Archive for the ‘The Aliens have Spoken’ Category

Dear Morgan,

Thanks for your email asking me 20 questions.   Did you imbibe a bit too much brandy over Christmas?  The reason I’m asking you this as you actually sent me 21 questions, not 20.  I’m worried that something somehow affected your ability to count.  Or did you grow another finger or toe?  It happens you know – some people actually have 6 toes on their feet, or on one foot.  I’m pretty sure you’re like me and count on your fingers and toes!

Anyway – I’ve answered your 21 questions and the answers to them are below.  I look forward to seeing the answers to mine!

1. What was your biggest blonde moment in 2010?
Getting up at 6am thinking I hadn’t turned the water off on the garden.  When I got to the tap, everything was soaked and I was kicking myself for leaving it on for so long, to find that the tap was already off.  It took me another minute to realise it was pouring with rain, and that was the reason why it was so wet.  Then I realised, standing in my PJs at the garden tap, when it was barely light, that I also was being heavily rained upon!  I was too wet to go back to bed!!!

2. Your photography is stunning. What would you advice be to beginners as to how to know when they have a great shot?
Look at the shot carefully, if it can be improved – improve it.  If it can’t be improved, then it’s probably a great shot!  Seriously though, a great shot is often quite flukey.  When all the elements are right, everything is lined up for you, and you happen to get the right angle and perspective.  Other times, when you work at it, you won’t be able to achieve the same result.  It’s a mystery to me!

3. What reaction do you get from people when you tell them you are an atheist?
The biggest reaction at the moment is that I should say ‘non-believer’ because the word ‘atheist’ sounds so horrible.  No matter how I explain that the word ‘atheist’ means ‘non believer’ it makes no difference.  Obviously ‘atheist’ conjures up visions of devil worship and witches in some people’s imaginations.  Most likely because that is what they’ve been told (a case of a christian upbringing or brainwashing) .  The other comment that is made is that I won’t always be an Atheist, and that eventually I’ll  ‘go back into the fold’.  In other words, they believe that somehow I will suddenly start believing in ‘miracles’ rather than ‘coincidences’, or that I’m sitting on the fence and if something happens, I’ll immediately re-convert.  Not a chance!

4. What is something the world would be better off without?
War.  Greed.  Jealousy.   Oil Barons (see 2nd word).  Mobile phones! Anal probing aliens!

5. If you could be a famous person for a day who would it be and why?
Kate Middleton.  Cos I’d like to shag a prince ! lol  Oops – that was ‘snag’.  Honest!

6. How many books did you read last year and which ones do you recommend?
I didn’t indicate ‘year’ in my list, but since March 2009, I’ve read 126 books.  I’ve actually read a few more than that but forgot to update the list!  Still – that’s an average of 2 per week so not actually a bad result.  The book I most recommend is ‘Tears of the Desert’ by Halima Bashir.  Absolutely brilliant.  The reason it’s so good is that I can’t stop thinking about it.  When a book affects you in that way, then you know the writer has achieved something rare and good.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

7. What do you feel are the most amusing aspects of my personality and of yours?
The ability to laugh at ourselves and our quirky personalities.  My most amusing is my competitiveness.  My ability to turn reading into an olympic sport!!  I can’t even help myself.  A friend of mine won’t even play Scrabble with me anymore!!!  Sigh!

Yours is the amusing way your imagination can go wild with marshmallows and elephants.  Whatever you are on, I’d like some !

8. How do you think we (humans) got here (on earth)
Sigh!  Didn’t you know?  You have to ask?  Well, it started with Planet Oxeon (or planet Ox for short).  The inhabitants there were once called shemanhunians.  They lived in utter peace and contentment.  They were only 4 feet tall, and all weighed 300 pounds.  All their food was on trees.  Even a cake tree.  When they mixed the leaves of any tree with water from their lakes, they could change the taste of that water to anything they wanted, depending on the leaf.

One day there was a terrible storm. It raged for two weeks, and when it finally abated, the leaves of all the trees had been stripped bare.  Gradually all the trees started to die.  Terrible food shortages were experienced, and the weakest began to die.

They sent SOS messages in bottles that they threw into the air.  These travelled in tiny worm holes to the outer regions of space.   A kind Minocthican from Planet MXcoen came across the bottle with a message, and sent out a party to Planet Oxeon to see what they could do to help.  The situation was so dire, that in the end it was decided that their planet had to be abandoned.  So Planet Oxeon was evacuated.  Airships were sent down and one by one filled up with Shemanhunians and taken to Planet MXcoen.  Each airship was filled with 400 Shemanhunians.  There were 396 airships altogether.  (MXcoen was a wealthy planet).  Many Shemanhunians chose to stay on their planet choosing death over life somewhere else.

All airships except one made it to MXcoen.  Airship 281 was accidentally sucked into a giant wormhole and deposited in our solar system, where they eventually found Planet Aerth (now spelt Earth because of poor education and mobile phone texting).  The Shemanhunians gradually adapted to life on Earth, grew taller because of better food.  They spread out and populated all the world.  In some countries they have maintained their weight, and in others became healthier and slimmer.  They became known as Humans.

And that is how Humans got to earth!

9.  …and what do you think the purpose of life is?
Purpose of life is to keep improving our lot generation after generation, and to have fun while doing so.  Not sure if this is what happens though!

10. Do you think there are aliens in outer space and if so what might they be like?
See question 8!

11. How would you describe the best way to spend a day?
Exploring new places with a camera, especially where very little people are. As in very few, not little little people!

12. What qualities in people really really really frustrate the hell out of you?
When I see bullying, meanness, oneupmanship, dishonesty, exaggeration, braggarts.

13. What is the most oddball thing (that isn’t true) you have believed in and how did you find out it wasn’t true?
A friend of my brothers came for dinner and told us that the little beetle that eats the hole in macaroni had some sort of virus, and was dying out.  This was affecting the crops and soon there would be a terrible shortage of Macaroni.  I believed him.  In my mind I pictured fields of macaroni with no holes blowing in the wind and little beetles getting fat by eating the out holes inside.

The next day I told my friend about this, while in a elevator full of people.  She laughed (as well as all the other people in the elevator) at my seriousness and earnestness and my emphasis that it was true!  She told me I had been ‘had’. but I didn’t believe her!!!

The problem is that I was about 22yo!!!  I am (still) so gullible!

14. If you could wave a magic wand and make the world perfect, what would it be like?
Everything would be free.  People would help each other because they want to, not for money.  Cars would run on air with no pollution.  Humans would love animals, revere them always.  There would not be a need for religion, people would be good and kind always.  There would be no hatred.  No one would be hurt or disabled, deaf or blind.  If they were, it would only be temporary as there would always be a ‘cure’ on hand.  Water would be clean everywhere.  Everyone would be vegetarian.  The sun would not be dangerous.  You could go freely around the world wherever you wanted.  There would be no borders.  There would be no war.  Without war, wealth could be spent where it was needed, in research development, space exploration, and humanity.

And the most important… everyone would have a burmese cat or 3.

15. What’s something you’ve done you’re really proud of?
I built my own vegetable garden with nails and hammer.  (and wood).  I’ve managed to grow vegetables!  Today I picked ONE brean,two tiny tomatoes, and ONE courgette.  I have ONE carrot left.  Gee – I’m not sure I’ll survive a disaster yet!

16. How important do you think science and reason should be to society?
Incredibly important.  In fact, it stand to reason that this is the one thing that people should base their education and facts on all the time.

17. What scares you (apart from sharks in swimming pools)?
Horror movies.  I won’t watch them.  Gremlins see… My other blogpost

18.  If Kass the cat could suddenly talk what do you think she’d be saying to us?
At the moment, she would be scolding me for going away so often.  She would also probably be telling me how she hunts, and decapitates her baby rabbits, and the reason she does it.  She would tell us about the three nasty magpies that keep dive-bombing her.  Right now she would be telling me that the wind is cold.  She would tell us what time we should go to bed, what food she wants and doesn’t want.  Moan about how bored she is when it rains.  She’s quite an intelligent cat, so she would probably give us her theory of relativity and discuss aliens.  She would probably tell us that Mika was abducted by aliens, and she was too, but after the anal probe how she got away! (Just had to get that in there somehow)!

19. How do you manage to get so many things done in one day (and am always amazed by this)?
By only putting my head in the clouds after they are done!  Lists.  I write lists.  I have them in my computer.  On the bench.  In my head.  I get great satisfaction of crossing things out once they are done.  I also imaginarily pay myself.  I imagine myself getting a salary for the jobs I do around the house.  If I don’t do the vacuuming, I won’t get imaginarily paid.  Works a charm.  Always have had a great imagination.  If I’m too tired, I try and imagine all those things getting done.  The only problem is imagination lets you down time and time again!  I’d like a genie.  Or fairy godmother.  Or George Clooney in a French Maids outfit, complete with fishnet stockings.  He’ll look into my eyes with those gorgeous eyes of his, and say.  “Where do I plug the vacuum cleaner into?”  Sigh!

20. Describe the perfect man and where you get one.
There is no such thing as a perfect man.  Only perfect women!  So you can’t get a perfect man anywhere.  You can try at www.yourperfectman.com What did it tell you?

Server not found?

I rest my case!

Yet www.yourperfectwoman.com will lead you to website where they will be found!

21. What are your aspirations for 2011?

  1. To get Morgan to visit me
  2. To get my foot fixed
  3. To pay off more of my mortgage
  4. To somehow save and get to see my daughter who is living in europe.
  5. To look at selling my car and buying a 4×4 to explore the back and beyond
  6. To keep trying new things photography wise,  and improving my photography.

Cheers
Robyn

Dear Morgan,

I finally posted your webcam off today. You should get it tomorrow or Wednesday. I put it in a little white envelope with your name on it. I wrapped it up in bubble wrap three times over, and taped it down with bright red and yellow polka dot sellotape. I also put a gremlin in there. Yep. A gremlin. The Gremlin is brown and fuzzy, with orange dots and goes ‘Meeeeeeeeep Meeeeeeeeeeeep’. If you give it water, it grows into a supersized gremlin and starts eating birds. You might like to try and avoid giving it water if you value your canaries and budgies’ lives.

You really need to be careful though, as it can choke on feathers, and if it chokes, it vomits up purple gel. Which is a pain as it can stick to everything, and if gets onto your hair, it’ll turn your hair permanently bright purple and you’ll never get it out, not even with other coloured dyes. However, if you collect this purple gel in icecream containers, you can roll it all up and make very very bouncy rubber balls. When the bounce, they change colours. These balls have super powers. Depending on what colour it turns, they have the power to change something around the world, like turn Christians into Atheists, or make idiots grow a few brain cells, and sometimes they can put criminals into prison.

You have to be careful of these gremlins as when you’re asleep, they can put their fingers up your backside and they can make you feel like you’ve got worms. Not a pleasant experience by any means. This in turn will make you start dreaming strange things, like being abducted by aliens, and can even make you wake up giggling uncontrollably.

The Gremlin I sent you is Bright Green, 2 inches high and weights 300 pounds. She responds to the name ‘Blob’. You must not feed the gremlin Egg. Egg is bad for gremlins. If they eat egg, they turn bright pink and start dripping bright pink everywhere. Like the purple vomit, you can’t get rid of the pink in anyway. Everyone will not only be able to tell you have gremlins, but you fed it egg!  However, if you collect this bright pink substance, wearing black sequinned gloves, and put it into blue glass, leave it for 2 hours, you can then stretch this pink substance out as it becomes very very stretchy. If you then poke this stretchy bright pink substance into your electrical sockets around your house, the power companies will think you’re supplying them with power, and start paying you. The problem is, it’s PINK POWER. and it’s no good. No good at all. It stuffs up all the electrical currents around the world. If they find out that it’s coming from you, they’ll start charging you double. The only way to stop the power companies from finding out it’s coming from your home, is to coat your house with raspberry coconut icing. This puts up a barrier.

Lastly, keep cat food away from your gremlins. You do NOT want your gremlin to eat cat food. They get as high as a kite. When the gremlin gets high on cat biscuits, it starts crawling around on the ceiling. You have to be very very careful as it will suddenly unscrew a lightbulb an throw it at you. But first it blows on the lightbulb, turning it into a cream pie. It gets, well, messy! There is no point ducking as it has an aim like nothing else. No matter how you bend, or where you hide, it’ll get you. If you say the word… ‘camnamathodrianothan’ while the cream pie is being thrown at you, the pie will turn into a chocolate pie. Just before it hits you, and you manage to also say ‘thanomanogrampianodian’, it’ll not only be a chocolate pie, but it’ll get fresh strawberries and rich raspberry sauce on top as well. Now, if you try to eat it, but you haven’t said ‘squerialicalomaniacious’, you will turn bright yellow with green and red dots for 48 hours. After 48 hours have passed you will begin to fade, but it’ll be 10 days before you’re totally ‘normal’ looking again. So you must learn those three words. They are vital if you are to survive a Gremlin high on cat biscuits.

If you forget these three words totally, and the cream pie hits you, you will end up in a Cream Pie Coma and sleep for 10 years. The only thing that will awaken you out of this coma, is if a sexy German guy comes in with a Bazooka, shoots out Seven windows (Windows 7 is fine), high fives the gremlins, bounces one of the rubber balls around the room for 10 minutes, (and you just hope it doesn’t fly out one of the windows he has just shot out), unplugs all the Pink Power out of the electrical sockets, looks at you, and asks…

Are you..

By any chance…

a……

INTJ?

My advice for you is to just play it safe, and keep the Gremlin in the bag it came in. Do not open!

Cheers Robyn

Dear Robyn,

I was chatting with someone on formspring yesterday and I came across two questions you asked me on there some time ago:

1) If you could invent something, what would it be? and
2) If you could have anything technology wise – what would you choose?

They’re cool questions. But I never asked you so I am wondering what your answers to them are!

This is what I wrote (man, you wouldn’t think I was a geek or anything…)

I’d like to invent:

  1. A Munchkin style card game where Aliens attempt to take over the world and Men In Black try to stop them. The Aliens are only allowed to communicate in crop circles and the MIB are only allowed to speak in secret code. Alien and MIB characters can be spawned or killed using Conway’s “Game of Life” mathematics, control their spaceship and weapons using Turing Machine style state registers, move strategically like chess men, fool each other with Poker style bluffing and if there is an uneven number of people playing one person becomes a spy for any side they choose and no one knows who they are playing for or when they are going to switch alliances! OK, no one will play this unless they are Sheldon from Big Bang Theory but it will be funny to make it anyway!
  2. A guitar overdrive effect that spits randomly like a Rally car. At them moment all overdrive FX seem to just go RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! as one ear splitting, continuously homogenous cacophony.
  3. Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence and self determination for a robot. (Followed very closely by “Empathy For Living Things”, “Don’t Do That” and “Go To Your Room” modules….)
  4. A self interpreting programming language for the internet that anyone can use without being a programmer to make sites (or anything else) they like intuitively, and that can interpret itself perfectly without needing any other 3rd party browser.
  5. The computer program that passes the Turing Test

If you could have anything technology wise – what would you choose?

  1. A robot with a personality you can change with a screwdriver to suit your mood
  2. An alien spaceship
  3. A Mercedes MacLaren SLR supercar or Ford Mustang for when #2 is not available
  4. A professional Canon digital SLR camera like yours with a Macro lense to do high speed close up photography of miniature, split second things that happen in nature we can never see with our own eyes
  5. A private space jet that goes from Auckland to space and lands in Blenheim in 2 minutes so I can visit you whenever I like (hmmm, I predict that by the end of our lifetimes we’ll think this is ordinary!)
  6. An intergalactic wormhole that connects Auckland to any other city or planet I feel like visiting instantaneously (I hear the latest version comes bundled with #2)
  7. A newer bass guitar than the 25 year old one I have now and bass FX that can make a growling sound like Marilyn Manson’s voice
  8. A guitar rig that’s as awesome as my Tremonti Signature axe.
  9. A keyboard that is easier to program than my existing demon KORG and sounds less like it was designed exclusively to produce dance music for nightclubs – a bit disconcerting considering I hate nightclubs!
  10. The latest version of Cubase or Protools recording software
  11. Adobe CS5 Web Premium software (because, I am not quite smart enough to invent the self interpreting language in one lifetime)
  12. An alarm clock that plays a nice tune instead of BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! (which at 6am in the morning sounds more like Marilyn Manson going RRRAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!)
  13. An iPhone or similar with all of Muse’s songs and Govenor of Poker on it (hmmm, maybe this has a friendly alarm clock that will play Muse perhaps?)
  14. A recording studio with a monster desk that’s so long you need to roll your chair from one end to the other to reach all the buttons
  15. Chairs with NASA grade castors for withstanding the abuse at #14
  16. A more grunty computer that can tolerate all the work and Muse crap I put in it and allows attempts to create robot brains
  17. A memory chip and GPS for my own brain so I can remember stuff longer than 2 seconds ago and will no longer get lost walking around my own flat
  18. A microscope that can see things as small as those proposed in Superstring Theory (oh look! That’s where I left my keys…)
  19. A time machine that pauses time indefinitely so everyone can eventually make all the weird inventions dreamed up they can never finish in one lifetime.

What are yours?

Morgan 🙂

Image courtesy of Iva Villi

Dear Robyn,

Dear god, how do you find these weird things like P-Mate?! I choked on my coffee, barfed up a lung and fell off my chair laughing. I can just imagine you trying that out on one of your photography shoots up some mountain. Worse, I can imagine you are going to make me try that when I come to Blenheim! So, I confess, it’s fun being a logical nerdy girl and sharing an interest in fun stuff with the boys like sound engineering, Turing Machines, robots, electric guitars and fast cars but I draw the line at standing up to pee!

And okay, okay already! I know I have been absent for a week…. Actually I am lying completely. I have no idea how long it’s been. Or where I’ve been. What day is it? As you’ve pointed out to me before “Your brain is miles ahead of your body – in outer space!” So, sorry to disappoint you. You weren’t expecting my body and brain to meet up some time this week and get co-ordinated with each other so I could log into Skype were you? Could be a mission considering neither of them has a sense of direction or a GPS Unit. One thing I am certain of though – I have definitely not been abducted by aliens!

I wondered how long it would take you to wangle “anal probe” into one of our blog posts (I can hear you now “If an alien civilization is sophistocated enough to travel this far to our galaxy to abduct us you would think they’d have a better way of figuring out how we tick than sticking …” ahem yes Robyn!) I guess for anyone who doesn’t know us we should explain what the fascination with alien abductions is. Well, I’m interested from a psychological perspective because it fascinates me why anyone would believe they have been abducted in the first place… and with you, well, you are just warped!

Anyway the real reason I have not been online lately is because I am making a web mess stuff. Hence I don’t really have time to write a whole blog post. So instead I am going to post something I posted last year about aliens the last time we discussed this which still makes me laugh (is it wrong if you crack up at your own blog post?) I seem to remember I wrote this because my friend was moaning he hated his job and we thought abduction would be a cool excuse for him going AWOL. Of course I don’t really think that’s his solution, though if aliens really abducted him that would be a great way for me to get out of listening to the moaning! Gets a bit tiring considering my job is cool. I have to confess to being majorly tempted to changing my business name to “The Alien Abduction Company” after I wrote that. Shame some weirdos who actually believe they have been abducted have already named theirs like this! Anyway, to the post Batman….

If You Hate Your Job Aliens Will Abduct You.
Friday, 13 March 2009

Robyn and I were having a laugh earlier about what kind of silly businesses we could create for fun and one idea that came up was a business that creates excuses for people to be absent from jobs they really, really, really hate. My favourite idea that came up was “The Alien Abduction Company”. Fed up with your tortuously mundane and dull job? Call “The Alien Abduction Company” and they’ll send two “aliens” kitted out in grey Spandex and fencing masks with big vacant eyes glued to the front, to drop by in a spaceship painted Smart Car to “abduct” you to their planet … (actually they’ll just take you to a party at the pub down the road full of beer and girls but no one needs to know that). They’ll have Wi-Fi at the pub so you can email the terrible news from “outer space”:

“Dear Boss,

Kevin here. I am sorry I will not be into the office today as I have been abducted by aliens. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

PS: The experiments are horrendous, but surprisingly much more bearable than my actual job so I think I’ll opt for staying on the ship a bit longer and endure being tortured here rather than in the office, thanks!

PPS: If you are looking for the rest of Sales and Marketing, I’m sorry but Baz, Dave and Jeff have been abducted as well.

PPPS: The aliens appear to be trying to drug us with some sort of tranquillizer – a strange liquid which is amber coloured and has a white froth on the top and has a consistency and taste something like beer….. funny, makes your head spin and blurs your vision just like beer too……

PPPPS: I think they are also running some sort of breeding program in an attempt to continue their race which, unfortunately has now dwindled to a purely female population and is in danger of becoming extinct. Fortunately the aliens aren’t too bad looking because they have genetically modified themselves for our benefit to look exactly like Hooters Girls!

PPPPPS: Don’t waste tax payer money sending a rescue space shuttle or contacting SETI. I am sure we can all survive this terrible ordeal and convince the aliens to return us to Earth in time for pay cheque collection on Thursday.

PPPPPPS: Understandably I think our nerves are going to be shot by the time we get back to Earth and that could result in some under performance in our jobs. I’m sure you’ll understand though that this might make it hard for us to meet the stiff sales targets Management have set for the latest Quarter. If you could perhaps convince them to go easy on their expectations and also give us some paid leave so we can take time off to recover that would be really helpful.

Thanks for being so understanding.

Kev.

(Incidentally, I am going to be changing my name by deed poll to Richard when I return just in case any of these alien females try it on for child support or marriage).”

Ha! Don’t think this would make a very good business. But sticking with the alien theme I am in the middle of inventing a game with ETs in it that combines elements of chess, Turing Machines, Poker and Conway’s mathematics…. should appeal to an audience of 1 – Sheldon off Big Bang Theory!

Morgan 😛

Image by Spekulator

Dear Robyn,

Unless you are like me and have the memory of a goldfish (ooh! never been here before, ooh! never been here before…) you’ll remember a short tad ago I wrote a post on The #1 Purpose of a Website in which I bleated on about Narnia and mothballs and inspiration. Afterwards Blair Stevenson (who has his own cool blog on leadership) pasted up this comment:

“While inspiration is good, as is creating something people truly believe in, I’m not sure that they are necessary to make a sale. I’m not sure that manufacturers of toilet tissue or socks, or providers of legal services or petrol ever truly inspired anyone but they seem to make a reasonable living. It seems better to actually fulfill/address a need your target audience actually has.”

This reminded me of something funny that happened to me recently. I needed to go to the supermarket to buy *bog rolls and a toothbrush. Uninspiring items. Now, this is a bit of a mission for me because I am one of those people who is a disappointment to Market Researchers:

“Are you the main household shopper?”

Nope! Not a chance. I hate supermarket shopping with a vengence. It bores me rigid. The faster I can go into a Foodtown and come out the other side with only the things I planned to buy (ahem!) the better. Preferably at midnight also when there are no mass queues of people or trolley jams to negotiate. There’s something strangely megalomaniacal about having a whole supermarket to yourself too, as if they especially cleared out the whole place just for you.

Anyway, I don’t really like supermarkets and don’t spend much time in them so I also unsurprisingly have no idea what is in them either. The other day I decided I wanted to get a new toothbrush. So I went to what I thought was the appropriate isle and wandered up and down looking for them.

Razors… soap… shampoo… face wash… Christmas decorations (wtf? it’s a bit early for Xmas isn’t it?)… cotton wool…

That’s weird. No toothbrushes. Bit strange in the bathroom isle. So I looked again.

Razors… soap… shampoo… face wash… Christmas decorations… cotton wool…

Definitely not there. Hmmm. So I asked someone to point them out. OK so those aren’t decorations! Clearly I had been looking for the wrong thing. A toothbrush by my definition is a plastic stick with some bristles bunged unceremoniously in one end. It does a pretty good job of keeping your teeth clean despite it’s uninspired mundanity and once it’s retired from duty it does a not bad job of cleaning soap scum off the basin taps.

Well, how uneducated I am! That’s not what a toothbrush is anymore. No. A toothbrush, apparently is a vehicle into the 11th dimension, and it has the flashing spaceship lights to prove it.  No wonder I thought Christmas had come early. Toothbrushes are sparkling things designed by aliens. You get an infinite array to pick from –  ones with 390 degree revolving heads that have handles that bend like a slinky,  battery powered vibrating ones with bristles pointing everywhere at mathematically impossible angles, every possible combination of psychodelic fluorescent colours combined in swirly patterns and embedded with more glitter and bling than Lady Gaga has costume changes. Some come with alarm clocks. Others with backing lights. You can even get toothbrushes for toddlers that come with training wheels or scary talking monster heads. And they don’t appear to be made from plastic anymore but some sort of space age coagulated extraterrestrial ectoplasm. The best thing of all – they come with a write up on the packaging that promises that if you buy one it will solve all your life problems for you. Don’t believe me? Well go stand in front of the toothbrush stand and see for yourself – just don’t forget your sunglasses.

And that is not all. After being blinded by the toothbrushes I had to go get some bog rolls. Now surely these would truly be boring and uninspired. Wrong again. All I wanted was a classic roll of toilet tissue. How hard can that be? But they don’t seem to exist anymore.

First off you have to identify the packaging. You know, on nappy packets they put a picture of a cutesy baby. On bogs rolls they put pictures of cutesy puppies. Eh? You could be well forgiven for thinking they are a product designed especially for dealing with puppy poop! Once you figure out it is actually toilet paper and not a pet product you have the same mind bending variety to decide on. What do you want to do today?  Visit a perfumery in France? Take a trip to the beach with the blue starfishies and dolphins? Teach your kid to count out bits of bog roll with doggy footprints? Play Sudoku? Read your starsign? Admire the new softness of the latest breathable, micro-weave, quilted paper? Your bog roll will deliver. What will come out next? Bog rolls for the old and senile with instructions for use on every single sheet or the days of the week? (“Today is Monday, perforation, Today is Tuesday, perforation, Today is Wed… oh for Pete’s sake just pick one, they’re all the same these days anyway!”)

So getting back to Blair’s original comment, it is true that many manufacturers never inspire anyone and still make a profit. But it’s kind of cool when they do otherwise life would be pretty bland and it’s far to short not to have fun. Inspiration isn’t necessary to make a sale – but someone sure as hell forgot to tell the toothbrush and bog roll people that!

Morgan 🙂

PS: Oh, and am I inspired by my new toothbrush? Well, yes I am actually. It’s pretty superduper and  I like it so much I’m considering buying a whole box of them now before they go out of fashion in a week’s time to make room for the next model – a multi-dimensional space wonder with warp speed hyperdrive, 16GB hard drive and beam me up Scotty functionality.

*bog rolls = rolls of toilet paper

Image by Andrej Troha

Dear Morgan,

I left Auckland on Thursday morning, after dropping my daughter off at the Space Station where she flew back to her Planet for another few years.  I decided to travel by car to Wellington, rather than use my spaceship.  I wanted to see what it was like.

Travel was.  Well.  Slow.  One was continually on the lookout for cars that flashed red and blue lights.  There were also cameras – on power lines, and even in trees.  Apparently my photograph is highly sought after.  I’ve heard that these photographs are then sold back to the drivers for quite large sums of money.  Crazy stuff.

The strangest phenomenon though was on something called passing lanes.  These are apparently lanes where faster cars can overtake slower cars.  However, according to the road code, one must not exceed the speed limit of 100km while passing.

So here you are, meandering along behind someone going at 80km, and hoping for a chance to pass, when you come to a passing lane.  Without exception, EVERY single time, everyone speeds up to the speed limit of 100km for the whole length of the passing lane.  No one passes.  Then right at the end of the passing lane, the car in front slows down to 80km again.  Then you have to meander along behind, hope for a chance to pass again.

There must be some sort of accelerator booster on the side of the road at the start of these lanes.  I can only think of one other reason.  Stupidity.   Dumbass.   Idiot.  Fuckwit.   Arrogance.  Jerk.  Okay, that was more than one reason but I’m sure you get the drift.

Hours later I arrived at our destination.  Next time I’m taking the spaceship!

Cheers

Robyn

Dear god X11CP7, we’ve landed on a strange planet. How did the mothership end up here? Did you set the warp co-ordinates for worm hole ZP123 or ZP498? We don’t appear to even be in the right galaxy anymore.

Y98R2

(Incidentally, I mind read a passing alien and have concluded that we would be wise to go by the names of Robyn and Morgan while we are stuck here. These beings appear to have genders – strange concept. These names apparently are ambiguous so we should blend in nicely).

(Incidentally #2, the mind read alien had a memory stored in it’s database of some leader names. One of these was “hill in cluck”. There were other names also but I cannot determine which one is current as the indexing system on this model of brain is quite primitive and all the data is scrambled randomly. Some sort of  security encryption perhaps? We will have to figure out how to crack this later.)