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A Copywriter Writes

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DAN WATSON

Kiwi copywriter.

Illustrator on the side.

This blog is filled with stuff that simply comes to mind that's too long to tweet.

It's mostly my observations as I try to make it in the advertising industry. It keeps me writing and, hopefully, gets you reading.

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  • November 12, 2012 4:36 pm

    My First Strip Club or, Why Benders And Suits Never Mix

    image

    For obvious reasons, I’ve used made up names for the story below. 

    I like to assume that guys always remember their first strip club.

    That twang of excitement running down your spine as you saunter in, trying to act natural and aloof.

    Feeling your heart beat a little faster as you sit down to enjoy a parade of nude women who aren’t muted out on a computer screen.

    The caress of warm, silky skin on the back of your hand when the dancer allows you to slip the dollar note into her G-string.

    That stands out for me, sure. But I’ll always remember my first time for a different reason.

    Read More

  • August 14, 2012 3:37 pm

    My Favourite Ten: Valentines Day or, My First Attempt At A Romantic Night Gone Awry

    image

    A reblogging of my top ten posts since I started.



    FOUR: POST #11 (14 Feb, 2011)

    Ah, Valentine’s Day…

    Birds chirping softly as you wake to dozens of red and pink envelopes each from a person claiming to be madly in love with you, canaries and hummingbirds dress you as you phone the florist and have them send a rose to the person you secretly admire and the sunset sets the sky ablaze with oranges, reds, pinks and indigoes as you walk hand in hand with your date along the shore, the water gently caressing your feet as it ebbs and flows. Finally, you kiss; silhouetted against the horizon, a soft sea breeze brushes your face as you stare into each others eyes…

    Oh wait.

    That’s not how it is at all! Well, for most people.

    More accurately, it’s sitting on the couch, wearing the clothes I wore the day before, drinking beer and watching My Wife and Kids.

    Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.

    Read More

  • June 21, 2012 9:58 pm

    A Change Of Perspective or, No Homo

    So I went clubbing in Kuala Lumpur this one time.

    Decent place, good music, friendly patrons.

    Very friendly patrons.

    I’m at our table, sipping a drink and a having a wee dance to whatever bassy chart-topper that was blasting from every orifice of the room.

    There was a brief lull between danceable music tracks and conversation being screamed between two feet of table.

    I get a tap on my shoulder.

    "Hey, man!" the strange Malaysian guy at the neighbouring table says to me.

    "Gidday!"

    "How are you?!"

    "I’m good!"

    "You like dancing!"

    "Yeah, I suppose!"

    "You dance good!"

    "Haha! Thanks!"

    "What’s your name?!"

    "Dan!"

    "Oswald!"*

    "Nice to meet you!"

    Ok, so he’s socialising with the people around him. Whatever.

    (Skipping through innocent chit-chat)

    "Join us for a drink!"

    We had Black Label, he had Hennessy. Can’t say no.

    "Hey, do you have a card?!"

    "Yeah!"

    (I hand over my card in a distinctive fashion that is nothing short of professional and platonic.)

    "So, I can call you sometime?!"

    "Sorry?!"

    "If I want to see you again, I can just call you?"

    *Lightbulb* Oh, shit.

    "Uhh…"

    This is where it got surprising.

    Now, I’m not gay. Not bi-sexual. Not bi-curious. Not ever a single serious thought of the alternative has ever crossed my mind.**

    But, for some reason, I was hesitant to inform him of this vital information right away. Maybe it was because he was so friendly? Could’ve been the hundreds of dollars worth of cognac I accepted from him and his friends.

    Don’t get me wrong, what eventually followed was,

    "Just so you understand, I’m not gay! Not gay! All good?!"

    You could plainly see the comprehension of this unfortunate fact run across his face.

    "Hey, my friend wants to talk to me! I have to go! Thank you for the drink, bro!"

    "No problem! It was very nice to meet you, Dan!"

    "Yeah, you too, buddy! Enjoy your night!"

    I escaped back to my own crowd of friends. The black lights around the room lit their toothy grins up like the Cheshire Cat.

    Oswald approached our table.

    "Hey Dan, do you want to hang out some time?!"

    Wow, you have to admire this dude’s persistence.

    "Sorry man, I’m leaving the country tomorrow!"

    That was true, I was leaving for Turkey the next day.

    "Oh no! Well, how about lunch tomorrow?!"

    "No can do, bro! My flight leaves early in the morning!"

    This was not true. My flight was due to leave at 7:30pm.

    "Oh no! Oh well… I hope you had a great time in Malaysia!"

    "I did! Thank you!"

    Nice guy. Really.

    The night transitioned gradually and quite smoothly into our group all standing outside the club, surrounding the one chick who had overdone it on the tequila shots and whiskey and Cokes.

    All the while, we were silently confirming with one another that the night had indeed come to a close and we needed to sort out where we were going for the post-party feed.

    A familiar tap on my shoulder.

    "Gidday mate, you have a good night?"

    "It was very good," Oswald said.

    "Great."

    "It was best night, because I meet you."

    Awww.

    The night’s weirdness peaked in my mind at that point. I found myself feeling extremely sorry for the fact that I wasn’t attracted to this dude.

    It was the oldest line in the book! Maybe the broken English made it sound better…

    I very almost came to a compromise where I’d offer up a kiss or something. To say this urge was strange was an understatement worthy of literary legend.

    Oswald and I said goodbye and he wandered off. The apparent effect this guy had had on me was perplexing.

    But something hit me.

    I think I came to a revelation concerning the reasoning behind the pity fuck.

    I’d heard other girls say that they would give it up for a certain dude who was trying so hard but was ultimately getting nowhere with them. Guys who meant well; victims of circumstance; misguided Romeos.

    I had always said you’re either attracted to someone or not. End of story. How can you put aside the fact that you feel nothing for these people, yet engage in an extraordinarily intimate activity with them?

    But yeah, I kinda get it now.

    It’s like the carnal ‘A for effort’; the coital consolation prize. 

    Now, don’t get it twisted; I wasn’t going to fuck Oswald. It was just that odd moment of almost-compromise for a very nice and polite young dude.

    A weird night, all in all.

    But it resulted in some clarity for me.

    At least someone got something out of that interaction.



    *Oswald was not his name. I can’t remember it. If I meet you in a place where there are noises competing profusely with the sounds coming from your mouth, you can be secure in a bet that I will not be able to recall your name in the next twenty minutes, let alone the next day.

    **Nick, the art director at Lucideas seems to think otherwise. He’s convinced I’m in love with him just because I’ve told people he’s funny.

  • January 13, 2012 3:01 pm

    A Taxi Ride I Won’t Forget Any Time Soon

    I was working late one night and the designer I stayed back with offered to drive me closer to my home so the taxi fare would be cheaper.

    She dropped me off in Bangsar (roughly 10-15 mins from my home in Kota Damansara) and a friendly taxi driver offered to take me home straight after.

    He took off around the back streets of Bangsar and started navigating the streets instead of taking the highway.

    "Oh, great. Another taxi driver who thinks I’m a tourist, trying to rip me off."

    I thought.

    He drove right past an on-ramp to the Penchala Link (direct route to my house).

    "Hey, why did you go past that?"

    "Sorry, boss. But they have the police checkpoints out."

    "So?"

    "You know what they’re looking for?"

    "Uh.."

    "They’re trying to catch the drunk ones! Haha!"

    "So what does that have to… Oh god…"

    "Ahh don’t worry boss! If they catch me, I have to pay the fine. Not you."

    "But this is costing me more money!"

    "Ah. Sorry boss."

    The fare ended up being more than I’d have paid if I got a taxi from work.



    Bloody Kuala Lumpur.

  • January 10, 2012 2:31 am

    An Awesome Night Out or, Fuck It

    I’m gonna go ahead and apologise to my father right now, who reads what I write often. He’s mentioned to me once or twice about the language I use on my blog. I foresee extended use of the F word.

    Katt Williams talked about a special hormone that is released into your system from time to time that physically enables you to have a good time.

    It’s called ‘Fuck It’.

    It specialises in the breaking down of inhibitions and when you ask yourself ‘Why?’, it askes ‘Why not?’

    Most people choose to induce this hormone with alcohol and recreational drugs. However, you have to get the dosage just right, otherwise you risk overshooting the Fuck It mark and just end up Fucked Up instead.

    But sometimes, the conditions are just right for the natural production of Fuck It and when that happens, it’s fucking sweet.

    My most recent successful experience with Fuck It happened just a couple of days before Christmas. Lucideas was having their Christmas party.

    Being the only guy in the office with facial hair, I thought I’d dye it white and be the resident Santa Claus for the evening. Why?

    "Because fuck it. That’s why."

    It’s looked hilarious. We pulled out a Santa suit that we’d been using for a client before and they said I should wear it and give out all the Secret Santa presents.

    "Fuck it! Where do I change?"

    I donned the suit and became the cheeky, foul-mouthed, wandering-handed Santa that made every single person in the agency sit on his lap and open their presents. 

    After which, the music was too good to just sit around and quietly drink beer with everyone else.

    "Fuck this! Let’s dance! Come on!"

    After getting five or six people from the agency to dance, the suggestion of taking this party to a club afterward surfaced.

    "Dan, you should totally wear the suit to the club!"

    "Alright, you’re on. We’re going clubbing!"

    The party started to wind down around 10pm and a group of us met up at a pub for pre-drinks.

    "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas everybody!"

    I bellowed at the pub.

    A very satisfying cheer was shouted back. My Fuck It levels were rewarding me handsomely.

    A guy came over to our table and presented me with a pint of Guinness.

    "There you go, Santa."

    "Oh, thanks very much!"

    *sip*

    "No, all of it."

    "What? Skull it?"

    "Yeah."

    "Alright then."

    That’s when you gotta watch those Fuck It levels. You know you’re in the red zone when you start saying ‘yes’ to everything, even when there’s potential for bad consequences.

    "Yay, Santa!"

    "Yeah *burp* Great, whatever. Thanks for that."

    Fast forward.

    One of Lucideas’ designers and I pulled up outside Zouk, one of Kuala Lumpur’s many dance clubs and sauntered in.

    That classic feeling when everyone who looks at you, smiles.

    That less than modest feeling that you just became a line in someone’s story about their night.

    "And then Santa walked in!"

    We went to a private booth and ordered drinks.

    "Fuck it. I’m embracing this. If you want me, I’ll be on the dance floor."

    High-fives, handshakes, hugs, kisses, a couple of lap dances and many, many photos soon ensued.

    I met many people and forgot many names.

    This was vague, but I was told some guy had to drag his girlfriend away because she was getting too friendly with me.

    I’ll take that.

    I managed to ride that wave almost to dawn.

    The night was epic to say the least.

    And all because I decided to fuck it and do something I had never done before.

    These are the kinds of things that happen when you take opportunities as they come and dive head first into the unknown.

    That’s how I want 2012 to be.

    More ‘fuck it’ moments that lead to awesome happenings. In my social life and my work.

    I’ve already made the resolution to go back to Zouk at Chinese New Year, dressed as the God of Prosperity.

    Happy New Year 

    -Dan

  • August 19, 2011 10:11 pm

    Loving Your First Idea or, A Ring After Two Days

    In 1972, Elvis Presley said,

    wise men say only fools rush in’.

    Despite knowing this he couldn’t help falling in love.

    Well, that’s all well and good for the romantics out there, but it’s bloody silly when I think about it.

    Mind you, I think about it with a degree of hindsight. I’m reminded about the silliest thing I’ve ever done in my young love life.

    I was on a school field trip in Rome. One of the girls in the group and I grew close.

    Skipping past all the awkward talking about each other to our friends and each other’s friends, I asked this chick out in St. Peter’s Basilica, as you do.

    She was the first girl I had ever asked out.

    So, naturally, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

    We spent the first day holding hands and sitting in the same chair together.

    Her friends jokingly asked me what my intentions were.

    "Oh, long term. For sure. She’s great."

    I guess I meant it at the time.

    On the second day, we were walking down the Via Nationale and we got the idea to buy each other gifts to commemorate the wonderful event of us finding one another.

    I thought I’d be suave and go with jewelry.

    No necklaces. Nothing was more important than her Virgin Mary necklace her mother gave her.

    She didn’t like bracelets, either…

    We stopped by a jewelry store to have a look. We spotted a diamond ring that was going for €89 (NZ$250).

    (cringe)

    I bought it for her.

    *NOTE*
    Can I just say, that at the time I was a tourist and had lots of money in my pocket, so I had no real sense of value.

    I said to her,

    "I know this cost a bit, but it just shows how cool* I think you are and how I think this is gonna last a long time."

    (facepalm)

    I told my friend about it.

    "You’re a dumbass."

    "Why?"

    "Dude, you don’t just give a chick a ring after being with her for two days."

    He told my other friends.

    "Wow, that was stupid."

    "It’s not what it looks like! It’s just a present."

    "That was stupid present."

    Eventually, my parents found out.

    "Oh, for Christ’s sake, Daniel…"

    Long story short, I realised about a month or so after coming back from the trip that the relationship could’ve been something more akin to a holiday fling and I broke up with her.

    Thankfully, she gave the ring back** and I was able to get (most) of my money back.

    The point is, I made the mistake that a lot of creatives tend to make.

    I committed to the first good thing that came along, as soon as it came along.

    Thinking about why we creatives do this and thinking about my past romantic ineptitudes, I can gauge an understanding:

    A lot of the time, creatives go a long time without a great idea. Even though we put the effort into finding one, it usually doesn’t come our way. Then, when our minds do start to come up with something decent, we get excited.

    We get so amazed by the fact a good idea had come our way, we jump to use it. Usually never stopping to consider how good it really is under the glamour of the initial reaction.

    Others around us, like our colleagues, might say,

    "Yeah, it’s a nice idea, but don’t just go full on with it, you’ve only known it for a few minutes. Try out other ideas, look elsewhere, see what else there is."

    And you come back with,

    "Nah man, this is it. I’m pretty happy with this one."

    It takes someone higher up, more experienced, whom you respect, like your boss or Creative Director to point out,

    "The idea just doesn’t work. Sure, there’s flare, but it doesn’t have depth."

    That’s when the illusion shatters for you. And you slowly start to realise the things the idea lacks. Pretty soon, you’re sick of the idea and the thought of working on it repulses you. You finally make the decision to dump it.

    Because you were so infatuated with this first idea, you didn’t consider others and all your precious time was put into nothing with nothing to fall back on in the end.

    And so you have to start again, alone, without an idea.

    Sure, there are those times where people come up with a great idea and everything fits, first time around. But you never use that as a model to follow, that’s just a moment when the stars align and people call out buzz words like ‘fate’ or ‘serendipity’.

    It’s always good to make sure you’ve assessed all your angles and options before going with an idea to go all the way to execution with it. You may not invest as much as a diamond ring, but then again, you won’t always get it given back to you.

    Creatives should heed Elvis when he says ‘only fools rush in’.

    No, it’s not romantic if you can’t help falling in love with it.



    *A word to young guys in love with someone. Never buy jewelry for a girl you think is ‘cool’. If that’s the only adjective you can come up with, put your wallet back in your pocket.

    **She threw it at me.

  • July 15, 2011 1:55 pm

    Thinking Ahead or, How Luck Saved Me From Failure And Dickhead Taxi Drivers

    The taxi drivers of Kuala Lumpur are something else.

    They’re sneaky individuals who will try anything to squeeze money out of you. Especially if you show the physical symptoms of a tourist.

    They leave the meter running as you flick through the notes in your wallet so they can snag that extra 10 sen from you, they barter the fare with you while a sign that reads ‘HAGGLING IS FORBIDDEN’ boldly stands out on their door and they’ll make up random reasons and rules to justify charging you extra.

    Not to mention they pick and choose when and where they want to take you. If it’s a peak hour traffic, they’re not budging. If they want their last fare of the night to end up close to their home, tough luck. If they decide it’s too far, you’re on your own.

    It’s bullshit.

    And I have no doubt at all that Kuala Lumpur is not the only city in the world where this happens. It’s just that Auckland is not one of those cities.

    It’s become laughable over time as I’ve grown to know the area and become more familiar with the roads and I get some cheeky sod try to charge me 30 ringgit for a 12 ringgit cab ride.

    But one guy in particular got me the worst.

    My artist friend, Michael (@zangatang) visited me from New Zealand and so we went hiking on a track that lay 55km out of the city. We took the train half way to Ampang where we would have to get a taxi to drive the other 28km.

    We got reject after reject.

    "Too far."

    "I don’t know where."

    Or sometimes, it was just,

    "No."

    Finally we got a guy who helped us ask for directions. Ibrahim was his name. Then we asked Ibrahim if he’d take us. He grins and asks:

    "I don’t know. How much will you pay me?"

    Ugh. It never ends.

    We settle begrudgingly on 40 ringgit. He takes us, complaining the whole way, trying to coax more money from us. We eventually made it (a 26 ringgit cab ride).

    We told him to meet us back at the exact spot he dropped us at 5:30pm. We’d be waiting for him.

    "Yes, yes. I come. I be here."

    We hurry our hike so we’re not late and we get back at 5:15. We call Ibrahim. No answer.

    Again at 5:30. Answering machine.

    Again at 5:45. Same English woman’s voice.

    After the answering machine message at 6pm, it has become quite obvious that the bastard has stiffed us and wasn’t coming back.

    So there we were, in the middle of nowhere; a quaint little village at the edge of a rather extensive jungle in the middle of Malaysia, sitting on a make-shift seat made from pipes.

    We were not prepared for this. Call us naive, but I guess we had a little more faith in our fellow man than that. Regardless, we were still well and truly up the creek on this one.

    Forward thinking is a very useful quality to have. I think we can all agree that the guy in the movie that suavely pulls the problem’s answer that he prepared earlier from behind his back is a total boss.

    For a creative person, it’s critical to have this cannon in your creative habit arsenal. Thinking ahead can help you to spot flaws in your ideas or ask the hard questions that the suits would ask to guarantee it gets through. Or even the hard questions that the clients ask that usually have to stumbling over your idea like a newborn giraffe.

    It is the ability to take your ideas and project them into possible futures and judge how they might work or falter. It’s adding logic to the creative recipe that you’re stewing in your cranium. It is solidifying the idea with tangible facts and logistics.

    It’s also anticipating that unfavourable result (as much as we don’t want to) and coming up with something equally as brilliant to come back with. It’s never falling completely in love with the idea you’ve gone with, it’s that level of detachment.

    Of course, you shouldn’t confuse this with self judging. I’ve always seen that as a negative trait to avoid. Forward thinking is productive. It’s the persistence to make the idea work by putting it through the hard yards.

    A lot of creatives, including myself when I first entered the ad industry, tend to come up with an idea and then fling it to the account exec to take care of and move on. If the theory is there, that’s all that seems to be sufficient.

    "This will probably work. Here you go, make it happen. I’m off for a smoke."

    About a month ago, we came up with an idea to add a twitter component to a campaign where we searched within 50km of  Kuala Lumpur for people complaining about their day and sending a ground crew to go and give them gifts and prizes to help solve their problems.

    Logistically, it seemed like a nightmare with such a small team. We practiced how we would do it, we figured out a system and we did a couple of trial runs a couple of weeks before the launch. 

    Then, we chilled.

    The theory was there. We thought we were sweet, despite our CD telling us to run scenarios where the system didn’t work.

    Our target was 40 people with 20 days to do it. Two people a day. Two targets and eight hours to get them.

    Too easy. 

    On day one, we failed. We only got one person. 5% into the campaign and we were already behind. We stayed late to figure out what went wrong.

    It was by sheer luck that the very next day, doing roughly the same thing, we got three people. These fluctuations continued until we eventually met our target on day 20.

    Perhaps if we’d listened to the CD, we’d have knocked out all the snags in the system before going live and maybe even met our target sooner.

    I may not be the best forward thinker ever, even after my time in the ad business. But I know that you need this skill like a Catholic priest needs an alibi. I’ve just been lucky in a lot of my exploits.

    Michael and I sat for almost an hour in the middle of a random township somewhere in Malaysia. My plan at the time was to eat what’s left of our provisions. That bastard, Ibrahim still hadn’t called back.

    Then just out of the blue, a bus pulls round the corner. It wasn’t going to KL, but close enough to catch another, regular bus to the city. Pure luck.

    If the bus hadn’t come at that time, I would probably be telling you a more interesting story about how Mike and I walked and used sexual favors (I’d eaten all the food already) to get rides back to KL. 

  • April 13, 2011 2:28 pm

    Witty Waiter

    Waiter: “Would you like drinks?”

    Ian: “What beer do you have?”

    Waiter: “Carlsberg and Tiger.”

    Ian: “I’ll have Tiger.”

    Balan: “Tiger.”

    Radhi: “Coke.”

    Me: “Carlsberg.”

    Zena: “Watermelon juice, please.”

    Waiter: “We don’t have.”

    Zena: “Oh, then what kind of juice do you have?”

    Waiter: “Carlsberg juice and Tiger juice.”

  • April 8, 2011 3:53 pm

    Opportunity or, Catching Lizards In The Shower.

    Yesterday I opened my eyes after a rather nice sleep at 8:30am.

    Lazily, you know?

    Like when you wake up without the alarm, the morning sun is streaming through and you hear the birds chirping and all that.

    And you settle your head on the pillow and reflect over how rested you feel.

    "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"

    Now, I’ve read about blood-curdling screams in horror stories but this was the first time I’ve actually experienced such a feeling. I shot up and out of bed as if I were spring-loaded, wide-eyed and disturbed.

    I could picture Norman Bates dressed up as his dead mother stabbing the hell out of my flatmate, Zena in the shower.*

    "ZENA! WHAT’S WRONG?"

    "WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH HAAAAAAAA!"

    "ZENA! PUT ON A TOWEL AND OPEN THE DOOR! WHAT’S WRONG?!"

    "IT’S A LIZARD! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH HHHHAAAAAA"

    Bloody hell…

    Door opened, she scrambled out; crying and hyperventilating like she’d been smacked in the face.

    After calming the poor girl down, I strode into the bathroom and went after that lizard in very much the same way we should all be going for the great opportunities that we run into all the time.

    Much like we unexpectedly encounter lizards in showers in Malaysia.

    The usual scenario is an opportunity scuttles into view and our first impression of it is ‘scary’. And so we tend run from it (sometimes screaming or crying).

    The fact is that opportunities will almost always appear to us in this way; disguised as a off-putting challenge, an intimidating obstacle or an undesirable, uninteresting task.

    This ranges from a product you wouldn’t look twice at with an advertising budget you wouldn’t look once at, to a contest to design an ergonomically creative felt-tip pen to appeal to 5 year-old girls, to a entire city, ravaged by natural disaster beyond simple repair.

    I already spoke earlier about natural instincts we have that hinder creative and personal development…

    As a single mind, we look at tasks like those above and cringe and squirm at how difficult and not-comfortable they sound.

    Doing something new and exciting (you just don’t know it yet) is always difficult and uncomfortable,  but I’ve found it’s not until you peel back the layers that you find your motivation and see the opportunity for yourself.

    Which is why we should take anything that comes our way and not reject it until we’ve embraced it and made a proper judgement about whether it’s a good opportunity or not, and try not to grab our towels right away and scramble out of the bathroom, crying.

    Face each new thing (what ever is may be) with optimism and confidence and you can’t go wrong; you’ll snag those opportunities and turn them into something great.

    Sometimes, whether you pursue the opportunity or not, it’s a slippery little thing that you just can’t get a proper hold on and will escape your clutches and go scattering out the open window.

    No use crying when this happens, just lock the door, have your morning shower in peace and continue on.

  • March 22, 2011 6:49 pm

    Banana Milkshakes or, The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done.



    I LOVE banana milkshakes.

    Best. Drink. Ever.

    Real bananas, syrup, powder, Primo or just sugar mixed with banana essence. Anyway you do it, that shit rocks.

    I don’t know what it is about bananas, or their flavour, but when a glass of that sunny-coloured frothy goodness is on the table I am keen as!

    I have done bad things in the name of a banana milkshake. Shameful things.

    Well, to be honest, shameful thing.

    Which segues me nicely into my story.

    I was 8 years old at the time (not that that’s an excuse). There was this Indian kid in my class, Ravneel. He was a year older than me. He was a good enough guy, in small doses. He was rich too.

    Now, I say rich. What I mean was that his parents owned a diary and gave him lots of money to buy his lunch from the tuck shop each day.

    One day in particular, we had been arguing earlier (probably over crayons or some crap) and at lunch, he decided he was on a flavoured milk buzz and ordered a bunch of Skool Milks.

    Skool Milk: a small plastic sachet of flavoured milk that you drink by cutting away a corner with your safety scissors and sucking completely dry before burping, smiling and running off to play tag.

    So Ravneel, comes up to me, cradling in his arms a number of sachets of different flavours, including numerous bananas, and holds one of which out:

    "Want one?"

    To which, I light up:

    "Hey, sure! I lov-"

    "Well you can’t! Hahahahahaaha"

    His stupid laugh.

    He strolled out of the classroom into the yard. Leaving me standing there. Seething.

    I followed him out, caught him, pinned him against the wall and muttered:

    "You dick."

    And then I socked him one, right in the gut.

    He spilt all his Skool Milk sachets and lay there, foetal, just crying.

    And like a banana, I split.

    I eventually got in major trouble. He told on me, naturally. I should’ve worn a balaclava or something.

    The funny thing was, after I hit him, I didn’t even take one of the banana Skool Milks that had started this little scene.

    But that was a one time thing. I’ve never been that violent towards anyone ever agin in my life.

    I’m actually a really nice guy.

    Provided you don’t get in between me and my banana milkshake.

  • March 21, 2011 4:11 pm

    Awesome Story.

    "My mate used to really be into Diablo. He used to lock himself in his room and play. The rest of us thought he was wanking or something. One day we decided to bust his door down and we found him at his desk just playing Diablo.

    I’d rather be caught wanking.”

    - Alan Jones, Copywriter

  • March 5, 2011 6:00 pm

    Kuala Lumpur or, A Lesson In Bullshitting And Branding

    So I’m in Kuala Lumpur…

    Holy crap, I’m in Kuala Lumpur.

    48 hours ago, I was sitting in an airport with my family and friends like we were all at the mall having Sunday brunch.

    47 hours ago, I was sitting at Gate 10 of Auckland International Airport not knowing what the hell was going on. Soon after, I boarded the plane.

    Tangled, The King’s Speech, episodes of How I Met You Mother, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, The Middle, The Office and 30 Rock, a book on Kuala Lumpur and my immigration form made up 11 hours of in-flight entertainment.

    With about 2 hours left of the flight, a kid in the middle row of seats next to mine decided to puke all over the floor. I hadn’t noticed until the small wafted my way. That’s when I turned and caught sight of the beige-coloured goop riddled with corn bits and fish chunks. This basically left me spending the remaining hours of the flight staring intensely at my screen, breathing through a napkin.

    Finally stepping from the plane into a sticky heat cloud the size of forever, I took the long walk to baggage claim at KLIA. Not knowing where I was going or what I was doing, I reacted in the only way I know how: I put one hand in my pocket and sauntered on as if I owned the place, while secretly straining my peripherals for a sign.

    I finally arrived in KL Sentral Staion at 10pm.

    Something had come up at the office and no one was available to pick me up right away, so I had to wait for a wee while.

    The station was closing down and minute by minute, I was becoming the sole inhabitant of the station lobby. Old, dentally challenged, smoke perfumed taxi drivers kept approaching me with ride offers, to which I would repeatedly reply:

    "Nah, you’re all right, mate. I got a friend on his way now."

    In a strange country when you’re alone, nonchalance is your best weapon. The life lesson is if you look calm and confident about whatever you’re doing, people don’t question you and leave you alone and you tend not to get yourself into trouble. I was exercising this lesson so much, I was breaking a sweat (but that could have been the 27 degree humidity).

    While I waited, I pulled out one of my business cards. I looked at the friendly, approachable, Arial Rounded MT Bold lettering, white against pitch black; the light in the darkness, and silently read the words: don’t panic.

    That’s it right there. My perfect brand. A mantra for any and every aspect of your life when uncertainty grips you. Whether I’m making business contacts…

    "Need a copywriter? We’ll don’t panic; Dan’s on it."

     …keeping my composure at work…

    "Don’t panic, mate. You’ve still got 11 minutes until the meeting. You can still crack the brief, just think."

    …or simply showing a South-East Asian country who’s boss.

    A yellow Jeep, a handshake, a long conversation, a bottle of Tiger beer and a quick lesson in dealing with snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and ferrets later, I’m sleeping on a fold-out couch in the living room of my new temporary abode. No blankets needed, no shirt needed, pants not necessary; just a lone ceiling fan and an open window; simple.

    Holy crap, I live in Kuala Lumpur.

    God, that’s awesome. 

  • February 15, 2011 10:05 am

    Valentines Day or, My First Attempt At A Romantic Night Gone Awry.

    Ah, Valentine’s Day…

    Birds chirping softly as you wake to dozens of red and pink envelopes each from a person claiming to be madly in love with you, canaries and hummingbirds dress you as you phone the florist and have them send a rose to the person you secretly admire and the sunset sets the sky ablaze with oranges, reds, pinks and indigoes as you walk hand in hand with your date along the shore, the water gently caressing your feet as it ebbs and flows. Finally, you kiss; silhouetted against the horizon, a soft sea breeze brushes your face as you stare into each others eyes…

    Oh wait.

    That’s not how it is at all! Well, for most people.

    More accurately, it’s sitting on the couch, wearing the clothes I wore the day before, drinking beer and watching My Wife and Kids.

    Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.

    I grow weary of the Facebook updates on my news feed of the girls who had rose petals rain down on their house by crop-duster biplanes; chocolates fed to them by actual cherubs, while trained bunny rabbits nibbled their nails to give them perfect pedicures and manicures; and specially bred unicorns take them to and from work only to find their boyfriends waiting at home and proceeding to make love for 11 hours straight.

    Meanwhile, boyfriends and romantics all over the world are taking second mortgages out and selling their cars on the internet to pay for this crap.

    Mind you, I was never so bah, humbug about this day. I remember the youthful days where I couldn’t wait to get a girlfriend to shower with all sorts of lovey-dovey crap on Valentine’s Day. That day came for me in 2006.

    I spent most of the day cooking and preparing this epic roast pork dinner and packing it into a picnic basket. I snuck it into my girlfriend’s car and lead her out to Mission Bay (little did I know that that’s where everyone else in Auckland goes for Valentine’s Day; brilliant).

    We had the dinner, exchanged gifts and flowers and I collected my brownie points. A smooch here, a cuddle there, chatting and laughing, a stroll down the beach. Darkness rolled on over and we decided to head home.

    We parked outside of my house, and decided to “chill” in the back seat.

    One thing lead to another and the shit suddenly got real.

    This was shaping up to be a pretty awesome night until the front passenger door was suddenly pulled open.

    "Gimme your fuckin’ phone!"

    Exclaimed the Maori guy in the grey hoodie.

    Oh, for Christ’s sake.

    "Aww, bro, we don’t have phones."

    My thoughts were elsewhere, I hadn’t grasped the situation.

    The hooded chap thrust his hand into his front pocket and pointed the “gun he had concealed”.

    Bullshit.

    "Gimme your phone!"

    He reiterated.

    "Bro, seriously, we don’t have phones. Go away."

    All the while, my girlfriend was inching toward the passenger seat, where she had left her purse. The robber noticed this and they both made a grab and the robber succeeded.

    Shit.

    Before I knew what hell had just happened, the guy in the grey hoodie was bounding down the street and my girlfriend had gracefully maneuvered out of the car and was sprinting after him.

    Now, her car was a two door hatchback. So when I jumped to go racing after my girlfriend and the bastard in the grey hood, I found myself tangled in the front passenger seatbelt.

     I bellowed for her to come back and she sat on the bonnet and had a wee cry while I called the police. Naturally, there was no case. A Maori guy in a grey hoodie just wasn’t a specific enough description. The neighbours were starting to peek out of their windows and front doors to see what the commotion was about. 

    We took the car down my driveway and went into the house where my parents were waiting up.

    Shit.

    We briefly explained we had been mugged and my mum started making coffee and tea at once (bless). We were all sitting in the lounge sipping and comforting my shaken girlfriend. Then mum asked,

    "So what were you doing out there?"

    Sigh.

    Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.

    Hope you had a good one.

    Dan

  • February 4, 2011 10:12 am

    Swearing or, Nana Doesn’t Look At Me Like She Used To.

    Aren’t grandparents awesome?

    Grandparents and grandchildren have such a special relationship that give you warm fuzzes right to the very core of your being.

    The lay the smackdown on parents; where parents say ‘no’, grandparents are all about it. What your parents are really strict about something like no dessert before dinner, tidying your blocks up or using power tools, you can bet your ass you can get away with it at nana and granddad’s house.

    But why?

    Because they want to see you happy. They want to see you light up and squeal and giggle ridiculously until you combust in a cloud of delight. They want this because love you like drunk guys love Micky D’s at 2am on a Sunday.

    This is the scenario with my grandparents, especially my nana. Growing up, she’d look at you like you burped sunshine and farted glitter. In her eyes, I was this perfect little prince of a grandson going about his life merrily and innocently.

    Which is why I feel sick overtime I think about the day I swore right in front of her.

    Dad was driving nana, mum and me home from a netball match my sisters were playing in. I sat in the front seat talking to my friend, Sophie, trying to convince her to come out that night. I was completely oblivious to the conversation in the car.

    I relaxed.

    "Come on, Soph, it’ll be cool… You haven’t seen everyone in ages… No, I can drive, that’s fine… I’ll probably be about 20 minutes… Aw, not too late, probably 11, 12?… Yeah?… Sweet, ok… Right, well you just wait and I’ll pick you up… You’ll have fun… It’s going to be fuckin-"

    "Daniel!"

    I froze. 

    Everyone froze.

    Any other conversation in the car had ceased long ago.

    Sophie was still on the line.

    "Daniel? Daniel? Daaaaaaannnnniel?"

    Dad gripped the steering wheel; I could feel my mum’s cold stare locked on me, making sure that if I did gather the balls to turn around, her eyes would be the first thing I’d see and I’d drop them again; somewhere in the backseat, my nana let out a whimper.

    It had finally happened.

    The day I had always feared had come; the veil was lifted.

    "Nana, please excuse me. I don’t know where that came from."

    Your filthy mouth, you dick.

    "I’m so sorry."

    "That’s quite alright, dear."

    A Tui billboard flashed into my head.

    When we dropped her off, Nana didn’t hug me as hard.

    22 years. For a chronic swearer like myself, that’s pretty good, I guess.

    Why is swearing bad anyway? Why do words exist that are bad to say? They don’t mean awful things exclusively:

    SHIT | sh it| 

    verb ( shitting ; past and past part. shitted or shit or shat | sh at|) [ intrans. ]

    expel feces from the body.

    • ( shit oneself) soil one’s clothes as a result of expelling feces accidentally.

    • ( shit oneself) figurative be very frightened.

    noun

    feces.

    • [in sing. ] an act of defecating.

    • a contemptible or worthless person.

    • something worthless; garbage; nonsense.

    • unpleasant experiences or treatment.

    • personal belongings; stuff.

    • any psychoactive drug, e.g., marijuana.

    exclamation

    an exclamation of disgust, anger, or annoyance.

    ORIGIN Old English scitte [diarrhea,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schijten, German scheissen (verb). The term was originally neutral and used without vulgar connotation

    Shit basically refers to a perfectly natural part of a human’s digestive system. Although, shit’s getting a lot less of a shock factor these days.

    FUCK |fək|

    verb [ trans. ]

    have sexual intercourse with (someone).

    • [ intrans. ] (of two people) have sexual intercourse.

    ruin or damage (something).

    noun

    an act of sexual intercourse.

    • [with adj. ] a sexual partner.

    exclamation

    used alone or as a noun ( the fuck) or a verb in various phrases to express anger, annoyance, contempt, impatience, or surprise, or simply for emphasis.

    ORIGIN early 16th cent.: of Germanic origin (compare Swedish dialect focka and Dutch dialect fokkelen); possibly from an Indo-European root meaning [strike,] shared by Latin pugnus ‘fist.’

    Fuck simply embodies one of the key parts of the human reproductive process. Or to damage something. (How ironic, to mean the act of creating something and destroying something.)

    Personally, I believe people made these words ‘bad language’ because of how sharp they sound. Note the the hard ‘t’ in shit and hard ‘k’ in fuck. Nevertheless they’re still great words. Especially fuck. There isn’t another word in the English language that can be used in so many grammatical scenarios and possess as many meanings as fuck.

    That being said…

    There still is the only word in the English language that makes me cringe. And no matter how strongly I can argue about what is bad language, there are too many people in the world who find the word disgusting to argue against.

    That being said…

    I’m not saying that I should be allowed to swear in front of nana. Grandparents are part of a generation that simply do not tolerate swearing. Fair enough, I say. And with that, I’ll watch my mouth around nana and granddad and large family gatherings for that matter.

    But the day will come where my generation will be grandparents and our grandkids will be saying all kinds of shit.

    And we won’t give a fuck.

  • January 25, 2011 10:06 am

    New Years 2007-2008 or, My Favourite Story To Tell.

    New Year’s was awesome.

    This was my second time going to R&V and camping at the BW campgrounds and again, we had a blast.

    Where do you begin to go through all the stuff that happened? 

    The mosh pit at N*E*R*D*’s performance was insane, Carl Cox had me dancing to every single beat, Netsky casually made me transcend time and space, feeding me euphoria by the spoonful.

    At camp, we trying launching water balloons at the guy in the security tower and were suddenly surrounded by camp security, a drunk neighbour who could barely walk grabbed a beat up barrel and played the most insane drum solos you could imagine, someone’s tent was set on fire.

    Awesome.

    I’m still telling those wee stories as What I Did For New Year’s is a valid topic of conversation for at least a month after New Year’s actually happens.

    However, I’ve recently caught myself continuing to tell an old chestnut from our trip to Gisborne 2007-2008 every time the subject of New Year’s comes up.

    I’ve concluded that this has to be my favourite story to tell.

    It was Dec 30th, 2007; the last year R&V only took place on New Year’s Eve.

    It was one of those average nights at the BW Watson campground where everybody was getting absolutely rat-arsed before the big night. The guys a was camping with and I decided to grab a box and go for a wander and check what was going on.

    It was normal: people stumbling around, yelling, groups of guys inviting total strangers to funnel suspect concoctions of beer and anything else, paramedics attending to ‘that guy’, who hit his beak at about 2:45 that afternoon and two naked guys racing on top of two rows of port-a-loos.

    General Watson camp shenanigans as I had come to know.

    We then took a left into a cluster of tents where we saw other people were turning, most were running. Up ahead, there was a crowd gathering. 

    Seeing all the drunk teens stumbling was like watching little droplets of water succumbing and merging with a large droplet of water, like you notice when you’re bored in the shower.

    We approached the growing crowd. There was chanting. Muffled and garbled at first but then as people joined in, became quite coherent.

    "Two chairs enter, one chair leaves! Two chairs enter, one chair leaves!"

    What the hell? So we burst into the ring of people to see two staggering guys, each clutching folding deckchairs (not fancy ones - shitty ones that fold flat, kind of like what you see on WWE and stuff), and another dude, assuming a more official role, standing (or trying to) between them.

    "Two chairs enter, one chair leaves! Two chairs enter, one chair leaves!"

    The guy in the middle takes a swig from his can of Jim Beam and Cola and with his free hand, signals to start. The other two ran at each other with their chairs and smashed them against each other’s until one of the guys’ chair snapped and was unfit to continue. At which point the crowd howled.

    "TWO CHAIRS ENTER, ONE CHAIR LEAVES! TWO CHAIRS ENTER, ONE CHAIR LEAVES!"

    A challenger stepped into the ring with his chair, and the game continued.

    However, I noticed some odd rocks in the grass. Some were white, some were blue. There was a large pile right by where I was standing. I picked one up. Not rock, but bits of broken plastic. These pieces were once a chilly bin, I realised. Someone had totally annihilated this chilly bin.

    "I did that."

    I turned to see a fairly weedy looking guy dressed rediculously in boardies, a purple zip jacket, a trucker hat with the cap turned up and a single jandal, sitting in the grass beside the carnage.

    "You smashed this chilly bin?"

    "Yup."

    "Why?"

    The guy looked around and then waved me to come closer. He loudly whispered at me:

    "It called me a pussy."

    Yep. Right, then.

    "Two chairs enter, one chair leaves! Two chairs enter, one chair leaves!"

    At about that moment, a new exciting challenger had stepped into the chair fighting ring. This chap had with him one of those collapsing chairs like the one pictured above, and was brandishing it like a club. The referee counted it down and the duel began.

    However, this new challenger must not have got the memo that these fights involved the chairs only. He took a step forward and thwacked his chair-club into the side of the champion’s face.

    "OOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

    A drunken brawl immediately started. The chairs were abandoned, and with a leap and a yell, the shit suddenly got real.

    Out of the blue comes a roar of an engine and a quad bike screams into center stage. The burly security guard driving it hops on top and bellows something to the mass of boozed youths. Totally inaudible, of course.

    A stampede ensues and tents by the dozen are brought down by people tripping over the guy ropes or simply trampling straight over them.

    Back at our tent, we calmed ourselves and entertained ourselves for the rest of the evening by stealing a girl’s bikini top and using it to hurl unopened beer cans around the camp.

    As you do.

    Now that New Year’s was awesome.