Tuesday, 30 November 2010

WHERE WERE YOU IN '63?


Ok, it doesn't rhyme I know. If you want poetry go to Second Fiddle's blog. I was listening to National Radio today and they were talking about how most people in the (Western) world could remember where they were when they first heard that JFK had been assassinated. The 'Camelot' phenomenon was such that, like them or hate them most people liked to 'own' a bit of the Kennedys. In my case, being Catholic, it seemed that the Church had claimed him and we were expected to follow suit. Anyway. Where was I? I was in Standard 4 at Marist Brothers Newtown. I was in the lower playground (out of sight of the teachers' staff room). I was flicking live matches at a kid named Compton. He was short, fat and oily so it is probably just as well that the news came down that JFK had been shot as if Compton had caught fire he would have burned for an eternity the way it seems that that West Coast coal mine is going to.

Monday, 29 November 2010

PLAYING AWAY


I had a romantic interlude over the weekend, having travelled down to Auckland  and shacked up in our pied-a-terre for a few days. It has been a strange year with the Old Girl travelling a lot to Auckland and other cities to the point that she is away every week for at least a few days. Years ago when we were living in Christchurch I used to fly to Auckland every week for three or four days whilst she stayed home so this kind of balances things up. Last week Lynn was in Auckland all week and then this week will be further down country for a week without having had the chance to get home for the weekend. I decided to have our weekend together down there and am glad that I did. Apart from the fact that she had to work Saturday we had lots of time together, nice meals and some catch up with friends. On Sunday we went for a long walk down to Western Springs lake and park. This is one of Auckland's treasures and is well worth the visit. It encompasses MOTAT (Museum of transport and technology) and the Zoo so is a special place. We lived in Point Chevalier for years and only seldom went there. How stupid were we?

Friday, 26 November 2010

The faith of idiots

OK, another one but this one is short. It is also simple, concise and so appropriate. Pat Condell challenges rabid christians with nice logic and reasoning. I like him. One of my favourites is "God the psycho" - check it out.

Hello angry Christians

Sorry about the previous video. That Aussi guy is a real nutter, you should see his other ones.
This guy is much more sensible. He has a lot of good essays on topics like "Was Jesus Gay?", "What's Good about Religion?", "Is Satan a Catholic?" etc.

PROOF THAT AUSTRALIANS ARE CRAZY

This is for Second. It is to show that for every looney on his side there is at least one balancing one on the other.
The clip is long so f.f. through it. I like the sentiment though.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

SATURDAY AFTERNOON


I remember going to Saturday afternoon pictures when I was young and losing myself in them. The greatest impact that this had on me and my imagination was between the ages of 10 and 14.  I used to virtually disappear inside the film. In the ‘60’s films were shown at 11AM, 2PM, 5PM and 8PM – no exceptions. This was great. There was certainty on when a film was going to be shown giving you plenty of time to get there and buy some lollies and find a good seat. Nowadays films (now known as movies, yet another annoying Americanism along with 9-11, 24-7 and candy) can start at any time with no rhyme nor reason and with no advance warning on the size of the ‘theatre’.
When I was young, particularly in the winter, it was always peculiar to go into the picture theatre in daylight and come out a few hours later when it was becoming dark. This was testament to the fact that I would become totally absorbed in the film, forgetting about Wellington and the day-to-day things around me. I used to build up anticipation before the film and begin watching in a state of excitement that I have never since experienced. The process of watching a film in those days was teasingly drawn out. Everyone would be made to get seated in plenty of time, act properly and hush as soon as the lights were dimmed. 

All picture theatres were large affairs with ornate plasterwork, lighting and in particular the curtains. In the dark these would be highlighted and to some dramatic music they would draw open. In the first half, if the film was an epic demanding a wide screen, the curtains would only pull three quarters open. This was sufficient to show the newsreels, cartoons and perhaps a short film. At the end of this ‘first half’ the curtains would draw closed again, the lights would come up and there would be a short interval for people to got to the toilet, get an ice-cream or some lollies before getting seated again. In earlier days I remember concessionaires would come around the theatre with trays that would have ice-creams and lollies for sale. There was a chocolate covered ice-cream like a very long Eskimo pie that could only be bought at the pictures. It was in a long cardboard carton with a cardboard zipper starting from the bottom which you gradually pushed up with you finger to raise the ice-cream to your mouth. Neat. There generally wasn’t any trouble at the pictures, certainly not at the 2PM screening. The bodgies and widgies most likely went to the 5PM and 8PM sessions. 
Widgies

People (kids) were better behaved and had greater respect for authority. It is fair that the ‘authority’ that was had a bit more gravitas than today as the usher was lie likely to be a man or a woman and the manager definitely an older man not a school kid so a threat to get the manager was always listened to. Sometimes, if the film for some reason was not gripping or had insufficient build up, some kids might throw lollies about. Richard (of RBB) was usually there so could have rolled the jaffas (no chance, he would have eaten them – ed)

Its funny thinking that Richard was there. I didn’t know him much before University but he went to similar primary and intermediate schools to me and the same secondary school. We are only 8 days apart in age and it seems shared the same interest in films so it is very likely that he was watching The Longest Day or Zulu at the same time that I was.


I remember that the music from the pending film was played before the film and at the interval. This helped to set the mood. When the lights were finally dimmed and the curtains opened fully wide to show the big screen there was more than a hush throughout the audience, there was a communal imperceptible intake of breath. Magic. For me I would, from the first few frames, be in the desert with Lawrence, on the Yangtze in 1926 or in Spain with El Cid. I always had a good imagination and was able to daydream well so it was no problem getting totally lost for a couple of hours.


As I grew older I still loved films and have seen a good many of really good ones over the years but the sense of wonder, the ability to become totally absorbed and lost in the films was special to those few years of the early 1960’s.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

MAKING NO SENSE



Have you ever had a migraine headache? I have had a few in my life, a couple of them real doozies. About 18 years ago I had a really bad one and I thought that I had a stroke. I couldn't see properly and could not make any sense. A bad migraine results in aura where vision is like a kaleidoscope. It is impossible to speak properly, read or write or drive a car.


Yesterday I had a bad migraine as bad as that one 18 years ago. I actually did think that I had a stroke. I had aura and then a bad headache. I couldn't see properly and then could not write or read. I tried to read the blogs and they made no sense at all (admittedly they were Richard (of RBB's) and TSB's). I went to bed at about 7.30 to try and sleep it off. The phone rang at 8.30 and I was hoping it was the Old Girl ringing from Auckland. It was a friend of ours and I could not understand what he was saying. He wanted the Old Girl's cell-phone number and I couldn't remember it. I must have sounded quite bizarre as I remember saying "Good-bye, I'm unwell" and hanging up. I tried to ring the Old Girl and dialled something really different (an overseas number I think). The Old Girl had been out at a formal dinner and when she rang I must have scared her because I couldn't speak properly. She wanted to come straight home but I convinced here to stay. I slept for about 11 hours and have been gradually coming right today. I have to really concentrate when reading and writing though. I looked at somethings I wrote and they don't make any sense at all. I wouldn't wish this on anybody.

Friday, 19 November 2010

DIY



TSB and SF are on at me to fix things myself around the house instead of waiting for tradesmen to do it. They seem to have a lot more confidence in me than the Old Girl has. She is always saying 'let's get a man in' when some repair work or building needs to be done (at least I think that is what she's referring to). I learned my DIY skills from my dad who gave proof to the old adage that tradesmen's own houses were always in the worst repair. Dad had a successful plastering business and there are still lots of constructions in Wellington that he built (Oriental Bay fountain, lots of Government buildings and the (then) modernistic Ian Athfield houses). He was meticulous when building things for other people but around home he was rough as guts. I remember once when he installed an expandable reading light (probably got it from the tip) in his and mum's bedroom. He simply hammered it to the wall with a couple of 8" nails. It wobbled and sagged, eventually tearing out big chunks of plaster when it finally fell off. Mum was a painter and we had lots of artwork on the walls. These were always nailed on so there were always holes in the walls.
I tend to take shortcuts when building or repairing things, not having the patience to measure properly or finish things off. Close enough is good enough is my motto so its no wonder that I'm told to just leave it alone.

It is quite telling that at our house the tool kit is owned by the Old Girl and I'm not allowed to touch it.

*WARNING*

By the way, be careful if doing an image search like I did for rough tradesmen. It seems that Rough Trade is some sort of homosexual practice so there were some pretty bizarre images. What's that all about Richard?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

CREATING A MONSTER

Or a Cookie Monster to be precise.

The Old Girl gave me a simple recipe for biscuits so each week I have been making a different flavoured batch. Butterscotch, Caramel, Raspberry, Chocolate-Fudge, Strawberry, White Chocolate and Raspberry - basically anything in the cupboard or that can be purchased as instant dessert flavouring. I suggested using up the surplus vegetables that I've grown particularly the lettuce and spring onion. I was told that that was silly and that my cookie-making prowess would be in danger.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

ISLAND TIME

Bula! Talofa! Kia Ora! Malo e lelei!



Living up North has many benefits, not the least the weather. There is a nice casual feeling to everything here. You can; dress in shorts and tee-shirt; say you are going fishing or golfing without sounding like a skiver; most food items are cheaper than Auckland; car parking is no problem; most parking meters when you have to use one work on 20 cents per hour; there are no traffic jams. Its almost a holiday atmosphere not too different from my experiences in the various Pacific Islands. The problem is though that the 'Island Time' syndrome exists here too. Island Time is where deadliness are rarely set or adhered to and there is an attitude of "what's the hurry, tomorrow will do". This can be frustrating when ordering something to be delivered, trying to organise a tradesman to build or fix something and generally trying to get things done. "Gone fishing" is the best advertising strap-line that most Northland builders, plumbers and electricians should adopt.

When we first moved up here, as we bought an old villa that has precious few built-in wardrobes, we got a builder in to measure and quote. He eventually came and measured spending a good couple of hours here. This was 10 months ago and we have never heard from him since. Maybe he went fishing and a Great White got him.

We have been waiting on a carpenter to come back and install a decent sized study bench for us. He measured and quoted a couple of months ago and we agreed a price. In frustration the Old Girl gave him a hurry up a couple of days ago and he assured us he would be here today at 12 Noon. I asked if he could make it 1PM as I was playing golf this morning. No he said it had to be Noon. I played in a Wednesday tournament which was important to me as I need to submit completed rounds cards to get my handicap down. Play was a bit slow though so I had to abandon the round after 14 holes to get back home before Noon. I was a bit pissed off because not only was I playing well enough to reduce the handicap by a lot of points I had played a couple of holes particularly well enough to win a prize or two. I probably would have won best net score and Stableford as well. I got home before Noon and there was no sign of the carpenter. Its now after 2PM and still no show. If he's gone fishing I hope a Great White is nearby.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

"GOD IS JUST ANOTHER ARTIST, LIKE ME" - (Salvador Dali)



We went to the opening of the art exhibition last night. The theme is religious painting in NZ and features some of the countries top artists (Goldie, Woolaston, Formiston, McCahon, Clairmont, Hotere, Gimblet) etc. The set up is great with the small gallery segmented into 'rooms' featuring the art at different times in NZ history and by influence. The exhibition was blessed on the opening by not one religion but four - with a Buddhist monk, a Christian (head of religious studies at Victoria University), a Baha'i faith disciple and a Maori kaumatua. The blessings went on for ages and The Old Girl, for whom atheism seemed to have been invented, mouthed to me 'you owe me' at one stage. I judiciously moved away from her where she was standing beneath the skylight in case a bolt of lightning came down.



The exhibition has traditional Christian imagery, Maori spirituality, Greek mythology, Buddhist statuary, Baha'i weirdness and even some Hindu stuff. Ethereal and eclectic.

The Buddhist blessing was the longest and it made me think of Richard (of RBB) - no, not just because of the droning noises that the monks made although it did make me want to bolt for the door - but because of the Buddhist expressions (translated) of peace and friendship that the old guy has referred to in his blog in the past (he seems to have got over that now though - ed.).






Monday, 15 November 2010

DUCKS ARE UNRELIABLE



When I play golf I have a bad habit of not watching properly where the ball goes. I drive off, see the ball going down the fairway (or off the fairway) somewhere and then stop watching before the ball stops rolling. I lose a lot of golf balls doing this. I am trying to discipline myself into taking a 'sighter' of a tree, bush, peg  or something to remind me where the ball was last heading. I played 18 holes this morning and put this into practice. On the 10th hole the tee shot drifted down the right of the fairway towards a large pond. The only 'sighter' I had to go by was a large duck sitting by the pond. I clocked it but when I got down by the pond the stupid duck had wandered off. This meant that I didn't have a clue where the ball had gone, whether it was in the grass by the pond or in the water. Bloody duck!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

AND THE CURMUDGEON IS CURIOUSLY SILENT...

... so said TSB in his latest Post. Better than being silently curious I suppose. What's wrong with being silent I ask? In the world of double bass solos I'm sure you would all agree that it is a blessing.


Meditation (transcendental or otherwise) rests on the principle that a daily half hour of dedicated silence reduces stress levels. It has proven benefits of lowering heart pressure and can actually enhance ones sex life (not entirely unrelated to the fact that most people in the classes run are women of a certain age and disposition - Ed.)





Silence is also said to be Golden so, once the old heart pressure is reduced along with stress levels a bit of the old acquisition could be in order.


As long as you don't rob the Deaf Institute as you could get arrested.




Thursday, 11 November 2010

A SCHLEMIEL IN A GALLERY....

....with a paint brush in his hand is not a good arrangement. This was me yesterday helping to set up an exhibition which will be showing Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Philip Clairmont and other leading New Zealand works of art. I suppose at least with any of these three, spilling paint on the artworks would have probably gone unnoticed (except by the artist and two of them are dead). I was preparing and painting display walls for the exhibition that starts next week and in between times helping to unpack and hang the pieces (having washed the paint off my hands first). The trouble is that I am naturally clumsy and if there is something valuable to break or spill stuff on - I'm your man. I got through OK though although when I was holding up the $1 million plus McCahon I wondered what would happen if I dropped it.

Colin McCahon 'Venus and re-entry: the Bleeding Heart of Jesus is seen above Ahipara' (1970-71), Te Manawa Museums Trust.
The highlight for me though is the Philip Clairmont "Christ Crucified" that has never been shown before. It is in the private collection of an American to whom Clairmont gifted it. This is a large painting on board with predominantly blue colours. It is not as controversial as some of Clairmont's other Jesus paintings (Jesus as a woman, a hermaphrodite, with an erection etc.).

WHO SAID THAT MEN ARE NOT ROMANTIC?

MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES


I've had a song going around in my head for the last couple of days and its driving me crazy. It is a sign of a successful tune when this happens. The song is 'Youngest Child' by Eva Prowse (Richard of RBB's niece). Its a good country/pop song with a catchy chorus:



I need a doctor without borders to put me back in order
I need a king and all his men to put me back together again.


I saw Eva perform this live on morning TV on Tuesday. She is very good. Check it out. www.evaprowse.bandcamp.com

p.s. In the TV interview Eva said that 'The Painted Face' helped with the album cover design.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

THIS IS ALL I ASK...

.... some nice wine, healthy food, good music and pleasant company.

It was a long day today and I'm tired but not yet sleepy. Getting back home from Auckland it was after 7 so I didn't feel like cooking. Fortunately the Old Girl had a really nice chick pea and spinach dish in the deep freeze that I warmed up and had with rice - delicious and wholesome. On the wine side I opened (and have nearly consumed) a bottle of 2007 Man O War Valhalla Chardonnay. it is still holding up and is a superb wine - scrumptious. Re music, as TV was basically crap tonight I have been playing some old favourites. On at the moment is NHOP's 'This is all I ask. It is good ( a gift from Richard (of RBB) many years ago) He said we would like it because it has no singing on it . He Lied. Not that it is not good but because  Monica Zetterlund sings on it taking a chance on love. Re pleasant company there is none because the love of my life (the Old Girl) is still in Auckland and will be for the rest of the week. If she knew that I was up blogging at this time of night she would probably thrash me.

CARLESS DAYS

Carless Day sticker 1979
For the younger viewer who may or may not read this. regardless of what 'spell-check' might say. it is carless days and not careless days that is the title of this post. Carless Days was an invention of the Muldoon Government in 1979 as a response to the fuel crisis. Private car owners had to stop using their car on one (chosen) day a week. Each car had to show a sticker on its windscreen which noted the day on which it could not be used, and infringements were punishable by a hefty fine. This lasted less than a year basically because of the short-cuts that people took (black-market in stickers), misuse of the exemption system and the fact that many families had more than one car.




I've been in Auckland the last couple of days having travelled down there and back by tourist bus so had no car to get around in. I had to resort to (gasp) buses, the plebeian form of public transport. Generally these are OK and fun and took me back to my school days in Wellington.

WARNING - THE FOLLOWING IS A BIT DODGY

For The Confusion Chronicler: When I was in about the fourth form (god knows what 'year' this is in modern school systems), on the bus I took to school there were two gorgeous blond girls of about my age, sisters I think, who went to W.E. school. Their blond hair was striking against their pale blue uniforms and played on a young chaps fancy. I used to look forward to seeing them on the bus in the morning. They shone out amongst the grey suits and dour faces of the morning workers and sleepy school-kids. They lived a few stops further down towards the end of the bus route. I remember one afternoon on the way home they were sitting on one of the side seats opposite to where I was sitting. Obviously I looked at them (as unobviously as I could muster). When it was coming close to where my stop was I was acutely aware of the erection I had and could not stand up and exit the bus without them, facing me, noticing. I sat hunched and still. When I didn't get off (the bus Richard), they glanced at me inquisitively. This was an unrequited relationship so there had been no words ever exchanged. When their stop came up a few stops down the line they exited, giggling and looking at me (Quasimodo-like and red in the face). I quickly exited a couple of stops further on and walked a circuitous route home.



The problem is with buses, they are fine for the initiated but cause anxiety for those not 'in-the-know'.


Where do you wait for the one you want? Where is it going to go? How much should it cost? When should I press the buzzer to get off? There basically is not enough information at the stops or on the bus to tell you this. I prefer to walk.


So I walked about Auckland. I had to go to the main hospital so walked across Grafton bridge. On entering the bridge I noticed the entrance to the Grafton Cemetery. I must have driven past this hundreds if not thousands of times over the years and had never entered. Today I did. For those who don't know Auckland, Grafton Cemetery and Reserve is a kind of mini New York Central Park. The place where drunks, drug addicts, muggers, the homeless and rapists hang out. It is vast, shady and wonderfully creepy. Having an hour to spare I wandered about checking out the old gravestones (William Hobson is buried there) and marvelling at the native bush - in the middle of the city ( a bit like the Wellington Botanical Gardens but more unkempt and as if they were in say Cuba Street).


Revel Cafe K Rd.


Talking about Cuba Street, I love the little shops, second hand bookshops and quirky cafes there. Auckland has never seemed to have these. When in a second hand store though in St Kevins Arcade in Karangahape Road (walking to Grafton) I asked the woman there where a good coffee could be had. She said her favourite was Revel's across the road because it reminded here of Wellington. I went there and it was marvellous. Apart from bloody good coffee and food it has a lovely 'junk' atmosphere. No stainless steel and glass just old scarred furniture, bookshelves, close and warm surroundings - great.




You can see a lot more of a city by walking about. It's the way I've experienced cities overseas so I must do more of it at home.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

YOU CAN'T BRING THAT IN.

"Step away from the line Sir."

In Poland Second and Angry Jesus would feel right at home if they were trying to get through Customs. Their old mate Massive Jesus would probably let them through.


SWIEBODZIN, Poland (Reuters Life!) - A statue of Jesus Christ that its builders say will be the largest in the world is fast rising from a Polish cabbage field and local officials hope it will become a beacon for tourists.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

UNCUSTOMARY BEHAVIOUR

Writing that last post made me think of the problems that I have had with Customs and border security in the past. I am not an aggressive person and I try to be nice and polite to most people that I deal with. I don't like officiousness though and pushy people who abuse their authority really get up my nose. The first time that I went to France was in 1985. This was just a week after the French saboteurs had been arrested in New Zealand - a fact that the arrogant French took as a national insult (to them).


Presenting my New Zealand passport at Ch. De Gaulle airport brought the queue to a standstill. I still remember the jumped up, bad breathed customs officer bristling and being deliberately obstructive in his questioning of me.
I probably made the process a lot longer by being unhelpful (sensing his hostility). He finally banged his stamp down so firmly on my passport page that I thought it would break (pity it didn't), muttering something. I said "Haere Ra" as I passed through. He probably thought I said Hooray. 


Travelling from LA (LAX again) to Monterey in 2005 we were waiting to board a small plane. As I was only going up there for a day I had no luggage. Some bright spark, again in a police-type uniform and with a gun decided to make me remove my belt and shoes to put through the x-ray. Now I know that the 'shoe bomber' had caused a scare a couple of years before but this was a minor domestic route in a small plane. Another case of power going to this person's head. I asked him if he wanted me to take my pants off as well. He said no and I think that the sarcasm went right over his head.

In France again in 2005 I had entered the country at Paris and had been interrogated about the wine samples I was carrying. These passed satisfactorily with a sneer from the Douane Officer thinking "Bringing ze vin to Francais? Is he fou?. Travelling from Paris to Bordeaux, an obviously domestic flight I was bailed up by an officious thug with a gun and uniform who demanded to see what I had in the wine box I was carrying. I said No, that I had already declared it at Paris and it was my business. We had a funny slanging match - him in French and broken English - me in English and broken French. Eventually he waved me through with one of those expressive "Pah's" that the French do so well. One of my colleagues watching from outside the terminal was sure that I was going to get shot.


Travelling to London in the early 80's we stopped at Dubai for refuelling and as there was a problem with the plane we disembarked and went into the airport terminal. It was an unusual sight with Arabs having goats along with their baggage. Arab women in black burquas dripping with gold. On leaving to re-board my girlfriend was pulled aside by two guards for no apparent reason. I protested and had a sub-machine gun pressed into my chest - scary! While I waited she was taken away (by female security) and strip searched. What for we still don't know.


France again in 2003 and I was travelling from London to Paris late at night. There were two lanes - one for EU and one for Others. As it was like a commute there were no 'Others' only me. I went to the desk and several Officers chatting in a corner chose to ignore me leaving me standing, passport in hand. It was late, I was tired and didn't like this game so when they were looking the other way I slipped under the barrier and mingled with the others getting their luggage. On leaving France a week later there was no one checking passports at all so I returned to London and then on To NZ without any stamps in my passport saying I had been in France.

New York (Kennedy) in 2007 we were on our way to LA to connect to NZ and I was stopped at the barrier as I had a large box. It was a Brancusi sculpture copy of the Muse that The Old Girl had bought at the Guggenheim. When I showed it to the guard he did a double take as the material used is a bit like solid plasticine. He probably thought it was semtex or something. As the fool was fumbling and having trouble with opening the box properly I moved up to him and started to do it for him. I got the old "Step aside Sir" routine with the hand on the gun. These bozos must watch too many cop shows on TV. He called up someone else who came with a magic wand for detecting explosives and ran it over the statue, the box and me.

When we arrived in Auckland later I declared it to the Customs Officer and asked if she wanted to check it for explosives. She just smiled and waved me through.


No, she didn't look like these young women. This gratuitous image is just for TSB.

WELCOME TO AMERICA

TSB is off overseas soon and will be in transit through USA (assume LAX, the worst terminal in the world as far as I'm concerned). Obsession with 'Homeland Security' has turned what little common sense that once prevailed into full-blown idiocy over there. The lowly paid customs and border security people have been given new powers and sense of self importance to inflict on innocent travellers.
I think they take "ICE' that is on their badge to indicate how they should deal with the public.
A few years ago I was returning from the States to NZ and was leaving via LAX. Arriving with my fellow work mates in plenty of time we had to put our bags through a 'pre-vetting' system prior to putting them through the normal baggage check-in. This was leaving the country remember. The procedure seemed to take forever and was apparently random. My colleagues got their luggage through in a mere half an hour. Mine seemed to have been held up (more later). A massively overweight woman officer was rummaging through a large suitcase on the conveyer belt after it had been through the x-ray machine. She had pulled out clothes and personal items galore and was staring at a delicate looking Lladro ornament that had been (previously) carefully wrapped in paper, bubble wrap and clothing.  Perhaps on the x-ray she thought it was a RPG launcher. She was stuffing everything back in the bag carelessly and looked as if she was going to crush it down (probably by sitting on the lid). An elderly woman whose bag it was was visibly upset at the procedure so I said to the slobby overweight woman (SOW) "be careful, that looks delicate"


SOW: What was that you said Sir?
ME: I said be careful that vase looks delicate. You are upsetting the owner here.
SOW: Is this your bag sir?
ME: (having now spotted my bag that had obviously been processed earlier and SOW hadn't put it properly on the conveyer belt - it was on the floor behind her). No. That's my bag behind you.
SOW: That bag sir?
ME: Yes that bag that has already passed inspection. I have to get it to Air NZ baggage (about 10 metres away) as the flight is leaving soon.
SOW: Can you identify the bag sir?
ME: (stepping closer to point out the bag) Yes. That one there. It has my name on it.
SOW: (fingering the butt of the gun on her hip). Step away from the line sir.
ME: (toes over the big line painted around the 'search' area). Please hurry. I don't want to miss my plane.
SOW: I will need to check that again Sir. That's why I put it there.
ME: Rubbish. I want to talk to a supervisor.
SOW: (Cold glare directed at me. Obviously wanting to blow me away). Just one minute sir.

 She disappeared out back for what seemed to be ages - probably having a coffee. Eventually she returned and a supervisor in a black suit, not a uniform came out.
Suit wasn't wearing a gun on his hip. Obviously at his level they were equipped with lethal hypodermic syringes disguised somehow. I glanced at the pen he was carrying.


SUIT: How can I be of assistance sir?
The Americans can make 'Sir' in an otherwise polite question, sound like an insult.
ME: My bag over there has been checked and I need to get it to Air NZ baggage check in. Your officer seems unwilling to comply.
SUIT: I've spoken with Officer (SOW). There seems to be a communication problem.
ME: Probably language, I speak English.
SUIT: Cold glare (I assume as he was wearing dark glasses). Please wait there.

Suit and SOW went away for a pow-wow. SOW kept glancing over to me probably hoping that I would 'make her day' by running amok or something so she could gun me down. As for me I idly wished I had my trusty H&K with me - three quick taps - one in the belly, one in the chest and for good measure, one between the eyes......




SUIT: Sir? Sir?
ME: Sorry, I was miles away.
SUIT: Please take your bag to baggage control Sir. Have a nice day.
ME: Oh, gosh, thanks, great. See you.

Not knowing what 'baggage control'  was and wanting to get the hell out of there I whisked my bag up and over to the Air NZ bag check-in with minutes to spare. I ran out and up to the main concourse (noticing a pathetic sight of an elderly couple trying to repack a large suitcase - underwear and toiletries scattered around them on the floor). I got to the Business Class lounge just as the final boarding call was made. My colleagues pissed themselves laughing as I told them why I was late. They had been stuffing themselves with Champagne and canap├ęs all the while. Bastards.
God Bless America (or something).


Thursday, 4 November 2010

MAKING OUR LIVES BETTER?

Our homes are full of high tech items that are all supposed to make our lives better. Right? Well, not in our home. It seems that whenever we get a high tech item we either cannot drive the bloody thing because it is too complicated or they go on the blink at a whim. Computers, phones, TV's, DVD's - all are traps just waiting for the schlemiels of this world like me to fall into.

Our latest problem is a F&P dishwasher. It was already installed in the house when we bought it but I've established it is a new model. Last week when it was doing its thing the house decided that there were too many things going on at once (dishwasher, breadmaker, radio etc. and blew its fuse. One of the decent modern improvements are fuse boxes. No longer do we have to muck around with fuse wire and old ceramic fuses, we just flick the switch back up. Everything is fine. Everything that has normal, decent and comprehensible working parts that is. Not the bloody high tech F&P dishwasher. This decided to throw a wobbly because it didn't like the house blowing its fuse. Some kind of micro chip in its memory board packed a sad and the whole machine stopped working. Remember when cars made sense? You could lift the bonnet and recognise things there, establish if something was loose or missing and remedy the problem.

 Not now. They are far too complicated necessitating an expensive trip to a mechanic, sorry, IT technician.

The dishwasher is like this. Unscrewing bolts to take the cover off and find a switch or something loose was fruitless. The expert (fortunately one who lives just one bay away), came around and said that the memory board has to be replaced. He was apologetic that it was going to cost $180. $180 for a bit of plastic and gobbledygook. Piss on you F&P (Finaglers and Profiteers).

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