I'm Wits Toopid

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

Posts tagged ‘Adventures’

I’m clearing all this shite out of my room this week cause when I return I’ll most probably be purchasing a house. As always with a big clearout the task becomes a naustalgiafest and I end up spending hours sitting in a pile of dirt and dust and mess and looking through photos I have taken and stuff that I have written since 1992.

Thinking back like this is always a rose tinted affair. Life is always perfect, summers always sunnier. You always remember your shit smelling of butterflies and icecream, lolipops and bullshit.

But this time it’s also getting me excited with anticipation. In three weeks (to this day) I set off on a 5 week trip to Japan, Sydney, Perth and Hong Kong.” – Me, Sept 2009

…and so it began. In 2009 I started a blog to follow my adventures as I travelled Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. After I returned I gave up for a while but decided to take it up again last year and used it as an outlet and excuse for my burgeoning career as a full time spare time amateur photographer.

In honour of my 200th post. Here are my personal top 10 blog posts:


There is a warped majesty to the role of the Geisha in Japan; a bent honor. Sometimes considered an honored courtisan though sometimes there seems a feeling that seedier deeds are afoot, the Geisha of Kyoto, their home base of Pontocho, are masterful in their secrecy. They avoid the stare of the hunting public, dipping in and out of the tiny Pontocho sidestreets.

A freshly bought camera in hand, I spent one late evening stalking their shadows through the streets of Kyoto.

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– Hello?
– Hello…
*still silence*

When you answer the house phone at this time of the day on a weekday and get this long a silence it can only mean one thing; that douchey Indian “PC repair” phone scam lot are calling again…

Some people get angry at call centre scams… I just get even…

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There was no way of me knowing that within a month of me leaving Egypt in December of 2010, the Arab Spring uprising would have millions take to the streets and Tahir Square to rise up against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but on my last day in Cairo I witnessed, from my hotel balcony, a protest taking place against the results of an election that had happened just a week ago. A snapshot of Egypt as it lightly tore at it seams, ready to burst a month later…

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I see this bargain bin as I’m making my way to the peace memorial in Hiroshima. 300 Yen is about Euro 3.75 so I set myself a challenge, to pick out the best worst 5 CD’s that I could find in the bin. Competition was high but eventually I managed to wittle it down to these few choices.

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In May of 1935 my grandad, in his late 20’s at the time, braved the waters and travelled from Dublin to London to witness the Silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V. The photographs that he took of the event are an amazing snapshot of pre-World War II London. 77 years later I moved to London to live here, strangely marked by the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elisabeth II. I decided to take to the streets to hunt down the locations of my Grandad’s 1935 photographs.

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A thick, rolling, rasping voice drags like melodic brick on concrete from the back of his throat. She flicks her hair, sweeps her hips, hiking her skirt, carefully torn fishnet tights, revealing just enough leg to send me to heaven.

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The quiet shuffle of the early morning set against an empty pale blue sky. Shopkeepers standing on their purches set against the empty streets of stone and house’ of wood and wash the stoop, first they carefully brush up any litter or leaves before a simple green hose from its constant purch next to the door and then, if needed, any details that need cleaning are tended to individually with a bucket and sponge…

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Everyone likes a good carnival, especially if you want some good photos, but, in Notting Hill’s cultureclashed yearly festival the festive plumage of the parade belies a more nihilistic anti-establishment freedom in the backstreets. Despite the strong police presence there is a feeling that if anything did kick off there is little that they actually could do; 11,000 officers and a couple of hundred thousand people in a maze of small streets. We dance on the precipice of anarchy…

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A motley crew of international ne’er-do-wells. A Japanese guy; crazy and happy; constantly (maybe?) drunk and with just enough a lack of English for hilarity to ensue. An Australian family with their daughter and her British boyfriend (about to do a stint in the army). A slightly hippieish couple from San Francisco. A very down to earth (are they ever not?) Canadian husband and wife; taking a break from their smalltown internet company to tick off a “must do” from the bucket list. An English guy; aspiring Geography teacher; come to learn a little about what he’ll be teaching. An Argentinian girl, but living in America, with a distinctly Irish name. And of course a geekish Irish mid-to late twentysomething lad with a penchant for the over-imagination. Place them all in Egypt, sailing down the Nile in a traditional felucca sailboat with their happy-go-lucky Egyptian tour guide and a couple of locals to help out and you have the perfect recipe for a horribly awful monster-disaster movie…

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By far one of my favorite highlights on my trip to Tokyo was my night in the Tokyo Cavern Club, a 7 days a week Beatles Tribute Bar in Roppongi, dressed in immaculate 60’s vintage style and full to the brim with beaming Japanese fans, the band admitted to not speaking any English so learning the lyrics to Beatles tracks orally. This lead to a fantastically crazy sound…

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My Grandad’s motorbike served him well from 1928 to 1935 and he travelled all over Ireland on it with his friends. But in September 1935 it came to a fiery end when the petrol tank burst into flames. Luckily noone was hurt but the bike was burnt beyond repair.

My Grandad was settling down at this stage, was about to get married and start a family. Despite being an avid bike fan he never replaced the bike and never owned a motorbike again.

For other Adventures of my Grandad, stay tuned or check out his earlier adventures:

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– Hello?
– Hello…
*still silence*

When you answer the house phone at this time of the day on a weekday and get this long a silence it can only mean one thing; that douchey Indian “PC repair” phone scam lot are calling again.

For those not in the know the PC repair scam usually goes pretty much like this: You receive a call; usually claiming to be from “Windows Online Repair” or “PC Online Repair Group” or some random shite like that. They tell you that you have some “malware” on your computer and talk you through downloading their special malware scan software. And, sure enough, as soon as you download the malware scan software hundreds of pop ups appear on your computer. But not to worry because these very helpfull guys carefully talk you through filling in your credit card details and for a nice round nominal fee they have “fixed” your “broken” PC.

Most people get pissed off at these fucks. Most people scream at them for calling “all times of the day and night” and get even more annoyed at their constant pleas of “No sir, we are genuine actual PC repair company,sir”.Some people, of course, fall for the scam, but most people just get angry. I never see the point of getting angry with these people, I much prefer to piss them off or confuse them.

My best prank so far has been to keep one of them on hold for 45 minutes:
HIM – Sir, you have a PC, sir?
ME – *in an already serious,already worried tone of voice* – Yes!! Ohmigod yes I do!!!
*it’s best to play it just tongue in cheek enough that he’s never quite sure if you’re taking the piss or not*
HIM – I am here from the Windows PC Repair,sir. My name is Jason and I am here to tell you that we have been monitoring your computer and…
ME – Ohmigod! I have a virus on my computer, don’t I!
HIM – Ahm…I am… I am Jason from the Windows PC Repair, sir, and I…
ME – Is it malware? Do I have malware on my computer?!!
HIM – Ahm… I am here to tell you that we have received some strange information from your computer…
ME – Do you want me to turn on my computer?! I can go upstairs to turn on my computer if you’d like. Maybe I should turn on my computer.
HIM – Ahm…
ME – I’m just gonna go upstairs and turn on my computer. I’ll be right back down to the phone as soon as I’ve done that.

I throw the phone down in a hurry and then go back to watching daytime telly. Every now and again I hear Jason politely interjecting “Hello? Hello sir.” He stays on the line for about 10 whole minutes before I hear the tone of the phone gone dead. I hang up. Much to my joy and surprise, though, the phone rings again almost instantly.

ME – Hello?
HIM – Hello sir, this is Jason.
ME – Oh, Jason, where did you go to? I went upstairs and turned on my computer and when I came down you had hung up.
HIM – Oh sir…
ME – I can run upstairs now and turn it on again if you’d like?
HIM – Ahm. I guess you could…
ME – Right. Wait right here. I’ll be one minute!

I throw the phone down again in a hurry and instantly return to grazing in front of the telly. Again, every now and then Jason politely pipes in “sir,sir?” before hanging up after about 10 more minutes.

HIM – Sir! This is Jason

Jason is not happy when he calls back for the third time.

ME – Jason?! You hung up on me again! I had JUST turned on my computer and came downstairs and you had hung up on me again!
HIM – So your computer is on!

He barks it this time, I am getting the distint impression that he feels I might be waisting his time.

ME – Oh God no, I literally JUST turned it off again.
HIM – Sir…
ME – Just stay on the line, one minute now, I’ll run upstairs and turn it on…
HIM – I will call back sir, in five minutes and you will have your…
ME – Nononono. Just wait here one minute, it’ll only be one…
HIM – Sir…

But I’m gone.

10 minutes later and Jason calls back for the fourth time. He is irate.

HIM – Sir!
ME – Yes?
HIM – Your PC is on, sir?!!!!
ME – Sorry?
HIM – This is Mr Shane?!!!
ME – Mr Shane? Ahm… sorry I…
HIM – I was talk to you. You said that you are PC on?!!!
ME – No.. I.. I think you may have the wrong number. Who are you looking for?
HIM – I am talking to Mr Shane?
ME – No, I’m sorry, there is no “Mr Shane” here.

He is, at this stage, absolutely fuming but I keep my calm and try not to piss myself laughing.

HIM – You are Mr Shane! I tell you to turn on your PC and I will call back! Your PC is on?!!
ME – I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name, sir? What is your name?
HIM – This is Jason!! You are Mr Shane!! Your computer is on?
ME – I’m sorry, sir. I’m not aware of any Mr Shanes and we don’t even have a PC in this household. I’m afraid you have the wrong number.

I keep him on the line for another 4 minutes before his frustration gets the better of him and he hangs up on me.

* * * *

Cut to today. Cut to me answering the phone. Cut to silence.

I don’t want to do the same thing twice and I don’t really have 45 minutes to spare keeping this fucker on hold so I decide to come up with something different.

– Hello?
– Hello sir. This is Lewis from PC Online Repair.
– Yes. This is PC Online Repair, how may we help you Lewis?
– Ahm.. I am speaking with Mr Shane?
– Oh, you’re looking for Mr Shane. I’ll put you right through.

I hold the phone away for a minute and listen to various confused sounds.

– Hello. PC Online Repair, this is Shane speaking.
– Ahm… hello, sir. This is Lewis from… ahm, PC Online Repair…I am calling…
– Good morning Lewis. How are you doing today? What seems to be the problem with your computer?
– I ahm… is there a problem with your computer?
– Yes. What seems to be the problem with your computer?
– There is… there is no problem with my… I am calling because there is maybe malware on your computer.
– So you think there’s malware on your computer, do you Lewis?
– I.. you have malware on your computer…
– Do you have your computer on right now Lewis and maybe I could take your information.
– No, there… there is no problem with my computer,sir.
– Well if there’s no problem with your computer, Lewis, why would you call PC Online Repair?
– You… I am from PC Online Repair.
– Yes. I am from PC Online Repair. What seems to be the problem with your computer.
– You… I… you have a problem with your PC.
– What seems to be the problem with your PC, Lewis?
– No.. no, there is no problem with my… you are a computer expert?
– Yes, Lewis, all of us here at PC Online Repair are fully trained for the service of all of your computer needs.
– But I am from… ahm, I think that there is maybe a confusion sir, and I have called the wrong number.
– Oh, well thank you for calling Lewis, and if you have any problems with your computer please feel free to call PC Online Repair services, we’ll be more than glad to fix any of your computer needs.