Monday, 29 December 2008

2009. Bring it.

We divide large sections of time into orbits of the Earth round the Sun - this is called a year. Pretty lucky that each orbit takes the same time as the last, otherwise we'd have to make up new months and shit. "Sorry mate, it's a short year this year, having to cut back on February and March."

It's the end of another year, and those of us left are all a year older.

I'm off soon on holiday - going to the South Island of NZ for New Year's fun with friends on the beach, hopefully with some hot sunny weather. (Christmas turned out nice in the end!) I'll be pretty much incommunicado, i.e. off the internet, so please let me wish you all a happy new year wherever you are in the world. Hope your 2008 wasn't too bad and your prospects for 2009 are good.

Me? My 2008 was alright I guess - chaotic, but necessary chaos. My 2009 however is looking awesome, so fingers crossed.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Recharging batteries, Christmas, Youtube + THE NEW BOOK

Long time no speak - apologies for my absence. Been hectic. I wrote to you from my relatives' house in Orewa, North of Auckland; it's crazy how many kiwis have heard of this tiny little town.

Moved house in Wellington a week ago, which has definitely been a good decision (although not without complications), and got some work at the hospital logging files and packing boxes. Hardly rocket science but gets me out of the house and off the internet which can only be a good thing!

Took a trip to Martinborough with some friends the other weekend - nothing happens in Martinborough except growing grapes and making wine. We had a jolly time tasting wines on the Saturday, I think we got around 6 vineyards and tasted about 30+ wines. I bought 3 bottles that I really can't afford. But they were very nice.

This week is the start of the Christmas & New Year switch-off for New Zealanders, where everyone packs up for 2 weeks and goes on holiday. So I'm up with my lovely relatives for this week, enjoying the warmth of the North (it was pissing down yesterday, after a full week of hot sunny weather apparently - and vice versa down in Wellington). I'm also enjoying a chance to recharge my batteries after the madness and uncertainty of the last couple of weeks. Then on Saturday I fly back to Welly and have to stay up til 2am to get on a ferry, in order to spend New Year's at someone's batch near Nelson with some couchsurfing friends. Hurrah!

Christmas in Wellington has been amazing, simply because it hasn't been there. Compared with the UK, where Christmas is shoved down your throat from November for 6 weeks solid, it's been an amazing relief - no garish lights everywhere, no annoying Christmas music, very few Christmas adverts. I do like some stuff about Christmas, but people just go overboard in the UK - here, it seems to be mainly about looking forward to Christmas Day, which is just one day long. It's in the name.

Books! I have started writing the sequel to NO UP, having sketched a bit out already, and damn it looks good. Can't reveal anything now but of course expect new characters and lots of action, sex, intrigue and cheesy jokes. Also I have updating the pages for my first proper book DEVOLUTION in preparation for launching the hard copy - a clever person would have done it well in advance of Christmas so people might buy it, but hey, I've been busy. Expect the re-launch in January.

Finally I leave you with some amusing covers I've been doing on, including an acoustic-rock take on Outkast and Marilyn Manson a'cappella in the bathroom. Enjoy.

To all my old friends back home and new friends in New Zealand, have a wicked Christmas and a sweet New Year!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Sun and frustrations.

Well the sun finally came out over the weekend - 3 days of lovely warm sunshine, with and without the wind. And now it's gone in again. I don't mind the weather changing, it's the temperature going with it that's annoying - the temperature still drops 10 degrees just 'cos the sun goes in, and it's the NZ equivalent of the start of June. If we had this weather in June in England I'd be livid. The irony is that we did have this weather in June and I was livid. I've always been a cynic of S.A.D. but I'm a bit worried I might have it, I get so worked up about the weather. Serious lack of sunshine the last 12 months.

Maybe I'm just uptight and taking it out on the weather.

So in general news, I've been here in Wellington 5 weeks and still don't have a job. This is not good. It should't be bugging me, but it is. All I wanted to do was find a flat first, then look for a job, because it's hassle enough trying to do one without the other. And I was right, it was a massive pain in the arse finding a flat - I have to do it all over again soon when my room's owner gets back in January - and finding a job is proving the same. But seriously, 5 weeks without a job.

It's not necessarily my fault. In NZ there's a perfect storm for jobs at the moment - the economy is bad (like it is everywhere), the Summer/Christmas break is coming up, and all the HR people and managers aren't filling/creating any new posts before they know what the new government's going to start doing. This has led one nice English woman at an agency to tell me, completely unofficially, that I should "go on holiday til January" when there'll be jobs around again. Fuck. I don't want to go on holiday. I'm just starting to feeled settled, in the normal way I wanted when I made the decision to leave the United Kingdom of Greyness, and the whole country is getting ready to shut down for 2-4 weeks and go on holiday in a campervan around the South Island. I know you should research a country before you go and live somewhere, but I'm not sure I could have seen this all coming.

So I'm not starving, I'm just eating into my savings and trying not to look at the numbers. I'm applying for stuff when I can, but it's tricky trying to say "no" to data entry and fruit picking when there's hardly any jobs of any type around. I don't want to have my CV read "fruit picking" i.e. "went on a holiday for 12 months to New Zealand and had a laugh". But the shame-cycle of joblessness is getting closer, and it's hard to get out once you're in...