The North Island 1600

NI1600 logo for 2015On 1.00 pm on Saturday 10 October 2015 I’ll be leaving a campground at Turangi to attempt to ride 1,600 kms on my motorbike in less than 24 hours.

I have done this three times previously. Twice as part of the Rusty Nuts organised rally, and once as the Distance Riders Group. We won’t know the route we need to take until 7.00pm on Friday night. I’ll post that route here tomorrow (Friday night).

I’ll also be setting up a Spotwalla track so you can follow my progress through the night if you find yourself with nothing to do and you’re wide awake at 3.00am on Sunday morning.

The link for that is: – at the moment it’s just a map. When the ride starts I start an application on my iPhone that starts pinging location messages back to the map. All you’ll need to do is refresh the map to see where I am!!

The other exciting thing about this years event is that if we’re successful we are eligible to apply for membership of the renowned Iron Butt Association of USA. The IBA are the premier long distance riding group in the world. Their most famous rally is the IBA Rally held every two years where contestants ride 11,000 miles in 11 days.

And the weather is looking good.





Day 1 – San Francisco

We arrived in San Francisco yesterday lunchtime, all completely exhausted after getting only 3 hours sleep on a very noisy 777. I’m not complaining – it’s part and parcel of getting halfway around the world for a holiday. But we were knackered.

The apartment is great. We were met at the door by a heavily tattooed cleaning lady who turned out not to be the owner. We wasted no time beginning our exploration of the Mission neighbourhood.

First stop was the highly recommended Philz Coffee, literally one block away. We’re spoilt for choice in Wellington so when we walked in to find three people making coffee from around 30 different flavoured and roasted beans then we thought we were in heaven. Looks can be deceiving. Weak, insipid, watery…sorry, just not good enough. All filtered too, not an espresso machine in sight.

We wandered as far as 16th Street and Dolores Park. A gentle slope on the western hills overlooking the city was completely crammed with young-ish hipsters playing frisbee, throwing balls for their assorted dogs, drinking wine, and, by the smell of things smoking the occasional herbed cigarette.

We stopped for groceries at the famous Bi-Rite grocery store on 18th Street, battling with the locals for the most amazing produce. Funny thing was Sugar couldn’t find acodophulus yoghurt. We did manage to find some wonderful eggs from chickens fed on sea kelp, and some fabulous smoked bacon.

By the time we got back to the apartment we were completely busted. Finding a restaurant to eat in can be stressful, and in our family often causes the most arguments. This time we all agreed – the closest thing to an American Diner we could find in our neighbourhood – St Francis’ Fountain – an original 1940’s diner that sold the best burgers and BLT’s in the neighbourhood.

We wandered through the dark streets around 7pm, past the Latinos playing cards across the street from our house. They looked threatening but the Guest Book in the apartment says they’ve been doing if for decades.

Bring on Day 2!

Mexican wrestling masks - The Mission

Mexican wrestling masks – The Mission

Near Dolores Park, San Francisco

Near Dolores Park, San Francisc

Dolores Park

Dolores Park

Shops on 24th Street, Mission

Shops on 24th Street, Mission


Guests weep as boy sings Fix You by ColdPlay

At a recent wedding in Greytown, New Zealand, guests broke down in tears as a young 11 year old boy sung the beautiful Fix You, by ColdPlay. Here’s Arlo singing the song. Please share if you like it!

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Gangnam Style – in Philippine prison

The inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines have embraced the world-wide hit of rapper Psy, doing their own version of Gangnam Style.

The prisoners at this institution are well known for their ‘flash-mob-type’ dances, having previously done Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Here’s the prisoner video…

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and here’s the original by Psy…

Quickflix fail

I’m trying really hard to be an early adopter. It’s against my natural inclination. So, you can imagine how proud I was of myself when I signed up to Quickflix, the new movie streaming service which launched back in March.

I paid my money, or so I thought. I remember being very under-whelmed by the number of titles available to view. But, I thought, as an early adopter I’m lending my support to something that can only get better.

After I paid I received the confirmation email. So far so good.

Confirmation email - clearly I have subscribed

I tried the service out by starting the stream of Stand by Me – it was slow and the quality wasn’t that great. I decided to wait a few weeks.

Tonight I had another go. Imagine my surprise to find I hadn’t signed up at all. Quickflix had debited my credit card for $0.01 cents but then told me I needed to ‘upgrade’ my membership. I’m guessing that the $0.01 cent charge was a test to see if the credit card worked but this approach was never communicated to me. But, when I login under the My Account tab I get this message:

Does this suggest I have paid?

What’s more to cancel the membership I thought that I had I can’t simply stop the payments online. I need to phone the call centre and actually talk to someone. I don’t want to do this. I ‘joined’ online, I feel like I should be able to ‘unjoin’ on line as well.

Phone to cancel? I don't think so...

The whole experience felt a lot like I was using a site from six years ago, when e-commerce was cutting edge, and really really bad. I just can’t see this working well for them.

When I log in to my account to see my payment history I get this message:

Currently outstanding due to what????

The experience is really confusing, and a bit alarming. I’ve had no further emails to say I need to pay and yet I feel like I’ve signed up.

Quickflix – you need to get your act together and make this better, or I’ll be be phoning to cancel!

Lip reading Joe Biden

This is bloody funny – enjoy!

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