Masters of Doom by David Kushner (Audiobook)

My audible library is, for the most part, bent towards dry and heavy. There is a teeny, tiny bit of whimsy in there in the form of some science fiction (The Bobiverse series) and some fantasy (Kings Dark tidings) for when I’m feeling burnt out and brain dead. But for the most part my audiobooks lean towards the autodidactic. Is that even a real word? It’s not underlined in red so I’m assuming it might be. Even if it doesn’t necessarily mean what I think it should. I think it’s more or less correct, books that help you learn new stuff and expand your points of reference? Maybe not.

In any event…

I tend forget that there’s other stuff out there. Books that won’t necessarily teach you anything… but are REALLY good all the same…

Enter

I freely admit, initially, I was super hesitant and this book sat in the cloud for quite sometime after I’d bought it.

Foremost, I am not really a fan of Wil ‘Ban the Nazis’ Wheaton. For me, at least, he embodies everything that is wrong with the left. Sure I think Nazis are motherfuckers. But banning an organization based on ideology? Where do we draw the line. Maybe we should ban Islam and Christianity while we’re at it? They believe some pretty kooky stuff too. And while you may argue degrees of hateful ideology… abrahamic religions are plenty dark (and have a lot to answer for).

Still, I like Wil’s gaming (D&D and board game) advocacy and he a massive fan of ice hockey* (pretty much the only sport I will watch on tv)

*although he supports the Kings (that must be tough)

Despite all my misgivings, Wil reading Masters of Doom is brilliant. I mean right up there with the best.

Masters of Doom follows the lives of the two Johns. John Ramero and John Carmack creators of Doom. Their friendship created one of the most groundbreaking games in history. It also, eventually tore their friendship apart.

This is where I have to stop myself and pause, lest the next ten paragraphs are just fanboy gush. I’m not even entirely sure I can objectively review something that for me at least was a deeply nostalgic journey.

Even if you can’t identify with the D&D, arcade, heavy metal, gaming culture of the 80s and 90s this book is fascinating, expertly researched and expertly read. It is never boring and I was thoroughly entertained throughout.

There are not a lot of books that afterwards I think ‘damn that was truly excellent’. This is definitely one of them.

Time served for good behavior?

So every day my daughters playgroup/kindergarten sends pictures to the class whatsapp group. This is what your kid did today. Its usually a series of four or five photos with a little blurb that make you feel better about the money you’re spending to send them there.

Yesterday was no exception.

Something with colored water and syringes, I forget the learning application. Fine motor skills maybe?

Hmmm. Whats that background

IMG-8267.jpg

So my daughter is locked behind the gate. We imagine it was something innocuous, like she was having her nappy changed and was waiting to come back into the playroom. At least we hope its that and not that she was serving some sort of time out because sunk her canines into some kid who didn’t know they were poking the bear when they reached over and picked up her play-doh. (Also how I know she is my daughter)

For now we are treating it as a humorous event. Although I will be scrutinizing future photographs very carefully.

Cyber-Gruffalo-nunchucks.

I had this idea that I was going to watch an episode of Altered Carbon and then go to bed… But I’ve just read the Gruffalo out loud to my daughter. Twice. Which has (oddly) dampened my appetite for dystopian cyberpunk noir. Vaguely I wonder if dystopian is strictly necessary as an ancillary, isn’t cyberpunk automatically dystopian? Even though I’ve found they mumble their words in this series, on the whole, so far, I have been entertained. Although I imagine its not everyones cup of tea.

I never really liked Neuromancer (although I like almost everything that spawned from it) William Gibson is however responsible for one of my favourite books of all time. Pattern Recognition. (Likely the book I have read cover to cover, more times than any other book) I actually find Gibson an incredibly obtuse writer. I don’t like my science fiction to take on Faustian complexity. (I use the term science fiction quite loosely). It also very possible that I am just too dumb to appreciate Gibson-ism in all its glory. For me Pattern Recognition was the anomaly in his body of work, somehow our lego just clicked.

Hmm… I also struggled with Snowcrash. Isn’t that the other genre defining novel? Hm. I may be displaying a sense of naive ignorance here that upsets people. Maybe I should just move on. In any event, I tried the purist approach, it didn’t really work out. But before you lead me to the pillory I did once gamemaster the original Cyberpunk 2020 RPG by R. Talsorian Games, which should give me some props.

Cyberpunk_1024x1024.jpg

This is how far back my geek goes. Not quite 1983, Mike Wheeler summoning a Demogorgon in the basement epic. But not bad as things go. Only two years before I get my mirror eye implants and my flying car. I’m quite excited.

I bought my daughter a Triceratops this weekend. I was initially weirdly pleased by this turn of events. Its likely because George, a character in Peppa Pig (whose annoying theme song is literally stenciled into the spongy stuff in my brain) has a dinosaur. Shortly after the purchase of this Cretaceous (made in China) creature* I became less enthused about the whole endeavour when she stabbed one of the Triceratops horns into my eye socket (in a ‘grrrr-dinosaur’ type motion). Nothing like being temporarily blinded by your toddler outside H&M. I felt peoples judging gazes (even if I couldn’t see them).

*alliteration. It rarely happens anymore so I feel the need to point it out when it does happen. Yay me.

IMG_8237.JPG

After that she bought me coffee at Motherland to make up for her indiscretion. (well… I deducted a mothercuppa and a chocolate brownie from her education fund, if you’re wondering why your dad can’t play for medical school) Notice how admonished she looks. (actually this is the about to spill hot chocolate all over myself look)

As an aside, earlier today when we went to the playground, some punk stole her pink shoes. In an effort to better engage in a frictionless decent on the slide she had taken them off. Unfortunately this opened them up to predation by other less scrupulous toddlers. I suppose we needed to have the world is not all buttercups and lilypads talk eventually. We followed up our serious discussion with some threat assessment analysis and three hours of nunchuck training. (my wife says no edged weapons until she’s five)

My wife is basically a pacifist.

The chemicals between us.

I suppose this post needs some context. I’m rearranging my warehouse. Well, I’m folding one into the other. I have two warehouses, right next to each other. In reality I have far too much space, and that’s made me super inefficient over the years. Lately its been upsetting my German-ness. I’ve also trimmed down my product lines somewhat and changed the scope of my business. In any event all this space feels excessive and wasteful.

image.jpeg

Joeys racks.

Being paranoid I run two independent asymmetrical security systems in my warehouse. One of which is a pepper fog system. One of my forklift drivers clipped a pallet which graunched a cable leading to a passive sensor which (I think) caused one of the gas canisters to expedite its load into the immediate atmosphere.

I’m still not fully recovered. Damn. I’ve been tear gassed before, about twenty years ago. In the Commando (the day after my birthday) we were corralled into this rusty 40ft container. You have your masks on. Then a corporal or a sergeant pops off a tear-gas grenade and you have to gut it out for a minute (or however long it was). After that someone blows a whistle and  you rip off your mask and leave the container (just so you  get to experience what the full effect is like) Outside they had this trough made from a doubled over plastic tarp with water of a dubious hygienic quality with which to rinse your eyeballs and larynx. (not super helpful) After that went for a nice gentle jog up the hill, because well, sadism.

You know when you’re watching a riot on tv where some youthful individual runs forward with a wet towel wrapped around his head, picks up the 40mm tear gas round and throws it back at the police line… that always impressed me. (because clearly its your first time and obviously in your country you don’t fear the police)

A security branch policeman with a lot of riot experience during Apartheid once explained to me that that didn’t really happen in South Africa. Once the police started using tear-gas they were done playing and you should really consider going home. Picking up a canister and throwing it back was considered a severely life limiting move, which meant either one of two things. Either there was a 40kg fur projectile in your immediate future (apparently the GSD’s weren’t affected by CS, although I don’t actually know if that is true) OR the young crack-shot (who had grown up hunting Gemsbok barefoot in the Kalahari) on top the Casspir with his FN-FAL would put you down with a 7.62mm to the head.

This was all WAY before my time. My Commando experience was (in all honesty) spent mostly drinking. And then falling out of a Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma when my stick was being deployed to assist in a police operation. (totally less dramatic than it sounds). Topping off my list of embarrassing endeavors was chasing down suspected livestock* thieves at 2am in the morning through the veld and running straight into a telephone pole** and almost knocking myself unconscious. Sheer awesome.

*livestock sounds better than pigs. But they were stealing pigs.

**in my defense it was almost pitch black and pole was painted with bitumen. (although maybe I mean carbolineum. That black stuff they use to water proof)

IMG_0016.jpg

This is the only surviving photo I have from that time. Pre-digital camera. The uniforms changed from Browns to Flecktarn soon after this.

Anyways, I think the point I wanted to make is that tear-gas really sucks. This pepper fog this morning felt way worse. I don’t remember tear gas getting in your skin like that. (although its been a while) I thought initially that my staff were just being dramatic. Toughen up people. It was only one canister and the warehouse is two thousand squares with high ceilings. Coughing, spluttering, tears and snot running down my face has changed my mind somewhat.

Its made me less keen on rearranging things and being productive today. So instead I have retreated into my office (ostensibly to feel sorry for myself) with a roll of toilet paper, a cup of coffee and uberEats on their way.

Hmmm… There’s a delivery truck parked outside my window. They’re collecting something. I don’t normally take much notice… only these barrels are marked…

unnamed2.jpg

“Does it strike you as weird that they are transporting phosphorus on the back of a flat bed truck’, I say to my sales manager, who distributing our uberEats order. She shrugs. ‘South Africa’.

I google the UN 1381 number.

UN 1381 – Spontaneously Combustible Class 4.2

Having already had my fair share of chemical fun this morning. I don’t really feel like pushing my luck. I think I’ll take my tuna-mayo-avocado upstairs for now.

An underpinning theme of shotguns

This seems like pretty good advice for life. Even if it is printed on the side of a box of Cadbury Astros.

I mean if you’re going to live your life by hard inflexible commandments this might not be a bad choice. Also they’re delicious. (Jo takes a moment to display his complete disregard for portion control) Nom nom nom. (mouth noises)

Before this I was lying on the sofa listening to Zero Hour narrated by RC Bray, book five of the Expeditionary Force series. I’m not very far into it, but already I see its following the same formulaic linear progression of the previous books. Which is really quite sad, because I loved the first two books. Especially Columbus Day, which pivoted so fantastically half way through with the introduction of Skippy (the magnificent). Unfortunately Craig Alanson has decided to make hay while the sun shines and churn out this series for as long as possible. I’d like to say who am I to judge. But I’m being totally judgemental about this.

51wOHp-KChL._SL500_

William Tucker, Amazon Customer, you sir are a liar and scallywag. And should we ever meet I should like to cuff you with my leather glove. Unless of course you happen to be a hulking behemoth with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu… in which case I’d like to defer our engagement until after I retrieve either a very pointy stick or some double-oh-buck. (yes, I realise I spelt it phonetically)

New profile picture.JPG

The other audiobook I downloaded was this…

maxresdefault.jpg

Which follows the story of the creators of Doom. Arguably (along with Wolfenstein 3D) one of the defining games of my era and the primordial soup that spawned… well… people watching other people play Call of duty on Youtube.

Masters of Doom is read by Wil Wheaton, which… in all honesty, put me off initially and made me a little intractable about listening to it. It’s not that I dislike Wil Wheaton. But I don’t exactly like him either. I don’t think anyone should test the social dynamic by trapping us in an elevator together.

Fortunately some rave reviews tipped me in the right direction. I’m glad they did because I’m really enjoying it so far. To Wil Wheaton’s credit, he reads really well so I feel I should apologize for my previous calciferous-ness. (Is that a real word?) I think I mean recalcitrant. Joey opens google. So yeah, I definitely mean recalcitrance (ha ha) and not producing calcium carbonate. (Even after considerable thought I can’t make that work) Perhaps if I’d spent more time reading and less time playing video games and masturbating I would have known that. (only occasionally at the same time)

You know what I find weird about America? I realise this is not exactly a smooth segue into my my next paragraph. BUT… there are no electric kettles. Initially I thought this was only happened in hotel rooms… But then I found out there are hardly any electric kettles ANYWHERE. I find this genuinely disconcerting, almost like a mirror world Fringe experience.

Our electric kettle decided to commit suicide yesterday. So we’ve been reduced to using the stove top kettle to boil water.

IMG_8202.jpg

Seriously. I’m growing old here. Also Kurt Cobain would have turned 51 today. If he hadn’t blown his head off with a shotgun. This blogpost may be developing an underpinning theme.

I think it’s because Americans don’t drink tea. Which might be a American war of independence thing. I’ve spent the whole day thinking about it and it’s the only thing I could come up with. I also briefly spent some time picking my nose and  wondering why my navel lint is always blue.

ALSO my daughter sunk her teeth into another kid at playgroup again today. ‘Take my stacking blocks and will maim you chick!’ Another day, another incident report. I think that brings us up to five. (vaguely I wonder what the record is, not that I’m competitive, just curious)

Ok, I’m competitive. I mean if you’re 5-0 on the playground and you’re not even two yet? This is why my wife has the serious conversations about social norms and I just stand there looking stern. My speech would have been ‘Seriously, those other kids are dirty and you don’t know where they’ve been…’ ‘Do you really want to put that in your mouth?’.

 

Which as I understand* doesn’t really get to the crux of the matter.

*I don’t really understand, but agree that my notions and firmly held convictions are waived under certain circumstances.

What’s in a name?

I need to pee. Which isn’t great as opening lines go. I was just about to launch into a self-involved tirade about how terrible my day was and then heap scorn on those who vexed me (Maersk) while simultaneously drenching myself in a good, solid dollop of self pity (my affluent life is so difficult). But now my bladder has laid waste to my machinations and I am forced to tack against the wind. Please standby.

fallout-4-review-cover-slide-900x675.jpg

I used a sailing metaphor. And likely used it incorrectly. But this is my blog and if I want to use an obtuse nonsensical analogy that is my right, as granted to me by Matt Mullenweg and the power of Greyskull. Slash WordPress.

Maersk: ‘Hi Jo. here is your statement for S900, please settle immediately, since this account is overdue’.

Jo: ‘Um… can you send me a copy of the invoice, I’m not entirely sure what this is about’

Maersk: ‘Here you go’

Jo: ‘Um… this Invoice says, Port of lading, Jawaharlal Nehru, India. Port of discharge, Santos, Brazil’.

Maersk: ‘Yeah, so’.

Jo: ‘Well… The first problem is that I’m Johannesburg, South Africa. I think you’ve misallocated the invoice to the wrong customer.

Maersk (Copy and pasted) : ‘Hi Jo. Thanks for your reply, please advise to whom these charges need to be billed? We would need written confirmation from new payer in order to move charges’

Jo: (wondering if they’re messing with me) Um… I have no idea?

Maersk (four hours later) : ‘Hi Jo. Please find attached a copy of your invoice’.

Jo: (its the same invoice) Oh my fuck!

This upsets at least three quarters of my mongrel genealogy. The one quarter nominal Dane is embarrassed by his countrymen. The half German is feeling somewhat smug, but also keeping one eye on that suspicious looking Syrian and the quarter Pole doesn’t care because he’s more interested in holocaust denialism and smuggling cigarettes.

Is it satire or sarcasm that’s the lowest form of wit? I can’t remember. I’m guessing sarcasm, but don’t they broadly mean the same thing? I feel I should probably know this. (I have huges gaps in my tuition) My eighth grade English teacher, a diminutive (but violent) nun called Sister Mary-Joseph used to punch me because I couldn’t identify clauses or the conjunction that joined them. I remember taking a beating in front of the blackboard once because, identified as an English language malingerer, I would randomly point to non specific part of the sentence in the hope that I had guessed correctly and could sit back down. Unfortunately for me Sister Mary-Joseph recognized my duplicity and negatively reinforced me accordingly (with her fists).

Good times.

Still not as bad as Khewzi who was ratted out by Sister Mary-Joseph to Mr. Collier a fearsome, bull of man and deputy headmaster, for some or other undesirable behaviour during Religious Education. (I think he was playing with a condom) Mr. Collier burst into our classroom during mathematics and smacked Khewzi down something fierce in front of the stunned class. I’m talking full on football hooligan type violence. This was the tail end of apartheid and while I imagine that sort of behaviour today would have elicited (in the very least) some serious charges, a black kid back then had no recourse and zero hope for justice. To be fair Khewzi wasn’t a particularly nice kid (he cut my silkworms in half with a pair of scissors) and I don’t think he picked up a beating because he was black but that incident left me pretty rattled. Both parties involved were eventually quietly ushered out of the school and like the crusades, violence of action became a Catholic past tense (mostly).

Interestingly years later I played chess against Khewzi in an inter-school tournament and he trounced me. He seemed to have turned out alright. He certainly wasn’t brain damaged.

It dawns on me that I haven’t seen the the Basset hound in a while. I find him curled up on the recliner in the nursery using the feeding pillow as a cushion. I poke him with my big toe, ‘Oi’, he glares at me.

IMG_8165.jpg

I apologize and shuffle off. Basset hounds know psychology. The German Shepherd lives to please, but a Basset understands and works the slave-master mentality. ‘Scratch my neck vagina human’.

He’s getting on a bit. (turning 11 this year) In a morbid bout of fatalism we have started bandying about names for next basset. So far Montgomery Burns leads the short-list. Followed by Elvis Houndsly.

Anyways, I’m tired, so here endeth the blog. More exciting tales of dashing and daring (courageous and caring) will likely follow on the morrow. Or whenever.

TL;TR

I was playing PlayStation. Until my controller ran out of juice. Which depending on your school of thought may have been a fortuitous occurrence because now I’m forced to do something else (possibly something productive even). I’ve recently been feeling guilty (not guilty enough to actually do anything about it, maybe more of a mild malaise) about my more mindless hobbies, PlayStation in particular.

There always seems to be an opportunity cost to playing games. Whether it is reading, or working or even exercising. PlayStation is probably broadly considered the least efficient use of the time available to us. Has killing an end of level boss ever improved your life? Not really. Possibly a small hit of dopamine. But it’s fleeting. On my deathbed it seems unlikely I will look back fondly on all the hours I sunk into… Damn… I was going to say The Witcher… but that is an experience hovering just below my wedding day in terms of general awesomeness. I have no regrets!!!

The_Witcher_3_Wild_Hunt_Burning_Village-buffed_b2article_artwork.jpg

I received some positive reinforcement in the book store earlier. I was dilly dallying in Philosophy, wedged unceremoniously around a bend between Judica and Science where I was trying to find a book on Proust (which I couldn’t find, because the philosophy section is a sad, sad* place) but I did see this…

*literally and figuratively.

Which made me feel a bit better. It has a click bait look about it… but interestingly they went for a PS4 controller on the cover, which means they might actually know something about gaming. If they’d gone for a Xbox controller I could have written them off as academic noobs who clearly don’t know anything about anything. However…. (being a hardcore gamer) I’m not sure you can legitimately claim ten things that video gaming can improve. But that such a book exists is comforting.

Wait. Maybe I should start my day at the beginning. I was up at 4am after a bad night. The girl child decided she need to hone her sleep deprivation skillset on us. Some parents try push their children towards neuroscience or biochemistry. We’re coming to terms that our kid is going to be a CIA contractor. (we’ll start CQC training when she turns two) I tried to confess that I was the one that had thrown out her play-doh in the hope that she would relent in her onslaught. But she wasn’t having any of it. (serious work ethic there)

Bleary and not all together copious-mentos I had to take the basset hound to the veterinarian. He has a haematoma* in his eye. It’s not serious, likely from the sun the vet said, but if it’s not healed up in two weeks he’ll have to cauterize it.

*hematoma if you’re from the lilypad on the other side pond and have ‘newspeaked’ the English language (and also continue to resist the metric system, seriously wtf?)

After that I built shelves in the garage out of old roof trusses and shutter-board. We need space to store our ever burgeoning supply of crap*.  It’s not the finest work I’ve ever done, slightly crooked, but those trusses were old and almost fossilized in their hardness. After I’d realized my mistake I didn’t really feel like working the screws out again. (they’d stripped going in) I decided I could live with the whole thing being a little wonky.

*possibly because all the cupboard space in the house is taken up with lego and boardgames. #justsaying.

After that we went to the bookstore.

Essentially to go buy Room on a Broom. (I’ve developed a serious liking for Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler). I gravitated towards Psychology as I’ve been prone to do, which together with Business occupies four solid shelves. Psychology is a bit of a misnomer. You won’t find any Freud or Jung or Maslow there.

Why isn’t it just labeled advice? (or spurious bullshit and lump it together with the esoteria)

Advice. (noun)  guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent action.

I’ve (recently) decided it’s all the epitome of ego.

Advice is paired with expertise. There is the assumption that there that the advice giver has a decent grasp on the material that the advice is dispensed about. For example my doctor having studied about infection and disease can give me advice about my malady. I have less knowledge about the subject and so defer to his knowledge.

But things become a little murkier when it comes to life and the plethora of good advice that people feel they need to market to you. Who is qualified to give you life advice anyway? The short answer is no one and fuck you.

Diogenes lived in a barrel and told the most powerful man in the world at the time that he was blocking his sun. How many of us would take life advice these days from a smelly Greek who lived in a barrel? But if Alexander the Great had a twitter account we’d be following every 280* character burst of inanity that came from his hallowed brow. We’ve come to equate wealth and power with success.

*since I think twitter is basically step one to an Orwellian dystopia I had to google this.

As an aside, why is Alexander the Great still great? He was certainly NOT a paragon of humanity and should likely be dumped into the same category as that German fellow, that Russian fellow and that Chinese fellow. (weirdly there no genocidal females… yet) His body count is in the same sort of league (relative to the population of the world). Why we’ve tacked on great to the end of an otherwise blood thirsty psychopath is one of those great mysteries.

Further we then equate success in a certain field with the ability to generate advice on a whole range of topics. For me it’s troubling when someone feels they can dispense advice about something as subjective as happiness. It’s not even something you can address in broad strokes. Not really. For me, success and happiness means something completely different and yet I feel qualified to advise you? Ha ha. Have we really all becomes so unbelievably vain and narcissistic.

The answer is yes we have. Because we genuinely believe we are going to be helping people. If I can just reach out to that poor guy who is wasting his life and inspire him greatness. Hey poor guy wasting your life… I think you’re a loser, and you need my help to turn things around. Buy my book. I will teach you to take control of your wayward existence and make something of yourself.

Fuck that.

I’m so done with this genre. I’ve let people guilt me into this feeling of unfulfilled potential since the moment I was born. I think 39 is a good age to give it all up.

In the end I bought Room on a broom. And a book with pop-up dinosaurs in it. (it was easier just to buy the book than break my daughters fingers) She was pulling a Charlton Heston, ‘Out of my cold, dead hands’ move.

I bought this for myself.

img_8174.jpg

Which might seem like a weird choice. I think I’ve been going at this all wrong. My infatuation with self improvement books was born out of a desire to learn stuff and therefore be better. But I wasn’t actually improving. All I was doing was reading about what had improved other people and what had made them happy. I was taking a square peg and trying to ram it into a round hole, and then wondering why it wasn’t working.

Anyways. I still want to learn stuff and improve. But not waste my time on stuff as nebulously vague as happiness and self improvement, as listed in a manifesto by some ego maniacal wank who thinks he’s got it all figured out. Thanks, but no thanks.

Now I’m going to learn stuff about spiders. And when my controller is fully charged I’m going to get me a new suit of magical armor. And a shiny new axe. And then I’m going pretend smite some pretend evil.

Looking forward to it.

Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective

We all like to imagine that we have some investigative prowess. This game allows you to harness your inner gumshoe… and then be flummoxed by your sheer ineptitude. Really good for the ego and the self assessment.

unnamed (1).jpg

I’m undecided about this game. I like the concept. In practice I’m straddling the fence of indecision. In part that’s my personality type running interference and not allowing me to be completely objective. In theory you can pick up this game and play around your coffee table during an evening with your noob friends. Although I can’t see this going well. And since the cases have almost no replay value I think your party needs to be a carefully considered choice played under optimal gaming conditions. (something we definitely didn’t do)

You need REALLY need to concentrate in this game. Even take notes potentially (with diagrams and probability tables) It says co-op but really the dominant personalities in your circle take control and everyone else becomes a passenger.

Sherlock solved our case in four ‘moves’. I think we did it… in about twenty. And then still get a full score because our motive for the crime was waaaay off. We also missed a key location that we struggled to find…. we also followed every single Red Herring casually tossed our way.

THE WIFE!!! It was definitely THE WIFE! (it wasn’t)

unnamed (2).jpg

It feels like a really solid well constructed game. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it. I’ve heard rumblings about game breaking errata though and now I’m wondering if we couldn’t find one of the vital locations because of a mistake in the source material instead of our investigative incompetence.

Likely it was still the latter.

I think this game amplifies the angst I experienced of never being able to tell who did it in Columbo or Midsomer Night murders. Clearly I am no Hercule Poirot. Joey is more blunt force trauma than a stiletto between the ribs. Find a suspect and then waterboard them until they confess. I don’t like games that expose my flaws and my inability to think laterally. I like clear goals and objectives.

Still, it was a fun experience. And I think as long as people don’t take themselves too seriously it should be a fun evening.

Bats. et al.

Celebratory post child sleeping coffee run. Double espresso. Which will hopefully shore up the bulwark against the tide of fatigue. I am not hopeful. Years of Redbull abuse has fried my adrenal system to the point where this is more like juice. But it’s more about the sentiment. At least according to the narrative I’ve constructed.

I have a bat swarm* outside my kitchen window. I take a nebulous, ill illuminated picture with my phone in an attempt to illustrate the magnitude of the swarm. It feels like a blurry Blackberry throwback and hardly does the throng justice.

*CR1, AC 16.

IMG_8125

For some reason it reminds me of the homemade pornography I made in my twenties. Dark, grainy and relatively amateurish. (only this time no one falls off the bed, or has to stop recording to go find burn gel)

The male termites are making their nuptial flight from their burrows after the rain. Although they might be harvester ants. My working knowledge of arthropods is largely limited to crushing them under boot. Suffice to say all the bats in my suburb are currently clustered in a densely packed transylvanian flavoured dyson sphere around my house.

The soundtrack to this event is ‘Hey diddle, diddle the cat and the fiddle…’ which is playing in the background on Netflix. It will make for an amusing backdrop if I have to make a dash for the crucifix* in my go-bag (and the garlic from in amongst the onions) and fight off a pale Romanian Boyar with a penchant for O+.

*what you don’t carry religious iconography incase SHTF? Talk about not covering all the bases. I’m just kidding, my go-bag is basically hollow points and chocolate bars. How does the old adage go? You can have never have enough ammunition. Unless…  you’re drowning…. or on fire. Or going through TSA.

To tell you the truth this is not how I imagined my transformative Batman experience going. Glaringly absent is Michael Caine in an English cut chasing me down with a dark green smoothie and dispensing paternal advice about how I’m pushing myself too hard (fighting crime or playing playstation or whatever)

If someone can just point me in the direction of the comment cards, I’d like to complain to the manager.

 

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him, by Sheldon B. Kopp

One of the best books I have ever read is ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him’, by Sheldon B. Kopp, although I’m very weary of recommending it to people. I think you need to be at a very specific intersection in your life journey to appreciate it. I’ve resisted reviewing it because I think the takeaway from reading it depends very much on your personal life experience (so far) and that my interpretation of this book will be very different to somebody elses.

images (2).jpg

For me at least this book blew my mind. In fact after a couple of chapters I had to put it down for a couple of days while my brain masticated and digested this (perceived) Damascusian experience. I’m still not completely done thinking, which is definitely the sign of something happening under the hood. Either this book has had a profound effect on me… or its indicative that I’m not really used to this level of cognition and that the machinery is starting to seize.

I recently read Jordan B. Peterson’s, 12 rules for life. Our Lego didn’t really click, to use a William Gibson-ism, but I’ve noticed myself burning on simmer since reading it, which has led to some big, weird feelings of resentment. (which is strange, since I agree with him on almost everything) I decided I needed to unpack these feelings.

I’ve realized I’ve reached some sort of a tipping point with lifestyle advice, I’m pretty much done.

I’m done with books and podcasts that tell me (often quite sanctimoniously) how to hack my life, how to improve, what rules I need to follow to lead an efficient, happy, fuck-free minimalist life. I’m done with morning rituals, done with 4 hour work weeks, done being so good I can’t be ignored, done with not giving a fuck, done with discipline equaling freedom and done with twelve rules to live my life by, done with all of it.  Thank you very much and fuck you all.

My life is actually fine.

Contrary to what everyone has been telling me.

There is fortunately or unfortunately no Buddha and no Zen wisdom that comes with him. There is only me and I am the Buddha. (In your case, you). I think maybe I needed to wade through all this drivel first in order to come to this conclusion, an answer that is the sum of all my previous experiences, something where you can’t skip to the end or hack your way to the conclusion. I think that is true, so I don’t regret the time I’ve spent on this exercise.

I also think that I’ve gotten through to the other side. And if the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel turns out to be a train, I think I’m okay with that. I quite like trains.