, Disparate Evolution and CMS.

evolution tech smallI’ve been reflecting a bit on the future of Part of this was because of seeing my friend’s work on Miles By Motorcycle, part of it is the root of a lot of ideas I’ve had over time, and a lot of it has come with understanding what I was trying to do, what I actually did and what I wanted to do, as well as the tools that helped me along the way.

I’ve had the domain ‘’ for decades now. I think it was since the late 1990s, but I’ll go with just calling it two decades, which translates to me being 2 decades younger, as well as Content Management System Technology being in a fledgling stage. The first sites I had were either hand built by HTML in the 1990s, some of which I still find here and there, and later I went to blogging when I started getting paid for writing – when blogging was about the blogosphere, and when voices unheard of previously defined themselves as social media to challenge more formal media. It was a fun time for most of us who were both writers and technology savvy. If you remember this period, don’t forget to schedule your colonoscopy.

Drupal was the core of for some time, and for a while it grew with Drupal in step. But then Drupal became a pain in the ass.  I’d want to log in to do one thing but ended up spending a lot of time doing updates, which was not as clean as it was when I later stopped using Drupal (to Drupal’s credit). Drupal was a contender for me at the time because I could, without a whole lot of overhead on relatively cheap hosting, do some pretty great things and I could imagine with the technology available. There was space for that. As Drupal evolved, I updated accordingly and things simply became more and more of a pain. I had grown. Drupal had grown. We grew apart. So when lost my site and had no backup, and I had failed to backup recently, I just started over.

I eventually got tired of dealing with Drupal altogether – I was working with Drupal to pay the bills, Drupal broke things with every release, and my client base got a bit tired of Drupal. They weren’t wrong. On Twitter, the Drupal fans have been trying to tell me how awesome it is now, but honestly, I used to be one of the people who said that, so…

What I wanted was to simply be able to log in and write without all the Drupal chores. There are two parts of me – the technical side and the creative side, and they rarely get the chance to work together. To pay bills, you don’t get to play as much unless you’re a unicorn developer who farts rainbows. You end up doing the equivalent of, “Hello world” sort of stuff when you have enough time behind you. It gets boring, and I don’t like being bored almost as much as I don’t like having to deal with a bunch of updates when I want to focus on writing.

Is it all about me? For my websites, YES, it is all about me, because if I don’t like doing it I just ain’t going to do it. So I switched to, and I can now focus on the writing more for personal reasons – and RealityFragments is becoming that aspect of things for me, despite all this block nonsense they’ve hoisted on me. I just need a simple site for the writing.

But there is a part of me that wants to fiddle with those ideas that have survived the decades, and I just don’t want the Drupal overhead with all the layers of crap it comes with to be everything for the enterprise. I’m not the enterprise. I don’t want all of that.

This is what happens with technology as we grow. It either keeps pace with us and evolves with us or the disparate evolution happens, where we and the tech grow apart. With Drupal, it was also about paying the bills, but it just became too much of a pain to do that. Even now, a decade since I have looked at Drupal code, headhunters are pinging me about dealing with Drupal websites. What happened to them? Likely they hired some developers, got poor documentation, some kludgey code and when the developers left, suddenly they want someone to come in and fix the problems. That’s like paying me to stick my fingers on a door frame and slamming the door against my hand for a few bucks.

Not interested.

And so, having peeked and poked around a bit, I’m thinking of building my own CMS in Python for, which either means starting with the Django framework or not. I know Python, and this is an opportunity not just to get better at Python, but also to finally be able to get back to some of the big ideas I had behind – not necessarily good, but it’s my site and I can do what I want – and maybe keep the CMS from evolving separately from what I want to do with the site.

Colonialism, Ukraine and the Caribbean Perspective

It was a quiet day in Trinidad so I opted to go have a beer, which of course lends itself to another beer. During that time I struck up a conversation with a woman who, when the invasion of Ukraine came up, she said easily that she supported Putin. Mind you, she did not say Russia, but Putin, which is interesting in how the world characterizes the conflict.

She knew I support Ukraine when she said it, and there was no animosity in how she said it, so I asked her why. She looked at me perplexed, and I said, “Well, we’re having a good adult conversation, we have different perspectives on something in another part of the world and I’m curious why you feel the way you do.” After a brief pause, she said she was tired of the United States hegemony that Putin talks about.

I nodded in agreement and said, “Yes, that is true, and the past few decades haven’t been the best for the United States and foreign policy.” Honestly, they haven’t regardless of how you feel about anything; domestic issues within the United States have echoed across the world in their conflicted ways with changes of Presidency, from George W. Bush to the present Joe Biden.

I continued, “Yet the killing of civilians, torture and rapes can’t be easy to support. Like in Bucha.” She looked down, conflicted, as I continued, “Most people I know don’t realize that the Ukrainians were colonized, and that their former colonial masters are trying to take them over again – which would be like the British showing up with warships here and pummeling civilian targets until we were a colony again.”


And that’s where the conversation becomes interesting in the Caribbean, and I imagine in Latin America and Africa. ‘Colonization’ is not an idle word, it is a loaded word filled with history, of economics, and of attempting to catch up while some maintain what is called a ‘colonial mentality’. It’s something I’ve heard in Latin America and Caribbean more than once, almost always associated with claims, real and some imagined (completely about personal biases), of racial subjugation, which is probably why Latin America and the Caribbean, and perhaps even Africa, don’t see Ukraine as a former colony of the USSR.

So I compared the Holodomor to the famines in India under British rule. Intentionality in both groupings is a matter of debate by people who like to spend time debating such things, but there is no question that they happened – and in the case of the Holodomor, roughly a decade after the Bolsheviks made a violently convincing ‘argument’ that Ukraine was ‘The Ukraine’. If you wish to irritate someone from Ukraine, call it ‘The Ukraine’. Depending on the context, you may be gently, firmly, or belligerently corrected.

Then I talked about the oil in the Donbas region, which I mentioned not too long ago, and about the messy aspects of democracy and free speech that aren’t permitted in Russia.

The conversation remained pleasant, not a discussion of who was right or wrong. There was searching the internet on mobile phones, and a sincere discussion that lasted for a few beers that morphed into China’s inroads into Trinidad and Tobago, about how economically China has been colonizing former colonies of other nations in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and how that impacts what we hear. You don’t see much in that regard, but China has sway and where China has sway, the Russian voice is heard more loudly because of China’s benign status about the invasion of Ukraine. There is no form of ‘legal’ invasion, by definition an invasion is illegal. If you want to argue, feel free to tell me when an invasion is legal.

And this leads to the echo chambers of the Global South – in this case, the echo chambers of the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. People and nations within these regions know well what it’s like when someone else speaks for them and writes their history, yet because they are in the Global South they are most easily influenced by Russian media about fairy tale special military operations occur without the rape and torture of civilians. Yet those fairy tale special military operations where these things do not happen simply don’t exist. And without realizing it, without even questioning because the day to day issues of life keep the brain busy, they unconsciously support the attempted recolonization of those who have much in common with themselves, and in rebelling against one hegemony they support another.

Dead Squirrels.

2392076517_9356f45514_wYou pack, you leave, you go.
You arrive, you unpack, you stay.
This is the way I have known how to live for most of my life.
Most people stay where they live for the majority of their lives, watching time slowly change their environment – so slowly that most are unaware that their environment has changed, and that the world outside of their living area has changed. It is not a bad way to live; I have tried it and it is comfortable and reassuring to do the same things in the same places over and over. There’s a rhythm to it that lacks the urgency of connecting flights and the dodging through aggravatingly leisure humans in airports.

And then there are some of us who are most comfortable in motion, and even as we grow older we find a comfort in that motion – a familiarity of movement as we find ways to other parts of the planet. Sometimes we return to the same spots after periods of times and see what has changed, and sometimes we return to the same spots after periods of time and find nothing has changed. But we have changed, or should have.

When we stay still for however long and do not improve things in an area, however small, we have wasted that part of our life. There is a difference between running from things and running to things, and these are easily confused because even while different, they are the same and are subject only to how we view things.

We are odd little creatures, not unlike squirrels playing in a backyard, goofing off. We feel bad for the squirrel that lays in the road hit by a car because we assign some form of intentionality to it. In the end, the consequences are the same. It’s how they live that matters.

Like us. Life is for the living.

A Cast Of the Die.

20220407_141319A good adventure never takes you where you intend, and the one I have been on has become good. It wasn’t but days ago that I was staring out at the world, disgusted with the monsters who still live out there, the worst kinds. The human kind.

Oddly, it wasn’t long ago that someone I knew had died – an ex-girlfriend, one who for a brief and stunning period of time was a part of my life – and her husband messaged me out of the blue to tell me of her passing. Like most of us, she had her own demons and owned them as best she could. It was an awkward conversation for both her husband and myself, one that marked the passing of someone who was different and the same in our lives. She and I would roll 20 sided dice, much like the one to the left, and we would laugh and play silly games where we outsmarted and slew monsters. Amethyste is gone. The monsters remain.

Then there are the monsters we carry with us for a variety of reasons, the ones that leave us scarred, maybe even unfeeling in parts of our lives, and we must be ever so careful that we do not become monsters ourselves because of these blind spots. We are imperfect and it is only fitting we are: We are held to a tyranny of a normalcy that society teaches but does not practice, a contrast in what we are taught society should be and what society actually is. We may see ourselves as failures sometimes, hunching next to a comfortable fire in our caves that we have piled with the wealth and poverty, both, of our journeys. We will see ourselves as what we once were even as we allow ourselves to fade away, to recoil from the harsh contrasts between what is and what should be. Or we could dance in that hypocrisy and pretend it doesn’t matter, a flip on the allegory of the Cave, we can simply move our feet to the rhythm and have blind faith that the precipice we’re dancing toward has a soft landing if we step just right.

I chose the cave for a while.

And now, with a roll of the die, I am outside again, deeply disturbed by what I see. Everyone is shouting even though it’s pretty clear that almost no one actually understands why they are shouting other than being upset. We do not find comfort in each other because we do not find stability in each other. Some are not ashamed because they have no dignity, some are ashamed because they have too much. The world spins on, uncaring of dignity and shame, keeping the time of a rhythm that is longer than our lives. Our heartbeats are like the water rolling across river stones, making sharp edges into smooth edges over millenia.

We are inconsequential in the moment other than how we impact each other. On how we slowly allow the water to flow over us to smooth those edges, not in our lifetimes, but over generations.

It is time to awaken.

On Ukraine.

Ukrainian FlagThe war in Ukraine has been going on for over a month now. Cities destroyed, civilians killed… and in Trinidad and Tobago, in sharp contrast, 2 weeks into the war the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago suddenly decided to tell everyone that fuel prices would likely go up. The Trinidad and Tobago public was then upset about the price for Kentucky Fried Chicken Condiments, later the Will Smith and Chris Rock controversy. It’s surreal listening to people in Trinidad and Tobago and how easily they miss the important things happening even in their own country. I stopped trying to understand some time ago. There will be those that argue, but they are the minority and if they take a breath they’ll realize that.

I’ve known little of Ukraine. Truth be told, the only reason I know about the Ukraine is because someone who lives near me is from the Ukraine. I haven’t seen her and her child since the war started, and I imagine she’s likely very concerned. Maybe she has even gone back to the Ukraine to be near family, it’s hard to say – I do not know her or her husband well, but I do know that when I first met her she made it exceedingly clear she was not Russian, but Ukrainian. That got me reading the history of the Ukraine which seems to be missed by almost everyone who has an opinion on Ukraine.

When we hear about the present conflict, we hear Ukrainians talk about it going on for 8 years – when Crimea was annexed. Yet the conflict is much older, most recently when the Ukrainian’s People’s Republic was toppled and Ukraine became a part of the former USSR. And even before that, the history of Ukraine is complicated.

If you look closely enough, you find patterns. And if you look more recently, you’ll see an invasion by Russian on a sovereign nation that doesn’t want to be invaded. This, in modern history, is not new in geopolitics but it has the simplicity of being just that: A sovereign nation being invaded. Raped. Pillaged. Plundered. Why?

On Russian Aggression

PriceWarsbyRupertRussellThere’s been a lot of speculation as to why Russia has invaded. Some say it’s Putin’s want to recreate the USSR, some say that he’s ill, some say that he’s been poorly advised. The truth is that no one really knows, but one thing did leap out to me from Rupert Russell’s book, “Price Wars“. In fact, it makes so much sense that the media seems to have ignored it for some reason.

Right there is a part of the path for the EU to end dependency on Russian gas and oil, which has become a sudden emergency, with sudden interest in green energy and nuclear energy being spoken of as if these are new ideas. They aren’t. They’re just suddenly very popular because of Putin’s war. In fact, if all of this is true – I don’t know, I’m just grabbing and processing information as I find it and not jumping to conclusions – they should have been much more active in dealing with Ukraine prior to this, but… everyone fears the one who threatens with nuclear weapons. 

In fact, threatening with nuclear weapons is more effective than using nuclear weapons, because when nuclear weapons are used they start flying around and hitting everyone, including those that used them – but if you just threaten to use them, everyone else worries. Everyone is afraid of getting hit. What we forget is that so are the people who threaten to use them. Chemical, Biological… well, this millennium has already seen them used in the conflicts around the world.

In the conflict so far, Russia went for Kyiv but apparently lacked the logistics to get there (“groups of hitchhikers with Russian uniforms are rumored”, Douglas Adams might write), the air supremacy the world expected from Russia didn’t happen, and in what has moved from pleasant surprise to the equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day for Ukrainians becoming every day. World wide, people are cheering the Ukrainians, NATO’s skirting how much it can get away with in supporting Ukraine without giving Putin’s rhetoric about Russia vs. NATO, all seeming to forget that Putin seems to need NATO to prop up his rhetoric. Millions of Ukrainians displaced, talk of the plundering of Ukrainian homes and, yes, the ugly and unconscionable rape of Ukrainian women floating to the top even as Russia strategically withdraws (retreats) from forward positions to consolidate around the Black Sea… the very region mentioned with oil and gas deposits.

All the while, laws were created in Russia to keep dissident’s quiet – if not immediately, later in a prison somewhere. Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press…. or… can toss people in prison.

So why do I presently think Russia invaded? Well, a look at the map and the knowledge that oil and gas deposits there would threaten Russia’s economic grip on Europe seem to make sense to me. But too, it could be that Putin was advised by a wandering gypsy that it had to happen. I don’t really know.

What I do know.

In listening to Ukrainian journalists talk on Twitter, my takeaway is that they’ve been largely ignored by those reporting on Ukraine. One journalist, well established as those in the conversation were, talked about being asked to do things for free by journalists from other countries, even under the present circumstances when if you want news from Ukraine, you should probably be listening to a Ukrainian. Contrast that with “If you want news about Russia, don’t listen to Russia. And nobody else seems to know much either!”.

I’ve been reading a lot from Ukraine, certainly their politicians – most of whom are women, with President Zelensky delivering masterful oratory across the globe, sharpened or blunted accordingly for each audience. The sanctions imposed we hear about are talked about loudly as, ‘crippling’, but how crippling can they be when the cost of the war for Russia works out to how much they’re still being paid for in oil and gas. Some nations ride the fence, like India and China, which will probably get them sore crotches.

Globalization has been a rougher ride for some than others, politics makes for strange bedfellows and this global fetish of petroleum products that some say started in 1846 when Abraham Gesner invented kerosene for lighting fluid… or the oil strike at Spindletop by Antun Lučić and Texan Patillo Higgins. 122 or 176 years, depending on how much you want to argue about it. I can’t name a war that didn’t happen in my adult life that didn’t have oil involved.

Am I right? I don’t know, but in listening to Ukrainians on Twitter, aside from what should be patently obvious war issues – if you support Russia in this, I expect you may need a ‘special operation’ – there seems to be a longstanding issue of Russian colonialism that I have been almost completely blind to, and perhaps you have as well. The colonialism and oil factors do fit together, but the oil and gas itself has not been discussed on Twitter that much which either makes it an elephant in the room no one is talking about, or a part of a larger issue (such as colonialism), or may not be something Ukrainians even consider to be the issue at all for reasons that I do not yet know or understand. And with such a horrific war going on, with informational wars going both ways (it should be clear that I do support Ukraine’s sovereignty and their repelling of invaders!), it’s clear that absolutely nothing is clear except this simple and irrefutable truth:

Ukaine is a sovereign nation with the democratic ideals that many of us have grown up with as a beacon on the horizon that we almost never see in every day life, and Russia is actively trying to not only undo it but seems intent on erasing and replacing with it’s own narrative.

Beyond Ukraine

We have seen this before in my lifetime. There is no way we can forget the invasion of Iraq, a parallel we Americans tend to forget and some would even deny. We tend to sweep Israel and Palestine under the rug too, and the mess that the world has made in Syria defies understanding. Why is this important? The United Nations, of course. Where Russia has a seat, so does the United States, and in a moment of casting stones it’s hard to look around and see Saints.

Beyond Ukraine, beyond the EU, this could well be a turning point on our planet. It could be where the International Criminal Court, which is gaining prominence in the light of the Ukrainian conflict, is more recognized. It could be that the United Nations could become more than a tired chess game of limited moves if you’re not on the Security Council. It could mean that maybe it’s time for our planet to get beyond the scarring of humanity’s puberty and get to young adulthood.

To do what is necessary for Ukraine, it seems we must do what is necessary for the world.
The price being paid in Ukraine is something that we cannot permit again, as humanity said after World War II: “Never again”.

Perhaps we will mean it this time, after Ukraine wins – they will win, they must win, and we must collectively make sure that they do.