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.

Game Over Shirt

Funny Game Over Bride And Groom Shirt

Game Over Shirt – Click Image

Women have often accessorized throughout history using things such as fancy hairpieces, jewelry, and pretty shoes with a handbag. The handbag may at times contain a cute little dog with a little pink tongue and a bow on his head. Many women prize one accessory above even her little portable canine, and that is her very own domesticated man.

Man was born to run free, he values his freedom above all other things, but his attentions are often caught by woman’s bright colors, sweet perfumes and shiny accessories. Although man tries hard to be free, he is often seduced into domestication.

Some men are determined to remain free, so occasionally a woman might enlist her father in her mission. The father, perhaps bitter at the loss of his own freedom years before, sometimes forces domestication upon the man with a shotgun or other weapon. Making the man’s final free decision, a matter of wife or death.

 

Game Over Shirt

Time Is Not Money – Time Is Money Debunked

I have been getting really tired of hearing people say the phrase “Time is Money” to me recently. Though I can understand the merit of the phrase when spoken during business hours, since rent, hourly wages, and other time based payments are factored in, each time I hear it outside of work, I just want to shout to the speaker at the top of my lungs “No it’s not, stop spreading stupidity!”

When I was a toddler, I used to play with a very simple puzzle, the goal of the puzzle was to fit various shapes into similar shaped holes, the triangular shape into the triangular shaped hole, the pentagon into the pentagon hole, square into the square hole, however the circular piece on my version of this puzzle, was a little bit special, since all the pieces were designed with the exact same width, the circular piece would not only fit into the circular shaped hole, but also into the square shaped hole. However even in my toddler years I was already smart enough to realize that this did not make a circle equal to a square, because the square would not fit through the circular hole. The phrase “circle is square” makes about as much sense to me as “time is money”.

Shape Puzzle

Although money is something you can rent people’s time with, and with more money you can indeed rent more people’s time, one thing that you can never do with money, is buy more time for yourself, and neither can anyone else. Time is limited, and the only real thing that any of us have here on earth, it is the most valuable thing we ever possess, and most everyone would give up any amount of money to have more. Although you’re always free to sell your own time as much as you wish, you can never buy it back.

In a social situation, two people are sharing their time with each other, nobody is paying one another, and therefore the value of both people’s time is completely equal, in fact you could use the phrase “time is time” or “time = time” and nobody could ever bring a valid argument against it.

Sometimes I feel that a good part of society has things a little bit mixed up about money and time, that some of the rich people, and also some of the poor, feel that the value of a wealthy people’s time is greater,  but again, in a social situation, where money is not involved, time has no monetary value, and we all make the same wage of absolutely nothing.

Obviously time is not money.

The Need To Lead

A few years ago now on a summer weekend afternoon, I had a conversation with my girlfriend at the time, Charlene, that has stuck in my head quite a bit over recent years. We had made plans to spend the day together, and she had just arrived outside my condo for the two of us to go off on our adventure.

She asked me “So, where do you want to go ?”

Having only lived in my current city for about a year I replied “I don’t know this area very well, why don’t you take me somewhere ?”

She was stunned a bit for a second then said “You know, I don’t think I have ever been asked that before, everyone always takes me everywhere.”

Batman Must Always Lead

After a bit of thinking, Charlene took me on an amazing tour of the area, including two wonderful lakes, one of which had a huge sand building competition on it that day, which Charlene had already been aware of, and the other had a great cliff side view of the surrounding forest and lake which we first ate lunch at, and then hiked down for a private swim. After we hiked back up to the car she then took me to a great restaurant for dinner where we stayed for several hours afterwords to drink beer and listen to the live blues band.

I found it quite amazing that no one had ever asked Charlene in all her thirty years of living in the same area, where she wanted to go. This though of course was of great benefit to me, because by her sitting in the passenger seat all these years, she had collected a huge knowledge of good things to do, and the best of it all this knowledge had been delivered to me on this day. Needless to say I wanted to see more the next time she came over, and she had more than a few days of things for us to do that were of great interest, all of which I added to my own list of things to do in the area when people visited me from out of town.

I wondered a bit more to myself why no one had ever asked her before what she wanted to do, she was often quiet, but quite obviously bright. I am guessing it was mostly because in groups there is usually that one person that really feels the need to lead everyone all the time, and that was just not the way she was. Usually those that force themselves on us as the leader are a type “A” personality, and Charlene was defiantly not one of these.

Funny Leadership

Now don’t get me wrong, leadership is a wonderful thing, and necessary if you want to get things done efficiently, you need a leader. I lead my household around most of the time, but not always, and I also lead my employees, but feeling the need to be leading everyone around all of the time, is a massive weakness of personality in my books.

In my opinion, constant leaders usually have the least knowledge of anyone in the group, as all of their less than vast knowledge is quickly shared to the masses who usually, due to their ability to sometimes follow, both individually and collectively know more. So if you yourself feel the need to lead constantly, you might want to consider taking a back seat sometimes to let a more knowledgeable person show you around, that way when you do take control, people won’t always be quietly wishing they were somewhere else.

Please Keep Your Freedumb Away From My Freedom

I am just days away from a two week holiday to my hometown of Vancouver Canada, it is always nice to see the west coast of Canada in the spring, often during this time of year the trees will blossom, adding some incredible colors to the already beautiful scenery, and a sweet scent to the cool fresh air. I am also of course very much looking forward to seeing my family and friends, who are the reason for the trip.

After making some plans to visit friends, a discussion about me started amongst my various acquaintances back home, and eventually, some of this discussion came back to me though hearsay. Apparently not all of my friends think I am doing very well in life, and by their measurement, which is salary, I guess I am not, but I do not measure my life in salary, if I did I would have kept some of the high paying jobs I had in the past, or taken some that were offered to me along the way, but I did not, because instead of salary, I measure my life in how much free time I get to experience, free time I often spend with my son, or traveling, reading, and writing.

Consumer PrisionerInevitably during my trip back to Canada as I visit with the few friends that can find enough time off work to see me, they may give me advice, as they often have before, about how I should change my life to be more like theirs, forgetting that I had lived that way for too many years already, with the waking up to an alarm, rushing to work, wearing a shirt, tie and black socks, eating when I’m told to, and then rushing back home at the end of the day. Many just can’t seem to understand that even though I hardly make any money at all by writing, programming, and selling shirts on the internet for a living, it is exactly the type of life I hope to live forever. To me what I have is something closer to true freedom, than the common illusion of it, which is humorously defined on the web today as freedumb.

As they suggest I dust off my work clothing, which I assume still exists somewhere in my closet, to get a “real job”, and make some real money, I will likely just nod politely, and think to myself, “Please keep your freedumb away from my freedom.”

Below are three videos, with a combined total of only seven minutes, they are all great clips, that I feel relate perfectly to normal corporate life and real freedom.

Enjoy!

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