Updates no more

jeudi 27 février 2014

The wonderous evolution of the mysterious Box-Fish

Part 1 : Meeting the beast

Some time ago, I was visiting the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam with a friend. I always liked Zoos. Some people might say that it is cruel to imprison all those animals in tiny cages. And they might be right. But for me, Zoos have always been something that keeps my interest for nature alive, and encourages me to take action to help keep all those majestic felines and those twisted insects around.
So there I was, walking through this bizarre ecosystem, when it started to rain. Luckily, we were arriving at the aquariums, which were hosted inside.  In we went, and we were fascinated by the strange skeletons on display, and the dark corridors full of shiny glass walls. Suckerfish were glued to the windows, as if in a hopeless bid for freedom. Piranhas swam around in their tanks, bored by the lack of hands to devour. The spectacle might have been morose, if not for the pretty colors. At one point, we arrived at the home of the Box-Fish.
As it's name indicates, the Box-Fish is square. It has yellow skin, and tiny flippers that it moves up and down frantically. Contrary to the agile movements of the elegant sunfish that shared it's cage, the Box-Fish stumbled through the water like a drunk bumblebee, barely staying above the sandy ground. It seemed ill-equipped to face the rough tempers of the sea.
It's fumbling movements made it appear slow and dim-witted, easy prey for hungry predators. Why, then, did it exist ? The biologist in me decided to find out. As I left the Zoo, I could not stop wondering : What kind of twisted evolutionary tale could produce a being that seemed so pathetically ill-adapted to its environment ?

"The wonderous evolution of the mysterious Box-Fish" will be continued every thursday until the story is done (it might not take very long).

This will not affect the regular updates on tuesday.

Other stuff might pop up here and there

mardi 25 février 2014

It's started. And this time, it's for real. There's no holding back. It's a free-for-all, no holds barren. Give it all you've got. Muster every shred of energy you can. Cross the limit, and don't look back. There's no second chance, no consolation prize. You win or you loose. No inbetween. No half-days. Every last bit counts !
Are you ready ? I said, ARE YOU READY !?! Listen to me, you little prick, and listen good ! The time to take it easy has past. This is it. Mess it up, and you'll regret it for the rest of you life. Pull through, and the sky is your limit. Your life is in the balance. Your future will be decided right here. And the outcome depends only on you.
You can do it. You've been born for it. No matter what, you can get there. You can deal with it, and you can make it your bitch. Don't let it intimidate you. Don't let anybody tell you different. You can do this ! Fuck yeah ! 


mercredi 19 février 2014

Today was one of these days. You know the ones. The ones were you feel like shit.

I woke up in a cold, smelly sweat, and felt like throwing up. I didn't, though. I got myself a cup of coffee, lit up a smoke, and checked some stuff on the web, played some guitar. Then I went out looking for work. Even though I felt like shit, somehow I was in high spirits.
Two hours later, I came back home. I still felt like shit. But I was more or less in a good mood. I started cleaning up my room, and doing some laundry. Then I got started on the dishes. No hot water anymore. So I left the dishes in the sink, and got to work on scanning a comic of mine.
Four hours later, I had finished that too, and felt like shit. My good mood had left me, and I was wondering why I was feeling so down.
It was unfair. I had been lazing around for weeks, and I had felt ok. I was more or less happy. Now that I tried to get some stuff done again, to get myself back in gear, I started feeling like shit.
Was this a sign ? Was I simply not meant to work ? Was I one of the chosen few, the happier the less they accomplished ? Was there no point in me working, except making myself miserable ? Somehow, that seemed wrong.
I kept up the work, because otherwise, all I would do is feel like shit. Better to work and feel like shit than just to feel like shit. I went to check on my bike in the shop, and buy some groceries. I installed the drum-kit in the basement to make my drummer happy. Then I took care of the dishes. After that, I scanned some receipt to get my expenses of my last work-trip paid. You wouldn't imagine how shitty I felt.
Now, all that's left is to write, and to play some more guitar. And I'm slowly starting to feel a bit less like shit. As the sun is setting over the buildings, it feels like some of it's rays are finally reaching me. I don't know why. And I wonder...

mardi 18 février 2014

People tend to worry about mind control. Body control is what they should be worried about. In a new study, researchers have managed to connect the brain of one monkey to the body of another, letting the first monkey's brain control the latter monkey's body. In another study, a human brain has been connected to a robot arm through the insertion of a microchip into the neural tissue, allowing the patient to control said robot arm. The implications are profound.
Avatar came out but a couple of years ago, and seemed to be sci-fi. Now, it looks like it might come true much sooner than we think. Microchips embedded in our brains will allow us to control technical gadgets. Malvolent implantation of these chips might allow us to control other people's bodies. What would that kind of future look like ?
Would we fine-tune our brains enough to be able to send signals either through our body or the microchips, or will we be unable to distinguish between the two, sending signals to both body and remote controlled apparatuses (both mechanical and biological) at the same time ? Will we integrate switches into these chips, allowing us to decide where the signals should be sent to, and how ? Will those mechanisms be recordable ? Will the chips be able to be used in reverse, giving feedback to our actions, alowing sensory input through those chips ?
Nerves are but electric signals, and, taken individually, can be easily understood and copied by modern science. It is the complexity of neural networks that makes the human brain such a mystery. But even these networks are being analysed and understood as we speak. We are able to grow petry-dish neurons, to observe the way they form connections.They have even been used to fly simulated aircrafts. Will computers be made up of neurons soon ? Or will our neurons be uplinked to computers ? Will man and machine become one ? Will we, as a species, survive until then, or be driven to extinction by planet-eating rabbits ?
One thing is for sure : with every passing day, the future gets weirder. And the present even more so.

samedi 15 février 2014

The door closed behind me as I left the apartment. The sky was grey and cloudy, but there was no rain yet. The wind was calm for once. The air was chilly. I walked along the buildings towering above me, grey on grey.
I didn't want to leave the warm comfort of my apartment, but I had no choice. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, or so say they say. I nodded to a neighbor as I passed him, and crossed over the street. It wasn't going to be a long walk.
I'd done this before, and I would have to do it again. I guess that's just how life goes. Can't have something without nothing. And everyone else is in the same boat. Still, today, I really didn't feel like it.
I'd been lazing around for too long. Smoking joints, drinking whiskey, browsing the internet. Nothing good would come of it, but I couldn't stop myself. The dirty dishes started having an ecosystem of their own, but I didn't care. Fermentation would just cut down on the heating bill. And there was no one here but me, so who would care ?
I crossed another street. Getting ever closer still. It wasn't that bad, when you started thinking about it. I mean, we do have it made, pretty much. Then again, we can't stop complaining, no matter how good things are. Guess that's just the way we are.
I put my bag in one of the lockers, and turned my key. I heard the one-euro coin fall into the slot. Tomatoes, salad, pasta, and some canned tuna.

mardi 11 février 2014

Okay, so I haven't written anything since my first post. That was three months ago. Not very professional. But hey, I've had a lot on my plate. Stuff to do. Work to find. Anyway, now things seem a bit calmer, so this time, I promise you at least one update every tuesday, maybe more. Sound good ?

So anyway, last time I wrote an article, I had just quit my job. This time, I got fired. No, wait a second, don't judge me that fast ! I didn't do anything bad ! It's just that, apparently, I'm "more of an artist than a program director". Or so they said. Well, there is also the fact that I arrived five minutes late the day the big boss was around. But since they didn't mention that, I'm guessing they didn't care about it. I mean, why would they not mention it if it was the cause ? Because other people where late on all the other meetings, and nobody said anything ? Because it would undermine their authority, knowing that they got ordered around like that ? Because it would hurt the team's morale to know that five minutes on the wrong day could cost you your job ? Because they were afraid I might react badly and demoralize everybody else, make a big scene ? They're a respected american corporation, they wouldn't lie just because of that !

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. I'm a swell guy, I'll get a new job soon. Because if I don't, well, I might not be able to stay in Holland for long. Why ? Well, I'm swiss, and my xenophobic compatriots have just voted an immigration quota violating the Schengen agreement, which means that freedom of movement and work between the EU and Switzerland is, to put it mildly, fucked in the ass by a gorilla on Viagra. Thanks a lot, guys.
And who exactly, in Switzerland, voted for that quota ? Was it the big companies, protecting their economic interests ? Nope. Was it the government ? Nope. Was it the people who live day to day with immigrants, who know them, who see how they live and contribute to society ? Nope.
It was the rural population, who hasn't seen a black person anywhere else than on TV. It was the people who have nothing to do with migrants in the first place, and on whom migrants have the least impact. In other words, it was all those who had no fucking idea what they were talking about, but wante to be heard anyway. Them, and the swiss-italians. But let's not get into politics.

So now I have to look for a new job. To suck up to new people. To start ass-licking again from square one. I know, I know, ass-licking is never fun. And it never stops. But at least, after the first few times, you get rid of the crust, and all the shit hanging around. And then there's just soft skin under your tongue. Sure there are some hairs here and there, but it's more of a symbolic humiliation than a real chore.
On the other hand, not being employed at that company does have it's perks. No more sucking up to old farts. No more forced smiles all day long. No more constant assessment of performance. No more constant worrying about getting fired. In short, no more job.