We used to switch on the TV to escape the boring rituals of reality, the daily humdrum of life. But what do you do when life gets more extreme than anything any scriptwriter could dream up? Thanks to the constant barrage of bonkers headlines coming out of America, that's been the case lately. So I'm using TV for a different reason: to escape Trump. It probably wasn't intended this way when they kicked off season one, but the antics of Frank Underwood feel so tame in comparison to what's going on in the White House right now, House of Cards could almost be called comfort viewing. If only American politics could really be this boring.
We've had so much amazing hip-hop this year, it's been impossible to keep up. There's an amazing new artist, album or song to devour every day. But if you're someone who likes to go digging for artists yet to reach the mainstream, that makes life a little hard. How is there time to discover new music when there's a 22-track playlist from Drake to examine? Or two No. 1 albums from Future to get to grips with? Or an entire record from Kendrick Lamar that needs to be played in reverse to discover its true meaning? That's why I'm loving 6lack and his new album Free 6lack, a grimy dose of woozy 2am headphone rap. Best of all? It's only 11 tracks long. Find your best cans and soak in it.
Up until now, I've been sitting on the fence when it comes to Virtual Reality. Whenever I've tried one of those clunky headsets, I've been left feeling nauseous and underwhelmed by blocky graphics and games that feel more like movies than immersive experiences. All that changed when I got my hands on a PlayStation VR system. Sitting on a horror roller coaster shooting clown zombies from the comfort of my couch in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, I was scared witless. Shooting angry spiders the size of small buildings in Farpoint did the same thing. Honestly, I'm so buzzed it about it now you'll have to rip this screen thing off my cold, dead head.
I'll travel a long way for a good pie. A really long way. So it's lucky, with all the freezing cold mornings and horizontal rain we've been having lately, that Auckland's best pies are just across the road. That would be Scratch Bakers' main outlet on Graham St, a haven for anyone who likes things encased in crisp, buttery pastry. There are plenty of options, including the super delish pork belly and apple, but my fave is the super creamy butternut. Add a chocolate doughnut and a coffee - their coffees are perfect - and you have the perfect winter carb fest.