I remembered to clean my BBQ after its last use before winter. Today I appreciated my past efforts so much I wasn't sure if it was altruism or egotism.

No Exaggeration

I think fictional crime has ruined true crime podcasts for me. They all kind of sound the same.

On this date, in the seventies or early eighties, a horrific murder took place. Police immediately arrested Bobby McCriminal, who matched the description of the suspect who had sped away in a stolen car.

McCriminal had a history of drug and robbery crimes, but denied the killing. Police interviewed his friend, Heroin Terry, who confirmed Bobby was the killer in exchange for placement in witness protection. Police found a stolen car in Bobby's driveway, and the bloody weapon on his kitchen bench. They arrested him for murder.

Six months later, right before the trial, Heroin Terry confessed he invented his testimony in order to live in witness protection on taxpayer's money. He wasn't called as a witness.
Bobby went to jail, wrote a book and then fell ill and died shortly after his release. That's the only reason I feel safe recapping his clumsy exploits in this podcast.



Todo Lists

As I walked down my hall, I noticed one of the canvases needed its wall adhesives re-applied. This on top of the continuous drip, drip of the dying washer in the en-suite shower.
Fine, I sighed, and I did my tax return.

I did Zero Chin-Ups Today

This time, a decade ago, I was in the final days of my six week weight-lifting and eating experiment I called BULKTEMBER. The fact that I’m writing this at my standing desk, wearing my sacroiliac belt, and twenty-kilograms below my old goal weight tells me something has gone horribly wrong since then. But, if I’m going to dwell on the events of the past ten years of my life, there’s one thing worth focusing on - breakfast.

On October 3rd, 2007 i documented the preparation of my daily breakfast smoothie. And of all the things the universe has taken from me since that day, fruit smoothies ain’t one of them (you tried, Cyclone Yasi, and Hepatitis A Infected Berry Pickers).

My Bulktember documentation gives me an amazing opportunity to see how I’ve changed as a person over ten years. As least when it comes to my smoothies. Some of the changes are related to my lack of current bulking, many others are the influence of Vanessa, who has bulked my heart since 2008.

I still make berry and peanut butter smoothies regularly, but today I thought I’d share my current version of the tropical smoothie, which has been tasting better and better in these first warm spring days.

6 Ice Cubes15 Ice Cubes
50g Frozen Fruit (mixed berries)500g Frozen Fruit (frozen mango, banana, pineapple ring)
3.5 Weet Bix50g Soaked Oats
200ml Skim Milk0ml Skim Milk
150g No Fat, Low Sugar Yogurt300g No Fat, Low Sugar Yogurt
30g WPI Protein SupplementNo protein
1tsp Natural Peanut Butter1tbsp desiccated coconut

First we can see a 250% increase in ice cubes. Ice cubes are calorie negative, and this basically extra breakfast for nothing. Vanessa taught me this one, she has a PHD in Physics.

Next we can see the amount of fruit has gone up… A lot. Like, an incredible amount. Like, having re-read a few of the Bulktember entries, I’m pretty sure I was just guessing some of these measurements, and surely I was using more than 50g of berries. But given how much of a tight-arse I was back then, maybe not. Anyway, fruit is good. Read Men’s Health, I’m sure there’s an advertisement pretending to be an article that talks about it.

Three and a half Weet Bix? I don’t remember this. Obviously I needed to eat more than 50g of berries back then, maybe then I wouldn’t have these memory issues. A bit of reasoning tells me at some point I switched from Weet Bix to ice cubes.
Up until this year I did continue to add a single Bix to my smoothies. That was until I tried being a vegan for a few weeks. Weet Bix are vegan, but wet oats help blending non-dairy smoothies a lot more easily than dry Weet Bix. Will I go back to Weet Bix again? Maybe. Come back in 2027.

Milk. I used to use a bunch of it, now I don’t use any. Why? Because I’m a vegan, who eats yogurt and meat and stuff. Every morning is like a running joke about how amusing I found veganism. Still, I guess there's now 1.4 litres less milk that gets drained from some poor cow between atmosphere-destroying farts, and giving some dairy farmer the false hope that they’re not in an unprofitable, dying industry.

Yogurt. I think I’ve covered this enough before, I really like yogurt. (Note to self, add ‘Yogurt’ as tag to future tags feature).

Protein. I get enough protein from vegetables, legumes, oats. And yogurt. And meat. Plus it’s expensive. Who needs protein powder. Right? Or Up and Go Energise, and Tribulus Terrestris and tight-fitting long-sleeve knits. It’s all just the invisible lead up to vanity above a vanity. Focus on more noble pursuits. I mean, why--

Coconut makes it taste tropical and gives it a bit of texture to help replicate that old Weet Bix taste. If it was a berry smoothie I’d use peanut butter again. I no longer feel the need to substitute skipped peanut butter with extra protein powder.

There’s no secret to mixing this thing, other than to defrost the frozen mango if possible/it’s winter. Also I stand by my 2009 Blender choice. It can, and often does, handle twice the number of ice cubes. It doesn’t have a “liquefy” button, but it has one that says “Smoothie” which does the job.

I no longer slam my breakfast smoothie down out of the jug. Instead I sip it through a straw. I think straws can make things taste different, maybe it delivers smoothie to different parts of the tongue first. Someone at Men’s Health should write an article about it to sell some brand of straw or something.

I also drink my smoothie’s with the help of my happy every day monkey cup holder, another of Vanessa’s influences on my smoothie process.

This concludes an eight-hundred word summary of my breakfast smoothie. What a bulky entry.

Hamspring Update

According to my physio, my healing progress is slower than he'd expected. Maybe if I buy a third standing desk it could make the difference?

There was one day my butt didn't feel so bad, and I began thinking about taking my rehab to the next level. How do you rehab sitting, I wonder. Find a bench in a park and sit on it for 30 seconds? Repeat five times. Rest one minute in between. Am I seriously only 33?

The Unlikeliest

I was looking for some inspiration for new characters and stories to write. I downloaded a bunch of true crime podcasts to hopefully give me some ideas.
Ten seconds into listening to the first, I had that creative click: I should write a character who went missing while researching a true crime for a podcast.

Oh, and there was some football on today. And a BBQ. I wore shorts.


My train line is closed for ten weeks, and because I still can't sit down I decided to take the bus into the city this morning. Standing up on a bus gave me a new insight into the windows of other drivers on the road. Holy Shit, the amount of people on their phones and doing other things while driving is scarier than I thought. I saw one woman with her feet on the pedals of a V6 engine and her head in a novel. And she wasn’t even at the end of the book, she was barely a quarter of the way through. Unless it was a choose your own adventure… Still frightening.

I'm not sure I can ever get behind the wheel and drive in peak hour again, now that I know what's truly happening in the cars around me. This sucks, because the other insight I had today is that standing up on a bus really sucks.

Writing Tips

If you're a new writer trying to break into the traditional publishing market in the US or the UK, chances are you'll want the help of a literary agent. Not just any agent, one who likes your story and believes in it, because they're the ones who will be out there trying to sell it.

Tip #1 - One way to find the right agent is to connect with a whole bunch of them on Twitter and keep an eye on what kind of themes or ideas they're looking to represent.


The problem with connecting with a bunch of literary agents on Twitter is that, once the rejections start coming back, now you no longer have somewhere you can post your Tobias Crying in the Shower gif.

That's okay, the market is more competitive than ever these days. Honestly, I'm thankful for every agent who takes the time to write you back and say thanks for submitting. A rejection is far better than never hearing anything, and slightly worse than having an agent represent a story they don't have a true investment in. Good for everyone. The system works!

Tip #2 - Have a backup form of social media that you're confident no one will ever read, so you can let out your true emotions.



Yolks on Me

There’s a controversial documentary that, among other contentious suggestions, remarks that an egg contains the nutrients to sustain a growing baby chicken for twenty-one days. And we “eat four of them for breakfast”.
It was at that point this documentary lost its credibility with me. If I want to eat 126 days worth of chicken-forming nutrients in a sitting then I goddamn will, and I won’t feel guilty or sick about it. I’m two metres tall, big brained, warm blooded, and at the top of the food chain. Also, the only thing more diminutive than my size in contrast to the expanse of the known universe is the minute fraction of its lifetime in which I will exist. I should be allowed to eat half a dozen toad in the holes.

I now feel slightly sick about it, but not guilty.

Not A Notable Noting

It feels crazy that it was only five years ago that I received the original Samsung Galaxy Note. Finally, a phone fit for my giant hands. Observations like that were so amazing. I could use my phone to avoid social interactions and like an abort switch it could actually stimulate small talk.

I kept that phone for years, and multiple s-pens, taking it to New York and Auckland. I wrote many journal entries on it. Eventually I came to hate it. It didn't get much support, became super slow. I cashed it in when I upgraded to Note 5. I wasn't sad to see it go. The above nostalgia is rose tinted.

Then the next day, ironically, I was given a “new” on call phone for work. It was a refurbished Note 1. This was 2015. I don't think it was the same one I handed in. It might have been… I didn't look too closely. I forwarded it to my personal phone, left it plugged into a charger, then forgot about it until last month. That's when I was told by work the contract was up. I asked where I should return the phone, they said I could recycle it or keep it.

So I sold it for $50 online. The point is, don't get attached to your phone.

Posted from my Note 5.

Welcome Home

Sadsack Whinging

I've been asked to keep a tendon diary. I need to record the pain and stiffness out of ten, every morning for four weeks. And also note what I did the day before. Could I manage that?
I said, I've kept a journal of far less important things for over a decade, I can handle twenty-eight days.

Tendon Journal, Day 1

I've suffered through chronic pain for so long now that I'm forgetting that the people around me aren't feeling the same way I do. I'm talking about pain that gnaws at you the longer the day goes on, that makes it so you can't find a comfortable position to hold your body in, has you hopping from side to side by 3pm to shift the pressure because you can't sit still. Pain that makes it hard to focus on the words on a screen. Pain that makes you speak short, curt answers to everything even though you don't want to be grumpy. Every single day. For years.

I know, I'm not the only one with lingering injuries, or past trauma. I know that others are dealing with terminal illnesses, or dying in floods, or all of the above.

But it's reached the point now where I'm actually scared of couches. I don't sit on them. If they're soft, or low, my lumbar freaks out. It can take less than a minute to happen, and the inflammation can last for weeks. I avoid chairs too, plastic, wooden, office chairs. Anything firm will compress my hamstring tendon. Everything I sit down on is an investment into future pain. Every walk I take has a future cost.

It's gotten really bad lately. Despite years of resting, stretching, strengthening, icing, medicating, standing, inebriation. Despite paying thousands for physiotherapy, radiology, anti-inflammatories, and ergonomic improvements the pain is so ubiquitous that I feel like I'm losing touch with reality. I’m trapped in its cycle. It’s reached a point where I feel like I have to write about my internal burdens so they don't consume me from within.

I just want to live a normal life as an IT professional who wants to be a writer/photographer/web designer. I need a way to be able to sit at a computer! I'm writing this on my back with my phone.

I'd rather be broke than inflamed, so I attended another specialist appointment today where I was told much of the previous specialist advice I'd been given by other expensive specialists was mis-advised. I was told exercises and stretches I'd been suffering through every day were probably making things worse. Then I was given new stretches and exercises. Was I optimistic then? Or did I want to punch something? (I would never punch something, I'd probably hurt myself.)

Another thing I was told about tendons is that it can take up to 12 weeks before seeing any improvements, and not to give up before then. I left my appointment, the sunset gleaming on the glass of the city. A certain, remembered warmness lingered in in the air. Winter was over. Twelve weeks. The first day of Hamspring.


Journal Entry

I do like my new toolbox, but I'm not sure there was anything wrong with my old toolbox.

I do like my new toolbox, but I'm not sure there was anything wrong with my old toolbox.

2017 Conversations

Today a particularly potent awkward silence made me say, “Hello acquaintance, how are you today?”
“I'm doing well, Brad. How are you?”
“I'm also not comfortable describing my true emotional state out loud.”
“A cloud passed in front of the sun today, and when I reflexively checked the weather on my phone I noticed that this weekend's forecast is considerably different to today's weather.”
“I also can't leave any buildings without checking the weather online first, and I can confirm your statement is accurate.”
“Thanks for not making this conversation weird.”
“No problems. Once we go our separate ways I might even feel good about the lack of awkward silence. But don't worry, I'll ignore the endorphins my brain generates after successfully socialising by distracting myself with the instant gratification of internet pictures.”

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