Cheeseburger Gothic

Tuesday writing blog: show me the money.

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

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

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

He was right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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Naut ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted March 23, 2010
Interesting stuff JB.

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

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

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Orin asserts...

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

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

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

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

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

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yankeedog puts forth...

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

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

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MickH mumbles...

Posted March 23, 2010
Ok Here is my angle.

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

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

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

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

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Orin asserts...

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

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

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MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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MickH reckons...

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

Ask John how many manuscripts he has seen from newbes.

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Naut swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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Orin mumbles...

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

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

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

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Lobes mumbles...

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

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

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

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

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Orin swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Tarl puts forth...

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

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

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

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

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

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

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

Which leads to an off the cuff question.

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

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

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

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

Any thoughts on that?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mutters...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abe reckons...

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

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Orin reckons...

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

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

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Abigail would have you know...

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

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Abigail ducks in to say...

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

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

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Guru Bob asserts...

Posted March 24, 2010
Good post JB!

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

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

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

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

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

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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

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Guru Bob mutters...

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

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

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Therbs reckons...

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

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John Birmingham puts forth...

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

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

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

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

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Murphy reckons...

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

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

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

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jp swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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

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

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Abe has opinions thus...

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

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Abe would have you know...

Posted March 24, 2010
It must be karma.

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jp reckons...

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

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Orin has opinions thus...

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

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

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Quokka mumbles...

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

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

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

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

Might be worth a look see.

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

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

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

I want that Dracula audio. It was bloody brilliant.

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Abe ducks in to say...

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

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Trowzers swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

What a joke.

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

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Abigail reckons...

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

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Abigail asserts...

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

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Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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

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Abigail reckons...

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

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

Lucky you Matthew!

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Abigail asserts...

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

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

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted March 24, 2010
Quokka, Abigail.

JP's words I suspect are sooo true.

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

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

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

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

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

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Orin mumbles...

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

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

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Abs puts forth...

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

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

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

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

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John Birmingham puts forth...

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

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Quokka reckons...

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

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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HAVOCK asserts...

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

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Abs has opinions thus...

Posted March 24, 2010
Lols ,Hav

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Orin mumbles...

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

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

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urakur has opinions thus...

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll keep doing it.

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robW swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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

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Guru Bob mutters...

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

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

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Robert mumbles...

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

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

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Robert reckons...

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

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Robert would have you know...

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

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

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

J.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

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

J.

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Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

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

J.

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Abs swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

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

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Abs asserts...

Posted March 25, 2010
Cheerful.

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Quokka would have you know...

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

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

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Orin reckons...

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

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

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Orin mutters...

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

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Abs reckons...

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

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

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Robert asserts...

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

Henry David Thoreau

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

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Orin mutters...

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

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Abigail asserts...

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

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

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

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

Monday writing blog: the schedule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lobes would have you know...

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

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Lee Tran mumbles...

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

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Abigail mumbles...

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

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

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

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

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Abigail would have you know...

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

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

I guarantee it! :)

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Therbs would have you know...

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

There's still time.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

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

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donna reckons...

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

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

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Abe ducks in to say...

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

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Harry the Dog puts forth...

Posted March 22, 2010
Hi Mr B.

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a little something to cheer everyone up:

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

Cheers

The Dog =;-)

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John Birmingham asserts...

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

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

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

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

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

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NBlob ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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

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girlclumsy reckons...

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

The kids' rugby book sounds fun as well.

Cheers, Natalie.

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Kittenheel is gonna tell you...

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

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Madam Morgana puts forth...

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

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

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

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

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

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

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Murphy mutters...

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

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

I hate phones. Hate them.

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abs reckons...

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

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

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

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

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Abs is gonna tell you...

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

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2010
I hate the death star.

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

Boss, please fix?

******

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

Hello?

Impulse control?

Respond don't react?

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

Focus on your job?

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

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

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

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

Again, Mr/Ms sports psychologist, WTH?

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

1. You are a tool

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

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

4. Your guidance counselor gave you really bad advice

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

6. You have misgivings and want to backpedal.

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

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

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Quokka asserts...

Posted March 23, 2010
Taa JB.

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Murphy mumbles...

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

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka mutters...

Posted March 23, 2010
Meh.

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

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And another thing.

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

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

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

Yack.

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Madam Morgana ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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NBlob has opinions thus...

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

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

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Abs mutters...

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

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

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Abs would have you know...

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

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John Birmingham puts forth...

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

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Abs ducks in to say...

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

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

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

Nah, not working for me.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Respond to 'Monday writing blog: the schedule.'

Well that was AWSM!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

129 Responses to ‘Well that was AWSM!’

Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

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

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Moko mumbles...

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

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Rhino ducks in to say...

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

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2010
The director is a mate.

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Abe swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Moko has opinions thus...

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

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted February 13, 2010
Very cool!

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

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

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

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lostatlunch mutters...

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

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

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

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CraigWA puts forth...

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

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

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Abigail asserts...

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

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

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

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

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

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

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Brian ducks in to say...

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

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

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damian mumbles...

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

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 13, 2010
3D makes me seasick.

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

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

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

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Flinthart reckons...

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

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

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

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

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

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

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

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

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Abigail ducks in to say...

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

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

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Moko mumbles...

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

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Lobes mumbles...

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

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John Birmingham asserts...

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

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Moko is gonna tell you...

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

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Abs asserts...

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

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Abs mutters...

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

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joe asserts...

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

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

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

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

Major points:

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

at the same time,

91 percent disagreed with having a secret and uncontestable blacklist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope there are some decent Independants to vote for.

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

Here's a platform idea:

CLEAN THA FKN HOUSE PArTY -

CaPPiN MUPPETZ WHEREVER WE FINDS EM!!!!!

""

peace out

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

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

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Murphy asserts...

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

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka puts forth...

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

WTF was it?

'Better than life'?

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Greybeard reckons...

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

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Greybeard is gonna tell you...

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

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NBlob has opinions thus...

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

Oh the not quite humanity.

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Tarl asserts...

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

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

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

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

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 14, 2010
Aunty Q,

‘Better than life’

Thats the service we provide here.

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

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

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

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

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damian is gonna tell you...

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

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

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

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

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

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

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NBlob asserts...

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

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

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NBlob has opinions thus...

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

Possibly apocryphal, but admirable none the less.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

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

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

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

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

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joe ducks in to say...

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

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

Totally reeks of awesomeness:

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

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

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

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

I can be a bit of a Luddite sometimes.

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

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

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Quokka mumbles...

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

Thus far, without success.

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

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

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

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 14, 2010
I stand utterly validated.

Your honesty scares me Your Lowness.

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

.

* The Goodies 1976(?)

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Timmo swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 14, 2010
Dwarves?

Are they any good at assembling sheds?

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

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

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Lobes reckons...

Posted February 14, 2010
Oh and Naut ;-)

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

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

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Mayhem mumbles...

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

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

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

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

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

Now, if only he could find it.

Luckily I am skilled at motivating him.

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

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

He assured me this works on all French Cars.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2010
Not ours, though.

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Bangar mutters...

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

PS how long until the song comes up?

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Quokka ducks in to say...

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

I'm not short.

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

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Timmo reckons...

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

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

Actually, that wasn't bad really...

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Quokka ducks in to say...

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

136, apparently.

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

Dammit.

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NBlob puts forth...

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

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Willet's warrior has opinions thus...

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

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Quokka asserts...

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

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

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

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

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

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Quokka ducks in to say...

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

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

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

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
yes, he got nappies.

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

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Timmo asserts...

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

In the hip pocket at least...

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

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

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

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 15, 2010
Shit.

have you guys seen the news?

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

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

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Mayhem has opinions thus...

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

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Darth Greybeard mumbles...

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

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

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

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

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

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joe ducks in to say...

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

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

It could have gone rather badly.

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

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

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

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

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
I

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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Abigail mutters...

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

Quokka, that's horrible.

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joe puts forth...

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

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

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

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

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

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joe mutters...

Posted February 15, 2010
SWEEET!

I typed in ""

.... and it was!!!

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joe has opinions thus...

Posted February 15, 2010

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
anagram of DERACTED

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Abigail mumbles...

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

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joe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 15, 2010
Abigail: Alister Grierson

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

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

Name=Fergus_McTetanus

Height=182cm;

Weight=91kg;

Affiliation=currently bonking Marcie in accounting;

Designation=Wanker#class3/BrownNose#class4;

Probability of promotion=0.9125

Weapons=Halitosis#factor7(stuns Zombies)

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HAVOCK puts forth...

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

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

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

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Bangar asserts...

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

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joe would have you know...

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

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

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NBlob asserts...

Posted February 15, 2010
schism?

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

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

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Quokka mumbles...

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

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joe mutters...

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

Wish we had Greybeard at my old school.

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

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

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Quokka puts forth...

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

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

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Bangar puts forth...

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

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

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

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Bangar has opinions thus...

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

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Abigail reckons...

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

So Aust is a doddle.

Then this story! Not quite as comfy anymore.

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Mayhem reckons...

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

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

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sibeen swirls their brandy and claims...

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

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

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

Put me down as a definite possible maybe.

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sibeen puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
err

Sorry

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Abigail would have you know...

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

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HAVOCK mumbles...

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

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

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HAVOCK would have you know...

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

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HAVOCK mutters...

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

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Bangar has opinions thus...

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

PS I think I really like this home made Baileys.

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Mayhem reckons...

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

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

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

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Mayhem is gonna tell you...

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

Bring Baileys!!!

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Abigail mumbles...

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

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HAVOCK puts forth...

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

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Mayhem reckons...

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

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted February 15, 2010
Start sewing Monsieur Havoque.

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

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

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

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Mayhem puts forth...

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

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Brian puts forth...

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

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

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

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

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

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

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

Thrown up in taxi on last 4 "dates".

In a relationship.

Just out of a relationship (in green)

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Quokka has opinions thus...

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

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NBlob mumbles...

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

FI, page 350 of my paper back copy.

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

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

Probably has been pointed out before.

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 16, 2010
FKN login problems. Grr.

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NBlob reckons...

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

But, alas, I'm not.

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Quokka mutters...

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

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Brian ducks in to say...

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

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Matthew K mumbles...

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

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NBlob ducks in to say...

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

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

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

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Quokka has opinions thus...

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

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

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Quokka reckons...

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

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

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Timmo mutters...

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

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Abs would have you know...

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

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

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

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Quokka mutters...

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

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

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Respond to 'Well that was AWSM!'

Prepping for Pucka.

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

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

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

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

As for any Melbourne catch ups, I have one spanner to throw in your works.

Sunday is Valentine's Day.

I am back in April, however.

176 Responses to ‘Prepping for Pucka.’

Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
First of all, I find the word "Puckapunyal" hilarious.

Second, reading your plans, I realize how unsuited I am to do what you do: if I were in your position I would put my audience into groups and give them exercises designed to get them in touch with their true feelings.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Sweet.

For me the interesting "what ifs" often revolve around the removal of a key logistic pin or assumption, eg what if you are in X Y or Z scenario and for reasons unknown you have no; fuel OR comms OR fresh water OR air back up. What Do You Do?

You can't really train for every possible eventuality but you can train a mind to think laterally.

Would be interesting & I hope you are charging them consultant rates.

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Catty has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Oh. You have a point, JB. A night with you and the Melbourne Burgers, or wild monkey sex with extra jam? No brainer - I'll see you in April.

PNB, I know you're a Seppo and all, but here in Aus we have laws against that kind of touching.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
I would make them give me a hands on on all the weapons, for research purposes, of course.

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Tarl asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Slightly modify NowhereBob's suggestions - rather than "no fuel", make it "no ressuply of fuel" (i.e., the rest of the army gets busy fighting killer bees or something), or instead of "no comms", make it "Sunspots create too much static for long-distance radio" (allowing for use of wire or fiber-optic comms).

If you make the logistic constraint too severe, the scenario becomes too simple - no fuel translates to "we sit or we move at walking pace with what we can carry". With no resupply, prioritizing fuel uses becomes much more important.

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sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
We're being tossed over due to fucking valentines day...unbelievable!

Thank god this is one that my wife doesn't go in for; I have enough trouble with birthdays and Christmas to add another to the list.

Besides, living with me is like one continuous valentines day.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
What you do with soldier boys on Valentine's Day is really none of my business.

(alerting the paparazzi....)

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Maybe we need to start a thread with funny suburb names for PNB/The rest of the seppos.

Mainly because I've got nothing to contribute to this one.

Unless you want, you know...Faff.

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Madam Morgana reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, at Pucka their true feelings are all based around the delight one feels when a strategic blast of sniper fire causes the enemy's brains &/or vital organs to spray out over a wide arc...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty - I've been reading up on Queensland's Anti Street March prosecutions (some obscure law students got arrested, some Quakers were cited for singing hymns without a permit) and I've been paying attention to SA internet filters and brown paper bag rules for the transport of R rated materials. So I'm not surprised y'all got rules against that kind of touching.

Blue Sky brainstorming I understand, but I'm still trying to figure out what an "arvo’s sesh" is, although I am fairly confident John is using it in a context that has nothing to do with Arvo Tuominen, the famous Finnish revolutionary, journalist and politician. Anyone care to educate this Seppo and clue me in on what that is?

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sibeen ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, arvo = afternoon.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Oh.

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Madam Morgana is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
And a sesh has several meanings, the most literal of which is abbr= session.

But 'a session' or 'sesh' is also slang derived from the times when pubs (in seppo world, bars) were only permitted to open for a few hours a time (or sesh). So you had the 6 o'clock swill, when men would neck as much beer as possible just before closing... and then often regurgitate it on the facade of the pub soon after. Heritage pubs in Brisbane are still tiled up to the spew splash line.

'Sesh' then became a period of time spent smoking cannibis, as in 'Hey, Johnno, I've just scored some wicked bush bud. How's about coming round for a sesh?'

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
"Sesh" I sussed. But "arvo" was new to me. I am always happy to learn new Australian slang.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Well bugger me.

do you know your way around that one?

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB- Snap! Yes,I've always thought that "Puckapunyal" is about the funniest sounding name for anything, ever- and especially so when John (fkn)Schumann uses it in his very serious song about war.

I used to think people were saying "fuck a fuck a"

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Good idea, JB. I was planning to go but until I saw this I completely forgot it was next w/e so that's pretty helpful.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
JB - take Hav along to talk about FERALS!!! and show some home vids of his shed. Then get the groups to figure out ways of CApPiNG FKN MUPPETS!!! armed only with an enduro bike, a can of VB and a pack of durries.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
I said it is hilarious, not the funniest. Maiden Gully (Victoria), Bobbin Head (NSW) and Iron Knob (SA) are much funnier city/town names IMHO.

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've got no doubt that Naut will be brave and be available to play!!!

Hope you have fun anyway even though numbers will be low...

Might not be over in April now as just found one of my collegues is away for alot of march/april and the course I wanted to go on is the day after she comes back. But all things are in theory possible.

BTW my instruction manual for Dragon is really thin, were you reading the right thing?

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB- There is also Rooty Hill.

And here in Canberra inexplicably they recently created a suburb called Beard.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
um...next SUNDAY...I gather you mean...THIS SUNDAY as THIS sunday is Valentines day and NEXT sunday which happens to be the one AFTER this SUNDAY which is Valentines day, would NOT be valentines day.

Now..Care to enlighten us all on WTF is going on?

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told federal parliament, "The defense budget is in a mess. And many of the capability projects we've inherited are in crisis."

"The cost of sustaining capability has been alarmingly underestimated and underfunded," he continued. Fitzgibbon said the "single biggest challenge" facing the 51,000-strong Australian Defense Force (ADF) was a shortage of skilled personnel.

What should Australia do to attract skilled personnel while staying within the bounds of the military's budget?

J.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Abi..try

Rapanyup

or Mt Arapilies

THERBS...LOL..I fear they might not handle the amount of DEVINE light I would shed on all matters relating to our brave souls in the services..

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Sweet Jane Says puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Uranium-235 occurs naturally in Australia and has the distinction of being the only naturally occurring fissile isotope. Australia also has large deposits of thorium. Thorium is used as a fertile material for producing nuclear fuel. 232Th will absorb slow neutrons to produce 233U, which is fissile.

Australia exists in relatively close proximity to the largest population of Muslims in the world. How should Australia protect its natural deposits of WMD making materials?

J.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
SJS- the forces have had a long history of losing pilots to commercial airlines --well, they do a lot more to encourage them to stay these days. Still. there are health issues flying those jets and people get tired. They lose doctors to civilian hospitals...they need to stop sending them to war to get killdeded, mesuspects.

I guess it's a lot more complicated than that though.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - So are you arguing that Uranium + Muslims nearby = Muslims invading Australia to take Uranium? I've never heard such a stereotype, and I love it! I am imagining a red neck with a tractor hat warning "if ya got any Youranium, you better protect it from them Mooslams"

Is that what you have in mind?

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB there's a suburb in Perth named Innaloo.

I have a cousin there.

My great, great, great grandfather lived at a place in South Australia called Biscuit Flat.

Not, as one might think, because the place is flat as a FKN biscuit, but because there's rocks there that resemble biscuits.

When the men came back from WW2 and they were given their allotments, a lot of them were given shit pieces of land to work. When I went through there a few years ago one of the old WW2 vets gave me a 'biscuit' from his allotment as a memento. They're really weird little rocks.

I'm sure I've told this story before.

Where's my valium? I need a nap and a lie down.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, I thought that story was utterly charming, and no fooling. I place it right up there with barnes or bob telling the story about his father and the Furphy water cart.

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Otto mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
try Dunedoo or Wee Waa in NSW, but I suspect the former would be lost on those undeucated in the Australian outdoor toilet.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Puckapunyal is all that funny if you consider: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

http://tinyurl.com/kk7d8p

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
*isn't

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Therbs asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - good questions and they'll be answered in due course, along the lines set out by the steering committee in its directions to the working party in respect of the issues raised by yourself. And let me say that we appreciate your concern and look forward to responding in the fullness of time at the appropriate juncture in proceedings.

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Jane - "How should Australia protect its natural deposits of WMD making materials?"

From Muslims?. lol

...and I love it when you cut and paste from Wikipedia. It makes me lolz.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Hvk, are you giving faff the hint "rappanyup" now? Ive not heard of that place.

One of my favourites (ie., I think it's cool) is that town in Queensland called 1770.

Quoks- Biscuit Flats sounds like it should be a movie or a comic.

But nowhere beats Canberra for outright stupid names because many of them are named after politicians and public servants which is a bit stuffy. ie- Downer , anyone?

Then there's Gordon.And Bruce.

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
We have new suburbs called McLean and Warner, Abi. If the latter has some brothers maybe we'll get Bugs Bunny.

But yes, Deception Bay belongs much closer to Canberra, really.

Heard of Broken Hill and Humpty Doo, PNB?

I've found the most obscure place names when I've been scanning the WW2 nominal roll.

Why the hell would you call a place Southern Cross?

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Catty ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
PNB, if you've researched properly, you'd know they weren't called Quakers, they were called Slaves. (long, and true, story). Did you know we are all banned for life from ever going to that parish church again? Gee, I thought our singing was rather nice!

Can anyone recommend a good jam for next Sunday? Raspberry has too many pips.

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triksta mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Townsville has to be up there with terrible/ ill thought out names doesn't it?

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Triksta it alerts you to what to expect from the populace and as such can count as Due Warning.

PNB...you may have heard of our Riverina but have you heard of Brewarinna?

Its out the back of Burke.

I've dug out my camel trader's maps. I could go on, and on, and on.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
I can understand why people would name a place Southern Cross, because when you see the Southern Cross for the first time, you understand now why you came that way.

There is a also a Orion, Wisconsin and Cassiopeia, Kentucky. I have long suspected that those founding cities and towns were astronomic enthusiasts.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
When all you can see is stars I guess it makes sense.

We have Longreach and Birdsville. the latter has camel races.

And then there's Agnes Waters.

And over in Western Australia we have Bullabulling.

No bull.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
One word: Mullumbimbi

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
I had family there. It ends in a 'y' FYI.

And its not far from Woodenbong.

Also Federal, Bangalow and Clunes, and Goonengerry.

Murwillumbah is about an hour's drive north.

Very pretty, PNB, you'd like it.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew it ends in a "y." I was testing you.

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Brian mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Stuff this thread drift - I wanna know what left brain,'Outta the box', creative thinking stuff he's going to be doing with a buncha fella's on Valentines Day. It better not be IED's in a bunch of roses nor . . . .nor code breaking all those lovey dovey missives in the paper . . .

Where's Havock? What's his input?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
Okay, that's not true. I had no idea how to spell it. I just met a girl from there in Dover back in the early 80's and I never forgot it.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
She lied, she was probably from Tumbulgum and didn't think you could pronounce it.

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty, I recommend fancy European preserves... the all fruit ones in the fancy jars. Not as much sugar as jam, glide on nicely, and a sophisticated tang so you won't tire of licking them off as easily. Blueberry is divine.

Unless, of course you WANTED something very gooey... in which case, golden syrup. But be careful - too much heat and friction on syrup and you might accidentally toffee yourselves.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Or do it, for that matter.

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Madam Morgana has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Lol, Quokka. The Valium suits you.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've no interest in Australian or Muslim affairs. The questions are suggestions for Birmingham. Wikipedia wasn't their source or inspiration. Everyone knows our allies are broke and understaffed, and anyone with a bit of geology knowledge knows what's under Australia. I just needed names from newspapers.

J.

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
I love affairs.

That's what Valentine's Day is all about.

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Sweet Jane Says mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
Yeah, Peanut Butter, I live 9 miles from a major component of a dirty bomb, and I do worry about Zionist terrorists obtaining the remnants of nuclear weaponry. It would be so easy to attack the Palestinians with a dirty bomb smuggled through one of the Zionist land-grabs.

I've lived in the Marshall Islands, New Mexico, and in the shadow of Kerr McGee. Four members of my Mom's family are Nuclear inspectors for the NRC. If I wanted, I could take a shovel and obtain material for a dirty bomb by morning, but it's snowing; and terrorism isn't one of my personal hobbies.

J.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Booger collecting does keep one busy.

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Catty mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
SJS, if you have no interest in Australian affairs, why the hell do you keep spraying all over our blogs? You could do something useful, like, I don't know, um, pissing off, maybe?

As at the eating of Sir Robin's Minstrels, there would be Much Rejoicing.

Maybe we could eat SJS? How do you cook a troll?

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Sweet Jane Says would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew a lot of people that worked for Kerr McGee, and many of them are as dead as Karen Silkwood - cancer - and one melted.

J.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
OK..I'm gunna have it OUT with this fkn jugger fkn fkn author right H$Ere!.

iF I SAY TO YOU, i AM IN TOWN next SUNDAY, AND I SAY THIS...today!, IT MEANS next, AS IN, not this fkn sunday THATS COMING AT THE END OF this FKN week, BUT THE sunday after.

iF i WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW I WAS IN TOWN...sUNDAY THIS WEEK, IT WOULD BE, THIS COMING SUNDAY, nNOT, I REAPEAT...NOT NEXT FKN BLOOODY WELL, I LIVE IN FKN QLD and we do all sorts of fkn shit backarse fucking wards NEXT FICKING SUNDAY!.....OK..Correct..I stand here..KNOWIng full well, under the judgement of the lord Christ all fucking mighty and trhat as long as my fkn arse points to the ground, I live in the nest fkn state of Australia Victoria..THAT I'm FUCKING WELL REIGJHT!.

And..Lets just make this abundantly fucking clear for all....the first fucker that sides with BIMINGHUM..GET FKN CAPPED!

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
You can't monitor the entire coastline, and you can't guard every thorium deposit. Some are as easy to get as rocks on the side of a river.

http://www.ga.gov.au/image_cache/GA11547.gif

J.

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
If i say tio you, as you are now going to grab this round of DRINSK, I'll get the NEXT round, thats not...THIS FKN ROUND..ITS THE ONE AFTER..Correct..ha!..Ha!..YEP..I thought so..Listen to hav..some people have had too much fkn sunlight i reckon

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
must admit..that really doesnt sound like SJS..or is she ...er...IT..on new meds?

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Its the fumes, Hav.

She's been licking her own genitals again.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka..with a bit of LUCK..the FUR Ball will NOT DISLODGE!

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka..If I said to you on FRIDAY, next sunday we will have dinner..wouldn't that mean, not the one coming, but the one after?

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
I think you'd need to factor in 'Am I an author who works at home, mixes scotch with psychadelic pain killers and thinks that Sunday is last Tuesday, or maybe it was Friday. Where's my day planner, Dog? Wow. Look. gumby is on TV. la la la.'

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Catty ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, that sounds more like SJS than JB.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Right.

Then in that case she's had too much Ponstan.

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Scott ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
You are all mad fkn mad!

I'm the only sane person on this thread. Isn't that right mr Giant Purple Squid?

Btw Birmingham I want my powered armour! With railguns!

We could use some of SJS's uranium as a power source, increased survivability is a way of avoiding the fact that we have a smaller military than anybody else. We need something to spend all our money we are getting from the Chinese.

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Naut mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
H - No wonder these Northerners can't organise anything.

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Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
hvk- here's one to drive you mad. What about if he'd said "I'll see you Saturday week"??

According to some people that means a fortnight, to others , not this Sunday but the following.

But I think he meant to say "I'll be flying this Sunday coming".

In my universe ,JB would most definitely say that :p

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Mr Enormo Lurking Spider ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Mr Giant Purple Squid. You have returned. Ah, I see you have brought me a Scott for dinner. Excellent....

I trust you enjoyed Mr Birmingham's fine collection of tentacle pr0n? The blooper reel was superb, was it not?....

Shall you be resuming your position as Nowhere Bob's companion? If so, I shall take my leave. I believe Quokka has taken up valium and could use a new friend....

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
you ain't seen nothing.

Wait till I start on the piss.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Exactly Naut..totally fkn useless....

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
what a depressingly content-free thread this is.... will have another beer and attempt some "out of the green box" thinking for the trolls to feed on.

....and for the easily-diverted: Puckapunyal, when spoken, is a little too easy to be mistaken for "fuck a spaniel".

And I would not be surprised if somewhere in this wide brown land is a happy little community called Bringabongalong. I imagine they talk a bit slowly there....

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Bender Rodrigues Bender has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Yeah well you can keep your Burger get-together. I'm going to start my own get-together. With blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the blackjack.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Mr Enormo Lurking Spider, put that human down! You don't know where it's been!

Besides that particular type is toxic!

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Wee Jasper.

via

Run o' Waters Creek.

I'll come back to the rail guns later.

Next Sunday, perhaps. Which remains next Sunday until Wednesday morning, hump day, when it becomes, this Sunday.

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Catty asserts...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, we ALL know where Quokka has been. That's why we love her.

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Catty is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
No, JB, I think you will find that Valentines Day is the day when all the humping is going to happen.

Aw, somebody had to say it.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, yes, we are all crazy who have found each other. Noone else will speak to any of us which is why we live here in our sheltered workshop , a benevolent institution established by the John Birmingham Foundation.

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donna ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
I've always thought Burpengary was a funny one...and of course the good old Wanneroo which someone always puts a T at the end of LOL

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Scott mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
John, I am aware of the problems with rail guns. Arcing and if memory serves heat dissipation. Once the scientists and engineers develop superconductors which can handle the load along with a suitable power source it will become the 21st c militaries best new shiny toy.

The US navy is researching it for ships, due to power requirements it is unlikely to become an infantry portable weapon which is why I advocate an armoured combat suit approach.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Catty, love it!

Abigail, touche!

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
If you knew where I'd been you'd all be wearing biohazard suits and laughing out the other side of your nostrils.

Well, that's how I cope anyway.

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, we love you and that is what counts.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Scott, doesn't mean we are NOT allowed to have EVIL thoughts but!

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
Thanks PNB but it big bob's ancestor who drove the water cart, mines the one descended from Simpson's offsider.

Hey as long as the get together is after the_weapon finishes his Archery and its not too late (he has district swim team at 6AM monday mornings) then we can make it on Sunday (and Havoc I admire your rude but correct admonishment of the difference between next sunday and this sunday.

Anyhow as long as I can bring the_weapon I am okay for Sunday.

As to thinking outside the box for the army exersise I'd go with 10 words

"When hell is full the dead shall walk the earth".

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, I always kit up in my biohazard wear before entering the communal dining room. Troll measures...

Donna- Burpengary? They seriously didn't think that one through.

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Quokka mutters...

Posted February 8, 2010
You're right.

Its much more a Fartengary kind of place.

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donna is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
Seeing as you're mucking in with the defence forces, you should check this out, an interesting read, to say the least...

http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/China_Military_Power_Report_2009.pdf

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donna swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Burpengary, I always thought that was where all the cucumbers were grown, groan!!

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donna swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2010
Quokka, did you know that all the quokkas at Rotto eat cigarette butts? They have a very nasty habit, poor things, ugh! Well, thats my best useless bit of info for the day....

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2010
If one can construct a coherant light device (a frickin Laser) that can deliver lots of energetic goodness to a small spot.

What could a coherent sound projector do?

The Australian Army earned high praise for how it handled the civillian population of East Timor. They also got big props for their work in various peace keeping roles, where locals were suspscious of the "invading forces" of other nations, the diggers made a major point of engaging with the locals and earnt much respect as a result.

How has this reputation / approach worked in the Northern Territory intervention. How would they go in a for instance Zed outbreak in Melbourne? You can't dehumanise "The Enemy" if they are identical to you.

Australia has (I believe) a unique force called NorForce. Could that model be applied in offshore context? How / why is it significantly different to the militias that have caused so many problems around the world? I suspect careful design in three C's but would be interested to know more.

My favourite obscure Australian place name is just north and east of Kilcoy in SE Qld - Mary Smokes Creek, the community is naturally enough accessed via Mary Smokes Creek Road.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
BARNES..Cheers..he's a big boy!...lol

Yeah. I'm under the impression JB, is flat as a shit carters hat on Sunday..well..ANYWAYS...its a pretty big squeeze for me even. Given in Super sevens we start drininking by 10AM..on Sunday and are pissed at midday after the last round of games..I'm betting I couldnt get there..even if JB was paying with abes tenner. Seems like April is the go..No sport for me then so all will be easy.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
NBOB..Norforce..very light unit. Surveillance and recon mainly. remote operation, they can do raids etc..but they are derived from the local op..so as to have the edge so to speak as well. Good unit...

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Catty puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
I sometimes wonder if they make Southpark in Kilkenny.

Probably not.

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Catty mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2010
I knew a guy who persisted in referring to Toowoomba as "Woomba Woomba". And of course, Wagga Wagga was Two-wogga.

I know some very odd people.

Barnesm, Sartre said that hell was other people. So if the dead will walk the earth when hell is full, will feeding the world will bring about the Zombiepocalypse? Damn! I knew that Geldoff fellow was odd; he's the antichrist, isn't he?

Oh dear. Obscure o'clock. This is what happens when I don't get my 3pm nanna nap.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted February 8, 2010
There seems to be a lot of faff going on in this thread...

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted February 8, 2010
Chaz..this threat is all over the joint like a mad womens shit..its fkn nutty

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
Not as big a GBob, but big enuff. 189cm & currently (first time in years) sub 90 kilos. Still obese by the Dr's chart but what would they know?

Yeah H, but every other instance of training and arming part time soldiers has gone tits up in an epic fashion. The NorForce boys & girls seem to do their thing with a quiet professionalism.

My question is what is the difference?

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2010
I have a race sunday morning at cerebrus, singles ping pong tournament in the arvo then rooftop party at St Kilda fest but will have iPhone on me so tweet if something goes down and I'll be there. This isnt Qld.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2010
NBOB.. predominantly..they are reservists..part timers doing something they love doing..and thats the key. Look at any reserve unit the Infantry Qualed / Based and you will find a similar thing..others..well, its there, they are still all volunteers too.. A lot of people discount the levels of professionalism in the Reservists..yeah some are ordinary..others... exceptionally fkn proficient

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2010
LOBES...lol

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
I suspect the Australian Defense establishment doesn't have this problem yet but I think an excellent exercise for present day soldiers in the US Army would be to see if they could still operate without the benefit of computers and high technology.

In other words, dial the tech level back to 1900 in terms of commo, nav, and command-control. Leave them with everything else and give them a threat to deal with that is used to operating without that technology.

Somehow I suspect that the Australians are a bit more sensible about the tech they chose to use on the battlefield whereas the Americans tend to see it as a cure all for every problem.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
That is a fantastic idea. But would the purpose of the exercise be to just operate or win, and if win is the encounter against an equally technologically impaired opponent?

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
PNB, I'd want to see if a 19 year old could operate at all without a computer.

What I am seeing in my classrooms, where the rule is pen, paper, take notes, no tech allowed, is that the students just sit there if they are below the age of 25. Or they text as if they are being covert about it (they aren't, I can see them, I do nothing about it).

I wonder what would happen if you put a compass and a map in the hands of many soldiers today. Even in my time Land Nav gave troops fits (umm, oddly enough I never had trouble with it). I suspect what you'd find is that they have grown used to their blueforce trackers, their GPS and everything else. They'd have to relearn how to use the old method (I would, it has been that long). While they are relearning, I suspect they'd get their heads kicked in.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Yes. I would love to watch such an exercise take place.

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Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
How about operating post-EMP? That's a technology that exists and would cause some of the effects above, knocking out computers, comms and even vehicles. I see there's a portable one now that can fry a car engine and presumably much more. I wonder if a low tech force like the Taliban could fry an allied base with an EMP device, then attack? Thank heavens we haven't gone too far with the Star Wars kit yet. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_5 - isn't he a little short for a storm trooper?

Quokka - I have rellies near Mullumbimby. And we pass Woodenbong and Old Koreelah on the way down. I read about an Oz tourist who was picked up by the cops in the US for wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm from Kununurra". They thought it meant something obscene.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Murphy

The do with out scenario is a bottla of an idea. I hope Birmo runs with it.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Bastards.

I think I've been spam trapped.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 9, 2010
Twice.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
No, Quokka. You are not being spam trapped. It is something else.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
I just wanted to point out that JB is only in those buttless chaps because the possum skin lap lap is at the dry cleaners.

Well, that and he needs them and that feathered headdress for the floor show.

Gather round, girls.

The man is a STAR.

All join in now.... 'In the NAVY....'

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
Barnes / Murph. I shot an idea along similar lines to JB a week or so ago. How long does it take to MAKE a TANk or Rifle or so forth..jets are the same. So in a high intensity conflict with sorta equal opponents, how long will HIGH TECH gear be available and how long before we would have to start making lower tech at a faster rate for replacement...???

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Catty has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
I think they've worked out you're a woman, Quokka. The bounders.

Maybe Birmo should suggest a "no women" scenario to his soldier boys. Just let them try and win a war without women building their planes, baking their Anzac bikkies, and telling them (again) what their reggie size is. This last one is very important, as men go through a lot of undies on the battle field. It's understandable - having a grenade go off right behind my earhole would scare the crap out of me, too. But why they can't just wash the crap off the pants instead of piffing them is beyond me. Oh, that's right. There are no women on the battle field to do their washing for them.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
I did try to alert them that Lobes hung the Manly Men Only sign so its a bit bent...and its attracting interest from the new Manly Mens Sportsman's Bar that's just opened up next door.

But nada.

Once they decide to deny me access, there's no getting past those FKN spam bouncers.

I might go queue in the post office. Which is the next best fun you can have after dealing with the NT security staff.

I shall return with chips, and nurofen.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Quoks, good try with 'In the Navy', but The Village People were straight, as it transpires. However, you can't go wrong, (psst,as in, it's a sure bet) with 'Relax' - make a great theme song for the blog on a couple of fronts.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
And the most played xmas carol of all time (white xmas) was written by a Jew.

Its still a gay anthem, Abi.

Now. You're blocking my view of the traffic cop. Woor! Wouldja check out the size of those man boobs...

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Havock, yeah, the come as you are war. That was what Fulda Gap was supposed to be. I wonder if Australia will find herself in that sort of conflict anytime soon? Her technological rivals are all nominally allies with the exception of China.

As a side note, my thoughts haven't fully formed on this but has anyone noticed the proliferation of Helicopter Carrier type vessels in the Asia-Pacific Region?

South Korea is fielding two such ships.

Japan is fielding two with plans for a larger third vessel.

India is planning on having three aircraft carriers.

Australia is working on two Helicopter Carriers with some arguing for a third converted to F-35B capable.

China wants a carrier.

Thing I can't figure out is why the need for this capability? The US Navy hasn't gone that far down the tubes yet. Nor can I figure out if I should be worried about this development.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Murph..India worries the living fkn hell outta me and like you mention...Helo carriers are popping up all over the joint.

I'm gunna draw a long bow...but a mini clash is on the cards at some point..baby carriers against each other and given ranges of VTOL A/C they can launch..its going to be a knife fight rather quickly i suspect.

The time line to make NEW weapons, will, if the conflict is sufficiently large enough, consume the equipment much much faster than it can be made. like you say with " Come as yopu ", in that case it was logistics to ship the heavy eqpmnt.

But something sustained over a longer peiod, will pose significant issues, its one reason why i think we should be retaining our current leopard tanks and intergrating them into the Cav.

I noticed also, with the new FOXTEL Docco, on the Cav ( Canadian ) being followed for training pre deployment to the ME, that they have integrated the leopards into the CAV units..thats fkn punch for a pure CAV unit..unlike the US units which have the own troops of MBT's.

Its also one reason I seen the expansion of the Subs..it takes a disproportionate amount of effort to find and prosecute a sub than the assets actual value..and the neighbors around here are not exactly top of the line on ASW. They wield a far larger impact capability than a lot of other assets.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Lobes isn't the weak link. He has known Birmingham for a few years and has socialized in person with Birmingham and others listed to the left. You'll find Lobes always surrounded by handsome young men (except Birmingham's crew) and handsome young women. Unless you have money, are very well traveled, have an exceptional education and a beautiful, healthy body, your taunts are meaningless to him.

I taunt him because I don't care about any of that, and I know he can handle Southern teasing. In other words, he's a few social rungs above you but will never say it. I'll say it because - what the hell - I'm Southern and Lobes is okay.

J.

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Sweet Jane Says mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
One of Canada major military commanders has been busted for murder. I think he was - navy. He molested and killed two women in Ontario.

J.

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Scott is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Havock, now if only we can get our subs operational!

It's been a ratfuck from the start!

Start by firing most of the wankers in procurement, and I mean firing as in out on the range.

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joe reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
If the ADF doesn't already train troops in dynamic problem solving, in effectively changing plans mid-stride to adapt to a changeable battlefield.....

Please KICK THEIR ARSES for us all.

The problem with luxuries is you get used to them.

Top-order military tech changes the game-space greatly, but it can also fall off its perch.

GPS is a great example - how many satellites would need to be zapped/cooked/exploded/de-orbited from the constellation before its utility is compromised? Even just to the point of a few hour's window-of-opportunity when things are still in contention?

Plenty of states have the satellite-kill ability, and that is only what is public-domain.

So if they are not already doing it, politely ask them to START RIGHT NOW.

Then kick their arses.

Suggestion: decide on the day what they miss out on, possibly with a (loaded?) dice.

Maybe make them do without something kind of scary... like eyesight or hearing (laser blinders and sonic weaponry, anyone?).

Asymmetric warfare (for certain) and (possible) overmatched full-scale continental defence seem to be what they need capability for, in that order.

So dealing with the Afghanistans and East Timors of tomorrow will be almost a certainty, but without a credible ability to defend (at least in the short term) against a larger, richer, possibly higher-tech opponent.... well, who ya gonna call? And don't just automatically say "America" - a future scenario could easily see her power/influence reduced to the point they would be unable to help much, and it is dangerous to rely too heavily on anyone else.

As for out-of-the-green box, I'm having trouble with that because I don't really know what's in the box in the first place (other than what I have gained from conversations with Those Who Have Served - which mostly amounts to anecdotes of barracks-hazing and the curious medical effects of certain ration-pack components. Oh, and a shit-ton of laid back bigotry...)

I guess my contribution would be to get serious about the ramifications of high-tech-for-the-masses and soon-to-come game changers.

low-order conflict means a real engagement on the information and propaganda fronts (well, OK the latter seems pretty advanced as is... but mind-control has a hidden disadvantage in that the minds it produces are not exactly top-notch thinkers).

One of the new issues that came with instant widespread information flow - teh intarwebz - is that of the shoot-the-messenger:

These days, the MESSAGE is often the delivery system and payload in one. I am not saying censor/threaten/bomb Al-Jazeera because they published Osama Bomb-Laden's most recent batch of FUD (though credit where it's due - what better way to make the so-called-right hate the so-called-left than conflating global warming with the opposition to militant religious fundamentalism. Divide and conquer, and all that jazz.) - the solution there is to sow your own seeds better. The medium has changed but its still propaganda.

A clash of ideologies is a more even playing field than many people would like to think. To win such a struggle, you need to get the other side to start seeing things the way you do. The dehumanising aspect makes it easier to shoot someone, but much harder to form a real working relationship or sense of common humanity with those you want to opt-out of the fight or help you win one. It would seem (propaganda?) that compared to some of our brothers in arms, Australian soldiers do seem able to do this a little better than most - let's improve on this.

Hearts and Minds instead of Bodies in Bags.

With regard to informational-warfare (the hacking and cracking side) a good rule of thumb would seem to be NEVER CONNECT ANYTHING YOU CARE ABOUT, EVER.

Stories about intrusions into the databases of major military contractors are truly face-palm moments of idiocy... I mean... WTF???

At some point, shooting the messenger (if only with a taser) may be a necessity - a "cyber attack" on critical infrastructure, detected in progress would need to be stopped, cold, as the clear-and-present-danger it is. If this means FacepalmBook gets taken down for a day or so because an attack was being routed through it - well so be it.

I guess a lot of this faff doesn't really apply to the diggers, but some of it could - here's a question: can anyone tell me what proportion of our camouflaged nation-builders over on the subcontinent can actually speak Dari or Pashto? I know the locals over there are getting into cricket (and doing really well - they recently beat Ireland, can't wait until they make it up a level and play against the Paki's!) so hopefully they can have a few informal overs with the locals, even if the after game beers are a no-no.

Oh and railguns? BAH! HUMBUG! just another bigger gun, whoop de doo.

Although the possibility of mach-20+ over-the-horizon bombardment is kind of scary.

BTW extremely-high-flux superconductors simply DO NOT EXIST yet - and they may not even be possible, considering the high strength inductive/magnetic field generated by so much electrons moving degrades and destroys the fundamental superconductivity effect itself. There is more to learn in this field, so I do not discount the possibility (one of DARPA's black projects may have cracked this), but it isn't anywhere near the operational state of, say a MQ-9 drone.

C-beams and KillBots.... that stuff is real and getting more so.

Has the ADF come up with answers for ultra-cheap surveillance drones with off-the-shelf imagers (getting cheaper and better every day) - I mean ones that don't rely on a Rapier air defence system or an umbrella of AWACs/f-18s?

How about mobile-phone remote IED detonation? I know there's some work already done there with the jammers and detectors and detonators and whatnot - do our boys get some of them? Those guys tooling around in their chop-top landrovers (yeh yeh I know - SASR, not regulars) sure have some Nuts, but they aren't exactly driving MRAPs (not that you can fit more than one of those in a C-130J anyway).

We could probably learn a bit from the Poms and the Seppos with their equipment-we-need-NOW problems, but from what I have seen we can step up if we need to (anyone remember that high-speed troop catamaran that suddenly appeared in time for East Timor? And just as suddenly got decommissioned?) - we need this agility and can afford (by dint of small size) to be MUCH better at it than our major allies.

AAAAAAAAAAH! even my own brand of waffle is too much to stomach now, have some unrelated Burger-Fodder:

Amazon's Kindle bestseller list (lots of actual classics, traditional media blockbusters, and more than a few bootstrapping freelancers):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D154606011&field-keywords=&x=18&y=20

AND

How much the occasional troll could be making if they went for it properly:

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/contentmakers/2010/02/08/what-are-freelancers-paid-the-complete-data-so-far/

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
SJS:- ROF, you -guessed-it- LMAO.

"I heard those trashy poor people and those Great Gatsby throwbacks on the net, and Robert Redford dewlls among us: it must be so".

You sound very young, girl.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
You might have to start with a minister, Scott, one that's long gone and swilling cocktails.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
Quokka, can I! Pleeease!

Seriously though we have had several defence ministers who have been too passive not to Mention incompetent.

For all the money spent we only have one sub ready for operations. Piss poor efort!

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott: Gummit , especially defense, that has a (PM) Project management requirement have been fkn piss poor. Those boats...NOW are good boats and were we building a similar design again, they SHOULD be able to do so relatively easily.

Problem is, the spec for the new boats...is WAAAAAY fkn out there. Largest Non Nuke boats ever built they will be. scaling up only cuts the mustard so far. The new tech integration well, if they go for COTS gear that has or is utilised in the US or UK fleets it will make life a lot easier.

It will be ugly..especially given we HATE, thats other and not me, hate Nuke boats. I would be heading for the new Virginia class units or successors at that point flat out..or the poms.

BUT..Deisel elect have significant advantages..no doubt about it. I have said it before..I would split the 12-17 boats 50/50 but those types.

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joe asserts...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott: yeh the Collins' teething issues are worrisome - especially seeing as they are pretty much teenagers now and should have ditched the milkteeth long ago and be onto junk food and perving on anything that breaths...

Not just the procurement wankers, also include crap/poorly supervised subcontractors. LOL... are they SUB-SubContractors? and if THEIR contractors aren't up to scratch.... ho ho ho.... then they would be SUB-standard-Sub-Sub-SUB-Contractors!!

Still, it is definitely NOT a reason to cease our efforts at domestic production of key warfighting platforms.

Havock: The replacement of equipment lost through wartime attrition (read: blown to smithereens) is a very valid point and will become more so:

When the modern armed forces start serious frontline use of drones/robots, training replacements for dead pilots will be much less of an issue than replacing the platforms themselves. Assuming similar tech/abilities it would quickly boil down to who can make/deploy these killtoys faster. AND, while not wanting to scaremonger, we all know where most of the planet's manufacturing base is these days. Only solution I can see is robot-factories (a job-losing electoral DEATHWISH) of sufficient capacity and survivability to move the bottleneck further back along the use cycle - to be an issue of raw materials.

There's a reason rare-earth metals are making the news, and it isn't just business monopolies.

As for their neighbours, together (but opposing) they are not so big a problem - one cannot move too far without the other having some issues.

It is in everyone else's strategic interests to have the two most populous nations of similar military strength and focused on each other.

If that changes somehow, well that's an entirely different matter. I'm pretty sure India will get somewhere with their indigenous thorium reactors (they have HEAPS of that, no need for our yellowcake), and just about anything the Chinese want that we have (other than yellowcake) we seem happy to sell them anyway (quality move BTW, to snap up decades-long supply contracts for gas and coal BEFORE any carbon-intensity-tariffs or whatever are formalised).

BTW JB(off topic again), though it may have been mentioned in the text of Leviathan, could you remind me who came up with that idea about Power and Violence (that V is the expression of a LACK of P) - I still find it rather intriguing.... and maybe not entirely off topic after all.

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
MMMMmmmmMMMMM... nothing like fresh Waffle with a dash of Faff sauce to tempt the spam-trap.

>:(

Meh it was an obese post anyway

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, I agree about domestic production of platforms and munitions, relying on third parties for essential equipment is at best short sighted.

Imagine, a US president 2020 e.g needing Chinese or Indian money to prop up an ailing economy.

In the Indian Ocean a clash develops, pressure could be put on the president to withhold/delay vital equipment.

This is how Israel was contained in the 70s, America threatened to close the supply lines.

A more important question is how long can the US subsidize everyone elses security?

In the years to come the US administration will be faced with cutting back the military or social security. Which will be the first to go do you think?

Ot I know but these are the questions countries like Australia need to ask themselves. I take no pleasure in the US decline, but no country can maintaine the US's debt without something giving.

The Europeans are going to get one hell of a shock when the US is no longer around to protect them. Soft power only works when someone is standing behind you with a big stick.

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
So what is happening for dinner in Melbourne? Have you chosen a venue? Unfortunatley I can't make - three work commitment nights in a row, plus moving house has meant that I need to spend some serious time working on the home front.

Are you still here on Monday morning? Brekkie may be doable?

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joe has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott:

I am probably misjudging the national character of America.....

but I'm pretty sure it would be welfare that goes first.

They were never real keen on the idea in the first place, but maybe a generational change (or at least more engaged "progressive" voters) away from the McCarthyist hangover could lead to it going the other way.

"Obama could win the next election if he declared war on Iran" - O.M.F.G.

And to the waning of the Pax Americana.....

I think the You-rope-Ian's know this is coming, and the French and German armed forces at least seem to be doing something about it. Probably wouldn't be enough to stop Russia if it was serious, but to avoid a fight you simply need to make it not worth their while as opposed to being tougher.

Which is about all a country the size of Australia can hope for if we are talking about potential fights with the next superpowers. In that regard, keeping them addicted to our mining products is actually some insurance, as long as we keep an eye on the stockpiling - if you guys aren't actually using it to make our consumerist toys maybe we should sell it to someone else.... problem is: Who?

To soft Power and Big Sticks: It is not the Hitting of Things with Big Sticks that backs up Soft Power so much as the PERCEPTION that Big Sticks Could Start Hitting. Of course for this to be believed the occasional 3rd world country needs an externally-applied regime change, but it's easy to make a case that a string of low-magnitude conflicts Elsewhere is a helluva lot cheaper than WW3.

'Cos if the Nukes start flying in WW3, World War 4 will be fought with rocks and pointy sticks.

Just so you know its Business we Mean.

The Politics of Fear works at many levels.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, doubt it entitlement is well entrenched in the western world, the whole world for that matter just look at how some third world countries react when it is suggested that the gravey train can not go on for ever and it might be time for some competent leadership.

As for Europe increasing it’s military capacity, only around the edges.

Just look at what is happening in Greece, massive debt someone has to pay and when the government wants to cut back on expenditure the usual suspects come out of the woodwork for a temper tantrum. I speak of course of the public sector unions and the uni students who have nothing better to do than smash other peoples property. Last time around the Germans were handed the bill but it looks like the Chancellor is having none of it.

We hear a lot about deficits but they are not the problem in the short to medium term it is long term national debt which will cause headaches.

European country debts range from 80 to 120% of GDP. If they don’t get there shit together they are looking at more than defence issues.

I doubt that Russia will be a problem, they are in a lot of trouble themselves, most of what we hear is bluster. Look to internal strife, millions of unassimilated people from the third world being told that the welfare cheque is ending.

The cracks are already appearing. Remember how ineffectual the European response was to the break up of Yugoslavia it took the US to do anything. Negative population growth plus unassimilated folks with shall we say tribal customs equals a lot of grief. Rather than set piece battles I can see a lot of civil unrest coupled with urban war style clashes. Throw in some pissing contests between emerging powers and we will find ourselves living in interesting times.

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Crap, that was longer than I thought sorry Birmingham.

But my internal armchair expert got away from me, one of these days I'll have to take it outside and shoot it.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
I try hard to keep in mind that Hanrahan said "We'll all be roont" years ago and there have been millenialists and sooth sayers saying soothly "The end is nigh" for thousands of years. 'Twould seem every generation throws up a couple who believe that things can't get any worse and therefore the end of days must be at hand.

That said.

1 Being prepared for Zed costs little but time & thought.

2 Not being prepared for Zed will end in tears. Briefly, then some shambling & brain eating.

So. While I may disagree on root causes, it would appear that Mr Scott and I agree on some points.

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Naut mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
But Jane, I am handsome too. It says so on the left and my Mum tells me it's true!

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Scott swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
NowhereBob, not sure whether my analysis is accurate just saying based on history Europe is not looking healthy. You are right though preparation doesn't hurt any number of things could go wrong alien spacebats take away our tech, asteroid bombardment or just the crazies decide to play with megaton firecrackers. Bit worried about the shambling and brain eating of which you speak.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
Zombies Mr. Scott. Zombies.

Or should I say Dr Von Scott? *

Brigadier Barnes of the ZPS has taught us to consider the shambling & brain eating undead as a catch-all generic phrase that encompasses all the many & varied ways the wheels fall off our pretty western democracy. If one makes plans based on a Zombie outbreak, then you probably wont be underprepared, if on the other hand you expect to call mumy on the cell phone then perhaps you may want to think a little more, or end up another Fkn brain eating shambler that I will have to deal with.

You sugest Alien Space Bats, crazy nuke bingo &/or hot rock impact. I could add another half dozen and some who make a study of such things could probably add another 2 dozen. From microbes to megatonnes the chances of something cataclysmic happening are approaching statistical unity. Without sufficient information to describe the likelihood of one culture ending event compared to another we just use the phrase The Zompocolypse.

If you have considered any or all of the following then you are "with" the program.

Never less than half a tank of fuel in your vehicle.

Bug out bag packed.

Ingrediants for Improv weapons.

Defence protocols for home or location X.

Basic field first aid in vehicle & bugout bag, serious med kit at home or location X.

Alt. routes to location X

Rations for X people for Y days.

Water supply for Y days.

What are critical lootings? & When would you approach them.

.

* Rocky Horror Picture Show Referrence.

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joe swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
Ahhhhh, Hanrahan....

Reminds me of Dennis Leary's Irish Drinking Song for some reason:

"we Drink and we Die and continue to Drink"

Sounds very Zed to me....

Scott, I know we are waaaay off topic, but I can't help but say "HUZZAH!" to those points about non-assimilation and entitlement, even though we probably don't agree on the extent or details.

I am still optimistic that things will not degenerate to the sectarian urban warfare as depicted in JB's Without Warning, but I do think it fair that coming to live in a new country ought to imply that you are OK with subscribing their Rules and Social Conventions - if not why should we put up with you, again? Social disharmony was never part of the deal.

On the causes of this I perceive there are not really any Good Guys, only degrees of complicity.

As for the students and unions - they should respect the right to protest and express dissent; not abusing this right by breaking stuff and bringing their cause into disrepute.

I used to take part in public nonviolent protests - until I realised how frequently they were being hijacked by rabid fringe groups who thought it was a cool thing to do to throw nail-spiked potatoes at the police trying to keep the peace.

Didn't change my view on the issues, just made me want to avoid associating with juvenile arseholes trying to get on TV.

That said, changes to how some countries deal with public protests (first cab off the rank for me would be the UK) seem knowingly designed to elicit such stupid mob behaviour and bring their (possibly quite valid) issues under a cloud of extremist violent images in the media. This is frightening to me.

State-sponsored psychologists came up with this I am sure, and they are obviously a lot smarter in this field than the majority of individuals wanting to express their dissatisfaction, let alone whatever mental-ability the average pissed-off mob has. People interested in this should look up "kettling".

I am a supporter of a _certain_ degree of social welfare - just not the effectively free money that people get used to to such an extent it feels like a right.

I would much rather most of the dole (what we call state welfare for the unemployed here) was given in food/rent/utility vouchers, with a Work For The Dole program that doesn't just teach people how to Paint Rocks - traineeships and stuff like that to get them functioning in society again and provide some of those Skills there is always such a Shortage of...

This is what comes of giving a man a Fish, instead of giving him a hand-line and teaching him HOW to Catch Fish Himself...

Welfare will only ever be a band-aid solution (that does have some real, albeit temporary, advantages to society in terms of less desperation-induced crime) but addressing the longer-term underlying issues of education, disenfranchisement (ew.. long word... yukky), and self-respect seems to always end up in the "too hard" basket.

PS: I love when beggars (they are actually quite rare here) try to get money from me.

I will give them a cigarette (that's a service to the community with some of these people) but if pressed I tell them (as politely as I am sober) to wait for their dole money, and spend it wisely, like everyone else in their position ought to. Boy does that piss some of them off! (lucky me has only had to physically defend myself against a riled-up panhandler once - and as you might expect from someone wasted enough to attack a stranger they are asking help from, they really weren't much of a threat)

Oh, and I ONLY give tips for truly extra-ordinary service.

Hmmmm...... might be about time to replay some of those hippy love-in MP3s... and finish off the booze.

"cheers"

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joe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Give me a billion dollars and a cozy lab in, say, North Korea and I could make Zed a reality you Would Not Like.

Sci-Fi I know.... but based on KNOWN FACTS - it could be done......

But I am a Good Guy so you better up the offer before "could" becomes "will".

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 9, 2010
People really need to look on the bright side of equations.

OK..If WW3 starts..its gunna be ..well BIG, but the up side is that WARS help promote extensive R & D like on scales we never seem to achieve in peace time. These applications or discoveries then filter through into the main stream society.

So after a big stoush, some culling of sorts we will have all these shinny new gadgets and hey..maybe even FTL as well.. and off we go.

just a thought ya know

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
Hvk, may I ask, what is "FTL" ?

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Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2010
FTL = Faster Than Light. Only possible if you have a warped mind. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Joe, I agree a hand up not a handout, the ease of welfare in Europe is a draw card, not to say that there aren't genuine refugees or hard workers among them but when I read about people being attacked on the street for not wearing the fullbodied sack or poloticians being put on trial for speaking out Geert Wilders for example, all in the name of national harmony of course, I wonder what the endgame will be.

Wouldn't it be better to explain that freedom means just that and if it isn't to your liking than leave.

Developed countries didn't just happen they require a certain amount of freedom, property rights and most important of all personal safety. If Europe doesn't wake up soon they may end up in a situation similar to that described in Without Warning. Having said this I am an optimist the future can be bright, just hope it isn't to bright as in big fkn city busting flash.

NowhereBob, have considered all that.

Funny story a couple of years ago the power whent off, as is our want after 30 minutes or so if it hasn't come back on we fired up the generator. The kid next door wined that we were lucky. No we said just prepared and thought ahead. Too many people take our social amenities for granted press a button and you have light or warmth turn a tap and you have clean drinking water. A complex system which could fall apart with frightening speed. Personally I think my and my families survival is too important to leave to a government which may have it's hands full with something else. Assuming it still functions. You don't even need to be a survivalist just have a simple go to hell plan.

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Greybeard mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Slightly OT (?) but maybe Birmo could get a bit of discussion going on the JSF/F-35? $16B earmarked for what's looking more and more like vapourware. Years behind schedule, failed every milestone, costs rising faster than my blood pressure. The seppos may scrap the damn things totally. If they don't, the Sukhois being bought by everyone else in the region will fly circles around them. How about a scenario where the AJ's are left with no air cover? How would we cope with that? I notice India is planning to buy more Su-50 stealth fighters than the Russians!

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The very well travelled, well educated, beautiful , whatever else on the list, Abigail mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2010
Greybeard! I didn't know you came here. cool. Thanks(ftl)

Scott- I started planning a survival strategy when I was nine, just for fun and I have added little bits ever since. Yes, we do take so much for granted which turns on a dime and it's going to be our undoing one day.

Water- plastic in the sun to catch the condensation, if desperate. If they'd hurry up and advance the methane -to - gas sites that'd be very helpful. Insane population is going to be the biggest problem in this scenario- don't you say?

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2010
Greybeard, this project has been altered so many times that I doubt whether it will fulfill the role Australia had planned for it.

The f111 is ment to be retired this year and it looks like the f35 is going to be delayed until 2013, how long until we get ours, the yanks will want the first line of production. 2014/16 maybe?

What are we going to fill the air capacity gap with? Once again this comes down to defence ministers who are not with it!

Please nobody talk to me about the superhornets, please.

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted February 9, 2010
Abigail, it is a reality that most people won't be ready for disaster, a lot of people will pull together but if a disaster is widespread even worse world wide than people will panick.

As long as people think that help is on the way they will sit still and for the most part remain civilised. Once the idea gets around that help isn't, won't, can't come than the gloves come off. Cities were in historical times deathtraps.

Too many people in one place poor sanitation contaminated water supplies and no ready food source all leeds to a war of all against all.

A smart thing to do would have a exit stratagey and leave before the insanity begins.

Note, I'm sure I'm traveling a road you guys have already discussed.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2010
Scott I had that particular epiphany when in Edinborough.

X million people.

Food supplies for what, maybe 2 weeks.

Big cities shall be Very Bad Places to be when it turns to sh!t. I'm not convinced it shall, but as you say; a small risk with a big stake (my family) is not something I'll passively leave to The Authorities.

Ah Father GreyBeard it is too long since you graced us with your presence & your wisdom acquired across the ages.

Those Shukois are impressive beasties, even without fourth gen stealth capacities they deliver, and what's more they can deliver very shortly while we are waiting for our new shinys to arrive.

I'm sure our chaps & lasses up at Tindle will give them something to think twice about, but...

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The very well travelled, well educated, beautiful , whatever else on the list, Abigail puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2010
OMFG, JB, you'll love this. You too Havsy, Greybeard, NowhereBob, Quok, Jenny, Catty, Medway, Scott, GC,DocYobbo, Damian,Nautilus, Mayhem...(if you haven't already seen it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR2nso47lm4

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The very well travelled, well educated, beautiful , whatever else on the list, Abigail reckons...

Posted February 9, 2010
...sorry, PNB, Mr. Frellman- mon dieu!

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The very well travelled, well educated, beautiful , whatever else on the list, Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 9, 2010
ooh, just as the scenario is geting really hotted up , I'm sleepy. Hope it's still on tomorrow , 'night.

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Scott would have you know...

Posted February 10, 2010
NowhereBob, you are right small likelyhood but the penalties for not being ready are too horible to contimplate.

The higher the population density the nastier it will be, and the faster the collapse. At what point will the psychological breaking point for the general population arrive?

A point not raised in Birmingham's WW was that America and Canada are major food producers. Most if not all of African countries are heavily dependent on the US for food aid. Looking forwards to the next book.

Late need sleep.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2010
I wondered the same thing, Scott re: food supply and poor nations that import both food and fuel.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10, 2010
Couldn't post this at the old blunty so I'll pop it here, chap seems jolly sound on the subject of tea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eELH0ivexKA

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2010
Scott, I believe the RAAF will be using F/A-18 Super Hornets, which are a capable aircraft.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 10, 2010
JB is there ANY chance that the NT will ever fix the blog so it's like it used to be?

Or have they given up even pretending to care?

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joe mutters...

Posted February 10, 2010
NoWhereBob: please, what is meant by the term "approaching statistical unity"?

It sound pretty sexy, that's for sure...

In the way that "Infinite Improbability Drive" sounds sexy!

Preparations cost a lot less than people think, and can be dual-use:

Food: canned and dried goods can also be good value due to their shelf life (stoopid Woolies fresh produce displayed ready-to-rot, with good-looking but poor-keeping varieties) and $ per Kg/KJ (especially in the generic brands - how much nutritional difference is there between a premium tin of baked beans and one that is half the price? Piss-all). The only extra effort I need to maintain several week's food supply on-site is a regular "stock rotation" system that keeps the going-out-of-date stuff at the front for first use.

Longer term I guess I would have to rely on my gardening and hunting skills, but I am sure those would come back quickly if I had the motivation.

Water: rainwater tanks have just sooooo many advantages to those with the option - one of life's most essential ingredients, several tonnes of it, under your direct control is not to be sneered at during water restrictions, heatwaves, and zombie incursions (ya gotta wash up after a big night out with the chainsaw!). There are many bush-survival skills that could come in handy too (like the plastic/vegetation/condensation trick).

Squeezing the "water" out of a hapless ground-frog wouldn't be my first choice though.

Shelter: you don't even need to own a place to earmark it for a bolt-hole. When I was a kid, indulging in my ownpost-apocalyptic dreaming, I scouted out several abandoned (or would be if society disintegrated and noone showed for work) public works sites with much potential. One of them was even structurally similar to a medieval fort - "Zombies?! Boil up the oil and man the murder-holes!"

Defences: as the Burgers will probably already know from their Z researches.... The shambling brain-eaters are hardly the only thing to worry about. Internal strife and competing survivalists are the cause of more over-run survivor enclaves than zombies are! Part of the narrative prerogative of course but instructional with regards to feral humans (not Havock's use of the term).

So passive defences in the bolt-hole (doors that stay shut and solid with repeated zombie-bashing, windows they cannot climb through etc) backed up with active force(shotguns, chainsaws, improvised explodey goodness) would sooner or later become a priority.

So the usual advice of "canned goods and shotguns" stays at the top of my first-to-be-looted list.

Also on the list are:

Antibiotics and other lifesaving medicines (we can experiment on the zombies with cocktails of liberated pharmacy stock!)

Communications (CB radio, anyone?) and support for them (solar recharger and every spare rechargable battery you can find)

Fuel - especially important if you need to bug out again, or make friendly campfires out of approaching hordes

Tools - such as needed to fix the generators/utes/crossbows.

BOOZE - something will be needed to keep morale up after the portable media devices stop working, and a bit of Dutch Courage never hurt when facing down a Zombie Horde.

Longer term I would probably try to find:

agricultural necessities like seeds and fertilisers

textbooks and manuals containing useful information (to avoid a trip back to my current residence's home library)

Livestock - probably wild rabbits or if they could be found, chickens - both have very good biomass to protein conversion rates and don't have to eat into your own supplies. They breed fast too. Vegetarians will be blamed for the outbreak, in my village...

Oh and of course, nubile Bunnys to help rebuild the human race with. (health and intelligence standards apply)

Fun and completely off-topic, burgers at their best.

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Sweet Jane Says has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2010
antibiotic = honey + garlic + fenugreek

J.

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2010
I wonder what this says about our home-grown defence industry development - does it mean that in the event of hostilities with China our troops would go into battle naked?

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/australian-soldiers-to-wear-uniforms-made-from-material-made-in-china/story-e6frf7jo-1225828503575

Very much a "THIS IS SPARTA" aproach though....

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted February 10, 2010
Scott:

Dont get me started on whether we should keep the F111's, I say we should. As Murph Points out, the Super Hornet is a quite capable aircraft..in the enviro it was designed for.

However, as a replacement for the f111, it falls well fkn short, can it mix with a true fifth gen fighter...NO, will it do as a replacement for the F111 and Existing Charlie models of F18's we have...not really.

But you need to look at the threat..its not really there at the moment, however, if it materialised whilst they were in service, the we have a deep strike capability gap...a fucking rather large one i might add.

Doctrine has always been to start the attrition off shore and the 111's play a key...KEY fkn role in that. with them retired, until we have ALCM's of sub jobs, we are fkd. Even then, they lack targeting data..so somebody has to get close. They are fkn expensive and whats more..how would you conduct long range Air to ground delivery of ordnance..not with cruise missiles unless you have a fk load of cash in the bank. IRON BOMBS..smart PIGS..JSOW, JDAMS.

The superhornet is bigger than its predecessor, has greater range...but thats fkn it.

I hate, hate, hate the fact we have bought these fkn things, but, with the Pigs going out the door they are possibly the best fit. BEST thing we can do...GET the WEASEL versions of the F18G.

All this assumes we get the single engine fkn f35 before..say...2015, which IMHO, i think will not happen and a fkn truck load of cash will have been flushed down the fkn dunny.

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2010
By the way the spam rap seemed to eat an earlier enquiry by mine about is there actually a get together in Melbourne this weekend?

I think that as we are now on Wednesday that should be the correct grammer for both FKN HVK and JB?

Anyway - doubtful that I could make it but after birthday dinner last night - highly recommend the Tasmanian t-bone at the Station Hotel...

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Quokka asserts...

Posted February 10, 2010
Lacks potency, SJS.

Inject some toad venom. That'll do it.

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joe puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2010
SJS: yes that is an effective remedy - but only for topical infections.

Useless against something in deeper tissues or the bloodstream. A festering dog bite for instance (let alone a Zombie bite!).

One thing about internet Trolls: you cannot cook them with FLAMES - they live off that!

Maybe some kind of smoked jerky though.... mmm yummy

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joe is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2010
About those jets - how many months/years of capability gap (near term now) are an acceptable risk?

I mean if we lack deep-strike capacity for only a few years, and maintain reasonable levels of either transparency or espionage, surely it would take long enough for a potential adversary to prep an invasion/strike force that we would have enough warning to do something about it (like lease some hardware or find a way to strap some bigger sea-launched stuff to the subs)?

Deep strike certainly has a place in a defensive doctrine - "don't think you can hit me without suffering some pain yourself" - but the tools to do that may have to change, drastically.

To get anything like the range (nevermind the speed) of our ancient Pigs out of what we are supposedly buying next would require stupid amounts of (vulnerable and mission critical) midair refuelling capacity.

Personally I see the f-35, even the f-22 to a degree, being stop-gap measures before properly semi-autonomous UACV platforms are out there.

It would be more akin to riding a horse by remote than driving a car - only when something spooks your steed, it sends a pair of missiles back in response instead of just trying to throw you and bolt.

"stealth" is a tad overrated anyway - they can still get shot down by an annoyed local on a hilltop with an AK, and IIRC our own Jindalee installation was able to detect those speccy stealth bombers back when they were doing test flights over the Indian ocean - something about the air-wake.

Cheaper, smaller, faster, more maneuverable, bigger range, and with emerging semi-auto AI piloting, quicker response time also. The Machines Are Coming. Killbots are the future, unfortunately (I would prefer representative physical sport-combat to decide things, Sumo-style, but I wont get that wish).

Still the manufacture/supply issue of course.

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joe has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2010
I suppose I had better include ingredients for "home-made compression-flux devices" on that looting list......

(EMP bombs FTW)

hm... might be able to "MacGyver" something out of tubing, wire, a shotgun shell and a fat capacitor.....

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The very well travelled, well educated, beautiful , whatever else on the list, Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2010
Murph- don't the RAAF already use the Fa/18 Super Hornets? I see them at air shows and just assumed....maybe not.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2010
Abi..early last year we took delivery of our First Block 2, EF Model F18 super hornets. We have 24 on order being delivered over this year and the next one. Assuming no fuck ups or other issues.

From memory, we managed to tap into the production line run in the US, as deliveries to the USN were ahead of schedule.

HAD we not been able to and went to the back of the list, I suspect it might have been more like 2013-14 and that would have fkd the whole retirement of the pigs issue.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 10, 2010
Joe. Statistical unity = A one in X probability repeated X or more times without the result.

EG a standard 6 sided dice (or die [singular] for the D&D freaks). Rolling a 6 has a one in 6 probability. On the 6th roll (if you havn't turned up a 6 yet) the chance of rolling a 6 is approaching staistical unity. Note that it does not mean it will happen, just that the probability is approaching 1 or unity. That is my understanding of the term, I may have it entirely wrong.

If we get a KT type asteroid impact once every 100000 years and havn't had one for more than that long, A super volcano once every 20000 years and havn't had one for more than that long, a pandemic every 100 years and we havn't .... The likelihood of one or more of these events occuring is pretty good.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted February 10, 2010
NBOB...if you were to subscribe to the statistical unity theory. Chaos however.......well...who knows!

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jp asserts...

Posted February 10, 2010
Twenty years from now there's no way we'll still be one of the biggest military spenders on the block, and one's modern military is only as good as how much cash you got comparative to your foes -- some developing mo fo's will have a lot more cash than us.

So, fortify Tasmania and fall back there. Or we could all move to Shebangabang. Breed with your cousin's cousins or with sheep -- the future is rosy, hey?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 10, 2010
PS from 15:51

I have a mate who is very keen on go fast Japanese road bikes. Track days and touring to Phillip Island GP for four days in the same pair of jeans kind of guy.

He also likes fang on public roads, has millions of war stories and has consumed several bikes. Given the frequency of motorcyclists meeting messy ends he once described himself as a "refugee from probability."

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joe asserts...

Posted February 10, 2010
Interesting Bob.. I might look into that a bit. From your description it sounds like an asymptotic line.

Before trying, I had a play with the spreadsheet to see if I could remember my edumacation.

Chance of a six being thrown on one roll is 16.7%.

The likelihood of at least one 6 coming up, after 6 rolls of a six-sided dice, (if we MUST put it in D&D terms... that would be 6d6) is approximately 66.5%.

Yes, that is *approaching* p=1.0 (100%)

But really its only about a 2/3 chance of getting it.

I was about to show my working, but then I got slack and decided someone else out there would explain it better so if you're interested here's a link on dice probability:

http://www.edcollins.com/backgammon/diceprob.htm

Turns out I derived it slightly differently but it simplifies to the same thing. Yay for the old neural net.

here's an amusing thought: someone wants you to bet on getting Heads on a flipped coin, but just before you decide how much you put on that outcome, a third party tells you the last 5 flips were ALL TAILS.

Personally I would assume someone was cheating.... But if everything was legit, the true probability of the SINGLE FLIP you are betting on would be 50%

Sure you are seemingly betting on 6 heads in a row, but you are already most of the way there.

Whether you think its legit or not, well that brings me neatly around to Bayesian Analysis and the Veracity of Media Reporting..... nah sod it, I'm going to crash early instead.

PS HAVOCK: I don't know you apart from your persona as typed here or at Blunty (and I would never have suspected cake frosting), but of all the theories, CHAOS theory does sound like a good fit.

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joe would have you know...

Posted February 10, 2010
NWB(20:26): that's pretty cool, I'm going to tell my biker friends that.

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Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted February 11, 2010
My suggestion would be for them to look at the Russian scenario where the armed forces are let unpaid for so long that they are effectively confined to barracks for years on end, having to contract themselves out privately and start selling off their weapons and ammo to the highest bidder.

Actually that may not be too far off the mark if this news story is anything to go by:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/10/2815518.htm?section=australia

The scenario is that the Australian economy has gone down the gurgler, defence budgets are tied up in expensive contracts for big ticket hardware (ships and fighter planes etc), there is no money for maintenance of high-tech gear, training budgets are shot to hell, recruitment is failing to get anyone to join up, there is nothing in the kitty to actually pay the troops with and no immediate threat. So how do you maintain effective forces and morale in taht environment?

Actually that sounds like it could be true in the next couple of years...

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted February 11, 2010
I forgot to mention the huge cost over-runs and delays on said big-ticket hardware...

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Respond to 'Prepping for Pucka.'

Not so lazy Sunday

Posted January 31, 2010 by John Birmingham
As always after a deadline, my office looks like a bunch of storm troopers had a barroom brawl with half a dozen Chechen war bands. So this morning I headed down to give it a clean out in preparation for the next round of deadlines. It didn't take too long. It never does when you just hold open a big garbage bag and sweep everything off the desk into it.

In tidying up I did have one stroke of luck. I found an unopened box which I had assumed was just reprints of Fellafel or one of the thrillers. Instead it turned out to be a small treasure trove of fantasy and sci-fi novels I'd ordered from Borderland Books in San Francisco, I think, almost exactly one year ago. It had been sitting there in the rubble and the rubbish that whole time. I think I might start with the Charlie Houston vampire noir novels first.

But not until I finish Steven King's Under the Dome, which I'm about three quarters through, and which I'm really loving. It's one of his big canvas projects, and possibly his best since The Stand. I'd find it hard to fault the book were I reviewing it. The characters are all brilliantly drawn, the pacing is perfect, and he's managed to pull off a trick that most genre writers find it all but impossible; embedding quite sophisticated political discourse deep under the cover of the surface narrative. He has a lot to say about politics, religion and ecology but he never preaches. Nor does he make the mistake of painting his villains and heroes in two dimensions with a limited palette. It gets JB's two thumbs up and a hearty recommendation for the next time you have a spare week to invest in a novel.

My next week is going to be invested in the rewrite of Leviathan. Sydney Theater Company have announced now that they'll be adapting it for their 2011 season, meaning I'd better get my arse into gear and get rolling on my update. That's partly what cleaning the office was about this morning, not just clearing work space on the desk, but clearing headspace so that I can shift from one project into the next without being held back by a lot of clutter and baggage.

I'm sort of looking forward to it, the change in pace. My first task is to go through the published papers of the early colonial governors extracting notes on the themes I'll be addressing in the new chapter, the city's aesthetic history. This will also be an interesting trial for the dictation software. I've been using it a lot to do columns and features, and it's proven itself more than useful in that area. This chapter, however, will run to at least 40 maybe 50,000 words, in effect, a standalone book. It's the first time I'll have tackled a project of that size from the get go using MacSpeech Dictate. I'll let you know how that works out.

The other thing I'll be trying is some writing software recommended by Hughesy. It's called Scrivener and I've got it on a 30 day free trial at the moment. She swears by it and I'm willing to give it a go on that basis, but I wanted to wait until I was at the start of a project. I won't use it for Leviathan, but I will see how it handles with the first draft of book 3 of the Wave trilogy.

127 Responses to ‘Not so lazy Sunday’

Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 31, 2010
Ah, JB, I'm going to have to my review my harsh feelings about Stephen King and give him a fair try.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted January 31, 2010
I'm looking forward to the re-issue/reworking of Leviathan an excellent piece of work.

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Scott mumbles...

Posted January 31, 2010
I went through a King stage but then he lost me, might be time to give him another go.

Btw JB you poor bastard you know that in about 2/3 weeks from now you will need something you threw out! Done that now I give everything a quick look and if it is over 1/2 years old it goes.

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miche would have you know...

Posted January 31, 2010
Scriverner is only for Mac users. For those of us who are using a PC, Scriverner recommends PageFour from

http://www.softwareforwriting.com/

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joe puts forth...

Posted January 31, 2010
Yay! moar leviathan!!

some days u happy me lots an lots...

The last version was FKNAWSM, despite the rambling, sometimes overfamiliar prose and the impression it was a 2nd draft essay before the linking paragraphs were done. I guess it was only a draft eh?

well, bought it and im buying the next one too - 50000 more words? mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. yum

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Orin puts forth...

Posted January 31, 2010
Watching the Barney between Amazon and McMillian is also entertainment this weekend.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted January 31, 2010
I've come across Scrivener before - not sure if it was after some discussion here or not. It DOES look good, actually. May try this 30 day trial myself, though I'm not so sure it's the impetus I need to get writing. Still not sure what that could be, really.

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Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 31, 2010
I've heard some excellent things about Scrivener from writer friends who use it. I'll be interested to hear how it interacts with the speech input.

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lostatlunch asserts...

Posted January 31, 2010
what a great week.

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sibeen reckons...

Posted January 31, 2010
Well I'm glad book 3 of the wave trilogy got a mention, even in passing. You know of course that us burgers will be baying for the third book approximately a week after the release of the second. Hounding you day and night, infesting your dreams with our lamentations, making inappropriate and completely off topic remarks over at blunty, badgering you mercilessly at burger get togehters; all in all making complete arses of ourselves.

Just a friendly heads up.

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PM Newton would have you know...

Posted January 31, 2010
OK - I'm sold. The Dome goes on my list. The reviews I've read had me intrigued and I'm a big fan of genre that refuses to stay in its box and instead pushes the envelope and goes undercover to do the political thang.

And STC doing Leviathan, now that's going to be a must-see.

Those early governors wrote some interesting stuff. King's 1801 order that the “natives” along the Georges River were "to be driven back from the settler's habitation by firing at them" is a nice reminder that Keith Windschuttle et al are full of the brown stuff.

Looking forward to the results of your road testing of Mac Dictate - there ought to be a comish in there for you on sales prompted.

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savo puts forth...

Posted January 31, 2010
Under the Dome is a rather excellent bit of writing Scott I'd highly recommend getting back into him with the Dome. The arm still playing up John or is the software that good?

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted January 31, 2010
I'm still restricted to about 2hrs a day typing, which isn't enough. But having scaled the upper slopes of the learning curve, I've also become lightning fast with the software.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 31, 2010
I'm suprised your desk gets buried in detritus, I thought you had Bunnies for that kind of thing.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 31, 2010
I'm thinking shit stuck to the desk with the NUTs N Fkn Berries he eats N bob

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Abigail has opinions thus...

Posted January 31, 2010
JB, btw, that's brilliant news about STC adaptation- I meant to say that before. Are you excited?

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sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
I really liked under the dome, worked on all sorts of levels. Interestingly although its one of his longer books it actually reads like one of his shorter faster paced novellas or more like a return to his firestarter, deadzone type of pace. And he really thought through the dome concept- would be great to see all his working notes...

Abigail- read the long walk (stephen king writing under the pen name of Richard Bachman)- i promise you will NOT be wasting your time

http://www.amazon.com/Bachman-Books-Early-Novels-Stephen/dp/0451147367/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
Somewhere between the Yukon and Aricibo:

http://www.santafe.com/articles/from-ghosts-to-mutilated-cattle-to-aliens-to-hums-the-land-of-enchantment-is-also-land-of-the-strange - Underground Bases and Tunnels, by Richard Saunder, Ph.D. (Adams Hall) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
The Schumann resonances (SR): The limited dimensions of the Earth cause this waveguide to act as a resonant cavity for electromagnetic waves in the ELF band. The cavity is naturally excited by electric currents in lightning.

And don't forget the oscillations of String Theory - that is - if you want a scientifically based reason behind it all.

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Sweet Jane Says ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
J.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
Okay, so here in Sunny California it is now Sunday, and my lazy day will be devoted to watching television and drinking alcohol until I fall asleep. Now THATS living - albeit not as productive as what John describes.

One more thought: all this talk about the third wave book is encouraging, but the discussion on the mechanics of Kolhammer's presidency resulted in my current rereading of Final Impact again reminding me again how wonderful the AoT series was and hoping agan that there will be more someday.

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simon bedak ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
great stuff

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 1, 2010
STC is an exciting development. Looking forward to the Leviathan update.

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2010
STC version of Leviathan - I suppose that means that you will be swilling champagne with Cate Blanchett and her cohorts sometime in the near future? NOICE!

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted February 1, 2010
Cate?

This is job for Bell Shakespeare.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
Wondering who would be sufficiently fat & venal to play the role of Sydney?

Ol' Mooface Bert Newton ?

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NBlob asserts...

Posted February 1, 2010
That should be mooN face, but moo face works to I guess

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Therbs mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
NBob - Once again we get sniggering from the provinces about good ol' Sydney town. Get back to those floods and fires and protect my carbon offests from further damage before I set my Bondi cockroaches against you.

Now waiter, a large Bombay Sapphire and tonic if you don't mind and please remove that tree which is blocking my view of the water, there's a good lad.

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Chaz asserts...

Posted February 1, 2010
Excellent news about Leviathan finally coming off the blocks.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2010
Yessir Mr. Therbs sir. At once sir.

Would you like a chocolate swirl ice cream with that?

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted February 1, 2010
Ice cream? With G&T? Hmmmm, hadn't thought of that. An intriguing concept which requires further contemplation and research, but please leave the choccie coloured bits out of the gelato. That's a purely Coogee Bay afftectation developed for the ratsacker market and isn't well regarded north of Alison Road.

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Otto asserts...

Posted February 1, 2010
possible spoiler alert....would be interested JB if you have the same view of the ending of The Dome....it just seemed to be rushed, or, oh so neatly tied up. Give or take a 'hero's' death or two. Maybe it was the time of the day I was reading it (very late, after being utterly engrossed for along period of time). I am sure your publisher wouldn't do the same to you.

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Albion Love Den (Blue Box) mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2010
I'm ready to wager than Brisbane Arts Theatre would do a crackin' version of Leviathon. Way more dick jokes than those bunch of toffs at STC.

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Cobargian puts forth...

Posted February 1, 2010
Leviathan the Musical? And does that mean you're rewriting history?

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 1, 2010
I envisaged it more as slapstick pantomime with gun battles and tossing of cream pies.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
And Faff. It needs a sprinkling of Faff.

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Timmo mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
'I’m ready to wager than Brisbane Arts Theatre would do a crackin’ version of Leviathon. Way more dick jokes than those bunch of toffs at STC.'

And given that us Qlders are apparently spending all NSW money, we may as well spend it on their stories...

...which of course, it takes a Qlder to write properly :)

Oooh, watershed moment folks - I just realised I identify as a Qlder in this scenario!

(I'll be blue as they come when State of Origin comes round though...)

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted February 1, 2010
There's nothing that the STC could do which wouldn't be aced by a Bedes/Girl Clumsy collaboration. But that probably goes without saying.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
So is Bedes another resident thespian? sorry guys, *still sorting out names/context. Is Bedes in felafel as well? I wish I could see it!

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2010
John, this is quite an honour for you. They're a pretty major-league company .....famous and all that. Wow, really.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2010
GC, I wish you much success in theatre. You've got a vibrant presence here and I'm sure you're even more so on stage:)

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Greybeard mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2010
@NowhereBob, February 1, 2010 @ 10:03 am

"Wondering who would be sufficiently fat & venal to play the role of Sydney?"

Silly boy! (Smiles and waits for the phone to ring with an offer)

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2010
Miss Abigail, Bedes is our cattle barron who between emasculating boy calves adapted the original HDWAFIHH to script form.

Greybeard. My apologies memsahib. The foolishness of (relative) yoof.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
Mr Bedak is also a key player in the exclusive club scene and if asked nicely will run a football tipping competition. Last year's included some delightful swearing in the weekly submissions from very enthusiastic participants.

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2010
I met Bedes at GC's play on Sat night and am happy to vouch for his character.

I expected him to look like Russell Brand, and told Mayhem as much.

He does not.

Which was really rather funny, however being a polite marsupial I resisted the temptation to laugh.

Bedes, on the other hand, spent about three minutes pointing at me and gurgling 'YOU'RE QUOKKA! YOU! YOU'RE QUOKKA!'

yeah, SO?

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2010
Maybe he thought that I'd look like Russell Brand too.

In hindsight, I should have asked.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2010
I am going to win the next footy tipping competition.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted February 1, 2010
PNB, stick to cows.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
how? glue? velcro? Duct / gaff tape?

Or is representing bovine litigants a key part of Professor Boylans practice?

I'm confused

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 1, 2010
Will someone tell them how I did in last year's contest - despite not knowing a fucking thing about footy?

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2010
Oh and Aunty Q I empathise with your suprise.

It was a profoundly odd experience to discover, contrary to baseless asumptions, that Medway was a man.

Cue Jen "And what a man he is."

I am currently striving to excise the mental image of our portly patrician having parchment skin, ruby eyes and little canine fangs peeking out over his bottom lip.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
That's not true: even I knew that Collingwood is the BEST footy team evah!

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted February 1, 2010
Or is that St. Kilda? Hell, I have really have no idea...

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted February 1, 2010
Sibeen, did you catch Prof Windschuttle on the radio this afternoon? Aparrantly the "Stolen Generation" is a invention / conspiracy.

What a guy!

prof google can find it for you; ABC + radio national + counterpoint. Download & laugh along.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
Nbob.

Go to youtube and search 'cow tipping' or 'how to tip cows'.

I'd post the link, but you know.

Information this century and all.

Failing that I am sure PNB can issue instructions thanks to his zany misspent youth.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted February 1, 2010
Nowhere Bob- I do love a laugh at the expense of the feeble so I'll listen to Keith Windbag on Counterpoint, counterpointing Peter Reid's years and years of research and the primary sources.

A cattle desexer among us? this could be handy at some stage.

And PNB- you used an Australian accent ("evah") see, it's not difficult. Unless you're Meryl Streep.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted February 1, 2010
Quokka, yes meeting the Squire is always an experience. usually expensive and alcoholic...

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Mayhem asserts...

Posted February 1, 2010
Yaaay the FAFF is back. Mind you, it was a little disconcerting to have Mr Bedak suddenly realise and bellow "You're the FAFFERS" at us on saturday night! We admitted to being devotees of the almighty FAFF. No shame us!

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Bangar asserts...

Posted February 1, 2010
Chaz, aren't the best meetings that way?

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted February 1, 2010
I try to pretend that Windscuttle doesn't exist.

La la la.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2010
What's this Windshuttle thing? Something to do with navigation equipment that the sextant made obsolete in the 17th century?

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2010
Damien, try wikipedia for his full bio but basically he's a holocaust denier.

He also likes to sound off about other great 'hoaxes'.

I suspect that his real agenda is that he likes to create as much distress as possible for any vulnerable group that's been persecuted.

It gives the man a woody.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2010
More like a bolt on. A piersing. A "sorry if the sextant thing was a bit obscure", in truth.