aotearoa New Zealand – but I didn’t have anything suitable.

But then I realised that among my bits and pieces, I had a short film dating from 2001. It was the result of Dylan and Ryan and me mucking around at a hippy festival in Basque Park. Dylz was on camera and Ryan was the roving reporter and I did some improv, and then later Dylan edited it together.

So here it is. (And, yes, the video is out of synch with the sound).

But obviously just posting a video to YouChoob isn’t nerdy enough. I had to up the nerd factor, so I decided to add some accessibility and used my day job skills by captioning it. So if you are deaf or hearing-impaired or just curious, you can watch it with captions here.

Rock on

It has been brought to my attention that Prime Devastation, Hamilton’s hardest working metal band, who also take time out for family/work/sporting commitments, are now on MySpace.

Fans of the ‘Dev have been asking for this for a long time, so it will be good news to both PD fans and the metaller community in general.

So come and join the Prime Devastation MySpace community. They’ve even newly posted the lyrics to their upcoming single Rock n Roll Terrorist: www.myspace.com/primedevastation

No good advice

At a moment, a search on Google for “how to please your man” brings up one of my old webpages as the fifth result. It’s also showing up all over my web site stats and is the most visited page.

The page itself is sort of a parody of a typical relationship article in a women’s magazine, complete with pseudonymous case studies and experts who just happen have written a book on the subject.

So it seems that women are ending up at this page looking for advice, but even after reading the article, things are still troubled. And lately I’ve received two emails seeking more advice.

Mary Kate* writes:

I have been married four years. We have stopped having sex. It has been a year and a half. I have tried “you can stick it anywhere” and I’ve even ask him what he would like. All I get is “I’m tired.” So tell me something new to try, please. I’ve even tried the open marriage thing.

And Ashley writes:

My guy is 12 years younger than I with a very large pennis and he does not cum during sex. What can I do to please him or his he just not sexually attracted to me and yes I have tried oral sex, we are really great together and want to be together. He thinks that his job is to only please me not to be pleased. Tell me what can I do?

My advice-giving capabilities are just limited to the Dan Savage-ism, DTMFA, so I thought I’d throw this open to the interwebs.

So, guys, what advice should I offer Mary-Kate and Ashley?

* Some names have been changed.