Saturday, March 31, 2007

got the aura

Listening to: Nothing really, but I have had "No easy street" by the Psychedelic Furs in my head for days.

My head had been troublesome over the past few days.

On Thursday I had a day at home from work due to a massive sinus headache that felt like a crowbar levering between my eyes. I think that may have been related to the knock to the head I got the night before when someone tried to run through me at netball. The right side of my head was sore then and is sore now.

Tonight I have the migraine precursor, the aura.

A rolling twisting flickering feather of light is occupying the left centre of my field of view. Half an hour ago I noticed bits of text disappearing . Now the aura is here. I was going out to a party. Not anymore.

I only started getting migraines a few years ago, for no apparent reason. My last one occured while Christmas shopping. My shopping only took 15 minutes, but I had to wander Queensgate for an hour and a half while the aura disappeared, after first visiting a chemist for appropriate medication. (hint: Don't try and drive if you can see the aura.) This is why I almost always have nurofen on my person. That night, believing I would only be out for a short time, I had left it at home. Damn irony.

The nurofen has been taken that should prevent the full-on migraine. Let battle commence.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Southern sojourn final

Listening to: The Bends-Radiohead

Couple of things first

1. I am not as smart as people think I am.

2. Knowledge is not the same as wisdom.

Most of the time I feel neither smart nor wise.

Random sojourn pics
Shots that don't really fit into the general narrative (yes there is one) but I like anyway.
The improbably named Wong Way in Te Anau. Credit to Rich for the photo.
The road looking like this made us wonder if we would ever get to Milford Sound. Snow in Mid March. We thought it would be hotter, packing shorts and togs. In the event we lived in our jeans and hoodies and only used the togs at the end of the trip in the QE2 pools in Christchurch. Another credit to Rich, I was too busy driving to take my own pics.
Driving down the Manapouri tunnel to the power house 200 metres underground. Like the man driving the bus said: "We all end up underground eventually. May as well get some practice".
One of the better of the innumeable non-permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound. This one is only about 50 metres high.
An overhead view of a breaking wave from the pier at New Brighton. I liked New Brighton. It reminded me of Petone a little, only more compact and affluent. Having a library on the sea front is brilliant.

I was worried we wouldn't see any Kea. We didn't for the first few days, until they became apparent in the carpark beside the Homer Tunnel entrance. Oh and one tried to land on Kirstens' head at the Otira Viaduct. They were often heard if not seen. The distinctive orange plumage beneath the wings is a great aid for visual detection although you only see it when they are flying and hence difficult to photograph.
They aren't really afraid of people, and can be approached quite closely, especially if they have found something tasty to play with.
Left, a Kea munches happily on a piece of rubber it has just pulled out of a campervan skylight. Right, a Kea in the snow at Homer Tunnel.

Since I started taking photography semi seriously, I have noticed a few things. You can set a picture up, you can spot a moment happening or about to happen, you can dextrously zoom and focus quickly, you can have a great eye for a scene, or just be in the right place at the right time, and a good picture will result.
The Kea in the snow decided to take flight a second or two after I took the photo. I still had it in frame and focussed, but only saw a blur of movement as I pressed the shutter, then it was gone. I sure as hell didn't see this:
Sometimes you just get lucky.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Southern sojourn 2

Listening to: Mash ups on Active


As promised in a real life conversation, here is a clip of a mountain blowing itself to pieces.
(Mt St Helens, Washington State US, May 1980).

More Pretty Pics

To the Glaciers and Ch Ch
Mitre Peak close up. It was raining when we left Te Anau, but by the time we got to Lake Hawea things had gotten epic again.
Fox Glacier in the early evening. Not that you could tell, having lost the sun again somewhere near Haast.
In the river beds below the glaciers you frequently come across scattered bits of ice left behind after flash flooding. The ice is quite cool (no pun intended). It doesn't look like freezer ice; it is more like lots of air bubbles frozen togother.

In the still evening after settling into our accomodation at Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson was investigated. Unfortunately, Mt Cook was obscured. That said, it was generally agreed that we wouldn't have known which one was Mt Cook even if it were visible, so obscuration is likely a moot point.

Morning sun illuminated Franz Josef Glacier quite nicely. I loved the glaciers. I got a sense of immense power combined with immense vulnerability from them.

Typical West Coast driving scenery on the way north out of Franz Josef. On the dash is Sheepish (he's a sheep; geddit?) our worthy mascot. He went everywhere we did.

The brooding Tasman Sea from Hokitika.
Typical East of the Alps driving scenery. The contrast between the wet west and the dry east is almost immediate, and quite impressive to witness. The scenery changes dramatically in the space of a few minutes, from lush forest and bush to grass, tussock and barren scree slopes.
The Pacific Ocean from New Brighton Pier, Christchurch, seeing the sea from both sides of the South Island in the space of a few hours. I have seen them both at the same time before, but I was 15,000 feet over the Southern Alps at the time, which is kinda cheating.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Site meter is a very interesting thing.

Right now, if you google Uchoose 40 , both HomePerm and I are in the top 5

If you google location of low flying tearooms in nz , I am number one out of 12,200.

Oh and if the anonymous person who was asking about two point shooting distance in indoor netball is still reading, I have tried to answer your question back at the original post from November.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Southern sojourn

Listening to: Farewell to the world (disc 2)-Crowded House

Apologies if you don't like travel blogs (who are "you" anyway?). The next few posts will be travel content heavy.

Since returning on Saturday I have found myself indulging in two familiar post journeying habits.

1. Thinking a day/week/month ago I was exploring Te Anau/Milford/Fox etc, and wishing I still was. Its been a week already since we went to Doubtful Sound but it simultaneously feels like yesterday and years ago. I missed not being able to share it with Fi. R+K are great travelling companions nonetheless.

2. Waking up in the middle of the night thinking I am still in a motor camp somewhere, acting accordingly (i.e. covering up naked spouses because "the general public area is just outside the door!") and being confused as to how the camp staff have managed to relocate all my possessions. Fi rearranging the bedroom while I was away definitely exacerbated this tendency.

Te Anau, Doubtful and Milford

After flying to Dunedin on Monday morning, we headed to Te Anau which was to be our base camp for three days. Lake Te Anau and the hills behind it showed us three very different faces.

Monday 12 March. Cloudy and moody in the late evening.

Tuesday 13 March. Dappled by morning sun.
Wednesday 14 March. Cool and snowy
Doubtful Sound showed us a cool and evocative vista on Tuesday.
From Wilmot Pass
Hall Arm (I think)
Crooked Arm, drifting with the cruise boat engines off to give us only the sound of the erm, sound. Rain on the water and distant waterfalls.

The journey to Milford Sound on Wednesday was an experience in itself, with mucho doubting as to whether we could penetrate the snow and reach our cruise. We were stopped for a while as the road to the Homer Tunnel was cleared of snow. When we got there it looked like this:

Still, the snow meant we got to see Mitre Peak looking like this, with dozens if not hundreds of temporary waterfalls pouring down the hills and cliffs around. We photographed the first couple of spectacular falls, then realised they were everywhere. I love the way you can see the southerly wind generating cloud on the lee side of the peak in this picture. Science you can see!

We had trouble dealing with the scale of Milford Sound. This is a cliff. The two white things at the bottom are cruise boats, included to try and demonstrate the scale. The waterfall in the middle falls a few hundred metres before dissapating and disappearing into thin air.

Thats enough photos for this post. More to come in the next few days.

Musical manouverings

Having a decent stereo in the car made for some cool association moments. The Violent Femmes singing "Dance mother****er dance" as we reached Te Anau. Def Leppard on the road to Manapouri. Queen's "Dont stop me now" as we came back from Milford. The Killers "Mr Brightside" as we mushed through the snow heading for Milford. The live version of "Fingers of Love" by Crowded House on a damp and murky West Coast road north of Franz Josef. The Darkness "Growing on me" as we meandered past Lake Wakitipu. Fleetwood Mac's "Go your own way" as we crossed the divide between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" all over Christchurch.

Its not about length baby

Maybe, but sheeit I have been making some long posts lately.

Back to life, back to reality

Interviewed for one of the jobs I am going for at work today. I thought it went OK. I have an interview mode that few of my friends get to see where I speak loudly, clearly and confidently. I hate talking myself up though.

Netball last night was fun. Fi and I agreed on the way in that an easy meaningless game against an opposition we could stomp was just what we needed to get back into the groove after a couple of weeks off. Although the overheated opposition defender was kinda wierd. Methinks she may have a perception gap between her imagined skill and actual skill.

Saw Hot Fuzz tonight. Brilliant. I loved the absurd use of, um, absurdity for its own sake. Smart dumb fun.

How come, when my mobile phone is running low on charge, it emits a loud beep every five minutes to remind you it is low on charge, which just reduces the charge even further? Annoying flaw in an otherwise perfectly satisactory piece of kit.

For much of the time in the southwest we were out of cellphone coverage (something I intended to/tried to blog about at the time had the internet connection in Fox Glacier not been so disfunctional).

I was undecided then if it was a blessing or a curse, and still am.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Always take the weather with you

Wish I could, then it would be sunny and warm here. I have returned from the huge vistas that I was starting to get used to, to be welcomed by the near and hilly horizons of my home.
And wind and rain.

I have only been on the move for five days but coming home is tricky. Even though it has only been a short period of time, the moving mindset is easily adopted and hard to shed.

At least I don't have to change any currency or deal with jet lag.

And I can stop rolling my R's now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spectacularrr 2

Still in Te Anau.

Despite snow bound delays/adventures and added spectacularity, got to Milford Sound today.


More explanation when I have associated pics.

Suffice to say it seems out of scale with the rest of the country. Looking from sea level almost vertically to a mile high peak is a novelty that hasn't worn off yet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Listening to: Other internet cafe users

In Te Anau. Went to Doubtful Sound today, going to Milford Sound tomorrow. The scenery here is EPIC. In big shouting capital letters. There is no other way to describe it.

Also cold.

And I have a nice rental to drive after a free upgrade (yay entertainment book!).

Ate at the Moose as well.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Great Southern Land

Listening to: Greatest Videos ever on C4. I'm not even gonna try and pundit this one. Some great videos that come to my mind immediately:
The backwards gloriousness of 'Splat' by Bailterspace.
The undateable retro charm of 'Boys of Summer' by Don Henley.
The epic live video made for 'Home land and sea' by Trinity Roots.
The mad aviating of 'Special' by Garbage.

None of which I expect to make the top ten. However, I expect 'Thriller' to be in there somewhere, and won't be surprised if 'Smells like Teen Spirit' is somewhere high.

After heading North last week, tomorrow I go South.

Dunedin, Te Anau, Christchurch and many places in between beckon. Back on Saturday.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It is written

I present my very own handwriting. This is what happens when you do a reaaalllly long day at work and your mind wanders. Make of it/analyse how you will.

A translation is available if required.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Listening to: Into the Blue again-The Album Leaf.

And an unaccustomed silence from the laundry where previously there used to be the random noises of various ratty goings on. An empty cage is sitting on the back porch. *sigh*.

Before we begin

Enjoying muchly D3vo's question and answer sessions at the moment. I wish I'd thought of it, it is the sort of thing I enjoy doing.

Played an excellent game of netball with Suspect tonight, including me winning the mindgame with a young superleague player by means of repeatedly getting him to fall into my shots then shooting twos over him. Also the team played really well and it was a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Right onto business

The Primary Objective

To get to this in Auckland:

My trusty and noble steed

My companions, spirit guides and advisors

Kush, Woodstock and Snoopy.

The Secondary Objective

Keep interested on a long lonely drive by seeking and recording various targets as nominated by readers. The list provided was long and varied, even if some submitters ignored certain eligibility rules. When a target did not comply with the rules a substitute was found. Only one target could not be found completely

The Targets (in order of submission)

Homeperms list

Sorry HP but custard squares generally aren't visible from the road as I stipulated. Never mind though, I found an old school tearooms in Waiouru.

And I didn't see anyone on a horse, let alone a male, but I found this nice picture of several males on horses in Parnell.

NotKate's list

It being a balmy late summer morning when I passed through Levin, there were no Levinians in Leggings. The target could not be located and hence was not photographed.

I saw a great variety of roadkill, ranging in size from magpie to sheep. These two ex-hedgehogs in Bulls and Whenuapai were least dangerous to photograph.



The Giant Market Gardener of Levin.

A wanky personalised plate. Although the plate cannot actually be made out in the shot, I can assure you it was personalised and wanky. Also the driving on display was wanky in nature. Somewhere south of Te Kuiti.

Incidentally, if you are the driver of the lowered and customised white Toyota Altezza that I encountered three times between Tokoroa and Taupo on Sunday, you're an idiot. Your overtaking on the outside of a blind uphill bend was one of the most potentially dangerous acts I have ever seen on the open road, never mind your u-turn in front of me at from the side of the road at Wairakei that required heavy braking and evasive action from me to avoid hitting your precious ride. You are a menace and an accident looking for a place to happen. I just hope no-one innocent is involved when it does. Rant ends.

The inside of a public womens bathroom. Again, not generally visible from the road, this shot of the womens in Ohakune with the interior partly visible will have to do

Rich's list

Huntly powerstation. In Huntly.

Low flying hideously decorated cookietime tearoom plane. Mangaweka.

A Constabull. Not being sure how to interpret this, I took a photo of the Bulls Police Station. This was the last target photographed incidentally.

A tourist in the Taupo toilets. What is with the requests for toilet shots? Taking photos in loos is incredibly difficult to explain, plus the interiors are not visible from the road and thus ineligible. Anyway I got a shot of someone inside the Taupo superloo who may or not be a tourist.

Fish's list

The big silver trout at Taupo.

Cassandra's list

The corrugated iron animals. Tirau.

The golf course on Lake Taupo.

Huntly powerstation. Still in Huntly

The Bombay Hills. Just south of Auckland

Janet's list (as received by text, hence missing an item or two from the commented list which I did not see before I left).

Steam pipes at Wairakei Power Station.
A bank that has been converted into an antique shop. Unable to locate as described, however I did find a bank serving as a bar in Hunterville,

and a petrol station craft shop south of Auckland.

The settler/pioneer family in Hamilton.

Power pylons on the desert road.

A wide load pilot vehicle, near Tangiwai.

Thanks to all who submitted requests. You shall receive your chocolate fish when I see you next.