Mobile Meteor

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

BA Gathering at Redoak

Just before Dana and I shipped off to New Zealand, we joined Candice and Todd from the States and a number of great Sydney BAs at Redoak. There was plenty of tasty beer, and the night went on a bit too well for me... we were up at 5AM the next morning to catch the flight to Christchurch, NZ. Highlights: free beers, dry-hopped IPA on cask just for BeerAdvocate, Todd blowing into the air mattress for a half hour before realising there was another plu open on the other side. You can check out photos from the night here. I resurrected the old dwarbi pose!

Two Thousand and Seven

Here we are in MMVII. An easy one to pick out during the end credits of a movie, that's for sure. What else will it hold for us, besides the easy movie-credit-reading thing? We'll have to see.

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Just Don't Feel Welcome

Traveling around New Zealand these past few days, Dana and I just don't feel welcome. We're driving a small little rental - a Corolla - at the speed limit and keeping left as we should... but still, wherever we drive, heads turn. They stare. They all seem to be thinking, "What the flip are you doing here?" Some actually shout at us, "Bah!" We laugh at them, of course, and continue driving, but it can be a bit unnerving. Tonight, after dinner at the Ascot Hotel in Invercargil, we decided to walk home. Again, heads turning, confused looks, and at one point a group ran along their side of the fence as we passed. These were cows, but many of the other offenders were sheep or horses. Thankfully all of the humans we have encountered have been very kind, but someone needs to sort out the livestock and beasts of burden. It's just rude.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Apologies to the 7 or so people who read this blog: I'm quite backblogged at the moment. Seriously, I have some really solid posts lined up about the Sculpture by the Sea in 2006, scuba diving with grey nurse sharks, more on the Great Ocean Road and The Grampians, New Zealand trip plans and even more on Christmas in Sydney. It's been a struggle to find time this celebratory season, but I hope to get more up soon. Tonight we went to Paddington for dinner and drinks organised by our friend Aaron. Ah, Aaron, your attempt to give up the mobile phone should trigger an entire post on our dependency on modern technology, but I don't have the time!

OK, maybe I do. Noble Aaron gave up his phone last week, returning to "old-fashioned planning ahead." In the old fashioned manner we planned to go snorkeling Saturday. A cloudy Saturday came... I had no way of finding out where/when/if I was meeting Aaron. I soon gave up and made other plans. No worries.
*It took Aaron less than a week to get a new mobile phone.

But here's another question for the world in which we live:
When did "blue" become a flavour and what exactly does it taste like? (Hint: It tastes nothing like blueberry)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pete Has Gas

Pete, one of our lionhead goldfish, has been suffering from gas. He's been swimming funny for a few weeks. And by "funny" I don't mean he's hamming it up in the bowl, telling Jim to "Swim this way," and then swimming really funny so Jim follows in a similar manner. I mean sometimes I look in and he's belly-up at the top of the bowl or floating on his side. The first few times I thought he was dead, but when I poked him he swam away. Also he'd be swimming in such a way that he is obviously trying not to float to the top. It seems that Pete was swallowing too much air when he went up for his flakes. As a result, his belly would fill up with gas and his swim bladder wasn't strong enough to keep him from popping up to the surface.

Tonight he's beeen sleeping on the bottom alongside Jim for the first time in a while. How did I fix it? This morning I dropped a Beano in the bowl, and Pete quickly ate it up. This evening Pete let out a massive ripper, sending dozens of bubbles to the surface. I swear I think I saw him smile. Jim wasn't so happy.

If you found this post because you have a goldfish suffering from gas and want more info about how to give him Beano, please read on:
Don't feed your goldfish Beano. Wet the flakes down by adding them to a little bit of bowl water before you feed your fish, this way the flakes will sink. If you actually considered giving Beano to your fish, please hand all of your fish - no, all animals in your care - to someone who can take better care of them. Try the guy around the corner who clubs baby seals.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

There is Room at the Inn!

Oh joy of joys! One of the two hotels in Invercargill, New Zealand, that do dinner on Christmas took pity on two weary travelers and decided to roll out another card table to accomodate us for their Christmas buffet! Not long ago we were denied, but perhaps the manager watched It's a Wonderful Life or saw a moving display window at a department store. By "moving" I mean the characters in the display window were animatronic. And by "moving" I also mean that the sight of a twelve-inch reindeer bobbing its head awkwardly to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" melted his icy heart into a puddle of heart-love.

Dana and I are looking forward to the dinner, at which we will likely be the only out-of-towners, however, I miss the appropriateness of the "No room at the inn" motif. How would things have been if the owners of the inn in Bethlehem had a change of heart? What if Dave, proprietor of the popular inn אליעתתזר בן–יודה‎ had gone Christmas shopping that night - which makes sense because it was Christmas Eve... or about to be. So Dave goes to וסיעפתתדא‎ to pick up some earings his wife's been eyeing, and while waiting in line with all the other people who waited until the last minute he sees spies a rare window dressing including the nativity scene. Dave thinks, "Hey, wait a minute, I just told a young couple, one of whom was with child, that there was no room at the inn." Realising that this was not the most shining moment of his life, Dave seeks them out, whips out a cot and the course of history is changed. As we have it Dave didn't do this. I'm not sure if he wrapped up his Christmas shopping way in advance (pun intended) or if he didn't even get those earings.

Let's all just pause a think about it: What would our nativity scene look like if Dave HAD went out to get those earrings? It really makes you think.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Still Not Beginning to Look Anything Like Christmas

Today we went to a housewarming party and then to another Christmas party. After the latter we swung by our old hood, Surry Hills, for a big Christmas party in a park. We sat with friends and drank wine, listening to the entertainers playing songs about gum trees and kookaburras before the carolling began. When it did I belted out my best Hark the Heralds to attract the attention of Lord Mayor Clover Moore. When I did, Ms Lord Mayor was eyeing me big time. Dana got jealous. I told Dana not to worry, the lord mayor just isn't my type. Anyway, we sang a bit any then left, through the bats of Hyde Park we walked, and when we got home it was still light out... and it still didn't feel like Christmas. Will it ever?

Friday, December 08, 2006

No Room at the Inn

Looks like Dana and I missed the boat. By "the boat" I mean eating dinner out on Christmas night. By "missed" I mean that we can't do it this year. I guess we could but not where we plan to be on Christmas: Invercargil, New Zealand. I called our B&B to get a recommendation and one was sent. It seems there are two hotels in Invercargil that offer a Christmas dinner. Both places are fully booked. I can guess that locals fill up the hotels, so what do travelers do? I've asked a few people this same question and most say, "People don't travel on Christmas." To quote a one Alanis Morisette, "Isn't it ironic? Don't you think? A little toooooo ironic. And yeah I really do think."

No traveling on Christmas? No place to stay the night? Sounds very familiar. How about one Ms Mary and one Mr Joseph: they were traveling. In fact, Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas, was a road baby. So shouldn't any nation that celebrates Christmas as a public holiday also enforce, militarily, every hotel to offer food and shelter to travelers? At the moment they do not, so we will have to fend for ourselves. I think we’ll end up with some snacks and a very nice bottle of wine for our first Christmas away from the home away from home.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Planning for New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Dana and I have been planning our trip to the Great Land of Hobbits: Kiwiland aka Aotearoa aka New Zealand. "New" Zealand? Where's the old one? Well, Zealand is the largest island in Denmark, so named because of the huge seal population (seal-land). New Zealand was colonised by whites from England, so perhaps these chaps were very observant and, noticing the equally huge population of seals, named it New Zealand. I'm not sure.

OK I just checked. It seems New Zealand was named after the Dutch province of Zealand. The new version of this province.

Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand. It means "Land of the Long White Cloud"... so that says something for the weather we can expect. Māoris are the original human inhabitants of the islands, having arrived about 1000 years ago. New Zealand's Rugby Union team starts each game with the traditional Haka, where they strut their stuff and stick out their tongues to intimidate the opponent. The All Blacks are pretty good, so I guess it kind of works.

We're both very excited. We're limiting ourselves to the south half of the South Island, which is a lot larger than most people would expect. Also, NZ is also a lot farther from Australia than people think: about the distance that Chicago is from New York... it's certainly not swimming distance. Along the way we'll enjoy some tasty local beers, take in the scenery (which I'm told will always exceed expectations), kayak in the fjords of Milford Sound, bungee jump (one of us), and spend our first Christmas away from where we spent our first Christmas away.

Here you can get an idea of the distance and size of the islands. We'll be landing in Christchurch and heading south from there. Obviously we'll be a lot further south so the temperature may be a bit more like what we're used to in the States at this time.

I don't think we'll see a real kiwi, but we'll keep our eyes open.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It Must Be Christmas

"You know it's Christmas when the cherries are in season," was a phrase a friend recently recited, and to which we responded with confusion. Then I heard, "It's the first day of summer... must be the time for putting up the Christmas decorations!" The warmer it gets, the more like Christmas it is! Just like last year, I'm struggling. Back in NY I took in the yearly round of Christmas decorations with a sort of sardonic acceptance. Here it's just absurd! So I used to think snow was the sign of Christmas; now I think stone fruit is the sign of Christmas.