Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day of Interviews

One of the joys of being a Manager is that I get to spend the entire day tomorrow interviewing short-listed applicants for a Laboratory Technician role in my department that opened up recently. 

Yep, 7 interviews in total tomorrow starting at 8 am and finishing at 4pm. One interviewee is an internal applicant and one interview will be conducted over Skype which can make things extra awkward at times.

The problem I have with conducting interviews is that they require a lot of concentration and can be extremely tiring. At least thou I'll share the burden with my boss whose joining me.

On the positive side, the more people I interview the more chance I have of finding the right person.

5 Hilarious Job Interview Sketches from Saturday Night Live 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beep Fitness Test

Running, running and more running.

In the 4 weeks leading up to the start of the soccer season our new coach has been killing the 20 or so people coming to training twice a week. Full-field progressions, hill sprints, stair running, beep tests, 2.4 km time trials, core strength exercises are just some of the fun things we have been doing.

Of course I'm feeling fitter but with only three days until our first competitive game the coach still hasn't told anyone whose in what team, which isn't great. Further, we haven't practiced any set pieces or worked on our ball skills at speed or under pressure.

Anyway, last night I did a beep test for the second time in three weeks and the improvement was there to see.

date: 11/03/2014, Level 7.0
date: 3/4/2014, Level 10.1

bleep or beep test diagram 
Again, I do feel fitter and last weekend I managed to play a pre-season against a Southland/Otago Premier Div Team for almost 70 minutes without hurting the following day. But I still feel that I'm not as fast or as fit as I use to be. Age is a bugger really.

Rock & Pillar Range

It was Otago Anniversary Day (24th March) meaning no work. Sweet!

With not much to do I dragged Rowena off the sofa and toured along Highway 87 to The Rock and Pillar Range, about 1 hour West of Dunedin. This place is famous for its harsh weather and numerous rock tors, seen in Peter Jackson's LOTR Two Towers movie.

During our day we did a cool circuit walk around Sutton Salt Lake - New Zealand's only inland salt lake - and then stopped off at Macraes' Flat.

Standard picture in front of a sign.

The driver doesn't open gates.

Another hobbit spotted in the rock tors

Sutton Salt Lake. Middle of no where basically.


Macraes Flat

Macraes Flat...again

Gold Mine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wananka Trip

As a second anniversary trip my wife and I spent a weekend in Wanaka. We wanted to go somewhere different and Wanaka seemed like a logical choice.

We arrived  before lunch and Oour first activity was our course, Puzzling World. The last time I was here was with my parents over 20 years ago. I remember them arguing with one another as we struggled to navigate the maze so I did my best not to do the same this time with my wife. So I'm pleased to report we  managed to reach the 4 seperate corners of the maze in quick time, but finding the exit door was a real challenge.

After the maze we spent some time in each of the 5 optical illusion rooms. Both of us felt dizzy at times and Rowena ending up crawling on the floor at one stage.

We then had lunch on the Wanaka waterfront before heading to the shops for a look. After booking into our accommodation we spent a hour at Click N' Climb. It's amazing how tired you can get racing up a wall for 60 minutes but heaps of fun.

To finish off the day we walked up Mt Iron in the late evening, which turned out to be harder than we predicted as we took the long way back to the carpark. In fact, we were both buggered after a day of exercise.

The next morning we took a very long side-trip to Haast Pass before heading back home. On the way we stopped at Lake Hawea, Makarora , the Blue Pools (where are sand flies are just horrible) and Fantail Falls.

A good trip but I just wish we had more time to explore the beautiful places we visit. 

Puzzling World
So strong.

Ready for action at Click N' Climb.

  At the top.. now what do I do?

 Right at home.

Not my best pose.

At the bottom of Mt Iron.

Half way up.

Coming down the other side.

Blue Pools, Haast Pass.

Cool stone pillars.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thisbe Valley Track, Catlins

The Thisbe Valley Track in the Catlins isn't a well known track for a variety of reasons. It's not signposted from the road, the first 30 minutes of the track crosses privately owned farmland and you can't find much information about it on the internet. The only knew about it because I happened to be checking out some topographical maps of the area and noticed it.

Maybe the only people who use this area on a regular basis are DOC workers (conducting pest control work in the area to help Mohua survival) and deer stalkers? This assumption is supported by a look in the Thisbe Valley Biv log book which shows it hasn't been used for over three months.

Anyway, here's my description of the track.

The starting point is hard to find but basically drive west up Owaka Valley Road until you come to the intersection with Chloris Pass Road. Follow this south until it intersects with Cairn Rd. Follow Cairn Road west for a short distance (400 m) until a bridge is reached and cross it. Immediately after the bridge you will see Thisbe Valley to your left.

Park here beside the road, jump the fence and follow the farm road over three small fords. After 30 minutes of gradual ascending you will reach Thisbe Valley Biv. Head right along the fence line and look for a stile over the fence which indicates the beginning of the track into the native forest.

From here follow the orange triangular markers..(good luck)

The first 30-45 minutes of track is fairly straightforward but as you head further up towards the Calliope Saddle things become far more difficult. Some serious storm damage makes it very slow going in places as a lot of tree falls over the track have occurred. A lack of track maintenance also means a major test for your navigational skills (I actually think I spent more time looking for the track and walking around tree-falls than actually walking)

After about 90 minutes of frustration I just gave up trying to reach McLennan Hut. I'd battered my body trying to jump over branches and logs and the track was becoming harder and harder to follow. It was also getting late in the day so I reluctantly turned around. 

I have unfinished business with this track and next time I'd like to make an earlier start.

Looking north down the valley.

Thisbe Biv, located just at 25 minutes walk from the road. Not well used at all but a lovely place for a overnight tramp I think.

The main hut. Needs a good clean but generally ok.

Not many huts have abetter set-up. Picnic table and deck. The 'barn' on the left sleeps two and is very tidy inside. 

The fence stile that indicates where the track  leaves the farmland and enters the farmland.

The only track sign I could find. The time  up to McLennan Hut is scratched on the marker.

I took a tumble.

Another random track sign which could be easily missed.

Storm damage across the track

The warning sign says don't follow the pink markers, yet I had enough trouble finding a marker of any colour further up the track!

This tree fall was easy enough to avoid.

 But this one wasn't

Where's the track?

Quiz Night Success

Last week a work colleague asked me if I wanted to make a team and enter in a quiz competition being held at the Town Hall, a fund raiser for some High School students heading to New Caledonia on a class trip.

At the last minute we managed to scape a team together which consisted of Donna (the H&S Coordinator at work), her partner, Tracy (my Lab Administrator) and myself.

When we arrived at the Hall for the event it was packed with 34 teams (max of 6 people) which had registered.

The quiz consisted of 10 rounds of 10 questions, covering all the usual topics like sports, current events, local questions, music etc.

After the first three rounds we were doing well,  in the top 10 teams I think. However we faded badly during the middle rounds (local sign) to be sitting in 17th place with 4 rounds to go. Unbelievably, in the finall 4 rounds we barely got a question wrong and ended up being in a 4-way tie for first place!

Not a bad effort for a team of only 4 people.

However, a win wasn't to be. We got the tie-breaker question wrong and came 4th. 

A very fun night.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pre-season Pain

The 2014 soccer season starts in the first weekend of April so it's time to get fit again, and fast.

Last week Balclutha AFC had their first pre-season hit-out. All I can say is that I have a lot of fitness work to do. On Tuesday night we did a ProFit workout which involved runing 6 X 1 km running circuits and in between laps we did 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, 10 squats and about 60 m of lunges. I only managed 3 1/2 laps before collapsing.

Then on Thursday night we did a 6km circuit around the runway.

News on the team front is that Baclutha won't be entering a team in Dunedin's Fletcher Cup League in 2014. Instead the club has decided to enter a team in the +35 Masters Division and one in Division 4 for the younger guys. A good decesion in my opinion as last year we got smashed in the Fletcher Cup.

I'm still not sure which team I'll play for. I hate chasing young guys around the park all day but conversely, playing with the oldies might be even more frustrating I feel.

I guess I'll just go into whichever team needs the players more.