Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Being A Pilot, and Other Good Ideas*

*another good idea: if you call a meeting, you are allowed to set the Meeting Soundtrack, which is any song of your choice.  I do not wish to host any more meetings in which I am not allowed to play 'Funkytown'.  I will sing along, to engage the meeting participants: "Well we talk about it, talk about it, talk about... revenue! *finger guns*" and because you called the meeting, nobody is allowed to leave.  Team, if you are reading this, tomorrow morning's meeting is on.

Today during a particularly trying 15 minutes at work, somewhere between trying the sugarfree RedBull and copy checking the deal for pyjama jeans*, it occurred to me that perhaps I could quit my job and re-train as a pilot.

I have many of the required attributes, like enjoying money and looking good in uniform and saying things like "Cabin crew, prepare the cabin for departure" and "We've now reached our cruising altitude" and "Gentlemen, please! Form an orderly line."

Also I am completely rubbish at parallel parking and I don't think I've ever seen anyone have to parallel park a plane.  Nobody tell the pilot training people about the time that I scraped the car on the fence because the car is big and it was dark.

look I'm sorry about the control tower but normally I drive an A380.

I would probably have to get out of the habit of saying "Ooh!" loudly whenever I make a mistake.

So after work I was still working, but in a relaxed and peaceful manner instead of a panicked, deadline-driven manner, and I saw this and the being-a-pilot thoughts intensified:

Here are some of the things I would do, if I were a pilot:

  • Fill the in-flight update with puns:  "This is your captain speaking, the weather looks fine all the way to Auckland, we advise you not to try the cassava crisps because, like your current mode of transport, they're a little plain."
  • Break off mid-update to say "...wow, is that a balloon?" and make everyone in the plane look out the window at once
  • Throughout the in-flight update, refer to the plane by name.  The name will be something humble yet majestic, like Barnaby or Brucetifer.
  • Rap the in-flight update.  I wrote an example line and then got carried away and wrote an example rap and the moral of the story is that I think my copilot will have to write the rap updates (rapdates? sounds like a date with a raptor, or maybe a speed dating event where you are only allowed to speak in verse and incidentally that idea is now my intellectual property so put the phone down) because fuck I am a bad, bad rapper. 

But anyway, here is the example rap (rapxample?)

Pilot (me):

This is your cruising altitude of 30,000 feet
Most of you are waiting for a biscuit you can eat
If you're in a window seat then you can sneak a window peek
There is turbulence ahead, it was worse last week

This is your captain speaking
This is how your captain speak

Copilot, in falsetto:  
this is how your captain do
this is your lovely cabin crew
this is NZ2300, straight outta Timaru**

Pilot (me again):

We on final approach and the weather is fine 
We be on the tarmac by the hour of nine
'cause we refined our flight time by divine design
to coincide with the arrival of the other airline 
now stop!
we switching on the seatbelt sign

Copilot repeats chorus

Pilot (still me):

put on your own mask before helping others
now relax and enjoy your flight, motherfuckers.

- - -

I really don't have anything to follow that.  See you all at flight school.

*tagline: Pajamas you live in.  Jeans you sleep in™.  I'm glad they trademarked it because I can imagine that appearing on a whole lot of other products. 

**please note that this is the actual flight number for Air NZ flights departing Timaru.  I am taking this pilot shit seriously.

Monday, August 31, 2015

To Choose Your Own Adventure, turn to page 72

Hello everyone!

I just opened a cider and took a biggish swig and the cider was a LOT fizzier than I was expecting, and it went out of control in my mouth and I went "BWOOOSH!"like a small surprised fountain and now there is cider all over the lounge.

In more impressive news, last week I wrote a short 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book and it was immense fun.  I wrote it for Button, so it's very in-joke heavy and you would be unlikely to enjoy it, but to decant some honey turn to page 48.
spoiler alert: you do not save Poley by decanting honey

To make the plot I eviscerated a notebook and wrote a Thing That Happens on each page and arranged the pages all over the floor of the living room.

I thought I might write another one.  Perhaps it will be a mystery, perhaps it will be a romance, perhaps it will be about pirates, perhaps it will be a pirate romance mystery where you are Detective Inspector Cannonball, stowed away on board the - boat names are surprisingly hard - the Terror of the Seas in order to solve the Case of the Disappearing Viking Heiress, but then you are forced to choose between the call of duty and the call of booty.  
Pirate booty.  But also sexy booty, because of course there will be sexy booty.   To climb the mast, turn to page 21.  To 'climb the mast', turn to page 48.  Surprise!  There is Poley, decanting honey.

If you would like to read the choose your own adventure book when it's done, let me know in the comments and I will post you a copy.

This week I found an old USB that has the contents of my previous computer in it.  Highlights include: 

  • a melodramatic and mercifully short horror story about being trapped in an inhumane torture compound where the inmates are thrown into sacks and skinned, but then in the end it turns out that the story is from the point of view of potatoes
  • a melodramatic and mercifully short horror story about a submariner who wakes up to find the submarine deserted and explores it with a Growing Sense of Dread, but then in the end it turns out that the entire crew had hidden to throw him a surprise party (the last sentence is 'Petty Officer Wallace had forgotten that it was his birthday')
  • A folder of notes made, presumably, when I was working at the Press.  Notes include, "NO MORE BAND! ENOUGH BAND FOR TODAY!" and "I just sat on my headset."

IMAGINE.  Other people are writing the Great American Novel, and I am writing things like 

p.s. today after a meeting I was having a Work Conversation about some new site functionality and I asked if we could still have badge redirects to different parts of site, and the developer said, "You can add them wherever you like! You could have a link at top of page telling everyone to go to 'Ally's Blog!'" and MAN sometimes I forget that the me that writes the ridiculous blog is also the me that has the serious meetings and does the professional things. Hopefully everyone at work also forgets this. Work if you are reading this maybe you should read this post about the top 50 most ridiculous Pokemon names and leave me in peace to action my workflow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Zealand Flag Idol

At the moment, we as a country are having a referendum to decide if we would like a new flag! I don't know why I put that exclamation mark, it isn't particularly exciting.  Which is also a fair description of our current flag.

pictured: flags who know how Pluto feels

The Prime Minister says we need a flag that “better reflect[s] our status as a modern, independent nation” and which is more representative of NZ's multicultural makeup than old Little Britain up there.  This is a fair point.

The third reason, which is definitely not even slightly the main reason, is that it would be nice to have a flag which doesn't look quite so much like Australia's.

shut up with your extra star. nobody likes you.

Before one can have a new flag, one must have a Flag Consideration Process.  This is less interesting than it sounds, which is impressive.  It's also remarkably similar to a TV talent show, except much more expensive.  Did you know the FCP will cost us $25.7 million?  That's a lot of Le Snaks.

"What about the 260,000 NZ children who are living in poverty?"
"Don't worry, they will love the new flag."

Note that that is probably not a real quote.

Here are the steps on the road to becoming NZ Flag Idol:

Part 1: The Auditions  
Anyone can make a submission for the new flag design.  We have done this part!  Over 10,000 designs were submitted and 90% of them did not make it through to the next round.  Their NZ's Next Top Flag dream ends here.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Susan Boyle:

"I believe my design is so powerful it does not need to be discussed." - designer

That one is a real quote.

2: Boot Camp
A panel of Prominent New Zealanders cut down the designs from over 10,000 to a more modest 40.  The designs which are not selected are no longer part of Project Flagway.  Auf wiedersehen.  Air kiss.

This is just happened, here are your top 40:

"Kiwi with laser eyes, your Flag Consideration Process journey ends here."
*crowd boos*

(Note that many of the final 40 are predominantly black, allowing NZ to join the hallowed ranks of other black-flag-users including anarchists, pirates, and ISIS.)

3. The Live Rounds:
Next, your Flag Factor judges whittle down the 40 to a more modest 4.  They haven't done this yet, but I am very excited to see what they choose.  By now, we the people are expected to have our favourites and follow their emotional journey from being a tiny flagling to appearing in front of a live audience for the first time!  Txt to vote.  Votes cost 50c.

Note: we do not actually get to vote at this point.

4.  The Semi-Final:
We the public are asked to vote: if there was to be a new NZ's Next Top Flag, which one of the four semi-finalists would you choose?   This then gives us the Preferred Alternative Flag.

I really hope that this is where they unveil the Wildcard Entry, and this is what it is:

fuck yes, new zealand

5. The Final:
We the public are asked to vote: Would you like the Preferred Alternative Flag, or would you like The Flag We Have Already Got?  Voting lines are closed, the votes are tallied, and the triumphant flag makes a humble acceptance speech while hugging the losing flag, who is trying desparately not to cry.  An emotional video plays.
We remain excited about NZ's Next Top Flag for approximately ten minutes and then go back to wondering when MasterChef starts up again.


Footnote: it seems to me like the final question of "would you like a new flag" would have been a logical thing to ask at the beginning of this process, but then I am not a Government.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Roger's Tyres 'n' Tacos

I felt like this post was a bit, well, sweary so I went back through the blog Ctrl-F'ing The Ctrl+F Word and I haven't said fuck this many times in one post since March, 2011.  I hope you are as proud of me as I am.  Also in reading back over this I can't decide if it gets better as it goes along, or decidedly worse.  Either way, I am not sorry. 

Hello everyone!

In the interests of full disclosure, I am writing this blog because I really should have gone to the gym after work but I couldn't find my iPod or motivation, so I've justified not going to the gym by saying "...I may not be exercising my body, but that is ok because I am exercising my mind" and so really this blog is for the benefit of my conscience and not for your reading pleasure.  Although that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it.

I wrote a song on the drive home from work today.  It is called "Fuck you, you fuckwit, you're in a fucking merge lane" and is based on my emotional journey, and also on my physical journey.  It will join "Do They Know It's a Roundabout At All?" and "Would it Kill You to Indicate (You Absolute Prick)"* in my forthcoming album.  I am like the Taylor Swift of displeasing driving incidents.

got a long list of ex-lovers / they'll tell you that's my lane

Speaking of songs, that "Some Nights" song came on in the car and while I did not listen to it in its entirety, partly because it's crap and partly because I was too busy practicing my song about the merge lane, I did manage to catch the magnificent lyric:

"Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle."

somebody has fucked up their wish

I've spent half an hour thinking about what this means and I have no idea.  Does he wish that his lips could literally build a castle?  Or is this a castle of emotion?  Why does he wish this so much?  Does he want to live in the castle?  Does he want to gift the castle to someone special?  Perhaps he has someone who is important in his life and yet very hard to buy for, and he has already looked online and in his local supermarket, and he has come up empty-handed and now it is the day before their birthday and this is his absolute last resort?

I suppose we will never know.

i have made this for you with my lips would you like to go to dinner


This weekend I went to the Wintergarden with my sister and my nephews.  The Wintergarden would be better called the Indoorgarden as that is what it is.  It is a hothouse garden and it is there all year round, much like a regular garden but with the added benefit of being indoors.  I do not know why they have called it the Wintergarden, had it been me in charge I would have called it something else.

The Indoorwintergarden has lots of plants and an equal number of signs telling you not to touch the plants (fair enough, who doesn't like to touch a plant), and also this oddly specific sign about what not to do with the pond:

do not do the hokey pokey, do not turn about

I wanted to know why they made this sign.  I also wanted to put my feet in the pond, which presumably would have been fine.

although it might have caused an orchid moment

I'm so sorry about that orchid pun.  Let's move on.

We also walked down to the waterfront and I found out that 'love padlocks' is a thing that has reached New Zealand:

 the local S&M club has made an error

The idea is that you visit a romantic waterfront location with your sweetheart (Wikipedia said 'sweetheart', which is good because I probably would have said 'fuck buddy' and ruined the romantic story) and, to symbolise the eternal nature of your love, you carve your initials on a padlock and clip it to the nearest structure and then chuck the key into the water.  I'm not sure what happens after that but presumably you have a pash then go for a gelato or whatever.  I'm not very romantic.

not pictured: seal who has eaten the key

This is all very lovely in the context of the relatively un-love-locked Auckland waterfront pictured above, but overseas people just go bananas; this is the Pont des Arts in Paris, which has recently had 45 tonnes of love locks removed because part of the bridge collapsed:

I think you'll agree my use of bold and italics in the same sentence was justified.

You would think that at some point you'd just give up and clip the padlock on the railing of a McDonalds on the way home.

It's also a massive missed advertising opportunity; imagine if you, Roger's Tyres 'n' Tacos, set up a booth at one end of the bridge selling locks with couples' initials on one side and the Roger's Tyres 'n' Tacos logo on the other.

You would make an absolute killing.

no no, you have another taco, nobody has to know

I... I'm not really sure what I expected the outcome of this blog post to be, but it wasn't that. 

Probably I should have gone to the gym.

*other song titles I considered for this section:
"Take Me To Church at 30km an Hour" 
"Macarthur Park Already You Idiot, You Are Blocking Traffic"
"Is This Love? Or Are Your Hazards On By Accident" 
"This Lane is Your Lane, This Lane is My Lane"
"Traffic Islands in the Stream.  That is what they are. Just drive around them you fuckwit"