Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A star is born..............

I have finally made the big screen. I am in the closing sceen in the movie "Without a Paddle" and also am featured in Peter Jacksons "King Kong" production diary which has video clips from the making of King Kong.
To down load it - http://img-nex.kongisking.net/kong/movies/day76-240x135-mpeg4.mov


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A smart dog story

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful pet poodle along for company. One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long he discovers that he is lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch. The poodle thinks, "Uh-oh, I'm in deep trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-stride, a look of terror comes over him, and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew," says the leopard. "That was close. That poodle nearly had me."

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes. But the poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard. The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine."

Now the poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet and, just when they get close enough to hear, the poodle says, "Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

For Sale - My Sea Bed and Foreshore.

The ownership of the New Zealand sea bed and foreshore now belongs to the Government of New Zealand, which basically means that it is owned by all New Zealanders. This is a good thing as I am really broke at the moment and so I have decided to sell my piece of foreshore and sea bed. I am not sure exactly where my foreshore is, but that doesnt matter as all you have to do is get 3,999,999 more people to sell and you will own it all. It has had only one owner so far, is in good condition and comes with fishing rights.

I can offer flybuys with the sale and will throw in a free britney CD with the deal. Bikini clad women are part of the deal, along with surfies and other general riff raff that tend to hang around beaches. You can tell them to go if you dont want them.

I would like offers over $1,000. If you are a crank or hoax, dont bother bidding.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Viagra Man Keeps a Stiff Upper Lip

I was asked to do an audition for a TV advertisement last week. The pay was in the thousands for a weeks work, so I was immediately hooked. There was one draw back. It was for a Viagra type pill……

This was an instant challenge for my male pride. "What if people I know see it" I asked? I would become known as the Viagra Man, the guy who cant get a you know what, snigger snigger. I would have to put up with jokes like; Bernard spent too much money on Viagra: Now, he's hard up and thousands like this. Fortunately, It was only going to be shown to millions in the USA, Canada and parts of South America., but wont be seen by anyone I know in New Zealand. "No problem" I said, "I will do it."

I practised my lines and spoke in an American accent all week. This drove my family mad, especially me going over my lines in the bathroom, while looking at myself in the mirror, saying how wonderful, long lasting and quick reacting this stuff is.

The day came and I was more nervous than I have been for years. Suzie, my wife came along with me to the audition to play my partner who was really interested in my new found life after death experience, so to speak…… and who wanted a piece of my action. She was to leap onto my lap and gaze hungrily at me……. This suited me just fine. Bring it on baby.

It all went well and was a lot of fun. I was confident that I would be on the short list after our great performance. I received a phone call a day later, saying that I was to be flown up to Auckland to do a final audition. Unfortunately, Suzie never got the part to play as my partner. It was going to be some other woman. I was going to have to hug, kiss and gaze lovingly into a strange woman’s eyes. I could do it, but to be perfectly honest, I didn’t actually want to do it with another woman even if its just acting.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to make a decision either way, as they changed their minds about me and went for a darker South American look. I missed the job and the thousands of dollars and the shame fame.

I wasn’t disappointed about missing it.

I can actually remember summers..........

Do you remember when summer consisted of hot weather, cold beers at the beach, sun umbrellas, swimming to avoid the heat, sunburn, warm water at the beach and barbecues without raincoats? Remember having to eat your ice-cream fast because it was melting? I know its going back a decade or two, but I hate to say it, "those were the days".

Summer today consists of jerseys, flooding, hot soup, warm fires, rain umbrellas and remembering the past, good old days.

I am thinking that the government has banned summer. "Bring back summer" is my cry.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Christmas Time

I love Christmas time. It brings back wonderful memories of when I was a little boy at home with my parents, brothers and sister. It was a time of excitement and laughter with lots of great food cooked by my mother and my father, red nosed and a bit drunk laughing and playing with us.

We usually went to bed early on Christmas Eve. We were told that "it was a big day tomorrow and you need plenty of sleep for it". I found out years later when I had my own children, that this wasn’t true. It was so mum and dad could bring in the presents without us catching them and discovering that Santa wasn’t real. One night my brother and I stayed awake to see if we could actually catch Father Christmas in the act. We thought we heard him on the roof and became terrified that if he might catch us we wouldn’t get any presents. We promptly went to sleep.

The day would begin by mum and dad dragging us all along to church, that is if we didn’t go to midnight Mass. This always proved to be a spectacle, as we usually sat at the back, and from here got a great view of all the drunks, who mistakenly felt some need to wash their souls clean on Christmas Eve. One time to our horror, one of the drunks turned out to be my older brother……….

After Church we would open our presents. We were not rich, so the presents were meagre. I remember one year getting a bike, that dad had restored, painted and stuck a new bell on. The problem was, it was my older brothers ex bike. I wasn’t pleased.

After unwrapping the presents we would all go and play or sulk about "Our slack presents" or "So and so got a better present than me".

Mum would start making the Christmas lunch and dad would go to George Darby’s house and have a couple of Christmas drinks. It was more than a couple I can assure you. George was an old RSA mate of dads, and this tradition dated back before my birth. Dad would turn up around 12ish with a grin and a kiss for mum, for being "such a dear".

We would then crack the assorted Christmas nuts that someone had given us. We had a tradition of giving a box of assorted biscuits to all our relations, and they in turn gave us a box. On the odd occasion, someone got it wrong and gave us nuts. Cracking the nuts proved more of a problem than eating assorted biscuits. We usually cracked them outside, using stones on the path.

My auntie usually turned up around 12ish, just in time to crack a bottle of whiskey, wine, beer or sparking wine, with whoever would care to partake with her. This usually was dad, but on occasion other relatives would visit.
Lunch was at 1-2pm. This consisted of chicken, roast lamb, gravy, roast spuds, pumpkin, kumera and vast quantities of peas. Sometimes dad’s crop of peas from the garden was ready and we have these. Pudding was mum’s famous Christmas pudding which had money in it. It was so exciting eating pudding as you could get the half a crown. This was worth 2 shillings and 6 pence, or 25cents. It had the buying power of $10 in today’s cash.. Who ever got it was the lucky one.

After lunch we would lounge about, sleeping and playing, while the parents had a "snooze". It was a great time.

Hopefully Christmas will leave the same fond thoughts in the minds of my children.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Me Grumpy, no way.

If there is one thing that I really dislike, its someone who's feeling irrepressibly up when I'm immovably down.
One day recently, I phoned a friend to ask if he and his wife would like to come around for dinner. "How are you?" he asked as soon as I'd announced myself in something less than ecstatic tones. "Tired and suicidal", I replied reasonably, sensing that an extreme emotional state was demanded. "How are you?"

"Great, things have been going really well." And he went on to bore me with the details of his latest triumphs. "I won lotto, got a promotion, received a knight hood, won another world trip and all my children have just come top in their class in every area and are all now spring cleaning and painting the house, while me and my wife are desperately trying to think of something to do while we lay in our new spa pool surrounded by all our wealth and greatness. We are looking forward to the next challenge in life."

When your feeling down, the last thing in the world you need to hear is a cheery voice. Its like opening the door to the Jehovah's Witness when you have just tripped over the cat, knocking over the china cabinet which punched a hole in the wall bursting a water pipe and you just cant remember where the shut off valve is. The dogs just drowned and if you don't get to the phone and ring a plumber the kids will soon follow the same fate as the dog.

Have you ever had one of "those days"? You must have heard of these. As a child I can remember my mother and father both saying "they have had one of those days". It left a deep impressing on me and I often wondered just what "One of those days " meant. What was the difference that marked one day from the next, what made one day a normal one and another "one of those days." I knew that I had something to do with them as my mother would always glare at me as she spoke about "one of those days". I think it had something to do with me "being the black sheep". I never understood that either. I wasn’t black although in summer I did sport a dark tan. I definitely wasn’t a sheep. "Adults are silly" I thought…….

Many years later I was introduced to the less glamorous sides of life and began experiencing these days, often with alarming proximity of each other.

I have come across a similar tendency in other people when I tell them I'm feeling great "ha ha, he he," not that I seem to have an abundance of the cheery stuff these days. In fact, I've been spending quite a bit of time with the grumps. It must be low testosterone, or male menopause. Perhaps men do get PMT but it wont be discovered until a few hundred years. Then we will be justified, but it will be to late for some of us. Perhaps it's just an inherently pessimistic nature. George Bernard Shaw (he was a real smart aleck writer back in the olden days) said, "The secret of being miserable is having leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not." I don’t really understand that, but it looks like an intelligent statement and so I have added it to this writing.

Another thought has crossed my mind. Perhaps my grumps have to do with starting work at 5am and getting home at 5pm. Anyway, I do get irritable I admit it, especially when the neighbors dog barks at any occasion. I am sure its completely mad and it deserves to be shot. Drivers who refuse to drive according to my standard and my rules really get under my skin. Who do they think they are anyway?

I always thought I was easy going, lighthearted, always smiling. Instead I become Mr. Grumpy, and once he arrives he is not easy to shift. My wife's and children’s sympathy helps as does the well intentioned advice from others, but Mr. Grumpy is hard to shake off.

Its strange though, how grumpy-ness hates company. Sometimes it only takes my wife to finally explode that "she's fed up to here with my grumpy mood around the house". Immediately a miraculous transformation takes place and I become tolerant, good natured and joyful, denying that I was even down, and my wife then takes over where Mr. Grumpy left of, sadly becoming Mrs. Grumpy. Perhaps its catchy.

Grumpiness is not a permanent state however. It seems to take over for a day or two and then vanishes, leaving only the occasional residual snipe in its wake. Perhaps it is actually a chemical thing and I only need a spoon full of sugar.




Wednesday, December 15, 2004

SCHOOL CAMPS

My son has his last day at Primary School today. Its sad, but in another way I am kind of glad. I don’t have to go on anymore school camps. I had a love hate relationship with them over the years. I went to 6 in total, and usually came home saying that I had fun. I remember one camp in particular that I went on.

My wife announced "Bernard, I have put your name down to go on school camp. You will have lots of fun with the 200 darling little kid’s and it will be good for you to get to know the other parents who are going……" My cries of "But I don’t want to go. Death looks more inviting. Tear my testicles off, lets have dinner in a lion cage, I will eat molten nails, anything, but don’t make me go" seem to somehow be translated into "Yippee this is going to be great and I am really looking forward to it. This is the best thing that could have ever happened to me" in women language. My efforts at avoiding the draft failed, and so I went to camp with a comment "You WILL have a great time" which to me, in my depressed state of mind, sounded like a command. Anyway I dragged myself along with much fear and trembling.

Fortunately I always knew someone else going and so we would meet up at the New World Supermarket in Otaki and we would embark on exciting shopping sprees. We happily loaded our trolley with half the shops mystery candy rum and raisin mint bars, peanut blah blahs roasted in quail droppings, chocolate exotic chewy yum yum biscuits, specially rolled and dried yoghurt fruit tingle tangle bars and fruit filled crunchy tasty extravaganzas from Havana, all of which are vastly outside my limited price range. On one occasion, once the checkout operator had finished tallying up the huge amount, my friend did his Scottish "what pocket did I put my wallet in" shuffle. My shoulders began to droop as it became apparent to myself and everyone in the entire shopping complex that there was no wallet forth coming and these two guys were about to look stupid. . His wallet was back the Hutt Valley. My shoulders sunk back to their totally depressed state as I paid the bill with a huge fake smile that told everybody it was no problem.

Camp was held at "Forest Lakes" Otaki. I have never been there before. It’s a great place and my spirits lifted when I saw it. After unpacking I thought I would associate with the kids to gain their confidence and respect. "Its important that they get to know you" I was told…. I thought of the saying, "Get to know your enemy".

"Do you want a go on the hanging tyre" they said as I wandered past the playground. This was a tractor tyre (with a wooden floor), hung from a frame that spins as it is pushed around. You sit in the middle and have a great time as it spins. I should have recognised the evil grins from the demons dressed like children as I climbed on, that this was one of my life’s dumbest decisions. I must have had my "Hey look at me I’m really stupid" mask on at the time. Spinning at vast revolutions per second might be alright for a 25 year old American all time hero built like Hercules and training for intergalactic space flight, but for this overweight, unfit old aged specimen from Lower Hutt it was the closest thing to hell I have experienced. Everything became a grey blur as they spun the tyre to demonic speeds. I repented for every sin I had ever committed and ever will commit, I called out to God to save me and clutched my stomach desperately attempting to keep my meagre breakfast where it belonged. God however turned His back on me, because of my attitude when my mate lost his wallet. At this speed time slows down and for the demon possessed children doing all the psychological damage to me, it seemed like seconds, but to me it was 3 months in hell. Thinking I was dead they stopped the tyre spinning and peered inside. I was quietly whimpering, "Stop, stop, you have to stop it spinning" lying in a fetal position in the tyre. One of the demons who had by now re-transformed into a sweet little girl said "But Mr. McClelland it has stopped and could you please get out as we want a turn now". After climbing/staggering out I just managed to stumble to a grass bank and lay there for 10 minutes pretending that I had just had my life’s greatest experience. I was actually talking with God asking Him "Take me now Lord I am a sinful man who deserves death!"

It was then when I saw a vision. I realized that this camp was a survival camp. It was going to be them or me and so I determined that we were at war and they were the enemy. I wasn’t going to die, I was going to last the distance, I was going to be the victor. Hallelujah, My spirit lifted to great heights, I wasn’t going to die, I was going to live. Hooray…….

Those little suckers were going to lose.

I was on canoeing as my first activity. Its amazing how wet a child can get from only one splash of a paddle in the hands of an expert. I became a terrorist on the high seas, sparing no child. When no teacher was looking I drenched the little darlings, I tipped them over and shoved their canoes into the bull rushes where they were trapped. Ha ha ha it was great, camp was going to be fun. The strange thing was, the more I did, and the more popular I became. They thrived on my merciless tactics. When I thought they would beg for mercy, they laughed and said, "that was fun". Dejectedly with my drooping shoulders back, I paddled back to the shore to find them all waiting for me like little vultures with hungry evil eyes. Before I could get out of my canoe ten frenzied children desperate attacked me for my blood. I was tipped out and set upon by these monsters from hell. No mercy did they show, even when I begged them to let me breath. They left me once they thought I was dead.
That night I planned my revenge.

We went for a walk around the lake. This was done to tire the kids out. Unbeknown to everyone on the camp but me, it was an impossibility trying to tire out these creatures from the dark side, but I was ready for them. In my cabin I remembered that these creatures of the night will not attack anyone with garlic around their neck. I couldn’t get hold of any so decided not to clean my teeth, hoping that garlicky bad breath would do the same.
It seemed the word had got out, that an angel of light (me) was in the midst of the Kingdom of darkness. They attacked me with everything they could. Water pistols, sand, small pieces of grass, fake smiles and fake kind words all were used against me. One of them, cleverly disguised as my daughter who they had tied up somewhere else, even tried to hold my hand. I would have none of it and breathed garlic on her. She ran screaming. When some small-brained teacher decided we should all climb the most cow pat studded hillside in creation, all hell broke loose. Unfortunately here, once again my Irish inbreeding ancestry got the better of me. I should have gone up first. I foolishly was the last one up, leaving myself open for easy attack from above. It rained cow dung on me as I climbed the hill at the back of demonic throng. It was like climbing into a brown, smelly avalanche. I exhaustedly arrived at the top to see them escaping down the other side. I thought "Now I will get them", but due to my now confused state missed with my smelly avalanche and hit a few teachers which did nothing for my every dwindling popularity.

"Lets get Mr. McClelland" became the war cry. So for the next 4 days I had to endure mass torture, suffering and shame. Through it all I held on to my sanity. My garlic breath saved me many times and I recommend it.

No more school camps……. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This isnt food !!!!!!!

I wonder where chefs in flash hotels are trained? I went to a well known Wellington Hotel for our work Christmas dinner on Saturday night and was not happy with what I was served up as my dinner. What is wrong with society today to accept and actually pay money for this fancy, flowery, pretty excuse for food.

The entree was suppose to be Duck. It resembled the dog roll we use to serve our dog. I say "use to serve our dog" as we no longer feed the dog because it is dead and feeding it would serve no purpose. I often wonder if it died from Dog roll poisoning. I felt like I had been poisoned on Saturday night after eating the Duck roll.

My mains was supposed to be turkey. It wasnt. Well, if it was turkey, it had me fooled, and it must have been one sick bird when it was alive. My cry also was, where are the spuds! Dont they cook good old fashioned roast potatoes or chips, any more or are they now socially unacceptable. I managed to eat mains, but was left feeling that society had gone mad by allowing itself to be dictated to by chefs who had no idea what real food was all about.

Its time for a revolution and retrain the chefs of our nation to cook meals like the ones mum use to serve us. Real meat, real gravey, roast spuds and veges. Now thats worth paying for.................

Friday, December 10, 2004

Homosexuality Vs Smoking

I cant figure it. The Government says that because 90% of Kiwis do not smoke, so its right and just that smoking should be banned in places of work etc and people should inform on anyone seen smoking in a place where they shouldnt.....

90% of Kiwis are straight heterosexual type people and refrain from homosexual activities because they find it, like smoking, abhorrent. The government however doesnt ban homosexuality like smoking as they say its right and natural and we should not discriminate against them. Its OK they tell us, for them to get married, bring up children and to kiss and cuddle anywhere, even in parliment, (as seen on TV).

I can see a double standard here.

Lets hope this Government doesnt suddenly take a dislike to Jews, Catholics, old people, chewing gum, the and colour red.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Politicians are generally not that bright.

New Zealand is about to have a new, stupid law come into being on 10th December. It’s an anti smoking law. This law is designed to stop people smoking in any place of work that has walls and a roof. Outside is OK.
Before I begin my rant, I need to make it clear, that I am not a smoker. I use to smoke 25 years ago, but gave it up as I knew it wasn’t doing my health any good. I am not against smokers, but I am sad about their poor old lungs taking a hiding.

The government have designed this law so that the only people who might be penalised will be the employers. They have a clause that says, "If an employer or proprietor fail to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent someone from smoking in an internal area’ they will be fined a maximum of $4,000. Employees and Joe Public will be fined $400. They however add this "Fines will not be imposed on individual smokers for smoking in indoor workplaces…" The only place an individual will be fined if they smoke is inside an aeroplane……….

So what is this saying. Basically, we, (the Government) will fine any employer who doesn’t try to stop smokers and we wont touch the smokers. If you as an employer however put up signs etc and can prove that you have done your best, we wont fine you either.

My question is, why then have the stupid bill in the first place ? It doesnt have teeth and is just another perfect proof that politicians are generally not very smart and love wasting our tax dollars..

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Gutted

The Taupo bike race went well. I am only a little sore after it, which is great. I managed to clock up 80km which was my goal. The first 40km took 1 1/2hr and the second 1 3/4, so I am pleased with that. Unfortunately the icing was taken from the cake, as our time was not recorded and our result was, not raced. This is a long story, but basically one of our team members isn't the best of a team player. His son was competing in the solo race which starts an hour before ours. His son's bike broke 5km after the start. He managed to get back to the place where we were staying. His dad took pity on him, which is understandable and said that he could take his bike. I tried to protest, as this basically left us without a bike for our race. Unfortunately no one else saw my point of view and the bike was sent on its way. "So what do we do now" was my reply? They decided to put the electronic transponder, which is like a modern day batten on another rider about to start. This meant that he had two on, which is basically cheating.

Anyway, we all did our bit, apart from the dad, who never had a bike, which made him happy as he hadn't done any training for the event anyway. I did another 40km to make up for out lost 40km so at lease we could hold our heads up and say that our team did the 160km. I decided to check on the internet last night to see our results. To my horror, there were no results for us, as the electronic timing system never registered our transponder at the start. So basically, we never officially raced.

I am very gutted. I put in hours of training into the event. I am sure God is saying something here, but will have to wait until my head clears to hear it.

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