December 2007 updates


Found a place to live:
Moved in to a great flat in the heart of town with three others. In order of appearance above, Andrew (Alpha male dishwasher), Naomi (sweet chef) and Dave (charming englishman sometimes confused for Austin Powers). I joke because I can, I hope? The place is pretty flash and I have my own bathroom and lots of living space. In the lounge there is a projector TV, leather couches, Xbox, and lots of games and movies. It's a good spot and definitely the best I found in Wellington. I love walking out the front door of the building and into the heart of the city only a 10 minute walk from the beach and work. Too bad they aren't the same place! It's great being close to everything and I think I can understand why people dig New York and centers where you don't need a car to get around. However, it does become a little tempting to go out every night for a meal, drink or film. Fortunately we have a gourmet chef, beer in the fridge and a movie projector.

Got my work permit:
So, I got my work permit just before Christmas and that means my first day of work will be January 14. Shit, even when I want to start working I have to wait. I will enjoy as much as I can before getting back into the grind.

Still no ride: Stay tuned!

Earthquake?
Oh, yeah the earthquake. For those who don't know, NZ has a lot of Earthquakes. Mostly minor ones that we don't even feel. This one was offshore about 35 km off the coast and probably 300 km north of Wellington (Gisbourne to be exact). It happened about a week before Christmas when I was watching a movie. Sitting back in one of the recliners I started to wobble. I got out of the recliner and felt the building sway. Wow. Being a new building it is well designed for this kind of stuff, but it was still a weird and humbling experience for me. Apparently some of my friends that are in older houses had items rattle off the shelves. It was 6.8 on the richter scale offshore and I don't believe a Tsunami occurred. I think the one that wasted Thailand was over 9 in the ocean. I think the scale climbs very fast after 7 (Sanfrancisco early 90s, 7.1 inland). Definitely makes you feel fragile when the earth shakes, but strangely i don't feel like fleeing just yet.

More expensive in NZ



Haircuts: $40 at any shop that does a shampoo. This was hard to take at first, but then I thought about the fact that I pay $35 cdn including tip at home which is $43nz. (photo from 2001 head shaving for cancer)


In line Hockey laces (regular hockey laces): There is no longer a hockey store in wellington so you have to bring laces and other things in from where ever else. If I break a hockey lace it will cost me about $13.


Gasoline: this will only be a shock to North americans as Europeans pay, I think $2.40/liter. Kiwis pay $1.65/liter and that's why they don't drive V8s. Fun fact, if the USA switched to the same type of cars that europeans used, they would be self sufficient on their own oil reserves, WOW (I realize it's theory). Then they could leave everyone else alone.


Drinks: Matterhorn, which is considered one of the best bars in NZ and is quite good, has pretty pricey drinks. The bartenders are good and usually the drink is worth the price as it's something new, but the other night I order an energy drink and got a pretty simple drink. Usually you just tell them you want something sweet or sour or whatever and they make something cool that doesn't even have a name. For me, "Can I have something to give me energy." Bartender "Sure" He whipped up something "$15." "$15?, Ok, what's in it?" Bartender, "Vodka and red bull". I was not impressed, but I'm an immigrate so what can I do.


Most Expensive soup in the world: Got a soup at this Thai restaurant by my house and when she said it was a little small and should get a double order I didn't realize that meant double the price. $22 for a F$#@ing soup!!! I may look like a Kiwi, but dam do they see me coming! My kiwi flatmate told me a little secret that if you get take away it's half the price, oh.

Movie, Job, Hockey update


So, I haven't really updated this until now because I have no photos of what's going on. I know most of you only look at the pretty pictures, I know I do. Point form should be the best...
  • AVATAR: James Cameron Movie - Picked up a couple of days as a daily 3rd AD before my visa ran out. Apparently it is the most expensive production currently running in the world. That means they don't care about taking everyone in to over time everyday. The week I worked most people were around 85 hours, I had 30hrs in two days. It was fun for me though and I meet loads of people.

  • ENG JOB: Yes back to Engineering to stay in the country. After looking for work for a week it looked as though I was off to New Plymouth, NZ for an Oil and gas job, but after a last minute attempt to stay in lovely Wellington I scored a Project Management job with Octa Associates. I'm not really sure what I'm doing yet as I have to wait until my work permit is processed before I can get started and based on the pay scheme for professionals here, I won't even be getting a pay cheque until late February. Very small company with a couple of corporate places in Christchurch and Queenstown that I am privileged too, so if anyone visits me we're sorted.

  • HOCKEY: No ice in Wellington, but there is Inline hockey. Met a dude on AVATAR, David Allard, who has been gracious enough to lend me his player equipment while he plays net. Everyone had me convinced I could stop sideways like in hockey. NO, at least not yet, almost broke my ankle...3 times. They expected me to be a star, but NO. The level of play is quite good. There are a couple of NZ national team players, who if they could do what they do here on ice would play Junior Hockey in Canada i'm sure. One of the national team players was picked up by a german ice hockey team at the last championship and he had never skated on ice. Definitely a lateral connection between the two sports, but not exact.
Now I must go and find a place to live and a vehicle drive. Any questions, send me an email bacougle@hotmail.com. Remember we can talk for free on skype.com

Flashback: BackAlley Summer 2007

Here's some photos I just got and thought it would be good to post as my cousins from Australia were in town in August and there just happened to be a birthday at the Back Alley (sometimes called the Crack Alley as it is a bit trashy). Needless to say it is a great Rock bar (self proclaimed #1 in Canada) and the perfect spot to take your rowdy Aussie cousins, plus it was $1.50 drinks til 10pm! Oh and some of the cast from LA Ink were in town for the Tattoo convention, so they turned up at the Alley.

Me and Janelle and Shaun
Shaun and a beer tub girl
Ezay and Janelle
the dude from LA ink and Janelle
How come are look more drunk?

Back to Welly

View from the plane coming out of Auckland

View of the Guy Fox fireworks from Mt Vic.


Couple of shots from the house, check out the view.



Bill and I flew down to Welly on Monday, Nov. 5 so I could show him around before he headed back to Canadaland. I think it was Guy Fox day as there were heaps of fireworks in the Bay (not celebrated in Canada). We stayed at the good, old Cambridge and had a couple nights out. Billy went back to Auckland on Thursday and I was supposed to drive him to the Airport, but unfortunately I was unable to drive in the morning.

Since Bill left I have picked up 4 days on AVATAR near the end of the month as a Assistant Director Production Assistant and moved into a flat in Brooklyn! My flatmates names are Chris and Al(his dog) and it turns out that Chris will also be on AVATAR as an actor. Cool. The flat is on the side of a hill so the views are pretty good, but the climb to the house is rough. Good thing the bus stops right in front of the 40 steps to the front door.

Next step is to secure an engineering job so I can stay in the country for the Canadian winter, NZ summer. Ya, that's right I said engineering job! At this point I will wait to see where I get a job before I buy a bike, etc.

In to Auckland and the Coromandel

Mariam, Pete, Kellie and Ryan


Brad and Bill in front of his cafe.




Hot water beach.

Where's Bill?




So, Billy and I flew stand by over to Auckland on Monday morning with reasonable hangovers. We were 2 of the last 4 people chosen from a group of 12 to get on the plane. It was like winning the lotto! Bill's friend Brad Anderson's mum picked us up from the airport and put me up for the week. Thanks to Mariam and Pete for that as I was just a tag a long and thought I would be hanging in a Hostel for the week. Brad took us out a couple of times during the week, which was kind of dead except for Halloween. It's not that big in NZ, but is at the backpacker bar. Too bad I forgot to dress up!!! Also had a game of golf for dirt cheap, 18 holes for $20 cdn.

On the weekend we went out to the Coromandel and stayed at Mariam's brother's place on the side of a hill in Tairua. Great views! Headed to Hot water beach with Joe (Pete's helper) where you can dig a hole in the sand to access hot springs. Very hot, Apparently you can boil mussels in the water. Fortunately we used some ocean water to keep our spa reasonable.

I have attached a couple photos of Pauanui which is across the bay from Mariam's brother's and also Joe and Billy climbing up the highest point around to lookout over the bay.

Sydney Oct. 27, 28 BIG RACE


Hey People,

So I was in Aussie for the WARR run and survived! The World Airline Road Race is held yearly to encourage airlines from around the world to get together and run a 5 km or 10 km race along with a t-shirt swap night and a gala ball. Let's just say it was a wicked time as I expected and I look forward to doing again.

Side stories:

1) I finished the race around 28:30 minutes for the 5 km and couldn't walk properly for 4 days after the race. It was quite funny, kind of looked like I fell off a horse.

2) During the t-shirt swap I started trash talking a Danish competitor, Jens, who I thought was 80 years old. He was telling me how he was going to run the 10 km and then run the 5 km, so of course I told him that I would beat him when he got up to my race. I think I saw him at the beginning of the race and then at the gala ball as I never could catch up to him. I found out that night that he was only double my age at 62, so I wasn't as destroyed by the loss. I believe Jens got 4 in the above 60 category for both the 10 and 5 km. I'll be ready next year.

Next stop Auckland, NZ

Here I go again






Hey People,

So, I'm off to NZ again with a quick stop in Sydney to run a 5 km race. I haven't ran more than 3 km in my life and I don't think I finished that race back in grade 7 either. Wish me luck!

NZ plan is to try and get some film work on Jim Cameron's AVATAR and may be more stuff. If not I will plan to take an Engineering job. Let's see what happens.

As for now I am currently in the LAX airport waiting on Standby for my flight to Auckland then Syd. Looks like I'll make it on tonight. Last night I decided to stay with my lovely friend Jessica as the standby loads did not look good. I have attached a couple of photos from our 24 hours together. We went for some drinks last night in the Downtown area and in her neighbourhood and today Jess had to stop by Fox studios so I got to check it out. Took a photo of the SPFX team on "Bones" as they were trying to make snow in 30 deg C heat from blocks of ice through a spreader truck!

Safety Lines on "Heartland"




Hope everyone is well.

So, I have been working on a Canadian TV show "Heartland" since the end of July doing atmosphere smoke, some fire scenes and safety lines. Here's a couple of photos from a day on set where the Special Effects crew (including me, but not in the photos) set up safety nets to catch a stuntman as he fell off a horse and off a cliff! Scary stunt as he had to fall off the horse backwards. If anyone has ever fell back in a chair or anything like that you will realize how freaky that feels. Imagine falling off a horse over the edge of a cliff!
Check out the photo of his leg in the air as he goes over, cool. The photos do not do the fall justice and it was about another 15 meters down after the net into a shallow river.

Travel up date; Off to NZ mid Oct. to hopefully gain work on the James Cameron movie "Avatar/880". We'll see what happens.

And Ryan the bar was Cowboys, thanks for the link!

Calgary Stampede 2007






For those of you who don't know what happens in the beginning of July every year in Calgary, we have the Calgary Stampede / Rodeo. Yes, it's a time when I get to wear my cowboy boots and hat and spread some stampede cheer. The mission this year was to go out 3 nights out of 10 and take in a concert and some drinks. I managed to go out a couple more nights than 3 and that was only because the weather was perfect (28 degrees C all week). The city was busy and I had to take it all in, plus there were a lot of free drinks given to me due to my old ties in engineering.

Couple more shots from Hawaii/Maui

Rehearsal Luau (were not the only ones attending)

pretty red bird




It's possible to live in Hawaii if you can some how become a United Statesian otherwise you will have to take your 1 or 2 week vacations like everyone else. Bye Hawai

AC / DC Wedding, May 16, 2007

the backyard

the pool

Vicky's backside, Kate, Natalie, Ben of Amber's side.

Me, Eric, Mark on Derek's side.


The wedding was held at a beautiful private home that opens up to the beach. 21 people were able to make it to Hawaii and there will also be a reception held in Calgary in June so that many more can celebrate with Derek and Amber. Even the minister was crying!