I have been known to be critical of people who put up a blog that spews forth all the mundane details of their inane lives. I mean, who cares? One of my friends pointed out that most people who have a blog actually have so little of interest to write about that they just write about writing in their blog, or writing about other people writing in their blog. I guess they think that it's delightfully meta, whereas it really seems to be more like some kind of mental masturbation.
Back in 2001, there were several procrastinating students working on our BCom Honours dissertations. To relieve some of our tension, we began to send each other emails with snippets of poetry about the dissertation writing process. Between myself, Geoff and Smrithi (aka Smooch), we ended up with 38 separate poems, mostly single-verse limericks, but some longer and other formats.
I needed to get a new seatbelt for my car - the old one was starting to fray a little bit in one spot. I usually get my car serviced at an AA service centre, but they aren't really a proper workshop, and carry hardly any parts, much less seatbelts. So, I turned to the yellow pages. I mean www.yellowpages.co.nz, of course. There were 14 listings under Safety Belt in Auckland City, and two of those had web pages.
I've recently discovered Boogie Wonderland, a 70's disco club in downtown Auckland. One great thing about it is that it isn't full of gorgeous teenagers who shop on High street, but a much more diverse group of people who are all there to have fun.
I know it's a while away yet, but I think we should all celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th. Make sure you check out the How-To guide. We wouldn't want anyone to commit a social faux pas like confusing "Avast" with "Ahoy". If you fancy using your pirate lingo to appeal to the opposite sex (or the same sex, pirates don't discriminate), make sure you master the pirate pick up lines. It may even help reduce global warming.
I recently bought something from a TradeMe auction, and paid immediately hoping that I would get my hands on it pretty fast. Unfortunately, the trader used Fastway Couriers (http://www.fastway.co.nz/).
Fastways have now taken two weeks to delivery a parcel from less than an hour away. This afternoon I phoned them to find out whether I could come and pick the parcel up myself, and ended up on hold for 25 minutes before being cut off. When I phoned back, I got on a IVR merry-go-round.
On Tuesday afternoon, after my last post, I managed to get through to a person. I think her name was Mary Beth. She was very apologetic and said that the parcel had taken far too long to be delivered. She promised to go down to dispatch and find out exactly where it was and then call me back. I never heard anything.
It turns out that I am an Irish citizen. Ever since I was born, I have had dual Irish and New Zealand citizenship and I didn't realize.
I think the Fastways company is in deep trouble. As far as I can tell, their operation seems incapable of delivering parcels on time, and in my experience, they lose 1/3 of the parcels sent with them.
A doctor was wheel-clamped for parking for too long in the carpark outside his surgery. He was pretty pissed off and didn't want to pay to have his car unclamped.
Bus services just don't run on time in Auckland. My usual experience is that a bus supposed to run every 15 minutes actually means that you wait for 45 minutes and then three come all at once.
My Dad taught me how to tie my shoelaces when I was about 4. I distinctly remember one day at primary school tying shoelaces for another girl. She didn't know how, and I was quite proud that I did. That's why I was quite shocked to learn a few months ago that I've been doing it wrong for 24 years.
I have been given a new job at work, and I really don't want it. The department's numbers have been rapidly falling and we're in trouble. To try and address the issue, we streamlined our offerings a bit, dumped a few courses (some good, some not), and decided to add a new sexy stage 1 course to lure students into our major, and more importantly, inspire them to continue.
Steve and I were driving along Tripoli Road on the way home from Pakuranga (Steve's written his account of what happened). A dark blue station wagon was parked on the side of the road (as were many other cars). Only, as we passed this one, it began to speed away. We had to swerve across the centre line to avoid hitting it.
The US Senate just took a vote on whether to amend the constitution so that flag-burning could be banned. It failed by one vote.
I had a birthday recently. Nope, I'm not telling how old, but I'm going to show off my pressies.
I finally got my grubby little mitts on a new 10c coin. Well, actually, Marshmallow let me hold one of hers last week, but that wasn't quite the same. I now I have one all of my very own.
I hit the shops on Sunday, and amidst $600 worth of booty I had a stack of blank DVDs. I sat down to do a bit of burning, only to realize/remember that I only had a DVD reader, not a writer. Doh!
Now that I'm living on my own, I can't delegate the grocery shopping chore to anyone. I've often said that I hate grocery shopping, which isn't really true. I actually don't mind it, but I don't enjoy it enough to want to do it. I remember that when I first left home, doing my own grocery shopping was a new experience so I really did enjoy it. But that was over ten years ago now, so the novelty has well and truly worn off.
I managed to get myself down to Sylvia Park today to check out the new shopping centre and supermarkets.
I saw this accident just after it happened yesterday morning. I was on the shuttle from Tamaki to the city campus and we must've come around the corner literally just after it happened.
This is what my front door looked like when I got home from work on Thursday 11th January:
I signed the paperwork for my new apartment today. I move in about two weeks time. I'll probably post more details after my move in, but for a sneak preview, here's the kitchen:
Just a week after I move into a highrise apartment, Auckland has its biggest earthquake since 1970.
Of enrolling in a PhD that is.
I moved into my new apartment a couple of weeks ago and I love it.
I spent the day at the Royal New Zealand Air Force open day at the Whenuapai air base. During the morning, we wandered around through the hangars, checking out all the different squadrons and getting to observe the huge range of activities the Air Force performs.
I realise this was a while ago now, but the weekend after I first moved into this apartment, the Queen Mary II arrived in Auckland for the first time.
Some people have been complaining about the lack of posts on this blog. This blog is called Thesis Procrastination, and the simple reason is that I'm not procrastinating at the moment, I'm trying to get the damn thing finished.
When I started this blog in 2003, I signed up with kiwiwebhost as my web hosting provider. They were excellent - accounts were set up within minutes, requests were actioned within an hour even on evenings and sundays. They were cheap, at $1 a week (+GST) for 10mb space & 1gb bandwidth, when many other providers were charging $15-25 a month for the same package.
Last Tuesday morning, a dozen people walked into my apartment while I was in the shower. If you take one step inside the door of my apartment and turn your head to the right, you are looking straight into the shower. It was pure luck that that morning the bathroom door was more closed than open and they didn't actually see me. I normally don't bother closing doors since I live alone.
Today I experienced the 'caravan'. Nearly two dozen people traipsed into my building and inspected my apartment. They were only there a couple of minutes, and then a photographer took some photos and they all buggered off.
Yes, I know it has been a long long time since I posted. I'm a bad bad blogger.
Yeah, it was my birthday a while ago. More than a month ago now. Wasn't a big deal, although some people kinda got excited over the fact that my age is now divisible by 10. Anyway, I had an absolutely lovely birthday weekend with my gorgeous friends Amal and Raina. They treated me to Mamma Mia (which was so good I ended up seeing it 3 times).
The Large Hadron Collider might be out of action for up to two months after a cooling failure caused a quench. Scientists are still fine tuning and testing everything before the collision experiments were due to start next month. It was out of action for a week already when a transformer failed, but the damage from a magnet quench is potentially more serious and takes longer to fix. The magnets used to guide the beams are superconducting electromagnets which are cooled by liquid helium to only a few degrees above absolute zero. A quench happens when part of the magnet gets a little too warm and suddenly starts behaving like an ordinary conductor instead of a superconductor. The enormous current it carries heats it up quickly and spreads to the rest of the magnet which very rapidly can heat up by several hundred degrees, boiling off the liquid helium in the process.
I'm a swing voter. I've voted Labour in the past, but there are a few things they've done that leave me dissatisfied. National has promised not to do anything really bad during it's first term in office, so I am truly undecided about which party I'd like leading the government.
Well, the outcome of the election obviously wasn't what I was hoping for, but at least I made some money from it.
Well, it sure has been a long time since I last posted. This time I have not one excuse, but many:
My current PC is nearly 3 years old now and is getting a bit past its use-by date. I'm planning on buying or building myself a new PC over the next couple of months.
I can't believe it has been over two months since I last posted. Naughty me.
This has been a crazy semester for me. I'm redeveloping both of my courses, which is a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. I'm teaching some new technologies that I haven't used before, so there's a lot of learning involved before I can even start preparing lecture and lab materials. I barely get time to do the other things that I'm now responsible for at work, let alone any kind of social activities. My car seriously needs a mechanic but I just haven't had time to take it. I have a serious issue with the radiator or radiator hoses which means I need to pour about a 3L bottle of water into it every day or two. Fortunately I'm only doing short trips so it doesn't have time to heat up much, but the noise it's making is quite unsettling.
Whenever I’ve installed MSN Messenger, I’ve always unselected all the other stuff that comes along with it: email client, writing client, photo manager, toolbar etc. I figured my needs were already taken care of in those areas. But recently a colleague raved about Windows Live Writer, so tonight I downloaded it and gave it a try.
I’ve been taking Spanish classes every Monday night for the past three months. Tonight I started the level 2 intensive course – 2 hours every Monday and Thursday for the next six weeks. Back when I signed up, I figured that I’d be over the busy part of the semester by now. Look how well that prediction turned out.
Everyone knows that donating money to charity is a good thing. But which charity? How do you decide which charities to give money to?
If we just consider the poorest developing countries, what is the best kind of assistance we could give them? Malaria nets? Drinking water? Measles vaccines? Antibiotics? Food? Or birth control?
I’m still deciding how to spread my charity donations, but I’ve decided I want to support a mixture of local, national and international charities, and at levels ranging from relief of hunger and disease to support of education and entrepreneurship. For the latter case, I’ve started lending through Kiva.
As most of you already know, at the beginning of this month, I spent a week in hospital having my gallbladder removed. I’ve had gallstones for the past three years, but generally they only gave me a night of pain every few months or so and armed with tramadol (the next step down from morphine), I could handle it. Unfortunately, one night at the end of June, I got the gallstone pain again and it didn’t go away.
This is the second part of the story of my hospital visit. The first thing I had to learn about being in hospital is that nothing happens to a timetable. The nurses come around every few hours (whenever they are free) to take vitals and dispense pain meds. The doctors come around at some time, usually in the morning or evening and usually in flocks to ask a couple of questions and dispense directions. Meals arrive at times roughly correlating with breakfast, lunch and dinner but varying up to an hour or more each day. The phlebotomist arrives sometime in the morning. They’ll come and take you to surgery sometime in the morning. You’ll be discharged sometime tomorrow. There’s no point asking for specific times for anything – the hospital just doesn’t work like that.
Here is the finished product:
I promised myself many years ago that when I finished my thesis I would buy myself a PDA. I had my eye on a Palm LifeDrive at one point. But that was a long time ago, and PDAs seem to have gone out of style now – what you have are smartphones instead.
My plans for giving to charity have advanced one step further – I’ve now signed up for the Unicef Global Parents program. That pretty much takes care of the international and extreme poverty end of the spectrum. At the more local and personal end of the scale, I also support the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, since several of my family members have needed this to get to hospital.
This morning I made myself breakfast. That’s not particularly unusual, I have breakfast at home about half the time. Today, I had bacon and eggs with tastes-like-home-made-but-isn’t tomato relish and a vanilla chai latte. Everything was ready at the same time so I sat down to enjoy it. At the exact second that I picked up the fork, the whole building’s fire alarms went off.
Most majors cities are sited on either an excellent harbour or an easy river crossing. Auckland isn’t called the City of Sails for nothing – our harbour is one of the best in the world. And tsunamis only reinforce this.
Two weeks ago, I had two teeth surgically extracted. The teeth in question were my lower right 2nd molar and premolar. About a year or so ago, the molar cracked and I got an abscess beneath those two teeth. I had to get a root canal in each, which was difficult because the roots were twisted and almost entwined. Unfortunately, the root canal treatment failed and I had to have both teeth extracted.
I’ve never been one of those people who get up early. My body clock has gradually shifted around over the years, depending on my work schedule, but rarely has it had me getting up before 9am. At times, I would be waking up around 11am to midday every day.
A week ago, I made a lump sum payment on my student loan. Coupled with IRD crediting last month’s deductions from my pay, my loan is now fully paid off. In fact, I overpaid a little, just to be on the safe side. I’ll be getting a refund at some point once IRD works out all the figures.
My car broke down about a month ago. I had trouble starting it at home one afternoon and eventually got it to work, but that night, in the OGGB carpark, it refused to start. I delayed doing anything about it for a while, since I didn’t really have either the time or the money to deal with it, so my car has been abandoned on level 3 of OGGB ever since. It’s not just a battery issue since the lights and electrics all work perfectly fine. Given that the car has been getting harder to start, and now won’t turn over at all (I just get a click) my conclusion is the fault lies with the starter motor.
My car has been stuck in the OGGB carpark for over a month with a bust starter motor. I finally got it towed out last Monday and paid $666 to have it fixed. On tuesday night, I was out with my sister and as I left, she pointed out that during my car’s abandonment, the left headlight bulb died of neglect. It was on my todo list for this weekend, but I’d forgotten about it when I planned to go out to dinner tonight in New Lynn. With the streetlights as bright as they are around the city, I couldn’t even tell the difference.
Since I last posted I have:
And no, I don’t mean we are stealing the neighbours wireless. (We have occasionally done that, but that’s not what this post is about.)
Auckland put on a hell of a party for the opening night of the Rugby World Cup. The opening ceremony kicked off at Eden Park at 7:30pm, followed by the first game, NZ vs Tonga at 8:30pm. At the same time, there was a world cup opening party in the CBD, with waka arriving, a procession of 600 warriors through the city, a mass haka and free concerts by Dave Dobbyn & the Finn brothers on Queens Wharf. Our place has a great view of "party central", Queens Wharf. We can see the big screens from here, although they are too far away to really be able to see anything. The best view was on TV. We can hear pretty well, so could hear both of the concerts, though. Stephen took a video of the view so will link to it when I can.
Lately there have been quite a few major changes in my life.
My banking setup is rather complicated. Right now, I have 8 active bank accounts and 2 credit cards with 6 different banks. None of these banks charge me any fees for any of my accounts, so I’ve always just left them open as I’ve switched banks. My primary bank used to be ASB, then it was National, then KiwiBank, then ANZ. I am now currently in the process of switching back to KiwiBank.
Lots more to come, but for now – I got married, had a honeymoon on a motorcycle in NZ and then moved to India.; We are settling in Hyderabad and we currently have a motorcycle and an apartment we are in the process of furnishing. I’ve been very busy, but I do intend to post when I can.
I just drove 12km in Hyderabad! Granted, traffic was light as it was 9pm, but on the other hand, it was dark and hard to see, and I was driving a manual for only the second time in over 15 years.
One of the most enjoyable parts of this trip back to New Zealand was spending time with my niece and nephew. Makayla is just over 2 months old, and Cameron will be 3 later this month. He’s adorable although a huge bundle of energy! He’s a pretty good big brother though. When his sister is crying, he’ll come and try to cheer her up, making funny noises and faces at her to make her laugh, and giving her hugs and kisses. And even though she’s not a very smiley baby so far, he is usually able to get a smile from her.
Beautiful mehendi, done by my niece!