Wednesday, May 30, 2007

And Now for a Special Announcement

Happy Birthday to Andy and Mike! Besides being two of my favourite fellas, you also hold the distinction of being the Hunkiest He-Statisticians around**!

This one is Mike, a former room-mate of Daves', and the guy who introduced us. In this picture, Dave appears to be... threatening him? I have no idea what's going on, but they seem to be having fun anyways. (Boys are weird sometimes!)

And here is Andy, surrounded (as usual) by beautiful women. Dude, you seriously need to write a book about how ya do that -- most guys would pay big money to know!

Anyhoo, happy birthday to you both, and hope you had a great time. :-) Dave and I'll have a drink (or three) for ya.

**Particularly since the former titleholder has flown the coop to be a flight attendant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


As of now, I have a tentative date to return to my position at Statistics Canada -- October 19. Life as it was before shall resume as of October 19, a thought that is simultaneously thrilling and ominous.

It's strange to think that this time at Statistics New Zealand is coming to a close... some days, it feels as if I only just got here. Other days, it's hard to imagine living anywhere else. I already know I'll miss it here.

Part of my mind is already back in Canada, but part stays here, giving the feeling of living in two worlds at once. It's like bad sci-fi, where a layer of reality gets peeled back to reveal a totally different one. And I live, aware of both at once. It's downright weird.

In some ways, I can barely wait to get back. It was bad enough missing four weddings of my closest friends, but even besides that I've missed my dad's election campaign, a friend's first baby being born, a family health scare, two graduations, a neighbours' successful-immigration celebration, two moves, countless birthdays, and even an official wrap-party for the comic I've been following since 1993. You know, all the kind of stuff that you want to be there for, and I wasn't. I'll be grateful to be back, if only to be within striking distance of any further life-events like these.

Suddenly, Ottawa and Winnipeg don't seem so far away anymore. That's a nice feeling. Funny how living so far away lends one new perspectives on things, eh? :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pictures for the Easter Trip

...are now available at our Flikr site. Apologies for not getting these up sooner, but life is truly starting to pick up the pace around here!

The Abel Tasman pics show what a divine park it is. As for the Franz Josef pictures, well, I had to climb a damned ice-mountain to get those shots, so ya bloody well like em! ;-) (At least you get the view without the cold and wet clothing.)

Anyhoo, do enjoy them. :-)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Only in New Zealand

...would such a movie be made.
Dave and I got the chance to see this movie a week or so back, and it was fun. And gross. But mostly fun. It's done in the style of early Peter Jackson... before his Lord of the Rings fame, he was the NZ icon of funny, ultra-gory horror movies.

For those of you who don't believe me, check out 'Dead Alive', which I had the misfortune of seeing at a good friend's birthday, back when we were thirteen. I couldn't eat pizza again for a month.

Anyhoo, for those of you with strong stomachs, I do actually recommend 'Black Sheep'. Dave and I enjoyed it, despite the gore. (Actually, it wasn't the gore itself that was so bad -- it was the stirring-meaty-Hamburger-Helper noises that went along with it.) :-P

It's a sweet, funny, and strangely, quite innocent movie... that just happens to have lots of guts flinging about. Perhaps that tells ya something about the Kiwis, eh?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Yep. I have finally followed the flock into Facebook land. A part of me is bemoaning the increased role in my life that online-ness is taking, and another part of me can hardly wait to get back on the site.

For those of you not yet aware of Facebook, it is a website designed entirely to network people. How does it work?
  1. First off, you link it with your email address,

  2. It rifles through your mail and makes note of every email address you've sent email to, or gotten email from.

  3. Then, it takes that list of email addresses and sees who is already registered on Facebook.

  4. The site tells you who is already on Facebook, and you can add them as "Friends".

The end result is you having your own page, with info about you, and places where people can leave you messages. There are mini-pictures of the people you know (Friends), and clicking on them brings them to each of their pages -- where you can read their info and leave them messages.

Then you can look at their friends to see who they know, and those pictures bring you to more personal sites. Whoa.

So, who do YOU know? Who do your friends know? Who do your friend's friends know? The site, in general, is an interactive and all-too-intriguing exercise in Six Degrees of Separation. And a highly addictive one, at that.

I've said this about Ebay, and I'll say it again now -- RUN AWAY while you still can.

(...or leave a message on my wall sometime.) ;-)


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mum's Day

With it being Mother's Day a few days ago, I have been thinking happy thoughts about my amazing Mum, Christina Hume. I have also been thinking about the marvel that is my future Mother-in-law, Margaret Hartley.

Now, I can hear you all saying: "Hume, you're such a suck up." And that would be a fair accusation.

But yesterday I came across a something very cool. My friend Briana Rayner wrote a beautiful testimony to her mom in the Globe and Mail that really inspired me. Surely my mum and future mum-in-law deserve no less (though it's a tall order to top Briana's piece, lemme tell ya). Why not send some love out into the blogosphere to two such important people?

Here's a couple great things that came out of Briana's reflections:
  • Mothers are such important teachers
  • Mothers are almost always right
For me, these struck home. From my mum, I think the most important things I've learned are probably the most important things in the world: how to be kind, have a spine, and make people laugh. If I've ever made a witty comment, it's thanks to my mum's example. If I've ever stood my ground, it's because I know that, even if my mum is kinda small, when she gets mad, she's ten feet tall! So I know I can be tough too, if I need to be. And if I've seen the opportunity to be kind to someone, it's because my mum showed and encouraged me again again to always be kind.

She's also been right about just about everything, ever. Really. Ask my Dad.

Anyway, I love you Mum.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


A couple weeks back Karla and I went south--as far south as anyone can, really, without hitting the Antarctic.

Our destination was Dunedin, a university town on the southern tip of the South Island, in a region known as Otago.

As per usual, we did lots of sight-seeing, taking in the albatross and the rare yellow eyed penguin on the Otago Peninsula, the dramatic coastline of the Catlins, the world's steepest street, and the very tasty oysters in Bluff.

My favorite three stories from the trip:

Story #1--G'day, cityslicker

We stop to fill our tank in a very small town on the way back from the Catlins to Dunedin. A little old lady--easily in her seventies or eighties--totters out of the gas station and proceeds to try pump the gas, an attempt I categorically refuse. We get to chatting, and I remark that for a Saturday, I was surprised that there weren't more people on the local rugby pitch.

"Well" she says, "you know there just aren't that many people here these days. Most are moving to the city." I nod sympathetically, silently bemoaning this modern world's cruelty to the rural life. "And besides," she continues, looking at me accusingly, "no such thing as weekends for farmers. The sheep don't know it's Saturday, do they?"

A thoroughly humbled city boy, I pay, say thanks, and hit the road again.

Story #2--Bath Search

Karla loves baths. Like, really loves them. And she hasn't had a real bath for a very long time. We're a shower only household. There is no tub to be found here.

We're driving through the Catlins, in tiny remote places where everything shuts by seven, but we decide it's time to find Karla her bath. So we search and we search. We stop at one hotel, right on the water, but it only has showers. We press on into the darkness, hoping the next place will do.

Lucky for us, it will. But only if we have cash. We don't have kiwi dollars (hey city slicker, don't you know they don't take bank cards out here? Why didn't you take some money out before you hit the road, ya silly bugger?), but how about I rummage through my backpack to dig up some of Dave's emergency US bucks? Why, yes sir! That will work nicely.

Karla gets her bath. And Dave wins brownie-points for making it happen, barely. Hooray!

Story #3--Dolphin spotting

Sitting over lunch we're watching the local fish boats come in. We notice one of the guys on the boat is leaning out over the bow. To our amazement, there are dolphins escorting the boat into Bluff's harbour! What was almost like they knew we were coming. One of the women that works there said: "You sure are lucky, I work here everyday, and hardly ever see them."

Lucky? I'd say blessed.

Digging Through Old Photos, Part One

While doing a backup of my computer, I found some fun photos I'd forgotten about.

Such as, the time Dave found the remnants of a cyborg in our garden.
If no one hears from us after this post, we've clearly uncovered an evil conspiracy, and gone into hiding. Send money and Cheezies to the airport locker #11.

I also found pictures from my 26th birthday, when dad surprised me at Crazyhorse Steakhouse. More pics of this are being uploaded to the flickr account.

Also, there's the disturbing resemblance I noticed between my enthusiastically dining fiance and a certain muppet...

Hehehe... anyhoo, that's all for now. 'Til next time, when we continue on with "Digging Through Old Photos, Part Two"!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And Speaking of Kitties...

...a co-worker of mine found this story in his daily perusal of

Canadian Post cowed by 'very threatening cat'

It's neat to think that New Zealanders -- and people all around the world, for that matter -- are reading about a cat in Winnipeg. At least it preserves our badass image... (if only for our cats) ;-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I Love This Website

If anyone needs a pick-me-up involving many, many pictures of cute bunnies, check out this site. Never fails to cheer me up, even after a tough day at work. ^_^

You can also navigate around to see pictures of other cute things, including dogs, cats, wild animals, and even hedgehogs.

Go on, have a smile. ;-)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Phew... Done!

Thanks for all your well-wishes, everyone... I finished the duathlon, and I am indeed still alive. ;-)

My running was much stronger than last year (I was able to go over 2km with NO walk-breaks) but I lost that time and then some during the biking segment. Turns out Karla is not a strong cyclist in very strong winds, which decided to make an unwelcome appearance this year. Blech.

All in all, though, I finished 10k of cycling and 5k of running/walking in an hour and eight minutes, which is two minutes longer than last year. Not bad, but I hope to do better next time. In the meantime, I'll work on the cycling. ^_^

The funny part is, I felt absolutely terrible the next day. But it wasn't sore muscles, you see. Rather, it was the direct result of being finished at 10AM, and having the whole rest of the day to have an all-too-dangerous "I earned it" mentality.

Do I want a bacon and avacado sandwich? Of course I do, and I earned it, dammit! What about some chips and TimTams? Yes indeed, I earned it! What about champagne at 11AM, drinking solidly throughout the day? I earned it! Bring on the rich food and booze -- I earned 'em!

The next day was awful, and as you can imagine, it had little to do with sore legs. I spent the whole next day in a fog of toxins, sullenly consuming only fruit and water.

(Note to self, avoid the "I earned it" mentality in the future... its aftereffects can be worse than a duathlons'!)

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Early tomorrow morning, I'm running a duathlon. It's the same one as last year, with a 5 km walk/jog/run broken up with 10 km of cycling. With any luck, the weather will be as good as last year. Then again, this year it's about a month later, so winter's winds and rain are now making regular appearances. Hopefully they keep away for the morning, at least.

It's still a bit nerve-wracking, though, since I haven't trained as hard as last time. :-/

Anyhow, off to bed... wish me luck, people...