Monday, 28 December 2009

Festive bitching, other cultures, free shit and disableds.

New Years Eve, 2009, and I am standing in a taxi queue just after midnight. A few of us had walked down to the lake front to watch the fireworks after being at a house party for a bit. Although I wasn't too fussed about the fireworks, I have voiced my opinion on them previously, the atmosphere itself was buzzing. The front was full of revellers having a good time, we all wished each other a happy new year at midnight, however my lady wasn't feeling too good so being ever the gentleman I took her home.

The taxi queue was long, about 45 minutes long, but you know what? I'm British. Therefore I am genetically predisposed to love queuing so I was completely in my element. I had had a good night, I was on my way home, and I was already in my first queue of 2010. What more could a Brit want out of life?

Then my moment was spoilt. Someone tried to edge into the queue in front of me with utmost stealth. Two people in fact. To the untrained eye maybe it wasn't even noticeable, but God-damn it, I know how to queue, they weren't getting ahead of me in a million years, so they squeezed in behind us jumping approximately half the queue in the process. Nothing was said by anyone. Presumably because one of them was in a wheelchair.

I like to think I am very tolerant of others. I will not judge you based on the way you look, your gender, the way you dress, the colour of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, we are still all human after all. But is it wrong of me to get angry at a disabled for trying to jump the queue presumably just because she is disabled? I don't think so. If anything I think people should have been able to jump in front of her, I mean after all we are all having to stand and wait while she has a nice comfy seat.

So 2010 is here already, and I have been gainfully employed now for just over two months, and it is largely going great. I say largely, obviously taking advantage of the free stuff I get thrown at me helps immensely. Since my last entry I have been busy reaping the rewards of a job that allows you free stuff.

I spent one morning kayaking across Lake Wakatipu to Pigeon Island in a sea kayak, a two person kayak with a rudder at the back operated by the person sitting in the rear seat. It's a company run by a pleasant dread locked hippy, and includes a guided tour and commentary around Pigeon Island, situated funnily enough in the middle of the lake. As you would expect, the island is a large land mass with trees, bushes, birds and insects, surrounded by water. But it's a nice serene setting, with a hut which is free to stay in as long as you can get over there, and is very reminiscent of the Evil Dead. Once you have toured around the Island, you paddle around the side of it before heading back to main land. The morning was marred only by the sour faced Scandinavian "girl" steering the kayak I was in. On the way back she pointed out that it wouldn't matter how hard I paddled to try and make us change direction, the way we were going was completely controlled by her. "So how about you steer us in the same direction as the rest of the fucking group then you dumb bitch", I imagined myself saying before imagining my paddle accidentally scalping her.

I have done my first bungy jump, the Nevis. A cabin suspended by cables 134m in the air which you obviously jump off attached to a long piece of elastic made of multiple strands of that white round elastic you used to get in those black plimsolls you wore at school. There's something they don't advertise. Plummeting towards the ground for 8ish seconds was a bizarre feeling. People have previously said that the scariest part is jumping off. That's crap, absolute crap. Jumping is easy. I jump down the last 3 stairs at home all the time. Toddlers can jump, animals can jump, disableds can jump (granted, just queues but it's still jumping). No, the scariest part is the few seconds after you have jumped, when all you can do is question whether jumping was a sensible thing to do.

On the same day I did the Nevis Arc, the worlds highest swing, in tandem with one of the girls I work with. You are loaded into the swing and dropped, free fall for a while and then get kicked into a swing across towards the canyon wall at around 150kph. In all honesty I found this scarier than the bungy, purely because the control is passed onto someone else so even though I knew the fall was coming, I still screamed a VERY masculine scream (the girly ones belonged to my tandem partner) when we were released.

The Canyon Swing is a similar experience, the main differences being that when you drop you can go a variety of different ways, you drop down the side of a rocky canyon wall, and the crew mess with your head in a big way. Generally asking if you are ready to die, that kind of humorous thing. Questions such as "How many times have you done this?" are met with a response like "This?? Never, it's way too dangerous. I know when the ropes were last changed". I went off on the chair, you are strapped into a plastic chair and told to rock back onto the rear two legs. As you dangle precariously over the edge, the crew mess even further by slowly releasing you only to pull you back up at the last minute a number of times. Eventually, exasperated, you cry "For Christ's sake, will you just get on wissssshhhhhhhhiiiiiiiitttttt".

Finally, I eventually got on a sky dive. 15,000ft, 60 seconds of free fall, a very concerned look on my face as they strap me to a chick about half my size. No offence, she was awesome. Knew what she was doing, had thousands of jumps under her belt, I appreciate her keeping me alive. But it could very well have been a different story if it was her week. While everyone else on the DVD looked like they were having a great time, I was masking my joy with the face of a man unable to work out how to get air into my lungs. Make no mistake, I loved it, and would do it again at the drop of a hat. I just look like I am concentrating really hard on something, and I am going to assume it was either the amazing views of the Remarkables, or just keeping my mouth from making some "jokey" sexist remark that would get me all kinds of dropped out of the sky without a parachute.

I can't say it's all been fun and laughter though. My job involves dealing with people. And people are generally idiots. Sure, there are some great people you meet, and it's kind of heartwarming when someone stops by to say thanks. I've done nothing but facilitate their trip/experience by taking money off them and reserving them a place, the experience or trip is made by the operators, the crew that take them out there, the experience itself, so they have no need to come and thank me, but some do. And it's nice. But the idiots far outweigh the genuinely nice people.
I've had a couple moaning a little that their trip to Milford Sound was boring. "Boring?" I asked. It's some of the most spectacular, testicle numbing scenery you will see, how was it boring?
"It was 5 hours on a coach". I would have liked to have pointed out to her that the boredom was most likely instigated and perpetuated by her travelling companion, who looked like he could turn the most orgasmic experience into a dull, trudging funeral march.

And other cultures who are used to bartering. Obviously being from the U.K. we aren't so into haggling when we make a purchase, but I believe that to get a discount on something you are buying, you at least need to offer something in exchange. Maybe that you are working for a similar company and can promote whatever it is you are buying, or at the least produce some kind of coupon. Every day I wake up wishing I was in the position to offer discounts if people dance for me. Not just a little jig, a proper dance for two straight hours. And they also have to provide me with sharp objects to throw at them, and snacks too, I'll need snacks to keep my throwing arm nice and strong. No sir, you can't get a group discount for booking two people instead of one. A second person barely counts as having company for the day, it certainly will not get you a group discount.

Finally, before I put this entry out of its misery, Christmas came and went. My Christmas was great, thanks for asking. There was a house party at my house, at which I sank about half a litre of Jim Beam in a relatively short period, and another house party later in the evening which I don't remember much of due to the Jim Beam from the first party.
It didn't feel like Christmas largely due to the weather, and it being light late. I associate Christmas with cold, crisp winter evenings, darkness, and the bustle of people late night shopping in towns adorned with festive decorations. Queenstown was bare. The only festiveness available was at Starbucks, where they were using cups with a Christmas design, and playing Christmas music halfway through November. I know I should avoid Starbucks, the amount of coffee I drink on a daily basis can't be good for my guts anyway, but coffee and festive happiness at least half a month before December I can't deal with in any kind of sane manner.
We had festive adverts though. Almost 2010, and the must-haves for this Christmas in New Zealand were Enya's Greatest Hits (honestly - I didn't realise she had more than one song), and Soda Stream. Honest to God. Well into the 21st century, and it seems New Zealand is only just getting busy with the fizzy.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Wow. Awkward.

I despise awkward situations. You know those times where you say or do something you know you shouldn't say or do, to the wrong person, or even to the right person who takes it the wrong way, and end up looking down at your shoes, raising your eyebrows slightly, whistling to fill the uncomfortable silence before bidding a stuttering farewell knowing full well that when that person says, "See you later", you know they have no intention of doing so and are in fact thinking, "What a prick".

Despite my hatred of these situations, I quite often find myself in them. Don't get me wrong, I am no Prince Phillip. I don't stumble around all day working my way into Larry David-esque situations of awkwardness. But my socially-acceptable-and-appropriate scale often differs to that of other people.

In recent years I have found myself being incredibly rude about the Scottish and how they would deep fry their shoes if shoes were edible. Generally accepted as fact by most people, but not the girl I was talking to at the time who turned out to be Scottish. I guess I should have paid attention to the accent.

Cutting out a square of masking tape at work, colouring it in black and sticking it to the top lip in a hilarious homage to Adolf Hitler can be awkward when you turn around and come nose to nose with a customer you didn't realise was there.

Babies and pregnancy can be a massive minefield for us guys. Especially when you are talking to a friend of a friend about their impending delivery when they have in fact already delivered said baby months previously. I guess the clue should have been the fact that she didn't look pregnant in any way at all, and was in a pub drinking alcohol.

Waking up next to a one-night relationship only for her to turn and face you, then leap out of bed screaming "Oh my God, you're not my boyfriend". Where do you go from there?

None of the above however, comes even close to the end of ski season party I recently attended. If you have read previous posts, you will know that I was highly likely to go as something offensive or disgusting. And I don't like to think I disappointed. But as much as I expected something like this to happen, nothing could prepare me for the moment that the wife of the director of the company who kindly employed me during the winter, and who I hoped to work for during the summer approached me and asked what I had come as. My eyes dropped to the floor to look at my shoes. My eyebrows raised slightly and as I got ready to fill the uncomfortable silence with whistling before walking off, I murmured "A scrotum".

In my defense, I had heard people tell me they were going as a sperm, sanitary towels, and other equally disgusting items. No-one followed through on that, leaving me with the dubious honour of wearing the only oversized genital-related costume in the room.

To be fair, I spent a lot of time over the previous days working on my scrotum. I would sit alone, in my room, whiling away the hours, just peacefully working on my scrotum. And a work of art it was, aside from the fact that being made from chicken wire fencing with no protection on the inside, I was essentially wearing an outfit made from barbed wire, which my arms did not thank me for the next day. And this also led to more awkwardness when I spoke to my mother who said, and I quote, "I saw the photos of your scrotum on Facebook". A sentence I NEVER want to hear from my mothers' mouth again.

And so after a month of unemployment, I now have a job once again. I attended a few interviews, none of which led to any hilariously uncomfortable situations, and in the end was hired once more by the company I worked for during the winter. This time in a front line sales role, meaning I get to talk to people, and sell them all the activities Queenstown has to offer. But more importantly, I get to do all the activities for nowt. Zilch. Nada. Gratis. Frickin free innit. And the activities we sell that the company actually own, I get paid to do.

So I went to Milford Sound, which is a sound rather than a fjord, which is a body of water and not a car. That's all I learnt from the trip, but I did take lots of photos in an effort to try and be a tourist again. I was surprisingly impressed with some of the scenery on the way. I arrogantly say that because working seasonal jobs means that frequently you wake up with a mountain in your back garden, so some of it is very, well, pah. However a lot of the Lord of the Rings locations are on the way, and it is obvious why they were filmed there as a lot of the journey is breath-taking.

I have also been River Surfing, which involves a body board, a wet suit, a river, some rapids and a lot of struggling to stay alive. And this time I DID freak out when my face got wet, purely due to the amount of water I inhaled, and a feeling of impending doom as I slapped the surface of the water like a tantrum throwing 7 year old with mental health issues. The jury is still out on how much I enjoyed this, having (as I previously mentioned) not been involved in any kind of water activity for many years. It also led to another awkward moment on the bus, involving the question "So who was it that pissed in the wetsuit"? and a finger pointed squarely at my head. It wasn't due to fear, purely that I couldn't hold it any longer. For Christ's sake, my bladder was full because I had drunk half the river on the way down it!

I have also fulfilled a childhood ambition, and been Hang Gliding. I recall wanting to do it when I was a tiny person, and looked into doing for charity. There was a fee of £275 to do it, unless you raise £3,500 for whichever charity it was at which point it was free, both scenarios slightly out of a ten year olds grasp. Also, my mum wouldn't let me. But now I am older! And I can do it free! And my mum is on the other side of the world! So that's one childhood ambition realised, now if I can just get close enough to Winona Ryders drink, I may fulfil the other.

I have a few other things planned which will be in the coming weeks hopefully. The Nevis arc and bungy (highest bungy in the world I believe), skydiving (fingers crossed), canyoning (despite them not hiring me), it's an endless extreme playground right now, and I don't have to pay for any of it!

So there you have it kids, until next time if I can leave you with one tiny snippet of fucked up wisdom, it would be that nothing says "employ me" like talking to your bosses as a giant ball sac.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Macarena.

I am guessing just by the title, I have triggered the gag-reflex in everyone who read it. If you didn't feel a little bile rising in your throat, you probably have no taste at all and if you ever invite me round your house, I will decline for fear of being bored to the point of vomiting up all my internal organs, and some external ones, by your collection of Freddy Mercury commemorative plates from the News of the World Sunday magazine.

It was a fad from about 12 years ago. A fad best consigned to the bin marked "nnnnnggggghhhhh" along with novelty answerphone messages, those key rings which beep when you whistle at them, and Chesney Hawkes.

Unfortunately I remember it vividly. I was in Portugal when I first heard it, and it was there I was taught the accompanying dance. There were two excuses for this, firstly it hadn't hit the shores of England by then, so being completely new to me I wasn't aware that it would become so irritating. And secondly, it was taught to me by a very attractive young girl, who I was desperate to get inside. Despite her grunting, knuckle-dragging, neanderthal, giant forehead of a boyfriend gurgling Portuguese unhappiness at me.

And so keen to impress, I learnt it. And spent two weeks lumbering round the dance floor laced with European lager, looking like a geriatric line-dancer in the midst of a heart attack. Needless to say, I never got to see her naked. And when I got back to England and saw just how stupid people looked doing it in nightclubs, I promptly forgot all about it, cleverly predicting that the only thing that would come along that would be more irritating would be the crazy frog.

And so for years now, I have not thought once about it. I buried it deep inside the brain along with the memories of my pony tail and undercut, and the time I got my shorts pulled down at a swimming pool. So deep inside my memory banks that retrieval makes me shudder until my teeth rattle. Then one night recently whilst watching NZ TV, the hideousness engulfed me once again as an advert for Pacific Blue airlines inexplicably revived the tune along with their own lyrics in what can only be described as the advertising equivalent of botulism.

Unfeasibly beautiful and non-orange faced air hostesses, and overly camp stewards spew forth a song and dance number to the tune of the Macarena during the safety brief, which in turn encourages the passengers to stand up and dance along with them. Ironically something which is generally frowned upon during safety briefs these days. Something to do with sitting down, fastening your safety belts, and actually paying attention so you know when to put your life jacket on just in case the giant cigar tube you are in plummets 36,000 feet at terminal velocity into the sea.

I blame the advertising execs. I have never met any before now, but generally I assume them to be well coiffured, be-suited, self important twats with smugness emanating from every overpaid pore in their body. And down this end of the world, they have dedicated a budget larger than I will ever earn in my lifetime to an ill-conceived advertising idea no doubt while stuffing an equal value of Bolivian marching dust up their idiot nostrils.

Or maybe I am wrong in thinking of it as a revival. Maybe it just never made it down here in the first place. This end of the world tends to be a bit behind every now and again. Maybe in 2 weeks time the dance floors of NZ will be full of people pelvic thrusting in unison whilst waving their arms in the air in what they have been told is how to dance to it, but is in fact the flagless semaphore for "Look at me, I'm a spaz".

Clearly Health and Safety in the workplace has taken a bit of time to get down here. At our workshop a wooden palette was loaded with equipment no longer needed and was about to be forklifted up onto a platform about 15 feet in the air. The forklift operator told me to jump onto the palette and he would lift me with it, saving me the hassle and comfort of using the ladder to reduce my chances of not ending up a twitching mess on the floor. Not wanting to look like a pansy, I agreed and jumped on to the only two inches of space left available on the edge of the palette, and was lifted to the platform precariously balancing on the edge on my toes, doing what must have looked from a distance like a full-body version of the YMCA to try and not fall off and die.

Despite being behind the times, this is where I have decided to stay for now, and the small forklift story was back in the days when I had a job. As the season is closing, I am now unemployed once again and looking for work to keep me here.

I had an interview a few weeks back for a canyoning company. Canyoning involves travelling through a canyon. Look it up if you are really curious, you already know how lazy I am. I had the rejection letter a few days back. They are apparently looking for people with more water experience. I shower at least once a day. I even had a bath once. I'm sure I drink my 80 gallons of water a day (generally in coffee and a little bit of water I accidentally swallow while brushing my teeth). It seems this isn't the kind of water experience they are looking for, so I am back to square one.

Once again I will be whoring myself, and my CV around town. This may lead to another epic retail group interview akin to the Quiksilver incident, however rest assured if I come close to an experience like that again, I am likely to just walk in, place my CV on the desk, do the Macarena and walk straight back out again without saying a word. They'll love that.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Jug fines. The bane of my life.

I was driving back to work on a balmy Tuesday evening when my phone bleeped with a message from a colleague. It simply said "Asshole". Another bleep, another message from a colleague, again it just said "Asshole". Nothing else. Another bleep, this time a number I don't even recognise. Upon opening the message I am greeted by "Asshole". One more, from Boss this time. It reads: "That's ok, she is cute and funny. And you are old and you smell like cat pee. Burn in shame Johnsteele".
This was the second message I had from him. The first simply read, of course, "Asshole".
I had replied to him, almost pleading for forgiveness for my latest crime, which prompted the above text informing me of my general aroma of feline urine. Actually that may not be true. The "she" in question was the one who had informed Boss of my latest crime, and I was cowardly and exceptionally spinelessly trying to take the heat off myself by texting him to say she had crashed the work van into a wall earlier in the day.
Clearly my offence was worse than the near destruction of company property. (Again, that may be a slight exaggeration. It was more of a minor ding). What was my offence? What could possibly be worse than this?? What did "she" stitch me up to Boss about? Brace yourselves, it's a biggie.....
One of the daily tasks is to take all the clean ski pants and jackets, and hang them on the clothing rails. Whilst I was doing this one day, I found myself with one spare jacket, and no coat hangers. It's not like I didn't try. I searched everywhere for that last coat hanger. On the racks, out in the back room, at our shop 3 doors down, but there was no spare hangers to be found. So I did what any sane industrious individual would do. I put the clean jacket into the dirty laundry basket. This was the reason behind all the bile and vitriol I was receiving via text, as Boss had sent a text to everyone I know, and a lot of people I don't, explaining the situation and requesting they call me an Asshole. It also resulted in getting me jug fined. And I am still getting "Asshole" texts.
Jug fines are accumulated during the season. You do something wrong, you get fined a jug of beer. It's pretty Ronseal really. However I can't help but bitch about the fines I have had during the season.
My iPod was used at work on shuffle. The first song to come on was by Tom Jones. I got fined for having Tom Jones on my iPod. I have S Club 7 on there. And B*Witched. I would happily accept a jug for that.
I had my hair cut, and decided to spend the day without a beanie. I got fined for looking like an old Will Young.
Boss said something funny whilst I was holding a fart in. It came out. Jugged.
We are not allowed to poo in our toilet. It stinks out the shop. And I had a nasty incident with the auto-locking public toilets out the back of the store when it auto-unlocked itself mid-wipe and refused to lock again resulting in me awkwardly holding onto the door handle at least 2 foot away with one hand, trying to finish off with other. So I went to our new shop, which has a window, and air freshener, and had a poo there. Jugged.
After both of the above incidents, I joked that I was highly likely to get fined for getting a hard-on in public. I was fined for that. Boss then phoned the store later in the day to jug me again as he had just recalled the conversation.
I went to a colleagues party where the theme was gayness. I dressed like a gayer. I exposed my buttocks for the camera. Boss was shown this photo and jugged me for it. Then again for making him feel sick so he had to go home early.
And most recently, I was jugged for the story which I recounted above. And instead of my name on the schedule, it now simply reads; Asshole.

So Friday night was the night when the jug fines were spent. I had accumulated 9 since the last one a few months back. This was immediately crossed out and increased to 10 by Boss for no other reason than he just can. Needless to say it was a drunken night of which the details will be spared. You have all been drunk before, you know the score. But my buttocks and nipples did not make an appearance this time round.

This was after a group of us at work went Heli-Rafting. For the uninitiated, those who have asked, and any of you having problems working out what it is, I'll break it down for you. You get in a helicopter (the "Heli" part) and get taken to the rafts up the river. You then get out of the helicopter, get in the rafts , and go rafting down the river (the "Rafting" part). It was amazing. As one who, as I have previously stated, has never been into watersports it was an experience I loved. I was unsure at first, as I thought I would freak out like a little girl if my face got wet, but at one point when the river was calmer a few of us got out and went for a swim. The rapids were a rush to ride down, and by the end I was facing a further dilemma. I have previously stated that I was thinking of sticking around for the summer. Before Friday, I had swayed back to returning to Canada for another winter season. Now, after discovering that I could quite get into watersports, I am back to staying. I can only assume that I will go back and forth over this matter a number of times before the decision is made for me. So will someone please make that decision?

I would also be grateful for some advice from anyone that bothers to read this crap. The end of season party is a fancy dress party where the theme is a letter. The letters are S, K, and I. So we have to turn up dressed as something beginning with one of those letters.
Anyone that knows me will know I have a penchant to either offend, get naked, or wear some kind of revealing, possibly women's clothing. So like young Nazi Prince Harry (without the questionable parentage), I will be turning up in something outrageous. Some ideas I have been playing with so far include Stephen Hawking (if I can get a wheelchair), Michael Jackson (work it out, it begins with "K"), Slutty Schoolgirl, or KKK member (probably not a great idea). I know for a fact that half of you reading this are as twisted as me, so please, throw some suggestions my way.

That little bit at the bottom again: I am filled with shame today after snowboarding into a young child resulting in the child having to be taken off the mountain in the blood wagon. He turned out to be okay, but more importantly so did I.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Packing - probably worse than shaving.

Anyone who has read my previous posts will know about my shaving phobia. In fact, scrap that. I'm not scared of shaving, I just detest it. If you haven't read that blog entry, waste a tiny bit more of your life now so that you know about the only people I hate more than shaving. Done? Good. I shall continue.

Where to start though?

I've always been a last minute kind of guy. During my A-Levels I found myself in the college library one Monday morning, the day after my 18th birthday, with a hangover of gargantuan proportions having to write an entire 3000 word extended essay from scratch by the end of the day otherwise I would fail Media Studies (What? It's a valid subject!). I handed my work in and eventually got a grade E for my efforts, which I wasn't unpleased with as I was predicted a grade N (essentially the grading equivalent of patronisingly patting you on the head and saying "bless you for trying"), and I had spent most of the day staring at the ceiling, popping out for a smoke every five minutes, and playing Scorched Earth on the college computers.
This aspect of my personality, as I am sure most of you can empathise with, carries on into things like packing. However, I figure that leaving it until the last minute is the best thing you can do. If I pack well in advance, I will spend days worrying that I have forgotten something. If I do it mere hours before I leave, if I forget anything I can just buy it when I get there.
But I never seem to get it right. I have been for weekends away where I have packed 7 T-shirts and four pairs of shoes, and no underwear at all. For 2 nights. Packing in my slightly more reckless youth was much simpler, it all fit into two pockets. One pocket for showering (1 can of deodorant), and one pocket for oral hygiene (1 packet of chewing gum).
I spent the first few weeks of being in New Zealand living out of a bag moving between hostels. And sometimes between rooms in hostels, from a perfectly good room to a room with a masturbating Israeli. Obviously this means re-packing multiple times over or not being able to find anything I need, which eventually leads to just throwing everything in making the next packing incident a trillion times worse.
For me, planning leads to disaster. When I left New Zealand in 2007, I packed well in advance to ensure everything was in the right bag. I was then charged $250 at the airport for being approximately 2kg's over the baggage allowance. Upon my arrival home I found that a folder full of DVD's had been surreptitiously removed by a thieving scrote baggage handler, which probably meant that when my bags were loaded onto the aircraft, they were more than likely well within baggage weight limits, so I got stung twice in one swift manouevre there.
And unpacking and re-packing bags is like unwrapping an Easter Egg and then trying to get the foil back on again.

These are just a few of the reasons I despise it so much.

And don't get me started on Summer either. The last summer I had was 2008 in England, and as is the case with most English summers, the heat to falling water ratio was akin to a quick fart in the shower.

You see, my fear of summer and hot weather stems from the fact that I used to be really fat. I mean, REALLY fat. And as all fatties know, the slightest exertion even in the coldest of weather leads to gallons of sweat and embarrassment. As soon as the sun comes out, just standing still results in a torso wetter than the front row of a Jonas Brothers concert.
My problem stemmed from an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. It wasn't glandular, or big bones like a lot of fatties try and claim. I ate shit and did nothing. We had a local takeaway called the Spice Boys. They delivered every type of junk food under the sun. Kebabs, burgers, curries, everything a fatty could ever want delivered with one click of the mouse. I shared a house at the time with one of my closest friends, so most nights were spent drinking lager, ordering Spice Boys food and watching lesbian porn on the internet. Which in turn led to one of the delivery guys who looked a bit like Limahl from the '80s (look him up kids), constantly trying to muscle his way into the house to see what filth was on the screen this time round. Honestly, they were great (until you tried to search for their website, trust me, don't do it).
Then a local pizza house began to create legendary pizzas. Bacon cheeseburger and chips, full English breakfast, donor kebab (a personal favourite), the only way their pizzas could get any unhealthier is if they were deep fried. Which is one reason I don't go to Scotland too often.
Sweating leads to smelling. Bad. And wet patches. Have you ever tried to spend the night drinking while keeping your arms by your side so no-one can see the oceans of sweat under your pits? I tried everything. Strong deodorant, shaving the hair off, wearing white (bad - it accentuates your moobs in a big way), wearing black (worse - hotter). Nothing worked apart from fixing the diet, exercising, and just not being morbidly obese.
Other side-effects include not wanting to take clothes off in front of people. Which means most summer activities such as swimming, or water sports are ruled out for fear of people pointing, laughing, and visibly trying to count the rolls of fat preventing you from ever seeing your penis. Not getting laid is a big one too. Fat chicks always score at the end of the night, as men we are actually that shallow. Fat guys have to work twice as hard, even to score with a fat chick. It seems even they have standards.
But now, I am not quite as close to a massive coronary as I once was, I am thinking I might actually enjoy summer. It's been years since I have seen a real one. Sure, my body hasn't seen the sun since I was 11, which means after 5 minutes I would probably end up looking like a ginger who's been in the sun for 3 minutes. And who knows? I may enjoy water sports after a while. Not German water sports, obviously. I'm pretty sure since missing the toilet while drunk and pissing on my feet that I wouldn't like that.

So weighing up between knowing I hate packing, and just thinking I might not like summer, I have pretty much convinced myself to stick around NZ for the summer season. Mum, Dad, if you are reading this, and have been getting weird comments from people over the past few days about when I am coming back, this could explain it. And please can you send some clothes?

Another little bit at the bottom: Please accept my apologies for fat chicks creeping in to my blog once more. It will not happen again. At least not until the next entry.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The difficult 8th blog entry. Full of smut, filth, and fat chicks.

A phenomenon not really known in the blogging world, or any world at all for that matter. However I am providing an update because if I don't, I'll just keep on forgetting. And people will spit at me for not doing so.

So what have I done since the last update?? Naff all. I have finally reached the point where this life is normal once more. I get up, I go to work, if I get the chance I ski or board during the afternoon before going back to work once again in the evening. I ski or board on days off. I go out after work drinking.
I have not yet taken full advantage of the fact that drinking AT work is not frowned upon, as long as it is from a receptacle that doesn't make it obvious that you are getting smashed while dealing with the general public. Which in most cases is the only way to make them bearable. I am sure I have probably been the same in the past, but it seems most of these people must sit in the taxi on the way to the airport going through what they may have forgotten.
"Passport - got it. Tickets - yup, in my pocket. Luggage - definitely, it's in the boot. Did I cancel the papers? Yes, I did that yesterday. Leave a light on?? No, I left the house while it was dark, I would have noticed. Why do I get the feeling I've forgotten something? Oh, that'll be it. I've left my common bastard sense at home".
Rentals are pretty generic. You can spend all day trying them on and asking me stupid questions about boots that cater for a more narrow foot. All I am going to do is take that one from you, go back to the rack and bring you back exactly the same boot in a different colour and ask you if that feels better. And when you reply that it does, I will openly mock you for being a mong. Then you can try on all the clothes that you want, if you can't get a medium sized pair of pants over your cankles, the next size up might just stretch up to your knees but no further. Stop trying to convince yourself that you have been good this year and accept that you are looking at at least 2 X's before the L, lardy.

In other, slightly more interesting news, I survived an earthquake. A pretty big one by all accounts. I have heard it was 7.8 on the Richter scale, or 6.8, or something impressive with a decimal place somewhere. I have no idea if this is a cool sized earthquake to survive, but considering the only tremors I normally experience are caused by me farting in bed, it was a smidgen bigger.
To be honest, I was out drinking at the time. I was in a first floor bar, talking to a very hot young lady. At first I had no idea what was happening and paid no attention to it. I grew up and drank in Redhill when I was younger, these kind of quakes were a common occurrence when six drunk fat chicks all got on the dance floor at the same time.
Anyhow, the floor began to shake, the speakers and screens on the walls starting vibrating and threatening to fall off, it all became a bit surreal. People started flocking to the near-floor to ceiling windows to look out at the street below.
As I just said, I grew up in Redhill, these things don't EVER happen there. I do still know however, that in an earthquake it is wise to stay away from massive planes of glass. Something to do with shaking, shattering, shards and arteries I think. A fact that passed a lot of idiots in the bar by. I came so close that night to witnessing natural selection in action.
It also afforded me the opportunity to pull out a line cheesier than any Swayze came out with in the atrocity that is Dirty Dancing. Something about the earth moving just from talking to me. Despite this, the night still went well.

Ending on a shit-splinteringly boring note, I am finally warm at night. Previously I have mentioned how cold my room has been, and that it has been hard sleeping (stop it).
I also mentioned the pointless heater I bought which warmed up about a square inch just above it. I bit the bullet just after and bought an electric blanket.
I fucking love electricity. Sorry mum, but I do. It's amazing, one of the best discoveries ever. Without it, so many things in life would be that much more difficult. I use my mobile phone to wake me up. I use lights in the morning darkness to find out which of the clothes on my floor are the cleanest (again, sorry mum). I shower in hot water thanks to the leccy. I don't have an electric toothbrush, but I should because I have taken laziness to previously unheard of levels. The bus on the way into work, my iPod on the bus, the heaters keeping me warm at work, the coaches taking me up the hill, the chair lifts I ride, hell - I wouldn't be sharing this pony with you if it wasn't for electricity. I could go on all night but I won't as I think you get the message.
Which is that electricity is the nuts.
As much as I love it though, sleeping on it? No thanks. It has so much potential to go wrong. The name itself - electric blanket - sounds like something you would get for first degree murder in the States.
Electric blankets to me are very much like fat chicks. They are great for keeping the bed warm, but you know having one turned on in your bed all night is a bad idea. I am happy to use it to warm the bed up (blanket - not fat chick), but I go to great lengths to unplug it because the last thing I need in the morning is to wake up fused to the bed springs, you know the day can only go downhill from there.
So what is the amazing invention that has enabled me to sleep naked as the day I was born in complete comfort once again?? Two duvets.
All that love for electricity, and it just took a second synthetic stuffed blanket to solve the problem.
Sometimes my slowness surprises even myself.

A little bit at the bottom: I am fully aware that I have mentioned fat chicks a multitude of times during this passage (and also that I just sniggered out loud for using "fat chicks" and "passage" in the same sentence). This will not need pointing out, but I will make it clear that this is in no way an indication that I am thinking about fat chicks a lot, or that I need, or want a fat chick. Despite how grateful they always are.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

I don't do mass hysteria.

Each year around this time, Queenstown heralds the arrival of winter with what they call "Winterfest". Which is an amalgamation of the words "Winter", and "Festival", for those of you conceived after twelve Bacardi Breezers in an alleyway just outside Romford. Or for those of you that use the same word for Christmas while tiptoeing around people who aren't offended at all by the word, and probably more offended that you have taken offence at Christmas on their behalf.
Quite why they need this festival to mark the arrival of winter is beyond me. I know it's winter, everyone does, it's Baltic outside. It's Baltic inside for Christs sake. The fact that I have to spend a good ten minutes coaxing my inverted penis out of the warmth of its inner sanctum before I pee is a clear indication that it's brass monkeys outside. Any kind of camp parade through the streets only serves as a twisted reminder that I currently have a mangina. But then this is probably the primary reason as to why I will never be on the town planning committee.
Running for 10 days, the festival kicked off with a firework display which I was able to watch from the comfort of a van while I was working. I ooh'ed and aah'ed as I tried to avoid the idiots standing in the road of all places watching the display, and then cursed as it seemed wherever I tried to make a delivery no-one was available to receive as they are all watching the display that lasted all of a minute and a half. Personally, I wasn't impressed. I never am. Mainly because I am not 7 any more, and haven't been for a few years now. Other things were going on, but I have paid little attention to any of it, and successfully avoided any kind of social interaction during this period.

Due to the festival, and school holidays this week, work has been manic. For the first time in many years, I am actually having to work to earn money. I hope to have normal service restored soon. However it has meant a lot of driving and delivering which has led me to discover that no-one out here knows how a roundabout works. For me, this is a good thing as I can just fly straight on without worrying about the idiots all sitting around at each entrance waiting for someone else to go. There have, as yet, been no accidents. But being a delivery driver has most certainly given me an over-inflated sense of self-importance and a complete disregard for laws. No seat belt?? Check. Breaking speed limits?? I have deliveries to make for Christ's sake. No parking?? I LIVE for no parking signs, parking in front of them fills me with childish glee. I have deliveries, did you not hear that the first time?? The van is now filled with empty cookie wrappers and coffee mugs, the only thing yet to do is import a yellowed copy of the Daily Sport and leave it on the dashboard.

As in all ski towns across the globe, hitching is a big thing here. In a strange twist of fate, the only times I have been offered a lift have been when I haven't been hitching, and was quite happy to walk. One of those times was from a gay fella that kept banging on about the Mardi Gras the night before. Don't get me wrong - no rant coming. If you are picking me up and saving me from walking I wouldn't care if you had sex with microwaved melons. I just thought I may be more likely to be picked up by him if I had a digit in the air. As soon as I make an effort to get a lift I am largely ignored, which I don't mind too much, because I never pick up hitchers myself. I have deliveries to make for Christs sake.

During the festival, my cousin from Auckland came down to stay for a few days, which was really nice. Growing up we never really spent much time together as she has a brother my age, and she was my sisters age, so we have probably spent more time hanging out together on the other side of the world than we ever did in the UK. And it was awesome. We went out skiing a few times, a tiny bit of touring, and some drinking (as there is literally nothing else to do in Queenstown), caught up, and exchanged family stories of which some were invariably similar albeit happening a few years apart.

It was while she was here that I read the news that has shocked the world, and please accept my apologies for taking a slightly morose turn.

I am very used to famous people, idols, and cultural icons passing away while I am out of the country. It seems to happen every time to all the people I love that have played a major part in my life as a child, and sometimes as an adult. Tony Hart, Mike Reid, Wendy Richards, Jeremy Beadle, Richard Whitely, all have died whilst I am abroad leaving me in a bewildered state of mourning, and leaving everyone else wondering why I am in that state. Every time I leave the country I am petrified of who will be next on the list. I have my fingers crossed for Dion, but it seems the people I despise are immortal.
This time round, it started with David Carradine. I can't say I knew much about him, but as a bit of a martial arts fan, I was starting to get a bit worried. My concerns were furthered by the death of Shih Kien. At 96, I guess he had a good innings, and I knew very little about him too aside from his star turn in the legendary Enter the Dragon as Han. I hoped and prayed every night, as it was following a bit of a martial arts trend. How would I cope if - God forbid - next on the list was Jackie Chan?? Or Van-Damme?? Or even Seagal??

And then the worst happened. Someone huge, someone who I remembered fondly from my childhood, someone I would watch on the television wide-eyed and with utmost admiration. I am talking of course of Farrah Fawcett. Most will remember her from her role in Charlies Angels, but for me her seminal work was the classic The Cannonball Run. It had the elements EVERY great should have. Cars racing across America, Burt Reynolds 'tache, a rubbish super hero, Roger Moore parodying Bond - even more so than he did in his way too long stint AS Bond, a pair of drink driving priests (which is always hilarious), a motorcycle stuck in a permanent wheelie due to a morbidly obese guy on the back (again, always hilarious), Jackie Chan, a cross-eyed doctor with a drink problem and borderline mental health issues, 2 pendulous chicks in a Ferrari, and Farrah Fawcett.
One could draw parallels between the tragic passing of Fawcett and Mother Teresa. And here is a full list of two very tenuous reasons why. They both provided enlightenment in their own way - Teresa more sensual, Fawcett slightly more sexual in my case. And both tragedies were eclipsed by someone slightly more famous, who had a history of touching children. So as expected, out of the woodwork come the thousands of fans shedding tears for someone they felt they knew but had no idea about whatsoever. It sickens me to see so many people in mourning, and getting caught up in the drama of someone who they loved but never met passing away, when half of them would barely shed a tear for a close relative.

Fortunately, aside from a few hits being played in bars and shops out here, it seems to have passed by without incident. There have been no vigils, no collective crying sessions in the streets, in fact the most I have seen is a sign on a whiteboard by a chairlift which are usually reserved for telling skiers they have left their lights on, saying "RIP King of pop. Black Subaru Legacy, your lights are on". A fitting tribute I feel.

So it is with a sense of sadness that I say, Rest In Peace Farrah Fawcett. You were MY Mother Teresa.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shaving. It sucks.

I don't like to hate, life is way too short. I can count on one hand the people in life I have met that I actively despise, and still have fingers left over. There are many people I haven't met that I hate, but I am sure if I met them in real life I would no doubt reconsider - except for Chris Martin off of Coldplay. I don't think I would ever tire of punching him in the throat.
One thing I do hate though is shaving. Not so much the act itself, more the aftermath, and mainly the bleeding and the rash. No matter what preparations I take, or any kind of after care, my chin always ends up with more pus than a leper with a multitude of infected tumours. I swear it is a miracle that I haven't yet been found languishing on a bathroom floor having almost bled out through my nut sac.
I find it's a necessary evil though, as I am not too fond of having a beard for a few reasons. Namely, I generally associate beards with sandal-wearing tree-hugging hippies with a fondness for tie-dye, or fat, sweaty middle aged perverts hanging out the back of children. And all the mini-beard combinations I associate with nob-heads.
There is also the worry of walking around with half a hot-dog matted into the hair. I was once on a training course run by a guy with a big, long, ZZ Top style beard. While he was watching us try some of the practical exercises, eating a sandwich, he sneezed. A vile combination of bread, cheese, and sputum ended up in a big lump halfway down - and fused into - his face fuzz. Watching him shamelessly trying to remove it almost put me off bread, cheese and sputum for life.
It's a rock/hard place situation for me however, as the only thing that rivals my vanity in magnitude is my laziness. And although I have made peace with being a scruffy twat, I don't like people to know this about me straight off the bat. I'd rather they had to work a little bit to find this out. So with two events in mind - first day at a new job followed the next day by casual ski instructor try-outs at Coronet Peak - I hacked at my face once again for what will no doubt be the last time for a few weeks at least.

The work - not too bad. I only have a few shifts this week. The first day we just spent a little time going through ski/board fitting, went for a drive to check out the hotels that the deliveries go to and then just hung around waiting for people to want to hire equipment. Which many of them didn't and probably won't until well into next week. So essentially right now my job is just like being unemployed still, just in a different location, with better pay, and with less Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women (which I seriously think should be renamed to Four Sluts on a Sofa).

The casual try-outs, slightly different. I recalled the horrific Quiksilver interview and how my lack of research possibly scuppered my chances of being a retail tard, and knuckled down a few days beforehand to go through all the New Zealand ski teaching progressions to refresh them in my head. I started panicking somewhat, as the more I read, the more I forgot, and the more I confused myself. But I persevered and spent every minute that I wasn't looking at Norwegian lesbian porn with my nose stuck in the manual. The nights preceding it, the bus ride in the morning, whilst eating breakfast at McDonalds, the coach ride up the hill. Every single spare minute that I didn't have an internet connection to distract me.
The try-outs were to be a brutal affair. There were around 18 skiers, and they were looking to hire 8. Split into two groups, the deal was that the morning would be spent having skiing assessments, and the afternoon would be teaching assessments. At any point during the day the group would stop, and if anyone didn't meet the required standards they were taken aside and told not to bother carrying on. It was quite similar to the dance-off scene in Grease, but with less gayness and more career at stake. I approached the ski school director beforehand, a Frenchman with a very thick moustache that I swear I saw mushy peas stuck in, and explained that I had a commitment with my current job and could only probably work a few days per week as this job will in all likelihood turn full time. He told me they were really looking for a solid 5 days, 6 during school holidays, so not to bother trying out for it but he appreciated my turning up and especially letting him know this. I appreciated his appreciation, as much as you can appreciate a Frenchman, and just spent the rest of the day skiing.

Elsewhere, the spare room in the house has now been filled. In a bizarre sequence of events a Japanese girl and Indian fella were shown around on a Friday night and then asked which one of them the room was for. Confusion was rife as they proclaimed it was for neither of them. They then explained that it was for a friend of theirs who was arriving from Japan on Saturday. So they were subtly told to maybe pop back when the person that wanted to move in was actually in the country. I guess I only find this situation odd because I know my friends, and I can't trust them enough to leave my mobile phone unattended let alone leave them to find me a place to live.
However, their friend came back on Sunday night, liked the place and moved in Monday. She then spent the day on the following Saturday doing the whole CV whoring thing, and has a job lined up to start on Sunday. Less than a week she has been in Queenstown, and already has a place to live and a job. I know, I have both, I should consider myself lucky, but I can't help but feel that a combination of being as flabby-titted as I was when I was clinically obese, and a wonderbra, may have got me in there sooner.

That is all for now. Please excuse what will most likely be a lack of forthcoming updates, I don't see too much of interest happening in the next few weeks until the season gets off into full swing. I apologise, but I hope you will appreciate that the first few weeks I had a lot pent up to report on so it all came out pretty quickly and now I have got it all out of my system, it will slowly peter out into a bit of a trickle, no doubt leaving you with a sense of unfulfillment and disappointment. In fact, imagine it akin to a sexual experience with me.

Except that when I apologise for the blog, I actually mean it.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

My bathroom has 3 doors

Honestly, it has. A door to the bathroom, a door to the toilet, and a cunning sliding door affair to shut off the toilet from the bathroom in case someone needs to micturate or defecate when someone else is showering. When I was younger, more foolish and a little more naive, all I wanted in life was one of those huge fridge-freezer combos with an ice dispenser on the outside of the front door. And someone similar to Jenna Jameson in looks, moral fibre and loose virtue to dispense the ice into my Jack and Diet. Naked. (Incidentally, for those unfamiliar with Jenna Jameson's body of work, please do not google her. Especially not at work). But now, I have a bathroom with 3 doors, leading to endless door/room combinations to experiment with. Which cunningly leads me onto explaining a bit about where I am living, in what will probably be a journey into bone-crushing, eye-watering, shit-a-kidney tedium.

I have been here almost a week now, in a scenic little area just outside Queenstown centre, called Sunshine Bay. Which kind of makes me feel like I live in an Australian soap opera, albeit with less hot jail bait Aussie chicks. The house I am living in is set on three floors, with a lounge and kitchen at the top, two bedrooms and a bathroom on the middle floor (with 3 doors!), and a bedroom, bathroom and garage at the bottom. I still can't get used to saying that I am going down to bed though. The view from the lounge balcony is the photo above, which is also the view from both the windows in my bedroom. The windows that dribble cold air over my head when I am trying to sleep. I took a bus ride to Frankton the other day to pick up a heater, but to be honest it is quite small, and offers about as much heat as a tea light unless you sit directly on it, but then that just fills the bedroom with the smell of singed hair and burnt scrotum.
I've ridden the public transport out here a few times now, at first with trepidation, but in comparison to the bus in England it is, as most things out here are, a pleasant experience. A fact no doubt attributed to the lack of council estates, poor people and limited availability of Stella Artois in cans.
From Sunshine Bay, it is about a 25 minute walk into Queenstown (uphill), and then a 25 minute walk back (uphill). Despite this, it is a very scenic walk - a woodland track that runs by the side of the lake - so I am more than happy to walk it. When I first walked it, nightfall was coming fast, and as it got darker and darker I started to worry a little. Firstly, because walking some woodland routes like this in Canada you have to worry about bears. No problem down here, no dangerous wildlife. Secondly, because walking some routes like this in England you have to worry about sexual predators. No problem there either, as the main protagonist is walking a woodland path in Queenstown. And as night falls, it becomes harder to walk as my eyes are constantly drawn to the sky, where there are more stars than I have ever seen in my life. No picture I could take could possibly do the night sky any justice. So close your eyes, and press the heels of your palms against your eyelids as hard as you can until you see spots. It's like that but better. You can stop doing it now, I can't be held responsible for anyone reading this ending up spending the rest of their lives walking into furniture.

So back once again to the house. It is still the two of us here, myself and another English guy who holds the lease. The third bedroom is currently being advertised and viewed. In the interests of redressing the imbalance created by having two guys living here, the advert has been asking for a female. There have been a few come to view it so far. The only one who was genuinely interested however was ruled out for various valid, and not shallow at all reasons. Being fat and ugly had no influence on the decision. The majority of interest has been from South American girls, who have strangely expressed a huge interest, then changed their minds but brought round different male friends on the basis that it would be perfect for them. Each time they return, they come with more friends who they think it would be more suitable for. I am starting to think they just like hanging out here. We disagree about the suitability of their friends on the basis that the ones they bring round have too much penis and not enough vagina.

Moving on further, I think I have finally found a job. I went for training the other day, and have 3 shifts this week starting on Wednesday. It is working in a rental shop in Queenstown, delivering equipment to hotels in the area and helping out wherever else I am needed. I say I think as I have still not signed any contract, or got any of the finer details sorted out, but I am pretty sure it's nailed on. The benefits as far as season passes/rides to the mountains are great, and it is going to be good to finally have something to do other than walk uphill into Queenstown whoring my C.V. to all and sundry and waiting for the inevitable unsuccessful e-mails/phone calls. I am also attending the casual instructor try-outs for Coronet Peak and the Remarkables on Thursday which I am hoping I won't balls-up as spectacularly as I did with Quiksilver.

And finally, yesterday was opening day for Coronet Peak, so I headed up there with a few people for a day skiing once again. To be honest it was a bit of a damp squib. In fact returning to the lavatorial theme I opened with, it was much like waking up on a Sunday after a night out followed by a kebab or curry, making a coffee and grabbing the Sunday paper WITH the supplements and heading upstairs in the knowledge that it will be a long, arduous but immensely satisfying experience, only for it come out in a series of little tiny rabbit pellets leaving you deflated, crestfallen, and most importantly still hungover.
Not that it wasn't a good day overall, essentially the important thing was that I was skiing and on snow again, which is always amazing. And after having work done on my boots they don't hurt as much as they did last season. I was just expecting a bit more of a fanfare being the opening day, when all I could really see happening was a one-man band outside the restaurant - essentially just a busker with more speakers. It could have been improved by replacing him with the legendary recorder-playing busker from Christchurch. And the weather wasn't great, a little low on visibility. But the snow was good, and like I said, I was skiing once again, which made me happier than a dog with two dicks.

And in a final final completely unrelated note, in fact more related to the hilarious "Beaver Liquor" than anything else, during my C.V. whoring I popped into a job agency where the helpful lady informed me to come back next week as she was in the process of sorting through the piles she already had to find out who was still available. My eyes were drawn to a C.V. on her desk. In the name of Ming Poon.
Where is a middle initial "e" when you really need it?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Quiksilver Interview

Way back when I was 13 and in school, I had a bit of a passion for Craft, Design and Realisation. For the very few of you reading this that are older than me, that was the fancy new name for woodwork, metalwork, that kind of thing. My passion was unbridled. Almost.
I could think of nothing I enjoyed more than designing something I neither really wanted nor needed, drawing up plans, measuring, gathering the materials, getting halfway through before deciding there was something more important I could be designing that I neither really wanted nor needed, drawing up plans, etc etc. Ad infinitum. 0.3 recurring.
The passion was still there to create though, so much so that I gave up quite a few lunchtimes in a teacher supervised workshop to create on my own time. And, of course, avoid any playground taunts for being a fat gobshite with a squeaky voice. It was during one of these sessions that I found I needed to trim down a small, probably 2 inch long at the most, piece of wooden dowelling. Off to the bandsaw I went to cut it down to make it fit into whatever bonfire fuel I was making that week. Now, the thing about dowelling, it's very essence, is that it is cylindrical. And if you apply downward pressure to one side of a cylindrical object, it spins. And feeds your thumb straight into the bandsaw blade. It didn't feel too bad right then, and the teacher at the time told me to run it under the cold tap and it would be fine, but the pool of blood forming in my hand did not inspire me with confidence.
My 13 year old sorry sobbing frame was driven to the hospital by my wonderful mother, and fortunately I was seen quite quickly from what I remember. The blade had cut around about 2/3rd's of my thumb, but missed the bone, so after a quick check by the nurse (involving peeling the end of it away to check), I was prepared to get it numbed and stitched up. The anaesthetic needle was driven multiple times into the fleshy base of my thumb. It was agony. I am not ashamed to say I screamed the hospital down. If I was my grown-up, quick-witted smart-ass self by that point I would have asked for an anaesthetic for the anaesthetic. 5 stitches later, I was whole again, with a week off school to look forward to. Happy days. Aside from the obvious general heartbreak, and the loss of loved ones, this incident was by far the most painful experience of my life.

Until now.

I donned my finest O'Neill t-shirt, dropped my jeans to just-below-butt level, and got to the "group interview" just before 3 today to find a sign on the door with the schedule of events. Photograph, Questionnaire, Intro, Game - The Bus Stop, Game - The Spoon, Q&A. As we filed in one by one, in what felt like the queue for the shower at Auschwitz, we were given name badges and had the photo taken. Name badges in this situation have one use and one use only. It gives the perfect excuse to look at some of the pendulous breasts on display. "Suzanne, is that Suzanne?? Is that a Z?? Sorry, my eyes aren't that good, I may need to get closer. Do you mind if I touch each letter as I read it?".
Onto the questionnaire then. Which didn't bode well. First question - Why do you want to work for Quiksilver? The answer I didn't put was "because like everyone else here I am in a foreign country, with no job, and no income, and I have applied at every place in Queenstown, and you are one of the only ones to respond". Do they honestly expect that each and every person there has had aspirations to work for them since they were toddlers, and by happy coincidence they may now get the chance due to a new store opening up?
Second question - What do you know about Quiksilver boardriders? I knew, I knew I should have done some research. I was in Starbucks earlier drinking the equivalent of the English Channel in Latte thinking that I needed to. I planned to stop off at the internet cafe on the way down but misjudged the time. Historically, my brutal honesty in this situation got me a 10 year career with B.T. but I have a feeling it may not do me any favours this time round. The guy next to me kept looking at his mobile phone. I think the smart-arse may have texted himself some company history. Tosser.
The other questions were relatively easy, customer service related generally. The last one however, slightly different kettle of fish - Describe in your own words, the qualities that define a team player. After the first two questions didn't go too well, I didn't really take the rest too seriously. This is how, after a little babble about various things, I ended up writing something of David Brent-esque cringe-worthy proportions - "There is no 'I' in team". Yes, I actually wrote that. Mainly tongue in cheek, but looking back on it I may have to nip off for 5 minutes to repeatedly headbutt a bed of nails tipped with arsenic.
On to the games. The Bus Stop game consisted of getting into groups and having to decide which one of 3 people to save from certain death - a 90 year old woman with wads of cash (that you don't know about), your soulmate (who you don't know, so don't know that she is your soulmate), or your best friend who has saved your life a few times before. And in The Spoon Game, we were given a fork(?) and had to come up with as many different uses no matter how bizarre. Essentially it just seemed like we had to write down any objects, in the world ever, that weren't forks. Which is how we came up with Virgin Atlantic Space Station. And then had to sell it to the Quiksilver guys via jingles, skits, adverts etc. I spent most of my time next to the door, hoping to get out as soon as possible. There were 38 people in this interview. I counted them, twice. Although it was a necessary evil, I think I would rather have had a urethral swab with a cactus. A really wide one too.
Apparently they will call the successful people halfway through next week. To be honest, the mobile reception where I am is quite poor so I don't expect my phone to ring.

It's not all horrific car-crash news though. I moved into my new place yesterday. It's nice here, but a little cold in the bedroom. I like a cold room, in fact sometimes there is nothing nicer than waking in the morning in a chilled room, where it is nice and warm under the duvet. But I can see my breath, which is never good. I have been all round town looking for a heater today, but for some reason nowhere sells them. Which in a town that's not quite as cold as Siberia where none of the properties seem to have insulation or heating, it seems odd that no-one has cornered the niche in this market.
I also have work lined up for later this month. I have been taken on for a few days a week delivering rental equipment to hotels, which may lead to more hours. The benefits are awesome too as far as lift passes and rides to the mountains go. I go in on Friday for training.
And I bought gummi bears, and chocolate covered raisins.
But the best news ever, for today at least, I walked past a liquor store called "Beaver Liquor". Honestly.


Saturday, 30 May 2009

Queenstown and finding a place to reside

I arrived in Queenstown early evening, having only a vague idea where the hostel was. The coach journey, which to be honest I was dreading, turned out to be more than bearable in the end.
During the ride down, we stopped off for a lunch and toilet break at a lake called Tekapo. It's not quite pronounced "Take-a-poo", but given the nature of the stop I duly christened it so. Photos can be found here.
Once here, I dragged my sorry ass and 4 huge bags down the road to the hostel, checked in, and then went out for dinner with a few friends from Canada, one of whom is staying in Queenstown for the season and has offered me a room for a while.

I had visited Queenstown during the winter of 2007 when I was based in Wanaka. Having been in Wanaka (population: 4) for most of the season, I found Queenstown to be quite a large intimidating place. Having now been here a few days, it is smaller than I remember, but largely uphill.
Situated by Lake Wakatipu, it is a town that feels like it was designed by M. C. Escher, as it tends to defy all gravitational and logical laws that would suggest that you would walk an equal distance downhill as you would up. I seem to have just walked up. I feel like I should be at the top of Everest by now. If it weren't for the fact that I am some thousands of miles away from it.
Since being here I have joined the plethora of individuals running around town, handing my C.V. into various establishments in the hope of finding work. And somewhere to live.

As far as finding somewhere to live goes, after viewing many nice places, many not so nice places, I narrowed my choice down to 3. Out went the spacious room at the top of a hill occupied by a Japanese guy called Yoshi (honestly! The whole time I was talking to him he slowly morphed into a little green dinosaur), who had what seemed to me to be an unhealthy obsession with ensuring all plates are rinsed after washing up. Something he told me that people from the U.K. and New Zealand don't do which is the oddest racial stereotype I can ever recall having fallen into. Out also went the Japanese girl who opened the door with a cigarette in her hand who seemed totally non-plussed that her pit-bull terrier was fiercely determined to chew off my genitals during the tour of bedrooms to rent with mattresses on what used to be the floor, but actually resembled a landfill site.
The 3 I had to choose between were:
  • 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 current occupant - English fella, 1 occupant yet to come
  • 3 rooms, 1 bathroom (that I saw), Kiwi couple owning, potentially renting other room to another couple
  • 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 current occupant - English girl - whose bedroom was mezzanine and opened up into the lounge/kitchen meaning living in my room while she was asleep/in bed.
After consulting friends for advice, I was told to avoid living with couples, or someone I might shag. So the first one it was. I move in on Monday.

Now finding work has been slightly harder. The ski season really kicks off later in June, and the Queenstown population is expected to expand in the next few weeks, so most places won't be hiring for a week or so yet. I have had limited success; in following up a few leads my 2 seasons at Olympic Park in Calgary as a ski instructor have helped me get a foot in the door with people familiar to the park, but as expected everywhere seems to have a stack of about 20 million CV's to trawl through. Ideally, as with most people here, I am looking for something that is not Monday to Friday 9-5, as I am here to ski and ride. So working at a bar would be ideal for morning riding and evening working. And as you should all know, I have a LOT of bar experience, albeit the wrong side in this situation. But I am at that age where I know that in this town right now there is a ton of more suitable people for the job, who are younger, have blond hair, big blue eyes, and massive tits.

Which leaves me with fewer options. Ski rental shops would also be ideal, as the hours can be irregular and it is in the industry in which I have experience, but they are few and far between.
So essentially I have applied for anything and everything. My diligence has got me an interview on Tuesday - kind of. Quiksilver are opening a branch in Queenstown soon and I have scored a group interview (as they have had a ton of applicants, they are interviewing all in group sessions), which includes "Meet & Greet, Q & A, Group Games". This instantly strikes fear into my heart, as it screams "role playing" at 16 million decibels through a megaphone the size of the Hubble space telescope at me. And I hate role playing almost as much as I hate that smug-twat-with-a-major-God-complex Bono. It is an informal interview, so we are meant to go along in clothes that we would wear should we get the job. I have t-shirts with me depicting the brand of many Quiksilver rivals, but none of Quiksilver. So I may have to go topless. Here's hoping my massive tits get me a job there.
Wish me luck.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Auckland - Christchurch - Queenstown

Without going into any boring details, the flight to Christchurch was painless. In fact unbelievably so. After travelling through UK and US airports, where even being 1kg over the weight limit generally adds a billion pounds to your airfare and a thorough fingering up the jacksy, it is a positive relief to fly internally in NZ where it seems the only thing you need to do to identify yourself is look in a mirror and say "Yup, that's me". I think I went through more rigorous identification checks going into bars in Auckland.
I checked into the hostel at Christchurch, which is just opposite the Cathedral. I took no photos, but it is quite an impressive building. In fact, to avoid any disappointment in some, and to evoke elation in others, I took no pictures whatsoever in Christchurch. Although to an extent, I wish I had a picture of the beggar outside the Cathedral, as he played tunes on the recorder. Which I thought no-one played after the age of 7.
Having heard about the penthouse in the hostel I was staying, I decided to fork out the extra buck per night and stay there. 3 rooms, with a total of maybe 20 beds spread between, but with the bonus of a kitchen, bathroom, sky t.v. and Playstation 2. There were 3 Israeli guys already in there, one of whom had hair like Sideshow Bob. And two big fat black eyes from a fight in Australia.
The room wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It was just under the roof, which I can only assume was made of balsa wood, and had a corrugated plastic skylight. Given that I arrived in the midst of what seemed to be a 3 day hail storm, sleeping would have been easier if I was buried up to the neck and consistently stoned for 72 hours.
I moved out after three days, into a 4 bed dorm room which had one current occupant. Another Israeli guy, this one called Serge. A memorable character, he sounded a little bit like Borat. The room itself was a mess. Cigarette butts on the carpet, rubbish strewn all over the place, and an odd smell. Serge offered me "chocolate sandwich". I politely declined, in case that was a jew-phamism for something undesirable. It wasn't, it was actually a nutella sandwich. As he was making the sandwich, he started singing.
Now, for those of you that don't know, I have a recurring fantasy about Celine Dion and Alanis Morisette duetting while lying naked, face upwards on a bed of molten cheese while I am repeatedly stabbing them in the abdomen with a pitchfork. This "singing" of Serge's was not unlike how I would imagine that duet would sound. The only other times I have heard this is when it is on the news, sung by guys waving AK-47's in the air. I promptly made my excuses and left.
Most of my time in Christchurch was spent hanging around the hostel watching season 6 of The Shield on my laptop, or hanging out with a friend from Canada who lives there. Or trying to subtly cough very loudly and for a very long time while watching season 6 of The Shield on the top bunk while Serge begins making the bottom bunk rock oblivious to the fact that I am up there.
There really seemed to be very little else to do there. On the way back from a bar one afternoon we drove the mountain route, which took us around the top of the Gondola. The views from up there were amazing, I never thought Christchurch could offer such views. But that was it.
So on Sunday 24th I packed my bags, walked to the bus stop and embarked on the 8 hour coach ride down to Queenstown.

London to Auckland . As summarised by a close friend.

I had pretty much an entire diary of the first 10 days of this, my most recent excursion to a place where there is snow. New Zealand actually. Where I intend on staying until late October if I can find gainful employment. It was sent out in an e-mail. Some of you may have deleted it immediately, some may have skimmed through to get the general gist after realising there is not much there to read, and that any debauchery or illicit activity was omitted to spare me shame. There are a few that may have read it. And then strained so hard at the tediousness of it that you gave yourself an anal fissure. To those of you, I say well done. I got a helpful e-mail in reply from a very close friend summarising my activity in 3 short sentences, which I have repeated below, as I can't even be bothered to cut and paste that entire dross into this, my first blog entry. So here we go:
  • Flew in (could have caused the plane to crash) - expl. my mobile turned on in my pocket as I slept. I began panicking as it vibrated with "welcome to New Zealand" texts on the landing approach.
  • Bummed around not getting drunk nearly enough
  • Saw some sights but didn't know, or particularly care, what they were
Beautifully put as it goes, and more concise than the original mail. So thanks buddy!

My time wasn't completed wasted. I was shown around by the sister and husband of a friend from home, and a cousin (of which I was very grateful, as I would never have ventured out of the city otherwise), and took in some amazing views, a lot of which can be found in this facebook album.