I used to be a paintballer
I used to be a gamer
I used to be a blogger
I used to be a Systems Engineer
I used to be a husband
I used to be...Peter
Now I am only, Daddy.
Friends and family who read my blog have basically presumed I've dropped off the face of the Earth. It's a common thing when I try to catch up with people I haven't spoken to in six months or so to hear them say "Oh. We thought you'd moved to Wellington already". You'd think I'd have said goodbye if I'd done that.
When I watched other people I'd known, having kids and starting their families, it was common to see them 'fade away'. I swore that wouldn't happen to me. I'd keep being me, just with slightly less frequency. More fool me.
That's probably the biggest thing I tell people nowadays, when not saying how wonderful things are now that Kathleen is here with us, is how my life has changed/is over. I can summarise it as: last weekend I was asked to play paintball for Legion at the 5's here in Auckland since they were down a body. I was a little apprehensive for two reasons, the first being financial (The cost of life is increasing and in conjunction with the cash buffer before Kat's birth running out, the impact of a family on a single income is coming home to roost), but additionally not having played for half a year, I didn't want to suck. Back to the summary though. Yeah it was good to play. I had fun, but it wasn't like it used to be (Maybe I should blame the gap for that). But when I got home I had a bath with Kat and we played with the rubber duckies, and the other bath toys she has, and I had a blast. That is my life now. I am Daddy. The classic one has been at work on a few occasions when I've said:
"Stupid Daddy made a typo in the login script"
"Daddy's just going out for lunch for a bit"
...*sigh*. For all of that though, I do get out of the house each day to head in to the office, and interact with other adult human beings. I have no idea how Margaret copes. Admittedly she is getting out of the house more now with Kat, whether it's coffee group, shopping, lunch with Daddy, heading down to Wellington for a visit, or some other errand, but still.
Additionally I can't complain as I've been out to see a few movies recently. Disappointed with Superman Returns, which I went to see when I was scheduled to see A Scanner Darkly at the Telecom Film Festival here in Auckland, only to bowl up to the Civic where other Film Fest flicks were on, to wonder "Where the Embassy Theatre is in Auckland?". I then realised I'd actually purchased a ticket for the festival in Wellington. Nice.
The festival film I did manage to see before that was An Inconvenient Truth. I have for years been a 'greenie'. It is now official since I joined the New Zealand Green Party a while back. This movie will be everyone's Christmas present from me, so beware. And from here the rest of my blog will take a political bent.
On the environment. I find myself saying "I believe that climate change is happening, and I find it likely that humankind is responsible". The hard thing about saying the sentence that way is the words "I believe". I find myself rolling my eyes at people who say:
"I support Israel in whatever it does because I BELIEVE the Bible says the land is theirs".
...I can't say "I know climate change is happening". I'm not a climatologist, and the variables involved with measuring climate change are very complicated. What I can say is this. IF climate change is happening, and IF we are responsible, shouldn't we do something about it? The doing something about it largely involves waste. Waste in the form of wasted energy and wasted bi-products. It makes sense that those who oppose doing anything about climate change are those in power for whom doing something costs money. Investing in anything new takes money away from profit. And profit seems to be the be all and end all of capitalism (Here he starts on his rant and half the audience goes "You bloody Commie!". Well, not half the audience, because friends and family are likely to agree or sympathise with most of what I have to say anyway).
So back to the doing something about it. What does one do about it? I do the following (Fundamentally based on Reduce - Reuse - Recycle):
* I have for years used public transport. The great thing is, I get to read a book or watch a movie on my laptop while people pull out their hair stuck in traffic. To parents who drive kids to school who are capable of walking or catching a bus, I say (And I'm going to be emotive here), FUCK YOU. Not only do you clog up our roads unnecessarily, but your car is polluting for a trip you didn't really need to make. There is not some paedophile waiting around every corner to take your kid. The people who really boil my blood though are the ones who say "Public transport is below me", i.e. it's for you plebs and royalty like me can drive cars. I'll talk more about these people later.
* Consume less. I look around me, and I see so many people buy things for the sake of buying things. I honestly and wholeheartedly believe that material possessions do not make you happy. This has been a hard lesson to learn because sure, I want stuff. I want the cool toys, and the gadgets, and this and that. Maybe it's just because I'm getting older or I have a lot of the stuff I want that I'm saying this. Perhaps the latter part of that sentence is because of the former. Gen Y'ers and X'ers and whatever comes after than certainly seem to be the drivers of 'want-want-want' at the moment, so I wonder if it is an age thing. Again, you're labeled a 'dirty Commie' if you suggest consuming less, because capitalist business wants you to "Buy more. Buy more now".. Their profits depend on it.
* Energy efficiency. When you're not using something, turn it off. During the last power crisis, Auckland city was pretty dark at night. Office building's lights weren't left on unnecessarily at 0200 in the morning. Now? They're all back on again. What I don't get is why people don't keep doing this. Hey businesses. If you turn lights off at night, it saves you money! When you do use energy, use it efficiently. Energy efficient bulbs, appliances, cars, etc. When we bought the Corolla a couple of years back the priority, obviously after "The car must be able to do what it is needed for, i.e. transporting a family and our 'stuff' where we want to go", came energy efficiency. Anyone complaining about petrol prices, my response is 1) Ha ha! I've been telling you so for ages and 2) Use less of it!
* Recycle - Hopefully you're not buying things you don't need (Within reason, because we always want things. You don't NEED that new CD, but sometimes life will be a little boring if you don't have a new CD to listen to). Hopefully when possible you're reusing things you already own, rather than buying something new when you need it. And lastly, hopefully you're recycling things when you can. Obviously you have to buy things that can be recycled or packaged in things that can be recycled. The number of things packaged in plastics that can't be recycled, i.e. those not marked with a number 1 or 2, piss me off. Admittedly not all products can be packed in these types of plastic. Here is a simple suggestion/example. For the most part, polystyrene is a bad thing. It can't be recycled as far as I am aware, and it doesn't break down and by its very nature it takes up a relatively large amount of room. So when you buy your meat at the supermarket, buy it from the butchery. They will wrap it in plastic and then paper. The plastic takes up less room in the tip and the paper can be recycled.
The largest criticisms against these ideas seems to be based on two things. Ignorance or laziness. How can you criticise me for suggesting you buy less? It will save you money. How can you criticise me for suggesting you recycle more? It means less crap in the rubbish tips. And will save you money since you're now paying directly based on the amount you throw away. I'm afraid the biggest offenders in these regards seem to be Americans. I try not to be Anti-American. But damn it's hard nowadays. I am Anti-'Current US Administration'. I'm sorry but these people are so deep in the pockets of the corporates and lobbyists who paid for their campaigns to get into office, that they have no interest in representing the public interest. Additionally though, so is the opposition. It's called an oligarchy. I hope you like it. I don't.
So this dovetails in to the other 'issue' at the moment. The Middle East. Anyone who thinks "The problems in the Middle East are so far away, it's not my problem", when the price of oil does what it does because of a car bomb in Baghdad, it is your problem. For someone who cares about something other than their back pocket, innocent people are dying. If you see a report of a six month old baby dying in some attack on either side, you look across at your child and imagine it was them. Is it still someone else's problem?
The issues in the Middle East are old and complicated. I try not to over simplify things, but at the root of things the problem seems to boil down to, you either support Israel's right to do anything it wants to defend itself and its right to exist because it is fighting those who oppose its right to exist, or you don't support Israel's right to do whatever it wants to protect itself because in doing 'Anything it wants' innocent people are dying. Again, the issues are complicated. Do me a favour. Reading books on the subject is long and time consuming, but do it if you have time. If you don't have the time, read Wikipedia on say, Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, WWI, WWII....Heck, read all of Wikipedia if you have time.
In certain forums on the Internet I've read a lot of people saying "Go Israel! Kill all the fucking rag heads!". What the fuck?!?!?!? How can someone think like this? I fail to comprehend. Admittedly these are often the same people who call me a dirty Commie if I suggest taking a bus since they are bitching about the price of petrol. Additionally I say this from a point of view of having lead a comfortable, privileged, healthy, happy, educated life.
Asking "why" things happen does not make you a supporter of terrorism. Criticism of US Administration policy does not make you Anti-American (My own growing criticism of general American ignorance and apathy may be). Criticism of Israeli response to the current situation in Israel towards the Palestinians or towards Hezbollah in Lebanon does not make you Anti-Semitic. The only thing I am is anti-moron. I don't mean a differing point of view from mine. I welcome those. I mean a point of view based on someone having an IQ below 25.
In addition to the actions above regarding the environment, I ask you to do the following things:
* Donate blood
* Demand that the people you voted for do something other than spending time working on getting elected again.
* Read this book (Please note this can be a hard book to read at times).
* If you can afford it, sponsor a child overseas through something like World Vision.
* When you have a fast Internet connection and 45 minutes spare, watch this movie.
* Get off your arse and do something for the things you support, what ever they may be. Don't just leave it to someone else, because they're leaving it to you.
I haven't actually spent much time in this update talking about me or the family, but I'll do so quickly. Still looking for work in Wellington. It's hard. Anyone who says "Unemployment is making it hard for businesses to find people" or "IT is bouyant" are lying. People aren't hiring from my examination of the market since October last year. And employment agencies are parasites. Megz and Kat are well. They are the jewels of my life and I love them to bits. To see how they are getting on, check out their blogs.
Thanks for reading. Sorry for ranting.