Monthly Archives: August 2007

On the road again…

We are off to Edmonton and Calgary for the next week.

Janine is delivering a paper at the University of Alberta, and the boys and I get to play at the largest mall in North America, 3rd largest in the world at that!  Ok so I have sorta turned the boys into mall rats, but in my defence, there is free wifi and the largest indoor water complex (or something like that).

Located in Edmonton, Alberta, a former fur-trading post in northwestern Canada, the übermall covers the equivalent of 48 city blocks and is billed as “the greatest indoor show on earth.” Each year, 22 million visitors flock to the entertainment mecca’s three hotels, eight amusement parks, 21 theaters, 110 restaurants and 800 shops.

Could be fun.

Will post updates and pics when and where we can.

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Cultured Kiwi Kids

I took the kids to the UBC Museum of Anthropology this afternoon. It has a spectacular collection of totem poles (Jamie’s new favourite thing) and indigenous art and artifacts from BC. The kids were doing some very satisfying ‘ooohing’ and ‘aaahing’ as we walked through the great hall of totem polls and looked through the draws of artifacts. A woman who was struggling to get her much older son to see the joy in his museum visit came over and said ‘I just have to say that your children are precious.’ Thankfully, she was not present ten minutes later when Jamie threw a tantrum in the giftshop because I wouldn’t buy him a beaded frog keyring, nor did she see Charlie once he got home when he insisted on wearing his swimming togs on his head as he played. Thanks to great timing and a bit of luck, somewhere out there someone thinks that Kiwi kids are cultured kids!

Bill Ried

Bill Reid 2



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Adult grumble time…

Could someone please explain to me why Bob the Builder needs to be over dubbed with American voice actors?

Bob and Wendy have the most annoying accents. Is it too much for these people to get it that there are other people out there with different accents.  Walkie Talkies are also turned into Talkie Talkies?  WTH?  Also Spud is the only character to keep his original voice (gotta make the baddies someone other than Yankie).

Case in point is the Telus help line (our phone and broadband provider).  They have those silly “I can understand you, so please speak the option you want”.  Well how wrong could they be.  They have no way of understanding me when I speak an instruction, but if I do the poorest impersonation of a drunk Mr Ed with prolonged vowels, then the computer has no problem understanding me.  Argh!!!

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The blog has gremblins

For those of you trying to follow the link on the right hand side in the Blogroll to our Flickr pics, you are going to b poorly led astray.  Follow this link instead.  There are more pics there than we post here. – Paul

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SOS – cheat notes for bookclub!

So, I have joined a bookclub. It is organised here on campus, and seems to be mostly women on faculty. First meeting was last night and it was a delight to spend time talking with humans with significantly less testosterone than those that live in my house! The hitch is that I still don’t have time to read books for fun and the book for this month is huge! If anyone has read Pearl S Buck ‘The Good Earth’ I would much appreciate some cheat notes so I can appear to know what I am talking about when we next meet!


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Jamie has been attending ‘gymboree’ which is a pre-school program. It is a great way for him to get to play with other kids before he starts preschool on campus next month. He just loves it – some photos are attached of the play facilities they have. It is a two hour drop off program (yahoo!) so a nice chance for us all to take a break from each other! As you can see, Charlie likes to make the most of the gym equipment when we collect Jamie at the end of the session.





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Photos of home away from home

Hi all – photos of the apartment attached. Check us out in a finished house!

The master bedroom


Jamie’s bed

Jamie's bed

Charlie’s bed

Charlie's bed



Lounge and deck


Kitchen and entrance

kitchen and entrance

Kitchen and dining

kitchen and dining




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Fireworks finale

I hope you guys are all connected at the moment to KatKam and taking in the fireworks finale.

Stunning evening here, probably still about 20°C and they’re expecting anywhere between 500,000 and 750,000 people down along the beaches watching the fireworks.

some background info on the fireworks from the middle of the bay

Two sand-covered barges anchored 300 metres (1000 feet) from the shore at English Bay will set the stage for the HSBC Celebration of Light.
Why are fireworks fired from a barge?

Barges provide a safe firing location for fireworks. They are flexible, fireproof launching pads, approved and carefully inspected by the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada.
Length of the barge

150 metres (500 feet)
Number of anchors positioning the barge

Six 4-ton anchors
Total amount of sand on the barge

1000 tons. The sand is spread evenly 20 cm (8 inches) deep from one end of the barge to the other. Mortars (the cylinders from which the fireworks are launched) are then planted into the sand.

The barge is equipped with a firing booth, sheds for storing mortars and supplies as well as three trailers: one housing a kitchen and dining room, one with showers and bathroom facilities, and the third housing an office and broadcasting facilities (for the music).

Anyway if you are watching this live go to
and refresh your page every minute. Come on it’s only 5pm sunday afternoon in NZ, like you have anything else to do. Seems like I don’t.

footnote to the other night with China’s effort. I was way too tired to even consider going down to the fireworks and every single person to a T said it was the greatest fireworks display they have ever seen anywhere ever! And I was sitting at UBC knackered. We’ll I’m not going to use that excuse with The Cure, Artic Monkeys and of course Spice Girls concerts. The Spice Girls kick off their reunion world tour right here in Vancouver!!! Gotta go to that. I’ll leave you with that thought.

Whops and here’s a thought, listen to the live simulcast of the music from the waterfront being broadcast over the radio ,

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Life at UBC

Those of you who have followed the excruciatingly slow progress of our house building will be most amused by how quickly and wholeheartedly we have thrown ourselves into setting up our Vancouver apartment. It is official – this apartment is now a more complete home than Baleburn! We will add some photos soon.

Life on campus has started well for us all. There are lots of events organised for families and kids; Jamie and I went to a movie last night in the commons block, but gave up about half way through because it was so noisy with all the kids  eating chips and chatting that we had no idea what was happening in the movie! I am now a life member of the UBC botanical gardens – might take me most of my life to actually get to see it all, particularly if I take the kids with me on each visit. Very beautiful though, a new source of  inspiration for my dream to be reincarnated as a gardener, and a great things to have close by.  It is great to have so many families with kids around us, although we have noticed that kids here seem to go to bed later and get up much later than ours. Mind you, even the birds were snoozing when Charlie woke a 5.30 this morning…

Jamie is doing well and seems to think it will be okay to stay here for a while now, so long as his friend Milo comes over soon. Thankfully we can assure him than grandmother Jandi is coming to visit soon, and this makes him happy. He still has his moments though; rough and tumble with Charlie recently ended with a spectacular Charlie biff to Jamie’s head. Jamie burst into tears and sobbed ‘I just want to go back to New Zealand right now!’ Even Charlie’s cuddles couldn’t make the weeping subside. Seems we might have a way to go. My mother assures me that I was exactly the same at 4 years old when we spent a year in Colorado, so maybe this too shall pass.

In the meantime the healthy obsession Jamie acquired with Tinkerbell while in Disneyland continues unabated. To Paul’s delight he announced that he would like to dress as tinkerbell for Halloween. I will be sure to post the pictures for you all to enjoy!

I plan to start meeting some colleagues and actually starting some work this week. I have to give a conference paper in Edmonton in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like imminent public humiliation to focus the mind. I can tell that this time will go fast, and I hope to be able to make the most of it. These are interesting times for Vancouver (not that you would know by reading the papers). The first two modern treaties have just been signed off after many years of negotiations, so it is good timing for me to be taking with people about these issues.

Let me finish before this posting takes on Paul-like proportions. We now have a home phone number so email me if you want it (Paul tells me you don’t post numbers on blogs – makes sense I guess). Getting the phone connected was quite a process. Turns out that the phone company’s voice recognition software cannot understand a kiwi accent. Most bizarrely it can understand Paul’s version of an American accent which is worth hearing when you need a laugh! We have certainly had our fair share of laughs as this adventure unfolds.

Love to you all and more pictures and news soon. Nina


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Varsity Bums

Hey all,

we are now living on campus at UBC, and this will be our base for the rest of the year.  We have a couple of side trips to do, Calgary/Edmonton, Victoria and Paul will be off to a conference in Boston and taking in a couple of days in NY, but aside from that and possibly the odd weekend away, we are living on UBC campus.

A little background to the campus.  Aside from the nearly 45,000 students there are thousands of teachers and staff and including all of the families that live on campus (us now too) there is normally anywhere between 100,o00 and 110,000 on campus everyday during the academic year and about 60,-85,000 in the summer.

So as you can see it’s not a small place, roughly about Dunners/Hamilton size.  Of course being that big and out at the edge of the city of Vancouver (and theres some strange thing where you don’t pay rates here so you need to pay to join the library and other services?) this pace has it’s own hospital, police station, fire station and ambulance, a huge stadium and soon to be huge ice hockey stadium (for the 2010 winter olympics) and masses of other services on site.

This place is massive and with heaps of gardens, trees and regional parks it is a haven for walking or cycling.  It’s also home to Wreck Beach, one of the largiest nudie beaches in the world.  This would be great for Jamie and Charlie, but I can’t see Paul and Janine  making there way there too soon.  Our days of Mapua at wide eyed 18 & 19 year olds is well behind us.  Besides without Ingrid to accompany the boys in a nuddie run (mapua 1989?), where’s the fun?

The apartment we are in is great, and aside form the $1600 or so we needed to fork out the other day for beds and dining tables etc things are going well for us.  We still don’t have a telly, but as we still haven’t seen the entire first season of Boston Legal and most videos at the store are new to us, we don’t really need one at the moment.

My great dilemma  tonight is wether to go to John Fogerty (Credence Clearwater Revival lead singer), the BC Lions (Gridiron), the baseball (like 20/20 cricket but an actual sport) or the Whitecaps (pro soccer one league down from the Major league that Beckham plays in now).  It’s a stunning thursday afternoon and the temp tonight will be about °21C (the gridiron is indoors), hmmm which one to go to.  Nina will be pleased to get me out of the house and do some work.

Whops nearly forgot moving house.  What a hoot!!!! For those of you who have seen the Ford F150 massive pick-up trucks about NZ, well they have a big bro and bigger bro the F250 and F350, thankfully the F250 wasn’t ready so they downgraded our rental to the F150 for our shift.  What a beast, and apart from not really fitting into a lane, and the speed limit here is 50km but the cops don’t issue tickets until about 70km unless you are an idiot, and the small thing about being on the other side of the road in a 2million people city, it was a breeze.  The boys loved the thing, and although a pick-up it was bigger inside than our Subaru at home.  We only needed one trip from flat to UBC apartment, then we took the beast out to Ikea to spend Allan Bollards cash, load up the pick-up and back to UBC.  It was heaps of fun and hard work, and the boys loved waking up the next day to a set up house.   Say it, we love flat pack furniture.  Dining table and 4 chairs $120.  Couch/bed combo $150, Bed base reduced to $120, small tent for the boys inside, etc it make us fell at home now.  The next morning making the most of the truck, I was off to the supermarket and spent $350 on a decent styled Rachie B shop so we won’t need to carry massive things on the bus to UBC.  All in all hard work but lots of fun in our beast, shame we had to give it back.  Jamie and Charlie just loved it.

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