Working from home

And then it starts..

A whole work-week finally done. What did I accomplish? A lot actually. And the thing is, no matter how much I love my job or how interesting it is, I’ve never really blogged about it. It’s enough that after I clock out (while actually still doing snippets of work after work, on the weekends, on the bus, on my vacation…) there is little enough (just in my mind I believe) time or energy for personal stuff which is funny and ironical because the stuff I like to do after work is the same thing I do for work (insert that laughing emoji with tears).

But this week I managed to maintain a decent work-out routine. It helped I think that I got new shoes to motivate me (insert that laughing emoji again with the tears.)

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I also got my new glasses and at the bus stop today I struggled juggling the damned things- take out the reading ones to read texts; put it back and put on the distance ones to check the bus time-table; put everything away and take out the sunnies because the bus is coming.

After having vowed never to buy Wayfarers again after having lost my fifth pair, I bought a new one (OMFG, insert that laughing emoji again with the tears ) because they were 60% off. Who can resist that tell me?

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The eyes are the window to your (body)

I had my yearly eye-test today which is sort of confusing because it’s supposed to be every two years, but I’ve been bombarded the last couple of weeks with reminders by OPSM, the eye-glass retailer that I’ve been going to since I started wearing prescription readers, to get one and so I did.

I’ve been obsessed with getting a pair of Tom Ford readers as well and hemmed and hawed all through-out the holiday season about getting one, but the prices never really got any lower (starts at $380). And because OPSM is quite expensive, I wasn’t about to spend nearly a thousand dollars bringing in a brand they don’t carry (which they should because they carry everything else like Prada, Armani, D&G etc) on top of putting new prescription lenses on them.

But I forgot all about the Tom Fords when I went into an OPSM shop and saw the lighter RX series of prescription frames by Ray-ban and of course I just had to get a new pair; I picked this one:

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I got bi-focals last year but in that space of time, my general vision has deteriorated a bit. Below is how I see things; left is without glasses on and right, with glasses. It’s even gotten to a point where I bump into door-frames, protruding open shelves, table edges and basically everything at the periphery of my unaided vision.

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The good thing about eye-exams is that they can also reveal whether you’re sick of something else like glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts etc. I had none of those thank God, but my cholesterol levels needed to be checked because the eyes can show cholesterol deposits as well and surprise, I have quite a few.

But that’s life- there’s nothing you can do with normal ageing and its effects, but you can manage what you eat.

New Year's Eve 2018

The good thing about celebrating the New Year is that it’s not burdened by sentiment- that’s reserved for Christmas. You start afresh. There’s promise of a new beginning (whether you believe in that or not). The day literally transitions from an old day to a new one- and so can you.

The worst thing you can do is to mentally believe that nothing has changed.

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Why not leave it at that?

I have been very busy which I guess, is a good enough excuse to miss blogging. At some point I begin to question the whole point of this, and then ultimately, to question every other thing that I do that is not about work, or living (like eating properly, exercising, taking your meds, putting on moisturiser followed by a serum and then another moisturiser). I am after all, my work and I think, isn't that enough? It puts food on my table (good food), guarantees some security in my old age, makes me smug in the belief that I am actually happy.

So why don't I just leave it at that?

Dinner in the middle of nowhere (#werk #trip #DaySix

We arrived in Ranfurly at 6pm, but it might as well been after midnight as the town was effectively asleep as the winter darkness had fallen fast. Tick off the usual suspects- Four Square, the local pub, the hotel restaurant, a small Indian place- they were all deserted.

We dropped our stuff off at the motel (amazingly well-appointed, the Hawkdun Lodge) and accepted the reality that we would be trying to organise dinner from stuff at the supermarket. The Ranfurly supermarket was also empty save for the lone person/cashier/attendant. She was nice enough to suggest Naseby which was a few kilometers away. The directions seemed straightforward enough but I trusted Google Maps more.

It was total darkness all the way and 12 minutes in, some houses came into view, their lights dull. Was there really something in this place?? We drove silently into the centre of town and the few buildings there- the post office, the museum- were art deco and the road lamps were replicas of gas lamps like you would find in Victorian England. It looked to me, so Jack The Ripperish except that, why would Jack go here? Condemned perhaps to a town in the middle of nowhere where he could do little mischief once he dispatched what few residents the town had?

As it turned out, Naseby has only a population of 100.

We find the pub called The Ancient Briton and actually had a pleasant evening...one more day to go and snow forecast for the morrow...

#werk #trip #DayFive

Strangely enough, the most interesting things of the day were dead and stuffed.

Bored out of our wits driving for hours on end between stops, we happened to see in Pleasant Point in Canterbury, a brightly-lit room filled with a menagerie of stuffed animals so we stopped.

The O'Rourke Brothers taxidermy has been doing taxidermy for almost 60 years and of a quality that is high enough for their work to be contracted by the likes of the Auckland Museum and the Department of Conservation.

The new owner (who still employs one of the O'Rourke Brothers) Rob Morrison has a direct connection to the business- he is an avid hunter- which is really the first stage in someone wanting an animal (which they have shot) to be stuffed. I guess you either eat it or put aside some serious cash (prices start at $1000 for game heads) to have it stuffed and mounted. Rob took me to the back to see how it's all put together and it's not pretty. But then there is nothing delicate about hunting, or even the processing of meat for food.

The back-end of the shop is literally a sort of butcher-shop; the animals after all, like any shot game, have to be prepared and prepped. For a moment, I thought I would puke at the smell of flesh, sinew and blood, but then I think- it's like when I was 15 again and my dad was teaching me how to de-feather and dress a snipe.

I expected to also smell again, the last part of that process when you singe the skin over a flame to burn off the nubs from where the feathers had been plucked. But there was none of that bitter, acrid fume. Instead, the smell was of cold death- he opens a walk-in freezer the size of a shipping container and brings out a fish waiting its turn to be reincarnated, the sallow flesh, resilient and shiny again like something fresh out of water. The container is filled with wrapped dead animals or parts of them as far back as I can see like some serial-killers grisly cache of unfortunate victims.

The waiting time to get a medium-sized animal done is 10-15 months.

Back in the front of shop, I spy a small fawn in a sitting pose- prices are also determined by how an animal is posed- and it looks unequivocally lifelike, perfect and immortal...I think we should consider ourselves lucky if we had the same fate.

#werk #trip #DayFour

Dear Lei; so basically going around New Zealand for a work project (never mind what it is exactly) which started up north and slowly making our way south. Our routine for the last four days is this; we wake up at 7am and get on the road by 8am or 8:30. We drive (well, the driver does, not me) an average of 200kms between places and it's equally exhausting just sitting down and making conversation (it's inexplicably getting harder trying to communicate with 30-year olds these days). There is nothing much to see in the interior of New Zealand; at some point, the endless stunning landscapes cease to be stunning and just become this blur. Read what you will of what it means to you but really it starts to mean nothing because there is no one there. Suddenly, the idea of someone actually living in the middle of this desolation is an exciting, disruptive prospect (I have fantasized about this so many times). Sorry, but I think I'm convinced that nature is NOTHING without humanity's touch, destructive or otherwise. 

I have slept in about four different motels/hotels. My single piece of luggage is open like a disemboweled thingy on the floor and who brings these many creams and shit?? (I do) Not to mention my normal medication and vitamins (there's this new thing with Garlic combined with zinc, vitamin C and horseradish to stop allergic reactions- seems to work because my nose has stopped itching).

In the next few days (we fly out, the rental SUV ditched, on Thursday), I might see snow and I'm looking forward to that. I have this belief that I have this affinity with the cold, with winter.

I am I think, trying hard to convince myself of that. I look in the mirror and see my skin struggling- needs more moisture I think; thank God I have enough creams in the world for that...

xx

#werk #trip #DayThree

Rain, rain rain. We should have sacrificed a lamb or something for better weather.

#werk #trip #DayTwo

In a small country like New Zealand, it's harder to see the class divisions. The man in the nondescript simple merino top and cords may be seven-figures richer than the man in the slim-cut suit and well-worn Ferragamo shoes. Or vice versa- merino tops and corduroy pants may also mean what it looks which is a modest retirement and a worry about that hip-replacement surgery waiting list. When we passed by opulent small homes in the Bay of Plenty with their long driveways and architecturally landscaped grounds, I couldn't picture what kind of New Zealanders owned them or what jobs (or businesses) they had. What's even more confounding was when we got deeper into the interior where the small towns are, so small, that even the smallest of fast-food chains (a good indicator of population) are non-existent, and I think, how do people in these places make a living? 

I mean, list up the usual suspects- farming, livestock, repairs, medical- aside from these, what else could one do?

Every time I pass by a particularly desolate looking place I think, if I lived here, what would I do? And I imagine these scenarios where I conveniently take away the problem of what to do for a living and I think I would:

1. Try my hand at gardening
2. Finish three books a week
3. Start long-distance running again
4. Learn a new craft like sewing
5. run for office or apply for a community position or something
6. keep a pet like a big dog

Mining old stuff

It's been a long, long time since I last felt literary. Lately, it's all been about work content; videos, marketing pitches, social media (ugh). So I logged back into my old Blogger account which is like going into that old room, that upstairs attic or basement and rummaging through 'old files'. There's not much there- the longest one is a mere 1,400+ words- but it gives me a picture of myself that I ironically, don't see anymore even with an almost daily record of photos.

I currently have over 23,000 images, a few thousand of which even pre-date the launch of Apple's iCloud (2011) and my suspicion is that when someone rifles through them, they would find someone utterly normal; someone who clearly has mastered the art of taking food photos, has good shots of everyday things, is not really vain (and because I'm not photogenic)  and... nothing much else. There is nothing wrong with normal- the problem is that I'm actually not. I believe I'm not. And I hate being just normal.

The photos don't do me justice in the sense of showing something other than the obvious. But I take them because it's easy- so in a sense it's somewhat true- it is an easy life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the easy life- the problem is that I know nothing is ever easy.

When you rest on easy, that's when everything starts to get fucked up.

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Red-Letter Day

Don't you hate it when how you feel doesn't match what is actually incontrovertible fact? Like your actual age. It could be plain denial, or worse, some sort of delusion.

My question is, when will both actually match-up? If ever. Does it happen naturally (didn't happen when I started medicating for blood pressure, cholesterol), or do we make that effort to somehow make peace with things we can't change? But in my defence, I'm not changing anything that I know I can't alter. 

I am simply living my best life, which sadly, does not merely involve affirmations of positivity, faith and a leave-it-to-God-kind of mentality. You need to exercise. You need to eat good, nourishing (and consequently expensive) food. You need to protect your skin, to dress comfortably so as not to be judged by an always judging world (and I do care about being judged).

You need to work at life, to develop and take advantage of the gifts and passions and flaws that were given to you. 

You need to ALWAYS give your best

If You Can’t Love Yourself How In The Hell Are You Gonna Love Somebody Else
— RuPaul

I did (inadvertently) gift myself last year with Apple products that totalled a low five figures so I don't think I can afford the same this year- there's always that year for more 'meaningful' gifts...