Monday, 12 November 2012

Flashes: What the robot saw.

Those horrific eyes stared out, aghast, over a landscape that deserved it. The desert stretched long and wide in all directions. Distant cities had stopped smouldering long ago.

A shimmering blue oval expanded in the air, and lowered itself to a few inches from the road.

'...So I said to the whale, no you don't, I've got the biggest balls in this universe, 'cos it's my universe! Pahaaaaahahaha!'

The jackal skipped out of the portal and started laughing like a hyena, without any sense of irony, at his own joke. The others followed: a spacequeen, a blacksmith, and a man with blue skin.

'Well what about this universe?' said the blue man. 'It's not your universe now, is it?'

The blacksmith frowned, glaring at the skyline.

'Doesn't matter, I'll take on anyone—'

The jackal sniffed. 'What's that? In the air?'

The spacewoman frowned too, then looked at a wrist implant. 'Shit. Radiation.'


The blue man blinked rapidly, and was immediately swallowed by a huge reflective egg. His eyes peeked out of a tiny window. The egg wobbled. 'Are you sure?'

'You really are a baby,' the spacequeen sighed, slapping the egg somewhere near his shoulder. 'Can't you just monitor your own molecular biology like everyone else?'

'I didn't know you could do that.'

The blacksmith pinched his nose, closing his eyes tightly. 'You mean to tell me, you lived under the sea, inside fifteen Russian-doll realities, as a coathanger, but when jumping dimensions you switch back to an ordinary human? Version 0.1?!'

'Hey! Version 0.5 at least!'

'Does that thing even have wheels?'

'Aha, the answer to that is yes!' The man inside the egg swiped a panel with his thumb. The egg instantly sprouted fins. Suitable for swimming, or perhaps flying.

'Well now that you're safe and highly manoeuvrable,' said the jackal loftily, hopping in the heat, 'perhaps our elegant guide can tell us what we're doing here?'

They stood on a highway running straighter than a bullet from one horizon to the other. The tarmac was surprisingly clean, new, shiny even. Under the intense glare of a made-up sun, it cut through the desert's amber dirt smartly.

'Something's wrong with the co-ordinates,' she said. 'And it looks like this guy can help.'

They looked at the robot.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

4 years in Wellington

I should be blogging about important things happening in the world. I should be blogging about politics, about culture and society, about the US election in 48hrs and the impending Anonymous attack on Facebook in the next 24hrs. I intend to start blogging about important things again some time.

But for now, here's a navel-gazing post about the 4th anniversary of my arrival in Wellington, end of October 2008.

Actually, it's the US presidential election which has bookended my time here. I watched, dizzy like everyone else, when Obama was elected president in 2008, which fell on Fireworks Night here in New Zealand. And in two days I'll watch as he fights tooth and nail to stay president in 2012*. We just had Fireworks Night this evening.

The thing about 4 years is it qualifies as a Section of Your Life. 1 year is a long holiday; 2-3 years, that's a quite a while. But 4 years is a leap year. It's taken me from my mid-mid-20s to the end of my 20s. I'm largely the same person that rocked up here with a laptop, guitar, suitcase and bag, but I'm noticeably different.

This 4 years has held almost the entire career of The Library Suits, who are all former musical colleagues (in F451, Liquid Idolator or both) and best friends of mine. Their new album coming out soon is the most amazing thing any of us have achieved. (It's even better than Captain What's album which is frankly excellent.)

Meanwhile, I've taken my solo project from bedroom Youtube videos to multi-track recordings, music videos and single/album launches. I've even started this new band called International Economy with the loveliest singer-songwriter from Florida I ever met.

My friends back in the UK have grown up too (only a bit, thankfully), and some have even got married. My cousin has married a rather splendid Ethiopian chap and had not one but two children. My brother got married to a lifelong friend of ours, which means I now have pretty much the coolest step-niece ever. My mum and dad have both retired and are doing awesome things.

Meanwhile, I've made phenomenal friends here in Wellington, both Kiwis and foreigners - completely different people from all over the globe who somehow all found themselves in this little cosmopolitan city, where the records department of the hospital has weirder names than any sci-fi novel.

I even had that One Real Relationship I Ever Had which I will probably keep mentioning until I have Another Real Relationship (don't hold your breath, I'm still enjoying being single).

I've written the 2nd and 3rd books of a trilogy, done a few short stories, and come up with countless ideas for more.

I've had 6423 shitty temp jobs, and you know what? Temps get treated like shit and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. There is very little in those 2+ years that wasn't horrendous and demoralising. Once or twice I quit because it was even worse than being unemployed.

That said, the final temp job led to my longest full-time job at one workplace, and my first serious job that I've enjoyed since my council comms job in Essex. And while I'm glad to be moving on, I'm glad to have had this job at Government Department X.

I've picked up things in my accent and language my teenage self would be horrified by (chips, pants and other Americanisms), and other things my teenage self would simply be baffled by (heaps of, chur, jandals, sweet as, choice, not even, yeah nah, and other wonderful Kiwiisms). I'm happy to keep these, until whatever time they fade out naturally.

Uh, so ... I'm not sure what this blog post is trying to say. It's started to feel a bit like those sitcom episodes where they can't be bothered to film anything new, so they just re-cap material from previous series. But you're still reading. So I'll try and tie it together.

The Wellington years of my life are not quite over yet, but it'll creep up pretty quickly. At the moment, it feels similar to that brief couple of weeks after I bought my air ticket in 2008: big changes are coming, and provided I can restrict my idiocy to the little things, hopefully the big things will work out.

Chur Wellington.
Jezo Kempo



* It shouldn't be a hard choice, but like a stubborn teenager, the US insists on making bad choices for itself, and there's every chance they'll throw out the smartest president in recent history in favour of A Man Who Represents All The Bad Things. To be fair "Mitt Romney" seems to be a rather dull, uninspiring, robot - but the real worry is he represents the Republican party, and will be at the beck and call of people who deny man-made climate change, who hate gay and gay marriage, who want to make America a land of opportunity by taking away all the ladders. So anyway, fingers crossed.