Back to School

It’s probably wrong to feel envious of the kids going back to high school this week, but I did. Maybe it's because last weekend Double J replayed the Hottest 100 countdown which had first aired in January 1999, the day before I started year 9. Maybe it's because I'm jealous of their supple, un-inflamed bodies and joints. That's probably part of it too. But mainly I'm jealous of the potential they have lying before them. Given to them, really - climate change and suspended nuclear arms treaties aside. I just think that if I knew twenty years ago what I know now, if I could combine that experience with raw youth and pure time they possess, imagine the possibilities.

Okay, that's not true. For every injury and decision I regret in life there are dozens of choices, happenstances, and moments of sheer luck between 14 year old me and 34 year old me that I believe another thousand cracks at it would be unlikely to produce a better outcome. I'm happy with my life, my family, friends, experiences. I think what I'm really jealous over is those kids' time and energy to hang out, talk shit, and play Pokemon cards. And I can still do all that today (well, I could if my brother hadn't lost half my best cards).

Instead of going back twenty years, today I stood in direct 35.8°C sunlight to watch Sam get married for the future. And it was worth the heat to have a front row seat to another class of 1999 friend come good. Or better. It was a wonderful night, and just served to prove that the friendships, the potential, the opportunity for adventure is alive as long as we keep it that way.

Congrats on becoming a man, Sam.

Congrats on becoming a man, Sam.

Happy Wedding Sam and Kate.


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Happy Birthday Nash

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It was my dog's birthday yesterday, and she celebrated it today with some other dogs and a “cake” made of meat products because some things on offer in this world are worth more than money.

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Nash is now five, which is 35 in human years, and which explains why she didn't like this year's Hottest 100 as much as the ones from her twenties.

Actually, that said, I listened through the 2019 Hottest 100 on Spotify this week and I can't see what the fuss from non-millennials is about. The countdown has always been a popularity contest, and always featured songs whose appeal faded completely between voting opening and the BBQ lighting up. I did not particularly enjoy the rap tracks which made it in, as I despair (white-ly and quietly) about the state of hip hop in general these days. BROCKHAMPTON's eclectic energy is great, Post Malone can write a pop song, A$AP Rocky and Childish Gambino can rap excellent verses when they're not crooning. But overall I find the genre struggling with listless and unexciting songs. Which probably means I'm not the target audience. (I probably wasn't the target audience during the boom-bap era either...) Still, the fact that Sicko Mode finished so highly partly because of its “multiple styles in one song” just tells me that even fans are getting bored listening to these same, flat beats and mumbles for the length of an entire song.

I've become distracted from my original point, which is if I can enjoy pictures of my dog wearing a party hat and eating a cake and not be judged, then millennials should be allowed to vote for Ocean Alley songs - which are essentially the same thing in music form.

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Uprooted

You’ll definitely have noticed by now the decline in breakfast related entries on my journal over the past twelve months. The root cause of this has been the crack in my tooth which ran all the way to the nerve. Like most of my injuries, this appeared from the ether like the misdirected spell and neither filling nor crown were able to relieve the symptoms of pain whenever I bit down on something small and firmer than peach flesh. This excluded all the good breakfast cereals.

First thing this morning I munched down on berries, yogurt, and a bowl full of crushed up Weet Bix, rolled oats, and muesli complete with flaxseed clusters and pepitas. And I had no pain. Later, I sucked down mouthfuls of Bhuja nut mix with sultanas with no regard to which side of my mouth the nuts and grains should be masticated. This was amazing. For the first time in over a year I was able to chomp without lightning bolts of agony racing down my jaw. A shroud was lifted. I felt like I might not be a completely broken down human being existing on this planet out of habit.

And the secret to this turnaround? It was simply to pay an endodontist thousands of dollars to drill a small hole in me and extract out the pulp of nerves and blood vessels in my tooth that were connected to the pain centre in my brain. That was it! I can’t believe how easy it was. What else can I get root canaled? My hamstring tendon? My lumbar spine? My iliotibial band? My Western Bulldogs fandom 2007-2010? And after all that, my wallet?


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Spoiler Alert

If I have spoken to you in the past two months, I've probably mentioned that I'm on a mission to finish the second draft of my novel by the NBA All Star Break.

All writers will have different processes, but for me the first draft is written in hurried scribbles across multiple notebooks. The second draft is all typed up, moved into Scrivener, has all placeholders corrected, and what was once scribble is now written, pithy, and without plot hole.

This novel has been particularly challenging because I did not feel like the ending was strong enough, and in bolstering it I have had to rewrite the last 10-15% of the story. It's a much better tale for it, I think. And a lot more for me to type up, fill in placeholders, correct plot holes and add pith.

NBA All Star Break is this weekend.

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Hard to Swallow

This weekend, Chow asked me by way of greeting if I was "germ free". Now, I do use copious amounts of hand sanitizer on the daily, but what I recall of high school biology is that my body is covered inside and out by bacteria, so I replied I probably wasn't.

A quick web search later confirmed that there are trillions of germs, bacteria, and micro-organisms in and on the human body. In fact, estimates are that between 1-3% of our mass is comprised of other microscopic hangers on. I've been trying to gain some weight this year, and yesterday Vanessa made me a delicious batch of cake-cookies, so by my calculations I'm probably walking around with enough germs to fill a two-litre milk carton. Or a six pack of craft beers, depending what part of the weekend you're up to.

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I hope that answered the question.

Weekend Sprints Retrospective

My publicly declared deadline to finish my second draft has come and gone. That, along with high temperatures and DNA destroying UV from 9 to 5 has seen me spend much of another weekend in front of the computer writing and editing.

I like writing, and most days of the year I'd be thrilled to have such long blocks of time dedicated to stories, but this book has taken a long time, and at this point I'm more keen to get to THE END than I am to savour the experience. This will necessitate plenty of effort on the third draft to turn it into 80,000 words of consistent pith and joy.

Anyway, despite the thousands of words that were typed or tweaked on Friday night and Saturday, I found myself feeling a bit unfulfilled and discouraged by the process, and not truly looking forward to Sunday's wordsmithing, nor certain what I could do differently.

I've mentioned before that I use a mini Kanban board at home to replicate the one in my office. On it I track home maintenance, holiday planning, and story writing. Last night I added a few house tasks I'd been putting off. Gardening, cleaning and plumbing.

The board at the end of the weekend.

The board at the end of the weekend.

Today I supersetted writing with small victories, and despite getting a smaller (yet still significant) amount of prose fashioned, I feel more satisfied today with my accomplishments. I think my words benefited from it too.

That's my writing tip for today.