Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

I Love Cartoons.
March 30, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Nothing in Particular

Love them, love them, love them. I have a great story about my Mom sheepishly shopping for “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law” and “The Brak Show” DVDs one Christmas.

Anyways, so I was folding laundry tonight when episode 9 of season 19 of The Simpsons came on (entitled, “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind”) which features a parody of Youtube sensation “Noah Takes A Photo of Himself Every Day for 6 Years.” It is Homer’s life flashing before his eyes, a wonderful piece called “A Picture a Day for 39 Years.”

The best quality copy I can find is at JibJab…for some reason…

For those interested, the other video mentioned at the end of the flashback sequence is called, “Kitten Smokes on Toilet.”

Also of note: they are just about to finish up airing the second season of the US version of The Office here.


A Departure Announcement.
March 30, 2008, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Establishing

I’m coming home early.

Yeah.  Long story short, my country needs me and I will be answering the call.  I don’t have specific dates set just yet, so the key operator here is that my first day on the job back in Barrie will be Monday July 21st.  I will be home a little sooner via a tailor-made suit store in Hong Kong and a vacation with my mother somewhere, but it’ll be family time and apartment cleaning time.  So I’m operating on July 21st being my first day “back” in the country.

In case you are wondering why:

  • No, I did not get fired by New Zealand;
  • No, they are not throwing me out of the country for smuggling tea;
  • Yes, I am looking forward to the Jays season (and cutting Reed Johnson was a GOOD call);
  • Yes, I have had a lovely stay and (will have, by the time departure day arrives) accomplished basically everything I wanted to.

So that’s the story.

I’d love to talk more, but Part 2 of the America’s Funniest Home Videos 2002 $100,000 prize show has just started.  Ha ha – a baby is picking her nose and eating the contents.  Americans!!!

Part-time Job.
March 29, 2008, 10:55 am
Filed under: Site Maintenance

Just fyi, I’m handling small planning files here and there for work back home.  I’ll try and keep up with the three-posts-a-week goal I set for myself some time ago, but it might be tricky if I’m facing deadlines at both work and home.

That’s all.

March 26, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Establishing

At 7 AM this morning, it was still pretty dark out (that dawn kind of look). 

Autumn is here in Auckland.

Holiday Four: In Town WITH A Car.
March 25, 2008, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Happenstance

I would have posted yesterday, but I simply ran out of time.  I got home at 11:30 PM and went straight to bed.  Seriously.  My friend will vouch for me there.

I wrote about the car share organization Cityhop a few months ago (there will be a subsequent post on them this week as well).  They recently picked up some cars with automatic transmission so I signed one out for the day.  Cost: $60.  I set up a great circle route around Auckland that would take maximum advantage of my nine hour booking.

I left the apartment at 1, delayed by some additional phone calls I attempted to make home.  I picked up the car and headed straight to the second greatest shopper’s paradise on earth (after Walden Galleria and Great Lakes Crossing – condition of entry on this list is one stop shopping…plazas across the street or awesome city-regions in general do not count).  Yes, trip #2 to Dress-Smart!  I picked up a new dress shirt (retro enough to hit the bars with, nice enough to outdress any of my peers) and a chic little sweater vest with a pattern in on it that pits more to form.  I will get photographs up in due time.  The place was packed so I did not wander around for long, especially because the thing about outlet malls is that there is a lot of stuff that isn’t all that neat to wear.

I quickly got hungry but couldn’t stomach the thought of another hamburger, kebab or sushi roll.  I left the mall and wandered along the Onehunga Mall until I found a café that I was smitten with.  I found one whose name escapes me but had the prettiest sandwich board out front.  I ordered a sweet chili chicken salad that turned out to be a pile of roasted chicken surrounded by vegetables with a store-bought sauce drizzled over the whole thing…with bananas.  The highlight of my meal was the organic lemon, lime and bitters that I chose.  Very lime!

After I finished ordering, I received a call from a coworker interested in doing some bulk grocery shopping…like doing a Costco run nowadays (or a Valdy run, if you are nostalgic like me and own a Big V meshback).  So I changed my route and headed to the ritzy part of town (Glen Innes) where there is a Pak N Save grocery store next to the train station.  I bought some apples and candy.  I have almost eaten all the candy.  I have yet to touch the apples.

I dropped off my coworker and my groceries at the apartment and then headed towards the new, giant mall and associated power centre (think Barrie’s south end or the Sportsworld Drive area of Kitchener) in Albany, on the northernmost fringe of Auckland.  It was just another giant mall with giant prices, plus a New World grocery store where I bought even more candy and a sweet chili, ginger and soy sauce I will be cooking with tomorrow night (when my awesome chicken is due to expire).  Which reminds me, I should get that set up to marinade overnight.

My evening plan revolved around movie out #2, but first I had to pick up the friend who can vouch for me falling asleep right afterwards.  I swung by his house and chatted with his mother and younger sister, dropped off part of my Cadbury Creme Egg haul for their enjoyment, and soon departed for Ponsonby to find a restaurant (any restaurant) that was open.  We found a Mexican restaurant and had some tacos and burritos.  Wonderful.

But we were still early for the movie, so we dumped the car and returned to my apartment where I introduced my friend to fine, Canadian television (one guess what show).  That killed enough time to head to our 9:10 PM showing of Run Fatboy Run.

It was okay.  I recommend it to all runners, although most of us will scoff at being able to go from smoker to marathoner in three weeks time (the length of time the movie spans).

We returned to my apartment where I went straight to bed, and my friend caught a cab.

Then I went to work today.  I had a big salad for dinner.  I watched some downloaded TV, and finally wrote this post.

And that was how I spent my Easter.

A summary of yesterday’s and tonight’s music includes:

  • Beck: Girl
  • The Rolling Stones: She’s a Rainbow
  • Great Lake Swimmers: There is a Light
  • Blue Oyster Cult: Don’t Fear the Reaper
  • Everclear: The Honeymoon Song
  • Good Charlotte: Boys and Girls
  • The Mint Chicks: Walking Off a Cliff Again
  • Jeff Buckley: Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
  • Manic Street Preachers: So Why So Sad
  • …and of course the most Canadian song ever…Stompin’ Tom Connors: The Hockey Song.

Holiday Three: Salad, Reading, TV Movie.
March 23, 2008, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Happenstance

I did essentially nothing today.

I made my usual Canadian Saturday night calls home (the switch to Daylight Savings Time means I am now “seven hours ahead” of home) plus my usual calls to a couple of friends. I will do the same first thing tomorrow for a couple of very back owing calls. That took about an hour.

I then got caught up on some backlogged web reading (friends’ sites, news sites, my politics fix). That was about three hours.

The TV was on in the background. I caught the Shortland Street compilation show, where they play a week’s worth of episodes over two hours. The rest of the day featured the usual onslaught of fat people makeover and home makeover and wardrobe makeover shows.

There were some video games interspersed in there, too.

I don’t know what happened. The thought of running or going to the gym just made me more tired. There’s always next week for that fun. And if anyone asks, I can just blame it on resting up for a very busy final day of my holiday tomorrow.

Tonight’s Sunday Night Movie on C4 is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Maybe I should go pick up a pizza instead of eating that yummy salad I was planning on eating (iceberg lettuce, red pepper/capsicum, cherry tomatoes, colby cheese, and a little bit of Spanish sausage, topped with a Paul Newman honey mustard dressing).

Oh – I did book my ticket to go see the Rogue Traders in concert while I am in Sydney in May. So even though I did not leave the apartment, I did manage to spend more money.

A summary of tonight’s music includes:

  • Xavier Rudd: Light the Shade
  • Rise Against: Swing Life Away
  • Green Jelly: The Bear Went Over the Mountain
  • William Shatner: Common People (Pulp cover)
  • Nada Surf: Beautiful Beat
  • Sufjan Stevens: The Mistress Witch from McClure
  • Metric: IOU (Old World Underground)
  • Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton: Reading in Bed
  • Wilco: The Late Greats
  • Rick James: Superfreak

Holiday Two: Zoo, Kebab, Private Karaoke Room.
March 23, 2008, 12:05 am
Filed under: Food, Happenstance | Tags: ,

Day two started with another fair sleep in: 8:30 AM. That’s pretty good for me. I was still feeling grody from Thursday so the day started with some downloaded videos (old “Doctor Who” reruns and the latest episodes of US sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”), some e-mail banter and a complete breakfast. Around Noon, I finally got my act together and had a shower, then looked up bus directions for my next tourist stop.

The Auckland Zoo.

The Zoo was officially founded in the 1920s, when the Council bought a ten year old private zoo that was driving the residents of an area suburb insane (the noise, the crowds, the smell). The legacy of that Council intervention is the current zoo, which has been operating out of Auckland’s Western Springs Reserve since 1922. One of their first attractions were four chimpanzees trained to perform at a daily tea party. One of these chimps is still alive, Janie, and she appears in my Zoo photo album.

auckland zoo 006

I had some ice cream and wandered around for a few hours. There was an Australia zone and a large African exhibit (called “The Pridelands”). Presupposing your next question, yes, there was a kiwi building. However, kiwis are nocturnal so the room was very dark and lit only in red, so the video I took was useless. There are some kiwi videos on Youtube worth checking out if you want to see how kiwis look and act. I also saw two sleepy tigers and two even sleepier lions – all four were on their backs or on their sides when I wandered by. Not too exciting. I watched a demonstration involving an alligator. Alligators look to be very cranky animals. There was also a hippopotamus showing off to the audience and five very noisy sea lions. The penguins were less interesting than I thought they would be.

I took the bus both ways. After returning downtown I visited a new, Turkish takeaway that I often talk up to my friends here in Auckland. I picked up a chicken kebab (like a pita from any take out joint back home, only it’s a wrap, not a “filled” sandwich), some “hot chips” (NZ for French fries, although I’ve heard both used here) and Fanta and brought them home for dinner and a movie. But I wound up reading the news instead. The weekend papers back home help combat homesickness. By the way, my sauce choices are always, without fail, mayonnaise, hot chili and barbecue.

I’d wish today got more interesting but I spent the evening running to the grocery store for this week’s provisions (tortellini, salad fixings, OJ, milk, etc) and playing video games. Plus I set up the photo album above for your viewing pleasure. Zooomr is a nice photo sharing site, but the usual glitches that frustrated me so much when I signed up are still there. Without boring you with technical details, sharing photos publicly is a real pain if you aren’t willing to pay for the service. Which I am not. Which is why I’ve gotten into Youtube as of late.

Tomorrow isn’t shaping up to be much more exciting. But I will summarize that bridge once I get there.

I have been forgetting to use my Canadian zeds in place of New Zealand esses lately. Summarise that bridge later. Z. Eh.

When the videos weren’t playing, I had a private karaoke party for myself.  It’s fun to sing when there is nobody to critique you…or maybe even say “Geez, that wasn’t half bad!”

A summary of tonight’s music includes:

  • The Wallflowers: Sixth Avenue Heartache
  • BNL: Aluminum
  • Avril Lavigne: Hot
  • Bananarama: Robert DeNiro’s Waiting
  • Alexisonfire: Pulmonary Archery
  • The Coral: Cobwebs
  • Tegan and Sara: Monday Monday Monday
  • The Brunettes: B-A-B-Y
  • The Hippos: All Alone
  • Athlete: This is What I Sound Like