Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


So Not Foxy Boxing.
January 30, 2008, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags: ,

I have decided to use the next week or so to fill you in on things I do for fun, training or otherwise here in Auckland.  Doing “stuff” is important when you are in a new place because it is the only way that you will ever make friends in a new city (evidence: my 2006 in Barrie).

Anyways, having made a bundle of running friends here in Auckland, it was probably only a matter of time until they started inviting me along on other fitness-related adventures.  As one of them is moving back to Australia in the coming weeks, I have decided it would be nice to do things he wants to do.

Enter “Foxy Boxing.”

There is a boxing club around the corner from me.  It’s sort of on the waterfront; behind the commercial port.  City Boxing.  They have the fourth floor loft of an old warehouse and, naturally, it is superheated in the dead of the summer here.  So I clamour upstairs and almost bowl over their little front counter in my ignorant, self-absorbed, fresh-outta-work manner.

NZ$15 later, I am signed up for “boxfit,” the aerobics class you’ll never forget.

I was early enough for the instruction class where you learn the basic punches (jab, hook, uppercut) and the foot movements to maximize the benefits of those.  As a fake running champion, I found the moves tough on the knees.  But I’m not actually qualified to comment on joint movements.  You need help with a minor variance, that’s where I can help.  There was some skipping rope action as well.  (If you went to St. Stan’s for Kindergarten in 1987, St. Paul’s for Grade 1 in 1988 or St. Michael’s the seven years after that and are reading this, I’ve still got it!)

Their water fountain isn’t that great (so bring your own) and I didn’t take a big water break after that.  It was straight into the workout for me.  I thought about how to best present this to you and figured that a bulleted list would make it look the most exhausting:

  • Touch sparring to start, where you actually fight in a little space with the goal of tapping the other persons shoulder, stomach or knee (on the instructor’s call);
  • Move over to a punching bag.  One fires fists into the bag while the other is doing push ups, jumps or a combination of the two.  Switch positions.
  • Same as above, only turn the above jabs into combinations of punches.  Build up from three punches to six.
  • Pick up some light weights (I took the lightest – 1 kg) and follow the coach’s repetitions.  Push up, push out, push forward, pivot out at the elbows.
  • Move out to a nice spot on the floor (sweaty and gross; that is why they use gym mats at the Goodlife after all) and follow a bunch of crazy abdominal exercises.  Bicycle kicks where you bring your shoulders to the other knee as you kick.  Lift legs up to a ninety degree bend at your hips.  Keep your legs one inch off the ground for awhile.
  • Do three repeats of each bullet point above.
  • And then throw in ten push ups between each.

Needless to say, I didn’t finish every step.  In fact, one might say I was utter crap at finishing things off.  For example, the jump/down/push up/crouch/repeat one, I think I did one out of the maximum 30 I should have done.  I probably did 30 push ups out of a maximum 150, and most of those I did poorly.  It’s my money and I will do with as I please.  (Sidebar: your money is now their money and we will spend it on drugs…ATHF #1.)

I’m hoping to make this a regular thing.  I am a sucker.  I also don’t look good all sweaty with a shirt that does not fit properly for boxing purposes.  Looks great on a runner, though 🙂

And that is what an hour-and-a-half at the boxing club looks like.

Bonus points to the staff and regulars there, who didn’t make fun of how office-looking I was in a room full of office workers pretending to be boxers.  Only gentle encouragement and appropriate pushing of the participants.  I liked that.



Goodnight Kiwi.
January 28, 2008, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Television | Tags: ,

I’m still hammering out some part-time writing work and long hours at the office, so I found TV2’s sign-off vignette from the 1980s for your viewing enjoyment.

It is a Maori lullaby whose words are meant to console an upset child to sleep.  “Hine” means “little girl,” so that’s who the song is tailored to.

I’ll be back on my game this week, when I am not training for my next half marathon on March 2nd.



My Man Jimmy.
January 23, 2008, 11:04 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags: ,

Sheep shearing world record set in Southland today.

Of course the record was set in the far south of New Zealand, by a guy who trained for ten months to take on the challenge. It certainly worked. He shattered the record; blew it to smithereens.

Even better, Jimmy Clark (a real “Holy smokes Hero”) took a break to receive a massage! Imagine if he could have kept it up.

So to confirm: one sheep per fifty seconds, twelve sheep per resident.

Here is a better article on the story.



Love the Feeling!
January 21, 2008, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Television | Tags: , , ,

Still tied up in other writing this week. The cyclone is over.

This commercial just aired on the station I have on in the background tonight. It was the song that struck me and I quickly noticed that, like many outdoor urban scenes in New Zealand, it was shot around my building and neighbourhood.

The opening scenes are shot at the main train station (Britomart) which is also a key bus transfer point. The big “wn” in behind the dancing parking enforcement officer is my grocery store.  At the beginning of the road crew scene, you will notice a series of (apartment) towers in the background.  I do my hill training just to the left of the left-most tower.



Cyclone Funa.
January 20, 2008, 8:45 pm
Filed under: In the News

Rotorua summary post delayed a couple of days on account of Cyclone Funa.  It is the first tropical cyclone to cross New Zealand in over eight years.

Sunday PM: I am no hero. It’s only drizzling outside my apartment right now. It was windy this afternoon while I was walking home with my pizza dinner. I’m going to go buy some pears for lunch this week in a couple of minutes.

Monday AM: Yes, it’s raining pretty strong this morning and the winds are still gusting at times. It’s not unlike a really strong winter rainstorm in Ontario.



Hone Tuwhare.
January 17, 2008, 12:50 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags:

It was already a sad January with Sir Edmund Hillary dying.  Last night just before the dinner hour, one of the country’s legendary poet’s passed away as well.

Hone Tuwhare died aged 86.

Not that I know anything about poetry in New Zealand, but Hone is the contemporary Maori poet.  He grew up in and worked a blue collar lifestyle (in “pakeha,” or European, terms), not fully retreating into the world of writing for some time.  He was a prominent Maori activist who participated in many Maori rights movements

His first book, in 1964, was the first collection of English-language poetry written by a Maori author.  His works are noted for their accessibility to all readers (none of that airy-fairy nonsense).  A couple of people at the office are big fans of his work, having been introduced to him in school. 



Sir Ed.
January 14, 2008, 7:58 pm
Filed under: In the News | Tags:

I think there has been lots more interest in New Zealand on an international scale this year. Cultural exports have hit the mainstream, sporting teams have taken huge bellyflops on the international stage, and, of course, everyone’s favourite planner has relocated here.

Most recently, the world’s microscope is zoomed in out these little islands as one of humanity’s great adventurers, conservationists and all-round good guys died last week.

Sir Edmund Hillary died last Friday.

Not unlike what has occurred since Oscar Peterson‘s death, but not on the scale of Pierre Trudeau‘s mourning period, memorials and tributes are occurring all across New Zealand. The debate in the press focuses on what would be a fitting tribute for him. Donations have been pouring into the Himalayan Trust, the charity “Sir Ed” helped found to encourage conservation and community development in Sherpa communities in Nepal.  There is also chatter of making July 20 – Sir Ed’s birthday – a national holiday here.  I’d make a big fuss, but July 20th here is mostly July 19th in Ontario so I think the connection is tenuous, at best.  Also, I have never climbed a real mountain.

There will be a state funeral next week here in Auckland.