Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Inhale

For the last few years I have noticed a change in my voice as it becomes raspier and whispier, changes I attributed to age. However it turns out it's actually my bloody inhaler!

All this time while I've lamented the loss of my once *beautiful radio reading voice, it was actually my inhaler thinning me out.

What this means in the short term is that I will now be following any use of the old blower with a drink in the hope that I can turn my "river cottage" voice around and return to the nasal chainsaw everybody knows and *loves.

*tenuous

Hoops

I've been quite touched by the outpouring of concern from my family in regards to my treatment by the bank, messages from all quarters which, while occasionally incoherent, were none the less enjoyable to read.

The good news is the bank FINALLY let me have my money. I only had to retrieve a small golden idol on their behalf from an undisclosed South American location fraught with booby traps. Several of my travelling companions either betrayed me or were killed, but in the end I flew out of there in my sea plane and could return to teaching university level archaeology.

It really was some of the absolute worst customer service I have ever had. Even now I STILL do not know WHY they wouldn't give me access to my money. Reading back through their emails is like watching an elaborate interpretive dance depicting the difficulty with which you catch a fly with some chopsticks.

In fact jumping through hoops has been par for the course as of late, the debacle that was getting a new gate pass for work was nothing short of your average ancient Greek saga.

Security here is pretty tight, I pass through four gates every morning, I have a paper pass to do so. A request came through to replace this with a plastic pass which would require me to supply a copy of my contract, my passport and a passport photo.

Done. Oh, but you need a physical photo, not a digital one. Ok, I'll get that done. Could you please return my passport? "We will next week." "Ok, but just so you know I only have one day off in the next week to get this photo done." I get my photo, still no passport, gate pass expires, I will be unable to come into work from now on, which..as luck would have it.. also falls on a weekend so no-one at work can do anything about it.

At the end of my 12 hour shift I stay another couple of hours trying to work out a way to be able to come in the next day. After much faffing about with some genuinely helpful people who went out of their way to aid my cause, I had a temporary gate pass drawn up and sent off. All I had to do was pick it up the next day from the security building on the way into work.

After staying late and now getting up early, I was a bit ragged, but managed to dress myself appropriately and fold myself into a taxi.

At the security permits office they  "Didn't get my request for a pass", I'm showing them the email, "No, we didn't get that", "Shall I forward it to you?", "No, we cannot make pass, request has to come from them", "The person who this email is from? That I'm showing you right now?", "Yes, it has to come from them", "But, it has", "Yes, but not to me", "But you're cc'd in right here", "Yes, but I didn't get it", "So shall I resend it to you?", "No, it has to come from them".

*Stab *Stab *Stab stab stab

I ring work, work rings my boss, my boss rings me (from hospital) and after 2 hours of camping out in the carpark, I get a pass. In fact they send through two passes, so security services decide not to issue either of them. Because there are two.

*Stab, *stab stab

I finally get in the gate, go to work, get my passport back and have everything in order to get my new plastic pass. I drop this all off the next day and am told to pick it up the next morning.

I show up, say I'm here to pick up my pass and am told "No-one told me" and "What pass?". I look at the applications on the desk, mine is sitting on top, "That one, that's me." I'm given a *death stare* and told "One moment".. or more accurately 40 moments, if moments are minutes and minutes are stabs.

Still, I got my new pass and the fact it lists my blood group is not unnerving at all.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Bank

The entire time I have been in the middle east my bank has refused access to my funds. That is over a month now. A month of constant emails and attempted phone calls, only to be told nothing except "sorry" without ever sorting it out.

I do not understand this way of thinking. I have money in a bank account which belongs to me, I have contacted said bank to transfer the funds so I can use them to I dunno "eat food" and there are no questions over the validity of my being. I am who I say I am and they know this. So why can I not just have my money?

Well I would love to answer that question for you now, but I cannot. I have no idea, because they won't tell me. Even when asked directly, I do not get an answer even close to what I have asked. I am simply apologised at. It feels like I am dealing with our Prime Minister, "Mr Prime Minister, what about 'A'"? "Well you know, *shrug*".

I pointed out that it has been a month now, more apologies, but no action. I've been told to go into a branch or call them, the first option melted my screen with my hex vision, the second has taken some doing as they never pick up, I get trapped in automated message hell or lose the connection. Progress has been slow.

The other day I got someone on the phone, finally! To be told that no-one there could help me. Perhaps I should try calling between the hours of 3 and 4 on the 12th minute, just after the 37th second, but not before the 39th.

So many emails have flowed back and forth now that is clearly troubling those who have to respond to me, so I pointed out that perhaps it would be easier for everyone if they just transferred the money and the whole saga could just go away. Is that such a crazy idea?

That I don't even know why I cannot have my money is the most vexing, I don't even know which battle I am fighting.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Shiiiii...

Took a while to get to work today, mostly because all traffic was stopped for a Sheikh to pass through.

Nothing beats pulling up to the lights to see swathes of police with automatic weapons chirping heavily on their walkie talkies and waving angrily at you to stop.

Sure enough, once the roads were completely cleared, and I am talking about whole highways, along came the Sheikh.

Now if I could have taken photos of this bizarre motorcade passing down a stretch of normally very busy highway completely alone, I would have. However doing such a thing would have meant the immediate confiscation of my phone. It's an HTC One and I am quite fond of it, they could have confiscated the headphones though, cut them up and burned them in front of me, I would have pat them on the back.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Old Habits

Today I was asked why I make the trek upstairs to use the bathroom when there is a perfectly good one downstairs.

"Two reasons", I said. The first is because the upstairs bathroom typically has toilet paper, the second is that it also has toilet seats.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Precipitation

Something odd happened here today, it rained.

It's the first time it's rained here since the first week of April when it ruined a motorcycle race.

It's not quite rain in New Zealand terms, in other words you didn't have to swim from your car to your front door, but certainly everything got wet.

Something I'm quite excited to see once the Sun comes back out (and that can't be too far away), are the skyscrapers. Despite how new and shiney they are, none are older than 6 years, they often look unloved. Haggered by the Sun and covered and dust.

There's something deeply reviving about the rain and I expect the city to look next to new tomorrow.

It's not just the buildings either, I had a real skip in my step when I left the house today. I was excited to see puddles on the ground and smell rain in the air. I had my headphones on and was jamming along, my excitement for all to see as I realised I was becoming the centre of attention as I strut down the street.

I'd actually be very curious to know what a day's rain means in economic terms. I suspect it's worth millions.

It's actually forecast to rain again this week, though I will believe it when I see it. The weather had quite a few people rubbing their eyes today.



Thursday, 14 November 2013

Impasse

Sleep has been of increasing concern, or perhaps not the sleep itself, but the resulting human refuse.

I'm not sure quite what is causing it, week 1 here I had reverse jet-lag, but I was tired and I did sleep between floggings.

Week 2, I settled into a groove and began to resemble a functioning human being.

Week 3, and suddenly sleep seems like only a theory, debated at length between scholars with a view to preparing a conclusion for the Queen who will then send out explorers on a journey of discovery.

My body and mind are both turning on me, independently. They refuse to work together on even the most minor of basic operations.

I suspect this is the reason I cannot sleep, my body and mind have had a fight and refuse to kiss and make up. Just don't picture how that would work.

I'm afraid I am going to have to go to mediation. Which would normally have been liquor in the past. Seeing as I no longer drink because of tummy troubles, I feel like my hand is being forced.

What my body and mind need is something they can agree on to reunify their approach. Sadly only two such catalysts exist, cricket and pretty girls. As neither are on the cards for the immediate future, I suspect my sleepless nights will continue.

I'm hoping the selection of international delegates arriving tomorrow can put aside their discussions about conflicts, resources and climate change, and really nut out a solution on behalf of my rival factions.





Monday, 11 November 2013

Elbow

I've done 60 hours in the last 4 days, my brain has been replaced with a cabbage. It's not the work that's done it, it's the fact I've been hyped up on adrenaline and unable to sleep between shifts.

I've been trying my best to contact Earth, but my communications have gone largely ignored. I thought it was a technical issue, but so much time has now passed that I suspect they have abandoned me up here.

Paranoia is setting in and the fruitcake won't shut up.

Shawarma Cat

Another little fella I see often is Shawarma Cat. He lives on the steps of my favourite shawarma place across the road from work. He's a happy little chap and yesterday I saw him sharpening his claws on a car tyre.


And this is Measles who I couldn't find the other day. I found her munching down a stash of biscuits someone had poured on the lawn, but she's going to have a sore tummy because she didn't chew.








Friday, 8 November 2013

Darwin

I've decided to document the kittehs living here on the lot:

Scabies - the smart one and the one that's been here the longest. She's very friendly and rules the roost without getting into scuffles. She likes a pat and knows all the comfy spots.



Scud - is young and curious, not often mixing it with the others, but always watching what is going on. His curiosity means he's always close by, but never quite within patting range.



Rubella (Ruby) - is on the bottom rung of the ladder and is beaten up by almost everyone except Scabies, she can be skiddish, but is very friendly with humans when she calms down and loves a pat.



Big Orange Tom - is a dick and generally beats up everybody, he stalks the grounds keeping law and order, or thinks he does, can often be seen stalking the others. You can get close, but you'll never pat him. He is way more ginger than this photo suggests as well, he's bright orange, like an orange.



Raggedy Andy - almost looks like a Red Panda with brush tail and big fat cheeks. He's happy to walk over your feet to get where he's going without paying any attention. He is however not keen on pats at the moment because of the big hole in his face.




Black Plague - is very friendly and will gallop up to suss you out for food or pats while the others lie around lazily. She is however just as quick to return to whatever shade she was lurking in. Unless of course she turns out to be a he, which may be the case. Malaria and Lab-rat are her/his sisters.



Malaria (Minge) - is another one of the younger cats, distinguishable by her eyes which are the same colour as her fur, she's quite spry and curious, but more inclined to keep her distance. Often seen hanging out with Scabies, Andy and Plague.



Lab-rat - apparently glows in the dark. Exactly the same size and build as her siblings Plague and Malaria, she appears to be the middle child, happy to follow the other two and be adventurous when Plague is leading the way, but happy to be shy and retiring when Minge is around.



Scraps - is an old girl who likes life next to the rubbish bins and spends most of her time under the air conditioner right next to where they are put out. She's quick to grab a meal and as well as Big Orange Tom appears pretty well fed.



Two cats I couldn't get pictures of today were Measles and The Tick (Tango). Hopefully I can bring you pictures of them soon. Measles would have a rock off with the Plague for prettiest kitteh, while The Tick looks pretty much just like Scud, but appears to be a girl and friends with Scabies.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Laundry

I've been in the middle east for 2 weeks now and in this sweat dripping region not managed to get my washing done once.

Sure I could pay for the hotel to do my washing, but with each piece costing the same as your average MP's salary to get clean, I was far from comfortable with throwing any more money down that hole.

On a side note, do you think MP's would cut the benefit if that's what they earned for being dutiful representatives of the community? I think not. I think you'd find most beneficiaries would suddenly have free access to penthouse inner city living.

Anyway, rather than have to dig out a kidney with a spoon in order to get my pants clean, I have instead spent considerable time finding a nearby laundromat.

When first I heard rumour of this divine quarter I sought its location from the helpful staff here at the hotel. Except no-one at the hotel knew what I was talking about, but were more than happy to point me in a myriad of directions.

I've thus spent most of my frugal days off exploring the city in a vain attempt to locate anywhere that could make my shirts stop sticking to me like some kind of sci-fi exo-jelly, each futile step only adding to my already icky predicament.

Desperation came in the form of a footbath full of my undies, an absurd attempt at trying to hold out as long as I could against the organ harvesting nature of the hotel coffers. In the process I managed to flood my bathroom floor and break the showerhead off, so all in all a pretty successful day.

While the laundry soap I bought was effective, drying my undies proved to be anything but. The irony that the desert outside could dry my unmentionables in mere seconds, but that I was forever separated from this blessing by my airlock of a hotel suite, was not lost on me.

I wouldn't exchange my pure air conditioned paradise for anything, except maybe some clean undies.

I have been absolutely parsimonious with my last two pairs of gruts. I've not worn them around my room and have avoided being outside in them as much as humanly possible. Even at work I have only chosen to sit in the breathable nylon thatched chairs, fearing anything cushy would only lead to perspiration no matter how minor.

This entire time my other five pairs have lived the high life, strung ineffectively across the air conditioning duct. There I hoped moving air would dry them quickly and enable me to move more freely without being fraught over bum sweat and tears. To no avail.

Crucially while preparing myself by the hotel's back door for another trek into the unknown, a kind chap asked me where I was heading, when I said I didn't know and explained why, he pointed to the building next door and said "there it is". I've not wanted to punch and kiss someone all in the same moment before, so did neither, in fact I don't think I properly uttered a response of any kind, just swallowed my emotions, turned and left.

Sure enough the building next door has a laundromat and while not cheap, is certainly not in the league of having to have children to sell them off to afford their services.

However the hours they keep, despite the proclamations of their signage, are irregular. On no fewer than six occasions did I venture there only to find them closed. On the one occasion I did find them open and hurried home to gather my clothes, they were closed by the time I got back.

Then came Tuesday, sure enough they weren't open when I bundled up my belongings to take them for a walk, but "lo" they were open upon my return two hours later. My joy was unparallelled and the man behind the counter did very well to avoid a hug, he was fortunate his confused face from my constant thanks put me off him.

And so today, Thursday, I returned, not once, not twice, but thrice. Not because they were shut, but because on some level I managed to forget my inventory slip on two separate occasions. This despite one of those occasions being me returning solely to my hotel and to my room for this specific purpose.

Somehow I managed to come in, pick up the slip, move it to the other side of the room and forget it again. I see this playing out like an episode of 'Unsolved Mysteries', but was no less amusing for the door staff or laundry people.

The other side of the coin is that I have an inner ear issue from an accident I had when I was 12. What it means is that I don't always balance.. good, and even standing up can be a bit of a rollercoaster. Riding an elevator is always a mixed bag and after five trips of 23 floors I was walking absolutely sideways. Old Wobbles was getting the looks from the locals as I negotiated the footpath like it was the deck of a vessel in high seas.

But it was worth it, well not exactly $100 worth it, but dammit if I'm not happy to have clean everything again. For the next week I can look forward to having clothes which don't require me peeling them off.

Then repeat cycle.





Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Tummyhair

My tummy is getting hairy.

I don't know what set this off, but after 33 years of body baldness things they are a changin'. Feel free to sing that however you wish.

In just a handful of months I've gone from squeaky clean bald boy to slowing enveloped fluff man.

I honestly thought after having been overlooked for puberty that my one saving grace would be the avoidance of unsightly body hair. Now in a cruel twist of fate just as my metabolism hits an all-time low and I begin to spread like I can't believe it's not butter, I am now burdened with extra hair I don't use and never needed.

I suppose this decline began in my mid twenties, a slight row of darker than normal hairs reaching above my belt in an orderly fashion reaching ever closer to my belly button. This is where the advance stopped. Now, as it has begun again encroaching ever further north, I can only assume the hairs went down into my navel and got lost, slowly circling for ten years and asking each other if they hadn't passed that bit of lint before.

I now consider this to be an all out assault. The forest reclaiming the desert (like that ever happens in this world). My body is defying nature and rising up against me, even though I did nothing to provoke it.

The hair itself is spreading in all directions directly out from my belly button, squads appear to be heading both east and west, while several do-gooders stay behind to help the women and children build a city and the main attack force slowly advance north.

Here, just below my man mountains, they have set up camp while advanced parties of their darkest tallest warriors have set up outposts around my nipples.

Runners appear to be relaying messages between these two outposts, while covert operations take place behind me.

I really do hate to think of the breadth and scale of that operation, hidden as it is in total darkness.

If for whatever reason they make a tactical move for control and strangle me in my sleep tonight, know this, I didn't want this fight and was always a conscientious objector.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Life

A week ago a friend of mine passed away. We weren't close, we hadn't spoken in a couple of years, but she was a constant figure over the years as we knew many of the same people and she dated a good friend of mine for some time.

When young people are taken too soon you feel robbed, you're left with an empty chasm and your heart falls right into it.

A couple of months ago I saw this person pop up on facebook and I went to say hello.. I stopped myself, thinking it had been too long and it would be too weird.

My advice to everyone is not to wait, not to hold back.. she never did.

I can't imagine what my friends and her family are going through, but I'm sure they know just how well she spent her time on this Earth and that will be celebrated tomorrow.

She lived a full life and spent her time discerningly. Those of us lucky to have been given any of it are very fortunate indeed.



Saturday, 2 November 2013

Today

Today was a hard day. I had to work with a lot of grueling pictures out of Syria for several hours and I feel physically sick.

Two shots stuck with me the most, one of a man standing with three others when he is unexpectedly shot in the head and just drops to the ground mid conversation, and the other of a small girl singing to the camera when a missile flies in and explodes next to them killing her.

Both of these images will haunt me for a while, especially the stuff I removed which couldn't be shown on air.

I'm glad I get to help tell these stories to the world, I almost feel like I am doing something useful, almost, I wish I knew it made a difference to these people's lives. When you see what people are going through at the hands of governments, religious factions and corporations day after day, it becomes very hard to stomach the way we ignore their struggle and accept the excess with which we live in the west.

Beach

I want to write, but I'm soooo tired. In short, I found a laundromat close to where I'm staying so I don't have to be extorted for clean undies. I went for a walk around the embassies and met many many security guards who wanted to know what I was doing, "Going for a walk" is apparently an acceptable if surprising response. Some of the embassies were remarkable buildings, which I thought the best of was Kuwait, until I came across Iran. However, these signs were everywhere and I was being watched like a hawk.


Beach wasn't much to write home about.





I'm pretty sure some other things happened, but I'm too tired to remember what they were. I ate some Frosties. I saw a child driving a truck.

Oh and I saw a man eating KFC and blowing his nose at the same time.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wet Wet Wet

For the first time in my life, I'm spending every day in the pool. While I'm discovering muscles I didn't know I had, and I should say muscle groups because there certainly aren't any muscles, it's far from an unpleasant setting.







Not that I'm yet to spend any time in that spa because I saw the hairiest man on the planet using it the other day and there's no way I'm going in there till I'm sure he's out of the hotel and filters have been changed.








These photos don't really do it justice because the sunlight streaming in the windows just blows out to white, what you can see in real life is warm sunlight streaming in from all sides as the sun rises above the desert and the city, piercing the surrounding buildings and shimmering off the water and paua pool tiles. Not too bad at all. It certainly eases my pain.

Multiplication

Since I've gotten over here, I've had a few inquiries about Scabies. Well she's good.



In fact she's multiplying.



But I did see this posted up, who would have thought the land of kittehs would be in the desert.





Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Outed

Ugh, saw these quotes from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key today as he responded in the wake of the spying revelations rocking the world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines and see that this is completely dodgy.

Ironic at all then this also happened?!

America is running out of friends and it makes zero sense for us to be cuddling up to them.

There's a much bigger story here and I hope the media take John Key to task. New Zealand's involvement with these spying allegations simply must not be swept under the rug and forgotten tomorrow. If we're involved, we need to be outed and we need to stop.

http://www.3news.co.nz/Coleman-brushes-off-spying-revelations/tabid/1607/articleID/319288/Default.aspx



Monday, 28 October 2013

Drive

You may have heard about the recent protest by women in Saudi Arabia seeking the legal ability to drive, what you may not have heard is this amazing song.



Lates

After finishing these 4 late shifts in a row





Sunday, 27 October 2013

100

I am not, nor have I ever been a noted swimmer.

As a child I watched as other kids jumped in with relative ease, wriggling their little limbs and propelling themselves through the water like little fish children. It seemed so simple.

My efforts were anything but. Entry into the pool introduced me to the bottom, not with my feet, but with my face. I seemed to lack any of the natural buoyancy attributed to the other children and the propulsion expected by kicking my legs was set firmly in reverse.

Asthma, an allergy to chlorine and bones made of lead did not make me a natural. So to help me fit in they added water wings, a flutter board, goggles and a nose plug. Boy those other kids must've been jealous of me. There they were, little naked fish children and here I was, inflatable foam robocop.

Swimming lessons were a must, so I took them, every year. For ten straight years.

Intermediate was the last straw, one of three comparatively tall kids in the wading pool still struggling to breathe and being forced to stand up in knee high water when it all went wrong, I felt no need to continue with this debacle into high school.

I talked my mother into supporting my decision and spent every swimming lesson and school swim day alone in the stands copying text from a phys-ed book in a hollow attempt by the teachers to both keep me occupied and punish me for my non-participation. It sucked, but not as much as drowning.

Over the years I have attempted to get back in the water, but never much enjoyed the humiliation. I know I suck, I tell people I suck, but to hear "I didn't know you sucked that much", can have a discouraging effect.

It is then with a mixed sense of expectant dread that I once again dive in. I've been wanting to for a while and the magnificent pool at my hotel provides the best chance I've had to whet my whistle. The additional added bonus is the total lack of *other swimmers. Also I've gotten fat and need the exercise

I purchased the hottest togs in the shop, goggles and a new nose plug. Mr Cool rides again. At least this time I will be spared the taunts of little fish children or peers who point out my ineptitude below the water line. Project jezsexification is go.

*falsely insinuating I can swim

Routine

I've been back to work now in the middle east for 4 days, or more accurately, 4 nights.

Upon my arrival I had a day to settle in then it was straight into the night shift. In the weeks leading up to coming over I had been trying to alter my body clock to ease the transition, so I guess I'm now suffering from reverse jet-lag, if that's even possible.

The shifts here are 12 hours long and given that I'm set up in a small windowless room it can be hard to tell day from night at the best of times. The length of the shifts can make it difficult to differentiate one day from another, you sleep, eat and work, one day merging into the next and creating relative time dilation.

It's easy to see someone around the office and question why they've changed their clothes, hoping they haven't had an accident, but then wondering if it's something more serious because who would carry around a full change of clothes. Then you start to think about their upbringing, how their parents dealt with this disorder or whether it's something that came with the onset of adulthood which they've had to learn to deal with as it's gotten progressively worse. You give them a supportive if knowing look and they flash one back that says "weirdo".

My routine has made breakfast an issue. My previous accommodation on my last visit provided free food and I took full advantage. When I was moved elsewhere and the food was no longer free, it was still within my budget. Eating at the hotel wasn't a problem as even the most expensive meal was around $10 New Zealand dollars. My new hotel for all it's fabulous fabulousness has one tiny flaw, the food is 10 times as much.

It can be fun to spoil yourself, on occasion, every morning is a bit OTT. The food itself isn't even gold plated which more than negates it's apparent value, though if it were one could assume it circumvent its main role as sustenance.

I have therefore spent more time balking than eating and have had to scratch around at mealtime to find other small morsels to whet my appetite. I've already had KFC for breakfast once this week. I did manage to get to a supermarket where I purchased an 8-pack of little Arabian cereals to try, not wanting to be too committal by diving straight into a big box. I also purchased a litre of what I thought was milk and a few other snacktacular options to get me through in moments of hunger and desperation.

The milk turned out to be yogurt, yogurt does not go well with Arabian coco-pops.




Delectables

So slightly before I started training for the winter games, I did go a little nuts, but only because delicious things are delicious.



I rocked the Fonzies purely because I had nothing else available and they are called Fonzies. It's hard to resist a flavour like BBQ curry. I hope Henry Winkler knows he's part of America's imperial reach into the hearts and minds of the middle east.

Citrus mirinda is the best thing to ever come in a can and if the Pepsi company had their heads screwed on right they'd release it in NZ. Not their strawberry and apple versions however, they are rubbish.

And finally, the one thing I crave every day I'm not here, god's gift to my gob, the mighty shwarma.


Who wants to go into business with me and start selling these delicious bastards in NZ?

Oh and I started work today.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ringadingding

Two weeks of immobility staring out to sea, then a cry rang out from the distance. I leapt elegantly down from my tower like a jelly falling off a plate. I steadied myself, pulled up my pants and began packing like it was Christmas eve at the fudge factory.

Mere hours later I was on a flight back to the middle east and back to work in the sand pit.

I've never been the most confident traveller, cautious of airports and paperwork, gate numbers, obtuse signage and own ability to get myself into trouble over the smallest of trivial details. I am my own worst enemy in any airport, a veritable bull in a china shop, if that bull was six inches tall, made of rubber, full of helium, wearing a blind fold and strapped to a rocket.

This trip and its 28 hour duration went surprisingly well by my own standards, my only real stoush coming in Australia where I was unceremoniously pulled out of the line up for a full body scan and pat down. At the time I exclaimed that someone up there must like me, only to register that 'up there' must refer to the guy in the little booth looking at my genitals and winking and waving at the pat down guy.

Body scanners are a step too far in my opinion, but that's a gripe for another day. This time I only got two phone numbers.

Sydney airport was a vacuum of humanity and 5 hours I will never get back. The only real excitement centred around me trying to print my visa to show to border security once I arrived in the middle east, something rather important when the biggest barrier is language.

You'd think I'd do this before I left, but it hadn't arrived before I left, so this was my chance to get a gold star while signage was still predominantly in english.



I found a printer and fought with three cash machines until I materialized $20 Australian dollars. I was then rejected by twelve consecutive vending machines which refused to take my note before being extorted by the bar for a $6 ginger beer. Look at the look on his face, even the note was surprised and unable to offer any answers.



I now had the coins I needed to work the printer and miraculously printed my visa without further incident. I then spent my remaining $10 on a trip down memory lane as Pizza Hutt apparently failed in their genocide and rather simply drove New Zealand's best pizza company out of the country.



I am happy to report that they've since gotten shit and we're not missing out on anything.

I then flew from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, managing to sleep half of the 15 hours while waking briefly occasionally to puzzle myself with contortions which thankfully didn't lead to anything permanent. I don't think any of them counted as art. Unlike this gif.

A few hours in Abu Dhabi airport and then on to Doha where there were some gusset ruining moments at the border in regards to my freshly printed visa, but in the end I even walked past security without having to declare my smuggled goods for homesick Kiwi's. I tried to, they just wouldn't let me, waving me through with some assertion whenever I tried to speak.

Maybe after 28 hours in transit it just wasn't worth the oxygen to have to be around me.



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

5kg

The body is an amazing thing, mine however, is not.

In the 2 weeks I spent sitting on my bum at home in New Zealand I managed to put on 5kg. Not of muscle, not of extra brain mass, but pure fatty fatty fat fat.

I once heard a comedian describe his fat deposits as energy in waiting, proof that he was ready to explode into action at any given moment. I've tried to convince myself that I am in the same boat, except I'm too heavy and am causing that boat to dip below the water line.

5kg's may not sound like much, some people lose as much after breakfast, but I am wee. I probably look my best around the 65kg mark, blessed though I am with a classic I shape, bereft of shoulders which would otherwise disguise my waistline. I'm currently 75kg and look like a freshly fed constrictor.

Now don't get me wrong, I like to run around and will happily chase a ball like a puppy high on life. It's just that opportunities to do so become rarer as my friends settle down, break down or just give up. Choosing to allow their bosoms to expand exponentially into full cup sizes rather than exert themselves in any way, acknowledging that life is too hard and gravity too great.

I don't want that to be me and when I grew my own bosoms in 2008, I vowed to get rid of them. Gone were the daily curries, banished to a Tuesday only affair. KFC Sunday's moved to a purely monthly indulgence. Beer was no longer my drink of choice at meal time. Not even for breakfast.

I also recognised how my habits effected my weight. Shift work had a truly detrimental effect and I found not even changing my diet could overcome the fluctuations in daily metabolism my body couldn't deal with.

I did beat my tittays, but only once I took over my timetable by becoming a freelancer. This time last year I was back down around 65 and fending the ladies off with a broom handle. It was eventually confiscated by police.

This last month though, stuck in limbo, not knowing when I would have to head to the airport at a moments notice.. has not been good for my figure. There may now be a permanent Jez shaped divit in the couch, an encrusted sweat laden crater surrounded by crumbs.

I still did push ups during this time and while a sure fire jelly knocker prevention technique, it only served to further accentuate my front hump. Though it is of great relief that I did not give up entirely and dress my hump with two folded tea cosies full of titty meat.

That's right, take a moment to recoil from your device in disgust as you let that description sink in, even I was sick in my mouth a little bit.

However news travels fast and so do I, I got the call 2 days ago and am now in the middle east, dead set on losing 5 kilos and not allowing my navel a window to the world between strained buttons.

How you ask? Yo.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Limbo

Rarely do I feel the long dangley tendrils of boredom gripping my face tightly and smothering my will to live. I typically have more on my plate than I ever need, a metaphoric fat person dining out on long hours, multitaskification and a whole spoon full of 'what day is it?'

Right now though, I'm playing the waiting game.

It is the worst game ever invented. The rules are crappy and my official review is a comprehensive 'sucks out of 10'.

I am supposed to start work in the middle east on Oct 6. Today. So while I'm handing out reviews, that's a 'not going to fucking happen out of 10'.

The last couple of weeks have been a hectic mess since I agreed to this contract, cancelled other jobs and desperately ran around like a chook full of roman candles trying to get everything organised.

But with my contract starting today and my person located exactly half a planet away from that obligation, it seems unlikely that I will be able to fulfil my first day on the job.

I know this taste, bureaucracy, all nutty and full of red rope liquorice. Somewhere there's a to-do list with my name on it, right behind doing the laundry and picking up cat biscuits.

I'm sitting here in New Zealand having freed up my calender to travel at the drop of a hat.. watching the clock tick. This is day 3 of watching the clock tick and as entertainment goes, I give it a 'jackhammer out of 10'. Each tick another scratch on the blackboard, each tock another sharp tap on the head with a rubber mallet.

I know this will end, I know I will be on a plane sooner rather than later.. but not knowing exactly when, agony.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Dessert

I am going back to the desert and the camel spiders I left behind.

No longer will the lush sub tropical bush of New Zealand be a hindrance to my locomotion as I freely turn at will, unencumbered by foliage of any description.

My dance with the dust is not a decision I've taken lightly, but as it's only for a couple of months, it's hard to turn down.

It has meant cancelling a couple of other projects, a music video for the Murderchord and an ad campaign for the White Ribbon Foundation, but hopefully I can make it up them in the future. I've also had to take my bum off and put it aside in order to get through the remaining projects I'm part way through.

Negotiations went something like this - "Can you start in 3 weeks?".. *consideration* "Ok, send me the dates" followed by reading and this exclamation "*expletive removed* That's more like ten days".

Life has been hectic.

Still, once the kinks are ironed out this foray back into sand will fit snuggley into the calender and give me the impetus I need to return to my *great works. 

It also provides a chance to spend more time in Finland, a place I'm becoming increasingly fond of. My plan is to spend Christmas as I usually do, with a BBQ and a spot of cricket. The fact it may be -40C is of no concern to me.

I also plan to build a new website and slot this blog pragmatically into it somewhere, so if you return to jezbrown.com at any time to find it filled with whizz bangery, you will know that I did that.

*may not be so great

Monday, 30 September 2013

Christmas

Sometimes.. just sometimes, I forget that I'm an old person and not everyone grew up in Palmerston North. Recently I let slip that we made some Christmas albums a way-way back and people keep hounding me about it, so here you go. Sorry Al.

These are three of my favourite songs from the second album. The whole idea of the project was to rip off NOFX's 'Fuck the kids' concept and write and record entire albums in a single week. We recorded all the songs at the Stomach in Palmy and often only got through a single decent take before moving on to the next song.

A Christmas Cracker - http://tinyurl.com/l8mgju4

This is my favourite song off the second record, it's about the insanity of Christmas and how people put on a brave face despite losing it at that time of year. I got in references to Universal Solider, MC Hammer and the last line (which people always ask about) is "..you find me here beneath your tree and I'm eating meat, and I won't say where I got it from, but Woofy needs some gravy".

Eat Tinsel And Die - http://tinyurl.com/ma24g9p

This was a lot of other people's favourite track off the album, it's about the first Christmas a 3 year old has to spend with their nearly year old baby sister. My favourite lyric from this comes from the maniacal bravado in "..the sandpit will be mine again!". This was me commenting on the selfish side of Christmas, but I frankly can't help loving this little tough guy, I think it's because I know he cannot win. - I only had one or two takes at this and was regularly out of tune and out of time, I was eating a cold BK chicken burger with extra mayo at the time.

The Clatter Of Many Hooves - http://tinyurl.com/mxcywrq

This is my second favourite song on the album, it's about an elf with little job satisfaction, feeling he does all the work while the reindeer take all the glory. We were running out of time having wasted a considerable amount of effort trying to cover "Snoopy's Christmas" and we were still 3 songs short of a record. I recorded both voices in one take and ad-libbed the whole second part. Something I'm still immensely proud of and which blew Andy Young's mind. Seeing as Andy was there and we never did manage to get through Snoopy's Christmas, we got him to play drums and sing the last song on the record, the very angry, very cantonese, "Smiley, Happy, Christmas Song". So here's your bonus track, you'll have to ask Andy what he's saying.

Smiley, Happy, Christmas Song - http://tinyurl.com/m5sah6x

A big thanks to everyone who performed on the records and special thanks to Dougal Ross for writing this silliness with me.

There were always supposed to be three albums, but while I wrote songs for a third, it never materialized. Maybe one day. When we're even older.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Scorpions

I am stepping down from my role as Media & Marketing Manager of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.

I have held the role for 2 seasons and overseen a great deal of change, especially off the ice.

I saw that as my role, to focus on the fans and in doing so grow the game.

I feel I succeeded rather well, adding colour, atmosphere, providing good guidance and increasing the image, communication and patronage across the league.

It has been deeply rewarding, seeing the growth, being part of the community and effecting positive change. I have a lot of pride in what I've achieved and know that I have helped lay a solid foundation for the future. I am sure the structure I have put in place will continue to evolve the game and bring new people to it.

With so many positives, it can be hard to fathom why I am leaving, but the fact is I am exhausted.

Implementing the vast array of changes I brought to the league was no mean feat and required huge amounts of time, energy and patience. The hardest part is probably behind us, but I feel someone new to the role will freshen things up and I have told the league I will be available on a consultation basis should my experience need to be called upon.

I would now like to shift my focus back to what brought me into ice hockey, television.

I feel with the increase in the quality of the product that the move towards more televised coverage becomes ever more inevitable.

I do enjoy producing that content and think confining my efforts to this area will generate the best results.

And that is my hope, that in the 10th season of the NZIHL, we will be bringing the game to a screen near you.

There's a lot of water to pass under the bridge, but if the proposals put forward in my end of season report are adhered to then I see no reason why we cannot.

In the meantime, I need a holiday and some cricket.

www.nzihl.com

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

May

It may shock you to learn I did not get the TVNZ job.

It may.

Still, not every employer is likely to see me as pure unbridled talent just as I don't see every employer as a 'golden diamond pony'.

I'm coming to the end of a cycle in which I've accomplished a lot on both personal and professional levels and am now re-evaluating how I want my life to proceed from this juncture forth.

Most notable is a change of attitude around how I want to work and who I want to work with.

My entire life I have always tried to please other people and as a reasonably capable person been able to undertake and execute most tasks with little tepid sweat on my brow. My ability to complete a wide variety of tasks has made for a highly varied professional life in which I have done all manner of jobs from the bottom up.

I could, if I wanted to, settle. Settle for a well paying job somewhere convenient, rake in the dough, buy a house and kill myself slowly that way. Pretend to be someone I'm not, please other people and be rewarded for it.

I consider that a creative take on suicide.

What I want to do is work with other people who want to work with me. People who inspire me and challenge me to do better. People who value what I bring to the group, but most of all people! *holds gun to the computer*

I dearly want to work in comedy if I can and avoid stand up where ever possible in getting there. Not likely, but not impossible.

I of course have other interests, the environment, social wrong doing, cricket.. but I feel I can best indulge myself in these areas and provide greater positive change through comedy.

No matter what role I have undertaken over the years, it has always been with a smile on my face and heartened by the smiles of others as I lighten the mood in even the most stressful environments. Nobody lost any fingers, so I think I brought a lot to the workplace. Even when certain jobs were gut busting or emotionally difficult, I still made jokes, I looked at the lighter side and I helped other people to see it too. Most people appreciated it, some people did not.

Perhaps employers didn't always get what they bargained for when they hired me, capable and reliable, but also humorous, creative and headstrong. What I want to do from now on when I apply for positions and work towards my goals is be more honest about who I really am from the get go.

It's a change I made on a personal level 12 years ago, to be myself. To stop pretending to be someone else for others sake and open up to being liked or loathed just for being me. I lost a lot of friends and for a while things were pretty glum, but the friends I've made since are all lifers. People who respect and care about me, believe in what I'm capable of and want me to succeed.

I feel the exact same way about them and I want to feel the exact same way about work.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cover

I've recently been looking into other employment opportunities, but I don't want to fall into the trap of taking the first thing that comes along. Rather, I'd like take job where I get to be creative as well as productive. To this end I recently applied for a 6 month contract with TVNZ as a 'Creative Producer'. Here is my cover letter:


To The TVNZ Mastermind It May Concern,
Your ad got me excited. ‘Commercial Creative Producer’ is a terrible title, but the role you describe sparkles with possibilities.
Perhaps ‘Edu-Fun Captain’ would be a better way to be known around the office?
That’s what excites me about this role, the potential to devise and execute on creative terms, to collaborate with talented people and facilitate great production.
You’ve been reading my diary again, haven’t you TVNZ?
My background involves all things entertainment and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that have been thrown at me, except swimming. I am rubbish at swimming.
Still, no matter how difficult the situations in which I have found myself, how mind bendingly technically brain pulverising or how socially anus tighteningly awkward, I have always swum. I have always pulled on my togs and jumped in because that is what I do.
And you might think, we’re not looking for some kind of man-fish-boy. And you’d be right. But I bring a lot more than loose metaphors to the table. I bring a mixture of skill, wit and technical proficiency to rival that of any 13 year old with the Adobe suite and a bare bones social life.
I’m not just clever, I’m scary clever.
Synergy, people. Synergy.
“The interaction of multiple elements in a system to produce an effect different from or greater than the sum of any individual effects.”
It’s total wank and completely apt.
I want to work with you because it will be awesome. And certainly not because working for TVNZ will allow me to complete my set of New Zealand broadcast mugs.
I want to bring my enthusiasm and workaholism to our national broadcaster. Be part of a team with a sweet codename that makes me sound like I can never talk about work. To be based next to a casino and wonder, when are they getting my office?
It’s time to combine my vast technical knowledge, creativity and unreasonably high standards to not just work for you, but with you and with the viewers.
Great content is at the heart of any great production and that is what I will deliver.
A dried up manly-fish-boy is just an added bonus.
Call me.
My number’s in the back of my diary.
Jez Brown

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pills

Today I was supposed to perform stand up comedy in Wellington. Instead I did something to which I am totally unaccustomed, I chickened out.

That is extremely difficult to admit, even to myself. Chickening out is not usually available in my lexicon.

Each new challenge is almost always met with taking up arms and I certainly have pedigree when it comes to performance of anything funny.

It was a hard decision to make and given my own goals and standards in regards to comedy and my own work ethic, a very bitter pill to swallow. I can feel it choking me even as I write this.


I would like to think it takes guts to admit when you are not prepared for something. My set it written, but my head space is completely wrong.

I've been under a lot of stress lately and am not feeling particularly funny. I am distracted and bogged down in other matters right across the board, totally unable to give my time to the preparation required to overcome my own negative thinking.


What pains me most is that I had something worthwhile to say. That the set I'd put together was thoughtful, well written and full of research delivered with witty analysis.

Unlike so much current stand up, it made a point. A point I hoped would resonate with the audience, that would be taken home and lead to at least one argument in the kitchen over the validity of what I had to say.

I am kicking myself.

This is the same set I bottled recently and it seems prudent to attest that perhaps the hangover of that failure coupled with the stress of recent events has simply gotten the better of me this time around.

It hurts to admit defeat. It's humbling to admit when you cannot deliver.

Put into context it's a small blip on the radar, a moment that never even was save for what I have written here. An irrelevant nothing which effects exactly zero other people.

It is good to know I have my priorities straight at the moment.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Elements

In between flicking out my feelers, the show must go on. At least until the 9th of September.

A moment ago I realised I had been strapped to my laptop for 14 unflinching hours, ticking boxes, being productive and ignoring the wind as it battered the house.

I have two big matches left on my plate for this season, the Grand Final and the Skate Of Origin. Both are big events and soaking up all of my waking hours. So much so that I lost last Wednesday.

Titter if you will, but I have no recollection of last Wednesday whatsoever, I spent all of Thursday thinking it was Wednesday, then all of Friday catching up on the things I was supposed to do on Thursday. I recall Tuesday quite well, so whoever stole Wednesday from me had better return it, no questions asked.

The budget for these events is basically gone. For the team hosting the Grand Final it is their first time and they have few resources. With the complete re-brand of the Skate Of Origin little is left for promotion.

Some might say this has left me in a tight position with little room to move, but this is when I do my best work. While some squeeze blood from a stone, I squeeze it, bottle it and have enough left over for cheap christmas presents for the family.

One of the challenges I've enjoyed most is overcoming new technical problems with old technical solutions. Why have wifi when you can have mecanno. Indeed it's times like this I think I should have studied engineering and built anthropomorphic animatronic turtles. Ninja ones.

While it's cool to oversee poster art, placement, media releases, video production, social media campaigns and all the hullabaloo, nothing quite beats erecting an aerial where it's not supposed to be.

Like a 12 year old with a VCR clock, I am in my element.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Plans

Recently I had a plan. It generated a path for me to follow based on certain criteria being met, I was happy with it and it with me.

Then life happened and I was reminded not to anything.

It wasn't so much a fork in the road as a Swiss army knife. What had seemed like a clear map to follow was now covered in a matching colour set of children's crayon.

Snakes without ladders, hello square one.

Still I am not defeated and never likely to give up. I just need to burn this map I so painstakingly put together with the skill of an 18th century cartographer and start again.

The most pressing issue to arise from this sudden change in the weather is my employment. It's time to find another job.

This tangent was unexpected, but in many ways welcome as I have been trying to alter the destiny of my career for some time. The thing is I haven't always made the best decisions when I've found myself in this position before. A 'clean slate' + 'capable person' has typically equalled the 'first thing that comes along'.

Something pops up and I say "I can do that" with all the glee of a 10 year old looking to please its authority figures in a desperate search for a pat on the head.

This is something I must now be acutely aware of if my career is to take the turns I want it to, the flipside is of course starvation.

Do I starve and push on through the snow in the hope of finding suitable lodgings not riddled with stabby chattels? Or eat the low hanging fruit?

To me the answer is obvious, starve.

I've starved before, I can starve again. I'm more prepared now than I've ever been thanks to middle age spread. I am sure having survived the harsh winter, spring will be no obstacle. And what a brutal winter it was, I think the temperature even dipped below 15 degrees C the other day.

Sure my grand plan is on the back burner, its ashes smouldering in a heap, but that's not to say I didn't commit the main points to memory before I disposed of the evidence.

I shall return to this plan when the world decides I can, until then I shall continue to join the dots, the first of which entails new found employment.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Munchkins

From the lows of my comedy pedigree to the highs of my ice hockey plunder.

While I have spent much of the last few weeks in a constant state of mental and emotional disrepair, it has in some ways paid off. Not financial pay off, that would be silly. But some warm fuzzy pay off.

So for 5 seconds I am going to roll around on this warm fuzzy basis of comparison. Naked. So there universe. I need a bit of indulgence and to remind myself that everything is jive.

In the last 3 years I have helped the New Zealand Ice Hockey League get their ducks in a row. Keeping in mind herding ducks is no mean feat and stacking them is even more tricky.

In the past 3 years I have built them a new website, a fully active online social community across Facebook and Twitter, filmed countless hours of footage for YouTube, made the most of new technology to establish live online streaming with graphics and commentary etc and lead the way in improving all print work and merchandise. Or at least those are the parts of the iceberg poking above the water.

My achievements can be hard to put into words, mostly because they appear to exist independently. It's the culmination of these achievements working in perfect unison which I am truly proud of.

And summed up in a single photo.


While it can feel like I am having my limbs pulled off by stallions, I do draw tremendous satisfaction from looking up into the crowds and seeing kids covered in colour screaming their little lungs out.

Having helped lay the bedrock for a thriving community is just super. And while I may not be able to do this gig forever, I will look back with great gratification and look forward with considerable interest as to what is built on this bedrock.

Possibly a small fort.

..with an interior ice based surface ringed with wood and glass and meeting all IIHF criteria.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bottled

I could not have been more right when I said it felt like I was starting again.

For all my pomp and bravado, a brave face was not enough to prevent me from freezing 3 lines into my set and drawing a blank at every turn.

My cues and notes meant nothing as my memory failed me in such total entirety that I can't recall feeling like this before.

I put a lot of effort into preparing for tonight's performance, so to bottle it was deflating.

It's a matter of pure confidence and while I can't coax mine out with cookies and milk, they do aid in my recovery.

Exactly how I conjure my old self out from behind.. myself.. is anyone's guess, but I was sent a nice thought by an understanding friend.

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Jokes Bro

I figured out some time ago that when I do comedy it's not enough for me to make people laugh. I also want to make them think.

Now this epiphany did not happen overnight, it took several years and when I finally boiled it down it took me several more to figure out how to go about it.

5 years ago I was doing quite well in comedy circles delivering a twee brand of stand up that mused through surreal scenarios and pop-culture references. I was popular and attracting my own crowd. People went out of their way to see me perform and I was deeply humbled by that.

Then as if a switch had been thrown, something changed. I remember the moment clearly, I was standing on stage at the San Fransisco Bath House in Wellington, people were laughing hysterically and as I gazed out at them through the spotlights, I loathed them for it.

I thought "How can people laugh at a joke that's not even funny?"

Dark times and from that point onwards my stage performances began a downward spiral from which my reputation could not claw its way back. I had begun to suck.

Now sucking comes with the territory if you're a stand up comedian, you don't always strike the right chord and not every audience will like you. You have to accept that sometimes you are going to suck, that people aren't going to dig what you're doing and that you're going to walk off stage feeling like you need to remove a hundred knives from your torso.

It's bleak, but you continue to do comedy for the good times and try to minimise the times that you suck as best you can.

I on the other hand was sucking full-time, dealing with a malaise of mind and spirit that crushed my confidence and had me doubting whether I was ever funny at all. I stopped performing.

Now I've never had stage fright. When I was young I loved being on stage, I loved being the centre of attention and I loved it when people listened to me. Suddenly, none of that mattered and the fun I found in stand up simply got up and left. Being on stage became the worst thing I could think of and I avoided it.

Over time I came to realise more about why I liked certain comics, certain music, certain scenarios and very slowly isolated the common threads that they shared which resonated with me. Little by little I began to put together the picture of myself which I have always struggled to form and feel comfortable with.

During this process I would occasionally re-take the stage to try something new, to test myself and the audience, but I never truly had the confidence I once did to hold that situation in the palm of my hand. 

But I did learn.

I learnt it wasn't enough for me to tell jokes. I've always enjoyed making people happy, but just making them laugh was not enough. I started to feel a sense of purpose about being at the front of the room holding a microphone, a sense of honour in being given that attention by other people.

Some comedians say it's your job to make people laugh and that if you're doing that then that's all that matters. This is fine for some people, but I believe it's my job to challenge people to think.

I feel people are going to laugh regardless, I am a funny person. How much they laugh may not entirely be in my control. If however I can walk off that stage knowing that I've prompted some new consideration, thought or debate, I will feel I have done my job.

Now that's not to say I will dabble purely in politics, my comedy has always had an element of smoke and mirrors. I'm not afraid to bury jokes or hide them behind what you find at face value. In fact if you ever see me perform and think "that's the joke", you've probably been had.

I feel like I am starting again and have a long way to go, but rest assured, I will hide things that I find funny in what I do for me and I say things you might find funny to make you think.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Monsters

Remember when we used to care about things like.. I dunno.. each other? People we didn't know. We had empathy, we understood our neighbours.

So when did we turn into monsters?

We focus on increasing income, meeting the right partner, having a bunch of kids and sticking all of them and all of our things under one roof.

Why does this mean we have to neglect the less fortunate, the environment and our own personal freedoms?

The current New Zealand government is a one trick pony, but of course like any magician if you practice enough you're going to get good at your tricks. You may dazzle the crowd and you may make some money doing it. But of course if you do it too much, people are going to get bored and when they figure out how you do it, they're not going to care about you at all.

Our Prime Minister is like a squirrel, running around, all bright and chipper, busy as a bee, working hard and looking all cute with a big smile on his face. And he loves collecting up nuts, lots of nuts, America's nuts and putting them in his mouth and he smiles as he sighs "ooh yummy".

He wants us to be just like them and firmly believes we'll be better off if we are.

It's no secret he likes money, it's no secret he has lots. He may actually believe that if you work hard anyone can have as much as they want. But that belief has one major flaw, for his concept to work, most people have to be poor.

And what does that mean? Does it mean they don't have as much money? No. It means they don't get to eat. It means they don't get to have a proper education. It means homeless people. It means desperate people. It means more crime, more distrust, more greed, more envy, more pressure, more depression and a constantly expanding gap between the haves and have nots.

We here in New Zealand don't like to make a fuss, we don't like to rock the boat, we are very trusting and despite being a nation of whingers, we are extremely adept at taking orders.

These traits are not unique, but they do make a mess when they are taken advantage of.

When did we fall in with the wrong crowd?

Right now New Zealand is being put out to pasture, our personal freedoms, assests, laws, our future, all being sold off, all being whipped right out from under us.

And it wasn't our idea.

We've been too slow to react, too blind to join the dots, too unwilling to believe it and too timid to do enough about it. We may say "how dare you", but the powers that be know we will take it and the powers to come won't move to change it.

At this time New Zealand needs to be brave, we need to stand up not for what we believe in, but what we believe is just. We need to stand up to the world and we need to be strong in the face of criticism by who we currently call our friends.

If money is the only reason we don't prioritise health, education and the welfare of our common man, then we have truly lost our way.

We may not be monsters in our minds, but as we drink from the poison chalice we are more than beginning to change.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Strange_Case_of_Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Further

One of the other unnerving things about life on the road is being never quite sure where you are waking up.

Every morning in a bleary haze I go through the same ritual of wondering exactly where I am, what town, who's house etc.. even in my own room.

My flatmate had a excellent suggestion today however, an assurance whiteboard.

A whiteboard right next to the bed with all the information I need so when I wake up I can bring myself up to speed and reassure myself that everything is fine.

News Digs

Ahh, whoops, forgot to regale you with the positives of the comedy festival, but forget that for a moment.

I was pretty scathing in my assessment of the festival organisation on some levels and when asked to fill out an official survey I did so with due diligence.

To my surprise, rather than simply be banned for life, I have been asked to meet with the organisers tomorrow to discuss my thoughts. Whether they agree with me or not I am happy to doff my cap to their willingness to open up discussion on the matter, an official meeting was not something I ever expected.

Cool beans.

And speaking of cool beans, as you may know I spend most of my time on the road. This week is my first at home for some time and I do use the term 'home' loosely. Since procuring this domicile I have spent exactly 5 days in total within its walls, when I arrive 'home' it's hard not to think of it as just another place I am staying for the night.

Most of my belongings are still in storage.. ahem ahem, at my Mum's house, sorry Mum, you know I love you. Anyway, this lack of my own belongings in my home can be frustrating when I'm so used to living out of a bag. The little things matter a lot more, so when I went into town today to purchase a new towel and found Briscoes had a 50% of towels sale, I went a little nuts.

Faced with a sale a didn't expect on the exact item I was looking to purchase drove me to insanity, I simply lost control and only two of the finest matching towel and flannel sets, two handtowels and a new bathmat later could I be finally placated.

Never before in my life have I been so enamoured with the colour coordination of my bathroom or need to match towels with flannels. Usually my only prerequisite is size, I love a big towel. Now I have four of them.

Still I hate to think anyone was watching me on the security camera at Briscoes as I took the process of towel purchase far too seriously. Scurrying up and down the isles, comparing minor details with scientific precision, folding and unfolding, holding each up to each other like swatches. But the truly telling feature would have been the look on my face, total glee with a touch of reckless abandon.

No kid in any candy store anywhere in the world could have come close to the exuberance exhibited by me.