Randomblings from New Zealand

Time to dump all the random stuff I’ve accumulated into a post :)

What has it got in its pocketses?

I take EDC (everyday carry) very seriously. If necessary, I should be able to survive any reasonable situation I might find myself in just by the contents of my pockets.

I always have on my person my phone, a multitool, my wallet, my keys, a couple of pens, a pocket torch, my AT Hop card (for the public transportation here) and a rock.

My preferred multitool is the Leatherman Squirt PS4. I like it so much I’ve actually bought four of them (I lost one, I had one confiscated by the TSA, and one of them saw so much use the scissors broke).

Surprisingly, the most useful part of these is the pliers. It’s difficult to overstate how handy it can be to have a pair of pliers on me at all times. Each of these blades has seen multiple uses, though the so-called Philips blade should really be called the “strip your screw” blade and as such should only be used in an absolute pinch.

Why do I carry a pocket torch (a word I prefer over flashlight because it’s fewer syllables) when I have a phone? Several reasons. This light is brighter than the LED on my phone, it doesn’t use my phone’s battery, and I can take it into places where I wouldn’t take my phone (for example, exploring sea caves).

I am obsessed with writing implements and care deeply about finding the right ones. My favorite EDC pen in currently the Pentel EnerGel .35mm. Unfortunately, I lose or otherwise destroy pens at an astonishing rate, and it’s hard to get those pens in New Zealand for a reasonable price. I have yet to find a replacement I like as much as those, but I’m still looking. Next time I’m back in America I’m going to buy about a thousand of them and be set for life.

You can tell which pens I regularly keep in my pocket; they’re the beat up ones.

I really like my wallet. It has two zipper pockets, and folds up fairly flat. It also blocks RFID, which is important because most cards here have RFID chips and I don’t want anyone reading my debit card details just by waving an RFID reader near my pants.

My phone is an LG Nexus 5, which I’ve had for about two years and still think is one of the best phones ever made. It’s a great size for my hands, reliable, and has some great features. The battery isn’t quite enough for a full day of constant use, so in my backpack and my car I have a veritable cornucopia of batteries and charging cables. C’est la vie.

The camera is good enough for casual use (some of the photos on this blog came from its camera) and it’s pretty durable. Durability is significantly increased through the use of a tempered glass screen protector. I have never cracked the screen on one of my phones, but I have destroyed more than one screen protector. I can’t help but feel these two points are related somehow.

If I’m on a hike I’m also carrying my camera bag. Many professional photographers have third-party camera bags, but I find the bag that came with the camera to be sufficient.

I carry my camera body with two lenses, a spare battery and lens cap, some lens cloths, a shade, and some macro lenses and polarizing filters (I have a UV filter that permanently lives on the end of the small lens, a practice that I recommend for any lens that sees frequent outdoor daylight use).

So that’s what I carry with me.

The many colors of the Sky Tower

I’m not sure what the pink tower is for, but it’s pretty spiffy looking against the nighttime cityscape.

Yellow and red, as I found out, denotes the Chinese New Year. Why it was decked out in these colors in the middle of Winter remains unclear, but I think this is a nice color combo so I’m not complaining.

I really like the rainbow-colored spire effect. You can’t see it in a photo, but the colors actually move around.

Here’s another view of the rainbow tower.

It’s been a pretty foggy winter. Some days the Sky Tower is barely visible!

On foggy nights the spire is often lit red. It looks ominous, but I think it might be to keep helicopters from crashing into it.

For US Independence Day, the spire was decked out in a red, white, and blue. ‘Merica!

Lately for some reason it’s been orange and yellow a lot. Possibly in celebration of all the road works going on around Auckland. I hope that’s the actual reason, because that would be delightfully cheeky.

The pools behind St. Paddy’s are lit up blue at night, leading to some cool shots with the Big Traffic Cone in the background.

Other randoms

Buckle up!

We really want to put this bench here, but we also don’t want to cut down this tree. What to do?

Superman’s girlfriend lives here.

A cool flower and / or vegetable.

A fog detector has a bright light and a light sensor. It shines the bright light and measures the amount that’s reflected back into the sensor, which provides a quantitative reading for the fog density.

It works better when there’s not a plant growing right in front of it.

I was in Victoria Park recently and observed an amazing sunset. It looks like the Waitakeres are on fire!

Closing thoughts

New Zealand, keep being wild, wacky, and wonderful. I love this country so much.

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4 thoughts on “Randomblings from New Zealand

  1. So what’s the rock for, and what qualities make it a good one? I thought it might be a flint in case you need a fire, but then I thought you would call it a flint and not a rock.

    • It isn’t a flint (with so many metallic objects in my pocket, I would be concerned about carrying a large uncovered flint like that — be more likely to start a fire in my pants than on a deserted island!). I carry it partly for sentimental reasons and partly to give me something to fidget with. I’m often playing with things with my fingers while I’m sitting around idle, and the rock (which is actually a piece of ceramic pottery, I think) offers a number of different textures and fits in my hand really well.

      A couple of years ago I went to a church retreat up in Virginia. I was the oldest person in the group who went, and also the only person from my family group, which at the time was made up mostly of older singles. As a result, I ended up feeling a little excluded. On the second day of the retreat, I met two of the younger folks who were going to an event and I decided to walk with them. When we got close, I started feeling like nobody really wanted me along with them and that I wasn’t really part of the group, so I turned off and went to go sit by myself outside the big tent where the event was. But a few minutes later, one of the folks I walked with came back for me and said they had saved a seat for me. When I got there, she had used that rock to save the seat. I asked her if I could keep the rock, and when I’m tempted to feel down about something or excluded, I use it to remind me that just because my feelings are telling me this, it doesn’t mean they’re real. It helps me fight my natural impulse to push others away and instead pursue unity and togetherness even if it opens me up to the possibility of being hurt by someone else.

      A few months later in Greensboro, I was talking with my friend Paul, who had also been with us at the retreat. For some reason the topic of the retreat came up, and I told him that story and showed him the rock. He said, wait, that was my rock! Apparently he had found that rock and had given it to his friend Jess, who apparently had given it to my friend who then used it to save the seat. So it’s also a reminder of the global fellowship of believers and how God can use all sorts of connections to help us in ways we don’t expect!

      Anyway, long random story about the rock, and I wasn’t sure whether or not to tell it in the post, but since you asked :)

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