There Is So Much More Than Darkness

I wasn’t always a moaner. I wasn’t always cynical and angry. 

I loved to read. I loved to play football. I loved being the best at English and maths and reading and spelling and I loved being top of the class.

I didn’t know anything about arrogance. I didn’t know anything about hatred or revenge or “us” and “them”. I didn’t know about hurtful smackdowns, then of course, nobody knew the word “smackdown” in the early 1970s. Or at least I didn’t. I didn’t know anything about fear, or terror or being beaten up for being brown. I didn’t know anything about foul language and using it to hurt others as to my shame, I did.

I learned all these things. I learned all these things because I was taught them. I used them myself as a defence mechanism and sometimes, as a survival mechanism. My life did not improve. I did not find any joy. I found others like me, but I also found others who saw potential in me way beyond, no, above my station. After decades, I listened to those better, calmer voices that wanted to lift me above the filth of sordid battle where nobody knows who the pigs are anymore because we’re all covered in shit.

So I got better. I stopped moaning (as much). I looked for the good in myself and in others. I gave. I gave. I gave. I forgave. I grew. 

There is already too much division. There is already too much polarisation. There is way too much hatred and misunderstanding and knee-jerk self-righteous indignation.

There is already too much finger-pointing and justification and calls for retribution, but like scratching an itch, it feels better for an instant; and then you scratch and scratch and scratch and suddenly it’s not about the itch anymore, but your bleeding, scabby skin that’s infected and threatening to take your arm or leg to the morgue to be buried with all the other victims of hate, all of whom, under the skin of whatever colour, bled the same red.

The only responses worthy of our consideration are those responses human beings of all races, of all backgrounds, of all religions — and none — have already spilled their blood for. This is not a time for hypocrisy, this is a time for our highest values. For justice. For peace. For inclusion. For balance. For harmony. For understanding. For fairness. For gentleness. For kindness. For healing. For love.

And not just this time, but every time. No matter what. Always return. Always seek out the light. It is always there. If we see only darkness, then let’s open our eyes because my God! There is so much more than darkness. 

I Smile

I jog past a colleague outside the office, pausing for a moment only to apologise for not being able to stop to chat, because I have a train to catch. I always played things by ear and even as recently as autumn, I would have stopped. There was always another bus.

I stand patiently in line at Oxford Circus to buy a ticket to the suburbs, just outside London. I don’t have a pass because my last weekly one expired as I continue to optimise my commuting expenditure. I note that I’m trading a non-renewable resource, my time, to save a bit of renewable resource, my cash.

Skipping down the escalator I keep repeating my mantra, “stay patient”. Arriving at the crowded platform, I read my book for a minute and when the tube arrives, I continue for another few minutes, standing, of course, being jostled, forcing myself to smile because the alternative would just be miserable.

At the inter city rail station, I scan the departure board for the train times. I missed my preferred train by one minute. I don’t curse as I used to. Jogging to the holding area, well, not quite jogging, more a fast shuffle, like the undead on uppers, I find the optimum position for scanning the TV monitor for the platform announcement. Like sprinters, poised, we hope to catch the ‘b’ of the bang as the frame with the platform number appears. It appears. I’m on the move.

Speed-shuffling to the train, I suppress the joy of the small victory of a double seat that will remain singly occupied for the duration of my journey.

I read my book. It was a gift from a man who I respect, admire and like an awful lot.

As I meditate on my status as a commuter, taking small pleasure in trivial trip optimisations and feeling the merest twinge of grief at the most minor inconveniences, I feel also a prick of cognitive dissonance when I look at the title of the book, which is “Punk Rock – An Oral History”

I was once that teenager into punk, who swore he’d never become a commuter.

I smile.

Cmd-Z in Safari

I just closed a tab in Safari on my MacBook and just out of idle curiosity tried ⌘-Z (the default Mac keystroke for “undo”). To my complete surprise and delight, Safari reopened the tab I just closed. Even better, history is preserved when you undo.

I’ve just started mucking around with Unity too, and there are a couple of keyboard shortcuts you should be aware of in the Mac version that I find time-saving. The first is ⌘-P to play the current scene. The other is ⌘-Backspace to delete an object.

Finally, if the cursor keys are a bit of a reach for you, then I discovered this useful list of emacs-based keyboard shortcuts that can be used in any Mac OS X text field. I find Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E particularly useful.

MacBooks and Auto WiFi Depending on Ethernet Availability Using Keyboard Maestro

When I connect an Ethernet cable to my MacBook, WiFi is automatically disabled. When I disconnect the Ethernet cable, WiFi is enabled again. This not standard behaviour. It seems like magic. so how did I do it?

Brett Terpstra recently posted a tip on how to turn a Mac’s WiFi on and off from the shell[1]. I remembered that Keyboard Maestro recently added functionality to allow the triggering of a script when a volume was mounted or unmounted[2].

Well, what does a volume mount have to do with an ethernet cable connection? I only “dock”[3] my MacBook to a USB extender, power and Ethernet. Whenever I plug in the USB extender, my media and backup drives become available. Sometimes I might disconnect my backup drive, but whenever I’m “docked”, my media drive entitled amazingly enough, “Media” is always connected.

So I set up a Volume mounted trigger on “Media” and this executed the following shell script, taken straight from Terpstra’s article:

networksetup -setairportpower en0 off

And I set up a corresponding shell script trigger for when “Media” is unmounted as follows:

networksetup -setairportpower en0 on

Voilà! I no longer have to manually turn WiFi off to take advantage of lightning fast Ethernet speeds when I’m plugged into my BT Infinity 2 router over the Gigabit Ethernet, and I no longer have to remember to enable WiFi when I unplug.


  1. “Quick Tip: Automating your Mac’s wifi power”  ↩
  2. “Major Changes for 6.0”  ↩
  3. I ordered a Zendock a lifetime ago on Kickstarter. They seem like nice people, but it’s been a very long time.  ↩

Witness Testimony