Viewpoints

It was sunny when I left to find a place for breakfast today. Receiving my flat white in a laneway cafe at the exact moment the hail started outside felt like peak Melbourne.

Here is an example of an implementation of an architecture:

image 1961 from bradism.com


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If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?


The Click, Click, Click of Sand

I’ve been working long hours lately. Attending a lot of meetings, juggling many projects. It can be taxing, but also rewarding. There’s something satisfying to look back at the end of a day and see the progress made, emails sent, the calorie breakdown, the steps, the word count, the ticks in the habit tracker app, the work delivered, and of course the numbers on the payslip.

But it’s not big challenges that bother me. It’s the little things, like smoke alarm chirps, dripping taps, and an inability to eat grains and firm vegetables on my right hand side for like two years that really stress me out. These are the sensory torturers which await me when I return home. The drip, drip, drip in the sink. The beep, beep, beep from my tooth. I try to be a good handyman, but if September 2008 didn’t prove that wasn’t for me, five years of not having a property manager has confirmed it.

So now that I am thirty-five, and my precious time on this forsaken planet continues to filter through the hourglass, I have concluded that perhaps working hard and earning money should lead to me spending that money on other professionals who may be juggling many projects, attending lots of meetings, are stressed, etc. And it just so happened that two appointments I made - with the plumber and the endodontist - happened to fall on this day in September 2019. This morning the plumber came to crack the code of how to remove the tap without breaking it, took the electric drill out, delivered, and then took a whole bunch of my money. And then this afternoon the endodontist tried to crack the code of my pressure sensitivity by removing (part of) the tooth without breaking it, took the electric drill out, delivered, and then took a whole bunch of my money.

It’s too early to say if my tooth is fixed yet. The anesthetic wore off after dinner. But the taps are now silent, which I hope is a good omen. Maybe this system of earning money and spending it works. Perhaps this is the free market, the way of things. I can accept all this. The only part which bugs me is that the plumber charges more per hour than the dentist.

A Sense of Purpose

Every Monday morning millions of humans wake to alarms, wash, and then head to their offices where they mix together their perfume and cologne, coffee steam and carpet cleaner vapours.
The scent of a new work week cycles through the air conditioning.


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Olive Brown

image 1934 from bradism.com

I, somehow, left for work this morning wearing olive-brown trousers and an unintentionally matching olive-brown jacket. I'm not sure how it happened. I recall thinking that I'd wear the navy blue chinos today, and a cream jumper. At some point I had substituted both of them and become a two metre tall blob of matching brown. I didn't even realise until the elevator arrived to take me to my floor and I saw my reflections in the cube of mirrors.

I don't like being a block of colour. I felt very self-conscious. I took the jacket off, and my only other option was to feel very cold.

Why did I care, I wondered. What was the worst that could come of this? A bird might land on me? Somebody could snap my picture, upload it to the internet and I'd become some meme? The olive-brown giant? No fashion sense guy? It could go viral, and define my legacy. For the rest of my life people would know me as the olive-brown giant before they even met me.
Then I thought, did I really care about what people thought of my dress sense? My colleagues? My superiors? Did it matter? People in Washington, and Portland, where I recently vacationed, would they even have an innate, subconscious sense that I'd existed in the same location as them. If they did, would they care what I was wearing now that I'd left? What about people in Slovenia and Senegal and other places I'd only ever heard about. They wouldn't care. For the hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians who'd been murdered in the Nanjing International Safety Zone in 1937 surely my comically matching pants and top would barely rate a mention. What about the victims of Assyrian Empire genocides 2500 years ago? Would they even know what olive-brown trousers were? Would they try to find out, while they were persecuted and fought for their lives? What miniscule percentage of humanity could truly give a fuck about my olive-brown meme-ness?

The bell dinged and I emerged onto my floor. It had been a mentally intense elevator ride.

The Ten Day Long Weekend

Since joining the white-collared workforce 13 years ago I've dreamed of having a beard. And now, at 34, I've finally grown something I can wear with confidence down the corridors between cubicles. Who would have thought that, after trying year after year, it wasn't a fuller beard that I grew so thick, but society's standards for fashionable dishevelment that would fall so far.

Weekend Sprints Retrospective

My publicly declared deadline to finish my second draft has come and gone. That, along with high temperatures and DNA destroying UV from 9 to 5 has seen me spend much of another weekend in front of the computer writing and editing.

I like writing, and most days of the year I'd be thrilled to have such long blocks of time dedicated to stories, but this book has taken a long time, and at this point I'm more keen to get to THE END than I am to savour the experience. This will necessitate plenty of effort on the third draft to turn it into 80,000 words of consistent pith and joy.

Anyway, despite the thousands of words that were typed or tweaked on Friday night and Saturday, I found myself feeling a bit unfulfilled and discouraged by the process, and not truly looking forward to Sunday's wordsmithing, nor certain what I could do differently.

I've mentioned before that I use a mini Kanban board at home to replicate the one in my office. On it I track home maintenance, holiday planning, and story writing. Last night I added a few house tasks I'd been putting off. Gardening, cleaning and plumbing.

The board at the end of the weekend.

The board at the end of the weekend.

Today I supersetted writing with small victories, and despite getting a smaller (yet still significant) amount of prose fashioned, I feel more satisfied today with my accomplishments. I think my words benefited from it too.

That's my writing tip for today.

Bradism Nightly News

Performance art? I was on the afternoon train today, prime transit time, when a self-centered teen decided to listen to music through the loud speakers of his phone. The song he chose to disturb the commute of everyone else in the quiet carriage? The Sound of Silence.

I have noticed a trend of my journal entries containing less of my life lessons than they did a dozen years ago. Maybe this is because I am wiser now, though I doubt it. What I suspect is that I avoid more mistakes (which could have lead to amusing anecdotes) thanks to the magic search engine in my pocket at almost all times. But, today, I finally learnt something new through experience - because I didn't search "Will simmering a spicy, oniony curry for an hour on the stove make it harder to run?"
The answer was, yes: while cooking, the oily condensation will settle in your hair and on your forehead, and when you get up to speed in the summer evening sun the sweat will carry the chili and syn-propanethial-s-oxide down your brow and directly onto your eyeballs and you will cry not just from hamstring pain but also from self-inflicted crowd-control. (Yes, google taught me about syn-propanethial-s-oxide).

I have a new keyboard for the office now, after well meaning desk cleaners last year coated my old, wireless keyboard with cleaning liquid and wiped it down with a wet rag. I ordered a mid-range, LED back-lit mechanical gaming keyboard, which I convinced financial approvers was necessary for my work. It wasn't actually a lie. It's hard to find a full-size keyboard with a wrist support and media controls these days and the cherry-brown keys do increase my typing speed a little bit.
I turned off the back-lighting, even though I predict it will actually save my work money after about twelve months of my increased typing efficiency. It's unfortunate that they the manufacturer needed to mention gaming in the product name at all. I will not be gaming on this keyboard, unless blasting stuck java virtual machines with force restart commands, or navigating vying political agendas in multiple-recipient emails counts as gaming. It kind of does, if you don't take it seriously, but there's never a high score.

(After a couple of minutes and a few excellently filled out rows of a spreadsheet I turned the LED back-lights back on.)

image 1842 from bradism.com

Marco

Someone in the office once referred to me as the “stripy-polo guy”, which I believe is a fair summation of my appearance and personality.

image 1822 from bradism.com

There’s a lot to like about the humble polo shirt. They have a collar, with some buttons, so at the office they look a lot more professional than a t-shirt. But you don’t have to tuck them in, like a dress shirt. You can wear them just as easily with jeans as slacks. They have short sleeves, are non-restrictive and hang comfortably.
The only downside is that their slightly porous material does tend to hold in a few dog hairs, and if you wear a plain polo and you’re two metres tall you tend to become a bit of a billboard. Hence the stripes. For years I have worn them as the perfect balance between business, style and comfort.

A couple of months ago I was at a coffee shop wearing one of my latest striped polos, a blend of white, navy and pastel pink bars. I’d bought my father an identical copy for Father’s Day, and so it still had off-the-rack freshness and not a lot of dog hair.
While ordering my coffee I noted an old man ahead of me wearing the exact same polo! What a coincidence! These things happen sometimes when you live in Adelaide and there’s not that many clothes for sale. I wondered if his son had given him that shirt for Father’s Day too.

A few weeks later it was a Friday and I was wearing one of my brighter, more jovial striped polos to mark the upcoming weekend. I was walking across Hindmarsh Square when I spotted a different old man wearing the same polo as me again! This was more than a coincidence, as I’d owned my version for a few years already and I definitely hadn’t bought one for my dad. This man was so old, even if he had a son he probably would have been as old as my dad. A thought nagged at me, perhaps wearing striped polos wasn’t as stylish as I’d first thought. Perhaps wearing striped polos was, in fact, an old man thing to do…

This morning, donning my red and blue striped polo, I noticed a nash hair poking from the sleeve and I pinched it to pull it out. On closer inspection, it couldn’t have been a Nash hair, because it was too short and it almost looked gray.

It was my hair. My gray hair. The stripy-polo guy had grown up to become a stripy-polo old man.

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