The Root, Trunk, Branch and Leaf of All Evil

(Reading time: 35 seconds.)

The bitter irony is that when they tell you knowledge is power it’s because they’re lying to you, and it’s not. (Although obviously it should be.) Material wealth is.

Conveniently, objectively, hoarding of finite material wealth is evil. And under the ridiculous socio-political-economic system we (still, bizarrely) inhabit, encouraged.

So, literally, in our current reality, power is evil. And evil is power. Which is why it seems like everyone with any power these days is a cruel psychopath.

Because you’re not crazy. They are. But they have the wealth, so they have the power. Their appetite for both is insatiable, so do yourself a favour and stop them the only way they will be stopped:


Seriously. They can’t stop you. They’ve merely convinced you that they can. And besides, if you haven’t noticed that if they aren’t stopped urgently, we’re all fucked, then they’ve done a better job of brainwashing you than I think even they intended.


Two Things I’m Obsessed With

The first is commonly known as the (technological) Singularity. Put simply, it refers to the moment in which a machine emerges that is not just smarter than humans, but smarter than the collective intelligence of all humans. The average prediction of various experts places this occurrence at about 2045. Which means it could happen much sooner, or much later – depending on the rate of technological progression. I won’t bother with references. You can look this up if you choose.

For me, the consequences are simple. And about three-fold. One: humanity will be capable of achieving a type of immortality, through people being able to upload their minds to what we now call the cloud. This will possibly also permit downloading minds into bodies of any imaginable type, not unlike in the Netflix series Altered Carbon. Whether one would actually want to be immortal or not, is worthy of an entire book. Two: machines will replace humanity as the dominant species of Earth, and possibly the universe. This might happen through the direct destruction or dying out of humans, or because humans fuse with technology to the point in which the cease to be explicitly human (cyborgs). Such an occurrence could be seen as evolutionary – as in the next logical step in human evolution is superior beings originally of our creation taking over.

And three (which leads me to the other thing I’m obsessed with): the current ownership class (the bourgeois) of humans (think Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch et. al.) use their ownership of the increasingly automated means of production to render the vast bulk of working class humans obsolete, perhaps homeless, or even liquidated by the very machines which made them obsolete. Frankly, as things currently stand, I think the third scenario is the most likely. Wealth inequality is at catastrophic levels, and the super-rich are showing no signs of either intending to, or actually balancing things out. While I admit this possible future might solve the problem of overpopulation, I also venture that technology advanced enough would solve the problem of overpopulation (and associated resource shortages and pollution and climate change) itself.

The second thing I’m obsessed with is called Universal Basic Income. UBI involves giving everyone, from poorest to wealthiest in society enough money to live on. Say four or five or six hundred dollars per week. Without any obligations in return. The idea is that they can then work or create/expand a business for more money. Or they can travel the world eating banana sandwiches. Or they can become the artist they always wanted to be. And etcetera and etcetera. When I mentioned UBI to a narrow-minded but intelligent friend recently, he gave a cliched response, something to do with that it wouldn’t work because people need an incentive to work and excel and achieve. Unfortunately, what he didn’t grasp because he clearly hadn’t read into the issue is that, yes, UBI is not an incentive. It’s a tool. Much of the world is too impoverished to be really of any use to their fellow humans. You have to spend money to make money, as the old adage goes. But if you don’t have any to start with, then you can’t make any from it.


Current welfare systems across much of the developed world already seek to achieve this purpose. The problem is they provide a subsistence, not dignified, level of income. And they require recipients to look for work – ignoring the absurdity of such a requirement in a rapidly automating labour industry which is increasingly prohibitive of the sort of low skill, low wage people on unemployment benefits. UBI gives people enough financial power to not just survive, but live a comfortable life, and also possibly live an even more comfortable life if they wish to work/innovate/invent for it. UBI gives people choice. Freedom. Freedom they’re otherwise denied, whether they’re working or not. It gives them the ability to achieve their dreams – even if their dreams involve sitting around at home, ordering in pizza and buying products from the internet.

Another criticism of UBI is the cost to taxpayers. Firstly, it’s a “basic” income. They’re not going to be squirreling away much of the money. The vast bulk of it will be returned straight to the economy, and into and through again the hands of taxpayers. Secondly, even if they are saving a lot of the money, eventually they will make a big purchase with it. Maybe use it to create a product beneficial to mankind that wouldn’t otherwise had appeared. Third: the cost of current welfare systems are bogged down in their complexity. Their bureaucracy. The myriad different payments to and requirements from welfare recipients make up a sizable bulk of their cost. The argument goes that UBI would eliminate this complexity by giving everyone a flat basic income. Any losses of employment in the public or associated private sector would be mitigated by the fact that said unemployed would be receiving the UBI, and would now be free to pursue activities or work surely more enjoyable than sitting in an office unnecessarily managing the lives of society’s worst off.

Barring an unforeseen catastrophic event, or perhaps a foreseen one in the event of climate change, technological progress will only continue to accelerate. Humans will become, in a productivity sense, more and more redundant. Artificial immortality is an at the moment science-fictional ethical dilemma for individuals and their families. If humanity is replaced or absorbed by machines, then by then we won’t have much to whine about. But if the vast bulk of humanity is not just enslaved, but made redundant, homeless, starving by a tiny clique of super-wealthy elites who own all of the machines that produce everything, that would be the worst option for me and any children I might have (that currently I don’t want to have because I believe that’s exactly what might happen in their lifetime). Wealth will always be limited, depending on how much of the universe’s resources we eventually have access to, but it has never been more abundant. Why is it not psychotic that this world has several billionaires, while millions starve to death? We need to start asking ourselves, and our elected representatives, one simple question: is it necessary, or even humane, for people to be forced to work for water, food, housing, clothing, and small luxuries such as technology and travel, or otherwise languish in poverty?

I say no. Certainly not. And I hope for ever more agreement.

How Religion Created Capitalism

Below is a link that explains the phenomenon:

My thoughts are simply that I reject the ongoing necessity of religion, similarly to how machines which surpass humans in intelligence and physical capacity might reject our ongoing necessity.

While I accept that religion had a hand in the progression of civilisation (which might now be more advanced if religion had stopped at the paganism of the Greeks or Romans, who I believe, had Christianity not appeared, were already on the verge of the eventually 1700 to 1800 years later Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution), it’s inevitable that we should relinquish such wastes of time as spiritual literal nonsense.

It will take a little while longer (Islam, unfortunately, is predicted to become the dominant world religion before religion ceases to be ( However, I certainly hope it happens ASAP (and that Islam is rendered more moderate by its dominance, if that is what happens).

#latecapitalism ups the ante

Just answered my landline phone. I know, I shouldn’t. But I was curious. Straight away it’s weird. I say hello, and there’s background scrambling as if his phone was lying on his desk because he didn’t actually believe anyone was going to be stupid enough to answer.

So anyway, I say hello, and then there was a delay, so I followed up with “how are you?” And then I get a response: “Hello sir how are you?” Good, I reply then again ask him how he is because he didn’t answer me the first time. He says good and thanks for your concern.

I’ll sum up the rest of the conversation. He says someone’s trying to take over my Internet connection. I say that’s not good and is there anything I can do about it. He says go to your router and tell me is there a light flashing or not. I look at it, groan a little at the slight exertion of bending down to get close to see the router. Then I hang up.

It sounds absurd. And I might be wrong. But I’m pretty sure this guy was calling me to tell me someone was trying to gain control of my Internet connection literally so he (or whomever he represents) could try to gain control over it. Why, I’m not really interested in. Where to from here is the question uppermost on my mind, in the wake of the conversation.

If the sharp edge of capitalism has gotten to the point in which it almost blatantly has to be a problem in order to solve the exact problem it is, where else is there to go?

I don’t know. But I suspect it will be very interesting.

Final (hopefully) Unemployment Reflection

The title says it all (again, hopefully) – I don’t plan on being completely unemployed again. I’m technically under-employed at the moment. Or, I would be, if I wasn’t living with my mum and paying less rent than I otherwise would even for only a room. The three or four hundred dollars I’m earning a week would be barely enough to survive on if I was paying 150 to 250 dollars per week just for a roof over my head and four small walls within to contain my bed. There is a way to gain a low income classification by my federal government to allow me to gain subsidised housing. I would like to do that, but only when I gain full-time work – which if I do at my current workplace still won’t have me earning more than the limit for what’s called the National Rental Affordability Scheme. But I digress.

My immediately previous period of unemployment lasted only a couple of months, after a couple of month stint working at my extended family’s free-range chicken farm (until they got some egg packing machines that rendered me redundant (this was always planned)). I didn’t really expect to be working already. This was concerning, as though I had savings I’d planned a surf trip to Indonesia with a mate for April this year, and I was not convinced my money would last. So I don’t have that to worry about anymore, barring any unforeseen massive hits to my bank account. I have three days’ work per week, now. So the trip should comfortably go ahead as planned. And I should/might be able to gain more hours at my current workplace. Or I’ll just get myself another part-time job. Then I’ll move out of mum’s place again, and get on with life in the sense of being less dependent on a parent.

I’m quite confident I’ll never be long or medium-term unemployed again. This is because I think I’ve figured out the game. And it is just a game. It might not be a game I enjoy, but I have no choice but to play it (as alluded to in a previous blog post). Like I said, I didn’t expect to gain work so soon, as the last time I was unemployed it lasted a good year or two-ish. This time, I did two things different. 1) I took a friend’s advice to remove my education and white collar work experience from my resume. (I’d struggled with this only on the basis that I wanted to keep my original resume. I resolved this by using my first and surname on one, and first, middle and surname on the other.) 2) I started volunteering with a group, Orange Sky, which washes clothes for the homeless – usually in conjunction with a group which feeds them. I applied for a job in industrial laundry, told them on my resume and over the phone that I was volunteering with OS. After that, I was probably a shoo in. So I know in future in order to gain a job I have to manipulate my resume, and volunteer/intern in whatever job I want to get.

You’re probably wondering why I wanted a job in industrial laundry. I didn’t. I don’t want a job at all. As far as I’m concerned (and again this is touched on in the same former post) automation has proceeded to the point in which people should increasingly no longer have to work if they don’t want to. And it will only accelerate. Some people love work. It justifies their existence. Not me. I see work as a compulsory means to an end – survival. Universal basic income (UBI) is a concept in which everyone in a society is paid a basic income they can survive – even purchase various luxuries – on. After which they can earn more money by working, if they so wish. Again, I don’t. Or at least wouldn’t in a full-time sense if UBI existed. Which it doesn’t, yet. So I’m playing the game. And I don’t mean to win (you can’t win, because you’ll one day die; also earning more money generally increases your expenses, anyway). I mean to survive. That’s fine. I’m happy to survive until a better world worked more and more and eventually totally by machines emerges. In the meantime, I’d be happy to be homeless if I could do it without compromising my health and some creature comforts.

But if I want to have a place to call home, with a bed and a kitchen and bathroom and all that good stuff, currently, I have to work (unemployment “benefits” in Australia are at the quite simply criminal nadir of about $250 per week (haven’t been increased in decades, far’s I know)). Also fine. I will work. I’ve figured out how to. You’ve just got to manipulate and outsmart the people seeking employees. Lie, even. Considering the heinous evils that capitalism has committed against this planet’s sentient beings, including humans, I have zero qualms about white lying for survival within the dystopian system (where I can get away with it). I’m willing to play the game and pretend to, if not actually enjoy it. I enjoy living life. Knowing that a better future might be on the horizon, in which humans, again, might, emancipate themselves by finally letting technology take over. Even if I might be too old to enjoy it much by the time it happens. 2045, from what I know. I’ll be in my 60s. What a drag. Though if the technology is advanced enough I might be able to achieve immortality (for at least my mind). Not sure that’s something I even want, but I’ll cross that bridge if it appears across the river dividing humanity from eternity, in my lifetime.

For a blog post about unemployment I haven’t mentioned it much. It was ok, this hopefully last time. I drank less and all but stopped smoking. Of course I’m back into both, now, with zeal. Work! It’ll kill ya 😉


We May Have Doomed Ourselves

Sitting around, waiting for work to start. This is modern life for me now. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my so-called “down” time. I’ll eat a pleasant meal. Have some drinks. Talk to people who endeavour to understand, empathise with me. (Not sure why so many of them don’t.) But of course I’ve realised recently that really down time is about nothing other than me spending the money I’ve earned, in the context of the dystopian tug-of-war system we’ve all found ourselves in. So it’s hard to enjoy it on every level.

Then there’s work. The other end of the rope. (We’re the rope.) It’s ok. I mean my current job is ok, without going into too much detail. It’s simple. There’s a good atmosphere there. It’s hot as fuck but as long as you stay hydrated it’s fine. It’s the cameras that get me. They’re all throughout the building. So the owners and their agents can monitor us toiling away to build their pyramids via their nightmare rectangles, at their old pyramid at which they’re sipping champagne and drinking babies’ blood or whatever stupid shit the bourgeois get up to these days.

It’s absurd. Ridiculous. It’s a nightmare. And I’m trapped in it. But I’m calm because I know it. I don’t know if my colleagues know it. They’re mostly Maori, by-the-way. There’s nothing wrong with that on its own, of course. But it does deepen my sense of Orwellianism, when I realise that in this particular case some white people who half the time just manage their business by camera have a bunch of dark people propping up their privilege. I mean, phew. They’re probably not calm. They’re probably “grateful” to have a job. It’s literally a shame.

I don’t see any way out of it. I could invest in the stock market. Except I see that system as just a part of the broader shit system that keeps fat rich people hoarding more fat and riches, while everyday there’s less finite wealth for poorer people – even though all things considered things have improved across the board for most, thanks to science, compared to history. So while remaining conscious that there’s no such thing as morality, I am in this context morally reluctant to help a business, that helps entrench poverty, help me. If you understand what I mean. The stock market. Pfffft. It’s nothing but a capitalist video game.


Capitalism’s biggest flaw is that you have some (not much) choice about what job you do, but no choice to not work – unless you want to live in poverty. (Conveniently, it’s exactly like how most religion blackmails people into believing or expecting punishment after death.) It makes the aforementioned cameras ironic. The whole problem with the current labour “market” (another typically de-humanising term) is that machines are taking over jobs – changing the system from the inside out – yet the system is not changing. Instead you end up with people doing bullshit jobs like public relations or working at job providers – places that basically just babysit and discipline the unemployed, for large profits workers mostly fund through their taxes.

I’m doing a lot of laughing these days, because the absurdity has finally dawned on me. Even though I feel like I could just as easily cry. And that’s the thing, really. I have no choice but to do a job where even if my managers weren’t literally machines they’d be some other cynical thing, in my experience. (As an aside, I once had a manager literally get upset at me because I stuffed up my work in a particular way that interfered with his addiction to loaning company property out to people whose arses he wished to live in. Fucking madness. Or idiocy. Still not sure.) Shit. I could go on.

Why are we doing this to each other? Have we truly become so obsessed with material wealth that we are willing to tolerate – even benefit from – other humans being treated worse than some slaves might have been? The future is coming. The machines are coming. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to phase each other into slavery and have the last slave (the last human left free to slave master the rest of us) hand the keys to a robot who is now our master? Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s a fucking disgusting system we’re living in, and allowing to become worse. And if something’s not done about it we’ll all one day either be crying, laughing, or dead. Very surprisingly soon for some people. And I wouldn’t expect the machines to shed an electric tear.

A Not Nominal Nomination

Productivity in the form of writing and receptivity in the form of reading are difficult prospects while enduring a 48 hour hangover since your 29th birthday. Especially for an intermittently and currently not employed writer, motivation can be hard to come by under such circumstances. Yet I did decide to check out my WordPress reader on this most unholy of windy and surf-less Sunday afternoons, and discovered courtesy of All Hail The Monkey King that I’d been nominated for the Liebster Award.


A quick Google discovered that the Lieber Award had something to do with schizophrenia research. Then I realised I’d spelled it wrong, re-Googled, and from reading the first blog (formerly Lorraine Reguly’s Life (now Wording Well)) about it found that the “Liebster award was created to recognize (sic) and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere”.  According to my nominator the Monkey King, the rules of the award are as follows:

  • Nominees must link back to the person who nominated them;
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to them by the one who nominated;
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers, but who deserve to be widely read;
  • Create 10 questions for their nominees to answer;
  • Let the nominees know you have nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

So, I thought, what the hell?  Q&A from His Banana Belching Highness to yours truly:

MK: One day, you wake up and discover everything that existed before was a dream. You’re Lex Luthor (Superman villain). You are a billionaire. You’re a white, rascist Xenophobe. You’re President of the USA. And you have a super suit. My question. What is the first thing you do?

WJ: Pick up the phone, call Bashar al-Assad, tell him he’s a wanker, then fly over to Syria (assuming the “super suit” grants me such powers) and slap it into him in case he was dismissive.

MK: You have a monkey and it is your best friend for most of your life. But the monkey beats up your partner (who you’ve had a serious relationship for two years), and hospitalises him/her. The monkey has never been violent before, and seems apologetic. The partner says he/she is too scared to go near the monkey anymore. Do you get rid of the monkey? Or the partner? What else might you do?

WJ:  I’d get rid of both, naturally after she has gotten out of hospital.  No partner of mine could have her arse handed to her by a monkey, and I’d tolerate no violence in any monkey of mine.

MK: Would you ever sleep with your boss? (Feel free to say that’s not your business, that does answer the question).

WJ: Theoretically, yes.  I have had enough trouble being hired, let alone getting into bed with female bosses.  That said, there are a lot more of them out there these days, and the world is a better place for it.  Sex or no.

MK: You discover you can travel in time and space, but only three times. Where would you go?

WJ: Back to before I answered this question with a boring reply.

MK: Favourite TV series?

WJ: Californication.  Hank Moody’s a legend.  Or a prick.  Probably both.

MK: You wake up, and realise the life you knew was a lie. You suddenly recognise the people around you, and the circumstances you are in are familiar. You are at the beginning of the first episode of your favourite TV series. What do you do or what would you do differently?

WJ: I, Hank, wouldn’t have screwed the girl, Mia, seducing me by complimenting me on my book, as I’d know she’s 16.  Though I believe it’s perfectly legal to sleep with a 16-year-old in Australia.  Either way, come her 18th birthday I’d be all over that.

MK: Turn your Ipod/Spotify/music player on shuffle. What song is playing now?

WJ: Instead I scrolled down Windows Media Player with my eyes closed, then double-clicked.  Turns out it was Novelty, by Joy Division, from their Substance album.

MK: Would you rather be a Terminator robot, or a Predator (From the Predator movies).

WJ: Predator.  But this time I’d successfully take down Arnie.  At least with my self-destruct mode.  It would detonate faster this time.  What’s the point of giving the enemy so much time to escape (beside a coherent plot)?

MK: You’re a Pokemon. What are you? And would you be friendly with humans?

WJ: Drinkadink.  I’ve always got a beer handy for my struggling with alcoholism human master.  My most devastating move is alcohol poisoning.

MK: Least popular blog post you’ve ever published?

WJ: Might turn out to be this one.

His Smelly Lice-infestedness only bothered nominating six other blogs, so I’ll nominate five in no particular order:

Questions for them:

1. What do you think are the positive and negative consequences of such a saturated media landscape?

2. Do you think taste in pop culture is declining (think Bieber and Cyrus), or has there always been questionable elements to pop culture?

3.  Human-induced climate change: fact or fiction?

4. If you could be a piece of household furniture?

5. What do you enjoy doing when, if ever, you’re hungover?

6. Is content or technical proficiency more important to writing these days, and in the online environment?

7. Where would you like to visit that you never have?

8. Reality TV?

9. If you had the chance to settle on another planet, would you?

10. Do you think the advent of power-steering has probably reduced road rage?

Now, what do I win?

Scrolling the Page – part two

The Simpsons Movie is the reason I’m writing this blog post. Other than that fact it will actually have barely anything to do with The Simpsons, sorry. It’s just that I was going to watch the movie on television, then realised it’s a pretty poor film and Matt Groening should have been tarred and feathered for engineering or allowing to be engineered such a tragic symbol of the television series’ decline. Is that harsh? I guess being tarred and feathered might hurt. It would probably have to be hot or pretty bloody warm tar for it to liquefy. In that case, he should have been punished somehow. Anyway, There’s Something About Mary is on right after it and I really want to watch that; which gives me plenty of time to write this post. Or I’ll finish it later. I’m not being paid for this.

On topic: during November 2011 I started blogging. I was working full time at the, erm, time, but am not really patting myself on the back for maintaining a successful and productive blog while also working as a journalist. That’s because, at the time and still now, really, the blog was neither successful nor particularly productive. Since then I’ve posted 71 times, including this one, about all sorts of things. There have been ups and downs and rounds and rounds and trouble with the law and romance and surfing and a lot more. And that’s just the content and not the reactions to it. I’ve enjoyed it. I am a little inclined to think I in the process of blogging might have offended and alienated myself further from many people and elements of society; but chances are anyone I did offend never liked me in the first place or made out of context, prejudiced or downright biased analyses about me and what I wrote. In that assumed case, no big loss really. Thing is, the first blog post I ever created was about eReaders and eBooks and such: And, as my blog has over that almost two years attracted exactly 1498 views at the time of typing this sentence, I feel like writing a follow up to that original post as a way of marking the milestone. Maybe it’s time I sought advertising payments for it. Then again, maybe not (yet).

The really apt and kind of belated factor behind writing another post on the topic of eReading is the fact that, since writing the original post, I have bought an eReader. Quite soon afterward, actually. I’m not going to bother fastidiously addressing the things I wrote about eReading in the original post. Instead, I prefer to just write its follow up in exactly the same manner as I did it: from the heart. What? That’s genuine. I love reading. Books were my best friends during and before primary school, and they still bless me with more intellectual stimulation than some people I’m forced to speak to, or perhaps read about. How ironic. Where was I? Oh, yes: eReading. I have one now. An eReader. I’m not even sure what brand it is. Kebo, or Bobo, or something. There’s no brand on it and I threw out the box it came in (and probably the manual too). A former colleague of mine wrote a news/feature (as in one newsy story and one featurey story, on the same page) story about eReading in the newspaper we both once wrote for. She’s also, not terribly coincidentally, the first person who ever commented on my blog. Used to have (a one herself. Not anymore. She works hard and has a boyfriend and is probably busy with the interesting social life a publishing company publicist would have. Point is: I don’t think I took eBooks seriously until I skimmed over her article. So as a birthday present that year mum gave me $100 and I bought one over ebay. It was exciting. Like waiting for a traditional book bought over ebay but amplified beyond count by the fact that, eventually, an eReader has the potential to contain many thousands of eBooks.

Back to the colleague’s stories about eReading. I can’t remember the specifics, but she went into considerable detail (as her job required) about different types of eReaders and their different functions (actually, I’m sure the articles didn’t just owe their detail to the fact it was her job; she was and is a passionate consumer of books). I mention detail because, as I got a small chance to discuss with her, she seemed to take things just as seriously when it came time to buy herself an eReader. A Kindle, I’m pretty sure. It is the most popular one as far as I know. Pretty ignorant about why, though, I’ll admit. I took a different yet characteristic approach to the abovementioned her and simply bought the (or close to the) cheapest one. And it’s fine, really. Great, even. I must admit I’ve only read one book on it (The War of the Worlds – awesome! Tom Cruise should be tarred and feathered for the modern film adaptation too, by the way. And for a bunch of other reasons) and made a start on James Joyce’s Ulysses. The latter was probably the reason why I have been reading traditional books since. Ulysses is a difficult read if you had not heard. But of course I certainly haven’t thrown it in the bin and it now has between 10 and 20 books on it. Plus I haven’t spent a cent in the process. Let me explain: I’d heard a while back that most classic novels’ copyrights had expired due to their authors being dead for more than . . . I believe it’s 70 years, if I remember my media law correctly. Boom: free eBooks. I didn’t know exactly where to download them, however, so I think I just Facebook questioned my friends en masse and was suggested a few different sites by a few different people. The best one in my opinion is: Would be great to hear of any others. Pretty keen to download Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for free and read it again. It was a borrowed read the first time. Though HS Thompson’s only been dead for about 10 years. Oh well. There are some problems due mainly to my inexperience with the technology and the fact it’s still in its infancy. For example I bought a book through Amazon, which is the creator of the Kindle, but it could only be put on and read from a Kindle. I think the only way I could read a bought eBook on my eReader would be if it was downloadable as a Word or Notepad file. I’ll worry about that later.

Other than that it’s a pretty simple and low maintenance device. If only nature made women the way Asia made technology, right (hetero) men? Actually, that wouldn’t be much good to anyone. Ahem. Moving on. There’s an attractive but utilitarian little eBookshelf on the eReader’s desktop that houses eight eBooks (the rest are in a folder). Its desktop also has a calendar, but you can’t save events or set reminders in it or anything. You can also put photos, music and videos on it, though I’m not sure about its data storage capacity. Plus it features WiFi connectivity. That’s pretty much it. I certainly got what I paid for, and that’s without an intention to put photos, music or movies on it or connect it to WiFi. Unfortunately it’s already almost a little bit redundant because my smart phone (one of which I didn’t yet have when I bought the eReader) has a screen that’s almost as big. But I’d still prefer to read an eBook on the eReader over my phone, and I have no real intention, inclination or need to buy a tablet anytime soon. Unlike so much other technology with a deliberately built in expiration of only a couple of years these days, it may just be something that I own and increasingly treasure for years to come. Unless, as is probable in such a situation, I drop it in the bath. Borrowed that unlikely feared tragedy from my colleague. Just like traditional books, and despite the fact that I’ve barely used it, it already has a small place in my heart. That I and other book lovers are around to enjoy the greatest revolution in publishing since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press is a pure source of joy and wonder. With the advent and proliferation of electronic writing of so many types these days, it sure can be a little overwhelming when figuring out what to spend one’s time reading. The amount of eReading choice on its own is not necessarily revolutionary in its implications but is without a doubt revolutionary in its potential. As someone who enjoys writing whether for enjoyment, payment or both, the one question I’ll surely be asking myself for the rest of my life is: where do I fit in to this increasingly grand picture? Two things are certain: I could write a better modern Simpsons episode than the bunch of blind, drunken monkeys typing on smart phones who currently do; and Tom Cruise will act in the adaptation of my (eventual) novel over my dead and non-zombified body. I’ve missed the start (otherwise infamously known as the “zipper incident”) of There’s Something About Mary. Bugger.

It’s been a while since I posted a status update on Facebook

It’s been a while since I posted a status update on Facebook. Probably mostly because my current unemployed life of reading, watching TV, playing video games, walking, surfing and doing not much else is not often worthy of comment. Oh, yes, I have applied for more than 50 jobs and have not received so much as an interview in return. But I’m not looking for pity; I simply consider that a fact worthy of comment.

It’s also the nature of internet social media that’s rendered me silent on Facebook recently. A nature that has caused introversion in me for the same reasons the real world often does: its immensity and complexity. The realisation that the volume and character of my particular voice must be insignificant when set beside the cumulative voices of the rest of the online world. Or at least my friends list. It’s a view occasionally reinforced by statuses of mine which are completely ignored by more than 100 people I’ve decided, in some context or another, are my friends. It’s ironic that among such ignored posts, links to blog posts such as this have been the most commonly ignored. Sure, many people have little time to read more than a few sentences these days. But again: assuming some of the people exposed to the material have been, are or would always claim to be friends of mine, it is disheartening that indifference is so often adopted.

It’s also an energy thing. The numerous – but thankfully not necessarily grand in scale – failures I’ve suffered during my life in pursuit of various objectives have taught me that my energy, along with my time, is precious. That although failure is valuable for learning it is also taxing and can draw energy from other pursuits presently doomed to failure that might otherwise have been successful. Basically what I mean is that not only is online social networking not necessarily productive, even from points of view such as entertainment, but its pursuit as a pastime can sap energy from other worthwhile or even vital activities (ironic that the auto-type on my phone tried to write “viral” instead of “vital”, there). That idea might not be particularly new, but when one is given enough time to consider its implications (by, for example, disabling one’s Facebook account for a couple of months), the resulting realisations are frightening.

And, finally, it’s a privacy thing (another irony, considering some of the personal things I’ve aired on this blog). Social media is a wonderful way of accessing all sorts of interesting facts of various degrees of dubiousness about people we know. One of the problems is, and this might be only me, if someone is interested in something I find either irrelevant or reprehensible, I’m much less forgiving online. I’ve removed at least four people from my friends list for ‘liking’ that Tom Waterhouse suckhole. But in person I’m unlikely to be so critically dismissive of the same person. And this isn’t necessarily balanced out in terms of severity by my favourable opinion of someone who shares an interest of mine. Although the online, as opposed to real world, medium does arguably allow for a deeper conversational exploration of two peoples’ mutual interests. At least if they both feel more comfortable expressing themselves in writing than otherwise. So I guess from that point of view I can understand that perhaps some of my statuses/blogs are offensive or not easy to relate to, and that is why they’re ignored. Understanding doesn’t lessen the disappointment, though. And the other problem is about delivery. Even though I, and many others, try to make my posts humorous, thought-provoking or at least well written (for all I know some people might interpret writing competence as a form of pomposity), there’s probably a lot of people on my friends list who simply don’t care. And simply don’t care to such a degree that my post’s presence on their news feed causes an angry reaction in them. Something’s got to explain so much complete disregard. I simply don’t like the idea of making people angry. And not because it causes me fear, but because I try to have a positive (albeit maybe sometimes jarring) influence on people.

Well, there you go: four reasons. That’ll do. It’s 3am and I’ve indulged in an often suppressed urge to write at an inappropriate time. I suppose, all things being equal, it’s a better indulgence than cigarettes or alcohol. Especially on a Tuesday night. For all you workers out there: thanks for the dole money. Hopefully you’re consoled by the fact that it’s going back in to the economy anyway, even if you’re not consoled by the fact that it helps me to live at least a subsistence existence.

PS If you are on my Facebook friends list and you’ve bothered to read this whole thing, please comment on or at least ‘like’ it. I mean, even if we or one of us wouldn’t technically consider each other ‘friends’, chances are you’re on my list because I at least value to some degree what’s in your brain. So why the bloody hell not share it (what’s in your brain; I’m not trying to force you to share this post (but go ahead if you want))?