It’s just not fair!

December 4th, 2011

Funny how everything can change ~ SNAP! ~ just like that as if at the click of someones fingers. This last week has taken me from one extreme to the other.
One week ago today was my 46th birthday, I awoke to a cooked breakfast and my family sharing with me the gifts they had bought for the occassion. I had to go to work but the day went smoothly and I was out the door and headed home by 6.30pm. And after a beautiful day we capped things off with a bottle of champagne and some strawberries, which I followed up with Jamesons and Miller chasers. The day was bliss and all was perfect. A couple of days later I walked in to my optometrist to enquire about contact lenses, an hour or so later I walked out with contacts in my eyes and I spent the next 2 days marvelling at the new world I had discovered and wondering why I hadn’t done this 30 yrs earlier.


I get a message that my sister has been hospitalised. An ectopic pregnancy which resulted in her having a fallopian tube removed and spending 2 days in hospital before going home to more rest and recovery. I was a little conflicted as the situation had potentially tragic consequences, but her recovery was good and she was genuinely excited about my optical transformation. It had almost been a kick in the guts to what started as a good week, but life was still a blessing and I felt blessed to be enjoying it as such.


Friday night, after a dinner to celebrate my granddaughters 6th birthday, I’m sitting at home winding down and the phone rings. It’s my oldest sister. She tells me she has bad news. Everything stops.

It’s official.

October 10th, 2011

Sam from Kitchens will soon be no more. He will be replaced by Nightfill Sam and Merch. Sam

…back to work

October 4th, 2011

I’ve just had 2 1/2 weeks off work. I got a few things done but I can’t honestly say it’s been an entirely productive time (my golf swing hasn’t improved at all). I can however state, quite categorically, that I am looking forward to getting back to work. I’ve got a new role and new challenges awaiting, so I’m keen to get in to it. So for my last day off I’ve got just a few minor bits and pieces to take care of including a haircut so I can be all fresh and ready for tomorrow. :)


October 1st, 2011

I remember a sermon that was preached in church one Sunday when I was young and sponge-like, still able to absorb all that was around me.


…such a small and seemingly insignificant word.  A small and seemingly insignificant word that contains so much power.  It contains the power to make us choose.  One of the things that sets us apart from every other creature on this planet is our ability to make our own decisions, our free will.  We have the ability to reason, and from that reasoning we make choices; If I do this, I can achieve that. If I do that, I can achieve this.” If is the key word in both these statements.  It is the pivotal point in the decision as to whether I do this or that, to whether I achieve that or this.  If is the crux of any question/statement in which it features.  For such a small and seemingly insignificant word, it demands attention.


Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem based around the word IF.  David Gates wrote a song called IF.  Roger Whittaker gave up believing in IF.  I am undecided.
What if
…?  That’s the question that has popped up from time to time in the past few weeks.  What if I hadn’t gone to Iconic that day?  What if the earthquake had struck 2 minutes earlier, when I was crawling around in the roof space of the Iconic?  What if it had struck 2 minutes later, when I would likely have been in my car?  What if I didn’t have a gammy knee, and I was quick enough to actually make a dash for the door?  Would I have gone for the door if I could?

Kipling pondered, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” as a condition for achieving success in life.

I kept my head Mr Kipling.  1001 thoughts went coursing through my brain and somehow I was able to sort through them; disregard those that were irrelevant, unhelpful, inconsequential; categorise them according to relevance and urgency.  “MOVE!”  That was at the top of the list.  “No, wait, Little Sam’s up stairs, …can’t leave without him!”, “Stop!”, “Wait for it to calm down then get Sam from upstairs.” …barely seconds into this thing and already a dozen or more thoughts have been sorted; disregarded; categorised.  Already I’ve made choices.  Already if has had it’s say.


David Gates asked If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?”   My issue is that a thousand words aren’t enough.

I have a thousand pictures in my head from that fateful day and I would struggle to find the words that could adequately describe half of those pictures.  This blog site has been so helpful to me as a way of expressing what I experienced on that day and yet as I continue to pour out words I still cannot give justice to the absolute enormity of emotion that overwhelmed me on that day.  I am reminded just how insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of things.


Roger Whittaker claimed If is for children, building daydreams”  Maybe he was right!

The simple fact is, things happened the way they did.  There is nothing I can do now that will change what happened then.  The best I can gain from all that has happened is to realise that everything could end at any moment, so there is no use in daydreaming about the what ifs’.  I’m a grownup, so I’m responsible for making things happen in my life.


IF, it’s a small word that alludes to so much, but it’s still just a small word!

Rugby mismatch …by design!

October 1st, 2011

Had to work last night so I taped the rugby and watched it when I got home.

I think the SANZAR nations can be thankful that so many of the islanders have to play their rugby in Europe. If they were able to field teams in Super Rugby or an equivalent of the current Tri-Nations Tournament, you can guarantee they would soon be winning the fair share of matches

I also think the IRB need to take a good look at the way this tourney is run. All teams need to be on a level playing field (pun intended) with regard to rest days between games. It is not logistically impossible to create a draw that allows every team a minimum of 5 days between games and a maximum of 8 instead of the current situation where some teams play numerous games with 4 or 5 day breaks and others don’t play any games with less than a 6 day break.

Proposed RWC tourney structure

In this proposed structure each team would have at least 5 days between games whilst the viewing public would have at least one game to watch each day. A much better more even spread of games with the same number of teams and pools as the current structure

I thought I was over it

April 14th, 2011

I thought I was over it.  My whole world stopped for a few days.  Days that evolved in to weeks, but I was moving on.  Life was returning to its proper pace, albeit with differences, but still with purpose.  This morning I was just about to leave for work when a series of minor events (car troubles, inconvenient bowel motions, misplaced car keys, more inconvenient bowel motions) combined to persuade me to just stay home.  I made the obligatory phone call, to inform those who needed to be informed and found myself sitting in front of the computer.  Needless to say I took the opportunity to check my emails and my facebook.  I upgraded some properties on my monopoly board, before making my chess moves followed by my scrabble moves.  Then I thought I’d check the online papers and see what was going on in the world today.  That’s where I found the link to all the Earthquake News.  The first story wasn’t too bad, it was about a woman who was being released from the hospital so it had some “feel good” value to it.  It still brought a few tears to my eyes as it brought back the emotion of that day.  Then I noticed another link.  Quake Victims.  I paused;  I hmm’d and I haa’d;  I clicked it.

It’s a web page where people can go, not just to be nosey and see who died etc. but also, to leave condolences and messages for the families and friends of those who passed in the earthquake.  The names are listed alphabetically and there are photographs (where they were able to obtain photographs) and more links to articles about each person.  I was moved to tears once again as I saw the picture of young boy, struck down on the day before his 15th birthday.  As I scrolled through the pages the tears just flowed.  Jaime shared a page with Jo Giles and Baxtor Gowland, by this stage the tears are streaming and I wonder if I should go change my top but I wanted to get through these pages, it was like a challenge to see that I could, and then I found Joe Pohio.  I already knew Joe had died.  His funeral was at the same time as Jaime’s.  But seeing his page stopped me in my tracks.

Joe Pohio was an awesome guy.

It’s hard to put it any differently than that.
I was introduced to Joe by Evan.  They would often stop in at the Southern Blues Bar late in the evening, usually as they were heading home after a night in town, and somehow they would end up staying until closing.  The usual scenario for closing up at The Southern Blues Bar was to usher everyone out the door while we started the clean-up.  Occasionally we would allow a “chosen few” to hang around and share a quiet drink with us when we wound down at the end of clean-up.  Joe was one of the chosen few :)
When the Southern Blues Bar was forced out of business by the 7.1 in September, I was suddenly without a weekend job.  I picked up a few casual/on call stints doing doorwork at a couple of bars and also as a minder for some “promo” girls.  The girls walked around town handing out flyers and wearing jackets that advertised a niteclub in town.  I had the task of ensuring that they were not accosted by any over-zealous drunken types.  One of the perks of the job was that we got to check out all the hot spots in town.  We were allowed entry in to any bar or club in town as long as the girls didn’t hand out flyers inside (they didn’t need to anyway, the jackets said it all).  Often, in our travels we would bump into friends and acquaintances and whilst there was no problem with occasionally stopping for a chat, it got to the point where I could pretend not to notice someone until they noticed me, just to avoid holdups.  Not with Joe though;  if I saw Joe I would always make a point of going up to him and saying Hi.  I liked him THAT much.  I even added The Bard to our list of regular stops just so I could catch up with him.

The tears stopped a while back now, but even as I was to-ing and fro-ing from the other pages to insert the links on this page I would feel them well up ready to go again.  I think I’ll check out the rest of the names another time.


Quake Brain!

March 16th, 2011

Quake Brain!

It’s the term my lovely lady uses to describe those frequently recurring “blonde moments” that have become so common among cantabrians since the 7.1 and even more so since the 6.3.  She’s a very together lady and in many ways she typifies the ideal modern woman; strong willed, intelligent and caring and she can multi-task on a level that is beyond the comprehension of most mere males.  In short, she is a very capable and competent woman with her head screwed on.  And yet she has confided to me that she has experienced these instances that she can only describe as “Quake Brain” moments.  I know only too well what she’s referring to, I’ve had a few of them myself.

I’ve been down to the shops for bread, milk and ciggys and come back with a newspaper and a chocolate bar.

The other day, she noticed an old lady in a distressed state.  It turns out, the lady had forgotten where she had parked.  Barrington Mall carpark is not the biggest carparking area in Christchurch, but it’s big enough when the only description you have of the car you’re looking for is “…it’s silver.”  Given that there are 3 distinct parking areas at Barrington they did well to find her car in under half an hour.  It would have been something funny to muse about at a later date if she didn’t find herself in the same position at the weekend.  She was helping a friend with a fridge and microwave purchase to replace those the 6.3 had decided to destroy.  The purchase was made, delivery of the fridge was arranged, all the necessary papers were signed.  They decided it was coffee time so the friend set off in search of coffee while she went to put the microwave in the car…

Northwood carpark is bigger than Barrington carpark!

Logic set in and she waited outside  the entrance to Harvey Normans for her friend to discover her, but the fact remained that try as she might she was unable to recall where they had parked the car.

In the past I might have set myself a list of things to do, but lately I’m finding it more and more, necessary to actually have that list on paper,  I still have not completed the small list of chores I had to complete at our rental property on the day of the 6.3.  Sure, I have a valid excuse for not getting everything done that day, but it’s been 3 weeks now and as well as that small list of maintenance chores there is the car registration and my own overgrown back yard that need to be tended to.  It’s no coincidence that this blog has had more posts and comments in the last week than the previous 3 years.  People ask me how I’m coping and I’m being truthful when I tell them that I’m ok, but I can’t deny that I have been affected.  It’s easier for me to sit here and ramble through the myriad of abstract thoughts that are pervading the bounds of my conscious mind than to face reality.  And yet, reality itself is not that scary.  It’s just tiring.  It’s persistant and continual and it wears you down and it’s always there.  You can’t escape it.  You can’t escape it, but you can have a break from it.  This is my break from it, I go online and vent.  Sometimes I’ll play poker with complete strangers, other times it’s chess or backgammon.  Sometimes I’ll just exchange witticisms with others who are also in the mood for that kind of release, because that’s what it is…

It’s a release!

…and if we don’t allow ourselves that release then we risk Quake Brain!

Quake Brain (by my definition) is an early onset symptom of stress build up.  It’s a sign that we have human virtues; strengths and weaknesses, qualities and faults.  Whilst we might be able to deal with a stressful situation or circumstance, there comes a time when our mind and body need to rest and rejuvenate.  Quake Brain is our minds way of telling us to slow down (or even step back) that we might refresh our minds and/or bodies in order to gain a renewed vigour and vitality with which to approach lifes many challenges.  Quake Brain should not be ignored.

Today, …has been a good day. ;-)

March 14th, 2011

Today is Sunday, it has been a good day.

Yesterday was horrible.

The world reeled as we got reports through the night of the 8.9 that shook Tokyo and the resulting tsunami that devastated so much of the eastern coastline of Japan on Friday afternoon.  The horror and devastation that I and so many New Zealanders have experienced seemed suddenly to pale in to insignificance as we watched on our television sets the horror and devastation that so many Japanese are currently experiencing.  It was hard not to think thoughts of armageddon as the Pacific Rim’s “Ring Of Fire” seemed to come to life.

Throughout the day there were rumours of volcanic eruptions all around the pacific, earthquakes in Indonesia and Tidal Waves causing millions of dollars worth of damage on the West Coast of the U.S. and down to Mexico.  It turns out that they weren’t so much rumours, as they were exaggerated truths.  Strangely though, the discovery of these inaccuracies did not lessen the feelings of helplessness that were so overwhelming as we were forced once again to realise our vulnerabilities.  It was all too much for me to want to deal with and I decided to shut it all out when I got home from work.

Meaningless television seemed like the ideal solution.  Easier said than done.  There was no problem finding what I call “bubble gum TV” (television programmes that are all flair and flavour but with no substance) but much of it was such garbage that I couldn’t actually watch it.  Eventually I stumbled across “Man vs Wild”.  I wasn’t in the mood to watch a guy hopping across the top of a lava field in an effort to educate viewers on how to survive in said terrain, but it was the nearest thing to watchable.  As I watched all I could think to myself was how staged it was.  There’s no doubt that Bear Grylls has skills, but I have great difficulty accepting that he and a lone cameraman are able to film the footage we watch, whilst dashing over rock and through caves and bush, at the same time as avoiding dangerous predators (from crocodiles to snakes and spiders) and knowing what plants, insects and animals are edible, regardless of which continent (or even which hemisphere) they’re in.  To my way of thinking, the programme would be just as watchable (if not somewhat more believable) if they admitted that they have, at least a small film crew with them as well as experts on local flora and fauna.

In the first episode I watched, he was in Australia (southern hemisphere) and needed to head north.  By using a stick like a sun dial and marking it’s shadow 5 minutes apart he determined that he could stand with his feet on the 2 markers and by facing directly at the stick he would be facing North. ~~BOLLOCKS!~~  This would be correct if he did it at noon, but if it was morning be heading more to the east and if it were afternoon he’d be heading more to the west.  He had a wrist watch on, it is possible to determine north by pointing the 12 at the sun.  North is halfway between the 12 and the hour hand.  In the northern hemisphere you would point the hour hand at the sun and South would be halfway between the 12 and the hour hand.  In the 2nd episode he was in Hawaii but this time he determined that it was late in the afternoon so the sun was in the west.  Much better logic.

It worked!  When I eventually went to bed, the catastrophes of the world could not have been further from my mind.

The upshot of all this was that I was able to start today with a clear(ish) head that wasn’t filled with the doom and gloom of recent world events.  Yet whilst these events have not disappeared entirely from my mind, I am at least able to focus on the here and now.  Once again I have hope and optimism for the future.  The world may end tomorrow, but that’s not where my focus is, so I’m not gonna worry about that.  I’m just gonna get on with my life! ;-)

It’s been 2 weeks since the 6.3.

March 9th, 2011

I’m guessing that’s how people will refer to it as time goes by.  There was the 7.1 that rocked Christchurch on September the 4th, 2010 and now the 6.3 that devastated the city on February the 22nd, 2011.

That’s 2 weeks since I witnessed what has been dubbed “Christchurch’s darkest hour”

2 weeks since a concrete beam fell from the frontage of the Winnie Bagoes Pizza Restaurant and lay itself right through the centre of the car I had parked less than an hour earlier.

2 weeks since that same beam laid itself right through the centre of the van that was parked directly behind me, killing the driver.

2 weeks since I was standing in The Iconic Bar, chatting and laughing with colleagues.

2 weeks since I tried furiously to dig my colleagues from the rubble of the building that we had been standing in, only minutes earlier.

2 weeks since the world lost Jaime.

It’s been 2 weeks and I wonder to myself, when will I go a whole day without shedding a tear?  When will I be able to listen to the news on the radio, or read it in the paper, or watch it on the television, without my eyes welling up with water?  When will I be able to greet people I haven’t seen for a while without the overwhelming need to give them a hug? (And not just a quick “throw your arms around” hug, but an all-embracing MAN hug)  When will I be able to farewell friends with something other than “Stay safe!”?

A Story

September 23rd, 2009

I feel like having a go at “creative writing” so this is where I’m gonna start.  Before I commence I wish to state categorically that no part of my ramblings and/or writings that follow this preamble may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior “written” permission from myself.  All characters and situations depicted hereafter are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, was probably born from some deep-rooted fantasy or nightmare in my sub-conscious and is unintentional and therefore can be considered virtually coincidental.