Friday, 15 March 2019

Guest Preference Sheet : Ruby McConnell

One of the more pressing and facile things we do at work is Guest Preference sheets. They provide insights into the whims of the more demanding visitors. Information gleaned is added and amended. They tell us what to expect and how to prepare.

I thought I might write one for Ruby. She's been a demanding Guest from Day dot.

Dietary requirements:

Ruby will eat anything at least once. Favourites include Popcorn, Avocado, Meats and anything going bad. She will help herself to table service and loves a good impromptu buffet. She will eat from your hand. She will also eat off the floor and in mid-air.

She will not eat citrus.

BBQ's are a favourite as is any sort of fast food.

Do not take her through a drive-through.


Ruby usually awakens at 7am. If there is no food about she will usually lie in bed. She likes to listen to the radio and the fridge opening. She will wait until the youngest person has eaten and then she will stand directly under the feet of the nearest adult.

After breakfast, she will stand by the door. She does not like to use her dog door, preferring the nearest human to let her out and back in again.

After visiting some grass she will find the warmest comfortable spot and will move as the sun does.

As other people eat she will help clean plates and is quite fond of detailing utensils and plates inside the dishwasher.

If anyone needs to lie down she will quite happily ruin said relaxation by sitting on pillows and barking once you are resting.

At 4pm Ruby will demand something to chew.

Bedtime is usually when there is no chance of food being served. She prefers to lie on an Adult bed but can be coaxed into her accommodation with a treat


Ruby does like a walk before dinner. She also likes to get very animated when there are chickens around.

She has been known to chase balls but prefers avocado stones these days.


Ruby will not leave tips. She will leave a lot of hair.

We love Ruby.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

El Draco

I wrote earlier in the month about the pains of making mixes.

Given my relatively short stay in New Zealand and a timely internet outage over the weekend, I have managed to hatch El Draco.

Giving a mix the name of your Alter Ego is quite an arduous task. Luckily I have some experience with all things Dragons. Myself included.

You can listen and download here. Please heart if you enjoy. Share if you dare and download at your leisure.

There is a bonus track at the end after the burnable section of the CD. So if you burn to CD you might miss it. Who burns CDs ? Dragons do of course.

Monday, 11 March 2019

A Loveable Son of a Gun

I departed work at 10:30am on Thursday the 7th of January GMT -7.

I quickly discovered that the person responsible for our passports had separated my American Visa Passport EST 2009 from my current Passport. Returning back after 15 minutes to my workplace was a little ignominious but I am glad I returned in this timely manner and did not disgrace myself at the Airport. 

The part of Mexico we are in is awash with Americans celebrating Spring break. Americans like the English are migratory animals tending to defile holiday spots en mass. My driver stopped about halfway to Cabo for a comfort stop. There was a large group of middle-aged males drinking beer like it was their last. I smiled knowingly, not really knowing what it is like to drink beer in such a fashion. Rest assured it won’t be beer when it is my last. 

At the airport, I was again overwhelmed with Americans. I saw queues like I had never seen. I abandoned purchasing a choice bottle of tequila in the duty-free, gave up hope on eating anything and found a spot in a lonely looking bar. The atmosphere was passable, Frat boys on their way to oblivion and middle-aged people like myself trying to remember/forget why they came here year after year. 

My connecting flight was San Francisco. In San Francisco, I was bewildered with my airline's lounge. United has two tiers of lounge. The lower tier lounge I found myself in had not changed much since I was born. Blending in with wallpaper paper I quickly imbibed a bottle's worth of Napa Red and ate several bowls of non-descript potato salad. The coffee making facilities did have jellybeans in a bowl. What an attentive snob I have become. 

I was soon boarding my plane and what was to be an eventful flight to Auckland. I had something quite strange happen on the flight. My first time in over 18 years of long haul. If you would like to find out you can reach me with other means and I will retell the story a few times until it becomes something quite extraordinary. Hopefully the retelling the tale will ease the trauma.

I was soon dripping around a rainy Auckland waiting for my next flight. I had a phone message to contact work. Thinking it must be something serious I called. I wish I hadn’t. My prize for being such a loveable Son of a gun is that I am to return to Mexico in 2 weeks for a week-long trip. I am not altogether enthused at this prospect. We had plans. I changed jobs to avoid situations like this. I really am some bodies toy.


Still, it always nice to be home.

Maybe I will get that bottle of Tequila when I return to Mexico. I've probably earned it.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

He Stopped the Dance

"'Flint had spoken publicly about taking his own life when he was "done", but said, "I swear to God that's not suicidal – it's definitely a positive thing... I'm not frightened of who I am; I just want to look back and know that I've lived what I consider a fulfilled life. That's all. Happy days."

Very Sad.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Shirking Weeekends

I work weekends a lot.

It is a necessary evil and I have developed a couple of evolutionary adaptations over the years to help me cope with what initially was a frightening prospect. Here are a few of my ever so helpful hints.

If you are sharing an eating space with colleagues that are not working. Make sure you use a blender or drill with a whisk attached loudly with a lot of ice around their hungover persons frequently. They will learn quickly you are serious. Sometimes I just blend ice with nothing else.

Drink a lot of coffee. You should feel a tightness in your chest before 7am all going well. You can use a cup of blended ice to cool down your forehead if it gets too much.

Enjoy the fact that nobody sends emails on a Weekend.

If you have to wear a uniform. Dress down. Wear slippers instead of shoes. Shorts instead of pants. Better yet don't wear a uniform but still carry tools and things that identify you as working in case anyone has the gall to ask you what you are doing.

Wear headphones, preferably large. These will come in handy when you are using the blender.

Eat ice cream at every opportunity.

If you have any fun tasks to do save them for the weekend. Your weekend self will thank you for it.

If you do have to be seen by anybody, leverage some of the caffeine you poisoned yourself with earlier appear excessively animated and you attending to a critical failure of a life-threatening piece of equipment.

When everyone convenes on Monday to talk about the exciting things they did.

Blend some more ice.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Lousy Jigsaw Piece

A bit of a low key day here today. I have been applying myself to the gruelling task of curating a new mix for my SoundCloud page. It is a Trepidatious task and one I periodically apply myself to.

The process is best explained in a series of bullet points.
  • Acquire an arsenal of songs.
  • Try to fit them together like parts of several abandoned jigsaws
  • Hit dispair
  • Start again
This has been going on for a few months now. It is nearly impossible to do when I am at home, because of things.

Speaking of home. This time next week I shall be at there in a slightly wrinkled and dishevelled state. I am looking forward to seeing my Family and calling snacks forever canapes(CanApes) loudly in a faux posh accent.

Speaking of which. One of my colleagues remarked on my *posh* voice I threw on for *reasons*. I resolutely and standoffishly refute any inference that I have anything resembling a posh voice.

I can stop uttering profanities for a couple of sentences when I put mind to it.

If anyone needs me I shall be looking for jigsaw pieces, swearing. 


Friday, 1 March 2019


Welcome to my experiment. I have a largely unproven hypothesis which has struck me in moments of clarity.

Social media stifles creativity and alters true thought.

I first noticed a sinister side to Social media when I found myself getting VERY wound up during the last American presidential campaign. Admittedly it is all too easy to consume News and opinions 24 hours a day.

I also have moments of guilt when I think about this very blog which output has plummeted. Correlating with every photo, status update, like and click elsewhere.

Make no mistake. Social networking uses psychology, brain chemistry and evolutionary biology to capture your attention far more than any drug.

Last March when the Cambridge Analytica story broke I was ready to quit. I would deactivate Facebook, remove the Instagram and Twitter apps and be a free person.

So I thought. Then I realised I was organising an event on Facebook. I also have photos I like to see. I could not be free.

A year later. The event is over. The photos I can do without.

I shall opt out for a month and see what happens. 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Conscious Trial Separation and Rangefinding

Calm the farm. My trial separation is a month off facebook. A cleverly thought out hashtag #marchout will be explained in due course but the real test will be seeing if I can conjure up more words in cohesive phrases through a semi-regular torrent of splendid prose.

But first? Some pictures. Ah, there is that dichotomy I was dreaming of.

One of the more simultaneously frustrating and rewarding parts of my vocation is having to be an all-knowing oracle for anything with a CPU, buttons or a touch screen. Over Valentines, I was presented with a Camera and asked to provide deep insights in its use.

The Camera was not your average Camera. It was a range finder Leica M.

Being a greying Xenial I invoked my reality distortion field, hastily consulted Google and bluffed my way through some photos.

It was not easy. It turns out you do need to have more than a passing interest in photography to wield one properly.

I must have sold being adequately flummoxed because I was left with a Leica Hermes Model M9-P to *learn*.

I foolishly thought it was worth 10 thousand dollars. I took my best security Goon this every evening with me to do some photography.

It turns out it is worth 50 thousand dollars. Gazooks. I probably would not have left home if I had known it was worth so much.

Anyway, what follows is some photos. I hope you enjoy them.

It turns out Rangefinding Cameras become easy after some practice. Something people do not have time for anymore but they do have the money.

I actually still don't know how to use this camera but if you made it this far. I have succeeded.

See you soon :-).

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A Very Mexican Safari

My profuse apologies for the scarcity of content. This blog has been in remission and life had conspired against updating it. Rest assured I have a plan to increase said content. Stay tuned.

Last weekend I was to have swum with whale sharks and written about these large creatures. Alas, the elements conspired against me and a slightly less natural option was chosen.

A Mexican Desert Safari. But first, let us slide into reverse. Where am I? Well I am currently in La Paz Mexico. Not to be confused with the prison in Columbia. I changed jobs last year, in what was a very needed but abrupt change which still troubles me.

The Chief Engineer and I were collected at 10am on Saturday morning. We are not allowed out very often and I fear we looked like two lost moles waiting outside our complex for our ride. We collected two other tourists and were taken to a depot to collect our vehicles. It was a team effort with the Chief neglecting to bring his drivers licence and myself being more interested in taking photos and providing audio accompaniment.

After a rudimentary safety and waiver signing session, we were soon out on the open road.

 We abruptly stopped under direction from our guides and were encouraged to buy beer. This is why we signed a waiver. Things are different here.

Back on the highway we eventually started heading up a large flood viaduct. The alluvial plain was being mined for large rocks. Various shanty towns slowly oozed down steep embankments. Not startled in the slightest we kept heading up the valley. 

Marvelling at old car tyres and heavy machinery we must have made quite a comical three-vehicle convoy to the sparse workers dotted along the thoroughfare with the Bluetooth speaker enabled gringos bringing up the rear.

We soon stopped at something a lot more interesting. An impressive collection of rocks and a water source which drained away under the soft sand. It was here I lost Chief Rikki for the first time. It turns out he is part mountain goat and climbs to vantage points at any opportunity.

We were off again and up a ridge past an irate farmer when we noticed this chap.

That my dear readers is a Carcara hawk.

The next spot was a bit special. This tree is a bit famous as we discovered in town later with paintings and sculptures of it being on sale.

The tree has grown around a very large rock. 

Our guide thought we should have an artistic pose together.  

I lost Rikki again.

And we soon descended out of the hills to La Paz.

To successfully debrief from our heroic journey we attempted a bar crawl of sorts. Sadly there were not many bars in the offering. The 'best' Margarita in La Paz was an insipid effort. Spending a bit of time in Mexico I have turned into quite a Margarita connoisseur. A sweet Margarita is usually disguising poor tequila. 

With the sun waning we headed back to our Marina. With the luck which only I seem to have, we were set upon by a smaller boat with three Kiwis on board and were soon enjoying small boat comforts. Like inviting randoms onto your boat because one of them is a Kiwi and you know the other one. It was the most Kiwis I had seen since I left home and it brought back some fond memories from ten years ago when I worked on a very small boat.

That's right. I have been ten years in this game. Who would have thought?