Sunday, April 30, 2006

Two pictures from the X-Men3 wrap party

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:53 PM

Allen took many fine photos that night. Here are two of them.

It's Important to Reverse the English

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:37 AM

Saturday night was the wrap party for Weta's work on X-Men 3. We took shuttles from downtown Wellington a couple miles to a bowling alley in Petone (always pronounced with thick Italian accent, as "p'tony!"). It was like Rock N Bowl in Goleta (some of you may be familiar with that phenomenon), or any number of "It's very cool to rock out and bowl on a Saturday night, young hip dudes and ladies"-type places across the land. Except there was better music, and free drinks, and cheeses and fruit trays at the lanes, and a buffet. And the bowling balls naturally spin the opposite direction, because of the Coriolis Effect.

And prize contests! For costumes! MUTANT costumes, because X-Men is about mutants! It was actually kinda cool. I'll see if I can find someone else's pictures to post, because I saw many being taken. There were a lot of action-neon-bowling shots. One guy was halfway down the lane trying to get the perfect shot of me and my patented "sometimes breaks 70" bowling technique. It's patented! Why even bother trying to capture my moves? You can't use them!

It takes a long time for 7 people to bowl 10 frames. I came in 2nd of our krew, at least 10 pins behind the craftiest bowling hustler I've ever had the pleasure of meeting (and you'd be surprised): Clodagh. That bitch. If she thinks she can get away with humiliating me in front of my esteemed peers, well, she's got another thing coming. Nobody beats me at a game at which I suck and lives long to tell the tale. Not even my NEW BUSINESS PARTNER.

Tomorrow, Clodagh joins the mighty force that is our burrito crew. We will begin shopping and prepping in an attempt to produce an astounding 80 BURRITOS for delivery to Weta on Tuesday. Pray for us, and anyone foolish enough to pay us $10 for the opportunity to be our guinea pig. Here are some glamour shots from last week's production:

Here's a lot of salsa. About a 40s worth.

Avocados are pretty and delicious.

I wonder if this looks appetizing to meat-eaters. I marinated the chicken overnight in lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic, s & p and a litte olive oil. In the morning, I tried out the "grill/fan" feature on our fancy foreign oven, laying the chicken out on one of the racks, with a broiler pan below it to catch the drippings. It ends up being a smokey procedure, but it only takes 8 to 10 minutes and the chicken ends up all grilled-looking and juicy inside. Oh, and don't forget to beat the chicken senseless with the side of a wine bottle before marinating. Worth it.

The assembly line.

Ready for the most complex procedure: rolling it all up. I can't show that here because, like my bowling moves, it's patented. Not really. It's just hard to take pictures of yourself while rolling burritos. This one is vegetarian.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Cheat's Great Half Mile Journey

posted by Kris Ardent @ 9:40 PM

The Cheat: Officially NOT DEAD

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:13 PM

Breaking news: Aimee just called from The Cheat Vigil Central. She has had her hands on the elusive The Cheat! Just moments ago! She now only has the collar of the elusive The Cheat (as mentioned, he is elusive) in her hands, which is even more fanastic than it sounds. It is The Cheat!

He is alive and appears very healthy, and he's living near a vacant house where he is fed every day and hangs out with other feral cats. Catching him is all that remains, but he's used to being outdoors so he'll be fine until someone gets a good grip on him and throws him in a cat carrier.

Thank you Aimee! You rock!

"A Very The Cheat-like Cat" Spotted at 842 Moultrie St. In Bernal Heights

posted by Kris Ardent @ 7:44 PM

Matt filed a report from the field this morning. A woman responded to one of Vanessa's posters saying that she had been feeding a stray orange cat for the last few days. They sent a party to the scene and witnessed a The Cheat-like creature running away. Vigils are happening! The Cheat could be in our clutches soon!

Feel free to join the hunt for The Cheat! That address is a vacant house owned by the woman who reported the sighting, and y'all are free to let yourselves in through the gate. The best way to get The Cheat to come around is to make the "food-into bowl sound" by pouring food back and forth between bowls. If you can't catch him, see if you can snap a picture of him for better identification.

Thank you to Matt, Cary, Colleen, Aimee, Tony, Nikhila, Vanessa, Francisco, Jonathan and anyone else who is out there searching or praying or sending psychic messages in hopes of his triumphant return!

Matt advised not getting our hopes up, but we're ignoring him. For now, I'm going with "The Cheat is not dead! So glad!" If it turns out not to be The Cheat, maybe we should just take in the new orange cat and start calling him The Cheat. We shall create our own cat reality!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Please help!

posted by Kris Ardent @ 7:10 PM

If anyone can help look for The Cheat this weekend, please let us know. We have a pet detective, but she won't bring her cat-sniffing dog around until we have put up signs, checked shelters, and talked to the neighbors about letting the pet detective check out their yards.

He could be hurt and hiding somewhere, and I would really hate to wait until Tuesday (when Vanessa gets back into town) before the hound could start looking. But we're on the other side of world, so we're really pretty helpless in this situation.

I think the most important thing is for someone to talk to Vanessa's neighbors 2 or 3 doors on either side, ask them if they've seen The Cheat, and if they'd be willing to let a pet detective and dog sniff around for him in their back yards. Vanessa's apartment is at 144 Highland Avenue, 94110 (south of the mission), between Mission and Holly Park (I think he's in the park: that's where I'd be).

Here's our Craigslist ad for more information:

And tips from the Missing Pet Partnership:

And pictures, because The Cheat is handsome:

Rear view of The Cheat

His size relative to a 1 pound lobster

The Cheat from the belly-side

His size relative to a dining table (he looks HUGE!)

The Cheat filling out his Companion Animal Recovery
forms to put his microchip number in the database.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

But maybe some pictures of my nose will make everybody feel better?

posted by Kris Ardent @ 10:10 PM

First The Cheat, and now this?!?

posted by Joe Ardent @ 9:55 PM

Our car was just broken into, which entailed the breaking of the passenger window. They stole Kris's iPod, along with the power cables and tape adapter. Apparently, there is a kid around here with a reputation for crimes of this nature. I'll go to the police station tonight or tomorrow to fill out a report.

(Ironically, shortly before this happened, my officemate was poo-poohing my desire to live in a big city, such as San Francisco. "Crime!" he argued. "Crime's not that big a deal!" I countered. So, thank you, Universe, for giving me such a poignant chance to prove how zen I am! I am the zenest! Even if I slammed my fist on the roof of the car and screamed "FUCK!" loud enough to summon Allen from his office when I realized that Kris's iPod had been ganked.) (update: apparently, Allen was on his way out the door as soon as he saw the email sent company-wide that a car had been broken-into, and my scream did not summon him in fact. But it was loud enough to, thus I have not made a liar of myself.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Breaking News!

posted by Kris Ardent @ 11:20 PM

I bought two new nose rings: a red stone and a silver star. Just thought you should know.

Good idea!

posted by Kris Ardent @ 9:19 PM

Maybe we should buy this:

Look who thinks she's all productive now?

posted by Joe Ardent @ 6:58 PM

My, my! Changing the look again, eh? Damn you, Nesting Instincts!

Speaking of non sequitars, Kris did indeed do an awesome job with the burritos yesterday. According to one Weta veteran, never before had such a thundering herd of hungry people gathered so quickly and in such numbers for food from a lunch-vendor. Many email were sent to me afterward saying how delicious the burritos had been. Huzzah!

Also, the sad news of The Cheat is also true. I've been looking at it in terms of an adventure, though. For something to be a proper adventure, I've maintained, it cannot be easy. There must be hardship, and adversity, difficult choices and painful sacrifices. Otherwise, it's not adventure, it's tourism. We had thought that the pain we went through in the month or so leading up to our leaving the US was all the dues we would pay. We didn't anticipate losing a member of our party, but clearly Fate had other plans. Not that I've given up hope that we'll be reunited with The Cheat, or that I'm not sad and anxious about it, but things like that are part of the nature of adventure.

But turning now to positive things, Allen gave me a present today: a tobacco pipe! We had been over at his house a couple weeks ago, and he had busted out his pipe collection and tobacco. After a brief tutorial, I was soon puffing away like a champ. OK, maybe a "champ" in the Special Olympics sense, but sometimes, we're all winners. It came in a little case with a tamper, some filters, and an ounce or so of flavored tobacco. Needless to say, this is quite awesome, and I'm quite humbled. Now, of course, I have another reason to need a workshop, so I can craft my own pipes. It's added to the growing list of things to do or make, such as root beer brewing, jalepeno pepper growing, tobacco growing, motorcycle building, VTOL aircraft making, and other such crafting and inventioning.

Another shining beacon of awesome is the 48Hours Film Fest, which is a competition in New Zealand to make a short film in 48 hours. It happens in about a month, and we had a meeting last night to discuss ideas, roles, budget, and to watch the DVD of last year's movies. Some were really great, while others were painfully bad. I think we can definitely avoid painful badness. There is a little doubt that we can be as good as last year's winner. But it can't hurt to try, and it's bound to be fun.

The time for hibernation is over! So begins the time for Getting Things Done!

posted by Kris Ardent @ 7:18 AM

So I’m having a little trouble with iTunes. Not the music part, but the TV shows. I’m like a crack addict waiting for my next fix…of Top Chef. That’s right. I moved to the other side of the world in order to free up some time to watch more American TV. Were you expecting something different?

I've been having some culture shock mixed with a mild confused depression cocktail, which has rendered me incapable of writing email or blog posting or going out much. Mostly, I've been watching a lot of movies and TV, getting massages (I've had 2 in the last 3 weeks...aaah) and doing a lot nesting (read: gadget buying), reading, cooking and menu planning. It’s a strange mix of fevered activity, in which I stay up till all hours of the night (like now), making strange dishes (pureed celeriac with orange-infused oil) and planning what Christopher is going to be eating for the next 9 weeks, alternated with 4 hours of Scrubs and capped off with reading every blog on the internet. Yes! I’ve read the whole internet, which leaves me with nothing to do now but write on it.

I also experimented with my sleep cycle and found that in an ideal world, I would stay up until 10 am and then sleep until 6:30 pm. I did that for 2 days and it pretty much kicked me out of hibernation mode. I’ve always known that if I want to be a part of the rest of the world, that sleep schedule isn’t going to get me very far, but I really wanted to give it a shot. And when else would I get the chance to conduct such a bold and daring experiment?! I’m like a scientist.

The apartment is great now. The first week was a nightmare of filth (the didn't have it cleaned before we moved in, as they promised), unreturned calls by the property manager, no hot water, no keys to the windows, etc. But all that's worked out now and the place is lovely. We're just waiting for the carpet cleaning to be done and then we should never have to talk to the managers again. This weekend we finished our household list by switching the hinges on the refrigerator (so it opens away from the wall, as it should), and added shelves to both closets. Now all our extraneous crap is neatly stored out of sight and I feel much better. Funny how tidiness can be so soothing. Now if I could just find a coat/tree/stand, everything would be perfect.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Cheat has been missing since last Monday. As you can guess, we are very very sad. He escaped from the apartment he’s crashing at and just never came back, which is weird. He either got lost, or hurt, or most likely STOLEN, because he's so great. He's microchipped and has tags, so you'd think someone would call if they found him. The microchip company has stories on their website describing reunions with pets taking place months or years later, so I haven't lost hope, but I'm pretty bummed out. They're supposed to join us in August, followed by 30 days in quarantine, but it may just be The Sneak now. Bummer. I'm going through cat-withdrawal. If anyone wants to organize a search party, or pretend that you did and tell me about it, I’d be grateful.

In other news, I've been doing a lot of cooking, and thinking a lot about what I want to do. Our cost of living is so low now, and Joe is making enough money that I can avoid work and we can still afford to save a bunch of money. But I feel pretty useless when I'm not working, and the housewife role doesn't really suit me. I like the cooking part, but the cleaning part I'm not so keen on. We bought a food dehydrator and we've been making all kinds of delicious flax crackers, which is more fun than it sounds. We also got a juicer and a super food processor with ninety billion attachments. I know! That's a lot of attachments! But there is pico de gallo to be made, and vegetables to be sliced, so we really had no choice. I returned the pizza oven, cuz let’s not get crazy.

Today was a big day. I took my first crack at being The Burrito Lady at Weta. I spent a couple days last week going to all the grocery stores and pricing ingredients for all the components, which mostly turned into a hunt for jalapenos. They have them here, because you see them in New Zealand recipes, and on Pizza Hut pizzas, but they're rare and difficult to find. Allen came over on Saturday for burrito testing, and pronounced them acceptable, so yesterday I bought everything and prepped as much as I could. I got up at 8:30 (which is as unto the middle of the night for me) and grilled chicken and assembled burritos for 3 hours. When I got to Weta, I barely had time to open the cooler/warmer before they were all snatched away. 40 burritos in 4 minutes, and I got a job offer. Next week I’m going to see how fast I can get rid of 80 burritos.

So that's the news! Sorry I've been so quiet on the blog. I've just not been feeling very wordy-y, and I really need to get out of the house to take some pictures. Also, I’m not so sure if anyone out there is reading. Is anyone there? Feel free to comment if you are! I’m not good at writing often, but I can always read. Also, if you could make me a funny movie of yourself, I’d be into watching that. Or send me your favorite TV show. Or just tell me TV stories. I’m really missing America’s Next Top Model.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Shameless shill

posted by Joe Ardent @ 12:06 AM

For some reason, I feel compelled to post the URL to my Amazon Wishlist. Not because I expect anything (and really, after the order I executed today, I really don't deserve anything more from Amazon). But still, no-one ever gets me anything from it! So here it is!

My Amazon Wishlist!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Should I Stay or Should I Go"

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:26 AM

I actually decided today to not stay in New Zealand, beyond the 12-18 months I had been planning on being here. The issue of staying for longer, possibly emmigrating here, had been on my mind almost from the beginning. I even looked into what it would take to begin the process of becoming a permanent resident (more or less the same as getting a New Zealand "green card"). And while I think of it now, I realize it may be nice to have a place where you can run when the shit hits the fan, but at the moment I'm not planning on pursuing it.

How come? Well, for one, there's y'all. I said before that I missed my friends, though that is not what decided it for me. I miss California. I miss Berkeley, I miss San Francisco, I miss Mendicino, I miss the overbearing presence of the ocean, and the mountains, and the dry evergreen forests, and the hippies, and the psychedelic-inspired art and technology and music and parties, the impractical idealism, the snooty superiority, the desperate feel of holding the line before the onslaught of Texan fascists. I love and miss it all. It's cleaner in California -- New Zealand is green in spite of the humans here, not because of some ecologically aware national ethos, and unless they get their shit together soon, their shit will overwhelm them. There's a lot more going on in the Bay area, and already, I can feel the walls closing in here in this tiny-but-cosmopolitan burgh.

And I don't want to give the impression that I don't like it here. It certainly has its charms, and any place can be a heaven or hell, depending on what you make of it. In general, I'm enjoying myself. Just today, a bunch of us went go-karting at lunch: PURE FUN! On the other hand, I could see the day where I say, "Man, I'm sick of going to that crappy go-kart place." Plus, as I said, I'm making good friends here. That helps make the place fun to be in. But it's one of those "neccessary but not sufficient" things. Some of them may stay here permenantly, which means that I'll always have a reason to come back and visit. Right now, that sounds just fine. In the meantime, I'll enjoy myself as best I can (which is pretty well, really), and patiently dream of California.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An issue of great importance

posted by Joe Ardent @ 4:14 AM

In New Zealand (and in the Southern Hemisphere generally), the toilets do not "drain in the opposite direction". Mostly they drain straight down, because the Coriolis Effect does not prevail at the scales associated with toilets, and because of the design of the toilets here. From the Wikipedia article on the Coriolis Effect:

The time, space and velocity scales are important in determining the importance of the Coriolis effect. Whether rotation is important in a system can be determined by its Rossby number, which is the ratio of the velocity of a system to the product of the Coriolis parameter, and the lengthscale of the motion:

Ro = {U}/{fL}.

A small Rossby number signifies a system which is strongly affected by rotation, and a large Rossby number signifies a system in which rotation is unimportant. An atmospheric system moving at U = 10m/s occupying a spatial distance of L=1000km, has a Rossby number

Ro = {10}/{10^{-4} * 1000 * 10^3} = 0.1

A man playing catch may throw the ball at U=30m/s in a garden of length L=50m. The Rossby number in this case would be

Ro = {30}/{10^{-4} * 50} = 6000.

Needless to say, one does not worry about which hemisphere one is in when playing catch in the garden. However, an unguided missile obeys exactly the same physics as a baseball, but may travel far enough and be in the air long enough to notice the effect of Coriolis. Long range shells landed close to, but to the right of where they were aimed until this was noted (or left if they were fired in the southern hemisphere, though most were not).

The Rossby number can also tell us about the bathtub. If the lengthscale of the tub is about L=1m, and the water moves towards the drain at about 60cm/s, then the Rossby number is

Ro = {0.6}/{10^{-4} * 1} = 6000.

Thus, the bathtub is, in terms of scales, much like a game of catch, and rotation is likely to be unimportant.

It does mention that if you are very, very careful about your setup, and make sure that there is no latent vorticity in the water, and your water bin is totally flat, and you contrive a plug-and-drain system that can be opened without introducing any new disturbance to the water, then you can fairly reliably get it to drain counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere vs. clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. But toilets? The effect is overwhelmed by the stink-nuggets that gave you the impetus to use the toilet in the first place, among other factors.

The other thing about toilets here is that most of them offer you two options for flushing. There are two buttons on top of the tank, and some sort of mark or shape on or of them to indicate that one is bigger than the other. Allegedly, they correspond to a greater or lesser flush, which you should choose appropriately depending on what you just put into it. However, my direct experince with this system is that each button initiates a flush of more or less equal volume and force. In the toilets at work, the buttons seem to be physically linked, so that pressing one or the other causes both to depress. At home, the story seems to be the same, but you can pretty easily moderate the flush by holding the button for more or less time.

Still, the toilets here provide plenty of opportunity for Demolition Man-inspired three seashell jokes, further buttressing my belief that that movie is the most terrifying and prophetic vision of the future that Hollywood has yet produced. Two words, bitches: President Schwarzenegger. Those two words should give you ample reason to test out whatever flushing mechanism you may have on your nearest toilet.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Reach Out and Touch an Ardent (Good Touch Only)

posted by Kris Ardent @ 5:08 PM

VOIP (internet phone): 650-204-9897 (soon this will change to Joe's old cell phone number, 650-224-3165)
Joe Cell: 011-64-27-335-1410
Kris Cell: 011-64-27-286-6333
Home: 011-64-4-384-4998

We're one day ahead and 5 hours behind Pacific Standard Time, 7 behind for Central Time. So if it's 10:00 am in California on Tuesday, and noon in Chicago, it's 5:00 am on Wednesday here, (and we are sleeping..shhh!).

Mailing address:
9 Ebor Street, Apt. 12
Te Aro, Wellington
New Zealand 6001

p.s. we can both receive text and photos on our cell phones, so feel free to send those poor quality pictures you know you love to take.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


posted by Joe Ardent @ 7:10 PM

Yesterday, Clodagh gave us a gift. An Easter gift, perfectly fit for a bunch of hedonistic pagans such as us. A gift that could only have come from Japan. A... a SUNORMOUS hollow chocolate egg.

It came in this box:

Yes, you see that correctly: it's ONE KILOGRAM of chocolate. For those of you in the metric dark ages, one kg is about 2.2 pounds. To give you a further sense of scale, here is the Sunormous egg, situated with some objects for comparison:

Clodagh shows off her motherly instincts as she cradles the egg

Tunormous Sitties

The Sunormous egg has many safety-related applications

That last picture features a dripping-with-sweat me, since I had just gotten out of a hot shower after a session of Bikram yoga (which means 90 minutes of yoga in a room heated to over 100 degrees F.).

The four of us (Allen, Clodagh, Kris, and me) managed to polish off about half of the egg last night, which is pretty damned impressive. I'm still feeling a little ill about it. The chocolate, at least, was not totally shitty; I'd put it on par with Nestle or Herschey, which is not saying all that much, but it's pretty good for a piece of giant novelty candy. It's still sitting on our coffee table, all half-there and filled with broken bits of itself. The right thing to do would be to throw it away, but I fear I'm not that disciplined.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wellington "art", part 1

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:32 AM

As promised, I took some photos of some of the things less than two blocks from our apartment. Here they are!

First up, Moore Wilsons! This is an upscale household goods and grocery store less than half a block from our apartment. I think it took Kris pointing out for me that the facade that faces the main street looks like it's in the process of being split with a wedge. I had, of coures, walked or driven past this many times.

I had even thought to myself, "Gee, I wonder how that giant crack formed in that wall. And further, why did they put a vent in it? That seems like a recipe for an expensive repair later!" Sometimes, I am a total retard. But sometimes I'm not!

Next, a simple mural. Again, this is about a block from our apartment, on the side of an upscale Italian resturant called Il Casino. I was particulary pleased with the way the sky in the mural almost blends in with the sky in the sky here (today was exceptionally beautiful). Although this is a pretty standard mural-type thing, I still like it, even if I hate the architecture depicted within.

Finally, the coup de gras: some vulgar graphitti! I have no idea why there is a piece of plywood over the bagpiper's midsection, or who might have put it there. Was it the tagger? You'd think in that case, the owner would have taken it down. Was it the owner? Well, given what has been painted on it, you'd think it would be taken down... I can only speculate that whatever is being hidden by the plywood is infinitely more horrific than what is currently on display. At any rate, I first saw this last year, and every time I see it, I can't help but emit a Kumar-esque HA! and point at it. Even when I'm alone.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Missin' ...

posted by Joe Ardent @ 5:38 PM

I miss my friends. Not so much that I'm crying myself to sleep, not as much as last time I was here and Kris was still in California, but still, our crew is tight. A bunch of our peeps are having a slumber party this weekend, and are going to call us (fortunately, they can dial a local US-domestic number, and it will ring on our VOIP line at our house), which I'm sure will engender much longing and sighing after the phone call ends. We have friends here, now, too. New friends! Friends I made last year during Kong, and new friends that we didn't have until this year. Thank the gods that Christopher is good at making friends, because it was really easy to fall in with his New Zealand crew. (Yeah, UH, our CREW, bitches, 'cause we're from the STREET! Like, Sesame Street, maybe.) But in spite of our new friends, who are all pretty great, I still miss my older friends back in the States. I'm glad we're going back for Burningman. I'm glad our new friends are going, too, so that they can meet our old friends, and vice versa. I think everyone will like each other a lot.

I miss our animal friends, our cats. Not that I'm a cat-person, all having dozens of cats and thinking that they are capable of abstract reasoning and contemplating hypotheticals and having such a thing as "dignity" or "pride" -- I know that such qualities are not in the realm of actual cats. And while in some ways, I miss them less than our non-animal friends, in another way, I miss them more. They were part of our household. They were manifestly fond of our company. They were free to come and go as they pleased, and it was their pleasure to spend most of their time with us. They were warm and soft. It was nice to be with them as they dug on each other. They are really great cats, and together, they are more than the sum of them individually. They'll be in New Zealand in August, after having completely forgotten us and having only memories of Vanessa, who's hosting them until they come over here. That's OK, though; it won't take them long to forget her and only remember us. That tiny brain of theirs is a double-edged sword.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An even quicker update

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:59 PM

OK, so, it's been like a week since my last post, the one where I said I'd update soon. In the meantime, we've gotten DSL at home, obliterating the excuse of, "I can't update from home." I'll post tonight, I swear! There's not even yoga class, so I've got nothing to do but post to the blog and play X-Box! I'll be taking some pictures of some of the civic art around Wellington this afternoon at lunch. There's a lot of it; Wellington is a "festival city". graphiti on an apartment building A lot of it is really cool. A lot of it is maybe not paid for by the city government, but rather by the businesses that host it. Some of it is renegade ("graphiti", though there is very little tagging). But all of it emphasises that Wellington is, as a civic citizen, really into art. The music scene here is also killer.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Quick update, tantalizing promise of more yet to come

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:49 AM

Using the internet in any active way, such as posting to this blog, has been surprisingly difficult for me, due to the hours I work, the firewall at Weta, and the utter lack of IP connectivity at home. Even as I type this, I'm at a hole-in-the-wall internet cafe in Wellington, where I am able to plug my laptop into an ethernet jack and seemingly use it for no charge. Sometimes, being in a fringe-group has its advantages. Pardon the techno-babble.

My personal vision for our blog was one of illuminating our experience so that the uniquely New Zealand parts of it stand out. I've been compiling a mental list of topics on which to expound, such as the confusing road rules (I promise I can make that post funny and interesting), or bits of kiwi culture and vernacular. Or how every electrical outlet is switched at least once, on the outlet itself. This last bit led to a situation the last time I was here, where I wanted to turn on a lamp, but in order to do so, THREE switches connected in series had to be in the proper state (meaning that there were eight possible switch configurations, only one of which led to a light turning on). All this and more is coming, plus videos and photos!

I'll try to post this coming week. I'll take some time to draft something offline, then post it online when I can. Soon enough, we'll have Internet access at home. Until then, have fun.