|a curious anthropological case study|
Date-Time Stamp: 10 July 1969 at 5:00am
Birthing Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Species: homo sapiens (male)
Home Sweet Home: Melbourne, Victoria
Height: 170 cm, 5 foot 7 inches
Weight: 75 kgs
Eye Colour: Brown
Hair Colour: Black with chrome highlights
Number of Brain Cells: 3,781,311,843 on last count
Edukation: Mitchelton Kindergarden, Mitchelton State Infants, Primary and High Schools, Bachelor of Applied Science – Computing (Queensland University of Technology), under-graduate in Life
Profession: Analyst programmer – on salary
Marital Status: Single
Sibling Rivals: One younger brother
Ethnic Background: Polynesian (mother) and Caucasian (father)
Nicknames: Ronnie, Roddy, Biff, Rock'et, Danger
Family Pets: Silver the cat, for approx 15 years
Religious Leaning: Athiest, or "radical athiest" as Douglas Adams called himself
Vehicular Transport: Mazda Astina 323, four cylinder, 1.8L hatchback, green
Life is too short to drink cheap wine.
I work to live, not live to work.
You're only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime.
Nothing gets a big push unless it will make someone, somewhere, a lot of money.
"Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." – Carl Sagan
There is plenty of time for sleep when you're dead.
Use it or lose it.
"No coffee, no workee." – fridge magnet
"Ignorance is not bliss." – Me
"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." – Harlan Ellison
After conception, my cells started dividing, and I was beside myself with happiness. Then things became a lot more complicated. I don't remember the first two or three years of sentience, if you can call soiling your own pants and being force-fed sweetened Clag Glue "sentience". At this stage my parents were living in a flat, working hard and planning for the future, which included moving to the 'new' housing estate of Keperra, in Brisbane's west-northwest.
In retrospect, growing up there was great. Back then, I just took the world for granted, as children always do. Our street had several families of the same generation, which meant lots of footpath cricket, great parties, and interesting social dynamics. Some families connected better than others, meaning that not all of us neighbourhood kids fraternised to the same extent. Or put another way, we didn't have the people skills or motivation to bridge the gaps. (Humans became the dominant species by being both xenophobic and social; those conflicting traits still influence our behaviour.) Going to different schools didn't help, either. For instance, nobody else in our street went to "Mitchie", the school my brother and I attended.
I was an average student. Mum, being a ex-school teacher, injected the studiousness and enthusiasm that I lacked. Again, I did not realise how lucky my brother and I were, having a school teacher for a mother, and a father who worked in construction – literally building the city I was to inhabit later in life – to provide for us. It all seems miraculous now, given how important study and education can be in your life. Solid education is not essential for lasting happiness, but why not exploit the opportunity when it's there? Free schooling for 12 years. I cannot imagine throwing it away or wasting it now, and I am grateful that I managed to emerge at the other end with a useful Tertiary Entrance score. Three precious digits: 990, nine-ninety, or the top 10 percent. I guess I trusted my parent's drive to not so much succeed or be numero uno, but to make the best effort I could. In many ways that was the most important lesson I learned over the 12 years.
My uni days were quite solitary – the few friends I had at school went in different directions, and besides, study seemed to be too onerous for anything else. I was socially backward as well, so the word 'fun' didn't enter my adult vocabulary until after I started full time work. At the time it was not the tragedy it sounds like today, because I did not know what I was missing. But learning stuff was the priority anyway, and I did that well enough to pass and secure a job before the "stop work" announcement in my last exam, a gruelling mental torture test for Computer Architecture. Not long before that, my parents separated, so it was one of those classic watershed moments you read about in novels and biographies happening to other people. My under-graduate course in Life was in full swing.
In January 1990 I began work at Suncorp Insurance, situated in Brisbane's first high rise building and one of many my father worked on. Despite having 15 years of education behind me, I found myself at the bottom of a steep learning curve. Luckily my natural aptitude for computing made sure I could apply the theory to a vigorous, and at times frantic, commercial IT environment. I was in my element. Furthermore, I made some great friendships, which led to many a night drinking and clubbing, not to mention a belated social maturation and overcoming my chronic shyness. Was I finally "getting a life"? Dunno about that, but I had some terrific fun.
What else happened in my 20s? I met a bunch of guys at a ten-pin bowling league at Kedron who noticed a Sepultura t-shirt I wore one morning. After purchasing a Pearl Export drum kit and signing up for lessons, I mucked around in three different garage bands. By now I was also publishing my review fanzine and gaining some notoriety nationwide in the microscopic horror scene. Through the zine I made contact with an ex-girlfriend, a wonderful person with whom I shared many esoteric interests. I moved to Melbourne with her in December 1995. Telstra hired me six months later as a contractor in their IT department and I was set. We broke up in 1998 and I decided to stay in Melbourne - a climatically chilly but culturally tropical city. I love it here.
The last few years have seen me accepting a permanent position after being an IT mercenary in the organisation for three years. My social life continues to percolate, and I've finally swung back into being creative with this website. I will return to drawing once Ground Zero segues into update mode, and I may even buy another drum kit, time and practicalities permitting.
I am very much a product of my parent's personalities. Dad is laid-back and, having left school after grade eight, not the academic type. But he is a skilled carpenter and builder, devoted to craftsmanship, attention to detail, and pride in doing any job properly. When I was little, I cut corners doing household chores at my own peril! He could also read and draw detailed building schematics. Now semi-retired, he earns pocket money cutting gemstones and doing labouring work around his local area. Mum, on the other hand, escaped Polynesia by winning a scholarship to New Zealand. She did this by topping her high school class. As I said previously, she became a school teacher, but left the profession for various reasons. She is ethical, focused, generous to close family members and friends, and has some artistic talent. Dad is more of a clown and enjoys cracking jokes in conversation, as well as listening to music and fishing. I remember waking every Sunday morning to the crooning of Slim Dusty or the melodic pulse of Boney M. Since then, hearing loud music in the house never bothered me. I find it soothing.
My personality combines elements of both parents, as friends will testify. I seem to have inherited some of my father's wit as well as my mother's studious nature, as well as their shared attention to detail. Neither drank or smoked, at least as far as I can remember. Dad is an ex-smoker, which may explain why passive smoking never bothered me too much. We were not a religious family; mum's church background in Polynesia was typical of daily life there. Both parents loved movies, although not to level of my involvement, with writing reviews and so on. But then the era of home video was not extant when they were growing up. And since they met while clubbing late into the night at one of Auckland's dance-halls, I too developed a fondness for doing the same. Occasionally I will go out clubbing by myself to satisfy the urge to dance and just be out.
As a child I was a professional day-dreamer, and I still am to a certain degree. I have a vivid imagination that both conjures up images/ideas, and needs constant feeding, which explains my steady diet of films, books, and art. I actually get restless if I go for long periods without some kind of formal imaginative stimulation. My intellect, which is of a thoroughly average standard, gets enough exercise at work solving logic problems. Because verbal accuity is not dependant on raw intelligence and a good working memory – the prerequisites for excelling at mathematics – I found over the years that I enjoyed reading and writing, the later being centred on commentary rather than fiction. You can find the end results littered all over my website. I am also a very visual person who can enjoy imagery purely for its own sake. This may explain why I loved The Matrix Reloaded when hardly anyone else did. I responded to its aesthetic and philosophical pretentions; whether they made sense was a secondary consideration to moments such as the one where Morpheus assaults a black van with a Samurai sword. Thus I do not hold back in my search for arresting visuals. I can be awestruck by something regardless of its thematic validity or the lack political correctness. Indulge and never apologise! More about this later.
Due to this dreamer part of me, I have no enthusiasm for the dull administrative side of life. I pay bills late, leave clothes-washing until the last possible moment, and suffer the consequences of poor time management. I seem to prefer chaos to order when it comes to the business of living, and sometimes I am just bone lazy. I once drove to Canberra and back in one day just to see the new Lucian Freud painting at the National Gallery. Note though that this spontaneity has only crept in over the last five years, since about 1999. I was relatively closeted during much of 20s, despite the partying and the move to Victoria.
As for who I am right now, I think I am doing okay for someone who was shy, timid, had limited self esteem, and no lofty aspirations beyond doing what I enjoyed doing. My computer programming hobby ended up being a sound career choice, and I have fantastic friends who may even like me and enjoy my company. I genuinely like being around people, and I am a self-confessed people watcher, who is somewhat addicted to gossip columns and art/media that illuminate the human condition in interesting ways. One of my favourite things is making people laugh, and I see humour in many corners of life. Those "Way Out" signs at train stations and public venues still crack me up.