Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Action Never Stops

... or at least, it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

Just when we thought that a trip to French Polynesia would be followed by uneventful, regular workweeks, we came back to anything but. I'll spare you many of the details, but here are the last two weeks, in point form:
  • Dave and I celebrated our three-years-of-dating-anniversary. Well, not so much celebrated as realized it had happened, and stammered congratulations while gob-smacked in schock. Has it seriously been that long?

  • My proposal to send some Statistics New Zealand staff to an upcoming conference -- GOVIS -- was received warmly, and with the brass suggesting that I myself attend! As to why this is a big deal, there is an international statistical megastar running a workshop... and I'm gonna be there! Now, this is not the usual statistical talk on the archaic, abstract, and largely useless minutae of statistical formulae (snore!). This guy's specialty is about using graphical interfaces and animations to make huge amounts of complex information readily understandable to regular folk. It's time to bring stats to the Information Age!

  • After a historic search spanning longer than Dave and I even KNOWING each other, I have found Bran Van 3000's Discosis album. Mike gave me a burnt copy shortly after us meeting, and it's been an absolute favourite since. Given that I wanted to support the band, I tried buying it -- the thieving HMV quoted it as costing $69.99! "But don't worry," the gum-chewing sales associate assured me, "you won't have to pay that, 'cuz it's not like we could even get it in for you anyway." Now on a mission, I checked every last music shop, used CD store, pawn shop, etc. I came across, and would only get a solemn shake of the head. "We haven't seen that disc through here in years." The situation was looking desperate, and I had resigned myself to "cheating" by buying it at amazon.ca once I returned to Canada.

    Then, last Monday, I was early for my art class, so went to the offbeat music shop next door. Wandering around, looking for nor at anything in particular, I saw her sitting on the shelf. Just sitting there, in front, looking right at me. It didn't even seem real, especially with the price tag of $15.99 NZ dollars (= about $13 Canadian)! I grab it, run to the counter, and exclaim "I've been looking for this for YEARS!!!!". Quoth the gum-chewing clerk, "Uhhh, yeah... do you wanna, like, buy that?"

    Good to know you can cross an ocean and still get the same staff at CD stores. ;-)

    Anyhow, it's been in the CD player continuously since getting home. I'm so happy.

  • Dave the Wonderful fought the evil Telecom dragon, who had, in December, replaced our high-speed internet connection with hacking-death-rattle-speed, left us with a "Yeah, sorry, it sucks to be you" letter, and then charged us the same monthly price as before. Dave the Wonderful was victorious, and has since secured for us a fast, reliable net connection, by New Zealand standards.

  • We have finally secured my wedding ring. It's a piece done by Peter Minturn, a Kiwi of extraordinary talent who we'd met at The Wellington Jewelry Exhibition earlier this year. Meeting him was very cool, and a story in and of itself, for he's every bit the wacky artist-type I know so well. The piece is beautiful -- both ornate and plain -- and hey, if his stuff is good enough for the Queen, it's good enough for me!

  • Aside from my usual methodological work at Stats NZ, I've somehow become a multipurpose event organizer. My latest ordeal has been planning the two-week introductory course for new recruits, and last monday was Day one. No catastrophes to speak of yet, and overall, Week One has gone quite well. At one point I had to stand in and teach a course -- the SAS Coding & Conference Technology module -- and it's gotten consistently positive feedback, despite taking place on a Friday afternoon. Hooray!

  • Lastly, Armageddon cometh. Last year, Dave and I attended this Wellingtonian Nerd Convention, and had a great time. I even got to meet Claudia Christian, who played one of my favourite female sci-fi characters of all time. This year's lineup is even bigger, though. Dave is stoked to meet Billy Dee, otherwise known as "Lando" from Star Wars. I, on the other hand, have other ambitions. First, meet Crispin Freeman, a voice actor whose work I know very well through my many years of gaming and anime-viewing. Next, get a copy of Bro'Town DVDs signed by The Naked Samoans, the writing troupe and creative force behind that brilliant show. And last but not least, meet Brian K. Vaughan, THE man behind "Y: The Last Man", a comic I follow religiously. He'll be there, and I'll have my copy of Kimono Dragons ready for him to sign. Sigh... I'm so happy! :-) (And, with any luck, I may even be attending in costume this year... but more on that later.)

Yes, life is good. :-)


kiwilauren said...

Hey Karla, it's Diane's cousin Lauren. I remember telling you that I'd keep you informed when I knew where I was going to be in New Zealand for my music ed internship. As it turns out, I will be in Lower Hutt (Wellington) from July 16th to November 2nd. I can't wait! Where are you at?

Karla said...

Hiya Lauren! I'm in Wellington too -- closer to the downtown / central business district area. Dave and I will be here until about early/mid-August, so we'll be able to meet up! :-) To get an idea of rent, places to live, etc, check out http://www.trademe.co.nz/ under "Real Estate, Rentals" or "Flatmate Wanted". Sometimes it helps to see what's out there. Anyhoo, let me know if I can be of any help!

kiwilauren said...

Thanks Karla! It will be fun to meet up with you - looks like our paths will cross for about 3-4 weeks in July and August. Thanks for the warning about the rain gear. Saskatoon is insanely wet right now, just with all the snow melting and such, so I had planned on getting some rubber boots anyway. I bought an umbrella before I went to Europe last month, so now a good rain coat is all I need! It will be great to meet up with someone whom I have a connection with, half way around the world. How is it that you know Diane? You worked together, right?

Karla said...

Yep -- we were both Kernels staff, years ago. It was a heck of a job... you'd go home with smelly savoury salts all in your hair and everything. But we'd have lots of fun! ^_^ LOL

It's funny how small the world is, eh? I'd be happy to show you around when ya arrive -- it's always nice to see people from back home! :-)

Margaret said...

Well, it sure is lucky that you have such a nutty Mum, since she's the one who got you started on the 'Y' comic....AND brought you that last copy when we came out to visit.
Having a signed copy would be so cool!
Lots of love from Mum