Children

image 1808 from bradism.com

Parenting is not something which comes naturally to me, but this weekend I was entrusted to keep alive two small humans for over 24 hours.

To get through this I needed to draw on the advice and examples of other child-raisers in my life. Most recently, I saw a mother swan with four developing cygnets crossing a lake in the hope of a feed. When I offered noting, the mother coloured the water with fecal discharge, which the trailing offspring sucked up for nourishment.
I put this in the maybe pile.

image 1809 from bradism.com

I was proud of myself for lasting the first day of babysitting without resorting to TV, candy, or violence. I gently led the children to believe that playing Lego was their idea, and killed several hours building “spaceships” which were in fact a carrot, and an octopus’ car. I didn't even need a drink that night.

image 1810 from bradism.com

image 1811 from bradism.com

My greatest challenge early on Sunday morning when both children were crying about how their sibling “hated them” or had said something mean. I solved this by explaining that, as brother and sister, they would always be in competition for emotional superiority, and the earlier they developed a thicker skin to their family member's trolling and jabbering, the more successful they'd be.

Ultimately - despite never feeling completely comfortable that I could sit on the toilet for thirty minutes without interruption - I think I did a capable job of fostering children. Made possible completely by the knowledge throughout that it would soon be over.


Not getting enough emails? Want to receive updates and publishing news in your inbox? Sign up to the bradism mailing list. You'll also receive an ebook, free!


Barangaroo

I landed just before lunchtime and caught the train to Barangaroo. The contrast between Adelaide's CBD and Sydney's latest redevelopment is astounding. I feel like there are more jobs in these new buildings than there are in the entire state of South Australia. All the fast food outlets have classy, monotone logos.

image 1642 from bradism.com

As I explored, a business-woman in a stylish running outfit and a full face of makeup jogged past me, sealing a consultancy deal via Bluetooth headset as she reached five kilometres. I remembered why I left.

Missing Memories

Almost everything is back to normal since my return from extra summer to Adelaide winter. All the old routines are running, except for my nightly backups.

See, before I left the house for a month I hid important things in obscure places for extra security. Not the best thing to do in the post-procrastination frenzy that took place in the hours before the airport. I found my car keys inside a Lego truck the day after we got back, and my supermarket rewards cards were with my socks. They were easy. But it was only today, five weeks after returning, that I found where I hid my external hard drive - it was in my office in the city. I guess I'd really been worried about a fire wiping out my MP3s and those sitcom episodes I wrote in high school.

1501 Entries!

How nice it was to receive some feedback from readers after my 1500th entry yesterday. I enjoyed the theories about why the frequency of entries has trended down over time.

"Did you ever think that, when you first started Bradism. you had a backlog of things to say? Maybe that's why the first 500 entries appeared so much faster."

Unlikely. Particularly given that the first 100 entries were actually ported from my old journals and many of the rest were about contemporary issues like the weather, petrol prices and cricket results.

"Did you ever think that maybe your entries decreased because you stopped being funny?"

:(

"Your 500th entry was in 2006, shortly after you bought a new camera. The 1000th entry came in 2009 right before you bought a DSLR. There's an expression 'a picture says a thousand words', have you extrapolated your image posts out and compared the total created content between the three periods after taking that into account?"

It is true that it took me until late 2006 to start posting entries with pictures in them, and until 2010 when I started posting multiple photo entries with any regularity. But that probably has more to do with me being too lazy to write image uploading code and an image album feature than anything else.

"Post more Lego photo stories about boring office stories, please."

Okay, now I know these are fake.


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!


99 Days - New Record!

For those who don't know, I celebrated an important milestone this week. That is, I finished the last flake in the final box of the full series of Uncle Tobys Plus that I started eating on June 1st. It has been a winter of pluses. The final box to fall was, predictably, Essentials for Women. It's not that I feel girly eating it, I just don't really dig the dried berries clusters. Also it makes me cry during sad parts of Cougar Town.

To make up for eating a big bowl of Essentials for Women this morning I commenced my new habit of blow drying my hair before work. Wait, that's also girly. I didn't blow dry my hair because of the cereal. I used the hair drier because I've started using Vanessa's shampoo and the heat activates the chemicals in the conditioner. Ah, shit. This is spiralling badly. I did go to the office today with close to 48 hour beard growth, which in terms of boundaries is the equivalent of the West Bank of acceptable stubble. I last shaved on Sunday night... so that I would have stubble for eating Essentials for Women on Tuesday.

Man, cereal, stubble... this entry is a Lego Phocumentary reference away from being a killer entry for anyone playing the Bradism.com drinking game.

Christmas Dale

It had been a while since Dale was last in the office. He was making a return from a week of holidays and was set to immediate unease upon exiting the lift. There were colourful lights strung up betwixt the cubicles, flashing off and on in chains of random colours. Red, green and blue splashed the walls. The shiny, metal water cooler in the corner of the walls reflected sparkling to the periphery no matter which way Dale looked.

It had been a while since Dale was last in the office. He was making a return from a week of holidays and was set to immediate unease upon exiting the lift. There were colourful lights strung up betwixt the cubicles, flashing off and on in chains of random colours. Red, green and blue splashed the walls. The shiny, metal water cooler in the corner of the walls reflected sparkling to the periphery no matter which way Dale looked.



"Merry Christmas!" cried Tina Cratchit, the new receptionist, as Dale passed by her desk on the way into the glittering fray.

"Merry Christmas!" cried Tina Cratchit, the new receptionist, as Dale passed by her desk on the way into the glittering fray.



Dale backtracked and turned to her, "What day is it?"<br />
"November the seventh. It's a Mondale," she said.<br />
"Oh. Good," he said. "I was afraid I might have used up a month's worth of leave and not remembered any of it."

Dale backtracked and turned to her, "What day is it?"
"November the seventh. It's a Mondale," she said.
"Oh. Good," he said. "I was afraid I might have used up a month's worth of leave and not remembered any of it."



Dale walked into his pod and found his cubicle neighbours ornamenting a miniature Christmas tree on his desk.<br />
"Oh, you're back," said Miguel, "do you mind having this here?"<br />
The tree was two feet tall and obscured most of his monitor.<br />
"I would be against this in the last week of December, let alone in November," said Dale.

Dale walked into his pod and found his cubicle neighbours ornamenting a miniature Christmas tree on his desk.
"Oh, you're back," said Miguel, "do you mind having this here?"
The tree was two feet tall and obscured most of his monitor.
"I would be against this in the last week of December, let alone in November," said Dale.



"But Dale," said Harold, looking at him with pleading eyes, "Christmas?"

"But Dale," said Harold, looking at him with pleading eyes, "Christmas?"



"Humbug," said Dale. He raised a palm to slap the tree down, but hesitated, and then lifted it gently and carried it to the desk next to his.

"Humbug," said Dale. He raised a palm to slap the tree down, but hesitated, and then lifted it gently and carried it to the desk next to his.



Dale sat to work while behind him his colleagues continued to drape colourful decorations across every available surface. He had intended to kill time by slowly reading all the emails from the last week in chronological order, but the natter of the others distracted him. Eventually they ran out of things to decorate and moved on. Only Joe stayed behind.

Dale sat to work while behind him his colleagues continued to drape colourful decorations across every available surface. He had intended to kill time by slowly reading all the emails from the last week in chronological order, but the natter of the others distracted him. Eventually they ran out of things to decorate and moved on. Only Joe stayed behind.



"Dale, one thing?" he said.<br />
"Yes?"<br />
"What you said before, about the last week before Christmas. I just wanted to check you know. There's a Christmas Shutdown here."<br />
"A Christmas Shutdown? What does that mean?"<br />
"The company requires that we all take annual leave over Christmas and New Years, from December 12 to January 6."

"Dale, one thing?" he said.
"Yes?"
"What you said before, about the last week before Christmas. I just wanted to check you know. There's a Christmas Shutdown here."
"A Christmas Shutdown? What does that mean?"
"The company requires that we all take annual leave over Christmas and New Years, from December 12 to January 6."



"They force us?" said Dale. "I didn't know this, and I just used up all my annual leave!"<br />
"They will make you use more, in advance." Joe said. "Unless you can get an exception to work through."<br />
"Do many people ask for exceptions?"<br />
"Some ask," said Joe, "few succeed."<br />
"Who do I need to ask?"

"They force us?" said Dale. "I didn't know this, and I just used up all my annual leave!"
"They will make you use more, in advance." Joe said. "Unless you can get an exception to work through."
"Do many people ask for exceptions?"
"Some ask," said Joe, "few succeed."
"Who do I need to ask?"



"Karl."

"Karl."



Dale knocked on Karl's office door with two fat, dull thuds.<br />
"Come in," said Karl.

Dale knocked on Karl's office door with two fat, dull thuds.
"Come in," said Karl.



Dale swung the door open and found Karl and Tina on opposite sides of an enormous desk.<br />
Karl's office was dark, the lack of light made it seem cavernous and foreboding. Contrarily, there was no Christmas decorations, which made Dale feel more comfortable.

Dale swung the door open and found Karl and Tina on opposite sides of an enormous desk.
Karl's office was dark, the lack of light made it seem cavernous and foreboding. Contrarily, there was no Christmas decorations, which made Dale feel more comfortable.



Tina left as Dale walked in.<br />
"Let me guess," said Karl. "You think the office is too cold as well."

Tina left as Dale walked in.
"Let me guess," said Karl. "You think the office is too cold as well."



"No," said Dale. "I wanted to talk to you about the Christmas shutdown. Can I please be exempted from taking leave? I..."

"No," said Dale. "I wanted to talk to you about the Christmas shutdown. Can I please be exempted from taking leave? I..."



"Stop," said Karl. There are no exceptions to the Christmas closure. The company feels it is very important for all employees to spend time with friends and family, relax and recharge for a successful and profitable 2012 financial year."

"Stop," said Karl. There are no exceptions to the Christmas closure. The company feels it is very important for all employees to spend time with friends and family, relax and recharge for a successful and profitable 2012 financial year."



"But," said Dale, "I don't have any family. Or any leave, because I just used all my hours up last week, which means I don't need resting or recharging. I can start delivering results and sustaining... sustaining..."<br />
Dale was starting to panic. The Christmas weeks were usually slow, lazy days and the nearer Christmas was, the fewer co-workers he had to deal with. It was like a holiday from work at the end of each year, and the thought that he would have to use his leave and miss it was terrifying.<br />
"Growth," said Karl.<br />
"Growth!" said Dale, finally. "Growth three weeks ahead of schedule."

"But," said Dale, "I don't have any family. Or any leave, because I just used all my hours up last week, which means I don't need resting or recharging. I can start delivering results and sustaining... sustaining..."
Dale was starting to panic. The Christmas weeks were usually slow, lazy days and the nearer Christmas was, the fewer co-workers he had to deal with. It was like a holiday from work at the end of each year, and the thought that he would have to use his leave and miss it was terrifying.
"Growth," said Karl.
"Growth!" said Dale, finally. "Growth three weeks ahead of schedule."



Karl carefully placed his papers on his desk and looked at Dale with a serious expression. \"You speak of growth, and profits, but what about meeting the quarterly targets in your life? What about Christmas spirit? You can't work over Christmas, Dale. That's like a child not going to sleep on Christmas Eve.\"<br />
\"Christmas spirit?\" Dale repeated. The phrase from a man who dedicated an entire drawer of his desk to socks caught him off-guard. In his mind he could feel the weeks of lighter train patronage, more acceptable thresholds of stubble and polo shirts, and shorter queues for the microwave slipping away. \"Christmas... spirit....\"

Karl carefully placed his papers on his desk and looked at Dale with a serious expression. \"You speak of growth, and profits, but what about meeting the quarterly targets in your life? What about Christmas spirit? You can't work over Christmas, Dale. That's like a child not going to sleep on Christmas Eve.\"
\"Christmas spirit?\" Dale repeated. The phrase from a man who dedicated an entire drawer of his desk to socks caught him off-guard. In his mind he could feel the weeks of lighter train patronage, more acceptable thresholds of stubble and polo shirts, and shorter queues for the microwave slipping away. \"Christmas... spirit....\"



"OK, look," Karl's posture relaxed a little. "I can tell you're not buying this bullshit. You're sharp, Dale, so I'm willing to level with you. When we have everyone on leave at the same time the company saves money. A lot of money. We can cancel the cleaners and the milk deliveries, we can stop running the air-conditioners. Payroll can do their December reports when they do November's, and the CFO is given a report that shows our leave liability is down a thousand hours. Your astuteness impresses me Dale, this just reinforces the potential I see in you. Unfortunately you will still need to take those weeks off."<br />
Dale sighed, thanked Karl and slunk back to his desk.

"OK, look," Karl's posture relaxed a little. "I can tell you're not buying this bullshit. You're sharp, Dale, so I'm willing to level with you. When we have everyone on leave at the same time the company saves money. A lot of money. We can cancel the cleaners and the milk deliveries, we can stop running the air-conditioners. Payroll can do their December reports when they do November's, and the CFO is given a report that shows our leave liability is down a thousand hours. Your astuteness impresses me Dale, this just reinforces the potential I see in you. Unfortunately you will still need to take those weeks off."
Dale sighed, thanked Karl and slunk back to his desk.



"Did it work?" asked Joe.<br />
"No."<br />
"I'm sorry to hear that, buddy," he said.

"Did it work?" asked Joe.
"No."
"I'm sorry to hear that, buddy," he said.



The day passed, then the week, and then the month.<br />
The last day before closure came quickly. The start and finish times of each day crept closer together and the phrase "we'll work on that after the break" was heard more frequently. Those who had not learned the stress-relief strategies of multiple daily coffees and toilet naps started to crack and requested even earlier starts to their leave.

The day passed, then the week, and then the month.
The last day before closure came quickly. The start and finish times of each day crept closer together and the phrase "we'll work on that after the break" was heard more frequently. Those who had not learned the stress-relief strategies of multiple daily coffees and toilet naps started to crack and requested even earlier starts to their leave.



At 3pm the night before Christmas closure Dale left the office along with the few remaining workers still billing their time.<br />
"Merry Christmas, Dale," said Tina. "Sorry you're forced to use up your leave.

At 3pm the night before Christmas closure Dale left the office along with the few remaining workers still billing their time.
"Merry Christmas, Dale," said Tina. "Sorry you're forced to use up your leave.



By 3:30pm the office was empty. Only the fluorescent light behind Karl's office door stayed lit.

By 3:30pm the office was empty. Only the fluorescent light behind Karl's office door stayed lit.



On the first day of involuntary leave Dale awoke, frowning. The light through his bedroom window was glowing brighter than it ever should have. He walked to the window to find the reason for the extra brightness and he heard the carols before he even pushed open the shutters.<br />
The streets below were covered with snow. Under a clear sky it reflected the sunlight everywhere.

On the first day of involuntary leave Dale awoke, frowning. The light through his bedroom window was glowing brighter than it ever should have. He walked to the window to find the reason for the extra brightness and he heard the carols before he even pushed open the shutters.
The streets below were covered with snow. Under a clear sky it reflected the sunlight everywhere.



Dale's colleagues had gathered on the snow below. Harold, Marcus and Tina were singing carols as they stood in front of a giant Christmas tree. Dale's eyebrow rose in curiosity.

Dale's colleagues had gathered on the snow below. Harold, Marcus and Tina were singing carols as they stood in front of a giant Christmas tree. Dale's eyebrow rose in curiosity.



I was working with Joe and Bry on a snowman. Miguel was behind a small hill, digging in the snow. I waved up at Dale and called him to join us.<br />
Dale hurried downstairs and found himself looking up at the towering tree, confused yet intrigued.

I was working with Joe and Bry on a snowman. Miguel was behind a small hill, digging in the snow. I waved up at Dale and called him to join us.
Dale hurried downstairs and found himself looking up at the towering tree, confused yet intrigued.



Miguel saw Dale arrive and ducked behind a shrub to retrieve his pile of snowballs...

Miguel saw Dale arrive and ducked behind a shrub to retrieve his pile of snowballs...



...However, before he could launch one at Dale a pre-emptive strike flew from Joe and thunked into his flannel shirt.

...However, before he could launch one at Dale a pre-emptive strike flew from Joe and thunked into his flannel shirt.



Everyone laughed, and for the first time that Christmas Closure, Dale smiled.

Everyone laughed, and for the first time that Christmas Closure, Dale smiled.



After the snowballs were spent, Santa Claus arrived and called everyone around.

After the snowballs were spent, Santa Claus arrived and called everyone around.



"Ho ho ho," he laughed. "Merry Christmas Bonus!" He passed out envelopes from his backpack to each member of the team.<br />
"Thanks, Santa," said Joe.<br />
"Thanks," said Tina.<br />
They all smiled at each other.<br />
"This is the best Christmas closure ever," said Harold. Everyone agreed.

"Ho ho ho," he laughed. "Merry Christmas Bonus!" He passed out envelopes from his backpack to each member of the team.
"Thanks, Santa," said Joe.
"Thanks," said Tina.
They all smiled at each other.
"This is the best Christmas closure ever," said Harold. Everyone agreed.



"Hey, everyone's here except Karl," said Bry. "Is he late?"

"Hey, everyone's here except Karl," said Bry. "Is he late?"



"Maybe he's on the naughty list?" laughed Joe, and he looked at Santa for confirmation.

"Maybe he's on the naughty list?" laughed Joe, and he looked at Santa for confirmation.



Dale, however, knew exactly where Karl would be: in his office, preparing tenders and writing cost-benefit analyses. All the office lights would be in power saving mode, the bins would be unemptied and in a few more days a thick carpet of stubble would cover his cheeks and be creeping down his neck.

Dale, however, knew exactly where Karl would be: in his office, preparing tenders and writing cost-benefit analyses. All the office lights would be in power saving mode, the bins would be unemptied and in a few more days a thick carpet of stubble would cover his cheeks and be creeping down his neck.



Santa tapped Dale on the shoulder, breaking the daydream.<br />
"For you, Dale," he said and handed him an envelope.<br />
Dale looked inside and found his Christmas bonus. He smiled, along with the rest of his colleagues. Perhaps an enforced Christmas closure wasn't so bad after all.

Santa tapped Dale on the shoulder, breaking the daydream.
"For you, Dale," he said and handed him an envelope.
Dale looked inside and found his Christmas bonus. He smiled, along with the rest of his colleagues. Perhaps an enforced Christmas closure wasn't so bad after all.



"Screw Karl," cried Tina. "Merry Christmas to the rest of us!"<br />
"Merry Christmas!" the office workers said to each other. "Merry Christmas."<br />
Santa walked away while they returned to frolic in the snow.

"Screw Karl," cried Tina. "Merry Christmas to the rest of us!"
"Merry Christmas!" the office workers said to each other. "Merry Christmas."
Santa walked away while they returned to frolic in the snow.



Around the corner, the red hat and fake beard removed, Karl smiled to himself.

Around the corner, the red hat and fake beard removed, Karl smiled to himself.

Note: My jQuery photo viewer thing is home-cooked and a tad buggy. If images fail to load then going back and forward again should fix the issue.

A non jQuery copy of this story can be found here.

This story is dedicated to Vanessa who put up with me spending all Christmas Eve playing with Lego.

Merry Christmas from the bradism.com team!

Idea

Volunteer to work with terminally ill children.
Win their trust with my sense of humour and fairy tale height.
Be their friend in their time of need.
Make them smile and laugh.
After they die, inherit their Lego.

Eleven

My Dad bought me my first watch when I was about seven or eight years old. It was a simple, black LCD watch which showed the hours and minutes, and if you held down one button it showed the date, and a different button switched the display to the current minute and second.

Shortly after I first buckled that watch to my wrist I fell in love with the number eleven. There was something magical about it. It was the only number that would ever fill every slot on the display with the same repeating digit. (It was a 24 hour watch, so technically it also did that at 22:22, however I was seven years old and this time existed only in theory).

Every day at 11:11 I would spend a whole minute feeling happy. I would tab between the hour : minute display and the minute : second display to make sure I caught the moment when the time was 11:11:11, and this was like some sort of numerical climax to me. I would then go back to playing with Lego or writing crappy stories or whatever things I do did with my time.

I quickly decided 11 was going to be my favourite number. This, I believed, made me pretty fucking unique compared to my peers. Most of them had 7 as their lucky number. They barely understood the concept of a two digit lucky number, one of them even said to me once "Your lucky number is '1', twice?'" What philistines. No wonder none of them have online journals. If they did I'm sure they would all read exactly the same.

I remember, the year of the first watch, how I yearned for November to come. Once it had, I counted down the days to November 11 and on that day I gleefully tabbed between the hour : minute, minute : second and day/month screens on my watch. For a wondrous second the time was nothing but rows of repeating "1"s. I didn't know much at the time, but it felt like the greatest thing mankind had achieved was creating the digital watch.

That November I was too young to have been taught about war and Remembrance Day, so a fuckton of 1s was all that mattered. A few years later when I did find out that November 11 was already a special day for non repeating number reasons I was immediately unimpressed and jealous.

Later in life bad things started happening to me on the eleventh of the month. In 2002 I broke my leg on July 11, caused a car accident on December 11. I injured my wrist on September 11 2008, and I'm pretty sure I caught a cold or something heinous on some other 11th somewhere in between. I decided 11 was my lucky number no more.

Now, even more years since then I have completely lost interest in the significance of eleven. So, when today's date was a long string of repeating "1"s I did not care at all. I especially did not have a 500 word long opinion about it. I don't have anything to say to elegantly finish this entry.

Older Lego Entries | No Newer Entries