Archive for the ‘Irritations’ Category

The rest of my visit to NZ was spent at my bro’s place. I had missed him the most, missed driving to his place for a weekend of peace and tranquility.

I had breakfast with H before she went to work, and said goodbye. I would miss her and kitty. I left just before 9 am heading over the Pahiatua track (more memories). It was cloudy when I left but sunny once I got past the Mt Bruce hill.

It was fantastic driving the usual route. Unfortunately, I had no music as the rental car didn’t have a USB port for my music. I didn’t bother with radio as reception is not great in the hills. It was great to see K and G again. We played several obligatory games of Siedler.

The next day we drove the back road to Gladstone. G had mentioned a reserve to go walking but it was just a carpark by the river. We had lunch at a local pub.




Returned for more Siedler (visits to K were always about food, Siedler and trips to walk the dogs) and watched more of Hellfjord.


Next morning, K and I visited a beach between Riversdale and Castlepoint. I’m glad K had an SUV – it was quite a narrow, windy, hilly gravel road but spectacular views.


Castle Rock, looking north towards Castlepoint

It was a lovely day, if a little windy.


We returned to more Siedler (yes we are addicted).

I had given K scanned copies of the old family slides, so we went through those, reminiscing, then K showed me video from his snorkelling near Cairns, and his visit to Goulburn, our father’s birth place. We had a glorious dinner of free range pig with roast veges. We watched a bit of the winter olympics.

Another storm was expected over Wellington, but thankfully the day after my flight home.

K left for work the next morning at 7.45 and I left half an hour later. I chose a different route to the usual one but got held up by sheep!


I stopped on the hill for one last look at the region.


And a pic of the rental.


I had enjoyed driving it. I had thought that if I bought a car I wanted something like it, but it was a bit basic inside for the price and I couldn’t open the boot while the engine was running (pretty stupid).

I had confused the time that I was supposed to be at the airport with the actual departure time so I was very early. I had had time to visit H and C’s cousin who lives near the airport. It was great to see her. She offered me something to eat but I figured I should get to the airport after dropping off the car.

The car rental people didn’t even look at the car and so the new aerial wasn’t noticed. I heard nothing from them after that so either they didn’t notice or didn’t mind the replacement. Relief.

I won’t talk much of my usual negative experience of Wellington airport. I did not have a beer (at $10 a glass) but did get something small to eat. The queue to go through customs was so long it wound past the eating places in the main lounge. (The airport is too small!) Once on the plane we taxied to the runway, stopped and returned to let off someone who had behaved inappropriately (apparently – I saw and heard nothing). The already late flight was another half hour late. The video screens didn’t work properly for the first third of the flight. The “Thai beef curry” was more like a stew. The “dessert” (an icecream) was too sweet.

The plane reached Melbourne at 7.40 pm a lot later than it was supposed to. The bag took ages to come through which was unusual for Melbourne. However, after getting the bag it was straight through to catch the Skybus (unlike ****ing Wellington).

End of. I’m still planning to travel to Sydney this year but have yet to organise things. I want to visit two cousins and two others, if poss. We will see.




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Discovered, that after one day, some arsehole had banged the rental car door and left a red mark. Headed to Super Cheap Auto and the guy there got the red mark off but said he couldn’t remove other marks left behind. A guy parked next to me suggested using toothpaste (which I used later with success).

Went shopping at all the usual places including the Plaza and bought myself some jeans which didn’t need taking up – 2 pairs for $60. I bought a size each in 10 and 11 for slim and fatter feeling days. It’s the first time, apart from a dress I bought last year, that I’ve fitted a size 10. Wow.

Also shopped for a new bag, parking at Harvey Norman and wandering down Broadway. Nothing there. Had a pain au chocolat at the French cafe and headed to Ezibuy. Again, nothing I liked. I liked the pattern on one top but it was long and overpriced.

Then headed to supermarket and bought some beer I had missed (Aussie beer is so expensive and not a great range of international brands). Also bought Red Seal tea, hair ties, etc.

I returned to kitty and played with her and read a book. There was a text from M that she was home so I headed off to visit her. A was home too and invited me over for dinner. M talked a lot and it seemed not everything was rosy in her life.

As I backed out of the shared overgrown drive, I heard a crack. The overly long, stupidly angled aerial on the top of the car had broken. Bloody hell! There was no time to return to the car place, so I stowed the broken bit and headed to Ashhurst. I went to the domain and walked around, reliving so many memories and feeling very sad. I missed my dog so much.  The river had carved out a huge chunk from the bank and it looked very different. Where once I had walked with friends and family – gone.


View from domain


Memories of walking Zara

Then drove to A’s place out towards Pohangina. Her friend, S, was there but didn’t really greet me, which I thought rather rude, considering he was all chummy on previous occasions. He was on his way out in any case.

Chatted with A over a G & T and I met her 5 cats who had adopted her. Had a lovely meal and sat in one of her two lounge rooms for more talking. We had missed each other.


Stitch, the friendliest of A’s 5 cats

I then returned to H’s place and had a wine before heading to bed.

I had not driven past my old house. The new owner had removed all the garden and trees and I did not want to see it ugly and bare.

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A week later and I’m again heading off to work soon. I worked for 10 days straight and only had a day off yesterday. But I’ll start the account of my NZ trip and then perhaps, one day, I might get around to blogging about my Myanmar trip – nearly two years ago already. I cannot believe how time flies. I’ve been in Melbourne 2 1/2 years already.

I was asked by some why I took a trip to New Zealand as if it was an odd thing to do if not actually “holidaying” there. Naturally, I wanted to catch up with friends and family. Perhaps it’s weird to spend a week in a place you used to live in but if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s people more than places that matter.

So, I had a reasonably early flight, I thought, and was up before dawn to catch a tram (there being no trains at that hour) to Southern Cross station in order to catch a bus to the airport. Melbourne is still backward in having no train link to the airport – really stupid. I got to the airport in plenty of time to check in, only to be told that the flight had been delayed by four to five hours, thanks to fog in Wellington! Thanks, Wellington! Thanks for your lousy weather. I swear that city hates me. Ninety percent of the time I visited that city the weather was absolute shit – just for my benefit, it seemed.

Five or six hours is a very long time to spend in an airport where there’s not much to do, except eat overpriced shit food or drink overpriced alcohol, or shop for overpriced ‘things’ that I don’t need. Luckily, I had a book, but you can only read for so long before needing a break.


At the appointed ‘new’ hour of departure, the plane still wasn’t there. Wonderful, just wonderful. I had had to call the rental car company to tell them I would be there after hours which incurred an extra fee. I was delighted – not. Any plans for a civilised dinner with H had gone out the window. I was driven to drink.


Finally, finally! we were permitted to board the plane half an hour after it arrived.

I watched a movie (Three Billboards…) which was ok then half an episode of “Top of the Lake”. The meal was salty salmon which I did not enjoy and left mostly uneaten. The other choice was fried chicken or eggplant and rice, both of which sounded unappealing.

It was pouring with rain in Wellington but unusually warm. We waited forever at immigration then another 20 minutes for the baggage to come through – why, I have no idea as we were apparently the only flight to have arrived at the time. I despise Wellington airport. Every single time I pass through it I have a negative experience. It didn’t stop there. My bag, when it finally arrived, was absolutely saturated. I was not impressed to say the least. I had declared, so had to go through bag screening. On previous occasions I was just asked what I had (chocolate and/or tea) which is usually the case in Melbourne. Once through (about an hour after landing), I called the car rental company who was to pick me up. I waited outside in the rain but no sign until I got a phone call by the driver to say the van was parked nearby and was waiting. How the hell was I to know?

The driver took me and two others to a shed on the other side of the airport and said keys were on the counter. Not exactly talkative. We wandered over towards the shed and saw someone behind the counter. The cars were parked opposite. Got into my white Mazda 2 (aka Demio) and began the journey towards Palmy. It was still raining heavily.

I had barely left the airport when I had to take a detour and was stuck in a traffic jam for 10 minutes. You can imagine my mood. This trip had been a nightmare.

Finally, I got on the motorway and headed north. I drove the new stretch of motorway with no idea where I was in the dark with pouring rain and wind. It was nice to get on familiar roads.

I actually drove past H’s place as I didn’t recognise the frontage. A garage and fence had been built in front. But she’d seen me and come out. It was great to see her but so late that it was time to go to bed almost immediately. The top layer of the inside of my bag was damp. Fuck you, Wellington.

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What do I mean getting. I’ve always been cynical (it runs in the family) and I am getting older (who isn’t?) but I do wonder if it’s getting worse.

Of four books I had out from the library recently, none of them were gripping enough that I had to get to the end. I didn’t finish two of them. One by Ben Elton (and I should’ve known because I haven’t enjoyed any of his books) “Dead Famous” I found totally boring. Another “Goodbye Vitamin”, an American book which I thought would be funny, didn’t capture my interest at all. It read like a collection of totally random diary entries. I gave up on that one. A third “Headlong” was interesting but had verbose in-depth analysis of Bruegel’s paintings that read like a thesis. And the fourth, a collection of short stories by Roddy Doyle, is enjoyable enough but only something to pick up because I had nothing else to read. Disappointing overall.

My cynicism continues with the TV series “Mars” a so-called documentary, recommended to me by a friend. I think it’s dreadful. It has two parts – the present (2016) and the future (2033-37) dramatisation about a base on Mars. Neither is well done for the following reasons:

1) 2016 Random ‘experts’ drone on about human exploration, past achievements, the difficulties, ad nauseum, but don’t actually talk about technical issues. I think it’s more of an advertisement (‘how great are we’) for Elon Musk and his SpaceX venture.

2) 2033-37 Professionals, such as captain and botanist do not behave professionally. On landing, the captain refuses a medical examination. What? The ‘botanist’ spends his time spraying water on his plants, fingering their leaves, whispering to them, and breaking down because some of them die. Not once does he use any technical equipment (computer, microscope, etc) – ie there is no research. He’s just an overemotional gardener.

3) They go from finding a cave to build their settlement, to suddenly being up and running without explaining the technical aspects – how they did it, where the materials came from, etc, etc.

4) An engineer uncouples his safety line in a dust storm and wanders off to find the machinery he’s supposed to fix (how he would without getting very fine dust in it, was not explained). Oh miracles, he finds it and all is well, and presumably finds his way back to the rover despite not being able to see anything. The power comes back on and all can continue as normal. (Never mind that the person responsible for rapid expansion argued that plants needed power when they barely had enough for essentials. Oh please.)

5) The “botanist” opens the door to the unprotected outside world because he’s hallucinating. Why would there be a door to the outside world from the plant lab? Come on!

It’s all utter bullshit. I got more information from five minutes of googling, and you’d learn more from watching the movie “Martian” than this piece of garbage melodramatic “documentary”.

I live alone, so have to rant sometimes.

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Among the biggest mysteries to me, which I truly fail to understand at all, is why I get “likes” and “follows” from obscure “businesses” or individuals on Twitter and Instagram. I don’t get it. Included in this social media bewilderment is LinkedIn. Why do total strangers from the other side of the world in a totally different industry want to connect with me? I just do not understand. Then there are the random comments on blog post entries which bear no reference to the blog entry they’re commenting on. The same comment is posted on numerous totally different blog entries.  Why??? What are they getting out of it, these people? Do they think they’ll get followed back or that someone will click on a link to their “business”? Just bizarre. I’ll never understand people.

I was disappointed in a movie I watched last night “Drive”. I had read good reviews but I came away with the same puzzlement as to why people rated it so highly. For a movie called “Drive”, there is very little driving. It started off promising but after the first ten minutes it went downhill. This statement on the SBS website “When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best – drive” is total bullshit. The seemingly harmless driver goes around bashing people’s heads in, etc. Fuck-all driving. Then there were the slow-mo scenes with his love interest and lame music, which was all very sickening.  Why a typical “all-American” waitress let a silent stranger into her life when she seemingly loved her husband (in prison) is beyond me. None of the pathetic plot made sense. Why are American movies so clichéd, predictable and ultimately boring? I’ve been spoiled by European and Australian dramas which are realistic, unexpected, gripping, and totally enjoyable.

Another disappointment is Duckduckgo as an alternative search engine. I’ve tried to veer away from Google, and Duckduckgo is my default on Mozilla, but so often I’m dissatisfied with the results and head over to Chrome where Google is the default and try again. A shame.

I’m sure there was something else I was going to comment on or complain about but it’s gone – obviously not important. Such things never are.

I’m looking forward to a week in New Zealand in a couple of weeks’ time, specifically seeing K and H, and driving! (I miss driving but don’t need a car here and wouldn’t want to drive in the city.)


Listening to: Niyaz

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I don’t get them. Even as a child I didn’t warm to most of them. They said hurtful things. I preferred the company of my dogs.

In the past two years I’ve experienced kindness and open friendliness from virtual strangers, which always surprised me.

I just had an email conversation with a friend back in NZ. “Friend” really means ex-colleague, as we didn’t socialise outside of work. I was cheery and answering her questions and it was all good until she made some spiteful comment, the sort to bring you down. It’s supposed to be said jokingly, I guess, but there’s really no need for it. Why can’t such people be encouraging instead of hurtful? I open up about my life and get shot down. Is it sour grapes? I still don’t get it.  I’m so glad I’m far away from that toxic atmosphere. I was humiliated at my farewell by a nasty speech “disguised” as humour. I wasn’t laughing. I was so hurt I cried instead of saying thanks. Someone even gave me a copy of the speech, thinking I enjoyed it. I ripped it up and threw it away in disgust. It was horrible. Why are people so nasty to each other? To so-called friends and colleagues? There’s no need for it. I guess they’re unhappy people with nothing good to say about anyone? I don’t know. I’m well away from it now, and thankful to be so. When I visit, which I will do next year, I’ll have to prepare for snide comments. Or maybe I won’t visit at all, but just invite a select few to drinks at a pub. So disappointing.

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That feeling you get when you’re so tired you just can’t be bothered with anything at all.

Part of it is the start of daylight saving, which always takes me a couple of weeks to get used to. Having to get up an hour earlier is never easy.

Last night I visited Geelong and didn’t get home until after midnight, having to wait half an hour for a train from Southern Cross. At least there were trains, I guess.

For some reason I’ve been browsing Facebook more often and this is a trap and I shouldn’t do it, especially when I’m tired.  Again, I get annoyed and I try to analyse why:

For a start, Facebook insists on showing what my friends have liked. I don’t particularly care what they’ve liked. If they wanted to share it, they could share it, but I don’t want to see some lame shit which just pisses me off. I loathe animals dressed up, for example. Some peope find it funny or cute. I just find it fucking stupid and disrespectful. Animals are not toys to dress up in your stupid bows or ludicrous costumes.

There are some pages I’ve followed out of interest but occasionally they post something that is just very depressing. I guess I’m guilty of sharing something that’s equally depressing but which I thought was important. I should know that others are not in the mood or simply don’t care. I fall into the “not in the mood” category at the moment – probably because I’m tired. Other posts such as ones about yet another massacre of yanks killing yanks – I really do not give a shit about. I’m fine with americans killing themselves. Makes a change from them killing others in countries where they shouldn’t be.

I make an effort to post something and get zero likes. It shouldn’t bother me. I’m not out to please people or get “likes” but it does indicate that people have looked at it or read it. Of course, they may have and not liked it. Perhaps Facebook should just indicate if people have actually seen it, otherwise you feel like you’re in a vacuum, talking to a wall. No feedback. I spent ages compiling a video of photos, for example, and I think two people watched it. Maybe more did, but just didn’t care enough to “like”. I dunno, what the fuck…

I keep seeing the same posts, whether they were posted yesterday or several days ago. I think it’s because someone has posted a comment? I don’t need to see it again, unless I specifically wanted to follow that post and see subsequent comments. I should be able to turn this off. And then sometimes when I refresh I get a whole batch of posts I haven’t seen and can’t find the one I was just looking at.

“Suggested Post”s – really FUCKING annoying. Some can scroll past it, but often you’re sucked into reading it before you realise it is just a fucking advertisement. And you keep seeing the same ones. Yes, you can choose to not see any from that particular fucking advertiser but I get sick of having to do this every single fucking time.

Being labelled “grumpy”. It’s Facebook that pisses me off. I should just close my account. I should reassess what I would actually miss by doing so. I don’t currently have time for genealogy so I’m not reading those posts. One daughter posts nothing at all, while the other does sporadically. Other family members post nothing at all. So what am I getting out of it? It’s nice to know what some friends (very few, in fact, actually post anything) are doing occasionally… They want to know what I’m doing but I rarely see anything from them – catch 22.

Amazing how many posts I’ve written about Facebook and I’ve still not taken the step of closing the account…

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