Welcome To The Machine

A few days ago I had a very strange experience, maybe not an overly unexpected one, but it was very strange just the same.

I had gone to the local shopping mall with my girlfriend to look for a new backpack and get something to eat. After a short while I found one particular bag which looked well built, and seemed to suit my needs . The bag was boasting quite an incredible guarantee, that they would fix the bag, forever, no matter what. Which I thought was fantastic because I had just worn through my second bag in the last couple of years, and having one I could really depend on, or get fixed for free would be a load off my mind.

I looked around for the sales rep and eventually found her, sitting behind the counter’s cash register, mostly out of sight, pressing virtual buttons on some sort of large tablet phone. Although this girl who was quite obviously hiding, and didn’t look like the world’s greatest employee, I thought she might have the answers I needed.

“Um, Excuse me” I said to her. “Could I ask you a few questions about this bag?”

She acknowledged me by raising her all powerful tablet tapping finger to let me know she would just be a minute, and then went back to tapping, what I assume was a message to her friend how I was rudely demanding some sort of service from her.

Tablets Everywhere

I looked to my girlfriend to give her my “WTF look” but she was also busy on her tablet phone a few steps away from me, and seemed to have no comprehension of what was going on here in the store.

The sales rep came over to me, and I walked her over to the bag I was interested in, then asked her if they would really replace the bag and repair for free. She said “Yes”, then went immediately back to the discussion on her tablet, slowly walking away from me. I wanted to ask her if I would bring it there for the repair, if it covered abuse, and whether or not I would need my receipt for the repair, with the knowledge that the thermal receipts in this store would be unreadable in a year, but she was already on her way back to sitting out of sight behind the cash register.

I decided to look around for someone else to help me, and I found much of the same nearby around the bag area, employees sitting down, hiding behind shelves, and various other things, all typing away on their tablets. Weird I thought, looking around from where I was standing I could see about twenty people or so, mostly clerks hiding, what seemed to be a manager, but also five or six other customers, and every single one of them, all of them including a couple of people walking, and my girlfriend, were pressing on the screen of their tablets. It was weird, like I was some sort of ghost or something, like we all were ghosts to one another, there was no vocal talking, eye contact or traditional socializing going on between anyone at all. Some people even had headphones on, satisfying not just their sight, and touch, but hearing as well.

I called to my girlfriend “Babe… Babe…” but she kept tapping away “Honey!” she looked up a second. “Put your phone away a minute, please.”

“Sec” she said and typed a bit more before lowering the phone a few inches. “What” she said

“Look around” I instructed her

She looked around a bit and said “What?”

“Look at everyone, every single person here is tapping away on their phone.”

She acknowledged it, then started to go back to her phone. I started to feel a bit worried about this, like it was a serious addiction for most people, including my girlfriend, I was worried about her, and humanity, and also feeling a bit alone.

I demanded she put the phone away or I would not buy her dinner, she did so, and I again pointed out the one hundred percent smart phone users around us.

We began to walk out of the store, which though filled with people, was completely silent except for the sound of our feet as they hit the ground, and the store music.

We left the store and proceeded to make our way to the restaurant for dinner, both of us were busy looking around to see if there was anyone NOT on their smartphones. There were some, but it was a small minority. Most people were sitting around pressing on their phones on the benches in the mall, but there were also many people walking down the halls, at a slow uneven pace, pressing on the phone as they went, blocking the progress of the two of us, who lacking a phone in our faces, were fully aware of our surroundings and traveling faster than the tablet users around us.

“Look at those two” I said, pointing out a couple, “walking all over the place slowly, and halve mindedly as they press on the phones, they have no more brainpower being used on their surroundings, or any more coordination than zombies.”

Mall Zombies

“Zombies” my girlfriend giggled.

There were many tablet zombie near collisions in the halls of the mall as we walked, and we even saw one couple of zombies collide head on, though at zombie speed I don’t think anyone can really get hurt.

“It’s scary” I said. “It’s a zombie apocalypse.”

As we went to the restaurant the people working at the restaurant were not on their smartphones, as well as most of the people eating, I felt like I was in a sort of reality bubble, but outside the windows more than sixty percent of all the people we saw were zombies. Scary stuff.

Have you looked up from your smartphone in public recently to see how many zombies are around you?

Although this song is not quite about becoming a smart phone zombie, it is the song I was thinking of while I looked at the zombie apocalypse around me.

Crank it up and enjoy.

Pink Floyd “Welcome To The Machine”(1975)

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

Where have you been? It’s alright we know where you’ve been.

You’ve been in the pipeline, filling in time,

provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.

You bought a guitar to punish your ma,

And you didn’t like school, and you know you’re nobody’s fool,

So welcome to the machine.

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

What did you dream? It’s alright we told you what to dream.

You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,

He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.

So welcome to the machine.

Smartphone Zombie Apocalypse

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Don’t Touch That Cookie

Apr 20th, 2014 | Filed under Shirts, Video, Work

Unfortunately in life, many people who know what is right and wrong, still choose the wrong path. Their selfish actions hurt others around them, and causes unnecessary misery. Their victims, unable to avenge themselves, often take comfort in the belief that somewhere down the line, whether in this life or the next, karma will eventually pay them back.

Of course sometimes it is the blue face of Karma itself which sends them on to the next life…

Cookie Monster Wrestling Shirt

Space Invaders At Earls Farm

Feb 17th, 2014 | Filed under Shirts
Rural Space Invaders Shirt

Rural Space Invaders T-Shirt
Click Image

Earl’s and his family have been growing corn at this location for generations now, and are used to having a difficult time with the crops. Recently however, in addition to the normal problems of drought, insects, and birds, Earl now has had to deal with the recurring problem of annual crop circles.

We have been given special permission, by Earl, to come visit this day where more crop circles are expected to be created. There is Earl now.

“Earl, thank you for having us. Guess what ? We found a code in last year’s circles, and have had them decoded. Would you like to know what they said?”

“Well, hi there, welcome.” Earl grinned, “If you found a code in the circles, I would love to know what our Alien visitors had to say.”

“Earl, the code said “Technological Midget”, and we assume they were talking about you.”

“Technological Midget?” Earl repeats, his smile fading, as he takes a short walk to find his well worn shotgun. “Well then, I think it’s about time I show these here Aliens, a bit of my “Technological Midgetsu.”

Rural Space Invaders Shirt

The Things We Do

Often throughout life, as I am happily enjoying myself, doing the exact thing that I chose to do at that moment, for some reason, some people will come up to me and ask me why I am doing that thing I am doing. Whether it is playing a video game, going for a walk, reading a book, working on a website, watching TV or anything else I do, for some reason, some people feel that I should have something better to do at that particular moment.

Often once somebody decides that I should not be doing the thing I actually want to do, they will offer recommendations of the things they feel I should be doing, using language such as, “You should do this” or “You should do that”.

I have a hard time understanding this mentality that causes them to guide me away from the thing that I wanted to do, and into a direction that I chose not to go.

Where do they get such vast knowledge of what I like? How can they feel that their idea of what I should be doing is actually superior to my own opinion on the subject?

Am I actually supposed to take advice on what I should be doing with my time, from someone who can find nothing better to do with their time then tell others what to do?

People do the things they do, because after all the weighing of all the choices they can think of, they chose that as the best possible course for them.

We are all different, we all have different goals, and we all want to do different things. Whatever a person chooses to do themselves, is decided with the unparalleled knowledge of self, and only they can choose the very true best thing that they should be doing.

We do what we do, because that’s what we chose to do.

I heard the below song a few months after writing this post, and thought I would share it here.

The Raconteurs – You Don’t Understand Me

You don’t understand me
But if the feeling was right
You might comprehend me
And why do you feel the need to tease me
Why don’t you turn it around
It might be easier to please me

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you.
If nothing is true

Why do you think that you are doing
But who is the fool, the fool or the fool
that you are fooling.
And maybe I just don’t see the reason
But in the corner of my heart your ignorance is treason.

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you.
If nothing is true

You think you know how I feel
Its not that big of a deal
There’s no such thing its not real
Oh-Oh

You don’t understand me
But if the feeling was right
You might comprehend me
And I don’t claim to understand you
But I’ve been looking around
And I haven’t found, anybody like you

And there’s always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do
And how can you know me
And I know you
If nothing is true

Whistle Another Day

Jan 7th, 2014 | Filed under Music, Opinions and Perspectives, Travel, Video

My grandma asked me something a couple of decades ago now that I still think about from time to time, she asked “Why don’t I ever hear people whistling anymore? Men used to walk down the road whistling a tune in the morning, now it seems nobody does it anymore. Do people still whistle?”

I never grew up in my grandma’s time, but I do remember people whistling in some of the older books I have read, as well as in movies and on TV, The Andy Griffith show pops in my head when i think about old time whistling.

Wow look at how young Ron Howard was back then.

I remember as a child I had wanted to whistle, I used to practice it when I was very young, and got fairly decent at it. Whistling though, seems to have become somewhat of a lost art. I wonder, why people had stopped whistling? Is it possible people don’t whistle in the rest of the world as well these days? I don’t remember hearing any whistling by anyone on my world travels. Well other than myself, including the occasion I will tell you about below.

As many of you know, in my early twenties, I took quite a long, nineteen consecutive month, trip around Asia. After my first stop in Hong Kong, I made my way to the old Portuguese settlement of Goa, situated on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent. Goa is a wonderful place described in the Lonely Planet as something similar to “Perfect tropical suburbia” It also boasts ridiculously beautiful beaches, occasional surfing, and a night life that often carries right through till the afternoon of the next day. Though my European readers are of course completely familiar with Goa and all its stories, for some reason North Americans, for the most part, have not discovered it.

Goa Beach Palolem

Goa Beach In the Afternoon

About a month into this trip, which I had taken on my own, I had already found a good bunch of male British friends to spend my time with, but I was especially happy when I found myself a couple of lovely, and fun, female British friends, one was named Trudy, and the other, Klowie.

Trudy, Klowie, and I had many adventures around Goa together. After sleeping off a night of partying, we would often jump on our motorbikes, and head off to eat our afternoon breakfast at the local German bakery, on a few occasions if we all got up early enough, we would then head off to some remote, quiet beaches, or perhaps a nice hot springs for a soak in the middle of the jungle, just the three of us. It was great, just me and two pretty ladies. Though I suspected both might have been interested me, I was growing closer, faster to the lovely, long brown haired, Trudy.

As Trudy and I continuing to get closer, Klowie had stopped spending as much time with us, after a while though Klowie would still eat breakfast with us, it was normally just Trudy and I for the rest of the day. We were still not a couple at this time, but one lovely full moon night, like something out of a romance novel, Trudy mentioned how dirty her hair was, and I suggested that I should wash it for her. OK not really a romance novel, but it was the way it happened. So off we went back to her place for some good old team scrubbing.

CENSORED

Somewhere around 5 AM the two of us were still awake, and not wanting to sleep, we left her hotel for a nice long full moon lit walk down the long empty beach. We were both smiling as we held each other’s hands. After some time, the moon and stars faded, and the sky started to get light with the coming sun. As the sun was rising, the waves were breaking on the shore, a school of dolphins were spotted, birds were chirping, and then for some reason in my happiness I began to whistle a soft practiced tune.

At the sound my my whistling, Trudy stopped, looked at me, and said. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?” I asked.

Trudy looked at me sternly. “Stop your whistling, I’m not going to walk around with someone whistling.”

“Why?” I said “There is nobody around.” and then proceeded to continue my tune.

Trudy turned around, and stormed away from me, off the beach, as I stood there, whistling. Once Trudy was out of sight, and I realized she was not coming back, I lost my moment of happiness, and no longer felt like whistling anymore.

Trudy and I only saw each other once after that, across a crowded room, but we did not talk.

I do not regret my continued whistling that day, though Trudy left me alone, I was free to whistle another day.

A song for Trudy: