Wednesday, July 27, 2016

oh, telkom.

i don't understand why i need to teach every "technical" agent i speak to at telkom what ip addresses are and why there's a difference between the modem's address on my local network and its address on the internet. the agent i just spoke to checked with his crew and none of them have ever heard of static ips...

as a software engineer, i also don't understand how it's possible that telkom expects its users to restart their routers every night in order to use their night surfer packages instead of just checking to see during which hours the data was used.

this is a level of fail i'm struggling to comprehend. i think it's less the severity of this specific fails and more the quantity of mind-numbingly dumb failures i've experienced with telkom since i've been back. but they do have some of the best value-for-money products on the market. it's 2016 and we're still all locked in :(

‪#‎telkom‬ ‪#‎fail‬ ‪#‎surprised‬ ‪#‎notsurprised‬ ‪#‎cansomebodypleasebeatthesepeople‬ with a ‪#‎cluestick‬

back in action

sunday 10th:

another successful piece of the project puzzle
a hot and sunny winter's day
communication breakdown, mom's haircut
failed furniture mission
becoming maul people
the canadian versus the trellidor

monday 11th:

waking up restless at 6am, then getting tired soon after everyone else got up, rushing to meet with my cousin and her partner to explain good dev management and discuss a product proposal, feeling shaky from about halfway through and just before the end learning that my son had faceplanted (nothing too serious, fortunately), hurrying to meet my mom and the frustration of following someone down a route i'm not familiar with while not feeling well and focusing hard on not losing my guide in bad traffic conditions and misunderstanding hand signals and of course the distribution centre's systems went down just as we arrived. an easier (but still grating) drive home, scarfed down lunch and furniture shopping at the hustler's, not getting help at the telkom store and the technical assistant not understanding the meaning of "static ip"

printing beautiful coffee mugs!

spar mission for utopia cashew yoghurt, checkers, stopping at the end of the promenade for sunset photos and mr smear falling asleep to the delight of passers by

someone's developing dad bod - it may be legitimate but it's not okay

an evening of not much, watching the season six GoT finale - the last four episodes were interesting with some cool bits but the consistency and quality of writing wasn't nearly as high as it had been before.

going to bed early with the intention of getting up at mr smear's first feed but

tuesday 12th:

sleeping through to 5am and waking up in a panic over three or four nights spent sleeping instead of working and yet another day filled with important stuff to do

mr smear finding a full spindle bowl, the delivery, the hoisting, the painter, the other delivery and being shocked to see an old classmate who's become obese, furniture hustling and needing a shower after riding in their bakkie, trying to get some work done, napping on our new big couch, an exquisite sunset, mom's visit, deadpool (which was brilliant! what's everyone's problem???), not feeling well and crashing

quote of the day: "oh! i read about my ears..."

wednesday 13th:

waking up from a tough night wherein i twice walked face first into a closed door because i was still mostly asleep

why do so many people get angry over language? skipping pram jam for a walk on the promenade and a little boxing warmup, rushing home to receive our toilet roll holders: don't come in uninvited, and take your damned shoes off. the painter unsuccessfully trying to negotiate less coats but doing a good job nonetheless, a nap, gd's new soup, a particularly needy mr smear, big shopping and my mom joining us for dinner and getting some work done and watching preacher

thursday 14th:

1.30am partial and exciting success
4.30am progress made and wired but needing to sleep
8.30am up and running

car rental "service"
locksmithing success
out in the cold without a sweater for a coffee (the server watched me struggling to pay, neglecting to mention that there was a problem with their payment gateway until my third attempt), utopia cashew yoghurt, the sports store, checkers and waaaay more assholes than i could handle for one day

the cold front rolling in beautifully
the bathtime bedtime routine
the case of the missing meds
jim jefferies - freedumb is brilliant
passing out early, feeling broken all night and it was a difficult one

friday 15th:

another lost night, rushing to be too late for the dentist and the fire alarm keeping us out, quick coffee at home then the physio

sorting out pc issues instead of resting, getting some work done
friday night soup and drinks, another episode of preacher, working till late

saturday 16th:

struggling but making good progress, another difficult night carrying mr smear a lot

early morning blowout, lots of apologizing, the pharmacy, baby city, a fighting gym and then being totally won over by virgin active - their facilities are awesome, but not half as exciting as their crèche. we left mr smear for a while and came back to hear he'd played nicely with the other kids which was a great relief as he's barely had any opportunities to socialize

a hungry, hungry family

sunday 17th:

sleeping all night again, getting up and ready for the first gym outing, mr smear's last minute post-feed mega-poop

overheating outside with a jump rope, good-for-it-having-been-almost-a-year bag work, "eye of the house cat", struggling to move the heavy bags, coffee, picking up gd

bathroom shopping, canal walk, lots of other shopping, home, a little more shopping (wtf?)

putting mr smear to bed with stories for the first time instead of singing him to sleep on my chest, gd too tired for preacher, dinner and the scary, scary story of adhd medication and its long term effects

monday 18th:

3am after drafting the production-ready version of my code so far

not much sleeping in, a nice morning ruined by dishwashing technique and kettle volume

my second gym day, gd joining me and doing great until she injured herself during cool down, mr smear's slap battle with his new little friend (they were taking turns and laughing)

the chiropractor (good timing!), struggling to get home around the roadworks and really hungry so trying to sit down at newport deli and walking out because it was too cold and taking an illegal route home

an amazing and far too short nap in the sun, gorging myself on rice and partially cooked veggies, work and bathing mr smear and putting him to bed freakishly easily and preacher and work and a nap

tuesday 19th:

hard work, it paid off, remembering at 3.30am that i had a dentist appointment at 9am

dentist visit, not bad, trying to find the gorgeous poster above his chair (who is dawie smit?)

waiting out my local anaesthetic, prepping mr smear for the gym
on hold with an agent who's on hold because there's a miscommunication between my health insurance and my gym
a twenty minute run because that's all i could figure out and i'd already started (finding out later that that's the machine maximum); sharing a punching bag and managing not to share my opinions
showering at the gym is pretty good as far as gyms go, but still uncomfortable
the emergency poop change at the gym crèche was uncomfortable enough without an excited and twisty mr smear almost throwing himself backwards of the counter
crazy hungry and eating a huge lunch before napping after mr smear crashed, waking up a couple of hours later and having time for a much needed bath before waking mr smear for a feed and putting him back to bed - he'd slept straight through!

this going to sleep immediately on his back thing is new and magical and intimidating and i wonder how long we've actually been able to do this...

preacher episode six is incredible, going to bed and waking up around midnight to work

wednesday 20th:

going to bed at 5am after learning that internet explorer STILL doesn't support web audio api

crazy dreams, beginning the day still in that state and helping out with a serious poop, a slow start

attempting SARS: after getting frustrated hunting for parking *near* the building, learning that there was plenty *next to* the building. the main in a nice suit with a clipboard begging. the sea of humanity extending two blocks from the entrance in the cold wind and rain making me give up after a few minutes of not going anywhere.

wolfing down a huge serving of leftovers then crashing on the couch for a couple of hours

signing up mr smear for his gym card, getting through the rest of the afternoon, mom arriving just in time to look after mr smear while i took the handyman on a tour (personal items not put away), my israeli pension money apparently being openly stolen (an understandable misunderstanding), the bath and getting mr smear to bed and joining the all hands meeting late because i didn't know i'd been sent a link

the long meeting

thursday 21st:

struggling with microsoft's deficiencies

3am trying to go to bed but mr smear's scary (as much for us) nightmare

the worst bellyache, but getting better just as the courier delivering "c" is for cthulu ruined any chance of mr smear taking his morning nap

the gym for elliptical and jogging and poetry talk and inadvertently suggesting that the woman i was talking to looked ten years older

rushing off to the physio, struggling to get mr smear to sleep but eventually succeeding in spite of the echoes, tiptoeing around the topic of psychiatric medications and taking advantage of the surprisingly long nap to enjoy an amazing smoothie and veggie burger at knead

quick tailor pickup and spar shopping and smoking everyone's cigarettes along the way as usual, coming home to shower and crash and get up exhausted and freezing

a little difficulty getting mr smear ready for bed - this "tantrum" phase is pretty trying even if we're not reacting to it - then another dev meeting

preacher episode 7 is just as good as 6, it's really an excellent story

the deep sense of satisfaction derived from a message from tahoma informing me that my air force section is still using the IDE i created and its added value is significant. my joke when i documented it was calling it "project recursive programmer" intended to provide "a method to replace [myself] with code"; the fact that six years later it's appreciated is not only gratifying in and of itself, but it's a perfect example of how the right kind of laziness can do so much more than what's required by the task at hand.

it's nice to hear "would love to work with you again" when you're looking for a master's student and you get the master instead (the mongoose)

friday 22nd:

finding a promising lead before crashing, waking up exhausted and remaining exhausted through a morning of railing inspection and phone line installation and reading to mr smear

hardcore (possibly ill) tired, making it to friday night dinner on time though. a very pleasant evening and bringing mr smear home in the rain

saturday 23rd:

sleeping late, rushing to get my two babies vaccinated (my son was more stoic than my wife)

another desperate feed and nap
star wars iv and a restless mr smear

postponing our first play date, just getting through until bedtime, paranorman, work

sunday 24th:

working hard and making little progress, crashing at 2am

nerve pinching in the night, becoming progressively less tolerable as the day wore on

our first playdate at the green point park was really cool, it was great catching up with old friends and there was lots to learn, arriving home with a very grubby very tired very happy little boy

a long nap on a hot winter's day, strawberries and a bath, playtime and photo time, mom's visit and bedtime, dinner time and dracula untold (minor script issues, overall fantastic film)

muscle relaxant and anti inflammatory and a perfect chair massage and early to bed

monday 25th:

epic non-stop dreaming the entire night, feeling relaxed with my back better but still sensitive

busy morning of phone calls and shopping and cutting myself on the diaper / tampon bin in the point's baby changing room (we're not the only parents to complain over the past months, it's disgraceful management)

babysitting afternoon with railing cleanup and meeting strange neighbours, mr smear going to sleep early and waking up a lot

revolver is an amazing movie that nobody i know seems to have seen or cared about enough to mention

tuesday 26th:

working solidly until 2am
waking up early for the dentist, a particularly expensive exercise when your health insurance has run out for the year
a short nap and being woken to go to the gym in the pouring rain

a good session - definite improvement - and meeting the capetonian husband of the montrealer we saw at the bank a couple of months ago

retrieving an exhausted mr smear from the crèche (i'm a little concerned about how lax they are in some regards), a big lunch followed by a big nap (i'm trying to follow the "if he naps, you nap" rule), getting up too late to fix leaks and drafts

bathtime and bedtime and showing my obviously tired little boy who's boss by calmly and patiently continuing to put him to bed until he eventually stopped fighting

a big dinner while watching two episodes of preacher, shadowslight in the ICU

wednesday 27th:

waking up at 1am with awful indigestion and realizing i didn't mean to fall asleep

Thursday, July 14, 2016

in important note on mental illness

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

i've been reading this book a little at a time and am now about halfway. i've looked at the sources. i've read the arguments defending psychiatric medication and i've read their counter-arguments. this is not some "long-kept secret", the researchers who conducted the clinical trials and the results of the clinical trials and the testimonies of the experts and the personal testimonies of the sufferers are all cohesive, rational and in agreement.

this is hands-down the scariest book i have ever read, and it's even more horrifying that it's actually non-fiction. i cannot for the life of me understand (maybe it's explained better in the second half of the book) how an entire field of medicine can operate in direct opposition to the evidence, but clearly these people believe that they're doing good work.

this is a word that needs to be spread. mental illness is serious business, and people suffering really don't need their suffering to made worse no matter how well-intentioned a practice might be. educate yourselves, educate the people around you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

a little conspiracy

i'm feeling a little awkward about posting this in a public forum, even if barely anyone actually reads my blog. this is effectively a conspiracy theory, based purely on scientific evidence versus government and media messages.

1. i've been reading Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America and asking myself why anybody would study psychiatry, learn the history of psychiatric medication and yet continue to prescribe such medication to people who are suffering. if we're generous to the nature of such "doctors", then we can suspect that their prescriptions may simply be a result of the excellent work of what i can't believe i'm beginning to think of as "big pharma".

i've been hating the term "big pharma" since forever because it doesn't make any sense. except that when it comes to psychiatric medicine, it is unimaginable that any but the greediest psychopaths could possibly continue to produce and market and misinform when the evidence is so utterly overwhelming that these drugs destroy lives, are not beneficial to any but the tiniest portion of the population and turn simple, curable issues into nightmarish chronic diseases that justify them pushing more drugs onto the victims.

2. the amount of evidence published in peer-reviewed journals over the past decades that demonstrates that the simplest, safest way to be healthy is to eat a plant-based, whole food diet. not low carb, not gluten free, not organic, not GMO-free, just whole foods from the grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. who has a vested interest in maintaining a sick population?

the following two videos are eye-opening:
* why doctors don't recommend veganism
* vegan 2016: the film (part i)

Sunday, July 10, 2016


tuesday 21st:

a long night of work that ended really badly; the night, not the work.

early argument, a little bit of sleep and a rush to the physio, a quick stop at knead, skipping DoHA, a short nap and lunch and getting some work done before heading out to the baxter theatre to see the first half of defending the caveman which gd enjoyed until a stiff neck forced us to go home early

wednesday 22nd:

my first real progress at work, some comic success, an insanely cold night and it all coming into mr smear's room leading to a solid freakout

a slow morning, a stinky car, DoHA and mr smear (not) pooping while we were in line

a ridiculous threat from our landlord generating immense rage and anxiety, DoHA giving us the run-around (and page turn-around), planning an evacuation, taking mr smear for a walk to the police station, starting to drive to the car rental place but turning around, a productive chat with the illustrator, bathing mr smear and a shopping run and getting him to bed and instant mashed potatoes and electricity usage panic and just trying to hold on to sanity before my first phone call with the big boss since i was interviewed

there's nothing like trying to think intelligent thoughts over a blocked nose

thursday 23rd:

a little investigation, going to bed a little less early than planned, getting up on time to take my mother to the hospital, struggling to stay awake all the way home, not feeling much better after a nap, general tension and feeling sick with stress over our apartment, the optometrist, picking up my mom and not entering my aunt's frozen house, cavendish square; the struggle to find the baby changing room (although it's not a bad one), three complicated lunchers and mr smear and his rusk and a dodgy bill, parking lot feeding before playing in the garden again, nervously sending the landlord the big "release me" email and arriving at the chiropractor slightly late only for him to not show, home time, fixing the improvised window seals, a visit from droo, money management and internet problems and a little bit of work

friday 24th:

but not a lot before crashing early

overall not a bad night between the temperature having risen a bit and the new seal appearing to make an enormous difference

the good news: being released from our contract! initiating the rush to find a new place; viewing apartments with my mom, a rushed shopping and an exhausted evening

saturday 25th:

seeing a great apartment but being concerned about the carpet
mr smear gearing up for his first steps
an incredible sunset run, really bad cardio and a pinching nerve

sunday 26th:

rushed coffee with a joburg cousin
vaccination: mediclinic is a great hospital, mr smear being woken with a jab in his arm and his shock turning to confusion as it faded to nothing more than a bad dream
the waterfront mission: almost no parking available and one asshole sitting on two bays, learning costs - a contract iphone is actually the cheapest option, and unless afrihost's offerings are better telkom's mobile instead of dsl is surprisingly reasonable - a big lunch to make up for gd sending hers back in disgust
the desperate nap after half my coffee spilled everywhere, missing an amazing sunset

a good dinner, some down time and some work done

monday 27th:

early up for a restless day looking at three great apartments, seeing the chiropractor, and being messed about by telkom as i wean myself off the primitivism of dsl and evolve to home lte

finally seeing awakenings - what a beautiful movie!

tuesday 28th:

mr smear unable to sleep horizontally, beginning to pack, the physio, the weasel caretaker on my doorstep with my post, gd's phone and packing crates part i, lunch and phone and packing crates part ii

the post office, porting gd's number and the amazingly great news - we've been offered our first choice apartment!

more struggling with telkom, eventually calling the third idiot to screw me around in two days. after trying a bunch of different things she informed me that nothing was working because the SIM card wasn't activated. losing my shit.

mom coming over to build boxes, moving her old dishwasher, finally letting go of doing websockets "the microsoft way" and getting excited about node.js running on IIS

wednesday 29th:

being utterly overwhelmed, fighting with telkom and me&you mobile over number porting (they're all assholes) but some good news in the form of our new interface setup finally working (just before i was off to take it back) and it's undoubtedly the best internet connection i've ever had

signing the new lease and paying the rent and deposit and turning down the other amazing offer, trying and failing to connect with the israeli embassy, being grateful for my mother's assistance with the movers, actually managing to nap a little (but not enough by far) and get through most of an episode of GoT while enjoying a delicious gd lunch, trying to get things done at the waterfront and failing abysmally

it turned out to be good that we didn't find what we wanted at the waterfront, a pretty good evening in spite of a difficult bath time experience that included work success, managing to reclaim more aeroplan points than expected

thursday 30th:

getting to bed early(-ish), quite a few wakings and weird dream in between

up early to a wet bed, too early for the telkom store, a couple of missions to my mom's, uninstalling wall panel heaters and removing hooks, mr smear decidedly unhappy about being confined to his playpen and then suddenly the movers were there (arriving early while i was out, obviously), the insane last-minute pack (third time in a row), a bit of a back and forth between buildings and being rescued by our cleaning lady and my mother: moving into a mall is a strange experience... plenty to be done before dinner, putting phoenix to sleep in his room and feeling like we're living in a really nice hotel, a great dinner and a great shower

the slight draft during a crazy storm

friday 1st:

slight draft becoming a serious chill and cause for concern, but a couple of hours later when the wind had died down the apartment was comfortable again

early up, a full day looking after an excited and adventurous little boy who's now practically walking, but very busy with all the things we don't want him playing with; the construction work above us beginning just after getting mr smear into nap mode and proceeding to get louder

fighting with me&you mobile until it was clarified that we needed to hit the waterfront to pick up a new sim card, a great falafel wrap, chocolatiers, discovering wazoogles, home for a couple of missions to print pages, mr smear's bath, getting ready for dinner

a nice dinner, but mr smear was hyperactive and i think it's because he pooped and we didn't find out until we got home - and if we had noticed, it was so cold in my aunt's house we would have really struggled to change him

saturday 2nd:

one degree outside and freezing in, mr smear waking every fifteen minutes so nobody was resting

a pleasant morning, at least the apartment heats up quickly. "it's not a pyramid scheme, it's a book exchange!" is a pyramid scheme i can get behind
picking up heaters from my mom, a framing / hardware store / furniture store mission, picking up my mother's gifted dishwasher and the discomfort of having a strange man kiss my son on the cheek (although the offense lessened a bit when we learned that he and his wife are having trouble conceiving and that she actually gave him a talking to afterwards), brothers-in-law installation, quickly showing off our flat, ordering dinner and some GoT and a lesson in facebook protocol

sunday 3rd:

heaters and duct tape FTW
rearranging the kitchen

a first step towards letting go of nixon, mr smear's pleasant sunday morning nap, buying golf balls, maul people jamming canal walk; a good lunch, home shopping and fleeing just after we both began wearing out. fighting over family values on the freeway home, a harsh winter sun straight into our living room, trying (and failing) some home improvement

monday 4th:

another restless night

our first anniversary morning: the next episode in the pork pill saga
the helpful / not so helpful israeli embassy agent
the cape town post office charges exclude parking and exercise
aliyah department archive fail
a long afternoon, mr smear's first soup and bread, mom's quick visit and gd's delicious dinner, a little work

tuesday 5th:

getting up for work at 4am, 6.30am success and being quite impressed by my experience debugging iisnode once i got over the visual studio quirks

short sleep, the doctor visit ("you're a closet pork piller"), resolution, quick shopping, damp metre, exhausted lunch and vegan lectures, vegan yoghurt in the rain (utopia's cashew nut yoghurt is TOTALLY worth it), big shopping and missing the pharmacy on our return, mr smear getting to bed late, a time tunnel vision revelation

wednesday 6th:

working from midnight, being amazed after learning about the juno spacecraft's successful arrival

wiped out at 3am, but making exciting progress
another tough night with an early wakeup... mr smear's 11 months old!

pram jam, a little dirtier than usual and we were disturbed by the kid whose hair and general hygiene are clearly being neglected
mr smear falling asleep in my arms on the way home, gd describing the older wealthy woman who spends lots of money on her hair and clothing but who won't wash her own hands and probably doesn't clean her genitals thoroughly

the acupuncturist: all good until the end, when he pissed me off by basing an ostensibly medical decision on his pendulum, just as he was suggesting that the FDA shut down bicarbonate as a cancer treatment because it was effective, not because it's dangerous

walking it off, five minute nap before mr smear was up again

a busy afternoon, getting into a work groove and becoming excited about what i'm doing for the first time in a while

thursday 7th:

an easier night from mr smear, compensating with weird work hours

a decent morning, our first dentist visit in ages, getting ripped off by the car guard, the failed couch delivery, a rushed evening (minus bathing mr smear) to prep for my first team meeting, passing out soon after

friday 8th:

for a surprise full night's sleep

the chiropractor, the physio (who's leaving the country soon, of course, now that we finally found someone who can actually help gd), arranging hoisting, a relaxing bath, getting a little work done, mom bringing dinner and mr smear not wanting to sleep, GoT


another full night! waking up by myself (pretty much)
a particularly irritating morning, a drive to game to buy cutlery, a failed furniture hunt and a walk on the promenade discussing baby names and getting my new credit card and ordering a new new one (the new one expires in a couple of months) and helping my mom set up her dishwasher and walking home through a(nother) stunning sunset and doing some shopping (again, a supermarket with bare shelves where our favourite products used to be) and bathing mr smear and getting a little work done (why are "servers" and "clients" the opposite when working with udp?) and GoT and falling asleep earlier than planned

american breakdown

the first american drone strike on its own soil

"We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was," Brown said. "Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb." (

what options have the american police given all those black people they've murdered over the years? you can't be surprised by this, only heartbroken. law enforcement and the american government have had plenty of time and all the means to stop the madness.


black lives matter. this is why "all lives matter" is the wrong response.