Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spoiled


Flying just isn't the same these days...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Travelers

Despite my bitching, I did have fun in Melbourne. I saw some friends. I had a great time with Shannon. We went out to one of our favorite towns, Woodend.

And, I witnessed this exchange in the Auckland airport, which amused me, after knowing some folks from Stanford, including most excellent roommate Martin.

Kiwi: where are you from?
Three Amigos: Sweden
K: I though so but I wasn't sure if it was Denmark
TA: was it the language or the look?
K: mostly the language





Right. Could be either.

Australia, Fin.

Last night, I got back from a weekend in Melbourne. Despite being so anxious to close that chapter, I would be lying to say it wasn't a little bittersweet.

Shannon moves in a week and with that, there will undoubtedly be changes in our relationships with our friends there, and our perspective on the city. Who knows when we will be back.

As much as I am ready to have both of us 100% in Auckland, I feel like my departure from Melbourne (I can't speak for Shannon) has been the epitome of anticlimax.

I resigned from United with zero fanfare. I think my boss expected it. My last day came and went with nothing more than the stroke of the second hand on the clock. It's like it never happened. The the back and forth that we have both done during the transition period has made the whole situation seem even more surreal.

Melbourne was good to us. Part of me is sad to see the chapter close because I fear we won't get the chance to really see Australia like we had originally planned (you know, when we were heading right back to SF at the end of two years?).  But man, part of me is so ready to throw the keys on the porch and slam the door.

Is that wrong?

But isn't it funny how fast you can change from bittersweet to just over it. And a big thanks to the Melbourne airport for that.

After a lovely hour waiting to check in (who needs appropriate staffing, Virgin Blue?) and grabbing a mediocre sandwich, I was greeted with the inconsistent standards of international airport security. Those three L shaped Allen keys that I flew in with on Friday. Terrorist fodder in Australia. Now let's ignore the damage they could cause as tools (Boeings are put together with English fasteners, not metric) and think for a second. As a weapon they are no worse than the pen in my pocket. Compared to the light bulb I have, which I recon would smash delightfully into someone's face, they do basically no damage. Worse yet he threw them away - the guy wouldn't even take them home. Said it was policy. What a waste.

Now, this is no reflection on the employee. He diligently performed his function while using none of his own thought processes or good sense, like a good security robot. But as a global society, we are out of control. What's worse - asinine security measures or inconsistently asinine security measures?

It's time for world leaders to get together, scratch the three brain cells between them together, and sort this out.

I can't wait to replace those in NZ. You can't get punched in the face for less than ten bucks. I am confident tools are more.

Oh, also, to Melbourne duty free imposing a credit card tax and the store that robbed me for my Sprite because they don't take plastic under ten bucks (but takes Kiwi notes) you can both go right to hell.

I was sort of down about leaving Melbourne. Now, I think I am quite over it.

So long.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photo of the Day

Sunday cricket in the park.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photo of the Day

Good attitude.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Photo of the Day


Old Mt. Eden prison next to new Mt. Eden prison, strangely close to our house.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Car Recovery

The car has been recovered, with not one, but two working keys. It was a pretty spendy incident, but at least I got to take some more pictures while on the ferry and while driving home.









Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tsunami

Interesting article about the recent tsunami and it's impact on NZ here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adventure

Sometimes, travel is an adventure.

Shannon and I went out to the Coromandel Peninsula last weekend to take in the sights after her conference.

It's a beautiful place, with roads right on the edge of the water, and mountains in the middle. Saturday was some pretty great weather, too, save the warning to stay off the eastern beaches before lunchtime due to the tsunami from Japan. You'll have to excuse the pictures. As a seasoned traveler does, I left my camera at home, so all these are from an iPod.


We had a casual drive around from Auckland all the way to Waikawau Bay (map). Since it was well past lunch time, we hit the beach. As we were putting on sunscreen, we looked up, and saw the ocean rush out about 30 meters in about 30 seconds. Like the other three people on the beach, we retreated. A few minutes later, it eased back in over the span of a few minutes. Very freaky, since the bay is somewhat protected. I wonder what it was like on the open coastline - though obviously not serious by any comparison.





Once it seemed the danger had passed, we, and others, resumed. There was a wonderfully refreshing swim, a walk, a nap, and another splash in the water. Pretty awesome afternoon.


We even got up for most of sunrise and beach tea on Sunday.



We stopped near Tuateawa (map) for the view...


and Shannon made a friend.



We were heading back into Coromandel Town, as we needed to head towards Auckland so Shannon could make her flight, when we stopped at Tokatea Lookout (map).


 Aaaaaaaand, cue the drama.


Are you serious? Key snapped in the ignition like an overbent paperclip. It didn't shear, it fatigued. Previous owner probably bent it and bent it back. Thank goodness we have 1) mobile coverage and 2) roadside towing cover.

Lovely chap brought his truck (and his two buddies, despite me insisting there were two of us) to the pass, and fiddled around a bit (by which I mean removed all the surrounds on the steering column, the wheel lock, and the ignition assembly because he was SURE he could start it with a screwdriver, as it's the most stolen car in NZ). Naturally, we found out the long way that there is an immobilizer chip in the key head. Who knew. Tow it is.

What's that, you say? That photo looks like you took it through a rainy windshield on top of the truck because this dude brought his buddies? Correct. We buckled up. For safety, naturally.

Down in town, the mechanic (right - singular) came in from home on a Sunday to confirm that there was an imobilizer in the key and inquired if we had considered the ferry home, as it was a Sunday. Lesson learned - don't need anything more than milk outside of Auckland (and possibly Welly and CHCH) on a Sunday.
After killing time, the ferry ride actually was quite lovely. It's about two hours from Coromandel Town to Auckland, with a quick stop at Waiheke Island.




Now, as for the car, it's still in Coromandel. The first word was that a new key could be had (from Oz) for about $220, but that the car needed to be taken to a Subaru dealer to get it coded. Naturally, that's Auckland, so about a $400 tow. Latest news is that the mobile locksmith can make a new blade and fit it to the existing head for about $150 but not until Friday. Who knows what it'll cost to get the mechanic (singular) to put everything else back together. In an effort to not take a vacation day over this, I changed an international plane ticket for a bordering on reasonable fee, and in theory, I pick up the car on Saturday, after another ferry ride.

The bookies are taking bets.

Update: Obviously, Shannon didn't make her flight. Emirates was very accommodating for very little money. I got two extra days with her. You'd think it was planned or something.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chinese Lantern Festival

Weeks ago, the Chinese Lantern Festival was in Albert Park to celebrate the end of the Lunar New Year. Here are some much delayed photos.










Sunday, March 6, 2011

Photo of the Day



Taken from my bedroom window Friday morning. Beats getting up to go to the office.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gig Review - The Chemical Brothers, Vector Arena, Auckland

Nothing like a concert on a school night.

I've never seen the Chemical Brothers before. It seems like where ever I am, they play festivals, which tend to be spendy. But, they played in Auckland, stand alone, so I went with some coworkers.

I was pretty impressed. I had pretty high expectations, and they were fairly well met. We missed the openers in favor or the pub up the road, but the crowd was pretty well alive before the start, with some drone-y music and no lights to keep the mood where it should be.

I went into it a little skeptical of a DJ show in an arena, but they really are the duo that can swing it. I can't think of anyone that uses rock elements in electronic music quite like them. My only real complaint is that there was an encore break. That sort of hurts the mood of what's otherwise a club gig. But I suppose I can't complain as they played Surface to Air at the start of the encore. One of (the?) my favorite CB songs, and I'll never think of it the same.

The visual show really shines too, which it must for an electronic arena gig. I'm sure if you were on drugs, it was freaky as hell. Robots, creepy clowns, great light work, and strobes so bright you could feel the wave of heat near the back of the place.

Setlist below. I made it, but I'm not 100% confident that it's complete. Since everything is mixed together, it's tough to tell sometimes.

Well done. 7.5/10.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Commute

I've been riding into work with some degree of regularity recently. Crossing the bridge south of Onehunga is clearly the best part.