Friday, August 31, 2012

Motivation guaranteed

Social media is riddled with motivation pictures’ clogging up news feeds these days, all with the purpose of making the world fluffy and safe, and to help us as a society to be more than we are. To be honest, most of them give me the shits.

Exhibit A

I like a good humorous quote, but anything sounding like it was originally written for a “gift” magnet, only motivates me as far as aspirin and beer. I don’t know what that says about my own insecurities as a man, or as a human being (men and humans being mutually exclusive sets), but I know I am not perfect and I will never compare to a picture of a basket of puppies with an earnest caption. Or even smell as good. Will reading every single one make me a better person?
If I had to pick a motto my first choice would have to be “if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”. It is an unspoken rule of the world. For example, just look at the policy output of governments when they are moving into an election year. Suddenly there are all sorts of spending and policy splurges that would have been wasted midway through the term. Who remembers anything good from two years in? Only Rupert Murdoch, and he only remembers if he likes you.

Doing stuff after the last minute is pointless, so you need that last minute to squeeze out all you can. If it wasn't for that last minute my team would never win, or I would never be able to catch a bus, see the supermarket open, or even get to my job on time.

I understand it is not a saying for everyone. It is in the best interests of an emergency room surgeon to do a little bit more before that last minute. People tend to get nervous when their family member is bleeding out on the table. After sitting on his arse for three years, Michael Phelps three months out from the London Olympics can’t suddenly think “shit, better go for a swim”. He would need to put that bong down a little earlier than that.

The last minute is for optimists living in the present. I am a very much “the present” kind of guy (but more likely a present you would return). I like to enjoy myself in the now, and there is no greater motivation for results than a looming deadline. Eight weeks ago I returned to study in an attempt to gain my Masters. In two weeks I have a major assignment due that is worth 50% of my grade for my current subject. It is no surprise that I haven’t started it yet, jokes are so much more fun to write after all. What do I do instead of writing my assignment? I listen to the advice of a 90’s Australian political satire band called TISM.
Sometime in the next ten thousand years
A comet’s going to wipe out all trace of man
I’m banking on it coming before my end of year exams

Sounds like a good plan as any other, I would be very disappointed if I spent my remaining moments on Earth completing an assignment. The destruction of civilisation as we know is sure grounds for an extension. Right?

What are you putting off right now? And would there be anything I can say to motivate you to do my assignment for me?

Submitting for DudeWrite, ironically early. Who would have thought? Clink on a link and get involved. There is plenty of good reads for you to read out there. All you have to do is follow the links.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Come on Rover, here boy!

Ladies and gentlemen, some time ago we went to bed and woke up in the future.

The world watched on Monday when the worst named Mars rover, Curiosity, did something amazing. If you have not yet seen the footage SPOILER ALERT they made it. With the world watching NASA scientists and engineers dripped sweat over their computer monitors more than they did on their prom dates. To get to Mars it takes a lot of hard work, but this is no time to rest and play. NASA intends to explore Mars for at least 2 years, I imagine so they can get their monies worth.

It only took a matter of minutes for Curiosity to beam back its first pictures from the surface. I saw it unfold streaming the streaming from Mars on NASA TV when I was at work. The 64x64 bit thumbnail crossed millions of kilometres, bounced off a few radio dishes and straight into the brains of millions of people around the world. It impressed me to no end, but I will be making a call to my telecom provider about how a robot from outer-space has a faster upload time then I do. It takes 14 minutes for a signal to reach Earth from Mars, yet how can I not watch YouTube in the elevator on my phone? It won't be on the National Broadband Network any time soon.

The Curiosity Rover is 2.9m long by 2.7m wide and 2.2m high and comes in a 899kg making it the biggest remote control car on Mars to date (it is about the size of the average car). On board they have all sorts of instruments to take samples of the air and soil for anything that could possibly support life, be it minerals in the soil, water, bacteria, chocolate, nugart, and/or caramel. If they find peanuts they are on the wrong planet.

I am happy they made it. Its good to know that with $6 billion NASA can hit Mars in the face with a robot - the SUR-face. I can barely hit the recycling bin at work with scrunched up balls of paper, so even if your target is the size of a planet, it is still at best 55,000,000 kilometres away. If I was to give $6 billion to anyone for robot droids to be sent to alien planets, NASA would be my first choice. To them its only rocket science. Second choice would be to Grover. Only so they could say "the Mars rover Grover". And then when it crashes down a hill they can say "the Mars rover Grover fell Over". But if it never left the Earth because it failed to pass the field tests in Ireland they can say "the Mars rover Grover fell over on clovers". I'm easily entertained

Not on Mars.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An argument won - Flash Fiction

This post I have entered in the DudeWrite Flash (.... a ahh!) fiction competition. The challenge was to write an original short story under 500 words using the first sentence as a prompt.

“If you told me two weeks ago we wouldn’t be having this discussion now,” said Mary.
“No, instead we would’ve had the argument two weeks ago,” replied Darren. Two weeks would not have made a difference, I don’t want to go.
“This is not an argument.”
“Really? Could’ve fooled me. I don’t want to go to my stupid reunion, but you want to go and you’re forcing me to do what you want. Sounds like an argument to me,” it’s not a nice thing to say, but she never understands why I hate these things. The idea of going to a high school reunion makes my skin crawl, why would anyone want to go?
“I’m not forcing you Darren.”
“Why are we still having this conversation?”
“Don’t you want to see your old high school friends?”
“Shit no, if I had wanted to see them after all these years do you think I would’ve poked them on Facebook by now”. What a waste of time Facebook is. I only log on when people tag-thingy me in photos.  I think I’ve only done like one or two status updates.
“What about me Darren? Did you think that I might have wanted to go?”
“But it’s my high school reunion”
“I want to meet your old school friends. Your old crushes, old girlfriends?”
“You’ve met Michael
“Michael wasn’t a crush, wasn’t he?”
“Still, I want to meet old girlfriends.”
“It was an all-boys school Mary. There were no girlfriends. It’s just going to be sad with people longing for halcyon days without beer gut and a full head of hair. I don’t want to go because it’s a bunch of knobs trying too hard to be earnest in an attempt to hide the fact that it’s a pissing competition with an open bar.”
“Aren’t you proud of your achievements?”
“I am, but that’s why I have a Facebook page. I can brag about how awesome I am without having to suffer the pain in talking to these people. You think I created a page to see you ‘like’ spam photos because you love your dog? I know you love your dog even though I walk him every day! The good news is that now this is an argument!” She didn’t like that. Mary’s eyes turned cold and continued making the bed. I don’t want to go, it is my reunion and it is my decision. I turned to leave the room; it was time to watch football.
“Are we going to the Clarkson’s still Sunday? Honey?” I didn’t get a response. I turn back to the bedroom to see if she heard me. She heard me, she looked at me so I know she heard me, but she didn’t look happy. “Are we still going Sunday?” I asked again, Mary had dug in for a silent treatment. Sigh.
Looks like I’m going to my reunion after all. One night of hell there or weeks of torture here? Time to hire a Porsche.