Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This cracked me up...

An author answers questions from an interviewer...

How does it feel to receive a good review or an award?

I feel pleased to live in a world where there are such good critics.

And how does it feel to receive a bad review?

I feel sad to live in a world where there are such poor critics.

An ego of that magnitude just deserves respect.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dragging on...

I dislike anniversaries of things, except the anniversary of the federation of Australia, January 26, also known as Australia Day.

The trouble is, a week from today, it's the anniversary of Christopher's death and as much as I'd like to deny it, it's bugging me not a little.

It's been 6 years (less 7 days) since he died and I don't know whether to be ashamed or proud of the fact I still miss him terribly and that it still hurts.

Right now, I'm still overwhelmingly confident I will never get involved in anything resembling a close personal relationship again. Not that it doesn't seem worthwhile, it's just I haven't come to terms with so magnitudinous a loss yet. Some part of me is still totally distracted by what's no longer there.

Cody would leap on it with glee if I surmised my preoccupation with the Crew, as I've affectionately come to know the kids on the other side, is largely down to missing my little brother so much - considering he was only 19 when he died.

I do sometimes fantasize about a few of them as pseudo replacements for Christopher, but not in any serious way. They are their own people, all different from each other and all different from Christopher. I love them because of who they are, not because I miss my brother.

Looking after Christopher was something of a habit. The only time I wasn't doing something revolving around caring for him was when I was asleep. And I preferred sleeping when he was awake because it was next to impossible to sleep when he was asleep because the little bastard snored like a freight train. It made the windows rattle. When he slept, I was out working but I would call in regularly to make sure he was ok. I was lucky to have had such an understanding boss at the time.

When he died, I had no option but to break the habit. I didn't know what to do with myself. Not only had I lost the person I loved more than any other before or since, my daily routine was ruined.

I'd get up at 4am and go to work, Chris would still be asleep. I'd drop in around 9 to make sure he was ok and get him anything he needed. If he were awake and wanted to come with me, I'd get him dressed and take him back to work with me where he would sit outside and watch the passing traffic until about 1pm when I'd finish. Then I'd spend the rest of the day with him - usually fighting about some stupid thing or other - and we'd end up back at home where I'd crash by 10pm while he watched the television.

Towards the end, we moved the mattresses from his bed and mine into the loungeroom so if he needed anything, he could wake me up. He needed to sleep by the heater because the cold made him ache too much and even morphine wouldn't calm him down. There were days and nights he was in so much pain, all I could do was hold him.

There were times I had to carry him to the car and drive him to hospital, shouting at him to make him remember to breathe. And Christopher wasn't small. He was a stocky nugget of a kid. He lost 20 kilos in his last few months, and I don't know whether he gave up on himself or pitied me for what I was going through watching him waste away, unable even to take care of his basic needs. Before he got sick, he was a small mountain of a kid, strong as an ox. To need help showering and dressing himself was devastating for him. If we didn't share that bond of unequivocal love and trust, that would just have been nightmarish for both of us. He used to apologise if he needed me to help him get to the toilet if it interrupted what I was doing. Then I would hold him again, sometimes for hours, just to reaffirm the fact I still loved him.

There was nothing I didn't do for him and nothing I wouldn't have done for him. It's an attitude that became, as I said, a habit and one I was neither willing nor ready to break. What I got out of caring for him was fulfillment. It was me being more than just me, it was me being fundamental to his life as well. I don't even know how to describe how that made me feel except to lose that feeling suddenly left a massive hole, not only in my daily routine, but in me as a person. Half of me was gone. In many ways, a more noble part of me.

What I get from those kids on the other side is an opportunity to again do in a greatly reduced fashion the one thing that brought me unequalled joy, pride and pleasure, the best thing I can say I've ever done and that is to care about someone other than myself. Christopher could have opted to go into a hospice or hospital, but he hated the very thought of that and chose to stay with me instead. For better or worse, I wouldn't have had it any other way either. What has been the cost to me for doing what I did instead of putting him somewhere he could have had 24/7 professional care? I don't know. Did I gain as a person? Again, I don't know. Would I feel differently about so many things now had I not taken care of my little brother? Maybe. One emotion I don't feel though, is guilt. I did my very best every waking minute of my life and I was 100% devoted to Christopher.

In view of the fact there are times - like the upcoming anniversary of his death - when I feel that loss more keenly than normal, was taking care of Christopher the best thing I could have done for myself? Hindsight, being the interminable fink it is, I have to say the answer is 'no'. It probably wasn't the best thing I could have done for myself. But I can only guess at how I'd feel if I'd have done anything else. I have no alternative but to think I'd feel much worse, and yes, very very guiltridden.

And that's why I can't help wanting to do the things I do and why I can't help wanting and needing to be around for the kids on the other side. Not just the Crew, but all the other kids from the other side as well. That these kids allow me to do that is what continually brings me so much pride and joy.

Parents don't always get things right. They quite often get things very wrong, but as long as there is love, there can be forgiveness for past mistakes. If together a family can muddle its way through the upbringing of a child, the child will turn out just fine as long as there is love for and trust in one another.

I wanted to blog this here instead of there because to me, imposing this sort of emotional burden on a kid is nothing short of abuse. I've no doubt one or two of them will read this, but it's their choice. If I did this over there, it has the potential not to be. If any of them cared enough to read this and comment here, I would take that as a pretty good guage of whether they feel I'm a pain the arse or if, indeed, they place any value on what we've done together over the last 6 months.

For those who needed a reason why I'm there at all, this is it.

For those who need to know what I do there, well, I converse. We talk about music, books, poetry, people, politics, history, blogs and the internet. They send me their music and they listen to mine. We share ideas and we laugh together. Sometimes, I listen to them when they need someone to listen to them or even just to know that someone is there who will listen to them if they ever need to talk.

I blogged this here because although I trust them enough to treat this sensibly, the idea they might take my happiness on as some sort of personal responsibility doesn't sit well with me - and there is more than one who might very well feel that way. That's not what I want. I'm pretty happy just as I am. I don't need any sort of moral support right now. I just wanted to say this because it's important to me to properly identify what I'm feeling - both about this upcoming anniversary of Christopher's death - and my interaction with all of them and how or if the two are related and what that relationship might be.

Maybe not doing this sooner is what has contributed to my making contact with the kids on the other side at all. Again I don't know, although I do suspect that's probably very likely. I can't stress enough how important it is to properly and honestly identify our emotions and deal with them openly and honestly and if that means keeping a diary or blogging, then that's what it means.

When Christopher died, I had an emotional breakdown which was probably a major contributing factor to my last heart attack. Put simply, I stopped wanting to live. I knew that much and it didn't need any further identification than that. But now I do want to live and today, with so much angst being generated because of the date and the anniversary it represents, I'm moved to deal with these feelings I've been carrying for 6 long years. I'll probably blog something similar next week, but the next big bit of writing I will be doing will be on Thursday when I put out the next edition of The Swamp, which will be another Worst Business Practice Award - the 8th WBP since I started them in 2001.

Feel free to comment but be warned now, I won't be happy if any stupid platitudes appear hereunder and I may choose to either ignore or retaliate. It'll depend on the weather.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

To: Undisclosed Recipients. Subject: Notification of Consolation Prize Winning...

From: powerball_lottery_937@msn.com



Dear Consolation Prize Winner,


This email confirms that you have been notified of by the POWERBALL INTER LOTTO BV The Netherlands of your email lottery winning for 2005 Powerball Lotto - Wheel E-game held on 22th December 2005.

We wish to congratulate you on the selection of your email coupon number which was selected among the 45 lucky consolation prize winners. Your email ID identified with Coupon No.PBL2348974321 and was selected by Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) with entries from the 50,000 different email addresses enrolled for the Lotto-Wheel E-game. Your email ID included among the 50,000 different email addresses where submitted by our partner international email provider companies.

Prize Ref No.: PBL/CN/6654/CP
Lottery Group: Consolation Prize Group
Prize Amount: US $500,000 Five Hundred Thousand Dollars Only

You are required to file claims for your lottery prize winning by contacting the Lottery Claims Processing Officer with your winning information provided above.

Lottery Claims Officer:
Name: Mr.David Richmond
Email: david_richmond@myway.com
Tel: 0031616064746 or +31616064746
Fax: 0031620579576 or +31620579576

Congratulations once again from all our staffs on your consolation prize winning, we hope you will partake in our forth coming Powerball Lotto-Wheel Email-games.

Yours truly,

Mrs.Brijet Phillip,
(Lottery Coordinator)

How tempted am I to ring these people up and just abuse the shit out of them?

Pretty fucking tempted.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Phew it's hot.

Tomorrow, Sunday, Melbourne will have the rather dubious honour to be the hottest state capital in Australia.

I mean, Melbourne is always hot for the right reasons. Tomorrow it's just plain hot. 43 Celcius - about 107 American.

The media would have us get all panicked and unsteady about Bird Flu H5N1 looking 1337 but meaning nothing. People die in heat like that. Hospital emergency rooms flood with sunburn victims and heat stroke victims and all sorts of other nasty ailments generally caused by remaining too long in an oven.

I'm talking hot.

The roads are going to melt. It's fry an egg on the roof of the car type weather. It's power grid shut-down due to the massive employment of air conditioners that's going to happen.

I remember going to the movies last time it was that hot. Even in the cinema it was hot and uncomfortable. It wasn't 43 but when you can't get up to find a breeze anywhere, who cares how hot it is or isn't. It's just blurtishly hot.

Why Melbourne of all places in this vast country?

We're southern, we're not supposed to get the sort of weather they usually get in Alice Springs - which deserves it. 40+ degree heat in Alice Springs is nature's way of telling people they shouldn't be living there in the first place. But Melbourne is beach front property. It's half way between the equator and the south pole. It's just not supposed to get that bloody hot.

Adelaide made the news today for having just endured its hottest spell for 65 years. They're in for another torrid day tomorrow with the mercury set to reach 40. Not as hot as us - and they're closer to the equator than we are.

Wtf is up with that?

I don't have to work tomorrow. There's no air conditioning there either. We sort of rely on a door open at the back to let the breeze through. It does work, but when that breeze is hot enough to roast a chicken, as it will be tomorrow, who in their right minds would subject themselves to it for something as intrinsically worthless as money?

I don't think I would work tomorrow if I turned up anyway. I don't think I'd work at all if I set foot outside the front door and into the unsanitised atmosphere, devoid of its murderous heat. If the power goes off tomorrow, I'm running a bath. A cold bath. I'll take a notepad and pens in with me and forget there's an inside out oven outside the walls and pen something poignant.

Something like "The swans drifted by the moss covered rocks at the side of the pond. They looked serene and unaffected. They wouldn't change for a while yet, they'd been boiled alive in the pond and hadn't yet begun to decay. Autoclaved swans tend to hold their form for 3 or 4 days. Did I mention it was hot? Fucking hot."

On a map of Australia, tomorrow at least, Tasmania looks like a very attractive place. In all honesty it is - except for those two headed people who live there. I liked Hitchhiker's Guide, but 300,000 real life Zaphods aren't exactly high on my list of things to see before I die.

If it weren't for the fact half the population of Melbourne would be out walking their stupid pets until 3 in the morning tonight, it would be an absolutely marvellous thing to walk around the darkened streets stark bollock naked. Or just to be outside and unclad. This weather is too hot even for mozzies. They all found refreshingly cool bits of water in which to lay their eggs, stayed too long and burned to death like lobsters in restaurant pots. Good.

I'd really do that... be outside starkers, but there are enough people already who think I'm weird and dangerous enough online without having half a suburb telling everyone else I'm a crazed freak irl as well. (Besides which, I have views about my views. There are some things I don't share with just anyone.)

When Andrew from Canada was here, he was planting trees. The news today advised that half of the eastern areas of Victoria have burned out in a bushfire or three. Probably started by the thunderstorms that went through yesterday, but it wouldn't surprise me if those trees just spontaneously combusted. And it's going to be 10 degrees hotter tomorrow than it was today and today bordered on the unbearable.

I hope he's not still stuck in some desert shithole in South Australia. I mean, this heat is killer heat. I'm serious, people die in that kind of heat if they don't take measures to protect themselves from it. If you're in the middle of nowhere in this country, the only way to escape the heat is to bury yourself in the sand and keep the sun off your head as best you can - and consume 48 litres of water an hour.

So much for all his good work, and that of those who are with him.

Hey Andrew, COME BACK!

Still love the kids on the other side. (Just so you know.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The other side again

I was just having a conversation with one of the kids from the other side and it got me thinking about my 4 big heroes in life: Patch Adams, John Holt, Chris Locke and my little brother.

The first 3 all hold the same basic tenets as I have regarding human interaction. My 4th hero, my little brother, showed me life itself. He showed me strength, he showed me unconditional love and trust and he showed me how to find peace where nobody else could.

He knew he was dying and in the latter stages of his life, when most of what the rest of us take for granted became irrelevant to him, it was what was important to him that made me realise we don't get strength from anything except ourselves and the strength within is nourished or starved by our interactions with others - but only by our choice to allow that nourishment or starvation.

He wasn't just this world to me, he was a whole different world.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Oh no.

I am unwell.

I have a rotten headache, I'm going to throw up very shortly and I have to work tomorrow.

This is going to last a week and I'm going to hate planet earth for the duration.

Expect no replies.




Thanks for the heads up, Chris.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Stupid bastards...

...are still pissing me off.

Around the corner from where I'm currently vocationally engaged, there is a Peugeot service centre. (Yes, that's how we spell that word here.)

Anyway, the apprentice is the workshop gopher. The others traipse in every couple of days or so as well, and they are without doubt the dumbest hoard of steaming social misfits who haven't been discovered by mental health professionals and locked away in some cellar somewhere.

I've told yon apprentice how much it bugs me that he's the one they pick to go and get all the lunches. He says it doesn't bother him so I just keep the conversation away from the topic that gets my blood a tad intemperate.

Filthy bullying suckholes, I'd piss in their drinks if I could get away with it but I can't, so I smile and talk nicely to them whilst thinking of all the terrible things I could do if given free reign to do so. It should, however, be noted that I'm not a violent person by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm mischievous as hell and anyone who's known me more than 5 minutes will agree.

But who is going to end this cycle of bullshit behaviour towards the young and ambitious? It's not a rite of passage, it's the personal insecurity of bullies ganging up on the defenceless and it has been exactly the same for centuries. I refuse point blank to hear any poxy argument that this sort of treatment toughens people up and makes them stronger in the long run - that's just fucking bullshit.

It wrecks a person's self esteem and turns them into nervous wrecks who then have to struggle just to get an even footing in the world. Toughens a person up - my foot. Victims of bullies way too often end up killing themselves in despair.

Is this a personal bugbear with me? After my imprisonment at Haileybury College for 5 semesters, I'm proud to say my fucking oath it's a bugbear with me. A major one at that. And what makes that place such a nightmare memory is the fact it wasn't the kids with whom I had issues there, it was the staff who were engaged in "character building" practices. Fucking dinosaurs. I'll piss on their graves if I ever see them.

It's impressive holding grudges like that for more than 20 years I think. And isn't it odd how little things evoke such powerful memories.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

So it's been a week already. Get over it.

Two things I have a yen to do - and that better not be a doco on the goggle box or I'm not even going to get this done for another hour...

*sigh* I'm addicted to documentaries - especially BBC or Ken Burns documentaries.

First things first, this week, a young guy did an interview with Chris Locke. It was superbly subtle (on RB's part) and if anyone reading it paid really close attention to what Chris said, it was also the quintessential guide to the philosophy of blogging. Yes, it surpasses the ability of the English language to adequately impart the wisdom of his replies.

Replies to questions which, frankly, left me cold. But anyway, I sought immediately to redress the balance by doing to RB what he did to Mr Ed. If he can do it, so the hell can I. Out of due deference though, I would actually make an all in seriousness disclaimer that RB did in fact have nothing whatsoever to do with the interview, that it was all me and my idea and it was done without his permission, approval or sanction.

It also occurred to me that if Chris was not happy about it, I would invite him sue me. This would do both of us a world of good. I'm just dying to be sued - and so is he - for things we've written, and it strikes me as eminently amusing that he might sue me for something I might write. I mean, can you imagine it?

The headlines belch forth:

Rageboy sues Australian blogger.

Colorado: Internet guru and author of Gonzo Marketing, Winning Through Worst Practices, Christopher Locke is suing an Australian blogger for using the name Rageboy in an unauthorised article, which Locke has trademarked.

Apparently a Rageboy devotee, Australian Paul Ritchie has taken the title of Locke's second book to heart and is enjoying the notoriety provided by the publication of details of the court case, which isn't doing Locke's hit ranking any harm either.

One could almost believe they cooked this up between them.

When asked by a reporter why he did it, Ritchie simply replied he wants to have a threesome with Locke and Judge Judy and this was the best way he could think of to achieve those ends.

Back to reality and something else which requires a bit of effort on my part - and that is to get some sort of humourous story going - using only the lyrics of songs as the contents of the story. I've done similar things in the past - indeed my first effort was substituting teachers' names for real things in a story I wrote for my school magazine when I was 14 years old.

I'm going to enlist the help of others for this though... my vision as far as music is concerned is fairly narrow. I get hooked on songs and listen to them over and over again instead of just letting things flow and picking up on new stuff I might like, thus broadening my music horizons. The kids have helped a bit by sending me stuff. Cartoon Heroes was a classic. I still think that song is funny as hell and more camp than a Petshop Boys anthology.

There are some other rather amusing things - amusing to me, so that automatically means they're amusing to all of you as well and if they're not, I don't care anyway - rolling around in my head like loose marbles and one of those involves the time difference between waking up and getting out of bed. I'll leave all that to your fertile imaginations.

If you have no idea of what I'm circumlocuting, my advice is to just get fucked.

See? It's more fun to be a bastard.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sanctimonious twats of all persuasions piss me off no end.

I ditched a few of the dullest msn groups it's ever been my experience to have umm experienced. Plus one run by an irritant who has taken a dislike to me because of a spat we had in a football forum.

As everyone knows, I swear quite a bit. So does he. I left a brilliant swipe at one sanctimonious twat and dropped the f word a couple of times. My message was deleted and I was told to drop the swearing or leave the group.

I left.

Piss on him.

It's the second time I've done that to him too. Different groups but it's not going to happen again. To hell with that. I don't invite people to my place if I don't like what they say or how they behave, he's known me for 5 years, knows my temper and all that. Why invite me only to remove what I say? Fuckwit. Bye bye. Have a nice life.

A few of the kids have started leaving wraps of their 2005. I was going to do one here but, frankly, I can't be bothered.

I got another funny email from Rageboy the other day too. Funny as in funny haha. He asked my opinion of something he'd written. I told him he's asking the wrong person, that I'd crawl naked over hot coals to hear the sound of him pissing in a jam tin. His reply was that he'd go and get himself a jam tin.


I can't wait until that book is finished. I SO badly want to buy several copies and distribute them amongst a hoard of fundy imbeciles with that expression of delighted ignorance and innocence which I'm so skilled at displaying.

I wonder if Hank will in fact come to Australia now that I've made the suggestion. I sure hope he does. I have a feeling there would be much laughter coming from our meeting.

It's late again. I always leave it too late to do this updating thing. I have to get sleep for I am working tomorrow. Short day, but I still have to get up early. Bummer.