Outside The Square
I watched Rock of Ages the other night. It was not the most memorable or the most fulfilling two hours of my life.
But there's one flavourless quote among the train wreck, mentioned by the manager of the main character - an aspiring rockstar who's being forced into a hip-hop/pop career - which caught my ear.
"Look, names that end in 'Z' are very popular among the 14-21 audience," the manager says when quizzed by the aspiring rockstar as to why his stage name had to have 'Z' in it.
"We did a whole focus group on this. Numbers don't lie."
It's a quote, which the audience is meant to understand is sarcastic. Sure, the manager believes it, but no-one else does.
On private land just south of Tokomaru what is believed to be the second tallest waterfall in the North Island.
The Maungaharakeikei Falls are thought to be between 60 and 100m high, but no-one's really sure.
If you want to get close enough to them to measure them, you'll need a certain kind of gumption.
It's not that they are hard to find. In fact they're clearly visible from State Highway 57.
Travel south from Tokomaru towards Shannon and there is a bridge about two kms down that goes over the tiny, but aptly named, Waterfall Creek.
I miss Couplands.
So far I've yet to find a bakery in Palmerston North that is as cheap, has as much range, and is as delicious as Couplands.
They're a South Island-based chain bakery and some of their stores are the size of a small supermarket.
They have donuts that melt in the mouth. Sandwiches and rolls that filled many and innings break in the cricket. Then there's the family mince pies. And the ginger crunch. I'm a healthy guy.
I don't go to school to eat my lunch but it's an important part of the day when I'm working.
If there was a competition to decide the best river to flow through the Manawatu district, I'd vote for the Rangitikei.
The Manawatu is powerful and it's got a pretty inspiring gorge but even though it is named after a Maori warrior's reaction to it (his heart stood still), it doesn't do the same for me.
Admittedly, it's only the beginning of July - and having never wintered over in Palmerston North I've yet to see it in full flow/flood, so that could change.
The Mangahao is also neat, and the Pohangina's journey through Totara Reserve is a serious gem.
But even though it's not incredible as it passes under SH1 near Bulls, as you get up towards Hunterville, the Rangitikei takes it to another level. It's just all about those cliffs.
Recently I had to take off my "I'm new" hat and instead of discovering Palmy's mysteries, I had to share them with someone else.
With my cousin in town for a long weekend, I played the part of Manawatu tour guide, showing her around the places I find most interesting in my new home.
With dreary winter weather outside, we hit up the rugby museum and Te Manawa, before a break in the rain gave us time to walk the river, The Esplanade and along the lagoon to Caccia Birch.
They're all fantastic, even on a cloudy winter's day as the photo beside, that I took in The Esplanade, shows.
But that was about it for Palmy.
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