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.


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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.


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!


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.