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.