Halloween Fright-Fest

Halloween doesn't exist here in NZ. Definitely not like I'm used to, seeing masses of kids seeking weeks of sugar-fueled hyper activity. Nothing like dressing up in death-bringing monster and being rewarded with a Baby Ruth (Funsize though. And don't get me started on THAT oxymoron!) and tootsie rolls. It's a little depressing that Morgan reminded me that it was, indeed, All Hallow's Eve, and then I realized I hadn't put much thought into the whole dressing up thing. Which I should have done, just to show the Kiwis how much of a bad-ass I really am.
I did have "festivities" to attend, in the form of a fright movie fest. The guy who's house we were at, Pearce, has what can only be described as "a mind-boggling" amount of choices in the horror genre, from your mainstream picks, such as "Friday the 13th" to some ones that most normal people wouldn't ever dream of being filmed. Like cannibal-horror. As far as I could tell, the point of flicks like that is just to gross people out.

We watched 2 movies, the first being "Bubba Ho-Tep," a movie that was about Elvis (who's ALIVE in an East Texas rest home) fighting a mummy. It's billed as "the King vs the King of the Undead!" Funny stuff, especially the scene were Elvis explains how he switched places with an Elvis impersonator (who died on the toilet) and the real Elvis Aaron continued on, living the life of the impersonator. And then blowed up his trailer. It's absurd, and great, and low budget. I recommend seeing it, just because of the ridiculousness.

And then we got down to business. And watched easily the most graphically violent (but in a really unreal and cheesy way) flick I've ever witnessed, "Demons". The only words I can use to describe the film are: awesome, ridiculous, fuck!
Created by Italians, filmed in Germany, and in English, this 80's movie had some stuff I closed my eyes for, but the best scene is where the 2 heroes are riding around a movie theater on a dirt bike with a samurai sword chopping down Zombies. Whilst The Scorpions are blasting. Yes, you read that correct, the movie had a metal (and some hiphop) soundtrack. And if that didn't fucking get you, as soon as that's over (discontinue reading if you want to watch the movie) a helicopter falls through the room, saving them.
And that's not even the ending, which is really suprising!

So happy Halloween!


Camping at Putangirua Pinnacles

This weekend I saw a new part of NZ: the Wairarapa. It's predominately a wine growing region nowadays, but historically it was dairy country (if I'm not mistaken..) and either way it's green. Most of NZ tends to be anyways. "Good on ya" for that one guys.....
This weekend was also Leon the King / God's 30th+1 Birthday celebration. See the proof he's a god here. That's why he dragged us, er, 'invited' us all out to the Putangirua Pinnacles for the night. After losing sight of the convoy, my car and one other drove about 20 minutes past where we needed to be. We were thinking, "what the fuck did the others do to us? Where are they!?!" when Leon furiously drove up to us, and informed us we had passed the turn-off the aforementioned 20 minutes back that-a-ways. We were literally at the end of the public road, so there was no more road to go down, and we were long out of cell coverage, so for him to meet us was nice.
We then went hiking (after bacon and egg pie- thanks Cal/Edmund's!- and embarked on a journey to one of the locations of LORD OF THE RINGS. The caps was to get all you Americans EXCITED & PUMPED! It was a great hike, but at no time was I thinking, "man, over there is where 'this' happened." We did have some jokes about looking for the undead army, as that is the part of the movies that the pinnacles were filmed.
After a nice 2 hour-ish walk, we set up camp, got bit by sandflies (those a-holes!) and had a grilled meat caveman dinner complete with salad and creamy avocado and black pepper vinaigrette. We were roughing it indeed. Then the fun started: I brought out my fifth of Fighting Cock bourbon, and we played nails. "The drinking game from my party that was such a smash hit," nails.

We had fun and hit shit. And Morgan bounced the hammer off his head, and then caught it. It was the funniest ever.

Then the fire, and stories of how we all met Leon. There were some damn good ones too. Morgan gets the award for best speech (I attribute it not to his eloquence, but to the blow from the hammer to the head) and I got to tell the story of Leon's sand sculptures being inappropriate. It was all good times.
Then the wind came up, sending us to attempt to sleep underneath a rain fly that at times sounded like a flag in a stiff gale. Heavy gusts kept up all night long, making rest elusive. In the morn we had another impressive spread, which included a pineapple(?) and an attempt at French toast.
Then homeward bound, with impressive amounts of water falling from the sky.

Happy birthday Leon. You are indeed a king/god among men!

Your 1987 NBA Assists leaders:


Magic Johnson 977
Sleepy Floyd 848
Doc Rivers 823
Isiah Thomas 813
Terry Porter 715

Assists Per Game

Magic Johnson 12.2
Sleepy Floyd 10.3
Isiah Thomas 10.0
Doc Rivers 10.0
Terry Porter 8.9

Your 1987 MVP.


Self Explanatory

For all those wondering if the Swedish girls were really real, I'm not a liar- here's the proof:

And there's plenty more girls besides that coming to Thanksgiving. 6 more actually.
That's a lot of fucking Turkey.



I have downloaded the newest Roots album. I like it. It's fine. But it's very similar to the last couple efforts by the hip hop group. Their first 2 albums were somewhere in between "Legendary" and "Classic" in the genre, in many people's opinions. They were innovative, spoke about issues and life, while the majority of rap has always been the usual "bitches, money, power" kind of thing. (I know the argument that money/sex/power are major issues in a lot of lives....)
But this album, like I mentioned, is the "Roots sound." The music style which made them popular & stay in the scene. Although innovaters, they've made a living ultimately re-working their thing.
So I ask you: Is it better to keep on keeping on, so to say, with what got you there (read the Stones) or do you change up your style with the option of failure ("Wierd" Al Yankovich)?
That's tough for a popular musician, or really for anyone to change, so does that factor come into play?

I'm just musing out loud.
A true American Genius



I went to see Leon's friend's band Kora last night. They rocked the house down. Hard. It was the most energy in a performance that I've seen in a long time, because there were probably more than a few people in the audience that they knew, and it's their hometown.
The group consisted of a bunch of brothers, whom according to Leon (the God btw), decided that they'd form a band and become BIG. Well, they kinda have it seems.....
It was a dub/reggae/house/rock-ish affair, which was good, but my complaint is they bring out the white dreadlocks. I hate them. They think they're cool, but really we all know they're lazy and dirty! And they were coming in to the show in PACKS!

Would you wear the same hairstyle as all your friends.


A good time had by all.

Kora's Site


It Fucking Sucked

Work tonight was plainly put, a joke of organization for the front of the house, which in turn fucked everything up for me. And I was in charge. Alone. The chef was off on my 1st big night.

To make matters worse, the place is either A. Not set up at all for doing a wedding fuction (which is 99% likely) or B. There's something that I completely MISSED (less than 1% likely, and I'm accounting for polling errors...)

Basically, I hit a point where I imagined "what if I just walked out of here." Really.

But then I took comfort in the fact that I knew that at least I knew there was a much better way to do it. And then I realized that was crazy talk. And then I left when so I could catch a train, when I should have been there for at least a 1/2 hour more.
But I'd been there for 10.5 hours, after the same amount yesterday, and I get to work 10 days straight until my weekend.

Not a good way to start. Tomorrow will be better though.
I've vented.


Started My New Job

Today I went in and did my thang. I felt strange in the new kitchen. I've realized that my last job was the shit when it came to ingredients and working with Dustin & David, but this is a new & different experience.
We'll see how it goes; it'll be good once I have a routine.

I left work pondering this: what is it with Kiwis and fucking MERINGUE? Not the music style, mind you, but the fluffy, relatively tasteless egg foam. The Pavlov is their National dessert and all.....but sorry, there's not tons going on there. And we had 2 different form on the banquet tonight....


Sorry that's all I have. Going to bed and waking up early-ish to watch Barça play Chelski.

¡Força Barça!


Back From Down South

I had a great weekend until my ferry ride home across the Cook Strait. In the words of our friend, John Ulmer, "The Cook Straight is one of the most miserable stretches of water in the world." It is THE most miserable as far as I'm concerned.
The party at the Swede's house was crazy, with lots of drunks, a great haka, and some obscene Swedish drinking songs (once translated to me). Sunday was a laid back day, as I wasn't really in the correct state to hike 10 miles, so the girls and I drove to Rabbit Island, and hung out. Then I made them Swedish meatballs for dinner, and we watched the 40-Year-Old Virgin. They enjoyed greatly, as did I.

Monday was a perfect day for a hike, that took me much less time than advertised, because I'm a bad-ass when walking. I keep up a furious pace indeed. The weather was great, and the views highly memorable. I ate my lunch on the sand (which was nicer than Fiji's, but the water was ice) and got eaten by the sandflies. I was told they sucked, but wasn't told what they do. For those not in the know, they are a fly that bites you like a mosquito, but there's a tad more blood involved. Then you itch.

I came back this morning, and like I said, the water sucked; high seas. I'm back in Wellington now, and start my new job tomorrow at 2pm.
I'll wish myself luck for you!


On the South Island

Since I don't have to start work until Wed afternoon, I figured I'd get of town for the weekend. I tried thinking of what I wanted to do and where to go. I thought, "let's go hiking in Abel Tasman Nat'l Park!" And then I looked on the map, realized that the road passed through Nelson. I know Swedish girls in Nelson.

I am going to their house party at 7 tonight.
I'm a lucky bastard I know. But somebody has to do the dirty work, as they say....

I took the ferry over the Cook Straight, expecting the worst, but it was only bad for a a bit, as I got a good 1 hour nap in. When you go into Charlotte Sound, the channel is pretty narrow, and you're in a massive ferry as wide as a 10 lane road I figured out! The hills surround the channel, and it was very cool indeed, and even better, the water was glass. The wind was strong, but it came from the south, so it was rather warm.
I had slight problems getting a rental car, and spent the night in Picton, where the ferry landed. It was pretty dead on a Friday night. I drank a bottle of Sauv Blanc (the top varietal in this region by far) and struck up some good conversation in the hostel. As usual, the Canucks had the best stories...
Woke up, and drove over here to Nelson, where it's nice. I hope to do the park tomorrow, and do wine tasting on Mon. Back on Tuesday.


I obtained 3 things today.

They are:
1. A job, or I should say I accepted one that was offered to me. I am now a salaried Sous Chef. ....How far I've come........

2. The requisite ticket to go to the South Island on the ferry. I am going to see Charlotte Sound, some wine country, Abel Tasman Nat'l Park, and Nelson. One might ask, why would you go to Nelson? What's there? Answer: Swedish girls. Whom I met in Northland. And they're throwing a party on Saturday. But not in my honor. Yet.
As Kool would say to the Gang, "Celebrate Good Times!"

3. The last are my pics from Fiji. They already are making me miss the sun and sand.....the city is Wellington, and the last is Orcas Island earlier in the summer.


I've gotten work. Or been offered it anyways.

Today I was offered my second job in as many days. Last night I worked a shift at Shed 5, a top NZ fish house. They're ultra busy & on the waterfront. The food isn't fine dining, but it's very solid and definately respectable. It was listed as one of NZ top 25 restaurants by the top food rag here. The other place is called The Skyline, and they have a restaurant there that they're trying to create a seperate identity from the common perception of the Skyline being a functions center. It would be my first Sous Chef Position as well.
I thought I was going to have a tough choice, but after meeting the Exec Chef of Shed 5 today after my trail at The Skyline, I realized I could not work for a guy who has, shall we say, "little-man syndrome." He was a stand-offish prick in my opinion, and had a hard time respecting the idea that it was important for me to know the background of my potential boss. He also couldn't see why I'd want a night to "mull my options." He's not used to anybody turning him down when they're offererd a job.

As my Grandma would probably say, "It's his loss, Aaron."

So tomorrow morning I'm going to call the Skyline's chef, and accept. It'll be best for me because not only will I make more money, but the chef there realizes that I want/need to have a life outside work, and that I'm here to see the nation as well as work. Actually, I'm here to see the country while I work is how I look at it. My schedule will be pretty regular, with Sun night off through Wed afternoon. I can get other days off/switch with the chef, and he can do the same with me.
And besides, it will be, like I said, my 1st Sous position. That is pretty cool. I feel I'm ready for the step-up....and most importantly, it'll be more of my food going out-having a connection with what I'm cooking is highly important to me.
So anyways, I've gotten that part of my life taken care of. Now I need to find a place in town to live, and that shouldn't be too hard.


Guru Josh. Infinity.

Just to beat Morgan. Although he'll get more views!


This is a game that comes from the early days of basketball apparently. It was considered "unlady-like" to play standard hoops once upon a time, and so netball was created. Please note: It was also considered "unlady-like" to smoke, so they did snuff instead.

This game is indoors, surrounded by a net, which is in play. You play with a ball that is called a netball, but is in every way, a volleyball. There's a basketball hoop, extended out from the net perhaps 2.5 feet, but there is no backboard. You can't run with the ball, have 3 seconds of possesion with the ball to do what you like (shoot, hold, pass) and CANNOT leave your feet to shoot. So if you've played basketball your whole life, time moves with a glacier-like pace, and to shoot and not leave your feet seems akward at best. I got the ball at one point and had to jump in the key-like area at one point and came to a two footed stomp. I instinctively jumped up to shoot. As soon as I left, I thought "NOOOOO!!!!!" and closed my eyes. I thought I missed every shot I took (like 3) but I was told later I made that one. And that I looked good in doing so.

My gameplan quickly went from "domination" to "not look like a fool" then to something like "if I hustle, don't try to shoot and make good passes to the girl who is shooting UNCONSCIOUS, then I look like I'm not making my international debut." All in all I did well I feel, and will play again definately. I have a few sporting desires: to start dodgeball up this summer, play some cricket, watch an All Blacks Rugby game, and I might play on a basketball team as well.....
But I have to remember one thing with netball:To slow things down....

Don't try this at home kids. Or at least in netball.


I got killed. Then he made me do the dishes.

So I am trying all sorts of new things here in Wellington, as I feel I should "acclimate" asap. One thing I had never really experienced was Role Playing Games, or RPGs. My host, Morgan, and a seemingly good deal of his friends enjoy playing them. The most famous of all is, of course, Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D.
I was asked if I was interested in joining in on a new game, one that was an "old school style dungeon with lots of traps and monsters." I said, "sure, why not? It'll be interesting." Indeed it was.
First I had to choose what type of character. Where do I stand in the spectrum of fighting and magic? I didn't like the appeals of magic, didn't want to be sneaky, or be a dwarf. I chose a Barbarian. I named him Lynard Skynard.

Since this was a new adventure for everyone, and either the other guys were new as well, or it had been a long time since they had played this style of game, everyone created new characters with a pretty advanced level. We needed all the help we could get. This dungeon was described by our dungeon master Morgue as "Dangerous. Like the opening of Indiana Jones!"
After rolling dice, equiping him, and figuring out numbers, I was set. Lynard Skynard=Beast+Rawk. An out and out destroyer. Who's illiterate. And that was listed under "skills." But man, can he cut shit up with his flaming greatsword!!! (which I secretly named "Freebird.")

Synopsis: The merry band has to go to a castle that has been abandonded. It was formerly occupied by EVIL wizards. Uber-evil. We go through the back entrance, and after turning into mist/vapor we go under the crack of magically sealed doors, and find a glowing chalice. When we take it, some bad guys come. I am in front. One looks at me with a "death-gaze."

I die.

Like that, out of nowhere, before I get to do the one thing I was meant to do in this adventure. After a sometimes amazingly thorough and cautious journey of maybe an hour or more, I die in the blink of an eye. So I did what anybody would have done: left the room silently in shock. And got dinner.
After an amazingly long battle with 4 "basically-zombies" the other emerge unscathed and victorious. But note: NOT DEAD.

And here I am. Apparently, I'll be back the next session, after some stuff happens which I know not much about. Morgue assures me the concept of death in this game is often not really permanant. Lynard Skynard never got to rawk out.

And the worse part is now Morgan feels terrible, because since it was my first game, and I literally died out of nowhere. I didn't have the proper fun experience he feels. And the guilt is setting in......

But he forgets that Rawk never dies!

what killed me.


Rugby. The Sport of Choice in NZ

Last night was my first real exposure ever to the game they hold in the highest respects in NZ. Rugby. And to make it more complicated, there's rugby union and rugby league. For all purposes, union is the game that everyone in the US will know as rugby, and it's the popular one here- think All Blacks (because they're so dominant).
Anyways, it was a match on TV happening down the tracks about 15 minutes, in the Air NZ Cup, which as I can figure is the big trophy to be won. See how much I get this game?
Wellington was hosting Canterbury (of Christchurch, and they're pretty much the Yankees in terms of historical dominance) and was expected to lose. The Lions of Welly were up to the challenge and simply put it to the....I didn't catch the mascot of Canterbury. They did were red and black uniforms though. It was a "barnstormer" as my friend's dad put it. Huge upset, the town goes crazy. Kind of. It was awfully cold out last night, so the prospect of reveling into the wee hours lacked warming charm.
But as far as the game goes, I figured out what the purpose was, but I am far from seeing the subtleties that get people excited. The possibility that there aren't any, and that really fans just love seeing 250 lb beasts run into each other is the point is highly probable. Actually, that's the point. There is no blocking allowed in the game (which I think would make for a MUCH better game) and so men are forced to run through each other or pass laterally. I will give it more chances ultimately though, as it's such a part of the culture. And not sporting culture I think, as there really isn't something like that even comparable to the US, but just the culture in general. This is really an outpost in the world that was populated by only the heartiest (and reclusive?) souls.
But what scares me the most is that one of the best players of recent times, and former All-Blacks captain looks like "Predator." I wouldn't want to make him angry and be alone with him.....he'd rip my head off or something. In fact he probably wears a suit at home that can make himself invisible and runs around in trees!


Welcome to the Jungle Baby!

Hey Everyone. Welcome to my new, fantastical blog full of adventure and mystery. I will bring you the best bits of life in Wellington, New Zealand, and a lot (mostly) of shite. I've enjoyed the city mostly, but John Ulmer, damnit you were right about the f-ing WIND. Seriously, now I know why my brother always bitched about the wind (I always thought he was a pussy too about it.....) in Flagstaff. But enough of the southerlies.

I've gone looking for jobs- OFFICIALLY! A true bum no more I am. I have some good, solid leads, and feel like I'm a biggish fish in a smallish pond. I offer new vitality to an otherwise frigid scene. Perhaps.

Anyways, I'm gonna keep it quick, as I have to go Bogan hunting in The Hutt. Watchout!