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October 2008 Work, Bike arrives and more

Well October is gone! What did I do? Attended my companies' 35th anniversary, received my motorbike, sold my bosses car and had a Kiwi Halloween.

Attended the 35th Anniversary of Octa Associates in Auckland (50 staff plus partners). It was a good time and very good to meet the rest of the company that is seeded in 4 major cities in NZ. The company picked up the first night in a great hotel, an incredible dinner at the War Museum atop one of the major parks in Auckland and an amazing breakfast on Saturday. The Museum dinner was a make shift restaurant right in the middle of the beautiful lobby that never serves food. After the museum some of us went to town to represent. The first bar was a bit slow so we we decided to leave and as we were walking out the door in came 3 directors and drunken Howard. I was beside myself that A) they found us and B) it was after 12 am when they joined up and one of them was still going when I left at 3:30am. Could this be the right company for me?

On Saturday I got to have drinks with Brad Senior and Tracy who I hadn't seen in a while. I finally found some good bars in Auckland although it did remind me of Canada a bit too much (lots of money throw around on looks).

Me and the rest of the company viewing a Maori Dance (one of the dances being a "Hakka" made famous by the All Blacks, NZ's world famous rugby team)

The Wellington team
Me, Howard (Rough Diamond), Andrew (Comment for all occasions), Sharlene, John (Director and tallest), Nicci (Surfer), Marlene (Smiling with Wine), Sarah (Social club leader), Bruce (Carrying the team), and
Terry (Future head of family) and Ben (Irish handcuffed) in front.

My baby came to town. Well Akira arrived in good shape after only 1 month (Sept. 28 to Oct. 22, Van to Welly). It was great to finally get it out of the box and everything else I had shipped with it. Hockey stuff, golf stuff, tools and in soles which I'm loving. Sure you can get everything in NZ, sort of, but the stuff from home is the best and it's much cheaper.

Thanks to Ben and Gavin for the hand. I couldn't have done it without you!

The brothers sharing the garage at work. Morning Star (1998 Honda VFR)and Akira (2001 Honda VFR). Which one do you like better? As a parent I like them both equally!

Brad the Used car salesman. As most of you know I'm a pretty good wheeler and dealer when it comes to selling cars and motorbikes. Probably all kinds of crap if I have the time. Anyhow, when I returned to NZ and got back to the office in Sept. I went in the garage to ensure I had parking for my motorcycles. To my surprise I saw one of my bosses' 328 CI sitting there had been in there since I left. He now has a shining new one (530?). Even though there was lots of room for my bikes and the old BMW, the poor communal company car was left in the rain. Since no one else in the company is a wheeler and dealer like the "kid" I decided to sell it on the Kiwi version of Ebay = Trademe. I thought it would be fun to clean up the BMW and take it for a couple of test drives in order to see what was good and bad for my ad. Also it would be a good experiment to learn more about how trademe operates and since I got cleaned up selling a mates car at the Auctions last year I was all for trademe. To shorten the story; Everyone had no faith, I sold it in 3-4 weeks for what I thought was peanuts (poor market with recession, $10,300 for 1999 BMW 328 CI) and everyone congratulated me like a hero. Perhaps I should look at a career as a Used car salesman, one of the least respected jobs on the planet.

What an amazing photo!

Halloween. Good. Unfortunately no photos from the actual Halloween turned out as the bar was quite dark. The night was good even though few dress up on Halloween in NZ, but every year it grows.

Ben and I went as Hans and Franz Van Schnitzel, Twin Tennis Stars from Luxembourg.

September 2008, back in NZ

Long time no update.

Firstly, a quick shout out to the Juno Thai restaurant. Got your note and glad the Kitchen is up to date! (see Juno blog for reference)

Ok. So, before I left Canada I decided to send my baby, "Akira" to NZ and learn the importing process. MAF, Customs, Port charges, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure I will publish after it's over.

Me, my first helmet, my first jacket, my first gloves and My first bike bought in Aug 2005 (photo from Aug 05 after owning it for 24 hours).

Knowing that shipping the bike would be a bit of a project, I relied on my good friend Brendan fitting the wood and kicking me in the ass to complete it. He always manages to forge through on whatever the task and the bike was no exception even though I was 50% on whether or not to send it. Brendan built a wooden case around a metal frame that my friend Mike had picked up from Trevor at G W cycle last year. I had hoped to send the bike then, but that didn't happen for one reason or another. Good thing I waited as I was able to take my last North American trip on Akira to Alaska which completed over 30,000 km in North American in 3 years. So, once Brendan got the wood ready and I got the bike ready I brought in Bill and Mark for energy and power before wing night completely slipped away. After some interesting pauses and maneuvers the bike settled in and was boxed. Finally, we ate wings and drank beer!!!

Brendan and I, and Akira with some extras (hockey gear and golf clubs) on final box up night.

Off to NZ with dodgey truck driver. Not show in the photo, we almost dropped the entire crate off the back end of the truck when the driver left the park brake off a little too long. Hard to explain, but believe me it won't have been good.

Video at the Vancouver Airport just before flying back to NZ.

Made it to NZ and I got picked up from the Wellington Airport by my welsh brother Gareth and went to his for a planned two weeks (see October). Gareth and his partner Dorit are fabulous flatmates and have a great spot up in Brooklyn with views. I hope everyone is as luckily as me to have people take them in like Dorit and Gareth.

Back on the Job. Back to work and funny enough the projects I left 3 months ago were in the exact same place. I guess that makes me feel important as nothing gets done with out me or there were a lot more important projects to worry about? I choose the first option!

Shot of "Casual Friday" me reviewing a flooring issue at a lab at the Malaghan Institute (Cancer research). Work is work with a side dish of fun.

Immigration note: It sucks to immigrate! Checked my residency status to find out that I was missing a couple of things. Example: RCMP security clearance (apparently the Calgary Cop search of Canada is not as good as the RCMP search of Canada. Oh, by the way they are the same search!) and original degree, etc. Anyhow, sorting it out and should have it to them in October. Stay tuned!