Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Egg by Andy Weir.

I was perusing the interwebs and found this. An interesting read.

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Strangers no more.

Since leaving the world of Twitter behind, I have been asked for advice on its usage by a number of both friends and family. There are quite a few sites dedicated to the notion of improving your social network experience and I am a hardly an expert on the subject matter, but I will try to entertain the notion that I have a clue as to how to use it to your advantage.

When I started using Twitter I had only one purpose in mind and that was to follow the few dignitaries, celebrities and politicians that I found interesting. One afternoon a comment was made by a person of interest to me and I decided to return with some sort of witty retort. I was surprised when he responded in kind. At that moment, I was hooked. If I could reach this one individual with only 140 characters and a few moments of my time, imagine the possibilities.

I was on the twitter network for just over one year and had around 500 people following my account while I had been following around 250. Now, some people would suggest that these numbers are far from impressive and at first glance I would agree. I regularly saw accounts with over 1 million followers. Once again, impressive at first glance.

Evolutionary scientists have shown that the maximum number of meaningful relationships a person is capable of maintaining with any degree of detail is 150. I might argue that, depending on your definition of what a "meaningful relationship" is. For the sake of argument we'll say that the study is correct. Even if this number is off by a few percentage points, I guarantee that even your modest 20 thousand plus network is as useless as a tit on a horses arse as a whole.

If you're going to buy into the notion of social networking for either business or for personal gain, unless your a famous rockstar that could care less, quality is far more important than quantity. You need to refine your connections to suit what ever you intend to gain out of spending time (In my case far too much of it) connecting with random strangers.

So, here are a few pointers.

1: Be genuine. If you are out to meet people (for whatever reason) never present yourself as something you're not. Sooner or later, someone is going to smell the bullshit and call you on it. At that point you can sit back and watch all your time spent crumble like a house of cards.

2: Seek out those who share your same personality. When you follow someone, don't just jump right into a conversation with them. Read what they're saying. Understand what they're saying. Be a listener not a talker. Remember a conversation is always two sided with a tendency towards more listening that talking.

3: Don't waste time following people that are doing nothing more than talking. They will serve no purpose to you, unless of course you're following someone who's wit, intelligence, and/or sense of humour is enough to carry the one sided conversation.

4: If your interested in someone of stature; be it an actor/actress, politician or dignitary, be patient with establishing any sort of conversation with them. They are likely being approached by thousands of people in a day and your comments are likely to get lost in the static. A trick is to pay attention to their habits. What time do they network? Are they heavily involved in networking? How often do they respond? The best results can come from attempting to open a conversation with them when most people are doing what you should probably be doing instead of obsessing over a brief conversation. Sleeping.

5: Be engaging and polite. Don't simply assume that they enjoy copious "f" bombs and endless blither over something they've already responded to a thousand times. Refer to suggestion #2.

6: Spelling. If you're not certain how to spell something, for the love of God, look it up. Yes, it matters. Occasional spelling mistakes are expected, repeated spelling mistakes are a strong indication of your personality and attention to detail. Unless of course the people you're conversing with are on the same level, in which case it doesn't matter. Having typed that, I realize that those people likely aren't reading this.

7: Never point out someones spelling error. It makes an awkward moment all the more awkward.

8: The numbers game matters to a point. If your account shows that you are following significantly more people than are following you in return or the sheer numbers on both sides of the fence exceed more than a few hundred, it says that you simply don't care and are using social networking simply for entertainment value. Not the way I did things, but hey, if it works for you, run with it. Having significantly more followers than who you are following shows that you are either famous, or you you take a great deal of time and care establishing relationships with other genuine people. Word to the wise, this is where I screwed things up in part. The people you see, are far more important than the people you don't. Ignore this and you'll likely end up agoraphobic and surrounded with hundreds of cats. It's all about balance.

9: Don't automatically follow someone simply because you think it's the polite thing to do. I used to send out a bit of text to them and engage in a conversation before deciding whether I was going to follow them or not. Quite often they either ignore what you've said or are running some software to help gain followers. Don't block them unless they've done something lewd or represent something you don't like. Refer to suggestion #8. Also, be mindful of the company you keep. A connection with one person, may cost you a connection with another. Who you interact with can either help build or destroy your network

and finally...

10: Have fun with it. If you're having fun, people will pick up on it and want to share in your good spirit. Don't use social media to go on at length about how miserable your life is. Some folks will care, but only enough to send some two dimensional pity in the form of  "I'm sorry to hear that" or "I hope things get better". As the saying goes, laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone. Having a crappy day? That's what the people you see are for.

I'm sure I've left out algorithms or some sort of important statistical data regarding how to make social media work for you, but hey, I'm no expert.

I hope you're all doing well.


aka: Canuck Plumber

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Working class stiff.

A coworker and I were chatting about life yesterday. It's purpose and the grand scheme of things.  He recited a story he'd heard and it summarized what many of us are missing in our struggle with the world around us and inevitably, with ourselves.

A fisherman was walking up the beach to his home one day when he passed a vacationer lounging in the sand. "Did you catch anything?" asked the vacationer.

"Just a couple from the shore" he replied.

"You should buy a boat" quipped the man in the bright floral shirt.

"Why should I do that?"asked the fisherman, pausing for a moment.

"So that you can catch more fish and sell them." he said, looking at the fishermans worn attire.

"...and why would I do that?"

He took a sip from his glass of rum,  "So that you can buy a fleet of boats and become wealthy."

"...and why do I need wealth?"

The vacationer huffed and laughed. "So that you can retire and live on the beach, of course!"

The fisherman simply smiled and continued walking down the beach to his home.

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest.

If you know who originally told this story, I'd appreciate hearing from you so that I can give credit where it's due.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Bluebird has left the building

It was one hell of a run. Thousands upon thousands of textual interactions for just over one year. I've met and exchanged laughs with people from far and wide. The world is truly a remarkable place full of amazing individuals. I feel very fortunate to have crossed paths with each and every one, but the time has come for me to move on.

The price of maintaining these relationships is a hefty one. The time I spent neck deep in virtual interactions is time less spent with the most important people I know. My family. While the gap between strangers narrows, the distance between my wife and son grows. I'm fortunate enough to have an understanding wife who's insight helped lead me to this point.

You are not worth the price. Nothing personal.

Twitter is, and always will be an incredibly powerful tool capable of connecting like minded people while negating the problems of geography. Politicians, teachers, artists, social activists, actors, models, and even common tradesfolk all find ourselves standing on a level playing field. Our sense of selves is united based on our intellectual properties and (for the most part) blind to the visual assumptions.

If you're anything like me; and I suspect many of you are. Be mindful of yourself. Self-awareness is becoming a commodity in short supply these days. It's easy to lose sight of your feet when so much is happening in front of you.

I'll still be around. Taking pictures and making video shorts for my amusement, but the conversation on Twitter has ended. New horizons await. Besides, I'm really digging reality.

Jaeson T Cardiff.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Death of a Cafe Racer

This is the latest video of the demolishing of the Cafe Racer my father and I built. The bike is being completely rebuild solely for the purpose of racing down at the Bonneville speedway in 2013. All of the lights and things required for making the bike road legal are being removed and the 447 cubic centimeter engine is being modified with high compression pistons, polishing of the ports, racing cams, and what ever I can find to squeeze as much power and speed out of what was originally intended to travel no faster than around 60 to 80 mph. Five years to build, 1 hour 45 minutes to completely disassemble. Bon appetite'

Sunday, 4 March 2012