Cheeseburger Gothic

A slobber of mots

Posted March 13 into Blunty by John Birmingham

Brisbane has been struggling through a crime wave. Even better it's a foreign crime wave. Even betterer again, the foreigners are Irish and they've mostly been scamming food and drink, and stuffing too many potatoes in the toilet.

I decided this was definitely a topic for The Instrument. Unfortunately the sensivity protocols at Fairfax didnt allow me to go competely to town. I had to change the phrase a 'slobber of skankapotamusses' to a 'slobber of mots', which is more cullturally appropropriate, and actually scans a lot smoother.

For too long now, or since January anyway, bar and cafe owners have lived in constant fear of brassy Irish scrubbers rolling into their establishments at all hours of the afternoon and demanding free drinks and sandwiches to make up for all the drinks and sandwiches they ate yesterday that were full of broken glass to hear them tell of it.

This same slobber of mots have routinely stuffed dozens of tubes of Pringles into the oversized nappy bags on their robbery prams while honest Brisbane shopkeepers have been distracted by the shenanigans of their tiny feckin snot-nosed barrow-wights.

The rest is at Blunty.

6 Responses to ‘A slobber of mots’

jl has opinions thus...

Posted March 13
This gave me a great chance to polish up on past Blunties. Thanks, JB!

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted March 13
Irish griftopuss pikey types skiving off Queenslanders and trying to turn toilets into potato factories?
A disturbing story no Australian can afford to miss.

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Nocturnalist mutters...

Posted March 13
Anyone else have a certain Jane's Addiction song start up in their head when they read that second para?

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted March 13
"Barrow wights' as children - very accurate!

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Leftarc puts forth...

Posted March 13
Surprised its a crime wave in the first place.
Imagine if it was a group of Sudanese youth as opposed to white women with ankle biters as accessories and accomplices.

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Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted March 16
Ned Kelly clearly took offense at your finely wrought article JB. I am so going to town with my mate Sinead with this. A brief story about Sinead Margerite Neville. Blonde, Irish and lots of fun. Married an Aussie and decided to become a citizen. At the ceremony in North Lakes/Caboolture, they read her name out as (phonetically) Sinnyad Magreetie Nevillay - the reason was that pretty much the rest of the new citizens were of Indian and Sri Lankan descent and thought she was as well.

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War on the possums

Posted March 5 by John Birmingham

It never ends. But I have opened, or rather closed, a new front. Hired a carpenter to come in last week and close up the two holes the little bastards have been using to get in under the rear of the house.

Fingers crossed, we haven't had any more furry intruders since.

I so wish it was legal to discharge shotguns in the house.

13 Responses to ‘War on the possums’

jason is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6
What bizarre world do you live in where it is illegal to defend your house from possums using whatever weaponry is necessary.

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted March 6
I have just read about Dragons Breath shotgun ammo - they'd do the job, but you may burn your house down.

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Leftarc reckons...

Posted March 6
Tasers.

Or just take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted March 6
What you're going to have to do is introduce a predator species into your house, and a minute or two of googling indicates you will need at least one of eagles/hawks, foxes/dingoes, pythons, and for some reason, quolls. What could possibly go wrong?

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted March 6
Once the pythons get out of control you'll need to introduce mongoose.

From there it's an escalation that only ends with ceding the territory to the colony of honey badgers

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted March 8
I'd come and shoot the fuckers with my Remington semi-auto shotgun, or my Smith and Wesson M&P15, but, well, the Viper is still in the shop, and folks frown on bringing such things on planes, or to your country.

Sorry, mate.

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Lulu asserts...

Posted March 9
What you need is a cat like the one my old housemate had, many years ago. He (cat, not housemate) could occasionally leave pieces of possum (or mouse, or rat) lying around, like surprise treats.

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Ceramic mumbles...

Posted March 12
A can of bug spray and a lighter did it for one bloke up north haha. I mean cockaroaches are worse than possums. In a can survive the end of the world kind of way.

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted March 12
I'll lend ya me 7mm rem magnum. At 50 yards its gunna be doing about 2800 feet per second and will tickle the fkr with 3000 foot pounds per square inch of fkn dont come back. Its really going to send him into orbit, make a cap of his carcass and atomise him rather swiftly.

Now having said that, there is every....possibility you might take the roof of, deafen ya neighbours and have some visitors in blue!

Bangar asserts...

Posted March 17
Sounds like a perfect round it'll kill, skin, gut and bury the buggers ;)

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Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted March 16
I have a family of 3 possums living in the roller door of my shed which is fine but whenever I feel the need, I go out and run it up and down a few times just to piss them off. Mainly because they frighten the shit out of me at night time when they stalk me while shutting the chickens away.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted March 27
BPC raises an interesting question; can one take a full measure of satisfaction from tormenting those which lack the mental acuity to grasp that it is actually You f*cking with them, not just a capricious deity or life's general suckage. I like to tear the wings off March flies, I justify this by believing they can re-animate from the most viscous thong-based smotage (shower sandle for USAnians, jandle for kiwis) but I digress. In reality I de-wing the vicious little f*ckers because I revel in their agony, how they become the opposite of nominative determinism. Walk you little assholes.

Bangar reckons...

Posted April 1
I'll save you some time NB you only need to take one wing for your trophy wall to make them March walks

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JB's day off the tweets

Posted February 28 into Writing by John Birmingham

I had a day off Twitter today. I have days and even whole weeks away from Facebook without thinking about it. I even quit the thing for a couple of years until the need to advertise my own ebooks drove me back there.
But Twitter I've always stayed with and mostly loved, even when I hated it, and there's been so much to hate the last few years.
However, I've been trying to re-engineer my work day (I know, I know, it's like painting the Harbour Bridge) and having had some success with increasing focus by removing the social apps from my phone, I thought I might get a little more hard core about cutting myself off.
I've been reading a book by a guy called Cal Newport, a computer science professor. Mostly he codes, teaches and thinks about coding and teaching, but he's also done some interesting work on... er, work.
His latest title, Deep Work, explores the difficulties of doing deep, focussed, super intense knowledge work in a world full of shiny distractions.

I'm still reading the later chapters, and I'll write something more specific when I'm done, but long story short, this guy really fucking speaks to me.
And one of the things he's been telling me is to get off the Twitterz. It's not the genial little private club it once was. It's largely useless as an advertising platform. And then theres the Nazis... both left and right. Ugh.
So I started to look at my Twitter habit, which used to be worse but is still pretty bad. It wasn't the main thing getting in the way of all the writing I have to do this year. But it was a juicy, low hanging piece of fruit on the ol' productivity tree.
So today, I just, didn't log on.
I did post one tweet early in the evening, via Buffer. But otherwise I stayed away.
There were times I felt myself reaching for my phone like a robot zombie with fear of missing out, but not while I was working. And I resisted the urge anyway.
Gotta say, I feel a lot less head fucked at the end of the day. And I even felt like writing a post for the Burger!

The link below goes to the paperback, but the Kindle version is massively cheaper, if you're so inclined.

8 Responses to ‘JB's day off the tweets’

Surtac mumbles...

Posted March 1
I did wonder what you were up to. I assumed in the end it was deadline pressure of some sort.

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted March 1
Never done Twunter myself. Wifey is a fan, particularly with her addiction to Cycling (the lycra wearing kind). When the big grand tours are on, esp the Tour de France, she has an extended array of folks with whom she communicates. So I suppose for something focussed like that its still good....rest of the time I dunno.

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Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1
Twitter is where I go to indulge in a very little bit of guilt free trolling.

Otherwise, it is an open sewer of useless crap.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted March 1
I tried this as well . . . but then i created an instagram account . . man, that is a shallow oily pool of reflective shit. One guy followed me who had some pretty pictures but clipped himself climbing on the holocaust memorial complete with the "we must remember history" sentence. I pointed out to him the insincerity of his profile picture and post and he unfollowed (hahahahaha). I used to like twitter for the science twitter group but even that has lost its shine. When everyone you follow has had their likes turned into retweets its bloody tedious.

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Halwes asserts...

Posted March 3
G'day John, I've never been on Facebook or twitter. I'm more interested in working on mechanical things and I really value my privacy. I really don't think that I've missed much. I have noticed friends that were really connected into all the social media stuff are starting to use it a lot less frequently. Some were totally immersed for years and some still are. As trends go though it has certainly outlasted most that I've seen. My sister rang me up and told me that a girl, that I pursued non stop at high school without any success at all, was looking for me on facebook. I told her to tell her that I was an alcoholic who lived in the bush with blackfellas. Funny. I never heard from her again.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted March 3
My blood pressure dropped by several mm/Hg when I de-twittered. Iam still shockingly unproductive and easily distrac hey a shiny pretty

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted March 4
Twitter is so polarised. Its like the binary opposition storm took hold of twitter and wouldn't let go. Watching the Americans lurch from hard right to a weirdly Marxist left is very strange. Then the ultra rich Americans trying to appear as social justice warriors when they have more in common with Trump than without him is odd too. I do like the comic book artists and writers on there, that's pretty cool. Instagram is probably my favourite at the moment, so much art, some of the kid's on there and their work is amazing. 16 year olds who wipe the floor with apparently mature artists. And they use Instagram as a compare and contrast tool, pushing themselves forward to create more and better work. Really good stuff.

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tqft asserts...

Posted March 4
I wouldn't make it to the end of the day without some twitter.

I need a short distraction that keeps me active between things at work. Let's me reset my head between radically different tasks.


Also gets me out of my little bubble, Which I need very much, to help stop me screwing up.

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Book lists

Posted February 26 into Books by John Birmingham

I just wrote a long blog entry about The Washington Post including Amazon sales and 'reading' data in it's new 'best seller' and 'most read' lists.

Hit publish. Lost the lot. I'd left the desk long to go burn some pork crackling and while I was away, I'd been logged out.

My spirit is broken. I'm not gonna bother rewriting it, but I will throw in the feature quote, from Kathryn Rusch about the difference between the lists:

Amazon Most Read lists rank titles by the average number of daily Kindle readers and Audible listeners each week. Categories not ranked on Most Read charts include dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious texts, daily devotionals and calendars. All data is supplied by Amazon Charts and not edited by The Washington Post. The Post has no editorial influence on these lists.

I love toggling back and forth between the lists. Because you can see where people are spending their money, and you can see where they’re spending their time.

Two very, very different things. The top 15 fiction reads the week I’m finishing this blog include six Harry Potter books, and a lot of titles that have been published for months—or, in some cases (besides the Potter), years.

People read books when they get to them. People buy books when they have the money.

Books live in To-Be-Read piles. Some of those piles are digital books, and some of them are paper. But many, many, many readers wait until they’re in the mood for a particular kind of book before plucking it off their TBR pile.

Best seller lists have been broken for years. Because Amazon doesnt release sales data, a huge chunk of the market goes unreported. Audio- and ebooks, which now account for maybe half the genre fiction market (closer to 90% for some genres) simply didn't get a look in.

Also I do like the way Rusch shakes the difference between sold and read. My huge and teetering stack of shame should have alreted me long ago to the fact that they're not the same.

14 Responses to ‘Book lists’

jl has opinions thus...

Posted February 27
Cryin' shame you lost that. That would have been good reading.

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Lulu mumbles...

Posted February 27
Yeah, it would have been.

"Books live in To-Be-Read piles"

So, it's not just me then?

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted February 27
Ah yes....guilty as charged. Got a few books to read, but as I'm not travelling by public transport as much I don't have as much spare reading time as I'd like.

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Dave W mumbles...

Posted February 27
So I only buy a book that I'm ready to read. I had no idea other people don't do this.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted March 2
I will buy books as I come across them, such as finding them in friends' houses or recommendations by same friends so that I don't forget about them and miss getting hold of them. They live in my iBooks app or Kindle app until I get around to them. If they're super crazy good they move to Shelfworthy(tm) status and I buy them in analogue format.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27
My Kindle occasionally cops a burst of 4 or 5 purchases, sometimes a cheap series, sometimes a couple of classics. A few different genres which get split between happy hour boozy reading and contemplative thinky reading. There's always a couple in there yet to be read. Proper books, with covers and pages 'n that are immediately devoured. Over all, since my kindle became a thing I've been reading a lot more. Price and convenience has everything to do with it.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 27
Bizarrely enough, your comment disappeared just like the original post. But now it's back. My comment, wondering where you'd got to, however, has gone to the Upside Down.

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted February 27
You've been watching Stranger Things again! Kids and I are loving it.
I have a small sack of books under the bed just gathering a shedload of dust.
Kindle app on the iPad gets hit but I'm on a severe book budget so I'm on Kindle Unlimited. I have been through some good stuff, and not so good stuff. But it doesn't matter, if its not my thing I return it and get another. Bit like a library. Once I'm back in the black, I will hopefully get a grant from the Minister for Arts and Culture to buy some books I really want.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted February 27
Pork chop I should send you my overspill.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted February 27
My only regret with my kindle is I can not rearrange my list into a read next list, it is either in order of purchase or alphabetical. I want to rearrange the list as a sort of a promise that I 'will' get to you, next I sware.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 27
What a brilliant idea!

Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 1
I use Collections on the kindle to semi-organise my ebooks.

I have a TBR collection for general incoming unread titles and a Read collection for books I've finished (this helps keep the TBR collection smaller as I move ebooks from TBR to Read as I finish them).

Also I have a few others for specific authors and books they've recommended. Examples of these would be our gracious host here JB for his books and those recommended hereabouts; Warren Ellis and his recommendations; CJ Cherryh; stuff from the Baen Free Library and suchlike; and sundry others.

It seems to work for me, so far at least.

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted March 2
A TBR and Read collection is genius! I tend to prefer iBooks as their collection feature seems easier to use, but I've only ever used the Kindle app for iPhone/iPad so could be doing Bezos a disservice. I have collections of my fave authors on the iPad, since if a new book for one of them turns up it gets read immediately.

I really like the idea of a TBR collection, it'll make keeping track of all my random purchases so much easier, and then I can keep my promise that I'll read them soon

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted February 28
I've always been a paper guy and never really got into the electronic form of reading (this may change though). But since i've taken ownership of five acres of land reading for pleasure has dropped off significantly. Audible has come to the rescue though! Doing chores is pretty good now (as opposed to listening to the sounds of nature while i work, which is also pretty excellent) - the last book i heard was Kings of the Wyld. The accent took a bit of getting used to but that was a great book. Some genuine laugh out loud moments.
I have a list in my phone of "to read" as well. That gets longer every day. But i hold off on my purchasing until i'm ready. The list swaps in order as i feel and number one might drop a few places by the time i come to actually buying something.
If authors self publish I'm assuming my buying model would suit them better as sometimes i don't get to a book until it is heading for the seconds bin in the old way of book selling.

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Altered Carbon

Posted February 23 into Telly by John Birmingham

I finished my slow binge of Altered Carbon on Netflix this week. Loved it. I loved the book to when I read it over a decade ago, but that was so long that apart from one or two standout scenes (the concealed mini guns in the hotel, for instance) I had pretty much forgotten everything. It wasn't a bad way to go into the series.

I'm not sure how faithful the producers were to a black letter adaptation of Richard Morgan's original text, and frankly I don't think it matters. This was a powerful piece of cinematic storytelling, a rich combination of science-fiction and old school film noir.

The central conceit of the story is the encoding of human memory, a process which allows those who can afford it to live forever. I do seem to recall that the novel did investigate the social and political implications of the technology, the way that the super rich effectively claimed immortality for themselves, becoming ever less human the longer they lived. But I'm pretty sure the makers of the TV show really leaned into the idea with a lot more vigour. Altered Carbon was a much better forensic analysis of the consequences of a super concentration of wealth in a sci-fi setting than, say, Matt Damon's Elysium. It was violent, stylish (with a lot of visial callbacks to the original Blade Runner), thoughtful and, most importantly of all, just great fun.

No sooner had I finished the last episode than I looked up to discover that Amazon had announced they would be doing their own adaptation of Iain M Banks Culture novel, Consider Phlebus. I am almost as excited for that as I am for a second series of Carbon. It feels like we might be living through a new golden age of sci-fi, at least on the small screen.

15 Responses to ‘Altered Carbon’

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted February 23
And in other Sci Fi new transparent Aluminum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaYt62_osYA

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damian asserts...

Posted February 23
This may be the thing that leads me to get Netflix. I started re-reading the series back in December when Morgan tweeted about the trailer. I interleave my reading these days -- it's what I switch to for warming down whenever I'm sick of the 10 or so textbooks I'm reading otherwise -- so I've just now finished Broken Angels and I'm about to start Woken Furies.

I've generally been much more a fan of your Chandler style hard-boiled noirish detective fiction than I have been of milfic (present company excepted of course). Grossman's Life and Fate, and anything by Heinrich Böll are standouts, too. I really enjoyed James Crumley's two detectives, both sort of halfway in between, both sort of soulmates of the Takeshi Kovacs I get from Morgan's novels. Mexican Tree Duck in particular does this sort of straddling of noir and milfic with enough flourish to be literary, if you squint your eyes a little.

Anyway the interesting and curious thing is that of the three novels Morgan wrote in the Kovacs series, I found I liked then in ascending order: Altered Carbon least, though I did like it a lot, and Woken Furies the most. Even though there's little trace of noir by that stage.

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jl mutters...

Posted February 23
Altered Carbon: One of my all time favs. Must see series.

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted February 24
It couldn't be Al Reynolds or Neal Asher.

It had to be this asshole.

Sheesh.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted February 25
Yep, Amazon releases a Culture series, that's the final tipping point that has me signing up for Amazon Prime. They almost had me with the live-action Tick, and I would like to see their series. 'The Man in the High Castle'. But there are so many streaming services now.

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25
Watch Luke Cage.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted March 3
The same guy who played Alexander Hamilton in the HBO miniseries John Adams.

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sibeen is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25
And how has Mr Morgan ticked you off, Murph?

Loved teh book and binged on the series. Grouse. Even SWMBO enjoyed it and she's not normally a fan of anything to do with sci-fi.

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25
A long, old story that really isn't worth investing time in. Needless to say, never bought a stitch of his work, not planning on watching the show.

I'll wait for the Banks project and see if that is actually worth watching. Surely has to be better than The Expanse.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted February 28
Started on this. Not too bad but i get a feel of daytime soap when i'm watching it. The main actor (had to look him up - Joel Kinnaman) seems a bit too clean cut or . . . . something. Not really gelling with me but going to hang in there for the rest. Haven't read the book.

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted March 2
I really loved this; I'd planned on watching an episode a week amongst all the other shows I have on the go at the moment and just gave up and binged it. I'm going to Singapore for the weekend and I've downloaded it to my Netflix app on my tablet to re-watch on the plane. I'm also reading the first book as too much Carbon is not enough :)

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted April 20
Finally pulled the trigger and got Netflix. The very first thing I sat down and watched was Altered Carbon. Burned through nearly entire first season today.

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jason ducks in to say...

Posted April 20
To both JL and JB. Less watching Netflix more writing. I am seriously struggling for a good read.

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 20
Fortunately there are only so many episodes of Altered Carbon.

jl has opinions thus...

Posted April 21
...And, I just finished them all. That series was very good, although it did deviate from the book somewhat. And there is nothing cooler than a finale with swords, or Ortega taking her revenge. Excellent.

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Burger Lite: Back from the dead

Posted February 14 into Sport by John Birmingham

Dragged my worthless arse back to the gym today. I haven't exercised since mid-December. In my defence, I did manage to pick up a case of something called 'walking pneumonia' just before Christmas and have only just got the all clear from my doctor last week. It was a helluva thing. Hacking, coughing, spluttering, fever, chills, the whole ninety-nie snotty yards, for seven weeks.

I did a couple of courses of antibiotics, none of which seemed to help. In the end it sort of just burned itself out. Funny thing is, I'm still coughing. The doctor told me that my body has forgotten how to stop. Been taking some cough suppressant trying to give myself a break from it.

I got into a pretty good groove before all this too. I'd just finished the second bar of my brown belt grading for jujitsu. The ladies were travelling overseas. Apart from looking after Thomas all I had to do was write some words and look after myself.

Anyway, seven weeks later, I haven't stepped on the scales yet but I feel like I'm about three or four kg heavier.

Took it pretty easy today, on doctor's orders. Just half an hour on the elliptical trainer and a pretty mild session at that. I felt fine afterwards. We'll see how I shape up tomorrow. I'm really getting to that point in life where, when I put weight on, it really wants to stay.

8 Responses to ‘Burger Lite: Back from the dead’

Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 15
That post sickness cough can hang around for ages...been there done that. I just waited it out. Getting back to the exercise is a bugger too, one becomes used to lazing about!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted February 15
One does indeed.

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Rob ducks in to say...

Posted February 15
Wife and I are doing the 5-2 fasting diet thingo. I've lost 5 kilos or more already, she is at nearly 7 or more gone. It really does work. And interestingly, kills your appetite for the rest of the week, so you become more mindful of what you're eating and are able to make conscious decisions about what and when you want to eat. Downside is , those Lean Cuisine low Kj meals are fricken awful. Only 23 kilos to go, at this rate I should lose that by July.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted February 16
Respect!

NBlob reckons...

Posted February 16
Madness. Respect, but madness. If I lost 23 kilos, there'd be less of me around and I like me.

Rob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 19
my middle aged spread really needs to go. I can feel my ankles and knees creak everytime I go up a flight of stairs

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 19
I hear you.

Four kilos hanging around for almost a year now. Gonna have to address that real soon before i need top buy different clothes.

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted February 21
Been swimming 600 yards every morning before class in the campus pool five days a week. Meanwhile I've been using the home gym for lifting, concentrating on arms, shoulders, core, and legs.

If I have dropped the ball anywhere, it is heading to the community center or campus gym to do those things that my home gym can't.

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