Monday, 28 June 2010

Sometimes, I feel like Bambi.

That bit in the film where the poor little blighter is struggling for a foothold on a frozen pond? Yep, that's what my life feels like right now.

Please don't misinterpret this as me finding hidden depths, or getting philosophical on yo black asses. Not the case. I am way too shallow for that kind of behaviour, I mean it literally. Whenever I step out of the house to walk to work - downhill - I find that someone in the night has plotted my route to work and covered it entirely in a thin white sheet of teflon.

Since being in Queenstown, I have thrown myself out of things, jumped off stuff, I ski hard, I occasionally try stupid things on a snowboard, yet I can't help feeling that life enjoys dealing blows laced with irony. Just like Colin McCrae - drove cars stupidly for a living and died in a helicopter crash - I am bound to hurt myself doing something incredibly mundane like walking into work. Every day is a challenge. Every day I tentatively put one foot in front of the other, walking like Douglas Bader, just struggling to stay standing, only to suddenly find I am 30 yards further down the road with my skid marks being the only evidence of my travel. Both kinds of skid marks.

Enough, back to Bambi. Part of me thinks the film would have been way better all round if it hadn't been Bambi's mother that got shot by the hunter. It should have been Bambi. It would have made a much shorter and more bearable film, and the hunters family would have a jucier, more succulent piece of meat for dinner.

I fucking love meat. It's great. I live by a few rules when it comes to meat. I'll try anything with two or more legs, up to four. Anything with more than four legs is probably an insect, and I've stepped on insects and seen their insides, and decided many a time that those insides do not need to be in MY insides. And no seafood. Fish have no legs, and they are fast, and hard to catch unless you use a trawling net. And they were put miles underwater. If we had been intended to eat fish, they would have been give four legs, fur, and been put in fields. Much like cows, those big dumb rectangles of tastiness just vacantly chewing grass waiting for the bolt between the eyes. But getting back to the original point about Bambi again, as good as cow tastes, baby cow tastes much better. The younger and cuter the animal is, the more I would love to see it on a plate. I bet kitten tastes fucking awesome.

Since winter kicked off again here, we have had to endure some winter training which has involved a few class based sessions, but more enjoyably traipsing around town trying more activities and eating. Eating lots. If you have read previous posts you will know that I like nothing more than being told when to eat, what I am going to eat, and having all the effort taken out of going grocery shopping and preparing food. So for a few days none of this was necessary.

A few of us went on a Dart River Wilderness Safari. This involved being taken to Glenorchy/Paradise - population: 3 old men and one very sore dog - in a four wheel drive being given a guided tour of the area, with various filming locations being pointed out. Surprisingly, some film that no-one EVER bangs on about called Lord of the Rings (or something similar) was filmed around that area. Others too, Wolverine, Vertical Limit, I think I dropped off at that point because my mind is now trained to slowly start drifting off as soon as someone mentions that Lord of the Rings was filmed s........

Anyway, the scenery was amazing, the drive was sweet, the guided forest walk was interesting, climbing inside a hollowed out tree was fascinating, the jet boat ride was just that - another jet boat ride, but the soup was good, and the pizza we were given at one of the two Glenorchy pubs was astounding.

Later on that night we traveled up the gondola in town to experience the traditional Kiwi Haka, worth doing to see exactly how much weirdness one human face can achieve in 30 minutes, and then the buffet dinner - of which I only managed five courses due to over eating the pizza. It was like being at a Harvester with an extended salad cart - extended to include every type of food under the sun. Buffets are one of the few areas in life that I generally excel in.  I  managed multiple dinners that night, and who doesn't like Venison Rogan Josh for desert?

Dinner at one of the local restaurants, a sample platter of the food they offer which included a big plate of meat dripping in blood from various different cute furry little animals, a catered night out from one of the local mountains who kept the food coming all night. It's been a blessing that I currently have a toilet to myself at home.

There has been other things too. Another jet boat ride (imagine "another" being said in a voice that indicates that all these jet boat rides are becoming a real drag), an afternoon quad biking which although is a guided tour, you can still spice it up by waiting until the people in front of you have disappeared and then opening the throttle and caning it for all you are worth. There's probably been more but I am buggered if I can remember as more importantly all the ski fields are open right now so that has me completely fizzing at the bunghole. If I had a bunghole to fizz at, obviously.

Two weeks ago we had a massive dump. Could you hear me sniggering as I wrote that? I awoke with a raging hangover, went to empty my bladder which was running at twice it's capacity, and noticed that the outside through the frosted glass was unusually white. I grabbed my board, apologised profusely to my skis, and walked as quickly as I could to get the bus. Which to be honest wasn't that quick at all, as I have discovered two things about most of the trainers I have - they have no grip whatsoever, and they have less in the way of waterproofing. But none of this could bring me down, there were plenty of fresh lines to be had, and the day was probably one of the most tiring I have experienced in a while, but remarkably satisfying. Currently the ski fields are overrun due to there being something like a million schools on holiday. Myself and a friend made an effort to ski on Tuesday this week, but upon finding the hill rammed with Australians we decided it may be best to turn around at the top and spend all day in the pub instead, one of the best ideas we have come up with in a while. Until the following morning of course when it took every muscle in my body to prevent what little dinner I ate the previous night making a re-appearance from most probably my mouth, and both nostrils.

Finally, and most recently, I managed to get heli-snow-mobiling. I have no idea if I have hyphenated that correctly, and to be honest don't even really care. It was similar to the quad biking, except we were transported by helicopter to a remote area in the mountains, and were on snow-mobiles instead of quad bikes. Once again, the most joy to be had was waiting for everyone to disappear over the horizon, spend a few minutes taking in the peacefulness and serenity of the snow covered plains, then hitting the gas and firing off as fast as possible with no regard for any kind of safety whatsoever.  Slow down through narrow gateways and warn the person behind?  I don't think so, I saw it myself from a mile off and reckon I can make it doing 45.  30kph maximum round this corner?  Yeah, I'll try it at 60 and see how we go.

In fact, both this and the quad biking have now led me to realise that life is way more fun if you view warning signs as challenges.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Returning. And Catharsis.

The final week I spent in England, as predicted in my previous post, was spent catching up with other folk, and once again my apologies to those I didn't get around to seeing. It was amazing to catch up with everyone I did though, and I doubt it will be too long before I get to see you again.

My initial fears of French Canadians were not realised on the journey back out here. I emotionally waved goodbye to my parents, threw the last of my cigarettes away figuring I was flying back via shitty L.A. so had no more need for them (ever), and boarded the flight to find the mid-section of 4 seats was all mine! Unfortunately I had exhausted the entertainment I wanted to see on the way back to England and the last thing I wanted was sleep as my plan was to sleep from L.A. to Auckland, so I just spread myself out and relaxed.

L.A. was also uneventful. I made it through customs without getting shot or finger-buggered by customs, hung around for a while, and then re-boarded the flight to find my seat had been changed and I was sat next to the tallest man in the world whose knees I swear spent the whole journey in my chin. I arrived in Auckland lacking sleep at around 6 a.m. and was met very gratefully by my cousin who I spent a couple of days with catching up and hanging out with. And generally falling asleep at stupid hours due to the jet lag I had cunningly planned to avoid, but actually ran head first into.

From Auckland to Queenstown I was sat next to a Frenchman with stupid facial hair and his girlfriend. I assume she was his girlfriend as she was French too, however he seemed to prefer to encroach on my side of his seat, almost rubbing knees with me for the entire journey and resting his elbow on my hip bone. Still, it was only a short journey, and I arrived back in Queenstown and was picked up and eventually that evening moved into my new place.

To clarify, when I had left Queenstown I officially moved out of the pad I was living in. I had no problem with it, it was a great place to live and great people to live with, and the bathroom with 3 doors was pretty awesome. However it was about a 40 minute walk out of town, down an unlit road without a pavement, and as my work uniform is predominantly black and I am required to be at work some mornings at some ridiculous hour in the morning, I felt moving closer to town would result in a smaller chance of me becoming a hood ornament.

So I have moved into a house with two friends from work. It's an awesome pad with great views across the lake. And only a 20 minute walk from town down a paved road, with street lights. The only downside I have discovered so far is that on the frosty, icy mornings I have finally discovered the downhill roads in Queenstown. Arriving back has been sweet. In the time I have been away the temperature has dropped, the mountains are snow capped once again, and people are now walking around town wearing ski and board clothing, carrying equipment, and the average waistband level has once again fallen to just below the buttocks.

View of the Remarkables from my balcony.

The only downside so far has been splitting with the Girlfriend. I have always intended this as a blog to let you guys back home know what is happening in my life, and to save those situations whereby I send out a group e-mail and then get involved in 17 different e-mail conversations as people reply separately, so apologies but you must take the good with the bad.

It had only been 8 months. A relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of things, but by far the longest relationship I have managed to hold down. I began by being very guarded. I have had to learn to, to a certain extent, especially doing seasonal work, as previously I have had a tendency to dive straight in with both feet and come out the other end feeling like shit. So for the first few months I kept at a relative distance. And it was good, it went well. But then as things started to go well I let my guard down again, and grew very fond of her. So right now, it's fucking shithouse to be honest. I have always considered myself to be a simple black or white kind of person, so I continuously find it hard to understand how you can go from being in constant contact with someone to no contact at all. How you can hang out all the time one minute and then not see each other at all. How you can feel awkward in the company of someone whose genitals you recently buried your face in.

Again, I am not arrogant enough to think that I am the only one ever to have experienced this, and realise that this is a very common feeling. And for Christ's sake it was only 8 months. I know there is people that have been together for years that have been in the same situation, I mean Jesus, I've had haemorrhoids that have lasted longer. That doesn't stop it being completely shit to be honest. At the end of the day I miss her. A lot right now, and I probably always will. And I still want to do all the things during winter we had chatted about. I still want to prove to her that I can ski, and I still want to teach her how to snowboard. I still want to be around her, but I know I will be spending my time trying to have sex with her rather than having it guaranteed. But people change, there is no rhyme or reason to it, it happens and I don't hold that against anyone. I have no room in my heart for hatred, that position has already been well and truly filled by Nickelback and a guy I used to work with who read my newspaper all the time without asking.

So using this as an excuse, a lame one admittedly, I have fallen off the non smoking wagon. I was doing well. I quit when I left England, I had one brief relapse one night on the piss when I caved and had one (it was fucking sensational by the way, if you have never tried smoking I highly recommend it), but aside from that it had been almost 2 weeks. I consider this a temporary setback, and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Only one ski field is now open, and unfortunately the company that runs it is charging extortionate amounts for the lift pass so I will not be going to that one any time soon, so I have about 2 weeks wait before I get back on the skis again. And this time it will be predominately skis if I can help it.