Cheeseburger Gothic

I have logged out of Twitter

Posted May 3 into House keeping by John Birmingham

Like, literally. I haven't deactivated or deleted my account. I simply logged out. I did delete the app from my phone (and wrote about it) last year, but I found myself sliding back to the toxic bird's nest via Safari. So I tried to delete Safari.

Not possible.

I looked for site blocking options. Not possible on iOS.

So instead I've logged out, hoping that the simple speed bump of having to log back in will prevent me from mindlessly scrolling my time line, especially during the election. It is almost entirely shit. And toxic political shit at that.

I have books to write. I don't have time for shit. I do have reason to turn the fire hose of Twitter traffic on at Blunty or even here sometimes, but I know I can just login to do that. Then log back out.

Oddly enough, I feel zero compunction to browse Facebook. But I logged out there too on general principles.

7 Responses to ‘I have logged out of Twitter’

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted May 3
Well I think Twiter and facebook are a little poorer for your absence but it sounds like it was the right choice for you.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted May 5
Twitter is like bad fast food. Facebook is good fast food. Both have little to no nutritional value, both come with more fat & salt than you need in a month, but at least Facebook tastes good like the Colonel's hot&spicy.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted May 6
I would say the opposite! although maybe bad fast food and worse. I'm not really sure why i'm bothering with twitder either. The interesting articles are getting further and further apart. I hear more and more people doing the JB thing. Rats/sinking ship and all that. (not that i'm saying JB is a rat . . . just a bit smarter than the rest of us)

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 6
I still enjoy dropping in every now and then, but I've become really concerned about mindless scrolling and time suckage.

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted May 7
I'll admit to being a bit of a FB tragic (useful for not only time wastage but family connections and clubs/sports stuff)....but I have not ever had any truck with Twunter.

Dave W would have you know...

Posted May 7
And as for that Whatsapp thingy, or snapchat and instragram...I think I reached my technical dotage with Facebook.

My employer wants us all to be using Teams to communicate with each other. There are no words for this feeling.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted May 9
Not an FB devotee. Stopped regularly using twitter last year.occasionally I'll look at it now and then and a few times a year post pics of country pubs when I'm on a drunkytour. and abuse people.BB King once sang;

"The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away."

Yeah, the fun of Tweeterville seems to have left the building.

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Comments

Posted February 5 into House keeping by John Birmingham

Quite a few peeps have emailed and messaged me directly about being unable to comment. I’m aware the comment fuction is wobbly and will probably get some renovation work done on it in the next few weeks, depending on cost. But I’m also looking at a site overhaul and don’t want to burn money on work which I then throw away in a month or so.

4 Responses to ‘Comments’

HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted February 5
Sheeez. If I can make it work then those that are somewhat disenfranchised with the functionality might want to reconsider their positions.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted February 5
Mine did a double post a couple of days ago but i was working off the mobile.

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted February 5
Perhaps the site has become sentient and is moderating your readers comments based on its definition of the commentee's status as a favourite? If this is the case I welcome our AI overlords, please don't kill me :D

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Naut ducks in to say...

Posted February 5
All my comments are appearing with less wit and cutting insight than they had when I typed them.

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Free martinis

Posted February 1 into House keeping by John Birmingham

The post below is an extract from The Seven Stages of Drinking Martinis, the anthology I collected over two years of writing Alien Side Boob. But specifically the non ranty, non political bits. Looking back, they're my favourites.

Because I've grown so weary and sick in my soul of social media, I'm making a real effort to pour the energy I would've spent composing tweets or drooling thru Facebook (not a typo) into slowly renovating the ol' blog here.

I like the idea of a quiet clubhouse where I can retreat from the madness of the online world. And I gotta feeling I might not be alone. So although I've published Martinis as a book—Kindle exclusive for now, so its free for KU readers—I'll be running a piece here every now and then. Partly to pimp the book, but mostly to warm up the joint.

I get so little joy from Twitter anymore. And I've pretty much always hated Facebook. Opening those sites and apps feels like compuslive self abuse, and not the good kind.

So pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and get cozy. But observe the one and only house rule. Be awesome to each other.

11 Responses to ‘Free martinis’

Barnesm reckons...

Posted February 1
Good to see you Mr Birmingham, things have been awfully dull around here... Now you're on this, I hope we are going to see some gratuitous sex and violence.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted February 1
Never Say Never Again.

Excellent film.

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Leftarc ducks in to say...

Posted February 1
Good to see you back in the saddle JB.
Whilst I enjoy a short, pithy snark as much as the next person, watching you dismember a topic or person limb by limb (sorry, watched Kill Bill this morning) in the long form is something to savour.

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted February 1
I fkn SECOND BARNES'S FKN MOTION. I for one find the OTHER fkn worlds out there to be all of the above and somewhat more. Actually, a FKN LOT FKN MORE to be honest! And when I say that, I mean, full of the unwashed, tree huggin, lets slap somebody within an inch for a small comment, lets get angry and protest, lets not fk about, buut be PC and fear to tread ANYFKNWHERE!

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DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted February 1
Hazzuh! Normal service has been resumed.

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted February 1
Um, when you mention the house rule, is that with the same " intent" as the house rule at the former CBG Smack Down, octagon that was eighty versions of pure fkn awesome? Just trying to qualify what ya sayin.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 1
We all know the rules don't apply to you.

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tqft puts forth...

Posted February 1
In a fit of efficiency a few weeks back I added the burger to the list of startup sites.
I could add it to my rss feed script but that almost guarantees not being read.

To ditch twitter or not, I don't know. If I had a life outside of work I might.

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jason would have you know...

Posted February 1
I may be missing something here. Exactly where do i get the free martini. It's 5 o'clock on a Friday so a casual libation would be appreciated.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted February 1
Hell, I might have to resurrect The Pondering Tree.

Then again, I might want to work on some new fiction first.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 1
Yes, you might.

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Shorter of breath and one year closer to death

Posted December 31 into House keeping by John Birmingham

So that's good! Another year survived here at the end of our collapsing civilisation. Not everything survived, however. I pulled the plug on Alien Side Boob last night, something I'd been intending to wind down gently over the next week or two. But Gumroad does not do gentle. As soon as I hit the button to turn off the subscriptions, it nuked the entire thing.

Oh well... I guess I got there a little quicker than I imagined.

For anyone paying attention, you can get the collection of kinder, gentler (and to be honest... funnier) Monday columns on the Beast of Bezos for free right now. But not for long.

It's here.

One of the reasons I pulled up stumps at the Boob is that after a three pretty hard years I'm starting to get the wind in my sails again. I have a bunch of projects underway, some of them not at all the sort of thing I've previously earned my quids from. (And some, like WW 3.1, exactly that sort of thing). I want to get this year right and part of that means saying no to some shit so I can bring all my guns to bear on the main targets.

I'm taking a couple of weeks to chill and reset before the year spins up again, which I'm taking to mean Jan 16 when I launch Alicia Wanstall-Burke's Blood of Heirs at Avid Reader in West End. I finished it the other day. Really fucking impressive bit of work. I find myself in the unsual position of tapping my toes impatiently waiting for the next in the series.

Don't you fucking hate it when authors do that to you?

8 Responses to ‘Shorter of breath and one year closer to death’

jl puts forth...

Posted December 31
Totally agree on the Blood of Heirs thing- awaiting Alicia's next installment. Re: ASB. It was good while it lasted, and it was pretty darn good. Happy New Year to everyone at the 'Burger!

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she_jedi would have you know...

Posted January 2
Ugh, authors taking their sweet time about releasing the next in a series are the WORST. Oops, did I type that out loud?

Blood of Heirs is in my To Be Read list, which is growing horrifyingly long. Looking forward to getting stuck into it after I finish the novel of Alice Isn't Dead.

Happy New Year good Burgerers!

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted January 2
i got no where near enough reading done in my break (zero) but i do have a shiny new lens for my camera to occupy me. I spent Chrissy doing that australian of all australian things - putting up a trampoline in 35 plus degree heat. Bugger that. Then i went back to work today sat down at my desk and realised i'd left the laptop at home. Not all bad as i could log in and tap at the keyboard looking at trees etc instead of working on my inner fluorescent glow.

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Bangar ducks in to say...

Posted January 3
The waiting is part of the joy of reading the new stuff, just don't do a Martin

Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted January 4
No, it's not part of the joy at all. There no joy in waiting for the next installment. The joy is in getting it, and settling in for the read. The only joy in waiting is when I make a nice coffee, maybe a piece of Christmas fruitcake or shortbread immediately before I put the barricades up to read. If there was joy in waiting, we'd all be in raptures by now waiting for George to finish.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted January 4
I wish I could insert a Meryl Streep applauding at the Oscars gif into this comment to illustrate how strongly I agree with your statement :)

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Oldy reckons...

Posted January 7
Happy New Year, JB. Can't wait to see what 2019 brings, and especially WW 3.1 (no pressure).

And moar End of the World!

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Brother PorkChop ducks in to say...

Posted January 10
JB, thanks for the freebie!! Still reading it but getting funny looks in the lunch room with the laughs it is generating.

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Burger not so lite

Posted September 17 into House keeping by John Birmingham

At some point in the last year or two a couple of discs at the base of my spine began to fuse together. It happens. I wanted to keep up my jujitsu training and, even more importantly, I didn't want to stop doing exercise altogether. There were days when that felt like a real possibility. As the discs grew together, they trapped a couple of nerves between them causing some exciting side effects that felt at times as though one side of my body was on fire.
Anyway this is a long, roundabout way of fessing up that I really stacked on the weight. It was only partly down to physical incapacity. I did a lot of comfort eating after my dad passed away, too. I think I probably wrote about this at end of last year, when the ladies were about to take off for a couple of weeks overseas and I had plans to get to the gym every day.
I managed that. And I lost about 4 kilos. Huzzah for me. But the disc issue never really went away, and I had a couple of months off the mat and out of the gym with illness and more injury at the start of the year.
The weight came crashing back.
It's currently sitting at just over 94 kg. And that is down 2 kg from my peak.
I feel like I'm getting it back under control, however. It's the same old secret formula, exercise more/eat less; especially baked goods and red wine.
The big difference however is my back. I've been using sort of torture rack that I bought online to stretch it out at least four or five times every day, and that's made a big difference. I also got some massage done directly over the affected discs a short while ago and that was amazing. It gave me about two weeks without any pain at all. So I'll definitely be doing that again.
Unfortunately I got the massage on the beach up at Noosa and I can't be driving back and forth to use those guys again.

But there is a spinal massage specialist in my local neighbourhood, so I'm gonna give them a try.
One of the odd problems I've had is that the back stretcher is so effective that after a couple of days of using it I feel fine... and I forget to use it.
You can see where that's going.
So now, I've made the back-stretching sessions part of my work day. When I finish a pomordoro sesh (I'm routinely working 50 minute intervals now), I do a three minute spinal reset.
It seems to work.
I'd happily recommended this thing below for anyone with the same problem as me—fusing of the lower discs. But I don't think it's much good for problems further up the column. It's called a True Back.

16 Responses to ‘Burger not so lite’

Rob puts forth...

Posted September 17
10 kilos down... 15 to go. I'm down to 107 kgs now. 2 day fasts per week. well its about 2500 kilojoules 2 out of 7 days. The rest of the week is just normal eating but you tend not to over do it as you're just not as hungry as you were carbing it up 7 days a week,

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted September 17
I suffer from gout and one of the side effects of the meds appeared to assist weight loss so I got down to 106 from 119 but now I'm back close to 115, and suffering again. I am so slack with lunch and I'm overindulging which doesn't help. I'm hoping enforced working from home for most of the week associated with an office move and refit at the end of this year will encourage me to eat better, and less, and provide time for exercise because I won't be commuting for 4 hours each day. My goal is to get into 2 figures.
On the back thing, my father suffered for years until getting some sort of electric massage pad that sits on a chair, and using it every day, and it made things a lot better.
I have a couple of bulging disks and the exercises are mainly related to improving core strength. Some of the stretches are in the opposite direction to your device as well.

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Leftarc asserts...

Posted September 18
What's the point of a gold plated hovercraft if you can't park it on the beach whilst getting your massage?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted September 18
You make a strong case.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 29
We had Sea Shepard's Steve Irwin parked in Laguna Bay recently. If those dreadlocked ferals are allowed, surely uber authors are.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted September 18
Must be that time of year when thoughts turn to wearing less. I'd just done a mammoth 45 days without alcohol passing my lips then broke the seal by attending oktoberfest in Redfern on the weekend. Hoo boy what a way to break a drought. Was complaining to my mates there that clothes are starting to get tight. The days off the alcohol didn't drop weight because i found myself eating more . . and exercise had stopped over that time because my usual allotment was taken up each morning stirring a broken septic tank to stop it backing up (so the girls and the wife could have showers and use a toilet). I guess it helped with upper body strength : ) Tank getting fixed tomorrow and dogs are thanking me for the extra attention again. It feels good to get back into it though.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted September 18
But I hate it.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted September 20
#sniveling

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Brother PorkChop reckons...

Posted September 19
Hows it work? I'm interested as I have a protruding disk in lower back from more than 20 years ago. Neuro at the time took an xray and said to come back in next Friday and he'd "snip it off." Frightened the shit out of me with that blase approach to my spine. Second opinion said to manage it cos after the 1st snip, the second step is fusing 2 together and then its a shitty slope to continuous pain and discomfort. I've managed it with occasional stupidity causing temporary immobilisation and considerable pain but over all its good.
Weight wise I am at 86KG, down from 92 but I cannot budge it any further. I like food too much, and red wine.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted September 19
I can't vouch fr how it will work for you, but it gives me a lot of relief WHEN i remember to use it regularly. Which reminds me...

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Bangar reckons...

Posted September 20
I've got an inversion table, but the thing to be aware of is they can induce a heart attack from the weight of the lower organs pushing on the heart.

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DarrenBloomfield reckons...

Posted September 25
What is the name/brand of the back stretcher thingy? it is exactly what I need!

And, to chip in, brag, under the guise of showing support - I'm down 10Kgs since April. More (required) to go.

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted September 25
mm well what can i say. Down to 80 kgs and been there for about 8 months I guess. FKN HOVERING THERE LIKE A MUTHA FKR GOD THAT I AM!!!!

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted September 26
I am in awe of the machine that is Havock.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted September 26
I know, right!?! Science tells us that perpetual motion machines are impossible, and yet this one seems capable of pumping out an infinite stream of bullshit!

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A year

Posted June 22, 2018 into House keeping by John Birmingham

It was the first anniversay of my dad dying, earlier this week. I took some time off to think about a few things. I called my mother, who'd gone down to Sydney to stay with my brother for a fortnight. And I worked.

I feel like I've had a pretty poor time of it the last twelve months. The poor state of my bank balance would attest to that. For a long time last year I wasn't able to do much beyond drag myself through the week, stare at the screen a lot, and grind out the weekly columns. I rarely blogged. It felt like I got nowhere with any book writing.

It still feels that way. But I was talking with a friend last night and I realised I had actually written two manuscripts in the last year. The first drafts of THE CRUEL STARS and THE GOLDEN MINUTE. I'm still chipping the last couple of chapters out of the rock face of the latter, but I am close enough to imagine typing 'The End' in the next few days. (After which I'll put it out to my beta crew).

I'm also thinking of taking the Burger back to it's origins as a simple diary of each day's work, at least for a little while. It helps to track what you're doing and it'd take the pressure off feeling the need to (ugh) generate content.

Anyway, as I said, for those up for it, the new Smith and Cady will be available in beta next week. It's looking pretty good, but it always helps to have fresh pair of eyes look over it.

15 Responses to ‘A year’

jl mutters...

Posted June 22, 2018
Looking forward to it!

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted June 23, 2018
I think time accelerates as we age. We're still doing lots of stuff but it's all a blur. Doing one or two big projects like a book leaves very few milestones of achievement to note. A diary would provide a whole bunch of interim milestones.

Always happy to help with the beta-ing.

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Bernie has opinions thus...

Posted June 24, 2018
It took me about a year to get over the loss of my father, then my step father up and shuffled off about 18 months later, now I have a step mom in Florida and a mum in Sydney both without the men who had been part of their lives for about a quarter of a century, I'm starting to rack up some frequent flyer miles...

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Leftarc ducks in to say...

Posted June 25, 2018
Taking the Burger back to a public diary is a good idea. Keeps you engaged, and can be used as a timeline of sorts, to track how you are going.
For what's its worth, bringing back Spartacast would be awesome. I recently had a long weekend of driving by myself (1500 kms), and listening to old episodes was like having some mates in the car to break up the monotony of the drive.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 25, 2018
I'd love to do that, but I can't justify the time. Those things used to chew up a day and half. Mostly from editing.

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 25, 2018
I very nearly experienced the same loss as you JB this last week - my own father has been very crook with heart and kidney issues, including a few days in ICU...its scary, cast a pall over me. I can only imagine (though I don't want to) losing him.

Very much looking forward to Smith and Cady! I too would be honoured to beta test if required.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 25, 2018
I'll send the invite in a couple days.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 25, 2018
Sorry to hear about your old man. Look after him, and yourself.

Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted June 26, 2018
Thanks mate - you too

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted June 26, 2018
Tough times JB. It is difficult to lose what you later realise was a really good mate. 11 years on and it's still painful but it is now a different kind of pain and in some way I do welcome it. Mainly because it makes me think of him and all the good things he added to my story. Sadly we are going through it with Mum now, with her hearing almost gone and certainly some memory lapses and I am faintly terrified about losing her. Anyways..
Happy to beta the new one as usual - something I do enjoy doing very much.

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AuntyLou swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 26, 2018
I have been missing in action for quite a long time. Apologies. My only excuse is that I am now full time carer for my Dad. I really felt your loss last year and have been trying to treat this time with Dad as a gift. It has... moments.
I don't know if I am still on your beta list. I would love to give it another go as it is hugely enjoyable but, as usual, I am juggling fibromyalgia, depression, Dad, & a long-suffering husband who is getting short shrift in all this. If you have concluded that I am unreliable/ unproductive I won't take offense to being cut.
As always, keep up the good work.

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pitpat is gonna tell you...

Posted June 27, 2018
Hey John,

I was reading some time back a click-bait/ serious article on successful people of the world. The only factoid I remember is that of the all the 'successful' traits these people had the one they had in common was that they kept on turning up. Not always at their most productive but like a bad smell in between the floorboards they were persistent. That's been my motto over the last year or so -grinding it out. Not always my best work but good enough.

But on the evidence of your last couple of alien side boobs - which I have recently subscribed to- you are producing some masterful work and I hope you continue to do so into the Aus federal election cycle. It deserves to be syndicated.

Finally thanks for a quick bit of advice you gave me on parenting about 10+ years ago via one of the comments when I was feeling very inadequate as a parent. I don't remember exactly what it was but it was enough at the right time.

Anywho got to fly. Am the boys taxi today . 10 pin bowling followed by jui jitsu training. Anyone got anautonomous car?

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Rob reckons...

Posted June 28, 2018
I upset my son last week before I went into hospital as I got my will printed out and left it on the kitchen bench. (unsigned...but still valid) My wife thought I was being fatalistic, but I didn't want them spending money on lawyers and going through the Intestacy Act if the worst happens. Its weird being the Dad story from the other end, I could have easily become a footnote in someone else's' story.

Anyways, I'm officially not dead and decided to stop moping about things that can't or won't happen and gone back to University to study design, animation and video, since my other 2 degrees are out of date (who would have thought that Universities' would declare their only product redundant after 10 years?)

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted June 28, 2018
Enjoyed the experience last time. Was really interesting seeing the process. Happy to put my hand up again if needed (also fine to bump me from the list if you need to cull!)

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted July 3, 2018
I was deeply startled to read it’s been a whole year since your dad passed, that’s a difficult anniversary by any measure. But congratulations on completing the Cruel Stars and the Golden Minute, those are two big achievements on top of persisting with the Boob and your columns for Fairfax, you have much to be proud of, even if it’s not hugely apparent just at the moment xx

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