Realities

I recall sitting on a hill at Flinders University about two hours from sunset one workday afternoon in Spring, 2006. I was groaning internally about how much I was hating 2006, and I was wishing it had been like 2005, which I was quite fond of.

This was strange, because in hindsight 2006 was close to the most formative of my life. I have a million crazy, vivid memories. The thing is, you can't remember back paint the same way you remember adventure.

Sometimes, in 2016, I get a nagging sense of regret that I'm wasting my life. Things feel like they've slowed down, become too routine and are ruled by metrics like calories and dollars and minutes. I feel like being spontaneous takes weeks of planning, and all my adventures have big countdown clocks looming over them the whole time.

I've reasoned with myself that when I think back to all the fun things I got up to with friends during University days it's not fair to compare them to the past winter of relative dullness (although I did spend four weeks in Europe. Christ.) After all, when I think back to the events of 2006 I'm ignoring the days, weeks, months where nothing happened except for work and back exercises and TV. My nostalgic memories only seem crammed together because they were so long ago they blended into one collage.

How foolish I felt, then, after stumbling across some old chatlogs from 2006 and discovered exactly how packed those days actually had been. Weekends and weeknights were bars, parties, beach trips and social sports all squeezed between a houseboat trip, camping and music festivals. I barely had time for one sudoku a day.

Fascinated and slightly disturbed by how apparently extroverted I'd managed to be back then, I read on. The more I reviewed of my old, late night (sometimes tipsy) rambling, the more of a personality I really don't remember having come to prominence. Events I thought I remembered clearly turned out to have happened slightly differently. I was living in a totally different reality.

A journal entry usually gets at least one or two read overs before posting. Unwritten memories get eroded and shaped by the mind every time they're accessed. Chatlogs are pretty raw. They showed me out as a young person, with all the failings I consider today's young people to have. I didn't take important things seriously. I was intentionally vapid, naive, I flat out just lacked empathy. It wasn't malicious, it just wasn't mentally developed. I think that at that age it's actually impossible for most humans to be proper adults. There's something different in the brain. Is that the cause of different realities? Is this how old people become grumpy, and disconnected from their youth?

We all live in our own realities. We're really freaking blind to it. Even your own realities from the past aren't how you remember them. I thought that was a bit scary, but I don't know how real that feeling really is.


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Unit

It was 1997 when Regurgitator's Unit was released. Almost twenty years ago. I liked it then, though I never bought it.

More recently I added it to my offline music in Spotify, and I listened to it on a couple of nighttime walks. I realised something I never could have thought of as a thirteen year old: This album is the most concise summary of the feelings I have about being in your thirties.

I don't think that was intended by the band. Most people probably won't feel that way. But the more I listened to it the more I recognised my feelings and attitudes reflected in the music coming out of my headphones. It started from the opening track. I like your old stuff better than your new stuff. It was an immediate assault on any feelings of nostalgia for the past. Half 80s synths, and half faux-future voice effects - it was a middle finger to complaints about change. Yeah, I probably did come up with better stuff when I was younger, but before anyone can complain about it, fuck you.

Then the punchy riffs of Everyday Formula kick in and again I feel a strong affinity for the message.
"Everyday I shit into the sea. It's strange but it doesn't mean much to me."
The detachment from modern life is masked perfectly by the poppy melody and cheery background hums. Nothing in this song is a complaint, it's an observation. "My whole world's cheap and phony," but, "It's going to be alright."

I mean, at no point in listening to this album do I think, man, this lyrics are poetic and deep. But the delivery just sticks to me.

"I don't go to parties cause people tend to freak me out. Watch their lips to work it out. I can hear the words but I still don't know what it's all about," begins the next track. The meaning of this song is really about dancing in your lounge room. However, I find the introverted perspective relatable, and the accompanying bouncy funk to perfectly present this perspective as okay. Not just okay, struttable. In my twenties I used to feel a little ashamed of how much I disliked being in loud, noisy environments where I was supposed to be having fun. Now I love that I know what I like in a social event. Lower volumes, smaller crowds.

The rest of the album goes from strength to strength covering topics that are still relevant in 2016. Topics such as materialism, over-sexualisation, exploitation, digital dependence and depression are sung about. The attitude is not one of anger or apathy or anything else strong, really. They're just more observations or non-preachy lessons. Suggestions about what maybe could be better about life if we wanted a utopian society, but as someone in their thirties there's a really familiar lack of personal responsibility to change anything. As it says in Mr T: "I take freedom's path and I'll let my life be. Soul dedication to all my realities... It's the way it's meant to be."

I feel like the underlying message of Unit is that, we all know our world could be better if we worked together (I mean, the album's name alone is possibly proof of that), but ultimately, the young can't change anything and the older people (that is, over thirties) are too self-involved to cause any kind of revolution. As it goes in I Piss Alone, "I need a place where I can close and lock the door. There I can stop and let it flow."

It's a great album, which has aged about as well as I have I guess.

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.

How to Travel Through Time

I've discovered how to travel back in time, but it takes a fair bit of advanced planning. The secret is to create a mixtape of songs that are meaningful to you at a certain point of your life. Most of them will be recent releases, as new songs don't carry any existing associations with them. However, if you can find some tracks from the eighties or some other obscure indie act from years ago that you've never heard before, chuck them on there too. Try and consider the current season when picking the tracks.

Once your mixtape is ready and you've arranged the tracklist according to BPM, mood and title you should then proceed to play the mixtape regularly. Put it in your car, and on your iRiver, and listen to that mixtape as often as possible. Pay attention particularly to playing it on your trips to significant events like big parties or doctor's appointments, and on Friday nights and Sunday evenings.

The next step is the most important. Once the Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn is over you should stop listening to the mixtape. Create another one and repeat the process. You need to not listen to the mixtape again for at least five to ten years.

Once the time has passed, dig the mixtape out again, or throw the playlist onto Youtube or Spotify and listen to the songs in order. There you have it, instant transportation to the season you made the mixtape. If the transportation doesn't feel fully immersive, consider writing journal entries back then as well. It might help. I truly think that journal entries are the greatest gift you can give to yourself from yourself, except for maybe when you pull out an unexpectedly long nose hair.

Okay, you might be a little frustrated right now that you didn't create a mixtape ten years ago and you can't relive the amazing drought of Winter 2006, but what's stopping you from creating a mixtape today? Nothing. You don't even need to restrict it to 80 minutes any more. There's something about the memory of music that scrolling finish to start through your phone's photo gallery can't replicate.


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!


Big Dreams

I'm fast approaching my Ten Year Anniversary as an IT Professional.

Right before that I was an IT Amateur. I'd dicked around on computers all my life, but the only thing to ever make it out into the world was this shitty blogging thing I hacked up in PHP in the hours between finishing nightfill and eating cereal out of the box and falling asleep.

While searching my hard drive for old music playlists from my IT Amateur era (so that I could recreate them in Spotify and listen to them on my way to work tomorrow) I found a scrawled txt file: "wherethefuckis.com"

Before Google Maps there was a website called WhereIs that did turn by turn directions. In fact, it still exists.

My plan was to create a website called wherethefuckis and it was going to use the original site's database/directions and simply insert swear words into the directions. Like, "Take a fucking left at this shitty street."

It never saw the light of day as in those days I didn't really know what an API or Library was, obviously.

Now I do!

*Jams out to Pendulum*

2015 Music

Alright everyone, shut up, here's my best music of 2015 playlists.

This is a two CD effort, each is under one hour to allow for short attention spans. So 2015. Also, it's on Spotify, if you roll that way. Even extra 2015ish.

Did you know you need to download the Spotify desktop app to rearrange your playlists? For the past month I didn't!

CD1 | Play on Spotify
Waxahatchee - Under a Rock
Best Coast - In My Eyes
Chairlift - Romeo*
Travie McCoy feat Sia - Golden
Grimes - Flesh Without Blood
Nero - The Thrill
Purity Ring - Flood on the Floor
CHVRCHES - Down Side of Me
ASTR - Bleeding Love*
Say Lou Lou - Nothing but a Heartbeat
M∅ - Kamikaze
Jack Ü feat Kiesza - Take Ü There (TJR Remix)
Marina & The Diamonds - Forget
Braids - Taste*

CD2 | Play on Spotify
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Downtown
Mark Ronson feat Mystikal - Feel Right
Oddisee - A List of Withouts*
BADBADNOTGOOD feat Ghostface Killah, DOOM - Ray Gun*
Aesop Rock - Cat Food
Foals - What Went Down
Modest Mouse - Be Brave
Tame Impala - The Less I Know the Better
Ratatat - Abrasive
Hermitude feat Mataya, Young Tapz - The Buzz
Passion Pit - Five Foot Ten (I)
The Chemical Brothers - Wide Open


*Artists I'd listened to < 5 times before 2015. Just staying vigilant for the year when I fail to listen to any new music. Yeah, the internet keeps track of these things.

Mid-Strength Maturity

I'm in an exciting period of maturity right now where I learn more advanced things about simple topics. I'm talking specifically about everyday things that humans start doing from their teenage years and continue doing for most of their lives. Like hanging out clothes after you wash them. I'm sure most people in their early 20s tried the whole "let's see if my load of washing will dry inside the basket if I don't hang it out all weekend." Maybe it just needed more time? These days I hang my shirts up the moment the washing machine tells me it's reversing. That was maturity baselined. Even more recently I've worked out that I should also hang my shirts in the wardrobe and shut the door as soon as they're finished drying. This stops them from drying out, fading and needing to be replaced. Being old enough to have lived through a complete "fashion cycle" now, nothing appeals to my above-average maturity than having the same polo shirt in good condition for when polos come back in a second time.

Surprisingly this entry is not about laundry, instead it's about another advanced strategy I have found when it comes to drinking beers during a day. This year Australia Day and the Hottest 100 countdown were on a Monday. This was pretty un-Australian, and I don't recall it ever happening that way when Gillard was in charge. Six years ago I probably would have attempted to moderate my beers from midday, decided Bundy was a great idea around 6pm and had a very unpleasant 27th. Now, with my above-average wisdom and maturity I planned a day of BBQ eating and music listening while drinking every second beer from a pack of mid-strength stubbies! Streuth! It worked perfectly. I woke up this morning feeling chipper and my current bottle of Bundy remains unopened and waiting for an early afternoon session that doesn't precede a work day. Meanwhile, full strength beer drinkers tend to validate my theory.

image 1402 from bradism.com

Thirty

"Well, I'm 30 now," started a Journal entry I wrote like two years ago.

I spent much of the past few years feeling like I was already 30. I couldn't pinpoint exactly why, such mental imprecision was just one of my symptoms. There was the general aches and pains, my desk surface a growing lichen of invoices and bills, every time my email dinged it was another meeting request or superannuation update. I'd also just bought a new red car. Nothing in my life seemed to match what I saw 20 year olds doing on TV. The regularly occurring music festivals at Olympic Park drew my ire. It was too loud, everything was overpriced.

Did I mind being 30? Not really. Except for the obvious - the unstoppable retracting of my chronological pull-cord - being prematurely three decades old didn't seem so bad. I appreciated the finer aspects of life, like sunlight, quality wine, exercising moderately, fibre-rich cereals, peace and quiet. I was full of wisdom and work experience, yet still young enough that I could sleep less than six hours a night, understand new technology and I never had to worry about defecating in my pants. I figured I was in my golden years. I guess it's easy to feel good about being in your 30s when you're still actually in your 20s.

Now I really am 30, and since that draft was wrote, there's been land purchasing, international travel, dog ownership, carbon tax repeals, more injuries and about a hundred more trips to the hardware store. How much maturing can you shove into a human without the oldest stuff coming out the other end? I feel like I'm going to find out.

The thing is, now that I am legitimately 30, I still feel 30. That's pretty good. I'm quite happy with my life, my ability to buy groceries when they're on special, my basic understanding of mortgages, my family, and my ability to say no to people. I think I was born to be in my 30s. Like, if Heaven exists (because someone at Apple designs it as a feature for the iPhone 50) and everyone who dies appears there at the age that most suited them, I'd be 30.

I was kind of afraid that this week would be the first week I felt 40.