артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Блог переехал. Теперь это зеркало.

Контент 6+
С сегодняшнего дня (08/11/2017) блог в ЖЖ становится зеркалом основного сайта - http://eric-artem.com/
С одной стороны  - мы выросли. С другой - я не могу принимать политику текущей администрации, которая явно ограничивает блоггеров в самовыражении и возможностях заработка. Пакет "Профессиональный" я также больше не куплю. Заходить сюда буду крайне редко.
Вся дальнейшая верстка будет осуществляться не для ЖЖ.
Группа в Facebook сохраняется.
Спасибо всем, кто читает нас. Надеюсь, вы переедете вместе с нами в новый, более удобный формат. Там также сохраняется возможность логина через соц.сети.

===Артем Ковалев===
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Rise of the Future


Content 21+ Come closer, my dear friend. Take a seat in this comfortable chair. Tell me how hard it was for you to study for eight hours per day at school, how your classmates bullied you, how you were underestimated at the university and get your €1500/month underpaid job, and why it is the reason you hate others (and those nasty immigrants, of course). I will, in turn, tell how things actually work. I will tell you about the past and the future, about war and peace. I will tell you how difference brings prosperity and explain why many problems are not as they seem.







Now sit tighter, please, as I am going to drag you out to the real violent world.




I learned why diversity actually matters and how it works the hard way - I was born right before the civil war, after the fall of an empire, when about 40 ethnicities tried to get their teeth into each other. What about Russians-Russians in that region? Oh, they were there, too (later on I will explain you what it really means - Russian). During two years, from 1994 to 1996, approximately 100 000 civilians were killed and more than 200 000 injured, and something about 10 000 military personnel dead on each of the sides. The war rumbled across the cities, showing it’s ugly face, leaving villages into ashes on both sides. It is hard to find any real pieces of evidence about this, as it is not really shared around, unlike current conflicts of various kinds. One of the most disastrous moments was an attack by Chechen guerrillas on a hospital (birth house) in a city of Buddenovsk, taking a number of mothers with newborns as hostages. (between 1,500 and 1,800 people (some estimates reaching as high as 2,000 or even 2,500), most of them civilians (including about 150 children and a number of women with newborn infants)). On their way to the hospital, they shot 100 civilians that refused to cooperate. Over 160 buildings in the town were destroyed or damaged, including 54 municipal buildings and 110 private houses. My father was an officer of the road police back then, so he had to follow the buses packed with hostages and heavily-armed bandits (machine guns, grenade launchers, automatic guns, pistols, grenades) with one automatic gun for ten people (others were armed with pistols).







Those guerrillas lurked through the towns, leaving dead bodies after them for years, kidnapping people and killing those who tried to resist.




It was no late-night walking for the small company during that time, and better - no late-night walking at all.




Of course, this situation caused problems with food, electricity and other supplies for the neighboring regions, leading to health problems for those who were born during this time there.




It is much better there now, even though there are controversial local governments in the region, yet the massacre and chaos have ended.




It was there where I learned that people are different (and it is good), as one thing that is pretty clear for me is that it was not about nationality, religion, hair color or something else they were fighting for or against.




It was leaders pushing people forward, exaggerating the differences between them, driving them almost crazy with brainwashing, sensual deprivation and, taking advantage of the under-education and blind belief, leading them to the useless fight against those who are just the same, leading to the devastation of the huge region (about the size of Slovakia). It is not in the peoples’ nature by default to fight each other, to go into conflicts. It can work another way, not blowing out the differences and pointing at them, not judging by the appearance, not putting silly tags. It was not simple for me to understand after what I saw, and this is the reason why I described what it was there. Yet it just came into my mind once and stayed there.







I always had friends from non-Russians, and the funny thing is that I actually almost never had a Russian friend (here I should note that not all people leaving in Russia and originating from Russia are not to be actually called Russians, we are using this for the matter of simplicity and a better understanding for mono-national countries. There are more than 140 different nationalities in Russia, and they are much more different between each other than most of the European nationalities).




For me, out of all this history, pain and chaos came an understanding - the fact that we are different can actually help us to do better. It adds color to our life, giving more opportunities for those who are open to new ideas, who are ready to hear each other's opinion.








We are all different, but it doesn’t mean that we should differentiate - in cooperation we rise, in cooperation we (being just a naked monkeys) managed to survive through the catastrophes, through the ice age, sliding on the edge of extinction we warmed each other in our caves long before such a word as nationality existed.







We all cam from one place, and we will all eventually end up in one place - our bodies will turn to dust, our souls (ok, well’, that depend on what are you believing in) will go somewhere else - but I can tell you one thing - I think that if there is a Heaven - there is a Heaven for all of us - Buddhists, Muslims, Christians (Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants), or we all will reborn as energy, or whatever. I don’t know which one is true, but I know that it should not be religion-specific.




Any skin color, any face shape, any sexual habits - we are all humans, one kind, beautiful and wild.




We are like the fire which we - unique among other animals - are using, and it is in our hands to let this fire warm our future or destroy it in a nuclear blasts, wiping out all life on Earth in a struggle to find a difference where there is no any.




Our borders were created for economical and political means, not for our souls. There is no actual border between two different humans unless you build such in your mind.







I think that understanding this fact is something crucial for our survival as a civilization, as making our efforts combined we can reach other planets, spread over the solar system, nearby star systems, over the entire galaxy, using the best skills each of us can provide - ability to collaborate and work as a unified team, individual effort as a leader, ability to react fast in dangerous situation, physical differences - and many more other points which make us diverse can actually help us to go better as one team - the team called humanity.




This will be the Rise of our Future.




===Artem Kovalev===




Photo by bruce mars from Pexels




https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Pure_Diversity%2C_Mirta_Toledo_1993.jpg




https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background







https://thinkmytime.com/rise-of-the-future
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Impossible Success on the Doorstep of Extinction


Content 18+ It was a dark night somewhere on the ocean shore when suddenly super-bright lights switched on, accenting polished cigar-shaped object looking up in the sky. Some might say it should have happened, some that it is useless - but anyway - here it was. It was the rocket that should take the first people to Mars. Not just a scientific mission - but the mission to open a new horizon for humanity, to break the natural chains bounding us to our initial home - too fragile to promise eternal bright future for our civilization.




Three...two...one...IGNITION!







This was an old-fashioned rocket on fossil fuels, burning the essence of life on Earth to reach other worlds. It was the first step for humanity, which was possible due to the efforts of a few, amid the common local ignorance. One day this will save humanity in the Universe as we know it. One day…




One day new sun will rise in the sky, blasting billions of tons of rocks in the air, melting the Earth’s crust, vaporizing the water in the ocean, erasing anything that ever existed on our planet - all signs of any wars, all signs of our achievements, all signs of policy and politics, all pieces of plastic and packaging, all computers, machinery, erasing birds that survived through smaller cataclysm as the only dinosaurs still living out there, erasing fish in the oceans as there won’t be any ocean anymore, erasing animals in the forests, as there will be no forests, just supervolcanoes erupting all over the world, throwing sulfur and methane in the atmosphere, killing oxygen-dependent creatures with toxic gas. It may be a comet, an asteroid - but one day it should come, it is mathematical probability.




It is not really predefined that this day should actually come for humanity to be erased too. There is - and there always was - a solution. It is out there. It is as simple as creating your monthly budget. Diversification is the key.




We are gathered - just like those eggs - in one basket right now, and it is really easy to be crushed. Going out there, sending missions that will research and eventually settle on other planets and their moons is the only actual guaranteed way of future survival.




Even having the best protection from something that can come out of there we cannot protect ourselves from something that is down there - and let me tell you something…











See this thin thing, not even visible on the big picture marked as 6? Yep, that is the earth you are used to. Everything below is melted and superhot - no mammal can survive there.




And how big are we, anyway?







See the small blue dot there? You know, they are not usually showing the REAL scale at school. Well, to be honest, it is not just Google the solar system to find the real size.




It takes several persons to make a huge step for the future of humanity, and there are actually those who care, who keep investing huge amounts of money in this struggle. They are fighting for our real future, not politics. There should be no borders on Earth one day, as only baing a planet civilization we will actually be able to properly advance further to distant outposts. Maybe countries will still be there, and all these insignificant tensions lasting for a minuscule period of time (say, 100 years) will still be there, but humanity as one will stand and open this door - our door to the future.




Otherwise, it will be a hall of extinction down here one day.




===Artem===




Pictures from https://www.wikipedia.org/




Rocket on first one - Falcon Heavy







https://thinkmytime.com/impossible-success-on-the-doorstep-of-extinction
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Abandoned Crib


Content 18+ Cosmic wind was blowing dust, created billions of years ago. Of course, it was not an earthy wind produced by air movements, but the mighty power of gravity and thermonuclear reactions, forging cosmic objects in an infinite vastness of the Universe.




The dark round object was flying through one of the spirals of swirling interstellar clouds, silent and untouched.




planet abandoned



An observer might notice the deep scar on one of the sides of the object, almost artificially-looking, cut with a terrifying precision on the upper crust of the…planet.




This round object was a planet, smashed by the asteroid long ago, shuttered from its’ eternal way through the cosmos around the star, just like a sinking man from the ship when storm roars and it is very easy to fall unnoticed.




It is also possible that just a smash was not enough, and gravitational pull from another star passing nearby (don’t get me wrong – we are talking about thousands of astronomical units – distances from Sun to Earth here) helped a bit, and probably, to finish the poor planet, the gravity of a colossal planet in the system – something like a gas giant – whipped it even further so it could penetrate the invisible barrier and be released into the empty darkness to travel alone without light, without life, without energy.




Should the planet with the size of roughly 6.5 thousands kilometers in radius go that far, it will soon lose its’ internal heat, and the surface will be frozen long before that. It will eventually be an iron-stone ball (or whatever) covered with snow (or whatever) traveling till the Universe ends.




It will all end one day. First, stars will burn out hydrogen, all of them – sooner or later, turning into red giants and then collapsing, slowly cooling down to absolute zero. Their light will fade. Eventually, red dwarfs will also faint, and Hawking radiation will evaporate even the black holes, leaving slowly moving particles in deep space. There will be no stars, no lights, no fusion reaction, no nuclear reaction, and just because of that even those particles will freeze to an absolute zero, leaving Universe as something static.




Yet let’s get back to our lost planet, some millions of years in the future.




planet burn



This planet has scars on it, scars of asteroid damage, yet it doesn’t look like the moon (or cheese) – the space is empty, and it has been flying through it. Between stars, there is not much that could hit it, and the planet is that small that the probability is almost negligible.




Asteroid smash did two things. First, it launched chain reaction on the surface, evaporating millions of tons of rock in the atmosphere, scorching the sky. Second, it made a wave in the mantle, and this was much worse. Supervolcanoes erupted, heating the crust to a melting state; magma rivers flowing on the surface wiped out everything that existed ever before.




Taking chemical probes observers might still notice the unusual presence of certain carbon isotopes, methane, probably some small amounts of frozen water. This may lead to an uneven conclusion – this planet was inhabited. Probably some microorganisms lived on it, they harvested their star energy in order to grow and expand.




This observer may never know (actually most definitely won’t) that this was once a planet inhabited by intelligent species that stopped looking up in the sky, consumed by the one-year (ok, sometimes one-hundred years) political changes, useless gadgets, infinite consumption and development of design instead of taking content to the next level, who tried to make life easier in perception instead of inventing something ground-breaking. Something that could have saved them. Something that could give them an opportunity to shield off this ill-fated asteroid…or, if that was not possible – to migrate to another planet they could have called their home.




Unfortunately, (and the observer won’t even know) they didn’t. They sold immortality for a plastic toy with a window to an imaginary world.




planet earth end



===Artem===



https://thinkmytime.com/abandoned-crib
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Stuck on Earth


Content 18+ I went out on the balcony, and suddenly I saw that stars are visible here… for me, being born in a small town squeezed between the sandy desert and steppe vastness fuelled by oil underneath, the view of the night sky full of stars was something common and familiar. I used to dream of them, trying to guess if there is a life out there. Soon after my family moved to a modern megapolis, where polluted clouds, filled with sulfur, carbon dioxide, and methane are slowly strangling all living creatures. You won’t see any stars there, because megawatts of light is flooding the sky. During the winter, when water-soluble compounds should fall down and finally uncover at least brightest stars – this is not what will happen. Sodium hydroxide, scattered over the roads, evaporates in the air to shadow the blue sky to make it grey even in this time of year. Dirty, cloudy, cloaked cities.







Only during my vacation in the middle of nowhere I managed to see the sky full of stars again, beautiful deepness of the Universe, showing us both how small we are to live on just one planet, which would be invisible with our level of technology even from the closest stars; and how great we are, consciously able to realise that, digest that, let that flow through us and inspire us to take a small step which will, combined hundreds of times, span over light years, enabling us to fly among the stars or at least to the other planets of our solar system.




In the struggle for local prosperity, we failed to look both deeper and wider, stopped researches of interplanetary travels, tiding ourselves to our initial home, which can be easily destroyed by us or by dozen of natural disasters. We can easily end up just like dinosaurs, should we behave ourselves just as them, never looking up into the sky, never thinking of how small we are, how similar we are to any other individual of our kind (aka “naked ape”). There are no physical borders, no actual division. We are all the same and equal, all the inequalities that are out there are based on something screwed into our heads with our preconceptions and prejudice.




Yes, I would agree that back then, when we were still scouring the plains, it was a mean of survival. Resources are scarce, that’s true. Now, in the 21st century, we have all the technologies available and many more to come.




If we were spending our budgets on health and deep space exploration instead of military spending, Star Trek won’t be a Sci-Fi – it would be a TV Reality Show instead.







Imagine new horizons, the defeat of cancer, colonies on Mars, no more HIV/AIDS, no more diabetes, vacation in Sirius system…




All these could have happened already. It didn’t. We chose production of means of mass destruction – inglorious struggle to create something that can evaporate the world 20 minutes before another one can. This will end up the world we know it, and no one will ever remember or find poor “naked apes” civilization, as it will be smashed between long periods of other species prosperity, which lasted much longer (we are here less than 1% of all the time dinosaurs had).




There is another way. Still, there are people who believe that exploration is much more important than destruction; that search for the new worlds is not a fantasy, but the future reality for those who would like to be sure that their end will not fall from the sky our burst out from the planet’s core. There are people investing money in it, trying to give others an opportunity to guide their ships through the dark universe to the distant stars, even knowing it won’t happen now. The only thing that really matters is that it should happen, better sooner than later.




Knock-knock.




===Artem===




Used photo:





  1. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c5/BFR_at_stage_separation-2018_design.jpg

  2. Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels



https://thinkmytime.com/stuck-on-earth
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Mighty Imposters


Content 18+ Some people might ask me why, even usually have a different opinion on the subject, Eric and I have posts in the same blog?




I would say it is about two things: multiculturalism and unbiasedness. You see, Eric could have been my grandfather, if only we were born somewhere a bit closer than on the different sides of the Pond, and me even deeper in the continent.




We have different experiences, different ways of life. I am a boring financial guy who sometimes spits out a few articles. Eric is a fruitful writer with teaching skills basing his way on poetry - and usually poetry of life it is.







In this diversity, we thrive. Freedom of speech and more important - freedom of thought - should always be available and allowed, as every opinion matters. Only seeing a problem from several dimensions can you have your own true way, your own answer to the question. Always bearing in mind the possibility of misunderstanding, I am still ready to post both of us.




My way is of water, hence ice. I prefer to persuade and explain, he, in turn, prefer to burst through with irresistible energy even in his...no, I won’t tell you 🙂




Come and see...more to come as I hope, at least recently Eric is writing all the sort of things, maybe village just got him what most of us lack - the inability to entertain ourselves with something other than...well, ourselves.




===Artem===




P.S. None of us could be liable for what other author wrote, it is the core of the blog, we always post our ideas as is.



https://thinkmytime.com/mighty-imposters
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

O Vapid Voyeur, Let's Walk In The Rain





One of my teenage Russian Skype students, a very bright young fellow named Maxim, is more or less obsessed with cars. Often at the weekends he visits the Moscow dealerships just to check them out. But his interest does not go the usual route of jargon-signifying chatter about what’s under the hood and snorting demands of “Does it have four-wheel drive?” Nor —  at least I don’t think —  is he at the point yet where a car becomes a phallic symbol. 





He is a historian and, believe it or not, a connoisseur. He knows every model and where it started. Together we have watched documentaries tracing the history of Le Mans, for example, and all the technology behind the development of these rocketing machines, the dreamers who conceived of and built them, and the intrepid drivers who gunned them through the swerves and bends, many of whom were ‘killed in action.’





Maxim also knows a tremendous amount about the history of American music. Because of him — he is only about 15, maybe 16 (I’ll have to ask) — I now know more about this industry in my own (former) country than I did before. That means the blues, jazz, country, rock & roll, and vintage pop. The kid is a walking, talking encyclopedia. If you want to learn about Miles Davis or Buddy Holly, just ask Maxim. He’ll tell you. Before Max showed me, I never knew there were so many great documentaries about this fertile (and original) aspect of American history.





Lately, Max has become interested in — of all things — the typewriter. He even went out and bought one. An older model manual one, I mean. (What would have been the point of getting an electric version? The idea was to go as far back in time as possible.) Now he is fooling around with it, getting acquainted with its feel, heft, durability, and cave man subtlety. In our last ‘lesson’, starting with Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press , we traced together the history and development of these now ‘obsolete’ machines, checking out photos of typewriters going way back to their first usage in 1874. They started to become popular in offices in the 1880s, and as recently as the 1970s were still both operative and entirely necessary.





Remington. Underwood. Yes, I remember those names, the way I remember the Gipper and Ruth. Also before my time, but part of the culture. Like RCA Victor victrolas and those old radios that were as big as suitcases from which the whole world came out — not just DJs and orgiastic blabbers of gassy jabber like today.









Talk about ‘memory lane’. I had never realized that I could trace my life according to my experiences with typewriters. Nor that these particular machines could suddenly come to life again for me in terms of trying to articulate both the good and bad sides of the past and its old ways, its formulas now mostly set aside for attics and dim drawers. Of course telephone booths, drive-in movies, jukeboxes, pinball machines, and the clothes lines that used to fill the backyards of America, sheets flapping like a chain-mail of doves and drying underwear that revealed the size of every ass in the house — all gone.





Life was more tactile back then.





Let me put it this way. I deal a lot with young Russian IT people, and I am pretty sure that young IT people are about the same the world over. They are into the ‘new’ realities, which is something of an oxymoron when you consider that the cyberspace regions they inhabit are not real. But then again they are to the warriors that wander there, the inhabitants who are more at home there than anywhere else. They will tell you it’s better there, like someone who has left rainy England to go live in sunny Australia.









If you do the latter — move to Australia, it is possible, even likely, that the time will come when you miss the old drizzle along the bleak, stony English lanes, sodden green rolling away on either side if not hemmed in by hedges as stiff and rigid as an English aristocrat’s portrait, which in turn bring back memories of some old love you used to meet in one of the pubs along those lanes. For, as the poet states, “Nostalgia comes with the smell of rain, you know.”





 But if you grow up in Australia, you will not miss English rain. How can you, if you never knew it? Maybe it’s possible, but only for those blessed with a certain intensity of imagination. In that case, one can grow nostalgic in the deepest sense…for what never existed. A paradox, but true. I myself have always been in love the most with invisible women whose voices fill the choruses of the light night radio. 









My IT students do not believe that it could ever be possible to rush out into the yard during a sudden shower and bring the still half-dry clothes in from the rain. It was the world of their grandparents. They see no point in putting on layers of clothing during the Russian winter to go grocery shopping when it is simpler just to use the smart phone to order the food and have it delivered. Why push and drag a vacuum cleaner around the apartment or house when you can purchase a robot?





We accepted remote control for the TV and dinner prepared by microwave long ago (or so it seems. Maybe it wasn’t that long ago.). Electric toothbrushes to keep us from having to move our hands up and down. Electric hair dryers. The smartphone that now tells us everything…





So these new realities call for abandoning, little by little, the old realities. Just as old people die and are replaced by new ones. Each batch of people had and have their own sets of tools and toys, and parts of life must always remain simply inscrutable each to each, while, on a different level, every generation dreams the dream and finds what glory there may be amid the greater grief and the inevitable ruins. Il tempo passa per tutti.





The big difference is the way in which the gadgets spearhead our gallop through life, ever faster and faster. They save time, I am told. If so, this is a very good thing indeed, since many of my IT friends claim to work 12-14 hours per day. Or would it be closer to the truth to suggest that such gizmos and all the technology behind them only appear to save time — but in fact serve more to create labyrinth after labyrinth of tantalizing possibility, as if secretly whispering to their addicted users, “Don’t shut us off now! We have more surprises!?  And at 3 a.m. the surprises just keep coming… 





We have so many friends, all of them only a click away. It’s pretty awesome if you ask me. And, gee, they are all such great and lasting friends… just a click away. And don’t they just respond so faithfully to our Instagram and Facebook posts? That’s how they prove their friendship, and I knew it when I lived in Moscow myself and received ‘likes’ even from those who lived a few metro stops from me and I saw in real life maybe twice in five years. I never doubted their loyalty…. 









That’s why watching those documentaries about typewriters last week made me remember all the miserable hours I used to spend trying to get something typed. I was error-prone, you see (as in life). Plus, being self-taught, I never learned how to do it (type) using all my digits, but only the index fingers on each hand (which remains my keyboard technique to this day). Sure, it got so I could fly along at a good clip, but I was never ‘secretary’ material.





Problems, problems.





It would start with just putting the paper in straight, which for me was always a chore. If it was a term paper for school, I would have to add in the footnotes at the bottom of each page (all the ‘ibids’ and ‘op cits’). This meant calculating how much room was needed. Failure to accurately estimate the space would mean your citation running off the end of the page, which in turn meant retyping the whole thing. In retrospect, I believe that my mental illness problems started with typing the same page 15 times. It will do that do you.





The typewriter had a ribbon where the ink that went on the page came from. As the ribbon started to get old, the impression on the hammered page would grow fainter and fainter until you had to pound on the keys like you were trying to break down your ex-wife’s door —  in order to make an impression on the parchment. When a new ribbon was installed, you had to be careful not to smear the fresh ink on your fingers, which would of course transfer to anything else you touched — be it your nose or your dick.





Mistakes. Ah, yes, there were plenty. To eradicate them, all we had in the beginning was a special kind of ‘type eraser’ stuck on the end of what otherwise just looked like a plain pencil and which would remove the ink slowly and painfully. To visualize the process, imagine a trapped animal gnawing off its own paw in order to escape the clutches of the steel jaws. If you got impatient and rubbed too hard, you can guess what would happen: you would bore a hole right through the damned paper. And of course have to start again.





Then, as God is always providing us with in times of dire straits, a miracle came along. This was called ‘liquid paper.’ It arrived in small bottles — like women’s nail polish (used now by guys also I am told) and it had the same sharp smell. You just unscrewed the lid, pulled it off, and you would find that a dainty little brush was attached. You dipped it (not too much!) in the magic white ‘milk’ and gently applied it to the page where your error had occurred. If you weren’t too blind to see what you were doing or shaking too much from the previous night’s under-the-table piss-up, and if you laid it on j-u-s-t right, then the error disappeared and you could start again. Unless, you forgot to give it about 20 seconds to dry. If you started typing right away, it would smear just like kissing a woman (or a guy) with fresh lipstick.





The liquid paper would work like a dream… for a while. Until it gradually started to thicken, which it always did. Then it was like…goo. Or the snot produced like a particularly bad cold. Or bubble gum. The result was a turgid, mucked up mess that the typing key could even get stuck in and have to be manually removed. It was especially heartbreaking when something irretrievably screwed up and draft-ruining happened near the bottom of a carefully wrought page of copy. If it was a personal manuscript, OK. You could just scream obscenities and push on. But if it was intended for a finicky prof, you couldn’t have it looking like somebody with black lung disease had just sneezed all over the page. You had to do it again.





My rage-torn room was always full of wadded up discards. It was how I perfected the art of profanity, moving from one word expletives to combinations as deft as a figure skater and versatile as a break dancer. Whole lyrics and soliloquies of the filthiest and vilest language the English tongue is capable of came boiling from my mouth as if I were inventing Hell right there and then in my pauper’s garrett. 





Somehow I always got my assignments done, and even wrote quite a large section of a never-completed novel. And lots of other stuff, mostly poetry and love letters to women with cold-hearts. I didn’t feel oppressed or put upon, because the typewriter, as a piece of equipment, was as good as it seemed like it was going to get in those days. And when electric typewriters came along to replace the manual ones, I thought that technology (we didn’t use that word back then) had reached its zenith.





I can remember living in Bath, England and carrying a massive old Underwood up six flights of stairs to my bed-sitter (one room ‘studio apartment’) in Green Park, then sitting up nights with flagons of cider banging away, banging away, clickety-clack, clickety-clack, well into the witching hours of the gloaming, sometimes with a lover already asleep in the bed near my desk, but often alone, writing poetry and dreaming that I would become the next Eliot or Yeats.









Then came the word processors and computers, and almost overnight typewriters disappeared faster than the Knights Templar or a pickpocket in the plaza. The typewriter went the way of silent films and the Brooklyn Dodgers. To be honest, I wasn’t unhappy, not a bit.





Until the other evening with Maxim when together we looked through photos of those old machines — the photos looking as grey and dreary and smudge-worn as the old typewriters themselves. But then… a revelation.





It turns out that some authors still use typewriters, just as some continue to write their texts in pen and pencil. Their explanation was simple — and it is the same one used by people who still prefer real books to electronic ones. They prefer the tactile. The physical element. They don’t want to save the planet or recycle their environment so much as they just want to touch and taste and feel and smell and listen to the Sounds of Life.





It’s not — as the IT people might justifiably believe — that such people are just holding on… and how silly… to a past that is no more alive than an ashtray that someone forgot to empty after last night’s party. Nor is it, in many cases, just a matter of anti-social stubbornness and hidebound hoarfrost. 





Think about it — OK, play the romantic for a moment — maybe it’s about people — lovers maybe — who would rather walk home in the rain, arriving completely soaked and yet… somehow… exhilarated, and feeling strangely better for having done so — when the easy solution would have been to grab that taxi sitting nearby. Then ask yourself this simple question based on the scenario I have described: a young couple come in and fling off their wet clothes, glistening in their translucent ivory or ebony nakedness, hair gleaming with rainwater and hurry (maybe) under the shower together before dissolving into each other’s arms in bed…





VS





…..the two in the taxi who come in completely dry and distracted by pressing appointments and tasks, tasks, and more tasks awaiting them in the late hours after work at the business ‘park’, who simply remove their coats, not needing each other now, and immediately start switching switches and punching buttons. And go about their labor and their toil… meticulously, purposefully, silently, sullenly. In the same room, a universe apart.





Which life do you want? Woody Allen (fuck whether or not you like Woody Allen as a human being) captures this perfectly in his film “Midnight in Paris”. The protagonist cannot, CANNOT get his stupid girlfriend to go for a walk in the Parisian rain, and why is that? Because to her, it is ONLY rain, and nothing else. She cannot — because she is too brain dead and materialistic — see the rain, not just as rain, but as metaphor. METAPHOR. But, by disappearing back in time (see the film) he finally finds a girl who will walk with him in the rain. And he never wants to come back to that rainless world and rainless woman that was his ‘holiday’ and ‘fiancee’.





The people who see life as metaphor as always, virtually without exception, are the smartest people and the ones who live the fullest lives.









And so the man who still prefers his typewriter to the keyboard, is not backward or clueless, at least not necessarily. Maybe he is seeing the typewriter as a metaphor for something else — for a way of life which somehow keeps him c-o-n-n-e-c-t-e-d to something he senses is valuable, maybe even precious, and which holds more meaning for him than any quick-fix alternative. He wants to touch life, feel life, smell and taste life — not just as a RESULT but as a PROCESS.





He doesn’t want 50 Starbucks choices of ‘java’ any more than he wants 50 Haagen Daz flavors of ice cream. He wants to taste simple black, well-brewed coffee maybe with a real shot of cream in it —  a fresh dollop!  —  and a simple tasty, fulsome lump of a-u-t-h-e-n-t-i-c ice cream. NOT the frozen semen out of a Dairy Queen contraption.





Just as, I would venture, he wants to taste his friendships. He wants to be in the same room with these people and walk down the streets and through the dawn and the darkness with them. Wake up on the same floor with them after a huge birthday or New Year’s Eve party.





This is what the cyberspace people can not understand. O, they may wake up on the floor the next morning too, but basically they miss the point, just as the man or woman who prefers to order food on a smartphone rather than get up and go and get it fails to understand.





This sad person wants only results. They have forgotten — or never known, which is likely the case today — that the journey counts for more than the result.





Go into the street, meet the people of the wind and the rainy day people of the lanes and avenues and come back, yes, straining with your bags of food and yes, yes, yes, muttering because the wind is cold and sharp, and say hello to that old woman walking her dog, that skulking cat on the fence post, that old man on the stairs, and maybe that pretty girl out on the landing.





Say hi to the drunk in front of the metro and drop a coin in his grubby but grateful hand, pause and listen to that teenager playing classical violin in the frosty evening (I have), watch the cop chasing an illegal immigrant down into the metro, stroke the fur of the lonely but free stray dog on the street, say hello to one and all, pull down your vanities and say hello.









When you get home you will feel better, and the beer will taste better than if you never went out. Much better than if they had just brought it to your door. And if you live in a place where there is no elevator and you have to walk up, rejoice. Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo had to walk up the stairs too. There were no lifts. 





That’s why the old typewriters were worth their salt. You could feel them. You beat on them, and goddamned if they didn’t mess with you in return. Like they knew you and were laughing at you.





Cyberspace doesn’t laugh. It just consumes.





It appears that young Maxim, as if listening to some old jukebox in a roadside diner, or maybe just the voices of the wind, understands this in the way that roosters know when to crow and wolves to howl at the edges of the forest.









===Eric===


https://thinkmytime.com/o-vapid-voyeur-lets-walk-in-the-rain
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Man in The Low Castle


Content 18+ Once there was a man, and there was a s…sorry, employee. It was something I would call an ordinary relation based on power, even though it all began with sweets and roses.




Come closer. I am going to tell you the story which lies beyond the boss-clerk relations, the story that eventually leads to life-changing events. Probably, our hero should be grateful to this man, after all. This was a System Failure.




It was a dark city under the lead-colored sky, strangled by the never-ending crisis. People rushing to the underground in the morning, accidents when some of them fell on tracks. Nine month of cold, windy winter framing three months of glowing summer when nature is trying to live through all the year squeezed in a short period of proliferation.







I was a dark time when local currency denominated twice (I know it can be worse, like hyperinflation – this also happened before, but not this time), when small and medium-size businesses had difficulties even closing the company – I am not saying about opening one. It was a time when witch hunt was proclaimed on the local financial market that eventually leads to the unification of power in the hands of a few.




Many lost their jobs in the financial sector, suffered even more from the destruction of banks when falling colossuses buried smaller companies during their fall. It was a hard time to get some money at all, not even saying anything about planning – and surely not about saving. Just to be clear, I am not telling about some distant time here – it was 2014-2015.




There was a man who managed to slice through this untouched, losing only external layers of his wealth (even not being close to The Power); energetic, handsome, clever – he was renting a yacht when others were searching through the garbage for the remains of food.




When small consulting company realized that in the eye of the storm they got him as a client it was a relief both for the owners and for the team, as now future seemed to be brighter and even icy road to work, covered in cocktail of dust, salt and mud felt like sanctuary on the way to heaven. At last, they could rest and be sure that next year they will be able to pay their mortgage.




At least it seemed so in a beginning. The first bell dinged in the head of the team leader when he got a call at 1 a.m. with some questions about the relatively small transaction. The second one sounded like a horn when it was a call during vacation…which is fine if you are a consultant if it won’t be 5 a.m. After that, the bonds began to tighten. Finally, one of the team members found herself sitting with the notebook on a beach with her kids running around, stuck with the necessity to vacate from vacation 9 till 20 in the evening. Basically, the same transformation happened to the whole team, which later came to a simple understanding – this man was not their client anymore. He was a boss now, a Big Boss, calling on average 30 times per day if not present in the office. It was a perfect hijack, and it was a really sweet one, as he was paying much more than the market was capable of providing.




The team began to work during weekends, holidays, vacations, sleeping with phones. Basically, there were no vacations or holidays at all. As soon as he realized that the team is on hook, payments started to be delayed. A few days here, a few days there – but it was still fine. People were taking the bait deeper. Some might say that it is common or the team was lucky to get at least this. It might be so…but later on demands began to grow even further, spreading to something not discussed initially, and late-night calls were considered to be fine. People started to ask if they can go to have lunch on a daily basis, and it was a frequent “no”.




One day one of the team members got an excellent offer – an offer to become one of the executives of the medium bank, which was up and running and in good health. It was a bright future and really good money. Also, it was a future limited by the blinkers.




When you get this sort of an offer, you say – wow, it is a lifetime opportunity! How far can I go? How much (let’s be honest here) can I earn? I should accept it right now! Give me a pen!




Still, there is a catch. First of all, with this sort of shareholder/stakeholder/boss – call it whatever you want – you won’t be able to actually spend it on yourself. If you have kids – they will see your money, not you. They will be sleeping when you come back home, they won’t be still awake when you leave. Your husband (or wife)? Who is this stranger sleeping on my bed, anyway? I am not talking to him, he is just there to be. Second, how much can you (and here we approach one of the most precious and intimate questions ever) earn? What is the price of your body and soul rented for 14 hours per day? Funny thing is, it is about 2 900 EUR (or 3 125 USD) per month, including a bonus (if you were thinking about it). Yes, a huge salary is for the big boys in high castles, not for the ones who serve those who are in low castles. There are just a few of them, less than 1% of all the CEOs, who earn tremendous amounts of money. Usual truth is way much different.







So, can you really say that it worth it? At first glance – yes. Yet if you look deeper into this grinder, you may realize that it is not really a life of a free person – it is slavery, covered under the hood of prosperity. You can’t actually choose when being dragged, again and again, day after day through this grinder. You can say “no”, you live at work, you live the work, when you have sex you are thinking over the emails for the next day. When you go to bed and close your eyes with vanishing thought of next day meeting with the owner and have dreams about his project – it is not really you anymore. You are being owned.




It strikes like lighting, it is really hard to believe in, yet if you look closer you can see that something is wrong with this world, some small thing that keeps disturbing you. You feel it in the backyard of your mind, digging in, holding your hand before the final signature…and if you let it in you can realize that there is another way. You are not obliged to stay in a place that you feel is wrong. You can look for other opportunities, even being smashed by the situation, not having enough money for the next day – even then you can look around. There are millions of opportunities. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not – other people, laws, situation – try to persuade us that there is no other way, that there are only black and white.




I can tell you one thing – everything is grey. There are many shades of it, it can be brighter or darker, but finally it is only up to you to decide whether to remove blinkers or keep them, whether to take a step towards something new, towards yourself and your own life, towards your future and your kids (if you have them).




What will you choose?




Knock-knock.




===Artem===



https://thinkmytime.com/man-in-the-low-castle
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Desert of Reality


Content 18+ No one really remembers, who was to strike first - us or them… No one really knows.




It was really strange for me to realise one small thing, a tiny issue that most human beings are not even aware of, but one that keeps rolling around in my head. It is a thing that, even knowing, you can't explain it, you still feel it; it still gnaws at you. 




You've felt it since you realised the fact that there's something wrong with the world. No, not crime and poverty and war and all, but something in the blueprint, the basic design. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind. The fact is that there are three levels of reality. We can assert this by gathering all the physics stuff altogether and trying to apply a centrifuge on it.




First, there is a quantum level (a big fuss has been made about it recently), where a quantum foam of uncertainty rules; second, there is a medium level, aka “human level”, which all of us can actually touch and perceive; and, third, there is a macro level, where stars with a mass much bigger than the Sun are rotating more than 30 times in a minute, where super-objects and black holes are distorting the fabric of reality and time itself, causing an impossible thing to happen, where dark matter (or at least we think so as of now, 2019) rules the vastness of space, small lighthouses of the stars glimpsing in a dark, empty cosmos.




There are many of those who are struggling to sum it up, to find The Theory, one single ‘house’ for those three parts. Nothing has actually succeeded as of now, and it is highly possible, that unlike the Einstein theory, it won’t appear. For the present, we have a multidimensional space, branas, p-branas, etc. Probably, it is just an artificial way to explain the things that cannot really be explained this way, because there is another option.




All these three layers can actually apply three different laws, or at least, let’s say, two of them.




Let me show you some pictures. Here is the virtual representation of quantum foam:







(https://phys.org/news/2019-10-physicist-quantum-foam-huge-cosmic.html)




And here is what polygonal landscape looks like before actual rendering:







(https://www.123rf.com/photo_121589849_stock-vector-wireframe-landscape-wire-wireframe-terrain-polygon-landscape-design-3d-landscape.html)




Ok, what I am trying to say here in an absolutely boring way is that there won’t be any problems with laws of physics if we take into account differences in polygons density and different ways of drawing - and rendering - them.




Let’s follow the white rabbit here.




I am not suggesting that our world is actually a simulation or a computer game, I am  not saying that you can actually fly like Neo up in the sky and there is no spoon - moreover - if we are really in the simulation we won’t actually be able to perceive this and (highly) probable we won’t even have any bodies to be unplugged, thus existing only within the simulation, which would mean that it is actually our reality, no less than for artificial intelligence: indeed, the great World Wide Web is a reality itself.




The thing is that in this case there can’t be really The Theory, because the rules are not random nor uniquely predefined. There could be hundreds of Architects building this world, or this could be a dream of just one being, where the dream itself has become a reality for those who are being dreamt of. “What is real? How do you define 'real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” 




Thus being said, welcome to the desert of reality, as one cannot say for sure what is real and what is not unless enters the other side...



https://thinkmytime.com/desert-of-reality
артем, эрик, eric, artem, pencil

Song of Steel


Content 21+ Gasoline was burning, litres per minute. The Turbocharged monster was tearing down the road roaring over the desert, running for the sun. Black polished hood, covering the beast inside, was pan-hot - you could boil a whole pig on it.




The monster and the man were fleeing from something, and this desert was the only witness of the rush.




They didn’t care about speed limits, nor they thought only of  their existence, because they knew the truth burning inside them as they hurtled along..




Fuel for the beast and fuel for the brain, fuel of life, killing and tearing our blue world apart, giving minutes of freedom for one by diminishing hundreds of years on a short glimpse of egoistic struggle for the immitment pleasure of unknown; freedom that doesn’t exist outside, the only real one you can feel inside you…







Modern cars are weak, they do not possess the soul of those which were before them, cars of the dreams, posters of which boys were hanging on the walls. No, they are not like this. They are comfortable like a pillow, unlike those crazy beasts which could kill you if you couldn’t strangle them, rule them, drive them. Crazy torque values, burning wheels when you throttle, cars capable to rotate the crankshaft on the 6th gear, cars that required special tyres...all of them are gone. Well, you could still buy customs, but the era of them finished, just like mighty creatures of the past ceased to exist…




The driver was running from his thoughts, and the roaring engine, thunder rolling over the sand, was singing The Song of Steel for him.



https://thinkmytime.com/song-of-steel