When I drove to the gym today there was a red Ferrari parked in the space next to where I normally park. I excitedly parked right next to it. It made my tiny Daihatsu Charade look like a behemoth SUV in comparison. I also noticed that the gear stick of the Ferrari was tiny. I’m not sure if it’s possible to feel very manly when you’re playing with a little cocktail swizzle stick to change gears.

Speaking of cars, the very cool BBC series “Top Gear” is being shown on Prime at 7.30 on Sundays. Hooray! I’m not sure I’m even into cars – or at least not in the way that involves buying magazines with “auto” or “motor” in their titles, and certainly not in a way that involves buying and wearing items of clothing with automobile logos on them, but I like Top Gear. It makes obsessing over cars interesting and fun. As well as taking cool cars for test drives, they also do bloody stupid stuff, like seeing if it’s possible to outrun a speed camera in a really fast car. Next week they promise to show grans doing wheelies.

My brother was in town so I dragged him along to see “Freaky Friday”. I hadn’t noticed it the first time, but there was a brief scene where a guy delivers a package to daughter-as-mother at her office. The delivery guy’s name is Boris, and he’s played by the same actor who played Boris Harris in the original “Freaky Friday”. I think it was a nice touch.

We had dinner at Tanuki’s Cave. Whenever I go there, there always seem to be couples hidden away in dark corners, guys impressing their dates with uncommon, but not scary food, Japanese beer and sake, and the ’70s soul soundtrack. When the waitress brought us our desserts, she said, “Here comes the apple, and now here comes the banana.” People who learn English as a second language do the coolest things with it.


Four items

1. This whole Mike King vs Newsboy thing is very entertaining. The cartoon that offended Mike King so much was in part made by two complete bastards/top blokes I know, Andy and Karl. I’m so very proud of them.

The deal is, there was a cartoon on “Eating Media Lunch” where a dog was watching a TV comedian called “Mike Queen” who was dribbling out some template comedy, much like Mike King does. The dog wasn’t laughing. This appeared to have offended Mike King and he left a really vicious-sounding, obscenity-filled voicemail message on the phone one of the “Eating Media Lunch” writers. However, the Herald today reported that Mike King reckoned it was “a joke”.

Well, jokes are usually funny. If I checked my voicemail and found a message from someone I knew calling me a “cocksucking cunt” and saying that my friend was “fucking with the wrong person”, I don’t think I’d be laughing. But if Mike King says this unfunny voicemail is a joke, then it kind of reinforces the cartoon dog’s opinion of Mike King’s comedy skills.

2. I saw a guy in a Ferrari Testarossa run a red light. Multiple cars had started moving in the other direction. He even going up a hill, so it’s not like he couldn’t stop. No one said it, but there was this kind of universal you wanker vibe. Then I was thinking, if you drive a Ferrari Testarossa around Auckland, everyone’s going to think you’re wanker. Even if you are actually a good driver, people are going to think you’re a wanker, so why not just drive poorly and fulfil their expectations?

3. I saw Paselode at the Dogs Bollix on Wednesday. It’s weird seeing bands when I’m wearing ear plugs. I couldn’t find my good ear plugs, so I had to use the foam ones I got on an aeroplane. They reduced the volume, but seemed to cut out the joy. It was strange.

4. I went to the yarn store yesterday. Specifically, this is the Spotlight store at Wairau Park. (I didn’t buy yarn, but I like calling it that, ok?). Spotlight is staffed by women who appear to be lower-middle class housewives who have thought that it might be nice having a bit of extra income. The store was a mess, with almost every aisle having stock strewn about the floor being reshelved. As I was browsing near the embroidery racks, I heard two staff members bitching about the Australian-based management. There seemed to have been some sort of executive decision made that no full-time staff would be working over the holiday rush. One of then reckoned it would mean a drop in sales. The other said she hoped it would, so that the management would realise how bad their decision was. Bags not working at or shopping at a store where the staff openly discuss how much they hate it.

Bad Directions

I have a car and a drivers license. Several of my friends don’t. So sometimes I find myself giving them lifts to places. I have eventually come to realise that people who don’t drive can be really bad navigators.

When walking is your primary mode of transport, you take the quickest route. You don’t have to worry about traffic lights, rush hour traffic or what lane to be in. You can go down a one-way street in the wrong direction, and if there’s a walkway at the end of a dead-end street, you can ignore that “No Exit” sign.

Here are four situations I’ve been in with non-driving bad directions-giving passengers.

The Impossible Right-Hand Turn

“Ok, now turn right up here.”

But it’s not just any right-hand turn. It’s a right-hand turn into a busy, four-laned road, in the middle of rush hour and the only way I have a chance of making that right turn is if I were to wait there for about two hours until the traffic dies down. So instead I make a left hand turn, with the plan being that I turn into the next street on the right, do a u-turn down that, and turn left back on to the road I was originally supposed to turn right down.

“No, I said turn RIGHT!!!”

The One-Way Street

“Turn down this street here.”

So I stick my indicator on and slow down and prepare to turn, but something’s wrong. There’s a no entry sign. That’s right, it’s a one-way street, and I’m about to drive down it the wrong way.

“I can’t go down here. It’s a one-way street.”
“Oh, um, well I guess you’ll have to take the next one. This is how I go when I walk.”

The Quickest Route

“Hey, where are you going? Shouldn’t you be going that way?”

Yes, but that way has five sets of traffic lights, where as this way has only two. That way also goes past the motorway on-ramp, which usually gets queues, and I don’t want to get stuck behind one of those. That way is quicker if you take a short cut through the big park, but as I’m not driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and as I think the city council wouldn’t be too happy about me driving all over the grass, I think I’ll stick to this way.

The Lack of Directions

“Go along here.”

Ok, I’m driving down this street, but the street is coming to and end pretty soon. I have three options; left, right or straight. I need to know which way to go so I can get into the correct lane. The passenger is in the middle of telling me a funny story.

“Then we left the party and…”
“Where do I go now?”
“Where do I go now? Left, right or straight?”
“Shall I just stop here in the middle of the street until you make up your mind?”
“Go left!”

Too late. I missed the left turn lane. Straight ahead it is.

The Lack of Warning

“Turn left, now!”

Suddenly the passenger sees the street I’m supposed to turn down and tells me. However, if I were to attempt to turn down it, I’d have to suddenly slam on the brakes, and jerk the steering wheel hard to the left. I used to trust people’s timing and once ended up driving up on a concrete island at a service station because I thought “turn in here” meant “you have enough stopping distance to safely turn in here now.”