phocks observations on life, the universe, and nothing

Anti-Social Behaviour

On the 1st of December 2014 I decided it was time to have a break from social media. Way back in 2007 I happened to stumble upon a little website called Twitter.

Soon afterwards I joined Facebook, later Instagram came along, and of course Tumblr, and then about a million more online enterprises vying for my time.

After 7 years or so that initial spark had certainly dwindled. For most of these sites I found that I was only updating them and checking them out of pure daily habit or because I felt almost obligated to stay active. And so I got the idea late November that I wanted to see what it was like not be beholden to any of these websites each day, just for a little while. I even went back to using my old Nokia phone with a whole week of battery life.

It was great! The taste of freedom!

Of course I didn’t abstain from the internet completely. During the month away I have been looking for a new job, working on my own projects, and tending to other obligations and commitments. I also found that the fine line that distinguishes social media from the rest of the internet is often very vaguely defined. That became largely what drew my excess attention during those days. In a way, email is still the largest social media platform in the known universe. At least I made it to inbox zero.

And now as the month wears thin and the time to return calls me back to that great social stream, I can appreciate the time spent apart. I did get quite a few things done. All those things I wanted to get done without additional undue distraction. But I also learnt that the art of procrastination and distraction is an ancient one, one easily found, even in the absence of a few major social media platforms.

In the end I truly believe it doesn’t really matter how many social networks you are active on at any given time. In any life, productivity and procrastination will forever be locked in that eternal battle for the mind and for all time.


After an inexplicable and inexcusable absence last year (actually it was mostly because I was over in Europe travelling and whatever), I have decided to return to NaNoWriMo this year to see if I still had it in me. Last year was the first time since 2004 that I’ve actually not written a novel in November! It was a bit strange.

Anyway it’s day 5 and I’ve still not given up. I seem to even be on track somehow with my wordcount, having last night just broken 6666 words. Here’s my opener:

The River winds on. A hundred thousand million billion trillion molecules of hydrogen atom pairs bonded to oxygen flow in millisecond intervals out to sea. Impurities abound, collected, deposited, added to along the way, from high mountain top rains through all the twists and turns of water cycle samsara. It’s a trap. We rise high; we trickle low.

All the world is a window. Looking through, one warm, hazy October night was Willow. The ferris wheel had stopped, frozen in time. From that height, the river’s twin winding water-lines, both upstream and down met his field of vision, each meandering off into dual distant horizons. His own faded reflection in the window also bounced back against the glass. A chance percentage of photons flash-danced in quantum space, and returned back from where they came. The cityscape hung as a glowing red, green, & blue, neon, jagged backdrop against a dark sky.

And it gets progressively worse from there!

Just as an almost side-note, as I am using Google Docs this year to write my novel, there is a feature where you can share your work publicly and even allow comments on it from the anonymous viewers. I probably won’t keep this public for very long, but I thought it might be an interesting experiment. Here’s the link anyway if you want to experience the real-time writing of a really terrible novel in 30 days.

Edit: the above link will now not work. For kicks I’ve decided to put the entire unedited manuscript up on the Amazon Kindle store here

Modern Mouse Art


Here’s what 2.3 hours (from 14:53 to 17:13) of my mouse movements looked like yesterday while working and browsing the web. Track your own mouse art over at IOGraphica, and turn your mouse movements into great works of modern art!

Songs To Pet Kitties To

You can tell a lot about the person from the music they listen to. Put your music device on shuffle and write the first 20 songs that play without skipping. Tag 10 people afterwards.

Tagged by hellskittencouture :)

So here’s the customary I never do these things but, the other day I was tagged by this pretty kitty on tumblr, and I thought what the hell.

Quite surprised by what emerged in the end, like the draw of some musical tarrot cards or something. I wonder however just how much you can tell about a person from this.. have a listen anyway~!

Tagged by hellskittencouture :) from phocks on 8tracks Radio.

Birds of Prey

Velociraptors on a couch

We are going on tour starting Thursday to promote the new album. Jezza asked me for two or three sentences about one of the tracks we recorded in Berlin for a track by track, and I think I went a bit overboard.

When Velociraptor’s European tour at last came to an end, three Raptors stayed behind, thus creating Velociraptor’s “Euro Division” or “EuroRaptors” for short. They wandered far and wide and when news came of the upcoming album they finally came together in Berlin to record over a few days at Simon Berkfinger’s ‘Golden Retriever Studios’. These sessions were then teleported back to Brisbane for a tiny bit of tampering before the final product.

James X. Boyd and I had just been on a day trip to Abbey Road Studios in London (read: Day Tripper, one way ticket yeah), and I had started listening again to a lot of early 60s tunes and also to a lot of those Phil Spector sounding girl group songs of the 60s like ‘Be My Baby’, ‘Baby, I Love You’, ‘Baby Love’, ‘Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby’ to name a few. I didn’t have a guitar when I first started living in London so I came up with the chords on a synth program on my laptop and some of the lyrics, wanting to keep things supremely simple and to the point, and retaining that original Ronettes influence. A few months later up in Edinburgh visiting James X. Boyd, I had bought a guitar by then and wrote the rest of the lyrics and we both fleshed out the structure and demoed the song in James’s cold and grey Edinburgh living room.

I Don’t Know Why (It’s You) was the first song we recorded at Golden Retriever and we intended to knock it over quite quickly and move on to other songs, but it turned out sounding quite nice and we came back later to put in some extra parts. It was was originally quite a bit faster, but Simon Berkfinger persuaded us to experiment a little with the tempo a bit until we got it to that laid-back dreamy feel. It was a little difficult on a tight recording schedule but the aim was to get a touch of that high reverb, high tambourine, wall-of-sound vibe in the song with old 60s stylings and still slipping in some more modern Raptors sounding elements here and there.