Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few weeks in (in NZ)

Lots to update - started work officially on Oct 25th, parts of most days the first couple weeks were spent with relocation business, and a few days of training. Got my desk, got my assignment on that ape-movie prequel, checked in w/ some old friends, started back with the sports...
Landed a place in Miramar, literally just a few blocks from work : furnished (even with TV), at a great price, wonderful landlords. Bought the Suzuki Bandit, it's a sweet ride. Got set up with : utilities, accountant, library card. The last weekend I had the car, drove up to Kapiti Coast to visit w/ Katie and family, on Halloween, got to see their 2-year-old in a Jolly Green Giant costume (had to load up a video of the commercials to explain the very American character to some neighbors). Went to movie night at Raine & Ben's place (Asian horror movie night). Had a 'team building' pub night w/ the apes crew.
Been busy with events around Wellington : got to see my favorite Kiwi band, The Phoenix Foundation (after the fireworks, on Guy Fawkes Day!). The New Zealand Parliament had an 'open house' day, allowing the public into normally restricted areas of the Beehive & other government offices. Docents, info brochures, video displays, all went into a very neat look behind the scenes of the government workings. One of the more intriguing parts was to see the Maori presence - they have their own committee room, and some MP's deliver speeches in Te Reo Maori language.
Performances : "Gene Pool" (an exploration of the sentience of cloning; featured a fully naked man 'evolving' & interacting with an elaborate sci-fi set built by Weta Workshop), "Y, A Play" (inspired by Robot Unicorn Attack, performed outdoors under a freeway overpass), "Ecology in Fifths" (interpretive dance piece themed on NZ's damaged ecological history; featured a live patch of grass which became a patch of dirt by the end. I spoke with the Playground afterwards, and learned they may be coming to San Fran in 2011), and "Apollo 13" (which featured interaction with audience members who served as 'Mission Control' during the whole show).
Movies : Wanted to check out movies that have a run that I wouldn't be able to see in the States. I saw "Made in Dagenham", a UK film based on a true story about women organizing at a Ford plant in the 60's.
Museums : paid a couple visits to Te Papa - their Maori exhibit is about the same, just as wonderful. They had new & expanded exhibits, of course (Phar Lap is on loan to Melbourne!), the featured exhibit now is works of Kiwi photojournalist Brian Brake (take a look through his photos published in LIFE magazine, there are some famous iconography in there). Also went to Wellington City Gallery for 'Roundabout' - featuring many up & coming artists in a variety of media, mostly from around Asia, commenting on modernism; some very good pieces.
One of the more unique events was "Project Born". I had no idea what to expect, the description was a 'lingerie fashion show', with costumes & bodypaint by Weta Workshop. Imagine, yes, a parade of underwear models, but backed by an array of monster-like characters in body paint & a g-string (or less), in elaborate sci-fi/fantasy scenarios, within an immersive soundscape & lightshow. It was also a high-society fundraiser for NeoNatal Trust Fund, so the attendees put on the fanciest togs (don't ask me, all I had to do was buy a ticket; and that included nosh & an open champagne bar). Then the post-show included mingling with the models in their costumes (or lack thereof). A feast for the senses, for sure, and a great appreciation for the talented designers, artists, and performers.
In general - settling in, appreciating the array of what Wellington has to offer. Not getting sick of roti or curry yet, but have slowed down on it :> (also sticking to a vegetarian diet, simpatico w/ Bonnie!) Oh yeah - also stopped in at Fleshwound, the premier Modern Primitive body mod shop; am exploring the notion of getting a new piercing. Also, looking at arranging a couple weekend trips next year, to places in New Zealand, coinciding with festivals; more on the later. Next week is Thanksgiving in the US, I will greatly miss the tradition of visiting w/ Bonnie's family in OC :( . But I will be returning home to San Fran area for a few weeks around the holidays, get to see Bonnie & hope to meet up w/ friends. A few weeks away... wonder if that will feel like a vacation?