Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Tree Hill

The One Tree Hill obelisk
We finally took some time to visit One Tree Hill, part of a large park in Central Auckland.  For any U2 fans out there, this is the place the song One Tree Hill from The Joshua Tree album refers to - written in memory of Bono's personal assistant Greg Carroll, a New Zealander.

The single tree on top of the hill is long gone, but there is an obelisk for some dead guy and many walking trails.  So we took an afternoon on a beautiful day and explored!

There are great views at the top and sheep roam the hill.  At the bottom of the hill is Cornwall Park with lots of trees, recreation areas, and on this day...weddings.  We tried to get some sheep to crash a wedding but they're very uncooperative.

Taking in the view at the top

Looking west

On the sheep offensive

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My First Week

I am really liking my new job!  The cataloguing department is on the 1st floor (for us Americans, that's the 2nd floor) of the main library on the U of Auckland campus.  There's a nice staff room with a great view of Albert Park and I work with some very nice people.  An interesting thing is that so far I've been working most closely with other New Zealand immigrants.  I sit with Lai (Hong Kong), Fang (China), Jane (China), and Kazumi (Japan), and my boss is Ksenija (Serbia).

The project I'll be working on involves records that were dumped into the catalogue from the Epsom education library back in 2004.  At that time, the Epsom library wasn't automated, so they had a week (!) to create records for their entire collection.  They got people from a temp agency to do it -- not cataloguers, not librarians -- so the records are really, really bad.  My job will be to either upgrade those records on Voyager (their catalogue) or to start over and create new ones on OCLC Connexion.  Now, I really like correcting other people's mistakes and making things all nice and neat, so this sounds right up my alley.  : )  I also think that Ksenija will use me for other projects like this.  This past week I've been getting used to Voyager (which I've never used before) by doing some copy cataloguing and original e-books.  So far so good.

The biggest hassle so far with work is just getting there.  I take the bus downtown to Queen Street and then walk through Albert Park to the library.  I think I've mentioned before that the Auckland bus system could use some work.  It's frustrating when the bus is late, but it's maddening when it's early.  I leave the house at the same time each day, but sometimes I see the bus go zooming past when I'm still halfway to my stop.  And it would be nice if I could take a bus all the way, or close to all the way there.  Albert Park is very nice, but it's really, really steep -- by the time I'm across it, I'm huffing and puffing and I've already sweat through my clothes.  Not my favorite way to start the day!  Ah well, if that's the least of my worries then I'm quite lucky.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scuba Duba

Overlooking the area we dove in
After being delayed one week because of tsunami warnings last week, we finally got to try Scuba diving today.  In short - it was awesome!

We drove an hour north of Auckland to the Goat Island Marine Reserve where several dive shops operate and did a half-day "try dive" so we could see if Scuba is something we would like to do without yet committing to a certification course.

After a bit of classroom safety and equipment orientation we went right out to the beach and did our 30 minute dive from there with an instructor and two others.  It took a little bit for us to get used to the buoyancy but the breathing came quite easily and we were gliding through the fishes and rocks in no time.  We went as deep as 4 meters / 13 feet.

It was great!  It was a perfect day to do it - sunny, warm, and calm - and although visibility underwater wasn't superb being closer to shore (about 5 - 6 meters) we saw lots of fish like snapper which are actually quite colorful and friendly.  And one was a good 2 - 3 feet long.  Also saw some Red Moki and Goatfish.  The water temp isn't tropical by any means - about 22C/72F - but quite comfortable once you're in it.

So we think we might be hooked.  We will look into a certification course to see if we want to pursue that. I didn't get any pictures of us in our gear, but maybe that's for the best.  :-)

Goat Island in the background, the waters we dove in in the foreground

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time Change

OK, once again the time difference has changed now that the U.S. is on DST.  It's now 18 hours, or to make it easy just subtract 6 hours from Central time and it's that time here, but tomorrow.  I think you know the drill. :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guess Who's Employed Again!

After many highs and lows along the road to NZ employment, I have finally been offered and have accepted a contract position with the University of Auckland's Cataloguing Dept.  Good commute, good pay, interesting work, Jeff and I don't have to move far away for the second time in 7 months, and from what I've seen so far the staff looks very good.  I start on March 14th.  Yay!  Now to really take advantage of my last couple of weeks of unemployment...