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Thu, 21 Jan 2010

Midnight Espresso is awesome - 17:39
Tony had been telling me for a while that he was really looking forward to returning to Wellington to go to Midnight Espresso, his favourite cafe in a town which is famous for a good cafe culture, he also hinted I may like it a lot. There does not appear to be a website, however details are on a few review sites.

I am impressed, though not vegetarian only they do have an extensive Vegetarian (and Vegan friendly) menu with some great food. All the cakes they have for sale are Vegan and their coffee is indeed excellent. This cafe is almost worth the trip to Wellington alone. If you are anywhere near Cuba street, or really I think if you are any where near New Zealand pop on over and visit this cafe. Maybe it is because I do not have the variety of Veggie friendly places to eat that is found in Melbourne, or maybe it is because this is a great place to hang out. Anyway with the fun mountain biking and here this week it would be silly not to come and now I know of another good reason to visit Wellington. Thanks Tony.

[/lca] link

Wed, 20 Jan 2010

My notes from the first day of lca (Miniconf day 1) - 22:22
I have written 34 pages of notes (in the a5 conference notebook) in the three days (2 days miniconfs, 1 day main conference) so far, however as my hand writing closely resembles and encryption standard I had better get them transcribed into the computer reasonably soon (before I completely forget how to decipher what I scrawled on paper). So I have just typed up the notes I took (9 a5 pages worth of my hand writing) from the first day of lca (miniconf day 1) and put it here in plain text.

I probably should put them directly up here but am not in the mood to add html formatting to the notes at the moment. Great stuff so far, I will see if I can find time to transcribe another day or two tomorrow.

[/lca] link

Day two lca finishing off with a great ride - 06:57

Skyline ride (fullsize)
I noticed yesterday at the finish of the miniconfs I already have 19 pages of notes written in the a5 conference notebook. I now need to find the time to put some of the notes into the computer I think.

Another great miniconf day, I really enjoyed the Weta digital high density computer room design talk. I have uploaded the photos from the ride I did around Skyline (awesome ride around the ridgelines and hills surrounding Wellington) on a Skyline MTB Ride photos page.

Oops, an update, I mentioned to a few people the gps map of the ride would be online, it is here if you wish to see it.

[/lca] link

Mon, 18 Jan 2010

Awesome New Zealand Food - 15:31

Penguino Ice Cream Cafe (fullsize)
The friend I did my Abel Tasman kayaking trip with has said a few times he could eat himself to death here in New Zealand. I tend to agree the food here is pretty good. Today I had lunch with Stewart, Bdale, Edale, TonyB and others at Midnight Espresso, a cafe recommended by Tony, who went to high school here, he said we would like it. I did it was excellent, lots of great Vegan options including all their cakes. I will be back tomorrow (possibly missing out on variety but OMG it was good.

The photo to the left is from a Penguin themed ice cream cafe in Nelson, they had some excellent Sorbet (an award winning boysenberry and a great apple and berry for example) that I was able to eat too. I thought I should put something penguin themed in a post to the lca tag here. (they have a Penguino Crossing sign too). I hope I can find a few more really good examples of local veggie friendly food before I have to head home on Saturday morning.

[/lca] link

Sun, 17 Jan 2010

In Wellington hanging out for lca. - 16:07

Makara Summit Weather (fullsize)
I am in Wellington, lca is starting tomorrow, I arrived yesterday however the weather was horrible so a hung out with a friend, Bec, who is living here for a few years. We saw the Sherlock Holmes movie which was awesome. Today when I went looking for coffee I ran across Jon Oxer so we headed in for some conference supplies, breakfast, coffee etc (along with Thomas). Then I went to the rego area and found MRD, AJ and others. After registering for the conference we headed out for some lunch.

Then as the weather was better today than yesterday (no heavy horizontal rain) Bec and I went for a mountain bike ride (in the photo above I am somewhat muddy but enjoying the summit of Makara Peak mtb park). Now I am about to go find some lca ghosts, what fun.

[/lca] link

Sun, 10 Jan 2010

Rotorua Summer MTB Series - Bike Vegas - 23:28

Green Lake near Rotorua (fullsize)
Much to my delight I found out when I arrived in Rotorua that there was a mountain bike race on this Sunday. The Bike Vegas Summer MTB Series, this is a series of 45km point to point races through the Whakarewarewa Forest where the legendary redwoods single track are.

The rest of the series are 24th Jan and 14th Feb so I will obviously miss these events, I headed out to race today though and had a great time. I got to catch up with Gaz from NZO Clothing which was good as he was there racing. (and he beat my by a few minutes, way to go Gaz)

My GPS Map for the race shows where the race went, starting going the wrong way up the rock drop track and then onto many others, I can not work out the order exactly (writing this without the GPS trace in front of me right now) but remember it included Pigeon Run, Pig Track Link, Mad If You Dont, Mossy Track, around next to Green Lake (gorgeous/spectacular scenery there), No Brains, the end of Old Chevy (with the fun gap jump), Spring Roll, Sweet & Sour, Be Rude Not To, Lion Trail, Turkish Delight, Soakhole, Grinder, The Dipper, and Tahi.

I had not ridden some of the green tracks since the 2005 Moonride 12 Hour, others I probably would not have ridden if it were not for the race today and some of the tracks are the classics that should be ridden every time you come here. I had a great time and think it was an excellent race format (they had a 25 KM option also for people who did not want quite such a long race).

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 09 Jan 2010

Rotorua mountain biking - 07:47
I know we have it good in Canberra for mountain bike trails, there are many times I think people who live in Rotorua are even better off though. In the lead up to this year I am having a week and a half of play time in New Zealand before the conference. At the moment I am staying with a friend in Rotorua for a few days and we have been doing some rides the last two days.

For example I put this status update onto Facebook on Thursday night. "a-trail, tickler, frontal lobotomy, billy t, split enz, pondy downhill, pondy new, roller coaster, chop suey, corners, be rude not to, exit trail" which were the tracks I rode in this 47 km ride on Thursday. Oh so much fun to be had on the mountain bike here.

You can see the Rotorua trail map online now days at the Rotorua NZ website which is handy. I bought a copy at a bike shop the other day to get around with too. Yesterday one of the highlights was the track Old Chevy which just goes on seemingly for ever and is as awesome as any of the great tracks here.

Yesterday morning we rode into town for some shopping and on the way back my crank snapped, last time it was the left crank, this time the right crank. So I rode one legged back to the house and we then took the bike into a shop and they are putting some XT cranks on. Jen got a bunch of photos of me riding one legged as she thought it was hilarious.

I thought my riding for the day was over as the bike would take until the next morning to get fixed up (and without all my bike tools I could not just buy the part and do it myself), however the completely awesome guys at KiwiBikes next to Zippys Cafe in town just happened to have an awesome Titus hardtail demo bike they loaned me overnight so I could keep on riding. Awesome guys, great shop, and they hand build some pretty nifty bikes. Anyway some more fun to be had coming up soon.

[/mtb] link

Sydney Christmas - 07:09

Looking back toward Coogee, Bronte, Bondi, etc (fullsize)
I spent Christmas in Sydney with Jane and other extended family (Grandma, Nick, Ashlie, Jude, Chris, Stu, Karin) at a place in Coogee. Though I had a bike with me (single speed) that was for a potential boxing day mtb ride (which I piked on due to rain). As I was so close to the coastal walking path I headed out for a run on it on Christmas morning. South from Coogee until I ran out of obvious walking path (around 4 km I think) and then back up to the other end of Bondi and back down to Coogee. No idea how far it was (maybe 16km) as my Garmin stopped working and I had sent it in for a replacement.

One of the nice things about being there over Christmas was I managed to go for a swim in the ocean every day while there. No serious swim training but it was nice to get into the salt water and do some swimming none the less.

Lots of fun was had with the family, thanks for an awesome time to all of them there.

[/various] link

Bracelet fade - 07:01

Bracelet fade evidence (fullsize)
I commented a while ago that the new NBCF bracelets should last longer as they have a design that is less likely to break. Looks like I was right, the faded almost white bracelet in the photo has been on my wrist for most of 2009, I finally noticed a little before Christmas when I gave a new one to a friend that mine was no longer a good NBCF pink, time to put a new one on, I am not sure I can retire the faded one to my notice board at work as it is not broken.

[/various] link

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