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 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 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

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.

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.

Eat Your Heart Out Maui

Thursday, April 14, 2011 19:56 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We both woke up pretty early this morning; around 6:00 am.  We awoke to crystal clear skies and the high tide of the ocean lapping against the shore about 20 metres below us; We made a quick breakfast of oatmeal and toast, cleaned up the breakfast dishes, and then rushed down to the beach.  We took the dogs down with us to find a beautiful, pristine, soft-warm sandy beach that stretched on for about a kilometre in each direction...And it was virtually devoid of people!

Beaches like this on Waikiki, are so jam-packed with people, you can't walk two steps without stepping on a tourist.  Here?  There virtually wasn't a soul in sight!  As the beach was empty, we let the dogs off leash so that they could explore.  We walked to the west end of the beach, where the sand turned into some volcanic rock with lovely views further on.  We then walked all the way back to the east end of the beach that was very similar.  All along the beach, there were hundreds of puhutakawa trees that were growing out of the beach sand.  Puhutakawa trees, for those who don't know, are kind of like bottle-brush, with vibrant red flowers that bloom in November/December.  Unfortunately, we were too late in the season to see them blooming, but we want to come back again next December to view what must be a spectacular sight.

Along the beach, we would occasionally pass by some people taking advantage of the beautiful morning and the empty beach.  We also bumped into a few people who had dogs with them, so Walnut and Angus were quite happy too.

Following our beach walk, we drove back into Manganui to explore the town in the daylight.  It is a very small town, with a few gift shops and restaurants, and a nice little harbour for the residents.

After exploring the town, we came back to the batch to have a quick lunch of BBQ grilled PB&J tortillas!  Yummy!

Following lunch we drove back to Kerikeri to explore the town in a little more depth, as well as taking the opportunity to stock up on supplies while at the bach.  Kerikeri is an absolutely wonderful little town, that I would love to spend more time in.  On the drive out of Kerikeri we stopped at a veggie stand to pick up more food supplies and also bought some home-baked goodies for desert.  We made one final stop at a fudge shop where we picked up 50 grams of creme brulee fudge and 50 grams of carmel fudge.

When we arrived back at the batch, we went for another beach walk with the pups, and then made dinner.  Tonight's dinner was grilled portobello mushroom burgers topped with home-made hummus and a side of freshly made (and garlicy) guacamole!  ...thank you Marci.  After cleaning up from dinner, we were both feeling kind of tired, but it was too early to go to bed, so we watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen.

Now that it is a bit later, and my blog entry is done, it is off to bed.

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

On The Road Again

19:51 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We got up early this morning to ensure that our long road trip ahead wasn't made very much longer by driving through Auckland.  We timed it so that we would reach Auckland just after the rush was dying down.  We started hitting heavy traffic just outside of Auckland at about 9:30 am.  It probably took about an hour to get through the entire city.  All-in-all, it wasn't too slow going.  We probably averaged a speed of about 60-70 KM/hr.

After Auckland we were on a toll road unlike any I've seen in Canada.  Instead of stopping to pay the toll, you get your picture taken and simply pay online within five days of your travel.  Kristie brought up the point of people who don't have Internet access while on Holiday, but they also had a method of paying via mobile phone, or if you don't have a phone, then you could have chosen a well marked exit that avoided the toll highway.

Since we made it past Auckland, we were settling into the rest of the journey kind of free and easy.  We stopped in a little town called Warkworth where we took a boardwalk trail around their Kauri tree forest.

After leaving Warkworth, we stopped to get some food in Whangarei.  Of all the towns we had stopped in until this point, this was our least favorite.  It just seemed to be lacking a personality.  The town centre seemed to utilitarian and uninteresting.  We tried finding an interesting place to stop for a picnic, as they were located on an estuary, but even that wasn't anything special.  We did finally manage to find a good cafe to eat lunch, but had to sit outside the City Counsel chambers to eat.  All in all, Whangarei was quite disappointing.

After Whangarei, we stopped at Kawakawa to see their world famous bathrooms.  True Story!  Apparently, the bathrooms at Kawakawa were designed by a world famous designer.  Not only did they look really interesting, they were also clean and functional!

Further along our drive, we stopped for a break at Bay of Islands.  This area is quite nice and picturesque, but a bit too touristy for our taste.  There were quite a few places for photo ops, and would probably be quite nice for a short visit, but not a destination in our opinion.

Our last stop was our destination, here in Cooper's Beach.  When we arrived, the sun was just about completely set, but what we were able to see was absolutely amazing!  The bach itself is beautiful, functional, and wanting for nothing.  It is spacious, clean, equipped with large deck and barbecue along side.  Can't wait to see what it all looks like in the morning as the ocean is only about 20 metres from our deck!

After unpacking everything, we thought we should go into Manganui to try out their, much talked about, Manganui Fish Shop.  The Fish Shop is built on pylons over the water, so you can see the ocean lapping directly under you, through the floor boards.  Kristie and I both ordered one piece of their freshly caught, Bluenose and a scoop of chips between us, and I had a squid ring.  The fish was absolutely wonderful!  It was lightly battered, and served in traditional newsprint; as all fi & chi should be.  The only downside was that the chips weren't home-made; they were McCains.  This was probably the second best fish & chips that I have had here in NZ; the first being from Waikanea, a town very close to Wellington.

After almost 11 hours on the road, by the time we got back to the bach, we were pretty tired, so now it is off to bed.

See you tomorrow.

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

Holy Vitamin D Batman

06:29 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We woke up pretty early today; around 6:00 am, on account of going to bed so early yesterday as well as the fact that Daylight saving had ended as of last night.  We had quick breakfast of muffins and coffee that we had brought with us as supplies.  Then, after a quick shower, we headed off to a couple of the beaches we had heard about.  The first one we got to was Manu beach which was already packed with people due to a surfing competition that was happening.

After watching the competition from far up above, we continued to Whale beach.  Whale beach was also packed with surfers, not for a competition, but simply for the tasty waves.  Both of these beaches were only beaches in the sense that water met shore; neither one of them were sandy beaches, just large waves and huge rocks.

We headed back in the opposite direction and watched a bit more of the surfing competition while letting the dogs out for a walk near the water.  From Manu beach we could see a huge sandy beach not far away.  After the dogs did their duty (giggle...duty!), we drove to find the sandy beach.  We took a narrow road leading into some residential housing, but we also saw a scenic reserve trail that headed down to the beach.

Wow, what a beach!  It was long, sandy, lots-o-waves, but not such huge surf that you couldn't go swimming.  And a huge plus was that dogs were welcome!  Kristie and I grabbed a corner of beach, near a large rock, and just enjoyed the sunny weather and playing in the water with the pups.  After a couple hours, we started getting hungry, so we came back to the home-stay for the left over pizza we had for dinner last night.

Not long after eating lunch, we headed out again to a place called bridal veil falls, a place about 15 KM from our home-stay.  Unfortunately, upon arrival, we saw that they didn't allow dogs, so we didn't get a chance to see what all the fuss was about.  Luckily, the drive was absolutely gorgeous, and we have another chance to check it out on our return trip in a week's time.  Although we didn't get to see the falls, we stopped at a wind farm lookout and enjoyed a locally roasted coffee.

We dropped the dogs off at the home-stay and then went to explore the shops in Raglan.  We found some funky art shops, and some other stores as well as scoped out some restaurants we thought we might like for dinner.  We stopped at a cafe called ??? where we enjoyed a lovely iced chocolate drink and a walnut brownie...Both were absolutely yummers!

We headed back to the home-stay to pick up the dogs for another walk along the great beach.  At this time, the tide had receded quite a bit, so we were able to take a really long walk that wouldn't have been as easy if the tide were in.  Finally, after the walk, we headed back into town to get a meal of Indian takeaway from a little place called Nameste.

Now, after eating, a shower, and packed up for our early road trip tomorrow, we can settle down to watch an episode of House.

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

Corrogate This

06:22 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We started off today with a long drive ahead of us, but luckily we were already almost completely packed and were able to get out at 7:15 am.

The weather for the drive started out pretty well and although there were a few clouds along the way, all in all, the weather was great for travel.

Our first rest stop was Taihape where we stopped at New World to buy new toothbrushes and toothpaste, as we had forgotten ours.  After that we walked over to a cafe where we bought a hot chocolate and a friand.  We then took the dogs for a quick walk around the town's central park so that they could relieve themselves and stretch their legs.  On the way out of town we found this particular point of interest: Gumboot Park, where the central sculpture was a corrugated iron gumboot.

After leaving Taihape, our next stop was Turangi (south of Taupo)--where we had a veggie burger picnic.  We encountered some water fowl here, including swans and ducks.  We also saw Canada Geese, but they had too much attitude to get their photos taken (hence, only swans and ducks below).

Me made a really quick rest stop not long afterwards (can't remember the town's name) where we came across a camper sculpted out of bricks.

Our final rest stop before reaching our destination was a little town called Tirau.  Apparently, they've taken decorative corrugated iron to the Nth degree here.  Many of the town's shops are adorned by corrugated iron advertisements, including two building made out of corrugated iron that are sculpted to resemble a sheep and a dog!

We arrived in Raglan at about 5:00 pm, where we met the owner of our home stay.  After a few quick pleasantries, we took the dogs for a walk to the beach, bought a pizza for a picnic along the water, and then took the dogs for a longer walk, once the remaining pizza was in our fridge.  To cap off the day, we stopped in a little ice cream parlour for a little sumpin'-sumpin'.

Day one, is now over, we're both very tired and going to bed at about 9:00 pm.

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

Driving for Steps

Friday, April 01, 2011 16:55 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Tomorrow, we're getting up at about 6:30 am and will hopefully be in the car, and on the road by 7:00 am.  We have about 8 hours worth of driving to do, to reach our destination so while I plan to do at least 10,000 steps, I don't know if I'll be breaking any records.