Tuesday November 25, 2014
I've started joining the QA Team at work on their weekly Monday morning weigh-ins. My first week I weighed 70.7kg; the second week I had gained a whole 100g to be 70.8kg. Not bad for the week, considering the amount of food I'd eaten, but possibly also helped by the fact I went to the gym for the first time ever. Those gains, indeed.
Last Monday I was at Loic's house for an extravaganza of French cuisine - a very impressive home-cooked three course meal, complete with Le Rustique camembert to finish the night. C'est delicieux! Bob and Angela were down too, so on Tuesday we met for dinner at Little Penang, followed by dessert at Strawberry Fare where I got the caramel and peanut butter cheesecake. So incredibly indulgent, and far too much to eat, I couldn't bring myself to eat the last few bites of the cheesecake. We were at Duke Carvell's for lunch on Wednesday and El Matador for dinner on Thursday. Continuing on the gluttony train, I got a patisserie from Louis Sergeant shaped like a jandal on Friday, as well as celebrated the one year anniversary of Flick Kick Football Legends with a giant chocolate cake at work.
Saturday was healthy exercise day, with a record sixteen people turning up to badminton in the morning. I had made a deal with Jimmy that if he came to badminton, I'd go to the gym, so sure enough, last Saturday afternoon, I went to Habit on Willis Street with Jimmy as part of their "bring a buddy for free" month. To be honest, it wasn't too bad and I certainly got a good introduction to the weights and machines - Jimmy's pretty awesome like that, and it seems that Hadley's teachings have been well received. However, it feels like the gym really isn't for me and I doubt I will be joining one any time soon. I might go again this weekend (the last weekend to take advantage of this free offer!) but I can't see myself paying that much for a service like that. That being said, if my metabolism slows down and I start packing on the kilograms, it might be a necessity in the future.
I went and saw My Neighbor Totoro on Sunday (neko basu!) and caught up with Raewyn and Andrew at Deluxe afterwards, but otherwise it was a pretty relaxed Sunday with some great sunny weather, even if it was a bit too windy. We were at Pravda Cafe last night for Fine Dining and Kaffee Eis afterwards because the meal was so lacklustre. It looks like my social calendar is slowly filling up for the rest of the year. It's gonna be great.
Thursday November 13, 2014
We had a few brilliant days of sunshine last week, so the parties were on and the barbeques were fired up. I was at Vincent's on Friday for a crazy animal-themed party, Hadley and Jimmy's on Saturday for the 80s Party III, and Thomas and Astrid's on Sunday for a barbeque and really also to play with the cats. Saturday was also the Guy Fawkes fireworks down by the waterfront - we had a pretty good view from Joe's rooftop right by New World Chaffers. It was a pretty busy weekend indeed.
There's been a spate of new food and drink establishments popping up too. I was at the Bresolin on Tuesday for a quick drink (nice place down by the motorway on Willis St, but the service had a few teething problems) and Burger Liquor on Wednesday (burger joint that took over Crazy Horse, pretty good feed), but have also heard about Five Boroughs in Mt Victoria and the Hideaway on Plimmer Steps. Would be keen to try those at some point, and if their standard meets expectation, maybe a food blog post is in order too.
I went to a new physiotherapist today (same clinic, though) who took a look at my back and told me my spine was "straighter" than normal, which meant a lot of the pressure fell at the back of my pelvis instead of more centrally. This could be causing all my problems with the leg and back pain I've been having. Some damn complex muscular and nerve system shenaningans. In any case, I opted to try dry needling, which is similar to acupuncture in that needles are inserted into trigger points to contract and release muscles, except the needles are flicked instead of having an electric current passed through them. It seems to alleviated some pain in the back and given me some mobility, but time will tell if the treatment and the assigned exercises will actually solve my problems. I've also come away with a large line of tape stretching around my back to the front.
The end of year is nearing and I'm looking forward to the time off, especially the trip to Melbourne over New Years. There will also be the drive up to Auckland, which may or may not involve skydiving. We shall see.
Sunday November 2, 2014
It's been a pretty busy past couple of weeks. My copy of Super Smash Bros and Kirby Triple Deluxe arrived so I've been playing those and having a great time. I love how each franchise in Smash Bros is represented in the game, with all the care to keep the characters, art style and music true to the series that they come from. Nintendo have done a great job with the 3DS version so it will be interesting to see how the Wii U version turns out, as well as how the eight player mode will fare.
I've also started my new project at work. Still getting used to Unity but it has made prototyping rapid and easy. We've tried three concepts so far - none of them really a direction we want to continue with, so we will be exploring more avenues in the weeks to come. We'll be in pre-development until the end of the year and then start full production next year. Mark my words, we'll be the first project to have a throw-away prototype.
Anyway, over Labour Weekend, nine of us boarded the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton to kick off a five day kayaking adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park. Things were off to a shaky start though, we ended up leaving at 10pm instead of 7pm because they'd overloaded the ferry and had to turn back. When we did get on our way, we were through some 3m to 4m swells, which was pretty bad - Vigz and Will couldn't keep it in and chundered, whilst the others, myself included, moved to the back of the boat to ease the queasiness. After a rough twenty minute patch, the swells subsided and I moved back to the top deck with the Frenchmen and Matt. I find it's a matter of keeping your mind focused and being alert and aware of your surroundings so you don't get dizzy. It was quite an experience, one I was hoping we wouldn't have to go through on the way back. We reached Picton close to 1am and Vincent drove us to Motueka. The roads are dead empty but the stars are fantastic - unfortunate as we don't have time to stop and gaze. We eventually reached Motueka close to 3.30am and we all passed out for the night at the Hat Trick Backpackers.
We were up and about at 9am on Saturday, ready for a day of kayaking. We had some fantastic pies from Toad Hall, the cafe next to the kayaking company, before heading out to Marahau, the start of our journey. By the time we'd finished prepping and packing, it would have been close to noon when we finally got out onto the water. It was a grueling four hour paddle to our first campsite, the Anchorage and my leg had started playing up, but some painkillers soon solved the problem. The tents went up and the kayaks were stowed away for the night, and the first item on the list was to make dinner. The large plan I'd written up said "steak, salad, potatoes" except I had forgotten to buy steak that morning. A "mis-steak", says Matt. Hilarious. Dinner ended up being kransky sausages, haloumi, salad, boiled eggs and potatoes. We were all so hungry that it didn't really matter it was such a miscellaneous collection of ingredients. We opted for a few moments of star gazing out on the beach - fantastic night sky, no light pollution and no clouds, but unfortunately just way too tired to wait for any shooting stars!
The next day, we were up for an early start again but a far more relaxed paddle this time round. We went up to Pinnacle Island and saw some seals; we took a detour down Falls River - only accessible for kayaks at high tide - and we were so fortunate to see a baby seal frolicking in the water around us. It continued to swim under and around the kayaks, splashing water every so often, and it followed us out as we left the river. We eventually arrived at Mosquito Bay and since it's not on the Abel Tasman walkway, we had the whole campsite to ourselves. The island in the bay is accessible at low tide and we had a bit of an explore after we'd finished setting up our tents and all (I almost lost my glasses on the rocks), but the weather cooled down considerably and it was a pretty wet night. Nevertheless, it was amazingly peaceful area. Dinner was stir-fry vegetables and black bean dace on rice. Classic Asian comfort food!
Most of us emerged relatively dry the next day. I had wet feet; Will and Mana's tent had a swimming puddling right in the center. Vigz and Mike, whose tent had a hole on it, were protected by the bivouac set up they'd created. The plan for Monday was to head to Observation Beach and explore. The weather forecast for Wednesday was looking grim, so we decided we should start heading back towards Marahau in case things got really windy. Soon after we got to Observation Beach, the wind did start picking up and the waves were crashing on the beach quite violently. We set up the campsite and scoffed down some lunch, and tried to keep dry and warm. Dinner was corned beef ("pet food", the French said mockingly), beans (worst decision ever) and tortillas.
I was up early on Tuesday morning with Mana watching the sun come over the Nelson hills. The night was quite rough - the continuous crashing of waves against the beach made it difficult to sleep. After a quick breakfast, we were out on the calm water with some brilliant sun and a bit of cloud cover. We paddled past Adele Island and saw some seals, and continued back to Marahau at a leisurely pace. I remember being absolutely smitten with the serenity and beauty of where we were. We arrived just before noon at Marahau and made our way back to Motueka for a mean feed (KFC!) and then some pub time at the Sprig and Fern. We played Cards Against Humanity (I had to explain some awkward things to the Frenchies) and we retired for the night close to 11pm.
I was awake early on Wednesday morning and was in the kitchen of the backpackers when Matt walked in and challenged me to a few games of chess. I beat him all three times. That was fun. We packed all our stuff and made our way to Motueka Airport - Mana had decided it was a great idea to go skydiving and was psyching everyone up for it. Unfortunately the wind was too strong for us to go up so we ended up at Toad Hall for some final pies (highly recommend the wild goat curry pie) before splitting up - Vincent, Loic, Emilie and myself went to Nelson Lakes for a squizz, Matt, Mike, Vigz, Mana and Will took the northern route to the Queen Charlotte Sounds. It was cold and wet at the Nelson Lakes, but the fog provided a real eerie atmosphere to the area. We fed the ducks and eels and made our way to Picton to meet up with the others. On the ferry, we were playing Up and Down the River, and thankfully the boat ride was smooth so no one chucked.
It was an amazing weekend that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Great company, heaps of adventures, awesome scenery and so much fun.