Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Giving a speech?

Last May, I went home to be at best man at my friend Matt Laurie's wedding. As best men do, I was given the task of giving a speech at the beginning of the evening. I'm not super scared of big crowds but didn't have much experience in the speech department. I will try to instill some of that knowledge I gained as we find ourselves in the middle of what is known as 'wedding season'.

1-I will start with what I believe is the most important part of giving a speech. Don't try to be something you aren't. If you aren't a funny person, don't force jokes down their throats. People have a way of seeing through other people. Just be yourself and everything else will be fine. Promise.

2-I started researching/studying for my speech about a week before I had to give it. It takes time. Don't wait until the last minute. Think about what you want to get across, do a few rough drafts, and maybe run it by someone you trust. I Googled how to give a speech and watched YouTube videos of worst best man speeches. It helps.

3-The shorter the better. Whatever you have, you can probably cut a bit out.

4-Having a few drinks isn't a bad idea. Being dunk is. Keep it together and let loose after your job is done.

5-Inside jokes are bad. Know your audience and keep it PG 13. Don't swear or talk about yourself the whole time.

6-I brought up cue cards. Winging it might work for some people but you might freeze up. Bring up some paper, makes you look legit.

7-Talk slowly. Enjoy yourself. It will be over in no time.

8-Dress the part. Wear a tuxedo, wear a suit, get a haircut, rock cufflinks, etc. Looking good breeds confidence. Lots of potential bridesmaids/groomsmen out there people!

9-Thank people. Thank parents. Thank anyone who had anything to do with the day. Show gratitude and appreciation.

10-Relax. All people are interested in is drinking, eating and dancing. They probably aren't even listening to you anyway so don't put too much pressure on yourself.

Don't forget to be yourself.

"Are you and adult" Little kid I met in New Zealand.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First city in the world to watch the sunrise

Just finishing up my time here in Gisborne, New Zealand on Saturday then off to Whakapapa to start my job on the snow hill. Been taking care of a ladies house/farm while she is in Wellington on training for her job. She has 5 goats, chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits, and sheep. Two of her goats are pregnant and I was given a quick how to deliver baby goats lesson. Fortunately, no baby goats have come this week so they are assured a proper entry into this world without me being in charge. I watched a video on goats giving birth and it was....disturbing. If you ever wondered what that looks like, watch this if you want but it is pretty graphic. 

Gisborne has a few claims to fame. Most notably, New Zealand is the first country in the world to watch the sunrise and Gisborne is the first city to watch the sun come up every day. Woke up early one morning and took these:

Other headlines Gisborne has attracted are from a dolphin named Moko. He would play with local kids and swimmers. Was known for "stealing" surfboards and other flotation devices and became a little tourist attraction within the town. He was also put on Time magazines most heroic animals for preventing a mother pygmy sperm whale and calf from beaching themselves on Mahia Beach in 2008. He was also made into a popular kids book.

If you want to see Moko in action, check this out:

Moko wasn't the only dolphin to unleash his inner animal on this small little town. Homer the sea elephant knocked out the power at a restaurant and damaged cars in the area close to the sea. People were less said when he left.

Has been relaxing waking up on a farm, feeding animals, watching NBA and NHL playoffs and living a stress free lifestyle. Excited to be put to work and finally have some income coming in. Hope you are liking the NZ posts so far and remember that compliments shouldn't be kept inside. If you can think of something you admire or like about someone then tell them. 
Lhasa, China
Lhasa, China sunrise

I gave my old students my e-mail if they wanted to stay in touch. This is what I get back.

Hello teacherbert(very ugly)
      Today I go to Kiki home Kiki said teacher Bert give Kiki a spelling word!555

New Anchorman trailer that comes out in December:


An interesting commencement speech:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bucket list

People ask me all the time: "Bert, you sexy, handsome, amazing writer you, what on earth is on your bucket list?" Great question. Today is that day people, today is that day. I have tons of free time on my hands so I thought I would do this. Feel free to make yours and let me know about it or let me know what you think of mine. Have a great weekend! If you want inspiration making your own lists, check these sites out:





Be able to speak Japanese
Be able to speak Spanish

Live in: 
South America

Bet on a horse race
Own a motorcycle
Snowboard in Whistler
Snowboard in Japan
Snowboard in Colorado
Enter a last person touching the prize contest
Get a free breakfast from a casino

Make an amazing taco salad
Learn to play chess
Learn to dive
Learn to tie a bow-tie
Restore a car
Help build a house
Build a piece of furniture for my house
Get CPR certified
Learn Muay Thai
Learn a magic trick
Learn to change a tire
Become decent at golf
Make an amazing chilli
Make amazing quesadillas
Be able to ride a horse
Do my own taxes
Learn to surf
Learn to wake-board

Dive Sipadan
Dive a shipwreck
See a whale shark
Alaskan cruise 
Guys weekend once a year for the rest of my life
New York, Boston, Chicago
Italy, Spain, London, etc...
Travel throughout Canada, possibly by train

Go see a Dallas Cowboys game in Dallas
Go go the Super Bowl
Watch a Montreal Canadians game in Montreal
See a college football game live
Go to a Winter Olympics
Go to a Summer Olympics
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Tomorrowland-Belgium (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGPXJ6Hsb_0)
Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada
Watch a football/soccer game in Europe
Watch a show on Broadway
Kentucky Derby

Be an extra in a movie
Go on a date with a celebrity or have a celebrity friend
Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel
Live in a completely French speaking country for at least 4 months
Watch the Northern Lights in either Upper Canada or Iceland
Run/own my own business
Fly first class
Save someone's life
Go canyoning 
Snowboard in New Zealand
Donate blood 100 times
Summer travelling through Europe
Do a stand-up comedy routine at a comedy club
Get a waitress to put her number on the back of the bill without asking for it
Play RISK again with University roommates
Be a part of a (friendly) riot
Eat at In & Out Burger
Take part in a murder mystery dinner
Buy something at an auction
Go hunting
Pretend to be John Langer
Win a 50-50 draw
Complete a triathlon
Safari in Africa
Be interviewed by Piers Morgan.
Be in a play
Coach a kids basketball team
Build a tree house

Heart stopping proposal
Marry a beautiful/funny woman
Have a boy and a girl
Teach them stuff
Go on family vacations

Have a butcher
Have a lawyer
Have an accountant 
Be completely debt free
Have an aquarium
Write a bucket list post

"The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity." 

Dr. Robert Anthony

Funny? Video:

Interesting picture(s):


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

All-Blacks game

Just spent the last 16 days in Waimauku, helping out two different families with their house/farm/children in exchange for food and a place to stay. I had fun, families were very welcoming, the work wasn't too hard and go to know New Zealand people a little better. Things that stick out from that experience were how laid back New Zealanders are, how while we all speak English, different accents and the use of different words makes some communication surprisingly a bit more challenging. Another example: Brits. I also got a glimpse into the future with getting kids ready for school, dealing with them fighting with their older/younger brother, family meetings and other grown up activities. It is something that I am certainly looking forward to but am surely in no rush to get involved in.
Friday the 7th of June was my last day with them, got a ride into Auckland, checked into my hostel, had a few beers while watching Game 1 of the NBA finals. Then, walked over to the movie theatre and watched The Hangover 3 while drinking beer that you can buy legally at the counter. Being able to buy beer at a movie theatre just makes sense.
Favorite NZ beer so far

After that, went back to my hostel, roamed around the city, and returned to a bar I had been to before called Tyler Street Garage that plays good music and is a good crowd. A big difference I see from going out in Canada and here is that people are bit more friendly and open to coming up and starting conversations. On that night, 5 different sets of people came up and asked my why I was alone, where I'm coming from and generally just being really nice. If you go out alone in Canada, people kind of look at you funny and think you are some sort of creep. It also might have helped that I was wearing my suit and look like a fun time.
The next day I took a ferry a 15 minute ferry to Devanport port, a really beautiful small town that has a naval museum that I didn't go to because well that seems incredibly boring, tons of book shops, coffee places and restaurants. I may or may not haven eaten an amazing bagel there. Also, climbed a little mountain and took these pictures.


It was perfect weather for a bit of sight seeing and got me ready for my first rugby match, New Zealand vs. France. People love rugby like Canadians love hockey. The All-Blacks are like a team sent from the heavens and everyone loves them. Found tickets online and went with people I met while working with one of the families in Waimauku. Walked from their house to a bar that was close by. The couple that I stayed with, Kevin and Claudia, got interviewed by one of the newspapers because he is French and she is from New Zealand. (I smell a sitcom...)
I'd never seen a game before so they had to go over the rules with me beforehand, and this was a rematch of the World Cup Final two years ago with the All-Blacks winning by just one point. I was surprised at the amount of French people at the game, probably close to 15% of the fans were supporting the French side. The stadium is new and well designed so even with being in the cheaper seats ($65) it still felt like I wasn't that far from the action. The stadium was packed, France scored first even though they were the underdogs. Here are the highlights if you are interested:

Before the match starts, the All-Blacks do the Haka, a traditional Maori dance to intimidate their opponents. 

The game went by fast, I had a fun time but rugby isn't a sport I would really get into. The guys who play a certainly men who you wouldn't want to start trouble with. Going to anything that involves tickets, a great atmosphere and friends is always a good time. Concerts, comedy clubs, plays, anything to do with sports and drinkings; it's just plain fun and something that I missed while living in Asia. 13 days till I start work on the hill!

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." 
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How much does it cost to move to NZ?

Since I write down everything that I spend money on, I thought I would add it all up and look back on how much moving to New Zealand cost, where I went wrong and things I somehow managed to get right. I will convert all of this into Canadian dollars. 

Visa- Just applying for the visa was $140. In addition, since I lived in Thailand I was at risk for tuberculosis so I needed to go to Bangkok: 
-Flight $68
-Taxi $13
-X-ray $38
-Food $10

Flight from Singapore to Auckland-$500
Flight from Auckland to Queenstown-$114

Getting to Singapore

Will get a little less specific here about every dollar but since getting to Singapore on May 1st until June 2nd, I've spent $2352 CAN. I have a few categories so let's break those down.

Breakfast- $23. Did well in this area. Not eating is apparently a great money saving strategy. $13 of those dollars came from an amazing bagel I had first thing in Queenstown. Love bagels.

Lunch-$119. I'm fine with this number I guess. Great insight eh?

Dinner-$116. Even better! Thought my dinner expense would beat my lunch expense. This would show that I haven't been indulging in lamb yet.

Entertainment- This is vague category, usually filed under drinks at a bar, movie watching and things like that. $105. Not exactly been sky diving and bungee jumping like the other millionaire tourists...

Transportation-$368. If you add the $114 I spend before arriving on this flight the number goes up. This mostly comes from a $300 flight from Queenstown to Auckland for a job interview for the job I have. Thought I would get a job on the South island, wasn't looking good so bit the bullet and went to the interview. Turned out to be money well spent. 

Lodging-$400. This number would be way higher if I hadn't spent the last 11 or so days staying rent free on a farm. This has also influence my food budget and limited my alcohol spending and entertainment options. What this money bought me was about 21 days in different dorms around NZ, usually with 6-8 other people in them. Not the worst thing in the world, good for meeting people but bad for privacy and a good nights sleep. 

Miscellaneous-This is where buying all of my winter gear gets put, purchasing books, Skype credit and things like that. $914. This is mostly for my winter jacket $260 and buying other warm clothing for the winter season. I'm okay with this number because the last thing I want to be all winter is cold so the right attire is needed. 

Groceries-(old grade 3 spelling word) $108. Staying at a hostel, buying food then making it there saves tons of money and might be a little healthier depending on what you buy. 

Alcohol-(not a grade 3 spelling word) $181. This being higher than my dinner and lunch number probably isn't good. Alcohol will get you people, at least it isn't bad for your health. 

This wasn't me living super frugally. I went out a few nights in Auckland and Queenstown, had a few decent meals, bought good clothes and books I've wanted to read for a while now. Flying from Singapore was also crazy cheap and I know that flying from Canada round trip would be over $2000 depending on how far in advance you book. Helping out with these families has drastically cut expenses and is a good way to meet actual people from New Zealand and not other travellers. Well, that's what I spent, will try and save money this winter to figure out what to do next. Hope you enjoyed this, have a great week!

"No money, no honey"