Friday, December 31, 2004

xmas redux

My last word on Christmas.


Well, technically not my words. And mostly not words anyway. But they sum up much of the way I feel towards the season. And humanity in general at this time of year.

'Bah humbug' be damned: where's my chainsaw & hockey mask?

urban living

I've been feeling a bit morose and down the last week or so, a combination of the hated Christmas season and visiting Christchurch again. Catching up with friends and once again realising how much I miss them. While the interweb a wonderful tool, and has made me a number of dear new friends, it's no substitute for a real life hug.

So it's taken a while to recover my blogging feng shui.

Fortunately tonight, well, this morning technically, downstairs guy has kick-started me back into it.

I've not mentioned him here before I think. He's been a minor irritation ever since we moved in. He makes loud (house-shakingly loud) bangs at very odd times of the night (well, odd for most people - I'm usually awake, being the vampire that I am). Initially we thought he was chopping firewood inside, and it took us a while to figure out that he must be deliberately slamming doors. Repeatedly.

Things came to head the last time I was in away in NZ. He'd been waking my partner up with the noise so at about 3am one night she went down to ask him (politely!) to stop. He decided to yell and threaten her, not letting her talk at all. She wisely retreated and called the landlord the next day.

Our landlord is cool, has always been good to us and helpful when we've needed anything. He rang downstairs guy and basically told him to shape up or get out, which we thought had done the trick since there's only been the occasional random thump from the guy for a couple of months now.

But obviously the strain of reining in the arsehole within has gotten too much for the cunty fucktard. So he starts up again tonight. Slamming doors, thumping around down there, generally being a fuckwit.

I guess he thought there was only a girl living up here (he never comes out of his apartment, we've seen him twice - both times in his doorway) so it must have come as a bit of a surprise when a furious and foul-mouthed man just about broke his fucking door down.

I remember telling him to shut the fuck up, threatening to kick his fucking head in, and something about tearing his motherfucking throat out, but the rest of it is a bit of a blur. Probably a very good thing he wouldn't open his door. Something broke when I was hammering on it though. Oops..

The positive outcome is that he's not made a peep since.

Unfortunately now I have more adrenaline than a base-jumper on crack coursing through my veins and sleep is a laughable concept at best.

And I bruised my hand on his door. Owie.

Friday, December 24, 2004

bah humbug

Actually I was going to title this one "fuck Christmas" but.. well.. I don't know. I'm trying to swear less. It's not going well..

I'm really fucking hating this time of year, as usual.

I'm not going to rant on about the rampant souless commercialism. The greedy, grubby, worship-the-almighty-fucking-dollar nature of the season.

Or the inappropriate Northern hemisphere decorations and accoutrements - it's summer here you dicks, we don't need sleighs and furred hats (although admittedly it's hardly summery in Christchurch at the moment).

Or even the fucking hideous music trotted out every year. Combining both the above rants, commercial shit about weather that just doesn't happen at this time of year.

My issues with Christmas this time are more internal. I just hate the whole gift thing. It's not that I hate giving or receiving gifts, I just never feel like I've a) deserved the gifts I get, or b) given appropriate/enjoyable/even-remotely-good gifts.

This is my own personal hell. Spending days wandering around shopping for gifts in the crowds and noise and smell and horror of this season is something that I find physically revolting and mentally numbing.

Doing all that for days without ever finding anything for anyone else that I'm even remotely happy with is just waggling around that knife already stuck deep in my guts.

So I don't give gifts much.

But I'm trying to get better. It feels like my soul is being crushed in a vice to spend so much time shopping, but I am trying.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Back in Godzone yet again. But this time, it has to be said:

What the fuck have you been doing with the weather!


It's supposed to be SUMMER! You know: sunshine, heat, sunburn, sunblock. SUN for god's sake!

It's about 4 fucking degrees out there, blowing a fucking gale and the rain (ha! sleet!) is coming in horizontal!

There are penguins flying north to get better weather!

Ok, ok, make all the obligatory you've-gone-soft-coz-you've-been -living-in-Australia cracks. Frankly Sydney in summer is no picnic if you don't have air-con, sweating has become a major pastime of mine. But at least it's doing what it's supposed to at this time of year.

Bloody New Zealand. You just have to be different don't you.

Screw this, my fingers are turning blue. I'm getting a hot-water bottle and as many cats as I can find and going back to bed. Company would be greatly appreciated - just for the body heat of course..

Friday, December 17, 2004

must work on that..

I'm sure I'm much more evil than that.

This site is certified 28% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Sorry about the lame-ass excuse for a post but I still can't bring myself to blog about my Christmas shopping experiences yesterday.

The hordes of people..

The appalling music..

The forced Christmas cheer..

The horror.. the horror..

*curls into fetal position*

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


It almost escaped my notice but today is my one year blog anniversary.

Um. Yay. Go me.

I guess I'd be more excited about it if I wasn't more fixated on groaning, sweating, and my regular clench-cheeked scuttle to the toilet.

Monday, December 13, 2004

really crapski..

Curse the Japanese.
For the invention of delicious sushi (well.. for Dragonball Z and Pokewhatsits too, but that's a rant for another day).
Then for allowing the stuff I ate to have been well colonised by microbial boot-boys.

I have food poisoning.

I'm not going to die, I just want to. And occasionally smell like I've been dead for some time. And buried in pig manure.

I'm not going to go into the gruesome and noisome details because that'd just make me hurl again.

Now I'm going back to bed to sweat some more.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

down to earth

I'm finding it difficult to write about the weekend. I mean, I can list all the stuff we did and talk about the flight and the jumps and the landings and everything. But that's all just dry facts.

You'll just have to imagine me jumping up and down with excitement when you read it. 'Awesome' does absolutely nothing to describe the feelings of jumping out of a plane at 3,500 feet.

It was fan-fucking-tastic.

Inexpressibly amazing.

Yeah, I had a good time *s*

We went up on the Friday night (5 hours of driving, through the Blue Mountains which would have been lovely if it hadn't been a) night time, and b) so foggy it was like driving in a marshmallow) and Saturday we went out to the airstrip for training. The training started at around 7:30 and went all day, which seems like a lot but the time went pretty fast. We were finally ready to go for the jump in mid afternoon (I lost all track of time so I couldn't tell you when), and then it was just a matter of waiting on the wind..

There were eight students: six first-timers and two who'd done a number of static line jumps, but no free-fall as yet. The legal requirements for pushing beginners out of a plane say that the wind has to be below 15 knots and has been under it for 15 minutes. That afternoon the wind was all over the place and hovering around 15 knots.

Then the first group got the ok and were off. I was in the second group so it was a nervous/frustrating/exciting wait on the ground for them to finish. They all got out fine and landed well, the wind was pretty steady for their landings.

Then we were on. The worst bit was packing into that plane - a single engine thingy with enough room for the pilot, instructor and four others kneeling in the back. So we got in, all cramped and contorted, and taxied out to the runway only to be turned back at the last minute because the wind had come up again.

So it was back again.. and another nervous wait. I honestly thought at that stage that we weren't going to get to do it, the wind was all over the place.

But then, about 20-30 minutes later (or however long it was - time really had no meaning to me by this stage), we were given the nod. No fucking about this time, check equipment (got your parachute? yep. good-o) in the plane, down the runway and up. And up. And up.

It takes about 5-8 minutes to get to 3,500 feet, enough time to truly start packing your pants.

And just when you think it can't get any scarier, they open the door. At this stage we're moving at 120mph & still lining up for the drop zone, getting the plane in position. So it's really fucking noisy and windy.

Then it's "throttle down, brakes on, lets go".

*deep breath* just remembering gives me palpitations..

I was third out so I had to watch and get more nervous as the others did their exits. After each jump the plane does a circuit around the target area, so there's plenty of space between each person (avoiding mid-air collisions and landing on each other).

So by my turn I was pumped. Pretty well psyched out, truth be told, but I managed to focus on just getting the exit procedure right.

Oh.My.God. When that door came open.. It was a good thing we'd spent all day drilling it into our heads.

"Hands on door!"
"Right foot!"
"Left hand!"
"Right hand!"
"Check left!"

At that point I was hanging from the strut of the plane at 3,500 feet waiting for the ok to let go.


Let go..



That moment was worth the whole thing.

It was only a few seconds before the static line dragged my chute out and I started having to worry about end cell closures, line twists, getting the steering toggles down and everything else. But those few moments were sublime.

After that was amazing too. Gliding around the sky, seeing the incredible view (thunderclouds rolling in from the south) and trying not to get too distracted. Because the target assistant was turning a big arrow to keep me on track for landing.

For 3-4 minutes it felt like I was just floating, there's not much perception of speed till you get closer to the ground. Then once I got within range the TA switched to the paddles to guide me the last couple hundred metres. That was a nervous time, I was close enough to see how fast I was actually traveling (around 20 knots) and had to really focus on the TA and not think about the ground getting closer very fast.

As it was, my landing was less than graceful but that wasn't my fault (honestly!). The wind had dropped to almost zero so there was nothing to slow my forward speed, which meant I executed a humourous pratfall for the merriment of all watching. Bastards.

I was absolutely buzzing.

Unfortunately that was the only jump we had time for that day, otherwise I would have been up again straight away.

That night was the club's Christmas dinner so we were back out at the airfield for a bbq and the presentation of our certificates (apparently I had the best arch Cindy, my instructor, had seen on a guy. What can I say? I'm flexible!). After all the anxiety, stress and adrenaline of the day we were all pretty beat, I was almost falling asleep through the video of the year's events until it came to the formation freefall competitions in Florida, and the base-jumping in Norway. That was pretty insane. And got me hooked all over again.

Hmmm.. Base jumping..

Anyway, the next day was a bit better for wind although it was extremely changeable. As I was to find out to my discomfort.

For my first jump of the day all seemed to go well. I was first out which was just as scary as the previous day, but this time I had everything down sweet and it went flawlessly. Had line twists again, seems to be a pretty common problem but very easy to fix if you don't freak out.

I took a bit more time to fool around flying the chute, doing turns and spins, and also having a better look around. Lots of fun.

The landing, on the other hand, not so much fun. Unbeknownst to me the wind had first swung around 180 degrees then dropped to zero on my final approach. This meant that I was quite a bit further away from the target than I should have been and approaching much faster than desirable. I didn't really know any of this at the time, at least not till the very last instant when I noticed that a) the TA was a long way away, and b) the ground was coming up very quickly.

As it was I was spared splatting straight into the ground by the fortuitous placement of a barbed wire fence.

My right leg whacked into one of the posts, spinning me sideways and head-over-heels. I came down shoulder first into the fence then, after losing a little blood and a great deal of fabric from the jumpsuit, went face down into.. well I've no idea. Probably not the barbed wire coz I've still got a face, maybe just some brush, then the ground. I remember the ground.

And my first words upon cheating death?

"Well, that was unpleasant"

Master of understatement me.

But at least they came to get me in the ute so I didn't have to walk all the way back to the hanger. And the chute wasn't too badly ripped - they repaired it and I took it up for my third jump about an hour later.

That one went off without a hitch, although the landing was again a little rough. The wind gods really don't like me much.


Well, there's more but I could just go on for hours about the whole weekend. It was brilliant and I'll be going back for more. Only two more jumps and I get to try freefall! Yeehaa!

tough as nails me..
Originally uploaded by fb.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Bollocks to this, I'm off to Forbes.

To do this.

Hopefully reporting back on sunday. If not, it's free-for-all on my books.

Ciao lovelies.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

scents and sensibilities

Cities stink.

I know this isn't news to anyone but, being a newcomer to a subtropical city that's about 100 times the size of my hometown, the full reeking glory of this place has been impressed upon me recently. And summer isn't really upon us yet..

This morning was a particularly bad one for dogshit. It rained a bit during the night which moistened the aforementioned turds, allowing their delicate aroma to be released, mingling beautifully with the aromatic eucalyptus leaves. A truly retch inspiring scent.

Then there's the all pervasive vehicle exhaust. Choking. Especially on a really hot day (yesterday made 39 degrees, that's about 102 F for those still not in the 21st Century). There's barely enough oxygen in the air to start with so to get a lungful of CO, CO2, sulphur dioxide and partly-combusted hydrocarbons isn't going to improve your mood.

Rubbish day is a particularly pungent time. Bags and bags of decaying matter lining the streets giving off almost visible waves of stench.

Then there's the occasional waft of open sewer, most commonly found near building sites where some jackass with a jackhammer has made an unfortunate excavation.

I thought I'd been inured to foul smells from years of working with the fishies. And, to tell the truth, nothing yet has topped the smell of rotting sea anemone. I gag just remembering that one.. But in any case, my nose hasn't been cauterised nearly enough.

Sydney ain't a city for the faint of snout..

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

fishboy's utopia

Yes! Yes! YES!

(except for the hippy-ass naked people at the end. seriously, what's with that guy's pose?)

(props to Peter M)