Monthly Archives of: August 2011


Snow my gosh! (Icy what you did there.)


This weekend I went skiing for the first time.

(Well, technically I went once when I was eight, but I refused to get a lesson or learn how to stop, and thus spent a morning hurling myself down the beginner slope and falling over at the bottom — and then walking back up, because I also refused to go on the tow thingy. (I know I’ve said it before, but MAN, sometimes I feel sorry for my parents. Little Katie was a pain in the ass.))

We drove up Friday night. I neglected to take any pictures, so here is an artist’s impression of the house:

Nice, right?


We were up and on the mountain at an ungodly hour of the morning. I was the only one of the group who’d never been skiing, and everyone except Jeffrey vanished immediately to do daring things at high altitudes. Jef was itching to impart some knowledge, so, gear acquired, he lead me down to the bunny slope to put on my skis. I almost fell over just getting them on.

“Okay,” he said, once I was upright. “This is a pizza slice.” He demonstrated. “Got it?”

“Got it,” I said, approximating his stance.

“Sweet. I’ll be back in half an hour.”

He zipped away. I pointed myself downhill, assumed my pizza position, and pushed off.

You guys, skis go FAST.

I also learned fast as I hurtled, out of all control, towards a class of six-year-olds. I managed to dodge them but, in trying to turn, lost my pizza. I picked up more speed. A group of beginner snowboarders milled in front of me. My legs wouldn’t bend. I had no idea how to turn. I clipped a fallen outlier, which slowed me down enough to dodge a toddler and his father and find my pizza slice again.

Somehow, millimeters from the queue for the magic carpet, I managed to stop. Later, Jef said to me, “you must be a fast learner — I saw you as I was leaving and you were going really fast!”

Not on purpose, dude. Not on purpose.


Later, he came back to check on me. I’d been practising my pizza for half an hour and was pretty sure I could now successfully come to a halt. Eventually. At very slow paces. In a straight line. “Want to go up further?” he asked me.

I WANTED a hot dog on a stick.

An impression by the same shitty artist.
You’ll note my skillful stance and confident demeanor.

(For reference: a five-year-old. He is passing me. Probably while texting.)


My lesson was at 12. I strapped my skis back on, post hot dog, and pizzaed my way there. The instructor looked at me. “This lesson is going to waste two hours of your life,” he said. “You don’t need it.”

“All I can do is stop!”

He pointed at the rest of the class. Three of them were stuck on top of a foot-high drift, too scared to jump off it. One of them was on his ass in the snow. The others gazed dimly around, skis in hand. “Look at these retards,” the instructor said to me. “In two hours, most of them probably still won’t be able to stop.”

This didn’t sound right to me. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d paid for a lesson. “Are you sure?” I asked.

We watched a chubby Asian tourist attempt to jump off the tiny drift. She fell over, rolled onto her back and lay there. “Oh,” he said, sounding despondent, “I’m sure.”


I went back to what I was doing. An hour later, I was pretty sure I was an awesome skier. I could point myself in a direction and eventually get there. I could come to a stop at varying speeds, and I hadn’t fallen over once. (I ran into a fallen snowboarder at one point, but since his upright friend broke my fall, I wasn’t counting it.) I’d even mastered the platter (I gots the lingo!) (I googled the lingo), so I was pretty sure I was basically a pro.

I got a text to say the others were at the café for lunch. “I’ll be right there,” I replied, and leapt onto the platter. This shit was old hat. I zipped along, poles tucked neatly under one arm, chuckling fondly at all the beginners around me still doing their beginner-y things.

Re-creation: I’m awesome! I WIN at skiing!
Ha ha HA, plebian newbies, watch me and see how this shit is done!

Thirty seconds later:

…My limbs 😦


By the end of the day I’d more or less mastered turning in the direction intended in roughly the time frame desired. I could stop, go and not fall over almost at will. I came off the mountain ready to celebrate, and promptly crawled into my bunk and slept for 12 hours while everyone else went drinking.

Skiing is awesome. I can’t wait to do it again.


In Whangarei.

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“Can I see the wine list?”

She looked at me blankly. “Um. We don’t have one.”

“Can you tell me the shirazes you have by the glass, then?”

“Um. We have this one?”

“What is it?”

She held it up in my direction. “It’s this?”



On my brother’s birthday, there was a gang fight outside the café where we were having lunch. Three guys jumped another guy as he picked up his lunchtime pie from the bakery next door. The guy, unfazed, picked up a chair from an outside table and went to town.

The street was littered with too-loose sneakers.

My brother called the police, who DID NOT ANSWER.

The fight was eventually broken up by a middle-aged lady in a windbreaker. She had a perm and sensible leather shoes, and I thought for sure she was about to be killed. But apparently the gangs have an honour code as regards hitting the ladies, so she broke up a four-man street-brawl using nothing but a stern tone.

The gentlemen found the right sneakers, slipped back into them, and scuffed away. The original victim set down his chair, dusted off his pie, and resumed his lunch.

Last year on the same day we got stuck in a police chase after dinner.Whangarei is nothing if not exciting.


I went to visit my birth-grandparents. One of their goats, bored of his own species, has taken a carnal shine to sheep. My grandmother said, “I’ve seen it happen before, but the babies don’t usually live long.”


The sheep, looking haunted, scuttled around the shared paddock. The goat — who goes by “Sweetie”, and once broke someone’s leg — eyed them with his creepy goat eyes, doing something with his tongue that my grandmother refered to as “wine tasting”. It was as gross as it sounds.


Crazed alpaca; traumatised sheep.

I think the alpaca is scared he night be next.