Monday, April 25, 2011

A year in pictures

The Sony (point and shoot) camera memory card just filled up, so it seemed like a good time for an erase. I'm not sure why these did not get deleted sooner, and most of the photos (or at least the good ones) have already been posted here. If you're bored, watch the slideshow.

A couple of highlights from last year:

Nicole after winning a beauty pageant.

A freak of nature at breakfast.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

All the leaves are brown

Alternative title: I'm looking California but feeling Minnesota

Weekend trip up to Gisborne, the first city in the world to see the sun.

The best $56 I've ever spent just may have been here.

Here's a picture from a hill we climbed.

Minnesota, you are so frickin lame.

Interesting thing about Gisborne: You can stand on the spot where Captain (then Lieutenant) James Cook anchored the Endeavor before setting foot on what was to become New Zealand. (He did not run aground here; the land has been "reclaimed".)

Ten years later, he was killed by the Americans.

In other news, autumn is well underway. You wouldn't know it (as native plants are green all year), except a bunch of homesick people brought a whole lot of trees with them. The largest collection of northern hemisphere trees in the southern hemisphere is a short drive from Gisborne.

PS: My new favourite picture of Nicole.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frankly, I don't see the resemblance.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We're near the water
I know a guy, a guy with a boat
It doesn't have any motor
We could just sit, sit and float

Finally got around to sailing our new boat today. It's a Whiting 16. I would have better photos, but we can't seem to find the camera.

In other news, I'm making 48 pints (US) of beer. It should be ready in about 2 weeks, if anyone wants to come over.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Just me and my dad

For my father, who requested a link to his vacation photos (or rather, my photos of his vacation). Please note, they are completely unedited, and some of them are my attempts at using a (new to me) almost completely manual lens (Thank you Uncle Terry!).

21 photos here.
201 photos here.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

To my 10 loyal readers

(Yes, I'm up to 10)

I see that quite a few people have clicked the "Follow" link. I was under the impression that it did something...but if it does do anything, I have yet to figure it out.

Anyway, I've finally gotten around to adding an email subscription service. Just put your email in the box to the left, and hit submit. At absolutely no charge, you will receive an email update whenever a new post appears.
New Zealand's Best One Day Walk

Alternative Title: This railroad apartment was the perfect place

[Note on Title #1: I have not yet decided whether or not the Tongariro Crossing is indeed the best one day walk; one thing for sure, I have not felt more crowded since leaving the US. It was more like a trail run than other walks I have done in NZ...someone is always trying to pass you (or, unless you're Nico, you're always trying to pass someone).]

A 7:30 AM start (on the last day of daylight saving time) gets you on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing before the sun rises. A little while later:

Mt Ngauruhoe was hidden in a cloud when we walked by, so we skipped the extra three or four hundred metres of climbing.

Mt Tongariro was also bathed in cloud, but as this was only a(n additional) one hour commitment, Nico and I split up, and I ran to the top. The fog drifted in and out; here are a few other people who made the climb.

Here are some rocks:

Did I mention there were a lot of people? Coming down Mt Tongariro (where there were only a few other crazy people who thought that a 19.4 km walk was not long enough), the main route looked like some sort of refugee march.

Interestingly, one can shoot this photo with:

Or without people:

I believe this is Lake Te Wai-whakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa (with Lake Taupo right behind it).

We opted for a bus ride from the finish...I guess there are people who walk back to the start. [My totals on the day: 19.4 km + 3 km for the Tongariro Summit=22.4 only 7.5 hours.]

On the way home, we stopped in Ohakune. If we skied, I would totally buy an Ohakune yurt.

Instead, we stayed in the best hotel room ever.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Letter to coworkers:

Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation, effective immediately. I will miss all the strange and wonderful peole I have met in this strange and wonderful land. However, a business opportunity on Kiritimati has presented itself, and I am unable to pass it up. Also, when we moved to Hawke's Bay, I had been expecting an exotic island lifestyle...but New Zealand is just too big; one can only tell he/she is on an island from an aeroplane...and the only exotic thing we have encounered has been beetroot burgers.

Wind in your sails,

Michael B. Lasko