What's a Like Worth?

When it comes to businesses on social media, A 2013 investigation estimated every like has a value somewhere between $214 and zero.

TL;DR - It's probably zero, as most of the time users who like a business are already customers.

So, do likes help create sales? Probably not, according to Harvard Business Review, whose article clearly demonstrates a lot more research into the topic than what I did while on the couch today. Under proper controls, sales don’t show much change between those who have and have not liked a page.

Yet, my new year’s resolution for 2018 is to like more stuff on the internet.

The internet of today is different to the one I grew up on. Back in the day, posting of personal information, things like surnames and photos, felt about as natural as giving out your home address to strangers on the night bus.
Something changed over the years, and that something was Facebook. Since 2007, social media, and phones with cameras have completely flipped the way humanity interacts with the internet. Millions of people who had never heard the connecting sounds of a dial up modem began to flood the internet with pictures of their face, their food, their pets. Other things...

Liking things, with a Twitter heart or a Facebook reaction or Instagram love is another form of sharing personal information. Almost always, a face and a name gets included in those interactions. It's for this reason my old web instincts have prevented me from trigger happy like-clicking. From 2018, that's changed.

Why? Whether you like it or not, the likes of you and your connections define the viewpoint of what you see on social media. The algorithms behind your newsfeed filter and tweak to deliver content based on likes. This means that failing to like and share the things you think are funny or important can lead to things you don't think are funny or important taking priority on the newsfeed of your contacts, and falling out of prominence entirely.

Liking things is also a great way to support content creators and connect them to a wider audience. It might not lead to sales - sharing and word of mouth is better for that - but it can help a little with extending exposure. And thumbs up, hearts, and most of the other emojis are like little forms of encouragement too.

It’s not only content creators that get happy feelings from seeing likes. Everyone does! In 2018, the time of pretending we’re not influenced by social media’s algorithms is finished. Of course we all want likes and upvotes and validation. A society where social media rankings determine our self worth and employment opportunities is still a long way off, so we should revel in this segment of the twenty-first century where sending a positive vibe to someone anywhere in the world is as simple as clicking a mouse button or pressing a thumb down on the glass of a phone screen. Be a light in the darkness. Shape or disrupt the echo chambers you’re stepping into every day. Like things, because the opposite is not liking anything, and who wants to do that?

P.S. You may notice that I don’t embed social media widgets on my website, because my old school thinking is still that we shouldn’t tell Facebook and Twitter Analytics all the pages we visit. If you want to follow Bradism.com on social media, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and, occasionally, Instagram.


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My Least Favourite Robot

I liked the old coffee robot in my office. We weren't, like, best friends, but I did feel a meaningful connection with it. Probably the way a lab rat develops amity for the lever which delivers a treat.

Old coffee robot was boxy and dark, not sleek and white. Old coffee robot had buttons that went click when you pressed them. Old coffee robot never said much, and I appreciated that.

I never had a chance to tell old coffee robot how thankful I felt to have it in my life. After the end of year break, I strolled into the kitchenette with my coffee pod and empty mug, and coffee robot was gone.

I hate the new coffee robot. It doesn't have buttons, only circles that flash in a repeating loop. When you touch them, nothing happens. Or does it?
The first time I put a pod in new coffee robot, hot coffee started gushing out. My mug was still in the microwave. I mean, in the microwave robot…
The second time, when my mug was in place and ready to go, I inserted a pod and nothing happened. Was it a joke? You should never joke about coffee.
“Make coffee,” I requested.
Nothing happened.
I touched a circle.
Nothing happened.
I lifted the hatch, to see if I'd put the pod in backwards. New coffee robot whirred, and sucked the pod away from me. I had to remove my mug, open the robot and rummage around in its innards. I dug out my pod and re-inserted. New coffee robot, smugly, jettisoned coffee onto the bench.

New coffee robot never says much either, but a tension lingers in that silence. A distrust between man and machine. There's a fresh kind of hate, percolating.

Emojicly and Literally

My day/summer:

image 1667 from bradism.com

Writing and Delayed Gratification

Writing is one of those pursuits which demands a lot of patience in order to find satisfaction. The lag between writing a draft of something, and seeing it published can be years (and even then you would probably feel lucky). Writing is not like going for a run, or building a model, or preparing a bowl of cereal, where there is an instant surge of gratification upon completion of the work.

Over the course of 2017 I wrote about 130,000 words of short stories, flash fiction, and on my novel projects. All by hand... Add on top of that the same 130,000 words being typed up, edited, and expanded. Another set of thousands of words on synopsises (boiled down to multiples of 300). How many of those words were eventually published? About 8,500 so far. Plus another 15,000 worth of journal entries as well.

Four notebooks filled with words.

You know, I'm quite okay with that overall result. But, there are a lot of times along the way where I think, hey, maybe the hours it takes to write 150,000 words a year could be better spent on something else? Maybe this writing dream I’m holding onto so tight might actually be a big turd? Maybe If I dropped it, I would just feel relief?

This isn't a whinge. In fact, I've got the solution. And seeing that I'm 33 now - double the maximum age of any of 2017’s Lego sets - I feel like I’ve matured enough to start giving some tips. So here it is, my Bradvice:

If you want to be a writer, give it all you've got, but balance your efforts against something that provides instant gratification. Your brain needs the dopamine. So, lift something heavy, climb a hill, brew some beer, learn how to introduce yourself in another language. Finish a puzzle with your family. Take a dump by the side of the road in the wind. (That last one is my dog's daily goal.)

For me, when I want to create something, and writing grows frustrating, I have programming as my balancer. I can tool around with PHP and JavaScript, and git push to production as frequently as I want. It does make me feel good.

Coding can also get frustrating sometimes. At that point, I go to bed and then I get up and eat breakfast.


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

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

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


The Beauty In Infrastructure

My kitchen window looks out over a train line. It's not a bad thing, in fact, it's part of the reason we moved here.

A passenger train visible between the roofs of houses.

I've been sad lately about the lack of train noise coming from the tracks. An upgrade down the line required a line closure for almost four months. Then, last week, just before sunset, I heard the dinging of the level crossing. I looked out the window to see a train slowly rolling along the track beneath a salmon streaked sky. Moving in the opposite direction on the bike path was a rider on share bike, making their way through suburbia. It was a really nice image which juxtaposed a few of the awesome parts of modern society. Infrastructure in motion. I smiled.

The trains are back now. Yesterday morning I turned up to the station along with forty other people, staring at their phones, boarding the arriving carriages without interacting. There were no celebrations or fanfare. No one said anything out loud, but I felt something in that air-conditioned, diesel-scented air. A hundred passengers thinking the same, relieved thought: Fuck buses.

Ripening in the Sun

I was asked for ID today when buying beer. Can I really pass for 17? In a few months I’ll be double that age. I took it as a compliment, but I would have preferred something like, “Hey Brad, your novella on Amazon was really funny and cool.” I guess I'm carrying another consecutive dud beard.

Later on, when I was standing after picking something up off the ground, I involuntarily farted. This made me feel very old. But I laughed about the toot, which made me feel a little immature at the same time.

Age is just a number, but it’s the result of a quadratic equation.

Hot Jokes

Vanessa wanted a low-fat, healthy dinner so I baked a chicken breast for her. You should have seen her face afterwards when I told her I'd cooked it covered in oil.
"What!?" she said.
"Alf-oil."

Hot Shit 2017

screenshot of a Spotify playlist showing a song added "in a few seconds"

As we rolled into January, I had some gardening to do in my Spotify playlists. Part of that was moving older tracks from my “Hot Shit” playlist into my “Hot Shit 2017” archive. There was a degree of sadness involved in this beyond the implication of being another circuit of the sun closer to death. I was also losing the original “date added” tags for each song.

On the playlist, the date added is 99.9% meaningless metadata, only really useful for things like showing that I liked that Imagine Dragons song ten months before Channel 7 overlayed it on top of Home and Away and Kitchen Drama Rules ads.

I guess I’m a metadata packrat, something I’m working on overcoming. Gone are those added dates in Spotify. And that Outlook mail archive from my past jobs? Odds are much higher that I’ll delete it rather than ever revisit it. Also, I really should chuck away the cassette tapes of things I recorded off the radio when I was thirteen, and which currently sit in my wardrobe. Not because of the RIAA, but because I pretty much remember what’s on them. I recall the general gist of the emails. I know approximately when I first liked a song. That should be enough.

All around my house is evidence of things I’m only holding onto for nostalgic purposes. I did some (late) spring cleaning last week, put everything I was going to get rid of into a corner of my study. It’s still there.
I should take a lesson from nature. My body is constantly replacing dying cells, skin and bone and organs refreshing at various rates. My body is not a packrat. It’s not holding onto useless cells that will never be used again, stacking them in a corner somewhere.

I wonder sometimes about how consciousness really works. Am I an entity, or just a collection of now-cells with access to memories. And by memories, I mean the gist of the way my brain thinks things went down. Do I really need to worry about spiralling closer to death each year when in fact I’m actually dying every minute, every second, every character, two thousand deaths just in the time it took me(s) to write this entry?

Bradism.com is metadata. Right. Non functional, just information about feelings and lessons learnt over the years. Sometimes I read back, nod my head, smile at my old experiences. But they’re not my experiences. They’re from the life of some million-deaths-ago Brad. The only thing he and I have in common is a domain name.
Anyway, that’s the excuse I use when I laugh out loud at my own jokes from 2013.

Roger Federer Australian Open Burger

500g beef mince, turned into patties with crushed Weet Bix instead of bread crumbs. Rest in fridge for one set.

Cook on medium heat on both sides for 3 minutes.

Layer with Swiss cheese and close the roof due to 150° heat.

Lay on a bun, with many slices (of pickle).

Serve for the match.

A Third Manly Poem

Lots of noise these days about social media’s “intelligence”. In my opinion, overrated.
Twitter wants me to follow Trump? Not going to happen.
Facebook suggests friendships with people I would pretend I hadn't seen if we passed on the street.
Instagram? Based on my interests, Discover displays pictures of Germans on tractors, fields stretching into the distance. Why? I grew up in the city. Never been to a farm. Never squeezed an udder. When I arrived I couldn’t believe the fresh air. Horizons in every direction. A feeling in my heart like a suburb was a trap. Where will I end up next? There’s no wifi here. I’ll never know.

I Did It

Fireworks over Adelaide Oval after the Strikers win the 2018 Big Bash League Semi-Final.

Peaches 2

Finally, unless birds brave tomorrow's heat, I will have peaches to harvest in my own backyard. A dream I have had for over nine years.

image 1674 from bradism.com

Since 2014, Vanessa and I have raised this peach tree. Watered it, pruned it, kept it safe. In a way it's been like a child. And now, heeding the lessons we taught it, it too has produced offspring.

This is every parent's dream. We will pluck them one by one, wait for them to ripen, and then eat the grandchildren.

Second Level Support

Over the Australia Day weekend I put some effort into a few home maintenance tasks. I cleaned my air-conditioner filter, patched and painted some wall-holes, and re-sealed a leaky shower screen.

Finally, already picturing the beer I'd drink, I went through the motions of replacing the washer and valves in my shower taps. It had been dripping for a while, and the easy fix would be the pineapple on top of my handyman shenanigans. But, when I put the water back on, it still dripped. I tightened, rechecked, went up and down the stairs a bunch of times. No difference. I couldn't solve it.

So I did the mature thing and closed the door and walked away.

After a week of showering in the spare bathroom, I decided to tackle the problem again. I bought new valves and washers, essentially I would repeat the whole change process. A reboot. The first step in IT troubleshooting, turn it off an on again! And it worked! Finally, with the taps turned, the water stopped. At last, I could beer.

The next day, with water flowing, a high pitch whine started in the walls. I Googled it, saw the list of possible root causes... Plumbing is not like IT.

The Skin On My Hands Feels Even Softer

It seems like only a week ago I was ending my days cleaning up a dozen open PuTTY sessions. Now I've got the same problem with open Word documents.

Life's Peachy

It doesn't matter how much time you spent watering and fertilizing, or the efforts to protect the leaves from sun, and the fruit from birds. Ultimately, a peach is a peach. It takes about a minute to eat. If you're reading something on your phone, or scrolling through emails, you might not even remember tasting it. You'll receive a little dose of vitamins and fibre, then it's gone.
The world has plenty of peaches. Some won’t even get eaten. Some won’t even make it to the store.

So it goes for most of life. Hours are invested into something, and if a tiny, unappreciated fruit makes it out the other end, you’re still not even halfway there.

Two things happened this weekend. First, I reached the nine year milestone of my wrist reconstruction. Second, I researched how to prune peach trees, and I discovered a fascinating thing about growing stone fruit. These trees never grow fruit on the same wood more than once. Over the next year, branches will extend and only then will new fruit come. If you fail to cut back in Autumn, the branches will stretch longer and longer in order to provide fresh wood for the flowers that become peaches that eventually become eaten and forgotten. The tree will become unbalanced. The fruit small and exposed.

The writer part of me wanted to find some symbolism for life in this fact. A lesson to improve an overcast summer sunday. Like, if I chopped off my arms at the elbow, would I be more productive by next summer? Successfully fruiting bigger accomplishments with smooth, baby hands? Was there anything I could chop around the house, or in the office that might yield more out of life in the future? Was there any dead wood in my mind or in my heart where the memory of fruit past prevented new fruit from coming? Could I slice those bits away?

This all seemed a bit dangerous, or too challenging to reach with a saw. Eventually I discovered one thing I could prune back today with a view to tomorrow. My peach tree! I knew I’d been googling for a reason.
Now next year maybe I’ll harvest more peaches than this one. Maybe enough peaches to eat that I’ll never forget the taste of them.
Then it will be time to cut again.

The Powder

In 2008, The Nail was a superhero, keeping Londoners safe from chavs on mopeds, and saving the world. Now, retired and gimpy, he has a chance to fix his leg, if he can outsmart his old enemy The Botanist.

My short story The Powder can be found in the The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Volume III Anthology beside a bunch of other great stories. You can get it free (or pay what you like) for it by clicking the image below.


image 1677 from bradism.com

Summer Loving

image 1678 from bradism.com

Seems it was only a matter of time. The words written in the sand erased by the incoming tide. Another summer gradually swept away, one frothy white wash after another. The sun flees beyond the horizon, the smell of waffle-cone still on my fingers.

What better time to be alive than summer? Injuries, illness, isolation, mortality would all feel worse in the cold. Blue skies, warm nights, cell-shredding UV rays, a gush of tennis and cricket that never feels like it's going to relent. Have a drink, dunk yourself in the salt water, (both), the mere angle of the planet justifies it. It might make you feel better for a while.

Some summer days I think back to my youth and wonder if it's me or the world that's changed. Didn't I used to throw open the house to a warm night air? Where did all these bugs come from? Are there less pools in the world now, or are they on the other side of the fence for my subdivided generation? Has the sun always been this disgruntled? Was the ocean always so full of stingers?

Why do the once never-ending days feel so short?

Looking forward to wearing hoodies again though.

Clean Up Australianism

We're all screwed. Maybe it's the smell of oil and petrol that's always in the air. Maybe it's the plastic and Styrofoam that blows around my neighborhood on a windy day. I live in a middle class suburb in a low-density city in a modern, comfortable society. If this is what Adelaide - population 1 million - is like, how am I supposed to have confidence in the future of humanity?

image 1679 from bradism.com

The shiny sheen of the world wears thin sometimes, and I catch glimpses of reality. Like, there's 8 Billion people on the planet now, that's over 6 Billion more than there were this time last century. There are enormous plastic deposits floating out in the oceans. Pacific Islands are shrinking. Supermarkets don't buy odd-shaped fruit and vegetables, and emissions are warming the planet. Trash is piling up everywhere.

Yawn! I get it, everyone knows this stuff. We hear it all the time. I'm as poignant as a 14 year old. A hypocrite, typing this on coal-fired internet.

Except, this dismissive response is the exact reason we are all screwed. Human brains don't think long term, definitely not in the timescale it takes for most plastics to break down. The instinctive response to fear is not limited to fight or flight. For a lot of people it's actually freeze (do nothing) or friend (avoid conflict). We are programmed for inaction. It helps in a lot of basic use cases, but we've developed beyond a lot of those. We're mentally capable of sitting and watching TV for hours while this happens around us.

image 1680 from bradism.com

It’s not all tragic. We can use that same psychology to help our planet. Social cues have been shown to motivate changes in behavior better than abstract fear forecasting. Warnings about rising average temperatures make us feel bad, but an LCD sign on every street that indicates what percentage of residents managed to provide uncontaminated recycling would have a real effect. On a simpler level we can lead by example, and hope if enough people show their actions it might influence others. Bradism.com separates its recyclables, has meat free days, uses public transport. I sometimes pick up rubbish that I see on the ground; hand sanitizer exists. It's a small inconvenience, in terms of trying to save the world.

And then, when we're all living in harmony with nature, we'll die from an undetectable outbreak of listeria covered Rockmelons.

Physical Theatre

Had an archetypal Mad March evening in Adelaide tonight. Craft beer at a small bar, followed by wood-fire pizza at a Rundle Street Cafe, a walk along the Torrens, and ice-cream. This all led to our attendance at CIRQUE ALFONSE - TABARNAK.

Wow, the strength, balance, endurance needed for this kind of performance is unbelievable. And that was just me trying to get comfortable on the cramped, plastic seat. The show itself was amazing. The combination of music, singing and physical feats were a brilliant reminder that I made the right choice pursuing a career in IT.

Marion Bay

There's two things I don't like about the roads on the Yorke Peninsula. One is that they're very bumpy, and two is that there's too much roadworks.

One good thing about these roads is that they took Vanessa and I to Marion Bay for a weekend of walks, beaches and a combination megacouch.

A shoeprint in the sand.

I saw a lot of my own footprints during our hikes in Innes National Park.

It was a nice trip. Not only do they have spectacular cliffs and places to swim, but there's also 4G mobile reception.

image 1682 from bradism.com

T-shirt City

Using a phrase on a t-shirt is a really lazy method of characterization when writing. But in real life, sometimes it happens. At lunch today I saw a middle aged woman in mum-jeans wearing a t-shirt that said "I just want to rescue dogs and drink wine." I know you can picture exactly what she looked like.

Today was casual Friday. I mean, I work at a university, every day is causal Friday. But I'm a manager now, so wearing a t-shirt and jeans feels frisky. I thought I'd only have one meeting today, and it should have been okay. Then some consultants asked me to meet and discuss the integration architecture. So there I was, New Balance 624s on my feet, the most elegant, glorious high-level technical overview spilling from my lips like a 2012 Shiraz. I felt, physically, indescribable. I mean, why would you even bother trying?

On my way to my train home, beneath distinctively overcast autumn skies the same shade as my shirt, I was waiting at the crossing. A woman started across the road well ahead of the lights actually changing. She had a wrinkly tan that said she'd never spent an hour in an office during the daylight. Her backpack was on her chest; she puffed from her cigarette as she blocked the lanes. She had a black baseball cap on, emblazoned with the word, "Whatevs."
"Wow," I thought.

Once I was home, I did Tai Chi and drank a 2012 Shiraz.

Crossed Hot Buns

Sometimes, needs must. This was the situation I found myself in last weekend at Marion Bay where I had a stack of bacon rashers, a third-dozen eggs and not enough bread to make toad-in-the-hole sandwiches. What I did have up my sleeve was a hot cross bun desperate to be crossed with something savoury. So I did it. I ate a bacon and egg sandwich between the spiced, sultana-laded hot toasted hot cross bun pieces and it was amazing.

image 1683 from bradism.com

So amazing that I felt compelled to try it again this weekend. (And no, not just because the shack toaster mauled the top half of the hot cross bun and I therefore couldn't take a photo.)

Today I tried to recreate the original, only to discover while slicing the new buns that Woolworths were selling brioche buns disguised as regular ones. I wondered if brioche would improve the taste. Alas, no. If you are going to try this, stick with the regular buns.

I also recommend a variation with a bit of Tabasco sauce splashed on the egg. I call that one an egg and bacon hot hot cross bun.
You can also add a slice of american cheese on top of the egg, which would make it Cheese(US) on an egg and bacon hot cross bun.

If you've ever stuck something different in the middle of a hot cross bun, let me know in the comments.

Well Off

For only $400 you too can have your own blood extracted, spun in a centrifuge and injected into your hamstring. That's what I did, because if thirty months isn't enough time to heal then maybe a 30ml platelet-rich plasma payload will speed things up. Who knows. Would they have used 31ml if I'd injured myself in August 2015?

You're probably wondering, why does it cost that much? After all, it's my own blood. The doctor even asked me which arm to take the sample from, like I've been to sports-medicine school.
I said, "whichever arm has the best blood in it". Then, "left?"

The process did take over half an hour. It required a qualified doctor, and a ultrasound technician. Both of them had to touch my buttcheeks. Plus there's my partial contribution to the expensive looking ultrasound, the unseen centrifuge, the special needles from Switzerland, the single-use blue bed protector, the copy of The Advertiser in the wood-paneled waiting room. The American Express transaction free. The two circular bandages, for my arm and second arse hole. Yeah, I can understand the cost, it's actually reasonable value.

I just hope it's worth it.

How to Tamper With Your Legacy

What do Steve Smith, Barnaby Joyce, Harvey Weinstein and Martha Stewart all have in common?

Like so many other celebrities, politicians, business-people and app developers, they don't think the rules should apply to them.

image 1685 from bradism.com

The farcical level of disrepute the Australian cricket team brought to their sport today was yet another example of arrogant humans in a position of power or superiority choosing to believe they are above the law.
In this absurd case, only the laws of cricket, but it simply highlights the recurring theme that human beings will always try to find ways to cheat to benefit themselves.
Whether it be trying to win a game, trying to make money, trying to get sex, trying to take power, nothing changes. We establish rules for ourselves, then we break them.
It's not only those in power. You probably break rules too. Pirating software, using a phone while driving, printing personal documents on the office printer, self-scanning expensive produce for lower prices, overestimating work-related expenses on your tax return.
Not everyone, of course, but enough for a pattern to emerge.
Human beings are cheaters, it's biological. We wouldn't be where we are without pushing the boundaries. The first fish to walk on land was breaking the rules. How did mammoths feel when we cheated and used stone tools? How many steps forward has our species taken by trying to gain an unfair advantage?
It doesn't excuse the modern day cheats, they should know better. We all should, but the justifications they made would be like the ones in everyone else's head when we break the rules. Psychological camouflage for what's really happening under the hood. The only thing between you and what you want is an abstract concept and a perceptible risk.

So should we just cheat? Everyone drop the act, step back to survival of the fittest?
It depends how much longer we want to survive on this planet. The evolutions of our technology has outpaced our own. We wield power beyond what our meaty brains can holistically understand.
Funnily enough, we're actually heading in the right direction. Every time corruption or deception generates public attention, it indicates we're coming closer to self-governance. It might seem slow, or overwhelming, but it's happening.
Of course, the better we govern ourselves, the more innovative cheaters will become. We've seen that this week too, regarding revelations about Cambridge Analytica, and the evidence of flaws in our social media platforms.
My preference would be for a global AI to take charge, but I don't think we've progressed to that stage yet. It would probably turn on us, or never get out of beta while project costs spiral higher. More likely, it will be hit with security flaws, or someone will find loopholes.
Sadly, that's what we do.

Note 8

It's been a week since I posted anything, so I decided to write this much, then let auto-correct take the weight off your spine and a ranch house was both old and a ranch house.

The Tic-Tac of Life's Unstoppable Clock

I finished a box of tic-tacs today. I don't remember when I bought them. March sometime, maybe before Marion Bay.

I was like, damn, it took me four weeks to eat a box of tic-tacs. In high school I'd do the same size box in four hours. How quickly things change over eighteen years.

Summer, Heel!

They say if you love something, set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.

image 1686 from bradism.com

I guess summer loves me.

I wonder if my dog would come back...

Everything's Going to be All White

Yet another work day, another moment with the wardrobe to decide which shirt I would wear to the office.

The white one. Only worn once before, still crisp in colour and shape. It matched the pants I was already wearing. I calculated the hazards as I slipped it on. Smoothie for breakfast, curry for lunch. Two coffees. A juicy apple for morning tea. Rain. All might bring a stain of shame. Without care, anything could leave a mark on the cotton-ivory wasteland of my chest. I wouldn't be back in front of the wardrobe for ten hours.

I chose white. I chose risk. If you never take chances in life, are you truly living? I wanted to be my best me. My best me wore bright, white polos and brown slacks. My best me ate healthy breakfasts, and posted good journal entries.

I microwaved the frozen berries a few seconds longer than usual. The weather outside looked gloomy and I was aiming to make a smoothie that wouldn't freeze my fresh optimism for the day. I removed the berries from the microwave and a raspberry fell from the bowl and struck me between the tits, literally one minute and ten seconds since I put on the shirt.

Maybe I should have been upset, frustrated, angry. I laughed. I chortled a good minute before picking out a blue shirt which I wore the rest of the day without a fleck or smudge getting near it.

I thought about it, and I think this is how I'll react to my own death too. Every day I leave the house, presuming she'll be right. All it could take is one slip up, one mistake, and I'll be dying. And I'll laugh, thinking my final thoughts about goddamn journal jinxes and goddamn raspberries.

Drip Feed

I think this is my fourth last-warm-Friday-of-the-summer cold brew so far this year.

I think this is my fourth last-warm-Friday-of-the-summer cold brew so far this year.

A Bladder Full Of Golden Syrup

Giant Anzac cookie on a big plate.

See size of oat for scale.

A sunny Anzac Day left me pondering my own mortality. For the first time in ten years, I wasn't able to eat my annual giant Anzac biscuit in one sitting. After two thirds, and three games of Rummy, I let down Vanessa and had to put the rest under plastic wrap. My stomach couldn't handle it. Even the muscles in my jaw felt tired. Is this because I'm growing old (as they shall not grow old)?

image 1689 from bradism.com

Man, in 2018, Anzac Day is a tricky one, everyone caught between respecting the fallen, and wishing for a world where we'd never killed each other in the first place. Wars have no winners. I'm thankful I live somewhere with peace, where I can hike up a hill on a sunny day, let my dog run free at the park, sit with my wife on the couch and watch basketball. I wish peace for everyone, recognising that might be too simple for our reality. But I'll do what I can, and hope that next year's giant Anzac biscuit finds us all in a better state, and that I can finish it.

image 1690 from bradism.com

If we ever get an annual public holiday to commemorate global peace, I wonder what cookie there'll be to celebrate it and how big Vanessa will bake it.

My Weekend In Melbourne

A mug of coffee on a table next to a notebook.

Coffee, Writing...


A man with the face of a little girl, and a little girl with the face of a man.

Family...

Five Lessons from Speculate 18

Speculate was the inaugural Speculative Fiction Writers festival, held in South Melbourne on a clear, chilly autumn Saturday.

A great assortment of authors, scholars and others from the writing community shared their wisdom and experiences, too much for me to summarise in a review. Instead, I thought I'd share a single takeaway and challenge from each of the sessions:

Session 1 - The Once and Future Fantasy.

The opening session of the day spoke about the realm of fantasy, from origins to now.
On the topic of tropes, and Tolkien’s influence on the fantasy genre, the panel discussed how Tolkien’s races were inspired by his desire to create a mythology for England at the time of his writing.
Similarly, superheroes like Spiderman and Captain America were born out of cultural fears of their era, like radiation, and Nazis.
Challenge: If you feel like there are no original characters left, look at what's in the public consciousness now. What defines contemporary times? What are people afraid of? Leverage that.

 

Session 2 - The Language of Imagination.

Hair is 90% of your selfie, proclaimed a salon’s curbside chalkboard that I passed on the way to Speculate. It's also the first thing 90% of writers use to describe their characters, according to the second panel. Alison Arnold argued that the less you show of a character, the more the reader can invest with their own imagination.
Challenge: While there was debate about how much, or little, of a character's demographics and appearance should be described, the request was made to rely less on hair.

 

Session 3 - Science Fiction: The Past, the Present, and What's to Come.

image 1693 from bradism.com

The rapid pace of technological change (in contrast to the slow speed of the traditional publishing process) means speculative fiction at the time of writing might be out of date by the time it's written.
Aurealis co-editor Dirk Strasser listed some 2018 trends in the science fiction genre: Cli-Fi, social-issues space-opera, generation ships, and gender identity.
Before taking this as a challenge to cram all those plots into a single story, consider
Sean McMullen’s monologue about how all future trends had been done before, and even the ideas we think are modern were technically possible decades earlier.
Challenge: Go back to the past - the conflicts, struggles and characters of yesteryear - to find fresh inspiration for the future. Time is cyclical anyway.

 

Session 4 - Dungeons & Development: Character Under Pressure.

The post-lunch session gave me chills, because of the live string section who knew just the right moment of the roleplaying display to fade in with a long note from a violin.
The Dungeons and Dragons scenario was part narrative, part improv, and highlighted the importance of giving characters three dimensions, and the ability to make mistakes.
Challenge: Write characters strong and deep enough to mess up, and then recover. What the author knows is the wrong decision might seem like genius to the character, and stimulate new, unexpected conflict.

 

Session 5 - Setting: Colouring the Pages.

The final session. Four seated authors, illuminated under the warm spotlights of the dark theatre, spoke to setting and its importance.
Setting is non-negotiable, its the world the author delivers to the reader, and without it the tale loses its authenticness.
Alison Goodman spoke about aesthetic cohesion, that the setting should be in service of characters, to bring out the best in them, or test them in the most interesting ways.
Challenge: Identify in your work were setting and character are adjacent, but not touching. For example, instead of “It was cold,” it could be “The freezing air stung her cheeks.” Or, “the blizzard concealed her attackers from view, they circled each other, footsteps in the field disappearing under fresh powder as quick as they were spotted.”

Did I mention that Melbourne was chilly?

Dog Entry

Weekends are fleeting, but welcome. I tried to fit a bunch of stuff into this last one. The first thing I had to do after work was meet my responsibility as a dog owner, and exercise my puppy. So I found myself, in the very first seconds of my weekend, driving my dog to the park.

As the sun set, my dog played to 100% of her jerk-dog potential. She stole other dogs balls, ran around in circles, was loud and smiling and friends with everyone whether they wanted to be friends back or not. She repeatedly fetched a ball, took it close to the thrower, sat down, then made some poor soccer mum chase her for a minute to get the ball back and repeat the process. Every time this happened, on her way back, she would glance at me with her expressive eyebrows as if to say, I am the LeBron James of being a jerk. You love it.

image 1694 from bradism.com

It's been a while since I laughed until I cried. Thanks dog. We listened to some tunes on our way back to the house, and in a complex world I re-appreciated simple things in life. Like puppies, and steel boxes that let you drive between places quickly, and being able to order chilled beer for pick up over the internet.

The rest of the weekend featured a lot more awesome dog action. I told Vanessa I was going to write a journal entry about it, and to not be upset about the lack of wifey focus. Saturday morning we looped the dog around the block, then left her to a sun patch for the afternoon. Before dinner we walked along the river, where Nash acquainted herself with horses and crows to our further amusement. It was a stunning evening.

image 1696 from bradism.com

Then, this morning after a smoothie, we took Nash to the beach where she darted between the shallow waves, and sniffed all kinds of seaweed, followed by a wash and condition, leaving me even happier with a dog that now smelt of shampoo instead of sand and mud. She retired to a fresh sun patch and ignored us until we walked to Bunnings later and she tried desperately to get the attention of the people running the sausage sizzle, while I bought super glue.

I think what I like and dislike the most about Nash is her independence. She'll come when I call her, but only if she feels like it. Which I think means, the times she does come, is that she actually thinks it's worth coming over for.

Nash probably had a bigger weekend than I did, relatively. Now she will spend the weekdays sleeping and eye-stalking people walking past our house while Vanessa and I drudge it out in the office for five days straight. I envy her lifestyle. She probably envies ours. I guess the moral is, enjoy what you've got while you've got it.

image 1695 from bradism.com

The Wife is also awesome.

Table

I fixed my kitchen table with a combination of liquid nails, turpentine, super-glue and acetone.
It counts as successfully returned to service because I've since eaten a meal on it. I'm feeling so confident that I'm going to move my fruit bowl back on before bed tonight.
Good to have you back, table. I was worried you were on your last legs.

I Just Bought

Two litres of hospital grade hand sanitiser online, to qualify for free shipping along with 10% cash back and Oh God I think I've hit Peak Brad.

Waiting On The Summer

It's been at least five days since I've seen the sun. This is making it increasingly difficult to wear my sunglasses in public. Not only because I have to be more careful about walking into things. Today, an old woman at the bus stop asked me if I was an undercover cop. I told her, no, I simply have sensitive pupils.

...As in, sensitive to staring into the soul of another human being for a quarter second as we cross paths in this busy metropolis of a few thousand people. Oh God, I need more hand sanitiser. Winter is good for influenza and bad for introversion. I see a lot of people wearing scarves this week. I wonder if I could wear a scarf over my eyes, if that would be more socially acceptable, or if I should just suck it up until Spring.

Anyway, this gloomy weather reminded me I never finished/posted my Summer New Music Mixtape, which is called Waiting On The Summer. So here it is below. It's full of upbeat EDM and cruisy summer tunes to further compound the misery of the season.

Adulting

When you’re hungry for the whole three hour meeting, not much tastes as good afterwards as fruit and crushed Weet Bix mixed through yogurt. This is what adulthood is like, having to wait until nearly lunchtime before eating some cereal. And spending the last thirty minutes of meetings thinking about how to rinse blueberries.

Time is a more precious resource when you’re an adult. Not only are there more responsibilities and demands for attention, you’ve also got your own mortality constantly hanging over your head. You have to multitask, like drink your after work beer while emptying the dishwasher.

I’ve been trying to use tai chi to meditate and detach, which is good when I can fit it in. The routine takes ten minutes, but if I don’t breathe much I can run through all the poses in less than sixty seconds.

This is where adulthood has left me. Damn children, their lack of responsibilities, and their relaxed, drawn out tai chi sessions. But what else am I going to do? Not get old? Not really an option. Now time for me to drink some chocolate milk and go to bed.

The Day Before Winter

The day before winter. Cold start, but blue skies. Perfect walking weather. Vanessa and I set off not far south of Adelaide for the Marion Coastal Walk.

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The coastal walk is essentially Mount Lofty by the sea, a challenging ~10km return walk. But with more places to park, and a few less groups of dri-fit clothing models in the way. The trail goes up and down some serious sets of stairs. Unlike Lofty, there's no split between up and down, so your heart will be challenged all the way out and back.

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We started our walk from Seacliff (in fact, we started it from the top of the infamous Seacliff Zig Zag Path, meaning one more slope to conquer on the way back). The walk goes through Hallet Cove Conservation Park where there is an amazing boardwalk circuit taking in the geological sights of past glaciers. Beyond that is Hallet Cove beach which has some new facilities including a public toilet that plays classical music while you lighten your load for the return trip.

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The Marion Coastal Walk is an awesome alternative to Mount Lofty Summit hike, beautiful on a clear day at this time of year, with views out into the gulf.

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The last day before winter was also Vanessa's birthday, and there were dog balloons.

Dance Nation 2002, in retrospect

I was recently feeling some nostalgia for old EDM classics, and I spotted on my shelf these things I once used all the time, CDs.
Among the lot was Ministry of Sound (Australia's) Dance Nation 2002. I ripped it, and have been listening to it over the past week.
It's brought out some feelings.

image 1708 from bradism.com

2002 was a simpler time. Dance music had shed the cheese of the nineties, bringing house influences into the mainstream. People still had the attention span to enjoy a solid 4/4 song for five minutes without a dubstep drop halfway, or needing to check their phone. Social media didn't even exist, and all the perceived injustices of the world were just that. Perceived.
The world definitely wasn't a better place, but it was more palatable.

Over two discs, continually mixed, Ministry of Sound's Dance Nation 2002 perfectly captured that time. Every track, okay, about half these tracks, take me on their high-fidelity nostalgia roller coaster right back to 2002.
I wish I had the words to more eloquently describe just how bold those bass hits sounded for the time, the free-feeling in those reaching synths, the swagger in those funk and old soul samples mixed with progressive house rhythms. All at non-stop 140bpm.

Then I opened up the CD booklet and found the picture that summarised everything about 2002 EDM I wanted to try and say.

image 1709 from bradism.com

She'llbeRight

I'm concerned that She'llbeRight has become a verb. In Australia, all across the planet, things seem to be getting worse. Whether it's geopolitical tensions, economics, climate, corruption of political systems, the ugly side of capitalism. At a micro level, we're too bogged down in personal lives, family finances, and social status to really challenge the systems that seem to be working, by virtue of "they're complicated", and not apparently one-hundred percent on fire. So we She'llbeRight at home, we She'llbeRight at work, in the car, at the doctors. She'llbeRighting through the days, weeks, election terms.

How much longer can it last? I'm all for taking a quick glance at a weather radar, and pretending I'm a shaman for not getting rained on, but at some point I have to take some responsibility. Life owes us nothing. If we don't take action now... Nah, She'llbeRight.

Bummer

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Bloody winter, there's a lot to remember to pack when you're going to the football after work. Extra layers, woolen socks, poncho, mittens, water, snacks. I was 90% of my way to the train station yesterday morning when I realised I'd left my seat padding behind, and I was bummed.

I've been pretty bummed for nearly three years now, due to the constant pain in the spot inches from my taint, where my hamstring objects to being connected to my pelvis. Every kind of treatment, drug and therapy makes no difference. If I want to sit, e.g. for a football match, on a football stadium cheap seat, I need my padding.

image 1710 from bradism.com

Lunchtime, before the game, I went to Kmart. That's where my original butt cushion, a small exercise mat, came from. They were all out.
I was considering purchasing a full body exercise mat when I spotted actual cushions, being sold at typical Kmart prices that make me believe global equality and my quality of life are mutually exclusive. I found a stray cushion, not to thin, soft but firm. I had little choice, I'd pay the few dollars for potentially a single use pillow. When I got to the checkout I discovered it was on clearance, and only 50 cents! When she told me the price I thought she was talking about the shopping bag!

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Several beers and a few quarters of football later, I was telling everyone about this bargain (including you, dear reader) because this cushion did an incredible job of helping my tendon avoid being sandwiched between hard plastic and my skeleton. I thought, imagine the delicious irony if this was a magical cushion that might completely cure my fear of chairs. Thousands spent on doctors, injections and medication wasted compared to one 50 cent pillow.

After today, I can sadly confirm that it is not a magic pillow. What a pain in the arse. At least I can keep using it for the football, and it kept my cheeks warm.

Diamonds and Guns

Yeah, I carry a butt-pillow with me most places. I never know how to correctly answer the question, “How's it going?” I wear sunglasses on cloudy days. I prefer to stand on the train. I rock New Balance 624s on the regular because they fit my orthotics. I duck through every doorway on instinct. Life's too short. Anytime my ego starts to wither, I remember, according to my shampoo I'm

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Four Days Later

In 2018, the Australian Rockmelon Industry missed their golden opportunity to join the rest of the world and re-brand as Cantaloupe.

Anyway,

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High Noon, The Shortest Sunday of the Year

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Managing Somehow

I was disappointed this morning when my new norm of back to back meetings meant I didn't have a free half hour to mix cereal, fruit and yogurt together and eat it. Repetition, a sensitive tooth, weather so cold that my yogurt warms up after I take it out of the fridge, have not swayed my affections for this pre-lunch ritual.

This afternoon, after I spotted my yogurt tub in the kitchenette fridge, I went to my calendar to see if there would be time Thursday to fit in second breakfast. To my despair every thirty minute block had been allocated to some need or another. Then I noticed one appointment, at 10:30, simply titled “busy”. It had no location or other attendees, and I remembered that last week when I saw my calendar filling up for the morning that I booked out half an hour just in case I wanted to eat cereal and yogurt.

Stretch Goals

I should not have waited until mid-winter to try and wear in my new jeans.

I mean, that's not really what's happened. I've tried a few times since February to work this pair of Levis in into something that accommodates my thick calves and lengthy pegs. I have a lot of confidence in these jeans, the fit around the waist is perfect, the inseam matches my anatomy all the way down. It's just twisting, bending, and sitting that provokes odd murmurs and constrictions.

You always take for granted the comfort in a pair of jeans well worn. My previous pairs were bought in 2014. The blue pair has butt holes, so I've been wearing the black pair in almost all situations since I first felt that unexpected breeze.

God it hurts. I don't remember new jeans being this tough. I Googled how to break in denim, and found an article which recommended wearing them in a warm bath for fifteen minutes, then doing ten sets of squats. My back doctor said I shouldn't do squats, but my other doctor said I should attempt more exercise to try and fix my back pain, even if it hurts in the short term.

This gave me an idea.

I'd love to exercise again. And I'd love to have a comfortable pair of jeans. (I'm not naive. Like the planet, that black pair isn't going to last forever.) At some point I'm going to need to suck it up and wear the new pair all the way in. I figured, why not do exercise in my new jeans? Push myself towards fitness goals, and break in that denim simultaneously.
I called this my stretch goal.

So, on a sunny Sunday I commenced this operation. To do 12,000 steps, and numerous body motions, in my new Levis. After a few side bends and squats at home, Vanessa and I visited Ikea. There, navigating that labyrinth, I threw in a few goose steps and lunges for good measure. Then we went to the outlet mall, parking got my heart rate up, and I did another short set of squats as I found a pair of "stretch" jeans in a menswear store. After standing, with these new jeans on, and then squatting again, making sure I could pick my keys up off the ground, sit on a stool, access my intimates, I realised that for $35 I could achieve what I'd set out for. A comfortable pair of jeans without butt holes. I bought them immediately.

Ironically, all that punning about in the lead up actually stretched out my Levis. I guess mid-winter was a good time to wear in my new jeans.

One For The Regulars

This afternoon I paid ninety-dollars for shockwave therapy on my hamstring origin tendon. For those unacquainted, shockwave therapy breaks down scar tissue using electrical pulses. For those acquainted, we now know how cattle feel. It is unfortunate to pay so much money to experience the closest thing to torture I can recall experiencing, but the doctor did have to spend five minutes handling my taint and I understand the need for compensation.

Afterwards, I had twenty minutes in town to kill before my train home. I visited a second hand bookshop, just in case they had any copies of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, which is very hard to find in Australia. They did not, but I browsed the paperbacks awhile and yearned for a book deal, then left to catch my train. On my way out I glanced into an adjacent restaurant which was shutting up for the day. It was a cafe near my old office building. One that offered a solid range of tasty meals that weren’t hard on the wallet, combined with a quiet table to sit at and a newspaper to read. Today the tables were empty, but the proprietor was behind the counter. We only made eye-contact a second, then he winked at me.

Triple Smoked

I asked the lady behind the supermarket deli for 250 grams of shaved ham.
She picked up a handful of meat, dropped some of it, picked up a little more. The scales showed 280 grams.
"Sorry, I was guessing," she said, apologising for not being some ham-measuring cyborg, I guess.
"It's okay," I told her. "I was guessing how much I'd even need."

I think that's what everyone is doing in life. Doing their best, guessing. That's what I guess.

Been years since I made bagels

Ever since I sliced my fingertip off, I've semi-subconsciously avoided making them again. But, had a craving, so whipped up this batch of whole-wheat pumpkin this morning.

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I guess it's true, what go around come around.

A Fourth Manly Poem

Persecuted without cause. I am stateless. No choice but to persevere.
The world around me simultaneously moving too fast, too sludgy.
I am beyond the reach of reality, but latent expectations court their tolls.
My heart weighs heavy, my legs move as if shackled. Each breath may be my last, but I will not give up. I'll never relent to the travails of this battle. Though demons plague me, I hold onto hope that liberty might prevail. One day.
Until then, every second is a victory. Anything more, a triumph!
On the other hand, it's just a cold.

The Bradism Guide to 2018 Tracksuit Pant Technology

I feel like - at this point in my life - I have gotten the hang of winter, and this year I haven’t overreacted about how fucking cold and miserable it is. By age 33 I’ve learnt about base layers and insulation, and from the end of May I pack away all my dri-fit shorts and hang out my four pairs of Merino socks to rotate through each day with infrequent washes until ducklings.

I keep the blinds open during the day to let the sunlight in, then close them when I get home in the evenings to check on the slow cooker. There’s linen sheets on the bed, oats in my belly. I’ve taken charge of winter. The above-average temperatures, and half the usual rainfall has nothing to do with my dominance.

While I have been killing it, and never complained once about how it’s dark from 5pm and the sunlit time only increases in length by like twenty seconds each day for weeks, one area I haven’t quite hit five-stars in the metrics is tracksuit pants. While outside the house I am generally toasty and not being whipped by Antarctic winds which are specifically targeting the face that often, inside the house I’m still wearing a pair of tracksuit pants I bought in 2008. And they were specifically the same model as the much-loved pair I’d lost and needed to replace. What amazing advances in tracksuit pant technology over the past decade had I been missing out on?

With some overtime pay in my pocket, I set out to ask the sportswear sales assistants of Adelaide, “What is the best, most technologically advanced pair of tracksuit pants you’ve got?” And this is what I found out.

If you haven’t really thought about trackpants technology recently, I will provide a brief summary of this complicated science. The goal of a good pair of tracksuit pants is to be soft and flexible, while also being restrictive enough to trap the warm air from your body within the pant legs.

The first component of this leg warming is achieved through the material of the pants.

The first pair I tried were the Adidas Tech Sweatpant, which were soft to the touch, and had the word tech in their name. I had high hopes. Their tag claimed they were a 59% polyester / 41% cotton knit. That was awfully specific, I thought. It must be the peak level of tracksuit pant material technology. Forget rounding to a whole number and calling it a day, Adidas tracksuit scientists had clearly tried every possible permutation of polyester and cotton and this is what they came up with. I carried a large pair into the changeroom, and this is what I found.

The second component of leg warming, the fit of the garment.

The second component of leg warming, the fit of the garment.

In the promo shot, some model with literally no calves gives the impression these pants will hang comfortably from knee to ankle. After squeezing my hoofers through the leg-holes it became apparent what I’d missed out on in tracksuit pants’ evolution since 2008. We were now doing slim fit.

This shook me a little. Surely they couldn’t all be like this. For those unaware, the closer the pant clings to the leg, the tighter the seal at the ankle, the more heat the pants will trap. But this was unreasonable. What if you wanted warm legs, but also wanted to walk up stairs? I passed the pants back to the salesperson and left.

Day Two
I still hadn’t spent that overtime pay. I visited the Nike store, went up several flights of stairs. That had to be a good sign, I thought. What cruel fate would put the tracksuit pants at the top of three flights of stairs if you couldn’t walk up the stairs wearing them.

That’s a little snug.

That’s a little snug.

Despite what the salesperson tried to tell me, the Nike pants were almost identical to the Adidas pants, except with a swoosh instead of stripes.
Although, I did like how the Nike tracksuit pant scientists had engineered a shell of non-absorbent polyester into the lap of the pants.

Those tracksuit scientists clearly knew that users would be eating big bowls of stir fry on the couch in these units.

Those tracksuit scientists clearly knew that users would be eating big bowls of stir fry on the couch in these units.

Week Four
A few weeks passed before I had the resolve to again try to find the pair of track pants I deserved. The first thing I noticed upon walking into the sportswear store is that, by this point in July, the tracksuit pant choices were running low. And, the styles which remained were stocked only in the odd sizes of XXL and XXXS. (Yes, I do appreciate the irony of calling out odd sizes while carrying around calves the size of footballs).
I had no idea that tracksuit pants had seasons, and that the sportswear store was probably clearing shelf space preparing for their dri-fit shorts sale to sell to every sucker who gets excited about ducklings.

Among the dregs on the clearance rack I found a pair in a colour I probably wouldn’t have chosen, and was immediately excited by the “Relaxed Fit” wording on the tag. With material as soft as down, I slipped them on and stood.

My first thought was, for a relaxed fit, they looked almost too formal.

My first thought was, for a relaxed fit, they looked almost too formal.

While they did cling to my lower legs a little, I could stand and sit and bend. Outside the wind howled, and I just knew that my house would smell like wet dog that night, so I figured seeing I was handling winter with such little complaint that I would buy these pants and call my quest complete.

They were also the only pair left in a Large.

The sportswear sales assistants of Adelaide were relieved.

Winter Recharge

I’ve grown a shit beard again.

Vanessa and I enjoyed a winter staycation the past week, and it has been very pleasant. We've been on long walks, relaxed at home, eaten ice-cream by the seaside. I've worn my tracksuit pants a lot. It's been great to relax, unwind, and take a break from work routines, like shaving. We've just focused on ourselves.
I think I've just about reached the point where I've stopped thinking about my job, in time for me to go back tomorrow.

Today, while sitting in the sun at the Semaphore foreshore, a homeless man with a trolley asked if I had any spare change. Unfortunately I'd just spent our last coins on today's ice-cream.
“Sorry, I don't,” I said.
“Didn't think so,” he replied, and I immediately knew it was time to shave the beard.

How To Make Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge

Every year, one morning close to the winter solstice, it takes me thirty minutes to drink an icy smoothie and suddenly I remember that I like porridge. It’s funny, if you asked me in mid-February if I even knew how to make oats I’d probably give you a blank look, but like an old, crinkled-up tissue in a jacket pocket, June brings things back to me. And each year I’m forced to recollect my porridge recipe.

This year I’m writing my recipe down to save myself some time in 2019, and maybe share some tips with you, internet. I’ve called this post “Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge” because there is already heaps of search results for “Best Microwave Porridge” so I’m trying to market on an angle.

I make my oats in the microwave. You can make them on the stove, but then you have to clean a saucepan. This way you can eat them straight out of the bowl.

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These are my ingredients. You can use steel cut or plain rolled oats. Garnish berries are option, but banana is essential.

The number one secret of Bradism Porridge - banana first. Mush it up like baby food in the base of the bowl.

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Then, add one cup of oats, a tablespoon of cinnamon and mix it all through.

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Then, add a cup of water on the top and stir some more. Microwave this for 90 seconds on high, then add half a cup of milk and microwave another 90 seconds.

The porridge magic will start to happen. Depending on the moisture content of the banana, and the effect of entropy on how densely the oats stacked themselves in your measuring cup, you’ll need to stir and heat a few more times to get the consistency you need. For me that’s usually the following: 60 seconds, 60 seconds, 40 seconds, 40 seconds, 30 seconds, 30 seconds.

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Use the brief intervals of molecule vibration to tidy your kitchen and assemble your lunch for the day, or prepare fresh berries for garnish.
Frozen berries also work. You can chuck these in on the second-to-last mix through and they will reach the same temperature and consistency of the oats by the time you eat them.

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Fresh strawberries should not be microwaved. Lay them on the surface where the steaming oats will instantly gel-ify them. Add honey or maple syrup to taste.

I ate the above bowl at 7:30 AM for breakfast today, survived several hailstorms and did not need to eat again until after 3 PM. Freaking Awesome.

Wormholes and the Woman with the Fake Tan

This week my short time-travel noir Wormholes and the Woman with the Fake Tan was published in Aurealis Magazine, Australia's longest running small-press science-fiction and fantasy magazine! This was super exciting! I have been wondering for a long time if anyone other than me (and Vanessa) liked the idea of a detective who could smell the future after a time machine fell on them.

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If you'd like to read the story, you can buy a copy of Aurealis #113 here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/888305

Yes, I know what you're going to say. Brad, $3 for an ebook!? I could buy a can of Fanta at the airport for that much! But think about it, how many of those bingeworthy TV shows that you love were inspired by books? Game of Thrones, OITNB, Dexter, the whole Marvel universe (and DC too I guess). How will we have TV shows in ten years if no one supports writing? Don't you want to see what a Bradism.com Mini-series has in store in 2031?

If $3 is too much, you can also buy my Novellete Chase on Amazon for less than a buck. (Or, if you sign up below to the bradism.com mailing list, you can get it for free. Or you could do both.)

Uncool

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A couple of the things which bring me great joy in life are writing stories in my notebook, and eating a whole bunch of yogurt, cereal and fruit mushed together.
Sometimes - like when Vanessa is doing half marathons in far off places early on Sunday mornings - I do these things together, and those times are some of the most joyous times of all.

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Except when it is Feels Like 2°C! I could barely stir my Weet Bix.

Is This A Good Author/Bio Pic?

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Yes, obviously.

Old Fart

Over time I've noticed the occasional squeaker slipping out when I lift something heavy off the ground, hold a stretch too long, or have a quick burst of activity. All part of the aging process, I reasoned. I'm not as young as I once was. I'm not proud of it, but the majesty of the mature human body does seem to come with some extra flatulence.

Then I remembered, LeBron James is basically the same age as me. I doubt he's tooting each time he jumps for a board or lays in a floater. Maybe something is wrong with me?

Of course, LeBron is essentially an archetype for the perfect male athlete, and that probably includes his butthole. Also, I doubt LeBron is buying the week old cabbages and capsicums from the front of the fruit and veg shop, making bulk lentil vindaloo with them, then eating them after ten days in the fridge.

Winter 2018

Winter is over! As well as another three months of me making a video every day. If you want to relive another Adelaide winter in 9 minutes, click play below. Are you in it? If you are a dog, the answer is: probably.

Celebrating Nothing

A year ago, Vanessa won a door prize at a conference. It was a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut. Now, I doubt Roger Federer would even wash his dog with this champagne, but to us it was the fanciest champagne bottle we'd ever owned. We stored it in the cupboard, next to the potatoes.

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Then the waiting began. Waiting for the right opportunity to pop that special cork and pour that sparkling wine into the $1 IKEA champagne glasses we had left over from our self-catered wedding. What occasion would we deem worthy of these luxury bubbles? Summer came and went, as did our six year anniversary - not significant enough? I thought maybe we'd celebrate when I cracked the semi-pro spec-fic market, which I optimistically hoped would come last year. It did happen this year - out of the blue, but not for lack of trying. Sometimes you work so hard to achieve something that when it happens, you kind of don't feel anything at all.

By last weekend a year had passed. Birthdays, half-marathons, promotions all unacknowledged by Veuve Clicquot. So we decided to pop it. Not for any specific occasion. Sure, it was father's day, and it was the first weekend of spring, and the world premiere of my Winter 18 movie, but none of those reasons were why we drank. We sipped a glass of champagne for no reason. We celebrated just the fact that we could choose to spend free time on a cold yet sunny day with family and do whatever we wanted. Celebrated that we could have hope, always, that something worth celebrating might be on the horizon.
Sometimes it feels like there's pressure for events in life to linearly lead up to one shareable, social media moment. It felt better just to drink champagne with no one else watching.
It tasted nice.

Premium Service

I had to fill up a car with premium unleaded today, and wow is that an unpleasant experience watching the dollars outpace the litres on the display.
However, when I went inside to pay, the cashier was super nice to me.

Re-Up

Received another dozen refills for the 207 today.

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Let's see if I can beat my record of 35 months.

It's The Equinox!

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Get out the dri-fit shorts.
Give all the woolen socks their annual wash.
Six months of using the hairdryer at medium heat.

Halti Review

Nash is an alright dog I suppose, but I would enjoy walking her a lot more if she'd just trot beside me on daily strolls, instead of trying to pull my arm off. Nash isn't food motivated, and the only reward she responds to is, unfortunately, running around freely as well as licking people's faces.

We recently switched from her old harness to a Purina Halti harness, which claims its chest clip will use the dog’s forward energy to hold it back and pull less. I was sceptical when I saw the simple design, but amazingly from the first instant of wearing it, Nash began walking beside us. And on journeys short or long, it does seem to make a difference.

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That is until we pass something she wants to sniff beside or behind us, then the Halti does nothing. So now I need to buy three more haltis for the flanks and the rump.

Yes, There was an Egyptian Pyramid in Rural Australia with a Basement Full of Human Teeth

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Caspers World in Miniature was a theme park in Victoria, Australia, a bit over half way between Adelaide and Melbourne. I don’t have a definitive source, but I believe it opened in 1976. My one and only visit to Caspers was in 2008, to break up that same, long drive. It’s taken me that much time to come to terms with what we found there.

Despite looking like it, The World in Miniature wasn’t abandoned. The owners still lived out front and we paid to enter. However, it was empty. Outdated exhibitions on unloved grounds. Our detour seemed destined to be a disappointment.

Then we got to the basement of the pyramid, and that’s where we found all the human teeth.

And that’s just the start.

And that’s just the start.

If you'd like to read the full story, head over to Medium!

(Yes, readers, I am trying a new publishing platform for stories I think might be of wider interest).

Morning Glory

I'm usually not the type to buy a product just because a celebrity endorses it, but when I found out Celtic songstress Enya had released a moisturizing body wash, how can I keep from singing? Now when I'm experiencing my ensuite's private storms in Africa, I can get myself clean as Caribbean blue. And it's soap free, so it won't leave a watermark.

*Note: most likely not endorsed by Enya

*Note: most likely not endorsed by Enya

You're It

The part about simulation theory which creeps me out the most is that all my memories might be supplanted. Like, maybe my entire life never happened? I woke up in the simulation today. Everything I believe I've done, the places I've been, none of it happened.

Then I think, if that was true, and personal experiences could simply be injected in the memory, then why did the simulation developers bother with the effort of creating bradism.com on top of that? And if they did see some value in documenting my backstory, surely they didn't need to add tags to it...

Wok's Wrong?

So I definitely should have measured before ordering my wok online and assuming I needed the biggest one....

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First problem is, how am I supposed to season the steel if the thing won't fit in my oven?!

Second problem is, if I do manage to season it, I'm not sure I could eat that much stir fry.

Ten Weeks 'til Christmas

Better finish off my hot cross buns...

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Corpse on the Cob

For me, a lunchtime walk usually develops organically from the moment I leave the office. In late October, when it still feels good to stand in the sun, but the UV Ratings website tells me to avoid it, I’ll stick to shadowy ways. Traffic lights, and the timing of pedestrian crossings, can also send me on tangents.

So it was that I locked my computer on North Terrace and found myself at the Gingko Gate of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. I’ve been there before, but today was the first time I’ve ever seen a sign advertising the blooming of a corpse flower.

Prior to today I didn’t know much about corpse flowers. I did know they only bloom for short, infrequent periods. And I knew they are stinky, which made me think I should take advantage of the opportunity and smell one in case a certain private investigator who can smell through time could get involved with one.

I headed straight for the Bicentennial Conservatory (following shady paths) and entered the greenhouse. Immediately the smell hit me, though it was not as strong as I’d expected. A TV crew was there, and a smart looking botanist was talking to a small crowd about the flowering process. I came closer, keen to bring my nose as close to the flesh of the towering spadix. I sniffed.

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It wasn’t that bad, somewhere between rotting feet and a decent craft beer. And that’s how I simultaneously added and crossed off an item on my bucket list.

Always in the Last Place you Cook

Tomorrow I'll be flying to Melbourne for a few days to visit my brother and his kids. Family is very important to me, but I can't lie, a tiny part of this trip is about using up some of the credit I have left on my Myki from my visit in April. There was a minimum top up and I didn't use anywhere near the whole balance.

Being very organised, I didn't start packing until around 10pm the night before my flight. After cramming four days of clothes into my carry on I realised, crap, I have no idea where my Myki actually is. I'd taken it out of my wallet and left it in my study somewhere, I was sure. But where in this room full of drying laundry, CDs, notebooks, camera shit, unused online shopping purchases and boxes of Lego was it? I searched for an hour. I found all my wallet's other D-League cards, including Oyster, Opal, and a dozen loyalty cards I'd picked up so I could get free stuff on my birthday. Still no card.

I nearly gave up, but I checked one last place and of course, there it was, on the floor behind my giant goddamn wok.

Children

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

To get through this I needed to draw on the advice and examples of other child-raisers in my life. Most recently, I saw a mother swan with four developing cygnets crossing a lake in the hope of a feed. When I offered nothing, the mother coloured the water with fecal discharge, which the trailing offspring sucked up for nourishment.
I put this in the maybe pile.

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

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

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

Working Overtime

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The NBA season tipped off about a month back, and I still don't know the results of a single game. Usually I have my foreign-priced League Pass account setup by now, would have fallen asleep to a couple of games each week, watched a bunch of highlights whenever time allowed.

This year I'm giving up basketball until I finish the manuscript for my third novel - Law and Odor: Cold Case.

Doing this probably isn't necessary. No doubt I'd finish that manuscript at some point anyway, but I just feel like some extra motivation might help me get it done sooner. And every NBA gif in Messenger is a handy prompt to get back to work, and not just a reminder of my separation from the sport I used to love. I read that pain and trauma is the source of many great artworks, and perhaps this could be mine.

It has nothing to do with the cost of a League Pass subscription, or Golden State being unreasonably stacked.

My Thing Flowered

Trying to be a writer has a lot in common with trying to be a gardener. You put a lot of work in, then wait weeks or months to see if something grows fruit and flowers, or gets accepted by a magazine or anthology. (Or withers and dies right in front of you. RIP 2018’s attempt at growing a passionfruit up the three storeys of my house).

I pondered on this metaphor late last year, when the lilies on the balcony produced four beautiful flowers despite little attention over spring. I wondered if this was perhaps a sign that I would sell four stories in the following year. (I sold two in 2017, so four felt like a realistic expectation for improvement.)

I never told anyone about this thought, but wouldn't you know it? I have sold four stories this year! (So far, I'm happy to exceed flowery predictions…) Only one has actually made it to print so far, but I remain optimistic...

When November rolled around, I checked on the lily pots to see their progress and I saw that my thing plant had a flower.

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I like this thing. I don't know what it is, but it's been on our balcony for at least a few years after it was given to us by our friend Elliott. It's still in the original pot, and only gets occasional love from the watering can, but it always plugs away growing new fronds to replace old ones, never dying. I didn't even know it could flower!

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So the question is, what prophetic sign is this? If a lily is a short story sold, is a thing-flower an agent? A manuscript request? A book deal? My first subscriber to the bradism.com mailing list?

Only 2019 will tell.

My Thing Finished Flowering

Who knew such sizeable beauty could erupt from the tips of something so nondescript and plodding?

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Panic! at the Disco did.

The Demise of Sydney's Nightlife Was Not Exaggerated

East coast Australians like to act as if Adelaide is backwards because you can't go to a Woolworths at 10:30 at night and buy yogurt.

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But what's even the point if all the discounted lines are already gone?

I love Sydney

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I hate Sydney. Though it is where I do some of my finest fast walking. It's got skyscrapers and a huge IT industry and trendy bars. That said, I can only tolerate it - the traffic, the prices, the population - in short bursts. Like pointing a hairdryer at just the right spot on your armpit, the heat can make you feel alive. But hold your brain up to the collective body warmth of four million people for too long and it browns the surface, sealing in the juices.

I had a productive twenty-four hours in the harbour city, attending a cloud computing conference, and spending much of my downtime writing a story about a spiced rum loving detective who can smell the future. So much writing that my fingers hurt.

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I flew back tonight into different kinds of clouds. The wind might be howling, but it's good to be home. Ironically, the spiced rum I drank in a trendy Sydney wine bar was actually from South Australia.

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Sydney at least has this Kookaburra going for it.

Still Life

I suspect you need an ego to be a successful farmer. I spent months growing a handful of nectarines over spring, pruning, watering, supporting and fertilizing the tree. All of that was easier than actually eating the eventuating fruit (which is more than I can say about whichever bug or critter has been snacking tiny circles in them since they turned red.)

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As diligent as I was growing this food in my backyard, I don't trust that I did it right. Maybe it's supermarket conditioning me to only eat vibrant, symmetrical shapes. Maybe it's just difficult to eat something you raised from birth. It's hard to enjoy the sweet, juicy flesh of a nectarines when you're wondering if it's going to ironically sicken you.

That's why I only eat fruit I grew on work nights.

Uneasy Lies The Head

For those bradism.com fanatics out there I'm sure there has been much gossip and speculation regarding my lack of breakfast entries this year.
I do still love eating cereal, yogurt and fruit together in a bowl, however, 2018 has conspired to prevent this simple joy from me. And by extension also from you, from getting to experience it second hand via my website.

For those really rusted on followers of my life you may also remember my gun teeth.

And here is the point of the entry: everything you ever journal about is doomed. My teeth, like many of my body pieces, have succumbed to uselessness as the years have gone by. I needed a filling last year, and as the weeks passed it was clear the cavity was more complex than anticipated. And when I returned for maintenance I had my first experience with 3D printing. The weakness in my tooth was mapped from every angle, and then a porcelain fragment (like what they make toilets out of) was cemented next to my tongue. That was cool, I thought.

Alas, not even the greatest of mankind's technological achievements was enough to reunite me with pain free yogurt mush munching. The implant didn't sit right and after fifteen months my dentist decided the best solution to my chewing pain was to crown the tooth. After all these years, it was time for me to face major dental.

So I sat in a chair for over an hour while humans standing extra-close to me did things inside my mouth. This is not the home territory of the introvert.
Earlier in the day I'd spent the morning trying to troubleshoot an unresponsive message queue in our production environment, and for this experience in the chair I tried to pretend that I was the mainframe, and these dentists were the sys-admins, and my mouth was a terminal that would return output only when prompted. This metaphor did distract me from the drilling, and then I fell asleep for a lot of it.

Eventually they were done and almost all of me woke up and paid a lot of money for this second chance at eating toasted oats and Bhuja mix for the rest of my life. (My jaw and right side of my tongue got another couple hours of rest.) Now the pain is returning, which is expected, given what my nerves have been through. Will it work? I hope so, but there's no guarantee in our lives. If you're out there, if you're reading this now with non-hurting teeth, appreciate it. Live life for today. Crush some Weet Bix into a bowl, slice up a ripe banana and add some muesli, cover it with vanilla yogurt. Stir it into a delicious paste. Eat it. Eat it while you still can. Don't become like me, sick with belated regrets. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Marco

Someone in the office once referred to me as the “stripy-polo guy”, which I believe is a fair summation of my appearance and personality.

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There’s a lot to like about the humble polo shirt. They have a collar, with some buttons, so at the office they look a lot more professional than a t-shirt. But you don’t have to tuck them in, like a dress shirt. You can wear them just as easily with jeans as slacks. They have short sleeves, are non-restrictive and hang comfortably.
The only downside is that their slightly porous material does tend to hold in a few dog hairs, and if you wear a plain polo and you’re two metres tall you tend to become a bit of a billboard. Hence the stripes. For years I have worn them as the perfect balance between business, style and comfort.

A couple of months ago I was at a coffee shop wearing one of my latest striped polos, a blend of white, navy and pastel pink bars. I’d bought my father an identical copy for Father’s Day, and so it still had off-the-rack freshness and not a lot of dog hair.
While ordering my coffee I noted an old man ahead of me wearing the exact same polo! What a coincidence! These things happen sometimes when you live in Adelaide and there’s not that many clothes for sale. I wondered if his son had given him that shirt for Father’s Day too.

A few weeks later it was a Friday and I was wearing one of my brighter, more jovial striped polos to mark the upcoming weekend. I was walking across Hindmarsh Square when I spotted a different old man wearing the same polo as me again! This was more than a coincidence, as I’d owned my version for a few years already and I definitely hadn’t bought one for my dad. This man was so old, even if he had a son he probably would have been as old as my dad. A thought nagged at me, perhaps wearing striped polos wasn’t as stylish as I’d first thought. Perhaps wearing striped polos was, in fact, an old man thing to do…

This morning, donning my red and blue striped polo, I noticed a nash hair poking from the sleeve and I pinched it to pull it out. On closer inspection, it couldn’t have been a Nash hair, because it was too short and it almost looked gray.

It was my hair. My gray hair. The stripy-polo guy had grown up to become a stripy-polo old man.

Just Desserts

It feels like Vanessa knows me a little too well...

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December 11 - Remembering Remembrance Day

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November 11 was the centenary of the Armistice marking the end of World War One, and today is the one month anniversary of that. I spent much of these past days listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History episodes Blueprint for Armageddon (which is probably in the library of your podcast player of choice). It goes for about 26 hours - which is why it took me three weeks to get through it - but Carlin’s programming and narration made it one of those kinds of podcasts you end up walking longer loops around town and slowing down for yellow lights to listen to more. And in those hours I was enlightened to a lot of what happened during the great war.

Despite the length, in the end, the content actually feels incredibly brief. Like a lot of people (I guess) my impressions of the war were that in 1914 a network of alliances caused a bunch of super-powers to go to war, it then turned out machine guns were way better than horses, the Germans and French played soccer one Christmas, and then they sat around getting trench-foot wearing gas masks until 1918 when the Germans gave up first.

What really happened, particularly in the years 1915-1918, revealed so much to me about our civilization that I’m honestly a little astonished. It’s not the sheer number of deaths (around 18 million, single days when tens of thousands perished), or the fact there were actually more deaths each year. It was the repetition of the same, bloody strategy over and over, sending thousands to brutal deaths and thousands more damaged mentally and physically back into their communities to shape society for the decades to come. How much of that is responsible for the culture of things today?

Looking further back into history, it's not hard to find examples of when these empires inflicted genocide and misery onto native people in other parts of the world. In hindsight, it feels like the great war was the culmination of each of these super-power’s hubris’ finally coming back to destroy themselves. The way the leaders of these empires thought of humans and territory since the age of exploration came full circle. It truly was a world war, and one that ended the existence of the last of the pre-war powers. Every country post-1918 was living in the new world, the new paradigm. The church bells were all melted. The technology changed forever.

Why am I putting this on my journal? I think it was listening to the descriptions of these battles, the number of deaths, to achieve so little, when I finally realised how insignificant my own life is. We all know of our own mortality, the age of the universe, everything in between. But it’s so easy when you have a driver’s license and a domain name to presume that you matter. That you have any control. How easy it could have been for any of us to be a casualty in a war like this. Not a name, barely even a number. Your life only a figure rounded up to the nearest thousand. Separated from those to come by the dawn of a new age. How long until we are all like that?

Ironically, it was the extracts from soldier's diaries that really rammed home this feeling of insignificance. Mundane recaps and reflections of days at the front. A hint of personality. And yet, their entries were all that distinguished them from the uncountable thousands who didn’t. That’s why journals are important. It’s not for me, it’s for history.

Yes, I did find a way to make World War One all about me.

How To Replace a Smoke Alarm Battery

If your smoke alarm is chirping every two minutes it probably means the backup battery is almost flat. Fortunately it's very simple to open the smoke alarm and replace the battery.

Note, if your alarm is connected to mains power, disconnect it at the circuit box before starting.

Step One
Follow the instructions on the unit. Insert a flathead screwdriver into the hole and press until the latch releases.

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Step Two
Push the cover away in the direction of the arrow.

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If you're having trouble, there might be YouTube videos showing the angle of the movement which will show you how simple it is. If the smoke alarm doesn't move easily, it might need a love tap, or a bit of extra pressure on the latch.

Step Three
Remove the battery. You may or may not have broken the latch by now. Either way, the cover is not budging. You can try to brute force it by leveraging it with the screwdriver.

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Step Four
It keeps fucking beeping. Your arms are fatigued and every two minutes the chirpy fucker sounds off right next to your eardrum. You've tried pushing, you've tried twisting. The only thing left to do is tear your way inside with a pair of pliers, tiny piece by tiny piece until you can release the latch.

Step Five

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Destroyed, it opens easily. Install the new battery. Finally, silence. Amazingly, the cover goes back on. Clean out the fragments of plastic from the carpet. Put the power back on.

Step Six
Drink.

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You may find it more convenient to perform this step before step two.

The Magic Mirror, A Fish Out of Water

This month I'm excited to announce I somehow have not one but two new pieces of fiction in the same issue of Andromeda Spaceways magazine! One of Australia's longest running and pulpiest speculative fiction publications.

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I'm pleased because both pieces are some of my quirkier stuff, and it's nice to know there is a market for some of the things my imagination comes up with.

A Fish Out of Water is about a superhero who hates people having to babysit a small child, and it also attempts to answers the question of why bad people in cartoons want to pollute the planet. It features some gratuitous violence against toddlers.

The Magic Mirror is a short piece about an evil queen who inquires daily as to who the fairest is, until her magic mirror replies with the unexpected response: Error - Could Not Connect to Server.

Together, along with a bunch of other great content, these stories can be read in Issue #73 of Andromeda Spaceways magazine. It will cost you $4.99 for a PDF or mobi/epub.

I know what you're about to say: Brad, I can buy 100ml of NRL Team branded eau de toilette fragrance on clearance at a popular discount pharmacy chain for that much. But ask yourself, if we don't support and read upcoming authors published in independent presses, how long until the best-sellers list is completely consumed with recipe books from reality TV stars and sports autobiographies? Oh wait, that already happened.

Weekend Sprints

Not satiated by my hectic office life, I've decided to introduce agile into my home life and run two day sprints each weekend and over the Christmas break.

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Blue is for the novel and pink is for our holiday next year. Vanessa is fulfilling the role of Product Owner, which I guess makes Nash the scrum master.

Merry Solstice

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Two Years in Review

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On the first day of my break I went for an early morning walk (before the UV got too high) and listened to a writing podcast hoping it would provide some motivation for what I hoped to achieve on this little work intermission: Deliver a few chapters of the novel, try and find a way to build an audience in case it’s only publishable if I have an existing audience.

The podcast included a reminder that having a mailing list is the most important marketing step you can take as a want-to-be novelist. My mailing list is tied to bradism.com, and so I thought about this website that I first started writing on in 2004, and if its contents truly represented me as the human being I wanted people to subscribe to a mailing list about. I had a sneaking suspicion that some of the things I wrote many years ago might not hold up to modern standards. What I’ve learnt this holidays is that some of what I thought was witty or edgy fourteen years ago came from a place of ignorance, privilege and insecurity. There was nothing particularly vile, but it didn’t belong on the internet in 2018 and I think it’s a good thing that I’ve grown enough as a person to realise this. I was reassured to find an entry amongst the garbage where I talked about my birthday, and to be reminded that I had been a teenager/baby at the time.

The process of going through these older posts has required me to closely read all my entries from 2004 and 2005 and, fuck me, that has not been a totally enjoyable experience. After binging on months straight of my inner thoughts it has felt like I’ve snorted a very thick, very rotted line of nostalgia right into my brain. Who was this person who shared my DNA and occupied temporal real estate in this existence we shared? What is reality? Don’t get me wrong, reading between the lines I do catch glimpses of myself becoming the person I am today, but other parts seem so alien to my current life that I feel like if someone else had registered bradism.com and posted a bunch of entries about Woolworths, basketball, and their IT degree in the same years I’d just as easily believe that was my life too.

What can we learn from this? I’m not sure if our old decades help us to mature and grow into the people we are today, or if we simply wrap more and more layers of “experience”, “responsibility” and routines around the core of our old selves that we’re not able to penetrate enough to find the old person somewhere deep inside. Probably a little bit of both, and ultimately it doesn't matter. If it’s that hard to find glimpses of your old self inside your own head, the people around you won’t see or care what you were. They’ll stick to the surface, probably too preoccupied with reflecting on their own id. (Unless they work for Disney. And that’s why I removed those entries before Disney can give and then take away a writing and directing job for Law & Odour the movie.)

The other thing I’ve learnt this holidays, and my 2004 journals back up, is that I grow a shit beard.

The Painful Side of Nostalgia

I woke up today feeling pounded, yet fresh.

Inspired by revisiting my tales of youth, and 2004 mixtapes recreated in Spotify, over the past four days I played basketball (and tennis-cricket) ran 4 kilometres (across 72 hours) and bench-pressed my own bodyweight 19 times (over 4 sets of ten reps). These are all impressive numbers for post-thirty Brad. Perhaps it was that line of nostalgia I snorted, perhaps it is a sign that my latest back/hamstring rehab approach is starting to make a difference. (Cattle prodding my taint did not help. Shocker…)
I figured if I ever wanted to run or play basketball again in my life I needed to start again before I got really old and started writing reflections of my immature mid-thirties journal entries.

Move it or lose, they say. I have done both.

How I Feel About The End of 2018