A Nice Ice Cream

There’s a lot of bad things in life. An ice cream by the seaside is not supposed to be one of them. But sometimes it can feel unsatisfying, like you’re going through the motions of something fun without actually enjoying it. You have to park at the beach, deal with the crowds on the sand, the line for the ice-cream, the smell from the warm dumpsters drifting over the queue, the challenge of choosing your flavours. The cost, the guilt of the calories, finding somewhere to sit and eat it before it all melts. It can be a chore.

I had a really great ice cream by the beach on Sunday night. It was the first hot Sunday of summer. The beach was more packed than I’d ever seen it. After having my choice of parks all autumn, winter and spring I had to park two streets back from the esplanade. We wandered back down to the sand, greeted by almost-still water and an instant five degree drop in temperature. The sun was closing in on the horizon. We walked along the shallows to Semaphore square, ordered a few scoops and then carried dessert back to the sand and found a dune to watch the sunset.

image 1986 from bradism.com

We talked about life, milestones just completed, new things to come. The ice creams were almost $15. All afternoon my hamstring tendon had been on the cusp of agony. There were uncertainties in our near future. There was work tomorrow. The ice cream was sweet, and still cold.

As the sun sunk and twilight commenced, I finished the last lapping of double chocolate and the conclusive crunch of waffle cone. We walked back to the car and blasted Christmas songs all the way home. There was still chocolate on my lips, and my belly was content. It was a beautiful night.

You can be in pain and still be happy.

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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


I am entangled by language. I can't have a single internal thought without my brain rearranging the order, switching the subject or the verb, playing it back. I can spend a twenty minute walk mentally editing a paragraph I'll never need to say out loud. I repeat words, or add additional alliteration. I experiment with unexpected terms. I consult a thesaurus about as much as one of my ESL co-workers consults a dictionary after one of my more verbose emails gets sent around (once or twice a week). I don't know why. I've been this way as far back as I can remember. Painting unnecessary prose like an undercoat on my cortex, burning time overcooking exposition. I've been doing it writing this entry with no sense of irony. It's just the way I am, apparently. A whole body thing. And that must explain why my hamstring tendon origin fatigues after the first few paragraphs each time I write. That's why I haven't felt true to myself in years. Fifty months of rehab and I can play basketball, squat a barbell, and hike up mountains. But I can't fill a page without aching.

The Narrative Fallacy

Been waiting a while between entries, waiting for something that would make a good story.

Friday. Racing to deliver Vanessa to her first shift of her new job. Made it with an hour to spare and drank a smoothie. Then racing again. Hoping to time my arrival at the basketball court by the beach with an empty half court. Worried as always that missing those lights, that slow driver, might be the difference between hoops and sidelines. Made it again, but the wind was blowing hard (away from the basket) and the ring was at eight foot height. No amount of nearby sticks possessed the rigidity and leverage required to crank it to ten feet. Silver lining, did some dunks and pretended I was athletic. Impressed nobody, but it was fun. Would have been better to play on a ten foot ring with no wind though. No moral.

Saturday, CluedUpp detective game. Did 20,000 steps in the city. Overthought it. Solved the mystery eventually after realising there might not actually be layers and themes to the story. It was actually just a process of elimination. A valuable lesson about the narrative fallacy.

Sunday, elected to spend $18 on miticide and $7 on mulch to keep my nectarine and peach trees alive. Alternatively could have gone to the market and bought about ten kilograms of stone-fruit for the same amount. A redemption arc?

Monday. Met an old man who asked me how my weekend was. I explained above. He told me that the narrative fallacy might not apply to me. I could be the chosen one.

Tuesday. Still thinking that over.

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Me in the office today

image 1987 from bradism.com

DAE It's Hot?

Not to harp on about the weather too much... But due to the heatwave I have officially started storing my hand sanitizer in the fridge.

image 1988 from bradism.com

Ready Player Two

There seems to be a lot of not good things happening in the world today. Environmentally, economically, politically, and worse. It feels like I can't do anything about it. And as none of it affects me directly I seem capable of just going about my daily business, like a non-playable character in a video game. Moving from point A to point B while ignoring the explosions.

I recognise that simulation theory is a bit of a trope by this point of the twenty-first century. The concept still bothers me at least a few times a week. Not the part about reality running in some super-universe’s supercomputers. A universe needs some context to exist in, after all. The most troubling aspect of simulation theory is that my memories could be of events which never occurred. That my life never happened, and everything I remember was inserted with constraints disabled to give me the programming I need to be an NPC, and that the simulation could have literally kicked off right this second.

I also think about the narrative fallacy a lot. There's a few elements required for a good story, for a video game. The playable character needs autonomy, some starting resources, a call to action, and a user manual. When I think about my life in the context of a simulation that just commenced, I can't help but notice my situation ticks all those boxes. I'm not enslaved, impoverished, or ill-informed. There's a world that needs saving, and perhaps I'm not an NPC. Maybe reality is a challenge I'm supposed to wake up to. The level's objectives are implied, all the information I need to get started is at my fingertips, and I am the main character who needs to heed the call.
I could do something about it.
And by me, reader, I mean you.

2020 Revision

The year was 1997. My final year of primary school. One afternoon the whole class was given an exercise about the future.

Each kid had to answer a number of questions, without knowing why. I won't pretend I recall them all exactly, but the gist was along the lines of - by 2020 when we were all grown up - what size house did you want, how many cars, how many jet skis, how many kids would you have? What kind of society did you want to live in?

What I have recalled every year or so in the decades since 1997 was that I still had room to peak until 2020. This has been very reassuring through the ups and downs of maturing into my 35 year old self. I've never been fully developed. My whole life was still ahead of me.

Now it is 2020 and I no longer have this last piece of evidence to point to in defense of any dreams and goals I haven't achieved. The deadline for capacity has arrived. And that is why I approach 2020 with a sense of trepidation. Well that along with the environment, climate, economy and humanity in general.

After the exercise, individual's answers were tabulated and everyone got back one of 16 spot-the-difference drawings of 2020 which varied in terms of the amount of farmland vs city, the amount of people in the unemployment queue, the amount of factory smoke being pumped into the atmosphere, the number of police and criminals being chased around.

I recall at 13 being inherently suspicious of traps and free things, so I'd been modest in selecting how many 24" CRT televisions with VHS players and sports cars I wanted. For my answers I received a middle of the road future. The majority of my classmates who'd been greedy received apocalyptic scenes with long unemployment lines, overcrowded cities and blackened skies. In hindsight, this exercise was actually really well put together and acutely prophetic of the world we could face in 2020.

I tried to Google the details and pictures from the exercise to add them to this entry, but I realised I waited to search for "school exercise future life in 2020" until the worst possible time.

Then I got distracted by my smartphone.