10 things I’d do with 10 million dollars

Why is it that some people are luckier than others? Do they just have a knack for being in the right place at the right time? Or is being lucky something you learn, knowing when to take chances and when to hold back?

Sometimes I’m lucky but most of the time I think we make our own luck… but then there’s a story like this one, where someone won $10 million playing Oz Lotto. They live in a town of just 4,000 people and the ticket was bought from the local news agency where another ticket won $100,000 just weeks earlier. That’s some run of luck!

Of course that’s great for them, but it’s made me wonder what I’d do if that ever happened to me (I can dream). The first thing I’d do is go crazy, but $10 million is a lot of money, enough to change my life and others… this is what I’d try to do with it.

  • Buy a house
    That’s the first thing I’d do. Just a small house, maybe three bedrooms, somewhere in Sydney but away from the crowds and noise. Plus some furnishings and a new TV.
    • Investments
      Next I’d pay off family debts and make sure we all had enough savings to live off comfortably. I’d give some money to friends and invest in a property for my parents to live in as well.
      • Self-publish
        I’d also put some money aside for when I wanted to send my work away. If it was repeatedly knocked back then at least I’d have the option to self-publish.
        • Donations
          I’d give 15% to charities and look at starting a scholarship fund for disadvantaged children; the interest alone could pay for several scholarships each year.
          • Pay it forward
            For this I’d draw up a contract, then find 3 people and give them $500,000 each to start a small business. They could keep the profits, but once they’d made $1 million they’d give $500,000 to help someone else. Hopefully it would keep being paid forward to help new people.
            • Start a bookshop
              This is something I’ve always wanted to do, start a secondhand bookshop somewhere in Sydney, with a small coffee shop and weekly poetry readings… it’d be a nice business to keep in family hands. How’s New Leaf Books sound?
              • Travel
                First I’d take my family on a vacation and then put some aside to see more of the world later on. Hopefully I’d get to see Egypt and more of Europe… and Wimbledon, of course.
                • Copyrights
                  This idea I’ve liked since I heard Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia mention it. I’d look at some of the old copyrighted works which are still under licence (texts, music) and buy them out to release into the community. Realistically a few million dollars wouldn’t buy much but it might help to raise awareness for Project Gutenberg and similar projects.
                  • Music
                    Another thing I’ve always wanted to do is to learn to play the guitar and piano. I’d set up an area where someone could teach me without bothering anyone else. I’d also buy all the CDs I’ve wanted over the years.
                    • Rainforest preservation
                      Finally I’d purchase several acres of land for habitat preservation and do more to support The Rainforest Conservation Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.

                    So that’s my list. I wonder what you’d do with $10 million? 馃槈

                    10 things I'd do with 10 million dollars

                    Why is it that some people are luckier than others? Do they just have a knack for being in the right place at the right time? Or is being lucky something you learn, knowing when to take chances and when to hold back?

                    Sometimes I’m lucky but most of the time I think we make our own luck… but then there’s a story like this one, where someone won $10 million playing Oz Lotto. They live in a town of just 4,000 people and the ticket was bought from the local news agency where another ticket won $100,000 just weeks earlier. That’s some run of luck!

                    Of course that’s great for them, but it’s made me wonder what I’d do if that ever happened to me (I can dream). The first thing I’d do is go crazy, but $10 million is a lot of money, enough to change my life and others… this is what I’d try to do with it.

                    • Buy a house
                      That’s the first thing I’d do. Just a small house, maybe three bedrooms, somewhere in Sydney but away from the crowds and noise. Plus some furnishings and a new TV.
                      • Investments
                        Next I’d pay off family debts and make sure we all had enough savings to live off comfortably. I’d give some money to friends and invest in a property for my parents to live in as well.
                        • Self-publish
                          I’d also put some money aside for when I wanted to send my work away. If it was repeatedly knocked back then at least I’d have the option to self-publish.
                          • Donations
                            I’d give 15% to charities and look at starting a scholarship fund for disadvantaged children; the interest alone could pay for several scholarships each year.
                            • Pay it forward
                              For this I’d draw up a contract, then find 3 people and give them $500,000 each to start a small business. They could keep the profits, but once they’d made $1 million they’d give $500,000 to help someone else. Hopefully it would keep being paid forward to help new people.
                              • Start a bookshop
                                This is something I’ve always wanted to do, start a secondhand bookshop somewhere in Sydney, with a small coffee shop and weekly poetry readings… it’d be a nice business to keep in family hands. How’s New Leaf Books sound?
                                • Travel
                                  First I’d take my family on a vacation and then put some aside to see more of the world later on. Hopefully I’d get to see Egypt and more of Europe… and Wimbledon, of course.
                                  • Copyrights
                                    This idea I’ve liked since I heard Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia mention it. I’d look at some of the old copyrighted works which are still under licence (texts, music) and buy them out to release into the community. Realistically a few million dollars wouldn’t buy much but it might help to raise awareness for Project Gutenberg and similar projects.
                                    • Music
                                      Another thing I’ve always wanted to do is to learn to play the guitar and piano. I’d set up an area where someone could teach me without bothering anyone else. I’d also buy all the CDs I’ve wanted over the years.
                                      • Rainforest preservation
                                        Finally I’d purchase several acres of land for habitat preservation and do more to support The Rainforest Conservation Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.

                                      So that’s my list. I wonder what you’d do with $10 million? 馃槈

                                      Do You Get Enough Sleep?

                                      Sleep Quiz

                                      Do you remember the scene in Falling Down where Michael Douglas enters the fast food restaurant? He starts to order but the manager refuses to serve him breakfast because he’s two minutes too late. So he snaps, pulls out a gun and starts shooting into the ceiling. That’s what I’ve been feeling like for the last few days.

                                      Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s not far off. I can’t sleep and it’s driving me nuts. I’m a night owl anyway but the last two weeks I’ve been getting 2 hours sleep a night. I’m not tired, not thinking, not doing anything… I just can’t sleep. And I’m probably not much fun to be around either.

                                      My brain’s been too zapped to think of any meaningful posts lately, so I thought I’d post this quiz instead. It seemed like a good match. I’m hoping it’s right and it’s just a “sometimes” thing… if it’s insomnia I’m going to go crazy.

                                      What about you? Do you get enough sleep? Any tips? I’ll take anything I can get. 馃槈

                                      How far is too far?

                                      What do you say on a day like this? Heath Ledger dead at 28… it seems unbelievable. I remember seeing him in Sweat, his first major role; he had such a strong presence that it transcended the screen. There was no doubt he’d go on to bigger things… for it to end so tragically leaves me at a loss for words.

                                      Most people will remember Ledger for his role in Brokeback Mountain but I’ll always remember a scene in Monster’s Ball. He played the son of Billy Bob Thornton, a correctional officer who is overcome as he leads a prisoner to the electric chair. Later he asks if Thornton hates him. His father answers yes. Ledger shoots himself, saying that he always loved him. It’s a torturous scene, sublimely acted… now it seems even sadder.

                                      My thoughts go out to Ledger’s family, his young daughter… this must be so difficult and to live it through the media’s gaze can only make it worse. The coverage was live as Ledger’s body was being taken from his apartment and you could hear the cameraman saying “I’ve got the shot”, others crowding round. Not to mention that apparently Ledger’s parents first heard of his death through a radio report… death isn’t entertainment. Can’t they show a little respect?

                                      Sometimes the media just goes too far. We see it every day with a story about Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan or a dozen other celebrities; there are no boundaries and we just need to look at Anna Nicole Smith to see how it can end. I hope that hasn’t played a part here as well but if it has, shouldn’t we bear some responsibility? We’re attracted to it like a train wreck. At what point do we look away and say they’ve gone too far? Or don’t we even care?

                                      The thing which disturbs me the most is that Ledger seemed distressed by his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. He called the character a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” and it left him mentally exhausted. Perhaps sometimes actors can go too far in pursuit of their art, get so lost that they can’t find their way back. … surely no role is worth that.

                                      No matter how many films I see, in my mind he’ll always be the 16 year old just starting his career, with so much promise… rest in peace, Heath. We’ll miss you and remember you, always.

                                      Songs of my life

                                      Have you ever thought about the music in your life? We all have our favourite songs and albums but then there’s the music that we remember because of what it meant to us at certain times in our lives, the soundtrack to our lives.

                                      I wrote a post a while ago about the soundtrack to my life but I thought afterward that it felt incomplete; it was a list of songs I remembered playing during my life but they weren’t all my favourite songs, the ones that really mean something to me.

                                      So I thought I’d do a second list. These are the 10 songs I think best reflect my life, who I am up until now. It was harder to do than I thought but it was a lot of fun too. I wonder what your list would be? 馃槈

                                      Fall At Your Feet
                                      Crowded House

                                      The finger of blame has turned upon itself
                                      And I鈥檓 more than willing to offer myself
                                      Do you want my presence or need my help?

                                      The Scientist
                                      Coldplay

                                      Running in circles, coming up tails
                                      Heads on the science apart

                                      Big Yellow Taxi
                                      Joni Mitchell

                                      Don’t it always seem to go
                                      That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
                                      They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

                                      Under Pressure
                                      Queen & David Bowie

                                      And love dares you to change our way
                                      Of caring about ourselves

                                      Forever Young
                                      Alphaville

                                      Praising our leaders, we’re getting in tune
                                      The music’s played by the madmen

                                      Hard Sun
                                      Indio

                                      Bound down and flew away the hours
                                      Of her garden and her sun

                                      {Explain}
                                      Sarah Blasko

                                      You say that our love can’t be a pattern in your palm
                                      You say that our love, you say that our love, is only mapped

                                      Landslide
                                      Fleetwood Mac

                                      If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
                                      Well the landslide will bring it down

                                      Waiting On The World To Change
                                      John Mayer

                                      We just feel like we don’t have the means
                                      To rise above and beat it

                                      Where The Streets Have No Name
                                      U2

                                      I’ll show you a place
                                      High on a desert plain
                                      Where the streets have no name

                                      A blogday mystery

                                      Does anyone else have a problem remembering dates? I always used to have a good memory but for some reason recently I’ve just been going blank. I forgot a couple of birthdays last year, was late for several appointments I shouldn’t have forgotten, and the last few weeks have got into the bad habit of using the wrong date when I sign my signature.

                                      But this has to beat all of them. My blog turned one a few days ago – and I completely forgot! I see the date every time I look at my profile but I couldn’t remember. Maybe I should start doing more crosswords or sudoku or something. My poor blog deserves better.

                                      The only reason I remembered at all was because I’ve had a bit of a mystery to solve over the last few days. I’ve been seeing a notification that my domain mapping is about to expire as it’s been a year and I went to purchase the credits for the upgrade again… only there were already 10 credits in my account. For a moment I thought I’d forgotten buying them but I know I didn’t; I went back through my PayPal receipts and the last time I bought anything on WordPress was in November and that was for another domain.

                                      So where did the credits come from? I’m still not sure. I thought it might have been a gift but wouldn’t I get an email about it? Or perhaps it was a glitch and some of my old credits reappeared? That could happen but to cover the exact amount for the domain mapping? The only thing I can think of is that perhaps staff did it, but that doesn’t make much sense either… anyone else have any ideas? There might be something simple I’m missing.

                                      Anyway, the mystery made me realise it’s been a year since I started this blog, so Happy Blogday! We need music. Where’s Madonna’s Holiday? I know it’s on my iPod somewhere… 馃槈 It really doesn’t feel like a year; the community around WP is wonderful and the time’s gone so quickly. If anyone’s interested in the stats, so far the blog’s had 10,854 views, with 145 posts, 401 comments and 3,333 spam. My most viewed post is this one; this is my favourite.

                                      The blog’s changed a lot since it started; originally it was a mix of a portfolio and a column, but now it’s really a window to my thoughts on life and society… there’s more of myself in it now and I never imagined receiving such wonderful feedback, meeting so many interesting people. So here’s to the next year! Let’s hope it’s even better than the first. 馃檪

                                      Would you want to know?

                                      Here’s a question for you. Imagine you’ve spent years trying to find the love of your life; you’ve dated and fallen in and out of love, but never found that special someone. Then finally you meet someone and you just click; it’s not something you can explain, you just feel an immediate attraction and it’s like you’ve known them all of your life. Soon you know it’s love and you can’t imagine being apart. You get married and start planning to spend the rest of your lives together… and then you discover that you are brother and sister.

                                      That’s the story which has been coming out of Britain over the last few days. It’s so sad and what makes it even sadder is that they’re twins, which is why their connection was so strong. Their birth was normal (not in-vitro) and they were adopted by separate parents and never told that they had a twin. It wasn’t until after they were married that they discovered the truth. Now their marriage has been annulled and it’s sparked debate over whether children should have more access to the identity of their birth parents.

                                      Supposedly this is very rare and you’d hope it is given all of the circumstances that would have to occur, but here’s my question. Imagine you’re in their position, a day before you’re about to hear the truth… would you want to know? If someone offered you the chance to know the truth but you knew it would destroy everything, would you still want to know?

                                      I’ve been wondering about this since I heard the story, and I would. I believe it’s always better to know the truth, even if it’s incredibly painful. But I’ve read a few blogs which haven’t been as sure and honestly I can understand that too. It’s an incestuous relationship and if you knew you’d be repulsed, but for several years they (and you’d hope their families) thought they were a normal couple. It certainly would have been “easier” for them to go on in ignorance, if not “right”.

                                      They must be living in their own kind of hell. To have formed that connection, then suddenly have it broken without the possibility of it being restored… I find that almost unimaginable. Not to mention it’d be impossible to see each other as brother and sister, so they’d actually be losing two relationships… the only good thing is that they didn’t have children. There was a case in Germany where a man served a two-year prison sentence after fathering four children with his sister; they’d been separated at birth.

                                      It’s made me wonder about something else as well, though. Here I’d rather know, but what if I could find out the day I was going to die – is that something I’d want to know? Honestly, I’m not sure… a large part of me says yes; if I knew, I’d have time to say goodbye, time to live my life. But I think as well that I’d be more afraid of death if I knew; I’d know what I was losing, feel time slipping by… I’d rather value each day as it comes and I can only do that by not knowing… just as I’d rather not know if I’m supposed to meet someone, so I can value the relationships on the way.

                                      If there’s one thing I want to take away from this story, it’s that. It’s so easy to take everything we have for granted; our homes, relationships, health… I’d hope something like this wouldn’t happen, but still, one day we might find it all gone. Better to cherish what we have now than have regrets later.

                                      What about you? What would you do? Is there anything you’d rather not know? I’d be interested to find out. 馃槈

                                      The Garden’s End

                                      Image from Stock.Xchang

                                      The Garden’s End
                                      CJ Levinson

                                      Unlock the chains around your heart
                                      Let me find a way inside
                                      Let me see where your thoughts begin
                                      And where your hopes and dreams die
                                      Everything you wanted means nothing now
                                      No one noticed you but me
                                      I’ll dream of you 路 tonight

                                      If I could raise the dead with words
                                      And see through your lonely eyes
                                      Find you again at the garden’s end
                                      Would you still occupy my mind?
                                      Cast out from everything you know
                                      There is nowhere you’d rather be
                                      I’ll weep for you 路 tonight

                                      Once I dreamt of another world
                                      Of the sun and moon and stars
                                      Walking beside you, I was a better man
                                      But all dreams fade with time
                                      And this place could never have been our home

                                      Do you lie awake next to him
                                      Surrounded by your sorrows in the night?
                                      No one wanted this after so many years
                                      But your heart knows it’s the only way
                                      It’s too late to start again
                                      And too hard to say goodbye

                                      If I could hold you now
                                      Look upon your face
                                      There’s so much I would say
                                      My heart goes with you 路 tonight

                                      Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence

                                      The Garden's End

                                      Image from Stock.Xchang

                                      The Garden’s End
                                      CJ Levinson

                                      Unlock the chains around your heart
                                      Let me find a way inside
                                      Let me see where your thoughts begin
                                      And where your hopes and dreams die
                                      Everything you wanted means nothing now
                                      No one noticed you but me
                                      I’ll dream of you 路 tonight

                                      If I could raise the dead with words
                                      And see through your lonely eyes
                                      Find you again at the garden’s end
                                      Would you still occupy my mind?
                                      Cast out from everything you know
                                      There is nowhere you’d rather be
                                      I’ll weep for you 路 tonight

                                      Once I dreamt of another world
                                      Of the sun and moon and stars
                                      Walking beside you, I was a better man
                                      But all dreams fade with time
                                      And this place could never have been our home

                                      Do you lie awake next to him
                                      Surrounded by your sorrows in the night?
                                      No one wanted this after so many years
                                      But your heart knows it’s the only way
                                      It’s too late to start again
                                      And too hard to say goodbye

                                      If I could hold you now
                                      Look upon your face
                                      There’s so much I would say
                                      My heart goes with you 路 tonight

                                      Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence