Saturday, October 06, 2012

fun with the folks at phab

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the PHAB studio in Takapuna to help the folks make fridge magnets.
We all had a great time, and the guys made some fun things to take home....

PHAB provides opportunity for people both disabled and non-disabled to come together for social activities, with 16 groups that meet weekly throughout the greater Auckland area. They have a main focus of young people 16 - 25. 
PHAB strives to break down the barriers that result in social isolation.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

key bullshit: "more is less"

"The number of pokie machines in Auckland will continue to drop even if Sky City casino is allowed to have more of them, Prime Minister John Key says."

steve robs from beyond the grave

The new iphone 5 proudly brought to you by Apple - now available in white!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

chinese big brother

What most of us internet users don't realize or fully appreciate is the extent to which our on-line activities are being monitored, recorded, stored, bundled and sold to advertisers (& other interested, and even more sinister, parties).
We may be vaguely aware that "cookies" (activity trackers) are stored on our computers (which can & should be deleted in your browser's daily.
I have recently enabled which, in real time, notifies you of other "trackers" of your activity & data -& will block such moles on request.
For example, I searched for this evening. 
Ghostery informed me that it had blocked nine (yes 9) trackers on the page I found.
Among them was this entity:
How's that for jargon??
They are saying that they are tracking visitors to sites and selling the ISP addresses as well as other relevant information ( ie our other web searches, physical address, contacts age, sex, sexual preferences. income, race, location, sites, criminal convictions, tax details, employment details, credit information, bank account details, citizenship & residency info, hobbies, interests, car rego, photos, emails, power usage, water consumption, insurance details, children & pets' names, favourite foods, drugs of choice....etc....etc.....)
I assume from their name that this entity is Chinese.
We all know that all activity, whether private, business, or corporate, in China is strictly controlled and monitored by the Chinese government...ergo: the Chinese government is collecting our personal data.
For what ends?
I guess so that they have a handle on each and every one of us when they take over, so that they can take out or lean on any of us they deem to be "subversive" - and bear in mind that "subversive" activity in China is called "free speech" in the West.
Am I paranoid with this reasoning & deduction?
But as good friend of mine constantly reminds me: "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean that they won't get you"!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

crispy-skin duck

My buddy Laurie & I enjoyed a meal of crispy-skin duck on a bed of rice at Tai Ping Supermarket last week - this Saturday 22 Sept Tai Ping is holding an Asian Food Festival - stalls, classes, good food!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

another roast pig's head

The New World supermarket here in Brown's Bay is now selling 1/2 pig's heads for $3.
Roasted (unbasted) for an hour and a half @ 180C makes for delicious crackling!
I have been looking at some brawn recipies which use boiled pig's heads - coming up folks.
 See my youtube video on how to make this roast:
.....and my food blog for further cooking adventures:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

foraging in browns bay

Today Laurie & I went foraging in our local neighbourhood & found some wild edibles.
Read more @

Thursday, September 06, 2012

road trip

I took a brief roadtrip to Hamilton with my friend Laurie Santell.
We took a walk around the botanical gardens. There three loungers were in the American Garden...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

annual trash trawl

The annual inorganic roadside trash collection has begun in my area.
I cruised around in the van on Sunday & scored a 25kg bag of cement.
This year there are even more people trawling through the kerbside offerings - most of them after scrap metal, but there are lots of other goodies and freebees out there as well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

molded liver recipie

A recent freeganing trip netted a 350grm tub of (still chilled) chicken livers.
 A while ago while trash trawling I found a well-used copy of Leah W. Leonard's 1951 book of "Jewish Cookery" on p. 301 is the recipie for molded chicken liver ( a firm favourite with my Jewish friends):
"Combine broiled chicken livers,hard cooked eggs and greben. Run through food chopper, season to taste with salt, pepper, celery salt or garlic salt, add chicken or goose fat, or salad oil. Use as a canape spread.Top with tiny bits of pimento or green pepper, minced parsley or water cress, or stuffed olive.
Or press into a well-greased mold. Unmold on shredded greens and garnish."

OR on p. 382 Leah gives the recipie for "Chopped Liver and Peanut Butter"!:
"Two parts chopped liver to 1 part peanut butter makes a delicious spread".

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

salad days

A friend has groceries delivered weekly from the supermarket. When the delivery arrives, last week's veges get thrown away. We brought these home last night: mushrooms, apricots, an avocado, a pack of celery, & some spring onions.

For more of my dumpster diving, freeganing & trash trawling adventures see my blog trashzilla

Saturday, August 18, 2012

owairaka school project

Yesterday I was privileged to address  Room 16 pupils at Owairaka School in Mt Albert on the subject of making sculptures from pieces of bicycles. Bicycle parts were kindly supplied by Marissa Oakley Browne from the Waitakere Recycling Station in Henderson.
Watch this space for the results.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

world-wide food riots imminent

Let the Hunger Games Begin reports:
"The Great Drought of 2012 has yet to come to an end, but we already know that its consequences will be severe. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. 
This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains.
This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences: if history is any guide, rising food prices of this sort will also lead to widespread social unrest and violent conflict.

In 2008 a similar scenario led to “food riots” in more than two dozen countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti, Indonesia, Senegal, and Yemen. In 2010 a surge in food prices resulted in widespread social unrest, this time concentrated in North Africa and the Middle East....leading to the Arab Spring.

As for the current drought, analysts are already warning of instability in Africa, where corn is a major staple, and of increased popular unrest in CHINA, (my emphasis) where food prices are expected to rise at a time of growing hardship for that country’s vast pool of low-income, migratory workers and poor peasants"

This at a time when one third (yes 33%) of world food production is lost or wasted each year.
And in this 100% pure fantasy land of Saatchi & Saatchi (aka New Zealand) over 702,000 tonnes of organic waste goes into landfill annually.

 Read more at:

For a look at what goes into the bins at the back of our supermarkets check out the   section on this blog, and/or have a look at my new blog dedicated to this subject:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

a visit to the waitakere waste transfer station

Last November I visited the Waitakere Refuse and recycling Transfer Station to see what happens with the stuff from our recycling bins.
I went with my chum Alan, and Marissa Oakley Browne showed us around.
Marissa is the Waste Minimisation Educator- Solid Waste Business Unit (Infrastructure & Environmental Services) at Auckland Council, in Mt Albert.

Many thanks Marissa.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

recycled art on tv

Another three minutes of fame!!
The skilled folks from Whitebait TV made a short doco on my dumpster diving and upcycling activities which screened on June 8 2012.

Watch by clicking on the image:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

cash for trash

Here are some electrical bits'n'pieces I found in the trash the other day.
The analogue phone will be handy for use when the power goes out.
I will use some of the other bits for upcycled art projects.
The rest will go into my scrap-metal box. I get some $30 for a banana box of electrical wiring from the scrap yard - half a tank of diesel for the van!

Friday, July 27, 2012

just did it!

found food

On one of my foraging expeditions I found this packaged food dumped in my locality.
Judging by evidence from the other trash at the site, some students had moved out & saw fit to dump their "rubbish" in a car park.
We have 12 x soy sauce, a Hershey's chocolate sauce, 10x miso soups, noodles, and three packets of noodle soups - lunches for me for several days...thanks guys.


The other night I found these two fresh and entirely edible loaves of bread in a skip.
It is interesting to note that some 30% of the food produced in NZ goes to waste/landfill - this when many people in this country are going hungry.
Let's call a spade a xxxing shovel here - the major food retailers are not interested in anything else but their "bottom line" and the interests of their shareholders.
Shame on them.

recycled art show and tell

Today I had great fun doing a show and tell with my recycled artworks for an attentive audience from PHAB Assn. Inc. (PHysically Disabled and Able-bodied) who came over from Takapuna.
Many thanks to Sarah and the support crew, as well as to the young folks themselves.

"PHAB is a ‘constructive support network’ not a service organization. We mentor and foster leadership among all our members. We have people, disabled and non-disabled, working together at every level of the organization.
Building Dreams...Building Hopes...Building Lives...Building Futures...Building Friendships...Building Me..."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

lucky break magazine july 2 2012

As told to Paula Trubshaw & photographed by Kristina Rapley - thanks guys for a great job!

The amended text reads: 
Sneaking under the cover of the fence, I raced across to the Hobsonville Air force base rubbish dump.
"Wow, check out this old ammunition box!" I exclaimed, hauling it out of the pile and showing it to my five-year old friends.
Growing up close to the base in Auckland in the 1950's we were strictly forbidden to go near the dump - so of course we visited it as often as we could. It was full of the kind of treasures boys of my age dreamed about, and was the start of my lifelong interest in other people's junk.
Moving to Wellington when I was 20, I got a job driving a rubbish truck. Within three months I'd outfitted my flat from floor to ceiling with the things other people tossed away: goat-skin rugs, a full set of cast-iron frying pans, and an old-fashioned typewriter were just some of the useful items that I rescued from the trash.
But it wasn't until I went travelling overseas at 25 that I saw the world of waste in a whole new light.
In Papua New Guinea the headman of a village I stayed in kept his traditional betel-nut kit in a highly polished aluminum tube - a vitamin-C Berocca tube. In a place where everything was made of bamboo or rattan this item was a powerful status-symbol for this chief.
Later, in Mexico, I watched a man on the pavement making trivets from steel bands from packing crates using just a pair of pliers. Miguel told me that he fed his family from the proceeds of his work.
Then in Morocco I watched people making water-carriers from old truck tyres and exquisite jewellery from scrap copper and brass.
While working in a restaurant in Canada, I became of food waste for the first time. As I was about to throw a whole uneaten crab into the waste, I realized that there was nothing wrong with it. The crab was a left-over from a large seafood platter. Diners ate what they could, left the rest - which was dumped. That night I took six uneaten crabs back to my flat - and we dined like kings!
After these experiences I became more and more aware of the politics and economics of waste. Today some 30% of the food produced in New Zealand goes to landfill, producing methane as it rots - this while people in this country go hungry.
As an adbuster and culture-jammer I observe a bombardment of advertising telling us to replace and discard the good we already have. Consumers in first-world countries produce enough waste to feed and support many disadvantaged people the world over.
In an effort to avoid being wasteful consumers themselves, groups of people in the USA initiated "dumpster-diving": instead of buying retail (sooo 20th century!) dumpster-divers rummage through the discards of retailers, residences and offices for useful goods. Other folks, known as "freegans" search through supermarket and restaurant bins for edible food.
On my return to NZ in 2008 I put my observations to good use - my foraging activities led me to the Coromandel where I beachcombed for old jandals, which I cut into fish shapes and sold as wallpieces. Today I also construct interesting clocks from pot lids. colanders, old LPs and flippers.
As I freegan, appalled by the willful waste of food by the multi-nationals and corporates, I rummage in supermarket skips to salvage perfectly edible food - and document my finds on this blog as a kind of public service announcement. I find it disgusting that food is sent to landfill to maximize the profits of the (usually overseas) shareholders while people in the this country are going hungry.

Awake. Arise. Or be forever fallen!.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

double-speak explained

At present we are witnessing the wharfies at the Port of Auckland in a bitter fight against casualisation of their jobs.
The National Government term for "casualisation" is "flexible" - they put a spin on the concept making out that it will benefit the workers, when in fact this is the thin end of the casualisation wedge - what it will mean is that this system will give the employer the right to tell people when they can work. Workers will no longer be assured of a 40-hour a week job.

This in the NZ Herald gotta admire the spin the Nats put on it - but it's bullshit no matter which way you read it.

"A law allowing some workers the right to request flexible working hours is to be extended to all employees.
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act, which came into force in 2008, gave employees who also had caregiving responsibilities the right to request flexible working arrangements, including changes to their hours of work, days of work, or place of work.
The Government has signalled plans to extend the law, and a Department of Labour review presented to Parliament today supported that move.
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the review found flexibility delivered positive business benefits, including improved retention and recruitment of staff, and improved employee motivation and loyalty.
"At present the right to request flexible working arrangements is only available to employees who are caregivers. We will be extending this right to all workers which should improve work-life balance, benefit the community and boost productivity in the workplace," she said.
"This change to the Act allows employees to reach agreements that both they and their employers are happy with.
It's about trusting them to reach agreement first without having to go through a formal process."
Ms Wilkinson said the changes to the current law were likely to come into effect later this year.
The review also found there were some groups of workers who currently had little or no access to flexible work due to both perceived and real barriers, including limited bargaining power, workplace culture, and operational constraints within some workplaces.
"These workers are more likely to be low-income employees, employees with no qualifications, and Pacific workers," the review said.
It recommended that if the law was extended to all employees, it should be accompanied by awareness-raising measures among employers and employees about the benefits of flexible work."

Monday, March 12, 2012

the perils of social media

Fairfax bought into social media in a big way - they are now finding out that the beast bites as well as feeds. This from the NZ Herald:
"The $92 tickets for the three April shows in Auckland and Wellington sold out in minutes but within hours some had been listed on Trade Me. The bids have sky-rocketed as more tickets were listed. Last night there were almost 40 listings, with pairs of tickets costing as much as $735.

In the last week, 224 auctions for One Direction tickets have been listed on Trade Me. The One Direction concerts weren't one of the Ministry of Economic Development's events under the Major Events Management Act so it was legal to on-sell tickets"
- Trade Me spokesman Mr Ford said.

May I suggest that if just one of the disaffected teenagers makes a video of their problem re this issue & posts it to youtube, it will go viral - & cause Fairfax one hell of a problem....that's all it takes....I've tried it with LG & Orcon when I had problems & no joy from customer support.....& I can tell you it works!!

read the article:

And check this article out on the same subject from the Sydney Morning Herald:
"The power of social media is far greater than any single message. And it will be used for misinformation as well as information, for ill as well as good."

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

business chinese-style

 Sunday Star Times 11 Dec 2011:

 Those touting increased business links with China and the sale of NZ farmland to Chinese businessmen may find this article an interesting read. Dubious business schemes in China have evidently "seen many people flee".

"A decade of soaring economic growth has also fuelled a fraud boom that Chinese academics say has seen more than US$130 billion spirited out of the country by corrupt officials....foreign governments had been asked to help repatriate some company owners, preferably with the money they took......A Bank of China report recently found that almost half of the country's millionaires were considering leaving."

NZ seems to be a destination of choice.

I had planned to post a link to the article, but at
the Star Times wants readers to pay to read last year's news online - somehow I don't think so.
Where I come from it's an old custom to use even yesterday's papers to wrap fish and chips in.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

taking notes for essays

Many of you writing essays will be as annoyed as I am to find that previous readers of library books have underlined or highlighted text.
To facilitate the taking of notes for essay-writing, I have devised the following strategy: as I read the book, I make notes on a sheet of paper of relevant quotes/sections which I wish to use, in brief form eg in the pictured example:
"xiii/2" means "page xiii paragraph two". The "6" below the line indicates that the words begin on the sixth line from the bottom of the paragraph (a number above the line = the # of lines from the beginning of the paragraph). I add a few keywords here: "moves from serious, silly, grotesque-pathetic" tell me that this passage is to do with the form of the film.
The quotes are from a book by Kezich.
 Using this method means that I can read all day & take notes, then sit down at the keyboard and type them out.
I can sort the notes from different books into groups - eg for my Fellini essay headings include "sound', "cutting", "recurrent images, & "themes".

When I come to put it all together I can then easily cut'n'paste in the masterdraft - keeping an eye on the word-count.

Sometimes I print the notes out & cut the most relevant paragraphs out with scissors and arrange them on sheets of paper....that's because I used to use a typewriter to write my essays way back last century.

big brother

 There are an increasing number of media reports pointing out the perils of online activities. Basically everything we do online is logged, and the information is sold to the highest bidder.
The notion of "privacy" is fast-becoming a quaint,  old-fashioned 20th century notion.

Weekend Herald Sat March 3 2012:
"Smartphone apps can gain access to your phone contacts, quietly make calls, read and send text messages, record your exact location and take photos.
And many of your actions are tracked and analysed for advertisers or app developers - even a game of Angry Birds.......
Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said".......' all too often we are very quick to give [up] all kinds of data without really thinking of the implications, about where the company is based and about just what is happening with your data once you hand it over'..."

read the full article here

Sunday, March 04, 2012

30 days hath september..........

If you have faith in computers & IT devices have a look at this photo - taken at the local branch of my bank last week:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

there is no app for imagination

Steve Robs Kids: despite all the hype, & the jokes ("there's an app for that") - apps are basically revenue-gathering, data-collating in old hippie terms: bullshit.
Remember - there is no app for imagination.
Steve has robbed an entire generation of their imaginations...we see not gen-y nor gen-z...we experience gen-Dumbed-down....we thought Disney was bad - this Apple is rotten.

"Apple customers downloaded more than 15 billion applications in the past three years, the company said on Thursday, releasing figures that suggest the rate of downloads is sharply accelerating.
The latest figures from Apple show that customers have downloaded around 5 billion apps so far this year, considering the company said in January that it had just passed the 10 billion download mark.
It took roughly two and a half years to reach 10 billion downloads - but much of the period was spent without the popular iPad tablet, which has driven the demand for apps.
Apple has paid developers more than US$2.5 billion ($3 billion) to develop for its online store, which currently contains around 425,000 apps for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, it said." stuffnz

Sunday Star Times "Digital" March 4..2012: "...more than 31 billion apps were downloaded  to mobile devices  in apps will generate U$52 billion by 2016".

However, this isn't about money - it's about power...if you can control minds and hearts, then spending & voting patterns will follow.
The corporations will be able to do anything they want to achieve their ends.
Make no mistake - this is all a power game - who controls the web controls the world.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

google sucks

 google is taking a very high-handed approach to its "customer service" - ie there ain't any.

They keep changing the "look"of gmail & youtube - all to their advantage & as per their agenda:  sucking up our personal data so they can "monetize" our use of their services.

I guess there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

hahahahahahah - don't even bother to try

The good thing on the horizon is that even the Roman Empire didn't last 1,000 years.

My prediction is that google won't even make it till the middle of this century - some smart folks will have figured that out & a truely user-friendly net model is about to be launched sometime soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

john banks - death by a thousand cuts

Just what do the letters "ACT" stand for?

I suggest:
"Apocolyptic Conspiratorial Tendencies"
"Absolute Complete Twats"
"Appallingly Craven Turds"
"All Cxxxs Together"

..any ideas readers?

Friday, February 10, 2012

freeganing and dumpster diving

"The motto is reduce, reuse and recycle but nobody's reducing" - martin adlington

"Members of a fringe group known as dumpster divers are enjoying fancy meals – for free.
On an average evening they can be found knee-deep in supermarket skips collecting food, despite most being able to pay for it off the shelves.
Former rubbish truck driver and self-proclaimed professor of garbology Martin Adlington says people like him are dumpster divers out of principle.
"On the Shore what is thrown out by supermarkets, veggie shops and restaurants you can live off very well. I've found stuff where the expiry date isn't for another month."
One of his most successful yields includes bacon, salami, yoghurt, cream cheese dip and blue vein cheese barely past the use-by date and still cold from the chiller.
"If you know the right times and places to go you do pretty well."

see the rest of the article, plus some international videos on the topic at

Read info about the NZ movie on food waste:

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

computers are educational - yeah, right

"Computer gamers a bigger risk on roads" NZ Herald

Computer geeks who play driving games are more likely to crash on a real-life road, a study says.
It found that motorists who play games such as Need for Speed and Gran Turismo are also 44 per cent more likely to take risks on the roads such as running a red light, and are less successful at carrying out everyday manoeuvres.

Continental Tyres commissioned the study of 2000 British motorists.
Safety experts agreed that driving games gave motorists more bravado.
But they said driving games should not be confused with computer simulators which are driver education tools that teach motorists to be aware of dangers on the roads.
The British study found computer gamers were more likely to speed, suffer from road rage, be stopped by police and make insurance claims.
They are also considered over-confident by non-gamers and a potential risk because they might repeat their virtual driving approach in the real world.
Continental Tyres spokesman Tim Bailey says computer games require good concentration levels and improved reaction times.

"However, they can take more risks than non-gaming drivers, possibly due to the lack of real consequence in games," he said.
"They believe that any problem can be solved by resetting their game."
They seem to be worse parkers, too, having hit more stationary objects and are twice as likely to scare others with their driving antics.
It also emerged that the longer they spend on games such as Grand Theft Auto and Formula 1 each week, the worse they are behind the wheel.
Research revealed that those who play for more than eight hours a week have been in three times as many accidents as someone who plays for less than an hour.
But on average, non-gamers take one more attempt to pass their driver's test and have caused twice as many prangs to their vehicle in the last year.

22 per cent of gamers stopped by police (non-gamers 13pc)
30 per cent have made an accident claim (15pc)
31 per cent have run a red light in past 12 months (14pc)
44 per cent take risks, accelerate too quickly, and overtake (21pc) 

45 per cent Suffer road rage (22pc)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

excessive packaging

Everything from my local fruit & vege shop comes wrapped in plastic & in these black trays.
For those who get bugged by this kind of thing there is an annual competition for the best & worst packaging in NZ. Here is the link at "Good Magazine" - I get a weekly email from them updating environmental/food/green issues.

a freganing find

My freganing buddy Laurie arrived for lunch the other day with her contribution - 3 bags of pita bread she found at the back of a local store. We fried some diced lamb pieces (from the supermarket pet food section @ $2.50 a kg) and added raw onion, mayonnaise, mustard, & tomato....delicious!

Friday, February 03, 2012

browns bay in the media

Last week a reporter from our local North Shore Times came to my home to interview me on matters regarding freganing & dumpster diving.

Between 30-40% of the food produced in NZ is wasted at some point on the food chain.

The reporter asked me if a family of four could live from the food disposed of in local dumpsters - "easily" I replied - they would probably even thrive on all the fruit & vegetables disposed of because of a slight blemish or (horror!) odd shape.