Auckland

The long drive, Hobbiton, and NaNoWriMo

Hola amigos!

Yes, once again it’s been a while since a blog post. This time, I lay the blame on NaNoWriMo – or, as it’s known to n00bs, Nation Novel Writing Month. I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, since last time, we decided to drive from Auckland to Christchurch for some reason – about fifteen hours.

On our way, we accidentally stumbled into Middle Earth somehow. We took two hours and explored Hobbiton, then got a drink at the Green Dragon Pub. Here are a few photos:

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(Check out the full album here.)

After that we continued our long drive (long, but nothing compared to my Yellowknife or Bust adventure), stopping in Wellington for the night. We took a ferry the next morning – it was pretty big.

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Apparently it holds about ten thousand people, which is a lot of people.

The rest of the drive was pretty boring, except for the cool scenery and one time where we almost ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. I saved us, though, by continuing to drive until I found a gas station.

So we’ve been settled in our new flat for a while now. I’m back at the pallet factory and Kylie is done school finally. We’re going to both work until her graduation on December 19, and then explore all that New Zealand has to offer.

In the meantime, though, I am hard at work writing.

November is National Novel Writing Month – a challenge where tons of people across the world attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. I tried this last year and only got about 13,000 words, but this year is different.

I was already well into my attempt at a novel, and I’m using NaNoWriMo as a push to finish it. Currently, I’ve written 96,547 words for my manuscript – my goal is 100k, but it looks like it will finish off closer to 115k – and 26,975 of that has come in the month of November. By the end of today, to stay on the pace of 1,667 words per day, I should be at 26,672 – thanks to a fevered writing session last night where I wrote two day’s-worth, I was able to take the time out to write this blog.

Soon, I’ll be posting stuff about the novel, like asking people to edit it, or how I should go about trying to get it published, etc. In the meantime, you can check out the synopsis and prologue at the following link:

TWIN KILLERS on Tablo

Any feedback is more than welcome! I have another 25 chapters already written if the prologue piques your interest.

Thanks for reading all y’all, follow me on my social media things!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Novel, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trip to Waiheke Island

On Saturday, Kylie and I finally got the opportunity to get out and see some of Auckland other than the bus depot and grocery store. The day dawned bright and warm, so we decided to go visit Waiheke Island.

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Of course, as the name implies, the place is an island. This meant we had to take the ferry. While waiting in line, we saw some lady with a lamb for a pet.

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Like any amateur with a camera, I took a billion shots of the water at different angles and stuff while we crossed. Here are a few okay ones.

 

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Nope, not Toronto: Auckland!

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Still Auckland!

 

It was approximately a 40 minute ride to get to Waiheke. Once there, we realized the island was a bit bigger than we had anticipated.

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We decided to hoof it to the nearest village, which was a pleasant walk in the sun.

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There was a music museum so naturally we checked it out. Some of the instruments are from the 1800s, which was pretty cool.

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Kylie playing a flute older than her!…and actually, older than Canada as well.

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After that we were all like, oh a beach? Let’s go to that! So we did.

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And even thought it was pretty cold, I stood in the Pacific long enough to take this glamour shot.

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You’re welcome for all the pictures.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Holiday, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First impressions of Auckland

Hey all!

So I’ve been in Auckland for just over a week now, and I have to say: my original impression that it was similar to Toronto was pretty off base.

The first Saturday we were here, Kylie and I went out to experience the night life – only, there was none. Everything closes at around five o’clock, even on weekends. Luckily exceptions include grocery stores and McDonald’s, but I was pretty disappointed. There aren’t very many bars, either! I’m looking closer into that, though.

So far, despite the tame nightlife, Auckland is so much better than Christchurch. It’s much warmer – in fact, most mornings I eat my breakfast outside on our patio in a t-shirt. Considering it’s the dead of winter here, this is amazing.

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The scenery is beautiful and lush. It makes you feel like you’re on a tropic island somewhere – which technically we are I suppose. Our house is at the bottom of a huge hill, so my leg muscles have been getting quite a workout as well.

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The bus system took a little longer to figure out, and is a bit more expensive, but after using the buses and trains for the last week we’ve pretty much got it sorted.

I went into Background Talent and signed up for that again, so hopefully I’ll be getting some more work with them, so I can see my face for ~1 second on a television. They were super friendly and took a bunch of photos of me, so that’s cool too.

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I’ve pretty much realized that around the beginning of September, I’m going to have to rent a car. I’m psyching myself up to drive on the wrong side of the road, especially since, after our trip to Australia, we’re going to drive from Auckland back to Christchurch for Kylie’s last term. It’s about 15 hours so it’ll definitely be a test.

Other than that, I have the house of eight flatmates to myself during weekdays, since I’m the only one here who is on holiday and not working. I pass the day by reading, writing, and doing 15 second covers of songs for Instagram.

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I’m happy to announce I’ve reached the 100-page mark in my attempt at a novel, and still have plenty more to go on! My soft deadline of the end of November to finish seems as if it may be in reach. If any of you consider yourself editors, let me know if you’d be down to peruse the draft!

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I’m finally getting around to sending postcards, about four months after getting here. Again, if you’d like one, let me know via some sort of social media before the end of the week.

Other than that, keep it real and follow along with the adventures! They’re going to get exciting, as there is plenty to do in Auckland on the weekend.

Twitter: @CamMParkes               

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Australia, Blog, Holiday, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auckland adventures

Well, I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Auckland this week, and let me just say: I love it already.

The flight was the easiest thing ever. Kylie and I walked ten minutes to our bus stop, and it took us directly to the domestic terminal. Checking our luggage and passing through security literally took a combined time of less than ten minutes, and the flight itself was just over an hour.

Since we were new to the area we didn’t know the bus routes, so we had to take a cab to our new place from the airport – that set us back about eighty bucks, but we didn’t have much alternative. However, after exploring the city for a few days, we now know the buses well enough to get back at a much cheaper cost.

Speaking of cheaper costs, our new room is about fifty dollars cheaper per week than our current place – yet it’s about five times the size; it has its own lounge, and the last guy in there left his TV and PS3 behind. YES.

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Like I said, Kylie and I got out and explored the town. It’s exactly like Toronto, except about half the population, very little garbage in the streets, much less pollution and no homeless people. Okay so it’s the exact opposite of Toronto, whatever. It has its own CN Tower, of sorts!

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Kylie and I had a nice meal at a restaurant to celebrate our one year, and then went to the casino. I will sum up that adventure by saying I did not win five grand this time.

We purchased essentials such as sheets and a blanket and some food to get by, and on Saturday it was back to Christchurch, where we saw Guardians of the Galaxy – awesome movie by the way.

Now just one more week of work at the pallet factory, and we’re off to Auckland for seven or eight weeks.

ALSO I bought a new ukulele so make sure to check out my Instagram/Twitter (links below) for covers!

 

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Music, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heading down unda’

Good news, everyone!

 

 

So back in April, I was able to cross coming to New Zealand off my bucket list – something that’s been there since I first learned that the setting for the Lord of the Rings was here. While I haven’t seen the Shire yet, I’ll be doing so in the next little while as we’re moving to the North Island, where it’s situated (yeah, New Zealand is actually two islands. Who knew?).

Now, I’ll officially be able to cross visiting the land down under off that list, too. Kylie and I booked our flights yesterday – we’ll be in Australia from September 28 to October 8. Needless to say, I’m super psyched to get warm, visit some beaches, scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, surf on some waves, ride some kangaroos etc.

Back to the moving thing, I’ve given notice to my employer and landlady, so it’s really happening. On Thursday we head up for the weekend, then one more week of work and shitty 6:50 a.m. wakeups, and off to Auckland for eight weeks. Definitely pumped to be done with stacking wood.

In other news, I broke 60 pages into my attempt at a novel, hovering at about 19,000 words currently – I’m thinking I’m about 1/5th done, probably. So that’s cool – the goal is to be done by the end of November, currently.

The next update will be nice and long, as I’ll have a bunch of Auckland stuff to talk about!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Australia, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casino nights and creative stints

Oh man, it’s been about two weeks since my last update. WAIT, I CAN EXPLAIN!

Things have been quite busy around here the last little while. We’ve managed to successfully get a place in Auckland as of July 31, which is a huge relief since it means we won’t have to camp out in a park or something. We fly down the 31 to August 2 for our first trip, then again on the 9 for good. Or, well, for eight weeks at least.

Kylie and I also went to the Christchurch casino for the first time, along with some friends; the casino has an all-you-can-eat burger night on Thursdays, so we partook in that before hitting the slots. After losing about ten dollars, a well-timed max bet netted me over five grand, so needless to say, the night was a success in the end. You’re not allowed to take pictures in the casino, so here is a representation of what happened.

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You can tell I used to draw comics for a living, can’t you? Anyways, that comic isn’t the only form of creativity I’ve been practicing these last weeks. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been frequenting a site called Sporcle – it’s a site with tons of quizzes and you should definitely check it out if you have the time (and let’s be real, if you’re reading this, you have the time)! When you do, you should start by checking out the quizzes I have created, spending hours and hours getting them just right. Links are here:

Monopoly quiz – think you know Monopoly?

Zelda: Majora’s Mask logic/knowledge quiz – Logic and knowledge required.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time A-Z – Name the items associated with the best game of all time.

 

I’ve also been trucking away at my “novel” – I’ve set myself a personal goal of the end of November to be finished. I’m forty-seven pages in so far (~15,600 words) so it’s going well. I’ve been pushing myself to add 500 words per day and have mostly kept it up for the past while.

On the other end of the artistic spectrum, Kylie and I have been creating some lovely music, so here are some more links for you to check out, share, like, subscribe to, whatever you do on YouTube.

Hey Ho – Lumineers cover

No Rain – Blind Melon cover (featuring flute)

And I have a few on SoundCloud too:

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I think that about covers the links I wanted to give you! I’d have way more content if I hadn’t finally decided to watch Breaking Bad. Holy shit, I just…wow.

Oh! I also lost my onesie virginity on Thursday.

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More updates soon: Auckland in less than two weeks!

Follow along for updates, pictures and 15-second covers:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

(Ok there were two more links.)

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Music, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going-ons in Christchurch

Hi all – sorry for the longish absence. It’s been a busy last little while!

First off, happy belated Canada Day, and happy current Independence Day for all those ‘muricans that may read this.

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I’ve now been in Christchurch, New Zealand for three months, and things are changing up a bit. Kylie and I celebrated our eleven months the other day, and as well, we got a room together at one of my landlady’s other houses – it’s only for five weeks or so, until we go to Auckland, but in addition to getting to live together, it’s saving us both a lot on our rents, which is nice.

Recently, we’ve been taking advantage of a sweet deal at the movies (five tickets for 50 bucks) and seeing all the new films as they come out. We’ve seen Transformers 4, 22 Jump Street, Edge of Tomorrow, a delightful NZ film called What we do in the Shadows, X-Men: Days of Future Past, probably more that I’m missing, and last night we saw How to train your Dragon 2.

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In line for next week is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and shortly after that, Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s been fun! When we’re not doing that, we’ve been busy looking for rooms, flights, etc. We have a good lead on a room in Auckland that won’t break the bank, and we’re hoping to confirm getting it this week. We’ve also started planning our trip to Australia, which will be in the first week of October most likely, and even started looking at flights home (gotta book early!) for some time in the new year.

In other news, I’m just over 10,500 words into my attempt at a fantasy novel, and the ideas are still flowing, so that’s good; I’m also creating quizzes on Sporcle – only one so far, but I have ideas. It’s just over a month into winter here, and the lowest the temperature has dipped is -2 degrees C. On average it’s about 12 degrees, so that’s nice.

Kylie got a job at a jewellery kiosk in the mall, so that’s keeping her busy as well as bringing in more income. Yay! Also, we’ve started doing covers of songs! Check it out on my Instagram (link below) or my YouTube page. Our goal is one per week.

To celebrate three months in New Zealand, here are some words we say that they say differently:

Us vs. Them

Counter – Bench
Trunk (car) – Boot
Gas – Petrol
Pop – Fizzy
Five-thirty (time) – Half-five
Canada – Canadia

That’s all for now, keep following for more updates.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, List, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Island and things

Hey all!

Well, it’s official: Kylie got her placement confirmed at a school in Auckland, and we’ve booked our flights (plural needed due to a large excess of baggage…between the two of us…).

I’m excited, as not only do I get to see a new place, I get to start the countdown for leaving the pallet-making company. Surprisingly, the job isn’t bad at all. It goes quickly, builds strength, and isn’t very difficult to comprehend. That being said, I don’t want to do it for like seven years or anything.

I made a comprehensive to-do list of things I want to, well, do, while I’m on North Island:

  1. Check out the Lord of the Rings sites
  2. Other things too, probably

Other than that, things are pretty much the same. We’ve kind of settled into a routine: I get up at 6:30, go to work to pay the bills, then collapse in bed around 10:30 and pass out. It’s been winter here for almost three weeks, and I bought my first new “coat” since starting university back in ’08. It looks kind of like a peacoat, but is nowhere near as warm. However, it’s still too warm for the “winter” here.

To pass the time between finishing work and going into my nightly coma, I’ve been playing the guitar a bit. I’ve been posting 15 second covers on Instagram – they’re perfect because I can sound good for 15 seconds. That being said, I did create a soundcloud for longer covers, and just posted the first one – you can check that out here if you so desire.

Exciting things are on the horizon. Follow along so you don’t miss out!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, List, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the north

Hello all! Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently; it was my birthday week and so I’ve been getting belligerently drunk all day every day for the last seven or eight days.

JUST KIDDING! I’ve been going to bed at 10 p.m. so I can get up to go to the pallet factory. But I’m only there for another 8 weeks or so; after that, I’m moving up to Auckland!

What!? Well hey now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. These things –that is, life recaps – have to be done in chronological order; it’s the rule.

You may have noticed a few semicolons used in the past few paragraphs (if you didn’t, don’t worry, at least you’re pretty); I’ve been working on my future-best-selling novel and have slowly become comfortable using them – correctly or not remains to be seen – again after having them beaten out of me at the Gazette. I’m pumped with the progress I’ve made, although it is slow going. They say every story has a beginning, middle, and end, right? Well, I’ve written the beginning and end, and now all I have left to do is fill in the middle. Should be easy!

In other news, I had a winter birthday for the first time ever. Apparently June 1 is the first day of “winter” in this strange land?

chch winter

Anyways, to celebrate, I went to a bar with about five or six young women – Kylie, her flatmates and their friends. I felt old.

Kylie, being the creative entity she is, got me a few awesome gifts:

Yeah, it's a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

Yeah, it’s a Zelda mug; fill it with hot water, and the heart container fills up.

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As you can tell, the theme this year was “mugs.” She also got me some books and candy, and her flatmate Susie got me a very rude card as well.

So now, onto the travel plans! It all actually seemed to come together rather nicely, as if the universe were saying “hey guy, you should go to Auckland, or something.” I applied for a radio internship in Auckland, and although I didn’t get it (at least, I haven’t heard from them yet and it starts on the 16 so I assume that) it got me thinking it’d be exciting to check out Auckland. Then, Kylie’s placement coordinator sent out an email saying they wanted people to do their placements outside of Christchurch. THEN, one of the airlines offered some pretty sick deals for flights, including some to Auckland and back. So we’re heading up at the end of July just for a weekend to take my bag of stuff and one of Kylie’s bags, find a place, check out the lay of the land, etc. Then, August 9 we head up again, taking Kylie’s remaining bags, and we’ll be there for like two months or something. Pretty exciting!

I’m now counting down the days until I move on from the pallet factory. I’ll be pursuing the background talent stuff so who knows, maybe I’ll become a huge New Zealand star?

Doubtful, but follow me just in case.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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