25 April 2011

T is for Trentsworth

"I fear they have uncovered my secret.This journal was moved since I last wrote in it. I will have to jump ship at the soonest opportunity. We are currently circumnavigating a new land full of lush forest and high white peaked mountains. One could not imagine a better example of paradise." - Trent's lost diary entry the night before he became the first European to set foot on New Zealand soil.
From the West Coast he travelled inland and scaled the high mountains finally ending up in a valley "Paved with gold." There he settled, building himself a castle to reside in, the only evidence of his lonely existence.
Of course this is totally fictional and the story was created to explain why a castle was on an island in the middle of my train set. I called my train set "Trentsworth" and made a unique history up also to explain why the gauge of the railway was bigger than the normal New Zealand railway.
The story continues that a couple of pioneers found the castle and a valley scattered with gold. On reporting their find a gold rush ensured and this enabled the people to start their own private railway separate from the government's network and also a larger gauge to help transport the heavy cargo. They named the valley Trentsworth after finding the journal, which has never been seen since.
This was when I was fourteen and the valley's location was in the basement of my family house. The house has since been sold a few times, but recently I had the opportunity to look around and was surprised to see that a section of track had been left behind and the waterfalls painted on the piles and walls were still visible.
The actual location was never specified except for "Somewhere in the Southern Alps." I have since located exactly where the valley would be. The height is 1800 metres and thus in winter the valley would be under snow, but this little fact is forgotten about in the books. (Not one has taken place in winter yet).
IVRRAC takes place there, but the original story to be sited there is the "Trentsworth Terrors." A series of children detective books. The first "The Ghost of Trent's Castle" is almost completed to final editing stage.
Trentsworth is and has always been based on my "Second Home" Queenstown. A tourist town full of thrill rides and activities.  As with Trentsworth in the books, Queenstown was only accessible by Railway. People rode the train (Kingston Flyer) to Kingston, there they would disembark and sail across the Wakatipu on the Earnslaw or her sister steamers to the Queenstown bay. Once it became more popular a road was put in. The Kingston Flyer is awaiting a new owner and only has a very short track now, but the Earnslaw still ploughs the lake, but only on circular routes in and out of the Queenstown bay as the Yohanne does in IVRRAC around the "Lake of Worth."
But as I said in IVRRAC, if you want to experience Trentsworth, the closest you'll get in reality is Queenstown.

S is for Simon - S is for Scott

Simon and Scott. Simon is the villain of IVRRAC, Scott is the hero. Simon is the murderer of seven innocent ladies, Scott has the chance to save many others. The interesting point is that Simon and Scott are the same person.
Without giving too much away, IVRRAC is the demonstration that an "evil person" can also do good  or in other words everyone has some good within them. The hard thing is to get at that goodness and allow it to take over from the bad.
In reality it is almost impossible to do so, but part of the solution is forgiveness. This allows a person to take responsibility for their actions and start making amends. Hatred breeds hatred, while we have hatred the solution remains hidden beneath more and more evil.
Simon is full of hatred, but as Scott he is shown forgiveness, this forgiveness allows Simon to come to terms with his past and allows him to move on. I am purposely being vague here so I do not give the plot away.
The question here is do we want rehabilitation as in what IVRRAC attempts to do with Simon or do we want punishment? When our child decides to spread jam (or jelly) all over our good carpet, do we punish them as an outlet for our anger, or do we punish them in a hope they will learn not to do it again?
The answer I hope is the latter, we must show our displeasure and show that the actions are not acceptable no matter what the punishment is. Sometimes a parent's displeasure is enough, sometimes it is not, depends on the child. But what ever the case the child must know that the behaviour was not acceptable. This is part of rehabilitation and this is what Simon discovers as Scott, the turmoil that follows is immense and through this turmoil he discovers the hidden murderous secret of the IVRRAC process.
A lot of crime is done with justification, many criminals do not think themselves as evil, but justified. This justification is what needs to be destroyed to have any chance of rehabilitation, but to see what a person deems as justification we must remove our own justification which blinds us to their thinking. This is where forgiveness comes in, by forgiving a person we remove our justification and can then see more clearly what their viewpoint may be. By this means we can slowly turn them around to see that their own justification is not valid either. Once this is done they will never offend again. - Well that's the theory anyway.
Think about it at least.

R is for Remembrance

R is for Remembrance, remember that. The question is what should we remember? Today in Australia and New Zealand it is ANZAC day. On the 25th of April Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps beached at Gallipoli and got slaughtered. Thus on this day we remember all those people who have given their lives in war. I was a bit anti this when I was young, until I ended up having a brother-in-law in active service one ANZAC day. I then realised it was not the killing of the enemy that we were remembering, but the lives of people believing that they were there doing the best for their country, whether history has proven otherwise or not.
My brother-in-law, being involved in helping the locals and not so much attacking their enemies came back alive but I appreciate his efforts made towards a better world.
The reason I was in Auckland was for a family funeral. My father-in-law died of Cancer last week and I firmly believe that we should remember him on his birthday in thanks to God for giving us him for the time he was on earth and through him of course I have a wonderful wife, so there is a lot to be thankful for. But I cannot see any reason to commemorate the day he died, for it was his life, not his death he will be remembered for. As with my own father, I do not know the date of his death when he had a heart attack many years ago, but I will always remember the day he was born.
Many a tragedy has happened in the world, should we remember the tragedy, should we celebrate the means of how good people died, or should we remember their lives and the differences they made to our own lives?

Q is for Queue

New Zealanders don't queue. We just don't have the patience. Well this is a major generalisation as we do queue but not for long periods of time. This is from being a small country and thus not enough people to create a queue that would take more than ten minutes to get to the front of. (Note: I am excluding the Auckland Motorway system here as this is a special exception).
I constantly recommend to all other Kiwis to visit American theme parks after mid November when the weather is colder and thus less locals visiting the parks. Mid November was the time I visited Universal Studios in LA and in Florida, Disney World and Busch Gardens. I saw the signs "1 hour from this point" and my eyes just popped out of my head. I would never consider queueing for that length of time. And as I timed the visit well I did not need to as the queues in Universal Studios were no more than 5 people on any ride.
Disney World was still quite busy, but I worked out that the queues disappeared during the parades and since I had nine days there I watched the parade once and then rode Splash Mountain and any other popular rides at parade time.
Living in Geraldine (population 3,500) and now Timaru (Population 30,000+) I am spoilt even in New Zealand standards for queuing. I may have been promoting patience in my last post but in reality there is no need for patience queueing here, even at the Christmas Carnival where a ten minute wait is unheard of, for any ride or side show.
So if you don't enjoy queueing, come over here for a bit.

P is for Pacing

As a father of 2 children I know exactly what pacing is. It is the movement one makes while the wife does all the hard work. There really is nothing else a dutiful husband can do other then pace back and forth continuously asking whether any help is required.
Pacing is also being careful at what times a person does certain things. As a Pace Car slows the grid of racing cars down to save accidents we should also pace our lives living for the future as well as for today.
In today's world of instant gratification it is hard to remember that good things take time. (Of course some good things like my book IVRRAC also only take a few seconds with Amazon 1-Click).
Patience is another "P" word and it goes hand in hand with pacing. I am too enticed to the quick and easy ways of our world but I know that my real goals are not an instant result but a result of patience and hard work. I would love to release BOAS tomorrow, but an unfinished manuscript would not please my readers, nor would one filled with grammatical errors as my rough writing is when unedited. No I (and my readers) have to wait until the writing is finished, the editors have critiqued and the edits performed.
Another aspect of patience is allowing people to get to a point where it is appropriate to do what you want to do. To me Christchurch is an example of this. I have just flown back down from Auckland today and had to get my hair cut in a Christchurch mall as there would not be any place open on Easter Monday in Timaru and I have a job interview tomorrow.
My favourite mall in Christchurch is Riccarton Mall, one I frequented a lot during my university years, though a quite smaller then. It is located in West Christchurch which was not so much affected as the East and the mall is pretty much fully operational. Having travelled into the bowels of Christchurch for the first time since the February Earthquake, it was very tempting to keep driving East after my hair cut and have a look at my old flat and other buildings. But I knew that even now the streets are still not fully operational and my presence would be another load on the straining roading infrastructure. My curiosity would have to wait for next time when I know what normality can occur has done so.
The East Christchurch people have a lot of stuff, emotional and physical, to go through before I feel I can impose on their hospitality no matter how tempting it is to see what buildings have been lost and what ones are possiblyly saved. But I was very pleased to see that Riccarton Mall was still standing, at least one of my old haunts has survived.
So today's message is Pacing and Patience is good for you, so give it a try, right this instant!

23 April 2011

O is for Only the Only

Written in 1992 Only the Only was a short story produced in two days as a project required by a final night of a course I once attended. The course dealt with our prejudice towards others, be it big noses, tattoos or, of course, cultural differences. I came up with the premise while drinking coffee while various tourists were sitting around speaking in their own languages. I realised how much insecurity could be generated by not knowing whether a person was talking about you or not. So here is my very short story, unedited since 1992.

Only the Only

The solid crystal of the chair bit into his back as he lifted the cup away from his saucer, towards his lips. He looked around, they were all around him, talking about him in their language of shifting tones. He could not understand the language, but he knew they were discussing him, he was, after all the only human on this world of blue scaled creatures. They would know they could utter those changing tones in reference to him, without him knowing. But he knew, he knew what disgusting things they were saying about him.

The cup fell and settled in the saucer. He recognised their noise, he knew it was their weird version of laughter. They were laughing at him, they were taking his strange looks in jest. The walked the same, they wore the same clothes, they even used similar scents, but it was the look of the skin which counted. It was enough that he was the butt of of their conversation, but to be laughed at as well, he would not sit here and take it. Standing up so suddenly, that he sent the chair flying to the floor, he left for the exit, as the crystal chair shattered across the smooth rock floor.

In dark and unpainted tunnels, all through the planet, the blue creatures chattered in their musical voice, they saw his appearance, they saw his different skin, and just because of this they conversed and laughed about him.

Finally he reached the stairway. He followed the stairs up and onto the sanctuary of the planet's surface. Awaiting him was his shuttle, the means of transport to his ship in orbit. He knew exactly what this planet's race of creatures, creatures that laugh at a person because of his being different, needed. This planet was ready for what he had in mind, and his ship was capable of administrating it.

It did not take long to reach the correct position, he pressed the flashing red button under his finger, sending Akswish, a world unique in the fact that every inhabitant was totally blind, into oblivion.

The End

21 April 2011

N is for New Zealand

Situated in the Southern Hemisphere on and and slightly north of the 45 degree line lies a collection of islands known as New Zealand or, as people will come to know it in a few decades as the original Maori names take more preference, Aotearoa. This name change would not upset me as I would rather have an original name than be named after a place in the Northern Hemisphere which really has nothing to do with the modern day (or historic) New Zealand.

There are many pluses to changing the name, the major one being that one would not have to wait long during the Olympics' opening ceremony to see one's team in its full black and white glory. (That is the uniform, not the age of our television sets).

There are also the minuses, would people be as willing to buy Aotearoa Lamb as compared to NZ Lamb? A is also not as good of an acronym compared to the two letter NZ, it might lead to even more confusion with our Aussie neighbours.

But whatever the name, whether of Tasman, Maori or other origin, Kiwiland (my personal favourite) is still Kiwiland. Now for those who have only experienced Kiwi overseas we are not named after Shoe Polish or small brown furry fruit, we are named after small brown seemingly furry birds. (Note the bird silhouette on the shoe polish for an idea of its shape). Only found naturally in New Zealand, the Kiwi is a flightless bird that has a long beak to delve into the forest undergrowth for bugs and insects.

That New Zealand was originally only inhabited by birds and a flying rat (sorry bat) before the Maori and Europeans, the Kiwi had no major predators and survived even though being totally defenseless. Stoats, ferrets (imported to get rid of the rabbits) and wild dogs, cats etc. have changed that. Now the Kiwi, our national emblem, is in real danger of extinction. Also the continuation of destroying the forests as begun by the first human settlers does not help.

The Kiwis had other cousins such as the Moa, the Giant Moa standing over 2 metres in height. Being large and thus great food sources, easy to catch by just flushing them out with forest fires, there were no Moas left when the first European settlers made home in the early 1800s. This does not mean there are none left, there are still large tracts of unexplored forest in the south-west of the South Island. One can hope that, like the Takahe which was extinct until the 80s, the Moa too can be taken off the list. If not, there is the real chance a Jurassic Park can be performed as Moa flesh has been found in some Archaeological sites.

Another extinct bird, one which would be better left extinct, was an Eagle that makes the Bald Eagle appear to be a sparrow (okay an exaggeration, but you get the idea). It was the natural predictor of the Moa and it's wingspan was huge. These days people complain about Magpie attacks, I think such an eagle would put things back into perspective.

The New Zealand settlers have a long history of mucking things up when it comes to nature. Rabbits! I am reminded of the old song, "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly..." There was a young country that imported rabbits... They then imported stoats to get rid of the rabbits, they had to then import something else to get rid of the stoats and so it goes on. Every animal or plant imported into New Zealand has thrived to the extent that they have become pests. Deer, rabbits, stoats, possums, wallabies (yes wallabies, they even grow better here and are the size of kangaroos), thistles, pine trees, gorse, etc.

On the subject of Wallabies, even some New Zealanders don't realise they are a pest over here. I remember walking through the bush (forest) with some friends, one other local and the others were from 5 hours north. We showed our visitors the signs of wallaby damage on the tress along the path. They finally stopped and turned to us saying "You can stop this nonsense right now, there are not wallabies in New Zealand!" And just that moment, as on cue, a huge wallaby bounced across our path and disappeared back into the bush. They did not comment again.

The shape of New Zealand is Two very large islands (each around the size of England), called strangely enough the South Island and the North Island. There is a small island to the very south called Stewart Island. The South Island is mostly shaped by the Tetronic Plates crashing into each other and creating huge mountains along the middle like a spine. The North Island is shaped, my theory only, by a large volcano mistakenly classed as collapsed by the experts but actually is, in my opinion, pretty much the entire North Island. Except Taranaki which is created by the volcano Taranaki and the strange area of Northland which may have been separate Islands before the great volcano's eruption. In the centre of the North Island, as you would expect to be in the centre of a volcano, is the creater lake of Taupo. The largest lake in New Zealand, it almost seems to be ocean like but you can just make out the shores on the other side while driving around it. (Pretty much fact: Taupo has the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded human history beaten only by Yellowstone Park tens of thousands years earlier.)

We have recently paid for the way New Zealand has been built with the recent quakes in Christchurch and Canterbury (I reside in South Canterbury, which has suffered some damage) but it is a worthy price to pay for such grandeur. I can walk down to the bay and look at the majestic mountains of the Southern Alps while paddling in the huge Pacific Ocean. A point about the Alps is not the height, compared to other worldly mountains they are pretty low in altitude, but how tall they are. Their base also starts off at low altitude (Mt Cook - 700 metres at base) and thus even though you do not require breathing equipment, you do have to climb a fair distance over just as rugged terrain. This is why many famous climbers are New Zealanders.

I can keep on going, but I know this blog has already gone over the limit of readability so I will finish here.



M is for Marmite

The battle lines are drawn, those who enjoy a yukky brownish gunk on one side and those true Kiwis who would die for the taste of the rich black paste on the other. Well you can tell what side I am on can't you.

When you wander down the spreads aisle in a typical New Zealand supermarket you will come across a shelf with two types of similar plastic jars. One will have a yellow top and the other a red top. One has been promoted, if not by Kraft the manufacturer, at least by ignorant television personalities as the New Zealand spread, and one announcing in clear letters it is the original New Zealand yeast spread.

The latter is true, according to Wikipedia Marmite was first sold in New Zealand in 1919 by Sanitarium Health Foods under license from the UK but with major changes to the recipe for the Kiwi taste and that Vegemite was invented in Australia in 1922. According to Sanitarium (who should really know as they did it) Marmite was first sold in New Zealand in 1910. This makes Marmite over 100 years as the New Zealand spread and Vegemite is only in the nineties.

So true Kiwis enjoy Marmite on their toast and bread. My children love it as their standard toast covering and have Marmite and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Another great recipe is bread, Marmite, cheese and place in the oven grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted - yums.

Both Marmite and Vegemite are yeast extracts, which mean they are by-products of beer manufacturing (yums?). Also both should be only thinly spread on bread (preferably generously buttered first) not like you would spread Peanut Butter. Marmite, especially, is very strong in flavour and thus any more than the thinnest layer would mean a foul tasting mouth for the rest of the day.

The major differences are

Marmite - Vegemite
Red Top - Yellow Top
Made in New Zealand - Made in Australia
Rich Black Colour - Brownish Colour (similar to a Marmite eaters opinion of the Vegemite flavour)

Some interesting links.
Note: I do not have any interest (financial or input) in the following sites. I take no responsibility for any transactions or content you may do by following the links etc.

The official site - http://www.sanitarium.co.nz/products/spreads/marmite
To try some yourself or watch an advert - http://productsfromnz.com/browse_2110

L is for Late

Are you perpetually late for things? I am quite often late for my blog posts. And I purposely work on going to appointments thirty minutes earlier so I get there on time. My church is perfect for me as they have coffee and talk at Ten O'clock which means I normally make it in time to take a cup of coffee into the service at Ten Thirty.
However now I am quite a few days late with my posts. I could use the excuse of my father-in-law's funeral at the start of the week, but seriously I took this challenge for doing no matter what is happening in my private life.
But instead of giving up I have decided I will hold my head in shame and admit to being late for my posts and get on with catching up. It is always better late than never. A slogan I remember while driving to appointments after the allotted time so I do not have a car accident on the way.
Unfortunately the airline officials do not see this as such and thus I plan to get to the airport ninety minutes before check in. But as the Christchurch airport is a very good place to relax and have a cup of coffee I do not mind waiting the extra fifteen minutes by the time I actually get there.
In fact they are soon opening a new Christchurch airport which promises to be even more relaxing etc. It is unfortunate that it is taking so long to finish it off. It is mildly annoying to walk past the polished floors of the new check in area still fenced off even though all the signs are lit and the machines are there welcoming people to check in. Especially when you are rushing to check in within the remaining two minutes and have to walk a further two hundred metres to the old check in lounge.
Why am I always late? One word KIDS! Especially when there are more than one. You get one child ready and while you tend to the next child the original manages to somehow get unready. It is a vicious circle, one made worse when you have only ninety minutes excess and a two hour drive before reaching the airport.
I dream of the day I retire, the kids will be off to university or employment and if I'm late it's my own fault... well actually it's the wife's fault but don't tell her I said that.



16 April 2011

K is for Kyndrea

I decided that it would be a great idea to have a character with a name I made up as my sister had a name that originated in a stroy in the early 1900s. So I spent a bit of time and finally came up with the name Kyndrea which I would translate as meaning "Love of a Family" or "Unconditional Love."

I googled the name and no hits came up so I was pretty certain that Kyndrea was quite original. That was until a few years later when more people became involved in the Internet social network and now the name Kyndrea gets about 15 different individuals. So it was not so original after all. But pretty close, I mean the Blogger spell checker doesn't know the name either.

Kyndrea is the main female lead in my book IVRRAC. She is the love interest of the murderous main character Simon. I cannot give too much away but she ends up in a position that most people dread and needs to show unconditional forgiveness to save her own life. But the twist is that she doesn't even know her life is on the line.

This is a good analogy of our own lives. There are many times we harbour resentment towards others. The irony of the situation is that it is not the other party that gets hurt by that resentment, it is us. But we never know this as we are so full of revenge or hatred that the logic goes out the window.

Another factor is that Jesus said to receive forgiveness from God we need to forgive others ourselves. Matthew 6:15. Thus we never realise it but we need to forgive to save our own lives both in the present and in the future.

I think this is the part people find difficult in IVRRAC as it is pointing out the requirement of forgiveness to live life to the fullest. For most people to forgive is the hardest thing to do ever and I am overwhelmed with wonder when I do hear the few stories of victims forgiving their aggressors.

But as normal people we have concerns, forgiveness is not the norm in our society. It is made to be an acceptance or condoning of a bad thing. It is not, to forgive is not saying a person should not pay for their actions. But they should pay fairly not be a victim of revenge. A lot of "evil doers" already pay for it with guilt. I am reminded of the man who owned up to a murder he had got away with, his comment was that the time spent in prison was the most free he had ever been for he was no longer weighed down with the guilt.

Well as this is actually about Kyndrea I will end with her conversation with Simon. I don't think I give anything away here, not many people would actually think Simon would end up killing her so that he doesn't would not come as a surprise. (I have edited out a spoiler statement in the middle though. The statement does clarify her stance and resistance more but I'd rather not spoil the twist for you.)

"Okay, so you didn't kill us, so what? Simon, you killed seven people! Seven people's lives are ended because of you. How can I love a person who maliciously destroyed seven families? What does that make me?"

"Human," Simon answered.

Then there was silence. She looked at him, he looked at her. She broke into tears, "But what if people find out?"

"That is your vanity. They should congratulate you for being able to forgive in the face of absurdity. I know deep down they will think you are a great woman, which you already are Kyndrea, the greatest woman I know."

J is for Jesus

One of the best books written, if not the best, one which definitely out sells any other book is also one of the most skillfully put together stories of all time. Of course the author has more experience than any other author on (or off) this planet.

It begins with a seemingly simple story about a man and a woman in paradise. Of course human nature takes over and they stuff it up. They fall from grace and lose paradise, however the boss still cares for them clothing them as they are shown the door. As a father watches his child leaving home for his life journey knowing one day they will return, God watched his creation leave paradise.

This is know as the fall and from then onwards man continues to fall and God continues to pick man up and dust off his knees. But there is still distance between father and son a distance created by the first fall.

God chose one man, Abraham, to lead the way, choosing his offspring to be his chosen people. But this man was also promised that one day his descendant will bring blessings to all people on the Earth. After the descendants became a large group of twelve tribes God showed the way they could get closer to him. To be close to God a sacrifice had to be done, depending on the task and reason, it was either a goat, lamb or bull. But the people forgot and then remembered then forgot and then remembered.

Finally after nearly 2000 years God intervened once more by impregnating a woman who was betrothed to a direct descendant of the great king David and thus Abraham. This man was therefore given descendant rights and was known as Jesus. He was God in human form. Through Jesus the whole world was blessed and through his death man could once more get closer to God, his death being the only sacrifice required.

The weekend after next we celebrate this death (Good Friday) and the amazing resurrection that followed (Easter Sunday).

Of course this is a very simple summary and does not do justice to the intricate weave that God created in his book "The Bible." But when you read it knowing the ending, you can see how the ending is foretelled in all the subtleties within the early sections.  It is a book that never dates and the moral stories and examples are as relevant today as the were when they were first told.

For instance the Corinthian letters could be just as relevant to some churches today as they were to Corinth in the first century. We still do the same faults again and again. Mankind has not changed, we may be able to do things faster and create more damage, but they are still the same issues.

The great thing is that at the very moment Christ died on the cross our sins were forgiven. This is demonstrated by the temple curtain tearing in two, removing the barrier between man and God. By accepting this gift of grace and accepting Jesus we become close to God. We are still human and we fail. But the failure is forgiven allowing us to try once more and slowly we fail less often.

So this Easter, invite Jesus to the party and enjoy life as we were created to do. And if we do we can be assured at the end of time we will return to a new paradise on Earth as existed in the beginning. And once again be in the presence of our father, the God.

13 April 2011

I is for IVRRAC

Of course I am going to talk about my first published work. IVRRAC. The most common question is what does the acronym stand for? Simple answer - "Read the Book!" But I can tell you it is about Simon a killer of rich socialite women who he refers to as "Richies" and hates them without exception. That is until he is sent on parole to a township full of rich socialite women and the only means of escape is to befriend one of them.

I began writing this story way back around 93 or 94 in a wine bar while waiting for my bus. That wine bar ceased to exist a few years later (they obviously gave me too many free coffees) and now, due to major structural damage, the building itself has been demolished. And no, it was not a victim of the Christchurch earthquake, but a victim to some major internal restructuring in Auckland.

After leaving the villian\hero being rescued by legalise murder activists I got stumped (and you can see why... legalise murder activists? What was I thinking?) So I left the story until I had an unhappy love affair and poured all my heart ache into the story. Thus it received a major romantic twist and the activists turned into a beautiful woman named Kyndrea who becomes the villain/hero's love interest.

So our main character is suddenly torn between his hatred of the rich and his love for this rich socialite. What aspect wins out in the end? Well I think you probably can guess but you maybe surprised when you read IVRRAC.

Kyndrea is very interesting, both her name and her character, this I will discuss further when I come to the letter K.



10 April 2011

H is for Harold - BOAS's pet rabbit.

I thought that I would go into my writing today for a subject. Harold is a very odd pet, but then BOAS is a very odd superhero. Raised in a laboratory in Auckland, Harold escapes with the lab technician to Christchurch after a very unpleasant explosion within the lab. This was assumed to have caused the death of the "mad scientist" who was responsible for Harold's strange looks.
Through a long and contorted route Harold finally ends up as a pet in BOAS's house. The odd thing about Harold is that his skull has been replaced with a moulded plastic cap through which his brain can be clearly seen. This gives Harold superior telekinesis and mind reading abilities and thus he helps BOAS in his quest to bring the murderer of his friends to justice.
BOAS is the book I am writing on at present (see my other blog) but it has been stalled due to my paid work and study requiring a lot more of my time. It will hopefully be finished and released later this year.
As you can tell it is not the regular run of the mill superhero story. Once the shape of BOAS is revealed you will definitely realise this. All I can say at the moment is that BOAS's first appearance in the book (within the prologue) is as a parking meter.
It is a satiric and comical look at the world today being located in another universe, sorry multiverse,  not too unsimilar to our own except the exaggeration (and total fabrication) of things we assume to be real on our planet. Or as the prologue puts it "One such multiverse is virtually the same as the world we live on except for little subtleties such as the police force being manned by simpletons, the oil companies are the mean nasty conglomerates that people in our world try and make them out to be, their physical laws are made to be broken and the most important difference, pogo sticks are the ultimate in recreational equipment."
And of course rabbits with plastic skulls can communicate to humans and help save the world.

Cheers and have a good weekend.


09 April 2011

G is for God

Now I have revealed to all that I am in the process of becoming a minister, I really cannot avoid today's letter being anything else. So if you are not in the mood for a Christian sermon please stop reading now and skip to the letter "H" (Once it is written).

Of course I am referring to The God, "I am" the god that brought the Israelites out of Egypt and the God who gave his only begotten son so that who so ever believes shall not perish but have everlasting life.

I am studying Deuteronomy this week or as it is known in the Hebrew "elleh haddebarim." It is a very good summary of the preceding 3 books and again lays down the law for the Jewish people. It also has some good information on who God is for the Jewish people. A caring God who knows we fall easily into temptation. Although the laws are complicated and the punishments severe, it is possible to see the underlying love God has for his people.

I am looking forward to reading the experts' opinions tomorrow on this subject but I can already see the ties between this well-entrenched law book and the good news of the New Testament. One of the things I truly admire, as an author, is all the inter-connections between the different ages and how something 800 years earlier can affect the people of the later age.

A question people may ask now is "Since you love God and scripture, are your books Christian Fiction?"

The answer is "Yes and No." My favourite author of all time is C S Lewis and the way he created a wonderful allegorical series. Books that on the face seemed to be normal everyday fiction, but when read with scripture in mind a whole new layer can be explored.

This is what I attempt in my books. IVRRAC is not "Christian Fiction" in the general sense but it has many suggestions of Christianity throughout it. A person can read IVRRAC and be totally oblivious to it being in any way Christian based and thoroughly enjoy it. But when read with Christianity in mind many parallels can be found between Simon's adventures and scripture.

Thus I feel I can provide good reading for both Christian and non-Christian readers within my books.

Cheers and blessings to all.


08 April 2011

F is for Familiarity

We all have our places we like to be, people we like to talk to and genres we like to read or write. The familiarity of our usual haunts makes us feel warm inside, safe and secure. But sometimes we need to step out into unfamiliar ground to move on in life.
Each great event in my life has started with trembling feet upon strange lands. From the literal first step on U.S. soil at the start of my first overseas holiday to my decision to become a minister and all the events in between.
Without this willingness to stray from the familiar I would have never got married to my wonderful wife, never had my two wonderful children. I would have never met many a wonderful tourist in my backpacker business and have never got to writing this blog - a direct result of stepping out and publishing my book.
And of course I would have never had such a memorable holiday at Universal Studios and Disney World. Looking back at my life so far, I realise that it is true that every success in my life was due to me braving the unknown and going for it. And the majority of failures were when I stayed in my rut and comfortable familiar surroundings.
Something to think about.

06 April 2011

E is for Early for Once

One of the advantages of being near the International Date Line is that I have more hours to post these posts.  I can post according to my local date or 20 hours later according to US dates.

I am sad it does not mean I can predict lottery numbers in your lotteries but I do feel that I am time travelling at times when discussing things in online forums. Especially on days like Easter when everyone is wishing each other a happy easter yet it was yesterday for me.

To get back on subject I am writing this at 7pm Wednesday night but it is still Tuesday in the US so I guess I will be one of the first to be posting an E post.

Had to put the kids to bed, so I am posting at 8pm instead. Have a great Wednesday while I enjoy my Thursday.


D is for Dynamite

I am reminded of my favourite song spoof - 10 Sticks of Dynamite. Sung to 10 Green Bottles.

10 Sticks of Dynamite sitting on the wall
10 Sticks of Dynamite sitting on the wall
If one stick of Dynamite should accidentally fall
There will be no sticks of Dynamite and no silly wall.

Please excuse any errors, I have kids smothering me while I write this post. It is near bedtime here and so they are at their most active.

D is also for my Dearest Wife who read this blog and noted that I could have thought of better "D" words than dynamite.

04 April 2011

C is for Computers

Are computers not wonderful? I have loved computers (even when their network interface is playing up) since I was 5. And at the time I grew up this was quite unusual. In fact my 3rd Grade (translated for my US friends) teacher had to ask me what the word "computer" referred to in my fictional story assignment.

Thus there are computers in IVRRAC and in BOAS. In fact the one in BOAS is a central character literally with a mind of its own. I have only written two stories that do not deal with computers, both are available free online (Carnarvon  Love - Google Books and Only the Only http://twppj.wordpress.com/only-the-only-a-freebie/) in their rough form - no external editing.

C is also for Cheers


B is for BOAS

Of course I am going to promote my next book since it begins with the letter B. BOAS is a black comedy about the latest superhero who saves Christchurch and the rest of the world. The first book is more a personal vendetta than global but there will be more books to follow.

It is full of great humour and is definitely a novel to look out for. The production is stalled for a month while I get to grips with my study and getting this computer more reliable. I update the BOAS blog regularly (while writing is being done) with new quotes from the text and the word count so far. See http://boas-superhero.blogspot.com/ for more details.



A is for Anguish

A is for Anguish at my poor computer's 10/100 Ethernet port. Damaged by one son 18 months ago it is very similar to my daughter's wriggly tooth in that it is only just holding on. I have been spending the last few days attempting to get a new interface up and running and failing miserably. So I am back using my very iffy link to the outside world.

A is also for aged computers. My laptop has faithfully served me many years, though its battery died years ago. I am finally getting a replacement (2nd hand) that can actually handle Windows 7. Hopefully it also has some life left in the battery for an opportunity to be more mobile. Looking forward to some good coffees at the local caf├ęs.