Saturday, 31 May 2014

HOT DOGS AND BEER





Tonight we're off to watch a baseball game. We'll be getting our 'Red Hots' (original name for hot dogs) and drinking buckets of beer (no decent wine available at baseball matches). Should be fun.

I'm reading Bill Bryson's One Summer America 1927 at the moment.

This is a great read and covers much of what was happening that year and the effect on the world then and repercussions to the present day.

Obviously the Wall Street crash features as does the phenomenon that was Charles Linburgh's flight across the Atlantic and the ridiculous hysteria from the American public that ensued. What is also covered in great detail is the feats of 'Babe' Ruth that year and the back-story leading up to them.
'Babe' Ruth was a freak of nature.


Big, ugly and sometimes athletic he took the baseball world by storm and had a huge following.
 He was a freak in that somehow he had the ability to see the ball coming (at very high speed) and hit it regularly out of the ball park. He was also an accomplished pitcher and fielder being able to play any position better than the incumbents.

He had a hard upbringing being dropped off at an orphanage school at an early age. While not becoming a bully or a twisted bastard he did, by growing up without proper family support, end up lacking in social skills and graces and without a decent sense of what relationships should entail. His 'conquests' of women are legendary if legend can be based on the fact that he was a real slut and f***ed different women almost every night. He wasn't very choosy apparently preferring mainly prostitutes or any one who would 'put out'. They just had to be female of any age, size, attractiveness or intelligence. They were probably likethat girl Katy in the song above ...... "root, root, rooting for the home team"

The media and adoring public treated him like a king.


Just a minute. He reminds me of someone......

Friday, 30 May 2014

WASTING TIME





I've always had a propensity for day-dreaming and wasting time. I remember when I was in primary school that I used to gaze out of the window and ignore what was going on in class. The background noise - teacher's voice, babble of conversations, desks scraping on floors - would become white noise. When I took my eyes off the view out of the window I was able to unfocus my eyes somehow and make the teacher almost disappear. The room would become much longer and the front of the classroom seemed a long way away - like    viewing through an inverted telescope.

This continued right through intermediate, secondary and university. At Victoria University in Wellington I used to spend hours gazing out of the library windows which from the elevated position commanded such a great view of Wellington harbour. I remember one particular afternoon as I watched a tugboat leaving the wharves making its way out of the harbour. It disappeared behind the hills for a while before eventually returning towing a container ship. The whole exercise took several hours and I watched it in its entirety, an unread book open in front of me.



At work over the years when in dull meetings I would employ the same 'out of body' technique and drift away for a while. Sometimes a directly asked question would shake me out of reverie and I would mumble some sort of answer, often creating a bit of confusion but usually it made no difference (boring management meetings seem to have the agenda of making some arseholes feel important and seldom are constructive).

My nickname was 'Sleepy'.

Now that I am semi retired I can indulge in my favourite pastime and just drift away.

Today I'm looking out over the city from our 16th floor apartment. If I open the doors to the deck I get the sounds of a big city coming to me in a muted way. People far below look like Lowry stick figures and cars like Matchbox models.


 A couple of hours of this is good for the soul. I think I'll conjure up a lucid-dream and go for a flight.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

FLIGHTS OF FANCY

We watched The Big Lebowski on DVD last night. This outstanding Cohen Brothers film still delivers (made in 1998).

In one memorable scene The Dude (Jeff Bridges) dreams of flying over Los Angeles.



I have recurrent dreams of flying and they are the best dreams that I have. I actually look forward to having them. Sometimes I can just raise my arms and rise into the air and at other times I have a tiny (and slightly dodgy) gyrocoptor. I have to watch out for power lines though.

Dreams analysts suggest that dreams to do with flying are connected to sex and sexuality. Sigmund Freud certainly believed this stating that as most dreams are about sexual oppression that is being suppressed by societies morals and that dreaming of flying is releasing your sexual tension and setting yourself free.


Careful with that cigar Sigmund 
That may well be but I think old Sigmund was at heart a lecher and liked to think of images like this.




Other, more enlightened schools of thought see flying dreams as denoting spiritual freedom. They are about joy and wonderment , moving towards a more spiritual appreciation of our lives (flying upwards) or, on the other hand making an attempt to understand our subconscious (flying downwards).

Whatever.

All I know is that I enjoy the dreams and sometimes can conjure them up. This is spoken of as lucid dreaming where you have control sort of like meditation.

Hopefully the dreams are about rising up, soaring above ground and seeing how wonderful everything is below. The dream suggests balance and feeling good about yourself, your relationships and your situation. Sometimes I remember flying lessons I had when I was younger or parachuting I did and the timelessness and stillness from being so high up.

I've never had a falling dream attached to my flying dream but the experts suggest that this can be part of it and obviously suggesting imbalance or lack of control. Old Sigmund no doubt would put a negative sexual meaning onto it as you can well imagine.


In The Big Lebowski The Dude did in fact fall and plummet to the earth but the fact that he had a bowling ball in his hand probably contributed to that.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

SOLE CHARGE



While I'm on a dream theme I may as well share my most recent dream.
This one also is a recurrent one.
It broadly is set in a wine and spirit merchant store.
Sometimes it is the old Murray Robert's one in Wellington where I worked with Richard, Robert and Tony.
This place was on four levels - ground floor, mezzanine, first floor and second floor.

The ground floor was made up of the retail store in front and warehouse, fridges, bottling hall and dispatch area behind.
The mezzanine was for wine carton storage.
The fist floor was offices.
The second floor was a large bonded warehouse.

In my dream I am the only person on the premises. This, when having the doors open for trading made things difficult as, If I have to be on one of the upper floors or out back invariably a customer would come in and browse about and even demand service. Bastards!
The dream usually ends with me going home at the end of the day and forgetting to lock the doors and gates.

When it's not Murray Robert's the premises are a sort of collage of the much larger wine and spirits operations I managed in Auckland. These were also made up of several levels but on a much greater floor area so the difficulties in manning the place alone were exacerbated.

So. what's that all about?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

BEARING MY SOUL




I dream every night and remember snatches of the dreams. Sometimes the dreams are recurrent with some minor variations.

The other night I dreamt that I was being chased by a polar bear. Yes, a polar bear.

The setting was familiar. Familiar in the sense that I'd been there before - in a dream.
It is a setting that pops up from time to time. It is a river bed meandering through mountains. It is probably related to some of the tramps (mountain trekking) I've done in the past in the Wararapa region (Orongorongas, Tararuas) and in the South Island (Mount Cook, Queen Charlotte, Awatere etc.) The tramp starts off OK but inevitably rockfalls and difficult passes make the going hard. Sometimes the end of the river valley (going upwards!) culminates in the sea and needing to navigate across a deep bay with pounding surf (make of that what you will).


Anyway, in this most recent dream the valley was a glacier valley and the mountainsides were ice cliffs. Rounding a bend I saw a polar bear perched atop of a hill like a leopard waiting for prey.


It spotted me and leapt down and chased me.
I ran back down the valley trying to get away before .......I woke up.

What the fuck was that about?

I looked up a book we have 10,000 dreams interpreted (I bought for a dollar at a book shop sale) which tells me that:

"Trying to run away from a dangerous animal is indicative of the dreamer's struggle with his animal instincts which may be threatening or damaging to aspects of the dreamer's life."
Whaaaa...? When I was a kid I used to have a recurrent dream of a tiger and or a lion chasing me. I used to jump out of a window, run around to the front door with the lion or tiger chasing me. It was an endless loop until I woke up. Was I worried then about my animalistic urges?

Maybe the polar bear was just wanting to make friends.






Thursday, 22 May 2014

OUR TRIP TO MONTREAL

I was going to do a series of short posts covering our weekend away but then I thought I might as well bore the shit out of a captive audience since I've got you here. Kind of like visiting those boring relatives in the 1960's who brought out their holiday snaps after dinner.


As I said earlier we travelled by train which is a four and a half hour journey. I won't go over the highlights of that basically because there weren't any.


WAKE UP!

We had booked on-line at the Labelle Suites which had good reviews (and was cheap). It lived up to the reviews being a comfortable suite with a kitchen and a full 'American" breakfast each morning but it was in the Quartiere Latin which is code for the gay, lesbian and red light district of Montreal. There were lots of 'colourful' people on the streets at all hours of day and night which made things interesting to say the least.

Churches

Montreal is certainly a city of churches with ones of different congregations almost on every corner.
We visited a couple - the outstanding Basilique Notre Dame and the smaller but beautiful Notre Dame de Lourdes


Notre Dame de Lourdes



Notre Dame de Lourdes


Inside Notre Dame de Lourdes



Basilique Notre Dame



Main altar of Basilique Notre Dame



Side chapel of Basilique Notre Dame

Vieux Montreal

The old part of the city is more interesting than the modern commercial part.
Honestly it is like walking around one of the smaller cities in France (Tours, Bordeaux, St Emilion etc). The buildings, streets, services etc are identical.












Museums and Galleries

We like to visit art galleries when we travel and Montreal didn't disappoint.
We went to the Musee du Chateau Ramezay, Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal and the Musee des Beaux Arts.


Musee de Beaux Arts


Rodin's 'Thinker'



Glass telephone box






Entertainment

It was a holiday weekend (Victoria Day was Monday) and so there was lots of street entertainment. We walked around on Sunday in beautiful sunny weather and watched buskers, acrobats and other performers.





River Cruise

The St Lawrence River runs right by Montreal. In fact Montreal is basically a set of islands in the river. We went on a tour of course and I took lots of photos.
Here is the first 200 of them:









Just kidding




Cirque de Soleil

Montreal is home to Cirque de Soleil and, serendipitously there was a performance on the Sunday afternoon which we went to.









This was named Kurios - Cabinet des Curiosities and was well up to the Cirque's standard. This was the fifth Cirque show we've seen and I'd recommend it to anyone to see at least one in their lifetime. Brilliant.

Dining out

Montreal is smaller than Toronto but there's seemingly better choices for dining out. We discovered cafes, winebars and decent restaurants in plenty and at and drank well.
I discovered the best Mille Feuille I've ever had. Delicious.



Anyway, we enjoyed the four days.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

CLICKITY CLICK ....

....CLACKETY CLACK.

We love travelling by train. Normally you can see the countryside and points of interest much clearer than by any other form of transport except for a slow, low-flying plane.

We went to Montreal for the weekend on VIA Rail.

It was very disappointing.
The train trip itself was reasonably comfortable and safe but there were no panoramic views to be had



The railway line was mostly screened from the surrounding countryside by high poplar-type trees that, due to the proximity rendered just a blur as a view.



When there was the odd break in the trees all there was to be seen was some pretty boring and endless farmland.



Oh well, we had a great weekend anyway which I'll cover in a few follow-on posts.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

THE GROUSE PROWSES

http://youtu.be/CY7zyjwb_yU

The Prowse Brothers could lean from this instructional video ( click on link above)

EXTRANEOUS

ex·tra·ne·ous
adjective
 
Introduced  or coming from without; not belonging or proper to a thing; external; foreign:
 
 
I was walking along Yonge Street yesterday and had to do a double take when I was approaching College Metro station and saw this:
 
I considered forgetting the subway and walking home.
 
 

1958

Richard of RBB, in his latest post wittered on about schoool photographs over his years (well he is getting on a bit). It made me think of my old school photographs that have largely disappeared over the years.
I looked up Old Friends on the Trade Me site and found this photograph taken in my first year of school in 1958.

This was Saint Joseph's Primary in Wellington which used to be beside the Basin Reserve. It was my first and only year at Saint Joseph's because it closed down shortly after I arrived and I had to go to Saint Annes's in Newtown.

In the photograph the boys in the front row who were kneeling next to girls had to keep their hands behind them because the nuns were afraid they might try to cop a feel.
One guy (third guy from the right) disregarded this as he was obviously a bit excited. Not me I might add, I am in the middle in the front.

At the end of this year when I was packed off to Saint Anne's the supid bastards put me back into the first class which I thought was a bloody insult having to sit with the babies (5 y.o.'s) when I was 6. Everything was too easy which is probabaly why all through my schooling I was bored and disengaged.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

THE JOYS OF HOME OWNERSHIP






We need to replace the roof on our Northland house. Being exposed to sea air it's now in need of repair and the roofer suggests total replacement.

He inspected and sent a quote which was $24K plus change.

I reminded him that this isn't a middle eastern palace so we didn't really require the gold shingles.

He repeated the quote at $24k plus change. No sense of humour these roofers.

Due to the height of the house on the Eastern side measurement - fucking high - OSH requirements are for full scaffolding. Apparently nowadays they no longer tie ropes to kids and dangle them over the side. Bloody progress!

We'll get it done though before the winter storms start but it'll dent the wallet a bit.
Still, better safe than sorry as the house up behind ours had the roof entirely blown off in a storm a few years ago.




To add insult to injury the tenants have just informed of a hot water leak in the drying room which means that the hot water cylinder is probably going to have to be replaced. This'll mean another grand or two.

It certainly backs up our longer term plan to sell the house and apartment, bank the money and rent accommodation.

NEW POST - THE NEW DIFFERENT TIME ZONE BILL

Bill just got back from travelling and published a new post      HERE   It's good that he's busy but I'm starting to ...