09 December 2008

Damn Flu.


It's 10 to 1 am, Tuesday morning. And I have just been woken up by because the painkiller that I took before I went to bed have worn off, so woke myself up with a very painful coughing fit. Of all the symptoms you can get with a cold, the one I hate the most is a sore throat.

So now I am just waiting for more painkillers to take effect so I can go back to sleep. Going to doctor's in the morning, the last thing I want is for this to move down to my chest.

But at least the temperature tonight is much cooler than last night, we must of had rain nearby. It actually feels cool (if you can count a minimum of 24 degrees C as being cool).

- Grover.

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams

21 November 2008

Merry Old England.

In Janurary 2010 one of my great Aunt's is turning 80. It looks like that quite a few of my relations are going to be heading over there to celebrate. My Grandad, an Aunt and Uncle, a Cousin, maybe another Cousin with her children, my Mum. I've been thinking of going as well and making it a UK/Europe trip as well.

Points for:

- Thankyou in person for all the presents that said Aunt sent that I never got around to thank her for.
- There is a LOT of family over there that I have never met.
- Easy to see Europe if I'm already going to England.

Points against:

- Expensive, especially if the dollar remains low against the pound.
- Need to save a lot of money to make trip worth while. Compounded by above.
- Need lots of leave.

Havn't made up my mind but if I do it would mean saving from now until Nov/Dec 2009. No holidays until then either.

One thing that would work out quite well is that I've got Long Service with the NT Government due in March 2010, so I could possibly use that along with my Recreation Leave to make a good go of it.

I might even get a friend who runs a cafe in town to teach me how to be a barrista so I could maybe work every now and then to top up spending money while I'm over there.

I was looking at my leave entitlements and if I get approval to carry everything over to 2010 (instead of having to use 30 rec days by end of 2009), I could go from 01 Jan to somewhere around the middle of August 2010. That's 7.5 months at full pay. Could probably stretch that out to 9 or so months if I took the Long Service leave at half pay. Of course that would be conditional with approval from workplace. But it's a very tempting idea no?
- Grover

19 November 2008

Praying Mantis Roaring Tiger

Since Sifu declared his intention to make me a disciple when his teacher comes out to Australia next year, Sifu has started teaching me a style of Mantis. I think a little bit of it is because Sifu Wong is very experienced with a number of Mantis styles and Sifu Wong is almost certianly going to be teaching some mantis stuff during his visit.

I think the style of Mantis that I am learning is Chi Hsing Tang Lang or 7-star Preying Mantis. I only know a couple of movments as Sifu only started teaching me on Tuesday. Sifu said that he chose to teach me this style because he thinks it suits my tempermanent and body style (which is interesting because I am carrying at least 15kg of extra weight from when I was a fit young whipper snapper of 19). I also think he preferres to have people doing different things at any one time.

For example, Tuedays class had people doing Chen style Taiji Quan, Ba Ji and Preying Mantis. Some of us were just starting, some of us have many years of experience with other disciplines. It does seem to give the impression that each persons journey is just that; A individual journey helped by Sifu. About the only drawback it that you get a limited time with Sifu to help you as he goes around the class.

When I compare it to my Tae Kwon Do experience, it seems to make more sense. Looking back on TKD, every student was on the same journey to the same destination. People may have started at different times but on the whole it was the same journey for everybody.

When Sifu was sounding me out about becomming a disciple, he first asked me where I thought I might like to head towards in respect to my martial arts. I think he was considering me but wasn't sure until I responded that I might like to go towards something a little more harder and taking training more seriously (I was/am studying Yang style tai chi at that point). So I think that Sifu has thought about that and looked about what he knows and wants to pass on and said: "Here, this style would be a good place for you to start with." and started teaching me this particular style.

That won't be all that he will teach me. He's not going to say: "No, I will only teach you this style and nothing else". He has said that if a style isn't working for you he will teach me something else that does. He did say that he will probably teach us as much as he can in the one style first before moving on to another.

I'm very fortunate to be studying under someone who has so many styles squirreled under their belt. Then you add weapons to that and I only count myself lucky to have Sifu here in the same Town as I am.

When you consider Sifu is from Alaska it is pretty extraordinary. I'll have to get him to tell me the story of how he and his family came to live in Darwin. I'm sure it's a good one.

- Grover.

08 November 2008

Movember: Week 1

Hi All.

This year I am participating in Movember. In which you grow a mo for the month and get sponsorship and then have a party at the end. It's in support of men's cancer and depression, so it's all for a good cause.

If anyone wants to donate towards it, you can go here.

I don't think I'll keep it after the month is up though. It makes me look a lot older than what I am...

Behold the beast that is me:

- Grover

06 November 2008

It's a new car!!

After a long period of procrastination (over a year in fact), I finally got my self a new car.

It's a 2007 VW Golf GT.

Metalic Blue
1.4 TSI Engine
6 speed sequential gear box.
5 door

It's very sweet. Great ride. Handles extremely well. It was a demonstration model in the car yard. It's only done 7000 kms, and for that they knocked $8500 off the price.

I've had it for 2 days and I've already done nearly 200kms in the thing.

I like it because it sort of goes under the radar a bit. It's not like the Impreza or a Mini which stand out like dogs balls. But when you look closely the styling makes it look a lot bigger than what it actually is (especially it's very nice rear).

Plus having that TSI engine can make it a lot of fun if you want it to. If not, just put it in drive and treat it like a nomal auto.

I'm very impressed so far with it.

Will post some pics when I'm more organised (ha! I hear you say).

03 October 2008

Some good news

Yeah yeah, little happening in the way of updates. As usual.

Shall be remied by this post!

I am back at work and this week has been so hetic with preparing the budget for the year. But that's what this big boy position is all about I suppose.

I kept a journal of my time and virtually made an entry for each day while I was in NZ. I'll gradually post them here, don't hold your breath because 20 odd posts ain't going to happen quickly...

I am still waiting for the position I'm currently sitting in to be advertised so I can apply for it which if I get would be very nice indeed. I like earning a bit more money. Starting to recover from holiday, just need to pay off credit card now...

I sorta slipped off doing the 100 push ups thing, but I did a exhaustion test and managed to put out 30 after 5 weeks of inactivity so things are not so bad. I'll start week three of program next week. There is a site that allows people who are following the program to list their achievements and track how well they are going. It's at:


My profile is: ninjagrover. Although nothing will show up until I put an entry of an actual workout, not the exhaustion test. Strange.

Also, changed a shift so my Tuesdays are now free to attend the sword class with my instructor.

Another bit of news regarding my training.

Last night after training, my instructor asked me where I thought I was going with training and where I would like to go. I answered that I thought I would like to study a hard style (mantis).

Kevin thought that was fine, then he asked me with his master coming out to Australia, what I thought about perhaps becomming a deciple to his master's school next. All formal and infront of his master...


Totally stoaked as Kevin wouldn't ask anybody to become one of his diciple. He has a couple of criteria that he uses and apparently he thinks well enough of me to become a desciple.

I'll have to ask what's involved and what would be expected of me as Kevin is quite traditional in this aspect of his martial arts, and this wouldn't be a undertaking to be taken lightly.


20 September 2008

NZ Rundown

After finally putting all the details in my blog nearly 7 months after the fact makes it sound a little bit actual factual. But trust me I had a really good time on this trip. Got to see snow for the first time. Saw some of the most amazing scenery you could imagine with the Milford Sound being the highlight. But a lot of the north island is really pretty. You get tired from taking your camera out and when presented with yet another perfect vista you start to think "Nah, I've got plenty already."

And I think we travelled well together. Although I don't think Bill wants to be anywhere near my room in any future trips (I apparently snore loud enough to cause vibrations in his bed, or at lest Bill claims he could "feel" it in his bed, a bit of a princess and the pea if you ask me but anyway). But we didn't get on each others' nerves too much, which when you consider how much close contact we had (ie sharing rooms, all in the same car for three weeks). It could easily get old very quickly.

So yes, great holiday, would go back in a heartbeat.

Now I just need to post my diary from 2007 when we went to Japan. I found it again the other day.

18 September 2008

NZ 18/09/08

Last day in NZ.

Today was a much colder day than yesterday with the rain and all...which closed the Adrenlin Forest ¬.¬

Had a look at a kids science centre, but then the movie theater opened so we watched Taken with Liam Nielson instead. Very good non-stop action movie.

Checked into the flight, through customs, witing for plane to board. Hope the flight doesn't get delayed from the rain.

Once we reach Brisbane I'll wave Bill and Baz goodbye and catch another plane to Townsville.


Arrived in Brisbane feeling good. The combination of afternoon and good individual inflight entertainment helped a great deal. Bill and Baz have run off the the Virgin Blue lounge. So see ya at home guys. Bastards.

On board QF978 now waiting to taxi to runway. Looking forward to going out to the reef tomorrow. Then on to see Mum and Dad on Saturday...

17 September 2008

NZ 17/09/08

Last full day in NZ.

We had a look around the Antartic Centre. They fed some penguins, rode inside a vehicle they use in Antartica. That was pretty crazy. When they went through a pit of muddy water, apparently there is a slight leak somewhere near my seat and jeans got a bit wet ¬.¬

We also went into the storm room which is kept at -8°C. They then stimulate a storm with winds up to 50km/h. The wind factor reduces the temperature to -25°C!! Fricken Freezing!! I tell you, my nose and cheaks really stung. Glad it only lasted a couple of minutes.

The Restruant tram was very nice. The loop isn't all that big, and the food was quite good. Not the smoothest ride, but maybe that's just because I haven't ridden many trams before...

We had a quick look around the casino, Bill reckons that he lost $800 on the pokies (really $4.00).

Packing suitcase, going to visit Adrenlin Forest tomorrow before heading out to the Airport. They've got Rope walkways and flying foxes and such. Looks like a lot of fun.

Next: last day in NZ

16 September 2008

NZ 16/09/08


Easy start to the day. Passes Lake Tekeo and had a take some photos. The water was sky blue. Very different. Wonder what makes it that colour.

Baz chickened out of driving us through the city to the hotel and switched with me before we drove into the City itself.

After a 5hr drive and checking into the hotel (which doesn't have aircon - very bizarre to this tropical boy) we had a look around some of teh street and the Botanic Gardens (the latter of which was really good - got some good photos).

It's interesting that Auckland reminds me so much of Melbourne it isn't funny, and Christchurch reminds me of Adelaide it's amazing. Especially the suburbs. Major Deja vu.

We watched Tropic Thunder which I found pretty funny. Then we had dinner in a Irish Pub (of which there are many) which was good.

We've got a rest day tomorrow to catch up. Will probably go and see the Antartic Center or something the there is the Tram dinner.

Next: Christchurch

15 September 2008

NZ 15/09/08

Today is the last day in Queenstown. We spent the day snowboarding at the Remarkables. Not a bad day all in all. The snow was a bit slushy, and the wheather got cold when the wind picked up.

Took a couple of big falls today, so am thankful I hired a crash helmet and Billy recommended that I buy wrist-guards. They got put to some heavy use today.

Have the most fantastic bruise on the back of my right knee. See if I can find the photo. It was right where the chair lift bar would sit behind the knee. Very sore.

Ugh, need to do laundry tonight and get some souvenirs for family.

Lick has the best Gelato I have ever tasted. Their mint choc chip is to die for.

Long day drive tomorrow to Christchurch.

Before I sign off for the day a stocktake from my first time snowboarding:

Learnt this trip:

Standing up, heelside, toeside and very wide and slow interchange, small jumps.

At the cost of:

1. Several stacks (both forwards and backwards. I would say that forwards is the worse than backwards). 1 very impressive bruise on back of Right knee, accompanying sorness with same.

2. Mid back, general soreness.

3. Left ankle, sore from nearly twisting it going arse over tit comming off a chair lift.

4. Back deltoid of Right shoulder, sore from fall. Turning ability compromised!

5. Sternocleidomastoids (both sides), sore from head hitting snow hard during particularly hard fall.

6. Slight headache if I move my head too quickly.

Worth it? Hell YES!! I had so much fun this last week. Can't wait 'till I can do it again.

Tomorrow: Christchurch.

14 September 2008

NZ 14/09/08

Big day trip out to the Milford Sound, or more accurately, Fjord.

We stopped as a couple of places (wanaka) during the 6 hr trip. Then we went on a boat cruise down the Fjord to the sea and back again. Some of the most amazing scenery I've seen so far whilst in NZ. Although it was a bit hard to take photos with my camera because of a light drizzel. But was able to use the wide angle to take some nice photos.

On the way there we saw a rare parrot. Yay.

Also, it was only when the bus promptly went past our accommodation, that we learnt that we were on the wrong bus company. Although we are blaming the bus driver for that one. Baz showed him the booking voucher and Val (the driver) said "Yep, hop on." So we did >.<

If you are anywhere near Queenstown and have a day spare, it's worth the visit. On the day we went there was a lot of cloud cover and rain, but that made it look very ephemeral. Very cool.

Next: Queenstown.

13 September 2008

NZ 13/09/08

Today seems to have turned into a rest day. Might go out for a walk in a bit and stretch the legs, might take some photos too.

<Later> We went for a drive and we nearly ran out of fuel going up to Wanaka. What we thought were little towns were just names of places alongside a lake. So we had to double back to the last town to get some fuel. >.<

Baz bunje'd from the AJ Hackett bridge and I filmed it (badly) for him.

Had dinner by the lake in Wanaka as the sun set it went behind the mountains. But my camera's batteries were flat, Bill took some so might post those.

The temperature really dropped quickly when the sun went. That sort of killed any further desire to look around, and we headed back to Queenstown.

Off to the Milford Sound tomorrow. Early start ¬.¬

Off to bed now...ugh. Tired.

12 September 2008

NZ 12/09/08

Third Day.

Also at the Remarkables. Fantastic day. Perfect weather for snowboarding. We could actually see where we are going. Could only ski for a little more than half the day before my knee began to hurt too much after I came off a chair lift badly a couple of times. Which was annoying because previously to that I was having a lot of fun and was boarding really well. I was still sticking to the beginners' slopes and some easy intermediate, as the rest are just too steep and rough for me.

I'll post some pictures later...

Tomorrow: Queenstown.

11 September 2008

NZ 11/09/08

Second day!

We went to the Remarkables today. Very odd compared to yesterday. It's a higher mountain, plus the weather was really cold. At the lodge it was -2ºC and up at the highest slopes it was probably -5º. Then on top of that we had a lot of cloud cover, wind and even snow. I think we got at least 10-15 cm of snowfall that day. Amazing. You remember all those text books in high school that show snowflake crystals. Well, you could see then when they landed on your clothes. For someone who had never previously seen snow it was amazing.

Apparently the snow is better on this day, although I found it difficult to board today because it was white on white on white.

Because I'm travelling down a bit faster today I took a couple of big falls. Nearly did my knee and ankle twice today ¬.¬

Tomorrow: Also Remarkables!

10 September 2008

NZ 10/09/08

Whee! I love snowboarding!!

First day! Up at Coronet Peak today. Billy spend 2 hrs teaching me heel and toe side balance on the snowboard on the beginners slope. Then I spent another 1.5 hrs practising near the magic carpet.

After that I went up the beginners slope and then later some intermediate slopes. The snow was really slushy, which Bill and Baz disliked. But I think it made it easier to learn. Really fun day.

Matt: your snow gear works great!!

At the end of the day, calves were sore as hell from doing a lot of work they don't normally do.

Tomorrow will be interesting!

Tomorrow: Remarkables

09 September 2008

NZ 09/09/08

Today was spent driving up to Queenstown where we are going to spend the next 7 days. Really beautiful scenery. Exactly what New Zealand is famous for. We stopped at several photo opp places along. It was the best day of driving so far of the trip. Will have to go through and post some photos because that's all I've written in my diary for today!!

Tomorrow: snowboarding!

08 September 2008

NZ 08/09/08

Fox Glacier.

It's funny, my handwriting from my travel diary for this day is so messy I must have been really tired when I wrote it...no joke looks like chicken scrawl (more so than usual).

On to diary:

I seem to have gotten the windest roads so far on this trip. Not that I minded. The scenery was really fantastic and we go to the tour company with 40 minutes to spare.

We got geared up (socks, boots, jackets, overjeans, gloves, beanie), then headed out.

Now first off, no where do you read in the brochure that you have to hike for 1.5 hrs up a very steep hillside (which includes 600 steps [reminder of Mt Fuji guys?]), but we did. So with all the gear you are now wearing quite a bit of stuff designed to keep heat in, so I at least started to sweat while the air temperature is struggling to hit 11ºC. Apparently the local weather god heard my silent prayer and decided to send a little drizzle our way. Fantastic.

The glacier was different to what I expected. I had imagined to be a fairly solid block of ice, but it's sort of like you get a big pile of crushed windscreen glass and packed it together. A benefit of the overcast sky was that it brought out the blue colour in the ice. Our guide said that if the sun was out all we would see is white. So that's cool. Not sure if it is making up for my hands which are starting to feel cold with all the moisture soaking into the gloves.

We then travelled up the glacier and had a look in a couple of the moulans (holes in the ice formed by water). Pretty cool (later in the day, one of the people out on the tour fellover in one and dislocated a shoulder - Baz said, put some ice on it. You're a bad, bad man Baz).

The weather then took a turn for the worse and then started to rain for real. Gloves got soaked, as did our boots. But feet managed to keep the water in the boots warm. So all in all it was a hard, wet, cold day out on the ice. But looking back it was a great experience. Definetly recommend to anyone who is thinking about it.

I will say I haven't appreciated hot water as much as I did later that night back at the hotel.

Although on that, it took us no joke 15 minutes to find our hotel in that town. The town literally has one street. When we found it, we discovered it was closed for renovations and we had instructions that the owners had made an arrangement with another hotel across the street. The one we passes three time looking for the first one.

07 September 2008

NZ 07/09/08

Sometime in the evening.

We have declared the cover of Baz's rain coat cover lost. A brief ceremony was held.

Father's day today. I'll see if I can get through to make a call later this evening.

It was a bit of a long day today. We all got muddy for no good reason. Yes we are all looking at you Barry. ¬.¬

On the way we stopped and had a look at the Pancake rocks and blow holes. Was a little bit different than the mental picture my imagination made up but took some good pictures. There were baby seals!! Cute.

Tonight we are staying in Greymouth, a little country town. It's only a motel, but so far it's the nicest place we have stayed in yet...

Another early start tomorrow, off to spend the day on Fox Glacier!

Tomorrow: Fox Glacier.

06 September 2008

NZ 06/09/08

1935 Saturday

We got to the ferry after some confusion about which wharf complex the ferry terminals are located on (the harbour seems to have 3 separate complexes for shipping and the like). Finally we got there with about 20mins spare. And we all breathed a sigh of relief.

The Interislander is pretty big. Has 5 decks including two cinemas.

Oh and this was just hilarious, and I made fun of Bill the rest of the trip was when we went to put some of our backpaks into the lockers.

Now, 95% of the blame rests with Bill, I may accept 5%, but that's only because I trusted that Bill knew what he was talking about.

Bill thought from previous experience with locker systems that someone had not paid for (or else the time limit had expired) a locker that had a laptop in it. So Bill pulled out the other stuff and put in his some of mine and Baz's stuff as well. Then I closed the door, and I heard a metallic 'click', then I tried to open it it wouldn't open. Then after actually reading the instructions printed in easy to read big letter, we concluded that the guy had in fact paid for the locker, he just forgot to lock it. So now we have our snacks, road maps and souvenirs in a lockerto which we don't know the combination to...

Anyway, we decided to worry about that at the end of the trip, and had a look around the ferry.

We have 'heavy' seas today with swells topping out at 4m high. Apparently they get as high as 8 metres...

It's 5ºC outside, blowing a gale, and to complete the trifecta, it's raining. Yay.

05 September 2008

NZ 05/09/08

1535 Wellington

As predicted, a long drive to Wellington. 0800 start. 4ºC. Whakapapa looked amazing. Took some photos, hope they look okay.

The drive got a bit tedious after the second hour.

We arrived in Wellington around midday and it's cold,and blustery! If the weather holds tomorrows ferry ride should be interesting.

We had a walk around the wharfs and like and I'll post some of the pics that demonstrate just how cold it was. We could see the beginnings of waves in the marina from the wind!

We are going to clean out the car and get it ready to drop off at the rental office tomorrow before we hop on the ferry.

The accommodation is a bit of a joke but oh well.

Tomorrow: Nelson

04 September 2008

NZ 04/09/08

1950 Tongario

A nice easy start to the day, but we had a few kilometres to travel today. First we had to go back to Rotorua, then onwards for another hour to Lake Taupo. We stopped at Lake Huka and Huka Falls on the way. Took some photos of the falls because a very large amount of water flows through a narrow channel. The water is so clean. But too cold for this tropical boy to consider swimming in.

We kayacked on Lake Taupo like we planned. The water temperature was 10ºC and the air was around 15. We were afraid that the weather would turn bad, but it cleared up to turn into a really nice day. 3 other Aussies also kayacked on the same day. AJ's from the Airforce. But they made good company.

Although we had thought that the carvings were hundreds of years old, but it turns out they are only 15. Very impressive though. They did it to help preserve the skill of stone carving.

Afterwards we went to a hot spring pools which was just the thing after a day spent on the water.

Another 1·5 drive (which nobody wanted to do because we all just wanted to sleep), landed us in our hotel for the night Chateau Tongario. It's about 5ºC outside atm. But the room is so stuffy we've opened a couple of windows while we went to dinner.

Bax thinks the pollen from the pine forrests were setting off major sneezing fits. Max of 4 in one set so far.

Too cold to go walking around, not much to see anyway. Been a long day. Got another long drive tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Wellington.

03 September 2008

NZ 03/09/08

1740 Ohope

Hi All.

We had a bit of an earlyish start to the day (0630). We drove to Whatakane, where we were dut to go out to White Island, but that was cancelled as the seas were too rough apparently...

So instead we caught up with Barry's Nanna in Ohope. She is such an old dear.Then we had a round of golf at the course near the beach. It was a nice, fun afternoon. We had some drizzle which made it chilly for a bit, the sun came out again so it warmed back to 15ºC in no time! Even had to take my jacket off.

We did offer to take Baz's Nanna out to dinner but she refused in that polite stubborn way of the elderly. So she cooked up a nice dinner with home grown veggies that was really good.

Tomorrow we are off to Lake Taupo for some kyacking to some rock carvings. Hope the weather holds for it, no desire to be out on the lake in the rain...

Tomorrow: Lake Taupo.

02 September 2008

NZ 02/09/08

1615 Rotorua

The thermal areas are about a 20min drive out of Rotorua. There are lots of mudpools. Got a photo that looks really funny out of one of them. Looks like a mud man is bursting up from below. We saw the Lady Cook geyser erupt. yay. Then had a look at the rest of the park which took roughly 3 hours. Took some interesting photos. It was fairly cold all day. It rained while the geyser was doing it's thing. And again, Barry wants me to write: "We think here is where the cover for his raincoat got lost".

We had lunch in an Irish pub back in town. I think I had the Guiness soup. Really good warm food.

Then we went up the skyway gondala and kart. We went on the Sky Swing. I bought the video. It's quite hilarious. I'll have to see if I can upload it somewhere and post a link (don't hold your breath). Our reactions are hilarious, I really enjoyed it, Bill almost as much as me, Barry was a bit more subdued, I must say. Though the death grip on the handle would have done Bruce Lee proud.

We then luged 6 times. It's fairly fun, though a bit tricky to handle as the kart only has three wheels. And the brakes shouldn't be called brakes, or perhaps they should because they were obviously broken...

Off to the Cultural Display tonight then over to White Island tomorrow.

Tomorrow: White Island


Just came back from the NZ Culture dinner. We had quite a fun night. Billy got to be the Chief of Our Village (Our bus, our name was Whoweare, I managed to mangle this into the much more humorous Whoarewe). Bill was selected to pick up the Peace Offering (a leafy twig). We didn't get to ask much of the performers before we were hearded to the stage performance which wasn't bad, but not long enough really.

Met a couple of nice Americans, Nate (they do exist), though this was offset by this particularly loud, obnoxious american woman from NY city. Typical americal. Don't care if you are jet lagged. Some semblance of manners should still be retained. Anyway we tried to have as little to to with her and had a good conversation with Nate. Forgot to get his email, oh well. Got a video of Bill doing the haka. Funny. Although he did get the hand shakey bit down pretty well.

Our driver was a riot, made us sing songs on the way back to our accommodation. Bill, Baz, remember "She'll be Comming around the moutain"?.

01 September 2008

NZ 01/09/08

0700 Auckland

A 0730 start today. Made it onto the motor way after only two wrong turns!!

Once we got out of Auckland proper there were some really amazing views. Then we hit a fog bay. It got really thick at times with visibility cut down to less than 50 meters. Don't see that very often in Darwin. Though it cleared up after 20 minutes of driving. The outside temperature got as low as 8ºC. We travelled 260km in about 3 hours before arriving in Waitomo to go and see the glow worms in a caving system. Amazing. A lot of fun, worth braving the freezing waters to get through it.

Travelled another 1.5hrs to get to Rotorua. Mmmm lovely sulphur! Reminded me of the seaweed that use to wash up on the beaches down in Victor Harbour in South Australia it would then start to rot if not swept away again.

That night in Rotorua, we had a buffet dinner that distinguishes itself by being the worst meal I've had in a long time. It was like a twilight zone, you could recognise what the foods were meant to be, but everything did not taste as it should. Bleah.

Bit wiped out today. Did a lot of travel and the caves was pretty tiring (you would be too walking for 3 hours in a wetsuit and gumboots).

Tomorrow we are off to see the thermal areas, the skyway lookout, a cultural display and dinner.

Tomorrow: Rotorua.

31 August 2008

NZ 31/08/08

1600 Auckland

Barry made me write this: "Thanks for resetting my watch". So there you go.

Hope you're happy.

Okay, today we went and visited Rangitoto Island. The Volcano rim is 198m high. We visited teh light house on the other side of the island. Then we went up to the rim. All in all a good three hour hike.

Oh! Catching the 9:15 ferry over, it was into the wind. Which was freezing! Made me wish that my gloves weren't in my suitcase! The temperature was around 15ºC which made for a nice walk. Got some great views of the scenery on the island and of the city from the lookout. Although soon after getting to the top my camera's batteries went flat any my spare set were in the hotel room.

Also finally got International roaming turned on my mobile. Yay! Can make calls now.

We are going to Orbit the revolving restaurant on the sky tower later this evening. It should be nice.

And Barry has just discovered that he bought a women's size glove. That's all that needs to be said there I think.

2100 Auckland

Dinner was very nice. A very reasonably prices 3 course meal. Views are great, though they do impart a mild feeling on nausea.

Tomorrow: Waitomo - Rotoroua

30 August 2008

NZ 30/08/08

1700 Auckland

Well we arrived okay. The Jetstar flight wasn't too bad. I've had better, but I've had much worse. I'm looking at you Tiger...

The Air NZ plane was smaller than what it was supposed to be. Again, not bad. More comfortable than the Jetstar flight. We arrived 30 minutes early, must of had some good tailwinds!

Brisbane Airport is okay if a little confusing. Coming from Darwin, it seems amazing that you have to catch a train to get to the international terminal. O.o Auckland airport is quite nice.

With our hire car (we went with budget), we got upgraded from a station wagon to a brand new Toyota Prado. It had done only 17 km on the clock when I drove it out of the lot. It's frickken huge. Very comfortable. It even has a aux in for an ipod so that should keep Billy happy.

We are just having a rest for a bit before going out before having an early night to recover.

Tomorrow: Auckland

Kia Ora Everyone

Hi All.

Arrived in NZ okay, if not a little tired.

Auckland reminds me of Melbourne a great deal. Very nice weather.

Went to Rangitoto Island today. Had a good walk around. About 4 hrs in all. Going to Orbit the revolving restaurant tonight. Should be nice. In fact I have about an hour to go before I have to leave so this post'll be pretty brief.

We've done a quick shop for snacks for the road trip tomorrow down to Waitomo Caves in the morning then on to Rotorua in the afternoon. Probably about 5 hrs of driving all up.

And can you think we can find a 3.5" to 3.5" jack so we can plug our ipod/s into cd player? Rare as hen's teeth apparently...õ.o very strange.

So to was sunscreen. Hard to find. But that's may be there is very little of the body that gets exposed to the sun here on a regular basis.

Uhh, I'm keeping a better diary this time so I will probably post or edit more later.

But for now, immensely enjoying myself.

- Grover.

25 August 2008

Countdown begins

Okay. On holidays, but still have 4 and a bit days until we leave for NZ.

I'm doing some housekeeping like doing washing, pack up some stuff that I'm not using. Tomorrow or the next I'll do a big clean.

For the Trip we just need to finalise what we are doing in between Picton and Nelson. I've found a place where we can do some stuff [here].

Looking good. Getting excited...

Tomorrow I'll also look at changing some money into NZ dollars. We're currently getting around $1.22 NZ for every AUD $. Not bad, not bad at all...

- Grover

18 August 2008

3­·5 Days and counting.

Last week of work before I go on holidays. And Thursday is my last day for the week.
Woot woot!
Then I've got the next week off at home to take it easy in the nice dry season that we are currently having. As well as anything more that needs to be done for holiday.
But before that, it looks like this week at work is just goint to be pure bedlam.
Hopefully I have seen the last of the acquittals for this quarter which I thought I had finished on Friday. But Today was a total wright off for anything else I need to get done before I leave.
I still need to journal a hits load of personnel to their correct cost centres. A big job. Probably all day Tuesday. Then on Wednesday have a three hour training thing in the morning, so that just leaves the afternoon and Thursday to finish up the rest of my work and train a co-worker in some reports that need to happen while I'm away.
Sweet Jesus Monkey Christ!
This holiday had better be worth it...
Yes, I'm complaing about my holiday already...22 hours of work to go.
- Grover

15 August 2008

Umm, Lost count?

The biggest problem so far from week 3 is that it is very easy to lose count after 20 or so push-ups. I just did set two of day 3, and I'm noty sure if I just did 22 (as per the guide) or 27. I count in multiple of five to try and make it sound easier. Ie 20 is just four sets of 5. But if you lose count you think "Hmm, mayde should do a couple more just in case".
Set three here I go...

- Grover

14 August 2008

Dark Knight

Had this saved as a draft for some reason...

As many people have said, I'll repeat with an emphatic Wow!!

This movie has gone into my top 10 of all time.

There are some very well acted parts, Bale is back, mostly as Bruce Wayne. Which is okay because I found Bale's acting as Batman endlessly amusing. It looks like he is trying to do a "Magnum" look or something.

We needed to see more of Michael Cains' Alfred. More sarcasm would have been nice.

Gary Oldman is better as the poor policeman trying to keep the peace against the rising tide.

Morgan Freeman is as great as ever, reprising his role as Lucius Fox.

But the stage is set, and mostly occupied by Health Ledger's Joker.

What an amazing character this is. The performance by Ledger is nothing short of mesmerising. From the introduction (and that rather shocking magic trick), to his last line, sparkles with brillance.

It pains me more than I can say that he's dead and we will never see this Joker ever again.

If you have been under a rock and haven't seen this movie. Go tonight!

- Grover

13 August 2008

Week 3 Day 2 Complete!!

Take that body!

Just completed day 2 of week 3 and managed a maximum of 29. Not bad at all if I say so myself. 109 push ups. Amazes me that when I started this challenge not so long ago I was flat out finishing week 1, day 1. Mind you those last 4 of the last set were very difficult.

It's amazing how much you recover from a rest day. It's apparent that the rest days are just as important (perhaps even more so) as the actual exercise itself.

- Grover.

Week 3 - Again.

Okay, here's to me attempting week 3 again of the 100 push up challenge.
I'l post on how I go...
- Grover.

07 August 2008

Push Back - Fall Over

Looks like I will have to redo week three.
A couple of things this week have conspired against me.
Main problem is that I gave blood this week, and any attempt at doing the number required was making me feel very strange indeed. Day one was fine, even did a max of 30, but I'll have to take it easy to get over my donation.
Will continue with the program, but will do two week threes.
- Grover

06 August 2008


This week I finished watching Avatar.

It's strange, as it made me feel really nostalgic about my childhood, watching all those long running cartoons on a Saturday morning.

But it's well written, a nice mix of characters, some good fights and some good humour. My favourite moment is when Sokka is recovering some feeling in his body during a fight, and he says "Hey, I think I'm getting some feeling back." Only to have some of the wall fall on top of him. The pain-filled "ow" making perfect comedy timing.

Azula's descent into madness was a little too quick, and Aang was extremely lucky to get his charkra fixed in the big battle.

But yeah, good fun and the story runs smoothly with only a couple of episodes of filler.

- Grover

05 August 2008

The System - It works!

Just been advised that my parcel of NZ clothes has arrived.
Sweet. Will pick up after work.
Only took about a week or so. Mind you, would want it to take very long after spending $70 in postage.
Also had to get it delivered to a friend's address, as UPS don't post to PO Boxes, and my residential address is not secure...
Oh well, is here and I have enough time to check suitability and order another something else if needs be.

- Grover.

03 August 2008

Japan 07

Okay, not sure how well this is going to work, but here I go:

Post is a slide show of some of the photos from Japan Trip. I have put a link to the page in the random links over on the right.

Handy eh?

- Grover

02 August 2008

Push - Push Back

Quick note:

Did exhaustion test for push ups today.

Completed 28!! On the first test I managed 21...That's just a little bit of wow right there.

Bit apprehensive as from what I've read on other people's blogs who are also taking the challenge; the next two weeks are not easy. But will try best to keep with it.

- Grover

Nose is Happy

I love perfumes and smelling good. I have 5 that I use regularly.

These are:

Green Irish Tweed by Creed
Body Kouros by YSL
Higher Energy by Dior
Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier
Cool Water by Davidoff

Thanks to eBay, I now can add these to my collection:

Millesime Imperial by Creed
Men by Vera Wang
Safari by Ralph Laurent

I have learnt that Creed perfumes are very different from mainstream perfume houses. Very different, but very nice.

Safari is an old favourite, I just haven't had it for a couple of years.

Vera Wang is new to me. Very nice.

I can retire Cool Water to a friend as I have the superior Green Irish Tweed, which smells 10 times better.

The Imperial, at first smelling, I thought the fragrance would not last long on the skin. But on the first day, it lasted all day and into the evening! It's base is fairly floral, but it's not girly at all.

- Grover.

01 August 2008

Push Ups Week 2

Well, just completed week 2 of One Hundred Push Ups training program.
Must be doing okay because the last set call for a maximum of at least 15 and I did 20 so, Improvement!
I have to do another exhaustion test on the weekend to determine which column I have to follow for weeks 3 and 4.
If I do more than 26 push ups then on day 3 of week 3 the total I would have to do would be 121!
Keeping that scary thought in mind it will be a challenge to work towards...
- Grover.


31 July 2008

Push It Good

Still continuing with week 2 of push-up program.
It's not exactly easy, but the increase is within my capability apparently.
If you look at the first day of week one, the total number of push ups was 34, and yesterday I did a total of 66, so that's a big improvement already.
- Grover

Thar She Blows

Eh he.

Oh Noes! We shaped our broadband plan this month!!

My flatmate and I download all shows in stead of watching TV. I download around 10+GB a month of anime, and my flatmate downloads a bit from a private tracker that has all series produced by the BBC. Throw in youTube, messaging, Digg, I-Am-Bored and Kwoff, we usually download around 40GB a month.

So far this month we have hit 63GB, and we have been shaped down to dial up speeds.

The Horror!!

Especially interesting is that we downloaded 14GB alone on the 29th.
Another 24 hours before the speed get reset...

- Grover

30 July 2008

Funny Site

Blog here, of some one who is counting down 1000 awesome things.
Some interesting thought processes at work mixed with some good humour.
972 things to go.
Although I do wonder what the # 1 most awesome thing will be...

- Grover

23 July 2008

Not Having Fun!!

Ugh. Push ups.

A total of 5 sets with the following repetitions:

Head is slightly spinning.

Here's a tip for all you young, fit kids: Don't allow yourself to get unfit. Problem solved.

- Grover.

22 July 2008

Wax On, Wax Off

Got my back waxed yesterday.
I did it now so that I can get it done again before I head to NZ.
It had been a little while since I had last had it done so it smarted a bit. Especially the hair that's down the middle of my back. You just hope that the sadist, sorry, beauty therapist rips the strips off quickly.
Feels funny to have my shirt right against my skin again. I had forgotten what that's like. Weird.
- Grover

21 July 2008

Just kill Me...

Okay just did first day of Push Ups. Sets of 10/10/8/6 then did a maximum of 11.

Feel a little bit light headed, but will recover. But good god I have six weeks of this? He he I might have to challenge Billy at the end. See how many he can do.

Just need to cut down on amount of food I seem to be consuming these days and any [ahem] sugary drinks.

It's also a little frustrating in that I used to be able to one handed push-ups no problem.

But sensible weight loss is dedication and determination.

- Grover.

Exercise: It's good for you.

Okay tested myself for push-ups yesterday. Managed to do 21. Which means that today I get to do two sets of 10, one of 8, one of 6 and try for maximum (at least 7).

Yay. Lucky me.

Oh, have to tell you about training last Thursday.

Finally got to a training session with my teacher (I can't call him sifu yet, he is very traditional about things like that) after two weeks off sick.

It was the first lesson back so I suppose I should know better than to go too hard too soon. But I haven't learnt that lesson yet, and it doesn't look like I will start anytime soon.

Anyway. Arrived late - forgot the class now starts at 6 not 6:15. So, straight into stances. They all have names, which I can't remember. But suffice to say, they are not easy to hold. And if they ever feel easy then you are not doing them right.

Anyways, I was doing them and putting a lot of effort into them and the last Maboo I went down to nearly as low as teacher, mostly managed to hold it, then when we finished, you straighten to a standing position.

And all sounds suddenly faded as my sense of hearing went. It felt as though all the blood in my body was in my head and I could feel this prickling sensation going up to the top of my scalp. And I remember a part of my brain thinking "That's it. I'm having a brain aneurysm, I'm going to die." But then decided that sitting down while I was able to was the best idea, I was able to breath better and the feelings of imminent death subsided. It took me about 10 minutes
to get back to normal. But it was actually scary for a moment to two.

Fun times.

- Grover

Speak of the Devil.

He he.

The quote of the day on my desk calendar is:

"Do not speak of a rhinoceros if there is no tree nearby" - African (Zulu) Proverb.

Sound advice...

- Grover.

19 July 2008

More - See!!

Ah tired.

Friday night - well Saturday morning. As you may have noticed that I changed the title of blog as it contains things beyond (and before) my trip to Japan in 2007. Plus the thought of Grover as a ninja is amusing to me.

Must buy a good jacket for NZ. I don't have anything that will keep me warm in sub 10 degree temperatures.

Here is what I was thinking of getting: Link

Looks good, able to pair it up with other clothes for extra warmth, or it will be okay on it's own.

In other news:

AUD$1.00 = NZD$1.27

So it is like everything is on a 30% sale. Woot!

Heh, been reading some Japan blogs of other people. Brings back memories. I would like to go back some time. See more of Hakone and Hokkaido. But there is so much of the world that I want to see, another trip to Japan will have to wait.

Currently Reading: No Humans Involved.

17 July 2008

Sooo, fitness drive?

Yes, yes, get ready for another spate of sporadic posts...

In line with recognition that my weight is creeping up towards 100Kg again. I am having to think about doing something about.

I was a part of the goNT drive program which lasted for 8 weeks (and ended about two weeks ago). Although some of the exercises were hard to get to (start times were at 5pm), as well as some of them being unsuitable for me (one class, called "Body Attack" turned out to be too much for some of my joints to handle). As well as getting really busy working my second job trying to save some money for the New Zealand trip, that the last 3 weeks sort of fell into a big steaming pile of the mush.

But I am eating better, flatmate cooks a mean veggie soup which we use as a simple meal; usually as a small dinner.

Found a exercise program that should enable you to do 100 push ups in 6 weeks. Linky here. It seems rather straight forward, and would tie in rather well as I have 6 WEEKS UNTIL I LEAVE FOR NEW ZEALAND!!

If I tie in some regular long walks, less coke, some crunches, squats and lunges I might be in a better place by the time we are due to go skiing. As well as fitting into all the medium Threadless T's I now own...

And speaking of NZ, we have paid for Airfares, accommodation, car hire and ferry transfer through a travel agent. We will try to get the activites/tours we want to go on squared away by end of July. We'll see how we will go with that...

I am also going to visit Mum and Dad in Queensland before heading back to Darwin. Go out to the Reef, that sort of thing...

Need to buy some good cold weather stuff for NZ as the top average temperature we can expect will be around 11ºC... Brr that's cold for this tropical boy.

More to follow...

- Grover
Currently Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora.

18 March 2008

Storm Pics

It'll make all Mexicans jealous but here are some more storm pics from Darwin

Storm from work balcony a week before last:

More of the same storm front:

This storm continued more to the right across the harbour, but building blocked view...virtually 180 degrees of horizon was filled by this storm.

Currently Reading: Broken
Mood: Normal


Added some shared items from my google reader. Expect a lot of comics (I mainly use it to keep track of all the webcomics I read but other stuff will appear in there as well.

Bought a couple of 360 games recently. Have been playing them on and off.

First one was Eternal Sonata. It's a cute little RPG based on a Dream that Chopin is having. Free roam, turn based battle system. You do different attacks depending on if you are standing in light or shadow. Very cute. Hard core RPG fans would probably hate it, but I'm sorta new to RPG games so I like it.

JV Jones Fortress of Grey Ice. If you like fantasy, you may like this book. Author has also did the Baker's Boy. Excellent read.

Currently Reading: Broken

Mood: Normal

11 March 2008

Storm Pic

Hi All.

Just a quick pic of a that I took while on my way to my sisters and brother-in-law's:

Took the photo about 15mins too late, but I was driving and this was the first chance that I got to stop where the view was still okay.

Currently Reading: Fortress of Grey Ice

Mood: Normal

30 January 2008

I'm not lazy. Honest!

Wow. So much for my declaration to continue blogging.

In case you are all wondering the pillow is doing a great job of supporting my head while I sleep.

The monsoons are a week or two away and we have been getting a lot of rain. We even had our first cyclone for the season. Yay. A category 2 and was a big wind and lots of rain.

I have been reading a great deal lately. A sample:

Moving Pictures
Reaper Man
Witches Abroad
Command Decision
Stormed Fortress
The Coming of Conan

There is talk with the friends that I went to Japan with to go to New Zealand for a skiing holiday. I was looking at fares to NZ. Really cheap. $150 to get from Sydney to Christchurch and back. Cheap.

I have also been attacking the 20GB folder of photos from Japan trip. I'll see about updating some of the Japan posts with some of the pictures of where we went, what we did.

And I must post about the Horror house in Fuji Q land.


Currently Reading: The Charmed Sphere

Mood: Normal