Archive for January, 2012

I’m a Versatile Little Blogger!

I’d like to thank the Academy…

And my Mum.

(The rest of you can bugger off).

No! Wait! Just kidding. I’m practicing my speech for the next time I win an award. I wasn’t quite prepared this time y’see, as I had no idea anyone was actually reading my blog, much less considering giving me one. An award, I mean.

blog awardSo! I am now the proud recipient of the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’!

I think I deserve it. My blog might be rubbish, but I am very versatile. Not only am I waterproof, you can even wear me inside out and I’m a totally different colour…

This is the first award of any kind I’ve won since my university classmates voted me ‘Person Most Likely To End Up In Prison For Public Nudity’. Oh, I came close to winning a prize for outstanding customer service whilst working in the ski fields in New Zealand, only to be pipped at the post by a monosyllabic moron who only knew three words that weren’t ‘fuck’.

According to the rules of the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’, I must first thank the person who gave me one. (Sorry, did I do that joke already? Ah well, Think of it as a double double-entendre.)

Lara Schiffbauer

Lara Schiffbauer

Lara Schiffbauer, step forward and be recognized! Thank-you very much for noticing my blog, and for liking it, and for telling others about it. Gratitude is very important in my life – I am one of the luckiest beings on the planet and am a big believer in thanking everyone and everything for the roles they play in that. It’s too easy to take it all for granted, the friends, the family, the millionaire lifestyle I enjoy (okay, that last is a bit of a lie). I try not to. So thank-you.

Lara blogs about the trials and tribulations of becoming an author over at: Motivation For Creation

Next I must tell you all seven strange things about me… Hm. Not smiling so much now, are we? Well, even though you didn’t ask for it directly, here it comes:


Seven Things I Hate About Me:

1)   I can’t tell my left from my right. At all. I used to hold my hand up to make an ‘L’ shape, until I discovered that they both do this, depending on whether the palm or the back of the hand is facing forward. Bit of a bugger, I thought. Go on – try it! Confused? Why yes, yes I am.


2)   I can’t cook. At all. I can manage beans-on-toast for one, but if you request cheese on top – something is going to get burned. I can, however, swear like the best chefs in the business.

3)   I have no sense of balance. At all. I’m doing classes at the gym 5 or 6 days a week now and inevitably, in every class there comes the stand-on-one leg bit. Whether trying to kick, step or lift weights I always do the exact same impression of a loose windmill being demolished by a bulldozer.

4)   Cars scare the crap out of me! True story. Not the driving of them – though I only learned to do that for the first time, aged 33, in November last year (and I haven’t driven since). No, what scares me about cars is how fragile they are. We’re driving alone (okay, the missis is chauffeuring me) and I hear a squeak. “Oh crap!” I think. “Is that squeak getting louder? I think it is… Oh God. Is that a $100-to-repair squeak? Or a $1,000 squeak? And how will I know the difference if the mechanic tries to pull a fast one… and… oh, SHIT! That knocking sound wasn’t there before…” Yes, unusually for a bloke, I am a paranoid wreck around anything with an engine.

Blown Tyre

This was more of a BANG! - of the $150 variety.

5)   I’m a perfectionist – about everything. Unfortunately I am also crap at most things, which leads to a rather ridiculous situation where I do something quite badly, over and over again, desperate to improve it yet not actually getting any better. See my book by way of an example.

6)   I get obsessed with odd things. For example, I WILL turn a perfect back-flip if it’s the last thing I do. Ask anyone who’s seen me turn a back-flip, and you’ll get one of two opinions; ‘It’ll take him the rest of his life to figure it out anyway’, or ‘if he doesn’t stop trying soon it probably will be the last thing he does.’ My back just doesn’t bend that way it seems – but why the hell would I let that stop me ? :0)


Me pulling a... something. Whatever it was, I don't think it ended well.

7)   I like being naked. Just thought I’d put it out there, for any new readers that have yet to suffer through such an ordeal. I love the feel of being naked. I read in the nude. I’d cook in the nude, if I could cook. I am also impossible to embarrass and a self-confessed exhibitionist, which makes life difficult for everyone around me – especially when I try to convince them to get naked too. Personally I can’t see a downside – except the fairly high probability that I will end up in prison at some stage – and prison is not a great place for someone who likes to be naked…

8)   DO’H! There isn’t supposed to be an ‘8’. But then I wouldn’t have time to tell you all that I only wear children’s sunglasses…

Dino Sunnies

You can't beat multi-coloured dinosaurs!

Fruit shades

Unless it's with fruit!

Flower sunnies

Or possibly Flower Power.

Spidey sunnies

Nah, just kidding - Spidey's the best!

So there we go! All done for now – and I would like to nominate the following AWESOME bloggers for this reward, though doubtless they all already have it because, well, they’re AWESOME!

Here we go:

David Gaughran – In the last six months his name has become synonymous with… ah hell, what’s the word for ‘knows absolutely everything about self-publishing-before-it-happens’? There isn’t one? Right, well I think I’ll call it a ‘Gaughran’. Trips off the tongue quite well, that. Anyway, READ HIM.

Dave and Deb of ThePlanetD – fantastic adventurers with great posts, and I’d love to hear 7 random things about them! I can already tell you one though – they’re going to ANTARTICA! The lucky buggers.

The Displaced Nation – because these guys (and gals) RULE! Still blogging every week day, they recently asked me for a post about healthy eating. BWAH HA HA HA HA HAAA!!!! Commissioning an essay on dietary goodness from a guy who lives entirely on junk food… If that’s not versatile I don’t know what is!

Trailing Trekker’s Travels – Kathy Schmidt works harder on her blog than almost anyone I know, pushing out post after post of fascinating adventures. I don’t have the energy to do half the crazy stuff she does, much less write about it. Go have a look now!

Dan’s Adventures – I’ve just started following what Dan is up to – check out his recent post to see that he’s hand one hell of a year! And, poor sod, he spent some of it in Wales… :0) More to come in 2012 apparently. Stay tuned!

So there we go. Fun and foolishness! Your homework is to tell me at least one strange thing about yourself in the comments section – no point me being the only one baring my soul now, is there?

Bring it on!



It Must Be A Sign…

Because Outpost Magazine have been running their Signs of the Road competition I’ve been digging around in the old photo files on my MacBook. I found some crackers (in the usefully-named ‘Amusing Signage’ folder) and thought I’d share a few of the best with you all. Don’t worry – not all at once!

For today you just have to cope with this classic:

Sign saying To Bang Sue

Understandably, there was quite a queue.

It’s a sign I spotted in a Bangkok underground station, pointing the direction to the end of the blue line. My sister Gill snapped it when she came to Thailand to rescue me… long story.

Earlier that day I’d had an interesting encounter with a hooker, which I’ll have to tell you about now that I’ve mentioned it or you’ll start to think all sorts of dubious thoughts about me.


So there I am, walking down a bustling road in the centre of Bangkok.

I’ve booked quite a posh hotel as I’m here to meet Gill, flying in from London, and you can just do that in Bangkok – book a posh hotel. It cost me about the same as a youth hostel would back in England.

For the night before though, I’d booked a backpacker’s – no point wasting money on the likes of me. So I strolled out of the hostel, down the road and bumped into a hot young Thai woman who invited me into her bar.

I got about ten feet inside when my eyes adjusted an I realized I was staring at a naked woman – no, I was staring at a reflection of a naked woman. There was a giant mirror on the floor and above it, on a ceiling of glass, this chick was gyrating for all she was worth.

Deciding this wasn’t quite my kind of place I beat a hasty retreat – not without the odd backward glance I must admit, but then I’m only human.

But the hooker wasn’t going to let me go as easily as that.

“No, stop!” She called at me. “You can’t go out, you have no shoes!”

I looked down at my bare feet. They were filthy.

Should I explain to her that almost six months ago, having had my shoes stolen for the third time in a week and frustrated with the general crappiness of flip-flops, I’d made a bet with a friend that I could go barefoot for a whole year?

No. She’s never understand.

I just smiled at her and said, “indeed.”

And left.

I’d gotten to the end of the road when I head a slap-slap, slap-slap, gaining in speed and volume behind me.

Just when it sounded like I was about to be flattened by an overly enthusiastic sea lion, I turned to spot the hooker wheezing right behind me.

“Take, take!” she panted, and held something out to me.

It was a bright pink pair of flip-flops.

So concerned with the health of my feet was she, she’d run back into her bar, grabbed the first pair of shoes available and chased me all the way down the road with them.

“Um, thanks?” I said as I took the pink plastic shoes. They looked a little on the small side for me.

“No pwobwems!” she replied, grinning, then skipped merrily away up the road, her good deed for the day done. It made me feel a lot better about hookers as people. They weren’t bad people; it was their clientele that should be avoided. Plastic shoes eh? Given her profession I should be grateful she gave me tat instead of tit.

I stood bemused at the cross-roads wondering what to do with the tiny pink pair of flip-flops. I didn’t want to carry them around all day, it would make me look even more like a homeless person. Or possibly a child molester.

The traffic lights changed and people began crossing the road. I made eye contact with a girl coming the other way and stretched out the shoes to her as she passed.

“Want these?” I asked.

“Oh! Ah, okay?”

And she took them.

She gained the other side of the road and turned to stare at me in confusion.

I looked back and caught her eyes.

I waved at her.

She waved back.

“Now shoo!” I said.


Anyway, that’s all the explaining I’m doing today.

If you like the sign, there’ll be more of them – I have a collection after all, each with a fascinating story behind it – and yes, I promise not to tell you all of them.

Really – would I do that to you?



Alternative New Year Resolutions

Sick of people going on about New Year’s Resolutions yet? No? Well of course not, because most people stopped making them at age 12.  In spite of this I’ve decided to continue the tradition – but being me, I make a more… alternative kind of resolution. I also waited until half way through January to make them, to give myself time to recover from New Year. That way I could be sure they were true and honest, and not written out of any knee-jerk sentimental idealism. Here’s my aims for 2012:

1) Drown Fewer Bandicoots:

Drowned MarsupialJust because an animal is stupid doesn’t mean it should be allowed to die. Otherwise I’d have no friends left at all.

(Ow! Stop hitting me!)

Seriously though, we have an issue with our pond – it’s so tempting for bandicoots that they throw themselves in with great enthusiasm, completely disregarding the fact that they can’t swim. No wonder they’re endangered.

Roo was making a lovely list of sightings to report to the Dept. of Conservation, until sighting #14 was stiff, smelly and floating.

‘Dear DoC,

Please find enclosed a report on the bandicoot that was living under my verandah until about 2 o clock this morning when he decided to go for a swim. He is now living in a plastic carrier bag in my bin.  Not sure what the official number of them left in the wild is, but please deduct 1 from the total. If you’re looking to wipe out any more of the little critters just send ‘em this way.’

Your friends in Conservation,

Tony and Krista

2) Harass more Pro-Bloggers:

Because they secretly rule the world. Not the politic-y type bit of it, which is boring bullshit anyway, but the bit that matters. They’re the new black. No, not even that is cool enough – they’re the new ninjas. Everyone wants to be one. Except me, thank God! Imagine if I wrote this crap full-time. I’d have people suing me for making their brains dribble out of their ears (and staining their best shirts in the process).

Instead I will poke fun at these paragons of the digital realm, these gate-keepers of all that is good. You never know – I might get a rise out of one of them, and they’re usually far too nice to call the police. Might even sell a few books…

3) Get naked more.

Because you love it. Yeah y’ do. Here’s why:

My bare chest

Told ya so... :0p

4) Take more photos of Random Shit:

I’m not a camera carrier. I lived for a year in Thailand and only took one photo. I’ve quite literally destroyed more cameras than I’ve owned (sorry Roo, Gill, Dad….)

Anyhoo. I do see a lot of odd stuff on my travels and it’s about time I photographed some of it. Especially now I have a shock-proof, water-proof, snowboarding-over-proof camera (which I leave at home because it was expensive) and a good phone (which I leave at home because it doesn’t work in Australia). By way of an example, here’s some stuff I saw in the bargain bins whilst out shopping yesterday:

Some rather expensive trinkets:

Expensive signAnd a severed arm:

Manaquin Arm‘nuff said. And more photos means less words for me to write and you to read – basically, everybody wins.

5) I WILL dress up like a woman. Because that’s also popular.

6) I WILL NOT dress up like a gay ninja. Reason is self-explanatory. Well, that AND – they might get me…

Gay Ninja7) I WILL try to do more crazy shit. I’m not promising I’ll manage anything as crazy as this:

Outdoor Toilet

When ya gotta go...

But you know how I roll. It’s bound to be fun  :0)

So! Your Alternative New Year’s Resolutions? In the comments of you please!


Less is Less

I was reading an awesome travel blog this morning called ‘YTravel’, and they had a post which inspired me. It was all about how much harder they plan on working in 2012 which I feel is commendable, if slightly insane.

I mean, work harder? REALLY? Mum, do I have to go to school?

Yes okay, we have established that I am one of the laziest buggers ever to walk the Earth. But I felt this was a good opportunity to advertise this fact to a wider audience, so I told them about my intention in 2012, NOT to work as hard as I did in 2011.

I even resolved to work less hard on blogging, what with there only being four of you reading this and all  :0)

So there I was, as usual, taking the piss, and I used the phrase ‘less is… less’ That’s when it hit me – less, in fact, IS less.

‘Less is more’ is a phrase most writers are familiar with, as it relates to economy of word use (another area in which I am sadly lacking. Jeez, not coming off too well in this post am I?).

But ‘less is less’ relates instead to the amount of writing I’ve been producing.

I’ve blogged, I’ve travelled, I’ve renovated three houses. I’ve social media-d. I’ve also got married, learnt to drive, done a Grand Adventure around England and then emigrated to Australia. It was one hell of a busy year.

What I didn’t do, though, is write.

WHAT? Shock, horror! But I’m a writer… aren’t I?

Well I bloody well better be. My only other marketable skill is… Hm. Let’s just say it’s not marketable. Except possibly to sailors.

Me in a dressIt has been mentioned to me recently that I’d “Bloody well better get on with writing the next book!”.

This, of course, is true.

I have now decided to take this piece of advice.

For the first time in my life I have fans – yes, FANS (and not the electric kind, though I have those as well thank-you very much) – asking me about the next book. At least once a day… or week… or month… okay, but it did happen at least once – I get an email, or a facebook message from someone wanting to know when my next book is out.

Who am I to deny them? The great unwashed masses, the people… peoples… person. Or two.

So if you don’t see me around – that’s nothing to do with me writing my new book. That’s because I now live in Australia. Honestly, keep up! But I will be devoting much more time to getting the next book done, hopefully for the start of the English summer. (Since that can be anytime between May 1st and the middle of September, I’d better be more accurate: Let’s say June.)

The new book has a working title of ‘THAT’S NOT MY MONKEY…’ (because at the time, it wasn’t.) I might be letting slip the occasional progress report to keep you all in the loop – and if anyone hasn’t bought my first book, ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ – well you damn well should have! Nothing like a great big pay-cheque to inspire me to write the next one! Grab it now – the link is on the left.

No, the other left.

I will of course continue to blog with no discernable focus, until we all go blind from ennui and start falling into one another. I know, you expect no less.

And just like last year I will offer NO prizes on my blog, because I’m poor. And a terrible host.

Feel free to piss and moan about my general lack of tact (amongst other things) in the comments section. I will then point and laugh.

No, really!

I love you all.