Attention Grammar Police!

If you should find offenses to the English language in any of my articles please leave a comment and let me know so that I can obliterate it forever! Thanks!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year!

So the hot topic of last year's last evening was whether we now say "two thousand and ten" or "twenty ten"?

Personally I like "twenty ten" because as a child of "Nineteen seventy eight" and having pronounced my years that way for the first 21 years of my life it makes more sense to say the year with such a comfortable mouthful. Let's face it, 10 years of having to say the word "thousand" before every year is exhausting, bad for asthmatics and I'm protesting!

It was a fun night out tonight with friends in their happening backyard where the wind blew, we shivered in this strangely cold Auckland Summer around a brazier as we tore steak apart with our teeth, downed a few beers and blew stuff up as the clock struck 12.

Highlights for 2009?

Becoming a Dad, hands down. Greatest moment of this year. Nothing comes close to comparing. Second greatest moment was buying our first home since the last one we owned and the sigh of relief that came with it as God once again proved that in all things he works for the good of those who love him!

In the new year I would like to find out if Smurfs are real, write a book and quite my job... I'll keep you posted on that one. I would also like to memorize the four Gospels, lose three kilograms and buy a cat, even if I sneeze to death in the process...

Either way I want the first thing I do before I sleep away the next 5 hours of Day One is to wish you all a very happy new year, may you be fruitful and prosper well beyond all conceivable measures!

This year I would encourage you to lose three kilograms as well, just because I don't want to be the only one who has to do it. Post me any dead smurfs you may find and write to me and ask me some random questions so I can keep my other New Year's Resolution of not running out of things to write about!

Drive Safe

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dream Sequence Part 2

Its 12.30 in the a.m. and I'm wondering why I am torturing myself at the desk top here? Probably because I'm notoriously lonely with my wife and baby being all the way on the other side of the trough in that wretched wasteland we typically call Australia.

I have to call it a “wretched wasteland” because then I can pretend that I didn't just spend a beautiful week soaking up the sun and hitting the beaches in the QLD... especially now that I have returned to that dismal dark corridor I work in with those loud machines that feed the masses such banal rubbish everyday (I'm a movie projectionist in case you've forgotten).

The second reason I have to refer to Australia in a derogatory manner is because I am a Kiwi and that’s what we Kiwi’s do, we pretend that Australia sucks, even when it doesn’t. It’s in my genes.

But in all seriousness, it doesn’t suck and it’s not wretched at all. If Australia was guilty of one sin it would only be that it is insufferably hot and sticky and very big.

Apart from bringing home an Ozzie tan and 3 extra kilos of fat around my waist (to help my belt hold up my pants), I also brought back an ear infection from too much swimming with my head under the water. But Christmas brunches, lunches and banquet style dinners will do that to you - make you sink to the bottom of the first pool you dive into! I was also lucky enough to share a swim with a giant man eating spider (that is if the man was the size of a GI Joe) and a frog that we had to rescue from a volley ball as my team lost miserably to the other team of relies. I felt like I was in Meet the Parents as I showed the in-laws what an abysmal hand I was at sports but then remembered that I could kick a few butts on the Nintendo Wii...

That night ended with us eating dessert at 12:30 in the a.m.

And so the torture continues with me having way too many late nights as now I have a holiday from my holiday and still have to work…

Seeing as I have nothing else to write about I will continue with this newish “dream series” which will probably amount to people writing to me to tell me I need therapy or a bucket of hydrochloric acid or both...

This morning I was locked into a sleep deeper than the death of Socrates so I hardly remember much apart from this massive horde of Indians, as in the ones that invented the curry burger, gathering outside a cinema complex. They were following an entire royal family who had come to this theatre for a special screening of something or other and I was the one who was going to play their movie for them. And so the pressure mounts…

I followed the crowd of peasants, for that is what they were, dirty messy people who had received such an honor as to watch a flick with their Monarchs, up a flight of stairs which became steeper and steeper until I came through the wide open double doors at the top and found myself staring down at an enormous drop behind me as I struggled against the crowd which wouldn't sit down fast enough. I felt the utmost vertigo as I looked outside the doors at the vast expanse below me with fields and small buildings peppered on the ground below...

Somehow I either managed to shut the doors or I escaped up the aisle to a better position of anywhere but there!

I found myself ringing my brother to see if he was keen to go and see AVATAR in 3D and that I was leaving from my other brother's house shortly if he wanted to meet me there... then I looked at the ground and there were these glowing shells all over the floor. The kind of shells you see Island Tribesmen blowing into to make a trumpety noise, only these ones were obviously man made, smooth and warm.

I realized the floor was in fact the ceiling and the room was somehow upside down... I asked my brother how the room came to be tipped over as it was but he told me that it was meant to be that way and that these lights were a new cost effective energy saving technique where the shells absorbed the suns energy throughout the day and lit the floor by night. I thought it was rather stupid seeing as I had nowhere to walk unless I wanted to stub my toe.

I think dreaming of work like that is indicative of my fear that one day I’m going to go there and become the unfortunate victim of a stampede of angry patrons.

This dream began with some undertones of a Christ like parable about the Kingdom of Heaven in which the people from the streets are invited to the Wedding Feast and get to dine with the King. It also reminds me of when Jesus said to “enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction…” I wonder if my looking back at the suddenly steep stairs was a realization of the worldly road that I had been walking on some years ago before returning to church and some anxiety that I may be slipping backwards onto it?

The theatre could be like church but why I would want to leave church to watch AVATAR I would have no idea; the movie is ridiculous except that Cameron has made it to look as real as possible, and yet it is still fake no matter how real it looks… maybe that’s how I see the physical world – fake no matter how real it appears to be? And when I find myself in a room where the ceiling is the floor but am told that is how it is meant to be, I’m thinking that maybe that’s like the bad stuff that happens in your life, when terrible things happen and your world is twisted upside down it turns out that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and his light shines through the floor to guide your feet, I thought it was stupid because I was scared of stubbing my toe when in actual fact the light would prevent that from happening as in that psalm “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…”

Yep, it’s definitely very late and I’m getting esoteric…

I better go before I start dreaming and typing at the same time!

In the mean time here's a friend of mine playing a song we all should know...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dream Sequence Part One

I suppose you could say my new years revolution (because my resolutions almost always fail I will call it a revolution instead; should it succeed it really would be a revolution!) would be that I will give a better go of blogging. For lots of reasons of course, the main being that I want lots of people to read it and shower me with accolades that land gently on my ego and heal the bruises of my day job! But also because I saw that rediculous movie - Julie and Julia. My wife made me do it.... ok so I lie, I actually wanted to see it but I found the movie worthy of a seperate condemning review, so all I will say is as annoyingly girlie as the movie was it did inspire me to write. Here was Julie writing about cooking until one day someone sends her what looks like a bottle of Nando's Perri Perri Sauce and I started thinking, man if I write daily maybe eventually someone will send me some thing to eat?

Anyway, enough of that, I guess its because I haven't had breakfast yet and its already mid day!

My blog site is not really about anything. Its like Seinfeld, a show about nothing. But if you believe the evolutionists eventually something comes out of nothing and I might say something worth mentioning. I will write about whatever's on my mind at the time and that could be anything from how much I hated Dances with Wolves (sorry, I meant to say AVATAR)to what I learnt in Church this Sunday. But just to fill in a bit of space I'm going to start blogging the majority of my dreams because if they can entertain me perhaps they can entertain you just enough to keep you interested, and frankly they are much more exciting than that new James Cameron movie and probably make more sense as well.. ouch!

I had a great big sleep in this morning to recover from my recent holiday in Aussistralia's Sunshine Coast where the sun may set but is always there in spirit, your clothes are always wet from the broken down air conditioning system in your body as it over produces sweat and you run out of things to wear very quickly. It was incredibly winderfull but how nice has it been to be in a bed that I can actually snuggle up to under a thick blanket since being back in Auckland!

So as I was doing all that snuggling and snoring I dreamed...

I was in a masssive top secret and very metallic facility in the middle of the ocean. The place was enormously enormous and towerered from the sea floor to well above the waves that crashed against its side. It would have been cool were it not for the fact that every scientist, soldier and cleaning lady in the great sea city had been converted to Zombism and were running around the place on their dead legs eating people along the way. Thankfully I missed out on all the gory details and can't remember if I saw any arms being munched on or throats being throttled but the dream took a turn for the worst when suddenly there were no Zombies to worry about any more and the rest of us survivors were happily cleaning up the mess until I was handed a gun and told to go into this one particular room where the last infected thing resided which just so happened to be a visciously adorable piglet.

It didn't help that I had suddenly become a female scientist either, that only added to the horrificy of it all.

So I go into this perfectly white room that had what looked like silky white stalks going from floor to sterile ceiling making it extremley difficult for me to see where this little pig was and compounding my paranoia that this little pink pig might prickle me in the ankle and start the whole terrifying canabalistic nightmare all over again.

Sure enough the little piglet sees me and all it wants to do is chase me around the spooky white forest and lick me while I can't get a clear enough aim at its forehead.

So in I walk, one minute I was the science chick and the next I'm me again, coming into the room to save the day. Upon my entry the strange white plants dissapear and the room becomes bare with only a fireplace in the centre and a little dog resting inside it, looking at me with its big round eyes. I think it was something like a poodle but cuter because normally I would have shot a poodle without thinking about it (ok, not really). But I had a moral duty to protect the human race so without thinking I aimed the gun at its head and pulled the trigger only to have a very much alive doggy staring back it me quizzically with a round slug pallet imbedded in its forehead!

Those stupid military gits who couldn't do this themselves had given me an air pistol. Realising I would have to reload some fifty times while I torture this poor creature to death with lead marbles I went to the door where my boss was standing, called him an idiot and declared that I needed a real gun. He told me that as soon as I got out of that room he was going to detain me for insubordination, then someone gave me a gun they had made. It looked like a crome pan-flute. Disturbingly beautiful and probably completely functional as both a musical instrument and a killing machine. The round bullet that I placed in the barrel was as big as a gob stopper or an eye ball that had turned into steel. I walked up to the dog and had a fantasy about just picking it up and throwing it into the sea. It seemed like a more humane idea at the time to just pit the pooch into the gaping jaws of a shark but then I was told off ,in my fantasy, by the female scientist that I had formerly been, because if the dog was eaten by a shark then we would end up with Zombie sharks and eventually Zombie fishies, leaving the human race in the same position of facing its own extinction at the cost of everything else on the planet . So I shook myself out of the fantasy and marched up to what I thought was a dog only to come face to face with a 4 year old girl...

I was being tortured by my subconscious now, it was going to make me go through with this exocution no matter how cute the innocent criminal may be. She asked me what we were going to do today and I told her we would play a little game. I had her stand against the wall and to distract her I took a pencil and began drawing an outline around her little body, so that we would at least have her sillouette to remember her by. She thought it was fun and kept lauaghing so I began whispering to her how much her daddy loved her as I lifted the gun to do the deed...

Thankfully at this point my mobile phone rang, in real life, and it woke me up before I pulled the trigger. It was my mate Geoffrey wanting to have our weekly chat about Doctor Who. Usually when I'm woken out of an intense dream, like when I'm doing breath stroke in mid air or discovering a bag of money under my pillow I try to go back to sleep and finish the fantasy but in this case I was happy to leave it with the little girl still alive and ready to infect the human race with her cute brand of necromancy.

I feel deeply disturbed.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

6 Months in…

So as you may or may not care, I thought I would tell you about my recent adventures in Fatherhood, or as it is known in some cultures: “that man who lives in the same house as your mom, who you ask for things when mom has already said ‘No’”

Thankfully, as my title suggests, my little treasure is a tad too young to manipulate me in such a common but none the less devious way. However in such a short time she has managed to rap me around her little finger – and given the size of her little finger; that’s a whole lot of me!

I think I will spare you the grisly details of the first few hours of her life because, well, I’m not in a gory mood just now… But I will say this, I thought I would be one of those husbands in the delivery room, standing well away from the scene of the crime, trying desperately not to be a witness or even a suspect but I rather surprised myself and the Midwife who later praised me for my valuable contribution to the proceedings… in fact I was ready to do it all again, except my wife didn’t share my enthusiasm!

Let us fast forward… my partner in crime was busy with the Doctor people so I got to do the Skin to Skin for an hour. What is Skin to Skin when you’re not at home but sitting in a cold maternity ward full of pain and joy? Well, it’s that fun part where you get to take off your shirt and sit there with a naked baby on your chest. But not just any baby – you’re own personal copyrighted human manuscript. And wow, what an experience. You sit there with this bundle of big deep-blue-sea eyes looking at you with a quizzical look that suggests she’s still trying to figure out who you are and why are you looking at her so intensely? We were two strangers brought together in the first major crisis of her life - her eviction from the first and only home she had ever known…

Oh yeah, I was meant to be telling you why she was naked and I was shirtless. While it sounds strange and conjures up images of corny nappy ads where a doting Dad looks down at a dopey baby, its scientific purpose is so that your Germy Jims (or bacteria) can migrate from your body to hers. It’s fantastic for their immunity and gives the parent a chance to form a bond with the baby (as if I hadn’t already).

We must have sat there for an eternity getting to know each other through the communication of confused expressions. But the eternity soon evaporated into six months later and I’m wondering where it all went. You know the expression, the cliché “They grow up so fast” and unfortunately no matter how many times you hear it from those who have gone down the parental track before you, they are not lying and there’s no more precise way to put it, they really do go from there to here in a flash of light. While you go to work to slog it out and the days seem to drag on and you can’t wait until the holidays your little carbon copy is mutating from one form to the next as each week sprinkles through your fingers…

We left the hospital like a person carrying an egg a hundred miles on the edge of a fork – very carefully, and brought her home to the applause of family and friends who had helped me clean the house in preparation after I had spent the last few nights camped out on the couch. But then the guests leave and it’s just the two new parents, proud, stunned and not quite sure what to do next! The rest of that month is a blur of moments that have no context in time but hang in your mind like pictures in a long corridor… the waking up throughout the night to foreign squawks that demand attention; the cry that sounded like the word “Nooooooooooo” as if to say you’ve got it all wrong and all she really wants is a candy floss and not the sleepy rocking you’re repeating without success, curving her mouth into a frown and emitting a soft “Wahaaaa, wahaaa.”

Six weeks went out with the tide and just when we thought we couldn’t handle another sleepless night something miraculous happened. We woke up at six in the morning after six hours of actual sleep and shot out of bed in a panicked rush to the bassinet because something must have been wrong but no, there she was, sound asleep dreaming baby dreams as if the nightmare that had been the last six weeks had never happened.

I have to admit at this point that I was a bad Dad and slept through most of it while my wife did the thing that only a mother can do. I recall a certain sense of uselessness at times when it was obvious that I could not deliver the one thing she wanted most in the world for lack of lactation on my part.

However she does seem to have a certain amount of respect for dear young Dad in that somehow, miraculously, she manages to save the second variety of nappy antics for Mum! I’m not one of those Dad’s who shy’s away from nappy labor but its either luck or pure baby genius (or malice) that 90 percent of the time she saves her worst for Mum while I am at work and for once I’m happy to have missed out on at least this part of her progress!

Except there was that one time that I was lying on the couch and had her hovering over me in the air when suddenly something hot and acrid hit me square in the face that came from her mouth with a burp. I was left there stunned, my baby poised in mid flight while I yelled out to my wife to come and rescue me with a flannel, but instead she dashed out to get a camera to permanently capture Dad with spew on his face. At least my Facebook had a decent profile pic for a few weeks after.

In fact this is a regular occurrence in church every Sunday morning. We have it down to a routine. We arrive, my wife feeds her in the mother’s room during the singing, brings her out and during the sermon she brings it all up again on my Sunday best to the chuckles and applause of the family sitting in the row behind me. It’s always the same family too… but I’ve learned, don’t jiggle your baby or give her flying lessons after she’s had a feed because it’s bound to end up with someone’s dignity getting hurt!

Please don’t mistake me for a Crass Dad, but the truth is babies are born with no sense of decorum and need to learn it – although much later in life. For the time being you put up with tummy rumbles that might as well have come from a small elephant and gas that is so loud that the first time I heard it I leapt from my couch in genuine fright as if a small bomb had just been detonated beside me. The up shot of that of course being that I now finally have someone else to blame when my wife gives me that suspicious look during a movie…

And it’s not just that side of her either. She has become the “raspberry princess” in recent times. Somewhere in that developing intelligence of hers I am sure she thinks she is telling me about her many adventures when she purses her lips together, pokes out her tongue and blows a torrent of “raspberries” that last longer than a lecture on Egyptology. Not that I mind; it sounds like she has a lot of interesting things she is trying to say.

I began this adventure wanting this baby period to skip ahead to the toddler phase where she cries out “Daddy!” when I come home at the end of the day but her evident personality, her uniqueness and the exhilarating sense of discovery that comes from witnessing her do something new every week makes me want to hold time at gun point and order it to stop or else! She smiles now whenever she sees me. She loves to see her daddy play Silly Billies when he jumps up and down like a gorilla, growls like a tiger or barks like a dog just to get a giggle out of that little round bald headed face; and I love the feeling of having an audience of one that would give me a standing ovation if she could only stand…

In a way having a baby has been very much like owning a cellular phone – once upon a time we got on perfectly without them but have one for six months and you know you couldn’t possibly live without it…