Sunday, May 28, 2006

The question is, who WOULDN'T want to do this?

posted by Joe Ardent @ 3:00 PM

I saw this linked on BoingBoing today: Tribewanted. For a fairly nominal fee, you get membership in the tribe that will run an island in Fiji, which entitles you to stay 7, 14, or 21 days on the island, all local expenses paid (you'll have to pay to get to the main island of Fiji, but then the commuter flight to Adventure Island is covered). The draw is that you'll be, essentially, constructing the resort for yourself and other tribe members to come. Basically, this is tropical, permanent Burningman. As soon as I get home, I'll be forwarding this on to the FnF Burningman list. As Matt Madden, one of our campmates said last year as we were constructing our camp on the playa, responded when I asked how he was doing, "I'm having the best time doing the dumbest shit!" Now imagine doing the dumbest shit, IN FIJI!

An Interesting Idea

posted by Kris Ardent @ 3:13 AM

And I'll blame Joe for this one. He thinks I should fly out to SF on Tuesday 5/30, nab The Cheat, hop a plane back to NZ on Saturday 6/3, which arrives Monday, so I can make burritos on Tuesday and then fly to Christchurch to meet up with Clodagh that afternoon.

Aside from the fact that this in an insane plan, Air NZ has appropriate flights available for about $1400 and I really don't have any appointments I couldn't reschedule (although there is that massage on Friday...). But what if I couldn't catch him? And if I did, what if he escaped again? WHAT IF?

I could also wait until I return from the South Island on 6/12 to go. It's more expensive, but then again The Cheat may have been captured by then and I wouldn't have to buy the ticket. WHAT TO DO?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Was Well For Almost 2 Months!

posted by Kris Ardent @ 11:59 PM

Tuesday after finishing my burrito duties, I collapsed in a heap of sinus pain, sore throat, fever etc. and slept for 18 hours. Then I spent the rest of the week holed up in the apartment feeling sorry for myself because I'm ALWAYS SICK. Then I realized that I haven't been sick since the Mold Incident in March, and that was almost 2 months ago! Way to go, staying healthy for so very long! Today (our Friday, USA's Thursday) I left the house for the first time, to buy some salmon and veggies in an attempt to bring myself back from the dead. I feel a little better, but my head is still all stuffed up, I'm sneezy, and I feel like I need numerous naps before I'll be ready for the world again.

Just in time, Aimee sent me a care package! So great! She sent me a copy of Bring It On on DVD (the best!), many ladybug-shapes chocolates, 3 single miss-matched socks (!), a pair of matched rainbow hospital-type socks with lady bugs on the toes (I'm sensing a lady-bug/sock theme to this box), a stick of Sure solid deodorant (they only have roll-on here: UCK), a whole bunch of Alba tropical skin and hair products and 3 US MAGAZINES. I'm so caught up on celebrity gossip it's not even funny. It was so nice to have everything I needed to really do this being sick correctly. Thanks Aimee! You rule!

Everyone is abandoning us, and Joe and I are clinging to each in trembling fear of loneliness. Trina left for London via the U.S. on Monday, after a kick-ass dancerific going away party on Saturday. Clodagh left for the South Island on Wednesday. She'll be gone for three weeks, but I'll be flying down to Christchurch on June 6th to join her for a week. Allen left for the U.S. today, where he'll be visiting Alinea in Chicago for one of their very last tastings containing foie gras. So tragic. Luckily, Francisco will be arriving in a few weeks, followed shortly by Christopher's return from yoga camp. So much movement in the world!

Joe and I have just made reservations to fly to Sydney for my birthday at the end of June. So exciting! A new whole new country, only a few hours away! If anyone has ever been to Sydney, I'd love to hear about the places we should visit. We'll be staying downtown (see directions to our hotel in the previous post) and will be doing a lot of wandering around on foot. I hear there's some kind of opera house there?

As for the cats, The Cheat is STILL on the loose and proving impossible to capture. We know he's safe, and being well fed, but everyone who manages to grab him gets rewarded with delightful cat scratches, which are well known to be sterile and never get infected. :D There's been talk of hiring a professional cat catcher, and I'm all for it, I'm just not sure such a thing exists. If anyone knows any tips for catching cats, please pipe up. He's even eluded the cat trap: walked right in, ate some food, and walked right out. That cat is MAGIC. I hear The Sneak is lonely and needy without him, but at least she's still in captivity.

Good Driving Directions

posted by Kris Ardent @ 4:22 AM

We're going to Sydney for a few days at the end of June. Here are the driving directions provided by the booking website, Nothing could go wrong here:

From Sydney Airport:
Look for sign to the city.
Continue towards Pitt Street.
Turn on to Pitt Street.

Friday, May 19, 2006


posted by Joe Ardent @ 8:20 PM

I freely give this idea to the public domain, with the wish that if you ever create it and make money off it, you'll give one to me. Maybe I'll get around to making one, though.

Yesterday, Kris bought a lava lamp; I'll leave it to her to post a picture of it. It's very nice-looking, all filled with purple fluid and having bright yellow lava that darkens to orange as it floats to the top of the lamp. We were so taken with it that after gazing at it for about ten minutes in the living room, we decided to move it upstairs into the second bedroom (so it could sit on top of a dresser), and we slept in that room so that we could watch it late into the night. And we weren't even high!

So, anyway, that was the lead-in to my invention, whose actual date of origin is a few years ago. My idea is this: make a transparent, fluid-tight tank, say three feet wide, two feet tall, and a half-inch thick (I'm pretty sure that determining the exact thickness would be a matter of experimentation). The exact size and shape would be a matter of taste and asthetics, as you will see. On one side of the tank, mount a grid of LEDs such that it can make any color, like the LED wall at Burningman (but only as large as one side of the tank):

Photo used with permission by Benjamin Feen

photo by Benjamin Feen

Note that my panel would probably not have a naked girl in front of it. The LED panel would have the LEDs pressing on the outside of the tank, shining through it. The back of the LED panel would be flush against a wall. You might also want to interpose a sheet of something translucent between the LEDs and the fluid tank; this will diffuse the LEDs and disguise their discreet nature.

By itself, such an LED display thingy would make a perfectly awesome lighting fixture. But here's where it goes to 11. The tank is filled with two (or more?!?) immiscible fluids with similar or identical specific gravities, but different (as different as possible) indices of refraction. Along the bottom of the tank is some mild heating element, so that the fluids will get all convecty and move around a lot. As the light passes through it, you'd get lava-esque effects. You'd also want the LED panel to have moving blobs of color being displayed.

So, anyway, that's it! The original idea was a sort of 2-D planar lava lamp, but I think the LEDs being refracted through a couple different fluids would look better, and probably use less electricity. I was thinking last night that a circular thing would be cool, and maybe there could even be tiny and subtle pumps to agitate the fluids. Maybe LEDs mounted on the perimeter and shining in would look awesome. The variations are limitless!

Maybe also the LEDs could sense what the fluids were doing and act in some way based on that. There could be a thermometer that ensures that the heating elements are doing the right thing based on the ambient temperature (lava lamps are finnicky about what temp the room is). So much science that can be done! I found a source of really cheap LEDs, and there is no shortage of tutorials on the Internet for making bunches of them do interesting things. I'm feeling upbeat about this.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

That's right, I'm blogging my lunch. It's come to that.

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:27 AM

We had a lot of leftover ingredients from sushi last night. I took them home, and today I made the best sushi bowl in all of history. Judge for yourself:

10-12:00 is edamame, 12-2:00 you can see a little bit of surimi crab (reconsituted white fish all dolled up to look like crab meat), 2:30-4 is avocado slices, 5-7:00 is inari (sweetened fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice), then some pea shoots and sliced mushrooms from 7-9:00. The center is blanched carrots, chives, red pepper, scallions and cucumber, all on a bed of sushi rice mixed with shredded nori (seaweed).

And see how I placed the chopsticks JUST SO for the photograph of my lunch?! See what I'm getting at, people?! I really need to just GET A JOB. It's 3:30 am and I'm watching Gray's Anatomy and BLOGGING MY LUNCH. Tomorrow, maybe we should talk a little about my current midlife crisis. But not until after my 90 minute massage in the afternoon. Oh, and I really should work on other strategies for selling Trina's car. And pick up some jalapeƱos for burrito day. And think some more about heading to the South Island for a few weeks. And I've also gotta pay some bills with Joe's money. Big day. I should probably rest up for it.


posted by Kris Ardent @ 1:45 AM

Megan the Miraculous Massage Therapist demanded homemade sushi, so we made an appointment with Allen for last night. This was my first sushi-making experience, but Allen totally knew what he was doing. I spent the afternoon shopping Asian and un-Asian markets in search of the proper ingredients: sashimi-grade tuna, salmon & tarahiki, avocados, veggies, fried tofu pouches for inari, surimi crab (fake crab for California roll type stuff) and sake.

After months (maybe even years?) of gathering dust on my bookshelf, Aimee and Tony's "Sushi Master: International Sushi Maker Plus" finally got hauled out for the first time. It's mostly a collection of molds for making square or heartshaped sushi, along with some funny plastic chopstick/spoons and a roll cutting knife with little holes punched in it so the sushi will slide right off, in theory.

Chopping vegetables is fun! Especially with a pretty and sharp santoku knife. Those cucumbers became sunomono salad, lemon slices were eaten whole with salmon sashimi, and the mushrooms were shortly deep fried in tempura batter, cuz hey, why not deep fry stuff?

Speaking of deep frying, here are mushrooms getting a spa treatment in Allen's deep fryer, which, despite the rumors, did NOT come with the apartment.

Here's Clodagh making Jazz Hands over her sushi creation, which contains salmon, cucumber, avocado, red pepper and pickled ginger. MMMMM!!! What you don't see is Clodagh shaking her left leg in the air as I instructed her to do, just for my own amusement. Te he...

Allen made a dish from his Nobu cookbook (which is now in my possession: bwahahaha...). Tuna with chives, coriander and jalapeƱo pepper:

Here's the bounty of our labor. It only took about 3 hours. It's hard to tell, but those inside-out rolls are HEART SHAPES. Yeah. Unh. Take it.

Here's the table 5 mintues before we devoured everthing:
Here's us 20 seconds before we devour everything. Look how happy I am!

And just for the record, here's Clodagh hitting the sauce:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Science, and making discoveries.

posted by Kris Ardent @ 7:54 AM

We must do this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More earthquake impressions!

posted by Joe Ardent @ 5:03 AM

7.6 Richter, about 1600 km north-north-east of Wellington. It occured at 10:39, which means that it took about six minutes to reach here, which means it travelled around 16,000 kph. That's in-line with a quick internet search on the speed of sound in rock and propagation speeds of earthquakes (between 3 and 8 km/second). Woo, science!

As Kris mentioned, it was a long quake. This was actually the second most-powerful quake I've ever felt, though due to its drawn-out length, it was the scariest. It was so smooth and on-going that I felt as though it could be the prelude to something truly destructive, like it was the beginning of a long, smooth ramp-up to a real shaker.

I called Clodagh right after it happened, just to ensure that it was not a truck passing near our apartment or something. She answered the phone with, "Didja feel that?!?" It was her first quake, and she was well-pleased upon being informed that it was an unusually large and long quake (just like my... nevermind). She also apologized for it occuring, since she had wished for an earthquake about an hour before. I knew she was a witch. Real Irish people fear the water, but she is comfortable near it. She knows it would reject her body.


posted by Kris Ardent @ 3:52 AM

This was my favorite lifetime earthquake so far. Just a gentle swaying that seemed to go on FOREVER. I felt like I was having some kind of inner ear problem, or a bad Flying Burrito Brothers Margarita Experience, but really it was just the earth shaking, gently. I had time to holler downstairs to Joe, "earthquake?" then wait a few seconds and say "earthquake!" again, followed by some discussion about whether or not it was an earthquake, while it continued to quake. Awesome.

No word on magnitude or anything, but I reported it to the New Zealand Geonet, like a good earthquake citizen. Hope no one died while I was celebrating how fun geology can be.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Our VOIP line is mighty!

posted by Joe Ardent @ 4:34 PM

You want to talk to the Ardents, you say? Well, all you need to do now is call my old cell-phone number, WHICH YOU SHOULD ALREADY HAVE!

That's right. To call us, just dial 1-650-224-3165. Harnessing the awesome power of the Internet, your call will be recorded by the NSA, converted to digital audio, encoded into IP packets, recorded by the NSA yet again, then delivered to our home in Wellington, with none but the NSA the wiser! It's like we never left the country, and are being illegally wiretapped at home! Remember, kids, the President took an Oath to uphold the Constitution. Failure to do so is treason, and the penalty for treason is death!

(As you can tell, I'm extra-tasty pissed about the current US administration these days.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More South Park Character Fun

posted by Kris Ardent @ 8:13 PM

What Joe thinks he looks like:

What Joe actually looks like (in reality, which has a liberal bias):

To make your own character, go here. Please send me a copy of your work.

You Complain, We Respond

posted by Kris Ardent @ 7:40 PM

Due to overwhelming concern about the photo taken at the Xmen bowling party (it makes me look psychotically retarded), I have changed my profile photo to something that more accurately depicts my true self.

The Latest on The Cheat, as Told by Email from Francisco

posted by Kris Ardent @ 6:27 PM

"i got really close again!

i picked him up by the scruff of the neck, but i think i lifted him up
too high; he was sedate for a couple of steps, then hissed and
scratched and escaped again. (by the way, my arm is starting to look

so once i get a more all-body grip on him, should i maintain the
pressure on the scruff with my first hand? i don't really know much
about actual cat entrapment. in fact, i am starting to wonder if
maybe a tranquilizer gun would be overkill :D


Coming soon: a photo of those AWESOME arms.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Everywhere you look, everywhere you look..."

posted by Joe Ardent @ 6:41 AM

We found out tonight from a totally wasted local girl that the Kiwi conception of San Francisco is the informed most strongly by the show "Full House". Turns out, while we were learning important lessons about screwing that chick from the movie Rad, and doing Kermit the Frog impersonations, the rest of the English-speaking world was learning right along with us. It touched our hearts to know that at some fundamental level, we could relate to everyone: through the magic of shared televisionary heritage. Thank you, shitty-TV-makers!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No, there was no tsunami here

posted by Joe Ardent @ 9:32 PM

Clodagh called this morning at 5:30 AM to say that there had been an earthquake in Tonga, and there was a tsunami warning for New Zealand (which she learned via a phone call from her mother in Ireland).

"What parts of New Zealand?" I asked.

"I think all of it," she answered.

This seemed improbable. For one, Tonga is well north of New Zealand. If anyone was going to get washed away in a tidal wave, it would be those folks living on the north-facing east coast. Second, where we live in Wellington, we have no direct contact with the ocean-at-large. It's a very well-sheltered harbor. I asked what time it was supposed to hit, and she said sometime around 7:00. I thanked her and tried to go back to sleep. Around 6:30, I thought I heard more sea-bird sounds than what I thought was normal, but after not dying for several more minutes, I finally fell back to sleep.

However, this is one big example of "it's the thought that counts!" Thank you, Clodagh, for thinking to save our lives. Our friend Kevin, upon learning that we and some other friends had gotten phone-calls, said, "Oh, and I was just to drown, I guess!" Nah. I just gambled that I was correct about us being spared... gambled WITH OUR LIVES!

Long Live May

posted by Kris Ardent @ 5:09 AM

Last month, after a couple weeks of moving-shopping-dining-spending frenzy, Joe and I agreed to avoid eating out until May 1st. Well, it's May 3rd, and we got pizza last night, but I think it's time to head back out into the world of Wellington fine dining.

Insurance paid for the car window, but they won't cover the contents: a cell phone car charger, iPod, charger and tape adapter, and a pair of binoculars. Joe tells me there's a neighborhood kid who's a suspect, but there's nothing to be done about him. I wonder why they don't have juve down here. Or do they? Something to look into. Thieves suck.

In happier news, I found my organizer today, while looking for stamps. Inside my organizer I found $800 NZD, that I guess I was socking away for a rainy day, or hoarding in case there was a cash scarcity, or just trying not to spend after doing currency exchange at the airport. Who can understand my mysterious ways? Not even I.

These 3 seemingly disparate events bring us to a couple monumental decisions at hand, the first being where should we have dinner? We're trying to get as much as we can out of the Entertainment Book, so it's gonna be one of these (click on Fine Dining, then Search). We've been to 88, Boulcott Street, Boulot, Duxton, Il Casino, Logan Brown's, and Zibbibo. Where to next?

The second question is: what kind of iPod to get? Aimee is going to hook me up, but I just don't know what to get. Of course, video is rad. But then again, nano is so very small! And do I really need video? Don't I need something so very tiny, just a little more that I need video? I could watch Top Chef on my iPod, and that would be awesome, but I could also just watch it on my laptop and slip the nano in the coin pocket of my jeans. What do you think?

Clodagh and I made burritos Monday and Tuesday: 80 of them. It was a heck of a lot of work, but also great fun. The saddest part was not selling 25 of them. What to do with 25 burritos? Eat some! Give away the rest! But to whom? We went on a mission to find out just who might want a free burrito on a Tuesday afternoon.

60 of 80 burritos, all screaming "why don't you love us?!"

The Compassion Center is a soup kitchen located across the street from yoga, and it just happens to have a very compassionate parking lot that's come in handy in recent times. Joe and the almighty internet couldn't tell us where to find hungry people, so we went to the nuns (who were on a break between serving meals). They sent us to the "Tin Palace" in Newtown, which is not what is sounds like, whatever that is. We gave warm burritos to crazy people, and that made all the very low paid work totally worth it.

Oh yeah! And the wierdest thing I've seen since moving to New

Monday, May 01, 2006

Damn you, homesickness!

posted by Joe Ardent @ 12:45 AM

Yesterday was the first party of the summer at Stafford Lake in Marin County for this group of people that throw weekly sunset parties there. From the pictures, it looks like all our peeps were in full effect.

Benjy's pictures of the Sunset Party.