Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tiny Hiatus

Hi friends,
Just wanted to let you know that I won't be blogging for the next two weeks. I'm in a desperate scramble to write a paper between now (Monday morning) and tomorrow afternoon (anyone have any brilliant insight into how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead serves as deconstructionist literature?). Once I hand it in, I then have salsa class, and then come home to pack.
Hopefully I'll survive this hell of a paper in time to catch my 6AM flight to Melbourne on Wednesday. Will be in Melbourne for two days, then driving along the Great Ocean Road, up to Adelaide, then taking a night-bus back to Melbourne in time to come home on 10th July.
I'm sure I'll have tons of photos to upload when I return.
Love you and miss you all tons.

p.s. Still no sign of sweet little Honda.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Honda update

As much as the superstitious side of me doesn't want to jinx anything by posting this, Honda is missing.
We haven't seen her since Tuesday morning, and shortly after that her owner (our landlady Jenny) said she couldn't find her.
It's now Friday, and she's still not around. Usually it could be chalked up to a kitty exploring, but it actually means she hasn't eaten since then, and Honda was ALWAYS hungry. The only reason she started hanging out with us as because she thought we'd feed her.
She's got a ton of allergies and can only be fed prescription food. She even has a tag on her collar that says "Do Not Feed".
She's named Honda because when she purrs, she sounds like a car's motor. It's that loud. And that sweet.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Here are some photos to tide you over for a bit:

meet Honda

she's a very good girl

yes she is

Honda is our neighbor's cat. She's pretty much adopted us as she comes over every day to cuddle and talk our ears off. She's 14-and-a-half years old.

sunset from our back deck

sunrise from our front porch

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dancing with Beatrice

Surprise! This is not about my salsa classes, nor is it about Bea Arthur.

This is actually about Dancing With the style.

Since I've been in Wellington, I've found myself watching lots of American programs that I never really bothered with when living there: Grey's Anatomy, House, The Simpsons and Boston Legal to name a few. It's really interesting to see which shows travel all the way over here: of course Desperate Housewives made it, as did Lost, and Prison Break's about to start on its path to world domination on Wednesday. (Side note: if I haven't bored you to tears already about my fleeting experience hanging out with Wentworth Miller for a day back in his Princeton years, suffice to say I can't even wrap my head around how popular he is. The icing on the cake, for now at least, is having his lovely self following me all the way to the other side of the world. Seeing him everywhere in the US was hard enough to process, but now it's getting weird).
What boggles my mind even more are the other shows that make it over here: Twins (with Melanie Griffith and Cousin Larry), Ghost Whisperer, Joey, Two and a Half Men, Extreme Makoeover: Home Edition, The Creflo Dollar Show.

Anyhoo...not to be outdone by the States, NZ has its own version of Dancing With the Stars (which I never watched in NY). Last season former All Black Norm Hewitt won:

This season it's down to a former Miss World (Lorraine Downes) and an Olympic discus thrower (Beatrice Faumuina). I'm rooting for "Queen Bea" not because at first glance she seems the underdog, but because she's got the whole bleedin' package:

She gets up there, big and beautiful, and seems to have the best time ever. Last week, she even flipped her partner during the jive where the guys usully do the flipping. She's lovely and humble, and just...well...the shit.

You know who I'm voting for (if voting were free, of course. In lieu of that, I'm sending out tons of vibes...)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

All Blacks vs Ireland...round II

So, our landladies next door had us over for drinks and nibbles this evening. The invitees were all of us here at 30 Thompson Street: Steven, Joanne, Gerard, and myself. Jenny and Barbara were our hosts and are our landlords.
Steven was the guest of honor as he and his boyfriend Shaun are heading to the States on Wednesday (LA, then Vegas, then NYC for 11 days) so we (sans Gerard, who was working) went over and had oh...I don't know...5 bottles of wine between the four of us...and it's now 9:50pm and we just got home.
Forgive me for my drunken typos.
When we got back, Gerard was home and watching the rugby: round 2 of the All Blacks vs. Ireland in Auckland.
I was feeling a bit guilty for not supporting my boys as whole-heartedly as the last game and superstitiously thought that that might cost them the win...but we managed to come back in time for Gerard to inform us that they AB won 27 to 17.


They knew I was supporting them in spirit, even though my priorities were a bit out of wack.
Mama's going to bed. Hands up -- who thinks she'll be hung over tomorrow?

Luke McAlister during tonight's game (guess I'm watching the replay tomorrow)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Just a Small Town Girl...

From the first day I arrived, the one thing that all Wellingtonians seemed to mention over and over again is how small a town it is, and that they never fail to bump into people they know on a daily basis. They always said, "It seems much bigger than it is."
I could never relate, as I guess I didn't know enough people to manage to 'bump' into them on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis.
So my stock answer became a dismissive "yeah, yeah, yeah."

The other night my flatmate Steven, probably out of pity for my lousy "I want to drop out of school" attitude, invited me to play scrabble with him and a couple of friends at his friend Dion's house.
I said yes, we went, and had a great time (my first time playing scrabble, for the love of God). One of the scrabble players was a kid named Will who happened to be from Georgia, of all places (the state, not the country). He's been here for 6 months and is going back this Sunday. Nice guy who went to AMDA in New York, and yes, dropped out of "scAMDA" as he calls it...for obvious reasons. And to his credit. Next semester he'll be going to Berklee School of Music in Boston, (yes, I thought of you, Robert!).
Now, Will started harping on about the fact that after only being here for 6 months, it's AMAZING how many people he bumps into on the street, blah blah blah, and I of course turned that part of my brain off, as again: I can't relate.
After wine and beer and scrabble, we went home and I was really glad I went.
Next day I met my friend Anna for a study session at a coffee place on Cuba Street. In the midst of pulling our hair out over this berloody essay we're trying to work on, who walks in but Will.
I stopped my whining about the essay, stared at him and shrieked, "I played SCRABBLE with him last night!"
Thus began my afternoon/evening of bumping into people:
Walking down the street: "Hey, there's my salsa teacher!"
At a different salsa class: "Hey, that girl works at my school!"
At a bar after class: "Hey, that's the Latin guitar player at Havana!"
Needless to say...I can now beam with pride when someone starts yakking about how small a town this is.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Top o' the mornin'

Ahhhhh...there's nothing quite like being woken up at 4 am by another bloody earthquake:

"Early morning quake shakes Wellington11 June 2006
Some Wellingtonians had an early wake-up call this morning after an earthquake shook the capital around 4am.
The quake which measured 4.7 on the Richter scale struck at 4.01am and was centred 30km north-west of Porirua at a depth of 50km, GNS Science said.
GNS Science said the quake would have been felt throughout the Wellington region."

Yeah, uh-huh.

In other news, the All-Blacks played Ireland last night in Hamilton. Apparently Ireland hasn't beaten NZ in 101 years (is rugby that old?), and last night was no exception...except they put up one hell of a fight. Despite a 'try' (translation: goal) scored by the All Blacks in the first 45 seconds, Ireland then came ahead and dominated the game well into the second half; sometimes leading by 9 points.
In the end, thankfully, the AB got their sh%t together and won. Phew.

One of the high points for me was to finally see the infamous All Black haka at the beginning of the game.

Fom the All Blacks website:
"Today, haka is defined as that part of the Maori dance repertoire where the men are to the fore with the women lending vocal support in the rear. Most haka seen today are haka taparahi, haka without weapons.

More than any aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race. Haka is not merely a past time of the Maori but was also a custom of high social importance in the welcoming and entertainment of visitors. Tribal reputation rose and fell on their ability to perform the haka (Hamana Mahuika).
Haka reflected the concerns and issues of the time, of defiance and protest, of factual occurrences and events at any given time
The haka adds a unique component, derived from the indigenous Maori of New Zealand, and which aligns with the wider Polynesian cultures of the Pacific.
The All Blacks perform the haka with precision and intensity which underpin the All Black approach."

And here is some video of the All Blacks performing the haka (from other games) I recommend turning the volume way up on these:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
from a match against the French in Paris

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
from a match against England in Dunedin, NZ

Friday, June 09, 2006

Patricia Piccinini

The Guardian




Surrogate 2

Went to the City Gallery today (instead of doing my essays, of course) to see the new Patricia Piccinini exhibition called In Another Life. Girl is crazy. Crazy awesome.

From the City Gallery website:

'This exhibition at City Gallery Wellington is a challenging, often dead-pan, look at the tangle of questions that surround genetics and biodiversity, and the interface between science and fantasy. Encompassing sculpture, photographs and video, the show includes Piccinini’s major new body of work ‘Nature’s Little Helpers’ 2005; the video work When my baby (when my baby); two sculptures (Cyclepups 2005 and Truck Babies 1999) which playfully propose a stage of infancy for machines; plus a hybrid tyre/creature Radial, 2005 and the major work The Young Family 2002-2003, which was part of Piccinini’s presentation at the Venice Biennale in 2003.
Piccinini’s work creates environments that are, at first glance, deceptively ‘normal’ and commonplace. But these seemingly familiar worlds are quickly disrupted by the intrusion of strange or grotesque creatures. The hyper-realism of Piccinini’s sculptural figures is one of their most attractive qualities, drawing the viewer into an unsettling pseudo-reality. The forms of the sculptures lead into a wide world of popular fantasy, make-believe and horror.
In the sculptures and photographs that form the series ‘Nature’s Little Helpers’, Piccinini addresses the topical issue of genetic engineering. These works tease out the complex of motivations and interests that surround human interventions in the natural environment. As she states, ‘Nature’s Little Helpers’ is ‘about doing the right things for the wrong reasons’. In these works we are presented with scenes of suburban/rural fringe banality – the building site, the Speedway, a freshly ploughed subdivision; sites where inter-species cohabitation can be fraught with tension and conflicting needs.
Truck Babies, Cyclepups and When my baby (when my baby) pick up on some of the questions raised by ‘Nature’s Little Helpers’. The video work When my baby (when my baby) pans across the surface of a hairy, fleshy, organic mass, picking out shapes that resemble facial features from within the swelling, breathing block of flesh. The work seems as if it should be recognisable and definable, but is strangely impossible to place. In Truck Babies, Piccinini creates perfectly-formed offspring for massive transport trucks. As she says of this work: ‘It asks questions about the nature of contemporary society—and the increasingly strange relationship between what we see as the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’. It asks whether we can any longer simply draw a line separating animals and machines, and where we stand in between the two’. With Cyclepups this relationship is even more difficult to define as these infant motorcycles have a partially formed, pupae-like appearance. It is the leather saddle and iridescent metallic paint finish that gives us the clearest an indication of what they will ‘grow-up’ to become.'

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Winter in Wellington

Some more pickies of that it's officially winter.

7:00 am from my front porch

4:30 pm from my front porch

panorama of Wellington from half-way up to Mt Victoria lookout

I have a pretty amazing panorama of Wellington from the actual top of Mt Victoria, which I climbed yesterday. As it's pretty much a 360-degree view, however, it won't fit on the blog. The best I can do is give you the link to the photo, which is posted on Photobucket. Be prepared to do a lot of horizontal scrolling (and make special note of the random Austrian guy smiling on the bench):


Wednesday, June 07, 2006


"Street closed after package outside Wellington Trades Hall
Posted at 10:37am on 8 Jun 2006

Wellington police closed main roads and evacuated buildings in the central city on Thursday, following a report of a suspicious package.
Vivian and Marion Sts have been cordoned off since about 9am after a member of the public saw a suspicious bag outside the Trades Hall. Police are awaiting the arrival of the bomb disposal unit.
In March 1984, a homemade bomb went off in the foyer of the Trades Hall, killing its caretaker Ernie Abbott. The person who planted the bomb has never been found."

A Maori in New York

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Dad. A really cool story and a great example of some of the tenets of Maori tradition:

Monday, June 05, 2006

Flight of the Conchords

Trying to learn how to show video on this blog. Here's my first experiment - a kiwi comedy duo called Flight of the Conchords (thanks Mike!). Below is a clip from their HBO 'One Night Stand' show that is absolutely effing hilarious:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

( noticing that it's slightly out of synch. Aw well, funny anyway!!!)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Space

Here are some photos of my house. Will have more soon...

my window

my room

View through my window of Grillie, our landladies' kitty-cat, hanging out on our porch

A lily in our front garden, and the view from there

Autumn leaves falling from the tree in our back yard.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...relaxing in front of the fireplace at the end of the day...

a parting shot