13.04.2018 – Friday

I’ve decided (recently) that I hate running. I realize hate is quite an intense verb and that I used to run almost every single day.  In terms of time efficiency, it’s a really good workout, but… I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed running, not really. I suppose I could frame my statement with various excuses; I don’t have the right build, gait, mindset or that distance running is counter evolutionary to our bipedal form, but I think the reality is that I’m just more inclined towards sloth (the vice not the marsupial) and therefore just resistant to the whole concept of forward inertia coupled with the aggressive locomotion of my lower extremities. Besides, running is bad for you.

‘Why do you run Joey? Because it feels so good when I stop’.

I usually wake up (stupid) early, usually somewhere around four am. Theoretically this time between booting up and breakfast is meant to be spent in zen like contemplation, girding my loins for the day ahead. More often than not I loose myself in some mindless (fake) news event or some YouTube rabbit hole instead.

This morning I decided to take the German Shepherd for a walk. The Basset Hound was still snugly furled up in his pillow fort and it would have proved… challenging to extract him from within its confines without considerable effort.

In any event I appreciate the way that the world feels at four thirty am. I like the Noir effect and how the only people that are awake are those indentured beings delivering bread and newspapers (I’m guessing this won’t be a ‘thing’ forever). Although this morning I did meet another idiot walking his dog. (weird)

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The ubiquitous selfie. (I’m the one on the left)

My sojourn takes me up past a film studio, through a park and then I loop past a cemetery on my way back. Just under three miles. Only about five meters from my house on the return leg I tripped on the unkempt verge of my neighbors pavement and twisted my ankle. I’ve been hobbling around today ever since. The irony.

So maybe its just walking upright that seems to be problematic for me? I feel the weight of my ancestors and my kin (all the way back to homo-erectus) as they collectively share a look of concern and then face-palm.

‘Damn Joey, been walking long?’  

At thirty nine and two months I’d like to underscore that I am a slow learner. Recently my wife has been trying to teach me some more ‘occult’ like accounting practices (specifically deferred tax). If ever there was a concept that has wrinkled the gray spongy stuff!

I feel I may have reached my ‘trick limit’ and that new tricks are now beyond me. Maybe I’m aiming too high though. Instead of deferred tax I should maybe just concentrate on the basics. You know, like putting the toilet seat down and eating with my mouth closed.

That seems like a lot to remember though.

 

 

 

Kill the programmers. Save the world.

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment – Warren Bennis

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In anticipation of this event I already have the dog. My wife came with a Basset hound (not a real dog) and while Warren Bennis wasn’t breed specific, I can only deduce from his lack of a caveat, that he never owned a basset hound. Responsibility is not really their forté. In fact I often find myself both befuddled and amused that such a creature exists. Afterall canis familiaris comes from genetically engineering a sub-species of wolf. It casts serious doubt on… well… the French for starters.

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Our world is in a constant state of flux. Which I’m largely appreciative of, since for the most part, I am quite partial to a bit of impermanence. It keeps things interesting. And for as long as anyone can remember, futurists, carnival psychics, weathermen and more recently economists have tried to forecast tomorrow.

When I was a toddler I fell out of the wash basket I was using as coracle and smashed my head into the galvanized post of the clothes line. The result was a nifty scar (not unlike Harry Potter). The blunt force trauma however to my third eye (and surrounds) was less endearing and unfortunately debilitating. It meant I was never able access my chakra’s and my ability to predict the future has, as a result, been severely impaired. (Basically zero) Although you could argue that this makes me just like everyone else. Apparently its this amazing commonality that we all share. Regardless of race, gender, political ideology or fiber intake, one of those great egalitarian forces at play.

I can however still make some assumptions about the future and then hypothesize. Which is not unlike mental masturbation. You can practice it on your own and it’s relatively fun.. but really the payoff is short lived and its mortifying if you’re ever caught with your pants down. We still do it though. Some of us daily and routinely. Hypothesize I mean. We suppose things. And then take steps to combat something that hasn’t happened yet. And potentially may never happen.

The opposite of this is mindfulness (I think). Or at least living in the moment. It’s something I’ve been trying to cultivate recently. But it’s really hard. Especially since the future seems quite exciting and potentially somewhat comforting to us. Somewhere out there in the future there is a version of us that is, hopefully, better than what we are now. Although why this should be of solace to us is a little worrisome. Doesn’t that mean that the current version of us is less than optimal? Or even defective somehow? Why do I plan on being better at some future yet undetermined date? What’s wrong with me right now? (besides the obvious I mean)

In any event, while you’re sitting in your little corporate cubicle farm, ready to minimize your Facebook window at a moments notice, you are failing to grasp the grim reality of your situation.

Right now, somewhere, some vitamin D deprived, bespectacled programming fuck is writing code meant to replace you in your job. He doesn’t hate you. (well… he might) This is just the way of things…. and the sooner you realize you are basically an inefficient, time-wasting meat sack with a heartbeat the better off you’ll be.

This machine is guaranteed to be waaaaaay better at your job than you. No more coming in late,  no more smoke breaks. No more sniffing glue or blow off the toilet seat during lunch. No more browsing Pornhub or tweaking your manufactured Instagram life during office hours. In fact, lets be honest, if you weren’t around the company would probably save A LOT of money. And the work would actually get done! Why wouldn’t they want to replace you with a machine? I suppose if you were really good looking they might keep you around. But ugly people are fucked. Efficiency all the way.

Lately I’ve been endearing myself to the other parents in the toddler birthday scene. ‘Hopefully you’re not planning on steering your son or daughter to take up medicine?’ I mention offhandedly. This makes the other adults clustered in the defensive bulwark shift uncomfortably and avoid eye contact. They sense Jo is about to launch into a soliloquy but none of them want to be the one to set him off on his tirade.

‘It’s like wanting your child to become an alchemist. You’re being an irresponsible parent’, I continue, ‘in the future all surgery will be done by robots. Insanely more accurate than your inefficient son or daughter with their shaky hands and opioid addiction problems’. ‘Medicine as we know it will no longer exist. We will still need plumbers though. And probably electricians. Infinitely better career choices in my opinion’.

Going forward I think we have two survival choices. (There may be more, but at the moment my binary brain can only think of two) You can turn yourself into a highly specialized freelancer or you can become an entrepreneur. Neither of these can (as far as I can tell) be easily or cheaply replicated by a machine. And there should (theoretically) always be a demand for both.

Or you can make so much money now that you won’t have to worry about the future. That is the third option.

I’m making the assumption that the machines don’t rise up and kill us all first. After all how many programmers do you think there are right now, sitting in their y-fronts drinking Red bull and mucking about with AI. One of them is sure to get it right one these days. Fuck the terrorists. We should be rounding up the programmers!

If we act now we can…

  1. Stop the technological advance and save millions of jobs.
  2. Stop the unemployed starving masses rising up and murdering the all the 2%ers.
  3. Preserve the status quo. (it seems pretty okay at the moment imo)
  4. and… Potentially save humanity

Now we just have to debate whether humanity is worth saving…

 

Actually… now that I think about it, forget I said anything.

NOT a murder mystery

I forgot to lock my front door last night.

Terry Pratchett has this great paragraph about how, in Ankh-Morpork, there are actually very few murders. Mostly dead bodies are considered suicide. Walking in the Shades after dark for example, is suicide.

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While Johannesburg likely wasn’t used as a template for this Discworld metropolis (as far as I know) I feel it definitely ranks in the top five most Ankh-Morporkian cities on this plane of existence (up there with Lagos). The most glaring difference (which precludes Jo’burg from the top spot) is that instead of a brass bridge lined with hippos over the river Ankh (primarily used to dispose of dead bodies) we have a bridge over a train yard. (which broadly serves the same function). Also a bridge made of brass would have been stolen ages ago.

In any event, not locking your front door in South Africa is broadly considered suicide. (glad we made it!)

In all fairness in order to get into the master bedroom to murder us they’d still have to make it past the booby traps (the playroom strewn with Lego caltrops), the vicious guard basset (oh who am I kidding) and there’s always the chance they might trip over the German Shepherd in the passage (who would likely then roll over for tummy tickles). I sleep like the dead, but all the commotion might wake the missus (who will then punch me, ‘Your turn’.)

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Back when I was an (irresponsible) bachelor I slept with a Glock (.40S&W) underneath my pillow, 1UP and ready to rumble. It caused me endless frustration when girlfriends wanted to sleep over. (where is the Glock going to sleep?) Although savvy enough NOT to suggest they go sleep in the other room due to their presence deteriorating the defensive integrity of fort Joey, it generally elevated my already simmering levels of anxiety. (Clearly I had other qualities which glossed over some of the other more serious psychological… eh…  deficiencies)

Marriage has mellowed me somewhat (or turned the liquid cloudy, depending on how you look at it). These days instead of rolling out of bed and into my body armor I first have to go the cupboard and take it off a coat hanger. I also have to waste precious time taking my Glock out of the safe and cycling a round into the chamber. All this while under the added pressure of being murdered. (very inconvenient)

In other news I went for blood tests yesterday. The excitingly named D-Dimer protein test. Which looks for a protein in your blood which appears when you’re busy having a thrombosis that’s disintegrating. I’ve… torn a calf muscle (I think, although it could also be a DVT). My ability to tolerate pain after twenty five years of near constant boxing and ju-jitsu makes me weary of gritting through something that may not be what it appears. Especially since I’ve had a pulmonary embolism before. Which… as you might imagine really sucked.

Anyways, the doc phoned me with the results of my test this morning. Negative (but with provisos). He thinks maybe I should go onto the rat poison for a month… just to be sure… which I’m not particularly keen on. Since I was going for blood tests anyway, I did a non-fasting lipid test. Which was was higher than it should be. I’m more annoyed about my cholesterol than the rat poison. I generally pride myself in eating healthy.

The indestructibility of youth is ebbing away to its inevitable conclusion. So annoying.

Hide and seek

The little person surreptitiously hid away my keys before story time last night. This lead to an increasingly more frantic search this morning as I upended the house searching for them. Eventually she woke up. ‘Do you know where you put daddy’s keys?’

(Almost) Two year old’s are naturally resistant to interrogation I’ve found. ‘Me, funny’ and then running down the passage, doesn’t, as you might imagine, give you very much to work with. Especially when you’ve just gone through the trash (outside, in the pouring rain)

She had at some point during the evening, likely when I was supine on the sofa and preoccupied with my phone, clandestinely concealed them in her puzzle box. You know the one that comes with predetermined cut-outs and you’re supposed to put the correct shape in the correct slot. (I’ve gotten quite good at this)

‘Hey guys, help me look for my keys’

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‘Zzzzzzzzz… zzzzzzzz’

Eventually my wife found them. She has better instincts for what little people might do with objects of desire (keys, iPhone’s and credit cards). In fact without assistance I would still be wandering aimlessly through the house, likely mewling and feeling sorry for myself. (this is kinda my go-to response to frustrating events)

South Africans find moisture very challenging and now delayed, my morning commute became the aquatic version of ‘Fury Road’.

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It also meant that going to gym died stillborn.

On the plus side I did get my 400% badge yesterday. (required another 30 minutes of shadow boxing and push ups in my pajamas)

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I feel like one of the cool kids now. Whether or not this will allow me to sit with the cheerleaders and football jocks remains to be seen.

I am however, hopeful.