Music Monday – I actually remembered two weeks in a row!

I was sitting at my desk, looking for a wall to ram my head into to dull the pain my writer’s block was causing when it suddenly struck me.

It is Monday, right now, somewhere in the world. And I have not posted a Monday Music post yet.

I should fix that. This will be easy and might be more effective pain relief than bouncing my head against a brick wall. Definitely less damaging (to the wall) than hitting it against a plaster wall.

Effective pain relief? Yes. Less damaging? Yes. Easy? Err… Why do I have so many songs in that bookmark folder? I have a music bookmarks folder? I don’t remember most of these. I am going to need to listen to them until I find the right one for the week. NOOO!

I ended up going with The Dead South, In Hell I’ll be in Good Company. The lyrics make about as much sense to me as the world has in the last week.

A Random Thought from Thursday

I thought I should launch into a description of Australians in general. Now don’t get me wrong, there are Aussies of many types, and some will disagree with what I say here. We have our uptight few, we have our tree huggers, corporatists, and everything in between.

But in my experience, if you want to understand Aussies, portray them successfully, or get along with them, you need to understand one thing. At the core, we can’t take anything too seriously. We need to find a funny side or do something to break overwrought tension.

Not to the point where it becomes dangerous, at least usually. (There is always that one guy who takes it too far, am I right?) But to the point where people can relax.

There is a part of us that revels in irreverence and what we call ‘Shit-stirring.’ This is not bullying in most cases. (See the comment above.) It is something we do to raise everyone on our side’s spirits.

An excellent example of this can be found in two stories from World War Two. They are probably apocryphal, but they speak to Aussies. Note – some people may not want to read either of these stories, especially the second one. The first one is more on the line of a practical joke mixed with psychological warfare. The second is more bloody and bloodthirsty. This was war, after all.

Both start with Aussie units at Tobruk. It sometimes starts or ends with, ‘the patrol leaders would go on to help form the Australian SAS.’

On deep patrol, within enemy siege line, the unit encountered an Italian Army camp. Slipping past the guards, they found no one else in the camp awake. Rather than cause chaos by attacking the supply dump, they did something more subtle. One of the soldiers spoke, read, and wrote Italian.

The CO knew eliminating a single company or battalion would do little to relieve the siege. He took out a field notebook and pencil and told the trooper to write ‘You’re dead’ on the top and bottom of the page for the back half of the notebook.

After tearing them out carefully, he distributed them to his men and had them sneak into each tent. The men were to leave them on every second Italian trooper. Then they were to steal the left boot from the foot of the camp bed of every Italian soldier who did not receive a note.

The patrol retreated before dawn and waited, hidden, but close enough to the Italian camp to observe it through binoculars. Pandemonium erupted from within when the soldiers awoke and discovered the notes, accusations thrown at soldiers who seemed to think it was a prank from one of the guards. Then they found the missing left boots…

The next one, also at Tobruk, is about a unit of Australian Combat Engineers, and may actually be true. Shifting enemy mines was a priority for the commander at Tobruk, an Australian, Leslie Morehead, then a Brigadier. The Germans in WW2 were well known for laying out mines in a set pattern. This was so they could raid across their own minefields and retreat safely behind them.

The Australians had captured a German officer who had on him a copy of the standard mine layout. The CO of this unit had memorized it, and when his unit discovered a German minefield, he decided to do something about it. He and his men lifted all but four mines – the ones at the edges of the fields. Rearranging them randomly, they then pulled back and waited.

That night, a German unit moved through the minefield. Several of their men were blown up by mines where they should not have been. Trying to retreat, they encountered more mines.

One German soldier, perhaps a bit smarter than the others, saw a rock nearby. Jumping onto it, he found safety. Seeing another rock he could leap to that was close to the German side of the minefield, he jumped for it.

The rock and the man who landed on it were blown up by a booby trap. In addition to shifting the mines, the combat engineers had rigged several rocks in the minefield with explosive booby traps.

The Aussie units in Tobruk were given the nickname ‘The Rats of Tobruk.’ To have been a Rat became, and still is, in my opinion, a badge of honor. They even have a Veteran’s Association, complete with commemorative insignia.

Perhaps a more modern and less military example will be helpful.

Let us take ARSE. This is a parody space agency. The initials stand for Australian Research and Space Exploration. Yet a part of me, and of many Australians, I am sure, sorta wish our government had the balls to name the space agency this.

(They went with the boring, and often lost in the noise, ASA, ‘Australian Space Agency.’ It sounds disappointingly like a sub-section of NASA.)

While ARSE would not have been respected as a name outside the country, I reckon many locals would have been getting behind it and pushing hard. It would also be a reminder that in any serious project, you need to have a little fun. You need to enjoy the work you are doing, no matter how serious. Laughter and humor are always important.

Even with a name like that, it would have attracted people with talent. Maybe some of them would be a little off the wall. Who cares? Another word for people who are a bit unusual is innovators.

A bit of larrikinism that doesn’t hurt anyone should always be enjoyed.

If you enjoyed the military stories in this post, you may well enjoy The Pandora Solution HERE

If you enjoy both you may also enjoy Mage and Mate, co-written with Taki Drake, HERE

Music Monday Returns, Take Two: Curse My Name by Blind Guardian

Hi all.

I found this band while listening to another on Youtube. Then I discovered that another of my favorite bands had covered one of their songs. So I decided to take a good long listen to them while writing.

Usually, I write through music. It takes either an awful song, or a great song, to pull me out while I write. This is, in my opinion, an example of the latter. I have had to remove it from my Writing playlist and put it into one (okay, several) of my others. I would call this song Folk Metal, although Blind Guardian’s music crosses a lot of territory in Metal sub-genres.

Hope you enjoy!

 

New Chapter – No votes this week

Hello Everyone

Just dropping by to inform you that despite everything, I did manage to finish the next chapters of Hunter’s Apprentice.

You can find chapter 10 HERE (or click on the cover, I linked it too.)

I hope you enjoy them, and any other story that people have posted.

Have a good day, everyone.

Paul C. Middleton

P.S.

Here are the links to past chapters for you to enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Here

Chapter 2 & 3 – Here

Chapter 4 & 5 – Here

Chapter 6 & 7 – Here

Chapter 8 & 9 – Here

Look forward to more chapters in the Hunter’s Apprentice serial every fortnight!

I will try and re-start my Music Monday posts as well. I also hope to soon have regular snippets for you all, and to update you on my works in progress.

Sorry about being so scatterbrained. Sorry about the delays everywhere. Life got in the way. Hopefully I have clearer skies going forward.

Thanks again

Paul C. Middleton.

Cover Reveal and link to Hunter’s Apprentice Ch 8 and 9 on Inanna’s Game. Please vote for one of the entries!

Hello Everyone

Just dropping by to inform you that despite everything, I did manage to finish the next two chapters of Hunter’s Apprentice.

You can find them HERE (or click on the cover, I linked it too.)

I hope you enjoy them, and any other story that people have posted.

Have a good day, everyone.

Signing off for a day of writing,

Paul C. Middleton

 

Apologies… It has been a rough week.

I am sorry that my ‘plan’ to start posting regularly has failed for the time being.

This week has been a perfect example of how 2020 has felt for many people out there.

On Sunday night, I broke a tooth, but that got fixed Tuesday. I had planned to post this yesterday as a short and whiny piece about dentists. Perhaps something a little serious and a little funny.

Then I found out that a friend of mine passed in his sleep two nights ago. I feel so powerless, hundreds of kilometers away, and unable to help his family if they asked or if they need it.

He was a great friend and someone who did his best to be a good person. He died in his sleep. He was only a few years older than I am.

I apologize to all of you, but it will be a week or more before I can pull myself together enough to have a chance at posting regularly.

I hope you understand.

Thank you.

Paul C. Middleton.

Music Monday Returns

Welcome back to Music Monday after a hiatus.

I figure people could use a pick me up. I certainly needed one, so I looked through my older playlists and found this gem.

I hope you find it just as uplifting.

Hope you have a good day!

Signing out,
Paul C. Middleton.

Whoops. Here are the links for my serial, sorry I forgot to keep updating

Hi all. Sorry I have forgotten to keep you updated on the Serial I have been writing.

I hope to make up for that today.

Chapter 1 – Here

Chapter 2 & 3 – Here

Chapter 4 & 5 – Here

Chapter 6 & 7 – Here

Look forward to more chapters in the Hunter’s Apprentice serial every fortnight!

I will try and re-start my Music Monday posts as well. I also hope to soon have regular snippets for you all, and to update you on my works in progress.

Sorry about being so scatterbrained.

Oh, and please try to read all the stories in the last link and vote for the one you think is best!

Hunters Apprentice Serial: Chapter 2 and 3 Released


I have started to release a new story – outside of the Mongrelverse – in a serialized form as part of the Inanna’s Game cycles.
Called Hunter’s Apprentice, I am aiming for an adventure sorta story that is more appropriate for my younger readers than my existing works.
You can find the first chapter HERE
The second and third chapters are HERE (This is the one with voting still open)
Don’t forget to read the other stories authors are posting, and vote on whoever you find wrote the best one! no need to vote for me if you think another story is better!

Tales from the Carer’s Coalface

First, a picture of the beagles. These dogs are lifesavers. My partner and I call them ‘nurse beagles’ because they alert to her grand mal seizures.

I am a carer for my partner. She suffers from severe epilepsy (among other things.) Most of the time, it manifests as petit mal seizures. She has these daily, several times a day. When she has them, my partner basically stops – most of the time, she drops whatever she is holding, and she pauses as if lost in stasis.

For example, if she was speaking, she would pause mid-sentence and continue immediately upon coming out of the seizure. They can last anywhere from thirty seconds to thirty minutes. Re-arranging life and living around this is relatively easy. As they are more common when she is tired, we tend to do daily tasks early in our ‘day.’ The longer absence seizures happen when she is relaxing or sitting down and reading, which makes it impossible for me to detect them until after the fact most of the time.

I want my partner to have independence. If I was constantly checking on her, it would be too intrusive, but I admit it is a balancing act.

Then there are the bad days. Today has been one of the worst we have had in years. At 0500 I was woken up by the beagles. Veida had woken to do something and had a grand mal seizure. I quickly got a pillow under her head. (I did not put anything in her mouth. If you find yourself helping someone who is seizing, do not put anything in their mouth. Ever. Best case, you get injured. Worst case, you will break their teeth. Move furniture away from them. Do not try to restrain them. You will get hurt if you try to restrain a seizing person.)

So, I checked her head for bumps and, finding none, bundled her back into bed. Due to the amnesia from the seizure, she does not know why she woke up

Then I dozed off. I was woken up again at 0830 by a dropped saucepan. I rushed out with a pillow in hand. I know grand mal seizures can cluster, and feared that this was happening. I was, unfortunately, correct. I quickly got the pillow under her head and moved a bench on wheels out of the way.

I then started to plan a trip to Accident & Emergency. As a carer, you have to be aware of patterns. Veida usually has 3-4 grand mal seizures in a year, commonly occurring over a month or a little more. 2 seizures in less than six hours is way off pattern. I needed to get advice.

As it turns out, there is nothing wrong with her according to all the tests. Hopefully, it stays that way.

But this is where I may vent a little. I have found it hard, even among other carers, to find people who understand the eggshells I will be walking on. The nerves I will have for the next two or three weeks will make much of my life harder. Because grand mal seizures strike from nowhere in our experience, I will spend that time being hypervigilant and alert to any aberrant sound.

People who have not experienced it have trouble understanding the strain this can cause a person. Maybe that is why I felt the need to post about it. There is a lack of support for carers out there. Always has been, and it feels like it is getting worse.