Thursday, July 29, 2004

Last day of work

Current music: Beck - Sunday Sun

Tomorrow I am heading down to the South Island for a week. Should be wicked down there. Dead of winter! Mom and Dad are hiking in Abel Tasman today. I hope they enjoy it. It should be awesome down there because they are having such good weather.

Last night after work I went and picked up Simon and we went to rock climbing for a little while then out for some fishies and chippies. I went home and packed and did some laundry. I was gonna go over to Simon's and hang with the crew, but ended up just crashing out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Pics of rents

Here are some shots of the rents in NZ...

My dad at Whakapapa:

My dad at the Grand Chateau:

My mom at Craters of the Moon in Taupo:

2 days til the South Island

Only 2 days left before I go to the South Island. I am gonna stay at Bubba's on Friday night and go see the Bleeders play, then go to the airport on Saturday morning.

Last night was sweet. I'm glad I got to see Blair before he takes off for the cruise ships. We went and played some pool at Spirit'd then to Subway for dinner. He had one of the Buy-1-Get-1 cards for footlong subs that is good after 5pm Sun-Wed. Not a bad deal huh? He gave me the card because it is of no use to him anymore. After Subway we went home and watched the Simpsons and Malcolm then went to his mate's house in Dinsdale. Pretty good night over there. Met a bunch of new people.

Hmmm... I wonder if we are gonna go rock climbing tonight.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I just want this week to be over

Back at work once again. I want this week to be over so I can head down to the South Island with my parents. I have quite a bit of work to do here though. I will keep crackin on it I guess...

Last night I went home and hung out for a while then went out looking for some open wireless networks I can leech bandwidth from. I found one, but it has MAC address blocking. Damn...

Monday, July 26, 2004

they are off

Current music: Jets to Brazil - Rocket Boy

Left work this morning and took the rents to the airport. They are off to Wellington and are probably landing right about now. Damn, wish I was going to Welly...

Here is a pic of Mom at Hot Water Beach almost getting knocked over by a wave...

Go South!

Mom and Dad are heading down to Wellington today. I am going to pick them up at their motel at about 8:45am and take them out to the airport. From there they will take the <1 hour flight down to Welly and stay there for the day. I think they are going to go to Te Papa, but not sure what else they will do. Mom has been really good at finding things to do so far.

Last night I took the bus home and they showed up a little bit later. We did some shopping for their breakfast foods today, then we went out for some dinner. We hit up Nando's. Really good chicken at that place. Afterwards, we went to the casino and gambled a little.

After I dropped them off at home I had to swing by Simon's and bring him some clothes he left at Mel's parents' house and I stayed and watched Fight Club. Exciting eh?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Photo Friday entry - "Mother"

Here is a shot I took of my Mom yesterday when we were at the top of Mt. Manganui. It looks real staged, but really she just sat down on the rock I took the shot. I don't think she even knows I took it...

Coromandel Weekend with the Parents

Well, I don't think I ever made a post on Friday. I was busy here at work that day. Thursday night I went rockclimbing with Simon, Mel, and Ben. It was good to go again.

Friday my parents came back to Hamilton. They had a good time at the mountain. We went out to Fox and Hounds for dinner then they went back to the motel and slept. I don't blame them... they were probably still jet-lagged. I went home and did the OC thing then over to Simeon's for a little while.

Saturday morning I picked them up at 8 and we got breakfast at the Bakehouse. After that we took off and headed for the Coromandel Peninsula. It was a great trip. The weather was perfect. We stopped in Whangamata to use the bathrooms and see the beach. It was bloody cold and windy. After that we headed to Tairua and ate lunch there, then on to Whitianga. After dropping our stuff off at the motel we went to Hot Water Beach. The water was hot, but the sun was going down and the wind was picking up. We flagged it and went up to the Cathedral Cove lookout for some pictures. For dinner we went to Smitty's Sports Bar in Whitianga and watched the All Blacks game against South Africa.

On Sunday we got up and had breakkie in Whitianga then went down to the Mount. We walked up the Mount. There were two hanggliders about to take off the top. We watched that and got some sweet pictures. There were some Americans up there too and we talked to them a little bit. From there we walked down and went into town for some lunch then drove to Rotorua. I took a bus back to Hamilton from Rotorua and my parents stayed there for the night. Simeon picked me up from the bus station and I just took it easy the rest of the night.

My parents are coming back here to Hamilton tonight, then flying down to Wellington in the morning.

Here is a shot I took of the hanggliders from the top of Mt. Manganui:

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

work while the rents travel

Current music: Modest Mouse - Float On

Hit up Traffik for lunch with the rents then made them some coffee. They headed off to walk on along the Waikato then to take naps. I left work and picked them up at the motel then we went out to Iguana for dinner. After a really good dinner we went to the casino because Dad wanted to check it out. We went to my flat and they checked it out then went back to their motel to sleep. It was about 8pm and they were really tired.

Today they left with my car to go down to the Grand Chateau on the side of Mt. Ruapehu. I had to take the bus into work, but that is no biggie. Got my laptop working on our wireless network here at work. That is pretty nice.

Well, time to get back to work.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Heaven, oh yes, my headphones are heaven

Current music: Air - Run

I forgot how much my headphones rule. My parents brought my Aiwa HP-X222 headphones over from the States. I bought these over a year ago and I lived in them when I was at my last job. Since I came to NZ I have had to make due with the headphones that came with my Neuros. Now, those headphones work great for walking around the city and snowboarding and stuff like that. However, when at work and sitting there in a quiet place they really weren't that great. I could hear a lot of outside noise and the quality of sounds are just bearable.

I just put on my good ones and seriously I just remembered why I love music. I can feel it. I don't have the words for how great it is...

The rents have arrived

Last night after work I went up to Auckland. It took me a little over two hours to get to Bubba's house because of the traffic and everything. We went out for dinner to a little Italian place called Delicious. It was really good. I will definitely have to visit that place again.

I got up early this morning and left Bubba's at about 6:15. Got to the airport at 6:50 and had to wait about an hour for my parents to land and then get through customs. Once through we took off for Hamil-tron. Stopped at McDonald's right outside the airport for some coffee and then stopped at Prolificx to check out the office on the way.

We arrived back in Hamilton at 9:45am. I gave them some directions around town and they headed off in my car to go check into the motel and get showered up and stuff like that. Gonna have lunch with them at about 1pm.

Monday, July 19, 2004

22 hours

At work once again. I think this day might go by slow. My parents are flying into Auckland tomorrow. After work today I am going to head up there and stay with Bubba and Steph. I am going out to dinner with them and staying overnight. In the morning I will have to get up early as and head out to the airport. My parents will get in and I will drive them down here to Hamil-tron.

Last night I went to Pak N Save again with Ben and Melanie. I shouldn't go with them any more. They take so damn long and I end up buying way more than I went there for. Oh well... Ben and I went out to Matt's after the grocery store and picked up my sunnies that I left there. Thank God they were still there. I love them.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Here is my entry for this week's competition. It is a picture I shot last week when Simon and I did Mt. Moehau.

less than 48 hours

My parents are arriving at 6:50am on Wednesday, that is about 45 hours away now. Should be a fun 3 weeks with them. I think they are exicted about coming here as well.

Friday night we went over to Matt's house and watched Big Fish and sat in the hottub for a while. Nice relaxing night.

Saturday I came into town to look for new glasses. I broke mine. Didn't really find anything I wanted. I will have to have a look in Auckland for some. After that I went out to Ben's parents' house for a while. It is nice out there in the farmlands. That night we had a work party to celebrate the success of the new product I am working on. The Dag 3.7t.

Sunday I got up and we had a cleaning fest around the house. We cleaned all the mold from around the windows, cleaned the toilet and bathroom, Amanda did all the dishes. After that I had to get my car fixed up. The oil was low and the radiator had nearly no water in it. Took care of that stuff. I need to keep an eye on that thing to make sure I don't have a leak and to make sure I don't overheat! I also had to get a new registration for my car.

We went to Matt's again in the afternoon and sat in the hottub for a while. I left my sunglasses over there and I am upset about that. I really hope that I get them back.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


I am not sure where these Gmail invitations keep coming from. I gave Dave one a few months ago and then I went to give Tim my last one this morning, but it says there are 4. So I sent him one and now I just sent Ben one... Still have 2 left. Anybody keen? I might list them on EBay. I heard people are buying them there.

And another week goes by

I found the tea we like yesterday at T-mark. T-mark is a different Asian supermarket that I never knew existed. I love Asian supermarkets...

Last night Ben and I went over to his cousin's room in Bryant Hall. Hung out there for a while. There are a lot of good-looking girls there. After that we went to Win's house. He is a pretty cool Indonesian dude who gave us some good peanuts to eat. Pretty fun night.

Not sure what is up for the weekend. I think Simon and I will do some tramping tomorrow when he finishes work, then I have a work party to go to in the evening. It is supposed to be snowing today and tomorrow on the mountain, so Ben, Mel, and I might go up there Sunday. Maybe Harris will come too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Finished bookings and posting the itinerary like I said I would

July 21
Arrive in Auckland. I will pick up at the airport and come to Hamilton
Go to Hamilton Gardens
Stay at the Lakepoint Motel

July 22
Drive to National Park and stay at the Grand Chateau near Whakapapa Ski Fields.
Stay at the Grand Chateau (luxury!)

July 23 - Friday
Drive Taupo and check it out. Hot pools along the Waikato? Drive back to Hamilton.
Stay at Lakepoint Motel

July 24 - Saturday
Being careful with the tides we can play golf at Matarangi Golf Club (only 9 holes, but best 9 holes in NZ) and get to Hot Water Beach about 4pm or later. Maybe Cathedral Cove if we are keen. Low tide = 6:02pm
Stay at Shearwater Motel in Whitianga

July 25 - Sunday
Drive through Waihi to Tauranga, go to the Mount? I will catch a bus back to Hamilton. Go on to Rotorua
Stay at Eaton Hall (Bed & Breakfast)

July 26
Maori stuff, Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserves, or sit in hot pools about 20 mins from Roto then drive 1-1.5 hrs back to Hamilton and get ready for the South Island.
Stay at Lakepoint Motel

July 27
Fly down to Wellington in the morning and have the day there. Go to the Rose Gardens, check out Te Papa (excellent free museum), or take a tour of the Beehive (the Parliament building).
Stay at Booklovers Bed & Breakfast, owned by Jane Tolerton (award-winning NZ author)

July 28
Take a ferry to Picton (mid-morning) then watertaxi out to Furneaux Lodge.
Furneaux has tennis courts and stuff.
What I picture as a perfect little retreat resort.

July 29
Return to Picton on the Watertaxi and pick up car and drive off to Nelson (Florida of NZ, old people and sun)
Stay at Alan's Place in Nelson (quaint hostel)

July 30 - Friday
Cruise and Walk – Cruise out to Torrent bay then 2 hr walk from Torrent Bay to Bark Bay in Abel Tasman.
Stay at Alan's Place in Nelson

July 31 - Saturday
I will arrive in Nelson at about 9:15 am
Drive to Christchurch through Lewis Pass... stop at the hot springs in Lewis Pass (4-5 hrs)
Stay at Camelot Square Hotel with view of Cathedral Sq.

August 1 - Sunday
Do Christchurch, gondola, square, etc...
Stay at Camelot Square Hotel with view of Cathedral Sq.

August 2
Drive to Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
Stay at Aoraki Lodge in Twizel (near Mt. Cook)

August 3
Drive to Queenstown, do the gondola, whatever else...
Stay at Thomas' Lodge right on Lake Wakatipu, lake view room!
Surprise for Dad's birthday

August 4
Cruise-Fly-Cruise in the Milford Sound!
Stay at Thomas' Lodge right on Lake Wakatipu, lake view room!

August 5
Drive to the West Coast and the glaciers via Wanaka through Haast Pass (5 hrs minimum). There will be lots of stopping for pictures.

August 6 - Friday
heli-hike on Fox Glacier
Stay at Mountain View Holiday Park

August 7 - Saturday
sunrise on Lake Matheson then drive to Christchurch through Arthur's Pass. The drive is lovely. I don't think you will be disappointed that you didn't take the train.
Stay at Camelot Square Hotel with view of Cathedral Sq.

August 8 - Sunday
Fly back up to the North Island.
Stay at Auckland City Hotel (close to city center)

August 9
I have to be at work again, but maybe I will stay in Auckland on Sunday night and head back early Monday morning. Go out to Waiheke Island, maybe sailing if the weather is good. There is plenty to see in Auckland.
Stay at Auckland City Hotel (close to city center)

August 10
Another day in Auckland, then fly out in the evening.


Last night I hit up the Asian supermarket after work for some coffee covered peanuts and green tea. After that I went home. Jade came over to watch Once Upon a Time in Mexico with Ben and Mel. Kenny wanted to play some pool so he came and picked me up along with Harris and we went into town and got Simeon. We headed over to Spirit'd for some pool. Either the second or third game of the night Simeon and I down-trowed Kenny and Harris. We made them walk around with their pants down. Good times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Too cold

I am becoming a wimp. It is about 40 degrees and I am complaining that it is too cold. Well... winter.

Joel came over and hung out for a while last night. Ben and Joel went out with Jeremy last night. They invited me to come, but I couldn't be bothered going out. I had some other things to do anyways. I had to finish backing up my Neuros and take it over to Simon's to give him some pictures.

Nice relaxing night.

Monday, July 12, 2004

rock the work

Almost completely finished booking my parents stuff over here. I worked on it a bit last night when I got home. After that I went with Melanie and Ben to Pak N Save and we had a big grocery shopping session. We home, cooked some dinner, and played Super Mario Bros. Good times.

Hmmm... I wonder what we are gonna do this weekend. I don't think I will be going down to the snow. The weather is gonna be nice, but the snow won't be. I have a party at my boss's house to go to on Saturday night. Maybe I will ride for the morning on Saturday, then come back here for the party, then go tramping somewhere with Simon on Sunday. Pirongia anyone? Maybe Te Puia Hot Springs?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Finally finances

So last week I finally got GnuCash running on my machine here at work. I had been trying for a while so that I could get my finances organized, but it wasn't liking things. Since we have a bandwidth limit I didn't want to go nuts downloading stuff to get it working either. I slowly downloaded one thing at a time until I was able to install it. Ahhh... much nicer now.

I got things all figured out and all my new accounts here in NZ added in. I feel so much more relaxed about my money now that I know where all of it is and what kind of budget I need to be on.

Well... the weekend.

It was a good one. No snowboarding however.

Simon and I decided to go up to Coromandel to do some tramping since the mountain was gonna be crowded and icy. It is school holidays... Ben and Mel were going to stay at Mel's parents place in Whangamata for the weekend and invited us to stay as well. On Friday night the mission started. Simon and I did some shopping and came to work and made coffees then headed out to Whangamata. We got there, watched the OC and hung out for a little then went to bed.

Saturday morning Simon and I got up and left for Mt. Moehau at about 7:15 am. We arrive at the track and started walking at 9:45. Nice drive up the Coromandel coast during the sunrise.

The track started in a paddock again, but it wasn't nearly as muddy as last week. It soon ascended into the thick native bush and we had a steep climb pretty much the rest of the track. There were a few points along a ridge that flattened out, but for the most part it was steep. Finally, when we go to the end of the track there was a sign saying that it was sacred Maori land and we could not go further. We couldn't get right to the top of the mountain. That sucked, but the views were awesome. We could see Waiheke Island, Rangitoto and even the city of Auckland.

After completing the track we drove back to Whangamata and chilled out with Ben and Mel for a while. Jade and Amanda showed up then we went to some girl's 21st. Simon and I pretended that we knew her and that we met her years ago. She was like, "Oh Yeah... I remember your faces...". Stupid girl. We made the night pretty fun just being nuts.

In the morning we had a relaxing breakfast then headed out at about noon. Simon and I stopped in the Karangahake Gorge and did a walk there up to Dicky Flat. There were a lot of goldmines and stuff along the track and we explored a few. One was a tunnel through the side of the gorge for about 300m or more.

That was the weekend...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

no movie tonight

Current music: Cursive - Excerpts from Various Notes Strewn Around the Bedroom of April Connolly, Feb. 24, 1997

I talked to Ben and decided we would go see Super Size Me, but now it is sold out. I guess Simon and I are just going to go straight up to Whangamata instead of Auckland then Whanga... We are gonna have a pizza meeting here at work this afternoon, so I should wait until after that to leave. Simon and I are gonna go get some food for the weekend (aka. lots of GORP) before we leave.

I finally did it

I finally got my act together and invested my tax return. I got the tax return in May. I said then that I was going to invest it so that I didn't end up spending it. Did I do that... no. I used it to pay for random other things like a new pair of goggles, my car, etc. So yesterday I decided...screw it. I am going to invest some from my savings since I have already gone through the actual tax return money.

I have been reading a lot about ETFs (exchange traded funds) lately. About how they are better than an index mutual fund because they don't have costs associated and they can be traded all day instead of just at the end of the day. I figured, what the hell. After reviewing what is in my portfolio I thought there is something missing. Actually, there is quite a lot missing. I needed to round it out. I thought... hmmm... either an energy ETF or a financial ETF. I decided on an energy one... IYE. Their larger investments are ones that I am comfortable with and they have a pretty good record. We'll see how it goes.

Now, it is great that I am investing and all that jazz, but I really need to start a Roth IRA so I don't have to pay taxes on my gains. What better time than now to start it. I am already paying taxes on the money I earn in NZ (and much lower taxes than I pay in the US). I should invest the money I am making here since I can't contribute it to a 401(k) or anything since we don't have one. I have been saving 10% of my gross each paycheck. I should start getting that money transferred over to the US so I can fund a Roth IRA...

On the less serious side of things... I decided not to snowboard this weekend although it would be fun to go to the mountain with Simeon, Daryl, Richard, Richard's sis, Sarah, Gareth... The snow isn't great. The weather should be great...but when the snow is iced over it doesn't make for good riding. Instead, Simon and I are going to do some tramping. We are gonna leave after work tonight and go up to Auckland to see "Super Size Me" at the film festival with Erez, then drive to Whangamata after that and stay at Mel's parents house. From there we plan to head up Coromandel in the morning to do a tramp, then back to Whangamata. On Sunday, head back up Coromandel to hit up another tramp, then back to Hamilton... Another full weekend!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Current music: Splashdown - Games You Play

So I just got my Endace business cards. They are pretty nice. Here is a quick shot I took...

want to ride my snowboard today

Current music: Elliott Smith - Sweet Adeline

Last night after dinner I went and played some pool with Simeon. Good times. That was my night...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

you will cross the country alone

Current music: Death Cab for Cutie - Information Travels Faster

Had a productive night last night. I went home and had some dinner and lounged, then went and picked up Harris. We wanted to get some tire chains for my car so that we don't have to pay when we go up the mountain. The Warehouse in Hamilton East didn't have any. He is gonna check the one in the city center today.

After that I went down to the internet cafe to download some Loveline episodes. I now have Simon and Harris addicted as well. I ran out of new episodes to listen to, so I got 6 more new ones.

Tonight I have to finish making booking for my parents. I have a few more places to suss out. Once I get it all done I will post their itinerary. Should be a really mean one!

Monday, July 05, 2004

fright in the night

Last night I left work a little early to get some things done. I went home and started making phone calls all over the place to book my parents at hotels and such. I think I did really well. My mom will be pumped because in Wellington they are going to stay at the Booklovers B&B which is run by Jane Tolerton. Jane is an award winning NZ author. I have never heard of anything she wrote, but Mom will be happy. I also got some really cheap fares going across the Cook Straight. $NZ30 each!

After I was done with that for the night it was about 8pm. I decided I was bored and I would go check out the Waingaro Hot Springs. I didn't know that it is such a drive. By the time I got there it was nearly 9 and they close at 10. I didn't feel like paying $6 for an hour so I turned around and drove home.

About 10 minutes after I got in bed there was a knock at the door. I didn't feel like getting up. Then there was another louder knock. I stayed in bed. Then another. I stayed in bed. Finally, there was someone shouting and it sounded like they were in the house! I got up to check it out. It was bloody Jeremy yelling in the bathroom window. He knew that we were home because our cars were there and he wanted his stereo back from the night of Mel's 21st when we borrowed it. Damn Jeremy...

Sunday, July 04, 2004

So I realized...

Current music: Mazzy Star - Had a Thought

I realized today that this weekend was quite crazy. I went hiking one day in the tropics, or atleast subtropics. The hike was along a ridge near a beach. The following day I was snowboarding in waist deep powpow at about 8000 feet.


What a 4th of July weekend

This weekend rocked. It started out slow. I went to Simon's house a little after work and since I was going up to Auckland to go to the bank and stuff, we decided to hit up the Waitakere Range for some tramping out in West Auckland.

We get up to Auckland and the bank is closed on Saturdays... Bummer. Simon and I get lost for a long time trying to get out to West Auckland... Bummer. We finally find the track and start hiking at noon. Wrong track... Bummer. We find the right track and it is in a cow paddock... Bummer. It soon starts getting really steep. We have no views for about 2 hours. Finally we cross the road and realize that we are going to have amazing views over Manakau Harbour. We walk along a ridge for about two hours taking in the views and finish the loop track back at the car.

We head home and the trip is a success even after the suck start. After we get cleaned up, I went and did some grocery shopping, then over to Simon's again for Sam Lear's 21st birthday party. It is great to see Sam, he is super shaggy now...

Maryjane and Manny showed up too! It was awesome to see them. I have to try to hang out with them more.

Richard and I were planning to hit the snow in the morning if the mountain would be open. Melissa called and said that there were people trapped on the mountain because of blizzard conditions and all this stuff. Richard and I pretty much decided we were not going.

In the morning, I got up at 5am and came to work to check on the internet if the mountain was gonna open. I didn't think so, so I went home and went to bed. About 7:30 Ben called from Taupo. He said there was over a half meter of freshies from Saturday night. I got my stuff together as fast as possible and went and woke up Richard. We took off about 8:30. When we got to National Park Village, we could see the snow. It was right down into the village!

We got to the mountain about 11:30 and rode until closing... Unbelieveable conditions. Then we came home and I crashed for the night.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

almost weekend

Current music: AC/DC - For Those About to Rock

I worked really late last night... Until 7:45. It was good though. I got some things working. I still have a bit more to do, but we are getting there...

Went home and played some Nintendo with Ben and Melanie, then went to bed. This morning I got up late and just got in to work at about 9:15 am.

I found out that Sam Lear's 21st is on Saturday. I was planning to go to the mountain, but maybe I will stay home on Saturday and do booking for Mom and Dad's trip. I will go to the mountain on Sunday. Besides, Saturday looks to be kinda sketch with high winds and stuff...