The Magic Mirror, A Fish Out of Water

This month I'm excited to announce I somehow have not one but two new pieces of fiction in the same issue of Andromeda Spaceways magazine! One of Australia's longest running and pulpiest speculative fiction publications.

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I'm pleased because both pieces are some of my quirkier stuff, and it's nice to know there is a market for some of the things my imagination comes up with.

A Fish Out of Water is about a superhero who hates people having to babysit a small child, and it also attempts to answers the question of why bad people in cartoons want to pollute the planet. It features some gratuitous violence against toddlers.

The Magic Mirror is a short piece about an evil queen who inquires daily as to who the fairest is, until her magic mirror replies with the unexpected response: Error - Could Not Connect to Server.

Together, along with a bunch of other great content, these stories can be read in Issue #73 of Andromeda Spaceways magazine. It will cost you $4.99 for a PDF or mobi/epub.

I know what you're about to say: Brad, I can buy 100ml of NRL Team branded eau de toilette fragrance on clearance at a popular discount pharmacy chain for that much. But ask yourself, if we don't support and read upcoming authors published in independent presses, how long until the best-sellers list is completely consumed with recipe books from reality TV stars and sports autobiographies? Oh wait, that already happened.


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How To Replace a Smoke Alarm Battery

If your smoke alarm is chirping every two minutes it probably means the backup battery is almost flat. Fortunately it's very simple to open the smoke alarm and replace the battery.

Note, if your alarm is connected to mains power, disconnect it at the circuit box before starting.

Step One
Follow the instructions on the unit. Insert a flathead screwdriver into the hole and press until the latch releases.

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Step Two
Push the cover away in the direction of the arrow.

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If you're having trouble, there might be YouTube videos showing the angle of the movement which will show you how simple it is. If the smoke alarm doesn't move easily, it might need a love tap, or a bit of extra pressure on the latch.

Step Three
Remove the battery. You may or may not have broken the latch by now. Either way, the cover is not budging. You can try to brute force it by leveraging it with the screwdriver.

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Step Four
It keeps fucking beeping. Your arms are fatigued and every two minutes the chirpy fucker sounds off right next to your eardrum. You've tried pushing, you've tried twisting. The only thing left to do is tear your way inside with a pair of pliers, tiny piece by tiny piece until you can release the latch.

Step Five

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Destroyed, it opens easily. Install the new battery. Finally, silence. Amazingly, the cover goes back on. Clean out the fragments of plastic from the carpet. Put the power back on.

Step Six
Drink.

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You may find it more convenient to perform this step before step two.

December 11 - Remembering Remembrance Day

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November 11 was the centenary of the Armistice marking the end of World War One, and today is the one month anniversary of that. I spent much of these past days listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History episodes Blueprint for Armageddon (which is probably in the library of your podcast player of choice). It goes for about 26 hours - which is why it took me three weeks to get through it - but Carlin’s programming and narration made it one of those kinds of podcasts you end up walking longer loops around town and slowing down for yellow lights to listen to more. And in those hours I was enlightened to a lot of what happened during the great war.

Despite the length, in the end, the content actually feels incredibly brief. Like a lot of people (I guess) my impressions of the war were that in 1914 a network of alliances caused a bunch of super-powers to go to war, it then turned out machine guns were way better than horses, the Germans and French played soccer one Christmas, and then they sat around getting trench-foot wearing gas masks until 1918 when the Germans gave up first.

What really happened, particularly in the years 1915-1918, revealed so much to me about our civilization that I’m honestly a little astonished. It’s not the sheer number of deaths (around 18 million, single days when tens of thousands perished), or the fact there were actually more deaths each year. It was the repetition of the same, bloody strategy over and over, sending thousands to brutal deaths and thousands more damaged mentally and physically back into their communities to shape society for the decades to come. How much of that is responsible for the culture of things today?

Looking further back into history, it's not hard to find examples of when these empires inflicted genocide and misery onto native people in other parts of the world. In hindsight, it feels like the great war was the culmination of each of these super-power’s hubris’ finally coming back to destroy themselves. The way the leaders of these empires thought of humans and territory since the age of exploration came full circle. It truly was a world war, and one that ended the existence of the last of the pre-war powers. Every country post-1918 was living in the new world, the new paradigm. The church bells were all melted. The technology changed forever.

Why am I putting this on my journal? I think it was listening to the descriptions of these battles, the number of deaths, to achieve so little, when I finally realised how insignificant my own life is. We all know of our own mortality, the age of the universe, everything in between. But it’s so easy when you have a driver’s license and a domain name to presume that you matter. That you have any control. How easy it could have been for any of us to be a casualty in a war like this. Not a name, barely even a number. Your life only a figure rounded up to the nearest thousand. Separated from those to come by the dawn of a new age. How long until we are all like that?

Ironically, it was the extracts from soldier's diaries that really rammed home this feeling of insignificance. Mundane recaps and reflections of days at the front. A hint of personality. And yet, their entries were all that distinguished them from the uncountable thousands who didn’t. That’s why journals are important. It’s not for me, it’s for history.

Yes, I did find a way to make World War One all about me.


Like my words? Want to buy one of my books? I think you'll like this one:

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Chase: A Tomorrow Technologies Novella. Available Now for Less than a dollar!


Just Desserts

It feels like Vanessa knows me a little too well...

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Marco

Someone in the office once referred to me as the “stripy-polo guy”, which I believe is a fair summation of my appearance and personality.

image 1822 from bradism.com

There’s a lot to like about the humble polo shirt. They have a collar, with some buttons, so at the office they look a lot more professional than a t-shirt. But you don’t have to tuck them in, like a dress shirt. You can wear them just as easily with jeans as slacks. They have short sleeves, are non-restrictive and hang comfortably.
The only downside is that their slightly porous material does tend to hold in a few dog hairs, and if you wear a plain polo and you’re two metres tall you tend to become a bit of a billboard. Hence the stripes. For years I have worn them as the perfect balance between business, style and comfort.

A couple of months ago I was at a coffee shop wearing one of my latest striped polos, a blend of white, navy and pastel pink bars. I’d bought my father an identical copy for Father’s Day, and so it still had off-the-rack freshness and not a lot of dog hair.
While ordering my coffee I noted an old man ahead of me wearing the exact same polo! What a coincidence! These things happen sometimes when you live in Adelaide and there’s not that many clothes for sale. I wondered if his son had given him that shirt for Father’s Day too.

A few weeks later it was a Friday and I was wearing one of my brighter, more jovial striped polos to mark the upcoming weekend. I was walking across Hindmarsh Square when I spotted a different old man wearing the same polo as me again! This was more than a coincidence, as I’d owned my version for a few years already and I definitely hadn’t bought one for my dad. This man was so old, even if he had a son he probably would have been as old as my dad. A thought nagged at me, perhaps wearing striped polos wasn’t as stylish as I’d first thought. Perhaps wearing striped polos was, in fact, an old man thing to do…

This morning, donning my red and blue striped polo, I noticed a nash hair poking from the sleeve and I pinched it to pull it out. On closer inspection, it couldn’t have been a Nash hair, because it was too short and it almost looked gray.

It was my hair. My gray hair. The stripy-polo guy had grown up to become a stripy-polo old man.

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