Posted in 2014, film review, I don't write reviews, movies, my thoughts, stephen hawking, the theory of everything

The Theory of Everything: Not a Movie Review

L-R: Stephen Hawking, Jane Wilde, Eddie Redmayne [Hawking], Felicity Jones [Jane]

I don’t write reviews.  Dry, objective articles about movies, music, books.  I write opinion pieces.  Pure opinion, with a smattering of facts.  Basically I write my thoughts.  Because, I have this theory.  I can’t write what everyone is thinking, and often reviews don’t reflect what people will actually end up thinking.

I avoid reading reviews of movies that I’m planning to watch regardless of whether they are good or bad, at least until after I’ve watched the movie.  For me, I want to get my own impressions rather than letting what others think dictate my watching experience.

So, in light of that.  Here are my, probably, highly biased thoughts on The Theory of Everything.

1.  The score.  The musical score.  When a movie soundtrack is all original score and doesn’t have popular music I often find that a lot more effective.  And this movie was no exception.  Johann Johannsson’s original score [which won the film best original score at the Golden Globes] [wikipedia] helps draw the audience into the story; I definitely reacted to the music, coupled with the scenes, in a visceral way.  One of the best musical scores I’ve heard in quite some time.

2.  The story.  I truly related to the story.  Not in that my life is the same.  On a much deeper level.  It’s based on the book written by Jane Wilde Hawking, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.  The movie explores their journey together through all the challenges that came their way.  I have always respected and admired Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science.  Even though his views on religion have been polarising.  But, as a fellow human being I am truly inspired by his human spirit and the fact that he achieved so much, despite the challenges.  And the fact that Jane stood by him for so long.

3.  The actors.  Eddie Redmayne was an inspired choice for the role of Hawking.  I already thought he was a pretty good actor, as I’ve watched him in Les Miserables and Birdsong.  However, I believe his portrayal of Hawking has lifted him into the echelons of the greats.  Premature, perhaps?  But, he won a Golden Globe for best actor and is nominated for an Oscar for the same.

Felicity Jones as Jane Wilde.  I haven’t seen much of her and I don’t know much about Jane Wilde, however, I felt that I could connect with her character and felt all her frustrations and her hope and her joys through the whole movie.  And her faith.

David Thewlis as Eddie’s Professor and then colleague.  It was funny seeing him out of the Harry Potter context, but at the same time refreshingly British.  Still playing a Professor mentor type character.

Other supporting roles:  Charlie Cox as Jonathan Jones [Jane’s second husband].  Jonathan was one of those characters you can’t help but love.  He was an imperfect human as we all are, but he had a serving heart, and though it was obvious that he was falling in love with Jane, he also became a very good friend to Stephen, so I never got mad when Jane ended going to him.  That whole dynamic between the three of them made sense, especially after Hawking’s nurse, Elaine, came into the picture.  After all, Jonathan shared the same faith as Jane.  And for Jane to stick it out so long with Stephen is testimony in and of itself.

Of course, there is most definitely more to that story as is the case with any movie from book/true life story.  But, I’ll get back to that.**

4.  The science vs religion aspect.  This was treated fairly in the movie.  It is known by most people that Hawking is an atheist, perhaps not as vocal as the Zoologist Richard Dawkins, but due to the nature of Hawking’s studies nonetheless pointed.  Considering Jane’s own faith the movie could have dissolved into a battle between atheism and religion, but that was not the point of the tale being told.

Other thoughts

Okay…all of that up there still sounded kind of like a review.  So, here’s something else.

This was such an amazing movie.  It moved me to tears.  The music, the message, and the acting.  I saw it with my boyfriend and there were moments where it just reminded me of our relationship.

I will be seeing it again next weekend, so I may write a follow up post, but go and see it.  It is definitely a movie worth seeing.  Put aside any prejudices you may have because of religion or personal views of the debate between science and religion, because this movie is not about that.

This a story of love, courage, perseverance and defeating the odds.  It’s a movie about a couple who experienced massive highs and devastating lows.

And, above all else, it’s a story about hope.  


**Next post…

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Posted in 2014, Reflections

The final leg of the year

Christmas time.  A time for reflection. And not long after that until we hit the New Year.  And what a year it has been for me.

Been a lot of ups and downs but, that’s what every year has right?  So, without further ado, let’s have a recap of my year.
January

New Year 2014 brought a sense of expectancy and fresh new things as I began my third year at my work place. 
Australia Day at work with the kids was a highlight.  And spending time with Christian friends was and had been throughout the year, a huge highlight.

Shut Up by Simple Plan was my anthem this month.  For reasons that I will not go into.

February

This month I became extremely reflective of my work life, I wasn’t feeling happy, but I focused on God more.

Mum and Dad went to the UK.  Mum’s been working on the family tree on hers and dad’s sides.  They also went because dad had some conference or something he was doing.

I spent more time with Mum, we even went dress shopping.

March

One of my friends got married this month and had a beautiful outdoor wedding, and then a simple reception with family and friends.

Lent this year I gave up Simple Plan.  That was difficult, but as you know how much I love the band it held a lot of significance for me.  [I didn’t last the whole of Lent, but it was a good effort].

I hurt my back at work and had to take a lot of time off work.  Think that’s where all my sick leave went…definitely taught me a lot of patience and to lean more into God.

I also set out to start managing my money better.  That’s still a work in progress.

April

Easter as always an important date on my Calendar.  Marked it with services at Riverview.

Also, ANZAC Day was a highlight.  Went to my first Dawn Service.  Moving, beautiful and cold.  Definitely something I will continue doing if I am able.

May

Mother’s Day was the only thing of note this month, and planning for Hillsong Conference.

June

This month went by in a blur.  I think the main focus was my excitement for Hillsong.

The end of this month was my first year anniversary of being out of home.  An accomplishment.  I took to living out of home like a duck to water.  Though I do go home at least once a week for dinner with the parents.

July

Straight up, Hillsong Conference was the highlight of the month.

Saw The Lion King musical while we were in Sydney as well.

August
Marked my three year anniversary at work. 
September/October
I can’t really remember what happened these two months that wasn’t upsetting…I left my job but at the same time gained perspective in my life and my faith in God grew.

November 
Ten years of being a Simple Plan fan on the first of this month.  I wrote a big tribute about that.  Time flies, hey?
December
The best month this year as it included Christmas and I met someone special 😀 
Bring on 2015!

Posted in 2014, Best of..., my thoughts

Best of…2014

Book of the year:  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen J. Fowler
Album of the year:  Greetings From California, The Madden Brothers
Song of the year:  Brother, (Greetings From California), The Madden Brothers
Worship Album of the year: No Other Name – Hillsong Worship
Worship song of the year: This I Believe – Hillsong Worship
Concert of the year: The Madden Brothers’ Greeting From California Tour, Crown Theatre, Perth, 7th November
Concert moment: The Madden Brothers’ performing Hotel California
Movie of the year: Guardians of the Galaxy/The Maze Runner/Interstellar
Movie Character of the year: Newt [The Maze Runner – Thomas Brodie-Sangster]
TV Show of the year: Hawaii Five-0 [even though it’s not really on Aussie TV anymore…]
TV Character of the year: Steve McGarrett [Alex O’Loughlin] and Captain Grover [Chi McBride]
Personal moments: Going to Hillsong Conference with Katie/Starting my original fiction
Milestones: Scored a new job.  Starts next year.
Memorable hashtags: #ripphilliphughes #408 #illridewithyou #sydneysiege 
Posted in 2014, Daniel McTavish, fiction, first person pov, my writing

The Uprising – revamped version 1 – Ch 1


Spell

01.09.2014
The only thing on my mind right now:  How to spell Taskerone?  It used to be Tasker One.  They changed it in the early noughties to reflect the pronunciation.  I’m not sure what difference it made.  Didn’t make any difference to me as I waited to be conferred with the title.  But the thought kept me sane. 
To say I was nervous, would be some gross understatement.  Youngest T-One to ever be conferred.  The media were all over that.  Gut-wrenching to say the least.  Flashing lights and voices everywhere trying to gain my attention.  All I wanted to do was bolt and meet my best mate for a beer.  Though Elliott would be elsewhere, checking his armoury. 
My assistant, Melissa, was giving me the eye, indicating that I was not paying enough attention. 
“Commander McTavish?”
Blinking, I fought to find the owner of the voice.  Horn rimmed glasses shoving a furry microphone in my face.  That galvanised me.  Stay outta my canoe. People don’t get in my personal space.  It’s kind of a thing that is quick to set me off. 
“Yes?” Less annoyed, Tav… “I apologise, can you ask that again?”
“Prisoner seventy-seven, Commander.  What are your plans for him?”
The question was inoffensive.  I knew that.  Everyone knew that.  Lachlan Douglas was a threat to the order.  The General himself decreed it so.  I agreed.  I don’t agree…Lachlan is a childhood friend…
Forcing a smile, I said, “I will need to review his case before making a final decision.”  I caught Melissa’s eye again, and this time her gaze was somewhat approving.  One point for the new Commander. 
There was some general questions about the new structure of Council and bringing in a new curfew. It was all quite tedious and I made my escape when it was polite to do so. 
Melissa joined me out in the corridor, walking with me. 
“That went better than I thought it would, Commander.”
I reminded myself that she was the General’s daughter, counted to ten then looked sideways at her.  “It’s Daniel.”
She remained tight-lipped as she said, “The General will speak with you about Prisoner seventy-seven’s sentencing this afternoon, Commander.”
“You know you look pretty when you smile, Melissa.” I know.  Not the smartest thing to say.  She just glared at me. 
“Your friend also wanted to see you once the conferring ceremony was over.”
I sighed, thanking her with a nod and left, making my way to find Elliott.  
He was where he always was.  My room.  Bottles of beer littering the bed.  Along with his assorted firearms.  He was in the middle of cleaning his prized possession.  A sawn-off shot gun.  Ancient piece of junk.  But it still worked.  I’d seen him fire it on the range. 
“El?”
He looked up.  His eyes were blood-shot.  That was some cause for concern. 
“You right?”
Elliott set the gun down, squinting at me.  “Are you?”
Lifting my eyebrows I think was enough of an answer to last him a while.  Though I was far from all right.  Who knew what the General would say about Lachlan.  And who the Hell knew why I even gave a flying rats…
I took one of the unopened beers before parking my ass opposite him.  He continued to stare at me through his slitted eyelids before letting out a groan, which kind of sounded like somebody’s name.  But I wasn’t too sure.
“Come again, mate?”
“Pips.  Gotta pick him up.”
His brother; Pips Preston.  Or Phillip as I called him, just to annoy him. No one else called him that.  I’m guessing his parents used to.  But, they’re not in the picture anymore.
That’s another thing.  I’m crazy about names.  Proper names.  Weird names.  Hobby of mine.  Collecting names.  Should probably put that to better use, though.  Like remembering the names of all my subordinates at The Creed.  Melissa is the only one that comes to mind…
“Didn’t know he was due for release?”
Pips was a career criminal.  Surprising they were letting him go, considering he attempted to blow up Council Hall.  Insane, right?  He said it was to make a point.  Not sure I understood what his point was.  He was passionate about it, whatever it was. 
Elliott looked at me, eyebrows lifting.  “No?  Would’ve thought they’d tell you that.”
I shook my head, though I might’ve been told…probably not paying attention. 
He shrugged at me before returning to his shotgun running an oiled cloth over the barrel.  I sat, watching him in silence, and sipping from my beer. 
We spent a lot of time like this.  It was comfortable.  Talking wasn’t something I was known for.  And, Elliott always took his cues from me.  It didn’t serve any purpose, we just felt content in each other’s’ company.   Been that way since high school.  Yeah, we’ve known each other that long. 
It was odd.  No one approved of Elliott Preston. Especially not now.  He was a bounty hunter.  Law unto his own.  My best friend.  Beer buddy.  Not to make light of our relationship, we’re there for each other.  And, I guess this was another of those times.
“Want me to come with?” I said, causing Elliott to shoot a surprised look my way.
“Why?”
I lifted my shoulders, tilting my beer and watching as the golden liquid swirled in the bottom.  “Need to go down there anyway.” 
He set the gun down and leaned forward, bracing his hands on his thighs.  He said nothing though, just furrowed his brow at me.  I let my lips twist into a smile.  He huffed, his fringe flipping up a little. 
“Knock yourself out, buddy.” 

Finishing off my beer, I murmured that I’d do exactly that, before leaning my head back against the wall and closing my eyes.
Posted in 2014, Daniel McTavish, fiction, first person pov, my writing, Writing

The Uprising – revamped version 1 – Prologue



Beginnings

2040

Today is the tenth anniversary of our debut record.  
Legacy was a labour of love.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears, literally, was poured into the album.  And, I’m proud of what it has brought into my life and the lives of others.  It’s been a journey; from its conception to where we are today. 
It’s not been easy.  Changing the mindset of a society is difficult.  And, to think on it, I didn’t initially set out to change things.  My ideas weren’t so grandiose back when I was younger.  I was fed up with the status quo.  But, all I wanted was to bring a sense of joy back into my home. 
And music. 
Music.  Music is life’s blood.  Cliché, maybe?  But, something I believe holds true. 
A lot of people didn’t think that forty years ago…

It’s a strain, trying to get people to see where we went wrong with the laws and mores.  I’m seeing a shrink, that’s how bad it can get some days.  
The good doctor said I should write everything down.  A bit cliché, if you ask me.  I’ve read memoirs before.  Always so, dry, factual.  Not worth for anything but some dusty museum.  Though even those places are becoming extinct. 
I’m not much of a writer.  Sure, I’ve written reports.  Signed off on more than I care to remember.  I’m more an actions type of man.  Rather be doing than writing.
No, that kid, Robbie Douglas.  He’d have been the better choice.  Always scribbling away in a notebook whenever he got the chance.  I may still have them.  His notebooks.  Lachlan gave them to me for safekeeping.  That whole family…are almost my own.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  A story isn’t any good from the end.  Knowing only the ending doesn’t explain anything.  I learned that just by living in Valoren City. 
The walled city.  Valoren city of my father and my father’s father before that.  Not sure how many generations of McTavish’s served in this city.  Since the War of Words most definitely.  That long ago event that no one really remembers but caused a lot of unnecessary heartache in my day. 
I’ll be the last, though. 
The Creed’s being dismantled.  Gordon said that a regular police force is what the city needs.  One that actually holds justice of high import and not just the enforcing of rules.  I’m content with that idea.  Means I can relax.  Just keep an eye on the kids.
Hah.  Danny McTavish.  Babysitter.  Well, Granddaddy.  My daughter just had twins.  Boys.  Robert and Phil.  She named them in remembrance of the two toughest people we’ve ever known.  This is as much their story as it is mine.
I guess, I should really start from the beginning then.  Since I espoused that endings didn’t explain anything.  Not without beginnings. 
Everyone has a beginning to their story.  And, I don’t mean their birth.  Though that’s an important date. 
My beginning was an auspicious day.  Or it should’ve been. 

Two things happened to change that, and you could say that society has improved a lot since then.
Posted in 2014, Simple Plan

Ten Years On|My story of being a Simple Plan Fan


1st November 2004 – 1st November 2014

I’ve been a Simple Plan fan for ten years. It’s a surreal feeling. Nothing could have prepared me for the love I would come to feel for this band.

When I was younger I used to fall in love with songs. I still listen to *NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye an embarrassing number of times. And, I’d sing those songs and play them for ages, or watch the videos on Video Hits, Rage, Channel [V], but I wasn’t so much into bands. I was very much into pop music at that time. *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Human Nature, Spice Girls, etc. And anything that my parents played; Kenny G, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, John Farnham, etc.

And then this ‘small’ band from Montreal began to wind its way into my heart.

The first time I experienced them was on one of those music shows in the guise of their music video for Perfect. One day that August of 2004, Dad was flicking through the channels when I noticed the band playing on a roof and wondered what they were doing? The song itself caught my attention. And true to trends at the time, I fell in love with the song, bought the single and played it to death in my car. However, I gave very little thought to the band itself. Relegating it to the back of my mind and enjoying the music.

Fast forward to November 1st, exactly ten years ago, and I was at the shops with my friends. We went to Sanity [when it used to have all the music…] and there on the charting singles wall was the Welcome to My Life single. [Yes, kids, we were actually able to buy singles in cases.] I recognised the band name, bought the single then proceeded to play it non-stop for, I don’t know how long. At least until I bought Still Not Getting Any on the 21st. [I didn’t remember that; had to check the diary I was keeping at the time. Have to say my entries back then bordered on teeny and embarrassing. I mean…I was 19 then…]

And then I proceeded to play SNGA to death in my car.

From there, it all went downhill…not really. My love for the band just went crazy. I joined SimplePlanOnline.com and started to write fan fiction about the band [which is still ongoing – I’ve got over 50 stories, not all SP but the majority are]. And, of course, fell in love with Pierre Bouvier.

Back in those days TV Hits and Smash Hits magazines existed, and I bought them for the Simple Plan posters. [And Good Charlotte too…because ironically I heard them before I ever heard Simple Plan.] Should’ve seen my bedroom. Posters all over the walls. And pictures printed off the net.

I bought their first album, No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls and their DVD, A Big Package For You.

There was a point when I became so obsessed with them that I was up at all hours of the night, writing, and watching stuff on the net, and that made my parents mad, because you know ‘you’re wasting your time and should be concentrating on your studies’.

Yeah, thanks SP you got me in trouble a lot…

But, I wouldn’t do it any differently, now. In fact…I’m still doing it. But, I live out of home now, so it doesn’t matter anymore.

In the intervening years, I’ve seen them three times. The first time was in Brisbane, 2nd October, 2005. I went with a friend, we flew down from Townsville where I was living at the time. And, that was a great experience. The first paid concert I’d gone to that I actually remembered. My parents bought me tickets for my birthday. That first time seeing them, was great. They even played Perfect World, which fast became my all-time favourite Simple Plan song. Even today it’s still my favourite. In fact, despite all the music I’ve listened to since, it’s still my all-time favourite song, from any artist.

And then, a long seven year wait until the next drink. Simple Plan were meant to make an appearance in Perth in 2008 for their self-titled album tour cycle. But, due to issues with the venue that did not happen. In that time I lapsed as a fan; I was a little angry, and got drawn to heavier music [i.e. Avenged Sevenfold, though that’s an entirely other story…]. They were never far away from my mind, though.

Speaking of their self-titled album, it was the first album of theirs that I was part of the process of waiting on bated breath for. I remember their internet promos, the vlogs, the web chat before the release of When I’m Gone. I think I played the preview of that song over 500 times… I remember falling in love with Your Love is a Lie [my favourite off Simple Plan] when they played it on the YouTube New Year’s 2007/08 concert.

Then the album was released and though it’s not my favourite of theirs, it had a different sound to SNGA, it’s still an album I can listen all the way through without skipping a track. And it marked a part of my music loving life as the band has done a lot over the past ten years.

And, still the wait to see them live again. In-between times, I moved to Perth, saw Coldplay twice [2006 and 2009] and other artists as well [John Farnham, The Eagles, Ronan Keating, Tina Arena]. But, I was always hanging out to see my favourite band again.

Then Get Your Heart On! was released.

They toured Australia for promo in 2011, doing the East Coast. Which bummed me out, but when they announced that they were doing a full ‘national’ tour in 2012 [that didn’t include Perth, but did include Townsville…go figure] I decided I wasn’t going to miss out. So, for the second time in my life I hopped on a plane to see a band live. This time with a soundcheck party place under my belt…because I finally, finally got the chance to meet them.

That was the best concert, ever. And I didn’t think they could beat it.

[Watch it on YouTube if you want, Simple Plan live in Australia (it’s the Melbourne concert). It’s all there, in its glory. A free concert for the fans to watch. It was meant to be a DVD but the band weren’t happy releasing it for profit. So, in December 2013 they uploaded it on their channel for free.]

But, then, in 2013, they came to Australia for the ten year revival of Warped Tour in our beautiful country. As is usually the case, Warped Tour didn’t come to Perth. However, Simple Plan did. To make up for not coming in 2008. And, honestly, what a way to make up for it!

Just before they touched down in our lovely land down under, they released an EP [their first ever], Get Your Heart On! – The Second Coming. Can I tell you, this EP has to be the best thing they’ve released [since SNGA]. And they performed one of the songs from the EP at the show in Perth. The highlight of that concert for me, though, was getting to meet them again after the show [thanks to an acquaintance I made through the band].

The time I spent with them proved to me once and for all how much us fans mean to them, and how down-to-earth they are. Being in a band has not made fame go to their heads. They’re five young men who do what they love as a job and haven’t lost sight of where they came from.

I think this is what has given them the longevity they’ve had, so far. I have made new friends thanks to them, and met a few of them [several are even footy fans like me, but that’s another story too.]

And now [2014], as they currently write for their fifth studio album, I am excited to continue being their fan, for as long as they are around.

Postscript

I have all their albums, including all official live albums. I have most of their singles. I have the book they released in 2012.

Posted in 2014, fiction, my writing, Writing

The Uprising – Chapter Two



“He’s a friend.”


The Astor
1210 hours
Lachlan bent his head to the wall, listening to the footsteps that echoed along the corridor.  Heavy boots, stomping along the line of cells – knuckleheaded guard named Tate.  Clicking heels in the distance – the General’s wife.  Light but firm tread, purposeful and heading his way – Commander Daniel McTavish, the new TaskerOne.
He shifted away from the wall, back to the metal cot, flopping back as he covered his eyes with a forearm.
“Stop pretending, Douglas.”
Lachlan said, voice rough, “Congratulations, Danny Boy…or should I call you ‘Commander’ now?” He lowered his arm, glowering at the man standing on the other side of the bars.  “You got some pull now?  Maybe you can get me out of this hole.”
The Commander frowned, but said nothing in response, glaring back at him.  Lachlan grunted, sitting up as he planted his feet on the floor. 
“We’ve known each other, how long, Daniel?”
He shook his head.  “Lachlan.”
How long?” Lachlan said in a hard voice. 
“Doesn’t matter.  I can’t get you out.  You broke the law.”
“Yeah…I get it,” he said, picking at a scab on his ankle.  “Gotta make a good impression on the powers-that-be, aye?”
The Commander, nodding slightly, said, “They’ll most likely have you executed.”
“No surprise.  Gotta set a precedent, right?” Lachlan looked up at him, eyes too bright.  “Haven’t executed anyone in ten years, aye?”
“Yes.  Under the previous T-One.”  The subject was a touchy one.  No one really said the words, but an execution was never the normal response to a crime.  For any crime.  Usually the most extreme crimes were punished by banishment.  Nobody wanted to leave the City.  Not safe.  They called it the Wilderness for a reason, after all. 
“Do I get a final request?”
Daniel’s lips twisted in a sour smile.  “You want a priest?”
“Haha.  Very funny, Daniel.” He shook his head.  “I think you know what I want.” He met the Commander’s eyes with a meaningful look.  Daniel stared back at him, before nodding tightly.
“That I can get you.”
Lachlan managed a smile, laying back on the cot again.  “Can I sleep now?”
The Commander chuckled.  “Knock yourself out.” 
Lachlan rolled onto his side, stopping only to look back at Daniel.  “So, how was the ceremony?”
Daniel stared back at him, face expressionless.  Lachlan sighed, shifting back onto his side and closing his eyes.  The sound of the Commander’s firm tread filling his ears as he drifted off. 
                                                            * * *
“Commander McTavish?”
Daniel walked into his office, finding the General’s wife facing the doorway.  “Helen?”
“Congratulations on your promotion,” she said. Madam Helen Briar was the kind of woman who drew attention.  Bright hats – she was wearing a sunflower yellow fascinator today – dark mascara, slim body; and that voice.  Sharp, no-nonsense, but easily slipping into sensual, dangerous territory. 
He smiled, tightly and said, “To what do I owe the pleasure of your presence, ma’am?”
Helen said in a low voice, “Must there be a reason, Daniel?” 
Daniel’s brow creased.  “There’s always a reason, Helen.”
She leaned against the edge of his desk, folding her arms.  Lifting his eyebrows he waited for a response.  In the past, whenever the General sent his wife to see him, it was always in an official capacity, and also because whatever needed to be said was too hard for him to say himself.  Typical behaviour from a man who made himself look big when really he was a weedy little shit…
“He wants you to fast-track the execution of Prisoner 77.”
Lachlan Douglas.  Daniel smoothed a hand over his jaw, schooling his face into an impassive mask.  It wouldn’t do to let on how much that command hurt.  They had history.  Close friends.  School mates.  Biking together in the city.  Gatherings, picnics on the outskirts of the residences.  And other, not so innocent pursuits… It wasn’t as if the order was unexpected, though.  In the latter years, Lachlan had taken to questioning the status quo, making unsanctioned ‘trips’ out of the City.  And…digging up contraband.  Records.  CDs.  Instruments.  He was caught in the middle of the City, setting up what he called a ‘busking’ station.  That was the reason for his arrest.
“On what grounds, ma’am?” Daniel said, lifting an eyebrow.
“You need to set an example on your first official day at the top.” 
Daniel walked around his desk, taking a seat, steepling his fingers beneath his chin.  “There are any number of ways I can do that.”
Helen shook her head.  “The General wants the announcement made by the end of today.”
Daniel’s jaw tightened then he nodded.  “Tell him it’s done.” He pulled the phone toward him, lifting the receiver.  Pausing, he looked pointedly toward the door.  Helen smiled, inclining her head to him.
“I’ll let him know.”
He waited for her to leave, before punching in a number, holding the receiver to his ear.  “It’s Danny.  I need the key.”
                                                            * * *
“You sure you want to do this, Danny?”
Daniel was grabbing stuff from the shelves – bandages, rope, a couple of box cutters etcetera – shoving them in the duffel on the solid oak bench.  He glanced sideways. 
“Do I want to risk my position by helping a felon, bro?” He zipped the bag and said, “He’s a friend, Elliott.”
“I know that.”
Elliott Preston was the City bounty hunter.  He was also responsible for The Locker, the place where all confiscated contraband was stored.  Daniel found it ironic that the Council trusted him, considering who his brother was.  Philip Preston was a career criminal, in fact he was recently paroled.  Then again, perhaps that’s why Elliott wasn’t fazed by what they were currently doing.  Stealing from the Locker. 
Pausing, he glanced at Elliott again.  “Your brother would love this.”
“Don’t even say that, Danny,” he said, shaking his head.  “I’d never hear the end of it.”
Daniel’s soft chuckle seemed out of place in the huge warehouse.  He wasn’t given to light-heartedness, usually.  Hardly surprising in the current climate.  It wouldn’t do to be amused in light of his profession.  Dealing with lawbreakers was no joking matter.  Perhaps becoming one himself would shed new light on that, though. 
“How’s he doing, anyway?” Daniel said, going over to another shelf holding an assortment of firearms.  He kept his eyes on the weapons, allowing Elliott to answer in his own time.  Running his fingertips along the cool metal, he waited. 
Elliott sighed and said, “He’s making friends with the neighbours.”  A short laugh.  “Asked the kid next door to mow the lawn.”
Daniel, glancing sideways at him, selected a handgun from the shelf, adding it to the duffel bag and said, “Can’t he do it himself?”
Elliott lifted his shoulders and said, “I think he just wants the company.  He’s not allowed to do much, being a parolee ‘n’ all.” 
Daniel smiled, doing one more check of the shelves.  “No harm in that.”  He rechecked the duffel then swung it over his shoulder, pausing when Elliott’s hand gripped his shoulder.  “What?”
“You know what you’re doing?”
Daniel ground his teeth and said, “We’ve been planning this for years, Elliott.” 
Elliott held up a hand.  “I believe you.” He shouldered passed him.  “Let’s go bust him out.”
Daniel’s lip lifted slightly as he said, “There’s one more thing I need to get before we do.”

Posted in 2014, fiction, my writing

The Uprising – Chapter One



“No aptitude.”
Valoren City
9th May, 2025
0800 hours
The smell of burnt toast wafted across the room as Robbie walked in to the kitchen.  His mother, Celandine, was at the stove trying to salvage the crust whilst his older brother, Joshua, was yelling something about pigs and goats. 
“Seriously, J,” he said as he plopped down on the sofa near the door.  Joshua paused, head swinging around so as to cause the long sweep of dark hair to cast shadows across his eyes.
“You’re awake, Robert.” 
Robbie twitched an eyebrow.  “Aye.  And you’re going on about pigs, again.  What’s the point?”
His brother’s brow scrunched up.  “They arrested Lachlan.”
There was a heartbeat then Robbie groaned.  “Oh.  Those pigs.”
“You should’nae call them that, son,” Celandine said as she plated the meagre serving of toast that she’d managed to not burn.  His eyes flicked sideways at her words as he slouched on his seat, folding his arms over his chest. 
Then he looked at Joshua.  “What’d Lachie do?” He didn’t really want to know, but it was better than letting their mother berate him further. 
Joshua picked at the toast, keeping his eyes fixed on the plate as he said, “The eejit was caught with a guitar out in the streets.” 
Music.  Making music was verboten.  A crime.  Punishable by law.  The fact was life.  Robbie knew no other way.  But, he was curious, ever since he was a bairn.  Always questioning the whys and wherefores of the law.  So, hearing that Lachlan was caught with a guitar – his interest was piqued.  Turning to face his brother more directly, he raised his eyebrows at him.
“What the Hell was he thinking?”
Joshua shook his head, a barely perceptible motion that Robbie only caught because he was paying close attention. 
“Whatever he was thinking,” he said, in a low murmur, “it’ll most likely get him shot.” Joshua glanced sharply at him.  Robbie cocked his head a little to the left then slew his eyes to the side not liking the knowing look that lurked in his older brother’s eyes. 
As he did so he heard the doorbell ring.  Celandine paused at the stove her own gaze drifting toward the front door. 
“I got it,” he said as he pushed up from the couch and crossed the floor. 
Theirs was a small house on an equally small Lot in the centre of the residential sector.  The kitchen/living room was situated right in the front of the dwelling with no threshold to speak of.  Then again it wasn’t like they could afford some fancy home like some people.  Those houses close to Council were the largest and housed the richest people in the City…they lived in the poorer part.  Not that they were destitute.  Those people lived in the Slum. 
Robbie got to the door and lifted the latch to pull the door open a crack.  Peeking through the small gap and squinting he tried to make out the silhouette on the other side.  The early morning sun was a little too bright so he had to shade his eyes. 
“Who is it?”
“Phil-Pips.  From next door.  Not gonna bite, kid,” the silhouette said, the voice amiable.  Robbie opened the door more, brow furrowing as he studied the man that was revealed to him.  Dark eyes met his, a crooked grin twisting the lips on the elder man’s face. 
“Didn’t think you were the biting type,” Robbie said, though his tone was slightly suspicious.  The corner of Pips eyes crinkled, laughter evident in their depths.
“Robert, right?” he nodded as Pips went on, “Know this is unexpected…but I couldn’t help noticing the sign at your gate.” 
Robbie blinked.  “Sign?”
Pips pointed back over his shoulder to a makeshift banner that was flapping in the breeze, made of cardboard and looking decidedly weather worn.  Robbie blinked some more.
“Oh.  That sign.”
Pips looked at him.  “Yeah.  You still mow people’s lawns?”
Robbie flushed, kicking himself mentally.  He really needed to take that sign down.  He and Joshua had stuck it up early summer to try and make a little extra money so they could help their Mam.  Times weren’t easy.  They’d initially been inundated by friends and neighbours asking for help, but then that had trickled to a stop as the season progressed.  It was probably two weeks since the last person had called. 
Robbie gripped the doorframe, tapping his fingers against the wood as he looked thoughtfully at Pips. 
“Maybe,” he finally said.  Pips nodded, his eyes sliding to try and look behind him.
“Could I come in for a minute?”
Robbie stiffened slightly just as Celandine called out from inside.
“Who is it, Robert?”
He said back over his shoulder, “Neighbour.  Pips.”
“Ask him in for some tea, son.”  Ever the hospitable one was Celandine Douglas.  Robbie’s lips twisted in a wry smile at that thought then he turned back to Pips. 
“Alright.  Come in.” 
                                                            * * *
Pips looked around the small, yet cosy kitchen not much different to his and Elliott’s.  Though neither of them cooked much and there was a lot less clutter in their house.  The cupboards were in the same place; the counters, the sink…but of course this dwelling had its own personal flare.  A bunch of lavender hanging from a hook above the stove; the fresh aroma tickling at Pips’ nostrils.  Assorted picture frames with family photos… two young boys smiling in scattered images.  He and Elliott had nothing like that on their walls. 
“Tea?” The woman that the boy introduced as his mother, Celandine, approached him holding a teapot.  His first impression was of the pot that was being held at his eye level.  Yes, it was an actual flowery porcelain item like what his own mother would’ve owned back when she was still alive.  He didn’t like to think on that too much.  He forced a smile, nodding slightly.
“Thanks.  Black, no sugar.” 
She smiled, the crow’s-feet at the corners of her eyes deepening, as she turned to pour the tea.  Pips observed her for a moment; her dark hair was pulled back in a messy bun, wisps escaping around her face.  Her expression was warm, even if it were a little world-worn.  And, she was careful with the pouring of the tea…meticulous.  Like his own mother. 
Halting that thought, he glanced over at the boy. Robert was now sitting next to an older boy at the table.  Obviously his brother; they had the same eyes, the same eyebrows. 
“So.  The mowing?”
Robert lifted his eyebrows.  “I did say maybe.”
Pips chuckled.  “You did.” 
His brother snorted as he stood and said, “Robbie says ‘maybe’ to everything.  Usually means no.”  He pointed at himself.  “I’m the one who usually ends up doing everything.”
Pips smirked as Robbie scowled, shoving at his brother’s shoulder.  “Piss off, aye.”
“Robert,” Celandine said, scolding him gently.  Reminding Pips again of his own mother.  He was forever getting told off for little infractions when he was younger.  Maybe if she’d lived longer he wouldn’t have ended where he did…
“Sorry, Josh,” Robbie said, but without any conviction.  “Anyway, we go back to school soon.” He met Pips gaze. 
Pips lifted his shoulders.  “This would just be on the weekends.” 
Joshua scoffed again and said, “We don’t have school.  Robbie’s twenty-one.” 
Pips brows scrunched together as he managed not to say the words that tingled at the tip of his tongue.  The kid looked fifteen.  Which, if what Joshua said was true, was definitely misleading.  The lankiness of his limbs and the babyface was what had confused him. 
“So, what do you do then?” Pips asked, admittedly a little curious. 
A strange look flickered across Robbie’s face.  Pips only just caught it, then it was gone as the kid replied in a soft voice.
“Work for the City,” he said, his top lip curling on the words. 
Joshua said, rudely, “He’s a Flusher.” 
“Shut up, Joshua,” Robbie said, his cheeks reddening. 
Pips stared hard at the kid, surprised.  Flushers were not given any respect.  It was the least of the City jobs; cleaning up the waste and doing other menial tasks that the rest of the citizens would not deign to do.  To hear that this boy was one of…those… it was almost worse than being a criminal.  Robbie glared back at him, as if daring him to make a comment.  He took the dare.
“I’ve never met anyone from the Residences who does that job.” 
Robbie’s lips twisted into a bitter smile.  “Aye.  Wasn’t a choice.  Had no aptitude for anything else after school.” That same strange flicker passed across his features again, gone as soon as Pips tried to focus on it. 
“You sell yourself short,” Joshua said, his tone surprisingly gentle.  Pips smiled a little, recognising a little of Elliott in the elder boy’s words.  Elliott was always telling him the same thing.  Robbie started to roll his eyes.  His brother punched his shoulder. 
“You always say that.  Anyway, the things I can do…well.” Robbie shook his head.  “Not allowed to do.” 
Pips brow furrowed.  “What do you mean, kid?”
The boy met his gaze, dark eyebrows drawn tight together.  “Why’re you interested?”
Pips lifted his shoulders.  “No reason.  So…?”
Robbie sighed then smiled a little.  “Alright.  I’ll mow your lawn.  For a price.”
Pips snorted and said, “We can talk price when you come over…tomorrow okay for you?”
Robbie smirked.  “I could come now, but Mam needs help with chores.”  The longsuffering tone to his voice held a certain amount of affection, which made Pips feel suddenly sad.  His parents were long gone…but that was a history he didn’t like thinking about. 

He nodded to Robbie then smiled as Celandine came over with a cup, handing it to him.  He smiled in thanks and took a long sip.

Posted in 2014, fiction, my writing, Writing

The Uprising – Thoughts and Prologue

I have finally started planning my full length original novel.  It is very loosely based on my A7X fanfic, Shadows Creed; however the plot, and character motivations are different.

The basic premise is this:

It is 2025.  The Creed controls everything.  Peace reigns after the War of Words.  Music has been banned.  But, there has been rumours of the rise of The Mus.  

The Mus is a mysterious renegade who provokes the Creed through random acts of daring, playing music in the most unlikeliest of places.  No one has any idea of who it may be, except for Pips Preston who has just been released from prison.

Their worlds merge and become the catalyst for a revolution that will change the lives of everyone they know and love.

Main Cast:
Robbie Douglas [Thomas Brodie-Sangster]
Daniel McTavish [Alex O’Loughlin]
Philip “Pips” Preston [Pierre Bouvier]
Elliott Preston [Jim Sturgess]

I will now share the prologue with you and the banner.  Enjoy.
~~~~~

“Let’s go home.”
Valoren City
1st May, 2025
0415 Hours
It began with the drum sticks.  Long, thin, black with a cobweb clinging for dear life to its length as if the poor spider half-heartedly started then got spooked.  He stared at the sticks for a long time, with not a thought.  Just allowing his eyes to follow the straight lines.  Then, casting his gaze to the laptop next to him.  It sat, perching, on an upturned milk crate the faded metal cover catching the dim light that filtered into the room. 
He inhaled deeply before leaning across to hit a key; placing the tips of the sticks on the edge of the crate. 
Pausing, he checked the monitor, reading the words that scrolled across the screen.  Then with a twist of his lips he proceeded to play.
                                                            * * *
Daniel swore as the alarm by his head jolted him awake.  The incessant beeping sent a murderous impulse through him, but he settled for just slapping the top of his radio until it stopped.  The sudden silence afterwards set his teeth on edge, but then something else…
The speakers outside his window were pulsing.  He grimaced, the skin tightening across his forehead as he brushed sleep aside and dragged his body out of bed.  Making his way to the window, not an easy task with his bed covers in his path.  He must’ve kicked them off during the night. He prised it open so he could listen.
Drumbeats.  Unmistakeable.  Filled the air.  He blinked several times before cursing again.
“You’ve gotta be shitting me,” he said out loud, a groan ending his words. 
He stood still, just listening as his heart rate seemed to match the steady rhythm that the speakers were emitting.  Dragging fingers through his hair he heaved a sigh, shaking his head hard. 
“Coffee,” he muttered through clenched teeth.  “Coffee…then I’ll deal with it.”  He slammed his window shut to block out the sound.  “Coffee…” he repeated as he made the journey across his room to the door. 
                                                            * * *
Freedom.  Such an overrated word.  True freedom didn’t exist in the City.  Pips knew that better than anyone.  He was out.  Standing outside the gates of The Astor.  But, he wasn’t really out.  No one ever was once they’d been incarcerated.  Too little trust was gained.  But, that didn’t really matter.  For the moment, he felt a certain sense of liberty. 
Tugging at the sleeves of his hoodie as he scanned the long stretch of road he felt a smile tug at the corners of his lips when he recognised his brother’s beatup truck heading his way.  Elliott Preston was as reliable as ever.  Like clockwork that guy was always where he needed to be. And right now, Pips was grateful that his brother was coming to get him. 
He lifted a hand in greeting as the truck came to a shuddering halt in front of him.  Elliott jumped out and grabbed him in a bone-crushing embrace.
“Bro…”
Pips returned the embrace just as hard.  Elliott winced a little, pulling back.
“Man, you packed it on.”
Pips chuckled, low, shaking his head.  “Well, I didn’t take up knitting in there.”  His brother squeezed his bicep in response to that.
“Come on, let’s go home.” 
Pips exhaled, a rough sound as he looked toward the truck.  Home.  And freedom…not that he would ever really be free.  No one ever was in the City.  But, at least they could pretend that it was true.  


Posted in 2013, 2014, life, updates

Update on my life.

So, it’s been a long time since I’ve written on this blog.  And, so much has happened.  I’m coming into my third year at my childcare centre and we are in the middle of preparing for one of the many Jewish festivals that they celebrate. (It’s a Jewish childcare centre).

I’ve helped my friend with her short film and I’ve done many exciting things in the past fifteen months or so.  Saw Simple Plan again for the third time.  And, I got to meet the guys again thanks to a friend here in Perth. 

I’ve recently joined a new connect group and as it is Lent I’ve decided to give up something.  Namely, Simple Plan.  So, this is the last time I’m referring to them until after Easter. 

I’m trying to eat healthier and spend less money.  It’s not easy, because I think I’m an impulse buyer.  I also have a habit of buying when things come out, right away.  I need to practise restraint or ask for things as gifts instead.  For birthday’s and Christmas. 

I’ve been writing more of The Baker Tapes, which has been starting and stopping.  I have up to chapter five completed and started on chapter six.  It’s interesting that writing wise it’s a lot easier to write about the guys in A7X than it is about, you know which band. 

I’ve also been reading a lot of good books.  Started a devotional with my friend and finished a few good novels recommended by my mum.  I think that when I read a lot it really aids in my writing.  There is, I believe, a correlation between people who read a lot and can write well. 

Footy season starts in four days.  Collingwood play Fremantle on Friday night.  I can’t wait for the season to kick off.  Though I have been getting more into the summer cricket this year.  So, so stoked that Australia won the Urn back.

Last but not least, I’ve been refocusing on God. 

Shine Jesus Shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze Spirit blaze
Set our hearts on fire

Flow river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord
And, let there be Light.