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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

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

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.

big cup

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

Handling wood like a pro

Happy hump day all y’all! I’ve worked for a week at my job handling wood now, and I’ve come up with a list of imperative dos and don’ts you need to follow, should you ever find yourself surrounded by wood.

Size matters.

 

When it comes to wood, size is everything – so much so, in fact, that if a piece of wood is off by more than three millimetres, it has to be recut. There’s an age-old adage that says something like “measure twice, cut once” – I didn’t bother looking up the exact words – but that’s actually an understatement if anything; you really need to measure five times, cut once, then measure the wood you cut to make sure it’s right. Also continue to measure periodically, as the blocks tend to shift slightly, and 1mm is all it will take to ruin you. My saw partner and I spent two hours yesterday unstacking a pallet of cut wood to shave off five millimetres from the ends, because the kids who cut it weren’t careful. New saying: measure all the times, and then cut.

Handling wood can be messy.

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I learned this extremely obvious one the hard way. On my first day on the job, I wore my other pair of jeans – for the record, I had two pairs: my black ones I wear every day, and some blue ones; I’ve since bought more – and they immediately went from nice jeans, to work jeans only. Little wood pellets, sawdust, dirt, and paint now adorn my formerly-classy jeans – and even a quick rinse in the washer won’t fix that now.

Wear the proper protection.

Well this is a classic one. When dealing with wood, it’s necessary to use protection for your safety, as well as the safety of those around you. The people in charge say that, when you’re cutting and stacking wood, you don’t need to wear safety glasses, just ear plugs. False. I can’t count the amount of times –okay it’s seven – where I’ve had to stop because a bit of dust leapt off the wood right into my eye. It doesn’t help that we have giant doors there, and the wind blows through them all day every day. I also went about ten minutes on my first day without gloves; that was dumb. So, so dumb.

Be gentle but firm with the wood.

If you’re getting the wood onto the belt in order to cut it, there’s a technique to it. You have to use physics and science and whatnot to swing it on. However, if you do this too violently, the long-ass wood will snap, which is really damn inconvenient. You have to roll the wood, coax the wood, but you can’t let it rule you. When stacking cut wood into piles, it’s okay to kick it into place, but not too hard. Your steel-toe boots can damage the poor thing.

Don’t try to handle too much wood by yourself.

 

The biggest wood I’ve had to handle thus far was planks of the stuff measuring 3.6 metres. That’s pretty long wood. Since the planks are relatively thin, handling one is no problem; however, if there are two or three stacked on each other, I need my partner’s help. It’s important not to try to take on more wood than you can handle, because it can cause things to get messy and slow down production. Remember: don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help handling large loads of wood.

Embrace the wood jokes.

As a worker in an all-male plant handling tons of wood, you have to be able to take the jokes that inevitably come despite you doing nothing at all to bring it upon yourself. Also, for some reason, the radio station on in the factory – side note, it’s called myFM…weird! – always plays Timber by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha (did I spell that right?), and when it comes on, it’s appropriate to do anything from smirking when she yells timber, to singing and dancing along with the song. As long as the boss isn’t around, anyways.

Follow along with my adventures with wood!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

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

Learning to handle wood

Hello lovely people! Also, non-lovely people; I don’t discriminate.

Let me start off by saying in the last two days, I’ve seen and handled more wood than I’ve ever had to before.

 

WAIT. LET ME EXPLAIN.

 

Last weekend, I grew weary of living the dream – that is, I got bored with not having anything to do all day, plus my bank account was a little lower than I liked – so I applied to a bunch of jobs. I got an interview for two; the first was a temp agency, the second a courier position. I didn’t get the courier job because I surprisingly failed a New Zealand geography test. Fortunately, the temp agency interview consisted of watching some videos and filling out paperwork. I went in at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and left at 11 a.m. with a job lined up for the following morning. I’ve been working there for the last two days, and the first day left me incapacitated and unable to write about it – it involves working at a pallet-building company from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. We’re not allowed phones on the floor, but here’s an approximate picture of what it looks like.

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It’s not hard work – it consists of cutting, stacking, nailing, or painting wood. It surprisingly doesn’t get all that boring, and the time goes pretty quickly. The only problem is that to get there I have to walk 15 minutes, take a bus, and then walk another half-hour. But for 115 bucks a day I’ll put up with it.

It’s also a pretty good job because it’s basically a free gym membership; while the wood doesn’t weight much, repeated lifting, twisting and placing will have me in shape in no time. Not to mention the hour of walking every day.

In the meantime, a few other things are on the go; I applied to a travel-writing thing which I should hear back from soon – if I win, I get to go on a 10-day excursion through Europe and write about it. I’m also applying for an internship (paid! Suck on THAT Canada) for a popular radio station here, so we’ll see how that goes.

Now, I must be off; I am going to see X-Men: Days of Future Past now. I’ll let you know how it is!

Xmen

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

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

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