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Friday, 23 December 2005

Santa Claus is coming..

The silly season is well upon us now! Been in Wellington for the last week now, and although I was supposed to have been on leave since Thursday - I ended up having to work today (the only advantage of always holidaying in the same city as HQ). Either way I made some more money for LNNZ and undoubtedly the "European Union" running the show will ensure that no credit is awarded for the effort.

ANYWAY, I digress. We are down to the last few presents and there is a mild form of panic taking place but considering I didn't know what to get them a month ago, the last minute thing really is to be expected in the circumstances!! Xmas Day is shaping up to be another marathon between families and involving more food than we would know what to do with! We're heading back to Auckland to go on a diet! I swore off drinking after efforts on Wednesday but feeling remarkably better 48 hours later - sadly lost a full 24 hours as a result but that is my fault for congregating with younger stupider people - ever learning the lesson of not mixing business with pleasure (which can be a fine line from some insurmountable pain!).

Caught up with Pete which was great - the trips down are always so busy and occupied that time to just sit and chat seems to pass us by. The silly season seems to be also the time that I get to hear from people after great absences and none was more delightful for me than hearing from Michael from New Jersey. After nearly 8 (or is it 10 now??? I know I met him before I started law school??) of communicating care of an introduction through one of those dodgy places called chatrooms (which I haven't done in more years than I can remember) we finally reestablished contact after nearly a four year gap. I still haven't made it to New Jersey but hey one day I will! And his daughter Taylor is nearly at school.

The smell of the UK is now around the corner and the next couple of weeks are now going to be all about planning. Thinking of spending some time before I leave simply contracting and get some head space around me while we try and work out how Ron will get over there to work. Bye bye house deposit - hello pints and fish n' chips!

Right back to wrapping the presents and writing the last of the Christmas cards! Won't be contributing any more until after the big day so to anyone that bothers reading my crap (that would be me and perhaps one other!) - Meri Kirihimete! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Natale Allegro! Manuia le Kerisimasi and Happy Hannukah etc etc

Monday, 12 December 2005

Weekend in Wellington

Well the annual LexisNexis Xmas soiree was on again this last weekend so Ron and I tottled down to Wellington on Thursday night. I suffered through the 'company workshop' which as usual turned out to be the "look at me" marathon it always is. So by the evening we were well ready to be decked out in our finest to the Icon Restaurant at the Te Papa Museum. The weather had turned to custard so with the humid conditions and wind whipping up a storm I suffered a hair crises and was rescued by Davina and her fine other half Renee who are the proud owners of the ol' ghd tongs. So we arrived at Te Papa and jumped out of the cab only to be swept away - hair and dress and all! So with hand carefully on head and clutching skirt in other hand we attempted to enter the red carpet gracefully. This year's theme was the Oscars and everyone went to such great effort to look fabulous. Ron had his hair done as well (he is growing increasingly enamoured at the thought of being a house husband and having hair appointments!) and so he was the star (will download photos later so you can see for yourself). Hands down tho' John Lulich starring as Priscilla Queen of the Desert stole the show. Got photos of that too! The food was good and the bubbles flowed (thankfully) - nearly missed dinner myself while I played counseller in the ladies for over half an hour and kept wondering how I get myself into these situations! But after more hilarity at dessert - which I really did miss out on thanks to a very entertaining and inebriated company accountant (recently made redundant) who inhaled my dessert while I chatted to Kirsteen's Ed. I dared him to try the same again with the MD's dessert and low and behold - he DID! I had a new found respect for him then which dissipated once we hit the dancefloor and we argued over who was going to lead! Do I look like the kind of person that is 'led'??? We finally hit town, and I limped to Maya (after all we were the last ones to leave the dancefloor of course!). Stuck it out for a while but had to call it quits when Corinne could barely stand, Ellie wanted Mackers, and witnessing Tiny Tim crack on to some not so nice birds became all too much really (and my feet were no longer in the forgiving mood). By that stage the devilishly handsome duo Kirsteen and Ed had gone and we were no longer entertaining us with their dance moves (I swear that boy has to be brown!).

Saturday was recovery and it really was - my desire to shop was non-existant and we only made it as far as Lambton Quay before we decided that sleep was a better idea. Mum came and collected us and then we checked out the new and improved Karori Library (a place that I spent much of my youth!). It was looking pretty fabulous so we decided to also trial the the Arobake cafe that has set up shop there. As always their delectable baked goods lived up to its reputation however their service seriously let them down. It took them 10-12mins to serve up two iced coffees and a pot of tea and the over tired waiting staff were less than amenable. If this keeps up I don't know why anyone would bother going back there. Especially as Karori has never been a location to offer much in the way of casual dining (excluding Cafe 162 which continues to serve a great selection in a relaxed and friendly environment and is where we ended up having dinner that night). We then dropped in and saw Nani at her new apartment which was very cute for a shoe box then headed to Kamil's to endure a night of pure entertainment with Siddhant (who MCed all night) and Prashant. The mini one's sugar intake earlier in the day ensured that he was fully wired till near on midnight when the tired travellers had to get home and crash in order to make our 8.30am flight (what was I thinking??!).

The weather was fantastically hot and we're looking forward to heading back on Friday in time to make Johanna's wedding and then meet up with Nita when she arrives from Melbourne on Tuesday.

Monday, 10 October 2005

Let's get retarded...

Let's get retarded!! The weather turned to custard on 8 October and the Supertop just about blew away (well according to Will.i.am it did!) but BEP being the consummate professionals changed venue at the last minute to the St James which was much better - more intimate and fantastic opportunity to see the whole show (not just their heads!). The show was incredible and even though they had to do a second performance at 11pm they gave it their all and there has to be something said for not pissing about too much in between tracks. It was tight and pumping the whole show.

BEP know how much kiwis love them and they grooved to some fine remixes in dub/reggae style - they must well know that if you want to keep kiwis movin' try anything with a Marley-feel!!

But a really big highlight for me and the icing on the cake was having the show opened by John Legend and "wow wow wow"! I was a dribbling mess. This is one gorgeous man with a voice that sounded like hot molasses. He is so beautiful and another hour of listening to him would have been very nice thank you. Can't wait till he comes back with his own show because this is one awesomely talented individual.

AAAAhhhh sigh!!!

Monday, 8 August 2005

Auckland City Council - Incompetence personified

Wonders will never cease. Early in April our registration plates were stolen so we got them promptly replaced, and reported the incident to the police. We even got the certificate of registration in the mail so we thought everything had been sorted out.

It was inevitable that the pricks that had our stolen plates would eventually be picked up for having no warrant or rego - nearly 10 days after they had been reported stolen. So along comes the reminder in the mail that thankfully included the original tickets. Yes yes of course they were issued to a car bearing the stolen plates, but no no no the City Council in its infinite wisdom decided to change the reminder notice to our new plates!!!!!! What what what? Sorry?!!! Since when were people registered not cars???

So a very detailed letter was sent outlining the stolen plate situation, a fully registered, warranted and legitimate vehicle etc etc and well of course the fact that the Council had provided falsified evidence by using another number plate when it was not the car that committed the offence. We get a reply from the Council assuring the notices were cancelled but of course no apologies for the inconvenience or their sheer stupidity.

Two months later we get two Court Fines!!!!! Ron contacted the Courts to find out what to do and they tell him that we need to contact the Council to get them to withdraw the fines. We didn't check the offence numbers thinking they were the very same two we got earlier. I called Gordon Belcher of the Council and a more disagreeable person could not be found. The fines were in fact different ones than the earlier two and because we don't have the original tickets Belcher had the audacity to claim their parking warden was indeed correct and it was our car that had committed the offence because that is what written on the ticket!! When I pointed it was physically impossible for the car to have been there (in my car park in Takapuna!!) and impossible for it to have incurred those fines (a warranted and registered car). According to Belcher, it was our fault that we hadn't contacted them earlier (even when I pointed out that we had received no reminder notices). He then tried to implicate that the LTSA was at fault and had we called them? When I asked him what for - he said because they are giving out the wrong details??!!!

I do not know what planet this ignoramous comes from but the only entity responsible for falsifying details and then trying to use that in Court (!!?? what??!! is there not a responsibility for the plaintiff to identify the offender here??) is the Auckland City Council.

We have dutifully submitted yet another statement to the Council and have to wait until they withdraw the notice - is there not an apology in order here? Does Dick Hubbard have any idea how incompetent the Council he heads is???

We have been the victim of a crime and now bear responsibility for any offences the perpetrators commit?? I don't think so - the moment it was reported stolen and was replaced with legitimate plates, we absolved all association with those plates. Its about time the NZ justice system caught up - its not different to identity theft and we know what havoc this has called in so many innocent peoples lives in NZ recently.

Keep you posted on the bureaucracy that has gone mad...

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Mum and Siddhant - trouble with cherries on top (both of them!) Posted by Picasa

What have you done today to make yourself proud?

Aah the inimitable lyrics of M-People. How did this pearler of positive thinking end up back in my consciousness post-chart topping days? Well it was the theme song for the CLANZ conference in Napier (Corporate lawyers - yawn - I lie their programme was amazing!) at the end of May and it hasn't left me since.

So I examined this with all the foresight and hindsight I could muster and have decided that it really best encapsulated how I feel about my achievements and contributions. So if you will now even find that statement emblazoned on my whiteboard in my bathroom!! (yeah in case that escaped you, there is indeed a whiteboard in the bathroom - we can save that story for another time!).

And it would appear that my way of thinking is not quite as hairbrained or kaftan-inspired as it may first appear! I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed recently by a company that really lived out a business culture based on the Fish! philosophy. One which I was not acquainted with. These guys impressed me. My "interview" consisted of their Sales Manager bubbling with enthusiasm about the company, it's growth, potential and the real emphasis on their values. They believed it and lived it. Eat your heart out Reed Elsevier - LexisNexis nonsense! Fish! meant to these people that they were more than the roles that they filled and their "work hard - play hard" ideal was actually working. None of this work hard till you drop, decide to leave and then we will make the entire experience as undignified as possible routine, or you're either with us or against us mentality that has prevailed in some organisations close to home.

If we all adopted at least one element of this philosophy in our daily lives, at home or at work - imagine the chain reaction. Pass it forward.

Create change.

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Funniest thing I have read in ages...

The contributors to the Herald need a platform of their own:

Doug Harris of Howick writes: "Could someone please advise 'Bishop' Tamaki that a Queen can take a Bishop from any position?"

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Rugby was the winner on the day!

What a weekend for rugby - apart from the tragic performance of the Kaviti on Friday (and full admission to being torn a little - I mean at least one moment of magic please). No matter the Cavalier on College Hill provided a great venue for the rugby - playing "retro" tunes (lucky for Ellie, Emma and Kirsteen the babies made in the 80s!!) and meeting strange chicks that have broken up from their fiances. We moved on post-rugby (and attempts at karoake where there was no machine!). The rugby became a distant reminder and much dancing and entertainment provided by those St Mary's girls was had. We eventually moved into Saturday when we had to get organised to head to Hamilton!

Well that was a game worth watching - the Maori did not disappoint. There was a sea of red in Hamilton that was impressive but thankfully the "pussycats" were going to be sent to Wellington disappointed. We were still elated as we walked back to the hotel (at the opposite end of the city!) filled with pizza and beer.

So that was enough rugby I think for one weekend!! Eeeuch back to reality and start the new working - think another holiday back to Sydney might be needed.

Sunday, 5 June 2005

Welcome to the first instalment

After truly giving up on the idea of getting a blog off the ground (thanks to the archaic restrictions imposed on cgi scripting and php by the useless folks at Paradise - anyone use these guys notice that they have one of the worst web mail interfaces which hasn't been modified since 2000!). I digress.. I have finally decided upon a 3rd party host that as my friend Jo has shown is really not a bad way to go at all!

I gotta say using this site has been made so easy - these guys really know what they are doing!

Anyway its an awful rainy Queen's Birthday weekend (I am sure the Queens' are having way more fun than I am at any rate). Auckland is finally feeling the bitter cold that is winter (we can't have temperatures in the late teens for too much longer I guess). Ron had his birthday yesterday and we celebrated with pizza (this is really a treat for dieters!) and a great Brazilian movie - seriously good and thoroughly recommended 'Carandiru'.