Actually, 2016 was a good year

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Now that we’re officially in 2017, and most of you are home, here are my thoughts on the New Year.

First, let’s get this out of the way. 2016 sucked, and we said goodbye to many celebrities and loved ones, and Trump is the president elect of the USA. Things seem to have turned out pretty shitty.

But, as we sometimes forget we do, we focus on the negative things, and we neglect to look for a balance between good and bad. Many beautiful and amazing things also happened in 2016, such as new chemotherapy breakthroughs that will give hope to so many cancer patients, scientists linked robotic limbs to the human brain giving hope to amputees, child mortality rates are going down, the gene responsible for ALS was found, a solar powered plane circumnavigated the world, tiger, manatee, and panda numbers are growing, 70,000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours, coffee consumption has been proved to curtail cancer and suicide rates, 500 elephants were relocated to better and safer homes, massive strides in Alzheimers prevention were made, a new radiation sickness therapy was developed in Israel, the Rabbinical Assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of transgender and non-conforming individuals, precision treatments for cancer are hitting clinical trials, and Leo FINALLY won that Oscar!

(More good news here https://goo.gl/NyvCiS)

Yes, we had a shocking list of family members, friends, and celebrities who passed away during 2016, and we are saddened by the massive loss of companionship, connections, and talent, but we need to also remember the other behind-the-scenes people who are working really hard and dedicating their lives to making the world a better place, and we need to see all the lives that were and will be saved and improved by the amazing discoveries made.

That being said, I am also taking something positive from all the deaths in 2016. The fact that we were sad and that we mourned them showed me that we are not blasé about death, that we still feel deeply, and that our humanity is still intact.

So I propose that we focus on and celebrate the good in the world, the innovation, the good deeds, the good people, the positive. We need to remind ourselves that we are capable of so much more than what we believe, and that we need to look inward and see our value ourselves, and find the solutions and positivity inside ourselves, instead of listening to the doom and gloom, and negativity of politicians and the media.

We need to set our different opinions aside, and in love we should celebrate our humanity, and work together to build a better world. Together we can fight oppression, inequality, and all the bad that is forced on us.

So I wish you all an amazing and prosperous, positive, joyful, happy, and successful 2017!

Let us be the light in the world.

To Joy – a poem by Friedrich Schiller, 1785

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic powers re-unite
What custom’s sword has divided
Beggars become Princes’ brothers
Where thy gentle wing abides.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss to the entire world!
Brothers – above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.
Whoever has had the great fortune,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won the love of a devoted wife,
Add his to our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to must creep
Tearfully away from this circle.

Those who dwell in the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars,
Where the Unknown reigns.

Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms;
All, Just and Unjust,
Follow her rose-petalled path.
Kisses she gave us, and Wine,
A friend, proven in death,
Pleasure was given (even) to the worm,
And the Cherub stands before God.

You bow down, millions?
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell.
Joy is called the strong motivation
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy moves the wheels
In the universal time machine.
Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
Suns from the Firmament,
Spheres it moves far out in Space,
Where our telescopes cannot reach.

Joyful, as His suns are flying,
Across the Firmament’s splendid design,
Run, brothers, run your race,
Joyful, as a hero going to conquest.
As truth’s fiery reflection
It smiles at the scientist.
To virtue’s steep hill
It leads the sufferer on.
Atop faith’s lofty summit
One sees its flags in the wind,
Through the cracks of burst-open coffins,
One sees it stand in the angels’ chorus.

Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
Above the starry canopy
A great God will reward you.
Gods one cannot ever repay,
It is beautiful, though, to be like them.
Sorrow and Poverty, come forth
And rejoice with the Joyful ones.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
Not one tear shall he shed anymore,
No feeling of remorse shall pain him.

The account of our misdeeds be destroyed!
Reconciled the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
God judges as we judged.
Joy is bubbling in the glasses,
Through the grapes’ golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness,
And despair drinks courage–
Brothers, fly from your seats,
When the full rummer is going around,
Let the foam gush up to heaven*:
This glass to the good spirit.

He whom star clusters adore,
He whom the Seraphs’ hymn praises,
This glass to him, the good spirit,
Above the starry canopy!
Resolve and courage for great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally may last all sworn Oaths,
Truth towards friend and enemy,
Men’s pride before Kings’ thrones–
Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood,
Give the crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the pack of liars!

Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden wine:
To remain true to the Oath,
Swear it by the Judge above the stars!
Delivery from tyrants’ chains,
Generosity also towards the villain,
Hope on the deathbeds,
Mercy from the final judge!
Also the dead shall live!
Brothers, drink and chime in,
All sinners shall be forgiven,
And hell shall be no more.

A serene hour of farewell!
Sweet rest in the shroud!
Brothers–a mild sentence
From the mouth of the final judge!

Aristophanes’ Speech – Plato’s Symposium on Love

Before launching his speech, Aristophanes warns the group that his eulogy to love may be more absurd than funny. His speech is an explanation of why people in love say they feel “whole” when they have found their love partner. He begins by explaining that people must understand human nature before they can interpret the origins of love and how it affects the then present time. It is, he says, because in primal times people had doubled bodies, with faces and limbs turned away from one another. As somewhat spherical creatures who wheeled around like clowns doing cartwheels, these original people were very powerful. There were three sexes: the all male, the all female, and the “androgynous,” who was half male, half female. The males were said to have descended from the sun, the females from the earth and the androgynous couples from the moon. The creatures tried to scale the heights of heaven and planned to set upon the gods. Zeus thought about blasting them to death with thunderbolts, but did not want to deprive himself of their devotions and offerings, so he decided to cripple them by chopping them in half, in effect separating the two bodies.

Zeus then commanded Apollo to turn their faces around and pulled the skin tight and stitched it up to form the navel which he chose not to heal so Man would always be reminded of this event. Ever since that time, people run around saying they are looking for their other half because they are really trying to recover their primal nature. The women who were separated from women run after their own kind, thus creating lesbians. The men split from other men also run after their own kind and love being embraced by other men. Those that come from original androgynous beings are the men and women that engage in mutual love. He says some people think homosexuals are shameless, but he thinks they are the bravest, most manly of all, as evidenced by the fact that only they grow up to be politicians, and that many heterosexuals are adulterous men and unfaithful wives. Aristophanes then claims that when two people who were separated from each other find each other, they never again want to be separated. This feeling is like a riddle, and cannot be explained. Aristophanes ends on a cautionary note. He says that men should fear the gods, and not neglect to worship them, lest they wield the axe again and we have to go about with our noses split apart. If man works with the god of Love, they will escape this fate and instead find wholeness.

Source: Wikipedia
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symposium_(Plato)

Blogging about not blogging

Moments ago I was saying that I need to write a new blog post, but didn’t know what to write about. So a buddy suggested that I blog about not having anything to blog about.

A strange concept at first, but it kinda makes sense in a paradoxical way.

It’s also making me think of all aspects of my life, and all the things which have been happening in the past couple of weeks, and trying to compile something worthwhile from it into a blog post.

Admittedly things have been on the manic side, with many different types of work (business and technical) and EMT exams happening, having had an operation on my ear and nose, been ill with nagging sick feelings (yeah, those you really can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, you just feel bad all the time), work work and then some more work…

Right now I can really do with a looooong holiday with doing nothing whatsoever. Two weeks at least. No phones, no email, no standby, no problems, no tests and exams, no schedule. Just two weeks of freedom.

So let’s have a look at what happened in the past couple of months
1. I built and configured an awesome Microsoft HPC cluster
2. We migrated an entire EVA disk array to a 3Par array
3. I upgraded my phone from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4
4. I sailed through the theory of the Basic Ambulance Assistant course I am doing
5. I have scored really high and have done really well with the tests in the BAA course
6. I have learnt some really cool skills
7. I have passed my ITIL version 3 Foundations exam with 90%
8. I started the whole Microsoft certification thing again and scored 90% on the first exam
9. Had a very satisfactory pay increase
10. Proved that you can get great mileage if you drive properly (1000km on 55 liters of petrol)
11. I celebrated the first birthday of Kaiser Jr.
12. Scored really well in my performance review (which means that I am getting a bonus yay!)

And now as I am writing this blog post I am trying to think of something profound, like a lesson I have learnt. I actually can’t think of anything!

Perhaps the lesson to learn is that there isn’t always a lesson to be learnt, that you just need to relax sometime and enjoy the break time in the school of life.

I guess that there isn’t always a lesson, just like you can blog about not blogging.
Now before I confuse myself I think I should just sign off and say good night 🙂

So it turned out that I actually could blog about something. Sweet.

Farewell Common Sense. We’ll miss you!

An Obituary printed in the London Times…..

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

44

Ingredients
1 large organic orange, well washed
44 coffee beans
44 sugar cubes (or reduced to 6 table spoons)
4 cups vodka

Directions
Poke the orange with a skewer or knitting needle and insert the coffee beans through the slits in the skin into the orange flesh. Put the orange in a sterilized preserving jar (with an opening large enough to fit an orange through), add the sugar, pour over the alcohol, seal, and shake. Store in a cool, dark place, giving the jar a shake every day for 44 days. Filter the liqueur through a coffee filter into a serving bottle.