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The free kilo

Posted June 25 by John Birmingham

JB at walking desk.

Stepped on the scales this morning. I really wasn't looking forward to that. I'm afraid I ate my way through about six months of depression last year, and a chronic back problem (two discs at the base of my spine fusing together) really restricted the amount of exercise I could do.

I was kind of expecting to be up around the 103 or 104 kg mark.

However... HUZZAH!

I'd actually dropped a kilo, probably from walking the dog a lot recently and cutting back on bakery treats to get me through the book deadline. I think that as soon as I get The Golden Minute done, I might take myself off to the gym for a decent session, and then devote a fortnight or two to preferencing my fitness and health. I'll keep working because I have other deadlines, but the first thing I attend to each day will be repairing the physical damage of the last year.

3 Responses to ‘The free kilo’

jl ducks in to say...

Posted June 25
I hear ya about weight loss. Recently had a bout of good ol’ manual labor, and now getting some decent hikes in here in the mountains. Should be at 95kg, hanging out at 105 instead. Ugh. I’ll face the scale when I get home.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 28
Down to 109 now, so far I've lost 10 Kilos from my worst at 119. (just less of me to love baby) Next I need to give up the smoking (again) and get active. But you got to lose the weight to get moving, When you're fat everything hurts, all the time, ankles, knees, lungs, legs. The weight I've lost , just walking up my stairs is so much easier. Now If the involuntary groaning of being over 40 will just cease, all will be good in the world.

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she_jedi mutters...

Posted July 3
The stomach curdling anxiety of hopping on the scales when you know the answer is not going to be good, and then the sense of weightless joy when you realise that against all odds and laws of physics that not only are you not as fat as you were expecting, you've lost weight.... huzzah!
I feel you JB *fist bump*

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A year

Posted June 22 into House keeping by John Birmingham

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

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

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

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

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

15 Responses to ‘A year’

jl mumbles...

Posted June 22
Looking forward to it!

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insomniac puts forth...

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

Always happy to help with the beta-ing.

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Bernie would have you know...

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

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Leftarc swirls their brandy and claims...

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

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

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

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

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

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

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

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

John Birmingham asserts...

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

Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted June 26
Thanks mate - you too

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

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

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AuntyLou asserts...

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

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pitpat is gonna tell you...

Posted June 27
Hey John,

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

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

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

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

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Rob would have you know...

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

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

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

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

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

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

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Lowy Institute's Power Index

Posted June 7 into Politics by John Birmingham

The Lowy Institute has a pretty cool interactive index looking at dynamic power matrices in the Asia Pacific over the next decade.

Very clickable for strat-nerds.

Not reassuring for anxious types.

3 Responses to ‘Lowy Institute's Power Index’

insomniac reckons...

Posted June 7
As a patent information nerd I'd like to know what Switzerland is doing in the middle of Asia in place of China. It's wrong I tells ya.

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Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted June 7
Bah, goddamn clickbait chewing into my afternoon.

I could definitely while away the hours comparing Myanmar to Taiwan in terms of influence, military spending and relations to other regional powers.

And it's got pretty colours.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted June 9
and convienent as I imagine you fall into both catagories.

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Bad lip reading: the royal wedding

Posted May 24 by John Birmingham

Many thanks to Sherrif Melton for this one.

"That present is a fail."

1 Responses to ‘Bad lip reading: the royal wedding’

insomniac asserts...

Posted May 24
Even ms insomniac laughed through that one.

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"The Long Way Round: The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World"

Posted May 11 into Awesome by John Birmingham

This is a three part story by John Bull (seriously) at Medum that is defnitely worth half an hour's quiet time and maybe a glass or two in memory of some ordinary guys who pulled off an extra-ordinary feat. An accidental circumnavigation of the globe in a flying boat during the first days of the Second World War. I couldn't help but wonder why Stephen Spielberg hadn't bought the rights yet.

By morning they had been airborne for almost 19 hours, flying on Swede’s careful balance of 90 octane and on Brown’s ‘guestimated’ route. They knew they should be nearing land, but the layer of low-lying cloud beneath them was a problem.

“We’d better start heading down.” Said Ford. “I don’t much relish the idea of missing the island and having to backtrack while our fuel reserve gets used up.”

Swede eased back on the mixture and they slowly felt their way down. Soon they were flying a mere 300 feet above the waves. They began to look for land.

A little later, as they neared the coast, Johnny Mack yawned. It had been a long flight and he was looking forward to both sleep and a breakfast. Ahead, out of the cockpit, the sea was calm and unbroken. Unbroken, he noticed, apart from…

“Hey Skipper.” He remarked with a frown. “What do you suppose that is, there, dead ahead? A whale maybe?”

Ford squinted, following his First Officer’s gaze to the object on which they were closing fast. Suddenly his eyes flew wide.

“Submarine!” He shouted.

By now the conning tower was visible, a Rising Sun painted on its side, men running towards the large gun on its foredeck.

“Swede!” Ford bellowed, “Full rich! Full power!”

“They’re aiming that thing at us!” Mack warned.

“Max climb! Let’s get the hell out of here!” Ford cried.

With the sluggish Boeing 314 resisting the change, Ford and Mack hauled back on the yoke desperately seeking the cloud cover above. They blazed directly over the submarine mid-climb, the deck gun below swinging round as it began to track them through the sky. After what seemed to the crew like an eternity, they finally broke through into the clouds. It was just in time. A bright flash from below illuminating the clouds around them. The men braced for impact.

It runs over three installments. The first is here.

6 Responses to ‘"The Long Way Round: The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World"’

WA n'ker asserts...

Posted May 11

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jl would have you know...

Posted May 11
This story is simply amazing. It deserves to be read. Imagine flying around the globe on bad gas using a library atlas to navigate with unknown support infrastructure on the ground. And oh yes, you are doing this amidst the Second World War. Astounding. Thanks for sharing this, JB.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 12
I think I got the link on Twitter from Greybeard. It is an amazing tale.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted May 11
Reminds me of the time we turned left instead of right after leaving Heathrow and ended up going the wrong way around the M25. By the time we figured it out, it was simpler to carry on.

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Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted May 14
Cracker of a story!

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Halwes ducks in to say...

Posted May 14
That was so interesting. Thanks John. There is a book called an intruders guide to East Arnhem land by the late Andrew Macmillan that describes the old flying boat base at Groote Eylandt really well. It was a major stopover on the way from Sydney to London.

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Sweep the leg!

Posted May 3 into Telly by John Birmingham

I can't believe I'm thinking of getting a Youtube Red subscription just to watch this series. But I totally am. It looks great. Like, way better than you'd imagine for a reboot of this franchise. And for anything from el Goog.

4 Responses to ‘Sweep the leg!’

Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4
It looks hilariously awesomeful. I don't know if I'd pay for this many cliches in one package, but I know I'd watch it.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted May 4
bahaha. This was made on the back of this wasn't it?

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted May 7
We've seen the OG Karate Kid, the remake version AND The Next Karate Kid on the teev these last few I'm considering the subscription just to see this! 'Awsomeful' seems appropriate!

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Leftarc ducks in to say...

Posted May 11
And sweep it again. Its been renewed for Season 2.

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