Sunday, October 19, 2014

No, YOU'RE a Turkey

note - changed blog template to make photos bigger, apologies for any rubbish formatting.  

Hello again -  if you wish to read about puns and general updates, there is a post for that under this one.

In September I went to Turkey for two weeks!  This was my first major overseas trip, which is great as it now means I can answer "Have you travelled?" with something other than "Once I went to Brisbane for a week with a brass band."
Me, in Turkey!  I'm hiding in a hole because tourism.

Turkey was awesome and I had far too many adventures to cover them all in one post, so I'll start off with the balloon ride over Cappadocia (it's what I took the fewest photos of & is therefore the easiest to organise).  

All the photos in this post are taken by Me; if you want to use them for desktop backgrounds or site images or to tell lies about having been to Turkey or whatever, send me an email and I'll probably be all "that's cool, bro, here is the high res version" unless you are going to make money from them, in which case you can give me some money also.  

***

Every morning, 100 balloons go up over the town of Gรถreme; it's the main tourist attraction in the area (the town has a population of 2500, and normally supports the same amount of tourists).  

This is the view from our hotel balcony:

"Well, Jim, it looks like this morning's weather is mostly balloons."

We got picked up from our hotel at 6am, and had breakfast before going out to The Field of Sleeping Balloons.  

"Fred, can you turn your burners off bro? Balloons are trying to sleep"

We were dropped off next to our balloon of choice - we went with Royal Balloons and I would highly recommend them for next time you need to do some ballooning - and the balloon pilot (?) and balloon.... technicians (??) inflated the balloon by the bright light of a Hilux:


The balloon basket held 20, sectioned into four parts; I ended up in the middle, next to the pilot.  This had the added benefit that right before taking this photo, I got to turn on the gas and effectively drive the balloon for about three seconds. 


Because we'd launched at the same time as 99 other balloons, there was an immense amount of balloon traffic.  If you want to go and look at the scenery of Cappadocia I recommend you do not do this from a balloon, because all you will see is more balloon.

Here is what the sunrise looks like from the middle of a pack of balloons -


After the sun had risen, we flew down a valley in a sort of a balloon convoy. "Let's see if we can make our balloon kiss that balloon!" said the pilot, as our balloon crept up closer to the next balloon in the line.

There would be a photo of the balloons kissing here, but I was worried about dying in a freak intentional balloon collision fire accident and so I had put the camera down to hang onto the safety straps.

The vans you can see on the road are all tourist minibuses; the balloons create an immense amount of traffic in the morning.  All 100 balloons land in more or less the same area; as a result you have 2 minibuses + 1 4WD per balloon, all frantically hooning around the landscape in an attempt to be ready and waiting when their balloon lands.
I don't have anything sarcastic to say about this photo 

Halfway through our trip an older British tourist said loudly, "I heard that the really good pilots can land the balloon right on the back of the truck!" and our pilot visibly bristled and said something in Turkish into his radio - 


- and then when we came into land, he set the balloon down neatly onto the bed of the Hilux.


Once we landed, bubbly appeared, the pilot came round and tucked a flower behind everyone's ear, we had a celebratory drink...

And then we went home for breakfast.

If you guys liked this post and would like to see more pictures of Turkey - potentially including the pinnacle of my photographic achievements, "Picture of a Turkey, in Turkey" - let me know in the comments.  I was thinking of putting up a series (by location) of Turkey photos and stories, but only if that's of general interest. If not, I'll return to bad puns and complaints about spreadsheets. 

A Magnificent Pun

Hello everyone!  To save time, just imagine this is a paragraph containing a creative excuse for not blogging for months, and a promise to blog more frequently.  This will bring me to a grand total of three posts this year which, if you consider me as a penpal from the 1870s, writing from overseas and sending letters by steamship, is not too bad.

Today we have: some photos from Turkey, a brief update on my life, and a magnificent pun. 

Update: This post got long and text-heavy and so the Turkey photos will be in the next post, and that way those of you who are into words can read this one, and those of you who are into pictures can read (?) the other one, and those of you who are just into me in general can read both.

A Magnificent Pun

The other week HB was sick.  He woke up from a night of coughing and tossing and turning, sat up, and took a massive swig from a Coke can that had been sitting on the windowsill for several days.  

Unfortunately the Coke can was full of ants.

Once HB had finished spitting the mouthful of ants out the window, and I'd been suitably sympathetic, I said:

"I guess at least it'll stop you being sick... because now you're full of antibodies!"

HB was less impressed than I anticipated. 

***

I have on my desk a wicker duck, and from time to time I fill him up with candy for the team to eat.  For obvious reasons, his name is Mr Wickerquacker.  

Last week I filled him with mini Bounty bars.

Me, serious face: "I think I might have to leave town for a bit..."
Colleague: "Why?"
Me, delighted: "There is a Bounty on my head!"

And then I put a candy bar on my head and laughed uproariously and then HB said "time for you to do some work" and also "you are not allowed outside any more" and I had to be quiet and do my revenue forecasting.  No one appreciates me.

A Brief Update on My Life

It's still mostly work, except for the part where I was in Turkey, which we shall get to presently. I'm still doing boss stuff, which is just like regular stuff except the problems are more interesting and/or frequent.  
Here are some Boss Problems™ that I have encountered recently:
  • Have to go to important meeting. Forget about important meeting, wear t-shirt with a pony on it.
  • In important meeting, people keep saying 'EBITDA'.  Is pronounced "Eee-b't-DAAHH" and I don't know what it is*.  Know it is something serious and financials-related but this is the first time I've heard it and I can't stop thinking 'Ee bah gum'.
  • We are on a massive deadline and the team will not stop talking about farts (there is no way to make a team stop talking about farts until they are good and ready to stop talking about farts)
  • Ask for feedback in team meeting.  Colleague says, accusingly: "You have not filled the duck."  

Which reminds me - see you in another 6 months, have to fill the duck.


*Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.  You only find out what amortization is on the day you receive your accounting degree, during your induction into secret accounting society.  I suspect it is the official term for the sacrificial ritual used to appease the spirit of EBITDA**, but am not sure, because am not accountant.

** High Priest: "Oh great EBITDA, please accept the amortizated blood of this humble salesperson as a token of our devotion.  May your spreadsheet be ever in the green."  
Congregation: "May your spreadsheet be ever in the green."


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dongo and the Giant Bottom

Hello everyone –

After a considerable absence I have returned!  Briefly.  With a children’s story.  I can only imagine how excited you all are.

Yesterday Andrea sent me a list of rude-sounding places around the world, and said we should one day visit Dongo (DR Congo) and The Bottom (Caribbean Netherlands). I said ‘Dongo and The Bottom’ sounded like a children’s story about a small boy who befriends a giant bottom and thus learns the meaning of true friendship, and now we have this.

It’s quite odd but I like it and hope you like it too.


Dongo and The Bottom
A story for children and also adults

It was a dark and stormy night, and Dongo was meant to be fast asleep in bed.

Dongo couldn’t sleep.
His brain was full of tired & unhappy thoughts.
He kept remembering sad moments and reliving all of his mistakes.

The rain beating on the window would not beat the thoughts away.
The thunder roaring in the sky would not shock the thoughts away.
The wind howling in the trees would not scare the thoughts away.

Dongo closed his eyes and wished hard to think about something else.

And when he opened his eyes the bed was gone
And the room was gone
And the rain was gone
And the thoughts were gone
And Dongo looked around and wondered where he had ended up.

And he saw:

Above his head, trees strung with blue spiderwebs
Below his feet, grass and flowers
To the right of him, a Giant Bottom

A Giant Bottom?

A Giant Bottom!

The Giant Bottom was large and pink and shockingly nude.
Dongo looked down at the grass, and then up at the trees, but eventually he could not avoid looking at the Giant Bottom

It was just too Giant.

And as Dongo looked at the Bottom, he felt the Bottom looked at him.

“Hello,” said Dongo.

The Bottom wobbled slightly and then it spoke,
and its voice was the voice of a thousand farts
and it said:

“Hello, Dongo.”

!!!

This was unexpected.

“Hello Giant Bottom” said Dongo.  “How did you know my name?”
“You are wearing a name tag,” said the Giant Bottom.
Dongo looked down at his chest and he was.

It said:
DONGO
FRIEND OF THE GIANT BOTTOM

“Friend of the Giant Bottom?” asked Dongo.
“Yes,” the Bottom said.  “Everyone is a friend of the Giant Bottom, but some are better friends than others, and some are the very best friends of all.”
“Oh,” said Dongo.
Dongo was unused to having friends (especially ones that were Giant Bottoms) -
and as he remembered this the rainy thoughts came back,
and once again his head was filled with sadness,
and he sat down on the grass and cried.

The Giant Bottom was taken aback at this reaction to its friendship.

“Dongo, what has happened?”

Dongo hid his face in the grass and told the Bottom that he was not a very good friend,
and that in fact he was not even a very good person.

“I have been mean because I wanted to be mean,
I have told a lie when I should have told the truth,
I have told the truth when I should have told a lie,
I have taken things which did not belong to me,
I have hated things which were given to me with love -
So you see, I am not so good to be around.”

The Bottom sighed a tired sigh

“Dongo,” it said,
“These are just mistakes.
Everybody makes them.”

“Can you make them go away?” Dongo asked, hopefully.

“No,” said the Giant Bottom.
“I am a Giant Bottom, not a wizard.
But listen carefully…”

The Bottom told Dongo that the important and best thing about friends
Is that when you make mistakes, they still love you
They still know that you are a good person,
Even if you are a good person who has done a bad thing,
Even if you are a good person who has made a mistake.

“But Giant Bottom,” Dongo said,
“How do you know I’m a good person?
We have only just met.”

The Bottom laughed and said:
“Dongo, I am not just one Giant Bottom, I am all bottoms.
“When Bango mooned you on the bus, I was there.
When the elderly man got changed at the pool, I was there too.
And when you visited the baboons at the zoo, I was also there.

So you see, I know you better than you think.”

As Dongo listened to the Giant Bottom, he realised it was right.
What he had done yesterday was not as important as what he might do tomorrow.
And while yesterday's mistakes couldn't be undone, Dongo could learn not to make the same mistakes tomorrow.

And Dongo felt hopeful.

The Bottom had been watching Dongo carefully and it said:
“Dongo, are you ready to go home now?”

“Yes, Giant Bottom.”

And Dongo closed his eyes, and when he opened them he was back in his room -

but the rain was a comforting tattoo
and the wind was a familiar voice
and the thunder was the giant fart of a friend.

The End

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Link. Me. In.

“Stop seducing me with the cricket and put something else at the top of the page,” says Anonymous.

fuck you, I’m a cicada

Alright, Anonymous.  I shall attempt to remember a) that this blog is not about cricket* and b) not to freak out about anonymous comments, because they aren't necessarily going to be mean.  Mostly they are people who wish for me to blog more yet do not wish to reveal their true identity, to which I reply: quality not quantity, but mostly neither, and also, are you a superhero? I shall assume.  

On a related note (quantity, not superheroes), future productivity is not looking rosy: I’ve moved into a new role at work which is going to eat my time like a baby eats molasses (badly, messily, enthusiastically, to the horror of everyone around it).  I won't go into detail here because I try to keep my professional life and my writing about butt plugs life vaguely separate, but what I will talk about is the sudden need to update my Linkedin profile so it has some vague relevance to what I actually do.

Starting with the profile picture.

LINKED IN TO FUCKING WHAT, IS MY QUESTION.  At this point I appear to be linked in to the occasional “Colleague McWorkmate would like to be your LinkedIn friend, I mean connection because this is the professional part of the Internet” request.  

Sometimes I get endorsed, which is always as lovely as it is startling, and sometimes I’m encouraged to congratulate one of my connections on something they have achieved, which seems pointless as if we are close enough friends that I would say "Hey, great skills upgrade, you must be counting down the spreadsheets until you are a Level Three Excel Wizard" or however the fuck these things are measured, surely I would've already said congratulations in person, or on Facebook.

Are you sure you want to exit the wizard?

I recently joined a Linkedin Group and now I am linked in to getting more email notifications from Linked In.  

It's all very exciting but unfortunately I am not enough of a grown up to use Linked In properly.  I don't even have a profile picture.  I can’t even remember how many words "Linked In" is supposed to be. I’m like a grandmother referring to the Book of Faces and the Googler.  Fuck.  

Luckily Linkedin isn’t the first thing that pops up when you Google me, though!  That’s my Twitter profile.

Yeah, that's much better.

Anyway, I need to update my Linked In profile so it’s no longer a photo-less monstrosity with a job title that was correct three job titles ago, because if I don’t, apparently my career will hurtle irretrievably down the toilet.  And also because all of my friends, I mean connections, have photos and I feel like a bit of a knob. A knob pointing directly at the career toilet. This is not the sort of knob I wish to be, professionally speaking.

So I googled how to fix my shit on Linkedin and these two articles gave me some wonderful advice, which I plan to use to make my Linkedin profile a thing of beauty and a joy forever!  Here are my two favourite pieces of the advice.

Apart from, "Stop doing this."

First piece of advice: include a 'jaw-dropping headline in your LinkedIn profile summary.'  Here are two examples of how you can do that, straight from the article:

IS IT EVEN LEGAL TO SAVE SO MUCH ON CAR INSURANCE?” and YOU ARE FLUSHING RED HOT LEADS DOWN THE TOILET!

I intend to combine the two above with “IS IT EVEN LEGAL TO FLUSH RED HOT LEADS DOWN THE TOILET?”  I feel this would certainly pique the reader’s interest, especially if the reader were a plumber.

Second piece of advice: Don’t just use your job title, but also don’t just describe your wacky antics. The best bet, [expert] says, is to find a middle ground. How about “Dynamic sales manager and risk-taking skydive enthusiast?’"  How about that!  How about that indeed.  How about that for someone I would never want to work with ever.

You have 120 characters,” [expert] says, “Make the most of them. If you can Tweet, you can write a creative headline that gets to the point."


I’ll let you know how it goes.

*but if it was, this would be a good time to talk about the Black Caps – sorry, BLACKCAPS** – magnificent defeat of India in the first ODI.  But it isn't, so I won't.


**why does it have to be in all capitals? Are they writing their Linkedin profile?