Life happens

*on my knees

I’m really, really, really sorry for not sticking to some kind of routine when it comes to my posts on this blog but it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s just, well, you know, life.  It happens.  Like shit.

There are so many things that happened in the last few months of my life that it’s becoming rather difficult to keep track.  I opted out of the rat race, sat down and took a breather (and two glasses of wine because some things never change).

So this is me, taking a breath.

I changed jobs. Yes, I did.  It’s my third week in my new office.  I switch from a job where I hopped around the globe to one that has basically no travelling.  And I love it.  I love being home.  I love seeing every game my kids play.  I love not having to plan my life around a business trip and an important event involving my family and friends.  I love not missing anything anymore.  I love the different environment.  I love the challenge.  I love meeting new people.  I love the change. What I don’t love is the fact that I might never see New York again.  But I’ll survive. *cue music

I’ve entered the final year of my MBA.  Yes, I did.  Can you believe it?  A journey that started two years ago has reached the final stretch, albeit the toughest part of the race.  I have to complete a thesis.  And thesis stands for the-headache-ends-shen-Isubmit. (”When” didn’t work in the context of the acronym.)  I’m ready to do this thing, head down, pushing forward but before I continue, let’s me just use this opportunity to clarify an issue:  The reason for my absence from this, or any other blog for that matter, is because of those three damn letters. Even the wife has mentioned how she misses me sometimes…

Dude is a Senior now.  Yes, he is.  “This is mind blowing”, he says, as he slowly shakes his head, taking in the picture in front of him, grey matter splattered across crisp white floor tiles and a fluorescent ceiling.  Yesterday Dude was still running around in nappies and now he is running around in his final year of high school!  And he is turning out to be an amazing and mature young man, despite the example he got from his Dad.  We had to apply for a university and low and behold he got accepted, at least provisionally, depending on his final marks.  He plans to study commerce.  Or accounting.  Or law.  Or not.  What person truly knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives when they’re 17?  I mean I don’t even know what I want for breakfast tomorrow and I’m supposed to be a Dad with all the answers.  (Please don’t let the cat out of the bag, it took me three hours to stuff it back in.)

Princess is stunning.  Yes, she is.  I don’t understand how one person could become prettier by the day but yet, there she is.  Living proof that beauty is in the eyes of the father. And not only is she gorgeous, she’s intelligent, independent, organised, responsible and she doesn’t take any crap from guys.  She calls them out on their shit, without any hesitation. And this is probably her most endearing quality, in my humble opinion.

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Brother and sister forced to pose together by Mom and Dad.

Wife is still amazing, running the household, keeping everything together, taking charge of her two kids and her wonderful man-child.  She does get a little less enthusiastic about the idea of Dude leaving the house at the end of the year, but like any responsible and loving parent, we simply avoid discussing the issue.  Kids don’t like it when both parents are bawling their eyes out in a restaurant or mall or church service or rugby game.  We know this now.

So if you were worried, don’t.  Everything is fine with me and everyone I love.  I promise to try and find the time to write more.

A status report.

I’ve been dead tired for the most part. I’m blaming jetlag. But this time it’s been really bad. It’s the kind of exhaustion that make me believe that the zombie virus could actually exist. I conducted a meeting and drove myself to the airport without actually being aware of me doing it. I think, I passed out on the plane from Brisbane because I missed the meal service. Well, it’s not really a meal service, it’s more like a snack bar.

I was sitting next to a newly married couple and I know this because of the way she made me watch her wedding photos on her iPhone.  And there was a lot of touching and smiling and looking happy.  It was totally inappropriate and I reckon newly weds should have a separate section on a plane. She begged the question and I asked. They were on their honeymoon. Do you now understand the kind of shit I have to deal with when I travel internationally? Continue reading

I’m down under

Where they love sheep, beer and winning against South Africa. I’m kidding…they never win against South Africa…

(And that caused a minor explosion.)

I’m in Sydney at the moment where a group of guys are shouting at one another in a friendly manner. They must all be deaf, or just have a dark desire to inform random strangers about their weekend. Or maybe they’re just drunk. We all know there is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol and the volume of your voice.

I’m staying in Coogee beach and please don’t get me started on some of the names they give places down here.. Continue reading

Laugh with me #39

What defines a bad day at work?  Before you think about it too much, I think this guy would pass that test with flying colors.

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I can’t stop laughing.  I’m giggling like a nun driving behind a carrot truck. And that kind of uncontrollable laughter requires an immediate share.

PS – I hope he didn’t hurt himself too badly…getting up so quickly!

Laugh with me #35

I know this is probably very close to cheating when it comes to my blog, but I promise I will return to my normal posting schedule once I get settled into my new responsibility.  Just stick with me for a little while, I beg you.

I’m just a little overloaded with stuff at work.

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But just like this poor dude, I will get on top of things no matter what.  Work will never interfere with this blog! At least not indefinitely…

Laugh with me #34

The good news is that I’m not dead.

The bad news is that sometimes work interferes with the more important things of my life like blogging.  Hence my absence from the blogosphere during the last week for which I now offer my sincerest apology.

It was a tough week at work with countless hours spend in a meeting room.  Not to mention the announcement that punched me in the face like a pole…

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It was a good punch.  Albeit a huge surprise.  Totally unexpected.  The kind of punch that drains the words from your brain and leaves you warm and fuzzy inside.  The kind of punch that makes you want to hug everyone you see.  The kind of punch you get when they announce your promotion…

You had one job to do. Just one.

Stupidity is a human condition. A rampant desease that infects people like a zombie virus. No-one is safe. Sometimes it’s only a momentary lapse of reason but there have been reports of severe cases where complete idiots are running around sharing their germs with the rest of us on a full time basis. And just like a zombie virus we run the risk of these infected ones spreading irrational thoughts and actions to the point of causing an apocalypse of intelligence on the planet. We constantly need to stomp out these dim-witted individuals. How about a register?

I receiced a call from our security company a few weeks ago about a parcel that is to be delivered to our plant. Nothing strange except for the fact that I am never called about deliveries. Continue reading

My nemesis makes me feel like an idiot. Everyday.

And what’s even worse is that my nemesis is an inanimate object.  Technically, the subject of my dissatisfaction is the absence of an inanimate object.  Confused?  I’ll assist by rephrasing my title.

“The absence of matter creates a volatile situation that showcase, not only my inability to control my emotion but also the fact that I have a limited intelligence coefficient.”

Or in plain English…

There is a frigging pothole on my way to work and I have a knack for driving through the damn thing every single morning! Continue reading

Hitting Perth, Laughing off Melbourne and Spending Sydney – all in one week

I’ve been quiet last week.  I know.  I’ve been working.  Not that I normally don’t work but this work entails the normal shit of flying, meeting, hotel.  Rinse and repeat.

I went down to the land of Oz, and looking back I understand how Dorothy felt.  Arriving in a hurricane and leaving shortly after.

I arrived in Perth on Tuesday after a really pleasant overnight flight.  *Insert sarcastic laugh*  I’ve got nothing to say about Perth, cause there is really nothing to say about Perth.  On second thought, maybe there is one thing.  My total unabashed amazement at the unfriendliness of the customs officials.  I’m convinced that there is a check box on the application form that immediately gets you the job.  It asks for (1) No personality and (2) A physical inability to smile.

OK, that’s a bit harsh, and I know that not all custom officials are that unpleasant, but this rule would imply to all the officials at Perth International Arrivals.  And if their sunny disposition wasn’t enough, I had the pleasure of seeing them working at the speed of a snail.  On a slow day.  Did I mention how great my overnight flight was?  Fortunately I didn’t have my bags search,  so that’s confirmation I don’t look like a criminal.  Just a grumpy traveller after an overnight flight that took forever.

Melbourne on Wednesday.  And Melbourne was better.  It’s pretty, and it’s a very astute word for describing the city.  Kinda camp, but kinda true.  Something Wentworth Miller would say, seeing that he fell out of the closet as well.  Don’t judge me, especially if you haven’t been there.  It is was it is.

Chinatown in Melbourne...Who knew?

Chinatown in Melbourne…Who knew?

Those who are frequent visitors to my ramblings will know I love stand-up comedy.  It has to be good stand-up, for even a lonely traveller has standards.  So I seek out comedy clubs, like moths hunting light.  And when in Melbourne, that’s one thing you have to do, check out the scene.  The selection on a Wednesday night, would be considered, putting it mildly, dismal.  (I was disappointed, expecting the city to prepare for my arrival)  I found one tucked away in China town.  A second floor dungeon nestled in a side street. When I walked in, I freaked out a little.  I consider this a normal reaction when the chandeliers of any venue are made of bones.  Scenes from Hostel was flashing through my mind.  It looked like a Roman Catholic church converted into a Mexican strip club, owned by Lady Gaga.

My body had to decide quickly. Flight or fright.  I paid entrance and the beers were cheap(er) so I opted for choice nr. 2.  I stayed.  There were 10 comics.  They were bad.  I curse the gods of cheap booze for toying with me on this night.  There is a point, a sort of unspoken equilibrium, when the word “fuck” doesn’t necessarily imply you’re funny.  No matter how often you use it, or in what context.  It was like world war 3:  Aerial attack of F-bombs and an unsuccessful artillery movement of flaccid sex jokes.  I left early.  Never been so turned off in my life.

My wake-up call echoed through the room on Thursday morning, hours before the first chicken moved.  I had to fly to Sydney.  (Technically I had to catch a plane, for I’m not evolved enough to fly by myself yet.)  Sydney, the land of the Opera house and the Harbour bridge and all Asian ex-pats.  As well as a picturesque little waterside, known as Darling harbour.  A promenade filled with restaurants and bars and…well that’s about it.  Oh and if there’s any missing Asian people you know about, they are here too.

Before I could enjoy the sprawling views of boats and the city skyline, with a glass of expensive Merlot and a lamb shank, I had to struggle through several meetings in the day and when I finally reach the hotel, I. Just. Passed. Out.  Sadly this loss of consciousness was not alcohol induced, my body had a successful Coup d’état over my brain.  My body shut down and refused to do anything else.  Ever.  You may go ahead and feel sorry for me.

Darling Harbour.   Romantic isn't it?

Darling Harbour. Romantic isn’t it?

Had a breakfast meeting on Friday, and sighed for the weather sucked.  Lost was my dreams of dipping my feet in the water of the South Pacific Ocean as it was pouring down from the sky.  So I did what any sane person would do.  I worked.  In my room.  I now have a fundamental understanding why kids hate (1) Rainy days and (2) Being grounded.  I will use this form of punishment more often.  (Sorry, I meant form of discipline, not punishment.)  Finally enough hours flipped past, so I could have an excuse to get up and go for dinner.  I consulted my travel agent, Google, for a few places I haven’t discovered yet.  Then found something amazing.  A crown jewel in a treasure chest of golden coins.  I found a rock, actually more The Rocks, which is a buzzing suburb situated around Sydney Harbour with some great views of the Opera house if you can get high enough, i.e Skybar.

Yes it is.

Yes it is.

I ordered something in a Japanese restaurant, I thought it to be Sushi, but it ended up being pieces of raw fish on rice.  I shrivelled and started crying a little inside.  I downed the wine and swallowed my pride, and the stuff on my plate.  I think it was still moving.  But I lived.  Barely.

I ordered Sushi and got this.  Dead fish on rice.

I ordered Sushi and got this. Dead fish on rice.

After what I wouldn’t describe as dinner, I proceeded with what I like to call “The one-man’s bar crawl”.  I endured bravely to all the hotspots and returned to a few favourites.  At some point some of the bouncers were probably wondering what this lonely pervert was doing hovering around; so it was time to head home.  Maybe I was just too handsome and stood out in the crowd, and being a happily married man, it disqualified me from any social interaction.  Did I mention that the South Pacific Ocean was still pouring out of the sky throughout the entire evening.  So I was drenched and resembled a wet dog by the time a Pakistan cab driver decided to give me a ride.

And one more thing, Australia is immensely expensive.  Not mildly, or just a tad more, or a-no-worries-mate-it’s-Sydney-expensive.  NO! Full on f-bomb level expensive.  How anyone survives buying the bare necessities like red meat and beer, and still afford a night out is totally beyond me.  Maybe the citizens of Australia are all millionaires or maybe it’s because my own currency forces me to multiply everything I see in this country with TEN!

Then I flew home.  And now I’m back.  At work.  Not working.  Hope you missed me.

Chicken or Owl? Take the test!

owl vs chicken

It always takes two.

Basic human behaviour boils down to being one of the two.  Every person is either an Owl or a Chicken.  And this basic classification stems from human sleeping patterns.

Chickens base their sleeping hours on the sun.  When the sun comes up, so do they.  Simple.  It’s those crazy people who wake up before the crack of dawn just to see the sun rise.  They go on about the crisp fresh air, sitting on a porch with a mug of hot steaming coffee.  These freaks also rarely require an alarm, and probably consider the bone-crushing noise of a Rooster to be comparable with the soaring cry of a Fish Eagle.

They are all chirpy and funny and annoying in the morning.  Smiling their way through showering, breakfast and all the other crap humans have to do before starting their day.  They are the ones who greet you at work with so much enthusiasm that a bystander might think it’s a long-lost friend whom you haven’t seen in 40 years.  Or a survivor returning from a 111 year stint on an island in the South Pacific, removed from any human contact.  (And you desperately want to smash him in the face, whilst switching on your laptop saying “Ah, piss off”.  But you can’t because he is just being friendly and assault is still frowned upon in the work place.)

So the chickens laugh and smile through the day, their energy levels slowly but surely diminishing as the sun sets its course through the sky, westwards.  And when the sun dips out of the horizon their solar-powered personalities disappears with it.  Then the agony of whimpering about being tired and going to bed commence.  They barely make it through dinner and falls asleep noisily in front of the TV, dubbing every joke of the Big Bang Theory.

And God forbid you want to go out.  It’s all about being cold and tired and can’t we do it tomorrow.

Owls in comparison appear on the other end of the scale as they would stay in bed all day if not for the tempting aroma’s of bacon and coffee.  They will slouch at the table with a barely audible hello.  Never good morning, because there is NOTHING good about getting out of bed for an owl.  To say that owls are not morning people would be a slight understatement.  I might as well say that Hitler didn’t hate Jews, he just didn’t understand them.  Most of the owls I know might have their eyes open, but only because it’s anatomically impossible not too.  They only wake up at around ten.  Some actually never do.  For most of them the time spend with opened eyes is directly proportional to the speed at which they turn from being a total Shmuck to being a Miss Congeniality contender.

Their eagerness to interact with other people increase exponentially during the day.  But the volcano erupts when the sun goes down.  Some owls literally vibrate, like kids attending a birthday party sponsored by Nestle or Coca Cola.  There. Is. Just. Nothing. Stopping. Them.  In the worst cases their excitement will be exhausting to anyone within a 100 m proximity.  Vampires embracing the dark, wanting to suck the blood out of every minute of the night, doing random things like playing Sims, blogging, watching movies and if they’re really lucky do the dirty.  Until they fall dead in bed.

To only wake up again with the agony of the sun peaking through the blinds and that fucking rooster killing all hopes that another day hasn’t really arrived already.

So it becomes clear that the only time owls and chickens will mingle in a manner that would seem humane and decent would be late morning to early evening.  This is when both types are at their best behaviour.  A four to six-hour window of humanity interacting with respect.  But also a time when all hell break loose.

In this time the aviary is a place where owls and chickens forget their obvious differences, and they stand the risk of falling in love and even (gasp) marry.  To make matters worse they sprout some twisted offspring; an owl/chicken hybrid.  These little freaks confuses everyone as the paradigm and laws of nature doesn’t apply to them.  But if you love, feed and manage to raise them, at some point they will drop the façade and reveal who they really are.  A chicken or an owl.

And if you’re lucky you’ll get one of each.  (I’m an owl and I love my chicken, by the way. ;-))