Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

It's time like these, near the end of the year, that thoughts of martyrdom come to mind.

It seems to me that each of us, in our own way, suffer from this malaise to some degree. I wonder if our lives would be all the more richer if we took some time to examine why we become one who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle. Especially if that principle is self serving.

Isn't it funny that so many people choose to suffer for some pointless ideal, while others seem to get off scot free without a care in the world - but wait: isn't that the point?
Surely the whole idea of enjoying this life is not about getting pissed off at those people who don't play by the rules and leave it for others to clean up. Maybe the point is to truly let that doesn't truly matter; slide.

So my New Years wish for you, is that you find a way to unburden yourself from whatever jihad you have embarked on, and that you find the strength, not only to find your inner martyr, but to analyse it for what it is, and if it's not worthy, to break free of it.

Life is short, and happiness is there to be found, but only by those who seek to find it. Be that person next year, but if you must - make today a last chance to savour the bitter before the sweet.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Spreading Blame

So here I am in Dunedin, enjoying the Christmas festivities. I'm happy to report the more genetically unstable of us here have started growing webbed feet to combat the rain since Christmas Day. However, I remain ever positive about venturing home, and that work on the Great Ark is progressing well.

Then I read the newspaper today.

It now appears that all New Zealand must own up to the responsibility of spousal murder. Don't get me wrong - spousal murder is a serious matter, but I wonder how responsible I am for the whole thing.

I hardly drink, and I now obey the speed limits. I don't break the law - yet now I'm lumbered with the responsibility of spousal violence.

Dr Pita Sharples states;

"I believe we find the whole situation abhorrent. We have handled it by denial – it is not our problem, it is a drug problem, a Maori problem, an Islander problem – instead of taking this on as a New Zealand problem which at all levels of our society we need to confront."

I'm wondering where Pita Sharples is going with this. Does he think we're happy to have partners murdering each other on a daily basis?

Pita Sharples needs to get real - there are underlying reasons for all murders, and I believe most sane people believe that murder is not a positive option in a polite society.

Yes - We do however have certain individuals in our community that rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressures of life, and yes, that unfortunately impacts on the lives of others; often in a serious manner. But to infer that we all have played some part in condoning this behavior is ridiculous.

In fact, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure we elected the current politicians on a platform of law and order. In a roundabout way we asked them to protect us from crime, to provide us with adequate health care and better quality of life - so this begs the question - Isn't it you that's responsible Pita?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bad Santa

Billy Bob’s Father Christmas is about as politically incorrect a figure as you will likely see all year. This movie wallows in its shamelessness. Lauren Graham holds her own with Thornton as a waitress with a Santa Claus fetish. Throw in an angry dwarf and you have a brutally funny film that is sure to ruin any shred of Christmas spirit.

See it - I promise you you'll never feel the same about the Gilmore Girls again!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dave Brown's Mob

The usual suspects - (Vaughan second from the right)

Around the mid nineties, my boss Murray got made redundant, and what was left of our staff moved into another section. That in itself was no big deal - by that stage we went through a restructure around every eight months; what made this time different, was that we were being merged with a completely different group of workers.

The Post Office, god bless it, in its day, was a very structured business. Before it was broken up and sold, there was a place for everyone; and everyone had their place. Even in the cafeteria, we all sat in our own groups, and hardly a word was spoken to anyone who didn't do the same job as you. We didn't trust "them" and they sure as hell didn't trust "us", and all was well with the world.

When my boss "left" we merged into a group of "them" and they had to put up with "us". It's fair to say there was a fair degree of mistrust; at least initially. Some of the guys were a bit intimidating, especially a guy they called Weaner, who to us, looked like a bloody tough street brawler, that would have taken your head off if you looked at him funny - or perhaps just if you looked at him - period.

I still remember the first Friday afternoon beer after work. Dave Brown, my new boss, used to always have a stock of beers ready for us in the lunchroom after work, and Weaner looked like he wasn't really interested in sharing with the new guys. In fact it looked like he took exception to us even breathing the same air as him.

These days - looking back at it I can laugh, because in actuality you couldn't find a nicer guy to know than Weaner- but back then it was a different story. What really broke the ice, was a friendly guy called Vaughan, who passed us a beer, as we meekly walked into the lunchroom. Vaughn with the big smile - and a possibility of someone of substance coming between Weaner and me should he snap in a fit of rage.

Suffice to say I learnt some big lessons that day - It takes one smiling face to put you at ease, and you cant always judge a book by it's cover.

These days, recalling working with those guys remain my fondest memories of Telecom - they were all a breath of fresh air, in a time when it looked like nothing was left for us to enjoy anymore. We striked together - fought together to have a collective contract, then later to remain staff of Telecom when they tried to pawn us off to Downer Engineering. Vaughan and Weaner had families, but they hung on for as long as they could. I admired them and the others for their tenacity, but I realised that at the end of the day they would have to do what was right for them. I was happy when they signed over - it was the right thing for them to do.

I left Downers over four years ago - I never did sign over, and I don't regret it either. There were some great guys I left behind when I went. Weaner left before I did, but Vaughan was still there. I always enjoyed going back to say hi whenever I was in Dunedin - Nigs, Robbo, Did's, Dave, Murray, Robbie and Vaughan always had the big smiles on their faces, and I felt in some way i had returned to a sort of family.

Not that long ago I got word that Vaughan was sick, and that things weren't looking good. He died this morning, leaving the world a little less bright today. Even though I worked with him for years, I never knew his family, or saw him away from his work - but he was a gentle bear of a man, full of heart and good will, and those will be the memories that remain with me now he isn't here.

I was hoping to see him at Christmas, to say goodbye, but also to remind him of the good times we had, and to thank him for that first beer. I'm sure now he knows now, just how much it meant :)


It's times like this when lyrics, or parts of movies pop into my head.
Stuff like "Breathe out - so I can breathe you in" springs to mind.
The poetry of today may as easily be found in the lyrics of a song, rather than any book of poems.
I hardly ever listen to lyrics - to me the music comes first. My friend Matt is wired differently, and always extols the virtues of a song based on its lyrical content. Perhaps some of his influence is rubbing off on me: he was, after all, the man who turned me on to the brilliance of Fight Club.
So when I listened to my latest Foo Fighters DVD; Skin and Bones, and Dave Grohl sings;

And I wonder if everything could ever feel this real forever?
If anything could ever be this good again?
The only thing I'll ever ask of you
You've got to promise not to stop when I say when.

I have to admit that "Evermore" is a brilliant song - in more ways than one.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Current musings

This week marks the end of what has been a full on year, work wise. Wednesday was the start of what we in the telecoms industry call a "brownout". Basically it is a known fact that in the short term, not touching communications equipment, means that equipment will be a lot more reliable, so just prior to Christmas we stop our contractors from working on our equipment. Unfortunately this does not mean that all work stops; any daily faults are still sent out for repair, and we use the time to get "all our ducks in a row" (whatever that means). Suffice to say though, this can be an enjoyable part of the year; the weather is brilliant, and there are pub lunches and shouts available to drag you away from the hum-drum normality of work.

I'm also looking forward to heading back to Dunedin; catching up with my family and friends. My Capri is getting it's warrant of fitness, and I'm looking forward to driving her again after a year in storage: that in itself, is a Christmas present.

Until then I have a great weekend in which to fly my RC helicopter, do some last minute Christmas shopping, and meet up with an old friend who I havent seen for around 10 years. It is a bit daunting so meet someone you kinda fell out with that long ago, but I hope that any bad memories on either side will have long been lost, leaving only the good ones remaining. I hope.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're qutie the storyteller!

You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

Having a Cow.

You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them worldwide.

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows. Both are mad.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You break for lunch.

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 12 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

You have two cows. You worship them.

You have two cows Methane gas production (hot air) funds acquisition of strategic Australian Dairy Companies controlling 2000 cows. Liquidate Australian cows for dog tucker and milk harder

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kara and I

For a change of pace I thought it might be refreshing to write a more - stream of consciousness - post.
With that in mind I'd like to blog about something close to my heart : Battlestar Galactica.
Honest to god - this program is fracking amazing. For those of you that think that you can judge a book from its cover - I implore you to give Battlestar the benefit of the doubt.
Some may think it is a space opera of some sorts - and they would be right. But along with the space opera there are serious themes to be discovered - and along with that, some amazing characters.

The plots from week to week follow some disturbing events happening right here, right now. Parallels between Battlestar's treatment of Cylons and ...say for the sake of argument, Arab detainees in Cuba seem on the surface - evident - and with good cause. And while I can in no way condone tossing people out airlocks - di's recent post of peoples laptops being detained in the US of A, ensures that tossing people out of airlocks is just around the humanitarian corner - so to speak.

The character of the moment is, in my mind, Starbuck. For some reason, this wreck of a person, has captured my heart, and for the life of me I cant bring myself to condemn her. Sure - She is waaaay out in left field but regardless of her faults, her heart is in the right place, even if her mind isn't. Face it - we can forgive any digressions - if - and only if - their hearts are in the right place. Faults abound - but people persist regardless. I hope she has some sort of redemption upcoming - God knows she deserves it. Like a kitten left at your door step - it's impossible to not let her into your heart and home, in the hope that you dont regret it when the good will runs out.

Give Battlestar a chance - and while you're at it- cut Starbuck some slack, or at least someone you know with a heart of gold, but a few less than fatal flaws.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Quote of the week

Man! - I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived.
I see all this potential, and I see squandering.
God damn it! - an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.
We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place.
We have no Great War. No Great Depression.
Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives.
We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars.
But we won't.
And we're slowly learning that fact: And we're very, very pissed off.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Are we too old for our own good?

After my last post I'm in a quandary. Are all my posts firmly rooted in my past?

I'm not sure there is an easy answer to that question. We are, after all the collection of our experiences - good and bad - and any experiences, and our reactions to them are influenced by what has come before. I also understand the statute of limitations, and where it applies - in the past we did some incredibly stupid things. Today, I'm proud to say, I still do stupid things - but i hasten to add - less life threatening stupid things. For example; Trying to ride your motorcycle over 150 mph on a bumpy but straight piece of road sounds like fun - until you start to think about what would happen if ANYTHING bad happened next. At 25 years of age you don't - but these days these thoughts do slip in occasionally.

I'm not sure when personal responsibility started playing a more significant role in my life. Some would say I was always an old bastard at heart - and to them I must admit some truth to that statement; I actually got rung up on Friday night by Donna (a younger co-worker), who asked how my knitting was going - the cheeky cow.

Also, writing about more recent exploits might cause more discomfort than would be intended. Writing about such things as glitter transfer, the weird navigation to/from Showgirls venues in strange cities, or other things that happen "on tour" would be breaking some kind of official secrets act, I'm sure.

In the meantime I'll drink to selective madness, with limited repercussions - and the occasional nod to the bit of brain that stops me before I step over that line, wherever that line may be.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

U2 and Me

My relationship with U2 began around 1980. Back in 1983 a day didn't go by without U2's album Boy hitting the turntables in our senior common room at The Taieri High School. Back in the day the main staples (music wise) were The Police, Spandau Ballet, Kissing the Pink - and obviously U2.
I will go on record in saying that I thought the studio version of I will Follow sucked but the unique style of music U2 offered was a breath of fresh air, when compared to the new romantic dross of Duran Duran, The Style Council, and Talk Talk. I say dross now - obviously - but at the time Duran Duran's video clip "MTV" style over substance existance was lapped up by all and sundry, and like the followers of fashion all 17 year olds are, I brought into it hook line and sinker.
When U2 released "War", I was a U2 junkie - seeing Bono as a plausible role model - I wanted to be up there waving that white flag yelling "No More" during Sunday Bloody Sunday: the little idealist I was. "Live Under a Blood Red Sky" was the full-stop and the end of that chapter of U2's story, and many of us were ill equipped to deal with the abrupt change of direction offered by "An Unforgettable Fire". It wasn't until their "Joshua Tree" album hit the streets, that I started listening to them again - and I became somewhat envious of the new fans following U2. They werent as jaded as me - and the nerve of them to think that Joshua Tree was U2's best album. Fools!
Over the years since, U2 and I have crossed paths now and again. We saw eye to eye on "Achung Baby" , were barely talking during "Zooropa". The trial separation during "Pop" was difficult. U2 were courting a new legion of fans: there was a party I wasnt invited to - and I wondered where it would all end.
I've been to see U2 on every tour to New Zealand since 1983. When Love Comes to Town, with BB King in Christchurch was brilliant, as was Zooropa - although for very different reasons. The BB King show was a road trip with my friends and remains a warm memory of that time. The Zooropa concert was a last minute thing for Roons and I - the technology on show was mind boggling - I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
Last weekend U2 played at Mount Smart Stadium. I have to admit that I was aprehensive: did I really want to see tham again - after 13 years. Would we still get on?
Tim, Sandra, Jim and Bridge came up from down south to stay for the weekend. We headed off to the concert on foot, after it became obvious that the trains could not carry the crowds of people. The rain beat down on all of us shuffling toward the stadium, but people of all ages moved as one - it was a bizzare feeling of unity.
The concert was amazing. A TV reviewer actually complained that the crowd was singing too much - but he was a complete prat. I have to say that again - he was a complete and utter prat.
A prat who couldn't understand that concept of a group of people, bound together in a relationship - a love of music - and of a band that has touched so many people over so many years. When Bono and the crowd sang along to the words of New Years Day " Say that it's true, it's true - we can break through. Torn in two we can be one"... I knew I was lucky to be a part of it.