Sunday, 17 December 2006

Ice hockey

During my browse of YouTube I noticed that the NHL has partnered up to create NHL Tube.

It's been a very large number of years since I've watched the NHL. After the 1993/94 season I moved from Los Angeles to Christchurch and I was no longer able to watch games. I think that season was the last time that I've actually watched a full game on tv. (Although I saw a few games in person on return trips to the US.)

A friend recently asked me what my favorite sport is, and who is my favorite team. I responded with ice hockey and the 92/93 LA Kings.

I was going to write why I like them so much, but I've wasted too much time reminiscing. So here's a list...

Yes, Bob Miller. He's the reason I don't like watching other teams as much. (besides the fact that I had been watching the Kings for a few years and had become familiar with them.)

Although I suppose I shouldn't really call it my favorite spectator sport because I would prefer to watch Canterbury and the All Blacks over the current Kings.

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Pointing at YouTube

With only moments left in November, I figured I should have posted more this month. So here's a quicky to try and get one in before the month ticks over.

Funny/cute videos of animals always go down a treat and a flying kiwi thrown in for good measure.

Friday, 10 November 2006

Images are back!

I wanted to see if my blogger account is eligible for switching to Blogger Beta, but I'm still restricted since I also have a group blog that I participate in.

However, checking my blog lead to the discovery that the "gone forever" crash that the image server had wasn't so forever. You should now be able to see all previous photos.

I've used this opportunity to also save a copy of all 87ish images to a UK computer should a repeat happen. Maybe someday I'll organise some space on a web server at work.

Speaking of work, I have big/long day tomorrow. Work starts with me doing some sort of presentation and the day ends with partying in Wimbledon for VPM's birthday. It's 2am and I haven't done any prep for tomorrow morning. I might procrastinate some more and sleep.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Server Down

The server that I was using to host the data for this site (photos, css, etc) was called Humpty, or at least it should have been, as I've been told it's fallen over and can't be put back together again.

I've managed to get the site layout back, and two photos. The rest I'll have to get off a computer in New Zealand and I'll need to remake a couple of the more recent ones. Don't expect this to happen any time soon. I knew about the crash a few days ago and only bothered to fix the style this morning.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

* Licker

* Licker

Licker is the polite name for a strictly ruled variation of Presidents.

A game of Licker consists of multiple deals of the cards. Each deal is finished when only one player is left with cards. The object of each deal is to get rid of your cards as soon as possible.


At least 2 players. Optimum of 4-6 players with a single deck of cards.

The first deck of cards should be a pack of GPM Low Vision Cards, although any pack with 3 jokers will do. If using more than one pack, any standard cards will do for the additional packs.


All the cards are dealt out to the players face down. Players can then look at their own cards. For the first hand, the player with the 3 of clubs starts. If playing with more than one deck of cards, the player with the GPM low vision 3 of clubs starts.

The starting card does not have to be the 3 of clubs. The starting player can play any single card, any pair, or any triple. Four of a kind (or 5,6, etc) can never be played. Going clockwise around the players each player has the opportunity to play or pass. If playing, the player must match the number of cards exactly (single, pair or triple) and play cards that are higher than the value already played. If play returns to the last person who placed a card (which means all the other players passed), then the cards are cleared and that player places a new starting card (single, pair or triple).

Play continues until only one person is left with cards.

And the end of the hand the player that emptied their hand first is declared the King, second the Queen, second to last is the Hole and last is the Licker. Everyone else is a peasant.

The Licker then shuffles and deals the cards for the next round. Once the cards are dealt, the Licker must give the King the highest 2 cards in his or her hand. The Hole gives his or her best card to the Queen. The royals can look at these cards and then return the same number of cards back to the Hole and Licker. These can be any cards of the royals choice.

The King then starts the hand by placing any card (single, pair or triple).

The rest of the deal is played the same as the first.

If anyone joins the game after the first hand they are automatically the licker, with everyone else moving up in rank.

Order of the cards

Lowest to highest: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2

The Joker

The Joker is the most powerful card in the game. A single Joker can beat any card, be it a single, pair or triple.


When triples are played and then cleared the object is no longer to play a card higher than the last. Cards must now be played that are lower then the previously played card. This reversal will continue until another triple has been played and cleared, or the deal has finished. A single Joker can still beat anything.


Every player has the chance to play or pass, even if they have passed on their previous turn.


This is a relatively limited ruled variation of Presidents which makes it quick to pick up, however with the triples rule it allows for the Licker to change rank easily which is not the case in other variations.

I no longer live in a dirt patch!

Google has just updated their view of Earth in Google Maps/Earth for London. As part of this update The Hamptons is now shown as more than a dirt patch.

In the new view of where I live you can see amongst the buildings the Maple Lodge (clock tower), the water fountain and the marsh pond. As part of the larger grounds you can see the amphitheatre, tennis courts, the viewing circle and path, as well as the larger ponds.

Check out my last panorama for a ground view of the scene.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Imperfect Google

Item one is Google Images. It's Google's site for searching for images on the web. It has a feature called "SafeSearch" which has three settings; "strict", "moderate" and "off" with "moderate" being the default.

Since I've been doing some work on a beauty website, and I needed a dummy product image for some testing, I did a search on Google Images for "face cream." As my settings are "moderate" I was quite surprised at the first image that is returned. However, both "strict" and "none" return "safe" images on the first page.

Next we have Google Calendar.

First gripe, why did they decide to break forcing me to go to instead? If works then so should calendar.

Next, in a previous post about my birthday calendar I mentioned that it didn't work at all with Google Calendar. Well, it's still broken. However, the changes they made a few days ago mean it's less broken. The birthday events still don't show in the main calendar, however the mini calendar on the left bolds dates in which birthdays occur and the agenda tab shows the items, so slightly usable.

The last item for Google Calendar is the Google Homepage Google Calendar gadget. It has been the case that this gadget works if you're at but not at Yesterday I discovered that the gadget was working. However, after just going to confirm it now, it is not working at either address. I contacted the developer a few weeks back, but haven't heard anything back.

On a positive Google note, and as follow-up to the New Zealand Street Maps posts, Google has updated Google Maps to include address lookup for New Zealand. (eg a place to do some indoor rock climbing) The images are better then Live Local's version, but Google Maps still doesn't have driving directions.

That's enough for this time.

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Photo Day

True to my word here's a photo.

This is The Hamptons. As you can see it's not quite complete yet. Our building is in the photo, and even our living room window. The tennis courts are hiding between the playground and the blue building on the right side of the photo.

That description will have to do, because it's time for bed.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Free phone calls

Something that I haven't mentioned, but have had for a while now is free phone calls to the USA, Australia, New Zealand and most of the EU.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn't include how much money has been saved, so I can't try and beat my previous $315.38 savings. However, the bill does say how much time was spent on the phone. This month was 7:39:29, at a cost of £1.09. That's about 10 minutes longer than the previous savings, but that was all done in a single weekend.

So now is a good time for me to catch up with all of you that are slack with the email. Drop me an message reminding me of your landline phone number (unless you're in the US, then mobile is ok) and we'll try and bump the next bill up by a few hours.

For those that want to know, this is the TalkTalk Talk3 plan. It's about £22 a month and covers phone and broadband Internet.

Monday, 17 July 2006

Photo Day

The last weekend in June there was a fair in the Wimbledon Common. We had a drive by the fair earlier in the day, but decided that it was too packed so went back about an hour before official closing for the night.

This photo was taken just as the last punters were on the rides. Most of the operators had packed away their equipment, so it felt a bit abandoned. It was also odd that the lights on the rides didn't get turned on until almost everyone was gone. Or why even have then on when it was still bright?

Anyway, I think this is the first full 360° that I've had on here, and I think the next one will be as well. It depends on which view of where I live I decide to show. Photos are already taken, so it shouldn't be too long of a wait.

New use for

I've been using The Internet Movie Database since forever as a source for looking up information about movies. However I've had another itch that I thought imdb might be able to scratch but I've only just got around to finding out for sure. And it does. Nicely.

There are exactly 1,000,000,0013 movies that come out every year. Of which I'll watch about 13. Any other movies that I watch will have come out in the years gone past. Problem is keeping track of the possible gems from the billion other movies that are released each year.

Once you register with imdb they let you add any movie to a "MyMovies" collection. In this collection you can have multiple "Categories" in which to group the movies. You can also change which information is shown in each category including your rating, imdb's rating, show times, availability on DVD, VHS, etc; and can also filter the category by genre.

The default categories are set up for people who wish to catalogue their DVD collection. Since I don't have a DVD collection I immediately deleted these. I then setup three new categories; "Willing to see," "Keen to see" and "Very keen to see." I then changed the view for each so that it only showed imdb's rating for the movies and sorted by that rating. So now if I'm choosing a movie for myself I'll click on "Very keen to see" and the top movie will be the best rated one by the general public, followed by all the other movies I want to see.

There's also a special category called "Vote history" which shows all the movies that you've rated. I've got this showing my rating and imdb's rating, ordered by mine. This lets me know how my taste compares to the masses (not similar at all) and maybe some day will be tied into a "suggest a film" feature so I can find more films that appeal to me.

Final note: yes, "willing to see" is mostly filled with chic flicks for when VPM gets to choose.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Photo Day

This was our Centre Court view. Just high enough that we were in the shade all but the last hour of play.

That's A. Murray on the left hitting the net on a first serve. The two ghosts at the other end are J. Benneteau.

Also seen was R. Nadal make a late comeback against R. Kendrick. That's an upset I would have liked to have seen. Also saw Miss A. Mauresmo make short work of Miss S. Stosur. Around 5 we took a wander around the grounds catching some of the doubles action and then had a Pimm's in the members enclosure.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Gmail Tip

Here's a tip that I've been telling people for a long while, but it still doesn't seem to be that well known.

When visiting Gmail always use the URL Note the 's' after the 'http'.

The number one reason for doing this is security. With the 's' in there you computer is having a private conversation with the Google servers. Without the 's' and with other services such as MSN Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail any computers near or between [?] your computer and website server can copy any email that you view. (e.g. Your boss if you're reading at work, or an identity thief looking for any personal details)

Another reason is that because the connection is private you're not subject to things such as content filters at libraries or your office. So those emails about religion and art won't get blocked as inappropriate.

Of course this only protects the communication between your computer and Google's. You still need to make sure that your computer isn't tapered with. (I'm sure Google are doing a fine job looking after theirs.)

A final point of clarification. Most sites will put the 's' in while you log in. You want the 's' even after you've signed in.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006


And here's a post that I have been meaning to post for over a month. I even wrote that long ago, but just haven't had the time to post.

Some post-season 2 thoughts about Lost.
  • The Dharma Initiative may or may not know what the Island is about.
  • The employees of the DI on the Island do not know what the Island is about.
  • "The Incident" on the Island never happened. It's just a cover story to account for the odd things on the Island that the DI employees may see.
  • The employees are sent to the island to accomplish tasks. However, these tasks aren't what they employees think they are. The DI doesn't want the employees knowing what they are doing. So in the "Pearl" employees think their task is to watch the other employees, but their real task may involve the computer that Locke says doesn't do anything.
  • The Others are not part of DI.
  • The Others think they are good and that the DI is bad.
  • They dress in costumes to prevent the DI from knowing that there are a group of organized people on the island trying to thwart the DI's plans. The DI may just think they're random people who have been sucked in.
  • The Island and surrounding area are a bubble in space. Its location is unknown, but it has entrances in several places. The entrances are possibly the Vile Vortices. One near Fiji where Russo and Flight 815 entered. Another in Africa when Mr Eko's drug plane entered. Another in the North Pole where the polar bears enter. And everyone's favorite, the Bermuda Triangle, for where the Black Rock entered.
  • The "quarantine" door that falls from the sky at the end is from a "hatch" protecting another entrance to the Island.
Things that still need explaining.
  • Why are illnesses cured on the island? Will this simply come down to magnet therapy?
  • Why are everyone's back stories so intertwined? Simply a case of six degrees of separation?
  • What about the "whispers"? If a lot of people are accidentally sucked into the island, then there would be a lot of deaths there. The magnetism may prevent spirits from escaping, therefore it's quite a haunted place?

Two things to keep in mind. I haven't been participating in the Lost Experience. I don't have enough time to post here, let alone play this game. And, yes, I still enjoy the show, despite it's poor ratings indicating other don't.

I spoke with MB last night who gave me a quick update on the Lost Experience and it seems like some of my thoughts could hold true. We shall see.

One other thing, I'm using DHARMA Initiative above where I should probably be using Hanso Foundation, but I don't have time to think about the ramifications of the change right now, so it stands as is.


I've been meaning to write this post for more than a week now. The segue text has changed several times since then.

I was going to tell you early last week that things are ramping up for The Championships, Wimbledon as shown by VMP's brother having dinner at the table next to Andre Agassi and associates.

Then late last week the signal was going to be that VMP, her parents and myself had dinner next to Lleyton Hewitt, Bec Cartwright, baby Mia and the rest of the posse.

Then on Monday it was going to be that Aten hates tennis, or at least tennis spectators because He hid the sun behind leaky clouds of moisture and only allowed 40 minutes of play on the first day of Wimbledon. Yet the people who slept on the street overnight for tickets and on the wet courts waiting for play to resume persisted through His joke and He has rewarded us with sun again.

But that was all the segue to the real point, which hasn't changed in the last week.

Tomorrow I've got the day off and will be spending the majority of it in Centre Court while people dressed in white get sweaty grunting at little furry balls... Or something like that.

Friday, 16 June 2006

Photo Day

Well, it's finally time for Photo Day again.

This is where I lived when I first arrived in the UK. Interesting things in this photo: a parking spot for a DB9 Volante, a parking spot for a Hummer H2 and the home of VPM's parents.

Sorry that the interesting cars aren't in the shot, but I guess the owners had taken them out in an effort to make use of the blue sky. One other interesting fact, when taking the photo my back was to the home of a Love Actually star.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Tim Tam Colosseum

This is just a simple shout out to Bex and her Tim Tam Colosseum.

I think that's my favorite of your creations so far!

More New Zealand Street Maps

Someone wants an update.

A few days after my last post about New Zealand street maps Microsoft updated Windows Live Local to include New Zealand.

The Good: it includes address lookup and driving directions.

The Bad: most streets are missing from the maps; most streets that are there aren't labeled; address lookup is close, but far from perfect; the lines for driving directions don't match the roads; if it can't find the address it suggests locations that aren't in NZ even though NZ is specifically requested.

Despite all this it's still nice to know that New Zealand isn't being forgotten about.

Friday, 19 May 2006

New Zealand Street Maps

Google has updated their Google Maps to include New Zealand streets now. It also includes property lines, designates major road from auxiliary, etc. It's looking a lot better than any other the other systems out there.

It does not, however, yet do street or address searches. For that I'll still be using

I suppose I should also note that in addition to being able to view streets for places like Christchurch you can also check out one of my favorite towns in Australia. (note: it's one of my favorites because of this place)

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Happy Birthday

Ever since my departure from the shores of New Zealand I have been without my birthday reminding calendar. As such, there have been a few people that haven't received a birthday wish from me. So I'm going to do a bulk Happy Birthday now.

Happy birthday to: AH, AH, CW, AK, CT, AW, RN, LM, JC, LH, SM, CC, JB, SB, RM and EM.

With a bit of luck I won't forget to email MK and ET before the weekend and KL, SM and RL next week.

P.S. I would be using Google Calendar for my birthday ics needs, but they feel that events that happen once a year for many years aren't worth displaying. Hopefully they'll fix that bug soon.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006


In a comment to a previous post Bex asked when I'd be posting more photos. I informed her that I'd taken some, lost some and would be taking some again that weekend.

Well, we went down to Devon (or more specifically Paignton) as planned, however the battery on the camera went flat and I was unable to take any photos. We still haven't gotten a replacement battery yet, so you'll have to wait a bit longer.


Working Life

Since my last update I've gotten a job.

I'm now working as a senior developer for a firm in Soho. The company is based around the entertainment industry, and I oversee some projects for a couple major motion picture studios. There are, however, also some quite contrasting clients dealing with rugby, fried chicken and chocolate. (not all at the same time)

Those that know I used to work in Sydney may not know that I basically worked in Kings Cross for the first year and a bit. Those in the know will have now joined Soho and Kings Cross by their matching trait. They are both red light destricts.

I do pass one strip club on my way to get food each day, but that's nothing compared to the half-dozen or more that I passed four times a day while in Kings Cross. There also aren't any men or strippers outside trying to force you to go in, so it's just another store front.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Last Saturday I visited Wimbledon. No, not Wimbledon, but the All England Club. You know, home of the The Championships, Wimbledon. Tennis, old chap.

I watched VPM and father play for a while and after I got a tour. Had a look at all the spiffing trophies, then said hello to Roger Taylor. It was then time to see the view from the Royal Box in Centre Court. I must say that the Queen has a mighty fine view of the matches. From there it was out to the members balcony that overlooks Court 3 and the other minor lawns. From there it was through the grounds to Henman Hill with a stunning view of London. Well, London at a distance, but still impressive. Then it was on through Court 1, which is noticeably newer than Centre Court. It was then that I learned the family outside bench where I had breakfast was actually from the old Court 1. From there it was back indoors to have a look at the male change rooms. Very impressive room, but I guess that's to be expected with membership being as exclusive as it is. And thus ended the tour.

With a bit of luck I'll sort out some "tennis whites" and not "row for 6 kilometers followed by watching Scrubs at an awkward angle which then caused my neck to hate me for two days" and I might get to play next time.

Sunday, 26 March 2006


Well, more than arrival. I've been in the UK for over two weeks now. But a bit about getting here...

Met a bit of a queue at Christchurch airport. A group of friends missed the beginning of the first session of UCanDance, which wouldn't be that big of a deal if they weren't the ones running it. Cheers guys! I told them to "piss off" while I was still in the queue. Once I got my ticket the plane was already boarding. A quick goodbye to the family and I was away.

LA was good. Got to catch up with some friends, eat some American food, etc. Had an early night since I was sleeping in the OC.

The 405 was kind and we got to the airport before the check-in counter had opened. This meant that, due to some "organizational" skills I was the first person to be assigned a ticket, which happened to be the first seat when you board the plane. So while everyone else was boarding I was offered a drink and chatted away with my row mates in an out-of-the-way part of the plane. This also allowed us to be the first people off the plane, which meant a quick pass through the passport check. After the collection of my bags and the "customs, what customs?" stroll out the exit I was reunited with VPM. This quick reunion was actually a surprise since the plane landed an hour early.

So I've been living in Wimbledon for the last two weeks. VPM and I have found our own place to live. Well, us and her sister and possibly her sisters boyfriend. We should be living there from the 3rd.

The building is in a new estate called The Hamptons. The building is called Albany Hall, which was part of phase one and not mentioned on the above site. Since the estate is brand new (nobody has lived in our unit yet) Google Maps shows it as bare land, but trust that it does exist.

Oh, I forgot to mention US security on my way out of the country...

Well, huge queue for the x-ray machines of clairvoyance. When I got to the machine I put my two bags and jacket in, emptied my pockets and took off my belt. I attempted to go through, but was asked to show my shoes and then told "it's probably better if you put them through the machine." Ok, my non-metallic, no shoelace, neutral blue, new looking shoes are obviously hip with the terrorists. So, I'm standing on the other side waiting for my stuff to come through, barefoot and holding my pants up. They take their time and even call someone else over to look at the screen, but they decide not to open the bags and clear them as terrorist item free. They decided NOT to open them!?! WTF people! I had 2 containers of liquid, 2 boxes of powder, 6 foot of wires, electronic bits n pieces, a container with a paste type substance, an air pump, several sealable plastic bags and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Now, I'm positive that if MacGyver ever joined the Axis of Evil for the purpose of spreading terror he could make one mighty fine WMD (Weird MacGyver Device) with all of that stuff.

Well, that'll do for now.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Photo of the Week

This was taken, maybe, on the 17th hole.

I was going to post this the day after my last post, but have been very busy with work and now preparing for my move that it's taken this long to grab the few minutes to post it.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

UK Bound

So after canceling Japan, some of you asked what the next plan was. And some of you asked why I didn't mention the next plan when you knew what it was. Well, it's all about the suspense and surprise, and getting you to ask me in person.

So I applied for my UK visa. I applied for UK Ancestry, which gives me 4 years of working and living in the UK.

I then set about crafting a plan to surprise VPM with my arrival. So after receiving the visa I continued to tell her that it hadn't arrived yet. I booked a flight, made arrangements for some private accommodation, and devised ways of just appearing next to her in London. There was just one stitch to my plan; the only other person I had contact with in the family over there wasn't coming online anymore. Several days passed and I began trying to pass messages through VPM without her knowing what was going on. I finally got another contact and stated my plans.

It turns out there's a big family birthday on the night I am to arrive. The timing couldn't have been worse. So instead of altering the flights etc, I decided to let her know what was going on, so that we could come up with a plan together that actually worked.

So, with all the secretness I wasn't able to post my intentions in here, for fear of someone spilling the beans. Now that it's out...

I'm leaving New Zealand on March 9, I'm meeting up with mates in LA for my 27 hours of America (yes, I know it's not 2008 yet), and then land in London on the 11th.

Monday, 27 February 2006

Sunday, 26 February 2006

Photo of the Week

So I went to the PGA Championship I mentioned earlier.

This was taken on at the green of hole 9. We got there about 13:30, and ended up finding the last 3 groups making their way past hole 9. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the back 9 being played. Great day for it, tho I got a bit too much sun.

I've got a few more photos to post from the event, but you'll have to wait until next week for another.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Jazz Festival

Not that I expect to be around to attend the event, but at the end of April is the annual Montana Christchurch International Jazz Festival.

For those who attend events at the Arts Centre (such as the recently finished World Buskers Festival) I'd recommend being there at some point on Tuesday, 25 April. I'm not sure what time, because the event page doesn't think that's important.

As a recommendation you should also try and figure out when the Jazz City Series hits the Belgian Beer Café Torenhof so some smoky hoes and Jazz can be had together.

ING NZ PGA Championship

Apparently I have some free tickets to the 2006 ING New Zealand PGA Championship at Clearwater Golf Club and Resort. The event runs from Thursday, 23 February to Sunday, 26 February 2006. As well as the golf competition there's also four free golf clinics a day. Join in with our golf pros and learn from the best.

I've got a "Family Season Pass" which I think means two adults and as many under 16's that you can cram into your car, per day. If anyone I know wants to join me get in contact.

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Windows Live Messenger 8 Theme for Guifications - v0.1

For those that don't know, there is a new version of MSN Messenger coming out called Windows Live Messenger.

Although it is still in beta I though I would knock out a Windows Live Messenger theme for Guifications. Hopefully Microsoft doesn't change the design too much between now and release. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Photo of the Week

This photo was taken on Sunday at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Yes, those are flowers and not some fluffy, colourful decoration. Actually, I guess that's a good description for flowers... Well, those fluffy colourful decorations are flowers. And no, I didn't hunt for the sign that says what they are.


Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines! Simply concept, read the spam subject line and then look at the cartoon that has been drawn from it.

Thursday, 12 January 2006

Niigata in the News

The Niigata Prefecture is doing a good job of proving that it's not a warm place, record snowfall, deaths by snow, military relief. And Nova expected that to pass for warm?

Tuesday, 10 January 2006


Remember when I said I Think I'm Turning Japanese? Well, I think it's about time that I posted an update.

I sent in an application on the web site. A short while later I received a letter saying something like "thanks for your application, here's another application and btw we're not doing interviews in Chch again until probably 2006, but feel free to pay your way to Brisbane and you can be interviewed here."

So I sat on the second application for quite a while. In August I got a phone call saying, "we're coming to Chch, are you still interested?" So I filled in the second application, got some photos taken and went along to the seminar/interview session.

By the end of August I had been accepted, told I would be in Japan in October and sent some more forms to fill out. I was also given some information on what to expect of my experience of being in Japan. This information was about living in Japan, but not about working for Nova in Japan. Note that the Nova documentation says that the process should take 3 months and my planned arrival is 6 weeks away.

Last day of August I'm informed that there was a printing error and that I should not fill in any forms, but wait for new ones to be sent. I am given a new deadline of 22nd September to return the documents, however during this time there was a family emergency that called my mother overseas. Wishing to be here for support when she returned I asked Nova for a new departure date in January which they accepted under the terms that I have all the documentation sorted by the 22nd of September.

So I send in the documentation along with more photos. I'm then informed that I have to provide them a contingency plan for my two allergies; bee stings, which I'm told by my doctor doesn't require medical attention, and penicillin which I'd only have if I'm already in a hospital or from medication prescribed with the knowledge that I have an allergy to it. After some discussion with Nova I write a document stating that I have done the research to do the research to get local medical treatment, for allergies that I don't require medical treatment for, once I find out where in the country I'll actually be living. There also an additional document that must be resent because it was printed wrong on their end.

During this time there is an additional medical emergency, this time my stepfather goes into hospital because he waited for the 4th heart attack that week to tell people that his chest felt funny. Between delays caused by that and 9 day postage service we're now in the middle of November (a month after I was supposed to leave).

At this point I'm asked when my criminal background clearance is going to be sent. Well, aside from one sentence in one letter back in August, that didn't even state that I was supposed to be providing the document, I hadn't heard anything about providing a CBC. So I file a CBC with the police and begin the 3 week wait it takes for such documents. It must be a slow week at the police station as I get it back in 9 days and send it off to Nova.

It's now December 1 and I'm told specific flight details for which I am to book, and told that it will be 3 to 4 weeks before my Certificate of Eligibility is ready for me to use to try and get a visa for Japan. I make contact with the suggested agent to get my flight arranged for January 17th and wait for the CoE.

A few weeks later I receive a hurried phone call from someone at Nova stating that I must have my insurance paid for and confirmation sent to Nova 3 weeks before departure. I confirmed this one line in the documentation sent in August and set about getting the insurance done.

On December 20th I'm informed that my CoE will be couriered that day and that I should expect it sometime between Christmas and New Years. On the 22nd I'm informed that I've been stationed in Niigata. Now, after 20 seconds of investigation it's quite obvious that Niigata is neither a suburb of Tokyo, nor is it on the island of Kuyshu.

Now, when someone asks for a super large city, or the warmest weather in the country sticking them in a town that spends 4 months in snow probably isn't the best way to initiate employee relations.

So with just 2 days before I had to pay for the flight and would be locked into a year in a city I have no desire for, the fact that I won't actually get to read my employee contract until I'm in Japan, plus all that I've read about Nova over the last year I decided to cancel the trip.

Oh, and I got the CoE on the 7th of Jan. Which would have left me with 7 working days to get the visa from an office on that other Island of New Zealand. Nova has since asked that I return the CoE to them, which I've done. I expect to get more requests later.

In summary: Japan cancelled.

Minor Design Change

You might have noticed that the top of this blog no longer has a simple blue box with the title in it. The title box is now adorned with some images from my (occasionally) weekly photos.

There are currently eight different images that are chosen from when you visit/refresh the page. If your favorite isn't included let me know and I'll add it in. Remember you can view all previous photo day photos by visiting the thumbnail page.

Thursday, 5 January 2006

Photo of the Week

Merry Festivus and all that guff... Speaking of which, I've spent the last week down in Wanaka. It's not too far of a drive and offers a nice change from Christchurch. Since this is the jolly season, how about we have two photos this time.

Both photos are taken from the same property, but slightly different spots. The dark cloud one was taken on the 2nd and the other on the 4th. Yes, it is Summer, and yes, that is snow on the mountains. During my time there I experienced sun, rain, sun, wind, snow, rain and sun.

These photos were taken with my phone, hence the drop in resolution and clarity.


Apparently this is post 100.

Nothing more to see here. Move along.


A while ago JR sent me a link to the party party. I finally got around to listening to some of the songs. After listening to HIV / AIDS I wanted to find out if the site was pro or anti Bush. After listening to some other songs (Who's the Nigga?, Dick Is A Killer) it's clearly not pro-Bush.

After doing a quick search I discovered the Bushwhacked speeches. A combination a fake truths, vulgarity and absurdity that made me laugh until I cried. Have a listen to speech 1 and speech 2.