Weekly Head Voices #76: Someone is wrong on the internet.

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I must be getting older.

During the past week, there were at least three or four occasions where someone was clearly wrong on the internet, and I dutifully started carefully crafting that brilliant corrective response which would inevitably spiral downward into the fiery depths of idiocy.

However, each time I stopped mid-answer, long before clicking the post button or sending the email, and switched to some other more valuable and less pointless activity. It was a strange feeling, but the eerie sense of having saved a bunch of time made up for it generously.

(I have to admit that there was one occasion, call it the fifth, where I couldn’t help myself and briefly took part in a Facebook discussion around a photo of a young man with some rather extreme facial piercings. I felt that I really needed to correct the other participants: I might not have any of my own body modifications, but I feel strongly about encouraging self-expression, and I think that the variety that it brings is important. There are other things that unify us, like love, respect and intellect. Yes, I’m a Vulcan Hippie. LLAP you fools!)

On the topic of age and the inevitable mid-life crisis, it seems technology has brought us the cure. GIANT WATER-JET-POWERED HOVERBOARDS!!

After a week of not-correcting-the-internet (good), lots of Python (good) and much face-palming at the South African Reserve Bank’s archaic view on intellectual property and exchange control (hopefully much more on that later), my weekend was of the fabulous middle-of-the-Cape-winter variety.

It started with some of this on Friday:

Skeleton Coast IPA, brewed by Jack Black in Cape Town. Highly recommended! Fire and wine not too bad either.

On Saturday, a completely unplanned and somewhat impulsive turnoff from the R44 right before Stellenbosch brought us to the vineyard Dornier. Some of it looks like this:

In the Cape, the summer is always trying to break through, even in the middle of winter.

Having arrived there, it doesn’t take much convincing to end up dining in restaurant Bodega, where the wine is very local (hey, it says Dornier on the bottles!) and is artfully paired with the delicious food. My lunch ended with these delectable cheeses, preserves and the Dornier Donatus White. I can’t remember the year, but it was a fabulous Chenin Blanc and Semillon blend which the DWR will hopefully soon be able to judge. I fortunately just managed to snap this picture in the midst of a gorgonzola-induced mini pleasure seizure:

Gorgonzola is my kryptonite.

(We spent the rest of the seemingly endless weekend scorching various types of meat, drinking craft beer and baking in the winter sun in Paarl. You can say many things about Paarl, but you can’t deny that it has a most excellent climate.)

Apparently, a few of this blog’s readers have been wondering what I really look like. (Well, actually no-one has. Ever. But they could have!) Clamour no more, small group of fictitious readers! This week, my youngest genetic offspring unit, or GOU#1 as we lovingly call her, brought me a drawing that she made. Internet, I give you me, through my daughter’s eyes:

Weekly Head Voices #69: No sugar added.

This time, the head voices are echoing the span of time ending strictly on Sunday, April 27 at 23:59.

I have to break my rule and reach through past the start of that week however. On Wednesday April 16 I had quite a heavy sugar crash. After about 12 cups of coffee, each with a spoon of sugar (as per usual), some chocolates from the Stone Three sweetie jar during lunch ,and two giant coconut crunches at about TU Delft sugar fix time (yes children, I do my best to commemorate the sugar fix, even at 11000 km distance from you), my energy levels dropped through the floor and no amount of coffee could get them close to normal again.

That’s when I decided to stop taking sugar.

On Thursday April 17 I went cold turkey. I’m not taking any table sugar at all, no cookies or sweets (ARGH), and I’m even steering clear of breakfast cereals. Pretty boring, I know. After more than a week of completely unscientific N=1 case “study” experience, I can report that:

  • It took some getting used to my coffee without any sugar.
  • NO MORE  COOKIES. ARGH ARGH ARGH. COME CLOSER SO I CAN BITE YOU.
  • My perceived energy levels seem significantly more stable, and I remain all energetic until late at night. Sometimes I don’t sleep, because I run around in the neighbourhood making growling noises. Sometimes I wake up, miles away from home, with all kinds of gunk under my finger nails. Oh well.

On the topic of quitting, let’s talk about all of those lists we love so much. You should really go read Noeska’s presentation on Productivity, Project Management and Other Important Stuff in her latest status update blog post. Besides all of the Getting Things Done and Pull Yourself Together tools and systems she presents, I was happy to see her talk about the dangers of productivity tools on slide 23, and especially the “doing the right things vs doing things right” dilemma.

You see, I’ve been thinking much about this lately. Usually when I’m doing the most valuable and important things (designing and building new products, learning new programming languages, coming up with brand new ideas for artefacts to build) my email inbox starts overflowing and my todo system (currently todoist, which I do like) stagnates (my todoist karma is currently ZERO. I’m at KARMA ZERO damnit!!). Conversely, when I’m almost at inbox zero and my todoist is under control, it feels great, but I’m tired because I’ve spent all of that time taking care of a bunch of emails and mostly urgent but almost no important tasks.

Some people I’ve chatted with are hardcore enough to make the classification between important and urgent in their lists. However, when I see that list of tasks, my OCDs take over and I go into 100% reactive mode. NO ROOM FOR CREATIVITY.

I’m still thinking about how to solve this problem. I do think that the lists and the systems are really important, because some things do really need doing at certain points in time. For now, I’m still picking the three (or two, or one) most important things to do per day (see Noeska’s presentation, also see pro tip #2 in this 2011 post of mine). Also, what does work remarkably well for me, is maintaining a daily “done” or “I did it” list. Go read this, you can thank me later.

After all of that, the weekend took us to Vaalvlei, a picturesque wine farm just outside of Stanford:

Vaalvlei wine farm, just outside of Stanford.
Vaalvlei wine farm, just outside of Stanford.

Here we were treated to a super-exclusive wine tasting of the Vaalvlei Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Shiraz Reserve, 2011 Shiraz, Shiraz port, and the top TOP secret Shiraz cognac right from the cask (don’t tell anyone, ok?):

Vaalvlei wine and cognac tasting
Vaalvlei wine and cognac tasting

I can report that these hand-crafted wines and the cognac were all beautiful, but I trust that my friend De Wijnrecensent (aka the Tall Philisophical Neighbour! all secrets are revealed on this blog.) will have more to say about this in a few months time.

Enjoy the rest of the week kids!