Thursday, September 16, 2004

Cos this old world has been fine with me really
And I’m thankful for seeing another spring
It’s gonna be better this time another spring
It’s gonna be groovier this time another spring
It’s what’s happening this time
- Nina Simone

Looks like winter's over! Hurrah! I hope so anyway, I'm trying my darndest to usher it in by wearing suggestive clothing, or at least clothing suggestive of spring. So out go wooly jerseys and silly hats and in go T-shirts, micro shorts and jandals. Hooray.

But like winter, my love affair with the sardine may be over. It began like any other serving of sardine a la chuck, except that when I peeled the can open I was struck by abnormal size, they were more like a puppy's paw than little fish. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound as grandfather used to say and I smeared them across toast. But ah ah, something ain't right here, sardines aren't supposed to feel crunchy. What is that sticking in my throat? Well Frankie, it was none other than sardine vertebrae, about four centimetres long, white and prickly like an old man's toenail. I spat the rest out, threw away the can and laughed heartily. No doubt I’d angered Poseidon, and it was poetic piscene justice for my exploding whale story. Good one... fish.

But my sardine munching came about after a minor disaster in the freezer, which for about 12 hours didn't really live up to its name. Rather, everything turned soggy and smelly and I couldn't work out why. I checked the back, checked the front and was on the point of ringing my hearing impaired landlord to give him an earful, when I noticed the plug hanging out of the wall. Nerts!

Right, enough chit chat, I'd better go and return some library books and grab my coat on the way, because dammit, it’s absolutely freezing outside.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Rejoice they sing
They worship their own space
In a moment of love,
they will die for their grace
Don't kill the whale
- Yes

Way, way up north in Scotland there's a small coastal town whose name I can't remember. Sometime in the 1950s a whale decided he would beach himself on the shores of this pretty little town and duly exhaled his last big whale breath during the night. In the morning the townsfolk discovered this huge beast on their beach and set about trying to remove it. They tried dragging it with tractors back into the ocean, they tried cutting it up, they even tried burning it, but to no avail. Soon enough this quaint seaside town way, way up in the north of Scotland began to smell very, very badly of rotting whale.

One man had an idea. He'd served in the Black Watch during World War II and had a number of un-used grenades, dynamite and un-exploded mines, and after consultation with the rest of the town, decided that the best course of action was to simply blow the bugger up. All through the night he worked, surrounding the leviathan with explosives so that by morning, at 9am he stood on the road overlooking the beach, detonator in hand. The townsfolk hid in their homes watching through crossed fingers as with a flourish the man pressed the button.

The explosion was heard from miles away and was so forceful it blew in the windows of every beachfront property and paralysed the man holding the detonator. But worse was to come because for the next ten seconds after the explosion, fat, bone, blubber and rotting whale flesh rained down covering the town in a pulpy, putrescent slime. As you can imagine, the clean up took some time, but it was the smell that took years to leave, and many residents left before it did, never to return.

I only tell you this story because after watching Tom Hanks ham his way through half an hour of the interminable Terminal I was imagining the mess he would make if he too were exploded on the beach of a quaint seaside town way, way up in the north of Scotland.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

You like to say your
Man's a celebrity
Baby what's the deal?
I thought you wanted me for me
- NSync

Sunday night on the ferry there he was dressed in a driza bone. Monday night too, acting the goat with his mates. Tuesday night trying to look cool on the telly. Then last night, there he was standing at the Matterhorn, looking like the man, those black coal stone eyes staring right at me. Freaky stuff, and I don't want to frighten you all, but I have reason to believe that I'm being stalked.
Ho ho, but by who?
Well Frankie, it's none other than Matthew goddamn Ridge.

I've been stalked by celebrities before, I don't say that to boast, and anyway I'm quite cool with it, it's other people who have the problem. Louis Theroux stalked me one afternoon in London and Sophie Ellis Bextor once followed me home singing all the while 'Take Me Home' which I duly did, and, hold on, no I'm making that up. Anyhow, back to Ridgey. I'm not a fan. I liked him as a footy player, he was great, but I do wish he'd now shut the hell up and get off my television screen, and dammit, out of my life.

My job interview at a 'leading tertiary institution' went swimmingly well yesterday. There were three of them, good cop, bad cop and one who looked like Michael Douglas. He said nothing at all but wrote down every killer bee response I made. By the end, why hell, they were all good cops and I was tempted to take 'em out for coffee and doughnuts. But as they say, if you think the interview goes well, then it usually aint, but I find out early next week. Actually it was nice to have a good interview, I've had my share of the bad, including one that I'll never forget where every answer I gave was met with a look of disgust leading me to terminate the interview within 20 minutes using the immortal line
Look, sorry, I don't think this has gone as well as I might have planned.
No, he said, I don't think it has. Interview over. It still gives me nightmares. But now I wonder just what old thick lips Ridge would have done?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
- ?



I hadn't been in the snow in ages, and as such wanted to celebrate in the time-honoured manner of throwing it at my friends. So we found a suitable field, separated, and began to hurl it around. This was harmless fun for a while, but then vicious Chuck turned up and completely took over. I watched, unable to resist as I reached down and transformed a fistful of snow into a nasty clump of ice. I took my aim and flung it as hard as I could straight at Wendy's head.

Whoah! Back up there, what's this? Snow in Wellington? asks Frankie Stevens. Well no Frankie, I know it's been cold, but I found myself in the South Island this past weekend, Hanmer Springs to be exact, and in short, it was amazing.

Lulu, Nic and I drove down after a short flight on a Soundsair plane that was last used to rescue Indiana Jones from the savages in The Raiders of The Lost Ark. But it did its job, as did the rental car, and we all met in Hamner shortly after nightfall. Matt and Wendy were there, Jon too, and once we'd all found a bed had a drink and lit the fire, we set about the enjoyable business of catching up.

That of course took hours, and the next morning we were all a little bleary eyed, but could still see well enough to take in just how spectacular Hanmer was by day. It was far nicer than I imagined, a quaint little town dwarfed by a majestic backdrop of snowy mountains that were just begging to get lost in. So we gave it our best shot. We drove up the road signposted 'chains only!' and 'slow! horses' and pretty soon, having negotiated a road fit for a goat we found ourselves in warm sunshine, high on a plateau surrounded by the whitest, brightest snow I'd ever seen. It was breathtaking, and rates highly on my list of amazing sights 2004.

As does the chick in the Kermit the Frog T-shirt, but for different reasons. Imagine, if you will there I was, trying my hardest to sink a putt playing Wild West themed mini-golf, and there's Kermit staring at me with that inane open-mouthed grin. Now I'm not exactly Gianni Versace, and I cannot blame her for my 6 over par 8 on the third, but Kermit!? Where do you even find a Kermit T-shirt these days? Odder still the fact that on the back, emblazoned green on black were the letters KERMIT! as if by chance you were confused as to which particular celebrity talking frog was on the front.
'Oh I see, it's Kermit, I get it. Okay, cool."
The others voted the woman in the super-taper ribbed jeans (yes, that's ribbed, not ripped) with the shit kicker boots, spray-on figure hugging shirt, key buckle and fanny pack with worst dresser, but for me, Kermit took the cake. It may not be easy being green, but I'd hazard a guess that life's a shitload easier when you're not wearing a Kermit the frog T-shirt.

For the record I came second at mini putt, but it had grown a little tedious by the end. Lucky then that Hamner was no less spectacular to look at, and as the sun fell behind the mountains the sky was lit up in ever changing streaks of blue and pink. Matt and I stood on the porch shooting the breeze until it was dark then went inside to continue the enjoyable business of catching up.

Our decision to save the thermal pools until early Sunday morning paid dividends by the fact they were not crawling with kids and pissing teenagers. Instead there were just the right amount of people wallowing around for an early morning dip. And if anyone was there disturbing the peace, then it was us as we played an epic game of eye spy. Which has to be the most frustrating game in the whole wide world. Something beginning with C indeed.

Soon enough it was time to go. We cleaned up the house, packed our cars and went out for lunch where we moped around in the afterglow of the hot pools. I looked at my watch and wished that home wasn't so far away, which I suppose is similar to wishing we could stay in Hamner, which, bad T-shirts aside, wouldn't be too bad an idea. Thank you all for a great weekend.


Hey hey! Ho, what happened to the snowball? asks Frankie Stevens. Well Frankie, the solid ball of ice whizzed past Wendy's nose, missed it by a couple of inches and exploded like a lightbulb dropped on the motorway. And you know what? Looking back I'm pleased it did. Because whether it was the company, the location or just the joy of acting like a five year old it was the best snowball fight. Ever.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Where'd you go?
- Blur

Fear not, just having a few days off to compose my thoughts, water my plant and enjoy the rain. And save up $500 for a Rod Stewart ticket. Back soon.

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