Jun 25, 2008

New Zealand Update

After a very angry phone call to NZ immigration I've resolved part my immigration problem. They're (almost grudgingly it seemed) granting me a temporary work permit till they sort out my proper one.

It's far from over, but this is a big step to surviving.

Now I JUST need to figure out how I'm still going to make it to Canada in August.

Jun 24, 2008

I'm really starting to HATE New Zealand!

Well if you've been paying attention I haven't been talking about my current life much on here.

The reason is that a lot of factors have been in limbo, and I didn't have much to report. Sadly not much if anything has changed on that front either...

I'm still waiting for my work permit to clear.
I'm still waiting for my health results to be checked.

I'm still waiting for the ministry to education to properly enter me into their work force.

Now I don't mean to complain, but frankly I'm at my breaking point.

All of these various things were only supposed to take between 1 to 4 weeks depending on which item we're talking. For the work permit in particular I'm in the middle of week FUCKING 8, and the bloody kiwis still haven't moved off their god damn asses!

The kicker being today I was just told by NZ immigration that my permit will be ANOTHER 3-4 weeks of processing. So let's do the math on this. 4 + 8 doesn't = 3-4 weeks... I know I'm a primary teacher (I can even show you the four maths strategies you can use to solve that problem).

This whole time I'm hemorrhaging money. Not only is life costing me, but I can't work legally! I'm going to have to turn down work which is being offered to me. That's kiwi kids going without a teacher for a day mind you. All so that some government pencil pushers can justify their existence. Whilst they do that I'm pretty much broke, and sick of having to go to my parents for help (who can't and won't be keeping it up... but you can't, and I certainly don't blame them!).

The kiwis are constantly saying that their (ass backwards) country needs teachers, and they can't figure out why the hell none of their teacher trainees are not staying here.

Okay class, let's ponder this problem for moment...

Okay I'm hearing some very good answers, and most of you are something like. MAYBE IF YOU FUCKING LET TEACHERS WORK THAN THEY'D DO SO!

If they don't come through for me in another 2-3 weeks I'm going to have to leave the country for good. Let's put this in context. I not only am a trained teacher, but I'm one trained in the New Zealand system! After all this investment their system has put into me, why are they forcing me to take it elsewhere?!?

Anyways I'm done typing about this (for now). I've not only had to try and keep myself calm on this all day, but I just tucked in an indescribably upset lady-type person who is hysteric over this somewhat real threat of my having to leave for good.

So yeah I kinda irked at this country right now, and it might take it a while to get back in my good books. If at all.

It's really up to them.

Jun 19, 2008

Wishing I had owned a camera sooner!

Though I'm not a real palaontologist (and sadly never will be) on occasion due through my time at the Tyrrell I've been exposed to stuff that the majority of palaeo people haven't been yet (though hopefully they will be soon).

Recently over at Manabu Sakamoto's blog the Raptor's Nest there's been some discussion about ceratopsians (here and here) that have hit on Pachyrhinosaur growth rates. Now I was unaware of this, but nobody at the Tyrrell has published on the amazing material they've dug up at Pipestone Creek.

Back in 2005 I had the opportunity to see the amazing series of a dozen or so skulls (most being composites of various incomplete bits and pieces, but still pretty good matches) that chronicled most of the age ranges of Pachyrhinos. I was given a personal briefing/lesson on the specimens by either Darren Tanke or Mark Mitchell (I think it was Darren, but I can't remember, and BOTH have been so kind to me over the years with sharing their incredible knowledge). The true crime and tragedy was I didn't own a camera at the time, and didn't manage any pictures. NOOOOOOO!

I did manage a "spare" (not that I bowl, but the term is appropriate) of managing some photo's in 2006 when I finally got a camera. Peter Bond and I managed an impromptu photographing session through the Tyrrell's collections. In our snap shot rampage I got a couple pictures of just some of these Pachyrhino elements. However due to the limited time of our access, and the specimens being put away into storage these were the only images of the series I got.

I'll try to contact Darren Tanke for further info on it.

Here is the best photo I have of various lower jaw elements of the series.

I think at some point they were thinking about putting some of the material on display, and had this excellent sculpt made up. As to whether it was going into the new ceratopsian display or not I have no idea (from my memory the ceratopsian display was only imagined in LATE 2005, after the success of the Dinosaur Park symposium, to accompany the 2007 ceratopsian symposium). Last time I was at the museum in early 2008 this was not in the public gallery (at least to my knowledge. Sadly it was a rather quick visit).

Of course this adult skull (cast on the left, original fossil on the right) isn't unique, but shows the excellent preservation and condition of the Pipestone material.

Since one of the Raptor's Nest posts is on the new Albertoceratops...

Here's the photo I took of it in Jan from the Tyrrell's new ceratopsian display.

Unknown Soundtrack...

I've been getting a lot more involved on flickr (check out my photostream), and a number of benefits have been coming from it. Not only am I "meeting" new cool people, but I'm finding their blogs. I WILL be updating my blog roll soon!

One of my new favourites (especially his pictures) is El Pensieve de Dinorider. However I'm currently in his debut. Not only did his blog alert me to the existence of the Prehistoric Park soundtrack, but it allowed me to get it cheap!
Traumador will probably have some uses for this soon (the DAMN museum quest is finally near its end!!!), and its nice to have some music in my current broke-ness.

Jun 4, 2008

So it begins...

After the last couple of months trying my best to get set up to teach in this country, the big day finally arrived!

I got my first call to relieve for a morning today. The skool located just outside of town was one I'd never been to before, and it was very nice. Even better I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids to start things off.

What I'm loving the most about the lifestyle thus far (yeah a whole day later LOL) is the leaving work at work. No planning, marking, or meetings but time teaching. So hopefully I get at least 3 days a week (or 5 half days), this will work out.

That having been said there are some big problems still. Getting paid has become something of an issue. It's a long complicated story not worth going into at moment, but yeah through the "brilliant" set up of the ministry of education I may not be able to collect my earnings for a while. I'm having to fight my Mal instincts at moment.