Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hangovers, hot pools and humiliation

Well after writing the rather verbose last post (just to make Carol feel better, honest), hopefully this one will be a bit shorter ...
I left work at 3.45 on Monday to pick Colleen up at the airport.  I was a bit worried that she had gotten her 24 hour time wrong again (those who know her know this happens with alarming frequency for someone who travels as much as she does).  I was also worried that she was repeating the whole drug scandal of Dunedin 2005, but it turned out that due to some unforeseen accident (not to do with the plane), Coll's whole plane was late. 
Luckily we still had enough time to drive through the suburbs and make it to Rick's for a couple of deadly mojitos with him and Bjorn.  Lior started in The Famous Spiegeltent at 7pm, and Ben wasn't really that late.  Unfortunately Lior only played for about an hour, but Rick and Coll met him afterwards and probably scared him into playing longer sets in the future.
Cue some random wandering and drinking around downtown Auckland, hassling some poor one man covers band, playing some pool and taking lots of photos on Coll's miraculously returned camera (Rick posted a couple, I'm sure more will follow).
Enticed by promises of fun times with Rick and Coll the next day, I decided to pull a sickie.  Funnily enough, I woke up at 5am feeling really nauseous and I totally blame Rick and Bjorn.  May also have something to do with not eating or drinking any water.  Anyway ...
The next day was chock full of an awesome breakfast, a drive up Mt Eden, a cruise along the waterfront, a visit to the artisan patisserie in Matakana, an astounded look at the beautiful fish at Goat Island (almost teeming, right by the shoreline), a stroll along the desolate beach at Pakiri, a drink at the pub in Kaukapakapa, a swim at the thermal pools at Parakai (swimming pools this time, not streams), fish and chips from our local chippy and complete and utter humiliation at the trivia night at the local.  This was especially bad after I had promised Ben that I was smarter than Paul (which I stand by).  I will give that Paul probably would have done slightly better at this quiz, it seemed like everything was pretty much aimed at middle aged beer drinking men ... not my forte!  We didn't come last, but got something like 48 points when the winners got nearly 100.  And in a round where there was a 50/50 chance of getting it right, we got 2 out of 10!  Ouch.  Anyone who did quizzes with me at The Globe should be rightfully shocked and appalled ...
I got to work the next day and realised that nobody had been in my office at all the previous day, and I totally could have pulled off a giant scam and pretended I was there the whole time ... oh well ... damn conscience ...

The Waikato and Bay of Plenty Highlight Tour

I'm not sure why but I had a desperate need to get out of Auckland for the last weekend of the summer (last Wednesday was the Autumn Equinox and we finished Daylight Savings on the Sunday morning).   So despite the dodgy weather (correctly) predicted, Michelle and I decided to head down to Rotorua in search of natural hot springs and general out-of-Auckland entertainment.


We somehow managed to get on the road by about 8.30 on Saturday morning (w00t), and our first stop was Cambridge at about 10am .  Intrigued by the sign advertising the "Leamington School Duck Plunge", we pulled in to the tourist information centre to ask for directions.   The Duck Plunge was on the events blackboard, but when asked where the school was, the woman behind the desk replied "which school?".  Firstly, how many schools can such a small town have?   Secondly, why would we want to go to any other school when there was a Duck Plunge on?  During breakfast we pondered several scenarios that could be termed Duck Plunges, but still had no clue what it would involve.   Even better, the poster used inverted commas perfectly when it advertised a "Celebrity" Duck Plunge and entertainment from a top ten finalist in some series of New Zealand Idol (heh).  


When we got to the school, we found out that the Duck Plunge wasn't happening until 1.45.   Since there was no way we'd miss it, we decided to wander around and look at the entertainment – karaoke, mini jeeps, whatever you call hitting golf balls into upturned umbrellas, bouncy castle and wobbly train.   We also visited a local garage sale (nothing much there but I got an awesome old school teal leather suitcase for a dollar, and Michelle was very tempted by a $12 electric typewriter) and went shopping at the few clothes shops in town.   

When we got back to the school after ogling a really shiny really red Ford, there was a mob of people surrounding the fenced swimming pools.   One large pool, one small pool, some PTA women, an old man with a pool skimmer, a rather hot (looking) rugby player and a LOT of ducks.  Rubber ducks.   Actually, plastic ducks. 


For the grand purpose of a raffle drawing, poor (but beautiful) Liam Messam was forced to Plunge into the pools of Ducks (get it now?), drawing one from each pool to make up the winning ticket number.  There were several draws, each with a longwinded prize description, leaving Liam freezing in the pool with nothing but ducks to protect him from the gaze of a hundred primary school kids' mums.


We didn't win anything.


Fast forward (sigh of relief) to us driving down the road to the hot springs recommended by my sister.  Prior to that we had not been able to find the key to my friend's empty house (it wasn't "in the shed" as he'd said), looked at some very bubbling mud pools, gone to some garage sales and found a little cabin at a campground in Rotorua.  It wasn't until we were half an hour down the wrong State Highway that we realised that my sister had given us perfect directions asides from the correct highway number.  We decided to go to Taupo for dinner instead of driving all the way back, then all the way down another road to flounder around in the darkness.


After trying to find the least St Patricksy place in town, the highlight of the lakeside dinner ended up being (drumroll please) - a bearded midget, dressed as a leprechaun, running.  That's right.  Midget.  Beard.  Leprechaun.  Running.  He ran past several times, then got into a car and drove away.  It was awesome.  Michelle also went to the supermarket wearing her dressing gown as a coat.  Also awesome.


The next day we managed to make it to the swimming hole, a perfect little spot where a steaming hot stream and a colder river meet.  Such an amazing feeling and so nice to be able to move around and find the perfect temperature.  There was an old woman so ancient that she looked like a female ET in a matching mint green bikini and swim cap, complete with full mud mask.  I was a little startled when I turned around and she was just floating in the water behind me.  I became increasingly fascinated with her though, especially when she started doing t'ai chi in the river, and when she scolded and muttered at an obnoxious English woman who somehow thought it would be okay to use shampoo in the stream and that it would be okay for her husband to swim in white underwear (I won't get started or I will get angry all over again)!


The final highlight was totally beating a very frustrated Michelle at the 3D Maze (34 minutes, winner!) and meeting the grumpy old man that runs it.  We were having a chat and he completely berated this kid for cheating, it was great.  I don't think the kid really got the point, but the fact that Grumpy's response to "My granddad told me to crawl under the walls," was "Bollocks!" made it possibly the best $6 I think I spent that weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

April 19 - put it in your diary

I think it should be International High Five Day, but nevermind.  But then again, the very nature of the High Five is that it's so America, and it's also so American to neglect to involve the rest of the world, officially.  I think we should tag along on this one anyway!!

Random thoughts of the day

  • Facebook is starting to scare me, for real.
  • "Are you on, like, crystal meth or something?  Cause this is really cracky behaviour."  I love Zach from Heroes and think "cracky behaviour" should be used more as a turn of phrase.
  • I don't know if I should, but I think Simon Pegg is hott.  And I am really excited about Hot Fuzz!
  • I don't get anything productive done when I know I'm unsupervised.
  • It hurts my back less when I know there's not going to be anyone looking over my shoulder.
  • There are a lot of movies coming up that I want to see (and before anyone comments, these are coming up in NZ, even though they have maybe been out forever in the rest of the civilised world): Ghostrider (haha, seriously?), Black Sheep, 300 (IMAX!), Shooter, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (as long as it's not longer than the second one!), Shrek 3, Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Transformers movie!  What's up with all the trilogies and comic book movies?  Do I not want to see anything serious?  Or are there no serious movies coming out this year?
  • Wild Hogs.  What the hell?!
  • I really should have remembered that my whole department was out of the office yesterday before I called in sick.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Scotland Photos

I've been meaning to post links to my photos from last Autumn but it was so much effort uploading them that I never got around to it.  So finally, here they are!
Scotland Autumn 2006 - Knockengorroch, Pirate Party, Toga Party, Letter Party, Skye, Hallowe'en.
Edinburgh November 2006 - Guy Fawkes, Quiz Nights, Farkins' Last Pub Crawl, Christmas Lights, Ceilidh, Box Wars Party, Wendy's Leaving Drinks.
You still have to sign in to see them.  Sorry!
I've linked these in my sidebar, and have also put a link to my Farcebook page in there as well.
Hooray for being (slightly more) up to date!

Sidebar Updates

I realised the other day that somehow I don't have a link to Michelle's Travelpod on my page.  As we're like, BFFs and all, it was weird.  Like, OMG. 
So I did a mini update on my sidebar and have added links to the following pages:
Michelle Bond - globetrotter, information management specialist, future international pyrotechnics consultant.
Carol Humber - Self-confessed geek extraordinaire!
Updated: Kathleen Broderick (soon to be Rogers) - USA Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser.
Kiwi FM - All Kiwi, all the time.
[Although the intentions are true, all acronyms in this post are said in a most sarcastic tone - although pronounced in a very accurate Valley Girl accent]

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Karma better get 'em

Those damn food colouring addicts.

Somebody stole my Irn Bru out of the fridge at work today!  And a box of liquid breakfast (eww, but it's neater than eating cornflakes in the car on the way to work) as well. 

I don't care so much about the Up and Go, but seriously, who would take my Irn Bru?  I had to go and buy that specially (I found a supplier of Irn Bru, Jaffa Cakes, and lots of other not necessarily orange British foods!), and was saving it for the inevitable day when coffee was just not enough.

The one Scottish guy I like thought I'd finally stopped teasing him and drunk it myself.  So unless he's a really good liar, he's clear.  That leaves ... several other Scots.  As I don't figure anyone else would know what it was and/or want it. 

The principle is important too I guess.  I thought I had left the stolen food issue along with the communal living ...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wendy does not like Flixster!

And you can tell it's serious because the title is in the third person!
Recently I foolishly registered for (don't do it!) as a bit of a timewaster and although I thought I was careful enough to uncheck all my email addresses before completing the registration, it still sent out invites to everyone in my address book, which included a fair amount of business addresses and other one-time email addresses that GMail had stored automatically for me (one of the few features I don't really approve of).
Naturally when I realised this, I was fairly mortified.  Probably not a big deal for most people, but the fact that I'd bothered up to 500 people with something I didn't even write myself is pretty significant!  So of course I wrote something myself to apologise for the faux pas and sent it on to those same people.
A week later, however, lo and behold they have sent another email, pretending that it was from me and that I said it was okay in the first place.  This is not the case!  So I have completely deregistered and do not endorse them in any way. 

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I love the Famous Spiegeltent!

I just got home from dancing the night away in the newly erected Spiegeltent in downtown Auckland!

As if I couldn't love it any more than I already did (last times I was there were for La Clique and The Peatbog Faeries in Edinburgh), tonight it confirmed that that's possible.

I got in touch with Rick to tell him that Club Spiegel was on tonight and he happily came down to join in the groovin'. 

I thought THAT was great (and also there was a rather cute bartender on tonight), and then I turn around and who should be standing there but Janine, one of the girls currently residing at High Street.  She's only here for a week and we run into each other. 

I LOVE THE SPIEGELTENT!  Where else could I feel like I was back in Edinburgh when I am on the other side of the world?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Too much excitement, not enough money!

Dylan Moran is coming for the Auckland Comedy Festival!
Ed Byrne too.  And Ardal O'Hanlon!
Why so many good acts?  Why are they all Irish?  Why don't I have enough money?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Long road ahead. Again.

So I really like the fact that you can actually tag people's faces in the photos on Crackbook.  That's great.  What's really annoying is that I have so many photos which need to be re-uploaded onto a different site. 

Also, I have so many that today's short attention span children will probably get distracted before they find the ones that they're interested in...

Le sigh.

Let's hope this one's not run by L. Ron Hubbard

I've conceded defeat and joined up with Facebook (henceforth known as Crackbook or otherwise, since I'm sure I will begrudgingly end up being as addicted as everyone else is).


I've decided to ignore the cognitive dissonance for now.  My innate aversion to these sorts of corporatised internet popularity contests has given way to my desperate need to increase contact with my hundreds of now essentially virtual (remote) friends and my desire to streamline and consolidate my online presence.


I'm encouraged by the fact that I can directly import my weblog by RSS feed so I don't need to change so much.   I'm still undecided about the status of my millions of photos …


For anyone that I have met through that den of iniquity in Edinburgh, join up the HSH group and we will be home again (if you're not still there!).

Friday, March 02, 2007

What's Going on in Auckland, Wendel?

So I know a lot of people find it difficult to keep up with the play on all the exciting things going on around Auckland at the moment (and this is said without a hint of sarcasm, honestly), so here are the things that I know of and can recommend in the next month or so.  I will definitely be at most if not all of them, so get in touch if you need a buhdee to hang out with!
Now til 10 March
Summer Shakespeare

Auckland University is presenting a modern take on The Merchant of Venice.  7.30pm-9.30pm every night near the Old Arts Building until March 10.  I'm going on Tuesday!  Tickets $27/$18 conc.

2 March
Shapeshifter and Friends
Shapeshifter, Hollie Smith,Concord Dawn, Opensouls, State of Mind, dDUB, Pacific, Bass Culture, Timmy Schumacher + more to be added.  St James, $49.90/$25.00 concession.
Still thinking about it but I have already spent so much money this week ...
2 - 4 March
Lantern Festival
The end of the Chinese New Year celebrations - food, lights, shopping and martial arts, what more could you want?!  Also, it's free!  5.30pm - 10pm, Albert Park, city.  Fireworks on Sunday at 10pm .  I'll be there!

3 March
Carnival Against Carmageddon
Reclaiming K Rd beetween Queen St to Pitt St from 3pm onwards!

There will be a countdown at 3pm and run out onto the street like
crazy people and stall holders and stuff can set up once we've
"reclaimed the street". Stalls will be down the Queen St
end of the block, outside Paper Bag Princess/Whitcoulls end. Verona
will have DJs from 3pm and we are having a flat bed
truck at the other end (Little Turkish Cafe) with the bands on it.
Somewhere in the middle of the street we're gonna have two tonnes of
snow dumped in a pile and have sled comps and a person dressed as a
polar bear
. Fun.

Bands playing include: Collapsing Cities, The
DHDFD's, Phony Bone, Teenwolf and Tegan.
3 March
Shore Sounds Rockfest
Not sure I'll make it to this since they will have snow in town!  But if you wanna have some fun on the dirty dirty shore, it sounds like it'll be rocking!  The Bleeders, Steriogram, 48May, Quarter 2, Kingston, Sons of Solomon, Shore Syndicate, Tourist, Where's Gary's Duvet? and The Rabble. 
If you're into the punk/ska scene, remember there's NOFX, MXPX, Reel Big Fish and loads loads more on in the next few weeks!
9 - 25 March
AK07 - Auckland Festival 2007
Opening fireworks on Saturday 10 March at the Domain from 7.30pm.  Loads and loads of events happening around the city, especially near Red Square at Britomart.  I can personally recommend The Famous Spiegeltent, which must be seen - for a show, a drink or just a walk through (I love it) and also La Clique, perfect as a Cirque du Soleil style circus with a more intimate and sometimes funny style.
4 May
Crunchie Comedy Gala Opening
The opening night of the Crunchie Comedy Fest.  Star-studded, red carpet, flashy and hilarious.  Hosted by Ardal O'Hanlon (Father Dougal from Father Ted) and featuring a truckload of great comedy including Ed Byrne (Ireland) and my actual friend Mickey D (Australia).  Tickets $60-65.
That's all I have time for for now, but enjoy the last of the summer!