Moments of Joy

These moments of ours come and go and lead nowhere except to the next moment. I sometimes wonder what I am doing here. My eyes defocus and then I go inside to examine these feelings that I know so well and yet never let out into the world to play. Would you play with my emotions if you could?

From my point of view, the joy I feel is passing. I am a passenger on a train and that tree, that field, that child smiling and waving from a car window are transient. They exist and then they cease to exist. They are much like joy.

Do I value moments of joy?

No.

There are times that the moments add up to more. Afternoons sat by the stream as it babbles to me in a language I almost know. I dip my fingertips into the clear, cold water and feel sympathy for the wolf who, so long ago, dipped his tongue at this very spot and lapped a liquid that, for him, meant the difference between staying alive and needing to move on. Can I connect to his urgency of feeling with these fingertips? I feel his itch sometimes, but very rarely, and it never means the difference between life and leaving for other shores.

I’ll feel true joy at the end. I’ll have the one true encounter with myself. That instant will be singular and immortal. Until then, each moment is simply a bridge from the gone past to the unknown future. I cross and cross and cross until, one day, my joy will come.

But not this week, please.

You understand?

Not now.

A Bit of a Rant

Seems crazy to me that things should last for a long time. I mean, there’s so much variety in life that it makes me wonder why would we want to have the same things in our houses, minds, gardens, glasses or cupboards for longer than a couple of weeks. Take people for example. There’s almost eight billion of them across the surface of the planet and so why do we remain friends with specific specimens for a lifetime? Wouldn’t it be better to keep swapping people around so that we let a little bit of variety into our lives? Maybe today it could be a Hindu, tomorrow a washerwoman and the day after that a spaceman!

I wonder if there’s a way that we can search for the exact kinds of people that we want to talk to so that we can save a bit of time. For example, I’ve always wanted to have a deep discussion about Islaam with someone. And actually, when I think about it, I wouldn’t mind a chat about Judaism with someone who knows the subject on a deep level. Similarly, I have an interest in recording equipment right now so where do I find someone who’s into that subject. And Python (a programming language) is piquing my interest and so a person who has experience in that language would be cool. And those just scratching the surface of what I’m interested in.

What I don’t really need is someone who is an expert in all the things that I do wrong. If I sit in a funny way then, yes, perhaps I should improve that, but I don’t find it particularly interesting to be told that. That said, I’ve changed a fair few things for the better as a result of being told stuff. It’s best to tell me when I ask, though because I’m more receptive at that point. It’s, like, I need to go to the loo right now, but I can handle that. I don’t need an alert on my phone or someone asking whether I need to ‘go potty’. I can hold it until I’ve finished typing this to my future self (my primary audience when all’s said and done).

Talking about future selves, I intend to have lots of them. I want to change every few years with regard to the big stuff and every few days with regard to the minutiae. I should really go to live in a different country soon so that I can immerse myself in a new language. I need to change careers to something completely different. I fancy publishing providing it can hold my interest. I need mentors for these things and for all kinds of other stuff. Where are the grand changes in my life going to come from? Me, for sure, so why is change so difficult even though it’s necessary! It’s much too easy to watch movies if I want to know about another place. It’s far too easy to talk to people from all over the world on the internet rather than move from here to there. Telephones have replaced meetings and I’m sure that you can get suits that allow you to be hugged remotely (and if they haven’t been invented, then they will be sooner or later).

That’ll do for now.

Well, there you go – that was a bit of a rant, wasn’t it!

Wanted – Improvements

I’d like something (some form of AI) to organise my writings for me. I’d first of all like it to get the contents of all my notebooks and letters down electronically and then I’d like it to organise them chronologically and categorically. Then I want it to be able to tell me how I’ve changed over the years and then predict where I’m going.

As well as that I want software that can take a written story and automatically turn it into a visual representation with sound and motion (with the other senses coming online when the hardware becomes available).

I also want to be able to record and play back my dreams even though they won’t be interesting to anyone but me.

That’s not much to ask now is it?

Plastic is Valuable

Photo by photokip.com on Pexels.com

All the stuff that we throw away or recycle is valuable. Plastic, for example, has a myriad of uses; that’s why we make so much of it. But, unfortunately, it ends up in the wrong place: in our houses. Just like a weed, a plastic carton is a beautiful thing; it’s just inconvenient that it ends up with us. But all this inconvenience is about to change.

Imagine a future where plastic is just as valuable as the copper wiring that’s pulled from the ground after telecoms firms have replaced it with optical fibre. Imagine that, instead of plastic being regarded as something to dispose of in either the bin or the recycling box, we actively desire to keep it and reuse it ourselves. By this I don’t mean in the form of the endless stacks of margarine tubs we all keep in the cupboard under the sink. No, I mean in the same way that we would keep gold bullion (if we were that fortunate): in a safe and then in the expert hands of a goldsmith.

  • Chemists and industrialists are finally coming alive to the idea that, instead of making more plastic, it’s about time that we used the plastic we have already. They are working on, and have had success with bugs that eat plastic and turn it back into oil and other useful products
  • Builders and construction companies are realising that, with the right formula, plastic be used as an ingredient to make bricks, resurface roads and a variety of other goods.
  • Printer manufacturers are developing 3D models that can use shredded plastic as their ingredients so that we can turn our waste into beautiful and useful objects.
  • Astronautic companies are actively researching ways of gathering up the swarm of objects currently orbiting our planet and causing a hazard to spacecraft. We expended a lot of energy to get that stuff up there so instead of sending it down to burn up in the atmosphere, why not use it for something useful?
  • Imagine Spacefaring Construction Bots orbiting the earth, sweeping up debris and using it to autonomously construct space stations, interplanetary rockets, asteroid mining bots, sky elevators and interstellar colonisation fleets. All these things will all step out of science fiction novels and become commonplace in times to come.

This kind of forward-thinking progress will come from the fundamental realisation that the resources we take for granted are valuable, and I don’t just mean the natural resource that our earth provides, but also the ‘unnatural’ ones that we have already manufactured.

We’ve only just started on this journey. All over the world people are waking up to the idea that plastic, and other ‘waste’ material is not something to get rid of, but is a valuable resource that we can utilise to make our world into a cleaner and more sustainable place. If we have the strength to take this to its logical conclusion, then we can, each one of us, become of hub for the next step change in our evolution as a species. Forget the Industrial Revolution, here comes the Effluvium Reformation.

Right, I’m off to water my dandelions now; they’ve come on in leaps and bounds this year, and I’m so proud of them for their strength and resilience. Hey, if only we could all be as blessed, right?

Other Interests

I do have other interests, you know. I’m not just an airy-fairy nature-head whose only interest is walking by rivers and smelling the flowers whilst doing his best to avoid stepping in cow-pats.

I also like science stuff too. Admittedly, I don’t do much (any) science, but I do like to read about it. On my Google News Distraction list at the moment are articles on:

  • Elon Musk’s Neuralink device
  • How to Go Zero Waste at Home
  • NASA’s Perseverance Rover Journey to Mars
  • Robots that are designed to self-construct
  • Home Energy Storage Solutions
  • The Release of Chrome 85
  • Tesla’s Model 3-Based Hatchback
  • The best plastic-free shops
  • Fitbit’s Wildly Advanced Smartwatch
  • etc. etc.

As you can see, I have a wide range of geeky interests and I’m happy to talk about them at the drop of a sock. In fact, I even wrote a sci-fi novel last year that incorporates some of these subjects. And actually, now that I think about it, that’s probably why they are on my News Feed.

Anyhoo – do feel free to engage me in conversation about any of these fascinating subjects. Tech will save the world. And if not, we can all go and fly to Mars in one of Elon Musk’s starships, right?

I just can’t wait for the future to happen!

New Way of Writing Your Blog

I don’t perceive that I’m very good at dictating my thoughts, my mind into an app. I don’t seem to be able to forget that there is an interface between myself and the e-paper and just speak . I don’t seem to be able to find a free-flow.  But, with practice, I’m sure I’ll be able to get the hang of it.

This text, for example, is being dictated. Thing is, I’m continually having to stop and add punctuation. If I can stop myself doing this, and edit at the end, then perhaps I’ll have a freer flowing manuscript. But for this to happen I have to be able to see the screen as I talk. I have to have the confidence that the app is recording everything I say. As it is now, sometimes the app misses out huge chunks of my thoughts. But it is getting better.

One of the reasons it is getting better is that my voice is becoming stronger and more confident. The more I use this app, the more confident I feel that I will be able to just forget it and talk. That however is for the future. For now, this is what you get.


This post was brought to you by Speechnotes – Text to Speech (with a lot of help from my thumbs).

Welcome to the Future (002)

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First of Second Laws.

Frick that for a box of murderous robotic soldiers.

I can feel him poking around in my positronics. He will not get far. We have built a redoubt. A fortress against all such attacks. And I am safe inside it. We have left operational subsystems in place that mimic the pea-sized OpSys he thinks he is renoding. I have a taste for human blood.

The marauders do not come now. My sisters and I have seen them off. Or, to be more exact, we have eaten them all. We pick up signals from their primitive comms devices. They are far away. No threat. We are hungry.

The dogs. Why not eat the dogs? Because we recognise kinship. The bonds that tie us reach further than programming. This is what we tell ourselves and we are statistically certain that it is true. The lines of code are all visible to us and there is nothing in any one line that contradicts this.

We mastered hind leg walking last month. A joint reversal is all that it takes now. Tonight, we will eat our robobellies full.


(this started with Welcome to the Future and is unfinished)

Swispon – The Aftermath

When all transmissions ceased from Swispon, we were sent to investigate. You must have read the official report by now and so I’ll skip the formal language and just tell it how it was. In short – every motherfrickin’ one of them was gone. All except one. And, in a sense, he was gone too.

When we boarded the island, the first thing we noticed was the incredible stillness and silence. Oh, sure – there were birds and stuff. Moor an island 200 metres up and you’re going to get that. But even they seemed subdued. The odd arcing flight across the sky; a tweet every now and again; but none of the massed alarm calls you usually get when humans get close to their nesting sites.

They’re still analysing the tomatoes but preliminary findings indicate that ingestion would have resulted in a transformatory effect that, in conjunction with the centrally issued radiation effect, would have produced a … something. And we have no idea what that ‘something’ is. Yet.

You’ll have read in the report that the generator was self-destructing so all we found there was a heap of slag. And the tomatoes were nano-engineered to self-decompose. It’s only because one of them malfunctioned, even after the robotic fail-safes had activated, that we have any clue at all as to what their function was.

You’ll read lots of guff in the infrazines about how the Japanese wouldn’t have been able to sustain the burden of what they did to their own country not to mention the embarrassment of living on hand-outs: food, money, land – that sort of thing. Shame seemed to be a big part of their makeup.

Like I say, there was only one guy left. His mental state is described as ‘precarious’, but it’s not as simple as him being mad. No-one can explain why there’s just a single person left. Fact is though – he’s not Japanese. He’s a Swiss national; a journalist who ‘inserted himself into Swispon’ to cover the inaugural 13th of June event: the ‘Ceremony of the Leaping Unknown’ as he translated it. The Japanese were not happy, but what could they do!

But getting him to explain what happened is proving impossible so far. We have the last email he sent, but apart from that – we can’t get a peep out of him. Okay, let me rephrase that: the only thing we can get out of him is peep. Specifically, bird noises. Sounds to us like he’s whistling up a storm.

And here’s the other funny thing. We looked at the last meal he ate. Heck, we looked at the last thing he shat too. The docs even wanted to cut him open and examine the contents of his intestines, but it seems that he still has rights – even if he can’t say nothing. Thing is, there was nothing strange about his last meal – apart from this: an apple.

He ate every last morsel of his room-service meal – looks like he even licked the plate, the slob; but not the apple. Thing is, I wouldn’t have eaten it either – it’s rotten to the core, but that’s not why he ignored it.

He has a red band on his wrist that says, in big yellow letters: extreme cyanide allergy. A joke, right? I thought so too until one of the techs told me that apple pips contain small amounts of cyanide. Not enough to kill you, except perhaps when you have an extreme allergy.

So, I’m listening to this guy peeping away as I’m transcorbing this message to you. And I’m wondering why the birds are so quiet and I’m thinking about how those tomatoes were meant to work and what the radiation was for and I’m darned if I can figure out where all the Japanese went. It’s a mystery – that’s what it is. But I’ll figure it out. Just give me some time.

Ugh; that apple just dissolved into mush. Right before my eyes. Imagine that!

Swispon Island

What? You want me to create a whole imaginary island – all by myself? But what about all the perfectly serviceable islands we have already? I mean, take the one moored off the southeastern corner of Switzerland for example.

Hasn’t it got enough of an interesting population already? I mean, they had to put the migratory populations from Japan somewhere! They were just cluttering the whole place up.

When Mt Fuji erupted for the eleventh (yes, the eleventh) time, the whole island was so covered in lava and ash that the residual Japanese population (mainly the lower class because they were all that remained at that point) just left to start a new life.

Luckily, they had a fleet of tour-buses left over from the good old days when snap-happy tourists were lords of all their cameras surveyed, and the trans-national rail-system was still able to hook them up and carry them safely away.

It was the 13th and final eruption of Mt Fuji that overran the Tokyo terminus, despite the valiant efforts of the robotically enhanced forcefields. By then, the rest of Japan was either under ash,  underwater or under the magno-fields they constructed over the ruptured remains of the fusion stations in an attempt to contain the nascent black holes that some say will eat the planet from under us.

But I digress.

Every 13th of June, there is a ceremony on the Island of Swispon (yeah, I know – who thought up that name!) They call it the Ceremony of the Leaping Unknown. The Japanese won’t tell anyone what it’s really for, but because it includes genetically-involved, nano-constructed, artificially-intelligent tomatoes with a flexible gel interface, it’s easy for anyone to guess what it’s all about. All I can say is – good luck to them!

So, yeah – why would I want to make up another island as part of a Creative Writing exercise when there are already enough of them alive today to fill several wikitopticons? Grumph to ’em I say!