Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Anything but independent

I like to think I'm fiercely independent. I'm walking out of RAH after a major pelvic fracture, I'm maintained my marking responsibilities for a certain employer, managed to hold together a course that I was supposed to run in Singapore tomorrow.

Truth be known, if I walk tall it's all due to family and friends. I have dozens of people I can call if I need to. And it gives me the luxury of the illusion of independence.

  • My kids will never go hungry or uncared for, because of my in-laws and brother/sister/mother. Bless that.
  • My personal need for friendship will never go unfulfilled thanks to my nuclear family.
  • My insane need for freedom and fun has hundreds of people who "get it" from within skydiving.
  • My voracious appetite to learn is always satisfied with students that I meet, teach, research and keep in touch with.
  • My wife just keeps coping with me and without trying to, makes me a better person.

So if my demeanor seems to say "I don't need you" it's signalling entirely wrong. It should read "fuck I need you all, let's just not dwell on it". And I will forever be in your debt for allowing me to keep it low key. Here are some of my cloaked methods of asking for help and some friends' responses from the last week:

Monday, SMS to Sylvia from Murray Bridge Hospital:
"Hey please contact me when convenient to you. I've got a bit of an injury. All fine but it involves hospitals."

Fri SMS from Jason (skydiving) to me:
"Hey mate. You ring me anytime. Shit happens and skydiving isn't everything. YOU'RE STILL ALIVE!!! and that's all that matters. I mean it dude you ring me! I'll come and see ya tomorrow OK! You can't stop me. Love ya knob head"

He's the guy who's been saying for nine months now "don't bury yourself! I just got you back"

I responded:
"wanna come around sometime today? Tas is welcome too but otherwise it's nobody else but Sylv or the kids. You're my bestie."

Friday phone message to Marziah at work:
"Hi it's taken a while for me to get this all together but can we talk soon about next week's Singapore deal? It's gonna get messy and I hope we can start on this early before it gets really critical on Tuesday"

If I walk tall it's because I know I go with the friendship of dozens of people, all of who will be there, get there, or get the problem fixed. I just have to ask.

When I do ask, you'll be reminded that you are the fuel in my tank.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dirty Boulevard: A strange story of hope

Almost all songs I can strum out a few chords and sing it so I don't embarrass myself. Impossible with this song. For such a simple 3 chord arrangement you'd think it easy, but this guy oozes cool. Impossible to copy.

My childhood was great, but I instantly felt something for Pedro

"He's got nine brothers and and sisters, they're brought up on their knees it's hard to run when a coat hanger beats you on the thighs"

The whole song drawls out an odd poetry, with a strange sense of hope. It resonated with me at a time where I came across an obscure mathematical model and someone I thought could work with me to unlock its real potential in marketing. The model had so much more to offer.

I at least got a PhD out of it, but for a while there I felt like Pedro:

And back at the Wilshire, Pedro sits there dreaming
he's found a book on magic in a garbage can
He looks at the pictures and stares at the cracked ceiling
"At the count of 3" he says, "I hope I can disappear"

And fly fly away, from this dirty boulevard

The studio version, above, has Lou Reed being too cool for school. The one below has him singing a little. Both very, very good. Lou Reed is dead now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Confidence - real confidence - is rare

I'm missing a friend's 40th birthday today. My own stupid fault. I don't have to mention her personally here, she'll know who I'm talking about.

It gives me the chance to think how much I love to see real confidence - and how rarely I do. And it gives me the chance to feed this blog. Never hurts.

I don't think this friend of mine is always right - and I'm sure it's mutual. But plenty, plenty of common ground. She truly is a cool chick because she knows what she believes, says what she believes needs to be said and having said it, is happy. "I can only put it there". She's not on a mission to change people to her way, unless it's part of a job she's been given etc.

She's a vegetarian. Has been for all the time I've known her. She cooks meat for other people when she cooks, it's just not her thing. I've seen a different, younger, cool vegetarian chick do a similar thing recently. When quizzed that this may be a little odd, my friend has retorted:

"What? I don't eat meat. That doesn't define me. I can be a vegeratian but go out an kill a cow just for fun if I want. What business is it of yours?"

I contrast that to two instances where I've dined at vegetarian people's places before where the choice of fare was never in question. As if bending others to their own will was a validation of their choices.

There are a lot of people I'm proud to know, and this one has shown me the meaning of true confidence. Thanks Katie.

Beatles: looking through you

If timelessness is a sign of brilliance then this (being as fresh as it must have been 58 years ago) really helps the Beatles stand out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 21, 2013

How to make money being a content provider in "a sea of free"

Amanda Plummer is inspiring.

Her answer seems to be

"Have an honest good heart, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and master your fear and self doubt"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Self doubt doesn't mean you're inadequate

Honesty is a virtue.

BRITISH actor Bill Nighy is one of us - like Emma Watson, Tony Abbott and probably you. Me, too.

Nighy, languid star of Love Actually, told the Sydney Morning Herald this week it took years before he considered himself a real actor.

Surely we've all been there.

"Any moment, someone's going to find out I'm a total fraud and that I don't deserve any of what I've achieved."


That honesty is a virtue. We tend to suffer more from real impostors - people like Kevin Rudd who think they're better than they are.

For the honest, the cure to "impostor syndrome" is simple. Don't love yourself more. Work yourself harder. Learn.

It's the being honest with oneself that spurs us on to be even better. Even if maybe we can't see it when we get there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pink: Me and Bobby McGee

I first ever heard this song from Charley Pride, and it was cool. Later blown away by the roar of Janice Joplin and I just wandered across Pink! doing it. Pretty nice.
Better than nice. That finish was inspiring.

UPDATE: The character "Bobby McGee" was probably a woman, originally. Kris Kristofferson wrote the song and as I said, I first heard it from Charley Pride. I love the thought of a free spirited woman that breezed in and out of the male singer's life.

Leatherbound: Always be able to put the lid on your life

For those recent readers, the "leatherbound" posts are from when my wife gave me a blank book about 20 years ago and I used it to write letters to my - as then - unborn children.

This was from August 1996. And the last quote is:

"at the end of every day you should be able to say 'I am at peace; there are some things I didn't get around to doing but in the time I've had - I am content'"

Friday, October 11, 2013

When to say "yes"

I'm approaching two years since I haven't been an employee. I've had plenty of work, and the money has flowed well enough, but living on "billable hours" has helped me gain a clarity regarding the activities I do. It helps me know when to say "no". I've found there are three ways to see an activity and I think of these are tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3.

Tier 1: I get paid for it
Simple. Billable hours. Sometimes it's $35, sometimes five times that much. I'm not afraid of putting in hours, so even $35 is ok. It keeps food on the table.

Tier 2: it may lead to me getting paid for something
One of my current best income streams at the moment had a lot of this. They weren't even trying to abuse my goodwill. They were just dithering as they took their time bringing me into the fold. Plenty of tier 1 work from them now, though.

Tier 3: I like to do it
Having a glass of wine with some friends on a Friday night, sitting on a committee for a sports club or a board of my kid's school, coaching his footy team, supervision of two great PhD students. I like to do it.

Note I have left out tier 4. Duty and obligation. Without an employer there are no soul crushing meetings or mind numbing paperwork, under the guise of "it's part of your job". Tier 4 activities are reserved for family and closest friends, and I get to choose who I feel that sense of duty towards.

There are too many who don't recognise it and abuse it.
So, my saying 'yes' to your request means it has ticked one of the three boxes above. I find one of the challenges is how much tier 2 work to do. There are some who will simply take, take, take and the reality of tier 1 never comes about. Beware the takers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Greeting with an "urgh"

From second season of Veep, hilarious how Jonah gets greeted with an "urgh". I've seen that.