Sunday, 28 December 2008

My bad "habits"

I was having a giggle earlier because my friend Robyn blogged about her bad habits and she loves me to comment so I thought it would be fun to reply by posting my bad habits. Her post is funny. You can read it here:

She's got one particular habit that cracks me up totally and that is that she has 55 lipsticks! I thought she was joking but the last time I went to her house she showed them to me - all stuffed into a drawer in the bathroom and all well used! I have only two lipsticks and regularly forget to use them! How it is possible to actively be engaged with 55 lipsticks is totally beyond me. She says it is because she has them to match her clothes. Dear God! If I did that I would have 55 black lipsticks.

Anyway what terrible bad habits do I have? Hmmmm.... well some of these aren't exactly habits but they'll do.

1. I am a horribly absentminded.
There's a popular joke that INTJs are so out of touch with reality they are prone to walking into walls and are incapable of wearing matching socks. I don't do either but I am a horrendous daydreamer and so absentminded a herd of elephants could run through my office right now and I wouldn't notice. Or perhaps I should say "what office?" Case in point. I went to my friends' new house yesterday and they asked me what I thought of the Fire Station next door. I was surprised.

"There's a Fire Station next door? Where?"
"That would be the large building RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU with the big red trucks in it that you had to drive past to get here!"

Once when I was 8, I was engrossed in reading a book in school and I looked up and the entire class had completely disappeared! Imagine that. Poof! Gone! Just like that. Apparently the teacher had tried to get my attention but couldn't so everyone just buggered off outside without me. They were gone for an hour before I noticed. Not that I cared. I was going "Yay! No people!" (see No. 7)

I can't even get my own attention half the time. There are two universes - the one in my head and the one everyone else inhabits!

2. I can't stop going why why why why?
It's probably a good thing I don't have any spare money otherwise the house would be overflowing with books on anything and everything because I can't stop reading either. I have an insatiable appetite for wanting to know the answers to the most impractical quetions; what caused evolution to happen? Why does time exist? What is infinity? How did the conditions for life come about? What is consciousness? How do you know you actually exist? Are archetypes real? What is the incompleteness of formalized number theory? ... Totally fascinating but don't ask me what the point is for needing to know all this stuff! I have no idea. I just wish it made money!

3. I get lost easily.
I've written about this before. I have absolutely no sense of direction. None, zero, nada. A few days ago I was supposed to meet my friend Lee at Borders about 10 minutes drive from my house. I got lost just looking for the entrance to the car park and had to drive around for an extra quarter hour figuring out where the hell I was. Then when I got inside I couldn't find Borders and even looked for it on the wrong floor. The stupid thing is I go there nearly every week! And it's the same for everywhere I go. Robyn (who has a superb sense of direction) loves this. Her favourite game is taking me somewhere new on purpose and losing me!

Years ago I went to Germany and learned that they put cowbells on the cows so the farmer can find them. So I bought myself a silver minature half centimeter cowbell and I wear it on a chain around my neck. Now when I get lost I can ring the bell and go "Ooooh look! Here I am!"

4. I am a caffeine addict.
I drink bucket loads of coffee. I have never met anyone in my life who drinks more than I do. I am sure that if I cut a vein pure espresso would pour out instead of blood! I could supply cafe Massimo. I am afraid to stop in case it turns out I am made totally from caffeine and would disintegrate without it. I justify my excessive consumption by reminding myself I am an "angel" without any other addictions. I only drink about half a glass of alcohol every few months, smoke a cigar once a year and don't do any drugs at all.

5. I don't eat or sleep.
It's so weird that I have truck loads of energy because I am not very skilled at getting the fuel for it - with exception of my caffeine fix. I've always thought if I were a car then I would run "on the smell of an oily rag". This is definitely a really bad habit of mine. I get up in the morning, go about my day, forget to eat anything until someone cooks dinner at the end of the day - and then I eat half of what is dished up. Then I stay up all hours of the night and only go to sleep for a few hours before getting up the next day and repeating the same thing. Sometimes I only go to bed because the birds start singing their morning chorus and I feel stupid for still being awake. I am writing this at 4am in the morning and I am still bouncing off the ceiling without food!

6. I am too outspoken for my own good sometimes.
I am horribly outspoken when it comes to injustice towards other people - particularly standing up for the little guy against large corporations, bullies and internet trolls. Bullies are my pet hate in life. Several large, intimidating corporations and internet trolls have recently been on the receiving end of my extremely undiplomatic and blunt language for their sins (trying to squash their competitors unfairly, mistreating their staff or trolls aggressively insulting and upsetting people on the net). Sometimes I think I make Gordon Ramsay and Richard Dawkins look like pussy cats. I always wonder what sort of monster I am and go read Dale Carnegie's books to figure out how to reword my wrath "politely" - but then I figure bullies deserve exactly what they get. They don't sugar coat their meanness.

7. I like my own space a bit too much.
I won't be winning Extravert of the Year any time soon. My Mum told me a story that supposedly one of our relatives was a hermit that lived in a hut by himself and I used to think "God what a nutter!" but now that I work by myself I realise it's much more fun being alone or spending quality time with a few people I really like than say being out in an room with 50 vacuous advertising agency people I barely know and are never going to see again who are being loud and demanding non stop trying to impress each other. Maybe the relie wasn't a nutter afterall! Don't think I fancy the shack on Moonshine Hill though. The fact I like people might be a slight hinderance to becoming a hermit as well...

8. Er, I like weird nerd things.
Like binary code. When I am bored I get a blank page and write binary code all over it. 000000, 000001 ...... 0011110 etc... Totally meaningless and fun and definitely not something to do in public!!!

9. I am usually late everywhere.
It's a bit of a joke now with everyone who knows me. But I guess point 1. explains it! The universe in my head doesn't have clocks in it! Also I am pretty crap at telling the time. I only learned how to read analogue watches when I was 29 by buying myself a kids watch with 5 past, 1/4 past, etc written around the edges. When I was a kid I had a cute little analogue watch for a while. Kids used to come up to me and ask for the time and I'd stare at it for half an hour and then go "dunno" and hold out my arm so they could read it for themselves. Years later when I started learning foreign languages the teacher would draw clocks on the board and ask us to translate the time into the other language and I'd always have to ask for it in English first! Hence buying the kids watch - it's a bit of a pain explaining to people that you can't read analogue faces!

10. I am a giggling gertie.
I have a totally absurd sense of humour and laugh myself stupid sometimes. Often in the middle of movies in the serious bit that's not even supposed to be funny! I've gotten used to whole movie theatre audiences turning around and glaring at me now. Even better is spontaneously cracking up at absolutely nothing which I do regularly (a consequence of working by myself probably!) But I have a good excuse "sorry, one of the voices in my head just cracked a really good joke".

Recently my friends discovered my propensity for losing it when they were showing me some funny stuff on YouTube and I couldn't stop laughing at it. And I have a really stupid laugh as well! So then they started playing me stuff just so they could laugh at me laughing! Eventually I went home because I thought if I didn't stop I would throw up.... which isn't unlike me! (I think it says something when you are running around making your friend's 2 year old giggle and his mother says "Don't make him laugh too much, he'll throw up! AND THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO!!!")

11. Blah blah blah....
Ask me about anything I am passionate about (especially in writing) and you'll get blah blah blah blah ^1,000! And since I am also one of these introverted intuitive types none of it will make sense or reveal how I came to any of my conclusions. I blame it on all those science books I read. Bloody nerds. None of us know when to shut up.

On that note I am finished!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Creepy Water-Treading Animals

Anyone who knows me knows I have strange tastes in pets, animals and insects. As far as insects go my favourites have always been preying mantises and wetas. Wetas I like so long as I don't have to touch them (because they are violent, grumpy little buggers and will take you on even if you are a million times bigger and holding an axe.) But when I was a kid I had a pet mantis for about a month that I named Burt. Burt was possibly a strange pet for a 'sweet' little girl who would never consider cruelty to anything, including bugs. I used to catch flies for him in the morning and then watch innocently as he ripped the body parts slowly off his live wriggling victim, munching away enjoying his meal completely unaffected by the writhing creature trapped in his vice-like grip. (Who would guess that I would grow up to have favourite songs like Mein Teil!) Burt must have been a real member of the family just like the cats because to this day if anyone in my family sees a preying mantis out goes the cry “Look! There's a Burt!”

Last year I had a pet weta for a while who lived outside on the rose bush underneath my office window. I met him when I went to put the clothes in the dryer one day and he was stuck to the door and wouldn't get out of the way. I called him Rover. I called him Rover because he's a big bugger. If you want an idea how big he made a big clunk as he landed on the ground when I flicked him off the door – with a spade. He looks like you should put a studded collar and lead on him and provide him with a kennel for a pit bull. I haven't seen Rover for a while though so maybe an extremely large bird ate him. I haven't seen any Moa's in the garden lately but whatever ate him must have been at least that big.

Aside from Rovers and Burts the other animals I like are lizards and bats. Lizards are easy to come by. You can buy one from the pet store that will grow to the length of your arm. (Probably also looks good in a studded dog collar). I cuddled one once in the local pet store and was surprised how much personality it had. Bats unfortunately you have to go to the zoo for where they just hang upside down and glare at you but you can't cuddle them, which might be a good thing because I heard that they smell bad. I mean otters look cuddly too until you go near them and then it's like “Holy Hell – who forgot to empty the rubbish bins?!” My other favourite animal is Indonesia's Komodo Dragon – a type of 5 foot monitor lizard that drools poisonous saliva and eats small children and livestock. OK, I draw the line at wanting to cuddle one of these! But they look cool.

Anyway what prompted this blog wasn't mantises, wetas, lizards or dragons but rats. And of course I think these are cuddly and cute as well. A friend of mine has several as pets and they are rather sweet. But at the same time these guys are a pain if you get them in your roof. There was an ad on TV for a humane pest control unit that just scares the rats away. (Plug In Pest Free) I like this idea because I hate killing stuff and it's available from my favourite organic store – IE Produce. These guys had some really interesting facts about rats on their site that I didn't know about.

  • One pair of rats and their offspring can produce 15,000 rats yearly.
  • Rats eat enough grain annually to fill a freight train 3,000 miles long.
  • Rats can gnaw through metal, lead pipes, and cinder blocks.
  • A rat can squeeze through a hole no larger then a 50 cent piece (US not NZ!)
  • Rats can survive being flushed down a toilet.
  • A rat's teeth will grow from 4-6 inches per year.
  • A rat can swim one half mile and tread water for three days.
  • A rat can jump off a five-story building unhurt.

OK, so if you are not like me and you are trying to get rid of someone's pet rat rather than cuddle it - flushing it down the loo, throwing it of the Sky Tower or paddling out into the middle of the harbour in a kayak to drop it off at it's new “home” is probably not going to cut the mustard. These facts are pretty impressive. I think the only thing that can beat this is a cockroach which can reassemble itself with more legs than it started with after you've squashed it three times and even after that go on to survive a nuclear explosion.

Perhaps the only pest more difficult to get rid of than this is “Hillin Cluck” (say fast in a Rove voice and it will all make sense!)

Monday, 18 August 2008

The Humans are Dead

I am writing this in response to The Ambling Rambler's blog today Are Customer Service People Dense? (well worth the read) since I had a similarly stupid experience today with my mobile phone service provider. I don't want to post their actual name here so for this blog let's just call them “V-Mobile”.

I've been a V-Mobile customer for years. I really like them. They give fantastic service and have good plans and products. However, one thing I never counted on was the stupidity of their automated phone system.

I needed to give them a call today because I had a simple question about my plan. Logically I figured this would simply involve looking up their phone number and talking to a Customer Service Person. Since they have to handle a large number of calls around the country I imagined that I might get a short automated message followed by “If you would like to speak to a Customer Service Person press 0” followed by “Hello” from a human. Similar to the Woosh system which is great. You pretty much get the option to talk to a human from the word go.

But no. Instead I got their idiotic phone system which took me five goes at to actually find a human to talk to. My last two machine conversations went something like this (although this is MUCH shorter and less complicated because there is no way I can remember verbatim every insane level they programmed into this thing!):

V-Mobile Phone System: “Welcome to V-Mobile. For Prepay press 1, for On Account press 2, for information on number portability press 3”

Me: OK no option for a human so I press 2 for On Account since I have one. So far so good.

VPS: “Thank you for calling V-Mobile. We have not been able to recognise your mobile number. (Well of course you haven't - I haven't been asked to put it in yet!) To allow us to offer you better service please enter your mobile number now. If you do not have this number press #”

Me: I enter my number

VPS: “Please enter you mobile phone activation number”

Me: WTF!!!! This is the number you unlock the phone with when you first get it. I got my phone 3 years ago. There is no way I have any clue what it is now! But there is no way to go further without it so I hang up and try again and this time skipping past the part where you put in your mobile number. So it continues...

VSP: “Welcome to V-Mobile” For Prepay press 1, etc etc etc blah blah (up to the point I was up to before except I select # to skip the mobile phone number) And then:

VSP: "Welcome to V-Mobile"

Me: OK, got it the first time. I thought I was there already!

VSP: “The time is 3.11pm”

Me: Whoop-tee-doo. You don't say! I have my own watch and don't need to be told this but perhaps they could further waste my time by adding a weather report and a news update and any other crap I don't need to be doing right now.

VSP: “For technical support for your iphone 3G blah blah blah ..... please hang up and call some other number. For info on getting an iphone 3G blah blah blah... call yet some other number”

Me: Great I don't have one of those and don't want one either but if the lucky people who do have one get a special number to call great. Good to know. I am now informed should I ever get one. Thanks for the extra advertising.

VSP: “For account information press 1, for Global Roaming press 2, for some other Family offer press 3, TO SPEAK TO A CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON PRESS 0

Me: Yes! Finally! Thank you God! I press 0

VSP: “If you would like to speak to a customer service person press 1”

Me: WTF! Didn't it register the first time? Maybe they should reword it to “Are you really really REALLY sure without any doubt you really want to speak to a Customer Service Person?”

VSP: “Thank you for choosing to speak to a Customer Service Person”

Me: GET TO THE FUCKING POINT!!!!!!!! I don't want to be thanked for my choice. I want to speak to someone. Preferably this century.

VSP: “To allow us to offer you better service we need to validate your identity. Please enter your mobile number...”

Me: Fuck not this again. Thankfully there is an option to continue on to speak to someone without entering the dreaded activation number. I FINALLY get a human. This is after about half an hour of pressing buttons. And what do I get from the human? First before he can answer my simple question I have to be interrogated for more information...

“What is your full name?
What is your birthday?
Where do you live?
What is your mobile number?


Holy hell. All for a simple 2 second question. What ever happened to the type of Client Service where a friendly person answered the phone and was cheerfully helpful? Also I hate to think what happens if you are a poor unfortunate non-V-Mobile potential customer looking to phone up, heaven forbid without an activation number, to simply find out something before signing up!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Blonde moments

Last year Robyn made a rather good list of her blonde moments for the year. Since then I have thought I must make a list of my own. So here are my blonde moments so far for 2008.

Duh #1

I'm a diary freak. I can't remember anything unless I have written it in my to do list. So my diary is full of great lists of inane things to remind myself to do. Last week my car needed a new front engine mount and some rust removed from the A-pillar. So I took it to the Automotive place down the road from my flat. Before I left I remembered I also wanted to ask them to put in a new rear engine mount, a new parking light and get the guy from the panel beater's next door to call with a quote. Memory like a goldfish so I wrote myself a note. That's cool. Dropped the car off, had a chat to the guys, remembered everything extra I wanted to request and walked home. Half an hour later I get a call.

Automotive place: "Hi, can you come back please"
Me: "Yeah, why?"
AP: You've forgotten to leave us the keys to the car!

Shit. I should have written it down!

Duh #2

Started playing Word Twist on Facebook with my friends and wondering why half the words I put in there weren't coming up as available. "Stupid game" I'm thinking to myself, "cant' these young web programmers spell these days!"

Then I realise I am the problem........... I am typing in German words!!!

Duh #3

Phil and I were watching Boston Legal the other day. It's one of my fav programmes. I've been watching it for ages so where this stupid question comes from God knows.

Me: "Hey Phil, where is this set?"
Phil: "Where is what set?"
Me: "Boston Legal"
Phil: "Oh, I dunno.... Maybe Texas!!!........"

Monday, 24 March 2008

And now for something completely different...

Something for anyone else other than me who likes solving puzzles.... My best time is 5 minutes. See if you can beat me!

Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Shooting Birds

Recently my friend Robyn, a super talented A Grade photographer, treated us to another one of her photographic masterpieces... Birds in Flight As Robyn points out in her blog, capturing birds in flight is a really tricky thing to do photographically so when she invited me to help her out with another one of her bird shoots last weekend I knew it would be a fun challenge. The plan: go down to Devonport, buy some fish and chips and use them as bait to attract some gulls. My job: hold out the chips for the birds to fly past and grab while Robyn captures them in action. I think when I agreed to this she forgot to mention some of these buggers are massive and REALLY powerful so when they swoop in to claim their reward you have to be sure they don't think it is your fingers they are having for dinner! It's a pretty cool experience feeding gulls by hand. I have always thought of them as screaming idiots but now that I have seen them up really close I have changed my mind. They are actually very beautiful when they are gliding through the air, especially so close. The other cool thing was borrowing one of Robyn's older digital cameras and having a go at shooting them myself. I haven't done much photography lately and I am pretty rusty but it didn't take me long to remember why I enjoy it (even if I am still only a lowly C Grader!) I am all fired up now to replace my Canon EOS500 with it's digital equivalent but unfortunately I don't have a spare $3'500 so it will have to wait until my business can afford to buy me one! Here are some of the birds I managed to capture on Robyn's camera.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

I'm back from my trip up Mt Everest!

I've got to ask myself "What the hell is wrong with me?!". I was feeling a bit restless earlier so I decided to prise myself off my beloved computer and go for a walk. Just a short one because I was expecting a client to call. No big deal. I normally go for a wander around the block most days and return safely about 15 minutes later. But for some reason today I decided to be adventurous and add an extra street. You wouldn't think it would be much of a problem in your local area. Especially in Milford, a not particularly difficult place to navigate. Just go east, south, west, north as usual but with another street tacked on the bottom surely? Hell no! Before I started this little addition I should have paid heed to the fact that I have absolutely NO sense of direction what-so-ever! (And possibly the other fact that the street I had chosen to add was potentially attached to a lot of other streets that ALL went uphill sharply!)

The first few minutes went OK. Looked like my chosen street would only make minor changes to my route. Ten minutes later I started realising things were starting to get a bit steep and windy! Oh well, I was certain I would connect up with the northern part of my usual route fairly quickly and anyway, I like walking up hills. Half an hour later again I happened to look to my left and suddenly realised I could see all the way over Milford, Lake Pupuke, Rangitoto and half of Auckland! They certainly look beautiful but my God! what bloody mountain did I climb to get that view? Everest? Suddenly it occurred to me I wasn't even sure I was still IN Milford. And another quarter of an hour of wandering around comfirmed that with landmarks starting to look distinctly non-Milford looking.

So, how embarrassing is it that you have to stop and ask a passer by "where the fuck am I?" in your own suburb?!!!! (And them ask you kindly "are you a tourist?" and having to reply that unfortunately you are a complete plonker and actually live SOMEWHERE very close by and will probably see them in the supermarket next week!) I am hopeless. This is not the first time I have gotten totally lost like this in a small area. I've been known to get lost driving to a local Devonport cafe five minutes away, a short distance from my home - in Devonport! (My friends were just a little surprised to learn I was late showing up because I had taken an unintentional excursion to TAKAPUNA and back on the way there!)

A couple of times in my life I have thought it would be fun to try things that require the ability to navigate or know what direction you are pointing in. Rally car driving is one. Flying a plane is another. Years ago in the 90's a friend of mine decided to learn to fly and got me quite interested as well. I really like aircraft and so I thought it would probably be pretty cool to at least give it a go. Fortunately I was planning to go to Europe for a holiday at the time so I told him I would do it sometime when I got back. Also fortunate is that a few days of walking around in Europe left me with no doubt that I am completely incompetent when it comes to finding my way around even with clear directions and sometimes also a map. If it hadn't been for the fact I was travelling with other people I think I would now be a resident of China! I have no idea how Michael Palin does it! Also after a few blats around in jumbos it occurred to me that if I did ever try to fly anything I would get lost just trying to find the runway, never mind actually going anywhere (in fact lets be completely honest - I would get lost just trying to drive to the airport!) And if I had ever made it into the air I am pretty certain I would just end up flying upside down and smack into the nearest thing that is not supposed to be in the sky - like the ground! So thankfully that idea died. As for rally car driving... heaven forbid anyone ever let me be the navigator, never mind drive! I think I will stick with the Playstation!

OK so not doing those two things is no big loss, but after today I really have to wonder if I am competent enough to be allowed to use even my own feet to go anywhere. I wonder do they make guide dogs for stupid people who have got no idea where they are going? I need one! I actually think I would need the dog to TELL me where to go cos I don't think I could even follow the directions of a Navman to the supermarket without ending up in Timbuktu! In fact it's a wonder I am able to successfully retrieve the mail from the box every day without needing a search party to come and find me.

So there you have it. If you ever want to go for a 15 minute walk and have it drawn out for over an hour with unexpected scenery and a bit of a mountain climb - just take me as your guide! I'll take you places you've never seen before and neither have I or the guide dog!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

The msn Poetry Dual...

Today while I was chatting to my friend Lia on msn she challenged me to spontaneously invent a poem right there and then. I think I've remarked to her before that I can pretty much pull verse out of thin air. I think this skill dates back to my childhood when I used to lie awake all night inventing poems in my head because, well,... sleeping is so boring! Later it came in handy when I was an 11 year old in Form 2 and our teacher gave the class a week to come up with a poem and present it to everyone, a task that everyone dreaded because no one seemed to be very confident at creating poetry. Being allergic to homework of course I never prepared anything but instead just stood up at the last minute, opened my mouth and out fell a perfectly formed poem. The teacher was suitably impressed (for the only time that year I think) and held me up as an example of someone who had taken the task very seriously and obviously worked hard all week. I just smiled nicely and neglected to mention the incredible lack of effort and mindlessness that had gone into it or the fact I secretly did it for a hobby! Unfortunately I could never get away with this sort of thing with any other subjects!

Anyway, as for my 30 second spontaneous msn effort today:

Winter winds it's way,
Through the Autumn breeze,
And beckons surrender,
From summer leaves,
Upon the trees,
So falls each leaf,
In golden splendour...

However, Lia is rather a fantastic poet herself and a lot more talented than me so I challenged her to create one too and since I got to choose the subject I thought her 5 month old son Zac would be good... 30 seconds later she spits out:

It's hard to type a poem,
When I'm holding my son Zac,
With one arm tucked under both his legs,
And one arm behind his back,
So excuse me if my typing's bad,
It's simply hard to do,
But what on earth is your excuse,
For the bad typing that you do?

And then she did another six or so poems and well and truly won the poetry dual! I think I rather like this one for some reason...

Welcome to Bron's blog,
Blogs written for your pleasure,
They are silly, nonsense, a bit of fun,
Please read them at your leisure,
But if you do not like them,
Please keep your opinions in your head,
Because I did not write them,
A genius did instead!

Heh. Thanks Lia, cheque is in the post!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Harry Potter and the Missing Movie...

I'm a bit of a Harry Potter fan so for the past few weeks I have been glued to the tele every Tuesday night since TVNZ have kindly been broadcasting them all again (apologies to anyone trying to get hold of me on a Tuesday night) ..... only it seems that they missed out broadcasting the most important movie....

Boom! Boom!