Tag Archives: travel

Bad Air Day

I hate airports. Airports are nature’s armpits. Yet it feels like I spend half of my life in them. In fact I probably do. For most of my adult life, I’ve travelled extensively for work, interspersed with pleasure. As such, I’ve seen a lot of airports, in a lot of countries. For the most part, they’re dreadful places, but there’s no reason that they should be. Yet sadly there’s precious little we can do about it.

Partly we pay for airports with fees hidden in our ticket prices. As such, we are essentially captive customers. We can’t take our business elsewhere without it being awfully, awfully inconvenient and/or inefficient. The Siberian Railway, Zeppelins and Shetland Ponies will only get you so far, nowadays.

Can we protest the charges hidden in our airfares? No.

Can we negotiate a better deal? Of course not.

Airlines aren’t going to help us either. They want to pay the airport as little as possible to use it themselves, so they’re happy for passengers to be endlessly swindled by rampant profiteering. “That’ll be $100 for parking, $15 for that limp sandwich and $10 for your teensy, tiny beer, etc. etc.”

So what are my* biggest gripes? Here are twenty to get you started:


1)     Wi-Fi:

All airports should have free Wi-Fi. We’re forced into turning up hours before departure to make things smoother for both the airport and the airlines. The least they can do is pony up for free and good Wi-Fi. Relax, we’ll still buy your overpriced, tepid coffee. Just please allow us to get some business done. Or at the very least distract ourselves from all the other unpleasantness, and heaven forbid, interactions with humans.


2)     Security:

Stop the over-scrutinising security. More than 12 years on from 9/11 and airport security remains a theatre of the absurd. Bin Laden must be laughing (gurgling?) in his grave.

It started with the confiscation of all things pointy. No more mid-flight self-administered mani-pedis for Uncle Gaz. Sigh. Now I’m embarrassed to show my toes in meetings.

Next came the mandatory shoe and belt removal, accompanied by increasingly bored pat downs. Seriously if you’re going to touch me up, at least show some interest. Indeed Security don’t actually need you to remove your belt and shoes. These sadists get their kicks from watching you try to waddle off while juggling all of your shit (laptop, keys, wallet, phone, sunglasses, bag, belt and shoes) with one hand, while holding your pants up with the other. There’s a word for them, and it doesn’t not rhyme with bunts.

The latest was the prohibition of liquids and gels. The liquid thing always makes me laugh. At every security checkpoint you’ll see a bin brimming with “contraband” containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit. Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous. If not, why were they seized in the first place? But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash? They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad – they are simply thrown away. They seem to be saying they know these things are harmless, but they’re going to confiscate them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly. Point in question – renowned (and outspoken) atheist Richard Dawkins reacts to having a small pot of honey confiscated. I hear you, Mr Dawkins. http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/scientist-and-atheist-activist-richard-dawkins-loses-it-after-airport-security-confiscates-his-honey/story-e6frfq80-1226753217875


3)     Layout:

Airport design boffins – please design airports more functionally. Seriously, you should have anticipated that there would be queues. So at least design the place so that the inevitable queues don’t cross the thoroughfares. Should be simple enough, surely. I hate queues at the best of times, but having to cross a queue to get to another queue, is not only impractical, but downright infuriating (see Point #7 for more information). Furthermore, many airports strive to be too architectural, when it is wholly unnecessary. All we really desire is banal and competent. We’re not going there for any reason other than to get from A to B. It is not a destination we seek out in our downtime. In an airport, I’ll take function over style any day (at least for the essential part of the experience, arrival and departure – not in the First Class Lounge where I expect, nay demand, opulence). Pour me another Dodo Skull of Unicorn Tears, there’s a good fellow!


4)     Baggage Claim:

Too often, we are faced with an impenetrable human blockade when attempting to salvage our luggage from the conveyor. It’s like a war zone, only slightly less congenial. The only time people become more territorial over real estate that they don’t actually own, is in shopping mall car parks. Common sense at the baggage carousel should be this:


You stand back in an orderly manner.

Your luggage spins into view.

You casually stroll forwards to the carousel to collect your item(s).

You head merrily on your way.

For the Neanderthals who don’t get it, there could also be a line, 2 metres from the carousel, labelled “Stand This Side of the Fucking Line, You Fucking Fuck”, or something equally ambiguous. This should be coupled in conjunction with a looping, educational video, displayed on an array of screens, providing advice on proper baggage collection etiquette in line with the above.

Failing that, they should eliminate the rotating carousel, and simply have a conveyor, 10 feet off the ground, that dumps all the bags off the end in a huge pile. It will work just as effectively.

What I do love, is the backroom baggage handler who always places a single piece of lost luggage on the conveyor 15 minutes before the real luggage arrives, just to fuck with people. I dig that guy.


5)     False Advertising:

You should only be able to name an airport after a city, if it is actually located within the municipal bounds of that particular city. Paris Beauvais Airport, I’m talking to you. “Paris” Beauvais Airport is located in the town of Beauvais – 85 kilometres outside of fucking Paris. I once missed a flight to Prague, after jumping in a cab and asking to go to Paris Beauvais Airport. 120 Euro later, I arrive 5 minutes too late to check-in. “Paris” Beauvais Airport – you just made the list. It is deception of the highest order. So no Christmas card for you this year, fuckers.

One of my favourite deceptions is Frankfurt Hahn, a Ryanair special that’s around an hour and a half from Frankfurt. Congratulations Ryanair. You take the cake (right out of the baby’s mouth).


6)     Smokers:

Airports. Please. Fix this. You must have designated, well-ventilated smoking areas – away from all the entrances. Non-smokers shouldn’t have to smoke half a pack of second hand smoke just to get to a taxi, or to get inside the terminal. I hate the smell of cigarettes, and I hate smelling like them. As a non-smoker, this shits me to tears. Fix this.


7)     People:

Airports are full of hordes and hordes of people. You’ve met people, surely. So you know what I mean.

Tourists are the worst. How many times have you heard interchanges like this? “Oh, you’re going to Laos? I’ve been to Laos. It’s a nightmare, actually. It’s all tourists and you can’t get a decent Latté anywhere. I actually feel sorry for the people that live there.”

I fucking hate people. Not you, dear reader. Just the other people.


8)     Neck Pillows:

People who wear inflatable neck pillows in arrival or departure lounges need to have a dignity biopsy.


9)     Clocks:

More of them, please. And the bigger the better. I appreciate that every arrival and departure screen has the time in the corner, but the display is so small that you have to virtually be standing underneath the screen to see it. Incidentally, there is never a Departure Screen in any restaurant, bar or café…

Make it easy on us, airports of the world. We’re always conscious of the time, so please put some big motherfucking clocks up, all over the motherfucking place, for all the motherfuckers to see. Common sense says it would benefit everyone, even the non-motherfuckers.


10)  Children:

As many of you likely know, children are essentially small people. Please see Point #7 for more information. Please keep control of your small people, or I will suddenly become “Mr Trivia” on air crash statistics. That should make for some fun family travel for the next 8 hours (and indeed for future travel). This is a public service announcement, parents of small people. You have been warned.


11)  Signage:

They’ve announced your flight is boarding just in time for you to discover that Gate 82B is, surprisingly, not right next to Gate 82A, but in a completely different terminal building. Now, I run for no man. Some ladies, yes. But no man. And I don’t want to be a ball of sweat just before boarding a plane for the next 8 hours, and nor does the person sitting next to me. So I choose to walk. I’m checked in, so they have to give me some sort of grace period. But it is an inconvenience all the same.

Besides, just after you get there, you just know they’re going to switch your designated boarding gate to Gate 82A.


12)  Inefficiencies:

I know Health and Safety has gone mad, but seriously, walking onto the tarmac, squeezing into a shuttle bus, and then being ferried 30 metres to the plane is just plain ridiculous. Homophone… nice…


13)  Duty Free:

What a rort. Airports now direct disembarking passengers through Duty Free shops as part of the departure process. Yet everything in Duty Free is more expensive than High Street shops. And the oversized Toblerones are so large they come with 50% off vouchers for diabetes treatment. Buy your family a gift BEFORE you get to the airport. Or give them an i-Tunes voucher. Or fuck ‘em. Just don’t buy anything Duty Free.


14)  Customs/Immigration:

Where do they find Customs Officers? What is it about their demeanour that causes you to look guilty when they question you and to laugh nervously? And why is it sniffer dogs are infatuated with one’s crotch? Why are we always so relieved once we get the all clear, like we got away with something? Is it them, or is it simply the human psyche? I blame them. It’s easier.


15)  Hire Cars:

They never, ever, give you the car that matches the picture when you booked online.  I’m sorry, but a Hyundai Getz does not resemble an Audi R8, not even in dappled light.


16)  Currency:

You have no local currency, so you go to the only ATM at the terminal. It swallows your card. Cab drivers only take cash. You start busking. The only song you remember the words to is “The Old Grey Mare”. It is going to be a long night, regardless of how much energy you put into the choreography.

It is time for a world currency. Bitcoins it is! And here I previously thought they would only be useful for getting and/or hiring a hit.


17)  Carry-on Nazis:

I’m not referring to one of those bawdy, British films. I’m talking about the stickling carry-on luggage weighers. You know the ones. They make you weigh your carry-on, and it’s always a kilogram over. Your carry-on could be empty and you’ll still be a kilo over, so there’s no point planning in advance. What you’ll end up doing is carrying a book in one hand, your camera in another, and your laptop around your neck as “oversized bling”.  They will then wave you through, even though the net weight is precisely the same. Perplexing system, that one, but irksome nonetheless.


18)  Air Conditioning:

Airport climate never matches the climate outside the terminal. It never matches the climate of your intended destination. It never matches the climate on board the plane. It is therefore impossible to turn up at the airport, suitably attired, because airports have their own, fetid ecosystem. You will be shivering, or sweltering. Despite this, airports always seem to produce the perfect living conditions for germs, and germ mutation… This feeds onto my next point.


19)  Hygiene:

Airports are cultural melting pots. People from all over this exotic ball of dirt and gas congregate in airports, each one a unique thread that weaves to form the rich tapestry that is our glorious planet, Alderaan. I mean Earth.   However, they also bring together a mix of social habits that allows a little piece of their culture to transfer over to my being, usually causing me to curl up in the foetal position on the toilet floor of my luxury poolside villa for at least the first 3 days of my vacation.

They sneeze without covering their mouths. They toilet without washing their hands. They spit without… well, the fact that they spit at all, says it all.

I don’t know what we can do to fix this, but I’d rather risk illness, than wear a surgical mask throughout my travels. I’m one thing, but I’m no Michael Jackson.


20)  Travelator:

Nothing gets my goat (aside from goat poachers) more than people who stand stock still on travelators, blocking the way. Move aside. You’re not fucking Gandalf!

It’s also not a magic carpet ride. It is designed to hasten ambulatory rapidity, not to act as a substitute for walking. Maybe I’m being harsh, and some people really do wish to take in all of the sights that Murmansk Airport has to offer (ooh, Salt Mine Tours!). If that is the case, then by all means run two parallel travelators. A walky one. And a standy one. But until that day, get the fuck out of my way! Sprinting on travelators is the only time the words “Fun” and “Run” should go together. Travelators make me feel like I’m Usain Bolt. Until the jarring deceleration at the end brings me back to the realisation that I’m more like Hurley from Lost.

So there you go Airports. The ball is in your court. If you could fix only one, I’d say you weren’t trying…

(*Disclaimer: I travel First/Business class and have a PA, so some of these gripes may or may not apply to my actual travel experience now, but even I did fly economy once upon a time!)

Come Fly With Me

I am a frequent flyer (95% work related).

All told, in the past 12 months, I made over 100 flights around this fantastic ball of dirt, water and gas we call Earth. In the last 10 years, over 2000 sectors.

I’ve had some great flying experiences.  I’ve had some awful flying experiences.

One of the downsides of flying is that you have to interact, a lot, with a lot of people.  On the whole, people suck.  You’ve met them, so you know what I mean.

Nowadays, I must admit, I predominantly fly First Class – don’t begrudge me, you would too.

But I also make loads of smaller, internal domestic flights, and not all have a Business Class option.  So today, we’re talking domestic, cattle class only.

Here are Gaz’s Tips for improving the airways.  Three for the airlines, and three for passengers, as both contribute to the overall flying experience.

Gaz’s Tips for Airlines:

1.    Elbow and Leg Room:

Charge a little more, and cram a few less seats in.  There.  Simple.  You can achieve this without impacting upon your bottom line.  I’m a businessman.  I get why you maximise the number of seats you can fit in a plane.  But airlines, you have pushed it too far.   Just because you are filling flights, doesn’t make it right.  You are not catering for the masses, but you SHOULD be.  Indeed 40% of flyers list this as their biggest gripe, so I’m not Robinson Crusoe here.

I am also quite “big boned”, so I am acutely aware of people’s pleading eyes as I’m walking down the aisle, that scream “please don’t sit next to me, please don’t sit next to me!”  Don’t get me wrong, I always pay more whenever I can to buy a little leg room, but the width is fixed in sardine class.   As a general rule, I don’t want to rub body parts with a complete stranger, without both parties being consenting adults.

* Armrest territorial wars will be covered in greater detail in the Passenger Tip section.


2.     Seat Comfort:

This is not a width thing, or even a girth thing.  This is purely about ergonomics.  Most airlines seats are akin to an ironing board, bent in half at 90 degrees, but with far less padding.  The irony is, airlines of the world – you’re filling your seats, so you should be filling our seats.  Seriously, when someone is rummaging in the seat pocket behind my seat, it should not feel like I’m getting a Thai massage.  Again, I’m not Charles Darwin here, as this is a major gripe of close to 80% of air travellers.   It really does require an industry-wide rethink.

3.     Wifi:

As a busy, corporate traveller, the wait for inflight Wifi has been a long, and frustrating one.  The technology is there, and I will choose a carrier with Wifi over one who doesn’t, regardless of any price differential.  I want to be able work, stay connected, or keep myself entertained, irrespective of flight duration.  Inflight entertainment was a necessary transition, but its appeal is limited.  Give us Wifi and we’ll probably bother the attendants less.  Pretty sure they’ll like that too.


Gaz’s Tips for Passengers:

1.     Armrest Battles:

Ah, the delicate ballet of armrest tenure.  Since there are no rules, anarchy reigns supreme.

The point is, there should be rules, and these rules should be read out during the pre-flight spiel, so there is no ambiguity.  Here is what I propose:

  • If you sit in the aisle seat, you get the aisle-side armrest.
  • If you sit in the window seat, you get the window-side armrest.
  • If you’re stuck in the middle, you get both.  Simple.

Here’s my logic.  If you’re in the aisle, you have the space to lean towards the aisle on the armrest (the heightened risk of trolley impact is outweighed by sprawl freedom).  If you’re in the window, you have the ability to lean towards the window.  If you’re in the middle, your leaning capabilities are hindered.  Indeed if you have two selfish armrest hogs, there is nought to do but cross your arms and plot their demise.


2.     The Seatbelt Sign Free-For-All:

People, the moment the seatbelt sign flicks off is not the trigger for you to charge into the aisle like ants on a honey trail.  What is the point of this exercise?  You still need to wait for the passengers nearer the exit to “deplane” before you can budge, so why do you feel the urge to leap out of your seat in order to beat your cross-aisle opponent out of the plane?  I don’t like my face being anywhere in the vicinity of your midships, aft or bow.  In addition, the spontaneous flurry of action means that any poor sod who had to place his belongings in an overhead locker behind where they were sitting, has to swim upstream like a migrating salmon to collect their carry-ons from the overhead compartment.  So seriously, sit the fuck down.  Wait for the plane to start clearing, then casually stand, stretch, collect your belongings, and stroll out of the plane.  Again, this should be instructed during the pre- and post-flight spiel.


3.     Personal Hygiene:

It was down to this, or screaming kids.  But sound attenuating headphones eliminate most noises nowadays, no matter how shrill or insistent, so I’d rather eliminate the odours.  And folks, it’s real easy.

  • Shower before flying.
  • Deodorise before flying.
  • Wear clean clothes before flying.
  • Clean your teeth before flying.

You wouldn’t go to work dishevelled and malodorous, so why subject a complete stranger to it, especially one who will be rubbing shoulders with you for the next few hours?

“Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you” is an apt phrase under the circumstances (but one that will likely get you kicked out of most Gentleman’s special interest establishments).

So it is in the hands of both airlines and passengers to heighten the flying experience for everyone.  Who knows, it might even lead to increased membership of the Mile High Club, and not just in the Solo Aviator Division…

Get a Room

I travel.  A lot.  And you should too.

I truly believe travel broadens the mind.  Admittedly, it also shrinks the wallet, but mine is pretty big.  And so is my wallet.

But on the whole, I’d rather be living the scratch and sniff lifestyle of the world traveller, rather than being stuck in upper suburbia worrying about what the Reserve Bank will do next with interest rates, what to pick up from grocery store on the way home, or working out “which fucking night is bin night again?!”.

However – travel does have its little nuances and nuisances.

So I thought I would present Gaz’s Top Ten Tips for the world of Hoteliery.  Airline Tips will follow.

These tips are free (unless you want to pay me for them).  They are also not rocket surgery.  These are small changes, for big results.

Right, here goes.

Gaz’s Top Ten Travel Tips – for Hotels

1)     Train your fucking staff. 

This is the toughest of my tips, so let’s get it out of the way first.

Good customer service is not free.  Invest in your people.  They are your lifeblood.

Nobody likes stumbling out of a cab in the pouring rain, after travelling for 24-hours across the globe, only to be greeted by pimply teenager with attitude, telling you “your room isn’t ready yet, you’ll need to come back in a few hours”.

Do that to me, and I won’t be back in a few lifetimes, of that I assure you.  Anticipate your guests’ likely problems, and come up with appropriate, pre-planned solutions to suit.  Simple yeah?  You’d think so, but far too many hotels fail this one, horribly.


2)     Free Wifi

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

I reiterate.

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

Do it.  Do it now.

If you don’t know why, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).

Alright, fine.  Here are a few of the more obvious reasons.

  • You will increase repeat business.
  • You will give guests fewer reasons to leave your premises, thereby improving your room service, mini-bar and on-site restaurant returns.
  • You will attract more business clientele, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Gen-Whatevercomesnext’ers.

In turn, you will make more money.  If you don’t like money, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).  Capiche?

3)     Bed Runners

Ditch the grubby bed runners across the foot of the bed.  We don’t use one at home, and we sure don’t need one in our hotel room.  We always just kick them off onto the floor.  Besides, we know you rarely wash those manky things between bookings.   A black light would flare up like the Aurora Borealis when waved over one of these stinking cessrags.


4)     Towel rails. 

It’s a rail, for hanging towels.  Google it if you must.  Every bathroom should have one, or indeed several.  Hooks don’t cut it.  Rest assured, if a towel drops on the floor, I will not re-use it.  Install towel rails, and you will save a fortune on laundry, and you will thank me for it.  Well, you should thank me.

5)     Air Conditioning / Heating

Thermostat of choice?  The simplest one.  If it requires a manual, dump the fucker.

What should it have?

It should have an on/off switch (for turning on and off) and a dial, which if I turn one way will make the room warmer, and which if I turn the opposite way and you are still reading this to find out what comes next, you seriously have no place in the hotel trade either, you imbecile.

Seriously, you don’t want us calling reception every time we’re feeling a little bit chilly or toasty.  Your Duty Managers will also welcome the fewer distractions from crushing Candy Crush.

6)     Blackout curtains

Install them.

Enough said.


7)     Changing Technology 

Keep up-to-date with changing technology.  For example, if you have a sound dock, make sure you have adaptors to fit.

There is nothing worse than trying to crank out some Feargal Sharkey only to find that your iPhone 5 won’t fit in the “antiquated” speaker dock.  Okay, maybe a jalapeno enema is worse, but this is right up there.  Actually, a japapeno enema is right up there too, if you get what I mean?

8)     Pillows

This is a tricky one, because not all people are the same, and not all pillows are the same.

For example, I’m awesome, and most hotel pillows are not.

So please provide a smorgasbord of pillows in the cupboard, or at least offer a “pillow menu”.

A well-rested Gaz is a lot less likely to quibble over the number of adult “special interest” films that show up on the final bill at checkout.

9)     Don’t touch my stuff!

Seriously, so not cool.  I know that maids are instructed to return the room to a pre-set order, and I accept that within reason, but there needs to be an overriding ethos.

Let me explain.

Examples of things not to be touched:

a)     My stuff!

b)     My fucking stuff!

c)     All of the (fucking) above!

If I leave my toothbrush on the vanity, work around it.

If I leave my laptop on the table, work around it.

If I leave a glow-in-the-dark, rechargeable, battery-operated, therapeutic “massager” on the night-stand, yeah you probably don’t want to be touching that anyway.


10)  Power Outlets

Seriously, throw us a fucking bone here.

I have a laptop.  I have an iPad.  I have 2 iHones  I have a rechargeable therapeutic massager.   Please, more outlets, and in convenient places too – I am not crawling under that bed, even if my giant wallet falls under there.  I’ll consider it collateral damage.

Give us a couple adjacent to each night stand, a couple dotted around the room, and at least a couple at the desk.  That shouldn’t be so hard (that’s what she said).


11)  “Do Not Disturb”

If I have to explain this one, please stop wasting my precious oxygen.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record*, these tips are not revolutionary.  They are common-sense.

Get your house in order, hotels of the world.  Provide the level of services your customers expect, and they will pay you (repeatedly) for it.  It’s that simple.

Put in a little effort and those Trip Advisor reviews will start to have more little gold stars next to them.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

You will also make a simple Gaz, very happy.  I assure you, this is a good thing if I am staying at your (expectedly) fine establishment.

If you have any other hotel tips for my good readers, please throw your thoughts in the comments section.

If you don’t have any hotel tips, you seriously need to travel more.  Go on, off you go then.  The world is your oyster.  And you know what they say about oysters…


* For the Gen Whatevercomesnext’ers, a broken record is a flashback to the heady days of vinyl records, where sound waves were created by a needle on a stylus that traced the spiral grooves in a spinning vinyl disc, transferring the vibrations to a diaphragm in a speaker which then amplifies it to an auditory level.   If one of these grooves is corrupted, the needle no longer tracks inward along the spiral, and instead follows a continuous circular loop, causing the music to cyclically repeat – hence the term, “sounds like a broken record”.  Okay, I probably lost most of you GenW’s (attention span of a fucking ADD goldfish) but for any still reading, it’s like your iTunes getting stuck on repeat.


The Gazard of Oz for Xmas

So the siblings and I all boarded flights from Vancouver to Brisbane, via LA. Me in 1a. The others in, well, I honestly can’t say. But I do know I entered every time zone well ahead of them.

In total, we checked 15 bags between us.

Of course, when we arrive in Brisbane, Karma sneaks up and gives me a nipple cripple. My four bags, and only my four bags (including my golf clubs), are the only ones missing.

So I’ve gone from sub-zero temps, to the tropics, and I have nothing to wear (the mankini was in bag 2). Must remember to keep this in my carry-on in future, if only to make customs inspections that much more entertaining.

Anyway it is at this time, that my brother and his partner inform me that for Christmas they bought me these nifty devices that attach to your luggage, which you can then track on your iPhone.

Fuck you, irony! *shakes fist*

So it’s only the first day, and I have massive tilt already. This trip is not boding well, I can feel it in me waters.

Add to that, I had to be in Melbourne two days after I arrive, with golf on the menu, amongst other things.

But fortunately, the gods shone, with all of my baggage turning up the next day. No excuse was given, aside from a conveyor belt breaking down in Vancouver. How it was only my four bags, out of the fifteen we checked simultaneously that were caught up in the great Vancouver conveyor meltdown is a question for the annals. I’m too over it to come up with a good conspiracy theory. Maybe my bags tested positive for Smurfiness, I don’t know. Throw your thoughts in the comments section if you have a juicy idea.

So with all of my luggage safely returned, along with my golf clubs, when I did head down to Melbourne, I couldn’t use the “hire club” excuse when I got my delectable ass handed to me on a platter. I couldn’t hit a fairway. I couldn’t buy a putt. I couldn’t sneak an unseen foot wedge out of the rough on the 14th. I think I even scrambled the GPS in my golf cart, the amount of territory I covered. So all I can say is, fuck you golf, you fucking fuck.

Dodgy golf aside, I had the chance to meet up with a few friends while in Melbourne, held a few business meetings, and caught up with Shane Warne who was in town for the Boxing Day Test and the launch of the Big Bash Twenty20 cricket.

It was a great couple of days to help unwind before jetting back to the Gold Coast to start the Christmas Countdown, and to respectfully celebrate Festivus. I’ll be airing my grievances in a later post, else this becomes War and Peace, but suffice to say, I inevitably caught the flu.

Flu shmoo, I hear you say? Mock me not! This was full-on man flu, which had me out of action for four days, including Christmas. There’s nothing better than having a raging fever, in sub-tropical heat. I must have sweated out some fierce demons, let me tell you. No-one wanted to visit me in my room for more than it takes to say “hope you’re feeling better, champ” and then step outside to play pool pony polo and sip mojitos.

Merry Karmaristmas, Gaz.

So my long awaited family get together more or less passed me by, but I was able enjoy some time with family, had the chance to binge watch a few long-awaited TV series, and received heaps of Smurf presents so it wasn’t a total wash.

I’m now back in Melbourne for some personal business, and New Year’s shenanigans.

I will need to rely on several of you to fill in the obligatory blanks over the next few days (and likely pony up some bail money). Will keep the rest of you posted, good people.

Til then, have a Smurfy end to Twenty Thirteen. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Seriously, don’t. That’s some sick shit. You should be ashamed of yourself.