Wah Lee

Hobson Street, as local and more cosmopolitan readers will know, is a long street that is only sporadically remarkable: it contains an array of interesting though ordinary places like an intercity bus terminal, a bunch of cheap hotels, and a Denny’s.

Tucked away between some dairies and an Asian supermarket, however, is a smallish everything-store called Wah Lee. It’s apparently famous for its fireworks, but apart from that people seem to ignore its existence, which is odd, because the place is straight out of Sunnydale: just look at it.

Wah Lee

Signs on the windows advertise “Lovely Crockery”, “Paper Ball Lantern” and “Silks on Rolls”.

Wah Lee Window

Sound advice.


Jane Jane

Mary Travers is well deceased; it was last week or something. YouTube used to have a better clip of this where she shook her head more. However, we can’t very well complain now. It’s only been a week. Have some decency.

Isn’t she lovely? The boys, not so much; they look uncannily creepy; but Mary has that fresh-faced Carol Hirschfeld look about her.

A peculiar thing about onions

I was making dinner at work the other day (today, in fact, in a way: Betty has mastered the cunning techno-skill of blogging in advance), preparing to caramelise some onion for a spinach curry, and I had the whimsical urge to do the onion in rings; these kind of urges strike me sometimes, especially at this job I’m referring to. This job generally involves cooking quite off-the-cuff — no recipes, unlabelled spices, experimental gluten-free substitutions, and a grateful and easygoing recipient — which leads to a kind of reckless, devil-may-care approach. With a song in my heart, I sliced those onions real good and popped the rings out into the shimmering oil. So far, no problem.

Here’s the thing, though. You know the saying about unscrambling an omelette? The same does not apply to onions. Pop those rings asunder, swish them around the pot a little, and blowed if they aren’t attracted back to each other. The bally things practically re-assemble before your very eyes. Just stopping them from nesting more than three deep is approximately equivalent to level seven in a game of Tetris. It’s as if you’re continually turning around from the blackboard to find that little Derek has come out of the corner and is once again sitting with the girls. It’s exhausting.

That is all.

Gainful employment, what larks

Wednesday was the first day of my new job. I went to the studio in the morning, and taught clients at 7, 8, and 9, and then I did a bracing Advanced Reformer workout with one of the other teacher/apprentices. It was smashing, actually: the first full Advanced I’ve done since I broke my ankle, and I left out only the Arabesques and the kicks in the Control Push Ups Back. I did Snake and Twist and stepped off in Balance Control and all sorts. Then, I went home and changed, and caught a bus to Mairangi Bay. The truth is that Windsor Park buses are rare and flighty creatures — I’ll be walking up Hastings Road many times yet, I suspect.

When these bods say induction, they have their minds made up. They started me out as they mean to go on by producing a training supervisor with practically the same name as another supervisor, who I was expecting; while I was still reeling from the dissonance, she started using a cunning technical-difficulty manoeuvre developed experimentally at Guantanamo, and when I was good and stonkered, she gave me a 60-page PDF about divergent models of mental health care. It was written in academic jargon, however, and contained a joke by a PACT alum about narrowly escaping a life “running for Clubhouse president”, so sucks to her: I survived the reading time with wits to spare and finished the day with a meeting. Meetings and acronyms, that’s where it’s at.

So. Thursday. More of the same. Obtained keys, drop-files, photocopier logins, and the lay of the carparking situation. Began the more interesting and useful orientation to various mental health disorders and diagnoses, treatment models, clinical teams and care responsibilities — I had a brief moment of doom when the supervisor asked me, for the purposes of analogy, to name people involved in a long-distance car rally. “The driver…?” said I, racking the remaining quarter of my brain; but she was kind enough to tell me, and this may interest readers, that someone sits next to the driver during these rallies. I was surprised, frankly: surely, in this modern age, such an arrangement represents an unnecessary risk that will inevitably lead to tyre and suspension wear, higher petrol costs, social awkwardness, helmet-hair — the list goes on. It’s fortunate that nobody has yet revolutionised this, however, in a way — I doubt that the mental health sector would take kindly to having to replace their navigator (family support, for anyone who’s still reading) with the equivalent of KITT or a GPS device. KITT, incidentally, is one of only eight remaining acronyms in the world (two of them undiscovered, like dvi-lanthanum) not in use in the mental health sector. Fascinating.

Anyway the point is, after lunch, I went back for three more meetings. Client perspectives, other services, and health and safety. Doting relatives may rest easy: there are plans for every hazard from stress to tsunami. Do not drink the floodwater, it may be contaminated.

I miss Auteur House

The screen media, as all readers will know, are useful chiefly for two things: they pass time and rot the brain. Very well. If, let us say, one is in the position of contending with hazardous circumstances, such as, let us say —

  • one’s abject poverty
  • the late hours one keeps
  • one’s iBook being on the fritz, perhaps permanently
  • one’s mother’s gratifying yet somehow anticlimactic probable triumph over a rare cancer, on a technicality
  • one’s practically only sister living in London and not able to come back quite when planned
  • 120 roll film costing the earth and leaving one’s Holga to lie fallow
  • one’s substandard ankles, now structurally unsound due to two accidents
  • the bus system

— and so on, the screen media occasionally do provide one with a welcome diversion. There are different kinds of media into which one can sink oneself: sometimes, for example, plonking down in front of Firefly on DVD is just the thing, and other times few things are more appealing than an afternoon curled up with cups of tea and a dozen or so YouTube clips of Draco and the Malfoys.

The trouble is, DVDs must either be picked up on sale at JB Hi-Fi, or rented from a frankly useless chain video store in the central city. This is no good. Auckland may be a bustling, forward-thinking metropolis (though this is doubtful), but what it needs is to take a lesson or two from Hamilton, at least in the matter of the Hydro-Majestic, cafes that open after six PM, and Auteur House. Shortly before I moved away, I had nearly finished watching a series of Truman Capote films (I think I still had one version of In Cold Blood to go) and a bunch of Hitchcocks, and Dr Richard was handing over Danny Kaye films as soon as I walked up the stairs.

I miss Auteur House.