Sunday, 30 September 2012


Hi everyone,

I‘m on the tram to work. I wanted to rattle off a short little post on a thought that‘s playing inside my head.

As some of you know, this weekend wasn‘t exactly a barrel of laughs. But, I  found myself waking up feeling more at peace than I would have expected.

This had me thinking a paraphrase of, I think it was Chesterton, that the coming of sunrise is a sure sign that God has not yet despaired of us.

This seemed a little too easy though, and then I thought yeah, but how many mornings have you had when you raged against the coming of the light, and when you struggled to face the day.

This left me with a third option: that there‘s no metaphysical significance to the sunrise at all - that it means the world has spun on its axis again, and that‘s it. This seems a little too reductively Dawkinsian for me.

I suppose it‘s really a combination of the (first) two things.  Life being life, there‘s going to be a lot of times where the last thing you want to see is another sunrise. The expression of faith is that you still go out and by your actions treat the day as an occasion for a new blessing even your heart is telling you the exact opposite.

Here endeth the lesson in natural theology.

Sunday Social

Those of you who know me particularly well also know that this Sunday is not a day that will improve by recapping.  Which is a shame as yesterday's messing about with historical ideas has gotten me a little closer to my goal of establishing reverse-causality, and today's events haven't been conducive to following this idea up.

Anyway, rather than sit here and watch "Family Guy" and feel sorry for myself, I'm taking part in a linkup!

So there.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
As the term "kid" isn't defined it's a little hard to answer, but I think the answer would be the same in principle.

What I miss most is the limitless sense of possibility.  I remember when I was 16 and driving back to the Peninsula from NSW with Dad, and coming over the hills north of Craigieburn, and seeing the whole of Melbourne spread out before me, right down to the Bay and beyond, and thinking of the vast possibilities that life held.  If there's anything that helps me get out of bed in the morning, it's remembering all the things in the world still waiting to be seen, learnt, discovered and done.

Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it?
Usually, Tucky, although my Dad always called me "Fred" for reasons he has never made clear!

What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
Usually, I read or hung out in the library.  Yeah, I was that kid.

Although, when I was about 9 or 10 I figured out something useful: When kids at my primary school put in orders at the canteen, any change would be stapled into a corner of the lunch bag.  It occurred to me that a lot of kids would carelessly throw the bags in  the bin and forget to take the change.  So for about 6 months I spent lunch hour rummaging through the bins and collecting this discarded money.  I acquired a reputation as a "Bin Scab" but by the end had racked up over $6.00 in small change!  This sort of thing may explain why my wife sometimes refers to me as "Scrooge McTuck"

This lack of physical activity at recess may explain why, for a while in 1989, I found myself doing what I can only describe as "Special Phys Ed".  I remain somewhat bitter about this.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never knew what I wanted to be.  One day in about 1987 my mother asked me if I wanted to be a lawyer and for want of any better ideas I said yes.  Twenty-five years later ... well, check out my Linkedin profile.

 What was your favorite toy?
 Science kits!  I had this one -

But the king of them all was this one -

Yep, the Science Fair 200+ electronic projects kit!  It was, seriously, the most awesome thing you could give a ten year old (although I'm pretty sure I burned the whole shebang out by removing a bunch of resistors from a circuit to see if the LEDs got brighter - I remember it give a crackling noise and never worked quite the same after).

And despite all of this encouragement to learn something useful, what did I do?  Majored in history and took a degree in law.  All that potential brilliance was wasted.

What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?

Generally the "funny" things I did as a kid tended towards mortifying, I'm afraid.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Hi everyone,

Blogging from my phone while failing to sleep for the nth time this week.

Exhilarating day - running a County Court matter. Expect we‘ll lose but will go down swinging.  Productive evening at office - actually doing ok.

Feeling a bit weighed down at the moment over the Joni situation. I just read a good piece by Whitney over at Sippy Cups and Pearls about sorting out issues with her husband, which often means asking: why do we see this differently? What part of how you were raised causes you to see this. Which rang a bell with me, inasmuch as one of Joni‘s preferred explanations for our differences was “the way you were brought up was (a) abnormal or (b) stupid“.

I guess what really sticks in my mind is a royal argument we had when I was late home from work for the girls‘ 1st birthday, the day after we‘d given them a 40-odd person birthday bbq in a park. Joni was livid, and me trying to explain that birthdays just weren‘t that huge a deal in my family just seemed to make things worse.

And as I think about this, it occurs to me how much she must - and must have - genuinely despised me.

There are a few other things, that it would take too long to set out properly, that counterbalance this, making me think she was right to go as she has done, and warranted in not telling me where she and the girls are. And all these conflicting streams of thought swirl in my stupid head, all in my annoying flat and stilted voice till I‘m sick of the sound of it.

Still blogging and getting it out, that‘s a plus.

Night everyone.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

300th Post!

Hi everyone,

Here it is, the 300th post! I really can't quite believe it, considering I started this blog about a year ago and so I guess have an average of about a post every day and a half.

I know I should post some huge deep and meaningful retrospective, but it's late and I'm desperately tired and have a trial starting tomorrow, so I think I'll content myself with a few of the things that I'm grateful for in connection with blogging -

• I'm grateful that it's made me awesome new friends, like Heather at Chasing Butterflies or Cori at Everyday Enchanted or Leelee at Heartland Girl.

• I'm grateful to have found that often, things you hate yourself for are things other people either don't notice or don't give a rat's about.

•. I'm grateful for having had the chance to learn over the last year that you really can survive your nightmare scenarios as long as you can keep putting one boot in front of the other.

•. I'm grateful for all the bloggers I've read who taught me that the moment to start or continue chasing your dreams is right now. Even if you're like me and kind of an expert in not letting things go. That's a fault I need to keep working on.

• I'm grateful that my sisters K and J seem to have enjoyed reading this since I shared it with them.

•. I'm not going to lie: sometimes I'm awful glad there's a "delete post" button!

Ok, I think it's time to sleep.

See you tomorrow folks.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Another horizontal update

Hi everyone,

Another post from the phone tonight. Hope you‘re all ok.  It‘s been a longish day here - waded through a couple of files and tried to catch up on backlog a bit.  Lunchtime seminar on computer forensics - always useful knowledge to have.

Left my office late (9:30ish) and when I got back here found a note asking us all to clear our junk from the sharehouse garage for an inspection - so I‘ve got all mine in my room now: a trifle crowded! Photo below.

Missing my girls tonight. These are the times you play “Foolish Games“ and feel like every word is speaking to you.

Ok, sleep time.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Late to a link up

I don't have any brilliant ideas for a  blog post tonight, so, so I've decided to do another link-up with these good people.  Besides which, I met a lot of nice folks from the last one, and you can never have too many friends.

Yes, I could tell you about my day, but I can tell you: I was there, and it wasn't exciting.  Besides, I just finished off a short (1500 words) legal article and emailed it off (the things I do to buff up my CV!), so I think I'll write something a bit fun here.

And yes, I'm aware that, looking at all this, some of you may be wondering "Dude, what the Hell happened to your Y-chromosome?".  All I can say in response is "I'm not worried".  Some of you know I got knocked around a bit in school; turns out one of the long term results of that is that you don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of you.  If it feels good, and you're not breaking the law, go to it and good luck.

All that said, on to the questions -

What is something you have wanted to do but are afraid of?

I don't want this answer to sound cocky, but I honestly couldn't think of anything I am afraid of now (as opposed to thinking, doing xyz would be foolhardy).  Regular readers will know that in the last year I've kind of slammed headlong into a bunch of the worst experiences I could have imagined aside from death of a child or a parent.  While the storm isn't yet over, what I've learned is that with some hard work, and some prayer, and an ounce of luck, you can go through some pretty unpleasant stuff and emerge out the other end with nothing worse than some abraded skin and some scratches in your duco.  As Pope John Paul II said, "Be not Afraid".

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Being as good a husband and father as I can be, for starters.  Career-wise, while the law has a lot going for it (pay, for example), it's not what I want to do forever.  In five years, I'd love to be rummaging in an archive writing the Ultra-Complete History of Absolutely Everything Ever.

Or, even better, kneeling in an archaeological trench somewhere with a trowel in on hand and Phil Harding hair (seriously, watch "Time Team" - this guy is a legend).

What are you looking forward to before the end of 2012?

Getting a few more publications up, including the piece on Richard III that I keep not getting to.  I'm so glad I started writing again - so if you're reading this, many big thank you's to Second-Oldest-Sister

(and yes, the apostrophe in "you's" is probably wrong, but to me "yous" looks more wrong).

What are your hopes for your blog?

I started blogging essentially as a way of trying to sort out a bit of a mess inside my head, and I'm glad it's now moved beyond that, even if sometimes I use it to vent or to wallow in self-pity. I hope every now and again I put up something someone likes or gets a laugh out of.   Seems pretty good to me.

Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?

You guys know that my wife and daughters are in America; whatever happens to that relationship, I want to be a part of my darling girls' lives, which means I'm going to have to move closer to the 9286 miles apart we are now.  So if anyone knows of an employer looking to hire a personal injuries lawyer-cum-wannabe historian, pass them my linkedin page from over to the right of this entry.  Something south of the Mason-Dixon Line would be ideal although the US economy being what it is I'm happy to consider anything south of Canada.
What is your morning routine?
Depending on how late I'm running, check my emails, blog, facebook, twitter, instagram and linkedin (no, I'm not joking; addicted or what?)

Then get up, wash my face and have a cleanup (I shower in the evenings), put on a suit, grab lunch from the fridge and head for the tram.  At some point, the Dalek inside my head begins grating "commute, commute, commute".  This makes me feel better: I share this experience even with a species that wants to take over the universe

See you tomorrow people.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The rag ends of memories

Hi everyone,

Well, I'm back in Melbourne.  It's been a really fun weekend - check out the Instagram photos for proof!

It's late and I need to turn in, but I wanted to put up a series of random thoughts and memories that I had skating through my head on the drive back tonight as I was flipping though my iPod.  This is one of the exasperating things about having an INFJ personality type: all of these bits and pieces seem to fit into a pattern I can't quite pick up.

So, the images were

  • Listening to Counting Crows' "Omaha" while in my dorm room (for my American readers) at university in 1996 and being entranced by the idea of a place that seemed quintessentially American, and normal, and where a person could go to escape.

  • Hearing Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me" and remembering standing at the foot of the internal stairs at the Monash law building in about 2000 and wishing I was the sort of person who watched Dawsons Creek.

  • Listening to Bush's "Glycerine" being played in a McDonalds in Albury on a winter night in 1996 as my father, oldest sister and I made the long drive back from Canberra.

  • Hearing "Push" and "3AM" took me back to walking around the stairway I lived on in the Monash Uni Halls of Residence in 1998 the year Matchbox20 were first really big.

  • Listening to Fuel's "Shimmer" while working with my cousin Shane building the house extension in the summer of 1998-9.

  • Hearing Oasis' "Wonderwall" and always thinking of it as the theme song on the walk back from campus to the Halls of residence in 1996-8

  • Hearing Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever" while drinking room temperature Subzeros on my own sitting beside the creek on our property in late November 1996 and thinking I must be somehow cool.

  • Hearing Smashing Pumpkins "1979" throughout the late 1990s and finding it spoke to me despite the lyrics being almost incomprehensible.

  • Hearing a parody of Everclear's "Santa Monica" at a friend's 18th birthday party in Nunawading on a bitterly cold night in the winter of 1996.  The band was wearing wetsuits for reasons that were never made clear.

All of this seems to fit into something but I don't see what.  It's like a bunch of neurons inside my brain have some piece of information they're not willing to share with the rest of me.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Photos and Roads

Hi everyone, I was going to do a post about coming down to the parentals place today, but it‘s now 1:45am and time to sleep!

I‘ve put a bit of a photo diary up on instagram from today; why not check it out via the link at the left and enjoy!

More tomorrow.

See you then!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday, Friday...

Hi everyone,

I was going to write something deep, meaningful and insightful.

But then I thought: screw that.  It's been a 56 hour week at the office (I have a timesheet to prove it).  It's Friday.  I had dinner in my room because I didn't feel like talking to my housemates, and I spent an extra 3 hours at the office this evening drafting a piece on jurisdictional arguments for an ABA newsletter.  And it's nearly 2am and I should have gone to bed hours ago.

So instead, here's some things that made me laugh!

Firstly, buy cookies.  And send me a pack too.  I haven't had girl scout cookies in about 6 years!


 If I stay up another 5 hours, I can watch the sunrise.

Just happy to be on TV

I need to go to bed.

See you tomorrow folks.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Completely Done ... with a lading of self pity

Hi everyone,

I'm sitting here at my desk at Friday lunchtime wondering why time keeps rolling forward.

You guys know that I love my wife and my daughters.  What I haven't shared in these pages before, I guess because I've been willing to live in something of a fools paradise, is that my marriage is pretty well on the rocks.  I know some of you know this already, including my sisters K and J (and sisters, the rest of the family doesn't know, so if you could remain discreet, I'd truly value it still).  This is just gutting me right now, as I've now been given an update on them, and I'm realising Joni shares almost nothing about them with me unprompted.  She won't tell me where they live, or where she works, or anything much else; I guess because she did once say that she feared one day I'd try and harm myself and that I'd harm the girls while I was about it.  I'm now struggling to think of a scenario where I'll be allowed even to see them or spend time with them that doesn't involve a court order.

I thought about posting some of her emails on the subject up here, but that seems a little vindictive.  The core of them was, though, that she blamed me for how things went at the last job, and for writing about it on here and on Facebook, that when I developed some difficulties last year, it was too much of a burden for her to bear, and that (in essence), no matter how stable, how in control, how much over those issues I might be, to her I will always be someone she needs to take care of, and not be a partner to.

You can probably guess how this leaves me feeling.  She told me to unfriend all our shared friends on Facebook and twitter, and to stop contacting them.  I can just manage to stay in very slim contact with her family, but I guess that's only on sufferance.  The worst is, I was never so happy as when I was a husband and a father, and never felt so welcomed or so loved as when I came to know her friends and her family.  I'm coming to know how far I've been expelled from all that, and it hurts.

I'm not even sure why I'm putting this up here.  I just want to get it out of my head I guess?  And maybe to go on the record about it all.  I'm a lawyer, after all.  I toy with the truth for a living.  I even know that sometimes it helps to be able to lie to yourself.  But I learned from several years of self-delusion a couple of jobs ago, that you shouldn't lie to yourself forever.  It hurts, but after you bit the bullet and face reality, rebuilding can begin.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Heavy on the schmooze

Hi everyone,

Long day.  And instead of doing something sensible and going to bed, I've sat here eating pecans and drinking water (nothing symbolic, it was just what was to hand), browsing the web and generally procrastinating.

As I said, a long day.  I was up early to scurry to the office and pull the last strands of some court documents together, then back across the CBD for a continuing legal education seminar from 8-9am, then back across the CBD to the office again to finish the aforesaid court documents and have a fairly unproductive conversation with a barrister about certain submissions he wished us to agree to and with which I do not agree because they kind of involve giving up our defence.  Then, off to court for an hour, then back to the office, prepare for a couple of file reviews, and then  to head out to catch up at lunch hour for coffee with a service provider who's keen for us to use his firm a lot.  Fortunately, I have some work I can throw his way right now that needs quick turnaround.  Awesome stuff - he gets the work and to show how well his team operates, I get the reports I need prepared pronto, everybody wins!

More file prep after lunch, followed by attending a new barristers meet-and-greet from 4:30pm-7pm.  I've added a few useful contacts to my list, and also managed to get my own business card out there a bit too.  All in all, a successful schmooze.

I came back to the sharehouse shortly after leaving the meet-and-greet and spent some time turning my brain off, which essentially meant a fairly basic dinner and some Futurama.

One of my bosses is on leave for a couple of weeks from tomorrow.  He's a terribly nice fellow, so I hope he has a good trip.  He's earned it: one of the partners in our section has been on long service leave for a month now, and the other has been running at about half power due to some personal stuff, so he's had to carry a lot of the administrative work in addition to his own practice.

OK, I think I've blithered enough and pasted enough semi-relevant pictures up.  Bedtime

I almost forgot -  a big hello to the new readers: many thanks for the follows!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Another linkup ... this time it's food

I'm not sure if I'm doing this whole linkup thing right, but since I just did a bit of a blog overhaul I'd like to show it off.  So, I'm linking up with Austin Family Diary to talk about food.  Sort of.

And yes, I'm aware that doing this makes me look slightly freaking stupid.
But I don't care what anyone thinks.

So there.

Now, food:

God made avocado to show how good everything can be made to taste.  Slather it on toast ... Dice it up with chicken.  Combine it with ham and melted cheese and take a trip to culinary heaven. They even have their own theme park.

Cheese corn chips
You know you want 'em.  One smell of the powdered cheese and saturated fats and any normal human being looks like an addict dreaming of white powder.  when you feel good about life, they're up there with you.  When you feel lower than whaleshit, they'll hand around and keep you company.

Smothered Hamburgers
Something Joni would cook, and which I've learned to do as well.  In my case, they're ideal given the somewhat iffy cooking arrangements in the sharehouse.  Just hamburgers, your select vegetables (I recommend bell peppers, turnips and carrots), some oil and your personal preference in spices (in my case, a bit of everything).  Remember to be generous with the soy sauce - it draws all the other flavours together.

We've all been there.  It's Saturday morning, you've got one tea bag left and a couple of slices of bread that are past their prime.  What do you do?  You pick off any visible mould and toast them (the heat will kill any surviving bacteria, right).   In the sharehouse I'm a teensy but wary of the toaster because, and I've explained previously in these pages, I'm pretty sure it's a Cylon), but if it's a choice between that and ergot poisoning, I'll use the toaster.

I named my blog after them for a reason!  Imagine it: fresh bread, Virginia ham, a fresh Roma tomato, lettuce, Jarlsberg cheese, some seeded mustard, a sprinkle of Tonys seasoning and a spread of mayonnaise.  The most comforting lunch (or dinner, or whenever) imaginable.  The noble sandwich doesn't care if you're a good person or a bad person, a king or a crim.  It just wants to make your day a little bit better.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Link up?

Hi everyone,

I was going to try another video post but can't seem to get youtube to co-operate.  So, absent any better ideas, I'm going to have a shot at being part of a linkup.  Not sure if I'm doing this right or if I'll look stupid but, looking at my life at the moment, what do I care?
1. What are 3 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count)

  1. My phone, which by now contains my calendar, most of my deadlines, all of my contacts and a bundle of half baked ideas.
  2. A pen.  Finding something to write on isn't usually difficult, but a pen?  They're always needed.
  3. My business cards.  Yeah - I'm a somewhat excessive self-marketer.  God help me.

2. What is your all time favorite book? Why?

Definitely To Kill a Mockingbird. It's not the reason I became a lawyer, but it's such a beautifully evocative book of a time and a place.  It's also one of those rare books where you can pick it up and open it anywhere and still find something new.

3. What is something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012?

Holding my darling daughters again before the end of the year would be better than anything I can imagine.

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?

1994.  I'd go back and talk some sense into myself about the decade-worth of not-happiness I was about to inflict on myself.  Imagine a decade of being almost entirely focused on study and then work, and then emerging out the other end wondering why you have almost no friends and have become someone you don't altogether like, but are stuck with.

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?

I don't like hurting people, except when it's part of my job (litigation is as litigation does).  Sometimes I blunder about like a bull in a china shop, and I hate it as much as anyone who has the misfortune to be on the wrong end of the experience.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Video Blogging!

Hi Everyone,

I've seen a lot of very cool video blogs lately and couldn't resist trying one for today - It's at

It's an update on my day and a tour of my immediate environment.  Hope you like - sorry it's on a bad angle!

Friday, 14 September 2012


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Al Bundy said it best...

So I was watching a DVD of Married with Children tonight and found one of my favourite Al quotes...

So you think I'm a loser? Just because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn't respect me, a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every morning when I wake up, I know it's not going to get any better until I go back to sleep again. So I get up, have my watered-down Tang and still-frozen Pop Tart, get in my car with no upholstery, no gas, and six more payments to fight traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes on the cloven hooves of people like you. I'll never play football like I thought I would. I'll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I'll never again know the joy of driving without a bag on my head. But I'm not a loser. 'Cause, despite it all, me and every other guy who'll never be what he wanted to be are still out there being what we don't want to be forty hours a week for life. And the fact that I haven't put a gun in my mouth, you pudding of a woman, makes me a winner: Al Bundy, 'Married with Children' (1988).

Friday, 7 September 2012

I am not dead!

Just like this fellow, I am not dead!

Sorry for the somewhat patchy blogging over the last week or so.  It's been a difficult week or three on a few levels, and truthfully, I just haven't wanted to write about it all.  I've been happy to write a bunch of other stuff - things at work, emails, some rather pedestrian little bits of history - but blogging has been a bridge too far.  Suffice it to say that something I'd always taken to be a Hallmark Card-ism turns out to be very true:  You can tell your friends because they're the people who are running towards you when you couldn't blame anyone for slinking away.

Work continues well.  I'm a little behind schedule, but only a day or so.  It feels kind of great not to feel like the goofy kid.  That was a bit of a difficult thing at the last two jobs.  At the old old job, I was kind of known as Mr Fixit - the lawyer/secretary/law clerk/IT guy/photocopier fixer - the one who was a jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none.  No wonder my career stagnated.  And at the old job, I guess one was so closely scrutinized that you always felt like you were failing.  And at this one - well, I guess I kind of like hearing things like "I'll let you get on with it, you're an experienced operator" or "but I don't need to fix it for review  - you know what needs to be done".  And believe it or not, I feel better about what I do - for the first time, like it's not just a daily exercise in trying to avoid the next screw-up.  No, this won't be what I do with the rest of my life; I'd feel that was a bit of a waste.  But it feels good to think, maybe I'm good at this after all!

This will be a weekend in town - will catch up with sister J and mum and dad tomorrow.  I'll get my backlog cleared on Sunday I guess.  Tomorrow I need to go for a run: tonight's dinner went a bit overboard (a parmesan and onion batard, spread with an avocado and chickenmeat). [Ron Burgundy voice] This dinner is delicious but it is filling.

See you tomorrow.