The regular updates will stop now, please enjoy this self-indulgent list of favourite albums from this year, with occasional notes.
1. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals 2. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive 3. Diplo and Santogold - Top Ranking 4. Ratatat - LP3 5. Why? - Alopecia 6. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight 7. The Grates - Teeth Lost, Hearts Won 8. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours 9. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid 10. Tapes n' Tapes - Walk It Off 11. The Yah Mos Def - Excuse Me This Is The Yah Mos Def early beastie boys style philly low-fi hip hop
12. TV on the Radio - Dear Science 13. Daedelus - Love To Make Music To 14. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend 15. Ghislain Poirier - No Ground Under •Ninja Tune •Electro •Hip-hop •riddims •Beats
16. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer 17. Portishead - Third 18. Albert Hammond Jr. - Como Te Llama Strokes frontman solo album, kickass guitar work.
19. Evil Nine - They Live! 20. Clinic - Do It! Clinic sounding very Clinic; vintage keyboards, plucky guitars and warbling vocals.
21. Oxford Collapse - Bits Super-sized garage rockers on Sub Pop.
22. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today 23. Mindless Self Indulgence - if 24. Puppetmastaz - The Takeover Rapping puppets from Germany who rhyme in English over filthy dirty electro beats.
25. T.I. - Paper Trail 26. M83 - Saturdays = Youth 27. The Bug - London Zoo 28. Santogold - Santogold 29. Cazals - What Of Our Future 30. Weezer - Weezer (red album) The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived may be our generations Bohemian Rhapsody.
31. The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave 32. The Mystery Jets - 21 33. Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit - Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit Are the Very Best 34. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) 35. Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs 36. Bun B - Ill Trill 37. Son Lux - At War With Walls and Mazes 38. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs 39. Psapp - The Camel's Back 40. Fonda 500 - Je M’appelle Stereo Casio Heavy Electro/Folk/Fuzz Pop (riyl Apples in Stereo, Super Furry Animals)
41. The Presets - Apocalypso 42. Black Hollies - Casting Shadows Genre - Psychadelic 80s Garage Rock Similar Artists - The Seeds, The Hollies, CREAM
43. Moby - Last Night Enjoyable concept album from techno master
44. 88-Keys - The Death Of Adam 45. Tape - Luminarium 46. Beck - Modern Guilt 47. Dan Friel - Ghost Town 48. The Cure - 4:13 Dream 49. Islands - Arm's Way 50. Shearwater - Rook
If you like Bradism, you'll probably enjoy my stories.
It's my dream to be a famous author, and you can help support me by previewing one of my books from Amazon below, and purchasing it if you like it.
The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette. At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.
Five of the next six days are over 32°C.
If we run out of Maxibons we have three boxes of Paddlepops.
Not getting enough emails? Want to receive updates and publishing news in your inbox?
Sign up to the bradism mailing list. You'll also receive an ebook, free!
Ironically I would say this new heatwave has been kinda cool.
On Tuesday we had the hottest January day on record since 1939, thanks to global warming. I'm not sure what they blamed the heatwave in 1939 on... probably the Germans.
When the checkout girl at Woolworths asked how I was going that day and I replied "Alright, a little hot" she got this glazed look in her eyes.
And 36 degrees feels curiously refreshing when the sun is going down.
I'm having surgery
On Tuesday 17th of Feb I am having a semi-major operation on my left wrist to repair the joint I injured last September. It’s a reconstruction of the distal radial ulna joint and I’m also getting my ulna bone shortened. This is described in more detail later.
After a two hour operation and a night in hospital I’ll hopefully be discharged Wednesday morning and begin six weeks of being in full arm cast, plaster from palm to bicep. Another 32 weeks after that and BAM!, I’m back on the basketball court and into the weights again, albeit with a slightly less flexible wrist. I’m feeling very optimistic about the operation despite the imminent pain and short term handicap. It’s already over five months since the initial injury and this is the first time I’ve actually felt like a treatment was going to make a difference. I haven’t spoken about this with many people - not really sure why that is. I’m not looking for sympathy or help or anything! Just maybe keep quiet on the offers to fill in for your basketball and mixed netball teams for the next little while... Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
For those wondering about the procedure, there are two main processes. The first is the shortening of the ulna which is the bone that runs from your elbow to the wrist just below your pinkie finger. Mine is peculiarly longer than average, which was a protagonist for this kind of injury. The surgeon will open up my arm somewhere in the middle, get through to the bone and then with two sweeps of a saw, remove a slice of my ulna probably only 3-5mm long. Then he’ll pull the bone together to close the gap and close it up to let the bone heal. I’ve been drinking lots of milk in readiness. The second process is the DRUJ reconstruction which basically involves drilling a tiny hole through the top of the ulna and threading one of the other tendons in my wrist through it and back again in a knot. This will replace the old, damaged tendon in my joint that won’t heal and tighten the wrist back together again. There are a few risks, standard and non-standard. Specific ones are that the bone could crumble through when they drill the hole, and the sliced through ulna may need a bone graft to heal properly. Then there’s the general nerve-damage, scarring and hospital infection. I’ve seen enough episodes of House to hopefully navigate past all these threats and I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure the best recovery.
Finally, you may be asking how I gained this particular injury. That’s the question I’ve been asked a lot lately. While I don’t know the exact incident – with pain only presenting when I woke up one morning – the conclusion is essentially “I fell down”. So while I will still helpfully point out all the things you can do to help prevent back injuries and encouraging stretching, I won’t be preaching anything about wrist defence... except maybe a precautionary ulna shortening if you’re feeling surgical. Also, Vanessa is awesome and I love her a freakload!
P.S. This is certainly my best excuse for lack of updates recently.
I'm giving up not blogging journalling for lent. Seriously when I started writing this thing the word blog barely existed in the public vernacular. Typing one handed is tough though and comes with its own discouraging gotchas. Like if you clumsily hit an Alt key, and then the next word you write contains and F and not long after a X.
I didn't do it
It was close to 8pm on a Friday afternoon and the last light of summer sun was dimming. I lay in my hammock, happily tripping the land between awake and asleep. I hadn't been to work this whole week, but it had been a span of days more stressful than many where I had. Suddenly I was startled by a rap on the door. Stumbling from the hammock my bleary eyes first looked out the opening, then down. There, on my doorstep stood two of the most serious faced stubbies I've ever seen. 'Can I help you?' I asked. 'Detective Hahn,' he said squarely. 'This is my partner, Detective Superdry. We're from homicide, and we'd like to ask you a few questions.' So I let them in. And I answered the questions. Being on probation from my killing spree I hadn't much choice. But, although they had the weapon and knew the motive they couldn't prove anything. I was innocent. And hating it.
There's a point when you're getting rained on where you go from annoyed to accepting. This happened to me at least literally today. After no rain for two months I was predictably exposed and just starting to walk down South Road when it started pouring. I used to love walking home in the rain, back in high school before this whole drought thing. Unfortunately a walk in the rain can just be added to the end of the list of fun things I can't do because of my wrist. A car even slowed down to yell out a window "You're not supposed to get that cast wet!" before speeding off through a puddle. Thanks for the support. I still enjoyed it though, and my fiberglassed elbow eventually dried out. Waterproof earphones are pretty awesome.
My wrist and its forbidding of sports, running, weightlifting and most other male stress release activities has been depressing me no end lately. But I am haunted by two maybe-jinxes from my past. The first is that my constantly narrating brain used to do this piece about how as long as I kept my mental faculties I’d always remain happy. Theoretically I could be a head in a jar and as long as I had an audience, or at least an internet connection I'd be peaches. I stopped feeling this way a few years ago when I got less fat and discovered the absolute joys of being fit and strong. But I still thought it! I may have been drunk.
Second, when I used to spend hours shooting baskets introvertedly in my driveway one of the things I would for some reason do is shoot one handed 3s. I always mused that if anything horrific were to occur I would still be qualified for handicapped basketball leagues where I could continue my reign as a tall, uncoordinated looking big man who'd inevitably spend half the game trying to shoot threes. This video from three years ago shows that, although it's shithouse now, my left wrist was once pretty awesome.
So I'm obviously making an effort to post more lately. But let's face it; I can say it but words are cheap, and on the internet all but a useless commodity. Still I want to prove I firmly believe in Bradism.com and to do that I present the official Bradism.com T-shirt: Continue Reading Bradism.com T-Shirts Available Now!...
I think I've had about 15 legitimate readers visit since the last entry. I don't have much to add today. I'm about to stuff a sock around the perimeter of my cast so that I can ride an exercise bike for half an hour without my elbow being drenched in shoulder sweat.
Anyway, I'd like any opinions people have on what I can include in future entries. I've done things like Photos of the month, music of the month, health fag recipes that I've always published in big chunks which upon reflection I don't think has worked that well for both being read or being written.
So comment - anonymously if you like - what kind of material you'd like to see squeezed in between my entries of narcissistic warbling.
Choices Include: - Photos with "cute" comments - New music with MP3 downloads - Health fag tips - Short fiction - Thoughts I have while visiting supermarkets - Angus wallpapers
George Kapiniaris: Rockstar
Last night I realised one of my longtime dreams - seeing George Kapiniaris live. This wasn't exactly one of my most unattainable dreams. It was just a matter of buying a ticket and, the hardest part, finding someone to go with. See most people have this fear that a George Kapiniaris show is going to be like an hour long RAA Insurance ad, but they're so wrong! It's more like two hours! And with much more profanity. So goood. George Kapiniaris: Rockstar continues at The Cavern Club until Sat Mar 21.
Public Holidays are good when your greatest achievement is setting a new high score on the crab hitting game and you still don't feel like you wasted any of the day.
At one stage before Australia day my freezer contained almost 50 Paddle Pops. For weeks they were grazed until the heatwave made them staples. Since then the supply has dwindled and today I opened the last box. Sure, it's still sunny and the long range forecasts of rain always seem to remain.. long range, but I can't ignore it. It will be ANZAC day soon, it will start raining and for six months I'll forget what Paddle Pops taste like. Next time I go shopping I'm checking for multibuy specials on soup.
So I was thinking if I posted best new music in more bite-size chunks people might find it easier. Also when I don’t try and stretch it to 15 songs I think the quality’s a little better.
For a healthy young adult, 150 beats per minute is about the target heart rate you want to maintain when exercising. It’s also coincidentally the BPM of Phoenix’s new track 1901 and that’s appropriate because it absolutely pulses. The French indie-pop rockers have always had plenty of electronic influence – their guitarist was in Daft Punk before they were Daft Punk – but this new work sounds like they’ve taken in a sip of the Justice led wave of punky electro that emerged around the time they finished recording 2006’s It's Never Been Like That. But unlike so many other purveyors of the style they still remain oozing with Versailles class. And all of a sudden I have a new most anticipated album for 2009.
Phoenix – 1901 (from the forthcoming Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix LP out May 26)
Great Lake Swimmers
So Great Lake Swimmers are one of the most unabashed folk bands I’ve ever heard. They sound like perfect Georgian or South Carolinian instrumentalists, but moved north into the even more laidback and wild Canada. They have a sound that suits the wild, great clean rivers full of carp fished by men in flannel with beards. But Pulling On A Line also has its Chutes too Narrow-esque indie-popness making it as catchy as it is rustic.
This Brooklyn three piece tap into a raw part of human emotion when it comes to their songwriting. Even the lyrics of Two sounds lonely despite being surrounded by swirls of feedback and lo-fi distortion. It’s one of many epic, emotive tracks on their LP Hospice. It starts with a simple acoustic chord progression before sucking you in.
I don't understand why restrooms at some places have low roofs, and then make you step up to stand at the urinal. There is something deeply tiring about peeing with your head crooked 75 degrees to the side. Also, I do like how some restrooms have those wall mounted air-freshener sprays that automatically shoot off every 300 seconds. What I don't appreciate is when they're stuck "high up" above the urinal. Which for me isn't so much "high up" as it is "eye level". It's like an Indiana Jones temple-ruins trap I have to deal with; wait for it to spray.. then quickly run up and pee before the clock runs out and I leave the toilet with my hair containing the unremovable stench of Mountain Lilies.
For me every day is full of Bradism, and you hear about it all the time. But what if I was less unique. What if other people's lives had Bradism too? What if people were more like me? People like...
wavy lines wavy lines wavy lines
..The Exercise Bike Repairman I woke up this morning to U2's Beautiful Day and I was kind of optimistic for just this brief moment. I thought maybe it might be a sign that I wasn't in for another Tuesday like every other Tuesday. One where my two engineering degrees would lead me to more challenges than "should I ask them if I can use their toilet? Or will I get this flywheel replaced in time to make it to Subway and use the bathroom there?" The second place I visited today was the weirdest; it was a bike that was only two weeks old so I knew that it probably wouldn't smell of month-old fat housewife sweat. I mean, it might have fat housewife sweat on it but at least it would be fresh. When I got there this guy with his arm in a cast came to the door shirtless and I could hear Big Country playing! And it wasn't In A Big Country either, it was Harvest Home! I didn't realise Australians even knew they had more than one single. This guy was pretty antsy about his new bike having a broken pedal after two weeks, but he went quieter when I told him he reverse-threaded it. No idea what someone in an arm cast can do with an exercise bike anyway. After that it didn't take long, I had it fixed before he got up to Porrohman. Then I went to Subway and got a turkey, olives and jalapenos on a foot long honey oat.
..The Hire-A-Gardener I expect the same kind of jobs when I go to little duplex estates in the western suburbs: tiny plots of grass to mow; most of the time spent edging; ignore the "herb" garden. I felt my suspicions wouldn't be far off as I walked up to a door today, hearing the muffled rap of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz coming from the other side. Upon it being opened, however, things changed. First thing I noticed was the sweatiest dude I have ever seen wearing tight as bike shorts and a plastic garbage bag around his arm. The second thing I noticed was Lil Jon was rapping over Dire Straits. However, I'm not one to judge and the garden was kind of nice to work in. He tried to talk me down on price (why do people always do this?) and then after his impotent bartering came ineffective he agreed anyway and I started trimming a hedge while Ice Cube rapped over the main riff of King Missile's Detachable Penis. Then some rapper I don't think I know started yet another rap about weed over an electrified version of the Legend of Zelda theme. Despite all this kind of music there wasn't even an ashtray around the back porch let alone any plants. Unfortunate, he might have had something to barter with.
..My Neighbour Work was messed today. I had planned to go to the gym after but by the time I got out of the summary summary meeting (yes, my team has so many summary meetings that we now need a summary summary meeting) it was late and I couldn't be arsed. When does Daylight Savings end? I dunno. While my dinner microwaved I figured I had enough time to do some chin ups in the shed. On my way out I saw over the fence into the loud-music-neighbours kitchen and saw the most ironic thing: one of them locked in an ongoing struggle to find the strength to pull the lid off their bucket of protein powder. The fact he had an arm cast and was trying to do it one handed made it even more amusing. Also, I think he was going to mix it with milk. For reference, you should mix WPI with water, not milk. The complex protein in the milk makes your body absorb the concentrated protein in the powder less efficiently meaning you get less protein in the crucial recovery window, thus less gains.
I got my camera out today to maybe take some shots for a phocumentary when I discovered I had over 100 photos on there from the Big Day Out. Of all of them, this was clearly the best.
This photo is 700 pixels wide. I bought a new widescreen monitor, if you don't own one yet then get with it! This way I don't go blinder from using my TV as a monitor.
OK, also, there were some other good photos on there, mainly of me eating a variety of Calippos.
Making it a Habit
So this feature I'll aim to get published early Friday morning so that "weekend" can stretch into "Friday's in the office" too. And in case you were unaware, you can download all the songs with right click->save as.
The Boy Least Likely To
The Boy Least Likely To are more than just cute indie-pop, they're cute, English countryside indie-pop. Originating from a little market town in Buckinghamshire, which is the kind of place you'd sit around in drinking tea and coming with Postman Pat episodes ideas. However don't confuse their childlike melodies as simple because there is considerable orchestration as well as rural influence in everything they do. It's a sound that is words like "charming" and "joyful", though the new LP The Law Of The Playground is quite darker than their 2005 debut. Well if you can classify anything loaded with banjos, glockenspiels, recorders and fiddles "dark".
Metric have claims to being based in Montreal, New York City and Toronto, so if you like indie rock that has to sound promising. Help I'm Alive is the first single from their fourth album due next month and it's currently riding a wave of airplay on Canadian radio probably because it's quite catchy. With female vocals from Emily Haines plus another Broken Social Scene'r James Shaw on guitar it's kind of a blend between BSS and Garbage.
First, if you're not going to listen to Two Fingers at high volume there's probably not much point. The reason for this is finger one, Amon Tobin, the legendary Brazilian who's created monster blends of IDM, breaks, jungle and jazz so consistently in the past. The second finger, UK DnB producer Doubleclick, adds grime and fury and western stability to Tobin's South American and Eastern influences. Together they've put together quite a handy eponymous debut, also featuring so much of London rapper Sway they could have possibly called it Three Fingers.. Or perhaps he's the webbing..
It was a good weekend. I may not have beaten the crabs this time but I got a PB on this, and scored Great Bonkin! nonetheless.
On the weekend I bought a pretty heavy looking book called C# 3.0 Unleashed, containing within it over 1000 pages of C# learning material. I was hoping I would find it easier to digest than some of the many e-books I'd downloaded but was struggling to read with distractions being only a click away.
It seems to have paid off because now, after three days of installing updates; configuring Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and IIS 7.0; and countless reboot after reboot I finally Hello Worlded an ASP.Net page. This made me happy because I made learning C# into one of my downtime goals before I returned to work and I achieved this milestone on the eve of my resumption.
As an aside, 40% of my time in the months leading up to my surgery I was actually paid to be a C# Analyst on a big system and I deployed a few changes into production in that time. This has led to several occasions of me being seen reading the book and then saying aloud "Oh... so that's what I did.."
But, it is good to be learning something exciting again. I mean, nerdy, but still exciting. And unlike most of my other serendipitous job posting I was actually supposed to be trained in this by work until they cut all training budgets.
Other than that nothing else much happened today, except I ubbbed a lot of cookies.
Norwegian production duo Röyksopp launched their third album Junior with the first single Happy Up Here a few weeks ago. It's a punchy reminder of their best work, being catchy mainly for its chirpy Eple-like melody but also driven in the guts by the firmer, Scandinavian techno edge that influenced their first two LPs, especially 2005's The Understanding. Also featuring vocals from Robyn, Lykke Li and return performances by Karin Dreijer Andersson and Anneli Drecker, Junior has the perfect, crisp synths to extract the last of Summer fun before the days get gloomy.
The Long Lost
A much more appropriate album for the coming cool is the mellow folktronic debut of The Long Lost, a side project of Ninja Tune's Daedelus and his wife. Their self titled record was launched with a Sunday afternoon tea-party in a dusty museum arboretum among a display of carnivorous plants. That's the kind of freaky trip this album is. Completely chilled, it's made to slow down your heart and mess with your mind. As heard when the melancholy pianos and strings of half-lullaby Siren Song subtly blend into a relaxing air-raid warning. Then there's Colour, a simple bass line and melody with lyrics that could be some children's book or potentially something much more lucid.
Franz Ferdinand's third album Tonight came out at the start of the year, but with the its second single No You Girls coming out soon - and already gaining popularity as the new iPod touch song - I thought it deserved revisiting. Because for an album four years in the making it doesn't have the same immediate satisfaction that earlier albums did. However, I've found it a rewarding album to explore and rich in details. Most of its songs were built in extended sessions and ultimately cut down from much longer versions, and one of the cool tricks they used when experimenting was recording in different rooms of the big church they inhabited to get different sounds, then pasting together songs from the different areas. This is probably best shown by example on What She Came For, a catchy single with a dirty synth that takes up a lot of open space before descending into the final chorus and almost metal rock out, recorded in the cramped basement with drums, amps and guitars all crowded into close proximity underground. They're not likely to stop playing Take Me Out any show soon, but this is evidence of an exciting maturation.
This is my 950th entry, and they've definitely been coming out sludgy since the 900th which was exactly 200 days ago. Only one entry every four days, or alternatively, only 50 entries since I destroyed my wrist. Now admittedly I do discuss that appendage a lot lately but today give me reprieve, I'm excited! I think my cast comes off tomorrow. Well it definitely comes off, hopefully I don't need to have a new one put on.
Today also, through nothing but serendipity, marks 50 days since I last had any alcohol. This is noteworthy because there is just an innumerable variety of activities that become so much less trivial with one less hand and over the course of a day they really compound until they manifest into the form of drink-need. Assuming someone will open a bottle for you..
Stretching your left quad with only your right hand is one of my proudest new skills. It means reaching behind your back to grab your left ankle and then finding the talent to maintain balance on just one leg - with the constant threat of toppling onto your tender forearm - not just momentarily but for the count of 50.
But my days and sobriety haven't been entirely wasted. In seven weeks I've taken 50 Glucosamine tablets. In the past seven days I've eaten 50 cookies that Vanessa baked for me. I wouldn't be able to total the support and caring she's given me since I got hurt. And that's despite my white cast turning noticeably yellow over six weeks, due to me continually riding the exercise bike until sweat drips out my elbow. She has even ignored the biology lesson that humans shed their skin like snakes which becomes obvious when you can't scrub parts of your hand. That's assuming it takes snakes weeks to shed a single layer of skin.
So in the next 24 hours I will be celebrating more than 950 entries. I will also be celebrating having an elbow again, and being on the road to recovery if things go right. And celebrating having an awesome girlfriend. But, I think I'll deserve a drink.
I have like 3 days to tan before it rains.
If you're going to see me in a group situation this month, don’t read this entry. Anything you read here will most likely be embellished socially later.
I have a Tayshaun Prince arm. By the time it gets to the wrist it's only skin and bone. From the right angle – which depressingly is from top down – it looks skeletal. The majority of bulk in my left forearm is scar tissue. My surgeon ordered X-rays to examine the metal button on my ulna that staples on the reattached tendon, but really he could have just run his fingers along my arm to check any detail of its skeleton.
I had my cast removed on Tuesday by a small saw that vibrates instead of spins. It was still pretty freaky having my arm hacked into for 15 minutes albeit stopping millimeters from skin. At one stage the nurse that was mining for biology put the saw down too quickly on the table and it took less than a second to hack a nice line into the plastic covering the leather. Not that another scar couldn't go amiss.
Now outside the cast my wrist feels like it's filled with concrete. Curling down or up cannot happen. Twisting the palm to face the floor or ceiling was equally stunted but in 36 hours I have gained a few degrees. I have to wait two months for my next check-up and I am not starting rehab until after that consultancy. I have a removable splint until then. November seems very very far away. But this was all expected. After losing the cast my surgeon told me to rotate my wrist to face the roof and my lip curled more than my hand did, but he said "good". Same again when I managed two degrees of oscillation to try and face the floor.
I have all this extra sleeve on my left side. Itching it straight after felt like the best thing in the world! Actually, no, being able to hug properly again felt like the best thing in the world. So much of this recovery is going to come down to patience, and I can do that. I still wonder how I even got injured to begin within. My bicep, tricep and bicep-brachia all atrophied and based on my experience with DOMS I figure in another five days I will be able to position my forearm without internal expletives.
I have scars everywhere, and skin rash all over my arm. I've scrubbed about three layers of dead skin away and still I find more. By all this I'm guessing I'm definitely not going to wake up mid-September 2008 and discover this was all a dream.
Beats for your Weekend
A flimsy social commentary on contemporary Hip Hop for your weekend.
Aceyalone is a Californian emcee and he's the type of name you can bring up when someone tells you that all hip-hop is just blacks rapping about getting drunk and fucking. I mean, The Lonely Ones is a song about a rapper helping out a woman whose car breaks down that eventually leads to them hooking up. To a rhyming Neanderthal like, say, Flo Rida this is the makings of a profanity laced couplet. To Aceyalone it's a romantic tale deserving a whole doo wop beat that sells the classiness with little acoustic-guitar arpeggios. While so much hip-hop is pornographic this is practically Titanic.
Continuing with the funky rhythms, there is also a good deal of retro jazz dripping from the antique electronic keyboards in which Hervé Salters revels. He's finished production of his second full length Good City For Dreamers under the General Elektriks name for Bay Area label Quannum Projects. The Frenchman lets the label's hip hop beats influence the funky jazz, blues and swing that makes this a seriously smooth LP.
There's as much subtly in Flo Rida's flow as there is in his beats, that is, absolutely none. It's refreshing. Jump is just muscular bass and blinging synths. It isn't meant to be anything analytical or artistic, it's about smoushing together last year's Get Low with Maneater and there's nothing wrong with that. This is a song for the drunk and parting, for cheerleaders to dance to during timeouts, for when you don't want to think. It's OK, you can have it both ways.
The Paper Chase
The Paper Chase sound a little like if Fall Out Boy developed manic schizophrenia.. or got bitten by zombies... or both! Their speciality is heart-racing horror music stapled to panicked lyrics with the linguistic equivalent of teen horror movie clichés. It sounds like being tossed in drunk to a haunted house and dealing with alarming close rhythm sections and scary violin stabs and slasher sound effects.
Andrew Bird is a lot more relaxing than The Paper Chase. He’s also a wordy warbler, and one of the world’s best whistler. Track titles like Anonanimal at least forewarn of the tongue twisting to come. 'Underneath the stalactites, the troglodytes lost their sight, oh.’ He sings with dreamy smoothness. ‘The seemingly innocuous plecostomus though posthumous they talk to us, they talk too much.' The words have no sharp edges, sing-songed about with charming casualness. Bird is a prolific composer and takes inspiration primarily from American and European folk, but he is also aroused by a long month’s worth of Discovery channel material, finding feeling in east-European circuses, Egyptian marketplaces and deep sea gardens. Everything he plays shares the same relaxed breeziness, fluttering about with simple complexity much like nature itself. All inspired by some fanciful whistle.
Kanye West I’m not even going to talk about auto-tune or Kanye’s ego here, just basketball. NBA playoffs start tomorrow and if you contain testosterone and get boners for montages the new official promo featuring Kanye's Amazing is for you. That said it is a little peculiar in places.. Suns cheerleader practicing for next season? Ray Allen diving to save a ball from going out of court, but not making it. That’s how you do wrists, Ray.
After fifteen minutes of microwaving I had lunch today and it was delicious. Stunning even. The meal and recipe aren't important here; it was my impeccable leftover reparation that deserves spotlighting. When it came time to eat the vegetables were lush in texture, soft enough to break apart with ease yet fibrous enough to indicate all their vitamins were still intact. The pasta hadn't been generously sauced but it remained al dente, firm to bite but soft to touch. The chicken, bacon, ham, onion and capsicum in the sauce each maintained their original, separate consistencies thanks to my slow-defrost, slow-bake reheat technique. A day ago I'd begun the ten hours defrost in the fridge, followed by 4.5 hours defrost at room temperature. My new, large Decor food storage then gave me the capacity to stir without risk of losing lunch over the sides. Six minutes on medium low, then five minutes on medium, interspaced with four minutes of thorough stirring gave me a scrumptious, evenly heated, moist pasta meal despite over a week passing from its original cooking. NASA have been in contact, observing my pleasure in tastiness from orbiting satellite. I will be moving to Houston to help coordinate the long-term feeding strategy for the first manned flight to Mars.
Normally WeatherZone will never put the chance of rain higher than 90%. Except for this Saturday. The extra 5% chance is because it's ANZAC Day. Honestly, if we had ANZAC Day monthly – apart from making the RSL super happy – we probably wouldn't have a drought in this country. I love rain. Earlier this week when I saw that we were due to get the last four months total rainfall over a day and a half I excitedly went out to Harris Scarfe to buy a weatherproof jacket so that I could revel in the elements while still getting to work dry enough to rewrite variable names in some SQL Server stored procedures. I wore it to work today and... it didn't rain, but by the time I left and headed towards West Terrace it was dark and windy and the rain... well it didn't rain but it was very damp. And I felt good, maybe because of the first real rain in a long time, maybe because tomorrow was Casual Friday and therefore about 29% weekend. So I charged down North Terrace with extra vigour while people I walked past seemed hesitant and scared and without weatherproof jackets. While I powered on by some of them huddled from the wind behind walls or braced themselves behind documents or satchels as they walked. It was then I realised that these people were only walking in the opposite direction to me, and part of my higher than normal speed was because of an epic tail wind.
Today I was going to post some MP3s that reminded me of different stages of rain. But I didn't. Although I could. Or I could just post Justin Timberlake's latest collab and an unplugged Big Country song. I dunno, do you care?
I Want to be so many NBA players
I was thinking about this as the last 10.3 seconds of an extremely close playoff game stretched to 15 minutes on One this evening. I've been watching a lot of NBA lately, mostly because it's the only kind of basketball that doesn't make me sad. Seeing my friends and old teams play it, or even the 36ers sometimes I just think how I wish I could be doing that too. But with NBA I could never do the things they do. Not with that attitude anyway.
Currently the NBA player I want to be is Rondo from the Boston Celtics because he has epic hand strength and can run the court and then lay the ball up without ever having the ball closer than arm length to his body. Also he shoots 3s and no one ever says to him "Rondo stop shooting fucking 3s and go in there for rebounds" to him.
If you could be an NBA player who would you be?
- I tend to do about 50% of my prose in lists - Usually I have a couple of points to get across and I pad them into sentences. Although Other times I do possesses a narrative swing. - When I write things in lists I can get information across effectively and I don't give up on things I have to say because I can't shepherd the words right. - I think I'll post in dot point form from now on.
Things I haven't seen this year until May - Frost - Mud - Baby grass, which looks so cute and small compared to the adult grass that survived summer - My ugg boots - Pink Lady apples at less than $5 a kilo - Second round of NBA playoffs
This evening's hand free workout - Warm Up (walk home from work, bring in washing) - Single Leg step-ups x22 - Prone Hold 52secs - Sumo Squats x14 - Single Leg Calf Raise x22 - Side bridges 37secs - Standing Supermans - Lunges x14 - Single Leg Glute Bridge 35secs - Sit Ups x30 - Repeat whole thing two more times - Cool Down/Stretch
Things to look at/buy Tomorrow - More scientific pilates mat - Weighted vest - Deep heat for IT Band - Taco mix and Tacos
I had a pretty good day today. Right before I left work Burge messaged me and offered me a ride home and I thought this would be a good opportunity to transport the mountain of empty Pepsi Max cans on my desk to my recycling side-business.
Things That Made Me Smile Today - Actually getting to spend all day programming.. at my job as a programmer; - My girlfriend using 26 exclamation marks to tell me she loves me; - Carrying a big shopping bag of empty cans down Hindley Street towards Burge's car and having homeless people swarm about me on their bikes like hungry seagulls; - Smashing through 650 calories on the bike in half an hour of extreme hills, then using remaining energy to palm my new basketball.
More Basketball Merchandise I might like to buy - Headband - Shooting Sleeve - An NBA jersey, but who...
NBA players whose name I'd like to wear, partly because I admire them and partly because I think we're similar - Wallace, Pistons - Duncan, Spurs - Bonner, Spurs - Miller, Bulls - Boozer, Jazz - Shaq, Phoenix - Rondo, Celtics - Nash, Phoenix
Now that it's getting winter I am starting to decide that Deep Heat is The Shit. Apart from the fact that using it makes porridge or soup smell like Deep Heat after. It makes my knee feel better though.
My Major Health Concerns as of May 2009 - Wrist; - Back; - Knee/ITB; - That weird lump near my left hip; - Pain in the bottom of my right foot when doing calf raises; - Going blind/deaf due to contemporary mediums of entertainment; - Swine Flu.
Raw Fruit and Nut Combinations That Taste Good Together In My Mouth - Pink Lady Apple and Almonds; - Banana and Cashews; - Raspberries and Peanuts.
Metaphors for my constantly scattered thoughts - Like puzzle pieces with half-images I'm going to come back to; -
I don't think my entire work takes the IT industry seriously anymore
Today HR sent out an email saying that the Corporate Presentation Policy was being downgraded to now allow denim jeans and shirts with no major logo on them. My work now has a more relaxed dress code than Blackwood High School.
There's no way I'm going to work in jeans though! I'm pretty sure this is a trick to see who is coasting and then retrench them! I'll be there at 9:15 tomorrow morning in my polo and slacks.
I'M IN BRISBANE AIRPORT AND I FOUND A NET KIOSK WITH 2 MINS OF CREDIT LEFT AND I HAD TO LOG IN AND AHHHHH
In my mind there's barely a penumbra between Kanye West and Kobe Bryant. Aside from egos I have no idea why.
If you accidentally close a tab in Firefox - like, say, bradism.com - you can press ctrl + shift + T to have it appear again. Any comment on a journal entry you were writing when you accidentally closed it you'll have to type again.
It's been Autumn for like a week. Before this it was just like a cold, drizzly summer but since I got back from Townsville every single leaf I walk past is like "Shit!" and commits Hari Kari.
I wasn't able to postpone my job decision between an uncreative yet well paying position and a slightly less stifling yet much less compensated position beyond tomorrow.
Tomorrow I also get to see my wrist surgeon again for him to have a 30 second marvel at his handiwork and then hopefully sending me off to rehab.
I also get to interview rock stars this week.
I got fan mail today!
I walked above the railway tracks on a frosty morning on my way to the Rip It Up office where I had an appointment for my first ever phone interview with a famous band. The famous band in question is Pennsylvania's Settle, who aren't actually at a level of fame where I'd would put it past them finding this entry by googling their own name. But they were in another country and they have a Wikipedia page so I was excited! I got to the office early to await my incoming phone call, so I checked my pigeon hole where CDs for review appear and inside was a pink envelope addressed to me. Inside was a somewhat homemade greeting card commending me for my week's past review of the new Bedroom Philosopher album. I was given a bit of personal acclaim in this card, although I receive most of that praise as proxy for the Bedroom Philosopher as my fan was really just his fan. But still, it was my first ever fan mail! It was like a journal comment x100!
My interview then went quite smoothly, and on my way out I collected the latest issue to find another of my reviews in the back pages and I all of a sudden felt a little bit like an actual writer, even though I'm more of an actual IT professional who just has a blog and got serendipitous access to writing reviews. I decided I would start a list of all the things I had published and put it in a public place to hopefully motivate me to get more things published. That list is now available here:
I went back as far as a week for content. But now I'm going to concentrate on adding as many new things as I can. I was going to make a .NET page for this site to add my achievements to, but I don't do .NET anymore.
I Saw A Rainbow
This morning, after thirteen weeks of waiting, I was heading straight towards grey skies down Henley Beach Road to my first wrist rehab appointment. I was stuck stationary in my car as people on their way to work organised a majority to oppose those on their way to the beach. It was there, waiting as usual that I appropriately saw a rainbow. It was bright, stark and colourful and through some pleasing coincidence it did seem to be arching across my left shoulder and crashing to earth somewhere around Grange road's arrival at the seaside where my appointment was scheduled.
The rainbow itself wasn't completely surprising - my car had been covered in water when I opened my front door earlier - but it was to me like a delightful punctuation mark on the latest chapter of my wrist story, if only someone a little bit more fruity had been left in charge of standardising the Anglo alphabet.
Nevertheless some seventy dollars and twenty minutes later I was on my way to work buoyed by nature's gentle, reassuring prod. That rainbow wasn't the most exciting thing to happen today (I also discovered that Woolworths sell chocolate Paddle Pops in a 32 unit "Family Pack" and they're on special this week) but it sort of indicated that maybe the world was swinging back to my side. And that not all freak acts of nature would end up with me missing a year of basketball. Sometimes the universe would just focus on being pretty.
So, for one moment in my car this morning everything seemed perfect, or at least well timed.
Later in the afternoon I saw two rainbows at once which I believe cheapened the whole experience slightly.
Since starting my wrist rehab I've been told to stop wearing my wrist support and start getting used to having nothing keeping my arm connected to my hand except skin, tendons and muscles. This might not seem like much of a big deal, but after almost six months of having my wrist wrapped up by something velcro-y or sharp, or sweaty or pink having my arm free for a couple of days straight has felt amazing! Unconditioned muscle pain aside that is.
It was perhaps fitting that that the man who made me that first pink wrist splint last December was coincidentally the one told me to free my wrist two seasons later. Then he gave me a 1kg purple dumbbell. I'm sensing a theme with this guy...
I have now begun my re-strengthening process, which I currently treat as micro gym. It's like regular gym was, but on a tiny scale - sort of like a model railway to a real world public transport system. Every day I get to do a tiny number of sets with a tiny number of reps with a tiny little weight to work tiny little muscles. Afterward I drink a tiny protein shake, but I wasn't told to do that last part it was just for lols.
I'm still six months (minus three days) away from having a normal wrist again. And there's still a danger of overworking the unhealed joint and undoing the work of the surgery. So I'm just doing the minimum for the moment and then feeling shit scared about any pain I feel afterward. I'm keeping it micro-scared though.
The Fresh Food Army
There's a Woolworths I shop at in Adelaide, not far from where my brother was born. On a cold Tuesday night not two weeks from solstice a blonde teenager who looks about the same height as me but most of a decade younger pulls cans of fruit out of recycled cardboard and slams them onto a shelf. When he looks at me passing with my trolley he doesn't see that five years ago I was him, filling aisle one with halved apricots and two fruits from what theoretically could be the same cardboard box as the lightest of rains seasoned the midst of an evening. And I was as ignorant that night as he is now to the fact that very moment somewhere in the sky an airplane is carrying people important to someone into the airports of the Middle East to be deployed into wars and occupations with view to protecting the very Woolworths we worked in.
To define the word 'protecting' I do not mean the literal defensive from terrorists and insurgents pointing homemade RPGs at the new self-serve checkouts. This protection is more separated, in the way of building hospitals, stifling dissent and educating the untarnished to weaken the strength of the potential terrorist talent pool much like a 17th AFL team loaded with draft concessions. They're not defending borders as much as earlier diggers, but they're protecting the same values which strengthen the same share prices of companies like Woolworths, which misleadingly closed today down 11 cents most likely because these deployments are conducted with stealth and not included on market reports.
There are plenty of viewpoints to have about wars and wars-by-name, but I'll say this: I'm glad I live in a country where I can have viewpoints about all sorts of shit and that the primary sort of brainwashing and conscription that exists involves me spending more money on brand name products at worst. I also want to read my brothers memoirs after he gets back.
It weighs 9kg and I carried it from Rebel Sport in the Myer centre all the way to my office, not easy in its unwieldy box and with my one hand.
Faced with having to walk it the 3kms home I decided at the end of the day to just wear it under my business shirt for the trip. It came fully loaded with weights and I couldn't be bothered pulling them out and putting them in my bag. So I emerged from the disabled toilet and commenced my 110% bodyweight stroll through the west parklands thinking this would be the only good day ever to get stabbed.
When I got home I asked Matt if he thought anything was different about me and he tossed up between "increasingly sweaty" and "wearing a bullet proof vest with a Hit-Me-Baby-One-More-Time midriff".
After the walk I went straight into some pilates/jump training. I can jump just as high while wearing the vest, but not as many times.
Then I went to Alex's basketball game and shot between every quarter using two frickin hands for the first time this year. Lefty still isn't functioning quite that well, but it's helping and I actually shot a higher percentage than I expected. Perhaps all the daily visualisation of shooting has helped. I CAN SHOOT!
I had extra meetings at work today and I decided it would be a good opportunity to try wearing something more formal than jeans to distinguish myself from my peers. I also hadn't shaved for a couple of days and thought pinstripes and a collar might distract away from this. Unfortunately I was pressed for time and didn't have time to iron a shirt (note to self, pun should come after subject).
My solution, a long-sleeved cotton knit! Underneath it I wore a tucked in, un-ironed shirt whose only presence today was to peek its intelligent looking collar about my neck. The knit was also long enough to cover my waist so I got to skip my belt today too.
I was thinking about writing a book about how to save ridiculous amount of time with tiny hacks, but all I've got so far is this, pelvic-floor exercises while waiting for the microwave and "live within walking distance of your work".
Also, in the future I envisage a HUD sort of like a late 80's SEGA Lock On headset that would allow you to RDC into your desk so you could start checking your emails as you walked to work.
And I have so much to share with you Internet. Well, I had. But everything seems so fleeting these days and I didn't write much of it down.
The only thing I remember I was going to talk about was how I bough new Glucosamine tablets after I ate all 180 that Chow bought me six months ago. But my wrist didn't heal itself yet, so I got a different brand. They were more expensive this time because they have to of the most contrasting awesome additives. The deadly power of added SHARK. And a pinch of ginger.
Also BULLDOGS WOOOOOOOO.
Cameraphone Summary of the Last Week
Here's what I've seen lately during life in North Adelaide.
A Gray-Nicholls cricket bat floating in the Torrens. I saw this on the walk to work one morning. It was about 500m upstream from Adelaide Oval. Note that I had to walk down a very wet embankment in my work pants to take this photo but I decided it was worth it.
Vanessa made mini Mississippi Mud Cakes under the premise that smaller = healthier.
This is the duck I wash myself with in the shower with every day.
Am I the only person who finds the concept of Cheese Butter horrifying?
I saw Jonno in town and knowing his propensity to read my journal after he sees me to find out if I mentioned him I decided to take his photo next to the cheapest range of quality world movies in Adelaide (apparently).
Today I spent longer than I should have pondering if we could have bathroom heatlamps in every room.
In Jumping News
Cricket is like the ultimate bedtime story, told to you by an accountant. I'm amazed at the inverse between how excited I was about the Ashes in the leadup and how sleepy I was as soon as it started. But I still want to watch more days. I'm glad our little temporary aerial - which can't get any of the major stations without fuzz - has enough power to stream SBS HD through the set top box. And as long as there's not a plane flying overhead it looks sweet. There's the same amount of planes in North Adelaide as there was in Mile End.
I did some flying today myself. This evening's lesson in jumping higher: lift your legs/knees up towards your glutes after you launch to gain a few more inches.
My Little Red Coffee Plunger
There's a global financial crisis and all that. I understand, so I wasn't surprised last week when the coffee and Milo in our kitchenette disappeared. In fact, I was surprised they lasted as long as they did.
Despite needing coffee and having kicked my habit of buying one daily around the time I moved out of my Mum's house I refused to return to spending $20 a week at Bean Bar even when taking the fifteen minute bludge of walking to Bank St and back into consideration. Instead on Friday I went into Woolworths and bought this:
It cost only six dollars and came with 100g of freeze dried coffees and I was surprised how damn good it was. It debuted on Monday afternoon and it was so fun and tasty that it made me almost... look forward to work today. OK, so I wasn't as blown away by the two cups I made today but it certainly gave me something to look forward to. Actually, jokes and team members being retrenched aside work hasn't been too bad lately and that's in general, not just my morning teas. I've had over a weeks worth of not overwhelming work but enough to keep me continuously busy as well as occasionally helping random Indian developers with puzzle-like config tasks so that they may continue to replace my team members uninterrupted. I even saw another rainbow but didn't have time to take my customary camera phone photo of it.
On the way to work today I walked past the old Adelaide University gym on McKinnon parade and its facade was just starting to get demolished by a giant mechanical chode. On my way back as I reflected on my day of achievement I discovered they'd destroyed a basketball court length of building. OK, so maybe they got more done than me in one day but I bet they didn't get two little red plunger coffees during it.
My Relationship With Ducks
Back in the Mile End house there was a milestone along my walk to work each day that I coined "the Mile End Moat". Having moved to the area mid spring it had for more than six months been a long ditch that ran along railway terrace. It served to separate the redeveloped estate with little townhouses and nice cars in the driveway on one side of the street from the trust housing and their toppled over clotheslines and porches littered with empty Coopers stubbies. I'm sure the moat had seemed like a genius idea to the urban planner who devised it sometime in July years before, but until ANZAC Day and its torrential rains the moat remained a subject of mirth each morning.
On my Monday walk after the ANZAC weekend it became apparent to me just how effective the moat was at collecting run off. Around 40mls of rain in two days had filled it in places over four feet deep and although it evaporated at a rate of ten inches a day it became a point of interest each walk to work after any rainy night.
The thing about the moat was that it was much more impressive in some places than others, that is, some shallow parts would dry out in a day whereas other pools would survive a week after a rain albeit with deteriorating water levels. After one particularly heavy rain a couple of months ago the most resilient section of moat filled about five feet high and as I plotted a damp journey past it that morning I noticed two ducks had made it their home. It was cute at the time, and when I passed by on my way home I noticed that despite lowering water the ducks were still there.
It was poignant at the time as I was beginning to stress about finding a place for Vanessa and I to move into before my lease ended in the End. So early Tuesday morning when the winter sun was barely out and I walked past two ducks sleeping next to each other in what was becoming a large puddle I was filled with some hope that if ducks could find a home so easily maybe so could I. A few weeks later I ended up in North Adelaide.
One of the best things about my new house is that it's a few metres from the parklands and the ovals are bordered by a 2.2 kilometre jogging track with markers every 200 metres. I've used it a few times and around the one kilometre mark one dark night there was a pair of ducks. Now I'm not saying they're the same ducks, maybe they are and maybe they're not, but as I did each laps they stayed there. The next morning I walked past that point and there they remained, smiling at me and rubbing their beaks in the mud.
This made me realise that ducks are appearing a lot in my life: on my way to work; when I exercise; I even wash myself with one in the shower. All these thoughts ran through my mind last night as I sat down for Thai with Vanessa at Café Michael 2 and read the menu. I ordered the duck.
Melbourne Weekend July 09
I'm about to walk to catch a bus to the airport to fly to Melbourne for a weekend of football and buddies. I'm going to take lots of photos because I look through Facebook photo albums and I get nostalgic for times I took lots of photos. So I bought a 4 Pack of batteries for my Camera only to discover it's full of photos and I lost the cable while moving. So now I will return next week with the first phocumentary in a while detailing my awesome camera phone holiday to Melbourne.
Also I saw the ducks again yesterday and they didn't look happy.
I didn't take as many photos as I hoped I would. I miss my camera. Actually, my camera's right here. I miss my camera cable.
This is the biggest box of Lego I've ever opened. I think my parents did a reasonably good job of raising me as a child, but they definitely dropped the ball when it came to spending up to $140 on Lego sets per child.
But I have a salary now and I can buy these things. So tonight I built the a third of a big Lego police station with my girlfriend and it was awesome.
Given the global events of the past week I'm not all that positive how to approach writing stuff on this global internet, which is why yesterday's entry is terrible by the way. I think I have a theory that goes a lot like this: 1) Every day of your life is a unique gift and should be treated with reverence. 2) If you die the world keeps spinning, doesn't matter how big a celebrity you are.
Obviously I'm not implying that everyone should treat each day like a special occasion because nothing would ever get done if we did. My musings do go a little deeper than that but I'm waiting to discover the sect or religion that's already nutted out some of the finer details and subscribe to that rather than transcribing them myself.
So how about this day you, reader, just appreciate life's bits. Don't affect them, just appreciate the subtleties.
Like, the little gaol cells have little Lego toilets in them.
One day last year I injured my wrist and put a not-small dent in my car. It was a particularly dismal 24 hour period (we also lost basketball). Coincidentally both these incidents occurred on the front left limb of the body, a subtlety not really worth noting but tragic nonetheless. After dropping it off nine days ago I got my car back today nice and shiny and repaired and drove home very carefully to avoid any other tragic coincidences like being T-boned as I left the crash repairer. If only my wrist could be repaired as quickly. A week ago I reached the five month mark meaning it should hopefully all be downhill from here. I saw my hand surgeon today and he says everything is looking good and that while this kind of operation doesn't succeed every time it looks good for me. I don't want to say "The Gym is so close I can smell the Up & Go Energize already" but... well I do want to say that but I can't because it will still be months. There's a gym for old people just down the street from me with a nice weights room. Hopefully it won't take that long.
My work might not be that exciting or creative, however there's one thing that keeps me coming back to the office each day: the choreography. I'm talking about the natural, white collar dance that occurs between cubicles. The last few months I've been down on it because skies have been gloomy and my wrist has been tender making me hesitant about flaying it into things. Now the sun is peaking out - today between showers - and it's cabaret season.
The day starts with with the lift-ride Irish-dance as suits, polos and call centre employees with logo tees keep their arms to their side and shuffle to the back and sides of the elevator to the cue of the floors lighting up. At first it seems random, however the viewer can soon pick up on the subtleties that add beauty to the maneuvers, the influence of levels of politeness, the symmetry.
Yet that's nothing compared to the spectacle of the kitchenette Sirtaki around first coffee time. Impeccable timing is the trademark of a routine that sees up to six people zag around and between the others in the shoebox sized kitchen, sliding through narrow gaps to reach the fridge and spinning in unison to allow the person at the bench to use the sink and arsy versy. It almost compares to the traditional Scottish folk dance that is 12 people simultaneously leaving the same small meeting room.
It isn't all showtime though, and the attention to detail throughout the entire day's performance adds up. The flamboyant side step and spin to align an ID card with a scanner and then continuing the move with a shimmy through the security door is particularly popular and graceful. The Hip Hop moves when using paper towel to dry hands, and then depositing it in the trash - in an empty bathroom - also brings smiles. Not to mention the passing in a narrow cubicle corridor tango; the empty lift mosh and the 5pm cha-cha-cha as you take the first steps out the door.
It's a really good feeling walking out your front door into sunshine with a MP3 player fresh with new tracks. Forecasts of sun, lack of rain in the longterm rainfall predictions, healing and pure optimism had me decide over the weekend that it was going to be Spring now. The wettest July for a while was done. There were going to be flowers and baby ducks on my walk to work, calendars and misaligned knee-caps be damned.
Okay, I may have let hope get the best of me when I tried to cut across the grass for the first time and still came out the other side with damp shoes. Also apparently it rained sometime overnight. And no ducklings were born. But I'm done with Winter officially. This of course does not mean much in reality.
I umpired tonight, turning the sense of curiosity some teams had at seeing three umpires on the court at the start of the game into dread as I floundered about aiming for something between competent and noticed. As usual I've discovered the picture I have in my mind of how things will go is nothing like what eventuates in real life. But I had fun and I got twenty dollars which covers the whistle I bought and the petrol to get there. I got to tech someone too, but I didn't get the rush of power I assume all the referees get when they do it to me.
I know I did nothing but favours for farmers with my entry last night. Journal jinx is a pretty powerful phenomenon, and I managed to convert the Bureau of Meteorology's prediction of 20% chance of less than 1ml of rain into a day of ubiquitous greyness. At lunchtime I went to the river to write and I concentrated hard on parting the clouds but in entry-spiting fashion it instead starting spitting light, fluffy rain that went at the right angle to penetrate the shelter I was sitting in and dampen my words.
While sitting there I did see a bird work on a new nest, provoking hope that the spring spirit was alive elsewhere. Once my break was over I stood up to return to the office and immediately the clouds parted and it spewed sunshine. An hour later there was another double rainbow despite there being dick all rain. Finally when I finished work after 6pm I walked onto North Terrace and into showers. But I'm done with Winter, officially, apparently, so I didn't use my umbrella. I just played cheery music all the way home.
Persistence Pays Off
A double journal jinx led to beautiful sun today, and in mentioning this I realise what will come tomorrow.
It's rarely a good thing when your inspiration for dinner comes when you're sitting on the toilet, but last night I had a delicious gourmet mash potato blend. The recipe was in July 2006's Men's Health but my variations aren't. I mashed potato into peas, corn, fried onion and diced cabbage. That's right, cabbage. I bought it on a whim for dinner because it was cheap and it felt on some level like a testament to my Scottish heritage. But when it came to preparing it I freaked out a little as I planned on eating this meal for the next few days and I didn't want to discover I hated cabbage after inserting it into half the week's menu. So I diced it very thinly, which in the end was wasted effort as fried up cabbage is actually pretty nice. It tastes sort of in between a lettuce and a pickle.
The reason I bring this up, which should be obvious, is because me and that horse have the same fucking life! OK, obviously he is smaller than normal and I'm bigger but I get the feeling that dude gets as devo as I do every time he has surgery or gets something fixed only to discover some other part of his body is now going wrong.
Yeah it was ridiculously sunny yesterday and today, I didn't wear a jumper or a jacket during each. I even wore shorts on the way to the physio on Wednesday so he could try and fix my knee cap without me taking off my pants. And despite nearly being blown away on the way back from the podiatrist this morning there was still a tingle of warmth with the cold news that I'm now getting orthotics and a ban on lower body exercise to go with my current separation from upper body workouts.
To make matters worse I then had to limp home past the Torrens as well as the plethora of sports fields that mark my walk home. Each filled with revelers enjoying the spring and running around or playing sports. There was even some Chinese dude doing a set of deadlift-to-lateral raises with a barbell outside Jolleys Boathouse. Come on!
On a positive note today, all the trash clogging up the Torrens seems to have been cleared from the river. Wish someone would tell me how to do that.
I saw this article in LifeHacker the other day, titled Discover Your Life's Purpose in Around 20 Minutes. I love LifeHacker, not only because it's full of useful tips but also because I can make a plunger coffee at about 10:30 every morning at work and get away with reading fresh stories for a good ten minutes while drinking a French Vanilla mug.
After learning how to discover my life's purpose in 20 minutes and interpreting the instructions I was ready to fetch the grain of salt from my A-L drawer in my desk's filing cabinet, but hesitated. Part of my brain really wanted to dismiss this experiment as charlatanism, but that could just be a mental smokescreen. It's two weeks later and I still haven't tried this because I'm positive that what I'm doing at the moment isn't going to be what's left on the paper.
Anyway, Internet, tell me: what's your purpose in life? And are you living up to it?
Today I've seen so many birds fucking, or fighting their rivals for the prize of passing their genes on.
So it's almost Spring.
For a while there I was taking photo of the duck couple I used to see every time I walked through the parklands to work. Of course I knew that it wasn't always the same duck couple I saw in different spots each day, sometimes right next to themselves, but ignoring this and revelling in my duck innocence made me happy. Even knowing that ducks hang out in couples generally makes me happy. Which is why when I walked home along the river and saw a single female duck alone on the grass I felt a bit sad for it. Then a few more metres down the path I passed some reeds in the water where two male ducks were with another female with the intention to impregnate her, drown her or both. And whatever their intention they were both fighting for the right. On her back.
So, thanks ducks, another optimistic day of cloud penetrating sun wasted by that display.
I have no idea how to play Wii Basketball
Because I broke the lightbulb above my head. It writes itself!
I worked out my umpiring style
At first I thought I was bad at umpiring because players on each team would get shitty at me throughout the game. Complaints tend to fit into two categories. Category A - I can't believe you called that tiny touch as a foul. Category B - that guy touched me why didn't you call a foul?
The main complaint the other referees have about me is that I don't call enough fouls, or take control of the game enough. At first I thought that was just a mindset I had, to not call light slaps or cheap fouls and let the game be played. Where did this mindset come from? I realised, I'm a big man. I've spent my entire career being slapped, jumped on and hammered with nothing being called and now that's how I umpire! I didn't even comprehend this until I was driving home. Six teams worth of players got umpired like they were big men tonight. No wonder everyone complained. Except the big men. They were used to it.
I now burn 12 less calories per day.
6 until 6 on the 6th
In six days - on the sixth of September - the sun will be out at 6pm. For the first time since April. This means that if it takes you half an hour to get home from work you will have an equal amount of time to enjoy sunlight before it dissappears. From that point it just gets better.
22 days until House starts again. 24 days until NBL season begins. 34 days until Daylight Savings. 57 days until NBA season begins. 61 days until average maximum temperature is 25 degrees. 77 days until my wrist works again. 91 days until Summer!
One Hundred Years of Solitude
I won my three month battle with Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude today. I sat my lunchbreak out by the Torrens sans jumper reading the last few pages as Spring sun alternated between clouds. Temperatures fluctuated. It's hard to say if I recommend the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature book, it was pretty heavy reading. Admittedly my reading fitness isn't as good as it was a couple of years ago, but it felt like I was reading through sludge at times. Also tricky about this book is it flows like crazy for the first few chapters and thankfully the last. For it, though, is the epic tale of the meaning of life, history and the joy of symbolism. Also for a book about solitude it sure has a shitload of characters, all with practically the same name. I guess it's not a very good book to read in drabs over three months.
I've been trying to think for a couple of days what I should do to commemorate my 1000th entry. Something epic? Do something dramatic in real life and then document it? Run through my favourite moments starting in the Hackey Central Times archives and working my way up to 2009? Embed mp3s that don't mean anything to most people in between paragraphs? Post an image macro or animated gif of balloons and streamers? Nostalgia? Ramble on about the progression of my blog in a bout of thinly veiled narcissism?
I recently sent my brother - currently serving in Afghanistan - a 'People Should Care About My Life' bradism.com t-shirt. He mentioned that people quite liked it, indicating to me that entertainment is in short supply over there. Then it made me self-conscious because many new people might be reading my pithy ramblings. People whose greatest risk on their walk to work would far out-shadow my biggest obstacle of not treading in swan shit on the footpath.
I considered pulling a few stunts or writing some pseudo-essays to justify my URLs existence in a warzone. But in reflection - and with no weight to laziness - I remembered why I came up with that motto. Because this website was supposed to be narcissistic and pointless. I think... it was all so long ago. Whichever way you look at it, 1000 entries of mainly introverted, narcissistic rambling is an effort!
It may have taken over five years, but my commitment to something so egotistical and irrelevant to everyone but me deserves recognition! This is top-level Maslow Hierarchy shit! No matter how much of a head start culture, genes and society can give you being able to stand on top of that pyramid a thousand times can't be easy, there's a lot of hard work behind the scenes. And it all went towards this! 1000 entries. People should care about my life! Only because it's needed to justify a blog. As for reality, I'll come to that in entry 2000.
Also I'm not sure this longish entry has a worthwhile payoff, so here's a funny picture.
Finally, thanks to everyone who's ever commented. You give me hope my motto can be achieved.
I don't have a religion. I'm not a member of any social clubs, political groups, knitting circles or even sports teams at the moment. I have hobbies and interests whose priorities I interchange everytime procrastination rears. I don't really have an outlet for passion in anything I do. I wouldn't even have a problem giving up working in IT for the rest of my life if an economical alternative presented itself. There's no browser, programming language or operating system I feel the need to be fanatical about. My passion outlet, the one thing I am fanatical about without having any direct control over, is football. I love the Western Bulldogs.
I'm not even sure how I became so enamored with a club from a region that neither I or relative have any connection to. Particularly given they're so unsuccessful and unrewarding to follow. All I know is that I pay hundreds each year to watch them, be a member of their organisation and attend their games.
I am emotionally invested. It's why I get so jittery on week's like this, where they actually play finals and I have to decide whether I should believe that they have a chance. It's like a financial investment, imagine that you put $100 every month into shares of a company that have released two financial reports in the past decade. You'll get antsy.
Nevertheless, they lost today. Despite everything I did to try and not jinx them. I feel disappointed by the Bulldogs, but not let down. Like I was their Dad and they spent every hour talking about the game at home this week. Then when it was time to play they tried but didn't win. I feel like they did their best and didn't win, but we're not going to Pizza Hut on the way home.
I am hopefully ten weeks away from being able to look at myself in the mirror and give myself the finger.
King of the Hill and its intertwinement with my life
Well, I almost teared up this evening watching the series finale of King of the Hill. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all 255 episodes now, which makes it the longest running, completed television series I’ve ever watched. And with nothing I can find worth writing about at the moment I decided to study the role King of the Hill has played in my life.
I remember in the summer of 1997-98 when series one was broadcast on Channel 7 like a worthy competitor to the Simpsons. This being the prime era of the Simpsons this competition was obviously not going to succeed. I don’t think Mike Judge intended to win the mantle of number 1 animated family either. King of the Hill started as, and has remained, a character driven show. One of the first animated character-driven shows I can recall, really. I mean this was back when Ron Howard was mainly spending his time being nostalgic about Happy Days. King of the Hill was never about comic relief and sight gags as much as it was about building characters and working off them. That said, King of the Hill really could have died about four years ago without losing much.
So, from 1997 I remember one joke with clarity. Peggy Hill, the uptight southerner dealing with teaching a progressive sex-ed class at the local high school while being so repressed that she was unable to speak aloud the terms for genitals. And seeing her psych herself up by staring at herself in the mirror and saying "Happiness... Happy-ness. Happy-nesss. Hap-penis. Ha Penis. Penis. VAAAGINA!" The word happiness lost meaning for me that day. I was a 13 year old boy, I obviously didn’t have the same appreciation for King of the Hill’s subtleties then that I do now. In fact it took another seven years for King of the Hill to start resonating with me, in 2004 at a time when it started appearing in the most convenient of places in my daily schedule. At 5pm, when I was getting home from uni and having pre-nightfill dinner, at 11pm on Monday’s when I’d get home from Nightfill and reheat tea or a packet of cocktail wieners, and at 5am on Fox at about the time I would figure it was time for bed. I think the last point has something to do with my affection for it; there was a time in my life where King of the Hill was my daily lullaby.
King of the Hill doesn’t just get love for affection, at its peak it always guaranteed a funny moment. My favourite episode was when Hank Hill accidentally became a pimp, an episode I’ve seen only once at 5am as the sun came up and I remember being in hysterics as the closing credits played, remixed into a seventies funk theme after Hank Hill saved his wife from another Pimp who despite being white in the show was actually voiced by Snoop Dogg. There have been other lines, "I'm so white, during the riots I went out and bought a television"; "That’s my purse! I don’t know you!" Pure genius. I’m sure Mike Judge is happy that his legacy won’t be Beavis and Butthead Do America.
In 2006 after I got a real job with normal working hours, and a bigger download limit I reached the point where I was up to new episodes of King of the Hill and for the next three years during its seasons every Monday night after work I would come home to King of the Hill. By that stage its quality had dropped dramatically, but it was still more entertaining than nothing and I always found Monday nights to be the hardest to fall asleep on so my lullaby it became again.
There are some specific and vivid moments I recall that are intertwined with King of the Hill. An evening at Graham’s Castle in Goolwa comes to mind. I watched an episode while drunk with many of my sober friends, who found me annoying. But that was a great day. That night after Nightfill where I ate the whole packet of expired cocktail wieners over a double episode. And the DB1 assignment which I did over more than a day of awakeness and, once it was complete instead of immediately going to sleep I watched the episode that was on first. More recently, I watched episodes I’d downloaded and encoded for my phone. I watched part of season 13 while I spent the night in hospital with my wrist in plaster. And another on the plane flying to Townsville to see Steve march out before Afghanistan. And tonight, after getting home from umpiring basketball finals and watching the final episodes with trepidation while my girlfriend sleeps on the couch in our house. In thirteen years of many changes King of the Hill has been a solid, modest marker of stability. And now, like so many other things from the first quarter-century of my life, it’s gone.
Maydale Dale and I were victims of the Global Financial Crisis. The GFC, because we always use abbreviations in IT. 'There are two important Business Process concepts I learnt a uni,' I told Dale. It was mid-morning and we were in the kitchenette. Salary freezing had driven our coffee strolls bankrupt and we now lengthened procrastination by getting coffee at the same time, to maximize the amount we would have to wait for each other to get out of the way in the narrow kitchenette.
'The first is the concept of the critical path. That is, start to finish, the core of the project lifecycle. Every task on the critical path has to be completed in order for the next task to start. You add the expected length of all those tasks together and you get your estimated time for a project.' Dale was pumping the peculator like he was stroking a small dog, trying to coax coffee from the cylinder without it making any aggressive gurgling sounds that would indicate to those in earshot someone might be finishing the batch... And someone might not be making the next lot.
'Like, imagine making the coffee is your project. The critical path is: get the beans out the cupboard, 30 seconds. Put them in the grinder and grind, three minutse. Add water and wait for percolation, five minutes. Fill up cup, 30 seconds. Drink coffee, five minutes. 'But some task like finding a mug, or putting milk in it, that's not critical. You can do it while the beans are grinding. Or while the machine does the filtering. And it only takes twenty seconds, so you're flexible. You can space out watching the red light flash for a minute or two and then get the mug.' 'Wow,' said Dale, surprised to discover I actually knew how to make coffee. 'I thought the passive-aggressive "are you a coffee parasite" poster was targeted at you.'
'The second thing,' I ignored him 'is the concept of slack. In an organisation every person is like a rope. Depending on the size of the object, the more ropes you have tied to it, the less that need to be taut to drag the object towards you.' We walked between cubicles to our desks, motoring slowly to not spill brimming mugs. 'However, that's all changed now.' 'It has?' Dale asked? 'Stock markets have crashed, consumer confidence is low, and everyone has less money. Now is not the time to not be on the critical path.' 'Or what?' 'Remember the pot-plants?' I said. 'The ones which were next to the pillars on each floor? You know where they are now?' 'Gone' realised Dale. 'Not on the critical path. Do you know who's filtering out CO2 for the reverse cycle airconditioning?' 'No' said Dale. 'You and me. You, me and everyone. Add it to our list of tasks. There's less ropes now, less acceptability for give. You need to be taut.' 'Or else become like the pot plants...' 'Exactly.' Dale breathed in deeply.
This morning I received an email from Reception saying I had a package. I went upstairs and found this massive thing. The text on the box reads:
You'll like what's NOT in this carton You'll like what you don't see: NO plastic peanuts, NO polyfoam. NO loose mess - nothing that isn't concious of our environment.
This carton is made from recycled materials. We recycle our own cardboard and paper to form part of the recycled cardboard used to manufacture cartons.
How noble! Inside, rattling all around in an environmentally friendly way was this: My new toy, a One Terabyte external Hard Drive. One terabyte is so ridiculously much. It wasn't that long ago I pulled a 560 meg HDD out of an old PC to slave to my overflowing 1.2 gig disk. Later that year my Dad bought me a 30 gig and I experienced what I think was the data equivalent of being thrown into the middle of a football-stadium sized room of soft pillows. Now the sensation is similar, but I'm a little older so I'm now repping all these extra gigabytes like an old guy sitting on a deck chair in the middle of the bush sipping a Merlot and watching a few kangaroos bound around afar at sunset.
Also, not naming any company names, but it's apparently too expensive to have a recycling policy. So I had to fold up the giant cardboard box and squeeze it into a tiny, plastic waste paper bin. Fortunately the guy next to me was away sick today.
Since Thursday some time I've had two journal entries in my head for tonight, one for if the Bulldogs won and one for if the Bulldogs got thrashed.
I guess I was hoping - and I'm not saying life has been rough lately, but - with all the injury crap and work crap I've put up with the last 12 months I was hoping some of that energy might be channeling into the Bulldogs. Like, SURPRISE! Remember 2009? When you got railroaded into a shitty job and couldn't even lift weights or play basketball to relieve the stress? Remember it good, because that's when the Dogs won the premiership.
As discussed in a previous entry, I know I take following that team far too seriously in lieu of other passions, but it's for the best. My heart-rate was triple what any normal person's would be like watching the TV on a Friday night. I probably burned 1000 calories. At the same moment Vanessa fell asleep.
Still, I'm proud of my team. As someone who's been on basketball teams who finished top only to plummet out in finals, I know that failure and commitment don't correlate. There's always next year. When I wake up it will no longer be Winter.
I woke up this morning like I was in the first second of an ad for Spray and Wipe. Today was spent mainly cleaning. I have two lunch boxes full of sausages I'm going to turn into an epic curry tomorrow.
I've been writing a lot of brain entries in my head lately. These are like journal entries written in my brain instead of on the internet. I only really like writing trivial or melodramatic entries and while I write many in my head it's hard to find time to turn them into casual prose. The things I deal with instead at the moment aren't life threatening or anything, more what you'd have to define as "growing up". Lame.
Obviously I'm so journalisticly unfit at the moment as well that I also get mentally puffed just walking to the starting line. You can't expect to eat a dozen weet bix for breakfast straight off the bat. You need a few bite sized, facebook update style journal entries to get started. I'm going to do them all at once.
I went to an appointment at SportsMed to see a new ortho about my knee and in the waiting room I went "ooh, they have chairs specifically for tall people. They do like athletes here." Turns out the chairs were for people on crutches.
I saw a want ad for Nightfill staff at Bunnings. Was very tempted. In a mid-life crisis movie plot kind of way.
My real job has been relocated to the suburbs, right after I moved to within walking distance of my city building. Now instead of walking to work I have to drive and on that drive I will see my old work out the window as I cross over a bridge. If I get asked in a job interview why I left my old job I'll tell them they took the jobs out of Adelaide. I won't hint that they went 10 minutes down the road.
New work building looks like a prison.
On Friday I found $10 on the ground at work. It reminded me of this quote, which made me laugh another few dollars worth. G.O.B.: I'm making a magic video. I'm going to tape myself doing tricks around the office. I'm calling it Tricks... let me finish... Around the Office. I figured out a way to make money while I'm working! Michael: That is what we call working.
There were way more but when you don't write them down things of these importance tend to leave you.
I wonder how this move is going to affect Dale.
Oh The Hills
I had to drive through four fixed speed cameras to get to work today. I don't speed much anymore. I can't remember why I ever used to, but after my second speeding fine back in 04 I realised it wasn't worth it. Actually I think I continued to speed for years after that, until I moved to the plains where there are speed cameras everywhere.
Peak hour traffic, speed cameras and parking stress me. In the hills you could always find a park. And you could read books on the train instead of sitting in traffic.
Pros for new work location: There's a reserve with a river out the back; there's fake sugar in the coffee stations so I don't have to steal packets from cafes; the desk ergonomics are actually pretty good.
Cons for new work location: The park with a river out the back is much smaller than the one at my old work; the microwaves to people ratio is much lower; the window is so far away I can't even tell if it's raining or not; the toilets are too bright to nap in; there's no paper towel in the toilets so you have to use a hand drier; the hand driers are "Bradley" brand yet they MOCK me with the instruction "please rotate hands while drying." Fuck you Bradley hand drier!
There's more but I think I'm on a tangent. I had another wrist appointment today where they did some strength/movement tests then asked me some survey questions. The answers were: Able, With difficulty, With Assistance, Impossible.
Question 1: I can use my back pocket Able
Question 2: I can wipe myself after going to the bathroom? That's question 2? I don't use that hand
Question 2b: But if you did use that hand? ... *slowly mimics the action to test wrist ability* ... able?
Who is going to answer "with assistance" to that question?!
Question 3: I can comb my hair? At this point the reverse cycle kicks in, giving a slight tousle to my long, unkempt locks.
Question 4: I can carry a shopping bag weighing 5 to 7 kilograms? Why wasn't that question 2? Who ordered these questions!?
I'm having another operation on October 30 to remove the surgical button in and on my ulna and to snap through some of the scar tissue to - fingers crossed (able) - return most of my lost movement.
The scar tissue manipulation is where one surgeon holds my unconscious arm down firmly while the other twists it round like he's cracking firewood. I asked my therapist about the details last week. He explained it with an anecdote about how cool and loud it is.
Today the surgeon asked if I knew what the operation entailed and when I said yes she looked a little disapointed that I knew what she got to do.
At 11:30am today I made the horrible realisation that I'd left my lunch at home. This included my thing of yogurt and my post-lunch Pepsi Max. This would have to happen today - at my new suburban location - where the only alternative to bringing your own food is eating at the cafeteria.
Optimistic, I used Google Maps to do a quick aerial survey of the area, and I spotted a Coles supermarket a few kilometres away. It too much of a trek to do return in my lunch break, but when the time arrived I decided to walkabout anyway. Being Australian.
It took me about 10 minutes to find my way out of the prison facility because I went out the backdoor and ran into locked gates and barbed wire fencing. Soon enough though I found myself in suburban streets, peering about hopefully for a Sumo Salad that got lost between arterial roads. Then I got excited because after a few minutes walk down the street I saw a big IGA sign poking up through the trees.
My pace quickened, but as I got closer I realised it was a factory and not a supermarket.
I still went inside and a receptionist pre-empted me by saying "this is a distribution centre".
I asked if they had a supermarket section, and they said "No."
I asked if I could just browse a little and they said "please leave, you're in a restricted area."
So I walked a little further down the street and I saw a big sign that said Foodland.
This resulted in a very familiar experience.
Then I found a building with a "Drake Supermarkets" logo on it and I detected a pattern.
A short while after I was in a cafeteria sadly watching the rain and eating some pork meatballs with vegetables. That was the only meal that said "Healthy Choice" and I figured if that was the healthy choice I didn't want to risk anything else.
I wish I had made it to the supermarket. I was going to buy a healthy food pyramid lunch. You know when you see those posters that say "Eat Healthy" and shows a wooden table laden with bread rolls and loaves and fruit and vegetables and eggs and cheese and milk and honey. Like that.
I wasn't going to eat like everything in just one day, but I was going to buy random things and just eat different parts of the pyramid for a while. And maybe announce where on the pyramid it was before I ate it.
When I got home I ate my slightly warm thing of yogurt.
And this is where my weekend ended. That is 1601 pieces of Lego scattered on my table. I first saw the set online in the summer of 2008 when I identified it as the perfect centrepiece for my Lego adorned work desk. I'm actually pretty glad I didn't get it back then, after spending two hours putting together just the one house so far. And that was with Vanessa's help. I think it would have taken me a lot of lunch breaks; it's incredibly detailed. After two hours of Lego construction I noticed everything else around me seemed quite miniature as well.
This weekend was generally pretty productive, and involved lots of dressing up. I went as a Panda to a masquerade ball on Friday night. I looked like a bank robber. Saturday I got dressed up in suits in preparation for Andy's wedding. I also made progress coding things, wrote record reviews, built Lego house and took a pretty nice picture of it.
And about thirty minutes ago I had a big drink of milk so now I am primed for sleep. I hope all this sunny productivity continues this week.
Sunlight = Optimism
I was watching NBA Greatest Games today. It probably means I'll have the basketball dream again tonight. The one where I'm with my friends and they ask me to play basketball with them because they need someone to fill in. I protest because my wrist isn't ready yet, but they convince me and I play and I'm healed and it works just like it used to. Sometimes it's not my friends, once it was the 36ers.
The game on today was 1997 Western Conference Finals between the Jazz and Houston. Five epic superstars on one court. In particular I loved watching Hakeem Olajuwon and his one handed post skills. I also related to John Stockton and his ability to work the ball into the hands of his team-mates through tight spaces. In all the basketball I've been watching and never playing lately I've come to the realisation that passing is just as good as shooting. When I come back I'd really like to be a combination of Hakeem and Stockton. That is, a tall in the post who draws the entire defenses attention and then dishes out an assist. Not a little white guy who can't shoot 3s.
My iliotibial band is possibly possessed by Satan. I've seen a physio, podiatrist, GP, orthopedic surgeon, and now super-expert physio. If his stretches don't work I'm finding a priest.
Call to Arms
The New York Times featured an article about the Large Hadron Collider and how it may be being sabotaged by time travelers. The theory goes that perhaps the sequence of malfunctions to befall the complicated device recently are intentional, orchestrated by the future because the LHC "might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider ... like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."
It is a theory that even the author concludes is far-fetched - he is quoted as saying "The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct."
As I lay splayed on my bed this afternoon, trying to stretch out this Summer's knee injury while dealing with the cast from last Summer's wrist injury a similar thought crossed my mind. After 2006's back prolapse injury crippled me a few years ago I thought it was only a setback and I would soon be on a longterm schedule of smashing protons together, probably in the form of something bigger. However now I too am at the stage where I suspect sabotage. There was a time I believed I might make a model for God. Perhaps answer the most complex questions mankind has asked. I had an ego. One it seems may have been so abhorrent to nature it required time travelers sabotaging me. If true it's worked, wincing everytime you use shift teaches humility. The question is not if this theory is crazy, it's if it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.
Pretty Sure it's not supposed to get hotter from 11pm
Whatever fragments of the delusion I was Scottish I had left were ground to dust this morning. I was interviewing the drummer from a Scottish rock band and his accent completely destroyed me. And his last name didn't even start with "Mc". I thought I had 15 minutes worth of questions but he bellowed out his answers with rapid mirth in about eight. It's going to take me days to translate. I was hopeful for kinship; I guess I'll be less frugal from this point on.
Result of my drive home: Google Search for "Men's Parasol" returns only 10 results. eBay search for "Men's Parasol" returns 'Did you mean "Hat"?'
Posting mainly for little suns
Thank you whoever you are in China who worked tirelessly to produce my $14 fan from Bunnings.
How did I never listen to this song before this weekend? I got stuck doing a release for work at 6pm Friday night that finished at 10:45am this morning. There was a short gap for sleeping. At some point during the early part of the work I stumbled upon this song and it's got a fair thrashing since.
One of the pitfalls of music reviewing is that you spend so much time listening to new stuff that it takes some effort to listen to old stuff. That's probably why in 2006 when I bought Silent Shout I never bothered checking out any back catalogue.
Sometimes in moments like this I wonder how my life might have been different right now if I'd first liked this song in 2003. Could it have shoved my musical tastes onto a completely different path? A butterfly effect/homer-and-the-toaster phenomena? Would the influence music has on the rest of my life lead to differences as a result of following this new path? Where would I be?
Conclusion: I'd probably be exactly the same as I am now, but when the cover of this song in the Bravia commercial made the Knife popular I might have got to scoff pretentiously that I'd been into them before they were big.
Where I'm At
I really want to smash something. Wait, relax, not in an angry way. I want to demolish something constructively.
I used to think about how much energy was generated by the weights room in a single day. If there was some way you could easily tap into all that locomotion plug stuff into it. I couldn't think of any, but smashing weights is constructive.
Smashing weights takes a long time though, and I'm craving the smashing of something that is quick and satisfying. Like the demolishing of a cold beer on a warm evening. But I want something on a much larger scale.
I just want to smash. Constructively. The bigger the better. Something where more commotion means more functionality. Smash a book? Smash out a journal entry? I just can't smash my finger on it. Maybe tomorrow.
Yesterday I said I wanted to smash a book. A week earlier I ordered some hardcover editions of a bunch of books from Fishpond.com.au which managed to match the cheapness of Amazon at the moment PLUS they did staged shipments which meant my library increment wasn't hinged on the new Robert Crumb book's release date.
Anyway this morning my attention was momentarily grabbed by a package being hurled over my gate with a thud. It was my first book. It survived but I'm not sure that throwing over the gate should be the primary option of the postal guy, ahead of options like 'open the gate'; 'slide package under the gate'; 'bring package to the door. But it worked out very nicely in the end.
In other strong Australian dollar news I saw that Roomba's are only $129 USD online (!!!) but they're still $600 in Australia. Is it worth importing one and buying a plug adapter for the charging station? Is my motivation for wanting one at least 50% sourced from Arrested Development? Yes. I think that show may have also pushed my love of Maxibons past a tipping point.
Is This Seriously Where We're at as a Society?
Working in the Suburbs
Going for a drive at lunch time is the new going for a walk at lunch time. And getting through the queue out the car park is the new waiting for the elevator. And playing Sudoku in the parking lot at Coles because you have nothing else to do to drag out your lunch break near half an hour* is the new... I miss the city.
*this is not true, I bought all these books lately and now am at a stage since I haven't been since the last time I went to the library as a kid, before I got a computer. Big pile of books to read, but it's hard to announce "I'm going to the shops, I'm just bringing this novel from my bag in case the line at the checkout is really long."
Going to go back and forward in time in my dreams tonight
On Thursday I waited for WebLogic servers to block for 2 minutes over and over again as I tried to finalise a build script. During one of those moments I browsed to the AV Club to discover their article The Best Books of the '00s.
I've found this whole 'best of the decade' thing that so many internet sites are doing at the moment far more educational than I was expecting. I always lump the past in a too hard basket, so it's been super convenient having someone lead me to water on some classics I've missed. And I noticed a few of the titles hear I had on unplayed audio books on my hard drive. 'Beauty', I thought, 'I'll start some of these on the weekend.'
Then I noticed they also had a best video games of the decade. This was even more attention grabbing as I'm about six years behind when it comes to video games. I haven't even played Half Life 2 yet. I was always a few years late in hardware, and then when I bought my high end laptop in 2007 I got too busy with other things to play games again. Probably, I may just have been unable to install them on Vista. So any games that get mentioned as "great" and also "pre-2008" I'm immediately enticed by.
It's quite late Friday night now and I have read zero words of best books, but I've almost finished Braid and I downloaded the demo of BioShock.
And then my wrist hurt
Last night I was talking to a guy - Ben - who has played basketball against me in one of the leagues I used to play in. He inquired why I wasn't playing this year, and I gave him the skinny on my wrist. He then went on to mention that when his team played mine, they would say that they had to watch out for me outside, because I was good in the key but would also hit threes. I almost cried. That was all I ever wanted to be known for.
I was thinking today - as I paid for a $180 bill to fix the phone line of whoever owns my rental - what life would be like without the internet. I imagined a year, quickly revised down to a month, of living without internet. I imagined becoming reacquainted with the White Pages, reading more books, relying on network television to provide me with entertainment on their schedule and dog earring my street directory. Then I thought of blogging my experience.
At that point I realised my idea was as well thought out as my plan to visit the world's zoos using Google Earth.
Now Entering Non-Existence Week
I'm prepared for tomorrow, the start of the week that doesn't really exist. After the past months have gone from the first symptoms of Christmas - occasional carols in store radio, red bows appearing on things - the holiday is in full effect now. Surely? There's wreaths and balls everywhere, calendars are bursting, the weather is fair. Every job and organisation you belong to has had their Christmas party. The shopping is done, you've even bought the ingredients for Christmas lunch. Little bears wearing Santa Hats and scarves now adorn the mirror of your toilet.
So you'll be lying in bed tonight. Santa Claus will come in, listen to your heart and look at the stats on your life support monitor. Then his eyes will lose a bit of dazzle and he'll turn to say to Jesus and a little drummer boy "There's nothing left to do, we can only make him comfortable now and wait."
But then, nothing happens. For a week. This week. The week before Christmas week. Five whole days of work. Traffic. Bills and appointments. Dusting and dishes. No Christmas at all, just anticipation. CHRISTMAS!
Christmas is Coming
At Ballara house we had a Passion-fruit Vine that spread and flowered with such enthusiasm in the early months of Spring that even I - at that point much hungrier than I am these days - began to quiver at the thought of consuming the fruit that was to come.
Thus it was to my memorable despair around this time last year when I was informed that this was a decorative Passion-fruit vine, one that promised so much but ultimately only spread like a parasite throughout my garden and my heart.
At that point I took to ripping as much of the vine out as I could. A few days later though, after a December shower sprouts of vine poked out the earth and within hours began writhing across all surfaces and latching onto anything within reaching distance and growing themselves upwards. I've never felt more futile as a gardener, although I haven't much experience. Nevertheless I still have dreams about the rapid and all-encompassing engulfment my backyard experienced from those vines.
I tell this story because I had a similar experience today, with tinsel at the office. It started in a big pile next to someone who had had a North Pole Express trainset running loops around their dual-monitors (Jealous! Of both) and by lunchtime had branched out to wrap around every corner and pole of every cubicle in sight.
It was glorious.
I Got A K
I had my annual performance review from my boss today. In the past performance targets were given by "Exceeds Requirements", "Doesn't meet Requirements" and "Meets Requirements" - otherwise known as the thumbs up, thumbs down or shrug. OK they weren't really known as that..
Anyway, now those definitions are gone, replaced with an incrementing scale of goodness from I to K... which goes like this: I, P-, P, P+, K.
My boss, who I could subtly infer is a cool guy but I'll just get out of the way and state it, gave me a K overall this year. I think this is partly because he knows I've been doing a lot of work for a lot of clients in the middle of a two year (and counting!) pay freeze, but also because he's as curious as me about what a "K" actually is. It doesn't say it on the review forms anywhere, and in all the excitement to invest money in a not-broken system they forgot to mention it.
So, anyone who feels like a comment, what do you think a K really means?
I'm writing my 'Best Tracks of 2009' fluff piece that will hopefully soon replace the icon for either my Bradism.com shirts joke from February, or the chocolate crackle tragedy I cooked in 2004. It probably won't get read much, but there will be free MP3s.
I'm noticing a common theme of percussion throughout my choices. Big, boomy percussion. I'm not sure what that means... repressed bitterness about becoming crippled before I could ever use Guitar Hero drums? Coincidence? Probably the latter.
Maybe I just keep writing 'big, boomy percussion' because I'm writing up track summaries while thunder resonates above Adelaide with regularity and menace. It's pretty hot.
This year when pondering what arbitrary number of my favourite songs to countdown this year I settled on 21. That was the number of songs I managed to fit onto a mix CD to commemorate the good times and good songs I've heard the last twelve months. But good music this year hasn't been limited to just one CDs worth, so while you wait for the next installment of my favourite singles enjoy the tracks that almost made it.
There are streams and download links of almost all of them, except for the ones I think I'm likely to get in the most trouble for sharing with you.
The Antlers – Two A bit of emotional acoustic indie pop meets Brooklyn shoegaze.
Slaughterhouse feat. The New Royales – The One Hip-Hop supergroup collaborates with electric guitar playing hip hop group to produce an incredibly catchy rock/hip-hop fusion hook, then rap over it featuring mainly sexualized pop culture metaphors.
I managed to fit 21 of my favourite songs released this year into an 80 minute CD. Then I arranged them in subjective order of best to worst, mainly so I could publish them in two parts. Here is part one. Enjoy the links for this and the runners up posted last week while you can, as I will start taking them down to make room for part two.
After over a decade with indie-rock staples Spoon, Britt Daniel made his production debut with Brooklyn band White Rabbits. On its opening track Percussion Gun Daniel unleashes some pent up creativity with a thick mix of floor toms, crashing piano and increasingly anxious electric guitar. The quality of the song doesn't extend across the whole album – its number of plays on MySpace eclipses the other nine tracks on the album combined – but standalone it's a powerful, rocking single crossing Austin, Texas indie with Brooklyn shadows.
I Heart Hiroshima's twin guitars are rough; both take turns to stab crudely on sophomore The Rip. The main respite to all this coarseness is vocalist Susie Patten who gives contrasting smoothness to the jangled and frantic music. Among walls of riffs and needlework guitar notes pop melodies occasionally sprout and none were catchier than lead single Shakeytown. It's an exhibition of the band at their best: one guitar playing fuzzy rock chords while the other picks the best notes out in an overlapping melody. From an album that you think is yelling at you to begin with, but might make you feel like yelling along by the end.
My first Christmas living with Vanessa started on November 1st, when we decided to put up our tree. That was after I said when she asked in July that we couldn't put the tree up until after Halloween.
Since then it's been an enjoyable assault of Christmas cheer that's had several moments of triumph. Most recently on Monday when, after wrapping my presents last week she asked me every day to open one and I finally relented.
Last weekend I also downloaded over 10 hours of Christmas music, including albums by the orthodox - Beach Boys, Elvis, Willie Nelson - to the more bizarre. Amongst this playlist was David Hasselhoff singing carols to young children (top 10 in Germany in 2004!!) and from Christmas in the Stars the track What do you get a Wookie for Christmas (If he already has a comb.
Then there was the afternoon I arrived home to find every light switch, tap and computer peripheral in our house labelled with a Christmas sticker. Including the toilet which looked like this: Although I think these two stickers might be mixed up.
By the way the answer to the Wookie question can be found here.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Merry Christmas Dwight Howard Gingerbread Man!
Seeing as there's only 1 day left
I think it's time I put up the second half of my favourite tracks of 2009, with links.
Former Formater Nate Reuss is gifted with one of the best voices in pop music, and with new band Fun his sweeping, storytelling vocals finally have found music to match. Be Calm starts the album like the multiple-parts opening number of a grand production. It builds from accordion and slow strings as Ruess ponders aloud this fresh start. Instrumentation and other band members kick in vocals and noise as frantic percussion starts and the orchestra explodes. Rocking guitars and thudding bass take over as Ruess’ voice goes from Meatloaf to Brian Wilson to Stefani – he hits heartfelt, joyous and intense. Everything sticks.
Brit rockers The Big Pink took their influences from the wealth of musical history available in their homeland: a little shoegaze here, some electro synths to go along with their drum machine, some Cure darkness in places. It resulted in a pretty solid album A Brief History of Love. During its recording process they hooked up with Paul Epworth to produce a song called Dominos. Epworth brought all his size and dancefloor hooks tricks from his time with Annie, Bloc Party and Friendly Fires – among many – to pump up the rhythm section and make the chorus into something huge.
Franz’s Ferdinand third album was a long time coming and its concept – an exploration of a night of partying from start to finish – could explain why. Nevertheless the Scots nailed that point in the night where all of a sudden every drink manifests itself in you as unrestrainable confidence and you have no choice but to live in the now. It starts with a funky strut, a target identified and when the chorus arrives at a chaos of guitars, drinks and the answers to stupid questions. Things go predictably well from there, culminating in a backs-to-the-amps-pop metal finale, which might be in triumph or in disarray. It might be a double entendre, it’s too blurry to tell.
With its guest list The Spirit of Apollo seemed destined to either be amazing or phoned in. Fortunately on most songs it’s the former, with The People Tree being a pertinent example. Chali 2na’s luscious baritone is perfect for the role of God and his back-and-forth with Gift of Gab is tight – verse after verse. Meanwhile David Byrne is at his vintage best on the bridge and Z-Trip adds subtle cuts to some funky South American beats. It only pretends to contain the meaning of life, but it’s so damn smooth you’ll swallow anyway.
The Dirty Projectors would make every single end of year list if all of their songs were as easy to absorb as the sugary and funky Stillness is the Move. It’s just great to hear an indie-as rock group try their best to sound like 90’s girl group TLC. That’s without sacrificing any precision guitar work or artistic integrity. So insanely catchy and well produced.
There are feel good songs, and there are songs that sound like the musicians just feel good and you’re the lucky beneficiary of the by-product. Norweigans Röyksopp put their chirpiest song ever at the start of their latest album Junior – their “spring” album – with the hope that a digitally enhanced quarter of a Parliament hook might be the cheeriest music you ever heard. This Spring I think it was.
Superfast rapper Busdriver left a spot on latest album Jhelli Beam to drop a ferocious, intelligent and witty call out on pretty much any popular rapper ever. Nocando - whose raps have speed too, but sometimes seem like slow motion in tandem with Busdriver - take shots and set each other up for quips both intricate and verbose and are all tight. The beat beeps and bloops along in dark, nerd rap style build the song to its predictably ironic end.
Daylight is a jaunty Brooklyn anthem from keyboard/percussion pair Matt and Kim. Matt’s infectious keyboard melody and Kim’s marching band drums set-up are upbeat and fill a whole sound spectrum with just the two instruments. There is complete indie-punk charm with enough production polish on it to add the perfect amount of colour. It certainly lives up to its album’s title Grand.
Simplicity was the key to The Thermals fourth and best album, a weightless and colourful collection of punk-pop ear candy. Frontman Hutch Harris rollicked his way through each track like a tipsy Ben Gibbard and playing looping chords with first-mouthful-of-Coco-Pops crunch. Production values, however, were high with John Congleton – the man behind The Polyphonic Spree - managing the same kind of booming choruses out of the sparser Portland three-piece. Title track Now We Can See is one of the most quickly satisfying, smile-creating sing-alongs ever.
Interpol frontman Paul Banks released a solo album under the alias Julian Plenti this year which explored a lot of his repressed artistic intentions – most of which were to play guitar over less complex bass and drums. It wasn’t a completely cohesive album, but it did contain the gem Games For Days where the man who built a career out of dark, stomping riffs mixed with moody, gloomy guitar lines laid some of his best down on tape. With his rhythm section now simplified into a driving clap Banks rips through a thoroughly Interpol-esque set of lyrics and riffs, thrashing his guitar into oblivion.
Phoenix are one of the classiest rock bands going around, raised in Versailles and recording some of the smoothest things in life. Their rock had always had a hint of electro influence – maybe because their guitarist was in Daft Punk before they were Daft Punk. Nevertheless they got the balance just right on 1901, a track that starts with guitar lines spun through digital honey along with a more corrosive synth streak and peculiarly fitting sonar pings. This simple arrangement carries the song its full length at an energetic 150bpm as the more traditional guitars and drums kick in co-operatively. There’s also what sounds like sped up tambourines and more sonar pings. It’s a pure hit from the opening bar, lyrically fulfilling, polished and rocking.
If you'd told me 18 months ago I would go a whole calendar year without a game of basketball or a trip to the gym I would have laughed at you. Not really, I would have gone deathly quiet.