Vision

After 10 years of global recession we all have the sense “somethings gotta give”. I’m not sure if it is just us getting older and more pessimistic, or the world being more aware of the shit that’s happening all around us, either way, there seems to be a lot of crap to deal with these days.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a ridiculous optimist.

I love the endless possibilities that the future holds. I’m obsessed with technology , and its ability to make life easier/better. My childhood idol Kelly Slater has been replaced with Elon Musk (although Slater’s wave pool near saw him take back that top slot). I wait eagerly for the latest releases, whether it be Tesla cars, iPhone software/hardware, or simply my favourite futurist blogger’s tech posts.

It always amazes me how humans , when faced with adversity, how they adapt and find solutions for what would have seemed impossible just years before. Taking the negative, and turning the result into something better than before.

I’m starting to see a change in the world that I think is going to transform our lives quite drastically in the near future. Good people have big power now, young idealists amassing huge fortunes, not hardened by decades of toil, are leading the way. In most of these bright new minds, money is not the goal, making the world a better place is. Zuckerburg has pledged 99% to good causes by the end of his life. He just declared war on all disease which he hopes to cure by the end of the century, a stark contrast to the old guard.

The power is being put into our hands, like never before. We all know the barrier to entry for starting a business is lower than it has every been, but companies like Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb, are creating platforms that make success even easier, because of the intelligent systems they provide for free.

I think the changes are going to transform our lives quite drastically in the near future, because it already has started affecting my life.

In the last few months, Airbnb has paid my bills and for only a 3% commission. It has taken my home and turned it into a money-making machine. It has been my single source of income, besides the odd article being published here and there, since my transition to selling property. It has taken my kids on holiday and scored me the best waves I have had in years this July. You wanna to do the same with your place? You can see how here .

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My child, who is 7, is selling t-shirts online, to people all over the world, without ever having lifted a roll of fabric, or seen an ink printing machine. He draws, someone else takes the order and makes it, he gets paid. He was in pre-school last year. You can check his stuff out here at Joel’s T-Shirt Store and you can follow his antics here on Instagram here

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Elon Musk just announced his plan to create a rental pool for his autonomous cars, once you are dropped off at work, they will enter the rental pool and earn you money, driving other people around, returning to you on summons… your car, an asset. Imagine that first monthly instalment, being less than the profit you made from it being rented out. The cars will hit SA by the end of 2017, the software will likely be available sooner.

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Your home’s roof (another new Musk mission) is now capable of creating more energy than your home needs, through super efficient, beautifully designed solar roofs, and massively improved battery storage systems, you can feed excess energy back into the grid, earning you money.

When the things you own, earn you money back, you suddenly start turning everyday items into assets, and passive income. And where you don’t own?…well,  there are multiple cheap options to outsource. Imagine the cost of transport and how it will drop when the energy is coming from the sun, and every car is capable of being rented out as a taxi. The cost of electricity, when every home makes you more than it costs.

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I think the true power and potential of the internet is yet to be realised, we are are only scratching the surface. The ability to create these platforms that connect everyone may be of far greater importance than social media further down the line, it may be the future of true democracy. Where voting happens in real-time and honesty and accountability are inescapable, removing us from the ancient shackles of government and industry.

I still eagerly await the ability to upload my consciousness or an eternal solution to my ageing cells, but in the meantime, I’m pretty happy about self-driving cars and Kelly’s wave pool.

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Eternal Life

When my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013, her biggest fear was not being able to see our kids grow up. There are two parts to this fear, firstly the personal fear of missing out on the experience, having Joel and Anna was easily our greatest life achievement, witnessing their journey to adulthood is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. The second part of that fear was the consequences of her death, and how that would affect them, how would they turn out without their Mom. Losing your Mom at the tender age of 2 and 5 would undoubtedly have consequences, pretty much a new mother’s worst nightmare.

After coming to terms with the fact that her death was an actual possibility, my thoughts turned to possible ways to preserve her values, memories and character so in the worst case scenario, she might still be able to have an influence on them in their growing years. She might not get to experience them growing up, but they could still have her influence through their formative years through video messages, and a small library of her thoughts.

The hard part was going to be getting her to agree. She was fighting cancer, and the possibility of losing that battle was not even a consideration for her, she was an extremely strong woman, this would basically be considering the possibility of defeat.

So I bought a video camera, and secretly started documenting quiet moments with the kids. Watching them back now with the kids, it’s pretty funny how to transparent I was, every time I pick the camera up she glares at me, and says, switch that thing off!

Over a few awkward and gingerly attempts I tried to get her to talk to me on camera. She wasn’t having any of it. Eventually, we had the conversation and she explained that she couldn’t do it. She was in a life and death fight for her survival and her entire focus had to be on defeating it. I agreed and dropped the subject.

Unfortunately, by the time we knew the end was close, she had long lost her ability to speak, or communicate. This was one of the few regrets I was left with after her passing. Should I have pushed harder? What else could I have done to preserve her memory?

It stayed with me, I thought about it often, I thought of writing a children’s book for them, with a storyline that described our love and our journey but I wanted something that would stay with them until adulthood. I kept her cell phone with the idea that they could somehow learn about their Mom through the things she followed, the pics she took, the texts we sent each other? It all felt very spaced out and disconnected.

Part of me was frustrated, convinced that had she been consciously aware that the end was  near, she would have left us something. Optimistically I searched her phone, her computer, her emails. I found nothing.

In late 2015 we had to move house, two days after the madness, I was sitting on the floor in the new garage, going through boxes and deciding what was going to come in the house and what was being stored. I noticed a book that I didn’t recognise. A diary. I opened the first page and the first words took my breath right out of my chest…

“My book of just in case…..To my darling husband…”

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What followed over the next 15 pages is hard to describe without tears. The bravest, most intimate messages to the kids and I, written in case that she didn’t make it. It was nothing short of talking to her from the afterlife, two years after her death. It was exactly what I had been looking for. It was something, even if it was just a few pages,  of HER, talking to the kids, in her words, in the future, from the past.

Since her death I had been thinking of ways to make a hard copy of myself, should the unimaginable happen and they lost me too. This very blog has always been a part of that plan, a record of my thinking, our journey. I sketched up a loose concept and emailed it to my friend Tank who takes ideas and turns them into real websites. The idea was a sort of an online family tree, where generations from now you could travel way back on your family lineage and meet your great great great great grandfather, learn what he stood for, and understand your heritage with an accurate first-hand account. He wasn’t convinced, saying it sounded a lot like Facebook and I kind of agreed. It lacked the hook, who cares what happens in 100 years.

Then I stumbled across this…

An app for talking to the dead? Woman brings best friend back to life as AI chatbot

What…!  No, they didn’t!

Oh yes, they did. When this woman lost her best friend, she was devastated and in an attempt to find closure (she happens to work with Artificial Intelligence Apps) , she fed thousands of his text messages, images and personal data into a chatbot with the ability to learn his style of writing, and personality, to create appropriate responses to real-time questions. The result…. hauntingly real life conversations with her long since dead friend. Creepy ? Little bit! Comforting? According to her , absolutely. It’s helped her cope with his death. And friends say that the chatbot has nailed his sense of humor, often making funny light quips about his tragic death.

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This was created after his death using what little they had left of his digital history. Which got her (and me) thinking, what if you built the virtual personality before death, what if you could give the A.I everything it needed to be a real as possible. From beliefs, values, actual voice recordings, facial expressions the neural network learns who you are and they way you react… you essentially are backing yourself up to a hard drive. Sure, when you die, you’re dead… but that doesn’t mean the people left behind need to lose you! I did some more digging… and found this…

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It’s exactly what I was thinking about! With a much better grasp on what is, and will be possible, they have got an incredible plan.

Using the latest in artificial intelligence, facial recognition, data analysis, these guys aim to build your immortal digital profile. But word is people have been waiting since 2014 for something to actually happen. I hope it’s not too far off.

So would you back yourself up? We all want to leave a legacy, don’t we? Nobody wants to be forgotten. Is there anybody you would like to have a chat with, that has left this place? Imagine you could simply text or FaceTime with your lost loved ones, hear their voice, listen to their opinions on your daily problems. Imagine my daughter, reaching adolescence and being able to text her Mom about her boy problems, and getting real advice back, in her Mom’s words… kinda like that scene from Man of Steel (Superman), when his dad appears as a digital avatar in the spaceship… God I sound like a nerd.

I know one thing, its a lot easier to build your digital backup before you are given a terminal diagnosis, besides most people don’t get time to ponder their departure like Jess did. I also know how much those few pages she wrote meant to me, and will mean to my kids one day. So I know I’m in. It’s hugely comforting to think my kids could have a conversation with my avatar long after my death, and its answers will be based on my logic and belief systems.

So I’ve signed up.

The full story about Roman Mazurenko’s chatbot and how they built it, read it here

 

 

 

Joel drew this!

So how cool is this… Joel has his own tee shirt line!

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I’m not sure when Joel first started drawing… since I can remember he has been carrying a pen and paper around, and the pictures and doodles I find all around our house make my jaw drop. He has such an imagination. Well of course I would think so, I’m his Dad!

I recently stumbled across this cool site that allows you to upload designs and sell the tees to anyone who is interested, they manufacture and ship them direct to the buyer! Anywhere in the world. How rad?

So this weekend we scanned a few of his old drawings, vectorized them for printing and asked him to write up a name…so he wrote … Joel Drew this…. with the ‘s’ backwards, hahaha. In the spirit of it being truly his, I kept it exactly as he wrote it.

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So we have uploaded a few options, kids tees and adult ones for his “big fans”… The selection process was tough. He chose the colorways and was very critical of his drawings but we managed to agree on a few.

Come have a look at the stuff, its pretty classic… I think his mom would be very proud.

You can see his stuff here https://teespring.com/stores/joeldrewthis 

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So come check it out and follow his journey! who know maybe these first tees will be worth some serious cash one day! haha.

 

DJ DA part 2

2015-06-16 21.47.30Hospital visits are fun…

Like the time when you (Joel) had eaten so much popcorn you got a stomach ache, the pain was so excruciating (as soon as it was time for bed, you literally couldn’t walk….
tears streamed, howls were made at the moon. It was quite traumatic for Kimmy especially who had never witnessed such a thing. My hardened parental instincts told me better, we weren’t buying this act! You were asleep in minutes and I was convinced I had won the war…. 20 mins later you were at it again… screaming about this pain that was sure to be the end of your life on earth, I was now in uncharted territory, too afraid to call your bluff, surely this was real.

It was time for the hospital.

We exit the house in a spectacular fashion, as if a tidal wave is descending upon our location, there is screaming and running, and although I realise I do not have my wallet, I know that I cannot turn back…your death is imminent!

As I tear around the corners, you writhe in pain on the passenger seat, it’s the longest 5 km I’ve ever driven. We arrive at the hospital, as if you have been shot. The panic is very evident on my face and I’m ushered through to the casualty with haste, you in my arms, suddenly quiet at the change of scenery.

The doc prods and feels, you remain quiet, he suggest an X-ray, I agree, whatever it takes…we go…through the corridors, you suddenly asking lots of questions and are much less critical, you might actually live.

Once you are inside the X-ray room, the gravity of the situation hits you. And me. I don’t like these places, I have spent too much time in them already. You look at me with big eyes.

A loud noise erupts from your butt. Relief washes over your face.

You look at me with pride and say, “we can go home now dad, it was just a fart”.

We return home…

Me …R1500 poorer, 10 years older

You… chatty, and quite hungry actually.

The Future is Now!

How cool is this!

Every Sunday night we try figure out a good family movie to sit down and watch with the kids, sounds super old fashioned but it’s not really, it’s just a way of getting Joel to stop watching YouTube tutorials on how to make spiderman suits, or that irritating nerd from gaming beaver, narrating his way through hours of video games.

So the last few Sundays have been the following: Honey I Shrunk the Kids (actually pretty damn scary and brilliantly done for being last century), Holes , Matilda and this past weekend, Back to the Future! We ended up watching both 1 and 2, during number 2 they actually go into the future for the first time, and when they did, this is when they went…

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Thats right,  21 October 2015….they go to this very month! Like 2 weeks from now!

Haha i’m laughing like such a movie nerd right now but i was so blown away by the coincidence and it got me thinking alot about where we are now, nearly thirty years after its release. 

So here are a few cool little things i noticed about our vision of the future all those years ago:

Firstly flying cars, thats the opening shock scene of what the future had instore for us, amazing how little progress there has been on the automobile front, although with the invention of commercially viable electric vehicles, a big game changer is upon us and commercial self driving cars look only a couple years away.

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Secondly when Doc pulls out a little rectangular device and looks  through it, picking up the facial recognition of people in the street, not very far off smart phones and existing facial recognition technology that is common even on your Facebook images. Bear in mind this movie was made long before the first commercial cell phone.

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The glasses that let him see all kinds of information… google glass… spot on!

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Marty gets fired by fax after he accepts a dodgy deal via his tv which skype, facetime or many other apps can do for you right now, its not even novel anymore. (oh and thats Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers by the way)

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Then there is the iconic hoverboard, which very recently has made a bit of a buzz, people are trying to make one, but everything i have seen so far is pretty shit, nowhere near the movie version, but people are trying.

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There are many other “not-so-novel-now” items, ordering food off a robot menu , intelligent fabric clothing, self lacing Nikes (wait thats cool, why hasnt that happened?)

But perhaps the most exciting thing, is the one thing that isn’t in there, Something that connects every human on earth, allows freedom of speech, freedom of knowledge, that removes barriers of communication, and allows collaboration on a global scale.

Its the internet.

Why is that the most exciting, because the biggest technological advancement of the past 30 years was not something we could have put into words then, yet we managed to create it anyway.

That to me is exciting, because at the rate we are going, with Artificial intelligence, nano technology, internet communication and collaboration, global awareness of important issues, who actually knows what the next 30 years has in-store? The chances are its something we cant even imagine right now. Sure there is a chance these things might be used for the wrong reasons, and there is always the chance we are going to self destruct over religion or power mongering, but i believe most of us want to live in a peaceful world, we want equality, we want health and longevity, we want to live, and the more we are able to drown out the media, connect to a common understanding, and leave the trouble makers behind. 

Lack of education, media manipulation and propaganda stand in the way of a truly democratic world. The internet can solve both of those. The historical times of power limited to a few is coming to an end, when two guys think up an idea like Google, and within a few years are solving the worlds biggest problems, or a guy like Elon Musk who single handedly has taken on saving the planet’s need for fossil fuel and immigration to space, at the same time….you know we live in exciting times.

We have problems to solve. We are not born equal, and we are not the same, but nobody deserves to be treated differently, everyone deserves a fair shot at life, and I think that is where we are headed. Its easier than ever to start a business, become an artist of any kind, to learn things or understand why. The barriers to entry are lower than ever before. People from all across the planet unite on common interests, strangers will help you raise capital for almost nothing in return, my late wife’s experimental treatment (refused by medical aid despite being the only possible cure) was paid for with crowd funding. Before the internet she would have had no choice in how she left this world, it would have been in pain and left us with huge regret. The Internet is allowing people to side step traditional control and achieve things that we could never have done before.

Conversely its harder than ever before for governments to get away with murder, they still do, but its getting harder every day. A simple cellphone video has the ability to go viral in minutes. Whistle blowers like Edward Snowden are hero’s to some even if his own goverment doesnt think so. there are always two sides to the truth, at least you get to see both now, and decide which is the lessor of two evils. you have the power, whether you realise it or not. the world might look like a shit storm right now, but bear in mind stuff like this has been happening for centuries, we are just more aware of it now, on a global scale. we are waking up. looking around, and for the first time, hearing each others voices from across the planet. That has never happened before. You are living in a time that will define the future like never before. in this radically changing landscape of information, and technology.

We need a new moral code that unites us as people of earth, not separates them for their differences. We need tolerance, understanding and respect for each others beliefs, understanding that we have far more in common than what separates us. We must stop fighting over what happens after we die, and focus on living well while we are here. We need a platform that takes the power back from corrupted governments, banks and corporations and has the strength to lead capitalism in a direction that benefits the whole world, not just a few. We need to be informed and act as one species. We need transparency.

Bring on the future. I want age reversing, i want an end to poverty and world hunger. i want wave pools that look like Pipeline but have soft foamy bottoms, i want to upload my conciousness to artificial body so i can clone myself and be in 15 places in one time. i want space exploration. above all i want peace. i want to be a species (not a race, or a nationality) that is intelligent and worthy of colonizing space, that cares for all of it’s planet. not the mixed up, racially divided, proud, greedy, individuals we are now. We have to fix that.

So bring on the future. 

P.S Check out my curation page , Its A Rad World , it’s the best of the Internet and stuff that gets me super excited about the future. No negative crap. http://www.scoop.it/t/its-a-man-s-world 

About Time … and Money.

Hi. Howzit!

Been thinking really hard lately on the whole issue of time, not only spending it in as valuable a way as possible, or finding that balance, but how to get more of it!

I have this thing, where I monitor myself, my life from an external perspective, I talk a lot about perspective, I think cause as someone who has strong beliefs or views on things, it’s fascinating to me that there is more than a single truth to a simple fact. The reason I keep looking at my life from alternate perspective is probably Jess. I always want to make sure my decisions would be in-line with how she wanted our kids to be raised. So that’s how I keep myself in check. And I know when I can do a better job, I feel it, I see it through her eyes. Then I make an effort to correct myself and do a better job.

Last year was a lot of me, figuring out who I was and what I wanted life to be, this year has been much more about the others in my life. I find the thing that makes me feel the best is a weekend well spent with the kids and Kimmy. Needless to say all my projects and selfish goals have taken a bit of a back seat!  Combine that with the worst winter of surf in KZN history, surfing has all but gone out the window! Lately I’ve resorted to forcing myself to surf when I get a chance regardless of the conditions, hell even a swim in the sea has done the trick, it still amazes me what a big part the ocean plays in keeping me on an even keel. It’s some kind of magic.

But that whole time thing, the value of it, it’s a big deal for me, and I have been looking at the ways I can really make it mine. I’m not a very structured person, I’m not sure a daily planner with all my desires scheduled in to an allocated time slot would work, I need to feel like the time is right and then get stuck in (partly why writing has been hard lately). But it my realization is this: It comes down to money. They say money can’t buy happiness, in many cases I believe that, but money can buy you time, and with freedom of time, it’s far easier to find happiness. Time is our most valuable commodity, you can never get back that minute that just passed, nor can you put a price on an open calendar, with the money to do what you want.

Surplus cash and an empty calendar. Now that’s a very far-fetched dream for most people in their 30’s , 40’s or even 50’s. But that’s something I’m trying to hack into, I’m studying the best ways to build a passive income, whether its building a business to make millions and retire, or re-evaluate your needs to suit a more modest living, supported with some form of passive income.

There is no doubt some of the luxuries of the modern world make life easier and more enjoyable to live, but at the cost of what? Whats your balance, what are you prepared to sacrifice to reclaim time?  What if you don’t have to sacrifice? That’s what I’m interested in, I want both, I want the cash freedom combined with time freedom. I’m not talking extreme stuff like living in a hut on a deserted island (that would be great for the first week) I’m talking about ways of building an income to compliment my salary, take the pressure off, give myself a little independence to know everything I do is a choice, not for pure survival. There is a big difference in morale across those two mindsets, even if the job is the same.

So over the next few months I’m going to post some stuff about this whole journey, some of the clever little life hacks there are to get control of your ship, without radically sacrificing anything. I’m going to stick to the stuff I have actually tried and tested. Maybe I find something that actually works. I’ll be the guinea pig. Feel free to share anything you are interested in or anything that’s worked for you.


  
I think humans got it wrong somewhere along the line, when profit became more important than life, individual success put ahead of collaboration and the betterment of life for everyone, the world we live in now is broken on so many levels but I think there is a growing consciousness of this. I’ve always been an optimist, and in honour of that I have revived an old favorite of mine, basically a curated selection of the coolest stuff happening around the world, stuff that gives me hope in the future. It’s better than watching Carte Blanche, or reading the newspaper, I promise. You can check it out here.

Speaking of hope, Jess’s mom Debbie has been busy over the last year helping a local charity in Shakas Rock (Ballito)

Jess was very passionate about serving the under privileged and in that honour, Debbie is doing some great stuff with Ithemba Labasha Community Centre. The English translation of Ithemba Labasha is “Hope For Our Children”

They get very little support from the community and no government funding at all, that’s part of the reason Debbie decided to get involved.

The community Centre runs a full day care for 45 toddlers who get fed breakfast and lunch daily. In the afternoons after school, a further 100 children come to the Centre for a hot cooked meal daily, Monday to Friday. In total 145 children are fed daily!

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They need funding. Supplying good nutritious food is high on the priority list! There are also basic costs to be covered like electricity, water, gas, security, maintenance etc. With an monthly donation target of R20,000.00 they will be able to massively improve the quality of these kids lives. Funds are strictly controlled.

They have developed a supporting committee to the existing NPO committee, consisting of an auditor, some business people and people just passionate about making a difference. There are some great plans in the works to create and sustain some real change in these kids lives, all the way through to being released into the adult life.

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Ithemba Labasha has an NPO number and they are in the process of applying for Section 18A status (Section 18A status, donors can get Tax relief for their donations).

Besides cash, all other donations such as old clothing (children and adults) shoes, blankets, curtains, household goods, kitchenware, toys etc are all very welcome. You can contact Debbie at debbiej2@telkomsa.net

If you are feeling the love, Ithemba Labasha’s bank details are…

Ithemba Labasha Centre.

Ned Bank Acc No: 1098605667

Code No:131026

So that’s all I got for this peaceful Saturday morning. My kids are behaving like little adult humans today which is so cool. They’re sitting here around me playing with puzzles and Spiderman, we’re clicking today. Whilst setting myself up to write this morning I discovered an old album on iTunes this morning, Live: Throwing Copper. Think its been 14 or 15 years since I saw them play in Durban. That was a fat jol. Time flies.

I’ll leave you with a quote I saw on instagram last night that I thought was pretty cool:

“Your future self is watching you right now through memories…”

What do you want those memories to? Better get to it…

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Dear Anna, Dear Joel. Part 1

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Hi you rubbishes!

Well this is an experiment and I hope I can keep it going. I’ll keep adding to this as much as i can, every time you do something worth remembering, or just gathering material for black mail in the future…at the very least there will be some good stories for your 21st birthdays. Here’s a snapshot of the nonsense you two have been up too this year so far :

Sleep: you guys go down every night with minimal drama, slap on a playlist and 2 songs in each of your beds does the trick, i actually feel bad, it is kinda hypnotic, you don’t stand a chance, most times you are both twitching by the end of the first spiderman song…

But during the night…

The war continues! Anna sleeps all night, anywhere, anyhow! Joel not so much, you actually advised me last week that if I were to leave the wooden spoon next to your bed, you would definitely spend the whole night in bed. When I asked why the wooden spoon you answered “because mom used to use it and it’s much harder than a smack” thank you, point taken, I’ll be sure to use that in that future.

Eating: we negotiate dinner every night, the roles have flipped and Joel you kinda eat like a horse, Anna requires motivation and threats, perhaps wooden spoon can work its magic here too

Bathing: Both your favorite lately is family bath, when the three of us try to squeeze in, Anna combs my hair with the foot scrubber (charming) and Joel you hold your breath and squirt water from your mouth despite having just watched Anna “wee like a boy” into our little swamp of heaven.

Holidays have been a blast for you guys, the week we spent in Seal point gave you all kinds of confidence and independence which terrified the daylights out of me, but you are better off for it no doubt, you bonded with your cousin Mila for the first time, PoPo took you running in the sand dunes every day and your granny faraway looked after you for entire week doing arts and crafts so i could catch my breath. Your granny (Bal)Lito has been a star at keeping you entertained since you both got home, play dates, cousins, movies you name it! Truth be told I never had relationships with either of my grandparents like the ones you have with both sets. Very lucky kids. You better repay all the love when they’re old and rotten, visit them lots and spoil them.

Anna, you insist on your tea bottle every morning at 5 am whilst snuggling into my chest and watching Frozen for the millionth time. I love it too. Even if my eyes are burning and I’m in a foul mood from lack of sleep.

Joel you are part human part Dinosaur, perhaps more dinosaur with hints of human, you run around our house making that god awful noise , with your little arms tucked up like a T-Rex or Spineosaurus or Indominosaurus… I don’t know, you change your favourite meat eater every week… If Indy the cat bites you, and he does so regularly, it’s because he is so confused and terrified of what we bought home 6 years ago and what it has transformed into.

Your interest in the opposite sex is alarming… how would Yoda say… The force is strong with this one…. Kimmy has endless patience with your attempts to “by mistake” bust into the bathroom and see her naked. Nevertheless she endures and you continue to sneak. Definitely an appreciation of the female breasts in your future.

Both your favorite things are dancing in the lounge with the music full blast, tickles and rough play on the bed, which you try and lure me into every morning and every night. Joel … Endless hours of youtube videos dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs… Anna you are not obsessed with anything specific, you dabble with a bit of Barbie, a bit of dress up, although you loving helping, no matter what it is, packing the dishwasher, cooking, juicing the veg. You guys have such good mates in our complex and not a day goes by where the gang is not up to something. Cian, Nathan, Troy, Noah Shaun, Noah, Riley, Rider, Ripp, Willow.

You guys drive me nuts and I still can’t be away from you for more than a few minutes without having a physical pain in my chest. Honored and excited that it’s my job to raise you for the next 20 years. Here are some pics and videos as evidence.

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Where Does The Time Go?

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So I’ve been really useless at keeping the blog flowing. It’s been six months since my last post.

I’ve been busy! I swear!

I’ve been writing a bit I guess, but nothing here which is supposed to be a legacy of thoughts for my kids one day, so this is me telling myself to shine up, and promising to be more regular.

I may have been quiet but I have not been idle! I penned two stories for our local surf mag Zigzag, one about Casey Grant which i also posted here, and I just wrote another one about that insane swell we had, the one that turned St Francis bay into a Mexican point break. The mag only comes out in a few weeks, so I’ll put it up after.

So much going on besides work and raising two toddlers, here is a quick debrief…I’ll try do it in one breath:

Deep inhale…Ace Ventura style:

In December I had an awesome holiday in Seals, the waves cooked and I surfed a bunch then it stopped so I had to sit still and which was very hard cause the last time I was there was with Jess so I had to deal with some stuff, had some tears, and had one very large night with my little brother Josh which I cannot remember the end of, but when I woke up I was best friends with Derrick Watts from Carte Blanche, which was cool but I was missing a beautiful girl called Kim who I was falling head over heels for so I flew home for New Years and we partied with her family and friends and a rhino and drank till the sun came up, it was the best new years I have had in years and I smiled a lot then I went back to work and surfed when I could which wasn’t much but then found a gap to go to Mozambique for a weekend which was amazing and the waves were amazing which my new girlfriend who had never dated a surfer didn’t think was so amazing but we had a jol and drank beer and watched the sun go down over a beautiful lake with some friends, and laughed, and then I surfed again the next day, which inspired me to enter the RVCA Jbay Open trials, which was a long shot, but all you rad people voted me in so I got chance to go up against the top guys in the country and I lost early and my legs were too tired to walk up the beach but had such a blast and then went back down to Cape St Francis to see meet my niece Mila and my brothers and sister and cousins and parents and it was very cool…..

Dramatic exhale.

All in all good stuff! Fun stuff!! Kids are doing great and we have been busy! My hair grew long and i got a fuzzy beard. My friends hate it and say i look like a Neanderthal, or blonde Jesus, then I tie it up in a bun and they get really mad, but that’s okay cause I’ve always wanted to grow my hair long and look like a hippy. I am amazed at the energy and passion I have for learning and hunting down new projects. I thought much of it was a knee jerk reaction to losing Jess, a sort of a way of distracting myself, but it seems to be a new way of life for me and I’m very grateful for that. I’ve got some big ideas floating around in my head and I’m hoping I can turn them into reality.

So as I keep mentioning (probably because I’m embarrassed to think people actually read this) this blog is a place where my kids can come back and read everything that was going through my head in their early years, and as they grew up, it might help them understand the decisions I made that might seem crazy years later (hey guys, pack your bags we are movin to indo!!) but it struck me recently whilst watching some incredibly old footage I found in my garage, that it’s a great place to tell them about themselves too. Where else am I going to keep all these funny as hell little movie clips, stories they tell, and other awesome little things they get up too. So I’m setting a reminder (part of my new weeks resolutions), every 3 months, I’m going to write them both a post, documenting the nonsense they have been getting up too, sometimes it might be stories, sometimes just pics or videos. It may seem trivial or stupid at the time, but looking back in twenty years its going to fill me with kinds of fuzzy warm stuff… after watching the stuff I found, I realized how fast it all goes. if I’m lucky enough to live that far, I may as well be smart enough to make it count.

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Speaking of making it count, I recently won a battle I have been waging unconsciously for 16 years! The DSTV disease!

The single biggest waste of time in my life since I moved into my first apartment, watching reruns over and over and over and unable to pull myself away. I finally disconnected DSTV for good, partly cause I can’t afford it, but mostly because it’s a load of repeating crap! I almost never saw anything new and constantly got sucked into movies I knew exactly how they were going to end.

Useless.

Anyhow, I upgraded my internet to an uncapped line (half the price of DSTV) and created a YouTube account, now I follow a bunch of my favourite channels YouTube accounts and every day I have fresh content that is relevant to me. I watch through my Apple TV and its crisp HD. Discovery, Nat Geo, Science channels, Vice TV (so good) WSL (surf stuff) all my favorite companies, brands magazines have YouTube channels with cool content, TED talks, come on!!! the smartest people in the world talking about their passion, craft, science whatever, in 20 min digestible chunks, for free! Every day! I cant get enough of it!

I find myself watching much more interesting and relevant subjects, less nonsense that I could actually careless about. If movies and series are you thing, streaming sites like PopcornTime (naughty but free) and Netflix will take care of your needs. Time is valuable, if I’m going to watch something it better be fresh!

All this free time on my hands and suddenly my brain starts working again! I started searching for stuff that really makes me tick, and stumbled onto this little gem.

Wait but Why.

You are bound to have come across this blog already, the guy is practically famous now….  its hard, there is so much content in your face every day, what is actually worth the time it takes to click… regardless, this is another opportunity to get involved… if you want to have some very relevant and complex issues explained in a way that makes you feel that you actually understand… this is for you.

My poor friends and family, I have bent their little ears off with all of this, the only person who has shown equal amount of interest, is my little boet, Josh, which is awesome when we finally get time to talk, then we can bend the shit out of each others ears. W.B.W is my current school for thought, it’s the site that has given my brain the best work out its had in years, hell, maybe ever! I have simply not come across anybody who can break down extremely complex and important subjects in a manner that makes them so easy and fun to digest.

Here are some of my favourite posts…

Elon Musk. This guy…. wow, ever want to feel insignificant in your achievements, just check out this chap… current projects… changing auto industry from petrol to electric, re-invent energy consumption on a global scale and remove humans need for fossil fuel, oh and colonize Mars…. all of which he is progressing fairly nicely with… and he is from South Africa too. You can read it here

A.I ….did you know that there is some crazy stuff happening in this world right now, really really smart people are building really smart things. It’s all very exciting if you ask me, and nobody sums the very complex subject up quite like Tim Urban. If you not interested to read any further , consider for the following for a second … there is a reasonable to fair chance that in that the next 20 years they will develop technology so advance that you will become immortal… it’s quite likely actually. Blow your mind here

His one post is about life weeks, and he offers you a new perspective by visually breaking down your life into weeks on a graph…. this is what it looks like….

weeks of my life

0 years to 90 years, each square is a week

Not THAT many weeks are there… are there….

You can read the post here, but the summary of what he is getting at is the value of every week, if you are lucky enough to live a full life… look at those squares… there not that many of them! So he suggests adopting a new weeks resolution, instead of a new years resolution… I’m sold!

If you are not sold and you think what a load of crap, I’m just going to wing it… maybe you want to have a good laugh instead… read this one, on procrastination. I cried, I really did, so funny, that monkey runs my life.

I’m still really into this whole teaching my kids valuable life lessons around their school hours and stuff, and welcome any links, ideas, info you might be keeping to yourself so your kid becomes clever and mine doesn’t… I always love the few weeks after I post a new blog and the people who reach out with info, suggesting things I might like and stuff to check out, its my favourite part of all of this. Please send any forward thinking progressive online teaching stuff you may have come across!

So that’s all the good happy stuff, not much room allowed for the rest. I’m sure those of you who have followed our story are wondering how I’m seeing somebody already, and how I’m starting a new relationship whilst still dealing with the loss of Jess. I’ll be honest, because really what else is there to be, this is me, there is no point in softening things up for anyone.

The truth is I don’t know, they are completely different paths yet inexplicably intertwined, the one has nothing to do with the other , yet they couldn’t exist without each other. Losing Jess was an experience that has changed me as a person, the world has a harder edge than what I would have believed before,  less romantic than it all looked a few years ago for sure. I’m still an idealist, even though I carry a wound that reminds at times to be a realist, the idealist still wins. It’s a choice.

There is a song that goes, “it’s better to feel pain than nothing at all, the opposite of love is indifference“.

I embrace my pain for Jess because to understand the great heights of true love, you must experience the pain of loss, you’ll never know you’re at the top until you’ve touched the bottom, that old chestnut. That pain only cements the value of what we had. I feel the same today as I did the day she died, it will never change. I will never get over it. That’s not how it works. But I will never live in the middle , indifferent to love because I am afraid of losing someone again.

I have so much love still to give, and lucky me I found an incredible person to give it too. Not even she will ever understand the role she has played in getting the three of us back on our feet. Nothing is forever so grab it while you can and hold on tight until it is ripped away.

So here’s to love! and making the most of life! and cancelling DSTV!

Peace and love from your hippie friend Simon.

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Time To Explore

 

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This picture is a good snap shot of my happy place, living where the land meets the sea, I find so much peace in the ocean, but mostly it reminds me that the world is a mystical place.  It also reminds me that I need balance. I took this picture on Thursday evening last week, its been a busy couple weeks at work and the end of the year is fast approaching. Kim and i sat quietly on the beach listening to the sea and breathing fresh ocean air, it was a good time to reflect on things, be appreciative for what i have. it got me thinking about the pace of life and how we go through it with comfort blinkers on.

We all cling to things that comfort us, things that we can bury our faces into when the world scares us…. for some of us its religion, for others its material objects to distract and play with, maybe its a person, who makes you feel safe, or the ocean . Some of us fill our lives up with so much drama and gossip that we never need to stand still, quiet our mind and stare out into the night wondering why all of this … is.

I have made a conscious decision to explore myself, my mind, what makes me tick and what the hell are we doing here.

What I have started unravelling is fascinating. I have so much to say, so much running through my head I can’t write fast enough to get it all out. Like water falling from a huge waterfall landing on my head, every drop is a new thought, idea, energy pounding through me, its relentless and intense. It’s the most exciting feeling to have this unlocked this part of myself. I feel like im an explorer who has landed on a new mystical shore in another galaxy and anything is possible.

So I’m searching, looking at myself from so many angles, my life, the world, the universe, whats is really happening right now and I’m fascinated by us, and the bizarre and complex life form we have become.

Death has brought this curiosity to me, and the first anomaly that I have come across is my life… have you ever wondered where you were before this? the observable universe (what we are able to see so far) is 13 billion years old …well that’s as far as we can tell for now…. that is a long time…. if you had to scale that period of time into one year, the human race only showed up in the last few seconds of the last-minute of Dec 31st…. and the longest surviving human life is not even a millisecond on that scale… in the scale of time and space, our life time almost doesn’t exist it is so small. for some strange reason I find this fact comforting? I don’t know why it just seems today we all take ourselves so seriously but we are really small and insignificant as individual beings…

So where has your life force been before this?  You are not afraid of where you came from, why should you be any more afraid of where you are going after you die? You had no say in coming into this world, yet you did, you are here, conscious, thinking, powerful human being that has the incredible power to imagine, think and most exciting of all… choose. You call the shots. If you want to do something you have the ability through the left hand side of your brain to turn that thought or idea from your right brain into a reality… that is just fascinating.

We have crawled out of the sea, and climbed into spaceships and stood on the moon, in the shortest conceivable time we have begun looking back to where we came from, and started figuring out our place in this universe. but fear holds us back, fear of the unknown, fear of the black space we float in, fear of our temporary consciousness… we find ways to make ourselves feel safe, things to cling to, things to distract us…

My facination is as much about what we don’t know as what we do,  there is so much we have yet to understand about our potential. Much of these questions stem from the last few weeks of my late wife’s life, her brain tumour had taken ownership of the left-hand side of her brain, and left her unable to communicate with us. It was a very scary thing to watch the person I love go through, but that fearful experience left me with so many questions, I needed to know what she was going through… one afternoon we were sitting at the little table in her ward, I was helping her eat some lunch, and I asked her ( almost as a rhetorical question, because she very seldom spoke more than a yes or a no at this point)… “what is going on in that head of yours Jess?” I asked…she looked at me, peaceful as anything, and said…”I’m trying to get to you but im stuck up in the ceiling over there…” it was the strangest thing sitting there with her, knowing that she was experiencing a completely different reality to mine.

Then I came across this incredible story… a neuroscientist who had a stroke and lived to tell the tale, she describes in detail the experience of losing the left hand side of her brains functionality, her version of events is as specific as you could ever hope to hear. Then another video on a similar life changing near death experience, then I recalled the near death experience of a friend which I witnessed first hand, I helped him pulled from the ocean with no pulse, and watched as he was slowly brought back to life over 15 minutes of resuscitation. a few weeks later after he described to me a similar experience to this woman, all random, all very similar experiences and all have different beliefs. Now im not searching for answers to the afterlife, in my opinion that is a waste of precious time, we all get to find out one day, I am more interested in the seemingly common thread of clues that suggest a higher realm of consciousness, we can understand our place here, and how we all are connected. It’s pushed me to a place where I need to ask questions, I’m not satisfied with my contribution to the world so far, I think I’m better than this… I think we all are.

So I have become consumed by self discovery, by exploring myself and educating my kids in way that will help them understand themselves and the effect they have on others, I have promised myself I will not let life get in the way of this most important journey. I am aware that we have a fantastic amount of potential and live in a world with such incredible possibilities, but we allow ourselves to be ensnared in the belief that we need to go to wake up, work, make money, watch tv, go to bed and repeat, day after day. I’m not saying we should quit our jobs, there is virtue in an honest day of work, and our modern world is governed by the monetary system we have created, stepping away from that will make life very difficult, what I’m going after is how you balance that work, how do you spend your down time, what are we leaving behind for the next generation. That’s where I want to be different, that’s where I need to change.

So the December holidays are here, and its the best time of year to get a little personal with ourselves? But it’s so easy for that time to come and go in the blink of an eye, happens to me so often, I’ll get a break from the kids and ill have 5 things im so excited to do, by the time the kids come back I have only managed 1 or none! So I have become good at planning my time off, i try to understand what exactly it is that I want achieve and then structuring my precious time in a way that sees me get the job done. Here is such a good TED talk about such an experiment, if you are looking for a good idea on how to balance your inspiration time and work (okay, it’s an extreme example but very cool nonetheless) . The point is, there are some very clever people in this world and they are doing some amazing things if we just take the time to look up from our daily grind, we can participate.

I think that as a human race, we have the responsibility to figure out how to exist on this planet without killing it and each other, we are all connected and responsible for finding a way. I’m not sure the majority of us are doing our part at the moment.

This December, I’m going to start a new project. I’m going to plan my children’s education, I’m not talking about schooling, I’m talking about the lessons I want my kids to learn, the virtues and knowledge I want to expose them to by the time they walk out my door to a home of their own. I figure I have about 13 years until Joel is 18, and about 10 years until my Anna (who just turned 3) starts telling me how things happen around here, so I better get cracking while they still listen. I want to show them this planet, I want to take the time to explain the different races, religions,  cultures and let them make up their own minds what feels right and wrong, not because I say so, but because they have seen it with their own eyes. So I will start with a list of virtues, subjects, and break it down from there, into travel locations, books, movies and experiences that will help them attain the greatest objectivity I can give them. It will be a big list, but once I know what the lessons are, it will be that much easier to get there, because I will know where we are going.

I know this is all very idealistic, and I’m pretty sure I sound like I’m having a sort of mid-life crisis, but the thing is I feel more alive than ever, I feel like I have the clearest understanding of the value of time, and I want to use it in a way that makes my kids into the people who can change the world we live in.

Here are some links to that have been inspiring me lately:

A rad website  with all kinds of inspirational forward thinking stuff about the universe and reality as we know it:

http://www.lucidtree.com  (lots of conspiracy theory stuff in here too.. I stay clear cause all it really does is bring me down)

A movie on quantum physics ( done in a way that makes sense to dummies like me 😉 )

A collection of 20 min talks from the greatest minds our world has, an absolute favourite of mine.. TED Talks.

http://www.ted.com

The neuro scientist woman who had a stroke and lived to tell the tale…

A great visual perspective of the observable universe:

My mate Craig shared this awesome site, where you can learn just about any new and creative skill you can think of, through video tutorial :

http://www.skillshare.com

Since I’m fast approaching some very touchy subjects that throw humans into a complete frenzy at the best of times… i thought the following disclaimer would be a wise addition for any newcomers…

Disclaimer: This blog is therapy for me, and record of my thoughts for my kids. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I sure as heck wont ever tell anybody that my way is the highway. I am always prepared to admit I might be wrong , so long as you are too:) If you disagree, please don’t hesitate to comment, but remember that I am merely sharing my personal journey, not asking you to alter yours.  Let’s keep it constructive!  Hambe Kahle (go well).

 

Truth, You Can’t Handle The Truth

 

FullSizeRenderOne thing that has changed since Jess passed away is that I became afraid of dying. I have never been scared of death, but in the past few months I find myself thinking on it often. It’s a pretty obvious side effect of watching someone you are close to die, it’s not so much fear of death itself, rather how it will happen. Losing control over myself the way she did in the last two months terrified me to my core, and even more so, leaving my kids before they are ready to let me go.

To add to that fear, I have been left with a need to add serious value to my life, make the most of every moment till then end. Understanding how to do that and leaving an official record of who I am for my kids is the very reason for this blog. One of the things I tried unsuccessfully to do in the last few months off Jess’s life was to get her to record video messages for the kids in-case the worst happened. As it turned out, long before we knew the fight was over, she had lost the ability to communicate.

So this is an effort to immortalize myself, leaving a clear picture of who I am, for my kids, in-case I don’t get a chance to show them myself. Morbid? Maybe, but I’ll risk sounding morbid if makes you think about what sort of legacy you are leaving behind. Nobody is promised any amount of time. The Internet has given us a platform to record our lives and our thoughts, for not just our kids, but our distant family generations from now, they will have the ability to search and know their lineage first hand. That has  never been possible before. Think about that… imagine being able to look back at video’s, imagery and philosophy of your great great greats…. pretty damn cool.

You have to understand my mind frame in these past months, all these thoughts, fears and emotions swirling about with this bizarre clarity of the temporary nature of life on earth, its like nothing I have ever experienced before. I’ve been donkey kicked out of my comfort zone and found myself in a place where I need to decide where my energy is going to best spent that helps me find this value I’m searching for.

When you lose somebody who has formed such a big part of your life, you lose a part of yourself and your personality. So first I need to understand who I am, really dig into what I believe and what makes me tick.  That is not an easy thing to do, but once you start looking, you will be amazed at what you find.

Well i have been looking, studying myself and my world post Jess, questioning everything…

You know how you have those moments … when things suddenly make sense. They don’t happen very often, and that’s why they are special. Well I stumbled across this blog a few times in a few weeks, like it was being shoved in my face until I decided to finally pay attention.

It’s called “Wait but Why”, the title of the site says it all…question everything! Most of the articles are brilliant but this particular one was one of those moments when somebody verbalizes they way you feel but have battled to express it. It was pure relief! It’s logical and sensible, and most importantly simple. You can read the article I’m talking about here

Then shortly after that I came across this new TV series on Netflix… called Cosmos, it goes hand in hand with all the stuff I’ve been reading but has the most incredible, simple, beautiful way of explaining the biggest questions in our world. These concepts go together hand in hand, they question everything and take nothing on face value alone.

Where am I going with this, i feel the majority of humans are stuck in a rut, we have the most incredible planet, and the most incredible ability to imagine, discover and conceptualize, yet we choose to spend the majority of our time here watching TV, getting drunk, working all day in jobs we don’t enjoy, buying stuff, and bickering with each other. Our schooling system, our governments, our parenting , all of these systems are broken, outdated for our new understanding of our potential, perpetuating a cycle that is wasting our most precious powers.

I don’t know how to change it, but you can be damn sure I’m going to start trying, at least with my own kids and myself. I have to try to lift them up high enough, to see the real world above their iPad, the incredible potential they have to leave a positive mark on this world.

I want to seek the truth, no matter how scary that truth is, I want to empower my kids to their full human potential, and as idealistic as that sounds, it should be a given, it should be the base where we start with every person. Not some unrealistic ideal that we scoff at and ridicule. We all want to live in better world, except we all go about doing things the same way every day because we don’t believe we can make a difference, or it’s just to difficult to try. Well I can’t go about things the same as i used to, my eyes have been opened through the reality of death and my value for time has been reset. The time is very much now, for anything you ever hoped to do.

This is going to be an incredible journey. It’s going to challenge everything i know, and I’ll be open to that. I’ll do my best to document it here, as honestly as possible.

P.S If you are looking for a little change in perspective, something visual to put some distance between you and your problems… watch this.