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Updated: 2018-01-19T01:11:20.909+13:00

 



Silly man

2008-09-23T00:47:07.713+12:00

So I was having coffee with this Irish guy last night. (Not a rower)

He did several things that are wrong in my books.

1. Tells me, an hour in, that he does not have much luck with the ladies.
2. Lets out that he has family issues.
3. Lets out that he has emotional issues.
4. Lets out that he has issues.

I have never understood why some guys go over board with Too Much Information. For example, telling me that they don't have good luck with the ladies. I mean seriously, lie about it! Tell us you have a trail of fine sheilas after you. Do you think it will come as a turn on to us that you don't? No! No, no, no, no.

Well, maybe some girls. The ones that are looking for a male to fix. A male to save. But this is too much for me, give me robust emotional health any day. It's totally sexy. And the age-old clichè - if you don't like yourself, how can you expect me to?

I don't get it. I'd love to be a guy. All they need is confidence and they automatically become attractive to most girls. Where as we need to rely on aesthetics. And most of these guys are smart, sweet and good looking. Just missing the self esteem. Get some.



Blatant showing off + thank God for pizza

2008-09-22T03:47:14.008+12:00

(image)
Everyone has had a job that they don't like. For most of us this occurs when we're students, and inevitably in our first jobs. And I guess when travelling.

Right now I've got one of those menial jobs to get me by. Although, in a hotel in the middle of Dublin, it couldn't be more ideal. Along with cheap accomodation, I get a wide range of perks and free touristy stuff, if I was so inclined. There's also a wee Old Wive's Tale going on: apparently five former receptionists have met their future husbands through working here. Wouldn't that save a lot of hassle in the future. This city is awfully romantic...

But I'm a bit concerned that I'm really starting to resent other people. Ie. other backpackers. The questions I get asked. Directions, bus timetables, trains, pubs, food, adaptors, laundry, the airport, do I look like a bloody encyclopaedia? No.

I am as clueless as every other backpacker, and cannot help these poor, poor travellers.

As well as that, I have to show unfortunate people to apartments in the most complicated building ever - last week I took two lovely couples from Sweden and Belfast through a series of wrong exits and up and down four flights of stairs. With luggage. Arrrggh.

Anyway, the point of this post was to show off. Last night as we were about to unlock the door to our room and crash, my buddy decided to buy a piece of pizza. I'm so glad she did. This resulted in us meeting the Irish National Rowing team, a group of freakishly tall (abs included), freakishly handsome blokes. Just as we were all talking about how nice it would be to meet some ridey fellas; our prayers were answered. And they have Irish accents.

And I'm happy. Happy happy happy happy jumping for joy. Just having the best time. Helped by the fact that AcDc Shook me all night long came on last night. Life is worth showing off right now.

xx L



Relocating

2008-09-18T04:25:08.457+12:00

Yikes. Just realised, I miss Sydney! Next thing you know, I'll be a Kaussie.

I miss the fast-pacedness and my crazy friends that escaped the UK to go there.

xx L



I love you, Winston, but please go away

2008-09-18T03:13:45.347+12:00

(image)
Does anyone else get the urge to pluck their retinas out in boredom when they read about Winston's latest debaucle (for the trillioninth time) ??

New Zealand Herald: I do not care.

About this, this, this, this, this this this this this this this and this. Arggggggggggggggh.

Personally, I think he just wants to go out with a bang. Considering his voters are ageing and he can't think of any more populist catchphrases. Or, he just doesn't care anymore, like myself. Anyone who's watched NZ First's opening address for the 2005 election will agree. Poor effort. And you know what? We let him get away with it. He has stuffed around with both major parties and has openly accepted the baubles of office and become a walking contradiction. But we still take him seriously, while he enjoys giving politicians a bad name.

And how is it different from him drinking at every bar in Wellington for free? Is that not a bribe for the coolness of Mr Peter's presence?

Please. Enough.

P.S. I'm not condoning corruption, just sick of hearing about it.

xx L



The peace of boredom

2008-09-18T03:13:12.133+12:00

(image)
After two hours of reading a selection of whatever I could find in the bookshelves of my striking blue residence along the River Liffey, I am suitably motivated enough to write something. The Da Vinci Code can only be read a certain number of times, you know. Funnily enough, the riddles that Sophie and Langdon have to solve become extremely obvious after a while. The thrill has gone.

So, yurrup, still lovin' Dublin. Victory of victories, we actually managed to get invited to an Irish party on Friday night. Those who have gone backpacking before will know that it's impossible to avoid other backpackers and even more impossible to get invited to local parties. This party could've beat our old apartment's crowdedness any day. And, as a gorgeous young female redhead was hosting, it was a certifiable sausage fest (this was a good thing). The Irish definitely know how to party, and to this point have lived up to all my preconceptions (also a good thing).

Alright, so I should probably write something opinionated and vaguely resembling intelligence. Let's start with politics.

It always riles me when someone says they don't give a damn about the government, because politics doesn't affect them. I was hanging with this BBC editor from Manchester in Hong Kong. We were walking along Yi Lo Road in the city when I asked him if it bothered him that there were so many poor people there. He said, "Naaah, doesn't affect me." My quicker than usual tongue (thank you, Aussies, for making me brazen!), responded with a brief explanation of current inflation levels, rising interest rates and high oil prices: all a result of people like the ones around us growing their economy at a later time than the OECD (that's what it is, right...?). And it certainly didn't get me laid that night, but it saved me from a lecture about how the British did everyone such a favour by colonising them. Believe me, the conversation would've gone down that road sooner or later.

On a side note, has anyone ever noticed how notoriously stingy the British are? This particular guy didn't even drink because he didn't like spending the money. Fair enough, but still....

Politics is also affecting me: I've come to The Republic of Ireland at the end of a cabinet reshuffle that has replaced big spenders with politicians that would peel an orange in their pocket. Like, there are hardly any civil servant jobs right now. All good though, I will probably still get one, if you count working for the local Med School a Public Sector job - what is it with me and the Health Industry this year - I was an Arts student.

And the situation in New Zealand. It isn't affecting me hugely, but current preliminary poll results are messing with my Chi. Good thing I'm not a supporter of LibertariaNZ (with a Z) though, now that would be a stressful, tragic, losing battle. Or ACT (the fuckers).

And politics has truly, truly affected my travel. Being ripped off in Asia, being detained at Heathrow for no good reason, and having to change my travel plans from the U.K. to Dublin within a matter of days. Not that I would change a thing right now.

So those are my superficial reasons. Now that's more interesting than the price of milk.



Home of the Hot Accents

2008-09-12T06:15:13.199+12:00

After Sydney, Auckland, Shanghai, Hong Kong and London-in-a-hurry, I have finally arrived.

And what a lovely place to arrive in.

In order to educate myself quickly on all things Irish, we took a tour of the Liffey River and had dinner at the Brazen Head, oldest pub in Ireland.

Bonus facts about Ireland:

1. The harp logo on Guiness is deliberately different to the National Emblem, as the government doesn't want to appear to endorse drinking. And apparently the Irish don't need encouragement.

Yikes, just realised that the only facts I remember had something to do with Guiness (did you know the water for it comes from the Liffey?).

Enough now.

Do love this place though, even though it is now raining for the tenth time in three days. My first impressions are colourful flowers and vines, old brick buildings, hilarious people and hot accents.

Things are happening even faster than they did in Sydney. Within two days I had a tax number, back account and job.

Looks like Ireland and me are meant to be.

xx L



Hong Kong

2008-09-06T22:20:32.153+12:00

Probably one of the most happening places I have ever visited. It reminds me of those marsh things I studied in school: warm, wet and flourishing with growth and activity. I didn't mean for that to sound like a description of one's nether regions.

The shops here have totally blown me away. I have no idea why Kiwis insist on shopping weekends away in Sydney - shopping there is crap compared to this city. Cheap things, labelled things, unecessary things, come on down to Hong Kong. D&G, Calvin Klein, DKNY - I am blown away. The clothes are so exquisitely beautiful I thought I might faint (Please, if there is a God, give me a boyfriend who will buy me Burberry!). Unfortunately the sales assistants are like hawks (so would I if my job was 100% commission) and they can smell a European from the entrance. I have tried to avoid eye contact. It's so hard to browse when someone is following you around. I was even given a container in a jewellery store - like a miniature shopping trolley. Who do they think I am, Michael Hill? Jay siz. But I am in heaven.

I got my hair done for about a tenth of the price it would usually cost (Bonus - hot Asian men - I didn't even think they would be my type). My guy was so patient with my curly hair. I pitied him because he only had a tiny straightener, and it took ages. And then ten minutes outside - frizz eruption. You could set a timer by it. I was veeeery tempted to do the old chemical straighten, but that would be a huge committment. I'd have to grow it out. Curly roots and straight ends - ugh.

Another thing I've noticed is instant Green Tea machines. And the plethora of hot food, with an emphasis on soup. No wonder everyone here is so skinny; less carbohydrates and more hydration.

The prices baffle me however. There is no consistency whatsoever. The fine food section in Sogos department store prices packets of fresh fruit for three times the price of a top I bought. I don't get it, everyone knows that fresh food is the best quality - and you can't get that in a packet!
I read a book once about some expats living in Hong Kong. I expected the people here to be unpleasant towards me but they've been nice as pie. In the book they ended up getting murdered by the Triads though, so probably not a good comparison...

On my first night I walked outside, thought it was still daylight the lights were so bright. As for sightseeing, I just don't think I'm a touristy person. So not into structured fun. I prefer to get my international education by going out on the town and seeing everyone with their hair down.
Hotel is not so great - but there are three very good looking university educated guys in my vicinity. I'm sorry, I'm all into fine things but I'm travelling by myself and would like to meet some fine things, thank you.

Went out last night to some very nice places, very nice champagne and very nice food. One of the bars, not that we went in, was run by a guy that 'takes care' of debts. Tres exciting. And I had lobster for the first time ever - biggest crustacean I have ever set my teeth into. And I have to say, Cactus Kate is one hot piece of ass!

There's a legislative council election today - not that anyone votes, apparently. And there was a Falun Gong demonstration too. A guy was pretending to take someone's organs out. Bought the issue a little closer to home for me. Torture and corruption not good.

Having a blast. Could honestly live here. Was worth working my butt off all year for a bit of travel. And I can't seem to stop writing blog posts.

xx L



Dodgy culinary experiences

2008-09-04T22:50:38.299+12:00

Now I am not a fussy person when it comes to food. Give me anything, as long as it's not meat or battery hen eggs (Even then I can be convinced), and I'll eat it. Twice in living memory have I come across food that is truly disgusting. There is this place on Pitt St in Sydney, I think it may be Korean. It is right next to a backpackers so it has a fresh and continuous stream of unsuspecting travellers. It is also comparitively cheap - it is hard to find cheap food in Sydney.

One day I was walking home. I had been drinking on an empty stomach and was starving. Famished. I stopped at this place and ordered three choices. Proud of the fact that I was "trying something new." The first choice was tofu - you can rarely go wrong with that - I can even eat it raw. Then whole eggs and a vege stir fry. From behind the glass, it looked absolutely fine. It may have been my imagination but the girl behind the counter gave me an amused look, as if to say: "Haha, silly gweillo, you shall see." Turns out, the tofu was so hard it could have been used for car tyres. Same with the eggs. The vegies contained a rubbery "fish" substance, bringing to mind images of shark skin. There were some unidentifiable slug things throughout, all was covered in a sickly sweet sauce and to top it all off, a sizeable piece of animal bone was swimming around the container. I still tried to eat it, of course - hunger is a powerful thing - but couldn't.

Afterwards, when me and my travel buddy walked past, we'd warn people not to eat there, and always stop to see what kind of crap they had on the fryer that day.

Now I'm not being culturally insensitive - that food was just terrible. I'm certain that it was some kind of cruel joke.

And today... that food has been surpassed. On my flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong I was given some fish rice. It started off OK with a bread roll and Tararua (whoopee) butter. But behold, the main dish:

Wrinkled peas and corn with some slivers of white fish, full of grey veins. Coated in a slimy, gelatinous sauce and tasting the way a fresh fish shop smells. Served with rice and steamed Chinese brocilli that tasted as if it had been cooked in a kid's chrorinated swimming pool. On the side was some chilli bamboo stuff, which I'm sure also tasted of chlorophill - if I ever had the pleasure of being gassed.

I saw the look of disdain on the air hostesses' face when I handed back my almost untouched meal. She was thinking that I can't handle the Asian Tang.

And you know what, I think she's right.



Shanghai

2008-09-03T21:43:19.082+12:00

Is crazy. Imagine, a place with next to no road rules - who needs indicators when you can just turn? - and a dizzying and seemingly endless array of apartment blocks. I can't make head nor tail of it, as the people seem to be missing. There are plenty around, though not as many as you would expect. They are mostly on the road, riding bikes with no helmets and carrying oversized baggage on the back.The locals are lovely and manage to be helpful even though I don't know a word of Chinese. I'm staying in Pudong for some reason; the financial capital. I dont usually take taxis unless drunk, but I have here. I've gotten lost already - I tried to remember my bearings but walked into a shopping mall and - understandably, so many bargains - walked out disorientated, and had to cab back. The sun and heat proved to be too much.People stare at me wherever I go, probably thinking, "Who is that peculiar looking person with the yellow jandals?" And whoever said Europe is relaxed, they need to check Shanghai out. Although - thankfully - there's no public displays of nakedness, I've passed a couple of pot (actual pot) plants growing on the side of the road, and managed to haggle a ticket to Hong Kong down by 400 RNB. I didn't even know you could do that.There's lots of salespeople, and I am their prey. Unfortunately I was born with an inability to say "no" and I'm charmed by their sweetness and persuasion. So is my rapidly dwindling wallet. But I found some great hair products. Deodorant and shavers are hard to find - so jealous of Chinese women - it seems they neither sweat or need to shave their legs. Right now there's a shopping festival going on, the theme for it is "Enjoy shopping, enjoy life" - I love the Chinese.I haven't had a conversation with anyone for over 24 hours, an event that I don't believe has happened since I learned how to talk. I'm loving the amount of Green Tea everywhere and the best thing is - I can smoke wherever I want! And they cost next to nothing.Food is a bit of a problem - given up completely on being vegetarian. Yesterday's lunch consisted of tofu and a plate of deep fried things. Could've been animal or vegetable - maybe even mineral.There are locusts flying outside my hotel window. Forget Australian cockroaches - these things are freaky. And the cutest, skinniest kitten said hi to me in a fruit shop. I wanted to take it home and make it as fat as a Westerner.When people talk about how fast China's economy is growing, they are so right. You can actually see it happening - unfinished skyscrapers are everywhere and I can constantly hear the wheels of new infrastructure being built. (Lots of banging and machinery) I sometimes wonder what the world would be like having China replace the U.S. as the world's economic superpower.All in all I having a good time - by myself - but am looking forward to a country that speaks my language. The amount of time I spent on this post (20 mins) is an attribute to that. Who blogs when they're having fun? And previous generations of freckly English people have left me unequiped to deal with this weather - it is intense.Hong Kong tomorrow, and if I can get my phone to work I'll be meeting up with one of my favourite bloggers - should be a blast.xx L[...]



The pursuit of happiness

2008-08-25T17:01:53.826+12:00

(image) Ah the fun times we have had in Sydney. This should be the bit when I tell you all that I'm actually a man (above). Joking.

Lè passport has arrived. Joy and relief.

Good news for Labour in New Zealand. I too shall be walking with a spring in my step. Bonne chance! (Whatever that means)



Never thinking about tommorow.

2008-08-24T20:57:59.943+12:00

I've been asked to write a post but today is Sunday which meant two days ago; the weekend started and tomorrow is Monday. One word to describe today: bleak.

But not as bleak as the weather back home. Rumor has it that Auckland hasn't had a dry weekend since May. Someone tell me this is not so. Looks like the rest of the week is not looking that fine either.

Okay this is just all small talk. I miss home.


p.s: Infatuated with Cactus Kate at the moment. God I love her!



Nice suit... Do you want to come home with me?

2008-08-24T20:39:37.499+12:00

Stressful days. Passport being unreachable due to a large bureaucratic, government organisation. However, this still didn't deter me from having a good weekend. Probably one of the best Saturday nights in a long time. And I'm not beating myself up about sending my passport through the post. (Never, ever, do this in a foreign country) I've been miss sensible two shoes in this country (ish) and have stuffed up, but am reminded that I'm only human. And what is the point in staying home all weekend, staring at the letterbox waiting for - literally - my passport out of here.

Ever the optimist...

I ticked all the boxes last night.

Crazy we-think-we're-gorgeous dancing? Yes. (And yes we are!)
Told by a stranger that he loves me? Yes.
Waking up in an unfamiliar house in Glebe? (No, didn't go home with that stranger) Tick.
Walking past cheery early rises on their morning walk? Yes. Moooooortifying.
Great, great DJs... Yes.
Bleakest hangover ever? YESS.

So bleak. Sundays really are the worst when you're not at home. You know those Telecom ads where people get in touch with one another? It's so like that in real life. And when a friend calls, you run out of things to say, because you live such a separate life now. I thought travelling was good for the soul, not emotionally wrenching. Sour with the sweet.

I think I'm in love with Acdc. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.

I miss miss miss home. More than ever, because I'm supposed to be there now. I hope home misses me too.

P.S. Great quote from Cactus Kate: "Fuck being boring when you can afford not to be." Might mean a different thing to me but I dig it.



Monday is List Day

2008-08-18T20:00:36.488+12:00

Before you escape across the ditch there are a few things in the disclaimer that you need to be aware of. Some people say that Sydney is better than Auckland but it really is a matter of personal preferences. The following is a list of things that I will not miss about Australia. Recruitment consultantsThey are, essentially, people with little qualifications and too much power. They will be full of exaggerated promises of high pay, assurances that they want the best job for you; not just to fill a position. In Sydney most recruitment companies automatically get about forty percent of your pay - all for a very un-in depth hour interview and the fact that they process your salary and tax. Do not piss them off. Always remember that there is so much they don't tell you. The consultant I found is actually really good, in the fact that she has so many clients (at least 5 due to my referrals) and can find a job for you within hours. At one stage our whole flat was using this consultant. This was useful when the house 'flooded' and only one person had to call in sick. This was not so good when we had a particularly hard Tuesday night, resulting in not everyone telling her they wouldn't be in, leaving me to cop the explanations. And I have never been a good liar. RoadsThere is something about the roads here. Crossings are few and far between and gaps between traffic are rare. It has taken me a full ten minutes of waiting just to cross the road to my flat. And you can't stand between lanes. The cars whizz by so fast that you undo all the good blood pressure from eating extra virgin olive oil for several years. Oxford StreetI have a love/hate relationship with Oxford Street. It is like tequila: fun but messy. I have been dragged there many times because of my propensity to attract good looking homosexual guys as friends. In some ways, Oxford Street is more misogynistic than going out to straight bars. Females are far more likely to get rejected for being 'drunk' and they certainly don't get served first at the bar. And I am not used to either.Sheer magnanimityThis country is effing HUGE. I look out my window at work and see a stretch of land that never ends. It is less green than New Zealand and uncomfortably unfamiliar. This makes workloads bigger too, especially when dealing with statistics. It's just so much bigger here. More places to see, more places to goThs can be good and bad. Every weekend there is a new bar to go to, a new landmark and a new activity. It gets better with time, but when you first arrive it's like being the new kid at school and not having a map to the playground. WeirdosAs a matter of fact, Australia has recently closed a few of it's mental hospitals. As a result of this there a more people with mental illnesses in jail, or integrated into society. You can actually tell the difference when observing your experiences of people. But I could just be massively quick to judge so I'm not sure about this one. Andrew Fraser, famous convicted criminal lawyer, agrees with this and writes of his experiences in jail. Good read.Watch your bagRemember those stories you were told in school of the first Australian settlers? They were convicts. My phone has been stolen three times in six months (And let's not mention friends who have had things stolen) which makes me drawn to believe that this is a land of thieves. Don't forget what happened to Russell Crowe and Pavlova. Note: The last two accounts are too presumptuous to be fully serious. Sheep jokesHow many Kiwis does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they were too busy ..... doing something else. Conversations where everyone ends their sentences with a question?But for some reason, when an Australian guy says the word 'here' or 'engineer' I just[...]



Blonde Moments

2008-08-18T13:02:33.986+12:00

(image)
FYE - For your entertainment.
Like the fairy tale character, Little Red Riding Hood can display shocking moments of blondeness. I've never got as far as inside the wolf's stomach though and I think this is where we differ.
1. I was on a plane to London for the first time, having a conversation about the difference between Britain and England. Mistakenly I let out the fact that I thought the UK and Britain were the same thing.
2. Starting a new job in Sydney, the person 'training' (I use that word in it's loosest term) me kept going on about some acronym, EA. (Executive Assistant) I was going to ask her what an EA was, but some higher sense kept my mouth shut. I was an EA. I hate acronyms.
3. I still don't really know the difference between the words 'bringing' and 'taking' used in a sentence. And I don't care.
4. No matter how many times I drive through it, I always get lost when driving back to the city from South Auckland.
5. Walking into a glass revolving door on Friday night, in front of a male I was trying to impress.
6. In Parliament, never ask official-looking people if they work for Parliamentary Services. How am I supposed to recognise all 120 MPs..?
7. Walking into the CEO's office at work thinking that it's my bosses' office as they are right next door to each other and look identical.
In younger days...
8. Thinking that a ferry was a fairy; understandably I was very excited about my first trip on one.
9. Getting everyone in my class to sign a 'politician' (petition) against the teacher for keeping everyone in during morning tea every day.
10. Feeding little sister parsley (her first solid food) at six weeks old because I was told it was good for you.



We're back

2008-08-18T11:39:35.290+12:00

Red Confectionery is a-changing. An election is looming in Kiwiland and we can't be complacent. We have to "raise standards," and "bring up the tone." And post more.

In my attempted revamp I accidentally got rid of well, everything, making this site look a bit lacking.

So, three things:

1. Little Red Riding Hood is not one but several people (which could be metaphorical or physical, you decide).
2. I have a great template in mind, Andrew Falloon where are you? Please leave comment with your email. We will return the favour in a non-sexual way.
3. I've forgotten what the third thing is. Monday morning. Too difficult. Jealous that New Zealand is two hours in front of Sydney, and therefore have two hours less left of their Monday. Now I remember what I was going to say: Booty Luv "Some kinda rush" is still in my head. From Friday night. Ugh.



Not so frivolous objections

2008-08-14T13:30:48.391+12:00

As National’s true agenda comes out one can’t help but feel a little disdain for their so-called commitments to carbon trading and renewable energy investment. Surprise, no, disdain, yes. Not when they are pledging to spend $25 million on oil and gas exploration over the next three years. Oh, and overturn the ban on building new gas power stations. In this day and age? Oil is running out. Overwhelming scientific consensus says that the earth is heating up from anthropogenic carbon emissions. To say that National’s inability to think long-term is worrying is an understatement. I think I may actually get ulcers in my stomach from this…

No wonder Nandor quit politics; it’s hard enough to get Labour to take positive moves for the environment, and ultimately, for the rest of us. Thinking of extending my OE until Labour gets elected again.

Anyway, cynical greenie rant over. That includes the last one on the public sector as well– I’m withholding judgment on the issue, need more experience.

Does anyone else think this Chris Barton holds a certain hotness?



Public sector stories

2008-08-12T20:20:28.879+12:00

Occasionally my very powerful bosses have meetings with the all-powerful and ever-elusive MPs that apparently run the show.I was rather taken aback when I saw *the* state Minister for Health. The Hon Reba Meagher is an attractive 41 year old female - much below the age of most of the executives in the Public Health Sector. This is great - she is young, female and holds a very senior position in government. Rare.What I don't get is why I find this disconcerting. I look up the Hon Nicola Roxon, Federal Health Minister, and find that she is the same age and level of attractiveness (depending on whether you prefer blondes or brunettes).Yeah, like I said, I don’t know exactly why I find it disconcerting. Could it be because neither MP has a medical background? Or the fact that they’re obviously career politicians? Am I prejudiced against young females. (no)In this web that is the public health system, I’m trying to figure out who really runs the show. Politicians, public servants, or doctors, nurses, ambos and the like.Sure, so politicians get to decide how much money goes where. But public servants have a lot more discretion in how it is spent, who gets hired, and the precise nature of how things are run. Medical practitioners get the benefit of (supposedly) being listened to because of their frontline knowledge, plus the fulfilment that comes with administering care to patients and making them healthier people… blah blah. At the end of the day the Minister of Health has the power to sack the Director-General, but it can’t be done without grounds.So why go into politics, apart from the obvious ego boost? In the public sector you can get paid just as much as the base salary for an MP (and more), you can fuel your interest in politics, you don’t have to stick photos of your gob up around the city every few years, you wouldn’t have to deal with endless phone calls from whinging, bigoted, misinformed constituents, and the newspapers wouldn’t care if you had a few drinks at the fashionable Ivy now and then. You wouldn’t be criticised for having no children (a personal decision which I find profoundly rude to comment on), you wouldn’t be accused of being a lesbian if you were a powerful woman. You could still make a difference in the job that you do, without the stress of the intense schedule of a profession that is severely underpaid for the hours that it demands.The quality of work performed in a minister’s portfolio has almost nothing to do with how the minister performs; but how well their respective departments/ministries are run. Fact. There just isn’t much that they can do, and even if they did manage to revamp what is essentially a giant, giant company, their hard work wouldn’t be seen by the public. When an MP seeks leave to table something in Parliament during question time it is up to the meek civil servants to run around like headless chickens to find the figures. I have been in the midst of this and it makes for a fun afternoon.With the media factoring heavily on how governments communicate these days, too much has come to depend on how things appear, rather than how they actually are.I think what I am trying to say with this post is that I find it hard to take these two ministers seriously when I have worked for their portfolio and seen the bigger machine that is at work. And it is rather eye-opening. [...]



More inadvertent quotes from National

2008-08-08T17:39:17.439+12:00

Nitwit Nick Smith from National was quoted two years ago as saying that New Zealand should pull out of Kyoto.

I wonder if he would say the same now that Global Warming is a fashionable bandwagon. (So much that it almost puts me off)

A hidden agenda? An indication of what National would really do (because come on, we really want to know) if elected to lead the Government?

I think YES.



Lessons learned in the workplace

2008-08-14T13:34:47.490+12:00

As many people know, on Wednesday nights I often revert to a de-stressing, more commonly known as mid-week tipples. I was a bit upset last night. Offended. We headed off to our local at around 9pm and proceeded to buy a drink. The barman (not the usual friendly has-a-crush-on-me one, I noted) would not serve us. It seems last week’s salt and pepper shaker stealing was not taken well. Note that it wasn’t me who did this, but a flatmate who moved to France on Tuesday.Shock and shame reverberated through my system. People my age, sorry, my maturity level do not not get served in pubs. So, we went home and without further ado proceeded to drink the chardonnay in the fridge. Depression from being denied entry. After about 3 hours of talking crap I traipsed up to bed. Hence the reason why I’m tired, irritable and in possession of negative attention span.Combined with the fact that I have the freedom of my own office (one thing they do not do to most people my age), this does not bode well at work.Anyway, one of my tasks today (and I only did it because I love paramedics…uniforms….drool) was to locate hospitals with ED departments along a map route. Harder than it sounds. In a big organisation it can sometimes be damned near impossible to find the simplest things. And even harder to find competent people. At times I have groaned with frustration at the systems in place that make getting anything done very slow. And the bigger the department, the cloudier the water. I’m not talking about red tape, I’m talking about bad management at a local level, high staff turnover and lack of skills being passed on, inability to juggle the wider picture with small details, communication ineptness and all round INCOMPETENCE.I'm not saying I work in a place like this but I have seen a bit here. And I can bag it because it's Australia, not New Zealand.It is rampant everywhere. Some people are incompetent by choice, and some by nature. And some of them are actually smart enough to display much of the following:1. They mask their incompetence by refusing to accept responsibility for any of their considerable mistakes – blaming them instead on temps, admin assistants, kiwis, and the young nice and vulnerable.2. They carry themselves about with aplomb and a veneer of busy-ness and fluster, in order to delegate their more menial and mind-numbing tasks to you.3. They are masters of subtle patronising, so that you always feel inadequate and incompetent around them. (And then leave their office feeling confused)4. For some reason they have a close relationship with someone in charge, so that you have to endure your boss go on and on and on about how able this employee is. (You leave your bosses' office feeling even more baffled)5. They are slow at responding to requests and they never seem to get anything done (especially if you're the one who asked for it).6. In order to bitch their way up the work food-chain, they go mental when you make a tiny mistake. This once involved the ticking of a post-it (one that was a note to myself), when in fact it should have been half a tick. Long tedious story.7. If someone is nasty to them like they deserve, they slowly start to slime the person off behind their back, and try to get you to do it too.8. They are often late and take long, leisurely lunch breaks.All this is done discreetly, though blindingly obvious if you observe for five minutes. Admittedly I only fully realised this with the benefit of hindsight.These people are a pain in the friggin arse. I know that in the long run if I grit my teeth sometimes and ta[...]



Before you know it...

2008-07-15T17:32:30.893+12:00

It is time. Time for a blog post. While I sit in my office typing up minutes, I think, why not type a post up instead. (Typing, any typing, gives the pretence of work) NB: I do work, very hard, but get through this stuff twice as fast as most people so am left with some to kill.The end of my trip to Sydney is nigh. I suppose the obvious question would be – is the grass really greener on the other side? Not greener, just a different colour. If you like high wages, queues (this includes bizarrely inconvenient bureaucracy queues), bad employment laws (how can I say ‘bad’ when there isn’t many to begin with), an off-the-Richter scale night life and a horizon that seems to stretch onto infinity, then this is the place for you. But if you like beaches, good food and wine, very ‘localised’ political processes, nice people and a sense of belonging, then New Zealand is your place. But then it would be because you’re probably from there.I can’t really describe the sense of disconnectedness I’ve felt because I’m used to it now. Six months is just long enough to get settled in – soon I will be disorientated again.Our group of friends here are primarily British, and we have moved into a main street in central Sydney. The traffic outside my window has even stopped messing with my chi – in fact, I don’t think I could get to sleep without the constant sound of angry car engines. We have had parties, seen obscure places with strange names on the train line, and become close to our new friends in a scarily speedy process, probably knowing each other better than most of our friends back home do.The flora and fauna are peculiar, some fantastic. There is a strange creature that wanders around – it may come from the same breed as “Male wearing board shorts and fluoro” but we’re not certain. This creature is good for dancing, snogging and poking fun of it’s accent. (Hint: sit in a train and tell them to read out all the Aboriginal place names – makes any long journey pass quickly) Bats are rampant, lizards hang around sunny patches of concrete (that’s right – I have kept away from the bush), and larger than average birds make war cries in the afternoon. Live and let live, I say.TV shows are not even worth mentioning – except for that inexplicably addictive animal show by David Attenborough which we all seem to congregate together to watch. You’d think it would be awkward watching live mating seasons with your flatmates, but it’s not. Advertisements are punctured regularly with anti smoking ads, followed regularly by a trip to the front room for a smoke.Another hint for Sydney tourists – ever wonder why Aussies never seem to swim at Bondi? There is a direct line of sewerage flow about 1km offshore – watch out.It is a great life, one that I will be very sad to say goodbye to. I will never forget my time in Australia.But on to more exciting things, I am seeing the Pope this weekend, and one month from now I will be in a train from Shanghai to Beijing, Volleyball Olympic tickets in hand. Then London and France, then settling down in Bath or Islington for another stint at working somewhere that isn’t quite home.xx L[...]



Tribute to Nandor

2008-06-27T14:11:33.483+12:00

(image)
A sad day for New Zealand politics. Below is what I believe to be a very accurate and honest portrayal of life in Parliament.


I will always remember the times I have met Nandor. He has time for just about everyone, and remembers them all too.


His integrity and strong value system are rare for someone with his job, and rare for a person in general.


Among young people he has been the face of the Green Party, and has made politics real for us. Even, dare I say it, fashionable.


I doubt that he will disappear from the scene and hope to hear of his work in the future.


Peace brother!!


(plagiarised from the New Zealand Herald)

"Nandor Tanczos left Parliament yesterday, saying he was going away to cleanse his soul and wouldn't need to know the time any more.
So he took out a hammer and pounded his watch to pieces.
The Green Party MP came to Parliament with a bang in 1999, a dreadlocked Rastafarian who admitted smoking dope and campaigned for it to be legalised.
He said in his valedictory speech that being an MP had changed his life.
"I came to Parliament thinking you're all a bunch of bastards," he told his colleagues.
"And I was wrong. There are many good people here. The very notion that all politicians are dishonest is misconceived."
Mr Tanczos said he believed most MPs came to Parliament with honest intentions, but many were compromised by it.
"How many times have Green MPs spoken in this House and had other MPs sidle over and tell us quietly, 'We agree with you'?" he said.
"The danger is the system changes us as much as we change the system, if not more.
"And that's why I'm leaving. The problem isn't how many people enter this place with honest intentions, but how many leave with them intact."
Mr Tanczos revealed he had avoided question time whenever he could.
"It's a time when I'm most ashamed of being a member of Parliament," he said.
"You all know what I'm talking about."
That was a reference to the abusive shouting and bad behaviour that go on during question time.
"We should grow up," he said.
"This is our national legislature. We should treat it and the positions we hold with more respect."
Mr Tanczos said the media carried blame as well.
"The buzzards who sit watching us up there, waiting for the next political corpse to pick over ... They will always report a fight, but stand to talk about anything real and most of them flap their wings and fly away."
He said the first thing he did when he came to Parliament was buy a watch, and he had been "cuffed to the prison bars of time" ever since.
"So today I remove that shackle, because when I look at the state of our rivers, our atmosphere and our people I don't need a watch to tell me what time it is."
And with that he left the debating chamber, walking over the shattered remains of his time piece."



The 'flying' orange

2008-05-01T21:55:20.537+12:00

Below are some pictures from our going away party. I was later informed that the orange actually ended up hitting a fellow blogger. Any guesses who it was?
(image) Hmmm, what shall we do with the orange?

(image) On a mission with the orange. (image) Not at the westies.


(image) Somewhere beyond the smoke, the orange fell on a target.
(image) I thought this was hilarious for some reason.



The Best and the Worst....

2008-05-01T21:56:59.222+12:00

Our time in Sydney is near its halfway way mark - the perfect time for reflection and prospective planning. Three months ago, with our rose colored glasses, unpreparedness, overzealous excitement, a stash of splendid farewell memories, and with the wise saying of the Great Explorer himself Christopher Columbus - "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” We set sail and began our lives as temporary itinerants with Sydney being our first base.

Since then we've sprained ankles, laughed until we cried, gone on dates, shopped until we dropped, had confrontations with Irish girls, slept in bad hostels, hunted around for New Zealand wine and much more. So for reflective and work procrastination purposes, here is a list of our best and worst of Sydney.

The Worst (in no particular order):

1. The four flights of stairs in Boomerang Hostel - potential disaster zone when carrying heavy luggage.
2. Banking - opening hours and new account application processes; 5 working day waiting period for card and then on top of that another 3 working day period for pin to arrive and activated.
3. The Gaff - Sweaty, Drunken Sleaze
4. Bad taxi drivers - if you think Auckland is bad, come to Sydney. 1st incident - Denied taxi for hospital just because taxi driver couldn't be bothered detouring to hospital via his way back to the taxi base. 2nd incident- Taxi driver tries to attempt a kiss and grab. (Shudders)
5. Home base Backpackers - TRAVELLERS BEWARE! - I could write a whole blog about this horrible place. Only good thing is we have met some great people there.
6. Lack of public garbage cans
7. Ridiculous entry fees for most clubs that just play standard non spectacular club music. I don't mind paying entry fees if its worth it.
8. Aggressive Irish girls
9. Office Politics
10. Movie Cinemas - airport line type barriers and no info posts about movies showing.



The Best (in no particular order)

1. The Beaches - no doubt about that!
2. Eating in Chinatown
3. The colours, sounds and vibrations of the fruit and vegie section at Paddy's market
4. New friends
5. Having money to actually save
6. Shopping !!
7. The epiphany moment of realising that you're not living in New Zealand anymore
8. Particular nights out.
9. Transport System
10. Intellectual conversation with hot Americans



And you’ll find out tonight oh it’s a world of extreme

2008-04-18T21:57:16.442+12:00

Blogging has been inspirationless. Fingers touch the keypad but all that comes out of alt tab flick backs between gmail, facebook and red confectionery is ........................complete..............fuck..............all.
One would think that two months of being abroad would have conjured something worthy to write. Lets face it, blogging must been inspirationless if the only blogpost in the past two months i've written is focussed on how blogging is extremely dull.

I miss home. Yes already. Though am not ready to come back. Not even for a short visit. I seriously don't know how kiwigirl does it. The thing i miss the most is having friends on call whenever for whatever reason.

K that is it for now. Salmonella Dub tommorow.
Im sure there will be more interesting blogs soon.

x

p.s: promise



Mildly Frightening Adventures

2008-04-14T21:23:13.821+12:00

I am sitting at an internet cafe, a regular haunt, and am starting to become a bit paranoid.

They are right outside our front door, and I have been coming here everyday for a month.

At first we thought the guys that work here were funny. They sit behind their desk, so low so only their eyes peer above the counter. It is peculiar.

While we're paying they don't actually speak - they grunt and nod, and sometimes they're not even there at all...

A funny place.

I just went up to the counter and discovered to my horror that the owner was writing up a spam email. You know, the ones that start off with:

"Dear SIR

I have great business opportunity for you please consider investing in zebra banking we offer interest free loan just pay fee of $50 into our bank account at zebra bank

...That kind of crap.

And they are always on the phone - I always got the impression they ran some kind of business.

I am a little weary about the information they might have access to, preying on innocent tourists that leave their accounts logged in... Getting access to their blood type, home address, bra size, personal information, etcetera, etcetera.

It's not as scary as Wolf Creek, and I am definitely avoiding the outback, but it is a bit thrilling.

Such badasses on this patch of the globe.

xx L