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Conan answers your questions

Posted January 15 into Funny by John Birmingham

From aliensideboob.com

"Conan, what is best in life?"

To make the yellow light at the intersection with but a fraction of a second to spare, then to savour expressions of your enemies, the other, lesser drivers as they are bathed in the loathsome flash of the red light camera.

Conan, please, what is best in life?

To see a close friend stumble in public, to almost fall, and to regain his footing but only at the cost of great embarrassment. This. This is best. Most especially the embarrassment, but also the clumsiness.

Come now, Conan.

It is also best to find twenty dollars folded into your pocket. Not less, for there is little one can do with less. Not more, for with great riches, or fifty dollars, comes great responsibility. To accidentally find and wantonly spend twenty dollars is indeed best.

Conan, what is best in life?

Not the Celebrity Retweet, but the envy of your closest friends at your Celebrity Retweet.

Conan, is that really what’s best in life?

For Conan there is also pleasure to be had in the awkward, slightly uncomfortable moment when another must hold the door open longer than usual so that I might pass through.

Conan?

If the door is the entrance to a crowded restaurant or bar, and your long and awkward approach is long enough that a table opens up directly in front of you as you enter? This, this too is best in life. For some reason, greater pleasure is to be had in subterranean venues.

But what is really best in life, Conan?

I speak true when I say that to freeze frame the TV just as your enemy is blinking so as to appear in the throes of a stroke, perhaps brought on by an explosive and unexpected end to a prolonged bout of constipation, this is best.

Conan, what is truly best?

To have a water balloon fight with small children in which your superior reach, speed and throw weight allows you to utterly drench them while you yourself remain dry.

Any more, Conan?

To drive one’s wagon to market, and pull into a parking space at the exact moment the wagon immediately in front of you pulls out, allowing you to claim the pull through slot and ultimately to drive away without the inconvenience of reversing, that is best in life.

Conan, is that truly what is best in life?

The crusty edge on a muffin top also pleases Conan.

You’ve changed, Conan.

Conan does not change, not for mere pleasure, unless it is into a fleecy track suit, fresh from the warm cycle of the clothes dryer. This too Conan finds best.

Conan, there must be more than this.

Only the look on someone’s face as the elevator door closes with them still outside and Conan within, smiling, victorious.

You can get two boobs a week for one lousy buck (plus GST of course, because filthy socialism) at aliensideboob.com. Gaaarrn, give us a click and check it out.

1 Responses to ‘Conan answers your questions’

jl asserts...

Posted January 15
This post is one of my all-time favs from ASB. I await similar jewels in my inbox every week- thanks JB!

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The knife

Posted December 8 into Writing by John Birmingham

I'm in the final trenches of the space opera I've been writing. (Although the characters seem to spend more time fighting in trenches than space).
As most of you know, I've been a plotter since Weapons of Choice, which taught me a few hard lessons about not working with a plot outline. For THE CRUEL STARS I have a comprehensive scene-by-scene blueprint in Scrivener. I do let the characters walk their own path if they insist, but we always come back to the main narrative arc.
I can see from the outline and the words I currently have in the manuscript bank that this book would run about 30-40% over its contracted word length (90K) if I let it.
I'd like to, but can't. The audiobook people, for one, would freak.
So this morning is all about taking a knife to that outline.

13 Responses to ‘The knife’

jl mutters...

Posted December 8
Sometimes you just have to prune. Audiobook? Awesome. I'm a die-hard reader but nothing beats a good audiobook on a long car ride. Looking forward to Cruel Stars in my Chevy.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted December 8
That's an awful lot of pruning. It will be interesting to see the results.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted December 8
The pruning is to the outline, not the finished chapters. Hopefully it won't be noticed.

insomniac reckons...

Posted December 8
Understood, but it feels like you're trimming the bit of the tree your wife can see from the living room window while leaving the rest as is, like when I used to mop the stairs and she thought I'd cleaned the whole house.

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Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted December 8
I imagine this could be challenging....you don't want to be chopping out good bits or essential elements for the sake of shrinking the document - I could imagine agonizing over the 'do I or don't I' questions.

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Oldy mumbles...

Posted December 8
Any chance of seeing the outline one of these days, JB?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted December 8
Not before it's published mate. But afterwards, sure.

Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted December 8
Nice :)

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted December 8
Compress and consolidate. You've done it before.

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Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted December 15
On a different subject, can I say how much I enjoyed your piece in the Murder and Mayhem compilation!! It was seriously up to the brief and left me wanting more. I cannot say the same for maybe 1/2 the others - left me bored and distracted, a couple were like your effort - Eva Destruction and Chlamydia Phlegm? Hilarious! Loved a couple, liked a couple, couldn't read a couple but overall worth it.

Surtac asserts...

Posted December 15
I must agree. It was a very pleasant surprise to see Savage Henry brought into the modern era and given a more prominent setting.

So, are we going to see the return of Commander Biscuit at some point in the future and hear some of those Duterte stories, I wonder?

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Vovchara reckons...

Posted December 16
Fighting more on the surface than space is a common occurrence in space Opera. I think only Weber and Campbell manage to stick to space. Which makes sense. Hard to fight against enemy controlling orbitals. But in the end it's all in execution and since I wasn't disappointed even once by your work I would reserve judgment until I get my copy. :P

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damian puts forth...

Posted December 22
Merry Christmas Birmo and take care.

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Deadline vs dead writer

Posted December 6 into Writing by John Birmingham

I've reached the point in this deadline where I can wrote or I can exercise but I cant do both. So I might be going backswards on my fitness over the next week.

Must stay away from the bakery.

6 Responses to ‘Deadline vs dead writer’

Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted December 6
No Portuguese custard tarts fo you my friend......
Tell me which bakery it is, aside from the tarts, your poison and I'll take one for the team.

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Thalesian is gonna tell you...

Posted December 6
My FIL has one of these you could borrow if you want...

http://img.medicalexpo.com/images_me/photo-g/74702-9100535.jpg

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jason puts forth...

Posted December 6
Multi task. Apparently men can do it if they try hard. https://treadmilldeskaustralia.com.au/

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted December 6
Those typos are so me right now

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted December 6
One word.

Croissants.

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jl asserts...

Posted December 8
Totally stay away from the creamsticks.

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Weigh In

Posted November 27 by John Birmingham

Dropped 2.3 kgs in six days.

Still drank some beer and ate a lot of barbecue.

Body feels like I've been beaten with extension cords.

18 Responses to ‘Weigh In’

insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 27
Getting regular beatings from disgruntled Harvey Norman employees appears to be a rather extreme way to lose weight. On the other hand it does appear to work.

Dave W would have you know...

Posted November 28
I think you'll find that Harvey Norman has sales drones, not employees.

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Dirk would have you know...

Posted November 27
Drinking water helps (1.5-2 litres a day), as does swimming. And a trip to the sauna to tie it all up.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted November 28
My local gym has a lap pool which I normally dive into after a work out. I used to live in an apartment with a sauna. It was awesome. But that's a thousand miles and thirty years away now.

Rob reckons...

Posted November 29
when I lived in Northern suburbs of Brisbane, some of the car parks outside supermarkets felt like a sauna in January . These were simpler times.

Dirk asserts...

Posted November 30
ah the pleasures of youth :)

But if you have some room to spare between the 20-car garage, the helipad and the hovercraft harbour ... http://www.ukkosaunas.com.au/c2014.html

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted November 28
Beer and bbq - proper nutrition and hydration is important!

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jl mutters...

Posted November 28
Nothing like a post-beating hangover. Good times.

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Leftarc asserts...

Posted November 29
2nd week in a row played a full game of oztag without subbing off. Because we had no subs.
Have progressed from crawling to shuffling on a Wednesday.

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Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 29
I swam a thousand yards today, which is double what I normally swim. Building towards one mile and beyond.

No weight loss yet, drank anyway.

jl has opinions thus...

Posted November 29
Hey Murph. Swimming is the best. Shame I live rural, the nearest pool is some half hour away. Been running instead for the past couple of months. At first I used my old shoes from overseas, they still had moon dust in the crevices. Finally threw them away and bought new pair. Slight weight loss, definite build-up of endurance.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted December 2
Never been much of a runner. The foot doctor this past week found a bone spur on one of my heels and told me I had high arches. He said that explained the chronic shin splints I had in the Army.

So if I want land based cardio it generally means breaking out the bicycle.

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Thalesian mutters...

Posted November 29
Feeling inspired now.
I like the idea of increased exercise and decreased caloric intake...
Let's see how it goes.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 29
Haha. Yeah. A friend asked me how I was doing it. I said, "Eating less than I want, and exercising more than I feel like."

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Thalesian reckons...

Posted December 1
I've started taking the dog for a walk/run in the morning with a pack with 5kg in it... I'll build the weight and distance up over the next few weeks.

My dog used to be really keen to go for a walk with me, as I'd usually let him off the leash for a while. Now I'm running and making him stay with me, he is less thrilled.

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jason mumbles...

Posted December 1
You guys are making me feel very bad about my sedentary lifestyle. I plan top put the Gin bottle further away in future and crush all limes by hand. That should do it.

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Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted December 4
My fitness regime, pisspoor as it was, has now gone completely out the window. Shingles. What a bastard of a virus!! But it didn't stop me eating so its a lose-lose scenario. So much for getting shirts off on Fraser in January, and the doctor is not happy as his instructions were to lose 10, not put on 2.

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Vovchara mumbles...

Posted December 16
115 kg to 80 in 6 months due to better energy management. Thermodynamics rulez *lol* You know major issue I have? I have to replace all my clothes, nothing fits anymore ;(

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Burger Lite. Weapons Work

Posted November 26 by John Birmingham

Part of my plan to drop about ten or twelve kilos while the ladies are away is to get more time in at the dojo. Traditional jujitsu is not the calorie furnace you get in the Brazilian offshoot, but it’ll do me. As I get older and the knees get creakier I find the ground-fighting harder.

By happy coincidence, however, I’m working through the second bar of my brown belt grading at the moment. Plenty of opportunity for burning off flab there.

This morning, Saturday, we had the two hour class and I had some weapon defences to demo, responding to attacks with knife, chain, broken bottle, axe and staff or Jō. The staff is a traditional weapon, but the techniques to defend against it also work for pool cues, star pickets and broom handles. The axe has a wooden head, but it'll cave your skull in or break a bone if it connects.

It was a hard morning and I’m now a bit shaky and covered in fresh bruises and scrapes, but MyFitnessPal tells me I burned at least a thousand calories.

The attacks start simple. A straight stab with a knife, a big swinging axe coming to take off your head. Yeah, it’s weird, but that's simpler to deal with than lots of random, short stabby arcs with a broken bottle. As the grading proceeds the attacks escalate.

In the end there’s an exercise where you stand with your back to the attackers—Thanks Chris! Thanks Sensei Gordon!—and at a nod from the examiner they rush you with their choice of weapon and attack. Could be a concealed knife ripping upwards to gut you. Could be a chain swinging in a series of figure eights.

It’s surreal.

You try to empty your mind, and not to anticipate the clap which releases you to turn around and receive your attacker, but it’s like being on the blocks at a swim meet, waiting, waiting, waiting for the starter’s gun. The longer it went on, the harder it was to zone out and simply respond. My legs were shaking. Not with exhaustion or anxiety, but with my having to stop myself turning too early. I really wanted to see that attack coming in as early as I could.

When I did spin around, usually stepping forward and a little to one side or the other to give myself an extra half second, and to force the uke to slightly alter the line of their attack, I mostly perceived them as a blur. If they wielded a smaller, one-handed weapon, it was often impossible to discern what it was before they were on me.

A lot of the time I couldn’t even tell who was attacking, and now a couple of hours later, I couldn’t tell you who picked which weapon. Except for the axe. That was Sensei Gordon.

This part of the grading lasted only ten minutes at most but it felt like at least half my calorie burn was compressed in there. It also gave me the barest insight into what a real attack might feel like. A rushed chaotic blur where there’s no time to think, you are going to get hurt even if you ‘win’ the encounter, and afterwards you’ll struggle to recall the details in any sort of coherent form.

7 Responses to ‘Burger Lite. Weapons Work’

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 26
It is the weirdest of sensations, when training is so complete that when you face the situation everything slips into automatic. I never did much martial arts training, but the Army did pound basic rifle marksmanship into me. I wasn't the best student by any means yet on Qualification Day it all snapped into place as one target fell after the next yielding the Expert Badge.
<b/>
The same thing happens when I lifeguard at the Wave Pool, I'm in the air on the way to the guest in distress long before I am fully aware of what or why.
<b/>
And for better or worse, the same can be said when someone tries to hit me, or part of me thinks that is happening.
<b/>
Anyway, for my part, I've been trying to get back to the weights and swimming. The downside of the off season here in Missouri is that I am not walking all over a sixty acre amusement park which means I'm packing on the winter fat. Bulleitt's Ten Year selection isn't helping matters.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted November 26
I think I'll just stick to the greatest automatic response of all to stop things going nuclear at any moment ... "Yes dear".

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Rob reckons...

Posted November 26
https://youtu.be/h_vvI26NnwE go go go

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Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted November 27
"you are going to get hurt even if you ‘win’ the encounter"

Yeah. This is probably the biggest difference between real life and Hollywood. Or as Alan Baxter says, 'when two tigers fight one limps away, sorely wounded. The other is dead'

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted November 27
Gotta get them to tap out before it comes to that.

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satrewin reckons...

Posted November 27
Yes, nothing like scenario/reflex activities to test skills and at same time improve them. Daunting at first, very satisfying afterwards. Video of them and all the participants is useful for teaching points and often a laugh ! Especially for scenarios....

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 4
Hurts me just thinking about it. I believe I'll stick to a .308 at more than 200 metres, make it 400 to be sure.

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Bachelor Month

Posted November 23 by John Birmingham

Thomas and I had the ribtacular combo at Roddy's in West End last night. Also, the fiery chicken wings in lava sauce for starters.

We could do this because for the next three and a bit weeks we are Men Without Women. Jane and Anna are touring Italy in lieu of Schoolies Week.

I'm planning to finish The Cruel Stars and get moving for real on WW 3.1 and Girl in Time 2.

I also have to complete my second bar brown belt grading for jujitsu and get rid of all the blubber I put on comfort eating my way through the dark months after Dad passed away. Luckily I have a puppy who wakes me at 4AM every monring, without fail. That cold wet snout in my face tells me it's time to get some value out of my 24HR gym pass.

Currenlty a disgraceful 98.5 kgs.

Aiming to run a calorie deficit of at least 1000 per day. Last night I was protein-only. No carbs.

We'll see where that gets me by the time the ladies come home.

8 Responses to ‘Bachelor Month’

Rob puts forth...

Posted November 23
Dude, I'd kill to be 98.5 kgs. I may still yet.

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jason mutters...

Posted November 23
I am concentrating on getting taller. It seems a lot more realistic.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 23
98.5 is more like where I need to end up. Starting at 119 I'm down to 107.something. Had to something as I was way too gouty.

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jl is gonna tell you...

Posted November 23
Those lava wings sound delicious, chased with beer.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted November 24
There may have been beer.

Dave W mutters...

Posted November 24
Lava wings and beer. This 'Roddy's' sounds intriguing, do they have a Canberra outlet?

I promise to do the hill sprints as an exchange program.

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted November 24
Just as well you didn't go to Italy - by comparison I put on about 5kg on a three week trip to France this year! I'd be worse in Italy I reckon.

Don't mind 'bloking it up' with the lad(s) when I can! Sounds just the thing this fiery chook and beer combo.

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Oldy mumbles...

Posted November 27
98.5... you can see my pic, right? 98.5 sounds like a dream to this former Offensive Lineman.

I've recently begun, not so much 'Bachelor Month', but 'Bachelor For The Foreseeable Future'.

I expect to get down somewhere near 98.5, but my knees won't do martial arts anymore. Weights and diet it is. Luckily I respond well to both.

Good luck with your goals. History suggests you'll succeed.

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