Thursday, December 3, 2009


Originally uploaded by tkw954
I haven't posted anything here for a while, so this is just to let you know this blog still lives. The photo at right is currently my most popular photo on flickr, due to it being on the first page of the yahoo image search for "cow". Flickr rates this photo as "most interesting", likely due to the fact that someone actually believed that the hawk was preying on a helicopter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming and Coming Up

Ever since I was young, when I was depressed, melancholy, lonely, or bored I would pick up a pen and write in a journal. It started when I was 11 writing in my blue diary (that had a lock on it that I used to have on braided purple embroidery thread in a grape lip-gloss container hidden in my desk drawer). After that I graduated to less private notebooks, realizing that what I had to write about was of no interest to anyone else. I thought that a blog would be a natural next step. Ha! How wrong I was. What I have to write about is still of no interest to anyone else, but I don't want to broadcast my inner thoughts to the world.

I've had quite a few journals over the years. Reading them years after writing them I found a recurring theme - extremes of my personality. I would never write when I was having a normal day. I would only write if I was pissed off, inconsolably sad, or shaking-out-of-my-boots happy. Mom gave me a notebook for my New Zealand trip. I used it for planning and I used it for writing while in the airports en route, then I forgot all about it in Fiji, but caught up writing when I sat in a cafe in Auckland during our first days here. Since then this notebook has been filled mostly with recipes, shopping lists, and directions of hotels and hostels in places other than Auckland.

Which brings me, in the most roundabout of ways, to upcoming events. Another side note - I've been slightly (okay, more than slightly) melancholy... I have even thrown around the word "depressed" to describe how I've been feeling the last few months. Friends reckon I should go back to Canada for a vacation... I just can't bring myself to do it when I've still got a bunch of New Zealand to see. In any case, in two weeks I'll be traveling to Australia so I will hopefully snap out of my melancholy state.

Things we're up to in the next 2 months:

  • Touch football/rugby season has now started for us! Yay!

  • October 1 we will be going to the Transmission Room for a taping of the TV news-comedy show "7 Days."

  • Friends are coming to visit next week!

  • Sydney!

  • Camping!

  • Traveling around the country!

  • Pearl Jam/Ben Harper/Liam Finn concert!

Travis and I have also started organizing a driving trip around the North Island in November when his parents come to visit. It's a whirlwind of a trip, but it should be fun. There are quite a few places in the North Island we haven't visited yet, and we'd like to hit a few of them in November when the weather's gettin' good!

There's another trip that we're planning. For when? We don't know. A Kayaking trip in the Marlborough Sounds! All we know is that we want to kayak - Marlborough may be the area, but we might also head over to Nelson and hit up Abel Tasman National Park. Haven't decided yet. Of course, there will be a wine tour, if there's time.

Side note:
Just made myself a gin and tonic for the evening... it's possibly the best G&T I've ever had. 4 ice cubes, squirt of lime juice, 1oz Beefeater, 4.5 oz tonic water in a wine glass. JUST RIGHT! Refreshing!

So, back to why I haven't written and only posted videos in the last 2 months (which is what that drivel I started off this post was about) is because I haven't done anything. I did get out of the city once in August and once in September (out of the "city" but not out of the Auckland district). I've become a recluse, slightly depressed, and scared to go anywhere. Moping? No. Sobbing? Yes. Why? Who knows. It feels almost like when I was in my last year of University... what I called "Crying Wednesday." During my final term at the U of Lethbridge I only had classes on Tuesday/Thursday/Friday morning... Monday I had a radio meeting so I was out and about interacting with human beings... but Wednesday I didn't have any plans until 10pm when I did my radio show at CKUL (now CKXU). Alone. For weeks on end, Wednesdays were my days to stay at home to do research for my classes. Never once did I think that I should get out of my apartment. At approximately 6pm on these Wednesdays I would get this feeling of doom and call up friends on the phone. If I didn't get ahold of anyone, I would start sputtering and be inconsolable. Sometimes I'd even cry on the phone if I DID get someone on the phone. Then, once someone said, "Come over to my house! Don't be sad and lonely!" So I did, and I didn't have crying Wednesdays anymore - until last year when I started working at home by myself again. It turned into Crying Tuesdays and Crying Wednesdays. Lately it's just been "Crying Whenever." But, the doctor gave me a tip - exercise in the morning. So, I've started doing that and I dig it! Yay Me! I'm sure no one needed to know that - but whatever. I'm trying to get over it, it's not a big deal, and if I'm feeling a bit blue, I try to talk to someone. It might even be YOU!

Okay, enough sad sack crap.

Travis and I did go to a League match a few weeks ago (rugby league - different than that OTHER rugby) and the Warriors lost dreadfully (30-0), which, unfortunately was to be expected, but it was our last opportunity to see a league game because the next season doesn't start until next March, and we probably won't be in New Zealand next March. WHEW!

Hopefully I will have much more interesting things to write about in the upcoming weeks - both for the blog AND in my journal notebook.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great actor on a great show

Crap. I didn't mean to steal Travis's blog post thunder by posting something else on the same day... but in a really strange round-about way I found this clip. It's Josh Charles (Dead Poets Society - swoon!) talking about comedy and his then-current TV show, Sports Night, on The Daily Show from 10 years ago. 10! WOW!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Josh Charles
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Okay, not to be outdone, here's another Sports Night interview on The Daily Show. Peter Krause.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Peter Krause
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Onslow T-shirt Design Contest Results

The votes are in, and the winner of this year's Onslow T-shirt Design Contest is: Retrosaurus Rex! Thanks to everyone who entered. If you'd like to buy a shirt, email (get it?). Pricing will depend on interest, so if you want one cheap get your friends to buy one (or more) too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Nothin new at the moment... except for this excerpt.
"Give Pete a Chance"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh, Rhys! You crack me up!

I watched quite a few youtube videos of Rhys Darby yesterday.
I thought I'd post a few... (the Account Balance one cracks me up).

Rhys Darby - Voice overs

Rhys Darby - Account Balance

Here's the link to some other vids. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why Kiwis Come Home

I saw this posted on Fush & Chups today, and it kind of sums up... well, you know.
(there's a photo in here that looks like nearly every villa in Auckland - even our place). Seriously - this'll be the last video I post today.

Rocked The Nation: 100

I've been watching the ads on TV for a month now, and I missed 3 of the earlier episodes. I hope they all end up online someday because I'm learning a lot about Kiwi culture watching it. It's really funny.




The 2Degrees ad is pretty funny, too. I laugh every time I see it.

And here's some iconic Kiwi comedy. I split a gut watching this the other day with Travis.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On The Daily Show last night...

Travis and I watched this last night and it left me agog... can I be agog in a negative way? Only a partial interview was available on the show... here's the whole interview.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol Extended Interview
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Our House

Our House, originally uploaded by tkw954.

Travis took this really cool picture a few weeks ago. Just thought I'd post SOMETHING on the blog. :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bar Camp Auckland 2009

Today I gave a presentation on microcontrollers at Barcamp Auckland. As promised, it can be found here until I find a more permanent host (7.2 MB). (Image: Ioan Sameli.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Travis and I on Canada Day, on Canada St, which is across the street from where we used to live.

What better way to spend the morning on the way to work.

Check out the other photos on flickr.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Self-Portraits and Postcards

I'll eventually break this up into two projects - a self-portrait project and a "postcards" project, but I was so excited with the tutorials I found today I was editing everything in sight.

Plus, I wanted to add some more photos to flickr and make ONE MORE post in the month of June. :)


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer... I mean Winter

It's really hard to think of June as being the middle of winter. There are only two types of weather in the NZ winter - cold and clear, and warm and wet. When it's cold I can do laundry. When it's wet I don't have to put the heat on in the house. I'm enjoying it, though. Still no snow to shovel!

On June 23 Travis and I celebrated 5 years since our first date. :) And then on June 24 we celebrated 5 years since our second date, and we went out for dinner and took the train there and back. We went to Tasca in Newmarket. It was very yummy and romantic. I can't wait for the next 5 years!

The whole week was busy. I'm trying to stay busy to keep myself out of a winter funk.

Today it rained. Boy, did it rain. I spent the morning making an excellent breakfast (instead of going mountain biking like I was supposed to). I did a bit of designing in the afternoon after going for a walk, and then I decided to re-create the chicken croquettes that we ate at Tasca the other day. Here's the recipe I came up with, and they were yummy. It would probably feed 4-6. I don't think we ate half of them.

Amy's Chicken & Potato Tasca-inspired Croquettes

2 potatoes
500g ground chicken breast
1 slice bread
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp fresh parsley
1 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Boil or microwave the potatoes. Drain. Mash.

Soak bread in milk.

Combine potatoes, bread & milk, egg, mustard, garlic, parsley, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, and ground chicken. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Take 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and mix.

Heat oil.

Make long, skinny meat logs using approximately 2 tbsp chicken. Roll in breadcrumb mixture. Deep fry in oil until browned. Set on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

What I did was also put them in the oven on 350 deg F while I made the rest of the meal to make sure the chicken was thoroughly cooked. (approx 25 minutes)

They're really yummy. A bit time consuming, but not much more time consuming than making regular meatballs. You probably wouldn't need to bread and fry them... if you want them healthy, you could probably just bake them. :)

I wish I was doing more interesting things, but since our car is broken down, I won't be going anywhere until we fix it. I do have Canada Day off, so I'll be doing something interesting, I'm sure. Perhaps go to the art gallery, maybe swimming (if the car is fixed and I can make it out to Te Atatu). I'll just spend the day out of the house, downtown, and having a nice time by myself on my day off.

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Photos from Mt Taranaki

Trav has posted some photos of what we've been up to lately on his flickr page.

Our weekend in New Plymouth for the "May Long Weekend" was great. I loved that city. It's so beautiful - on the coast, lots of parks and gardens. We didn't get the grandiose view of Mt Taranaki from the city because it was so cloudy, but the city itself was nice enough without the view.

Trees in Pukekura Park

Reflection of the Bridge in Pukekura Park

Our hike up and around Mt Taranaki was really awesome. I was really hoping that since I have been working out that hiking would be much easier. And, for the most part, it WAS a lot easier - on the way up. The way down the mountain still killed my knees and I've had to take a week to rest them up again. Hiking would be so much better if I didn't have to come back down again. We walked in the rain for probably 50% of the hike. I was as sweaty inside my coat as I was rainy on the outside. We stopped for lunch at an overnight hut, and I attempted to dry my wool undershirt before the next leg of our hike. It worked pretty well, too.

Travis walking across the highest swing bridge on the Waingongoro Hut track, Mt Taranaki

We had a wonderful time this past weekend, too, despite first thing on our Saturday outing the car's radiator decided it's life was over. However, it wasn't an ordeal - I was parking the car when it blew up. We found a mechanic within driving distance, and Travis moved the car the 2 1/2 blocks and left it there for the weekend. From there we bought a Tongan mat for our wall (it's pretty big - about 6 feet by 3 1/2 feet... still looks small on our gigantic walls). Come to think of it, it was a REALLY boring weekend - but one we both needed. I cooked, Travis uploaded pictures, I made a lot of coffee... it was AWESOME. AND we watched the entire first season of Six Feet Under.

Well, it's time for work and I just found out that my connection to the mother ship expired on Saturday. I asked for a renewal key on Thursday. This sucks. I won't be able to get any real work done today unless someone goes in and fixes it for me, which would SUCK for them. Sigh.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lots and Lots

A lot has happened since my last post. Or since Travis's last post.

We've moved.

Many of our friends have gone on holidays, or are leaving very soon.
My coffee table was stolen out of my garage. I was working on refinishing it.
Fall is officially here, including copious amounts of rain.

However, at this moment in time, it's so awesome outside - not a cloud in the sky - I had to post this photo of me working on my front deck. :)

Later that day.... (like 2 hours later)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Coffee + Photography

Last week Amy found this article describing caffenol, a photographic film/paper developer made from groceries. Specifically, it is water, instant coffee, washing soda, and vitamin C. Apparently the caffeic acid in the coffee reacts with the silver halides to develop the black and white image. I think this is great, because there is nothing particularly toxic in the mixture, meaning that it can be disposed of down the sink. And it's also cheap, especially in NZ, where 500 mL of developer costs $25.

Amy, Sarah and I went out last weekend to do some tests. The first shot at the right is an awesome photo Amy took with an old Pentax camera loaded with el-cheapo Fomapan 100 film (still $7 per roll), developed with caffenol C and digitized with my digital camera.

We also shot a resolution test chart. Check out the original resolution image. You'll see that the resolution of the developed film is better than my 8 megapixel digital camera's.

Thanks to kind donation of some very expired litho film (from the 1960s) by Dr Bold, I was also able to shoot some large-ish format pinhole photos. These were made with a pinhole camera made out of black foam-core board with a pinhole poked in a piece of aluminum from a drink can. What you see here is an inverted digital photo of the developed film. I haven't quite perfected the development, so there are some streaks.

The final image is a pinhole photo using the 35 mm Fomapan film. Both pinhole films where also developed using caffenol C.

There are lots of more photos at Amy's and my flickr pages.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gridiron Coming to an End

Since Andrew and Rachelle brought us my football from home in November, (almost) every week a group of us have met in a park and played an informal game of touch football.

The weather has been excellent every time we have gone out to play. We have only been rained on a handful of times, and it's usually at the end of our game, anyway.

Every Tuesday (and, in March, every Wednesday) we met at 5:30 to play. Rules were adjusted every game to keep everyone on their toes, but mostly to accommodate the varying numbers of players.

Everyone has had a great time playing, and Travis and I had a fun time teaching people how to play.

The time changes next weekend... back to standard time from daylight savings time. It will be dark by 6:20, and that doesn't give us a lot of time to play ball without someone getting some serious injuries. We have to call it quits.

But, I came here to learn how to play rugby, not to teach people to play football. Hopefully our "football nights" will turn into "rugby afternoons on Sundays" in the fall.

Thank you to my friends who have come out every week to play. It's been great! You're all AWESOME!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

After One Year

I was going through all of my vacation photos just now. Travis sent me a link to an ad for a movie we had heard about called One Week, starring Joshua Jackson. We'd been wanting to see this movie ever since we saw the interview he did with George Strombo on The Hour.

So, I found the trailer for it on youtube, and had the worst sob I have had since I moved to New Zealand. I think it was probably the juxtaposition of looking at New Zealand vacation photos and seeing images of the Canadian wilderness that made me crack - I don't know. But I thought I would share the trailer with you. Travis and I probably won't be able to see the movie for a while since I doubt it'll be screening in Auckland.

Enjoy. I did.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

South Island Photos Part 3/3

Originally uploaded by tkw954
I finally uploaded the last of my photos from our South Island trip. Click the photo to view them. This is the Dunedin Municipal Chambers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

North American Driving Times

As a follow-up to "Driving Times in NZ", I am pleased to present the equivalent chart for North America, centred on Saskatoon.

Notice that it takes over 80 hours to get to some parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Also notice that Google seems to think that it's possible to drive from the middle of the Pacific.

View Larger Map

Here is a comparison of the North American and New Zealand driving time charts, using the same map and shading scales.

Be sure to click the images to see the high-resolution charts.

Liam Finn, Living Lounge

Liam Finn, Living Lounge

Liam Finn, Living Lounge
Amy and I went to see Liam Finn a the Living Lounge last night. Liam plays almost all the parts himself (with the help of a loop machine and EJ Barnes). It was an awesome show in an awesome venue. The Living Lounge is a tent in Western Park, Auckland, and has excellent acoustics. This is the first show we've been to where the PA system hasn't been overloaded to the point of distortion.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More South Island Photos

Originally uploaded by tkw954
I've uploaded the second batch of my photos from our trip to the South Island, including Kea, Kaka, Seals, and Amy doing her "Danger Stick Figure" impression.

Amy's Reading List

I don't have a real "reading list" per se... my reading list generally consists of what I'm reading right now.

Many of my friends say to me, "How can you do that? Reading more than one book at a time? Don't you get confused?" Have you seen my house? My life? You know me... I can't sit still and work on one thing at a time! I've never confused the premise of one book with the other.

So, right now I am reading:

1. Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
2. Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance - Noam Chomsky
3. Born to be Good - Dasher Keltner
4. History of Western Philosophy and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day - Bertrand Russell

I think that's all I've got on the go at the moment. Of those, only one is fiction (the first one). Now that I look at it, it's a pretty intense list. After reading the Dexter series over Christmas, I needed some philosophy to balance it out.

This has nothing to do with anything except to watch and enjoy, and perhaps join the "Top Secret Dance Off" Social Network to capture your bedroom dancing for the world to enjoy.

Find more videos like this on Top Secret Dance Off

Thursday, February 19, 2009

South Island Pics Posted, Part I

Originally uploaded by tkw954
I've uploaded the first third of my photos from the South Island to Flickr. This takes us from Christchurch to Queenstown, via Greymouth, Franz Josef Glacier, Haast, and Wanaka, including the highest paved road in NZ, the Crown Range Road.

Webstock live Twitter updates

For interested parties, here's the live Twitter feed for Webstock09 (the conference I am currently attending) in Wellington.

I'd just like to say how interested and impressed I am at the fact that there is a team of sign language translators signing through all of the main presentations. At times, the translating has been very humourous.

I don't have my photos off my camera yet, let alone on flickr, but you can check out the conference photos here.

Driving Times in NZ

After our trip around the South Island, I got to thinking about how long it takes to get everywhere in this small country. So I made this map of the driving time from our house in Auckland to everywhere in the country. The driving times come from a Matlab script I wrote that queries Google maps, and the mapping functions are from M_Map for Matlab, using shoreline data from GSHHS. Click it for higher resolution.

Vacation and Webstock09

Hopefully I won't be updating the blog as a summary of my time at Webstock, but just in case I do, this is my apology beforehand.

I'm at a web industry conference in Wellington. It hasn't started yet, but I anticipate it will start in about 5 minutes. The venue is the Wellington Town hall... oh, well, my 5 minutes has ended in about 30 seconds. The conference has started. And I'll keep you posted... even though I said I wouldn't.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Succulents, originally uploaded by Amy Templeman.

If anyone knows what this plant is, please let me know.

Also, check out my flickr pics.

I'd blog about something interesting, but I'm not very interesting at the moment. Beach, beach, more beach, sewing, watching TV shows online, football, netball, cooking and cleaning. Oh ya, and working for 8 hours a day. That's all I've been up to.

I did, however, find an interesting website for those interested in laser cut designs. It's a NZ company called Ponoko. Check it out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Weeks Where Nothing Happened...

Except for

  • completing immigration papers and more immigration papers by a very disorganized (and either a partially dyslexic or illiterate) Amy

  • crying a whole lot of tears (which resulted in bloodshot eyelids)

  • two days of hiking mountains

  • failing the warrant of fitness

  • fixing the car

  • getting the warrant of fitness

  • swimming in a mud flat when the tide was out because we were too impatient to wait 4 hours

  • more hiking

  • swimming in a waterfall

  • getting caught in the rain in a tent in the middle of a farmer's field

  • finding the solution to my motion-sickness problem

  • almost completing my beautiful dress

  • winning at quiz night

  • playing an epic 2-hour game of "gridiron" at Western Park with two people who couldn't speak any English

  • finishing reading Dexter in the Dark

  • participating in another (not horrible) netball loss

  • and watching nearly the entire Season 2 of Dexter

the last few weeks have been pretty uneventful.

Oh ya. And did I mention I have a full-time job?

Travis's 2-week accomplishment list would look very similar, except I don't think he cried, sewed a dress, or swam in a mud flat. Oh ya, and Dexter's MY thing. He thinks I'm in love with Dexter. Weirdo.

Photos to come... or just check out Amy or Travis's flickr pages.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Dunes & Bethell's Beach

Waiti Stream, originally uploaded by tkw954.

For scale - those are people on the dune. They look like red and white specks.

Swimming, originally uploaded by tkw954.

I didn't know what to expect on our short excursion. Certainly not a gorgeous fresh-water lake nestled between the biggest sand dunes I've ever seen and rolling green hills dotted with cattle.

I could have stayed here all day, although my intention was to go to Bethell's Beach to play in the waves. Had we gone to Bethell's first, there would be no contest - I'd stay at Wainamu and walk home across the dune in the dark. Next time, I'm taking ALL of my gear on the hike to Wainamu (I had edited my beach gear before leaving the car - only brought hiking boots, sarong, and sunscreen. Note: hiking boots are NOT REQUIRED. CAMERA REQUIRED.)

Another note - after swimming exclusively in salt water for the past year or so, I noticed that swimming in fresh water required a LOT MORE EFFORT. Unfortunately, Travis and I couldn't perform the second part of our experiment. We treaded water in Lake Wainamu to see how high we could get our shoulders out of the water. Our shoulders just barely made it out of the water. At Bethell's, the waves were too churney and choppy to conclude the experiment. I'll have to try it out at Herne Bay. Maybe tonight.