Archive for the ‘Photo Dump’ Category
All this talk about a hurricane hitting near New York is getting a little old, don’t you think?
“No they’re not ok,” I tell them. “But what’s that got to do with the storm?”
But it isn’t news. The suffering of New Yorkers has been duly recorded. Everybody BEEN knowing about it, as we used to say in the Bronx.
I tried to argue with her. I said, if I saw someone walking toward me with a cat on a leash, I’d think, “What a twat.” (Especially in Parnell). But Jacquie is determined to go through with it, and drag me down with her so we’ll both look like twats. And if that weren’t enough, I left my mobile phone charger at work. So anyone thinking that my people back home deserve more human kindness than me, I ask you, aren’t we the same, in the end? When someone’s a prick, do I not kvetch?
When you’re on holiday, you don’t have to worry about punctuation forming a coherent thought or personal hygeiene.
If you don’t wreak bumbling the neighborhood muttering nonsensical, grammatically incorrect, run on sentences, then you haven’t earned a vacation.
Management experts believe that people who have their shit together must never have a good time. Only the incompetent, they say, should be allowed to take paid leave. I would take this one step further. Incompetent people should be encouraged to spend as much time away from the office as possible. I’m pretty sure that’s why a lot of people at work were happy when I announced I was going to be gone for 10 days. If efficiency and productivity improve by the 200% I expect in my absence, I will recommend to my bosses that I should go on leave indefinitely, so as to lift company performance. Always happy to take one for the team.
It’s crazy. Leaving Auckland for a week. Why would I want to do that? Auckland is an urban planning marvel. It’s the city dreamed by a car. Beware of pedestrians.
It leads to dead spaces.
The only scenario I can imagine in which someone would sit in a space like this is if they’ve just been shivved by a fellow inmate, and they needed a sec to light a cigarette as they bled out.
I haven’t formulated why I think these spaces are because of cars. I’m thinking of explaining it in a photography project cataloging Auckland’s wasted spaces, even crowdfunding for decent equipment.
But cars are definitely a part of the calculation. A lot of people drive them. Entire transportation infrastructures have disappeared.
Obviously it wasn’t cars that obviated railroads. Planes did that. But in truth, the infrastructure hasn’t disappeared.
Some of it ends up with a historical society.:
If you want a glimpse of future events:
That’s Auckland Domain beyond the rail-bed.
A car loves speed and billboards and signs. It is amused by appeals to its addictions. It adores pithiness at 60kph.
Juxtapositions of its basic appetites allow it to dwell on itself. Here is Magnum Ice Cream, in heat. It is barely visible in this shot (there’s another picture below). The ad is essentially a conflation of commodity junk food with coitus. You can buy an orgasm. (I mean, without involving a professional). It guarantees a presumably feminine audience an alternative delight to the one that so often eludes them, at least according to the popular imagination. How are you going to sell that to a man? As the Woody Allen line from Manhattan goes, “I’ve never had the wrong kind. Ever. My worst one was right on the money.”
But if you notice in the picture above, right next to the Magnum ad is Neat Meat:
Part of the joke is cultural specific. Magnum is a condom brand. I’m not the first person to giggle about it.
Neat Meat. Magnum. It’s like a sausage with the casing on it. You see? Or maybe an easier simile: it’s like a penis with a condom on it.
Anyway, back to wasted spaces. This is the oval in front of what was once the Auckland Railway Station.
Which is now pretty much something to park near.
The station facade.
Just in case you mistook the railway station for a railway station, there’s a sign.
Anyway. I’ll kvetch about this crap another time. I just need to rest. Go away.
Jacquie does too. Lately she’s been stepping on the ends of mops and getting clocked in the head by its handle.
Jacquie is the only three dimensional person I know of who has done that. Like in the cartoons. Unless Jacquie is Wilma Flinstone, that really shouldn’t be happening at all.
She says this happens because, “I’m the only one who cleans up around here.”
But I think hitting herself in the head with a mop handle, like in the cartoons, is really some weird cry for help. Obviously, it was an accident, she says. Obviously, Jacquie? Really? Because I think there are no accidents. I mean, you start with these kinds of gestures, and next thing you know you’ll be arranging to have a piano fall on your head. Just like in the cartoons.
Oh, crap. Stick a fork in me because i’m
This is a four-day weekend for many New Zealand companies.
Damned if I’m going to sit here and come up with new material on my day off.
Let someone else take the blame for a change.
With that in mind, here are recent pictures from around the way, interspersed with some kind words submitted to Basement Life by a good friend. If I hadn’t caught his or her email in time, WordPress would have deleted it as Spam. The friend writes:
hey all, I used to be just checkin’ out this blog and I actually admire the basis of the article, and have nothing to do, so if anyone would like to have an engrossing convo about it, please contact me on AIM, my name is heather smith
Definitely one of many challenges which people starting a brand new on-line company face is that of obtaining visitors to their internet site.
My neighbor and I were just debating this particular topic, he’s often in search of to show me incorrect.
What i discover troublesome is to discover a blog that may capture me for a minute however your blog is different. Bravo.
I’ve to admit that i generally get bored to read the entire thing however i think you can add some value. Bravo !
Undoubtedly an exquisite supply of information that is extraordinarily helpful. Cheers!
You’re worthy of thanks for a job perfectly executed!
I definitely enjoy very little, little bit of it I’ve bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you publish.
If potential, as you gain experience, would you mind updating your blog with additional information?
I’m nonetheless learning from you, however I’m enhancing myself.
Hold the stories coming. I actually love reading every part that is. I like your web sites details!
The website is lovingly serviced and stored up to date…Howdy clever points.. now why didn’t i think of these?
Sustain the nice work. Recognize your sharing.
I’d like to use certain of this content material on my blog.
Just a thought, good luck in no matter you do!
I be taught one thing completely new on completely different blogs everyday. I wished to thank you for this great read!!
I realized the other day that I haven’t been “adding value” to my posts the way I used to do.
There’s a good reason. I mean beside from my usual contempt for people who come to my site.
It’s nothing to worry about. Just a mild case of crippling depression.
But I won’t go on about that right now. I’m saving it for sweeps week.
Instead, please look at some more bland photographs of places to go and things to see around Auckland.
I posted some pictures last week from a trip Jacquie and I took in January.
But you people are never satisfied.
Not only do you want me to waste time writing this blog, now you want me to underwrite 300 megabytes worth of bandwidth so you can see my vacation photos?
Well I hope you’re happy now.
Go to my Flickr photo stream so you can see more dull pictures, some even more dull than from last week’s post. You can look at pictures of our hike on the slopes of Mt Taranaki and our visit to the Taranaki Pioneer Village. You could see us walking around Wellington on a rainy day or one that is sunny. Or you could see pictures of Zealandia, a sanctuary for native species enclosed by a 9 km rodent-proof fence. Or not.
The world is in flux. A revolutionary wave of anti-government protest has spread from Tunisia to Egypt, threatening to overturn the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak, a long-time ally of the United States. With all this going on, there are probably a million questions swirling through your mind.
Like, you must be wondering, “How was Simon’s vacation? Did he enjoy himself? Did he bring enough changes of underwear? Or any underwear? Did he maintain an appropriate level of dental hygiene or did he ‘let caution fly to the wind?’”
The answers to these questions go back to early January, as I despaired at the prospect of my impending birthday. Like a physician conducting a colorectal exam, I gaped into the geriatric abyss, and there beheld the unsavory vision of my incipient dotage.
I had to face the music. In a few days, I would turn 40. This was no laughing matter.
Jacquie observed my flagging spirits and proposed we take a trip as a momentary distraction from the disgusting march of time. Our kitchen table was covered instantly with South Pacific travel brochures. They enticed us to balmy tropical paradises. But none was suitable to my advanced state of decay, nor my special dietary requirements. The travel literature before us made few references to coral reef access ramps, no early-bird specials of which to speak. But Jacquie would not be daunted.
Jacquie suggested––after an irritating 20-minute song-and-dance review of The Sound of Music––that I was having a midlife crisis and a midlife crisis called for a road trip.
“Midlife crisis,” I said. “Pshah.”
The phrase smacked to me of man-boys stricken by mortal terror making fools of themselves with women half their age in a futile attempt to deny their burgeoning sexual irrelevance. The idea didn’t sit well with me.
But then I realized that this condition didn’t apply to me thanks to my peculiar genetic inheritance. Given my lumpy, misshapen Irish potato head and my humongous sesame-seed bagel-nose, the fact of the matter is I was never sexually relevant. Crisis averted!
“Still,” I said with a sheepish grin, “there’s one stereotype I’d like to live up to, especially if we’re taking a road trip.”
“What’s that?” Jacquie said.
“Can I blow our life-savings on a really awesome car?”
Jacquie agreed, and so the next day, I got up very early, went straight to the car dealership and recklessly purchased a 2002 Honda Civic Hatchback.
With tinted windows.
And we were on our way.
We were driven by wanderlust down the Forgotten World Highway, a 155 km stretch of mostly paved road wending through rugged pasture land and lush valleys.
We stopped for lunch in the famous-in-New Zealand town of Whangamomona, which declared itself a republic years ago (read about it here). At the Hotel, I ordered a green salad, which arrived covered in ketchup; the town’s efforts to project itself as a colorful tourist attraction had surely paid off.
“This is the best midlife crisis ever,” I said.
I liked Whangamomona. I was sad to see that the hotel was for sale, among other signs that this tiny republic was struggling through hard times. Maybe it was too remote. Maybe other tourists don’t take truck with ketchup salad. Whatever the reason, Whangamomona was getting to be a downer. We had to leave before our wanderlust turned to Weltschmerz.
We drove to the end of the highway, through the hideous town of Stratford.
We went on several hikes around Mt. Taranaki. We intended to enjoy my midlife crisis in the peace and seclusion of our romantic hotel. But we were not alone.
Three British septuagenarians checked in soon after us. We could tell they were British from their baleens. There was one male and two females. The females were curious beasts that did not fear swimming and splashing with humans after finishing their plankton suppers (Which Jacquie and I thought were quite overpriced.)
The British tourists’ attempts to communicate with us, however, were hampered by their cumbersome teeth, forcing them to rely heavily on a combination of clicks, whistles and bodily gestures, as is common among the British. We enjoyed, nevertheless, a polite, if superficial conversation about our respective itineraries.
We later bid our new British friends good night. But as we repaired to our room, we could hear them talking about us in speculative tones.
“What a lovely couple,” one of the ladies said. “And I don’t care how old and decrepit they seem to be. If two consenting adults have functioning units, why shouldn’t they experience pleasurable friction on occasion?”
Needless to say, we soured on the romantic hotel and we left under cover of darkness. We had to keep moving. We had to feel the invigoration of our powerful Honda Civic thrumming under our loins. We drove. We drove hard. Toward Wellington. We didn’t speak at all and we stopped only once to visit the Taranaki Pioneer Village because Lonely Planet said it was “creepy.”
What’s creepy about that? It’s just the human life cycle, done up in mannequins. Life, death, bank loan applications, bad moustaches and wooden meat: Taranaki Pioneer Village was, I realized, an exact replica of my own life. And seeing this taught me something. It made me think how lucky I was not to have to work at the Taranaki Pioneer Village; how fortunate I was to have been born in a time when I could get into my high-performance Honda Civic and drive away from such an awful place at great speed. And as we left, I turned to look back on Pioneer Village one last time.
“Thank you,” I said. “Thank you for teaching me such a great lesson, you stiff, awkward, silent, life-like people.”
“No worries,” said one of the ticket-takers at the entrance. “And you come back any time.”
“Maybe I will,” I said. I pursed my lips, squinted my eyes and nodded deliberately, knowingly. “Maybe I will.”
The ticket taker smiled. A beam of light seemed to shine from her face. I turned to leave. Then I turned back a half-second later and said, “Psyche. I’m never coming back here. What are you fucking kidding me?”
Then we drove off. Me and Jacquie. We headed down south to Wellington and by the time we checked into the hotel there, the malaise of my midlife crisis had begun to lift.
We spent a lot of time in Wellington, eating in cafes and restaurants on Cuba Street, checking out the Te Papa Museum and seeing a rare Kiwi bird up close in the highly valuable Zealandia sanctuary and exhibit.
(Plenty more pictures, but I’m bored by now. Maybe another post. Stay tuned)
We saw a lot and though I was beginning to get used to being 40, I had the strangest sensation walking around Wellington that something still wasn’t right about my life.