Great heavens, has it been nearly four months ALREADY, since my warped wrap-up of 2017?
Honestly I find that hard to believe, but as I stare at the clock on my computer, I'm forced to confront the fact that yes, it is mid-April, the year has certainly reached breakneck speed, and I'm struggling to keep pace as always.
Anyways, for the first time in 2018, glorious greetings to you gallant goombas, AussieDidge here with this bumper 2018 quarterly edition of the Didge Digest; as always presenting the tip-top tiptoe through this tome to tell you the crack, the news, the good word of my life.
For the first three months of 2018, you'll bear witness as always to the ups, downs and all 'rounds of how this year has begun for me, and sadly, I regret that I haven't kept everyone as regularly updated as I would like.
Before I begin, apologies in advance to those who loathe my long-winded language. Given that I'm going to express THREE MONTHS worth of events in one entry, there's going to be details upon details, yet little time to express it all.
As always, here's the rundown of sorts for what I'm going to discuss. For a change of pace, I'm going to detail events by month rather than by category, and go from there. Beginning from January, we have:
Now I completely understand if this is a lot to take in initially, but I'm trying a new format here and hoping to see what works, and what doesn't. Hopefully there's a succinct smorgasbord of sweet stuff to sample, but enough bullshit, let's get to the real shit!
It sadly grants me no joy, and does my health no favours, to continue discussing the shambled system that's the Australian unemployment scheme.
I'm one of a lucky few to not have financial burdens looming over my shoulder (public universities are great for that, I guess), but continued appointments with my provider, Employment Plus, has proven fruitless so far.
That said, in the months since I joined their team, two particular meetings, one on the 15th, the other on the 29th, stood out as being immensely more helpful than anything my previous provider had ever done.
It was a chance to write and buff up our resumes, with advice coming from a long-time former colleague and one with decades of experience in retail. We all covered those cover letters, the ultimate best-impression document, tips for nailing interviews, and finally, a mock one-on-one interview with the 'boss' himself.
Given that all this advice was free, it was actually useful to hone my writing skills with regards to what employers wanted, how to stand out among hundreds of other, better applicants, and where to get started.
I took down notes, snapped pictures of various slideshows, listened to YouTube videos in-house... Anything to get my career going. The 15th went by quite well, and while I sadly missed out on the 22nd, which was "Marketing to Employers", I got into a mock interview on the 29th.
So of course that meant more pressure on my shoulders to start finding jobs. Such is the story of one AussieDidge.
Well, after those classes, on the 15th I would walk to the nearby plaza (not even half a mile away) and join with my parents to have some lunch, buy some clothes, and of course, devour more books. In fact, there were two new titles to add to the collection.
As far as clothes went, they mainly focused around tracksuits; nice, comfortable pants for inside wear when I wanted to relax. Even though I struggle for room in my wardrobe (or so my Mum would have you believe), you can never run out of things to wear.
Aside from clothes shopping, book-reading and job searching, my continuing desire to write came to the fray.
I would contribute plenty of answers to Quora, a question-and-answer forum like Yahoo Answers, but greater, reworking dozens of my old poetry, with rhyme and rhythm changes in many cases, and generally keeping the skills as sharp as I could.
Y'know, as perhaps as sad as it sounds, might be that my way with words will determine the course of my life.
As far as new books went, I collected a few and read them all recently, they included:
In their own ways, I enjoyed all three, but especially the first and second one. Eamon Evans, of Tanked, and Jim Haynes, of GAS (huh, how appropriate a pair) had written some amazing books about Australian culture, human debauchery, and more with great humour and story-telling weaved in. I'd heartily recommend them both.
Lastly for this month, I remained working at the Salvos, where at that point, I was honestly starting to grow bored of the whole thing. I've seen so many people come and go, whether through program ends & starts, or being a giant dick to others, and I've seen nothing change that much.
It feels a damn sight near purgatory, when each task feels the same and you can have good ideas who'll be there on what day. And at that point, it's been a year and change. I know for damn sure that I want to seek new ventures, perhaps self-learn again, and even join a social group or two... Soon, I'll be able to do just that.
As quick as 2018 arrived and begun, it left with little fanfare as February rolled around. What was going to be in store for little old me at this time?
Well, I'll begin by continuing to mention my writing, and it was more or less the same, with a nice little twist added to the mix. As always, I contributed more answers to Quora, reworked another selection of my rhymes, and generally tried to keep the skills sharp in some way.
The neat twist at the end came about on the 24th of February.
So I jumped into Quora as I did and I would check my notifications, my little messages for any comments, meaningful discussions, anything worth spending my time on. Well, I get this guy who's sent a message, named Jonathan Brill.
Okay, what does he want? No-one sends me messages on there...
Well, I open up, and find out that, after less than four months since joining Quora (no, I'm not kidding) I had been named as a Top Writer for the year (in late February, but details, schmetails.)
I was suspicious at first, then in complete disbelief as I looked through the guy's profile for legitimacy, and everything checked out. Far as writing went, it was wonderful to be recognised for trying to contribute valuable answers.
Of course, that excitement died down a little bit considering who else became Top Writers that time; long overdue and well-deserving contributors well before I should've had a chance.
Many years and thousands of answers, compared to my four months and 200 answers at the time.
In addition to such an honour, I would also receive a Top Writer Welcome Package, which involved a free one-year subscription to The New York Times, no joke.
That reward would be worth close to THREE HUNDRED dollars,
just going by basic subscription rates. And certainly, various sects of society would have strong, if not spoon-fed, opinions to their legitimacy, but like hell I'm going to complain about such a reward.
So far I've mainly read opinion pieces, but I'm pretty sure I'll tackle actual news articles at some point. It's been good reading so far.
Those good vibes given the stage, I also had lunchtimes with my folks once again, including various dine-ins at a Coffee Club franchise and another favourite restaurant of mine nearby.
We also continued to maintain and track those savings, seeing where our money went. And of course, while we've more or less stayed on top of everything, let's just say that certain annual payments on things can be a real sting in the arse sometimes.
Once again, there was more clothes shopping at Big W, including more tracksuits for yours truly. Not only were they cheap, they were damn comfortable too, and came in three colours; navy blue, grey and black camo.
There was more shopping too, especially where I worked. In among other bobs and bits, I also purchased six lovely drinking glasses, gold-plated, intricately shaped designs, for under ten dollars.
And to think I used to shun shopping in a second-hand store...
Seriously people, it cannot hurt to look. For all the things I've found and purchased there, ranging from old game expansions long disappeared, to wonderful new books, to even leather jackets, I could've saved upwards of hundreds of dollars, saved up for whenever it was needed.
Hell, if I was so desperate, I could probably afford a pair of Yeezys with the money I've saved (on second thought, absolutely not.)
While I've grown ever more certain about my desire to go op-shopping, what had been more uncertain lately is my relationship with Employment Plus.
Assuming things were the same as before, I expected a monthly follow-up on the 14th, Valentine's Day of all days, but as the days crept closer and I kept getting no texts on my phone, I kept debating on whether to call them or not.
In the end, since I was still getting fortnightly payments, and heard nothing of losing or having them affected, I just let it be.
To say the least, I'm still as confused as ever with these guys, and I can assure that, if it weren't for their help with my resume, cover letter and interview skills, I'd place them directly level with my previous provider; as useless, pathetic bags of trash.
So February was a month of nice little highs and rather crummy lows, but I guess that's the get-go. Whether March would turn out any better, that was for me to realise.
March is always marvellous for myself and my folks, especially the month's end, but this year it felt like a very inconsequential month before then.
It was the same old shit at work as always; process some sales, re-arrange clothing racks, keep the store tidy, and occasionally produce new stock for sale, among other minor duties. In amongst this mindless busywork, I have tended to enjoy chatting to various colleagues and customers, trying anything to pass the time.
I'll give it straight... I absolutely CANNOT wait to get out of there. I really like the people working there, and most customers are quite okay, if not a bit of a nuisance due to their constant haggling, but the tasks are so. damn. repetitive.
I kept wondering when it would be over, but of course, asking around work never seemed to grant an answer. There was perhaps only one source to go to...
A source that, again, continued their lack of communication with me this month, almost like I had been cut out of the loop entirely. It left me thinking as to whether I should actually call them up and ask what was going on, or whether to confirm if I had actually finished up or not.
Again, I was still receiving my regular payments, so whether it was wise to get clarity and potentially upset the gravy train, I just wasn't certain. Once again, I erred on blissful ignorance and chose not to get in touch. Not like my provider and I are friends, and even if they were, they'd be awful ones to keep.
So for the most part, nothing really significant happened during the month, outside of your usual retail therapy, good appetites and hard slogs at work, but at the end of the month, we had quite a number of special occasions to celebrate.
On the weekend prior, seeing that we were working on the day, my family got together to celebrate my 26th birthday. And boy, we certainly enjoyed it like it was nobody's business.
On Saturday, we would go to see Black Panther, a movie I was intrigued to see for many reasons, chief among them the majority black cast who would carry a film for the first time I ever knew. First things first, we had some munchies, a little bit of take-away to avoid the robber baron prices charged for snacks at the nearby cinema.
Once that was over, it was time to see the movie. Throughout the two hours or so, I found myself enjoying this movie more and more. Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, two of the most insanely ripped gentlemen I had ever seen, portrayed great characters in King T'Challa and Killmonger, with very unique, somewhat relatable stories to tell.
The visuals were beautiful to watch; from the spirit plane to various on-location sites like Busan in South Korea, and the fights and choreography were definitely something else.
When the main villain was someone you could actually feel empathy for, as his story was revealed piece by piece, and a man who deserved more than what he got, you could partway feel for his motivations. However, his desire to rule and conquer, plunging the world into utter war and destruction, well that could quickly pull you back.
And for the relatively short time he was on screen, Andy Serkis (yes, Gollum of all people) was just absolutely fucking WONDERFUL
as the ruthless mercenary Klaue. His manic delivery, gleefully youthful fun and Don-inspired dialogue ('cause that shit be hammy) made him so awesome
For me, it was worth a solid eight out of ten, a great movie through and through, that proved many things to me. The quality, success and lasting appeal could only improve such prospects for more movies with unique casts like this, and if this was the result, like hell I'm complaining.
We would have an amazing dinner and drinks after the show, and then it was back home to relax. Overall, a great night, one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Barring Sunday for its more usual routine, it was back to work on Monday, when my birthday actually fell. Not much of a particularly special day, but hearing my colleagues' surprise upon reveal and their best wishes made it quite nice compared to other days.
Two days after that was another very special occasion; my parents' 31st wedding anniversary. Yes folks, that's 31 whole YEARS together, not your half-assed 6-month 'anniversary' or anything. Seriously, you could use words like 'celebration' instead.
Ultimately not much happened there either, but I think they ended up going shopping, and my Dad, lo and behold, would pick-up the newest Far Cry game, which admittedly featured some really gorgeous graphics of the backwater country town of Hope County, Montana.
And right after that, for the first time I can recall, Easter was falling right at the start of April, rather than two weeks in. So birthday presents, movies, games, family, celebrations and now chocolates... See why I love this month so much?
Oh, and in addition, I ended up finishing all of my old reworks, about 70 of them, by the month's end. Since then it has been about coming up with ideas for various poetry books, and I gotta tell ya, it's been a struggle thinking of titles for household items and hobbies... Something tells me it's the kind of thing that won't happen overnight.
So unbelievably, a quarter of the year, of 2018, has vanished in a mere blink of an eye. In spite of this, I have made some progress towards certain areas, and intend to continue doing so into the future.
My writing has progressed nicely as I continue contributing answers to Quora, and work on new titles and potential storyboards for my would-be books, but of course, it has meant that other plans I did have; learning to drive, joining social clubs, researching things, has fallen by the wayside. Clearly, need to work on those.
Of course, it would be nice to leave the Salvos and Employment Plus and try to strike out on my own. Perhaps EP have known of this, and left me to do so, and while it has been much harder than I first imagined, I obviously can't give up.
Knowing full well I don't want a repeat of the useless year that was 2017, I would hope that the next nine months of 2018, a pregnant pause if ever there was one, prove to be productive, prosperous and preferably painless (like that's gonna happen!)
To sum up this whole journal, and the 3,000 words and change I've written for it thus far, maybe I am finding a little direction with my life, for the first time in forever. Or, maybe it'll be the same useless chicken chase, and I'll have to think of other plans instead.
But I will find my calling, I will find my piece in this massive jigsaw puzzle of life, and someway or another, I will mark my legacy.
Thank you all for getting this far and reading, I hope to be back with more regular updates, and for what it's worth, I wish you farewell and all the best, wherever in the world you may wander.