We said goodbye to Rosie last week.

She was 14 and a half, but you wouldn’t know it to look at her. She was still alert, interested, excited to go wherever you were going. But she couldn’t do that any more. Her body was failing her, letting her spirit down, breaking bit by bit. She just couldn’t come with us any more. We had to say goodbye.

Rosie came into our lives in 2010 when she was just 8 weeks old. We found her through some backyard breeder who posted a classified ad on, I don’t know, Gumtree I think? Or even the fucking Quokka, if anyone remembers that? We didn’t know what we were doing. We just wanted a puppy, and she saw us sitting there on the grass in some bloke’s yard in Wanneroo, and she got up and left her littermates behind, and wandered over to come and say hello to us. And we got a puppy.

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The Takeover

“The elites are taking over,” the man told me as we stood in line together at the coffee shop. He had a common and sensible face, the sort of bloke who I could instantly see was, like myself, a graduate with honours summa cum dilligaf from the School of Hard Knocks.

He was gesturing at the paper on the table nearby; a fifteen-page spread from an everyday multinational media conglomerate explaining how one of their columnists had been fired simply for being racist to a child.  “See that? They’re taking over,” he repeated.

“That’s the elites for you,” I agreed. “They think they’re better than us.”

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Getting Over Watch

Lately Jess and I have been playing less and less Overwatch, down from 15-20 hours a week (if not more) to two, three or even zero hours. Without meaning to, we kind of drifted away from a game where each of us have sunk a nearly four-digit number of hours, which is easily a record for the both of us. It’s on my mind a lot lately and I really just want to get some thoughts down on paper about why that is.

A lot of it comes back to the new Role Queue system. Blizzard introduced Role Queue in July last year, strictly limiting the 6-person team to two DPS, two tanks, and two supports. If you ask Blizzard why they did this, they’ll say it was to make sure games remain “fair and fun”. If you ask literally any member of the community they will tell you in no uncertain terms it was because the GOATS composition was an unstoppable strategy which was dominating all levels of play and making things boring at best and stupid at worst.

Named after the team who invented it and used it to steamroll everyone, the GOATS composition is as simple as it is effective. Ignoring DPS entirely and only having three tanks and three healers creates an unstoppable rolling murderball of endless barriers and hitpoints with a surprising amount of damage output (mostly because some of Blizzard’s “tank” characters are just DPS characters who switched their name-tags when Jeff Kaplan’s back was turned).

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Never Tweet

Every union member knows that the CIA will attempt to murder them sometime, although I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be in the form of a tweet that encouraged its employees to practice deep breathing on a #wellnesswednesday. What happened to the good old fashioned ‘trip-and-fall down an elevator shaft onto some bullets’? Would it have killed them to smuggle Soviet-branded weapons into the country, put those weapons into the hands of corrupt soldiers, and then organise a masked death squad to come to my house and blame it on Russia? Would it have killed me as well? Yes, I suppose so. Fucking hell.

How is anyone supposed to deal with this level of comically absurd, transparently asinine, boringly dystopian, nightmare world hellshit? I logged off immediately following that tweet in an act of instinctual self-preservation, like the way your reptile brain engages to snatch your hand away from a fire before your higher brain functions have had their morning coffee. Feeling a bit down after organising the assassination of a democractically elected leader? Got a case of the Mondays after diverting a black ops budget into a cheeky bit of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing? Why not get yourself a standing desk? Fucking hell. Just kill me (please don’t).

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Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 3)

Previously: Red Meat Republic, by Joshua Specht

Ethics in the Real World, Peter Singer

Before we get started: I received a copy of this book from a friend of mine as a thanks for helping them at work. The book included a personal annotation which meant, and continues to mean, a lot to me, and honestly made me tear up a little when I received it. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me for putting this book through the wringer like I have. I think the world of you and I’m so touched and grateful.

I was in Perth city in early November, catching up with an old friend. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I noticed that there was a homeless man sleeping outside the Westpac bank branch there, just across from the train station entrance. Several people commented loudly that they needed to step around the man to get into the building, and that he was inconveniencing them with his presence.

I was struck at that moment by the depressing, shitty irony of this situation: here was a man with no home, sleeping outside of a bank which owns millions of them. Even though Westpac has the means and the resources to trivially give this man a home, they deliberately do not, and they are lauded for it. Meanwhile the homeless man and anyone else in his situation are considered a problem to be managed, barely above the level of a rat or a cockroach.

Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 3)