Finding Damo

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

Archive for the category “writing”

Psycho Ted

I created the Psycho Teddy Bear back at university. I used to spend more time drawing in class than taking notes. A friend leaned over and asked to see an insane teddy bear, and from there the Psycho Teddy Bear was born.

For awhile, all of my email addresses and signatures contained PTB, before I softened and became OmenToo. I even had an ascii version.

When I started teaching Flash to my Year 9s, I created Spider Ted, which I quite enjoyed.

Once I started playing with game design, I tried to create him in 3D. I had an awful looking Second Life avatar, and then a Mecha-PTB that I created for my Cert III in game design, which looked much better.

Now I have been experimenting with him again, creating designs for RedBubble.

findingdamo.redbubble.com

What I’m thinking of doing next is recreating a comic strip I did awhile ago (like, perhaps fifteen years ago) and animating it in CGI.

It has been fun, watching the evolution of a cartoon character. I hope he has more life left in him.

Click Bait

I have written a couple of articles on Vocal.Media. You can make money off the site if your story goes viral.

With 66 views on my last article, I made 26 cents.

This time I am hoping to double that. If you’re bored, go and have a look at my little story. I like it.

https://vocal.media/humans/do-they

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.

Write a Book in a Day

I run Write a Book in a Day at our school. There are two competitions: The SIS (Southern Independent Schools) competition, which just passed, and the National competition which is coming up at the end of August.

Because it’s a student exercise, and the rules specifically forbid teacher assistance, I spend a lot of the day telling my students to stop eating sugar and start writing again. I take photos.

And I write myself. I may as well. It’s 9am until 5pm. When I’m not putting out technological forest fires, I might as well stretch my creative muscles.

So I’m giving you what I came up with from the prompts given.

The prompts were:

Human Character One: Musical Conductor
Human Character Two: Nurse
Non-human character: Magical bear
Setting: shopping centre
Issue: Crippling depression

I need to discuss with the organisers for next year putting together some more fun prompts that allow for a more student-centred book. Anyway, here’s my story:

As always, if you like it, let me know in the comments. If you don’t like it, feel free to let me know as well, but the purpose of the exercise was to hack it together in the time that I had, including illustrations, so it might be a bit rough.

Imagination Master

Voting has opened in the Focus on Ability competition. Please check out our entry and vote for our chance at the Voter’s Choice Award and your chance to win a $50 iTunes voucher daily.

It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy. But hey, I’m always busy. This time, the busy-ness was due to my involvement in this year’s Focus on Ability competition. Basically, I wanted a reason to spend some time with my family in Bendigo, and this seemed like a good one.

So I asked Cai: “I want to do a movie with you, showing your abilities. What do you want to happen?”

And he said: “I want a wizard who lives in a cavern of fire, and I want to do magic.”

So I adjusted my expectations and we started work on the most epic five minute amateur film ever.

And now it’s done. And we have entered it into the competition. And we need your help to get the voting numbers. Below is a voting link, and below that are some of the behind the scenes bits that will get you excited about what we did. It was a mammoth effort involving three families, and I’m hoping it gets the attention my families deserve for all of their efforts.

Promotional Materials

It looks better in the end.

FINALIST!

2019 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards

Open Short Film Section

I’m writing to let you know that my film The Imagination Master is a finalist in the NOVA Employment 2019 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards.

Focus on Ability (FOA) is designed to encourage filmmakers to focus on the ability of people with disability. This year they’re celebrating 11 years of doing just that!

About Focus On Ability:

Based in Australia, this year’s FOA festival had an amazing 245 entries, including 104 school entries and 61 international films. Following successful screenings last year right around Australia, in New Zealand, New York, Zimbabwe and Malawi this year the competition received entries from 26 countries. More info.

Last year’s winners from the Open sections can be viewed here. As you can see, the competition is stiff!

Judges Choice Short Film
Winner – Sebastian Chan – Bus Trip

Judges Choice Documentary
Winner – Kasimir Burgess – Paul

Most Online Votes
Winner – Nicole Molloy & Matt Watt – He Will Walk

Best Australian Actor
George Holahan-Cantwell – Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant

This could be the richest short-film festival in the world, with over $175,000 in prizes to be shared among the winners.

The winner of the Judges Choice Open Short Film section wins an amazing prize! Winner – 1 return ticket to Los Angeles, 6 Weeks Accommodation at UP(st)ART Creative Living, 1 Ticket to the American Film Market, 1 Ticket the Australians In Film Gala Dinner & Membership to Australians In Film, Meetings with International Judges for mentorships, Live Studio Tapings of US Shows, $5000 worth of legal services from Kate L Raynor & Associates, 1 Ticket to Media Access Awards & Acknowledgement, Warner Bros Studio Tour Tickets.

My film is also in the running to win Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Director, Screen Producers Award and…

Most Online Votes – Winner – $5000 cash prize courtesy of Club York

This is where you come in!

Even though I’m confident the judges will love my film, if our local community gets behind me, it might just win the Most Online Votes!

Voting starts 20 June and concludes 3 July: http://www.focusonability.com.au/

Voters go in the running to win a $50 iTunes voucher, but you can only vote once in each category. The six categories are:

  • Australia & New Zealand Schools Documentary
  • Australia & New Zealand Schools Short Film
  • Australian Open Documentary
  • Australian Open Short Filmthis is us
  • International Documentary
  • International Short Film.

Winners attend a red-carpet event at The Concourse in Sydney on 6 September 2019.

Quotes from Martin Wren, CEO NOVA Employment: (FOA was his big idea!)

‘Focus is a constant source of amazement for me. It came as a random thought bubble, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could use the medium of film to highlight the ability of people with disability?” It could change the world!’

‘Now, I’m a Brixton kid – I’m hard as nails when I need to be – but I can guarantee you that I’ll weep at least 5 times when I watch those films. I hear, see and feel people saying things like, “I didn’t know that anyone would ever love me” and “It feels like I’m being destroyed”. I have to go back and replay to check: “Yes they actually said that in my film fest.”’

‘I don’t think, as a person, you can fail to be impressed and inspired by taking ten minutes to see a couple of FOA films. FOA changes attitudes about people with disability and this is important because it’s the first step towards an inclusive society.’

Three stories

I want to tell you a story, but I must tell you two other stories first.

The first is about forest water.

I went up to the Grampians with my wife and daughter, my sister, her kids and husband and his sister. I don’t know why I think all of that is necessary information.

Anyway, I absolutely loved it and the kids had a ball.

When wandering through the lovely morning bush, Shereen taught the kids about forest water. There is a special chi you get from licking the tiny drops of dew off the leaves of the trees. It’s cool and refreshing and makes you feel one with nature.

The second story is that I went to see Hereditary with my wife’s cousin and family.

It’s a beautifully shot film that is deeply flawed while still having a lot of potential. Anyway, there is a phenomenally horrible scene involving beheading and a car and I’m truly sorry if you wanted to see it but came here first.

hereditarycarmini

So, these are the things in my head for the following:

My wife and I were driving home from the mountains and it was lovely and misty and there was dew on the leaves and everything was picturesque. So I had to ruin it with my dark mind.

My wife pointed out the dew on the trees and said “forest water!”

And my immediate thought was:

He sticks his head out of the car, telling his wife “Hey, get closer to the edge so I can lick the forest water!” and then it’s

Licklicklicklick

“Mmmm… Forest water– ow! ow! wait, no aaaargh!”

SMACKsmackSMACKsmack rrrrrriiiiiipppppp

Plop.

Gush gush bleed bleed.

thumbnail

Was it worth the wait?

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_

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.

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

Sports Day – free story!

NB: So months ago I found a competition to write characters from Romeo and Juliet into a new setting. I whipped it up  quickly and sent it to a few people to have a look at it. It wasn’t due until April so I let it slide. And then in a panic I checked the due date and realised it was due the week before.

So you get it for free. Enjoy.

Sports Day picSports Day

There are four houses at Verona College, but only two that ever get talked about; Montague House and their traditional rivals in Capulet. When the house naming system was introduced, the head of English had a field day.

One year, Montague would win the swimming sports and Capulet would take the cup at the Athletics carnival. The next, Capulet would hold all of the records for swimming and Montague would dominate on the track. Teachers as well as students were assigned to a house, and the narrow margin between Montague and Capulet in the sporting arena had on more than one occasion led to fist fights in the staff room. And yelling matches in the car park. And parental feuds on Facebook.

It was this powder keg of enmity, leading back generations, which would lead to the tragic story of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet.

But this isn’t their story.

***

“Get a move on Greg. We’ll be late,” Sam said, shoving his friend who was dawdling in the direction of the starting line.

“If we get there too early, we’ll be the late Greg and Sam,” grumbled the other boy, tucking his red singlet back into his shorts.

“I can take a couple of Montague freaks.”

“You’ll be freaking out, and running away, more like it,” Greg said, nodding at the lithe young men in blue tops, stretching by the side of the track. Sam scowled.

“I’d stand up to those guys.”

“You’d have to. They’re about a head taller than you. Maybe try taking on one of the girls instead.”

“Gawd, I wouldn’t mind, I tell you,” Sam said, tilting his head towards a couple of Montague House girls, laughing and chatting on the grass. They were full of life, long legs tanned and house shirts knotted at their breast bone.

“Uh uh. Don’t even think about it,” Greg warned. “If you ever wanted to die early, making a move on a Montague girl would be a good way to do it.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, and kicked at a chip packet on the grass. “It might be worth it, to kick some Montague skulls.”

“Here’s your chance,” Greg said, eyes widening. A couple of the Montague boys had peeled off from their group and were sauntering casually into a position where they’d cross paths with their Capulet rivals.

“Shit,” Sam said. “OK. I’ve got your back. Have a go.” Greg looked back at his friend.

“You’ve got my back? You’ll be off like a bikini at a nudist beach.”

“No, seriously. Don’t worry.”

“I am bloody worried, seriously.”

“Fine then, but if they start something, we’ll finish it,” Sam said. Greg nodded, and as they approached the other boys, both of them Year 10 students, Greg hawked up a massive lump of phlegm and spat it neatly at the ground near the Montague boys’ feet.

“Oy, watch it,” one said. Sam recognised him as Ben Abraham. A good runner, but a complete asshole. “Did you tools just spit at me?”

“God no,” Greg said, not wanting anyone to say he made the first move. “I just spat. Lucky I missed you, really.”

“Do you wanna go?” Abraham said, taking a step towards Greg, his mate moving in behind him. Sam joined his friend and found himself looking up at two quite burly opponents. He sneered.

“I reckon we could take you,” he said, fighting the urge to stand on tiptoes. Greg nudged him, his head nodding to the side. Sam glanced over and saw Tybalt, the Capulet house captain, watching the proceedings with a dangerous gaze. “Yeah, you’re looking to lose a couple of those shiny white teeth.” Sam was ready to give Abraham a shove when the PA blared.

“All Year Ten students involved in the fifteen hundred metres need to get to the starting line now. That includes the four idiots about to do something stupid by the side of the track.” Mr. Graham, the woodwork teacher, was beckoning to them, a warning glare daring them to continue with their altercation. With a shove, Ben pushed Sam back and trotted off to the starting line. Sam followed, his ears burning and his hands shaking from the close call.

The four boys took their positions, joined by two each from Escalus and Mantua houses. Mr. Graham eyeballed Sam and Ben, shook his head and then raised the starting pistol.

“On your marks, get set…”

KRAK!

Sam was first out of the blocks, being lighter than the other runners. He felt that he had a good lead and concentrated on pushing his feet hard into the track and finding the rhythm that he could keep up for one and a half laps of the oval. His breath was all that he could hear. The first corner approached and he drew across to the inner lane.

Ben Abraham put on a brief burst of speed to come level with Sam and then stepped directly in front of him, shoving him at the same time so that the Capulet lost his balance and slammed into the ground, failing to get his hands out in front of him and halting his momentum using his face as a brake.

“Shit. Sorry,” Ben said, grinning, before a snarling Greg dived headlong into his knees and tackled him to the ground. Ben’s teammate ducked in and hurled Greg off, kneeing him in the guts, but by then Sam was up again and had kicked a slowly rising Abraham directly in the ass, sending him back to the ground.

And then it was on. Spectators from both houses ran onto the truck, swinging punches and yelling insults. Benvolio, the Montague house captain, dived in, a panicked look on his face.

“Stop it! Get off!” he yelled, dragging Sam off Abraham and throwing him to the ground. “Let go of him you idiot!” A Montague shoved him and he backhanded the boy on reflex, turning to see Tybalt grinning at him.

“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size,” the Capulet captain said.

“What? I’m trying to stop the fight, not make it worse!” Benvolio said.

“Bullshit. You just slapped that kid in the face. Bloody Capulets. Come on you fairy.”

Teachers ran in from all directions. Mr Fitch, the coordinator for Capulet, dived into the fray, pulling blue shirts from red, until Miss Lockheart, his Montague counterpart, saw him drop a Year Nine boy with an unfortunate shove and she tapped him on the shoulder and punched him square on the nose.

A massive feedback whine caused everyone to pause and look up. The principal stood on the podium, his face red and his knuckles white around the microphone.

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?”

***

Sam and Greg walked shamefacedly from the principal’s office, joining a long list of students with detentions or suspensions over the sports incident. As they left, the house heads Fitch and Lockheart replaced them in the office, looking just as shamefaced. Of course, the boys couldn’t see much of Fitch’s face, covered as it was by a bandage protecting his nose. As they walked off, they could hear the Prince yelling.

“Three times! Three bloody fights started by your Capulets, Jackie! And three from you and yours! Try and convince me now why I shouldn’t have both of your jobs!”

Sam looked over at his companion.

“We got off easy, I reckon, Gregory my friend.”

“Too right, Samson, too bloody right.”

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