The bakery is festooned with messages wishing me season's greetings in a dozen languages. Outside the butcher's shop, a metre-high mechanised Santa sings something unintelligible and swivels his hips in a constant, lonely roadside dance, like an old man on party pills*.
Clearly, somebody flicked the Christmas Switch. So soon? I'm pleased, of course. We've sorted out a little holiday on Waiheke and all. But there are a few double deadlines to negotiate between here and there, with the special befuddlement factor of the party season.
We have our own party next week, in conjunction with The Wellingtonista and with the kind assistance of Freeview and Ponoko. I'd love to invite you, but the thing sold out on its first day, and we really can't fit another soul into Mighty Mighty. (You can, of course, simply try your luck at the door on Thursday night as you trip down Cuba Mall.)
But I do crave your assistance with a part of the party: the comedy quiz show called It Doesn't Give My Opponents Much Time Either, which -- in keeping with the resurrection of Blam Blam Blam for the do -- is themed on "when Muldoon was Prime Minister".
I'm after questions, curly and straightforward, under the topics of politics, music, food, fashion, TV programmes and headlines. I'll reward the most useful contributions with copies of Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas About Ourselves, now in its second printing and available for purchase from the Public Address Store. (It would make an excellent present for far-flung loved ones, really. As would books by Graham Reid and David Slack.)
The questions will be answered on the night by two teams of three comprised of Sean Plunket, "Tricky" Richard Langston, Graham Reid, Don McGlashan, Roger Shepherd and an elusive female contestant yet to be confirmed (the prospective female contestants have been very elusive …).
Just to state the obvious: email me the questions, don't post them in the public discussion forum.
You may also have noticed that it's Word of the Year time. Join the discussion here. After we've ruminated enough, I'll decide via a formula known only to myself which clever readers will receive the grand prize -- a $500 Ezi-Pay Gift Station voucher with Liquorland and the two runner-up prizes -- Heineken mini-kegs delivered to the door by couriers who smell strongly of aftershave. (And no, we're not delivering to London. Don't be silly.)
Check this out. My good buddy Andy has posted some more video goodness of his young fella making like his one-time pro-skater dad and carving up the streets and schools of Auckland.
You may feel free to post the URLs of other clips you believe may edify or amuse your fellow readers.
* You'll find no better bargains this Christmas, of course, than piperazine-based party pills, which become illegal to sell from December 18. Buy some for the whole family!