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High > Low < Tech

2 weekly blog resisting the second law

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Journey Journal

Chapter 22 – Coconut Pancakes

[Room 11 – Somedays]

I find the can opener at the bottom of the box. It looks like it hasn’t been used in a year. The mixer had been borowed by a neighbour. But now its back. Eggs, flower, cans of coconut milk, brown sugar, cinnamon. I’m missing pudding powder. But it will be alright. The pan looks like it is not usable anymore. Will have to try anyway.

Continue reading “Chapter 22 – Coconut Pancakes”

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Chapter 21 – Lost Son

When my head finally hits the pillow it is like a switch is flipped. My body shuts off and even my bones seem to relax. This is it.
Its not just that my eyes are dry and irritated from the flight.
Its not just that my stomach is upset from airline food.
Its not just the dizzyness from the 30 hour sleep depravation.
Its not just that aching muscle in my lower right back.
Not just.
Its all that I’ve seen.
Its every delhi belly I had and bad chicken burger I ate.
Its every sleepless night, every long day over the past 12 month.
Its every little and big pain, every cut, every blister, every pinch of the skin.
Its not just that I get to rest.
Its that I’m home.

Continue reading “Chapter 21 – Lost Son”

Chapter 20 – DalaDala ride

[Lana del Ray – Off to the races]

So much energy. Today I had so much energy. I guess I know who to thank for that. But it is an exception. Between working on an excel program that automatically designs solar systems based on the users electrical loads, horseback riding among zebras and occasional meeting interesting people my mind and body shuts down. Left alone I wouldn’t do much. My dreams are troubled, occupied with shootings, fighting people and dalladalla[1] rides into nowhere. The experiences and stories of corruption, despotism, poverty, learning curve frustration, positive rascism seem to manifest themselves there and reduce the regenerative effect of a good nights rest.

Continue reading “Chapter 20 – DalaDala ride”

Chapter 19 – Fundi Umeme Solar

[Paolo Nutini – Looking for Something]

There is nothing so fullfilling as the feeling of a hot shower well earned. The dusty closes fall off, stay behind in the other room. A long look in the mirror, studying your dirty sunburned face. The hair still ruffeled from the cap. The fresh towel eager anticipating to wrap itself around your clean warm body. But not yet.

Continue reading “Chapter 19 – Fundi Umeme Solar”

Chapter 18 – Transcendence

[Paolo Nutini – Better man]

Flashback to three weeks ago.
Freshly sunburned back from South Sudan

Continue reading “Chapter 18 – Transcendence”

Chapter 17 – Fianchetto [1]

[Earthrise Sound System – Metaphysical Fitness]

I wake up to the sound of gun shots. A bang here and peng there. At first I don’t realize what disturbed my sleep. Consciousness comes reluctantly. Suddenly a machine gun burst close to the house. Continue reading “Chapter 17 – Fianchetto [1]”

Chapter 16 – People Places Paradise

[Lana del Ray – Video Games]

Its better to know people in places then places.
In Zanzibar I know Omari. Continue reading “Chapter 16 – People Places Paradise”

Chapter 15 – Waves

[Rudimental – Powerless] Continue reading “Chapter 15 – Waves”

Chapter 14 – The Fluke

[NCT Bootleg – Free Falling]

According to psychoanalyzis and neuroscience the “I”, the ego, the conscious “me” we are referring to is a fluke. It is an instance that observes and takes responsibility without actually doing something. It is just a radar, a scanner system to look for problems.

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I mention this because as a project manager I seem to be exactly that. A radar looking for problems, taking responsibility but not actually doing something. A fluke. I talk a lot and then I write a lot of mails about the lot that I talked about. I remind people of what they said they would do and how they would do it. I am a self-aware sticky note on the fridge of this project. I complain if things do not turn out like they were promised to come about. I am the nagging old lady from the first floor left. I do have to organize things. Ask for information, weigh the effects implied. Get the opinion from the people that actually know or convincingly pretend to know what they are doing. As I do not have enough knowledge about all the things I go with the option they want to go with. I am the best pal who gives a pat on the shoulder. I keep track of the happenings and guard the budget and tell people again and again to follow a certain procedure so I know what is being spend we don’t go over budet and we save time and money. I am one of the grey Gentlemen. Playing so many roles effortlessly at once. Guess theaterschool was worth more then anyone could have expected. What I am seemingly not is an engineer. Or am I?

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They told me this was a common sense job. Engineers are common sense people. One would expect. In my mind they are. And it works out so far.  My technical background does help. I learn a lot about very different aspects and although having the feeling of not actually doing something a lot of people are really pleased with my work. By the way I am not complaining. I am analyzing. Going one meta level up. Like meta theater – a theater play about making theater – the manager starts managing his own process.

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So here is one scene out of this play:
For the rainwater harvesting tank I make the measurement calculations. How big does it have to be? The first results are ridicoulus. I adjust and end up with a tank of 16x3x3 [m]. 144 [m3] or 144.000 [L] of water. The contractor Omari shows me the money we have available for the tank. As I have no idea about the costs of building work I ask him to calculate the biggest tank possible with that money. We end up with a tank 4x3x3 [m]. Okay then lets do that. I explain how the tank should be build according to how it was explained to me just a few days earlier. Omari still brings in his own engineer advisors. In the end the only thing I actually effectively add to the process is to choose where it is build. Everyone exit to the left.

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Next scene:
Blue sunny skies, yet in the distance huge clouds build up. Natures sky scrappers, metaphorically and literally. I keep asking the gardeners to finish the gravel beds around the buildings so the red earth will not splash against the white walls when the rainy season starts. But they keep planting the hedges, dig the spice garden et cetrera. Finally one week after the rain has started they finish the beds. Walls are red. But not as red as they could have been I guess. Again you can’t really do anything but keep mentioning it.

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The most important thing about being a project manager: It is not about you. Its about the project and the progress and the process of it. Nobody really needs you because in a sense they know very well what they are doing. Then again everybody needs you. Because they need someone to take the heavy responsibility, to keep an eye on everything so they can loose themselves in their tasks, to nag so they don’t get lazy, to pat their shoulder so they’ll do the work with confidence, to argue with them either winning and pushing them to the next level or loosing confirming their knowledge. Which is exactly what the conscious “I” does in the human body. Because while you can control your breath to a certain extend breathing however is not something that you DO. It happens. The lungs do it. The lungs don’t need a consciousness to do it. The “I” can do nothing about it. Yet it is so nice to realize consciously that it happens. Is it not?

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