Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Well, shit.

It's been a long time coming. I originally intended to update my blog weekly with entertaining content, but I found that I had no particular interest in meeting said deadline. Despite enjoying the process of writing and editing, I am one of many souls who prefer to sporadically interchange between different hobbies. This therefore renders me with an inert hatred for writing if I spend too long doing it.

However I am back. Perhaps permanently; most likely temporarily. Either way, I'm here again. My first curiosity is whether anyone else is still in the process of checking their blogs regularly. My instinct would have me think otherwise; however, on checking out my stats I still seem to get some daily views. This, to me, is reason enough for me to get back in contact with my creative albeit introverted self.

First off, I believe I should mention that I have started another blog on another account. I have done this for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I wish to blog about more than just myself. In my new blog, I will be posting links to music I currently enjoy listening to. That sounds on par with a large percentage of bloggers, doesn't it? However, I suggest you check it out before being hesitant. Secondly, I'm in the process of creating a more consistent online experience for myself. By this I mean that I am going to try my best to integrate as many websites I can into the same experience, with the same global details. I no longer feel the need to lie to websites about my data: if they want to come all the way to New Zealand to rape my face then so be it.

Don't forget to check it out here: A Fresh Tune.

Also, uh. Well, nothing for now. Continue being awesome.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

I love.. my money.

It doesn’t shame me to admit that the supposed male role-models in my life lie on opposite sides of the spectrum. My father is the Armani-wearing, plane-hopping businessman who spends more time in cities I cannot pronounce than in his own home. He’s the man who will spend a week’s pay on a new hobby which he indulges in for a few days before getting bored. On the other hand, my mum’s boyfriend is the wealthy man who buys food in bulk from Pak ‘n Save, wears bargain-bin clothing and has driven the same car since the dawn of time. Put simply, the two male role-models in my life are classifiable as a ‘large spender’ and a ‘frugal person’. In this sense, I have witnessed completely opposite stances on how money should be processed. I know my father’s spending habits are concerning, but it’s my mum’s boyfriend’s stance on money that really confuses me.

My mum’s boyfriend is a man of Dutch descent who moved to New Zealand in his late teens. He spends most of his free time cycling, jogging and tramping. His love of tramping and the great outdoors have always been a great motivation to him. It was due to his love of tramping that he joined the region’s most well-regarded mountaineering club in the 1990’s. Not long after he joined the club he met my mum. Ever since they first met they have been friends. He even had the privilege of accompanying my mum on her first ‘snow summit’. He is a strong believer in John Muir’s outlook on mountaineering: “walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.” His working life on the other hand is far different. He has been working nonstop since he arrived in New Zealand. In fact, he has come to possess a small fortune of money by barely spending any money on his own desires.

Imagine that you were offered $10,000 for free with no strings attached. You would take it, right? I certainly know I would. I wouldn’t donate it to charity: I’ve got more important issues at hand. But what if you were given the chance to be a millionaire? That’s a million dollars in your bank. I’m sure that would appeal to your senses. We are greedy, selfish human-beings after all. With that amount of money we could purchase a mortgage-free house, a fancy car, and still have money left over to support us for years to come. We’d be able to live life to the full without having to worry about our bank balance. So why is it that there are people who strive for billions of dollars? Surely there isn’t that much that you can buy with a billion dollars! Hearst Castle? A thousand Ferraris? It is needless to say that our financial heroes Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have earned so much money that its value can no longer benefit them personally: only large-scale charities could put that much money to use. The only way such excessive values of money could be reached is through a frugal nature. My mum’s boyfriend is of this very nature.

My mum’s boyfriend is a man who has been saving every cent he has ever earned since he was first employed. I can understand his reasoning for this: it’s a personal trophy; a self-given congratulation for his own success. But what really mystifies me is that both he and mum are 50-years-olds. You may ask, “What’s the problem with that?” This is where things get personal. I know for a fact two things: he has a large portion of cash in the bank, and his “soul mate”, my mother, has a very serious form of cancer. In fact, the oncologist has given her mere months to live. So when he goes on a grocery run for my mother and buys the cheapest juice instead of my mum’s preferred Just Juice in order to save a measly 50 cents, I start to question his motives. Both of their lives are relatively close to their ends, and he’s attempting to save an insignificant value of money by compromising on a small purchase. How could such small savings possibly benefit him? I cannot understand his reasoning behind this. And, if the Bible is to be taken into account, nor can Christianity. According to Luke 12: 16-21, the act of saving up your money until the day of your death is foolish. What makes matters worse is that he’s definitely not the only one with such a tight control over their money. I cannot identify the sense of satisfaction these people must feel knowing they have rarely indulged in any personal satisfaction. These are the wealthy people who shop at Save-Mart to save a couple of dollars. At what point in time are they going to realise what a waste of time it has been saving for all these years?

What makes this even more peculiar is that mum’s boyfriend has no children for whom to pass on his fortune when he dies. I assume he plans on donating his money to charity when he passes away. Many people would respect this decision. Many people would see this as a very humble thing to do. I wouldn’t. I personally think that it would be much more honourable to care for his dying life-partner. Caring for someone you love would be much more gratifying than caring for the needs of a complete stranger, especially when he wouldn’t even be alive to witness it. I do not suggest that he adopts the same spending scheme as my father, but perhaps allowing something as small as a carton of Just Juice into his budget. After all, you can’t take your money with you when you die.

NB I wrote this last few year for an essay competition entitled "what makes you think?"

Not long after I wrote this, my mother has passed away.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

I love music and I love the noise.

Before I begin, I will admit how torn I feel to write an entry about the music I enjoy listening to. I fail to understand why. Perhaps because in the grand scheme of things, not one person will share the same opinions on music as I do. Or instead because I shy away from the boastful attempts at convincing others to sharing my opinions. But I feel it is necessary to share my musical tastes.

My tastes for music have varied extremely throughout various stages in my life, starting in my late preteens. Prior to these experimental days I listened to whatever my parents forced down my throat in an ambitious attempt to postpone my rebellious movement. Naturally, this never had any chance. At about the age of twelve I bought my first second hand radio and tuned into Radio Hauraki (a New Zealand pirate radio station). However, it did not take me long to broaden my musical horizons. I started liking bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, etc.

Up until Christmas last year my music tastes remained stagnant. I now liked all genres that encompassed my previous choices. I grew to like older music like J.J. Cale and The Kinks. But I also submersed myself in heavier rock such as Metallica and System Of A Down. But this all changed last year.

January 9th, 2010. The night my musical preferences would change forever. At my aunt's wedding, one of the guests, Simon, showed up in his car. It was a brand new Mitsubishi Outlander with a stock standard sound system that would blow your ears to smithereens. Me, my Australian cousin and my dad accompany Simon on a quick cruise around the block. We sat there awkwardly not knowing what to expect.

In goes the self-ripped disk.


FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK MY EARS. Out blasts the Gareth Emery podcast - episode 85 as loud as he could possibly turn it up. It startled me at first, naturally. Never before had I heard electronic music of any kind other than the likes of Rihanna or Chris Brown. This was new. It felt like something sparked inside of me when I heard the bass drum kick.

From that day onwards my musical preferences have undertaken a complete overhaul. What used to be metal, rock, and blues is now drum and bass, dubstep and trance. I can't claim to be an expert on electronic music, but I've certainly progressed far beyond the likes of which I had done within the genres of metal and rock. But I can listen to both electronic and rock music. I provide a medium in a society that is generally either on one side or the other, which I suppose is something unique about me.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

My overall gaming experience.

I presume I am not the only person here who, despite being alive for quarter-century, has only gotten into gaming in the last 10 years. I cannot claim to be the original Fallout or Starcraft god. But the more I've gotten into video gaming the more I've enjoyed it. Like a young child floundering in the water in his first swimming attempt, I too started as a pathetic blob of misgiven hopes and dreams attempting to be the next [RED]NaDa. But as my daily quota of gaming increased from minutes to hours and my reflexes improved, those dreams have turned into pseudo realities: sure, I would never even dream of challenging those Koreans, but in my own right I have achieved what I always wanted to: to sit down in front of any TV, put a controller in my hands, and with only a short tutorial to prepare me, be able to annihilate my friends.

My first true gaming experience would have to have been the original GTA. My cousin thought it would be cool to lend me a few of his old games back in the summer of '01 and of course, being a rebellious teen nightmare, I thought the best game to play would be GTA. Boy was I right. A normal weekend back then consisted of spending time at a mate's playing footy, going to parties, or going to town. But this weekend in particular involved me spending my entire weekend running around an urban metropolis stealing cars, shooting hookers and escaping from cops. This quickly progressed to the one and only Mafia: City of Lost Heaven. And by god that was a good game. I can't be the only one who remembers restarting that goddamn race atleast a dozen times before realising that setting it to easy had no penalty other than to your self-satisfaction. The next logical choice in my major gaming selection was GTA: Vice City. However, due to a large amount of study I never got to complete the storyline. As I started to branch out I soon discovered the joys of this newfangled online thingy they called runescape. Sure enough I got addicted. It didn't take me long to realise, however, that my choice of name pretending to be a girl had no effect on the teen nerds as they were all too interested in getting +1 strength.

My favourite games of today are GTA: San Andreas, Crysis, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Mafia II. Is it not obvious the influence of my early gaming days? I think of it as an evolution, if you will. Although the logical step from runescape would've been World of Warcraft instead of Oblivion, but I promised myself never to get involved in such an addictive adventure. Crysis came along simply because my jaw dropped whenever a tree was felled to a couple of rifle rounds. Overall, however, I have stuck with my guns in the GTA and MAFIA franchise.

P.S. Special mentions must go to these games:

  • The Movies
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 & 3
  • Need for Speed (all, excl. Shift, Shift 2 and Prostreet)

Which, although they were fun as hell, they weren't really influential.

Welcome to my blog.

I am curious as to what I will achieve in doing this. It's not that I don't believe in myself; merely that I do not expect to feel fulfilled as a blogger. However, little is achieved if much is assumed. So here I find myself, Looking down a long and fortuitous tunnel of future blogs. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Who knows. We will see.