Accidental Blashpemy

I blaspheme. Like, a lot! On a daily basis in fact.

As I go through life you’ll find my vocabulary littered with ‘God Damns’ and ‘Jesus Christs’ as I continually take the Lord’s name in vain whilst stubbing my toes or dropping things or, if I’m lucky, gazing in wonder and amazement at something magical.

But the important thing to remember is that I don’t mean it. These words have no more specific meaning to me than does the word ‘Coke’ mean specifically the brown sugar water made by the Coca Cola Corporation. When I say coke I mean any brown sugar water you have available (or at least did, when I drank brown sugar water). They’re just words I use to express a general meaning, and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Likewise my latest bit of blasphemy.

I’d seen this bookshop/cafe just round the corner from the hostel I’m staying in in Adelaide, and filed it away as a nice place to go and sit, drink tea, and read a book. And so, the other day, that’s exactly what I did.

Initially it seemed like any other bookshop you get; ie, full of books. But then as I was perusing the DVD shelves (I can’t help it, I see a DVD shelf, I have to peruse) I noticed that I’d heard of none of these movies; not a single one. ‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘So they get their supplies from some knock-off DVD supplier.’ It happens. Usually in 24 hour garages and back street newsagents though.

Then I spotted one with ‘Kirk Cameron Presents…’ emblazoned across the top, and a spark went off in my head. He’s a pretty well known Born Again Christian in the States. ‘So,’ I thought, ‘they have a religious DVD section. Ok, that’s cool. Each to his own.’

Then I headed to the cafe counter, passing lots of what appeared to be Self-Help books along the way. I stood waiting to order, my gaze drifting around the room, alighting on children’s books with the word ‘Jesus’ in the title, and adult books with the word ‘save’ on them somewhere, until it finally settled on a corner of the room separate from the rest that just had ‘Bibles’ written across the top of the entryway. I think around then is when I finally twigged I was in a Christian bookshop (and if that didn’t do it the t-shirt shop across the road selling ‘born again designs’, and the homeless guy with JESUS tattooed across his knuckles, really would have been the clinchers).

Now as I say, each to his own. It’s all good. But what made me chuckle to myself, and where the blasphemy comes in, is I was there to finish reading ‘Good Omens‘ by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, a light-hearted, tongue in cheek look at the Book Of Revelations and the End Of The World.

accidental blasphemy

If you haven’t tried it and you like a bit of a chuckle I suggest you give it a go. It’s a fun, well written book, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Apparently it’s a bit of a cult classic. I don’t know about that. I just picked it up in the book exchange at the hostel, figuring both these guys pen a good yarn, so together they’ll probably do alright.

But be warned, it doesn’t take The Bible entirely seriously. It doesn’t take much of anything entirely seriously in fact, but certainly not The Bible. That was why I felt kinda funny sitting there reading it in what was quite clearly a pro-Jesus establishment.

I’m happy to report though that I survived the experience. No one took umbrage at my presence or choice of reading material (though they would have had to have known it’s contents to do that, which seems unlikely in somewhere like that), and I was neither cast down, smote, nor rent asunder, which would have put a bit of a dampener on the rest of my day let me tell you.

I can only conclude that either God doesn’t care about that sort of thing or, as is more probably the case, She’s got a better sense of humour than most people give her credit for. Just look at the platypus for example. A prime example of someone having a laugh if ever there was one. 😀

The Icepo Hunter

As some of you may remember, in May I got involved in the icepo project, a worldwide effort to release captive icepos back into the wild.

Well, since then I’ve gone over to the other side. Kind of a game keeper turned poacher kind of thing. I am now an icepo hunter!

icepo hunter (in repose)

Hunting icepos is difficult. They are a rare and skittish breed. But a bit of research told me that one could be found in the San Francisco Public Library. Immediately I set to work (but only after a proper icepo hunting breakfast of tea and gingerbread pancakes!).

gingerbread pancakes

It takes great skill to hunt icepos; and a really big gun. Preferably one that shoots lasers and can turn into a sword. Mine does all that and more.

the hunt begins

Icepos are notoriously difficult to track,

looking for sign

but with a bit of patience (and a lot of luck) it can be done.

picked up the scent

Icepos hide out in the most normal looking of places.

icepo, in it's natural habitat

You’ve got to know what you’re looking for if you’re going to have a successful hunt. And even then you have to be careful for fear of spooking this rare and moody beast.

almost got him

But with skill and diligence victory can be yours!

victory!

Of course, I could never kill such a majestic creature. I hunt for the fun of it, not for the loss of life. Rest assured that icepo 99 was released back into the wild, and still roams free in the bookshelves of San Francisco Public Library to this day.

icepo, well and truly hunted

So, is there an icepo near you? How about hunting one of your own? 😉

It’s All Coming Together, Man

As I’ve mentioned already, I am now officially unemployed. I celebrated this by having a purge. I deleted a load of numbers from my phone that I haven’t used in ages, or will never use ever again. If you’ve never done it before I highly recommend it. It’s very cathartic. I started doing it when I lost my phone ages ago, and so lost all those numbers I used to call but who didn’t call me. At the time I thought it was a tragedy, but then I realised what a blessing it was. It freed me of all those old relationships that weren’t working, and allowed me to concentrate on the ones that do (if a relationship is working you’ll have other ways of getting in touch with them). It was such a liberating experience I do it on a regular basis now, deleting the chaff and just keeping the wheat. Definitely keeps things in order, just how I like ’em.

my ticket(s) to ride

The planning is finally starting to gather pace now. Yesterday I booked my tickets for the round the world flights, then I went online and did my visa applications for America and Australia. Today I book the storage, go buy a backpack, book a B&B plus the meditation in San Francisco, and I start to pack ready for the big move.

For those that are interested (and who isn’t?) I got the flights round the world for £1431:00. I go LON-SFO/LAX-SYD(PER)SYD-SIN/SIN-LON. That’s London to San Francisco, overland to Los Angeles, then L.A. to Sydney, a single to Perth, overland back to Sydney (eventually) Sydney to Singapore, and Singapore to London. Of course I’ll be doing stuff in between (I’ll let you know when the detailed itinerary is up on Yoga Bum) but you get the gist of it.

I was surprised to get the flights so cheap (and they’re good flights too! None of that early morning/late night crap) but what really surprised me was how expensive the insurance was. For 1 year it’s £515. I don’t buy insurance normally, so that seems a lot to me, especially compared to the flights. Apparently it’s because of the American leg of my trip. I shouldn’t be surprised, but still it is a shame, especially having to pay so much for something you may never use.

I’m officially excited about going away now. I actually danced a bit when I got back to the flat with my tickets. And then last night, as I went to bed, I caught myself singing (La Bamba for some reason?). These are not things I normally do (at least not just before bed!). I guess you could say I’m looking forward to starting my adventure.

Officially Unemployed

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I am now officially unemployed.

The last 2 months have been tedious to say the least. I had to give 2 months notice because my job is so specialist. Allegedly they are meant to use that extra time to find and train my replacement. They didn’t. So I had to suffer work for an extra month for nothing.

And suffer I did. I used to like my job because it was you, on your own in a room, just getting on with things. No other people to contend with, no one else to fuck up but yourself, singular intention and no distractions. Somewhere along the way all that changed.

Being stuck in a room having to listen to other people bitch and moan about this, that and the other; having to listen to their endless repetition of bad jokes; having to deal with their lazy, ignorant mistakes; this is not my idea of heaven.

And the politics, my God! The endless politics. And very little of it real or reasonable in any way. Even on my last day people were trying to drag me into stuff, even though I studiously avoid that kind of thing as much as possible. They even asked me how I stay out of it all. “By not having conversations like this,” I thought.

But it’s all over now. There’s just a wee leaving do thing to get through on Monday (there’s even politics involved in who is coming to that apparently, and it’s stressing me out to the point where I’m thinking it’d be easier not to go!) and then I don’t have to think about work ever again.

I’m so over working for other people. It’s my idea of hell. From now on it’s just me, myself and I.

Preparations And Considerations

16 days to go, and its all starting to feel a bit more real now.

I’m starting to book things. Flights to and from Munich. Shuttle transfer to the Ashram in Austria (crazy to fly to Germany to get to Austria, but there you go!). I’ve got a guy getting together a cost/itinerary for me for the round the world leg of the trip. I couldn’t give him all the details, as I don’t know them myself, but I gave him what I’ve got so far… (which is this)

planning

Everything up to the 26th of November is booked. Everything from then until the start of next year is planned, but not booked. And after the new year who knows? It’s all still a bit up in the air!

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to a trip like this. I mean you’ve got the obvious stuff – flights, accommodation, trips, etc. – but there’s plenty of other bits and bobs that are just as important but don’t spring immediately to mind.

Like getting online.

“Ha,” I hear you say, “Internet cafes!”

Well, yes, you’re right. But what I mean is the logistics of maintaining an online presence, like a blog, without carting around a laptop or external hard drive everywhere you go. I’ve been looking into it and the answer is simple… The Cloud.

little fluffy clouds

Online data storage is the way to go (just ’til you get back home anyway). I’ve already got a Dropbox account (3GB of free storage). Now that might be enough to keep me going, but I plan on taking a lot of pictures, so what else? Well, Flickr not withstanding (I’ll be uploading to there as usual, but I’m talking back-ups here), did you know you get 7GB of free online storage with Hotmail’s SkyDrive feature.

That’s right, sign up for a free e-mail account and get 7GB of online storage FREE! And even better, it’s backed up Microsoft Office, so if you store documents on there you can update them online, no muss, no fuss. I’ve already put some stuff on there to help me log in to my many online accounts that my computer automatically logs into at home (as I’ve forgotten all the passwords, lol). In fact I spent a good few hours the other day checking and changing all my logins just so I’d know what they all were.

I’ll also be storing flight and travel information on there too, as well as scans of my passport, visas, etc. just in case they go awol. No more crumpled, damp, degrading photocopies in the bottom of your backpack (though I’ll have those with me too) now everything you need can be backed up online and kept handy. I’m telling you, The Cloud is an absolute God-send.

But that’s just one aspect of it all. What about before I go away?

The past few weeks I’ve been eyeing up everything in my flat deciding what I need, what gets packed, and what goes in the bin. Most of it’s fairly straight forward. But then I thought the other day, what about the food?

a vast array of 'meats' and 'cheeses'

I mean perishables, ok, they get eaten or go in the bin. But is it ok to pack and store spices? Or do storage companies frown on that? Will I have to get loads of sealed plastic containers to put them in? And will that work? I’m telling you, it’s the details that do your head in. All I know is, I’m not giving up my spices without a fight!

And your plants. Who gets your plants? What do you do with your bike, leave it down here or take it with your car up to your brother’s place? There’s just so much to consider.

it's boring waiting for the sun to come out

Actually, I’m being a bit of a drama queen, lol. I’ve got it more or less figures out. Car, bike and computer go ‘oop norf’. Everything packable that’s not junk goes into storage. Everything in storage that’s not furniture goes in boxes, so if I’m overseas and I have to arrange to get it all moved and shipped it’s good to go. Likewise the car papers go with the car, so if I decide not to come back it’s all there ready to be sold.

Yup, you heard me, I might not come back!

I don’t know where all this is going to lead, but chances are once I leave London I won’t come back to live here again. And once I leave the UK, provided there’s things I want to do, I might not come back here to live again either. Anything could happen, so that’s what I’m planning for; anything and everything.

And finally, as a little aside, I’ve started another blog to detail my travels. It’s called the Yoga Bum but don’t go rushing over there just yet as it’s pretty empty (though if you’re interested you can go check out What a Yoga Bum is?).

And in fact it’s existence shouldn’t make any difference to you guys over here, as I’ll be re-posting anything I put on there here on My Brand New Life. It’s just a little yoga/travel based thing for the more ‘yogic’ (ie: innocent) of my friends to keep up with what I’m doing. And whereas there I have to be all polite and on topic, here I can write about all that and still post random stuff I find off t’inernet, come up with new recipes for you to try, post silly pics of silly things, cheeky vids of naughty things, and get away with saying words like ‘bollocks’ and ‘shlong’ and ‘boobs’. 😆

So you guys are getting the best of both worlds! How lucky are you?

(Answer: Very!) 😉

Last… Night Shift… EVER!!!

It is with joy in my heart and a skip in my slightly weary step that I announce the last ever time I will work right through the night.

night buses in Hong Kong

Night shifts suck! This probably comes as no surprise to most people. But the really sucky thing about them is how detrimental to your health they are. Staying up all night, eating when your body should be resting, not getting to see the sunlight for days on end, all of these things are bad for you. Doing them all at the same time, doubly so.

That’s why I’m well chuffed that, after last night, I never have to do them ever again. And it’s just the thought of having to go back and do more night shifts that make me even more determined to succeed in whatever I choose to do from here on in. I don’t know where my fame and fortune may lie, but I do know that whatever I do do will involve me making my own hours, enjoying what I do for a living, and never, ever, EVER having to work under someone I’m smarter than or who gets to tell me what to do just coz he owns the company (that’ll be my job from now on, hehehe ;)).

From now on I work for me, and I decide my hours, and where I work, and on what, and with who, and how much holiday I get. I’ve tried the working hard for other people thing, and I did ok at it, but it’s utterly unfulfilling. From now on I’m going for job satisfaction, and if I can make a butt load of money along the way well then so be it. 🙂

NB: My car passed it’s MOT, thank Jebus. One less thing I have to worry about.