Thursday, 15 October 2020

The Final Mile

If I have written about this before you will have to excuse my age-related decline. 

One thing I have learned about long-distance travel in my years is the last hop can be the worst. It can be an evaporating driver, traffic congestion, or an odd delay.

Imagine my surprise when last Friday this occurred. 

I landed in Auckland at about 5:30pm from Rotorua. There is a new regional Koru lounge at the airport and after having a very sober isolation I thought I would give the local libations a good going over.

I started with a couple of (de)ciders and sampled some of the buffet to fortify my stomach. The (de)ciders went down very well so I thought I would throw a couple of Gin and Tonics down my throat before my 7:30pm flight. I was feeling pretty good about life and then boarded my plane.

The flight was soon all seated and I busied myself reading Air New Zealand paraphernalia from the seat pocket in front of me. Imagine my surprise when a very embarrassed co-pilot had to make this announcement.

"I am very sorry but I lost my pen on the flight down and I have had to get an Engineer to dismantle the cockpit to find the pen we will be delayed by 30 minutes or so"

Imagine my abject horror at this announcement. It took me screaming back to work a couple of weeks ago. It was all too familiar. I started messaging my Chief on board with some very colorful language.

"WTF"

"Why do we need pens in 2020 to fly planes?"

"Why do we need Aircraft Engineers to find pens?"

"&@^#^&@#^&@"

Eventually, the pen was found and we were able to fly. Unfortunately, I had not counted on this delay and had to wake the passenger beside me to use the facilities on a 30-minute flight. This sparked up a conversation with the comatose passenger beside me and the rest of my flight went swimmingly.

Today I was asked for some feedback on my flight. I shall send them a link. Penless planes what do you think?








Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The (G)Holden Ratio

As I emerged from the womb that is managed isolation I was reminded of something I learned working at sea.

In my experience, three out of four Kiwis are good people. If you have four on a boat usually one will be an odd egg. Starved of conversation, I rapidly indulged myself in banter with the mostly good people of Rotorua. I bandied words with a member of the Army who helped me with my bags.

I caught an Uber to a rental car location. The driver was very personable and was driving an electric car the same as my own. It was only a $7 fare but I squeezed that ride for every cent. 

The Gentleman at Hertz was a nice bloke. We commiserated about isolation. One of my thoughts earlier in the day was that a firm punishment in prison is to be given solitary confinement. I think a firmer punishment would be to be placed in a hotel room with an estranged partner or child for two weeks. 

Collecting my rental car I spent about 10 minutes reacquainting myself with the familiarity of being in the driver's seat, pairing devices, etc. Excuse me for sounding a bit posh but my last two car drives had been in S Class Mercedes strictly as a passenger.

I very conveniently had some familiar faces to spend some time within Rotorua before my flight so after setting up my GPS I pulled very gently out onto the road and started driving (sedately). Unfortunately, I was driving a bit too sedately for someone in a Golden Holden. I unintentionally had ruined his life by driving slowly in my embryonic state. He roared his engine and then did a strange maneuver which I guess would be equivalent to doing the fingers. 

I smirked to myself my ratio was proven correct.

And to be fair everyone who drives a Holden is a wanker. 

Friday, 9 October 2020

Leveling up

Today is my Son's 4th Birthday. Sadly given my location and logistics, I will not see him today. But we had a good korero this morning. He had some unique thoughts about attaining the age of 4.

He has demanded that the training wheels be taken off his bicycle. He also thinks he can automatically wear shoes that don't fit and clothes he has not been able to wear.

This is Gamer theory. As you attain new levels in a game you gain new abilities or costumes and flair.

For all of the time, I have had in the last 2 weeks I have not played any games. Which is quite astonishing. I still have two hours though so I might gain a level or two :-).

Happiest Day of the Year

What a relief.

I woke up to the tremendous news the All Blacks will not be away from their families for Christmas.

New Zealand has been in a state of terror knowing that a professional team that has not played any games for 7 Months could have missed out of Christmas with their loved ones. Forget COVID this is life-threatening stuff.

Sardonic mode disable.

Anyway. I am very happy to leave my little four-walled room. I have had many thoughts over the past two weeks. Some dark, some light many in between.

It is a strange world, the commodity we most complain about not having enough of is time and when we are given an abundance of it we still manage to complain. 

I still have a few hurdles before my next four-walled room but these are minor details. They probably won't be reported.



Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Lowest Point of my Life

That is clickbait. Thanks for clicking.

At approximately 5:20pm today I hit a new low. I was trying to think of things I could do to kill time before Dinner. Admittedly my formidable intellect has struggled at times to keep sanity in check this year.

I did think about having a coffee but then thought against it as it is quite late. I have already drunk my room out of green tea and then.....

I saw it.

DECFAFINNATED Coffee.

That terrible stuff. Absolutely pointless. I have always laughed at mirthfully.

But clearly, it does have a point.

Cheers.


Sources Close to a Friend of said.....

I spend quite a bit of spare time listening to podcasts. I like the long-form conversations, the banter, the things that we usually share with humans in a time of increasing disparity. 

I have also taken to recording voice memos when using messaging programs. I just find recording my voice a lot faster than thumbing my phone. I find that akin to a closeted ape trying to extract bananas from a mysterious handheld banana vending device. One of my favourite podcasts is comedian Bill Burr's The Monday Morning Podcast.

Some notable people in my sphere of confluence have expressed varying degrees of accommodation at my well thought out often rant toned voice recordings. So I got thinking. If I was to regularly record and syndicate said rantings what would I call them?

When I stray into the media by accident like a brown bear who has run out of forest animals to eat and decides to visit someone's campground only to die eating a bag of Doritos. I am always struck by phrases used when a Journalist wants to write something less than true or not true at all. Speculation.

What would I call this thing?

"Sources Close to"
"A Friend of"

Or something else?

This might be where this poorly thought out exercise falls down. Maybe it is for the best. I can see my accent being a bit of an issue for most of the world's population if my time at sea is any indication. But I shall keep writing. These words may lie but they are spell checked. 



Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Gracias

I was going to record this at home where I felt it would be easier,

But one thing I have learned about this year and life in general. Do not assume anything to be easy or go to plan. So after a leisurely 2-hour siesta, I set about and recorded this.

It is a tribute to my numerous friends dotted through the cosmos and like of us all it has few blemishes and may have passed through a meteor shower. Some I see frequently, yearly or not nearly enough but I am happy to know you all the same.

Enjoy.



Black Face Tuesday

 You see, to the untrained eye that headline would make most people feel uncomfortable. 

But it pales in comparison to having your noise invaded by a swab and how do I link these things together?

Well, as part of my routine maintenance schedule. Today is black bamboo mask Tuesday. I had cleansed said face and shrouded it in hot towels for the recommended amount of time. I then applied the black goop with a plastic brush and paused to admire my work.




Unfortunately, I then had to attend to a phone call. It was reception telling me that I had to go and get the last PCR test of my stay. I said this was fine, I was just doing some treatments and I would be down in a second. So I leapt into the shower and started peeling, gouging and scratching said blackface off. I had barely finished having a shave and my door started knocking.....

It was the Nurses. Luckily I had my large black gown which I use for such occasions. My temperature was fine. I've been running quite cool here. Certainly cooler than I do in Europe. 

I went down the lift and I had the final test of my stay here. I can certainly smell Rotorua so I believe I am COVID free.






Monday, 5 October 2020

Sunday/Monday

I had a bit of a low key Sunday. Initially, my plan was to wear as little as possible and do less than anything.

Unfortunately, I still had my daily Nurse visit to contend with. So I chose a morose black ensemble. When I am feeling excessively sanctimonious in my abilities to do very little I shrowd myself in black. Think of a Ninja that never attacked anyone or did a thing. A black canvass. 

I did have quite a good movie marathon. I started with Goodfellas which I am somewhat loosely connected with via a previous employer.  I then moved onto The Dark Knight Rises, and he's always in black and housebound at the start of the film. I dallied with Scarface having spent a bit of time in Miami in the last few years. I think people wear more clothes now than they did in Scarface. I then meandered into The Godfather, which if I was to choose had to be the pick of that crop. I had to abandon the Godfather halfway as it got a bit late.

Today I had a good bout of hotel room exercise. I have become very good at doing things with suitcases and chairs as well as my swiss ball and yoga matt. My breakfast arrived on time but I would not have known it as by this point I had lost my watch. There is something quite comical about a man with all of the time in the world losing his watch. It was under my bed of course. The last place a person would look for a timepiece. 

My nurses still managed to me catch naked as I was having a shower but I did all of us a favour by throwing on some clothes. I then continued to watch the Godfather and created a terribly shoddy meme.


It has got very warm here now. I believe it is currently 24 degrees outside. I would partake in some superficial solar radiation to stimulate melanin but no. That would require clothes and it still feels like Sunday.

Tomorrow I hope I have my last COVID test of the year. Not long now.

In closing have also managed to craft a new acronym.

TIAPSOP

Thriving in a perpetual state of purgatory.





 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Dragon Unchained

This post is from the past. The clever thing about blogger and the internet, in general, is that you can write things and then set them to automatically appear as you desire.  

After my somewhat rude awakening, I finished watching Django Unchained. I had started watching it the night before in conjunction with my somewhat crude attempt at having a good nights sleep. I am sure you have seen Django Unchained if you have not and are squeamish wear your COVID mask over your eyes and hold your ears with your hands.

It is terrifyingly violent but extremely satisfying. A slave becomes a freeman rescues his Wife and kills a lot of bad people with some good explosions thrown in for good measure.

I helped a friend with a business project drafting up a very rough spreadsheet with some ideas. I hope it helps him. If it does not I can work on it today. The beauty of having a some what absent schedule.

As the Sun had appeared I thought I should take a walk in our yard. As I went to enter the lift I saw someone leave who looked ill not wearing a mask and somewhat dishevelled. I surmise it was just jet lag but I did take the liberty to lubricate all of the lift buttons with copious amounts of hand sanitiser which is dotted around the premises.

Our yard is on the basement level. It is really the car park but as all the "guests" arrive by bus it serves as a walking track. People walk in a clockwise direction at a slow pace and there is plenty of friendly Army personnel to talk to from a distance. 

I did notice a few salty types. Despite my actual electromechanical tendencies I do know what sailors look like and with a bit of eavesdropping, I learned they are part of the English Americans cup challenge. Grant Dalton if you are reading. They are big units. I hope you guys have got a good program for your boys. 

After my lunch, I think I spent about 5 hours working on a new mix which I shall record as soon as I get back to my decks. I could do it here but the karma and yin/yang and all that jumbo here is a mess.

So I actually feel like I had quite a productive day. It appears if you put Dragons in cages they can be quite industrious. But DONT TELL ANYONE.

Today is actually a Mayan Frequency Shift day.

My last thoughts before I sleep. I have that Friday night feeling that you learn as you discover the world. I feel like I am missing out on something. I wonder to myself in 40 years will I still have that feeling from my sumptuous Dragons Den or will I be a Dragon chained.



Friday, 2 October 2020

Beam Me Up

Under the advice of some podcaster who was babbling to me during my jetlag induced insomnia, I started using an app called Sleep Cycle. Sleep Cycle uses your microphone to gauge how well you are sleeping. After one night use, I have discovered a couple of bugs.

It does not mix well with sleep aids. I had to use a sleep aid last night as I had a nap during the day to pass the time you know how it goes. I also received some coffee from countdown as I felt a bit guilty drinking the hotel out of coffee sachets all the time as much as I enjoy talking to the reception. This meant I drank a bit more coffee than is usual and I did not get to sleep until after 12am.

So at approximately 6:15am I started to hear a weird sound. It was a bit like a star trek transporter sound so from the depths of torpor I began thinking I was finally being taken home to my alien home. About bloody time. 

But alas it was Sleep Cycle politely reminding me that I am alive and I should be doing something. So here I am. I am well. I am seven days into Isolation 7 more to go. After 5 days of using Sleep Cycle, it will tell me if I need to start sleeping in a coffin or uninstall it. Now that is a smart app. Get on your bike.


Thursday, 1 October 2020

How to have a happy Isolation

This year, I have isolated at home in a bubble. I have isolated in a hotel for 7 days in Florida, 14 days in a hotel in Auckland. 7 Days in an apartment in Antibes and I am 6 days into my last 14 days of isolation in Rotorua New Zealand.

I have some experience.

Here are some lessons I have learned, which I trust will help you if you have to isolate returning home or visiting somewhere.

Before isolation

Make some lists of things to take.
Books to read.
Movies to watch.
Things to learn.
Hobbies that you have always wanted to do.
Some knitting needles and wool.

One thing you will have is an abundance of is TIME. Managing your time will make your isolation go faster.

During Isolation.

Try and have a routine. I get up at the same time each day, meditate and then exercise or just some simple stretching to kind of warm-up my middle-aged body for a day of not much. I have a simple bedtime routine all of my devices go onto flight mode or are turned off and I make my room very dark.

If you are able to go outside each day. DO THIS. It is very important for your mental well being. Even five minutes of sunlight is going to do wonders for your mental health.

Don't be afraid to ask the hotel for coffee or anything else. It's always nice to hear a human voice.

Get some exercise. If you can use stairs use them. My exercise equipment at the moment is a yoga matt and a swiss ball and there are a lot of things you can do with not much at all. That suitcase of clothes you don't have anywhere to wear is probably 20 kilos.

Read. I have rekindled (pun) my love of reading during isolation. It's a great way to pass the time and escape from reality for a while.

Write. Well here I am, or you could have a personal journal. I do despair at people complaining about isolation. But it is a necessity in this strange new world. I know it's not nice but if you follow my guide you too can be an ISOPRO.

I have spent a lot of time preening myself in isolation but clipping my nails, cutting my own hair and generally being a human has made me feel like one. 

Listen to music. Music is such a good way of changing your mood, day, everything. 

Don't expect your internet to be blazingly fast. You are probably going to be in a full hotel with lots of people wanting to stream things at night time. Put some media on a drive or you know, pack some books those old school things people used to read.

Pack an HDMI cable as well so you can watch your legally acquired media on your hotel television.

Stay away from the news. I have blocked a lot of news sites and do not watch the news. If something serious happens regarding COVID you will be contacted by your local health authority and they will not be hunting clickbait. Most news is shit and the real story is only accurately reported 6months or a year later.

Annoy your friends. If they do not enjoy being annoyed then maybe they are not really your friends. Jokes. I had a very lengthy voice call with a dear friend yesterday and it was REALLY good for me.

Use your time wisely, rest you are probably going to have jetlag anyway so use your isolation to deal with that without causing anguish on people you would usually see.

In my experience, the first 7 days go pretty quickly. It's the last 7 days that test your mental resolves. Don't be afraid to use services that are on hand to help you with your mental health.

Finally

As your day of Freedom approaches or before. Start making dates to see people and do things. Maximize your time at home it's precious. If you are returning to work look forward to seeing your work friends and eating some food that hasn't been delivered in a bag.

Ciao x ISOPRO

I will keep updating this as I am still learning.