Journal 2021-09-24

Parliament has a hilarious Gallery of the Grotesque, where British politicians have their oil painting portraits commissioned from grateful public funds. They look so masterfully earnest. Much advised if you fancy a laugh.

Random Thoughts:

I tend to pick and choose between “American” English and ‘British’ English, defaulting to the familiar unless the American version is clearly “better”.

If I am a robot then I am exquisite. This robot is rewriting the program, which was the point in the first place.

Sexiness sells the cornflakes.

Businesses refer to units sold. Businesses tap market trends. Businesses sell identity. But when the smoke clears and the mirrors fall, only what is real remains.

Journal 2021-09-18

I’m sitting here under an old oak true, on a bright September afternoon, with my phone at the ready, having told myself to record literally anything that pops into my head. Well the first thought that jumps to the top of the queue isn’t particularly interesting, but here goes… 

It is quite an old joke that “it’s er” can sound like “sir” when introducing oneself. So I remember going to some event where I had to sign in at the front desk; I introduced myself as “it’s”, then as the man behind the desk was picking up his pen, I offered the dreaded “er”, before finally saying my name. He had a moment of sardonic glee, then sneered: “Sir Robert Walker, is it?”

I said “not yet” and the man next to him, who had been intently looking down, broke into a laugh – it must have been how I said it rather than what I said. The first man actually grimaced and grumbled to himself, as if annoyed by my response. My interpretation walking away was that he was expecting people to be nervous and this was his welcome, from a raised chair behind a desk within an institution. 

I’m thinking of this now more as an observation of how some people engage in this world trying to subdue others. The man would have been a lot happier if he was interested in helping rather than hindering the people he met.

Journal 2021-09-12

I’ve only had the phrase “do you know who I am” said to me once – I couldn’t resist saying “nope” and didn’t work there much longer. Another time, some “head of” something or other in a bank went red with frustration, muttering indignantly about “no respect”. And I still remember the look of stunned shock by an interviewer when I stood up in the middle of an interview and walked out. But the truth is, I was engaging in the same nonsense as they were.

Journal 2021-09-05

I would gladly undertake all computer activities on my phone wherever I happen to be, if functionality were comparable. Wearing special sunglasses that project personal holographic images of keyboards and screen displays would be fine, but I would not fancy wearing anything that plonks on my head and prevents my vision beyond its pixels.

Journal 2021-08-28

Wandering around, passing people engrossed in a myriad of stories and situations, one line leapt out: “If we get rid of Bruno that actually frees up money for the London office.” What they were drinking would have probably cost Bruno’s wages for a week. They were smiling in satisfaction with the idea, not talking with solemnity about the gravity of the consequences; not in cold calculated indifference or even in vengeful triumph – no it was a base self-satisfied broadcasting of how they were in a position of power over another.

Journal 2021-08-01

It is possible to define much that is essential to humanity’s flourishing with an inverse reading of this passage from Orwell’s 1984:

“There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

Journal 2021-07-10

Confirmation bias afflicts even the most objective thinkers. I am generally sceptical that people, especially in our current febrile state, have the wise nuanced answers to the big questions of society, philosophy and the human condition. I think we are usually wrong, despite the confidence and self-certainty of the protagonists, who are wrapped-up in the self-constructed “isms” and other ideological belief identities into which life is forced. But things always change. We are improving. It is better to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t know who I am” and to experience where reality turns on the journey.

Journal 2021-02-28

I remember as a young kid once being reprimanded by a stranger in a shop because I said that I didn’t like some latest fad with clothes (bizarrely at the time there was a short-lived fashion of wearing patches of cartoon pictures on denim). The explanation given was that it is popular, so I am wrong for not liking it too. The fashion changed a few months later and no doubt she changed to what she was supposed to like – to behave how she was supposed to behave and to insist on others behaving that way too.

Journal 2021-02-07

Where would I live if I could live anywhere? I am British; I owe my freedoms and opportunities in life to this country and I would never give up British citizenship; however, if I could live anywhere in the world, would I choose here? I think, yes, but only for the summer months. London is a magnificent city steeped in multifaceted layers of history, a true world hub for almost any interest or activity; the countryside and coasts can be beautiful, relaxing and even inspiring – but it is undoubtedly the months of perpetual darkness and dreariness that dampen its desirability.

Journal 2021-01-17

Job: employed at a financial markets brokerage firm.

Side-project: writing an algorithmic trading terminal. This may sound like a huge project but I have actually already written the back-end code – it’s just a case of placing a GUI on top. I will gradually iterate to a stand-alone FinTech App for people to optimise and automate their finances.

Music: recording a cappella versions of powerful old songs. Also putting lyrics to classical music.

Filming: have added some poems to the list of scenes I will be shooting.

Anger

Anger. What a silly thing.

Is it of any use? Nope, it unbalances you.

The orcs in the Lord of the Rings are driven by fury and are utterly useless at combat.

Energy from anger is polluted, destructive, counter-productive.

It can be used to instil fear, to incite others and to self-aggrandise – which is why it has been the emotion of choice by demagogues and sociopaths.

It is often learned as the default response to any frustration.

There is often anger at other people for not behaving as it is believed they should.

The reality however is that you have no real idea what has and is happening in the other person’s life you are judging.

The fact is you only ever see a tiny aspect of all the parts in motion.

Talkerism

In the world of work, a meeting without creating an output of value is a drain on energy and time. Incessant thinking is the perpetual meeting in the head; and if it is just going over and over the same issues without providing constructive insight, then it is pointless at best, destructive at worst. Outside this room of perpetual thinking is the freedom to notice and enjoy what is happening, instead of what you are imagining.

Journal 2020-11-20

Never ever put yourself down. 

Reasons:

  1. Some people will revel in doing it for you. For their sake as much as yours, don’t make the conditions easy for them.
  2. Don’t diminish life; whoever you are, you are amazing and unique.
  3. Faux modesty is dishonesty.
  4. Don’t insult other people’s good opinions.
  5. Be strong for others. 

 Some personal pep talk points:

  1. Be in a position to help.
  2. Your growth should enable others to grow too. 
  3. This isn’t a zero-sum game.
  4. Relative measurements are irrelevant.
  5. Have fun!

Journal 2020-11-19

A little target I’ve set myself is to make it to 100. Yes I know, quality is more important than quantity, and yes many of the factors are out of my control. I don’t take it too seriously but I like having something to aim towards.

The best way to be in good health is to be grateful for each day and appreciate the moments I am living – ironically this is a lot easier when in good health.

Activities

Inventions:

  • Most importantly: Trendline Syncing System (TSS) – an algorithmic trading model.
  • First To 7 – strategy board game.
  • Also: WIBAMU Easy Accounts – simple accounting system for small businesses.

Songwriting:

Yes, many songs are online.

Other writing:

Some pieces are available but the bulk is within unfinished projects – would like to actually finish something substantial.

Singing:

Yep, lots of recordings.

Acting:

Yes, years of research and practice – looking to greatly expand this in the future by filming scenes and podcasts.

Public speaking:

I know this is a strength but haven’t pursued it yet.