Simian Madness

Aug 1st, 2011 | Filed under Travel

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to take a week off, for a short trip to one of my favorite quiet tropical beaches around the Cambodian/Thai border, just a few kilometers away from the beach I wrote about in “Beach Beyond The Guidebooks” We decided to go to this beach, because the Beach Beyond The Guidebooks beach did not have any water or electricity, and this time I was determined to be conveniently clean, and be able to recharge my laptop.

It is a very beautiful beach with many types of restaurants within walking distance, usually cooked by the nationality themselves, things like French Food, Chinese, Italian, Cambodian, Mexican, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, American, and there is even a Canadian restaurant, I never knew such things existed!

The beach itself has a white powder like sand, the kind of sand that sort of jumps up and separates as you step down on it, there are lots of little crabs running around, who will run and hide in their sandy holes as you approach. The sand continues right deep into the ocean where on stormy days, waves decent enough to surf on, break in the shallow bay.

The two of us ended up renting a normally vacant, thirty year old or so teak house part way up a cliff facing the beach for about twelve US dollars per night, it was clean, had air con, electricity, hot water, and also a very large balcony, with a beautiful sunset facing view, below you can see exactly what I saw from my patio every day. I found I spent a lot of time there on the patio, every morning, afternoon, and evening was a stunning one, but all was not perfect in our little the house on the hill.

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony – Click to Enlarge

Now as you can see in the image, everything pretty much from the water up is covered in virgin rainforest, the kind of stuff that is hard to see these days, because it is first growth, ancient, rainforest, that has probably been there since before the dinosaurs. The area around and above this house was all ancient rainforest also, and in that forest not only are there foot long grasshoppers, centillions of ants, giant moths, scorpions, crocodiles, huge lizards, pythons, cobras, bear, boar, deer, and wild elephants, but there are also some little, annoying, chaotic, but always amusing monkeys.

Monkey Behind Us On The House

Get Off Our Turf

The house had been vacant for a while before we got there, and I think the troop of monkeys that fed daily around and above the house had pretty much decided that we were invading their turf. Mostly they just left us alone, and we hadn’t had any real problems with them, we watched them each morning for a few days, and listened to them calling at one another from a distance in the jungle, but on the fifth day, while returning from a swim on the beach, we found them around and on top of our house, some of them were actually standing right in front of the door. They are fairly large and a few of them together defiantly demand some respect. We approached them slowly and they backed away from the door slowly, eventually we could get in the house. As the monkeys were still running around on top of the house and around the doors we decided to stay inside a bit until they left.

After a while we went out on  our balcony and looked around to see where they were, I brought my camera to take some picture if I could. Some of them were on the trees above us, and some of the others had run over to another house down the hill a bit. After a short while there was a huge bang on the roof, a very large branch had dropped a hundred meters or so from the trees above us where some monkeys were, onto the roof, putting a fairly large hole in it, after a while we went outside again to try and get some pictures, and look what decided to come down and inspect the freshly made hole.

Monkey On The Roof

Are You Seriously Going To Blame Me For This?

There was quite a bit of movement on top  of the house again, so we took shelter back inside, after a few moments, they dozen or so monkeys started screaming, then things started banging all over the house, as the monkey had all decided to throw  branches and fruit at the house for a while. After a  couple minutes of this, all calmed down, and we were once again able to go outside, they had finally moved on.

Later that evening when we were heading out for dinner, we discovered they had stolen one of my girlfriends shoes. We looked around for it for quite a while but it was no where to be found. The shoes were not very expensive, and thankfully she had brought another pair so it was not that big a deal. We enjoyed our evening  and went to sleep to the sound of the monkeys occasionally fighting with one another in the trees.

In the morning I woke up itching, to my horror I soon discovered fire ants all over the bed, I jumped out and onto the floor only to find out there were millions  more all over the floor also, I had never experienced quite so many ants running all over me in my life, nor seen so many in such a small area as I did that morning, and fire ants are some of the worst ants around as they are very aggressive. I jumped in the shower and quickly got the ants off me, then turned on all the lights so as to see a safe passage through the house without getting too many more on me. I went outside on the balcony to see the reason for the invasion. The fruits the monkeys had pelted the house with had attracted all the ants. It is amazing the amount of trouble a group of monkeys can cause in just a matter of minutes. We left later that day, as was planned, though I am sure the monkey were all high fiving each other as we left, thinking it was a victory well fought.

I will return to the beach a few more times over the next couple of years, although the monkeys were an occasional pain in the behind, they provided entertainment, and I am glad they were there. I plan on staying in the same house, and we will probably see them again soon. They probably won’t be there much longer however, as there has been some roadway development on the bluff, someone has begun building condos on a hill, and a five star hotel is being built right in the center of the beach, so soon the trees will be gone, and with it the monkeys, the beach will become spoiled, and in order to find an unspoiled beach, we will be forced to go back to Beach Beyond The Guidebooks once again, hopefully by that time they will have running water.

Giraffes United Against Ceiling Fans Shirt

Jul 31st, 2011 | Filed under Shirts
Giraffes United Against Ceiling Fans Shirt

Giraffes United Against Ceiling Fans Shirt - Click Image $19.99 USD

For many years, humans have chosen to build their houses around us. Though their roofs are low, and unwelcoming, we have tolerated their presence.

We allowed humans to walk freely through our home, never bopping them with our horns or stepping on them with our hoofs, and yet the humans covered their ceilings with horrible, neck damaging, dangerous fans.

We deserve mutual respect, and demand our safety!

We will bow down in their presence no longer!

We will not be afraid to walk into human’s homes with our heads held high, as soon the fans will be ripped from the roof and crushed under our hooves!

Rise up and unite my fellow giraffes, protect thy neck, and ban the blades!

He Just Couldn’t Handle The Truth

Jul 13th, 2011 | Filed under Opinions and Perspectives, Rants, Video, Work

Work has always been a bit of a tedious task for me, having spent halve of my adult life traveling and doing exactly what I wanted, swimming or surfing all day if I felt like it, reading in hammocks, trekking through jungles, climbing mountains or volcanoes or just sitting around chatting with friends and partying all night, I have countless things I like to do, and none of them involve work. However I was not born wealthy, nor am I wealthy now, eventually my money always runs out and I need to get back to work again, to save for my next long vacation.

I was a car salesman for three years once, after my many years in retail, and the knowledge that the bigger the product the bigger the commission, I decided to try my hand at the top of the retail game, I sold some entry level cars, but also things like Lexus, Mercedes, BMW Audis, Infinity, Cadillacs and most of the other top brand names. The money was good, but there was a lot of competition, stealing, conspiring and injustice involved in the job,  many people were always trying to take a share of your commissions for themselves. Bullying on car lots is common, and there are an abnormal amount of fist fights.

One night after being particularly sick of my job, I watched an episode of the Simpson’s where Homer having finally paid off the mortgage, decided to get his dream job at the local bowling alley.  Since I had almost paid off my mortgage at this point, and was so tired of swimming around the shark tank I called work. I decided to take Homers lead and got a job working as IT support on contract for big business. Though the pay was about a quarter of what I was used to, there was virtually no competition, lying, greed, or backstabbing going on. It was almost shocking to step so far out of the sleaze I was used to, and helped refresh my faltering faith in humanity.

Office Space Poster

I Worked In A Place They Made A Comedy About

The job was a very interesting one to me, the building I was working in employed about 3000 people, but the company employed many more doing the exact same thing we were doing, in many other places around the globe. In order to manage so many people, we were all given numbers, mine was 512650, we had to identify ourselves by this number on all documents we created, as well as all phone calls and other interactions in the office, we very much became a number and not a person, this was Dilbert meets the Borg. I am not allowed to give exact details on the company due to papers I signed when I started work there, but the movie Office Space was actually filmed in one of its locations, and was based on the work there.

What I liked most about the job besides the many decent people I worked with, was that only halve of the time did we actually need to be working, after each phone call there was a break before the next one, and most long termers had figured out how to stretch that break as long as possible, most of my time was actually spent surfing the Internet, and chatting with the people around me, it was very social and very fun. Though the job paid very little, I was happy.

The company had a very high turn over, and there were always new recruits coming in, this story is about my interactions with one new recruit named Devin who was sat in the cubicle directly in front of me. Devin was fresh out of high school, he was a local to the town, and I don’t think had yet worked a day in his life. He sat down, put his headset on, and began taking calls.

The beginning of the job is very difficult, often our clients were groups such as Pixar, General Motors, NASA, or some other huge corporation, and sometimes the people you are talking to are not some clerk at their help desk, but some big wig himself, who’s very nature is commanding. I had gotten used to these types of clients already, I had sold people like this their luxury cars, and had learned to just speak frankly to them, not to argue, and keep control by answering all their demands as slowly as I liked.  When working on the phone, really rude customers could just be given a  little “time out”,  as we put them on hold and goof off for a few minutes until we felt like talking to them again, saying we were doing “research”

Anyhow here is Devin, this recent high school graduate, thrown into the harsh reality of work, trying to help people solve all sorts of complicated computer problems he never knew existed, and talking to loud mouth commanding big wigs from all over the world.

Devin did not adjust well to the job, he was often frustrated, slamming his headphone down on the desk and shouting at it, taking long walks to the washroom, missing some days of work, and then after a while coming to work stoned on weed, eventually he added drinking booze at lunch time in his car. I had always tried to be a bit of a mentor to him telling him why I was in the job, how it was really not that bad, and should count himself lucky that the customers are only on the phone, where you can put them on hold and not in his face.

Devin was sure I didn’t really understand, he told me strait out, “You just don’t get it.”

I was between calls, so I said, “Yeah man I get it. I have just learned to live as a corporate slave is all. I mean here we are, our government has spent fifteen years educating us, and this is what we have become, we are forced to sit in our cubicles eight hours a day, answering telephones on a flashing light and a bing, kind of like how they teach chickens to play the piano. The people on the phone get pissed off at us because they are too stupid to learn how to use their computers themselves, and cant follow our simple directions, and we are forced to take their crap because we have four layers of bosses and quality control watching our every move, with cameras on the ceiling, and listeners on our phone calls. It is a bit like a jail, we even have our numbers on our chest ” (I pointed to the ID tag we were forced to wear) ” But its worse than that, not only are we stuck in our cubicle, but we are tethered to our phone by these stupid headsets , kind of like a dog on the leash, they pay us crap, and give us hell.”

He said “Yeah that’s it !”

I was having fun by now, and had worked myself up a bit, I still loved my job, but was enjoying my rant against the corporate world, I could also see he was worked up and wide eyed about my speech, and I just couldn’t stop myself from winding him up further.

“I mean we are not really criminals or animals are we? We’re better than this? Right? This isn’t what our nation trained us to do is it? We are supposed to invent rocket ships and fly to mars, not sit here like a bunch of stupid poorly treated animals right? This place reminds me of a bunch of chickens on a farm all sitting in their little boxes and forced to lay eggs.”

He reacted in a way I did not expect, maybe it was the double chicken analogy that put him over the top, I am not sure. I thought he would just join my rant for a bit and get back to work, but something kind of snapped in him.

He said, halve to himself “No I’m not an animal, I’m better than this.” then he slammed his headphones on the desk and shouted to the other thousand or so people in earshot “I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I WILL NOT LIVE IN THIS CAGE, AND WEAR THIS LEASH ! ”

He then proceeded to grab his stuff, and began walking down the cubicle alleys, speaking to no one, but giving the finger to all the managers and supervisors that tried to ask him where he was going,  he walked through security, then finally marched right out the door.

I never saw Devin again, I hope he is doing well, either that he has submitted to his corporate masters or found his way on his own, but one thing was sure, at that moment, in that place, he just couldn’t handle the truth.

And now a video about a piano playing chicken.

 

Prisioner Of Consumerism Shirt

Prisioner Of Consumerism

Prisioner Of Consumerism Shirt - Click Image $19.99 USD

A man relaxes day in day out, for many years, under the shade of a tree, on the edge of a beautiful tropical beach.

He enjoys  watching  the waves break on the shore, the bird flying,  the clouds shifting through the sky, and the eventual sunsets of each passing day.

When he gets hungry, he feeds himself on the delicious falling fruits of the surrounding trees.

He does this day in day out for many years.

One day a man in a suit comes along, and sees this man sitting under the tree.and asks, “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, hello, I am just sitting here watching the birds, and the waves” replies the Tree Man. ”

The Suited Man asks “Well, what do you do for work?”

“Oh, well I don’t work” the Tree Man replies.

The Suited Man looks astounded, “Why don’t you pick up some of these fruits and take them to the market, you could make some money from that”

“OK, well after that what do I do?” asks the Tree Man.

The Suited Man “Well after you sell enough fruits you can buy yourself a wheel barrow, and take more to the market faster”

“OK, so after that what do I do?”

The Suited Man “Well after you do that for a while you can get yourself a truck and take more to the market.”

“OK, so whats after that ?”

The Suited Man ” Well after you do that a while you can come back here and sit under your tree.”

A Very Inexpensive Way To Travel

Jun 10th, 2011 | Filed under Travel, Video

A lot of people ask me, how I can afford to travel all the time. The truth is I am not amazingly wealthy, I just don’t spend very much, and save constantly for my next vacation. When I do travel I usually take buses, trains or local boats, and try to avoid expensive transport such as airplanes and cruise ships as much as I can.

Traveling is actually very inexpensive, as long as you can walk, you can travel.

I found out recently though I may have been doing it all wrong, Cathy Barnette from the Today Now show has some travel advice that really would have saved me a lot of money in my life.

I wish I had thought of this.