Friday, December 31, 2004

New Years in Cairns

Last night was New Year's Eve and I was in Cairns, Australia. Pretty sweet place for New Year's. Most of the people who were on the dive boat met at PJ O'Brien's for drinks at 4, then we went out to the clubs and bars after that. At midnight we ended up at the pier for the fireworks. I went back my hostel and went to bed after that because it started raining at about 12:30...

Today is New Year's Day. I got up early and had breakfast at a little cafe in the city centre then I have been walking around taking some photos since. Relaxing day, but hot and sticky. I think I am going to go to the lagoon and do some swimming after I finish this.

For tomorrow I have booked a waterfall tour of the Tablelands. There are all kinds of waterfalls up there with cliffs to jump off into them. That should be pretty sweet. After that I am going back to Brisbane.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

New Year's Eve in Cairns

I am back from my 4 day liveaboard dive expedition out to the Coral Sea. That was amazing. We were about 100 nautical miles farther than the outer Great Barrier Reef. It took 15 hours to get out there in the boat. I felt a little sick on the way back in, but never ralphed, so that was cool.

We fed sharks, dove in some amazing coral, Checked out the 4000 meter drop off the edge of the continental plateau. Really awesome. Cool people on the boat too. We are meeting at a pub in 30 minutes to hang out. Not sure what the rest of the evening will entail yet.

I will be in Cairns for another few days. I think I might head up to Daintree or out to the Outback on the 2nd.

I do have a few pictures... Here is a sampling:

Brisbane's city lagoon:

Cairn's city lagoon:

Sunset on the Coral Sea:

Rum Runner II:

Dive briefing:

View of the Rum Runner II from the top:

My dive buddies:

Shark feeding before we jumped in to feed them more:

Monday, December 27, 2004

Coral Sea here I come

Well, I spent the day yesterday wandering around Brisbane. I went to the Queen Street Mall. That was pretty cool. Walked around the Botanical Gardens as well. Took the CityCat all over. It is a really cool idea. A service that takes you up and down the river that is used like a bus. My hostel was about 6 blocks from the river, so I walked to the Brisbane River and took the CityCat into the city then took it back again and it only cost me $AU3.60.

At night I went to the movies with some people I met at the hostel and saw The Incredibles. Good times...

This morning I got up early and caught a bus to the airport and flew to Cairns. I got my dive stuff sorted and ate lunch. Now I am just waiting to catch the boat out to the Coral Sea. Can't wait... It is really hot and humid here. Supposedly the humidity isn't as bad out at sea... I hope not, but I need to go get some motion sickness medicine!

I just found out today that my grandma has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it has moved into a lung. Very sad. I will have to get in touch with her when I get back to land later this week.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Merry Christmas

Ok... so here is my Christmas holiday so far...

Left work and went with Hamish to Kinloch, near Taupo. Met some of his family's friends and stuff like that and just hung out around his place for the evening.

Saturday (Christmas):
Woke up and had a mean breakfast barbeque and just lounged around most of the day. Then we went over to his friend's house for a big Christmas dinner. Played some weird French game that is like bocce.

I drove home from Taupo and got really sick along the way. I must have had some food poisoning. It kicked my ass. I ended up cancelling my flight to Brisbane and just stayed home because I was way to sick to travel.

Monday (today):
Got up at 4:15am and got a taxi out to the airport to catch a 6:35am flight to Brisbane. I am here now and feeling much better than yesterday. I still have a bit of a headache, but I am not sure if that is just from a lack of coffee. :)

I am in the Brisbane CBD right now and I am going to go walk around a bit more then head back to hostel and probably just relax and crash out early so that I can get off to catch another early flight up to Cairns tomorrow...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Eve is upon us

Well, my first summer Christmas and the weather sucks. It has been bad for a few weeks now. Hmmm... I heard Kiwi summers are nice. At least it should be good in Australia when I go there in 2 days.

Last night we all left work at 3pm and went to Spirit'd for drinks and pool. After that a bunch of us went out to Le Dome for dinner. That place has the most beautiful girls in Hamilton working at it...

Tonight, Hamish and I are heading out to his parents' place in Taupo. Maybe the weather will be ok there tomorrow so we can go out on the boat.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Soak in the heat

I went home from work last night and nobody was there. I cooked dinner and watched the Simpsons. Then, since I was bored, I decided to drive out to Kerosene Creek, south of Rotorua, to have a soak. Ended up getting back a little after midnight, but a good night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Errands Day

So this morning I have spent most of the morning drinking coffee and running errands. I left work about 10 and went to the dive shop to try to get a copy of my Open Water Dive Certification. They say that PADI doesn't have me on record. I went over to the shop I got it from and they say that they will check their records and find me. Then they will have to look through it and make sure that I have completed everything and issue me a new card. I hope they can find my papers so that I can dive in Aussie...

Last night I booked my diving on the Great Barrier Reef. I am heading out to the Coral Sea with Coral Sea Dive Company on their 4 day trip. I should be able to get about 10 dives out there. I can't wait.

After doing that this morning I went to the travel agent again. I reserved seats on a flight on April 3rd leaving Auckland and going to Nadi, then another flight on April 9th leaving Nadi going to LA. Now all I have to do is change my domestic US flight to match up with those dates. My work is going to pay for the difference in price of the new tickets... Stoked!

So much work to do to get all this sorted. Once I get back from Australia it will be time to start working on booking my trip to Southeast Asia!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

tiring weekend

Back at work once again after a short weekend. Too bad the weather was such crap.

Last night after I went home I just watched Sweet November then went to bed. Weird movie...

This week I need to figure out what I am going to do in Australia and try to book some stuff. Also, I need to sort out my plane tickets to the US before I leave at the end of the week!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Damn weather

This is two weekend in a row that the weather has sucked so much that I couldn't accomplish any tramping. This morning the weather looked decent so I took off for Mt. Te Aroha. As per Ben's recommendation, I went to the Wairongomai Valley to start the tramp instead of the main track from the town.

It was hailing really bad before I even got there. The hailstones were about the diameter of a dime. After I drove through the Te Aroha township it let up and was sunny. So I figured I would set off and if things got bad I could always turn around. By the time I got to the Buck Rock track intersection with the High Pack Track the wind had picked up and it looked like some nasty weather was coming from the south.

I went up to the top of Buck Rock. After that I just went back to the car and came back to Hamilton. I didn't want to battle the nastiness up there... Here is a shot looking out over a slice of Buck Rock towards the Waikato:

Te Aroha day

Just got off the phone with Ben and Mel and I am heading off to climb Mt. Te Aroha. I am going to try to take Ben's suggestion and do it via the Wairongamai Valley since I did the normal summit track last time.

Sounds like things are kinda hard for them in the States. They are working a lot and not getting to ride much. I think it will settle for them a bit once they get into a groove.

Yesterday I stayed home pretty much all day and made spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Came out really good. I will probably be having that for dinner a few nights this week... maybe lunch too.

At night Sashan came over and then we went to a show at Sohl. This Night Creeps and The Crazy 88s played. It was cool to go enjoy a show, but it didn't even start until midnight and I was really tired by the end.

Time to go pack and lunch and head off for Te Aroha. Here are the pictures from last time I climbed it: here.

Friday, December 17, 2004

should I go tramping today?

That is the question... Looks like rain and hail, but I still want to do some tramping. I figure I will wait and see if the weather clears up by mid-arvo. If I go I will do Pirongia.

Came into work to check the weather... I need to leave now.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

free is good

One of our customers is here in Hamilton this week, so I went out to dinner with some work mates to take him out. We hit up the Sahara Tent for some excellent Turkish foods. I need to go there more often. A few years ago my mom and I couldn't find any turkey to eat on Thanksgiving when we were here in Hamilton, NZ... so we went there for Turkish. Corny huh?

I guess Hamish couldn't get the SkyTV connection switched to our house, so we are losing Sky as of today. Bummer for us, but it will save me a few bucks a week.

Well, I have no plans for this weekend. I was originally going to go to Gisborne with Marty and Simeon to visit Kenny, but Simeon is stuck in Auckland. Maybe I will go up to Auckland to see him. The weather is going to suck for the second weekend in a row, so I guess there is no tramping. I still need to do Pirongia. That is going to have to wait until after I get from Australia now. Maybe Si will be back in the Tron to do it...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

airline tickets suck

Current music: Jets to Brazil - Wish List

Last night I went over to Jeremy and Brooke's and got my bond back from them... Brooke was annoying as usual. After that I hung out at Sarah's and played hide and seek with Jack for a little before going home and just chilling out.

Today I tried to get my tickets back to the States sorted out. I have been given the run around like crazy... STA Travel US -> Qantas -> Qantas US -> Qantas NZ -> STA Travel NZ -> STA Travel AU -> STA Travel US -> STA Travel NZ. I finally know what I have to do and that is to pay $US25 to get my ticket changed...

Back to work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Weird Christmas Summer

Current music: Mogwai - My Father, My King

Last night after work I stayed around and called Ben and Mel over Skype and talked to them for about 45 minutes. It is crazy to have them actually be in Vail and hanging out with my friends... Just think, only about 8 months ago I met them and moved in and now my friends in a different country have hooked them up and have invited them in to hang out and such. It's a good feeling to know that your friends get along with each other and will help each other out.

Ben and Mel are pretty homesick at the moment. I am sure they will settle in and do better soon. It must be hard to not be able to call anyone or anything like that. I hope they get their phone situation sorted.

Back in NZ the flat went Christmas tree hunting last night in Tamahere. It is really weird to go Christmas tree hunting in shorts and jandals and have Hamish in bare feet. Ha! Anyway, we got a tree and got it all decorated. Pictures: here.

Monday, December 13, 2004

more from Raglan

Last night I went home from work and the weather was so nice. Sat out in the sun for a while with Amanda, Olivia, and Hamish. Hamish and Amanda went over to Hamish's parent's house for a bbq so I decided to go out to Raglan for the sunset. Just as I got there some clouds came in on the horizon, but it made a really good sunset. I ate some fish and chips and walked on the beach:

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Photofriday: Reflections

I missed the reflections challenge on, so here is the photo I would have entered. It was taken at Lake Matheson on the South Island of New Zealand on the 6th of August 2004 when I was there with my parents:

Cruisy weekend is over

Back at work after a pretty cruisy weekend. Watched Photo Booth last night. Damn, that dude was in the photo booth for way too long. It could have been a 30 minute tv show instead of a 2 hour movie...

I got Portable Firefox and Portable Thunderbird running off my USB key now. That is gonna rock when I am in Australia. All I will have to do is plug it in when I am at an internet cafe and there is all my data... I love it. Just hope it works well when I am travelling... It would be cool to get Sunbird working like that so I could have a calendar too...

Friday, December 10, 2004

I want to go tramping

I was planning to hike Pirongia today, but the weather is kinda sketchy. I decided to flag it. Maybe I'll head up there next weekend. I decided I would work on my travel plans and stuff. Not going so well. Stupid Qantas is giving me problems about changing my tickets. I might have to go up to Auckland to take care of it...

Other than that things are going well. Rang a few people in the States this morning... Talked to Shaun and my mom. Well, time to finish off my Christmas shopping even though I probably still won't be done after I try to finish it up today. It is one of those never ending things. Ugh.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Current music: The Promise Ring - All of My Everything

Well, I finally got GnuPG encryption and signing working on my emails. For those of you who actually receive emails from you, they will now be signed. If you would like me to also encrypt them for you, let me know... I am still kinda new to it, so...

Seems pretty cool and gives the people I send email to a bit more confidence that it came from me. When I start travelling again I may not be able to always have digital signatures anymore... I am going to try to get a USB keychain device and have Portable Thunderbird and Portable Firefox so I will able to keep using them...

gone to Denver

Last night I went home and just chilled out with the flatmates. Watched some TV, did some work on the puter... Talked to Hulsey on the phone too. He was picking up Ben and Mel in Denver today at the airport. So, when I got in to work this morning I rang them and talked to Ben and Mel... Bad storm has hit in the mountains, so they are gonna have plenty of freshies up there at Vail!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

taking the whole world on

Current music: Rainer Maria - Ears Ring

Gareth and Sarah had a BBQ last night for Sarah's brother Will's going away party. He is going to Heavenly to work as an instructor for the season. He just finished his season at Treble Cone... Sounds like a good life huh?

Battled with alsa all morning on my desktop PC at work. Finally got it working again after recompiling all of it. For some reason it simply decided to stop working. I think something in a Debian upgrade broke it.

I need to call Qantas today to change my tickets for leaving NZ. I am going to head back to the States for a few weeks before going to SE Asia. That way I can bring lots of stuff home and repack everything since I won't need any of my warm clothes in Asia and the European summer. Now I just have to figure out how I will get all of that stuff through Fiji.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Stupid alignment

Current music: Hot Hot Heat - Bandages

Last night was pretty average. Went home and did laundry and hung out with the flatmates. Having Sky is pretty nice. Damn Xscale alignment problems are giving me problems... I have most of them sorted out now I think.

I have been using gthumb for organizing my photos lately. I am loving it. Really does a good, clean, fast job of things. I do want it to play music like iPhoto though...

Monday, December 06, 2004

We've got Sky

So we now have SkyTV in our flat. Only costing me $5/week, so that is pretty sweet. I stayed at work until almost 9:30pm last night. I just felt like working, so I didn't leave. Watched Death to Smoochy when I got home. That was a wierd movie...

Not really an exciting week so far...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Back to Greensboro

Greens-boro is the place to be! Greens-boro is the place for me!

So glad to be out of the Cambridge Road flat. Back with Hamish, Amanda, and Jo... We had a big party on Saturday night for Jo's birthday and sort of a Welcome Back Lenny party. It was great. Good bbq, and all...

I moved in the morning on Saturday... one car load. Easy as...

Sunday we went out for a flat breakkie at Flapjacks. I love that little cafe. Brings me back to the College Hall days when I went with Brooke (King, not Colling), Hannah, and Bel. Then I went to Christmas at the Lake with a bunch of work mates, then to Jeremy's to hang for a while after.

Another good weekend...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

EFTPOS sucks

When I got my WOF yesterday, they charged me twice because the first time the EFTPOS machine said it was declined, but my bank thinks it wasn't. Lame... Now I have to go back over.

Last night I finished reading The Da Vinci Code so I took to back to Aimee and got a new book. I don't remember what it is called, but I haven't started reading it yet. Instead I watched Boys Don't Cry. That is a pretty disturbing movie, but really good. I wonder if it was based on a true story.

I got an email this morning about some of the wxWindows work I did on UDP sockets a year ago. Interesting... I am glad people are using it. I sent the guy back some info answering his questions on how to use it... For the record, here is how it is done:

1. get a new IPv4 address, then set the port you want to broadcast on, then set the address using the AnyAddress method. This sets it to the address of the local machine (so the responding machine knows where to reply)

2. get another IPv4 address and set that to the same port and set the hostname to the network broadcast address,

3. Now comes the good part. Get a new Datagram Socket using the first addr and set some options including SO_BROADCAST flag. If you don't have this flag, then it can't broadcast. I was setting the SO_REUSEADDR flag as well, but that is up to you. Set up any notifications and event handlers you want. Then using the broadcast address you set up before, SendTo.

wxIPV4address *addr = new wxIPV4address;

wxIPV4address *otherAddr = new wxIPV4address;

m_sock = new wxDatagramSocket(*addr, wxSOCKET_NONE);
const int optval = 1;
m_sock->SetOption(SOL_SOCKET, SO_BROADCAST, &optval, sizeof(optval));
m_sock->SetOption(SOL_SOCKET, SO_REUSEADDR, &optval, sizeof(optval));
m_sock->SendTo(*otherAddr, myMsg->GetMsg(), BROADCAST_MSG_LENGTH);

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Movie night

Last night we had movie night in the board room. We got some pizza and 6 DVDs for $11 then did it up. We watched American Psycho II. Not really good, but I enjoyed it.

My list of things to do never seems to get any shorter. I have to ship things to Ben and Mel, get Aussie visa, get tickets from Brisbane to Cairns, move... There are probably more that I can't remember. Right now my car is getting a new warrant of fitness. It better pass...

Well, I have a lot to do here at work so I had better get back to that.