I'm going up into the woods to canoe a wild river till Friday. Ok, it's not that wild, in fact it's mild.
But there obviously won't be any blog action here. Don't even think I'm gonna do it on the river!



This is the new official Nails Anthem:

I got ketchup on my blue jeans, I just burnt my hand
Lord, it's hard to be a bachelor man
I got girls that can cook, I got girls that can clean
I got girls that can do anything in between
I got to get ready, make everything right
Cause all my rowdy friends are comin over tonight

Do you want a drink, hey, do you want to party
Hey, honey, this is ole Hank, ready to get the thing started
We cooked the pig in the ground, got some beer on ice
And all my rowdy friends are comin over tonight

Now, my party pad is out in the woods
It's a long, long way from here to Hollywood
But I got some natural queens out on the floor
And ole Miss Mississippi just walked through the door
Got a little wirlpool just made for ten
And you can jump out and you can jump in
You can do anything that you wanna do
But, uh-uhh, don't you step on my cowboy boots

Do you want to drink, hey do you want to party
Hey, this is ole Hank, ready to get this summer started
I cooked a pig in the ground, we got some beer on ice
And all my rowdy friends are comin over tonight

Do you want to drink, hey, do you want to party
Hey, hey, this is rockin, Randall Hank
Ready to get the summer time started
We cooked the pig in the ground
We got some beer on ice
All my rowdy friends are comin over tonight
That's right, come on in

Hank Jr is on to something!


Tenacious As.

I am currently fanatical about NZ immigration.  There is a story to tell, and it's lengthy.
I have just written a letter appealing for help to the Minister of Immigration.  I never would imagine that writing one letter could get anything done in the US, but with the population size of NZ, apparently, it's reasonable...
Bottom line is this: I want to stay, and my visitor's visa is to run out at the end of next month.  Meanwhile, NZ Immigration could take up to a year to award me anything, unless I get an offer of employment.  It's overwhelming, and frustrating.
I am going to get stressed out on this matter, I know, but it'll be curious if I'm willing to "go to the mat" for this.....what's my tenacity?
So, I do what I can, and find my path through the immigration minefield!


Commander In Chef.

I just saw this online:

I also read that BO was on a food critic's show on Chicago Public TV a few years ago, and his comments were so profound, they were deemed to have so much more insight than the other guests, that they never broadcast that episode when it was made....

He can do anything, can't he....


Gravies Are Made.

What a weekend!  I enjoyed myself so much.  Congrats to Morgan and Caroline on their gettin' hitched!
The event took place in the "Great Hall" of the old national museum/now Massey University in Wellington.  There were over 200 people in attendance, and we had a great time.
-Getting to be one of the last people to be talking with Morgue as a free man before the ceremony, trying to distract him from his nervousness (which wasn't much I think, at least not visibly!).
-Getting to drink in the MUNT FM radio station with the boys (who had a radio show on at that moment playing from the computer- they weren't gonna DJ, they were at a PARTY) and having Apa make me say "fish and chips" and "Auckland" like a Kiwi on the air.  Later, less salubrious words were said over the air.  Don't worry, MUNT is a college radio station with a broadcast range of 1km or so, so really only 3 people might have been listening.
-Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) dancing.  The traditional Scottish dance was danced by most, with a traditional band playing along.  I had no idea what I was doing, all I know is that Beth Davie thinks I was the BEST dance partner one could have (not really, I was lost until the very end).
-Not having to work at all really during the wedding.  I was amazed that it went as well as it did, seeing as the whole event was a patchwork of people's collective efforts coming together.
-Getting drunk.  Really drunk.  Sorry parents, but I did.  It was my good friend's party of a lifetime, so I made it my party of a lifetime.

Today, we had the BBQ out here in the Hutt.  I cooked sausages, all from the butcher in Petone, and there were cheese kranksys, lamb koftah sausages and pork and herb sausages.  It was hot as it can get in the hutt, and my beers were barely staying cold.  We played nails on a hand selected stump from Taranaki (shout out to Kevin Drinkwater), and brought more people into the nails fold.
The weekend was great.  Much fun and love.
Congrats again to the new Gravies couple!


More Crazy Stuff People Do.

They get married.  I'm going to Morgue and Cal's wedding in a few short hours.
And tomorrow will be the BBQ bonanza with my new nails stump.
I have the meats, the music and drinking game sorted.
Pics to follow.


Crazy stuff crazy people do.

They're insane.  2nd one is the Caminito del Rey.


Patriot Games.

It's been a happy day.  A long one day too.
The inauguration was everything it should have been for the occasion: part spectacle, but mostly historic.
But before I delve into that, I went out last night, and we crushed pub quiz.  Finally, I was excited to have a "food and beverage" partial-round, but the questions weren't as hard I had hoped....
Then I met up with some friends at Motel, and you know what?  That place makes a perfect mint julep.  Perfect 'cause of the blend of ingredients, but more because of the fact it's the only place I've ever had one in the proper silver goblet, so it stays chilly-chill for refreshing attributes.
So I got home shortly after 1am, with the alarm set for 5:45 am.  It was still pretty dark out when I got up to watch the inauguration.  I made coffee, and did some sudoku (btw, I've started playing sudoku, and I might be slightly addicted to it's logic-ness) and kept one eye on the TV until Obama came to do his oath and speech.
What a great speech I thought.  Moving, and forward looking, it acknowledged all our past failures and recognized that the US is great because we're willing to out work/hustle everyone, not because of Manifest Destiny.  I was very aware of the fact of the concept that America is THE leader of the world, without question.  We claim this as our right, but Obama recognized it's responsibilities as well.  The fact that I was watching this event with 2 New Zealanders who had keen interest in it is proof of our influence.
I am proud to say today that I am a citizen of the United States of America.
Does that make me a patriot?


Swim to Meat.

Not too much has gone on over the weekend; it was a quiet one.
Friday night I met Gregor, Morgan's friend from Scotland, and Malcom and I thought it'd be a grand idea to jump into the Wellington Harbor.  It was at the time, but a few hours later, still in wet shorts, it was slightly regrettable...
Saturday: I saw the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I need to read the short story by Scott Fitzgerald.  I liked the movie enough, it was unconventional by Hollywood standards in style.
Sunday was all about celebrating Bef's birthday.  She threw her party early, since her birthday is superseded by the wedding next weekend.  I was the master of the grill, and when we went to play some cricket right before nightfall, I was a masher.  Nothin' but straight mash.
Today: Football.  Steelers vs Ravens right now, and it's looking good.  Making dinner tonight, meatloaf is on the plans.


Dang Immigants.

I've submitted my "expression of interest" to NZ immigration, which is the 1st step for my work visa.  I hope I get it.  The wait will be angst-filled.

And in the vein of "pork based art" as Morgue loved, I bring you an amazing creation:

Click to see what this becomes.  I love it.


Mt. Doom.

I've just gotten back from the Tongariro crossing with Ben.  It was a fine day yesterday to cross the saddle between Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.  The trail is up some steep rocky parts at times, and at other times it's on flat mud through the crater of an old volcano.  We departed at 8:30, and got up to the highest part of the trail at about noon, and we took our time.  The views were amazing, with Ngauruhoe being the main attraction.  It's the mountain that was "Mt. Doom" in the Lord of the Rings movies, and is sinister to climb, as it's all shale slag.  We didn't climb it.  I'd like to say it was because Ben didn't want to do it (I could blame his lack of adventure) but I really wasn't interested in doing it, nor did we have time to do so before our 4:30 pick-up.
The emerald pools were also quite beautiful, but they were extremely sulfurous, so I didn't hang around there too much.  We met a nice girl from Quebec that was going around the mountain, and we hiked with her for a while.  Ben noted that she was super hardcore, because her one of her daily treats was an apple.
I'm glad I did it; it's something I've wanted to do for a while.  I can cross it off the list.


Kapiti Island.

Yesterday I went to Kapiti island with Morgan.  We awoke very early and drove up the coast to Paraparaumu under clouds and rain looked like a possibility.  We took a boat and headed over to the island, where we got an informative introductory talk, with one bird being noted by the guide as, "having the most beautifulist song out."
Our climb to the top of the island, at over 500 meters, was steep; to keep our spirits up we sang Washington State's fight song. (We recently watched Volunteers...)
The view from the top took a while to clear, and never fully did so, but I saw the South Island at least.  Then we went down to the beach on a different track, and ran into more birds, including a Kaka that landed on both of our packs to try to get in them.
Then we basically hung out at the beach, until the time came for our pick-up.  We threw lots of rocks at targets, like little boys, until I threw out my arm...

Today/tonight is Morgue's bachelor party, and I will report on the sane, adult activities that will be undertaken civilly.  Or not. 


The Most Unwanted Song.

I was listening to the This American Life podcast while running the other day, and had to stop running because I was laughing so hard at this story:

These guys took opinion polls about music people love and hate.  They created 2 songs based on those results.  The "most wanted song" is pretty bad, I think.  It's like any bad adult contemporary/smooth jazz/RnB crap- generic in it's direction.  Forgettable.
But then they combined the most unwanted features in a song, which takes over 20 minutes, and has a rapping opera singer, rapping about cowboys, backed with a children's choir singing about holidays.  Yes.  It's pretty crazy.  Read more and listen to the song- if you dare!

"Hey everybody!  It's Labor Day!   Do your shopping at Wal-Mart!"


Slow Food.

I got this the other night whilst video chatting with T-Man-Fu (I love that his dog Buddah has the facebook page with the current status: "Buddha is finishing the hedgehog so good."  Apparently his dog spells well enough, but hasn't quite mastered basic grammar....).
This FXcuisine has a love for food I tip my cap to.

Best of all are the photos of his trip to the slow food fair in Torino.  Lots of cool produce varietals, quirky traditional cheese, and underground pork based art.  I love it.



Does anyone want to go to the cricket ODI tomorrow afternoon with me against the Windies?



I made a great list yesterday, and through the power of list crossing off that I'm oh-so-great at, I got the thing more than half done, and today it will be finished.  The list was for the week.
The best part of the list getting done:
Getting my fingerprints FINALLY taken by the police.  They're a required part of my submission to the FBI in Virginia for my police record.  I truly hope that a serial killer doesn't have my prints...
But that whole fingerprinting ordeal started on Christmas Eve, and ended yesterday...man!
I also ordered new running shoes from the US, and with shipping, they are still less than HALF of the price here.  Goods cost so much sometimes.
And today, lots of mailing, getting a suit for the wedding, to the department of conservation for the permits for the Whanganui river trip....and more!



Not much happened this weekend.  I drank in the bum park with friends.  I slept in yesterday to an hour unseen in recent memory.  I had a great run in the dusk.  I watched Barcelona win, NFL playoffs, and played basketball in the sun.
And I made chicken 'n biscuits this evening.  And I claimed I was the Washington state champion sprinter in high school....
Whew, what a busy weekend.  Ok it really wasn't, but it's the end of the holidays, so I relished it I suppose.


Happy New Year

My new years eve was low key; movies with friends, and an unsuccessful party hunting trip with "Och aye the noo" himself, Maclom.  But much fine drink was had, so it all ended fine...

I was quite useless on NYD, and didn't run around much in the sun.
And right now I'm watching the Rose Bowl.  It's right before half, and USC is about to end the game if they score...
Happy New Years
(they just scored...)