Melbourne Writers Festival

I reckon if you are going to do something, do it right. And if you are going to do something right, completely immerse yourself in it. So I immersed myself in writing yesterday, with a visit to the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Well, to be honest, I never planned to go. I was given tickets. And if you are given tickets to something, it is incredibly rude not to attend. And besides, I felt it could be quite my cup of tea, so why not check it out?

So I did. I attended two presentations. The first by Mr Fred Watson, an astronomer, who has just launched his second book, Star-Craving Mad. I love the title. It is as jovial and good-humoured as that of his first book, Why Is Uranus Upside Down? I don’t have a broad knowledge of astronomy, at all. But it is interesting, I think. And he made it even moreso. He was a terrific presenter. Really funny and enjoyable to listen to. I got a lot more out of it than I had expected to.

I also got a laugh from a story his sidekick told about a time he was dating an astrologer. They were undertaking a romantic walk under the stars, when his lady-friend looked up at the sky and said, “Oh, the Moon is in Pisces. That means it is a wonderful night for lovemaking.” The guy said he looked up and realised… the Moon was nowhere near Pisces. “But damned if I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut,” he told us.

Also had to laugh at his use of the term “spherical bastards”. This meaning that no matter what way look at them, they look like bastards.

I also learned more about the solar system and all that than I really meant to. But it was interesting. I enjoyed it.

The second presentation was by Father Bob Maguire. A somewhat politically incorrect Catholic Priest and community worker. He was promoting his memoir, Larrikin Priest. Now, I am not religious myself, but that does not mean I don’t respect it, and I found got a lot out of his presentation. I found him really interesting and very aware. Moreso than you would imagine just hearing him ramble. If you listen and get a sense of what he’s about, he is actually very aware. Not afraid to speak his mind at all, which is quite refreshing. I found his presentation very interesting also.

I laughed the whole way through his program. At one point he was talking about this generation and how they know everything. He said, “We should trust them, they’re the only generation to know everything man has ever known. They’ve got those goddamn things… apps. They’ve got apps!” He reinforced this with a story about the old guys trying to fix his plumbing with their tools, not quite working it out from scratch. And then this kid comes along with his app on his phone and says, ‘I found it, do it like this.’ And it worked.

But what I loved was his response to an audience member near the end of his talk. It was about everyone doing their part to spread good will each day. He told us all, “Everybody who interacts with you should be better for it. Leave everybody in a better state than you found them.” And I could not agree more. With every interaction, you should be bettering the energy of that person. So if that is what you may like to take away from this rambling of mine, please do, as we will all be better for it.

Playing My Own Game

I posted some questions in an award blog yesterday for anyone who wanted to answer them. Just for interest sake. So far, Liewshn over at That’s What Shaun Said has answered these questions. The answers were fantastic! Check out that post here.

It was suggested that I answer them myself. Well, okay then. I shall have a crack. Here goes…

1. What is the #1 most played song on your iPod/similar device?

Apparently, and somewhat surprisingly, it is ‘Thank You’ by The Whitlams. I do love the song and band, though. And right now, I would like to dedicate that song to all my readers here. Yes, you! 😉

2. What was your favourite food as a child?

Roast Chicken. I could eat a whole roast chicken. And nothing else. Absolutely lived on it.

3. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Considering my answer to Q. 8. I am going to say Luc Besson. I’m a big fan, it’d just be awesomely cool to learn from the guy.

4. If you were reincarnated as an animal, what animal would you be?

Probably a penguin. I’m pretty chill. You ever see Surf’s Up? Yeah, I’d be a chill, surfing penguin like those guys.

5. What story do your friends always tell about you?

Depends which friends we’re talking about. I’ll pick a clean story… My brother likes the story of how I spent an entire day clocking the Sega Mega Drive game ‘Columns’. If you haven’t heard of it, it is similar to Tetris. I played it until the game score read “999999999…” as far across the screen as it could go, and the level read “99999999….” as far as that could go. I’ve never been that good at anything else in my life ever again. Or that dedicated. I played from after breakfast ’til bedtime. A good 12+ hours, without stopping. I couldn’t stop, because the blocks were moving too fast and if I paused it I felt I wouldn’t be able to keep up when I resumed. Nobody ever challenges me at Tetris anymore.

6. What is something you learned in the last week?

I have learned how to monitor a concussion. Regarding my friend’s head injury, the doctor said, “If he starts laughing at the walls, bring him back… he’s having a fit.”

7. If you won a massive sum in the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Book a trip. Probably just become a nomad for a while, traveling the globe. Buy that Kombi Van I always wanted and disappear, temporarily.

8. If you could have any job in the World, which one would you want?

Screenwriter. That’d be right up my alley.

9. What actor/actress would play you in a movie about your life?

Can Ryan Stiles do an Aussie accent? Because he’s a dead ringer for me, or vice versa. He’s a lot older than me, but if you ignore that…

Seriously, the kids at school used to call me Lewis, ’cause of his character on the Drew Carey Show.

The other one is Sean Bean… if he can do an Aussie accent.

10. Where’s Waldo?

He’s in here, man. *points to chest*