I wanna hex you up

In lieu of actually properly writing something, here are some recent tweets:

My Sunday exploration has revealed that Karori has two supermarkets and not much else.
2:01 PM Jul 26th

I love that Color Me Badd’s Wikipedia entry has a subsection titled “Downhill Slide“.
1:38 PM Jul 27th

A #nzff poster taunts me with its image of the good-times train while instead I wait for the crap-times bus.
5:39 PM Jul 27th

I made a Mad Men cartoon likeness of myself: http://bit.ly/ojc28
12:13 AM Jul 29th

In lieu of sitting down and actually properly writing something (which would take a bit of effort), I redesigned my blog.

Well, I switched WordPress themes from K2 to Atahualpa. K2 was OK, but I got a bit sick of how the text was justified and, well, I felt like a change. Atahualpa is nice. It does what I want it to do, and now I can finally start mucking around with WP widgets. It takes a bit of self-restraint to not fill up all the sidebars with stuff. Oh hey, stop looking over there – keep your eyes in the middle!

In lieu of putting some time aside and actually properly writing something, I took some photos:

Haere maiFutuna cookieWot?Last train to Matangi

I take lots of photos but I don’t get around to uploading them much due to my iBook being almost ready to donate to a technology museum as an example of how computers were in the olden days.

But eventually I get motivated enough to set aside an hour or so and get the photos off my camera, tagged and uploaded.

See the last photo – the one of the train? That’s a drawing of one of the new Matangi trains that’ll be replacing Wellington’s urban trains next year.

As previously mentioned, Matangi was also the name of the little village I grew up in, south-east of Hamilton. But now seeing this train with Matangi in its destination board makes me feel a little bit ill.

It’s as if one day I could get on the train, expecting it to take me to the Hutt, but actually its destination would be Matangi, and I’d end up getting off at the siding by the old dairy factory:

View Larger Map

Also, see how it’s quite a nice sunny day in the Google Streetview pic but yet it looks really bleak and desolate? That was my childhood. I hope this helps explain my my issue with the trains being called Matangi.

In lieu of actually properly writing something, I renamed my website. Sort of.

My site has been called Robyn’s Secret Passage since I bought secret-passage.com in 1998 (You can read more on that history here.)

I thought it was a perfectly nice name, but I eventually got sick of the “Hur hur hur O RLY” response when I’d first tell someone what it was.

I’d switched to robyngallagher.com but my site was still titled Robyn’s Secret Passage. Then a couple of weeks ago, I decided to ditch that name and just name the site after myself.

Even though it just required changing text in a box in WordPress, I found it a strangely emotional experience. It took a while before I could click the “Save Changes” button.

I also ditched the tagline “The coolness that is Robyn”. That one originates from something that OG journal girl Olivia wrote in her online journal about a party she’d held and how “the coolness that is Dean and Robyn” came. (Jesus, that was too long ago.)

From memory, I originally used it ironically, but 10 years later it’s tired and faded and what it says doesn’t match me any more. Like a pair of those bumster jeans from the late ’90s.

In lieu of actually properly writing something, I’ve sort of tricked myself into actually properly writing something.

Coco loco

I have returned from New Caledonia. It was choice.

My top three things:

  1. Revisting the Tjibaou Centre.
  2. The coconut yoghurt I found at the supermarche.
  3. Discovering the ruins of the old Club Med.

I’ll write more later, but until then, please entertain yourself with a selection of photos:

Thursday market

Master Blaster

Skip When Shuffling: Yes (it’s too depressing otherwise)

A few days ago I was listening to my iPod on shuffle on the way home from work when Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” came on. It’s a cool song. It was released in 1980 and is a feel-good tribute to Bob Marley, with the classic forget-your-worries-and-have-a-good-time theme.

But then the second verse came along and Stevie sang of one of his reasons to be jammin’:

Peace has come to Zimbabwe
Third World’s right on the one
Now’s the time for celebration
‘Cause we’ve only just begun

Oh no.

It’s hard to hear that lyric now without feeling sad. Back when that song was written, Zimbabwe had just won independence from the British and Mugabe was going to usher in a new era of strength, hope and, uh, peace.

Things weren’t supposed to go in totally the opposite direction.

Plastic Fan-frickin’-tastic

I was in at Salvation Army shop in Naenae, when I found a tape called “We Carry The Cup” – the official EP soundtrack for the 1986 America’s Cup campaign. It features the #1 smash hit song “Sailing Away”, which is probably the worst song ever in the history of anything ever. Ever.

I realised that someone born after, say, 1983, would have no memory of the magical time prior to 1986 when New Zealanders did not generally care about boat racing. They probably have no memory of cassette tapes either.

I showed various people the tape and one of the first things a lot of them said was, “Do you have tape player?” Yeah, I have a double cassette deck in my stereo (high-speed dubbing!). As totally obvious as it is, I didn’t realise that ordinary stereos don’t have tape players any more. They’re about as archaic now as a cathode-ray television. My stereo seems so old I feel like it should have doily on top of it.

Photos? Oh, why not!

Ignore him. He's just doing it to get attention.

Jesus of Naenae was such a staunch Housemartins fan, he shaved a cross into the side of his head.

Mothra Fail

“It’s a giant moth – a moth as big as Godzilla. If only there was some word we could use that would evoke both the scary sci-fi of a Godzilla-like creature and general mothiness. Oh, I know – Mothzilla!!!!”

Yes, we have those too

What, you mean your local copy shop doesn’t do laminating? Get with it!

Shining, not raining

I went to the Grey Lynn Park Festival yesterday. It didn’t rain, which is a remarkable achievement. Nice one, the weather.

The park was full of people and entertainment, but in a way there was nothing special. A lot of it is the same sort of stuff that is found at other festivals and market days.

My favourite thing was finding a stall that had a number of people I’d seen at the last Craftwerk I went to, including the DIY badge-making lady. Among the badge-making materials was a copy of the Alphabetical Spelling List book, a classic New Zealand primary school textbook. In that, next to the entry for “no” was a bracketed example that provided me with an ideal badge material:

No good

I had a nice time. It was a lovely sunny day, and the park was full of happy people, from Grey Lynn teen gangs to young mothers to dudes with Movember moustaches to little kids running around.

More photos can be found by clicking on this lady:

Stylish lady

Stupid Adventures


This was part of a float in the Melbourne Fringe Festival parade. I saw it and I ran after it with my camera because I thought it was so apt.

Yes, I went to Melbourne and I had many stupid adventures.

Sometimes my digital camera went along for the ride. Here are some of the adventures I had:

Stupid Adventures: Fringe Festival Parade

Viva Brunswick Street!


To mark the start of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, there was a parade held down Brunswick Street. Brunswick Street is approximately the coolest street in the entire universe. It is the home of PolyEster Books, which is the coolest bookshop in the entire universe.

Hey Slag


There was a cage with a couple of slappers in it fighting each other. I think there may have been some kind of Melbourne injoke happening that I missed. I love the “Hey Slag” stop sign. I want one for my lounge.

Naked Man


I looked up and there was a naked man walking a dog. He had “Is it art?” painted on his chest, and “No butts about it” on his back. Good on him. Everyone was staring at his donger. I would have taken a photo of it, but my camera was on playback mode, so I only got his arse.

Less than a week later I saw another manpenis. It the infamous “show us your bits” incident at the National Young Writers Festival. During a spoken word performance, the emcee got the audience to yell out “show us ya bits!” when each performer took to the mike. One dude got up there, unzipped his pants and showed everyone his bits.

The Parade

The parade was lots of fun. It was mostly people promoting various shows and performances that were part of the Fringe Festival. I think it was the most enjoyable parade I’ve been too. There were hotdogs too, which was choice.

Lovely Lady


There was a lovely lady in the parade. As she got down to where I was someone yelled out for her to sing a song, so she launched into “Fitzroy, Fitzroy” a celebration of the suburb we were in. My favourite line was, “I wanna wake up in the suburb that never wakes up!” Along came a guy walking on his hands. Very good.

St. K.F.C.


This was a float promoting a play that had something to do with the St Kilda Saints, the AFL team of St Kilda. I like the Saints, cos their initials are “St. K.F.C.” Like there’s a patron saint of fried chicken.

One cool thing about Australia, particularly Melbourne, is how footy isn’t just the domain of bogans. Really cool, arty people dig football too.

Stupid Adventures: Nine One One

Prayer Vigil


September 11 happened when I was in Melbourne. This sign was outside St Augustine’s Church, a Catholic Church on Bourke Street.

Church and Tower

This is St Augustine’s Church with the Rialto Tower, Melbourne’s tallest building, in the background. It’s like, really symbolic, or something.



I was waiting for the 96 tram on Spencer Street, just outside the Crown Casino. There’s a walkway that runs along the banks of the Yarra River, and the casino building is on the other side of that. Along the walkway are a number of small towers (about 5 metres tall, I think) and they have water running down the side of them.

Anyway, suddenly there was this loud “whoomp!” noise and a bright flash of light. I turned around and there were flames shooting from the top of these towers. Sometimes just one tower, sometime all of the towers.

The eerie thing was that from the distance I was standing, the towers had about the same proportions as the two World Trade Center towers. To see them with flames shooting out of the top felt really strange. Maybe normally it would have been quite exciting, it might have caused a few people to say “oooh!” but that night all the other people watching at the tram stop were strangely quiet.

US Consulate


I was on the 16 tram going down St Kilda Road. It’s a long tree-line boulevard, but also the location of large office buildings. I noticed one building had a whole lot of bunches of flowers and stuff outside it.

A couple of days later, on the same tram, I got off and took a closer look. It was the United States Consulate, and indeed the garden and front of the building were almost completely covered with bouquets of flowers, signs, cards and bad poetry.

Stupid Adventures: Smack

Needle Disposal


New Zealand doesn’t have a massive heroin problem. Apparently Christchurch is where all the smackheads are (!). But it’s there in Australia. Most public toilets in Mebourne had yellow biohazard needle disposal boxes. This one was at the Victorian Art Gallery.

There were other signs too. The beach at St Kilda was raked every day to remove any needles left there. A local burger restaurant had a sign on the toilet door saying that junkies needn’t bother asking for the toilet key.

Blue Lights


An alternative to the needle disposal boxes is to make it difficult for junkies to shoot up in toilets. This is done by having blue lighting, which I think is meant to make it hard to find veins.

This toilet, in an aracde on Lygon Street, had blue lights. However, there was a window on the far wall, meaning that the cubical nearest that got a lot of natural light. So I guess if you were wanting to shoot up there, there wouldn’t be much stopping you.



Ah yeah, see you down at the Skanc for a pint, me old cobber. That’s the St Kilda Army and Navy Club. But oh my, what a wonderful acronym!

The George


This is The George and it’s on Fitzroy Street. It’s a really cool old hotel. All the paint is peeling off it, but it looks so much better like that than if it would if it was freshly painted. Next to it (obscured by the tree) is the George Cinema, for all your cinematic requirements.

Fitzroy Street


This is more of Fitzroy Street. That Burger King suddenly appeared overnight. There were no “coming soon!” signs. There were hordings up, then suddenly one day they came down and there it was. I think this may have been because there’s been a bit of opposition to the appearance of big burger restaurants in the area. Stealthy! But anyway, the building next to it is nice.

Stupid Adventures: Dominant Paradigm Subversion

Stop Mural Experiments


This piece of graffiti makes me happy. It is raging against all those community murals designed by committee that are so determined to include something for everyone, that they end up with nothing much for anyone.

As far as I can tell, the graffiti has been up there for a few years and no one’s made any attempt to paint over it.



Every Friday a group of protesters gather outside the big Nike store on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets and protest against child labour, capitalism and all the other stuff they read about in “No Logo”.

When the protests started they were intended as a blockade to stop people entering the store, but Nike got the police in, so every Friday a few police stand at the door while a bunch of hippies give out pamphlets.

Marvellously Authentic


I think it’s a traffic controller box. Someone has decided that they are ugly as they are and got a local artist to spruce it up. I was waiting for the 96 or the 16 tram on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets and I saw that someone had cleverly written “how marvellously inauthentic this mural is” on top of it. The great thing is that it blends in so well that looks like it’s actually part of the mural. It’s only when you look closely that you can see it’s written in correction fluid, not paint.

Olympic Training


This is on a wall outside Luna Park. It’s obviously been there for for at least a year, and yet no one has called in the local graffiti removal crew. I think it’s beautiful, both parodying those lose weight/make money signs that people put up around the place, and a call to arms for angry citizens sick of all the Olympics hype.

Stupid Adventures: Footscray

Footscray Station


Seen “Romper Stomper,” the 1992 movie about a bunch of skinheads, starring Russell Crowe? That was set in Footscray, so I wanted to go there and see if it was like it was in the movie.

Footscray was not all blue and gloomy. It was bright and sunny.

No Skinheads


I saw no skinheads in Footscray, but I saw many Vietnamese. It feels very exotic, like maybe I was in some country in South East Asia. Except for the Victorian state licence plates.

Footscray Markets


The Footscray Markets rule. There are plenty of markets around Melbourne that sell similar stuff to the Footscray markets. But unlike the Queen Victoria or Prahran markets, tourists don’t normally go to the Footscray Markets. They have their priorities right: meat on one side, everything else on the other.



This photo is a bit boring because it was getting late in the day and there was no direct sunshine. But yay, pretty pink blossoms in Footscray!



This is a version of the fairly standard community mural. It runs the gamut, from pre-European times, the arrival of the white man, early days and modern times. It looks fairly sturdy, so if some angry skinheads attacked it, it’d remain standing.

Stupid Adventures: Miscellaneous Melbourne

Commit No Nusance


This was a little street off Bourke Street. Someone had gone to the trouble to paint “COMMIT NO NUISANCE” on the wall. Would this work? If there were a bunch of drunken hooligans on their way to see a game down the road at Colonial Stadium, would they see that and say, “Oh hey guys, not here. Let’s take our bad behaviour around the corner.”



The Anti-Cancer Council is a far more sensible name than the Cancer Society. Wow, maybe all the cancer societies around the world are really pro-cancer? Or maybe it’s a society for people who were born between June 22 and July 22.

Gog and Magog


These two fellows are Gog and Magog and they live at the end of the Royal Arcade which runs between Bourke and Little Collins Streets. When I visited Melbourne ten years ago (right when the Coode Island fires were happening) I took a photo of this and eventually I’ll remember where it is, scan it and stick it up here.



I think this is the BHP building. I took this picture from Spencer Street Station. I think it looks bleak. It inspires bad poetry.

Foxy Ladies


This was on the side of a pub in Spotswood. There was a movie called “Spotswood” which also featured Russell Crowe. Spotswood has this pub, a bunch of factories and Scienceworks, the science museum. It’s like, you get to Spotswood, then you leave.

Westgate Bridge


What’s big and grey and squashes lunch boxes? The Westgate Bridge. Ha ha! That’s hilarious because in 1970 when the Westgate Bridge was being built something went horribly wrong and part of it collapsed killing 35 construction workers and assumingly 35 lunchboxes too.

Do Not Spit

Spitting must have been enough of a problem at Flinders Street Station for someone to paint “DO NOT SPIT” on the wall. I don’t think the sign really works all that well, cos it looks like it’s been spat upon.



This is some graffiti just down the tracks from the Moorabbin train station, and just down the road from the Ikea store. I include it here to make things look gritty and urban.

Moorabbin Station


More urban grit. This time in the form of my leg, the train station shelter, someone’s almost-empty bottle of Ribena and “WET PAINT” chalked on the ground.



“Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.”
– “Trainspotting” script, Irvine Welsh and John Hodge, 1996

“Choose Cadbury”
– Cadbury advertisements, 2001

Lygon Street


Lygon Street: it’s full of good things, such as Italian Restaurants, the Vic Roads office (where I got a Victorian drivers licence), and Cinema Nova. I saw a preview of “Lantana” screened there. Four of the actors came and talked before the film, which was rather special.

Stupid Adventures: Public Transport



Hey, let’s talk about Melbourne’s public tranport: it rocks! This is Spencer Street station (and a lovely lens flare). I caught a few trains from here, my word yes. When I was hooning out to the Ikea store, I got the Frankston train and got off at the Moorabbin station (which meant travelling to a zone 2 station on my zone 1 ticket). But a couple of times I got the Werribee train.

Futura Tram


There’s a new futura tram being introduced to Melbourne. It’s a low ridin’ one, which is good for old ladies. This is the 96 going up Bourke Street to East Brunswick. I never got to ride on one of the new trams, though.

Spencer Street Station


This is the view from a seat at Spencer Street station. I took this while I was waiting for the Werribee train. Note the use of yellow and green in the station sign. That is because those are the national colours of Australia. I guess it’s more interesting than black and white.



Most the the time the trains ran with a Mussolini-like precision. But sometimes they didn’t. This was one of those times. It was Saturday, and all these people had been at the Royal Melbourne Show thing and the train they were waiting for at Flinders Street Station had been delayed. So they all hung out with their bags of goodies waiting for their train.

Tram Art

As part of the Fringe Festival, a number of trams had some sentences in orange letters written across them. This is one that was on Swanston Street, outside the Victorian Library. I can’t remember what it said, probably something very cool.



Here are a bunch of standard, run-of-the-mill trams at the St Kilda interchange. The grey one in front is the 96, which used to be my favourite tram until I discovered the 112. The far one is the 69, and the middle one might be the 16.

I was talking to a guy at the NYWF. He was orignally from Wellington, but was now in Melbourne at university. We were talking about how incredibly cool the trams are. I think it’s due being able to travel without buying a ticket (even though you’re supposed to), so heaps of crazy people get on board. It’s also due to the open layout of the trams. Because they go in both directions, the seats are in pairs facing each other. It’s almost like sitting at a booth in a diner. Trams are good on an almost spiritual level.

(That’s all.)

Things To Do III

It’s another year and I’m still only semi-employed. But using the spare time I have in such abundant supply, I managed to get some recent photos off my digital camera and am happy to present them to you as part three of the “Things To Do In Dorkland When You’re Semi-Employed” trilogy.

Adult Concepts


One of my favourite phrases is “Adult Concepts”. As previously noted, realistically adult concepts would refer to things like dealing with putting your aging parents in a rest home or choosing a good accountant. However, adult concepts is just another name for porn. I was walking home one day and saw the local adult video shop had it’s front window painted up boldly proclaiming the aforementioned concepts, and I just had to take a picture.

More Bee


I was perplexed by the “Corporate Beeburger” graffiti. Things got even more intriguing when I was walking home along a different route and saw some graffiti on the side of a block of flats proclaiming “Bee violence, bee control”. Now, after I put up the photo of the beeburger graffiti, I received an email from a concerned citizen, who said they thought that the bee in question was a reference to the Beehive, i.e. the government. This kind of fits in with the second lot of bee graffiti, yet it is still perplexing.



I have a little plastic Buddha. I’m not a Buddhist, but I think it looks pretty cool and sometimes I rub his head for good luck. The plastic flowers accompanying Mr Buddha have a bit of significance. The purple one is a remnant of a Hawaiian shirt Friday at my old job, and the yellow flower is from the Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day. The Buddha is sitting on a sushi rolling mat I bought from the Dollar 1 2 3 shop. I have never rolled sushi in it.



There was this band called Delta and I knew their drummer. Delta broke up (and everyone cried) and had a final concert. I wasn’t on the guestlist, but I scammed my way in (“Yeah, I’m on the list. There. That name.”) and saw their very last concert at the King’s Arse tavern. I took a picture of the entry stamp on my hand for posterity.

James Bond


A slight detour from Dorkland, we shall momentarily head south to Hamiltron, to the classy suburb of Claudelands, to the corner of James and Bond street where you can see how the street signs read “James Bond”. I used to live just down the road from this sign on Argyle Street. We thought it was really cool to have James Bond so close by. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t think we gave much thought to it at all.



Back up to Dorkland, here is a picture of the suburb of Kingsland, featuring the Newton Road on-ramp to the North-Western motorway. Cool, huh? Well, the cool thing about this is before the motorway was put through all these streets came down the hill, then up the other side of the hill to Grey Lynn. When the motorway was put through it chopped all the streets in half.

Pure Massacre


And on the pedestrian over-bridge that goes over the motorway, more graffiti can be seen (possibly also by the author of the Bee graffiti). This time it’s the chorus from that rockin’ Silverchair song “Pure Massacre”. I’m particularly impressed by the presence of a hyphen to show that the word was so long it had to be carried on to the next line.

Well, those were a few recently highlights of my days as a semi-employed beegirl in Auckland.

Soon after uploading this page, I received this email from a concerned reader:

Your photos-of-stuff page sucked. Because Kingsland, Hamilton and Bee pictures suck.

So do Adult concepts.

You have been warned.

Jimmy Nuang

As per Mr Nuang’s comments, there will be no more Things To Do. A trilogy is quite enough.

Things To Do II

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this, but since then I’ve gone from being unemployed to semi-employed, or rather, I get to say I’m freelancing.

As a result I have to do things and don’t have as much time to spend dicking around doing nothing. Also, my digital camera and/or my computer has gone mental and as a result I can’t upload any recent amusing pictures I’ve taken.

So instead here is a collection of older pictures that have been sitting around on my computron 2000. In order to give them a bit of cohesion, I have used my creative skills and constructed a jolly fictional narrative. It shall be called “Things to do in Dorkland when you’re semi-employed”.

10 December 2000

So I was out walking one day when suddenly the futility and emptiness of modern life dawned upon me. “Oh!” I thought to myself. “It’s all rubbish!” I decided to turn to drugs to drown my sorrows.

Then as I strolled along Symonds Street a bright red poster caught my eye.

Hugs not drugs

Yes! That was the answer! Life might be a bunch of arse, but it’s nothing a good hug won’t solve. I grabbed the nearest person, a taxi driver going into the Chinese food place to get some lunch and hugged him. I don’t need no drugs, I’m high on life!

With this new-found highness, I strolled down the end of Mount Eden Road and noticed a sign advertising some land the city council was selling.

Comic sans

The use of red was pretty eye-catching, but what was even better was the use of the MS Comic Sans font and double spacing of “M a g n i f i c e n t ! !” If I happened to be looking for some land in scenic Mount Eden, I certainly would not hesitate to purchase it based on the savviness of that sign!

It was but a short stroll to Queen Elizabeth II Square where I noticed a sign outside the old post office crediting the “copywright” of a quote on it.


Oh, ha ha ha. “Copywright”. Is that the copyright that a playwright holds on a work?

Still high on life and giggling merrily at the silly things that people put on signs, I journeyed over to Royal Oak where I noticed a sign for a stonemason that looked like the person who painted the sign hadn’t planned ahead and suddenly found themself running out of room mid-word.


But unlike all the other signs that had obviously been designed by professionals, this one had a certain naive charm. And y’know, I expect good signs from signwriters and good walls from stonemasons, not the other way around.

Back in the city centre, I noticed a sign taped to the window of a cafe down Queen Street, advising passers-by that “no change is given for parking metres”.

Parking metres

It’s just as well that I don’t have any metres that need to be parked, then.

I headed off to the Auckland Domain where I saw a food van selling hotdogs, ice cream and other treats parked right next to a couple of portaloos.

Portaloo food

Coincidence? Or is one necessary because of the other?

Tiring of the amusements of the city, I once again headed out into the suburbs, returning to Royal Oak. I saw a sign painted on the window of a bicycle shop suggesting that “[o]n a fine day why not “bicycle to work””.


By putting “bicycle to work” in quotes could really mean anything. It might actually mean “On a fine day why not stay at home spending all day on the couch watching talk shows and soaps and eating five tubes of Pringles before you realise how meaningless your life is and start on that bottle of wine you were saving for Christmas.” But I think that a bicycle shop probably wouldn’t go for that line of advertising.

Well, time was getting on so I decided to end the day with a walk up Mount Victoria. Imagine my delight at seeing a woman with a huge bubble butt!

Mighty arse

Well, what an eventful day I had.