Bush bashing 

Before humans arrived in New Zealand, there were no land mammals here. Now, we have rats and rabbits and possums and stoats and so on, all introduced by mistake. It’s probably impossible to put the toothpaste completely back into the tube, but there is an ongoing effort to keep the population of pests in check. 

My colleague Brendan, above, volunteers with the park service to periodically run a trap line out in the Waitakere range, mostly catching rats, and the occasional weasel or possum. He sent an invite around for people to join him this weekend and two of us did. 

Here’s Joni from Jakarta, a seemingly mild-mannered software developer, who turned out to be quite the woodsman…
Joni is looking at a fern known locally as hen and chicks, which makes fiddleheads that are apparently good to eat and definitely pretty…

We wandered around on a tiny little trail, through the forest for about 3 hours, with Brendan sharing lots of info about plants and trees and stuff. It was quite weird to not think about ticks or poison ivy or anything… there isn’t any poisonous or venomous stuff here at all.  At least not yet. 

We followed a beautiful little stream for a while…

Those stream pics look amazing with the new iPhone loop effect… it’s like living in Harry Potter land. 

This fern is growing out of a fallen tree trunk right in the stream. For reference it’s about 6 or 7 feet across. 

Although we didn’t cover all that much distance, about 5 miles, I’m happily exhausted from all the  bending under supplejack vines and dodging around tree ferns and slipping in the mud and stuff. 

You may remember me from shows such as…

We’ve been streaming a lot of Kiwi TV since getting here, and it’s been fun and educational both. This guy played played a charming but devious criminal in Outrageous Fortune, and a genuinely nice guy in Nothing Trivial. We liked him in both roles. Those shows are both done, and apparently he’s been working overseas since then. But he has young kids, and wanted to be home more. 

According to a magazine ad we saw this week, he’s given up life on camera and taken a job as a celebrity real estate agent. I dare say the new job pays at least as well as any but the very most lucrative acting gig, given that there are plenty of neighborhoods here with multimillion dollar median prices. Gud on ya, mate. 

If I were selling a fancy house, having a famous and good-looking guy representing me seems like it would be a great thing. But as a buyer, would I really trust a guy who I absolutely know can create a completely false reality and make me totally believe it?

Mt. Wellington 

My first ride today on my new bike, wonderful, if windy. 

I started out riding along the coast, passing the old VW meetup, opening day at the sailing club, junior rugby, and lots of people enjoying the day. I made it all the way to Mt. Wellington, one of Auckland’s many volcanoes.