Signing off

I keep trying to think of something profound to say in this last post, and I’m not coming up with anything good. But I did want to finish it before the next Event on my radar screen – that is, Otakon weekend – got underway. So here we are.

I still have a light, if constant, cough, but the local health care system is on it, with antibiotics and X-rays and cool stuff like that. No need to worry on that count.

Little aftershocks from the rest of the trip are going to be around for a while. I’ve been doing double-takes when crossing the street (wait, which way are the cars supposed to be coming from?). And it’s disconcerting to look up at night and recognize the stars, instead of only being able to pick out the Southern Cross among a bunch of strangers.

I took a ton of video, especially back in February and March, when it was the height of summer and everything was green and sunny. Made a couple of video slideshows. Here they are:

And I think that about wraps it up.

The whole trip was awesome. I had a great time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

…But not just now, because I have a weekend of communing with my fellow geeks to wrangle.



July 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

Tidbits, take iv

(1) We’ve eaten the last of the world’s most heart-meltingly delicious cookies. I may have to fly back and get more.

Followed by a whole lot more slices. Oh, how I wish I had brought back a tan slice. It would have gotten squashed in the suitcase, but it would have been worth it.


(2) Speaking of food, I didn’t think I was eating very well, but every single woman I’ve reconnected with since getting back in the country has remarked that I’ve lost weight. Apparently having to buy your own food makes a difference, even if you end up eating a ton of microwave dinners


(3) Photos! I’ve come to the conclusion that NZ has much cooler playgrounds than we do.

This one was a short walk from the flat, and the place I went whenever I needed a swing:

The view from the top of the Cashmere Hills, looking out on the huge flat plain containing Christchurch and the university:

And the playground up there:

View from the top floor of the (all the way up to eleven!) library:

You can see Ilam Village in this one. (It’s the block of grey buildings in the middle of the background.)

And some stuff from the playground I went to with the family down the street (er, the family was down the street; the playground was a half-hour drive away):

A Flying Fox (zip-line). We used to have one of these in our back yard when I was really young, but it was never this big (or this fun).

And I wish I knew what this one was called:

Here’s that last item in action. The angle is a serious factor – you learn to push when the weight (i.e., the rider) is going uphill, and let gravity do the work on the way down. (You can hear, in the beginning of the video, someone urging me to take a photo. I’m doing them one better.)

Next: stars, and final videos.

July 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Tidbits, part iii

(1) After several days of bloodshot eyes, have managed to wake up at a reasonable (local) hour! Now to try not falling asleep at half past eight.


(2) Whose idea was it to make all our bills the same shade of dull green? Whose?


(3) Photos! As ever, click for the high-quality versions:

Scenes from the journey to Edoras (the top is the view from where the Golden Hall itself stood):

The coast of Wellington:

View from the plane, flying between the islands:

Up in the hills, a lake in a volcanic crater:

From Taylor’s Mistake, a tiny little inlet only reachable by an incredibly twisty road:


Next: mountains, heights, and…playgrounds.

July 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

Tidbits, vol. II

(1) Air New Zealand’s new ad campaign emphasizes that it has nothing to hide…with naked models. (And I missed my chance to see these in-flight safety videos by, like, a week.)


(2) Coughs are actually normal, and only happen after some exertion. (Okay, “exertion” can include “running up the stairs.” It’s still a vast improvement.) Have a doctor’s appointment for next week, by which they will probably be gone anyway.


(3) More large photos – again, click for full size.

From Hagley Park, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and the city itself:

From the Wellington Botanic Gardens, which, in contrast to the pancake-flat Christchurch, featured some almost-sheer slopes:

Next: rivers, lakes, streams, inlets, and shores.

July 9, 2009 at 7:52 am Leave a comment


(1) Oranges.

This picture has an NZ orange on the left, a California orange on the right. It’s a bit hard to see, but the slices of the NZ orange don’t come apart as cleanly.

And then there’s this one. No prizes for guessing which of those is from California.

(The California oranges are sweeter, too. And they cost about twice as much.)


(2) Map of New Zealand, in the style of the classic Middle-earth maps.

I would like to smack whoever is responsible for deciding that this poster was not for sale.


(3) Now that I’m back on a reasonble connection (!), I can start uploading actual high-quality photos. (Click for the large versions.)

First sight of NZ, from the trip in:

Various trees and streams and buildings from around campus:

Ilam Fields:

Next up: the city, and the Botanic Gardens.

July 8, 2009 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

The return!

I’m still very emphatically on Canterbury time (woke up at 9 AM this morning, or 5 PM Eastern), but I’ve made it back to Maryland, where family – and local delicacies – were waiting.

I have a ton of pictures to share, along with some video, so this blog will keep updating for another week or two. When the final post hits, I’ll let you know.

July 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

From sunny L.A.

How is it that I didn’t find out what hilarious television NZ has until the flight away from it? Caught one episode each of Diplomatic Immunity and The Jaquie Brown Diaries on the plane, loved them both, and will probably never see either again.

Am in LA with the uncle, two cousins (both close to my age, their three skittish cats, some Doctor Who, a whole stack of manga, and a thoroughly screwed-up schedule. It’s early Monday morning at home; my internal clock thinks it’s Monday evening; and both the uncle and cousin #1 have night shifts, so they’re off at work in spite of the local time being half past three in the ack emma.

(The uncle – he’s Mom’s brother, for those of you just joining us – has expressed relief that the cousins are no stranger than I am. And here I had thought most of my eccentricity came from Dad’s side of the family.)

June 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm 1 comment

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