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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Wednesday March 05, 2003
04:24 AM

Where's Waldo?

[ #10901 ]
This week is vacation week. We drove to Coromandel to see my aunt, then down to Taupo, then on to Wellington. (One day for each of those legs). The weather improved by Taupo, and there have been beaches in our last two days.

Wellington's where I went to university, and it's been fun catching up with people. I had the tour of Weta FX today, the digital effects company behind Lord of the Rings. I went to uni with a lot of their employees, it turns out. Saw lots of things I can't tell you about (ha!), but mainly was amazed at how much work goes on once the camera stops rolling. And I thought it was hard to block, direct, and shoot!

They use a ton of Perl (ob. relevant comment for weblog). Their attitude is very much to let other people do their jobs and find ways to make all the disparate systems (even, ugh, Filemaker at once point) interact somehow. As someone said, "there's no time to do it Right, but plenty of time to do it again". Amazing set of challenges that I hadn't realized existed, being so used to the "take a long time and do it right, and nothing will be available until it's been done right" mindset of commercial software.

Today was gorgeous--bright and just enough wind. The family went to Lyall Bay where the shallow waters go on and on. William spent about an hour "booming the waves". Both kids were utterly knackered this evening, and went to sleep early.

The morning was the zoo. Wellington Zoo is amazing. Last week someone scaled the fence (how?! the fence is huge!) and get himself mauled, but there was no such sideshow today. The zoo is awesome--there are lookout platforms at the top of the giraffe enclosure, and they tie the giraffe's snacks (branches) to the lookout. William was inches from the dining giraffe, separated only by wooden slats. It was fabulous. The whole place is like that--open and intimate in ways that (for example) the Denver zoo isn't.

Tomorrow the fun is over for me--I have to renew my passport. Jenine's taking the kids to the Te Papa museum (the Museum of New Zealand) and thence to the botanical gardens. I will get to visit some old friends from university days though, so it's not all boredom and drudgery.

And, of course, being on vacation doesn't mean the work stops. OSCON schedule locked down in Taupo, and sent off to Vee from the hotel room here last night. There are too many good talks!


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  • My partner & I went to NZ for the first time last November on holiday and did more-or-less what you've just done in reverse. We started in Wellington, where Shelley has some family, and drove up to Auckland via Napier, Taupo, Rotorua etc. Fantastic. Driving was a real pleasure after the UK's crowded roads (plus the advantage for us of not having to drive on the 'wrong' side). We can't wait to go again.