Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update.

As of today, we are up to 45 items on my list of things to leave my life, and 35 items actually out of the house, and we are very, very happy about it. Granted, when we dropped off two bags of clothes to City Mission we didn't come back empty-handed, but we came back with ONE THING. One! (Okay, I'll go back to the singular pronouns now.)

Still no progress with the neighbours who are KILLING ME with their loud bass. (I know I haven't actually told you about them before, but as this post is called Update, let's just pretend I have.) Two months since I first texted our building manager to ask him to go to the two apartments I suspect to sort it out, one month since I made a paper plane to fly into the window of the apartment I was almost certain the bass was coming from but missed and got the apartment next door, and two weeks since I shoved notes in the letterboxes of my suspects, although the slots aren't accessible from the side we open the boxes from so I had to feed the notes into cracks and wasn't sure if they had gone into the ones they were meant for or the boxes above/below. This may seem excessive and more action than I take over anything, but there are few things more aggravating than the bass of shitty pop/house reverberating through one's house when the tasteless moron listening to it could do so at full volume with the bass off and still contribute to the demise of music. Why can Vincent just yell at people and they immediately (albeit shittily) close their windows, but my use of the written word does nothing? It's because I'm a woman, isn't it? I knew I should have done manly writing and not said please/thank you/sorry to be a pain/sorry if it's not you.

Progress in my quest to find ethically made undies and other things is much better. I started asking around, and was recommended Thunderpants by my boss. Thunderpants are made in NZ and are a bit like Bonds undies (which I don't often wear, but are one of the few brands that actually fit my bum in them). Even better, they make undies for men exactly like the ones Vincent wears. Excellent. Next on the list is somewhere that sells lacey undies.

Lastly, progress in my attempts to make my hairdresser haircut (yes I went there; my efforts just weren't cutting it) (teehee) more Marilyn and less QE11: very good! I took a photo to show you how today I fluked the loose ghd curl and not using too much hairspray so it will actually stay like that (also the nap I took this afternoon flattened the side a bit a made it a bit more Hepburn) but the photo came out too nice. That might seem stupid, but there's nothing artistic or cool about it; it's just a nice photo that makes me look like the kind of person who talks about being naked in front of boys hoping they will picture it, and I am not that kind of person. The only person I want picturing me naked is my husband. And now that I have gone completely off topic and grossed you out, I will go. Actually, if you really want to be grossed out, I read the other day that January Jones has had her placenta made into capsules, which she takes daily. She says we are among the only species to not eat our placentas, but I googled it and that's because animals usually eat them so predators won't know babies have been born. I thought it sounded natural and kind of nice at first,  and then I remembered what a fresh placenta looked like (looked, not looks; I saw one straight from the oven), and imagined someone with a napkin on their lap, and a knife and fork in their hands... and kind of wanted to barf.

I can't leave you like that, so here is an awesome video of the one and only and totally brilliant Chuck Berry, wasting his talents on an audience of zombies.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things We Need To Talk About

I know my blogging habits have been rather erratic lately. It's hard to explain; I'm busy, but it's it's more that I what I have to say and tell about feels mountainous, and I don't have the energy. I was reading this very, very good post on le projet d'amour, and thought that's exactly how I feel... but at the moment just couldn't muster the effort to explain why. I used to go through these periods when I was studying, and it must have driven my tutors crazy; having me allude to something and then just leave it, expecting them to know what I meant. I do it in conversation; frequently starting something, and then trailing off, either hoping the person to whom I'm speaking will understand, or that Vincent will expound it for me. It's lazy, and I don't know how to stop it, but I'm going to try.

A while ago, Vincent read to me about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911, which killed 146 garment workers; 129 of them women, most recent Jewish and Italian immigrants. In those days, it was common practice for workers to be locked in, purportedly to prevent them taking unauthorised breaks. Because of this, these workers were unable to use the stairwells to escape, and many of them died after jumping from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors that they occupied. The youngest workers who died were only fourteen years old.

I remember us talking about this, and then looking up other tragic stories of workers killed or severely injured while doing their jobs, and, in spite of knowing full well about sweat-shops, hoped and kind of believed that events like these would never be allowed to happen again. I read recently about the horrific working conditions in sweat-shops manufacturing adidas, nike, and puma products, the projected profits these companies will make from the Olympics, and that the average wage for their workers in the Phillipines is 17c an hour. It was saddening, and maddening, and altogether horrifying, and Vincent and I said we would never buy their products again... and then we went and put on our Made In China undies and our Chuck Taylors, and forgot about it.

Then, this morning I read on Jezebel (better than any newspaper ever, hands down) that 500 Bangladeshi workers have burned to death in factories manufacturing clothes, in the last five years. These workers were making garments for huge companies including Target, H&M, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and (I was surprised by this one; I guess I thought stuff used to enjoy nature would be ethically produced?) The North Face. In case you don't read the article, 80% of Bangladesh's exports are clothes, and the country's minimum wage is 21c an hour.

So what do we do? Until now, I realise I've been telling myself I'm doing what I can; buying NZ made and Fair Trade products, and using my financial situation as an excuse to buy "necessities" that are made in countries I know next to nothing about, because they're largely populated by people who don't matter to the capitalist world. Can I keep doing this? Can I keep buying Keds and Chucks and Levi jeans when I am pretty sure that I am perpetuating these inhumane practices?

If I'm honest, those questions are hard for me to answer. If I say no, it means I have to make the effort to source ethically made products, pay more for them, and subsequently buy less (which may sound like a good thing but is hard for me). It means I have to get over the block I have with imitations of originals. I think an easier question to answer is: Is it worth it? Is it worth it for me to maintain a look with chucks and tshirts, if buying these things directly results in someone else's suffering? Am I worth more than a worker in another country? Because the answer is an unequivocal No. I might think myself better than the piece of shit companies these workers are contracted to, but we, the workers are exactly the same. Plus, in the same way that if I try to copy the fashions of the disgustingly rich I am making a parody of myself, if I wear clothes that are products of the exploitation of other workers, I'm like a scab, as well as being an evil, selfish cow. 

This isn't the end of this. I know there's a right and a wrong here, but I don't trust myself to do it alone. Does anyone else buy everything ethically? Do you want to? Please let me know. I want to, but I'm weak and I kind of love clothes. But I know this is bigger than me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ketchup

Hola mi amigos! It's been so long. My week has been full of beer (we're taking a little break from each other now) and 30 Rock and my lovely who was visiting from Malaysia, and lots of other things I want to tell you about before I run out of steam (plus we're going to My Week With Marilyn tonight; Vincent's idea to cheer me up after I complained incessantly last night about everything - complaining works!), so I'd better hop to.

1. As of last week, FHM is no more. My faith in men and magazines is still shaky, but this is Progress. Muffin vewy happy.
2. We already knew Eric Clapton was a moron, but now we know he's a total piece of shit. When reading about The Specials (three weeks!) and Rock Against Racism, I discovered this despicable rant demonstrating Clapton's racism, xenophobia, and general stupidity. I hate him. We swiftly deleted him from our iPod, but before you start to think we're such principled people, I also read about some awful things Bowie said about the extreme right "cleaning things out". It hurt so much I can't even think about it, but I'm going to have to change my ringtone. And he blamed Nietzche. Nietzsche. I'm about ready to smack the lightning bolt off his face.
3.
Meet my new shoes. We just calculated that the heel on these is 5 inches, which makes us both a bit nervous; me, because when I tried to wear 4.5 inch wedges to work last week I lasted four hours (most of which was spent doing made-up jobs that allowed me to sit down), and Vincent, because the last two times we were out and I wore heels I either cried or had to be carried (up Queen Street, sideways to spare everyone the sight of my arse). Anyway, what I wanted to say about the shoes was not aren't they pretty and grown-up and ideal for funerals (particularly Catholic ones where there is more kneeling than standing), but that I delayed gratification and brought back the layby. When I was growing up, my Mum laybyed things all the time; we very rarely had enough money to buy things straight out, and going across KMart to the layby counter was just as good as going to the check-outs (I didn't know that everyone didn't do this; same as singing Oliver songs for kicks, and eating mangoes). It should have taught me good saving/budgeting habits, but it didn't; as soon as I could get a credit card, I did, and taught myself to do everything backwards, buying things and paying for them later. It was never very satisfying, but it was my late teens and early twenties, when all I did was want things, and owe money, and generally act like a capitalist idiot. Now that my priorities and style have changed and nearly everything I buy is secondhand, most things costing between $4 and $20, the only things I shell out for are shoes, and because my idea of what things should cost is reflective of what my clothes cost, it's a big deal when I get a pair like this, and I like that paying them off over a few weeks and then getting to bring them home is consistent with that. It makes me feel like it's not too late for me to be like my Mum, and look forward to things, and put important things first. I love clothes, but I never, ever want to be one of those people with the great fashion stories about spending two weeks' pay on a dress; it goes against everything I stand for. I'm burbling now, and I would like to say also that I found out this morning that one of my most stylish (and also financially bohemian) friends laybys regularly. (Unless she was just making it up so I wouldn't feel embarrassed, in which case she is still awesome).
4. Shit, now I've run out of time, so here's what was meant to be last: a song Vincent brought home tonight, and is wicked. Shit, eleven past! Hasta manana!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jukebox

I'm too tired to blog today, partly due to having drunk a lot of beer over the past four days, so I'm just going to post a great song that I wanted to play on the jukebox at the Coroglen yesterday but couldn't bring myself to use the dollar for that instead of the pool table, especially when I have the song on the ipod which was in the car anyway. However, this song is more than worth a dollar (especially a NZ dollar, which is worth round about nothing in every other country), and jukeboxes are such a cool fifties throw-back that I kind of wish I had. However, I played slightly better pool than usual (helped tremendously by the dark beer I was drinking), so let's make it up by listening to it over and over now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

All Are Punished


I think everyone knows by now about the latest development in the Auckland Port debacle - if not, you can read about it here. It's not over yet, but this really breaks my heart, and it makes me so, so angry to see the feedback of people who have absolutely no clue as to what this is about (one on Campbell Live tonight saying the strikers are stupid to be risking their jobs?!) and comments Len Brown has made. Come next election, unless the alternative is John Banks (heaven save us) or someone like him, Len has lost himself two votes from our house.

I think it's quite obvious why the wharfies are in the right, so I'm not going to talk about it. Instead I want to talk about why supporting them is so important; not only for them, but for all of us. In my first year of philosophy, I remember a discussion in my ethics class about why moral rules are so important. We were talking about promises, and whether or not they should be kept, and why, and I remember us all deciding that even though an individual promise might not seem significant, society depends on everyone keeping their promises because the rule keeps us safe; we need to know that a promise means something. When Vincent read out to me Len's comment that he is on the side of the people of Auckland, that's what came to mind. If we are going to look at this from the perspective of the wider population, we have to see how it's going to affect those people. A thriving economy is (supposedly) important to a country. But right now, the country with the healthiest economy is China; China, from whence we import tons of shit every year because it's cheap, and it's cheap because there is no minimum wage in China, no rules about working conditions, and certainly no unions. Is that what we want? Are we really willing to sacrifice things we, as a society, rely on in this country; fair wages, fair working conditions, and the right to advocate for these things? Fairness is like a promise; being able to trust that it exists and that it means something to everyone is crucial to everyone's mental, emotional, and physical well-being. We need to know that these things are important to everybody; if we can't trust this, there is the danger that some people will try to take them away - which is exactly what is happening to the wharfies right now. People who think this is just about one group of workers and their employer, and has nothing to do with them couldn't be more wrong; this affects all of us, not only the group of us who care about the wharfies and their families.

Maybe I will talk about why I support the wharfies. I support what they are asking for, and I think it's ludicrous that they even have to ask for it. But I also support and admire them for putting themselves on the line and striking. People who are prepared to do this are why we don't have to work seven days a week, twelve hours a day. They're why we get breaks. Whatever we're doing, if we work for someone else, they represent us, and when they lose, we all lose.

That's how I feel, anyway. I have utmost respect for the striking stevedores (and I think stevedore is the coolest job-title in the history of the universe; better even than messiah), and what they were dealt today makes me feel awful for them, and sorry for the rest of us. Someone said you can tell a lot about a society by the way they treat their animals, and I agree. I think you can also tell a lot about a society by the way they treat their workers, and what I'm seeing in my society says we aren't much of a society at all, right now. Where are you, Harry Holland? Mabel Howard? We need you.

PS The image is from the Maritime Union of New Zealand website. If you haven't already signed the petition in support of the wharfies, you can do so there; and please, please do. And if you're in Auckland on Saturday, attend the protest!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Bad Times

Last week Vincent and I got a new mini laptop so I can blog and do work stuff when Snowy is at work with him, so I went through all of my bookmarks, deciding which to transfer and which to get rid of. While I was doing it I came across one that I'd been checking on periodically but hadn't updated in an age, but that I hadn't wanted to get rid of - and I'm so, so glad I didn't. I don't know what your experience with depression is, or even if you have any. I've had a cousin come to live with us when he was having a really bad time with his, lived with my sister when she went through it (although I didn't know it at the time), and had a few times in my life when I haven't been sure if it was depression but was really struggling and didn't feel like the me I'm used to at all. The time that sticks out most was when I was at uni and just couldn't stop crying. I think I'm a pretty introspective person, and on the upside, it means I know myself well and I can usually work through how I feel about things (given enough time). On the downside, though, I can get really obsessed with things I feel, and if I'm having a hard time, the reasonable part of me can't reign in the bit that wants me to feel bad, and I get a bit stuck... It happens sometimes when I have a really bad period lead-up, but also if I've had a bit of a hit emotionally. Anyway, that particular time I tried to write down exactly how I felt to try to sort through things, and realised I felt like an enormous phony in my life; a realisation that didn't actually help me at all. Discovering and studying philosophy was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me, but it also means I can be a bit harder on myself about being authentic and doing what I think is right, and if I feel like I'm not being those things I can start to dig a hole for myself. Knowing that I wasn't being honest but not feeling strong enough to fix it (plus feeling so much guilt about having been dishonest) was crippling, and there wasn't anyone I could talk to who would understand but not be affected by it, and I didn't know what to do, so I booked in with a uni counsellor. I don't know why I didn't tell her straight out how I was feeling, or just give her these two A4 sheets of paper that said how afraid I was of being found out as a fake, and one bit I distinctly remember, that when I would drink (one of the only things that seemed to help) with my friends I felt like I was cutting myself in front of them, but they didn't notice (I'd like to clarify that I don't expect them to have noticed at all, especially me - the drunk mascot). Instead she asked me questions about my family, and I realised more things that were making me feel sad and useless, and we talked about those things, and it did help a lot, even though I had to keep working on the other stuff alone. In a way, doing it alone was kind of good; I'd had so few triumphs that I felt were my own that any kind of personal win was a huge boost. And the things we talked about still help me now; things about how I fit into my family, and trying to see myself the way they do (which was more favourable than the way I saw myself - who knew!). Being the cherished youngest does make me feel like all I do is take (which makes me feel guilty and like what I do and who I am doesn't count for anything), and underestimate what I mean to people in my family (so that sometimes I won't be there when they need me because I don't see how they could actually need me), whereas with my friends I feel needed and probably end up doing more than if they were my family (who are more important to me than books). Now I'm way off what I was talking about (I realise I say that a lot on this blog; how am I ever going to teach anything?!) so I'll give you the link now to what sparked all of this. And what I'd like to say, from me, is please don't be hard on yourself. I don't even know I'm doing it sometimes, but I am married to someone who thinks just being me is enough and tells me so, and also tells me when I need to give myself a break. Not everyone has this, or tells someone everything so that person know when things are getting a bit much, so we have to practise saying it to ourselves. It might not stave off the bad times, but it's something.

Here it is, one of the best things I've seen on the internet: Adventures In Depression.

And here is a song I've been listening to while writing this:

Postscript



I forgot to put this in when I posted my Wellington photos. At first glance, it looks like lovely tree art, but on closer inspection you realise it's disgusting tree art; those colourful dots are pieces of gum. I was equal parts delighted and horrified. They do call themselves NZ's art capital...

Also, I forgot to mention the best place to get a burger in Auckland City, and that is The White Lady. The White Lady is legendary, and where I go when I want a steak burger. It now has a permanent spot on Fort Street, which makes the wait far more interesting, and if you go as soon as you've ordered, there's time to get to New World Metro to get a drink and a dessert before your burger is ready.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Auckland!

I love Auckland. When we drove into the city on Tuesday morning and I was tired and grumpy and complaining about everything, the words just came out, and I meant them as much as I had meant it when I said I hate being awake. I don't need to go away to know this, but I have become one of those dicks who can't help comparing new places with home, and they are often found wanting, and it makes me happy. But I digress. The last time we went to Wellington, I had several hours to kill on my own while Vincent went to the All Whites game, and having no idea of where was good, I looked in Groove Guide, found a bar that had the same bands playing that a bar I like in Auckland had the weekend before, and off I went. It kind of worked; the bar itself was cool, but since I arrived at about 5pm when the bar-lady was still wiping down the bar and putting down chairs, it was a bit lonely. Eventually I found myself a bottle shop and got drunk in a bad movie instead. I'm digressing again. This time, Vincent got online and looked up things to do and places to eat, and then checked reviews and locations and menus, and we made our list accordingly. (He's a very clever man.) Anyway, it made me think how useful it would have been to have recommendations from someone like us: young(-ish), discerning(-ish), and with not a whole lot of money. And then, on Tuesday, when I was at work trying to stay awake, I started to think about my favourite places in Auckland, and how good they are... and so here, friends, is my guide to Auckland City.


Breakfast
- Alleluya, St Kevin's Arcade. I like Alleluya for lots of reasons, one of which is predictability. The food isn't bad. The coffee isn't great. And I can always rely on these things; I never expect anything to be the same as it was the week before, so I'm never disappointed (and when you don't like mornings much anyway, avoiding disappointment is crucial). This probably isn't a selling point for you though, so I will also tell you that the manager is always cheery and nice and has cool tattoos, the food comes out quickly, the cabinet is always full of cakes, and St Kevin's Arcade is always beautiful. I recommend the bruschetta and breakfast burrito, the bread & butter pudding, and putting Kaitaia Fire on everything. (Also, I always get Teza, currently in the feijoa and lime flavour.)

Coffee 
- Rakinos, High Street. If coffee is the thing that stops you from committing morning-murder, then I recommend Rakinos. I've been going to Rakinos since my first year at uni; I hated my course, so I would go there instead of going to class, drink coffee, read all of their magazines, and try to look cool. The place has changed a lot since then, and I think for the better; as Sunbeam said back in her Home Town Glory post, the three brothers working there make it feel a bit like you're in a dream fifties milk-bar, plus they give me a feeling of stability (not hindered by the fact that if I walk in before eleven-thirty a.m. the one who is usually on the counter is already reaching for a savoury muffin before I've opened my mouth. The savoury muffins there are the best.)

Snacks
- The Don, Canterbury Arcade, between Queen Street & High Street. $5.50 Takoyaki. It'll get you through till lunchtime.

Lunch
- Khao Thai, Chancery Lane. They have a $10 takeaway/$12 dine-in lunch menu that's quick and yum (I get the pad thai). Fridays aren't so quick though; lame office lunch groups who all want to pay separately and never have cash.
- Renkon, Durham Street East. Chicken Katsu. My food-anchor.

Happy Hours
- Rakinos. Happy hour at Raks starts at three, making it earlier than anywhere I know except strip clubs. The staff changes over, which is a bit of a bummer, but the view over Freyberg Square is lovely, you can smoke out on the deck, and they have Asahi on tap for $6. The perennial is the sparkling feijoa wine which they've had since I was seventeen and goes straight to your head (also $6 during happy hour).
- The Bluestone Room, Durham Lane. Happy hour is Mon-Thurs 5-6, Friday 5-7, Sat 8-10. There really isn't a better happy hour than Bluestone's. $5 Monteith's pints (they used to be $4!), $16 jugs, and for special occasions, obnoxious beer towers for $25. The happy hour crowd is a motley crew of nerdy office types, travellers, and us; so no-one owns it, and no-one makes anyone feel stink (except the middle-aged motorbike club member whose bike stalled that time). Bluestone is also where I met my wonderful Bluestone crew (yes that's really what we call ourselves), and for that it will always hold a special place in  my heart and a rotten section of my liver.

Dinner
- Cheap and Yum: Food Alley, Albert Street. I would probably starve if not for Food Alley; when Vincent is working and I'm watching bad tv and can't be bothered getting food, the thought of a Wang Thong Massaman curry gets me off the couch. My other picks are the Sukiyaki from Thai Noodles, and the Malaysian chicken curry with roti from the place upstairs. If you're taking it home, Lemon 1000 is the the drink, otherwise they have beers from $4 (making it a good post-happy hour option).
- Rowdy and Yum: Ken's Yakitori, K Rd.
- With a group of friends: Coco's Cantina, K Rd.
- With one friend: Cassette Nine, Vulcan Lane. The pizzas are simple but nice, and you can get a booth or sit out on the patio, and get two Beck's for $10.
- Fish & Chips: Queen's Ferry Hotel, Vulcan Lane. This is probably better at lunchtime, but anyway, if you want fish & chips, this is where I'd go, and that's big of me since I declared war on the place after an uppity bar-dick marched up to me as I put my bag down and demanded ID. I was 26.
- With your Mum: Tanuki's restaurant, Queen Street. The cave is fun if you can be bothered waiting for a table, but the restaurant has better food, more light, and is still pretty laid-back.

Drinking
- Rakinos. I realise this has already featured twice, but I like places I know. Besides which, you're guaranteed to hear at least one of your favourite forgotten nineties hip hop gems, you can dance, happy hour goes till nine, and if company sucks, there's enough light coming in the front windows so you can read.
- Cassette Nine. About once a month, on a Wednesday, Cassette has Bitchin' Bingo, which we have been to once and came away with a bottle of $80 vodka, Santa hats, and not much less money than we took, one of our group having won a bar-tab. We also got to hear things like "G-55, muff-dive" and "I-27, how was Kevin?". I liked it a lot.
- Wine Cellar, St Kevin's Arcade. This is where to go if you want to hear a good band, or good triumph over evil. Wine Cellar attracts some posers, but I will tell you how to deal with them. The first time I went there was with my two sisters. While out in the courtyard having a cigarette, one of them was stared down with daggers by an indie bitch who obviously thought my sister didn't belong there.

My sister: Having a blunt fringe and a bad dress doesn't make you bohemian.

When I went out to see why she'd been so long, she was surrounded by people, who had seen the whole thing and thought it was awesome, plus the drinks some of them had bought her.
Good: 1, Evil: 0.

There are lots of okay bars as well, and I don't go out much after ten these days so there are tons I don't know about. I'll just tell you which ones to avoid at all costs: Sale St, the entire Viaduct, and Ponsonby Road (this isn't strictly Auckland City, but it's close by).

Shopping
- Auckland City Mission Shop, Hobson Street. This is one of the few, and definitely the best, thrift shops in the city. As well as being well-priced, I think it's where Recycle Boutique takes things that haven't sold or been picked up; at least that's how I explain my $12 Liz Mitchell trousers. And it feels right to spend money in the city that will help people in the city.
- Tango, Little High Street. Going to Tango is an experience. The place is full of vintage furniture, art, jewellery, and glorious clothes, and the proprietor - who is one of the most stylish people in the city - knows about every single piece. The designer vintage is well-priced and beautiful, and even though I can't afford most of what I see, I still like to go there.
- Aunty Mavis, St Kevin's Arcade. Aunty Mavis is a little treasure trove of Crown Lynn and other bits and pieces you might have found around the house in the fifties. Stock changes all the time so when you see something you'd best get it, and although there is eftpos, things are sometimes cheaper if you pay by cash. The owner, Alison, is lovely, and knows everything about Crown Lynn; some of her amazing collection was part of the exhibition that was at Te Papa last year.
- Search & Destroy, St Kevin's Arcade. For the most part, I resent inner-city vintage stores; they take the fun out of going through rack after smelly rack of old-lady clothes, and they plunder all of the suburban thrift shops and price up ridiculously, most of the time not even bothering to mend or even curate properly. Search & Destroy, however, is full of good stuff that is priced according to its worth. I bought my favourite trousers from here, and although they have a stain that hasn't come out, they're still worth every cent of the $10 they cost me, and I think the time I bought a jumper with rolled up sleeves and took it home to find that was because the wrist of one had been chopped off, was funny. There's no eftpos, so take cash.
- Vixen, St Kevin's Arcade. More vintage, more expensive, but full of things you wouldn't find in a thrift shop; leather boots, fiftties bodices, and fantastic eighties cocktail dresses.
- Pauanesia, High Street. This is where you'll find presents to take home that you won't find anywhere else; the shop is a one-off and most things are commissioned exclusively.
- Real Groovy, Queen Street. The best time to go to Real Groovy is on a Friday night; it's all loner audiophiles flicking through the boxes of vinyl at the back of the store. While Vincent was in Christchurch, I was one of them, and it was comforting to know that we were all lonely and really just killing time. It can be an expensive way to kill time though; I find it nearly impossible to leave empty-handed. (Sidenote: I hate vouchers, but if you must...)
- Jason Books, O'Connell Street. This is where you'll find the best secondhand books in the city, including some brilliant books about NZ and the Pacific.

Things To Do
- Auckland Art Gallery, Kitchener Street. This was reopened last year and is about a million times better than it used to be (which was fine). If you go, pop into the kids' section and look at the mural through one of the provided kaleidoscopes; it looks like acid.
- Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Domain. This isn't exactly in the city but it's one of the best things in Auckland so I'm adding it anyway.
- Judges Bay, Parnell. This is a beautiful little beach with pontoons you can dive off, a pier you can bomb from, and lots of families. It's also just below a lovely old chapel and cemetery which are worth having a nose around.
- The Room at The Academy, Lorne Street. The Academy is a small, independent cinema underneath the public library. The Room is one of the worst films ever made, and is screened at ten p.m. on the first Friday of every month. You will want to get drunk first, (but hope that the projectionist hasn't done the same; the last time we went, one of the reels was upside down and took about an hour to fix) and avoid the owner; he's embarrassingly douchey. If you want to see a normal movie, Tuesday night is cheap night.

I'll probably want to add to this later, but that's everything I can think of now. Everything is on the cheap side, and most is within a 500m radius of where I live (as my sister put it, I'm quite sedentary). If you have anything to add, please do! It's a wonderful city - the best in the world, my Dad once said (he's been to more cities than I have) - and it makes me really happy when people who don't live here say they like it too. Auckland, yuss!

Later additions:
- Britomart Country Club, Britomart. Early afternoon is best, so you can get a few drinks in and find the over-coiffed people who arrive later amusing instead of just cringe-worthy, and because it's partly outside you get to see the light fade but still be warm under the lovely big heaters. Food recommendations are the spicy beef salad and cabo del sol pizza, and drink recommendations are the jugs of sangria (or mulled wine, now that it's winter - I'm adding this in June), or the hot chocolate with gingerbread syrup, which I want to take behind a middle school and get pregnant.