Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Visiting Minnesota for the Holidays

Kel and I are arriving in Minnesota on December 22nd. I'm not as organized as I'd like to be, but we have a few plans in place.

We'll of course be spending most of our time catching up with friends and family, but there's a whole list of stuff I miss that we'll need to do while we're in town. :-)

See fresh snow in the morning!
Sledding with my nieces.
Building snowmen
Skiing at Afton Alps.
Cross country skiing at Battle Creek or Hyland
See the Holidazzle parade downtown
Sit by the big fireplace at Brits pub after the Holidazzle parade.
Coffee and Chess at Dunn Brothers.
Coffee at Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul
See a Minnesota Wild Game
Get out for a night on the town in Minneapolis.
Mexican food and Margaritas at La Cucaracha
Wild Rice soup at Byerley's.
Chinese food at Red Dragon
Taco Bell ;-) (There's about two decent mexican restaurants in all of New Zealand.)
Khan's Mongolian Barbeque

That's a start, I'm sure I'll think of more later.
See you all soon.

Minneapolis Skyline and the Spoon Bridge

Snow Loaded Pines

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Auckland Marathon 2007

I completed my second Auckland Marathon the other weekend. My time was 4:08:20, which surprisingly is about 12 minutes faster than last years.

I still haven't done much running, but Kel and I do a fair amount of other stuff, including boxing two or three times a week.

In any case, this race went quite a lot better than my last few. I think the key was eating quite a lot in the early morning before the race, then not eating much at all while running. In some races (including my first and still fastest) I feel the low blood sugar, and pig out on energy gel and whatever sport drink is on hand. In almost all my previous races this seems like it's led to my stomach waking up and going into digestion mode, taking blood from my legs, which then cramp up. As you can see from the splits below, this last race's split times were much more consistent than my Rotorua marathon splits. In fact, I held my finish together much stronger than even my fastest marathon. In that race I dropped to 10 minute miles in the last quarter, and only managed the time I did (3:48) by virtue of the massive buffer I'd built up in the first half of the race. In the Auckland this year, I went light on the drinks and water in the last half, and only took one big food break, at about 30k. Definitely going to use that strategy again . . . oh, and do some running before the next one. We'll see how Craig does in the Marine Corp marathon, hopefully that'll move the goalposts a little farther from the couch. ;-)

Auckland Marathon

Auckland Marathon 2007
KM Split
1 6:02
2 5:43
3 5:55
4 5:57
5 5:51
6 5:51
7 5:23
8 5:41
9 6:17
10 5:37
11 5:17
12 7:24
13 5:40(est) 28:21
14 5:40(est) 28:21
15 5:40(est) 28:21
16 5:40(est) 28:21
17 5:40(est) 28:21
18 5:16(est) 10:32
19 5:16(est) 10:32
20 6:14
21 5:32
22 5:43
23 5:57
24 5:55
25 5:36
26 5:34
27 6:04
28 5:36(est) 11:12
29 5:36(est) 11:12
30 5:53
31 5:53
32 6:06
33 6:17
34 6:46
35 6:20
36 5:54
37 6:18
38 5:46
39 6:06
40 5:57
41 6:31(est) 13:02
42 6:31(est) 13:02
Fin: 4:08:20

Skiing at Whakapapa

In mid August Kel and I went on a ski trip with our friends Brent and Maria.

We stayed at The Chateau. I really enjoyed it. It felt like the old Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The facilities were nice, sauna, warm pool, all the typical ski village stuff, plus the food in the restaurant was excellent.

Chateau Whakapapa

I rented telemark ski's like I usually do. Unfortunately, it didn't work out like it usually does. Normally, the telemark ski's are the latest and greatest high performance demo equipment that just lays around in the shop because nobody ever rents it. But at Whakapapa, the rental tele skis were dusty old antiques that they had to pull down out of the rafters. Oops. Ah well, lesson learned for next time.

On the bright side, I think Kel's hooked on skiing now, so we'll have to get out once or twice when we're over for the holidays.

Whakapapa Chair Lift

A month or so after we were there Mt. Ruapehu had a little eruption and threw a lahar down the mountainside. Do a search on "Ruapehu Eruption" on Flickr to see some pictures of the big black streak down the slopes.

As you can see, the scenery was incredible, and the weather was excellent (on the second day at least). But the snow conditions weren't nearly so nice. It was crusty and melty, you got the impression that they were just a warm day or two away from being back to bare rock. I miss real snow. Here's hoping for a nice white xmas and a blizzard or two while we're back in Minnesota this winter. :-)

Mt. Nguarahue from the Chateau

Catching up (again)

Once again it's been ages since I've posted. Here's the quick rundown on what's been going on:

The second half of Tony's visit

Before our SCUBA diving and our trip around the north, Tony and I were down in the Waitomo region to do one of the many cave tours. It's the second visit to the caves for me. This time we did a more physical tour than the one Kel and I did. This one also started with a long (50m?) abseil down the entry shaft into the cave. Some of the highlights were being dropped one at a time down a dark shaft into a deep pool, swimming through a waterfall into a waterslide like tube, and a medium long abseil down a waterfall. I highly recommend the caves to anybody visiting. I'll definitely go again!

After the caves, we met up with Kel in Hamilton to go see the All Blacks play Canada. Speaking of the All Blacks, they were put out of the Rugby World Cup (by France!) in the quarter finals . . . suck. New Zealand is hosting the next world cup in 2011, if they can ever get their stadium controversy sorted. Maybe Jesse Ventura can come over to help? ;-) Anyway, good fun was had watching them crush Canada at Waikato stadium.

Whale Island from Kohi LookoutAfter the trip around Waikato and the northland, we headed to the Bay of Plenty and Kel's hometown. We had a nice relaxing time sightseeing there, before driving on to meet up with Brent and the gang for fly fishing on the Tongariro river. After getting skunked on the river, we headed back up through Rotorua. Though it turns out that we missed quite a lot of excitement the next day as Brent's friend Steve leapt from the car to tackle a couple of Kune Kune piglets with moves reminiscent of Jim Fowler from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. ;-)

In Rotorua, we went to the Tamaki village to do the "Maori Experience" thing. That was fun, though a bit too touristy for me now. I've had really amazing Hāngi with Kel's relatives in Opotiki, and seeing a haka performed by the Rotorua locals doesn't quite make the same impression as seeing it done by the All Blacks, or for that matter this crew of badasses that Tiki Taane rouned up for his "Tangaroa - God of the Sea" video. Speaking of Māori, Kel and I have started taking community ed classes. Our teacher just happens to be an old classmate of hers from Whakatane.

After Rotorua, we headed up to Matamata to do the Lord of the Rings tour of the Shire shooting location. As much as I love the LotR, this was definitely embarrassingly touristy. There's this little hobbit hole looking bus stop/information station in the middle of town where you wait for the hobbit van to come and pick you up. It was a brisk fall day, and it was just Tony, myself, and a fat bearded european uber geek hanging around the bus stop. I kept having 80's movie visions of the bus dumping us off in front of the local rugby club, and somebody yelling NEEEEEERRRRRRDDS!! as the team came thundering out to pummel us.

HobbitonOnce we got into it and there were only sheep around to see us, it was a great experience. A lucky break with the weather prevented the site from being demolished on schedule, and the farmer who owns the land managed to negotiate some rights to what was left behind. Unfortunately, those rights don't include the ability to do any restoration, but what's there is enough to line up the landscape with the movie. Listening to our tour guides tales of some of the people who've made their pilgrimages to the site made Ye Olde Minnesota Renaissance Festival sound like a stuffy old law firm. ;-)
Bag End

After that it was back to Auckland and back to work for me. Tony had a day out on the east coast, and a day to bum around the city, then he was off.

Long rambling late night post brought to you by the weekly maintenance outage in Blizzard's World of Warcraft servers. ;-)

Shire Party Tree from Bag End

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tony's Visit

Tony was over to visit a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to make a big post once I got all my photos downloaded and organized, but I haven't really gotten around to it. So I'm about as organized as I'm going to get anytime soon.

Tony kept a blog while he was here, so you can visit his site for a more complete account of our travels:
Not All Who Wander Are Lost

The short version of it all is that it was great having him over. As was typical in Minnesota as well, we got into adventures that I probably wouldn't do on my own. The second day he was here we took off to Port Waikato to try to find the shooting location for Weathertop from The Fellowship of the Ring movie. We found it, but there were a few too many miles of sheep filled paddocks to cross from the nearest piece of road we could find. We had to settle for a visit to The Shire in Matamata a week later (see below).

Boat Trip from Poor KnightsA couple days later we headed north to Tutukaka to do some diving at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve. As you may have noticed from my previous post, I've just gotten my PADI certification, so this was my first dive in the ocean. The boat ride out to the islands was brutal, this was the first day in a week that boats were able to leave the harbor, so the swells were still quite high. After an hour or so spent feeding the fishes every few minutes, we arrived at one of the few spots sheltered enough to drop anchor and do some diving. That part of the trip was fantastic, the water felt warm, and there was no seasickness once we were under. There were little fish everywhere, we saw rays, scorpion fish, a john dory, and quite a few conga eels. Unfortunately, most of my pictures with the little waterproof camera film came out too dark. After the flash fired on the first shot I took I thought it must have some kind of light meter in it (in reality I must have accidentally bumped the arming switch). A couple pictures might be salvageable, I'll have to scan them in and see.

Anyway, scuba diving was a fantastic experience, I'm looking forward to more dives in calmer water and nice warm sunny places/weather! :-)

After Tutukaka, Kel headed back to Auckland while Tony and I headed up North to Cape Reinga. That's as far north as you can get in New Zealand.

Cape Reinga LighthouseCape Reinga Lighthouse

We hung out there for a while, then started back south. We thought we'd catch the sunset over 90 mile beach from the Te Paki Sand Dunes. Unfortunately, once we climbed the first wall of dunes, there were just more dunes after that. We missed the sunset, but the dunes were still damn cool.


We returned to Albany that night, then left for the central North Island the next day. I'll put some of the photos from that part of the trip in the next post. Plus maybe some stuff I missed from the first part . . . hmm . . better read Tony's blog again, I forgot about the All Black's game and the Waitomo caves. ;-)

Anyway, more later . . .

Whakatane Harbour

File Under: Adventure,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Busy Weekend

PADI Open Water Dive

Guess what I did this last weekend!

PADI Open Water Dive

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rotorua Cateye Moonride 2007


I rode in the Cateye Moonride race with some co-workers a couple weeks ago. It's a 12 or 24 hour lap race. Teams from 1 to 5 members take turns running laps around an 8km loop. There were 400+ teams this year. Datacom entered 5 teams in the 12 hour!

I had a great time, though I was fairly beat up and quite tired by the end. Definitely need to start training for these things. ;-)

This site has got an excellent little video overview of the race, including the finish.

All in all, it was a load of fun, definitely have to do it again next year.

Rotorua Cateye Moonride 2007

Rotorua Marathon Splits

I was looking at my watch the other day and realized that I'd completely forgotten to pull out my splits from the marathon:

KM Split Elapsed Time
3 15:54 15:54
4 5:18 21:13
5 5:15 26:28
6 5:45 32:14
7 5:28 37:42
8 5:43 43:25
9 5:25 48:51
10 8:05 56:56
11 5:40 1:02:36
12 5:49 1:08:26
13 5:54 1:14:20
14 5:57 1:20:18
15 5:36 1:25:54
16 6:33 1:32:28
17 3:45 1:36:13
18 5:57 1:42:11
19 6:15 1:48:26
20 8:14 1:56:41
21 8:06 2:04:48
22 5:23 2:10:11
23 6:14 2:16:26
24 7:10 2:23:36
?26 15:07 2:38:44
27 8:00 2:46:45
28 7:37 2:54:22
29 9:12 3:03:35
30 10:16 3:13:51
31 11:03 3:24:55
32 8:45 3:33:40
33 7:48 3:41:29
34 6:43 3:48:12
35 8:41 3:56:53
36 7:40 4:04:33
37 7:40 4:12:14
38 7:11 4:19:25
39 7:26 4:26:52
40 6:58 4:33:51
41 8:22 4:42:13
42 8:35 4:50:48

That big sag in the third quarter of the race was due to running out of food. I normally carry a few gel packets, but I didn't think to pack them this time. Afer the rain and cold at the start of the race I was just wiped by 30k. Then slowing down caused my muscles to get colder, and stiffen up. I was stuck at a walk until I ran into a woman who offered me a handful of gummi worms! It's amazing how much a little sugar can revive you in these things.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly

This is a case of poor choice of error messages. What it really means is that the Performance Object Category does not exist. The solution is to load the performance counters from the source DLL. In the .Net case, this means running InstallUtil on the file in question. For older perfmon objects, use Lodctr.

Technical details:

If you attempt to load a performance counter with this code (existing Performance Object, non-existant counter):

PerformanceCounter newCounter = new PerformanceCounter("RealCategory","BogusName","Foo",true);

You'll get the very helpful error message: "Counter 'BogusName' does not exist in the specified Category."

If you use this code (non-existant Performance Object):

PerformanceCounter newCounter = new PerformanceCounter("BogusCategory","BogusName","Foo",true);

You'll get a slightly less helpful error message: "Category does not exist." . . . hmm . . would have been nice to know which category.

Now if you use that same call, but flip the readonly flag to false

PerformanceCounter newCounter = new PerformanceCounter("BogusCategory","BogusName","Foo",false);

You get this very unhelpful message: "The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly."

The trick at this point is figuring out who's trying to load a counter, and which one they're trying to load. The following code will locate a PerformanceCounterInstaller within an assembly, given a filename. Easy enough to list all the DLLs in a given space with DIR /S /B *.DLL, then run InstallUtil on the ones that turn up positive.

System.Reflection.Assembly assy = System.Reflection.Assembly.LoadFile(fileName);
Type[] publicTypes = assy.GetExportedTypes();
foreach (Type t in publicTypes)
if (t.BaseType.Name == "Installer")
Installer o = (Installer)t.Assembly.CreateInstance(t.FullName);
foreach(Installer i in o.Installers)
if (i.GetType().Name == "PerformanceCounterInstaller")
MessageBox.Show("Performance Counter Installer Found in Assembly " + fileName);

Taupo Fly Fishing

I spent the first weekend in May fly fishing with my friend Brent down in the Taupo region.

We stayed at a place called The Creel in Turangi. Turangi is allegedly "The Trout Fishing Capital of New Zealand".

Fly Fishing Behind the Creel

The Creel was right on the Tongariro river, so we were up fishing at the crack of dawn. After a break for breakfast, we relocated a bit further up stream.

That was a beautiful stretch of river, but we didn't catch anything all day, maybe because of the constant stream of whitewater kayakers paddling through our pools. ;-)

Kayakers in our Fishing Hole

At the very last minute, just as it got too dark to see our lines, Brent hooked one.

On day two we started fishing Lake Otamangakau. We had no luck there, despite seeing a constant stream of fish jumping out of the water on the far side of the lake. So we packed up and started the drive back. On the way we stopped in Tauramanui to fish the Whanganui river for an hour or so. By that time I'd had enough fishing for the weekend, so I spent some time taking photos.

Brent caught two small fish (smaller than the one above), and missed one big one. I was a mile or so down the trail, so there were conveniently no witnesses. ;-)

Tongariro River

Rotorua Marathon

This site provides a couple of really cool ways of visualizing marathon results. (Damn, I need to train more for the next one.) ;-)

Hopefully they'll use this site for the Auckland Marathon results as well.

Rotorua Marathon

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rotorua Marathon

I completed the Rotorua Marathon on Sunday with a time of 4:50:45.

The conditions were rough. We started in rain and a temp of somewhere in the low 60s. I think it rained through the whole first half of the run. Needless to say, wet feet aren't so happy after 4 hours of running. It dried up and the sun came out for the second half, but I'd rather have it the other way around. My training was lacking once again, I definitely need to find some people to run with down here.

Kel and I stayed at a bach(Kiwi for Cabin) in Rotorua for the weekend, I'll put some pictures up soon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup Semifinals

New Zealand (Black Caps) are playing Sri Lanka in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals tonight. They've been to the semi four times, but never made it through to the finals.

We're planning to stay up to watch the game at a friends place. It starts at 2:30 am NZ time and will probably run through to 10am or so . . . should be good fun if it's the game everyone is expecting.

NZ Herald Headlines

Here's the matchcast from the official site:
Cricket World Cup 2007 Matchcasts and Scorecards

The next semi game is Australia vs South Africa tomorrow. If NZ wins this one, and Aus win that one, there'll be one hell of a ruckus for the final.

Naptime now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Caledonia

Oh, can't believe I almost forgot: we took off for a weekend in New Caledonia just after Valentines day. It's nice to have all these little islands around, Samoa and the Cook Islands are next on the list I think, or maybe Norfolk Island, Kel has some relatives there.

New Caledonia Bar

News from Back Home

Two items of interesting news from the Star Tribune in the last couple weeks.

First is that my old National Guard unit (2nd Battalion of the 147th Assault Helicopter Brigade) is headed to Iraq soon. Before they go, they're training for a few months at Ft. Sill Oklahoma, which also happens to be where I did my Basic Training.

Guard unit will Head to Iraq, fly helicopters

Second is that my old employer (where I worked for 10+ years before moving to NZ) is making headlines. Even before I left, the merger with the GMAC sister company combined with the sale to Cerberus group was sounding like a real pain. Then in the last few months, problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage market started making headlines way down here. All along I've been hearing stories from friends about things getting messy, but I think this is the first time I'd seen articles specifically about our old RFC branch of the business.

CEO Paradis to join ResCap exodus.

ResCap to cut 1,000 more jobs.

From NZ:
New Zealand Herald: Mire Grows Deeper at GM.

New Zealand Herald: Mortgage crisis paralyses US markets

"GMAC LLC, a lender owned by General Motors Corporation and Cerberus Capital Management LP, on Tuesday said its ResCap mortgage unit posted a $651 million fourth-quarter loss, and "sharply reduced" its exposure to nonprime loans."


B.T.W. Thanks to Aldo for sending me the article on Bruce.

File Under: Minnesota,

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catching Up

It's been forever since I've posted what I've been up to, so here goes:

We went to see WWE Smackdown a few weeks back. It's the first time they've ever come to New Zealand. It probably wouldn't have been a big deal to me back in Minnesota, but down here it's like Halley's Comet coming around! Plus it reminded me of home a bit. Anyway, good fun, The Undertaker was there. I'll add some blurry cameraphone pictures later (promise).

On the same note, we also went to see the Pet Shop Boys, also on their first ever visit to New Zealand, more phone pics for that one. I'm kicking myself for not bringing my little fuji 5mp for that, I should have learned my lesson back at that All Blacks game.

Steppenwolf were supposed to come down too (yet another band that's never been here). Unfortunately, they cancelled, with no sign of a rescheduled date.

Red Hot Chili peppers are coming this week. You can imagine the hype that's pouring out of the radio, I think Peter and Rich probably heard piles of it when they were here way back in November! We're not going to that one (not this time anyway), they'll be back, I think a at least one of them owns some land down here.

New Zealand's Cricket team (the Black Caps) are in the semi-finals of the Cricket World cup, along with Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa. There should be some good games in there. NZ vs Australia is always a grudge match. They play them for certain in the last Super 8 game on the 21st. They'll play them for the final if they can win their semi final game. If I get some time, I'll post a cricket primer for all you Minnesotans. According to my brother ESPN 8 (The Ocho) should be playing all 8-10 hours of the final match. ;-)

You can follow along online if you don't get The Ocho:
Cricket World Cup 2007 MatchCast

Most of you probably know we're planning to visit over the holidays this year. Current plan is Christmas in the cities, then New Years party up north in the Brainerd area (ala the good old MLK weekends of yore). Excellent news for visiting the states is that the Kiwi dollar is at a 25 year high!

NZ Dollar Reaches Record High

I just need to make sure I book all our big ticket stuff before it drops. It's up about 10-20 cents on the dollar from when I arrived.

News for those of you who might be planning a trip down here, the NZ tourism office has release a layer for Google Earth full of points of interest around the country:

100% Pure New Zealand Layer in Google Earth

Upcoming events:

I'm doing the Cateye Moonride the second weekend in May. That's a 12 or 24 hour relay/lap race around the Rotorua redwood forest mountain bike trails. Same place where I dislocated my shoulder, but definitely not the same trails. That reminds me, I'll post some pictures of Peter riding those trails here, at the moment there in Flickr, but not well labeled.

Gotta run, more later.

File Under: New Zealand,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to Undisable the Use of USB Storage Devices

In a managed desktop environment, if a USB device fails to install because XP can't locate the drivers, chances are that The Man has messed with the permissions on USBStor.inf and/or USBStor.pnf

Just reverse whatever has been done from this article (requires admin privileges of course):

How to Disable the Use of USB Storage Devices.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

.Net CLR Performance Counters Don't Appear in Perfmon

This took a while to figure out . . . I needed to use the .Net Memory counters to watch the heap sizes and garbage collections. Unfortunately, none of them appeared in Perfmon under Performance Objects.

I looked up the old standby on "How to Manually Rebuild Performance Counter Library Values"

I wasn't quite willing to do all of the registry pecking and ripping needed to do that rebuild but I checked out the keys mentioned and tried running LODCTR \R on the .Net CLR ini file. That reported that they were already installed. :-

So I checked in on the registry entries under Services . . . HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\.NETFramework\Performance

Imagine my surprise when I saw this value:

Disable Performance Counters = 1

Setting that to 0 brought the counters back as expected.

I blame big brother for this one, but it turns out that windows will make this setting if a counter fails some tests at load time.
Disable Performance Counters

Although you can set Perflib not to disable on fail:
Perflib Configuration Flags

Sunday, March 04, 2007

COM Interop Problem with Type Library CoClass Names Changing


This was a real pain, and google was no help, so here's a post that hopefully helps someone else. 

(By the way, if you want to have some fun with VB developers who are calling your .Net Assemblies, this is hours of good, wholesome, plausibly deniable bug hunting.)   

Background:  A Visual Basic 6 project has been happily consuming a set of C# Serviced Components for some centuries.  One day, some functionality was added to the C# solution.   Suddenly the VB projects wouldn't compile.  

Basic investigation on the VB side revealed that the names of the components had changed from <BusinessObject> to <CompanyAccronym>_<FunctionalArea>_<BusinessObject>.  Basically, the new name of the object had become the namespace with dots replaced by underscores.  

We had enough experts around that we quickly narrowed it down to a naming conflict.  Ripping all the new functionality out of the solution fixed the problem, so it was obviously a conflict with a newly added object.  Renaming anything that might conflict would be the solution.  

The lingering question was exactly what circumstances cause the problem?   

To that end I've created a very simple repro in VS. 

The bottom line is that you can't have two classes with the same name in the same solution, no matter what you do with the namespaces.  As soon as you add the second (conflicting) class, you hose all of your COM clients who call your first class.  

Here's the Repro:

Create a solution. 
Add a class file:

namespace RobTest.TypeLib
 public class conflict
  public conflict()

Generate the type lib with Tlbexp:
    custom({0F21F359-AB84-41E8-9A78-36D110E6D2F9}, "RobTest.TypeLib.conflict")
coclass conflict {
    [default] interface _conflict;
    interface _Object;

Looks OK.

Now add another class in a totally different Namespace

namespace RobTest2.TypeLib2
 public class conflict
  public conflict()

Regenerate the type lib:
    custom({0F21F359-AB84-41E8-9A78-36D110E6D2F9}, "RobTest.TypeLib.conflict")
coclass RobTest_TypeLib_conflict {
    [default] interface _RobTest_TypeLib_conflict;
    interface _Object;
    custom({0F21F359-AB84-41E8-9A78-36D110E6D2F9}, "RobTest2.TypeLib2.TypeLibProblem2.conflict")
coclass RobTest2_TypeLib2_conflict {
    [default] interface _RobTest2_TypeLib2_conflict;
    interface _Object;

Not Good! 

The only solution is to rename the conflicting class:

namespace RobTest2.TypeLib2
 public class NoConflict
  public NoConflict()

Then everything goes happily back to the way it was.  
    custom({0F21F359-AB84-41E8-9A78-36D110E6D2F9}, "RobTest.TypeLib.conflict")
coclass conflict {
    [default] interface _conflict;
    interface _Object;
    custom({0F21F359-AB84-41E8-9A78-36D110E6D2F9}, "RobTest2.TypeLib2.NoConflict")
coclass NoConflict {
    [default] interface _NoConflict;
    interface _Object;

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mail-to-Blogger Post Tip Number 1

Use (hash)end at the end of the post content to keep the email auto-footer from posting.

Testing Post from Email

I've developed a backlog of little tiny posts on technical subjects that I've been intending to keep just as a "note to self". 
It should be easier just to post these as they come up via emails to blogger.  I'd forgotten that it had that feature. 

Coromandel Weekend

Another part of my birthday present from Kel was a weekend in the Coromandel!

Cathedral Cove KayakingWe started out kayaking in Hahae, off the east coast of the Coromandel peninsula.

Here's Cathedral Cove, we got lucky with the timing there, it had been closed for days earlier while there was filming going on for the next Narnia movie.

Cathedral Cove

Striped MarlinAfter the kayaking we did some driving and hiking to get to the tip of the peninsula. On our way through Whitianga we saw a boat come in with a 114kg Striped Marlin.

That evening we camped at a Dept. of Conservation (DOC) campground at Stony Bay. Check out the geotags on the Flickr photos to see the locations on a map. It was a long winding way on single lane gravel roads.

Hike from Stony Bay to Fletchers BayThe next morning we hiked across the very tip of the peninsula to Fletchers Bay. The scenery was amazing, I highly recommend that hike.

Hike to Fletchers Bay

Dscf0146On the other side, we hit a beach for a quick swim, then we did some biking along the coast.


Lastly, we stopped in Coromandel town for dinner (and happened to catch the tail end of the Black Caps beating Australia in Cricket). Fabulous weekend!

File Under: New Zealand,

My First New Zealand Earthquake

We had an earthquake last night. Actually, there were three of them, but the first one hit while we were in the car, and the second after we were asleep.

The one we felt was a 4.5 centered just up the road and off shore in Orewa. Down in Albany, it felt like sitting on a sofa in a moving truck while somebody gives it a big shove. Then there were a few rattles following that.

Here's the article from the Herald:

Earthquakes Shake Auckland Region.

File Under: New Zealand,

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Birthday Bungy Jump

This past weekend was my birthday (Jan 25th).

One of my Christmas presents from Kel this year was that we were going to be staying at the Powderhorn Chateau and hiking the Tongariro Crossing over my birthday weekend.

Taupo BungyWhen I opened my other presents on Thursday morning, one of them was a small printed voucher "good for one Birthday Surprise on the 25th".

I thought a lot about what that might be on the drive down to Taupo. I discovered shortly after Kel took over driving when we pulled into Taupo Bungy parking lot!

Taupo Bungy
They were taking a break for a bit when we pulled up, so I didn't get to see anyone else jumping straight away. Kel also recommended that I not look over the edge until after I'd signed up and weighed in, but after that I grabbed some photos from the platform.

When they started up again, I was second in line. It was nice to have one person ahead of me, so I was able to watch and knew basically what to expect. Though the scream that girl gave when she finally jumped wasn't at all what I wanted to hear at that moment. ;-).

When it was my turn they quickly strapped my lower legs into big cuffs, then attached the end of the bungy onto that harness with a big carabiner. Next they had me shuffle to the edge of the platform. That was probably the hardest part, standing on the very edge with my legs tied together, and feeling the weight of the whole bungy cord pulling on them.

View from the Taupo Bungy Platform

Looking at the drop from there, the water looked beautiful and deep. It would have been a perfect cliff jumping spot. If it were about one third the height (Which is 47 meters b.t.w.) I might have been tempted to jump without the bungy. That made it much easier to go when they counted me down.

My Jump

Taupo Bungy Jump

The drop is about what you'd expect. A rush of freefall, just like a cliff jump. Once you get going, the water comes up incredibly fast. But just before you get there, there's this springy sensation building up behind you. Then next thing you know you're flying up to the platform again. That's the second hardest part! There's a bunch more bouncing and dropping before you're done. Overall a great experience, I'm glad Kel did that for me (and even more glad it was a surprise). ;-)

My recommendation is definitely do the water touch thing, and don't bother wearing a shirt. ;-)

This one isn't me but it's a great shot Kel caught while I was walking back up the hill after my jump:

Bungy Jump

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