Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dispatches from Summer

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  • Russell Brown,

    There's a thread for earthquake reports and reposes here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Craig; you should also visit the Museum of Sex in Copenhagen, for a tacky treat.
    We arrived in Nelson an hour or so ago, and it does feel closer to Christchurch.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Just taught the last class of the semester. Exams next week. Preparing for my daughter's first Christmas, and I have to say it's actually quite fun resurrecting the family traditions to pass them on to the next generation.

    But I found myself wishing we could be back in NZ where my daughter would be able to run around outside barefoot in the warmth. I have decided that putting Christmas in the middle of winter is horribly uncivilised and only the Southern Hemisphere gets the timing right. Unfortunately she's going to have to endure a couple of bone dry, frigid Beijing Christmases before we can show her the way things should be done. I hope Father Christmas has got wheels to attach to his sleigh, cos snow is only marginally likely in this rather more arid corner of Eurasia than it is back home.

    And so I find myself taking Southern Hemisphere traditions that were adapted from Northern Hemisphere traditions and readapt them to suit another corner of the Northern Hemisphere.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Ah. Nasty old Oz right-wing ratbag Bruce Ruxton has shuffled off this mortal coil, at eighty-five.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 567 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    24th.

    6-30am rise. Coffee. Take off to beat crowd at Pak n Save. Crowded already. Strawberries still 2 for $5 - Good. Shopped. Unpacked at home. Cleaned new Trademe BBQ. Discover 12kg bottle had leaked and now empty. Lucky we did not need it for an earthquake. Middle of day doing Golf in amazing hot sun. Fill LPG bottles. Told my little one is "out of test" and BP do not fill more than 9kg bottles. Sad to the tune of $84 for another one. Plug bottle to BBQ and test. AOK!! Make salad, boil new spuds, open beer. Drink. Xmas evening vistors arrive and cook porterhouse and snags on new Trademe BBQ. Love that smell. Eat. Finish with My Mums Sponge Drops (with capitals!). Coffee. End night with board game. Knackered. Must sleep. Need to clean BBQ for brunch with next bunch of friends in morning.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Livin' large, Ross! Have a good one.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    25th.

    No doubt others may no longer be feeling essurient. No 3 daughter made waffles. Friends brought bacon and fruit salad. Panned a few bananas with cinnamon and B suger. Ate. Refilled. Ate.

    Hot Day needed extra shade. Sat around wining and ginger beered (Ture!) until middle of the avo. Played the new game: "After Dinner Arguments". Talk about start some! It is quite good fun even when you are practically sober.

    6pm. More food. This time chicken done in Trademe BBQ. Superb!!!! Asparagus, beans and zuchs. New spuds.

    Is there anything else but food at this time of year? Jeez....Xmas cake hasn't even been started.....

    I have to say, tonight after those two days, I suddenly felt relaxed. Something completely different to normal day to day grind seems to do this especially when family is involved. Quietest trad Xmas Dinner tonight that I can remember. Four for dinner, smallest number ever. Next year it will be 30+. And that one at Waihi will be a goodie!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Is there anything else but food at this time of year?

    Yes. Just got me a one litre can of Kaiserdom Dragon Year 2012 Special Edition and a 5 litre... ummm.... keglet of Pfungstädter. Back when I moved to this part of Beijing the most special thing that supermarket sold was Anchor butter. Unfortunately their imported German beers are too expensive for anything but a special occasion... But I'm a Dragon and it's my year coming up, and the 5 litre keglets are on special and it's Christmas.

    So food and drink.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Relaxing so good I woke at 6am on Boxing Day!

    Chris, you wanting beer reminded me of my Xmas at Lake Vanda, Antarctica. A cabin full of NZers, Chinese and Japanese scientists and field assistants. Breakfast began at about 9am. With Saki. The Chinese kerosene (small k) er..wine(?).. in the porcelain bottles came out and in Asian tradition toasts were frantically offered and decreasingly frantically returned. There was a lot of offering to drink the reply to the corresponding leader's toast from the teams workers (the Leaders having to take the most toasts) and by the end of the round significant quantities of brain nurdling fluid had been consumed. Needless to say by 10-30 the cabin was abuzz. Certainly the earliest I have ever been pissed.

    But the big feast of the day did eventually get prepared and followed sometime later.

    I have to say, the Chinese brew still triggers a violent rejection response via the olfactory organ whenever similar bottles are opened.

    So not so much brutal drink these days for me.

    It was with this group that I shared my first - and only - can of whalemeat. The Japanese brought it as their treat.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I have to say, the Chinese brew still triggers a violent rejection response via the olfactory organ whenever similar bottles are opened.

    It took me about seven years to be able to stomach the smell of gin after a particularly ill-planned bout of teenage revelry. The body is apparently smarter than the mind, in some things.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The Chinese kerosene (small k) er..wine(?)

    Sounds like 白酒/báijiǔ. Not many non-Chinese can stomach it, but you'll have to trust me that although some of it should be better used stripping paint or fuelling jet planes, some of it can actually be quite nice - and surprisingly cheap, too. It seems most Beijing expats are most familiar with báijiǔ in its Little Green Bottle of Evil form, which is one of the cheapest and most plentiful forms of báijiǔ, but tastes foul and leaves you with one hell of a hangover. On the other hand, for about the same price as a Little Green Bottle of Evil, one can buy a Měnggǔwáng Kǒubēi which is a glass of báijiǔ and sealed with an aluminuim top. In addition to being cheap, it's quite a nice way to wash down a mid-winter meal when the Gobi Desert wind is howling, and when you've finished you have a handy new glass of quite an appropriate size for many different spirits.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It took me about seven years to be able to stomach the smell of gin after a particularly ill-planned bout of teenage revelry.

    Southern Comfort. Which is apparently a bad idea to drink, let alone to excess. Haven't been able to look at a bottle since 1993.

    We're up to Wellington... Waikawa Beach on the 28th for 6 days. 7 kids under 7, 7 adults and a teenager.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    It took me about seven years to be able to stomach the smell of gin after a particularly ill-planned bout of teenage revelry. The body is apparently smarter than the mind, in some things.

    There was about a decade where nothing even slightly whiskey related passed my lips after an evening involving very cheap bourbon and a boy who liked me less than I thought he did.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Bloody Marys. Can’t handle them since I drank a jug full and spray painted the interior of someone’s toilet a nice red.
    But a good brandy and dry ginger ale makes for a good drink. Once favoured vodka and pineapple juice because I read how it was Nabakov’s favourite tipple but that was a touch pretentious.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    There was about a decade where nothing even slightly whiskey related passed my lips after an evening involving very cheap bourbon and a boy who liked me less than I thought he did.

    Whiskey was also involved, but for some reason I got over that about five years sooner - I think mainly through those awful bourbon and coke alcopoppy things. Which I now won't touch, but for reasons having to do with the non-alcoholic component. Funny how much one's tastes can change over the years.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oooh. Is this the one where I tell my story about going on a close friend's first date ever with the man who was destined to become her exhusband, and drinking southern comfort all night, and them having to come back in the tube with me to make sure I was safe, but before we got to my stop, I vomited copiously all over the carriage I was in, and they had to divert it with newspaper so it didn't go everywhere? Yeah, I guess that's the one. Not a big drinker, now, me.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Yeah, I guess that’s the one. Not a big drinker, now, me.

    Me, Vodka, lime and Soda (big drinker then), nek minnit, hospital bed 6 weeks later. Must have been some drink cos I don't remember none of it. However do remember 18 years old , Tequila with the worm, "try one of these with that Tequila" nek minnit, WOW! one hellova trip man. Decided to curb the Tequila. The vomit looked psychedelic , although still looking pretty did smell somewhat.:)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Six weeks coma? Scary. Tequila did me in at a do opposite in a big old hotel opposite the Wellington Railway Station in 1981. It was some sort of alt-arterati party night. I can't remember the night but the two days after was indescribably vile. And the headache was excruciating and unstoppable. Never been able to stomach even a whiff of tequila since.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Hebe,

    Trick is one must watch the blood pressure. I had a berry aneurysm and that drink pushed it. Thing was the drink enabled,me to finish painting the lounge so there was a silver lining to my long white cloud. I was kinda used to pushing my limits :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    23 Dec - Hot, Sunny
    24 Dec - Hot, Sunny
    25 Dec - Hot, Sunny
    26 Dec - Hot, Sunny
    27 Dec - Hot, Sunny
    Foecast for 28 Dec - Hot, Sunny.

    This is particularly annoying for the MM.

    No gales, no floods, no rain.

    Boring........Hot, Sunny.

    I dare not go out and do some work on the section......Hot, Sunny.

    Umbrella time. Cool tree time.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Snow this morning. My daughter is not having the best weather luck. She was born March 31, just in time for the spring sandstorms, but fortunately we didn't get any this time round, so she's not having the worst weather luck either. She spent the summer at her maternal grandparents' place in the mountains northwest of her. Last summer was the first time ever I have not wanted a blanket on my overnight up there. This is her first winter in the world. The first snowfall this winter she got a fever, so there was no way we were going to take her outside to play. This morning was the second snow this winter. It was settling, even on the mainroad which the traffic normally keeps warm enough to melt the snow instantly. But it was very light snow, hardly enough to actually notice unless you were outside in it, minuscule snowflakes you had to squint to see. And then it stopped by midday. And so Beijing remains a dusty grey, southerly breeze bringing up humidity and air from the coastal swamps and industrial towns of southern Hebei, the kind of air that puts streaks of black in your snot. It could still snow, and that would help clear some of the pollution out of the air and make Beijing look soft and beautiful for once. It's always a bit of a shock to see Beijing looking beautiful.

    Oh, wait, dispatches from summer. Sorry.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    At work in London, where, after a mild (apparently 13 degrees C) Christmas Day, things have cooled down to around 1-3 degrees. So much for a London t-shirt Christmas season!

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    30 Dec.

    Rain. Steady. Warm.

    End of the Hot, Sunny Weather for a few days I suspect.

    Castlepoint looks like it will be an insider. Bugger. Sorry Jane, I won't be able to mow the lawn. :-) or prune the overgrowth or BBQ outside. But I will still bake scones and pancakes!

    But still looking forward to New Years over there.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

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