Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A fun coincidence

Today the weather cut work short. Big ole Westerly started blowing hard around noon and shut us down. Well, I've been meaning to figure out some technical stuff about my wii and songs I download for Rock Band on it.

So I start with "More Human than Human" by White Zombie. It's a good rockin song that I wanted to practice anyway. Later on, I'm surfing the news and there's this list of the top 15 dystopian movies. It's a good list and I now have a few more movies to watch ;) Naturally, the #1 movie is Blade Runner. Well, there's a Wikipedia link which leads me to the "Immortal Game" (famous Chess match)... oh, and "More Human than Human". The song's title and some lyrics are from Blade Runner.

I had fun showing my flatmate Hector the chess scene (he's a big chess fan) and just seeing all the stuff Zombie had referenced (More Human than Human is the slogan of the company that makes the androids in the movie).


Thursday, November 05, 2009

You've got great veins!

It's an odd compliment, but I'll take it.

I get that every time I go to get stabbed. This one was for my yearly MRI that I get to keep my Pilot Medical current. I have a "stent" in my neck which is a little piece of tubing that keeps one of my arteries open. They like to keep an eye on it.

To see what they need to see, they inject me with some dye... so they can see the blood flowing (through the stent).

I like that I always get the "you've got great veins" bit cuz I carries the unspoken implication that it's not going to hurt :)

Which it doesn't


Nope, it wasn't the adjustment... the clutch is buggered.

Fortunately there was a mechanic shop on the way to my appointment this morning, so I just stopped in there. He gave it a quick fix adjustment (it's simple to do) but said it would need replacing.

Not to worry as Haagen had told me of a Subaru wrecker in town. For the unfamiliar, think of a wrecker as a dedicated junkyard with a mechanic. I'll try and remember to get pics when I pick the car up.

So when I got there, it was like driving into a Subaru graveyard... loads of every kind of Subaru in every kind of condition (except new!). Perfect. While the cars at the wreckers, I'll be hanging out in Dunedin (it's done on Monday... it's Friday now).

A mild panic

Holy crap do I love the internet.

I drove down to Dunedin today. Just as I got there, my clutch got all funny on me. *OH NOES!*

The way it was before, it would engage about half way through it's travel. This took me a bit to get used to, but I did. I'm used to clutches grabbing very quickly.

Everything was normal till I stopped a few K's out to check my map. After that there was a big change in where the clutch grabbed. Now it was nearly immediate. First gear got pretty hard to get to as well. Oh crap... did the clutch just die?

Off to the internet to see if I could find out some info.
Most of it didn't sound like a burnt clutch, although some stuff did say that having difficulty getting into gear was one sign.

A bit more digging and I found out that clutches have an auto-adjustment if you pull the clutch pedal towards the seat... which I've done. I may have done this as well when I stopped to check the map.

The guy that wrote it said that he didn't like the auto-adjusters cuz they set the clutch annoyingly close to the floor... sound familiar?

There's a way to check for sure (stall it in 2nd like you're learning to drive stick). That'll have to wait for tomorrow.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

It can be a bit of a struggle at times ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new perspective

I'll have to dig out some pics... I shot a few on the way, I'm just feeling lazy at the moment.

So I took a bus down to Dunedin (town, 4 hours away) to visit some friends. The bus was pretty empty, and well, I don't have to drive, so I took a snooze in the back (long seat). I woke up in a town called Roxboro. We were stopping to gas up.

Here's where it gets neat.
Roxboro sounded very familiar, but I was sure I'd never been their before. Then it dawns on me... it was a waypoint on one of my cross country flights for my pilot license. Ok, big woop right? Well yeah, but then I noticed a huge contrast.

See, before, driving down to Dunedin (I've gone a bunch of times) was like heading out into the great unknown. Sorta like driving in the desert in a way, though much more beautiful. You sorta have this detached, out in the middle of nowhere feeling cuz you're in unfamiliar land. You know the road is going to end... eventually... somewhere.

Well that was gone.
In a big way.
I'd flown over where I was and where I was going. I had a really good picture in my head of the whole shooting match. I was no longer adrift on an ocean of strange, I was plodding around in my back yard.

Kinda neat.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back in Black :)

Ah, back in Queenstown :)
I'm going to post up some of the stuff I've been using facebook for lately.
It dawns on me that I can't find it quickly later if it's there and there's just some stuff I want up that doesn't fit in facebook well.

Like my new home :)
Google Street View

Woo Hoo
This year was super easy.
A friend of mine, Jose, contacted me on facebook cuz he heard I'd be looking for a place and he needed flatmates for the summer. He's located in the perfect part of town in a very nice place. Bingo.

So this year, I just landed at the airport... Jose picked me up and we drove into town (how cool is that!... usually, I'm struggling to get to town), I drop my stuff off and catch up with Ian who's heading up the hill for a fly... OK. We have amazing flights, it's an uncommonly good day to fly, and then head over to the climbing wall to drop in on Nial and Shane on our way to the hot tubs at Aqualand.

What a nice way to come home :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh yeah, I have a blog

Oh right, I have a blog.
As you can tell, I don't update it much in the summer. Not much really "newsworthy" happens around here. Life at the airport is pretty mellow. That's one of it's draws.

But now were getting into Fall, which means that it's getting close to time to go. It's odd, I used to hate the Fall. Fall meant Winter. And Winter in Buffalo isn't a happy thing... I'm not a fan of the cold. But now that Fall means Spring... well that's just a whole other ballgame :)

Still, it's that sad happy again.
I'm leaving my friends again... the party of Summer is over.
But I'm also returning to my friends as well.

It's an odd life I lead.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We don't get out much.
We all live at the airport and typically stay here most of the time.
However, every now and then... we go out for sushi.

It's one thing we all like and just can't get here.

Normally we go to Dover. It's 40 minutes away. Zach's been bugging us to go to this new place he found up in Northern Delaware. So we did.

It's just about as far to get to the new place... maybe 10 minutes longer. But the sushi's way better. The old place was good.. but the new place is unreal.

Now the odd thing about the place to the North is how you get there. Mind you, I rarely leave the airport and it's almost unheard of that I go North. This is important in that I used to come down from the North. The road up to sushi is the exact same route I would take every weekend... for three and one half hours... well, the last hour of that trip anyway.

This is the road where I spent a lot of time contemplating a very radical change in my life. It was also the path between the 9-5 "normal" world and the world of hang gliding. Alice's rabbit hole if you will.

People like to listen to the music of their youth because it "takes them back". There's a lot of emotional baggage wrapped up in that. Well I was having a lot of similar flashbacks. You not only get to remember things you've forgotten, you remember how things felt... how the world looked at the time. It's a bit freaky.

So, getting to relive those days in a way, the question naturally surfaces... if I knew then what I know now... would I make the same decision?

You don't often get to answer that one... not really. Maybe intellectually you can make a bit of a guess. Now I had a bit more insight.

As I often phrased the question... "Red pill or Blue?"
Yeah... still most definitely Red.

Driving home felt great... content. The further I got to my life and away from my past, the better I felt. Not that I didn't enjoy the past, but I had this very weird understanding that I'm walking the right path.

I love my life, my friends, the places I've been, the things I've seen.
I am a very happy person.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Hahaha... I think that's my new name for the States!
Part of it I'm sure is flying into Phoenix, but I was thinking that even in LA. After living in proper English-Britto-Land for six months... damn if everyone doesn't sound like they're from Texas! I'm sure it'll wear off after a few days.

And man it's nice returning to a country that ISN'T run by BUSH!!!! I distinctly remember arriving before and getting instantly inundated with big American flags, cops wearing all black and assault rifles (I'm not kidding) and huge portraits of Bush... felt like China. Now, there's modest pics of Obama over in official places. Security still has an air of "What are you doing Mr. Criminal?" to it, but whatever. Far less totalitarian than it's been in years past.

Immigration was as it's always been... nice an pleasant. Hahaha, had a chuckle with some Canadians about that over Summer... seems that the US/Canada border nuts over at Niagara Falls are indeed kinda jerks... it's not just me. Growing up there seems to spoil your view of immigration.

Not sure if traveling's just getting easier or if it's the lack of layovers this time (I think both), but I can't believe how easy it was getting to Phoenix. One little hop to BWI and I'm home. Crazy.

Hahahaha... and yes, already missing New Zealand.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The hard bit

Awe crap. It's leaving time again. :(
I always hate this bit.

I have to say goodbye to so many wonderful people. I'm always torn with thoughts of things I didn't get to. I would have loved so much to teach Julianne hang gliding... to take Royden for a tandem... to finish Zdenick's PG training... to... well, you get the idea. "C'mon MA... just one more D-bag?!"

It's been such a bloody fun Summer. Living in the middle of Queenstown, playing Rock Band with my flatmates... flying with Sean and Nail all the time... working on occasion... practically living at the airport. Life just doesn't get better.

But Winter comes, and thus I go.
I've even been living on borrowed time as well... I delayed my departure and I'm so very happy I did. I needed a little extra time to finish my Private Pilot License (PPL) and it's actually worked out extremely well. Instead of returning with a Restricted PPL, I've got a full PPL, Cessna type rating, Technam type rating, and (my favorite) a Citabria type rating :)

Of course it's always a mixed bag of emotions.
As much as I truly hate leaving, I get to go home now and see all my friends back there.

I'll just miss this place.

Monday, April 20, 2009

One last hura

Well, it looks like the weather's lined up for one last nice stretch (while I'm here anyway). Should be nice and sunny for the next few days... and oh darn, I've nothing to do but fly :)

It'll likely fall to pieces right around the time I'm due to leave, which will help with the leaving bit ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


It's been a long haul... but now it's over.
Did my last cross country flight today (in regular planes). So now I get a full unrestricted Private Pilot License.


No more flying bloody Cessnas!
Well, that's a bit optimistic. I'm sure I'll have to drive one around for a flight test or something sometime.

Now I can get back to flying dragonflys :)

Mellow days

It's nice to be back to semi-mellow days again :)
Almost done with flying regular planes over at the airport... that schedule's toned way down already.

So, went up and D-bagged my glider... then we packed up Naill's speedglider for D-bag as well. We've not d-bagged one of those wee things, and hell, I don't think anyone in New Zealand's done it for that matter. So why not? We figured they'd be well suited to it. And it was. Went off without a hitch. Good fun.

One more cross country flight in regular planes tomorrow. Then that's all done.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ferg at the beach

Life's finally slowed down enough for me to post again.
April's been an other month of cramin-slamin-it with my private pilot license stuff.

I passed my flight test (yeay) and moved onto "Cross Country Flying". Basically, you get a license, but can't go more than 25nm till you finish the cross country stuff... then you can do as you please. Well, that all sounds simple enough (and it is), it just takes a LOT of time. I've been living at the airport for the last week or so. I spend nearly as much time there as the staff.

But, todays a break :)
No instructors are available today, so I can't fly (my next flight is dual). Nice weather today, so I'm going HG/PG.

Last night, I took a stroll down into town, swung by Ferg-Burger, picked up a "CockAdoodleOink" (chicken/bacon/burger) and had a Ferg at the beach :)

Happy Times

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Slow down there sonny

The world's finally slowed down a bit :)
It came in the odd form of my plane breaking. It just blew a "mag"... ignition system stuff of which it has two, so everything kept humming along. It just meant that I couldn't take my flight test this week. I was cramming hard to get it done. This just means that I have an extra week or so to get ready. Less stress.

Oh the pic is from our recent helli-mission up the Remarkable mountains. We (36 of us) flew up one in a helicopter (couple trips) for a flight. The takeoff is over twice as high as the highest "normal" takeoff spot in Queenstown.

Good fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Fly down"

Massive flydown over Queenstown for Gera last evening. I think nearly every pilot in Queenstown (and we've got a LOT of pilots) flew. Hopefully someone will post some pics (there were plenty)... Takeoff was absolutely packed with gliders. And as someone launched, more filled in the gaps.
We even got special permission from the powers that be to fly hang gliders. So we did.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


It's hard, but it comes and it goes. There are loads of good friends here to lean on. I also knew Gera well enough to know that he'd be very upset if we stopped. He didn't sulk and he wouldn't want us to. He'd want us to go fly.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Woo Hoo!
I passed my Navigation test!

Thank god... I absolutely did not want to go through that again!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back at it

Ok, so the tests are done... hrm... what to do with all this newfound free time?
Yeah. Of course.


Monday, February 23, 2009

My head hurts

Took the Navigation test this morning.
Hardest bloody test I've ever taken. I should know pretty soon (paid extra for fast grading) whether I failed it or not. At the end, I honestly wasn't sure if I was going finish.... and it's only 20 questions!

Here's hoping I never have to do that again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Deep in the books

One test left (assuming I haven't failed any of the others) and it's the kicker... Navigation. We don't do any "navigation" in dragonflys, so it's the topic I am least familiar with. I've done some before for my Sport Pilot license, but that's it.

So I'm buried deep under a pile of books at the moment... with my trusty circular slide ruler in hand (not kidding). It's hell, but I'm getting there. As luck would have it, the weather's absolute crap which really helps because it means that I've got NOTHING ELSE TO DO!

A bunch of my friends from the States are visiting, which should be fun since the weather is meant to clear later this week and I'll be done with my tests.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It pays to follow up...

Oh the difference a phone call can make.

For my Pilot License, I have to get a criminal background check. Being in New Zealand, I needed one from both NZ and the FBI. Thanks to Robert's help, the FBI one went super easily.

The New Zealand one for some reason was taking a bit longer. Oh yeah... trying to have it processed on the 26th of December *might* have something to do with it ;)

So after a month (usual waiting period), I gave a call to the Ministry of Justice, and as expected, they were a bit behind due to the holiday (they were closed for a week, tends to back things up)... they were just getting to Dec 24th records. Fair enough.

Well, it being late Feb now... and still no word. I figured it might be a good time to call back. I got a very nice lady on the phone and explained what I was doing and that I'd submitted back during the holiday. Since it'd been a while, instead of getting the "these things take time" speech, she had a dig on the computer and... yup... they'd processed my application on Feb 10th and it was being mailed to my address in the States.... wait... what?!

Hahahaha, so she just posted an other one to me here.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We'll I've been a bit of a slacker lately eh?
Last post was... ages ago.
I've been hip deep in two things... one good excuse, the other not so good. Good excuse: studying for my private pilot license. No so good excuse: Guitar Hero 2.

Well, the studying's hopefully almost over. I have my last test Tuesday... there's six total. Last of course assuming I haven't failed any! They take a week and a half to grade. Failing's easier than you might imagine as there are only 20-30 questions. So every wrong answer hurts a lot.

Aside from that... Guitar Hero 2's here!
Thanks to Zach and Sunny who mailed it out to me!

As expected, it kicks much ass. Me and some of the other flatmates are completely addicted, so much time is lost to it. It's been crap weather lately as well, so that helps.

The weather's turned nice though and looks to be nice for the rest of the week. Should be plenty oh fun. Actually had a busy day at work yesterday! A rarity this year (which is ok cuz I have to study so damn much). I should also get to D-bag my paraglider again now as well. Youtube it if you're curious and have a strong stomach... it's pretty radical stuff. It's hard to describe.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Fabulous

Well, I promised pics of the fabulous accommodations here.
So here ya go :)

Yup, it's always full of dishes.
We do dishes constantly, but there's 13-15 of us. So it's never done.

A surprising lack of beer bottles.

Home sweet closet.

Monday, January 19, 2009


In case you're curious, this is what happiness looks like.
It's my Class 2 medical. Without it, I can't fly.

Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things. -
Dr Randy Pausch
That little card took three years, thousands of dollars, eight months of medical testing and more patience than I dreamed I'd ever have. And it's worth every last bit of it. And no, I'm not crying.

Caught in the act

In our never ending quest for weather information, me and Sean found some ski webcams up on Coronet mountain... and... woops, they're still on :)

Well, hell. Let's throw a windsock in front of it.
So I looked up how to make a simple windsock on the net, made a few and hiked up the ski field. On my way up, Shane (an other PG pilot), gave me some idea of where one of the other cameras would be. As luck would have it... he was right.

Funny thing... when I got home to check if I had gotten the camera right... yup.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weather came right

It's been crap weather for the last week or so... but it came right Saturday. So it's been fun packed days of flying ever since. :)

In the midst of all the fun, I got to solo over at the Wakatipu Aero Club (where I'm working on my Private Pilot License).

Me and the "Technam" (the plane I'm flying)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ya kinda have to...

As if you didn't know... I'm insane.

I'm also terrified of heights. Seriously. I have trouble climbing ladders. So the mere thought of bungi jumping scares the bejeezus out of me. But, I'm in NZ.. and you kinda have to. Well, you don't, but for me... I'd always wanted to be able to, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

BTW, that's not a bungi. That's a canyon swing. See the bungi guys got bored, so they started playing with rope climbing gear. It's the same, except instead of bouncing, you swing at the bottom. It's bungi on steroids.

That's 4 ton rope with an other 4 ton backup rope.
Can't say I'll be doing it again anytime soon... but wow.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wii Sports!

On my way over here, I lost my Wii Sports game.
This was a very sad thing indeed.
Wii Sports is one of the most fun games for the Wii.

Since everything's PAL over here, not NTSC, I can't buy games over here. So, I ordered one from the US and had it mailed here. It came today :)

So today is Wii Sports Day!
It helps that we've got tons of wind, so we can't fly.
Game on!


As many of you have already heard... I got my Flight Medical approved today :)
To fly as a Private Pilot, you have to have a Flight Medical... so this now means I'll be able to fly without my instructor as I practice for my Private License test.

Happy Times :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009


The Fabulous.
It's the white one on the left. The tin roof one below is also part of the Favella. I'm upstairs in the white house though.

I'll get some interior shots later so you can see what a dump it is ;)

New Years Sushi!

For new years, my flatmate Yushimi made Sushi!!!

MMMMMMMMMM DAMN it was good!

Down at the rugby field, there were a bunch of people camping.
Every year, there's free camping in the rugby. Helps cut down on drink driving.


I nearly booked a ticket to Fiji!
It was sometime around Christmas. Not on, but close.


Looks nice from the valley though.