Archive for October, 2010

Spicy Harissa Tapenade from The Village Press

October 26th, 2010 Comments off

Harissa Tapenade, from The Village PressI bought a jar of Harissa Tapenade from Moore Wilson. It  is incredibly delicious. Though slightly pricey at around $10 a jar, not much is needed. There’s a distinct tang of  coriander and fish sauce, offset by limes, chilli’s and paprika . It reminds me of a jar of African curry that an old family friend made for me years ago.

I can confirm that it’s excellent with cold roast pork, and hot roasted potatoes.

(Yes, it’s made in New Zealand.)

Categories: Food, Life Tags:

Houses and your Economy

October 25th, 2010 1 comment

Recently I had a chat to my bank about buying a house. As thirty looms on the horizon, I feel that it’s about time that I made the transition from flatting to home-ownership, despite the inevitability of my semi-self-determined protracted bachelorhood. My misgivings of itchy feet syndrome aside, it looks like I’ll be settling down in Wellington. It’s either that or Auckland, and frankly, I detest commuting.

Pricing of houses and apartments on Trademe  has led me to look at something with two rooms within walking distance of the CBD. Provided I get a flatmate in, I can look at paying off the mortgage in about oh – twenty years.


This is assuming of course that I don’t put any money to the side beyond that required for rainy days and the usual maintenance / repairs. During those twenty years, I won’t be thinking about business ideas, or investing in other businesses, or trying to support my economy by buying locally made goods, because everything will become about paying down the multi-hundred thousand dollar debt hanging over my head.

Though this is more a reflection of the IT sector than my ability, compared to most people in New Zealand, I am well paid. I have no clue as to how most people manage to survive and purchase homes on a single income. More than a few don’t. I suspect many more are sacrificing things they shouldn’t as they reach for the New Zealand dream.

How exactly did we get to this state, where we value land more for it’s perceived future capital gains, rather than the goods it can produce, as if we were collecting stamps and paintings? Worse yet, how did we get to the point where we were selling it off to pay for our flat screen TV’s and second hand imported Japanese cars.

Last week Gareth Morgan concluded his column with a scathing remark about people not living within their means and a standard right wing comment about requiring foreign capital to develop. I can’t help thinking that that particular statement is only correct when it applies to New Zealand because we have so much capital tied up in land and houses.

By my non-economist observation, this is in large part because we lack of capital gains has made investment of any other kind less appealing pointless, and because we insist on buying disposable luxury goods with out unprotected commodity good exports.

I won’t flog the horse of capital gains on non owner-occupied homes, instead, I have another suggestion.

Ban consumer finance.

Force the purchasing of stereos, TVs, cars, computers, cellphones, and all those imported luxury goods illegal unless it’s with cash or EFTPOS. I wonder how much better the general population would get at saving and upskilling, and how much less rubbish we’d import if everyone actually had to save to buy an iPhone.

Gig – Stellar* @ Bodega

October 17th, 2010 Comments off

Last night, Bodega hosted the second to last ever gig of Stellar*. Due to turning up far too early, my flatmate and I scored a fantastic spot right at the front table just to the side of the stage.

Unfortunately, due to Ticketmaster being a pack of useless overcharging fools, and everything on the Internet incorrectly indicating that there would not be door sales, we paid an extra $5.50 for the privilege of having to line up again when they finally got their act together and managed to send Bodega the list of people who had paid via the website an hour after the doors opened. For this privilege, they charge an $8 service fee – a fact which is hidden as much as legally possible. In future, when tickets for a gig are listed via Ticketmaster, I’m going to ring up the bar directly, and see if there’s door sales – it’ll be less of a hassle that way.

Moving on. For whatever reasons, my flatmate and I were making a run on being the only people in the audience under thirty. (Except for the two girls at the end of the stage, who made eye contact multiple times, where we had several opportunities to go talk to, including when they stuck around afterwards – but no, we wussed out like the sad geeks we are.)

Seth Hapu was enlisted as an opening act, accompanied by himself on his iPod for backing instruments. For those of you who looking up his videos on Youtube, that’s what he sounds like live – there’s no auto-tune here.

Clearly, the whole crowed was there for our fix of Mix. I own Mix and Something like Strangers, but I had to dig through my boxes of CDs for the latter of the two, since it never made enough of an impression for me to rip it onto my hard drive. The crowd was appreciative of the bands newer efforts, but it was only when Boh Runga told us that “This next song is called Undone” did the audience join in with the leg-slapping, singing-all-the-words and bawling-out-the-chorus dedication that indicates true fans. I’m pretty sure the band knew this all too well, since their expressions seemed to indicated that someone further up the chain of the record company wouldn’t let them simply play the entire Mix set. I suspect they got their own back however, when the inevitable encore brought the band out to end with the signature songs, Part of Me and Violent, played with the kind of hell-for-leather  and damn-the-executives approach that had characterised the favoured songs.

Which is probably just as well, since the whole affair lacked the controlled clean production values found in the studio version of the songs I’m used to. It was, like the band, a distinctly Kiwi affair. There was no security guards, and members of the band made fun of themselves, and talked to the audience during and afterwards. In some ways, it felt more like a new band just starting out, rather than an established eleven year old band on their farewell tour.

Stellar*, you will be missed.

Openfire with Kerberos/GSSAPI

October 13th, 2010 Comments off

Short version: If you have an openfire server where it’s hostname does not match the xmpp domain name it’s serving, you probably need to force the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) property, like this.

xmpp.domain =

xmpp.fqdn =

Categories: Tech Tags: , , , ,

Buying New Zealand made: Chalky digit Helipilot pants

October 5th, 2010 2 comments

Helipilot pants, by Chalkydigits

I’m working on a follow up to the question I put forward at the end of my last post, but I haven’t yet managed to massage the swirling thoughts and ideas into a cogent coda. In the meantime, I’ll talk about some new pants.

I purchased a pair of oddly named Helipilot pants made by the oddly named chalkydigits online from bivouac from their clearance sale.They were ordered on a Saturday, which the server processed and emailed me about immediately, but weren’t packaged for delivery until late Tuesday, arriving in my doorstep early Wednesday morning. Given that I paid via credit card, I would have hoped for a slightly speedier response. They were priced at $139 including delivery and GST, down from $199.

They are, surprisingly comfortable. Along with the merino jersey of toastyness, these pants are making a surprise run on being one of my favourite items in my wardrobe. The current fad of skinny jeans does not sit well on my tōtara-like thighs. The Helipilots go in the other direction and have a nice wide straight leg cut that gets excellent circulation, which is important for my Wellington wind tuned metabolism. The 60/40 polyester/cotton is good at keeping the wind out, and dries phenomenally fast. So far, it’s also proved resistant to stains, which probably says more about me than the pants.

Despite being a relatively simple cut, there’s a surprisingly large amount of subtle design work involved. The knees have folds at the side to pad out the fabric, and prevent pre-wearing. Likewise, there’s a double sewn crimp about eight centimetres above the cuff on the rear side, if you’re the type to deliberately wear out the cuffs, then this should prevent that horrible tear heading up your calf.

While I’m on the detailing work, I’ll mention out that the pair I received lack the garish logo shown on the website, instead substituting a much more refined embroidered logo on the right thigh. And finally, there’s the enormous pockets. The single rear pocket reaches all the way from the centre seam at the back to the right hand side seam, and is spacious enough to take two wallets, with ample room left over for my phone. However, this isn’t necessary, as the coin/watch pocket has bowed to modern pressure and is nicely sized and shaped to take a cellphone.

Downsides. The legs are a bit long, though the cuffs sit properly on my shoes when I’m sitting down, and cotton/poly simply doesn’t breath the way cotton or wool does.

But, they’re pretty awesome. In the half dozen days I’ve worn them since I received them, they have garnered at least a couple of comments, and despite my misgivings, nobody has accused me of wearing parachute pants.