Finding Damo

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

Archive for the category “Pondering”

Letters from the past

Note: stuck in my house, I’ve been starting to go through old files. Trying to clean up my pictures directory, looking through old story ideas. During this process, I found this text file, named FORCASS.TXT.

It’s an email I send to a friend of mine, Cass Brain, who I haven’t seen in decades. It’s a very melancholy diatribe, but it definitely gets into my head. It’s an email from 1998, so here’s a slice of Damo from more than 20 years ago.

I may have deleted some of the completely irrelevant bits, to leave the reflection intact. Enjoy.

One last bit of background: I was living in Park Street in South Melbourne with Dave at the time. It was a glorious apartment with views of Crown Casino. So the walk along St Kilda road took me home via a lovely walk through the gardens.

Kings Way in 1998

So much to say. So many thoughts and feeling running through my mind. So many of them gone now that I am in the safe comfort of my home and not out on the streets, marveling at the city I now call home.

I drew this in 1991 or 1992 as part of a calendar.

When I left to go to Kyabram, the place that I have always thought of as the town I grew up in, Shereen and I commented on how good it would be to get out of the city. When we got to Kyabram, we pointed out the sun, and how much warmer and brighter it was in the country. We noticed the spaciousness, the (this is a totally inadequate word) quaintness of the houses, and I remembered what it was like growing up in a small town. I didn’t remember how I was tormented for having parents for teachers, for being “the fat kid”, for being useless at sport in a town where everyone played football in the winter and cricket in the summer.

I didn’t remember the derision or the loneliness. It was a day – beautiful and blue, warm and peaceful in a town where you could walk certain streets for hours without seeing a moving car – for remembering the good times. I remembered swimming in the town pool, playing water tag and scarecrow. I remembered going to the tuck shop at lunchtime for a dollars’ worth of lollies that would last you for the rest of the day.

I remembered my old houses. The treehouse out the back, our pet chickens, my dog, who was older than I was, up until she (but we called her a him) died. I did a jigsaw puzzle. I caught up with some old friends. Made some new ones. It was a 21st we were going to after all, and when you’re talking around a drum with a fire in it at 3am you tend to make new friends. Everyone’s willing to talk and to laugh at 3am in the morning at a 21st.

And when it was time to go home, I thought about what Jerry Seinfeld said about Melbourne being the anus of the world, and really found it hard to disagree.

When I got to Melbourne again, I wandered along Bourke Street up to the mall. It was evening, and I had a free ticket to go see a movie. I thought I might go and see The Night Flyer (the new King Flick). I ended up seeing The Opposite of Sex. A weird movie to say the least. Before that. I walked past Hungry Jack’s, when this tall thin guy with Einsteinian hair came charging past with his girlfriend. He had his hand cocked over something he had stowed in the hem? Lining? Top of his pants. My imagination running wild, I was thinking gun, and already was working out how to put it into a story idea. I watched the couple as they walked off, and he was smiling as if telling a funny joke and gesticulating wildly. That’s Melbourne for you. Never a shortage of weird people. I love to watch people in the city.

I walked to Hoyts and bought my ticket, then went to the bathroom. When I came out I figured I’d go and get something to eat. I walked out of the cinema into a police barrier. When I got to Hungry Jacks I asked the guy behind the counter what had happened (there were police everywhere). He said there’d been a stabbing and the police were asking everybody for info. Yay. I love this city. I went back to the cinema, but told a policewoman what I’d seen, just in case. It could have been a knife rather than a gun, and it was at the same time.

When I got out of the movie, I decided to walk home. Have you seen LA Story? Steve Martin, disillusioned with the shallowness of his city, is saved by it in the end. Incidentally, he finds true love as well.

I walked through the night streets of Melbourne and marvelled at my city. Remember how I told you that I was awed by the work of man over the work of nature? I love to walk. I love to go up to the mountains and
see scenery and smell fresh air. But I am always moved by what man, a selfish egotistical self-destructive race of beings, can create with the pure, passionate part that makes up humanity.

Arts Centre in 1998

I gave three dollars to a guy who was asking for money. He commented on my dream catcher necklace and wished me a good night’s dreaming. I stood and looked up at the Arts Centre – the first time I’ve seen it from below at night for a while. There wasn’t a tram in sight, so I decided to walk home. It was a brisk night.

Nippy but not uncomfortably cold. I walked across the bridge of the Yarra and stared at it’s muddy waters. Then I turned and looked at the Yarra on the other side of the road. The lights of Flinders Street and Southbank reflected off the water and the polluted river was transformed into a thing of beauty. The Arts Centre, a towering spire of cold hard metal glowed with the blue light and flashing bulbs that turn it into a sculpture of light. As I continued to walk, I heard the sound of the tram. I looked over at it as it pulled to a stop, the familiar green and yellow creature that is such an integral part of the city. This one had a sign across the top: NOTHING GETS YOU GOING IN THE MORNING LIKE VEGEMITE.

I could have caught it then, but decided that I would walk the rest of the way. I just can’t believe how much the city changes at night. I walked past the memorial to “Weary” Dunlop. Then I went back, walked up the stairs and read the inscription on the plaque. I stared at the statue for awhile. I think I had a huge astounded grin on my face. I had never looked twice at that statue until tonight. I went onto the flower clock. A clever use of nature in a clearly man-made architecture. I walked past the statue of our first governor-general. The flowers below it, just recently planted, read “Red Roses for Cystic Fibrosis”. I looked at the statues of athletes in the botanic gardens. I marveled at the way the lights lit up the fountain that sprayed water in structured hoops to make a beautiful pattern. I was nearing home. And then I saw, lit up by huge spotlights so that is always seen, night and day: The Shrine of Remembrance.

Do you know, I haven’t been there since 1990, when our year level came up from Kyabram to do the sightseeing thing? Like everything else, it was transformed in the night. I went to see it. My heart was filling with awe and respect. I walked up the stairs and stared quietly at the Eternal Flame for a while. I walked up the next flight and came face to face with the ancient gods. Pressed into the stone before me, a frieze of deities. Not God, and
Mary, Jesus or the Saints. These were the ancients. Humans in the sky. Understandable, with faults of their own. These were the deities that guarded the memory of our soldiers. I walked around the side – should I
say this? – tears in my eyes at the beauty of the sculptures before me. The lions pulling the carriages. Flanking the message of the Shrine. Can I remember it now? Did it have that much of an impact?

Shrine in the afternoon – 1998 – Photo by me on a film camera.

“All men know this. That this is sacred ground. This shrine…”

No. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was a powerful message embossed into the stone, and the shadows cast by the light on the engraved stone was a stunning sight to behold.

The flying foxes, fruit bats, whatever, screeched and fought in the trees around me, another part of Melbourne, especially the gardens. Imagine that, in the midst of a city, teeming with life and spewing death into the sky, that there are these beautiful gardens, stretching for what seems like an eternity. A hideaway from the city, but still a part of it. Definitely. I walked down the stairs and across the neatly kept, soft green grass. Down to the fountain on the corner at the Domain interchange. Flanked by a turtle spewing water into the center and sea horses or fish or maybe ducks and topped with Pan and his water-flowing pipes. I love turtles, and the mythology of turtles. I walked home along Park street, slowly coming back into reality in the knowledge that Dave and his girlfriend would be waiting and this epiphany of Melbourne that I had just experienced I could not pass on to them, sitting in front of the tv.

I thought about my city for a while. We have two brothels and a nightclub on our street, another nightclub around the corner. The Crown Casino, the most decadent structure in the city within walking distance. And as I stare now out the window over the lights of the buildings and vehicles, watching other Melbournians go about their nightly business totally unaware of the soul staring out over them, I have only one thing to say:

F*** you Jerry Seinfeld. I love this city.

Well, two things. Melbourne’s so much better when you’re sharing it.

Afterward: the thing I miss most about being locked in are the evenings where I just jump on a train and head into the city. This hasn’t helped my out-of-home-sickness in the slightest.

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.

Illusion

All is not what it seems.

Or rather, all is what it seems and it’s pretty mundane once you figure out the why of it.

Or nothing is what it seems and the glitches in the Matrix are the only hints at the real world hidden behind the illusion.

Scary dinosaur - very realistic

We live in a world where, if a dragon landed on the street in front of you, most people would just wander up to it, trying to figure out whether it was a hologram or animatronics.

I’m reading Chasing Embers at the moment – good read, check it out – and the main character is thinking that if someone looked up and saw a dragon they would scream and panic and then call the police.

It’s amazing the things you see walking through the bush.

I just don’t see it. If I looked out of the window into the night sky, and saw a dragon flapping merrily through the night, I could justify it in a dozen different ways. It could be one of the new drones, with a cloth shell. It could be a projection. It could be a bat/bird/flying lizard that just looks like a dragon. It is most likely a stunt for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.

It would be cool, don’t get me wrong. But it wouldn’t be a dragon.

Of course, once the dragon started burning houses to the ground and making off with our virgins, I might be persuaded otherwise.

I am always amazed by the world that we live in and the technology we take for granted.

In my head, I am planning lessons for my students next year (check the calendar – yup, still next year) where they model a piece of furniture from their classroom and then I import that into our virtual reality classroom for us to shoot with paintballs. My year tens start the semester by programming drones. The Year Sevens make robots that follow a black line around the classroom (before creating their battle bots and destroying their opposition). They make computer games and short animated videos, podcasts and movies, all on their laptops.

And that’s normal for them.

I can make a dragon fly across the sky using Maya and After Effects and post that on YouTube and – even if I did it perfectly – nobody would be fooled.

My Psycho Teddy Bear hiding in a hole
What is real, really?

If the footage was blurry and the camera jumped about a bit and you couldn’t really see the dragon, then maybe some people would be taken in.

What would it take for you to believe in dragons? Ghosts? Aliens?

Because I don’t think that even seeing one up close and touching them would do it for me any more. It would be always in the back of my mind that someone had just come up with a better illusion.

Is this a good thing for humanity?

Or just a very sad indictment of our lack of faith?

Get out of Jail Free

Get out of jail card from Monopoly
What if these were real?

My wife and I were going through a number of random topics – our viewpoints on things are either very similar or almost completely opposite, so this can be a fun pastime – and came across the following hypothetical:

If you couldn’t be convicted of any one type of crime, what criminal charge would you like to be immune to?

It required some thought. You don’t want to waste your immunity on something stupid. Likewise, you don’t want to waste it on something you would never do.

Here are some of the things you can get done for, vaguely ordered from less naughty to quite naughty indeed:

  • Jaywalking
  • Treason
  • Taking drugs
  • Traffic violations (speeding, parking)
  • Pirating videos/downloading TV shows.
  • Shoplifting/stealing
  • Tax evasion
  • Vigilantism
  • Spying
  • Assault
  • Pirating (parrots, wooden legs)
  • Terrorism
  • Murder
  • Poaching
  • Assassination

I’ve left off things that I wouldn’t even consider. And probably a lot of things that I would consider, but I didn’t think of.

Then we started thinking about why we would need immunity from them. Is it because it’s something we’re likely to do on a regular basis? Or because the punishment is so severe that we don’t want to face it?

I mean, the punishment (as a middle-aged white guy) for taking drugs, jaywalking and shoplifting aren’t so bad that they warrant immunity from being charge for them. Same with speeding and parking fines. But if you were constantly speeding, or taking speed, it might be worth it for the savings.

On the other hand, in today’s political climate, it might be worth being immune to prosecution over acts of treason, terrorism and assassination. We’re only a bad decision away from being labelled treasonous or a terrorist. And I’d hate to be blamed for moving that piano using a dodgy crane just as the PM was walking underneath. It was an accident I swear! Same as last week with the piranhas! The punishments for the big things might make that choice worth it.

You know, if you planned on doing it more than once…

…Or blogging about it.

Maybe choosing something that you might do accidentally. It’s easy to stuff up a tax return, or walk out of a shop carrying that bag of oranges. Or dressing up like a bat and protecting the citizens of Melbourne from criminals.

me as batman

I meant speeding. It’s easy to accidentally speed. Dressing up like a bat is quite difficult, especially with a bit of a pot belly.

Some people might suggest that putting murder and assault on the list might be considered a little bit evil. But here’s where the idea of being immune to prosecution for a crime starts to sound a bit more tempting:

Sometimes you REALLY want to kill someone, but it is considered illegal in this country (and most other countries). And fair enough too. I don’t want murder to be made legal. I just want it to be something that I personally can get away with. It wouldn’t even be considered legal, just something that I get away with.

Hear me out. I don’t want to go around randomly killing people. But if someone killed a family member and got away with it, I have a few friends who would help me bury the body.

I honestly don’t know whether I could kill someone. Probably not. Maybe I should just stick with vigilantism.

I rock a cape.

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.

A deeper look at bullying

Reading over the last post on bullying, I agree that it was a very personal piece without a lot of interest for others not in that situation. To that end, I would like to just flesh out the concepts behind the specifics. My daughter is in Year Eight and that is a time fraught with emotional outbursts and changing loyalties and differing levels of growth and therefore tensions are rife. Not to mention the fact that boys and girls start buying into the “us versus them” mentality.

Bored teenager at Yellowstone.

I look back at me and I can see that I was arrogant. I was top of the class without trying. I liked and was liked by most of my teachers. And the ones I didn’t like I gave a hard time. I was volatile, partly because of the
Roaccutane I was taking for horrible acne. I wasn’t good at sport and I was one of the original computer nerds. And debating nerd. And theatre geek. On coming back from Canada to Year 10, I was furthermore a world travelled teenager in an insular tiny country town.

I read everything, especially horror. I fell in love easily. I stayed up late and got up early.

As a teacher I look at some kids that just scream “target”. I am sure that some of my teachers thought the same way. I am soooo glad I didn’t grow up with the Internet.

I don’t remember feeling lonely, although I am sure I did.

 I remember being scared of some of the people who threatened me. I have mentioned the moron who told me in class that he wanted to push my head through a wall. I remember going all the way around the school and hiding by the bins so that I didn’t have to confront him.

I kind of wish that I had just confronted him. Let him hit me. Gotten that fear out of my mind and out into the real world where I could deal with it. Surely it wouldn’t have been that bad. Maybe it would have. I don’t know.

I have been in exactly one fight. The boys in the class pitted me against someone else that they didn’t like. We snarked at each other for a couple of days and then agreed to fight up by the cricket nets. A group surrounded us. He hit me in the stomach. I fell over. That was the end of it. It was incredibly humiliating, but neither of us could be bothered keeping up the animosity after that.

 I remember feeling incredibly betrayed by people I thought were my friends. We went to parties together in primary school. We played in the yard. Our parents were friends. And then they weren’t friends. They ostracised me. They laughed at me. They held Year level parties that I wasn’t invited to. Funnily enough, they invited me to a party at the end of year 8 as a going away. There was some snarking but on the whole it was an ok evening. They were happy to be nice knowing that I was leaving?

It wasn’t as bad in Year 10 – they just couldn’t keep it up. There were pockets of idiots, and I didn’t get along with most of the year level, but I had friends, and wasn’t being actively bullied, except by a couple. Shereen and I broke up over something that was absolutely my fault and then the friendship group disappeared again. I spent most of the year in the library. A weeklong camp in the city was hellish. I repaired a lot of that damage over the year and in year 11 and 12 I had some good friends. VCE still sucked. Our year level was mainly terrible – the worst group to go through the school in eight years. VCE was new and we all hated it. My design for our year 12 jumper was: VCE – in line for the dole queue. But I survived.

God, how depressing… having to say that you survived high school.

18th birthday party
By 18 I had a few good friends

 My wife and I tell our daughter, and I tell kids at school, that high school is fleeting. At University, you find people accepting of your differences. Those people who are popular in high school, rather than nice (you can absolutely be nice and popular – hi Cate) will find that that popularity goes away outside of the artificial construct that is the school system.

But it absolutely doesn’t help while you are in high school. It doesn’t help when your entire life is immediate and the future is a concept that means nothing compared to girlfriends and grades and being part of a group.

My diary from years 10-12 was mainly concerned with girls. I didn’t focus on the bullying; I have always been good at hiding from my problems. I read through it again last night and this is ALL I could find that even came close to referencing bullying. Lyndon is the guy that I thought was Shannon (sorry Shannon).

A page from my diary in Year 11.

I remember being ruled by my emotions. I was not a rational being. I look around at my students – at twenty different facial expressions while they write a test – and have to remember how I felt in those days. It’s hard to do when you’re forty-four.

Mum and Dad offered to move me to another school when I was in Year 11. I refused. I think I refused because I was 1) scared I would be forced to do more work and 2) terrified that it wouldn’t be any better and all the tiny supports I had built up would be gone.

Every little thing that I have done in my life has led me to here. I like here. There are so many mistakes I would prefer not to have made, but they all got me to this place. As a teacher, I am hyper-vigilant for bullying. My experiences got me to this point where I can help others.

Silver lining, eh?

To the future…

I used StumbleUpon and hit upon this site.

The idea that you send a message to your distant descendants in the future. All of the messages will be whooshed off into space, or into a time capsule, or buried in mud, or something. I didn’t read that bit very closely.

Here’s what I wrote:

a drawing of meI really hope that you know the name Damian Perry as having done something great. Or at least recognisable. Or at least not infamous.

leaving earth angryI hope that you left the planet of your own choice and not because we ruined it for you. If not, I am truly sorry for my generation’s actions.

this is a horseFinish this sentence: a horse walked into a bar and the bartender said: _________________________

Look up the lumberjack song. If you don’t know Monty Python, you should.

Read Terry Pratchett.

Read Shakespeare.

If you’ve invented time travel, come back and say hello.

cats and dogs are coolWe do some stupid things to the planet, but one that I don’t regret is having pets. We have dogs and cats and they make your life so much more bearable. I know they aren’t great for the carbon footprint, but they are good for the soul. Goldfish, not so much.

Does Apple still exist? What number iPhone are they up to?

Do they still talk about 2016 as one of the worst years ever?

Watch Star Wars.

Watch Casablanca.

Watch them as movies, and not as holograms or dreams or whatever they’re using for entertainment these days. I’m pretty sure Empire Strikes Back is still the best of the series, no matter what Disney does to the franchise.

I don’t care how plugged in to technology you are, it is absolutely vital that you get out and play. Being bored is essential for creativity. Paint something, draw something. Use your hands instead of a machine. Sing. Dance. Let your imagination take you somewhere you can’t get using a computer.

come back and visit in your time machineIs Doctor Who still around? Who is your favourite Doctor?

Definitely come back and say hi. I’m sure they’ll have time travel by your time.

Don’t use transporters, because there’s no guarantee that your soul will be transported along with your body. Seriously. Think about it.

transporters steal your soul

The real you is turned into computer information. A dead-inside clone appears on the other side. YOU ARE NOW DEAD.

Have fun. See you soon,

Damian.

Terms and Conditions

TERMS-AND-CONDITIONS-MAY-APPLY-APPLEShereen just upgraded her IOS version. Every time we do that, it comes up with the “I have read the Terms and Conditions” button. We click that, we state that we are using the software as long as we agree to follow whatever mandatory rules the company put forward for us to follow.

And we lie.

We lie because only a tiny percentage of people actually read the terms and conditions. For anything. Rented a house? Sure, I’ve read the terms and conditions. Bought a new car? Sure I’ve read the terms and conditions. Adopted a child? Sure I’ve read the … wait, did that say Son of Satan?

Here are a couple of the things you are signing away when you click the button/sign along the dotted line/dip your quill in the bloody ink.

IMG_5162From my car insurance:

“We will not cover any loss, damage or liability as a result of:

  • War or warlike activity:
    • War does not have to be declared
  • Hostilities, rebellion, insurrection or revolution
  • Contamination by chemical and/or biological agents, which results from an act of terrorism
  • Anything nuclear or radioactive

From Apple:

  • You can only belong to one Family at a time, and may join any Family no more than twice per year.
  • Consult a doctor before using the products offered through the iTunes Service
  • APPLE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR GUARANTEE THAT THE APP AND BOOK SERVICES WILL BE FREE FROM LOSS, CORRUPTION, ATTACK, VIRUSES, INTERFERENCE, HACKING, OR OTHER SECURITY INTRUSION, AND APPLE DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY RELATING THERETO.
  • Apple reserves the right to take steps Apple believes are reasonably necessary or appropriate to enforce and/or verify compliance with any part of this Agreement.

This is what you’re signing when you click “I agree”. No changing families. Buy the virus-filled apps and ibooks. And if Apple decides that they should murder your first-born to enforce and/or verify compliance with their agreement, well, you just agreed that that is ok as well.

futurama-devil2Did you hear about the company that had a clause in their T&Cs that gave them ownership of the user’s immortal soul? It was an April Fool’s joke, but it made a very clear point: people don’t read the terms and conditions. Any self-respecting evil overlord would take advantage of this.

So, I’m going to create an app. It will be marvellous. Everybody will want it. And I’ll have all of the basic terms and conditions. But, just for those people who don’t read the terms and conditions, I’ll add in a few of my own.

So as a warning, here they are. Read them carefully. And choose whether you want my cool app, or whether it’s just not worth it.

CoolApp Terms and Conditions

  1. The developer takes no responsibility for any damage this app might cause to the machines or devices the app invades.
  2. There is a good chance that this app will never be updated again. The developer makes no apologies for this, so get over it.
  3. The developer will remove access to any user who scores the app less than five stars on the app store.
  4. The developer might make certain demands of users. By accepting these terms and conditions, you are accepting that these demands are fair and reasonable and that you will abide by these demands in a timely manner. These demands may include (but are not limited to):
    1. The user will provide safe haven for the developer and any associates that may need sanctuary.
    2. The user is expected, with fair notice, to contribute to a standing army to defend the holdings and lands of the developer in times of war.
    3. The developer may, on occasion and again with fair warning, visit the user’s home and at that time, should be provided with food and lodging. Moreover, a ball should be held in the developer’s honour, at the full expense of the user.
  5. The app has been extensively tested, but the developer will not be held liable for damages caused by effects outside of the standard test cases. For example, portal rifts leading to alien invasion shall not be deemed the fault of the developer.
  6. In the case that the developer requires a liver, spleen, brain, heart or other vital organ, the user will go to any length to provide the developer with said organ (no questions asked). The developer will endeavour to return the organ in a timely manner but cannot assure the quality of the returned item.
  7. Your genetic code, facial likeness and other personal information may be used by the developer for various purposes set out in the privacy document. The user accepts any liability for actions taken by the resulting robotic clone.

Did I miss anything? You have been warned.

2015

Everybody has to write one of these, don’t they?

Let’s see. What happened in 2015? It might be just writing at this time of the year, but in my head, the year was categorised by stress. Which is weird, because in 2014 I:

  • wrote two plays,
  • performed in two productions,
  • published and launched my first novel,
  • completed a certificate III in Game Design,
  • holidayed in Halls Gap,
  • turned 40 and was painted into the TARDIS,
  • created a CGI opening for the school production which almost killed me,
  • saw my daughter perform at the Melbourne Arts Centre,
  • had our first cancer scare with our dog Amy and then
  • lost my grandfather to cancer (which doesn’t seem that long ago).

2015They were huge things, and very draining. And still, I finished this year completely shattered and I’m just getting out of it now, after a good few days down at Dromana soaking in the ocean (my calm down place). My 2015 list on the face of it is much longer. This year I:

  • Wrote a book starring my daughter as a werewolf
  • Saw They Might Be Giants (again)
  • Watched my lovely wife graduate from university
  • Ran the school radio show and podcast for a year
  • Spent a week in Sydney
  • Ramped up the school 3D printing program
  • Started learning to program in Python
  • Got my debating team into the finals
  • Had a number of articles published in educational journals
  • Had a reunion of the Five
  • Fixed the shower head
  • Ran the sound for Macbeth
  • Wrote half a dozen stories for a sequel to Dwarves in Space and found them mostly awful
  • Discovered Netflix and Stan and Presto
  • Had a Marvel Universe movie marathon
  • Went to a number of art galleries
  • Attended a few Guides functions
  • Started an educational blog
  • Read the Harper Lee sequel nobody thought would ever happen
  • Flew in a very old bi-plane
  • Finished my wedding video – three years on
  • Celebrated Grandma’s 90th

And that’s just the ones that come to mind going back through my photo gallery. Of those, they were all incredibly positive, life affirming and creative pursuits, which didn’t bring me down in the slightest. So why am I so mentally exhausted?

I think all that I can say is: don’t get involved in politics in the workplace. Just do your own job as well as you can and let what’s up top run itself.

I just wish I believed that was a good idea. Anyway, as always, I promise I will write more in 2016. And I have actual things in place to make that happen. AND I did actually write a lot in 2015 – just not on FindingDamo.

Earworm

earwormJust a quick one today. I need to get a couple of things into your head. Let me know how long it takes to get them out again.

1. Numb.

It has ruined my reading life. Every time I hear the word numb or read it, my brain immediately goes num num num num like a baby gumming a watermelon. Jim Butcher uses the word numb a lot in the Dresden Files.

So now, in a tense moment, Harry Dresden’s arm goes numb and my brain goes num num num num and I lose the plot completely.

Now you can too. Don’t thank me all at once.

baby eating watermelon

2. albatraoz.

This was the last thing I heard at the gym this morning. And now it’s flapping around the inside of my head like an… well, like an albatross. Bumping into things. It’s cruel to keep such a big bird in such a tiny brain.

Wait.

Anyway, just thought I’d share the torture. What’s your go-to song in the Ear Worm game? And do you have a shield? My wife and I swear by the Smurfs. It instantly removes any other song from your brain, but doesn’t hold on too strong.

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