Thursday, June 14, 2018

random thoughts

  • i've always been glad that i've never worked or studied in a place where i have to travel with traffic during rush hour, but every now and again i forget that that's a thing and i get stuck for a bit. today i left home using waze, though, and once it realized i wasn't going anywhere (ten minutes' gridlock trying to get to the N1/N2 onramp) it took me through all sorts of areas i'd never been in or considered travelling through. and boy, did i get to see what cape town's rush hour traffic really looks like for a LOT of people living in this city. it's horrifying, not just how long it takes to move but the kinds of driving you have to deal with whenever there's a moment's flow. i cannot begin to fathom the depths of patience that any of you who know what i'm talking about have, after an hour of struggle and vying for position while being cut off by buses i turned tail and fled the less than ten minute drive going in the other direction. i just don't know how this is a thing that millions of people have come to accept in their lives, and i know cape town's just one city of (i guess) thousands with this kind of problem. surely people think "let's try something else"?
  • if chocolate was sold in half-slabs i probably wouldn't eat as much
  • in spite of today's storm, we here in cape town must remain vigilant and water-wise.

    do you know how much water we could save if everyone shaved their heads? our local representatives should show how much they care (and some solidarity) and lead by example!

    #capetown #watercrisis #shaveandsave #shavewater #wearedryingoverhere

Sunday, June 10, 2018

israeli apartheid

people who claim that israel is an apartheid state to a captive audience upsets me in a special way. to suggest that the palestinians are israeli citizens when they refuse to accept israel's very existence and who operate entirely under the control of the arab nations and their proxies is absurd.

that's like claiming that the pakistanis are suffering under indian apartheid.

do you know who suffers the most from these outrageous and inflammatory claims? the palestinians. as long as they can't see a way to negotiate some kind of resolution with israel they will continue to be neglected, tormented and deluded by their own leadership.

spine align

one shoulder higher than the other, neck and back sore and unstable. after a day of discomfort, possible illness, and compulsively typing this up (kinda) and going to bed. looking forward to tuesday, when gd gets a nerve block, and praying that it's successful.

tuesday 29th may:

going to bed around 3.10am after a sad conversation with my mom about my cousin not supporting his wife; gd and i both unable to sleep and for a while giggling over stories of mr smear

struggling to get up and get the car to the shop early, mr smear's cough keeping him home another day, an empty police station, a long and stressful struggle to get mr smear out the house, a generally fun morning at the waterfront, re-purchasing an expensive gift for my mother because we'd managed to misplace the original during the move, mr smear making friends on the hamley's train and getting away with being super bossy (that hysterically awkward moment when he yelled instructions at the confused five-year-old, then promptly counted to three in hebrew before sending him to a timeout)

the joy of watching him demolish a falafel wrap so eagerly that other people were entertained (he did leave me a couple of bites), home on the bus, slowly checking items off my todo list, a phone call informing me they'd need my car another day but receiving another one later telling me to pick it up, mr smear eating two toasted not-cheeses as well as half of mine, big tantrums before gd's class and taking him with us, a class friend helping me keep him occupied with advanced hide-and-seek, and everyone loving gd's not-cheesecake

terrible coughing fits on the way home, even though he passed out and we had to wake him repeatedly to medicate him

13 reasons why, more checklist stuff then finally going to bed just before midnight

wednesday 30th:

once or twice up for mr smear, but nothing serious; a good start to the day, dropping him off at school (yay!) and going to the new gym

excitedly getting ready to hit the bag then realizing i'd left my gear at home, swimming instead and feeling pretty good about it

a couple of hours getting work done in what is effectively a shared workspace, picking up mr smear and learning he'd pooped at school (amazing!)

mr smear repeating "the boy is such live-ay" the entire way home (with some confusing stories thrown in for good measure), i arrived desperately hungry

the long search for gd's jewish name

(fuzzy memories)
taking mr smear to the aquarium, a sandpit full of smarties, showering him before my mom's big birthday dinner, my sister being distant, being ungraciously awkward about being thanked for picking up the tab, an episode of the mechanism and passing out early

thursday 31st:

early and cold, a tense drive to school, failing to decode mr smear's quote with his friend's "but", grabbing coffee at my mom's shop and easily getting to gd's not-hypnotherapist, work progress, signing gd's gym membership form, a long time filing an accident report in a smelly police station (an almost unpleasant interaction but we resolved it quickly), late picking up mr smear, a waterfront mission that included watching mr smear wolf down another falafel wrap with BIG bites and running into a cousin from johannesburg, getting everyone home then meeting sailor at bootlegger for a couple of productive hours, a quick grocery run, taking mr smear to stomp in promenade puddles and him falling asleep on my shoulder just before my mom came to babysit, gd's last class, spirituality and my revelation about the meaning of "the lord is one", my nose running through guided meditation, hurrying home, a lot of chatter, 13 reasons why, inbox clearing and bill paying and a massive howling rainstorm and

friday 1st june:

lots of work with perpetual regressions because microsoft's devs are f***wits (you can either run load tests or unit tests, but not both; enabling load tests resets your previous choices; you can't choose your endpoint path and it might just disappear altogether) [wow, turned out that all of that was some very weird mystical bug happening]

finally going to bed after 2.30am, but taking about half an hour to get there

waking up in the middle of my four hours' sleep for a painful coughing fit, registering the cold draft while breakfasting (mr smear preferring to eat *my* pancakes, of course), dropping him off and heading to the gym (impatience making me take a much longer detour)

a quick run (jog?), some bag work, a little experimentation with the other equipment, some stretching and then suddenly an hour had passed; a compliment for my tattoo taking me by surprise, a much better experience at a proper desk, figuring out the load testing one stupid design decision at a time

figuring out the parking ticket validation the hard way, picking up mr smear and telling the teacher she'd been spelling mr smear's name wrong the whole term

waze teaching me a new way home (which would've been even faster if i hadn't keep taking wrong turns), gd in bed when we got home so putting on the good dinosaur and at some point remembering to feed him, gd coming out and letting me work for a bit and then taking mr smear to the beach and park

heavy waves and foam, mr smear attaching himself to a beautiful little girl and her nanny, forming a little playgroup and having a great time; eventually going to the supermarket to pick up a few things (with runny noses, and none of those things were tissues) and bumping into an old homeroom teacher (who remembers me surprisingly well)

rushing to meet a friend of mr smear's due to a misunderstanding, twenty minutes of screaming and crying and dropping to the floor to get home because i couldn't carry him and the groceries together

going straight out to the temple, arriving in time for shabbat rina and mr smear making me really proud by singing a whole bunch of the songs, rushing after a friend of his and spending the rest of the service looking after them with his dad

great kiddush, his friend grabbing a fistful of challah before the blessing was finished, coming home to discover that my shirt had been inside out, kiddush and dinner and mom coming over

mr smear falling asleep on gd, 13 reasons why

saturday 2nd:

being displaced at 5am

winter-dry cracked knuckle, waking up in a foul mood and flying straight into deep distress (giving up my appointment with the neurosurgeon so that gd could demand surgery)

recovery, showering mr smear and taking him to the only repeatedly affordable indoor amusement (the aquarium), a milestone moment getting him to pee in a urinal (although of course he had to sneeze a huge blob as he started, which led to touching the urinal, and there was no way to properly wash his hands)

arranging coffee before realizing i was late to take my mom to the airport, mr smear stuffing himself, a long drive to the airport with a detour, mr smear falling asleep just in time to say a sleepy goodbye to his granny

a long, uncomfortable drive back to town (the seat height was wrong and my neck being at a bad angle made me woozy) only to get a call from my mom using a borrowed phone to ask me to bring hers back, there and back again and mr smear waking up when i finally got him home

parking my mom's car, chinese groceries, woolworths (almost not recognizing our old cleaning lady's son), peacefully negotiating mr smear to a healthy playtime while getting things done, a family viewing of an american tail, mr smear loving wasabi seaweed, easily reading him to bed, two episodes of 13 reasons why interrupted by an urgent purchase of an iron man onesie (for me, finally) - mostly great but some of the second season is infuriatingly rewriting the first

sunday 3rd:

nothing much until 2.20am

up around 8.30 with a stiff neck from sleeping badly, and spending an inordinate amount of time (including dev time) trying to cheaply make a call to an israeli number (egged) to book a ticket because their website is indecipherable regardless of which languages you can read

rushing to join friends at the park for a very nice playdate, picking up our favourite artisan bread (i really should learn what it's called) and a smoothie before returning home to slug down a coffee to be able to take mr smear to canal walk to meet our brazilian friends; sitting with them while they ate pizza, toy shopping and putting down a lot of money for a collection of dc female superhero action figures, grabbing coffee and opening the box to discover that it was actually batgirl and a highschool (whoops!), running (literally) to swap for five figures (guessing the prices and coming out with them owing me 40c), coming back to find that they hadn't killed mr smear (although they did give him cocoa powder before realizing that it might've been dairy, fortunately it wasn't), their little girl freaking out about mr smear's new toys (after she'd just gotten a whole bunch of things) and her father caving quickly and taking her to buy a large wonder woman (damn), picking up diapers at game on the way out and standing in an insane queue for a while before a manager told me where to find the express counter

mr smear passing out while waze misdirected me (unclear instructions, i'm sure the route was fine), arriving at the park early for our third playdate in a freezing wind, waking mr smear who was not impressed and taking him home where the playdate resumed instead; aside from lots of spilled drinks, a very nice evening with amazing chinese takeout (it fit with the weekend's general theme of living beyond our means)

showertime fun and using cold water to successfully disincentivize undesirable behaviour, passing out while reading to mr smear and sleeping for a couple of hours,

monday 4th:

watching half an episode of 13 reasons why before getting things done - some important and some not - and eventually going to bed around 2.45 after scribbling these notes

early up feeling slightly better, leaving late, dropping mr smear off and returning home to pick up gd and almost making it to the hospital before the water pipe disconnected and we jumped out of the car worried it was on fire - being grateful to the dudes who stopped to help while i fumbled trying to get hold of roadside assistance, parking safely and running to gd's appointment

a shared appointment, a plan of action for her and a pill for me (apparently i'm suffering from migraine symptoms without the migraines, which i consider very lucky)

walking to the post office to mail documents to vfmp, picking up coffee (and assisting my mom's manager with his phone) and picking up mr smear on a day growing ever hotter, getting him home by bus (a LONG wait at the civic centre), carrying him the last part into bed

roadside assistance not only being unhelpful in finding a place to take the car, but both transposing the digits of my number and failing to instruct the breakdown services to contact me

stuffing myself with avocado and hummus (separately, though, i'm not a fan of the combo) and lying down for half an hour, finally managing to sleep two minutes before my alarm went off

quick coffee, learning that the breakdown truck had been waiting for me and jumping into an uber, loading the car and sitting in traffic for a very long time (discussing homelessness, transport infrastructure and dogs), signing the job sheet and waiting for ten minutes before my uber driver cancelled on me, a mangy man wiggling his loose teeth at me with his finger before justifying his unprofessional physical aggression with what sounded like racism (only with his accent, i'm not completely certain that he said what i heard), a second long uber wait but a relatively (for peak traffic) clear road home

a rush to change mr smear, walk to my mom's car, load it, deliver my mom's bookclub books and then spend some time talking with cousins who've just returned from israel while mr smear watched simon

rushing home for dinner (he ate a lot of kimchi fried rice before making a pie disappear, shower and bedtime, lying on the couch freezing for an episode and a half of 13 reasons why, work and tasks

tuesday 5th:

and eventually discovering at 2.30am that i'd been barking up the wrong tree with test configurations, conveniently the same time my vision went fuzzy with exhaustion

regular sleep interruptions for mr smear crying out in his sleep, running late as usual, learning that mr smear had skipped the toilet the day before and peed in the garden instead (so proud!), the security guard pointing out a flat tire which completely disrupted the second morning in a row; needing a pick-me-up coffee smoothie but the place next door only had dairy, walking to the hospital with a couple of stops to look for helix replacements - the first place didn't have the size i need and the operator at the second couldn't be bothered to pause her personal phone call to ask if i needed anything

arriving on time when the surgeon was running late, a half hour examination / discussion and walking out really excited to schedule an epidural for gd that we hope might actually bring her some relief

ubering to pick up my mom's car, picking up mr smear (who had made his teacher stop dancing by crying), filling the tank, no naps and hunger and sailor and task management solutions (asana fail) and presentation software beating diagram software for making diagrams and a long meeting

mr smear's conjunctivitus

a long pharmacy visit (bad timing and renovations), taking mr smear to the park and needing to tell the homeless guy on the jungle gym to keep his hands off my son (he was being "helpful"), great swing experiencing (mr smear likes my boxing slips), the other park and four little friends and breakdancing, home for dinner and shower and me choosing a nature documentary before bedtime

a difficult bedtime but only because of his eyes, 13 reasons why, meeting prep and a long meeting (my contributions were openly acknowledged, that was gratifying)

learning that gd's important physio appointment was cancelled because she didn't check her mail

wednesday 6th:

learning powerpoint animation and working / doing random things until 2.30am, taking my first pill before bed - it definitely had *an* effect, not sure how much i actually slept but the drowsiness and weariness made getting up lousy and slow (having checked the side-effects, definitely one of them)

taking mr smear to the doctor and forgetting one of the reasons (we'll have to take him back), big grocery shopping (and forgetting a few of the things) and gd's experience with a cashier with a bad attitude, a little stress unpacking while dealing with mr smear's eyes and nose and diapers, returning my mom's car and taking a remarkably comfortable uber to pick up mine (almost falling asleep a few times), worrying warnings about damaging a gasket, driving home feeling relaxed (was it the meds? it must've been the meds), working well then going for my massage

feeling good afterwards, the revelation that i have an old problem with my ac joint i've never had examined, there's nothing like a little road rage to undo a good massage, completing the presentation, taking mr smear to the park (he met a little girl he called wonder woman, and she called him "my superhero boy"), a tough dinner (he was exhausted and frustrated and clingy and not hungry), shower, and a bedtime where i think he passed out before i started reading (he was hiding under the blanket)

finishing 13 reasons why and feeling thoroughly cheated - not only did season 2 rewrite significant chunks of season 1, but even granting them that the finale went from absolutely horrifying to thoroughly underwhelming in the blink of an eye and i was left dissatisfied

taking forever to get into work, becoming nervous about growth charts (not that that helps)

thursday 7th:

and then it was 1am and way past time for bed, and then 1.30am...

... 5.30am wakeup call from mr smear...

... the meds making it difficult to drag myself out of bed, the week of mondays continuing with me forgetting mr smear's schoolbag (the teacher and assistants were very kind about it), arriving at the gym and very slowly getting myself to the treadmill, stretching, and working - signing up for the fancy gym has so far proven completely worthwhile

a big mistake choosing the way to the school to pick up mr smear, the relief of hearing he'd had a good day, getting him home and into bed and passing out myself for a while

more visual studio testing struggles until suddenly everything worked and i hadn't made any significant changes... so that was a waste of a week of effort, with zero satisfaction from completing my task and finally being able to move on

gd feeling really sick, eventually taking mr smear to the waterfront on a miserable day; in time for a ten minute visit at the aquarium, getting falafel was his ploy to be close to the playground, running into our brazilian friends at the pharmacy, leaving them while their little girl threw a tantrum, a very quick grocery run, eating in the car, driving home in the rain, pre-bedtime, shower (super needy, which i realized was exhaustion), straight into bed, killjoys, meeting, enjoying the being canadian documentary,

friday 8th:

suddenly almost 1am and feeling wiped out, establishing after three nights that the meds were making me absurdly gassy and getting me out of bed regularly to pee - maybe they're just aging me really fast?

slightly less tough getting up, successfully reintroducing mr smear to maize meal

gym, running very conscious of my left shoulder, planking, stretching (reconfiguring); an hour's office time

a good drive home, the iron man onesie! coffee, lunch, spar, after ten minutes stuck leaving the parking lot realizing i'd forgotten something

scarf hunt stress followed by missing car keys (they were in my pocket the whole time), taking mr smear to the aquarium where he stalked a boy until they became friends

fast grocery run, home for kiddush, dinner and monster island, a fast bedtime, manhunt: unabomber episodes, a little mini-metro

saturday 9th:

and then it was past midnight, and iron man needed to brush his teeth and go to bed (without meds)

waking up in the middle of the night and seeing an update that SARS finally deposited my refund (relief!)

why doesn't sleeping make me feel rested? going to the temple, running around with mr smear and two little girls until i almost fainted (which preceeded me feeling horrible for the rest of the day)

picking up a musical toilet seat with handles and a step for mr smear... and experiencing that dark feeling when you break an important plastic piece on an unreturnable product's first day. compounded by the guilt that my reaction to breaking it wasn't particularly healthy and my son got to see it :$

song of the day: not shine on you crazy diamond, although mr smear thoroughly enjoyed watching the full video with me. it was the musical toilet's it's a small world after all

napping, watching monster island with mr smear, taking him to the grocery store, then the park, then the grocery store on the way back (for pears he wanted and then didn't eat)

an evening of freaky eaters and manhunt: unabomber

sunday 10th:

posting and going to bed (ooh, 1.30am)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

always busy, always tired, always hungry

it's past 1am, mr smear is coughing horribly, i've got work to do but i'm so busy being busy i don't know where to start (blogging must be good). after losing my journal entries for most of the last week and having my first real burn experience (amongst other minor things) i thought i'd give my journal a break, but i've just now needed to hunt something down that i wouldn't have kept record of otherwise so i guess i'll continue for the moment.

wednesday 16th:

1.55am into bed for a night a disturbances and interrupted dreams

up stupidly early, grabbing the wrong shakespeare book on the way out, mr smear's teachers in hysterics when i told them that superman had been mean to him

using a public toilet one-handed with a door that opens into the stall in a way that makes it impossible to avoid touching everything

a promising meeting with the publisher, a quick failed attempt to speak to someone at the israeli consulate, sending shakespeare works for review, picking up mr smear (each time he excitedly runs to me yelling "daddy!" is a gift), putting him to bed, chatting with a recruiter and going to get a quote for the car's panel work from a friend of protoplasm's

lying down on the couch with pink floyd, waking up to chocolate cake and turkish coffee before taking mr smear to the waterfront to sort out my caller id (?!) and gd's phone cover, buy gym gear, and visit the aquarium - a fun little tour and a much improved sandpit experience

home, shower, monsters inc. and dinner, mom joining us, a pleasant goodnight, lying down for a few minutes then watching happy with gd (damn, it's good)

thursday 17th:

somehow working until 2am

another (so surprisingly) difficult wakeup, delivering one of gd's cakes to the school staff (it was a hit), mr smear refusing to eat his without a fork and his teacher being amazed that he sat with the kids eating their ice cream and didn't seem phased by the fact that he couldn't have any

slow but steady progress at my mom's coffee shop, picking up mr smear who'd had to take his superman onesie off because it was such a hot day

quick lunch and teaching gd about the torah structure (and about studying without stressing - information doesn't go in if you're anxious, so learning *for* something is less helpful than just going over the material for its own sake)

a great massage while lecturing the same philosophy and economics i've been harping on about all week, stopping by a couple of pharmacies (one for toys and homeless vouchers, one for meds) and stopping at home quickly before taking mr smear out for a quick walk to the park

a scary moment chasing him on his bike heading towards the road; fireman's pole level up!

handing him over to my mom and going to gd's class; meeting the new shaliach (shlicha), an entertaining class but feeling like a made a fool of myself just before we left

going to bed after a cup of coffee and another episode of happy

friday 18th:

the caffeine keeping me restless all night, but not enough to get out of bed; getting up early, gd too sore to make her not-hypnotherapist appointment

"superman, what's your REAL name?"

is it wrong of me to teach my son that the planet he comes from is krypton?

a couple of hours working, feeling a bit chilly when i left but walking out into another hot day (30 degrees in mid-may!)

home, quick grocery run, a short rest, going to the waterfront to fix gd's phone insurance, buy gift birthday books and be lied to about my phone performance by apple's techs

taking mr smear to the park and the beach, him facing off with a tough little girl, one scary wave sneaking up on us, candles and kiddush before going to shadowslight's dad's for a busy and enjoyable evening; being unable to extract myself from an interesting conversation with shadowslight and his brother until past eleven, transferring mr smear to the car and then to bed pretty easily

saturday 19th:

very warm. watching happy and double-medicating rls with magnesium and tonic water and getting through most of the next episode of happy before crashing around 1am

a struggle to order movie tickets

stopping to check online prices before racing to purchase the deadpool collection, buying all three volumes along with the nao of brown then rushing to the post office to pick up the copy of the nao of brown i'd forgotten we'd ordered and hurrying back home to delete the item from the order

the window man assessment, taking mr smear through to his favourite classmate's third birthday:
parking outside airplane's
alcoholic ginger beer
cool parents (smokers not included)
chocolate cake stress and failing to protect the dog
awkwardly sitting while people gushed over the royal wedding

home with an awake mr smear and me going down for a nap, difficulty waking up (physical and emotional) but coffeeing up and getting to the world of birds, signing a form with mr smear out cold on my shoulder
back home for a short while then saying good night to mr smear and going to the temple
a long evening, some entertaining and some not so much

sunday 20th:

leaving around midnight just before i suspected i'd start hallucinating from exhaustion, eating and watching more happy before crashing at roughly 2am

starting the day on a positive note, taking mr smear to another birthday party; establishing who the cool parents are, and who aren't, mr smear sneaking a meringue so fast that all i registered were the traces around his mouth and feeling extreme gratitude when i was sure he hadn't taken anything with dairy

getting mr smear to fall asleep in the car without needing to drive around, everyone napping together, our two potential playdates cancelling and taking advantage, putting on monsters inc and chilling before rushed mall shopping before heading out to meet shadowslight and co.

spur dinner oddly satiating, discovering i'd bought tickets for the wrong day but being allowed in anyway - better seats, too - deadpool 2 was fantastically fun!

monday 21st:

random stuff before my first look at battletech - excellent, but frustratingly slow on the machine i'm using
going to bed around 2.30 after formalizing my work hours for SxS

arriving at school a little late to discover it was closed for the second day of shavuot, a quick stop at my mom's coffee shop where mr smear didn't like us laughing at his babyccino goatee, arriving at gd's neurologist just on time, mr smear alternating between cute and whiny, the neurologist seeming to be on the same page as us but not impressed when i asked if we could discuss me as well (no try no get, maybe, but *oops*)

canal walk, video arcade fun with mr smear before he tucked in to tofu and chinese vegetables (it's so exciting to see him stuffing himself on bok choy and carrots and broccoli!)

an aggressive religious muslim smoking under the no smoking sign at the parking machines and becoming angry when i asked him to move

no naps for mr smear, but all of us excited upon receiving his package of spiderman, vulture, rhino, beetle, sandman, green goblin and arnim zola action figures (!!)
managing to nap for an hour or two before chatting with SxS, being embarrassed to learn how i'd spoken to a coworker recently and hoping my apology would be accepted (it was, i'm grateful)
taking mr smear to meet our old neighbours at the park on a beautifully cloudy, cold evening; successfully negotiating his jacket closed (hooray!)

frustrated but accepting of his misnaming green goblin as hulk and arnim zola as iron man, but blown away by the immediate success of the experiment watching him roleplaying as intended

a big, delicious dinner before prepping him for bed, the rain of a welcome storm in the background

the joy of his play and hearing him struggle and work through little scenarios. the horror seeing him make the green goblin eat beetle's poop and at a complete loss as to how to handle that.

finishing happy season one thoroughly entertained, watching tony robbins on relationships

tuesday 22nd:

an actual conversation with hyperviper for the first time in years, learning that he's been blinded in one eye by a stroke :(
fiddling until 1am... then 1.30am...

in case it wasn't enough waking up with a sore and stiff neck, my lower back had to join the party too. managing to drop mr smear at school around 8am and get lost (using waze and maps) on the way to the auto workshop situated in one of the city's lesser-known godforsaken areas

ubering back to civilization, getting a bus pass sorted then settling into my mom's coffee shop; slowly and stupidly doing things and eventually making a little progress, suspecting the decaf almond latte of not being almond milk and becoming increasingly concerned that it would mess me up (fortunately it turned out to be almond milk)

walking to pick up mr smear and take him home on the bus, a surprisingly straightforward trip home with mr smear falling asleep just before we arrived, finding gd injured again after one false move getting up
passing out for an hour or two, mr smear waking me up to change his diaper and feed him, an afternoon lost to behaviour debates and other distractions

not only did i have to call the mechanic for an update, they hadn't even begun to work on my car and then lied about how long they'd told me it would take, leaving us unexpectedly carless for an extra day
eventually getting mr smear into bed, settling down to watch something before a meeting and having to jump downstairs to spend half an hour with my mom wrestling with a borrowed baby seat
a short meeting followed by a long night of moving things around

wednesday 23rd:

2.10am by the time i figured out VSTS load testing and was ready to go to bed

early up, morning media control generating tension, rushing to get to my mom by 8am for a lift to town

being hugely disappointed to learn that if there's a problem with the car's shocks it'll need custom engineering, and that i might not need anything and everyone's been talking shit to me

making good work progress, picking up mr smear and bussing home (he enjoyed seeing lots of policemen busting the suspicious curio shop next door), tasting gd's weirdly delicious carob brownies (tasted like marzipan), ubering to the workshop to pick up my car - left unlocked with the window open, and nothing was taken! - an agreeable conversation before heading straight to my massage therapist who discovered a new but important way to hurt me (the ilotibial bands on my legs that are related somehow to my rls)

a long but positive discovery meeting before taking mr smear shopping with me, running into my mom which really helped, buying a cheap samsui replacement for my infuriating iphone, eating falafel, mr smear falling asleep at the grocery store

backing up and attempting to transfer data ("at least i won't be doing this again, screw you apple!", i thought... wrongly)

a bit of black panther (the accents! the horror!)
the netflix series letdown has a lot of potential, but is in fact quite a let-down

thursday 24th: transfer day

installing apps until 1.10am - this would turn into a theme over the next couple of days, with the cheap samsui unable to operate more than one app even if everything was pushed to the extra memory card.


<lost journal entries due to a failed attempt to switch phones>

so i'm back on my iphone until i can upgrade gd's contract because it sucks but it doesn't suck as much.


thursday morning started really badly because we'd forgotten that the cleaning lady would be coming in when we needed to be at gd's not-hypnotherapist, i managed to figure out the solution only to race home to pick up gd and discover that she'd postponed her appointment - rendering all my efforts useless.

thursday afternoon saw the second long afternoon meeting that would prevent me from taking mr smear out to play (i felt like a bad dad), going straight to gd's class about the mikveh (she got emotional)

friday 25th:

a better morning, trying to buy coffee and finding out i'd maxed out my credit card (no stress), using gd's time at her not-hypnotherist to learn to backup whatsapp conversations to the icloud, home (ali wong and late breakfast), picking up mr smear, sailor arriving at some point, another meeting but only half an hour, getting a health check during a pharmacy run and being told i'm in perfect health but need to lose a few kilos, coming home to defiantly eat more of gd's baking, taking mr smear to the park before taking him to the temple

saturday 26th:

a long walk with mr smear that included the blue train, our favourite artisan bread and the green point park, the Big Drama of hunting for gd's most treasured article of clothing for an hour before realizing that it had been thrown out with all her summer stuff (boy, was that a long and uncomfortable story), my mom arriving to let us go to the afrikaburn event just in time to participate, things eventually calming down but gd unwilling to go so i went by myself

meeting shadowslight there, sitting in on a couple of meetings and learning about burn mechanics and how radical self-reliance is actually very similar to my own vision of the future, a generally fun and interesting few hours including an exciting meeting with an old friend and pitching him my new idea

driving shadowslight home (an impressive tech-support call on the road)

finally finishing black panther - not amazing, but certainly very good

sunday 27th:

going to the world of birds with our brazilian friends, the moms and kids enjoying the place and the dads discussing politics, going to the indian restaurant for lunch and finding them closed (on a sunday afternoon?!?) so heading next door to the italian place for an all-round disappointing experience (later leaving them a harsh review and receiving a reassuring call from one of the owners)

two episodes of the new season of 13 reasons why, then managing to put in some personal project time for a couple of hours

monday 28th:

a VERY cold day, and wet too (yay!), mr smear's cough keeping him with us, gd's MRI and taking mr smear to the park to joyfully play in the fallen leaves until the rain started (successfully managing to get him to close his jacket!), getting another panel-beater quote, successfully introducing gd to the virgin active collection, bumping into my cousin and organizing our account upgrade, rushing back to the mediclinic to pay for the MRI, get to the specialist, leave gd there and take mr smear home to nap while i waited for the cleaning lady to not arrive (second time in a row, and i needed to be in gd's meeting), realizing as gd got home that we'd completely forgotten our appointments with the jewish agency!

mad rush to get there, getting lost on the way, one very positive meeting (it IS possible to get around bad consulates), two very awkward ones (student authority and job hunting), and a terrible moment where i thanked a lady for her help and immediately registered that the lady who'd actually helped me was sitting next to her O_o

getting a bunch of things done before taking mr smear to the waterfront, in-out at the aquarium that included mr smear putting his hand on a urinal again (of course it has to be in a restroom that makes it difficult to wash a child's hands), the joy of him tucking into a falafel wrap with gusto, a long and tantum-y visit to the pharmacy and grocery store, leaving half the shopping list because i just didn't have the energy any more and coming home to shower him and get him ready for bed

crashing immediately after getting him to sleep


getting up just over an hour ago, and now finally ready to get some paid work done

Monday, May 21, 2018

people say i'm a dreamer

one of my dreams is to live in a world where people aren't afraid to be honest, and don't need to be afraid to tell strangers when they're infringing on their rights.

i shouldn't have to be afraid to tell someone not to smoke in a gas station, or standing next to me and my kid under a no smoking sign. or not to let their dog poop on my doorstep. the absurdity of being threatened physically on these kinds of occasions almost makes me ashamed to be ineffectually behaving in a civil manner instead of stooping to their level.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

mid may already

jesus. not only am i shocked that the year's going by so quickly, but i'm amazed to find myself snacking on brussel sprouts at 1am.

i've just social media blocked someone i was good friends with at school because i cannot handle seeing his ignorant posts about israel's current border crisis which are made all the more toxic by his position as a jew and a (mediocre) comedian and writer who has audiences who pay attention to him.

thursday may 10th:

figuring out some important things while reading kill six billion demons between tests - a pity there's a lot of SJW / identity politics bullshit in it, because it's otherwise very good

going to bed around 2.15am

a stressful morning erupting in the car, a superhero shirt having a remarkably positive effect on my relationship with my son

an hour managing minor tasks while waiting for gd, quick shopping on the way to picking up mr smear, an extra minute's drive irritating me but getting mr smear to sleep

a much-needed massage, walking out late for a meeting that wasn't going to happen, a little work success then taking mr smear to meet gd at the point mall, mr smear singing the pretender at the top of his little lungs from the trolley, home for dinner, handing over to my mom and going to gd's class

forgetting my jacket in the car when it was COLD, the hebrew teacher losing her shit after the class, a really interesting talk about fourth-dimensional beings, garment fringes for women throughout history and the arbitrary wrongness of PTBM (positive time-based mitzvot)

a long talk with my mom, cellphone option exploration, working hard

friday 11th:

the dramatic midnight discovery that mr smear had gone to bed with a soiled diaper

working until 2.15 then suddenly and desperately exhausted

fifteen-minute wakeup at 7.30am, a quick breakfast shovel 'n slurp before showering before taking mr smear to school in his superman onesie

checking out the virgin active collection - serious value for serious money - and returning to my car to find that it'd been bumped by someone who (apparently) wouldn't have noticed had it not been for a really helpful dude who witnessed the incident

settling in to work and receiving a call from a recruiter, subsequently looking over my old posts and finding that i'd been (rightly) down-voted for posting a sample that looked like i must have been having a stroke

picking up a jolly mr smear, an easy drive home (loving him yelling along to eifo hayeled) and adding the extra street ftw

(missing naptime)

trying to take mr smear to the park on a blustery day, his first successful use of the fireman's pole (!)

(missing evening)

dinner with my mom, showering with dub, putting mr smear to bed

(missing night, too?, i don't recall a thing)

saturday 12th:

crazy dreams of hiking and the author of the china study having been a famous horror film actor, sleeping in and waking up with a stiff neck

finally moving out around 11am, the telkom shift manager fast-tracking my move to prepaid because the systems were down (whoo hoo!), no apple doctors available to fix my phone on the weekend, the live looping genius at nobel square again, a semi-failed lunch with forks and beetroot, mr smear falling asleep for the exact time i needed to sort out a new phone and contract, offering tears for coin-operated rides, tea with my mom and mr smear spilling his babyccino all over himself (and getting me wet, too)

home, pharmacy runs (the first was closed), a neighbour awkwardly sharing her prejudices about the downstairs murder victim, finally making a mother's day reservation, watching monsters inc over pies for dinner, playtime before bed being fun but winding mr smear up, a long good night followed by a couple of hours of not much

sunday 13th:

up until 2am on a combination of work and hackerrank, going to bed with highway to hell's "living easy, living free" bouncing around my head and reminding me that you can do one or the other, but not both...

mr smear calling for me in the night, gd suspecting some kind of infection

getting up with gd for mother's day, watching toy story 2 with mr smear before starting the day with hackerrank "small victories" which i'm now using as a form of willpower building

taking a lot longer than planned to leave, a fun superpark playdate with mr smear's brazilian friend, a train ride that was extended so that the driver could flirt with a girl eating lunch (not clear if she was happy about that), mr smear repeatedly jumping down a giant slide by himself and making me very proud, becoming irritated by the lack of parenting visible in other kids' behaviour and grabbing a cup of coffee before taking mr smear home, picking up gd's phone, returning to the waterfront to get her new phone, returning home to pick up gd and mr smear and head through to town to meet my mom for a late mother's day lunch at plant

a good buffet, a walnut scare, mr smear enjoying himself

new phone setup - i'm now a huawei fan - showering mr smear and getting him into bed without too much trouble, watching the first bit of doctor strange, building willpower (hackerrank) and getting into work

monday 14th:

working well until 2.15am, tough up at 7.30

a well-timed fight before a helpful therapy session

a long sprouting co. burger preparation (he started from scratch) and a very engaging conversation (economics and apartheid infrastructure)

the indescribable pride in mr smear managing to give the doctor a urine sample (also his first time calling him by name)

finally eating the lunch we'd been carrying with us, returning to pick up the abandoned smoothie and continuing the previous conversation where we'd left off

arriving at the waterfront just in time for mr smear to nap, bad phone reception stress, big grocery shopping and the regional manager walking in to find me struggling (so sad for the store managers), back home for half an hour of chores then rushing out to spar to pick up "unusual items" (kimchi and tofu) and returning too late to take mr smear to play with our old neighbour's kids

gd very upset about the international community's responses to the US embassy move to jerusalem and the IDF defending israel's borders

monsters inc., a big dinner, falling asleep while putting mr smear to bed and waking up a short while later with him still awake, saying goodnight and putting myself straight to bed

tuesday 15th:

the disappointing news that south africa recalled its israeli ambassador

dropping mr smear at school, working out of my mom's coffee shop, almost driving over a spaced-out homeless man who walked right behind my car while i was reversing, taking mr smear for a headshot update where he won over the photographer with his superhero poses and breakdancing

three circles around the block before mr smear was ready for his nap

work (and work frustration), then taking mr smear to the gym for a good bag workout

getting home in time for mr smear to (accidentally) dump gd's brilliant vegan shepherd's pie on the floor before taking her to her class; coming home to feed him, insert my new SIM card and prep him for bed, then leaving him with my mom (he played really nicely all evening) and return to the temple to join gd. first impression with the new SIM: it's a relief to be back on vodacom's network, and my contract is effectively prepaid so it's comforting to know that i'll have control over my spending and a significant chunk of my billing. now if only my caller id was working...

it was an entertaining class, we came home to good reports from my mom; a chat with nystire before eating and getting started on the stupidly delicious chocolate zucchini cakes gd baked, thoroughly enjoying the rest of dr strange


fiddling a bit with sailor's macbook and doing a little work and posting this and crashing before the big meeting with the publisher (whoops, should'a gone to bed earlier...)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

stuff happens

i'm tired, i'm busy, i'm sore... but i'm full of gratitude, love, and hope. and feeling kinda chilled, which is pretty amazing for me.

wednesday 18th april:

tender neck, second night of foghorn in a row

dragged out of bed to the couch, causing an upset by allegedly putting mr smear off his breakfast, "NO i love you!" on the way to school

back home, passing out facedown on the couch, driving gd to the chiropractor, working, picking up mr smear (who'd been very bossy with his mates), getting him home to bed and crashing myself, pouring rain (yay!), a pharmacy run, a conference call with sailor, a grocery run, skipping the gym

sailor over for dinner, a long time getting mr smear to bed, almost midnight before finally getting to work

thursday 19th:

eyes crossing and going to bed around 1.30pm

*somebody* seeing the electric quad bike on waking up and i promised him we'd use it to avoid disaster

"a café latte and vacuum cleaner to go" - i wish i'd been recording that

working well during gd's hypnotherapy session, but getting a bummer of a call from a recruiter with at least partially bullshit feedback

a quick wellness warehouse visit before picking up mr smear, picking him up and learning that he'd stood on his best friend (i now believe that means "stood up to") and watching him tell the new israeli girl he didn't want to play with her (she was sad, and later her parents behaved awkwardly with me so i guess that's not happening)

coming home to police tape - our downstairs neighbour had been murdered in the night

mr smear napping while i worked and gd enthusiastically inspected the new cleaning lady's work

leaving very late for the independence day celebrations at ratanga junction, my first time there and sadly the last time it'll be open (or was it? i'm not sure), some great rides, a generally fun afternoon

returning home in the dark but taking mr smear out to the parking lot with the electric quad bike because a promise is a promise - gd and i both enjoying the experience as well

getting him ready for bed, the book for boys turning out to be a poor choice as well as possibly containing dust mites

needing to lie down immediately after getting mr smear to sleep in spite of having taken a good swig of coffee a little earlier, and a little later moving to the bed

friday 20th:

uncomfortably warm around 2am, otherwise mysteriously sleeping through the night

gd taking her first uber alone before i took mr smear to school, working painfully methodically through the morning from mom's coffee shop, picking up mr smear then picking up gd who'd subsequently ubered to her hairdresser in town (so proud!), then mistakenly going to the high school for a stem cell drive that turned out to be closer to home... by that time and in that traffic we weren't going to make it

home, issues with a wired mr smear, finally closing in on the problem i'd been struggling with, a big grocery shopping and successfully getting mr smear to sleep (although not for very long), home and code polishing

i laughed when he sneezed into the bowl he was eating his mushroom pie out of, then promptly forgot about it. later, i stole a spoonful of pie in spite of his protests and the texture reminded me of my earlier laughter and transformed it into disgust and remorse

lots of work (very slow going, very repetitive), showering mr smear and getting him ready for friday night dinner, gd making a real effort to get ready but getting in the car and realizing she'd need to stay home

a really nice dinner at my cousins', mr smear being uncooperative with me but good with everyone else and loving the cat

i think my cousin's finally ready to join me in my recruitment project

a late night, mr smear passing out on the way home, james acaster

saturday 21st:

going to bed at 00.30

everyone sleeping in, getting up first and into reading the invisibles

gd unable to join us visiting my great aunt and cousin from london, a lovely morning, dropping my cousin off at the market, bringing mr smear home and eating a great lunch before heading off to finally get my second laser treatment, parking in an entitled jaguar driver, home for some more the invisibles and introducing mr smear to the smashing pumpkins and nirvana music videos

taking mr smear to the aquarium, but he passed out as we entered the parking lot (again) so i grabbed a cup of coffee and had a long chat with horseman, then i ran him (literally) to the aquarium for the last ten minutes before closing, then stopped for falafel and a smoothie before taking him home to shower and get into bed

james acaster is phenomenal.

sunday 22nd:

an easy morning, taking mr smear to the waterfront (and the aquarium in time for feeding), him enjoying kale (!) and then choosing a kale and spinach frozen "yoghurt" (based on the color) which tasted so good he didn't believe it had spinach in it

returning home and putting him in bed, struggling with an uncomfortable belly, sailor coming over for a while, mr smear refusing dinner, mom coming over for a quick shower, showering mr smear and getting him into bed, jordan peterson videos, the remainder of thirty minutes or it's free (great!), an online race debate

monday 23rd:

working until after 2am, the same tedious and time-consuming loop giving me plenty of time to read more of the invisibles (and a little bit of kill six billion demons...)

going to bed with the foghorn, waking up at 6am to a cold, wet morning; mr smear waking me up with great rock music

even having woken up at six, still unable to leave on time and only managing the car service pickup because the mechanic was late

working hard and getting nowhere on a side-problem that should not be (IIS crashing because entity framework asynchronous tasks are failing disgracefully), walking to the school to pick up mr smear and noticing some of the area's details for the first time, picking up an exhausted mr smear on the one day i didn't have a car and having to carry him back to the gardens centre, ordering a wrap at pulp kitchen and having him pass out on my shoulder while i waited (oh gods, in retrospect i could simply have taken the stroller with me if i'd known there wouldn't be buses due to a strike)

the mechanic arriving unannounced, forcing me to hurriedly pack up and wake mr smear thoroughly before locating him, getting him home awake, his infectious enthusiasm for an activity book i picked up, eating and crashing and waking up a couple of hours later feeling totally awful and certain that mr smear and i had picked up a bug

more frustrating work and feeling a bit bad for not taking mr smear out, one quick visit to the grocery store, sailor arriving to show me the new dev machine that he wasn't ready to part with yet, getting mr smear showered and into bed and talking strategy for a while

thinking i'd figured things out then finding out i was wrong

tuesday 24th:

finishing book 1 of the invisibles (the opening stories were fantastic, the rest were merely entertaining) while repeatedly refactoring and testing until eventually going to bed after 2am having made progress but not nearly enough (and still unsure of how or why)

crawling out of bed at 7.30-ish
dropping mr smear off late
reading a cool short story (welcome to your authentic indian experience) and purchasing an acoustic guitar and a ukulele for mr smear while waiting for my shock absorbers to be seen to - which they weren't, and i still haven't gotten them replaced
more work frustration at my mom's coffee shop
mr smear passing out to tool :)
coming home famished, remembering the notes to tool - jimmy when testing out the acoustic

lots of fun familiarizing ourselves with the strings as a family, mr smear really getting into his ukulele

working hard and effectively giving up for a crap workaround, then dropping mr smear off at the gym crèche, running well for fifteen minutes then doing good bag work for another fifteen before showering quickly, taking mr smear home, meeting the sprout king on the way to picking up something from the pharmacy, leaving mr smear and getting gd to her class

a very interesting class, coming home for a quick dinner, working until midnight and then going to bed

wednesday 25th:

mr smear waking us up at 6.30 to play guitar, the pretender being the first song of the day

learning that an old friend's mother, whom i hadn't so much as thought about in over twenty years, passed away recently and being struck by a surprising sadness and a flood of fond memories

settling into to mom's cafe, taking quite a while to get started with work and my investigation moving really slowly; remembering to order a muffin for the principal on the way to picking up mr smear

mr smear falling asleep just before we arrived home, heading out for an important meeting with sailor which ended with a delicious lunch at the sunshine sprouting co.

needing to lie down while chatting with horseman, but not for very long because mr smear woke me to play guitar with him; taking him to the aquarium for a fun half hour, then a grocery shopping. he was mostly well-behaved until we came home and he tried throwing a couple of tantrums, which must have tired him out as he went straight to bed without showering and passed out while i read a grimm tale

watching an impressive first episode of the alienist, working until

thursday 26th:

past 00.30 after intentionally consuming caffeine, which didn't help much so i got up at 7am with everyone else

the morning disappearing frightfully fast, dropping mr smear off late and being rewarded with a view of the kids racing around the playground

a few frustrating hours at mom's coffee shop, sadly just missing a downpour on the way to pick mr smear up (the car needed a wash)

filling up the tank on the way home, learning that the attendants are too scared to ask people not to smoke in the petrol station because not long ago some guy jumped out of his car and attacked them with a knife for doing so

mr smear napping until we got home, lunch and guitar practice before heading to my mom's apartment to try and get some more work done, not really making any more progress than in the morning although some of the lack of success could perhaps be attributed to struggles downloading the new battletech game which finally came out

coconut water and wasabi peas on the way home, taking mr smear for a walk to the park, lots of dogs to play with, rushing home

receiving the news that i'm a great uncle - holy crap!

gd's last hebrew class with the good teacher, a very interesting study session about the talit

coming home to a sleeping mr smear, dinner and jordan peterson videos, another excellent episode of the alienist, work and

friday 27th:

distractions (including severe rls) and mr smear coughing himself awake

paying for beyond compare, feeling cheated, organizing a refund and heading back into kdiff3's arms (i like beyond compare, but kdiff3's just fine so i'm ultimately glad i didn't get what i wanted)

into bed just before 2.30am

up early, being disappointed that it wasn't fancon yet, a little guitar, being inspired to write by my younger niece's abhorrent behaviour (she was rude to my sister who'd messaged her to congratulate her on becoming an aunt)

mr smear showering with gd for the first time, visiting my uncle and his son-in-law and watching the end of the korean war, learning (slowly) to just ignore his political views and bigotry

taking mr smear to kirstenbosch with my mom and turning around when we realized he'd passed out, him waking up as we got back, me taking a nap

reading a bit of the long earth (simply incredible), taking a call with a colleague and at the very end mr smear lacerating his frenulum while horsing about on the couch; gd throwing her back out completely helping me ready him for an ER visit (we had been struggling to find indoor entertainment because of the cold, wet weather and that seemed to do)

my mom meeting us at the hospital, a very expensive assurance that he was fine by the same doctor that treated mr smear the previous year

mr smear falling asleep in the car again, stopping at cape quarter for my mom, ordering dinner, picking it up, carrying it home (loose), grocery shopping with my mom, kiddush and dinner and bedtime (reading him grimm to sleep)

vlc trouble, falling asleep on the couch in front of monty python documentaries on netflix (meh, really not interesting)

saturday 28th:

moving to the bed at midnight, then waking up at 5.30am for mr smear's coughing fit and more rejection - he'd been keeping me at arm's length for a couple of days and i began to seriously consider that my beard was implicated

gd letting me sleep in, breakfast and waiting for an appraisal team that arrived two hours late (unlike thursday, where the guy didn't bother to pitch at all), guitars and ukuleles

taking mr smear to the park, some fun moments, him falling asleep on the way home and waking just as i reached into the stroller to transfer him to his bed and my mom rang with her uncanny timing

catching an hour's rest, then taking mr smear to a birthday party in tableview and arriving with him snoring loudly behind me; having a chance to say hi and grab something to drink before waking him up to play

a lovely but chilly afternoon, a pleasant drive home, an early night for everyone

sunday 29th:


1. mr smear meeting a silent spiderman! i couldn't take a photo without gd, sadly... we did get a photo taken with a life-sized batman, however, and then later mr smear wanted to go back to give him a hug
2. picking up a beautiful local sci-fi story called nero: genesis
3. the overweight dancers in predator outfits were actually pretty cool
4. no toys for children, but some cool figurines that i sadly couldn't justify purchasing for myself
5. asking about local publishers and being directed to someone who might be able to help
6. mistaking a large group of religious muslims for cosplayers for a moment (awkward)

a long afternoon without naps, eventually taking mr smear to the park where he passed out on arrival, returning home in the wind to discover that i'd lost my keys - struggling in my panic to find out from the security guard if he'd seen anything only to realize that he'd picked up the keys and was just messing with me

a weird but pleasant reunion at an old friend's shiva house, home for delicious kimchi, shower and bedtime, and slowly falling asleep on the couch watching the alienist

monday 30th:

up at 7am, a few minutes on the guitar reassuring me that muscle memory really is a thing, at the park by 10.30 to meet the friend that mr smear thought would be at fancon (i think he now believes that fancon is his friend's mother's name), some good stuff and some less good, him eating well before we left, the extra mileage stopping at baby city failing to put him to sleep (possibly the fault of my choice of dr horrible's sing-along blog as accompaniment), watching the series while eating lunch

taking a nap (just me) for an hour and waking up feeling stoned: the new cleaning lady took one look at me and suggested we need to pray more. and take some magic herbs that she just happens to be a reseller for...

mr smear passing out as we arrived at gd's (new?) chiropractor, taking the opportunity to grab a coffee and standing behind the husband of the bully (bitermom) who convinced us to leave mr smear's previous school

grocery shopping, waking mr smear when getting in the car, a doctor's visit, rushing home to let the cleaning lady leave and finding her locked out on the balcony with no phone

picking up gd and mr smear, returning home to unpack, eat, shower (to a michael jackson playlist, i thought he'd be into it but he defiantly continued to sing the chorus of the pretender until i put it on

a long bedtime, three original grimm tales that had me walking out shocked to repeat to gd - powerful stuff! and very dark.

jordan peterson videos before getting to work

tuesday 1st may:

working until 2.15am while continuing to watch videos because the edit / compile / test cycle was so long

gd waking up feeling the the previous day's chiropractor had done her more harm than good and myself struggling with cranial nerve pressure

a good start to the day (and end), feeling grateful that we've picked up guitar (and ukulele) and stretching a part of my brain that i didn't even know i missed - just repeating the basic chords over and over and saying their names until i kinda get them

taking mr smear to the company gardens to feed the squirrels, his first milkstache from a soy babyccino, going to the waterfront to check out the two big toy stores and deciding to look for figurines online, mr smear still not asleep by the time we returned home so i walked him around a couple of blocks

gd eating something with strawberries!!!

discovering that mr smear and i won a prize at fancon that includes a weekend pass for two to comiccon in johannesburg!! (flights not included, but my brother's happy to host us)

driving out to oudemolan to meet an old schoolmate, mr smear's first horse ride (so cool!) with an amazing mountain sunset backdrop, the kids really enjoying each others' company while we chatted until it was late

home, shower (an improvement over the previous two days), guitar and ukulele practice, dinner

news that gd's brother's leg's been amputated above the knee and he's in serious pain

getting mr smear to bed, enjoying reading him to sleep again but leaving his room at 9.30pm :/
another great episode of the alienist, settling in to a very slow night of work

wednesday 2nd:

taking some time to publish a summary of my zombie thesis and a challenge to jordan peterson (obviously it won't count unless it's on youtube), downloading battletech on my mom's wifi because i have to have my copy even if i don't know when i'll get a chance to play it.

a little nero: genesis, a last bit of work and mini metro until 3am (i didn't say i was smart)

roughly up at 7.45, getting mr smear to class just before 9 and laughing at him amusing one of his friends by interrupting his song with fake sneezing

returning home to take gd to see a specialist - of course it would rain the day after i had the car washed - reading a bit while waiting, stopping at pulp kitchen for wraps with a background of elderly sausage finger sucking and dying seal barks, beginning to fall asleep while waiting for the food

picking up a sad mr smear who wanted to stay and play with the teacher (he'd had a fallout with his friends), napping on arrival, waking up to him crying inconsolably for half an hour and managing to calm him down a minute before gd returned home (of course)

taking mr smear to mambo's but discovering that they close before 6pm (?!), turning around then taking the wrong route to pick up my mom to pick up some things at the waterfront; a quick shopping mission taking an hour and a half due to a certain needy boy, and we were no longer able to get to the temple's lag ba'omer festivities :(

dinner and bedtime, an episode of the alienist, a little dangermouse and then a quick nap that turned into a full night's sleep

thursday 3rd:

a tough morning with a disagreeable mr smear, dropping him off and taking gd through to her not-hypnotherapy session, housekeeping but no work progress, a visit to wellness warehouse and picking up frozen coconut yoghurt from myog, struggling to get mr smear to the car but the not-yoghurt motivating him nicely, trying to manually induce a nap but strolling him around the block but after an hour coming home quite demoralized

a quick lunch, then a run to mambo's and shoprite to learn that it's nigh impossible to find reasonably priced action figures / dolls appropriate for boys

next level guitar callouses

a little work before taking mr smear out to the beach and park, finally meeting our israeli neighbours from two years ago and really hitting it off

dinner, figuring out the shower problem (he prefers me to pick him up to wash his hair, which sucks for my back but fine), a pleasant bedtime, watching the amazing spiderman 2 for the second time because we'd both forgotten the story

booking flights for comiccon! (the hopper app is fantastic)

friday 4th:

work - which basically meant staying up until 3am struggling with git branch selective merging while entertaining myself with random stuff that included nero: genesis

up and at 'em: waking up a 7.45am with a buzzing sensation under my skin, getting a couple of sips of coffee in before getting mr smear to school around 8.30

being very grateful on his behalf - one of his friends was trying to hug him, and after a bit of a struggle mr smear hit him; i was greatly relieved to hear his friend tell him "that's too rough" and give him an opportunity to apologize

arriving at skinny legs cafe much earlier than planned and finding a parking across the road, sailor not pitching for our meeting and being unable to get hold of him so using the time to get through some paid work; a long and deeply personal discussion before a business agreement before leaving to pick up mr smear, who'd had a much better day and happily hugged me hello and didn't make a fuss about leaving (*phew!*)

stopping myself from getting out of the car to yell at an entitled old man who almost hit us, later lecturing an older woman about driving responsibly when she drove into an occupied pedestrian crossing while checking her phone - it's mind-bogglingly normal here for people to text and drive or talk without a hands-free

walking mr smear around the block but giving up on the nap, guitar practice (much to his chagrin, he was certain there was youtube time coming), meeting gd and then sailor for lunch at the sunshine sprouting company, bringing it home for a bit of nutrition science ball-busting before sailor finally prepared the macbook for me while i worked

suddenly feeling exhausted and possibly ill, taking mr smear shopping and struggling to keep him awake; home for a traditional friday night and a simple supper, an early bedtime for mr smear, watching justice league (and barely being able to see it through, i enjoyed it but i'm pretty sure i missed stuff), pre-bed computer sorting that took an hour longer than anticipated and finally crashing around 11.30pm

saturday 5th:

tantrum morning and a toothbrushing that upset gd almost as much as it upset mr smear

taking mr smear to the waterfront, the live looping musical genius blowing us away with his digeridoo / electric violin / keyboard / guitar / triangle / shaker / beatboxing

meeting our brazilian friends and going to the new indoor play area (it's permanent!) to spend the next couple of hours getting physical on their obstacle course

a failed attempt to repeat the previous kale success, waiting impatiently behind the drunk dad who couldn't figure out the menu and didn't give a damn

a lovely harbour cruise, good play and then long naps for everyone!

going to my mom's to download xcode on the unlimited connection, which took a while, then coming back home for dinner, showertime and bedtime which went pretty well

watching captain america: the winter soldier

sunday 6th:

setting up the macbook, vaguely remembering how it works

there's nothing like your child repeatedly yelling "go away mommy and daddy!" in their sleep at 1am

crashing after 1.30 feeling a bit more secure about phonegap

up and at 'em, an emergency pharmacy run interrupting an otherwise efficient leaving, a beautiful day at kirstenbosch that mr smear enjoyed except for lunchtime with sailor (not only was he tired and bored, but he refused to try the delicious vegan choc chip muffin or the mediterranean salad he usually loves; trying to drink his babyccino upside down failed spectacularly, hiking a trail with him asleep in the stroller and a playdate with a teacher friend who had some very interesting things to say about the local schools and helpful information regarding age-appropriate learning

a solid sing-along drive home, my mom visiting after a long weekend away, falling asleep while putting mr smear to bed, crashing on the couch for a bit then moving to the bed

monday 7th:

sleeping until 7.30, dropping off mr smear and getting some work done at mom's coffee shop, picking him up getting him home awake... a roundtrip to download at my mom's and pick up groceries, then taking him to the waterfront

he was almost asleep before he saw his plastic bike, getting good exercise, the play area by the smoker's corner, a second visit to the superpark (climbing wall frustration, and mr smear calling the kids on the monkey bars monkeys, but generally having a good time), a visit to the aquarium with tears post-sandpit and a photo-booth rescue of the day

home, dinner, reasonable bedtime, half of captain america: civil war

cranial nerve pressure and a tender swelling at the top of my spine

tuesday 8th:

working hard until almost 1am (when i was supposed to be in bed pre-meeting with the potential publisher)

the disappointment in my coworker who a) couldn't figure out something that i thought was pretty straightforward and b) didn't say anything until he'd already burned a full workday

4.30am drama with mr smear that gd took care of

waking up from a dream wherein YWE, kanye's father, was a phenomenal poet and we were laughing about how we'd never had any interest in kanye until we began appreciating where he came from

stress getting ready for a meeting that i had the wrong date for

that terrifying relief when only *almost* spilling coffee over your workstation keyboard

mr smear not napping again, walking around and stopping for a smoothie, running into our neighbour friends, gd switching places with me, the cleaning lady not pitching and getting a bit of a rest

mr smear initially unimpressed that i wouldn't put the tv on, but then playing really nicely for a while as i got some work done

mom taking over, a good class but ending with some hebrew teacher drama

back of my head swelling: dr google informing me that i either had some kind of infection, or cancer

wednesday 9th:

working hard until 2am

forgotten laptop bag but early to class


it appears that most people on the roads don't know this, so please do help me share: indicators are designed to be used BEFORE you make your turn, so that the drivers around you can anticipate where you're planning on going and drive accordingly. using them AS you turn is utterly useless.

also, if somebody lets you pass, deep nose picking is not the appropriate hand signal to say "thank you".

it's not a tumour, i just have severe muscular distress all over my skull and upper back

struggling with road rage when picking up mr smear (starting to thing that a nuclear apocalypse might not be such a bad thing), getting him into bed (!) and taking a nap myself before diving into my coworker's task... initially being okay with helping him out, but then he just seemed to get lazy

a heavy grocery shopping during a software update, taking mr smear to the gym

forgetting my shoes again, hitting the bag hard for forty five minutes; discovering during my cool-down set that my left shoulder has very little mobility (i failed to strike a target with my elbow)

taking mr smear to the park for a gorgeous sunset, coming home for some good music and introducing him to pink floyd

a huge (and delicious) dinner, an easy shower (i got a really nice hug while drying him, and when i asked him if he didn't like my beard he told me "you can't take it off, daddy" ^_^), and an awesome bedtime: after reading green eggs and ham together (he finishes the sentences), mr smear put together a little play using our hands to represent our family members hugging each other before turning in

finishing captain america: civil war (hardcore) before getting back to work

this. good night.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

dear jordan peterson - postmodernism is not the problem

i am a reasonably educated man for my time - a qualification in this day and age that effectively undoes the adjective - and i focused quite a lot of my studies on postmodernism after having my mind cracked open by some of james hillman's writings and a particularly brilliant professor. you have spoken at length about the evils of postmodernism, and while i absolutely agree with your assessment of the subject of your speech it worries me that you have labelled it "postmodernism" when it's anything but.

postmodernism, in my estimation, can be summarized by the awareness of narrative as a super-structure that at its core teaches us the dangers of ideology and provides proto-tools for defending against precisely the kinds of dangerously subversive ideologies we're facing today.

it is ironic, then, that the flag of marxism - a perfectly modernist movement - is being carried by educators and activists who consider themselves postmodern when they have fallen into the very trap that postmodernism warns us of. all these things that you have described are not attributes of postmodernism, they're attributes of poisonous ideologies that twist aspects of postmodern theory for their own, blindly modernist agendas.

berger and zijderveld laid out the underlying causes of fundamentalism in their work "in praise of doubt", establishing it as a counterstrike against the potential nihilism of postmodern awareness, but i don't think they took the idea far enough: it's not just fundamentalism in religion that has become the opiate of choice for those wrestling with postmodern anxiety, nor even fundamentalism in any other ideology (scientism, marxism, capitalism, liberalism, conservatism), but fundamentalism in almost any aspect of life. we see this predominantly in things like fitness culture, sports fanaticism and all the isms relating to dietary choices; these days it seems people can find comfort and meaning in pretty much anything.

i find your suggestion that people need to understand statistics a vast oversimplification. i believe a number of things need to start happening in order for us to prevent more radical left (and right) zombification[*].

we need to build a bridge between the sciences and the humanities. scientists who don't understand what it means to be operating in a subjective mapping of the physical world have a tendency to produce bad science and useless engineering, which we've been seeing quite a lot of in recent years. humanities students who cannot see beyond the subjective mapping to the physical world will dive into nonsensical wonderlands without even bothering to look for corroborating data, the idea of evidence being meaningless to them. at the very least we need to be teaching younger students the fundamentals of the scientific method and enough philosophy and psychology to develop of a basic understanding of ideology to be able to think critically in context.
this bridge needs to be built early on, long before we give our primary or secondary students choices of which subjects to drop and certainly before the average dropout leaves school.

we also need to improve access to information. since the advent of the internet, universities and their systems have rapidly devolved from being generators and disseminators of knowledge to gatekeepers and hoarders. even if the stranglehold on humanities you describe was to be relaxed, the relationship between research and education needs to be reexamined for the new paradigm. we need to dismantle the paywalls**, find better ways to store academic papers and research data, and we need to do this fast before all the good that universities produce is lost to chaos. putting lectures online for free is a wonderful first step, but public access to raw data and peer-reviewed analyses needs to happen too.

another important thing that needs to happen is that education needs to go viral, and you have almost single-handedly demonstrated how thirsty the world is for rationality and knowledge. that you have any followers at all brings me hope and i would like to take a moment to thank you for being a beacon of light in a predominantly dark age.

** aaron swartz took an extreme position, but there are many potential models that could make open access economically viable. off the top of my head i can propose cheap individual monthly subscriptions, or microcharges for each paper accessed... this isn't rocket science.

zombies: capitalism without the capital

once upon a time it was suggested to me by one of my favourite professors that i turn my theory of zombies into a thesis, or a book. as it's looking less and less likely that that's going to happen, i've decided to scribble it down here in the hopes that somebody reads it and cares. there is an ulterior motive for the timing of this post.


it is well-documented that monsters have traditionally served us as metaphors for societal fears. famous examples are of vampires (sexual repression), frankenstein's monster (science and technology), kaiju, such as godzilla (the dangers of nuclear technology), and that's not even getting started on the ancient monsters (from greek mythology and beowulf, for example, those must be interesting to examine).

one monster, the zombie, has undergone much transformation over the course of the last century. the most radical change was ushered in by george romero in night of the living dead, and occurred significantly at the dawn of the postmodern era. some have claimed that the postmodern zombie represents capitalist consumerism, but i find that a bit of a stretch even though it certainly fits what i would consider to be a potential category of zombieism*. but first, let's try to clarify what postmodernism is.

postmodernism, as i would summarize it, is defined by the awareness of the meta-narrative or ideology as the "operating system" of the individual which forms the basis of the subjective interpretation of reality and directs rationale and logic. postmodernism emerged from the glaring failures of modernism's "isms", the utopian narratives that resulted in such tragic movements as nazism, communism, futurism and the relegation of metered, rhyming poetry to the naughty corner. the wikipedia summary is neat as always:
While encompassing a disparate variety of approaches, postmodernism is typically defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward the meta-narratives and ideologies of modernism, and often calls into question various assumptions of Enlightenment rationality. Common targets of postmodern critique include universalist notions of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, language, and social progress. Postmodern thinkers frequently call attention to the contingent or socially-conditioned nature of knowledge claims and value systems, situating them as products of particular political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, subjectivism, and irreverence

my thesis in a single sentence: i have come to believe that zombies represent the newfound fear of dominating ideologies.

1. zombies hunger for brains and infect healthy humans with viral ideas that nobody is safe from.
in their book in praise of doubt, berger and zijderveld explore fundamentalism and conclude that it is a reaction to postmodernism's potential for nihilism and the anxiety caused by an unstable sense of reality. one of the aspects discussed is that once someone has chosen to revert to the comfort and safety of religion, they must avoid all conflicting information and reduce their encounters with non-believers to a minimum in order to maintain their chosen belief. this behaviour is not only evident in religious communities - in particular, fundamentalist communities - but in other ideologies, from atheism and scientism to sexual identity groups to sports fanatics to pretty much anything that can provide a sense of belonging and purpose. our gods and our lifestyle choices and our hobbies are now ways in which we build our identity to the exclusion of almost everything else, and we circulate in our insulated groups while recruiting as many members as we can.

2. they are othered in a terrifying way while remaining so recognizably human that people cannot help but engage with them.
as our differences become more visible in our hyper-individualized western societies, whether in hair and clothing style, body art and modifications, mannerisms, or even social media profile keywords (eg political ideology), we sensationalize and stereotype more and more until the other has become utterly alien and monsterous. we cannot avoid engaging with those others who are close to us, such as our friends and family members, and when those close to us begin to adopt a new ideology they immediately pose a threat to our own existing ideologies.

3. they can only be stopped by attacking the brain.
you cannot win an ideological war with physical attacks, if anything you will only make the enemy more determined. historically, the only two ways to win an ideological war are genocide, an option i hope will remain off the table, and "winning hearts and minds". the latter is far more difficult in today's context, sadly, as it requires intelligent, well-educated warriors and we're living in an age of vast knowledge and very little wisdom.

that, in short and informal, is my theory of zombies.

* i feel compelled to point out that here (and in most conversations on the topic) the idea of capitalism needs to be separated into two distinct components: capitalism the economic system and capitalism the ideology. the latter is relevant to the topic of zombieism, the former is not. perhaps that's a subject in need of its own post.