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.

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.

 

Blueberry milkshake-less

All things considered my day so far has been relatively rubbish with a long dead end meeting sequenced into my morning so as to cause maximum disruption to my day. After that I had one of my warehouse staff bursting into tears in my office because he feels he can’t cope with the pressure of his job*. A forty minute exercise where I tried to be empathetic (not really my strong suite).

*just to be fair, his job today was to sit and scrape the rust off the generator and paint those sections with red-oxide.

In order to catch up I thought I’d treat myself to Uber-eats and work through lunch at my desk. Unfortunately when my Uber arrived my blueberry milkshake had tipped over and painted the inside of his carry compartment (including some other peoples food with blue foamy goodness). Damn. I was really looking forward to that milkshake.

If this had been my sales managers food she would have poked him in the eye and then tombstone pile driven his head into the curb. Like a scene from American History X. Alas I am soft (or exceptionally stoic). I said it was fine. And tipped him anyway.

Now post event I’m having the decision making angst. I can’t decide if I was just conflict adverse after a long morning of fighting with people. Or if it was a serious c’est la vie moment. I’m hoping for the latter, although maybe I’m just trying to convince myself.

unnamed.jpg

Hmm.

Willowcreek

We went away for the weekend because my friend won a holiday. Albeit in the middle of nowhere (with somewhat challenging circuitous ‘roads’ and other navigational hazards involved in getting there).

Three hours from Johannesburg via towns I’ve never even heard of (let alone knew existed). It requires dodging potholes and donkeys but its a very pretty part of the world.

It has a log cabin (in the woods) esque type vibe with no cellphone service. There are three or four other cabins on this farm, but I only ever saw sign boards for the others, so relatively isolated from each other. Nor did we see any other people while we were there.

This one was our cabin.

I tend to oscillate between savage and nerdy pursuits so an appreciation of the fine art of fly fishing is generally lost on me. (It’s not punching people in the face nor is it playing pretend and rolling dice) Also probably a limiting factor is my inability to be absorbed in a menial task like repetitive casting for any length of time. I imagine some people find it meditative. I find it quite difficult to switch off. Maybe one day when I’m big.

Still, I did try it for a while and trundled down to the dam with a borrowed rod. It’s was okay. I mean mostly you just stand there… wasting time. It’s not very efficient. My friend swears that without drinking single malt from a hip flask I was never really going to ‘get it’ anyway.

To be fair I find value in other nonsensical things which other people might be equally judgmental about. The cabin provided some board games (scrabble and monopoly). Which I thought was quite cute.

We brought our own. Although with three kids (between the ages of 8 months and three years) finding time to sit and play anything substantial for any length of time was perhaps wishful thinking.

Played two games I’ve never played before, The Grizzled, a fun but super difficult cooperative card game and Sherlock Holmes consulting detective which is a very different kind of ‘board’ game. I’m not really sure how you’d classify it. Oh. Thematic co-operative murder mystery. Well there you go.

Daaaaaad, take the picture already

It was a good weekend, with friends I’ve had since the first grade. Now we’ve all gotten married and bred a new generation of role-players. It’s an odd feeling.

Found this in the cabin bookshelf (next to the monopoly). I didn’t read it, but the title made me wonder if maybe I’d be writing a book like this one day…

An eclectic mix of tags

My day has gone distinctly sideways on me. I can tell because I’m listening to Nine Inch Nails at volume on my Bose. The self destructive, depressed, banging Courtney Love, drugged up Trent Reznor. Not the much more together and totally less angry individual of today. Further down the spiral. Which is how I feel about life right now.

Trent.jpg

Motherfucker looks good for 52. Wait what? When did that happen? If you’re as confused as I am there could be several reasons for this.

My excuse (currently) is that the coffee machine was empty, so I’m drinking instant. Which is only slightly better than drinking toilet water. Well, my dogs would probably prefer toilet water (now that I think about it).

I need to take break from the one hundred and sixty four unread emails and the dangerously piled stacks of paper on my desk that are beginning to lean precariously to one side. One ill considered move could spell disaster. Although I suppose it could also spell something else, depending on how they fall.

I’ve been awake since about 2am this morning, wrenched from REM sleep by a Basset Hound who wanted to go pee (in the rain). A quick resolution to the bladder crisis didn’t seem to be on the cards and by the time he did feel the need to lackadaisically wander back, he was of course soaked (much to his surprise I imagine). By this stage I’d irradiated my shadow into the bedroom wall with blue light* waiting for him to complete whatever predawn shenanigans basset hounds get up to snuffling around in the undergrowth. Of course then he wouldn’t settle until I’d dried him and re-furled him into his blanket.

*while I read the Wikipedia article on Steve Jackson. (he likes lego and model trains, I knew we are kindred spirits!!)

img_2388.jpg

Happy now? Actually… since you’re up… could you bring me a cookie?

After that sleep was largely a parody. I should have started working or gone for a run or something. Instead I idled away my time watching people play Starcraft on YouTube. I still count not being able to rescue Sarah Kerrigan from the Zerg as one of the biggest failures in my life. A burden I have carried around with me now for more than 20 years.

Is it just me or were the Superbowl commercials this year less good than in previous years? (the other thing I did) Only one really made me laugh, part 1 of the Bud Light commercial. Maybe I’m just getting harder to please in my old age.

‘They have arrows with fire… which… probably don’t hurt more than the regular ones’. 

Ha ha.

That is an eclectic mix of tags you have on your blog post there Joey.

In other news I’m going fishing this weekend. I say fishing… but really that means fishing will be happening around me, while I… drown out my inner monologue with Five Finger Death Punch and read comics.

To me, this is fishing…

Shark-Island-Spearfishing.gif

I don’t really understand the allure of fly fishing (although the gear-queer in me gets all exited by those vests with all the little pockets) and then letting what you catch, go? Huh? That seems counter-evolutionary. I think it might be meditative for some people, you know get out into nature and pull an aquatic creature out of its environment by its mouth. You guys are weird.

#justsaying

 

Non conformance reports

I hate ISO. But being in the engineering industry I am forced to fill out these stupid non-conformance reports. 99.99% of the time the root cause is, ‘shit happens’. And the corrective action is ‘operator was told to be more mindful and attentive and make less mistakes, operator is not a robot (unfortunately).

Corrective action :

Employee was taken outside and beaten to within an inch of his life with a pick-ax handle. I then broke several of his fingers by stomping on them while he begged for his life. He promises (when he gets out of hospital) never to make a mistake ever again. 

… is what I wish I could write. I’m guessing they don’t even read them most of the time.

Unfortunately ISO standards means you have to lie and make up some bullshit reason to justify a lapse in concentration from your employee.

This one was especially amusing to me though.

See attatched. (I didn’t even see that one)

unnamed (1).jpg

 

That strange intersection of Locomotives and Attack-bassets

I’ve decided I have lower leg compartment syndrome in my left calf. Self diagnosed after ten minutes on Google. Who needs doctors anymore?

Before you knock self diagnosis my nephew and godchild had this really strange malady that was mystifying his pediatrician.  I googled his symptoms and casually remarked ‘have you tested for Kawasaki’s disease?’. No one listened to me, at least not initially, (Probably for good reason) but it turns out it WAS Kawasaki’s disease. I felt quite smug afterwards (as one does)

I don’t really think I have lower leg compartment syndrome (its in my top five possibilities though) but my calf is hobbling me. Not as badly as yesterday, but I have decided to skip my run this morning in favor of some downtime. Interestingly the most suggested treatment for lower leg compartment syndrome is, ‘Stop running’.

My fascia in my legs and feet have always given me trouble. For a long time I suffered from plantar fasciitis, which crippled me for the first five minutes of every morning. Recently I have decided to stop running hills in an effort to be slightly kinder to my body and just run round the indoor track. I am not naturally a runner. In an evolutionary sense I was not the guy who chased the elk to the point exhaustion and then stabbed it with a pointy stick. I was the guy who thought it would be a good idea to jump onto the back of the Woolly Mammoth from an elevated position with a flint tipped shiv, whose survival was only ensured by dense bones, an above average covering of meat and thick cranium, DEFITINELY not mental acuity . In the first person shooter sense, I am the tank*

*Which I always thought was the least glamorous of the FPS roles. Big and dumb.

In other exciting news. My parents rent out their cottage. They’ve had a slew of weird people over the years. Including a gay couple, who after an altercation led to an amusing (but dangerous) scene where one spurned, coked up lover chased the other round the garden with a kitchen knife in the predawn gloom.

Their most recent tenant (this weird shut in) absconded during the night and left the key and a note under the mat. The new people moved in over the weekend. An elderly couple. He’s had a stroke, which has rendered him mute, but otherwise fine (as far as I can tell). He has a model train set! You know the one of those installation pieces that comes with trees, hills, rolling pastures, a village and most importantly, locomotives. I have decided this could be the ultimate ‘friend’. He can’t speak, so we don’t have to engage in unnecessary banter AND (more importantly) he has an awesome train set that we can play with. Also he can’t tell me to go home.

2789347.jpg

‘Doooot, dooooot’…. ‘schakka schakka schakka!’

Unfortunately the basset hound tried to murder him him over the weekend. He has general ownership issues which extends to my parents house and beyond.  An attack basset is initially quite an amusing thing… until you realize he’s being serious. At that point he’s already closed the distance and is trying to tear your throat out. He has a special hatred for my parents gardener, who often has to keep him at bay with a rake.

Anyways. Both dogs have now been banned.

IMG-7897.jpg

Which makes the German very sad.

*Joey takes another sip of coconut-coffee*

You know I used to disparage this notion of coffee and coconut oil. I tried it for a loooong time and felt zero cognitive improvement.  I’ve started intermittently fasting (my eight hour window is between 9am and 6pm). Last week some time I opened the cupboard and saw the half-empty jar of coconut oil. I figured why not, let me put someone in my coffee again.

Interestingly I felt sharper and my alert afterwards. So there might be something to this after all. Maybe I was just doing it wrong before, clearly the intermittent fasting is helping somehow. Anyways, just thought I’d mention it….

 

Double underpants

The movie Trainspotting had a formative effect on my life. It convinced me that heroin was a bad idea. But, perhaps more importantly, it impressed on me that shitting the bed was terrible experience and indeed something I never wanted to intimately participate in.

While on the whole I’m fairly confident in the sealing integrity of my sphincter, when faced with the added challange of a bacterium I tend to err on the side of caution by doubling up on my underpants. I’m happy to announce that I still haven’t chalked up that particular close encounter and remain poop in the bed free (since ‘83).

I had a piece of white toast for breakfast. My first ‘real’ carbohydrate in more than a week. Hopefully it will stay down. It’s was delicious and the only thing I really felt like eating. The sprog sat next to me on the floor spearing raisins with a fork and then transferring them into her mouth. Together we read the Hadeda book. Which is likely the most Johannesburg Northern suburbs children’s book ever written.

EC612BB1-19BA-4EED-91E4-FC1DD865033E.jpeg

‘Early in the morning there’s nothing tastier than a parktown prawn’

Saturday mornings used to the sole domain of the long brunch. Now we have all these responsibilities.

37C4AB36-68BF-4949-A287-5DFEBE1CC08E.jpeg

Like swimming lessons. This one kid hasn’t stopped screaming since we started. It’s making me think bad (murderous) thoughts about his parents. (Not very stoic of me) He screamed the entire class last week too. The kids name is Noah. Maybe he has some historical aversion to water.

I chortle at my Genesis joke. Funny.