GAME OVER

Thank you for playing the trial version of “Life”. It’s December 21st and the trial, as well as the world, has now come to an end. If you have enjoyed this game, please consider purchasing the full version at wakeupyoupseudoscientificbastards.com.

…I’m still taking a break from the blog and Twitter until after the holidays, but I couldn’t resist.

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So, where was I?

Although I didn’t have much trouble, a whole bunch of people in New York, New Jersey and Staten Island are still without power… which also means no heat. So if you’re able and feel like helping these people out, please do. You also can try browsing Twitter for leads on aid.

Now back to your regularly scheduled spiel.

A quick recap first…

Things were moving pretty fast in Sri Lanka, my sunglasses broke, CERN is still awesome, flowers were pretty, but people are still somewhat rude.

I got back from Sri Lanka and discovered that even though I consider myself Sinhalese, almost everyone else there didn’t. And for more than a year, I’ve been planning on building a cabin. Nothing too exiting happened afterwards, but I did manage to survive the Sandy unscathed.

Super.

I’m going back to school

This wasn’t a decision I reached lightly since I already have two jobs and very little free time to begin with, but I think it’s about time I put off finishing it.

It is a bit awkward to see a class full of people (and sunlight for that matter) 10 years or younger than I am; this was the opposite of how it was when I first went to class at night when I was 10 – 30 years younger than almost everyone else.

I don’t really want to go with Computer Science, but since that’s what I started in, I may as well finish it. From my chats with the family, practically everyone wants me to pursue that or Engineering. This is like a cultural thing in Sri Lanka. You’re either an Engineer or a Doctor and sometimes, being Accountant is also acceptable, but Carpentry, what I’d really rather be doing is a no-no unless it’s the family business.

It’s like a status thing.

Another possible field would be Psychology. The lessons I’ve taken so far were very interesting so that may be something to look into. And I like listening to people.

Not sure if I’d go that route, though I’ve been interested in Architecture as well, but I’ve been told that it takes years to get a foothold in the field and even then, it’s pretty hard unless you’re really, really lucky. We’ll see.

What love life?

My ex and I are both programmers and I felt maybe dating outside the sphere would be good since I thought there is such a thing as having too much in common. This turned out not to be the issue.

It’s been 3 months since I last went on a date and I wasn’t too into it at the time. She was very sweet and I’ve known her for a year now, but I didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. And I was looking for a girlfriend at the time since have enough girl-friends, yet somehow I didn’t want to pursue and I think I know why.

I’m reasonably sure I’d rather be single at the moment and somehow that doesn’t bother me as much as it did ten years ago. I know this timeframe with certainty since I met my ex a year before that. A bit of a hard pill to swallow to admit that you haven’t been happy (on and off) with someone for more than a decade, but I guess the truth shall set you free.

Though I don’t really use Facebook except to keep touch with high school friends and stuff, I just changed my status to single. In the years I’ve had the account, this is the first time I’m actually setting the status; a small hint on how on the fence I was about it.

Masks

Speaking of lying to yourself, I finally got to unpack some of the things I brought back from Sri Lanka (yes, it’s been months!) and got to unwrap the masks. These are Raksha (demon) masks representative of the traditional crafts of the country. The full-sized versions are worn during Kolam, a performance carried out entirely in costume. These are much smaller than those, naturally, since they needed to fit in my luggage.

The problem isn’t religion, it’s ignorance

I was fulfilling my Tyson quota for the day and I came across this gem of a relatively calm interview (he’s very energetic when he’s passionate about something). It touches on the above point and many others that are not just logical, but are empirically observed fact.

I’ve always held this view, but it’s very satisfying to see someone like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson espouse the same. God is quite safe from science. It’s OK to be religious, just not OK to be pushing ignorance in science class.

Disclaimer: I’m not religious, but I do have a philosophy I go by.

On Pragmatism

This started off as just a reply to a comment on my previous post. I thought I’d do it proper justice and explain the “why” of my move to simplicity.

You and I are almost the same age and we’re in very similar fields so we’re sort of approaching the same fork in the road. You’re also seeing the world on fire around you and the woeful lack of water to put it out. You understand the appeal of sorts of getting away from it all, but at the risk of reinventing yourself (not a fun prospect, especially when you’ve done it before) and possibly losing the safety net of familiarity.

The thing is that I already do much of my work not in-person, but via telecommute. I have to travel occasionally to New York City, but this isn’t crucial to what I do unless I’m training someone or there is something that cannot be done remotely (and the list of those things has reduced dramatically in the last two years).

Skype has pretty much revolutionized conference calls, as have email and Dropbox for sharing documents and internal communication. There’s no reason these things need to be changed immediately so I’ll still have income.

So I say, instead of reinventing myself, I’ll reinvent my surroundings. I’ll reinvent what I consider to be really important and stick with that. I’ll still be me; I’ll have the same skills I do now so I’ll keep working in the same field at least for the moment. But I do want to move away from it gradually until I can become self-sufficient in another line.

The grand plan, of course, is to gradually move away from the tech world into something else. Something like making soap.

But any job someone started purely out of love is doomed to failure. Business is usually about forming alliances, not friends, and while that sounds Machiavellian, it’s the nature of our current economic structure. I’m hoping to do something I will enjoy, but I’m not naive enough to think it’s something I’ll do just for the love of it. Hopefully we can move away from the harshness that has come to define the way we do business.

And realistically, I’ll need to work harder first to maintain myself in the initial phase of moving out of this lifestyle. Needing less will do a great deal to lessen the demand to earn more later on.

TINY: A story about living small

From the description :

TINY is a forthcoming documentary film by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith, about one man’s attempt to live small by building a tiny house. It is a meditation on place, simplicity, and what it means to create a home.

For more information about TINY, visit http://www.tiny-themovie.com Friend us on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/tinythemovie Follow Christopher on twitter: @Christopher_C_S

Featuring additional videography by Kevin Hoth.

You can also read more about the project on their website.