Melbourne Bound

I have been insanely busy lately. My current project is six weeks long, and we are currently in week five. Fortunately for me, I'm at Auckland airport, waiting for a plane to Melbourne while the team back in Wellington are pushing towards the final deadline. Still, I did a few nights of overtime last week to get through my huge list of tasks so it was not without my own sweat and tears.

People have been visiting. I caught up with Melburnians Ants, Jo, Ben and Jill when they were here for a wedding. My parents came and visited too, and we enjoyed much delicious food. It was dad's birthday (almost) while they were down so I took them to Matterhorn and Floriditas.

A couple of weeks ago, I was up at 5.30am to see all five classical planets in the sky at the same time. Looking out to the glow of sunrise out east was Mercury, then looking in an arc high in the sky, Venus in its dawn brilliance, Saturn, Mars, the waning quarter moon and finally Jupiter. It was a sight to see. Absolutely stunning. I've never seen all five at once like that before, and I think it speaks volumes of the kind of wonderful city I live in that I was able to walk out onto my balcony and see all of this so clearly.

Last weekend was Waitangi Day and Chinese New Year, which I spent with my parents, my sister and two nephews. I think it's important to observe tradition; it is custom to be with family on Chinese New Year's Eve for a reunion dinner. The next day, my parents were off to Malaysia with 4kgs of cherries, 2kgs of plums, a loaf of bread, wine, chocolates, smoked salmon, crackers....

So the reason I'm in Melbourne is that I am fulfilling an old dream that has been in planning for the past decade: see a Final Fantasy orchestral concert. It's going to be mega. All the nostalgia, emotion, memories and melodies. I will hopefully be stuffing my face full of delicious food too. Looking forward to it!


Mondays suck.

It's Cold

Happy New Year - it's 2016! I'm finally back in Wellington after a long miserable 8 hour drive through very wet roads and chaotic traffic down State Highway 1. Of course, the first thing that greeted me when I got home was some jerk parked in my car park, so I wasn't particularly happy about that. Turns out he's in Japan for a few weeks and I can park in another car park for the time being. Lucky for him, or I would have towed his ass out of there so fast.

Over the past couple of weeks, I got to catch up with heaps of people. There was never really a dull day, I was always out meeting up for lunch or dinner, or if I had some spare time, I'd even go to the gym. There was yum cha and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, I was back at Milse and Giapo, and went to Nol Bu Ne and Shao Lin Kung Fu Noodle. New Years itself was spent with my school mates on top of Mt Victoria in Davenport watching some very disappointing fireworks on the Sky Tower. It looked like someone was just running around the rim shooting off Roman Candles. We were too busy watching the fireworks being let off on the mount that we missed the end of the Sky Tower ones... and there was no big finale either. Lame!

Work tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing everyone again.

It's Christmas

The last month of work has been pretty manic, with builds of all our games going out on various platforms and systems all at once. In our last week, we had our annual game jam, which was pretty manic, but the end result was a quality set of very impressive games from all teams.

Social wise, there's been a lot happening too. There was Campbell and Linda's wedding, we got some kittens delivered to the office thanks to Uber, we went out to Cape Palliser for a miniroad trip, there was the 80's Party IV and Jordan's 30th, and we had a week-long set of Christmas events to round out the end of the year.

Last Saturday, six of us began our roadtrip up to Auckland via Owhango, where we stayed the night. On Sunday, we headed to Tauranga for some white water rafting down the Wairoa River, only open 26 days a year due to it being controlled by a hydroelectric dam. However, due to some problems with the booking system, we had to be rebooked for 1.30pm instead of 11.30am, so we went up to Mount Maunganui for a squizz at the beach. I've never actually been there before, but the sand and water were fantastic and inviting. Eventually we returned to our white water rafting meeting point and geared up for an exhilarating ride down two Grade V waterfalls. It was an amazing experience and one to be remembered for a long time!

I didn't really make any plans with people before I arrived in Auckland, but as was expected, my calendar started filling up very quickly. On Monday, I was pretty tired from the roadtrip, so spent most of the time at home. On Tuesday, I met Mat and Will in town for lunch at Ortolanas and we got some take away Milse too. I went to the cat cafe on Queens St with Reagan and Erica, then met Mana out in East Tamaki for Korean BBQ. On Wednesday, I met up with all the Wellington crew for dinner at Kushi, dessert at Giapo and drinks at the Belgian Beer Cafe, before going for a quick drive down Franklin Road - and by quick, I mean a very slow paced crawl from all the traffic. On Thursday, I was at my sister's house catching with my nephews and then off to Tatsumi with my parents for an amazing eight course degustation.

Friday was Christmas, and that was double dinner at my sister's and then a family friend's house nearby. On Boxing Day, I was at Long Bay Beach with my schoolmates, and a good old traditional Kiwi barbeque at Mat's, and today I've been hanging with the guys from KCC. There's been mafia, Love Letter and Dota, and it's been pretty full on!

Jonah Lomu

And yet more tragic of New Zealand's greatest rugby icons, Jonah Lomu, passed away today from cardiac arrest. He had been battling kidney problems for much of the past decade, but as of late, seemed on top of it. As the tributes flowed from across the world - such was his impact on global rugby - they recounted stories about his character and his athleticism. He was more than a hero, and he will go down in the books as a rugby legend.

As for myself, I have my own Jonah Lomu story to share. Back in the days when we were Sidhe and still working on console games, Jonah Lomu had visited the office to have a look at progress on Rugby Challenge. Though it was the All Blacks Rugby Challenge in New Zealand and the Wallabies Rugby Challenge in Australia, the rest of the world knew it as Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge. He came in to give the team some pointers and to do an interview. Luke, the associate producer on the project, convinced me to get a photo of Jonah with my glasses on. Nervously, I approached this 6' 6" giant, introduced myself, shook his hand, bumbled out some words, and then asked if I could take a quick picture of him with my glasses on.

I bumbled out more words of thanks and shook his hand again. I was giddy and internally screaming like a little schoolgirl. He was awesome. I'll never forget that. Rest in peace.