Cheeseburger Gothic

It's ... er... research

Posted March 13 into Games by John Birmingham

Seriously thinking of getting this game simply because the open world design looks very similar to what I'll have to do with Zero Day Code (minus zombies).

For those not up with current events, ZDC is my End-of-the-World Patreon project that just got picked up by Audible. It's The Stand, without a supernatural meta story. (Or Days Gone without the running dead).

13 Responses to ‘It's ... er... research’

she_jedi mutters...

Posted March 13
Research is critical. You should get onto this :)

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted March 13
I don't know if it's research but it does look like something I could sink enormous hours of time into.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 13
Over at Kotaku reviewed it thus "Jason, Kirk and Maddy touched on Days Gone recently in the Splitscreen podcast, describing it as "the most AAA-arse video game" imaginable. That's basically saying that Days Gone tries to merge every possible mechanic and system from every other AAA open-world game in recent memory, and after three hours with the game myself, it's pretty accurate".

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted March 13
My video game playing days are behind me. I look at the quality of what these games offer these days and sigh wistfully. On the plus side i have 5 acres to look after and nurture (semi sarcasm intended)

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 13
Five acres, eh? That'll come in handy when the dead rise up. Apropos of nothing... where do you live? And do you keep weapons?

FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted March 14
ha. Not going to tell you city dwellers!

(it's out between Lithgow and Bathurst). The land is poor for farming but doesn't stop cows and sheep. Also some very handy nature reserves and state forests on the doorstep for exploring. Unfortunately the nearest pub is about 10kms away.

jl mutters...

Posted March 14
Rural life, you have to drive a lot. Has its upsides, though. Quiet, roomy, and clear fields of fire against threatening hosts of the undead.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted March 14
Zombie hoardes? No problem but if it gets into the wombat population we're all screwed. Those little tanks of blood thirsty one minded purpose? Zombats has to be a good b movie right?

Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted March 15
Zombats!! It could be a classic! Followed up by the inevitable DropBears and Pozzoms. Has to be shown on all flights into Oz as a documentary.
Reminds me of the Japanese hioneymoon couple in Cairns that called the front desk to tell us there was a wani in their room. Wani being crocodile which truned out to be a gekko.

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rainburger has opinions thus...

Posted March 13
Really looking forward to this, It sounds great, the audible deal just makes it sweeter. When does it come out?

Also, I don't keep up with your news as well as I could, so I will just ask. Any news on WW3.1?

Also been hanging for new Dave for quite a while and was wondering about that as well.

Sorry to pester, I just love your writing and am generally impatient.

Keep it up John.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 14
WW 3.1 should be drafted in about five weeks. It's my primary title now. Dave is delayed at the bar.

Rob mumbles...

Posted March 15
more Dave. Maybe just sell the rights to Netflix? just sell it as a Orc-romcom with embiggining. That'll work.

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Oldy reckons...

Posted March 15
It looks great. Like GTA San Andreas only with this decade's graphics.

Also, I'm busting for WW 3.1. Axis of Time was my intro to all things Birmo, and I'm especially fond of Ivanov and your Prince Harry. Keen.

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"The horror, the fkn horror, mate"

Posted March 12 by John Birmingham

The Herald today has a fascinating obit for an old digger, "Barry Petersen was an Australian army captain who led top secret CIA operations in the highlands during the Vietnam War."

He wasn't the model for Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. (That was arguably US army Colonel Davd Hackworth) but like Kurtz "he got too close to the natives and the CIA wanted him out, dead or alive."

Petersen got on well with the Montagnard, particularly the Rade tribe who lived around the highland city of Ban Me Thuot. He learnt their language, honoured their customs and traditions, including drinking the potent rice wine. He paid them well with CIA money and armed them with CIA-supplied guns.

Even though he was operating alone in the mountains, Petersen was so successful that within a year he had more than 1000 Montagnard militia fighters using the same guerrilla tactics as the Viet Cong – ambush the enemy, hit hard and disappear into the jungle.

The communists learnt to go around Petersen’s territory rather than take him on. They put a price on Petersen’s head, but his militia kept a close guard on him.

He was extremely popular with his men. They declared the Australian officer a demi-god, and showered him with honoured brass armbands denoting him a tribal chief.

At his home he kept a pet sun bear and a baby leopard he’d been given by one of his men. Petersen’s militia became known as the Tiger Men because of the striped jungle camouflage uniforms he’d obtained from the CIA warehouse. He had snarling tiger head badges made for their berets to make the various Montagnard tribes in his units feel united.

But after almost two years in the highlands with the Montagnard tribesmen, Petersen’s relations with the CIA soured. Some CIA agents thought Petersen was becoming too successful, and getting too close to the Montagnard.

After that, things did not go well. They didn't send Martin Sheen after him, but his command was terminated, with prejdice.

Full obit is here.

5 Responses to ‘"The horror, the fkn horror, mate"’

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted March 12
And yet, here we are, knowing so little about a man and his deeds that at first blush appear to be extraordinary. One might well find that its all political bullshit as usual, but we should not let that deviate us from acknowledging his rather heroic efforts!

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jl mutters...

Posted March 12
Going native is an occupational hazard. Godspeed, LTC Petersen.

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Naut reckons...

Posted March 13
He wrote a book Tiger Men which is worth a read. Pretty full-on story

Naut swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 13
It actually reminded me of some of the Coast Watcher stories from WWII.

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damian reckons...

Posted Saturday
Of course, Apocalypse Now is a movie adaption of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and that’s where the Kurtz character comes from. In practice sure it’s possible that Coppola had a modern inspiration, and it’s a pretty neat idea, but it isn’t a necessary one.

There are some really interesting learnings from Heart of Darkness in relation to current debates on a number of issues, but that’s a separate concern.

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Captain Marvel is good

Posted March 11 into Movies by John Birmingham

I took in this film on the weekend with Jane. It was good. That's really all the review you need, but this being the internet, fapping wankbadgers require I do more.

I'll fess up that I didn't know the Captain Marvel character before watching this film. I did read a long, explanatory thread on the Twitz, by the author Wesley Chu as I recall, who laid out the entire fascinating history while standing in a car park after a date.

His date abandoned him, but at least I got a great thread to read. Long story short, Captain Marvel go caught up in an IP dispute between US and UK comic publishers who finally swapped the character's gender and name to avoid a copyright suit.

Perfect. I love it.

Having no investment the canon I came at the movie without preconceptions. Honestly, I found the first Act a little confusing. But it quickly became obvious why. Brie Larson's character Carol Danvers is still discovering her own history and her imperfect memory is far from a reliable narrator. If you find yourself thinking, "What the fuck is going on here?" it's because the writers and producers WANT you to be thinking exactly that.

For fans of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, the main narrative sequence predates the events of last year's Infinity War by about twenty years. Larson's character, who undergoes a number of name changes as she recovers her memories and personal history (but is never once called Captain Marvel) arrives on Earth in the 1990s, literally dropping into a Blockbuster Video store. Even back then, it's looking dilapidated and I did enjoy this piece of proactive retrofuturist nostalgia.

Speaking of which, Agents Coulson and Fury are much younger and largely unknown to each other. They haven't yet gone full to Men in Black mode, and Danver's arrival is a large part of the reason why they do, and why Fury eventually sets up the Avengers Initiative.

You dont need to know the plot. There's an alien war, it spill's over here. A lot of preconceptions are set up and turned over.

My bottom line is I enjoyed it hugely. Larson really makes the story and character arc work. By the end of the movie she is effectively Superman with a double X chromosome. Seriously, she would kick the Man of Steel's shiny ass. She'll be a great addition to the roster when the Avengers return.

11 Responses to ‘Captain Marvel is good’

Vovchara mutters...

Posted March 11
I will not say I am surprised. You liked "Last Ship" after all, and that show is a steaming pile of garbage. Good thing your taste in entertainment does not translate to your writing. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here.

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jl would have you know...

Posted March 11
I've not been in a theatre in a while, this film may do. Been curious about it since I saw the trailer.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted March 11
It was good fun.

jl asserts...

Posted March 12
Sold. Think I'll take my daughter this weekend.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted March 12
I take it you didn't take the kids? I'm finding that i give movies a better personal review if i watched it with the kids and they enjoyed it. If it gives them joy it notches my joy in the viewing experience up a few bars.

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HAVOCK21 has opinions thus...

Posted March 12
mmm sounds god, though I must say , she is a little hippy, but that's no real draw back I guess..

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Leftarc is gonna tell you...

Posted March 12
Loved it. Took the daughter and she enjoyed it too (not as much as Wonder Woman, but I think that is due to more people knowing about Wonder Woman than Captain Marvel). Funny, clever, confused at first but understanding at the end. Ticked all the boxes.
And as a white, middle aged, middle to upper class, straight, married male I did not feel threatened by this film in anyway.
Also, I reckon she will be able to lift Thor's hammer in End Game. Captain America moved it, and we know what he was made from.

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted March 12
I have to admit I was on board just for Nick Fury as Crazy Cat Gentleman, looking forward to this :)

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 12
I caught it last weekend and enjoyed immensely, a delightfuly snarky, confident character. My favourite line was when she told Jude Law's character she owed him nothing.

For those that read the comics a lot of excellent easter eggs, including the Stan lee cameo, and its always satisfying to see Australia's Ben Mendelsohn in scifi films.

Looking forward to seeing her kick Thanos ass.

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Oldy would have you know...

Posted March 15
I saw it last Sunday. Loved it.

Coming at it from 45yrs of Marvel (and DC) comics nerddom, I did enjoy the spin on different characters and... things.

It's just a scratch!

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted Monday
Now that I've seen it, it was awesome, and I loved it. Any movie where a cat is the MVP is instantly my new favourite :)

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iPad Pro Review for Handsome Nautilus

Posted February 25 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Handsome Naut asked about my new iPad Pro, and because he is such a handsome devil I could not possibly deny him a response. I'm working on it right now, in the local car wash while Jane's Mini is scrubbed 'til its belly button shines. Mobility is not why I bought one, though.
I have a heap of books coming out this year, which means a heap of manuscripts to edit and mark up, a job I normally do on my iPad.
When Random House sent me the 'first pass' page edit of THE CRUEL STARS a few weeks ago, it was obvious that my old (very old) early model iPad simply wasn't cutting it anymore.
I've been rocking the very first retina model fondle slab since about 2011, a testament to the longevity of these devices and a hint about why sales of new iPads tapered so dramatically after an explosive few years at the start. You just don't need to replace them very often.
Mine needed replacing.
A hundred thousand word document (MS Word because the publishing industry never learns) was taking fifteen seconds to load and juddering as though it had late stage Parkinson's whenever I tried to scroll or edit. As an aside, I'll fess up that Microsloth's iPad apps are really fucking good. I still find the Sloth's cloud sync service, OneDrive, to be super fucking confusing—I seem to have two subscriptions to it, but can't quite figure out why—but the apps themselves, Word in particular, are a joy to use on the slab.
Or they were in the past. My 2011 iPad was just too old to take advantage of the latest OS and applications. It also predated the Smart Keyboard cover so whenever I travelled for work I had to take a separate Bluetooth keyboard. (Well, I didn't have to, but, you know...). Finally, and this was a small but constant gripe, whenever I receive contracts for signing, it was a non trivial challenge to get my ink onto a desktop copy of the Word documents that most publishers, producers and agents tend to use. (Again, they never learn). An iPad with Apple Pencil would make that small frustration go away.


Last year's lower cost 'education' iPad shipped with Pencil support, and if the Pencil was my only concern it would probably be fine and a helluva lot cheaper than a Pro level pad. But although I do a lot of my thinking with pad and pencil, I do all my writing with Scrivener and that app LOVES a big screen. It's at its best on my 27" iMac, but the iPad app, like Word, has been redesigned for mobile from the deck plating up. It is a pleasure to use on the iPad but even more of pleasure on the big arse 12.9" Pro.

Could I write a whole book on this thing?

Hell yes. People used to scratch whole books into thin pieces of bark with tiny twigs dipped in a fermented badger pee. I could easily write a book on this thing. Or do a university degree. Or file copy for magazines if magazines were a thing that still existed in the world. The hardware is more than capable. What you can do with it comes down to software. I stripped out a lot of the shit that crept onto my old pad over the years, and loaded core apps I knew for sure I would use for work. Scrivener, Drafts, Patreon, Dropbox Paper, Save the Cat (a great screenplay structuring app), utilities like One Password and so on.
The functionality of some software is nowadays as good as the desktop variants. Sometimes the user experience is even better. Looking at you, Word.
But file management remains a challenge. Books generate a lot of files. Not just chapters, but story notes, character bios, research, maps and so on. Individual apps like Scrivener can be almost Bento-box like in their elegant storage of all the little bits and pieces of a project. But there's a reason a lot of people are holding out to see whether the next iOS spins off an iPad specific version.
So, Naut, how does it shape up?
I love this thing.
The screen is insane, super hi def and it puts out some dazzling colours, although the latter is not really an issue for word processing. I've also put a screen protector on mine that tries to mimic the feel of paper when you're using the Pencil. It does a fair job of that, and I use the Pencil a lot, but there is a trade off in loss of the super fine clarity that makes the Retina display a wonder. For me, with my failing eyes, that's less of an issue. But Handsome Naut's sparkling baby blue 20/20 peepers might not appreciate the trade.
The original reason I ponied up more than two grand was an ageing processor. No longer an issue. The Pro feels like its powered by the latest anti-matter warp drive. It fucking screams along, no matter what you're throwing at it. I'm not a spreadsheet user, but I can imagine this thing eating every number the world, burping and holding out a begging bowl for more, all in a blink.
The keyboard is better than merely usable, which is more than a lot of people would say about the keyboards on Apple's laptops nowadays. The chiclet style keys have a surprising amount of travel and a pleasing, if muted 'clickiness', which some regard as the very apogee of the keyboard maker's art. For what I do, typing words one after the other, it's fine. In some circumstances, like say when you're squeezed into the economy size seat on a domestic flight, it's a lifesaver. The redesign of the board's origami-like folds provides you with a compact work space that should let you keep working even after the dickhead in frontreclines their seat ALL the way back.
It's not a surface I'd care to type on for five or six hours at time, every day, but for a couple of hours when travelling, or even just moving around the house (as I am now, the car wash is done) it's a weapon.
There are two sizes, of course. Big and bigger. I went bigger.
The full size 12.9" Pro is too big to enjoy as a pure consumption device alone. It's fantastic to be able to read a newspaper or magazine page at that size. Comics are amazing. And Netflix is super chill. But it's a big ass piece of glass, in the end, and I would not use it for, say, reading a novel on iBooks or the Kindle app. It won't be comfortable. On the other hand, I do find myself streaming TV to this thing while it's propped up in its keyboard. The speakers are powerful and clear and do that magic trick of moving the audio around as you tilt the screen one way or another. And that screen, as I mentioned, is beautiful.
But big.
So very very big.
Would I buy one?
Duh, I just did.
But I had a use case, and a book advance, and a daughter at university who could score the educational discount for me (and a free pair of Beats headphones for the back-to-school promo). And my old iPad was so very old.
Your mileage may vary. But I've been more than happy with my purchase.

10 Responses to ‘iPad Pro Review for Handsome Nautilus’

jl has opinions thus...

Posted February 25
This might be the way to go for me. Our current crop of computers are aged (a 2011 iMac and MacBook Pro) and will need an upgrade soon. Swear by Apple products. Seriously. Won't buy anything else.

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted February 25
Well, if there was EVAAAAAAAR any fkn doubt about who's BITCH ya be, its been dispelled rather handsomely- MICROSLUT! BIMINGHUM!

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Naut mumbles...

Posted February 25
Hmmmm, while I am no writer I think it can fill my need. My life is mostly reviewing documents and taking notes in between flicking through selfies (your review doesn't cover the camera).

If we do go BYOD here then I think the very big version is the answer. Enough of a desktop replacement for someone that doesn't do any real work, along with the mobility to be effective in meetings. I had a play with the pencil at JB HiFi on the weekend and was suitably impressed.

I really just need to get OneNote to sync properly and I am set. Thanks for the review JB!

Oh and yes, for those that are wondering, I am that handsome.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 25
The camera is the same unit they put in the 10R. It's great. The best or second best in the market, depending on your feelings about the Pixel. But I'm not an animal, so I don't use my iPad as a camera.

Naut is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25
I think of it more as a mirror than a camera

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Rob puts forth...

Posted February 25
I had a go with my kid's ipad pro. The pencil and Procreate software is great, if someone gave me one I would use it and like it. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. So I will stick to turning photographs of my drawing work into vector graphics in Illustrator via my PC.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 1
My old iPad is getting to the stage where I may have to send it to a nursing home because it just takes too long to make a decision then occasionally blanks out and says something like "Colour TV will never happen". And my old laptop is already sitting in a chair singing snatches of nursery rhymes and dribbling on its shirt.
This could be the answer.

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted March 1
Most def need new tech

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted March 1
Mos' def.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted Saturday
Yeah the iPad Pro seems to do all I want from it and more, since it’s essentially an ultralight ultrabook. Dunno how “new” yours is, I got this one second half of last year, and the new one since then is incrementally better (mostly in terms of more screen and less bezel, but also there’s the new pencil and support for the old one to consider). I got the keyboard cover with mine, and being able to use that was the key point in deciding on the Pro (I had tried all the 3rd party Bluetooth keyboards that work with the non-pro version, and none were even close). The point is that even though it only runs iOS you can’t compare it with an android tab, it’s more in line with a Surface or one of the HP or Dell clones thereof, running a full MS Office. I’m still using my big old Dell gaming laptop for study (complete with two external screens and Endnote), and I have my work HP surface-clone, but the iPad is what I carry around all the time (and what I take to lectures when I have those). In practice I could easily take all three in a backpack (minus the external screens), but you always sort of stick to a weight rating and I don’t generally have a reason to carry all at once.

I have certainly lost all patience with people who have religious views one way or another on specific technology providers. It’s in “get a life” territory - imagine being so passionate about brands of kitchen tongs, socks or sausages.



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McCafe morning. (Please don’t tell anybody I wrote this.)

Posted February 21 into Writing by John Birmingham


I had to kill an hour in the city this morning. (Matter of fact, Dr Who-like, I’m there right now, but you’re not and it’s much later. Timey Wimey Magic!)
I had my new iPad Pro with me, thinking I’d test it out for mobile productivity. I love this fucking thing, and will write about it some more, but the tech wasn’t the issue this morning. It was the space.
Having an hour to fill while I was waiting for my daughter to get out of the orthodontist, I started casting around for somewhere to prop up and write a few pars.
Something I quickly discovered; the better the cafe, the less likely it is to provide Wi-Fi. Hence I ended up hanging with the red headed horror clown. AKA McCafe.
First impression. Going into the coffee business was a good deal for Ronald McDonald. My flat white and muffin cost more than they would have at a ‘real’ cafe. The quality was fine. Machine-tooled even. That’s one thing about Maccas. You know what you’re getting. Every. Goddamned. Time.
The Wi-Fi was free and fast, although having been lured there by the complimentary webz, I ended up using the city’s free network instead. No reason to the let horror clown in on my pornhub preferences. The city council, however, I’m fine with them knowing.
The Maccas I chose was in the middle of the Queen Street Mall, in the old Jo-Jo’s building. It was spacious, and having been recently fitted out it hadn’t yet taken on that depressing patina of an underground city on a post apocalyptic world. The air con was chilly, the table tops clean, and there was more than enough seating for me to hide myself away from the horde.
Crucially, after purchasing my coffee and muffin nobody hassled me to buy anything else. And to be honest, they wouldn’t have bothered me even if I’d just wandered in, hooked up to the net and started work.
I dunno that I’d want to try get any real work done here during the burger rush hour, but as a place to prop up and bang out a few quick words, it beat the shit out of cooler, better, realer cafes.
But if you tell anyone I wrote this, I'll straight up deny it and curse you for a damned liar.

9 Responses to ‘McCafe morning. (Please don’t tell anybody I wrote this.)’

Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted February 21
I'm not a fan of the Shrine of The Clown...but have found that their free wif-fi is handy when travelling overseas!

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted February 21
McDoodles is handy while waiting for a flight to land at Sydney Airport.

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tqft mumbles...

Posted February 21
That's a McCafe with recent work place relations issues, you may not have crossed a picket line, but some people avoid it on purpose.

You are not using a vpn?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted February 21
I haven't put my normal VPN on the iPad yet. It's very new. So all I did was write a couple of pars in the Bear app.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 21
What issues, btw? Wage theft, I'd imagine.

tqft puts forth...

Posted February 22
Working conditions
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/young-mcdonald-s-workers-terrified-to-ask-for-toilet-breaks-20190111-p50qwk.html

Also the owners of that store franchise have a reputation
https://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/mcdonalds-workers-told-they-cant-take-toilet-or-water-breaks-outside-of-designated-10minute-periods/news-story/ed8806059848c7799ffde0424302d85a

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Naut swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 21
Maccas has a role to play and their cookies and cream cheesecake is inoffensive.

Tell me more about the iPad Pro. We are discussing BYOD at work and an iPad Pro could become my device of choice

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jason mutters...

Posted February 22
I'm not judging you... but... can you please delete me from all correspondence and if possible erase my digital foot print on this site and any other you are a part of. I live in Brunswick, Melbourne and my hipster credibility will be seriously diminished if i have any connection at all to "that coffee".

jl mumbles...

Posted February 22
-Nods head in agreement while cruising through the drive-thru.

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Staffo's Excellent Song Service

Posted February 20 into Music by John Birmingham

Douglas Coupland it was who coined the term 'option paralysis'. The tendency when faced with limitless choices to make none at all. He obviously knew music streaming was coming all the way back when he wrote Generation X. I often find myself defaulting to the same old albums and playlists simply because I can't think of what else to do. Voice control systems like Siri and Alexa make it much worse.

That why Andrew Stafford's recent Patreon tweak intrigues me. Andrew is both a music writer and a sports writer. (An odd combo, but an oddly common one too. I can think of a few others I know working both those dodges). He set his Patreon up to write a personal musical memoir – a successful experiment which will see Something To Believe In published by UQP in July this year. This latest tweak is a song recommendation, every Monday morning.

He picks a track and writes it up. There's usually a YouTube link. Simple, but hard. I think it's a brilliant idea, partly because I'm in awe of people who can write about music. I can't. All the years I wrote for Rolling Stone I never once filed an album review or a report from a gig. I have zero fucking clues about how you'd even start. And yet in four or five hundred words every Monday, Stafford writes sharply about the experience of a particular song, and the context from which it comes to us.

His most recent mini essay was about Warren Zevon's 'My Shit's Fucked Up'.

He kindly let me steal the whole thing for you, (but if you dig it you should check out his page over here):

I was tipped off to this Warren Zevon song by the Beasts' cover version. Having listened to the original, frankly - even given their weight of recent experience - they don't get near it. Zevon's performance on Jools Holland (above) is if anything even more devastating. It's not exactly what you'd call an earworm, but it might haunt you to your grave instead.
You've probably heard Warren Zevon, even if you don't think you have. His best-known song, Werewolves Of London, was a hit for him in 1978 and covered by the Grateful Dead, among others. You can find it on his third album, Excitable Boy. The cover of that album makes him look like a new-waver, but he was closer to Neil Young than the Knack, and he didn't particularly want Werewolves, which he thought of as a novelty, to be the first single.
It was no novelty, though. The Go-Betweens and the Apartments taught me about the importance of great opening lines in songs and the first couplet of Werewolves is a pearler: "I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand / Walkin' through the streets of SoHo in the rain." Zevon was working a much weirder groove.
Back to this song, though. Zevon knew his way around a tune. His voice on this is crumpled, but the melody - and it's a good one - is fleshed out by the strength of his fingerpicking. Apparently, Zevon had a major phobia of doctors. One day, knowing things weren't quite right, he looked down in the bowl, and didn't like what he saw there.
So this song is an imaginary conversation with Zevon's imaginary doctor. It came out in 2000 on his album Life'll Kill Ya. It wasn't until two years after the album's release that Zevon was eventually diagnosed with mesothelioma, and he was dead a year later. You don't need to know any of that, though, to get what this song is about.
See, Zevon's not talking about his shit. Not literally, anyway. He's talking about his phobia and his resistance to change, because he knows that's what's going to get him in the end. If we can't confront the sources of our worst fears, the stuff that lies even deeper within us, we only end up manifesting them in the long run. And that's the fucked-up shit.
In this interview with David Letterman, a long-time friend and supporter of Zevon's, the songwriter reflects on mortality less than a year before his death, offering maybe the most pungent closing line in rock history as a piece of parting wisdom: "Enjoy every sandwich." Welcome to the working week!

I wish I could do this. But we all know I can't. Anyway, again, the page is over here.

4 Responses to ‘Staffo's Excellent Song Service’

Dirk reckons...

Posted February 21
Seeing the overwhelming amount of reactions on this post, I think all the Burgers are suffering from it. Free tip for somebody: start a podcast around this subject :)

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted February 21
You know it's good when you don't even notice how easy it is to read. Although maybe i should have left reading/watching this one till 2028. One teenage girl and another almost teenage girl in the house and the wheels are starting to fall off. I didn't need a reminder of my mortality this morning . . . . . or maybe i did? Means there's an end in sight :)

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 21
I love Warren's work had Rottweiler Blues for a doorbell tune for a while, "Don't knock on my door unless you know my rottweiler's name". I'd certainly suggest Youtube and his ex wife's biography.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 28
Part 1 of his last appearance on Letterman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hl9Tw2GzvA

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Respond to 'Staffo's Excellent Song Service'