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l'enfer du North Island

  harder going up Sunday 31 July 2011 link

When I were a lad, all this were fields, and we sat around in them drinking shite beer. The New Zealand brewing industry has come a long way - from the fizzy, basically tasteless stuff that made up the main consumption for decades (have you tried a DB Export recently? It's worse than I remembered), we now have a decent crowd of small breweries making craft beer. I remember when I went over to the UK in 1998, being extremely pleasantly surprised by the ale culture there. The fact that you could walk into a pub and get a beer that actually had some flavour, wasn't carbonated, and wasn't served cold enough to numb your tongue was a happy revelation. When we moved back to NZ, I resigned myself to not having any really decent beer for a while. But by that time, the small craft brewing revolution (originally lead by Macs Brewery in Nelson, and whatever's happened since, don't forget that they are largely responsible for establishing a commercial market for small craft brewing in NZ) had kicked in. So on the one hand, I could go to Pak & Save in Petone and buy a bottle of Old Speckled Hen (brewed in Bury St Edmunds and then shipped to the other side of the world), but I could also reach to the shelf above it and buy a Tuatara IPA. This is very much a good thing, and it's now easily possible to get decent beer - and, provided you pick your pubs carefully, to even be served it in a pub.

That said, I'm finding myself conflicted about a couple of recent issues.

Firstly, the radler debate. On the one hand, DB are clearly evil for enforcing a trade mark on a style of beer. This is like someone managing to trademark "cheeseburger" - it's made a lot of people very angry, but seems to be watertight under the way NZ trademark law works. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of radlers, and I definitely can't stand their radler (which isn't a 'proper' one anyway - it's full strength but faffing around with loads of fruit etc). So while I should be excised about this, and I'm steering clear of anything produced by DB, I'm finding it hard to care as much as I probably should.

Secondly, a deeper conflict. Moa Brewing produce very good beer. But their advertising ranges from "what a load of wank" to active homophobia. I'm presuming it's an attempt to capture both Tui drinkers who'd like something that actually tastes decent but who need a somewhat dickish ad campaign to bring them in, and 42 Below drinking hipsters who need to be cajoled into trying beer. And I'm sure that the ad agency would say that their ads are ironic, or tongue-in-cheek, or some other bullshit like that. But, basically, in my book that's just a load of smartarse justification for using homophobia to try and make a buck. So, y'know, fuck them. But. Moa make really good beer. Their 5 Hop is a very, very nice pint. So I'm torn between my desire not to support homophobic advertising, and the fact that the beer is really actually very tasty. Moral dilemma time.

Had a nice day out with the kids today. Took them for a walk in Belmont Regional Park. Unfortunately R realised what I was up to, and tried to negotiate a way out of it. Best line was - after I'd told her that it'd take about an hour - "I can wait in the car! I've got a book. If I get hungry, there's shops around the corner and I've got my pocket money!" Worth a try, I suppose.

  framing Saturday 23 July 2011 link


"Jiggery-fuck, we're out of whisky. You watch the kids, I'll be back in 15."


"We're getting pretty low on milk. I'm not sure we've got enough for the kids' weetbix tomorrow morning. It's raining pretty hard, and that wind's not getting any slower. Tell you what - you stay here in the warm and I'll whip down to the shops. I'll pick up a couple of other things we need while I'm down there. Back in about 20 minutes."

All in how you frame the discourse.

  relative preference weighting Friday 22 July 2011 link

As Telecom is finally pulling the plug on the CDMA network, I've got to sort out a replacement phone. I currently have a pretty non-smart phone - it's a Nokia, the sort of thing everyone had about five years ago. There's a basic camera, it's running some old version of Symbian, it takes a microSD card for memory, that sort of thing. Pretty basic. And it's going to stop working in a couple of months, so I definitely need to replace it. And thus, the question was raised again, should I get a smartphone?

I looked at the plans. I did the math. And I pondered.

And I realised that for the out-of-box price of a smartphone - never mind the data tariff - I could just get a pretty basic dumb phone, and have money left over to afford a tablet computer, to do all the smartphone stuff that I'd want. Or upgrade my bike.

Or, thinking about it, get another couple of big tattoo sessions.

I've never had a smartphone. Never particularly missed it. I can only think of one occasion in the past year that one would have come in handy. And I have a big thing about paper maps instead of GPS.

And a man has to have priorities.

So: not joining the smartphone revolution yet. Am going to get a fair whack of ink on my leg instead.

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unspoilt by progress

calm, peaceful, sweary

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