Archived entries for personal

Perfectly crazy

Mr. Perfect, from the Mr. Men series of children's booksI have this habit, which annoys the crap out of Jenny: it’s my tendency to keep things in pristine condition. And I don’t mean just my mint-in-sealed-box collection of Transformers, but practically everything we own. For instance, I get monumentally upset when either of us scrape our car’s alloy wheels against the kerb, and last night, I got a little upset because she accidentally put a hot frying pan a little too close to one of our table mats, causing it to melt a bit.

I don’t like bending the spines of books or magazines when reading; I keep the boxes, manuals and accessories for almost everything for when I finally sell it or give it away after I’m done with it (chuck it out? I don’t know you); I even don’t like using the windscreen wipers on the car until absolutely necessary, to avoid excessive wear on the glass. Yes I am that batshit crazy.

So whenever either of us damages or breaks something I get really upset (or if I see it being done to something that’s doesn’t belong to me, I cringe on the inside).

To me, an item in its brand new state is a kind of perfection. The way it was intended to be. Its divine form. And I see it as my duty to preserve it to the best of my ability. After all, what are we if not the products and stewards of nature’s (or your preferred divine being’s) efforts against disorder and decay?

Those who are religious spend their entire lives in the pursuit of intimacy with a being – or beings – belonging to a higher state of perfection than themselves, and those of us who don’t believe still strive to fulfil our innate purpose of maintaining that unbroken chain of progress (be it biological/evolutionary or intellectual/scientific/technological). Perfection is both our destiny and our fate.

Therefore, in the language of religion, I feel that a sin has been committed when a thing is sullied or marred. The entropy in the world has increased by a perceivable amount, and I mourn it as a loss. Sometimes that means I display a disproportionate amount of grief over an inanimate object, but it’s probably the closest thing I’ll ever have to a spiritual experience.

Fuck you, evolution!

Last week I posted the list of drafts I’d accumulated all these years and asked you to pick which ones you’d like to see. A couple of you requested “Fuck you, evolution!” which hardly surprising given the provocative title, but going back and reading what I wrote, I remembered why I hadn’t posted it before – it was supposed to be an announcement (about what, precisely, should be clear soon if you haven’t already guessed).

Seeing as it’s been over 6 months since I first started writing this post (I ended up publishing this instead), and who-knows-how-long until it will finally need to be called upon again, I figure I might as well tweak it a bit and publish now, and think of something else clever when the time comes.

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If it were left up to nature, I should have died a long time ago:

  • I developed an unknown and undiagnosable ailment at a very young age which causes me to cough incessantly. The doctors at the time said that my lung capacity was reduced because of it but I’ve managed to live a completely ordinary life in spite of it – albeit I’m not the fittest nor most athletic person you might know.
  • I developed myopia – more commonly known as short-sightedness – at a relatively early age. I spent several years sitting right at the front of the class, not because I was so eager to learn, but so that I could see the blackboard because I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until my violin teacher, Mr. Russell, noticed that I seemed to be leaning in to the music stand probably more than an ordinary kid should, and mentioned it to my parents, that I finally got glasses. If I was living in the era of the natural jungle rather than the urban jungle, I would’ve been eaten by a wild animal a long time ago.
  • More recently, I discovered that I have psoriasis, and on top of that, psoriatic arthritis. My skin does weird things in weird places, and my joints are in constant and incurable pain. I use steroidal creams for the external stuff and take anti-inflammatory drugs for the latter – and will do for the rest of my life. Without them my body will destroy itself.

Yet I have survived long enough to procreate, and with the middle fingers of both hands pointed firmly upwards at the process of natural selection, Jenny and I will hopefully overcome the false starts of last year and conceive soon. Realistically speaking, it is entirely possible that our child will inherit some or all of the traits I described above thanks to genetics, plain and simple. But he or she will grow up in an era where modern medicine will likely render the symptoms irrelevant – even as I use the rudimentary versions of those techniques to make my life tolerably liveable today.

So regardless of the specifics of how we came to be, science has killed evolution dead in its tracks. Survive and adapt to that, muthafuckaaaaaaaaa…

Incompletent

Lots of ideas

Daggy stock photograph courtesy of a bunch of expiring credits on iStockPhoto that needed spending

Jenny was off sick today, and with nothing better to do she decided to catch up on reading my blog posts. While we were talking about what she thought of the things I’d written, I took a quick inventory and counted no fewer than 72 draft posts – thoughts that I’ve jotted down here and there as they occur to me, but have yet to find time to mold into coherent forms suitable for publishing. Here they are in reverse chronological order:

The future of retail
Copywrong
A-theist
Poll: what should I study?
The human animal
The future of journalism
Partially formed
Truth vs. Justice
Fuck you, evolution!
Fear of taxes is taxing peoples’ intelligence
Am I a Mac or a PC
Idea: no claim bonus for health insurance
Hatred
Being rich
The hoo-ha over social media
Idea: open source shop
Personal Search Optimisation
Idea: retail
Idea: transforming forms
Idea: kilometre counter
Cheevos!
The Public Spirit
I’m not really here
Government by statistics
The loss of innocence
Review
Accountability on the Internet
Oh no! Won’t somebody save us!
The future is Web? I hope not!
Brand me
A friendly bunch, you lot
Internet predictions
The future is free
Ready to get your game on?
Leaders – the ultimate editors
Why communities?
Ideological veganism
You’re wrong.
Just in time
Social media and the environment
Adam and Eve’s nakedness
Simplicity
Technology and the erosion of society
Beyond reason
Anti-consumerism
One man can’t make a difference
People of the book
Sacrificial giving
Making the impossible possible
Random thoughts about God
The Internet of the future
The world is getting more complicated
Train your brain
Court of law
In search of a passion
Jesus
The morality of atheism
Privilege
Banging our heads against the wall
Superheroes or stuperheroes?
And then what?
Selfish or selfless?
How to write
When it’s too hard
Not knowing
Unfunny
Stupidification
I’m feeling social
Editing vs. writing
Story nouveau
Narrative structures
Integrity of character

What’s interesting about this list is that you can discern from it the various epochs that cyberseraphic has been through – and hence what I was thinking – a lot better than the final list of published posts. From the oldest drafts a few years ago when I was heavily into the mechanism of writing and thoughts about characters and plots occupied my brain, the period where I explored the duality of my Christian and atheist beliefs meant to me, a phase wondering about the implications and impact of technology on society, through to the most recent posts demonstrating a sliver of interest in socio-political matters – there are thousands of words buried behind those titles, many probably past their used-by date.

Any of them in particular pique your interest? I’ll consider giving priority to the ones that get the most response.

HC SVNT DRACONES

Not only has the Gregorian new year all but disappeared from sight in the rear view mirror, the recent Lunar new year is also fast fading away. As I look back (belatedly) on the previous year, I think it’s fair to say that 2011 was an annus horribilus for me and Jenny. If you noticed that we were flying under the radar a little more than usual, it was probably due to one of these reasons:

  • We suffered 2 miscarriages (without intending to trivialise the experience of others who have been through it, neither of ours were the “simple” kind that happens quietly behind closed doors, leaving everybody not in the loop oblivious to what happened. We required surgical intervention both times, meaning time off work.)
  • I was made redundant from a job that I’d been in for almost a decade, and spent 3 months unemployed, doing a lot of career-related soul searching
  • I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an ongoing condition related to my psoriasis, which negatively affects my physical abilities

Then there’s Jenny’s mum having open heart surgery, and a host of lesser incidents including one where Jenny learnt a valuable lesson on the very real dangers of -literally- kicking my ass, and a computer hard drive failure that would have been catastrophic but for the fact that most of my data now lives in The Cloud.

We also had some “near misses” such as: the Queensland floods – our investment properties were unaffected, but the flood waters stopped just up the road from where they are located (yeah, such a first world problem, I know).

And it seemed the rest of the world too, was being oppressed. Fortunately, we were very glad to learn that friends and family in Japan and New Zealand were not directly impacted by the earthquakes that rocked those countries, but still saddened by the many lives lost in those tragedies. Then of course there’s the continuing turmoil on the global financial markets.

So bruised and battered, we came into this year with the greatest of hope and expectation that things could only get better. And wow, what a start to the year! We spent a week away with our closest friends in a rented beach house in Anna Bay – the weather was absolutely perfect. Then during the trip I learned that I’d won a Sony Tablet S from the Sony (X) club. And we’re still only in January.

We’ve got big plans in store for this year, including a move (hopefully into a place of our own – fingers crossed). Hope to share more (and more often) with you right here, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the Anna Bay holiday.

Paradise on Birubi beach house

"Paradise on Birubi" - the house where we stayed. 5 bedrooms, 2 stories and rooftop access. Asking price: $1.65m

Praven serving up his curry

We had a great feast every single night - this one was Praven's superb Lamb curry. Yum!

A praying mantis

An unexpected visitor

Crashing waves

Leanne, Jenny and Tina playing around in the waves

A rock formation

Who you lookin' at? *grumble grumble*

Sunset over the water

We saw some spectacular sunsets over the beach

Sunset with silhouetted figures

Another amazing sunset. (EDIT: oops, I think this one was sunrise!)

Caesar holding a Port Jackson Shark

I caught a fish! Well, a Port Jackson shark actually. Oh, and it was actually Juan that did all the hard work, setting up the rod, hooking it, etc. he just kindly let me reel it in. He'd caught one that was even bigger the night before. We threw them both back in, thinking that they were endangered, but turns out they're not. Wouldn't have been all that good eating anyway - we were hoping for Salmon. Juan did catch a decent sized Taylor the night before we left.

Monkey toys arranged in a pattern

I couldn't resist... there were so many kids, and so many toys!

Birubi Beach

I suppose I couldn't get away with not showing a beach shot from a beach holiday (there's lots, but didn't want to post potentially "unflattering" pics of my friends without their permission). In the foreground is Birubi Beach, walking distance from where we were staying. In the distance is Stockton Beach, where I had my bucks - ah, the memories...

 

En neu, oui?

ennuiDinner just now included Korean Mandu (dumplings), which got me to thinking: not that long ago – I remember my parents having to do this – in order to have dumplings you’d pretty much have to make them yourself. It wasn’t impossible to buy them, just that the decent quality (fresh) ones were expensive or difficult to get, especially for a family where both parents work full time jobs.

I then proceeded to think that earlier generations had a lot of chores to occupy them – heck, I think I’m still scarred by my parents making *me* vacuum, dust and other exploitive manual labour.

Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly easy to have these basic needs taken care of: technology has given us good quality food, even frozen dumplings, which are available easily and cheaply. Even things like Roomba vacuum cleaners are beginning to take over mundane chores for us. (Yes these are still nascent and we are far from close to being able to celebrate the end of vacuum cleaners everywhere.)

The trend that I’m talking about is the freeing up of time. As technology takes away more and more of our menial tasks, we are being given more and more time. Some use it wisely – for example my boss has a successful candle-making business on the side on top of his heavy day-job commitments – but I wager that a larger majority out there do not.

I count myself among those that don’t know what to do with themselves. My previous time-wasters – video games, movies, and surfing the Internet – are starting to become boring, and I’m struck by a heavy sense of ennui. Gardening is now the only hobby that gives me any satisfaction, being the one thing that is productive, i.e. one that creates something tangible outside of my mind.

It might be a sweeping generalisation, but I have a vague notion that the youth of the Western world is greatly afflicted by this same sense of ennui, and is the driving force behind all the petty juvenile delinquencies that we’re constantly seeing around us: graffiti, drunken behaviour, social unrest, etc.

Do you feel the same?

—-

N.B. Pardon the depressing topic. This entry was brought to you by a sudden urge to write a “stream of consciousness” instead of my usual edited-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life posts. You may also have noticed that this is my first post in probably 6 weeks, partly as a result of my blogs being “attacked”, which I might write more about later. I’ve also got some slightly better stuff in the pipeline.



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