I have a customer

He wants me to build him that thing, you know, only different.

"You know what I want".

I know what I think you want. That is what I build. It is not what my customer wanted. I ask my customer to be more specific. My customer specifies what he does not want. I remove the bits he does not want. It is still not what my customer wanted.

Now what?

Should I ask my customer again, what does he want? Should I build the thing in the way I believe is correct. Do I need to convince the customer that the way I want to make it is the right way?

If I am successful and the customer accepts my vision. Then is what I build mine or his? If I fail and build what the customer asks for it will fail. The customer does not understand what it is they are asking for. If they knew what they were asking for they would not want it.

I do not want to build things for you people anymore.

Bertha

Bertha White the daughter of a respectable couple from a small rural village. Growing up in the household of two medical doctors Bertha was always destined to enter the family business. After passing through university with mildly above average grades Bertha worked in a variety of medical positions. Eventually at the age of 23 Bertha found a permanent position at Frozen Futures. Bertha did not take her job too seriously. She attended dying patients in what would most likely be their final hours. Many of the patients believed differently. They had paid to have themselves cryogenically frozen at the earliest possible moment after death. Hoping to Her parents did not approve and her friends were non-plussed. Why would a sensible girl like Bertha work for an organisation that was essentially a con.

Bertha White worked as a nurse in the employ of Frozen Futures the cryogenics firm. Now she is a lead scientist and a director. Frozen Futures have just recovered it's first client, Mr Fiddlesworth (34 years later). Bertha was a pretty young (22 now 56) nurse when Bob (19) died and was fond of him. After Bob dies Bertha is very upset she does not really believe in all this cryo nonsense. But over time as it becomes apparent it may actually work she becomes eneamoured with the idea of recovering the handsome young fellow who should have inherited the business. She workd hard and always believes. Bob Fiddlesworth becomes a light for Bertha leading her and Frozen Futures actually succeed.

Bob

Who is Bob Fiddlesworth? Bob was a bright young man who would one day inherit Frozen Futures from his business-like yet distantly loving Mother. Until he 'died' as a result of a car accident. His brain was cryogenically frozen and at the beginning of our story he finds himself waking up in a new vat grown body. The first amongst all of Frozen Futures clients and indeed the worlds cryogenically frozen people to be awoken.

From a life of nerdly studies and comfortable wealth if not riches he awakens to find that the world has moved on. Many of the outlandish things he thought may happen have happened and are now considered quaintly old-fashioned. Many of the things he thought would have been forgotton or discarded are still in use. For example, umbrellas and hamburgers.

It becomes apparent that Bob is no longer quite right, his brain must have been adled. It is not obvious exactly what is wrong. Perhaps some sort of mild autistic behaviour. Bob soon discovers he has some kind of telepathy/empathy and can understand animals perfectly and they him.

Brain

As only the brain is retained methods of recovery had to be developed. Bobs mum, Mary did not want her son to become a freak in a jar. Nor a disembodied intellect inside a machine.

Mary switched from preserving brains to growing tissues and cloning in order to provide her son with a new body. She felt that the brain needs a body for it to keep it's personality/soul.

Ideas

Where are we going with this? I don't know it all started because Agrippa, Choppy and I love making up stories with each other. I thought we could brainstorm some ideas. Mixed in with reality and random ideas from us, spat out here (nothing has come of it) --->


From Me:

Spike has possible brain damage, I have to tell something. He needs to know, I need him to know. Why? What? Starting when we were six. What's with that? Air base? Where is this going. History. Do we see/learn something when we are little.

A traumatic memorable event? involving helicopters:

  • Kth, Falklands, Radiation, Cancer
  • Goonhilly Downs fire
  • Tide, dark rocks - Pinscher Martin
  • fastnet
  • full circle later?

Growing up, drink, drugs and punk. Pissing in the machine, Deus Ex Machine, Fogou and Heroine. Eldon. Scats on bike-side-car


From Choppy: business man from LA goes to bed wakes up on a tropical island.

What ifs: - Cryogenics worked - Animals and humans learn to communicate (Wub) - from Wyndham: Everyone went blind (and Triffids) - World was flooded (Ballard) - All machines of industry ceased - CERN String theory multi worlds - mad quantum stuff - from Agrippa : Space crafts exist and Aliens attack. - from D Maurier: Nature goes wrong birds attack.

Cryogenics worked

Groggy and sore Bob blinked as the white starched cotton swam into focus. A nurse was leaning over him. Thoughts lay murky beneath the surface of his consciousness. The nurse stood up adjusting some tubes that were attached to his arm and said, "Mr. Fiddlesworth, can you hear me? Welcome back to the land of the living." Bob squinted at her oddly familiar face and memories swam hazily into focus, "Ber'ha? Wha ha'ened?". His tongue was like a piece of thick leather in his dry mouth. The nurse turned and looked at Bob, "Don't try and talk yet Mr. Fiddlesworth" she poured some water into a paper cup, "here drink'. Bob's arms felt bruised and sore as he reached for the cup. The bones in his neck felt as if they had fused. The nurse, Bertha, helped to lift his head to sip at the cup. Bob closed his eyes and gasped at the pain in his head. The water felt like gravel in his throat but gradually he felt his tongue loosen. After the second cup of water he asked, "Bertha what happened to you?".


Bob's Mother: A bit cool and distant. Had Bob at the age of 47 to an older man, a politician, wealthy. Lord someone, he died. After Bob died she set up a trust to keep Frozen Futures running. She dies shortly before Bob is woken. So never gets to see the fruit of her labours. The trust she has set up is a legal spider web of intrigue?

My Best Rose

Thank you so much for your package, it is lovely and I shall treasure it.

You surprised me. I felt you were exactly the person I remembered but the lens of time and the walls of distance left me ignorant of the truth. I feel so stupid that I misjudged you and my errant timing has led us down different paths. If you'll excuse my continued foolish romanticism. Under the shadows and sunbeams between scudding clouds; along grecian goat-paths; we recognised each other across a rocky valley and waved. Each carrying our own memories of the other. I remembered a witty and driven sparring partner who laughed at my naïve romantic ideals. When we parted I imagined you conquering the world with lovers adoring your every step. I had no idea you would remember me as anything other than a bit of a pillock you met one summer in France (see former foolish romanticism).

7th November 2015

I was just re-reading your letters to me. I realise that as a low life cur I have not responded in kind. I am sorry. I love your booklist and would like to add some of my own.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – I owe my own tortured literary romantic unrealism to the magical realism of Mr García Márquez. Or maybe I'm just like that. I suspect I'd not be able to read this book now. At the time I drank it up and believed I could love someone forever despite what life might throw in the way.

In Patagonia; Utz; On the Black Hill; Songlines and pretty much anything by Bruce Chatwin. I have especially fond memories of reading Chatwins articles in the Sunday Times colour supplement. These articles along with, In Patagonia and other books* spurred me on to travel.

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall – I recently gave away my copy of this book to a friend who helped me during my marriage break up. I read this book because a woman I adored recommended it. The title was apt as she was an incontrovertible lesbian. Dammit.

Not Nano

How do I go about filling three pages of foolscap from within a text editor? Do I write it longhand count the words and compare it the same number of words on the screen? I'm not sure if it matters. I do not want to write it longhand. I'd prefer to type it. I understand our brains work differently around the process of scribing letters as opposed to pressing buttons. I feel that no matter the method the brain is trying to work it's same magic and typing can become as expressive and the written word. If only because we become better practised at spitting the words out without the medium getting in the way. I guess that is my aim to remobve the barriers of the medium. Of course the inner geek in me likes the idea of my private musings being seacrhable in electronic format. I cannot help myself. I collect digital archives, like so many of us. I don't really want to publish everything but I do want to be able to pick out the pearls of what I am trying to say. I am also lazy. I talk about howI'd like to become a writer and I occaisonally try to write something amusing of erudite. I always fail. I think this could be because I stopped writing for writing's sake. Not that I ever had much of a habit. There was that one time when I was travelling alone and I kept a brief diary or wrote letters. The diary was written in tiny scrawled writing. It was almoist as if I was trying to hide the words as I wrote them. All my moronic, narcissistic and shallow thoughts gathered into bundles of words. It's hard to keep writing my thoughts are constipated. If I go back and read over what I have already written I stop. I want to go back and fix my typos, spelling errors and

I saw a notebook reviewed in the back of a magazine yesterday. The mere fact a notebook was being reviewed ought to be of concern. Despite the review I am still at a loss why it sells for fifty four dollars. Perhaps if I wrote in such a book the import of my words would become evident to the world at large. Or then again I might just be an idiot. I mention this because I happened to glance at a notebook which I think Choppy gave me. It is covered in trendy brown cardbard and the pages are dotted instead of lined. The design makes me feel that things I write in it are going to+ be cool and arty. However the illusion is destroyed before I can begin by an imitation lithograph on the cover which is of a cartoon figure farting a cloud of japanese text. Perhaps the content of the Japanese words in the fart cloud save this image from it being crude but I suspect they don't.

Writing in a constant stream is failing me this morning. Perhaps I was too late and perhaps the medium of typing as opposed to handwriting is to blame. Or maybe it is the interruptions and the coffee and breakfast. Whatever the reason I am noticing my sentance structure is jumbled and my thoughts disconnected. Everytime this text editor (nano) reaches the end of a line it starts to scroll the line of text away to the left. Which would be fine if I never looked at the screen to see how much of the black screen I have filled up. Which is none, unless I press Ctrl-J to justify the line I am on. Of course when I do that It essentially justifies the single line into a paragraph, so I will. The entire screen is divided simply between the text I have written and the background which is John Snow's map of cenral London with the water pump directly under the beginning of this sentance.

You see now all my sentances are getting muddled because I was pressing Ctrl-K instead of Ctrl-J so I was not justifying my sentances I was deleting them. When I realised I tried to fix it by pressing Ctrl-U to UnCut the text. I have a feeling there are still a couple of sentances missing. There is no Undo, pressing Ctrl-Z just suspends the whole shebang to the computers memory. My thoughts end up as dislocated scraps inside the device. I suspect Nano is not going to cut it as my text editor of choice. Although I do love the simplicity of the open screen. All distractions blocked and I just type. Suzy is home so my time is up.

Sore Eyes

I have a sore eye. Actually they are both sore one is worse. Red and inflamed, I'm sure they don't look too good. The dust from the tree bark I was shovelling today is the culprit. That and the dry wind and sun.

I should go to sleep and rest my sore eyes. I cannot sleep though. I returned from my first fire brigade call out a while ago. Now I'm in bed alone. Suzy is in Brisbane with Sasha at The Zoo probably dancing in a haze of sweat to Isis.

I do not mind being alone. I am not disturbing anyone.

Spike

I am not sure you will read this. This is me, Ben. We grew up together. Your mum does not think you will remember anything. You cannot forget this and I have to tell you. You need to know everything.

We were just little boys when we met. You held onto your Mums leg and hid your face in her purple skirt while she talked to Z. We played 'Bionic Man' mostly arguing about who got to be Steve Austin before running through the long wet grass imagining. Our shoes soaked through with numb feet we would climb the sycamore tree. It had to be done in slow motion to the accompaniment of our own sound effects. As we got higher the branches got thinner. The chill salt wind numbed our fingers and toes. The branches pulling back and forth. Do you remember looking through the thinning autumn leaves towards Culdrose, the air base?

Culdrose was always seething with machines. Constantly buzzing, thrumming or screaming through the sky. At any time of the day we only had to look up and we would always find a machine in our sky. It was so exciting when one of the biggest machines would hover a stones throw away. The wind from the rotors blasting the hair back from my face. Always over the sea or amongst the hard granite cliffs along the coast. The winchman would squat by the open door and watch his charge drop down the line to the land or sea below.

Reasons not to do it again

My feet, ankles and knees are mutinying. The Kokoda Challenge was probably the most pain I have ever put them through. Yet without the past few months of training and the support of a fabulous bunch of people it would have been so much worse. How did I end up here? Well it was like this ...

Lisa, Di, Emma and I were standing amongst the crowds of competitors and support crew on Saturday morning at 6.30am waiting for the start. The guy on stage was belting out lots of suitable songs like, "True Blue" and "Born to be Wild". Us slow starters at the back of the crowd could barely hear a thing with the underpowered sound system which was a shame when the old digger got up to speak. The crowd seemed to sense when the muted speech came to an end and gave a great cheer which petered out sheepishly as we realised it was supposed to be a minutes silence in memory of our diggers who served so bravely on the Kokoda. Then a bunch of gunshots and we were off. The next ten minutes was the best fun I had all weekend. Chris, Keith, Liz, Rodney and Pauline - our support crew, joined the onlookers where they all waved and cheered us off. Lots of revelling in glory was had by all. We then queued our way along a pavement and then a single track to Hardys Road. This was very easy going if a little frustrating. Around this time Di very skilfully managed to fall flat on her face as we walked down a steep hill. She seemed OK at the time but her wrist swelled up and was a bit painful. This was the first of many small yet niggling injuries we were all to feel.

Blisters as well as compression bruising

I had made the wrong decision to wear my running shoes and had already started to get blisters as well as compression bruising on my big toe. I did not want my toenail becoming a casualty quite yet. The first support team checkpoint (Mt. Nimmel Lodge) broke the crowd up a little although it was still very social for quite a while. Our support team was waiting for us with refreshments. My 6 year old son, Agrippa , hopped around me asking me questions and offering to rub my legs, whilst I changed out of my trainers into my walking boots. We stopped for twenty minutes which was really too long.

The next section took in some of the best/worst hills. We had already negotiated them once during training and I was very glad we had done so. They had seemed very hard going back then. We were all relieved to find them to be not as bad as remembered. They were still killers though, even in this early stage of the walk the track started to be dotted with tearful walkers with twisted and swollen knees or ankles. It was a relief to get off the mountain where the going was easy for a while. I think this was around Moffat Creek. The next (no support) checkpoint was moved due to a lack of radio coverage. They apparently needed radio coverage for the monitoring gear they used in conjunction with KMLTracks. Di was great she seemed to remember every inch of the track along the way so that Lisa, Emma and I always had a rough idea of how far we had left to the next checkpoint.

Tearful walkers with twisted and swollen knees

We climbed what was possibly the worst of the hills after Austinville Road (Polly's Kitchen had a beauty also). We later realised, size does not matter - it all comes down to how knackered you are. As the afternoon wore on we travelled along the peak trail and then onto the bit of road before Polly's. Lisa was starting to get some serious pain in her knee joint but she kept going. We arrived at Polly's Kitchen late in the afternoon. Our support crew was great with leg rubs, water refills and encouragement. My little boy, Agrippa age 6, was on hand to offer cuddles and leg rubs, I drank too much soup and stuffed my pockets with jelly beans. I was unfortunately caught on camera changing into my stripy thermal pants. Somebody will no doubt attempt to blackmail me with the pictures one day. Before darkness fell we had a picture taken by the friendly SCU photographer. We took off for the night shift to climb 450 metres. I was rolling up my thermals and taking off my extra layers as the sweat poured off me. By the time we reached the peak I was drenched. We then had a long downhill section which we took very slowly. The night was interminable as we plodded down the mountain in our cocoon's of light. Lisa was quietly managing her painful knee and Di who has a recent history of foot and knee problems was taking care of herself.

We all hugged Lisa

Numinbah Environmental Centre was the next checkpoint (no support crew though) and it seemed to take forever as we laboured on in the dark. When we finally reached it Lisa was in a lot of pain from her knee and could no longer straighten her leg. She made the hard and yet inevitable decision to drop out. Setting off again was very sad, we all hugged Lisa and left her behind to be picked up by the support crew.

The remaining three of us found the section between the Environment Centre and Numinbah Hall to be a wet muddy track with about eight creek crossings. The full moon did not shed much light through the thick trees so our headlights became invaluable. My headlights had all failed the night before so I bought a cheap one from the supermarket which was great. Trudging through the squelching mud in the dark was time consuming and exhausting. It must have been around 2 or 3am by time we reached the Hall. It was so great to see our support team when we finally staggered into the Numinbah Hall.

After maybe a thirty/forty minute break we trudged of again into the dark. I was beginning to lose interest in where we were and just followed the path through the darkness. I was tired but my body was still holding together. The return loop to the Environment Centre did not seem to take so long, I cannot seem to remember a lot about it. We stopped for a break on the way through and Doug Henderson borrowed my phone. He chatted to us for a while which was great, anything to take our mind off the next stage. Finally we took off again, it was getting harder and harder to keep going.

Getting harder

Emma and I had done this stage on a bright sunny morning a few months previously, it had been quite pleasant. Starting the same walk after we had already been going for 20 odd hours, in the small hours of the night was not pleasant. The bush path seemed to weave on forever in perpetual darkness, I saw walkers stumbling into trees and staggering off the track through sheer exhaustion. Any attempts at banter died away, none of us had the energy to talk, we just plodded on. I began to dream whilst I walked. I would then wake with a jolt as I realised the giant rabbit was a tree or the greyhound track I had just discovered was actually the white lines in the middle of a road. The road was actually a good sign as it meant we were getting close to the final climb up to Syd Duncan Park, the highest point of the whole course. We found ourselves lurching like a zombie army through lots of muddy pathways, backyards and lanes. Finally we came to the foot of the grassy hill up to the summit where the checkpoint waited along with our beloved support team.

Hellfire Path was truly horrible

I collapsed on the camp mattress after drinking my soup and lay down and slept for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. Rodney shook my shoulder and it was time to head off again. We had not walked any of these paths before as they looked pretty easy on the maps and profiles. Hellfire Path was truly horrible although the sun decided to rise which was good. The hill went down for ages, every time we thought it had finished off it would go again. Di slowly walked down backwards and at times both Emma and I had to do the same. In retrospect I should have done more backward walking, just to rest my knees. The rest of the fire-trails, paths, lanes and hills merged together in an endless monotony of exhaustion and the morning wore on, step by step.

I could no longer hold my weight on my right leg

We walked on through, Belliss Road checkpoint and picked up an orphaned walker, Ryan, before our last supported checkpoint on the Beaudesert/Nerang Road. Two of Ryan's team had dropped out through injury and his other team member had gone ahead. Now we were nearly home, we were exhausted and interminably slow but it was going to end. We tried to pick up the pace after passing the last checkpoint and my knee chose this as a cue to refuse to work any more. This took me completely by surprise as I had been ticking along pretty well so far. I only had 10km to go and I could no longer hold my weight on my right leg, maybe it was not going to end after all.

Exhaustion and frustration

The pain was intensified by the exhaustion and frustration. I looked for Ryan to tell him not to wait for me but he had already buggered off. Perhaps I was a tad grouchy but I thought he was an utter scum bag for sneaking off without saying goodbye. Mind you everything was getting incredibly annoying by this stage. All the niggling aches and pains seemed to be a chorus of annoyances. It was as if my body had become a large van full of whining children on a very long and boring journey, "Are we there yet?", "Can we have lollies?", "How much further?". It was quite a relief to be rid of Ryan. I was also annoyed about was the rubbish everyone was dropping on the track. How hard is it to shove a food wrapper in you pocket instead of chucking it in the bush? I had been going for 30 hours and I seemed to manage it easily.

Emma and Di stuck with me of course, like the heroes they are. In retrospect I was probably very annoying what with my limping along, theatrical moaning and grimacing. Emma's knees seem to give her intermittent trouble but she did not make much of fuss. Di kept on going she was unstoppable and in fact was delighted to discover I was wearing a sturdy belt to keep my shorts up. Just the thing to carry me across the finish line with. Luckily it did not (quite) come to that. After walking for a while with Steve McFarlane, the last remaining member of one of the other SCU teams. We started our final descent to the Velodrome, the finish. Up ahead I spotted Keith one of our hardworking support crew, what a relief it was to see him.

We were finished.

As we drew closer our support team all appeared and before we knew it we were in the middle of a crowd having our pictures taken. Agrippa pulled on my hand causing pain to shoot up and down my buggered leg. We still had not finished, we had to walk under some huge cannons to shake hands with a couple of patient old diggers who congratulated us and presented us with our Kokoda Challenge dog tags. Now we were finished.

I am so grateful to my Di, Lisa and Emma for being such a great team. They have been inspirational throughout the training and the final race. It was a long weekend for our support crew. I do not think anybody slept much and there must have been a lot of tedious hanging around in the cold. I owe many, many thanks and much gratitude to Chris our faithful and inspiring trainer. Rodney, thanks mate, for deciding not to chase us with a gun on Syd Duncan. Liz and Keith thanks for all your words of encouragement, including your 'discussion topics' Liz. Pauline I will never forget your beautiful slices and cookies. When in Nambucca I shall always endeavour to visit your coffee shop for more. Thanks guys.

It is finally over and I am not going to do that again.

Team Place: 31
Team Category: Mixed Team
Team Number: 66
Team Name: Southern Cross University Wanderers
Team Finish: 33:00:20 hours

Some maps: 2008 - Gold Coast Kokoda Trail | Villeville - Peak Trail | Whittles Road | Syndicate Track