30 June 2006

Dining Journal Entry: Roxy

When I heard that there was a (brand) new restaurant round the corner from home called Roxy I had mixed visions of a grand bourbon soaked New York ballroom kind of place or a room full of teenage girl's dressed in ill-fitting colourful surfwear. Fortunately in reality Roxy was neither - instead positioned somewhere in between, with lots of raw brick walls, lots of light, and lots of nice things on the menu.

As far as dining experiences go, it wasn't amazing. The ambiance was a bit starck and well lit for my liking, and though I'm a fan of minimalism in decor, I felt the place needed a load more art, or something to add character to the walls, and soften the echo effect. The place is super-new, so I'm picking it'll grow into a more intimate space as the owners get more comfortable and relaxed there.

The food more than made up for it though - the menu was small but covered all the usual bases well. It looked good on the plate, and there was plenty of it, and it was done simply, but really well, and for a decently small wad of cash. My risotto was spot on - perfectly balanced on that fine line of moistness between soup and fried rice.

I'll be headed back some time soon, if only to get more than a mouthful of the twice cooked pork.
I do think it should be called The Roxy though. Sounds lots cooler.

29 June 2006

Things that suck

When you commute to work on your bike, and forget to pack appropriate socks for wearing with the suit you have stashed in the office. If anyone asks my grey ankle bikey socks and suit is an attempt at pioneering a new look. Part Don Johnson, part Johnsonville Mall.

I think it'll take off. At least until lunchtime, when I can go and get some new ones from Farmers.


Lovely sunrise over the city this morning.
(Actually, I'm just showing off my new camera, and this image was better than one of my desk. Or my hand.)

27 June 2006

Thousands of words

I've finally got sufficient motivation to get a new digital camera, so be prepared for a flurry of photographic activity, as I bore you with images of my daily life...

I've got a wee Leica on order, so at least they'll be good photos, even if the subject matter might be a little weak...

(And two thumbs up for Hutt Cameras. They rock.)

A bird in the hand...

There's quite a good show on at Pataka at the moment looking at Birds in contemporary art. I'll freely admit to being a bit of a fan of thematic contemporary exhibitions, (probably due to being involved in a few) and this one doesn't disappoint.

Lots of really nice works, from a range of emerging and established NZ artists. A good overview of what's happenign now, particularly at a regional level, though lacks a very strong argument to raise questions beyond a collection of works featuring birds.

I always expected Te Papa to be delivery exhbitions of this level, but sadly not. It will be interesting to see if much of Pataka's lead position in the curation field will be eaten into when the revitalised Dowse reopens its doors later this year...

Dining Journal Entry: It's a Sin

New favourite thing: $10 all you can eat Hell pizza, Syn Bar, Monday night.

It's all the flavours of Hell, and the best bit is they're brought to you at your table. You don't even need to stand up. Which is good, because after 10 bits of pizza that gets a little tricky.

Hell, it was a bit like pizza heaven.

23 June 2006

Tourism Boom

Due to all this freakishly cold weather and a truck crash, the only road open between Wellington and Auckland this morning is around the Taranaki coast. Imagine the boom for the coastal tourism number. In 30 years the locals will look back with teary eyes, and recall the winter of 06, the swelling numbers of tourists, all stopping in Opunake at Sugar Juice for a coffee. Visitor numbers at the Govett-Brewster will be forever skewed, as the travelling masses stop for a wee and a dose of culture. Some poor future marketing and audience development manager will be hauled over the coals for not getting numbers through the door like the gallery "did back in '06".

Other than that it's a bloody nice drive, particularly when the mountain looks like this. And there'll be a solid southerly swell wrapping around every point along the coast. I do wonder though how long it'll remain open, given the liklihood of a crash on the nasty corner by the Oeo pub...

21 June 2006


Why does it always start raining 5 minutes befor I'm due to leave the building?

20 June 2006

"Shoulda been here yesterday. It was six foot and glassy, eh"

19 June 2006

Updates ahoy!

And Sez has finally updated her blog, during a spare moment in a hotel in Amsterdam.
And yes I am jealous.


Backhouse Interiors had a sale on this weekend. It was dangerous. It took a lot of self control (and a degree of self flagellation) to only walk out a small Kartell unit and a little desk storage thing. Unlike someone I know, who managed to buy half the shop.

Hanging out for the ECC sale now...

Dining Journal Entry: Tulsi

Years ago I went to Tulsi quite a bit - it had a nice mix of contemporary styling, good service, great butter chicken, handy location, and affordable prices. So you'll forgive me for expecting at least most of that when I went back on Saturday. Sadly no.

It may have been a case of bad timing (ie half way through a rugby game which was being broadcast on a big screen in the restaurant), but the service was bleak. Just imagine not being able to get a drink (or a drinks menu even) in an Indian restaurant, during an All Blacks game. Bizarre.

The food was good though. Just kind of overshadowed.

Open Season

This weekend's addition to the social calendar was the opening of City Gallery's winter season on Saturday night. As far as they go it was a good opening - speeches were interesting and relatively brief (due possibly to the absence of both the Gallery Director and Mayor). City do a fun thing of withholding wine, food, and art until after the speeches. I guess that works for them, but creates a hell of a bottleneck, in what is a tight space anyway.

The shows offer an interesting mix of old, new, borrowed, but not much blue. Guy Ngan is the standout for me, even if it is a sort of Retrospective Lite. I can see one of his big public sculptures from my office.

And I liked the 2x2 format. But am I being too demanding in wanting more from my gallery (I am a ratepayer now) than just some paintings/photos on a wall. I want curation, dammit, if only to answer a niggling question of what City's staff actually do all day. I want to leave with questions. And answers (but to other questions - not the ones I'm also coming out with). The Ngan show did that, as did the reliably provocative show at Hirschfield. But the others? Not so much.

And I still maintain Elizabeth Thomson's work sits more at the craft end of the spectrum than contemporary art. But well done that Mark Hutchins for getting yet another of his artists into City - it's almost enough to warrant a call of shenannigans.

14 June 2006

Quiz night.

I was roped into filling a seat on a quiz team last night at the Speights Ale House (terrible name for a pub). When I say roped in, I really mean asked icely. The team managed 3rd place, which I thought was pretty sharp. And it was quie fun.

I thought about a team of bloggers entering, but then decided that all our secret identities would be revealed, and the sense of intrigue would be lost. .

And for the record Barry Bostwick appeared in both Spin City and the original lineup of Rocky Horror Picture Show. And it is possible to shoot 285 free-throws in 10 minutes. (We would have got first if we'd known that yesterday).

Knowledge. Funny really.

13 June 2006

Googling. The new stalking?

Some workmates Googled me the other day - I think in a fit of boredom they were doing the office. They got to read about a bunch of bike races I did a few years ago, and a few press releases about artists I write in a former life in the provinces. And some other vaguely interesting miscellany.

Which made me wonder whether I was sort of being stalked. It was all just a little bit creepy.

12 June 2006

Walters Prize

Time for another of the Auckland Art Gallery's Walters Prize finalist lineup, and a slightly more edgy selection this year.

I'm a bit partial to Phil Dadson, particularly after spending a day driving one of his creations - a 1974 Landrover with 80 harmonicas suction cupped to it (Harmonicar) around New Plymouth. Think he might be a bit eclectic though, despite a major presence over the years.

I'm secretly picking the massively underrated Frances Upritchard to come from behind in the late stages to take the win though, but suspect it'll probably go the way of Peter Robinson.

All will be revealed in October I guess.

09 June 2006

Object of desire # 984,207 to 984,208

Since I sold C's bike in a fit of reductionism and ambitious planned expenditure, I've been looking for another one for her. And may have found it. And as an added bonus I got to place my first bid on Trade me. The slippery slope has begun.

And because I'm desiring this object for someone else, I get to choose one too (hey - I don't make the rules!), AND SO:

A modern take on a bike I had years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed riding, until it just plain wore out. Sadly I have to drive to Hamilton to get one. And plunge into debt - and evil consumer debt, not good mortgage or paying off an artwork debt.

Woohoo! 710!

10 people in a day! I'm building a cult following! Cool.

But what colour uniforms for my legion of merry followers? Black's a bit old hat, particularly since the whole Waco Texas thing. Maybe charcoal grey...

08 June 2006

Woohoo! 700!

You may not be aware of this, but like a nosey neighbour, I have been parting the net curtains and spying on you.

Not really - there's just a little counter at the bottom of this page that count's your visits. And today it reached 700. That's 350 each.

Well done both of you!

06 June 2006

Object of desire # 984,206

The hunt for a new digital camera has led me to lusting after a Leica. Sure it's esentially technically the same as a considerably cheaper Panasonic, but with a Leica I can feel like a serious photographer. And that's worth heaps.

Take cover Mr Peryer et al.

Hit the North

Having just spent a brutally cold and wintery weekend at the beach, I must confess to renewed faith in open fireplaces. Burning stuff is fun. And warm. And dragging the couch in front to eat steak and mashed potato and drink wine with a loved one is a very pleasant way to spend an evening.

I have also decided I need to go surfing again. There's something really nice about winter surfing - the solitude, the grey glassiness, the sea meets sky emotiveness, the joy of a warm dry towel at the end.

01 June 2006

Late night chocolate can be dangerous

We ventured out into the new neighbourhood for a late night coffee and cake last night. We wandered past all the close-to-home haunts on Cuba, mainly because they were really busy, which was good to see., and ended up in Espressoholic.

Once we'd fought our way through the ubiquitous hoard of spotty first-years who've just discovered coffee, culture, drum and bass, and that they don't have to go to bed ever (Oh the memories!), we found a really good selection of dangerously good cakes.

Beyond that the evening descended into part history lesson/part rant about said first-years, as I struggled to consume a hot chocolate slightly bigger than my head, and fought the urge to elope with a particularly flash White chocolate cheesecake.

All in all two thumbs up, despite too much chocolate.

And thwn we went and bought music. At 9.30 at night.
Central city. It's good.