No I haven't gone.
I've been hibernating. I've lowered my body temperature, my rate of breathing, my blood pressure and my brain activity. I'm making like the Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) and slowing things down a bit.
Actually, life outside of my climate-controlled blogosphere has been anything but dormant. Work's been all go, and after the successful execution of my carefully laid year-long plan to shed flatmates, the landlord called the other day. She's selling.
Unfortunately, as the flatmates have been disposed of (under the floorboards in the study, should any potential buyers care to look), the detritus of my life has expanded to fill the unused space.
Some call me a hoarder – generally those who have to share a house with my ever-growing collection of books, CDs, records and eighties kitsch. Every week I interview an author on my radio show; every week I only manage to read the first hundred pages of the book before Sunday morning arrives. Even if the book is utterly compelling, I'm forced to put it down and move on. Much the same with the video games I review, and the CDs that arrive. I must have one of the biggest collections of stuff I've never read, played or listened to.
When it comes to filling a house with crap, I have a theory. Women want their house to look like something from Home & Garden. Polished floors, tastefully placed object d'art. Men, on the other hand, want to turn their home into a pub. Which guy doesn't even secretly think a pool table, a jukebox and a fully-stocked bar isn't a great use for a spare room?
With that in mind, I went and bought a pinball machine. Not just any old machine, but my all-time favourite, Creature from the Black Lagoon. It's based on the 1954 b-grade flick of the same name, and it's beautiful.
After the machine arrived from Christchurch, dirty and malfunctioning from a decade of neglect and a week on the road, I was lucky to make the acquaintance of Pinball Wizard Kerry Hogan. "Like new" was the promise, and a couple of weeks later, "like new" was delivered back to my house, complete with flashing lights, springy rubbers and brand new shiny balls.
(If you're in Auckland with a pinball machine in need of some TLC, I couldn't recommend Kerry more highly - a true gentleman who knows his stuff. Flick me feedback for his contact details)
So with an extra hundred or so kilograms of furniture bleeping away in the spare room, of course the landlord was going to sell. A new house was secured without too much effort, albeit further away from work, with higher rent and less room. It has a garage though, so I have somewhere to put the powertools I'm yet to buy for purposes unknown, and store my constant headache of a classic car. Middle-aged manhood is creeping up on me.
Rather than sit and watch the hair in my ears thicken, I've decided it's time for a bit of action and adventure again this weekend - namely diving for crays in the Coromandel. The last time I went diving at the Poor Knights, I saw one fat juicy beauty, but thanks to "the man", I was restricted to taking snaps of Snappy:
...now I know how the Japs must feel. This weekend however, the gloves are on. I’m coming home with kaimoana.