2015 Music

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

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

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

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

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


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


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Excuses

image 1549 from bradism.com

A Shiny, Sparkly New Year

A few days before Christmas I did something reckless. I decided I was only wearing shorts to the office for the rest of the year, and then I put a load of washing on with all my work pants in there. All of my work pants.
I don't wash my pants that often. They're woolen, expensive, they don't really get too dirty, and have you ever tried ironing metre long pants? So don't judge me.

When I do wash them I use the short cycle with no spin to further reduce the risk of damage to my precious pants. To fill out the rest of the load I added other delicate items in the wash basket, like dry fit shirts and delicates. I found in the bottom of the basket a shirt Vanessa had made for the Taylor Swift concert earlier in the month. I didn't go, but it was the event that convinced me to download Periscope.

Anyway, I knew that the hand decorated shirt was delicate, but I figured Vanessa would not have put the wash basket and left it there for weeks unless it was safe to wash. And given I was doing my gentle wash I reasoned it was the best time for it.

Fifty minutes later the washing machine beeped and I immediately hung the clothes out and found glitter on everything. Everything. Well, except for the Taylor Swift shirt.

Not the end of the world, I figured. If the glitter came off the shirt it was glued to then surely it wouldn't be hard to remove from the clothes it landed on in the wash. It was an amusing anecdote to break the next awkward silence that I encountered at an end of year social event.

And then I woke up today, the first day back at the office, running late for the train and having done nothing to remove the glitter from my only work pants.

Luckily it was warm today. Maybe I would wear shorts again, and deal with the glittery suit pants when I got home.

Nope, today Brad is running meetings and dealing with clients. I had no out. I had to hope that glittery suit pants is going to be a fashion trend in 2016, and I'll be remembered as being ahead of the curve.

2015 Bradisms

Yeah, 2015 held some shit times. Far too many. Particularly at the arse of the year, where it joins to the hamstring tendon of the year.

I want to arrest the sense of jade I'm feeling about the past orbit by highlighting some positive things that occurred. Some of them were special, I don't want them getting lost in the noise.

Here they are in chronological order:

March 14 - I like this date because it just squeezes in before my one year anniversary at my new job. It's also the date of the go live of the project I spent six months on. Technical details follow. A full middleware stack, totally rebuilt by Brad-curated automation on better hardware, more efficiently licensed VMs. Dev through to prod. I delivered what I'd teased at in my job interview. I said, put me in charge. Let me take over the technical environment, disconnect your expensive vendor, save you money, improve the delivery cycle. I'd done that kind of thing before, but never without someone more experienced by my side to fall back on. I'd proven I wasn't being arrogant in the interview. I was competent. I was an IT profesional.

Honestly, I would have promised a lot more if they'd asked. Jobs like mine in this city aren't plentiful.
Also, I still had lots of help from other people. It was nice how that worked out too.

June 15 - Cairns, QLD. It had been raining that morning. Vanessa and I ate our fill of the free buffet breakfast and then went by boat to a place called Fitzroy Island. The sun came out. We spent the day hiking around the island. Rainforest, beaches, an abandoned lighthouse, and to the top of the volcanic ridge that had brought the land out of the water.

image 1550 from bradism.com


After a shower we walked along a coral beach and watched a beautiful sunset, followed by dinner and champagne. The food was superb, the air warm, the sound of the ocean peaceful. It was close to the perfect day. Good food, plenty of exercise, pretty sights, amazing companionship, free breakfast, snorkelling. Air conditioning on demand.

A lot of shit goes down on this planet. A lot of unfortunate people don't have the chance to even try to have a day like this. If the karmic dice of the universe have gifted you the resources to plan this kind of day I strongly recommend you do it. These kind of memories will help you through the bad times like the coming fresh water wars, month long periods of 40 degrees and dealing with FTTP drop outs in the 2050's.

(The next day was also pretty good. Before leaving the island we went snorkelling and met a sea turtle. And there was another free breakfast. It was totally worth missing the last game of the NBA Finals.)

October 24 - A whole team of friends worked together to plan Chow's Bucks Weekend. I spent a bit of time stressing about it. We had set ourselves lofty goals. Watching it come off (roughly) as planned, with that team of friends, was pretty special.

image 1551 from bradism.com


Laughter is good, and the planned and unplanned events of that weekend led to some side-aching laughs the kind you can only share when you're caught up on everyone's backstory. Ideally I'd like one of my friends to get married late-Spring every year.

December 19 - I completed my New Year's Resolution to finish writing a novel. Actually, my resolution was to avoid getting distracted by dogs while I was driving after nearly having an accident on January first. But admitting to being a slightly inattentive driver doesn't gel with my principles as a blunt conversationalist, so novel writing it was, and so I did it too.

It took my almost six months. The feeling upon scribbling out those final words was a strange one. It didn't feel like accomplishment. It was fear. Up until then, whenever I'd heard that gnawing internal voice telling me I was writing a horrible story that no one would ever enjoy reading I could always comfort myself that it wasn't finished yet. When the nagging ratched up I could drown it out by writing more. Now, in a plane halfway between Brisbane and Adelaide, I was trapped and it was finished and those doubt floodgates opened.

My hamstring hurt. Living was hurting. Working on that novel each day was an injection of hope that beat any shot of ineffective cortisone. Finishing it was like signalling to my brain that we were leaving grandmas. The trip to the dog park was over. The lights on the bar had flashed three times before dimming again. Shit.

Of course, reaching the end of writing a novel isn't technically the same as completing one. Even after two weeks of going through it, filling in the gaps, and highlighting plot holes I still wouldn't say it's complete, or völlig komplett. But if I died today someone could theoretically pull it out of a drawer, edit it and self-publish it on Amazon. That's a big deal! Anyway, my resolution for 2016 is to finish editing a novel.

(Obviously that's not my real resolution, which is find more comfortable trousers and rotate my sponges in the kitchen more regularly. I should also print off a draft of my novel, buy a drawer and put it in there, just in case I die from shit hamstring disease.)


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

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

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


Big Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I do!

*Jams out to Pendulum*

Quiet Achiever

I had my end of year performance review with my manager today. She asked me if I thought I had a personality. Apparently people have been asking her about me because I'm not very expressive in the office.

I felt so proud. Obviously I didn't show it.

This Place

Justifying Mustaches.

image 1552 from bradism.com

Convenience

We put new trees into the courtyard, lillypillies. The dirt in the courtyard is basically impenetrable clay from the second millimetre down, so we put the new trees in pots.

The dog ate the trees in the pots. Fair enough, she ignores the old trees in the old pots but a new tree in a new pot is a tasty target. I get it.

I put up a barrier to protect the lillypillies from the little puppy. This was great because now there was also a place I could stash the watering can in the courtyard without having to worry about that being eaten. The dog ate a whole hose last week so my reasons for earlier storing the watering can in the laundry were justified.

The new location was so convenient! When I wanted to water the lillypillies I literally picked up the watering can from right next to the tap, filled it up with water, watered and then put it down in the fenced off area again. Over a week I must have saved myself a good thirty seconds.

Last night there was rain and thunder and the dog slept through most of it until about 0330 when she felt the urge for a little piddle and she went down the stairs and barked her head off.

I went downstairs to investigate and found her frozen, halfway out the dog door, terrified by the blown over watering can that was in the middle of the courtyard.

This was the same day she saw a hay bale on the way to the dog park and barked at it, mistaking it for a long haired something breed that didn't want to play.

I had to pick up the watering can, find the bits that had been knocked off, dry my feet, put the watering can in the laundry and then convince the dog it was okay to go outside and pee. I was asleep again around 4am. I lost about 30 minutes. It was not convenient.

Purpose

I like my job. Keeping IT systems running is challenging and rewarding, But I often wonder if it's truly fulfilling my purpose in life. If I spend another thirty years doing the same thing how will I reflect on what I've achieved? Will I regret not attempting to pursue more ambitious goals that utilise my creativity? Will I wish I tried something more artistic? Or something that benefited society? Every day the nagging feeling gets a little bigger.

Then I wander into the office kitchen to make myself a pod coffee and, if there's no cricket on, the news will be headlined by a story about terrorism in a foreign country where blameless people were just annihilated by shrapnel from a suicide bomber. Or innocent children in Africa are dying from AIDS or Ebola when they've barely had a chance to die from war or malnutrition. Or a reality TV star is facing issues with their current sex partner. Instantly I feel bad that I'm fortunate enough to be quagmired by thoughts regarding my purpose in life when people unluckier than me are being oppressed by the cruelty of the world, hopeless.

That's usually the point I forget thinking about what I should be doing my life. I decide to simply focus on the positive things. My needs are met. I have food, shelter, friends, family, security. And, to reduce the nagging depression caused by world events, maybe I'll drive to the shops and buy some new clothes or visit the bottle shop for some craft or imported beers. What's the point of having money if you don't spend it, right? Who knows when the cruelty of the world is coming to get me?

So there I am, a lone figure in the big box liqour store facing one of countless aisles of beer cartons. Hundreds of shiny labels. Beers from so many nations, all similarly priced. How am I supposed to differentiate between them? Which one am I supposed to pick? There are too many goddamn beer brands to fucking choose from. Fuck!

Australia Day, 10 year anniversary

I woke up today and drank my breakfast smoothie made of raspberries imported from Chile and yogurt produced by a transnational food company based in Switzerland. I then dressed myself in a shirt from New York, shorts from New Jersey and Bonds underwear.

I baked a batch of hot cross buns.

For lunch I had a traditional roast with veggies. I drank Mexican beer and watched NBA basketball. I didn't touch the BBQ or turn on the radio. After dinner I practiced my German, and watched a Japanese man play tennis.

Even though my hamstring hurt, today was good times. Although I do feel like I should have done something special for Australia day. Maybe if it wasn't on a Tuesday.

Hot Cross Buns

I was in a crowded office kitchenette this morning, squishing my hot cross buns flat so they would fit in the toaster.

"Hot cross buns, already!" said a judgy woman behind me.

I was immediately defensive. I didn't want people thinking I was the type of person who has to eat hot cross buns the instant the supermarkets start selling them, even though that was 80% of the reason why I baked them.

"No," I said. "Actually, these are hot secular buns." (Because Easter was far away I'd decorated them with tennis ball patterns instead of crosses.)

She said, "Oh, you're right. They're hot circular buns."

Pleased as Poncho

I recently made the mistake of reading my old journal entries from sixteen years ago. They're not found online, for reasons summarised as: I was a big, stupid baby writing big stupid baby things on the internet.

I'd like to think I've matured, but part of me does wonder about how I will feel in sixteen years about my journal entries of today. Will they make me cringe just as hard? For the same or different reasons?

On Friday night I went to Schützenfest and had a wunderbar time. Good friends, good food, good beer and wearing an awesome poncho on a rainy night all contributed to my enjoyment. I also thoroughly enjoyed a set from Jebediah who I'd never seen live despite being a fan for many, many years. They played through a quality tracklist filled with all their hits from the late nineties and early naughties. During one song I did take a self absorbed moment to wonder how Bob Evans... I mean, Kevin Mitchell, must feel about performing songs he wrote sixteen years ago to crowds every weekend. I wondered, how would I feel singing the journal entries that I wrote as a nineteen year old. Weird, that's for sure.

On that night I also made my second ever joke in German. It needs a lot of context so I won't repeat it. As someone certified by an owl on my phone as "36% Fluent in German" I feel like that places me around the same grade as German pre-schoolers. And how many jokes do they make per year? Zwei? I don't know...

Oh, actually, the German word for poncho is also Das Poncho, so if I titled this one "zufrieden wie das Poncho" it would make it three jokes. Assuming they use that idiom in Germany, which I doubt. Learning another language is hard...

Windy Evening

I wish that the producers of Border Security would come to my suburb and record a new reality TV show called "Justify Why You Think This Should Be In Your Recycle Bin".

How to Travel Through Time

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

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

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

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

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

Differences

I was riding the train home last night after the Fringe Parade and overheard a conversation between a tipsy man and the ticket inspector. The inspector was issuing him a verbal warning for not validating the ticket on the train.

"Sorry. I'm from Sydney," the man said, confused. Pretty much the go to line for anyone on any form of public transport when these kind of things happen. "I validated when I went through the gates at the station?"

The ticket inspector proceeded to kindly explain that in Adelaide you need to validate your ticket twice, both when entering the station and when you're on the train. Then, as the ticket inspecting was pretty much done, he went on into a longer discussion with the man about the differences between Adelaide's public transport ticketing system and Sydney's. The main was a little bleary eyed, but he didn't have a smartphone that I could see, so he nodded along.

I couldn't help listening in too. The inspector seemed knowledgeable and he passionately explained about our zones and peak/inter-peak timings and how Adelaide had a smartcard system years before Sydney did. His speech to this guy was building up some real momentum.

"The other different thing about trains in Adelaide and Sydney," he was saying, before a woman passenger a few seats back stood up and yelled, "Hey," at the inspector.

Everyone turned to see what she would say. She asked the inspector, "Is your name Mathew? We went to Primary School together."

Mondays, 2016


  • Ate about a kilogram of yogurt.
  • Got a discount haircut using a shop-a-docket.

Dayfill

I saw this Woolworths advertisement today while walking around the city at lunch time.

image 1553 from bradism.com


I immediately had a few problems with it.

1) Since when did they invent the job title "Shelf Stacker"?

It was called Nightfill, and portraying it as simply "stacking shelves" does such a huge disservice to the different skills and endeavours required to succeed as a night filler. It's so much more than just putting things on shelves. Loading flat-tops, spotting, and facing up are all fundamental aspects of Nightfill that I feel the Australian public has no real appreciation of.

Would you call digging through a shelf of perishables in the back dock freezer to find the right flavour of Greek Yogurt for a customer before the store closes "Stacking Shelves"?

What about crushing your boxes perfectly as you load your trolley in order to maximise the bale-press' effectiveness? Is that just "Stacking Shelves"?

Is managing to eat a whole packet of Wagon Wheels that were run over by a pallet jack in a single sitting without a manager noticing you "Stacking Shelves"?

Show some respect.

2) That's not even my picture.

3) My name's not David Warner.

Easy Beer Bread Pizza Bases

image 1554 from bradism.com


I was searching the internet today for a recipe for apple-cinnamon hot cross buns and I viewed enough cooking blogs to be reminded of the hatred I have for recipe posts that start with a gigantic boring story.

I mean, honestly, who cares if someone's garden was having a bumper crop of butternut pumpkins at the time of writing. Or if they had bought ten kilograms of frozen basa fillets because they were trying to reach a spending goal at a supermarket in order to earn bonus shopper points. The catalyst for someone else wanting to use the recipe will not likely be the same. Just get to the point!

Today I decided to fix the leaky shower head in the ensuite, which required me to replace a washer and to lube up a spindle. First I had to shut off the water, which required me to find exactly where the water shutoff valve was for my house. There was a redback spider on it, under a thick spider web holding a few clutches of redback spider eggs. I doused the whole spot with bug spray and returned with a stick to wipe everything up. The valve tap was so slick with bug spray after that I needed an allen key just to turn it.

Once I was done replacing the washer on the cold tap I turned the water back on. The shower head still dripped. I shut the water off again, disassembled and reassembled the tap, still it was leaky. I decided to replace the hot water tap washer as well. After that the dripping had stopped. Success! I had earned a beer, and I'd managed to handyman something without even needing to drive to Big Box Hardware.

Unfortunately it was barely after lunchtime and I couldn't start drinking yet. So, I made a coffee and sipped it on the toilet while playing Scramble with Friends.

Easy Beer Bread Pizza Base
__Ingredients__
4 cups Wholemeal Self Raising flour
1.75 cups warm Coopers Pale Ale
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
0 Weet Bix

Optional
1 tbsp garlic
Dried Herbs

__Method__
Mix ingredients into dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. Cover and leave somewhere out of the wind for an hour to rise. Maybe go for a walk on the beach while you wait.

After rising, punch down and roll out to make 2 pizzas bases. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celcius.

Garnish bases as desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Olife

image 1555 from bradism.com

Yesterday we spent our Summer day driving up to the Barossa. We passed through some of the farmland that had been hit by the Pinery Bushfire late last year. The photo above is from an olive grove that was blowtorched by the passing front.

It was humbling to see the impact the fire had wrecked on the farm and the countryside in general.

However, after taking a closer look, on at least some of the trees there were green shoots poking through. The trees were persevering, not giving up. It was motivating.

image 1556 from bradism.com

Then I drove home and cooked some BBQ.

image 1557 from bradism.com

Chronic Pain

Last summer, for a project, I recorded a short phone video for each day and stitched them all together in an epic summer montage. Completing it was bittersweet. Autumn had commenced, and while I was happy with the film I knew it would also bring me nostalgic misery later in life.

This summer I did not set myself any daily challenge. For the first week of December it seemed like the only thing I was going to do every single day was answer questions about if I was going to make another video. Those queries quickly petered out, but I did do one thing every single day, which was, suffer through various levels of hamstring pain.

I first injured my hamstring tendon in June. For the next two months it was barely noticeable, just a twinge while running and only when I pushed the pace. Slowly the pain increased so that after I went running and cooled down it also ached. In September I saw a physio who suggested some strengthening, stretching and needling. I did those for another two months as the pain continued to get worse. By November I'd completely stopped running. I was barely walking.

At the end of November I had an ultrasound guided cortisone injection into the area of inflammation. This kicked off a summer of never ending hamstring pain. It hurt to walk, to reach over, to stand, to sit. I suffered through days of work and came home to live with ice packs under my arse. I barely left the house on weekends. Anytime I did push through the pain to walk or go out I was greeted with extra pain the next day.

I sought more medical advice, gulped down Voltaren, rested and didn't stretch for weeks. Nothing helped. Each day was the same, a soreness at the top of my leg every morning when I woke up. Gradually through the day it burned deeper and more fiercely. Sometimes the pain would spread into my hip, up through my lower back. Stretching and beer could sometimes beat it back to its home in the hamstring. It never left completely.

After a hot, aching Christmas break I had an MRI which showed absolutely nothing structurally wrong. It was devastating. There was nothing with a target for a surgeon to remove or reinforce. Nothing but a tendon caught in an endless loop of debilitating inflammation.

I wish this every had a happy ending. It's autumn now and still the pain eats at me, wearing at my patience and on my sunny disposition.

I wanted to write this entry about how a summer of chronic pain is so familiar to me. 2006's was blighted by back pain. 2008 I lasted until after Valentine's Day with torn cartilage in my wrist. 2009 was an iliotibial band which kept me from walking until mid March. I've been slightly more fortunate since then.
I wanted to compare those times with now, to give me some hope that I can overcome this hamstring pain the same way I beat those other injuries.

Unseasonable Greetings

I'm now pretty sure I know where a dead body is.

I'm now pretty sure I know where a dead body is.

Use It and/or Lose It

I can't believe I've got DOMS from throwing a tennis ball.

Reject Shop Edward Snowden

I've already mentioned that my New Year's Resolution this year is to rotate the sponges in the house more regularly. This has been going... averagely. Every time I think about replacing the current sponge my thought process goes, "Sponges cost about $1.50 each > It doesn't even look that dirty -> I'll probably make a curry this weekend and replace it after that."

Then, I make a curry and force myself to wipe down the stove top and floors with the sponge, thus making it unusable for dish washing and into the bin it goes. Sponge rotated. Feelings of accomplishment grow.

Then, my phone reminded me yesterday that it was the Five Year Anniversary of Replacing my Headphone's Padding with Cut Up Sponge. Those sponges had not ever been rotated.

My thought process was, another 1800+ days since that original entry, "Man those headphones were some seriously good value -> Seriously I'm listening to them right now while writing this entry -> I don't think I'm ever going to rotate those sponges."

image 1559 from bradism.com


A little bit worse for wear, quite a bit more dog hair, but still my darling HD515s. I use them less these days, but I'd still estimate another 3500 hours have been racked up since 2011. That would make the cost of listening now almost as low as one cent per hour of listening time. (And those sponges padding time almost .1 cent per hour.)

Bargain!

The Very Best of Sting

The perfect detective novel writing soundtrack.

You Can Rinse If You Like

I wasn't going to post an entry today.

The last 36 hours have been unpleasant. Tuesday morning I had a cavity filled and the dentist accidentally left a helictite of hard, sharp filling stuff pointing at my tongue. It stabbed me every time I ate or drank or swallowed or made "p" and "th" and "sh" sounds in words.

On top of that I tried doing some 50m runs yesterday on advice of my physio, and today my hamstring hurt so badly I almost didn't make it up the ramp from the railway station.

Plus, Belgium was attacked by terrorists and thousands of people died (in Belgium and also in the middle east and other places combined).

Eventually the dentist did see me again, to remove the jutting blade, but not before my tongue was cut to shreds along the side and tip. Have you ever paid attention to the way your tongue will spend your mouth's downtime probing the cracks in your teeth and fossicking out any old bits of food or anything else that doesn't belong? My tongue did that a lot. It fell on its own sword over and over again, like a thirteen year old boy it was.

I usually like going to the dentist. I don't have many cavities and having someone shorter than me cleaning my teeth for me made me feel like a crocodile on the riverbank having its teeth cleaned by a bird. I Googled to find out what the name of those birds were and now I know that it's a myth that birds clean the teeth of crocodiles. Seriously? This day could not get any worse... Unless the dental assistant who was sniffing above me for the whole hour my mouth was forced open yesterday did manage to transfer some kind of sickness into me, right before Easter.

Moral of the entry: Take a second to appreciate the unsung things that are working right now. Your elbows. Baristas. The laser in your computer mouse. Yogurt. Weather forecasting. Your hot water system. Gravity. You never know what's going to go next.

Born to Do It

I like writing. I like writing journal entries. I'm not sure why I do it so infrequently. Usually, after I do write and post an entry, I feel a sense of satisfaction that lasts for minutes. I wish that more journal worthy things would happen to me each day, to inspire me to write journal entries more often.

Today I was driving home in peak hour traffic after taking the Jeep to the car-dentist and I was in a good mood. The sun was nice and warm. Fresh FM were playing some nostalgic tunes and even though traffic was crawling I didn't have far to go, so I enjoyed the enforced downtime and cruised at walking speed with the window down.

I was wondering at the time if describing this would be a satisfying journal entry. Probably not, I concluded. Then, right when the song on the radio sang Craig David all over your *boink* a bee flew in through the open window right at my face the moment the *boink* noise played. Some guy on the sidewalk looked at me. The bee hovered in front of my eyes for a moment and then was sucked out the window again by the wind. I barely had time to feel any fear. And that's what I wrote about on my 5240th day of sporadically journalling the unimportant parts of my life.

Bobby

I saw this page in today's catalogue.

image 1561 from bradism.com


I was like, c'mon, you can't be a proud supporter of two teams. That's some bullshit!

It's either one team, or three teams. Two is wrong. Four is right out!

Another Manly Poem

I saw you at the football.
Just the other day.
You were leaving the bar, head and shoulders above the crowd.

You began to turn toward me.
I flinched, I looked away.

It's not that I dislike you.
Only... I had nothing to say.
No updates that I would share
since ten months ago, last game.
That previous time we caught up
and talked about Robbie Gray.

You walked in my direction, four beers in one tray.
You stopped a metre from me. You said, "Hey."
I smiled. "How you going man?"
Turned out we were both okay.

Then the siren blasted.
We said goodbye, went to watch them play.
Never to see each other, or think of one another.
Until it all happens again.

I guess that being tall
makes it harder to avoid small talk.

About Yesterday

There's only so many times you can leave the office at lunch carrying a notepad, sunglasses and headphones before people start asking questions. Questions like, what is that guy doing on his lunch hour with headphones and a notepad?

No one has actually asked me the question, yet. Which is good, because I don't want to answer it. However, if they ever do, I have already prepared my smokescreen. Here it is:

I'm sitting in nature, and writing poetry.

This seems genuinely believable, and as long as I deliver it with a serious face I can't think why anyone would ask me any follow up questions. Poetry is innately private, personal. No one would ever ask to read it in its raw form. No colleague would, guaranteed. So I'm quite confident that no one will ever know what I'm really doing out there.

Just in case, when I come back from lunch I try to walk and behave like I've been outside writing poems. I act poetically.

And a funny thing happened yesterday. I pretended to be a poet so intently that I accidentally wrote a poem. I didn't plan it. It just came into my head while I was sitting on the train thinking semi-hard about it and holding a pen and paper.

I guess you could call that self fulfilling poetry.

Leaves the Colour of Suns

It was a glorious Autumn weekend in Adelaide. Normally ANZAC day is the point in the calendar that the skies turn grey and the months of drizzle start. Due to global warming this was the hottest ANZAC Day on record since 2011, when I was in Brisbane. I started recording in 2006.

This weekend the sky almost always looked like this:

image 1562 from bradism.com

Except for at sunrise and sunset... and at nighttime. This wasn't even a non-Hills thing as I was in Blackwood on the same day as the above photo and it was just as nice (although the trees on the plains are much less Autumny than they are up there.) It was ten degrees warmer here this morning than it was in Gallipoli. It felt wrong. The number of people crowding at the beach this evening was like a summer night. I'm not complaining.

I don't talk about other people a lot in my Journal these days. Cowan did get a lot of mentions, mainly in the archives, and for anyone who is following along for his story I can announce that on Saturday he was married on a sunny afternoon under some Autumny trees. I wasn't allowed to take any photos during the ceremony. It was really nice though.

I was thinking about other past ANZAC days of the past this morning, while marathoning NBA playoff games, and recalling how the time between waking up and the AFL starting used to seem so endless. Now I find myself silently rooting for the Cavs just to reduce the number of ongoing series' and reclaim some of my free time back!

Despite all the sun and basketball, some ancient ANZAC Day traditions continued as normal and Vanessa made me this biscuit that I got to eat for morning tea and, as it turned out, lunch and afternoon tea as well. I probably shouldn't have had a smaller ANZAC biscuit as an appetizer.

image 1563 from bradism.com


The sun has set now on a relaxing long weekend. At the going down of the sun, I remember all the ANZACs that have perished.

Jinx in a Tissue

At the start of April I was faced with four consecutive Saturdays of bucks weekends or weddings. It was going to be a long, exciting month of celebrations of love, and buddies, and drinking and shared germs.

On the last day of March, before I boarded my first bus for almost a year, I wished that if I could get through the next four weeks without getting sick I would be amazed and grateful.

Somehow, against all odds, it happened. I rode public transport, ate off dirty barbecues, shook hands and kissed cheeks with people from all over. I woke up the day after Cowan's wedding feeling healthy and free.

The very next day I caught a cold. A day of sore throat that was followed by a week of fatigue, hot snot and high temperatures.

I'm like, shit, I should have wished for something better.

Slippery Slope

Every second Monday morning there are boxes of free fruit waiting in the office kitchenette.

Each time I see them, already haunted by the ghost of another weekend, my mood is further soured by the realisation that another two weeks of my existence are over. Another two weeks of work have brought me to the same place yet again. What mark on this Earth have I left since the last box of fruit was delivered?

Then I think, oooh, free banana!

Cleaning Up

For the other tightarses who have wondered,<br />
as the Bride and Groom exit down the aisle...

For the other tightarses who have wondered,
as the Bride and Groom exit down the aisle...



Yes, you can do the dishes with the leftover bubble mix

Yes, you can do the dishes with the leftover bubble mix

DHGate

DHGate. Just in time for...
Christmas
Valentine's Day
Wedding Anniversary

Mother's Day!

image 1565 from bradism.com

Warum hast du Deutsch gelernt?

Es ist zu ende! Fertig! Am letzten Wochenende habe ich Duolingo abgeschlossen. Es stellt mir eine schöne bild und Alles! Das schlaue Eule. Sehen?

image 1570 from bradism.com


Duolingo auch melden meine Geläufigkeit gleich 38 prozent. Au weia. Ich denke das ist nicht ganz echt. Meine Google Translate benutzt etwa 50 prozent sind gewesen, nicht 62 prozent! Das ist lustig. Meine Grammatik ist sehr schelcht. Das weiß ich.

Ich werde nach Deutschland bald fahren. Ich muss seine Sprache lernen! Deswegen ich habe fast täglich Deutsch gelernt, mit mein Handy. Fahrt auf den Zug? Deutsch lernen. Sitzen auf die Toiletten? Deutsch lernen.

Ich werde nie Deutsch sprechen, in Deutschland. Das weiß ich auch. Allerdings, Ich werde lesen. Ich werde zuhören, möglicherweise.

Guten Nacht.

Trade Pants

I'm not a handyman. I don't do many projects where I get my hands dirty, though I do have a Bunnings Trade Card. You can't use it for a discount on the sausage sizzle though.

Sometimes I do move dirt around, or change washers and it makes me feel good. I even have a pair of tracksuit pants I wear to the hardware store to help me look more blue-collar, and to help me feel less conspicuous when I use my trade card. They're a dirty olive green, with a few white paint stains on one leg.

I hope no one at the hardware store can tell the paint is actually toothpaste.

Memory Überladen

Maybe the reason I failed the Linux System Administrator level 2 exam on Friday (by 3%!) is because I insisted on trying to learn German all week at the same time.

I mean, just look at this list of German words/system commands.

Sonderangebot
Umount
Seboolean
Wozu
Bin
Sondern
Hier
Paar

Hint: A few are both.

Don't Let My Underlings See This


Travelling Through Time and Space

The Great Barrier Reef might be bleached, but today marked the day in Adelaide where Autumn really ended and the cold began. It was so dark and chilly that even the dog balked when I tried to use a gap in the showers to take her for a walk outside. She took three steps into the evening, turned around and tried to get back in the front door. After I insisted, she walked a loop of the neighbourhood on fast forward. She didn't even have the decency to park a turd so that I could warm up my hands.

The change of seasons doesn't bring me to my usual despair this annual tilt of the Earth's rotational axis relative to the plane of its orbit. That's because before the solstice gets here I'll be leaving to winter in Europe. Where it won't be winter. This is not coincidence.

So, this fact has had some influence on my 2016 Autumn mixtape, which I think is now ready for repeated listens in order to create a time travel portal. I call it...

Autumn -> Summer 2016
Spotify Link

1. M83 - Do It, Try It
2. Miike Snow - My Trigger
3. Animal Collective - FloriDada
4. Big Wild feat. Tove Stryke - Aftergold
5. Santigold - Banshee
6. Tokimonsta feat. Anderson .Paak & KRNE - Put It Down
7. Flume feat Tove Lo - Say It
8. Låpsley - Hurt Me
9. Sia - Alive
10. Olympia - Smoke Signals
11. SAFIA - Make Them Wheels Roll
12. Yeasayer - Silly Me
13. DJ Shadow feat Run the Jewels - Nobody Speak
14. Pusha T - F.I.F.A.
15. Carnage feat ILoveMakonnen - I Like Tuh
16. Baauer feat. Novelist & Leikeli47 - Day Ones
17. Rammstein - Mein Herz Brennt
18. Mansionair - Speak Easy (Slum Sociable Remix)
19. Alan Walker - Faded (Instrumental)
20. Mogwai - Ether
21. Journey - Only the Young

RIP RIU

I had to delete another link from my LINKS menu today. Once, years ago, it was a vestibule to half a dozen blogs of my friends and family.

Sometimes I think I might be the only Online Journal owner left in the world. Sam is probably out there somewhere.

Almost a decade ago I went to a RIU party with plans to make friends/contacts with industry peers. I walked there too fast, drank two pints of Coopers Pale and didn't talk to anyone for hours. FUCK. I've just realised this exact scenario has played out multiple times in my career(s).

The Biergärten of Munich

The Biergärten of Munich have been a place I've dreamed of visiting since… sometime between the first Coopers Pale Ale that I sucked down between gulps of pizza and 2007. Shared tables and lots of people are horrifying concepts to me, but it seems like my love of wheat beers in litre steins outweighed that discomfort.

Beer Gardens are everywhere in Munich. I'm envious. River? Beer garden. Park? Beer garden. Historic building? Beer garden. View of a nice beer garden? Second beer garden. I allocated today for visiting as many of the great ones that I could. And the liquid flowed gratuitously all day. That is, it rained the whole time. Most of the beer gardens, sadly, were empty and looked like this:

image 1577 from bradism.com

The beer halls and restaurants attached to the gardens were still open. I was still able to drink beer by the litre and eat pretzels in some of the oldest, most esteemed halls of Bavaria. I started with a Dunkel for lunch in Hofbrauhaus. Then we went to the original Augistiner Keller for dinner (meat, cabbage) and another half-litre.

I quickly observed the customs in practice. Don't eat the pretzels in the baskets on the table, unless you want to pay for them. Radlers are half lemonade. Tip your service person, who hates you. Long-standing traditions.

Later in the evening it was still raining. We walked to the Löwenbräu brewery for my final beer of the day. I did everything right. I sat at one of the tables without a tablecloth, meaning it should be a self-service area. I paused a minute regardless, just in case I was served. So far so good. I then stood to look for the self-service area. There was a man with short, blond hair standing behind some taps and polishing glasses with a tea-towel. I approached him and tried my best to confidently pronounce, "Gibt es Selbsbedienung?"
"Sit down," he said, without really looking at me.

A thrill went through me. I'd made it to Germany.

Andechs

Visiting beer gardens in the city was definitely high on my list when visiting Munich, but an experience like Kloster Andechs was what I was really looking forward to. We woke up Monday to blue skies, fluffy white clouds. We caught the S-Bahn out of the city to a town called Herrsching on the lake Ammersee. (Or should that just be Ammer?)

There was a river that joined the lake at Herrsching. We followed it in the opposite direction, through gorgeous Bavarian forests up into the hills. It was a four kilometre hike through the trees to the peak of one of the hills, the location of Andechs.

image 1582 from bradism.com


The Kloster is a centuries old settlement, first established over a thousand years ago and most recently converted into a monastery in 1455. Sometime shortly after the abbey was built the monks started on the piggery, the brewery and the beer garden.
image 1583 from bradism.com


It was sunny and warm on the long, wooden tables of the Andechs beer garden. I worked out self-service without any troubles. I ordered a litre of the special Dunkel, my day's pretzel, and half a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). All local. A sausage and fries were thrown in, all up less than 20 Euro. I was happy.
image 1584 from bradism.com


After lunch we climbed to the top of the bell tower. It was a climb not made for tall people. The extra-strength beer helped convert the risk of head-smashing and falling into a thrill. From the top of the tower were panoramic views of the green countryside.
image 1585 from bradism.com


I wanted to thank the monks for making such delicious beer. I never saw any of them. Regardless, the day was kind of spiritual.

Salzburger

The defining memory of Salzburg for me will be the Hohensalzburg Funicular.

After three hours of walking the long way up and around Mönchsberg we came to an extremely steep path to the Festung. At the top of the path was a small sign on the centuries-old gate outlining the price of admission to the battlements.

image 1573 from bradism.com


Having come that far, handing over €20 felt like the only option. It was worth it. The inside of the Festung was maintained in the shape of a medieval city fortress. Every direction you looked had views over the city, the river and the mountains.

We spent another hour racking up steps, exploring and climbing more towers. Then we found an outdoor restaurant with a view over the Alps. Vanessa had Strudel and I drank a half litre of the local Stiegl Weißbier. Then we elected to ride the funicular down the steep slope into old town.

image 1574 from bradism.com


The funicular is a glass car on rails full of tourists that goes up and down the mountain. One ride is included in the Festung entry price. Drinking half a litre of beer before riding it down was an amazing/serendipitous piece of planning. The Salzburg Dom growing rapidly in size as you hurtle towards the picturesque city centre. It's like a Central European holiday is being pressure-hosed into your eyes.

Urlaub

A long walk in the sun, followed by a cold beer in the shade in a Biergarten. Watching people try to use a rowboat. It's exactly how I imagined it.

image 1575 from bradism.com

Meine Erste Friseur

The week before we left Adelaide was a little hectic as I tried to squeeze the majority of my departure planning into the Friday afternoon that we left. One thing I was supposed to do, but didn't, was have my haircut. It was already quite long and shapeless when we first arrived in Munich, and after almost two weeks of trying to deal with it I'd had enough. I already looked dweebish enough with my camera bag, cargo shorts and hoodie with rolled-up sleeves. A mess of unruly, puffy hair on top was too much. It also didn't help that all the hotels had foregone complimentary shampoo and conditioner and instead provided big dispensers of multi-purpose shampoo/conditioner/hand soap/dishwashing liquid.

The Brandenburg Gate, obscured by my excess hair.

The Brandenburg Gate, obscured by my excess hair.



I decided Hamburg was where my long hair would end. We searched a mall near our hotel for a Friseur (hairdresser) and I assessed a few from outside to determine if they were too teur (stylish) for me. I found one that seemed like a good fit, in the basement of the Europa Passage shopping centre. The price of a haircut was 22 Euro, 18 Keine Waschen. No appointment was necessary. It reminded me of the hairdressers I use in Adelaide, except instead of being staffed by Koreans with passable english it was staffed by Turks with passable German. It was going to happen.

To be safe, the first thing I asked the hairdresser when I walked in the door was, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?"
I expected they would, it seemed like they all did by that point. Millions of multi-lingual, judging Europeans everywhere we went.
To my surprise she said, "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?"
"Mein Deutsch ist sehr schlecht." Schlecht means bad.
"We try," she said.
"Okay."

Vanessa was amused, and took a seat to watch. I took a more active seat.

I was prepared for this. Earlier in the year, when I'd been studying my German lessons daily, I'd contemplated that a haircut might be the opportunity that arose for me to show off my Deutsch-sperechen chops, while a Barber regaled me with an oral history of his or her city, and insider tips for the best places to see and eat. That was before I'd immersed myself in the culture and realised that I couldn't really speak German.

To cut the story short, I successfully negotiated an appropriate haircut. It could have gone more fluidly. For instance, I knew what Augen were, and what a Bogen was, but I wasn't able to put it together until after the comb started lifting up my eyebrows for the razor. I used kurz (short) and dünner (thinner) well enough.

Ultimately my haircut was a success in 1) Making my hair shorter; 2) Finally putting to rest any thoughts I had about being able to speak German; and 3) keeping my streak of not paying more than $25 for a haircut alive for another ten weeks.

Hacken abgeschlossen

Hacken abgeschlossen

Learning German - Ein Reisebericht

A year ago I decided to teach myself German. I didn't want to pay any money, so I downloaded some free apps (DuoLingo, Memrise, WordReference, Google Translate) and signed up for some free Udemy courses. I figure that those, plus my fuzzy memories of German classes from the 90's, would have me fluent in Deutsch by the time I touched down in Munich, June 2016.

Mein Name ist Bradley. Ich esse Banane mit Joghurt. Deutsch was basically English with a German accent, right?

By the time I boarded the flight I was feeling reasonably confident in my ability to read the language. All the common words were familiar to me. I grasped the grammar, genders and cases. My listening skills were okay, if it was enunciated clearly (and accompanied by English subtitles if possible).

Twenty-four hours of flying later I was in the line for customs at Flughafen München and I was ready to go. The customs officer took one look at us and said, "Hello, how are you today?"

I read some signs, collected our luggage and we boarded a train to the city. All the announcements were made in English first, then German. The anticipation was building. We dragged our suitcases up Dachauer Straße to the hotel lobby and I made eye-contact with the receptionist. It was going to happen.

My brain froze. I stared at her for about five seconds and mumbled, "Speak English?"
(Surprise. She did, fluently).

Oh well, blame that one on the jetlag and anxiety. At least I couldn't go much worse than that. We spent the evening walking the streets of Munich. I managed to order a currywurst and, later, an ice-cream in German. There was also some pointing involved. It was a moderate success. Back in the hotel I turned on the German news and it rushed over me like a river. They never spoke that fast in DuoLingo.

The longer I stayed in Germany the worse I got. When locals spoke, the time it took my brain to deconstruct the sentence into words for recognising was too slow for a conversation to flow. My mumbled, uncertain speaking was too fragmented to follow. Sometimes the person I spoke to would smile and encourage me along, a form of patronisation that helped little with my confidence.

By the end of the fortnight I had to admit I couldn't speak German. I could babble a couple of words, but I could interpret almost nothing of what came back to me. That was the worst part, the small sense of satisfaction when asking a question using the right words, followed by dismay when the response came so fast and gapless that I could understand none of it (although sometimes a minute later it would make sense). I really learnt to empathise with toddlers. This must be how they feel when they are spoken to. I also found myself easily grumpy.

What this experience has taught me is the importance of listening and conversation skills. It's all good to change your Facebook language to German and listen to Neue Deutsche Härte Metal with a lyrics sheet, but if you truly want to speak another language you have to actually speak it. Out loud. To other people. And that was my principle failing. Because I don't usually try to have conversations with service industry people in English. I don't actually like talking to people. I hate small talk. Which, in hindsight, makes me confused about why I learnt so many German words in the first place. Oh well. Wir können immer über das Wetter reden.

Exotic London

The wintry summer I was expecting and okay with.

But these...

They taste like Vita Brits

They taste like Vita Brits


It's a cool place to visit, but I don't know how anyone can stand to live here.

The Highlands

In all my life I've never hesitated to refer to myself as Scottish. There must be some ancestry there, beyond the clan name. But until this week I'd never actually been to Scotland. As we crossed the border on our way to Glasgow the thought did occur to me, will I feel like I belong here? (As well as, is it seriously this foggy in summer?)

In Glasgow and Edinburgh the answer was, no (and yes). I didn't really like deep fried pizza. I didn't strike up any friendly conversations with the locals. I had no real issues with the British. Understanding what some residents were saying required more active listening and guesswork than my German conversations!

In between the two cities there was a day spent in the Scottish Highlands. This territory did appeal to me more than the urban places, and I wondered if it would be there, among the lochs and glens, that I would find a place that felt like home.

Sadly I didn't get any sense of belonging, or any photos of highland cows! But the sweeping mountain ranges, refreshing drizzle, and reminders of historic courage and barbarity did make me feel kind of at home. Although that could have been due to their similarities with the Adelaide Hills. Hmmm.

Illogical

After travelling to a bunch more different countries in the world, I can definitively say that everybody who comes from places I didn't grow up are doing things wrong.

Holidays Suck

I'm sitting here in Adelaide. I've finished blowing the last of the black junk from the Piccadilly Line out of my nose, after flying for so long that I watched all of Fargo Season 2 on a tiny screen attached to a chair reclined to within inches of my face. If it's not clear, I've realised, European Summer Holidays suck. Of course, I'll list why:


  • It's sunny from before 5am until almost 10am. This makes it really difficult to take amazing photos without staying out quite late. The lighting during the middle of the day is too harsh. Super annoying. And I missed every sunrise for a month.
  • Deciding what to do each day is mentally draining. Museum? Park? Castle? Shopping? Hiking? Pub? How you'll end up wishing for the surprise-free routine of office and supermarket.
  • You can't buy Weet Bix anywhere.
  • Every time you visit a website you have to accept cookies. Sometimes also at hotels.
  • Only having one place in the room to charge your phone is a pain.
  • When you post something to social media you have to wait hours for your friends and family to wake up and like it.
  • There are tourists everywhere.
  • No matter how much fun you're having, there's a constant, nagging feeling that you'll have to go back home soon and return to reality.

Learning German - Ein Reisebericht 2

I did manage a few positive experiences speaking German on my holiday. In Austria I managed to check into our hotel succinctly enough that the check in lady asked me, "Verstehen Sie Deutsch?" in a curious tone. (It is actually surprisingly simple to check into a hotel, as well as buy groceries, without ever speaking a single word of the same language, as long as the right money changes hands.) Unfortunately I ruined it by trying to say, "Ja, ein bisschen" (Yes. a little bit) and instead said "Ja, ein bissen" (Yes, a bite).

Another good moment was when I was in the Planten un Blomen gardens in Hamburg. We were looking for the Wasserlichtorgel and I'd just walked away from a map that showed the way. A second later three people approached me and babbled something that sounded like a question and included the word Wasserlichtorgel. I stepped back to the map and said, "Ich denke, das es ist da." They said, "Echt?" (Really) and I shrugged and admitted, "Ich bin Auslander."
That made them laugh, and I laughed, and we all chuckled as I proved that I can be funny in Germany.

A Wasserlichtorgel

A Wasserlichtorgel

Dry July

I'm back at the gym this week for a return to my hundred-year rehab plan. Because of my holiday it's been five weeks since I last sacrificed my leisure time for moving bits of metal around, so I was being extra cautious with my weights and rep choices. At one point, when I was moving just the bar up and down I was reminded of my old life in North Adelaide. By my house there was a gym for retirees. On sunny days I'd often see their group fitness classes being held on the oval outside. Frail, wrinkly men and woman on colourful mats moving tiny hand weights above their heads with the speed of snails.

I thought to myself, as long as I don't go that hard, I should be okay.

Anyway, this entry is not only for sharing that joke. Many years ago I shared my life-changing secret about using the hand-dryer and paper towels together for a luxurious post-urination experience. I don't know how I missed it until recently, but due to my gym's policy ("Members must use a towel at ALL times") I've now experienced drying my hands using the combination of cotton towel AND hand-dryer. It makes using paper towel and a hand-dryer feel like the folly of serfs. My mind was blown. As were my hands.

At Work

At work there's this annoying guy who keeps coming to meetings. He spouts the most uninspiring drivel I've ever heard. "We need to improve the integrity of our metric collection so that we can track improvements more reliably over time." "It's vital that we standardise our approach across all services within the organisation to decrease the complexity of maintenance in the future."

It's all so airy and vapid. "Consider the risk profile in comparison to the associated maintenance project budgets for this financial year." This is the interesting stuff that he says. The duller interjections he makes are so boring I doubt he even remembers the details a sentence or two later.
This person is, obviously, me.

Sunny Days

When I think about society and the bad things, like corruption, and oppression, and bigotry I feel so frustrated and upset and powerless. So I don't think about them.

Missing Memories

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

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

A Tip for Cutting Up Pumpkin

Last weekend I came up with a tip for cutting up a pumpkin. I'll journal about it here, because one of the things I like about this website is reading entries years later and seeing the lessons I learnt.

My advice is, you don't need a whole pumpkin. Not for two people. That's too much pumpkin.

Sure, when it's less than a dollar per kilo, it might not seem like buying half a pumpkin is the smart option. Otherwise you have to open the fridge an extra two times. And you might not make as much puree as you need. Better to have excess puree. Buying a full pumpkin makes the most sense.

No, ignore that thought. Not unless you've got the stamina and concentration needed to dice a whole pumpkin in a single standing. There's a lot of hardy skin to cut through, a lot of time to stand at a kitchen bench with your hand covered in pumpkin residue. Your back and legs will fatigue. Wear gloves, that's another piece of advice. And use hand sanitiser on the wound. Change the dressing every few days to make sure there's no signs of infection. After about a month everything should be back together. I hope. I'm only basing that on a similar tip I gave when cutting through a bagel in 2014.

Opening after Closing Ceremony

I can't believe another Olympics has flown by, and with its passing comes another opportunity to ignore the athletes and instead reflect on the past four years since the last one from my own perspective. This will hopefully go better than last Olympics' census night.

So much has changed in my world, and in the world, since 2012. Unlike the results of the Men's 100 Metres which was again identical.

Since the last Olympics I have (un)moved states, changed jobs, become a dog owner, and become more career focussed - at least from an outside perspective. I have achieved my Olympics resolutions of owning real estate, visiting Europe, and walking my dog. My goal of getting something published in somewhere took a backseat to my career focussed from an outside perspective achievement, however, I am the third-leading contributor (in terms of lines committed) to a popular open source Puppet module on GitHub - that must count for something.

I haven't climbed Mount Kosciuszko, not even a little bit. I think I might have been drunk when I came up with some of those resolutions…

A lot more little things have happened in the past Olympics. I finished a manuscript, over 80,000 words. The only thing left is to build a drawer into my desk so I can print it out, staple it together, and leave it there until I die.

I changed cars again. And phones. I also went to the USA, and to New Zealand about 10 times. I learnt how to make bagels, pretzels, pide, and Spanish omelettes. I saw Federer at the Australian Open and Tim Duncan at Madison Square Garden.

I now have a Spotify and a Netflix membership. I'm on Snapchat and Instagram. I'm connected by network fibre to the world wide web, and I've had my first colonoscopy.

Some things haven't changed since London though, like my marriage to Vanessa which goes on strong. And this website, which hasn't had any new features since before some of China's Rio gymnasts were born. I also play Scramble With Friends with about the same frequency as four years ago. My train trips are now shorter, but my bathroom breaks a little longer.

My resolution for the next Olympics - do whatever I want, really. Try a bit harder to write something people want to read. Maybe make a new friend. Be more spontaneous. Sign up for an expensive credit card with an awesome rewards program.

Unit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Post Workout Sunshine Tunes

They say every day is a gift, but I'm notoriously tricky to buy for.

Bradism Curry

I've been making the same style of curry for work lunches basically every second week for years now. I've been refining for a long time, and I've got it down to an art. I'm amazed I haven't posted about it before.

Making it isn't particularly complicated, or require any special ingredients or techniques. There's just a few tips and tricks that turn this curry from sustenance to daily lunchtime happiness.

For my birthday I decided the gift I really wanted was a twenty litre stock pot. I didn't realise how easy they were to find, and this would increase the amount of bulk curry I could make at once. As you'll read, this meal is all about efficiency, and increasing my pot size was only going to improve that further.

For context, here's a photo of my new pot with my old pot inside it.

image 1586 from bradism.com


The old pot made about 12-15 meals, so I expected this one to make around 24-30. The following photos are from the first time I used it. I underestimated how many ingredients I could fit in there.

Now, if you're interested, follow along and learn the way to make your own bulk bradism curry.

Ingredients
There are a few staple ingredients that you'll need:
Onions
Chili
A jar of curry paste (doesn't matter what brand, so long as it's not a sauce.)
Tinned tomatoes

image 1587 from bradism.com


The rest of what goes in is up to you. Whatever meat and vegetables are on special, basically. Depends on the season I'm usually adding some of the following: sweet potato, potato, capsicum, cabbage, celery, green beans, peas, pumpkin, cauliflower. I also add multiple cans of drained lentils, legumes, chick peas. Meat is usually chicken or beef, sometimes turkey mince.

You can chop most things reasonably large, about 1-2cm cubes or pieces. The cooking process is slow and ingredients that are too small will get ruined. You also don't need to prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking. The long cook time means you can prepare the meat and lighter vegetables while the gravy and potatoes is cooking.

First pro-tip: put the chopped up potato and sweet potato into a microwave-proof bowl. Before cooking, add about 20-30mls of water to the bowl, cover with a paper towel and microwave for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir through occasionally. This will be the difference of the potatoes being fluffy and soft, or hard and chewy.

Cooking
0:00 - I don't use any extra oil, I just crack open the curry paste and tip the oil from the top of the jar into the pan. Fry the onion and chili on medium heat using that oil. It's better to cook the onion and chili from cold. Don't wait for the oil to heat up. If you do, small bits of onion and chili will jump off the surface when they hit the heat.

image 1588 from bradism.com


5:00 - Once the onion and chili is softening, add the rest of the jar of paste and dump in your microwaved potatoes. Stir vigorously to bash the potato against the surface of the pot, and this helps fry the outsides a little. When the ingredients start to stick add tinned tomatoes to form a gravy. If you have any dried legumes or dried lentils you can add them now too. Tinned ones wait for later.

10:00 - Put the heat on low and leave to simmer with the lid on.

image 1589 from bradism.com


Allow for ten minutes of simmering. Stir occasionally You can chop the next vegetables at this stage. Ingredients like cabbage and celery will be next in, as they take longer to wilt and soften.
20:00 - When the time is up, add the drained beans and the cabbage, celery.
image 1590 from bradism.com


Allow for another ten minutes of simmering and more stirring. The exact amount of stirring, heat comes down to instinct and practice. It can't be too cold, but don't let the pot boil. If it's too dry add more tomatoes, but remember that celery and cabbage will produce a lot of moisture as they cook.

30:00 - After the second phase of simmering you can add the remaining soft vegetables unless they're frozen. Frozen vegetables should wait until the very end.
Stir through the new vegetables and simmer another five-to-ten minutes. You can use this time to cut up the meat.
You can also use this time to start the rice, if cooking it with the absorption method.

image 1591 from bradism.com


35:00 - Start the rice and wait for it to boil, then turn down the heat and crack the lid. This is the point to add the meat and the frozen vegetables. Simmer both the curry and the rice. The curry should be bubbling but not boiling. The meat will seal and cook slowly, just enough for safety, but not so much that it dries out when microwaved.

45:00 - The rice should be done now. The curry too. Taste a potato and some vegetables and make sure they're not too underdone. A little bit of freshness is perfect, because they will finish cooking during reheating. Dish up the curry and rice into containers. If you have done the stirring and simmering correctly you should see no burning at the bottom.

image 1592 from bradism.com


I only got eighteen meals out of this batch. I didn't get close to the top of my pot. I could definitely have fit another two cabbages in there. Next time.
image 1593 from bradism.com


The final secret is, when microwaving this for lunch tomorrow, follow these steps for the best experience:
First, open the curry and splash a small amount of water (10-20ml), then stir the water to the bottom of the mix. The water will add extra steam when cooking and soften the vegetables. Complete the stirring by carving a hole in the middle of the mix, like it's a donut in the container. This allows better heat transfer.
Cover the container with a paper towel, this also helps with steaming and prevents any precious bit from spitting out into the office microwave.
Put the power down to medium-high or medium, depending on the wattage of your microwave. Set it up for ten minutes and let the curry cook. Stir every 3 minutes. If you hear chick peas exploding or anything else popping, that means the power level is too high.

When the microwaving is done there should be slight simmering within the container of the liquid. And it should be hot. At this point your coworkers may comment on how good your lunch smells, and you can tell them it's just paste out of a jar. That's it!

Replication Joke

In the office, earlier this afternoon, I was reading a whitepaper about deadlocks when an application uses a clustered database, and how to architect against them. It was interesting. I decided to get my lunch and read the rest.

I walked into the kitchen and another guy was heading for the fridge at the same time as me. He stopped and I stopped, and we both waited politely for the other person to make the first move.

This went on for 300 seconds.

Working Title

In January I mentioned that I'd achieved my dream of writing a full length novel. I followed some great advice at that point, and I put that novel away in a metaphorical drawer and forgot about it. This is supposed to help you come back to a work with fresh eyes and quickly find all the things still wrong with it.

During this period of leaving it in a drawer I distracted myself by commencing work on my second novel. The more I wrote of it, the more I preferred it over my first one. The characters were stronger, the tension was more tangible, the gags were funnier.

For eight months I ignored my first work to focus on the new story. Every time I completed a writing session of frantic scribbling I walked away with increasing confidence that this story was an improvement of the first.

Last week I reached the end. The first draft - all handwritten - was complete. Since then I've changed gears, moving into second draft, type and edit mode. Untangling all my messy jottings and trying to arrange them in the right order in Scrivener.

It's been sobering. Now I'm in a place of self-doubt. I can't tell if the second book I wrote is actually any better, or if I just liked the novelty.

I Approve

image 1594 from bradism.com

Fresh Material

It was just a coincidence that Adelaide endured a spring storm with its strongest gusts during the morning of my neighbourhood's bin day. I woke up yesterday to a road of toppled wheelie bins. Many loose items for recycling were flapping, skidding and cartwheeling down the streets.

I've walked the dog four times since then, and even this afternoon some of the bins were still lying down, lids open, spreading their insides to the world. Block after block the gutters are littered with plastics and metals. Paper and cardboard has been pulped by the rain and passing cars.

What have I learnt from it all? After walking a square kilometre I now know that all my neighbours are much more similar to me than I ever realised. On the surface we're different demographics, races, cultures. Yet we all shop at the same supermarkets, we all get the same catalogues. We all throw our dockets and envelopes in the recycling even though they contain vaguely identifying information on them. Strawberries are definitely in season. We eat the same cereals and crackers and canned vegetables... Either that or the wind carried my recycling a lot further than I thought possible.

There are a couple of outliers, like the ramshackle house two streets over with a recycling bin filled to the brim with nothing but cask wine boxes. And one of my neighbours had an LPG gas cylinder in their recycling bin. Better there than in the potentially-compacted trash I suppose...

Fresh Material 2

image 1595 from bradism.com

The Future of my Wallet

This week I've been trying an experiment to replace my wallet with my phone. By this I don't mean I've saved all my cards into Android Pay, or that I'm uploading all my barcode featuring loyalty cards into Beep'nGo. I don't mean I'm only shopping at retailers that accept my 5.5% discounted Woolworths E-Gift Cards whose balance I track in Google Keep.

I simply mean that I'm putting my phone in my right pocket of my pants, and my wallet in my left pocket. The inverse of which I've done on the regular almost every day since 2004. The results so far? It's hard to undo over a decade of below-conscious programming. I've ended up with my wallet and phone in the same pocket several times, a feeling of dread like I've lost my wallet a few times more. More often than that, I've found my wallet in my right hand pocket and my phone in the left. Not even the tap-tap-walk check picks it up.

I will persevere though. It's an important challenge for me. The cable for my headphones comes out of the left hand side, and by having my phone in the right hand pocket of my pants it reduces the slack in the cord by about an inch, which is the precise amount of slack that gets caught on my thumb, door handles and draws. So yeah, if I can re-write these neurons as I want to then I'll be dealing less frequently with headphone hooking! Plus, what else am I supposed to do for excitement on office days?

Realities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 27th September

6:50 I wake up when I hear the front door open and Vanessa returns home from her walk. I aim to get out of bed before the puppy runs upstairs and jumps on bed.
6:52 The puppy jumps on bed, waking me up again. I pat the puppy. I pat Vanessa.
6:55 Shower
7:15 I prepare breakfast. I cut up a bunch of strawberries. Strawberries are cheap and I eat a whole punnet. I eat them with cereal and milk. The Vanilla Yogurt shortage of 2016 has entered its third day.
7:30 I carry breakfast to the study, hoping to work on some writing for 30 minutes before work. I can't decide if I should work on Shady Slopes or Law & Odour. Windows Update has other ideas, and I watch for 20 minutes as it installs patches.
8:00 I decide to wear pants today, and not jeans. Perhaps because my shirt has blue colours in it, and it looks like a non-jumper day. I change. I put my jumper in my bag instead of wearing it.
8:15 I walk the two kilometres to the train station. I listen to the end of the new Grouplove, album, then I switch to Northeast Party House. It's Sunny, but chilly. At first I'm cold. After a few hundred metres I warm up. I feel vindicated about not wearing a jumper. A bird tries to swoop me.
8:38 I board the train. I read more of Dead Wake, which is fascinating.
8:55 I arrive at the office. I check my emails. I stretch my hamstring and my forearm.
9:30 I go outside and meet Jason for coffee. We only get coffee when we have a two-for-one shopadocket. I wonder if the coffee shop owner likes or hates us for only buying coffees with a voucher.
10:00 Back in the office I perform two code deployments.
10:30 I stretch my hamstring again. I drink some water. I listen to Krafty Kuts on PyroRadio.
11:00 I stretch my forearm. I eat an apple and nuts. I perform another code release.
12:15 During my lunchbreak I walk along the Torrens. At one point I see nine Cormorants all on the same log, floating in the river. They all have their wings spread. I leave the path to take a photo, but the birds hear me coming and they fly away.
12:45 I go to Coles on the way back to the office. The yogurt drought is over! I buy 2 tubs. There's a new two-for-one coffee voucher on my docket!
13:00 Another deployment is performed. I do some forearm stretching.
13:15 I put my lunch in the microwave for twelve minutes on medium.I do a hamstring stretch.
13:30 I eat lunch and try and find a nice bushwalk that you can bring dogs to.
14:00 Another code release.
14:30 I have a teleconference with the account manager of a DevOps Tool vendor. The call is regarding our upcoming licensing renewal. I know he mainly calls me because he knows we have thousands of servers. But I only manage thirty. I request a quote for thirty servers.
15:30 I drink another coffee. I do more forearm stretches. The afternoon stretches on without much excitement. At some point I eat a tin of tuna.
17:02 I leave the office and catch the train to the gym. I ride an exercise bike for fifteen minutes. I super-set hamstring rehab exercises with forearm rehab exercises, then hip rehab exercises with shoulder rehab exercises.
18:25 Walk home from the gym. The nights is calm. I listen to the new album by GRiZ.
19:00 Chop up a whole bunch of vegetables and a chicken breast and make some noodles in the wok. Vanessa leaves for the gym. Watch The Night Of. The dog watches too, but from the ground as her butt is wet.
21:00 Write up a log of the day's events for the journal. Try and think of a good ending for it.
23:45 Hamstring, hip and forearm stretches, then bed.

Ouch

I'm not going to pretend like today didn't happen. In fact, I'm glad it did. But it didn't change anything.

You can call me Robert Murphy.

Berrorism

I'm well aware that the odds of being killed in a terrorist attack are lower than being killed by a bus.
Fear is what they want me to feel.
I won't change the way I live because of any terrorist. But sometimes, especially since I turned 30, I do find myself tipping half the frozen berries packet into the blender instead of only a third.

A Bunch of Hot Air

I've posted a few entries over the past few years about washing and drying my hands. Not heaps, but about the amount you might expect to see from a man who has hospital-grade hand sanitiser on his desk at work, in his backpack, in his car and both upstairs and downstairs in his house.
I've shared tips on how amazing it is to use paper towel and a hot air dryer when drying your hands at the office, and then I posted how even more amazing it is to use a cotton towel and a hot air dryer when drying your hands at the gym.

I had an even more amazing experience this afternoon. After using the bathroom at home and soaping my hands up real nice I found myself towelless. I almost panicked. It was sunny today, but not that warm.

I looked to my right where I spotted what is possibly my proudest home-improvement achievement: the suction mounted hair dryer bracket.

Yep, today is the day I discovered I have a hot air dryer in my own bathroom.

Yep, today is the day I discovered I have a hot air dryer in my own bathroom.



Running Low on Band Names

Today was a Monday, so I thought I'd check what new tracks Spotify's Discover algorithm had generated for me. I hoped that this week the playlist would have more melodic, big-beat, indie pop songs than usual.

The first song was called #000000 Nn da Club...

Travelling Through Space and Time

It's been a weekend of two weathers. Saturday was warm, sunny, windy. Sunday was cold, grey and showery. It's also smack bang dead in the middle of spring. The middle day of the middle month. What better time for me to announce the tracklisting for 2016 Spring Mixtape?

There's a couple of classics and a whole lot of fresh material that will hopefully help cement this period of my life into music. I'll be bumping the below tunes on my walks home from work, my walks to the gym, and my drives to the beach for the next month or so. Years from now I'll be able to put it on and remember the sunny days and rainy days of Spring, 2016. I'll think, ah, back in the days when someone could post a tracklist mixtape on the internet and everyone who read it would keenly listen to all the tracks to try and experience it (on Spotify).

Do you have a 2016 Spring Mixtape? If you do, post it in the comments.

My Second Spring, 2016
1. Grouplove - Do You love Someone?
2. Fitz and the Tantrums - A Place For Us
3. The Naked and Famous - Higher
4. Banks - Trainwreck
5. Montaigne - Till it Kills Me
6. Phantogram - Cruel World
7. Krrum - Evil Twin
8. Ghostface Killah - Be Easy
9. The Avalanches - Frankie Sinatra
10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat Xperience - Bradd Pitt's Cousin
11. Danny Brown - Ain't it Funny
12. Ji-min feat Iron - Puss
13. Griz feat Brasstracks, Eric Krasno - Gotta Push On
14. Francis and the Lights - May I Have This Dance
15. Young the Giant - Amerika
16. Pop Cult - Sunday Morning
17. Dope Lemon - Marinade
18. Ball Park Music - Nihilist Party Anthem
19. Dreller - A Signal That Comes Back
20. M∅ - Final Song
21. Northeast Party House - Dare

The Cats

Squeak quits the foster home to live with his cousin Jerome in a boarded up squat in the projects. Jerome is an exciting, reckless companion who makes Squeak feel excited about life, but some of Jerome's lifestyle choices start to eat at Squeak's conscience.

Late one evening Squeak opens up to Jerome that he thinks that robbing parked cars is wrong.
Jerome says, "Ain't your fault cuz, us children need role models and we ain't got none."
Jerome introduces Squeak into his posse and says, "We your boys now. When you feelin' conflicted and shit, holla at us."
They drink and smoke drugs together. Squeak likes the company better than the foster home where the other boys bully him and the social services woman is lazy.

Squeak is not into drinking. The leader of the posse, Munroe, has a pregnant tabby cat who hangs out in the empty lot behind the row where they drink. When Munroe is drunk he is sexist towards some girls walking by and Jerome joins in, but Squeak distracts himself with the cat to avoid the conflict.
The girls walk away and Munroe stumbles around, mumbling about bitch ass gangsters. He catches Squeak playing with the cat.
With a slurred voice Munroe says, "Yo Squeak don't you be fucking with that cat. That's like our fucking mascot, yo."

One night while sleeping on a mattress that stinks of old rain Squeak is shaken awake by Jerome. Jerome says the group need him to be a lookout while they boost cars because their normal lookout has gone missing. If there's any trouble, they should scatter and meet back at the squat the next night.
Squeak is hesitant, but he agrees and helps Jerome, Munroe and Biggie by looking out while they jack the car. As they reverse a hotwired jeep they collide with a mercedes and its alarm goes crazy. The stolen jeep burns off in a hurry leaving Squeak alone. He trudges back to the squat where the tabby has given birth. The cat is sick and all of the kittens but one are dead. Squeak helps the tabby and adopts the kitten for himself. He buries the dead kittens in a shallow hole he digs in the empty lot.

The next night the others return, laughing about their joyriding. Squeak hangs with them until they pass out and then he feeds his kitten before going to bed.
The next night Jerome wants Squeak to help with another robbery. Squeak says he doesn't want to do it. Jerome says that this is how they get the cash for the food that Squeak eats.
Squeak agrees that he's obliged to help. The crew knock off a gas station, stealing eighty dollars.
The next day they all grocery shop together and Squeak secretly buys kitten food. He tells Jerome to keep it private that he has a kitten. Jerome agrees, he says "I'm proud of you cousin for being a proper father to that cat."

A few nights later Jerome asks for Squeak to help again with a robbery. Squeak again says no. Jerome mentions the food and Squeak says, "I don't wanna eat that way."
Jerome says, "I respect that, true. But you're gonna have to find a legit way to make ends meet."
Squeak says, "A'ight."
Jerome and Munroe leave Squeak alone in the squat with the cat.

The next morning Squeak goes to the grocery store to help folks carry their shopping for a dime. After a long day he makes about four dollars which he uses for pop tarts and some milk for his cat. When he returns to the squat the others are still out looking for cars. He plays with his kitten which makes him feel good. It's a hot night so they sit on the stoop where the kitten drinks milk while Squeak pets him and explains how he's going to make something of his life.
A pontiac pulls up as the sun is setting. A man leans out the passenger window.
"That your cat?" he calls to Squeak.
Squeak looks up at the voice. He doesn't recognise the man. In one arm he's cuddling a brown labrador puppy. It's tiny pink tongue is panting steadily in the heat.
In the other hand the uzi was leveled at him.
"Yeah," said Squeak.
"Dogs, motherfucker," said the man.
The squeal of spinning tires follows the squirt of the uzi.

Forward Looking to 2017

The iPhone came out in 2007. It's kind of crazy to think that less than ten years ago, if you wanted to Google something, you had to remember what it was until you reached a computer. I used to write reminders to myself as SMS drafts. I'm just old enough to remember winter evenings on the train home when it was too dark to see out the windows and everyone in the carriage either read a book or spent forty minutes with an oscillating head just trying to avoid making eye-contact with other people's oscillating heads. Or talking to their neighbours. Whatever.

Humanity has not had long to adjust to the power of the pocket computer. Honestly, we're not ready for it. At first I found it amusing watching young people nearly walk into bus stops or other young people because their eyes were affixed to their screens. Now it's getting beyond a joke. Everyone's doing it now. Even super old people who should know better. They're checking their email while walking through crowds, or looking at image macros (wait, I mean memes) on FaceBook on their way through doorways. How many steps have they done? What's the current temperature? What's the next song on shuffle?

Phones are soon going to come with built in apps that warn you when you're about to walk into something in front of you, and people are going to celebrate it like it's not a sign of our impending societal collapse. I'm calling it now. My New Years Resolution for 2017 is to never walk and look at my phone at the same time. I feel strongly enough about this that I'm resolving for 2017 in October. I am going to become the only person on the planet who steps to the side of the footpath before taking the phone from the pocket and turning the screen on. I'm posting this online to help keep me accountable. Humans will almost definitely evolve into a species that can walk and read a phone screen simultaneously, but I don't want to be on the wrong side of that natural selection process.

Cloud Day

Today was called "Cloud Day" by a certain IT industry heavyweight who were running a six hour marketing session in the conference rooms of a CBD hotel. I'd been looking forward to it all week. These events usually have free food, free coffee and you don't need to take leave to attend if it's relevant to your work. They also provide an opportunity to forget about your existing job and think about all those greenfield projects with cutting edge technology you could be involved in if you stopped wearing polos everyday, moved to San Francisco, and worked really hard all the time.

I arrived just in time to skip all the networking, get my first free coffee and sit in for the keynotes. There were some very flashy slides, with some cool phrases pasted on top of gorgeous, superbly arranged stock photos. Actually, I became so distracted by the stock photos that I stopped thinking about what cloud solutions I could architect and wondered how I could get into the stock photo industry. Then I wondered what kind of food and coffee there would be a stock photo industry conferences.

Finally, I ignored the vegetables and picked out about half a kilogram of beef from the casserole in the free lunch buffet, because beef is expensive. Good thing I had elastic capacity.

Cloud Month

image 1597 from bradism.com

I think this hat, sunglasses and raincoat selfie sums up my impression of spring so far.


Y'All Wanna Live My Lifestyle


image 1598 from bradism.com

No Spoilers

Being on the wrong side of the planet means that on days of interesting NBA games I have to pay close attention to avoiding spoilers if I want to watch the game after work without knowing the final score.

Despite the shoddiness of the NBN, NBA spoilers are everywhere in Australia almost instantly. They're on Facebook and Snapchat and in overheard conversations in the kitchenette. They're visible in a particular team's jersey or hat worn by someone walking down Rundle Mall. They're on the TV at the gym and sometimes they're in the horribly-designed NBA App itself when "No Scores" isn't incongruent with "BTW all these particular games went to Overtime"

Today I was trying to make it home to watch the first-ever facing-off of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had been killing it ever since Durant left the Thunder to play for Golden State. It promised to be an exciting encounter.

I'd made it through the whole day and I was bustling to the train station so I could put the cricket and NBA on at the same time and drink a glorious beer and then I saw him. A dude in front of me was wearing an OKC Thunder top. I cursed internally. I thought the dream was over.

My momentum carried me closer and I saw it was a Kevin Durant top.

Spring Editing

Sometimes Sundays tell me that if I was a full-time author my house would be a lot cleaner.

Y'All Wanna Live My Lifestyle 2


image 1599 from bradism.com

Cranberries

Life is about learning and the journal continues to store many of my past lessons, explicitly or sometimes in parables.

Last week I accidentally picked up a packet of frozen cranberries when I really meant to buy frozen cherries. I didn't even realise until after I opened the packet. I couldn't return them, so I vowed I would use them for something. I've almost got a degree in eating fruit and cereal by now. I figured if grapes can work for breakfast (which they do quite well), then cranberries could be equally as viable.

Before mixing cranberries through my yogurt and muesli I checked the back of the packet for recipe suggestions. Some kind of milkshake or smoothie idea would give me confidence to add them to my breakfast. What I saw was instructions for a grilled salmon garnish. I was not inspired. I taste-tested one of the defrosted berries and consumed about ten percent of it, before spitting the rest in the sink.

What the hell cranberries? Why do you taste so bad? You might be full of vitamins and sustenance, but it's 2016. Part of me wants them renamed to something that doesn't contain the word "berries", but this is naive. Really this experience has reminded me of the hardships that my hunter-gatherer ancestors must have endured. They must have spent weeks combing the forest for berries that didn't taste like shit. Finding muesli and yogurt in the forest must have also been tough.

Fortunately I had a ripe banana within easy reach, so I didn't stay grumpy for long.

Brad's Summer Journal 15

Today marks the fifteen year anniversary of me deciding that my thoughts were worth sharing with the internet.
Something that's crazier: If I keep journalling until February 28, 2019, I'll have been doing it over half my life.
Okay - this update is obviously a little weak, but you can understand why I'm in need of content.

It's Time

image 1604 from bradism.com

secret_santa.py

This year the family is doing a secret santa, instead of the regular gifts-for-everyone approach. I think it's a good idea as I only have to think up one amazing present instead of seven.

There was talk about who would do the randomizing of names, which ruined the surprise for that one person. I suggested that the internet could probably provide that service, but then hesitated at the thought of putting all our email addresses into a random website.

I decided to write my own secret santa service instead. At first I wrote it in PHP - like this website is - and spent a good hour trying to remember basic PHP concepts like "do lines have to end with semi-colons?" and "how do you print to standard out?". I used to PHP errday, so this made me feel bad. I reasoned that I forgot all my PHP from 2010 because I moved to python after that. I figured I would write secret santa in Python.

Then I spent another few hours trying to remember basic python syntax, and debugging issues. It took me about the same amount of time to remember how to print formatted strings as it did to finalise the script.

But, I ran it, and it worked, so I figured I would share it on my journal as evidence that I still do some scripting occasionally. I even formatted it with CSS to be easier to read... This also took at least an hour to do...



##########################
### SECRET SANTA ###
### Bradism.com 2016 ###
##########################
# Set Values Below:
SMTP_DETAILS = { # Available from your Webhost or ISP
'SMTPserver': 'your.smtp.com',
'sender': 'YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS',
'username': 'SMTP_USER_NAME',
'password': 'YOUR_SMTP_PASSWORD'
}

# Create a dictionary of participants, adding their name, email address and a description of what they might want/not want.
# The "gift" field will be included as HTML, so all HTML tags are valid and make sure to escape double-quotes
giftees = {}
giftees['Brad'] = {'email': 'brad@example.com', 'gift': "Yogurt, Cereal, Fruit.<br />No cats!"}
giftees['Dwight'] = {'email': 'dwight@atlanta.com', 'gift': "I'd like to shoot more threes and have someone yell \"Dwight for THREEEE\" even if it looks like missing."}
giftees['Rajon'] = {'email': 'big_game_rondo@gmail.com', 'gift': "<ol><li>Connect 4 Opponents</li><li>A call from Paul Pierce</li></ol>"}
giftees['Gortat'] = {'email': 'marcin@hotmail.com.com', 'gift': "I miss Stan Van Gundy. Also, shaving products."}
Continue Reading Secret_Santa.py...

The Horrible Truth Uncovered

I was returning to bed from the toilet sometime this morning, when it was too dark to consider checking the time. I found my side of the bed blanketless, which was how I'd left it. But it was cooler now.

Luckily my eyes were adjusted to the dark, and I could make out two distinct blankets wrapped around my wife. My fingers were nimble enough to pry them apart, and my shoulders had the strength and leverage to pull a blanket over my legs while lying down, conquering the resistance of Vanessa's death grip on the material.

So smooth was this operation that it barely registered in my brain and I was immediately falling asleep again. Until I realised how many generations of natural selection and frozen, dead men there must have been over the millennia for me to have evolved with the physical traits needed for blanket rescue.

31 Seconds of Brain Activity

What's happening in Aleppo and Syria is horrible. I wish there was something I could do to help those people. I'm afraid the worst is already done. It was done decades ago and there's nothing that anyone can do to stop what's been started. Especially me, a dude on the other side of the world. I think I'll just be the absolute best human that I can be to every person I meet, and hope that others do the same and that it will all work out in the end. I also think I'll switch to roll on deodorant permanently. I seem to sweat less than with spray-on deodorant. First I'll have to clip my armpit hair. That kind of excites me. I'll have an excuse to groom myself. I know it's 2016, I don't need an excuse. But it's nice to have one in case someone thinks I'm vain for trimming my pits. It will also be more convenient when I travel as I won't need to pay for checked baggage just to transport an aerosol can of deodorant. My only concern is that roll-on deodorant might cause cancer. If the pores are too blocked up and sweat can't come out of them then maybe cancerous sweat cells will be trapped in my body and mutate and spread to my lymph-nodes. What an odd way to die. I assume no one has died like this already, otherwise I'd have heard about it. And they would have stopped selling roll-on deodorant. It could potentially become my legacy. They'd name the pathology results after me. It'd be my legacy for years, maybe decades or centuries assuming humanity survives that long and survives that long without curing cancer. I bet they won't survive that long. The whole human race nothing but a second-long flutter of a single hair on the back of this great, eternal beast known as the universe, which seems to exist only because if nothing existed it would be a mind-fucking conundrum and physics probably dictates that something has to exist just to prevent existential implosions of the metaverse. Fuck me. Life is so pointless. Ah, the cricket is back on.

Glass Half Empty

I haven't touched any alcohol for almost a week now. I didn't plan that. I thought the end of work-Christmas-summer period would see me with a beer almost daily. Especially with 40 degree days, long sunsets and family gatherings. The week before holidays I even stocked up on booze thanks to an amazing Specials + AMEX Cashbacks + Flybuys Rewards + reusing online voucher for multiple purposes + Reduced to Clear stickers to pick up a case of half-litre Weihenstephan Hefe (cheaper than a flight to Munich) plus a carton of Squires Hop Thief, a Knappstein IPA four pack, a new variety of Fat Yak six pack and fresh bottles of Bacardi, Vodka and Gin. Add that to my existing random beer collection, the last few Hoegaardens from my 32nd, the (two kinds of) spiced rums I've got in the pantry, the Hennessy from my 31st, the single Sly Fox I've been saving for the start of Summer since April, the diet ginger ale that I bought (the best way to drink 12 year old whiskey) plus the Champagne, Aperol, Kahlua from 2013's Duty Free shopping... This is beginning to sound like a thrown away draft for a cheesy EDM rap verse.

Every day from lunchtime onward I think I should have or make a drink. Something always stops me. Maybe it's too hot, or I'm full of food, or I still need to go to the gym. The day moves on without me and then it's too late to have a drink and then I wake up and the cycle repeats.

It got to Boxing Day and I thought, maybe, I've reached this subconscious contentedness that belies the feelings of thirst and relaxation. Maybe I'm mentally unclenched, ascended, and found a new level of human existence where I'm buzzed on life itself.

Then I realised, when having yet another internal debate about opening a beer or making a gin and tonic, what was keeping me away from the liquor was not any state of higher feelings, but the exact same thing which fucks me whenever I run out of bulk lunch meals on work days and I have to pick a restaurant/food court/food truck from the thousands in the city. The days that I end up eating Weet Bix at my desk for lunch. Analysis Paralysis. I've accumulated so much booze that I am now unable to pick which one to drink first. It's the INTJ 1 Step Program.

Priorities

These two pots of Calla Lilies are bringing the lesson of 2016. A month ago these pots contained nothing but dirt and the dormant bulbs from last summer. By the end of spring both had green shoots emerging from the dirt. The pot on the right started with many shoots, the left pot had only a couple. A few weeks later the left pot had sprouted two proud, vibrant flowers while the pot on the right has nothing to show for itself but leaves on leaves.

image 1605 from bradism.com


The obvious moral is that if you diversify your attention and resources to too many things you're going to end up with a bunch of leaves and no flowers. By focusing on only a couple of candidates you're better placed to bring them to fruition.

Cameraphone Photos of the Year

To celebrate the end of 2016 I created a new phocumentary.

It's all on one page, because it's 2017 tomorrow. And we're all on the NBN, right? (Or browsing on the phone using work's fibre backed wifi while on the toilet).