When winning is losing

I’m on a 30 day Facebook ban again, and this time I’m not too sure why.

Anyway, I would normally reply to this jackass but now I can’t…

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This is not how I view winning:

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Judging by the last few days, the US is going to be winning alright, winning in terms of the number of cases of CIVID-19, maybe the number of deaths too. But those who support Trump continue to do so, as if their reality involves some other universe rather than this one, some universe where they aren’t being led by an idiot, some universe where the man is competent at something other than making lurid remarks about women and spitting out insults that aren’t half as good as those of my almost 12 year old son.

Incidentally, that Facebook group was created by an atheist with an alternate profile, a couple of years ago, to see just how gullible believers can be. It is now filled with thousands of believers, but the worst kind… Trump supporting, racists, misogynists, homophobic, anti-atheist, anti-science, anti-intellectual people, as well as the usual low intelligence folks who bleat out their “Amen” comments like sheep. Not that sheep can comment, but if they could it would surely be along the lines of “baaa Aaaaaamen”.

Before my ban, I spent some time mocking these people, who like to thank god for creating everything, but get peeved when anyone posts ironic prayers thanking their god for disease, suffering, and death. So apparently he didn’t create everything after all. Just the convenient stuff. They also don’t like when you post prayers thanking their god for addiction and drug overdoses, or drugs. And they really don’t like it when someone reminds them that celebrating being spared during some sort of catastrophe is as shallow as celebrating the deaths of those who were not spared.

Update: Just a couple of hours later and the US has taken the lead. I don’t mean to be smug… I’m really worried about my own country too. We are in lockdown and I’m working remotely for the next 21 days… I just hope we aren’t too late. Our hospitals are already at full capacity.

Banned from Facebook again

Oh noes… I committed some kind of Facebook crime by posting an animated GIF of a woman flashing her boobs. I’d post it here too to show you how fine those boobs are, but I didn’t save the GIF and the post has been removed, which is odd because I found it on Facebook to begin with, so I’ve been banned from Facebook for something that originated on Facebook.

Seriously, female nipples, which are identical to male nipples, violate community standards, but good Christians fighting for their right to beat children are perfectly within their rights to post their hateful shit. Also calling for feminists to be raped and beaten is always acceptable there, but don’t you dare call anyone white trash or complain about powerful men. The messed up standards always get me. Anyway, I can’t post to Facebook again until next week this time, so anybody following me both here and there… this is why I can no longer post or respond to comments for a bit.

Happy birthday to me!

I am 47 today. Here’s a photo someone took at work… so many people liked it on Facebook, I figured I may as well post it here too.

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It’s been a weird couple of days… unexpected issues affected a critical server at work on Friday night. I spent until 3Am Saturday morning working on it alone, and then, along with others at work, the whole of Saturday and Sunday. So I feel like I aged another ten years this last three days, but hey… I look OK. Right?

I will have this Friday off so at least I’ll hopefully have a good weekend next weekend.

What would you like me to write about?

Commenter James suggested on the About page comments that while I might know more about meth, I am holding back. He might have a point.

I write about whatever is on my mind, and lately, the subject of meth and addiction just isn’t there. It’s not like I’ve forgotten, but those memories aren’t fresh any more. The reality of living with addiction every day is something I have to concentrate to remember. In some ways, it seems unreal now. I suppose that is to be expected, because in just under three months time, I’ll hit my five years clean milestone.

The last couple of times I wrote about meth and addiction were inspired by my looking through the search strings that brought readers here. Of course many of them will thus relate to already written posts, such as… that post about meth voices and how they start which will never go away, and the comment section there has taken on a life of its own. But sometimes the search strings do ask interesting questions that trigger memories for me.

So, if there is anything about meth and addiction, or living with addiction, that you’d like to know, feel free to suggest it in the comments, and I’ll try my best address whatever it might be.

Actually I’m going through something of a writer’s block at the moment too… I have this draft that’s been hanging around since last week, that just doesn’t feel finished. Not about meth or addiction or even skepticism, but about race… A friend asked on a popular local atheists group if other (black people because she is black) prefer being called a person of colour, or black, and she hates being called a POC. So I thought I’d tackle the issue of race. Race, racism, class distinctions which are often still attached to race, and white privilege are complex issues here in South Africa, and I’m unhappy with the post as written. Don’t know if I’ll ever publish it. But regardless, feel free to suggest what you’d like to read from me and I’ll try to get it done.

Asking for help without stating the problem you need to solve is like asking for directions without stating your destination.

I’ve read similar complaints from Raymond Chen’s blog a long time ago, so I gather this is not an isolated problem. It seems to be a common problem where people (who are not stupid) ask for help, but because they are thinking so deeply about what they have already done (even if it is completely wrong), they tell you what they have done and not what they are trying to do.

Yesterday an operations support member of staff where I work asked me for help. Here’s how he did it:

  1. He told me which login to use on a remote server.
  2. He then showed me three SQL queries he had tried running, with the results of a fourth unknown query displayed in the grid.

That’s it. He didn’t tell me what the problem was, or why he had tried those particular queries, or how he got to the IDs in the WHERE clause of those queries. I had to ask him what the problem was and what he was looking for. Five times. (Yes, I counted.) And he still didn’t tell me. In the end, I gave him something which may or may not have helped him because he didn’t tell me that either.

Just don’t do that, OK? Surely I don’t need to explain why.

It’s like this… Say you wanted to go to some random place… Sandton City. From here. (Assuming here is someplace in Johannesburg, South Africa.) And you go up to someone to ask for directions and tell them, “Well, I walked out of the office, then went down the lift to the ground floor. Then I walked outside, looked left and looked right, and walked across the road.” And from that, you expect them to know where you want to go and how to get there.

Just don’t.

Do you ever look at yourself and wonder “what if”?

When I was a toddler we had a neighbour, an old woman named Mrs Twine, who gave piano lessons. One day, after I sat with her while she played, she remarked to my parents that I was a natural, since I’d tapped my foot to the rhythm as she played. She wanted to teach me but my parents didn’t allow it. Adult me is about as musical as a potato.

But I do wonder how different my life would have been if little things like that had played out differently. Maybe I was a natural. Maybe in some other universe there’s a me who turned out to be a musician or an artist and found great commercial success. Maybe this other me is famous there? What if?

What if I’d found commercial success? What type of person might I have turned out to be? What if I remained like my brother, and did not reject the religion of my parents? Without my skepticism, would I have been happy in my ignorance, or would I feel that something is missing? What if I settled into white privilege and did not come to care about humanism, equality, racism, feminism and all the things I care about? What if I didn’t become an addict for a while and fall, then gain an understanding of poverty? What if I didn’t fall in love with a brown-skinned girl, never crossed the racial line, never rejected the racism of my upbringing and had a child with someone who isn’t white?

I think that despite all the shit I put myself through, in some ways because of my addiction, I came out of it a better, smarter, wiser person. Though I have my regrets, I am satisfied that (while not financially), I am the best me that I could be… Emotionally, intellectually, and morally. I couldn’t be more satisfied with who I am.

But still I wonder, how much of this me is due to nature and how much is nurture? If things were different, what would that person, that other me, have been like? Would he be likeable? Would he be a good person? I don’t know why I think of these things… Do we all? Do you?