Weekly Head Voices #186: Helderberg 20.

Friends, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you back here to the Weekly Head Voices!

The passing of time usually seems to be quite a theoretical affair, but at this moment I can really feel the year taking its last few breaths.

(People even seem to think of this as the last year of the decade, which makes it all the more dramatic, but not everyone is convinced. If the first day of the first year was January 1, year 1, the end of the first year was December 31, year 1, and the end of that first decade was on December 31, year 10. By this reasoning, the end of the current decade is still more than a year away, on December 31, 2020. Yes, the calendar has changed drastically over the years, but the principle of when decades start and end is the same.)

Anyways, one thing I am only slightly more sure about is that this edition of the WHV Monday looks back on the days from Monday December 9 to Sunday December 15, 2019!

There’s a buck (a sort of goat), probably of the duiker variety, really showing off its camouflage on one of the ledges in this photo taken along the West Peak / Woody’s Walk route on Helderberg mountain. See if you can find it!

We are load shedding again.

So yeah, there’s that.

We’re load shedding again.

Everything I wrote “on being powerless” in March of this year is again happening, down to me spending more time on Twitter again (DANG IT) searching for voices that might indicate justice eventually being served.

In spite of the fact that our home is now more or less load-shedding-proof due to it being for the largest part solar powered this time around, the rotating power outages (we had a week or two of stage 4, i.e. 3 x 2.5 hour outages per day, and one evening of escalation to stage 6) are an upsetting reminder of the decades-long and now continuing incompetence and corruption of the country’s leadership.

Apart from the numerous mental cycles this phenomenon has been stealing (see what I did there) from my work focus, it is hard not to notice how businesses, colleagues and friends are being hit by this.

What’s perhaps new this time, is that it has been confirmed by an Eskom board member that the same politicians who have caused this mess, are still meddling in technical affairs they have no idea about, for all of the wrong reasons.

To put it quite bluntly, instead of trying to address the almost insurmountable technical problems at the electricity supplier, it seems that the ruling party (the ANC of course) for example insisted that the electricity be kept on at all costs during the elections.

Numerous incidences of this sort of interference helped them to save face over the years, at the cost of further debilitating the already fragile South African economy.

At this moment, as large parts of industry are shutting down for the Christmas period, we are enjoying a respite from load shedding.

We will see what happens in the new year.

The board member quoted above stated that if meddling had not been such a concern, and they could face the technical problems head-on, we were looking at at least 8 months of load shedding.

I’m sure that the people would be able to deal with it if those cards were simply laid on the table, without all of the political meddling and backroom dealings.

As was the case the previous time, I do remain hopeful that the number of spines in power grows, and that the electricity provider is able to focus all of its energy on addressing the significant problems that it faces.

Time-restricted Eating (TRE) with Black Coffee please.

I think it was Reader K who introduced me to the idea of time-restricted eating, or TRE, a year or two ago.

(Together we tried to figure out on which medium this happened, because under normal circumstances I would have wanted to look up the exact time and contents of the messages.

Unfortunately, we discovered that it must have been via Facebook Messenger, and somewhere between then and now Reader K had expunged their whole Facebook history.

I think there’s a lesson in here somewhere, but we have to forge ahead, so we’re going to have to side-step it.)

Time-restricted eating, or TRE, is a sort of intermittent fasting where the eating window is deliberately limited to an as short as possible duration during the daytime.

The theory behind it is that our metabolism is in fact also ruled by the all-powerful circadian clock.

During our long evolution, we would have been foraging and feeding during daylight, and resting during the night.

With artificial light and the ubiquitousness of food of modern times, we easily fall into the habit of starting to eat when we wake up, and having the last snack shortly before going to sleep, hours after sunset.

In short, we really do eat too much, and to make it even worse, we eat at all the wrong times.

With research around TRE, science, as is its wont, is showing us the way back to redemption.

It’s starting to look like limiting one’s feeding window to a few hours during daylight could have a number of health advantages.

See for example:

After a debate with friend LM about whether black sugarless coffee constituted a break of the TRE fast (I thought that it did due to this conversation between Rhonda Patrick and Joe Rogan, friend LM did not, so I initially did not even try TRE because I am unable to operate without black coffee in the mornings), I have been dipping my toes in the TRE pool.

I have never been a breakfast person (“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” ??! TRUST NO ONE.), so sticking to black coffee in the mornings until as late as possible, which is in many cases lunch, and not eating anything after dark, has subjectively worked out pretty well so far.

Sometimes, shortly before lunch, there seems to be a slight delusional quality to my seemingly enhanced mental clarity, but let’s keep that between you and me.

Anniversary walk up the mountain.

Recently, my life partner and I celebrated two decades of official togetherness by walking up the Helderberg mountain.

We did not quite make West Peak, and we were pretty bushed by the end, but that’s ok. The scenery was epic, and getting back home was brilliant.

We will try again in 2029.

All by itself, Google’s AI stitched together a bunch of my photos of the Helderberg hike to make this lovely panorama. It’s better than the panorama I made by myself, so I’m giving you this one. Click for higher resolution.