Frosty Mug Taste

Look what I found!

On my lunchtime walk today, which was absolutely gorgeous in terms of weather, I stopped into a dairy (think 7/11) for a pop. And low and behold, what should I see but a row of A&W Root Beer!  I haven't had a root beer in ages as they don't generally carry it here.

Every now and then we'll find little gems like this. For instance, we will stop in a little shop in Waikanea for a can of Cherry Dr. Pepper.

Anyway, I'm very happy to have my first Root Beer in years!

Last Of The NABLOPOMO

Well, I didn't complete a blog entry EVERY day this month, but I think I did pretty well. If you take these blog entries, the ones from maple glazed kiwi, and maybe my comics at The Night Terrors, I think you could tally them all up into 30 entries for the month.

I hope that this helps get me into the habit of blogging more.

Not Much To Say

It is getting late and there isn't much to say other than it was a beautiful day, work was great and I even got another rough draft of The Night Terrors completed...not posted yet as it is just the rough draft.

Apparently I Do Windows

Spent the morning washing down the house. I was just going to do the windows, but the house was all cruddy with dirt, so I grabbed the scrub brush that attaches to the hose and spent the morning washing the house. It looks a lot better, but I was soaked to the skin.

We also finished our Xmas cards today and will be sending them out tomorrow.

I'd like to say something witty or interesting regarding today, but that wasn't the kind of day that it was.

*sigh*.

Oh, I did get another Night Terrors done today: http://thenightterrors.blogspot.com/2011/11/night-terrors-5.html

Energy and Optimism Vs The Lawn

I quickly mentioned this on Facebook today, but here is a tip for anyone who is looking for a lawn mower:
Never purchase a manual-reel mower when your your energy level, or your general optimism is high. The reason being that your energy level and your optimism can fluctuate wildly over time, but the size of the lawn stays the same!
Just like in Canada, we bought a manual-reel mower when we bought the house. And to look at our lawn, you might think that it couldn't be very hard to mow at all. It is just a long triangular strip. How hard could it be? Well either I'm getting really lazy over the last couple years, or this is one of the hardest frigging lawns that I've ever had to mow.

Actually, the right half of the lawn isn't too bad at all, and I can usually finish that half in about 10-15 minutes. The other half, which is basically like trying to mow steel fibre growing over lava rocks, is one of the hardest things I can imagine! The frigging lawn mower keeps losing it's traction due to the pits in the ground and then the grass jams the reel so that you have to pull the strands out from the wheel with pliers! That isn't a joke! I've literally had to yank the jammed grass out with needle nose pliers!

Finally, with about 3/4 of the lawn mowed, and the sweat pouring from my brow like Niagra falls, I just said *#%& it! I put the lawn mower away and completed the rest of the lawn with the electric trimmer. It only took about 10 minutes to do the remaining grass with the trimmer, so I may decide to do the whole lawn that way from now on.

Oops, I Did It Again

Missed the last thee days for blog entries. Excuse? Too lazy. Try again soon.

Time Isn't The Problem

One of the problems that I am having, now that I am trying to do one blog entry per day, isn't so much finding time in the day to complete a blog entry; if you make it short, you can easily complete a blog entry a day. The thing that I am finding challenging, is finding a topic to blog about.

I guess the underlying question is, who is this blog for? If it is just for me, then I can easily put an entry like:
Work was hell today
and then be done with it. But if the blog is to let others know about what is happening in my life, then the trick is to make it interesting. But when you really think of it, for the most part, our lives aren't that interesting. Oh sure, every now and then we have periods of trials and tribulations, or times of great joy, but generally, the day to day goings on of life are just that...the day to day goings on of life: Get up, go to bathroom, drink coffee, go to work, eat lunch...and so on. So how do you make that interesting?

I guess I could start making things up. Like the time I met President Obama.  I'll have to tell you all about it some day.

Movie Review

"But wait" you're saying.  "You forgot today's blog entry!" You cry.

"Not true!" I say in return.  "I posted a movie review on Kristie's blog: Maple Glazed Kiwi."

And as such, I'm still on par for a blog a day!

Now, Back To Our Regularly Schedule Program

Ok, I know that in my last post I said that I was going to elaborate on the short rant that I did regarding SOPA, but here's the thing: It is getting really late (almost 9:30 p.m....yeah, that is REALLY late!), so I'm just going to say that I had a good day today in that I completed two new postings of my new The Night Terrors strips! Two!!!

It isn't as impressive as I'm making it out to be as they were both being worked on simultaneously for well over a week now. But regardless, I've posted two in one day! So even though this blog doesn't have much consistency, or for that matter coherency, I still posted to a blog more than once today.

Anyway, maybe tomorrow I might be a bit more coherent....unlikely.

Hiding In Plain Site

Here is one of the things that I find interesting. In the US, you have hundreds, if not thousands, of people that believe in this covert conspiracy regarding the 9/11 attacks, and how they were covertly carried out by their own government. There are many branches of this theory, and virtually all of it has the same underlying issues that the government is hiding the evidence.

There are multitudinous such conspiracy theories that talk of world government take overs, mind controlling citizens, etc. And just like the 9/11 conspiracy theory, it is all done covertly.

But here is the funny thing: Right now, the US congress is trying to pass a bill written by the entertainment industry that would basically break the internet. This SOPA bill, which was pretty much hand written by the entertainment industry to make it illegal to file share...something that is already illegal under other legislation. This law would allow the entertainment industry to make ANY accusation they wish about an infriging website, and by law, the website could be taken down; regardless of there being any validity in the entertainment industry's claim of infringing content. Basically, this law would not only presume that you are guilty until proven innocent, but it wouldn't even be the law that would be your judge and jury. It would be corporations.

But here is the really funny part: The entertainment industry isn't even hiding this! There is no covert strategy. They aren't trying to get this passed under the radar. They have basically brought this into congress shouting its merits with a bullhorn! Oh, and one last funny thing about this: The American people pretty much couldn't give a rat's ass. Sure you've got the Tea Party who would rather die than have government tell them what to do, but if Warner Brothers and RCA want to take away their rights...meh.

This was kind of rushed post and I would like to talk about it in more detail tomorrow...stay tuned.

Two Toons Coming Soon

Today was a pretty good day. As per usual on Saturday, we got up early and completed a 13 KM run, which didn't feel too bad at all!  We had a really nice conversation with Kristie's parents, who are off to Jamaica with Brooke and Janelle, for Brook's wedding. We're really bummed that we can't make it, but the expense was just too much. We hope they all have a wonderful time though.

Plenty-O-Sunsine

I just wanted to do a real quick blog entry before bed. I had an incredible day off! Two beach walks, a walk into work with Kristie, got some drawing in, and a picnic on the beach!

Finally Got Some Exercise

As I'd mentioned in earlier posts, I have been run pretty ragged at work for the last couple of weeks. Generally, I will get out for a lunch hour walk to clear my head and get some exercise. Lately, I haven't left my desk due to server issues, etc. Today, while I was chained to  my desk again, as well as being up all night working on the new server, I finally got everything working! As such, I left early today to take a nap; which never happened unfortunately.

We did however get to go up Kaukau with the dogs today, and maybe it was because of the lack of exercise this week, but I had scads of energy! I was almost running up that hill. I was almost keeping up with Angus! Almost...

All I know is that it felt really good to be outside getting some fresh air and exercise again.

After Midnight

00:08 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Ok, I realize that I just posted my last entry a couple hours ago, but since I had a bit of a screw up in my last file upload to the new server, it is now after midnight and is no longer yesterday; it is today.  Ummm, yeah. That totally makes sense, but then again I'm really quite tired now.  So as I sit here, wearing the slanket my mom gave to Kristie and I as an xmas present, I am hereby declaring that THIS blog entry is TODAY'S blog entry. So let it be blogged about, so let it be done.

So the reason that I am up so late in the first place is due to the fact that I had virtually all the files uploaded onto the new server, but then realized that I uploaded them as root administrator, which meant that no one but me would have access to them.  Bugger!

Anyway, I'm about 1/4 of the way through doing it again, and as soon as I'm finished, I'm off to bed.

Wish me luck!

NABLOPOMO Fail

Agghhh! I forgot to do a blog entry yesterday! What is my excuse? Sadly, I wasn't saving babies from burning crocodiles, I wasn't jet packing around the milky way, alas, I was busy making muffins. *sigh*.

We had kind of a whirl wind, but fun filled weekend where Kristie had Monday off.  As such I wasn't able to do my regular duties (*giggle*...duty) that I usually do on Monday (e.g. housework, baking, etc.). So in order to ensure we still had all the food we needed for the week, we postponed muffin making until Tuesday. This ate (get it? Ate? Muffins?...*sigh) into our regular evening chores which meant that by the time bed time rolled around, I had totally forgot about blogging.

Today wasn't much better either. I had wanted to do a couple of entries today to make up for the lost one yesterday, but work was a nightmare. I spent most of the day configuring and testing a server based on linux; our peer-to-peer server has been really letting us down lately. So as I was saying, I spent most of the day installing and configuring on a test machine as I didn't want to implement a solution that wasn't going to work. By about 3:30 p.m, I had got it configured to my liking and everything, minus a few niggly bits, and was ready to install on the real server. But before I could do that, I had to drive Kristie home and go back to work, as I also had an AGM that I had to attend today!

So in between the installation setup screens, I would run down to the AGM and listen to a few things here and there as well as voting on motions, and then I would rush back up stairs to complete the installation. And then the installation failed!  Gah!!!! And then I installed it again, and it failed again!  Finally, I took the machine home to see if I could configure it properly here.  Thankfully, it worked when I got home...maybe I had some strange crappy connection at work that kept crapping out. Regardless, I finally got it configured, and am uploading the backup files to it while I write this blog entry. And, since the upload just ended, I will bring this entry to a close.

Loooong Weekend Behind Us

This was a four day weekend for me, and a three day weekend for Kristie. We got to go see two movies, and spent a tonne of time outside this weekend! Yes I hurt my back, but for the most part, this was a wonderful weekend!

Although this is a very short blog entry, I also did a blog entry on the movies we saw this weekend if you want to check them out on Kristie's blog.

Early To Rise

Kristie and I have been getting up really early lately, even on weekends.  Generally during the week we will get up at 5:00 a.m. while on weekends we'll generally get up between 5:00 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. On weekdays, the reason to get up early is to ensure we have enough time to exercise before work. That could mean going for a run, going to the swimming pool, or simply walking into work.

Weekends are pretty much the same thing, only after the exercise, we like to either go out with the dogs, or if a Sunday, go to the farmers' market and then grocery shopping for the week and then home for a nap.

We've noticed that getting up this early seems to make the weekend quite a bit longer. Even if we take a nap, we are generally up and out again before 1:00 p.m.

I think I may have blogged about this before, but so what!  I love these long weekends!

Lets All Go To The Lobby

Tonight Kristie and I are going to one of the first movies we've seen in three weeks.  There has been a couple reasons for this.

Number 1: There was virtually nothing worth seeing out there.

Number 2: We're totally broke! November/December is when we get hit with all of our bills: House insurance, content insurance, vehicle insurance, car registration, life insurance, annual veterinarian bills, etc. For two months straight, we're pretty much just paying bills and surviving by eating the receipts. It generally isn't as horrible as it sounds until you tack on the fact that we also paid for our trip back to Canada as well.

One good thing for this year is the fact that Kristie's family will not be exchanging xmas gifts this year as everyone will be pretty stretched for cash as they will all be going to Brooke's wedding in Jamaica. Not exchanging gifts should give us all a bit of a break this year.

Even the movie that we're going to see tonight is free as I received a couple of movie passes from my boss as a thank you for the work I do...No salary, but I did get a couple movie passes! ;-)

So look for the next movie review coming very soon to Maple Glazed Kiwi.

A Body At Rest

For one reason or another, Kristie and I haven't had as much exercise this week as we generally do. So we woke up this morning with the strong resolve to go for our morning run, and to our credit, we started out really strong. But about 1/4 of the way into the run, I got hit with wicked back spasms!

The first one hit me, and it kind of knocked the wind out of me, but it didn't last long.  I hunched over and for a second or two and then it seemed to be gone. Kristie asked if I wanted to go home, and I thought that we should continue on with the run. A little further in, and I got hit with another one that doubled me over, and this one took a lot longer to subside. We decided to turn around at this point and simply walk home. During most of the walk I could feel the spasms getting more and more consistent.  Luckily we made it home without too much trouble and I rested up for about a 1/2 hour and took some Voltaren (muscle relaxant).

The good thing was that I had the day off, so I didn't have to worry about going into work and exacerbating my back, but I did have to do some house work. While Kristie was in the shower  and blow drying her hair, I started (gingerly) to do my housework, and all was going pretty well until I got hammered with a huge back spasm again.  This one doubled me over again and took my breath away (and not in a good way)! I was stuck hunched over for about five or six minutes and nearly collapsed a couple times, but I knew that if I hit the floor, there was no way I was going to make it back up, so I held onto a door frame until I could get fully erect again. (*giggle*...fully erect.)

After driving Kristie into work, I took it easy for about two hours and the spasms seemed to subside. Needless to say, I didn't get too much exercise today either.

Ubuntu Away!

Today I worked from home again (I love this job). I got to focus on setting up a new network using Ubuntu server. Now I'm not a network administrator, so there are a lot of things that I don't know about setting up a real network. There are also a lot of things that I don't know about quantum physics, but it doesn't keep me from learning about them...unless the wave function collapses, and I am in one universe where I know about physics, or am in one universe that doesn't know about physics. (Trust me, it is funny to a physicist.)

Anywho, I learned a lot today, but I don't think that I will be deploying the network until I learn quite a bit more.  Maybe by tomorrow :-)

By a strange coincidence, do you notice that the Ubuntu logo kind of looks like an atom? See! Physics and Network Management, they're virtually one in the same!

First Night Terrors Up

Today I posted the first of the new Night Terrors strip.  I need to make a few changes for the next ones such as  using a dedicated font rather than hand written, but I'm pretty happy with it!

Night Terrors 1

19:51 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Don't Come In Early

I like to get into work early, because I want to get a lot of work done before everyone else gets in.  Well, that is the theory anyway.  My boss generally gets in about 15 minutes after I do, so I generally don't get a lot of work on the system completed on a daily basis. Yesterday however, after setting up the three new computers, I wanted to dedicate a bit of early time to taking the server off line and doing some maintenance as well as setting up a new network printer and a new wireless router.

So in order to do this work, I had asked the boss if it was possible not to come into work as early.  She agreed, and said she wouldn't be in until 10:30 a.m.  Score!  That should have given me plenty of time to complete the maintenance before the regular office staff showed up. Unfortunately, nobody told me that the training manager was coming in early or the office administrator.  When Daniel showed up at 7:30 a.m., I thought:
"Oh...This is unusual."
I told him that he wouldn't be able to access anything off the server.  He could surf the internet if he wished, but productivity was not in the cards for him today.  Then when the office administrator came in I thought:
"Oh, come on!"
I gave her the same information and wanted to know if there was any way around this. To which I replied a resounding no.

I've told the staff that if they wanted to have fewer computer related issues during the day, they have to give me some time in the morning for maintenance.  I can understand their need for wanting to be productive early, but I already get up at 5:00 a.m., and I still have hardly any time to get everything I want completed. So, again I say: Please don't come in early.  Nobody listens.

Busy Day

Spent most of the work day configuring three new computers. I didn't even have time for a lunch time walk. Tomorrow I will set up the new network printer.
Luckily dinner was easy and yummy. I even had time for a bit of drawing.

Weekend Catch Up

Yesterday I managed to post about a sentence before going to bed, so I thought I should follow up.

We got up quite early yesterday and went for a swim at Thordon pool.  We manged to get a free lane and didn't have to fight off others until we left; it was starting to get a bit busy by then. After the swim we took the pups up Kaukau with us, and went up the ridge route, which is quite a bit longer, but also much more scenic. Afterwards, we had a nice chat with Kristie's parents for about an hour, and then went down for a nap.

When we woke up, we futzed around for a while and then started cooking dinner, which was a fantastic new Mac & Cheese recipe we found. If anyone is reading this blog, and that is a big IF, you must try this recipe! We kind of got interrupted half way through cooking it by a Skype call with Shauna, Jason, Rod and Huey. We were kind of expecting the call, but we never got confirmation, so we just went about our daily routine. Anyway, after a couple hours of chatting over Skype, we finished cooking the dinner, and then ate. We finished off the evening by baking up a batch of fudge brownies, which also turned out great.

Today, we got up early again, but not as early as yesterday, and went for a 13 KM run, which took a lot out of me!  I was pretty frigging pooped afterwards!  Before coming home after the run, we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up this week's groceries.  When we arrived home, we put the groceries away and headed down for a nap.

Both of us felt much better after the nap and proceeded to get a few chores done around the house; I mowed the lawn and Kristie put away laundry and made a batch of our granola bars.  Afterwards we made a lunch of spinach and feta egg sandwiches, which were pretty good, but not great.  I thought they were a bit dry...strange.

Finally, after lunch, we took the dogs for a nice leisurely walk in the Ngaio gorge, where they met up with a whole bunch of other pups.

Later on, we're going to make a dinner of mushroom risotto, and then call it an early night.

This was a great, and jam packed weekend!

Almost Forgot To Post

Just a really quick post to say it was a wonderful day!

A Crappy End to a Crap Week

Legacy Systems
Today actually started out fairly promising.  We had walked into work on a sunny, if windy, day.  I was on track to getting some things finished at work.  Had some productive conversations with the boss, and the BAM, one of the staff computers buys the farm.  To make matters worse, her computer was the networked conduit to the printer for about three people in the office.  As I may have mentioned, being a small, not-for-profit, our IT budget is pretty much on par with our budget for Kleenex.  As such, some of our equipment is quite old, like our print server.

The print server is incompatable with Windows 7, which is what our file server is on.  This meant that for anyone with a newer computer, they couldn't print directly through the file server and instead had to gain access through one of the older computers.  Which older computer?  Good question me!  Well the one that bough the farm of course!  So not only did our office administrator loose her computer, but many people also lost access to the printer.

I purchased a couple eMachines today, one to replace the one that went all blue screen of deathy, and one to replace our training manager's computer which is so old, it is powered by steam! Powered by steam.  Hello?  Is this thing on?  Anyway, I didn't get finished configuring the first computer yet, so I will be going in to work next Monday to finish it all off.  I will also be picking up a new duplex network printer to avoid these legacy issues from now on.

I am so glad that this week is done!

Night Terrors

As virtually anyone who owns a dog knows, there will be, throughout the course of their lives, many occasions where you will be woken from a sound sleep with the dog's request to go outside to go pee or poop.  Having more than one dog will increase the chances of this in direct proportion to the number of dogs you have...funny how that works.  And while I do resent being woken up from a sound sleep, I much prefer that option to the inevitable outcome that would result from ignoring their requests.

Over the last little while, I have been imagining the various imaginary conversations that I have with Walnut and Angus during these nocturnal urinary requests, and posting them on Facebook.  They seemed to generate a lot of interest for all of my followers, so I thought that I might start posting them as cartoons on the blog entitled Night Terrors.  I would then share the blog entry on facebook as virtually nobody reads my blog...bitter? Oh, a tad.

In producing the strips (*giggle*...strips), I was introduced to a new method of getting the drawings digitized. I was watching a YouTube video of Scott Johnson, a web cartoonist, demonstrate how he produces his strips. Basically, he will do a rough draft on paper, and then import a scanned copy of the draft into a graphics program as a bottom layer.  He then sizes it to the predetermined size, and then adds another transparent layer on top of the draft, that he uses to sketch out the final copy; in effect, he uses the digital equivalent of tracing! It would be such a time saver!

Below is a single panel of the rough draft of my first strip.

Occupy Movement - Part 1

I have been giving a lot of thought to the Occupy movement lately.  Not specifically the occupy walls street movement, but the occupy movement as a whole.  These are people who are saying that this system is inherently flawed, and we've got to fix it! Which system?  Virtually all of them.  Over the next little while, I would like to write a bit about some of the problems I see in the system.  Here is part one.

Who Writes the Laws
Right now (and for a long time now), in virtually every democratic country, the laws of the land are not being written by elected officials, they are literally being written by corporate interests who's sole design is to make the playing field work to their advantage. A perfect example of this are the many laws that were either written or heavily influenced by ACTA.  In almost every democratic country, if you commit a crime, or are accused of committing a crime, you are usually innocent until proven guilty.  That means that the burden of proof is on your accusers to show that you did indeed commit the crime, but this gets all turned around with ACTA laws.  Throughout many countries, they are implementing these laws to say that if you are accused, you are guilty!

This is only one example of the many abuses that are being perpetrated by corporate interests.  Others include tipping the balance of power to favor the dominant player in the market, using government to prop up out dated business models, etc. And don't get me started on privatizing state services.

Then there is the problem of gaining access to the politicians.  Lobby groups have the connections, and the money to not only gain access to politicians, but also to influence the politician's vote.  It isn't controversial to say that unless you have tonnes of money, you haven't got a chance in hell of raising your concerns directly to a politician.  Don't believe me?  Try booking an appointment with your MP, or MLA, or even your city/district Counselor.  Without clout, without connections and without money, it will rarely happen.

These are just a couple of the things that the occupy movement wants to address, and instead of being seen as people who want to make things better for everyone (except big business), they are accosted and insulted. I just don't get it.  Does Fox News own every media outlet in the world now?  What the hell is going on?

Anyway, that is today's rant.  I hope to continue posting more about this topic as long as I'm not busy choking down the bile coming up every time I think about these things.

Focused Like A Laser...Oooo Something Shiny

For today's blog entry, I had envisioned a well thought out, well argued and supported discussion about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  However, as I got totally side tracked during work, I am now going to talk about how life will take your best intentions and wad them up into a little ball, throw them in the bin, and then pee on them after eating a full meal of asparagus!

I'm pretty sure that everyone I know, goes into work with ideas about what projects they will work on, which tasks will be completed, and genuinely go in with an optimistic attitude that they will be productive and accomplished.  What I don't think they realize (and by they, I include myself), is that in order to do the things they want to do, it will, more often than not, cut into someone else's productivity.  For instance, my boss, wanting to get information for a report she is working on, approaches me to produce some statistics for her.  Some other examples are the fact that our network went down and needed to be fixed, the printer stopped working for some reason, a staff member's mouse broke, the phone system upgrade needs attention, etc.

So as it appears, regardless of how focused you want to be, you are still at the mercy of the world as a whole.

Blog a Day Month

Monday, October 31, 2011 08:18 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
November is National Blog Post Month, where every day you are challenged to post at least one blog entry every day.  Well, I accept your challenge NaBloPoMo!  I'll play your silly little game; then we'll see who's laughing! Technically, I've still got a full day before it is November, but I don't think I will be disqualified by blogging one day early.  Plus, who's going to stop me?  It isn't like there is a NaBloPoMo judge...or a NaBloPoMoJu.  Speaking of judging a blog entry, they don't have any rules to this whole endeavor either.  They just say you should post one blog entry a month; they don't say that it should be well written, they don't say how long it should be, they don't even have drug testing to ensure you're not using blogging enhancing drugs to better your performance...so many of what we think of as great bloggers seem to be on the blogging juice, or bluice as it has become known by it's street name.

November seems to be a time where you can take up many challenges.  There is photo-a-day for a month, or write a novel in one month, and of course NaBloPoMo.  I'm just going to keep saying that as much as possible! While I seriously doubt that I could write a novel at all, much less complete on within a month, I do think that I can post a blog entry a day.

So here is today's blog entry:

I had a good run this morning.

Yep, that's it.  You can ignore everything that came before it, and everything that came after it.  This entire rant is simply to state that I had a good run into work with Kristie this morning.  I'm not going to bore you with the fact that we took a different route through the Nagio Gorge, or the fact that on the run back I saw a lily growing along the water's edge that would have made a fantastic photo, or even tell you how nice it is to be running in some warmer weather.  I'm just going to leave all of that to your imaginations.

Anyway, now that the tiny blog post has been posted, I think I will begin my weekly Monday cleaning ritual. But I'll save the details of those exciting adventures for another blog entry!

Caution: He Spits

Friday, October 07, 2011 21:02 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I was walking home today when I reached a traffic controlled intersection. Not long into my wait for the light to change, one of my pet peeves occurred.

So there I am, waiting for the light to change, as one does, when this inconsiderate ass wad stops right beside me, and begins puffing his on his cigarette letting the smoke fly right in my face.  He didn't blow it directly in my face, but the wind carried it right in my face (For those keeping count, I have used the phrase: right in my face, four times.  And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog rant).

You know, I believe in people's rights.  If you want to fill your lungs with carcinogenic poisons, be my guest.  But don't spew your acrid smoke around so that others have to breath in that crap that just came out of your blackened lungs.  If you smoke, quit being an inconsiderate douche bag and stand away from a crowd.  How would you like it if I walked down the street with a bottle of water, took a big swig, and started spitting my backwash as far as humanly possible without any regard for who might be spit on?  I'd tell you how you'd like it (it was a rhetorical question anyway); you'd be incensed that anyone would that asinine in the first place.

So my question is this: If social norms suggest that spitting on strangers has been removed from the revised addition of Mrs. Manners Big Book of How Not to be a Arse Blaster, why the hell is it all right to blow poisonous fumes around without any thought to who, besides yourself, is being poisoned?

People can be complete dicks!

NZ Navy vs Parking Warden

Monday, October 03, 2011 13:47 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Right now, here in Wellington, eleven of the NZ Navy's ships are in Wellington harbour to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Navy's founding.  They started arriving back on Thursday and continued arriving throughout most of the weekend.

One of the funny things about it is that each day, when I walk along Wellington's harbour, I see a different ship at a different mooring.  So on one particular day, I saw one of the large ships by Te Papa museum, and some of the other ships scattered at other points along the harbour.  But on other days, it is replaced by a couple of the small boats, or another day it is replaced by the troop carrier.

I think what is happening, is that like so many other places in Wellington, you can only park for free for two hours.  As such, the navy probably hires some guy to shift the boats every hour or so.  I mean, no captain wants to see a $40.00 fine under his wind shield wiper.  Worse yet, getting your war ship out of an impound lot can be a bitch.

Crap Rolls Down Hill

Angus turd, if he were a Rottweiler 
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Kristie and I have taken to frequent walks up Mount Kaukau, a large foothill near our house.  There are several routes that you can take up the hill, but our most recent favorite is a route that takes us up a very steep path and leads up into the foothills that join up with Kaukau.

On virtually all of our walks, we try to take the dogs with us, and I've got to say that for a dog with legs that are about four inches long, Angus can really motor up that hill!  Angus is pure energy, wrapped up in black and white fur, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that he can basically run the entire hill at full tilt. But as the title of this blog post indicates, this isn't about Angus' energy level, this blog post is about crap.

For a very small dog, in addition to his vast energy levels, Angus has the uncanny ability to crap out a brick!  He can pretty much crap out half his body weight in one sitting.  If Angus were a large dog, like a Mastiff or a Rottweiler, the only way to remove his crap would be with a bulldozer and those giant dump trucks you see in the Ft. McMurray oil sands.  Let's face it, Angus is pretty much 3/4 crap and 1/4 dog.  Actually it explains a lot about his personality.

So on this walk, up this very steep hill, Angus decided to dump a load, as he does.  And I am the type of dog owner that refuses to leave his crap on the trail.  I'm also very vigilant about the dog poop too.  Anyway, Angus does his stop, squat and bowel, and because we were on the steep incline, his crap starts rolling down the hill.  But it doesn't stay in one solid mass that I can catch; no what this crap decides to do (because crap obviously has free will), is break apart into smaller pieces and roll off into various directions similar to billiard balls after the break!  So I'm trying to stop these little turdlets from making it to the Mexican boarder using only one hand, covered in the insulating layer of a plastic poop bag.  Needless to say, some of the newly sentient pooplets didn't survive too long as I had to squish them in order to prevent them from rolling all the way down the hill.

So basically, this whole blog post was simply a lead up for me being able to say Roly Crap Batman!

One Of Those Days

This is actually going to be a fairly short post.

Today, at work, was one of those days!  You know the kind.  Nothing is working right, you try to get things done in a hurry, but you end up having to wait for issues you can't control.  And everything comes to a head at 3 minutes before you have to leave.

Sigh!

Up Hill Both Ways

As I've mentioned earlier, now that it is summer, Kristie and I are starting to walk into work together.  On Monday's, my day off, we will walk to Kristie's office together and then I will walk home on my own.  This Monday we decided to change it up a bit and try to run the 4.5 KM distance.

The run in wasn't bad at all and only took us about 30 minutes at a fairly relaxed pace.  The first part of the run is actually not too bad.  You start off with an 800 m incline that gets the blood pumping, and then it is down hill for 2 KM, then on the flat for about 1.5 KM and then another incline.  We didn't feel too bad after the run, so I decided to run home too.

The first part of the run home, as you are now on a decline, wasn't too hard at all.  But then, after gaining some confidence  you begin your ascent of the 2 KM hill.  The hill is interesting as it is almost like an exponential curve.  It starts off at quite a gradual incline, so you start thinking to yourself:

"Hey, this isn't so bad."

So you continue running, and slowly start to feel the effects of a hill climb, but it isn't so bad.  About three quarters of the way up the hill however, I started feeling the effects of the exponential curve and I started noticing my breath becoming more and more laboured, and I could feel my heart beating heavier and heavier.  I finally had to stop about four-fifths of the way up as my heart was pretty much trying to punch its way out of my chest.

I walked for about 5 or 6 pole lengths panting and sweating like Homer Simpson at a barbecue, was able to bring my heart back under control and then continued for the rest of the run.

Below is a graphical representation of how I felt on the run.


A Day In The Sun

Kristie and I ditched Wellington today to spend some time on the Kapiti Coast.  Wellington was going to be miserable all day, but Waikanae was gorgeous today with lots of sun, very little wind, and a giant beach to let the dogs run free!

The day started with a nice long walk on the beach, where Angus and Walnut met up with some very friendly dogs.  Angus got to chase sand pipers and sea gulls to his hearts content.  After the walk, we drove into Otaki for some shopping.  I've been looking for some new socks, but as I am quite particular, I didn't get any.  I did find some that I liked, but they were Icebreaker and I didn't want to spend $20.00 for a single pair of socks.  I did pick up a tiny micro fibre towel that attaches to a pouch on a carabiner.  We have been doing some very strenuous hill walks lately, and it would be nice to have something I can wipe the sweat off with, and not have to carry around a huge towel.

After shopping in Otaki, we went back into Waikanae for some lunch.  We went to our favorite beach restaurant and had fi & chi.  We really like this place because the fish is nice and lightly battered, they make their own tar-tar sauce, and they always make fresh, thick cut chips.  As an added bonus, they have a large courtyard with picnic tables, where they allow patrons to bring their dogs.  So the pups got to partake in the fi & chi too.

Finally, on the way home, we stopped off in Lindale for some Kapati Ice Cream.  The line up was huge, and an old guy butt in front of us to be served, but it was such a nice day, I didn't kill him by stuffing ice cream cones in his nostrils.

All in all, a great day!




Shrinkage

As I may have mentioned before, on Mondays I don't work.  Actually, it is more accurate to say that on Mondays I do house work.  I only work a four day work week, so I catch up on housework on Monday.  But in an effort to stay fit, I will walk into work with Kristie and then walk home.  T'he whole trip takes about 90 minutes there and back.  The walk itself isn't that strenuous, I mean it isn't like running an ultra-marathon or anything like that, but there are some large hills and I do work up a sweat.  Actually, I work up quite a large sweat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some out of shape wiener who gets winded by tying his shoes, but it is in my genetic make up that I sweat while doing strenuous activities.  I could be sitting in a puddle just trying to figure out how to solve a Rubic's cube for goodness sake.  Speaking of which...those people who can solve a Rubic's cube in less than 20 seconds....knock it off OK!  I can't even peal the stickers off that fast.

Anyway, on today's walk, I arrived at home as normal and the first thing I wanted to do was to get out of my sweaty clothes.  I had on a pair of nylon sweat pants, a t-shirt and a wind breaker, and I was soaked!  You know what I mean?  That kind of sweat that makes a t-shirt stick to your body like Spiderman's symbiotic costume (only comic book geeks will get this)?   So after I peeled off my shirt, ditched my sweat pants and then pealed off my underwear, to my utter shock and horror, I noticed that I was suffering from the most alarming case of shrinkage that ever befell a human being!

It was awful!  Look, if a 3 month old baby were to see my affliction, he'd be like:
"Dude!  You know there are surgical options for that now."
Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I'm anything special to begin with, but this was just ridiculous!  You know those letters to Penthouse?  (Ya, neither do I.)  But in those letters you've got guys saying stuff like:
"I don't want to brag, but at 11 inches, I'm no slouch..."
Look, I'd totally LOVE to brag, but unfortunately, I can't!  So when I say I was suffering, you have to believe me!

But here is the point to this whole story.  I was exercising!  I was sweating!  The caloric burning work that I was doing, caused me to sweat!  My body, noticing that I was generating heat, decided to take matters in its own hands and activated its defense systems, turning on the sprinkler system.  It was saying:
"Dude!  Chill!"
Apparently though, the human body doesn't seem to coordinate its functions very well.  T'he left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, so to speak.  On one hand, you've got the body saying:
"Ok, we've noticed your getting quite warm...you're looking a little flush; we're just going to give you a spritzing of water to cool you down.  There, isn't that better?"
But on the other hand, you've got the nether regions, who apparently don't know the phone number to the brain, because they are like:

"HEY!!!  HEY!!!  It's bloody cold down here!  Turn up the frigging heat!!!"
"I don't think they can hear us...Every god damned Monday, its the same thing!!!"
"What are we going to do?"
"I can't take this shit anymore, I'm going inside!"
"Hey, what about me?  I can't fit with you guys in there; move over!"
"Forget it!  Just scrunch up as much as you can!"

Another Kaukau Day

For the last month or so, Kristie and I have changed up our walking routine.  For quite a while, in addition to our morning runs and/or lunchtime walks, after work we would take the dogs for a walk in the Ngaio gorge.  But as mentioned earlier, we have changed our routine from the gorge to Mt. Kaukau.

The moniker of "Mount" is a bit of a misnomer as it is really just a foot hill, with an elevation of approximately 419 metres.  Still, depending on the route you take, the climb can be quite taxing.  The main route has 525 stairs interspersed on the trail and takes about an half hour at a good pace.  The new route that we just tried yesterday and today has very few stairs as it is more of a natural path, but is quite steep at various points.

Either one will give you a good workout and a great view of Wellington and the surrounding area.

Angus vs Chicken

Angus vs Chicken
Both Walnut and Angus have an abundance of toys: stuffed toys, latex toys, balls, etc. (Does anyone else think that the description of their toys sound dirty?)

For the most part, Walnut loves the balls (again...sounds dirty), whereas Angus loves the stuffed animal toys.

Here's a picture of Angus with one of his many favourites, the Chicken.

Twitter Experiment

I've never been a big user of twitter, as I have found that it doesn't have much benefit to people like me, you know people who are of no interest to anyone but themselves.  I've found that for the most part, Twitter is nothing but shouting into the void; sure you're making noise, but no one is actually listening.

So today I thought of an experiment to try to increase my Twitter followers.  I have created a representational hard copy of what the Twitter website looks like (see below).  From now on, any time I post a twitter post, I'm also going to hand write the same post.  I will take this hard copy and post it on many of the bulletin boards that are around town, for instance the bulletin boards you'd see in a grocery store.
Twitter Hard Copy
I think it would be interesting to see if the hard copy will generate more followers than simply posting via twitter and waiting to see who listens.

To what end?

To be honest, I have no idea.  It is just an experiment.  It isn't like I will actually be generating any more content that will be interesting.  I'm still going to be me; posting pictures, walking the dogs, eating, sleeping and pooping.  Nothing else is going to change.

Targeted Ads My Butt!

Being constantly connected to the internet via social networks, google searches, chrome operating system, augmented reality, always on GPS enabled phones and cameras, etc. was suppose to usher in an era of targeted advertising that was suppose to change the way that consumers would interact with corporations.

The idea was that all of these constantly connected devices would be able to take all of these signals and create a detailed portfolio of your habits and needs, and then would be able to target ads, through the interwebs or your smart phone, specifically for you.  For the company who is advertising, there are two benefits to this kind of advertising:

  1. The company who is advertising would pay less money, as the adverts would only be displayed to certain individuals.
  2. The company who is advertising would have a much greater chance of the viewer clicking on the advert as it is specifically targeted to their needs.

For the consumer, the benefits are obvious, you would only see ads that actually may hold interest for you.  This is not what is happening however.

As an example, a couple of days ago, the battery on my Vespa bit the dust, and I had mentioned it on both Facebook and Google Plus.  Now, the idea of targeted advertising is that I should see display ads in Facebook/Google Plus for things like motorcycle batteries, Vespa dealerships, motorcycle/scooter service centres, etc.  But what do I see instead?  Belly fat adds, my 55 year old mom looks 35, enrol at Crap Online University (or CU), congratulations - you're the 1,000,000 site visitor, click here so we can steal your information...

Evidently the only advertisers on the web, are the same people who send me spam via email.  Oh, and by the way...I'm still waiting for my penis enlarger that I ordered last year!!!

My Dreams are Freaky

Monday, August 29, 2011 14:52 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Ok, so I had a bit of a strange dream last night.  I was back in High School with all of my friends, but instead of being people, we were all cartoon versions of opossums - as you'd expect.  However, I wasn't like all the other opossums, as I had a missing tail and I had to wear a prosthetic tail, which caused me no end of shame. Added to this was the fact that it looked like I was suffering from mange.  So all in all, I wasn't the best example of a hunky male opossum.  Anyway, my good opossum friend and I were discussing my secret mega-crush on Keri Adams, who despite being in High School (opossum high school), was still anchoring Global News in Vancouver - not the opossum version of Global news, which has seen its numbers dwindle over the years, but rather the real Global News.  Which I think spoke to Keri’s professionalism - I mean the network must have truly believed in her right?  How often do you see a marsupial anchoring a newscast for a large metropolitan area...that isn’t geared towards other marsupials?

Anyway, my good opossum friend had arranged to set me up with Keri to go out on a date.  Now being an opossum with a bad case of mange, and a prosthetic tail, I was quite nervous about our date as I was sure my good opossum friend had told some little white lies about me in order to have Keri go out with me.  So in order to make as good an impression as possible, I wanted to wash my car before the date.  But as my convertible Mercedes was invisible, I couldn't locate the spot where I had parked it, so I spent a large amount of time walking around seemingly empty parking spots pressing my key fob in order to hear the beep-beep once I had stumbled upon my car.

I finally found my car, and then the scene fast forwarded to me picking up Keri and we were off to the restaurant we had chosen.  All the time in the car, I had steered the conversation into asking her open ended questions in an effort to keep her from discussing my prosthetic tail.  She seemed to have the good manners enough not to discuss my mange, which I think was a classy move.  A little further into the drive, we seemed to have veered out of Vancouver's city centre onto the High Level bridge in Edmonton, where we saw a large 747 had mistakenly misconstrued the bridge for an airport runway; which is kind of strange as the airport was clearly right next to the bridge.  Luckily, I had seen the plane coming in early enough to take evasive action and steered onto an off ramp (of which the High Level bridge had many), and quickly drove down below the bridge and out of the way of the falling debris from the 747.  We were just missed by one of the Rolls-Royce engines, which I helpfully identified to Keri in an effort to show her my broad range of knowledge, but the car was clipped by one of the wing tips.

At that point, I woke up.

While pretty close to real life, you’d have to admit that there are a few things that seemed a bit off here.  I mean, off ramps on the High Level Bridge?  Come on...

Four Pair of Shoes

Kristie and I do a tonne of walking since moving to NZ, as such whatever we save on petrol and tyres, we end up spending on shoes.  Today we headed out to Dress Smart to see if we could get a good deal on a pair of shoes.  Well long story short, we both bought two new pairs.  The prices were too good to pass up though.  Shoes, like everything else here, are pretty expensive; imagine paying about $240.00 for a decent pair of runners.  That is why we like going to Dress Mart, we can usually find a really good price on what we need.

I bought an identical pair to the last trail runners I bought last time, except they were grey in colour rather than black, and Kristie picked up a pair of the women's version of them too.  I also found a pair of basic brown runners that I think will do well for my lunch time walks.  Kristie's second pair was a pair of walking shoes; you know the kind that have a curved sole to help in your walking gait.

We are both stashing the trail runners for future use as our trail runners seem to be in good shape at the moment, but better to buy when cheap.  I'll be wearing my new brown ones to pick up the movie this afternoon, and Kristie will be wearing the walking shoes.

...and no, the ones picture here are not the ones we purchased.

Webapps Need Longer Shelf Life

webapps
I love the idea of web 2.0 technology; having not only your data, but also the applications you need regardless of where you are or which computer you're using.  The problem I see with this is that many applications disappear into the ether never to be heard from again.

I have tried so many promising webapps that after a very short period of time, end up closing up shop because of lack of interest/funds or even worse, the companies created the apps sell out to bigger companies, and those bigger companies simply discontinue the product.  I have a big problem with both scenarios:

1. Regard the lack of funds, I really don't understand how this is happening in today's day and age.  Amazon offers very cheap server technology/space and storage for entrepreneurs.  And it is elastic in nature (hence the name E2) which means that you only pay for what you use.  So why is it so freaking expensive to operate and stay open?

2. Selling out to big companies is one I have a big philosophical problem with.  I don't doubt that one of the reasons that developers create apps for the web is to make money.  But I always thought that the underlying issue was to provided a great product that everyone would rave about and wouldn't be able to live without.  So these companies get buyout offers from corporations and simply give up on their idea, leaving the early adopters, the people that actually believed in the product, in the lurch!

I believe that short sighted decisions such as these are going to do a great deal harm to the webapp adoption process in the long run.  No one will trust that their application, much less their data, will be there for them in the long run.  Here's a hint: If you've got a great idea, make sure you have a business plan, and the belief in your product not to sell out.

P.S. I am aware of many webapps that ARE sticking around, but I think they're more the exception than the rule.

Puppycam

Tuesday, August 09, 2011 16:51 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
My friends Lynn and Paul Bagnall breed Burmese Mountain Dogs.  Well, they probably leave the breeding to the dogs themselves, but I can't be certain.  Anyway, in the last litter of puppies, one of the dogs was born with a cleft pallet and couldn't feed.  Luckily they took the puppy to a vet for proper care and now, after five days, the puppy is back with her mom.

The story captured the hearts of a lot of people and The Edmonton Journal set up a puppycam.  Paul and Lynn have been trained on how to bottle feed the pup, and hopefully everything will work out well!

Pulling Weeds

Monday, August 08, 2011 15:37 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Pulling Weeds
Today, being Monday, is my day off from work where I get to do domestic duties such as laundry, dusting, vacuuming, baking, etc. (Today I made Peach Pie muffins).  But because we were having friends over for brunch yesterday, other than Laundry, there wasn't much to do in the line of housework.  So today, I put on my old, grubby shorts and a ratty old shirt and went out back to pull weeds.

Right behind the house we have a small area that pretty much just fits a laundry line, and the surface is all pea gravel.  Well over time, and much neglect on my part, I had let the weeds and grass build up to such a point where it was difficult to even see the gravel.  So today, sitting on a collapsed cardboard box, to protect my butt from the hard gravel and bugs, I spent about two hours just pulling weeds and grass.  It looks a lot better back there, but now I have no motivation to keep it clean.  I'm just going to have to burn anything that may come up now.

Getting Ready For Brunch

Dining Room Chair
Kristie and I are having some friends over for brunch tomorrow, and along with our regular weekend traditions, we are getting ready for tomorrows brunch.

Tomorrow's menu is home made granola, two types of yogurt (not home made), hash browns, fruit salad and french toast bread pudding.  We're doing a lot of it beforehand.  For instance, we're making the granola and fruit salad tonight as well as preparing the fixins' for the bread pudding and the hash browns.

To prepare for tomorrows brunch, we went to the Lower Hutt Farmers' market for all our fruit and veggie supplies.  After that we stopped off at Vast furniture to purchase a couple of chairs.  A few months back we had bought a new dining room set that had really nice red leather benches and high backed chairs.  At the time, we just purchased the benches and the table, but now that Vast had another sale today, we purchased the high backed chairs.  Now we're all set for brunch tomorrow.  We've got food to eat, and a place to eat it.

The final thing we've got on the agenda for today is going to the Wellington Film Festival.  A few weeks back we purchased some tickets for the film festival, and today we're seeing Hot Coffee.

Four Scores Today

Friday, August 05, 2011 16:51 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Poblano Pepper
Today was a really good day for four reasons

1. I found a poblano pepper at Moore Wilson

For the last two weeks or so, we have been unable to find chili peppers here. They are out of season, so any we would find, would have been imported.  Even so, there were no peppers to be found anywhere.  Today, I popped into Moore Wilson, a boutique kind of market, and managed to find some newly shipped chili peppers.

2. I got to work from home after lunch.

This isn't that big of a deal as I am allowed to work from home occasionally, but it is still great to come home early and work from home.

3. I picked up a newly released movie we have been wanting to see for a while.

The Lincoln Lawyer was suppose to open to limited release here a few months back, but the release date kept getting pushed back until they simply removed it from the listings at all.  Kristie was quite upset at this as she was very anxious to see the movie.

4. Our package arrived from Eddie Bauer.

Finally, last week Kristie and I ordered a couple articles of clothing from EB, and they arrived today.  Kristie got an Assent, thermal wind breaker, and I got a thermal shirt.

All in all, a great day!

Pikelets

Pikelets
I attended a workshop for work today at Hutt hospital.  We were presenting to many staff members there, making a case for using trained interpreters.  But that isn't what this post is about.

For morning tea, they served these little tiny muffins, and what looked to me as cold pancakes, sans syrup and butter.  Turns out, they were indeed serving cold pancakes, sans syrup and butter.  They call them pikelets (pronouced pie-clets), and you eat them with your hands rather than with a knife and fork.  To their credit, you can also dip them in whipped cream, which I did...a lot!

Long Time No Post

I thought I should get back into blogging.  Even though no one actually reads them, I could start using it as a diary of sorts.
Ok, quick catch up first:
Kristie and I will be going on holiday in about 2 1/2 weeks.  We're going back up north again; not as far north as last time, but still past Auckland.
We managed to book a couple movies at the Wellington Film Festival: Jig an Hot Coffee.  Both are documentaries.  Jig was about Irish dancing competitions in the Spellbound tradition, and was absolutely wonderful.  We're hoping Hot Coffee will be just as good and will be going next weekend.
As Angus is scratching to go outside, I will have to cut this blog entry short.

Daylight Savings Explained to an Alien

Thursday, April 21, 2011 18:13 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Daylight Savings Explained to an Alien

Alien (let's call him Bob): Batteries run out in your clock?
Human (let's call him Ron): No, I'm adjusting the clock for daylight savings.

Bob: What do you mean, daylight savings?
Ron: Well you know how our planet doesn't exactly rotate on the poles right?

Bob: Yeah, it rotates on the axial tilt...like billions of other planets I've seen.
Ron: Right, well because of that, we have seasons, which means the light from the sun in one hemisphere isn't a constant; during the summer we get more sunlight, and during the winter we get less.

Bob: Ok, but that doesn't explain why you're changing your clock.
Ron: Well, but setting the clocks forward one hour, we get an extra hour of sunlight.

Bob: *blink*, *blink*...No you don't.
Ron: Yeah we do.  See, right now it is 11:00 pm right?

Bob: Yeah...
Ron: Well, if I set the clock forward one hour, the sun is setting a full hour later than it did before!

Bob: Are you mental?
Ron: No.

Bob: So let me get this straight...you think that by moving the hands of your clock forward one hour, it eliminates the axial tilt of the planet?
Ron: No, but it gives us one extra hour of..

Bob: No it doesn't!  The amount of daylight remains the exact same!
Ron: Ok, I know it doesn't really...

Bob: Why don't you just get up an hour earlier?
Ron: What?

Bob: Why don't you just get up an hour earlier?  If the amount of sunlight you get in the evening is so damned important, why not just get up an hour earlier?
Ron: We can't do that, virtually our whole economy is built around a work day of 9 to 5, and shifting it from 8 to 4 would be too difficult.

Bob: *blink*, *blink*  It's no frigging wonder you guys are stuck on this rock.

The Cheese Sense

Cheese
You know how people often talk of a sixth sense?  I think Walnut might actually have a sixth sense, that sense being the ability to detect cheese.

Generally, when Kristie and I are making dinner, Walnut is no where to be found.  He seems content to just hang out in the living room while we go about our regular routines.  Angus, on the other hand, hangs out with us in the kitchen waiting for the various veggie scraps that may come his way...Angus isn't particular.  Walnut on the other hand, can't be bothered with anything other than either dairy or meat (a rarity in our household to be sure).

Inevitably, whenever a recipe calls for cheese, Walnut appears just as the refrigerator door closes.  Every time!  We've tried to fool him too.  We'll try to mask the sound of the fridge door, we'll take the cheese out long before starting the recipe, anything that might keep the cheese hound from knowing about the cheese, but he always knows.  I know that dogs have super sniffers and all, but he even knows if it is unwrapped cheese! I now believe that, like Yoda senses the force, Walnut senses cheese.

The Cheddar is strong in this one!

You don't need to see his identification.  This isn't the cheese you're looking for.

Walnut is a cheese hound master!

Vacation Walking Goals

Saturday, April 16, 2011 07:29 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Oh well.  Despite my best efforts, I had one day of less than ten thousand steps while on vacation.  The final day home, where we drove, and drove, and drove, and drove...I only reached seven thousand or so.
*sigh*

Last Day In Coopers Beach

Friday, April 15, 2011 19:27 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
On our last full day at Cooper's Beach, we got up early and went for a walk on the beach (shocker!).
We went into Manganui again and walked their heritage trail.

For lunch we went, one last time, to the Manganui fish shop and had some fish and potato fritters, and to finish it all off, we stopped off at the Four Square for a butter pecan flavoured, soft serve cone.  Huge it was!

After lunch we headed back to the bach for a wee bit of a nap, some reading, and then went for a swim in the ocean.

Afterwards we made our final dinner; grilled bean and corn wraps with the last of the guacamole on the side.  We capped it all off with foil grilled bananas and chocolate.  Yum!

Oh well, it was a wonderful vacation here!


Note: You can view all of our photos here: Picasa Web Album.

Drivin', Drivin', and More Drivin'

19:22 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today, on our last day in Cooper's Beach, we got up at about 6:30 am to be out the door by 7:00 am.  As is usual for a trip, we actually didn't get going until after 7:20 am.

We drove back to Kerikeri one more time in order to purchase a couple of slices that we would have for our desserts.  We were going to buy a coffee from a shop nearby, but they were closed. :-(

From Kerikeri, we travelled to Kawakawa for one more stop at the world famous bathrooms, both functional and beautiful.  We stopped in Hikurangi for a coffee that was suppose to be free as part of a Keep The Driver Awake campaign (see two blog entries previous), but they said they didn't honour the coupons as the government was suppose to reimburse them for the milk and cups, but they have not received any reimbursements.  We bought the coffee anyway.

Our next stop was in Waipu, which is a place that was settled by people from Ireland, via Nova Scotia!  We picked up a gift for Kristie's sister at a farmer's market there.

After Waipu, we journeyed back towards the sea, where we hung out in Matakana for a while.  Matakana was a very small, but vibrant community with great shops and some good restaurants.  While there we sampled a bar of Bennet's chocolate with fejoa.  It was absolutely amazing!  So much so, we journeyed backwards to Mangawhai, where the Bennett's factory is located.  The drive out to Bennett's was quite a scenic romp in itself.  When we arrived at Bennett's we purchased some loose chocolates as well as a couple more bars for the road.  After our stop at the chocolate factory, we went onto the Mangawhai heads for a beach picnic.

Now, as we had lost three hours worth of driving, and circled back about 60 Km in total, it was time to get to our destination in Raglan.  We drove, pretty much, non-stop all the way, going directly through Auckland, circumnavigating Hamilton, and finally arrived at Raglan at about 6:00 pm.

Very much like the start of our journey, we bought a pizza and ate it along the waterfront with the pups before getting into the bach and heading off to sleep.

Note: You can view all of our photos here: Picasa Web Album.

Life Is A Beach

19:19 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today was a day that we decided to stay close to home base.  We pretty much just hung out at three different beaches, close to our bach.

The first one, was Coopers Beach, which as luck would have it, is the one that our bach is on.  The second one was Taupo Bay.  This was a really nice beach; not very long, but the water was calm, the sand was hot and pristine, and the sun was blazing.  The final one was the tide pools at Cable Bay.

We capped off the evening with a BBQ grilled veggie sandwich and a ginger beer.

Tomorrow is our last day here in Coopers Bay, and then back to Raglan.

Note: You can view all of our photos here: Picasa Web Album.

Bay of Islands

19:09 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today, after the traditional breakfast of porridge, toast and a long walk on the beach (it is a recent tradition, only about 4 days old, but a tradition none-the-less), we headed off to the Bay of Islands.  The Bay of Islands isn't one particular town, it is more a community of towns, or a region; think of David Thompson Country in Alberta.

It is about a 45 minute drive from Coopers Beach to Paihia.  That is the tourist town I talked about a couple blog entries ago.  We found a parking spot there, and took the passenger ferry over to Russell.  Russel was a quaint little town filled with various gift shops, artisans, and restaurants that you would expect in a small, seaside village.  It is home to the oldest church in New Zealand; Christ's Church (not to be confused with Christchurch).  We checked out the town by foot and went on a couple bush walks to Flagstaff, which is up on the peninsula.  Flagstaff is where, over hundreds of years, the Pakiha (white people) have raised a flag, and over the same hundreds of years (strange how that worked out), the Maori have continually cut down the flag.

After Flagstaff, we went on another bush walk to a little hidden gem of a beach; it wasn't so much a beach as a cubby hole of sand nestled in a tiny inlet, surrounded by large rocks.  While quaint, it wouldn't be somewhere you'd want to spend your whole day, so with that thought in mind...we left.

After emerging from the bush (giggle...bush), we headed back into town for lunch.  We ate at a little pizza joint just off the water.  They had a special of any pizza, any price.  So we ordered a large pizza to split between the two of us.  Being the light weight that she is, Kristie only managed three pieces, whereas I managed to scarf down six, count-em, six pieces of pizza!  Hey, if I pay for it, damn it, I'm gonna eat it! Oh yeah, that is a distended belly, and not a tumour!

Right after lunch, we had to rush to catch the ferry back to Paihia.  It turns out rushing isn't that easy when you've eaten six pieces of pizza.  When we arrived back in Paihia, we noticed a farmers market across the street.  The funny thing was, that farmer's market wasn't there when we left...hmmmmmm.  Anyway, we walked around and looked at the produce and such that was being sold, but as I had just eaten six pieces of pizza, nothing looked overly appetizing.

After the farmer's market, we drove the short hop to Waitangi, which is the spot of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the spot where (arguably), the current form of New Zealand was born.  We went into the treaty house museum, circled the grounds, took pictures of Maori war canoes, and went to see the marae.  We didn't have as much time to spend there as we would have liked, but I want to do more research into the history of Watangi.

That took us to about 3:00 pm, and we had to get back to the bach to see the pups.  We drove home with a quick stop in Kerikeri to pick up a couple of slices for tonight's dessert and a flat white.

We capped off the day with one final walk along the beach with the pups and a dinner of left over Thai food.

Today was a wonderfully relaxing day!

Note: You can view all of our photos here: Picasa Web Album.

Thai It, You'll Like It

19:07 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today was another day of getting up early and hitting the beach.  Not as early as the previous day, but we still got out at a decent hour.  The water was incredibly placid today, and very warm.  We took another walk to the west end of the beach, and hung out there with the dogs for about an hour.  Both the dogs, were managing to go into the water.  This isn't too unusual for Angus, but Walnut is not known for his love of water.

After our walk, we wandered back into Manganui in order to buy some stamps as well as checking email and other e-stuff.

We got back to the batch at around noon and made a lunch of BBQ grilled cheese sandwiches.  Have you ever tried grilling a sandwich on a BBQ?  OMG!  It was the BEST grilled cheese I've ever had!

After lunch we took a drive down to the karikari (not to be confused with Kerikeri) peninsula.  We wanted to check out Maitai Beach which we had heard so much about, but when we got there we saw that they didn't allow dogs on the beach, so we had to be content with taking a couple photos and then moving on.  We stopped at another beach along the way, but when we got there we were pretty disappointed.  The beach, while long, wasn't very pretty, and it also allowed motor vehicles to drive up and down the beach, so we didn't exactly feel safe there, hence we left fairly quickly.

We got back to the bach and took another long walk along our beach...looks like you don't have to travel far to find something you like.

Tonight for dinner, we ordered Thai takeaway and for the first time in ages, we strayed from our Veg ways.  We ordered a Sweet Chili Fish, A Pad Ped Thai, Spicy Chicken and Mussamun Beef Curry.  IT WAS SO GOOD!  This was the best Thai food that we've had since Edmonton (The King and I).

Well, another day coming to an end, and looking forward to another beach walk tomorrow morning.

Note: You can view all of our photos here: Picasa Web Album.