"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Monday, 28 December 2015

Canberra Stories #4: Emergency


It's been a LONG time between these posts, but after a trip I took to Canberra in July, I had a few interesting stories that I felt had to be shared.

Last time, I talked about coming across some money and having to go through an ordeal to give it back. I mentioned at the end that it led to a new story that was highly embarrassing, but you know what? I just can't bring myself to tell it. It involves food poisoning and bodily fluids, and a difficult attempt to not make a disgusting mess in an already-dirty public bathroom. For now, that story will remain a secret.

My final story came on the last night of the trip. The Improvention festivities had ended and there was a closing night party. I' m not at all the party type - I don't drink and I try desperately hard to get to bed before midnight each night. But this night, I just decided that I didn't want the festivities to end. It was 5am when I finally realised that the only people left there were the ones that had to pack up. So, selfishly, I decided it was time for me to leave as well.

The room where the party had been held was on the second story of a building in the Canberra CBD. When you exit the room, you step onto a tiled balcony. Going to the left or right would bring you to stairs that lead to the street below. On the left, the street on which was my hostel, just 200 meters away. On the right, Canberra's casino. Standing on this balcony having a cigarette were two men - one was Nick, the mastermind of the whole festival. The other was a non-performer friend of his named Jeff. I was saying goodbye to them when suddenly, we heard shouting and banging coming from in front of the casino.

Through a series of trees, the three of us could just see a white taxi and two large youths from whom all the noise was coming. They seemed to be yelling at the driver and vandalising his car. Being 5am, it was safe to assume they were either drunk or high. With barely even a flinch, Jeff finished the puff of his cigarette and said "Better call 000." So I got out my phone and punched in the number - the emergency number for Australia.

I'd never had to call 000 before, but I knew enough to know that whoever picked up the phone would ask me which emergency service I wanted. What I wasn't prepared for was "Emergency services, which city are you in?"
'Um, Canberra CBD,' I said. 'I've-'
*click!* The phone started ringing again.
'Hello, do you need police, fire or ambulance?' Came a second voice. There we go.
'Police thanks,' I said. Now was no time to forget my manners. The call was transferred again and a third voice appeared.
'Police, what's your emergency?'
'Hi, I'm witnessing an assault,' I said.
'Where are you at the moment?'
'I'm looking down on the street in front of the casino. There's two youths attacking a taxi driver.'
'What do they look like?'
'Well they're far away... They're tall, they're wearing jeans and t-shirts, one yellow and one pink, they're - what's that? Oh, I'm with two other guys, they say the attackers are Polynesian.'
'What's the condition of the taxi driver?'
'I can't tell. He's hidden.'
'What are the youths yelling?'
'Nothing anymore. They just walked off down a path next to the casino.'
'Can you speak to the taxi driver?'
'Ah man, he just drove off.'
'Okay, did you actually witness this assault?'
'Yeah!' I said, a little offended. I was trying to help and he was questioning my credibility. First Die Hard and now this... It's a wonder anyone gets saved at all.

As I talked to the man on the phone, I watched three police cars screech to a halt in the spot where the taxi had just been. They must have dispatched the cars silently while I detailed the situation. Maybe they had triangulated my location using my phone. Maybe the taxi driver had tripped an alarm. Either way, I let the man on the phone know that the cops had arrived.
'Okay can you make yourself known to the police on the scene. Describe everything you can to them.'
'Will do, have a good night,' I said.
*click!*

I turned to Nick and Jeff.
'They want us to make ourselves known to police,' I said.
'Their faces dropped and they both murmured something that sounded more or less like "Nah, the police have it now".
"What?" I thought incredulously. "This is your chance to do your civic duty! How could you just not be bothered?"
As I turned to head down there by myself, I realised that these two men seemed like the kind of people who could easily have more than just cigarettes on them.They might just have been worried they'd be caught. Or they just might not have cared. Either way the cops were already leaving, so I didn't have time to work it out.

I jogged downstairs and chase after the last car that I'd seen going down that same pathway as the youths. It disappeared around the corner and I thought I'd missed my chance. But a few seconds later I saw headlights reappear and a car turning to come back the other way. Since it was so dark and the headlights were shining right on me, I couldn't tell if this car was the same car as the one that had disappeared. I stepped out of its path and waited until it got close enough to see the familiar blue-and-white checkered patter of a police car. Then I waved it down. I realised how suspicious it must look - a young man on his own in a dark alley at 5am, wearing a leather jacket and walking right in front of a police car. And the harsh demeanour of the very tall, muscly, bald-headed cop that greeted me from the passenger seat confirmed it. I addressed it by putting on one of my cutest smiles.

'Hello sir, I was the guy who placed the call to 000,' I said.
'Did you witness the assault?' the cop asked, his demeanour softening just a bit.
'Yeah I did.'
'Okay, if you just want to wait for us in the lobby of the casino there, we'll finish sweeping the area, then we'll come and get a statement from you.'
I followed the officer's instructions, passing through a revolving door to arrive in a nicely-lit marble room with a desk on the far end and a water-feature on the wall to my left. I took a seat on the low retaining wall that enclosed the water feature and busied myself on my phone.

A few minutes passed and the revolving door came to life.my head snapped up from my The Simpsons Tapped Out game and I expected to see Baldie enter the room. Instead, a scruffy homeless man came in and walked in my direction. I could smell him as soon as he came through the door.
'Hello, do you have any money?' he asked in a gravelly voice. I gave him a few coins from my wallet, for which he thanked me. Then he walked to a spot further along the wall, reached into his pocket, pulled out a handful of cigarette butts and placed them in a pile on the wall, sitting down next to them. He stuck his hand in the water and started fishing around.
'Ah fuck, they've already cleaned out the coins,' he lamented. And I can't go and ask them for money because they banned me from this place for life.'
'Oh, that's a shame,' I replied flatly.
'Oh hang on,' said the man.I think that's an earring! I could take that, right?' he asked. It's not stealing...'
'I don't know mate,' I replied. I genuinely didn't know the answer. The casino could very well consider anything thrown in their fountain to be their property, but I didn't like the idea of telling a homeless man not to claim discarded goods.
'I want your opinion,' he pressed. 'You don't think it's stealing, right?'
'Honestly mate, I don't own the fountain so I don't know.
'But I want YOUR opinion!'
Fine, if that's what you really want...
'Alright, if it were my fountain, I'd probably consider it stealing,' I said. I didn't bother explaining that I probably wouldn't care if he stole a used earring from me. I just wanted to get him off my back.
'Yeah, that's fair enough,' the man replied. 'Have a good night.' He turned and walked back out the door and I was left feeling pretty bad about myself.

A few more minutes passed and the revolving door once again came to life. This time a cop did walk through. Not the same security guard-type with the high-vis vest as before, but rather someone more my size, wearing the standard navy blue uniform and a warm, friendly grin. He saw me looking and I stood up to greet him.
'G'day,' I said.
'Hello,' he replied.
I kept looking at him and he seemed like he could tell he was missing something.
'Are you here for me?' I offered. The look on his face turned to confusion.
'I don't think so, why are you here?'
'I witnessed an assault and another cop asked me to wait here so he could get a statement from me.'
'Oh! Well if I'm here, I may as well get your statement,' he said. He took out a notepad and pen and started asking a set of detailed questions. Things like did the attackers have any distinguishing marks, what type of shoes were they wearing, hair colour, eye colour etc. I tried to help as much as I could, but like I mentioned, my vantage point hadn't been that great. The officer was just at the end of his questions and was taking down my phone number for future statements, when we faintly heard what could have been a woman's hysterical wailing. The officer looked up with wide eyes.
'Did you hear that?' he asked.
'Yeah I think so...' I said. The screaming returned, but much louder and closer. We both sprung into action.

The cop put one hand on his gun, turned and bolted back out the revolving door. I followed closely behind him. I'm not sure why - what could I have done to help the situation, thrown my shoe at it? But I guess I didn't feel right just hanging back when there was trouble going down. If there was anything I could contribute, I would.

As it turned out, the screaming came from a destitute woman who was being arrested. All the cops in the area had reconvened in front of the casino and one of them was placing the screaming woman in the back of a paddy wagon. The officer who had been speaking to me relaxed and chuckled as he turned back to me.
'It looks like they've got it under control. Is there anything else about the assault you can recall?'
'No, that's it.'
'Well thanks for your help. We'll call you again tomorrow if we need any more information.'

I walked off back to my hostel and passed the thug cop with whom I originally spoke. I told him someone else had been by to take my statement.
'Yeah sorry. We got busy,' he replied uncaringly.
Right then. Appreciate the help.
I stumbled the 500m back and entered my room as quietly as possible. Then I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

Friday, 25 December 2015

So You're Reading This On Christmas...



You may be feeling lonely or upset without anyone to spend the day with. If you weren't, you certainly are now. There may be a valid reason why you're not with friends or family. You may be separated geographically or emotionally, or you may be - like most of the people that I suspect read this blog - homeless.

So if you are feeling lonely and need assistance on making the most of today, we here at the think tank have put together a handy three-step guide. Merry Christmas.



1: Watch feaux-Christmas movies
We all know that Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. But did you know that there are a host of other popular films that are set around Christmas? Why not fire yourself up to watch Rocky take on the Russian behemoth Drago in Rocky IV? How about a bit of pre-racism Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon? You could relive the performances of Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito in the worst Batman film of all time, Batman Returns. Or revisit the worst James Bond of all time (George Lazenby) in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

If you want to go less subtle, you could watch Love Actually or The Holiday. But without anyone to watch it with, it may just make you feel more lonely. Maybe 1984's Gremlins might be better for you. Or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, in which you get to see Michelle Monaghan topless. Although if you just want to watch nudity, there are much better films for that. If you Google it, I'm sure you can find some with a Christmas theme as well.


2: Celebrate Festivus
What began as a humorous protest to the commercialisation of Christmas can now be your own personal "screw you" to the holiday altogether. Telephone your friends and family to tell them what's grieved you about them in the past year. If there's one thing that people like to hear on Christmas, it's how they've failed to appease you.

Find an aluminium pole and stand it up in your living room. Stare at it for an hour and think about all the stupid things the people you know are doing right now. Those jokes inside the Christmas crackers have never been funny. The paper crowns are stupid and uncomfortable. And what's with the crappy little plastic doohickey? Christmas crackers suck. And now, thanks to your hilarious and relevant protest, so does the rest of Christmas.

Conduct "Feats of strength", in which you attempt to lug a 60" TV up and down a flight of stairs. If you don't have stairs, placing it on a high shelf will be adequate. The festivities will only end once the TV has been dropped and smashed.


3: Fake an actual Christmas miracle
History has proven that religious nuts will clamp onto anything that "proves" the existence of God. Have some fun with them by splashing some coffee on a notebook in a way that resembles the image of Jesus. Walk into a church limping and coughing, listen for a while, then jump up and exclaim "Praise God, I'm healed!" The congregation won't question a thing.

If you really want to take it up a notch, get up at 1am on Christmas morning and start cutting religious symbols into corn fields. Or dress up in a robe and put on a long brown wig and interrupt the broadcast of a national morning show. Don't forget to bring your smoke-bombs - if there's one thing Jesus was known for, it's cheap theatrics.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Things You Can Do for $20 Or Less


My friend Dimi and I were driving to a friend's party. It was being held at a pub just outside of town where a band he likes was playing. The place was a popular spot for clubbing, which neither of us were even the least bit excited about. Dimi started this conversation on the drive...

"Why couldn't he have just held it at his house?"
"Yeah, that would have been better."
"It's $20 entry! I can name a hundred other things I could do with that money."
"Go on then."
"Hahaha... seriously?"
"Yeah, I want to see if you can do it. I'll help you out."
"Alright."
We took it in turns and listed them off...


  1. $20 worth of petrol
  2. Have a decent meal
  3. Have McDonalds
  4. Buy alcohol
  5. Buy coffee
  6. Give $20 to a friend as a gift
  7. A Myer gift card
  8. Go to the video arcade
  9. Laser skirmish (we both said it at the same time and made that noise that bros make when when they realise how in sync they are)
  10. Bowling
  11. Go karts
  12. Paintball
  13. Go to the movies
  14. Buy/rent a DVD
  15. Pay for your music you pirate
  16. Stay in some really nasty accommodation
  17. Go for a walk (then we decided that free things shouldn't count, so we changed it to hire a bike and go for a ride)
  18. Go to a soccer match
  19. Register a domain name
  20. Go to the doctor (public healthcare, bitches!)
  21. Go to a karaoke bar
  22. See a show at the Fringe Festival
  23. Donate it
  24. Go to the zoo
  25. Subscribe to a pornographic website (if you were that way inclined)
  26. Have one session in a gym
  27. Take a passport photo
  28. Invest in a company
  29. Buy in to a pub poker game
  30. Play in an 8-ball tournament
  31. Have Foxtel for 10 days
  32. Place a small-to-medium-sized ornament on your coffee table
  33. Strip club
  34. Hide it in the woods and organise a treasure hunt
  35. Fold it into a swan
  36. Use it as a bookmark
  37. Deposit it into the bank
  38. Visit a museum
  39. Go to a trampoline house
  40. Attempt an escape room
  41. Stick it on the end of a fishing rod and prank passers-by
  42. Use it to snort cocaine
  43. Use it to snort paprika
  44. Watch a pay-per-view fight
  45. Get Netflix for two months in the lowest pay bracket
  46. Visit a silent disco
  47. Buy an app for your phone
  48. Glue it to the wall
  49. Bet on some sort of sporting event
  50. Buy a football club membership for your pet
  51. Subscribe to AFL Fantasy Coach
  52. Flash it around to show all your friends how loaded you are
  53. Hire a stranger at a seedy bar to kill your boss
  54. Light it on fire and then run from the cops
  55. Have your fortune told
  56. Go speed-dating
  57. Go on a date while on speed
  58. Send a package overseas
  59. Do your washing in a hotel laundry
  60. Have a picnic
  61. Park in a parking building for about three hours
  62. Go golfing
  63. Hire a golf buggy
  64. Hire a homeless guy to be your caddy
  65. A nice round of mini-golf
  66. Buy an old(ish) video game
  67. Buy donuts on The Simpsons Tapped Out
  68. Pay back the money you owe that guy
  69. So much chocolate
  70. Go to the casino and put it all on black
  71. Place a bit with a mate
  72. Insure yourself on a one-night trip to Sydney
  73. Pokemon Go is coming...
  74. Replace your printer ink cartridges
  75. Go somewhere else to print your stuff
  76. Replace your shoelaces
  77. Purchase cold & flu medication
  78. With creative accounting, you could make that $40 (that's how it works right?)
  79. Dress up for Halloween
  80. Stay in a caravan park
  81. Design a t-shirt with your favourite brand of ink toner on it
  82. Take up archery
  83. Take up painting
  84. Take a (blank) class
  85. Glue something to something else
  86. Try a 3-card monty
  87. Make a wish in a wishing fountain
  88. Change it to coins and throw them at passers-by
  89. Sit down and work out how many unique combinations of coins and notes you can make from $20 (367)
  90. Put gold flakes on your pizza
  91. Fill a sock with coins and cause some damage.
  92. Decorate your work cubicle for Christmas
  93. You can get like 100 ping pong balls for that price
  94. Replace one spark plug in your car
  95. Accidentally let go of it and chase it up the street
  96. Bury it for future civilisations to find and worship
  97. Get yourself a spray tan
  98. Do people still play Farmville?
  99. Get a nice photo developed at K Mart
By this stage we were well and truly at the venue. We handed our $20 notes to the girl at the door and as we walked in, I said "...Or we could just celebrate our friend's birthday."

Friday, 18 December 2015

Star Wars Spoilers

Never before have so many people warned their friends not to spoil a movie for them before they get to see it. We seem to have collectively decided that for once, we won't scroll through forums and YouTube videos, practically trying to see the film before it comes out.

But there are some things you need to know about this new Star Wars film. Some key plot points that - if you're not prepared for - could seriously mess with your head. For your safety, here are some spoilers for the latest installment of Star Wars (in cinemas now).

  • After her marriage to Han loses its spark, Princess Leia attempts to find more excitement by registering with Cougarlife.com.
  • Luke Skywalker becomes suspicious of his wife after the fifth baby that she claims was "conceived by the force".
  • Storm Trooper Finn is ecstatic when he meets Lando Calrissian and discovers that he's not the only black person in the galaxy.
  • Leia breaks out the gold and white bikini, but the rest of the galaxy insists that it's actually black and blue.
  • A mysterious stranger starts asking questions about a "Christmas Special". He's quickly executed.
  • R2D2 and C3PO get impressive new upgrades.

  • Chewbacca marries a banthaa and together they have a beautiful little Ewok.
  • Now that the path to immortality has been discovered, word gets out and suddenly everyone starts reappearing as ghosts. It loses its appeal and people start longing for the days when dead people stayed dead.
  • Han trades in his rusty old Millennium Falcon for a shiny new USS Enterprise.
  • Confusion arises over the exact meaning of the term "Holo-vid and Chill".
  • Taylor Swift writes a song about The Force and subsequently has the phrase trademarked. 
  • Due to Imperial budget cuts, the new "Death Star" has to be downgraded to a "Pain Comet".
  • A Storm Trooper is arrested for impersonating a superior officer.

  • The Force is grumpy from being woken.
  • Someone finally informs Han that a parsec is a unit of distance, not time.
  • Yoda can be overheard saying "The original movies, better they were."
  • C3PO announces he's gay. No one bats an eyelid. 
  • The new Jedi council has a lengthy discussion on trade tariffs to ensure that none of this ever happens again.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Is It Sexist: AFL 9s


I've said many times in the past that the current movement for gender equality would be a lot further ahead if we could all come to an agreement on what that actually means. I come across situations all the time that some people say are sexist, others say are natural and others still say are nothing but witch-hunts. I've come across one of these situations in a game called AFL 9s.

AFL 9s is a social version of the game of Aussie Rules Football. It requires 9 people per side, at least three of them need to be girls and the game is non-contact. If the ball touches the ground, it's a turnover and only a designated forward can kick a goal.

The main marketing push that the AFL is going for with this game is that "It's the game for everyone." The underlying message is that women and children can play without worrying about their safety among the big, fit, rough men who also play. The rules are specifically designed to include them,

I joined this game as an umpire so I could keep myself match-fit during the off-season. But it's taken me a very long time to get used to it. For the first few weeks, the game-day manager was approaching me at the end of each half and saying things like "That marking contest in front of the goals between the guy and the girl - I would have called that contact on the guy. He got too close to the girl when he caught that."
"Well there was no actual contact, so I let it go..." I'd reply.
"Yeah, but you've got to let the girl have it. If it was guy-on-guy you'd let it go but with those ones you should give it to the girl."

I'll be umpiring the grand final tomorrow night, and I still haven't gotten the hang of policing a different set of rules for the women as I do for the men. Thankfully, the GDM has given up on telling me to be more lenient on the girls, so it's not really an issue. But what do you think? Is it sexist to wrap the girls up in cotton wool to protect them from the big bad boys? Or should the girls be held to the same standards?

One other thing I haven't mentioned yet - If a girl kicks a goal, it's worth 9 points instead of the usual 6. That means if there's a girl on one team who's athletically gifted, her team suddenly has a pretty decent advantage. Children get the same benefit, but as my competition only has one child (who's only played twice), it's not something I have to worry about.

Is AFL 9s sexist?

Friday, 11 December 2015

Oh Come On, Another One?

Just over a month ago, I was contacted by the office of the Young Achiever of the Year Awards at Channel 9. They claimed that my profile on LinkedIn looked impressive and that they'd like me to nominate for their award this year. They started a nomination form for me under the category "Career Kickstarter Award".

Now at the time I thought it was ridiculous. I was expecting there to be a catch, like I'd have to pay a fee to nominate. Yes, I'm proud of my work. Yes, I put a lot of time and effort into it. But to actually give me an award for it? I haven't actually achieved anything tangible. Anything I've achieved in my work life falls under the abstract category of personal fulfillment. I looked up the winners of last year's awards, and the recipient of the Career Kickstarter award had managed to start his own business that sells ethically-approved fashion. Me? I once came first in a musical comedy competition that had four entrants.

The questions I had to answer had me thinking for days.

Outline the nominee's career to date.

I've had so many jobs that I literally can't remember them all. I ended up copying and pasting my career summary from LinkedIn.

Outline how the nominee has shown initiative in kickstarting their career.

How do you describe taking initiative?
"So I applied for this job... and I ended up getting it! Impressive, right?"
I've been described as taking initiative before, but I don't really know what I do that's anything special.

Describe how the nominee has shown energy and integrity in their chosen career.

Again... How do you describe that?
"I've shown energy by... being energetic."
"I've got lot's of integrity. One time my boss trusted me to lock up the store. I didn't steal a single thing."
I show integrity because that's normal for a decent human being. You want me to brag that I haven't stabbed any co-workers in the back?

Outline achievements that show commitment to the nominee's personal and career development.

Here we go... the achievements part. I listed everything I could think of. I won an award at the end of a 12-week radio course... I received accreditation for umpiring... I've put that little importance on qualifications that I genuinely forgot until now that I have a certificate III in retail tourism. This answer was short.

What would be the ideal kickstart needed to take the nominee's career to the next level?

Actually, that's an interesting question. What would I need to get to the next level? I could take it literally and talk about my umpiring. I'm trying to get to the next level there. So the only thing I need to get to the next level is to just get better at umpiring. I wasn't entirely sure they'd like that as an answer. I ended up mentioning that I wanted to write a book and that I wanted to get in touch with publishers to pitch it.

Write a 100 summary of your achievements for use with the media, judging and promotional material.

In other words, they want me to do their job for them.

So by the time I thought of answers for those questions, picked the photos I wanted to submit with the nomination and got the the details of my references, it took me about a month to actually click "submit". I was expecting to be taken to a page that would ask for my credit card details but no, it just said "Thanks for your nomination. We will begin the judging process on December 4th."

December 4th rolled around and the deadline passed. Then, on the afternoon of the 4th, I got this email:


Are you serious?? What do these guys keep seeing in me?! I don't know what I do that impresses people like this. So I decided to reply back to Kristi and ask her directly.


By the end of the day, I had this reply.


That was almost profoundly unhelpful. Nobody's impressed by stage management. I sighed, put my phone down and logged onto my computer. Looks like I have more work to do.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Question of the Month: December

Each month, a whole bunch of us answer a question. It's a game called Question of the Month. It's pretty simple, you should join in.

I realised this morning that a great question for this month would have been "What do you want for Christmas?" But I've never been good at being topical. So instead, the question is this:

"Which one social convention would you get rid of?"

You know, those things that society tells you you have to do that you just don't think you should? If you had the power to change one of those things, what would it be?

Ever since I hit puberty, I've hated wearing suits, business-shirts and ties. As in properly hated it. Whenever I'm in a button-up shirt, I feel suffocated, defeated, depressed, like I'm trying to be someone I'm not. I feel like I'm trying to fit in with a group of people whose respect for you is affected by the price of the clothes you're wearing. 

Everyone's always disappointed when I try to turn up to a wedding or a 21st in my normal clothes and I've never understood that. If I'm there to celebrate a milestone with a friend, what does it matter what I wear?

In job interviews, you get an instant fail if you turn up in anything other than a button-up shirt. That's so sad! What I wear has no bearing on how well I'll do at a job. Why should I wear something that makes me uncomfortable and self-conscious?

The standard response I get to that question is something along the lines of "It shows you care about your presentation," "Don't you want to take pride in your appearance?" or "You have to make an effort for the people you care about." Those people won't accept that I look so much better in jeans and a (generally white) t-shirt.

Which guy would you rather associate with? This ugly loser...



Or this confident young stud?



  

Some people insist that a suit is more respectable and that anyone wearing one should be taken more seriously. Whether they acknowledge it or not, that's how they feel. I think it's disgusting and they should change immediately.

If you want to join the bloghop, sign up below. An email is sent out with the question for each month and it's also posted on the QotM page found at the top of this blog. The next one comes on Monday January 4. Have fun!




Friday, 4 December 2015

The Reason I Was In Sydney for One Night

So in the middle of October, I received a mass email from my agents calling for anyone who might be interested in performing kids theater interstate. A company called Brainstorm was offering a series of eight-month contracts to tour primary schools around the country and perform plays about bullying and drugs. I'd done that kind of thing before and loved it, so I expressed my interest. But I sent the email with no real expectations. Even if I was picked to do this job out of the hundreds of people nationwide who would likely apply, I still couldn't leave what I'd built up in Adelaide. I'd been told that I was about to start training as an SANFL umpire, I couldn't afford to put that on hold now. I was also hosting two pub trivia nights a week at venues that I loved, and making some great coin in other areas of work as well. I decided to treat it as an exercise in being rejected.

weeks passed and I forgot about it. Then as October came to a close one of the agents, Carina, gave me a call.
'Are you able to put together a resume for us? Brainstorm would like to see one.'
Hm, okay. I guess I could do that. But my level of experience was embarrassing. I remember when a friend helped me to write an actor's CV and encouraged me to embellish it a little to fill out the page.
"Mine's three pages long," she pressed. "You should at least have one."
Carina sent me a template to use and I filled it out as best I could. Then I forgot about it. Well, that is until the 10th of November when I got another call...

'It's Carina. Brainstorm would like to see an audition piece from you. They're asking you to come to Sydney, but I've told them that's a little bit much. To fly there at your own expense for a first audition isn't worth it. So they've said they'll accept a screen test. They've sent us a monologue and we'd like to film you performing it. When are you free?'
My excitement at this point was overshadowed by my fear. Suddenly I was in a position where two parties had put a lot of faith in me and I would have to disappoint one of them. My umpiring coaches had spent a lot of time giving me advice when I needed it and shown enough faith in me to put my name forward to the SANFL after just two years in the system. On the other hand, this was an opportunity for some very serious work with my agents. I clearly knew before I applied that if I got the job I'd have to leave Adelaide. So if I pulled out claiming that I didn't want to leave, I felt the waste of their time would deter them from trying as hard to get me work in the future. Unsure of what the near future would hold, I set a time to film my screen test.

Carina was very impressed with my test. That made my proud, but I also had to laugh a little. I was kind of hoping my test would suck and the choice would be taken out of my hands. But I'd also learned two things.
1- There would likely be a component of singing required. Something that I enjoy doing but certainly can't do to a professional level.
2- I wasn't actually training with the SANFL. What I'd been submitted to was a summer training program run by the SANFL to scout for their next recruits. Still impressive, but definitely not the same. I'd gone from having to choose between two things I loved to possibly losing them both.

Two weeks passed and I got a voice mail from the other agent, Nick.
'Michael, I need to discuss something with you, call me back when you can.'
I was hoping it was about Brainstorm. Now that I knew I wasn't actually in the SANFL, that made my choice a whole lot easier. But in the end, it wasn't.
'Michael, I wonder if you'd be available to manage a stage show on Friday December 4th?'
'Oh. Yeah... Yeah I can do that.'
'Fantastic, you're a big help. I'll send through the details. Thanks Michael.'
I'd been told that if I was required for a second audition, I'd have to fly out to Sydney on December 1st. It was about the 25th at this point, and I didn't think I'd gotten the callback.

That changed two days later.
'Hi Michael, it's Nick here. I've gotten a call from Brainstorm. They'd like to have you over. Now you haven't been in this position before, so there's a few things you need to know. The fact that they've asked you to a second audition means that they're thinking very seriously about you, You'll have to tell them pretty much on the spot whether you're willing to move to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for eight months. Is that something you can do?'
I thought so but I wan't entirely sure. I felt like I should stop and think a bit more about the consequences of dropping everything and leaving. But on the other hand, there's no way I could reasonably predict what the consequences are. I might have to take one of those leaps of faith you hear so much about. After some initial hesitation, I gave him the answer he needed.
'Fantastic. I'll book in your audition time, are you okay to organise flights?'
'Yep, I can do that.' I'd worked out that if I fly over on Monday when I didn't have work, I could perform my audition on Tuesday morning and fly back in the afternoon in time to fulfill my umpiring duties on Tuesday night. Now that I've gotten this far, I'm very keen for it to work out. My parents are against the idea. They think that I'd be throwing away everything I've worked for. But I've made my decision and I'm eager to take on such an exciting new challenge.


Monday, 30 November 2015

One Night In Sydney

Look, I'll explain on Friday. The main thing is, I'm about to leave for the airport to fly to Sydney. I'll be there for one evening and then flying out tomorrow afternoon. I've been to Sydney a bunch of times and have done all of the touristy things such as seeing the bridge and the Opera House, watching an iMax movie and visiting the attractions at Darling Harbour. I haven't visited Centrepoint Tower yet and I've also been wanting to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for ages. What else should I do? If you had one night to kill in Sydney, what would you do?



Friday, 27 November 2015

A Piece of History 4: Amazing Montage

From December 30 2013 to January 3 2014 I was on holiday at Pine Point in the Yorke Penninsula. I was with the Buttercup Gang. Jason had a camera which had this awesome feature on it - For a few seconds before it takes a photo, it will take a little bit of a video of you guys getting ready. After the trip, he put those little bits of video together to make this amazing, beautiful piece of work.

video

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sliding Doors


Based on the movie of the same name, Sliding Doors is a game I like to play with myself every now and then. I invite you to give it a go yourself. You see, I noticed that there are some big parts of my life that are only present because of a seemingly unrelated chain of events and decisions that ended up falling the right way. If even the smallest detail had been different or if I hadn't taken an opportunity or made a decision, I might never have arrived here. Allow me to demonstrate.

I've made much about my association and close friendship with my inner circle of friends, The Buttercup Gang. But I probably wouldn't have met them - and they certainly wouldn't have become my best friends - if the KFC store in Marden hadn't closed for renovations.

  • I was working at the KFC Marden at the time - maybe 2011 - and they closed for ten weeks to perform a big upgrade. The staff were asked to nominate a different store to which to transfer over those those ten weeks.
  •  I picked the branch in Rundle Mall because it was easiest to reach by bus.
  • The staff there really liked me and when the ten weeks were up, they asked me if I wanted to stay on with them. I liked them as well, but I liked the Marden store just as much. I offered to do half my shifts at Rundle and half my shifts at Marden and both stores agreed.
  • The Rundle Mall branch eventually had to close down. The staff there were devastated, but the managers at head office offered to transfer them to another store in the area so that they weren't out of work. rather than just revert back to just working at Marden, I nominated to be transferred and keep splitting my shifts.
  • On recommendation from the managers at Rundle Mall, a branch called Eastwood got in touch with me and offered me a position in management. It would require me to leave my position at Marden.
  • I accepted the arrangement and transferred fully to Eastwood, where I met three people named Kelsey, Mitchell and Juan.
  • I was never made a manager, but I did make the best friends I'll ever have. And I also don't have to be a manager at KFC.

Have you got the hang of it? Here's another...

My decision to stop drinking when I turned 18 (unrelated) may be the best decision I ever made, but it's also been one of the hardest. While I have far more money, fitness and in some cases, dignity than a lot of people my age, I also find it hampers my ability to connect with them. Anyway, I'm happy with  my decision. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't read the book Yes Man in high school.
  • Yes Man is a true story about a Brittish humorist who decided to say yes to any and all requests for the remainder of a year. I read it in high school and was inspired by the insane adventures on which he went.
  • For a few weeks after, I found I was saying yes myself much, much more.
  • One day while walking to work, I was stopped by two mormons on their bikes, who asked if I had a moment to spare. I said yes.
  • They gave me their spiel about how they'd found God through the Church of Latter Day Saints and I listened with genuine interest. Then they asked if there was a time that we could meet to talk about it further. I of course, said yes.
  • I've always believed in a God in some form or another, so everything they had to say fascinated me. They asked for a second meeting, then a third, and then it became an unspoken weekly arrangement.
  • At one such meeting, they brought up the topic of alcohol and why I should give it up. My attitude of "yes" faltered at this point. Like many of my peers, I found it to be quite a helpful social crutch. I initially refused.
  • Fast forward to March the next year, and AC/DC came to Adelaide for their Black Ice tour. I had just waited for 20 minutes in line to pay $6 for a plastic cup of warm beer. At that stage, $6 was like a third of my hourly rate. I thought about the money I'd blown on booze up until this point. I realised that I'd never actually enjoyed the feeling of being drunk and that I'd always hated the taste of spirits. And most importantly, I remembered what the mormons had said about drinking being a sin. I decided right then to finish my beer and never drink again. It was amazingly easy to follow through with it.
  • Although I still firmly believe in God, I don't subscribe to one particular ideology. As such, the religious reasons for my decision have taken a back seat to all the other reasons. When anyone asks me why I don't drink, I'll tell them about the money, my health, my fitness and my social beliefs. But the initial catalyst was my meeting with the Mormons, which came about with the help of that book.
And just for fun, let's do one with a little fork in the road ;)

In 2011, I started performing stand-up comedy. That led to both my work at Fresh 92.7 and my trip to Canberra in July to study and perform improv theater.
  • I started doing stand-up in 2011.
  • In mid-2012, I was out the front of a comedy club chatting to some other comedians and one of them told us about the course he was doing at the Australian Radio School. I decided to check it out myself.
  • I joined their introductory course in September.
  • I finished that course with an award for excellence and decided to stay on for the master class in December.
  • One of the students in the master class mentioned Fresh and the induction night that they were holding to get new members. It seemed like an obvious choice.
  • A while later, I was back at that same comedy club when I made a new friend named Alicia (read her fantastic blog). Alicia told me she does improv and invited me join a series of workshops she was attending.
  • I went.
  • That workshop finished and I inquired about the next one.
  • From there, I was in with both feet and would attend rehearsals two times per week. It led to a lot of work during the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
  • After the Fringe finished, a fellow improviser got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to go to Improvention - Australia's premier improv festival. After a lot of thought, I decided I did.
  • It was a fantastic trip that provided a lot of great stories. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started doing stand-up four years prior.
Try playing it yourself! I find it easiest to pick a part of your life (your job, your friends, your hobbies, your partner etc) and figure out the thing that directly led to it. Then figure out what led to that and work backwards as far as you like. If you have a blog, write a post about it. It'll make great content. Let me know if you do :)


Friday, 13 November 2015

Friend-Zoned (Not That Way)

Cherdo (visit her) has signed her papers, passed the votes and declared my blog a Friend-Zone. It's the term used to describe a blog that's family-friendly, non-offensive, a place where everyone can go for wholesome entertainment.

I don't like this image. I want to be the bad-boy of the blogosphere. So I'm going to remake myself. Here are a few things that should fix that nice-guy image right up.

  • Your child isn't as good at that thing as you think it is.
  • Don't tell me you're busy. Just tell me you don't want to come.
  • If you think the last three Star Wars films were so bad, what makes you think this next one will be any good?
  • If I meet you for the first time and you're wearing a suit, I'll find it 3-4 times harder to trust you.
  • You know you don't HAVE to study law or medicine right?
  • Wearing sneakers with jeans is not weird.
  • I wear a baseball cap inside quite often. Sue me.
  • If you're studying at uni, I probably have more money than you.
  • Speaking of which - don't complain to me about your money problems while you're buying a $40 bottle of Vodka.
  • Make a decision - are you a couple or not?


Monday, 9 November 2015

Jerida


This is the fifth post in the Buttercup Gang series

It was November 2012, one of the most turbulent and eventful periods of my life. I was on a week-long trip to Perth. I should have been happy, but that wasn't the case. I was working for a door-to-door sales company and was there with dozens of other men for whom I felt contempt. They were business men who only cared about money and had no time for anyone who felt otherwise. I'd taken this chance to organise some stand-up comedy gigs - I was very keen to try performing outside of Adelaide. I organised two gigs. Both of them went terribly. Not only was my job giving me a terrible case of low self-esteem, but my aspirations as a performer had just taken a huge hit. I was in a pretty low place and needed to talk to someone.

The person I chose to call was Jerida. Looking back, I can try and analyse why I made that decision... Maybe it was her incredible capacity for empathy. Maybe I felt unusually comfortable with her. Maybe I selfishly knew she would listen. But it doesn't really matter. After knowing her for just two months, Jerida had shot right to the top of the list of people I could turn to for support.

I think with daylight savings, Adelaide was four hours ahead of Perth at the time, so it was almost midnight when I called her.
'It's okay, I've finished my exams now. I'm on holidays,' she said.
'Oh great! How'd you do?'
'I did well, my biology exam was a bit...'

We talked for six hours. My whole life, I've never talked to one person for six hours. And this was over the phone from another state. I couldn't even tell you what we talked about, but I do remember that for the whole time, all the crappy circumstances that had built up over the last few weeks had ebbed away. We talked for so long that my phone went flat and I had to plug it into the one powerpoint I could find in my hotel room - in the kitchen three inches above the floor. I was lying there on my stomach while my phone charged, still talking to her. The significance of this wasn't lost on me.
'Man, it's almost two o'clock here,' I said.
'Yeah it's almost six over here.'
'I've never been able to talk this easily to anyone. It must... mean something. Surely.'
I was trying not to admit it, but we both knew what I meant.
'You let me know when you've figured it out,' she replied slyly.
'I'm amazed you're willing to stay up this late for me.'
'Of course I am. Especially since... Well okay, you know what I said before about having finished my exams?'
'Um... yes?'
'I lied. My last exam is tomorrow.'

My mood did a complete 180. I went straight from feeling excited and content to feeling ashamed and furious in a nanosecond. How dare she lie to me like that? How dare I keep her up like that? These were her year-12 exams, these marks would affect her entry into university next year! She was putting that at risk to chat to some loser? And it wasn't just her, I was the loser putting this girl's future at risk just because I'd had a bad gig. That was just not on.
'Oh, fuck off...' I said.
I'm not proud of that.
'Really, it's not a big deal,' she replied, slightly panicked.
'Goodbye,' I said shortly and abruptly hung up. She rang me back and I cancelled the call, so she texted me.
"I knew what I was doing, please don't be mad at me," she said.
"Go to bed!" I replied. Then I realised that this rough departure might cause her more stress, so I feebly attempted:
"Good luck tomorrow."
She told me later that it didn't help.

The next day, I called her to apologise and she apologised in return. I admitted that I'd reacted that way because I cared about her and she said she felt the same. We became a couple that day, much to the delight of our mutual friends. But they also asked us never to repeat that story to anyone. Sorry guys.

It's probably the weirdest, most unremarkable getting-together story I've ever come across, but it's a great example of what our relationship has been like ever since. We haven't done anything the way the rest of the world expects us to. We were each other's first relationship, and yet we were more willing to make it work than a lot of married couples. I fell in love with her family and learned a LOT from them - her wise, highly-educated mother, her affectionate, loyal, dutiful father, her ambitious, self-confident, no-nonsense sister and her excitable, passionate, intelligent brothers. When we fought, it was always constructive. We never felt like we were just shouting at brick walls, we always listened and adapted as best we could to what the other person needed. And most importantly, now that we're not a couple any more, we seem to have maintained the best friendship I could possibly hope to have.

Jerida remains my best friend and closest confidante. She knows more about me than I do myself and I don't think that's an exaggeration. She has so many qualities that I deeply admire including her compassion, her sense of duty, her commitment to her family, her outstanding empathy, her moral compass, her ability to change her position if new information arises and the way she can connect with anybody she meets on quite a personal level. I haven't yet met a single person who didn't love her upon meeting her.

With the possible exception of my Dad, nobody has had more of an effect on the person I am today. She'll tell me the hard truth if I need or want to hear it, even if she thinks it will hurt my feelings. She does it because she's one of the few people who understand that I appreciate that kind of honesty. She challenges me and forces me to grow. And she's not scared off by the haunted mansion full of demons, dark hallways and trap doors that is my mind. She actually wants to be the one who's there for me when I need help and I take a lot of joy in returning the favour.

There's been a few key moments where we could have gone our separate ways and never spoken again, but our friendship has survived. This Saturday just past marked exactly four years since that day in Perth when I apologised and asked her out. I guess that moment oddly represents the way I feel our relationship is now - "Hey Jerida, I'm sorry for being a jerk. I love you."




Friday, 6 November 2015

Beyond Blue


In January, I wrote about a friend of mine who we found out was silently suffering from depression. Nobody knew what was going wrong, right up to the point where he took his own life. It still saddens me that this happens. Depression in my opinion is the biggest demon we can face. One reason for that is that it makes us feel like we're facing it alone.

That's why I'm once again raising money for Movember. I'll be growing a moustache throughout the month of November to help raise awareness of men's health issues - one of which is their high suicide rate.

Beyond Blue is the charity of Movember and it's my favourite charity for all these reasons. I'm aiming to raise $500 to help them in their fight against depression and other Men's health issues. If you have the money to spare, i'd love it if you could kick something my way. $20, $10, $5, a buck. It all helps.

Here's the website:
http://mobro.co/michaelgd
And thank you.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: 10 Myths About Psychology, Debunked

A really simple talk from which I learned many valuable things. My favourites are the differences between men and women's brains and the one about auditory/manual learners.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Question of the Month (November)


Each month, we do this awesome thing called Question of the Month. It’s totally da coolest thing eva. You’d tots love it. We like, totally answer this question and it’s like, a really cool question and all. This month the question is “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”

This one’s hard for me to answer. There are many reasons why I could make a case for being both.

Introvert:
I find it hard to talk to people.
I tend not to feel comfortable around people.
I’m always trapped in my own head, thinking about myself and not noticing what’s going on around me.
I don’t really have an interest in other people (that probably sounds worse than it is).
While all of my jobs require me to be in front of people, they’re all solitary, autonomous work.

Extrovert:
I don’t like going places or doing things on my own.
I often outstay my welcome at places because I don't want to go home.
I have the necessary social skills to get on anyone’s good side.
I like to have shared experiences with people.
I love spending time with the people I love.
I can’t handle spending evenings at home, I always have to organise something.

But the answer came to me recently when I was listening to a podcast. Australian comedian Wil Anderson was talking to a guest, who gave this definition of what introverts and extraverts are:
“When you’re an extravert, being around people gives you energy, while being alone saps your energy. Vice versa when you’re an introvert.”

Well, using that definition, I’d have to say I’m an extravert. I don’t often feel comfortable around other people, but I think I'm better off in company. If I’m alone for a few days, I get antsy and unproductive. I’ve found myself recently to be able to get more work done at a friend’s house than I can at home. So my answer is extrovert.

If you like, totally wanna join, we'll be doing it again next month. Just put your name on the list below.

XOXO
Gossip Mike.



Friday, 30 October 2015

Your Self-Worth

This question occurred to me this morning and literally stopped me in my tracks when I realised that I didn't have an answer.

How do you measure your self-worth? Are you one of those people who measures themselves by their job or their material wealth? Or do you consider yourself by your morals? Is it the way you deal with both success and hardship? How you treat others? The company you keep? Your value to society? Is your self-image tied to the way others see you?

Most importantly - and this is the part about which I'm most clueless - how high or low is your self-worth? How good do you think you are at being a human being?


Monday, 26 October 2015

Make a List. Just... Make One


This is a bloghop started by Bish Denham, whom I met through a bloghop that I started. It all goes in circles.

The bloghop has two rules.

  1. Make a list.
  2. Make it between 5 and 25 items long.
So here's mine...

Things I've Done for Money This Year


  1. Put listings up on eBay for an antiques dealer.
  2. Run the lights and sound at a comedy show.
  3. Hosted pub trivia nights.
  4. Handed out food samples (most notably Lindt chocolate where I had to dress up as a chef and walk around grocery stores).

  5. Dressed up as a bogan and hosted a bingo night.
  6. Run the lights and sound for a comedy/hardcore strip show.
  7. Performed Dr Seuss stories for primary schools.
  8. Performed improv theater.
  9. Dressed up as Grover for a political publicity event.


  10. Umpired Aussie Rules games for primary school clubs.
  11. Entertained kids at birthday parties (dressed as Batman, Spiderman, Leonardo the Ninja Turtle and so on).
  12. Commentated junior club football games.
  13. Hosted a private school's annual pub trivia night.
  14. Run an AFL handball zone at a shopping center.
  15. More football umpiring, this time for adults in a social league.
  16. MCed the SA leg of the national Rally Championship.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Young What of the What?

At the time of writing, I haven't told this to a single person. I still refuse to believe that this could really happen. I'm telling you first, but only because it gives me something to write about. I won't say much, I'll just tell you what's happened so far and that's it.






Tuesday, 20 October 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds

This lady is really in love with her work and it's infectious. Normally in a TED Talk, the camera will cut to the audience once or twice to show their pronounced reactions to the subject matter. In this talk, the camera spent almost as much time on the audience as on the speaker. They had looks of wonder on their faces.

The speaker attempts a couple of jokes every now and then and they fall flat, which I find hilarious. But she doesn't seem to care and she lets the beauty of her work do the talking in the end.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The One Time I Ever Considered Buying a Suit

In a trendy clothes store, buying a birthday gift for a friend...

Me: Hi, just the shirt thanks
Lady: Certainly.
Me: Hey, how much are the suits?
Lady: Well you can get the jacket, pants, belt, tie and shoes for $450.
Me: Okay... How much for just the jacket?
Lady: You can get the jacket and pants for $250.
Me: ...Just the shirt thanks.


Friday, 16 October 2015

I Was Affected

"No tattoos before you're thirty.
You can have one on your face after that, but rest assured, you won't get a dolphin leaping over your belly button if you wait till then."

 I'm going to say something that sounds a bit insensitive. I don't usually pay much attention to the deaths of public figures. When Michael Jackson died, I heard a lot of people say he was a huge part of their lives growing up. When Australian celebrity Steve Irwin died, I sure thought it was sad, but I never had to go through any sort of grieving process like most people do when someone they love dies. Every couple of months, the name of a newly deceased person appears in the news and the people around me will reminisce about the role that person played in their childhood. Often I wouldn't even know who the person was or I'd have to be reminded of some of their work I might have seen. I figured that the essential element in being affected must be that connection to growing up.

"Read the newspapers.

There's nothing quite as scary as people whose sum knowledge of the world is what their parents have heard on talkback radio."

Robin Williams stirred something in me. I was always jealous of how he could make any person break into hysterical laughter with no effort at all. I was also aware that that ability tends to come to those who have a lot of demons to contend with. I was in love with the way he dealt with his demons by making others feel better about themselves on a truly altruistic level. I do miss him.

"Always choose the man who makes you laugh.

Don't date men just for their looks, money or status. The six-pack of abdominals fades, the sense of humour doesn't."

But apart from him, I haven't been able to think of anyone who made that much of a difference to me in my childhood. There was no one whose music I listened to or whose movies I'd seen which had made that big a difference to who I would become. I didn't think I would ever feel that way about a person I'd ever met. Until it happened.



When I was in high school, trying to fit in with the crowd and causing myself no end of depression (as is the case with most high schoolers), I was in a mall with some friends and they wanted to go into a particular store for reasons that I forget. While they were taking care of their business, I was taking a look at a table of discount books. One small book caught my attention with its nice azure-coloured cover. It was entitled "No Tattoos Before You're Thirty" and it was written by a man named Sam de Brito. It was full of short pieces of advice that he planned to give his children when he had them. Advice that was mostly politically incorrect, but undeniably true. Advice that he "wished somebody, anybody, had told him twenty years ago." It was split into what he'd tell his darling daughter and what he'd tell his dashing son.

"Don't smoke hydro.

Hydroponic marijuana is full of fertilisers and pesticides. If you're going to have the odd joint, stick with naturally grown weed - and stop when the voices start."

Flicking through these little pearls of wisdom, I found myself laughing and felt my mind expanding. I'd never seen anyone talk like that before.

"Notice detail.

An unfilled glass at a party, a new hairstyle, a certain angle of penetration. Women love it when you remember the little things."

I bought the book for $12.95 and read it all that night. The next day I took it to school and showed my friends, who also loved it. I was lending it out to a new person each week and I myself reread it countless times, hoping to commit every rule to memory, whether for boy or girl.

"Never phone a man.

Ever. Guys don't need encouragement. They just get cocky if they think you're too attainable. Blokes are like weeds. Ignore them and they're everywhere. However..."

"Return his calls.

Even if it's to say "Thanks, but no thanks." Guys have feelings too and no one likes being ignored. Basic courtesy satisfies most stalkers."

Eventually, my friends moved on and so did I. This tiny book found a place on my bookshelf and I didn't pick it up again for years. I grew up (somewhat), developed my own identity (sort of), found new friends and started learning how to make the most out of life. Then earlier this week, I was shocked to come across this headline.


I was surprised by how much of a big deal I felt that was. There's probably not many people outside of Sydney who have even heard of him. But to me, this was sadder than anything else I'd been through in months. As I read on, the article talked about de Brito's newspaper columns, including his last ever article printed just the day before. It was about the backlash against parents who let their child sleep in the same bed.

"Homo sapiens and homo erectus have survived more than two million years sleeping with their children, and when I draw my daughter into my chest, smell her hair and mumble love to her in the quiet hours of the night, I feel more a father, more human, than at any other time. Best of all, my daughter wakes calm and happy ... before she sits on my head."


That was the last the last thing he ever wrote. Reading that, and re-reading the book I now had back in my hands, it was clear to me that Sam was a man who had a very deep love to share. I knew that he was a man who recognised the beautiful things in the world and allowed himself to be moved by them. I knew he'd been through some awfully rough personal challenges and come out the other side a better person. I knew this because I've seen it before many times. I've seen people go through it. I've been through it.

"Respect cops.

You don't have to like them, but appreciate the job they do. It's a brutal occupation, and they're the first people you call when the shit hits the fan."


People like that happen to be my favourite people in the world. People who are vulnerable and who notice the beauty that lies in loving and in being loved. Sam de Brito wrote a tiny little book that was probably under a thousand words. At the time I bought it, it was the smallest, most insignificant part of my dramatic, turbulent adolescence. Yet it turned out that that inconsequential piece of work had made a more profound impact on my life than I'd ever realised.

"Things you will never regret doing:

Visiting your Grandma
Standing up to a bully
Skydiving
Living in Paris
Falling madly in love"

Thanks Sam, for being the man you were. We need more people like you, who see the world in a way that really makes it a better place.

"Don't be scared.

This is so important it should philosophically inform every moment of your life. Unless you're in physical danger, fear is nature's way of telling you you're about to grow."

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling

Often when I see these talks I think "Shit, that's me! This person must be reading a page straight out of my autobiography!"

After I remember that I haven't written an autobiography (yet), I grab a pen and start taking notes. This time, I took notes about my many varied interests and why they're not a hindrance, but an advantage. Three traits are described in this video. The traits belong to all those people who change career paths often or can't decide what to focus on. I'm not shy to claim that I have these traits in spades. Are you one of these people?


Monday, 12 October 2015

Things Get Real

A few weeks ago, I talked about my love of the game show known as The Chase. I've seen the few weeks worth of episodes of the new Australian version and I have to say, they haven't captured the essence of the Brittish version. The Brittish version seems so much more genuine and spontaneous and Andrew O'Keefe, who was really in his element hosting Deal Or No Deal, seems bland and plastic in this new environment. They also try and keep the show so tight and slick that I find it hard to form a relationship with the contestant. It's like there's this rigid format which goes:

Andrew: So (insert name)! I hear you're into (insert hobby)!
Contestant: I am, Andrew.
A: What's that like?
C: (very short, scripted sentence)
A: (makes a pun which links the hobby to the task at hand and the contestant's involvement is pretty much done)

As a result, I find myself wanting The Chaser to win each episode as opposed to the contestant in the Brittish version.

But having said all that, I still do enjoy watching the show. And with my love of trivia, I decided I wanted to apply. I went on the website and find their apply section (it wasn't hard). They started asking me questions about who I am, what I like and dislike and what makes me interesting. If you've ever taken part in my Question of the Month, you'll know how attracted I am to abstract, off-topic questions that allow me to explore who I actually am. I found myself getting way too real with my answers and it turned into more of a journal entry than anything else. Have a look at what I said. Would you want this guy on your TV show?


Contact Details

Michael

D'Agostino

-

-

bulletproof-92 (at) outlook.com

-


-

South Australia

-

Male

9/01/1992

I have quite a few jobs.

Adelaide Australia

-

Single

No

  • No
About You



Current jobs (from most to least relevant):
Aussie Rules umpire
Pub trivia host
Food sampler
Kids party host
Bogan Bingo host
Promotions Actor/performer

Past jobs:
KFC
Pizza delivery boy
Door knocker


Cert III in Retail Tourism (like what travel agents do)
Cert III in Retail Management
Level 1 AFL umpiring accreditation



One of my favourite quotes includes a line about how a master in the art of living makes no distinction between his work and his leisure and often can't tell the difference between the two. A few of the jobs I've listed above, I would also list as a hobby or interest (particularly umpiring and pub trivia hosting). And there other other unpaid hobbies I have which I sometimes call work. These include writing a blog, volunteering at community radio station Fresh 92.7 and performing stand-up comedy.

Other things I love:
Board games
Giant chess
Mini golf
Laser skirmish
Green Day
Playing guitar
Superman
AFL
Port Adelaide Football Club
The Dallas Cowboys



I'm a member of the Port Adelaide Football Club and believe they're overdue for a premiership. If it was us playing this weekend against the Hawks, I'd already have the champagne open.



I love a challenge so much. My friends describe me as a sore loser, but I try and explain to them that it's not about whether I win or lose, I just want to be competitive and play a respectable game. If I perform poorly or embarrassingly when I expected to nail it, that's when I get upset. One time I was bowling with my friends and ended up on a score of about 30. With each gutter ball I became more and more bitter, to the frustration of my friends. In the next game I switched balls and got a much more respectable 115. I cheered right up. I also learned the lesson that sometimes it really isn't my fault.



People who judge or belittle others for any reason. being lied to (even if the truth will hurt my feelings), the whole nightclubbing scene, vacuuming the house and standing still & staring at the camera in photos (it makes for such a better memory if you're actually doing something).



That's actually the question I'm most worried about answering inadequately. I feel like it's hard to sum myself up in one paragraph. I think if I had a whole novel I wouldn't be able to properly articulate who I am. Maybe that in itself gives you an idea, but I'll give it a crack anyway.

I'm always busy, always trying something new, always starting new projects and always trying to experience as much of life as I can. I try hard to be the best possible person I can be. I try to make friends with everyone I meet and I almost always speak directly from the heart. That last part has earned me a lot of love and respect, but has also gotten me in trouble a few times.



Warm, friendly, loving, active, busy, funny (hopefully), motivated, stubborn and short. I've been meaning to ask them if they would add "passionate" to the list. I think they would.

  • Leader
  • Team player
  • Risk-taker
  • Planner/considered
  • Charitable



Charitable was pretty easy. It's pretty rare for me to reject someone when they ask for help. For a while I took 10 percent of any extra money I made after expenses each week and donated it to charity. I also spend any Thursday that I'm not working taking care of my grandma who's currently in her final months with us. The other one was harder. I do take risks, but not enough to describe myself as a risk-taker. I'm also not so cautious that I could comfortably tick that box. With any decision, I deal with it the way the situation demands - sometimes diving right in and other times carefully weighing up options. Over the last few years, the big decisions I've made seem to have worked out really well. I love being a leader, but I'm not put in leadership positions too often. I chose to describe myself as a team player because that encompasses leadership as well. I'll be anything that the team needs me to be - leader, follower, observer, critic, challenger... I have a very democratic style of leadership, where everyone's opinion is valid and I'm happy to be challenged and/or proven wrong. But I do worry that if I'm proven wrong too often, it threatens my position as the leader.
 Please rank the following subjects from one to  five based on your strength of knowledge about  them:


3


2


2


4


4


3


2


5


4


 Anything that can help me afford a cheap property. I  still live with my parents and my primary goal at the  moment is being able to sustain myself. With the way  my work life is currently set up, my income is very  erratic and no bank in the world would give me a loan.  That's why I'm happy to just get a unit rather than a  proper house. I saw one online for $70k and that  seems like a good target. I currently have $25k in my  savings account. Any 5-digit figure would be game-  changing for me.



There's no reason you should pick me over anyone else. I'd just really like to and it would be another amazing experience to my biography when it's written.



No.



I love the UK version and saw a TV commercial about it coming to Australia.
Availablity and Other



Basically we can work out a time and I can make myself available. The only dates this year that I absolutely can't do are October 11 and November 29.



I get sweaty palms sometimes.



No.



No.



There's a video on YouTube of me wearing a dress to the shops after losing a bet. If they find that, my political career is over.

Thank you for your time and effort in completing this application.  Good luck!

 

Please note:  The Chase Australia is filmed in our Melbourne studios and we are unable to pay the costs for contestants to travel to the studio for filming.  If you wish to proceed and audition for the show and are then invited to become a contestant, all costs associated with travelling to Melbourne including any flights or accommodation would have to be paid and arranged by you.  

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