Weekend round up

I worked all weekend. Which let me tell you is not how I imagined the entrepreneur dream working out for me. At the moment it just seems to be one cluster-fuck after another. An endless cycle of work-related sodomy. (without the dinner or jewelry that is sometimes involved with this sort of enterprise*)

*at least… so I’ve been told.

I’m feeling super sorry for myself… and while I promised myself today would NOT be an uberEats day… its turned into an UberEats day.

I did get a chance to catch up on Casey Neistat last night. I quite like the new format. And I like the fact that Casey now has a side kick.

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I mean if you’re going to go with a sidekick a dopey (atypical*) South African is probably the way to go. I’m only 50% embarrassed.

*I can’t decide if he’s representative or not. I’ve decided to give ‘us’ the benefit of the doubt and go for atypical. (although now I’m immediately filled with doubt)

After Casey I watched Fog of War.

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I know. Mixing Fog of War with Casey Neistat is like chasing your Pinot Noir with caramel vodka. (for some reason this makes me think of a friend that drank ethanol out of a science lab beaker… and lived… she should have been Casey Neistat’s sidekick)

I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a movie with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It really is that good and totally worth every lofty percentage point. I must be honest my Cuban Missile Crisis knowledge is probably below average. I mean I had a vague sort of sense of it and I assumed nuclear annihilation was a possibility. But I had no idea how close we (humans) came to obliterating the entire world. Wow. Even Robert McNamara says, ‘yeah we got lucky’.

That doesn’t fill me with massive confidence about the species. OMG.

Because I was (basically) an absentee parent this weekend I had to tag in the German Shepherd to do fill in for me.

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She’s quite maternal though. So I think it worked out okay.

Roundup.

I fell asleep in front of the television watching Ricky Gervais on my laptop. (My daughter has secreted away the Apple Tv remote) I vaguely remember some Caitlyn Jenner jokes… and then nothing… I woke up about twenty minutes later, discombobulated, Humanity still in full swing. Closing my laptop I rampaged off to bed with the stealth like poise of a baby rhinoceros, navigating by iPhone light (so I wouldn’t fall over an errant German Shepherd sprawled out in the passage like some sort of dinner for one-esque rug). After that I tried (unsuccessfully) to unfurl the blanket that my wife had (with advanced mathematics) somehow established herself in. (you know, so I could get a tiny corner of warmth) After ten minutes (okay, maybe more like thirty seconds) of furtive probing I gave up and the did married couples version of when someone tries to pull the tablecloth out from under all the crockery.

After a slew of cuss words that would make a B-Block inmate blush and the hijinks of  navigating through the domestic version of the Tough Mudder… I wasn’t sleepy anymore. And so here I am, back where I started. Albeit in my pajamas now. With my teeth brushed and sparkling clean.

We have an excess of office furniture at work at the moment. It’s not really serving a purpose, other than taking up space, so I decided to appropriate a filing… shelf, cupboard thingy. I had the minions drag it down the stairs and then delivered it to my house this afternoon. (flagrant abuse of managerial powers entrusted unto me… by… well… me)

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Tada! The girl progeny has a new bookshelf (from which to dispense and distribute her books to every conceivable corner of the house). Some of these books she inherited from me and are not currently age appropriate (HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Chuck Palahniuk*) But I figure she’ll grow into them eventually

*I’m kidding. There’s no Chuck Palahniuk in there.

Did I mention it was the progenies birthday party this weekend? I can’t remember. After a quick brainstorm we decided that the thought of having a gazillion people in our house, with a plethora of snotty, little people in tow, rummaging through our vinyl collection and poking at my lego (and that’s just the adults) filled us with dread and loathing… Plus we’d have to lock the dogs away, and since that’s not really something we would even consider, we decided to have her party at the park instead.

My wife made a Peppa Pig cake…

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… and much fun and merriment was had by all. Except the girl child, who absolutely hated all the attention and tried to remove herself from any and all social activity. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

IMG_8636.JPG She also refused to take off her hat. And spent the morning looking mostly pensive. Although sometimes she would mix it up with a bit of a scowl. (REALLY awesome photos) I’m sure the talk will be of my strangely mute child who has clearly fallen off the development ladder.

Speaking of which, we had our first teacher-parent meeting at the Kindergarten she attends this week. They made us sit on the little wooden stools in the classroom, while her teacher and the principal took opposing tiny chairs. I must be honest, I felt a little uncomfortable… like I was in trouble…. old habits die hard I guess. Or maybe its a guilty conscious. Either way I did my best not to squirm. Or flee.

Turns out she’s the best in her class. Even in the long, illustrious history of the school they have rarely seen such raw magical ability (is what I imagined they were saying) It’s all very impressive for a mudblood (her mother’s a muggle). We smile politely. ‘Do we have any questions?’ ‘Not really’, we both mumble.

In other news I ordered books today. And then clicked same day delivery. (this is how I roll… sometimes) Two hours later I had received…

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…I know. It’s a university textbook. On potentially the driest subject imaginable. I go through weird phases. I’ve already devoured two chapters and so far I’m really intrigued.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to reveal my strange proclivity. In any event, twenty  minutes of killing stuff on playstation and then bedtime for Joey. Sweet dreams. Joey out.

Lies, damn lies and statistics

I rarely look at my wordpress stats (well, I try not to). This is more of a self imposed rule rather than any real sense of nonchalance or ambivalence I have towards statistics. While this information is useful (I’m sure) for bloggers who want to up their readership and appeal to a certain segment in the market, I use my blog primarily as a form of  procrastination (and therefore, have no real readership goals or expectation). For example, right now, I should be attending the scary amount of work I am behind on (or the tackling the equally scary avalanche that threatens to overwhelm my inbox) But instead I’m clacking away at the keys… achieving nothing of real consequence (story of my life).

When I opened my WordPress this morning however, something caught my eye.

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I had to google what maigre meant.

Definition of maigre. 1 : being a day on which the eating of flesh is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church.

Which, as you can imagine, confuses me even more. I’m assuming it must be a typo. Although the rest of the search term also annoys me. Don’t you normally search for blowjobs or fucking? Maybe they meant meagre? In any event, I have now (annoyingly) spent a fair bit of time wondering what some paedophile* meant when he hamfisted his google search.

* I realise paedophilia refers to a prepubescent. But the ‘little’ in the search term tends to bend me towards labeling them as such.

In any event. Googling this phrase myself fortunately doesn’t bring up my blog. (It does however probably flag me on some sort of database) In any event I will continue to ponder this strange occurance while the basset rests his head on my head.

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Perhaps with our combined intellect we can solve this enigma. (Don’t get your hopes up, the basset hound has actually now fallen asleep, which leaves only the dumber member of our dynamic cross species duo to ponder)

My wife has recently become persona non grata in the child sleeping department…. So my day started at 1am with the two year old (who had been dreaming about citrus, demanding a naartjie*) When no naartjie could be produced this lead to a meltdown of chernobylian proportions. I eventually went to go sleep with her on her bed where she tossed and turned for about an hour, poking me in the eye and smashing her forehead into the bridge of my nose (Although smarting from the pain, I was also a little proud) while she drifted off towards REM sleep.

*colloquialism for a Satsuma Mandarin

After this I struggled to fall asleep again, so I downloaded and started reading these (alternating between the two) on my Kindle app.

At the moment I’m guardedly neutral about Daniele Bolelli. He gets great reviews on his podcast and his books and I found myself really liking some of his musings. BUT, I also started skip reading (bad sign).

I now know this happens because the internet has addled my brain (thanks to The Shallows by Nicholas Carr) I notice it happening (more) when I’m interested in the content… but not fully engaged. This could also have been because it was 3am. I don’t know. I can’t read like I used to and it’s frustrating. At 5am the girl child was awake and demanding a muffin. So we trundled off to the local coffee shop (which is 24/7) in our pajamas in search of a double espresso and muffins.

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In other news my first habanero has changed from green to orange. Which means soon I can start harvesting. The rest of my chili crop was annihilated in a hail storm when I left my seedlings exposed outside at the beginning of the season. This plant was one of two that made it and its turned into a monstrous bush, standing 5ft high, with (I estimate) at least a hundred chilies on it. I’m quite excited.

Sheriff of Nottingham

‘So I notice you have a green velvet bag… whats in it?’ ‘Cheese’, ‘Gouda specifically’ I continue. ‘Wheels and and wheels of it’. ‘You sure its not… I don’t know… a gaggle* of crossbows?’. ‘Crossbows?’, I balk at the accusation… ‘maybe a couple of extra weevils… but certainly not ANY Crossbows’. ‘How about you give me 5 silvers and I won’t inspect your goods?’ ‘Hmm… how about 1 silver…’ I counter… ‘How about SIX’, the sheriff roars! ‘Woah, woah, woooooah’, I say, ‘lets not be hasty’…

* I have no idea what the collective term for crossbows is?

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I love Sheriff of Nottingham. I love how simple it is. And I love how much fun you can have bluffing your friends. No previous board game experience required… and so easy even the noobiest of noobs should understand the premise after the first round. There’s not a lot of games that can boast that.

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Everyone gets some money and a character card.

Commodities are divided up into legal…

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And ill… well… goods that attract extra tariffs.

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Every round one player is given the roll of trade war extraordinaire Donald Trump… the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The goal is to surreptitiously fill your the little velvet pouch you are given with goods which you then take into Nottingham. The sheriff stops you at the gate and suspiciously eyes your bag.

There are a couple of ways this can go. You can bribe the sheriff not to inspect your bag. The sheriff can just let you pass. OR the sheriff can inspect your bag. If you tell the Sheriff you are importing Rhode Island Reds and when you open the bag its stuffed full of mark IV annihilators… you’re in trouble and the Sheriff confiscates your goods. However if the bag contains what you say it does, Golden delicious apples… then the Sheriff has to pay you.

It seems pretty simple.

It makes for some hilarious banter. Especially since other players can chime in with their thoughts and opinions. Ideally if you’re carrying legitimate trade goods you want the sheriff to inspect you bag so that he pays you money. If you’re carrying illegal goods you want to bribe your way through… or… seem like you want him to inspect your bag… when you actually don’t.

Its great fun.

Goods are counted up and scored at the end of the game. Its completely possible to win the game by JUST transporting loaves of Rye bread (and donning a guilty expression).

I give Sheriff of Nottingham a friendship ending rating of :

0/5*

*as a term of reference, Grizzled ALSO scores 0/5, ie no chance of losing friends and Battle star Galactica rates 2.5/5… because your BFF… who knows you better than anyone else totally played you and is actually the $%^#& CYLON that taped C4 to the water purifier killing EVERYONE! That son-of-a-bitch.

Sheriff of Nottingham is a great game and comes highly recommended. I can’t tell you HOW MANY times I misspelled both sherrif and Notingham.

 

Rain, rain go away

Because I made fun of the UK in my last post it’s started to rain.

It’s not all bad. We are listening to our new LP’s while pulling the girl-child round the house in a card board box.

We spent all our money on coffee and analog technology. So we have to make due with the box we got at the farmers market and a piece of rope.

Admonishing me for going too slowly.

The German Shepherd is amused.

Weekendness

I had this idea that I should probably do some work. I’ve let my inbox grow wild and unkempt and now strange faceless creatures inhabit its deeper shadows. I’m scared to go crawling in there alone. Unless accompanied by an adult (preferably wielding a baseball bat with nails driven into it). I’ve decided to blog instead (albeit outside on the deck). Much safer.

IMG_8385.jpgI take a picture, ostensibly to torment my childhood friend who is currently hacking at his blackened, frost bitten feet in Bristol with a phillips screwdriver. I am mean that way. He replies that he had to queue for bread like in ‘Stalinist Russia’. This makes me remarkably cheerful.

Our day started off with breakfast at our local. I was up at 4am to let the creatures out. But then I went back to sleep. Uncharacteristically the girl child let us sleep until seven, so we didn’t get our usual table…. which REALLY messed with my Feng Shui/sense of order in an otherwise chaotic universe.

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This didn’t bother the progeny who personifies chaos. And therefore I imagine, doesn’t care if we sit at a table without clear sight lines or if our flanks are exposed.

After that we went phonograph shopping at 44 Stanley. I was hoping to get there before it became uncomfortably dense with skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts. Alas, it was not to be.

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(I know, I bitch about hipsters but dress my child in three quarter pineapple pants and a Ramones t-shirt. I will occasionally dabble in hypocrisy)

Before the claustophia of too many immaculate beards packed into too small a space overwhelmed me, I did manage to purchase this…

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I also bought a Pearl Jam and a Springbok nude girls LP, which I’m quite excited about. We rounded out our morning with fair-trade, artisanal coffee (you know when in Rome). It turned out to be decidedly unremarkable. A dribble of coffee in a one size take away cup for which the cost per gulp was obscene.

In other news I rescued a German Shepherd last night. (or resided him to two weeks of incarceration followed by lethal injection, depending on how you look at it). I had just finished walking my dogs when I noticed a dog loping down our road in the distance. It was getting dark but I could tell by the slant and the gait it was a GSD.

This is actually the last thing I felt like doing. And in all honesty if it had been a different breed (like a pitbull) I might have left it. I know for a fact that nobody on our street owns a GSD but I asked a guy sitting on the pavement if he’d seen where the dog had come from. Further up somewhere he mumbled unhelpfully. I rang a couple of bells. Nothing definitive.

Initially the dog was super weary of me. It was uncollared and not in a good condition. Way too skinny, coarse fur and limping. Eventually I managed to get close enough that I could touch it. Got my wife to bring the car around. Sometimes when we pick up strays they hop right in. This one didn’t. ‘Please don’t bite my face off’, I said gingerly stooping down to lift the dog into the car. I won’t lie I was a bit nervous picking up a German Shepherd whose temperament I didn’t know. It turned out okay and my wife drove him to the SPCA near our house.

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Posted the dogs picture on the Neighborhood group shortly thereafter. Didn’t get a response other than a ‘fuck you’ for not taking the dog to a no-kill shelter (which was nice) Maybe he’s chipped. But I have my doubts, his condition didn’t scream conscientious owners. Anyways, I remain hopeful that someone will either foster or adopt him. I always pay for the medical and spaying (in the case of a bitch) to further their chances a little bit.

I’m not sure I’d wear it, but how cool is this t-shirt?

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I’ve recently decided that the soundtrack to my life is 16bit midi. Maybe the theme to Golden Axe. I feel this t-shirt graphic perfectly sums this up.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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…

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“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.