Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alright, one more thing to add...

So after the two weeks with Patti and Keving being here, I was making up work hours and trying to catch up, so I worked all of the following weekend.  Not terrible, but you know, I had to do it.  Got everything done too that I needed to.

Anyway, so LAST weekend, considering things have been so hectic, Kyle turned to me on Thursday and said "what do you think of using our one free night stay out at Piha to enjoy one of the last nice weather before the winter hits?"  Of course, Im like "HELL YES!"  So Kyle contacted Aaron at the Piha Exquisite Bed and Breakfast, to see if they had booking for Friday - Sunday. 

Thankfully, they did!  And not only that, they gave us the master suite!  AWESOME place.  This is the same place we stayed at for the New Year, and they had given us a voucher for one free night when you stay for two.  How could we pass it up?!  Haha, it was great having a nice little spontaneous trip for the weekend.  So, I got off work a little early Friday, and off we went.

Even better than the last time, if thats possible!

Epic Bathroom.

 INSANE view... as always

Good morning Piha.

Exploring the rocks.  it was a little creepy though... there are MASSIVE boulders just hanging out over our heads here... we didn't hang out too long.

The surfers walked / climbed through here to get out to the bigger waves further out in the water.  We decided to follow, but the tide started coming in, so we didn't make it far.

Sea foam.  EVERYWHERE.

The waves were so big, and the undertoe so strong, Surf Rescue was kicking people out of the water.  Crazy.  Kyle looks like he's at the end of the world. :-P

 Lion Rock!  Can you see the Lion?  After being here 3 times, I FINALLY did, but only at this angle...

haha, we had a good time exploring around that day.  Theres more to the story of the weekend..... like how INSANELY hung over we got the next day because of this random family of Kiwis (4 of them were staying at the Bed and Breakfast with us for the weekend) that took us out drinking with them...for their family member's 60th birthday....  But more on that later, I promise.  Haha.  Enjoy!

Bed time for me!

Official update.

So,  it has been a while.

Things have been good though, really good.  And only seem to get better for the most part, which is so great.

Had a little bit of time where I was getting homesick, missing friends and family a lot... and really wanting to go home for a visit.  I guess that happens after 4 months!  Luckily, I am out of the slump.  Had some good phone conversations / online conversations with friends and family, and it helped a lot.  

By the way, in case I didnt mention it before (cause I probably didnt), Mom and G are moving to South Carolina coming up this year!  CRAZY!  The house is going to be sold, and off they will good.  It will be a good change for them, Mom especially.  Gary will be closer to the girls (though thats not why they are moving), and it will be a new fun place.  They're going to Charleston to be exact.  It will be good for Mom, she'll be in a new place, new people, new things, and warmer weather!  Im really happy for them.  Sad the house wont be there anymore, and what ive called home will no longer be, but I think its good.  Exciting.  I'l just have to take trips to visit my friends!  Which throughout the US, isn't too bad ;-).  I never really thought about it, but I wouldnt be going home after this anyway!  Not for permanent.

Things have been going really well for Kyle and I.  Learning to adapt and live together, learning the things that upset or annoy eachother, and really just trying to flesh out a life has been challenging, but been going well.  Better than I thought.  Had some time where it was harder, moving, getting used to work schedule, ME not spending so much time at the office, and compromising on things.  But I think we're getting it.  And I sure as hell am happier over all. 

Starting to work out again finally too.  Ive been riding with the bike shop next door roughly once a week.  They KICK my ass, so right now once I ride with them on Tuesday, Im pretty much unable to keep up on Thursdays, so I just do once a week at the moment. But Ive been running, started swimming, and Kyle and I are doing all of it (except riding) together.  Starting to do push ups and sit ups at the end of run workouts, and tonight we're going to do swim at another local (indoor this time) pool.  We had been to Parnell Baths, which is an outdoor, salt water pool.  Really nice pool, and cheap!  But now its getting cold, and I think they close for the season on Easter anyways.  So we're going to check out the one in Newmarket.  I think they have a little gym too, so I can start lifting before / after swimming again.  Just like old times ;-).  Im happier when Im working out, thats for sure! 

Had a nice little break from work last month, Kyle's mom and brother came into town for two weeks.  It was hectic, but fun.  I tried to catch up on all my work hours within the payperiods, so that I would still make money and get my work done.  Made for some long days though.  Early early mornings, and some later nights, but fortunately I was always home for dinner while they were here.  Our first stop was Coromandel.  We pretty much took two long weekends off while they were here, so we went off on Friday morning, and headed south to spend 4 days out there.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL just about the whole time, and we rented a bach to stay in.  Really close to the beach, included the use of kayaks, and had everything we needed.  Really liked it there.  Heres some photo hilights :-D

The view on the way through the mountains.
Here is the house we stayed at

Beautiful sunset the first night.

Beautiful view of Coromandel, the next day on our way to check out Cathedral Cove!  
***By the way, this as the day of the Earthquake / Tsunami in Japan.  We did not know that it was happening at the time, and we spent the day out in and around the water (not to mention Kayaking as well as snorkeling..).  Very very greatful that we were not affected like we could have been.***

 Heading down to Cathedral Cove... these are the "stairs" we had to make it down first!


Sadly the "Cathedral" part was blocked off because we recently had a cyclone come through and take out a bunch of coast line :-\.  We got to see it though!

Next morning I walked down to the beach to watch the sun rise and take a walk :-)

 Well worth the early wake up

We went charter fishing one of the days out there too, and had a GREAT time with that!  We saw little blue penguins out in the water on our way, and those things are SO cute.  We were fishing for red snapper, and even though we got off to a slow start, man did we end up with some fish to take home later!  More than we could handle!  Kevin and I got to be the lucky ones of the day too, he caught a Kahawai, and I caught the monster King Fish!  The only one on the boat to snag one, and boy did I fight for that fish!  He caught the line toward the end of the trip, within the last hour, and it took me 20 minutes or so to reel him in!  15lbs of fish right there!  (6.6 kilos or so).  Man, it was well worth it.  That was my last fish of the day too.  And the "captain" of the boat was impressed!  haha, he stood next to me and helped give me some advice while I was reeling it in.  Everyone wondered if I was going to get tired or not, but nope!  I reeled that sucker in.  Very proud.  heres a nice few photos :-P

Red Snapper, one of the many!
And the winner for the day: the King Fish

Then, exhausted, back to the house we went.  Dropped the fish off (probably had like... I duno... 40 - 60 snapper we caught that day???) to a local guy to have him cut them up into fillets, steaks, etc, and smoke the Kahawai, and we picked them up the next morning after our train ride.  We took a pottery / scenic train ride tour the next morning.  It was nice!  Lots of history, learned all about this artist that just makes fantastic pottery.  Patti was all over that too, we all had a good time.  I got Kyle a neat barrel looking mug for work, and Patti got a nice little plate to take home, as well as some other miscellaneous gifts.

Then, on to Northland!  Ahipara is where we stayed, also known as Shipwreck's Bay (no, we didn't see any shipwrecks sadly..).  But while we were out here, we hung around the beach, and enjoyed some relaxation. 

But check it out, we stayed at this bach with a Fantastic view!  And a GREAT porch!

Check it out!  Talk about Beach-Front...

That night, the sunset was ABSOLUTELY spectacular


Where ELSE could you see something like this?!
 Gorgeous Panoramic by Kyle.

Well, heres what the Blue Penguins look like!  Sadly, this one isnt living, but hes still cool

Cape Reinga, the furthest North Tip of New Zealand :-)  Where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean Meet (over on the Right side of the photo with all the waves)

The Light House

This little tree is over 800 years old, holding on to the side of the rock.  This area is the gateway to the Mauri equivalent of Heaven, if I remember right... kind of a neat place :)

On the way to Bay of Islands, driving along 90 Mile Beach!

 We stopped off at the "Kauri Museum" and the staircase on the inside is literally made of a tree.  AND ITS HUGE!  I can't remember how old it is, but the thing is EPIC!  Kyle and I found a bunch of things that we want to go back and get to take home for the house.  They sell unfinished Kauri wood, which is so cool!  We will be going back.

What a great trip!  Sadly, once we made it to Bay of Islands, it rained the whole time and we were only really there for one full day, so there aren't really any photos of that area.  We'll go back though, we wanted to do a snorkeling day at Poor Knights Islands, but they cancelled it due to the weather.  Next time!

Anyway, thats it for now, LOTS of photos I know, but enjoy!!!!! :-D

We had a great time with them here.  SO glad that we got to do so much as well!  It was really nice to have some vacation time from work.  And boy, did we take advantage!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Ok, so Im tired of not writing anymore about what I was doing in New Zealand, and I know you all are curious as hell as to what I have been up to!  Well, tonight (hopefully) I will begin updating again.

Things have been hectic, Kyle's mom and brother came to town, and I maneuvered my work shifts around to battle both my quota and time, to get everything done, on top of all the other insanity that we were doing before they got here, trying to get life settled.  Well, now that we are getting into more of a routine again, I can start writing about things again!  :-P

So far behind on emails, facebook, projects, etc... its hard man.  I get home, and dont want to sit at a computer anymore.  But I am going to start this up again :-)  Just like Im starting to train again.  haha.

Triathlon in 1.5 weeks!  *thats right, I signed up for a Sprint out in Mission Bay*


Feb 12, 2011 (wayyy late)

Well, a lot has gone on lately since moving in.  As you can probably see I havent updated much!  Apologies on that one!

Things are going really well.  Kyle just got a job and started on Monday with a company called Blue Barn.  Funny, all the time he spent searching for companies and contacting them... and having no on e get back to him for an entire month and a half... now that he took a job, he is getting phone calls and emails every day from companies that want to interview him!  How great is that?  Haha, funny though.  It would have been nice if he had had those options before!  I don't know what it is about New Zealand, but they seem to go on a freakishly extended holiday...  I heard that January wasnt the month to be look for work from a book I read before coming here, and apparently they were right!  Too many people traveling and taking holiday, etc.  Funny.  Oh well, it doesn't matter now!  He is going Civil Engineering too, so it is within his career.  Awesome!

Work for me is good, been swamped lately though, we are an entire week behind on shots.  Making it difficult to keep up.  Lately I have sworn off working weekends / overtime really (well, I still work about 10 - 11 hrs a day regardless), which has been good for me, but it doesnt help the work load.  Not to mention being the Queen of the Snake character, Savio, at work, means all of my shots take that much longer.  There was some crazyness with some of the shots... just REALLY difficult and time intensive with that character, not to mention the other characters interacting with him.  He was rigged to be a "B" character, but of course then Nickelodeon decided they liked him, so they used him as a feature character in this new special.  I love animating him as I said before, he's really fun and challenging, but his rig just doesnt allow for any quick animation.  Not to mention I just feel like things take me forever anyway.  Its difficult.  But I do love it still.

This one difficult shot, the Infamous SH90 of the episode, was FINALLY chopped up into some more managable chunks, and with some re-framing and whatnot, I think I can finally muscle through them.  I went and sat down with Rob, because I was just getting SO behind in my shots because of this one... not that I was in trouble or anything, I had made it known that they would take me a while early on, and I had spoken to Fraser about how behind I was.  He knew full and well that Nickelodeon had just overloaded us on this one.  Plus the week behind.. just put everyone in kind of a bad spot.  Anyway, Rob wanted to know just what it was about the character (since he hadnt been told directly from an animator)  that made it so difficult and time intensive.  So, I sat down and told him, and Sean, one of our Comp / TD guys at work, sat in on the discussion, as well as Myke.  I went through everything, and explained that not only was the rig just difficult, but he required a lot of counter-animating to make him look like he's not jumpy / jittery in every shot!  So once Rob was on the same page, he understood, and we went to Nickelodeon to explain the situation.  Fortunately, these shots will be easier on me than originally thought, so I have some leeway.  Its not that the shots couldnt be done as they were, I definitely could have done it.... its the amount of time we had to do it!  I felt kind of crappy because it made me feel incapable... when realy I am, but theres a schedule and a deadline, and we needed to work out what was best for everyone.

its funny too because I showed Myke where my shot was after an entire week straight of working on it, and he came back laughing saying "ya, we cant do that.  Its way too much for what we have time for!"  SO fortunately it wasnt just me thinking it was a lot of work.

At any rate, things have been plugging along.  Im doing well so I hear... though I was worried that I wasnt working fast enough.  Apparently I was wrong, and things are all good!  I am still behind schedule because of that mess with changing around the shots and whatnot, so some of my shots have been taken off of me so that others can do the secondary characters, and then will be handed back for me to do the snake, in the interest of time.  But still, from what I have heard, I am doing alright.  One thing I have to say about Oktobor, at least in my experience, is that the higher ups are going to tell you if you are doing a good job.  So that makes me feel good, and makes me not doubt my abilities, or worry so much about being behind.  I will catch up.  I get faster all the time, but you know, still not where I want to be.

I wish I was as fast as some of the other guys.  Kate cranked through a double - quota the other week and managed to get it ALL done, submitted, and approved.  AMAZING.  Jealous of her speed.  She's really productive when she has to be.  She had Pete too, which Im sure helped a lot, and didnt have her pulling out her hair.  Myke is an amazing director, and you always end up with some money shots, but it is much more difficult to get things approved.  He looks at the little nuances right away, and wants to have them in there, where Pete is a lot more on top of the technical side of things.  Both are great, but it is more difficult at times to get a shot past Myke.  A good way to learn though.  This is my second episode with Myke, and though sometims he makes me want to pull my hair out with crits, I know my shots are getting good.

Aside from work, life has been cool.  We bought a car, a nice one that we got for cheap.  We bought bikes, both for a steal!  We have yet to ride them just because of how busy we have been, but we have them for sure!  Kyle having a job makes things for us easier for sure, and him happier.

Catching up more later :-)