Thursday, 28 October 2010

A massive exercise in extreme vulgarity.

I have never been one to shy away from vulgarity.  Those that know me well, and those that don't know me well at all either, will still probably know that vulgarity is something I positively embrace.  In fact, at times I am so vulgar that I would probably wait until vulgarity falls asleep whilst I am embracing it, and then do something extremely vulgar to it.

This year's end of season party didn't really offer me much chance to be too vulgar however.  With a retro ski theme, the best I could do was to borrow a bright yellow one piece, and wear very little underneath it.  I tried, with what little I had to work with, and at one point was talking to the co-owner of the company stripped down to the waist whilst covering my nipples, (or not covering my nipples, who knows, I had taken advantage of the open bar a little too much by that point), (or walked around after her trying to encourage her to touch my nipples depending on whose version of events you get), but that is about as far as I went that night.  My decision to wear little under the ski suit I came to regret early on, when we were taken on another jet boat ride before the evening began unfortunately in the freezing rain.

So here I go on a bit of a tangent.  As you can tell by my little "about me" box up there to the right, I fled normal life in England a while ago.  Yep, I had a proper job, for about 10 years.  I liked it a lot.  It was sometimes challenging, it was in an area I liked (not geographically), and it paid well.  Not well enough for me to buy a llama to lead around town to spit on all the chavvy scum I deemed unworthy of my own saliva.  Nor could I pay a midget and a dwarf to fight to the death on a whim, to finally discover which is the superior race.  But I did alright.  I rented a nice flat, had a car that looked a little bit like K.I.T.T. off of Knight Rider (if you really squinted, from a distance, looking through tracing paper), and didn't have to think twice if I needed to buy clean/flat clothes because mine were dirty/needed ironing.

But it was a life/quality balance.  I had no responsibility, no-one depended on me, and I was plodding.  Waking up every day to the same old routine, shower, work, finish work, have dinner, wait for the weekend, binge drink all weekend and wake up on Sunday to fingers that smell of chili sauce (careful now, despite my vulgarity I wasn't going there), and a lounge that stinks of half eaten kebab (but you can make of that one what you will), spend all Sunday watching movies on the couch in my underwear, go to bed, Monday.

So yeah, see above.  I jacked it in.  I yearned to be in a place where I had to actually save for something I really wanted.  I figured that you appreciate the material possessions more when you have to work hard and make sacrifices to obtain them.  And so here I am now, in a beautiful place where I wake up every morning to the view you see right at the top of the page, in a job with some awesome people that I love, where I get to meet new and interesting people every day, where I also get to meet old and dull people every day, not earning the greatest wage in the world, but it's enough to keep me living here and pay for coffee and the occasional beer which is all I really need in life.

Does it sound like I am trying to convince myself I did the right thing?  Of course I am.  I always am.  Every now and again I wake up wondering if I have done the right thing.  Should I have got this out of the way when I was younger?  Maybe so.  Do I worry that I threw away a life back home that was pretty comfortable to live in an environment where every six months I have a tense wait to see if my visa will be renewed or not?  Of course.  But you know what, if I hadn't taken that potentially massive leap, I wouldn't have met half of the amazing people I have.  I wouldn't have made friends and formed relationships with all the people all over the globe if I hadn't decided I wasn't really "going places" back home.  And I wouldn't have done anywhere near the amount of amazing things I have done here.  And here comes the vulgarity......

Since I have been in Queenstown, I have:

  • Been to Milford Sound on a coach day trip
  • White water rafting
  • Canyon Swing
  • Nevis Bungy (134m)
  • Nevis Arc
  • Kawarau Bridge Bungy (43m)
  • Kawarau Jet (twice)
  • Shotover Jet
  • Skippers Canyon Jet
  • Wilderness Safari (including another jet boat ride)
  • River Surfing
  • Paragliding
  • Hang gliding
  • Quad biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Skydiving
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship
  • Kayaking
  • Clay target shooting
  • Gondola, Kiwi Haka show and buffet dinner
  • Gondola and buffet dinner
  • Season passes for one of the ski hills for 2 seasons
And most recently I went back to Milford Sound, this time flying there and back.  You tend to forget that behind the mountains you can see, there are other mountains.  Loads of them in fact.  We flew over the Routeburn and Milford walking tracks, at least one of which I hope to do during the summer, and I got to sit in the front seat next to the pilot on the way back, an experience which left me sitting rigid with fear just in case my knee rubbed against the big red button that says "Do not rub knee against".  There were only four of us on the cruise this time around, which made the experience all the more personal, however the day was tainted by the fact that one of the others on the cruise was wearing the same trainers as me.  And to top it all off, despite spending well over a year selling a Milford Sound day trip to people, and telling those people to wrap up warm because it will be cold, I turned up for a cruise at 9 o'clock in the morning wearing shorts and a thin hoodie.  It was a morning where I didn't need to strip down to the waist as my nipples were clearly visible from a distance of miles through the scant clothing I was wearing.

So next time I wake up and wonder what the hell I am doing here, on the other side of the world, away from all the people I have known and loved for years, I will take a deep breath and think about all the friendships and relationships I have since formed, how I now have friends worldwide who I hope would be happy to see me (in small doses), how my quality of life has improved despite how horrified my Mother would be if she saw the amount of holes in my underwear, how I am not stuck commuting every day on a sweaty train, or bumper to bumper on the motorway, how I love being here and would be exceptionally sad if I had to leave, and how I have managed to experience over $6500 worth of products and adventures for absolutely nothing.  Zilch, nada, gratis, zero, nil, fuck-all.  So there's your cock-shitting vulgarity.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Get out of my life, you make me sick. And you f**king stink.

As much as I love those little tubes of cylindrical velvety goodness, they're going to kill me.  I'm going to be prone to any of the following apparently: Lung cancer, cancer of the bladder, kidneys or pancreas, mouth or throat cancer, heart disease, coronary or cerebral thrombosis, chronic pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, high blood pressure, fertility problems, asthma, cataracts, loss of eyesight, dental problems, ulcers, looking really old, and having to go for a dump every time I smoke one.  Now I'm no doctor, but I don't need to google any of those to know they don't sound good at all, apart from the one that'll keep me regular.  As much as I look at the list, I can't find anything that would point to smoking causing happybreathing or supererection.  The only cigarettes that are going to be any good for me are the ones which have on the packet the warning that smoking when pregnant harms your baby.  Being a guy pregnancy is something I am not prone to so I think I am okay to smoke those ones.  Oh to live in the 1950's when smoking was good for you, before science came along and ruined everyones fun.

I first started in my mid-teens.  Weakly and lamely with tea-bags.  I was at that age where I wanted to look cool, but with limited resources, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one to do it.  Not by putting one end in my mouth and trying to light the other, it was sprinkled into a cigarette paper and rolled up beforehand.  The advantages to this were plentiful.  It wasn't going to kill me, it looked like a real cigarette, and upon arriving home to face the parents, I never got pulled to one side for a serious conversation starting "Son, have you been drinking tea again?".

Of course this moved on to proper cigarettes.  Being highly unpopular at school this allowed me to hang out with some of the cooler kids which surely is worth risking your life, and developing a lifelong addiction for, right?  I started on Marlboro reds.  Probably because I was a bit of a Guns 'N' Roses fan, and pretty much bummed Slash.  It's likely that this is the reason that I have a voice not dissimilar to the low rumble of a large plane making its final approach, and why early morning it operates on a level only audible to woodland creatures.

My first experience of being caught smoking came after a party at the local football club.  I walked home with friends, paranoid that my parents would smell it on my breath.  I had no mints, no gum, the only thing I found in my pocket was a lemon flavoured chapstick.  So I ate it.  I popped my head into the lounge when I got home, made some lame excuses about being tired, and was about to head off to bed when my Mother demanded a kiss goodnight.  All my hard work eating a little lemon flavoured lump of grease was undone in that kiss on the cheek.  The following morning my Father had "that" conversation with me about it while I was making coffee.  Luckily, the night before, neither of them noticed that I had drunk so much that if I wasn't holding onto the lounge door handle for dear life I would have fallen over and would most likely still be there now waiting for the room to stop spinning.

Smoking causes blindness.  A warning on NZ cigarette packets.  Although having a big fuckoff metal contraption shoved headlong into one of your peepers can't really help much either.

I got caught again a few years later.  It was the early hours of the morning and I had just got in from work.  Probably around 2 a.m.  Maybe later.  I was lying in bed and decided rather than go downstairs and outside, the folks who were in the room next to mine would be fast asleep so would never know if I just popped my head out the window and had a sly one.  So there I sat, with my head out the window, every so often glancing to my right to make sure there was no activity in my parents window.  About halfway through the cigarette I was shocked to glance over and see my Mothers face starting back at me.  I then did what any sensible person would do under the circumstances.  Balanced the cigarette on the windowsill, closed the window, and jumped back into bed and pretended to be asleep.  It didn't work.  Parents are apparently way too intelligent to fall for that.

And so since then it has been on and off.  Mostly on, sometimes off.  And I go through stages, as I'm sure we all do, of loving it, hating it, loving it again.  All the times before I have tried to quit, I have never looked at it very objectively.  Instead of telling myself it has been x amount of time since my last cigarette, I end up convincing myself that when I eventually cave, it's going to be fucking awesome.  Like my first ever one all over again.

I quit last winter for about a week, then went on a night out.  I was close to buying a packet when I was pretty damn wasted, and talked myself out of it.  But then ended up getting one off the taxi driver.  I sat on the steps of my flat smoking the whole thing down to the filter and it was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  At one point I thought my eyeballs were having an orgasm.  They weren't, of course.  Delirious with ecstasy I fumbled around in the house trying to find the toilet which I knew was somewhere on the right.  Somehow I ended up in the shower cubicle fully clothed, and still trying to find the light switch ended up turning the shower on instead.  I was standing in the shower, getting drenched from head to toe, and I didn't care.  There's a warning they should put on the packets.

I've tried various things to quit.  I read Allen Carr's book but that didn't work.  I can be an obstinate dick sometimes, so when he screams at me in the text that I WILL give up by the end of the book, I stubbornly fold my arms like a petulant child, stamp my feet all the while screaming "WON'T", and rip out the page with his face on it and use it to make a smoke.  I've figured if I smoke way too much I will get sick of it and never want to do it again.  Of course that one didn't work.  I tried carrot sticks last season.  They didn't light very well.  And I ate about a kilo of them in 2 hours which led to crippling stomach cramps and orange poo. Nicotine gum worked out way too expensive.  It was cheaper to chew normal gum and smoke a cigarette at the same time.  I have thought about buying tobacco and papers instead, and this one is foolproof because a) I am way too lazy to roll up a ciggie, and b) I can't roll up to save my life anyway.  But no, cold turkey is the only method that has led to any success so far in my life, so I may stick with that, with a massive side order of gummi bears to keep my mind and mouth occupied.

So after a few months of weakness, I am going to try and quit again.  Declaring it within my blog will mean at least 3 other people now know of my intention, which may be a bit more pressure, but as winter is now pretty much over, most of the ski hills are closed or closing very soon, and as town quietens down for the summer and people begin to leave, there is nowhere near as much partying to be done.  Which means less drinking.  And less people with little common sense to deal with as I become more and more cranky.  Like the guy who called in one afternoon to declare that he had just seen a weather report on the television which said it would be raining at the Remarkables the following day, and wanted to ask me if that was true.  I guess I should be flattered that he relied on my opinion more than a professional meteorologist, however I can't help feeling my input would have been pointless.  By far the biggest hurdle will be at the staff party this season on Friday, which has a theme of retro ski gear.  God knows how I am going to come up with something offensive to go along as this year, but it does say costume optional so I figure I may just go without a costume.  Or any clothes at all.  With the amount of alcohol likely to be floating about, it will be tough.  But hopefully quitting should lead to expanding the capacity of my lungs once again.  It's been fun once more, but as much as I love them sometimes, I have to get them out of my life.  They are a drain on finances.  They slowly but surely kill you.

And most importantly, they contribute highly to the consumption of lip moisturizer.