Friday, June 20, 2008

Concerning Dido

This is Dido...she is an English BRIT Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter. Now, you may be thinking, "Woah, Dan, with a whole post dedicated to her, you must be a fan!" Truth is, I only know one song and I don't particularly like it. So why am I writing about her???

I was listening to the Ricky Gervais show while driving today (pretty common thing for me to do) when they started talking about Dido. Now, I've heard this episode before, and I'm still just as much perplexed by it.

Steve Merchant mentioned Dido was single now and he always thought maybe she was the type of girl he could score. You see, Steve himself is not the most attractive man (as he'll be the first to admit) and he thinks Dido is in the looks category that just might go for him.

These are some of the things he and Ricky said about Dido:
- She's quite ordinary
- She's kind of like a bit of a receptionist
- She probably sang once at karaoke and a bloke from a record label signed her up
- When you look at her you think she should be doing photocopying or filing.
- She has a very suburban look

Now, I don't see any of that myself. I think she's very attractive, and I kinda thought North Americans felt the same way. But both of these guys were in such agreement that she is "ordinary" looking. Do all British men think that way about her? And would do we think of her over here?

I know I sometimes have strange taste in women, but this one baffles me...

You gotta love her name though - Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Day is Finally Here...

Eight years ago I decided to return to post-secondary education, despite the fact that I had no money saved whatsoever from four years of working. So unfortunately, I had no choice but to take out a loan...and you know what my friends???

I completely paid it off yesterday!!!!!!! I am finally free from the government's control over my life (well, in part...)!!!

My plan was to pay it off in 2 years, but it ended up taking me 2 and a half (oh well). But now I can finally say, I am debt free!!!

let's see how long that lasts...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Not Much - Day Twenty & Twenty-One

Got up and everyone had left the house already. I packed up my stuff and did some quick emailing. I went upstairs and had some breakfast. The Mom came home (or wait, was she home the whole time?!?). We chatted for a bit and then I was on my way. There were lots of things I could do in Auckland, but to be perfectly honest with you, I just wanted to go home. I was done with all the touristy things and didn't really want to walk around and see anything. I did check out a nearby beach, but that lasted 2 minutes.

I pretty much drove around and killed time. I went to the mall. Did my usual thing and bought loads of candy I can't buy here. Considered seeing National Treasure 2, but didn't think I had time. It was quite the internal struggle! Decided not to so that I could clean out the car and pack all my stuff properly. Turned out to be a brilliant choice...took me forever to organize everything (I did see the movie the other day though, and LOVED IT!). Dropped off my only friend from NZ at the car rental place...and away I went.

The plane trip home was sweet...can't really remember it. Who did I even sit beside? Watched Stardust, that was a good movie. Changed planes in San Francisco. That was a pain. We had to leave our area and go through the whole security rigamarole once again. As we're getting off the plane the guy was rushing us, "You've got to get through security quickly cause your plane will be boarding soon!!!!" So I can see the people who flew with me standing in the security line freaking out cause there's masses of people and it's taking forever. So we get through and what do you know? Our plane is delayed...what a shocker!!! It was actually delayed for quite awhile. Shane was picking me up from the airport cause he's amazing like that and I think he had to wait there over an hour for me...what a trooper!!!!

And that was that - the trip was probably a week longer than I would have liked and there were a couple of challenging questions raised in my mind, but you will have to wait for that blog post later!

The End.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Could this be it?!??!

Hmm, now that I look at it again the colours aren't exact. The bottom leaf is sorta purple, but the top left leaf is too pink...and then there's the middle one that is almost peach...maybe though???

Although, I have a feeling it's an inside joke that someone made up when there was like, I don't know, 5 days until they were together or something...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Contagious Laugh - Day Nineteen

I woke up bright and early and drove back into town to catch my tour bus to Cape Reinga! I was pretty pumped about it. The bus picked me up and I soon realized this bus driver was also quite the character. He was always cracking jokes and telling us about the area, but the funniest thing about him was his laugh. Even if his joke was stupid he'd laugh right after and that would just get me laughing! It was great.

So the bus ride is about, hmm, 1.5 hours to the cape? I can't remember actually. We stopped at a number of places on the way. This picture is the east coast of NZ.

This was another stop along the way. Also the east coast, but the sand on this beach was so fine. It was like walking on flour. This stop was so beautiful.

After the sweet sandy beach stop, we had lunch at a picnic site. Now, there were three tours I could choose from and this was the cheapest, the reason being the lunch was not as exquisite as the other two. Didn't matter to me, I'll eat anything. Except, this lunch was absolutely unbelievably pathetic!!! I couldn't even fathom it would be this skimpy. It was basically cookies, chips and juice. There wasn't even any meat at all! Guess I got what I paid for.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't so nice when we got to the Cape. This picture is the west coast of NZ. It was so difficult taking this picture, because it just wouldn't capture how golden the beach looked. This is the best I could get, but it's pretty pale compared to the real thing.

Here's the lighthouse right at the tip.

The neat thing about this area is the Tasman Sea comes up from the west and collides with the Pacific Ocean on the east, causing a tidal race. It was pretty neat to see, too bad once again the weather wasn't better.

One of the sweet things about these bus tours is the return trip is all done on the beach! Ninety Mile Beach it's called, and to get there he had to drive through these little rivers pretty much and he couldn't slow down or he'd sink in. But before we got to the beach we stopped at some sand dunes. And the bus driver whipped out all these sleds and away we go.

I wish I had thought of this when we went to Oregon, it was so much fun! The only sucky thing was the climb was pretty steep, and I didn't quite have my strength back. But I'm proud to say everyone else was wiping out all around me and I just flew straight down without any problems.

Did I mention it was pouring rain also? Good combination: Sand and Rain.

On the drive down the beach you could see in the mist a famous rock formation out in the sea with a huge hole in it you can boat through. There are many stories of people trying to drive along this beach and not realizing the tide was coming in. You're pretty much hooped if that happens.

This store is near the end of the journey. There's these giant trees that people dug out of the mud or something (I should probably have written this in Jan rather than 5 months later!). Anyways, these trees are worth quite a bit, and this store is filled with things made from them. This is an actual staircase carved in a tree that takes you to the second level of the store.

When I saw this couch I thought Conor would be drooling...a couch made from one piece of wood!!! Can you guess how much it costs? Click on the picture to find out.

This gives you a sense of how big the couch is. I'm 6 feet tall remember. It was so tough getting this picture taken. I was by myself of course, so I asked this guy to do it, but he was clueless how to run a camera. The first picture has me pointing at what button to push, and this one I was sitting there forever before he took the thing, so my smile is totally fading, haha.

I asked the bus driver if he would let me interview him on video, cause he had so many jokes, but he refused! So instead I did a quick recording on the bus so you could at least hear his laugh.

From there I drove back down to Auckland to stay with my Aunt Mary's sister for the final night. It was a little tricky finding the place cause it was pretty late, but when I did I wasn't 100% sure I was at the right place. I knocked and this girl answered, but she didn't even turn the outside light on so we're standing there in the dark. So I said, "Hi, are you so and so?" To which she replied, "No." Okaaay, "Umm, is so and so here?" To which she replied, "No." Okaaaaaaaaayy, "Umm, I think I might be at the wrong house." After much struggling and awkward pausing I finally learn she is boarding at the house and was supposed to let me in until the family came home. Thanks for that!

So she let me in and we had some awkward conversation until the family got there...then we ended up talking for awhile. It was neat hearing their stories, but I'll write more about that for the next day.

They set up a bed for me downstairs and I was out like a light - End of Day Nineteen.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Vancouver Amazing Race 2008

Once again, the menno youth groups got together for the annual Amazing Race through Vancouver. This year I helped coordinate it, so I don't have all the wonderful team stories like I did last year, but I do have some pictures! Enjoy...

Teams had to make a totem pole for the camera:

When you put me in charge of a team, we come in 5th place. When you place Shane in charge...1st PLACE!!! I was so shocked when they were the first ones to come around the corner at the end! Way to go guys!!!!












Forgive me if I put your team in the wrong place!

Can't wait for next year...good job everyone!