Cheeseburger Gothic

Some fan fic for monday.

Posted March 29, 2010 by John Birmingham
And if Mr Savo could copy this across to the mini-b that'd be tops.

The Southern Approaches Command

After The Wave III

By

John R. Johnson

Prologue

It was over a year since the Wave, as it was called, hit the United States, Canada and Mexico. Every person living in the boundaries of the tear shaped wave had disappeared. The wave had covered all of the United States, except for a portion of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. All of Canada south of an arc which extended from Oregon, brushing Edmonton, and the southern half of Hudson's Bay was gone. The northern two thirds of Mexico from Belize to Acapulco was lifeless. The survivors in southern Mexico had fled south. Afraid the Wave would expand and take them.

The Wave, after a year, had disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. During that time civilization had started coming apart at the seams. Many had celebrated the demise of the United States but were now regretting the reality. Already some people were talking about the "golden age" when America had kept sanity in the world and put limits to the ambitions of despots.

In every country were men who were trying to hold things together. Some were more successful than others. So far the most successful had been the new President of the United States, James "Kip" Kipper. Working from the new Western White House in Seattle he still controlled the U.S. military, around the world, and when push came to shove it was still the most powerful in the world. A few nuclear exchanges had convinced most of the world leaders to back off a little in their grab for power. The situation was still dangerous but slowly things were settling out and positions were becoming clear and leaders were able to see where they stood in the scheme of things.

When the Wave occurred many of the surviving Americans were evacuated to New Zealand and Australia and Asian countries. The reduced resources of what remained of the United States couldn't support all of the survivors. Since the Wave had disappeared there had been talk about what to do with the Americans but no decisions had been made about resettlement yet. China was talking about keeping the Americans who had gone there for "their own safety and well-being."

USS Matinicus (WPB-1315)

The Southern Approaches

The Gulf of Mexico

One year after the end of the Wave

William "Wild Bill" Elliott squinted against the bright sun reflected off the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He shook his head as he looked at the huge container ship the Matinicus has intercepted. The stench of unwashed bodies was almost over powering, even a hundred yards away. He had been expecting the huge crowd refugees, men and women and children, lining the ships rail. What got him was the flag the ship was flying. He wondered when was the last time the Papal flag had flown on a ship (he had to look the flag up to know what it was) and what was going on. He watched the Matinicus' boarding party, accompanied by two passengers, heading back to the cutter. Oh well, he would be getting answers soon.

"Skipper, here's the latest intelligence from the navy." said Lt. (junior grade) Jose Cabrera, his executive officer. "Naval Intelligence says they back tracked the ship on satellite photos. Apparently it left Rome about three weeks ago. Stopped for a few days in Spain and the Azores before heading across to America. The ship stayed far enough south to miss Cuba and then turned north a day and a half ago. That's why it's so far into the western Gulf. They don't have anything else on it." He started to close the message board then stopped. "There's also a weather advisory from the Air Force. There's a storm kicking up in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa with a possibility of turning into a hurricane."

"No suggestions on what to do with a ship full of refugees?" Elliott asked. "This is the first but I'll bet you a months pay it won't be the last. Just a few general guidelines would be nice." He picked up the bridge phone. "Cookie, it doesn't look like there's going to be a problem. I'm going to keep the crew at general quarters though, just in case. See the crew gets something to hot to eat and drink in the mean time." He felt better knowing the cook and mess steward would pass the words and the crew could relax a little. He looked back at Jose. "Sorry, don't mean to be grouchy. I think this ship is just what it seems. A refugee ship and nothing else. I want to see the petty officer in charge as soon as he before I see our guests."

Before Jose could answer he was interrupted by the squawking of the bridge phone. Elliott picked it up and listened for several minutes. "Looks like another situation developing. Remember that contact radar picked up heading this way? Radar says they have another contact which could be trying to intercept the first target. They are both about five hours away. After we finish up here we'll go investigate."

"Aye, aye, Skipper." Jose grinned and said dryly. "You know, skipper, when we got back from the mission to Miami and they said you were being given the Southern Approaches Command I kind of envisioned something a little more … impressive than one cutter trying to cover the whole Gulf of Mexico." He turned away, "I'll have the boarding party bring our guests as soon as they are aboard."

"I'm sure as soon as they send more cutters there will be a change of command to someone with a little more clout." Bill looked at the boarding party’s RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) pulling alongside. " I imagine this will be an interesting also."

***

Father John Bibzier Torbert, clutched his briefcase as he stood on the deck of the  coast guard patrol boat and looked around before reaching down to give a hand to Rabbi Malachi Throne as he scrambled aboard. There were several crew members manning machine guns sipping on mugs and eating sandwiches. For a moment he looked at the refugee ship he had just come from, feeling the weight of responsibility for all the lives aboard.  He wondered what the captain of the Matinicus would demand as a bribe. There were rumors the US navy was turning back all ships heading for the east coast of what had been the United States. There were also stories that the captain of this patrol boat had sunk a refugee ship trying to make its way to Florida and then left the survivors to drown. He hoped the captain would accept the bribe without being too greedy, like the patrol boats in the Mediterranean had become.

"Petty Officer Dupuis, the captain wants to see you on the bridge immediately," an alert, middle aged officer said. "I'll escort our guests to the bridge."

"Aye, aye sir," the petty officer saluted and turned to leave. "This is Father Torbert of the Knights Hospitaller and Rabbi Throne. They are in charge of the people on the ship."

"Father Torbert? I'm Lt. (j.g.) Jose Cabrera. If you and the Rabbi will follow me I'll take you to the captain." The officer waited attentatively before continuing. " I heard of your order but didn't know it still existed. But then I'm not up on the various religious orders."

"Our order is almost eight hundred years old." Father Torbert said. "Rabbi Throne and myself were picked to organize these refugees and to try to find a safe haven for them and possibly more in the future. " They followed Lt. (j.g.) Cabrera along the main deck toward the bridge.

"Skipper, this is Father Torbert of The Knights Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and Rabbi Malachi Throne. They are in charge of the refugees." Lt. Cabrera said leading them onto the bridge. "Father, Rabbi this is Lt. William Elliot."

Lt. Elliott tilted his head for a moment listening and spoke quietly to the helmsman, before turning back to Father Torbert. "The Knights Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem? I believe your order was originally a military and medical order. Fighting the Turks and Ottomans and trying to win back the Holy Lands." Bill said. " If I remember correctly they changed their name and are now an  order based out of England and France and now medical missionaries or something. So what are you doing so far from home, Father?"

" The Pope has told all the orders to help resettle the refugees as much as possible. " Father Torbert said. " Our Grand Master selected me and fifteen other priests, all with combat experience, to help these people build a new life. It was felt a settlement in America would be an enormous asset and easiest to send refugees to. At the same time even these few thousand make a dint in resources, so it relieves the pressure on resources available in Italy."

"Sounds like a pretty tall order," Bill answered. "Okay, what do you have aboard your ship and what's your destination?"

"There are four thousand eight hundred and thirty five refugees on board, plus the officers and crew of the ship," Father Torbert said. "That includes eight hundred Americans, who decided to come with us rather than wait for your government to arrange for their transportation, three hundred and fifty Spanish and Portuguese, one hundred Greeks, fifty Albanians and five hundred Jews. The rest are Italian.

"I see," Bill said softly. "Your people must be standing on each others shoulders to get that many aboard one ship. You're luck there wasn't a storm. You could have lost half your people living in the containers." He looked back at the ship again. "Just what are you planning to do in America? Almost five thousand city dwellers will find it hard to survive. What skills do you have? Do you know how to raise food? Make your own clothing and tools?"

"I thought of that when I was given this assignment," Father Torbert said. "I consulted with some experts and we picked a number of older people, in their sixties and seventies and older to teach the old skills. I picked engineers, technicians, farmers and gardeners, tailors, machinists, doctors, nurses, and teachers. We even have a retired neurosurgeon who is studying up on gynecology."

"There were a number of farmers from kibbutz' in Israel visiting family in Rome when the Wave occurred," Rabbi Throne put in. "At the suggestion of the Israeli ambassador they remained in Italy and when this opportunity was presented they  volunteered to come with us and show us how to farm." Rabbi Throne shrugged, "It's felt the time is come once again for the Jews to…disperse… and give things time to settle. Even if Israel is destroyed we will survive and rebuild someday. Five other rabbi's and myself will teach the word and ensure everything that has happened is remembered."

"I see," Bill said. "The Italians, and I assume the other countries, are glad to get rid of some people they consider useless and Israel is taking the long view in case something happens to Israel. Well I can't blame them for that. But why should we allow you into the United States, what's left of it. Like I said even with someone to teach pre-mechanization skills it's going to be very hard to survive." He held up his hand. "Never mind, I see you are determined. So tell me why you should be allowed to land?"

"I have a copy of the passengers and crew manifest, by name, age, occupation and nationality," Father Torbert said, pulling a thick sheaf of papers and two envelops from his briefcase. He ignored the restraining hand Rabbi Throne put on his arm. "There is also a letter from the American Ambassador in Rome and a personal appeal from the Grand Master of our order."

"You still haven't answered my question," Bill said, taking the stack of papers and the envelopes. He handed the passenger manifest over to the messenger of the watch. "Take these to my cabin and I'll examine them later." He opened the top letter and read it. "Typical diplomatic double-talk. To hear the Ambassador tell it butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Where were you planning to land?" He opened the next envelop and read it, face starting to turn red with rage.

Father Torbert felt his stomach clinch as he realized his mistake. He could sense the other crew members on the bridge straightening and turning hard stares on the two visitors. "Sir, please forgive me," he tried to backpedal. "I'm so used to the patrol captains in the Mediterranean I misjudged you. Please, captain, if these people, especially the Jews, are force to return to Europe they will not be allowed to land. If we go to South America there is a good chance they will be imprisoned and maybe enslaved.  Don't punish them because I made a mistake in judgment."

"The Holy Father has decided to resurrect all of the military orders in their original concept. His Holiness says with the changing times we must go back to basics in the defense of the church. We must try peaceful means first and then, if that doesn't work use alternate methods." Father Torbert felt beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead. "The Pope is afraid we might be entering a new dark age and he is trying to take steps to preserve as much of the knowledge as possible. He has ordered the reopening of remote, isolated monasteries and the military orders to protect them. The Church is working to try to make things better and ease international tensions but he is also making contingency plans in case thing get worse." Father Torbert voice was shaking. "Please, Captain. You must not punish these people because of me."

"Very well, Father." Bill said, taking deep breaths to control his anger. He waved to the bridge crew to relax. "That's the kind of mistake that could get you and all your people killed. I should feed you to the sharks for an insult like that and if you do it again I will."

"I understand and it won't happen again," Father Torbert felt a chill go down his spine at the utterly calm, reasonable tone the captain had used. "We haven't decided where to land yet. We were hoping to have more information before we made a decision."

"Delays like that can be fatal," Bill said. "We escorted several contract civilian support ships here from Puerto Rico. They each carried a platoon of marines and some engineers. We left the USS Neptune in Galveston, TX. They are checking the conditions of refineries and oil wells. Another, the USS Macon,  is in Mobile, AL surveying the damage and conditions along the Gulf coast from Tampa, Fl to New Orleans. They report the levees in New Orleans have broken and most of the city is flooded, also the Mississippi River is still highly toxic from the runoff from the pollution and acid rain last year."

"Thank you, Captain." Father Torbert said again, tuning to leave. "If there is ever anything I or my order can do we will be glad to help."

"Just a minute, Father." Bill held out the letter he had been clinching in his hand. "You might want to keep this in a safe place. A hundred thousand pounds stirling in a blank letter of credit on the Bank of England can be tempting to some people. Hang on to it and maybe you can use it to buy things you colony will need to survive."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Six Hours later

"Bridge," Elliott said into the bridge phone. He listened for several minutes. "Very well, report any changes in course and speed." He hung up the phone and turned to Jose. "That was radar. The contact should be in sight shortly. It's moving pretty slowly. We should intercept it in about an hour. Good thing we intercepted the Albatros first and got it turned around." He shook his head. "It really brought back memories seeing a Point class patrol boat again. Which reminds me on our next report we need to include the information that Venezuela has added more machine guns and a deck gun to the armament.

"What are your plans, Skipper," Jose asked? "It sounds to me like someone doesn't want to continue enjoying the socialist utopia of Venezuela."

"I'm afraid you're right," Bill said. "I'll play it by ear after I find out for sure who all the players in this little game are. Pass the word that I don't want anyone getting a little trigger happy. Intercept should be as planed so we'll go to General Quarters in fifteen minutes." He looked at the sun low in the darkening sky. "We'll come up on them from the west. If there's any light left, and it's pirates and they want to fight, that'll make it hard for them to get a good target."

"You got it, Skipper," Jose replied. He started to leave then paused. "Skipper, am I mistaken or are the number of ships heading toward the United States, what's left of it, increasing? We spent over a month going up and down the coast of Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and we only met the pirated cruise ship and the refugees from another ship who landed before we arrive on scene. We've only just arrived on station and here we have three ships in one day and I understand the navy has turned back a number of ships from Europe approaching the northeast."

"They are increasing and we'll be seeing a lot more in the coming days." Bill said. "All the navy ships in the Atlantic are tied up intercepting ships from Europe and turning them back." He smiled wearily. "I haven't had any direction but until I do I see our job as sorting the true refugees looking to build a new life from the looters and get rich quick artists. They'll all be coming and maybe I'm an idealists but I mean to sort through the … crowds… for the true seekers and turn the spoilers back, if possible."

"I hadn't thought about that," Jose admitted. "Hopefully everything will settle down now and return to some part of normal."

"Not anytime soon," Bill said. "I think we are decivilizing fast. You heard Father Torbert talking about making sure to include elderly people for their pre-industrialization skills?" He grimaced. "Look at what’s happening in parts of Africa and South America. Reports of pandemics and ethnic cleansing. They're killing off the people who know how to make things run. When those people are gone who is going to keep the machinery running, much less build new ones. And not just mechanical machinery but I'm talking about the machinery of government. That being said I think the world will be lucky if we stop at a 1930's level of technology. But it's all going to be a mix, 1930's tech next to 2000 tech. It's part of our job to see if we can lessen the slide."

"I think Southeast Asia will be okay. They grow enough food for their people and once you get out of the cities the life is still basically the same as it has been for hundreds of years." He frowned thoughtfully. "China might split into two or three new countries, their problem is two fold. The government has tried to rule by supposed committee for years, and in the process built up their own ruling elite. And a lot of farmers were displaced and thrown off the land during their industrial buildup, they are really pissed off."

"If India and Pakistan can keep from nuking each other they might be okay, too. But the next few years are going to be vital. Our job is to try and see people have those years to start recovering."

"You know, Skipper, I've known you for going onto fifteen years and I've never heard you talk like that." Jose said thoughtfully. "Maybe I've become something of an idealist too because I like the sound of that. The crew and I will back you all the way."

***

An Hour later

"Skipper, she's a 130 ft, fishing trawler named the Santa Maria, she must be forty or fifty years old. Looks like she's doing her top speed." Jose reported from the deck above the bridge. He was using the big eyes, 27 lb swivel mounted binoculars. The big eyes weren't infrared but their light gathering capabilities was unsurpassed. "I'm surprised they can even get eight knots out of her, much less ten knots. She's sitting low in the water like she has a heavy load. " With the big eyes he could see an ant crawling on a wall a block away. "I'm glad we intercepted that patrol boat out of Cuba first and that she decided to turn around without any fuss. Otherwise we'd be working against the clock here. "

"Jose, she's not answering any of our hails and she's altered course since they sighted us." Elliott said.  He looked at the dark evening sky and reached for the bridge phone. "I'm going to put a few shots across her bow to stop her. Get the boarding party ready to go and get some spotlights on her so we can see what's happening. "

***

"Boarding party, what do you have?" Elliott said into the radio handset. He listened for a moment. "Bring the leader back with you so I can talk to him." He signed off and waved Jose over to him and spoke in a low voice. "The ship is Venezuelan and has almost two hundred people aboard."

"That's about par for the day," Jose said. "More refugees to vet and send on their way." He picked up the 1MC bridge public address system. "All hands, this is the XO. The trawler is full of refugees. We don't think there will be any trouble but stay on your toes just in case."

***

"Skipper, this is Mr. James Musco Boulware a passenger on the Santa Maria." GM2 Robert "Bobby" Dupuis spoke in a Brooklyn/Haitian accent. He was born and raised in a Haitian neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY of Haitian parents.  "I felt you should talk to him and hear what he has to say."

"Captain, I'm Jim Boulware, late of Texas and Guyana. I was there on vacation with my family when the wave hit. There were about  ten or twelve thousand Americans in Guyana, either living there or tourists." He grimaced. "Anyway about four months ago Venezuela invaded and took over Guyana and Brazil took Surinam. The first anyone knew was when marines started landing in Georgetown. " His face twisted for a minute. "The Venezuelans rounded up all the Americans and secretly shipped us out to a prison camp in Maracaibo." He shrugged, "There was an American trained doctor there to treat the prisoners. We became friends and he agreed to help with an escape attempt if he and his family could go with us."

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent  troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

"I know that tranzi son of a bitch!" Boulware exclaimed. "He and his goons come around to the camps trying to recruit people to help him "set up a new and legitimate government and a workers paradise", that will restore the rights of the little guy and stop the destruction of the planet by big corporate interests. Of course he will be the one in charge." He spat on the deck. "He thinks the sun rises and sets in Chavez' ass."

"I'll need written statements on that from you and your people." Elliott swore softly under his breath. "But first things first. Just how many are on that boat?" Elliott asked. "As low as she is in the water we were afraid she would sink. Also who's in command?"

"Yes sir," Boulware said. He took a deep breath to control his anger. "There are one hundred fifty three Americans and thirty-four Venezuelans. The ship is commanded by Jorge Hernandez. He is the grandfather of the doctor who helped us and owns the ship." His speech started to speed up. "Captain, before we left we heard rumors that President Chavez is assembling an invasion force to try to take parts of Mexico or the United States. You have the get the warning out so they can be stopped."

"Slow down so we can get this right." Bill said. "XO, get the yeoman up here to write all this down." He turned back to Boulware. "Now start at the beginning and tell us everything. Especially anything you know about the forces making up this invasion force."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Nearing Galveston, TX

The two days later

"Skipper, here are the latest messages, the first one is a priority." Jose said. "There are several messages there that you need to take a look at. Looks like we have new orders."

Elliott read the top message and glanced at the ones under it. He shook his head and moved over to the chart table. He looked at the chart for several minutes. "We are ordered to rendezvous with the USS Gary (FFG-51). We are suppose to cooperate with the commanding office and assist him in any way we can." Elliott shook his head again. "Doesn't tell us much does it. The rendezvous looks to be an oil platform." He looked at the chart again and measured the distance with protractors, estimated time and speed. "If we remain in Galveston just long enough to refuel we can be there the day after tomorrow."

"I looked the Gary up in Jane's as soon as I saw the message coming in. She was homeported at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan when the wave hit, part of DesRon 15." Jose said. "Don't know why she would be here now but it looks like she's going to be head honcho on this invasion fleet thing." He paused for a moment then grinned. "Skipper you might want to take a look at those two messages that came in just before the orders."

"What the hell," Elliott exclaimed. "I've only been a lieutenant for a few months. What the hell is Admiral Brimo thinking of making me a Lieutenant Commander. There must be a mistake. Get a message off asking for clarification."

"The message below that is appointing the commander of the Gary as USNAVGULFDEFCOM," Jose said. "That might have something to do with the promotion. That translates as US Navy, Gulf Defense Command." He grinned, "I'll get a message off right away though. By the way the next message down says there is definitely a hurricane headed our way."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

At rendezvous point

Elliott stood up in the pitching RHIB and grabbed the ladder to board the USS Gary. He was in a foul mood, being summoned to the Gary stuck in his craw, but orders were orders. He straightened in surprise as the bosun's pipe thrilled. He saluted the flag and then the officer of the deck, requesting permission to come aboard.

"Lt.-Cdr. Elliott. I'm Lt. Cruz," the OOD saluted. "I've been ordered to bring you to the captain. If you will follow me, sir."

***

"Lt.-Cdr. Elliott, welcome to the Gary. I'm Cdr. James Tiberius Shigita," said the captain of the Gary. "And before you ask my father was a Star Trek fan." He grimaced, "We'll go up to the CIC in a moment but first I wanted to see you in private. I want to make sure we don't have any problems because it looks like your boss and my boss are in a pissing contest. I was under orders to meet a convoy of ships in the Bahamas when I got a message making me USNAVGULFDEFCOM and ordering me to rendezvous with you here. Then I get a message promoting you to Lt.-Cdr. I'm not sure what's going on but I wanted to get everything straightened out before we start planning our operations."

"Well, I hate to say it but a few months ago, when the Coast Guard Caribbean Group commander was killed in a car accident, the navy tried to take over all Coast Guard assets in the Caribbean." Elliott frowned, "I guess it left a bad taste in Admiral Brimo's mouth. He appointed me Commander, Southern Approaches' Command when he ordered the Matinicus on this mission. I think he sees another grab by the Navy."

"That's all we need," Cdr. Shigita said. "Commander, Southern Approaches' eh. I guess that explains the USNAVGULFDEFCOM. Admirals!" He shook his head wearily. "How do you think we should handle this?"

"I have no experience in naval operation," Elliott said. "Law enforcement, fisheries, smugglers, I can handle. Planning a naval battle is something new. I'll leave that to you. Speaking of which what's the latest from Naval Intelligence"

"Once they knew there was something to look for they were pretty efficient," Cdr. Shigita said. "They spotted a Venezuelan naval force leaving port and headed this way. It looks like Venezuela might have a deal with the Columbians because one of the spy satellites spotted a Columbian force headed north in the Pacific. That's why you and I are getting to play the Lone Ranger and Tonto." He looked at Bill, "What do you know about fencing? That was my favorite sport at the academy."

"Fencing, isn't that with long pointy pieces of metal?" Elliot joked. "Seriously I don't know anything about the sport. What's that got to do with our situation?"

"I always liked sabers best," Cdr. Shigita said. He stood up and headed for the hatch. "Most people believe when you block a saber swing you use the edge of your blade. Actually you try to block with the flat of the blade so you don't ruin the edge. That's what I'm going to try to do with the Venezuelans, deflect their attack. Let's go to the CIC and I'll show you what I mean."

"Why are the Venezuelans and Columbians trying this now?" Elliott asked, following Cdr. Shigita from the cabin. "I mean after what happened to Venezuela last year I would think they would be scared to try anything."

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Underway in the Gulf of Mexico

Five Days later

"Jose, what's the status on the radar? It been down for five hours already," Elliott asked. The XO had just stepped through the hatch onto the heaving bridge. "Without the radar we're like a blind man in a crap game. We aren't going to have much luck."

"Skipper, the tech's report they've found the problem and should have the radar operational in about forty-five minutes," Lt. Cabrera reported, bracing against the heaving deck. "Looks like the antenna motor is out. Luckily we have a spare in supply. What's the situation now?"

"This weather isn't making anything easier," Elliott said, bracing against the roll of the ship. "Why did we have to have a hurricane now? The good news is the weather satellites show the hurricane turned north yesterday toward Texas or Louisiana." He shrugged. "Never mind. The situation is that without the radar we're groping like a blind man. We're relying on the Gary for position reports on the enemy fleet and that's hard while trying to maintain radio silence. We're already out of position." He held onto the bridge rail as the ship took another roll. "How do the men feel about this operation?"

"Personally I think I know how the last legion in Britain felt when Rome withdrew." Jose said. "Outnumbered by the barbarians by a thousand to one. Knowing there will be no relief. But also knowing just by being there on the wall it gives civilization one more day." He shrugged. "The men haven't thought about that aspect. They just know that you think it's important and that's good enough for them."

***

Elliott picked up the squawking bridge phone. "This is the Captain." He listened and then turned back to the XO. "The radar is back on line. They have a number of targets about twenty miles southeast of us. I'll be in the CIC if you need me."

As Elliott left the bridge the messenger of the watch announced, "The Captain is off the bridge."

***

Elliott cursed under his breath. If he was right the enemy convoy had changed course and the Matinicus was on the wrong side of the convoy formation.  The original op plan called for the Matinicus and the Gary to attack in conjunction. The Matinicus was suppose to light off every piece of electronics she had to try and fool the enemy into thinking she was the major ship of the attack formation. So much for operational plans.

On the other hand it looked like the Venezuelans hadn't seen the Matinicus. They had moved three of the four frigates escorting the convoy to block the Gary. If the Matinicus could get close enough before being seen she could get in some licks on the convoy.

He looked at the intelligence summary. Four escort frigates; the General Salóm (F-25), the General Urdaneta (F-23), the Mariscal Sucre (F-21), and the Almirante Brión (F-22).   The RORO (roll on, roll off) was carrying troops. That was the same ship used in the attack on the base at Guantanamo Bay last year. The oil tanker, Dixie Vengeance, was carrying fuel and the motor vessel Rim was probably carrying ammunition and supplies. Those were the major ships. There were three other smaller ships which could be carrying supplies or troops. Two LST's,  the Capana (T-61) and the Los Llanos (T-64) and a Ciudad Bolívar class supply ship, the Ciudad Bolívar (T-81). The Bolívar was a new ship, only a few years old.

He looked at his watch; another hour before the Gary was suppose to open her attack. He studied the plot for a moment then picked up the phone and called the bridge. "XO, this is the captain. Bring us to three quarter speed. Change course to 213 degrees relative. We will be going to general quarters in half an hour."

He looked back at the plot. Now came the hard part, waiting.

***

Elliott braced against the side of his bridge chair. The Matinicus was rolling heavily, if not as heavily as the day before. Another twenty minutes before the Gary would start the ball rolling.

"What the… Shit!" Elliott spat out. He watched the distant tracers rising lazily  from the sea and then there was an explosion in mid-air. He snatched up the bridge phone when it squawked and listened. "Thanks XO. Looks like enemy escorts picked up one of  the LAMPS helos and shot it down. I'll be damned if I know what they were doing in the air in this weather." He listened for a moment. "Okay! Keep me informed on what the frigate on this side of the convoy is doing. Maybe we'll get a chance to slip in and get in some shots while they're distracted. Captain out."

"Godd…. ! The shits hitting the fan tonight," He growled. He watched the streaks from four separate positions on the horizon. Missiles… there was no mistaking the exhausts nor the tracer rounds arching toward the convoy. The explosions lit up the dark horizon. He grabbed the phone again as it squawked and listened. "Keep track of those torpedoes. I'd hate to get hit by one of own shots. Any indication of the damage done by those missiles?" He listened. "You think the Gary and two of the enemy escorts are damaged? The Gary and one enemy frigate has slowed down and the other is dead in the water. What's the situation on the escort on our side of the convoy?" He grinned wolfishly. "You mean she's left her position. Go to full speed and lets close on the convoy. Let's see if we can get a couple. If you can, get a course to either the RORO or the tanker."

He stepped to the bridge radar repeater and looked at the blips. Already he could tell they were changing course. The question was if it was part of a dispersal plan or more like an ant hill that had been stepped on.

***

"Gunny Barron, this is the captain," he said into the bridge phone. "We're headed toward two ships which I believe are the RORO and the tanker. It'll take about twenty minutes to get in range. In the dark they are going to be hard to spot visually. Let's try to get as close as possible to the targets so hold your fire until the last minute. If we're spotted then don't wait for orders to fire. The primary target is the RORO. After that lets see if we can get the tanker. CIC will direct your fire as needed. Good luck!"

***

Elliott looked through his binoculars. He could see the targets even in the dark. Two of the enemy ships, an escort and one of the LSTs, were burning and the convoy ships were silhouetted again the glow. Both target ships were well within range. He picked up the bridge phone to order the guns to open fire. Before he could say anything the RORO seemed to heave up out of the water. Moments later Elliott felt the shockwave.

"What the hell happened, sir?" someone on the bridge asked in a dazed voice.

"A Mk-48 torpedo from the Gary must have gone off under her keel. That will take out the surrounding buttressing, and hang the ship by the bow and stern as the shockwave does the damage.  " Elliott answered without thinking. "Bring us to course 265. Now lets get that tanker." He ordered, grabbing the bridge phone. "Gunny, we're going after the tanker. Open fire as soon as you get a clear shot. Try to hit the bridge first and then try for the fuel bunkers. But take any shot you have."

Seconds later the Matinicus shuddered as the M242 25 mm Bushmaster chain gun opened fire. The first couple of shots were a little short. After that you could see the march of hits along the hull and deck of the Dixie Vengeance as the shell fire moved from the bow toward the bridge. Within seconds the glow of flames could be seen where the incendiaries hit.

Through his binoculars Elliott could see frantic activity on Dixie Vengeance's bridge. He ordered course corrections as the tanker tried to turn ponderously away from the Matinicus.

He was startled out of his concentration by the sudden blare of sirens. It took a moment to realize the Dixie Vengeance had turned into path of  the Ciudad Bolívar (T-81). It was mesmerizing watching the two ships headed toward disaster. Everything seemed to move in slow motion until with a scream of tortured metal the bow of the  Ciudad Bolívar slammed into the mid-ships of the oil tanker. The tanker was pushed under water as the Ciudad Bolívar rode up over it. As the Dixie Vengeance slowly came up out of the water crewmen could be seen running on both ships.

Elliott gave hurried orders for the Matinicus to change course away for the two ships. He could already see oil and fuel spreading from the two ships. He prayed the fuel wouldn't catch fire until the Matinicus was a safe distant away.

He felt the shock wave as the fuel on the tanker caught fire and exploded. He last impression was of something dark coming toward him and then blackness.

USS Neptune

Sick Bay

Galveston, TX

Ten Days later

Bill Elliott knew his eyes were open because he could see a white glow, even though he couldn't see anything else. He managed to blink his eyes a few times and finally he could make out some hazy details. Bending over a table next to the bed he was on was a blurry figure. He tried to speak but only a very faint croak came out. His next attempt was a little louder and attracted the figures attention.

"Cdr. Elliott, take it easy. I'm Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Fuller." HM2 Fuller said. "You've been injured and you are in the sick bay on the Neptune. Take a sip of  water and then I'll notify the doctor." He used a plastic bottle to squirt water into Elliott's mouth.

Elliott hadn't realized how thirsty he was until he felt the cool relief of the water spreading through his body. He just had time to comprehend the USS Gary's ships patch on the corpsman's uniform before he drifted off into a cloud of white mist.

***

Elliott awoke to the sound of a chain being dragged across a deck. He opened his eyes to see his executive officer picking up his hat to leave. He cleared his throat and almost smiled at the way the XO jerked around. He stared at the beds jammed together in the sick bay as the XO jerked back the cloth divider and shouted for a doctor. Then he was floating on white clouds again.

***

Elliott roused with a doctor taking his pulse. He opened his eyes and looked around the small isolated area.

"Ah, good! You're awake! I'm Dr. Blau," the doctor said. "You have had some serious injuries and have been in and out of consciousness for the last two weeks." The doctor wrote on a clipboard from the end of the bed. "If you can stay awake I'll have some food brought and your executive officer is here."

"I'll stay awake and send in my XO." Elliott ordered quietly.

***

Elliott was propped on a pillow eating the last of the soup the corpsman was spoon feeding him when his executive office, Lt. (jg) Jose Cabrera arrived. He motioned Cabrera in with a nod of his head.

"Captain, I'm glad to see you in such good condition," said Lt. (jg) Cabrera, putting down a message board. He waited until the corpsman left then shook his head. "Bill, we've known each other for over twenty years and I've never seen you look worse." He grinned, "In fact I've see dog turds that look better than you do. Seriously though I'm glad to see you up and almost around."

"Good to see you to, Jose," said Elliott. "Give me a rundown on the situation. They won't tell me anything."

"No problem, Skipper," Cabrera said. "To start with you have a concussion, your right arm and leg are broken and you have some broken ribs…"

"I wasn't asking about me," Elliott interrupted. "I meant the Matinicus and the whole situation here. For instance, I see a huge number of beds jammed into a sickbay that was never meant to hold that many. What happened to the Gary?"

"We had 11 crew killed and twenty wounded. You are the only one on the bridge to survive." Cabrera said somberly. "The Gary took several hits and lost her propeller. We had to tow her back to port. She lost 23 killed and 40 seriously wounded. I think only about six or seven crewmen were not wounded. The only officer on the Gary that's fit for duty is an ensign. " He closed his eyes tightly trying to shut out the memory of the trip. "Cdr. Shigita is in even worse shape than you are. He's still in a coma. The doctor is setting up a med-evac. " He shook himself. "The good news is the enemy fleet turned back. Also the Columbian fleet in the Pacific turned back when they got word of the battle. We are doing what repairs we can on the Matinicus and the crew of the Gary are trying to do something to fix her up. However both ships need a period in the yard to get the job done right." He looked at Elliott. "We picked up a few survivors from the tanker. They said half the cargo was gasoline. That's why the explosion was so powerful."

"Sounds like I missed the rough part." Elliott said quietly. "What's the situation here? From the little I can see from this bed there's a lot of work to be done here."

"Well, Skipper, I'm kind of glad you asked." Cabrera stuck his head out of the partition and called, "Come on in. He can see you now."

Elliott watched in trepidation as six men crowded their way into the partitioned area. He recognized them. Capt. Doyle Ingram (USMC), Fr. John Bibzier Torbert, Rabbi Malachi Throne, Jim Boulware, Dr. Blau, and Capt. John King of the Neptune.

Elliott knew he wasn't going to like whatever was coming. He close his eyes, maybe it was a bad dream and they would be gone when he opened his eyes. He opened one eye and sighed. They were all still there.

"Okay, Skipper. the good news first," Cabrera said. He pulled a message from the message board. "Admiral Brimo is sending two more cutters, the  Chandeleur (WPB-1319), the Farallon (WPB-1301).  and a buoy tender, CGC Dolphin (WPB-87354). They will be assigned to the Southern Approaches Command. They will also bring extra personnel to try to get some more cutters reactivated. Families will follow when transport becomes available. They should have left San Juan today. Also two more refugee ships from Europe have arrived in Mobile and seven boats from South America arrived in Galveston. No telling how many just landed on the coast. That's the good news."

"Now for the bad news," he said, pulling out another message. "This message came in from the President appointing you, as the senior military officer, as temporary administrator of the Gulf Coast region." He grinned. "I checked with a lawyer among the escapees from Venezuela. He said in effect this make you military governor until elections can be held. Elections will be affected by whatever state laws the elections are held in. The message also orders all military commanders and civilian leaders in the Gulf region to report to you in person." The others all nodded.

"Don't try to slough this off on me," said Captain King. He had seen Elliott's eyes turn calculatingly toward him. "The Neptune is a civilian ship under contract to the Navy and the government. I'm not eligible to be the governor." He grinned happily. "Better you than me. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole."

"It gets even better," Cabrera said, pulling out two more messages. "A Mr. Van Jones, Assistant Under Secretary of Homeland Security, first ordered all refugees to be interned in temporary camps until a complete background check can be made on each refugee." Cabrera hesitated for a moment. "I have a few contacts in Seattle and they tell me that Jones is very liberal and is building his own empire inside Homeland Security." Cabrera held up the second message. "Then he ordered the military to collected all weapons in their areas and secure them to prevent use by unauthorized persons, because guns in private hands are dangerous. The marines have established the camps and are holding everyone as ordered."

"Why the hell did you do that, Captain Ingram?" Elliot said angrily. "I thought better of you after Florida. How the hell are you suppose to accomplish your assignments if all your men are tied up as prison guards and where are you getting the food to feed them with?" His voice was rising in anger. "On top of that what are you doing here? You're suppose to be in Mobile, f**king Alabama."

"Sorry, sir!" Capt. Ingram snapped to attention. "Orders were for military commanders and civilian leaders to report to you in person. Father Torbert is a pilot and we got a small plane operational and reported here as ordered."

"I have my men guarding the pris… er … refugees as ordered." He said rigidly. "I have been unable to search for weapons and food supplies located close to the detainee camps will soon be exhausted. Sir, I need twice as many men as I have available to carry out the orders."

"At ease, Captain. I owe you an apology." Elliott looked seriously at the marine. "I shouldn't have let my temper get out of control. I could plead my injuries or the situation I found myself in. Never the less I should have exercised better control."

Elliott looked around. "Get some chairs in here so we can be comfortable and then I want a report from each of you."

***

Elliott leaned back on the pillow. He was incredibly tired. His head hurt, his arm and leg ached and whenever he took a deep breath he felt a stab of pain from the broken ribs. But he couldn't afford to take a painkiller, there was too much to be done.

"Jose, send a message to the Farallon to proceed to Pascagoula, Mississippi and see what it will take to get the shipyard there operational." He took a deep breath as he mentally ticked off the first item on his mental list. "Next I want a work party, to include an corpsman, a electrician and a machinist, to check out the hospitals here in Galveston and start getting one operational. I want the wounded moved there as soon as possible."

"Captain Ingram, you do the same when you get back to Mobile. Release all the so called detainees and get back to your job. If there are any questions tell them that the refugees have all been checked by me personally." He paused to think for a moment. "Gather as many weapons as you can and issue one to every adult or individual who can demonstrate they know how to use them. Set up classes in marksmanship and gun safety. People are going to tend to scatter, especially after the orders we received from Seattle. We will not be in a position, most of the time, to protect people. They will have to protect themselves. Any questions so far?"

"What happens if someone shows up demanding the guns?" Jim Boulware asked. "After all the orders were issued to confiscate them and some official might decide he has to take them away."

"Until my orders are countermanded, after I am no longer in charge, you have my permission to shoot the son of a bitch." He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block the pain.

"Alright! I'll make sure the word gets passed." Boulware grinned happily.

Elliott stared at Boulware after the outburst. Then he shook his head. Not even a Texan would be crazy enough to actually shoot someone like that. (He was wrong as he found out a few months later. Asst. Undersecretary Jones and fifty special security personnel, going to Texas with stated purpose of enforcing the new government regulations and arrest the 'incompetent buffoons" who failed to implement said regulation. Their plane flew into the ground half a mile from the end of the runway, during a violent storm. The investigation cleared the ground controllers of any wrong doing.)

"Next, we can't afford to screw around with six or seven sets of local laws. Post notices that state and local laws are hereby rescinded until local populations are large enough to enact new laws." He smiled wickedly. "We are going back to basics. Until we can enact new laws the US Constitution will be the law. See that copies are printed up and distributed to every man, woman and child in our jurisdiction. The Constitution and American History will be taught in every class in schools as soon as they are up and running. This might be changed later but for now it will be done, at least in the area under my control. A lot of laws have been passed over the years which are no longer applicable under the present circumstances. It would be ridiculous to try and enforce them just because they are on the books."

"Check among the refugees and see if we have any civil engineers." He said seriously. "It might not seem like a big deal now but wait until the water stops running and the toilets back up. And don't forget doctors and nurses. Also check for teachers and lets get schools back open. Until I'm over ridden the official language will be English. There are going to be a lot of people coming, all with their own language. Everyone will need a common language to be able to communicate. And History and government."

"I'll check among the people in Mobile for teachers," volunteered Rabbi Throne. "If there are no qualified teachers I'll see about finding parents to teach. I'll also make a list of subjects which must be taught and which can wait until later."

"Very good, Rabbi." Elliott said. "Mr. Boulware, do the same for Galveston. Also you and Father Torbert and Rabbi Throne, I want you to assemble a group with some legal experience to figure out how to give land titles to refugees to unclaimed land." He shook his head. "Americans with proof of ownership will still own their own land. We need a way to get title to refugees with no claim and a way to register the titles.  Maybe something along the lines of the homestead laws. And I want the law easily  understandable to a layman without the need for a lawyer. Also have them come up with local laws concerning murder, stealing, etc. Then have the citizens in your areas vote on them." He paused thoughtfully. "Start organizing elections so civilian government can start taking over the responsibilities of getting things organized."

"That's all for now. Any questions?" He waited a moment. "Okay, get started on everything and we will meet again tomorrow at noon. I want to see some progress on the items we just went over." He snapped his fingers. "Make up lists of things that need to be done and recommendations. We'll go over the list and decide what to do and in what priority. Capt. Ingram, Father Torbert and Rabbi Throne, you should plan to leave as soon as possible after the meeting. I'm sure you all have things waiting for you that needs to get done."

After the others had left Cabrera rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "Are you crazy? As soon as someone files a complaint with Seattle they will relieve you." He stared at Elliott in understanding. "You're trying to get relieved aren't you and you figure the quickest way is to have a lot of people start complaining about your high handed policies?"

"I estimate it will take about a month for enough complaints to go in and get me off the hook." He snorted. "Military governor, my ass! There are probably a number of liberals in the refugees who will be falling over themselves to be the first to file a complaint. Make sure everyone has access to communications with Seattle." He sighed. "I guess you had better get that lawyer you mentioned, if he can be trusted, to start going over federal laws and see what we need to maintain basic rights and see justice is done."

"I'll get on it right away." Cabrera said. "As the Chinese say it looks like we're living in interesting times." He looked down and then pulled the blanket up over the sleeping Elliott

The End

27 Responses to ‘Some fan fic for monday.’

HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted March 29, 2010
DAM!...good job...very good job!

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Scott mumbles...

Posted March 29, 2010
Good stuff!

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted March 29, 2010
Enjoyed that, thanks. Authentic sounding details of US Naval life, can almost smell the sea.

Overall though I found the dialogue and the identities of the speakers to be a little crudely presented. And PLEASE we don't need reminding more than once in a paragraph of a character's full name and title; i.e. "Lt. (j.g.) Jose Cabrera", once he's introduced at the beginning of a scene then thereafter he, or any other character, can be referred to by their surname/nickname.

Sorry, minor details but they did grate on my nerves after a while. Overall I found it readable, realistic and credible.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 29, 2010
I'm really interested to see how JB deals with the repopulation issue. We already know that Miguel makes it from what I still think of as the Aussie Rules mob, to Texas.

It is going to be an interesting ride. Roll On Fathers Day!

Nice work sir, very nice work, the bribe offer took me an extra read to work out, that's not a bad thing.

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NukemHill reckons...

Posted March 30, 2010
I've noticed a rather interesting (and depressing, frankly) theme echoed here in this story. As many of you are aware, we in the US are going through some interesting times. The political scene is as polarized as I can recall, and many say probably since at least our Civil War in the 1860s.

The divisiveness lies mostly along a pretty clear fault line: on one side are the self-identified Progressives. They feel it is the role of the government to provide as many safety nets as possible for the population, in order to protect them from harm--be it financial, physical, spiritual, etc. This results in an ever-burgeoning centralized government, with accompanying bureaucracies, laws, regulations, et al. In order to fund this, new taxes, levies, fines, and tariffs are being enacted.

On the other side lie the "Self-Determinists" (my word). This group is made up of traditional libertarians, fiscal conservatives, small-government conservatives, etc. They argue for reducing government reach, smaller bureaucracies, fewer laws. One could call them Traditionalists, or Constitutionalists. They strongly believe in a very limited and strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Get the government out of our lives. Let the American people determine their own course, make their own mistakes, live, learn, and move on. Give the states back the power they are granted in the Constitution.

Currently, the Tea Party seems to be the focal point of this philosophy of governing. The actions of the current administration, along with those of our Congress, have galvanized this movement, and the popular sentiment seems (one can never really know with public opinion polls) to be on the side of the TP. I don't know if this is merely a short-term phenomenon, or if it is indicative of a genuine sea-change. That is probably a critical aspect of the point I'm about to make.

All this is to say this: The sentiment expressed by Elliot (though not explicitly) is that the Constitution is paramount. It is the governing document under which all local and state policies will be established. A return of states rights, the teaching of history, self-determination--these are stated goals of his. Now, it is couched in thumbing his nose at DHS, but the author makes it clear that Elliot has the support of the populace in his endeavors (if I'm interpreting the "accidental" plane crash properly...).

But there is an interesting premise to this story, and one I've encountered elsewhere, as well. It takes a catastrophic event to reset the playing field. Because of The Wave, the previously omni-present federal government has been destroyed. Given this, the ability for "locals" to re-establish self-governance is paramount. And they have the ability to re-adopt the Constitution (in a strict-constructionist manner) as the basis for their government. Without interference from the federal government!

A different twist on this would be "Executive Orders", by Tom Clancy. He uses a catastrophic event (the mass death of nearly every elected official through a plane attack on Capitol Hill) to attempt a "fresh start". And this theme shows up in other books, as well.

What I find depressing about all of this, if you will indulge me a bit more, is that it seems nobody (unless I've missed it somehow) really believes (and here come my true colors!) that we can reverse the monstrous growth and over-reach of our federal government without some sort of catastrophic event that at least partially, if not completely, incapacitates the government as it stands today. Either through an exogenous event (The Wave; a terrorist attack), or through the even greater horror of a second civil war. But without a massive, violent shift, there is no way to reverse the course. It certainly implies that the political process is either too ineffective, or too corrupted (or both), to enact what many feel (myself being one of them) to be necessary clampdowns. Which makes me wonder at how the current Tea Party movement will evolve. Will it keep to a strictly political exercise, in an attempt to change the system from within? Will it be able to bring about those changes politically? Or will it be faced, eventually, with a decision to make: keep butting against an immoveable object, or start to act outside the system? There are plenty of militia movements and groups in this country. I used to think they were a bunch of crackpots. And, indeed, there are those in existence. But there are many more (in spite of what the press would have us believe) that strongly believe in the Constitution and what it stands for. If enough people lose faith in the system, then I fear the militia movement may explode in popularity, with all of the dangers that implies….

I could go on. Anyone who's read this far--thanks for indulging me. This seemed to be as good a place as any to voice a deep-seated fear of mine--either we're moving inexorably towards a totalitarian federal government, with lots of power residing in very few, unchecked, hands; or a fearfully violent shift will strip that power away, and return it to the people. And that the current system doesn't allow for a non-violent reversal.

Good story. Thought provoking (obviously!). Obviously, there are nits to pick, but I think Mr. Johnson acquits himself quite well.

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mckinneytexas reckons...

Posted March 30, 2010
Good read, although that Adm. Brimo seems kind of lame. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted March 30, 2010
Thanks Nuke, that articulates questions I've been having about the worrying polarisation of US politics.

Although I'm a Brit and have never visited, I'm sort of worried by the tone the Republicans have adopted of late, even though I might well agree with the sentiments they express I feel they take them to ridiculous extremes.

It matters because I don't want to live in a world dominated by China.

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Roberto Teixeira is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30, 2010
Very nice, Sir.

I have to say that I didn't buy into the Venezuelan-Colombian deal. Those two hate each other's guts. Colombia is a US ally, btw. Of course, in the aftermath of the Wave everything is up for grabs.

Also I don't think Brazil -- a wuss of a country if there ever was one, with barely a military to speak of -- would invade Suriname. Brazil is the kind of place that would probably propose a multilateral commission to discuss the feasibility of starting an international inquiry on the legality of giving Suriname to Chavez.

But other than that, thanks for this. Loved to hear some ideas of what might have happened after the Wave... anxiously waiting for Without America.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 30, 2010
It'll be interesting to see how the issue of reconstituting new states will manifest itself in the next couple of novels.

For instance, will the new US Government simply restore states based upon their historical boundaries when the population reaches a certain target level? If you use the Northwest Ordnance as historical example, then you'd need around 60,000 voting adults to establish a state constitutional convention and apply for admission back into the Federal Government.

Or will they create new states to replace the lost ones, consolidating are perhaps combining former states into larger entities?

Another question to ask is this? An age old debate in US History is the nature of the power of the Federal Government as opposed to State Governments? How will this manifest itself? Will the Federal Government assume more power by virtue of the absence of State Governments or will their be a more pronounced turn toward the power of State Governments due to the communications/geographic/transportation issues of the post wave world?

You might have some states and territories get it into their head to do their own thing, which was certainly the case during the Articles of Confederation Period stretching from the Revolutionary War to the Summer of 1787.

Things to ponder.

As for American History, I've been teaching it now for three years at the community college level. If you had caught me in 2007 I would have argued for an old school approach to US History emphasizing the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and the like. I still teach it that way but I find, strangely enough for me, that I have been trying to find ways to work other aspects of our narative into the course. Issues such as the nature of America's ascendency to regional then global power status, minority and gender rights, and of course, the nature of Federal versus State Power.

The next question is this. These folks will be teaching the U.S. Constitution. All well and good as I do that. But which INTERPRETATION will they teach? Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian? There are pros and cons to both schools and whats more, the difference in interpretation shapes our current day political debates about the nature of Federal Power.

Things to ponder.

Oh, another historical period to consider would be the Reconstruction Era from 1863 to 1877 and examine how the South was brought back into the Union. With mixed results and at the expense of 4 million freed African-American slaves.

Things to ponder.

As for Brazil, they have a fairly substantial military and one that is well respected. I wouldn't count the Brazilians out of anything.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted March 30, 2010
O missed the whole Venezuelan-Colombian deal. Good point Mr Teixeira.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 30, 2010
Uh, everyone does realise this is fan fic, right? I didn't write it. It is from the dashing pen of John Johnson.

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Matthew K reckons...

Posted March 30, 2010
Yeah yeah. We're just giving it it's due and seeing how well it fits into the canon is all.

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Alcibiades puts forth...

Posted March 30, 2010
Very good!!!

Theres just one problem I have (and this is just from the book/universe/setting, not this story per se.

I sat down after reading the book during a slow time and by the time I was done had two pages of what I KNEW was either 1) correct or 2) demonstably probable about the Wave. But aside from the possibly cryptic comment by the President at the end, its presumed no one knows anything, just as you can bet that there are some fairly significant probabilities for what happens now its gone.

While deductive reaoning isnt always right, presuming no one is using it makes my teeth itch.

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NukemHill ducks in to say...

Posted March 30, 2010
JB. Yes, of course. I think everyone's clear on that. It's a great piece of fan-fic. And frankly, it has stirred the muse within me. I've contemplated scenarios set within your WW/AA universe, but haven't really set my mind to putting "pen to paper", as it were. Reading this, and gestating over my previous comment, has me seriously considering taking a stab at it.

If I do, I'll send it to you. Thanks a ton for providing a forum in which we have the freedom to express ourselves this way.

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A ‘poor western to arab death ratio!’ « The World According to Me… ducks in to say...

Posted March 31, 2010
[...] Gothic also hosts a nice piece of fan fiction from The Wave section of the [...]

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NickC has opinions thus...

Posted March 31, 2010
Murph

For the readmission of States, there'd be a lot of pressure to restore the status quo. However, once the first State had been admitted with different boundaries, it'd be a lot easier to make further changes.

Interestingly, given the likely spread of resettlement is going to be initally out of Seattle, almost immediately you'd have debates as to whether California should be admitted as one or more States (as one state in time it would again come to dwarf the other States in population) and whether to merge States such as Wyoming, Idaho, the Dakatos etc to reduce their disproportinate political influence.

This would also tie into the question of whether you incorporate Canadian or Mexican territory as States too, I guess.

There probaly would be great pressure on the president and his successors to restore as many stars to the flag as quickly as possible.

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El Coqui asserts...

Posted March 31, 2010
I like it very much.

However, it does need a bit of editing, too many repetitive ranks or those use in the wrong context. Example, on conversation, is commander not Lieutenant commander. The same for Lieutenant Colonel, you address them as Colonels.

I too have problems with the Colombian turnover. They not only hate each other guts but if Chavez is dumb enough to start a war with them, the smart money is on Colombia.

One element missing is aviation. We could have flown strike missions from reopened bases on the gulf states.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted March 31, 2010
Nick, if it were yours truly running the country (and I'm not) the first thing I'd do is secure the Western Seaboard. Then I would try to secure strategic positions as far east as possible using relatively intact urban centers with vital commo and transportation links.

Personally, I think it all boils down to rivers. I'd want to secure the Missouri, the Mississippi and the Ohio at the very least.

I think I'd also want to secure key points on the Eastern Seaboard. Miami is intact as of Without Warning and a palce for El Coqui to perhaps base a little fan fiction. I can see Puerto Rico moving into that territory to secure it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui would have you know...

Posted April 1, 2010
Well, I can use my fighter pilot POV for some of the reopened air bases. The question is where, any suggestions?

Personally, I think that we need\ to secure Barksdale? in LA early on as that where the B-52s and their nukes were based. Probably with elements of the 65th Infantry.

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NukemHill has opinions thus...

Posted April 1, 2010
Question. Would any of the Canadian northern early warning sites remain active? I.e., what used to be part of the NORAD early launch detection network, I believe, and now serves as part of the continental air defense?

I'm really curious how the North American continent would be defended from concerted efforts by the Russians and/or Chinese to bring light brigades into the interior US and lock down some of the juicier military and scientific installations. It would be a shitstorm at the least, and possibly impossible to reverse until the invaders decided they'd gotten enough of what they wanted.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted April 1, 2010
It is not easy to get to the United States. Once you are here, it is not easy to support yourself. Ask the British during the War of 1812 or the Revolutionary War. I suspect anyone attempting an incursion into CONUS would find it difficult to get here, difficult to sustain themselves and difficult to prevail.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted April 3, 2010
Will do Admiral.

Had a lightening strike and still working off a netbook.

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John R. Johnson is gonna tell you...

Posted April 5, 2010
I want to take this opportunity to answer several critisms of my story.

The comment about Admiral Brimo being kind of weak. First the Admiral is headquartered in Puerto Rico, which has a function government infrastructure. His only knowledge of the situation on the ground (or sea) are the reports he receives from the local commander (Elliott). Also the orders from the civilian dederal government in Seattle are direct to the highest military officer in the local area. Effectively cutting Elliott from Adm. Brimo's chain of command and setting up an independent command.

NEXT:

Jose: What can I say. 27 years of calling a J.G. a Lt and only writing j.g. or Lt. Cdr in reports and I should know better. I have made the appropraite changes in the story to remove a nummber of them. I will be happy to send you the amended story if you like.

Comments about the supposed Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia coalition. I have made several corrections/additions which I wll post here.

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out. Surinam probably could have kicked the Brazilians out but the Dutch were even more wishy-washy than the Brazilians." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

Frankly I was torn wheither to use this or say the Brazilian government had been overthrown after the Wave. I decided if there had been an overthrow the situation in country would have been too unsettled to support an invasion of Surinam.

NEXT.

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one hates the other, wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

NUKE: I agree with many of your statements. I think this country is teetering on the edge of civil war. God! I hope not. However, I would rather see a reform come about by because of an outside force than civil war. In the event of civil war there will be hatred and ill feeling for a long time to come.

My paternal grandmother was born and raised in GA (as was I). She was born in 1897. I remember her saying one time that she was 14 years old before she knew 'damn yankee' was two words. I would really rather not see that much animosity between our citizens again. Unfortunately I see those feelings starting to grow today.

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John R. Johnson mumbles...

Posted April 5, 2010
I want to take this opportunity to answer several critisms of my story.

The comment about Admiral Brimo being kind of weak. First the Admiral is headquartered in Puerto Rico, which has a function government infrastructure. His only knowledge of the situation on the ground (or sea) are the reports he receives from the local commander (Elliott). Also the orders from the civilian dederal government in Seattle are direct to the highest military officer in the local area. Effectively cutting Elliott from Adm. Brimo's chain of command and setting up an independent command.

NEXT:

Jose: What can I say. 27 years of calling a J.G. a Lt and only writing j.g. or Lt. Cdr in reports and I should know better. I have made the appropraite changes in the story to remove a nummber of them. I will be happy to send you the amended story if you like.

Comments about the supposed Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia coalition. I have made several corrections/additions which I wll post here.

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out. Surinam probably could have kicked the Brazilians out but the Dutch were even more wishy-washy than the Brazilians." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

Frankly I was torn wheither to use this or say the Brazilian government had been overthrown after the Wave. I decided if there had been an overthrow the situation in country would have been too unsettled to support an invasion of Surinam.

NEXT.

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one hates the other, wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

NUKE: I agree with many of your statements. I think this country is teetering on the edge of civil war. God! I hope not. However, I would rather see a reform come about by because of an outside force than civil war. In the event of civil war there will be hatred and ill feeling for a long time to come.

My paternal grandmother was born and raised in GA (as was I). She was born in 1897. I remember her saying one time that she was 14 years old before she knew 'damn yankee' was two words. I would really rather not see that much animosity between our citizens again. Unfortunately I see those feelings starting to grow today.

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John R. Johnson asserts...

Posted April 5, 2010
I don't know how the previous message got posted twice. I apologize to everyone for the double post.

Savo: I you like I will be happy to send you most recent version of the story with the above corrections for posting on the miniburger site. I still can't figure out how to post it there. Just send me an email address and I will send the story as an attachment. Send it to me at jewelld@cox.net.

Thanks!

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El Coqui puts forth...

Posted April 6, 2010
John:

Just send me a copy whenever you can. Paula picked up "No greater Love" formerly "sheepdogs and badges" for issue 29 of the Gazette. I am giving Sarah Hays, John Harvell, Neil and you credit for your yeoman work as proofreaders. Once again thanks.

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savo would have you know...

Posted April 6, 2010
John R. Johnson just use the ... er, oh the mailing address is gone from the top left hand box.

Can you send it to birmoverse at yahoo dot com dot au

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Respond to 'Some fan fic for monday.'

Thursday Writing Blog: answers, precious answers!

Posted March 25, 2010 by John Birmingham
Well, today's blunty seems to have developed a life of its own, leaving me time to pop in here and do a supplementary writing blog. Girlclumsy asked why it is I don't provide a lot of character descriptions in my novels. But then she answers that question herself by saying how much it annoys her to have to read extensive physical descriptions of characters, most of which presumably do not accord with her own imagined view of that person. That's my reasoning. As a reader I much prefer not to be told about every freckle and item of clothing. Most people will make a very well informed judgment about how they imagine a character should look based on just a couple of paragraphs acquaintance. Beyond the most basic signifiers of gender, race and maybe some indication of physical presence, leave it to the reader I say.

Aging Gamer asked whether I could recommend any writing courses. I am in two minds about this. I'm not going to run these courses down. I have spoken to quite a few graduation ceremonies for university students who've gone through three or four years of her writing degree, and having been forced to sit through the readings, I can assure you the quality of work they turn out is excellent. So they've obviously learned something. On the other hand I have been paid at times to give writing classes and I always felt guilty taking the money. The punters enjoyed the experience, and I imagine they thought they got something out of it, but I wouldn't like to boast about moving any of them closer to publication. I think over 20 years I've had one person who credited a class I gave with helping them break into the profession. There are hundreds of these classes available every year, many of them taught by really good writers, really successful individuals. I just don't know whether they're worth it. As a baby author I wouldn't have bothered going to one.

One thing I can tell you is that the purely commercial "writing school" style courses you see advertised every now and then are a total waste of money. You should have nothing to do with them. If you're serious about it, enroll in a university course. QUT has a particularly good one.

Finally, Abe asked about the odds. What chance your manuscript will get picked up from the slush pile. What chance that you out of the thousands of writing school graduates and undiscovered, unread geniuses toiling away at home, what chance that you will emerge at the head of the pack?

Depends. Sorry, but it does. It depends on whether you're a bit of a crazy, which lots of writers are, and lots of would-be writers really are. Publishers are very good at spotting crazy people. It depends on whether you're writing commercial fiction or deeply personal, heartbreaking work of staggering genius style fiction, or poetry, or something in between. You'd better be really fucking good if the latter is the case. And it depends on how good your first paragraph and your first couple of pages are. If you don't get them upfront, into the bin with you. Hughesy could probably tell you how many unsolicited manuscripts turn up the agencies and publishers every month, but nationally I would guess that it would run into the hundreds. A couple might get picked up each year.

34 Responses to ‘Thursday Writing Blog: answers, precious answers!’

Chaz puts forth...

Posted March 25, 2010
Interesting. I guess the best thing is to get the thing edited and then write about something people want to read.

Oh and write the damn thing in the first place (thought I'd chuck that one in before anyone pointed the fnger)!

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 25, 2010
"It depends on whether you’re a bit of a crazy"

Tick.

Whoo hoo! uber-author lifestyle of 'Blow & hookers titties' here I come.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
Who you calling crazy, boy?

On a whining note, just got back from the library where they had the latest 'One book many Brisbanes' on display. Took a flick through it and its a heap of short stories from local authors most..(OK, all) of whom I probably wouldn't read.

WTH happened to the days when there was some sort of competition for that, the purpose of which was to find fresh new talent?

Aside from which, I thought we'd all learned Lesson One - nobody reads collections of short stories.

Grumble grumble.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted March 25, 2010
Self publishing worth it on various fronts?.

Think it comes down to quality in the end.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 25, 2010
Yes, Moko, my large and menacing friend, it is likely to come down to quality in the end, but quantity has a quality all its own - and that's why my strategy to become a published author of semi-autobiographical science fiction/action/adventure/fantasy is to make sure that my novel "Rick Venture: First Attorney in Space" lands on the top of every single slush pile in existence! Somewhere, whether it be in a London publishing house or in a Beijing alley, someone is reading the first sentence of "Rick Venture: First Attorney in Space"!

If I can get enough of my novel, "Rick Venture: First Attorney in Space," on enough slush piles, then the law of averages means that it is only a matter of time before someone reads the second sentence.

The prospect is thrilling.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 25, 2010
Quokka, they still do the comp, AFAIK. In fact an old university friend of mine just won a grand and publication in the one coming out this year.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted March 25, 2010
Excellent!

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Naut mumbles...

Posted March 25, 2010
Firing Attorneys into space to test new spacecraft, eh PNB?

Seems more humane and less of a waste than monkeys and dogs.

Anyway I have to believe that quality and persistence with a dash of ingenuity will invariably eventually win out. The craziness probably helps with the persistence part.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 25, 2010
Nautilus, I find your lack of faith disturbing.

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Abs mumbles...

Posted March 25, 2010
Moving right away from lawyers in space for a sec, there is a grand doco on ABC 1 tonight at 9.30 called 'I, Psychopath' ( :p PNB )

Why mention it here? because it has much relevance to all writers who are thinking about character. Especially 'baddies'. This afternoon I listened to Phillip Adams interview two guests on his show (for O/S people who want to get it- ABC Radio National, Late Night Live, first broadcast on Wed at 10 pm, and repeated today at 4 pm).

It was absolutely fascinating. He interviewd the guy who made the doco as well as the world's foremost authority on psychopathy- Prof.Bob Hehir (and there were emails from Sam the psychopath in question).

One of the most interesting things about it was that psychopaths are not all killers and that they're not as bright as you are lead to believe. So it dispelled a lot of myths and injected some subtlety. Highly educative.

Anyway, 2 reasons why I thought it'd make a useful character study are-

-The subtle ins and outs of bad people are often missing in books so that kind of character often comes across as tinny and unconvincing.

-We lay people don't *really understand much about baddies and here is a golden opportunity to learn from the experts before applying to writing.

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Abs mutters...

Posted March 25, 2010
PNB-I fully endorse your statement "Quantity has a quality all its own" (having become acquainted with Yuri over at your place, foremost unpublished author)

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Abs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2010
"Purely commercial writing schools"-Indeed. The travesty that dare not speak its name.

Although, are there any free classes?

I would think the worth of writing classes becomes apparent only when you make a real connection with your teacher and it has to be a two way street. If the teacher is enamoured of your abilities,and you want to please them, you are effectively in a special little relationship and you will succeed. The other students will miss out and they'll pick up the sympatico between you and be resentful and envious and they'll slip downwards out of despair. That last kind described me and many others in my last writing class at the ANU. Me and the rest, save for one writer, were not the pets and we pretty much got ignored as individual writers. It makes me feel slightly sceptical of author-run classes.

That's about how it works, I think.

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Madam Morgana asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
There WAS a competition for "One Book", Quokka. If you'd like to read one of the fish they rejected, I'll email you my submission!

Lots of us may never get published. Hell, I'll still keep writing. Nothing else is so much fun. Where else (other than in a Telstra call centre) do you get to play God, making universes and manipulating your prose puppets?

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted March 25, 2010
The psyche ward, from the sounds of things.

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Abs asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
I should add, btw, that I got the idea to put that info here when I saw what you wrote ,JB, regarding why you don't put much detail into your characters.

See, there's a,ot ot be said for having an entire life story for a character and what they're wearing but to say only about 2 % of what you ,the creator, knows.

For example, The film (ok not a book) Fatal Attraction uses that holding back information technique very effectively, I think. Glenn Close said she knew what was psychologically the matter with her character but she refused to name it publicly. I think that adds depth.

It is rather irritating when writers tell you too much about a character because you get stuck in a corner trying hard all the time to see the writer's character as well as your own interpretation of the character. It's especially bad when you go see a film adaptation and all of your imaginings are ruined for you.

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Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2010
Thanks! Looks to me like I should take the opportunities to write when they present themselves and keep jotting down the funny anecdotes from my time in the GFC as I experience them.

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Orin asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
William Gibson made the following comments on Twitter the other day:

---

Ever notice there's no real description of how Cayce looks? Aids projection on the reader's part.

We fall in love with characters the way we fall in love with people: projection's foremost. Let the readers see what they most want.

A character "based" on someone couldn't start to feel alive to me. I'd be unable to forget I'm writing.

I have no very definite idea of what my protagonists look like; fill them in daily with people I see on the street, photographs...

---

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 26, 2010
If you are looking for a definition of crazy, openly wishing that an editor who rejected (screwed) your story might get hit by a bus probably qualifies.

Try, if at all possible, to avoid attacking editors. You'd be amazed at how incredibly hard it can be sometimes.

On the character bit, I like what Stephen King says about description. Basically in a nutshell he says to let the reader fill in the blanks and use the wordage to concentrate on other things.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 26, 2010
Orin - William Gibson is not the kind of writer you want to reference here. He is also quoted as saying "The future is already here. It just isn't distributed evenly." See what I mean?

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MickH reckons...

Posted March 26, 2010
As well as being slightly crazy, you have to have a huge ego in the form of a monster self belief system that rides over any negative input. An example some of the shite that is written in here about editors ditching hard written MS after a few sentences or the author has the fucking audacity to write about clouds. You can't listen to that type of bullshit. You just have to do it. And you do it because you have a need to mostly. If you need a roll model for that you can't go past Stephen King.

For my part, I desperately need a decent peer network that can help me grow. Without any feedback, how can you improve? Qokka, any ideas?

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Abs reckons...

Posted March 26, 2010
JB I wasn't sure what you meant by crazy. Did you mean, you have to be slightly crazy to want to do it because of the life, or do you mean there are all of these baby writers who are by nature very crazy and they will never leave that little village by virtue of the fact they are nutcases?

I'm willing to concede, just btw, that I have met a lot of would-be writers whose personalities leave me cold.I also haven't met tha many who I find sufficiently grounded to keep things in perspective. Coincidence? I think not.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 26, 2010
Quok, I once used my influence at Random House to get a book contract for a friend. I should have known better. He wasn't scizoid, or OCD or anything like that. He was a very talented writer. But he was also a raging egomaniac with no real people skillz beneath an eggshell thin veneer of charm. When he didn't get what he wanted he would throw things around the publishing house. Literally. Throwing and yelling.

That's what I mean by crazy.

MickH, too true. You do need iron will and self belief (just not the crazy, book throwing, shouty kind of self belief). But really, don't go describing clouds in that first par. I mean it.

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NataliatheRussianSpy ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2010
That was my character question. I'm good at answering myself myself.

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Abs would have you know...

Posted March 26, 2010
JB, I think you @ 8.28 Meant Abi, not Quok. I don't mean that in the sense that I'm *correcting you, just making sure it was my particlar query you were referring to.

I loooove egomaniacs like that, they're hilarious. At arms length.

SpyNat- you saved yourself a lot of spit and bother then :)

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MickH is gonna tell you...

Posted March 26, 2010
“Ingrid lounged against the timber rail of the heaving liner, letting the vigorous sea breeze wash around her naked form still hot and sweaty of her resent exertions. The late afternoon sun dipped threateningly towards the sea obscured by the large formations of billowing clouds on the horizon. To Ingrid’s eyes they merged and swirled to form huge phallus’s that bobbed and throbbed in glistening splendour. She shuddered deeply and turned to observer the slumbering form on the bunk inside. It was time to give Sven another workout.”

:)

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Abs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 26, 2010
hahaha. mickH, you could enter that in the "worst opening sentence of the year" contest.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2010
Speaking of awards for bad writing, there are two writing contests I've entered and never mind losing. The first is the Bulwer- Lytton Writing Contest that gives recognition to the worst opening sentences for a novel ever written. Edward George Bulwer-Lytton himself, a contemporary of Charles Dickens, was wildly popular in his day, but is now remembered for penning the simply awful opening sentence:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

My favorite winning entry was written by Richard J. Savastio of Media, Pennsylvania for the 1983 contest:

"As she fell face down into the black muck of the mud- wrestling pit, her sweaty, three-hundred-pound opponent muttering soft curses in Latin on top of her, Sister Marie thought, "There is no doubt about it: the Pope has betrayed me."

My second favorite contest is the Bad Hemingway Contest, where professional and amateur authors from all over the world - try to write the worst thing imaginable in the style of Ernest Hemingway. The winner gets a trip to Florence, Italy, and a dinner at Harry's American Bar.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted March 26, 2010
Abi I suspect JB was getting back to my 'Who you calling crazy, boy?' query.

Although he has yet to return my completed mental heath report by email...

Back to what I was saying about listening to writers speak, I just got glued to radio national's book show, with sociologist Hugh McKay (sp?) discussing his book 'ways to escape' at the Perth Writers Festival.

He was talking about the figures on how many people disappear, every year, and how 1% are never seen again.

He got a novel out of that idea.

He pointed out that its impossible to know what motivates people to up and go and in effect, kill off their old identity and start anew - because you can't find them and ask them - so eventually he got around to tackling that problem via a work of fiction.

I was rivetted.

This is why I love the book show, you get to listen to those recordings of writers at festivals etc. Radio Nat tends to cherry pick the best ones and you get so much insight into what makes that particular writer tick and where they get their ideas.

A lot of extra cleaning gets done around my house while I'm listening to the book show so if nothing else, its good for that!

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted March 26, 2010
LoL PNB that is a TERRIBLE sentence. I think I shall make it my FB status!!

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Abs ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2010
PNB, Oh yes the Bulwer- Lytton is hard to resist.

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Abs ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2010
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/26/oddest-book-title-award

Another one related to that category which you might enjoy.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted March 26, 2010
More than that, Lobes. It is a terrible first sentence of a really, really awful novel that I would LOVE to read. THAT's what it's all about, baby.

I seriously pursued recognition for my bad Hemingway - a very short story entitled Breasts Like White Elephants (a totally hilarious title if you know your Hemingway, and if you don't, then you are just no good). For a brief time I corresponded with Ray Bradbury and Gary Dahl (the inventor of the Pet Rock) both fellow contestants. We spent many hours vehemently disagreeing about which of our stories was worse. My relationship with these notworthy individuals ended, however, when I tried to borrow money.

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hughesy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 31, 2010
When I was in the biz, we refered to the people who weren't crazies as 'proper people'.

A proper person is a normal person, full of humility, self consciousness and shyness.

A proper person can be taught how to overcome their average human reticence, but a mad person cannnot be dissuaded from it.

Normal people, when put on the spot and have to talk about their work in public come across as affable, interesting and ;just like me' - mad people come across as Hitler, or worse, Tony Abott.

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Abs has opinions thus...

Posted April 1, 2010
That's so spot on correct, Hughesy.

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Tuesday writing blog: show me the money.

Posted March 23, 2010 by John Birmingham
Murph asked a question that you won't be surprised to hear I've given a lot of thought to; how will writers make money in the future? I seem to recall Orin followed up immediately with his usual depressing statistics and a theory that since the advent of the word processor the number of writers has grown much faster than the pool of readers for them to serve.

It sounds like a deceptively simple doomsday scenario, but I'm not necessarily buying it in detail. When I first began writing, over 20 years ago, exactly the same situation obtained. There were many more writers around than forums in which they could get their work published, especially if they wanted to make a living wage. I started off in the fringe press, mostly filing for student magazines and street papers. There were a lot of hungry would-be writers knocking at their door, desperate to file long, involved stories, sometimes running to two or three thousand words, all for a paycheck significantly south of $20. Most of them never got a look in. Why? Because they were shit. Their copy stank, they were frequently mad, and they couldn't even get their crappy stories in on time.

At the same time as I was filing my early copy I noticed that photographers and illustrators who were doing the companion artwork were getting paid way more than me. About ten times more. $150 apiece, as opposed to my fifteen bucks. Why? I remember asking an editor. My copy was as good as their artwork. Yes, he said. But my office is full of people pretending to be writers. I can always find words to fill the magazine. With photographs or graphic work, however, you've either got it or you don't and it's obvious at a glance.

He was right.

So I stuck with writing, enduring about 10 years of reasonably abject poverty, and then scored a lucky break with Felafel. After that I started selling my byline rather than my copy.

With a few caveats I think the same principle still holds. There are certain areas of publishing and media where the old business model probably cannot survive. I don't expect to be getting paid elephant bucks by Fairfax, for instance, 10 years from now. Will there even be a Fairfax 10 years from now? I don't know, but they have started to turn a profit on their web businesses, and way before they forecast to. Even so I'm laying plans to diversify. Games writing is one area I'm going to look at. We've already discussed self-publishing plans for e-books based on established intellectual property like Axis of Time. And I've been talking recently with some film guys about doing some thrillers.

I can't tell you, Murph, if you're going to make any money out of writing, or even where you might start looking for it. Although if I was you I might invest a couple of semesters in a game writing course. And I certainly wouldn't be wasting my time on short stories. But we've already had that discussion.

The way I see books going over the next couple of decades is a shakeout into two types of publishing. Electronic for disposable entertainment. The sort of book you'll read and throw away. And hardcopy for more significant titles, including the perennial big sellers of cookbooks. You might think they would lend themselves to e-book format but some early experiments with them seem to indicate not.

At the end of it all I suppose I should remind myself and anybody looking to break into the field that I didn't start writing for the money. There was no money. Not for 10 years. And even then I hadn't expected to start coining it, ever. I got into writing because I wanted to have adventures and I figured that telling stories about them was one way of getting somebody else to cover some of my costs. If you go into writing expecting to make a lot of money you're almost certainly bound to be disappointed. But, if you go in wanting to tell great stories, if that is what drives you to set your arse down every day at the keyboard and write, no matter what, you might might find after a while that there is a buck to be made. You just have to be better than 99% of the people Orin was referring to.

69 Responses to ‘Tuesday writing blog: show me the money.’

Bangar mutters...

Posted March 23, 2010
I don't think I've ever heard of a writer actually aiming for the chest of gold, most successful writers are grateful that it pays but would probably write anyway.

Cookbooks are interesting a recipe is instantly searchable a video/eBook isn't.

I've also got to admit I can't devote the time to reading I used to, this place gets to wear some of the blame ... then the blogs and then the blog killer twitter.

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Naut ducks in to say...

Posted March 23, 2010
Interesting JB. I have no idea where writing will end up and no real vested interest. The book I would be interested in writing is the life of Big Bad Al, because best I can work out he has already lived three normal lives.

That said, the last bit of your post rings very true. The one thing that really hit me reading JP's book Literati is that authors HAVE to write. They may get paid for it thanks to a mix of persistance, talent and luck, but even if they weren't getting paid they would still be writing.

The reason I admire authors is that the majority do what they do because they are passionate about it. Making a few bucks, while desirable, is definately a bonus.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
Interesting stuff JB.

I was having a conversation today with 2 work colleagues about future business. As this intermaweb thing becomes more and more part of our lives whole unexpected busineses wil indoubidably unfold. No one 20 years ago would have forseen Google or Blogger, it just sort of happened in an informal way and some clever Dick (or Dickette - for the first time utterly gender neutral playing field) found a way to extract dolar from it. I find it interesting that very large wads appear to be being made by giving "it" away for free & tacking on advertising, or a premium service model.

I think people will always want escapist entertainment AND they will want readable synthesis of complex concepts. I humbly sugest you are in a fortunate position (I'm sure through skill & hard work) to span both of these fields. It's just the vexed issue of delivering the content to the consumer with a small detour via the wallet.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted March 23, 2010
I've seen the theory in various guises around the place, it certainly isn't mine alone and I think I saw Flinthart expound upon it somewhere as well as Hughesy, Charlie Stross and maybe even John Scalzi.

One thing I've noticed about the blogs of Authors is that they tend to have to regularly deal with a gaggle of people pestering them about "how do I write, how do I get published, will you read my manuscript" type questions. To the point where I think that an author blog on the web that doesn't have these topics addressed somewhere is probably the exception rather than the rule. Is there any fiction author that doesn't get these questions once they publish?

That's why the notes about there being more people wanting to be writers than are willing to be regular readers rang true. That and other depressing stats like 800 new books published every day in English and the vast majority of books never making back even a paltry advance.

Even books that do sell past their advance aren't doing the sort of numbers people *think* that they might be doing. I've had a book bouncing between 600-900 on the Amazon top selling books list since last October (that's the one that got to 180) and I'm pretty sure that what the general public think sales numbers are and actual sales numbers (at least according to bookscan) are pretty divergent.

I've certainly been able to have a comfortable middle class life off my writing for most of the last decade, but even though I write magazine stuff and custom content as well as the textbooks, I'm refreshing my face-to-face training chops because I'm not entirely convinced that textbooks will survive the coming ebook armageddon. People just seem unwilling to pay more than $10 for an ebook and given the numbers involved, you can't pay for all the back end support required for a textbook in terms of the multiple layers of editors, at that cover price. So currently riding the wave on my most successful book so far, but wondering about that reef coming up ahead. Also by nature I have not only a plan B, but a C, D and E.

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yankeedog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2010
I have to think there'll always be a need for a good storyteller, whether that person be in jawing in front of a fire, or writing a book, or beaming a story into our Borg-style cerebral implants. And those people will survive and thrive.

Will most authors make big money doing their craft? Most probably won't, at least doing writing.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted March 23, 2010
Ok Here is my angle.

While there might be more people 'starting' to write their novels and a godzillion others who say they are about to start, just how many finish them? Not a lot from what I've seen and heard.

I'm proud to say that I have written a novel even though only 3 people have read it so far (go Yankeedog, Havoc and Dad) and it now sits on a certain authors hard drive :)

It was a hard slog, it took nearly 2 years to write just on 100,000 words of what I thought was a pretty coherent story. But i can't see everyone doing it, I'll say it again it's fucking hard and you have to have a story and there's a lot to that too.

It was my first, and yep its probably pretty crap compared to most other well seasoned authors work but i know my next one will be better. I have a storyline but not the time any more but I think I'll write it anyway because I like to tell stories...

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Orin asserts...

Posted March 23, 2010
The comment I think I saw on Flinthart make (and apologize if I've got the wrong source) was that 30 years ago the same percentage of people wanted to write, it was just that all that typewriting meant that the effort level you had to overcome was substantially greater than what people have to overcome today to put together a book in a package like Microsoft Word.

I'm not saying it isn't difficult - but 200 words a day on a word processor for 18 months is not an unachievable goal for most literate and motivated people. 200 words a day for 18 months certainly isn't climbing Everest - and there are a lot of buggers that have done that as well. 200 words a day on a typewriter on a regular basis also isn't unachievable, but a lot less people managed it than manage 200 words a day for 18 months on a word processor.

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MickH mutters...

Posted March 23, 2010
yeah Orin, everyone's doing it

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted March 23, 2010
That 200 words a day has to make sense, and as you know there is usually a LOT more words written in the background. And there is real life to deal with, everyone in my circumstances usually have a full time job and a family to contend with. I was lucky I had a 2 hour train trip to utilise.

Ask John how many manuscripts he has seen from newbes.

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Naut mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
I gotta say Orin, I am with JB and Mick on this one. Sure anyone can bang out a hundred words a day. But few can link up 100,000 so they make more sense than a Brendan Fevola press conference.

I am sure experienced people can detect rubbish manuscripts in the first couple of chapters. Cream will still rise to the top and society will find a way to reward the producers of the cream.

Look at Hollywood. Everyone can make a film and a heap of average films get made. But great films no matter the PR budget still find a way into the mainstream consciousness and reward their makers.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
Given some of the shite that gets up on the best seller lists, I'm not entirely convinced of the "detect rubbish manuscripts in the first couple of chapters" hypothesis. There are authors who write with the technical and emotional sophistication of Mozart who sell few copies, and people that pump out Britteny Spears level prose that sell by the truckload.

I dunno how many Burgers have sent manuscripts to JB, but I'm pretty sure that I recall more than one other doing it in the time I've been around here.

I also know that Hughesy (and I think Flinthart) offer manuscript services where you pay a fee for them to really take a chainsaw to you. If I were inclined to write fiction, I'd probably go that route. Good (helpful) editorial abuse is worth paying for ;-)

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Lobes reckons...

Posted March 23, 2010
I think you overestimate society Naut.

Also who said the 200 words a day has to make sense or that any research has to be done? If it makes sense in the authors mind it will inevitably be enough to justify him/her to enter the marketplace. Yes there will be some shockers that you can pick up in the first few chapters but there will also be a lot of well written, competently edited and totally mediocre novels as well.

Hollywood is not a great analogy. Producing a film strikes me as several orders of magnitude more difficult than a novel. You need other people to start with. The music industry would be a better one, although they are currently facing the same issues as publishing but at least they can fall back on live performances and touring. Hence the explosion in music festivals in the last 10 years but I digress.

Everyone believes to some degree that they 'have a book in them'.

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Orin mutters...

Posted March 23, 2010
I've also noticed that more books seem "front loaded" these days than in the past. By that I mean that they have absolutely amazing starts and then meander off into mediocrity. I have wondered if this has something to do with publisher approval models - in some cases approval going ahead based on initial chapters and outline.

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Tarl mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
At worldcon last year, Patrick Nielsen Hayden commented on the filtering process for Tor's slushpile. The manuscripts which were "give up after first chapter", "give up after first paragraph", down to "give up after first sentence".

He read us one of the latter just to persuade us that they did exist - and everyone in the room got wide-eyed and agreed there was no point in reading the second sentence.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2010
Good blog entry. I agree with most of it, including the issue with short stories. I also recall from my University News days at UMKC that it was similiar between myself and my fellow staffers. I would turn the copy in on time, accurate and well written. As a result, I could generate income by volume of articles written, perhaps a $100 to $120 per week/issue plus reimbursement for the food reviews that I wrote so figure closer to $150 per week.

In fact, if I go back to grad school this fall, I'll probably see if I can get back on with that paper. It is easy money just waiting to be picked up.

Unfortunately here in the States, and maybe it is this way in Australia as well, after you get off campus, writing opportunities thin out considerably. The local major paper, The Kansas City Star, won't employ anyone who doesn't have a BA in Journalism. I've got the wrong degree so it doesn't matter what my skill or experience is, they weed me out. In any case, they are bleeding money like a stuck pig and are laying off full time staff. As a result, the remainder are writing like mad to cover the gaps and they aren't letting freelancers in the door.

I've never explored the freelance magazine markets in detail though I was in the middle of that when I transitioned to teaching in 2007. I suspect what I'd need, in addition to superior copy, is connections. I definitely don't have those.

Which leads to an off the cuff question.

Birmo, certainly a lot of what you have achieved is contingent upon raw ability, talent, and finely honed skill. How much of it, however, is due to networking and connections?

I ask mainly because with regard to my teaching job, I got it partly due to connections at the current campus. I suspect writing in many respects is similar.

There is one other point. A PR specialist that I met at a lunch a month or so ago had some experience working with folks like Harry Turtledove and S.M. Stirling. I can't remember her name but I asked her the same question about the future of profit in writing.

She stated that the more effective way to make money was to write something, a book or a series of stories/articles, then use that as advertising/PR for a public speaking career. Writers in turn could generate a profit by talking about their writing.

Any thoughts on that?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
Orin, Jim Van Pelt made a point at his blog not too long ago. Basically, most writers he has encountered are stuck in the "Want to write" phase. 99% of them never transition to the "write a project to submission" phase.

I agree with that assessment, perhaps because sometimes over the last three years I embody it. That said, most writers are wannabes that never move past the want/first draft effort.

So 90% of the crowd, even the gaggle at Stross or Scalzi's blogs, are self eliminating. You don't have to worry about them.

I don't care much for Hayden (for a lot of reasons I won't get into) but I do agree with his assessment. Most of the Rest can't move beyond the stage where the editor gives up on the first sentence, first paragraph, first page. As a history instructor who issues 50 percent of the exam points based upon essays written in class, I know EXACTLY what Hayden is talking about.

I don't worry about those folks either. I write well enough to get past them.

Where I get hung up, and I think Birmo and many others would tell me I shouldn't (get hung up or even give a shit) is the politics of the SF genre. When I hear about the latest Fail topic I wonder, "What should I write about?"

This generates a form of writer's block, "Better not write that story about a soldier that is positive because it will never sell," and eventually what happens is that I talk myself out of writing anything at all.

The better strategy, in my case, would probably be to write a novel and send it off to Baen or perhaps Apex Books where The Limb Knitter is at. A modified variant of this strategy is to write a series of stories set in the Knitter universe that could be expanded into a novel. I think that is the strategy I will follow.

Apex pays well enough (pro rates) and I will agree, getting into writing for the money is a fool's errand. However, if Apex doesn't make any money, the venue will disappear.

And money, whatever else you want to say about it, is a metric by which the credibility of writers is measured.

In any case, profit making models aside, Steve Murphy's worst enemy in his writing career at this very moment is Steve Murphy.

I think it is safe to say that is the case with all writers.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Great entry JB. It's made me realise that I've recently been offered an opportunity that many would trade an organ to see. The editor of a monthly trade magazine is trying to tweak her product and wants to get a panel of guest writers in, some writing under a pseudonym. It would be an occasional thing, so I figure I have very little to lose (provided I don't accidentally release any IP on the sausagemaking front!)

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Orin would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2010
I don't understand the "conference speaker theory of renumeration" in as much while I've been flown from Copenhagen to Kuala Lumpur to speak in front of big audiences that have paid several thousand dollars to attend the conference, the general rule is that other than a per-diem, your flight and accommodation, you don't actually get paid for the gig. Which is fine by me as two weeks in a five star Copenhagen hotel and the flight to get there is totally worth it - but one couldn't make a living off it (especially as these things only crop up a few times a year). Sure the keynote and locknote speakers might get a fee - but those gigs don't turn up all that often either.

When I'm talking about there being too many fish for the pot, I am taking into account all those wannabes that never even get to that first milestone of a complete manuscript. There is such an overwhelming horde of wannabe writers that even if 99% of people who want to write never get to that manuscript complete stage, there a still a metric arseload that do get to that stage and further beyond it.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2010
I agree with JB-- you just do it and worry about it later. I wouldn't even think about success. Just do what you like doing and forget about the anxiety.What will be will be. Audiences are fickle so write for your own edification.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
..and I believe tha if you're a good writer you WILL enbgage an audience, just don't count on who that audience will be because soe o fit is dow to who you know.

For example, there are a couple of very talented unpublished writers on my FB page who could be storming the world, but they won't for reasons out of their control . But they have gained massive popularity within the context of social media. One of these guys is on his way to cult status from humble beginnings. I think there's going to be a cult of cult writers out there soon. They'll never make any money unless they get picked up for a film deal, poor sods, but good writng does get its day in the sun, even the underground, or esp the underground is all I'm trying to say .

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Good post JB!

Damn straight about the weirdoes who wanted to turn in stories to student newspapers and couldn't even meet the most basic deadline.

I have to say that the only writer I ever met who wanted to get into it for the money was Pete - and that never led anywhere good for him - just a lot of anger, angst and dissatisfaction with life the publishing universe and the world. Now that he seems to have found a good woman and is actually writing about the stuff that interests him - he seems to be happy at last.

I also don't understand why Murph gets so pissed off about the supposed politics of the Sci Fi short story world - who gives a rats arse? If you have good stories to write - get them out there where ever you can - and don't stop at a short story - use them as a training ground and after you have published your first couple of novels - then you can sell the anthology of short stories as well - it is a strategy that seems to work for Stross, Hamilton and most other SF writers.

Supposedly in Australia Creative Writing courses are booming at tertiary institutions, but it does seem that very few of their students are actually reading very widely.

JB what is your view on whether it is important for a prospective writer to read other people's work?

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted March 24, 2010
MickH..yeah..I fkn liked it too and it was a great effort BWT.

Just thinking about this a thought occurred to me JB. Some sports or pursuits can be done in groups, like your weight loss Burger lite series in which you have group support. The authors job however can be a very solitary existence and here i suspect is a pitfall, in that persons can loos focus and need encouragement and fail to go find it. At least thats whats bouncing through the old scone at the moment. I think ..or suspect, that for budding authors a group or get together with other authors or aspiring individuals is prolly a very good thing to help keep them on the move.

Certainly my own scribbles when posted help keep me motivated, not that its the sole reason and i know this as I have not published any of the recent writing, god fkn knows i have wanted too, i’m just in a different spot at the mo and it needs some work. Also like mickH suggests, time has been a fkn killer of late.

Thats all off topic kinda..but I think would be authors need to keep enthused and interacting in some fashion with other about your work could well be a significant step in the right direction. WHATS YOUIR TAKE ON IT JB.

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted March 24, 2010
RE: e-books have a look at this:

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/the-ebook-revolution-is-coming-to-a-screen-near-you-20100323-qtrh.html?autostart=1

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Some people need to scratch that itch and whether or not they get published or make money out of it won't stop them (nice one MickH!). The recurrinmg point is the gargantuan effort that professionals like Orin and JB talk about in taming that mass of words into submissable shape. Then getting someone to publish it. All I can say is good luck to those who take it that far.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
There's a couple of questions here I'd like to refer back to in stand alone posts. I'll see if I can get one or two in tonight after ju jitsu.

One point i can address immediately is the conference speaker circuit. It's similar to lit festivals in that your costs get covered and there's usually a per diem or speakers fee. But it depends entirely on the conference as to the quantum involved.

I've spoken for free, and I've charged five thousand dollars for fifteen minutes worth of jokes.

The later gigs don't come along as often as the former.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Yeah, I was pretty skeptical of the speaking for money angle.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Wonderful post and even better discussion. I don't think I've enjoyed anything I've read here more.

I keep thinking about Orin's original comment about people pestering writers for insights into how to become a professional writer. Although I understand the desire to do that, I shy away from it. I do, however, admit incessantly pestering Steve Sterling to read my poetry and tell me what he thinks - but only because the situation is so damned funny.

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jp swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 24, 2010
Lobes: "Everyone believes to some degree that they ‘have a book in them’." ... and that's where it should stay :-)

I've only been doing the rounds at fests etc for 5 years but even in that short time I've noticed a steady increase in the % of audience questions relating to 'how to get published'. With most jobs you could just answer "Practice your blowjob skills", but as almost all publishing staff and agents are female, that doesn't cut it. (incidentally, I read an article in Esquire recently that said if you're going to prison in the US 7 out of 10 guys gets sexually assaulted in some way, and the mag recommended practicing said skills as it's less chance of STD's). Anyway...

Orin mentioned not earning-back advances -- I really think that's a thing of the past. As publishing has (finally) come into the IT-aided business phase, they really do cost things out better than they did say 10 years ago (when they were still all using an Apple IIe and doing their inventories in red pen). The only advances that wouldn't earn out these days are the big names that either get overpriced at auction (that Chloe Hooper eg I gave the other day), or they're a Tom Clancy-type who wrote the best-selling books of the 80's, signed up for advances predicting similar sales, but he couldn't write books as good as those first 5. For eg, an average fiction advance here in Oz might be $20k. That'll be earned out by selling just 5-6k books, not to mention other income that swipes that advance away such as audio rights etc. What I would LOVE to see is for publishers to offer a different model - similar to Hollywood's - where you could forgo the advance for a larger share of profits.

Re short stories, I'm not sure if they're a good training ground. Well, they are, but to do it well (as do some living practitioners like Amy Hempel, Annie Proulx, Tim Winton, et al), is far harder than doing a novel well. You got nowhere to hide - and word for word they take ten times longer, at least. That's why this reply of mine is so long-winded: I didn't have time to write something shorter. Re $, unless you're one of the best at it, a collection won't work. But, you have one or two good stories and they get published, make sure you keep all your rights -- I've have one earn me over $10k over the past 5/6 years, as it's been published so many times. So, $ per word they're nice little earners, if you have the time to write them.

Re public speaking, most things arranged by publisher's publicity departments are not paid or are only minimal $ (eg the big city fests), as it's seen as publicity for the book rather than another mode of work for the author. But, there's industry standards for speaking (eg at libraries and schools and such), around $300-$500 p/h depending on the type of session. Not bad, considering there's no giving of bj's involved.

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Abe mumbles...

Posted March 24, 2010
Man, that sounds like another blowjob JB's missed out on being party to!

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Abe mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
It must be karma.

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jp reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
10%, wasn't it?

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Interesting comparing Charlie Stross's average advance figures (cited from the author survey) with the above figure from JP. At first glance it looks as though writing fiction in Oz is significantly more lucrative than being a mid-list SF author in the UK.

The per-book money in fiction is certainly way better than that in non-fiction - with many books not being approved unless they sell a minimum of 15-20K copies (at least that is the go/no go on the type I write). Of course the non-fiction writing income is somewhat reliable which has that going for it ;-)

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Quokka asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
Havock/anyone interested in writing groups - have you looked around to see if there's a writers centre in your home town?

I did a few day courses at the Queensland writers centre a few years ago and I've done some master classes (mainly in research) at the Brisbane writers festival.

I go to these things mainly for fun, as I'm a dabbler, but I have friends who are quite dedicated to their writing and some belong to a writers group that they've found through the QWC or such. They've formed useful networks, critique each other's work, motivate each other, and get to the point where they've got a finished MS to send off to an agent or someone like Hughesy who can go through it with the red pen and tell you what works and what doesn't.

I know that the QWC has been running a course called 'The year of the novel' for a while now, which is designed for anyone who needs a bit of guidance and discipline to spank them through the process. They run a variety of courses from grammar and editing to creative writing and poetry.

Might be worth a look see.

Aside from that, I'm on the mailing list for my local bookstore and I often trot down and hear an author speak, if I'm interested in their work. Authors often speak about the writing process these days - the research, the pitfalls, the mistakes they realized they made in an earlier work. It can't hurt to soak up their hard earned wisdom.

I just like hearing their stories, for which reason I quite often listen to the book show on radio national. I think you can go in later and download it, but often that's my way of figuring out what I want to read next. Sometimes I catch an audio - i.e Dracula was on while I was stuck in the traffic in the rain the other day and I was captivated.

I remember as a little girl sitting with an old maiden aunt and listening to some drama series on the radio that she'd been hooked on for years, and thinking of it now, I suspect that something like that, when you are *just listening* has got to be really useful for a writer, as you need to know how to recognize subtle changes of voice and meaning.

I want that Dracula audio. It was bloody brilliant.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted March 24, 2010
10 bucks actually. ;-p

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Trowzers would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2010
Re: games writing. Just take a look at a game like Dragon Age - not only is there a metric crapton of dialogue (with some great voice acting) but there are also a squillion little backstories, historic tales and information pieces in something called a 'Codex'. *Someone* had to write all that stuff, and considering one of the biggest draws of this game seems to be the storyline, I would hope they were paid well for it. I enjoy story-based games so I certainly hope there will be more jobs for authors in this area in the future. Imagine a Birmo version set in space and with more explosions and big guns - sounds like a lot of fun :D

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Abigail asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
I went to two writers's groups, both tragic and both suppposedly the best in town. From one I did learn some things but the criticism of our work was always glowing praise, therefore hollow. The other was suffocated by a dominant personality in the group who wrote like a robot dog, corrected everyone's grammar and thought we were minions to his Lord of the manor.

What a joke.

Hvk, good luck , Melbourne might do better but from my excperience they're full of egos-egocentric people tend ot swallow up the amateur unpublished end of the spectrum in ost thigs and writing is the pits for that. I myself prefer JB's masterclass via distance education here because he's got some style.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
damn those typos, I type way too fast!!

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Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Oops, sorry Quokka, I wrote the above as I rushed through and hadn't yet read yours properly. Fair enough, some good writers' groups around, I'm sure there are. I shouldn't be so negative about them. Just Canberra I think.

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted March 24, 2010
A good writer's circle is gold; a bad writers' group (which is not necessarily the same thing as a group of bad writers) is a waste of time at best and toxic at worst.

I was in one some years ago which started off as a group who'd done a "writing the novel" course together at UC. That began OK, but after about a year it had collapsed well and truly. There was me ane one other guy who were showing up with work, and the rest whose contributions were to say very earnestly "well, I haven't done any writing since last month, but I've *thougt* about it a *lot*", or "It's fantastic! Just fantastic! It's great, I mean, wow, really great! What? Oh, well, I didn't actually read it. But isn't it just fantastic that we're all here, doing this fantastic stuff, and just, you know, talking about all these fantastic things!"

Fortunately, about the time that the wheels finally came off that one there was a new group starting up, affiliated with the ACT Writers' Centre and specialising in F/SF writing, which has been going for about ten years now, which has been responsible for some pretty cool stuff. (Disclaimer: I'm on the committee :) )

Tying back in a bit more closely to Havock's post, I think, is that as well as stuff like critique or market tips or whatever, one thing a writers' group can offer is a bit of fellowship. H is right, writing is a solitary business, and even speaking as someone who's solitary by temperament there's a great feeling to being at a table with a bunch of people who *get it*. Who nod sympathetically when you talk about a stubborn PoV issue that just won't come right and have similar stories to tell, who know how it feels to be gnawing your nails waiting for final yea or nay from an editor, who really know what they're doing when they applaud you for making a sale. I remember the feeling the first time I realised that I was among people who didn't think of this thing that I took so seriously as an odd hobby or pointless pretension.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
Matthew F- I know the gropu of which you speak and I know they are good. I'm not a spec fic writer, I'm lit fic (the only kind I can write, I've simply got no feel for spec myself) so I tend to have to mix it with a lot of pretentious wankers if I want fellowship.

There was a great group of lit fic women in Canberra-their tastes not my style at all but they were very successful ( I *think Marion Haligan was part of that group,not sure) and a part of that I would attribute to having the fellowship of which you speak. I can but dream ;)

Lucky you Matthew!

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted March 24, 2010
...I *think* I recall that affilaited spec fic group and they're quite popular in canberra these days, if its the same branch. There were quite a few spec fic writers in an ACT writers' group I attended a few times.I'm pretty sure they are the ones who formed their own group.

I think genre has a big impact on whether you find a fellowship group and upon success. That and being a good writer :)

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
Quokka, Abigail.

JP's words I suspect are sooo true.

For mine, its not about getting published, but I will never admit thats not part of a wish list. My simple first goal is to have a MS, thats of Novel length and structure, i have even searched around etc for persons who help hammer MS's into shape for submission. Part of that is so that the product I end up with looks the goods, it still could well be shit and NOT , marketable, but its a personal challenge at the MO, based purely on A) doing it and B), slotting in enough time to ACTUALLY FKN WRITE!.

Kinda lucky that I have a bloke whom I occasionally ping stuff to and he makes the odd remark, not a full blown review of what i have read. Really more a case of me asking questions and him taking time to answer them.

So far...pretty fkn good. Thats also possibly where posting helps as well, two or three of the guys here have been e/mailed the whole box and dice and comment.

Posting it on line..well its better than a writers group in my opinion BUT!, if its a real fkn deal MS that you WANT published, I'll wager that putting it up is NOT really what you want to do.

Its really a horses for courses , do as ya please thing i think..unless , like JB, JP, Dirk etc, its ya full time gig. Just how much external contact they have and the types would be rather interesting to know thought!.

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Orin reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
Well besides the whole ebook armageddon thing, 8 or so years of having minimal adult interaction beyond a small circle of people (doubly a problem when your editors all live on the other side of the planet) gave me impetus to do some face to face training.

Also, getting a home loan when the primary income earner works as an author is a @$@#$@#$$@@ (even when you have tax returns over nearly a decade indicating a stable above average income).

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Abs ducks in to say...

Posted March 24, 2010
Hvk, I didn't quite follow when you said

''Posting it on line..well its better than a writers group in my opinion BUT!, if its a real fkn deal MS that you WANT published, I’ll wager that putting it up is NOT really what you want to do."

Do you mean people post their M/S on line? That seems counter productive to say the least! Copy right/ intellectual theft, just for example.

I like the idea of employing Hughesy to go through a M/S to appraise it honestly.I can't imagine Hughesy being anything other than breath takingly honest and that is a wonderful asset. Too many people want to say fluffy things that don't push you to write at your best.

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Orin, I dont call myself an author when filling out such forms. I'm a company director.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2010
BunniesRus and they're hungry, Inc?

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Abs, i think it was JB who mighta mentioned MS work being put up, maybe also in response to previous questions.

I got a reply back from some people who thought it may not hurt that much. I guess a lot of other factors would also need to be taken into account before you did it. I think certainly for the first Book, if thats what we call it, it would not hurt that much.

Dont get me wrong. having Hughesy run through it would be gold, as with any really sharp individual from that part of the world. ALAS..Hughesy DONT FKN DO MIL FICT PORN...I'm fucking shattered at that one. thats NOT to say she could not...just that I believe she does not, which is a fair call, STILL NOT FKN HAPPY..but shit happens

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
ooops. Sorry Abs..FOR ME, its better IMHO..thats all. Prolly great groups out there i guess.

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Abs mutters...

Posted March 24, 2010
Lols ,Hav

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Cool new post by Charlie Stross on Authoring Stuff

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/03/cmap-7-miscellanea.html

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urakur swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2010
An interesting post and subsequent comment.

From the mouth of a consumer. I would not class myself as an intellectual, academic, sci fi freak or one of those cookbook trophy hunters ( I suspect that is the reason for the e-book failing in this genre JB). God be known I am certainly not a devotee to the establishment of fine literature appreciation, nor am I a writer in any sense of the word, I'm finding it difficult to draw all my thought's on the matter into a concise blurb here.

However I do like to read books, mostly those marked non fiction, some interlaced with the authors own poetic license on the topic at hand. The subject I seek is quite varied and normally confined to those which are not great tomes on a single specific fact or behemoths of reference. I will venture into the sci fi field but really prefer this as an audio book format....curse you Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy !

Getting back on topic, I like to have a tangible copy in my hands to read. Perhaps the fact that I am only two decades away from being forced out of the paid employment gig or that I can't rid myself of that touch and feel trait we humans possess. I'm sure the i-phone toting Gen Y brigade will shoot me down.

Now I can but only speculate on the constraints placed upon writers whom wish to be published authors BUT please don't give up....write it, edit it and submit it.

If this means I need to stand forlorn in front of the shelves and delve into the middle section of the publication to consume a few pages in an effort to weed out the crap and hopefully to make an appropriate selection.

I'll keep doing it.

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robW reckons...

Posted March 25, 2010
Many people write. Many people write well. Not all writers write books, and not all book writers write fiction. Many writers make piles of money. Lawyers, for example, have to write briefs, and many of them make piles of money doing so. The chief executive officers of Wall Street firms have to write Power Point presentations, and look at how much money they make. In fact, if someone really wants to make tons of money writing, then that's the job. Go to meetings, ride around on Lear jets, and write Power Point presentations. No problem, instant millions.

Plenty of people like to tell stories. Some are actually good at it. Some storytellers—both good and bad— use movies as their medium, others use song, still others paint their stories on canvas or weave them into cloth. A few even learn how to program computers so they can tell their stories as a computer game. Some of them, but certainly not all of them, make piles of money telling their stories. Others never make money, but, like the cave painters of Lascaux, their stories last for 30,000 years, which is something of a record, isn't it?

There are really three separate things at issue here: Writing, and doing so acceptably well; Storytelling, and doing that acceptably well; and, Moneymaking, and doing that exceptionally well.

Three separate things, really, and each with its own unique subset of problems that must be overcome. With moneymaking there is all that pesky marketing and self-promotion and self-doubt. With writing there are all those commas, nouns, and transitive verbs that need managing. With storytelling one must find the courage to keep going when someone rudely says “I can't count the times I've heard that one...”

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted March 25, 2010
By the way for Melbourne burgers there is some ratbag dude from Brisbane coming down to chat with author Lee Child at the Wheeler Centre in a couple of weeks - Is uppose we could try for some sort of get togetehr at the same time?

http://wheelercentre.com/calendar/event/lee-child/

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Robert would have you know...

Posted March 25, 2010
There is a future in Ghost Writing. For Twitter and Facebook, if you can be concise and interesting. The important and self-important will pay for an interesting web presence.

Oh, and how about copy-editing for a fee? Get hooked in with bloggers the likes of which post on Huffpost and such, and you could make a name for yourself. Now, this wouldn't be gate-keeper editing, but more along the lines of suggestive style editing, maybe even localization-type editing. Would it be easy money? It could be, if you can land wealthy foreign clients trying to impress a localized audience (in your language).

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Robert has opinions thus...

Posted March 25, 2010
I might also suggest creative scriptwriting for Youtube videos. Base it on the model of televised comedy or discussion shows, where a staff of writers creates the script that the host follows. Hook up with today's or tomorrow's youtube talent and you could ride the gravy train if you hit it big. Case in point: the You suck at Photoshop series.

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Robert reckons...

Posted March 25, 2010
You might follow Daniel Suarez's model. He's a popular writer who self-published his first novel on the web, I believe. His first and second novels have now been published on dead trees and are well worth the read.

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
Orin, I would always tell my students, "Write, write, and rewrite; but, always have a plan B, C, and D."

J.

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted March 25, 2010
You want to make money as a writer? Become very well educated; teach at an exceptional university, and publish in journals or through your university's publishing house. I've had professors that forced us to buy their book/s for the class.

J.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 25, 2010
People don't understand. Some don't have a book in them, but everyone is the book; and for most, that's as good as it gets. They don't realize how good just being the book can be.

J.

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Abs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 25, 2010
Jane, if understood you correctly those are wise words (@ 12.20, last sentence)

I would say further that being "very well educated" is a matter of judgement which differs widely among people. Plato said we needed 50 years of education, but the truth is we have only, on average, about 18 years in which to fill those shoes.

One of the best books I read was by a 90 yr old African American man who didn't learn to read until he was 89. It was extraordinary.

In this country we have to apply for Australian Research Council grants and believe me, success is not a sure bet. I have senior academic friends who write scholarly books and even they find it a huge chore getting the approval / $$advance. My points are that it's not easy for anyone and sometimes the most well educated still write the crappest books and the least educated, the best.But if you're talking about opportunities and likely outcomes, the yes, academia is the easier path to writerly success. Mind you, jealous colleagues will boil you in a vat of vinegar for your troubles.

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Abs would have you know...

Posted March 25, 2010
Cheerful.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted March 25, 2010
Oh, Gah, the set texts in a university course that are utter crap, but you have to have them because the lecturer wrote it and he/she needs ALL of you to buy it to puff up his/her ego.

I've just ordered one of those from the BCC library to find out if its as bad as the review I found online said it was. Since there's a heap of them sitting on the library shelves and none are out on loan, I am guessing its probably even worse than they described.

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Orin mutters...

Posted March 25, 2010
Academics generally write textbooks create a text that reflects the course that they want to teach. If you want to cover X, Y and Z but textbooks only cover two of the three elements, unless you write it yourself, you are unlikely to find a text that covers all the topics that you want to cover in your lecture.

Also, given that most academic textbooks sell poorly, don't make back meager advances, and take an immense amount of effort to write, very few who write textbooks (and most academics do not) do so for the purpose of "ego puffage".

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Abigail reckons...

Posted March 25, 2010
Correct , Orin. Most academic is not about ego puffage, it's about keeping a job, given the criterion by which you are judged to be of any value to them- citation.

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Orin asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
It depends on the department - the guy who supervised my Ph.D was an awesome postgraduate supervisor, amazing lecturer, but had never written any books and had published 4 papers in a 40 year career. He got tenure because of the other stuff - so in some departments it isn't publish or perish.

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Abs asserts...

Posted March 26, 2010
Orin, ok, so you can operate like that in other departments? Gosh!

I was talking about the humanities. I don't know much about the sciences and engineering.

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Robert asserts...

Posted March 26, 2010
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

Henry David Thoreau

Here's another opportunity for a writer, especially with the new collaboration tools available: Genealogy writer. You take the facts from gedcom files, do some research on life in that time and place, then craft interesting tales about the family.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2010
That *was* in a humanities department Abs ;-) - for all the technical writing I do, I was doing postgrad study in philosophy.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2010
Orin, well that is interesting indeed. I only know academics who struggle against the threat of expulsion if they don't keep up their citation quota. Some might perhaps be speaking out of panic because they're conscientious so they imagine a bleak future.

And I'm only speaking about my own university; others may be kinder and wiser :)

Robert, great Thoreau quote.Such wonderful words the man often spoke.

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Respond to 'Tuesday writing blog: show me the money.'

Monday writing blog: the schedule.

Posted March 22, 2010 by John Birmingham
Apologies for not posting this on Friday as I said I would. I was hoping to have most of the day free, having sent off my US copy edit by courier in the morning. Unfortunately in the process of transferring some structural changes in the Australian manuscript across to the American manuscript, which had a different page numbering system, a small incident of structural collapse occurred. I spent a good part of the day sorting that out.

Friday night was the first night of training for under 8/9 rugby and I'm seriously considering writing a book about this season because it's the first time the boys will be tackling. I really liked the Tracy Kidder books 'Soul of a New Machine' and 'House' where the author went deep into a single topic, and I think I could try something similar with this, following a bunch of kids through their first year of full contact sport. So I took myself down to the ground on Friday night to have a chat with the coaches and to watch the first training session through a journalist's eyes rather than a dad's.

My plan is to take a digital recorder along to a few training sessions and the first couple of games, put down my notes, use Mac Dictate Scribe to transfer the sound files directly into a written archive, and see what sort of material I've got after a few weeks.

The rest of the weekend was chewed up with deadlines and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and do some personal blogging. I thought I might work my way through a couple of the questions in last week's thread about writing.

Girlclumsy asked about my writing routine. Wondering how I get myself "in the mood" for long stretches of writing, or how I get back into it after a distraction or a blockage. Having a mortgage helps. As does having a rolling series of deadlines for blogs, columns and magazine articles. Like anybody else with a job, I have a certain amount of work I need to get through in a day and unless I plant arse to chair and make with the keyboard action the work will not get done, the bunnies won't be paid, the hovercraft will be repossessed. That's generally motivation enough.

However, yes, I do have a routine of sorts. When you work from home, meaning you are the at-home parent as well as a home office drone, a lack of routine will quickly bring you undone. My official work day can only run from nine in the morning until about 230 in the afternoon. That's the extent of the time to myself I can count on, even though Jane puts in a huge effort to give me as much extra writing time as possible.

So, my day goes like this; I wake anywhere between five and 5.30, not because I want to, not because I'm a morning person (ugh), but because if I don't I simply won't have time to get done what I need to get done. First up that means at least an hour of exercise. Sometimes on mornings when the kids don't have extra commitments I might even score an extra 30 minutes in the rough little gym I've thrown together under the house. Whatever training I'm doing, I always finish up with the 10 minute swim, to cool down and to mark the end of the time I can call my own in the morning.

From that point until the moment I drop the kids at school I'll be supervising them, dealing with any e-mails which comes in overnight from my northern hemisphere publishers, setting up links to the days blogs at BT if relevant, opening and arranging whatever files I will be working on through the day, and quickly inhaling some breakfast.

Back from school, I do my round of website visits including blogs, social media sites, and news pages, noting down any topics I might want to revisit later in the day for work.

At nine o'clock I start my first two-hour block of writing. The most pressing deadline gets the first two hours. If there are no pressing deadlines, that first block will be devoted to the next book, in which case the first half hour will be given over to reviewing the previous day's work, which I find an excellent way of getting my head back into the story. After two hours I have a 10 minute break, then go back and do another two hours. Same rule as before, the most pressing deadline gets serviced in that block. At the end of that two hours it's time for lunch. Working from home, this doesn't take much time. I'll usually hook into some leftovers from the night before, or just make a sandwich or a protein heavy salad (cheers to Bobgrrl for that). Blog entries such as this one often get drafted in that time.

After lunch I probably have an hour to spend on work before I have to go pick up the kids. That time usually gets devoted to the second most pressing deadline of the moment, often a magazine feature. Then I go pick up the kids and the rest of the day is a write-off. when they are finally abed I'll usually return to my office for at least an hour and a half and work on whichever book I'm writing. By about 9.30, 10 o'clock, my brain has turned to shit and it's time to give up. I'll usually watch a bit of teev or play some Xbox before going to bed. That routine doesn't apply every night of the week, of course. I try and keep two or three nights free.

I'll see if I can answer another one tomorrow.

34 Responses to ‘Monday writing blog: the schedule.’

Lobes would have you know...

Posted March 22, 2010
The best blog entry I never wrote was about The Perfect Tackle I laid on an opposition fullback one game years ago. I wish I'd put that down on paper when it was fresh in my mind.

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Lee Tran mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2010
Thanks for the rundown, it's really illuminating (and nice to see how other people cope with writing + deadlines + procrastination-busting + attending to all the other non-writing pressures that seep into everyday life).

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted March 22, 2010
JB, I am just amazed. Keep your eye on the prize; it's going to get easier not harder.

(not that you're complaining, but we're all parents and it's the same experience so I can only identify with your after school description )

What's your older child, headed to ten? Another year or two and she'll be a lot more independent--about year 5 that process starts. I mean she'll become more emotionally independent and by year 7 high school, a LOT more so again. She'll also be more reliably "self -catering" about practical things. This will help you a lot.

I guess all children are different but that's about the sequence for most of them.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted March 22, 2010
Oh, except that sounds like I'm trying to wish time away! Not at all. I envy you that wonderful childhood phase you're still in and you're very wise putting the time in (jujitsu training and so on) because it goes like that. (snap). Even though it's making you work really hard, you'll forget all that part of it.

And you'll look back in a couple of years and say "thank god I did that because now they only want to talk to their friends & go to sleep overs" .

I guarantee it! :)

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2010
But what about the whisky? Single malt feels unloved if you don't pay it enough attention. If you're not careful the relationship will dissolve through neglect and it isn't something you can resurrect via networking sites like Facebook or by sending it a bunch of flowers. In a few sad years you could end up trolling boozle.com.au to try and claw back a hint of what was once a beautiful thing.

There's still time.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted March 22, 2010
I thought I was doing well getting up at %AM just to get 30mins exersise in before the day starts, man you are hard core.

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donna asserts...

Posted March 22, 2010
Whoa, you are hardcore, and I can only admire your ability to stick with the routine every day.

Therbs asked what about the whisky? and I also wondered where you squeeze in the very important time for letting your hair down and having a drink or two, not to mention quality time with your wife?

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Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 22, 2010
In this day and age you'll probably need to get parental permission to record the kids. Don't forget, or you might end up either splitting the royalties 15 ways or being accused of being a rockspider.

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Harry the Dog would have you know...

Posted March 22, 2010
Hi Mr B.

Thanks for the low down on your creative day, very inspiring.

I would be interested to know if you have any advice on clearing the head, following a full-day at work and public transport to and from the aforementioned, prior to writing.

I know the deal with kids (got two myself, 6 + 8); until they're happily sedated and restrained in bed writing's a non-starter.

I just find that my brain in completely mushed, when I start (usually 8-30ish). So any advice on fixes to restoring clarity would be greatly appreciated!!!

btw have ordered WW so hope PNB and the rest of the gang can forgive me!!!

Here's a little something to cheer everyone up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weq_sHxghcg&feature=player_embedded

Cheers

The Dog =;-)

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 22, 2010
I'm sending an email out this week, specifically asking for consent.

As for the whiskey, I drink it while I do my evening work.

And as for the wife, she works in the evenings too. We try to get together for some tv and a drink for at least an hour, and a couple of nights a week are roped off from work. Also, once every fortnight, weather and surf permitting, we skive off and hit the beach while the kids are at school.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 22, 2010
Oh, and props to mr barnes for putting in the half hours exercise in the morn.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 22, 2010
Them zombies won't decapitate themselves.

I'm interested in the Bunnies professional development plans. Are you upskilling them? It's important for both morale and efficiency.

I imagine you have them arranged by departments. It's important for us to know if they are encouraged to cross deck, (poly-linguist International Communications bunny gets greasy maintaining the Hovercraft) or if you maintain discrete spheres of excellance, (the Int Comms Bunny learns Icelandic amd the Hover Engineer Bunny gets trained on Swedish MBT field service.)

And perhaps more germain to the current political clime do they have a good health plan and maternity leave?

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girlclumsy asserts...

Posted March 22, 2010
Hey JB - thanks heaps. It's really interesting to hear how you work.

The kids' rugby book sounds fun as well.

Cheers, Natalie.

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Kittenheel is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
How many words a day to you pound out? I usually crank out around 5,000, but of course, it's hack writing, and I probably don't give it as much passion as I would "real" writing. Which I never do anymore. Anyway, just curious.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 23, 2010
The key, of course, is getting Alone Time. Quiet alone time. There is nothing more maddening than to sit down with pen/paper or laptop in hand only to hear, "Can you deal with this problem for me?"

I think it also helps if the loved ones in your life have somewhere else they have to be for at least six to ten hours a day. When they are around, they invariably demand attention.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted March 23, 2010
What Murph said. I can slave all I like in the kitchen or dig up the whole garden quite undisturbed, but as soon as I sit down at the computer everybody wants a piece of me.

Is it because they think writing comes from the fingers, leaving you quite free for conversation? Argh!!

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
Yep, Murph and MM, competing demands: that's why I ceased writing at all when my child was young. I'm so obsessional about writing and I knew she'd end up neglected if I tried.I tried it one day, lacked the discipline to stop when I needed to and massive fail was the result.

MM, phone calls worked on the same principle, didn't they?

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Madam Morgana swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2010
You're not wrong, Abs. The kids can ignore me for hours - sometimes days - at a time, but as soon as the phone rings I'm Magnet Mummy and they're irresistably drawn to me.

Although since phone calls aren't writing related... unless they're from a publisher, I suppose... do you think we just faffed? Off to scourge myself and try to be mindful of womens' rightfully lowly place in society.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2010
I turn the phone off. I have a remarkable ability to ignore phones. When I had a cellphone, I'd leave it off for hours if not days at a time. I frequently lost the damned thing.

I've been known to hang up on people if the conversation isn't going anywhere productive. Phones have been known to fail on me. There is nothing more distracting or time wasting than a phone call if you ask me. If it is important, you skype it, e-mail it or go do it in person.

I hate phones. Hate them.

[Qualifier: S. F. Murphy used to work with phones during his four years of active duty in the U.S. Army where he came to hate the infernal devices]

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abs ducks in to say...

Posted March 23, 2010
MM, there's no FF designator and also, unless we spoke for 7 days on phones I trust people can deal.I'm not going to behave as though in a court of law.

Anyway, it's not really much of an aside because it is totally related to writing anyway; distractions when you write are a big thing. They're everywhere when you sit down to write.

Murph, I'm with you, hate them, hate them, hate them. I hang up on every telemarketer/stranger who gets a hold of my silent number and I cut conversations to microseconds with everyone else-especially when writing.

JB,the BI spam wall is playing up. I don't care, I'm not complaining. I just thought I'd let you know in case you want to know such things.

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Abs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2010
..I should clarify, it's the security code. It keeps rejecting my transcription as incorrect. Does anyone else have this problem? (or maybe my computer needs checking)

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
I hate the death star.

First it wouldn't let me login, then when I tried to post, it said 'ERROR'.

Boss, please fix?

******

Ever since Michael Clarke gave the kiwis cause to wave banners around saying, Clarkey, where the bloody hell are you? I've been I wondering how hard it is to get the job of sports psychologist for the Australian cricket team.

Hello?

Impulse control?

Respond don't react?

Take the time and space to cool down before you make major life altering decisions?

Focus on your job?

Who's giving this guy relationship advice, Shane Warne?

That's what I was wondering when Michael Clarke left the game in New Zealand purportedly to fly back home and support Lara.

Hmmm...I've checked, and supporting Lara and breaking up with her don't seem to be on the same page of my psych 101 text, but perhaps things have changed since I suffered through rats and stats at uni.

I heard second hand that when Clarkey got over 100 runs when he did land back in NZ, his dirty work done and his mind on the job, he then dedicated his success to Lara * because she's going through a rough time*.

Again, Mr/Ms sports psychologist, WTH?

You don't break up with a girl and then dedicate your sporting success to her unless

1. You are a tool

2. Its a backhander to point out that you're doing much better now you've ditched her

3. You don't listen to your guidance counselor's advice

4. Your guidance counselor gave you really bad advice

5. You realize you look like five kinds of a heel for NOT SUPPORTING your girlfriend, which was supposedly why you had to nick off mid match, and you'd better do some window dressing, fast.

6. You have misgivings and want to backpedal.

If the cricket psychologist was doing his/her job properly surely he'd have told Clarkey to play cricket, not mind games.

Oh wait, that's right, he was getting advice from Warney.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted March 23, 2010
Taa JB.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 23, 2010
Are we talking about registration and codes at the money making blogs of Birmo? Shit, I gave up. I want to help but at the end of the day it seems like three to five minutes of time I could be spending elsewhere.

Meh. I don't need to be in flamewars anyway. I've got too much to deal with these days.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 23, 2010
Meh.

Same old crap. Except this time I don't think its the punctuation or the codes, I think it just hates me.

That's my last effort to try to scale the spam wall today.

****

I don't mind these discussions because I think it exposes a lot of outmoded thinking and hopefully some of it gets kicked to the wall with enough logic for some to reconsider their views.

If nothing else, Charlene and Brett down at Wurtulla get to witness the consequences of behaving as if your relationship breakup has been scripted by one of the writers from Summer Bay.

The only thing that really annoyed me in this saga was when Michael Clarke left NZ to go home and break up with Lara.

Since there's so many fans of alt history here, I think it bears asking - what might have happened if Michael Clarke had just stayed in NZ and played cricket, and showed his so-called support for Lara by sending her flowers, chocolates, supportive messages, and gift vouchers to a day spa? And not fed the drama?

Its really up to them if they want to make up or break up, but good grief.

Who on Dog's Green Earth gets the blessing from their employer to leave work (while overseas for that work) to go home and break up with their girlfriend?

Isn't that what weekends and rostered days off are for?

And another thing.

Sure, Michael Clarke may have disapproved of his girlfriend's tactics and her choice of celebrity agent - but if he did value her as a human being, you'd think he'd be willing to let her make her own decisions and learn from her mistakes.

Generally, if you want a relationship to last - that is what you do.

The other thing that offends me is the view that its OK for Clarkey to dump Lara because she was bad for his image or worse - she wasn't doing what she was told, by him.

Yack.

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Madam Morgana mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
Quokka, I agree. M. Clarke dedicating the century in part to poor jilted Lara was odd, to say the least.

But bear in mind that he's a man, and a pro sportsman at that. Maybe, in the flush of success, the fact he'd flown home to drop her just slipped his mind? Perhaps he had a pre-memorised victory speech and the brainwashing drone... I mean, sports psychologst... from the ACA hadn't had a chance to reprogramme him? Perhaps he was horny at the time?

We can be sure that whatever his thought process, it was far more complex than if he'd been a footy player.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted March 23, 2010
"I turn the phone off. I have a remarkable ability to ignore phones. " Amen Brother Murph, Testify!.

When you share a house with a 15 year old who lives & dies by her minute by minute contact with her friends, ignoring a ringing phone seems to be the equivilant of p!ssing on the pope.

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Abs asserts...

Posted March 23, 2010
We phone haters are a breed apparently!

I've done no writing lately , just btw. Lately being since before Christmas. Too much excitement here about various adventures to settle into anything; can't seem to concentrate enough. You really need to be in a routine , don't you? I think a rhythm carries you a long way when you're doing writing projects. You always hear people like John saying , "at 9 am this happens, at 11 am this happens..." that's how you need to be.

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Abs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
And Myrph, yes, we were talking 'bout sec codes. The issue being that some days you can't get the security code through. It tells you: "the sec codes don't match" but they DO match.I find if I leave it be , log out and back to it later on it self- corrects, as it did today.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
'Myrph' makes him sound like a wood nymph.

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Abs puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2010
ahahaha. See, I'm glad *you said that, John. I wouldn't have! lol.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 23, 2010
Murph, with little bud like horns, a goat's hind quarters, cloven hoofs and a pan pipe?

Nah, not working for me.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted March 23, 2010
And maybe I am a wood nymph. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
All I could think of was Gold, Frankincense and Wood Nymph

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Respond to 'Monday writing blog: the schedule.'

Well that was AWSM!

Posted February 13, 2010 by John Birmingham
Spent most of yesterday afternoon and early evening down at the Warner Bros. Studios watching this new 3-D thriller, Sanctum, get put together. It mostly takes place underground in a flooded cave system and it was fascinating watching the crew crawl all over the set which was nearly 7 stories tall. I'm not going to give away any spoilers, other than the fact that having watched some of the scenes in 3-D on a big glorious high def screen, the effect was every bit as awesome on the eyeballs as Avatar.

It was a weird place to visit, with the remains of previous movies lying around like the artifacts of a lost civilization. In the carpark where I pulled up were all these vaguely familiar statues of ancient kings with their heads chopped off. Somebody told me later they were left over from the Narnia shoot.

A lot of the crew working on Sanctum came straight from Avatar and it was interesting to watch them work with what is still a bleeding edge technology, but one with which they are now intimately familiar and of course in which they can rightly lay claim to being world leaders.

I think we had a discussion at the Geek a few weeks ago about 3-D television, the general consensus being that it would take a while to go mass market because everyone had already just shelled out for HD sets and women in particular were not going to be interested in having to wear a pair of ridiculous glasses every time they sat down to watch a bit of telly.

I now call that bullshit from a one eyed fat man.

Having sat in an edit suite and watched some of the scenes from the early part of the shoot on this movie I was taken by just how much more effective 3-D was at immersing the viewer in a story which is not 'fantastic' in the true meaning of the word; i.e. it is not set in a fantasy world of blue aliens on a weird planet. There was an early scene I watched where one of the characters walked through a marketplace and it was stunning simply because it was real in a way that Pandora isn't. It reminded me that some of the most effective scenes in Avatar were set in the most mundane environments, like the mess hall.

It will depend a bit, or a lot, I guess, on the price point at which the 3-D capable screens come onto the market, but I'm now thinking that take up time for this technology might well be 3 to 4 years, not 10.

Anyway, driving half way to the coast made me think I should have kicked on and gone the whole way. So this morning, having scored an unexpected reprieve from U-7 cricket, that's what we did; taking some kids down to Rainbow Bay for an early-morning sesh followed by breakfast at Kirra.

Now, however, it's time to get some work done.

129 Responses to ‘Well that was AWSM!’

Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 13, 2010
Can you at least tell us how Sanctum ends? I want to know what happens at the end.

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Moko asserts...

Posted February 13, 2010
Are there boobies is this one?

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Rhino mutters...

Posted February 13, 2010
Hmmmm ... the real question here is why was Mr. Birmo invited to the set to begin with? Hmmmmm ...

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2010
The director is a mate.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
Amazed it still pays them to make movies here with the AUD at 90 cents.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
You know the tentacle pron spinoff is gonna be called Scrotum.

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jennicki asserts...

Posted February 13, 2010
Very cool!

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2010
Being the dubious guy I am, I'm thinking that this may be some early covert AOT -> big screen research. SFX makes the big fleet scenes possible...

On a completely different topic, who can tell me more about this wish-fullfilment thing, Frued wasn't it.

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lostatlunch has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2010
sweet day out... WB has some weird old stuff lying around.. I is creepy if someone sneaks you into the store rooms.

#d dont work for me... need 2 good eyes, I struggle for one good(ish) eye... like many in the population... so they better keep the old 2d option...

or plug me in for the datafeed direct to the cereberal cortex (the porn industry will lead the way for that.)

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CraigWA puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
i don't know what it'll do to the set, but any high response rate LCD television that can do 100Hz refresh rate should be able do alternating images and then get an LCD shutter glasses setup run from the set top box. So it might be possible to do a retrofit on some existing HD televisions.

A number of my friends worked for a company which developed 2D to 3D conversion software through some clever interpolation. So the good news is, you may yet be able to watch your old favourite porno movies in something approximating 3D.

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2010
Lucky you JB having that experience.

Somebody said recently "we already have 3-D tv, it's called theatre"

I thought that was very clever. Having said that, I have been in love with 3-D since the days of Viewmaster in the 60s. God they were cool. Beyond Cool.I remember they had one set of images from Kung Fu and it was so exciting to have David Carradine Right There. Would be even better to have the cast of Mad Men.

I thought somebody said 3D television was coming out in 6 months time. But. No??

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2010
Samsung is releasing it's HD 3D sets at the end of Feb, starting U$2000.00

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Abigail asserts...

Posted February 13, 2010
Oh that was it, yep. That's pretty cheap.

I know what you mean about how the most mundane of settings work so well in 3-D. As well as the fact that it makes it real,I wonder if it's also about the depth of the field? I haven't got anything against cleverly made fantasy scenery, but real objects/places look richer on film, and 3-D film 'grab' the contours better. I reckon.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2010
Re : 3D Teev release. There's supposedly a few in A Harvey Norman showroom somewhere. (been looking . . .(shrug)). General release is going to be real low in this country and cost is going high . . .real high. A few reality checks on this. First they gotta supply Asian. European and NA demand. Australia is way down the pecking order . . .they'll be some but not a lot.

Costs are interesting. Even with the Oz. dollar high. Existing Flatscreens cost half Oz market rate in the states. In Oz. $1,400 versus $800 in the States - that's in Oz dollars both cases. That's a 42 inch LCD BTW.

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2010
Our CRT tv is still good for a few years. It'll be nice to watch this technology mature...

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 13, 2010
3D makes me seasick.

You'd need to supply vomit bags with the glasses, I'm afraid.

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2010
Ahh Quokka, not for you then. I'd never considered they could cause nausea, but What a shame. So, those hand -held camera scenes as well? vomit- inducing? same here.

Damian, I take your point about being in no rush, it'll develop/get cheaper etc. I've always had the most rubbish television sets and never have I cared about the latest kind. But when, like me, one's tv is about to give up anyway, there's really nowhere to go but right into the latest technology ones. Seems to me that it's not like former times when you made a simple choice about sizes and brands of tv, it's more like you choose between cutting edge ones or slightly more cutting edge ones, these days.

I thought $2000 to $4000 was nothing compared with the price I expected to pay which was about $18 000 (one figure I heard, anyway)

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Flinthart asserts...

Posted February 13, 2010
The real problem with 3DTV is simple.

From what I understand, the current 3D process relies on parallax to produce 'depth of field'. Unfortunately, that's only one of about five or six different 'real-world' visual cues which give us depth perception. And when you sit around in 3D goggs, treating parallax as your entire 3D range - well, for a lot of people it's hard to regain proper depth perception afterwards.

Some people regain it straight away. Some people, the confusion of depth perception can last up to an hour or so after the movie.

So... whatcha think might happen if people start watching 3Dtv the way they currently watch flatscreen stuff? And what will happen to the development of the visual cortex in the highly malleable brains of children raised on 3Dtv?

I'm thinking that if they mass-market this shit without proper research, in about 20 years you're gonna see one of the biggest motherhumping class action suits of all time.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2010
Flinthart, you make a good point.

And I agree about children- it's not something I'd raise a child on, personally, and for the same reasons. I didn't even let my girl watch tv till she was 7 , computers just last year age 12 ( but that's just Steiner ed. talking so it's not the norm and probably a bit too cautious. Or not, I dont know but thats what we did). The effects on a child's eyesight and their brain development would be huge post- 3D exposure, I should expect.I mean, given as you say, the major adjustment that soem adults have to make afterwards...

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Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted February 13, 2010
Flinthart, you make a good point.

And I agree about children- it's not something I'd raise a child on, personally, and for the same reasons. I didn't even let my girl watch tv till she was 7 , computers just last year age 12 ( but that's just Steiner ed. talking so it's not the norm and probably a bit too cautious. Or not, I dont know but thats what we did). The effects on a child's eyesight and their brain development would be huge post- 3D exposure, I should expect.I mean, given as you say, the major adjustment that soem adults have to make afterwards...

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2010
Been some warnings related to 3D TV's coming out recently. There seems to be concerns related to reprogramming - so to speak - of the eyes through prolonged exposure. The effects vary from person to person where some people's eyesight 'reset' within moments to others taking hours. It seems depth perception may be the issue. Thing is, no one has researched it either way which makes the information scare mongering or the developers neglectful.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2010
Sorry, just saw ya comment there Flinty.

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
I've had to stop playing tetris on my iPhone because it fucks my vision. Srsly, after a solid session I cant focus for about 15 minutes

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
Out of the way Flinthart. Your genuine concerns are standing in the way of awesomeness!!!!!!

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Moko reckons...

Posted February 13, 2010
You could always take the goggs off during the ads. There's 25 minutes per every hour of TV for stretching the eyes...

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Abs would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2010
I thought about 10 years ago they said we'd get hologram images by now. Litte tiny theatres happening on the table would have been cool.

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Abs would have you know...

Posted February 13, 2010
err,,not too tiny.

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joe asserts...

Posted February 14, 2010
Was going to post this on the Geek (where it belongs) but thought it might not get up due to length and embarrassment potential:

(apologies cos its got nothing to do with Sanctuary or 3D tv, just wanted to share with the Burgers is all):

"If you guys haven't seen it already, ABC's tv show Hungry Beast did a segment on the filter. It is still on iView (for another week or so) and they commissioned a phone poll on the issue.

The results are both worrisome and reassuring at the same time.

Major points:

80 percent of respondents agree with filtering the nasties out of the internet.

at the same time,

91 percent disagreed with having a secret and uncontestable blacklist.

Those in the know assure me that it wont work anyway, so that first point is wishful thinking, but in an attempt at it (Security Theatre, anyone?) they can easily stuff things up pretty badly.

The second point gives me hope as it suggests Australians are not entirely stupid in perceiving where this could go.

Best way to get these monkeys to toe the line is probably to have Conroy lose his seat in the election, but he could just as easily be replaced by another hatchet man, or even handed a safe seat to "contest".

I think this goes all the way to the top, and even further.

Governments are now aware that opinions are much less controlled when they can get media from all around the world (as I do whenever I need to look stuff up and don't want to put all my trust in UnFairFacts, LimitedNews, Faux News, or ABC/SBS. Each of these have their ways of gently turning my attention elsewhere, dumbing down stuff, simply not printing it, or hiding it deep within the "just-in" archives).

Just like Machiavelli is required reading, it seems Orwell is also nowadays part of the curricula for aspiring leaders-in-training. And not in a good way.

They will not be able to stop me personally in this round, simply because I am too far ahead of the beaurocratic ability curve (hilarious moment on hungry beast when three 15 year olds bypassed the filter in under 2 seconds in 3 different ways)

But they will be able to stop most people. The people who make up the majority of this demi-crass-E.

Abbot can be expected to do something similar if not worse.

I have always considered the only remaining Party to be a single-issue one.... but since the insiders-job on the Australian Democrats (which was nothing like Clintons-R-Us in the states for you 'merrkans) I'm really running out of options.

Hope there are some decent Independants to vote for.

Hey HAVOCK..... why don't you run - if you promise to indite Howard for his crimes against decency/humanity as well as Garret for the insulation debacle, you get my vote.

Here's a platform idea:

CLEAN THA FKN HOUSE PArTY -

CaPPiN MUPPETZ WHEREVER WE FINDS EM!!!!!

""

peace out

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 14, 2010
3D or no 3D, I still wanna know how the movie ends. Do the aliens finally surrender their beachhead in Norway?

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2010
I'm gonna wait for someone to invent the Holosuite.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2010
I want that game that the boys used to play on Red Dwarf.

WTF was it?

'Better than life'?

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Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2010
"Cross-eyed since early infancy, neurobiologist Susan Barry saw the world in a very different way. Although she had three childhood operations, the pathways in her brain that allow for binocular vision did not develop normally; instead, she saw a flat, 2D world. Over 40 years later, she defied expectation by teaching herself to see in 3D." The articles on this woman were fascinating & quite moving. Apparently falling snow used to look like Matrix text on a flat screen until she 'got the knack'.

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Greybeard would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2010
If you must know Mr Boylan, they break through into a huge cave system inhabited by a race of highly evolved but carnivorous Neanderthals. The cave dwellers are short and covered in gray fur but physically powerful and brilliant. Their geothermally powered civilization has developed drilling machines which turn rock to dust by inhibiting the weak nuclear force. Quickly adapting these devices into disintegrator weapons, they conquer the surface world, sparing only those who resemble them. And the hot chicks. This solves global warming, desertification and the shortage of hot chicks for grumpy, bearded dwarves. The End.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted February 14, 2010
Thus breeding a population of methusela like grumpy bearded dwarves?

Oh the not quite humanity.

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Tarl reckons...

Posted February 14, 2010
Greybeard: "Their geothermally powered civilization has developed drilling machines which turn rock to dust by inhibiting the weak nuclear force. "

Ah! So that wasn't a nuclear power plant accident in Chernobyl two decades ago, it was the carnivorous Neanderthals field-testing their excavators!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 14, 2010
I love it! I cannot wait to see this movie! The 3D is clearly an added bonus. I enjoy the perceptive disorientation Flinthart describes.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 14, 2010
Aunty Q,

‘Better than life’

Thats the service we provide here.

An interestingly diverse range of individuals providing entertaining discussion on topics from cake icing to 3d TV.

Beats the hell out of the slackjawed yokels discussing footy or cricket that I encounter daily.

While we may be blocked by Conroy's coming content filter, as we are obviously a band of troublesome malcontents, this motley crew has done a great deal to reconcile the strange & lurid landscape between my ears, with the day to day ploddery of the great unwashed.

The great and powerful Bob brain and Mr Giant Purple Squid skip down the road hand in tentacle singing "we're not alone, there's others like us out there."

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damian asserts...

Posted February 14, 2010
Flinthart, there's a gret demo out there of someone producing 3d based on tracking the viewer's head position. The downside with that is that the screen can only cater to one person at a time.

Very impressive though, and when we all have the glasses that overlay on our field of view it will be ORSM

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2010
Bob - I am compelled by my refined, and dare I say admirable? - sense of fairness to come to the defense of the plodding "great unwashed" whom you disparage. If not for them, who would buy retail?

But I digress. On a more personal note, I value the great unwashed for the income they provide. I am not referring to the really large and habitually smelly, but the ones who - by hook, crook or dumb luck - have achieved enough money to get into significant trouble. You would not believe how much people like that are willing to pay someone like me to fix what they broke - especially when the problem involves copyright infringement or trade secret misappropriation. I have been accused of feeding off of the misfortune of others. And I am okay with that.

As for finding similar minds, I haunt these same places for the same reasons and am often impressed with the dramatic irony of the whole situation.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
I too suckle at the teat of human misfortune, only a very few of the munters I professionally encounter have found themselves on the dark side of the law through maliscous intent. Coincidently they are the ones I get the most satisfaction from. If one sets out to circumvent the legislation I'm totally content to descend like the proverbial ton of bricks. If through higher degrees of dumbarse-ness one finds oneself on the seedy side, well I'm still obligated to act but I tend to temper, fold, spindle, mutilate, staple, crease and bury in soft peat for three months the legislation in order to limit the punters exposure to sanction.

So in a rather circuitous manner, I concur. There is a need for the unwashed horde. IE to keep us in the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed - you in lingerie models, truffles & foi gras and me in a clapped out truck & tinned beans.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 14, 2010
Oh and it is entirely admirable. In the same sense that Mussolini getting the trains to run on time was admirable.

Possibly apocryphal, but admirable none the less.

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted February 14, 2010
@Tarl "...it was the carnivorous Neanderthals field-testing their excavators!" Not at all. We, er, they are far more careful. There have been a few incidents around Ipswich, the odd house disappearing and so on, but no one round there seems to notice a few more holes in the ground.

I should point out that this explains much in your history. About 35,000 years ago (slightly before my time) we recognised your aggressive natures & rabbit-like breeding habits and opted for the cool, dim, civilised sanctuary of the caves. Some of our noble & enlightened ones have chosen to live amongst you, bringing you the benefits of our superior minds. Take a close look at the Egyptian "god" Bes for example. Socrates and Plato, Vulcan and Ilmarinen, Kobolds and Dwarves - all from below. And really, have you ever LOOKED at Charles Darwin's photos?

Naturally I have used my rank (you may call me Your Lowness) to ensure the safety of all Burgers. Except Sweet Jane who belongs to our cousins and mortal enemies the Trolls. Auntie Q, Mayhem, Catty, Jennicki et al have been declared Honorary Hot Chicks and will be issued with the usual ration of male slaves pertaining thereto.

I trust that there will be no resistance to your new Underlords. Disintegration leaves SUCH a lot of dust.

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
JB you need a suggestions box.

Heres some geekery, that due to recent rains around here should be fast-tracked.

Totally reeks of awesomeness:

http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/dn15018-pick-of-the-pictures

I have seriously dreamed of such things... for decades.

Haven't checked out the newer active polarised 3D systems as used with Avatar yet - the oldschool coloured lens things gave me splitting headaches, so I'm a touch wary.

Hopefully Flinthart's concerns won't pan out, but if they do it will be some other guinea pig that does the brainfrying and paying of class-action lawyers.

I can be a bit of a Luddite sometimes.

Hopefully this tech will make it to projectors soon - nothing quite like deciding what size WALL you should watch that vid on.

PS CraigWA - I would probably get around to trying that, nothing like Debbie Does Dallas for a good RetroPRON laugh (or the Canberra homevid: Amanda Does Aranda)

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2010
I have a biddable male house slave, but he's in the garage filling old paint tins with kitty litter and attempting to assemble a fowl house from Bunnings.

Thus far, without success.

If, GB, you could find a Training Camp that I could send mine to, in order to teach him how to clean out the FKN mess under the house (he hoards, and not in a good way, i.e. things like bits of old skirting board and buckets of screws and nails which he will never use, seeing as he is morally opposed to owning any kind of power tool) I would be much obliged.

Nbob, I'd say 'throw the book at them' but in your case, you can throw 3 day old fish.

There's got to be job satisfaction somewhere in that.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2010
I stand utterly validated.

Your honesty scares me Your Lowness.

I assume your policy of Apart-Height* will be implemented shortly - ah sorry rapidly. If all those over Xft are consigned to onerous labours. @ 180something cm I'm keen to know where your deliniation would be.

.

* The Goodies 1976(?)

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Timmo puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
Oh shit... Apart-Height?

I'm in trouble! At 6'5", I have a feeling the dwarves and I will not see eye-to-eye on this issue...

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2010
Dwarves?

Are they any good at assembling sheds?

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
Occupation Forces Rule #23: Anyone found guilty of elheightism, including the making of loathsome puns (E.g. Me: I'll be there shortly. My son (smirking): You couldn't be there any other way.) will be cut down to size. We don't carry these axes as fashion accessories you know. NBob, Timmo - I'm looking at you. I'd know those knees anywhere.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted February 14, 2010
Timmo, Guru Bob and Mr Stu vs the Short people!

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Lobes mutters...

Posted February 14, 2010
Oh and Naut ;-)

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 14, 2010
Quokka, we can assemble anything - and this is important - WITHOUT READING THE INSTRUCTIONS. BTW your husband sounds perfectly normal except for the lack of power tools. I'd be happy to show him the drill.

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Mayhem mutters...

Posted February 14, 2010
MMmmmm liking the idea of biddable male slaves right about now..........

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
Bob - I could easily be wrong, but I think it was the episode entitled "South Africa Adventure" from late in the fifth season in 1975.

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 14, 2010
The Bloke wishes it to be made known amongst you that he has a power drill.

Now, if only he could find it.

Luckily I am skilled at motivating him.

I said 'Perhaps you could take it back to Bunnings and tell them it has too many screws.'

This is a man who once tried to fix a flat battery by hitting it repeatedly with a screwdriver.

He assured me this works on all French Cars.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 14, 2010
Not ours, though.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted February 14, 2010
With Bill leading the Jockeys in rebellion.

PS how long until the song comes up?

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 14, 2010
'I like chinese...'

I'm not short.

In fact I've been told I'm really rather tall, for a hobbit.

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Timmo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2010
"except for the lack of power tools. I’d be happy to show him the drill."

From he who was deriding dodgy puns just now, right?

Actually, that wasn't bad really...

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
I was waiting for someone to say 'Its Valentine's Day. How many screws is too many?'

136, apparently.

Do you lot realize that last Tuesday we all missed the 9/02/10 jokes?

Dammit.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
Q I got an 90210 email that was better ignored

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
I miss all the good stuff.

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Willet's warrior swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
I noticed that "Sanctum" was shot on the Gold Coast at the warner bros studio. It does add new light to the recent discussion to option "weapons of choice" to Hollywood. A few years ago Hollywood producers were making their movies here, eg Matrix and star wars. The Hollywood option was to get access to international actors and finance. Why can't we get the series made locally?

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
The Bloke rang me from work and wanted me to pass on his Idiot of The Day report to help you through your happy work day...

Executive Yuppy who earns Megabucks and is big on fitness came in grumbling about a little mishap following yesterday's triathlon at Bribie. Was coming home with in his new Mercedes sedan with his expensive carbon fibre or whatever Triathlon Bike on the roofracks above, and suddenly remembered that he was meant to pick up nappies and other Baby Provisions. So he pulled into the nearest Woollies and it being hot, rolled down the ramp into the under cover car park.

The force of which struck his bike so hard that it pushed the roof racks all the way through the ceiling of the brand new Merc.

When he rang the insurance company he said 'oh yeah we hear that all the time.'

Something to snigger at next time you're rolling past one of these fools on the highway.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
A few typos up there, sorry all. I think the spell check function in my brain melted around 4am.

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
Ah well, at least he remembered the shopping. Can't be ALL bad?

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
yes, he got nappies.

A little too late for when they were probably needed, in the vehicle at the Ker-Runch moment, though.

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Timmo has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
Damn...that's gotta hurt!

In the hip pocket at least...

Sounds like a good argument for buying cheap shite bikes that fold under pressure to me.

That has long been a fear of mine - coming home and forgetting I have the bike up top when I enter the carport.

At least would be neither an expensive Merc, nor a schmick carbon fibre roady bike.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2010
Shit.

have you guys seen the news?

12 year old kid dead at Shorncliffe after being stabbed at school.

FKN hell. When I was that age I worried about bullies but they didn't carry FKN knives.

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Mayhem reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
I read it. It distresses and horrifies, but sadly doesn't surprise me.

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2010
I used to have a collection in my office desk. The head of a home made spear, various knives, a quite professional garrote and some steel tube & chain DIY nun-chucks. Most would hand them over after a stern look and a firm "I'll have that thank you!" Others were ... reluctant. Thing is, that collection started in the 70's. There's always been some nasty little tossers or kids so scared they'll grab a kitchen knife with their homework. Don't miss teaching.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2010
And I don't miss under 5s, one of whom told me he'd find where my family lived and kill them all and another who told me that his mother was on the committee and could have me sacked.

This because I was speaking firmly to him after he BIT another child.

One of my favorite moments in creche because she was walking up behind him to collect him at the time and finally got to see how her Precious Darling really behaved when he thought she wasn't looking.

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joe mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
I got threatened by a kid at school with a knife.... and got scared enough to pick up a desk and threaten him with it in return.

(He got "counselling" and "detention" but is still a fucktard - luckily small towners know where the psychos live and remind their associates to be wary.)

It could have gone rather badly.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the deceased.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
Ugh, how banal, How did this blog become centered around the minutiae of Quokkas daily life and her husbands slapstick driving skills? WTF has that got to do with the topic?

Just a reminder of whos comments not to read. Please dont encourage her.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
I

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
Back to the point. 3D HD TV is gonna be so FKNAWSM that I'm gonna get some bionic eyes which have an auto adjust function.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2010
Therbs, that's funny.

Quokka, that's horrible.

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
Hopefully if you go as far as bionic eyes they will have a WiFi/bluetooth in them and you can trip over the dog while you catch up on reruns of "Hogan's Heroes - 3D Remastered".

Oh, and Lobes can put a Content Filter on the firmware so every time "by Quokka" comes up it becomes .

Mmmmmmm.... Reality-Filtering... Won't be needing these rose-tinted Raybans much longer.

Every one night stand looks like Jessica Alba with these puppies!

Now that I think about it, oscillating-polarised contact lenses should be a lot easier to engineer than HD bionic eyes.... Getting freaky flashbacks to City of Lost Children now......!

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joe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2010
SWEEET!

I typed in ""

.... and it was!!!

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joe reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010

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joe ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2010
anagram of DERACTED

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
btw, JB, are you allowed to say who the director is?

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joe reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
Abigail: Alister Grierson

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
To hell with 3D, I want Augmented Reality contacts (same company that makes Therbs' eyes). Picture wearing a pair of those to a business meeting with Terminator-style info scrolling over the attendees. In red.

Name=Fergus_McTetanus

Height=182cm;

Weight=91kg;

Affiliation=currently bonking Marcie in accounting;

Designation=Wanker#class3/BrownNose#class4;

Probability of promotion=0.9125

Weapons=Halitosis#factor7(stuns Zombies)

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
SEE..thats WHY we should let out kids carry fkn ASSAULT RIFLES..to SHOOT FKRS WITH KNIVES!

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
@joe: I make it redacted or DreadTec. I like the sound of DreadTec better.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
H, I think Jo Brand said it best, "there'll be accidents you shoot some skin head in the leg instead of killing him". The weapons aren't the problem it's the culture.

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joe mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
Ya know Havock... there is a certain logic to that - If the victims of Ft Hood were allowed to keep their sidearms at the ready the death toll would have been much less, and the lawyers wouldn't have had such a cut.

But I doubt Greybeard and Quokka would have made it out of the education system alive to tell their war stories if that were the case.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
schism?

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
Oh I think we would joe. Things were always under control before the police arrived.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2010
There's a creche at Fort Hood?

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joe asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
(tries to wrap his head around an emotional 5 year old with an AR-14)

Wish we had Greybeard at my old school.

In a way they are all creches - supervised educational institutions.

Both points taken, time for me to go take my Dried Frog Pills methinks....

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2010
Its a worry. I don't know which part of the world you're in Joe, but I'm not used to clicking onto the news in the town I grew up in and seeing that a twelve year old has been killed in a stabbing at a private school.

I suspect there'll be a lot of discussion about the problem of bullying at schools in the media for the next few days.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
Joe, you point out the safety is on and when they look to check (their hands are to small to check by feel) you grab it off them, of course you are now infringing on their rights as they are unarmed in an armed environment.

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sibeen reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
I'd just like to add what a great night all the Melbourne burgers had last night rollicking along with J.B and his hilarious stories...Oh, wait a minute, that right, it was fucking Valentines day or something.

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Bangar mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
Hey Sibeen Mayhem is coming to town on the 6th lunch is on!

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Abigail reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
About ed. and violent students- I know a guy, (nickname) Mr Alabama from Alabama, who was a teacher there before he came here. he's one of the sweetest most polite people I think I've ever met. He was saying he simply can't believe how calm and nice our schools are. He was teaching in a school where the police got called in almost daily. The teachers there had permission to hold a kid in an arm lock till the cops arrived - kids selling crack in the halls. he saw a couple of younger teens get shot dead in front of the school. I was trying to imagine him being tough enough to deal with it, but apparently he was.Teachers there are another breed, I take it.

So Aust is a doddle.

Then this story! Not quite as comfy anymore.

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Mayhem would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2010
Awesome Bangar, I'll be there! Will you remember to tell me where and when before I leave on the 26th? Won't have net access much I wouldn't think.

Maybe I should email you my mobile number sometime in the next week or so!

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
Hey Sibeen Mayhem is coming to town on the 6th lunch is on!

Is JB coming? Oh, wait, isn't that St fucking Chrispen's Day or something?

OK, just to be clear, when you say the 6th, you do mean of March I suspect; but after the kerfuffle of working out when next bloody week is I just want to clarify the situation :)

Put me down as a definite possible maybe.

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sibeen mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
err

Sorry

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted February 15, 2010
I suspect it'll be a long bloody time before JB dares show his face in Queanbeyan.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
SIBEEN...LMFAO!....good Q, BANGARRR....WTF..WAKE UP MAN, SOME CLARITY....50...50 WHAT, DROP, LEFT, RIGHT, UP...ya might just get me doing DROP 50 FF EFFECT and then go up down sideways and have a general fkn sprays around..SHEEZ.. Not as bad as biminhum fkn up NEXT FKN SUNDY though. Thats just poor fkn form in my book. SO the 6th of Mrach, 2010, this year the year of our lord and dead set fkn legend master god HAVOCK!

Hmmmmm...thats a saturday and I suspect its the cricket final weekend...OH..hang on. Is that the LONG WEEKEND or not!

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
Bet he was actually at the OR's mess SIBEEN...., then again, does it really matter...WE DID NOT GET A FKN INVITE!

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
Joe...I KNOW..lol

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010
Mayhem do so, as well as all interested parties (bangar at internode.on.net do not cut 'n' paste). I'll email the usual suspects who have managed to let slip their email addresses. GB you're up for recommendations.

PS I think I really like this home made Baileys.

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Mayhem asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
Some clarity folks, I will be in Melbourne from 27th of Feb until 7th of March.

Bangar and I have worked out that the 6th (yes it's a Saturday), will be a good day to catch up. I have no idea if it's a long weekend... pretty sure it's not up here, but anyone who can't make it, but would still like to catch up for coffee or whatnot (minds out of the gutters lads), we can probably tee up a quick meet during the week.

I don't know any details as yet, I suspect Bangar doesn't either, but I'm sure one of us will clue you in eventually. I'm personally staying out of the arrangements, 'cos you know I'm from QLD and will no doubt just FAFF it up!

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Mayhem reckons...

Posted February 15, 2010
Cheers bangar, took me ages to write my last post lol! you beat me to it.

Bring Baileys!!!

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Abigail mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
Bugger, wish I could make that one , would be nice, but busy. Will catch up with you guys in Melb in April though!

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
Abi, Mayhem, I'll bust out the Doilies and hand made bed quilts for ya's....... , um..NO, come to think of it, having ONE bloody fkn random thinking female in the house is enough , to drive me nuts. I'll meet ya's in town..lol

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Mayhem is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15, 2010
You could always bring the doilies with you Havs. And cake, and hot chips for me to bring back to Quokka.

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Abigail mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
Start sewing Monsieur Havoque.

Will Mrs Lady Her Ladyship Havock make an appearance? I hope so! Be great to meet everyone at last,anyway.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
I'll be happy if you souvenir the plastic plate of icing infamy.

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Mayhem ducks in to say...

Posted February 15, 2010
Quokka, I'll do my best!

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Brian mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2010
HAvock . . . bake a cake. The Burgers will appreciate it. (Blind taste testing if you want . . .)

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted February 16, 2010
Wow. I love technology (duh). Yesterday I wanted an AR device that would scan people & dish the dirt on them & today it's here. Almost.

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/02/the-augmented-reality-app-that-could-revolutionise-stalking/

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2010
Imagine walking into a bar and "scanning".

On her third course of treatment for STDs (flashing red). They're fake.

Thrown up in taxi on last 4 "dates".

In a relationship.

Just out of a relationship (in green)

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 16, 2010
Or that tattoo in invisible ink on the foreheads of certain males, which says 'Wanker'.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2010
Sorry to do this JB but an errata for the next reprint.

FI, page 350 of my paper back copy.

Karen Hilabi is on her way down to sick bay to speak with a recently shot Juila, reminices about Mike "Playing his saxaphone in a small Latin Jazz club".

p534 she's at a club speaking with Eddie Mohr while Mike is on stage "playing his beloved electric guitar".

Probably has been pointed out before.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 16, 2010
FKN login problems. Grr.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2010
Aunty Q, If I was a cleverer man I'd make some quip about removing the mote in another's eye before the login your own.

But, alas, I'm not.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 16, 2010
I'd say haw haw, but the only moat I'm worried about at the moment is the one behind the laundry, which has sucked away the cat's biscuit bowl and one of my favorite thongs.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 16, 2010
Ahh yes . . .beautiful one day, damp the rest . . . .

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2010
Maybe Mike is just an allround muso NBob. My brother plays a couple of instruments, i think it must be a bit like language - once you've got a second one you find it easier to pick up a third, fourth etc.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 16, 2010
I hate it when you're palusible Matt K.

Just re-reading todays Blunty, I feel like a bit of a Pratt.

Didn't mean to sound like I was spruiking a new diet fad.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 17, 2010
Nblob, without trawling back through the hell that is the NT, help me out.

This new diet, on memory, would be the bucket of home made gnocchi with confit of goose and a bottle of fine French wine?

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 17, 2010
My nephew is a muso and he plays two instruments - it is something I've noticed in his muso mates.

Not that I want to knock you down and support JB, Nbob, because I'm damned sure it was a senior moment, too.

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Timmo is gonna tell you...

Posted February 17, 2010
Don't worry about it Bob, didn't sound that way to me at all. I, on the other hand, am quite happy to spruik a new diet fad, (and was probably doing so)... basically cos it worked well for me. :)

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Abs has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2010
Nbob, I didn't think that either. I never think you sound like a pillick but I guess we are our own worst critics.Except when ******** writes in to blunty, then I'm his worst critic.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2010
Nor to me Bob. Also Timmo I have a young friend (79) who has dropped a lot of weight & is feeling quite frisky again using the same technique. He cut sugar and sugar-laden foods like some sauces and cereals and it just started melting away. Hope it works for me. I'd love to be 90 again.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 17, 2010
Nbob if you want so sound like a Pillock I think you'll need some tutoring by a Zen Pillock Master because I never hear that from you either.

Although I do think you were nuts to go camping in that downpour.

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Respond to 'Well that was AWSM!'

Prepping for Pucka.

Posted February 8, 2010 by John Birmingham
I fly down to Melbourne next Sunday for my gig with the army's force development chaps out at Puckapunyal. I'm doing the better part of an arvo's sesh this time, as opposed to giving a little talk like last, so I've been turning my mind to how best I might use that time.

My role is get people thinking outside the big old green box.

I'm considering a couple of world building exercises and some blue sky sessions on future tech. When we've done that I might divide the group up and set them a few scenarios to work through. See what we can come up with.

Just don't tell Abe. Powered Armour is probably going to be very expensive.

As for any Melbourne catch ups, I have one spanner to throw in your works.

Sunday is Valentine's Day.

I am back in April, however.

176 Responses to ‘Prepping for Pucka.’

Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
First of all, I find the word "Puckapunyal" hilarious.

Second, reading your plans, I realize how unsuited I am to do what you do: if I were in your position I would put my audience into groups and give them exercises designed to get them in touch with their true feelings.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Sweet.

For me the interesting "what ifs" often revolve around the removal of a key logistic pin or assumption, eg what if you are in X Y or Z scenario and for reasons unknown you have no; fuel OR comms OR fresh water OR air back up. What Do You Do?

You can't really train for every possible eventuality but you can train a mind to think laterally.

Would be interesting & I hope you are charging them consultant rates.

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Catty has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Oh. You have a point, JB. A night with you and the Melbourne Burgers, or wild monkey sex with extra jam? No brainer - I'll see you in April.

PNB, I know you're a Seppo and all, but here in Aus we have laws against that kind of touching.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
I would make them give me a hands on on all the weapons, for research purposes, of course.

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Tarl ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Slightly modify NowhereBob's suggestions - rather than "no fuel", make it "no ressuply of fuel" (i.e., the rest of the army gets busy fighting killer bees or something), or instead of "no comms", make it "Sunspots create too much static for long-distance radio" (allowing for use of wire or fiber-optic comms).

If you make the logistic constraint too severe, the scenario becomes too simple - no fuel translates to "we sit or we move at walking pace with what we can carry". With no resupply, prioritizing fuel uses becomes much more important.

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
We're being tossed over due to fucking valentines day...unbelievable!

Thank god this is one that my wife doesn't go in for; I have enough trouble with birthdays and Christmas to add another to the list.

Besides, living with me is like one continuous valentines day.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
What you do with soldier boys on Valentine's Day is really none of my business.

(alerting the paparazzi....)

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Maybe we need to start a thread with funny suburb names for PNB/The rest of the seppos.

Mainly because I've got nothing to contribute to this one.

Unless you want, you know...Faff.

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Madam Morgana asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, at Pucka their true feelings are all based around the delight one feels when a strategic blast of sniper fire causes the enemy's brains &/or vital organs to spray out over a wide arc...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty - I've been reading up on Queensland's Anti Street March prosecutions (some obscure law students got arrested, some Quakers were cited for singing hymns without a permit) and I've been paying attention to SA internet filters and brown paper bag rules for the transport of R rated materials. So I'm not surprised y'all got rules against that kind of touching.

Blue Sky brainstorming I understand, but I'm still trying to figure out what an "arvo’s sesh" is, although I am fairly confident John is using it in a context that has nothing to do with Arvo Tuominen, the famous Finnish revolutionary, journalist and politician. Anyone care to educate this Seppo and clue me in on what that is?

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sibeen asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, arvo = afternoon.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Oh.

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Madam Morgana asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
And a sesh has several meanings, the most literal of which is abbr= session.

But 'a session' or 'sesh' is also slang derived from the times when pubs (in seppo world, bars) were only permitted to open for a few hours a time (or sesh). So you had the 6 o'clock swill, when men would neck as much beer as possible just before closing... and then often regurgitate it on the facade of the pub soon after. Heritage pubs in Brisbane are still tiled up to the spew splash line.

'Sesh' then became a period of time spent smoking cannibis, as in 'Hey, Johnno, I've just scored some wicked bush bud. How's about coming round for a sesh?'

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
"Sesh" I sussed. But "arvo" was new to me. I am always happy to learn new Australian slang.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Well bugger me.

do you know your way around that one?

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB- Snap! Yes,I've always thought that "Puckapunyal" is about the funniest sounding name for anything, ever- and especially so when John (fkn)Schumann uses it in his very serious song about war.

I used to think people were saying "fuck a fuck a"

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Good idea, JB. I was planning to go but until I saw this I completely forgot it was next w/e so that's pretty helpful.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
JB - take Hav along to talk about FERALS!!! and show some home vids of his shed. Then get the groups to figure out ways of CApPiNG FKN MUPPETS!!! armed only with an enduro bike, a can of VB and a pack of durries.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
I said it is hilarious, not the funniest. Maiden Gully (Victoria), Bobbin Head (NSW) and Iron Knob (SA) are much funnier city/town names IMHO.

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Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've got no doubt that Naut will be brave and be available to play!!!

Hope you have fun anyway even though numbers will be low...

Might not be over in April now as just found one of my collegues is away for alot of march/april and the course I wanted to go on is the day after she comes back. But all things are in theory possible.

BTW my instruction manual for Dragon is really thin, were you reading the right thing?

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB- There is also Rooty Hill.

And here in Canberra inexplicably they recently created a suburb called Beard.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
um...next SUNDAY...I gather you mean...THIS SUNDAY as THIS sunday is Valentines day and NEXT sunday which happens to be the one AFTER this SUNDAY which is Valentines day, would NOT be valentines day.

Now..Care to enlighten us all on WTF is going on?

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Sweet Jane Says asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told federal parliament, "The defense budget is in a mess. And many of the capability projects we've inherited are in crisis."

"The cost of sustaining capability has been alarmingly underestimated and underfunded," he continued. Fitzgibbon said the "single biggest challenge" facing the 51,000-strong Australian Defense Force (ADF) was a shortage of skilled personnel.

What should Australia do to attract skilled personnel while staying within the bounds of the military's budget?

J.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Abi..try

Rapanyup

or Mt Arapilies

THERBS...LOL..I fear they might not handle the amount of DEVINE light I would shed on all matters relating to our brave souls in the services..

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Sweet Jane Says reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Uranium-235 occurs naturally in Australia and has the distinction of being the only naturally occurring fissile isotope. Australia also has large deposits of thorium. Thorium is used as a fertile material for producing nuclear fuel. 232Th will absorb slow neutrons to produce 233U, which is fissile.

Australia exists in relatively close proximity to the largest population of Muslims in the world. How should Australia protect its natural deposits of WMD making materials?

J.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
SJS- the forces have had a long history of losing pilots to commercial airlines --well, they do a lot more to encourage them to stay these days. Still. there are health issues flying those jets and people get tired. They lose doctors to civilian hospitals...they need to stop sending them to war to get killdeded, mesuspects.

I guess it's a lot more complicated than that though.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - So are you arguing that Uranium + Muslims nearby = Muslims invading Australia to take Uranium? I've never heard such a stereotype, and I love it! I am imagining a red neck with a tractor hat warning "if ya got any Youranium, you better protect it from them Mooslams"

Is that what you have in mind?

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB there's a suburb in Perth named Innaloo.

I have a cousin there.

My great, great, great grandfather lived at a place in South Australia called Biscuit Flat.

Not, as one might think, because the place is flat as a FKN biscuit, but because there's rocks there that resemble biscuits.

When the men came back from WW2 and they were given their allotments, a lot of them were given shit pieces of land to work. When I went through there a few years ago one of the old WW2 vets gave me a 'biscuit' from his allotment as a memento. They're really weird little rocks.

I'm sure I've told this story before.

Where's my valium? I need a nap and a lie down.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, I thought that story was utterly charming, and no fooling. I place it right up there with barnes or bob telling the story about his father and the Furphy water cart.

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Otto mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
try Dunedoo or Wee Waa in NSW, but I suspect the former would be lost on those undeucated in the Australian outdoor toilet.

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Moko mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Puckapunyal is all that funny if you consider: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

http://tinyurl.com/kk7d8p

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Moko mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
*isn't

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Therbs reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - good questions and they'll be answered in due course, along the lines set out by the steering committee in its directions to the working party in respect of the issues raised by yourself. And let me say that we appreciate your concern and look forward to responding in the fullness of time at the appropriate juncture in proceedings.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - "How should Australia protect its natural deposits of WMD making materials?"

From Muslims?. lol

...and I love it when you cut and paste from Wikipedia. It makes me lolz.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Hvk, are you giving faff the hint "rappanyup" now? Ive not heard of that place.

One of my favourites (ie., I think it's cool) is that town in Queensland called 1770.

Quoks- Biscuit Flats sounds like it should be a movie or a comic.

But nowhere beats Canberra for outright stupid names because many of them are named after politicians and public servants which is a bit stuffy. ie- Downer , anyone?

Then there's Gordon.And Bruce.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
We have new suburbs called McLean and Warner, Abi. If the latter has some brothers maybe we'll get Bugs Bunny.

But yes, Deception Bay belongs much closer to Canberra, really.

Heard of Broken Hill and Humpty Doo, PNB?

I've found the most obscure place names when I've been scanning the WW2 nominal roll.

Why the hell would you call a place Southern Cross?

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Catty reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, if you've researched properly, you'd know they weren't called Quakers, they were called Slaves. (long, and true, story). Did you know we are all banned for life from ever going to that parish church again? Gee, I thought our singing was rather nice!

Can anyone recommend a good jam for next Sunday? Raspberry has too many pips.

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triksta ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Townsville has to be up there with terrible/ ill thought out names doesn't it?

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Triksta it alerts you to what to expect from the populace and as such can count as Due Warning.

PNB...you may have heard of our Riverina but have you heard of Brewarinna?

Its out the back of Burke.

I've dug out my camel trader's maps. I could go on, and on, and on.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
I can understand why people would name a place Southern Cross, because when you see the Southern Cross for the first time, you understand now why you came that way.

There is a also a Orion, Wisconsin and Cassiopeia, Kentucky. I have long suspected that those founding cities and towns were astronomic enthusiasts.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
When all you can see is stars I guess it makes sense.

We have Longreach and Birdsville. the latter has camel races.

And then there's Agnes Waters.

And over in Western Australia we have Bullabulling.

No bull.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
One word: Mullumbimbi

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
I had family there. It ends in a 'y' FYI.

And its not far from Woodenbong.

Also Federal, Bangalow and Clunes, and Goonengerry.

Murwillumbah is about an hour's drive north.

Very pretty, PNB, you'd like it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew it ends in a "y." I was testing you.

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Brian asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Stuff this thread drift - I wanna know what left brain,'Outta the box', creative thinking stuff he's going to be doing with a buncha fella's on Valentines Day. It better not be IED's in a bunch of roses nor . . . .nor code breaking all those lovey dovey missives in the paper . . .

Where's Havock? What's his input?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Okay, that's not true. I had no idea how to spell it. I just met a girl from there in Dover back in the early 80's and I never forgot it.

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
She lied, she was probably from Tumbulgum and didn't think you could pronounce it.

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty, I recommend fancy European preserves... the all fruit ones in the fancy jars. Not as much sugar as jam, glide on nicely, and a sophisticated tang so you won't tire of licking them off as easily. Blueberry is divine.

Unless, of course you WANTED something very gooey... in which case, golden syrup. But be careful - too much heat and friction on syrup and you might accidentally toffee yourselves.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Or do it, for that matter.

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Madam Morgana ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Lol, Quokka. The Valium suits you.

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've no interest in Australian or Muslim affairs. The questions are suggestions for Birmingham. Wikipedia wasn't their source or inspiration. Everyone knows our allies are broke and understaffed, and anyone with a bit of geology knowledge knows what's under Australia. I just needed names from newspapers.

J.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
I love affairs.

That's what Valentine's Day is all about.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Yeah, Peanut Butter, I live 9 miles from a major component of a dirty bomb, and I do worry about Zionist terrorists obtaining the remnants of nuclear weaponry. It would be so easy to attack the Palestinians with a dirty bomb smuggled through one of the Zionist land-grabs.

I've lived in the Marshall Islands, New Mexico, and in the shadow of Kerr McGee. Four members of my Mom's family are Nuclear inspectors for the NRC. If I wanted, I could take a shovel and obtain material for a dirty bomb by morning, but it's snowing; and terrorism isn't one of my personal hobbies.

J.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Booger collecting does keep one busy.

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Catty mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
SJS, if you have no interest in Australian affairs, why the hell do you keep spraying all over our blogs? You could do something useful, like, I don't know, um, pissing off, maybe?

As at the eating of Sir Robin's Minstrels, there would be Much Rejoicing.

Maybe we could eat SJS? How do you cook a troll?

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew a lot of people that worked for Kerr McGee, and many of them are as dead as Karen Silkwood - cancer - and one melted.

J.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
OK..I'm gunna have it OUT with this fkn jugger fkn fkn author right H$Ere!.

iF I SAY TO YOU, i AM IN TOWN next SUNDAY, AND I SAY THIS...today!, IT MEANS next, AS IN, not this fkn sunday THATS COMING AT THE END OF this FKN week, BUT THE sunday after.

iF i WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW I WAS IN TOWN...sUNDAY THIS WEEK, IT WOULD BE, THIS COMING SUNDAY, nNOT, I REAPEAT...NOT NEXT FKN BLOOODY WELL, I LIVE IN FKN QLD and we do all sorts of fkn shit backarse fucking wards NEXT FICKING SUNDAY!.....OK..Correct..I stand here..KNOWIng full well, under the judgement of the lord Christ all fucking mighty and trhat as long as my fkn arse points to the ground, I live in the nest fkn state of Australia Victoria..THAT I'm FUCKING WELL REIGJHT!.

And..Lets just make this abundantly fucking clear for all....the first fucker that sides with BIMINGHUM..GET FKN CAPPED!

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
You can't monitor the entire coastline, and you can't guard every thorium deposit. Some are as easy to get as rocks on the side of a river.

http://www.ga.gov.au/image_cache/GA11547.gif

J.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
If i say tio you, as you are now going to grab this round of DRINSK, I'll get the NEXT round, thats not...THIS FKN ROUND..ITS THE ONE AFTER..Correct..ha!..Ha!..YEP..I thought so..Listen to hav..some people have had too much fkn sunlight i reckon

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
must admit..that really doesnt sound like SJS..or is she ...er...IT..on new meds?

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Its the fumes, Hav.

She's been licking her own genitals again.

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka..with a bit of LUCK..the FUR Ball will NOT DISLODGE!

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka..If I said to you on FRIDAY, next sunday we will have dinner..wouldn't that mean, not the one coming, but the one after?

Respond to this comment

Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
I think you'd need to factor in 'Am I an author who works at home, mixes scotch with psychadelic pain killers and thinks that Sunday is last Tuesday, or maybe it was Friday. Where's my day planner, Dog? Wow. Look. gumby is on TV. la la la.'

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Catty mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, that sounds more like SJS than JB.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Right.

Then in that case she's had too much Ponstan.

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Scott reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
You are all mad fkn mad!

I'm the only sane person on this thread. Isn't that right mr Giant Purple Squid?

Btw Birmingham I want my powered armour! With railguns!

We could use some of SJS's uranium as a power source, increased survivability is a way of avoiding the fact that we have a smaller military than anybody else. We need something to spend all our money we are getting from the Chinese.

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Naut mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
H - No wonder these Northerners can't organise anything.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
hvk- here's one to drive you mad. What about if he'd said "I'll see you Saturday week"??

According to some people that means a fortnight, to others , not this Sunday but the following.

But I think he meant to say "I'll be flying this Sunday coming".

In my universe ,JB would most definitely say that :p

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Mr Enormo Lurking Spider swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Mr Giant Purple Squid. You have returned. Ah, I see you have brought me a Scott for dinner. Excellent....

I trust you enjoyed Mr Birmingham's fine collection of tentacle pr0n? The blooper reel was superb, was it not?....

Shall you be resuming your position as Nowhere Bob's companion? If so, I shall take my leave. I believe Quokka has taken up valium and could use a new friend....

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
you ain't seen nothing.

Wait till I start on the piss.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Exactly Naut..totally fkn useless....

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joe mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
what a depressingly content-free thread this is.... will have another beer and attempt some "out of the green box" thinking for the trolls to feed on.

....and for the easily-diverted: Puckapunyal, when spoken, is a little too easy to be mistaken for "fuck a spaniel".

And I would not be surprised if somewhere in this wide brown land is a happy little community called Bringabongalong. I imagine they talk a bit slowly there....

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Bender Rodrigues Bender puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Yeah well you can keep your Burger get-together. I'm going to start my own get-together. With blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the blackjack.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Mr Enormo Lurking Spider, put that human down! You don't know where it's been!

Besides that particular type is toxic!

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Wee Jasper.

via

Run o' Waters Creek.

I'll come back to the rail guns later.

Next Sunday, perhaps. Which remains next Sunday until Wednesday morning, hump day, when it becomes, this Sunday.

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Catty reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, we ALL know where Quokka has been. That's why we love her.

Respond to this comment

Catty reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
No, JB, I think you will find that Valentines Day is the day when all the humping is going to happen.

Aw, somebody had to say it.

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Abigail mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, yes, we are all crazy who have found each other. Noone else will speak to any of us which is why we live here in our sheltered workshop , a benevolent institution established by the John Birmingham Foundation.

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donna puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've always thought Burpengary was a funny one...and of course the good old Wanneroo which someone always puts a T at the end of LOL

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Scott ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
John, I am aware of the problems with rail guns. Arcing and if memory serves heat dissipation. Once the scientists and engineers develop superconductors which can handle the load along with a suitable power source it will become the 21st c militaries best new shiny toy.

The US navy is researching it for ships, due to power requirements it is unlikely to become an infantry portable weapon which is why I advocate an armoured combat suit approach.

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Scott mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty, love it!

Abigail, touche!

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
If you knew where I'd been you'd all be wearing biohazard suits and laughing out the other side of your nostrils.

Well, that's how I cope anyway.

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Scott asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, we love you and that is what counts.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, doesn't mean we are NOT allowed to have EVIL thoughts but!

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Thanks PNB but it big bob's ancestor who drove the water cart, mines the one descended from Simpson's offsider.

Hey as long as the get together is after the_weapon finishes his Archery and its not too late (he has district swim team at 6AM monday mornings) then we can make it on Sunday (and Havoc I admire your rude but correct admonishment of the difference between next sunday and this sunday.

Anyhow as long as I can bring the_weapon I am okay for Sunday.

As to thinking outside the box for the army exersise I'd go with 10 words

"When hell is full the dead shall walk the earth".

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, I always kit up in my biohazard wear before entering the communal dining room. Troll measures...

Donna- Burpengary? They seriously didn't think that one through.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
You're right.

Its much more a Fartengary kind of place.

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donna is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Seeing as you're mucking in with the defence forces, you should check this out, an interesting read, to say the least...

http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/China_Military_Power_Report_2009.pdf

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donna mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Burpengary, I always thought that was where all the cucumbers were grown, groan!!

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donna is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, did you know that all the quokkas at Rotto eat cigarette butts? They have a very nasty habit, poor things, ugh! Well, thats my best useless bit of info for the day....

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
If one can construct a coherant light device (a frickin Laser) that can deliver lots of energetic goodness to a small spot.

What could a coherent sound projector do?

The Australian Army earned high praise for how it handled the civillian population of East Timor. They also got big props for their work in various peace keeping roles, where locals were suspscious of the "invading forces" of other nations, the diggers made a major point of engaging with the locals and earnt much respect as a result.

How has this reputation / approach worked in the Northern Territory intervention. How would they go in a for instance Zed outbreak in Melbourne? You can't dehumanise "The Enemy" if they are identical to you.

Australia has (I believe) a unique force called NorForce. Could that model be applied in offshore context? How / why is it significantly different to the militias that have caused so many problems around the world? I suspect careful design in three C's but would be interested to know more.

My favourite obscure Australian place name is just north and east of Kilcoy in SE Qld - Mary Smokes Creek, the community is naturally enough accessed via Mary Smokes Creek Road.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
BARNES..Cheers..he's a big boy!...lol

Yeah. I'm under the impression JB, is flat as a shit carters hat on Sunday..well..ANYWAYS...its a pretty big squeeze for me even. Given in Super sevens we start drininking by 10AM..on Sunday and are pissed at midday after the last round of games..I'm betting I couldnt get there..even if JB was paying with abes tenner. Seems like April is the go..No sport for me then so all will be easy.

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
NBOB..Norforce..very light unit. Surveillance and recon mainly. remote operation, they can do raids etc..but they are derived from the local op..so as to have the edge so to speak as well. Good unit...

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Catty mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
I sometimes wonder if they make Southpark in Kilkenny.

Probably not.

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Catty asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew a guy who persisted in referring to Toowoomba as "Woomba Woomba". And of course, Wagga Wagga was Two-wogga.

I know some very odd people.

Barnesm, Sartre said that hell was other people. So if the dead will walk the earth when hell is full, will feeding the world will bring about the Zombiepocalypse? Damn! I knew that Geldoff fellow was odd; he's the antichrist, isn't he?

Oh dear. Obscure o'clock. This is what happens when I don't get my 3pm nanna nap.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
There seems to be a lot of faff going on in this thread...

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Chaz..this threat is all over the joint like a mad womens shit..its fkn nutty

Respond to this comment

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Not as big a GBob, but big enuff. 189cm & currently (first time in years) sub 90 kilos. Still obese by the Dr's chart but what would they know?

Yeah H, but every other instance of training and arming part time soldiers has gone tits up in an epic fashion. The NorForce boys & girls seem to do their thing with a quiet professionalism.

My question is what is the difference?

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Lobes puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
I have a race sunday morning at cerebrus, singles ping pong tournament in the arvo then rooftop party at St Kilda fest but will have iPhone on me so tweet if something goes down and I'll be there. This isnt Qld.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
NBOB.. predominantly..they are reservists..part timers doing something they love doing..and thats the key. Look at any reserve unit the Infantry Qualed / Based and you will find a similar thing..others..well, its there, they are still all volunteers too.. A lot of people discount the levels of professionalism in the Reservists..yeah some are ordinary..others... exceptionally fkn proficient

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
LOBES...lol

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
I suspect the Australian Defense establishment doesn't have this problem yet but I think an excellent exercise for present day soldiers in the US Army would be to see if they could still operate without the benefit of computers and high technology.

In other words, dial the tech level back to 1900 in terms of commo, nav, and command-control. Leave them with everything else and give them a threat to deal with that is used to operating without that technology.

Somehow I suspect that the Australians are a bit more sensible about the tech they chose to use on the battlefield whereas the Americans tend to see it as a cure all for every problem.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
That is a fantastic idea. But would the purpose of the exercise be to just operate or win, and if win is the encounter against an equally technologically impaired opponent?

Respond to this comment

Murphy mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
PNB, I'd want to see if a 19 year old could operate at all without a computer.

What I am seeing in my classrooms, where the rule is pen, paper, take notes, no tech allowed, is that the students just sit there if they are below the age of 25. Or they text as if they are being covert about it (they aren't, I can see them, I do nothing about it).

I wonder what would happen if you put a compass and a map in the hands of many soldiers today. Even in my time Land Nav gave troops fits (umm, oddly enough I never had trouble with it). I suspect what you'd find is that they have grown used to their blueforce trackers, their GPS and everything else. They'd have to relearn how to use the old method (I would, it has been that long). While they are relearning, I suspect they'd get their heads kicked in.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Yes. I would love to watch such an exercise take place.

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Greybeard mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
How about operating post-EMP? That's a technology that exists and would cause some of the effects above, knocking out computers, comms and even vehicles. I see there's a portable one now that can fry a car engine and presumably much more. I wonder if a low tech force like the Taliban could fry an allied base with an EMP device, then attack? Thank heavens we haven't gone too far with the Star Wars kit yet. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_5 - isn't he a little short for a storm trooper?

Quokka - I have rellies near Mullumbimby. And we pass Woodenbong and Old Koreelah on the way down. I read about an Oz tourist who was picked up by the cops in the US for wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm from Kununurra". They thought it meant something obscene.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Murphy

The do with out scenario is a bottla of an idea. I hope Birmo runs with it.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Bastards.

I think I've been spam trapped.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
Twice.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
No, Quokka. You are not being spam trapped. It is something else.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
I just wanted to point out that JB is only in those buttless chaps because the possum skin lap lap is at the dry cleaners.

Well, that and he needs them and that feathered headdress for the floor show.

Gather round, girls.

The man is a STAR.

All join in now.... 'In the NAVY....'

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
Barnes / Murph. I shot an idea along similar lines to JB a week or so ago. How long does it take to MAKE a TANk or Rifle or so forth..jets are the same. So in a high intensity conflict with sorta equal opponents, how long will HIGH TECH gear be available and how long before we would have to start making lower tech at a faster rate for replacement...???

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Catty has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
I think they've worked out you're a woman, Quokka. The bounders.

Maybe Birmo should suggest a "no women" scenario to his soldier boys. Just let them try and win a war without women building their planes, baking their Anzac bikkies, and telling them (again) what their reggie size is. This last one is very important, as men go through a lot of undies on the battle field. It's understandable - having a grenade go off right behind my earhole would scare the crap out of me, too. But why they can't just wash the crap off the pants instead of piffing them is beyond me. Oh, that's right. There are no women on the battle field to do their washing for them.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
I did try to alert them that Lobes hung the Manly Men Only sign so its a bit bent...and its attracting interest from the new Manly Mens Sportsman's Bar that's just opened up next door.

But nada.

Once they decide to deny me access, there's no getting past those FKN spam bouncers.

I might go queue in the post office. Which is the next best fun you can have after dealing with the NT security staff.

I shall return with chips, and nurofen.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
Quoks, good try with 'In the Navy', but The Village People were straight, as it transpires. However, you can't go wrong, (psst,as in, it's a sure bet) with 'Relax' - make a great theme song for the blog on a couple of fronts.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
And the most played xmas carol of all time (white xmas) was written by a Jew.

Its still a gay anthem, Abi.

Now. You're blocking my view of the traffic cop. Woor! Wouldja check out the size of those man boobs...

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Havock, yeah, the come as you are war. That was what Fulda Gap was supposed to be. I wonder if Australia will find herself in that sort of conflict anytime soon? Her technological rivals are all nominally allies with the exception of China.

As a side note, my thoughts haven't fully formed on this but has anyone noticed the proliferation of Helicopter Carrier type vessels in the Asia-Pacific Region?

South Korea is fielding two such ships.

Japan is fielding two with plans for a larger third vessel.

India is planning on having three aircraft carriers.

Australia is working on two Helicopter Carriers with some arguing for a third converted to F-35B capable.

China wants a carrier.

Thing I can't figure out is why the need for this capability? The US Navy hasn't gone that far down the tubes yet. Nor can I figure out if I should be worried about this development.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Murph..India worries the living fkn hell outta me and like you mention...Helo carriers are popping up all over the joint.

I'm gunna draw a long bow...but a mini clash is on the cards at some point..baby carriers against each other and given ranges of VTOL A/C they can launch..its going to be a knife fight rather quickly i suspect.

The time line to make NEW weapons, will, if the conflict is sufficiently large enough, consume the equipment much much faster than it can be made. like you say with " Come as yopu ", in that case it was logistics to ship the heavy eqpmnt.

But something sustained over a longer peiod, will pose significant issues, its one reason why i think we should be retaining our current leopard tanks and intergrating them into the Cav.

I noticed also, with the new FOXTEL Docco, on the Cav ( Canadian ) being followed for training pre deployment to the ME, that they have integrated the leopards into the CAV units..thats fkn punch for a pure CAV unit..unlike the US units which have the own troops of MBT's.

Its also one reason I seen the expansion of the Subs..it takes a disproportionate amount of effort to find and prosecute a sub than the assets actual value..and the neighbors around here are not exactly top of the line on ASW. They wield a far larger impact capability than a lot of other assets.

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Sweet Jane Says reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
Lobes isn't the weak link. He has known Birmingham for a few years and has socialized in person with Birmingham and others listed to the left. You'll find Lobes always surrounded by handsome young men (except Birmingham's crew) and handsome young women. Unless you have money, are very well traveled, have an exceptional education and a beautiful, healthy body, your taunts are meaningless to him.

I taunt him because I don't care about any of that, and I know he can handle Southern teasing. In other words, he's a few social rungs above you but will never say it. I'll say it because - what the hell - I'm Southern and Lobes is okay.

J.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
One of Canada major military commanders has been busted for murder. I think he was - navy. He molested and killed two women in Ontario.

J.

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Scott ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
Havock, now if only we can get our subs operational!

It's been a ratfuck from the start!

Start by firing most of the wankers in procurement, and I mean firing as in out on the range.

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joe reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
If the ADF doesn't already train troops in dynamic problem solving, in effectively changing plans mid-stride to adapt to a changeable battlefield.....

Please KICK THEIR ARSES for us all.

The problem with luxuries is you get used to them.

Top-order military tech changes the game-space greatly, but it can also fall off its perch.

GPS is a great example - how many satellites would need to be zapped/cooked/exploded/de-orbited from the constellation before its utility is compromised? Even just to the point of a few hour's window-of-opportunity when things are still in contention?

Plenty of states have the satellite-kill ability, and that is only what is public-domain.

So if they are not already doing it, politely ask them to START RIGHT NOW.

Then kick their arses.

Suggestion: decide on the day what they miss out on, possibly with a (loaded?) dice.

Maybe make them do without something kind of scary... like eyesight or hearing (laser blinders and sonic weaponry, anyone?).

Asymmetric warfare (for certain) and (possible) overmatched full-scale continental defence seem to be what they need capability for, in that order.

So dealing with the Afghanistans and East Timors of tomorrow will be almost a certainty, but without a credible ability to defend (at least in the short term) against a larger, richer, possibly higher-tech opponent.... well, who ya gonna call? And don't just automatically say "America" - a future scenario could easily see her power/influence reduced to the point they would be unable to help much, and it is dangerous to rely too heavily on anyone else.

As for out-of-the-green box, I'm having trouble with that because I don't really know what's in the box in the first place (other than what I have gained from conversations with Those Who Have Served - which mostly amounts to anecdotes of barracks-hazing and the curious medical effects of certain ration-pack components. Oh, and a shit-ton of laid back bigotry...)

I guess my contribution would be to get serious about the ramifications of high-tech-for-the-masses and soon-to-come game changers.

low-order conflict means a real engagement on the information and propaganda fronts (well, OK the latter seems pretty advanced as is... but mind-control has a hidden disadvantage in that the minds it produces are not exactly top-notch thinkers).

One of the new issues that came with instant widespread information flow - teh intarwebz - is that of the shoot-the-messenger:

These days, the MESSAGE is often the delivery system and payload in one. I am not saying censor/threaten/bomb Al-Jazeera because they published Osama Bomb-Laden's most recent batch of FUD (though credit where it's due - what better way to make the so-called-right hate the so-called-left than conflating global warming with the opposition to militant religious fundamentalism. Divide and conquer, and all that jazz.) - the solution there is to sow your own seeds better. The medium has changed but its still propaganda.

A clash of ideologies is a more even playing field than many people would like to think. To win such a struggle, you need to get the other side to start seeing things the way you do. The dehumanising aspect makes it easier to shoot someone, but much harder to form a real working relationship or sense of common humanity with those you want to opt-out of the fight or help you win one. It would seem (propaganda?) that compared to some of our brothers in arms, Australian soldiers do seem able to do this a little better than most - let's improve on this.

Hearts and Minds instead of Bodies in Bags.

With regard to informational-warfare (the hacking and cracking side) a good rule of thumb would seem to be NEVER CONNECT ANYTHING YOU CARE ABOUT, EVER.

Stories about intrusions into the databases of major military contractors are truly face-palm moments of idiocy... I mean... WTF???

At some point, shooting the messenger (if only with a taser) may be a necessity - a "cyber attack" on critical infrastructure, detected in progress would need to be stopped, cold, as the clear-and-present-danger it is. If this means FacepalmBook gets taken down for a day or so because an attack was being routed through it - well so be it.

I guess a lot of this faff doesn't really apply to the diggers, but some of it could - here's a question: can anyone tell me what proportion of our camouflaged nation-builders over on the subcontinent can actually speak Dari or Pashto? I know the locals over there are getting into cricket (and doing really well - they recently beat Ireland, can't wait until they make it up a level and play against the Paki's!) so hopefully they can have a few informal overs with the locals, even if the after game beers are a no-no.

Oh and railguns? BAH! HUMBUG! just another bigger gun, whoop de doo.

Although the possibility of mach-20+ over-the-horizon bombardment is kind of scary.

BTW extremely-high-flux superconductors simply DO NOT EXIST yet - and they may not even be possible, considering the high strength inductive/magnetic field generated by so much electrons moving degrades and destroys the fundamental superconductivity effect itself. There is more to learn in this field, so I do not discount the possibility (one of DARPA's black projects may have cracked this), but it isn't anywhere near the operational state of, say a MQ-9 drone.

C-beams and KillBots.... that stuff is real and getting more so.

Has the ADF come up with answers for ultra-cheap surveillance drones with off-the-shelf imagers (getting cheaper and better every day) - I mean ones that don't rely on a Rapier air defence system or an umbrella of AWACs/f-18s?

How about mobile-phone remote IED detonation? I know there's some work already done there with the jammers and detectors and detonators and whatnot - do our boys get some of them? Those guys tooling around in their chop-top landrovers (yeh yeh I know - SASR, not regulars) sure have some Nuts, but they aren't exactly driving MRAPs (not that you can fit more than one of those in a C-130J anyway).

We could probably learn a bit from the Poms and the Seppos with their equipment-we-need-NOW problems, but from what I have seen we can step up if we need to (anyone remember that high-speed troop catamaran that suddenly appeared in time for East Timor? And just as suddenly got decommissioned?) - we need this agility and can afford (by dint of small size) to be MUCH better at it than our major allies.

AAAAAAAAAAH! even my own brand of waffle is too much to stomach now, have some unrelated Burger-Fodder:

Amazon's Kindle bestseller list (lots of actual classics, traditional media blockbusters, and more than a few bootstrapping freelancers):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D154606011&field-keywords=&x=18&y=20

AND

How much the occasional troll could be making if they went for it properly:

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/contentmakers/2010/02/08/what-are-freelancers-paid-the-complete-data-so-far/

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Abigail asserts...

Posted February 9, 2010
SJS:- ROF, you -guessed-it- LMAO.

"I heard those trashy poor people and those Great Gatsby throwbacks on the net, and Robert Redford dewlls among us: it must be so".

You sound very young, girl.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
You might have to start with a minister, Scott, one that's long gone and swilling cocktails.

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Scott mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Quokka, can I! Pleeease!

Seriously though we have had several defence ministers who have been too passive not to Mention incompetent.

For all the money spent we only have one sub ready for operations. Piss poor efort!

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott: Gummit , especially defense, that has a (PM) Project management requirement have been fkn piss poor. Those boats...NOW are good boats and were we building a similar design again, they SHOULD be able to do so relatively easily.

Problem is, the spec for the new boats...is WAAAAAY fkn out there. Largest Non Nuke boats ever built they will be. scaling up only cuts the mustard so far. The new tech integration well, if they go for COTS gear that has or is utilised in the US or UK fleets it will make life a lot easier.

It will be ugly..especially given we HATE, thats other and not me, hate Nuke boats. I would be heading for the new Virginia class units or successors at that point flat out..or the poms.

BUT..Deisel elect have significant advantages..no doubt about it. I have said it before..I would split the 12-17 boats 50/50 but those types.

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joe would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott: yeh the Collins' teething issues are worrisome - especially seeing as they are pretty much teenagers now and should have ditched the milkteeth long ago and be onto junk food and perving on anything that breaths...

Not just the procurement wankers, also include crap/poorly supervised subcontractors. LOL... are they SUB-SubContractors? and if THEIR contractors aren't up to scratch.... ho ho ho.... then they would be SUB-standard-Sub-Sub-SUB-Contractors!!

Still, it is definitely NOT a reason to cease our efforts at domestic production of key warfighting platforms.

Havock: The replacement of equipment lost through wartime attrition (read: blown to smithereens) is a very valid point and will become more so:

When the modern armed forces start serious frontline use of drones/robots, training replacements for dead pilots will be much less of an issue than replacing the platforms themselves. Assuming similar tech/abilities it would quickly boil down to who can make/deploy these killtoys faster. AND, while not wanting to scaremonger, we all know where most of the planet's manufacturing base is these days. Only solution I can see is robot-factories (a job-losing electoral DEATHWISH) of sufficient capacity and survivability to move the bottleneck further back along the use cycle - to be an issue of raw materials.

There's a reason rare-earth metals are making the news, and it isn't just business monopolies.

As for their neighbours, together (but opposing) they are not so big a problem - one cannot move too far without the other having some issues.

It is in everyone else's strategic interests to have the two most populous nations of similar military strength and focused on each other.

If that changes somehow, well that's an entirely different matter. I'm pretty sure India will get somewhere with their indigenous thorium reactors (they have HEAPS of that, no need for our yellowcake), and just about anything the Chinese want that we have (other than yellowcake) we seem happy to sell them anyway (quality move BTW, to snap up decades-long supply contracts for gas and coal BEFORE any carbon-intensity-tariffs or whatever are formalised).

BTW JB(off topic again), though it may have been mentioned in the text of Leviathan, could you remind me who came up with that idea about Power and Violence (that V is the expression of a LACK of P) - I still find it rather intriguing.... and maybe not entirely off topic after all.

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joe ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
MMMMmmmmMMMMM... nothing like fresh Waffle with a dash of Faff sauce to tempt the spam-trap.

>:(

Meh it was an obese post anyway

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, I agree about domestic production of platforms and munitions, relying on third parties for essential equipment is at best short sighted.

Imagine, a US president 2020 e.g needing Chinese or Indian money to prop up an ailing economy.

In the Indian Ocean a clash develops, pressure could be put on the president to withhold/delay vital equipment.

This is how Israel was contained in the 70s, America threatened to close the supply lines.

A more important question is how long can the US subsidize everyone elses security?

In the years to come the US administration will be faced with cutting back the military or social security. Which will be the first to go do you think?

Ot I know but these are the questions countries like Australia need to ask themselves. I take no pleasure in the US decline, but no country can maintaine the US's debt without something giving.

The Europeans are going to get one hell of a shock when the US is no longer around to protect them. Soft power only works when someone is standing behind you with a big stick.

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
So what is happening for dinner in Melbourne? Have you chosen a venue? Unfortunatley I can't make - three work commitment nights in a row, plus moving house has meant that I need to spend some serious time working on the home front.

Are you still here on Monday morning? Brekkie may be doable?

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joe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott:

I am probably misjudging the national character of America.....

but I'm pretty sure it would be welfare that goes first.

They were never real keen on the idea in the first place, but maybe a generational change (or at least more engaged "progressive" voters) away from the McCarthyist hangover could lead to it going the other way.

"Obama could win the next election if he declared war on Iran" - O.M.F.G.

And to the waning of the Pax Americana.....

I think the You-rope-Ian's know this is coming, and the French and German armed forces at least seem to be doing something about it. Probably wouldn't be enough to stop Russia if it was serious, but to avoid a fight you simply need to make it not worth their while as opposed to being tougher.

Which is about all a country the size of Australia can hope for if we are talking about potential fights with the next superpowers. In that regard, keeping them addicted to our mining products is actually some insurance, as long as we keep an eye on the stockpiling - if you guys aren't actually using it to make our consumerist toys maybe we should sell it to someone else.... problem is: Who?

To soft Power and Big Sticks: It is not the Hitting of Things with Big Sticks that backs up Soft Power so much as the PERCEPTION that Big Sticks Could Start Hitting. Of course for this to be believed the occasional 3rd world country needs an externally-applied regime change, but it's easy to make a case that a string of low-magnitude conflicts Elsewhere is a helluva lot cheaper than WW3.

'Cos if the Nukes start flying in WW3, World War 4 will be fought with rocks and pointy sticks.

Just so you know its Business we Mean.

The Politics of Fear works at many levels.

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Scott reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, doubt it entitlement is well entrenched in the western world, the whole world for that matter just look at how some third world countries react when it is suggested that the gravey train can not go on for ever and it might be time for some competent leadership.

As for Europe increasing it’s military capacity, only around the edges.

Just look at what is happening in Greece, massive debt someone has to pay and when the government wants to cut back on expenditure the usual suspects come out of the woodwork for a temper tantrum. I speak of course of the public sector unions and the uni students who have nothing better to do than smash other peoples property. Last time around the Germans were handed the bill but it looks like the Chancellor is having none of it.

We hear a lot about deficits but they are not the problem in the short to medium term it is long term national debt which will cause headaches.

European country debts range from 80 to 120% of GDP. If they don’t get there shit together they are looking at more than defence issues.

I doubt that Russia will be a problem, they are in a lot of trouble themselves, most of what we hear is bluster. Look to internal strife, millions of unassimilated people from the third world being told that the welfare cheque is ending.

The cracks are already appearing. Remember how ineffectual the European response was to the break up of Yugoslavia it took the US to do anything. Negative population growth plus unassimilated folks with shall we say tribal customs equals a lot of grief. Rather than set piece battles I can see a lot of civil unrest coupled with urban war style clashes. Throw in some pissing contests between emerging powers and we will find ourselves living in interesting times.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Crap, that was longer than I thought sorry Birmingham.

But my internal armchair expert got away from me, one of these days I'll have to take it outside and shoot it.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
I try hard to keep in mind that Hanrahan said "We'll all be roont" years ago and there have been millenialists and sooth sayers saying soothly "The end is nigh" for thousands of years. 'Twould seem every generation throws up a couple who believe that things can't get any worse and therefore the end of days must be at hand.

That said.

1 Being prepared for Zed costs little but time & thought.

2 Not being prepared for Zed will end in tears. Briefly, then some shambling & brain eating.

So. While I may disagree on root causes, it would appear that Mr Scott and I agree on some points.

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Naut mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
But Jane, I am handsome too. It says so on the left and my Mum tells me it's true!

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
NowhereBob, not sure whether my analysis is accurate just saying based on history Europe is not looking healthy. You are right though preparation doesn't hurt any number of things could go wrong alien spacebats take away our tech, asteroid bombardment or just the crazies decide to play with megaton firecrackers. Bit worried about the shambling and brain eating of which you speak.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Zombies Mr. Scott. Zombies.

Or should I say Dr Von Scott? *

Brigadier Barnes of the ZPS has taught us to consider the shambling & brain eating undead as a catch-all generic phrase that encompasses all the many & varied ways the wheels fall off our pretty western democracy. If one makes plans based on a Zombie outbreak, then you probably wont be underprepared, if on the other hand you expect to call mumy on the cell phone then perhaps you may want to think a little more, or end up another Fkn brain eating shambler that I will have to deal with.

You sugest Alien Space Bats, crazy nuke bingo &/or hot rock impact. I could add another half dozen and some who make a study of such things could probably add another 2 dozen. From microbes to megatonnes the chances of something cataclysmic happening are approaching statistical unity. Without sufficient information to describe the likelihood of one culture ending event compared to another we just use the phrase The Zompocolypse.

If you have considered any or all of the following then you are "with" the program.

Never less than half a tank of fuel in your vehicle.

Bug out bag packed.

Ingrediants for Improv weapons.

Defence protocols for home or location X.

Basic field first aid in vehicle & bugout bag, serious med kit at home or location X.

Alt. routes to location X

Rations for X people for Y days.

Water supply for Y days.

What are critical lootings? & When would you approach them.

.

* Rocky Horror Picture Show Referrence.

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joe would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Ahhhhh, Hanrahan....

Reminds me of Dennis Leary's Irish Drinking Song for some reason:

"we Drink and we Die and continue to Drink"

Sounds very Zed to me....

Scott, I know we are waaaay off topic, but I can't help but say "HUZZAH!" to those points about non-assimilation and entitlement, even though we probably don't agree on the extent or details.

I am still optimistic that things will not degenerate to the sectarian urban warfare as depicted in JB's Without Warning, but I do think it fair that coming to live in a new country ought to imply that you are OK with subscribing their Rules and Social Conventions - if not why should we put up with you, again? Social disharmony was never part of the deal.

On the causes of this I perceive there are not really any Good Guys, only degrees of complicity.

As for the students and unions - they should respect the right to protest and express dissent; not abusing this right by breaking stuff and bringing their cause into disrepute.

I used to take part in public nonviolent protests - until I realised how frequently they were being hijacked by rabid fringe groups who thought it was a cool thing to do to throw nail-spiked potatoes at the police trying to keep the peace.

Didn't change my view on the issues, just made me want to avoid associating with juvenile arseholes trying to get on TV.

That said, changes to how some countries deal with public protests (first cab off the rank for me would be the UK) seem knowingly designed to elicit such stupid mob behaviour and bring their (possibly quite valid) issues under a cloud of extremist violent images in the media. This is frightening to me.

State-sponsored psychologists came up with this I am sure, and they are obviously a lot smarter in this field than the majority of individuals wanting to express their dissatisfaction, let alone whatever mental-ability the average pissed-off mob has. People interested in this should look up "kettling".

I am a supporter of a _certain_ degree of social welfare - just not the effectively free money that people get used to to such an extent it feels like a right.

I would much rather most of the dole (what we call state welfare for the unemployed here) was given in food/rent/utility vouchers, with a Work For The Dole program that doesn't just teach people how to Paint Rocks - traineeships and stuff like that to get them functioning in society again and provide some of those Skills there is always such a Shortage of...

This is what comes of giving a man a Fish, instead of giving him a hand-line and teaching him HOW to Catch Fish Himself...

Welfare will only ever be a band-aid solution (that does have some real, albeit temporary, advantages to society in terms of less desperation-induced crime) but addressing the longer-term underlying issues of education, disenfranchisement (ew.. long word... yukky), and self-respect seems to always end up in the "too hard" basket.

PS: I love when beggars (they are actually quite rare here) try to get money from me.

I will give them a cigarette (that's a service to the community with some of these people) but if pressed I tell them (as politely as I am sober) to wait for their dole money, and spend it wisely, like everyone else in their position ought to. Boy does that piss some of them off! (lucky me has only had to physically defend myself against a riled-up panhandler once - and as you might expect from someone wasted enough to attack a stranger they are asking help from, they really weren't much of a threat)

Oh, and I ONLY give tips for truly extra-ordinary service.

Hmmmm...... might be about time to replay some of those hippy love-in MP3s... and finish off the booze.

"cheers"

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joe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Give me a billion dollars and a cozy lab in, say, North Korea and I could make Zed a reality you Would Not Like.

Sci-Fi I know.... but based on KNOWN FACTS - it could be done......

But I am a Good Guy so you better up the offer before "could" becomes "will".

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
People really need to look on the bright side of equations.

OK..If WW3 starts..its gunna be ..well BIG, but the up side is that WARS help promote extensive R & D like on scales we never seem to achieve in peace time. These applications or discoveries then filter through into the main stream society.

So after a big stoush, some culling of sorts we will have all these shinny new gadgets and hey..maybe even FTL as well.. and off we go.

just a thought ya know

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Abigail mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
Hvk, may I ask, what is "FTL" ?

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Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
FTL = Faster Than Light. Only possible if you have a warped mind. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, I agree a hand up not a handout, the ease of welfare in Europe is a draw card, not to say that there aren't genuine refugees or hard workers among them but when I read about people being attacked on the street for not wearing the fullbodied sack or poloticians being put on trial for speaking out Geert Wilders for example, all in the name of national harmony of course, I wonder what the endgame will be.

Wouldn't it be better to explain that freedom means just that and if it isn't to your liking than leave.

Developed countries didn't just happen they require a certain amount of freedom, property rights and most important of all personal safety. If Europe doesn't wake up soon they may end up in a situation similar to that described in Without Warning. Having said this I am an optimist the future can be bright, just hope it isn't to bright as in big fkn city busting flash.

NowhereBob, have considered all that.

Funny story a couple of years ago the power whent off, as is our want after 30 minutes or so if it hasn't come back on we fired up the generator. The kid next door wined that we were lucky. No we said just prepared and thought ahead. Too many people take our social amenities for granted press a button and you have light or warmth turn a tap and you have c