Saturday, 30 May 2015

"SCRUB YOUR FLOORS, DO YOUR CHORES, DEAR OLD SADIE...."

I'm cleaning the apartment this weekend prior to the move next week.



I hate cleaning.

When I moved from the house up north a couple of years ago I got some commercial cleaners in.
I can't really justify doing this with a one bedroom apartment so - I'm scrubbing floors, cleaning cupboards, blitzing toilet and shower, de-greasing oven, microwave, dryer, washing machine, dishwasher and fridge and generally doing all the things that I only occasionally do.

It's a beautiful day outside as well so I might go for a walk and see if I can get some tickets to see Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea tonight as a treat.




Thursday, 28 May 2015

AN EVEN MORE BORING POST

National Radio has gone a bit 'Country' today. I've heard Willie Nelson and a lot of other cruisy country singers during the morning and afternoon.



It sort of fits though as it's a really nice day. Winter chill is on the way but the sunshine is nice. I've got the sliding door to the deck open and feel quite warm when the sun falls on me as I'm working at the computer.

It's hard to believe that it's June next week.

I'm finishing up shortly and heading off downtown for a stroll and a coffee before walking up to Ponsonby. I play snooker every Thursday with Gary after he finishes work (well, teaching) so that'll round out a pleasant day. We have a couple of glasses of wine afterwards.

Pizza tonight - I've got salami, mozzarella, chillies, and other bits and pieces in the fridge for topping.



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

SOMETIMES I GET FUNNY LOOKS.

Sometimes I get funny looks from people in cafes.



Now to be clear I'm not Richard (of RBB). If I was then that might explain it.

No, I get funny looks when cafe workers ask me if I want my savoury item heated up.
I always say "no, I'll eat it as is".
They think that I'm strange but the reason is that pastry items heated in a microwave go soggy and become inedible. I'd rather eat a cold pie than a soggy one.


Monday, 25 May 2015

I'M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS WORLD


So should I be put down?
Or should I just disappear like a dinosaur?



Why has life become so bloody complicated?

OK, I know that the world's population has more than doubled since I was a whippersnapper but the premise that I was sold on, as a whippersnapper, was that life would be easier with the looming technological advancements.



Not so I've discovered. The computer age hasn't made things easier. Maybe it would have if things had developed differently and we were all brave enough to embrace the developments but unfortunately conservatism and corporate greed has kiboshed it for us.

A computer - whether it's a bloody big IBM  monolith or a Samsung or Apple smart phone, long after the initial financial investment and subsequent (obscene) profit-taking should be now cheap as chips.
Unfortunately they're not and if they appear so it's because they're tied into a bundling deal by those new-to-the-scene telecommunication companies who, like hyenas, rip the flesh off the downed consumer.



After we've spent our hard-earned cash or, as is more likely, committed to an onerous delayed payment deal or a hyena's bundling deal we think that we're ready to 'make our lives easier'.

Good luck to that I say.

I'm in the middle of a bit of a hectic 6 week activity. I'm buying and selling an apartment. I'm negotiating on-going involvement with an employer and I'm planning a move to another country.

Easy?

Well it should be if:
  1. It involved face-to-face discussion with the principal parties or,
  2. It could all be done via e-mails, websites, and generally the Internet.
Sadly no.

I think that I've sorted out the banking side of things. The 'easy-to-use' on-line mortgage application applications as advocated by my bank are a crock of shit. The problem is, that my bank has chosen to go the people-free on-line route so getting to talk to an 'English is my first language' person proved difficult. We danced around for a week via a combination of on-line communications that had to be resolved by telephone and finally face-to-face discussions to get what was a very simple arrangement finalised. The exercise which should have taken two days at most ended up taking 6 days,

The company thing is sorted.

Now I'm working on trying to get into another country. This country cost the lives of my two great-uncles on both sides of the family in European conflicts in WW1 and  to my father and three uncles being seriously injured in WW2.  Did this give me any 'brownie points'? No.

The UK Visa application process is diabolical. Removing the responsibility for processing visa applications from British embassies and high legations around the world and creating an on-line application business is for what reason exactly? To give the ambassadors and high commissioners more time for golf? To free up staff time for more important business like keeping their blogs up to date and making cupcakes for visiting dignitaries? No.

I think that it's designed to make the application process so bloody difficult that people give up (the guy I had a meeting with today said that he'd tried to work in the UK but it was just too hard to get in that he came to New Zealand instead). As well as deterring people with little or no English-language skills and reasonable intelligence I think the machine is designed to drive applicants to using consultancy firms who charge thousands of pounds to process applications. I reckon that the UK Govt. is getting some of that.

I've taken the on-line process as far as I can. I've paid the $700 compulsory application fee and put together my documents for posting. I've taken all the documents out to the NZ Immigration office in the back of beyond in Auckland, presented them for checking and stamping, getting photographed, having my signature recorded and my fingerprints taken. Are they satisfied? Has the application process finished? No Way.
I now have to package up the original documents plus copies including my current passport and my old one (lucky I kept it) and post it to a British Embassy post box in Auckland. Apparently it then gets sent to Manilla for processing. Manilla. In the bloody Philippines! Haven't they heard about Wellington in New Zealand or are we so personna non gratta that it's not an option.

So. The on-line miracle starts to break down. I spent 3 hours on-line processing the application but still had to drive to the 'back of beyond in Auckland' to have the application checked and stamped and then post it to bloody Manilla. To make things worse the application rules inform me that a registration for UK Health Services has to be done before the application can be posted. I've tried to process this about a dozen times in the last two days but the system is down. It won't accept my registration or payment. There is no person to talk to.

Give me the good old admin days anytime.




It mightn't have been very efficient but at least it was reliable.

Friday, 22 May 2015

MAN DOWN - RICHARD MAY APPRECIATE THIS

I saw Greg Davies being interviewed on the Graham Norton show tonight and he was talking about the second series of Man Down due to start in June this year in UK.
Man Down features the character (Greg Davies) as a dysfunctional teacher at a secondary school.




Davies was a secondary school teacher before becoming a comedian and actor and apparently the classroom used in the school shots is the same one he taught in.

I haven't seen series one (not sure if it's been shown in NZ) but will look out for this in the future.

I liked him as the overbearing head master in The Inbetweeners.



RECHARGING THE BATTERIES

I'm really tired at the moment. It's been a fairly stressful couple of weeks here (for me anyway).

I've organised selling the apartment and buying another. This meant dealing with real estate agents, the bank and solicitors which I've done before but this time it was all compressed into a week and a couple of days. The bank guy was bloody pedantic and I had to go through lots of hoops to satisfy the mortgage demands even though we've got plenty of equity to cover the loan. Things were made more difficult by the Old Girl being in another country and needing to get papers to her to sign and to get a Power of Attorney from her. Also, her earnings history for the last couple of years has been in another country and via an overseas bank. My earnings history over the same time has been both non-existent and minimal.
Anyway, it's now sorted and I take possession of the new place at the end of next week.
But I'm tired.



I've also been organising to get a visa to go to and stay in UK. This is not as easy as it sounds.
Unless you want to pay thousands of pounds to immigration 'consultants' it has to be done on-line via the most complicated website I've ever come across. It must have been designed to keep people out of the country. I'm reasonably well educated, reasonably intelligent and know my way around computers but boy, this one is a doozy. I had to pay on-line also ($700) before it would let me submit the application. Now I have to wait for anything up to 8 weeks for a visa (I want to go over there in 5 weeks time).

To make things worse, the last two weeks have been the busiest at work since I started with export orders, new vintage releases, label redesign, creating a new brand, writing a company business plan and marketing plan.

Whew!

I know that Richard and Robert will scoff and regale me of horror tales of their working days and write posts of their own on these (although Richard will delete his when he wakes up next morning and reads what he's written under the influence of chardonnay). He needs to download this for his computer:




Still, for a man of leisure like me it's been bloody hard. OK?





So I'm going up north for the weekend to recharge the batteries.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

FLAG IT

..... that's what the government will probably have to do with its campaign to change the New Zealand flag.

There's been lukewarm interest in the flag roadshow to date and polls are continually coming out at  80% against changing it.

Not me, I'm strongly for a change to get rid of that union jack in the corner and to have something that doesn't get confused with the Aussi flag.

Current New Zealand flag


Current Australian flag

I don't agree with the silly old duffers who say things like "We fought for that flag in...."
Rubbish. No-one fights and dies for a bloody flag and the Brits have pretty near abandoned us.

I'm not happy with Frizzel Inc. seeming to hi-jack the exercise for their own personal gains and egos though. Admittedly Dick and Otis are reasonably good and innovative artists but they don't have to dominate with multi-designs, surely?

Dick Frizzell
Dick Frizzell
Otis Frizzell
Otis Frizzell

Weston Frizzell

It probably isn't going to happen now but if a change is agreed on I hope that there'll be a lot more serious options to choose from.

I hope that these won't have any of the following elements:

Colour black
Colour red
Kiwi
Koru
Fern
Double basses
Long white clouds
'Aotearoa'

but instead capture an essence of a proud country way down south in the blue Pacific ocean.

Let's hope that we don't end up with a similar scenario as we have with the current Australia/New Zealand confusion:



NEW New Zealand flag

NEW Australian flag

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS



I read last week that Wellington is the most godless place in New Zealand.



Interestingly Auckland is showing the most growth in religious preferences but I suspect that little if any of that growth is with Second Fiddle's god. It's more likely that the religions are Islamic and Buddhist.

So what is Second Fiddle going to do in 'godless Wellington'?

What is his god going to do now that he's homeless in Wellington?

Second could get rid of that skeleton and take god in I guess.



Just a thought.


Monday, 18 May 2015

PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C'EST LA MEME CHOSE

We sold our apartment today.

We bought another one today as well.



In the same building. It's one of the penthouses on the top (14th) floor. More than half as big again with high ceiling and great views across the city.


"New York is where I'd rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view. Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue. "

Things move fast in Auckland at present.
I saw the apartment last Tuesday and made an offer. It went unconditional today.
The same seller of the 2 bedroom apartment is buying our 1 apartment which saves me a lot of bother having open homes and paying for marketing. Settlement is going to be real quick as well with a take over at the end of next week.

Moving should be a breeze as all I have to do is load things from the 7th floor into the lift for the 14th floor.

We'll rent it out while we are in the UK but use it when we are back. The 2nd bedroom will be great for having friends stay.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

'EEE BY GUM

Well the Old Girl has signed up to work in the UK for a year.

She's really enjoyed the Toronto secondment and was expecting to return home to NZ but the opportunity for another secondment in York has come up.
She starts at the end of June and I will go to Canada in late June to help her with the shift.

We've been to York before and like the city. It's a small city by UK standards, about the population of Wellington or less. It's a medieval city with an ancient wall that defines the inner city area.



Richard only knows of York via that nursery rhyme "The Grand Old Duke of York" and he's already bored annoyed entertained me on the phone by reciting it (in multi verses).


I'm looking forward to spending time there as it is obviously in Yorkshire which I like. Some of the nicest UK television series have been set in Yorkshire - Last of the Summer Wine, All Creatures Great and Small, Rosie, Emmerdale Farm, Open All Hours, Folly Foot, Downton Abbey amongst many others.



I'll spend time exploring the countryside and the small towns and villages like Holmfirth where LSW was filmed.

It will also be a good base for us to visit parts of the UK that we haven't yet seen like Cornwall, Wales, Liverpool etc along with our favourite Scotland and Ireland.

The Old Girl had the option of working in London or York but we chose York because rental accommodation there is about a quarter the price of London. We'll be able to take the train to London on weekends for Covent Garden, British Museum, art galleries and theatre so we shouldn't really miss anything.

We'll be able to take advantage of any cheap flights to Europe as well so will hopefully see Italy, Spain, France and Germany way cheaper than if we were travelling from New Zealand.

"'Ear all, see all, say nowt. Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. And if ever though does owt fer nowt - allus do it fer thissen."


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

DUMB, LAZY AND MEANINGLESS

The use of the suffix 'gate' really bugs me when people, particularly the media, coin the latest scandal or public issue.

It wasn't clever or funny when it was first used post Watergate and it definitely hasn't got any better.


I guess though with the dumbing down of news, culture, literature, cinema and everything in our media that it is now to be expected.

I feel like throwing something at the TV though whenever a newsreader says 'Ponytailgate'.



Sheesh!

Monday, 4 May 2015

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

So the royal baby's been born at last.



"What will they call her?" all the royal watchers are asking.

Kylie Jazmine Gaga is my twopence worth.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

RUBBER BULLETS ANYONE?

THERE'S A RIOT GOING ON

The Old Girl went to Baltimore yesterday.

She's been there a few times before as she has friends there and I went with her in 2013.
It's a nice place with lots of history in your face all the time.

In your face at some times is the seedier side of the city as portrayed in that excellent TV series The Wire, but all big cities have this - Arright?


Why on earth she chose to go to Baltimore now though is anyone's guess?

There's been a riot there (another one) which might still continue.

Baltimore 2015


Bloody hell.

Where will she want to go next?

Watts?

Watts, LA 1965


Brixton?

Brixton, London 1985



Damascus?


Syria 2015


Friday, 1 May 2015

APPALLING

...Fucking appalling.

We are getting news porn in much, much greater quantity than ever before.

Why?
Ratings?
Probably, since younger generations:


  •  don't read newspapers
  • get 'news' from social media sources
  • if listening to radio tune in to music stations
  • don't prick up their ears unless there is something salacious or violent to see and hear.
We had that diabolically drawn-out Mark Lundy trial with daily updates from panting and salivating reporters describing obliterated features, brain matter and a prostitute used for an alibi.

Now we have a grinning buffoon defending his own very incapable self for the despicable murder of Blessie Gotingo. We of course don't know the scrote's name but the media has been given full reign to his performances on TV and in print where he's imagining himself as a defence counsel. The fact that this will probably result in an appeal excuse seems to escape everyone involved.

What is particularly appalling, apart from the fact that this idiot freely admits that he ran the woman over and carted her away is that the media gleefully report how the woman's body was dragged across the cemetery grass to the dumping place leaving a blood and matter trail. Then, as if that's not enough we have to get 'breaking news' reports of how she was stabbed repeatedly in the face before having her throat cut.

How do you think that goes down with her family and friends?

When will enough be enough?

NEW POST - THE RELIGIOUS CURMUDGEON

Robert has freaked out The Religious Curmudgeon. HERE