I've been eating in Ipswich for 6 weeks now and are underwhelmed. Sure, there has been a fair amount of adequate food, and I'm sure the less appealing meals have been at least partly due to a newcomer's inability to correctly assess the potential of a venue before going in.
But somehow, it lacks the tasty qualities that New Zealand food has acquired in the last 20 years.
(Note: It is almost exactly 20 years since we saw the back of Muldoon and the baby-boomers took over, well some of them did anyway.)
I remember a German cousin of mine commented that New Zealand wine was boisterous. I didn't think much of that at the time, as German wine making is pretty tightly controlled.
But now I have a feeling there was something more to it. I was trying to describe it to a local and could only describe NZ cuisine as a well-organised train wreck. I miss it. But, in good news, I have found a voluble Canadian who served me a *huge* chicken sandwich (it was almost taller than it was wide). It having defeated me in the lunch stakes, I'm taking it home for dinner :)
I've always wondered why the people I know who are most into computers seem to be the ones who are most likely to swear at them volubly.
I think I've finally figured it out.
These people have spent embarrasingly large amounts of time learning how to be efficient with computers. They have tweaked their hardware (and upgraded various unpronounceable bits). They have installed extensions, adaptions, and in some cases compiled their own operating system for that noone-has-one-quite-like-me-quality. They have installed obscure programs which promise to monitor the hell out of their performance so they can make it even faster. They have probably spent time figuring out how to make the cursor blue and the typeface for *everything* bright red. They may even have learned to touch type.
And then the damn thing responds like a angsty teenager doing household chores. Maybe it is processing some dreadfully large and important problem somewhere in its depths. Maybe there is some horrible conflict between the aims of two of the programs. Maybe some bit of hardware is self-aware and trying to explain to the microphone socket that it doesn't have to take just any input. Who knows? All that is experienced at the user end is the computer equivalent of playing Wagner on a penny whistle.
I wrote this in a email earlier today and thought it as good a rendition of my thinking on this point so far:
I've been pondering how cultures sit together, and what the role of a dominant culture is, and the role of an immigrant culture. Being in England (and particularly England not the other nations in the UK) makes me aware of how people want to retain the culture they were born with, and I think no-one would seek to deny that right. Yet cultures which try to dominate other cultures are frowned upon, people who ignore other cultures are labelled facists, and dominant cultures are regarded as little more than a weed. I've come to a sort of consensus among my opinions that cultures must be measured on their willingness to contribute to the future culture of the group (whether the group is geographically located or centred around something else like business or cricket). Obviously, the English have a big space in which they can decide what they would like to contribute to cricket in the future. But that is a substantively different position than asserting their right to have cricket follow their culture - whether their culture is contributing or not.
To have this opinion you have to take the point of view that culture is an inherantly temporal thing, and you must accept that it will change. Rather like language I suppose. Once you accept that point, the game becomes about engaging in where that culture is going. If you aren't moving and contributing you'll find your culture irrelevant. Though as I write this I notice that I am changing the focus to the future in typically western style. hah! oh well.
And yet, there is an inherant process by which the new generations take in the traditions and heritage that they choose to carry. Rather like some kind of evolution, some things survive and others don't. So my position is clearly about engaging with how the culture is developing and how the various cultures of New Zealand are combining into something rich and sustaining.
resealable plastic bags for rice and pasta.
greatly appreciated by those of us who have no tupperware.
make you feel better when you are having a depressingly frustrating day.
I just got IDed at the supermarket. Apparently I had to be at least 18 to purchase 4 cans of beer. And all I had on me was my NZ driver's licence. Heh.
Fortunately I look a lot younger in my driver's licence photo - so I think she figured that I wasn't actually as young as I looked. I also think the surprised and bemused expression i had as I tried to figure out if my NZ driver's licence would work helped. Nothing like genuine surprise at being considered nab-worthy to make you look innocent ;)
I remember reading an article/opinion piece from someone in the Listener who was against the Civil Union Bill because he didn't want to be a second class citizen. He wanted true parity or none at all. He also assumed that once CU was acheived there would be no compelling reason to allow same sex couples to marry.
1) 20 years of successful civil unions would nomalise the idea that non-marital unions are just as valid as marital ones. This should smooth the way for acceptance of a widening of the legal framework of family recognition. So I actually think CUs will support the acceptance of same sex relations in NZ.
2) I don't care what it is called, I want access to legal recognition for my relationship. If I want to (and I most certainly do not) I can *call* it marriage, or whatever else I like. Print up invitations to a marriage, publish banns at a friendly church, have one or more brides or grooms and even eat wedding cake. Just in the way that different sex couples can currently get legally married, but call it a handfasting or comittment ceremony.
p.s. Isn't it curious that we put all this moral and spiritual weight on a relationship contract, but none on owning land.
It is actually windy today. A soft, warm Westerly.
And it made me indecently happy. :)
In other thoughts: there seems to be a suggestion that the chunk of land you are born on makes a difference to "who you are" and, consequently, where you belong. This suggestion is used to support the notion that New Zealand is an independant culture, and that we don't need to record or try to understand our pre-New Zealand cultures. So no Rennaissance masters in the Te Papa painting collection, and no Saxon coins or chinese cannons either.
I think this is daft. For example, if a Maori person is born in Australia, that doesn't make their New Zealand heritage any the less important to them.
But I've also been thinking that the past umpteen (read I couldn't be bothered researching the actual number but I am confident it is high) kings and queens of Great Britain have been born in England. So, does that mean that the kings and queens of britain are English? (ok, there were the Germans, but they claimed to be properly British when they assumed the crown) And would it make any difference if they were born in Scotland. Or Wales?
The main reason I'm concerned about this is the overwhelming *Englishness* of, well, particularly East Anglia. I can forgive the Anglians (which I always mistake for Anglicans) for feeling English rather than British, but people from Cumbria? Or Yorkshire? I have heard that it is a result of Euro 2004 (big soccer tournament including the best national teams of greater Europe). But surely, the preponderance of English teams indicates a profound lack of realisation that people from England are actually British? I mean, after 300 years, they are still claiming some kind of independance from each other?
All of which makes our sparse 160-odd years of integration and assimilation between Maori and Pakeha seem like a hasty timetable for unification.
Incidently, some people might argue that language makes more of a difference, and that the kings and queens actually became British when they stopped speaking German (or French or whatever had been their fancy). Consequently it is worth noting that the Prince of Wales actually speaks Welsh. I don't know if any of the current royals have been deputised to learn gaelic tho...
Further to the point about sub-nation "national" teams; I have a feeling New Zealand would retain an independant rugby team, even if we joined the Australian Federation. ;)
And I sometimes wish we could see the USA competing as separate states at the olympics and such. I also have a feeling that the Southern States would be quite happy to have a 'national' team at times.