Cheeseburger Gothic

I dips me lid to the Force Development Group.

Posted August 31, 2009 by John Birmingham
They hosted me to lunch in the Mess and a chat on Friday when I was out at Puckapunyal, and as always with the armed forces, they know how to put on a good show. Highlight of lunch was corned beef in white suace which I haven't had since I was a kid. It was fantastic. A really old fashioned meal done really well.

The talk and Q&A were interesting, although I got a much better idea of what they actually needed from me after I'd done it all. FDG thinks long term. Really really long term. As in what the Army will look like decades from now. That was why I asked that question here a week or so back about war fighting in 25 years.

So I have another pepsi challenge. I may well go back to Pucka in Feb next year to run a little sesh for the new staff intake. Something along the lines of How to Geek It Out Like a Champion. The challenge for these guys, whose careers are based upon traditions, institutional learning, generations of received wisdom and so on, is to wrench their minds out of the Army Box and into something akin to what a novelist or film maker does when they set a story in the future.

Hence the interest in the AoT series.

But I'd like to go back with something more than that. Something like an integrated coursing in Advanced Geekery. So, lets put our propeller beanies on, and come up with some books, magazines, web sites and movies/tv shows I should be adding to the recommended reading/viewing list with an eye to actually breaking some of them open and analyzing their moving parts during a geek training session.

Example. The early cyberpunk novels of William Gibson for the way they examine the machine-mind interface.

77 Responses to ‘I dips me lid to the Force Development Group.’

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 31, 2009
Lots of interesting discussion on the chinese hacker actions, when do the efforts of these quasi-state actors become warfare activities?

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted August 31, 2009
The Oil Drum website. It examines how society deals with its energy sources and their increasing scarcity. Often has speculative threads about whats to come and how it will be managed.

http://www.theoildrum.com/

I also think most of Desmond Morris' books are pretty good for examining why people act they way they do. Will be more relevant as populations grow and social boundaries change. Also Jared Diamond worth a look too.

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El Coqui puts forth...

Posted August 31, 2009
John:

The late G. Harry Stine "Warbots" series. As the Australian Army is small in numbers, they may find interesting the deployment of specialized fighting robots under human command as force multipliers. He also posit the development of neural communications to replace battlefield radio.

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted August 31, 2009
Oh yeah, "Hurrah's for the Washington's Grays" (Third Robot Infantry Regiment)

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted August 31, 2009
nah, corned beef en croute with the beef covered in horseraddish suace...

Stines 'Contact' series as it deals with fully intergrated crews (ie female and male).

James Rollins "Omega section' novels as they deal with gadgetfying and also mixing scientists with military units.

Space above and beyond: dealt with a number of 'issues' that would effect near future troops

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SJPONeill reckons...

Posted August 31, 2009
The TBOM has a great kitchen!

I haven't read 'em for a few years but I used them as guided for a similar paper I did for my Masters in the mid-90s and that is the Falkenberg's Legion and 'There will be War' series by Jerry Pournelle. With wanting to over-blatantly suck up, if I rewrite it this year AoT will be a reference (certainly 2.1). The other series I found had some really good concepts on future war was the Bolos series based on Keith Laumer's original book - while not promoting the use of giant autonomous machines in the next couple of decades, I do think that they do a good job of identifying some thing about war that are enduring...

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Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted August 31, 2009
Cool challenge. It's pissing me off that I was too sick to go to the mil-sf panels at Worldcon, since this was just the sort of thing I was looking forward to taking lots of notes on.

Lacking that, however, I'll start off with Dave Wolverton's novel "On My Way To Paradise". It's been around for a while but is still excellent. A group of South American mercs are hired to travel to a Japanese corporate colony as muscle in an internal insurgency. Lots of interesting clashes between the cultures - aggressive machismo versus discipline and conformity. The question of how free you can be if you've had human designers deliberately hardwire certain reactions and behaviours into your genes. How the way we think about our bodies and minds might change as both get easier to manipulate and alter. All wrapped up in a mil-sf plot with some memorable action scenes and some cool Matrix-y training sequences.

If we're talking body/mind interface get Greg Egan's collection "Axiomatic" and check out the title story and "Learning To Be Me".

I've owned up to being a David Brin fanboi before now, his ideas of world history as a clash of memes rather than cultures, and about the factors tha make up a benevolent, culturally resilient society with the ability to progress and improve itself. I'll see if I can dig up some of the better blog posts and articles.

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jp asserts...

Posted August 31, 2009
They should look at some of the stuff that's developed out of Homeland Security's Analytic Red Cell office -- I'm sure someone in our DoD can get some inside findings from previous year's groups -- and we could do worse than host our own version. I know some of the US authors and film types who've taken part and it seems like a useful exercise.

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MickH mutters...

Posted August 31, 2009
I think the colonial marines in Aliens is worth a look JB

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Tarl mutters...

Posted August 31, 2009
It's probably worth having them go through Vernor Vinge's /A Deepness in the Sky/ . The use of drugs like /focus/ for military purposes is regrettably likely in the next few decades.

While we're on this author, the /Across Realtime/ duology for exploration how an ultimate defensive construct (bobble) gets used quite effectively for offensive purposes.

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 31, 2009
The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski, alternate future but without trust in technology.

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Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 31, 2009
Is this for real?

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MickH asserts...

Posted August 31, 2009
Did you manage to read all of that book Tarl? If you did then you are the first I know of who managed it. well done.

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MickH puts forth...

Posted August 31, 2009
If you can JB get hold of the latest popular Mechanics magazine, it shows one possible future for the military through internet/network control systems and an extension of 3g and 4g phone systems. Very good but very techy but i can see that once they become robust enough, it will provide yet another edge.

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houyhnhnm asserts...

Posted August 31, 2009
F****n wankers. Nothins changed an nothin will change. Drrrr! Brave new world...1984...Dipshits livin in a mentality that technoville is somehow gunna make a difference. F**k sake...get a life instead of a new gadget

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Enjoy Medway asserts...

Posted August 31, 2009
I want Corned Beef with White Sauce now.

Must ask mum to supply on sunday...

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 31, 2009
Yes Abe, but it's okay. Very little money was spent!

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 31, 2009
Oh, and we'll be ignoring hoony for this thread.

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted September 1, 2009
Totally lacking any ability to talk techno, let me put out there that in the fairly recent past a USMC general war-gamed, as leader of either a conventionally defeated Iranian or Iraqi army (IIRC), a follow-on insurgency that came out quite well for the insurgent remnants. I may have garbled the exact scenario, but the point is that high tech vs. low tech has its own set of unforeseen problems. A low tech adversary may lack the funds for a high tech inventory, but will likely have the money/philosophy/surrogate status to attract advisers who can degrade/evade the hi-tech advantage. As an example, don't imaging technologies depend on active beaming of some kind that is usually amenable to passive detection and counter-measure? Power suits have to be recharged and maintained, I would think, making secure supply lines and a secure rear area outcome determinative should either fail for a longer time than the suit's field life. What do our 21st century troopies do if their stuff breaks and they are mano-a-mano against a horde of sneaky guys with AK-47's?

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robW swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 1, 2009
If they could learn anything it would be nice if it were this: Science is a way of knowing about the world, whereas technology is a way of solving problems that always has both negative and positive side effects. Technologists are not necessarily scientific thinkers. In fact, technologists are the worst transgressors when it comes to misapprehending and then misusing or abusing science. Proof: most of the defenders of “creation science” are respected and capable engineers; they just don't “get it” when it comes to understanding evolution theory, uniformitarianism, hypothesis testing, and earth system science. And, while most all technologists are “rational thinkers” they are not necessarily “optimal thinkers” simply because they never question underlying assumptions, which can be based on politics, religion, or culture rather than tested facts. Received truth is a wicked thing.

The fiction bookshelves are more or less bare when it comes to books that explore this. Perhaps CONTACT (Carl Sagan). Essays in the nonfiction shelf might be easier to identify: THE TWO CULTURES AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION (C.P. Snow) or ASCENT OF MAN (Jacob Bronowski).

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tygertim mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
JB, this occasioned a hard think... and while I agree whole heartedly with O'Neills Suggestion about Jerry Pournell's Falkenburg's Legion as an excellent lead in,I'd like to bring in a classic... Heinlein's Starship Troopers (not the stupid movie though) RAH had clearly given much thought to the future of Military science and as usual, his thinking was way in advance of his time. Dated though it is in some spots Heinlein's thinking on the uses of integrated forces, and what is now called C3 or Command and control is still ahead of it's time more for the way the Tech are used than the Forces involved. It's still on the required reading list for all of the service academies as well on the suggested reading list for all of the services...

Another place to look would be in Johnny Ringo's Aldentata universe, especally VR training, its effect on real time intelligence flow, and applicability to C3 control of the battlesphere on Powered Combat Suit tactics, as I think he has perhaps pointed out how the tec would influence the tactics (ignore the stupid decisions forced on the feather merchants by the author)

Television will also supply much needed food for thought, and I recommend watching the Military Channel's Future Weapons programme for a look at the up and comming weapons systems with an especial look at how their capabilities will affect both tactics and the ability of smaller countries with fewer resources to act in their defense and offensivly. For example; The Predator and it's variants are going to have a huge affect on the battlesphere, much more than they do now in fact. (With the Predator and some of the up and coming variants Australia would be about to control the waters around the Island Continent as far as the littoral coastline environment of the Asian continent and take on a force far larger than it's own, and defeat them handily.)

Another subject worth considering is Materials Science, as things such as sapphire nanotube construction come out of Science Fiction and into reality. We can only dimly glimpse through the murk what will come and its effect on everything...

Of course computer science is also important in the shaping of the future of military science and we have barely scratched the surface there. In Ringo's Kildar series, computer networking combined with battlefeild communications point the way. I leave it to Orin's capable hands to come up with some other applications.

I think we're looking at a revolution in military science, albeit one with many dangers and pitfalls. Some cinematic warnings such as Battlestar Galactica or Terminator are obvious but important to the future of military science.

There, at last my train of thought has faded out, but given time I'm sure I could come up with more...

Tyger

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
I heard a guy the other morning say words to the effect of "The US Army has a technological advantage never before seen in history. With so much Air support and armour and a profesionalised force the US is effectively unbeatable in a stand up battle. So no one will ever take them on THAT way. To send your army against the US Army is wasteful insanity, instead baddies will look for means of attacking that nulifies that advantage." EG the insurgancies of Iraq & the Stan, Cyber attacks, financial atacks, so perhaps the Army will become a broad focus "response force."

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Tarl mutters...

Posted September 1, 2009
Mick - yes, I read /Deepness/ - a couple of times, I recall. Finding more flaws on the second pass. I found it readable, unlike his most recent book - /Rainbow's End/ , which read like he'd been consuming rather different drugs.

The point I wanted to flag for military thought was pharmacological warfare - not only nasty things to do to opponents (sleeping gasses, paranoia-inducing drugs, truth drugs), but things to do to your own people to make them more effective. We already supply our pilots with amphetamines to keep them awake and alert in combat missions, we'll probably find more drugs which boost various forms of brainpower at some long-term expense.

Of course, if we find drugs that boost brainpower without long-term side effects, I want some :-)

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted September 1, 2009
If it hasn't happened already, I suspect the ability to text communication from brainpan to brainpan is next up. Instead of using hand signals or whispered commands, soldiers will see the text floating at arm's length before them in real time. As that advances, the technology may morph into soldiers who can send their thoughts to each other. Secure commo technology already exists for this, we just need a sophisticated brain interface device that can read the speech patterns in the brain, override the jaw and transmit the information to other similiarly equipped soldiers.

Another thing that I forsee is a weapon that can custom build a round for each situation it faces, switching seemlessly from armor piercing to flechette and back again.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe mutters...

Posted September 1, 2009
Well at least it wasn't 'corned brisket of wagyu', I suppose.

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Orin mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
I finished the Vinge stuff as well - and I *liked* Rainbow's End. I thought the second Realtime book dragged, but I did finish it.

The Augmented Realities of Rainbow's End feel closer to what we will have in 20 years than most other cyberpunk I've read.

Augmented reality is more likely than the full VR of gibsonian cyberspace. There are already some AR apps for the iPhone that hook into the GPS and compass functionality. YouTube has some demos.

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El Coqui puts forth...

Posted September 1, 2009
Murph:

G. Harry Stine deal with a similar communication system in both "Warbots" and "Contact" series. Users have to be trained to control what they send to prevent oops moments.

Another interesting short story is "CAV" by Stephen Coonts, found in his "Combat" anthology. It depicts a near future armored cavalry platoon (7TH Cav no less) centered around one command Stryker type vehicle controlling and fighting with three robotic ground fighting vehicles and multiple UAVs. And of course, the men and women that continued the mounted tradition.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted September 1, 2009
tyger: C3 is old hat, back in the '90's it was C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence), the in about 2001-ish it became C4I (command, control, communications, computers & intelligence). I remember writing a piece on management based on the concept.

I mean look at the Pom's new bird, the ASTOR which is classed as an ISR platform. Our ability to suck in battlesphere data is limited basically by three factors

1, Our ability to access the data

2, Our ability to interpret the data

3, Our ability to utilise the data.

because in the end the OPFOR are always going to try and degrade datalinks to remove our advantage.

Abe, yes it's not like the Mess at Pucka is to the same standard as the memebers dining rooms at Canberra eh?

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SJPONeill would have you know...

Posted September 1, 2009
Murph - good point - having watched teen nephews text back and forth and only needing to look to see incoming messages, it's amazing that someone hasn't already designed a 'twiddle stick' device for a weapon hand grip that would allow intra-section texting to come up on a HDU - even into the ubiquitous Bladz shades...

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Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 1, 2009
I wouldn't know, Chaz. It's my job to save money, not spend it on lunch.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted September 1, 2009
John, tell your military mates to make sure they are familiar with a program called Wireshark. It is a network protocol analyzer. It seems innocuous, but it isn't.

If we presume that, to a lesser or greater extent, war will be conducted on the Internet, then figuring out who, exactly the enemy is, where the enemy is located and how the enemy is attacking are going to be key to both defending and striking back. Cyber warfare is essentially invisible. Wireshark makes it visible, and is being used by militaries today to analyze cyber attacks.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
I never realized I am a geek until just this very moment.

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shifty_mcgee mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
I say you should try and get AoT onto the required reading list for the FDG. Nothing like a bit of harmless self-promotion.

I recommend holographic computing. Like JARVIS from the Iron Man flicks. And AI for that matter too.

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Matt Kitchin mutters...

Posted September 1, 2009
Twas a great afternoon. The guys here really appreciated JB's ideas. We are all astounded by the level of interest and support here, and the ideas that came out.

Great discussion from our point of view.

The 'Cav' story in Coonts' book (El Coqui) was referred to on Friday, and we have been talking about a plan to do a short story anthology here to capture some of the ideas we work with in a more readable form the boring old staff papers.

Any takers!

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Jaden3 has opinions thus...

Posted September 1, 2009
Robert Asprin's "The Cold Cash War" is a glimpse into a possible future where corporations, not governments fight wars. (and use mercenaries as their soldiers) They also feature "killsuits" which are designed to immobilise a wearer when a lethal blow is received.

Tom Clancy's Netforce novels always struck me as becoming a possibility. Attacks that take place thru the internet that then require a physical response..

And then there are loads of books where entire planets are producing mercenary/soldier forces to go to other planets to fight wars for their employers.. Bujold, Drake, Pournelle, Frankowski/Grossman.. to name but a few.

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aaron ducks in to say...

Posted September 1, 2009
Too right mckinneytexas, Robet Heinliens starship troopers pointed out the importance of maintaining centuries old skills like hand hand combat, target practice etc. the instructor demonstrates by breaking the privates arm - without the use of his modern weapon.

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tygertim mumbles...

Posted September 1, 2009
Chaz, My terminology might be dated but I did touch on all of the points you've brought up....

Thinking about it some more, the way John Ringo's Mike O'Neill uses his Combat Suit's information interface points the way that information and control of the tactical and strategic battlesphere by unit commanders at all levels is and will change the way battles are fought (ATTN:Matt Kitchin). It seems to me that the important bits of Military Science are all about Information, it's dissemination and use, Logistics, and Training... these things lead to successful military operations by the chaps at the pointy end of things no matter the branch of service and come to think of it, the ability to think out side the box is also very important... Was it Patton who formulated the American Military aphorism "hit'em where they ain't? Still a good example of thinking outside the box... You know, JB the guy you really need to talk to is Thomas Kratman author of Watch on the Rhine.... He had some pretty good thoughts on this very discussion on Baen's bar...

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 1, 2009
Oh, and add The Last Centurion by John Ringo to the list...

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted September 1, 2009
Matt, Be careful what you ask for...

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tygertim would have you know...

Posted September 1, 2009
The Last Centurion is an excellent commentary on the bureaucratic process at its most dangerous and is especially pertinent here... especially for Australians

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tygertim is gonna tell you...

Posted September 1, 2009
The more I read The Last Centurion the more I realize that I'm being "Inged" as in Dean Ing, pretty good writer (See Pulling Through)... Some pretty good social commentary and some rather pointed lessons

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Matt Kitchin has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2009
Chaz, why start now?

When I started the job, we were given a copy of 'Crisis in Zefra' (2005) by Karl Schroeder - it was a commission work for the Force Developers in Canada (http://www.kschroeder.com/foresight-consulting/crisis-in-zefra). A fictional work to look at the blend of emerging technologies (nothing fanciful, and like AoT probably things that will be on top of us quicker than we imagined) and the Canadian Army future warfighting concepts. It let anybody get immersed in and understand the future operating environment, adversary, threats etc. I know the US Army use it as well.

We struggle to do this sometimes, because to fully understand the challenges – or the options – our audience has to wade through so much. Of course in the early 21stC, we should just go straight to a fully animated movie and drop it to YouTube!

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El Coqui has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2009
Tyger:

Tom Kratman also taught at the Army War College, so he do have ideas worth listening to.

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Robert ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2009
I read a very good short about a global war fought with machines remotely controlled by teen gamers sitting in warehouses in India. That's not much more than simple extrapolation from video games.

For a look at how it's NOT done, re-run the Starship Troopers movie. Heinlein's concept of war hasn't held up well 50 years on. People shooting insects when a can of RAID would do best.

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savo asserts...

Posted September 2, 2009
I think one of the most important things besides the actual 'staying alive' business for soldiers, will be hardening or protecting individual squaddies from the actual horrors or pys-op generated horrors that will face them. Certainly a new beaut Battle-Net will give the general staff the best possible overview and team leaders all the way down to squad mates better and better battlefield surviability likewise new guns and armour, but how do you keep a cap on retaliatory brutalities against helpful locals or more sophisticated attacks against the families of troops, back at home. With modern communications, the enemy will know how the person they are up against and will be able to find family and relatives. They can't be protected against irregural forces. How can our forces be hardened/protected against the psychological impact of these reprisals attacks to ensure they are still effective combatants, planners and leaders?

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.

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Beantown USA

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Allan Dunbar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2009
Richard K Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels are excellent if you like sci fi, but also good because they look at a world where life is cheap because you can simply "re-sleeve" someone in a new body. He also has advanced VR technology that is used in both interrogative and theraputic ways.

The idea of tailoring bodies for missions (in one, they use Maori sleeves (bodies) due to their higher resistance to radiation) is pretty interesting. He doesn't go into a huge amount of detail tech wise, suggesting that use of remotes is wide spread and large scale, especially for defence in hostile territory.

Bodies that sweat less, have higher endurance (we're not talking superhuman here, but if you can grow an adult body, you should be able to tweak DNA a little), give off lower pheromone signatures (to avoid detectors), bodies that have better night vision.

Body replacement is not a new concept, Peter F Hamilton looks at it as well in his Commonwealth novels (far more space opera than hard sci fi, but it has a lot of tech in it if you like that kind of thing).

His Night's Dawn trilogy is good fun and also has some interesting ideas, like combat fatigues that harden when struck, controlled by smart computers as well as extensive use of custom grown combat bodies and so on.

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El Coqui has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2009
Robert:

First, anyone that think that the movie had anything to do with Heinlein's book other than the title had no read the novel. So far, I had not found any die hard Heinlein fan which I am proud to say I am one, that had liked that monstrosity. Strangely enough, the third straight to video ST release was somewhat closer to the book.

Speaking about movies and TV, we are watching in the US a new SF show tittled "Defying Gravity". Is a tale about a future exploratory trip to the solar system with a crew of 8 astronauts. On the last showing, one of them got badly injured and lost her thumb. They were talking about regenerating the thumb in one month. However, her thumb was recovered and they were expecting her to be back on duty on a week.

Make me wonder about the military implications of medical advances to return soldier quickly to the battlefield.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted September 2, 2009
In outer space?

WTF did they plan to grow it from?

Human waste?

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Mithridates mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2009
Check out Peter Singer (not that Peter Singer) Wired For War. Its non-fiction and non-sci fi just covering current tech and robots. Two really interesting findings:

The guys and gals running the UAVs out of mainland US are getting up in the morning, racking up hundreds of kills a year, and going home for tea. Lots of suspicions of new forms of PTSD caused by the disfunction of the two lifestyles. No group bonding with the unit and no separation of 'going to war' and the homefront.

More information is being extracted that can be analysed by humans and the complexity of solutions overwealms human imagination and conscious retention. We are slaves to AI.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted September 2, 2009
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound inflammatory, just gobsmacked.

I was at a mental health conference a couple of years ago where a doctor and a cop were both speaking about intervention tactics for hostage situations -it was inherently about the flaws in our mental health system here in lovely QLD where if the cops take someone utterly deranged to the hospital to be assessed, there is this lovely loophole whereby the hospital is not required to hold them. Thus, the psycho is free to walk out and escalate whatever bit of crazy he/she was pulling off back out on the street.

Anyway, there were a lot of questions from the audience to the dr and the cop that referenced TV shows and they were met with guffaws from both. They said that the rule of thumb (pun intended) is that cops cannot sit through cop shows and docs cannot sit through doc shows because of all the utterly stellar factual inaccuracies and fanciful bits of fluff that the writers produce for the show. They said that basically television writing is about stretching the imagination to lengths previously unseen in either of their worlds and that stretch is usually a loooooooong stretch from reality.

Sorry, but if a thumb went missing there's at least one nerve that they could probably never restore and its all about timing, restoring lost digits so that blood/nerves etc can be reconnected and restored to full function.

I had surgery to an ankle some years ago whereby they had to sever the nerve supply to the lateral side of my foot. The surgeon was brilliant but I was warned that I'd probably lose most of my feeling in that foot and there was nothing they could do about it, c'est la vie.

Since then, you don't want me as a dance partner, El Coqui, unless you like your toes squished.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted September 2, 2009
Matt at the very least you'd be able to get a few scenarios from some of the Burgers, myself included.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2009
Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/

Global Security http://www.globalsecurity.org/

Popular Science http://www.popsci.com.au/

Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com/

Air Unversity Center for Strategy and Technology http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-futr.htm

Those would be somewhere to start maybe.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2009
Possibly very relevant.

http://csat.au.af.mil/2025/a_f.pdf (1mg)

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ACK would have you know...

Posted September 2, 2009
PTSD by remote - begs the question, will or should there be a human in the 'future' kill chain loop?

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted September 2, 2009
ACK good point however it seems that alot of human rights lawyers believe a human should always be in the loop so that soemone is always 'responsible' for each fatality..ie if it ever comes to war crimes.

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Mithridates asserts...

Posted September 2, 2009
If you can get PTSD remotely that sort of stuffs the theory that mechanised killing removes empathy.

If you take the humans out of the kill chain and it becomes perfectly logical do we end up with the Terminator blind killing machines or the Doctor Who pure logical stand off (Daleks vs Cybermen). Why were logical purists like Vulcans killing machines?

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Mithridates asserts...

Posted September 2, 2009
Woops. That should have been "weren't... killing machines".

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Patricia is gonna tell you...

Posted September 2, 2009
Matt, I for one would love to spill my guts out for the benefit of our armed forces, just to stretch their minds and make them think outside the box.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted September 2, 2009
Patricia after how many bottles of red will the spilling occur?

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Havock has opinions thus...

Posted September 2, 2009
Matt if you are interested yep so am I. Assuming you are not an axe murderer. Lol jb has all my contact details drop me a line

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2009
...or youse could just skip it all and employ Chuck Norris....cause, ya know....guns use HIM for protection.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted September 2, 2009
Mithridates "No group bonding with the unit " But is group bonding necessary if the job gets done? Surely this is only useful because of the extreme danger of conventional combat. With remote control "teletroopers" or drones the operators could even take decisions uninfluenced by andrenaline. (Although playing Xbox Live I make plenty of dumb, jumpy decisions).

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Moko asserts...

Posted September 2, 2009
Only Chuck Norris makes decisions. He just allows us to believe we do.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2009
hmmm, utilising a Bot, has issues. sensory perception for starters, then the issue of wastage, or unserviceability due to operator error let alone combat loss. Wouldn'T be that hard to chew through a shit load of bots, which i don't think would come cheap.

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Murph swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 2, 2009
How can you get PTSD using a bot? Part of what generates PTSD is the direct exposure to hardship, danger, etc. I can't see how that would be a problem if someone is sitting in an air conditioned conex in California while their Predator is popping hellfires at Taliban over Pakistan.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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tygertim swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 3, 2009
Robert,

Even though El Coqui, mi compadre magnifico (we're both barflies AND Burgers) beat me to it let me point out that I wrote "(not the stupid movie though)" on line three of my original post.

Mi Amigo I concur with your comment about any TRUE Heinlien fan. Me too!

From Wiki: "The film rights to the novel were licensed in the 1990s. The first film, also titled Starship Troopers, was directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall) and released in 1997. The film diverged greatly in terms of the themes and plot of the novel, and received mixed reviews from critics."

In my opinion Paul Verhoeven should be stood up against the wall and shot for the way he raped Heinlien's legacy...

He had a script and Legal pointed out that Heinlien had published a similar storyline back in the late fifties and could result in a lawsuit...So Verhoeven bought the rights, Used some of the character names and situations in a revised script.... Anyone thinking that the movie in any way resembles the original story....Arrrgh!

Rant off. Rabid Heinlien fan...

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Moko would have you know...

Posted September 3, 2009
Surely video games are part of the tech deal too?. Many games out out there with tech that caused headaches creating.

There's always emotions when it comes to remote technology too. Granted, angry or happy are your primary emotions when it comes to gaming. But that's only because what's on the receiving end of your pixel fury is merely more pixels, with an under laying knowledge that someone else has emotional value in the pixels you're blasting but there's always respawn and maturity to mix in. I mean, who WOULDN'T wanna take out Birmo with a well placed claymore in CoD4?...but you KNOW Birmo gets to respawn just so you can spend the rest of the game trying to knife him...

But what if those weren't pixels you were destroying?. Are pilots immune to PTSD?. Doubt it. Why would drone controllers be immune. Chances are they're watching the result on Ultra-high definition widescreen. You drop your load - so to speak - and you get to go home to the missus' shocking cooking and to play soccer in the yard with the kid. Certain personalities would struggle with that, and I believe there's an article floating around about it...

Please stand by...lol

Here: http://www.4vf.net/they-circled-above-and-watched-u-s-soldiers-die-in-front-of-them/

Has someone mentioned Wired For War yet?...If not: http://wiredforwar.pwsinger.com/

Anyway, I'll send the goats on a tech savvy game mish...

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Robert mutters...

Posted September 3, 2009
Tiger and Cockie: I'm sure the Australian Army is not seeking movie reviews--they are looking for illustrations of future warfare, of which Starship Troopers, the movie, is a very poor example. Which was my point.

Personally, I think that what we see from Iraq is indicative of the distant future, in that superior forces highly armored will suffer brain injury or amputation or suicide from the stultifying boredom. Oh, and as we saw in Iraq, governments will short-change their soldiers such that many of them won't have access to the life-saving armor.

Hey, maybe in this sense Starship Troopers (the movie) gets it right. Amputees are rehabbed, fit out with prothesis, and sent back to battle.

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RobinB asserts...

Posted September 3, 2009
JB, from a biologicals point of view we now have the theoretical capability to construct pathogens targetting specific blood/tissue types. Such an agent could be dropped into an area or water supply and all invading troops would not be susceptible and not need immunisations.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted September 3, 2009
Hey, about PTSD. I was thinking whilst wandering the aisles of the local woolies collecting random snack for this fucken SHIT HOUSE drive to FUCKING Emerald tomorrow - (SOOO don't give a shit about what's going on there) - .........SIGH.

...anway, PTSD, perhaps the military could improve the psychological side of the recruiting process. Instead of just (not just, but anyone can make it) go by phsyical and aptitude ability but by subconscious profiling.

For example. You really wouldn't want an 'Alpha Male' in the role of attack drone pilot - (or whateverthefuckyoucallit) - due to the sense of helplessness they'd feel watching fellow 'Alpha Males' being slaughtered in HD. You're probably better off putting clinical pointy headed lab tech types in those roles where they know within themselves that even if they were there there's fuck all they could do to help. They might be inclined suffer less from those sorts of situations...

And at the Mayonaise section I realised the military might benefit from the psychological criminal profiling techniques of Quantico and such. I mean, not all psychopaths are psychopathic. A lot of high achievers in business fit the psychopathic profile but utilise those techniques they've learned through life for personal gain as opposed to destructive payoff. I guess that's where nuture enters in to the equation.

Same as if you give a kid whose basic fundamental make up is that of an IT dude but you make him do a butchers apprenticeship. Short term he'll suffer from trauma but will learn to cope - (or not) - through necessity, depedning on his dominant personality, but long term he's affected.

Won't say what I thought at the produce section due to self incrimination, but all I'll say is 'darkhair, early 20's, SHORT skirt, low cut TOP and STACKED...'

That is all. OH, except for the Chuck Norris thing....SRSLY consider it.

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Bangar puts forth...

Posted September 3, 2009
I don't believe any one has brought up Haldeman's Forever War and Forever Peace.

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted September 3, 2009
Quokka:

None taken, the show is set close to 50 years in our future. I am a Registered Nurse at the Cardiology Ward at Walter Reed. When I started there over 20 years ago, we used to treat then with open heart surgery and weeks long stay. What we now treat with a visit to the Catheterization suite and overnight observation period.

DARPA is putting funds now in tissue regeneration research and the show writers perhaps extrapolate what could be available then. In another scene, they were shocking someone and the paddles were wireless.

I wonder if any researchers out there see this and have a "star trek" moment. (Communicators are basically cell phones)

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Allan Dunbar mutters...

Posted September 4, 2009
I was thinking this morning over coffee that since urban environments are looking to be a major theatre of operations for military and police in the future, are there any sci fi novels etc that look at this particular facet of it? I was thinking maybe of Peter F Hamilton's Mindstar novels. They have some parts on urban combat between insurgents and paramilitary police.

I can't think of any off the top of my head. But imagine an urban insurgency in somewhere like Manhattan. How do you fight that? Do vehicles help or hinder?

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 4, 2009
There doesn't seem to be much grey area between full on Fallujah and sitting target Belfast in urban warfare.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted September 4, 2009
@ allan

Mate Vehicles most definitely help, however it takes extensive training and co ordinations between the MECH / Armour units and Inf units to ensure that they don't get busted up unnecessarily. Its interesting that one Israeli tactic was to armour up a D9-D11 doz er and driver it through successive houses. Given the construction methods over there that's OK, in a Modern urban CBD, its got issues. What it did do, was remove the ability of the insurgents to TARGET the dozer, well, lessen them anyway.

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted September 4, 2009
Matt the lack of SOP between Ulster and Fullujah is basically a lack of adaptation on the part of planners.

However the middle ground is probably Kosovo/Bosnia in their 'endgames'.

Light, precision CAS is lacking. Even the SDB (GBU-39) is in my mind too big, we need to have munitions at least half that to minimise CD to a more acceptable level. Yes it then brings it to the same level as the Hellfire lethality wise but the cost per round is still cheaper.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted September 4, 2009
You probably all see this but I'll post it because it totally blew our minds in this family:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2bExqhhWRI

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Respond to 'I dips me lid to the Force Development Group.'

A generous serving of fan fic to see you thru the winter. Or summer.

Posted August 16, 2009 by John Birmingham
Savo is away on a secret mission, and I forgot to grab the key to the mini-burger.

So, as a one off, I gift you with John Johnson's epic fan fic piece...

After The Wave

by John R. Johnson

After The Wave

By

John R. Johnson

The District Commander

New Headquarters Building

7th USCG District

San Juan, Puerto Rico

William "Wild Bill" Elliott wearily watched the yeoman typing a form, he had been waiting almost two hours and was building a head of steam. He shook his head. If anyone else could express such disdain and haughty attitude, without saying a word, as the yeoman he had never seen it them. He wondered how long it would be before the new sector commander, correction the new 7th Coast Guard District commander, corrected her. Rear Admiral John Brimo had only been promoted a week before.

The Matinicus had anchored the day before and he had been ordered to report to the new district commander. Elliott had barely had time to greet his wife properly when his phone had rung and the yeoman said the Admiral want to see him as soon as possible. Well, if the district commander was that impatient to see him he hoped it was important. He had been planning to spend a couple of days with the family before diving back into the work needed to get the Mattie back in shape. He almost jumped when the intercom buzzed and the yeoman told him to go in.

"Lt. Elliott, it's a pleasure to meet you," Admiral Brimo said, returning Elliott's salute. "My message said at your earliest convenience. I expected you to take a couple of days with your family." He picked up the phone. "Yeoman, two cups of coffee, please."

"Yes sir, I thought you wanted to see me ASAP," Bill said. He wondered what the penalty was for strangling a yeoman who put her own interpretation on orders she relayed. "I figured you wanted a first hand account of what happened in the fight with the Venezuelan patrol boat."

"I read your report but I'd like to hear what happened and your reasoning for the actions you took," the Admiral admitted. He frowned as the yeoman put a cup of coffee down in front of Elliott hard enough to make the coffee slosh out of the cup and left the office. "As you know I'm from the aviation side of thing so I'm more familiar with air operations. And I had only been assigned to the air station a couple of weeks before the wave hit so I don't know the sea going personnel as well as I should. Start with the pirate ship where you rescued the retired marine and his men."

"Yes sir," Bill paused to gather his thoughts. "We had been at sea about three days..."

***

"And that's about all," Bill finished hoarsely. He had been talking almost non-stop for an hour answering the Admirals penetrating questions. "We were already closing the distance with the Alabama when the shooting started. I felt the most immediate danger was from the ship. The patrol boat only had time for a couple of shots at us and I think the P-3 Orion's appearance shocked them so much they froze for a minute. When they started paying attention to us again we were too close to the ship for them to get a clear shot at us. They might have fired a shot at us but we were behind the ship by then and I think they hit the Alabama instead."

"Very enlightening," the Admiral said. He looked at the clock on his desk. "Lt. as you may have heard the commandant has ordered an increase in anti-piracy operations. He has ordered the GALLATIN (WHEC 721) homeported in San Juan. A 378-foot cutter will enhance our operational capabilities immensely. The Eagle has been in Iceland since the wave and it's ordered to Seattle to the new Coast Guard academy. The Eagle will join the Gallatin in the Bahamas and be escorted to the Panama Canal with some other ships. So the Gallatin should be here in about two months."

"In the mean time we are going to follow your example and put larger crews on all our ships. We can't send sailors to Seattle for training so we are going to work with the Navy to set up some schools here in San Juan to train the new men on. Pick the men you want to send for gunnery training, electronics, engines and fire fighting. We have three week courses starting next week. It's enough to teach them not to shoot themselves anyway. Also, you and the other 110 ft. cutters are each being assigned four ensigns, they are all from the naval ROTC programs from the local universities." The Admiral was all business now. "My Yeoman has orders promoting your exec and engineering officer to Lieutenant (junior grade). It will be their and your responsibility to train these ensigns up to Coast Guard standards. Any questions so far?"

"Sounds like a good idea," Bill said. "If I might make a suggestion. I think each cutter needs to have a corpsman assigned. A lot of these islands have little or no medical care or trained personnel. A corpsman could treat the sick and injured when we visit the islands and we could transport critical cases back to a hospital in San Juan. But it means we will need more trained medical personnel."

"That's a very good idea," Admiral Brimo said. He made a note on his computer. "Any other suggestions?"

"Just one more," Bill answered. "I have a couple of kids I took on that I was planning on training as officers. They are bright and enthusiastic but they don't have the education to qualify for college. I thought if we could train them it would give them an opportunity and it would set an example for other kids in the islands. It would also help cement relations between the islands and the Coast Guard."

"I see," the Admiral said softly. He rocked back and forth in his chair for several minutes, looking out the office window, thinking hard. "Just what were your plans and how were you planning on teaching them?"

"I don't have definite plans yet, sir." Bill said. "I know what I want to do. I want  to starting remedial classes for them and any other crewmembers, who want to learn, to bring them up to snuff on the basics of reading and math, also start teaching them leadership and navigation. I had an old time quartermaster chief when I joined. He insisted all the strikers under him learn celestial navigation. He didn't trust all the "new fangled" navigation aids. We still have navigation satellites but they would be easy to take out if someone has the will and knowledge and resources."

"Hmmm... I see," the Admiral repeated. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Tell you what. I'll write up orders allowing you to sign them on as midshipmen. You'll have three months to get them up to speed. At the end of that time we'll test them. If they pass I'll see about getting them scholarships at the university here in San Juan or an appointment to the new Coast Guard Academy." He made more notes in his computer. "Good point about the navigation satellites."

" In addition to everything else you will be getting orders in a few days to escort a shipload of scientists to Florida. Seattle has ordered scientific investigations to check on conditions in the states. It will be about five weeks before they are ready to leave. So run as many of you crew through the new services schools as possible and start getting your ship ready." He stood up and held out his hand. "Good luck on your assignment, Lt."

"One other thing," Bill said. "I lost my gunners mate and I would like Bill Barron to replace him. Barron is the retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant. I enlisted him as a seaman but I would like to promote him to Chief. He showed he knows how to handle the bushmaster in the action against the terrorist ship."

"I guess you didn't get the word yet," the Admiral said. "The commandant sent out an all Coast Guard message authorizing unit commanders to promote internally until further notice. We aren't in a position to conduct service wide promotion exams just now."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

USCG Station San Juan

Puerto Rico

Elliott saluted the JOOD and the quarterdeck then looked aft to where the laughter was coming from. His exec, BMC (Boats'n Mate Chief) Jose Cabrera, and engineering officer, MKC (Machinist Mate Chief) Don Perillo and retired gunnery sergeant now Seaman Bill Barron huddled together laughing at some joke. Before heading aft he gave the bulky manila envelops he was carrying to the messenger of the watch to be taken to the ships office.

"What's so funny, Jose," Bill asked? "I could use a good laugh after spending the afternoon with the Admiral and in the personnel office."

"Do you remember MKC Jack Slidell?" Jose asked?

"Sure we pulled a tour on fisheries patrol off Alaska when I was just a petty officer first class." Bill frowned in remembrance. "Had a knock out wife by the name of Jacqueline if I remember correctly. Jack and Jacky was what everyone called them. She was sure a looker but as hard as nails, didn't take guff from anyone, much less Jack.  What about him?"

"He was stationed in San Juan at Air Station Borinquen about a week before the Wave," Don laughed. "That's why we didn't run into them."

"Well, when the Navy tried to slip a Navy captain in when the sector commander was killed they picked a Capt. Kalb," Jose picked up the story. "As you know things in the commissary and exchange are in short supply on a lot of items so whenever a shipment comes in from Europe or Seattle there is a rush on the facilities." He took a deep breath to control the laughter. "Picture it! All the wives lined up to buy things and this lady tries to shove her way into the head of the line. The woman she tried to get in front of told her to go to the back of the line. The lady drew herself up and looked down her nose at the other woman and said, 'I'm Mrs. Captain Kalb!'"

"The other woman looked her straight in the eye and said, 'I'm Mrs. Chief Slidell, we both fuck sailors. Go to the back of the line.' ... Oh Man!" Jose exclaimed. "I wish I could have been there to see it."

Bill almost started laughing when a little voice in the back of his head said. "Don't blow it now but this is the chance of a lifetime."   His face turned red with the effort not to laugh. "Chief Cabrera, Chief Perillo, Seaman Barron, you all know it's against regulations to show disrespect to a commissioned officer. Well, I'll have to do something about that." He raised his voice and called the JOOD. "Have all hands fall in on the fantail in five minutes." He looked back at the other three. "You men wait here, at attention, until I get back."

Cabrera and Perillo stood with mouths agape, stunned. Gunny Barron put on his poker face. He had seen a few mustangs, after making officer, let it go to their heads. Sometimes they took a few days to get over it but others never got over it. Until sanity returned though it was never an easy time.

The three, braced at attention, could only answer, "Yes Sir!"

***

"Boatswain Mate Chief Jose Cabrera, Machinist Mate Chief Don Perillo, Seaman Bill Barron you have all been making disrespectful comments about officers," Bill said formally. "Do you have anything to say for yourselves?"

All three, standing blank faced, shook their heads.

"Very well. Chief Cabrera and Chief Perillo, attention to orders. Under the authorization of order number... well the number doesn't really matter at the moment... you are hereby promoted to the rank of Lt. (junior grade). Seaman Bill Barron you are hereby promoted to the rank of Gunners Mate Chief. Congratulations!" Bill said. The three stood like they had been struck by lightening. "Before I forget. Crew of the Matinicus you have done well and these three newly promoted shipmates will be buying for everyone at the Black Angus Bar after working hours. Dismissed!"

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

USCG Group Miami

100 MacArthur Causeway

Miami, FL

Six weeks later

The Matinicus, followed by the cargo vessel carrying the scientists and coast guard personnel, eased toward the floating docks which made up USCG Station Miami. Elliott shook his head at what he saw. The CGC Chandeleur (WPB-1319), the CGC Farallon (WPB-1301) and the CC Valiant (WMEC-621) were still tied up to the piers. The CGC Dolphin (WPB-87354) and CGC Matagordo (WPB-1303) were tied up but listing, the Matagordo was listing heavily. There was no sign of the other cutters assigned to Group Miami, no way to tell what had happened to them or where they were when the Wave struck.

"Cdr. Nicholson, it looks like you'll be able to get the Valiant under way with minimal problems," Bill sighed. The Mattie and the cargo ship were crawling with coasties. Admiral Brimo had decided to send along extra personnel with orders to get the Valiant underway to San Juan. "Of course we won't know the ships condition until we can get a survey crew aboard. As soon as the boarding parties signal all clear we can tie up. Then the two Marine Recon squads the Navy sent along will try to start some vehicles and scout the city itself. I want to make sure everything is secure before the scientists are allowed to wonder around."

"Sounds good to me," Cdr. Nicholson said. He rubbed his chin slowly. "I brought a full crew, twelve experienced officers and eighty-three men, for the Valiant. If the ships are in good condition I think I'll try and get the Farallon and Chandeleur under way also. Lord knows we can use the assets and two more 110 ft. cutters will be a godsend." He sighed, "All my people will be tied up getting the cutters ready for sea. Do you think you could loan me enough people to start gathering the material the Admiral wants?"

"No problem, sir," Bill answered. He paused briefly. "I can understand getting all the supplies and charts and operational material from the base and District Headquarters but why the personnel records. Except for personnel still living I can't see the need and that space could be used for a lot more important things." He shrugged, "I'll make sure we keep a list of serial numbers on all computers and weapons, especially the ones that come from civilian sources."

"Ours but to do or die..." Cdr. Nicholson murmured. "I'll see your work details have copies of the Admiral's list. If you think of anything which might come in useful just add it to the list. I've already added several items." He rubbed his chin. "I expect you'll be ordered to remain in the area for some time. Headquarters and the Navy are going to want a report on the condition of military assets. The navy will be sending their own salvage parties soon but right now though they're busier than a one-legged man in a ass... never mind. I expect they'll be sending people soon, so you might start preliminary plans for salvage operations." He looked at the Miami skyline. "Personally I don't think Miami will ever be as big again, at least not for a long time. The only thing it had going for it was the beaches and weather that attracted tourists and retirees. It's going to be a long time before we see many tourists again."

***

USCG Group Miami, FL

100 MacArthur Causeway

Ten Days later

Elliott leaned tiredly on the bridge rail of the Matinicus and watched the Valiant, towing the Dolphin, accompanied by the Farallon and Chandeleur sail out of sight. The Valiant and the two 110ft cutters had been relatively easy to get ready to sail. But Cdr. Nicholson had decided to add the  Dolphin to the mix. The 87 foot Dolphin had been a stone cold bitch to pump out in the time allotted and get ready to be towed to San Juan. It would need extensive work once it reached it's new home. Finding the supplies and equipment the Admiral wanted had been a job and a half too.

On top of everything else the Marines had reported large portions of the city, especially the older and more crowded sections, had burned down and also that someone had been looting liquor stores, banks, jewelry stores and malls and at least one pharmaceutical warehouse in the Miami area. The commander had immediately ordered complete radio silence and ordered the marines to find the looters and report back without being seen. "Why, oh why, couldn't the Marines have reported back before Cdr. Nicholson left. Then the commander would be the one to fill out all the reports and paperwork," Bill grumbled softly. In the meantime he was in command and responsible for the safety of the scientists.

"Sir, I didn't catch that," the seaman on watch said.

"It's nothing. Carry on," Bill said, turning as the exec stepped onto the bridge. "What's up, Jose?"

"Skipper, I just got word the marines are back and they have a civilian with them, Jose reported. "The watch on the causeway reported back by landline they have the marines in sight. They don't know if the civilian is a prisoner or with them willingly. They should be here in another half hour."

"Very well, have the marine CO and the civilian report to me as soon as they get here," Bill said. "Tell the cook to have some hot chow ready for the troopers."

***

"Skipper, I have Lt. Ingram and a Mr. Ron Daly," Jose said. "Mr. Daly is leader of a group of refugees and can provide some information about the looters."

"Sir, Lt. Ingram reporting as ordered," said Lt. Doyle Ingram. At Bill's nod he continued, "As per my orders I conducted a scout of the city. I found two groups of people. Mr. Daly and his people are refugees who arrived a few weeks after the Wave disappeared. The other group, the looters, are holed up  to the southeast of Miami. I was unable to locate their ship in the time allotted but they have converted a self storage facility into a prison camp and have about a hundred and fifty slaves held there."

"Very well, write up a full report," Bill said, looking at Mr. Daly curiously. He saw a tall lean man wearing old cammies, about fifty years old, with salt and pepper hair. Mr. Daly had a rifle slung over his shoulder. Elliott's eyes widen as he recognized the Cadillac of sniper rifles, a Russian made Dragunov SVD.

"Mr. Daly, suppose you explain to me who you are and what you and your people are doing in Miami." Bill repeated, "Who sent you and why are you here?"

"Major Ron Daly of the Rhodesian Light Infantry and then the Selous Scouts under Colonel Reid-Daly, until we were disbanded in 1980. Then I took my unit to South Africa and served with 5 Reconnaissance Commando until I retired in 1995. You can call me Ron." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Had me a good farm until the Wave. A lot of my men took up land nearby too."

He pause to gather his thoughts. "After the Wave things started to change. Government policies changed and then we started hearing about men disappearing and farms being raided and burned. Rumors that the government was getting rid of all white men and Asians, anyone not black. I got together with my friends and neighbors, there are about three hundred of us all told, and we decide to leave South Africa. We took all of our resources and managed to lease a ship to try to get back to England. After we sailed we radioed the British government and they told us we couldn't land there permanently, that we could pass through but not stay. Something about wanting a culturally and racially homogenous population." Ron grinned. "We had already fought off three pirate attacks when we heard the Wave had disappeared, so we decided to make for America. 'Send me your huddled masses' and all that. We are a mix of races and most countries are throwing out anyone not racially, hmmm... compatible. The ship dropped us off just north of Miami instead of the Carolina's like we requested. We are trying to get enough vehicles working to move further north, maybe to the mountains."

Elliott shot a quick glance at Lt. Ingram when Ron made the statement about his group being of mixed races. At the marines nod of agreement he leaned back on the bridge rail thinking.

"Would you be willing to help us fight the looters," Bill asked? "I don't think the looters know we are here but we can use the help."

"Take my word for it, Captain," Rod assured him. "They know you're here. You've got generators working and at night turn on floodlights around your base like it's a football field. The glow in the sky must be visible for ten miles. It's real noticeable since there aren't any other lights to drown them out. Ask Lt. Ingram here." The Marine nodded reluctantly. "But we'll help you against the looters. Seems like every time we move to a new country the first thing they want is for us to fight."

"Lt. Ingram, you and Ron get together and try to come up with a basic plan to take the looters," Bill scowled. "I'll be damned if I stand by while some assholes are keeping slaves in the United States of America. My great grandfather fought to put an end to that shit and I'm not going see it make a comeback in this day and age."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

USCG Group Miami, FL

100 MacArthur Causeway

One week later

"That's about all we can do for now," Elliott looked around the planning group. "I think we've taken everything into consideration in our planning. At least until Murphy decides to put in his two cents." He looked down at the plans for the prison camp/storage facility where the slaves were held and the gated luxury condos next door where the looters were living. "To recap then, there are approximately sixty looters. Lt. Ingram, you and your men will take out the prison guards and free the prisoners. Mr. Daly, you will take forty of your men and try to capture or kill the looters. You say they're pretty lax as far as security is concerned so maybe you can move your men into position and take them before they wake up." He looked at his watch. "Start moving the men and equipment into position today and at five o'clock tomorrow morning we hit them. Jose, you will be in command here at the base and will have to sit on the civilian scientists. I'm going to take the Mattie down the coast a little ways and see if I can spot the looters ship. If there are no question lets get moving. Ron, could you remain behind for a moment."

"Ron, I understand that you have about three hundred men, women and children in your group," Bill said. "Lt. Ingram reports you also have a small herd of cattle, sheep and horses. Why did you bring those with you?"

"Aye, we brought some livestock, even some chickens." Ron said after a long pause. "We figure there will be some canned food available, at least long enough to get some crops in, but we are going to need fresh meat. There's no electricity and the petrol has been sitting in tanks for a year, so there's no telling how much longer it will be good. Wherever we settle it might be years before we see new supplies. So we figure we will have to be self-sufficient for the foreseeable future and not depend on what we can find. Why do you ask?"

"This came in from naval intelligence in San Juan," Bill held out the message. "Seems they have a report about someone raiding a town on the African coast right after the Wave disappeared. The raiders shot the local honcho and his lieutenants and stole a bunch of livestock. Kind of odd you and your group show up here not long after with a herd of livestock."

"Well, Skipper, I could lie to you and say it wasn't us but it would be a lie and we both know it." Ron eyed Elliott thoughtfully. "I will say the town we raided was the source of the last pirate attack on our ship. We killed them and took their loot. The local townspeople seemed pretty happy to see the pirates gone. So what are your orders and what are you planning to do?"

"We'll discuss that after we take out those looters," Bill said. "Headquarters seems to be leaving things up to me. When I asked for orders they pretty much said to handle it."

***

In position outside the looters compound

5 A.M.

Ron looked through his binoculars at the back wall of the looters compound and at the prison camp across the road behind the compound. Four guards, who appeared asleep, by the back entrance to the gated condo compound and it looked like six guards around the makeshift prison.

He checked his watch and signaled the scouts to move out. At the same time he radioed the code word to the sniper teams on the roofs of the office complexes surrounding the living compound. The snipers assigned to the teams were better shots than he was and with the Barrett .50 caliber M82A1 sniper rifles with the 10X Leupold & Stevens Ultra Mark IV telescopic sights would take out any bad guys before they knew what hit them. The range was a little long, about a kilometer, by not impossible. He grinned and wondered what the Skipper would say if he found out Ron had raided the SWAT armories of two police stations to get the Barretts and the radios they were using. He checked his watch as the ten infiltration teams moved into the compound.

***

Lt. Ingram checked his watch and gave the signal for the marines to start their assault on the prison compound. The sky was already starting to turn gray and it would be light in another half hour. If they were lucky they could take the prison without firing a shot.

He saw several shapes merge with the guards and then there were just some dark lumps on the ground. He started running as fast as he could for the prison gate, coming to a halt at the corner of the first storage unit. A quick sweep with his M-16 showed nothing moving. All clear for now.

The marine with the bolt cutters ran forward and in a few seconds had the lock on the unit cut. The marine pulled the door open and suddenly staggered back, leaning against the wall gagging and heaving. In seconds a foul, fetid odor spread from the open door.

Lt. Ingram held a handkerchief over his mouth and nose as he looked into the first unit. There appeared to be about twenty men chained inside, from appearances several of them were dead. He staggered back outside.

"Gunny, get the medic up here now and get some water for these men." Lt. Ingram ordered harshly. "Pass the word that I don't want to see any of these bastards that did this. At least not alive."

"With pleasure, boss," Gunnery Sergeant Abraham Lincoln Karin said, looking inside the unit. "My people were freed after the civil war and I've heard the stories all my life. But I never realized what slavery is all about till now." His shoulders shook with rage. "I'll start getting the other units open and see what we can do to help these poor bastards." He walked over to one of the dead sentries and pulled back his boot to kick the body.

"Gunny, as you were!" Lt. Ingram ordered harshly.

"Sir, how could anybody do that to another human being?" Gunny Karin nodded toward the door of the storage unit. "He's was black! He knew the stories! So how could he do those things? Things like this aren't suppose to happen in America!"

"Gunny, we don't know that he was an American. He probably wasn't." Lt. Ingram said, "That being said you've seen it elsewhere. This is what happens when the rule of law breaks down. Even piss poor government is better than the chaos of no government at all. Then there's nothing to stop people from giving in to the darkest parts of their soul."

***

Ron had his back against the wall beside the condo's door, his partner, Corporal Nkomo, on the other side. It was time, the sky was already starting to turn gray with the dawn. He tried the door knob first and when it didn't turn his partner squatted beside the lock. In seconds the door swung open. They moved inside rapidly, covering all corners.

The first closed door opened onto an empty bedroom. The second room was occupied to judge by the snoring. Shouldering his FN-FAL rifle he slid his knife from the scabbard. He was moving toward the bed when he realized there were two people on the bed.

He froze, expecting a scream, when he saw the wide blue eyes staring at him, shifting back and forth between his face and the knife. The smile on the girls face surprised him but not any more than when she motioned him to come on. He sorted through his options. He could un-sling the rifle and shot them both, setting off the alarm, or he could knife the girl, she didn't look more than fifteen or sixteen, and then the man or...

The girl moved and Ron saw the chain around her ankle. Making his decision he signaled his partner to cover him. Rapidly stepping forward he drew the knife across the man's throat. The naked girl grabbed the knife as blood started spurting from the jugular, stabbing the man over and over in the chest. Her mouth open like she was screaming but no sound came out.

Ron took the hypodermic Corporal Nkomo handed him and stabbed it into the girls shoulder. She didn't even feel it until she fell over and rolled off the bed.

"All scouts, be alert for slaves in some of the rooms. Handle the situation as you see fit." Ron radioed the warning. He was already moving toward the next door.

***

The morning was noticeably lighter as Ron came out of the third condo. There had been one other slave in the rooms they had checked, a young boy. They had left him drugged also and headed toward their fourth lodging. That was when all hell broke out. There was a sudden scream and a pistol shot, then the sound of a rifle firing.

Ron rushed toward the door which suddenly burst open and a large latino man burst out, gripping a MAC-10. Before he could fire the man was picked up and thrown back into the condo. A hole the size of a quarter appearing on the man's chest, a spray of blood coming out of the exit wound in his back. 'Damn, you have to love that Barrett .50.'

***

It was another half hour before the last of the slavers were hunted down and killed. The price had been heavy, four scouts killed and two marines. Several had been wounded.

None of the slavers had survived. After seeing what the slavers had done the marines and scouts had been in no mood for surrenders. There had been a hundred and eighty slaves in the storage units. Seventeen were dead in their chains from starvation, lack of water and mistreatment, the others couldn't have survived more than a few more days.

***

Elliott tiredly stirred his coffee. He had been on the bridge of the Matinicus for the last eight hours as it sailed slowly parallel with the shore south of Miami, doing radar sweeps of the mangrove swamps and islands along the coast. Another half hour and he would head back to the Group. In the meantime he was taking the opportunity to get some breakfast and coffee. He had received a radio message from the shore parties that they had successfully taken out the looters and freed the slaves.

The intercom buzzed and he picked up the hand set.

"Captain, we have a large contact on the radar," the Officer of the Deck, Ensign Pulver, reported. "It's five miles southeast of us on a course for Miami and moving at about twelve knots. I don't think it has spotted us yet."

"Very well," Elliott said. "I'll be right there. In the mean time plot an intercept course and keep a sharp watch for any course change the contact might make when they do spot us. Call Chief Barron and have him meet me on the bridge."

***

Elliott watched the huge, rust streaked ship as it continued on course toward Miami. They must be blind on the bridge not to have seen the cutter closing on the ship from astern. There must be some crew aboard but he had seen no movement on the bridge or deck. Whoever was in command was a idiot.

Through his binoculars he could make out the name of the ship, Splendor of the Seas. He shook his head in disbelief. The last time he had seen the Splendor she had been sparkling white, no rust anywhere, a proud cruise ship of the Royal Caribbean Line. He had heard the Splendor had been at sea when the Wave hit. Then about a month later she had disappeared.

The Splendor's 867 foot length dwarfed the 110 ft. Matinicus. Elliott grinned, of course the Mattie had something the cruise ship didn't have, a chain gun. He picked up the intercom handset. "Any response to our hails on the radio," he asked? "I can't believe they don't at least have a radio listening watch. Oh well, we'll do it the hard way."

"Splendor of the Seas, this is the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus. Stop your engines and prepare to be boarded," Elliott's voice, amplified by the PA system, boomed over the water. "I say again, stop your engines."

"That got their attention," Bill remarked to Ensign Pulver. They watched men scurrying across the deck of the Splendor. "I hope they'll be reasonable and do this easy. Nope, it was too much to hope for. Now we do it the hard way." He sighed as the Splendor altered course and headed toward the beach three miles away. He straightened as he saw muzzle flashes on the ships dark bridge. "Gunny, put a warning burst on the bridge. Everybody else hold your fire for now but kill anyone who tries to return fire."

"Splendor, stop your engines before you run aground. You can't escape that way. Stop your engines!" Bill looked at the shore, judged the distance and ordered, "Engine room come to dead slow. Be prepared to reverse engines if it looks like we're going to run aground ourselves." He looked back at the Splendor as the Mattie dropped further astern. It looked like the crew were trying to lower four boats on the far side of the ship.

As Bill watched one of the falls on one of the boats hung up and the stern fell loose, dropping the six men aboard in the ocean where they were sucked under the ships hull. Men slid down the cables as the other boats hit the water. The men aboard the next boat tried to release the cables as soon as the boat touched water. The bow cable came loose first, the stern cable yanked the boat around causing it to capsize.

The last two boats hit the water. The crews managed to unhook the stern cables first and play out the cable on the bows, starting the boats engines. Finally, they gave the engines enough throttle to ease up on the bow cables so they could be unhooked. The boats, engines screaming, sped away from the Splendor throwing up a large rooster tail.

"Cigarette boats! Gunny, take them out! I don't want those boats getting away." Bill shouted. "Helm, full to port. Engine room, give me all you've got. If we don't stop those boats now we'll never catch them."

The Mattie steadied up on her new course, slowly gaining speed. With a clear shot the chain gun opened up. Elliott thought Gunny had missed until all the expensive gasoline and pricey plastic in one of the boats, with an explosive whoosh, went up like a roman candle. The final boat must have been doing sixty-five mile per hour when it hit an underwater obstruction and started cart wheeling through the air. Bodies and boat parts flying in all directions.

Elliott turned back to the Splendor heading steadily toward the shore. It was a couple of minutes before the ship seemed to shudder and hesitate and then continue it's drive ashore. Tortured metal screamed and collapsed as the ship forced it way through the sand and rock before finally coming to rest.

***

Elliott stood on the bridge of the Splendor. He had read the reports from the boarding party but it hadn't really hit him until he came over himself. Seated in the captain's chair was an emaciated, bearded man, wearing a ragged captain's uniform of the Royal Caribbean Line. There was surprisingly little blood around the two bullet holes in his chest. A thin smile of triumph forever on his lips.

Elliott looked at the chain around his ankle, just long enough to reach the ships wheel and bridge wing. Nearby was the bucket the pirates had given him to urinate in. The few survivors from the crew said the captain had been chained on the bridge ever since the ship had been capture a year ago. There had been over twenty-five hundred passengers and crew aboard the Splendor when she was captured. Less than three hundred still survived.

"I though you must be blind not to see me overtaking you from the stern," Bill said. "But you saw me alright and used the opportunity to take your ship away from the pirates. The pirates didn't know how to handle this large a ship so they kept you alive, figuring they could keep you under control, that there was nothing you could do. But you made sure no one would ever use your ship in such a way again. Well, Captain, I'll see that they don't forget you anytime soon."

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

USCG Group Miami, FL

100 MacArthur Causeway

One week later

"Ron, good to see you before you and your people pull out," Bill said. "You said you were going to head north, maybe to Georgia or the Carolinas, so we might run into each other again soon." He grinned warily. "I've been ordered north to check out the ports at Savannah and Charleston. I'm also suppose to drop off the Marines at Kings Bay in Georgia so they can secure the base and any submarines and nukes until the navy can send a ship and personnel to check everything out."

"We'll be pulling out at dawn tomorrow morning," Ron answered. "About sixty of the slave survivors have asked if they can come with us. About half will be going to San Juan on the ship taking the loot the slavers had collected. The remainder want to stay here in Miami with the men you are leaving to mind those idiot scientists."

"Speaking of the loot I asked headquarters about a reward for your help in dealing with the slavers," Bill said. "I'm sorry but they said no. All the jewelry, coins and art work are to be returned to San Juan. The cutter Key Largo will be here tomorrow to escort the ...ummm... recovered property back to San Juan. They will also be bringing enough personnel to watch over the scientists here in Miami and to provide small units to be stationed in Savannah and Charleston."

"And now as the poet said," Rod smiled. "It's time to put away childish things and speak of other things. What did your headquarters say about me and my people?"

"I'll tell you the truth," Bill said. "I asked but never really got an answer. I get the impression everyone wishes you would disappear down a black hole somewhere. They like the fact you helped with the slavers but then they think South Africa and Rhodesia. I think they can't get past the old stereotypes. But it looks like they've left it up to me again."

"So what have you decided, Skipper?" Ron turned a blank face toward Elliott. "You going to load us up and send us back to Africa?"

"No! I would recommend you take your people to north Georgia." Bill said. "There's farm land around the Rabun Gap area, north of Atlanta. It'll probably be years before any one in authority gets back up in the area." He shoved over a stack of papers. "These are grants from me for each of your personnel, giving them two hundred acres of reclaimed land, in return for your assistance with the slavers. Four hundred for the families of the ones killed." He looked at Ron's astonished face. "They probably aren't worth the paper they're printed on but it's official Coast Guard letterhead and might save you from a lot of charges and accusations in the future."

"Thanks, Skipper, thanks a lot!" Ron held out his hand. "If you ever decide to give up the sea then come on up. We'll save some land for you." He hesitated for a moment. "Skipper why are you doing this? It would be a lot easier for you if you just sent us back to Africa."

"There were two things which decided me," Bill said. "One is the fact that your party is multiracial. But the main one is your livestock."

"Our livestock!" Ron exclaimed. "What does that have to do with it?"

"It shows you are here to stay and to make homes," Bill said. "Anyone can claim they want to make homes here but bringing your livestock shows you're serious. You aren't here for whatever you can loot from the museums, stores and warehouses. You're here to build homes."

The End

44 Responses to ‘A generous serving of fan fic to see you thru the winter. Or summer.’

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 16, 2009
Hmm . . . .John Johnston? A name I think I know.

Comments latter. Got a dissassembled thingie to put back together. Ultrasonic cleaner/ zapper gadget.

brian

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2009
Cheers. Enjoyed that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted August 17, 2009
Savo totally stole my idea.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted August 17, 2009
Excellent, well written and moves nicely

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El Coqui reckons...

Posted August 17, 2009
Good Job, Johh. More!

Jose

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NBlob asserts...

Posted August 17, 2009
Top work.

Loved the "handle as you see fit" protocol. I agree that within the standards of an officers code of conduct there would be much lattitude given to local reps. The Brass has big enough headaches dealing with securing nukes ect.

Enjoyed it greatly & good to hear the Manticore is out & about fighting the good fight.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted August 17, 2009
Jebers, not Bad, not bad at all.

Somebody is showing their age though, Rhodesian light inf, Selous Scouts, bloody hell. Its been a LOOOOONG time since I hear either of those mentioned.

Then we get the WHEC, somebody has been doing research or is already up to speed. Good Job.

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2009
H I'm sorry I knew someone who fought in a similar unit to the Scouts.. are you saying I'm old?

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2009
Chaz, like me...YOU ARE OLD!

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted August 17, 2009
Young whippersnapper..

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2009
I totally was going to say "young whippersnapper."

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Quokka asserts...

Posted August 17, 2009
Sorry, busy busy, no time this week to read much at all.

Just darting by to report there's been more f*ck ups with the E-toll.

Got stuck on the GD bridge the other day when I missed the turnoff so am waiting for a fine to arrive. Bastards.

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25940139-952,00.html

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2009
Bloody kids. You've woken me up from a nice Poppy nap.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2009
Time for a bex and a lie down?

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2009
What did I come out here for again?

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Quokka mutters...

Posted August 17, 2009
We were whining about old age and decrepitude, remember?

And I'm pulling out an ace.

I went to the skin specialist today to get all my little nasties zapped and sliced and the Doc looked at me and said 'You know, really we should laser and peel your face and your chest soon. It will get rid of all these little lines around your eyes and your mouth.'

A PEEL????

WTF am I, a fricking grape?

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2009
What are they doing for your varicose veins? I always reckoned tattoos were the go for that . . .a bita . . .err . . uhhm . . . camouflage . . .that's it . . . .camouflage . .

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2009
Nah. My veins are good. Its just that the chicken skin covering them is slightly overcooked.

Queensland sun and all that.

As for tatts, these are for people who like needles and excruciating pain.

I still can't believe that the doc thought I'd be excited about getting a PEEL.

Jesus and Mary.

The bloke got in from work and after saying reassuringly 'Well that's not too bad, I was expecting worse', he told me that his boss had a peel done, he was off work for two weeks and came back looking like a sundried tomato.

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houyhnhnm is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2009
sorry JB, the delusional fantasy doen't cut it. might work for old dead white guys (an a few Quokks into the S&M thing) but real people read real Lit. no awards here, will hav to look for kicks elsewhere. if i was a behaviourist instead of a social constructionist, maybe i could excuse, but nah

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted August 17, 2009
Chaz...not "C" squadron was he?.

the rest of ya old age decrepid busted arse sooks..lol. I AM NEVER AGEING!..

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2009
PNB, anybody, anybody who falls into the realm of knowledgeable, worldly knowledgeable, such as yourself..IS AN OLD FART, or, called " Father time". pick ya poison.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 17, 2009
Hoony, I don't believe you were ever promised literature before you signed on here? Did you not read the product disclosure statement?

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 17, 2009
There might've been a smear of troll dung obscuring that passage JB.

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houyhnhnm asserts...

Posted August 17, 2009
as a BIG fan of Falafel, i thought i'd c wot the G.O. was' that's all. i'm disappointed, so i'll move on. there are other daddys that may not hav already sold out. an u hav yr share of quokks to clean yr nappies. so, allgood

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Brian asserts...

Posted August 17, 2009
Where were we . . .oh yeah . . . peeling . . .is that like Old White Guys version of botox. . . .and pulling the skin extra tight?

Only thing keeping me warm is my wrinkles. Being a Mexican and all.

BTW Where's SJS? Speaking of wrinkles.

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sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2009
Houyhn...alot of what gets talked here is absolute rubbish, but thats missing the point - the fact is that it DOES get talked here. The level of interaction here is probobly unique for an author blog...

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sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted August 17, 2009
oh and.....

Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak Of Zombie Infection

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/scholars-put-braaaaains-together-to-thwart-zombies/article1253006/

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Quokka asserts...

Posted August 18, 2009
Brian I think it might be the cocktail hour at some important social event. And then she's got some staff to sack.

I think The Peel is something that appeals to both sexes if you drive a Lexus and are worried how you look in front of a television camera. The doc seemed shocked that I thought it was something you did to vegetables.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2009
Quokka, let me know if you go ahead, I'd be fascinated to hear if they dip you in boiling water first - like I do before peeling tomatoes.

Hav,"I AM NEVER AGEING" either A delusional, or B we are back to discussing vampirism.

I'm hoping A.

Really strongly hoping A.

But it may go some way explain them stupid wicketkeeper wrap around shades & the Chapelli floppy hat.

Back to the Fan Fic; John R. Johnson - double plus excellant with an elephant stamp.

I think you have captured Birmo's Big & Small picture scope perfectly, much more betterer than I ever did. Intimate descriptions of ricochets and theatre command level decisions.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 18, 2009
Oh and Himonym, get a grip.

This is not about high lit, it's not about man's insensitivity to man, nor a searing critique of post Jungian psychology.

It's an interesting (& enjoyable) excercise in what ifs, given a set of agreed circumstances set out by Birmo in his book. Which if you read you may understand.

Much more interesting to me than the status of some footy players groin. Or the new MARPOL regs that I should be working on.

My main criticism of SJS is that he/she or it hasn't bothered to get the background on the discussions he/she or it wades into. The lack of coherence is understandable - medications or lack there of can do funny things to a persons (I use the term losely) postings.

Sorry guys.

(I must not feed the Troll)X 50

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joe mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2009
Thanks for that, really got my morning off to an entertaining start.

Prose wasnt entirely up to JB's two-fingered standard, but the action, action action was fun.

just wondering:

what, exactly, other than maybe extra mouths to feed, were the slavers using all those people for?

wanted some more descriptions of stuff too. You know, general postapocalyptic stuff, with piquancy and shit.... followed abruptly by stomach-churning episodes of gore-splashing combat.

Thanks John R Johnson, this fanboi might just submit a quasiscientific rant on the Wave in future, maybe even in short story format.. ;)

nah i too lazy ill probably just wait for the next book and buy it..

Anti-neutrino pulse to clear the way for a gigantic interstellar dark-matter tentacled spacesquid/CThuluBeast..... plz?

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SJPONeill has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2009
"houyhnhnm"? I'm sorry but is that how 'dick' is spelled now? What was the point of even making a comment unless you were well-under at the time (possible points) or saying that just makes you feel good (no points)...I hate pretentious prats...

And that ends my blast of personal unconstructiveness for the day...

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted August 18, 2009
H, can't remember. He said he'd worked with the Scouts and his unit was similar, tough bloke like you'd expect to find in the bush, good shot, used to hunt with my boss of the time.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2009
Nowherebob I will offer my neck up to the fanged folk before I dip myself in anything hotter than our spa tub.

The Peel will not be happening, and I plan to carry on swimming daily laps at Yeronga pool and as a consequence, ageing gracelessly.

Hell. Leather always suited me.

Why not wear it on my face?

I was seriously wondering if he thought he could sell it to me by playing on mid-life female insecurities, except for The Bloke telling me that his boss (male, big boy around town type) had it done. If any of you boys have to get your skin lesions zapped and they offer it up, do tell.

My personal theory is that women who have midlife crisis that their menfolk will abandon them have clearly not spent 20 years feeding them blueberry muffins and double chocolate macadamia brownies.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted August 18, 2009
Quok? Whats your take on defolac . . .deflora . . .err . . .defe . . .that skin thingie girls do . . .and some Metro's in Qld?

NwB : hooney hiney aint so bad . . . .filed under 'cute but deranged'

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savo would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2009
Up on mininburger now.

JB do you know what the 'more' function does?

signed Savo

at a secret location currently surveilling Area 7

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 18, 2009
Brian...I'll run through the list, pick one you like the look of and I'll get back to you.

* Defoliation

* Deforestation

* Defecation

* Defamation

* Deflowering

All I can think of is exfoliation, have never done it but I suspect it has the same effect as ringbarking.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2009
If its exfoliation you're thinking of, the closest I've come to that is scouring my toes trying to get the dirt off the soles and discovering I now need to wear my glasses in the bathtub in order to tell the difference between dirt I've tracked in from a day in the garden, and the beginning stages of a plantar wart.

The joys of middle age. Trust me, Havock my dear, this too shall come to you.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2009
Wart gallery attached for those of you who think a Verruca is a hot chick in a gay girl band.

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/md/dermnet/plantarwarts.html

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Brian mutters...

Posted August 18, 2009
quok. Sounds like its up there with defluffing your navel.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 19, 2009
Depends how long you've left that, Brian.

I've seen some where a water canon is probably in order.

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SJPONeill mutters...

Posted August 19, 2009
Enjoyed this as a light read true to the 'birmoverse' although struggle with rating the SVD as the Cadillac of sniper rifles (Lada more like it!)...I did think that it may have been better to either leave out of expnd more on the Splendour takedown part of the story as this came across like a bit of an after-thought...the pirate/slavery line i think is totally valid and already seen in various places around the planet sans Wave...

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John R. Johnson is gonna tell you...

Posted September 1, 2009
In response to some of the comments I wrote the following prologue and added it to the master of the story. Hope this makes things clearer.

The District Commander

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 scheme of things.

New Headquarters Building

7th USCG District

San Juan, Puerto Rico

William "Wild Bill" Elliott wearily watched the yeoman typing a form. He had been waiting almost two hours and was building a head of steam. He shook his head and turned back to look out the window at the Puerto Rican sunlight. If anyone else could express such disdain and haughty attitude, without saying a word, as the yeoman he had never seen it. He wondered how long it would be before the new sector commander, correction the new 7th Coast Guard District commander, corrected her. Rear Admiral John Brimo had only been promoted a week before.

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BoomerMMW would have you know...

Posted September 8, 2009
Well, it all has to continue on somewher, this is as good as start as anything, over to you Birmo, Do your stuff.

BoomerMMW

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Respond to 'A generous serving of fan fic to see you thru the winter. Or summer.'

Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.

Posted August 4, 2009 by John Birmingham
I was browsing the app store tonight, checking out the new Navigon GPS which I'm thinking of buying while it's still available at a loss leader price. On a whim I dropped into the book section of the appe shoppe and was unsurprised to see a lot of old, out of copyright titles, and a lot of other unattractive books.

Got me to wondering if there might be a market for me to directly release into the app store, particularly for something I wouldn't necessarily want to release somewhere else. A novelette (say 15k words) set in the AoT universe. Or a WW spin off. Perhaps even a collection of fan fic with a couple of contributions from me bracketing the thing. It's appealing because it wouldn't involve the investment of time involved in a full novel.

It'd have to be something my publishers wouldn't want, but enough readers would.

Interesting idea, or waste of time?

51 Responses to ‘Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.’

Kieran asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
I think there might be a market for shorter-form stuff. Something episodic that you can read between bus stops. People often use apps to kill time - 5 mins here and there. Failing that, what about an audiobook/podcast? How's yer reading voice?

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Markus Wolf mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2009
I would like the WW spinoffs, say Quiet Room missions.

You could do it a different style of writing as its a short stories, do it more in the style of those Boys Own Adventure books which was out when we were kids, where its just basic storyline, then evil baddie, confrontation, baddies shakes fist and utters words like a commando comic e.g Gott in Himmell, Actung Tommy etc... Well that's my sad idea.

The 39 Steps was a slim volume,yet a classic, would that even be 15k words?

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beeso asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
I like doc yobbos ITWPT book that he has on his second blog. It's just long enough that it doesn't get tiring and the episodic nature keeps me coming back.

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beeso reckons...

Posted August 4, 2009
Is be so down organising some podcast stuff jb. Big big fan of podcasts.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
I don't think it's a sad idea at all, Markus. I always liked the idea of doing some Quiet Room stuff. And i think Kieran is on the money with the emphasis on short form. I do a lot of reading on the iPhone, but all short stuff. Mag articles etc. You'd need lots of cliff hanger breaks. But I already do that.

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Flinthart ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2009
Actually -- if you kept the prices down, I think the fan-fic idea is very fucking clever. Because there are a zillion people writing fan-fic, and it seems to me there'd be an instant market. And of course, the feedback-to-fandom thing would get tighter and more powerful still.

Definitely worth considering, Mr B.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
This form of fiction is very popular in Japan (where people read on their phone during commutes) - there are some people that made some serious cash out of it. At some point iPhone exclusive fiction will go nuts - better to be too early to the party than too late.

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DrYobbo ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2009
The shorter stand-alone stuff would be easier to dissect away from the 'core material' but perhaps better for hooking a long term audience would be just serialising a longer piece in easily chewed regular lumps? Kinda what I did with ITWPT (In The Worst Possible Taste) which Beeso kindly mentioned above - though picked that format not for any commercial reasons, just because I thought the ideas in it deserved better than gathering dust and 5-6K lumps is kinda how that story gets told anyway. Commercial model would just be to have a new ep out every week or two a week or something, content by subscription from the app store. I'd have guessed that would do you more consistent business than one-offs or fan fic compiles - though the latter would presumably involve less manhours on your part.

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tc forest ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2009
Good idea, except for those of us that don't have iPhones or use itunes. Bittorrent will come to the rescue I suppose.

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
I wanna know about Fifi's adventures before she ended up on the boat with Pete and Jules.

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted August 4, 2009
Or Caitlin's adventures before she ended up as Cathy in a Parisian hospital.

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jennicki would have you know...

Posted August 4, 2009
But I don't have an iPhone (silly Macs!) so that sucks for me.

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BrianC mutters...

Posted August 4, 2009
All of those would be good, but i would be looking for the fan fiction selection stuff. As a bonus you could later point to the books and say to your publishers see they want more AoT stuff, and they we could get more AoT stuff, and then i would be happy, and isnt that what its all about.

But dont be a snob, make sure you make it available to us trailblazers on the Google Phone.

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PeterMoore mumbles...

Posted August 4, 2009
Hi John.

Another Aussie writer, Max Barry has been trying a similar thing, through email, RSS feed etc called Machine Man. It's an episodic novel, where he writes a page a day, taking on board stuff left by readers in a comments section. The first 30 pages were free then you signed up for the rest for $US 6.95. Last I heard he had about 6,000 people signed up.

His motivation was that his readers were complaining about the time between books. But I like your idea of harnessing the App thing - especially now that 3.0 has push capabilities. And with Pre and Android coming along nicely I'm sure you'll be able to tweak the App so it can work with them and their stores too.

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PeterMoore reckons...

Posted August 4, 2009
BTW Max's website is www.maxbarry.com

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sparty puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
xcellent idea. Will be a while before everyone kindles etc but more and more (esp your audience) read stuff on an iphone - pity its so hard to do, given amazon geographical restrictions on kindle content outside us (ie reading on an iphone in europe). 15K AoT novella sounds good and lets face it- it could be a little more rough and ready so quicker to do - bookending some fan fic sounds great idea too

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 4, 2009
Nods to those trapped in Satan's own operating system hell. I'll expand my horizons to consider other smart phone platforms.

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Front Porch Philosopher puts forth...

Posted August 4, 2009
Definitely intriguing, but why limit yourself to the Iphone? There IS an Iphone App store, but no Kindle equivalent. There ARE or will be App stores for Blackberry, Android (Google OS), Symbian, Palm Pre, Nokie and other App stores within 2 years.

You could do it yourself and license the distribution and get your agents to handle it. You write and upload, they edit and you argue it out, then publish electronically.

You could do what several science fiction authors have done and create the "universe," and let them (fans) publish to IT, and then let your publishers/agents deal with licensing and downloads and etc.

A whole new universe of possibilities. If you currently buy a John Ringo book in hardback, you frequently get a CD-ROM with several OTHER books to peruse. You could do illustrated books.....

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted August 4, 2009
A good plan--just what you need, more work. Good for us, maybe for you, not so much. Actually, why not serialize a book? Main question is: how do you get paid? Subsidiary question: if it's a financial venture as well, do you have your legal ducks in a row? Copyrights, waivers, etc.

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Roscoe puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
Well, I am an iPhone newbie myself - and downloaded the app Stanza - which in turn gave me Weapons of Choice for free through Random House 'Free Novels' thingymajiggy.

Yes - I will claim the word thingymajiggy for New Zealand thank you very much, before you Aussies start on it!

But is there an app to download quality books to read?

I'm chomping through Alice in Wonderland at the mo...re-connecting with my youth...

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El Coqui swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
Front Porch:

The CDs in Ringo and other Baen books are part of Baen merchandizing strategy. Give away the first one free and hook them for the rest (it works with drugs too, kids)

I would go for it, if John let me explore my alien scenario of the biggest collateral damage incident in history. Or my Puerto Rican take on the WW. I even have a non-canon "what if" if the Venezuelans had not surrendered and we have been force to do a "coup-de-main" at Gitmo.

Jose

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El Coqui mutters...

Posted August 5, 2009
We can seek advice with the folks at 1632, Inc who had done something similar with the Grantville Gazette, websubscriptions and similar items.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
On a somewhat related note, I seem to recall that Charlie Stross was toying with the idea of trying to write a novel using a cellphone. This was a few years ago, before the iPhone era. I don't know how far he got with it.

Another thing to consider is a twitter style flash fiction format. The Shine Anthology, edited by Jetse de Vries, is running something like that via Outshine. I don't know if it is generating any revenue though.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Oh, an AoT project would be cool. I think I have one laying around here somewhere. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the OuterMarches

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El Coqui reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
This is what I mean, I think that it maybe 6000 words long if I ever finished it.

WITHOUT QUARTER

A Without Warning Non-Canon Fan Fiction

By Jose J. Clavell

Airfield, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

1035 Hours Local time.

Captain Roberto “Robert” Cabrera used his boot to prod the body of the dead Venezuelan soldier. It was more procedure than any serious attempt to find anyone trying to play dead. Besides, with half his face missing and the remaining covered by a thick layer of black flies, the young officer was quite sure that aside from a sudden onset of a Zombie’s plaque, that dead man was not going anywhere. He looked wearily around the hard fought ground to check how the rest of his men were doing. His command, Bravo Company, First battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment had suffered heavy casualties on the assault. His first platoon and his XO, had been on the first C-130 Hercules that attempted to land under Warthog cover, and their funerary pyre now added a black and oily smoke to the gray haze that covered the battlefield.

Cabrera would have been on that first plane but his battalion commander had given him a direct order to take a later one, assuming correctly that given the expected opposition, Command and Control was likely to get decapitated in the first few minutes of the assault if they were on the lead. It was a damn shame that any of those precautions failed to save his own life, as his fire-engulfed C-17 had gone nose first into the harbor with no survivors. From Cabrera’s point of view, the first combat engagement for the 65th since the Korean War was far from the glorious action over which future military historians would pour in minute detail trying to glimmer a higher truth.

Despite that, Cabrera still considered himself lucky, a company of the 82nd Airborne had volunteered to jump ahead of the assault landing. So far, he had not encountered or seen even one live or unwounded paratrooper. Yes, he was lucky despite his strong suspicion that he was now his battalion senior surviving officer. He had started the battle with three radio operators and now PFC Luis “Luisito” Gutierrez, the youngest man in Bravo, was the only one remaining. Young, of course being a relative term, because when he looked into his eyes, Cabrera could not find any trace of the boy that had been but only of the new man that seemed to had seen too much. A similar expression was in the face of almost every surviving member of his company.

“Hey captain, you better come up and take a look at this.” Of course, there was always some glaring exceptions and his First Sergeant, Hector Pabón, was one of them. Standing beside a gun pit while peering inside, he seemed as nonchalance holding his M4 carbine like a hunting piece as if they had been conducting a routine weekend drill exercise back at Camp Santiago in Salinas. His casual manner even included puffing a rather smelly cigar, his trademark, whose obscure brand, he fancied. However, as Cabrera made his way towards him while trying not to step into the dozens of smelly, bloated, fly-covered and rotting corpses of the initial casualties of the Venezuelan airborne and amphibious assault on Gitmo. He started to understand the true value of his prop and wished that he had one of his own as he started gagging over the stench.

Keeping his stomach under control was not exactly one of the things that Cabrera had learned at Ranger School but he manfully managed to do so as he stopped beside Pabón and took a peek inside the pit. Luisito loyally stayed with him to cover his back and kept the radio handy. But one glance and he turned to face the other way with a strangled sob. Cabrera could not blame him. He already suspected that given the Venezuelan casualties disposition that this had been the last stand positions for the airfield defenders. So as he expected, the pit was full of American bodies, mostly Marines but with smattering of the other services, to include armed civilians, possibly volunteers from the refugees that had not found temporary resettlement in Puerto Rico. All were men, except for one lonely woman in a distinctive and very out of place Air Force service uniform.

That forced him to pause and stare, too. Cabrera had joined the Puerto Rico wing of La Patrulla Aérea Civil or Civil Air Patrol at age 15, so her blue uniform was achingly familiar. Heck, growing up, Cabrera had seriously toyed with the idea of going Air Force until he finally decided to stick with family tradition and joined the Army. The woman wore the shoulder epaulets of a lieutenant colonel in her blouse and her presence in the pit made him felt uncharacteristic weary and sad, and for a moment to forget everything else. It was difficult to figure out how she had looked, because someone had shot her in the face while she lay pinned under one of her own troops but Cabrera could read her partially detached nameplate.

“Colonel Pileggi, the airfield defenders’ commander I presume, Top,” he heard himself comment in a detached manner.

Pabón nodded once. “Must be, sir, she is the only Air Force field grade officer that we had encountered so far.” The First Sergeant didn’t have to mention that there were perhaps hundreds of other women, mostly civilians, whose bodies lay all around Guantanamo. On this day, death had been an amazingly equal opportunity equalizer.

“However, she took a hell of a lot of jonnies with her,” Pabón said looking around with great admiration. “If we still have a nation, she would be a shoot-in to be the first woman to get the medal for sure.” Cabrera nodded thoughtfully, gazing back at the terrain around the pit, the dozens of bodies and the thousands of shell casings around and decided that her actions must be recognized somehow, even if he had to push the report in person through whatever channels were left.

“Heads up, Captain. We got company coming of the cute variety, sir,” Pabón warned him. He looked up to see a lieutenant of military police making her way towards them through the bodies strew field escorted by two of her MPs and instinctively moved to block her view of the pit. Being protective of her was an intrinsic part of his make up and had done that for all her life.

His little sister, Carmen was four years younger than him and since childhood had looked up to him with both a mixture of admiration and sibling competition. Whenever he did something, she would try and do it too. So she had dogged his steps all throughout school and sport competitions. He joined CAP and as soon as she reached the minimum age, Carmen even joined the same squadron. He took Army ROTC while studying at the University of Puerto Rico and she did that too. Like him, she had ended up as Cadet Commander and distinguished military student on her senior year. No one in their family has been surprised, that after her own commissioning, she had followed him into the Army Guard. However, he was glad that as a woman, she was barred by law to follow him into the Infantry. Of course, being Carmen, she had chosen the next best thing, military police.

So given her track record, Cabrera wondered why he had been so surprise when she followed him into combat. Both had been in orders to deploy to Iraq with the follow-on forces when the wall hit. Of course, it was now part of her job and intellectuality, he could understand that not only was she ready but was superb at it. However, he was still her big brother and did not have to like it. So he had boarded his plane cursing a blue streak under his breath after recovering from the shock of watching her lead her platoon at a trot into the next C-130 waiting on the flight line.

But his concern was also tinged with huge amount of pride. Because, when everything was said and done, she had demonstrated to be a child of First Sergeant Joaquin Cabrera, US Army retired. A man who once had sported the tower of power in his left sleeve, the so-called juxtaposition of the Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces tabs. Together with the tabs, he had also sported an impressive collection of medals for valor in his chest. Most of whose citations to this day remained classified and his dad still refused to discuss the particulars with his grown children despite their security clearance and the many years passed since his retirement.

On top of everything, Carmen was also a very attractive young woman, a fact that even her camouflaged face, helmet and battle rattle could not failed to conceal. The effect that she usually had in any breathing, living non-related male with enough blood left to pump a heartbeat, finally convince him that there were no Venezuelans pretending to be dead around. Even Luisito, managed to momentarily forgot his weariness to stand tall, puffing his chest out. Of course, he knew that was a wasted effort on his part, because like many attractive women, Carmen seemed totally unaware of the effect that she had in men. The only one that seemed wholly unaffected by her arrival was Pabón but after meeting Mrs. Pabón, who even at forty and four kids could easily turn heads around, he could easily understand the why.

His sister stopped in front of him, with expertly held M4 muzzle down at her side but did not salute as there may be snipers still hiding around. “Sir, we are secure. We had taken all the civilians that we found still alive to the aid station. I got my platoon canvassing the area again in case that anyone is still hiding but I seriously doubt that we are going to find any more.” Cabrera did not immediately reply allowing for the noise of a C-17 in its take off run noise to subside. The airfield had been opened by combat engineers just as the last remains of resistance were finally put down. The plane was now on route back to Puerto Rico with the latest load of wounded and survivors. Cabrera took the opportunity to look around once again as he nodded in agreement with his sister assessment. The bastards have fought with the ferocity of trapped rats and went for the “soft” targets first.

“Very well, LT. I heard that you talked to the Cubans. What they had to say about themselves.” Cabrera had not liked when Pabón told him that her sister had been sent to liaise with them. However, given her appearance, diplomatic skills, and native Spanish speaking prowess, it was a wise move from the command staff.

“You mean after they stopped drooling, Robert…sir,” the short female MP Sergeant taking a knee at her sister’s side, wisecracked. But come up short when an angry look from Pabón froze her on the spot. Being in the Guard was not exactly like being in the Regular Army in respect to fraternization. Noelia Rodriguez was her sister best friend since high school and a classmate at the UPR law school. So, Cabrera personally knew well that under her battle rattle and painted face, she was not too far off from his sister in the looks department either but found her odd sense of humor at the few times that they gone out together, perplexing.

His sister accustomed to those antics, ignored her and kept reporting in a correct but mechanical manner. Cabrera noted a haunted look in her eyes and his gut told him that’s something was very wrong but decided to wait until she brought the matter herself. “No much, Robert. They denied having any knowledge of this Cuban government–in-exile that Chavez claimed. I tend to believe them, some of Chavez’s thugs sought refugee with them. They showed me their bodies. In the other hand, they provided shelter for close to 300 of our refugees, mostly women and children and had asked if there is anything else that they can do to help. Command is thinking over their offer.”

Cabrera nodded and was going to pull her aside to ask what was wrong with her, when Luisito interrupted. “Captain, I got a FLASH message for you.” He almost slapped the handset out of his hand on his haste.

“This is Bastard six actual, go ahead,” and listened.

To be Continued.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2009
I can see there's gonna be some actual research needing to be done here. There are already a coupla dozen small web publishing outfits which will turn your ones and zeroes into phone novels, and push them out across as many platforms as possible. Of course, to do that they take a huge bite out of your royalties and the thing that attracts me to the App store and it's imitators is the 70% royalty they pay. I think it's worth mastering the new publication process and doing it all myself to maintain that royalty.

I've been doing some work on the future of media/publishing for a feature story, and although I'm not entirely despondent about the collapse of the current business model, especially with trad book publishing, I do see massive changes ahead and agree with Orin that it'd be a wise idea to get in early with direct distribution and a micropayment model. I don't see it as a direct challenge to my mainstream publishers. Indeed it's likely that allowing an AoT or WW universe to spawn in this way would feed back into increased hard copy canon sales.

It is also the surest way I can think of to actually get a fan fic operation properly commercialised.

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2009
just needs more than the iphone platform... otherwise you have your junkie here.

JB:- the new media publishing mogoul.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
well i know of an MS that is sitting in a corner some place gathering dust. Perhaps this may be the place for it JB?

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Moko reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
A few of 'em couldn't do any harm as advertising...

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Lobes reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Sounds like a good idea in theory. Though must admit have some reservations, See my comments re the Kindle thread at geek.

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Friendless ducks in to say...

Posted August 5, 2009
I vote interesting idea. I read the Sherlock Holmes stories on my Palm. It needs to be cheap though, not like Steven King's attempt where he tried to sell a serialised story for much more than it was going to cost if it ever came out as a book.

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jp swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
From a reader's POV, I think the idea of a serialised thriller would work. Eg, perhaps book ends written by you, then X amount of fan fic chapters in between, where each author takes over from the last.

I did this recently for a project with 15 or so other writers. Jeff Deaver did the book ends, then the rest of waited for our turn where we'd have two weeks to write a chapter in the story. One author acted as a running editor to keep some sort of continuity going, and then Jeff did some slight tweaking so that his final chapter would come together (we needed to resurrect a key antagonist). It was a heap of fun and a challenge - the amount of twists and turns was a mindf*ck. First it comes out as an audio book, called "The Copper Bracelet" (which I think on release they serialise it in chapters and then follow with the full book... I think... it's been several months since I've thought about it), and then a published/paper book "The Watchlist".

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
OT, just picked up your latest from my po box, JP. Sweet lookin cover.

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Luke has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
Yeah sure, if you want to sell one copy and then have a zillion on peer to peer. I think you'll find the price will just not be worth the effort. While the writing might be 10% of a normal book, I think it will still be 40-60% of the usual effort. Really, I have no idea, I'm just guessing.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
John/anyone else in Brisbane who has renovated recently

Sorry, way off topic, but can anyone recommend a cabinet maker to do wardrobes/home office stuff?

I wasn't happy with the work that the last mob did over June/July, so I still have two rooms at Casa Quokka to fit out. Preferably by a company that uses dust sheets, builds cabinets that resemble the plans that you've agreed on, and doesn't take chunks out of the freshly polished and painted surfaces surrounding said cabinets...grrr...

The Bloke is an architect and when he heard you on By Design he looked it up on the website. Looks good to us.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted August 5, 2009
Definitely a good idea. Fan fic and episodic publishing would lessen the workload and give the fans more explodey goodness. That Quiet Room idea FTW.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 5, 2009
Quok', our cabinet maker was a genius, but a solitary, reclusive genius who doesn't take on clients unless they've been sent to him via our builder.

However, I have some other sources. i'll ask around.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 5, 2009
Thanks John.

Our builder was great but unfortunately he's in England now visiting his twin who is dying of cancer, so the last thing I'm going to do is hassle him right now.

The cabinet maker was someone that the bloke found independently, and while the end result looks OK, something went wrong with the design in every room that they did so the thought of having them back here is enough to put me into foetal, twitching, on the sofa.

Although at some point I will need to get them out here because the drawers that they built to store my CDs & DVDs don't actually have the height clearance to put the GD things in there...

Can't offer advice about Ipods as we don't use them. Although while my bloke was commuting for the 9 weeks away by train from Sandgate, he did come home with some creative suggestions for what he'd like to do with the overloud doof doof ipods on the spotty teenagers seated beside him for the journey.

I'm off to seek consolation from Goran.

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savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 5, 2009
sounds like a great idea. Love the thought of you letting other authors play in your universe. My vote: Go for it

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Tarl asserts...

Posted August 5, 2009
Whimper....Don't limit it to phones...

Some of us have been resisting carrying around those electronic leashes, and if you released a story only readable on a phone, I might have to go out and buy one. And then I'd curse you every time I got a SPIM or robo-dialer call.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2009
Oh! Iphones! Misread it, that's what you get from twitching in foetal staring at an unpacked box of DVDs.

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aaron has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
didnt the count of monte cristo, one of the greatest epic adventure stories ever told start as a newspaper serial? actually i think the book was the collected serial.

basically, it could be a whole book on the fly although i do love the idea of extra helpings of AoT universe.

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Markus Wolf has opinions thus...

Posted August 5, 2009
All the tinitin books were just the collection of the newspaper stories. They were successful as at the end of every third frame, there was a dramatic ending forcing you to wait for the next paper. Could you even do The Quiet room illustrated say 3 -5 panels daily and 5c per daily download? Its a pity that nothing like tintin exists anymore in the papers, just the same bland/inoffensive cartoons and forcing toons likes doonesbury to be so overrated as no one else is aiming for an intelligent audience.

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Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
I like the idea - we had a UK guy here last year who did a community publishing project where they put out books of short stories opf different lengths that were written tlo be read on public transport - opne was called 'Commutes' (with longers stories) and the other was called 'A couple of Stops' (for short jaunts)...

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au asserts...

Posted August 5, 2009
I think it is a fantastic Idea, I think it would give you a chance to write back stories to any of the WW characters that interested you. I would love to see a real range of writing styles too, newsreports filed by the reporter, diary type stories by other characters, even officiasl report type writing by some of the officials. Long time since I read WW, can't remember character's names that good.

Maybe after a certain time it called all be published in a book for us that don't have iphones to get hold of. Similar to Hovercar Racer years ago.

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sparty would have you know...

Posted August 5, 2009
yep mastering the app development for books is the thing - although the book side of teh app store is going to have to shape up now its kind of hitting critical mass.

El Couqi - best line ever!

"This is Bastard six actual, go ahead"

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David S. is gonna tell you...

Posted August 6, 2009
Michael Stackpole is already doing this:

www.stormwolf.com/

He sells ebooks from his site as well as via iTunes and has said that it's been very successful for him. Maybe you could drop him a line and get the skinny on it.

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted August 6, 2009
Thanks, Sparty. My little homage to John Ringo's The Last Centurion.

:)

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Front Porch Philosopher reckons...

Posted August 6, 2009
Specific to the discussion in question:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp?r=1&afsrc=1

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adam keys ducks in to say...

Posted August 8, 2009
i am never going to get an iphone but i would be very keen to read AoT stories.

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Lolly has opinions thus...

Posted August 10, 2009
Interesting aricle from NY Times on point....

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/world/asia/20japan.html?_r=1

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Respond to 'Thinking about writing small iPhone novels.'

North Coast Weekend.

Posted August 3, 2009 by John Birmingham
Turned out I did the trip on my own thanks to the perfidious tummy bug which invaded the house. (I dodged the bullet, which makes it twice in the past month for me that I've got off with a pass).

Drove up in the Swedish tank, with a few tunes balring at max volume. It's a much nicer drive to the north than the south coast, even with the inevitable delays for road works around Morayfield. Once you clear them you're pretty much free of the northern edge of the city and it's all rolling paddocks and pine plantations until you pass that subtle climate gradient and pass from temperate into true subtropical. All of a sudden the pines disappear, the hills started ridging up towards ancient volcanic plugs, and their slopes are denser and darker with rainforest.

A great drive, as I said. Had Cooroy plugged into the iPhone's GPS and made it to the venue with an hour and a half to spare, and with nary a false turn along the way. I was hungry though, having done a long treadmill run and a sesh of the hundred push ups program in the morning. (A nice light workout for me these days).

Cooroy was still pumping, which isn't always the case with country towns by late lunch time on Saturday and I hazarded the main strip for a feed with some trepidation. I've done a lot work in the country and in my experience country-cookin', at least in Australia, is a wretched greasy-battered, deep fried affair best avoided.

Wrong in this case.

There's a bistro in Cooroy called, a little worryingly, Bistro Bistro, but it looked a lot more inviting from the steet than the bakery or caf across the road. The menu board propped up against an outside wall was promising and although the cake cabinet inside looked like a chilly prison, at least the contents seemed to have been made on site.

On a whim, a possibly dngerous whim, I ordered the duck risotto. I almost never do this, because I know of only a few places who cook their risotto the way it should be done,  from scratch. Most cook it part of the way, refrigerate, and the reheat on demand.

Not Bistro Bistro (damn that name). A perfectly balanced and freshly prepared duck, mushhrom and spinach risotto arrived after about twenty or so minutes. Given the lack of crowds (it was sometime after the lunch rush) I had to ask ... and yes, said the waiter, the chef does do the dish properly.

God shit fuck damn why can't city fucking restaurants learn that lesson. This dish was simple and just about perfect. Even the seasoning was balanced just so - another trap for risotto fans. The pinot noir came with the option a cellar-like chill and my espresso afterwards was creamy smooth and just he right temperature.

Obsessing much, JB? Yes I am, because you rarely get such simple mastery in commercial food preparation, and certainly not in country or hinterland towns. For anyone passing through the north coast, in need of a feed, I can recommend this place as a worthy detour.

Fed well, it was onto the Butter Factory for the gig. There I found Beeso and his mate Simon waiting for me, and we were soon joined by Hughsey's man Geoffrey with a rather nice paper bag full of hot chips which he shared around. Beeso unveiled some cold smoked bacon he'd brought up and we chatted for a bit before Annabell Crabb and George Megalogenis arrived. I'm a big fan of both their work (although apparently not as big a fan as Abe, who had sent through a long series of questions he wanted me to ask).

We had a full house and taking my chair on the little stage I looked down the back and saw someone who could only be Lord Bob of Nowhere. Despite never having actually met him in Real Life, his lordly bearing and baronial airs were impossible to miss. Both Beeso and NBob have dropped comments on the thread below providing details of the panels so I wont repeat their performance.

We repaired to the courtyard afterwards for a barbecue, expertly cooked by Geoffrey. There was plenty of wine, although I had to pace myself with a lot of mineral water because I still had to drive out to the farm. Had big chats with everyone and was struck again by what a weird thing the old interwebby is, creating  friendships and familiar bonds across great distances between people who've never met.

Crashed at the G-Man and Hughesy's farm overnight and drove down to Noosa in the morning for breakfast with Mega-George and Annabel and her fam. Didn't realise the Noosa traithlon was on and got caught in road closure hell for a while. Then had to pull out every sneaky fucking trick I knew to locate a park anywhere near the village centre. Luckily I know Noosa very well so was able to pull that one off, because I didn't have time to walk in from the far side of the national park. We breakfasted at Bistro C, which looks out over a booming view of the bay and coastline. It's also one of the most reliable dining spots I know of on the north coast, with consistently good food and very friendly, welcoming vibe for kids.

From memory I had potato and leek pie in basil cream with crispy bacon and an artichoke salad. I ate up so I could head off right after my second panel, which started at eleven. I arive with one minte to spare having driven like the good Doctor Thompson from the coast back up into the hinterland. Sunday's sesh was focussed on Aboriginal/Australian history and I was pleased to see Lord Bob had ridden down from his estates again. We had a quite fascinating discussion in which I learned a few things from my panelists Prof Anita Heiss and Bruce Pascoe and picked up an idea for a brilliant feature article I might soon write.

Then, it was time to saddle up and head home.

Another long but pleasant drive and a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake waiting for me at the end.

30 Responses to ‘North Coast Weekend.’

Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
So that explains the risotto. I was wondering WTF you had to do to screw that up.

And Gah. I thought the Noosa triathlon was usually held in October? They are usually cluttering up the pool at Somerville all month in a last minute bid to get fit. Last time I got caught in that mess it looked like a plastic surgery and spray tan convention gone horribly wrong. Just as well you had the tank to protect yourself.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Aint it funny, we talked about different perspectives of a historical event on Sunday.

From my POV.

Cooroy, so long a refuge for the international jet set of malcontents & eccentrics, hardly turned a hair as the dampened & baffled turbofans slowed, the air cushion deflated and HV Cad settled on her undercarriage. The yoof on the council skate-ramp had to study their indifference as four Bunnies took up high ground defensive perimeter positions. I was touched, but not surprised that Jeeves had brought up the Swedish battle wagon so JB could maintain his "common people touch." During a smoke break between sessions I spotted one Bunny kitted out as a construction worker on the new library site next door, but the others had blended in beautifully. They are a credit to their Special Forces training.

The ride down from Chateau Nowhere on Saturday was on my trusty old Clydesdale called Hilux, slow, steady & most importantly Zed Proof. As JB saw on Sunday I borrowed SWMBOs 200c Kompressor show pony – a much more civilised way to travel, but it makes it difficult to maintain the Marxist warrior façade.

What really separates the A list from mere mortals such as myself - while JB returned home to a freshly cooked chocolate and banana cake, a loving show-quality family & bunny stacked grotto, I returned to find SWMBO suffering Chronic Assignmentitis, a truculent “I’m soooo tired from work” Bobette and a downstairs freezer door ajar with a puddle of bait jus expanding across the garage floor.

Nice.

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted August 3, 2009
Crikey. You could spend your 'super' on all the little foody good spots throughout that area.

Triathlon's are hell on two wheels. Extra large spattering of arseholes who are convinced they own the road.

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Moko reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. Rofl Got images in mah head of Ninja Bunny Battalion 2 air dropping in the night before...

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob you want one of those fridges that yells at you if you leave the door open.

While we were away there was one at the unit and if you left it open a smidgeon I swear it would start cussing like a trooper if you didnt shut it pronto.

Not sure what it was saying but I think it was Skynet for 'Quick men! The carrots are escaping!'

How did you JB manage to spot you sitting quietly at the back?

I suppose you took the crossbow to pick off the ferals. Get any?

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NBlob mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, JB said nothing about "Sitting quietly."

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
Fermenting dissent, rabble rousing, causing ructions and / or giggling like 8yr old girls in the back row of the bus with Beeso all spring to mind. But not sitting quietly.

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Abe reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
Well in my defense, in my 7 or so years in the p/s, I have developed a somewhat "yumcha" writing style, so the long list of questions was meant to be a smorgasbord, offering what I hoped would be plenty of choices, depending on which avenues you wanted to head down.

Plus it turned out twice as long as I planned, as I thought asking questions of just one of the panelists may have appeared tacky and perhaps just a tad transparent.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds all good and it's nice to see JB that you didn't starve or have to suffer more traditional outback tucker (eg soggy chips with a greasy pie and gravy, or a dodgy chicko roll)

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted August 3, 2009
My mistake Bob.

But you did take the crossbow, right?

I mean, like the man said, the Noosa Triathlon was on.

You must've known it would come in handy.

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simon bedak is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
We need a Bistro Bistro here in Book Book

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka, I find a DIY bolas (3X 5 ounce snapper sinkers and some 100lb mono) very effective against joggers & cyclists - slouch style or otherwise.

The crossbow tends to leave evidence that can prove ah, akward.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
Bob so long as you target the ones with the thinning lycra across their buttock cheeks I do believe it counts as a mercy killing.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted August 3, 2009
I'd like to open up to the Burgers mastication a tricky little piece of intelectual gristle.

On Sunday during the Aboriginal / Australian history session there was discussion of first hand accounts and satatements given by people and the weight given to those accounts. JB spoke of his Leviathon research where diferent reports of the same event were so contradictory that he had to check & recheck that the dates times & places ligned up.

Specifically in the context of the NW Cape gas field developments, but with reference to the "secret Womens Business" of the Hindmarsh Is. kerfuffle.

Some members of the Indigenous communities affected are big supporters of the development of an onshore processing facility, others are dead against the proposal citing cultural values of specific places / land forms.

Interestingly all the Pro voices are male, in a society where women usually have a Big say. (Like Chateau Nowhere - but that's beside the point.)

To whom does the credibility go?

JB (always good for a cracking line) said "I'm not an equal credibility kinda guy."

An argument can be made that the proponents of the project have been "Got to" by the companies involved and offered the 21C version of trinkets & beads (jobs, health & edu facilities etc.)

The other side make an argument that the Nay Sayers have been influenced by sandal wearing slouchbiking greeny luddites.

But for me the interesting crux of the matter was; with whom does the "Traditional Owner" authority rest? Are they exclusively entitled to speak on behalf of the mob, or are others entitled to their views.

No one can reasonably expect a uniformity of opinion across any group of more than 2 people, so does the gap in opinions just create a lawyers picnic?

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob, saw an interesting article last year about how many elders have told the greenies to stuff off. Basically the greenies have problems with anyform of development (even if it really helps the communities) and of cpourse the old veggie attitude prevelent amongst the slouchriders doesn't go down to well with many communities either.

However what really allegedly hacks off many of the elders is that again it's the whitefella's again telling the blackfellas what to do and how to live their lives.

As to your question well it would seem that there'd have to be a meeting of minds in the communities, maybe a sex strike would help...

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted August 3, 2009
NBob. I was watching a show yesterday on ... ten ... maybe ... about how some indigenous rain forest clans successfully (in their words) negotiated some many thousand acres of land for the education of their youth and for tourism to educate anyone else who's willing to learn and understand.

Unfortunately you need the right people doing the speaking on behalf of everyone else involved before you can get dialogue that benefits them and the environment.

I think with the NW Cape Gas field the main proponent was the premier of WA (I think) who was stating the impact was NOTHING MORE than a few dozen acres of environment which is quite obviously bullshit when you consider support projects keeping the joint running.

What was the question....?. lol

The people who spoke on behalf on the lot in the example I gave were the elders of the individual clans that made up the tribes of the traditional owners then the most senior of them spoke to the government on behalf of the clans. But they had agreement, honesty, and what was best for the tribe to work with from the start.

Maybe they need to fund their own environmental impact study to start with...

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Quokka reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
Chaz I've seen the results of a sex strike or other attempts at disagreement and it usually ends with the woman in the hospital ward +stitches and/or -teeth.

Memory is a tricky one - its one of those things that psychologists love to test because you can prove that ordinary human beings are just so bad at recalling the same incident. Probably because we all find something in it that's meaningful and memorable only to us.

And there is always widespread dissension within groups.

I guess you'd have to have an understanding of power structures within aboriginal communities and one 14 week course at uni in understanding aboriginal approaches to knowledge left me with the conclusion - you just ask the blackfellas what they think. And accept that it may be different tomorrow. Its complex. Clannish. And affected by the breakdown of communities and families and the widespread social problems.

I mean, just look at what happens when one group within a community wants to take it dry. There is inevitably some kicking and screaming from within the same group that this is patriarchal and paternalistic and you're taking away a man's rights and dignity by refusing his right to have a quiet drink in his own home after work at the end of the day.

Louis Nowra got stuck into this topic a few years ago, wish I could remember the name of the book he wrote, its a couple of years old now. 'Bad Dreaming,' maybe?

Well worth looking at, he was brutally honest and didn't tiptoe over any eggshells.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
Quokka. Interesting review of Bad Dreaming.

http://www.colloquy.monash.edu.au/issue013/nowra.pdf

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Otto has opinions thus...

Posted August 3, 2009
spooky. I had duck risotto with pinot on Friday night at the Metropolitan in Melbourne. It was excellent, but no claims down here to being an expert on whether it was cooked/cooled/cooked again. It was certainly better than my own efforts and I can recommend the place if you're in Melbourne.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Here we go. Bad dreaming. Here's the review by The Age.

I know he looked at the history of violence by men against women and children and made a case that it had always existed.

The book is well worth reading.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/book-reviews/bad-dreaming-aboriginal-mens-violence-against-women-and-children/2007/05/18/1178995392576.html

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DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted August 3, 2009
I made paella. That's sort of risotto except not.

I'll get me coat.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25875734-952,00.html

Alas, poor Kyle.

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houyhnhnm reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
Glad to hear that your trip was eventful. By the accounts i hear it was also successful (the houyhnhnm is north coast, althouth the developers have [also successfully] traded the name sunshine coast, for 30 pieces of add rev).

disagreements among Indigenous communities (rarely violent) have been occurring for 40-60,000 years as a result of 400 plus clans/tribes and over 200 language groups spread over the continent. never an issue 'cos there was nuff resources to go round.

the sitrep wont change till there is legislative change that ensures, not the right outcome for Indigenous Australians (its too late 4 that), but electoral protection for any govt that actually does wot is required.

EG, it would be helpful perhaps if Fed funds used in say, fighting land-rights claims, were not then allocated as part of the Indigenous Affairs budget. the poor old taxpayer may assume that these were funds actually spent for the 'benifit' of Indigenous Australians. again, this is just a minor example

anyway, nice 2 hear u were well fed, housed and had a safe trip

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houyhnhnm is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2009
sorry "the sitrep wont change (in my opinion) till there is....

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Abe reckons...

Posted August 3, 2009
After Oz Story tonight, I reckon your $10 from Dirk is looking good. Possibly not the $10 from me. Chris Uhlman's comments were very damning.

Think the gummint will use the Oz Story focus on utegate to release the ANAO report (which has reportedly been drafted for circulation, but doesn't need to be tabled until the end of the month apparently) in the next week or two. They might then let it die down a bit and then orchestrate another little flurry in the summer with the AFP report before calling an early election in say Feb or March.

Alternatively, they could go Blitzkrieg and pull out the AFP report sooner than later, in which case my guess is (i) you'll take $10 from me too (as Bulli won't see 1 Dec) and (ii) we're looking at a double dissolution election in Nov, with Julie Bishop leading the Libs and going down like a dog's dinner.

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hughesy would have you know...

Posted August 3, 2009
Very pleased to entertain birmo and bergers in my little neck of the woods.

BTW JB - that gooey stuff on my pate turned out to be pomegranate molasses. mmmmm, pomegranate molasses

See you tomorrow.

And Nowhere B - get in touch - I need to speak to you about events people to contact

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Sounds like an excellent weekend.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe is gonna tell you...

Posted August 4, 2009
Think he's toast...

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25877628-5013871,00.html

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2009
Abe, they can't leave the seat vacant. Who do you see in it?

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted August 4, 2009
Just leave the tenner on the fridge, Abe.

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Respond to 'North Coast Weekend.'

And while you're at it... another challenge.

Posted July 29, 2009 by John Birmingham
Imagine you're the new (Post Wave) Poet Laureate of the US.

It's your first gig at the (western) White House.

You're reading from your first epic bit, entitled, 'The Disappearance'.*

Gimme what you got, poets, it may be your only shot at mass market publication.

And don't be too upset if I totally cut and paste your couplets in with somebodyelse's.

Like William Burroughs used to do.

* For those poetically incline coming here from Twitter, the Disappearance is wot happened in my last book, Without Warning. One day, everyone in Nth America just Disappeared. Much post apocalyptic hilarity ensued.

55 Responses to ‘And while you're at it... another challenge.’

NBlob mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
Excellent work JB. I line my poet traps with sharpened stakes, but had never thought to bait one with kudos.

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damian would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
Hee:

And now for once, you must try to face the facts.

Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.

Not a submission, but homage to the above named late, magnificently awful poet

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
I'm not a poet,

And I know it.

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
Hmmm...a challenge.

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DrYobbo ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
There once was a man from Nantucket...

which was lucky for him really since the Wave ate most of the rest of the US.

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Twitted by JohnBirmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
[...] This post was Twitted by JohnBirmingham [...]

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
Jen is soooo going to own this one. Mind you, Dr Y's classical approach has merit.

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DrYobbo reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
Actually scratch that, for some reason I thought Nantucket was in Alaska.

There once was a man from Nantucket...

but now there isn't.

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Medway would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
I went to the loo

to do a big poo

when when I looked down

there was nothing to be found

surely a big plop

secures the dramatic plot

But sound is a sound

and there was no one else around

my hearing was declining, that is for sure

but the pressure and effort was for something more

else i wouldn't have released such vile

so leaving the room I thought "Do I have piles?"

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Lobes asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
There once was a girl from Wasilla

The only survivor in a Techno Thrilla

She avoided the Wave

Not by being brave

But by being out on tundra with drillas

;-)

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Brian asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Jeez . . . .poetry, yet.....

Stuff that . . . .a concert.

Springsteens 'Born in the USA' . . .'The Devil came Down to Georgia' . . . .AC/DC "Highway to Hell". . . Jackson's 'Thriller'. . .'All Along the Watchtower' . . .'Khe San'. . .a singing fat lady.

I couldn't work in the 7th Cavalrys signature tune . . .Garry Owen. PIty . . .an allusion to Custer would have been cool.

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
I wake up everyday it’s a daydream

Everything in my life ain’t what it seem

I wake up just to go back to sleep

I act real cool but I’m in too deep

And all I care about is sex and violence

A machine-gun is my kind of silence

Y'all say I got to get a grip

But I let sanity give me the slip

(With Apologies to Dizzee Rascal)

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Tony Foley ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
Damn! haven't read "Without Warning". Sounds like it's right up my alley.

From the cornfields of Iowa, silence...

From the plains of montana, silence...

From the streets of Chicago, wind...

Lady Liberty mute.

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Thor ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
These now empty unquiet miles abhorrent

As if some giants hands pickd clean

Of life and vibrant ugly human kind

The voices gone the roads un traffickd

A twisted authors daydream horror

Now the dawn beyond a dream

Breaks daily and those left

Wish to forget

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Michael would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
Shadows on the prairie,

Rustling in the grass,

A tree branch creaking in the breeze,

The Disappearance coming fast.

A boot print with no boot to fill it,

A empty, swinging tire,

A broken truck with none to drive it,

Resting in the mire.

The Disappearance comes, they say,

Not tomorrow, but yesterday,

As empty streets yawn on and on,

Yesterday, there is no-one.

No-one comes and no-one sees,

And no-one hears the creaking trees,

The night that falls is cold and dark,

The sky itself has grown stark.

There are no stars, nor moon, this night,

Because there is no living sight,

The Disappearance claimed it all,

The planet rests in deathly pall.

There is no sadness, nor alarm,

For those have vanished too,

There is no rising of the sun,

Because there is no me, or you.

There is no way to stop it,

No way to wind it back,

Because the very point of this,

Is that it all turns black.

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lostatlunch puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Maya Angelou is rolling in her pile of gloop.

By The Darkman

The nation has gone

the mightest has fallen

the vultures circle and feed from the corpse,

Then from the west

where the liberals reside

the spirit abides

a nations staggers and stubles

and looks to the light

the dawn rises over the east

... Fergawdsakes JB, you earn the bucks, you fix it up

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Patricia mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
One day we woke up to silence

One day we woke up to emptiness

One day we woke up to chaos

Armageddon upon us

A holy war unleashed

The fortress breached from within

(to be continued)

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John Lease would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
We are the ones who have remained.

The ones that are here to see.

What we have become our world of the free.

We remember those that have gone.

But we dont feel we need to pine.

The world that has been created we will make stonger with time.

We will bring together those peoples of the world that are with us.

To ensure that this world is stronger in God we trust.

John just something off the top of my head I hope u like but "Without Warning" is a book that I cant stop thinking about. It is a book that will go down as a master in literature.

thx John

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Steven Danno would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
There was an old farmer from Young

Who made little balls out of dung

He'd shape them and roll them

And try to control em

By keepin' them under his tongue

True story, well nearly true he kept maggots under his tongue when he went trout fishing but couldnt get maggot to rhyme with 'ung'

Hope you written yourself into a corner with this one JB, I think epic poetry has seen its day after Tolkein croaked but a lofty ambition all the same

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Brian mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
*He died with a techno-thriller in his hands*

Early one cold winter morning,

On the fridge we discovered a note.

The US had moved out without warning -

"Screw y'all, suckers!", quote/unquote.

Though they'd left all the bills half-unpaid,

And dishes stacked-up in the sink,

We were not upset or dismayed,

For now there was more beer to drink.

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
Birmingham! First the insult to American "cowboys" - now the slight to American poets... Admit it; you hate the US. The wave is your way of dispensing of what you cannot have. What did the editors say about your "cowboy" cliches?

J.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
John Lease, thx buddy. Quite like that opening line of yrs.

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Bendweb swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
Men and women, children all

Millions of us vanished

Buildings burned and choked the earth

Our innocence was banished

With one fell swoop the wave destroyed

The lives and loves we'd known

Sweet Liberty and Uncle Sam

Unseated from their throne

But from the farthest point northwest

A light dawned bright and clear

Noble deeds and love prevailed

To drive away the fear

A shared resolve to build again

The country we revere

And when we're done to not forget

The ones no longer here

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DrYobbo would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
SJS, that's NO way to talk to the captain of your nation's cricket team. Respect the baggy green red and blue stripy thing.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
SJS : 'What did the editors say about your “cowboy” cliches?'

Err..? . . .Yippee Kiyay? . . .err . . .Yeeha?

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JB’s poetry challenge at The Blue Corner swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
[...] The brief was: Imagine you’re the new (Post Wave) Poet Laureate of the US. [...]

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
Classic quote ; "Yahh mule, yaah . . ' . . . .Y. Sam

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Nick is gonna tell you...

Posted July 29, 2009
We say to those who left us:

We Remain

We Rebuild

We Remember

America Abides

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
All right, like the rest, ya get this straight from head ta paper first draft.

Our Nation once strong, its still here today

The envy of some, others wish us away.

The wave, it arrived like a biblical menace

wrought terror, destruction, some called it penance.

But now its our time,

once more we shall shine.

With true friends discovered and our enemies defined.

Our Nations still strong, still proud, we're not meek

With help from our friends, in time we shall peek.

Opportunity it knocks, we might wind back the clock, those things we did wrong, shall we re write that song.

This future , this plan , some say its too grand, but with toil and sweat we'll rebuild our great land.

Hope, Faith aspiration we need, keep sowing those seeds of freedom, not greed.

As time trickles by, prosperity shall follow, but keep your gun close at hand, as you furrow and plan.

our Country, our freedom its all still at there, make it better, make it stronger, don't ever despair.

Liberty and justice, free men we are still, the land of free men, hope glory and strong will.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
I want to give it a shot, but am hella busy. Is there a time limit on this thing?

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
Coupla weeks.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
'Coupla weeks'

Prolly take that long for all the limericks to work out of our systems.

Havock's effort deserves a gold star but . . .

The mental image of him sitting around composing this stuff is right entertaining. Personally I did all me better work in pole dancing clubs.(used to get free tickets . . .and snacks)

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
Reasonable.

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Patricia mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
can you lot stop rhyming?

that is just not on...

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
PNB..REASONABLE!....FUCKING REASONABLE. down right go dam generous I reckon, seeing as all the rest of us had a crack straight up, non of this bloody I'M BUSY SHIT, stop having them nanny naps during the day ya big god dam sook and get crackin, before we dispatch some ...members to deal with ya. Poor form...very, very..very poor form

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
The joints been fucked over, I reckon ya could say. That sheet thing, the wave, its gone washed'em all away.

Yippe i shout, long with other here about, no bull shit, bad films and fucking about.

have a laugh, its them, not us thank fuck.

Just imagine the planet with the seppos still here, killing and burning, seems it bout all they know.

Can't build cars, can't run plants, fuck it up is there gift, that wave thing, OH YEAH, it gave the fuckers a short shift.

I guess we should help, not much, just a bit.

After all we all know, most yanks are just gits

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2009
I'd write you a poem, a masterful prose

laden heavy with words, that nobody knows.

Alas, I despair, I haven't the time, I'm working my arse, thats why that I cry.

How long do we have, an extension if you please, my names PNB, I'm a god overseas.

I'll return, after all, but I'll check out the comp, get some ideas and maybe then write.

Alas, I'm bust, gotta run from this fight.

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Brian mutters...

Posted July 29, 2009
See . . .a little praise and there's no shutting him up.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2009
NAH...IT WAS PNB BRIAN..lol

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2009
Havock... the Rupert McCall of Bacchus Marsh.

Here would be placed an emoticon to suggest I mean that in good humour but as I believe emoticons are the currency of the stupid, I will refrain.

;-)

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houyhnhnm ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2009
these last two blogs read quite blatantly as if you're using the position to garner intellectual property, ie, other people's ideas for your own use. this is not my criticism, by all means go for it. my criticism is that if that's the intention, then go where the result will be exhaustive...these blogs won't cut it

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Monster Yuppy asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
This has been one of the more fun pieces that I have read

A ditty about all of the Seppos turning up dead

A big "wave", was what JB said...

Could only have been better, if done by Zed

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jennicki reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
Havock, you are a natural!

Michael, I really really like yours!

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Brian mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2009
Uhhm . . . yeah . .. .hmm.

Houey sounds like he's getting screwy.

Ahh . . .shoot . . .you got me talking in rhyme, i hate that . . .it tales time . . .y'know? . . . to stop the flow . . .

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brentcu reckons...

Posted July 29, 2009
Our Debt of Duty

Fifty stars rest on the blue of our flag,

Forty seven rest in peace.

A triad of the young will stand tall

Where their elders have fallen,

And give their blood of freedom,

Proving through that long night,

Against all enemies,

Under rockets, under bombs and under Wave

That our flag is still there, Our land remains free,

Our people evermore brave.

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NataliatheRussianSpy asserts...

Posted July 29, 2009
These opening lines came pretty quick:

They had no warning.

Despite it calling

In whispers and a shout.

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2009
These opening lines came pretty quick:

They had no warning.

Despite it calling

In whispers and a shout.

We picked it up and ran with it, a mess we made, the norm. Go off we do, on tanged too, its what this mobs about

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Michael ducks in to say...

Posted July 30, 2009
Thanks, Jen!

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Marian Dalton reckons...

Posted July 30, 2009
(found this challenge via Twitter - hope this is the right place for an entry!)

We mourn for those who are gone

For every loved one not beside us

For every hole in our lives

We hold the questions in our hearts

And even now, cling to slowly-fading hope

That one day we will understand

But we do not mourn America

There is no headstone for America

For America is more than the cities that lie silent

Crumbling towers and paper blowing in the streets

More than the cars abandoned on the interstates

Doors open as though every driver just got out and walked away

More than the empty houses with their photographs on the mantels

and the schools with their dust-covered desks

echoing with long-gone laughter

America is the memories we carry with us

and the dreams we will never give up

America is the strength of our hands

Reaching to lead each other out of the dark

America is every man, every woman, every child

Who says 'we will not lay down and die'

Who says 'we will rise again'

We do not mourn America

We are America

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 31, 2009
Quick JB, close the trap now.

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jennicki mutters...

Posted August 2, 2009
Just got my copy of WW so I'm studyin' up!!

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 3, 2009
Did anyone read Ray Bradbury's Poem America in the latest edition of The Saturday Evening Post?

http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/06/25/art-literature/fiction-poetry/ray-bradbury-america.html

You know, that poem fits the bill but you'd have to sell off quite a few of the hovercraft in order to get that into the book.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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DK puts forth...

Posted August 5, 2009
Laughing and weeping... well here's an attempt:

Letter To My Vanished Mother

Dear Mother,

How are you?

I have good news.

I finally have that inner city apartment you wanted me to get,

With good parking facilities.

In a quiet neighbourhood.

Close to the city centre, yet away from the hustle and bustle.

I'm eating less these days,

That's what you said I should do right?

I'm not seeing my ex-wife so much these days,

Or the kids,

Or you.

I miss you all,

In America.

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted August 18, 2009
Not seen, deeply felt

did the Wave strike,

The blow snatched my loves away.

The night wind did blow on a silent and burning land.

Cities bright, glowing red in the dark,

drowning the sky with poison.

All that was left of you, my love-

a smoking little pile of goo.

And I, whom was away, yet I still remain

grief my refrain.

By my own hand did I nearly die -

for Alone shredded my heart.

Somewhere though; however faint, still remained some spark

that bent my will to live.

Through the long months We all worked (to forget my pain)

striven to survive to return to our land,

as Chaos and the Four Horsemen rode the wide world

leaving wrack and woe in their wake.

Til we reached the end of wait, the Wave standing no more.

Now we begin again, from west to east

wrest from sorrow's feast our dreams -

and to love once more,

as the Eagle becomes Phoenix.

First draft. I'm not sure I like it though.

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Traps for old players.

Posted July 20, 2009 by John Birmingham
The ladies of the household were both occupied with ladylike goings-on yesterday, leaving Thomas and I to amuse ourselves for the better part of the day. I had Stargate Continuum recorded on the magic TV box and had been saving it for a post deadine sesh, but the day was bright and warm and the park beckoned first, so we repaired down the hill with a frisbee and football.

I decided, having lost so much weight and improved my fitness that I was gonna give him a harsh lesson in the sort of tricks old lions can get up to in winter, and for a good half hour I was all over the wee devil. Then, a poor frisbee toss saw the disc pop up high and fall into no man's land between us. Thomas saw his chance and took off. Right, I thought, we're not having that. And so I engaged the hyperdrive and lit out at maximum warp aiming to reach the estimated impact point well before him.

RRRRIIIIIIPPPPPPP.....

That's not the actual sound a hamstring makes when it fails spectacularly. But that's what it feels like deep inside your leg.

Because no matter how much weight I've dropped, or how much excerise I've done, there simply is no way that 88 kilos of 45 year old aged beef can cover twenty metres of open ground from a standing start as quickly as 17 kilos of sugar powered spring chicken.

Much limping, a hot bath and a very large glass of red wine later we settled down to watch Stargate instead.

28 Responses to ‘Traps for old players.’

Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
Don't you mean '45 year old aged and marinated beef'?

yep none of us of getting any younger. the only upsdie is that I know you've got three years on me!!

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2009
And why is it that next time we go out to kick a ball around we forget the pain of the previous time? Ah yes, that's right, its called alcohol.

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simon bedak ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
Ouch, baby. If you can find one, grab an old fashioned three-armed Flo-Bo to play with in the park. Much more chance of getting it stuck in a tree and forgetting about it than a Frisbee.

Nice tasty read. Get better soon.

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drej mumbles...

Posted July 20, 2009
Thats the problem with those aging hyperdrives, punching max warp always carries higher risk of suffering either some form of minor structural integrity failure as in your case, or even more embarrassingly, total loss of containment.

Best remember, "old age and treachery..."

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YB has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
A hammy can actually 'pop'. I've heard it. Two people vomited. All the best getting better, and enjoy the teev sessions. I'm on a paint miniatures and teev marathon due to being sidelined by the flu. Joy.

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
Tough work being a Spartan sometimes.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 20, 2009
LMAO.... The good news.mmmmm. THERE IS NONE. But to impart some HARD FUCKING WON WISDOM, be prepared for the following.

1 He will at some point bowl a bouncer at you and almost take your head off.

2 A tackle ( football), will be laid, it won't be you doing the laying either, which WILL result in your arse being splattered on the ground.

3 A day is coming where the phrase, " You have to come home at some point", will be uttered by you, its a result o you no longer being FAST enough to catch the little shit.

We have not YET, hit the point where he can bench press more than me..alas, its approaching I suspect.

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MickH has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
so if the hammy is gone, it's off to the hospital for a stay?

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Flinthart ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
Owtch. Fortunately, I limit my competitive suff with the kids to the mats in the dojo, where experience really counts. I know better than to try and take 'em from a standing start...not the hams with me, but the knees.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted July 20, 2009
Ouch, at least it was in a good cause.

PS any thoughts on parallel importation of books? I'd have more respect for the idea if the buggers had gone after the GST on books first.

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Domestic Daze asserts...

Posted July 20, 2009
So good to see another forty-cough loudly person growing old in such a wonderfully disgraceful way. Keep up the good work!

Hope the leg is on the mend for you.

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houyhnhnm@yahoo asserts...

Posted July 20, 2009
since i suspect that u r quadreped, rather than simian, and notwithstanding the obvious differences, i empathise, to the extent that that is possible. How's the hock? so to speak. However, one suspects that the efforts reulting in hamstring problem are a result of being hamstrung, by stubborn pride. "get thee behind, tarsal." Sorry, my tendon-ness appears to have departed prematurely

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savo has opinions thus...

Posted July 20, 2009
No fool etc.

Wait until the two of them work out, that by co-operating, they can bring down the old man.

You'll be on the plus side of 50...

snigger snigger snigger

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Patricia puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2009
JB - i have great tips for recuperating on that one:

[a] there's this dude in Sunnybank, does cupping and bleeds you - not as painful as it sounds and it works wonders name of Lewis Lee Accupuncture;

[b] go to a physio- a good one- my one is in Kelvin Grove and looks after the Broncos- Optima Sports Therapy ;

[c] yoga - there's actually a yoga physio out there try www.yogaphysio.com.au - you'll be back on you feet in no time.

I just did my ankle in on Saturday, and did the RICE thing, and yoga. I'm maintaining range of motion and flexibility with yoga and cycling, but hammies are another matter. Also seeing both my physio and my accunpuncturist. Be careful, at 45 it takes longer to heal

Happy 45 by the way!

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sparty ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
on the subject of sport...one nil, one nil, one nil .....

although you have my apologies on the catch Strauss claimed.....

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2009
Yeah, they ain't growin' replacement parts in tin buckets yet so one had best watch themselves as they advance past forty.

I'm getting there myself. Things don't heal quite the way they used to.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob mutters...

Posted July 21, 2009
Murph 20/7/09 22:42.

"growin’ replacement parts in tin buckets "

Please please please please please (ad nauseum)

C'mon - what's your VA hospitals doin over there? In Bobworld they're the goto guys for bit culture & replacement. *

With the cold my knee is starting to pain me - might be time to get some of the shark fin gear.

*Bobworld may or may not bear much in common with reality.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted July 21, 2009
Given the warnings now laid out here, I'm shocked i have done this and shall continue. Seems that with cricket season upon us, the gym set being firmly established in the shed an the fact the shed is CLEAN ( has been for a while shock horror), I have a the eldest pestering, taken up sessions with him on a nightly basis. THIS, started SUNDAY.

WTF went through my head I have NO FUCKING IDEA!, the WHOLE god dam body is killing me and we are due tonight AGAIN......THIS will end badly. But ya have to do it....

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted July 21, 2009
I should also point out for those who have not perhaps observed such, that Injuries tend to occur more frequently the older you get. Now, whats not been noticed, or has but stated incorrectly is the JB is NOW, approaching 50, not 44, not 45, but approaching 50...... thats really starting to wind the OLD clock up a bit.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted July 21, 2009
But Havoc, he doesn't seem that old. Hell, he glides across the floor like some rapper in a Spike Lee Movie.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2009
Murph...that glidin shit...its the wheel chair, they only shoot him from the waist UP

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Steven Danno would have you know...

Posted July 21, 2009
Have you noticed the inverse relationship between pain/suffering/disability and sympathy/tenderness/additional lurvin from our significant others? Not that in my case sympathy/tenderness/additional lurvin were ever on the cards anyway but are noticably even more absent in the case of serious and debilitating injury. The only caveat might be JB when the injury occurs while in the service of the War Office, instead of doing things designed to enhance enjoyment, fitness and healthy outdoor living that isnt gardening, house painting, digging holes cleaning up dog shit, transplanting perfectly happy giant shrubs, cleaning out gutters... an injury sustained in these pursuits would be because you weren't doing it properly...I don't mean to go on but sheeeeit..Good luck with your recovery, do you retain control of the remote? That is the final ignominy in my view when that is taken from us.

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Otto is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2009
At 44 I decided to go back to cricket after 15 years off. Survived the first game - but could not walk for a week. Second was rained off, but the physio appointment was booked for the tennis elbow from batting practice. Third was a 1 day game at which I excelled by hitting some runs. On the last ball of the match, while trying for the winning run I tore my left calf muscle and right hamstring.

The physio laughed a lot on the Monday morning.....

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 21, 2009
Ah yes, Steven, those poor, happy stupid shrubs. Why can't they just be left alone?

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 21, 2009
ROTFLMAO. My return to cricket lasted two hours, at a drunken bucks party. The next day I was in so much pain I could not even lift my head from the pillow.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2009
yeah but I'll bet you were not training at that time either JB. Its the reason I have started the gym sessions already, I don't want a week off to recover from the FIRST training session. Squats will get incorporated next week or this keeper might end up pulling all sorts of muscles.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2009
Jumping box squats Mr Havock. There is no substitute for quality.

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NukemHill has opinions thus...

Posted July 22, 2009
Well, I guess I'm in good company. Shortly after bragging about my wonderful exercise program, I torqued my back. I've been on and off the regimen for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I'm going back tonight for the first time in a week. Hopefully, it'll go well.

It really sucks, because part of the point of my exercising is to strengthen my back so as to avoid fucking it up!!!!.

Yeah. How's that workin' out for you Greg?

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Respond to 'Traps for old players.'