Buy my car !!

Buy my car !!

Please spread the word to see if anyone you know would be interested in my fabulous car:

2000 Toyota Echo
Black, 4-door, 5-speed manual
50,000 miles. Great shape, all maintenance records (yes, I followed the overkill Toyota maintenance regime…)
Air Conditioning, CD player/stereo
Asking $7,250 (this may be a little on the high side — I’ll check Edmunds today and maybe revise…)

Buy my car !!

—26 days to Snog Week

Cat Update

I know everyone is on the edges of their seats, so I’ll let you know the cats have settled in just fine. Rasputin is once again head dancing and presenting his belly for fluffing, as I knew he would be. Slow Top acts like — well, he acts like someone who’s been stuck hanging out with a couple of people who, much as he may be fond of them, don’t really speak his language, and now that he’s back with someone who does, he’s got a month of socialization to catch up on. Azami is still a little slower than the other two at really declaring the place hers, but she’s working on it. She’s settled enough to start getting bored, though, and y’all recall what *that’s* like. No mice here for her to hunt.

Slow’s vet appointment went fine, although she did hear his heart murmur once or twice, which I thought the drugs were supposed to be correcting. : One of his meds was available; the other they hopefully put in the mail to me yesterday. Slow, predictably, was miserable at finding himself at the vet just when he thought things were starting to look up (he’d only had 24 hours to get used to the new place), but forgave me quickly once I got him back to the apartment.

For me, it’s been getting used to the new noises at night, figuring out what each probably is, and whether or not I need to get up and stop whatever they’re doing to make it. And it’s probably good to practice sharing the bed again.

—27 days to Snog Week.

W00t!

USA ! USA !

No, wait.

Okay, so what *do* you chant when the All Blacks have just trounced Australia 50 to 21 at the Tri-Nations match in Sydney ? (And this after *pasting* South Africa last week.)

Hmm… Must ask at work on Monday.

—30.5 days to Snog Week

CATS!

Whee !!!

Chris drove into town to help me with the cages and stuff. They arrived as “cargo” around 1:30 this afternoon (I took a “long lunch” to pick them up) — and it’s a good thing Chris came, ’cause I don’t think I’d have found the cargo terminal on my own (well, I would have, but it would have taken a bit of effort, certainly). The plane was late, so we sat in the car in the parking lot for a bit, then lined the three cages up along the back seat and off we went to the apartment.

The cats were pretty unhappy in the cages, all huddled in the back, and once we let them out into the apartment, they went straight under the bed. After a bit, they came out and explored every inch of the place, scurrying back under the bed whenever there was some new noise — a car starting outside, for instance. In general, though, they seemed pretty okay, with Slow Top being the most intrepid. I think he was the most reassured by my presence, and so felt safest.

I had to go back to work for a 4PM meeting and social event (beer), but they’d all had a couple of bites of the food I’d put out, and they’d all at least walked by the litter box, so I left them back under the bed and walked back along the waterfront to work.

Back from beer (in one of the bar/restaurants built into one of the old historic waterfront sheds), I opened the apartment door to see Rasputin peeking out of the bedroom at me. Slow Top and Azami were still on the bed, where all three had been snoozing. Now that I’m here, they’re all back to exploring, but with much more confidence, this time. Slow came and sat on me for a bit when I started up the computer, and still returns from time to time for love (and if I get up, he comes back from wherever he’s been to follow me around). Rasputin is discovering all of the things he can jump up on, and is already showing signs of returning to his walking back and forth in front of the monitor behavior. Azami, funnily enough, is the most skittish, and the least interested in reassurance from me.

I’m pleased that their body language is very positive. They’re wary, but curious and generally confident, not nervous or frightened. And the boys, at least, are glad to see me. I’m sure Azami will come around. :^)

Yay !

—31.5 days to Snog Week

dwindling days

Little time remains, and yet there is still plenty that needs to be done. In only 2.5 weeks I leave Boston and begin the 2-week odyssey that ends in New Zealand. Most of the tasks that remain are work related (finishing papers, reports, and presentations), but I also have this car to sell. Hopefully within the next two weeks that will get resolved.

I am continuing to sell, donate, return, or ship-overseas the items that remain in the car. Within the next 15 days I have to whittle it down to one suitcase worth. Never a dull moment!

I am certain the excitement (and insanity) will continue to increase. I should be entertaining-crazy by the time Pennsic rolls around, and downright incoherent just in time for my business trip to Sweden. Woo!

Random Notes

MAF won’t give me back Slow Top’s medicine. The woman I spoke to was very apologetic, but apparently the rules are quite clear: the stuff that came in with him was okay (probably), but anything “unaccompanied” gets picked up, if it’s not on their “approved for use in cats” list, which apparently this stuff isn’t. (Note to self: remember to mail the form back asking them to return it to sender.)

They *want* you to be honest when you fill out those little labels for Customs, but honesty just gets your stuff taken away.

So I rang up the vet’s office I’d had a chat with on Sunday and lucked out and got the vet herself. When I explained the situation and gave all the details, she made Slow an appointment for Saturday, and said she’d make sure they had the drugs in stock. Yay ! Of course it means that poor Slow Top will have had all of 24 hours to settle into the apartment after his flight down from Wellington, before I stuff him back in the car and haul him to the vet. Poor cat.

In other news:

It’s been clear and crisp, in the 50s pretty much all week. It’s been very nice, but I’ll be glad for it to warm up when Spring finally gets here.

I finally got the boxes off the bathroom floor ! Yay !

Didn’t notice I hadn’t found the can opener until I tried to open a can of pumpkin soup. Had to run out to New World and buy one. Soup wasn’t that good.

I managed *not* to set off the smoke alarm trying to toast bread in the oven. Which is a Good Thing, because it’s $1200 if the fire department comes. The damned thing’s labeled in centigrade ! And like I know how hot a toaster gets anyway ! Yeesh ! But anyway, Mmmmm, tuna melt.

—33 days to Snog Week

No Particular Place To Go

Woke up this morning with nothing on my to-do list apart from the vague notion of seeing if the park down at the end of Kent Terrace had a market in it on Sundays, which a sign I pass on the way to work suggests it does.

It does.

As soon as my use of vegetables becomes more sophisticated than slicing a tomato onto a sandwich, or whacking an onion into the burrito meat, I’ll be sure to frequent it. I did pick up some apples, though. Back at the apartment, it was *such* a nice day (the horrendous southerlies they were predicting for us this weekend were something of a bust — just a bit of rain last night — so it was sunny in the 50s today) that I decided to find the top of Mt. Victoria, that hill behind the apartment. I packed myself a lunch, detoured back to the market to buy a NZ$10 little backpack to carry it in, and set off.

A bit of geography: The apartment building is on Kent Terrace, one building in from the corner of Majoribanks Street, which is the street the Mongolian BBQ is on. Majoribanks has that dark Art Deco building — the Clemenger — on my side of it, the Embassy Theater on the other side, and a pedestrian entrance to the Mt. Vic section of the Town Belt at the far upper end. On the city side of Kent Terrace, Majoribanks turns into Courtenay Place, where all the nightlife is. (Aside: The Embassy is currently being renovated, because they were told they wouldn’t get to host the world premier of Return of the King if they didn’t.)

Well, it was something of an accomplishment just to get to the top of Majoribanks Street, yikes. I took a picture looking back down, but these streets never look as steep in photos as they do in person. Once I got into it, though, the park was lovely, with some spectacular views out over the city, and nice green paths in between:

At the very tippy top, there’s a 360 degree view that is just stunning. The whole city and harbor spread out around you, with the mountains in the back all around. I somehow managed to resist the urge to take a big-ass panorama all the way around. But, wow.

After eating half a cheese sandwich and a boiled egg, I made my way back down. Since it was only just 1:30, I decided on a lark to see if I could find a garden center that would sell me a plant or two for the balcony. Checked the yellow pages and found one up in Pauatahanui, currently my number one house-hunting spot. And look ! An open house ! Too expensive, but very very nice, and I’ve given my name to another realtor. The garden center sold me a funky little rhododendron that supposedly will have blue flowers, and a vinca minor to keep it company. NZ$20 for the pair. I’m pretty sure Mahoney’s would have charged me at least twice that, US, for the rhodie alone.

Then it was back down to Kaiwharawhara to the Pot Warehouse to get something to put them in (most garden plants here are sold sort of in pot-shaped plastic bags) — which of course involved a lot of moving different pots around and comparing and contrasting (good thing I was by myself, eh ?). Picked up some cat food at the mega pet store next door, and got some reassurance from the on-site vet clinician about getting Slow’s prescription filled. Will call QPS tomorrow.

Then, because I could, I drove a little way up the valley to get some riverstones from the Hutt to put in the bottoms of the pots (I wonder if that’s even legal ?).

Then back to the apartment, for three trips to haul everything upstairs, then out on the balcony to put plants in pots. (I have half a gigantic bag of dirt left — must somehow convince C&N that they want to put some pots out on their deck so I can fob it off on them…) Definitely feel like I’ve earned my supper tonight. Whew !

–35.5 days to Snog Week

The Remainder of Friday

After work, went to a bar called “Arizona” (the female servers all wore black cowboy hats) to have a couple beers with some of the guys from the call center, because it was the birthday of one of them (the one I’d had occasional in-person conversations with in the break room at the old building, and with whom I have occasional email conversations now). That was cool. Arizona is closer to the north end of town (so, closer to the train station and the old office), whereas my apartment is on the south end of town — about a twenty minute walk.

Took my time moseying back — many of the shops that close at five/six during the week stay open as late as nine on Friday night, so there were lots of people out on the streets even on Lambton Quay and Willis Streets. Stopped in at the Mid City cinema to get tickets to the 9:45 show of “Volcano High” — one of the films being shown at this year’s International Film Festival. I’d planned to just make my way back to the apartment to hang out for the couple hours I had to kill before the movie, but there was this Maori group performing in Cuba street & I stopped to watch. They were there largely to talk about how finding Jesus had turned their lives around, but the talking to performing ratio was heavy on the performing, so they had a good crowd. As I was watching, my gaze wandered to the noodle house upstairs, which seemed to have a good solid crowd, so I went up, got a bowl of Satay Chicken Noodle soup as big as my head, and a window seat to watch the performance from. Cool ! I note that when the women swung the poi balls, they used much shorter cords (and therefore a much faster spin) than the raver girls do. Interesting. I have yet to see any non-Maori doing Maori songs or dances. After dinner (which was really good, by the way), I wandered around Cuba a bit more, then just headed back to the theater.

Volcano High was a hoot and a half. It was an HKC kung fu flick, set in the grimmest-looking high school I think I’ve seen, pulling out all the high-school-kung-fu-cliche stops, with the martial arts turned up to Matrix levels and shot like a music video (one of the good, sort of artsy ones). The names should tell you what to expect: the evil Vice Principle is named “Cold-Blooded Venom”, the bully captain of the weight-lifting team is “Dark Ox”, and the love interest — the captain of the all-female kendo club — is “Icy Jade”. Hah ! The film isn’t perfect, but it’s damned fun (and I’d totally buy the Playstation game). There are many Len Moments(TM) involving the kendo team, Icy Jade, and her punk sidekick (although as usual they could have kicked more ass). The protagonist — the typical reluctant-to-use-his-super-powers hero — has taken his comedic timing cues from Stephen Chow. Don’t know if I’d pay theater prices for it twice, but I’d definitely rent it.

Skipping forward a day, today was Natasha’s birthday party. I missed the first half of The Last Unicorn, but there was plenty of good conversation (and cake !) to be had afterwards. Too bad Stephen isn’t here yet, since the conversation had a “lab accident anecdote” section to which he could have contributed handsomely. :^)

Chris gave me the envelope Stephen sent the remainer of Slow Top’s heart medicine in, and I opened it to discover that MAF had confiscated the pills. I’ll have to read over the paperwork they left in their place and see what can be done about it. I’ll call the quarantine cattery as well — since they’ve been giving this stuff to Slow all along of course, and see if they have any suggestions. Still, bleah. I was sort of hoping I was done with MAF and Customs and all that.

And, by popular request (well, Holly asked, anyway), here’s a pic of my new drum:

As I mentioned, I wasn’t that attracted by the shiny all-silver body, but it *is* kinda growing on me. Must remember to call Glen. You’ll note the blue head: the guy I took a class with at Club Passim a few months back told me that back when they were experimenting with different types of synthetic drum heads, they found that the best stuff to use — for sound, strength, resistance to humidity, etc. — was old x-ray film. So back in the early days, your drum head might have somebody’s busted leg on it, or a skull — wouldn’t that be cool ? Now they get the stuff before it’s made into film.

–36.5 days to Snog Week

Good Morning Wellington

Since it was a nice day Friday morning, I decided to document my morning walk to work. Yes, I bought a car, but it’s a nice 15 minute walk to the office, so I only use the car if I’m leaving the city or going somewhere I intend to bring back something heavy from (like, say, a 25lb bag of cat litter).

I have two options for the walk to work — walk along Courtenay Place, or cut through the New World parking lot, cross Cable Street and walk along the waterfront. The way the city curves around the harbor, any given walk from one end to the other will be longer, the farther you are from the water. So I usually walk along the water on the way to work, but will sometimes take the longer inland route home if I feel like window shopping or just rubbing elbows with the crowd.

Once across the street, Te Papa, the National Museum, squats squarely in my path. The longer way around it goes past the marina, though, and that’s often nice. Here’s a pic of the back side of Te Papa, and of the marina:

And here’s the view of the city you see when you get ’round the museum (I love this view. It’s often better when there are more clouds to pick up the colors, but I tend to err on the side of caution when there might be rain, and so I don’t bring the camera in that often):

Here is a statue of Kupe, the 10th century Maori discoverer of Aotearoa (that’s “Land of the Long White Cloud”: the Maori name for New Zealand), with his wife and magician. (Columbus never had a magician ! Hah !):

The Kupe statue is right on the boardwalk there, but I took a little detour to get this shot of the lagoon. That’s my building there with the two beige hexagonal towers (I’m in the one with the sattelite dish on top — just so you know where to aim your missles). There are ramps for putting in boats, which you can then paddle out into the harbor — on nice days the water is lousy with kayakers. (How many cities do you know where you can go sea kayaking on your lunch hour ?) One of the Sheds I used to pass when I walked from the train station rents kayaks and scuba gear and roller blades and stuff, so you don’t even have to bring your own.

I’m pretty sure the annual Dragon Boat races start from around here — there are two boat houses alongside the lagoon, and on one side of Frank Kitts Park there is a row of likely-looking doors.

Frank Kitts Park is the next stop on the photo tour — over a bridge and up some stairs. There is apparently an annual sculpture competition held/displayed in this park. Here’s a photo of the Frank Kitts Gull Flock and Social Circle. Or some of the stragglers, anyway — this is actually a little late in the morning for them & many have already gone. These are the guys I described getting pushed around by gale winds in a previous post:

The park also has a playground, and there’s a company that comes around and sets up giant bungy-trampolines on nice days. I mentioned before that a lot of the plants here have a different architecture ? Behold the fearful symmetry of the Norfolk Pine:

And finally, sunrise from my office window:

Good morning !

–37 days til Snog Week

I Am Goddess, Hear Me Roar

Okay, not a goddess, really, but a Heroine, surely. Like one of those Ancient Greeks. I went to the Oracle That Is Google and said “Hail ! Oh Internet ! I have a Futon Frame to build, and yet I have no Instructions, and many Bewildering Parts !” And the Blue Bar of Google crawled a bit, a Lo ! it did return to me Instructions. In the Way of Oracles, they did not *quite* match the Construction and number of Parts that comprised my own Futon Frame, but I did Puzzle and Ponder them, and anon I had myself a Futon Frame ! Huzzah ! Go Me !

In other news, the cats arrive next Friday, and a month after that, so does Stephen ! Huzzah !