Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Birthday in Paradise

Well, this is my last year to enjoy the youthfulness of my twenties and the celebration was one to remember. My beautiful wife, (remember the one who tricked me into loving basketball), was up to some more shenanigans, and in celebration of my birth she presented me with four gifts:
  1. An Egg Cup - I love soft boiled eggs, (she quickly commandeered it as a jewelery holder, see below)
  2. A Swim Cap - To protect my now stumpy Samurai/Lesbian pony tail
  3. A Thai Massage - No happy ending
  4. A Tattoo!
I was genuinely surprised and excited to get my second tattoo. I got my first almost eight years ago to the day. I strongly considered a Maori face tattoo, but didn't want Mike Tyson to be jealous that mine was better than his. I instead settled on a nautical theme that I had been thinking about for a couple of years. I met with a local tattoo artist and he sketched up this drawing in a couple of days.

After the drawing was complete there was nothing to do but get the tattoo. It took nearly five hours and was one of the most painful experiences I can think of. If you look closely at the picture below you can see the bruising just starting. In a month I will go back for the white highlights - the finishing touch. I love it and am very happy with the result.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Things that make you say "REALLY?!"

I've put together a collection of pictures that we have taken since our arrival. Somethings just make you wonder, and all you can say is "REALLY?!"

One of the first signs we saw in Auckland.
They are very casual and accepting of child predators apparently...
Everything is just fine... Everyone in Auckland talks about how the city's weather changes throughout the day. They say "four seasons" ALL the time. Oddly enough, I have yet to see a snow flake.

This is a bad picture, but you can clearly see the company that runs the elevator in our building. We are relieved each time it opens again...

Not really sure what to say about this one...

This is for the ladies. Beware of the price madness!
Keep in mind that these items are shipping all the way across the world, but REALLY?!

I bought this back home for $6 before we left...

This is my favorite of the bunch. I took this next picture from my Personal Appearance work handout. The heading actually reads: "Women's Image and Presentation Standards". I understand the need for fashion police at the Vatican in Italy, but here?

I tried to get away with a lightly shaded lip gloss. This didn't last long.

I'm sure that we can look forward to many more of these interesting sights. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Devonport Part 2

Another day in Devonport. This time we wandered around the water... 

Fuel for exploring:
@ Manuka Cafe'
Chicken Avocado Salad with Turkish Bread

Tuna & a poached egg on a bed of asparagus

A cute sea dog that I named Ted...

Jeff found and smashed open a coconut. Such a boy.

Some beautiful homes and landscaping along the water.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Donuts Your Way

Sweet or savoury, whatever your mood, a donut maker is the way to go. We bought a donut press for $19.00 at our local 'Wearhouse' and the creations are endless. A major perk to this press is that the donuts aren't deep fried, so they are slightly more healthy than the average mini donut. Slightly...

Our first crack at them using the recipe book included with the donut maker...

Then we decided to be a bit more creative with our donuts...

A Savoury Choice: Hash Brown Heaven

In a bowl mix the following ingredients:
1 small sweet potato - grated
2 regular potatoes - grated
1 zucchini - grated
1 cup of cheese - grated
1 clove of garlic - grated (getting the picture?)
A pinch of salt and pepper
A splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

As you can see the recipe is exact...

Sweet As: Chocolate Waffle Donuts

No secret here. I googled a chocolate waffle recipe.

The finished product with syrup

We are certain that this purchase will be with us for the entirety of our journey. We have big plans for a donut empire.

Some business names we've been working with:
Tasty Hoops
Heavenly Holes
Cruller Intentions
Raving Rings

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Day in Devonport

 Last weekend we went on a quick little get-away from the city. The destination was Devonport, a quaint harbour side suburb of Auckland with antique shops, cafes and restaurants. We got on the ferry and arrived in under 20 minutes.

Of course we started the day with a cafe breakfast...
@ Calypso Cafe
They really know coffee in New Zealand.

Are you surprised? Jeff ordered an Eggs Benedict.

My choice: Scrambled spinach and feta eggs.
We were full of good food, and took off to explore more of this North Shore destination. We found Mount Victoria and went up.

We arrived at the top after a short climb and were greeted with a great 360 degree view.

Beyond the flowers is Rangitoto Island.

Foreground: Nintendo Land - Background: Rangitoto Island
No Mario or Luigi here...

Auckland Harbour Bridge

To our surprise, a rap video was being filmed here. My inner Beyonce' wanted to jump in as a background dancer, but decided not to steal their thunder... As you can see, they must be high class gangsters with those pimpin' rides.

A view of Auckland from the top of Mount Victoria

Once we were done at Mount Victoria, we continued walking to Narrow Neck Beach. It was a windy day and not many people were out enjoying the beach. Nothing a couple of Canadians can't handle.

The trooper and his air cast. I'm sure his physiotherapist would have been thrilled with all the walking and climbing we did...

Some Devonport real estate

This was a great day trip and we didn't even cover some of the other sights that this sector has to offer. Being so close, we will be back again soon.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Street Ball MVP

So, my beautiful wife and my not so beautiful father in-law have spent the last ten years tricking me into loving basketball. I'm not sure how they pulled it off. I refused to play on our rec team for a couple of seasons and then before I knew it I was on the bench, then the floor and pretty soon I was actually playing, (with my right hand only). We have met so many amazing people playing that I figured it would be a good thing to get into the game on this side of the planet. I decided not to jump right into it. I practised a couple of times on my own and got rid of the rust on my shot. I scouted out the local court and picked up on the local playing style. Below you can see some of the ingrained playing behaviour:
  1. Shoot from as far away as possible
  2. Do not follow your shot
  3. Shoot first pass never
  4. Trash talk as much as possible
  5. Watch the rebound...boxing out is for losers
  6. If you can't do any of these things wear a Kobe jersey and sit on the speaker...Thug life!

After scouting for a couple of days I figured I would unleash my measly talents on the court... this was ill advised! I showed up and quickly took up residence on the "mixed backpacker" team. Two of us seemed like we had played before. It started well, I set some screens for someone who could actually dribble and was eager to grab a couple rebounds and earn my keep. One of the players on my team was aimlessly running around with no concept of guarding the guy who was picking him apart. It was this Aimless Wanderer that almost ruined my summer. A shot went up and I actually boxed out (this is one of my few abilities), I turned to grab the rebound and the Aimless Wanderer was right beside me apparently trying to make sure our team was sticking together. My foot caught on his foot and I went over the top of my ankle and to the ground in a heap. I'm certain I screamed in imitation of a 200lbs cat dying, and curled up in the fetal position. Needless to say I didn't get the rebound and was not going to be playing again anytime soon.

I crawled to the sidelines tying my shoe as tight as it would go hoping it wouldn't swell. It swelled. After sitting with it elevated, I figured I would be able to "walk it off" on the way home. I made my 'goodbyes' and was quickly forgotten after logging 3 minutes and the worst stat line you could imagine. I kept my head up and gritted my teeth for the 2km walk home. On the way I actually almost limped over the actor Matthew Fox. Later on we googled him, and found out he is filming a movie here over the next month or so. Jess has been on a Matthew Fox hunt ever since...

I had a couple of hours before Jess was done work to try and get healthy so she'd keep letting me out of the house on my own. I hit it with some frozen peas and elevation, but it fought back with swelling bruising and waves of pain. My ankle was winning this battle in the worst kind of way. When Jess got home she lightened the mood by telling me it looked broken and I was screwed. I nearly cried. I started thinking and decided all I needed was a good nights sleep and would bounce back in the morning. I slept well and woke up to get ready for work. I turned the shower on and had to take a seat as the world started spinning and blackness crept into my vision. Things were getting serious. I called work and took a rain check on the day.


We took a cab to a nearby medical centre where they x-rayed my ankle. I was shitting my pants at this point thinking I had ruined my vacation. I must have done something good in a previous life because the x-rays came back with no breaks. I had only destroyed every ligament in my foot and ankle and done something to the tendon above my ankle to make it bulge out. It had also become infected overnight so I was prescribed antibiotics as well. I got the true New Zealand experience when the physiotherapist shaved half way up my shin - sheep style, and taped it for a little support. Now the waiting game started for the swelling to go down.


The pictures do not do it justice. We lost sight of both sides of my ankle bones for a week and were treated to every color of bruising imaginable. I became a pain relieving, anti-inflammatory pharmacy on crutches. It will be six weeks before I can start using my leg for anything other than its good looks. It was a truly horrifying experience but I am lucky my wife has taken care of me and it was easy to get treatment. It really hasn't deterred me from playing, (I have been described as being violently independent and stubborn from a young age), so I will be back on the courts as early as I can. I guess Jess and Romel-saurus tricked me better than I thought.