22 Dec 2009

Angry Office Christmas Monkeys.

Every office has one. Ours is full of them. AOCMs refuse to be quiet and let every one else enjoy the festive season preferring to revel in stories of queuing, sunburn, expenses, crowds, hatred of Christmas Carols and unnecessary happy frivolity in general.

We festooned our AOCMs desk with Christmas lights and abundant glittery decorations and instead of being a sport about it; he had a tantrum and tore them down. To be honest our AOCM is an AOM the rest of the year anyway. He is constantly scowling and miserable and this tends to rub off on the people around him. Everyday he arrives at 7am, the same time as me and has something new to rubbish. As much as I enjoy a healthy debate and appreciate people with the gall to have an opinion to an age where no-one seems to care, it is easy to be negative. It takes much more courage to draw a line in the sand in support of something.

Here is a short piece of advice to AOCMs worldwide:

Life is what you make it. By simply putting a smile on your face, even a false one, you can trick your mind into being positive and feeling happy, and it is contagious to those around you. Go and buy a CD of Christmas songs and sing Boney-Ms "Mary's Boy Child" or the early nineties live aid combo by Bob Geldof, "Do they know its Christmas" as loud as possible on your way to work. It will change your life.

Feliz Navidad


Fishing 2

So it turns out perhaps there is a source for my utter uselessness on the fishing front. I am going to blame it on the genes.

Despite it absolutely blowing a friggen gale I responded in the affirmative when my father asked if I would like to go fishing with him yesterday. My father is a special breed. He refuses to read this blog for instance, treating it as some demonised public confessional where I shouldn’t be airing my dirty laundry. He still wont embrace the metric system, instead converting everything into inches, feet, furlongs, pints and gallons, despite having been introduced to regular units when they changed in NZ when he was 7. He is one of three boys raised on a farm in the same town where I grew up, and is known as the "townie" of the lot of them. His man-skills are few and far between.

After refusing to embrace cell phones until the early 00's my dad now carries one like it is a small child or a vital organ and feels the need to have one of those hideously irritating ringtones that are excessively loud and long and are played not only for phone calls but for instant messages as well. He also delights in the fact that everyone else finds it intrusive and suffers when the phone erupts into this violent digitised jingle which is near abuse to the ear. This hideous electronic nightmare and the reactions that follow usually result in my father breaking into a kind of special jig of excitement.

Upon arriving at the boat ramp to launch our wee runabout, it was apparent that the ramp was not in high demand and although the sun was having a cancer-party on my nose, there was a fairly strong breeze. I didn’t think much of it and clearly neither did my father (although he has been known to have the balls of Steve Irwin when it comes to commencing and/or continuing adventures in foul or hazardous conditions) or younger brother who was also brazen enough to come along.

The ride out beyond the safe calm waters of the harbour to our spot at 93ft was relatively uneventful, other than aforementioned younger sibling feeling seasick and several fully airborne moments over swell in the entrance. According to Dad its far better to hit the gas halfway up a swell and fly midair James Bond style whilst passengers are attempting to prevent bit lips, broken noses or concussion than to potter over at a reasonable speed like the boat we followed.

Upon arrival, my brother and I were enlisted to bait the long line hooks and did so with military precision. About 3/4 of the way through the ~25 hook process little brother and Dad somehow had a handling error which resulted in a hook through my father’s finger which was followed by a string of pirate language while my brother struggled to pull the hook out. After several minutes of profanity worthy of a soldier, my brother gave up and I got the task of relieving Dads finger from the foreign body - somewhat comparable to restling a crocodile mid death roll.

Next we dropped anchor and set up some boat rods. The weather got progressively more revolting. Here is a summary of the following hour;

• 2 x caught each others line

• 1 x caught the motor

• 0 bites

• 1 brother who lay in the cabin feeling seasick

• 1 brother who refused to ever fish again

• 3 x sunburn

• 3 x frustration

• 2 x swamped rear of boat by water

• 1 x anchor that was near impossible to retrieve even with 2 people due to extremely rough water which lead to 2 x drowned rats, 10 x hand blisters many bruises and lots of raised voices.

• 0 fish

• 1 x unretrieved long line which my poor mother was enlisted to go out and collect later that evening

Ride home was something out of an action film. But we made it. All said my father is a kind and generous man, who I love, admire and respect very much and I hope that one day he gives in and reads this and it makes him smile.



30 Nov 2009


Laptop riddled with the electronic equivalent of STIs. Hopefully be back in business ASAP after a short visit to the computer doctor. Grrrr....

22 Nov 2009

My Life is a Ben Stiller movie II - the Pak n Save woman’s revenge

Explosive anger is not usually my forte. A few months ago I had an extremely stressful week at work, was tired from burning the candle at both ends with sport and socialising and I had a very very rare rage blackout whilst shopping at Pak n Save. I had made an effort to leave work early to get to a few stores before 5pm and had a very tight schedule of chores to get through. I made the amateur mistake of deciding to stop briefly to grab a couple of things at the supermarket at 4.30pm. Peak hour for soccer mums with multiple trolleys jam-packed with a months supply of own-brand necessities and screaming toddlers. I have a problem with background noise (I tend to get agitated and edgy) so make a point of never shopping at Pak n Slave as it is, but at peak hour, in a serious hurry I was not in my element.

After surviving a million-isle indoor hike that just about required a backpack and refreshments (that place is way too big) and dodging throngs of shoppers like a stealthy supermarket ninja, I breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of a 1 person queue in the express checkout. I carefully placed my handful of items on the conveyor and saw the wine display a few steps away, glanced at the man getting served and judged that I could easily be back in time with wine in hand and not hold anyone up. At this stage there was no one waiting behind me anyway. After barely 3 seconds I had selected my wine and was back to my groceries BEFORE the man had his final item scanned. I was incensed to find a skeletal, nondescript uniformed lady had repositioned my items so that she could squeeze in front of me. I lost the plot.

Everything that came out of my mouth was a venom bullet and so well constructed and quick that the lady, who clearly needed to learn how to queue, had no response other than to look at the floor. Although I have on many occasion reconstructed conversations with retrospect, this time I said everything I should have and yet it didn’t feel as great afterwards as I always thought it would. I was still angry when I pushed my trolley to the car and she came around the parking lot and I made a point of walking directly across her path obscuring her passage and sending her serious jet-stares. I don’t think I have ever been so explosively angry at someone I didn’t know, and in public!

Fast forward 3 weeks. I donate blood on a regular basis. Midway through the donor interview I got this sickening feeling that I recognised the nurse who was interrogating me. I just hoped she didn’t recognise me. There was sufficient normal nurse banter, shooting the breeze about the weather but I was still not convinced I was safe. I was about to learn a lesson in Karma, big time. I have never had a more painful, marathon donation experience. The woman absolutely went to town on my vein, convinced she had “hit a valve”, she had an excuse to prod me several times until I was nearly passed out and another nurse came to assist. I am sure the nurse was sporting a satisfied smug grin when I left with a swollen and bruised elbow. Never have I had a more real example of “what goes around comes around”.


18 Nov 2009

My life is a Ben Stiller movie I - Fishing

I always thought I had reasonable man-skills. Being bought up in and around the country, I'm a little rough around the edges to say the least. Generally I operate the majority of farm machinery, vehicles, tools and equipment with varying degrees of success but by and large give things a reasonable shot. Up until a few weeks ago I thought I was at least a fair to middling fisherman too. Well it turns out the BF seems to be kryptonite to my man-skills…everything I used to do impressively ‘for a girl’ has turned to custard including my ability to surf, skate, play tennis, pool, converse about all things sporting, and now I can add fishing to that list. Well I had this fantastic idea to borrow my dad’s boat (not an unusual or rare event) to take the BF out fishing. Little did I know what I had gotten myself in for.

Well things began well, set up the lines, packed the boat, checked the motor was tickety-boo, hooked the trailer to the Nissan and made the mammoth journey 150m from the end of my parents driveway to the boat ramp. So far so good. As I was amidst utilising another learned man-skill, backing the trailer, I noticed the neighbours indicating to something attached to the boat. I got out only to find screeds of nylon attached to a now empty reel and leading back to the house where it must've hooked on a tree or something as we had left the driveway. After winding the entire reel of nylon back on I continued backing the boat in. First time, no trouble.

So I am at the helm looking nautical and windswept like any good captain should. Manage to navigate a tricky entrance, leaving the safety of the harbour for the open ocean. Upon arrival at my so-called spot x it is mutually agreed to drift rather than anchor. After getting sufficiently bait-smelling, my line looks to be in order and I decide to cast my line out away from the boat. Less than 2 shakes of a lambs tail later, my line has drifted back under the boat and become impossibly tangled around the motor. Fantastic. The next 30 minutes are spent with the BF nearly up to his chest in the water trying to untangle the line from the propeller whilst I fret about the rate we are drifting over a scary looking sandbar and the swell is rapidly turning into breaking waves. In the nick of time the BF earns serious man-points for removing aforementioned fishing line and we motor away from impending doom to safety.

Once back to spot x we decide this time to anchor. I instruct the BF to “just fish” while I sort out my line and try not to cause anymore trouble. The BF flashes me jet-stares followed by rolled eyes when I refuse to let him help me. Of course, much to my frustration I am in birds nest country after about a minute, end up cutting off half of the line and retiring from the sport for the day.

I forgot to mention it was overcast and blowing a gale but while we didn’t actually get a single bite, and in spite of all the mayhem at least it was memorable and we both had a good laugh.


16 Nov 2009

the essence of cool I

Just spent a fantastic weekend in NZ's very own scenester capital Wellington. I am pretty sure all the cool kids live there. As much as I enjoy hip bars with quirky furnishings pumping the latest underground tunes and throbbing with trendsetting fashionista's head to toe in a combo of high end lines and the rarest vintage finds, I am not going to sacrifice having a good time just to be seen. Or on the other hand, shun other places where some "wouldn't dare be seen".

Clearly there is an element of cool associated with place. Last weekend I was in tow with a group of aforementioned cool kids who had their hearts set on heading to a specific bar in the city which they frequent on a regular basis. Upon arrival at said bar, the mob were flatly denied entry on account of it being their birthday, thus there was only room at the Inn for VIP members and other 'worthy' candidates. The majority were immediately outraged and proceeded to abuse, bribe, then almost beg to be let in. Eventually we moved on but returned and tried again (much to my chagrin and to some extent embarrassment) on more than one occasion that night still to be denied. I attempted to explain to the inebriated cool kids that it was THEM that made a place cool, not the place that made them cool. And the more they wanted to get in, the better the selective doorman's strategy was working to heighten the fervor (precisely what they wanted to happen).

Unfortunately, the bar-hopping to find the best possie for this very selective group, and multiple attempts to get into the 'impossible bar' took up most of the night and although I enjoyed myself, I doubt anyone's night was outstanding in the scheme of things.

To be honest I couldn't care less if I was seen in a bar of drunken louts grinding to Dizzy Rascal if the mood was good and I was having a good time. Cool should be about not caring where you are but having a good time with the people you are with. Lastly, Cool is not exclusive. Everyones idea of it is different, but in any way, shape or form it should measured by how big your smile is.



P.S. I titled this I, because I anticipate that II, III, IV and V, if not more will be written on this topic.

8 Nov 2009

the forgotten art of the "drop-in"

I have several friends who spend more time facebooking, MSNing, Skyping and texting each other than they do speaking to one another in person. I admit if you are living in another region or are overseas or just extremely busy then this new means of communication serves its purpose as a cheap, portable and efficient method of keeping in touch. But even in that case it should not be the sole basis of communication in any relationship. In one case in particular a friend lives less than 400m from the loved one she is chatting to online, most of the day and night. This seems rather strange when they could actually see, interact and talk in person.

I much prefer, and make an effort to rekindle the dying art of the unannounced “drop-in” visit. My victims are always pleasantly surprised and more appreciative of the visit in person, out of the blue. Try it. If you are in the neighbourhood of a friend, just make a random house call and make your friend put the kettle on for you - even if you only have 20 minutes. They will appreciate it, you won’t have to spend $5 on a fancy espresso at a cafĂ© and spend 15 minutes waiting for it. You won’t have to send 5 text messages beforehand to tell your friend exactly what your ETA down to the last millisecond is, or on the otherhand sit and wait in a coffee shop alone staring at your mobile phone waiting for them to arrive...but that is another story in itself.


6 Nov 2009

Character Building

Just recalling the second to last sleep in my previous abode. The little shed, just a stones-throw from the beach and with all its quirks, was definitely a fitting home for the past 6 months . I am fairly certain that the cockroaches, ants, mice, cats and all the other vertebrate and invertebrate creatures I shared my home with are missing me. Weighing in at a meagre 5 paces by 8 paces (that’s without my queen sized bed and large refrigerator in it) with a toilet and shower, teeny kitchen, multiple creaks, leaks and holes the shed has become somewhat of a legend.

I feel like the makeshift tin palace came to me at a crucial time and many important and memorable events have occurred in or during my time there.

However, the annoying mower man who upturns my outdoor furniture leaving a hurricane of disarray I will not miss. Seriously, I think he must have very few clients, way too much time or be anal about completion – the path of destruction which he weaves is all in the name of mowing about 3 blades of grass and a hole which is currently uninhabited by anything living or even resembling grass at all. I had been trying to encourage grass growth out in my tiny patch of outdoor area since I arrived and the relentless mowing was far from helping my cause.

I had parts of the roof fall down on me whilst sleeping – fortunately nothing structurally important. I guarantee the new inhabitant will not face a significant risk of asphyxiation – the place is extremely well ventilated, with delightful character slat glass windows in mint condition from when the shed used to house a motor vehicle and possibly various gardening implements. Its kind of a pity I had the shed through the winter months when you least desire a fresh breeze and rather appreciate insulation, of which the place has none. Although the garage door doesn’t open anymore it is still there for authenticity's sake, fairly sure the place has no building consent, some Brazilian favelas are likely to be more structurally sound.

Possibly the best feature of the shed was the ‘surprise factor’ for first time visitors. I usually forewarned them that I resided in a shed and they would imagine some cosy wee studio or granny flat or even a garage attached to a modern home. When coming down my narrow driveway all you can see is this grandiose white home looming at the end, my guess is the visitors are breathing a sigh of relief and muttering under their breath “oh, it can’t really be that bad then”. Then they get to the end of the drive and take a brief glance to the left, only to discover with some dismay that my description was not exaggerated and their ‘amended’ vision of the place was certainly a rose-colored one.

In saying all of this I was very very happy there and as the move in came at a time of change and was symbolic, so was the move out.


5 Nov 2009

"Let's start at the very beginning, tis a very good place to start"

I am a bit of a peopleosopher. I like to think about the way innovations are changing the way we behave, new social norms and the fluid way in which society itself functions. For good and for bad. Although I am an emancipated modern woman, sometimes I think I may have been born in the wrong era. I really enjoy writing, but prefer to pen my thoughts rather than type them and I am probably one of the few Gen-Ys who keep post-office employees employed.

I am sometimes a lil technophobic, and a cellphone might as well be a spaceship in my hands, however I am not adverse to change. I do sometimes get a bit nostalgic, even for the eras before my time, but I embrace process of development, creativity, innovation and progress itself.

Stay with me. I will attempt to entertain with witty intelligent and quirky anecdotes from my adventures and observations. I hope to contribute at least 1-2 times a week if all goes to plan i.e. my laptop isnt filled with viruses after subscribing to this blogging platform.

Over and Out.