Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Saturday night at work I had a total 'mare, not helped by the fact that I physically felt like I'd been crying (never a mood enhancer) and that it ended up being a ten hour shift. Some assholes in my section didn't leave til nearly 1, and thankfully I had someone volunteer to help me close (even though I was a total bitch, I hope he knows I appreciate it a lot, and even more in hindsight).
I didn't particularly enjoy being woken up the next morning by a call from work, but it gave me great satisfaction to turn down their kind "offer" of work, go back to sleep and continue sleeping for the majority of the day. I'm pretty sure I used the rest of the day to eat and watch Family Guy on DVD.
Yesterday I went out to some west coast beaches with Welsh Boy and, hallelujah, the weather has been great so far this week. It was actually warm and not too windy at Piha (miracle) and we had a fabulous walk along the beach, and thankfully not up Lion Rock. Did a major drive around to get to Muriwai (a few beaches up but with no direct road), had some chips and visited the Gannet colony. We also watched in minor horror as people went swimming in the cold cold water (not least because one guy was wearing blue Speedos). Afterwards we drove back to the city, picked up Sarah and went for dinner at the Cock and Bull (see last Monday's post), inspired mostly by the fact that none of us had had Yorkshire pudding in a while (and Welsh people like pubs). We were served by the same bartender, and mortifyingly, he totally remembered who I was as well, and even what day I'd come in. The food was okay, but in keeping with a traditional British pub, all seemed to be completely cooked by microwave (a three minute wait at the table before meals arrive is always a telltale sign). I am just glad we didn't stay last week! After trying to sit through the terrible musical cheesiness, we headed for the cinema and saw Kung Fu Hustle, with the requisite movie ice cream. I can totally recommend this movie, it is complete comedic/kung fu/musical/cinematographical genius. At the beginning, I wasn't really sure how funny it was supposed to be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it in the end.
Today I was inspired by my farewell cake (and some not so subtle hints from Simon) to try making a carrot cake of my own. It turned out really well, even though I had to turn the oven off with 5-10 minutes to go so I could make my eye exam (my eyes haven't changed that much, and one of the girls I went to uni with is now an optometrist - or optician for those of you who have never heard the word "optometrist"). I even went to the gym today before coming home to ice the cake, dropping it off at the tower (will this balance my karma after being such a royal bitch on Saturday?) and then having a great catch up dinner with Alex, my long lost friend from Te Awamutu. There is no cake left at my house, so I think I will make another one before starting work again ...
Friday, August 26, 2005
Throughout the course of the night, I managed to encounter several specimens of the human male sub-species "The Tool".
- The Unintentional Tool. The Masonic Tavern, Devonport. Bouncer who declined Bel entry to the pub where the band was playing, as her European official passcard (ID) was not "a foreign passport or NZ official photo ID". Not his fault, I understand that the law makes these things difficult. However, he was actually convinced that her mum was coming, and that she would vouch for Bel (still believed even when Hywel said her mum was in Madrid, and was only slightly confused when he said that it would take her 24 hours to get here). Meanwhile, Bel has snuck in while he isn't looking. Unintentional Tool thinks she is waiting in the car (for her mum). Problems with this: Bel's mum is in Spain (why don't you get it, Tool?). Since when has the presence of your mum been sufficient ID in the eyes of the law (especially when you're over 18)? Who's to say who's your mum anyway?
- The Bollywood Tool. Sky City Casino Lobby, City. Granted, he looks less like someone told him to "act like the biggest Period Drama Tool you can be" in this picture than on the huge cardboard cut-outs that I saw promoting the movie. I am in no way belittling the uprising of the Indian people, I just think he looks ridiculous in the poster.
- The Pool Tools (Overeager Tool and Grunting Tool). V Bar, City. Bel and I played half a game of pool (before everyone else left and we hurried after them) with these two. Overeager Tool (sporting terrible camel-coloured shoes, which I shall now formally announce is my most hated of shoe colours) introduces himself straightaway with a handshake and a repetition of my name. He is one of those guys who seemingly never speaks to girls in real life. I run them through Spanish rules so we can confuse and intimidate them. Grunting Tool grunts. It seems every sentence from Overeager Tool (and there are as many as he can fit in between shots) begins with "So, Wendy ... " (... what do you do? ... I'm usually not this bad. ... I'm a Giant Tool). I see he's been studying "How to Win Friends and Influence People". He is also wearing terribly too-short jeans, but I digress. As we excuse ourselves, he shakes our hands, and wishes me a good night, Wendy, as he squeezes my shoulder with his free hand (don't touch me, Tool!). Grunting Tool grunts.
- The Comedy Value Tool. Queen Street and Wyndham Street, City. This guy wasn't so much a tool as he was a little sad. He was leaning against the wall listening to a busker playing the guitar (the busker is a guitar-playing genius by the way. He looks about 80% Brandon Lee (alive) and about 20% Young Patrick Swayze. I think without the Swayze he'd likely be really hot, as well as a musical prodigy). CVT is nodding along, spouting occasional "Yeah!"s and switching between looking adoringly at Richard the Busker, and looking at the audience as if he deserves adoration by proxy. Attention seeking saddo. Richard the Busker is phenomenal. CVT is almost as entertaining to watch, although I had to limit this to sideways glances in case we made eye contact.
- The Intellectual/Sarcastic/Cynical/Shouldn't be in Customer Service Tool. Corner Bar, City. Now I do admit that I was actually quite impressed by some of this bartender's super sarcasm skills (take note Michelle), and also his flaring/cocktail making skills (he may or may not have had any numchuck skills). He pulled off quite an astounding sarcastic comment that took even me a second to register. He did go too far at one point though and was basically just being rude to people who are supposed to be his customers (I'm cheeky and sarcastic at work, but the guest (generally) knows I'm (mostly) joking, and we usually have a rapport before any of this). The conversation went something like this: Hywel (referring to a framed photo on the wall): Isn't that Che Guevara? Bar Tool: No. H: Oh, well who is it then? BT: It's Ernesto "Che" Guevara. H: Well, didn't he call himself Che Guevara? [Read: "You're a tool."] BT: Do you use your last name when you talk to yourself? [Launches into a soliloquy about how he's so sick of (the common, I assume) people getting his (Che's) name wrong etc] [Read: "Yes, I am in fact a Grade A Tool."] If it weren't for trying to keep peace so Hywel's mood wasn't completely ruined, I would have told BT that I'm sure his hero didn't introduce himself to people as Ernesto "Che" Guevara (including finger quotation marks ad nauseum). It is difficult to shake hands at the same time as drawing inverted commas in the air.
- Comedy Value Tool, again. As before. After we left the Corner Bar behind, we walked past Richard the Busking Guitar God again. Hilariously, and awesomely, CVT is still leaning (and nodding, and "Yeah!"-ing) against the same piece of wall, which is within arm's reach of his idol. Why is CVT alone on Queen Street at 3am on a Saturday? Pretty self evident I guess, but he punctuates this with a "Satriani! Surfing with the Alien!" (duuuuuuude). Not that I am dissing Satriani in any way either!
- Compensating Tool. Albert Street and Wellesley Street, City. Bar is closed and we are heading home. Whilst crossing during our designated crossing signal, the single car waiting for the intersection revs it's motor (or one of the two large Polynesian guys revs the motor) extremely loudly, and menacingly. Knowing we have the right of way, we all continue to walk normally. Motor revs again. More walking normally. More revving and the car jumps forward marginally, but they wait until they get a green light (the point of the aggressive revving is what now?) and roar off into the distance. We laugh, because petrol is extremely expensive and they probably just wasted all their lunch money.
Anyway, that was my night, summarised in Tool Sightings. One thing I appreciate about these encounters is that it always serves to remind me of other Tools in my life, and why I really should consider being a Tool-Free Zone.
And it reminded me of a night at school camp when I was 16. They had overbooked the camp and myself and some of my friends had volunteered to sleep in the dining hall on couches and squishy platforms pushed together. For some reason the hilarity of the word "flap" came up in conversation (say "flap ... flaaap ... flaaaaaaap" and you will see), and we all laughed so much that one of the girls fell off her oversized ottoman, even though she had been lying down at the time. We all laughed some more.
Today is my last day at this office. This means a few things:
On the downside
- No more internet at work. This means less updates, less emails and no more daytime Messenger. Gutted.
- No more flexi-time and laidbackness.
- No more having my own office.
- Time off means I will have no decent excuses to avoid the dentist and optometrist.
On the upside
- No more seeing anti-abortionist old men on the way to work (they weren't there today either, huzzah!).
- I get home made carrot cake (although I have seen no sign of it as yet).
- No more inane questions about stuff we've already covered.
- This job is boring.
- I have 4 days off next week!
For the record: Apparently, according to the Drama Queen, I didn't beat him to the top of the street. Although this is likely, I like my story better, and he also didn't see me til we were both on the onramp (he thought he'd left me way behind).
Supporting: John "Johnny" Barker is launching his solo career at the Ambassador Bar in Ponsonby tonight. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to make it to play groupie, but it's always nice to see friends doing brave things to live the dream.
Randomly: Boyz II Men is doing a farewell tour! I didn't realise you could still say farewell when you'd been gone so long. Apparently it is called the "Legacy Tour", but on the posters, it's called the "Throwback Tour". Throwback is right. Awesomely, which is my adjective of the day, they are being supported in Australia by an R&B group called Random.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
If the former, too bad for them for not getting their own phone number right, they deserve something like this. If the latter, a huge thank you to my anonymous benefactor. In the slim chance of the latter, I'm not going to inform Vodafone and try to give the money back. Is that wrong of me?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
When I turned up for work, the manager hadn't actually been told that I was coming in (although my movie tickets were waiting for me). But I told him who I wanted to work with (Welsh boy) and where, and alakazam people get shuffled around and I get what I want again. To use an outdated throwback phrase from the 90s: I rule.
This did have a downside however, as one of the waiters was around for that conversation and now he claims the manager plays favourites (I am everyone's favourite, but this is helped by the fact that I am personable and agreeable and good at my job).
The shift was great actually and I didn't finish too late. We had some really cool tables in, but unfortunately they weren't of the tipping variety (my busser went downstairs and bought batteries from the gift shop for an American couple on their honeymoon and we got tipped NADA).
Anyways, after we were all changed etc after shift, I ran into our ex-bartender and walked over to the carpark with him and the drama queen who called favouritism on the manager. During the short walk over, I managed to potentially get myself in trouble by complaining that Welsh boy was my Orbit gossip boyfriend (which is one of the rumours going around at the moment). I did say he was my "Orbit gossip boyfriend" though, which I'm pretty sure implies that we're not actually seeing each other. I hope I'm right. That rumour mill is ridiculous.
Anyway, I finally found my car, which was great since I thought I'd forgotten what floor I parked on. Meanwhile Bartender Boy and Drama Queen had already peeled out of the carpark, tyres screeching. I caught up with them at the lights, and Bartender Boy was in front. We raced up Hobson Street, which is a 4-6 lane one way street (awesome) with several sets of lights, and somehow I managed to beat them both to the top of the road, which is a goodly distance. Yay for the Chinese girl driving the automatic I say. I'm a good traffic dodger. At this point, Bartender Boy has turned off for home but I beat Drama Queen onto the motorway which he was so, so unhappy about. Again, I rule.
[I just found out that on top of spending $599.99 on a PSP (Playstation Portable, released 1 September 2005) with a 1GB memory stick (my little brother's 21st-present-to-be), I will also need to spend $49.99 on a USB cable that isn't included with the console. Whilst I love Sony, I think this is rude.]
Anyway, back to the point. I had a phone call last night at home which was strange as a) I was home and b) nobody ever calls me at home. In fact, virtually the only people that even call me on my mobile are my dad and people that want me to work for them. I live by email and text message. And back to the point again. The phone call was from my friend Alex, who I met when I was 15 and lost touch with a couple of years ago after we met up in Edinburgh. Asides from being excited that he has just moved to Auckland and I will get to see him next week, I am really happy that his attempt to contact me by calling my parents worked. He was totally expecting them to be like "Her?! She hasn't lived here for [insert random number] years!", but fluke of flukes, we are both in the same city at the same time. I'm very happy. We also didn't lose touch because we had a falling out or anything, honest. It was mutual losing details and email addresses being changed.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Once we actually got there though, the night vastly improved. I decided to forget about being grumpy, which was helped by the fabulous Pegasus Bay Riesling (2004), which I had tasted at the vineyard in January (lucky coincidence since the wine was chosen before I arrived). White is a lovely restaurant, and looks exactly like the pictures. The staff were friendly enough, very professional, although I had expected somewhat better service in general (several things weren't done correctly, and quite a few things left very late). It made me feel better about my personal level of service though! Food was great (I had a seafood ragout, which wasn't really a ragout, with tuna, salmon, scampi, mussels, cockles, tempura vegetables and hazelnut cream), and we had whiled away over 3 hours by the time we had cheese, desserts, tea, coffee and petit fours (teeny tiny meringues, yum). There was a lot of work talk, as there tends to be when you hang out with a group of work people, but at one point one of the staff came over and asked if we were talking about one of his fellow wine waiters (who I went away with up north and works at Orbit part time too). We said no (cause we were talking about a total retard at the time), and he asked us what Sky City was like to work for. I won't go into details, since every organisation has pros and cons (and it would be highly unprofessional to discuss these things on the internet, surely), but he did tell us that White was hiring if any of us were good (what sort of a comment is that? Of course we are. Well, I am.). Pity I am leaving the country ...
Monday, August 22, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
I had quite a bad time of it for the first half of my night. I wasn't exactly on the ball myself (unusual, but it happens), but coupled with quite a lot of issues caused by other members of staff, things got a little stressed. A table of 10 thought their waiter was so rude that they asked for a new one (new waiter=moi). A group of 31 were seated by a host at tables that weren't even properly set yet. Trés embarassing. A table was seated an hour and a half before they were asked to move because we needed the table back (we have a two hour dining limit, which they were well entitled to). All issues that could have been avoided if staff actually cared about the customers/did their jobs correctly/weren't morons.
However, the night ended quite successfully. The big group left early and happy and my busser and I carried on resetting the section. We were almost finished when two women (Curly Hair and Straight Hair) came walking through the section carrying glasses of wine. I casually (stupidly) asked them how they were doing. My attempt to start a friendly conversation resulted in a massive spiel about everything that went wrong with their evening. I won't go into the specifics, but again most of the problems could have been avoided quite easily (see above).
I don't like having to apologise for other members of staff, but I did. I don't like listening to complaints, but I did (I am quite good at the empathy thing when I want to be). I don't mind talking to customers about how the restaurant runs, and where it could improve. What I really mind doing though, is listening to blatant ignorance being propagated.
Somehow we got onto the topic of where all the waiters were from. They came to the conclusion that it was only their Kiwi waiter that was rude (they were served by an Argentinian and an Englishman, and my busser is Welsh). Curly Hair looked at me and she said "You're not from here, are you?" (which I have heard a lot, but generally overseas). I said "Yes, I am actually." Curly Hair said (in a dismissive tone) "No, but you're not really from here." I repeated, "Yes, I am actually." Straight Hair stepped in at this point and said "You mean you were born here," which now that I think about it, is really rude as well. It implies that I'm still not entitled to say that I'm from here. I actually get that a lot when I'm overseas, people don't believe that I'm really from New Zealand. It is one of my pet hates, and I don't have that many. Those women were lucky I didn't launch into a spiel of my own about how long my family has been in New Zealand and how many generations we have been here for. I wonder how long exactly you have to have been in a country before you can say you're "from" there. I decided not to push the point, as they were valued customers and I assumed Curly Hair was somewhat tipsy. Straight Hair was reasonable, and we carried on having a decent conversation about the restaurant business.
Later on, my busser asked whether the women were locals or not. I told him that Curly Hair had come up from Taupo (a town a few hours south of Auckland). Now, for those international readers, Taupo is a Maori word, and I like to think that my Maori pronunciation is particularly good for someone who doesn't speak the language. Curly Hair proceeded to tell me, quite strongly, and repeatedly, that I was pronouncing it wrongly. I argued the point with her, because I do pronounce it correctly (something like toe-paw), whereas she (and many other Kiwis) says it tau-poe. Apparently because "that's the way it's always been" (i.e. amongst the average white population), that's the way I should say it. I was fuming. Luckily Straight Hair agreed with me, for the most part anyway. I couldn't look at Curly Hair for a good while. I respect peoples' rights to do things the comfortable and easy way, but to tell me I am wrong in making the effort to pronounce another language properly is just too much. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if one of our Maori waiters had been there ...
Let me just say that sometimes it is a pity that bitch-slapping of and yelling at customers are generally frowned upon. I can't even get away with obvious belittling. It really is called for sometimes.
On the plus side, one of my guests asked me what hospitality school I trained at, because I am "very good". I had to tell him that I have had no formal training, so he concluded (correctly) that I must be a fast learner as well. I also got lots of compliments about my haircut. Hooray.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
What led me to publicly announce my innate abilities in this apparently confusing subject is that I went over to my neighbour's place last night because my dad had told her I'd help one of her kids with his maths. I figured it'd be a tutoring gig, so I went over to speak to her about when I'm free etc (i.e. not often) and arrange something for the future. Instead she just sat me down with him and his latest test paper and made me help him. It was weird. He's only in Year 9 (he's 13 if you don't know what Year 9 is) so the maths was very basic, and what bugged me the most was that neither of his parents could help him with it (am I too judgemental? Yes, but I admit that freely). Anyway, he actually understood everything by the end of it, and it seemed like I had to explain more to her than to him (thankfully she wasn't actually sitting at the table with us the whole time. I think she made him nervous). I went home pretty happy actually, I'm sure I had a positive effect (am I leaning towards teaching? Hell no). Unfortunately, the mum didn't say anything about another appointment or anything, and apparently she thinks my time is free! I don't know where she got that impression. Oh well, the things you do for good neighbourly relations ...
So some of the things we covered (work the answers out if you want to see if you could pass Year 9 maths) - basic algebra, significant figures and decimal places, metric to metric conversions.
- Expand and simplify: (3a - 4)(2a - 2)
- Write 2.367 to 3 s.f.
- What is the perimeter of a triangle with sides 5.2cm, 23mm and 7cm?
For bonus points, who can tell me a real life application for significant figures? This was surprisingly difficult to explain to a kid who didn't get it.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
So after all my plans fell through and other attempted plans didn't work out, I settled for TV again and got a bit of Trump action by watching the wannabes on the Apprentice make jerks out of themselves.
On the plus side, my haircut went really well (thanks Sheree), and now I just have to worry about keeping it looking nice, especially as I promised I'd now put some sort of effort into my appearance (I have been extremely lazy of late). We'll see what happens ...
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I am also happy to report that Marianne got her birthday present as planned. It was just groceries from Tesco, but I really liked the idea of a little Tesco man/woman/elf/gnome going around with my shopping list, picking things out and delivering them to her door (plus it included Jaffa Cakes, so who wouldn't be happy?). I am totally stoked with the results of international grocery shopping, and by the sounds of it, Maz was pretty happy too! But I am concerned about what happened to the McVitie's Caramel biscuits, they were a favourite of mine ...
And in the "What a waste of my time" section today - Daredevil. Seriously, I don't know why I watched it, and I kept asking myself that question every few minutes. I am definitely going to re-evaluate my seemingly depthless ability to watch utter crap on TV when I have a night off (also relevant is my getting hooked on Lost, the series). And having never really seen Jennifer Garner in anything (I already knew that Affleck (Ben, not Casey) is VERY hit or miss), I wasn't impressed. Perhaps because the Elektra character is a badass martial arts expert and I see Jennifer Garner as a girl-next-door type. Or maybe because the whole movie sucked some major melons (Colin Farrell also could have done some acting). Michael Clarke Duncan (The Kingpin) was the only decent part of the whole film.
Monday, August 15, 2005
BUT I am happy to have a readership of sorts, and thanks to everyone who has supported this new venture by coming to have a wee look.
I have just found out that I will only be at this job for another two weeks (although to be fair, there isn't much for me to do right now). So I have to make decisions about what I'm going to do after next week. I think I will take another two or three weeks of temping and then just waitress til I leave, which is hopefully the first week of October. Any hints and tips from people about what to do when I get to Melbourne will be greatly appreciated!
The birthday party I went to on Saturday was loads of fun (after we finally arrived in our three car convoy - I was the only one who knew how to get there). One of the boys wore hot pants (which were indeed hot), and it was nice to have conversations with work people that didn't go along the lines of "I can't believe what that customer wants/did/is doing/said/is wearing ... " or "Where are my entrees/mains/desserts/drinks/knives and forks/glasses/side plates ...". I also found out that one of the guys has been complaining about how much of a bitch and how mean I am to him all the time (I had to tell him to leave a couple of my friends alone on Saturday cause he doesn't know what a hint is). I can't help it though, he frustrates me no end by being a complete gumby in every single situation I see him in. If he could at least stop calling me Amy, that would improve his status a little (although he would still need to learn life skills and common sense).
Things that make you go hmmm? [Personalised Plates]:
- MULVAS - has anyone seen that Seinfeld episode where he's trying to remember his girlfriend's name (that rhymes with a female body part)? Is anyone really called Mulva?
- FARTER - I just don't get why you'd put that on your car...
Friday, August 12, 2005
Tell us your story of how your life was affected by drink driving in 500 words or less.
Five stories will be selected and these writers will get double tickets to see Simple Plan in concert in either Auckland or Christchurch (travel costs not included) and a copy of their new album “Still not getting any”.
Not only have these poor people been affected (adversely, one would assume) by drink driving, the people who write the best stories about it will have to be subjected to the incessant whining of Simple Plan both live and on CD. Having seen this sad excuse for a band live (I was waiting for Green Day, honest), I can confirm that they are indeed lamer than a three-legged donkey.
I can't help but think that that they might as well have called the competition "Who's family got killed in the most brutal way?" or "If you drink and drive, you're a bloody idiot - but if you tell us about it we might give you some stuff".
Quality name that you have to be German or a comic book supervillain to pull off: Magnus. (Okay, so that's Ultramagnus, but I couldn't resist the Transformers reference)
Triple J - Every Australian will be like "Duh", but I would just like to show my support for a great radio station, especially as I can't stream radio here and I haven't listened to it for months. I miss Jay and the Doctor!
WAYN - Where Are You Now? Cause even I sometimes forget where all my international buddies are ... Much better than frickin' Hi5 which is bugging me at the moment.
[Girls only]: The Diva Cup or The Keeper. It will save you money, space, hassle and it's good for the environment. Check it out, it will change your life! [This is not an infomercial, and I'm not prone to promoting "feminine hygiene" products, I just really think more people need to hear about this! It's also cheaper to order from Canada than to use the NZ/Oz suppliers.]
Thursday, August 11, 2005
On a happier note, I have been reading The Casual Friday, a hilarious blog (although the word "blog" still creeps me out for some reason) full of random thoughts, observations and occasional references to the 80s (nobody has mentioned the ThunderCats yet, which I may have to do). It has been distracting me from fully developing a rage about the idiocy of the questions I am asked repeatedly throughout the course of my work day.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Aly - sorry this isn't so exciting to start ... I'm pretty knackered!
- Still working at Orbit as a waitress three nights a week. Been promoted etc (they appreciate me, they just have yet to show it in a monetary way) and widely acknowledged for my fantastic skills.
- Worked at King's College as a database monkey for a few months. No wonder private schools cost so much, all the money must go to the fabulous food we had every day.
- Currently working for Auckland District Health Board in an administrative capacity. Still not 100% sure what I should be doing, but it's probably not starting a blog ...
The personal stuff:
- Doing the "living at home cause I'm saving money and not here for that long" thing. But hey, I have food, my old room and my dad's old car, so no complaints!
- Have met some great people this year, the high staff turnover at Orbit is good for something! Not so many as the previous four years of course, but good quality nonetheless.
- Having some issues with co-ordinating my work, social, home and free time. My family hardly ever sees me, and I can say as much for my old friends. I'm trying though!
- Personal stuff, I really won't put on here ... you'll have to ask me yourself!
The fun stuff:
- Started the year out with a two week road trip extravaganza to the South Island and back. It was packed with fun times, laughs, High Street reunions, drinking, games, music, a rodeo, sunshine, gorgeous scenery, tiny old men pubs, lake swimming, car breakdowns (not the '82 Sigma nicknamed the Tard, though) and a ridiculous amount of toasted sandwiches. Kids came from all over NZ, Oz, the states, Guatemala and the UK (via SE Asia) for the fabulous party at the Palace in Lauder.
- Sick of the daily grind, Carter and I decided to head over to Melbourne for a weekend in May. It was Marianne's last weekend in town and Sally May's birthday, and we had rather a huge reunion there again. We saw the Vasco Era, drank Manuka Honey vodka, ate great (and cheap!) pizza, had Jaffa Cakes (thanks Michelle, from people who appreciate them!), went dancing at a skank bar (photos) and I spent a lot of money on things like shoes, watches and perfume. Caught up with Jared and Sarah too, which was lovely.
- Tagged along with a couple of Brit boys (easier than saying one is English and one is Welsh) for a few days up north a few weeks ago. I was happy cause not only did I get to get away from Auckland and work, I got to drive a lot, see more of my country and catch up with some relatives. We stayed with my aunt, uncle and cousin who were all were fantastic. They took us around the area (my uncle knows everything about everything and everyone up there) and fed us loads and loads. We did a cheesy jet boat thing, went through the Hole in the Rock (it's a hole in a small island that you can fit a jet boat through), saw seals, hiked around Urupukapuka Island (supposed to be a 5 hour walk but we did it in under 2.5, I thought I was going to die, there were so many hills!) and then got the ferry back to the mainland (got to meet the Captain, thanks to Jonesy!). We also did a day tour up to Cape Reinga (top of the North Island where the Pacific meets the Tasman). The tour guide was slightly insane, but really good and he told us loads of stories. We drove up 90 Mile Beach on the bus, saw wild horses, went sandboarding down a massive sand dune (I was totally freaked out, but did it and it was so much fun. I also didn't stack it like I thought I would), went to another beach for lunch (where the tour guide and some mad English guys went swimming - it's winter for Christ's sake), had fish and chips, saw a cheesy kauri wood factory and some really big trees. Asides from having to wake up at 6.30am (!) to get the bus, it was a great day. On our way home we went to see the oldest buildings in the country (from the 1820s, laugh it up Poms) and a chocolate factory before heading back to Auckland via some random small towns and Waipoua Forest which has the biggest and oldest trees in the country (4000 years old, much bigger and more impressive than the oldest houses!).
- I've also been to a few shows (Danny Bhoy, finally!), movies, parties and the like. I have yet to do the Sky Jump or Vertigo, and must get on that while I can still try and score them both for free!
The future (i.e. unknown) stuff:
- I still plan to head over to Melbourne in early October (it has been pushed along a few times already, it's just so hard for me to commit!!).
- I am going to the Falls Festival with a bunch of kids for new year, provided we all get tickets of course.
- Next year I plan on heading to Turkey for the SoulClipse festival. How can I turn down the opportunity to see a solar eclipse and have a big party at the same time? So I will be heading through the UK around March as well, but more plans to come (hopefully). [Thanks Jasmin for reappearing in my life just when I needed you!!]
So all in all, I still have no idea what I'm doing, but at least there are a couple of things on the horizon! The last few months have been extremely up and down for me emotionally and with regards to the future, but I'm generally doing okay (especially with the help of a few good friends, both here and away!). This is the first August since 2000 when I haven't been in the UK (and the last three were at the festival in Edinburgh), so I'm finding the rain and cold a little hard to deal with. But I'm soldiering on!
So I have made the bold move to abandon my Diaryland journal in favour of something that's easier for me to use (in the hopes that I will actually start writing again, and because I won't feel as much pressure to do long "updates"). It's also a bit easier for the reader to get around, which is a bonus. I also have guilt about not keeping my journal current in the time since I've been back in NZ (hence quite a few unpublished attempts at catching up), but I hope to actually get back to what I've been doing amidst this fresh start ...