23 August 2019

just another sunset in paradise - yes this was home for a while

There are new guidelines for the treatment of my shitty disease and let me tell you, according to the new immunologist I have been assigned to, guidelines rule. Which is why I am on yet another road of discovery. Which is also why the other expert I was sent to this morning gave a sharp whistle through his teeth when he saw the recommended procedures. I kept my head up and my face straight, no an easy task right now, but I did admirably. In the end we agreed on a deadline after which he may take matters into his educated hands, guidelines or no fucking guidelines.
We shook hands on the deal, like two cool stock brokers.
Whereas by the time R picked me up, I was back to being the miserable patient. One of these days, R's capacity of listening to my moaning will be exhausted. Or maybe it already is and I haven't noticed.
The house guests are on the road to a variety of other houses here and there and we are supposedly joining them in a while. That's the plan. I told the stock broker but I think he took it as a joke.

Anyway, another thing altogether:

From an essay by Douglas Rushkoff (the bold highlights are mine, I like to bring my messages home)

Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology.”
 . . .
After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.

They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? 
 . . .
Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.
This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.
That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology.  . . . they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.
. . .
I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.
They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. 

Luckily, those of us without the funding to consider disowning our own humanity have much better options available to us. We don’t have to use technology in such antisocial, atomizing ways. We can become the individual consumers and profiles that our devices and platforms want us to be, or we can remember that the truly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.
Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It's team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.
To soften the blow, here is some music from the 1980s, a time when we thought we had it all.

17 August 2019

Is it a sign when you look at the clock in the top right hand corner of the screen exactly at the moment when 00:00 turns to 00:01 or are you just having another one of these nights. (You have.)
Coping and suffering. I've decided to have a go at these. 
Another way of accepting fate, the imponderable cruelty of life - depending on my mood and whether the sun shines nicely.

This morning, or to be precise: yesterday morning, my GP took one look at me and decided that I need to stay home until the end of the month. What if I feel better sooner, I ask. She raised her eyebrows and shook her head ever so slightly, just take it easy, on doctor's orders and now go and rest.
I went home and worked on some excel shit for two hours feeling guilty and relieved at the same time. Until R found out and shook his head in the most disapproving way. He is in charge of house guests, no time to discuss.

I know. I know. My options are to continue as is, with the health insurance and my employer checking my work ability at closer and closer intervals, or getting my act together and apply for early retirement  accept the meagre little pension that awaits me.
On good days, I know that we have what we need for a good life in the years to come (shelter, comforts, garden, community, family).
On bad days, I am working hard at not being a bastard capitalist counting out the money.

The Irish visitor groups are going through the usual adjustments (weather, German bread, the wrong side of the road etc.) and I think I have a good excuse for keeping out of it.
There is more to come. The summer is not over.
The kitchen is still where it's at.
The grandchild reigns supreme from the ikea high chair. All of us here are - one way or another - hooked on that thrilling, complex bribery strategy known as (grand-)parenting. Wonders abound.

14 August 2019

Everything is Going to be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon, from Selected Poems

The place is mayhem. Gorgeous mayhem. People are arguing about who will be cooking food in my kitchen.  They are almost fighting about whose turn it should be because, my recipe is soo amazing etc. Elbows are involved. Also, we are plotting to make the world a better place.

The days are mostly sunny. The plumeria started to flower!

People, I am delighted with it all.

But you have no idea how unwell I am. Just made the requested list of symptoms for tomorrow's appointment with the immunologist.

04 August 2019

More empathy Less greed More respect

Hot Sunday. I am crawling along below the radar. With a bit of a fever, slight vertigo, nausea and the usual stuff that builds up when you are sick and try to do it anyway. I changed sheets twice last night, almost convinved that the menopause has come back to haunt me. Not sure if I'd mind instead. But never mind. Seriously, never mind.
Because in general, the mood is upbeat. The summer visitors are on their way, the phone calls and bleeps, the fridge is being stocked, the garden and patio beautified, sheets washed and stacks of towels readied. You can never have too many towels.

The world is a beautiful scary mess.
Have a listen. Five minutes of your time. Kate Tempest.

02 August 2019