Todd got a job. “Sweet As!” Don’t get confused, that’s not “sweet ass”. This is a kiwi saying Todd and I are getting used to. People say this when you get good news (such as above), when you want to show appreciation, or after someone says thank you to you. At first we were a bit confused by this saying. We kept wanting the later half of the statement. We would ask ourselves, “Sweet as what?” But I guess anything sweet will do. You can make it up! Sweet as honey. Sweet as sugar. Sweet as popcorn. Well, that’s not so sweet, but good anyway. “Sweet as” is just another example of how Todd and I are blending into the kiwi culture by picking up their lingo. Its wild how the more time you converse with people who talk different, you end up talking like them. Its pretty subconscious, I think. I find myself saying these words in my head and in conversation when I don’t even mean to! A field is a pitch. A trunk is a boot. A vacation house is a bach. ‘Excellent’ is ‘Choice’. ‘Damn it!’ is ‘Bollocks!’ If you’re upset about something you’re ‘gutted’. Ones I have not come around to yet: Taa, G’day, and mate. Time will tell on these. But I do like ‘Sweet as’. It’s growing on us.
So, back to the point: Sweet As! Todd got a job. And a good one, at that. He is working for GNS, another crown research institute like NIWA. GNS stands for Geological and Nuclear Sciences. You can find out all you want to know about GNS here: http://www.gns.cri.nz/ Todd works for a large (and well funded) project at GNS called Geonet. To the best of my understanding (and this is quite limited since we are talking geology now and not marine ecology) Geonet runs a large network of seismic and geological sensors that are placed throughout the nation. This network monitors all geological activity like earthquakes, land slides, volcano eruptions. (Apparently there is a lot of geological action in NZ. I’m waiting to feel my first ever earthquake, Just a little one, please.) All this data is then sent back to their office in Wellington (in the Lower Hutt to be precise) either by cell tower, satellite, radio frequency, etc. Todd’s job is to install, maintain and repair these many sensors all over the country. Todd is a Senior Technician. So, Todd gets to go all over the country, drive trucks off road, fly in helicopters, play with lots of tools, and generally have a good time. Lucky! So far he’s up for lots of training. Today was off-road (4X4) driving (somebody else flipped the truck), but there’s also high altitude training (working on ladders), alpine mountaineering, helicopter evacuation training (I’m not too thrilled about this one), TCP/IP (networking stuff), CPR, quad bike/ATV training, and more. He’s already got his first trip coming up. On Wednesday he’ll be off to Palmerston North (on the west side of the north island) to fix something on an overnight trip. All in all, it sounds like a good gig. They are paying him well, plus he’ll make overtime! Let the paychecks roll in! Woohoo! He’s been getting his feet wet this past week and he even got to go tool shopping on an unlimited budget. This is a guy’s dream! No less, tomorrow is ‘bonding’ day for his department so he gets to go go-cart racing. Lucky! The only bummer of the job is the long commute. Takes Todd about 1 hr by bus or 45mins by bike. He seems to prefer the bike ride. It’s not uphill (which is unusual for Wellington) but a third of it is along a highway. He likes the ride because he can go fast (Todd likes speed), at least when he’s not fighting a head wind or a rainy, cold day. He just got home and said, “I had a fast ride home. Got to watch all those suckers struggling upwind. Hee hee hee hee.” It was a strong northerly today. Wait til you’re the sucker….
So, that’s about the news here. My work is good and challenging. Supposedly there were whales (possibly southern right whales) in the bay outside our offices today. I could not spot them through the white caps (blowing about 25 knots). That reminds me, Todd and I also picked up another working gig: NIWA hired us to basically write up an environmental assessment of the impacts of a marine energy facility on marine mammals. Despite plentiful marine mammals in NZ, NIWA has no ‘marine mammal people’. So here we are! People seem very happy, and sometimes surprised, to hear we have this background. Anyway, there was a recent approval for a tidal power facility on the south coast of the north island (near Wellington), so there is need for our report. We spent this past rainy, windy weekend inside working away on it. It was so windy and wet that my soccer game was cancelled. I was so disappointed! Gutted! Todd and I had even rented a David Beckham DVD Saturday night so I was inspired to score!