Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the category “Death”

What to do with my corpse

We’ve hit that age. The age of colonoscopies and regular skin checks and worrying about spots and not being able to eat anything you want. I mean, I say we, but I mean me. You might be in your prime and looking at me with dreadful fascination. God I’m glad I’m never going to be that old.

Believe what you gotta believe.

Anyway, we’ve had a few scares over the past couple of years and my daughter is now eyeing us both sideways and initiating conversations about what we want to do with our remains after we go.

And yes, I know that I could unpack that train of thought a lot more. But I choose not to.

One of the more interesting of these discussions was when she said:

“We could cremate your remains and turn them into gemstones and then have them placed in your skull and keep it on display.”

And now I can think of no other way I want to be memorialised than that.

I would absolutely flat out haunt that skull. It is a skull made for haunting. I would be remiss if I didn’t haunt it. I pointed that out to my daughter.

She no longer wants me to be a skull.

But we stuck with the remains being turned into gemstones idea. She suggested that I could be turned into a series of gemstones that could be bequeathed to my nieces and nephews (she specifically didn’t mention keeping one for herself). At this point, I am starting to feel Horcrux vibes. Either that or a quest in a few hundred years where a group of my descendants have to track down the gems and bring them together to… what? Save my immortal soul? Prevent an apocalypse? Power a robot me? I’ll think of something.

So now I am intrigued. Is it possible? Pause for research.

Well yes! Yes I can!

So apparently, a large cremation diamond will take 6-8 months. My family will need “200 g ashes or 10 g hair”. Wait a moment! I could get my diamonds done early! (hunts for clippers)

I can choose my cut (Princess cut, anyone?). How many ashes will I produce? Could I create enough diamonds for four niblings? And I feel like I should give one to my daughter, even though she doesn’t want one. Five is the magical number for remains diamonds especially if there is going to be a future quest.

This is why the government is watching me…

OK, so about 6 pounds. 3 Kilos. More than enough for five diamonds. I’m not going to look up the cost. That is definitely someone else’s problem.

That’s two options. My wife wasn’t overly keen on having my skull cleaned. Maybe an Infinity Gauntlet?

My previous idea for afterlife eternal peace was to be turned into a tree. There are a number of companies that turn you into a tree, having your remains buried in the roots of a sapling which will absorb them and you and the tree become one. Haunting a tree sounds nice.

Both wife and daughter want to be scattered. Tasmania, Halls Gap, up in the mountains. If I was to be scattered, it would be at sea. But the haunting possibilities seem a bit slim. And the opportunity to become a sad drowned cursed spirit seem high. I am more and more happy with the skull idea.

When my daughter floated the idea I immediately thought that I could have the skull placed inside a teddy bear. Chucky and Annabelle eat your heart out! Do I even know a voodoo priest?

But honestly, I fully intend to be uploaded to the cloud when I die, and I can’t imagine being overly worried about what happens to my mortal remains after that.

Oh, just so that it’s on the record: the hospital gets to keep the useful bits before the rest gets turned into diamonds. Make sure you’ve ticked the organ donor button people!

Because the possibilities for haunting and possession go through the ROOF when we’re talking hearts being implanted into other people. I’ve never heard of a haunted liver. I could be the first one!

Old

I’ve hit that age.

Every time I go to the doctor, she adds something to the list.

Last time I went, she looked at her screen and took a deep breath.

A picture of Khaleesi with a bunny on her shoulder.

“OK, So you have high cholesterol. You have sleep apnea. You have psoriasis. You have hemochromatosis, halitosis, osteoporosis and myxomatosis.”

I might have gotten those last two wrong. Do men get osteoporosis? And I’m not sure even rabbits get myxo now. Don’t they get the Khaleesi virus? Wait, no, that’s Game of Thrones. “BOW DOWN BEFORE THE MOTHER OF BUNNIES!”

What was I saying? Oh yes, old.

Old so that the teens wince every time I walk towards them carrying snacks and pronouns. I heard my daughter saying to her friends: “You have to make allowances for the old people. They come from another time.”

I remember rocking up at home in full goth regalia and an earring to shock my parents. It didn’t work. Anyway.

I mean, they’re right to wince. I’m a middle-aged white guy. They have to be wary! We don’t have a good track record. I feel that desire to judge people and pigeonhole them, welling up inside of me, because of my race and social status.

But I will rise above! I created a list. A sort of BIGOTPATCH(TM) that I can use when I’m feeling especially judgemental.

“Damn you, you…” (quick check) “Audi drivers!”

“I really hate… companies that insist on surveys about their performance!” (I really do. Seriously. “How did we do?” Well, you did the thing I paid you to do. Do you want a medal?)

“Go to hell… right-handed people! You have ruined my life!”

Yeah, you know who you are, with your neat handwriting and your ability to use scissors.

Middle aged is a stupid term. And probably needlessly optimistic.

Nevertheless, I got rid of my life insurance this year. I mean, there’s a kick in the teeth for your Peter Pan complex. You’re basically betting a company that you will die before you pay them more than they will pay you!

Not to mention the effect it has on my wife. We bought life insurance and all of a sudden I was worth more dead than alive! I had to look around nervously when I was at the top of the stairs. I kept tasting almonds… in my almond milk latte, but still. That’s how you would do it. And whenever I leave the seat up on the toilet I catch that look in her eye. That speculative gaze, weighing up my earning potential against the instant influx of cash if she bumped me off.

So I convinced her to ditch the insurance. I didn’t mention that it was because it disagreed with my philosophical stance that I will live forever, or that I was stressed out by the target it painted on my back. Just that it was too expensive.

An image of Halley’s Comet taken in 1986. (Image credit: NASA)

Why did this come up? I was thinking about the possibility that I would see Halley’s Comet again. It swings by every 76 years, and the last time it visited I was in Grade 6. The next time is 2061. I’m not saying it’s impossible – I still have two grandparents well older than the age I need to hit to see that. But I’m nowhere near as fit as they are (see above list).

I need to get better at computer programming. I might yet be able to live on in the cloud. Bring on my robot body!

Using FaceSwap

FINDING DAMO BUCKET LIST 2020

A few years ago I put together a bucket list of things I want to do before I die. Last night my daughter was talking about creating her own bucket list, so I thought it might be time to update my own.

But first, let’s have a quick look at the first one. From that list, I came incredibly close to buying a purple suit, but balked at the last second. Now that I have a bit more money I think I need to do another trip down to Rosebud.

No penguin costumes, no troll costume, no replaced eyeball.

In fact, I have to say no to most of the old bucket list. Let’s see.

I have had a play produced – had a couple in fact – through GemCo. You can even buy the scripts. There was a link, but now you need to email them.

I have been an extra in Revolving Door’s Pokemon Resurgence. (here, if you just want to see me). I’ve published Dwarves in Space, and I am in the process of finding a publisher for the ‘Thropes series (again, let me know if you can help). I’ve also won a couple of money prizes for my writing, so that’s good.

I have a guitar, but I’m not playing it. I am playing the ukulele, which is a lot of fun. I have a piano, but I need to get it tuned.

And I still haven’t read any of those massively boring books.

Weirdly enough, a desire to do standup comedy didn’t even turn up on that list, but I have done a few gigs and even entered the 2020 Raw Comedy competition. So that’s an arrow in my bow.

OK, I’m glad I didn’t die back then. Let’s see how my attitudes have changed.

Fashion

  • I want a summer outfit that is properly summer – like the clothes they wear in really hot countries.
  • I still want a purple suit.

Food/Health

  • I would like to magically not care about food and eat healthy, to lose weight, ditch the psoriasis and stop needing the sleep apnoea mask.
  • But failing that, I want to eat the perfect hamburger. The problem is, I have to try all the burgers to find the perfect one. Hence my desire to stop caring about this.

Fame

  • I want to be paid to act.
  • I want to have a book published by a mainstream publisher.
  • I want to be paid for my standup comedy.

Family

  • I would like to be debt free so that we can travel more.
  • I want to get the house fixed up, or move to somewhere smaller and cheaper.
  • I want my family to be happy in their endeavours. The rest can come out of their own bucket lists.

Creativity

  • I want to write a screenplay.
  • I want to finish the Faux Pas first book at least.
  • I want to complete Yarra Noir (and talking to Shereen, I might actually have the plot point I needed to get it done).

Travel

Ireland, Great Britain, Spain and the Camino Trail, back to Japan.

Learning/Reading/Watching

  • I need a movie night once a fortnight to keep up a bit with the movies coming out, as a Media teacher.
  • I want to learn to make games in Unreal, or VR exploration spaces.
  • I want to spend more time learning Spanish and brushing up on my Japanese.

My new job.

This morning I received the following email:

I did not panic. I was disgusted. Surely if you are enterprising enough to write this letter and distribute it to your list of stolen emails, you should be savvy enough to go into business with someone with a basic grasp of the language you are using to threaten people with.

I mean, sure, this might not be his main focus. And the point is made: give me money or get acid in your face. But strangely, I didn’t take it seriously. But as the mangled missive percolated in my mind, I realised that I could actually do something about this!

So I present to you my version of this email. It’s public domain. Please don’t acknowledge me when sending it out to potential victims.

Hi,

I run a site on the Dark Net. I outsource all kinds of services – mostly destruction of property and occasionally breaking someone’slegs. But I am infamous for my skills at linking customers to murderers-for-hire. My usual customer is a victim of unrequited love, or people with unwanted business rivals.

So, this week, a woman contacted me and said that she wanted me to throw acid in your face. It’s a standard option in my line of work. It’s easy to do, and leaves you scarred and in pain for life. I happily took the case.
To be blunt, I only get paid after I perform the task. But I looked you up. You seem like a decent sort. I want to make you an offer before I go ahead: pay me to walk away.

I don’t offer this to just anybody, so take me seriously. If I don’t see the money from you, then my man will be contacted, and believe me: he will fulfil his mission. If you transfer the money to me I will, as an added incentive, tell you who it was that hired me.

Taking you out is going to be a real hassle. I must source an acid thrower, and then I have to get rid of the guy once he’s done the job to remove any links back to me. You see the incentive for me here: I get $1350 (which pays for the information about my client) and I don’t have to do anything, or I get $4000 from the client, but with a lot of work attached at my end.
I’ll take the financial hit for the lack of work, and because you seem like a nice guy.

I take money in Bitcoin. Here’s my Bitcoin address…. Blahblah blah.

This feels like it would get a better reaction, don’t you think?

OK, so the legal issues: 

  • What happens if I email this guy with my improvements and he uses them for evil instead of good… well, I mean, he’s hardly going to use them for good. What happens if he uses my words for evil? Am I liable because I made him a more effective blackmailer?
  • Shouldn’t I be able to send him a bill for a percentage of any money he makes using this updated letter? 

Please. I need your advice!

Imagine what I could do with that “I’ve been recording your webcam!” email.

The wolf is coming!

200px-Askalti_Darksteel_TCGI have a love for coincidence. Seeing similarities in different parts of my life makes it seem like there is a plan to the universe. It allows my imagination to posit a (usually incredibly unlikely) future based on what I’m seeing. The universe cares about me and is sending me hints so that I can guess what happens next.

That makes this current case of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon somewhat disturbing.

Everywhere I look, I’m seeing Ragnarok. That can’t be a good thing.

12307402_865473633570486_1958686601694734196_oIt started when I began planning the second Thropes book. I’m planning the second book so that I can put the appropriate foreshadowing into the first book, so stop judging me for being a procrastinator. Lycanthropes came about as a result of a curse by a Greek goddess. So gods are real. And how would that change society? Having a pantheon of hands-on Greek gods would change a few things.

Not to mention that if the Greek gods are real, then wouldn’t that indicate that the others are as well?

So World War I is now a battle between the legions aligned with the Greek gods and those who worship the gods of Asgard. A couple of the days of the week have changed. As have a couple of months. I’ve ditched Roman gods altogether. And then left it as “time manages to push things back to what we know and love”.

But there’s Norse gods version one. And the wolves of Fenris.

magnus-chase-1And then I picked up Magnus Chase book one by Rick Riordan. He’s a very funny man and he really knows his mythologies. The writing isn’t phenomenal, but the stories have heart and the voice of Magnus is highly amusing. Oh, and he’s the son of a Norse god. Trying to stop Ragnarok.

Then my character in World of Warcraft levelled high enough to hit Northrend, and suddenly I have all of the Norse mythology I can handle, with Loken and Thorim and Jotunheim and Freya amongst other places and deities. They even have valkyr.

Following on from this, with the new WOW: Legion, they are opening up new Norse areas, including Helheim, as dungeons. It all looks very impressive.

Finally, I’m reading Morning Star by Pierce Brown. Third in the Red Rising series, it’s an engrossing work of war in space and the segregation of peoples based on colour rather than skill. Well worth a read.

The mighty Obsidian warriors live in the icy Antarctic wastes of Mars. They follow a Norse mythology and answer to Asgardian “gods” who keep them subjugated.

This is happening people. The time of the wolf is upon us! Sharpen your axes and drag out your horned helms. Let’s get the end of the world happening.

 

51ibKBUFN3L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Dark Half

Sometimes you really need to think through what you type into Google.

I was talking to my wife about a guy who failed a paternity test because his baby was actually born to his twin brother – who was still inside him. Searching for that article now, I found this:

Be careful what you search for.

Be careful what you search for.

What I was actually looking for was this article entitled: Guy fails paternity test because his unborn twin is the father.

This reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Half – Tad Beaumont has an evil twin and…

OK, wait. This story is going to require me to be a bit spoilery. If you don’t want to have the story ruined, go and read it, and then come back and read this. Otherwise, read on.

dark half

So, when he was younger he started having visions of sparrows and heard them. It turned out he had a tumour in his head, which they removed. That tumour became his evil twin and tried to kill him when he brought it to life by creating an alter ego so he could write crime fiction.

Wow. That was MASSIVELY spoilery.

Shereen looked at me and said “Wow. That really would scare you, having an evil twin brought to life from being a writer.”

My response, in my best Arnie:

not a tumor“It’s NOT a tumah! It’s my evil twin.”

Which led to:

“Ah! Twins! I have Danny De Vito in my head!”

twins2

Sometimes my mind works in mysterious ways.

I want to publish Finding Damo. I can’t publish it while I’m teaching. I can’t really write under a pseudonym, as everyone already associated me with Finding Damo (especially you, reading this  blog).

So I’m safe for now, until I write something I have to publish under a different name.

Can you hear sparrows?

Sparrow_Silhouette.svg

The coincidence thing…

After my Bullying post, I received a Like from Christine Barba, who writes a blog called Project Light to Life. I checked out her page and, coincidentally, found the name of the coincidence thing I keep talking about on Finding Damo. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. So thank you to Christine. Go read her blog.

That means that I can now add BMP to all of the posts that have previously referred to ‘that coincidence thing’.

And speaking of which:

A couple of weeks ago I finished the third book in a most unusual trilogy.

Not that the books were written by the same author, had the same characters or were written in the same universe. None of the three writers wrote their novels as part of this trilogy. But they were a trilogy nonetheless.

Holding to my desire to write about things when they turn up more than three times in a row (BMP!) I wanted to chat briefly about this trilogy.

The Body SnatchersChronologically, the first book in the series is a little known story entitled “The Body Snatchers” (later re-released as Invasion of the Body Snatchers). It’s popular enough for the term “pod people” to have entered into standard English speech, so I won’t worry too much about spoiling the story. It is set in a small town in the United States where a doctor starts noticing unusual behaviour from his friends and neighbours. After an encounter with the town’s resident author, the small band realise that they are being invaded by beings from space, who are rapidly replacing the locals with replicas grown from giant pea pods.

It is an easy read, but Finney manages to really hook you in with some incredible prose. There were moments where a chill thrilled through me at a passage in the story. This book is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. I’m pretty sure there is a dissociative disorder that manifests itself in removing the brain’s ability to connect to people, leading to a person thinking that their family have been replaced by exact duplicates.

Yes, here we go. Capgras Delusion. I typed “pod people delusion” into Google. Anyway, where was I? OK, yes. For anyone who has seen any of the numerous film adaptations, it is well worth taking the time to read this novel. You can knock it off in an afternoon, and Finney’s son, in an interview on the audio adaptation, states that his father was never really happy with the movie version, even though it is a cult classic.

RedShirtsThe second book in the trilogy was written much later. It is an amusing, meta little story called Red Shirts, by John Scalzi. It has nothing to do with The Body Snatchers, but the third book I want to talk about links these two together so tightly that I just had to write about it.

From Amazon:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on “Away Missions” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs.

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

I listened to this one as a download from Audible. Wil Wheaton read it and between Shereen and I, we almost crashed the car at least twice from laughing so hard. The line between reality and fantasy is severely blurred in this novel. It is almost a drinking game turned into a novel. But Scalzi quickly takes us to a point where we really care about the characters, so much so that by the end of the third coda, I had tears in my eyes (again, making it hard to drive). And yes, the codas take a bit of staying power to get through, after the rapid pace of the rest of the story, but they are definitely worth it.

To explain why the third novel in the trilogy actually makes these three novels a trilogy I need to go spoiler-fest on it. I won’t spoil RedShirts, and I assume you already know enough about Body Snatchers that conversation on it isn’t a spoiler (and if not, you might not want to read further).

Night of the Living TrekkiesKnowing the storyline of the third book – Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall – isn’t going to affect your enjoyment of the story. The spoilers are on the covers (I really LOVE the German cover). Basically, Jim Pike is an ex-soldier, returned from fighting in the Middle East. He is settling into quiet obscurity as a security guard at a posh hotel in Dallas. On this particular weekend, there is a Star Trek convention. Also on this weekend, a number of staff are off sick, and others are in, but suffering from illness. There have been a number of unusual biting attacks, and the wounds just won’t stop bleeding…

Soon, the Trek convention is completely overrun with zombies. Not only that, but Jim’s sister is in town for the convention. Jim Pike (get it?) needs to save his sister and get over his fear of command before day break.

That’s the premise. Now for the spoilers.

Spoiler Alert
Early in the novel, Jim notices that the zombies are manifesting an eye on various parts of their body. These eyes are a vulnerable spot. They appear after showing up as a bruised lump, finally splitting through the skin and taking over the host. Here’s the sequel to Body Snatchers: these eyes are an alien life form that drifted to earth as spores, traveling through space for aeons and then landing on earth. They take over the hosts and use them as spreading mechanisms (hence the zombies) but their more sneaky goal is an amalgamation with the Earthlings and eventual colonisation of the planet.

The link to RedShirts is more mundane. The novel is littered with references to Star Trek, and the rules of surviving a Trek episode (even one with zombies). The funniest moment in the novel was the discovery of the last surviving member of a pack of Red Shirts. None of the others had died from zombie attack and he didn’t even realise that the hotel had been infested.

Night of the Living Zombies is the love child of Body Snatchers and Red Shirts. It is a bastard child, not written as well, or with as much raw talent. Neither parent would be overly proud of their offspring. But they, like me, would love it anyway, for the simple joy of laughter and dead trekkies that it brings to the world.

Lock ’em up.

Before I begin I need to reiterate to any new Damo Finders that I very rarely do research before I rant. This blog does not contain scholarly rigour and I freely admit that pretty much anything I write here could be completely untrue.

You have been warned.

teenager in prisonOnce again, I’ve returned from coaching a debating evening filled with the half-formed thoughts of Year 9 students. This time, they were asked to argue “That children should not be incarcerated”. From what I could gather, they were arguing that children (legally, those under the age of 18) should not be held in detention, put in prison, taken to juvie, or the like. It was a challenging topic, especially for our side, who were trying to convince the audience that even a murderer would benefit more from a kind word and some therapy than a stint in the pokie.

Their arguments were that children’s minds are not fully formed before the age of 18 and that they cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore cannot be held accountable for their actions and should not be punished for them. That placing children into institutions puts them in contact with other criminal types, increasing the risk that they will become hardened criminals through association.

The negative team’s best argument was that if the Victorian Police are willing to give a 12 year old a gun license, they must be pretty damn sure that the child knows the difference between right and wrong. They also felt that the greater good of society needed to be taken into account and that a murdering child needed to be removed from society for the good of society.

Good arguments. What do I think?

It is completely possible for a child to be a psychopath. A child doesn’t turn eighteen and then lose the ability to empathise with others. As far as I know, psychopaths are born, not made. There are children that are, if not evil, then at least completely amoral. They either can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, or they know and don’t believe that such distinctions apply to them.

If a child kills or assaults someone, not through an accident or loss of control, but through careful planning and forethought, that child can’t be allowed to continue to exist in society. Who knows? Maybe they can be “cured” or “rehabilitated” through intensive therapy. Maybe not. But until they are judged fit to coexist in society, they are requested to leave the pool. Play time’s over.

James BulgerThose are the extreme cases. Remember James Bulger? Jon Venables and Robert

Thompson – both ten – stole the two year old from a shopping centre. They walked him around town, beat him and kicked him, and then killed him and left him on the train tracks.

Did you know they moved them to Australia? Gave them new identities and gave them to us.

One of the important concepts highlighted in this case is that of “Doli incapax”. Legally there is a stage that a child can be held responsible for their actions. That they understand the concepts of right and wrong, and that death is a permanent state. Back in the early nineties, once it had been judged that the boys understood that death was permanent, they could be tried as adults. I’m pretty sure that’s no longer the case.

Either way, the argument is for or against putting children into detention. I say yes, for murderers and insane evil little Chucky clones (ever see The Good Son?) but no to those who commit crimes against property.

Sticking a child in detention that has been done for shoplifting or similar is like creating a master class for junior thieves. You can find out all sorts of nifty tricks when you hang out with other people with a similar mind frame.

“I’ll swap you some breaking and entering skills for some tips on pickpocketing.”

More to the point, incarceration creates an institutionalised child. It’s not a natural society. The pecking order is similar to prison. The concepts of helping out a fellow inmate or being kind are beaten or terrified out of the child and they learn that being stronger than the next person is the way to be. How is that going to help them in the real world?

Some would say it’s a perfect lesson. I say it’s the top of a slippery slope to hell.

I deal with teenagers every day. Only once in a blue moon do I have to deal with a child around whom I am genuinely uneasy. There is good in almost every child. But there is always the exception to the rule.

I’ve seen a student who was the most surly, angry boy in the school smile with genuine appreciation when I told him his work was good. I can’t say that his attitude changed that much, but his mother told me during parent/teacher interviews that he really liked my class and talked about it a lot at home.

lord of the fliesChildhood in general is like Lord of the Flies. The power plays and shifting alliances are complex and endless. Teenagers are in constant fear of being embarrassed, of breaking an unwritten rule, of being ostracised or excluded. The rules are many and you often only find out you’ve broken one after it’s too late. And everything is done under the shadow of the authority figures in their lives.

We can only be the best role models we can be. We can listen and give advice. We can point them in the right direction and hope that something sticks. And we can fire up their imaginations so that they have more productive ways to exhaust their energies.

But if they’re out there killing people, then hell yeah, lock ’em up.

Rant over. Lighter topics next week.

The Bucket

This last weekend was my first wedding anniversary. This has nothing to do with this entry. However…

We went to a French restaurant. I didn’t remember ever going to a French restaurant until my sister reminded me that in Canada my parents had to stop my brother from ordering the snails. This restaurant didn’t offer snails. It did offer steak tartare. So that was my order of choice, knowing that I wouldn’t eat it normally. And then the waiter (cool French accent tinged with Canadian) told me the specials, which included…

banquetasterixWILD BOAR!

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dine on the same food as Asterix and Obelix, so steak tartare would have to wait for another day.

During the course of the evening I brought up the concept of a Bucket List. It seems that everyone has one. A list of things you have to do before you kick the bucket. I have previously brought up the idea of a post-bucket list – a list of things that I want to achieve after I have kicked the bucket.

But I haven’t really discussed the things that I want to achieve beforehand.

In a blog that deals (in theory) with the concept of success, this seems very remiss. And so, I present to you: THE FINDING DAMO BUCKET LIST.

Some of the things on this list are a tad outrageous. Some are completely normal and there’s no real reason why I haven’t done them yet. I want to have a number of items on the list that are achievable. Otherwise, why have a list at all?

A very funny man by the name of Michael Workman (FBTW) made the point that our lives would be a hell of a lot more fulfilling if we swapped our bucket list with our list of daily chores. And so, if we had a bit of spare time left after learning Swahili, we might manage to get some washing done.

I want to do all of the stuff on this list. If I get something done, I’ll let you know. I won’t make it the main focus of the blog. There are hundreds of Bucket List blogs out there. But I thought it was worth a once off. The list will be maintained as a separate page on Finding Damo, and I’ll update my achievements there (for the one or two people that are interested). Until then, however, a look inside the strange wants of Damo, in his search for success in all forms.

finding damo bucket list FINDING DAMO BUCKET LIST

 Fashion

  • Own a purple suit.
  • Make a penguin costume for each member of the family.
  • Make a troll costume.
  • Replace an eye with a computerised copy – an iBall, so to speak.

 Food

  • Snails
  • Witchetty Grubs

 Travel

  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • England (the rest)
  • France (the rest)

 bucket picturesCreativity

  • Publish a comic strip.
  • Write an app.
  • Make a short film.
  • Make a feature film.
  • Have an amateur play produced (outside of school) – 1 act or full length.

 Fame

  • Get paid to act
  • Achieve, or at least be nominated for, Teacher of the Year.
  • Be an extra
  • Get a novel published (I already have short stories published – thanks to Alfie Dog)
  • Have a YouTube clip go viral
  • Have a play produced professionally

 Learning/Reading/Watching

  • Pull a car apart and put it back together.
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Learn to play the harmonica
  • Get back up to speed on the piano
  • Read War and Peace
  • Read Gone with the Wind
  • Read Les Miserables

Family

  • Be involved in the creation of biological offspring

Obviously, I am a man of simple needs. Let me know if you can help me achieve any of the above!

Dream a Little Dream of Me. Or badgers. Or Superman.

dreams are strangeCorey Feldman had it good. His character in Dream a Little Dream ran all over his dreamscape, giving out good advice and saying “Heh” a lot. He didn’t have to worry about the streets changing from moment to moment, or giant rats staring at him until he woke up screaming.

Some people are already thinking “dammit. I blog about dreaming. I’m outa here.” And that’s fine. The blog is called Finding Damo, not “Keep everybody entertained all the time”. And one of the things that has consumed my life and fed my imagination since I was a young boy has been my dreams.

Luke, I am your father!

Luke, I am your father!

I have sleep apnoea. I can’t spell it but I have it. I’m not sure when it started, but by the time I was living in Rosebud, it was getting out of control. I was only getting one or two hours of sleep a night, as I would stop breathing when I fell deeply enough asleep which, luckily, woke me up again. It was terrible. I was always tired. I fell asleep in meetings, and when driving.

And I dreamed. A lot.

dream diary lock

If you can open it, you can read it.

Two of my favourite presents ever were given to me by girlfriends. The first was when I was in Japan. Kallie gave me a dream diary. She’d decorated  the inside front cover. The book had a lock and was just awe-inspiring. It wasn’t just a Spellbox book or anything. I’m not sure where she found it, but the book, and the lovely inscription on the inside blew me away. A couple of months later, in an argument, she ripped out the lovely front page and took the book back. Which is why I’m not dating her any more. That amongst other things. But at the time, WOW.

The second was a box to keep my (new) dream diary in. I’d replaced the original with a Spellbox dream diary. Not as impressive as the original, but still, with a nice locking mechanism and decent paper for writing. Melanie made the box for me from scratch. Varnished it, and burnt a design into the top. Now the diary had a home. It was an exceptional achievement and I still love it.

dream diary box

Long before the dream diary, I still wrote down my dreams. I had a yellow notepad that I wrote a lot of dreams into. I even wrote a program in Perl when I was working at Racing Victoria, to catalog the dreams by theme and add more in as I had them. And yes, I had them. Every night was a plethora of images, whizzing through my head. I started writing them down as my conviction that what I dreamed was coming true. So many times I would experience a conversation and say “Wow. I dreamed that!” So, to prove it to myself, I started writing them down, so that I could come back to them when I had that experience again.

I’ve never experienced a moment that I have written down in my dream diary. Bummer.

One that could come true, after my last post:

werewolf dreamBut I’m getting ahead of myself. And the rest of this post is pretty much just an explanation of the dreams I’ve had, how they fit into my life, and what meaning I feel that they had/have. So I’m serious. If you hate being told dreams by your friends, even if they have pictures attached, you probably don’t need to read any further. I’m not going to get overly philosophical. I just want some of this out of my head and out onto a blog. Call it selfish and indulgent, I can handle that. I promise I’ll be more interesting next week.

Here’s the first page (all images clickable for better views):

front page

As it says here, the greatest part of my dreamscape was a place I dubbed Alternate Kyabram. I grew up in Kyabram. I lived in Heathcote, Redesdale, even Canada during my formative years, but from 1983 until 1992 I was in Kyabram. I delivered papers, I explored the back streets with my friends. I imprinted the town onto my brain like a mental brand. And as much as I tried to get away from the place, when I slept, I was back there.

There were a few changes. And streets didn’t always go to the same places. I also dragged in my grandparents’ places from Castlemaine and Kyneton, although sometimes they were the same place. And as I spent more time in Melbourne, there were roads to the city from my little country town.

Here’s the map, and a legend:

dreamscapelegend to dreamscape

here be dinosAs my dreaming was so vivid, I did a lot of reading about it. I tried to convince myself that dreaming was something special. I dream in colour, which is supposedly a sign that you are creative. I have attempted lucid dreaming and astral projection, all after reading about them in books (with no luck, sorry to say). I’ve looked at the meanings of different symbols in dreams. For example, shops and shopping centres are supposed to be a reflection of your subconscious. Next time you dream about being in a shop, take a look at what’s on the shelves. On second thoughts, for some of us, it’s better not to look too closely.

My shop’s shelves are usually filled with books, magazines and toys. What does that say about me?

I really don’t want to go on and on about this. I just wanted to whack up a few fragments. The dreams in the diary start from 2001. There are some transcribed from long before then. The last one is in 2009. When I started using the CPAP machine, my sleep was completely dreamless. I slept solidly from the time my head hit the pillow until I was woken by the alarm clock. By the time my body started to even out and my subconscious started forcing dreams upon me again, I was out of the habit of writing them down. I dream a lot more now, and probably should write them down in the marvelous dream diary once more. But I think that phase of my life is passed now.

This is its eulogy:

click for more.

 

part onepart twopart three

random nightmare

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IMG_1123

It is self-indulgent. I’m not seeing anything that would be interesting to anyone else. I’m going to stop now. Dreaming is an incredible invention of the human race. The number of stories I’ve sucked out of a dream… and then thrown away because basically dreams make absolutely no sense! I have, however, had a couple of dreams that have turned into quite interesting stories. And of course, there is the old stand-by for story creation:

what if…?

And I get a goodly number of “what-if” stories out of my dreams.

Sweet dreams!

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