Saturday, January 20, 2018

Learning to live suboptimally: A computer example

When things that once brought you pleasure and worked to your advantage fail to do that anymore, there is a time to find ways around it. I call that living suboptimally. And I will describe my computer as a case in point.

The last year I was on staff, I had a computer that was two and a half years old. When I became an independent contractor to the same previous employer they did me the favour of allowing me to keep that computer. That was great but after five years as an independent contractor my 7 year old computer is starting to get a bit tired. Suboptimal.

I have found ways to deal with that and it provides a reasonable metaphor for life, perhaps.

I need to prepare for the eventual catastrophic failure. I actually thought I had experienced that early last year and my previous work computer sat dusty in a corner for 6 months. Even then, I was reasonably unphased. I had begun the first stage of living suboptimally. There was no chance of me losing any data because anything important is stored on the cloud. I gave up on the idea of getting anything resembling performance - this was once a laptop that I could take overseas and count on presenting with, and doing major data crunch. Yeh, nah. No longer.

So I just came to terms with the fact that this old computer just wouldn't do the things for me that it once did. In computer world it's just that the hardware is getting old, in the world of personal relationships sometimes people just lose interest. I have software that I like to run on my computers and sometimes that software is a little bit demanding.

Living sub-optimally just means that there are some pieces of software that I don't ask my computer to run. Sure, the computer could run it but if I anthropomorphise a little I'd probably say that the computer has just lost interest. And the amount of extra effort and workarounds required just don't seem to be an efficient use of my time.

There is some software that I simply still have to run on this PC. I can't change the BIOS and it still needs to run a version of windows/office.

If I have a critical activity that I really, really need my old PC to execute then I need to plan for it. That might take hours of putting things in the right places, making sure the PC has had a fresh reboot (perhaps even two) and making sure there aren't too many extraneous demands on it. I shut down all peripheral programs and allow the computer to concentrate on only the one thing that I need it to do. If I manage to caress and cajole the computer adequately I seem to get it to do what I need it to. It's a lot of work, but sometimes there is no other way.

So, living suboptimally is a skill. A great old (now dead) friend of mine once said "I expect nothing of people, and I am rarely disappointed". And the same seems to be true of computers. It's not a path to exhuberant joy, but perhaps "exhuberant joy" - in the long term - is simply a mirage, anyway.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fat you can see..

We all know that cookies aren't good for us but this was a telling reminder for me. A popular brand of cream cookie was left on a piece of paper a few days ago and I think it's an image worth sharing.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cascading vices

Cigarette shop is selling greeting cards too top up their revenue and the newsagency is selling lottery tickets and Kino to top up its revenue.

I felt bad about buying a greeting card at the cigarette shop (before I went on to buy some liquor) but then realised that we are all just in the game of cascading vices.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Major page view anomaly last year - I blame the Russians

No, I'm not joking. I just rambled around looking at the pageview stats of this blog and I recall that this time last year I had gone from 1000-2000 views per month up to over 7000. At the time I noted that most of the traffic was from Russia.

That didn't seem too good. But then it stopped. Another of life's mysteries for me.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The only one awake inside The Matrix: "All I see are dead people"

There are two movies that have parallels to how I often feel. In "The Matrix" if you happen to be a human that has plugged in then you can deliver whatever carnage you like because man, these "people" you are doing damage to are just part of a computer program.

In "12 Monkeys" Cole keeps going back to a time before the world was destroyed by a rogue virus in an attempt to avert the disaster. Every time he creates, carnage nothing really matters - because the world will die soon, anyway. "All I see are dead people"

And so sometimes when I look around me in the domains that I operate I can't help but see people who are doing something that is ultimately worthless. And the urge is for me to be as rude as I like, because nothing really matters.

The piece of paper in their hand really. doesn't. matter. But I do need to survive in society and so often I keep my mouth shut. I sometimes treat these people as though their piece of paper really _is_ important.

It's a mystery why anyone ever wants to deal with me. But then I suppose there are people who are doing things that really do matter - and then I'm the one pestering them. Because I want to be associated with good things and productive people.

Your ability to communicate says something about you

Imagine being this person who sends a broadcast to about a thousand people:

"Issuing a reminder only of the planned ‘non essential’ power (general lighting and power) isolations that will take place **** between 730am and 1230am TONIGHT."

So which is it - 7.30am, or tonight, have the interruptions already began or are they starting tomorrow?

It's not a big deal, but when the messages you send raise more questions than they answer then you have to understand that people might think that you're not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Festival of Circus Animals: Letter to Alan

The best song on the whole Circus Animals album in my humble opinion. A heartfelt song with surprising harshness. "Alan" was a roadie who died in a truck accident and the message about death being just around the corner - that's real. From car accidents to street riots and one punch hits to ilnesses that you didn't expect - death really is our constant companion.

The reflection moment about "sitting in a hotel room along Rue St Louis and dialling old phone numbers down the line" reminds me of The Angels "Am I ever gonna see your face again?". Another song about lost friends, and how every battle that we fought together is all just history now because one of us is dead.

Explosive and harsh. And probably one of Cold Chisel's best, ever.

About the Festival of Circus Animals
I was 15 years old when the "Circus Animals" album came out, but I only really started paying attention to it had about 18 as I entered the workforce. It was the fourth of about five studio (original) albums. It wasn't the only musical influence on my early adult life, but I did grow up and start working around the same sort of places as Jimmy Barnes. As an 18 year old angry young man (aren't we all in some way?) this music was talking my language.