Trying to leave Europe

21 April — France – Germany, 347 miles

Second day – after almost zero sleep. Despite (/because of?) how exhausted I was yesterday – simply couldn’t sleep. [Edited to remove (a bit of) the self-pity]… but, plenty of self-doubt clouding the mind over the night, but mostly nonsense… and I’ve since figured out a few other guys have had the same.
One day at a time from here on in… and hopefully some decent nights’ sleeps.

Today’s riding – very long
~220 miles on boring French motorways
~40 miles of very, very nice twisty roads through the Black Forest
And then ~87 miles of reasonable German roads to get to the hotel

Still not really any photos or the such… I did take some video of riding through the Black Forest… but will need to have a look at how that turned out.

Journey’s Beginning

20 April — London – Reims, 293 miles

So – first day done.
Breakfast at the Ace Cafe,
Photos, speeches, some dignitaries along to get their own photo ops’,
Then finally started riding.

~108 miles on boring English motorways,
The EuroTunnel/Chunnel,
~82 miles of boring French motorways,
And finally ~103 miles on some quite nice French non-motorway roads.

Group dinner in Reims,
I am bloody exhausted… and rather looking forward to trying to get some decent sleep.
As such – not much more info for now, I’ll try to upload some photos/videos when I manage to collate them from other people… didn’t really take any photos myself.

https://publicinsta.com/media/BweQBxbgt2v

Plans for 2019

So… getting very close to doing a wee spot of travel.

General Plan

  • Ride a Triumph Tiger 800 XCa from the Ace Cafe in London, to the Ace Cafe in Beijing
  • Probably head into Mongolia, ride a rather smaller Chinese Shineray 150 around the Steppe, with a tent strapped to the bike
  • 17 days in North Korea, maybe more if they find any “objectionable material” in any laptops/phones/hard-drives I take in
  • Japan, to watch some rugby
  • Then – a choice of
    • returning to the UK in winter, and looking for a job at a time of year when people are unlikely to be hiring;
    • Or – heading to NZ for summer, and chilling out while I figure out how much money I have left, and how desperately/soon I’ll be looking for a job in 2020

Some PDFs of the estimated London-Beijing route

london_beijing-1 london_beijing-2 london_beijing-3 london_beijing-4 london_beijing-5 london_beijing-6

Stuff that happened in 2018

Gigs

  • The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (only a couple of songs, as I’d double-booked, and then had to hurry onwards to the next item on the list…)
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Future Islands
  • Cat Power
  • The National
  • Nadine Shah
  • Lorde
  • The xx
  • Sylvan Esso
  • Father John Misty
  • Beck
  • Bjork
  • The National
  • The Black Lips
  • Courtney Barnett
  • St Vincent
  • Patti Smith
  • Nick Cave
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Low
  • The Naked and Famous
  • The Gaslight Anthem
  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • Jose Gonzalez

I also had tickets for a couple more, but missed them…
Nine Inch Nails – more than a little gutted I forgot about this until it was too late
Marlon Williams – simply couldn’t be arsed that night

Nick Cave was as good as ever… and had Kylie Minogue out for Where the Wild Roses Grow… the reaction of the british when that happened… absolutely mental. Never seen so many hipsters and the such absolutely lose their shit for a pop singer.
The Stones – I was a little underwhelmed… but never really been a big fan.

Places visited

Stuff that happened in 2017

Gigs

  • Conor Oberst
  • The Naked and Famous
  • Ladyhawke
  • The xx
  • Cat Power
  • Japandroids
  • Alt-J
  • Stone Roses
  • The Roots
  • Cold War Kids
  • Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, The Lumineers
  • Feist
  • Regina Spektor
  • Nadia Reid
  • Car Seat Headrest
  • The Libertines
  • Seasick Steve
  • Jack Bugg
  • KT Tunstall
  • Fun Lovin’ Criminals
  • Ryan Adams
  • LCD Soundsystem
  • Ghostface Killah
  • The National (x2)
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
  • The Naked and Famous
  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Lamb
  • St Vincent
  • Public Service Broadcasting
  • Katchafire
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
  • Father John Misty
  • Sylvan Esso
  • Goldfrapp
  • Run The Jewels
  • Prophets of Rage
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Wolf Alice
  • Gorillaz
  • P.O.S.

Can’t be bothered making notes on each, but highlights were certainly Nick Cave – turning a song like “Higgs Boson Blues” into a Stadium-Anthem absolutely filling the O2 Arena… pure class. And obviously, seeing Tom Petty before his passing.

Lowlights – Libertines, never really got the hype – seeing them live didn’t change my mind. FLC before them was fun but. And Stone Roses – glad I got to see them, but Ian Brown sounded like a drunk pub karaoke singer.

Places Visited

  • US-of-A – the-turning-40-like-an-adolescent-trip – New Orleans, Orlando (eyes lowered, shame-faced…. WrestleMania)
  • Cuba
  • Singapore
  • Morocco for Christmas/New-Year – on a BMW F650

Stuff that happened in 2016

Gigs attended (this was the year of opera)

  • La Traviata
  • Pia de Tolomei
  • Primal Scream
  • Il Trittico
  • Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Future of the Left
  • La Fanciulla
  • Bruce Springsteen (x2)
  • The Chills
  • Nabucco
  • Boheme
  • Beck
  • Il Trovatore
  • Mudhoney
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
  • Katchafire
  • Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop
  • Beth Orton
  • Ugly Kid Joe
  • Ben Harper
  • PJ Harvey
  • Low
  • Pixies

Places visited

  • Czechia
  • Italy a couple of times (Lake Como – possibly the first place I’ve seen which rivals my biased view of New Zealand being the most beautiful place on the planet)
  • Germany

2016

So – a New Year.  And the decline in my formulating resolutions continues.

2015 – was the year of social media, with the intention that I’d “just stop” as soon as it hit 2016.  Which was successful, but I’m considering waiving the “just stop” stipulation, as it turns out the whole fbook thing was actually quite useful – especially when visiting home.

2016 – resolutions are still in the period of gestation.
1 – review stuff.  I’ve managed to make a start on this, reviewing cafes/things on TripAdvisor & the Google.  And I’m considering a full compare/contrast piece on chocolate milks at some point, as it seems that a couple of companies in New Zealand have finally put out some decent chocolate milk.
2 – something like “do more stuff” – which is a bit of a cop-out as it seems certain I’ll be doing that anyway, with a certain influence
3 – even more of a cop-out, something like “continue the good work of previous resolutions” – which would pretty much just allow me to continue doing all the things I want to do anyway such as “don’t drink shots”, “eat one-handed whenever possible”, “don’t eat bread”, “don’t eat anything white”, “drink more red wine”, etc etc – while also providing a loophole for re-immersion into a certain “social medium”.

New Year’s Eve – was good.  Matarangi, swim at the beach, lots of kids about – then a “weatherbomb” rolled in, and the evening was spent performing the traditional and ceremonial “binge drink”, listening to a lot of HLAH, and some Darcy Clay – and at some point I was given a “bubble-bomb” – consisting of a handle of delicious champagne, with a sherry glass containing sparkling rose in the middle.  And according to photos, after that there was some dancing, some red wine with Hayden after everybody else gave up, and then some champagne all alone.

Typical New Zealand New Year's Eve

Typical New Zealand New Year’s Eve

Bubbles-in-Bubbles

Bubbles-in-Bubbles

Since then, some bullet points would be:

  • Quick visit with Lyn in Whangamata
  • Few days with Chook in Tauranga, first night of which I sprained my ankle so was forced to stay for several days
  • Playing with the niece and nephews
  • A week or so at Akarangi – few bike rides, some squash, a hangi, etc
    Akarangi Hangi

Other random observations:

  • While I’m away, headlines in the UK announce “BRITAIN is braced for its coldest winter in 53 years”, with a “brutal SNOWBOMB” on the way, etc.  To be fair – these are sourced from some of UK’s more ridiculous publications – but I’m still pretty smug about having summer in Aotearoa instead.
  • I’m hoping at some point to re-publish some of the few posts I managed to salvage from the Google’s history of the previous incarnation of this… and maybe even, when I’m bored, write some very condensed retrospective bits.

Random SMS message

So – got a text message this morning, from a number unknown to me, stating:

“I want ur dick ass and feet”

This has perplexed me, as you would expect.

  • What does this person want with my “dick ass and feet”?  What do they have planned for that combination of my body parts?
  • How do I respond to this? Should I respond?
  • But every time I start to ponder the above questions, I realise there is one question more pressing than all others, which needs to be answered before the other questions can even begin.
    The grammar.
    This, people, is why so-called “grammar nazis” exist, and are (often) justified… without grammar, multiple meanings are possible.

    • Ignoring the “ur” – I’m going to assume this was meant as “your”, and just a case of modern lazy/mis-spelling…
      (although intriguing possibilities multiply if that isn’t true… was it supposed to be “Ur”?)
    • I don’t know if this person wants my dick, ass, and feet;
      if they think my ass is dickish, but they want it anyway, plus my feet as a bonus;
      or if they think both my ass and feet are ‘dick’, but want them anyway (or because of?).

I guess a true “grammar nazi” would make a point of taking the message at face value… that this person is crying out for feet, and some ancient Sumerian dick-filled (flavoured? patterned?) ass.

I know my grammar is far from perfect… I know there are grammatical errors in this very rant for people to gleefully and smugly point out.  But I do try to at least use enough punctuation to make my ungrammatical ramblings unambiguous.   I sometimes re-read an email at work a dozen times: inserting commas, semi-colons, even words – until I get some possible meaning out of it.  And usually arrive at multiple interpretations to select from, often contradictory.

Grammar, particularly punctuation.  And spelling.  It could be the difference between you getting some smelly old Iraqi dick-smelling ass and feet; and my sweet dick, ass, and feet.

It’s worth the effort.

[edit]: another, optimistic, interpretation has been suggested – perhaps a secret admirer who has given me the nickname “ass and feet”.
Any other suggestions?

[edit2]: whoever this is, they’re persistent.  A repeat message was received in the evening, reiterating their desire of my dick ass and feet.  I had to respond, if only to get some more clues as to intentions.

SMS Screenshot

Post-Apocalypse

So, it seems the company hosting my website has, well… disappeared.

And, like the professional-computer-nerd I am, I never took a back-up of main content.

I’m hoping to get something off the old company if I ever track them down, in the meantime… this is it.