Being a Dawn Creature

Well here I am at my favourite time of day, the pre-dawn. Outside there is the soft call of owls and Classic FM is wafting over from the cow shed. It is on to keep the cows and their new-born calves calm. The world is otherwise silent and asleep.

They, are always asleep and all one can do is wait for them to wake up. There is a lot of hanging around for others to sense that first tendril of coffee in the air.

That is the problem, when you are awake and see stuff before others. It takes a mighty long time for others to start to rouse themselves and even begin to awaken. And when you say something into their slumber they just want to hit the snooze button. Nobody likes you waking them up.

Time and again, I have said stuff and it has fallen on ears unready. Time and again, people simply do not want to wake up despite that coffee smell. That duvet is so inviting. So tired and desperate for sleep, the invigorating dawn in all her majesty remains largely unknown and perhaps rarely seen. And whilst they sleep, they miss out. Because society does not like dawn, zero dark thirty.

It is on this cusp when the creatures of the night give way to the creatures of the day. And it is at the cusp where I feel most at home.

To see things first and then tell of them, is to evoke. One can feel like an alarm clock flung across the room. And then they go back to sleep, to drift aimless between the worlds, only to rise somnambulant.

That fine edge of awareness is dulled by the common dream. And that common thinking is that dawn is bad, pillow is good. People complain of an early start.

As a dawn creature there is plenty of waiting…

Dawn bad, pillow good…

A weird mantra

Dawn good, pillow bad

A better one…


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

A little unsettled this morning after last night’s dreams all of which (3) were of a somewhat dystopic nature.  I haven’t had this kind of post-apocalyptic thing for a while.

In each of these dreams I am there more as an observer.

The last and most vivid of these had me wandering around London on a New Year’s Eve. London was divided into turfs or factions and passing between these was difficult for most, but in the dream, not for me. There was a lawlessness and an elite lived high up on the hill whilst the rest of the city was Beirut (during the troubles) like.

There were “passport” controls at tube stations between the turfs.

May be these dreams are a response to the growing world tensions, maybe they are processing my recent visit to London.


Oroku Saki (The Shredder)

Well there is nothing like getting a finger up your arse from Dr DRE to give you the hurry up…

The office is now a little less cluttered. And I have been busy with the shredder, so much so that it overheated, and I had to take a lunch break for the damn thing to cool down.

It is amazing how much crap one accumulates. I found some documents dating back 15 years or more.

10.8 kg of patents and papers, some with my annotations, about the same in team development stuff and loads of documents from the bank and tax office. I may have shredded a few spider corpses too.

The patents were a bit of a roll call for the big companies and the papers were mainly from the arXiv server as I don’t have library access. Together with a few notes they are gone now. I have reclaimed some space.

It is very satisfying shredding. Because mine isn’t a CIA grade one, you have to wait and can’t feed in too much at once. So, it teaches patience.

I have done one half of the office now, I can’t move the bookshelves on my own and I am a bit asthmatic from all the dust. Phase one complete.

Time for a well-earned shower…


Anxious, Intense or Feral?

I have just had a bit of an eye opener at the hospital, the doctor seemed to think that I was anxious. I certainly did not feel anxious, or fearful. I can be a bit intense for some, I already know that. I can be focussed.

I am not at all fond of social chit-chat and ritual sniffing, so I am perhaps a little feral.

So, if I don’t engage in this does this make me anxious or is the other person anxious because of a lack of “markers”, they don’t know where they are because we haven’t gone through this rigmarole?

If one doesn’t beat about the bush for long enough, is that wrong? If one doesn’t discuss the weather, the journey to and from, Brexit etc. is that anxiety on my part?

Who is anxious, is it me?

Bizarre city Arizona…


That Need to be Quiet, Very Quiet

Today I feel this need and strongly so.

Yesterday, for the first time in over eight years I went, by train, into London. I used to live there over a decade ago.

The first thing I noticed is that people don’t like you to look at them, as I am accustomed to do. Quickly I began to lower my eyes and shorten the length of my gaze. The floor is after all a very interesting place.

The second thing I noticed is that the average pupil dilation is greater, suggesting a higher level of general anxiety. The anxiety was palpable and because I can pick up such things, tiring.

My tube head and familiarity with the underground was easy to retrieve from the memory server and I adopted that way with ease.

The woman in the coffee shop was not keen on me taking a china cup outside to sit, offering me a paper cup instead. She relented when I promised to bring the cup back in.

I sat for most of the day in a basement with ~200 others. And the noisier it became the quieter I needed to be. I have noted this tendency before, external noise makes me ever more silent.

And on the journey home there were two young “lads” fresh from a football match talking louder than they needed to and watching the latest Premier League data, playing football top trumps. They shared images and stats on their ‘phones.

And by the time I got home, I felt shell-shocked.

Le bruit.

I have some answers about what I can now do. There weren’t any questions when I started out, but I have some answers in any case.


Setting the Tone for the Year?

As we move out of winter and into spring, there are two seeds which may set the tone for the rest of this year. These will be planted over the next two days.

Today I go to learn how to test for MDMA and assess its level of purity. This is a part of an informed choice initiative being rolled out at festivals and the like. It is volunteer work and may or may not take up some time. I may not prove suitable to their needs or I could be a great deal of use, what with my background in molecular spectroscopy and instrument design. So, I could be off to a few festivals this summer and maybe get more involved, according to how things click or don’t click.

Tomorrow I go to hospital to have a meeting with the colorectal department. I have had several occurrences of blood in my stools, which previously was the harbinger of my bowel cancer. It may be piles, it may be polyps or it may be something worse. Depending upon what the surgeons think, I may be up for yet another colonoscopy. And, my old friend Picolax. Did the earth move for you? Hell yeah. There is a part of me that thinks the doctors should try what they prescribe. This potentially offers the hospital merry-go-round.

This rainy Sunday morning it is just like this.

The Age of Many Narratives.

Never before have we had access to so many versions of the “truth” and this is largely due to the explosion of electronic media and communications. Spin too has added a dizziness to our lives. We live in the age of many narratives and unless we have personal experience of the thing being narrated, it is difficult to ascertain which narrative most closely matches the reality. It may be that there are, in addition to different narratives, different realities.

Our sense of reality is determined by our cognitive faculties and their assimilative capability. We make our universe out of our narrative of the world. There is a material universe which we can measure using electron based instumentation and photon-based detectors. That cosmos is out there and there is some broad agreement as to what it looks like amongst a small sub-set of our population. Some of this gets through to the wider public and there are now loads of pretty pictures of space and galaxies. Now we think space to be big and we are in a planetary orbit around a star we call the sun. This is our current narrative. It is a reality carried by many due to the telling of a story. This reality did not exist hundreds of years ago insofar as human beings were concerned. Out of all of the data we have assimilated this reality as it currently stands, and I’ll guess that many consider it a pretty good version of reality. To think this(our) reality previously could have had you fall foul of the powers that be. It is often the case that when reality clashes with temporal power things do not run smoothly.

Narratives can differ markedly amongst two beings, just go to the divorce courts or hear people talk about a relationship. The narratives will never coincide perfectly unless rehearsed to be so. And if you are so inclined you may wish to know which narrative is right. You may even insist that it is always your narrative which is right. But even the rightest narrative is a time evolving thing, a memory is subject to fading and variance in its re-telling. But these narratives are the “bricks” of our “world”. The world is what we tell ourselves and others, it is. It is by our telling we create our world(s).

To give an example; the easiest narrative for me being here today is roughly as follows. Alan has a history of mental health problems and was once treated for clinical depression with a suicidal ideation. At the age of 42 he had a mid-life crisis and packed in his job. Since that time, he has gone completely off the rails and dabbles in whacko belief systems. He has lost what few marbles he had remaining and has constructed a 250,000-word blog filled with his insane ramblings. He is doing himself no favours in doing this. Maybe he might one day come back to his senses and be of some use to the world as we know it. It is all some cleverly constructed justification which he uses to justify his delusions and failure.

This is a version of a narrative and I offer it up as an alternate explanation for you to consider.

What I am getting at is that we can construct pretty much any narrative we want, we may even believe our narrative to be the “truth” and thereby inviolate. We may fight and argue to uphold our narrative especially if other narratives are less convenient for us. We may have a hard time accepting any narrative other than our own. So, who do we trust? Is it the BBC, the internet or some bloke down the pub? It is likely that we trust those narratives which are already closest to our own and we may derive some comfort from a commonality of narrative. The narrative of the English, differs from the narrative of the Welsh and all this in one United Kingdom. Differences in narratives are to be found on all sides, which means reality and world also differs. At this time the UK narrative and the Russian narrative differ. But who is right? We can obsess about this thing “right”.

History shows us that for a while and in one country, there is a tendency for one narrative to dominate but history also looks back on these narratives and asks, “Did they really believe that? Did they really do those things?” History itself is a narrative, is says so, his-story. And we all have some stories about what has happened to us, our tale of life, our very own personal legends.

In my view no narrative is ever a reliable alternative to personal experience. Yet we so heavily rely on the narratives of others when they may be unreliable. Of course, any personal experience can itself become a narrative, but there are some elements of experience which cannot be narrated, they can only be experienced. Some things, some experiences are beyond words, they cannot be spoken of, they are unspeakable and even ineffable. It is here that the reliance on narrative fails and badly so.

We live in an age of many narratives, they can’t all be accurate, but we are inundated like never before. I wonder what this is doing to us as a humanity? Maybe we will get to a point where we trust no one, not even ourselves to perceive with any accuracy that is unless the narrative is already given some electronic thumbs up on some software platform or other. We may be losing the faculty of discerning truth for ourselves. We can metaphorically drown under the seas of all these narratives.

With narrative there is often agenda and sometimes we can forget this colouration.

Strange times we live in…