Monday, September 17, 2007

Shangri La

I have many strong feelings about living in New Zealand--most of them positive. Unfortunately, most of our friends and family manage to catch me when I'm feeling surly about things here. It stands to reason that, when I'm feeling good, I'm off enjoying myself and not talking to you all. Conversely, when I'm feeling least charitable toward my adopted home, I tend to look for friends and family to commiserate at. The result is that I often project an unnecessarily negative view of life on the upside down part of the globe.

By this point in my life, I've come to realize that the weather has a huge bearing on how I'm feeling at any given time. Because I've vowed to relearn some of the math that I've forgotten from high school, and in honor of my cousin Geetha who is studying to become a math teacher, I'll graph this relationship for you. You can see it's a linear relationship described by x = y. If you can imagine x being some measure of happiness, and y being the overall "niceness" of the weather, this graph works. Unfortunately, the relationship between hours of sunlight, precipitation, and my mood is a bit more complicated. I gather that relationship probably requires differential calculus and would be a much prettier graph.

My supervisor at work has mentioned the possibility of me supervising a Masters or Ph.D. project. "Umm, you do realize I have an undergraduate education in Liberal Arts, right? I mean, I'm not exactly a kung-fu math wiz," I say. That doesn't phase him, "That's okay, you can go a long ways on just differential equations you know." Right. Baby steps.

Anyway, this is mostly a super geeked out way of saying that the weather is getting better here in Auckland, and I'm rediscovering the perks of living in paradise. For example, the other day I was riding the bus home from the ferry terminal and had a fun coincidental experience. The Richies Bus Company allows drivers to listen to reasonably cool music (which probably explains why they are generally much friendlier than the Stagecoach bus drivers). Over the radio I hear the familiar intro to U2's song One Tree Hill. When I hear Bono get to the line where he mentions One Tree Hill, the bus rounds a corner and I can clearly see across to the actual One Tree Hill for which U2's song is named.

Just to keep you interested, here is an actual picture from my daily ferry commute. Sorry about the poor quality of my phone's camera.

Finally, as some of you already know I've started unicycling. My coworker Peter kindly brought in a couple of unicycles for us to play with, and I got hooked. Peter is a pretty hardcore unicyclist. He commutes regularly from near One Tree Hill to the central city on a 36"-wheeled unicycle. Furthermore, when I purchased my unicycle from his company he hand delivered it to the office--via unicycle! With the box for my unicycle cradled under his arm he rode from roughly Mount Eden into the central city through dangerous Auckland traffic. He said he got some strange looks from a bike courier headed the other way. I'm sure he did. Peter, of, you've earned your bit of fame on our blog. Sorry I caught you with your eyes closed. (Yes, this is how he showed up at the office)

Here's me in my unicycling infancy. Peter is much better at this than I am and doesn't flail around nearly as much.