Monday, June 18, 2007

It's a Zoo Out There

To most people, firefox is just some sleek anti-Microsoft, tab-multiplying, add-on rich internet browser.

What they don't know is that fire fox is a nickname for the red panda, which we came across at the Wellington Zoo yesterday. -->

Sure, it's endangered, and it leaves a musky scent all over its territory, but who doesn't these days?

That's a good bear-cat. Good boy!
We saw all sorts of others too. Kiwis, talking parrots, some lazy roos, an evil monkey tribe, zebras, lions licking each other's privates, tigers, sun bears, tarantulas, otters, the whole bit. Nice.

<-- Oh yeah, that's a mama bear...

...and this is the first zoo to carry miniature giraffes! -->

Well, things down under are winding down. Trainer worked his last night at Nicolinis as an Italian waiter on Friday, and had his last all-you-can-eat pizza Monday at Hell Pizza. If things go to plan, he'll have his last Tuesday at Mermaids, and then that'll be that. Heading for home - the Bay Area and back down. Dunne leaves for a South Island tour on Tuesday as well, and then he's off to school in the states too.

Calvert, as is often the case, remains the last man standing. He manages his own bar now, and will keep the flag flying in Wellington as a sort of living history of the NZBoys - bold, roguish, and serving alcohol to the younger crowd.

It's been a sweet journey. We'll miss the clean skies, rockin' locals, and late nights. Sometimes it does pay to get out of the house, I guess. Yeah. Take a walk on the wild side.

So long!

[Screen fades to music: Nothin But Mammals by Bloodhound Gang]

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The All Blacks

Rugby - a sport most Americans haven't even heard of - is the central most important thing to New Zealanders. And the All Blacks, the New Zealand national team that earned its name back in the 19th century, is the most important thing to New Zealand rugby fans.

So, we thought: "We've been here six months. We've eaten kiwi burgers, drunk kiwi beer, kissed kiwi girls...we might as well watch some kiwi sports." And we bought stadium tickets - the cheap ones, of course.

  • Sidenote: Rugby vs. American football...who's the boss? The debate can't be won. They're different sports, with different strategies. Rugby guys don't wear pads, but most kiwis feel that football players "hit harder." (They've been watching a lot of American football movies.) I'll tell you this. The average rugby player is a huge, huge dude. And he's fast, and he has to think on his feet, without someone planning everything for him, and he can take one hell of a hit......And almost every New Zealand guy is a New Zealand rugby player. You get the picture.

We've seen it on TV, and we've gasped at how raw the sport is. We've heard the hype. We've watched the news. It was our turn to see it for ourselves.

So we pre-gamed, dressed up, and joined the black tide of fans heading for the Wellington Westpac stadium. Oh, what a night.

It started with the haka, an ancient Maori war challenge that's been a centerpiece of the All Blacks for time immemorial. It looks savage, and powerful, and spiritual. It means the players are out for blood.

As is turns out, our seats were three rows back from the field. We could feel the players breathe.

And because we cheered so hard, we even got on national television. Maggie saw a closeup of the three of us on the megatron, and the guys back in the penthouse caught the same shot of us yelling like idiots on tv.

We looked kind of like this:


Saturday, June 02, 2007

New Zealand South Island Tour

As promised, we've logged, mapped, and uploaded pictures for the South Island tour of New Zealand. Completed in about 3 weeks, the trip was a mix of close encounters with wildlife, non-stop vistas, sidetrips to off-the-path wonders, and the usual local flavors and parties.

The Complete Travel Log says it all. Made with Google's new "My Maps" feature, the map allows you to click on interesting spots and pull up our stories and pictures from the area. It also shows our route through the whole thing, in case you'd like to find these beautiful spots yourself.

We rode with Kiwi Experience the whole way, so this is also a good way to take a look inside what their South Island trips offer.

If you'd like bigger pictures, and more of them, then check out the South Island web album. It's a great way to get an up-close look at what New Zealand's South Island has to offer.

Later, we made our own way through New Zealand's North Island, and you can check out that travel/adventure map if you're into it. The North Island Web Album has all the pics.

There a lots of stories to tell of these journeys, and the travel maps have all kinds of inside scoops for you there. So check them out if you're into...say...

swimming with dolphins, jumping into waterfalls, petting giant boars, feeding carnivorous parrots, hiking glaciers and tunneling through blue ice, kayaking in baby-blue water with seals and golden beaches, hitting up the world-famous wineries, jet-boating, horse-back riding, sheep shearing, beach lounging, brewery touring, river swimming, bungy jumping, sky diving, white-water rafting, black-water rafting, glowworm watching, paint-balling, off roading, tim-tam slamming, watching sunsets on the beach, or just having a drink and a good time.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Breaking of the Fellowship

Whereas once we stood united, gazing across the harbor bathed in gold by the autumn sun, the skies have now grown dark, as have our hearts.

Today bright morning has given way to grey mourning... and we are forever changed. May you find that for which you seek, Shock. Farewell.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Ewver one else have sequestered themselve in deep conversatons.
So I put on a funny hat.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

...and counting

Stack 'em up!

hour 7....drunk, high, bi-curious.....the crew embarks on an endeavour into the unknown.....1 bottle of shtitty tequila, a box of wretched dry white wine, 2 bottles of Lindauer Special Resrerve, and 10+ cases of Tui later, the crew is in full swing.....mussels by the kilo, nachos as big as your head, and, well, popcorn. how else can you sum up my last weekend of piss.....brilliant! we've got scots, kiwis, americans, and one helluva good time rollin.....stay tuned for updates ........

Blog in Progress....

The breaking of the Fellowship shall soon be upon us...

We only know one way to celebrate...

Target Practice.

and Food

and Beer

Stay tuned as this thing could spiral out of control...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Royal Crown

You know what...

I'll just let this picture speak for itself.

Those of you who know me already understand.

Today was a good day.

Now, off to find the Crown Royal.

Excitement provided by RC Cola International

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Delilah Touring Coaches Company

With all the buzz out there about interest rate hikes in Kiwi Land, the boys decided to run a segment on Investment Opportunities in New Zealand.

As we all know, the interest rates in NZ have hit a new high, and while that bodes ill for Kiwi exporters, it's like striking gold for international investors looking to make easy money off of an inflation-phobic island economy. Come on in, fellas, the water's fine!

We here at RWNZ want to help you, our international readers, make some speculative cash, so we've decided to bring you in on a little golden-goose secret...

Repeat after me: "Delilah Touring Coaches Company". Yeah! That's it! We've got a hot little IPO for you that'll make you richer than a Michael Jackson defense attorney.

Here's what most people don't know. Recently the boys' illustrious and true-hearted van, Delilah, has been a bit of renegade. After breaking down two hours out of Auckland all those months ago, she sped across New Zealand like a champ before developing...a bit of a limp...such that the driver's foot could never be taken off the gas, else Delilah's engine would die. Pioneers that they were, the boys quickly developed a two-footed driving system, where both gas and brake would be used simultaneously to keep Delilah running, even at stop lights or while coasting.

Even more recently, as the boys raced home to start working after their Waitare Weekend, Delilah died at the turn-in for the car garage with 250 empty beers and a few McDonalds wrappers plumped in the back seats. After being pushed into a corner spot, she remained untouched for months. Though it was a private corporate parking lot, none of the suits wanted to bother with what looked like a homeless person's van wedged into an untowable corner of the lot. A gem in the rough, I tell you! Buried treasure!

The boys, led by Charlie Powers, took action. Delilah already had a new heart-thumping fuel pump, but the boys weren't satisfied with that and installed a new battery, starter, and throttle, so that Delilah went from being a bit of a cranky old maid, into this -->


What did you expect? We know opportunity when we see it. And now that you've seen it, you'll want to get in on the action, I'm sure! Check it out.

Stock in Delilah Touring Coaches Company [DELI] is shooting up fast. If you wait too long, you'll miss out on your chance to make hundreds...possibly thousands of dollars. That's why we're giving you this opportunity now to get in on the ground level. Send $10 (NZD) via Paypal to our e-mail address, and we'll send you a stock certificate for 10 shares of DELI. Do it now before it's too late!
Don't just take it from us, either! See what the experts have to say about Delilah Touring Coaches Company...

"When I first heard of Delilah, I laughed a little. 'Crystal Brite roof,' I said, 'yeah right!'
But then I saw her, and I laughed even harder. I
laughed at the world,
because this car has been touched by Midas himself,
and now I was going to get me a piece of that. Fire, THIS, Rosie!"
-Donald Trump

Still don't believe this opportunity can be true? Check it out. The stock certificates are minted and ready to be mailed.

Friday, April 20, 2007

High Society

Yes, this past Monday was a night of Culture, Class, Cocktails, and Cuban cigars. Why this seemingly anomalous foray into the upper echelon of societal stratificaton? Well, thanks to some promotional generosity, the Mac's Brewery crew found themselves with complimentary tickets to the theater that otherwise would have cost upwards of $90 each.

And not just any theater, but the kind you spell with an 're'... Wellington's historic St. James Theatre.

And not just any show either... but Opening Night of Fiddler on the Roof starring none other than the incomparable Topol himself!

So Charlie, Shock, and Morgan cleaned up, dressed up, and stocked up for a classy, cultured evening. After a few fine beers at an even finer drinking establishment, the lights dimmed and the curtains rose. How was the show? Well, as the Dominion Post put it, "The Milkman Still Delivers." Indeed he does. According to the Capital Times, "There is a marvellous vitality in all the performances, but Topol’s subtle and marvellously nuanced performance is mesmerising. His singing in anchoring and inspiring the whole ensemble is incredible."

After the show, it was time for a cavalcade of caiprinhas, cosmos, cubans, and critique. Yes, as with any self-proclaimed pundits, we sipped introspectively on expensively named cocktails while engaging in the obligatory intellectual discourse about the deep symbolism and emotional content of the performance. Most of this discussion centered around the wonderously palpable tension between the characters ofTevye (as played by Topol) and the butcher Lazar Wolf. Due to venue restrictions, photography was not allowed, thus we are only able to offer the following artist's rendering of the on-stage conflict...

Lazar Wolf vs. Tevye
Round 1: Fight!

Needless to say, such a night was a welcome departure from the all-too-common case of Tui and Sky Movies 2. And as if that weren't enough, the next morning brought with it further refinement as a few of the boys headed off to Martinborough for a taste of New Zealand wine country... more on that to follow.

The more action, the better

The Colgate Vs. Crest wars are heating up.

When Colgate came out with Cavity Fighting Action, Crest responded with Cavity Fighting Action Plus Whitening. Their toothpaste was even double-striped. The board of directors at Colgate fired their entire management team on the spot.

The new team was hired with one mission, one goal. Beat Crest. Come out with a toothpaste that made a double-action toothpaste look like an antique bone-saw.

They succeeded. Now there's Colgate Triple Action.

High fives all around!

Colgate triple action has Cavity Fighting Action Plus Whitening plus Fresh Breath!

Dude. Sweet.

Pay no attention to the tiny writing on the bottom of the box: there's only one active ingredient. The same, sole, active ingredient in all toothpaste - Fluoride. And yeah, they charge 300% of the bargain brand's price because they came up with triple action FIRST. Marketing is a game for geniuses. I can't understand the complexities.

The moral is this. More action is better. Crest has already got a quad-action toothpaste in the final phases of testing... The NZ Boys are on the horse as well. It's Shock's 26th birthday, and the b*&^#es ain't leaving till 6 in the morning...Calvert, Shock, and Dunne are down on the South Island racing towards Christchurch - where there's rugby and booze for all.

Recently there's been an opening night for Fiddler on the Roof (complete with Topol!), there's been Aunties visiting and causing ruckus with piles of All Blacks jerseys, there's broads and dames and crusaders. It's all still twinkling in the city on the harbor, even as the days get shorter. Hey, that just means the nights are only getting longer.

Happy Easter, Happy daylight's savings, Happy International Calling Card Day. We wish you the best. May all your action be ever greater.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Terrace: Uncorked

We've had our fair share of Sunday morning celebrations here at the Penthouse...

Christmas, Superbowl, Easter
...and we've noticed that they all begin the same way.

and by that we mean,
"Look Out Below"

Coming Soon: Anzac Day
...but we'll probably make something up before then anyway.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Journey is the Destination...

The advetnure that is Easter Weekend had already begun. As tomorrow (or today in some time zones) is the Sunday knwon as the Eater Sunday, it is difficult to buy liqour/beer toimorrow (or today in some time zones). Thus the importance of piricuring said spirits today (yesterday in some time zones) in order to imbibe them tomorrow (todau in some time zones). All this leads to the adventure from which I have jsut returned.

New World supermkater is a long...long wlak from theTerrcae... so as I'm in the spermarlket purchasing preparatory beer and maybe tongiths' dinner itmes) I get to thinking...this whole shopping cart thing is pretty convenient. what If i could tak eit beyond the realms of just this supermarklet.

Ironic that such a voyage of discovery had its genesis in a place called 'NEw World'.

Picure this: Me and a shopping cart full of Easy Mac and cheap NZ beer off-roading it around Wellington...They trip hope was like a real world version of "Superkarkjet Sweep" meets "Frogger" meets "Skate or Die". I'll leavfe the rest up to your collective imaginations, but (not wanting to create scene), the shopping cart/trolley is cuirrently somwhere bertween gfloors G and O/P of the FGrnad Chancellor Hotel. AOme times you have to let go of the things you love. It served me well and fo that I am truly thanksful.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Touring the North Island

Recently, Maggie and Matt took off with Katie to race around the North Island of New Zealand in a rented car.

Even more recently, Google released something called "My Maps." This allows someone to track their journey on a satellite map and add text and pictures, so that they can make a kind of travelblog out of the whole thing. So click on the picture below and take your own tour of the North Island through the eyes of 3 young college grads out to find something in New Zealand besides sheep and delicious lamb meat.

You can also check out the Web Album for full-sized pictures of the whole journey.

At this point, I'd like to give my thanks to Google, which made the following possible:

  1. Blogger - for the writing
  2. Blogger Buzz - for giving us street rep
  3. Goggle Talk - for getting directions from friends in net cafes when we were lost
  4. Google Maps - to prevent getting lost in the first place
  5. My Maps - for the travelblog (tripcast, iMap, maplog, plog...what's the term for that?)
  6. Picasa - for the web albums we can link to blogger
  7. G-mail - for notifying my family about my status (Alive or Dead)
  8. Google search - for bringing new folks to the blog
  9. Google Ad-sense - for the procuring of $$
  10. Google Finance - for helping get all my $$'s together to fund the whole thing.
Thanks guys

Coming soon: The South Island Tour

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wellington Cinema - The Black Sheep of the Movie Industry

It's no Hollywood, but Wellington is quite the movie-production hotspot in New Zealand. From obvious greats like Lord of the Rings to lesser-known titles like The Tribe, Castaway, and Xena: Warrior Princess, Wellington has a fair hand in the world's cinematic imagination. It creates story-telling masterpieces that take our minds off of silly drudgery, stressful bosses at work, costly plane tickets, and our local surroundings - like those 40,000,000 sheep that keep getting in everyone's way around here.

But then came...
Filmed on location right outside Wellington city and in Wellington studios, Black Sheep doesn't take us away from the sheep, it puts us right in the middle of the most f*^%ed up sheep that generations of sheep-farmers could dream up. Director Jonathan King teamed up with Jackson's Weta Workshop to create the kind of lamb you'd never want to see on your barbie.

These are some vicious lady woolies, and they'll bite your wiener straight off...right on the silver screen. It's the ultimate violence of the lambs, and screwe the ramifications. For sure, there's enough gore in this movie to satiate Hannibal Lecter. It looks terrifyingly real on screen, but the important thing is to watch this movie in a theater with awesome, bass-thumping, glass-breaking surround sound. There's nothing like hearing mutant sheep-balls smacking into a man's buttocks from the rear of the theater to the front.

Besides the blood, guts, and ruts, the film takes itself typically un-seriously for a kiwi-made project. It's not so much of a philosophical, existentialist art film as it is a throbbing heart of haggis used as a weapon. It's simple and fun, and if you've got a squeamish chick by your side, she'll be on your lap by the end of the flick. Have her wear a thick wool sweater if you really want a movie you can feel.

For a review of Black Sheep, I'd give it 4 hooves way up - totally shaaaaagable. Wellington proves again that following the herd isn't all its cracked up to be.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Boys are Back in Town...

Like the wild dogs crying out in the night, so too were some of the boys growing restless longing for some solitary company. They knew that they must do what's right...sure as Mt. Cook rises like Olympus above the flats of Southland. Seeking to cure what was deep inside, they were gonna take some time to do the things the never had... and by that, of course, we mean...

Morgan and Charlie took a week off from work to tackle one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks': the famed Routeburn Track. Hurry boys, it's waiting there for you...

Luckily Irish John (as previously featured in the 'Waiterere Weekend' post) was planning on driving most of the way there already, so the boys tagged along. We are forever in his debt. Speaking of debt, in an effort to save a few dollars in ferry costs, Morgan hid in the back seat of John's tiny Subaru as they boarded ship just before 2am.

"Hey Morgan, there's a bunch of people milling about right're going to have to stay under there a bit longer. Sorry, dude." 5 minutes later Morgan emerged to an eerie Vanilla Sky-esque 3 hours on a deserted and sealed off vehicle deck/cargo hold...parked next to a delightfully fragrant cattle transport... but, as is true with any great epic, there can be no victory without suffering, no freedom without sacrifice, no triumph without loss.

It was sunrise in Picton, lunch in Christchurch, and sunset outside Queenstown, with the road between filled with driver changes, map checks, nap times... and that one scary moment when Morgan regressed to driving on the right (read: wrong) side of the road. Eventually we pulled up to the Base Backpackers where the chick at the front desk filled out John's paperwork for him, believing him to be illiterate...nope, just Irish. Dinner at Hell Pizza and a few drinks at the bar was more than enough to put us down for the night.

Ok, enough with character development...on to the rising action. Once again indebted to John for saving us an early morning shuttle ride, it was time to hit the trail. Admittedly the opening few kms up the Routeburn River to the aptly named Routeburn Flats didn't rise much, but after a solid few hours along the river's north branch standing in tall grass looking up at tall mountains, it was time to head for higher ground. The track itself, as with most of New Zealand's other so-designated Great Walks, numbers are regulated and trampers must stay in DOC maintained huts and/or campsites. While having gas stoves and bunks provided along the way made us feel perhaps only medium-core, we used that extra pack space for necessities like cheese and crackers, Nutella, and a bottle of fine red wine.

For the next three days we traversed ever-changing landscapes of spectacular and truly ineffable magnificence. Track follows the Routeburn River up through Mt. Aspiring National Park to it's source at Harris Lake, then crosses the Harris Saddle into Fiordland National Park. From the 1515m summit of Conicle Hill (a side trip up from the saddle) we felt on top of the world, looking out all the way to the Tasman Sea. The weather turned out better than anything we had dared hoped for...clear blue skies and deep starry nights. And talk about timing, the clouds rolled in and it began to rain not even an hour after we stepped off the track.

That night saw us back in Queenstown, where we had a good old-fashioned piss-up to celebrate our return. When both the actual and metaphorical fogs lifted the next morning, it was a gorgeous day spent in quiet Qtown doing nothing much more than resting our legs, checking to see how badly the auto-draft option had hurt our fantasy baseball rosters, and watching almost every over of the Blackcaps win over the West Indies... that, and preparing ourselves mentally for the oh-so-exhasuting sojourn back to Wellington.

7:30 -3:00 Queenstown - Christchurch
4:00 - 9:15 Christchurch - Picton
10:00 - 1:15 Picton - Wellington

Oh well, it was $200 cheaper than flying. And we got to watch the moonrise over the Pacific Ocean from the sleepy little beach town of Kaikoura. Moments like that are hard to argue with.

While photos can't nearly do it all justice, they do a much better job than my ramblings, so click here for a more shots taken along our journey.

Now it's back to work in Wellington, which today meant 13 hours. So, until next time...

I'm going to bed.