Frankology

Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, family, blah blah blah. We have to love it and anyone who doesn't is a “Scrooge,” weirdo, or must clearly have something wrong with them. It is precisely this way with picnics.

The much-coveted picnic is basically packing a bunch of food from your fridge into little containers from your cupboard, adding utensils, plates, cups and the like, from your cupboard, a blanket, and any other paraphernalia I've neglected to mention, from your cupboard, into a basket. You then load up all this crap into the car, abandoning the comfort of your home, where there are chairs, tables, refrigerators and countertops. You drive to a spot where hopefully you will not be stung by bees, bitten by ants, or burned to a husk by the son. Next, you unpack all the shit you just packed, from the cupboards and comfort of home, proceed to struggle with the simplest of tasks, such as buttering some bread, throw your back out reaching for a nip of cheese, all the while commenting on how “wonderful this all is.” When you're done, which is basically dictated by the loss of feeling in your lower extremities, you'll proceed to mop the sweat from your brow, pack all the shit you brought from the comfort and cupboards of your home back in the basket (this time you more or less just create a shit-pile) and haul it all back home to the comfort and cupboards from which they came. Oh wait, you have to wash all the containers first.

Picnics are dumb.

Yesterday one of my sites went down. While not the first time for me, and happily, a so far unimportant site, I am reminded of just how little in control of the system we are. By this I mean, we know who we are paying to store and or display our product, but that is about the end of the line for most of us.

Over the years I've been able to teach myself more than the average Joe about back-end hosting, data storage, and even data centres to a degree. I'm able to create reroutes, CNAME and A-records, upload files directly and a lot of other useful things. I'd go as far as to say, a support call with me is far less of a game of Marco Polo than with many others.

Of course, the support call remains a sore spot. First, it takes far too long to get someone on the line. Second, it takes far too long to explain the issue, partly because you are assumed an idiot and partly because many support centre call staff are bottom of their craft (they are very likely idiots too). When the game of “who's an idiot” is finally over, only then can we get down to the problem which is 100% of the time magically inexplicable and will require time to rectify.

The point here is this, while we believe we are in control of what we know, what we create and so own, we are very far from it. We are but one magical moment from total darkness. A sobering thought.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Everything must have a beginning. Every venture, adventure and journey has a day one. Even the biggest corporations were once upon a time just an idea, probably by one single person.

Always remember this when the fear of the unknown kicks into high gear. When your “yes but” mentality rears its head. When the curve slows and things get trickier than you remember them being in a while. Just like everything has a beginning, so too does it have an ebb and flow.

If they say it was easy, they're lying.

An easy way, which is at least mostly true, to remember the use of assumption versus presumption is implied negativity. Presumption being the negative version.

We live in a presumptuous society.

All day people jump to conclusions, often based on no information at all, about others. I doubt this is intentional. It may be an evolutionary trait, designed to filter out “unnecessary information.” A world based on written as a posed to spoken communication doesn't help. It is notoriously difficult to read emotions in text.

Either way, it is dangerous and often leads to a confrontation in some cases, and regression in others.

In the same vein, if you believe someone else to be presumptuous, for whatever reason, best you pause and check your own reactions, chances are you too are behaving presumptively.

According to the web, the happy birthday song is in its 125th year this year. That is a lot of happy birthdays. It's supposedly the most sung English song in the world. Nevermind it is sung in many languages across the world (the internet is American it seems).

Point is this, have you ever met a single soul who doesn't absolutely hate it? We hate being sung for and maybe hate singing it even more, it's a close call. How the hell then is it so popular and why is there always one dreaded twit who insist on everyone singing it? More than this, why do we all, always agree?

Occasionally we receive videos of the kiddie’s parties at my son's school. Everyone is always having a whale of a time until the infernal “let's all sing happy birthday” time! If they hate it as early as 3 why can't we get off it already?

Accept it sucks and move on.

Every year we look for “firsts” and “lasts.” First time together on a bus, first Christmas away from the new home, first time Santa called. Last Monday ever at this school, last time you'll see this person, last time you're taking this route.

I tried finding substance in this. The practice of trying to add meaning, or some milestone, to an otherwise normal situation. A situation you're unlikely to remember next year. When exactly was the last time we were on a bus together? Who was that person again? Santa called you say?

The significance is only in the moment itself, soon lost to the next moment, and then the next. Therein lies the answer, we are too busy living life, enjoying the moment, the here and now. This is a good thing.

If there were some kind of enchanted dust we could sprinkle over idiotic people who tell bullshit stories I’d be first in line to buy it.

Listen dick-cheese, nobody believes your story about how you “wrestled a bear with one arm cause your other was caught in a meat grinder, all the while the dog from down the street (who was by some magic in the same vicinity as you, a bear and a meat grinder) was gnawing off the big toe on your left foot, and that is why you cannot use stairs anymore, because you are off-balance.”

You are a fucking idiot. You should be dragged out back and shot.

I am often struck by the tendency of people, to try to impress others, no matter the situation, circumstance or cost. Cost of their own dignity, physical cost and even long-term cost. A few examples:

• A waiter/server who boasts about the restaurants they have worked at, or managed. This to complete strangers who not only do not care (they are just trying to have a meal) but are probably far more successful than the individual to begin with. • A stranger at the gym injuring themselves, trying to impress other members with what they can (or more accurately cannot) lift. • People who by cars, clothes and houses far beyond their means, as if someone else cares what they drive. Maybe someone will complement the car, possibly even think about it for a while, and that’s that, they move on. The individual has made a major commitment, and for what? • People telling hyperbolic stories about their past adventures, probably in the hopes this makes their uneventful lives more attractive or interesting.

Pitiful.

What's in store for us in the year to come?

To say we find ourselves in strange times is an understatement. Take the US. It's so riddled with social justice (online) warriors, it has literally lost its appeal as an immigration destination. A destination of any kind. Who wants to visit a country where you could find yourself in deep water for calling your wife a woman (cue eye rolls)? Bloody ridiculous!

What about Zimbabwe? A failed state on the brink of secondary failure. Fuck, is that even a thing? No food, fuel, currency, nothing but a lot of nothing. What happens to those poor souls?

South Africa. Still the most beautiful country in the world, certainly in my eyes anyway. What's in store for us? A government talking about handing over ownership of land, without reward or recourse, as if it were the era of crusades.

Not one can deny that there were times in history where some pretty crappy shit went down. People faced countless forms of injustice. Nor can they deny that every nation, race, gender, and creed on earth took part in crappy shit. Are we saying we are just going to roll back the clock? Correct the social wrongs, just like that? Reverse them is it? If we are, then wouldn't that mean it's time for some barbarism while we're at it? In fact, why stop there why not throw in a witch hunt or two? I'm all in for a spot of cannibalism – if not why not?

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance,” – Plato.

We live in a world overrun with opinions. Most formed on the back of the opinions of others, spread like a wildfire across social media, little grounded in fact let alone truth. Even facts can be interpreted to reflect a preconceived “truth,” but beliefs are not to be confused with truth.

It is best to teach ourselves, and our children, to steer well clear of opinions, and to dig for truth at all times. It is only through this we can rescue the “age of information,” from the age of ignorance.