I love Sydney

image 1817 from bradism.com

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.

image 1818 from bradism.com

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.

image 1819 from bradism.com

Sydney at least has this Kookaburra going for it.


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Children

image 1808 from bradism.com

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 noting, the mother coloured the water with fecal discharge, which the trailing offspring sucked up for nourishment.
I put this in the maybe pile.

image 1809 from bradism.com

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.

image 1810 from bradism.com

image 1811 from bradism.com

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.

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...

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


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?

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A Baxter Inn

I was in Sydney for a conference today, and I made the poorly-reasoned decision to attend the networking drinks afterwards. I spoke to no one, drank a beer quickly, then fled downstairs to write by a phone charger.

I still had over an hour to kill before I needed to leave the city. I opened Maps to plot my route to the train station, and that’s when I saw, a few hundred metres away, a pub named The Baxter Inn.

Only a few people would recognise this significant of this. Why Google’s unfeeling brain felt the urge to present me with it, I can guess. It probably has something to do with one of the heavily-used tags in my Keep notes, plus the time of afternoon. I clicked on the details and learned that the venue offered an amazing selection of whiskeys and gins. I wondered if this also included the most exotic of dark, spiced rums.
I was already walking. I was about to find out.

I turned down a narrow alley off Clarence Street, which widened into an old loading dock shrouded in the shadows of skyscrapers. In the corner was a speakeasy, bottles of liquour visible through the windows.

image 1652 from bradism.com

I stepped through the low doorway and approached the bar where a young man with a hipster haircut and a trimmed moustache watched me approach with a friendly smile.
“I’m looking for a dark, spiced rum,” I said. “What do you recommend?”
He glanced over his shoulder at the long shelves of whisky bottles. “We only have one, actually.”
“What is it?”
“Bacardi.”
“Oh,” I said.

I had nowhere else to go, and the itch to write more, so I ordered a dark, spiced Bacardi (which wasn’t actually that bad). I sat in the corner of the bar, working on a short story by candlelight, learning how to sip while negotiating the single, giant ice-cube that floated in my cup. I wrote a couple of pages, felt good about it, noticed on a coaster that the name of the place was not actually The Baxter Inn. I’d gone and bloody stepped into the wrong speakeasy-down-a-laneway-on-Clarence-street and some delicious, spiced rum was in a bottle waiting for me somewhere else. Or maybe The Baxter Inn didn’t exist, or it did but it was in a different universe to the one I was in. That could make sense.

The Moment You Realise You're Not In Adelaide Today

image 1651 from bradism.com

Mundane Things I Do Poorly - Networking

Some tips/ideas for networking on your own at a conference:


  • Drink a coffee in the corner of a busy room. Avoid eye contact.
  • Read a novel on your phone
  • Go to the toilets and wash your hands with soap multiple times
  • Eavesdrop, then rule out talking to the people you've been listening to in case they accuse you of eavesdropping.
  • Take short walks away from people.
  • Memorize the festival program, the speaker’s bios, and the fire exits map.

The Wurst Of Times

This time last year I was flying out of Adelaide on my way to Munich.
There's no international travel this winter, but on this same grey date I did visit a South Australian Aldi for the first time.

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