Portal to another dimension

Most days, this door will transport you to another dimension where you can experience something that feels like you’ve traveled through time… it’s amazing and everyone should try it.

But on this day, the door isn’t temporally working so it just takes you into an office building.

A one hour tour

Although we have had a cyclone bearing down on us and a tsunami warning from the volcano in Tonga, on Saturday morning the seas were clear so Lee and Emily could go for the one hour harbour cruise from the Maritime Museum.

They did put the sails up, but actually didn’t turn the engine off much if at all.

Light up the night

For whatever set of COVID-related reasons, Auckland canceled its fireworks display this year. But the Harbour Bridge was all lit up with laser lights, which was pretty cool. We had to go a tithe street to get this view, but still pretty cool!

That’s the full picture. It’s amazing to me how smart the camera is… in point of fact it was dark when I took this and no flash was used, but the camera amplified the light from a streetlight to come up with this shot.

Nominative Determinism

Lately there’s been a scourge of shopping carts left around town. After more than half a century as a Carter, I finally got be a carter for a few minutes as we rounded up and returned half a dozen or so.

Poor Knights Take 2

When I first dived at the Poor Knights Islands about four years ago, I frankly had a miserable time. It was cold, drizzly, and choppy. I was not at all used to the cold water, or the big thick wetsuit, and I really just wanted it to be over. I didn’t see a lot, either… big schools of fish, but not a lot of color or any of the marquee attractions.

But on Monday the site more than redeemed itself. I am used to the cold water now, the boat ride was much less bumpy, and my fellow divers were all nice.

Although I had packed the GoPro as part of the original baggage allotment, I didn’t pack all the scuba accessories: the red filter and macro lens, the selfie stick, etc. That all arrived with our stuff a few months back, and so I was able to get some nice pics. And video too, but I’ll spare you that: imagine these pictures, only moving, accompanied by Darth Vader breathing noises and the occasional dizzying swoop as I panned around haphazardly.

Here’s a bunch of them, starting with the green moray above.

New Zealand Leatherjacket
Colorful reef with demoiselle fishes.
Trevally
A big sea star
Sandager’s wrasse
Another moray (when an eel opens wide and takes a bite of your hide, that’s a moray…)
A bunch of demoiselles
Sponges
Scorpionfish
Nudibranch
Heading home

Little Miss Sunshine

Our driveway is shared among seven houses, and that creates a surprisingly warm sense of community. You see each other come and go, you know who’s undertaking a home improvement project, etc.

When our immediate uphill neighbors redid their front retaining wall they were able to carve out another parking spot. But they had to leave that gray plastic telephone thingy because for some reason the furthest uphill house doesn’t have fibre yet. So the whiskey barrel planter was donated by Gordon across the way to help make sure nobody bumps into it.

And while good intentions abounded, the planter never really got planted. So yet another neighbor reached deep into her storage area and produced a mannequin. An orange and yellow mannequin. With a fine perky figure.

And said neighbor issued a December dress-up challenge. We had fun with all of it, and at least one thrift store got a little extra business.

Pétanque Christmas

A grand time was had by all at the pétanque club Christmas party. We may be among the younger members, but any of those ladies can wipe the floor with either of us on the boules court.

More shots from the neighborhood

I do recognize that my current world is much geographically smaller than it used to be. I don’t much travel for work at the moment. Living in New Zealand means every vacation destination is Really Far Away, and living in NZ during this pandemic means those destinations are Off Limits anyhow. And from August to last week, it was illegal to even leave town.

But just as Monet happily painted the cathedral a zillion times, and later in life the same lily pond even more, I find myself quite happy walking around the neighborhood — almost as if I were a visitor. There are still new things to see, and changes to things I’ve seen before.

We’re starting to imagine a big European trip in 2023… let’s see if that turns out to be possible. In the meantime, there’s plenty to enjoy right here.

O caption my caption

The NYT today briefly showed us a headline about the Texas abortion law battle under a picture of tornado destruction in Kentucky.

But wait, that must be a glitch. I figure this page was composed by a junior layout editor, no doubt someone with an Ivy League education and parents who routinely donate to NPR. There’s no way such a person could be so snarky and bitter as to equate the freakishly destructive December tornadoes with the politico-legal maelstrom that gives us this law and this Supreme Court at the same time.

Is there?

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