June 2008

The first impression of the draft Ngauranga – Airport Draft plan is that it isn’t so much a “plan” as a statement of intent. The document states that it is a consultation, and appears to offer the chance for the public to make submissions, but in fact it is stating what appears to have already been decided by the City Council.

This impression could be mistaken, but the format of the document doesn’t easily lend itself to the idea of consultation, and is more akin to a publicity exercise. There are no options presented to the reader for example, and instead we’re given a set of intentions that may or may not be implemented over a 10-year period.

I need to scratch a little deeper, for instance reading the Urban Development Strategy and the Regional Strategy, which will hopefully reveal a little more of the justifications for the choices the Council has already decided on is putting forward in their ‘draft plan’, and hopefully illuminate how and why particular decisions are being made.

After reading this slim document all I’m left with is the feeling that their is a very general intention to develop inner-city Wellington, but that no-one is actually sure how. The options for transport are a dog’s breakfast, and although the greater weight of submissions in a previous process were in favour of light rail as a public transport solution (which implies they would be at very least willing to utilise the service, if not actively support it), the paper dismisses it out of hand as prohibitively expensive. But, digging in a little further we find that costings for light rail are hidden on the very last page. And, they are $35million cheaper than what seems to be the preferred option to improve the corridor in question, a second Mt Vic tunnel…

As I say, this is a set of first impressions. But the first impression is very bad. Options that involve high-fossil fuel use, including diesel buses and public transport, as clearly given priority, while options that could make Wellington an eminently liveable city (walking and cycling) are uncosted within the plan and clearly not considered important. The “urban corridor” is poorly conceived, and seems to be a matter of convenience in “planning” as opposed to an objective. While the document states that there is expected to be considerable growth along the corridor, how good transport will complement this growth is not apparent, except the ensure that everything is lovely and convenient at clear bottlenecks like SUV central outside the gates of Government House at the end of school.

The two things I did find interesting was the statement that integrated ticketing would be available by 2011, and that dedicated bus laneways would be created. I’d love to know people’s opinion on that, because it would be the only things in this plan that might actually encourage people out of their private transport. That in turn would have them increasing their walking in the city, which in turn might increase patronage of the shops. 

Seriously, who notices the details of retail outlets when they’re driving past at 30km/hr, not me.

I’ll put in some decent reading and get back to you.


If you don’t know what this is?

Then you’re missing out.

Mmmmmmm…. Rewena bread (expensive but, $7 a loaf!!)

I’m going to eat a slice with loads of butter. When I buy some butter, that is.

Now all I need is some marinated fish and it’ll be like 1983 again (the year I worked in a restaurant that used to serve this delicacy).

Well, after a number of days of faffing around with Ubuntu I remain unconvinced. While it definitely boots faster, there is nothing it does that someone with my level of linux skills can exploit. And at times even simple things like installing updates or software will require me to go to google, have a read of a half-dozen poorly written and unclear sites, return to the application I’m working on, fail at least once, and then back to the sites.

Furthermore, it doesn’t adequately support a some of my hardware. Most annoyingly, the brand-new hardware I bought just before I shifted over. Some business-as-usual internet activity, like watching video, is jerky and will drop out. The ability to control sound is limited, and things often skew between audible and a whisper.

Now all these things are stuff that I could fix if I had both the time and inclination to learn how. But I’m a busy man. As it is I’ve barely blogged for days because I’m spending all my time faffing and reading stuff. And don’t get me started on trying to run any Windows software. Because I’ve been unable to get anything at all to run I can’t offer a comparison in performance between the two platforms.

So all that installing unbuntu has done is pushed me towards using this box less usefully, basically as an internet reader, and making me think I might just go ahead and buy that Mac I’ve had my eye on.

Again with the money-saving tips. Yoghurt is a healthy option if you’re eating dairy. It has lots of natural bacteria in it, and it is easy to add to a range of meals, or be eaten on it’s own. Plus, if you make it yourself, it’s very cheap.

Normally 600ml of decent yoghurt from Pak N’ Save will set you back about $4. But, I’ll show you how to make an entire litre for no more than $2.50, the cost of a bottle of milk.

All you’ll need then is milk, any sort at all, and some yoghurt to start your culture.

You can start the process by buying some natural yoghurt. And this will, of course, be your last purchase of this type.

You’ll also need a hot water cupboard. If you don’t have one… then it’s problematic. But not too much.

So, we’re off and making extremely delicious yoghurt! (more…)

Well, ubuntu is installed, and my OEM version of XP filed under ‘F’, for “floor”, and, “go away”.

Initial impressions? Not too tricky to install. Although, I chose the wrong keyboard in set-up, and now the ” and @ keys are reversed. Which is a little confusing.

Also installed WINE, which is a Windows emulator translation software of some sort that lets me load and run Windows-based software. As soon as I figure out how to get Direct X running, everything will be as normal. But, on a free platform!

If it continues to run well for about a week, then I’ll install it on Second Chef’s laptop, which is reaching the end of its useful life. Instead of purchasing a new one, I’ll get another couple of years with this platform!

Oh. One niggle is that it insists on telling you when you’re using hardware with closed code. And is ever-so-slightly haughty about it. But as I say, that’s just an impression. the main issue is that the video card will only display at 51 hertz…

Otherwise? Alrighty!

So, in this interesting story the papers are advising people so save money by filling up their tanks at independent stations, why is admirable, and a great change to outright complaints!

Apparently, petrol is 3c cheaper per litre at place like Gull. Which means that you can save $1.80 on your average 60litre fill. A very smart move there. There’s no point being loyal to any particular station when they’re basically funnelling money to big corporations. The bastards.

But what makes me wonder is this… filling the car from empty will still cost you $124!!!

So someone tell me why they drive at all? Aren’t you just outright being gouged? I opted to just save the $124.

Tell you what, this is exactly why we moved to a slightly more expensive rental in town, and sold the cars. Not only are we saving money by not paying for parking, warrant of fitness and registration (up to $4k a year, per vehicle), but no throwing good money after bad with petrol costs.

Don’t feel jealous though! Move into the city! Plenty of room for everyone.

And, the more people whinging about the boy racers the better…

I know I’ve been harping on about food prices a lot lately. But it’s your best interests I have at heart. Which made me think, you know, I could buy a heart from the local New World, and show them how to cook that.

Then I thought, where do these stupid ideas come from?

So instead I settled for liver. “EEESH” I hear you say, “Who’d eat that crap?!” Well, if you’re worried about food prices then you should. Not only is liver one of the cheapest meats outside of eating insects, it’s also highly nutritious. On my recent trip to Auckland I had liver cooked in cream, and that is pretty damn good and rich.

Another good reason to eat offal is that if you’re Green enough to care, but not Green enough to give up meat, then you should consciously eat more and different portions. The great crime of C21st factory farming is that it allowed consumers to start eating their favourite portions only. Not only is this an inefficient use of a living animal, but its limiting the great opportunities you have to sample a variety of terrific flavours. And a good liver, cooked till it’s fluffy is truly great.

So, what will you need? Here I have a bank-breaking 260g of liver coming in at $2.14.

There’s also 400g of bacon costing $4.16. I’ll only use 100g of that, so it’s costing me $1.04.

Then I’ll use a couple of onions, and a dash of sherry. All up that’s less than $5 to put meat on the table for two.

Otherwise, the meal will include sauerkraut, polenta, and some broccoli.

That’s right, this dish will be everything you every hated eating as a kid.

Heh. (more…)

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