Justin Cawthorne dot com

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March 18

I am predictably tired for the Day After. Rach heads off to a pre-arranged games day, so it’s just me and the kids. Luckily they’re on pretty good form, and even if they weren’t I’d probably be too tired to notice anyway.

It’s Saturday Morning Film Club and I have the urge to watch Little Shop Of Horrors, which is a film the Elderbeast loves and I reckon the Kinderbeast will also enjoy. We have some lengthy discussion about whether to watch the director’s cut (in which pretty much everyone dies and the plants take over the world). the Elderbeast, bless his dark little rock of a heart, is partial to the director’s cut. However, only the theatrical cut has Mean Green Mother From Outer Space which is one of the musical highlights of the film (and, I recently learned, only added when the original ending testing badly and they needed a new song for the climax).

We opt for the director’s cut, but it all goes horribly wrong when the Kinderbeast realises that one of the leads is about to die. He hide his face in a pillow, distraught (the pillow may not have been very happy about it either), and I have no choice but to stop the film and switch to the much cuddlier theatrical version. Upon which the Elderbeast ups and storms out of the room.

This is fine.

Peace is eventually restored, but the Little shop Of Horrors remains closed for the rest of the day. After Rach returns home we settle down and check out The Nice Guys, which I’ve seen a bit of buzz about over on twitter. It’s awesome. We instantly both love it. It’s Tarantino meets the Coens. Except it’s not: it’s just Shane Black doing his excellent thing.

Afterwards I finish off Second Variety, the Philip K Dick novella I’ve been reading on Serial Reader. I really enjoyed it, and really enjoyed the experience of reading it in instalments. I immediately looking for my next reading adventure and choose Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (there is no ‘The’ in the title, strangely …

Messin’ with author photos

I decided it was time I had something approaching a decent author photo – something that I could stick wherever my books appear. Trouble is I can’t decide which one to use so I need your help!

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March 17

It’s the day of the big launch. Luckily I’m not involved with the launch arrangements themselves, but I do have one pretty big responsibility: making sure that the frikkin’ website we’re launching actually works. For many, many weeks now this is the one day I’ve been looking forward to seeing the back of.

The team is understandably nervous when I get to work, and all looking rather awesome in their smart clothes. I do my best to present a picture of calm–at this point things are either going to work or they won’t, and being nervous about it won’t change that, so it’s not too hard. We have a few technical gibbons to set up, then it’s time to head off for the launch event.

Yes – the launch event. The powers that be want to make a big splash about the new website, which is thrilling and flattering, but also means that all eyes will be on us if anything snafus. The proceedings begin with the launch itself; a 30 minute presentation heralding the new website and explaining (very helpfully) that we still have a long way to go. It’s perfect. There’s some amusing miscommunication at the end which leaves all attendees thinking they’ve been invited to the morning tea, which is meant to be for the project team and executive only. It doesn’t matter–there’s enough food to feed a pack of students, let alone some errant staff.

After morning tea we head back to the office for some further champagne-based celebration. then it’s finally time to sit back and work out how to manage this beast that we’ve brought into being.

It’s been a good day, and I don’t begrudge a minute of it. It’s rare enough that we get credit for what we do, or that people truly get excited when you give them something new. It’s good to feel that all the hard work has been appreciated.

Oh, and for the evening we all went out for food and drinks, but I was pretty much dead by then.

March 16

It’s the day before the big launch. As you might expect my mind is basically cabbage. I can’t even think about dinner, so we get pizza. That’s all you get for this one.

March 15

Today I have to run a workshop. I say ‘have to’ but I totally volunteered for it. It’s all about using apps to help manage your workload, but there’s a fair few productivity techniques snuck in there too. I’ve run this about three times now: the first time I had about half a dozen attendees, the next about 16, most recently I had three.

Today I have 25 attendees.

I had carefully scheduled this to happened after the major release for the project I’m working on. This was set for Feb 28 originally, but has since move to March 17. Yes, the timing is appalling, but I have 25 people who are expecting to learn something today so cancelling was never an option. To makes things even easier, I’ve also completely restructured the workshop, following feedback from the last couple of sessions. One blessing is that I’m so preoccupied with the looming project release that I don’t even have time to be nervous about the workshop.

In the end it goes really well. I definitely wing it at various points, but there’s a buzz in the air that tells me people are switched on and engaging with the discussion. I even get a few nice comments afterwards. I haven’t even walked out of the door before the organisers are talking about the next session, and maybe a couple of additional workshops I could run.

It’s a good feeling. I’ve often thought that if I neeed to move into another line of work, I’d like it to be something in the area of training/coaching/teaching. Handy to know I don’t completely suck at it 😉

March 14

After a weekend of celebrating, today is officially Rach’s birthday. We enjoy cakes at work, and then I head off to collect the Elderbeast from his PEAC class. The day quickly descends into chaos when it takes me over 40 minutes to find a parking space on my return. I. Do. Not. Like. Parking. This. Proves. Very. Stressful. The rest of the day is swamped with meeting after meeting after meeting, but finally I’m able to head home.

We open presents (well, Rach opens presents and the rest of us watch). Highlight for me is the Barb (Stranger Things) Pop Vinyl. One day it shall be mine!!!

Much debate ensues as to what we have for birthday dinner. Macca’s is out as they no longer do any vegetarian burgers. Eventually we get Macca’s for half the family, and the rest of us order takeout from Grill’d. This teaches me that, following my passive dabbling in vegetarianism, I am no longer capable of managing a full burger for dinner. Life goes on.

March 13

It’s Fucken Monday and it goes in a blur. I skip my morning shift again. After a week of illness, Rach is able to return to work. We discuss the idea of building an enclosure in the garden for the cats, which sounds like a top idea to both of us. I hope we get around to doing it one day.


March 12

I wake up with another headache. This is frustrating as I did not have any wine last night, and I did have plenty of water. Predictably I elect to skip my morning shift. Once again, however, a proper lie-in is off the cards as Rach’s Big Birthday Celebration continues with breakfast with the family. We head to Gesha in Fremantle where the excellent food and coffee eventually lifts my headache. At one point the Kinderbeast catches his smoothie glass on the table and spills it all over himself, much to his distress. He spends the rest of the morning wrapped in his Nan’s pastel blue fleece cardigan, much to my amusement.

On the drive home we decide that a new plant will be the perfect birthday present for Rach, so we swing by a garden centre and pick an awesome $70 rubber plant. It’s a real plant, not made of rubber. The kinderbesten decide they want in on this game too and each pick a cactus.

We then head to the shops where more money is spent on more things. We wrap up the expedition with a visit to the supermarket, but it’s not our usual supermarket and it’s all wrong and busy and twice as exhausting. Plus it’s hammering down when we return to the car.

Back home I retreat instantly to bed for a desperately needed power nap. I am terrible at power-napping and mostly just lie in bed with my eyes closed, but it still helps to make me feel a tiny percentage more human.

For dinner, after a weekend dominated by junk food, we literally have steamed vegetables, and it’s great. Once the kinderbesten have retreated to sleep I finally have a chance to check out the animated version of Power Of The Daleks, which I’ve been waiting months to buy (I elected to wait for the blu-ray edition, which not only came out about two months after the DVD, but came out about three weeks later in Australia than the rest of the world. Damn you, Australia!). We only get two episodes in, but I’m loving every minute of it. I fully expect it to be weeks before I get around to watching the rest.


My (serial) reading for the night is the second instalment of Second Variety, which I’m really enjoying. I also read both instalments of Monkey’s Paw, which I’ve never read, but was crafty enough to queue up the night before so I get both instalments in one go. See, I’m already gaming this Serial Reader chump.

March 11

Saturday is Designated Lie In day, which is good because I wake up with a headache. It could be the wine from the previous night, but I suspect a combination of tiredness, dehydration and, yes, wine.

But we have to get up because it’s election day! It’s the first election we’ve been able to participate in since emigrating to Australia, and our first opportunity to vote since becoming citizens. It’s over quickly, even though we went below the line, and it feels good. The only downer is that we’re there too early to get a democracy sausage. On the walk back we remark to each other how nice it is to go for a walk on a Saturday morning and agree that we should do it more often. I highly suspect we won’t.

It is also the first day of Rach’s Big Birthday Celebration, and she has chosen to go bowling. We arrive fashionably late and, in my still-headachy state, I’m somewhat dismayed to discover how INCREDIBLY NOISY the place is. It matters little: the bowling is fun and I’m not nearly as bad at it as I thought I was. Well, nearly as bad, but I at manage at least one strike.


We return home in time to enjoy the election coverage, and we definitely enjoy it: it’s a good result for once. Perhaps the tide is turning at last.

I decide to try out a new app I’ve read about on Book Riot. It’s called Serial Reader and it works by delivering a single chunk of your chosen novel (all public domain works) each day; no more, no less. Each chunk is designed to take between 10-20 minutes to read and to mimic the serialised fashion in which certain classic works of literature were delivered. To start myself off I eventually select Second Variety by Philip K. Dick. It’s only 9 instalments. Pretty sure even my attention span can manage that …

March 10

I elect, once again, to skip my morning shift in favour of an extra hour’s sleep. It helps somewhat: I feel less exhausted during the day.

The real bonus is that it’s Fridate, which means a visit from the awesome Seb. The evening is dominated by YouTube trailers including Kong: Skull Island which looks as amazing as everyone said.


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