How?

People in my office:
Brad, how do you stay so thin?

My supermarket loyalty program end of year points summary email:

image 2010 from bradism.com


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


Indentured Servitude

image 1997 from bradism.com

I don't want to write this entry, but I suppose I need to... There were times during my eight day Christmas break I found myself anxious to be back at work.

Worse, there was nothing specifically at the office which I was keen to attend to. In fact, last week during the quiet two days of a two-thirds empty office, faced with an exponentially emptier inbox, I still felt the same anxiety. I realised that what I craved was not a return to labour, but a reunion with routine.

This was bad. I've invested so much into perfecting my way of life over the past few years. I always know when to wake up. I know the macros of what I'm eating days in advance. I never miss the train. I never struggle choosing what to wear. Everything I need is at my fingertips, laid out in the exact order of my fingers. I've filtered novelty out of my life, which has been very effective at giving me a lot of free time, but at the cost of atrophying the parts of my brain that know what to do with it.

I finished 2019 almost the exact same way I started it. Same family, job, house, car, friends, phone, injuries and shoes. Sure, I started a workout program, tracking my calories, and playing basketball on Thursdays. These only consolidated the girth of the rails I've been choofing on.

2020 needs to be different. I need to shake some things up, purely for the sake of it. Not resolutions, nothing planned. I just need to nod my head at opportunities that the squishy parts of my brain would at present probably ignore.

If not, a whole Olympics could come and go without anything to remember it by.

Certified Fresh

A couple of years back I made a critical mistake. I was put onto a RHEL Certified Linux Administration course by work, who also paid for my exam on the final day. If I passed I would be able to put "RHEL 7 Certified" on my CV… Which wouldn't have had any measurable impact on my life, I expect, but it would have been cool.

Alas, I failed the exam. It was hard, closed book and all practical with a high pass mark. I did study, and paid attention during the course. I missed out by 2%. Nevertheless I was shook. I'd never failed an exam before. Never failed at any form of formal education, in fact, and typically without much effort or obeisance. I learned a statistic in University that 75% of people consider themselves above average intelligence. I knew for sure I was in that 75%.

My worldview shattered, I did not undertake any significant further training or exams. Partly from fear, and partly due to my organisation's shrinking training budget. Last year, when negotiating terms of my new position, I included work adding TOGAF training and certification into my personal development plan. Certification in The Open Group Architecture Framework for Enterprise Architecture would be a useful step towards my desired career direction of IT Architect. Architecture roles can have a similar level of working on solution requirements and technical design, without the distractors of resourcing, chasing timesheets, and approving the neverending requests for new monitor dongles. Architecture is a much more sustainable IT career for an introvert. Yes you need to talk to stakeholders, perhaps even more than as a lead, but they're structured conversations and in fact TOGAF offers a whole reference library for having them.

I did not fail my exam this morning, and I am officially TOGAF 9.2 Certified. My brain is now releasing endorphins after 10 days of heavy studying concludes. It was also warm today, and on my way home from the exam I stopped off to buy lettuce and found Deschutes Freshly Squeezed IPA directly imported from Oregon. What a good day. To top it off, I already have an architecture job. I've decided to promote myself to Bradism.com Lead Enterprise Architect.

A big can of PNW on a windowsill overlooking buildings.

A. Implementations of architectures. B. Business Requirements C. A View D. All of the Above


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Nightlife

How good is Melbourne nightlife, you can buy a crepe at 10pm on a weekday from a street cart. But not at 10:30 that's too late.

image 1968 from bradism.com

Viewpoints

It was sunny when I left to find a place for breakfast today. Receiving my flat white in a laneway cafe at the exact moment the hail started outside felt like peak Melbourne.

Here is an example of an implementation of an architecture:

image 1961 from bradism.com

The Click, Click, Click of Sand

I’ve been working long hours lately. Attending a lot of meetings, juggling many projects. It can be taxing, but also rewarding. There’s something satisfying to look back at the end of a day and see the progress made, emails sent, the calorie breakdown, the steps, the word count, the ticks in the habit tracker app, the work delivered, and of course the numbers on the payslip.

But it’s not big challenges that bother me. It’s the little things, like smoke alarm chirps, dripping taps, and an inability to eat grains and firm vegetables on my right hand side for like two years that really stress me out. These are the sensory torturers which await me when I return home. The drip, drip, drip in the sink. The beep, beep, beep from my tooth. I try to be a good handyman, but if September 2008 didn’t prove that wasn’t for me, five years of not having a property manager has confirmed it.

So now that I am thirty-five, and my precious time on this forsaken planet continues to filter through the hourglass, I have concluded that perhaps working hard and earning money should lead to me spending that money on other professionals who may be juggling many projects, attending lots of meetings, are stressed, etc. And it just so happened that two appointments I made - with the plumber and the endodontist - happened to fall on this day in September 2019. This morning the plumber came to crack the code of how to remove the tap without breaking it, took the electric drill out, delivered, and then took a whole bunch of my money. And then this afternoon the endodontist tried to crack the code of my pressure sensitivity by removing (part of) the tooth without breaking it, took the electric drill out, delivered, and then took a whole bunch of my money.

It’s too early to say if my tooth is fixed yet. The anesthetic wore off after dinner. But the taps are now silent, which I hope is a good omen. Maybe this system of earning money and spending it works. Perhaps this is the free market, the way of things. I can accept all this. The only part which bugs me is that the plumber charges more per hour than the dentist.

A Sense of Purpose

Every Monday morning millions of humans wake to alarms, wash, and then head to their offices where they mix together their perfume and cologne, coffee steam and carpet cleaner vapours.
The scent of a new work week cycles through the air conditioning.

Olive Brown

image 1934 from bradism.com

I, somehow, left for work this morning wearing olive-brown trousers and an unintentionally matching olive-brown jacket. I'm not sure how it happened. I recall thinking that I'd wear the navy blue chinos today, and a cream jumper. At some point I had substituted both of them and become a two metre tall blob of matching brown. I didn't even realise until the elevator arrived to take me to my floor and I saw my reflections in the cube of mirrors.

I don't like being a block of colour. I felt very self-conscious. I took the jacket off, and my only other option was to feel very cold.

Why did I care, I wondered. What was the worst that could come of this? A bird might land on me? Somebody could snap my picture, upload it to the internet and I'd become some meme? The olive-brown giant? No fashion sense guy? It could go viral, and define my legacy. For the rest of my life people would know me as the olive-brown giant before they even met me.
Then I thought, did I really care about what people thought of my dress sense? My colleagues? My superiors? Did it matter? People in Washington, and Portland, where I recently vacationed, would they even have an innate, subconscious sense that I'd existed in the same location as them. If they did, would they care what I was wearing now that I'd left? What about people in Slovenia and Senegal and other places I'd only ever heard about. They wouldn't care. For the hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians who'd been murdered in the Nanjing International Safety Zone in 1937 surely my comically matching pants and top would barely rate a mention. What about the victims of Assyrian Empire genocides 2500 years ago? Would they even know what olive-brown trousers were? Would they try to find out, while they were persecuted and fought for their lives? What miniscule percentage of humanity could truly give a fuck about my olive-brown meme-ness?

The bell dinged and I emerged onto my floor. It had been a mentally intense elevator ride.

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