Friday, November 26, 2010

U2 - The Recap

U2 at Mt Smart Stadium
OK, I'm going to give you a little more detail on the U2 concert last night than Anne did - whether you want it or not!

It was the first U2 concert for both of us and we were blown away.  Absolutely blown away.  It was an amazing show!  It's awesomeness still lingers.

More pictures are posted at wogenwatching.com - click the link to the right to get there.

The venue was Mt. Smart Stadium, a huge open-air rugby stadium which added a new dynamic to the show - I've only seen concerts indoors.  So that was pretty cool.

We conveniently missed the opening act Jay-Z because why would a U2 fan like rap for crap sake??  U2 played for over two hours with no intermission so it was nonstop music.  They really know how to put on a show.  Although our seats weren't super close they were close enough and with the 360 degree stage concept it was an excellent perspective - and of course the giant 360 video screen helped see them really up close.

At the start of the show the band strode out on stage to David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and then launched into Beautiful Day which was so perfect for us.  The very first video we made following our first vacation to New Zealand in 2004 starts out with Beautiful Day and whenever we hear the song we associate it with Auckland and New Zealand.  So we both enjoyed that!

They played a great variety of songs - from the ones you'd expect to hear at any of their shows like Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, and Sunday Bloody Sunday - to unexpected ones like Ultraviolet Rays, Scarlet (albiet with Jay-Z, bleah) and One Tree Hill.  Although maybe One Tree Hill was not so unexpected because One Tree Hill is an actual place in Auckland.  So that was really cool. They played a couple of new songs from No Line on the Horizon which they really made rock.

The did a very moving tribute to the 29 lost miners on the South Island with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and seriously rocked the place with Elevation, Vertigo, and Mysterious Ways.  In all they played some 25 songs - fully...awesome.

Part of the experience was getting there and back.  Auckland provided free bus and train service to and from the stadium (about 20 minutes from downtown Auckland) and on the way there one rather outgoing  Kiwi with perhaps a couple of beers in him decided that everyone on the bus was to stand up and say their name and a few words.  Now if you're like me you've rolled your eyes and hoped he wasn't serious.  He was.  And you know, it was actually kind of cool.  Anne got a boisterous round of cheers when she said "I'm Anne and I came all the way from the U.S. to see U2!"  My comment of "I'll be pissed if they don't play One Tree Hill tonight!" got a tepid response at best...

Getting thousands and thousands of people onto buses for the way back was, as you can imagine, not an orderly task.  Oh my gosh.  We only had to wait for a few buses but when it was our turn I don't think my feet actually moved me onto the bus.  The crowd managed that for us!  It wasn't unsafe or disorderly mind you - Kiwis are very polite usually - but they wanted on that bus and moving as one mass seemed like the best way, I guess!

Long (very long) story short - one of the best shows we've ever seen.  We were just giddy afterwards.  And our hearing is now slowly starting to get back to normal.  :-)

U2...

ROCKED!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Scooting Revisited

I'll have you know that I took Francesca to the library yesterday and did a mighty fine job! I found that as I rode, I had a big smile on my face -- all the coolest people do. And yes, when I got to the library, I did have a bug in my teeth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Golf

Takapuna Golf Course
It's been a long time coming, but I played my first round of New Zealand golf today.  Golf is pretty popular here and there are many inexpensive courses around.  I tried one nearby just over the bridge on the North Shore called Takapuna Golf Course which is a simple but worthy municipal course.

I'm shaking the rust off after four months without playing but it went well enough and I'm looking forward to playing more often.  Just gotta start learning my club distances in meters instead of yards...

Best burger joint name ever

We tried out this burger place not far from us on Ponsonby Rd. called Murder Burger.  With a name like that and employees that wear shirts that say "Meat is Murder" you'd think it was a vegetarian joint.  Nope!  They serve burgers and chicken and all things meat.  And you know what?  They're quite good!

I would rate the burgers better than Burger Wisconsin for sure.  Very tasty.  And clever.  And they have gluten-free buns for Anne (as does Burger Wisconsin).  How nice is that?

My favorite bit is the evil kitty logo.  :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scooting Practice

Turns out my mighty steed has a poor rider.

I took Francesca out for a little neighborhood spin after lunch today and seem to have forgotten everything I ever knew about riding a scooter (admittedly, it wasn't much to begin with). I lurched up the driveway, nearly knocking into the house (missing Jeff, though, who unfortunately saw the whole thing), and then worried him when, after taking off, I didn't return right away. The second thing I did was annoy a driver behind me who wanted to go 80 (I was doing a solid 30kph -- reeeeally slow) and then went around a quiet block several times. I usually remembered to turn off my blinker, and I only found myself in the wrong lane once.

Practice, practice, practice!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scooter!

Vespa & Harbour Bridge
Today we are proud scooter owners - we got a Vespa LX50 and you may now roll your eyes.  Hey, Vespas are cool and we don't care what you say!

It's really fun to ride and because it's a 50cc scooter which is limited to 50 kph (30 mph) we don't need a motorcycle license - a regular driver's license is all that's needed.  So we can't take it on the motorway but that's just fine.  Tooling around the city is our plan.

Anne has named her Francesca.  She is Italian after all.  :-)

Francesca at Westhaven Marina


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A (brief) Kiwi-Yank dictionary

Aubergine -- eggplant
Bach (pronounced "batch") -- holiday home, cabin
Beetroot -- beets (Kiwis can't get enough beets; they're in everything)
Bikkie -- cookie; short for "biscuit"
Boot -- trunk of car
Brekkie -- breakfast
Chilly bin -- cooler
Choc (pronounced "chalk") -- chocolate (sounds yummy doesn't it?)
Dairy -- corner store
Ditch -- the Tasman Sea; "Across the Ditch" means Australia
Good on yeh -- good for you, well done
Jandals -- flip-flops; short for "Japanese sandals"; the Kiwi national footwear, appropriate for every possible situation, weddings, funerals, job interviews...
Kumara -- a kind of sweet potato; Kiwis LOVE them
Lollies -- candy
Mate -- friend
Metal road -- gravel road
Partner -- spouse or boy/girlfriend; used irrespective of sexuality or marital status
Pav -- a Pavlova; famous Kiwi dessert
Rattle ya dags -- hurry up (dags are the poo-bits that dangle off the backsides of sheep)
Sav -- Sauvignon blanc
Smart -- nicely dressed
Smart casual -- business casual
Sweet as -- really cool
Tramping -- hiking
Wheelie bin -- rubbish bin, garbage can
Yum -- yummy; "This is yum," "That looks yum."
Yum as -- really yummy

Now, put them together: "Rattle ya dags and chuck me some of that Pav, mate, it looks yum as!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Snow?

OK, we promised ourselves we wouldn't get all snooty when the snow started to fly there and it was warm and sunny here.  Yep.  Promised.  So...very...hard...

For example, we wouldn't mention things like we did some lawn bowling in shorts yesterday.  No, that would be mean and heartless.  So we won't go there.  We're better than that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time Change - Again

Now that Daylight Saving Time has ended in the U.S. the time difference here is now 19 hours ahead of MN instead of 18. Or to make it easier, just subtract 5 hours from now and it's that time in NZ - but tomorrow.

So if it's 6:00 pm on Saturday in MN, it's 1:00 pm on Sunday here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lawn Bowling

Bowling at MIB (Mates in Bowls) league
I've decided to take up lawn bowling, a popular activity here.  Actually, they just call it bowling - what we know as bowling is also common here but called 10-pin bowling.

Last night I played as a sub in a league that just got started for the summer at a bowling club right up the street.  It's really more of a social activity - have a pint and roll some bowls.  Perfect! Most people were beginners, too, so that helped.

Anne and I will play recreationally, too.  It's quite fun!

The bowling club right up the street from us

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scooter Time

Anne hits the scooter slalom
We're thinking about getting a scooter to tool around on (stop laughing) so on Monday we took some training since neither of us knows what the crap we're doing on a scooter.

Well, we know what we're doing now.  We'll have to see if we actually get one but it would be fun.  And then your incessant mocking can begin.  :-)