Sunday, March 26, 2006

What a Mildew Allergy Could do for YOU.

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:32 PM

I'm finally recovering (I think) from the water-up-the-nose-syndrome. Turns out the mildew smell in our room (which I couldn't smell because I was having an allergic reaction to the mildew) was in fact, mildew. Joe took me to the doctor ($35! No insurance!) and I got some prednisone and an antihistamine. Then the Duxton moved us to the mildew-free PRESIDENTIAL SUITE. And we thought we had a sweet deal with our last suite. Joe made an interncontential-style movie of our new home, which I'm sure he'll post shortly. It's in 3 parts, because the suite is just that big. I'm pretty sure they had to move De La Soul out to make room for us.

Here is Joe, demonstrating the largeness of our bed, which must certainly be a god-emporer (one size up from king):

De La Soul! We saw them at the Wellington Town Hall on Friday night, with The Wanderers & Olmecha Supreme. While the venue made it feel a little like a high school dance, minus the streamers hanging from the ceiling, these kiwis sure do know their hiphop. Who knew there were so many b-boys and b-girls in Wellington! Many pants were down well below waists, and there was much bouncing. Joe and I danced for 3 1/2 hours before collapsing on the floor like the old people that we are.

Speaking of old, today is Joe's birthday, so send him birthday wishes and psychic spankings already!

And now, more photos...

As promised, many shots of the breakfast buffet we enjoy daily (or rather, Joe enjoys daily, and I enjoy when I can drag my mildew head out of bed before 10:30). Check out those pastries! Good thing yoga is the mortal enemy of pastries!

Here is New Zealand on Friday, a rainy cloudy ugly day. Today, it's bright and sunny and warm, 22 degrees C, or about 81 F. Nice.

And, last but by no means least, The Boots Which Fit Over My Calves:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Nose...hurts...need...more napping...

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:50 PM

I've got a bad cold. Great suffering. Strangely enough, yoga is the only thing that makes me feel better. That's right. You heard me. I went to my first yoga class on Monday and it was way harder than I expected. Yesterday, I was broken, but only in the face. The rest of me felt pretty good. When I went back to yoga last night, it was a lot easier than the first night, and my head didn't hurt for almost 90 minutes. I just I'll just have to do yoga constantly until my cold is gone, cuz right now it feels like I just got water up my nose, and it's been this painful for 2 days. I've tried Zicam and snorting salt water, but those offer only temporary relief. Please send me your water-up-the-nose-sensation home remedy suggestions.

In other, less pathetic news:

1. Yoga challenge! 30 days of yoga! 90 minutes at a time! 150 degree room! (Okay, maybe it's a little cooler than that.)
2. We found a home! Our new address will be 9 Ebor Street, #12, Wellington, New Zealand. It's a furnished 2 bedroom, 1 bath right down town, about a block from the fancy grocery store and the yoga studio. We move in on March 30, the very day we're forced to check out of this HELL HOLE they call the Duxton.
3. I bought boots! They are beautiful. I made the shoe guy bring me over 20 pairs, and have one pair run over from another shop. Then he had to steam stretch them a million times until they fit over my calves. Totally worth torturing that guy. I'll post pictures soon, because I know of at least two people out there who REALLY CARE.
4. I keep dreaming about the cats. Nothing weird (like the other really weird dreams I've been having). I just think I'm awake and I feel one of them jump on the bed, and I think I know which one it is because I can usually tell, and when I check to see if I'm right, there is no cat, because the cats don't live here at the hotel with us. Duh. :(

p.s. I'm posting this from the lobby of the Duxton (as usual). Today, there's an NZCCP Workshop: "Cognitive Therapy for Persistent Problems - A New Paradigm" Everyone is leaving the workshop now, and passing through the lobby. For some reason, about half of them are mesmerized by the bumper sticker on my laptop: "What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?" In New Zealand, hokey pokey is the "national icon" ice cream flavour (note the extra "u"), some kinda vanilla with toffee. I have confounded the congnitive therapists.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Recap of our first days here, and amazing t-shirt folding technique

posted by Joe Ardent @ 12:59 PM

Although today was our third day in New Zealand, it feels like we have been here for much longer. That feeling of timelessness has been aided by our having immediately started hanging out with friends: Christopher, Allen, and Clodagh. Day One featured many margaritas. Day Two (Saint Patrick's Day) featured work, a trapeze show, an Irish bar, a fancy dinner, and finally, a ride on the bungie rocket in the middle of downtown Wellington (click here for a movie that we made while riding on it last year), and then bed.

Today, Day Three, was a lot more chill. We woke up around 9, had a
complimentary breakfast on the 9th floor of the hotel, then lazed around
for a couple hours watching TV and looking at old videos of our cats
that Kris had taken last year while I was in New Zealand and she was at
home. Actually, I also did laundry. Once I brought my laundry back
into the room, my laundry hamper -- yes, I brought it from the States I decided to finally learn for myself how to fold a tshirt all fancy, since I've long thought that I folded them kind of like a retard. So, after watching the damn video like thirty times, I finally figured it out: TA-DA! (Kris filmed me doing that many hours after I re-folded all my shirts.) (Also, I do a couple extra folds at the end, due to the enormous size of my tshirts compared to the dainty Japanese lady in the reference video.)

Once I mastered it, I gathered up all the rest of my clean tshirts, along with my freshly-laundered ones, and folded them all according to the New Order.

nicely folded tshirts, all of them awesome

I was going to say something about the rest of the day, but upon reflection, it's just not interesting enough to read about. Though, Kris points out that we bought an X-Box today. It's not hooked up yet, but at least it's there, if we run out of other things to do for fun. Aww, who am I kidding? Nothing is more fun than video games!

And now, one final New Zealand tidbit! Tonight, New Zealanders "Fall back" one hour, and switch to Standard Time, since the Autumnal Equinox is in a couple days. This means that for the next 8 days, we'll be +1 day, -4 hours from the West Coast, and -6 hours from the Midwest. Next Sunday in the States, I believe, all y'all Spring ahead an hour, bringing our timezones 5 hours apart in the West, and 7 hours in the Midwest.

(I had to post this on the morning of our fourth day, because blogger was down last night.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Welcome to New Zealand

posted by Kris Ardent @ 10:20 PM

Listening to Clouds and Things, an iPod playlist by Aimee, which I somehow managed to connect to the CD player in our suite. It's so good. And it's cloudy. About to rain-ish.

I'm reading "A Consuming Passion: Inspired Recipes from Le Gavroche to Zibibbo", a gift from my New Best Friend Allen from Kentucky. Now don't get jealous ladies: you would do the same thing in my position. You should see this book. I'm going to make everything in and feed each bite to him personally. Did I mention it was signed by the chef? Allen is rad.

So I've done a little more than hang out at the Duxton. Just a little. First I drank a mini bottle of Chardonnay that the hotel staff were kind enough to drop off yesterday afternoon along with ANOTHER fruit and cheese basket. I'm told these trinkets of deliciousness will taper off soon, but for now, I am enjoying chocolates on my pillow. Again though, I did leave the Duxton yesterday, so let's get on with it.

We went to this French acrobatic show yesterday, the venue for which is seen here from MY HOTEL ROOM AT THE DUXTON, looking east. It's that dome thing. It's pressurized so it will stay standing. You enter from one of 3 or 4 doors which are (I should post a movie of people going in an out of these doors; the bluehairs are especially comical) actually just shipping containers with these big inflated pairs of doors you have to squeeze through, like being born from a giant plastic windy vagina. Don't tell me you know know what I'm talking about. You totally understand.

Aside from being reborn (twice), the show was really cool. Here is video. The music was spacey, and there was a lot of suspense, and Cirque du Soleil-style-comic-relief. But mostly it was just cool to see so many strong bodies having so much fun flying around. Makes me wanna be really strong. And speaking of, here is Christopher doing yoga at the skate park, while smoking a clove.

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day in Wellington, and man do people like to get drunk. For any reason, but especially if it's mandated by an Irish saint. So after the show, we went to meet Clodagh at the most Irish place in the Southern hemisphere. Remember drinking in college? It was like that, except more green, with just a little more shouting. Joe, Allen, Rebecca and I escaped to have a late dinner at Zibibbo, just a couple doors down from Molly Malone's or some other such Irish bar name.

Wellington food is good. Really good. And it's all "emerging" and stuff, as a class of cuisine. But Zibibbo is the direction in which I hope New Zealand cuisine is headed. Everything was fresh and pretty and only just a little fussy. The wine list was just comprehensive enough without being obnoxious. The kitchen was clean and efficient, and easily visible from our path to the table.

Guess what? I had the risotto. Portobello Mushroom Risotto with Pecorino and Truffle Oil, and a side of Wilted Baby Spinach with Capers and Lemon Zest. Mmm. A little too salty with the capers, but nicely mellowed when matched the perfectly balanced risotto. That, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (half of which Joe threw on me, probably in a preemptive jealous rage over what my inevitable, tawdry affair with Allen) for $40 NZD (about $26 USD, no tipping allowed...or is it?). While Allen was settling the bill, I drooled over the cookbook at the reception counter. On the way out, he hands me a paper bag and says "Welcome to New Zealand." Indeed.

So far, New Zealand is all about the Duxton

posted by Kris Ardent @ 5:28 PM

It's my happy place. Especially the bath.

And I dig this mirror in the hotel lobby. Tomorrow: the breakfast buffet!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


posted by Kris Ardent @ 4:22 PM

Coming to you from the lobby of the Duxton, which faces north, where the sun is. The photo was taken from our 7th floor suite. Mmmm.