Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Australia? Did we go there?

Well, 3841 Australia pictures have now been reduced down to the much more easily consumed (and uploaded) number of 290. Mekayla still thinks that is too many. (As if you have something better to do than live vicariously through us. HA!) So we have also created a Top 40 list showing the best of the best.

Of course you have probably seen many of the top 40 on the blog, but now you can also download full resolution versions of them and use them as you see fit. Who doesn't want a desktop background of me sitting in a tent, or me looking at a termite mound. The possibilities for plastering my picture on every facet of your computer experience are endless. So dive on in:

Australia Photos

If you are unsure of where places are, take a look at our journey map of Australia.

Within each of the albums you can also start a slideshow of the photos by clicking on this icon on the top left of the page:

The slideshow does a good job of loading the other pictures in the background while you are looking at one. Unfortunately our site is not quite as user friendly as it should be, so most people probably never realize that the slideshow feature is there.

Speaking of updating the site, I updated the main page: www.saltypoint.com. Not that this actually makes any real difference in anyone's lives, but I've been having fun with web programming recently, and thought I would share.

Anyway, enjoy Australia. We need a bit of a break before trying to tackle New Zealand photos, but hopefully they will get up in early February. Of course the number of NZ photos keeps increasing too. I took 400 photos of seals over the weekend! Cheers!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NZ's Biggest Sports Bar

I managed to watch my first Patriots game of the season! Of course, it was also the first post-season game. For some reason they don't show much Patriots football in New Zealand. I was a little worried that my watching might ruin this rather excellent streak they've been on. Fortunately it turns out that I do not possess that kind of power. At least not yet...

From what I understand, this little streak has been big news back in the States. I also understand that most of the country rather dislikes New England at the moment. Seeing as how I don't want to anger my growing national audience, I will now cease mentioning of the Patriots (at least until after their Super Bowl win).

I dragged Mekayla to downtown Christchurch to watch the game in "New Zealand's biggest sports bar": The Holy Grail. It actually is quite big. Of course the biggest bar felt quite empty and cavernous with only a dozen or so football fans in it.

I think the bar was originally designed for more popular events and would always be so packed that everyone would have to stand. This is the only explanation I can think of for only having ten chairs anywhere close to the bar. It does have stadium bleacher seats though from which you can watch the lo-def broadcast on the "biggest screen in NZ". (NZ likes their HD TVs, but unfortunately doesn't broadcast anything in HD.) And when there is no crowd stadium seating is actually quite luxurious. Kinda like lounging around in the good seats at a Roman coliseum I imagine.

Anyway, a fun time was had by all. Hope everyone is enjoying the post season.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Work Work Work

For some reason, we keep getting questions about work. I don't really understand, since we think that work is a much less interesting topic than all the adventures we're having, but I suppose it's time to satisfy the masses and answer some of the questions:

Yes we've been working.

No, we don't think it's as fun to tell work stories as it is to make you jealous of all the beautiful places we get to visit in our time off.

No we're not shearing sheep or picking kiwi fruit (although I did consider getting a job as a bread maker at an organic bakery, mmm bread!).

Boring as you may think it is, we've actually gotten jobs more or less in our fields. I'm working at an insurance company and Greg's designing websites.

Didn't you know that's what our specialties really are?

Greg gets to sit at home all day, messing around on the computer, and I get to go into a big traditional insurance company and help them learn how to do User Centered Design. Very similar to the type of work I was doing at IDEO, except that working with a team of people that's familiar with the process, I'm working with a bunch of people who have never done this type of work before.

Turns out you have to spend money in order to make money. I don't think they would have been too happy if I had showed up in the faded shirt I've been wearing hiking for the last 5 months. Especially since all the software programmers wear ties and shiny black shoes to work. Ah well, I guess I can save the hiking shirt for casual Fridays ;-) .

Time for me to go learn some more insurance terminology!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Circling the South Island with My Parents

Well, somehow we all survived it. My parents have been visiting us for the past two weeks and we took them for a whirlwind tour of the South Island. A few times along the way I was not entirely sure how we would all survive the trip, but by the end we had found a balance and gotten into a steady traveling rhythm.

Since our Australia map has had an astonishing 230 views I thought I would make a new map to show this journey. All told we put an additional two thousand kilometer on the car and I took 1398 pictures. I think there were at least a hundred times that my parents collectively said "Wow!" at the incredible scenery we saw along the way.

For instance, they were both excited to get rather close to the Fox Glacier (it is impossible to capture with a picture just how big it really is).

Here they are on the way back from a rather long hike we took them on up the Pororira River valley.

Marveling at Mt. Cook:

We even got my Mother to cross a foot bridge that swung fifty feet above the churning melt-water coming from Mueller Glacier.

Occasionally we found ourselves out walking on beaches:

Or tasting a wee bit of wine outside of Queenstown:

Or just wandering through fields of flowers:

Hope everyone has been having a good start to the new year.

My parents made me promise to try and go through all of our pictures and get them uploaded to our website. I just went through and counted, and actually there are fewer than I had feared: 3841 from Australia and 3728 from New Zealand. I was sure I had broken the 10K barrier by now.

So sometime in the near future I'll try and cut that down to just the good ones. Somehow I don't think anyone wants to wade through all 424 pictures we took on our whale watch in Australia.