23 September 2014

Going... Going...

The time is almost upon us. www.garrycondoseres.com is just about ready for official launch.

You've probably picked up by now that the site is live, but so far only you eight people who ever look at this thing know that. Ina week or so this incarnation of my blog will pass on the the great Google archive in the sky, but never fear. Garrycondoseres.com will continue to wave the banner of self-important nonsense for generations to come. or until I get sick of it, which may be the week after next. We'll see.

Make of that what you will.



Garry with 2 Rs

01 August 2014

Unscheduled Service Outage

Yeah… Sorry about that. Things have been a little bit hectic just recently. You know how it is, your fiancée moves to town, you plan a wedding in a foreign country, switch churches, appear in a stage show and look for  new job and before you know it, you’ve gone two months without uploading so much as an irreverent haiku. It happens to the best of us. And also to me.

So naturally I decided the best time to rectify the situation would be a week before my wedding. It’s not like I’ve got a million other things I’m supposed to be doing. But Kim’s off at a code black top secret dress fitting, so I’m home alone with the dog and my laptop. I tried playing chess with the dog, but she beat me in twenty three moves, so I’m blogging instead.

So I’m in America again, camped out with Kim’s family in Ohio, ready for another cross-country adventure to Ocean City, NJ for the big day. Ten day from now. This is nuts. I knew this year was going to go fast, but I really don’t think jumping straight from January to August without asking for permission was entirely justified. Still, here we are.

Order of service is coming along. Playlist is getting there, and now I;m thping with mey eyes clsaed becyase Kim is walking in with her fress.

Sorry about that.

I should go write something more useful. Like vows or something. But take heart in the meantime, blogosphere. I haven’t forgotten you.

I’m just completely neglecting you.

Make of that what you will.



Garry with 2 Rs

11 June 2014

Level Up

It’s a Tuesday morning. You have one objective to complete: Pick up your fiancés friend from the airport when she comes to visit. Sounds simple enough, right?

Right.

Unfortunately, I apparently live in a computer game where every simple objective has to come with two or three annoyingly trivial sub-objectives. Nothing that would take a normal person any extra effort, but still dastardly effective in their purpose of ensuring you can’t get to the next stage without them.

To make it to the airport, I first had to learn the time, origin and flight number of Holly’s connection from Brisbane. Fortunately in a previous level I had acquired the Smartphone of Knowledge from a wise old Samurai. This would allow me to communicate directly with the traveller and unlock the passage to gate 4A on the first floor.

Unfortunately my Smartphone of Knowledge had run out of mana. I needed to use the legendary Phone Charger of Power that I acquired from the crazy old shopkeeper that apparently wouldn’t take money for it, but wouldn’t give it to me unless I traded it for the Sword of Blue Silvery Sharpness. But that was like four levels ago now, so once I applied the Phone Charger of Power to the Smartphone of Knowledge, I could get the access code for gate 4A and pick up Holly. Tragically I had left my Phone Charger of Power at Kim’s house.

No problem. I can fast travel to Kim’s place easily with my Hatch Back of Focus, pick up the Phone Charger of Power, charge the Smartphone of Knowledge and get the code for gate 4A if I leave early enough.

Error: You can’t fast travel to Kim’s right now because your battery is flat. The night before all the running around has to happen, this could be game over.

Oh hell no: I cast the emergency AANT spell and summon a level four mechanic. I get one +1 to Focus, but then I’ll be stuck wherever I travel to and it’s already half past midnight. I fast-travelled to the spaceship parts vendor and walked home from there. Fortunately it was only a couple of blocks.

So the following morning I walked back to the spaceship parts vendor, purchased a replacement power unit for the Hatchback of Focus, then fast travelled to Kim’s office to pick up the Phone Charger of Power to re-equip the Smartphone of Knowledge, looked up the access code to gate 4A. I went through the checkpoint and camped outside the passenger spawn point. I was greeted by a small anthropomorphic mushroom who informed me that the Princess was in another castle. I punched him right in the face (1up! Yes!) and went back downstairs to find Holly. She was at baggage claim waiting for me.

Achievement unlocked.



Garry with 2 Rs

31 May 2014

Completely Pointless

This post is almost completely bereft of any point in its own right.

This will hardly come as a shock to regular readers, many of whom may now be thinking the same could be said of most of the other posts here.

Well, shut up.

This post is even more pointless than usual because the only reason I'm writing it is to remind you that some time soon this whole pointless managerie is up and moving out.

www.garrycondoseres.com is just about ready for launch. I'll post another equally pointless update when it's finally ready to go, but for now... carry on.

Make of that what you will



Garry with 2 Rs

20 May 2014

I Protest

Last week Joe Hockey and the Government delivered one of the most hotly debated federal budgets for a long time. Across the country lobby groups, welfare advocates and disgruntled lefties have gone into meltdown, attacking the budget as heartless, hypocritical, unfair and, of course, sexist. Some of the more active objectors have taken to public protests as a result.

I’m not here to comment on the merits of the budget either way, but I am simultaneously amused and horrified at exactly what people consider to be a good protest these days.

The highest profile protest was, of course, the group that joined the audience of QandA to protest whatever it was Christopher Pyne was trying to say. They managed to cause a significant enough disturbance that the programme had to be suspended while the protest was dealt with. Similar groups have joined the audience since that night and attempted similar disturbances, but ABC management and the unflappable Tony Jones have been keeping a tight rein on audiences, prompting some viewers to condemn the show as undemocratic.

Other groups have attempted to physically intimidate Julie Bishop (are they mad? I wouldn’t take her on…) while earlier this week a public lecture by former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella had to be abandoned because she couldn’t be heard over the protest groups angry at what the government she is no longer a part of is doing.

And following the illustrious and not-at-all-pointless March in March, many activists have begun to organise and execute the imaginatively-named “March in May” events. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next month. The key players in all this describe the protests as “democracy in action," which all sounds very stirring and admirable, except for one small problem.

It’s bullshit.

Democracy has nothing to do with being loud enough to drown out your opposition. It has nothing to do with confronting your political opponents with physical resistance, or with causing public discussions to be shut down. Democracy – the rule of the people – is about giving equal voice to all points of view, and then allowing the public to vote on what they want. The voices and votes of people you don’t agree with count just as much as your own, whether you like it or not. Indeed, there are systems of government that routinely use force and coercion to silence their opponents, but they aren’t democracies. As Winston Churchill put it: “it has been said that democracy is the worst from of government – except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

You know what democracy in action really looks like? An election. Like the one the current Government won less than a year ago. If you have a problem with their policies, fine. So do I. But don’t let’s kid ourselves that shouting the government down by being as noisy as possible has anything to do with democracy. Even if your protest chant rhymes, the only place you’re likely to get any credit for it is in a middle school poetry recital. And even then, probably not.

And I’m not saying don’t protest. By all means jump up and down until you are blue in the face to get your point across. I may well join you. The country needs a diverse range of opinions to function as an effective democracy. But if the highest form of debate you can manage is chanting your two-liner over and over until everyone else gives up and goes home, you haven’t won the debate. You’ve killed it.

On the other hand, you could look amongst your ranks to find the skilled orators, talented minds and experienced analysts among you to craft a decent argument. You could have someone stand up respectfully and ask it on QandA (if that's still a forum you take seriously), or post it on your own blog, or write to your newspaper or local member. There are plenty of ways to articulate your point of view politely and effectively.

And if you don’t have any skilled orators, talented minds or experienced analysts…

SHUT THE HELL UP

and leave the debate to the grown-ups.

Make of that what you will.




Garry with 2 Rs

16 May 2014

Check This

I’m still struggling to find work over here.

The rejection letters are piling up, my motivation to persist in what appears to be a futile endeavour is at an all-time low. You can only expend so much energy for zero result before the idea of expending ever increasing amounts of energy at an increased rate begins to look less like diligence and more like time wasting. It’s been said: 

Winners never quit and quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots.

I was complaining about this to a colleague this week who told me ever so lovingly and socially aware…ly that I have a roof and a part time job already and I have food. I should really check my privilege.

What should have happened next is this:

I glared at her right in her socially conscious eyes, lowered my voice to that dangerous level my friends could tell you about, and paused while I waited for the strings section to start. Just quietly at first, but with the sort of tremulous crescendo that tells you someone’s about to say something very significant (Thanks Aaron Sorkin).

“Check my privilege? I know exactly where my privilege is. How could I miss it? It’s been shoved down my throat every day since I was eight. Every time I’ve achieved something, only to be told it’s not worth as much as the girls’ achievements because of gender equality. Every time I’ve striven as hard as I can to meet the standard expected of me, only to see the standard lowered to assist those who come after me, because of equal opportunities. Every time I’ve filled out the diversity section of a job application, knowing full well that my “privilege” is placing me at a marked disadvantage (Piano part comes in here).

“I’m aware that my demographic does not face the same challenges as other ethnic, social or minority groups. My challenges are very different and I accept that. But I didn’t choose to be part of my demographic any more than anyone else did. I had access to a safe upbringing and a quality education that others might not have had access to, it’s true. But I got that opportunity because my parents worked damned hard and gave up a lot of stuff for me and my sister. If being white placed my parents at an economic advantage, I don’t think they got the memo (inspirational French horn solo). Respectfully, they might have done a lot better for themselves in Darwin if they were Greek or Chinese. There were plenty of other white boys at my school who went on to achieve nothing at all, so don’t tell me the things I do don’t count because I’m male, middle-class and white. 

"And if you call me Anglo-anything I’m going to punch you right in your racially insensitive throat. I’m Australian. I have never been to England and am not allowed to even if I wanted to, which I don’t. I despise England, its culture, its cricket team and everything it stands for as a country (Floor toms. Oh yeah, this is awesome). If you have a problem with my past, then fine, but if you call me Anglo again you're about to have a problem with my present.

"And I’m not even saying things have to change to help me out. I’m saying that when I raise a problem I’m having, don’t just ignore me because "people like me shouldn’t have problems". If I complain about a service that isn’t working, don’t expect me to leave you alone and fill out a form on the internet and then ignore me again. And if I tell you that I’m struggling, don’t send me into counselling to teach me that everything is fine and I’m just thinking wrong. (Bright trumpets and the sound of crowds cheering in the background! Cop that!)

"I didn’t choose any of this. I was born male, white and clever. I’m pretty sure you weren’t born self-righteous, judgmental and rude. Check your attitude, bitch! (booming brass finale, roll end credits)”.

What actually happened next is this:

“I suppose you’re right.” 

And I walked away and calmly got on with my day, because the same privileged upbringing that she so resents in me has taught me to be polite and not yell at people in the street. And I left my symphony orchestra at home today.

Look, I’m not saying she doesn’t have a point. But it’s one thing to help the “under-privileged” with extra concessions. It’s quite another to tell me that nothing I do, say or experience is worth a damn because I’m a white man. And don’t tell me no-one is saying that. I’m well aware of that. But I’m also sure I’m not the only white man who feels like he’s supposed to apologise for who he is every time he needs something and has had enough. Is it any wonder mental illness and suicide rates among men are out of control in our country? Fortunately, my privileged background, upbringing and education have made me strong enough and smart enough not to hurt myself or anyone else, but that's not the case for everyone.

Next time you ask me to check my privilege, consider well what might happen if I did.



Garry with 2 Rs

05 May 2014

Profile

Personality quizzes don’t work on me.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Myers-Briggs test in a psychology textbook or a “What flavour paddle-pop are you?” quiz on Facebook; they don’t work on me. Usually they either end up telling me I’m simultaneously extroverted and introverted, calm, manic, leader, follower, quiet and loud and upside down, or that I’m rainbow flavoured when I’m obviously the choc-banana one. Even classical astrology can’t make up its mind whether I’m Gemini, Cancer or Asparagus.

This is part of the reason why I get so upset about it when I apply for jobs and have to do an online aptitude test first. I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of a computer to understand who I am based on a thirty question quiz. Human beings have been trying this for thirty years and haven’t really gotten anywhere.

Well, I guess there’s at least one person who has some vague idea what’s going on here.

Kim and I registered for some pre-marital counseling this week. We’re meeting with a minister to get some guidance on what stuff we need to sort out before August, which seems a wise idea since it’s ONLY THREE FREAKING MONTHS AWAY!

Ahem…

You can imagine my enthusiasm when the minister told me the first step in the guidance process was to fill out an online questionnaire to compare my approach to the universe to Kim’s and decide what we need to be talking about.

It was a great success. After we’d both entered all our answers and submitted the test, we had a long, deep and powerful conversation. Finally we agreed: Online personality tests are stupid.

We haven’t got the marriage prep survey results back yet, but I’m pretty sure the computer will be okay with us getting married. If not, I’m sure we’ll have a very open, honest, emotive and defenestrative discussion with the computer.

I feel better already.



Garry with 2 Rs

24 April 2014

She's Here!

So this week we finally put an end to this whole “long distance” rubbish, and shifted Kim up here to start her life as an official Northern Territorian.

“How official?” I hear you ask.

What do you mean you never asked that? Don’t be ridiculous. I heard your voice with my own mind. Are you calling me a liar?

ARE YOU?

Well, this official:

So far we’ve got her an official NT driver’s license, changed her contact address with just about every agency in the country and a few that aren’t, applied for an ochre card, bought a car, settled her into a new job and had dinner at Moorish. We’ve just about got the process complete.

Unfortunately, when I made a comparison between various pubs in the rural area, she still found the name ‘Humpty-Doo’ hilarious, so I’ve obviously got a bit of work still to do. But we’ve got time for that.

Make of that what you will.



Garry with 2 Rs

17 April 2014

Transitions Part 2

Tonight I’m boarding a plane to Sydney. This is not unusual. In fact I’ve done this once a month or so for the past year, give or take. A long distance relationship will do that. What makes this trip special is this:

It’s the last time.

I’m headed for Sydney to pack up Kim’s room, clean some stuff and then bring her back to Darwin with me. This I undoubtedly the most positive development my life has taken since I convinced her to marry me back in January. It’s going to be a crazy four days over Easter, but by Tuesday hopefully everything will make sense again. Or at least be a greatly improved version of nonsense. I don’t know.

I can’t wait.



Garry with 2 Rs

Transitions Part 1

I’m having another one of those blogging weeks that I have so much I should probably be writing about, but I’m not writing about any of it.

I mean, I say “should be writing about it” but I’m not sure what I mean by that. There’s nothing going on that I am under any obligation to reveal publicly. Nor is it anything that I think anyone is really hanging out to hear about. Yet somehow there’s a sense in my head that by not writing about it I’m letting someone down.  If I ever find out who that someone is I’m going to kick his arse.

It may be me. My point still stands.

I feel like everything’s in a transitional state at the moment. My job hunting is still going on strong in the background. In fact I’m now racking up more rejections per month than at any time in my history. I’m still playing sepak takraw a few times a week and was disappointed not to make the Australian squad for the up-coming world cup. Almost as disappointed as the Australian squad was when the up-coming world cup was postponed indefinitely. Huh.

One Body is proving difficult, with two local churches declining invitations to get involved, for various reasons, some of which were even legitimate. I’m sure we’ll be back soon, but it makes it difficult to push on when you start to lose the sense that the community is in any way interested. We’ll get there.

I’m still getting up for the odd comedy set, even armed with a fantastic new red jacket. If a few things tip my way I might even start to make a bit of money from it. There again, maybe not.

And then there’s the fact that this blog is about to move…

Yep. After so many years at blogger.com and after a thoroughly inspiring course of night classes, Cum Tacent Clament is about to become:

garrycondoseres.com

It’s not as imaginative a name, but at least it has the advantage of being in English, and a slightly more accurate description of what the website is about.

If you bothered clicking the link, you’ve probably discovered it’s not fully operational yet. I post a final update here when I’m ready to move permanently.

And speaking of moving permanently…