Good While it Lasts

After this week's round of spring storms took down some of the shadecloth I knew that I would have to undertake some home maintenance this weekend just to maintain the status quo.

I'm not proud of my hack of eye bolts, fencing wire and a kitchen chair, but I was able to drink my reward beer faster than it could fall down again.

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I am proud of the spatial and chronological search parameters I added to the event API of my current programming project.


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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.


Delayed Gratification

Seems like Spring Summer has finally arrived.

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Eclipsed

Normally I don't bother, but because I have a new camera I decided I should take some photos of the lunar eclipse tonight.

Here's some other people doing it probably better than I could.

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Climate Control

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Alex offered me a free ticket to the T20 World Cup semi final tonight. T20 is a pretty dumb sport, but I said yes. Partly because I like saying yes to things and I like Alex, but also partly because I have never seen Virat bat in real life before and I thought this would be the best opportunity even if it was in meme cricket. And I expected a good atmosphere.

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In fact, I got to witness his 4000th run.

He went on to make a half century. He is a very good batsmen.

England also had some very good batsmen and they absolutely smashed India, most likely because of all their BBL experience, which tells you all you need to know about T20 as a sport.

There were a lot more Indian fans at Adelaide Oval tonight than English, or neutral. They were very loud during the first innings but as the powerplay progressed it was quickly clear that England were on top and the mood was turning. Before the fourth ball of the sixth over, Pandya Hardik from his position near the pitch was able to draw the crowd's attention and motion for them to get loud and cheer. This was actually amazing to witness in person. He conducted the stadium like they were a part of the Indian team, like moving a piece to gain a tactical advantage. The crowd cheered, a dot ball was bowled, the crowd cheered louder and Hardik encouraged them some more. A second dot ball followed and all of a sudden it felt like some pressure was showing in the English batters. The crowd screamed and cheered even louder for the final ball of the over, which was cleanly dispatched to the boundary. That was probably the last moment that it felt like India had a chance, but it was a cool moment to experience nonetheless.

The Cost Of Living

At least for me, I think it’s fair to say that my phone is now an extension of my body. This is kind of a sad indictment of modern life, and kind of awesome.

I’m essentially a cyborg. I can tell you the time in Dallas, the weather tomorrow, or the distance to North Adelaide from my current location with the same amount of physiological effort as it takes to pick up a rock, detect an expression, or recall a melody.

Perhaps this goes some way towards explaining the physical state of shock my body went into when I dropped my phone and broke the screen. I knew from the moment I picked it up from the footpath that the chip in the glass and the leaking LCD was a serious injury that would not get better on its own. This should have just been annoying. Replacing a phone screen is not cheap, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford it every five years or so when this happens. I could understand a gloomy mood overcoming me, or an urge to kick something, but that’s not how I felt. I instantly started to sweat. I felt sick to my stomach. For the rest of the way home my knees felt stiff, my whole body janky and tight. And the whole time my brain was begging me to return to baseline. You can get screens replaced with same day service. If I claim a percentage on my next tax return it’s not even that bad. I’ve thrown away cash just in the past weeks on 4D CTs, haircuts, physios, private health insurance premiums, petrol, stuff at Bunnings that I didn’t want to buy. Money is just money, and a phone is just a phone. Transient and temporary.

All of these thoughts went through my head, but my body refused to concede the point. The other half of my mind started going through counterfactuals - what if I hadn’t pulled it out at that exact moment? What if I had worn different shorts? What if my wrist strength maxed out a more than 29 kg of pressure? It flashed me back to February - what if that bug hadn’t hit my eyeball? What if I had been riding slower? What if I had taken a different route back home on my bike?

Eventually I calmed down. Physically, I was never mentally upset. A Zooper Dooper helped just like it did in February. That sealed it for me, the phone definitely is an extension of my body, and that’s twice this year that I have smacked myself lustily into the footpath on my way home.

This morning my phone had its surgery and I endured the metaphorical general anaesthesia of not having a smartphone. I successfully paid for goods, ate lunch, went to the toilet and wrote some code without a smartphone providing contactless payment, mindless scrolling, word games, and music.

Post-surgery there is now an issue with the fingerprint sensor. That has double-sealed it for me. The phone is not just an extension of me; I am an extension of the phone

Bird Refuge

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That time of the year where my lawnmower blends more vitamin C than my blender.

This Is What it Sounded Like

This month I listened to the non-fiction book This Is What It Sounds Like by Dr. Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas. The blurb pitches it as a neurological summary of how the brain interprets music and how individuals develop listener "profiles" across three conscious and four subconscious musical attributes.

I loved the concept of this book, because I enjoy both music of almost all varieties, as well as thinking about music. Ultimately the book was 30% neurology, 30% listening skills and 40% Susan Rogers biography. None of this was bad as it seems like Susan Rogers has lived an interesting life. Perhaps it's because I chose the audio book, some parts appealed to my book-listener profile and other parts felt unnecessary. I wish I had read this as a physical book where I could have seen the shape of the paragraphs before reading them, and been more easily able to pause and reflect/digest the fact I was just presented.

The seven facets of music I learned about were Authenticity, Realism, Novelty along with Melody, Rhythm, Lyrics and Timbre. Some of this was reminiscent of This Is Your Brain on Music which I enjoyed 13 years ago and which inspired several Rip It Up reviews (and which taught me the word "timbre") but which I've also forgotten a lot of. Perhaps that's part of why I'm recording the lessons here for future reference.

I most definitely would have got a dozen review structures out of this book a dozen years ago. I also confirmed my musical sweet spot is quite broad according to the quadrants prescribed by Dr Rogers. I enjoy personal ballads and swaggering hip hop. I dig an acoustic guitar and an 808. I'm drawn to new concepts and the classics. I'll groove to the downbeat, the backbeat or the high hat. Basically I'm like 19 year or Brad at the bar. If it comes in a bottle, I'm drinking it. There was a paragraph near the end talking about guilty pleasures and I was at a blank trying to identify my own. I don't feel any guilt about Creedence Clearwater Revival, JT featuring Timberland, Party Favor, Falling in Reverse, Taylor Swift, K-Pop hip hop, Diplo mash ups, or Kid Kenobi dropping Purple Funky Monkey. None of those will have the longevity of oral histories passed down for generations and stored across hemispheres, but they all work for me. Thanks to this book I can now also more accurately assess why they bring me pleasure.

The Point of Canberra

Points in Canberra

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In a conversation this evening with my niece and nephew I found myself predictably bemoaning having become an adult. I envy their flexible joints, lack of responsibilities, and the scale of discovery that's open to them. I asked if they thought there was anything good about being an adult. The answer was that adults get to do whatever they want whenever they want. That's definitely not true most of the time, but it was true for me today at least. With Steve at work and the kids at school, Canberra was my playground and indeed I could do whatever I desired.

Mowing the flag lawns.

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I began the day with a long walk along the lake before buying a coffee and sitting in the shade of an umbrella to drink it. After that I visited the National Gallery of Australia where I looked at art for free. Then I drank another coffee and walked along the lake some more. Eventually I made it to Canberra Central where I ate a Vietnamese roll.

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After lunch I visited Bent Spoke Brewing in Braddon where I tried their "Keep it Simple" IPA and read my latest Asimov's edition under a heater while it rained outside.

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Following the beer I walked on to complete the loop and met Steve at a bakery where I bought a second lunch after covering 14 kilometres. Back at home I played Lego and then Smash Brothers on the Nintendo. Dinner was cooked for me.

Well I guess I learned from this that adults and kids aren't that different really. And that there is not a lot of things to do in Canberra.

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Just Another Thursday

I’m not procrastinating. I actually want to know what’s going to happen to my Scrobbles after I die? I’ve already accumulated more than 300,000 of them. Will Last.FM look after them? Maybe add whatever songs get played at my funeral to the list?

And what will happen to my steps? I got 4,901 last Saturday and 21,689 on Monday. Every day I accumulate all these steps and when I cease to exist I guess they will cease to exist even though they all definitely did happen. I guess a lot of them were stepped in places where other steps by other people happened and some of those people are already dead and so these steps kind of exist as an independent entity and the ones I take are just a temporal association with that sneaker-shaped piece of earth.

I wore a singlet to the supermarket this evening and I couldn’t help wondering how I must exist in the minds of the checkout people who see me there so frequently over the years. Singlet, shirt, jumper, jacket, jumper, shirt, singlet. Over and over it loops and all I am is some other person wearing different things and buying bananas and meat on clearance. In my defense they are also on an endless cycle of being different people so I can’t imagine I owe them much. Although that actually makes me a little sad.

I was asked recently what I would do if I could freeze time. I don’t know what the right answer to that question is, but my response was that I would try and get all my projects done. Novels to finish. Novels to edit. Novels to rewrite. Programming activities and photography projects I want to finish. I know it’s an artistic cliche to always be distracted from a project you’re working on by a project you’re not, but I’m wondering if it’s more than that. Perhaps life is just a series of incomplete projects until you die and leave them behind, unfinished and with as much meaning as a pile of Scrobbles.

Or maybe I am procrastinating.

The Buzzer

I nailed what is probably the last basketball shot I will ever take.

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