Friday, December 2, 2011

Where Did November Go?

So it is now the first weekend of December! ONLY 20 shopping days left til Xmas.
Where did November go?

It was a whirlwind of a month. And packed with fun and adventure indeed.
We got to see a special Weta screening of the movie Tin Tin which we thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. Guy Fawkes Day came and went but with nice weather and fun fireworks.

Then things got interesting. The company I came here to work for has had to "restructure" and I have been told that I am likely to be made redundant (laid off). -What?!!! And as I am trying to wrap my head around this AnimFX was looming. This is the conference that I attended and spoke at last November and was attending again this year. An industry conference bringing together a lot of local and overseas talent for 3 days of presentations and networking. Needless to say I now had a lot of "networking" to do.

The conference was a lot of fun, met a lot of great people and caught up with some existing friends from last year. I came away tired, but feeling good and optimistic that I would be able to find another job so I could continue to stay here in New Zealand.

The conference finished on a Thursday night and Saturday morning we left for Rotorua to meet up with some good friends that had flown in from Seattle to visit for a few weeks. - no rest for me.... Eric and I spent Saturday exploring the Thermal "wonderland" taking some great photos and enjoying the sunny weather. (and enduring the lovely aroma - it bothered me much more than Eric). On Sunday we all went Zorbing! well not all, 3 of the 5 of us, Eric's back was bothering him and Nyssa thought she'd get motion sick from it. It is an absolutely silly activity that I absolutely LOVE! Rolling down a hill in a giant rubber beach ball with water in it. The ultimate in water sliding/tumbling.

I then found a nice internet store where I was able to watch my niece Casey's Bat Mitzpha. I felt horrible for not being there in person, but was glad I could watch and hear the whole thing. What a beautiful ceremony it was and she did amazing. I even got to read a poem via cell phone connection that my mother wrote, so everyone knew I was there in spirit.

We then drove back to Wellington and had a mixture of work days and days off to spend with our friends before they moved on to the South island. And I continued to follow up with the job leads I had gotten from AnimFX.

So that where November went....
Now it's early December and I am looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit and enjoying some down time and trying not to worry too much about the job front until January.
Eric is still working at Weta and that is showing no signs of ending anytime soon so we are thankful for that. We are trying to figure out our holiday card for the year and hope to be sending those out in another few weeks. And if we feel really brave we may even take a few days over the break to travel up north and explore some more of this country we still have yet to see. I suspect December too will fly by and 2012 will be here before we blink!

Cheers for now,
Stacy & Eric

Halloween Party Fun

Yeah I know this is late in posting, but better late than never.

For halloween Eric and I dressed up as alien, vampire, space pirates.
It was for a party thrown by some of the guys at Weta Digital themed "Out of This World".
They rented out the San Francisco Bath House on Cuba Street here in Wellington.

And if you are wondering......yes, Eric bleached his hair white for the occasion.
We had a fun time!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Blacks Parade in Wellington

It was a rainy Wednesday (Oct 26th, 2011), but that didn't stop close to 100,000 people from gathering to cheer on and thank the All Blacks for a great Rugby World Cup Victory.

The parade went right past the office building I work in so I was able to take my lunch hour to join the crowd, cheer, (get wet) and grab a few photos.

Halloween Decor at Casa Heath

Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween!!!!!
A special thank you to everyone who sent things to help decorate our place.

It has been a very festive October.

Love to all,
Eric & Stacy

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ALL BLACKS World Rugby Champions 2011

Wow! What a great way to be introduced to a new sport.

I was not sure about the sport of rugby when we moved here. (still not sure about Cricket)
What I knew of the sport was that it was supposedly rougher than NFL football and played without all the protective gear. When I had the opportunity to watch the NFL Superbowl here with some co-workers, I was amazed to hear that they found it slow and boring. and of course they did not understand all the rules.

Eric and I are still learning the rules to Rugby -even after watching many of the World Cup matches. In some ways it is a very simple sport yet it has a very complex set of rules. And I now have an understanding as to why the NFL games might seem slower and boring by comparison. I am happy to say I still enjoy both sports.

Even before we began to try and learn about rugby, the tickets for the Rugby World Cup had gone on sale and we thought - "hey, it's here in our own backyard and who knows when we might ever get another chance to see something like this" - so we decided to buy tickets to a game. We would have liked to have seen the All Blacks play, but the tickets were quite pricey starting at about $300.00 each. At the time we thought that was a lot of money to watch a sport we had no clue about. In hindsight we probably should have splurged. Anyway, we decided to see the USA team play against Australia. (Didn't even know the US had a team) Not being a match with the All Blacks, the tickets were much more reasonable and we figured the crowd would be fun because they too would be routing for whoever played against the Aussies.

It turned out to be quite the slaughter. The US team while we are told they played quite well, were no match for the caliber of the "true" Rugby teams. But we had a fabulous time and there was great US support throughout the stadium. Much the way the kids in the US grow up throwing a baseball or football around from the wee ages of 3 and 4, here and where Rugby is king, the kids are playing Rugby very early and I believe that is what makes them so much better.

We also watched many of the other matches on television and saw some remarkable rugby played. When played well there is a speed and fluidity to the game as well as some amazing passing and maneuvering. It can be quite beautiful to watch. The All Blacks reminded me of the Harlem Globetrotters on several occasions. I was also amazed - being the American that I am, that there was not an ambulance parked on the field and that when there were injuries, and THERE WERE injuries, the "medics" would run out on the field to tend to a player while the game continued on around them. There are no time outs for injuries. I was also told by one fan that there is no "Mercy" in Rugby either.

The victory is made even sweeter by the fact that in working on the Rugby Challenge video game over the last year I was able to meet and work with several of the All Black Players, including Aaron Cruden. Eric even photographed Andrew Hore.

Eric and I also found it surprising that after the big win last night there were no baseball style hats brought out or champion t-shirts handed to the players. Even now, the day after, the websites which "will" have some championship apparel have still not posted images. Another reminder that we are in a country that is not focused on consumerism.

By the way, one of our earlier blog entires talked about the controversial "Wellywood" sign that was being proposed. I am not sure it will get stopped at this point even though most are opposed to it. For the Rugby World Cup the space was utilized to say "All Blacks" and while I still do not support any signage on the hillside, I think that it is better used to support the All Blacks then Wellywood.

It is truly a great time to be here in New Zealand!
If you get the opportunity to watch the All Blacks play, we highly recommend it.

Stacy & Eric

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good things come to those who wait

...and patience is a virtue. Some of us are better with it than others (I suck).

But the good news is that Eric is now working at and enjoying himself at Weta Workshop.
And I am excited for him.

My work also continues to go well. We have a new tenant in our house in Seattle, and spring is beginning to show hints of arriving here in Wellington.

The Rugby World Cup will be starting in another week and I suspect it will be an interesting time in the city with a bunch of sports fans gathering for the fun. We have tickets to one match at the end of the month. We will be cheering on the US team as they take on the Aussies. We are looking forward to it. Even if we are still trying to learn the rules of the game.

My Company's Rugby game was just released and is doing well. If you are interested, check out:

That's the latest update from here.
Hugs to all,
Stacy & Eric

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Snow in Wellington?

We were told that it does not snow in Wellington. - oh well.

Apparently this is being called a "50 year" storm -as in once every...

It's actually very cool (and very COLD)
While we can bundle up and enjoy the snow outside, once again the issue is staying warm inside. I think I have mentioned before houses here are not built to modern day codes and things like insulation, double paned windows, and central heating do not exist.

Those of you back in the States enjoying a warm-hot summer.
Think of us and send warm wishes!

Stacy & Eric

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What a Great Time

Our first trip back to the States after our first year in New Zealand was terrific.

Where to start....

I flew into LAX on July 1st (July 4th weekend). Getting thru Customs took almost 2 hours. But I had all the patience in the world at this point so it was fine. I could not get over how cranky most everyone else was. Eric was to to follow on the 7th.(using frequent flyer miles what a pain) Ok not a pain for him, he got to go Business Class!

I picked up our rental car. Yes, I needed to remember to drive on the “other” side of the roads once again. It was not that difficult actually, but I did keep hitting the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal when I was trying to indicate a turn. And I was happy to learn that Eric did the same when he got here.

I drove straight to see my brother and my niece and nephew -Casey and Tanner. They were certainly a sight for sore eyes. I miss them very much and it was great spending some time together. First In N Out burger-check and Pinkberry Yogurt double score!!

After that I drove to Pasadena where I was staying with Rich, my Uncle-in law. Great new Condo, it was like staying at a 5-star hotel.

I spent the next 12 days running around seeing as many friends and family as I could. It felt great seeing everyone and being able to share stories of our adventures in NZ. I drove more in those 12 days than I have driven in the entire year I have been in NZ. It was “hot” (90-100 F) and sunny and I loved it. I did not wear shoes the whole time. My feet were in complete shock. (yay flip flops)

I celebrated my Birthday with friends. It was the first time Eric and I have not been together – odd. We got to celebrated a few days later with him his Mom, Uncle and sister Sheila at a great steak place. Alas for those who know... I did not get to Benihana this year ;O(

I also got to see the Tim Burton Exhibit at LACMA which was really cool. -I was sorry I did not buy the Collectible Book but it was soooo big and I did not have the space or weight allowance to drag it back to NZ.

After LA, Eric and I flew up to Seattle.

It was great to see my parents and more family. Dad made his famous French Toast (heart attack on a plate) MMmmmmm it was sooo good. And more friends! And more good food.

We checked in on our house which was looking great. I was not sure what to expect after a year of someone else (a whole family with 3 kids) living in it. I spent a wee bit of time just staring at my shower – my extremely large, recently re-modeled, glass enclosed with dual showerheads shower... and I was crying on the inside. Ooohhhh I miss that shower. My shower in NZ – Is so small I can’t even bend over without touching the sides.

We discovered the AFK Tavern, a great bar/hangout for gamers and geeks! If you are in the Seattle area I highly recommend supporting this place. There should be more of them. I'd love to see the game community help promote and support it.

We also got to see the Avatar and Battlestar Galactica exhibits at the EMP -AND THEY HAD THE Daggit!!!! That made my day.

I then spent two days attending the IGDA Summit and Casual Connect for work, while Eric continued visiting with friends.

From Seattle we flew down to San Diego for Comic Con.

I really love this convention. Although I have to be honest and say that over the last 5 plus years, I have been very disappointed that I can no longer attend the panels that I want to. The situation with the lines is so out of control and I refuse to waste my time standing in lines for 2-6+ hours. So I spend my time mostly in the smaller panels and on the exhibit floor drooling over the amazingly cool stuff, buying some, discovering and meeting new artists and catching up with artists I have worked with, and old friends. I also had a few work related meetings.

I flew home on the Monday after Comic Con and Eric stayed another 5 days, visiting with family and friends in San Diego.

The time really flew by. But it was a good amount of time.

We are sorry that we did not get to see “everyone”, but summer can be a busy time for all. And some shopping did occur along the way as well. We arrived in LAX with 2 suitcases, Eric and I, and we came back with 4.

Take Aways:
We were pleasantly surprised that we were not as repulsed by the States as we feared

we might be. (Okay maybe still by the politics, medical and economic situations)

Seattle is still a beautiful city and we loved being back there with the crisp clean air and fresh smell of the evergreens.

And San Diego is still a great beach town with perfect weather.

Yes, you can live mostly on Mexican food, hamburgers and frozen yogurt for 3 weeks.

I hope I can do this all again next year!

Hugs to all,

Stacy & Eric

Sunday, June 26, 2011

At least no one was hurt!

Thank goodness there were no injuries.

And I was certain that our first accident would have been our fault, being new drivers on the wrong side of the street and all.
BUT NOoooooo!

We were just going straight though an intersection and someone made a right turn (same as a left to those in the states) - did not yield - and hit us.
It was dark and pouring rain.

The good news again was that no one was hurt and insurance here has been easy and great. All repairs are being paid for, no out of pocket expense. The car is still drivable so we are going to take it to the dealer and they will repair it while we are away on our trip. It will be all fixed by the time we get back.


Speaking of our trip, we are looking forward to seeing friends and family. This will be our first trip back, having been away now for almost an entire year. It is interesting finding out what things we still miss, and what things we don't. There are definitely some restaurants and food we are looking forward to as well as some "shopping". We will be bringing an extra suitcase back with us for sure. It is currently winter here. It is all of 3 degrees C at the moment that's 37 for those still using F. We are also definitely looking forward to some sunshine and warmth.

Hope to see as many of you as we can fit in.
Stacy & Eric

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It is a sad day

Our hearts are broken today.
He was a love and he will be greatly missed.

Where ever it is our pets go when they leave this world, I hope for him that there is chicken.


Friday, May 27, 2011

And life goes on...

So what's new here? Not much.
Eric is working part time for an electronics store and still looking for other opportunities.
He has also spent a week with the Flu - yes our first New Zealand illness. He was not happy. I think I may have been lucky. I did not get it even though it did go through our office too. I did opt for the free flu shot offered only a few weeks before Eric caught it. FYI Flu in New Zealand is the same as the Flu in the States.

Winter is coming and we have already had some fun little storms blow through. The photo above is from from the local paper and was taken here in Miramar. Pretty wild huh? We had one evening where the wind was so strong that the rain was literally hitting our windows horizontally and making sooo much noise we could not sleep. Gotta love single pane windows.

We will be looking forward to some sunshine next month. We are heading back to the States in July for our first visit since we left almost a year ago now. We can't believe how fast the year has gone by. It will be a whirlwind trip with lots to do (i.e shopping and In N Out burger and Mexican food feast, Seattle Casual Connect, and San Diego Comic Con) and people to see. We will be in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego -all in only 3 weeks. We will do our best to see as many of our dear friends and family as we can and apologize to those we miss this trip. We are still figuring out our plans, but hope to have a "open" meal or two where anyone who is around can come see us.

As for other fun and interesting news, the city of Wellington wants to promote itself and one of the various ideas was the "Wellywood" sign. No I am not kidding although I wish I were. The image above is only a photoshopped image there is currently nothing on that hillside. As of this posting, it looks like the majority has spoken out against it and it will not be happening. But it has been an entertaining controversy.

Check out these links for all the fun details.

Warm Regards to all,
Stacy & Eric

Friday, April 8, 2011

Parents and family close your eyes.

For those who like heights and a fun challenge...
Last weekend a group of us went to Adrenaline Forest
It was a blast. I navigated courses #3 and #4. I really wanted to do #5 too, but I was exhausted and my muscles told me to take a break. It starts at about 13 meters above the ground and goes to 21 meters above. Course #5 is 25 meters high and they are currently building course #6. I do not know how high or difficult it will be yet. Next time I will do #4 and #5. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I have a few trophies (bruises) as well as some sore muscles but it was all worth it. Next time I will also be bringing my own pair of gloves - leather. It will make it easier I think. They only provided very worn, flimsy, cotton gloves.

Eric spent the day working so he missed out. But we will definitely be going back.

Adventurous in NZ,