2015 Music

Alright everyone, shut up, here's my best music of 2015 playlists.

This is a two CD effort, each is under one hour to allow for short attention spans. So 2015. Also, it's on Spotify, if you roll that way. Even extra 2015ish.

Did you know you need to download the Spotify desktop app to rearrange your playlists? For the past month I didn't!

CD1 | Play on Spotify
Waxahatchee - Under a Rock
Best Coast - In My Eyes
Chairlift - Romeo*
Travie McCoy feat Sia - Golden
Grimes - Flesh Without Blood
Nero - The Thrill
Purity Ring - Flood on the Floor
CHVRCHES - Down Side of Me
ASTR - Bleeding Love*
Say Lou Lou - Nothing but a Heartbeat
M∅ - Kamikaze
Jack Ü feat Kiesza - Take Ü There (TJR Remix)
Marina & The Diamonds - Forget
Braids - Taste*

CD2 | Play on Spotify
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Downtown
Mark Ronson feat Mystikal - Feel Right
Oddisee - A List of Withouts*
BADBADNOTGOOD feat Ghostface Killah, DOOM - Ray Gun*
Aesop Rock - Cat Food
Foals - What Went Down
Modest Mouse - Be Brave
Tame Impala - The Less I Know the Better
Ratatat - Abrasive
Hermitude feat Mataya, Young Tapz - The Buzz
Passion Pit - Five Foot Ten (I)
The Chemical Brothers - Wide Open


*Artists I'd listened to < 5 times before 2015. Just staying vigilant for the year when I fail to listen to any new music. Yeah, the internet keeps track of these things.


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Excuses

A Shiny, Sparkly New Year

A few days before Christmas I did something reckless. I decided I was only wearing shorts to the office for the rest of the year, and then I put a load of washing on with all my work pants in there. All of my work pants.
I don't wash my pants that often. They're woolen, expensive, they don't really get too dirty, and have you ever tried ironing metre long pants? So don't judge me.

When I do wash them I use the short cycle with no spin to further reduce the risk of damage to my precious pants. To fill out the rest of the load I added other delicate items in the wash basket, like dry fit shirts and delicates. I found in the bottom of the basket a shirt Vanessa had made for the Taylor Swift concert earlier in the month. I didn't go, but it was the event that convinced me to download Periscope.

Anyway, I knew that the hand decorated shirt was delicate, but I figured Vanessa would not have put the wash basket and left it there for weeks unless it was safe to wash. And given I was doing my gentle wash I reasoned it was the best time for it.

Fifty minutes later the washing machine beeped and I immediately hung the clothes out and found glitter on everything. Everything. Well, except for the Taylor Swift shirt.

Not the end of the world, I figured. If the glitter came off the shirt it was glued to then surely it wouldn't be hard to remove from the clothes it landed on in the wash. It was an amusing anecdote to break the next awkward silence that I encountered at an end of year social event.

And then I woke up today, the first day back at the office, running late for the train and having done nothing to remove the glitter from my only work pants.

Luckily it was warm today. Maybe I would wear shorts again, and deal with the glittery suit pants when I got home.

Nope, today Brad is running meetings and dealing with clients. I had no out. I had to hope that glittery suit pants is going to be a fashion trend in 2016, and I'll be remembered as being ahead of the curve.

2015 Bradisms

Yeah, 2015 held some shit times. Far too many. Particularly at the arse of the year, where it joins to the hamstring tendon of the year.

I want to arrest the sense of jade I'm feeling about the past orbit by highlighting some positive things that occurred. Some of them were special, I don't want them getting lost in the noise.

Here they are in chronological order:

March 14 - I like this date because it just squeezes in before my one year anniversary at my new job. It's also the date of the go live of the project I spent six months on. Technical details follow. A full middleware stack, totally rebuilt by Brad-curated automation on better hardware, more efficiently licensed VMs. Dev through to prod. I delivered what I'd teased at in my job interview. I said, put me in charge. Let me take over the technical environment, disconnect your expensive vendor, save you money, improve the delivery cycle. I'd done that kind of thing before, but never without someone more experienced by my side to fall back on. I'd proven I wasn't being arrogant in the interview. I was competent. I was an IT profesional.

Honestly, I would have promised a lot more if they'd asked. Jobs like mine in this city aren't plentiful.
Also, I still had lots of help from other people. It was nice how that worked out too.

June 15 - Cairns, QLD. It had been raining that morning. Vanessa and I ate our fill of the free buffet breakfast and then went by boat to a place called Fitzroy Island. The sun came out. We spent the day hiking around the island. Rainforest, beaches, an abandoned lighthouse, and to the top of the volcanic ridge that had brought the land out of the water.



After a shower we walked along a coral beach and watched a beautiful sunset, followed by dinner and champagne. The food was superb, the air warm, the sound of the ocean peaceful. It was close to the perfect day. Good food, plenty of exercise, pretty sights, amazing companionship, free breakfast, snorkelling. Air conditioning on demand.

A lot of shit goes down on this planet. A lot of unfortunate people don't have the chance to even try to have a day like this. If the karmic dice of the universe have gifted you the resources to plan this kind of day I strongly recommend you do it. These kind of memories will help you through the bad times like the coming fresh water wars, month long periods of 40 degrees and dealing with FTTP drop outs in the 2050's.

(The next day was also pretty good. Before leaving the island we went snorkelling and met a sea turtle. And there was another free breakfast. It was totally worth missing the last game of the NBA Finals.)

October 24 - A whole team of friends worked together to plan Chow's Bucks Weekend. I spent a bit of time stressing about it. We had set ourselves lofty goals. Watching it come off (roughly) as planned, with that team of friends, was pretty special.



Laughter is good, and the planned and unplanned events of that weekend led to some side-aching laughs the kind you can only share when you're caught up on everyone's backstory. Ideally I'd like one of my friends to get married late-Spring every year.

December 19 - I completed my New Year's Resolution to finish writing a novel. Actually, my resolution was to avoid getting distracted by dogs while I was driving after nearly having an accident on January first. But admitting to being a slightly inattentive driver doesn't gel with my principles as a blunt conversationalist, so novel writing it was, and so I did it too.

It took my almost six months. The feeling upon scribbling out those final words was a strange one. It didn't feel like accomplishment. It was fear. Up until then, whenever I'd heard that gnawing internal voice telling me I was writing a horrible story that no one would ever enjoy reading I could always comfort myself that it wasn't finished yet. When the nagging ratched up I could drown it out by writing more. Now, in a plane halfway between Brisbane and Adelaide, I was trapped and it was finished and those doubt floodgates opened.

My hamstring hurt. Living was hurting. Working on that novel each day was an injection of hope that beat any shot of ineffective cortisone. Finishing it was like signalling to my brain that we were leaving grandmas. The trip to the dog park was over. The lights on the bar had flashed three times before dimming again. Shit.

Of course, reaching the end of writing a novel isn't technically the same as completing one. Even after two weeks of going through it, filling in the gaps, and highlighting plot holes I still wouldn't say it's complete, or völlig komplett. But if I died today someone could theoretically pull it out of a drawer, edit it and self-publish it on Amazon. That's a big deal! Anyway, my resolution for 2016 is to finish editing a novel.

(Obviously that's not my real resolution, which is find more comfortable trousers and rotate my sponges in the kitchen more regularly. I should also print off a draft of my novel, buy a drawer and put it in there, just in case I die from shit hamstring disease.)


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

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

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Big Dreams

I'm fast approaching my Ten Year Anniversary as an IT Professional.

Right before that I was an IT Amateur. I'd dicked around on computers all my life, but the only thing to ever make it out into the world was this shitty blogging thing I hacked up in PHP in the hours between finishing nightfill and eating cereal out of the box and falling asleep.

While searching my hard drive for old music playlists from my IT Amateur era (so that I could recreate them in Spotify and listen to them on my way to work tomorrow) I found a scrawled txt file: "wherethefuckis.com"

Before Google Maps there was a website called WhereIs that did turn by turn directions. In fact, it still exists.

My plan was to create a website called wherethefuckis and it was going to use the original site's database/directions and simply insert swear words into the directions. Like, "Take a fucking left at this shitty street."

It never saw the light of day as in those days I didn't really know what an API or Library was, obviously.

Now I do!

*Jams out to Pendulum*

Quiet Achiever

I had my end of year performance review with my manager today. She asked me if I thought I had a personality. Apparently people have been asking her about me because I'm not very expressive in the office.

I felt so proud. Obviously I didn't show it.

This Place

Justifying Mustaches.

Convenience

We put new trees into the courtyard, lillypillies. The dirt in the courtyard is basically impenetrable clay from the second millimetre down, so we put the new trees in pots.

The dog ate the trees in the pots. Fair enough, she ignores the old trees in the old pots but a new tree in a new pot is a tasty target. I get it.

I put up a barrier to protect the lillypillies from the little puppy. This was great because now there was also a place I could stash the watering can in the courtyard without having to worry about that being eaten. The dog ate a whole hose last week so my reasons for earlier storing the watering can in the laundry were justified.

The new location was so convenient! When I wanted to water the lillypillies I literally picked up the watering can from right next to the tap, filled it up with water, watered and then put it down in the fenced off area again. Over a week I must have saved myself a good thirty seconds.

Last night there was rain and thunder and the dog slept through most of it until about 0330 when she felt the urge for a little piddle and she went down the stairs and barked her head off.

I went downstairs to investigate and found her frozen, halfway out the dog door, terrified by the blown over watering can that was in the middle of the courtyard.

This was the same day she saw a hay bale on the way to the dog park and barked at it, mistaking it for a long haired something breed that didn't want to play.

I had to pick up the watering can, find the bits that had been knocked off, dry my feet, put the watering can in the laundry and then convince the dog it was okay to go outside and pee. I was asleep again around 4am. I lost about 30 minutes. It was not convenient.

Purpose

I like my job. Keeping IT systems running is challenging and rewarding, But I often wonder if it's truly fulfilling my purpose in life. If I spend another thirty years doing the same thing how will I reflect on what I've achieved? Will I regret not attempting to pursue more ambitious goals that utilise my creativity? Will I wish I tried something more artistic? Or something that benefited society? Every day the nagging feeling gets a little bigger.

Then I wander into the office kitchen to make myself a pod coffee and, if there's no cricket on, the news will be headlined by a story about terrorism in a foreign country where blameless people were just annihilated by shrapnel from a suicide bomber. Or innocent children in Africa are dying from AIDS or Ebola when they've barely had a chance to die from war or malnutrition. Or a reality TV star is facing issues with their current sex partner. Instantly I feel bad that I'm fortunate enough to be quagmired by thoughts regarding my purpose in life when people unluckier than me are being oppressed by the cruelty of the world, hopeless.

That's usually the point I forget thinking about what I should be doing my life. I decide to simply focus on the positive things. My needs are met. I have food, shelter, friends, family, security. And, to reduce the nagging depression caused by world events, maybe I'll drive to the shops and buy some new clothes or visit the bottle shop for some craft or imported beers. What's the point of having money if you don't spend it, right? Who knows when the cruelty of the world is coming to get me?

So there I am, a lone figure in the big box liqour store facing one of countless aisles of beer cartons. Hundreds of shiny labels. Beers from so many nations, all similarly priced. How am I supposed to differentiate between them? Which one am I supposed to pick? There are too many goddamn beer brands to fucking choose from. Fuck!

Australia Day, 10 year anniversary

I woke up today and drank my breakfast smoothie made of raspberries imported from Chile and yogurt produced by a transnational food company based in Switzerland. I then dressed myself in a shirt from New York, shorts from New Jersey and Bonds underwear.

I baked a batch of hot cross buns.

For lunch I had a traditional roast with veggies. I drank Mexican beer and watched NBA basketball. I didn't touch the BBQ or turn on the radio. After dinner I practiced my German, and watched a Japanese man play tennis.

Even though my hamstring hurt, today was good times. Although I do feel like I should have done something special for Australia day. Maybe if it wasn't on a Tuesday.

Hot Cross Buns

I was in a crowded office kitchenette this morning, squishing my hot cross buns flat so they would fit in the toaster.

"Hot cross buns, already!" said a judgy woman behind me.

I was immediately defensive. I didn't want people thinking I was the type of person who has to eat hot cross buns the instant the supermarkets start selling them, even though that was 80% of the reason why I baked them.

"No," I said. "Actually, these are hot secular buns." (Because Easter was far away I'd decorated them with tennis ball patterns instead of crosses.)

She said, "Oh, you're right. They're hot circular buns."

Pleased as Poncho

I recently made the mistake of reading my old journal entries from sixteen years ago. They're not found online, for reasons summarised as: I was a big, stupid baby writing big stupid baby things on the internet.

I'd like to think I've matured, but part of me does wonder about how I will feel in sixteen years about my journal entries of today. Will they make me cringe just as hard? For the same or different reasons?

On Friday night I went to Schützenfest and had a wunderbar time. Good friends, good food, good beer and wearing an awesome poncho on a rainy night all contributed to my enjoyment. I also thoroughly enjoyed a set from Jebediah who I'd never seen live despite being a fan for many, many years. They played through a quality tracklist filled with all their hits from the late nineties and early naughties. During one song I did take a self absorbed moment to wonder how Bob Evans... I mean, Kevin Mitchell, must feel about performing songs he wrote sixteen years ago to crowds every weekend. I wondered, how would I feel singing the journal entries that I wrote as a nineteen year old. Weird, that's for sure.

On that night I also made my second ever joke in German. It needs a lot of context so I won't repeat it. As someone certified by an owl on my phone as "36% Fluent in German" I feel like that places me around the same grade as German pre-schoolers. And how many jokes do they make per year? Zwei? I don't know...

Oh, actually, the German word for poncho is also Das Poncho, so if I titled this one "zufrieden wie das Poncho" it would make it three jokes. Assuming they use that idiom in Germany, which I doubt. Learning another language is hard...