Thursday, September 24, 2009


Last night Tens and I decided to put our money where our mouth is and bought a package of supposedly delicious 'pineapple lumps', thinking that no product with a funny commercial could possibly be disgusting. Well we were wrong, and have noticed that New Zealanders seem to have a strange fascination with revolting dessert products.

Ever wondered what racism tastes like? Well try New Zealand's Lolly Cake. Through extensive research I have determined it to be it's purest incarnation..

Tenny sells them at work, and the finished product looks something like this:

But if you break down the ingredients a bit, you'll find those innocent fluffy chewy marshmallowy chunks are actually these:

ESKIMOS!! The dreaded candy that once sparked a mild international full scale rumbling!

Of course not surprisingly Kiwis ferociously defend the right to use their racist little treat, but I have to wonder what they would think if the shoe was on the other foot and they went to a store in Canada and found a caricature of a Maori person.. honestly I suspect they wouldn't care at all. It's pretty obvious that the two things New Zealanders resist the most about modern Western culture is its PCness and the onslaught of the 'nanny state'. But does the addition of the eskimo candy make the lolly cake officially a form of evil?? Well, before discovering that a lollicake is spelled lolly cake I went searching for a picture of it and the first image that came up when I typed in "lollicake new zealand" was this:

I believe it is customary in the legal profession at this juncture to use the term CASE CLOSED!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Heavenly Mud

Well, not surprisingly the God of Pineapple Lumps cared more about producing and distributing delicious bite size snacks and didn't care at all about our car, so I failed miserably. But I would give myself a B+ for effort, after all I did locate the problem and bought the replacement part, I just couldn't physically remove the starter from the car. Yesterday I definitely learned the valuable lesson that socket wrenches are necessary for car repair, and lack of one is a bit of a deal breaker. So I took it off this morning to the local auto electrician and we'll see how much my lack of skill cost us. As a result I have now put taking an auto mechanics course at the top of my adult education demands, even higher than learning to play the ukelele which was the previous #1 holder.

But it's not all sad news and dollars lost on this side of the world. To the contrary, last Wednesday was an awe inspiring victory for 'Heavenly Mud', the name of our quiz team that competes every week at our local bar the Sprig & Fern. With my knowledge of Chemistry gleamed from the various posters and hooked rugs around our childhood house, Tenny's knowledge of famous faces, and our friend Hugh's knowledge of MTV New Zealand's latest videos we vauled to the top last week claiming victory by a sizeable margin. As you can see from this victory shot we were in a league of our own, being the only team to pick up 80 points:

And that beautiful basket wasn't even part of our prize, that was the gift pack we won in the weekly raffle which took place before the start of the last round. I guess when it rains it pours sometimes.. and thanks to luck and our teammates we got a whole week's worth of alcohol paid for us. Now that is the taste of sweet sweet victory.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Best and Worst of NZ commercials

One thing I love about travelling is watching commercials in another country, and over our tenure here in Nelson we've seen some interesting trends. The first is that stalwarts back home like KFC need a little extra motivation to get Kiwis through the doors, as apparently just selling fried chicken isn't enough. It seems like almost every week we have seen a commercial for some kind of different KFC creation that defies all logic and common decency. Don't like fried chicken? Well allow me to entice you with chicken in sandwich form.. what?? Not good enough?? Well what if I put a hashbrown on top??

Behold .. the Tower Burger!!

What did you say?? Mashed Potatoes aren't good enough on their own? Well then please good sir allow me to deep fry them for you:

Seriously?? Mashies??

But I'm being a bit too harsh, it's not all bad.. in fact some of the New Zealand made commercials are pretty sweet as. We've both become pretty big fans of the Pineapple Lumps Commercial, and this Mitre 10 ad is pretty true to Kiwi form.

I'm trying to take some of the best parts of Kiwi culture, like DIY, and incorporate them into my life, but we'll see how it goes. This afternoon I'm going to try to remove the starter from our car and replace the copper contacts.. hopefully the God of Pineapple Lumps is on my side.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Viva La Penguino!

Two things have consumed me over the past 3 weeks since I last posted: The impending doom of the current economic recession and what I should do with all my time since I can only find work in spurts. The answer.. puppy linux.

For a long time now I wanted to run linux on one of my computers, but at the end of the day I was too incompetent to make it happen. Enter necessity, the mother of invention and vanquisher of complacency. Getting sick of going to the library every day to check for work and having less than $100 to spend on a computer I looked at the buy/sell ads and saw what I thought was an incredible bargain. Granted she was an old computer, but when I went to take a look at it I could tell it was in pristine condition and hadn't been used for years, plus it seemed to have everything we needed to give us a simple internet connection at home. That is the day I learned that you should never buy a computer without checking how much RAM memory it has.

When I got it home I quickly realized that something was wrong the moment I tried to do two things at once, as the computer made a sound that made me think that Windows XP was about to XPire (HA!.. I kill me!). But luckily for every mistake made in the computer world there is a legion of geeks ready to come up with a solution, and puppy linux was designed to resurrect old computers with low RAM to run like new.

I'll be damned, but it works. Weighing in at a whopping 100 mb (a fraction of the size of windows) it runs amazingly fast and comes with a freeware version of almost every program we needed, so Tens and I have become big fans. It has definitely taken me a bit longer to set up because I know nothing about code and needed to look up how to do every little thing, but with all the time in the world that has been more of a blessing than a curse. If you've got an old clunker lying around I urge you to give it a try..

In other news the King Family continues to reign supreme as Mama King comes through in the hash brown challenge to save my breakfast. She correctly identified that my problem was frying the potatoes in butter instead of oil, as only oil will get hot enough to brown the outside and keep the hash from turning into mush. The test kitchen proved her diagnosis, turning out a lovely product in no time flat. Thanks Mom!

MMmmmm.. hash browns