The disadvantage in buying your own birthday presents is that if they are wrong, you look 10 times stupider than you look when buying incorrectly for someone else. You are, after all, meant to know yourself pretty well.
Dazed and Confused
Recommendation is one those simple pesky words you sometimes spell wrong. Like commission, acoustic, embarrassed and twelfth.
Piano playing at its ragtime best. It seems incredible that after loathing pianos as a teenager, loathing them more than rice pudding, centipedes and the Otago Boys' High School cane, I am now searching hungrily for one. I grew up with pianos. My grandfather, a music teacher, organist and choirmaster, lived with us, and he had a Bechstein grand piano and a Schiedmayer upright.
Murphy has really been dealing it out lately. Nothing I can't handle, but it's winter, and Murphy and his infuriating Law always gets stroppy when the cold closes in.
There are myriad unusual human conditions out there with strange and arresting names, none stranger than the aptly entitled Putrid Syndrome. I have this awful thing.
A ferocious discussion on phobias in an inner-city cafe last Thursday saw some arresting stuff brought to the table.
Minutes from a recent Otago District Health Board meeting have been furtively leaked my way, on the promise I keep all details under my hat. Such discretion goes without saying. Tight-lipped silence is my bond.
I was chatting rationally to a close personal friend over the weekend as to how surprisingly fine X Factor NZ has been so far.
When my wife informed me her school was doing a history tour of Vietnam these holidays, I guffawed like a man in a guffaw tunnel. Could I come too, I said, I love history, me. No, she said.
A curious document fluttered on to my Facebook desk last week purporting to be a list of Redneck Medical Terms.
It is neither here nor there for me to be dazed and confused, obviously. I was born to make the wrong decision. Were the Red Sea to open before my feet and eyes, I would walk straight into the ocean.
Home theatre 5.1-channel sound systems that make action movies swirl around your head like low-flying helicopters have been with us for quite a while now.
After my last bout of surgery, where a team of skilled knife-men somehow managed to find an abdominal patch hitherto undug, the chief surgeon said I would be fine, just so long as I didn't lift anything.
Most Dunedin sports lovers knew our bafflingly fine summer would end when the recent cricket test began. They prayed until their wrists bled, but to no avail.
The old chestnuts are the best. Really? I don't know. Maybe old chestnuts conk better. Remember conking?
It has been a while since I looked into the career of the extraordinary singer Wing. Which is strange, given that for five years, this woman and her multi-keyed tempo-less voice dominated my life like a giant ever-clanging cathedral bell dominates silence.
Aeons ago, I cannot possibly remember how many aeons, I went out to someone's house for an evening with computer enthusiasts. Computers had started appearing in shop windows, almost as if they might become The Next Thing. I was interested. I had just bought a Sinclair ZX81.
Most writers south of the Waitaki have been strongly influenced by the blood department at Dunedin Hospital. While European writers find their muse in the south of France, and Americans sit on the piers of Cannery Row or the banks of the mighty Mississippi, us indomitable southern writing men and women are drawn time and time again to our hospital's blood bank.
Post offices? I am tempted to say ''don't get me started'', but I have always run as fast as my legs could carry me from cliches, and saying ''don't get me started'' would just be the straw that broke the camel's back.