Tag Archives: Powderfinger

Origins #23

23 May

After yet another awkward moment with my boss’s daughter I was trying to ignore the bombardment of mockery from my colleagues regarding the fact that she’d spent the night at my place. I’d made it through the day, despite the surprise meeting, and had escaped the office at last.

I spent the rest of that day trying to figure out how to deal with my very complex situation. I had found myself between the proverbial rock and hard place and there was no obvious way out. Rene had asked me to keep the situation secret, so I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, which meant I had to put up with all this teasing despite currently trying to deal with being rejected by a girl who had literally demanded that I ask her out.

I really needed to talk to someone about it. Like, realllllly needed to, but I’d agreed not to. So I stared holes in the walls and ceiling hunting for a way to not get too stressed out about it all. Even though I was confident I’d figure it out, there was still emotion to it.

The scenario had hit me like a tonne of bricks. I was hurting very, very badly but I don’t think I was capable of understanding just how deeply I’d been cut. All I knew at that point was I wanted the situation to change as soon as possible. I don’t remember that night especially well, but I’m sure I didn’t sleep a wink.

Another day, another billion jokes about fucking the boss’s daughter

I trudged off to work again. I’d been knackered the day before but I had gone another night without sleep, so I was completely annihilated. And the jokes came my way all day long.

I tried to politely deny their insinuations as they come in from my colleagues in my little room. I tried to dissuade their innuendos as they came from colleagues from other rooms around the building. I tried to calm the tide as they started coming in via email from our head office. I couldn’t keep up with them. They came in faster than I could read them.

It was not an easy day.

I wasn’t sure how to cope with it, and I wanted Rene to at least see what I was dealing with, so I collated a few of the more ‘entertaining’ emails and forwarded them to her. Rene replied that it looked like everyone was having fun and that she wished she could get in there and fire a few responses back.

But… Powderfinger!

If you recall from earlier, my favourite band were doing a farewell tour before retiring. I had tickets to their show that night. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but there was no way in hell I’d miss that show.

Powderfinger always had the ability to articulate the world I’d been living in and convert what I’d been dealing with in my life into a form of music that resonated deeply in me.

I assume their music sounds dated to anyone listening for the first time so many year’s later, but they were hugely influential on me when I first heard them as a 16 year old kid in high school.

In a lot of ways Powderfinger played the role of providing a soundtrack to key events of my life. When I left school and started to work as a pizza delivery boy I would listen to Internationalist on loop for hours on end in my car. When I went back to study multimedia they’d be on high rotation on my clunky portable CD player and my very first mp3 player. They seemed to be at every major music festival so I’d often see them live and be ever amazed by their ability to grab a crowd by the ears and leave everyone smiling at the end.

I wasn’t alone in liking them. They were Australia’s biggest band for nearly a decade. They won all the awards an Aussie band can win and were heralded by critics and punters alike.

I was 31 at that point and I suppose their retirement shouldn’t have been as important to me as it was. Something I had always enjoyed was coming to an end. One more thing was being taken away from me. For reasons that I’ll explain a little later, I had always found those moments difficult.

Nevertheless, I could be sad about it later. I had one more chance to see them live with thousands of other die-hard fans, and that’s exactly what I was going to do.

Exhaustion? Bullshit! Grab us a drink

There was one solution for any and all problems where I grew up, and that was alcohol. I’d always thought that a very primitive approach to problem solving, but I was out of ideas and I wasn’t about to waste the last opportunity I had to see Powderfinger, so I met up with my friends for a drink before the show.

We found our way to some fancypants bar a very short walk from the venue and proceeded to do our very best impression of liquor consumption machines. It’s funny the way a quiet drink leads to a loud drink. In this case it lead us to the loudest of all drinks; a drink I had only recently become accustomed with in Europe… Absinthe.

Being a fancy pants bar, they not only had Absinthe, they did the whole ritual of  burning the sugar with the fancy spoon and everything.

 

You know there’s something wrong when the bar tender’s going to that level of complexity and all you’re thinking is “just get me the fucking alcohol, mate.”

A few more rounds (or ten) and it was time to go to the show! I might not have known exactly who or where I was but I was ready to have a good time.

HOLY SHIT. THEY’RE SINGING MY LIFE AT ME.

Powderfinger were known for writing songs that people related to. Even completely sober I related to those songs. Half full of absinthe, dealing with everything I was dealing with, the impact was amplified.

I mean, they started with this…

and then threw this in.

I’m sure you get the idea.

They played a bunch of brilliant songs. The crowd was loving it. The band was loving it, and letting us know it too. It was a big love-in. They even played that same stones track I’d heard them playing as I foolishly leaned in to try and kiss Rene only a few days prior.

It was as good a show as anyone could have asked for, and like many other things in my life at that point, it was coming to an end weather I liked it or not. The appropriateness of the moment was not missed by anyone as they finished a bittersweet night with thousands of people singing along to their most beloved, most bittersweet song.

And with that a present became past

The encore had been and gone. The second encore had been and gone. That was the last time I’ll ever feel the buzz of joy that always tingled its way through a packed crowd at a Powderfinger show.

It was over. The thousands of screaming fans begging for more couldn’t change that reality and eventually we rall ealised that and began the inch by inch shuffle to the exits.

I was forlorn. The nostalgia had drowned me. That moment in time summed up exactly how I was feeling about my life. Everything was on the verge of slipping away and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s that you say, alcohol?

You think I should send Rene an email? Oh surely you jest, old friend. Now is hardly the time for such things!

Oh how I wish I had not listened to my old friend alcohol, but I didn’t recognise him hidden in that disguise as my new friend Absinthe. So after I got home from that very sentimental show, I sent Rene a very sentimental email.

I can assure you that if there is a way to convert a cringe directly into an email, I managed to do so that night. I don’t remember much of what I wrote, but I know it included the following concepts:

“You don’t need to reply to this.”

“I really don’t understand what happened.”

“I like you more when you let your guard down.”

“If you get your head around whatever you’re dealing with and want to hang out, I’ve got some free time Sunday”

Oh God, the shame! It’s so humiliating to think about the fact that I actually hit send on that. Fuck.

embarrased

Just one of many, many, many more cringey things to come though.

 

Next time…

Rene replies to the email she didn’t have to reply to and my sneaky little buddy Absinthe gives me a few days rest before he doing his level best to kill me.

Origins #20

12 Jul

After breaking up with me, Rene had promptly decided that giving me a smack on the arse was the appropriate course of action to take. After I wrestled with her trying to kiss her, she’d told me, “Don’t make this hard.” and I, more confused than ever was now sitting in the passenger seat of her little BMW as we trundled back from our non-date.

I had thought the situation was pretty straight forward until Rene had smacked me on the arse. I had thought she was just not attracted to me anymore for whatever reason, and while I thought that was a shitty thing to deal with, it was something I’d seen happen before, and something I could deal with.

When Rene smacked me on the arse and giggled her head off while I wrestled with her to kiss her, I had gotten a very, very different impression. It appeared that Rene was still very much attracted to me, and that she might possibly have been genuine about the ‘bad timing’ stuff. I had of course thought that was all a bunch of bullshit she’d been spouting because she didn’t know how to tell me she wasn’t interested, but it seemed remotely plausible after the surprise smack on the arse.

Small talk: Take 1

Anyway, her little BMW rolled on as we both peered out at the nearly empty streets. Not wanting to “Make this hard” and also wanting to avoid the awkward silence we’d been sitting in for the past minute or two, I tried to find a benign topic to fill the time discussing.

You must have worked really hard to afford this car. It’s amazing. The leather seats, all the technology, you must have been very proud to have earned it.

Ah… actually… it’s a company car. I didn’t pay anything for it.

Rene looked somewhat embarrassed upon providing the details.

Strike 1! But that was an interesting thing to learn. I’d been under the impression that Rene had worked hard to afford that car. I had seen her working at Tim Everlong’s businesses so long that I assumed she had made good money and bought it for herself as a reward. That little fact lodged in my head in just the same way as watching Rene choose not to wait for the pedestrians earlier in the night.

Small talk: Take 2

Does Laura know where you are tonight?

God NO! She thinks I’m out with friends! I had to lie to her! I NEVER lie to her!

Special circumstances, I guess.

Y’know, she asked me about you…

What about?

She asked me what you looked like under your clothes. She asked “Is he really fit? Is he cut?”

This was a revelation to me. Learning that Laura had wondered how I look naked had put a massive smile on my face, conversely, it had also stressed me the fuck out! Laura wasn’t supposed to know that anything happened between Rene and I. The momentary glow of flattery was quickly overrun by concern about dealing with Laura’s knowledge of events.

What? Wait! Why would she ask…? Hang on! Did you tell her that we…

No, no, no, no, nothing like that! When she asked I said “How would I know?” and she let it go. I hate lying to her. I tell her EVERYTHING. It’s going to kill me to keep this from her. You can’t tell anyone. Please, don’t tell anyone about this, ok?

“Thank fuck for that”, I thought to myself. At least Laura didn’t know anything. At least that was something.

Of course, Laura. I promised, I won’t tell anyone, and I won’t.

Rene was upset. “Dammit, I just called her by her sister’s name, didn’t I?”, I realised.

Sorry. You know I know your name, Rene. You know I know who you are. I just slipped because we were just talking about Laura, that’s all. Nothing more than that.

We’ll have to find a new Flash developer

Jesus, what a night.

That’s ok, but don’t do it again or we’ll have to find a new Flash developer.

Rene laughed at her own “joke” and I did that stupid thing where you automatically laugh when someone else is laughing. Then I registered what Rene had actually just said.

Wait! What?!

I’m only joking! haha! Oh my God the look on your face was priceless!

Oh. Right. Good one.

I mumbled the words, far from impressed with Rene’s joke.

The scenario itself was stressful enough without adding the anguish of contemplating Rene turning on me and getting me fired, which apparently was an option available to her. I hadn’t really considered that possibility. I had been worried about her father or her sister being upset with me and firing me, but I hadn’t considered that Rene could say the word and have me removed. Great.

I felt like a blind man in a minefield. Rene noticed that I didn’t take the joke very well.

You’re really cute when you’re angry.

Whatever.

Oh, don’t be like that, I was joking. But you are really cute.

She looked at me like we hadn’t just been through some weird sort of break up barely 20 minutes earlier. She was looking at me like she was properly interested in me. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but I knew she was into me and I knew she wanted something to happen between me and her.

You’re beautiful.

Rene blushed. I reached over and put my hand on her thigh. Her brow raised in surprise.

Don’t. Don’t make this hard. We can’t.

Yeah, you’ve said that. You’ve said all of that, but I still get the vibe that we’re going to get together.

Rene looked me in the eye and gave me a confirming, flirtatious smile.

I know.

Nearly 5 years have passed and I still remember that smile like she’s right in front of me. It’s carved into my memory. I can’t forget it, no matter how much I want to. Rene’s smile amplified the words she’d spoken. That smile said, “You’re right, and we both know it.”

It made no damned sense to come so close and then just turn and walk away before we’d given it a shot, especially when there was no denying we were interested in each other. I didn’t know what the hell else there was to do and I figured if Rene would just let it into her head that I was genuinely interested, she might not be so resistant to the idea of us spending some time together.

You’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met. You’re smart. You’re sexy. You’re not perfect, and you know it, and that only makes you more interesting. You’re an extraordinary person.

Yeah, I’m cringing pretty hard at that memory, but that’s what I said.

Rene had gone quiet. She was nearly crying again. She was shivering in her leather seat as she gripped tight onto that luxurious black leather steering wheel with its white stitching. She ushered out words as if she wanted to hold onto them at the same time as forcing them out.

That’s… the… That’s… the nicest… thing… anyone… has ever… said… to me.

I mean it, Rene.

Back to the bell tower

_belltower

This place, except, y’know, it was night time.

I’m not sure why we ended up back near the Bell Tower. It would have been shorter to go a different way. Whatever the reason, we were now traversing the same street on which I’d run into my friend Chico earlier that night. To my left was the venue at which Powderfinger, my favourite band, had played one of their last ever shows. A few stragglers were still milling around the mostly empty city streets.

The traffic light ahead had turned amber. Rene’s elegant and practical company car slowed to a stop as light turned red.

There was still music playing at the park to my left as the last of the punters wandered out. It had been annoying me that I hadn’t tried to kiss Rene when we were having our talk at the beach, even though I’d been overfull with that tasty burger. I was annoyed that it seemed like Rene wanted something to happen and was talking herself out of it.

Rene looked especially beautiful there in the wash of the orange and white street lights. She was looking straight at me, almost like she was daring me to do something. The words “Do it” rang out through my head. My internal monologue shouted, “IT’S NOW OR NEVER.”

I hadn’t yet decided to go but found I was already leaning in. I was going to kiss her, right there in front of the Bell Tower where this whole ridiculous evening had started.

Next time…

I’ll tell you how leaning in to kiss Rene played out.

Origins #6

17 Jan

So, last time, I was telling you about how everything seemed to be escalating. It really was. It was such a strange time for me. Things seemed to be going equal parts good and bad at the same time. The good parts were off the charts in the good way, and the bad parts were off the chart in the opposite direction. There was very little middle going on.

Goodbye to my car

I forgot to mention earlier on that I was now stuck without a car to get around in. That might not be a big thing where you’re from, but in Perth, that means you’re pretty well screwed. The public transport here will get you where you want to go but it’ll take an inordinately long time. As an example, some mates asked me to fill in for their sports team for the night. I’d normally get to the stadium in half an hour. On public transport it took me an hour and a half, and someone still had to pick me up from the train station! So the round trip was 3 hours to play a 40 minute match. See, I was without a car because, just before I went to Europe, I ran into one of those cops who’s just a cop because it allows him to get away with being a dickhead. There I was driving along in my 1970 Ford Capri doing the speed limit and behaving myself when Officer Cock-Knocker decides he’ll show off to the new recruit partner by pulling me over and having a bit of fun with the fact the has a uniform and a badge and I don’t.

Look at that terrifying death trap. Better pull him over.

Look at that terrifying death trap. Better pull him over.

I pull over when the blue lights flash behind me and Mr Plod is on the attack straight away “What are you doing with this Capri?”, “Is this vehicle stolen?”. “Of course not”, I tell him, “I’ve owned this car for 5 years”. I’m pretty confused why he’s asked such an attacking question to start proceeding. Then he fires out  “This is a British car, why does it have an Australian spoiler on the back?”

Ahhh…. It starts to make sense. Between the accent and these questions it occurs to me he’s English, and he likes his English cars. I explain that this is an Aussie built Capri and the spoiler was an option here. He ignores that bit of rationality and continues pointing out things he doesn’t like about my car. Not things that are illegal or make it unroadworthy, just things he doesn’t like. He asks me why I’ve got bigger brakes than standard and I make the mistake of informing him that I’m going to replace the original V6 motor with a V8.

His whole face went red! I thought steam was going to come out his ears!

It turns out this particular Englishman was a huge Cosworth fan and the idea of me modifying an original Ford Capri GT with anything but Cosworth parts was sacrilege to him. He ranted at me about how “You can’t just modify a piece of motoring history however you want!”, and “You’re disrespecting the British legacy of the Capri!”. All the while I’m just thinking, “Mate, this is my car, I’ll do what I bloody well want with it.”

I was slowly converting the Capri into a race car but the changes I’d made at that point were all to improve safety of the car for the road. Bigger brakes so I can stop in shorter distances, wider tyres for more grip, new seats that actually go further than half way up my back, a limited slip differential to reduce traction problems, etc, etc. All those changes will come in handy once the car is relegated to track use only, but in the meantime I had a car that was much safer to drive on the road than it was when I bought it.

Mr Uniform didn’t give two shits about how much those changes improved the car from a safety perspective. He was unnervingly irate at the fact that I had dared modified a classic Capri and was being weirdly aggressive in his posturing. His rookie colleague seemed a bit put-off by it all too but said nothing. Mr Blue Lights tells me he’s heard enough and tells me I’m getting a Yellow Sticker.

A Yellow Sticker is a defect notice which requires you to take your car to the licensing department for an evaluation. It costs a few hundred dollars to and you only get 10 days to have it done. If you don’t get it done you can’t drive the car on the road anymore. The awesome part was that this happened about 2 days before I was going to Europe and I had absolutely no time to get the car to the pits for the check, so when I got back from Europe, I had a car I wasn’t allowed to drive.

Once I got back I did take the car to the pits but the guys there are really pedantic and you’re not going to get a car from 1970 past them without a shit-tonne of work being done on it. It’s difficult enough to get a modern car past the pits, and even though the mechanic that was looking over my car was quite complimentary about the condition of it, he pointed out things like the headlights not meeting modern brightness requirements and things like that, and it just worked out that it would cost more money to keep the old girl on the road than it would to get the new engine in and get all the other work I’d been planning done. Doing it that way I could kill two birds with one stone by getting it all done at the same time. I sent the Capri off to my mates to get the work done but it was going to take months.

So that left me without a car.

I love that car. I love that she’s a conversation starter. I love that people smile when they see her coming down the road, and that kids get wide eyes and ask their Dad what it is. I love that some bloke literally tried to negotiate buying it off me as we drove down the freeway as he yelled from his car through my passenger window telling me that he’s always wanted one. I love how well that 40 year old engine sounds as she out accelerates more modern cars with ease. But more than all that, I just loved being able to get around and it really, really sucked to have to go without my own mode of transport.

Goodbye favourite band

Ever heard of the band Powderfinger? If you’re not from Australia, the answer is probably a big, fat nope. That’s a damned shame because they were an absolutely fantastic band.

For a long time there, Powderfinger was my favourite band. They dominated the charts here in Australia for over a decade by putting out 5 #1 albums in a row, and by taking out Triple J’s Hottest 100 2 years in a row. They even got 4 albums in Triple J’s 100 Australian albums of all time, including getting 2 albums in the top 10 and taking out the top spot. That’s right, Australia voted Powderfinger’s album Odyssey Number Five as their favourite Aussie album of all time. Personally, I don’t even rate Odyssey Number Five as their best album and I don’t really care about all the awards they got, I just love their music and I was completely gobsmacked by their ability to reach in and touch that indefinable thing that is being Australian.

I can’t explain it. I just know they captured something intangible about Australia and that era and somehow translated it in a way that hit me in a way very few other bands have managed.

My favourite Powderfinger album is Internationalist. It came out in 1998, when I was a little 19 year old pizza delivery boy. It might sound strange, but I learned a lot from that album. One of the common threads on Internationalist is that of people falling prey to watching their lives slip away, day by day. Internationalist hit me right in my head and stuck there.

Because I was working 60 to 90 hour weeks delivering pizzas at the time, I had a lot of time to listen to music, and Internationalist was in extremely high rotation on my car’s cd player. I think that’s a big part of why I took so much from that album. It influenced the way I thought about the world and how to live and still does right through to today.

I’m a musician myself, and in addition to influencing the way I see the world, Powderfinger has also had a massive influence in the way I approach making music and the sort of music I want to make. It was pretty sad news then, when Powderfinger announced they were calling it quits midway through 2010. As is the way with the retirement of musical acts in Australia in recent history, though, they decided to do a farewell tour. It was particularly disheartening for me at the time because they weren’t over the hill, they’d put out a stellar new album called Golden Rule just a few months beforehand. Anyway, I was really disappointed they were calling it a day, but at least I had my ticket to see them one last time. I’m not sure if anyone else will relate to being so horribly bummed out by their favourite band breaking up, but it was big deal to me.

Hopefully it’ll make sense why I’m telling you about this as the story progresses.

Goodbye great manager

Before Gus the devil monster, demon manager came on board, my team had been lead by a really nice bloke. His name was Mike Monarch. Mike’s a bloody champ.

Under Mike’s leadership we’d developed a system that was bringing in about $2,000,000 a year for Everlong. That’s a pretty damned good outcome considering our team was only 5 people at the time. After that project, Everlong decided to chase a few ‘big leads’. One of these big leads was a tender for a massive contract with a mining company. Getting all the documentation in for a tender like that is a massive amount of work and Mike was shifted over to that project and my team was left twiddling our thumbs.

There were good points to being left to our own devices. One of which, was that I had the chance to write some software to make maintaining that million dollar system much simpler. Another was that there was very little stress at work. The downside, however, was that our team couldn’t work on the projects we wanted to (projects which we believed would help make the company money) because we nobody in the team had any authorisation to lead us.

I would often lead the team to do simple little projects. They were just little proof-of-concept projects to show that we were able to create things that we believed were able to bring in an income and we could knock them out in a few days, so I wasn’t concerned with getting in any trouble for taking over the team. But to really do anything worthwhile, like redeveloping the system to work properly on mobile devices for example, we’d need to spend months in development. I wasn’t getting paid to lead the team and I didn’t want to be blamed for taking over the team and doing whatever I felt like, so instead of being unified and progressing projects, we each worked on whatever we thought would be useful.

In hindsight, I really should have taken over the team but I’m just not the sort of guy to go trying to steal power. Everyone would always come to me for guidance anyway and I’d been in the industry long enough to know the right moves. The years that have passed since have well and truly proved that I was on the right track, but hindsight is 20/20 and there ain’t much I can do about it now.

Mike realised we needed someone to lead the team while he was away, so Everlong advertised for a project manager, and in came Gus. What a talented imposter he must have been to get that job! I didn’t like him from the get-go but everyone thought he was ok, so I tried to convince myself I was wrong about him and just get on with my job.

Man, was I an idiot to not trust my gut! It wasn’t long before Gus had started manipulating everyone in the office. He was triggering in-fighting by making underhanded comments and blaming them on other people. He was sucking up to Tim Everlong. He was sneaking his way into the Everlong family’s trust and quietly bad-mouthing Mike and complaining about how little we had to show for the recent months. He was blaming Mike specifically for the lack of productivity and he must have done a pretty good job because Mike was ousted from his job as Gus’s boss, and Gus was given the higher position, leaving Mike in some bullshit demotion job where he was in charge of very little and bombarded with enormous amounts of stress on a daily basis.

Mike went from being a happy, easy-to-talk-to guy who was in good shape and good spirits, to slowly becoming an out of shape, glum, quite, ghost of himself who would occasionally try to force the edges of his face upward into a smile, but was otherwise an automaton with red eyes and a defeated expression.

That was really tough to watch happen to such a nice guy. I would have liked to have done something about it, but we were now under Gus’s complete control, and that was such an unpleasant situation that I was relying on my reserves of patience and ‘just put up with it until Gus actually learns how to do his job’-ness that I didn’t have much time to do much to help Mike.

Goodbye great job

Losing Mike as our manager and having Gus in his place was the key thing that turned my great job into a chore, then into a punishment, and eventually into a torture, but more on that later.

Goodbye Flash

Steve Jobs screwed me over! Well, really Adobe screwed me over and Steve Jobs just chose not to let them screw Apple over too.

See, I was a Flash Developer for a very long time. I did (and still do) work with Javascript, PHP and various other technologies but I had found that Flash was the best technology for the majority of projects I needed to develop in the early years of my career, so I focused on become very, very good at Flash.

At the time I was focusing on Flash development, Flash was available on 99.5% of all internet enabled devices. That made it a pretty safe bet as far as I was concerned. In addition to that, Flash was the only way to achieve all the fancy shit I was trying to build. Back then, if you wanted audio, video, interactivity or animation in your project, your project was going to have to be built in Flash.

For a long time I reaped great rewards by specialising in the use of Flash. I cranked out a lot of work that nobody else in Perth seemed to be able to get anywhere near. At one point I built a complete web browser in Flash! I know this is all nerd-talk but it was really quite cool being one of the top specialists in such a useful technology.

And then the iPhone came out.

The iPhone was the first phone to give you the real internet on your phone. Before that you could maybe read a bit of text from a few specific websites, but the iPhone showed you the actual internet! It showed you the web the same way it looked on your desktop.

Well… almost.

One thing the iPhone didn’t include was Flash. For a while there, that meant that you couldn’t view any videos or animations on your iPhone. Everyone just assumed that Apple would put Flash on the iPhone sooner or later but the iPhone was such a huge deal that many developers were clamouring to make sure their websites could be viewed properly on the magical new devices.

I became quite interesting in the idea of building apps for the iPhone and was trying to chase that up, but Apple won’t let you develop software for their systems unless you use a Mac. I didn’t have a mac and they weren’t keen on buying one at work, so the best I could do was try and find a way to output a Flash app as an iPhone app.

It was right in the midst of this when Gus decided to make us work like maniacs on stupid, useless shit all day everyday. That left me with no time to learn different technologies at work, and so exhausted and dejected when I’d get home from work, that the last thing I wanted to do was more work at my computer at home.

In early 2010, Steve Jobs goes and puts out a letter about why Flash is shit and will never go on any Apple mobile device. The shitty thing about it is, he was absolutely right about those things. And the reason Flash had all those problems was because the company that distributes Flash, Adobe, was more concerned about having Flash everywhere than they were about having Flash be any good. Adobe had bought Flash from another company called Macromedia a few years earlier, and everyone involved in Flash development had pretty major concerns at the time.

Turns out, we were right to be concerned because Adobe really drove Flash into the ground and left Steve Jobs with no choice but to choose not to include it on the iPhone, and in the process completely smashed my specialised skills.

So I owe Adobe a big ‘Fuck you’ and I owe Steve Jobs a punch in the face, because that left me without a specialised skill only a year and a half after the Global Financial Crisis kicked in and ruined the world economy. I therefore owe a lot of shitty bankers a punch in the face too.

The outcome of that situation was that I was pretty stressed about not being able to find another job if that situation was to arise. That’s not a good situation to be in when you’re working for a guy like Gus.

Gathering steam

All of these things had happened in the lead up to the end of September, 2010. All of these things, and everything else I’ve been yapping on about in my previous Origins posts were all coming to a head in September 2010.

September 2010

As I mentioned previously, Rene Everlong had been communicating with me a lot. So much so that her dad, my boss, had mentioned that she brought me up in conversation at family dinners. He pointed out that Rene had challenged me to a match of Wii Tennis and thought I had no hope of beating her. I had, of course, already told Rene that I would demolish her. I’d been playing that game a lot and I was damned good at it. It’s funny thinking back, Tim even seemed a bit perturbed by the fact that Rene and I had been communicating out of work but at the time, I was certain I’d done nothing wrong, so I was in no way concerned about that.

The invitation

Rene had been working at a job her father had gotten for her at a company not too far away from my office. That’s part of the reason she had become a regular visitor at my office, and more specifically, at my desk. Part of Rene working so close by meant that she was being included in any social invitations that were going out to my work crew.

I invited everyone out to see The Expendables, for example, and Rene said she’d come along. I was a bit excited at the prospect of hanging out with her in that scenario and she had been telling me how much she was looking forward to it. Then the night comes and she sends me an sms half an hour before movie time saying that she can’t make. Whatever. I was a bit disappointed I guess but I still got to see all those 80s heroes bumble their way through a terrible plot while stuffing my face with choc bombs, potato chips and soft drink, and laughing my arse off at the ridiculousness of it with the other 7 people from work who had made it along.

Now, I’m sure I mentioned earlier that we had a few social traditions amongst the crew at Everlong. One of them was Tuesday Steak Night at the local pub, and the other was Friday arvo drinks, also at the local pub. Often we’d go for dinner after a Friday afterwork drinks session and take up plenty of seats at any of the many awesome restaurants surrounding our local pub.

The pub we went to was called The Chesterfield. It was a brilliant pub. Cruisy atmosphere, cool staff, cool patrons, great food, great restaurants nearby, easy to get to from work and walking distance from home. What more could a guy ask for?! Rene was well aware of our Friday arvo drinks tradition having come along a few times with her sister for a quiet drink before heading off to whatever fancy evening affair they had planned and leaving us to continue in our merriment sans their company.

One particular week in September, Rene sends me an email from her new job explaining that, while she had only been there about a month, a new guy had come on board, and she thought he was a bit off. She said something about thinking he was suspicious or weird and that she was hoping that, if she brought the people from her work down to The Chesterfield for Friday drinks, I could suss him out.

I don’t know what she expected me to do as far as sussing out this bloke, but if your boss’s daughter implies that someone is making her uncomfortable at her job and asks for your help with that, you say yes, don’t you? I mean, shit, we were going to be at The Chesterfield anyway, what harm could it do to agree to give this bloke a once over and check for any psycho tendencies? So naturally I told Rene telling that her and her colleagues were welcome to join us at The Chersterfield for a few post-work bevvies and that I’d let her know what I think of the new guy she mentioned.

And that was the start of one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.

Next time…

Alrighty, maybe I didn’t quite make it to the night the pin was pulled to the grenade this time, but all of this stuff is really important to the story. Things are really going to start cranking up In Origins #7.

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