surveillance state

“Don’t worry if i seem a bit off, i just took a pill to calm me down and i’ll probably doze off for a few minutes.” a co-worker told me after he came into the director’s booth. He was shaking; his voice was steady and calm though. I asked what is up and if he wants me to call the first-aid responders. It was the first of the two questions that i should not have asked.

He told me that he has spent the last hours listening to his partner’s conversations at home through the surveillance devices he has installed while they built their house.
My best guess is that you are asking yourself the same question that i asked myself that moment: you rigged your whole house with cameras and microphones for the purpose to keep your partner in check?

I’m sitting in a glasshouse with my own problems and therefore keep the stones on the floor, but i was shocked when i heard how his partner is talking about him when he is not around, she seems to have not had a conversation that was not focused on the kids or their work schedules in the last couple of weeks, so the blows hit him with more impact than they would have anyway; but i guess that after such a long period of silence one can not anticipate it to be explained with “You’re such a neat person, i did not find the words to properly articulate the level of awesome you’re residing at.”
I asked him if he is happier now that he knows the truth, and my best guess is that the pill started to work it’s magic and that factored heavily into his response because he just looked at me.
I recommended getting rid of all the cameras and microphones or ask a person from his circle of trust to do it and bury the stuff somewhere; if his partner finds out about living in 1984 he will surely only have a lively exchange with her lawyer and in the case of them separating he can’t use any of the recordings to accuse her of already having had a different partner at the time of when they asked the bank for the money to build the house; which i can’t imagine is not an apply able condition to anything in an court.
To that i got an answer: i’m not ready for that.

Which reminded me that getting ready might be an important task on my to-do list; should i ever choose to change.

Heliocentric Bullshit no.95

Heliocentric Bullshit is the title of a weekly newsletter that i used to post for a while and decided to continue. It’s located at tinyletter but i’ll post it here also for the time being.


So this volume’s title is kind of a riff on last week’s one but without the religious angle.
And for people who are wondering where that .gif is from, it’s the final mecha from Ressha Sentai ToQger; a super sentai show that is built on the theme of imagination.

Sooooo, why imagination? Well, i’ve stumbled upon scans of old Argos catalogues. Argos is a department store chain from Britain and after my Grandma’s sister moved to the isle, she started sending the seasonal catalogues over so we kids can get jealous of all the stuff the brits got and we only had the option to drool over. It was especially disappointing when we discovered the “vintage” catalogues with Star Wars figures right around the time my brother and i discovered it for ourselves, with no option of getting those figures other than flee markets. Nah, i’m exaggerating, we were pissed about the Star Wars figures, but it did something else for my brother, my cousin and me: it motivated us to craft our own toys.
Well, building toys is also exaggerated. It’s not like we made our own resin or vinyl toys (which would have been so neat given that our Grandpa would have had a blast doing that with us) but paper.
Let’s give you an example, we just started getting into wrestling but there where no according toys around in austria in the 80s, and somehow we never realized that He-Man and his ‘roiders were already the ultimate wrestling figures, and when part of our family came together for the annual spring vacation the three boys took the printing paper that my Uncle always let disappear from his office and built a whole stage and part of the venue as well as a few wrestlers out of paper and cardboard. The figures where only small, flat cutouts; later version would have “joints” and small slings you could put your fingers in for animating the figures. I looked through photo albums to try and give you more than just my telling of the memories, seems like nobody took some. And we managed to take the enthusiasm from that day and use it on countless other occasions when we’d really like to play with something, but did not have the means to get it. The toys for the Robin Hood movie, Thundercast, the holes from our Masters Of The Universe and Ghostbusters collection.

Why am i mentioning this? A few weeks ago a co-worker took his kids along to work because he had nobody to look after them. It was a slow day for us, and on of the two asked me to built a desklamp for his Dad with him. And i completely get that not everyone is a natural tinkerer or builder, but i realized that it is unusual for most kids these days to have a supply of paper, cardboard, a few coloured pencils and glue to kill a few afternoons and an older sibling/parent/relative to sit down with them and build something out of it. In our family it was our Grandfather and Dad who helped us to get our ideas out of our heads. After “let’s build a lamp” the kids input well was empty, but as i said, it was a slow day and it was nice to assemble something that looks like a small predator with a lightbulb on top that would have been a neat device to give people a boost if i had not grounded it. Perhaps it was because of the environment and dreaming to big and the intimidation that comes with being surrounded by all the tools and materials that would allow to build a lamp in more than five ways.

This should not be seen as a “everything was better in the olden days” rant, but rather an explanation why we are in a time where works of popular creativity seem to mostly consist of repurposed ideas rather than new stuff. Even if the first Lego movie was about the potential those blocks offer for us, most kids i know build the things according to the manual. We did that too, but afterwards everything got repurposed, modified or incorporated. Perhaps i’m just hanging around the wrong kids, i’m sure there are enough minors out there who are putting on a race for the creative heads at Lego with their homebrew kits, but i guess most of their parents are the kind of people i’d flee into a burning bulding from.

Thanks For Your Time!

articulating feelings

Working through the latest recordings of the podcast i’m a part of has been extraordinary taxing. My job kept me busy into the morning hours this weekend and i’m still fatigued, which provided a good starting point and three hours of material need their time to be listened to, combed through for additional shownotes, edited, sound adjustment have to be made and i haven’t even started on working on the blog post/shownotes; but what is bothering me is that i have been plannjng and mapping out this episode for a long time and then having it hijacked by my co-host. And i’m not the guy to argue so i just kept my mouth shut and let him ride the boat.
And that is my problem and i should do something about it, but frankly, it all fits in with the theme of being perceived as the tech support monkey/outdated placeholder that plagues me these days.
People seem to come to me when they need something enabled but are to lazy to ask google; and idiot that i am i’ll help them gladly.

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The co-worker i share a workbench with is a loud chewer. He is a loud person in general;  having YouTube videos on with the volume turned up to eleven.
Today he discovered his fondness for strong smelling cheese.
I guess i’ll post the request for a department change.

Heliocentric Bullshit No.94

Heliocentric Bullshit is the title of a weekly newsletter that i used to post for a while and decided to continue. It’s located at tinyletter but i’ll post it here also for the time being.


I planned to write about the latest Star Wars reveals and gossip but there are other, more informed and elaborate people already doing that and i can keep the text for when i don’t have an idea what i could write.

Faith; an amazing thing. If enough people believe in something it seems to become a reality; if one believes hard enough it might become a reality for others, sometimes years after entropy set an end to them. 

What i want to write about is humanities faith in things bigger than themselves. First of all, this is not supposed to be a dump on religion, in my narrow view of the history of organized religion, it has not only hurt a lot of people but is one of the stepping stones to the world we live in today. Hmm, that does not absolve it either….for a large number of people it provided and still provides a moral compass; a guideline for people to keep the weapons of mass destruction in their silos. Others see it as a bank account for the eternal afterlife; and pressing the red button will be forgiven if you hail Mary yourself into unconsciousness.

I remember when i was introduced to believe in a certain power that is supposed to create us, guide us and then calls us back into its fold: the father, the son and the holy ghost, God.
My parents never talked with me about religious matters, that happened in religious education in school. They got me with a great hook: stories. Everything was introduced to us via tales told in historical context; thus legitimizing the claim that they’re true. And frankly it felt good to believe that there is some all powerful otherworldly force that has your back if you behave by a certain set of rules that make sense to keep a societal structure stable.
Alongside i had my encounters with members of the clergy[1]. The priests i met all were positive people giving off a genuine vibe of wanting to make the world a better place for everybody; and i wanted to do that too.
So i started at the beginning and read the bible. Not in its entirety, but the best of and i took the odd passage and tried to find a life situation where it could be applied. My Grandfather was very supportive of my decision and got me books about different religions and the philosophies behind them. And that went on for a while until i started to take a long look at the don’ts. And what people were willing to do to each other to remind each other of them and that God could resemble Clint Eastwood if he thought you should change lawns. To boil it down to the core, i feared i wasn’t worthy because i discovered masturbating was fun.

That is my problem, i’m sure that a priest is taking (his) things into his own hands when nature calls, and an almighty being should have better things to do than be upset because we’re relieving our stress levels. But it made me reconsider my decision; if i freak out about this then religion is something that i should avoid. So i joined the local black metal enthusiasts to get it out of my system. Which isn’t the most mature thing i could have done but led me to my current stance on religion: Believe in what suits you while respecting the health and boundaries of the people around you.

If some religious organization is trying to recruit me these days, i tell them “If the lord has a place for everyone, then mine is the grumbler.” and it is accepted and we agree on having had a nice talk and gonour separate ways.
I guess deep down there is still a kid that accepts the idea of god and truly wants to believe in him, but there is also the part that grew with time, who saw and learned about the godless acts that man is able to perform and therefore stopped believing.
I try to believe that my fellow humans will do the right thing, but things aren’t looking rosy.

Thank You for your time!

[1] If they were of a exploitative nature my mind still does a good job with keeping the procedures hidden from my memory.