Thursday, December 21, 2006

Birthdays Galore!

Two birthdays this week, my youngest brother Mike turns 21! And here is a photo of him practising for the big occasion.

And my beautiful mother celebrates her birthday the day after Mikes. I wont be seeing either of them till much later in the week but I promise I've bought birthday presents!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Ways to Save the Planet

This free little app (only 2.5 megs!)keeps a running total of how much power you save by managing your PCs power use. It gives reading in terms of power saved, trees saved and barrels of oil saved. So far 6000 users have signed up and have saved 177 trees!

More than 30 billion kilowatt-hours of energy is wasted because many of us simply forget to shut down our computers when we’re not using them. If we could just improve the efficiency of how we use our PCs, the savings in energy costs would be over $3 billion dollars! The CO2 emissions from just 15 computers are equivalent in energy terms to the gas consumption used by one car.

So sign up today! Its free and saves the planet!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cheetah Photos!

Yeah that's me in the enclosure with the cheetah. As part of Gaels Birthday present we went on a Zoom tour at the Auckland Zoo. You get to go behind the scenes and get very close to the animals. The cheetahs at Auckland zoo were chosen to be ambassadors for the species and were hand reared. (if you've been watching the zoo TV show you'll know all about it) About 1/2 the cost of the Zoom tour goes directly to conserving these beautiful cats in the wild, and the other 1/2 goes to the zoo. Its all nerves when you first step inside their habitat, but it was a hot day and the cats were pretty relaxed. I think by the end of all our session all our therapeutic petting had put them to sleep!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Its unconditional!

We can move in on the 14th of December. I really thought I'd feel way more excited, but mostly I just feel tired! All the stress of getting everything organised has probably taken its toll, but now all we have to do is wait 3 weeks, pack and move in!!! Yay!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Boing boing, take twice daily

BoingBoing is a blog which is updated frequently. It highlights areas of quirky design interest on the web, gross injustices of the web word, and real life injustice such as being arrested at the airport for having a rubber band ball. Visit twice daily for best results.

Its a best of the web blog. Very neato.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey that reminds me!

It was Sondras Birthday on Tuesday! Happy belated birthday Aunty S!

House Thing going well

Just got all our reports in! LIM, Valuation and Building inspection. Its all good people.
Except the piles for the deck. Seems the owners did a DIY fixit on the old ones. urgh. Not so pretty. Anyway a friend of mine happens to have a husband who is a structural engineer. Overkill maybe, but he's going to take a look at it on Sunday for us. Other problems include a 46 year old roof and a few bits of wood that need replacing. Just typical stuff for a house of that age. Structurally its fine and it passed the moisture test.

Anyway here is a pun to lighten the mood.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oi you lot!

I've had just about anough of this anonymous comment posting. Show yerselves! or at least sign your entries ;-) Hey who can guess who this is?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All your bases are belong to us!

Oh the memes of teh internet. This is being boinged lots.

First check out this.

Then you can read the explanation here.

l33t hAx0R .... or something.

More cats here (just for you Jamie)

Conditional Offer Accepted

Wooooooooooo the lawyers have our money. as my favourite saying about lawyers and money goes............
As we all know the weather has been crap in Auckland for the last few months and when we first looked at this place its blowing a gale and persisting down. Despite the grey day I knew this was the house as soon as I walked in. The photos on trademe really dont do it justice. It gets heaps of light and is warm. It has wooden floors upstairs and carpet downstairs. the split level thing is really appealing, especially with Z's boys entering the teenage years!
I've been to see it twice, it doesn't need fixing up, but there is room to develop things ;-)
Its a house that fits our personality, we've been to look at some many boring little boxes! So nobody panic, we love it, its cheap, it has threee huge bedrooms and a study.
We go unconditional in seven days depending on building inspection, LIM and a valuation by QV.
Oh and finance. Its so crazy though, we had approval for a loan $40,000 more than this place, but the repayments were ridiculous and it would take forever to start paying off any decent amount of principal! So with this loan we are borrowing $349,000. We are going with fixed interest for the first year, that way the repayment amount is fixed and it gives us time to adjust to mortgage repayments that are about twice what we pay in rent now. Then if we find we can budget well (and interest rates dont get too high) we will move to a revolviong credit mortgage. That way we can pay it off a lot faster.
Oh and our mortgage broker has been FANTASTIC!!!!! She has gone above and beyond, been able to answer more of our questions than our dumb arse lawyer and always makes time to talk us through our newbie questions. She has taken calls from us at all hours and has always been cheerful and helpful and convinced a bank to lend us a ridiculous amount of money.
Raywyn Watson of Mortgage Express 09 4261210
She covers orewa and North Shore areas. Highly recommended!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whew, all this legal law stuff is exhausting!

Here is the house.

Its a private sale, so I thought things would be easier, but frankly its still a nightmare. Lots of lawyering done today. Anyway our offer is in, its the asking price so that should be no worries, the only worry is the settlement date. We want to do everything by the book and get LIM reports etc, but the vendor is really rushing us! Argh!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stress is my friend

So tomorrow I "helping" with the NorthShore Laboratory Conference. I will be the geek sitting up the front working the projector and laptop. I am so cool. But Instead of focusing on that all I can think of is the House. Capitilised because I love it. So we have made an offer on a place and now its just waiting, LIM reports, building inspections and finalising the mortgage.
I never expecting buying a house to be this tedious. I just want to walk up to a place and say "Yes, I'll take it!" and then have my people talk to their people while I go to the beach and drink mojitos all day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

ok new plan

New plan, yep, buy something cheap. That is the new plan.

Oh well, I am off to Taupo for the weekend for a conference so I can't look at houses. But I am sending my hubby out to investigate a few.
Apparently this is "A first home combination thats impossible to resist". Which could be good, depends on how much traffic noise it gets. It seems pretty close to constellation drive. And the sewage settlement ponds.. ARGH! smelly? who can say.

And this is a solid character 1960s Bungalow.

Both homes are nice, cheap and cheerful looking. So I am sending Zed to the open homes.

Or perhaps a Family home on a full site? Its bit further away than we would like. But seems solid. I'm not sure what the area is like though

OH so many factors to consider. Anyway Im off to Taupo, lectures and boozy dinners with sales reps. Fun Fun Fun.

Im not sure I trust that real estate agent.

When they say the vendors are looking for a price between blah(low figure) and blah(high figure) what they really mean is that they are looking for the high figure. Talk about wasting our time with negotiations. If some one says I want between 10 and 20 dollars for this book, you might offer 15 or 18 to seal the deal. But you have no hope when actually they wanted $20 all along. I found the real estate agent to be very misleading (oh big suprise!).

Look forward to my next exciting installment where I complain some more!!!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Well we went as high as we could go

And they still wanted 5 grand more. We cant really go any higher. So we are not sure what to do now. I totally feel like they are just playing us to see if they can get more money, but we have already come up substantially on our initial offer. We are already pushing our repayment capabilities to the max.
Wow this house buying business is frustrating. I just wish they had said from the start what they want rather than wasting our time with all this negotiating crap.
Well it looks like we miss out on this place. We just have to say no. So its back to looking at open homes for us. Oh the humanity!!

In the meantime....

I am reading the internet, yes all of it, page by page. I think I may dedicate my life to this great pursuit.

Our ailing communities
I like this article. Its nice to see a doctor being concerned about town planning. Something that has ever existed in Auckland. So I am very interesting to learn more about this so called "planning of towns".

Looking good

Well its looking good, we have met somewhere in the middle, we have come up they have come down and its a price we are happy with. (And still plenty under our limit!! yay!!) The offer has only been put to one half of the landlords as the other half is at work, but we should get a call round 6ish to confirm everything.
I am so confident I even have a bottle of bubbly waiting in the fridge!


So we are about 40,000 apart on what we think this house is worth versus what the landlords think its worth. Crazy considering we have lived here for 2 years and have a complete knowledge of this houses faults and so on. So the negotiations continue and I develop an ulcer. Argh!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wow, we have a pre-approved mortgage!!

We can now go shopping for a house or make an offer on this one. Freaky.
So we have a limit of $420,000. But I would prefer to spend only $400,000 or less. Otherwise I think the repayments might get a little overwhelming. Talk about being all grown up.
Theres nothing like signing up for 25 years of debt to make you feel like an adult.

Update: We decided to make an offer on the place we are living now! We will have to wait till Sunday to hear back from the landlords as they are away. So fingers crossed ;-)

Update: So they decided to sleep on it and we wont hear till tomorrow evening now. Argh! I cant stand the waiting!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Armageddon 2006

Ah a welcome distraction from the stress in my life is Armageedon, the pop culture expo.
We saw Summer Glau from Serenity and Firefly, and then Tom Lenk from Buffy (yay hes so funny and cute) and I got David Nykl's autograph. He was pretty cool. Its so weird going up for the autographs I feel like such a obsessed fan, even though, Im just a fan, Im pretty normal (well so I like to think!)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Argh! We are being kicked out of our house!

Well the landlords have announced they are selling it. So we are off to see a mortgage broker on Tuesday to see how much we can borrow. So we will either put an offer in on this place or we will buy somewhere else. I just cant face moving again into yet another rental!
Im not quite ready financially for a mortgage yet, I still have $500 on my credit card! I was hoping for one more pay before we went to the broker so I could pay it off fully and cancel it. Hopefully it wont work against us. More important is probably my student loan! What a nightmare that is, sure they have interest free loans now, but they are still charging interest and it will be refunded in April. So that still feels like two steps forward and one step back when it comes to that.
So its all panic stations and stress right now. Im off to have a beer.

70th Birthday

Ok, so you're not supposed to disclose a Ladies age, but considering how good she looks for her age I dont think she'll mind ;-)
We celebrated my grandmothers 70th birthday recently, and what a do it was. I drank too much, but then hopefully so did everyone else, so maybe no one noticed.
Big Ups to Regula and family for hosting, it was awesome.Oh and we cant forget the cake! Made by Gaylene!!!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh GOD its nearly Christmas.

Well not really, But I started buying christmas presents today. Im doing my utmost to spread it out this year and hopefully have it all done before December. I cant say what I bought, and I probably shouldn't even mention where I bought it, case y'all reading this website.
So if you'd like to tell me what you want for christmas and you have been a good girl/boy this year please leave a message in the comments. Ta.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MMMmmmm Crockpot/Slow cooker

Ok the only good thing about winter is stew, and since the lovely ladies of my family deicided I need a slow cooker for my wedding present I have been in stew heaven.
Todays dish is a 10hour slow cooked beef stew, mmmm so very very tender. I have always stayed away from cook beef stews and casseroles in the past because the meat came out all chewy and tough, but now the slow cooker fixes everything.
I've also done a Honey Soy chicken and made a batch of chicken stock for the next time I make soup. And I love the way the house smells fantastic when I get home.
Also its helping to save time and money, yay. Cheap cuts of meat come out tasting great and I make big batches of things and freeze them for dinner later in the week.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Its great to be back in New Zealand

well.. sort of. Its Effen Cold and raining, but then whats new. Here is a picture of me moments from hypothermia on the only the only fine day this winter. But wasn't it a beauty, not a cloud in the sky.
Now of course I am the better half of a married couple its time to get down to the most important business of married people.
Buying a house.
What freaking hell god to I have to sell my soul to for this one. Have you seen house prices lately? better yet, Have you SEEN my salary lately! Well they say everyone should have a dream.
So now its frugal living time. Might as well get used to it because it will be worse when we have a mortgage.
So dont invite me out for dinner unless you're buying and you can forget about that christmas present! But if you want to come round and play scrabble that would be cool. Bring wine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Ok, I had good intentions of posting to my blog while I was away, but at the end of most days I was way too tired! So here are some belated wedding photos and so on.
We got married in the Shalimar Chapel at 10:30 in the morning, which is very early for a Las Vegas Elvis. It was a fun wedding with singing, dancing, emotion etc (if you ever get to see the DVD which you wont cause I am hiding it forever, you will see me frequently "resting my head" on Zeds shoulder whilst the dance is going on. I had keep regaining my composure.) So it was very sweet and very fun, and just perfect for Zed and me.
It was all very Vegas, our reverend had married Bon jovi y'know!
After we got married, we spent the rest of the day at the Star Trek experience. It was awesome. The rides rocked and I got my photo taken in the captains chair of the Enterprise - D. Then we had dinner at the Star trek themed restaurant and got real drunk on a cocktail with way to much rum in it. It was the size of my head and it had dry ice in it! The flaming ribs of targ were real good too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stanley Park

Stanly park is this weird little budding of land off Vancouver. It is the wilderness right next door to the city, I even saw a Racoon! There was art for sale, a guy busking, a begging squirrel and a path that led to the aquarium. Ah I love Aquariums and Zoos. Its so very un-pc of me but I can't help it. I have a fantastic time while I'm there, but later I feel the guilt. Poor wee animals!
So fun was had at the aquarium and then hiking round the park, while on a trail we saw two racoons and another squirrel.
Oh yeah and Lots of totem poles. The one on the far right has the remains of a chief inside it. Some are tributes to great chiefs and others are representative of tribes.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Other stuff I've been doing in Vancouver

Susie goes to science world. Science world is brilliant. Its a completely interactive museum, you can touch everything and you can play all day. Best exhibit for me was the cloud chamber. It was filled with cooled alcohol vapour and when cosmic particles pass through they leave vapour trails. I could have watched that for hours. Then we wandered around the downtown area for a couple of hours before catching the sky train and the seabus home. The great thing about the Vancouver public transit system is that one ticket lets you on everything. Ferry, buses and trains. And your ticket isn't just for the one trip you take, its valid for 1.5 hours, so if you are getting on another bus straight away you can just use your old ticket.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Vancouver - very pretty

So Im in Vancouver for the next little while, meeting in-laws and doing all kinds of touristy stuff. First excursion was to count the golf balls in the Lynn Canyon Park. I counted 13 and half a dozen Jandals. (The waterfall creates a small whirlpool and all the debris from the river collects and spins round for all eternity.)
We walked around the tracks for a couple of hours and even helped a lonely lost tourist we found surving on wild berries off the beaten path.
" I hope you guys know where you are cause I sure hell dont! How do I get back to the swing bridge"
Just as well we were there or he might have been just another statistic. I'm glad to do my part for Canada.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Top ten things Im going to do in Las Vegas

1. Get married to my darling (with Elvis!)
2. Take a night helicopter tour.
3. Ride the rollercoaster at the Stratosphere tower
4. Watch the famous Bellagio fountain
5. Take a ride in a limo
6. Get blackjack Lessons at the Hilton and then play blackjack!
7. Visit the Star trek experience and eat at Quarks! (NERD!)
8. Watch the pirate show outside the Treasure island hotel.
9. Eat a deep fried twinkie
10. Visit Freemount street at night

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Elvis wedding is booked!!!

Well after two false starts we finally got a chapel booked!
We are getting the Elvis Wedding Package B (why B because that was the only option you could pick when booking online :-/)

We are getting married on the 4th of July at 10:30am (yay we got our fourth of July wedding now we have no excuses for forgetting our own anniversary.)

And for those of you that cannot make it to Las Vegas you can watch online as there will be a live webcam broadcast, but even if you cant be bothered watching that we will bring home a DVD of the main event! See, Vegas is +19 hours.... so a 10:30am July 4th wedding works out to be 5:30am July 5th here. Well as best I can work it out. (afterall it is the weekend and I am very very tired y'all can correct me if Im wrong)

Ok now the good news is over I get to complain, after having numerous emails bounced back to us we ended up choosing our 3rd preferred elvis wedding option. Crappy websites with crappy forms that would not submit the data. This was especially interesting after an article in the herald stated that NZ was behind the rest of the world in terms of online bookings for tourists. Well we are doing a damn site better than Las Vegas I can tell you!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Uh Oh I cant decide where to get married!

Ok. Its Vegas and there are a million places to get married. I know that I want an Elvis wedding and I want it to be fun.
So here are my choices

Las Vegas weddings 4 u (dot com) Have two elvis packages to choose from. This one has the added bonus of including a live webcam for all the folks at home.

Then I have the Elvis chapel specials - this place seems simple and are very up front about extra costs.

THE Elvis chapel OF Las vegas has a couple of deals going.

And then finally in an ultimate Vegas combination, its the Elvis Drive thru wedding.

And I must mentally add 7% state tax + tip for the "complimentary" limo $40 and Ministers fee $50 and marriage license $55!

whew, its a lot to consider. But hey, Im still getting married for less than a grand. Yay for my frugal self!

What we have managed to book is the "Las Vegas Neon Fantasy Night flight". yeah yeah I know why cant they just call it "helicopter tour". But I am looking forward to my neon fantasy experience.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New variant on the Nigeria email scam

8 Lloyds Avenue
London,EC3N 3EL
Good day Susie ,

This is a personal email directed to you and I request that it be treated as such. I am Barrister Simpson Mark,a solicitor at law.I am the personal attorney/sole executor to the late Mr Randolf Warwick, hereinafter referred to as 'my client' who worked as an independent oil magnate in my country and who died in a car crash with his immediate family on the 4th of oct,1998. Since the death of my client in oct,1998, I have written several letters to the embassy with an intent to locate any of his extended relatives whom shall be claimants/beneficiaries of his abandoned personal estate and all such efforts have been to no avail.
Moreso,I have received official letters in the last few weeks suggesting a likely proceeding for confiscation of his abandoned personal assets in line with existing laws by the bank in which my client deposited the sum of $4.8 million U.S.D. On this note i decided to search for a credible person and finding that you bear a similar last name, I was urged to contact you, that I may,with your consent, present you to the "trustee" bank as my late client's surviving family member so as to enable you put up a claim to the bank in that capacity as a next of kin of my client.
I find this possible for the fuller reasons that you bear a similar last name with my client making it a lot easier for you to put up a claim in that capacity.I propose that 35% of the net sum will accrue to you at the conclusion of this deal in so far as I do not incur further expenses.Therefore, to facilitate the immediate transfer of this fund, you need, first to contact me via signifying your interest and as soon as I obtain your confidence,I will immediately appraise you with the complete details as well as fax you the documents, with which you are to proceed and i shall direct on how to put up an application to the bank.

HOWEVER, you will have to accent to an express agreement which I will forward to you in order to bind us in this transaction. Upon the reciept of your reply,I will send you by fax or E-mail the next step to take.I will not fail to bring to your notice that this proposal is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any fears as the required arrangements have
been made for the completion of this transfer. Like I said, I require only a solemn confidentiality on this.
Best regards,

YM - 離線訊息

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Long time no Blog!

Yeah yeah, its happens to the best of us, we get distracted and before you know it, your blog has passed you by.

So what have I been up to lately you ask?

Well I caught two more shows that were part of the comedy festival, the comedy Divas and Danny Bhoy. Both were excellent and Irene Pink is my new favourite comedian, I have never laughed so hard.

And I went on a Quality Management course at the Waipuna Hotel in Auckland. That was pretty boring ISO 9001 stuff and Lab accreditation stuff...whew. Management is all about paperwork these days.

So in two short paragraphs you are all caught up on my life.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Passports arrived, tickets booked

Well I am now the proud new owner of a machine readable passport. It looks like a regular passport except one of the pages is a couple of mm thick and contains an integrated circuit. (apparently but I suspect it is an international tracking device capable of reading my mind. mmmmmm doughnuts)
And I finally got round to buying the tickets too. In two months we will be on our way to Vancouver via San franciso. (Yay dont have to go through awful LA airport) Then some side trips to sunny Las Vegas and not so sunny Seattle.
I am very excited about Vancouver. Especially Science world!
Photo credit

Monday, April 24, 2006

Saving the planet one product at a time

OK, I have never been one of those hippie types. In fact they kind of piss me one house guest I had who refused to eat any of the food I cooked because it was not organic and 'Bad for you" So he went out and bought his organic bread and organic cheese and organic eggs and proceeded to make himself an organic fried egg and cheese sandwich. Suddenly my non-organic salad and non-organic stirfried chicken didn't seem so bad. I hope he has a coronary.

Bah! any way where was I? oh yeah. After reading more and more about whats in most commercial shampoos and reading some labels I decided that the daily chemical bath I was subjecting myself too probably wasn't all that good for me. I decided to give some organic/eco friendly products a try.

But first I must state.

"Just because a product is natural doesn't mean it is good for you. Nettles are natural and give you a rash, deadly nightshade is fairly natural and quite deadly. Lots of natural products are just as harmful and their active ingrediants often similar to some of the "chemicals" we are so afraid of."

And this too

"Just because a product is natural dont automatically assume it wont be effective. The ingredients in many different plants have yet to be fully characterised. Aspirin was originally derived from willow trees as early as 400bc and now synthetically produced only because it is cheaper to do so. If someone today suggested you chew some tree leaves to reduce pain you might tell them where they could put their leaves......"

Ok and after all that rambling here is my point
I tried some eco store vanilla shampoo, it really is excellent and by far the best shampoo I have ever used.

Wondrous Weekend Wrapup

What an awesome weekend! Firstly, Dylan Moran on Friday night at the St James. Not much legroom in those St James seats even for a short arse like me, but the bar was open and after a glass of wine is was much more bearable. I really enjoyed the show, lots of laughs and lots of Bernard Black in there too. As usual we seem to end up sitting next to glum arses who don't care for humor and just came along because they thought they might need something new to complain about at work tomorrow. After the show we had a browse of Borders. I love bookshops that are open till midnight, I bought some DVD's, had a coffee and shared a piece of tiramisu with Zed. YUM (zed not the tiramisu)

Saturday was spent catching up with Wellington friend Jamie. We wandered through some pet shops looking at exotic fish, and spotted one of a sort, Our old Boss!! frankly I wasn't up for one of those fake, "Oh how nice to see you" converstions so I hid behind the coral display till she left. Then we had lunch at a frenchy delicatessen and then we played Settlers of Catan all afternoon. That Game kicks Ass! Although everytime we'd played it I was learned new rules because Jamie kept introducing a different expansion pack. Still it was awesome and not to hard to learn.
Photo By burks_berlin

Saturday night was yet another Singstar party, and after a few wines it hard to drag that microphone away from me. I had the dubious glory of getting everything going because everyone else was too shy. And I had to wait for them to get drunk before they would sing. So it was up to Tanya and me. Just as well I love Sing Star, I'm keeping an eye out for a cheap one on trade me. That and Buzz. So anyway I was out till 1:30am which is late for me cause I'm a bit of a Nana.

And Sunday well It was a miserable day so did housework (yawn grumble blah) and watched some DVD's. Stargate and Stargate Atlantis... Oh how I love Sci fi, I would get sky, if they had a sci fi channel. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shit! I forgot to do nothing

After a full on Easter weekend I went back to work today a husk of my former self. Im lucky I didn't lose a finger on the microtome, I was on autopilot the whole day. Even two cups of acrid reflux inducing instant coffee from the tea room (uh more like a nook really, its not a room, actually its a bench in the hallway) could perk me up. I should've taken a day just for blobbing. I find nothing is as rejuvenating as a day spent doing nothing in particular, reading 20 pages from half a dozen books, channel surfing for two hours, surfing the web only looking at the pictures and moving piles of stuff from one corner to another corner. Those are days that make you super productive the next day. I try have one every sunday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Whats better than sing star 80's?......

....Playing sing star 80's with a projector for 6 feet of 80's music video goodness! Friends with the full singstar collection blessed us with an easter Friday full of beer, pizza and giant karaoke.
"Ah Ha- Take on me" and "Duran Duran - hungry like with Wolf" were my two favourites. I never thought I would enjoy the singstar phenomenon.... it just didn't seem like something I would do. After all, I am a self respecting scientician. But it turns out scienticians love trying to sing "I believe in a thing called love" while downing a Heineken. More beer probably ended up on the carpet than anywhere else.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Go karting kicks ASS! can I say ass on here?

Although go-kart racing is not my first choice for weekend recreation, there is something about the company of teenage boys that makes you excited about anything noisy with an engine.
The place was loud, one of the go carts on the track kept back firing and when I was handed a disposable head covering to go under the helmet I wondered if this really was going to be the 15 minutes of excitement promised. Before I knew it I was in a kart waiting in the pits for the nod from the teenager running the track. To start with the acceleration seemed sluggish, but once I was up to speed there was no stopping me! The low centre of gravity makes it easy to take almost hairpin turns at full speed. I was fearless and just as well because the brakes were rubbish.
So I am now a fully fledged lean mean speed thingee. The only thing that would stop me doing it again is the price. $25 for 15 minutes, although that seems standard across Auckland its a bit expensive for 4 people!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Surprised by James Blunt

Well, after being saturated with his singles for several months I thought I could never learn to "appreciate" James Blunt. I was so over it. But then, a music loving co-worker of mine bought in the Live in Ireland CD to listen to at work. Its a real gem. His unusual voice grows on you and since you already know all the words (unless you've been backpacking through Pakistan for the past 3 months) its just a pleasure to listen to. James Blunt is one of those rare artists who sounds better live. The music is open and when all the slick CD production is stripped away the melodies can really escape. Beautiful album and highly recommend to all those who feel ambivalent about James Blunt.

photo credit here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dylan Moran: UPDATE

Oh yeah, I got tickets!!! Someone must have told his agent how desperate we are down here and he's added another show. Colour me overjoyed. So I now have two bookings for the laugh festival, which is some kind of record considering I've missed it completely for the past 5 years.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Zealand, Culturally Starving?

So its March, and the "International Comedy Festival" is still 2 months away but shows have alredy sold out. U2 tickets were gone in less than an hour and the Rolling Stones sold 40,000 tickets in a day. Kayne West sold out while they were still showing the adverts on TV.

So THANK GOD, I managed to get Tickets to see Danny Bhoy......after my first choice Dylan Moran had already sold out. I mean, Who the HELL flys ALL the way to New Zealand and only does two shows.

So we are all lapping up tickets like starving dogs at a gravy factory. The reality is we are far away from the rest of the world, so when big name acts arrive we go temporarily insane. And on the flip side, we suffer so badly from cultural cringe and tall poppy syndrome that we dont even go see a local act till they've made it big overseas.

But its getting better. Local music is on the up and up. I mean no one is willing to fork out more than ten bucks to see a local band, but hey at least people are turning up to the free gigs now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh! Look what I bought!!!!

So. You may have been waiting with baited breath to see what items I purchased for my birthday.

  • Cast Iron Wok
Its heavy and after a years use, everything I cook in it will taste great. I already have a cast iron pan and its the best for cooking steaks,pancakes and salmon in. the only trouble with cast iron is washing up. You cant use detergents and I like to reseal it after every wash. Time consuming but so worth it!!

  • Ceramic Hair Straightner
Oh yeah, I hope I can figure out how to use the bloody things and not melt my hair. **bloody hell, I have a lot of fricken hair...these things take forever!! I might just stick to paying some one else to do it!!!!!!

  • Electronic Kitchen Scales
I know, sounds boring but they are the coolest. In fact they were my impulse buy! They dont even look like scales. They rock. I will post a picture later to prove it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Officially Older!

Another year has past and I find myself inevitably rushing towards 30 but for now I'm happy to be 26. Zed and I went to the wasabi restaurant in Takapuna were we enjoyed a delicious Japanese meal and delicious warmed sake. Later I was showered with gifts. The most gorgeous pearl earrings and DVD'S to keep me out of trouble during the forthcoming winter. Of course I had to treat myself to a few things since its my birthday. Most importantly a day off work and a check up at the Doctors... Oh yeah I really know how to party. But after the check up its off to spend my hard earned cash on some frivolous items for myself.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Win a TEN grand payment on my Student loan!!! or yours...whatever

The good people at Sunday Star Times are running a competition to have a $10,000 repayment made to your student loan. If you dont have a student loan then you can nominate a person to receive it, and that person could be me. So everybody rush out and buy a Sunday Star times and text the code DEBT to 3993. Make sure you buy a new paper each weekend to find out the new code.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Domestic Tips for the Clueless from the Clueless

Never, ever buy cotton/polyester sheets. God they are awful. I was seduced into buying them, like most people I suspect, by the *SALE!*. They were a fashionable shade of brown with a high thread count and low low price. Delighted with my purchase I kept them sitting in the packaging till one day I felt the urge to throw them on the bed. Being sensible I washed them first. How I waited, so eager, while the spin cycle finished. Oh how I hung them with care in the sun to dry.
Then the disappointment began. Upon bringing them in from the line, I noticed they felt kinda crinkly and stiff. I put them on the bed anyway hoping they were just stiff from drying in the sun. Later that night when I hopped into bed, the nightmare began. They were HORRIBLE to sleep on. All scratchy and stiff, also polyester doesn't breath like cotton, so I got all hot, then all cold, then all hot again. After a second night they have been banished from the bed and pure cotton reigns again.
So let this be a lesson to all. Only buy pure cotton sheets if you want to live.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Caring for your introvert

Well, did you even know I am one? I wasn't always one, I think when I was a child I was different.
Now, however this essay describes me and how I feel everyday. Some of my best friends (yes you especially Jamie) have expressed frustration with my antisocial behavior, but may I kindly direct you to this essay it will explain everything.
Would it be bad form to leave a copy lying around at work? I still get hassled about the last conference we went on. I only managed an hour at the social events planned for the evenings. My colleagues were dismayed to find me perfectly happy reading a book in the hotel room at 9:30pm.
Well after dinner, a couple of drinks and a bit of socialising I was happy to call it a night.
As the essay describes, introverts find other peoples company tiring. After a time, I just need things to be quiet again.
"Just because I'm not talking doesn't mean I hate you"
and you can quote me on that.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Art on Sunday

Sunday morning seemed like the perfect time to wander the halls of the Auckland art gallery. A significant amount of wall space was taken up with the Frances Hodgkins exhibition and I'm not a big fan, so we stuck to the established collections. He Konei mai was mostly Goldie potraits and Lindaur(the artist not the $12 bubbly!) potraits with other odd artists thrown in. The chance to see Goldie works up close was wonderful. There are no barriers in this section of the gallery and you really see the details. Goldie is amazing, his paintings are so detailed, you can see every pore on a face and I was hard pressed to see brush strokes except on the backgrounds. It was amazing. There was also a small collection of modern art which was a bit average with the exception of a stand out piece by Shane Cotton called "southern cross". The constellation was represented by birds and it really caught my eye. I have no artistic expertise, I liked it cause it was pretty.
St Sebastian seems to be a theme for the Gallery at the moment, with many depictions lining the walls. The galleries pride and joy is a recently restored work by Guido Reni. Its huge powerful and quite an emotional picture of St. Sebastian. I looked at it for quite some time.
Although not on display, I do have a small claim to fame, my grandfather has three water colours (1956) held in the Auckland collection. Perhaps there is some talent for art appreciation somewhere in my genes...... there could be hope for me yet.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

DMZ Turns 3!

Well after 3 years of "band practice" on Wednesday nights, they finally have a finished album. (I say this in inverted commas because I know for a fact that "band practice" consists of drinking beers and eating tim tams!). So to celebrate there was a gathering of friends fans and hangers on in Ponsonby on Saturday. Since the band was officially 3, the theme was a 3 yr olds birthday party. Fairy bread, cheerios and Champagne make for an interesting afternoon. As an added bonus after everyone had gone home we got to watch "Five go mad in Dorset". Dean (the lucky bastard) had just purchased the complete comic strip set on DVD. He is my new best friend.