Stolen moments

The human mind as usual, is complex.

My own mind, burns with cold logic and rationality on most days, and stays insufferably confused in that minority, when muddled emotions skitter around in an uncertain manner.

Reading old diary entries makes me realise again, just exactly how much one’s memories fade over the years. The present is moulded by decisions from the past, and it’s fascinating to see how unconscious habits of today were consciously shaped by decisions I made so long ago.

Take for instance, the way I stylise a particular name on the annual birthday cards. I’d always assumed it was a whimsical thing I did on the fly, but the entry I reread last night, makes it clear that I’d actually given thought into the initial design, a good twenty years ago. I’m mildly impressed with 17 year old me.

“But one thing that really captivates me is her smile. Or her laugh, for that matter. Watching her really makes me forget my own problems.”

Of course, nothing ever goes quite the way we want it to, especially the tender unrequited dreams of youth. We’ve all grown up and moved on, and life continues at its own pace.

At the same time, I guess some things never really change.

I told Stan about my theory the other day, about how one’s spouse is never the perfect half, the romantic “You complete me” moment of realisation we hear about in Hollywood, when one person finds his soulmate. I’ve never quite had that, and I suspect most other people don’t. I make it work by spending time with other wonderful souls, those lovely people that complete me in their own special way.

To be clear, I’m not alluding to any form of physical communion –too much of that excessively principled boy who’s always fearful of doing the wrong thing, remains in me to ever attempt something fatally irresponsible– but rather something more spiritual. It’s the simple joys of enjoying each other’s company. The warmth of reunion in a hug. Reliving shared memories, ranting about life. The fun in singing a duet just right. The pleasure of sharing good food together. Smiling at old punchlines, or that well-remembered pout that makes me fondly smile. The satisfaction of a deep conversation, something that goes beyond the usual banal topics. Being able to trust and confide, share little secrets you can’t tell anyone else. Chuckling at a good joke you can both appreciate equally well. Looking into someone’s eyes and just listening, without judging. Being able to agree at times, disagree at others, and also share a viewpoint without being overly insistent on being right. Laughter and smiles, thoughtful gestures, simple yet priceless gifts I hold so dear.

I call them stolen moments, a reprieve from my daily grind.

Honestly, I count myself a lucky man. Most married men never get the luxury of having relationships like these. They devote themselves to their other half, and that’s that.

I have an understanding spouse, two children who have turned out pretty well so far, a decent job, and life in a country I’ve always hoped to live in someday.

And I have these other people I share something special with.

Life is never simple, isn’t it? I feel like I’m in one of the best situations I could have ever hoped for, but yet I dream about something that will never come into being. The only time I can consummate such fancies, is in the hidden domain of my nocturnal dreams, where I can live out those irrational lives and pretend it is all real. Just for those brief moments.

I remain thankful of their presences in my life, and will do all I can to keep things as they are.

It doesn’t stop those dreams, however. And I suspect it never quite will.

If my kids ever read this, just know that I kept my old diaries, so that you can read them and perhaps gain a measure of understanding about how your father was like, and how his thoughts shaped the person he eventually came to be.

Signing off in the manner of old, NMTR.

(No More To wRite. Why the R, and not a W, young me?)

17 Nov 2018, on board a flight home.

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I fear death less, than the moment of realisation, when it is all too apparent, that my mind, nay, my memory becomes nothing but an empty white canvas.

Family, friends, love, everything I hold dear, anything I hold of regard, even the matters I loathe – all of it fading into obscurity, a haze that the mind struggles to remember once existed.

Truly, death would be sweet release, compared with the agony of living, and not remembering. The monotony of existence, without experience.

Would there even be remembered pain, if I am but a fleshly automaton, doomed to repeat the same motions incessantly, without the volition to better the self?

As that day creeps ever closer, I can do nothing but live my days out the best I can. To be true to the self, to live without regrets. To roll with every punch, to laugh at every unexpected blessing, to be thankful, and bask in the mundane ordinariness that a simple, uninterrupted routine brings.

平凡,就是幸福。知足,就是快乐。

回忆,是让人生填上无数色彩的彩虹。

感恩。

PublishPress just made my night.

Likely boring to a lot of folks, and I’m pretty late to the party. But I just realised Edit Flow has been reborn as PublishPress – YES! And it’s got Slack integration now, love it.

WordPress editorial workflows, checklist, content calendar, it’s all coming back. Can’t help geeking out, this is awesome.

Bit of context: I used Edit Flow for The Pick and Roll back in its first year. Loved the features, but gave up due to web hosting resource limitations (yup), and non-existent plugin support. It’s great to see this plugin coming back as a paid, well-supported plugin.

I’m always a big fan of paid plugins, because when it comes to WordPress plugins, you have to make sure it’s properly supported. Security vulnerabilities, new features, integration assistance, it just gives peace of mind knowing the folks who make great products get paid for it, and have the time to focus on properly supporting it.

Patience

A work in progress.

Sidenote: this is my very first post using Gutenberg. Should be interesting ten years down the track.

On to the main thought at hand.

I’m 37 this year, and despite past years of seasoning, frustration still threatens to break my sense of composure at times.

Frustration with the way things are progressing, ever so slowly. Frustration with the pace other people work at. I’ve learnt that everyone has their own pace, and their own priorities in life, but it doesn’t make things any easier.

I feel the seconds ticking by, and my life slowly vanishing, bit by bit. There could be so much more, but I’m bound up in unseen chains, waiting upon the whims and wills of many others.

There is merit in patience, in discussion and exchange of ideas, and in thoroughness. I get all of that.

I’m not the impatient youth of yesteryear.

No longer that kid, who blitzed through his exam papers as quickly as he could, because that was how he worked.

No longer that thoughtless youngster, who raged at the corporate workplace, because the right thing was never done, and seldom rewarded, if ever.

The years have imparted through painful experience, a modicum of patience. That the fastest, isn’t always the best.

No matter – I still chafe at the invisible bonds.

WJ tells me, it gets easier as we get older. How he’s feels almost zen-like at 39. I can only hope that I get there, someday.

Unrelated: here’s one of my favourite quotes.

“Death is lighter than a feather. Duty, heavier than a mountain.”

― Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World

Is the Click and Collect e-commerce model broken in Australia?

The click and collect concept is a fairly simple one to grasp. Order something online, and collect it at the most convenient location.

Reality however, doesn’t work quite that way. Let us look at retailer X, which is a fairly established retail brand. I place an order on their website, and select the click and collect delivery method.

Expected outcome: I should be able to walk into my desired store, and pick my purchase up the same day.

Actual outcome: I have to wait 3 business days, before the pickup is available at my desired store.

It would have made more sense if I had just walked into the store, paid with my card and walked out without ever making an online transaction.

Why is click and collect not working?

It seems like inventory management is the key culprit. The online store’s inventory varies from the retail store’s inventory. Everyone can view stock in other stores, but each store has its own inventory.

You can imagine what happens, when an online transaction is made for click and collect.

The product has to be delivered from the online store’s warehouse to the desired pickup location. This shouldn’t be happening, but it is.

Ideally, the system should be capable of recording an online sale, and mark that sale against the actual store’s inventory  with barely a hiccup. (Assuming stock is available in store.)

When done correctly, the click and collect method offers a convenient way for the customer to pick their purchase up right away, without the delay/hassle of shipping.

It also ramps up foot traffic to the retail store, opening up the opportunity for increased sales.

The solution isn’t necessarily difficult. Retailers and customers alike have the same end goal: to make the process of buying something, easy.

If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing. Some might argue that the model serves a different purpose in the grand scheme of e-commerce, or even that it’s working beautifully in its intended role.

From my point of view, not being able to collect my purchase the day I buy it online, simply does not make sense – especially when it is available in the store. It’s just not good enough.

Event photography

Not easy at all, especially wedding AD (actual day) shots. Tough to get to the right spot, indoor lighting is a bitch without flash, have to make sure the subjects stay still (if it is even possible).

That being said, some of the pictures still turned out good. Continuous low speed shots saved the day heh heh, and cropping saved a few more. Case in point:

And I think I look pretty good in this picture. SUIT UP!

V says I look like a client who has just been taken to court. Oh well, it could’ve been worse. And the pic looks a little grainy because of the high ISO, forgot to swap it back to 200 after I exited the church.

(Removed excerpt from recent posts; they now display in full. Makes the blog look a little richer IMO.)

What, February already!

Once again, time is whizzing by. Stan (my brother) has been over with us in Melbourne for a month already, and is still waiting for the start of his university adventures. Having another person in the house isn’t too bad, especially if it’s someone you’ve known for the better part of twenty years. One more person to watch HIMYM/PS3/basketball/bitch with = good.

And yes I have been taking pictures, but have gotten very lazy. (As always.) I have been particularly remiss in updating my Flickr/blog with recent pictures, and am still posting them on Facebook. So here you go, here’s a recent picture I took.

On another note, work is absolutely looking to be full of migrations, migrations and more migrations. Old servers looking to get phased out, procurement of new hardware, OS installation and software configuration, and of course the most important bit – checking to make sure everything is good to go, before we execute the change.

On top of that, I have a few Cisco 7200s waiting to be rolled out; with brand new NPE-G2s to boot. I love new hardware heh heh. The bad thing about the NPE-G2: it requires newer versions of the IOS, and yes that means it is not backward compatible with IOS versions, 12.3 and earlier IIRC. And about network migrations: it takes a lot of design work and planning. One wrong command, and things go bellyup very, very fast. This is a bad thing, especially when we are talking about many customers. And when it comes to the internet, a lot of customers have an expectation of 99.999999% uptime. Working through an outage while thousands of customers are screaming; not a pretty sight. So yes, at least four separate network migrations, and three server migrations for 2010. Planned ones, discounting potential outages.

I’m looking forward to an increase in broadband sales this year, with the newly designed broadband plans. It feels great to be able to produce a competitive product, and to have customers sign up for it; that’s basically a seal of approval on how good the plan is.

And yep, that’s basically it for now. I’ll probably rant more on Google Buzz, since it’s way more convenient than posting on Twitter or Facebook. Follow me if you’re interested: keindall at gmail dot com.