2011 - A year in which I didn't go in the ocean

Adding another heading to the archives.

I was thinking about writing a list of things I've learnt from 2011. I've thought about this multiple times lately. I never bothered writing any of these things down. In fact, there's only one thing I remember from all those mental drafts: "To better brush your back teeth don't try and open your jaw as wide as possible. Open it less than the full range of motion and you will have better access to your wisdom teeth."
Let's all reflect on that for a moment.

We considered travelling to Sydney Harbour yesterday afternoon and setting up camp amongst the crowds to wait for the midnight fireworks. After saying it out loud the plan seemed pretty stupid, and instead we went out for tea in Hurstville and then came back home to watch the fireworks from our back deck. This was definitely the right decision. The deck actually faces the opposite direction to the city, but there were still plenty of fireworks to see being fired from the backyards all around us.
This, I pondered, was typically Sydney-ish. The city throws one of the biggest fireworks displays of New Year's Eve and everyone decides to put on their own fireworks display instead because, presumably, they can afford it and they can't be arsed dealing with crowds and CityRail.

The fact that everyone the news interviewed on the harbour yesterday was obviously a tourist gives more credence to this theory.


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Seasonably Late

Well, Summer finally turned up, and instead of standing around looking sheepish it decided to remind us why it's a season we keep inviting around to our house for BBQs.

image 1095 from bradism.com


Casual Friday Breakfast II - Merging Fruits

I don't plan to make this a weekly event, but I did have the time and opportunity to produce a non-standard breakfast again this morning. We're still recovering from Christmas excess and I was determined to find a way to use up some of the left over fresh food before it went bad and World Vision ads made me feel guilty about my negligence.

After weighing up my choices of fruit, breads, salads and meats I decided I wanted to try blending all the left over fruit from the last week into a giant smoothie. This included half a honey dew melon, some week old nectarines, some giant mangoes Craig gave me and some frozen raspberries. I decided the best way to combine all these was going to require my blender.
If you're wondering what all fruits look like when layered in a blender with some vanilla yogurt, they look like this:

Warm fruit in a blender, unblended.


Yes, I too was slightly afraid that this was going to taste like the warm upchuck of an exhausted snub-nosed monkey after it was chased with a broom from a Chinese market's fruit stall. However, twenty minutes of slicing and skinning fruits made me stubborn enough to drink it. The taste wasn't off-putting, although I immediately regretted not adding a tray of ice to offset the warmth that ripening mangoes provide.

Pros:
Vitamins.

Cons:
The mango overpowered almost everything else, and was the main culprit for the warmth.

Improvement in Productivity:
This smoothie didn't improve my productivity as the preparation time meant I almost started work late. My concentration was about average.

Casual Friday Rating:
One colleague who brought a pavlova for morning tea to share and you don't really like the taste of pavlova but you decide to have a slice of it anyway because apples aren't on special at Woolworths that week and you decide the calories to dollars ratio outweighs the low glycaemic index value to dollars ratio out of five.

Brisbane

XXXX Bitter in a tall glass.

Brisbane



My Mum sitting at an outdoor table with a fruity dessert.

BrisbMum


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!


Sydney

This evening in Sydney I sat in a tiny capsule for ten minutes and travelled from Hong Kong to Greece.

The question I ask myself is, did I travel between continents, or back in time?

Art of the Brick Review

Yesterday I went to Sydney Town Hall.

Yesterday I went to Sydney Town Hall.



I went to an art exhibition called "Art of the Brick".</p>
<p>It was an art exhibition by an artist that explored many themes. Artistic themes. The fact that things were made of Lego and that I occasionally take photos of things I made out of Lego was a coincidence.

I went to an art exhibition called "Art of the Brick".

It was an art exhibition by an artist that explored many themes. Artistic themes. The fact that things were made of Lego and that I occasionally take photos of things I made out of Lego was a coincidence.



Inside I looked at works of art.

Inside I looked at works of art.



See, look at this piece of art. It is a Lego kangaroo made entirely out of orange. The message behind this piece is obvious, but takes a lot of thinking about.

See, look at this piece of art. It is a Lego kangaroo made entirely out of orange. The message behind this piece is obvious, but takes a lot of thinking about.



I am being a little cynical, there were some impressive and expansive pieces that would easily be categorised as "artistic" if they were constructed from some other material except for Lego.

I am being a little cynical, there were some impressive and expansive pieces that would easily be categorised as "artistic" if they were constructed from some other material except for Lego.



Unfortunately the artist used illegal building techniques on several occasions. That's probably because 99% of everything was made of bricks and tiles. That's restrictive.

Unfortunately the artist used illegal building techniques on several occasions. That's probably because 99% of everything was made of bricks and tiles. That's restrictive.



Tickets were . Was that worth it? I guess so. I assume all the proceeds go towards funding the guys gigantic Lego collection, and Lego isn't cheap. Just take a look at the gift shop that takes up the second half of the exhibit.

Tickets were . Was that worth it? I guess so. I assume all the proceeds go towards funding the guys gigantic Lego collection, and Lego isn't cheap. Just take a look at the gift shop that takes up the second half of the exhibit.

I don't really miss reviewing music


Steve McQueen by M83 on Grooveshark
M83's Steve McQueen, an epic electronic giant and one of 2011's best tunes. It's a track I've listed to half a dozen times this week. It's just an enormous, uplifting composition that makes you feel invincible. It's like the soundtrack to walking out the doors following your last day of a 25 year career working at a factory, doing the same job day after day in the gloom. And then you leave knowing you never have to come back again, and there's this glorious, golden sunset. And your job in the factory was being forced to kill babies.

Loops

When it comes to running I do miss North Adelaide. Well, not all of me misses it, mainly the lower half of my body which appreciated colliding with surfaces made of grass or soil, while still being flat and long enough to plan proper exercise.

Sydney is a city full of concrete, but I was determined to find somewhere I could jog and I took to Google Maps for an aerial survey of my area in case I'd missed anything suitable. I spotted a small park in the suburb next to Hurstville. It looked a little hilly but the grass was green and there was a footpath that looped around that I thought I could do some laps of. I used Map Pedometer to measure out a rough estimate of the track: 366 metres. If I ran the loop six times it would be about 2.2km which I decided would be a lovely jog to start rediscovering my fitness with.

I walked to the park and was pleasantly surprised at how clean and neat it was, by Sydney standards, which means it only had the equivalent of about two recycling bins worth of junk spread over it.
I did some leg swings with the support of a nearby tree and then started my laps. The park was otherwise empty, except for a Fijian man who started running loops right after me. He ran in the opposite direction so we made eye contact briefly half a dozen times.
After my laps I stopped to rest and he happened to stop near me. He asked me how many laps I did, to which I said "six".
He asked me, "why six?"
I said, "I measured the track and six laps equals 2.2 kilometres which is how far I wanted to run."
He was shocked, and wanted to know how I'd managed to measure the track so accurately while running. I told him I'd used a satellite to measure it.
"You have your own satellite?!" he said, incredulous.
"No," I said. "Well, actually, I guess you could say I do... We do."
I hadn't really thought about it that way before. Living in the future is awesome.

Simmer

Is there a fixed amount of time you can have an item of food before you become sentimental and have problems eating it? At some point does your brain switch from "I could use those calories to fuel my cells" to "my comfort with this environment would decrease if this bottle of iced coffee mix wasn't on the bench anymore."

I thought about this concept while preparing dinner tonight. I was heating a lamb Rogan Josh that I cooked, portioned and froze sixteen days ago. My bulk meals don't usually last me this long. This particular portion was the last of the batch, and I had eighteen minutes of microwaving time to reflect on the curious sense of sadness I felt about eating it.

I'm not talking about getting emotional about things like that box of Weet Bix sitting in the back of your pantry, or other long life tins that you can hold onto for six months and then throw into a pasta without a second thought. I think for this affection effect to happen that the item in question needs to be unique in some way, and also be exposed within the environment.

One Christmas I was given a chocolate Santa Claus made by a luxury chocolate manufacturer. It was on Christmas day and I certainly wasn't lacking for sustenance at that point of the afternoon, so I positioned it on my desk among other knick-knacks to eat another time. The next September, when I was moving home, I realised I was still yet to eat it. It seemed that at some point I had unconsciously decided the cost of eating it was too damaging to the tiny contribution the chocolate statue had on the familiarity of my environment. Reflecting further I realised this same phenomena might have been the reason I never baked my Thomas the Tank Engine muffin mix which sat on my desk for about 18 months before I threw it away. I did eat that Santa, it did not taste fresh.

Upon further reflection, I also held onto a six-pack of fat stubbied Cooper's Sparkling for six years after they changed their design to a slimmer bottle. When I drank them in 2009 they also did not taste fresh.

I think environmental familiarity is a major factor in human being's comfort levels. I have seen enough office spazz outs over disappearing mugs to realise this. And also, Luke Walton. There's probably some influence from your food-poisoning-preventing sub-conscious that poses a barrier to eating food your brain recognises as old as well. Whatever timeframe is needed to fall in love with food, it's longer than sixteen days, because my dinner was delicious, and microwaving things for eighteen minutes on the lowest heat makes everything taste fresh.

Easel

I can't paint hands.

I can't paint hands.

Solving Problems You Didn't Know Exist

Whenever I make a curry with a jar of curry sauce I do the same thing: After I tip in the sauce I add a little bit of water to the jar, shake it up with the lid on and then tip the now flavoured water into curry.

Working with curry paste, like tonight, this doesn't work so well because the paste needs to stay thick and simmer. There's no scope to add water. This problem always frustrated both my strong flavour loving side, and my frugal side. Tonight I solved the problem by putting in cubed up chicken into the empty paste jar, shaking it vigorously and then tipping the instantly-marinated chicken chunks into the simmering paste.

The last remnants of paste were successfully added to the curry and the chicken tasted nice.

A Nice Hill With Great Views

The secret of good photography, more useful than leading lines, or the rule of thirds, is to take a boring photo and put a pretty girl in it.

Southern Highlands, NSW

Southern Highlands, NSW

Begun

I spent a few hours this afternoon adding a new chapter to my story about putting together flat pack furniture and then drinking a beer.
I have assembled flat pack furniture from plethora of producers in the past few years, but today was the first time I've bought and built furniture from Costco. The item, a TV stand.

Unsurprisingly it is very large, and storage friendly. I was impressed with the level of detail in the instructions, the extra features (wall mount, device to hang plastic guitars from.) It was also a very reasonable price compared to competitors. I rate this experience as positive. I just have to work out what to do with the other three TV cabinets.

Choices

It was the first day of the week and Dale sat in the first carriage of the train. Even in peak hour, when other carriages resembled the 3:11 to New Delhi, there were always some free seats in the front carriage. Rumour had it that on rare occasion a preoccupied train driver would overshoot a platform by a carriage length and strand front carriage commuters for that stop. Dale had never had that happen to him, but he understood why others might be spooked. Personally, he believed that arriving to work late because your train driver was distracted was a lock for an instantly acceptable excuse. On trips home, however, the risk wasn't as appealing.
The train rounded a gentle corner and through the window he could see the trailing carriages stretching out behind him. Each held probably the same contents as the front carriage: business men and women listening to music on headphones, parents with prams listening to music on headphones, old people listening to music on headphones, high school students listening to music on shared headphones. Ahead of the train, looming high into the blue sky was the jagged row of teeth that was the city's central business district. The whole horizon was made of glass skyscrapers reflecting the cool, early morning light back and forth between them to give the city a glowing white halo.
The morning train service chugged on steadily as the buildings continued to slowly and ominously grow bigger. It was only when the train stopped at a station – the doors of the front carriage perfectly aligned with the platform – that Dale realised they were still becoming bigger even while the train was stationary. It was then the rumbling started, muffled at first but slowly echoing louder and deeper as the distant city began lifting from the ground like a launching mother-ship.
The rumbling started to alarm the other passengers and the lift-off of their destination caused a cascade of interested commuters to cram around the train's windows to stare up at the floating suburb that had broken free of the power lines, water pipes and bitumen that had meekly tethered it to the ground. When they realised it was steadily creeping towards their location the screams started. The still motionless train had its doors pried back open as passengers attempted to flee whatever natural disaster or apocalyptic event had possessed their city. Even the driver had flung open the locked door of the driver's compartment and shoved his way through the crowd to join the stampede.
The vacated driver's compartment offered the best view of the flying city block and Dale walked in and sat in the driver's seat to watch the spectacle. Through the radio the sound of panicked train drivers and confused network operators squawked. Most of the chatter was the same: profanity, prayers and confusion. Only one voice was steady and barking instructions:
"3 and 5 flank on the wing, 4 position centre and trap." They sounded like basketball plays. Then Dale heard a calm voice he had not expected to hear.
"This is 2, altering course for attack trajectory. Watch my back."
Dale picked up the radio transmitter cautiously and held down the button to speak, "Karl?"
"Dale!" said 2, or Karl, "what are you doing on this frequency?"
"I, uhh," Dale stared at the flying city above while he paused to compose a response. Streaking through the air above his head two full length passenger trains snaked through the sky in the direction of the worryingly close behemoth.
"Dale, are you in the driver's seat of a train?" Karl yelled.
"Yes?"
"Then quit fucking around, reach down to the floor beneath your seat and press that red button."
Dale followed instructions, found the button and watched as the lights and steering wheel of the train lit up. Dale felt the next steps come to him instinctively: he should accelerate and then pull up. There was a flat pedal on the floor which he pressed and he felt the heavy train shudder as it stirred and began to follow the tracks. A chime sounded and he heard the doors on each carriage slide back shut. Once he had the train up to speed he prepared to take off, pausing only to use the intercom to warn the few passengers who had stayed behind out of fear or engrossing iPhone games that they should hold on to something. Dale pulled the steering wheel down and towards him and felt the wheels of the carriage leave the track and slowly lift into the air. The wheel was shaking violently in his hands but he did not relax his grip. He used all his strength to pull down and closed his eyes. When he opened them he could see the ground below him was shrinking and behind him the carriages of the train trailed like the tail of a kite.
"Dale, fall into formation," said Karl, and the screen on the dashboard indicated the communication had come from the train in front of him that was streaking towards the city. Dale tried to straighten to reduce the drag and pushed the accelerator to catch up with Karl. With the third train they formed a caret with Karl at the tip. Dale could see the shadow of the floating city sweeping over the suburbs below.
"What does it want?" asked Dale into the intercom.
"Cut the chatter," a terse voice, speaker unknown, replied.
The flying city was close now, Dale could see the brand names on the tops of the buildings clearly. The whole thing leaned slightly to one side and what he had thought was colourful dust emanating from the edge of the sheared city blocks was now defined as a salad of vehicles, café tables, garbage bins and humans falling from the tilted angle. The city spun slowly and beams of sunlight reflected from buildings, momentarily blinding Dale. He smelt burning.
"Stay steady, 4," said the terse voice.
"I'm going in," said Karl. His train circled the edge of the city until he picked his gap, then increased speed as it sliced between towers and headed for the heart of the city. At the centre of the buildings the gigantic Compucon Towers glowed bright and Karl seemed to be heading there. With deft skills he passed by the top floors of the building and then banked hard, causing his trailing carriages to swing like a whip and crash through the glass façade of the Towers. A loud groan came from the heart of the city, it sounded like a cry of pain underwater. Dale felt the noise's vibrations in his seat.
The stranger's train made the next pass at the building, flying above the streets and whipping it in the same way. It wasn't as effective as Karl's strike but the noise the city made was even more guttural and sad sounding.
Dale, who had watched the tumbling glass and shrapnel from a distance, shrugged, and darted his train towards the tower to perform the same manoeuvre. The blood rush had made it seem like the right thing to do, but when Dale saw the image of his flying train mirrored in windows of the landscape of skyscrapers, he started having doubts. Dale tried to angle himself in the same way Karl had, and it was only when the Compucon Towers were metres away that Dale realised how amateur a flying train pilot he was and he screamed in a strangely half-hearted manner as the front of his train crashed through the exposed floors and sheared through cubicles, a server room and a kitchenette. He emerged out the other side of the building as his tail of carriages cut through floors and girders with random thrusts comparable to Dwight Howard running with an erection. A piercing shrill started from the heart of the city and Dale clenched his jaw tight to try and stay focused on navigating back out into the clear.
When clear, Dale joined the other two trains and tailed them as they looped back around the city. Karl looked for a new opening, but the punishment had been apparently been enough. The Compucon Tower was collapsing and the flying island began to descend back to earth as gracefully as gigantic piece of earth can fall from the sky. Maps were made redundant.
The dust settled and Dale altered his course to stay with Karl and the stranger, who were now cruising away from the carnage and out over the ocean.
"That was a ballsy move, 4," said the stranger's voice on the intercomm. "What's your name?"
"What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?" said Dale. "What the fuck."
"His name," Karl explained, "is Tuesdale."
"Roger," said the voice. "Stay with me now Tuesdale. This will all make sense soon."
The three trains flew towards the sunrise.

How's That?

For almost four years I've tried to convince Vanessa that cricket is an entertaining sport to watch. She is proving hard to sway. Lucky for me she went out tonight and I had an evening to myself to enjoy the limited overs clash between Australia and Sri Lanka.

Cricket is not traditionally a sport which delivers instant gratification. I see cricket more like an excellent novel, rather than blockbuster movie. By saying that I don't mean that each test match is like a novel. A test match is like a chapter. I might even go as far as to say that an entire tour or series is just a chapter in the novel which is cricket.

Much like literature, cricket is full of characters that develop over time. Characters does not necessarily refer to their personalities, because who really knows what goes on in a lot of their heads (in the case of Mitchell Johnson I would say "not much".) Sadly to say that, as with the rest of humanity, the majority of them are probably dickheads. The characteristics I'm talking about are, for some examples: Glen McGrath's perfection of line and length over his career combined with his approach to batting at number 11. Michael Bevan's successes (and failures) in high pressure run chases. Steve Waugh scoring "Fuck You" centuries everytime it looked like he was close to being stood down, followed later by Ricky Ponting's "Fuck You" centuries anytime a team dared to make him look out of form. Gilchrist's reinvention of the wicket-keeper batsmen. These are just some examples, all Australian. There are eight international teams full of their own characters. Plus perennial underdog teams with their own stories. Nasser Hussain, Dan Vettori, Shane Bond, Murali, Damien Martyn, Lara, Dravid, Afridi, Sehwag, Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince. Some careers developed, twist and turn, seem to die and then pop up five years later - just like real novels. In each new chapter new characters are introduced and regularly characters new and old are killed off. Epic battles are fought. Captains go head to head, the winner's tactics are fascinating, the loser forced to improve or be killed off and become a commentator.

Cricket's not just two dozen intertwined storylines at a time. Sometimes Tait will sling an unplayable inswinging yorker and the sight of a cart-wheeling stump will be instantly gratifying, sometimes Lehmann will loft a cover drive straight into the Adelaide Oval fence and you'll think "yeah, that's nice." Sometimes Inzamam Ul-Haq will try and get back into his crease and cartwheel his plump body over the stumps and that's funny. Those things are great. Cricket's about more than that though, it's about a whole world to escape to. Sure, just like a novel there are going to be periods equivalent to the author doing nothing but describing scenery for pages, but invest enough time and you'll see what makes cricket one of the world's greatest sports.

I've decided this explanation for how superb cricket is surely convincing. However I'm still having issues working out how to clarify all these points for Vanessa. Everytime I think I've worked out a way to outline the benefits of cricket and how entertaining it is if you watch enough of it, another voice in my head says to me "but Brad, this might be the reason why you think it's a good idea to write novels about working in an office."

This Summer

This Summer has brought 400mls of rain, in between days of warm sunshine and greenhouse like humidity. When I lie in bed early in the morning I can fucking hear the lawn photosynthesizing. This bothers me, because I have to mow it, and I hate mowing. I mowed for two hours today and I scowled at every plant I passed.

The five day forecast is for up to 110mls of rain and a mean daily maximum of 27 degrees. That's terrifying. You can actually see the grass growing in the hours after a storm, thickening and creeping further and further up the back stairs.

I am never going to use the phrase "like watching grass grow" to describe something boring again. From now on it will mean "horrifying". Someone will be, like, "Brad, did you see one of the Western Bulldogs dislocate both his knees in the first quarter of Saturday's game?" and I will reply, "I did, I saw the super slow-motion replay and you can see the bulge of the tendons as they lose grip of the knee cap. It was horrifying. It was like watching grass grow."

No Explanation

A few weeks ago I was thinking about an appropriately awesome way to celebrate my 1300th Bradism.com entry. Around the same time Vanessa had recently purchased some old school, flat topped pink shower caps which she left in the bathroom. Two inclinations became one and I decided I wanted to take a photo of myself in the shower with a pink shower cap and post it on the internet as my 1300th entry.

This did not go well. First, the bathroom is very dark and I was trying to wrap my head around how best to light it. I also wanted to invest in a long wooden brush that I could coat with soap bubbles and pose with. I planned it to be a tasteful shot, the bottom of the frame cut just below my belly button so that children too could enjoy my artistic endeavour. On my face would be a cheeky smile surrounded by perfectly timed stubble, and bubbles would be floating through the air. I was going to overexpose the background a tad to try and make the shower tiles look a little less dirty.

Long bathing brushes are hard to find, though, and I was further put off when I discovered my head was too big for the ladies shower cap I'd planned to wear. The project never found any traction and before I knew it I wasn't even spending my lunch breaks in homewares departments any more. After a couple more weeks went by I accepted that I was never going to take this photo. Unfortunately, I had never published any journal entries in the meantime. And after almost a month suddenly I couldn't think of anything to post on my journal except a picture of me in the shower with a pink head cap and a giant, soapy brush. I didn't know what to do. Eventually I decided if I described the picture and posted that description it might unclog the backlog of creativity that was somewhere deep in my off-camera pipes.

The End

Firm Grasp of History

I don't remember the first CD I ever bought with my own money. I think it was maybe Everclear's So Much for the Afterglow. I do know what it should have been, Electriclarryland. When I used to care more about music I was always irked by the fact that I couldn't point to Butthole Surfers as proof of me having above average musical tastes from the very beginning. Sure, they were no Wolf Parade, but they were better than Everclear and I think that liking them as a pre-teen would have impressed street press readers.

The reason I remember my original first CD plans is because I was actually very excited to be buying my first CD with my own money, and my brain was memorising things all over the place. My parents took me to the Myer Centre and I browsed through the racks to find it. I think I really enjoyed the song Pepper at the time. Also as a twelve year old the name Butthole Surfers was pretty funny. I think my parents thought I was after a comedy album and not the 50 minutes of alt rock psychedelia I could have had on that disc I found under "B" at the Virgin Music Megastore.

The reason I did not buy Electriclarryland is actually kind of funny. It was $30. I was prepared for this. Somewhere before arriving at the cash register, however, I discovered the same exact album on cassette was only $21.95. It was the same music, but I would save $8 which in 1996 money was actually closer to TWELVE DOLLARS in today's money. I believe this is the first documented event of me being a tightass.

In hindsight, the choice probably made sense as I didn't even own a CD player at the time and I did own a Walkman. Mum bought me a CD player in 1997 and I played Everclear on it a lot. In the years that followed I would have no hesitation in describing my musical tastes as "the same or similar to the band Everclear." If I had owned Electriclarryland on CD instead of tape would I have listened to it more? Would I have gone down an entirely different, life defining path in musical tastes? Could I have been more artistic, more philosophical? More abstract?

Who knows.

If I had bought the CD instead of the cassette, would I have gone down a totally different, life redefining path of not being stingy and currently be swamped with credit card debt and have no health insurance? Maybe.

I don't know what I did with that $8 I saved. I'm pretty sure I still have it.

Journal Entry 3 Pack

The rain stopped and then it was cold. This really is the most inconsiderate state. I found my slippers under the bed and the moment I slipped them on I remembered I'd spent all last winter procrastinating about buying new slippers. Despite all their holes and tears they're still warm. I think that my feet feeling warm when I put them on is just a conditioned response at this point.

Sometimes I think that nostalgia is just a different flavour of guilt that humans feel when they are reminded of a period in time where they didn't have to focus on survival.

I was looking closely at the inside of our dishwasher to try and calculate the necessary clearance for some glasses. While I was looking for the roof mounted sprinkler I realised our current model doesn't have one, just a silicone fixture I'd never scrutinised before. I realised I could unscrew it and immediately regretted it. Inside was a grey, pasty matter that made me want to immediately drive to the 24 hour K-Mart and buy all new crockery and dinner sets. How are you supposed to learn about these perils and pitfalls in life? If I was a God, all powerful and omnipotent, I would totally dedicate time each week to familiarising new renters with the obscure quirks of their inherited large appliances.

Vanessa and Bradism

One of the advantages of maintaining the same journal for the past eight years is that I haven't had to write an introduction for almost eight years.

And I think that I will just let this journal define itself over time. A long time.

Here's the pillow we slept on together last night.

image 1751 from bradism.com

Gradelaide

This week, after Sydney got a little cold overnight we decided to go here:

image 1752 from bradism.com

It was beautiful and sunny in Adelaide. We traveled over because we hadn't been in SA for about a month, and I needed to find this:

image 1753 from bradism.com

Actually, that's not true, and my plan to drink a Farmers Union Feel Good Ice Coffee was foiled when I didn't buy one.

We actually came for Vanessa to officially graduate from here:

image 1754 from bradism.com

Vanessa had to dress in entertaining robes and a floppy hat and receive her PHD certificate from academics in even more decadent robes and funny hats.

PHD Cookie:

image 1755 from bradism.com

Then we took in love photos because we are in love!!!!

image 1756 from bradism.com

Typical Sydney

After another week of Sydney rain the skies cleared for the weekend and Vanessa and I spent Sunday walking around the city. Despite being here for over a year there is still so many "Sydney" places we have not been to yet. We caught the train to Central Station and walked from there to Moore Park and looked at the SCG. After the EQ Sunday Markets we then walked up Oxford Street and lost our Max Brenner virginity in Paddington. I also found a hardback copy of Shaun Micallef's Preincarnate in a second hand book-store/cafe for $10!

After a break in Hyde Park we started walking in the direction of Pyrmont to visit the Sydney Fish Markets. One of the nice things about Sydney and its surrounds is the abundance of cool animals, birds and fish to see and hear. I was really looking forward to the ocean breeze of Pyrmont bay and seeing all the fish doing their shopping at the fish markets, buying dehydrated food flakes and tiny castles before returning back to the ocean.

The Sydney Fish Markets is not a supermarket for fish! This was immediately obvious when I walked in and saw thousands and thousands of dead fish and no cute underwater fish trolleys.

Treed and Fumbling

IT'S AUTUMN, A TIME OF the year that seems to always bring with it change. Not major changes, since the obvious major changes earlier, but the minor changes of May. Small deviances in lifestyle that has turned my habits into freed, tumbling leaves.

I stopped rolling my work shirt sleeves up before I leave home in the morning. I now need warm forearms for the walk to the train. I am trying to delay the advent of wearing a jacket to work for as long as possible, but every cold morning feels like it will be the last before I double my layers.

I stopped flushing my used dental floss down the toilet every night. Now I carry it to a bin after brushing. I miss peeing on it.

I stopped drinking Pepsi Max the day before Anzac Day. So that's fifteen days without soda. I'm not sure when exactly I became a Pepsi Max fiend, somewhere between the 29c can sale during BULKtember and this day. What I do know is that I have averaged two cans a day since. I stopped mainly to help preserve my teeth, and also because I was feeling paranoid about drinking a Pepsi Max at 1:30pm every single day at work and I couldn't stop thinking that my predictably presented the perfect opportunity for someone to poison me.

Not posting journal entries very often is a change.

I had my hair cut on the weekend, mainly so I would look less awkward in my new baseball cap. I spent a whole day dealing with my trimmings falling from my head like freed, tumbling leaves.

I have eaten a minimum of four pieces of fruit each day this week, and cut out all baked goods and processed foods. It makes me feel tingly at times.

I started posting my journal entries on weird backgrounds.

Sydney Traffic Chaos and Cityrail Woes

Yesterday I was sitting in the window seat of a Devonshire Street bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills with a local named Gus. It was a Tuesday night, at a time of year when the evening air starts to feel less like atmosphere and more like an aggressive, ethereal defender, protecting the outdoors from humans. In spite of these facts the pub was full and lively and warm. There wasn’t even trivia on, to draw this crowd, or happy hours deals to keep them inside. The content, chattering populous was there for two reasons. One was the venue itself, a traditional brick pub with polished floorboards and a restored wooden bar featuring old style taps. A long wall was covered by a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf filled with hardback collections that would have fit in perfectly in the den of any respectable professor from the turn of the century.
The other reason was, four and a half million people live in Sydney, and after the sun goes down they all have to end up somewhere.
It was Gus who had decided we should choose this venue for our meeting. He had local knowledge, and recommended it as “a nice place to have a drink.” As we sat by the window watching the light traffic on Crown Street go by I was compelled to agree.
As the evening progressed it did not take long for our conversation to turn to the topic of our trips into town, both by car and by train. Public transport and work commutes, I believe, are two of the most popular topics of discussion and contention in Sydney. Others obviously share my theory as every time I see an advert for any of the commercial television stations’ current affair programs they are always yelling “trains!” or “Sydney’s biggest road network fail!” and usually in all caps. The most read section of the Herald and the Telegraph almost always leads with an editorial on Rail changes or an article about road works and delays. It seems like you only have to put phrases like “Sydney traffic chaos” or “cityrail woes” into the title of your article and every idiot will clamour to read no matter how banal the actual content is.
Gus recently had to drive from Barangaroo to Woolloomooloo in mid-afternoon traffic. A twenty minute walk or, as he informed me, a thirty minute drive. After this experience he said he was “astounded” that people would choose to drive their cars into Sydney’s CBD and deal with the congestion, parking charges and one way streets when they could easily arrive by train instead. I agreed with him, saying that I myself would never do such a thing, but I added that after my experience with peak hour trains I could understand why others might make that decision. While I have no problems catching the train that I want and disembarking where I plan to, I have seen enough short people sardined in the morning trains, crowd surfing for the best part of an hour because they can’t reach anything to hold on to. On other occasions I have also witnessed small students and the elderly trying to alight at Redfern or Wynyard stations only for the awaiting masses to decide that the time to board had now come and in the process dragged them back into the train like a tourist in a riptide, forced to look hopelessly out the window as the train carries them away from their intended destination while they’re trapped between travellers in a stairwell, or lobbed up onto a luggage rack.
Following these tales Gus and I both processed what we had learnt from each other. After this moment of thought we simultaneously came to the same conclusion:
“Something needs to be done about Sydney’s trains...” he said.
“And something must be done about Sydney’s traffic,” I finished his sentence.
We nodded a confirmation, and I took another sip from my middy of Little Creatures Pale Ale.

How's Married Life?

Now that I'm married one of the first questions I hear when catching up with friends or acquaintances is "How's married life?"
Usually these are in what I define as “small talk situations”, so even if it’s a genuine enquiry it's kind of a bogus question. Most of the time those asking aren't expecting me to describe to them the new extents to which you can feel connected to a person. Nor do they really want details on the reassuring strength a partnership can provide when both parties show unlimited connection and trust and love for one another.
Nope, "How's married life?" is like a limited time, never to be repeated "how are you?" or "how was your weekend?" It's a more polite way of saying to someone you meet at a party, "Amuse me with anecdotes, recognisable human." Well, sure, I'll tell you what's different about married life:


  • I can't moisturise with my left hand anymore. I keep slapping metal into my eye socket.
  • The lower quality mugs in my mug collection are developing more scratches. Way to unsurprisingly cheap out, previous employer.
  • You should open a term deposit 100% in the name of the person in the marriage who is the lower tax bracket.
  • I've discovered the secret, probably popular game called bang your ring against the handlebar of your shopping trolley for your entire trip around the supermarket.
  • I feel the need to periodically update two online journals now, instead of one.

How’s Married Life?

I have been married for close to two months now and people still keep asking me “How’s Married Life?” Well, for those who aren’t disingenuous, here’s the real answer:

Married life makes me feel great. I like knowing that I have a partner in life who is committed to me with no ulterior motive, someone who is willing to share everything they have. I also like being that person in return for Vanessa. We’re a duo, teammates in a world that’s for the most part playing a single player game. We help each other so much it’s like we’re cheating at life’s challenges. Sometimes that’s the big stuff and sometimes that just involves one of us joining the end of the queue for the checkouts while the other grabs the last few items on the shopping list.

Marriage is like the ultimate connection. It’s like we’re not finishing each other’s sentences anymore, we can read the other person’s thoughts.

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night to Vanessa fussing in her sleep, talking worriedly and breathing fast. When this happens I assume she’s having bad dreams about cats or the colour green. Whenever this happens I roll over and lay my arm over her. She doesn’t wake up, but just this slight amount of contact seems to relax her and her breathing returns to normal. And then I fall back asleep.

In some ways this event sums up my satisfaction with being married. I think it’s awesome to have a bond with someone that’s so strong that they can feel your presence even when they’re fast asleep. It makes you feel like you’re part of something special. And I know that she’s still asleep after I put my arm around her because she’ll sometimes make this light, wheezy snoring sound that she would never make while conscious because of how embarrassed she’d feel if anyone heard her making it.

Cleanliness

I’m a much cleaner person in winter. That’s not to say I’m unclean during Summer. When it’s chilly my brain simply seems to be more diligent at finding things to clean to justify staying in the shower longer. Some examples thoughts from the past few weeks that have kept me under the hot water for longer than necessary include:


  • I guess I really should clean the space between my toes again.
  • The back of the facial cleanser says to leave on for one minute and I refuse to compromise on a single second.
  • I’ve washed the hair in my armpits, but I haven’t conditioned there yet.
  • I know I’m running late for work but I should probably trim those hairs on my shoulder before I get out.
  • Rinse and repeat if necessary? How do you know if a repeat shampooing is necessary? Well, better safe than sorry.
  • This is great! I can’t believe I’ve gone this far through life without thinking of flossing in the shower.

MUST NOT TURN OFF HOT WATER.

Rainbow Bay

image 1111 from bradism.com


Photographing Sydney Harbour has taught me a lot about how lights reflect on the water during long exposures... and not a lot else.

Casual Friday Breakfast III - Plus Plus Plus

image 1112 from bradism.com


It’s cold and suddenly I have way less options when it comes to breakfast. Too icy in the morning for smoothies, not enough time before work to make something hot, no particular preference for porridge. The pantry of winter is full of ghosts: memories of summer, strange fruits are in season. Winter is a time for cereal.

The first day of Winter was the day I decided I would create the ultimate bowl of Plus. It was Winter, or me saying to the Woolworth’s catalogue “Oh, Weet Bix Crunch is three dollars this week” and Vanessa overhearing and reminding me that there were seven boxes of Uncle Toby’s Plus in the cupboard which I’d convinced her to buy a few months ago and then never opened.

Whatever the reason, the time was right. It had been months since I first had the brilliant idea to apply advanced mathematics to breakfast and sum all the pluses. I like Plus, but it’s almost always been a garnish for me. Something to tip on the top of a banana or almonds or oats or all of the above. It didn’t make sense for there to be so many different options. Why did I have to choose between reducing my risk of cancer and improving my cholesterol? What happens if spent all evening at the gym, but spent the rest of the day eating candy (the Lamar Odom diet)? What if was going to play sports that day, but also wanted to wear my pink jumper to the shops? Why would I ever eat Muesli Plus and forsake all of the above?

image 1113 from bradism.com

Casual Friday Breakfast presented my chance to combine seven cereal types in one bowl. Here they are all in a row. A series of cereals. Sports Plus is missing because I threw away the box, but there was some left in a packet which you’ll see in the bowl below.

image 1115 from bradism.com

Then I added milk, which I documented in graphic detail, with HD, slow motion zoom if you roll over, because obviously I have been watching too much NBA on ESPN this past month.

Then I added milk, which I documented in graphic detail, with HD, slow motion zoom if you roll over, because obviously I have been watching too much NBA on ESPN this past month.

Seven cups of cereal and about half a litre of milk. I knew it would take me about an hour to eat. After that I was outfitted for anything the day could throw at me.

Seven cups of cereal and about half a litre of milk. I knew it would take me about an hour to eat. After that I was outfitted for anything the day could throw at me.

Cons: Negatives first, this was a lot of food and took all of sixty seconds before everything tasted the same. The only exception being the dried berries in the Essentials for Women Plus that brightened up every seventh spoonful. Maybe I’m not used to cereal when it doesn’t have Weet Bix beneath it to absorb most of the moisture. Even though I was incredibly full half way through eating it, I was still considering adding some Two Fruits and maybe some Weet Bix.

Pros: Where to start? My muscles felt good. I didn’t die from cancer. I only needed three squares. I had great focus. I didn’t even need coffee for some reason. Work today ended up being extremely frenetic and I was able to concentrate on several important tasks at once without having to worry if I had to take my fish oil.

Improvement in Productivity: I achieved a lot in the seven hours following breakfast because I didn’t have to worry about finding anything to eat again during that time.

Casual Friday Rating: Three working from home and having time to put a load of washing on so that you didn’t have to waste ten minutes of your weekend to do it out of five.

image 1119 from bradism.com


Futurism

Today I realised that eight months have passed since I updated my journal with a single sentence.

Nostalgia

I've been writing down my life's adventures and mishaps for a decade now. That proves I'm a fan of nostalgia. Obviously, I revel in it. If nostalgia was an unattended kiddy pool filled to the brim with freshly picked raspberries then I would be rose coloured head to toe and permanently immune to scurvy.

Nostalgia is a scary, powerful emotion capable of making any past experience in your life seem like it was great. Even if it was actually terrible. Sometimes you even feel bad that you no longer do things that you didn't really enjoy the first time. For example, sometimes I feel nostalgic about my time as a nightfiller. When I reflect on my evenings of shelf stocking everything seemed so fun. It was all joking around with bros, accidentally breaking packets of biscuits and then gorging on them, and pranking the day staff. When I'm reflecting do I dwell on the memories of stocking and then rotating all those fucking millions of tiny tins of fucking cat food? Every night? No, I don't. I mean seriously, how many freaking cats were there in Blackwood? Tins of tuna, actual tuna for humans was cheaper than that cat food. And don't get me started on baby food, equally tiny but also in glass jars that for some Goddamn reason they could never quite make the shelves the right height for.

This kind of nostalgia, where you have good feelings about something that was really only average is what I refer to as "hindsight nostalgia". I don't really miss trying to work out the differences between pickle jars while my boss stands a metre away from me telling me to hurry up. What I miss is immaterial things. Feelings, like independence, and making money regularly without any real bills to pay. I miss the new-found confidence I gained from learning to interact with society and occasionally guiding someone from society to the correct aisle where the thing they wanted was. I miss the endorphins that came from completing manual labour.

At the time I didn't consciously appreciate these concepts or how they applied to me until after I had matured beyond them. Subconsciously, however, reward centres in my brain must have been triggered, because things that make you grow as a person seem to make you associate the events of those times with good memories. Even if really, those events are something that you shouldn't try to repeat.

And that's why sometimes I smile when I look up at the capping in the local supermarket. Or when I find my old name tag in a box of knick knacks. Or when I smell fresh raspberries.

Blackout

It's 2012, and while power outages happen less frequently now than they did before, they still happen. Nothing makes you feel more like you're living in the 1800's than a blackout at night.

After our power went off at 8:30pm I suppose I could have been like the rest of Sydney, crying out in anguish as their flat screen TVs flickered to black, moaning in the streets, blaming the state government. Instead I realised the silver lining, and I settled in on the couch to read a book with my kindle app. And then I thought to myself "I could go a cup of tea." Too bad the power's off, oh wait no it's not, because we have gas and a saucepan! I am the smartest fucker alive.

As I poured the boiled water into my mug by torchlight I felt superior, because I know for sure that in a post-technological future (or, in event of time-rip, past) I will excel. I felt so good about this that I wrote this all out on my smartphone so I could post it on my web journal. Then my phone went flat. Then I was bored. Then the power came back on. Longest fifteen minutes ever.

The First Week of June

Winter came a different way that year. There was no gradual change, no overlap of seasons. Whatever heavenly council had ruled to keep the skies blue, the clouds whispy and the sun bright indefinitely. It had been a mild summer prior and life took on a certain, expected reliability. Complacency developed. The tiniest shower was news; a frosty morn cause for complaint. And then winter finally arrived.

When winter came it was not like a thief, unannounced. Winter arrived like a circus coming to town. The day began like all those before it, the chirp of birds as the sunrise shooed away the clouds. The shadows shortened, the air was still and dry. A crack of thunder was like a trumpet, breaking the silence, and then came the parade. A wind led the way, spreading the word. Behind the wind came the clouds. Gigantic, black blankets that hung over the rooftops like Thanksgiving day balloons. Then came the rain, faces appearing at all the windows that lined the streets to watch it swirl in sprays.

The darkness followed these, the sun sucked away in an instant like a conjurers illusion. In the darkness came the accessories. Acrobats carrying umbrellas, countless clusters of them balancing on narrow strips of dryness between huge expanses of water. They performed their choreographed dance, following the same steps, seeking the same shelters, sipping similar soups. Lights flashed green, then red, then green again and the performers danced as if in fast forward, dodging drips, disappearing into doorways and ducking downpours.

Then the night took control of the show, a hint of the coming finale: the last float, the end of the parade. Everyone held their breath as it rounded the corner. It was the cold. The children cried out. The cold came and it stayed. That’s when we knew that winter had arrived. In that first week of June, that’s when we realised what we had thought was winter had only been autumn.

Symbolic Symbolism

There's a technique in cinematography known as 'The Pullback Method'. What it entails, essentially, is that a scene starts with the point of view zoomed in on something small. Some dramatic music plays and really slowly the camera zooms out to reveal the scene.

The sweat pasted brow of Shannon 'The Cannon' Ford, glistening.

It's usually pretty hard to get a good nickname. Shannon "The Cannon" had one of the best I'd ever heard. When we were kids at school all he ever wanted was an awesome nickname. And he wanted one that rhymed. He had a fifteenth birthday party and invited all his friends and told us all we shouldn't buy him any gifts under any circumstance. At the party he sat us all down and explained that the only present he wanted was a nickname and we could all save our money if we just gave him one and stuck to it. We agreed. The only rhyme with Shannon we could think of was cannon.
For thirty years he's been The Cannon, and despite his lanky frame, glasses and slight social awkwardness, his nickname is still cause for reverence and mystery amongst everyone he meets who doesn't know the origin. In reality it's doubtful whether The Cannon is capable of shooting any heavy objects at high velocity, or for that matter any other acts of above-average strength. But that's the thing about The Cannon, when he wants something, he simply works out how he's going to get it, and then he gets it.
This explained how we got to where we are now.

The Cannon's face staring blankly back at me, eyes bulged, unfocussed.

There comes a point in life, for some, when you realise that you're lonely. For The Cannon this had come a few Sunday afternoons ago when he was using his tongue to hunt the last few drops of soup that lingered near the bottom of the bowl. It was a sunny afternoon outside, but inside that living room there was a cold air that even a well-worn dressing gown couldn't block. When you realise that you've already seen the same decade old, feel good, Sunday afternoon movie from the same seat in the same pyjamas, something happens to a person.

'I'm lonely,' said to us the man with house walls decorated by sixteen designer prints and one photo of his mother.
These two words had been preceded by a good deal of poignant silence, to seem prolific. Unfortunately a crowded, noisy bar isn't the best place for such important revelations to be made and the words were not heard. Instead, they capitulated downwards, splashing into The Cannon's glass and sinking gently into its pale depths.
'What?' I mouthed, loudly.
The Cannon looked forlorn, staring into the woodwork and willing himself to become stuck inside it. Ryan, a potential background character up to this point, glanced at me with a 'there's something wrong here and we should do something about it' look that I would swear he'd stolen from my wife. I was surprised he'd managed to find where she hid it. There wasn't time to ponder though, as something was quite clearly depressing The Cannon and it was the duty of Ryan and me to find a solution. The two of us began looking by quickly finishing our beers and then wordlessly took a guard of honour on either side of The Cannon and walked him from the pub and out onto the snowy streets.

In the background a drunken Asian man emerged from the dance floor, scavenged the last half of The Cannon's unfinished glass and swallowed down its contents. A second later, he choked.

We staggered along the slippery sidewalk, the three of us, trying to make sense of our foreboding dispositions. It certainly felt to me that something significant was in the process of occurring. We discovered a local park and lumbered up some narrow steps into a gazebo to shelter from the cold in the shadow of the city's clock tower. The night wasn't still young, but it wasn't old. It was middle aged; having gone past what it was originally trying to achieve without much success, yet with still enough time to try something new. In the background, to signify some dramatic effect, the clock struck one with such unnecessary force that the digit rocked visibly before tumbling to the ground and plonking into the snow.
The Cannon moaned sadly, quietly. The kind of moan a mother lion would make if its litter had been trampled by wildebeest during a stampede. He was suffering a pain that wasn't physical, but hurt like it was.
'I've wasted my whole life,' he told us, 'I've achieved nothing.'
Ryan and I looked at each other, confused. When you go into town for a night out you don't really bring with you the tools required to defuse a personal crisis. The situation was unreal.
'No man...' I consoled him.
'No' echoed Ryan.
'...I mean, not nothing, there's got to be at least one or two small things you can say you achieved.'
'No,' The Cannon stammered stubbornly, 'Nothing!'
The seconds passed with nothing left to say. Everybody looked at the floor.
'So...' started Ryan, the yellow canary of awkward silences. Nothing. More minutes passed.
'So what will you do about it?' I asked him.
'Don't know!' he pouted.
'Stop being so childish!' I scolded, rapping him across his knuckles with a ruler.
'I want to fix it. If I could have my time again, I would do everything differently.'
'Such as?'
'All those things that I didn't do, I would have done, and I wouldn't have done the things that I did. I would play with Lego more as a child and read more books as a teenager. I...' The Cannon's head began to rise with his imagination powered conviction. 'If only I could have my time again!'
'You can,' whispered a sultry female voice from behind. We all turned to look at the stairs to the gazebo where a dark woman in eastern-attire was gliding towards us. 'It is not too late.'
I stared at her and it dawned on me, messily. It trickled through my hair onto my shoulders and down my arms. I grabbed The Cannon by the elbow.
'You want to change your life?' I asked him. He nodded dumbly. 'Well think about it: what have you been doing wrong so far.'
'Wasting my time.'
'Right, and now you want to know where all that wasted time goes.'
'Yes.'
'Well, I know.'
'You know what?' asked Ryan, fighting against the annihilation of becoming a background character.
'I know where all the time goes.'
'Where?' asked The Cannon.
'It's about a ninety minute drive down the highway. There's a huge storehouse there. That's where they keep time. I've seen it on the way home from some of my trips out south.'
'And if we go there I can get my time back?' The Cannon was optimistic now.
'Yes,' purred the lady, 'Your friend is correct.'
'Well, let's go!' cried The Cannon.
'Now hold on,' Ryan said, being the realist, 'we can't just drop everything and leave for a road trip. I mean, fuck, yeah, road trips are awesome, but we've got to be responsible. We don't even have a car here!'
'I'll drive,' she said, 'we can take my car. It's a Lexus.'
We all agreed.
'No shit,' I told her, 'You're the best guiding spirit ever.'

Two high-beams cut into the night. The resulting ribbons of darkness fluttered to the ground and settled before they were blown apart again by the speeding Lexus and back into the night.
In the back seat there was a clink as Ryan and I celebrated the beginning of the road trip with a drink. Outside the scenery flew by, always in the opposite direction to us. The rain fell intermittently, first light, then heavy, like our evening. The windscreen wipers swiped clumsily at drops of water before being overpowered by streams of rain. The resulting symphony played in harmony with the synthesiser and string. The balance remained as we drove further. Around us the houses began to thin out and started hiding behind hills and knolls. The trees started forming packs and growling at us. The road was becoming wider and darker, windier and colder. I shivered.

In the front seat, The Cannon had sobered up and become more serious. He sat up in his seat, determined. The dark rings beneath his eyes revealed how fatigued he was. The initial excitement of the trip was wearing off, and the weight on his shoulders was crushing him into the leather seats. He sighed.
'Are you worried?' she asked him.
'A little.'
'You seem tired.'
'I am tired.'
'Why don't you sleep more?' The question was an innocent one, with no hint of malice or a darker understanding of the true meaning of the word, just the literal interpretation.
'I sleep too much,' he responded. 'You can't take everything literally.'
He sunk further into the seat, the leather stretched and squealed. He could feel the metal of the car floor through the now thin lining. The circles under his eyes grew darker.
'What makes you so tired then?' she inquired.
'Wishing, mainly,' he chuckled dryly; a respite from the rain.
'What do you wish for?'
The Cannon tried to smile, enjoying the attentions of an attractive woman, but the subject matter at hand was too bleak.
'For a lot of things really: a better life, the undoing of mistakes, for companionship.'
'Is that all?' There was a small pause; a silence developed which was draped over the internal argument. Quietly, it was lifted again:
The Cannon said, 'I spend most of my days wishing I was never born.'
'Oh,' she stated, as if the answer had been expected but had still caught her off guard, 'no wonder you are so tired, if you spend all your day wishing I can hardly imagine how you have time to do anything else.'
'I find ways to deal with it. I don't sleep much. My bed is too cold,' his shoulders slumped as he talked, being crushed. The seat cracked and split and he slipped through it now, resting on the cold steel of the car's undercarriage. That too began to strain. She furrowed her brow in worry and placed her hand on his knee to comfort him. He sat up straighter, 'but there are ways to keep sane,' The Cannon said.
The seating returned to normal.
'Like what?' she asked. He didn't respond. She put her hand back on the steering wheel.
After a moment, he spoke. 'It's embarrassing...'
'It's ok, I won't laugh,' she smiled coyly, in a way that seemed familiar and warm, 'Tell me.'
'I try to find a better place. Somewhere I can feel happier, where harsh reality can't bring me down...'
She watched him talk, waiting for him to go on.
'... I don't really... I don't think you understand me.'
'No... I understand you.'
For the first time today, The Cannon smiled. They smiled together.

For the other senses: the aromas of bouquets, a low hum of excitement.
The Cannon's palms clasped together. A unique smile on his face. His head turned to watch.

The Cannon was not smiling. The driver's door opened and he watched longingly as she gracefully seated herself behind the wheel.
'That should give us enough fuel to get there easily,' she told us, starting the car cleanly at the same time. We drove off.
'Good, I'd hate it if we encountered some major problem just as it seemed our objective was in reach,' I said. Ryan looked over at me and I closed my mouth before I said anything else. We both were encouraging The Cannon to keep up the conversation with this woman, so we returned to our own world in the back seat.
'Is there anything else we need to worry about?' he asked, 'anything else that might prevent us from getting there?'
'Do not despair,' she said to him, unworried, 'the journey is never easy, but it is always achievable. We will make it to our objective'
'It seems all my journeys never go to plan,' he complained, 'they always start well enough but before long everything seems to go wrong and it becomes hopeless. I always give up after that.'
She smiled sympathetically at him.
'Life is tough.' She glanced over at him, keeping the car straight.
'Is it?' he asked, unconvinced. 'I don't find it hard, I find it repetitive. Every day is the same.'
'Doesn't that make it hard?'
'Why would it?'
'It just seems it would be challenging trying to do everything the exact same way every day. I know I wouldn't be able to do it, I'd want to break out of the cycle.'
'What!' His tone rose aggressively. 'No! I don't try to do everything the same way every day, that's just the way it happens!'
'How hard could it be to do something different?' She shot back.
'That's not what I mean.'

The windscreen wipers picked up their pace to match the torrential rain now falling. They gained on it and took the lead. We watched their celebratory dance on the windscreen. The downpour did exactly that. The whole car shrunk smaller as a cacophony of water spilled onto it. The roar drowned out the music; its last bubbles barely made it from the speakers to the surface.
We built up enough speed and drove into the night, hitting it head on and facing no resistance. It now surrounded us. We drove on.

A wide yawn broke the silence.
'We're almost there,' she said.
'I can't stay awake much longer,' muttered The Cannon, 'but my mind is racing.'
'What's in your thoughts, sweetie?'
'I can't stop thinking about all the things I'm going to do when I get my time back.'
'Like what? What do you regret most?'
'So many things... but mainly... there was this girl...'
'Ah,' she chuckled a little, 'who was she?'
'Her name was Susie-May.'
'Tell me about her.'
'I loved her,' said The Cannon.
'...And?'
'I should never have let her go. She said, "do you want me to stay?" and I said "It's up to you" and she said "I'll stay if you want me to" and I said "go".'
'You wish you'd said "stay"?'
'Every day I wish...' His lips curled. Wishes were a bitter subject.
On the horizon we could see it: the tip of our destination. As we drove closer it came into view. It was magnificent, though difficult to make out against the dark night sky. Lightning flashed around it helpfully, illuminating its enormity. It stood sixty stories tall; a giant, round silo sticking straight up from the ground. Other than a few sheds and small buildings around it there was nothing large nearby, making its size more obvious. There were warning lights embedded on the sides to keep planes from flying too close. We turned down an access road and headed towards it. She parked the car beneath its presence. We got out and looked up, craning our necks back to see to the top and gaining nothing but awe and vertigo.
Ryan and I started looking around to find the entry; the other two were behind. From the corner of my eye I saw The Cannon reach for her hand. In the rain they followed us hand-in-hand as we circumnavigated the huge, concrete mountain in search of a door.
It didn't take long before we were passing through two well maintained automatic doors. Inside the lobby was warm and well lit. Clean, rarely used couches sat against the wall next to pot plants all designed to match the interior decoration. At the desk sat an elderly man in a blue security uniform. He gave us all a welcoming smile. I put mine in my pocket. He looked like he'd been expecting us.
The Cannon glanced at his watch.
'Good morning,' he said to the guardian, 'how are you?'
'I'm well,' he nodded in response. The Cannon nodded back, and then he spilled the pleasantries.
'Look, I want it back,' he begged. 'Please, let me have it back. I'll pay you. I'll do anything if you give it all back to me.'
The guardian smiled sympathetically, his eyes showed mournful bemusement.
'I'm sorry... you can't. it just can't be done.'
The Cannon turned around to face us. He looked to his guiding spirit for assistance, but she was nowhere to be seen.
'No!' he cried, 'don't leave me!'
Her voice filled the air:
'I've brought you this far, now it's up to you.'
The Cannon looked around desperately, not moving.
'Jesus, Shannon, I'm not going to leave you. This isn't fucking Star Wars.' She was suddenly next to the guardian's desk, punching him in the stomach.
Using the distraction The Cannon ran into the lift and Ryan and I followed him. In a panic he stabbed at the close door buttons.
'Go!' she screamed as the doors closed. We watched as the guardian tackled her to the ground. An alarm started shrilling. The lift rose and The Cannon sniffled.

Each of the lift buttons had a corresponding letter next to it. We headed up to level nineteen, which was the second 'F' level. We piled out upon arrival and started running down the dark corridors. Doors lined the walls every few metres. Each solid looking door had a glass window top-centre. Next to each door was a sign. We ran until we found the right one, with the label that said 'Ford, J. – Fordham, W.'.
'This is it,' announced The Cannon, grabbing the handle, 'this is the restart of my life.'
The door handle didn't turn.
'It's locked!' he said, eyes watering in disbelief. We gazed in through the window and could see hundreds of boxes, all tagged with a name. We could see the one that said 'Shannon "The Cannon" Ford' on it. It was the biggest in the room. He banged on the door, willing it to open; half crying.
Footsteps in the distance quickly grew louder as three guards came at us. Ryan and I stepped back, hands in the air. One of them watched us, the other two approached The Cannon and each put a hand on his shoulder. The Cannon bawled.
'I want it, I need it! Please!'
'Come on, please, come with us,' urged a guard.
'No,' the cannon refused, 'I need my time back!'
'Time?' asked a guard, confused, 'what are you talking about?'
'My time is in there. You store time here,' The Cannon told him.
The guard chuckled, unsure of whether he was serious. 'We don't store time here.'
'That's absurd,' said the other, 'Time is not stored here or anywhere. You can't physically store time; that's crazy... it's impossible!'
'You... You don't store time here?' The Cannon moaned.
'No,' said the guard. 'We store dreams here.'
'Oh shit, yeah,' I said. 'They store dreams here, not time, sorry Cannon, I always get them mixed up.'
'Oh...' said The Cannon.

We let the guards walk us back to the lift and they escorted us outside. The woman was standing in front of her car smoking a cigarette. We walked up to her feeling sorry for ourselves.
'They store dreams here, not time,' The Cannon told her.
'Oh honey...'
'I'll never be able to have my time again. I'll never be able to redo all those mistakes. I'm still going to be lonely. I'll always be lonely!'
Susie May opened her arms and hugged him to her.
'Shhh,' she consoled him, 'you're wrong. I'm here for you. I did go, but now I'm back.' She gripped The Cannon tightly and they kissed.
'I told you you'd achieve your objective,' she beamed at him.
Next to me, Ryan shed a tear.
'Well,' I said to him, 'I guess The Cannon found what he was looking for after all.'
'It was worth a trip after all,' Ryan replied.
We stood and watched them embrace as the rain pattered out and the sun began to rise.

Church bells ringing. Everyone's gaze is watching Susie-May walk towards The Cannon. She looks so beautiful, and I'd never seen The Cannon look so happy. I'd never seen The Cannon... Everything flickered. The living room is filled by the sound of ringing bells. He looks out of place, sitting at the altar in an old dressing gown. The Cannon's gaze is faltering. I try to stand by him in support. The room shook and she was gone. They were all gone. The Cannon sat on his couch.
He echoed his own words:
'I try and find a better place,' he told me
The Cannon looked at me for advice; I looked back at him sadly. I told him, 'They store dreams.'
I flickered out.

The Pullback Method is a short story I wrote in the winter of 2004. I never finished it and so never uploaded it. Today I resolved to stop leaving writing unfinished. To reinforce this behaviour I published this old story on bradism.com as a symbolic gesture. The effect of this, I believe, is that my first novel will be available to read online in Autumn 2020.

Storm Warning

I don’t want to seem like the kind of person who only talks about the weather and whines about the rain. But! In the eleven months I have lived in the Canterbury district the monthly rainfall record has been broken three times! And according to my calculations this month is already on par with the current record for June. All of this rain, along with a little bit of me being man-baby about a sore throat, has made this long weekend a lot more damp and indoorsy than I wanted. We did make an awesome pumpkin soup today though, so there’s that. I actually tried to go for a walk at around sunset this evening but I was poured on. At first I enjoyed the rain, but then I turned skittish about my new phone suffering moisture damage. I wasn’t afraid of the phone being ruined as much as I was afraid of me being too much of a tightarse to have it repaired and deciding instead to use my broken Galaxy S for another two years until my contract expired again.

While I was out walking in my rain jacket my thoughts turned to what life would be like if rain was as ubiquitous as non-rain. What if rain fell almost all of the time, all year long. An inverse-weather parallel world. It would be like that secret, always raining planet in Attack of the Clones, right? I mean, shit! Why do I remember the most useless things from terrible movies... What I meant to meditate on is, what would an always raining planet have meant for humanity as a whole. Would we even be humans at all? Would we be some sort of weird frog people? Was there going to be any point to climbing from the ocean and growing legs if it was going to rain most of the time, and would the sometimes scattered and sometimes torrential beams of sunshine be as discouraging and picnic ruining as rain is to this universe’s humans?

Bear with me as I imagine what life would be like for the frog people. Things like building houses, and electronics, and basketball I think would be completely revolutionised. I’m pretty sure that the frog people’s instinct to watch short, amusing videos on their computers would have driven them to invent their own kind of internet at some point. I can even imagine regular frog persons posting their thoughts on their own kind of frog blog... I was going to write “frog journal” there but the phrase “frog blog” popped out like it might justify this entire entry... Once you moved past the major differences between the two societies I think there would actually be a lot of similarities between us. I’m sure in some dimension right now there’s a frog person updating their frog journal, writing things like “I don’t want to sound like the kind of amphibian who always talks about the weather, but seriously, it was sunny this entire weekend! I didn’t attend any picnics. Worse, I think I’ve caught a cold but I might just need to stop being a man-tadpole about it. Because it was sunny we stayed in all weekend and watched TV. Attack of the Clones was playing on Saturday night, ugh, what a terrible movie.”

Plus Minus

I have eaten a lot of Uncle Toby’s Plus cereal in the the month of June, mainly motivated by fear of feeling guilty for opening food and then wasting it. However, with the weather as cruel as it has been, I have come to appreciate Plus even more than I did before June One’s Casual Friday Breakfast. It’s so cold in our house, and fruit ripens so slowly that buying a hand of green bananas almost feels like opening a term deposit.

I feel I was a bit harsh on the cereal in my original post. I complained that, on its own, Plus varieties seemed to lack a certain something. A platform. Really, this should have been obvious, it’s called Plus because it needs to be added to something. Fibre Plus Weet Bix and a Banana. Sports Plus Weet Bix and Oats. Essentials for Women Plus Weet Bix and LSA mix... Well, you know what I’m trying to say: That Weet Bix is amazing.

I’m now a bit of a Plus connoisseur. For example, I can tell you the difference in flakes between Museli Plus and Antioxidants Plus. I’ve also been thinking a lot about ideas for new Plus varieties. I believe there is a lot of potential for new options in this range based on my winter lifestyle. Imagine, if you would indulge me, Caffeine Plus (husks, dried fruit, muesli flakes and nuggets of dried coffee). Potassium Plus (dried banana and muesli). Glucosamine Plus. Antibiotic Plus (now with real lozenge pieces). Yogurt Plus. Bacon and Eggs Plus. I could go on forever. Wine Plus. Noun Plus. Moisturiser and Toothpaste Plus. Sleep Plus. Weet Bix Plus.

The Galaxy Note is a Very Large Phone

image 1120 from bradism.com

As proof, witness this photo I took with the aforementioned phone.

Lovesick

There are lots of things you do with your spouse after you’re married, like holidays, work functions and dinner parties. Add to that list “being sick”. That’s what Vanessa and I have been doing over the past week. Who was sick first, and who was sick the most, are up for debate. We’ve both been equally afflicted since the weekend.

Being sick usually makes me miserable, and it makes me feel persecuted and singled out by a cold, horrid world. Being sick as a couple is a lot more tolerable. We can take turns to bring each other soup, compete to see who can land a sodden tissue in a bin on the other side of the room and snuggle under a blanket together. We also give each other advice on what to expect, as we both seem to have a cold or infection that bounces from place to place relentlessly, which I’m guessing is why it has maintained for so long. I’m not sure of exactly where this illness originated from, but I’m pretty sure I caught it on Sydney’s public transport.

Vanessa has been an excellent carer at times when I’ve needed looking after, and I do my best when she’s in need. I think this is the first time we both have been so run down at the same time. While it has mainly been a world of snot and headaches, in a special way, it’s also been a highlight of the marriage so far.

Themes and Repititions

image 1121 from bradism.com


image 1122 from bradism.com


image 1123 from bradism.com


image 1124 from bradism.com


image 1125 from bradism.com

Due

An enjoyable sunny morning playing Disney Princess Uno with the Nuclear Physicist wife.

image 1757 from bradism.com

"I Win the series! Now I know how LeBron James must feel right now."

Authorism

"You're lying," said Miriam.
"I'm not. I saw him {insert smoking gun/obvious reason/evidence things}."

Thanks a freaking lot, handwritten notes.

From Behind

Don't stop.
That's it, yeah, keep going. Don't stop.
That's it, go a little faster.
Faster.
Oh yeah, that's right. That's perfect. keep going faster. Don't be shy.
Why don't you just try squeezing in there? I bet you fit.
Try it, yeah.
I know.
I knew you'd be surprised. See how easily you can just slide right between them?
How easy was that? Wasn't that nothing? But you made it so easy. Don't stop now. See how far you can get.
Yeah, and keep going faster.
Faster!
Don't stop! Whatever you do, don't stop!
Keep going, I'm almost there.
Yes, yes, yes!
Oh God yes!
YES!
OH YEAH!
I'm free!
Woo, that's amazing.
Yes! Freedom! Sweet release!

- The inner monologue of a fast walker on a lunch break in Chatswood's crowded mall.

The Doors

When people run for the door of Sydney’s trains I don’t think it’s because they’re too impatient to wait three minutes for the next one. Not in my experience, anyway. People run because they have planned their trip to the station in a way that they don’t waste a second of their busy, important lives waiting. Every minute between leaving the house and stepping over the yellow line has been calculated and planned. Missing the train won’t just cost them a few minutes, it signifies a categorical failure in their ability to organise their own lives. A failure they would be forced to dwell on if they can’t squeeze their body through the closing door.

Sadly, I have been guilty of this too. Guilty of running through closing doors as well as turning daily commutes into Rush Hour. The latter, I’m starting to appreciate, is caused by an attitude problem. This is my childhood in the countryside talking, but Sydney is so large and complex and entangled within itself that getting from one side of it to the other is a complicated process. It’s up to the commuter, however, to decide for his or herself if these complexities and steps are obstacles or attractions.

What’s referred to as “The Golden Hours” in photography circles is the hour after sunrise, and the hour preceding sunset. That’s when the sky is interesting, the light is friendly, and rocks and walls get colours. For most of the year the golden hours overlap with peak hour. When you’re not rushing from place to place you can see the most amazing things at these times. I remember the first day I crossed the Harbour Bridge on a train at eight in the morning. A rising sun to the east was reflecting off skyscrapers and making the water sparkle crazy blue below. The foliage along the harbour stood out in bold, spring greens. It was magnificent, and everyone around me was staring at the screens of their phones. After a week, so was I.

I was rushing as usual on my way to work this morning when I was stopped by an distracting sight. It was an Australian wood duck standing on the top of a chimney. He stood, docile, surveying the world around him. In my field of vision he was a centrepiece in front of a gloomy yet beautiful, overcast sunrise. I see many things like this in the mornings and I always want to enjoy them, but I don’t. Today that changed. I decided catching the next train wouldn’t be a failure. I stopped walking. I stared at the duck.

Destiny

Recently I have been working in the suburb of Chatswood, which coincidentally happens to be the suburb in which I was born. Technically I was born in a hospital a few suburbs north of Chatswood, but it was in Chatswood that I was first brought home, and it was in Chatswood that I ruptured the innermost membranes of my embryo and sent amniotic fluids dripping down my mother’s legs.

The interesting thing about this heritage is that after the first year and a bit of my life I left Chatswood and I never went back there again. Not once. Not until I landed a new job and started catching a train through the suburb on a daily basis. Then work moved to Chatswood and I was walking around in it on a daily basis. It was a strange feeling.

All those times I passed by on the train I wondered to myself, what would it be like going into Chatswood? How would it make me feel? Would I remember things? I thought surely I would experience some ethereal sensation, some stirring inside of me that this part of the planet was significant to my life. I mean, I know it’s been twenty seven years since I’ve been there. Would it be like finally coming home? I wasn’t after something big. I didn’t expect I’d turn a corner and slip over my own discarded placenta. I just thought I would feel something.

It was a beautiful mid-winter day today. The sun was out and it was twenty-three degrees. During my lunch break I decided to go on a quest, I was going to walk and see my old house. I used Google Maps and my birth certificate to plan a path. It was less than two kilometres. I crossed the Pacific Highway and started walking. I kept my eyes sharp, wondering when or if I would start to recognise anything. I stopped briefly to scroll through the songs on my phone to find something poignant to play as I walked up the street to my childhood home.

Nothing I saw as I walked seemed familiar or important. I was close to my house now, and I turned onto my first street. A chill went through me. I won’t lie, it was a shady street, but a powerful thought did at that moment cross my mind. It was an image of my mother, heavily pregnant and cleaning the bathroom of what was about to become my home. She had a red bandana on, and George Michael’s Careless Whisper was playing on the radio. Did I travel through time at that moment? Did I really hear the saxophones? I don’t think so.

I found my house. It was just as my parents described it. My eyes glanced from place to place - the gate, the path, the letterbox, the fence. Nothing registered. It could have been any house on any street. I took a few camera phone photos regardless, and then I scampered away guiltily because I always feel shameful after using my camera phone in public.

As I was walking back to the office, enjoying the sunshine and irrelevant music, I heard footsteps behind me, running. An old man had chased me down. He waved his hands in my face and I stopped my music.

Who was this man? Was it someone who recognised me? Was it me, from the future?

“I was yelling at you,” he said, “you had your music in.”
“Yes, I did.”
“Can you help me? I need to lift a wheelbarrow onto my truck.”
Behind him there was a dual cab ute with a roof rack. One wheelbarrow was on top of it already, another stood forlorn beside the vehicle.
“Sure,” I said. I took the handles and together we put it onto the roof racks.
“Thanks,” he said, “you are a real gentleman.”
“No worries,” I said. “Bye.” I walked off quickly, because interacting with strangers makes me uncomfortable.

Winter Blues

Another beautiful, sunny day in Hurstvil.... I can't say it with a straight face... A lovely bakery in lovely Dover Heights on a lovely winter's day.

Another beautiful, sunny day in Hurstvil.... I can't say it with a straight face... A lovely bakery in lovely Dover Heights on a lovely winter's day.



Vanessa and I were off on another walking adventure.

Vanessa and I were off on another walking adventure.



I didn't take many photos.

I didn't take many photos.



It was a nice day.

It was a nice day.

Assignats

A polite panic hung over the cubicles of Level 19. There was a shortage of paper towel in the office. Trilling phones made people jump. As the days went on and it became clear that the stocks would not be replenished, the intensity and overall blood pressure of the collective spiralled higher. No one could have predicted the carnage that the omission of such a simple staple would bring.
Handy towels - extra absorbent - were a necessity of office life. Their firm, flexible presence was what held the very fabric of our habitat together (stronger when wet). We used them ubiquitously, as coasters for our coffee; towels to dry our hands; wipes to clean away the sauce of our lunch or the juice from our apples from the surfaces of our desks. It was policy, the note taped to the microwave proclaimed, that reheated meals must be covered by them. And afterwards, when we rinsed our Tupperware and avoided the long since laundered tea towels it was their paper brothers we turned to for drying.

While the shortage persisted mornings became unbearable. Coffee mugs with yesterday's stains couldn't be refilled with instant coffee mix, making procrastination harder. Boxes of donuts, supplied every Monday and Friday, were eyed wistfully. Tempting, but with nothing we could hold them with, nor to wipe our mouths on after.

The rumours spoke of an issue between management and the supplier. It was a rumour only; there had been no official correspondence distributed under company logos on the official email template. Not one executive seemed to appreciate the growing worries. Paper towels were what separated us from the blue collar. What they would treat as indulgence or admire with novelty we bourgeoisie took for granted. When they ate their sandwiches they'd sweep the crumbs to the floor. After our baguettes we would shepherd the crumbs and loose shreds of romaine lettuce onto the canvas of paper towel and deposit it into our individual waste baskets. That was what made us upper class.

By the fifth day things had gotten desperate. Stocks were dwindling. Every cupboard of every kitchenette was barren. In the bathrooms disgruntled lines formed to use the gimpy blow drier and its lazy, gentle breeze. Mike, one of the Service Support technicians, was microwaving the rest of last night's stir fry under the cover of a network access request form. You could tell who had half a roll left in their desks by those who had keyboards and monitors with no dust.

After eight days you couldn't pass a water cooler without overhearing the discussions on why we didn't go out and buy our own towels. It was principle, mainly.
'Why should we buy our own towels when they used to supply them?' Martha asked. Martha was now banned from the Nandos in the plaza downstairs. She'd tried to take more than her allocation of napkins, been refused and ended up slapping a junior manager who didn't hesitate to invoke his junior authority.
'And now my photo's on the wall there!' she said.
We all had excuses: inflation, taxes, Porter's Five Forces model. In the end we didn't need to justify our action. It was our right to have paper towels provided for us.

Jon Wu developed a sniffle as the season changed. After two days of blowing his noise on the recycled toilet paper, he resigned. He did not serve his two weeks and forewent payouts.
By the third Friday, when the donuts arrived, they were placed by the still unfinished box from Monday. A sorrowful gathering began in the kitchenette to gaze at them and murmur discontentedly. Finally, Taylor, one of the apprentices who always had whispers about him, stepped forward with youthful impetuosity and selected a sugar powdered pastry. We observed silently as he raised it towards his teeth. Three, four, five bites were made. It was all but gone. Strawberry filling leaked and grains of sugar left their legacy on his fingers like sandy feet leaving the seaside.
Taylor looked around nervously, examining each of our blank faces. With no support he licked each of his fingers clean then tried to wave them dry in the air. The last time we ever saw him was his surrender; he wiped his hands down the back of his pin-stripe pants and left the kitchenette sullenly, never to be seen again.

The whispers about Taylor ended that day, but another series started.
'Rose,' Marcus passed on, 'she has towels stockpiled at her desk. Stacks of them!'

At a quarter to eleven that morning Rose moved to the ladies room. Marcus was keeping lookout, and he signalled to us all. We stormed Rose's cubicle, turning over stacks of files, knocking over ornaments and pulling out drawers.
'There!'
We all stopped, gazing in glee at the pyramid of rolls Rose had in the bottom of her drawer. Hands flew, plastic wrapping was ripped and we gorged on paper towels. Some went to their desks to clean up crumbs or mug rings and flakes of dead skin and hair. Most ran straight to the kitchenette, grabbing donuts, gloving them in paper and relishing their messy sweetness. Each took joy in the simple act of wiping the crumbs and glazing from their lips and cheeks.
Rose stopped walking as she passed us returning from the bathroom. We froze. Nothing was said. We all stared at her staring at us. She closed her gaping mouth and walked away.

'She'd bought them herself' said Marcus the next morning, as in the background Rose placed a shoeprint marked photo of two grand children into her box of belongings. 'Herself, with her own money.'
Normally when someone left there would be a celebration and we would all say goodbyes and get cake. In this climate that wasn't possible. Also, Rose did not say goodbye.

After Rose left we all became more defensive. It was no longer our office without paper towels, it was every deprived individual for him or herself.
Dale was acting suspiciously. First he went into the janitor bay and returned with an aluminium bucket filled with water. Then from the mailroom he pilfered six mail trays. Finally, he emerged from the kitchenette brandishing the sharpest looking bread knife that wasn't in the dishwasher at the time.
Dale had two Golden Pothos shrubs in pots by his workstation. The idea to reduce the level of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde in the recycled air above his desk had come from the weekly health email he distracted himself with every Tuesday. The idea to pulp them into paper towels was his alone. Carefully Dale pruned the tiny trees, binning leaves and shredding stems into the bucket. During the Thursday amalgamation meeting he brought with him a branch and meticulously filleted flakes into a pile until there were no further issues. The NRE team in Malaysia made a complaint to VOIP technical support that during Friday's teleconference there was a reoccurring background noise on the line that sounded like sloshing. By the time we left for the bar, at a quarter to five on Friday afternoon, we glared shiftily at mailbox sized sheets of freshly pulped paper being hung to set on Dale's notice board, drying slowly in the glow of his monitor.

On Monday morning our weekends were absorbed into office reality and we came across destruction. The bucket was tipped over. The mail trays lay cracked and broken. Those miscarried towels had been stomped into the ground.
The message was clear: If all of us couldn't have paper towels, no one could.

Dale did not quit. However he did relocate to Laura's cubicle to avoid a carpet that smelled of tree sap and mildew. Laura did quit. She had a family and the sight of office sabotage had been an overwhelmingly stressful beginning to another week.

Without coffee, napkins, clean desks or dry hands what was once a picturesque office plan took on a more dishevelled appearance. Where a reduction in snacking and hallway chatter had been good for production initially, things were now taking a turn for the worse. Kai was called upstairs to talk about the leaving clients. Kai was the floor manager. He'd received this position after Ken, the old floor manager, resigned because he loved spaghetti bolognaise but only owned white shirts.

Despite the isolation being cultivated on Level 19 Kai did speak to Dale after the meeting. Kai sat next to Laura's old desk.
'They have them, the managers' he whispered.
'Paper towels,' said Dale. 'You saw them?'
'Well, no. I didn't see them. But their monitors aren't dusty, their donut box was empty and I heard their microwave running.'
Dale nodded to himself. The two went to Warren's cubicle. What was once a prized, multi-viewed corner location was now a fortress. Behind an upturned desk Warren crouched, hiding shirtless with his laptop replying to emails. Discarded behind him was a cotton-polyester button up with French cuffs doused in grease and glass cleaner.
'It ends now,' said Dale.
Warren stood up, brushing carpet fluff from his pants. The three walked the cubicles like wardens, extracting recruits.

That afternoon the crowd gathered in the lobby where the lifts were locked. Warren produced his access key and the army moved away and up the stairs. As they emerged in the reception of Level 20, Jane, the switchboard operator who had not been able to reapply make-up in three weeks, buzzed them through.

Upper Management was not a crowded space until filled with us vainqueurs. Quickly we clamoured through the heavy door frame and onto the more luxuriously carpeted floor between the wider partitions of Level 20.
'You can't be in here!' said a startled Frank, Asia Pacific Service Executive.
Before we could outlay our demands, Elliot - a forty-three year veteran of the accounting team - swung the keyboard he'd carried upstairs into Frank's neatly shaved face. Blood and NumPad keys sprayed through the air. Unprepared and aghast, we watched in slow motion Frank's buckling knees and his slump to the floor. There was silence. Elliot pointed at Frank's hand. His grip fell apart as he slipped into unconsciousness. From between his fingers the clutched paper towel unrumpled and rolled onto the carpet.
The scene became one of action. Rob, who signed our Christmas bonus letters, peered out from his office and performed a startled yelp. Dave B and Dave M from IT showered him with a volley of hubs and line filters. He cowered behind the water cooler and surrendered. The Daves tangled him in Ethernet cable and buried a wireless mouse between his teeth.
Alexi, from the print room, was pummelling our financial director with ink cartridges. Warren and Kai shepherded the rest of the executives towards the boardroom, brandishing telephone handsets like lassoes.

Dale stood and watched as the door was blocked shut, then walked to the manager's kitchen. There, on the shelf above the microwave, stood three rolls of paper towels. He clutched them to his chest and carried them back. They were thrown into the air to the sounds of cheers.

Mary, the CEO, was taken from the other managers and dragged to the copy room by Alexi. We laid her down across the bench. Her eyes darted around, her face confused yet still. Her neck rested on the paper guillotine. Though her vein pulsed she seemed to accept her destiny. Her eyes resting on Dale's hands and the paper towels he held, ready to wipe up spills.

Assignats is a short story I wrote in the spring of 2007. It was the first story I ever submitted to a real-life publication and the source of my first rejection slip. I always planned to improve it to the extent that one day its submission would lead to an acceptance slip, so I never posted it online. Hindsight has shown me that people aren't ready for the fantasy-office life genre. Also, I realised that brilliance wasn't inherited. I published this old story on bradism.com as a symbolic gesture to remind me that a rejection slip is actually quite high on the list of rewards that come from writing.

Sunday Thoughts

I scored a multi-task achievement award today when I aligned moisturising my face with swilling mouthwash.

You know you really trust the internet when you barely hesitate before tipping a tablespoon of cocoa powder onto the cabbage and pumpkin you're frying for dinner.

I've thought about it briefly and I've concluded that "O'clock" is probably the best word in the English language. Just look at it. You probably use this word every day, so you forget that it's seriously a stowaway ye olde English word that was somehow never decommissioned. Just say it out loud, on it's own, in an exaggerated British accent. And then use it in a sentence. And then think about what you actually said.
I'm sure you now agree.

Parlez-vous Anything?

I'm much better at writing than I am at speaking. This is true of English, and it's definitely true of French. Francais is a subtle, delicate language. Whenever I try to speak it I feel as if my giant mouth is crushing the words like Lennie in a barn, of Mice and Men style. This has been my experience with learning of French.

The reason for learning French is so that I can communicate with French people. The reason I want to do that is in case we move to France.

Vanessa is an easily influenced person, which is great when it ignites her passion for jobs or life opportunities (not so good during the sad parts of Disney movies.) After one week of working in Europe she has decided that's where she wants to work on a more permanent basis. I'm a big fan of this decision. I've strongly encouraged her to look for jobs there. Despite being horrible at French, I would love to live in Europe. I hope it happens, my only regret would be that I paid off my HECS debt upfront before leaving the country.

I don't know exactly when or how we will end up in Europe. It depends a lot on what else Vanessa sees between now and then. I do know that visiting Paris, the city of Love, with the person I love, would be amazing. It's all very exciting. I do promise, however, not to host a farewell party until after any contracts are signed.

The Chicken Drought

I’m not sure how many people know this, but there’s going to be a chicken drought in 2012. The price of chicken is going to skyrocket. The ACCC will be forced to monitor drumstick fluctuations. The major supermarkets are going to offer 4c off per kilogram of chicken whenever you spend over thirty dollars in store. This is all true. It’s going to be rough.

We eat chicken a lot, so our cost of living is going to be affected by this drought. Because our budget is at risk of being blown out I decided to start a home business on the side to supplement my income so we could afford chicken. It’s a business idea i’ve had for a long time, over a day in fact, and I decided the circumstances warranted it.

I built an eBay store advertising ‘Authentic Australian Made Didgeridoos’. My business plan was to operate with a price differentiation strategy and offer authentic, Australian made didgeridoos to anywhere in the world for only $25 including delivery. The site had been live for a few hours when I received my first order. A man in Naples wanted a didgeridoo delivered overnight to use for an Olympic party he was attending. I agreed and signed him up for my premium service. He paid, and I went straight to Australia Post and sent him his didgeridoo.
The next day I received an angry phone call from this man via my outsourced customer service hotline, who patched him through to me.
He said, “I received your package, and there’s no didgeridoo.”
“OK, sir,” I said, “I understand that must be frustrating that you received your package and there’s no didgeridoo. Before we continue, can you please describe the package you received so that I can confirm that the package you received came from us here at Authentic Australian Made Didgeridoos?”
He said, “It’s a postage tube, long and white with red caps on each end. I opened up one end, looked inside and there’s nothing in it.”
“OK, sir,” I said, “I understand that it must be frustrating that you opened up one end, looked inside and there was nothing in it. Before we continue sir, can you you please take the package and also remove the cap from the other end too?”
He put down the phone, I heard some shuffling and scraping in the background, and then he came back to the phone.
“I worked it out,” he said. “Fuck you.”
“Thank you sir, please have a nice day and thank you for shopping with Authentic Australian Made Didgeridoos.”

I took the money I had made from the sale and I rushed down to the Sunday markets. I wanted to buy as much chicken as possible and freeze it for later, the same thing I do with petrol when that’s cheap. I found my butcher and ordered several kilograms of chicken meat, which she wrapped for me in individual bags to make it easier to thaw later. I spent all my didgeridoo money on chicken and began my walk home.

On the way out of the market I was stopped by a woman behind a fruit and vegetable stall. She saw I was carrying a lot of hacked apart bits of chicken and she commented that I must be stocking up for the chicken drought. I said that was true.
She said, “how much chicken do you have there?”
I said, “two kilograms of breast meat and one kilogram of tenderloins.”
She whistled. “That’s a lot of chicken, for sure, for sure. Will it last you the whole drought though? I don’t know? I don’t think that it will.”
I thought that it would have, but her tone made me doubt my calculations. Had I made a mistake? Was I going to end up eating petrol because we had depleted our stocks of chicken before the end of the drought?
“I might have a solution,” she said. She checked to make sure no one was watching, then ushered me inside her stall.
“These,” she said, showing me a long, rectangular box, “are chicken eggs. The chicken you have will run out. Might be tomorrow, might be next week. You take these eggs, you plant them, they’ll grow into chickens. You treat those chickens right you’ll have more eggs and therefore more chickens.”
The more she spoke the more I nodded.
“You give me that chicken,” she said, “and I’ll trade you these eggs.”
“That sounds like a deal too good to be true,” I said. “Why would you give up your eggs?”
“I’m a vegetarian,” she said.
I traded her the meat for her eggs and I rushed home to plant them.

Full of Ideas

The speed at which this pen ran out of ink, which I bought only two months ago, is testament to the increased prolificness of my writing lately. Or perhaps the decreased prolificness of the biro manufacturing industry.

The speed at which this pen ran out of ink, which I bought only two months ago, is testament to the increased prolificness of my writing lately. Or perhaps the decreased prolificness of the biro manufacturing industry.

Scrambled

Scramble with Friends is ridiculously addictive. It’s a game that’s played “With Friends”, but when people take more than an hour to respond to my last turn I want to cut them. Every time I poop, this game consumes me. The other day I glanced at my keyboard and my brain instantly began tracing paths between the keys to make words. This game should be an olympic sport.

Annual Curse Myself to be Rained On Entry

For most people the skin is their body’s largest organ.
These past few days, Spring has been flirting with me. My skin has been telling me all about it. Warm breezes have been like suggestive smiles from my wife. Time without a jumper has been like the indulgence of a naughty taboo. The outdoors has been full of double entendres and innuendo. It has been like: Brad, it seems like I’m saying something about winter, but you could also interpret these words to mean summer.
Oh, behave, Sydney weather! Take your hand off my leg and out from under the table cloth while we’re still waiting for the dessert at winter’s dinner party. Stop parting your clouds and giving us a peek at the sun. It’s still August! You’re not ready! This is a forbidden love.
Oh god, It’s not fair, I’m so horny for Spring.

Gold Medals

China has won a lot of gold medals in the 2012 Olympics.

My phone's headphones died recently. I really liked them, mainly because they had a headset microphone and buttons to control the phone. This meant I could answer my giant ass phone without looking like I was holding an iPad up to my face.

I found on eBay a seller who had replacement Galaxy Note headphones for only $3 a pair. Bargain. I ordered four pairs, figuring that if these ones also died after less than two months I would have enough backups to last me until the end of the year.

China does not win the gold medal for making headphones. Unless there's a "rhythmic gymnastics" equivalent of outlying headphone making events where the challenge is to make headphones that zap me with tiny electric shocks whenever I'm walking. I will probably only put up with this for another few weeks, maximum.

Side Note: Is capitalising the second letter of a word going to become more prominent as the English language is continually pilfered for words that are locked into trademarks? It's like when they changed the grammar of number plates. I don't see any other solution. Removing vowels from words only works so long as the word is never spoken aloud. That's why you never see any of those brands achieving a Facebook or Twitter like level of recognition, so rethink your business models people.

Opening Ceremony

The thing I like most about the Olympics—like with most things in life—relates to me. I like that the Olympics happens every fourth winter, because like New Years Eve it provides a nice, even beat for taking snapshots of your life. As I sat on the couch last week and watched Usain Bolt win gold in the Men’s 100 Metres instead of reflecting on the pinnacle of human athleticism I’d just observed I instead dwelled on what had happened to me since the moment in 2008 when I was sitting on the couch watching Usain Bolt win gold in the Men’s 100 Metres.

A lot has transpired in the past one Olympic, it’s been one of my busiest Olympics of my life. I moved out, moved in, moved states, moved jobs and moved very little. I fell in love, got engaged, got married, got read. I was operated on three times. I took about 10,000 photos, wrote about 100 reviews for Rip it Up and wrote several terrible short stories. I doubled my income and halved my muscle mass.

It’s hard not to be prolific between Olympics, though. Two Olympics ago I was a Nightfill and Internet superstar, driving a VK commodore and I hadn’t even traded for a Credit Card yet. The events of the Olympic before that are even more life changing and long ago.

Most people think it’s silly to come up with New Olympic Resolutions, but I’m going to oblige. By this time next Olympic I want to have my name on some real estate, publish something in somewhere, walk my dog, visit Europe, be less self-obsessed and climb Mount Kosciuszko.

Happy Opening Ceremony!

Never Entries

As life speeds up I struggle to find the time to update my journal as daily as I would like. Part of the cause is a lack of time, not only to write the entries and insert them into the internet, but also time to think of things to write about now that I’ve fully covered the low hanging fruits of cereal, music and sources of protein. The other factor in the decline in posting output is my increased focus on quality over the years. I mean, a lot has changed since the lazy days of yore when I pumped out shit like this. I focus on quality more than quantity nowadays, and it takes extra time to add value to everything.

That said, there have been entries both lately and historically which I have thought about posting one day, but as time passes it becomes obvious to me that I never will publish them. These are ideas that kick around in my head or in half finished word documents, but have never made it any further. To commemorate posting and not posting, I’ll now share a list of some of the entries that never were.

Enyadine
At one point I had the idea to create a series of photos taken in the New South Wales suburb of Engadine, with each photo named and inspired by a track title from Enya’s 1995 album The Memory of Trees. Upon the brainwave I thought it was brilliant, but I never took a single photo for this project. My sequel phocumentary, Hurstvillage People, also never got any traction.

My New Galaxy Note
The process of upgrading to a Galaxy Note earlier this year was not smooth thanks to issues with both Australia Post and Optus. I wrote a very long rant about it, got sidetracked while justifying that the Galaxy Note was just like a normal sized phone for tall people, and then somehow got onto another tangent rant about Holden Dealers.

Name that Weed
I have a horrified fascination with the sheer variety of weeds currently growing in my landlord’s garden. I considered doing a photo series of all the different weeds, and asking for people to ID which ones were which. Instead I put the lawn mower on its lowest setting.

Blackout Part 2
There was a blackout at work when I was on the toilet. Finally, justification for never going in there without my phone. Plus some poop jokes.

House Penises
I was going to do a whole photo series of houses in different suburbs of Sydney who all have adornments like this.

Cheese and Mars Bars
A long time ago I went to a birthday dinner in Adelaide one Saturday night. I ate a schnitzel with about a kilogram of cheese on top of it, which was oddly enough the catalyst for a long and amusing adventure that led me to the Mars Bar for the first time. The adventure, which I started to write up a few days afterwards, had a lot of cheese puns and I gave up on it after the third “it doesn’t sound funny now, but if you were there.”

Other Stuff


  • An analysis of Kanye West’s 2007 album Graduation where I quoted him saying “All the songs are inspirational; every single word means something.” and then pasted in the lyrics to the album’s song Drunk and Hot Girls.
  • A rant about Scramble with Friends.
  • A depressing recount of saying goodbye to someone who was about to die
  • A study into the different ways that city people walk when they’re in a hurry but don’t want to look like they’re running.
  • An entry where I list all the entries I’ve thought about writing, but given up on ever finishing.

BBall Buddies

One of the good things about being married to Vanessa is that she loves basketball, and she will never complain if I want to watch an NBA game because she will watch it with me. It's great having a wife who you can talk sports with.

Steve Nash was recently traded to the Lakers, and the other day we were talking about the upcoming season and player moves. I don't recall exactly how the subject came up, but we were talking about good players who are white, of which Vanessa said there are zero. We then had a sports debate about her assertion, during which I raised several names of Caucasian NBA players and asked her if they qualified as being good, white NBA players. These were her responses:

Larry Bird? He's actually a golfer.
Dirk? He's black
Nash? He's blacker than Dirk
John Stockton? He doesn't exist.
Dan Majerle? Mark Price? Jerry West? Kevin McHale? All golfers.

I'm looking forward to watching our first Minnesota game this year.

Almost Never

George Street, Sydney is the commercial heart of Australia. All its connecting streets — major roads with names that were given before Australia was even official — are host to countless department stores and shopping arcades. If anything can be bought on the island, you can find it near George Street.

Towering above the microcosm of the Australian retail industry are the skyscrapers. The head office of every major Australian company and brand. The banks are all accounted for, competing office towers that eye each other guardedly. The mining companies are there too, plus there’s the Vegemite Building, Hahn Square, Bonds Plaza. Anyone who does business in Australia is on George Street, and last Sunday I was there too.

This didn’t actually happen, but I was walking down the street with my wife, touching butts, when a woman with too much makeup and dressed in the most precise of grey suits approached us. She introduced herself as Leslie.
“I represent the head of research for a big five cereal company,” she said. “You’re Brad, right? Of bradism.com”
I nodded.
“Brad, you’ve been identified by our marketing department and our breakfast engineers as a highly commended candidate. How would you like to design your own cereal?”
“What kind of cereal?” I asked, not questioning the legitimacy, only thinking of the combinations.
“This is a greenfields project. You can come up with anything you desire. We want you to come up with the perfect cereal, the next iconic brand.”

As always, Vanessa encouraged me. That afternoon we sat in a workshop at a table lined with executives, engineers and scientists all in expensive suits adorned with silk ties or scarves. I was intimidated, but Vanessa’s reassuring look gave me the self belief I needed.

We began to speak cereal. We covered flakes, oats, bran and fibre. Dried fruit versus protein pieces. Different kind of nuts. The balance of healthiness versus flavour. We went late into the night, refining, revising, drinking coffee after coffee. Vanessa fell asleep on the couch and still we persisted. The city around us, all George Street’s institutional skyscrapers blinked out and went dark as the Earth beneath us blocked the sun’s light. On Monday morning, when the birds were chirping in Hyde Park and the breakfast show hosts began arriving at Martin Place we finally had a design. I called it, “Brad Cereal.” The artists from marketing started sketching drafts of the box. The new recipe was taken to the kitchen-lab where the first ever test batch of Brad Cereal was to be made. It was only appropriate that it was served to us at breakfast time.
Thirty-something executive lined up along a boardroom table, many of the men with their ties flipped over their shoulder. The bowls were presented, covered. The jugs of milk brought in. All waiting to experience the perfect, ultimate cereal.
The CEO was the first to unveil the contents of his bowl, the rest of us waiting politely. His eyes widened. The rest couldn’t handle their suspense. They scrambled to open their bowls, to behold the cereal inside. Some gasped, some cursed. Leslie looked at me, speechless, unblinking. The CEO stood, his wrinkled face pink-red under his thinning silver hair. He huffed in air, preparing for a rage. When he’d sucked in enough oxygen he bellowed, “You idiot! You’ve designed Weet Bix.”

I roused Vanessa and she smiled at me. We held hands as the lift traversed down the fifty-four floors and we walked out of the lobby of the Uncle Tobys Tower and into the near-spring morning sunlight.

Bodysurfing all the way to Spring

image 1132 from bradism.com

Last week I was walking through a car park in Hurstville around sunset and I thought to myself, "weeks are a lot like waves." Sometimes you have big weeks, sometimes you have little ones. Sometimes a week will knock you over and try to drown you, and sometimes you'll barely notice a week has passed. Often you can see an important week coming the way you can see a large wave building on the horizon. The only constant is the rhythm, weeks come, they pass, the rush into shore and fade into nothing.

I guess this makes years like beaches. Every year has the same characteristics, just like all beaches share the same basic template. Every beach has a horizon and a shore. Every beach has waves. Sometimes it's pebbly and overcast and far from the city, sometimes the sparkle of the blue waters reflects on the glass facades of the hotels and resorts that tower over the shoreline.

Which I reckon, makes tides like seasons. Predictable and powerful, temperature goes up, temperature goes down, sun comes out, sun stays away. Water-level rises, water-level falls.

That, I believe, makes me like a starfish, because when I was fourteen I wrote a poem in Year 8 English about how I was like a starfish.

image 1133 from bradism.com


If weeks are waves and years are beaches and I'm a starfish then that must mean that birthdays are like the dioecious reproduction of non-asexual asteroidea, because its only once a year that we release gametes through gonoducts to fertilise the buoyant eggs.
If similes are like metaphors.


Today's Weather from Forster, NSW

Forster Birthday

It would be nice if every work day was like this at 5pm

image 1758 from bradism.com

Calming

image 1759 from bradism.com

I tried to take a photo of beach feet. This is instead a photo of beach feet plus head.

image 1760 from bradism.com

It's a simple place

image 1761 from bradism.com

Chilling

image 1762 from bradism.com

We went on many walks over the weekend. The longest was also the most visually dull, because, I didn’t read the map well enough and sent us on a 14km walk down a fire track that went nowhere, every metre of which looked like this.

image 1763 from bradism.com

Full of Ice Cream

image 1764 from bradism.com

Coffee at Sunset with our good friend

image 1765 from bradism.com

Birthday Cupcake Making

image 1766 from bradism.com

Delicious Aging

image 1767 from bradism.com

Forster Nightfall

image 1768 from bradism.com

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.

Sprung

What's the most spring about this photo? Is it the first green shoots of life, budding on the tips of this previously skeletal tree? Or is it the lingering sunset in the west that provided the light for this photo taken after five o'clock? Or was it the massive erection I sported while taking it?

What's the most spring about this photo? Is it the first green shoots of life, budding on the tips of this previously skeletal tree? Or is it the lingering sunset in the west that provided the light for this photo taken after five o'clock? Or was it the massive erection I sported while taking it?

Spring Square Crops

What's that Spring? You want me to drink a beer in the sunshine and cook a BBQ? I can do that.

What's that Spring? You want me to drink a beer in the sunshine and cook a BBQ? I can do that.



Even the weeds looks nicer... I bet in a week that half the lawn will look like this.

Even the weeds looks nicer... I bet in a week that half the lawn will look like this.

Not Sundale

I'm excited because today I completed the first draft of the longest story I've ever done.
It's not the longest story I've ever written, but it's actually finished. Beginning, middle and end.
It only took me four weeks! And not one scene is set on public transport.

Lubb

I didn't Instagram it, but the lunch Vanessa and I had in one of Parramatta's South American restaurants today was awesome. There were two things on the menu that I liked, and two things she fancied, all of which overlapped completely. We ordered a Peri Peri chicken burger, as well as the seasoned grilled chicken breast and when the meals came we confused the waitress because neither of us knew which meal was actually assigned to us.

With the servings positioned in parallel we set about eating our Sunday lunch, and this is where I realised how much I love eating with Vanessa. She sampled some burger, but left the majority of its bread and bacon to me. I enjoyed a mouthful of the chicken breast, and dipped my chips in the burger's spicy dipping sauce. She ate most of the Quinoa salad, but I finished off the tomato. I was left satiated by the quantity of chips, but together we left a chip behind to feel good about our overall level of self control.

Then, tonight we cooked an awesome, vegetable filled curry to last us the whole work week.

Eating is a major part of life, and it's amazing to have someone who I can eat with so perfectly. I love it. Sleeping has also been awesome since marriage, but I guess I'll cover that in a future entry.

How's the weather?

I gave a thumbs up to some flowers this morning.
Later today I took a detour to walk down Spring Street in Chatswood.
It wasn't very Springy. I'm not sure what I expected would happen.

Some baby animals would have been good.

The Deck Fairy

After my trees lost their leaves last Autumn I tried pruning them back. I did this with my plumbing hacksaw, but tragically it wasn’t up to the challenge of thicker tree branches and the blade snapped. Then I watched apathetically as winter passed and the skeletal trees stood all branchy and mocking. I wasn’t sure they would even survive winter, so heavy were they with spindly branches following the wet, humid summer.

One Saturday in winter, when I was busy not buying a new saw, my neighbour knocked on my door and asked if he could stand on my side of the fence so he could prune his trees. I said sure, and I even moved my car for him. While doing this I witnessed him using what I later learned was called a tree lopper, but at the time I thought was just a saw-blade on the end of a long stick.
I meant to ask if I could borrow the tree lopper for my own trees, but I never did. It was hard to ask because I don’t know my neighbours name. I probably should learn these things, but when I first moved in I introduced myself to a neighbour, found out his name and even waved at him a few times and then he sold his house and moved. I wasn’t sure I could handle the cost of losing an investment like that again.

So, spring arrived and the trees blossomed and the grass began to stir and I realised that gardening this summer was going to suck because my aggressive trees would be all sprouty and violent. I was hanging out the washing on the deck this morning, staring down the trees and thinking “I wish I had a tree lopper.”
Then, as I hung a bra on the clothes horse, a flash of orange through the decking caught my eye. Could it be, in the darkest reaches beneath the deck, a tree lopper had been stashed and forgotten? It didn’t seem possible, but the glimpse had seemed so real.

I opened the hatch to the space below the porch and coughed at the dust. I crawled across the gravel, past the old stairs and into the dim space. I swore every time I bashed my spine against the decking above. I was right. There was a tree lopper underneath my deck that must have been there the whole time I've lived here. I carried it back to the light and marvelled. Then I clipped some trees with it, which was wicked fun.

image 1140 from bradism.com

Thank you, Deck Fairy, who I now know exists. I don’t know exactly what I need to say or do for you to repeat your magic, but even if it never happens again I will forever remain impressed by your powers.

Going the Distance

Vanessa's long distance jogging speed is the same as my power walking speed.

Now that the evenings are warming up we have started going on jog-walks. It's where she jogs and I walk along beside her with long, swift strides.

We cruise around the suburbs like that in the fading evening light.

Guess which of us thinks that this is adorable.

Both of us.

2012 Music I

One of the things I started writing this year and didn't finish was a tracklist of best new music for 2012. I started writing that because, you know, I used to write music reviews a lot. It was even my crowning achievement for a while there.

I created a list of about eighteen songs and I had started on a few track reviews when I realised there was a common theme shared by all of the songs. Every single track was from a band or artist who I’d listened to before (or in some cases, spin off bands). I was surprised that could happen to me so quickly. That’s how losing touch starts. You find the bands you like, you slowly ignore bands you don’t recognise until you reach a point where all the bands you do know have broken up and the only thing you’re listening to is their greatest hits.

Admittedly I have pursued new music aggressively for half a decade, so there’s a large pool of bands who I can count as “listened to before.” There is a much larger pool of bands I haven’t listened to before, though! I knew things should change.

Lately I’ve been again listening to bands I don’t know or recognise. I collated about twenty “new” band’s songs and twenty “old” band’s songs. Whenever I have not much to Journal about in September I am going to put that mix on random and review five songs.

I've changed the way I review songs to be more scientific and less blogosphere-y. Here’s the first batch:

Plaster - Let it All Out
Album: Let It All Out[Vega]
Sounds Like: Pepe Deluxe, Ratatat
Why: Really funky and Montreal electro-rock. Is there any bad music that leaves that city? There’s rock guitar that dances with growly synths and chirpy, upbeat keyboard melodies intertwined among it all. It’s a simple, festive shake everything you’ve got tune.
Listen (Soundcloud)

DIIV - Human
Album: Oshin [Captured Tracks]
Sounds Like: The Cure, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Why: A highlight from a whole album of beautiful, gentle dream pop. Sounds like later-years Cure doing less singing and more guitar-noodling.
Listen (YouTube)

Norah Jones - Miriam
Album: Little Broken Hearts [Blue Note Records]
Sounds Like: Danger Mouse and Dolly Parton
Why: I couldn’t tell you any of Norah Jones’ earlier work, but I grabbed this because it was produced by Danger Mouse. Jones sings a bunch of soul/blues tunes over Danger Mouse’s slow burning RnB beats that feature a lot of gentle saloon piano and bass twangs. This one is not poppy, but it's catchy.
Listen (YouTube)

WHY? - Sod in the seed
Album: Sod In The Seed EP [Anticon]
Sounds Like: Subtle, Modest Mouse
Why: This is a weirdly colourful song from Yoni Wolf, who often explores the darker side of his life in his songs. It's a nice mix-up to hear a bouncy beat to underlie his new rhymes. Yoni also seems to enjoy singing more than rapping, and in this tune he sounds happy that he gets to do a lot of both.
Listen (YouTube)

The Royal Concept - D-D-Dance
Album: The Royal Concept [Universal Republic]
Sounds Like: Phoenix, The Strokes
Why: Very happy sounding Swedish Indie Pop. They list Phoenix as an influence, they may need to consider paying royalties. The lead singer’s voice is a dead ringer for Phoenix’s lead singer Thomas Mars. D-D-Dance features a pop guitar that floats in the clouds and then brings home every chorus.
Listen (YouTube)

Seven Dollar Cruise

Last Sunday Vanessa and I went for a ferry ride, from here...

Last Sunday Vanessa and I went for a ferry ride, from here...



... To here. For some reason, there were a lot of people trying to go back the other way.

... To here. For some reason, there were a lot of people trying to go back the other way.



Here's some photos I took.

Here's some photos I took.



A bird.

A bird.



I think this photo is the perfect demonstration of why Sydney looks so nice on sunny days, and so shite on overcast ones.

I think this photo is the perfect demonstration of why Sydney looks so nice on sunny days, and so shite on overcast ones.



Whoever is playing as the Teutons has advanced to the Castle Age

Whoever is playing as the Teutons has advanced to the Castle Age



PHOTOGRAPHY!

PHOTOGRAPHY!



The End.

The End.

If I can think of something to post for today then I will have a full week of updates.

2012 Music II

I'll continue my round up of good 2012 music for those who want to get a head start on their best of lists.

Hot Chip - These Chains
Album: In Our Heads [Domino]
Sounds Like: LCD Soundsystem, Caribou
Why: Hot Chip are pop masters and most of In Our Heads is quality. These Chains is a stand out because of its deep, dubby groove and playful synths. The melody is understated, the hook of this song is its baseline and the typical Hot Chip vocal harmonizing.
Listen (YouTube)

Japandroids - The House that Heaven Built
Album: Celebration Rock [Polyvinyl Records]
Like: Oxford Collapse, Fang Island
Why: There’s a lot of grunge and guitar effects that give Japandroids a low-contrast, grungy guitar sound. It’s loud and energetic and when it’s coupled with the pounding percussion and the momentous vocals on tracks like The House the result is songs with volume in many senses of the word.
Listen (YouTube)

Electric Guest - This Head I Hold
Album: Mondo [Downtown]
Sounds Like: Broken Bells, Ghost Beach
Why: An uptempo, piano heavy indie-pop tune that frankly sounds like blog fodder, but I like it. I’m not sure why it’s all sung in falsetto. Could be a radio hit from any era, but modernised with a bit of synths.
Listen (YouTube)

The Big Pink - Hit The Ground (Superman)
Album: Future This [4AD]
Sounds Like: The Killers, Yeasayer
Why: An anthemic rock-pop song by a band who are perfecting a contemporary electro-rock sound. The chorus really makes this song, which it builds up to over and over again after a track of impending percussion and loops made of acoustic guitar and keyboards.
Listen (YouTube)

First Serve - Must B The Music
Album: First Serve [Duck Down Music]
Sounds Like: De La Soul, Blackalicious
Why: Two-thirds of De La Soul, so you know it’s quality. Another upbeat tune, with a chirpy beat along with fake strings and female backing singers for the chorus. Must B the Music is a funky, old school feel-good hip-hop track. The Plugs trade the mic back and forth and the whole thing is very catchy.
Listen (YouTube)

Blue Skies Research

image 1149 from bradism.com

Today, for the first time in recent memory, I came across an unravelled spool of cassette tape on the side of the road.
On the same walk I passed three televisions.

There's a house at the end of my street. It's not a mansion, but it's large. It's a mansion in the same way that a Big Mac is a meal.
What makes me laugh about this house is that there is a living room on both floors. Each room has a large, flat screen TV which brightly broadcasts into the room, through the untwisted blinds and out onto the street.

Sometimes when I pass by the family is divided among both living rooms, watching the same show. It's a little bit sad.
Technology is doing weird things to us

I thought the sky was about to @reply me, hashtag #spring

I thought the sky was about to @reply me, hashtag #spring

Not As Excited

Editing the longest story I've ever done is not quite as fun as writing the longest story I've ever done.

Story Time

CHAPTER ONE
I can estimate the capacity of a red-lidded household garbage bin to within about a tenth of its actual volume. There's no benefit to calculating this, but when you're hanging on the back of a garbage truck, your face being whipped by the frosty, first-light winds, you'll think about anything to distract yourself.
The lid of a garbage bin is about forty by forty centimetres. The bin stands just over a metre high. Its shape narrows closer to the bottom, and tapers in so the wheels can fit flush with the outside edge. Every bin that stands at attention, guarding the driveway of the houses on the street, would hold about 128 cubic centimetres. I don't have an innate mathematical gift, or the book smarts needed to model the exact dimensions and come up with an answer with a decimal point in it. My results are based on my high school maths: approximate width multiplied by height multiplied by depth. It takes me a few blocks to finish the long multiplication in my head.
The truck arm drops another emptied bin back to earth and a wave of smells hits me: freed baby shit, rotted vegetables and a hint of citrus. I squeeze my chin and my forehead towards each other, the hands-free way of shielding myself from the smells. The pong of mildew chases the stink; all the while I'm congratulating myself on my maths skills.
When we reach the next driveway the previous bin is still rocking from its drop. It's balanced precariously on the edge of the curb. The pressure in the truck's brakes go hiss and then the bin behind us tumbles onto the street. That's my cue. I bang twice on the side of the truck and then drop down to the road. I sprint to the bin, hoist it by the handle and perch it upright in the gutter. It's indifferent about its rescue, but I tell it that it's welcome. I reassure it with a gloved pat on the lid, and that's where I notice "120 Litres" embossed on the red plastic. That's how smart I am, I never noticed that.
The truck moves on and I run to catch it. I grip the freezing stainless-steel handle, waiting for the next unreachable bin, or post-emptying keel over. Today we empty 3,194 bins. I count them. This is my fifteenth shift. If today is an average day it will take me almost three hundred shifts to reach a million bins. That is, if a robot that can stand bins up isn't invented before then.
We pull into the depot to park and the engine of the truck shudders a final time for the morning. I decide that this can't be my life. I need to do something else. I tell the shift supervisor that I won't be in tomorrow.
He says, "Nigel, what do you think you're doing?"
I tell him, "I am going to become the greatest rapper in the world."

CHAPTER TWO
I throw the door open to the house and leave it ajar while I search through the rooms for Kelly. She's sleeping, her hospital uniform crumpled beside the bed. Her straight, black hair is like a firework exploding atop her pillow. I shake her gently and she smiles up at me with bleary eyes.
"Hi," she says. Her small nose wrinkles.
"I'll shower in a minute," I say. "I just had to tell you something important, then you can go back to sleep."
"Okay."
"I'm going to become the greatest rapper in the world."
"Are you still going to work for waste services?"
I shake my head. "No, I need to focus on this."
"You're sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure. I'm sure as…" I look around the room, "a door."
She laughs in a way that could be mistaken for a hiccup.
"Obviously I have some work to do."
She nods, eyes closed. They don't reopen. I reposition the blanket to cover her shoulders and I leave to shower.

CHAPTER THREE
There's a mess of paper all over the kitchen. Kelly yawns as she enters. I'm sitting at the table, scribbling my thoughts down. She backs in and plonks down on my lap, interrupting.
"Whatcha doing?" she says. "Writing rhymes?"
"I was earlier," I say, my open palm gesturing to the floor of balled up notepad pages.
She unfurls one and reads it aloud:
"I'm the number one, I've told you before. But I'm also number two, three, pi and four."
"Not really greatest rapper in the world calibre yet," I admit.
She kisses me on the cheek. With soft hands she turns the paper back into a ball and drops it again to the floor. "So what are you writing now?"
"I'm working out who the current greatest rapper in the world is. If I can quantify what makes them the best rapper, then I can come up with a strategy to out achieve their accomplishments."
"That would do it. What have you decided on?"
"Well, it's tough to nominate one specific attribute. I've narrowed it down to a few different factors."
My piece of paper has two columns, and I read them to her:
"Most Billboard number one rap songs, 13. Drake."
"Most Top 40 hits, 34. Timbaland."
She nods.
"The rapper with the most money, $550 million. Diddy."
"The rapper with the most amount of rhymes. Lil' Wayne"
She raises an eyebrow.
"I did a tally of every major, active rapper's total recorded couplets."
A big pile of papers in the corner of the kitchen shows my working.
"Fastest rapper, 14.1 syllables per second. No Clue."
"Rapper with the biggest chain, $410,000. T-Pain."
"That must be a big chain."
"It is. He's iced out."
The compressor in our ancient refrigerator splutters for a moment before resuming its low-frequency rattle.
"Rapper with the most amount of MySpace friends, Eminem. Four million."
She says, "Gosh."
"That's it," I say. "If I can better just one of these rappers then I'll be a good rapper."
"Don't say ‘but'," says Kelly.
There's a three second staring contest.
"But," I say, "if I can better all of those records then I will truly, inarguably be the greatest rapper who ever lived."
She slaps her palm into her forehead. I say nothing more, I just hug her. She opens up another jumble of paper, and reads it to me:
"Bing bing, a ting ting, a ding a ling a ling ling.
Funny words to write but easy words to sing sing.
Come pump up your tweeters and jump right in in.
Feel the high pitched beats of the treble king."
"This is important to you?" she asks.
"Yes."
"A month ago being a garbage man was important to you."
"This is different."
"How?"
I put my hands on her hips and lift her up. I sit her down and I stand in front of the sink. The faucet drips. I clear my throat.
"Yo yo," I start.
Kelly laughs.
"Yo yo," I repeat, glaring, "this is me.
The number one, the man to be.
I'm going to start from the kitchen, work my way to the top.
Going to give this rap game everything that I got.
It won't be easy; it will be hard.
But I'll be accepted worldwide, like Master Card.
Got my goals marked down, my to-do list is tight.
Those other G's won't go down without a fight.
But when everything is said and told.
I'll be the greatest rapper in the world."
When I'm finished Kelly stands to clap. There are tears in her eyes. She nods. She nods her approval.
"You can do it," she says. "I believe in you."

To Be Continued

2012 Music III

I forbid everyone from playing these songs on an iPhone 5.

Chill Bump - It’s Alive!
Album: Back To The Grain EP [independent]
Sounds Like: Plan B
Why: Rapping over a cut up horror movie soundtrack, rap pair Chill Bump deliver an optimistic assessment of the state of Hip Hop. The messages is it's all the more alive thanks to their presence. It’s Alive is a compelling argument. The dubstep wobbles and Chill Bump’s French accents make this track really stand out.
Listen (BandCamp)

Alt-J - Tessellate
Album: An Awesome Wave [Infectious]
Like: Battles meets Mumford & Sons and/or Radiohead
Why: A digital folk song full of relaxing, gentle melodies and the warm, organic twang of bass. Extremely high production value, an incredibly precise arrangement of haunting voice, clinical percussion and melody. Top pop song.
Listen (YouTube)

Swedish House Mafia - Don’t You Worry Child
Album: One Night Stand [Polydor]
Like: Avicii, Paul Oakenfold
Why: Huge, catchy hook. Big, soulful crooning by John Martin. A euphoric strobe-light justifier. Primo doof doof.
Listen (YouTube)

Miike Snow - Bavarian #1 (Say you Will)
Album: Happy to You [Downtown Records]
Like: Calvin Harris/The Thin White Duke meats Phoenix
Why: Smooth, dreamy pop goodness. The piano melody owns, and the accompanying harmony of vocals and synthesizer effects that builds with it turn this tune into the album’s best.
Listen Live@Lollapalooza (YouTube)

Sleigh Bells - True Shred Guitar
Album: Reign of Terror [Mom & Pop Records]
Like: A Cheerleading Team found an amp that goes to 11
Why: Simple gimmick - level breaking guitars and female vocals. Lead singer Alexis’ pep rally vocals are like sweetener in a triple-shot, fuck-the-mondays espresso.
Listen (YouTube) to Demons. Different song, same core concept

Swooping Generalisations

If you didn't read my journal earlier this month you may not be aware it's Spring. It's fantastic. There's great weather for walking, flowers spreading their legs, and baby critters all about.

One species of animal with babies right now is the magpie. I know this because a mother magpie swoops me in the mornings on my fantastic walks. The magpie is seemingly obsessed with the notion that I want to to climb up her tree and eat her chicks!

This morning was quite not-spring like. The skies were grey, the flowers were closed, and where I normally am forced to duck I saw the mother magpie chilling out on a TV aerial instead of swooping me.

I knew she would slip up eventually; her babies were delicious.

The Greatest Rapper in the World - Part II

CHAPTER FOUR
I'm on the sofa in the living room with my laptop and a notepad. I have zero friends. I refresh the MC Nigel MySpace profile again, no change. I sigh and pick the pen back up. The blank page is no muse.
I write, "I keep coming back like a."
I jot down, "Winter." "Postman." "Micromanaging CEO." "Pendulum."
I scratch out the last one, burying the letters in angry, black ink. Kelly walks into the room and passes me a mug.
"Here," she says.
"What is this?"
"Crunk juice."
The Earl Gray is steamy hot, the vapour makes the tip of my nose moist. I drink and suck in too much, too fast.
"Thank you," I say to Kelly.
"Leave your tongue burnt like a cup of hot tea," I write down.
"What are you rapping about?" Kelly asks.
"I don't even know."
"Well, what do all the other rappers rhyme about?"
"About how good they are at rapping, mainly. Plus, raps about making money, about going to clubs, about inhaling marijuana."
"Why do you want to rap about these things?"
"Oh, I don't, you asked what most rappers have in their songs," I say.
I sip the tea again, slower.
"The great rappers, they produce songs that are introspective. Their songs cover overcoming adversity, their relationships with important people in their lives, philosophical reflections, and their opinions on the nature of society and politics. And also they rap about how good they are at rapping."
"Can't you write a rap like that? About something political?"
"Hmmm, like this?" I say.

"Mandatory voting,
In the council election,
Can't tell which candidate,
Deserves my selection.
The independents' policies,
Are a vague collection,
None affect me,
Upon reflection.
It don't even matter,
My ward's a safe seat,
Gonna vote informally,
Write down skeet-skeet, skeet-skeet!"

Kelly waits for me to finish and then snuggles up next to me on the sofa. "I agree with your opinions on the matter," she says, "mostly. But it doesn't sound like something I'd hear on the radio. And I don't think it's going to help us pay the power bill."
"Not even in a radio commercial?"
She shakes her head. "What you're doing doesn't sound like real rap."
"I know. It's hard! What I really need is a beat. Drake had T-Minus producing on Make Me Proud, when he tied the record for most Billboard number ones. I don't even know if T-Minus is a man or a woman, or a group of people. Or some music producing robot."
Kelly pats my head like I'm a puppy who just learned a trick. "Hang in there. Keep trying, I love you."
She leaves me to writing dope rhymes. After grinding out a few couplets I refresh my MySpace profile again. I have one friend request! I'm so excited, my hand is shaking as I move the cursor to read the message in the inbox, imagining who it might be. In my head I'm writing a new rap about my first MySpace friend.
The inbox page loads and I see who it's from. It's Kelly.
I can hear her boiling noodles for lunch in the kitchen.
I click confirm.

CHAPTER FIVE
After trying to be the world's greatest rapper for four weeks I have enough raps to release a mixtape. It has eight songs on it. Most of the beats are made by me in Fruity Loops. For one track I've sampled Lou Gramm's eighties classic Just Between You And Me, and on another I rapped over The Wire theme (from Season 1), I wasn't really able to keep up with it, but I felt the need to throw it on there for padding.
There is one collaboration on the mixtape, a guest rapper called True Drew adds a verse to one of my songs. I think True Drew is homeless. He struck up a conversation with me in the park next to the railway station after he saw me writing down raps on a bench. He performed a rap for me about Jesus and the Australian Democrats and Sodomy and The People Who Listen To Him Through Electricity Outlets. He also played two upturned paint buckets as drums on the recording for the track My Kelly.
I hold my mixtape launch at an Irish pub which is trying to establish a Wednesday Hip Hop Night. A chalkboard on the sidewalk says "Shook Rhymes. Half Price Jameson." And further down "MC Nigel - 3:30." I'm the first act of the night, which turns out to be a misnomer as the sun is still up and most people are still at work when I appear on stage. I have a small audience. True Drew is there, to the bouncer's displeasure. Kelly is present too, along with several bar staff who are unstacking stools from atop the bar and tabletops. Kelly claps and cheers at the end of each song.
I close my set with Garbage Robot, the penultimate track from my mixtape. It's a song about improving the efficiencies of waste collection by developing robots to automate several menial tasks. A few alcoholics have entered the bar during my set and they applaud at the end of my final song. No one buys a copy of the mixtape though.

"You were great," Kelly says as we drink our complimentary local beer only and watch True Drew on stage, grumbling about time travellers into his whiskey glass instead of the microphone.
"You were great too," I reply, "a great audience."
"I made you this," she says. She hangs a knitted chain over my neck, a rope of platinum-coloured wool that joins together on my chest in the shape of a capital N. She has cross-stitched red, yellow and blue bling into it.
"$409,997 worth of chain to go," she says.
My Kelly.

To Be Continued

Flower Powers

After a long day at work today I came home to find my wife had bought me a new box of Weet Bix.

Markup

Yesterday at work there was a call for a hero. There was a lot of unformatted, unordered data that needed parts of it stripped out and neatly arranged into the form of XML insert statements for a production system. Time was short.

When I was faced with this challenge I set to work using programming patterns I initially learned while working on this very journal. The year was 2006, a hard drive crash in a data-centre in Texas had taken with it five weeks of important journal entries. With no local backups the only method I had to resurrect them was to write a script that would churn through Google’s cache of the entries, rip the important HTML parts out, and then filter all the data into neat SQL insert statements.

I remember running that script on my journal. I’d tested it first, so I was confident it would work, but watching it run and re-create two dozen entries in the blink of an eye was a proud moment for me. I felt the same way yesterday as I watched six-hundred-thousand records zooming into a production data repository at the same sort of speed. I didn’t mention to anyone that my experience in doing this kind of thing came solely from bradism.coming using 0.00004% of the volume of data.
Now I know I'm ready though, ready for enterprise journalling.

Coastal Walk

On a nice sunny day Sunday we decided to wake up at 6am and walk 28kms over cliffs and beaches and through bushland. At 7:30am we left Otford station, at the southern end of Royal National Park and started our trek to Bundeena. Here's some photos from along the way:

Enjoying the early morning start.

Enjoying the early morning start.


The morning's progress behind us.

The morning's progress behind us.


I tried taking photos of birds.

I tried taking photos of birds.


They flew away a lot.

They flew away a lot.


Vanessa tried to fly away as well, but in a joking way.

Vanessa tried to fly away as well, but in a joking way.


We had morning tea at the top of a cliff with a waterfall. I drank a fruit box.

We had morning tea at the top of a cliff with a waterfall. I drank a fruit box.


And there were dinosaurs. Then we had to leg it to catch the ferry, so I took no more photos.

And there were dinosaurs. Then we had to leg it to catch the ferry, so I took no more photos.

Name That Weed

I recently posted that I would never write an entry where I posted things that were growing in my yard and ask my readers to guess what they are.

And yet here we are...


Since the start of Spring the grass is rediscovering it's enthusiasm. What kind of grass is this?!

Since the start of Spring the grass is rediscovering it's enthusiasm. What kind of grass is this?!



The flowers on this weed look pretty, but they sure are spiky.

The flowers on this weed look pretty, but they sure are spiky.



A bee is on this one... Do bees like weeds?

A bee is on this one... Do bees like weeds?



These are growing up near the letter box.

These are growing up near the letter box.



I'm not sure if this is the same weed, but with two different colours, or two different weeds. THIS ONE COULD BE WORTH TWO POINTS!?

I'm not sure if this is the same weed, but with two different colours, or two different weeds. THIS ONE COULD BE WORTH TWO POINTS!?



This weed is gigantic, I looked out into the backyard on the weekend and it was like "Boom, what's up? I'm here to be weeded, if you think you can take me."

This weed is gigantic, I looked out into the backyard on the weekend and it was like "Boom, what's up? I'm here to be weeded, if you think you can take me."



It's down by the back fence. Here it is with context, so you can appreciate the scale.

It's down by the back fence. Here it is with context, so you can appreciate the scale.



I'm assuming this one is a weed, because I've never planted any flowers in the front yard of my house. Which is where I found this weed.

I'm assuming this one is a weed, because I've never planted any flowers in the front yard of my house. Which is where I found this weed.



Wait, these aren't weeds.</p>
<p>These are flowers from the Royal National Park.

Wait, these aren't weeds.

These are flowers from the Royal National Park.



The Greatest Rapper in the World - Part III

CHAPTER SIX
"I'm with MC Nigel, one of Australia's big up and coming rappers," the interviewer says. "Nigel, you've released three mixtapes in under two months, there's rumours you're starting your own record label and your own clothing company. What motivates you?"
I run one hand across my trimmed goatee, the other adjusts my baller cap. It still smells like fabric softener.
"I just want to be the greatest, I was born for it," I say. "I won't stop, y'know?"
"Many rappers overcome great hardships growing up, and that's a theme that appears in your lyrics often. Tell us about your life growing up, and how it's molded you."
"Well I grew up in the suburbs. There were streets. I didn't grow up on an aircraft carrier or anything amazing like that. We didn't have a lot of money when I was a kid. My parents split when I was five. Plus, what else... Public Transport was bad. Really bad. We were at least four kilometres from the telephone exchange too, our ADSL speeds were poor. Drugs were everywhere, including some illicit ones. There was bushfire risk. And there were haters, but I like to think it all affected me positively by the end. It made me tougher, harder, and a better rhymer. It made me the man I am today."
"Mmm," he intones while I catch my breath. His pen is scribbling. I smile, hoping I look confident. I readjust my seat. The bright red shorts are long and baggy. They're silky to touch but they ride up my backside.
The reporter's next question is, "What kind of styles did you listen to as a youth?"
"Oh, all kinds," I say. I fiddle with my chain as I list them, "West coast, east coast, old school, instrumental. I dug the hyphy movement, indie stuff, crunk, gangsta, ghetto-tech, two-step, dirty south, that thing where a rappers features on a regular pop song for no reason."
"Who would you say is your biggest influence on your work?"
"Oh that's easy, Kelly."
"Yo mean R. Kelly?"
"No, my wife."
"Ah. Right." He pauses. "What albums are you listening to at the moment?"
"Doesn't matter what I'm listening to," I tell him. "No fools want to hear about that. If you want my musical recommendation, then I recommend you listen only to me. MC Nigel."
"Have you ever had an office job?"
"Never."
"What do you do when you're not making music?"
I invert my crossed legs, my white Adidas kicks swishing in front of me. The blue stripes on them arc through the air, begging to be observed. "I chill," I say. "I like watching movies, scary ones. I go to the club, to the beach. Umm, I love body surfing. And Game Cube, that game system is tight. Kelly and I, we play Mario Kart."
"Your wife, or R Kelly?"
"My wife."
I search my memory for anything else I could affiliate myself with, aiming to win as many fans as possible. "I love Masterchef, skateboarding, the NBA, the NBN. I'm for gay marriage and I'm against coal seam gas."
"That makes you seem-"
"And tax cuts for the rich!" I interrupt. "Tax cuts for the poor too, and the middle class. Tax cuts for everyone!"
"Okay," says the interviewer. He seems flustered by my flow, like his thoughts were written on his brain like an Etch-a-Sketch and I just vigorously shook his skull. "What's next for you?"
"I'm going to be the greatest!" I stand up, I flex for him. "I've got more rhymes than a box of rhyming dictionaries. More fans than a wind farm-"
"I think I've got all I need," he says.
I sit back down. "Thanks," I say. "This was really fun. I feel so famous. This was my first interview, you know?"
"Oh. Mine too," says the interviewer. "It's for my journalism assignment."
"Well, good luck," I say. "I hope you get an A."
"Thanks," he says. I hang up the call and lean back on the couch, my bright clothing a strong contrast to the worn fabric beneath me.
I seek Kelly, who is in the kitchen. I moonwalk into the room, performing a half-spin to face her.
"Nice outfit," she says. "For the interview?"
I nod. "Fame makes me hungry." I open the fridge, inside is nearly-empty bottle of milk, and half a shrink-wrapped cabbage which looks tiny on the the empty shelves.
"Where's all the food?"
She shrugs.
"What if MTV cribs wants to come over?"
"I would make fake energy drink cans with your face on the label and fill the fridge with a wall of them."
"You are awesome," I say. "I love you."
"I love you too."
"I'm going to make you so proud," I tell her, "when I'm the greatest rapper in the world."
I just need $550 million more to overtake Diddy.

Jiving in the Past

My birthday present from Dad via Amazon. A veritable smorgasbord of memories on two discs.

My birthday present from Dad via Amazon. A veritable smorgasbord of memories on two discs.

Casual Friday Breakfast - Weet Bix Crunch Dark & Stormy

I decided to eat a whole bunch of Cocoa Malt Weet Bix Crunch with a banana for breakfast this morning. I normally eat healthier cereal, but it was sunny and forecast for 31 degrees so I thought, screw it.

image 1165 from bradism.com


I call this Dark and Stormy because it's dark and because banana's sometimes remind me of rum because they tend to grow in the same climes. The cocoa malt is slightly bitter, and the almonds give it a protein kick like thunder.
image 1166 from bradism.com


Pros:
Eating this volume of sugary cereal made me feel like a ten year old, and refreshed me before a day of trying to keep my inbox from going over it's storage capacity.

Cons:
The banana did not blend with crunchy Weet-Bix as well as it does with the regular type. This was, therefore, a lot like eating a banana at the same time as eating a whole bunch of cereal.

Improvement in Productivity:
Despite my affinity for breakfast I have long since trained myself to eat Weet Bix crunch in smaller servings. The large serving today served to both bloat me, and make me late for work. This meant I had to hustle to the train at high speed with a full belly in particularly warm weather. I haven't felt quite right while sitting for the whole day.

Casual Friday Rating:
Like 2:30pm on a Friday Afternoon when you're emotionally conflicted because it's almost the weekend, but it's not actually the weekend yet.

The Greatest Rapper in the World - Part IV

CHATPER 7
"True, it's a good indicator," Abdul from Joe's Repo Services tells me, "but I don't think that Billboard hits, or iTunes charts, are the best way to define the world's greatest rapper."
"Well, what would you say is?" I ask.
Abdul grunts as he lifts our TV free of the wall mount. He crab walks down the hallway, towards the truck. "What's important," he says, feet shuffling, "is your rep on the street, with the people."
"Example?" I ask, holding the front door open for him.
"Well, Jay-Z and Kanye West sold out Madison Square Garden for seven consecutive nights. That's impressive."
"Hmmm. I hadn't really considered using live performances as a metric. No one comes to my live shows. As a strategy it doesn't seem likely to deliver any short term income."
Abdul places the television into the truck bed next to our former washing machine and barbecue. He shrugs. "I'm just saying, no one can tell you all of Drake's hits, can they? But everyone recognises the names ‘Tupac' and the ‘Notorious B.I.G.'. They stood up, they beefed, they asserted themselves. Imagine if they'd had Twitter back then." He drawls, "shit."
Umar comes from the house with his arms full of laptop cables that he deposits in a plastic moving crate, Abdul rolls down the truck door after he seals the lid.
"You need stature, my friend," Abdul says. "The iTunes sales come after you have the people's respect."

Kelly joins me on the driveway as the truck drives away.
"What are we going to do now?" she asks.
"I don't know," I say. "I think I need to explore my feelings through a rap."
"What are we going to do for money?"
"I still think we can make it through my EP sales and your shifts at the hospital."
She squeezes my hand. "But you don't have any EP sales, at all."
"Not yet, but now I have an idea."

CHAPTER 8
In the bare living room I ask Kelly, "Who should be the focus of my diss track?"
"I still don't understand why you must do one," Kelly says. "It sounds really mean."
"I know it sounds mean, but it's a common thing in the music industry. In the game. Everyone does it, Cypress Hill beefed with Westside Connection, Dr. Dre and Snoop hated Eazy-E, there was Nas and Jay-Z, Eminem and the Insane Clown Posse, Aesop Rock and El-P, NWA and The Police."
"I've never even heard of half those rap groups."
"Neither had I, until they started feuding."
Kelly is letting me use her computer to find a potential dispute partner. A photograph of Flo-Rida fills the screen. He is posed shirtless, a teardrop is tattooed on each of his swollen biceps. Twin Desert Eagles hang from the sagging waistband of his boxer shorts.
The blood leaves Kelly's face. "Nigel, these rappers look dangerous. I don't think you should be doing this."
"I have to," I tell her. "If I want to be the greatest rapper in the world I can't be afraid of anyone. Or anything."
"What if they try and hurt you?"
"Relax, no rapper has ever actually been injured in a rap feud."
"You promise?"
"Well, no Top 40 rappers. Was The Game ever in the charts?"
"You never had fighting in your best rapper qualities though."
"I need to do this, though. I need to make myself stand out. Differentiate myself."
"Exactly," says Kelly. "You say that all rappers make mean tracks about each other, so differentiate yourself. Don't write a diss track. Why don't you write a... a love track."
"A love track?"
"Yeah, write a track where you rhyme about how much you like another rapper. Write lyrics about how cool you think they are."
"You think people would want to listen to that?"
"They should," says Kelly. "I would."
"Okay. I'll do it."

CHAPTER NINE
Before the release of my single Hug Your Homey, all of my iTunes tracks had only one download, done by me, to make sure the download was working. Hug Your Homey debuted at number 3,105 on the New Releases chart. I promoted it heavily. I sent a message to all of my old waste services colleagues telling them to download it. I changed the name of my MySpace profile from "~*MC NiG3L*~" to "~*MC NiG3L*~ Hug Your Homey available on itunes NOW!!!!"
I recorded a whole EP of friendly rap tracks, including the songs The Hug Life Chose Me, Keep Up the Good Work, Kanye and a rap over Weezer's Island in the Sun called Ain't No Blocks by the Seaside.
After the EP was recorded I spoke with rapper Evil Eddie about him appearing in a music video with me. I'm not sure if he bailed because he learnt we were filming it all on an old Nokia, or if he knew the script involved a lot of hugging, or if he realised we were filming him before we even asked him.
My YouTube video "Evil Eddie Trips Over Cat While Escaping Man-Hug [SD]" had accumulated ten views by the time Hug Your Homey faded from the New Release charts. Most of the views were mine, making sure the video was working.
One morning, as Kelly and I ate generic-brand cereal dry, I checked the video and saw it had three thousand hits, and I had a hundred comments. The video had gone viral overnight on a cat forum. Most of the messages enquired about the cat's welfare, but some said they liked my songs. I replied to each comment, regardless of context, and I linked each of them to my iTunes download page. I did inform those who queried that the cat had died in the incident.
The ratio of views to downloads was always low, but it didn't matter, because the views kept climbing day after day. Someone posted an auto-tuned remix, where Eddie's gasp, the cat's shriek and Kelly's angelic giggle became the chorus for an 808 beat.

The next week I called Kelly during the last hours of her triple-shift at the hospital.
"Hi, it's me," I said. "Your favourite MC. How's shift three?"
She took a while to answer. "It's fine."
"I have great news," I told her. "I'm back in the charts."
"The new release charts?"
"No, the hot sellers. I'm blowing up!"
"You're blowing up? Are you ok?"
"No, I mean, I'm making it."
"You're making it blow up?"
"I'm making money. Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?"
"I'm swishing the scroll wheel of your mouse up and down," I say. "I'm viewing our banking e-statement. Cash money! We gettin' paid!"
The tiredness slips from her voice. "That's awesome, babe. I'm so proud of you."
"I'm the greatest rapper in the world!" I say. "Almost."
For two weeks my songs continued to sell. I wasn't making a lot, but it was more than my weekly salary at waste services. We could pay the rent again.
In week three the payments went down. I checked the charts and saw my songs plummeting from the hot sellers. And then I saw why. A new artist was emerging, his downloads rising, his track preparing to knock mine out of the charts.
The artist was True Drew. He'd written a diss track.
The track was called Fuck You MC Nigel.

The Thrilling Conclusion, Next Wednesday.

Daylight Savings Time Gives Me Hope For Society

I was listening to someone speak about Perth and its lack of daylight savings. There weren't any cheap jokes. He explained that Western Australia has enough northern latitudes that half the state doesn't really need an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. He also mentioned that those in the southerly Perth tend to adapt an 8-4 routine over summer anyway, so they don't miss out on anything.

It was hearing this that made me realise that daylight savings really is just a population-wide, government sanctioned denial. It has taken twenty-eight years, or seven Olympics, for me to reach this level of maturity and wisdom. Halfway through January, after you've adapted to the time shift and eating dinner in the sunlight, you forget about the fact that essentially we all simultaneously agreed to lie to each other about what the time is.

Why does this give me hope for society? Well, how many people do you know that refuse to follow daylight savings time? Who is out there, deliberately missing their doctor's appointments and court sessions to prove a point? Who are manually fixing the auto-detected time of their computers, phones, tablets and smart fridges? Who are turning up for cricket matches and barbecues an hour late? Besides the skittish, almost no one. Some irrelevant percentage of people.

This isn't just amazing because all of society agrees on something. It's amazing because all of society agrees on something that doesn't immediately have a benefit. That, on first glance, might seem illogical. They're overriding their instincts, their aversion to change, their suspicion of authority and they are just going with it. The result is that everyone's reality is altered for the better, except for maybe dairy farmers, apparently.

I don't know what thing we should do together as a group next. I just like the feeling that it's possible for us to all get along.

The Greatest Rapper in the World - The Finale

CHAPTER TEN
It seemed a mighty coincidence that my second taste of real fame would come the same way as my first, the by-product of a chuckle worthy video clip going viral. It did occur to me that perhaps all fame came down to that, stringing together successive, popular video clips for enough time that you became ubiquitous in the eyes of a generation.

My second stumble into publicity came from a serendipitous technical failure, rather than any breakthrough from my hard work. The incident occurred during my first ever performance of N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S. NIGEL. I made the mistake of rhyming Nigel with vigil. This wasn't a major faux pas, and I implemented the lyrics in the correct way, arranging the off-pronunciation in the front half of the couplet and allowing the rhythm of the lyrics to disguise the pronunciative misgivings. It would be easiest for me to show you the YouTube video of what happened, but since we sold Kelly's laptop for grocery money I'll have to inform you with words only.

I was flown to the American city of Atlanta for a Rising Stars of Hip Hop tour. The promoter had booked me after he found my ongoing public battle with True Drew amusing, and he asked me to play the opening set of the day. Like most festivals, the opening set is attended mainly by sound technicians for later sets, food and drink vendors who are setting up for the afternoon, and whichever squares turn up at the start of a small music festival in Atlanta. The side stage was not Madison Square Garden, but I had a small crowd gathered when I began with Hug your Homey, some even sang along. After Garbage Robot I could tell the audience was about to dip, as I'd exhausted my supply of hits and on the main stage Shad's roadie was doing his sound-check. I had to do something to keep the crowd, so I decided to premiere N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S., my next single. I franticly signalled to my sound tech to drop the electro-dubstep-moombahton beat I'd been working on.

The chorus to N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S. goes:
I've made mistakes, yeah, I'm notorious,
Even if you tried you couldn't be as infamous,
Many share my name, but I'm the world's greatest Nigel,
If you try to play this game then you better keep a vigil.

I was nine and a half words into the third line when my trainee sound tech accidentally cut the power. An immediate hush came over the crowd of Georgians. Caught off guard, I waved awkwardly in a way many blogs would later convince me was a parody of a gang sign. When the power came back on I was not asked to finish my set.

The world was divided by my actions; I had haters and advocates, the passion of both groups drove my sales higher. Race divide was suddenly open for debate, and I think I kicked some goals trying to bring the world that little bit closer to unity. I think after the shock wore off I was eventually accepted. This was great, because it opened up new opportunities for me to appear as a criminal or constable in mid-budget police dramas. From there a future of movie roles and deep, introspective rap albums was assured.

Eventually the talkback shows moved on to something else. I never tried to perform N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S again. I focussed on new material. I think it was premature, but the next thing I decided to announce was the release of my new song The Greatest Rapper In The World.

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Greatest Rapper was my magnum opus, my coup de grâce, my tightest shit. It was about how great I was. It was a lyrical essay that documented my entire stint in the rap game. It started with a graphic recount of my conception, then my childhood and its hardness, Kelly, all the part time jobs I'd worked, more about Kelly, then finally the ‘greatest rapper' metrics and how I was working towards achieving each one. The whole track went for nine minutes and eight seconds, one second longer than Kanye West's landmark single Runaway. I also released a radio edit. It was the same length, but with any expletives over-dubbed with sound effects.
I expected sales. My YouTube channel was still churning out visits. There was press. Kelly and I were excited.

The day before the track was scheduled for release I received the first cease and desist. Jay-Z's legal team delivered it personally. They were a comical sight, five men and women in sharp, neutral coloured suits crowded together on the landing in front of our unit's door. They told me that "greatest rapper in the world" was the protected trademark of Shaun Carter. All but one of the lawyers then left. The straggler, it turned out, was Bryan Williams' lawyer, who informed me that "greatest rapper alive" and "the illest" were both copyright by Mr Williams.
The lawyers continued all morning, Kelly and I watched as the stack of legal threats piled upwards. "The best", "I'm all that" and "Number One MC" each had legal ownership. I had no choice but to pull the song from the market or face financial ruin. Kelly held my hand through the call to my agent to end the online sales before they even began.

I was crestfallen after the call. "I've failed you," I told Kelly.
"No Nigel," she said. "I still believe in you. This is only a setback. You can still be the greatest rapper in the world."
"Shhh," I whispered, looking around for lawyers. "You really think I can do it?"
"Of course," she said. "I love you!"
I pondered. "I guess, I should make sure it's not copyrighted, but I could become the greatest rapper in the... Universe?"
On the table was the paper I'd been tracking my progresses on. "Most hits, most money, fastest rhymes, I'm not near any of these yet."
She asked, "What else could you use to determine if you're the greatest rapper in the universe?"
"I don't know." We sat to think. After thirty minutes Kelly got up and made us a pot of Earl Gray tea.
We sat and pondered for the whole day. The sun set and our bellies rumbled. Kelly offered to cook supper, but I declined. I wasn't going to eat until I could find something I was better at every other rapper at.
"I'm going to the library," I told Kelly. "I need to research."
"Okay," she said.

The library was open late, and was mostly empty when I arrived. A bank of desks had computers for public use and all but one was vacant. I sat down in front of a keyboard and pulled the plastic chair in. I tried for hours to find something, some metric, some measure I could work towards that would elevate me to the position of greatest rapper in the universe. Cars, syllables, most creative use of samples, jail stints, humorous album covers. Everything was a dead end, everyone had me beat. With heavy eyes I scrolled through Wikipedia article after Wikipedia article. I don't remember what page I was on when I fainted.
At closing time the librarian couldn't wake me. After checking my wallet she called my emergency contact and Kelly came to find me. She shook me, whispering into my ear. She kissed my temple and wrapped her arms around me in an awkward hug until I stirred. I lifted my head, the indent of half a keyboard impressed across my face.
"Hey sleepyhead," she said.
"I did it," I mumbled. "I'm the greatest rapper in the universe."
She stroked my arm. "I know you are, I've always known."
"I love you," I said. "My Kelly I love you so much."
"I love you too."
She took my hand and led me from the library and took me home.

Left behind us, on a piece of paper next to the computer I used were eleven words:

Greater Than Every Rapper At:
- Loving Kelly.
- Being Loved by Kelly.

Unloading

It's October and, because of NSW tenancy laws, that means that the only people who can choose to evict Vanessa and me before new years is Vanessa and I. If we don't move we will have spent the entire year of 2012 living in the one house, and much of it with an open lease. The concept of an open lease is a sphincter-loosening one, because I hate moving.

I moved twice last year and one thing I learnt from that is that we own a stupid amount of stuff. Owning too much stuff is a hard folly to avoid in contemporary, middle-class Australia. We all invest so much time working for our wages and spend so much of those earnings on food, housing, insurance and transportation. Sometimes it feels like all you've achieved by working is existence. And if you had to choose between existing, and existing with a massive flat-screen television, the trend for accumulating material possessions becomes obvious.

I dream, however, of a minimal life. I ponder what I could do to reduce the objects I own, and turn moving into something that has no bearing on the state of my anus.

One problem with my possessions is my penchant to purchase in bulk. I think I could overcome this, eventually, once I'd trained myself not to buy toilet paper by the pallet and crushed garlic by the kilogram. The other problem I have is that I'm a sentimental packrat. I, perhaps obviously, like keeping a connection to my memories. This leads to me doing weird things like not throwing out old phones or kitchen gadgets due to their history. It also explains why I own over fifty t-shirts, many which I never, ever wear.

I know I will need to move again, and so I tried to find a solution to this problem. The idea came to me that I should photograph the shirts I owned, but didn't wear. I would still be connected to the memories, but the capacity of my robes would be restored.

And that's why I'm posting this:

<strong>April 2004</strong><br />
<a href=\"./display.php?jid=21\">This</a> is, or was, the oldest shirt I owned. It is also the first shirt I ever wrote more than 300 words about.

<strong>April 2004</strong>
<a href=\"./display.php?jid=21\">This</a> is, or was, the oldest shirt I owned. It is also the first shirt I ever wrote more than 300 words about.



<strong>November 2004</strong><br />
Nearing summer in 2004 I went to a surf store at Marion with my brother Steve to find fashionable clothing. Steve's recommendation was that I should buy light or white clothes.

<strong>November 2004</strong>
Nearing summer in 2004 I went to a surf store at Marion with my brother Steve to find fashionable clothing. Steve's recommendation was that I should buy light or white clothes.



Steve's logic was that wearing light colours would help disguise my lack of tan. I don't think he gave enough weight to the fact that it made me stand out like a sight screen.

Steve's logic was that wearing light colours would help disguise my lack of tan. I don't think he gave enough weight to the fact that it made me stand out like a sight screen.



<strong>January 2005</strong><br />
I bought this at the 2005 Big Day Out at around dinner time, before I saw the Chemical Brothers. I wore it as a second layer during their set, over the top of my white Billabong sleeveless T-shirt.

<strong>January 2005</strong>
I bought this at the 2005 Big Day Out at around dinner time, before I saw the Chemical Brothers. I wore it as a second layer during their set, over the top of my white Billabong sleeveless T-shirt.



<strong>December 2005</strong><br />
I went to the midnight, post-Christmas sales in 2005 after a day of drinking beer and whiskey at Burrett's birthday pool party. I bought several shirts and also some underwear.

<strong>December 2005</strong>
I went to the midnight, post-Christmas sales in 2005 after a day of drinking beer and whiskey at Burrett's birthday pool party. I bought several shirts and also some underwear.



This was another shirt from that trip. If I had been sober, I wouldn't have bought it. I don't mind the colours, but I was too tipsy to realise it was really tight. It would later fit quite comfortably.<br />
Craig also attended this shopping trip and he bought the same shirt but in brown and green, so we could be "shirt buddies".

This was another shirt from that trip. If I had been sober, I wouldn't have bought it. I don't mind the colours, but I was too tipsy to realise it was really tight. It would later fit quite comfortably.
Craig also attended this shopping trip and he bought the same shirt but in brown and green, so we could be "shirt buddies".



<strong>January 2006</strong><br />
Continuing the theme of buying shirts while inebriated, I bought this shirt at the 2006 Big Day Out. I loved this shirt. I wish I'd been paying attention and noticed the massive hole in the back when I bought it.<br />
I still wore it to multiple casual Fridays.

<strong>January 2006</strong>
Continuing the theme of buying shirts while inebriated, I bought this shirt at the 2006 Big Day Out. I loved this shirt. I wish I'd been paying attention and noticed the massive hole in the back when I bought it.
I still wore it to multiple casual Fridays.



<strong>August 2006</strong><br />
On my birthday in 2006 I took the day off work and went shopping for clothes.

<strong>August 2006</strong>
On my birthday in 2006 I took the day off work and went shopping for clothes.



I was strongly influenced by Men's Health fashion pages.

I was strongly influenced by Men's Health fashion pages.



I made some average decisions.

I made some average decisions.



<strong>December 2006</strong><br />
Awesome, a shirt I didn't buy at Marion. I bought this at The Pines in Elanora. Unbeknownst to me, almost every dude I knew was also buying a green shirt for summer.

<strong>December 2006</strong>
Awesome, a shirt I didn't buy at Marion. I bought this at The Pines in Elanora. Unbeknownst to me, almost every dude I knew was also buying a green shirt for summer.



<strong>December 2006</strong><br />
I went shopping with Steve for Christmas presents and I bought this shirt from Roger David.

<strong>December 2006</strong>
I went shopping with Steve for Christmas presents and I bought this shirt from Roger David.



<strong>December 2006</strong><br />
Then, for Christmas, Steve gave me this shirt. I notice a distinct lack of light, plain colours!

<strong>December 2006</strong>
Then, for Christmas, Steve gave me this shirt. I notice a distinct lack of light, plain colours!



<strong>April 2007</strong><br />
I saw this shirt on a mannequin in the Adelaide Myer store, and I decided I wanted to buy it.

<strong>April 2007</strong>
I saw this shirt on a mannequin in the Adelaide Myer store, and I decided I wanted to buy it.



<strong>April 2007</strong><br />
Over a year after I first had the idea, I finally convinced friends to become Shirt Buddies with me. Tim, Cowan and Myself all bought this shirt from Harbour Town.

<strong>April 2007</strong>
Over a year after I first had the idea, I finally convinced friends to become Shirt Buddies with me. Tim, Cowan and Myself all bought this shirt from Harbour Town.



<strong>June 2007</strong><br />
This shirt was definitely an extended lunch-break purchase.

<strong>June 2007</strong>
This shirt was definitely an extended lunch-break purchase.



<strong>July 2007</strong><br />
I bought this shirt at Splendour in the Grass 2007 to remind me forever that I went to Splendour in the Grass.

<strong>July 2007</strong>
I bought this shirt at Splendour in the Grass 2007 to remind me forever that I went to Splendour in the Grass.



<strong>January 2008</strong><br />
I bought this shirt at Melbourne's Big Day Out to remind me forever that I went to Melbourne for the Big Day Out.

<strong>January 2008</strong>
I bought this shirt at Melbourne's Big Day Out to remind me forever that I went to Melbourne for the Big Day Out.



<strong>March 2008</strong><br />
On one casual Friday I was thrashing an advance of Tapes 'n Tape's new album and I decided I also wanted to  dress like them. For that reason I bought this shirt. For the record, in March 2008 the band looked like <a href=\"http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/tapes-n-tapes-walk-it-off/\">this.</a> I should have taken the photo with me to David Jones.

<strong>March 2008</strong>
On one casual Friday I was thrashing an advance of Tapes 'n Tape's new album and I decided I also wanted to dress like them. For that reason I bought this shirt. For the record, in March 2008 the band looked like <a href=\"http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/tapes-n-tapes-walk-it-off/\">this.</a> I should have taken the photo with me to David Jones.



<strong>March 2008</strong><br />
This also signified a time in my life when I was moving towards single colours and shunning anything that wasn't plain or a simple logo.</p>
<p>You've reached the halfway point of my shirt history. When will I post the second half? You'll have to stay tuned...

<strong>March 2008</strong>
This also signified a time in my life when I was moving towards single colours and shunning anything that wasn't plain or a simple logo.

You've reached the halfway point of my shirt history. When will I post the second half? You'll have to stay tuned...



Better Writing

If there's one thing that proves how much better I've gotten at writing in 2012, it's how bad my handwriting has become since the beginning of 2012.

image 1189 from bradism.com

Unloading II

There has been more thoughts about moving, which then made me think about my journal entries about moving. Here's some shirts, many which will not be moving with us.

<strong>February 2008</strong><br />
I bought this Industrie shirt from Trims in the city one Saturday morning to replace my Spoon shirt, which I was in the process of wearing for over a day. It was the morning after the Fringe Opening Party which I'd gone to straight from work via Scrivo's apartment. For an unplanned purchase this one turned out to be a good one, it was one of Vanessa's favourite shirts.

<strong>February 2008</strong>
I bought this Industrie shirt from Trims in the city one Saturday morning to replace my Spoon shirt, which I was in the process of wearing for over a day. It was the morning after the Fringe Opening Party which I'd gone to straight from work via Scrivo's apartment. For an unplanned purchase this one turned out to be a good one, it was one of Vanessa's favourite shirts.



<strong>June 2008</strong><br />
A shirt I bought from Threadless on a Casual Friday at the office when Chow told me Threadless were having a sale. I'd always wanted a pink shirt, and the cute, misunderstood Godzilla on this one was enough for me to finally pull the trigger. I could relate to that giant little dude.

<strong>June 2008</strong>
A shirt I bought from Threadless on a Casual Friday at the office when Chow told me Threadless were having a sale. I'd always wanted a pink shirt, and the cute, misunderstood Godzilla on this one was enough for me to finally pull the trigger. I could relate to that giant little dude.



This is another shirt with another little dude on it from the same time, but I think I bought it because it was discounted down to ten bucks. I liked the V-neck on it. I never wore this one much, it was more of a Sunday afternoon shirt.

This is another shirt with another little dude on it from the same time, but I think I bought it because it was discounted down to ten bucks. I liked the V-neck on it. I never wore this one much, it was more of a Sunday afternoon shirt.



<strong>August 2008</strong><br />
My Dad gave me this shirt for my Birthday. He bought it on a trip to China. I was always a little hesitant to wear it, especially while living in Hurstville. I did wear it to my Cuban themed birthday party two years later, much to my own amusement.

<strong>August 2008</strong>
My Dad gave me this shirt for my Birthday. He bought it on a trip to China. I was always a little hesitant to wear it, especially while living in Hurstville. I did wear it to my Cuban themed birthday party two years later, much to my own amusement.



<strong>September 2008</strong><br />
After my great success with my first Industrie shirt earlier in the year I bought another Industrie shirt. Vanessa also liked this one.

<strong>September 2008</strong>
After my great success with my first Industrie shirt earlier in the year I bought another Industrie shirt. Vanessa also liked this one.



Also in September I bought my Dad a shirt for Father's day. He asked me for my advice on minutely-formal-casual polo-tee hybrids. Remember, this is the guy who thought a Mao Zedong shirt was a fashionable idea. I bought him a shirt from Myer, and bought myself this one at the same time. In hindsight, I should have purchased the same shirt for both of us, so we could be father-son shirt buddies.

Also in September I bought my Dad a shirt for Father's day. He asked me for my advice on minutely-formal-casual polo-tee hybrids. Remember, this is the guy who thought a Mao Zedong shirt was a fashionable idea. I bought him a shirt from Myer, and bought myself this one at the same time. In hindsight, I should have purchased the same shirt for both of us, so we could be father-son shirt buddies.



<strong>Christmas 2008</strong><br />
I received this shirt as a gift from Vanessa's Dad/family. They didn't know me very well at the time, so I think this was a pretty good shirt for me based on how fussy I am about shirts. I'm not sure how they knew I'd like it, they might have listened to me tell the sad story of how I lost my Adidas Track Pants in Tanunda earlier in the year and how devastated I'd been for a fortnight until I'd replaced them with an identical pair from Rebel Sport.

<strong>Christmas 2008</strong>
I received this shirt as a gift from Vanessa's Dad/family. They didn't know me very well at the time, so I think this was a pretty good shirt for me based on how fussy I am about shirts. I'm not sure how they knew I'd like it, they might have listened to me tell the sad story of how I lost my Adidas Track Pants in Tanunda earlier in the year and how devastated I'd been for a fortnight until I'd replaced them with an identical pair from Rebel Sport.



<strong>January 2009</strong><br />
I guess my New Years resolution for 2009 was to buy thought-provoking, artistic shirts to make me seem more mature. I bought this one at the Queen Victoria markets on a trip to the state Victoria.

<strong>January 2009</strong>
I guess my New Years resolution for 2009 was to buy thought-provoking, artistic shirts to make me seem more mature. I bought this one at the Queen Victoria markets on a trip to the state Victoria.



I also picked out this one. It's like, deep. Not surprisingly these  shirts shrunk about two sizes after a couple of washes and so I rarely wore them, but I moved them to Sydney with me all the same, to remember my trip to Victoria. I saw Mt Gambier. It was sunny.

I also picked out this one. It's like, deep. Not surprisingly these shirts shrunk about two sizes after a couple of washes and so I rarely wore them, but I moved them to Sydney with me all the same, to remember my trip to Victoria. I saw Mt Gambier. It was sunny.



<strong>February 2009</strong><br />
This shirt was free from the internet, due to some clothing design company's promotion. I guess their marketing worked because I paid for a second one to send to Steve. A duplicate of this shirt toured Afghanistan. Maybe that's why I occasionally get hacked by Algerians...

<strong>February 2009</strong>
This shirt was free from the internet, due to some clothing design company's promotion. I guess their marketing worked because I paid for a second one to send to Steve. A duplicate of this shirt toured Afghanistan. Maybe that's why I occasionally get hacked by Algerians...



<strong>October 2009</strong><br />
Chow was like, \"Hey Brad, you can get a shirt from this website for  but it's a surprise what you get. Are you in?\" As it was a Casual Friday I, of course, was. When he passed this to me a few weeks later I was initially disappointed, as this was a lot angrier looking than the cute little Godzilla. Eventually it became one of my favourite shirts. It survived the cull.

<strong>October 2009</strong>
Chow was like, \"Hey Brad, you can get a shirt from this website for but it's a surprise what you get. Are you in?\" As it was a Casual Friday I, of course, was. When he passed this to me a few weeks later I was initially disappointed, as this was a lot angrier looking than the cute little Godzilla. Eventually it became one of my favourite shirts. It survived the cull.



<strong>March 2010</strong><br />
Despite how happy I'd been with my pink Godzilla shirt, I'd always felt it was a little too... pink. I'd always wished for a shirt that was a little bit pink, but the more you looked at it the less pink it was. And that's why I bought this shirt. It died when I slipped over while being unco at opening a door and punctured the sleeve with the door handle. I remember being quite startled by how easily the shirt had been penetrated, and thankful it hadn't been my arm that had been punctured.

<strong>March 2010</strong>
Despite how happy I'd been with my pink Godzilla shirt, I'd always felt it was a little too... pink. I'd always wished for a shirt that was a little bit pink, but the more you looked at it the less pink it was. And that's why I bought this shirt. It died when I slipped over while being unco at opening a door and punctured the sleeve with the door handle. I remember being quite startled by how easily the shirt had been penetrated, and thankful it hadn't been my arm that had been punctured.



I bought this shirt the same day as the last one, I think to counteract the pink. Or because I was back into a plain, single colour shirt phase again, or because it was an Industrie shirt. Or because it was on clearance... These are the themes of my life.

I bought this shirt the same day as the last one, I think to counteract the pink. Or because I was back into a plain, single colour shirt phase again, or because it was an Industrie shirt. Or because it was on clearance... These are the themes of my life.



<strong>June 2010</strong><br />
There's a funny story behind how I came to own this shirt.<br />
I attended a Red Hat JBoss promotional session at a hotel in Adelaide one morning, I think mainly because there was a free breakfast. After the presentation they said there was a shirt up for grabs for whoever could tell them what JBoss stood for, something they'd repeated a few times during the talk. A room full of business folks with full bellies didn't stir. I was feeling extroverted at the time, maybe because of the six free coffees, so after it was clear no one was going to respond I stood up and gave an answer that was about 40% right. They gave the correct answer, and as no one else had tried to answer, they gave me the shirt anyway. Occasionally I wear it on Casual Fridays at my new job, which is kind of like an inside joke with myself, because I used to wear it on not-casual weekdays at my old job.

<strong>June 2010</strong>
There's a funny story behind how I came to own this shirt.
I attended a Red Hat JBoss promotional session at a hotel in Adelaide one morning, I think mainly because there was a free breakfast. After the presentation they said there was a shirt up for grabs for whoever could tell them what JBoss stood for, something they'd repeated a few times during the talk. A room full of business folks with full bellies didn't stir. I was feeling extroverted at the time, maybe because of the six free coffees, so after it was clear no one was going to respond I stood up and gave an answer that was about 40% right. They gave the correct answer, and as no one else had tried to answer, they gave me the shirt anyway. Occasionally I wear it on Casual Fridays at my new job, which is kind of like an inside joke with myself, because I used to wear it on not-casual weekdays at my old job.



<strong>July 2010</strong><br />
Oh look, it's a plain shirt. Good thing I took a photo to remember this shirt forever. Hey... I'm wearing this shirt right now. Ah, I remember this shirt, I typed a whole bunch of stuff into notepad++ about shirts while wearing this shirt and then I uploaded it one image at a time into my shabbily coded journal system. Good times.

<strong>July 2010</strong>
Oh look, it's a plain shirt. Good thing I took a photo to remember this shirt forever. Hey... I'm wearing this shirt right now. Ah, I remember this shirt, I typed a whole bunch of stuff into notepad++ about shirts while wearing this shirt and then I uploaded it one image at a time into my shabbily coded journal system. Good times.



<strong>August 2010</strong><br />
Four years after I took part in the Adelaide Casino's competitive schnitzel eating challenge I returned for another shirt. I needed a new one after my original one was sadly taken from me by a cat. I didn't know the shirts would look like this. It was very disappointing. I actually think that taking this photo may have been the only time I ever wore this shirt...

<strong>August 2010</strong>
Four years after I took part in the Adelaide Casino's competitive schnitzel eating challenge I returned for another shirt. I needed a new one after my original one was sadly taken from me by a cat. I didn't know the shirts would look like this. It was very disappointing. I actually think that taking this photo may have been the only time I ever wore this shirt...



<strong>September 2010</strong><br />
Obviously tipsy on pollen, I bought this plain, single-colour shirt on a sunny Sunday shopping excursion to Rundle Mall with Vanessa. I also bought a second one that was pure purple. Obviously I had moved past my tentativeness with certain colours.

<strong>September 2010</strong>
Obviously tipsy on pollen, I bought this plain, single-colour shirt on a sunny Sunday shopping excursion to Rundle Mall with Vanessa. I also bought a second one that was pure purple. Obviously I had moved past my tentativeness with certain colours.



<strong>February 2011</strong><br />
This was the first shirt I bought after moving to NSW. I needed new shorts, and I bought a pair from a surf store that was offering  towards a shirt if you bought a pair of shorts. Can you guess how much this shirt cost?

<strong>February 2011</strong>
This was the first shirt I bought after moving to NSW. I needed new shorts, and I bought a pair from a surf store that was offering towards a shirt if you bought a pair of shorts. Can you guess how much this shirt cost?



<strong>April 2011</strong><br />
The history of my shirts, 2004 - 2011, ends with this shirt that I purchased in Brisbane on a trip to visit Steve. If you pay close attention to the dates of the last few shirts you'll notice my shirt-purchasing propensity plummeted towards the end. I bought this shirt specifically because I had not bought a shirt for a while. This is usually a bad reason to buy a shirt, but I'm happy with this one. Even though I saw in Facebook photos that Chow also bought this shirt around the same time as me. As long as I don't wear it to Adelaide I should be okay.</p>
<p>Stay tuned, I will publish the shirts that I owned between 2012 - 2019 in 2020.

<strong>April 2011</strong>
The history of my shirts, 2004 - 2011, ends with this shirt that I purchased in Brisbane on a trip to visit Steve. If you pay close attention to the dates of the last few shirts you'll notice my shirt-purchasing propensity plummeted towards the end. I bought this shirt specifically because I had not bought a shirt for a while. This is usually a bad reason to buy a shirt, but I'm happy with this one. Even though I saw in Facebook photos that Chow also bought this shirt around the same time as me. As long as I don't wear it to Adelaide I should be okay.

Stay tuned, I will publish the shirts that I owned between 2012 - 2019 in 2020.


Thus concludes my summary of my shirts. After taking these photos I actually did feel less hesitant about no longer possessing these pieces of fabric that had shared a portion of my life with me. I plonked two garbage bags full of shirts into a charity bin and walked away knowing that, while the shirts were gone, the memories would always remain in my photos. Plus, now I had a whole bunch more wardrobe space. When I returned home and I looked around and pondered what else I was hanging onto simply for the memories. What else could I photograph and then dispossess? How many more journal entries could I knock out where I just take photos of things I owned and ramble like a elderly person with visitors? This reminds me of a story. It was back in the day, I forget the year and the month, so I'll make them up. I was sitting at my computer and.

What's Been Happening?

I clean the bathroom irregularly. Afterwards, every single time, I scare the bejesus out of myself when I see my reflection in the mirror when I turn the light on to pee.

Earlier this week I was leaving a crowded train at North Sydney and in the exertion of lifting my backpack onto my shoulders I accidentally farted. Loudly. I had to stand for over a minute, waiting for the doors to open and pretending I hadn't just dropped a bomb on a crowd of people. I struggled to resist the urge to laugh. As I walked away from the station and reflected on getting away with my incidental deviance a smoker blew a lungful of second-hand smoke into my face and I felt like justice had just been served.

Two days ago I wrote myself a note that simply said "mirror fart skyscraper" and I cannot for the life of me remember what skyscraper was supposed to remind me of.

All of that plus moving, job changes, biomechanics, unpublished writing and selling stuff on gumtree.

This Week I Booked a Moving

I've bought a lot of books that I know I'm never going to read again. Like shirts, I keep them in my house because they remind me of past times. Also like shirts, a lot of them remind me of lunch breaks in Adelaide. I bought this book from O'Connell's Bookshop.

I've bought a lot of books that I know I'm never going to read again. Like shirts, I keep them in my house because they remind me of past times. Also like shirts, a lot of them remind me of lunch breaks in Adelaide. I bought this book from O'Connell's Bookshop.



In the past twelve months I've actually reinvigorated my relationship with public libraries. That didn't stop me from buying this book from a bookshop in Canberra in February.

In the past twelve months I've actually reinvigorated my relationship with public libraries. That didn't stop me from buying this book from a bookshop in Canberra in February.



Some of the books I'm holding onto I keep because they're classics, even though reading them was a struggle.

Some of the books I'm holding onto I keep because they're classics, even though reading them was a struggle.



Others I bought because they were written by people who inspire me, even if it's not their best work. Or maybe I buy them because I realise at 5pm on a Sunday in Cronulla that all I've achieved in a weekend is drive to Cronulla..

Others I bought because they were written by people who inspire me, even if it's not their best work. Or maybe I buy them because I realise at 5pm on a Sunday in Cronulla that all I've achieved in a weekend is drive to Cronulla..



Harbour Town, a day off in 2007.<br />
Darlinghurst, a day off for different reasons in 2010.

Harbour Town, a day off in 2007.
Darlinghurst, a day off for different reasons in 2010.



Sometimes I bought books that I thought would inspire me, but turned out to be average. I don't know why I would keep books like that. This happens with IRL purchases and internet shopping.

Sometimes I bought books that I thought would inspire me, but turned out to be average. I don't know why I would keep books like that. This happens with IRL purchases and internet shopping.



Sometimes the books are good, but no longer seem relative.

Sometimes the books are good, but no longer seem relative.



Sometimes I buy bad books and keep them on my bookshelf because I don't want to admit that I made a mistake.

Sometimes I buy bad books and keep them on my bookshelf because I don't want to admit that I made a mistake.



Sometimes I buy books for a combination of all the previous reasons specified: they might improve my writing, I'm in Melbourne, they're . Wait, that's shirts..

Sometimes I buy books for a combination of all the previous reasons specified: they might improve my writing, I'm in Melbourne, they're . Wait, that's shirts..



Sometimes I read the classics because Borders is liquidating. And because I like the idea of napping in the sunlight.

Sometimes I read the classics because Borders is liquidating. And because I like the idea of napping in the sunlight.



Sometimes I hold onto books because the nostalgia associated with something you borrowed forever from your Year Five teacher is too strong. Then, you convince yourself that eighteen years from now you'll feel the same feeling in your guts about thesaurus.com.

Sometimes I hold onto books because the nostalgia associated with something you borrowed forever from your Year Five teacher is too strong. Then, you convince yourself that eighteen years from now you'll feel the same feeling in your guts about thesaurus.com.



The Original Taste

At some point in the last week it was officially ten years since I last went to a class in high school. I think it was Thursday, my maths isn't that great anymore.

Because high school is the thing that most people in Australia "do" in between their first pubes and their first car incident, I would say it tends to have a lasting impact on the next decade of most lives. I never really liked high school. I had fun, but I always felt like I didn't really fit in with most of what was going on. Thus, I was never sure if I would attend a ten year reunion if one was ever organised. Now that a decade has passed, and either no reunion was organised or I wasn't invited to one that was, I decided to host my own, independent reunion with a few choice ingredients that would transport my mind back to November 1, 2002. They were: A burnt copy of Ministry of Sounds' Dance Nation 2002, a copy of the 2002 Cambium magazine, and a can of Woodstock Bourbon. For an hour tonight I saw, heard, tasted and smelt the senses of 2002.

image 1221 from bradism.com

As I finished the sickly-sweet Woodstock I opened up the Cambium to the Year 12 portraits and looked for people I could recognise. I held the pages open in front of my face and tried my best to say what I felt I would have said if I was actually reuniting with them.
It went like this, "Hello... name-of-person-in-photograph... how are you...? I don't have much to say to you... This is awkward..."

This is how I think my attendance at a ten year reunion really would have gone. I guess I just saved myself from buying a plane-ticket, money I most definitely won't be spending on more Woodstocks. The rest of the conversations I had were along the lines of "Wow, you look like a ten year old" and a couple of "Jesus, your eyes are really close together", but mostly it was "I'm not sure who you are... Did I know you?" The only actual case of repertoire that developed was in the conversation I had with the photo I found of myself, which I think summarises the nature of this entry quite well.

After I'd skimmed through the Cambium I turned to my old writings from 2000-2002 for further reuniting with the past. It provided many chuckles and prompted many memories. Such as:

[In English class] I was showing Willy, Ben and Andrew that I could fit a five cent coin up my nose. It got stuck up there and I was desperately trying to get it out when Ashley yells "Brad's pickin' his nose!" and everyone stares at me. "No I'm not," I say and with a hefty snort I send the coin flying out and rebounding off the desk while Mr. Skehan looks on in horror.

It's so fascinating to find these hints of the man I'd become today.

I’m Helping

Next weekend we’re moving house and I've been helping pack by doing the following things:


  • Taking photos of things that I'm going to throw away
  • Eating cereal three times a day so that “there’s less cereal to move”
  • Discovering bouncy balls and bouncing them
  • injuring myself and resting
  • Reminiscing about all the short stories I wrote on the deck and never published
  • Dealing with call centres
  • Playing music loudly while I'm not engulfed in neighbours.
  • Selling things on Gumtree
  • Eating frozen cake
  • Writing journal entries about moving.

I would make a bad robot

I was thinking about drinking green tea in lieu of a coffee the other day. I don't like the taste of green tea, but I was on a training course that had no availability of decent, free coffee and I have been trying to wean myself off coffee without much success lately.
I thought to myself, "I could make up a drink that's mostly coffee and a little of green tea. I could do this each day, gradually increasing the amount of green tea as I decreased the amount of coffee. Soon I would become used to the taste of green tea and would no longer be concerned with the lack of coffee."

Deck Lover

After work today I was out on the deck assembling our outdoor table. I love decks, and I love sitting at a table on a deck even more. Drinking a beer, watching birds, scrambling with friends in the sun. I can't get enough deck.

Importantly, unlike every other deck I've sat on, today's deck is 19 stories above the ground. When I watch the birds on it, I'm looking down. That happened tonight, a score of sparrow-like birds were flitting about below me, doing loops and surfing the winds. I watched them for a few minutes and thought, this is all these birds do with their time? Fly around doing a barrel roll? After evolving to master flight?

Then I thought of all the evolved humans currently sitting on the couch watching television instead of flying around doing tricks. If I could fly, I would flit about aimlessly too. Then I got bored, went inside and watched television.

Moving Highlights

image 1222 from bradism.com


image 1223 from bradism.com


image 1224 from bradism.com


image 1225 from bradism.com


image 1226 from bradism.com


Apricots

Every time I eat an apricot it feels like I'm eating a tiny butt.

image 1227 from bradism.com

Vanessa and I are pleased to announce we have a bun in the oven!

Because, for Christmas we bought each other a bread maker.

The bun was delicious.

image 1777 from bradism.com

We made it together.

We ate it together.

I loved doing that with her.

Excuses

I'm not sure the exact reason why I haven't updated for almost three weeks.

Maybe it's because I've managed to cut my caffeine intake down to one coffee per day.

Maybe it's because I can't write so well when my brain and computer are twenty storeys above the ground. I have written some good stuff in aeroplanes, so not sure if this checks out.

Maybe it's because after four thousand consecutive days of trying to come up with journal entries in my head, I've run out of good material.

Maybe it's because my journal peaked with a photo of an apricot that kind of looked like buttocks.

Maybe it's because my fucking phone won't stop fucking ringing.

Yule Log

I am really excited for the end of year holidays. I have so little interest in the rest of this week, all I can think about is Christmas.
Right now I would say Christmas is like a big loaf inside of me, ready to be released, and these next few days are miles of highway without a rest-stop.

The Greatest Rapper in the world Christmas Special

Nigel could climb from the bottom to the top of his lighthouse in less than forty seconds.  There are 108 steps. Nigel checked the lamp every evening, which means this year he spent over eight hours climbing up and down almost 80,000 steps. These were the kind of things he thought about during the long nights as a lighthouse keeper.<br />
If there were problems during the night he might have to climb stairs even more, but this year he didn't have a single problem with the light. He was very good at warning ships about the shore.

Nigel could climb from the bottom to the top of his lighthouse in less than forty seconds. There are 108 steps. Nigel checked the lamp every evening, which means this year he spent over eight hours climbing up and down almost 80,000 steps. These were the kind of things he thought about during the long nights as a lighthouse keeper.
If there were problems during the night he might have to climb stairs even more, but this year he didn't have a single problem with the light. He was very good at warning ships about the shore.


As the end of the year approached and the daylight lingered longer, Nigel had more time to himself. He thought about his career choices, and his future, and he realised that this couldn't be his whole life. He called up his supervisor and told him, "I won't be working for the rest of December."<br />
His supervisor said, "Nigel, what do you think you're doing?"

As the end of the year approached and the daylight lingered longer, Nigel had more time to himself. He thought about his career choices, and his future, and he realised that this couldn't be his whole life. He called up his supervisor and told him, "I won't be working for the rest of December."
His supervisor said, "Nigel, what do you think you're doing?"


Nigel said, "I am going to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world."

Nigel said, "I am going to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world."


Nigel climbed down the 108 steps and found Kelly in the kitchen. He told her that he wanted to try rapping again, and this time it would be a Christmas album.<br />
Kelly loved the idea, because Kelly loved Christmas.

Nigel climbed down the 108 steps and found Kelly in the kitchen. He told her that he wanted to try rapping again, and this time it would be a Christmas album.
Kelly loved the idea, because Kelly loved Christmas.


Before Nigel started writing raps, he and Kelly sat down to work out what was currently the greatest Christmas rap album in the world, to define the metrics that he would need to beat. They made a summary of all the past hip-hop and RnB Christmas albums and ranked them in categories.

Before Nigel started writing raps, he and Kelly sat down to work out what was currently the greatest Christmas rap album in the world, to define the metrics that he would need to beat. They made a summary of all the past hip-hop and RnB Christmas albums and ranked them in categories.


Run DMC's <i>Christmas in Hollis</i> is the most well known Christmas rap, appearing in 21 different holiday movies and Christmas specials since 1987.

Run DMC's <i>Christmas in Hollis</i> is the most well known Christmas rap, appearing in 21 different holiday movies and Christmas specials since 1987.


<i>Eight Days of Christmas</i>, by Destiny's Child, has the highest Billboard Chart ranking, peaking at 34 in 2001.

<i>Eight Days of Christmas</i>, by Destiny's Child, has the highest Billboard Chart ranking, peaking at 34 in 2001.


Cee Lo Green's Christmas album <i>Magic Moment</i> holds the records for most iTunes downloads of a Christmas rap album.

Cee Lo Green's Christmas album <i>Magic Moment</i> holds the records for most iTunes downloads of a Christmas rap album.


Snoop Dogg's <i>Christmas in Tha Dogg House</i> contained the most original material released on a single Christmas rap album. Along with the most mentions of Santa Claus.

Snoop Dogg's <i>Christmas in Tha Dogg House</i> contained the most original material released on a single Christmas rap album. Along with the most mentions of Santa Claus.


If Nigel could surpass these factors: writing the most original, highest charting, most downloaded, most revered Christmas album of all time then he could surely lay claim to creating the world's greatest Christmas rap album.<br />
Nigel got straight to work writing Christmas rhymes and posting them as downloads on his MySpace page.

If Nigel could surpass these factors: writing the most original, highest charting, most downloaded, most revered Christmas album of all time then he could surely lay claim to creating the world's greatest Christmas rap album.
Nigel got straight to work writing Christmas rhymes and posting them as downloads on his MySpace page.


He wrote a rap called "The Greatest Wrapper in the World." It was about perfectly gift-wrapping a series of more and more complex objects. He and Kelly even made a video for it.

He wrote a rap called "The Greatest Wrapper in the World." It was about perfectly gift-wrapping a series of more and more complex objects. He and Kelly even made a video for it.


The song received zero downloads. It took them days to create the video and no-one who watched it even commented.

The song received zero downloads. It took them days to create the video and no-one who watched it even commented.


In one rap Nigel mentioned Santa over a hundred times. The very next day indie-rapper Busdriver, one of the fastest rappers in the world, released his song "One Billion Santas."<br />
His track wasn't even really Christmas related, it was actually a metaphor for American middle-class behaviour in the years following a recession. Regardless, it received 10,000 comments in less than a week. That was 10,000 more than MC Nigel's song.

In one rap Nigel mentioned Santa over a hundred times. The very next day indie-rapper Busdriver, one of the fastest rappers in the world, released his song "One Billion Santas."
His track wasn't even really Christmas related, it was actually a metaphor for American middle-class behaviour in the years following a recession. Regardless, it received 10,000 comments in less than a week. That was 10,000 more than MC Nigel's song.


Kelly and Nigel organised "Hip-Hop by Candlelight" to try out some of Nigel's new material. They distributed thousands of flyers.

Kelly and Nigel organised "Hip-Hop by Candlelight" to try out some of Nigel's new material. They distributed thousands of flyers.


On the night of the show the only person who showed up was True Drew, and he mocked Nigel  until the bar opened. The rest of the seats stared back at him, empty. Nigel felt like it was Christmas morning and he'd opened up a stocking full of coal.

On the night of the show the only person who showed up was True Drew, and he mocked Nigel until the bar opened. The rest of the seats stared back at him, empty. Nigel felt like it was Christmas morning and he'd opened up a stocking full of coal.


When Kelly and Nigel arrived back at the lighthouse he told her he was giving up on writing the greatest Christmas rap album. She protested, but he knew there was no point, he would never be able to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.

When Kelly and Nigel arrived back at the lighthouse he told her he was giving up on writing the greatest Christmas rap album. She protested, but he knew there was no point, he would never be able to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.


They went to bed, but Kelly couldn't sleep. She went to the window and stared out of it for no real reason. As Nigel snored lightly she made a wish. She wished that he would write the world's greatest Christmas album ever.

They went to bed, but Kelly couldn't sleep. She went to the window and stared out of it for no real reason. As Nigel snored lightly she made a wish. She wished that he would write the world's greatest Christmas album ever.


At that same exact moment the first snowflake of summer appeared in the sky.

At that same exact moment the first snowflake of summer appeared in the sky.


And as Nigel slept, he dreamed. Santa appeared to him. Santa told Nigel not to give up.<br />
"MC Nigel, you have been a good boy all year," he said. "For Christmas I will give to you what you desire. All you must to do is remember the real meaning of Christmas, then you will have the world's greatest Christmas rap album."

And as Nigel slept, he dreamed. Santa appeared to him. Santa told Nigel not to give up.
"MC Nigel, you have been a good boy all year," he said. "For Christmas I will give to you what you desire. All you must to do is remember the real meaning of Christmas, then you will have the world's greatest Christmas rap album."


"The real meaning," Nigel asked. "Jesus?"<br />
"No No," said Santa, "although... he might be able to produce an epic beat for you."<br />
"What then?"<br />
"You must work it out!"

"The real meaning," Nigel asked. "Jesus?"
"No No," said Santa, "although... he might be able to produce an epic beat for you."
"What then?"
"You must work it out!"


Then Nigel woke. Kelly was still staring out the window. He told her, "I know how to make the greatest Christmas album."<br />
"How?" she asked.<br />
He didn't answer, he rushed downstairs to write.

Then Nigel woke. Kelly was still staring out the window. He told her, "I know how to make the greatest Christmas album."
"How?" she asked.
He didn't answer, he rushed downstairs to write.


There was less than two weeks until Christmas. For twelve nights Nigel worked on his album. By Christmas Eve there was only one rap left to write, but he was stuck. He realised he couldn't do it alone. The rap was called "White Christmas" and many other Australian rappers had come together to help him create it. There was no killer verse though, no stand-out stanza. Nigel thought back to what Santa had said, and he knew the solution.

There was less than two weeks until Christmas. For twelve nights Nigel worked on his album. By Christmas Eve there was only one rap left to write, but he was stuck. He realised he couldn't do it alone. The rap was called "White Christmas" and many other Australian rappers had come together to help him create it. There was no killer verse though, no stand-out stanza. Nigel thought back to what Santa had said, and he knew the solution.


Nigel went to the park and found True Drew sleeping on a bench.<br />
"Are you awake?" he said.<br />
Drew grumbled a slosh of syllables and whisky breath.<br />
"True Drew," Nigel asked, "with your nose so bright. Won't you lead my rap tonight?"

Nigel went to the park and found True Drew sleeping on a bench.
"Are you awake?" he said.
Drew grumbled a slosh of syllables and whisky breath.
"True Drew," Nigel asked, "with your nose so bright. Won't you lead my rap tonight?"


True Drew dropped a verse on the spot, then along with Kelly, Santa and Nigel they ate turkey and celebrated Christmas. Santa told Nigel that, when every boy and girl woke up Christmas morning they would find a copy of his Christmas album in their stocking. And it would be the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.<br />
"And you know why?" Santa said.<br />
Nigel nodded.

True Drew dropped a verse on the spot, then along with Kelly, Santa and Nigel they ate turkey and celebrated Christmas. Santa told Nigel that, when every boy and girl woke up Christmas morning they would find a copy of his Christmas album in their stocking. And it would be the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.
"And you know why?" Santa said.
Nigel nodded.


Nigel said, "Because it is the Christmas rap album with the most Christmas Spirit."</p>
<p>THE END

Nigel said, "Because it is the Christmas rap album with the most Christmas Spirit."

THE END

Music of 2012

It's been a couple of years since I backed out the entrance of the music review scene with my hands in the air. In this "for future reference" entry I'm not even going use words like "best". I'm just going to post a few lists of songs from 2012 that I enjoyed listening to the most when doing certain things that I like to do. These are songs that were super catchy, or that struck me in a certain way, or that I couldn't quit listening to.

Being Reflective
06. Shearwater - Animal Life
05. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Wings
04. Mumford & Sons - Broken Crown
03. Yeasayer - Fingers Never Bleed
02. Aesop Rock - Gopher Guts
01. alt-J - Something Good

Being Happy
06. Hoodie Allen - No Interruption
05. Air Traffic Controller - Hurry Hurry
04. Passion Pit - Take a Walk
03. First Serve - Must B The Music
02. Matt & Kim - Let's Go
01. fun. - Some Nights

Walking Fast Through Crowds
05. TNGHT - Higher Ground
04. El-P - The Full Retard
03. Sleigh Bells - Demons
02. Bassnectar ft Lupe Fiasco - Vava Voom
01. Theophilus London ft ASAP Rocky - Big Spender

Writing
05. Beach House - Wishes
04. Ramona Falls - The Space Between Lightning and Thunder
03. Danny Brown - Grown Up
02. The Big Pink - Hit the Ground (Superman)
01. Miike Snow - Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)

Listening to Music
06. Flume - Holdin On
05. Santigold - The Keepers
04. Grimes - Genesis
03. Hot Chip - These Chains
02. Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built
01. Purity Ring - Fineshrine

Happy New Supplement

In late November my supply of Glucosamine tablets ran dry and I went to the pharmacy to re-supply.

The pills I had been sucking down daily prior to that date were small, sweetened things which I saw as a friend with a wink who made my fish oil tablets slightly more bearable. They were the velvet glove on the iron fist. Supplement candy. So unobtrusive that on the rare occasion they stuck in my throat they would apologise with a burst of vanilla freshness.

On that day when I resupplied my Glucosamine I was feeling regularly frugal. I found the same tablets I'd been supping on previously, and I found for four dollars cheaper another brand of Glucosamine in the same quantity. Four dollars saved across a 400 tablet container. Why, that's a 1c saving daily. Morning wood indeed.

And so on the first morning of my new stash of Glucosamine I opened the vessel to encounter Glucosamine tablets so large they might be used for a game of dominoes. It took me half a litre of water to swallow the first one. My esophagus acted like the recharging station of some off-brand robotic vacuum cleaner, rejecting any idea of coupling. There was a foul tasting battle of verticality. I eventually won, but not with enough ease that I could delay an inspection of the container to check just how many Glucosamine tablets I had left. 399. Which, by my late-Spring calculations meant that I would be finishing the last of these daily, salty biscuits precisely on January first, 2014. If I survived that long without choking. I understood then that my New Years Resolution had been decided for me.

Survive.

And that's when I realised.

Two-thousand-and-thirteen rhymes with Glucosamine.