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Life

Nowhere Quickly

It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting in the junk room in front of the computer, the chores are done, my other half is out, and Norah Jones is singing about being Alive on the colossal beat box my cousin from California got me for my birthday.

I woke at 6:30am this morning, and stared at the ceiling for an hour before getting up.

I’m sipping an instant cappuccino made from a packet that isn’t half bad, and wondering what to write next. Probably a defence of instant coffee would be a good start. I’m pretty sure there’s a very vocal yet tiny minority who own coffee machines that cost more than a family car that only touch coffee beans from a small corner of Africa.

While on the subject of idiots, I saw a wonderful take-down the other day – where an anti-masker was mansplaining about half a million years of evolution not evolving face masks, therefore we shouldn’t wear them. The first comment asked “do you wear shoes?”

If nothing else, the last year has highlighted both how wonderful people can be, and how horrific too. I keep reading that “the world has changed”. Of course it has – just like it does every day, for everybody.

So. I have a week off work. I’m a little giddy at the prospect at the moment – filling my head with all the things I won’t get done. Apart from cutting the grass. If I don’t get the grass cut, I’m fairly certain we could film another sequel to Jumanji in our back garden. For all I know, one of the Jonas brothers really has been living at the end of the garden for the last however many years.

I stepped back into the “interpals” foray one evening last week. It bills itself as a website for finding pen-pals. I thought it might be a good idea to build a bigger circle of online friends for myself, but quickly remembered why I walked away some time ago – within minutes several men and women had messaged me, inviting me to learn about Bitcoin, and a seemingly lovely chinese lady cut me off at “hello” (having not read my profile) because she was “only looking for husband”. I wondered if she was looking for *a* husband, or *her specific* husband… had she lost him? Had he run away? Was he sneaking around doing bitcoin deals behind her back?

I think maybe the best idea is to just write my words in the blog, and see who finds them. The internet is pretty good at connecting the dots between people all on it’s own if you have a little faith in it (and tag the crap out of everything).

Maybe when we finally climb back out of lockdown, I’ll explain my continued absence by leaving a note on the front door – “I have replaced my circle of real-world friends with bitcoin scam robots – they’re surprisingly good listeners”.

Categories
Life

A State of Continual Distraction

In keeping with the “falling off the blogging horse” theme I seem to have been following recently, I can feel myself being slowly drawn back. It’s curious how that happens. The more scientific might start talking about biorhythms. I’m more inclined to call it a state of continual distraction.

It’s Friday morning. The last day working before a week off. I don’t have any specific project work to get on with, so am doing research and development into skills I will need for an upcoming project. I always find it difficult to focus without a specific aim – I suppose it’s a little like wandering without a compass.

I’m not entirely sure what next week will be filled with. I need to get the grass cut in the back garden, but beyond that I’m not sure. Some long walks with the rest of the family might be an idea – if I can get them out of the house. There are some nice circular walks nearby – through woods, over hills, and across fields.

While writing this (and sipping coffee) I’m listening to a Spotify playlist. Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy just started playing. It always reminds me of the movie “Frankie and Johnny” – where the lead characters finally find a moment of calm after a (quite wonderful) story filled with stress, uncertainty, and yearning.

(five minutes pass while I make a second coffee, and check on the washing machine)

The washing line is now completely full of clothes. By end of day there will be mountains of folded clothes all over the dining table. When the kids emerge I will set them to work – retrieving dry clothes from the line, and folding them (to a fashion) into piles for each person. There’s no point me doing it – I no longer have a clue which clothes belong to whom. My daughters are now the same size as my other half. My simple brain has enough trouble distinguishing between “my clothes”, and “their clothes”, let alone “skinny fit t-shirt with cats on”, “black boy shorts”, “crimson leggings”, “black leggings”, and so on.

People tend to either smile knowingly, or frown when I tell them I live in a world of womens clothes, underwear, and makeup.

Anyway.

Better get on with some work.

Categories
Life

Enough with the Idiocy

I disconnected the automagic plumbing between WordPress, Tumblr, and Substack this morning. No more “read more here” links. You just get to read my idiocy wherever you happen to read. It takes me a few moments to paste my words and hit publish.

In a perfect world, WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Substack would be one entity – but we don’t live in a perfect world, so I find myself straddling awkwardly across several platforms – mostly because I have friends in each place and guilt myself into never walking away.

Anyway.

It’s Tuesday morning. I’m back at work – whatever “back” means any more. I suppose for me it means I’m sitting in the study, pretending to be busy. Filling in timesheets, sitting in conference calls, writing documents, and trying to appear knowledgeable. It all feels a bit strange.

My eldest daughter is two days into her new job. We are crossing all of our fingers and toes, which means it’s quite difficult to get the most simple tasks done. The last few years have been a bit of an adventure for her to say the least. It’s funny really – this “bringing up children” lark – all you can really do is set an example, and be there to pick them up and dust them down when things go wrong. I suppose realising that everybody falls down from time to time is a good lesson too.

I’m writing this at lunchtime, if you’re wondering. I just stuffed a hot-cross-bun in my face, mostly because I can’t be bothered to make something properly. Spotify is playing a James Taylor playlist in the background. It was suggested to me – I couldn’t be bothered to look up anything else. I tend to find choosing music somewhat stressful, so usually go with whatever the algorithm in the cloud has chosen for me.

I shaved my hair off again yesterday with the clippers. I’m back to looking like a skinhead, but at least it’s better than looking like a toilet brush. After finishing the job while bent over double in the middle of the garden (to avoid hair falling inside my clothes), I still had to have a shower – it turns out small pieces of hair are the itchiest substance in the known universe. While drying myself off, I burst out laughing at my reflection in the mirror – although I had next to no hair left, I had huge eyebrows. I looked like a Thunderbird puppet.

I should really go and make something proper to eat. I think there are some leftovers in the fridge from dinner last night.

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Life

Easter Sunday

After planning an online event with some friends for the last couple of weeks, my other half arrived in the kitchen on Friday night and said “I’ve booked us all tickets to visit a National Trust place on Saturday to go for a walk”. I got halfway through saying “what time on Saturday?” before she furiously responded with “DON’T BOTHER!”.

Half an hour later I had asked others to help run the event in my place.

The walk was actually ok – it was good to get out in the fresh air, even if it was bitterly cold. After trudging perhaps four miles around the estate of an old house, we found a picnic bench near the car and huddled around packed lunches with our coats on, shivering while convincing ourselves it was “good to be out”.

Late last night I collapsed onto the sofa and tried to watch “The Expanse” again. I’ve so far watched the first episode twice (months apart), and now three quarters of the second episode. To say it’s slow going is an understatement. I’m wondering quite how it has reached five seasons. There MUST be something redeeming about it, surely?

This morning was altogether different. The sun shone, the birds sang, and I walked into town with my eldest daughter while my other half took the younger girls to rugby practice. The entire escapade was really a distraction from her melting down over starting her new job tomorrow morning. I think it mostly worked.

We walked to the big park in the middle of town, avoiding crowds along the way. While standing waiting for coffee from the cafe (a rare treat), we were stunned at being the only people wearing masks. I’m still amazed at the ignorance, arrogance, thoughtlessness, and stupidity of seemingly the vast majority of people.

I nearly forgot – I rented “Gozilla vs Kong” (or is it the other way around?) from Amazon Prime late last week. It’s fun, in a completely non-memorable kind of way. It was exciting, loud, and had almost no story to speak of. It strikes me that a lot of movies have fallen into that hole recently.

Anyway. It’s Easter Sunday afternoon, there’s a huge pile of easter eggs next to me that I can’t quite face, and Miss Seventeen is cooking roast dinner. Perhaps it’s time to find a book and a quiet corner.

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Life

Wrestling with the Unimportant

After WordPress decided to change the way they monkey with text, I’m scampering back to Substack, and thinking “sod you then”, while pointing a rolled up newspaper in the general direction of Automattic. It’s not the biggest annoyance in the world, but it’s annoying all the same. And that’s why you’re seeing this post as an excerpt, instead of the whole thing. You’ll have to click the little link at the bottom to go read the rest of it.

It’s Thursday morning – the last day of work before the Easter holiday. Four days off, before another four days working, then a week off. I started to write “another four days in the office”, but then realised I no longer work in an office – I still haven’t gotten used to that.

The “working from home” experience is slowly changing for me. During lockdown the house was always fairly busy – with teenagers doing college work, and my other half working from home several days a week too. Now the rest of the world has started to wake up again, I’m slowly finding myself alone for the majority of the day. Some people might have problems with the seclusion, but I quite like it. I get more done when distractions are removed.

While writing this, I’m beginning to think “I should really go make myself some lunch” – not because I’m hungry – more because it’s the thing I should be doing. It’s amazing how many things I do during an average day because “it’s the thing I should be doing”. Washing up, washing clothes, putting things away, sweeping up, picking up after people, and so on. I suppose in a strange sort of way, going running fell into the same hole – the drive to “be healthy” – to fit in with the image that people are supposed to. I guess it pays to look after yourself though – very few people aspire to being a couch potato.

Anyway.

I really SHOULD go and get some lunch. I fear it will involve a walk to the corner shop, because we’ve run out of cheese (unless some has magically metamorphosed in the fridge).

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Life

Humpday

After the craziness of the last several weeks, today the world seems to be slowing down somewhat. I’m starting to judge how busy each day has been by the amount of notes scribbled in my bullet journal – yesterday was a “two page” day.

I completely forgot that Easter is approaching. I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but I’ll happily take the chocolate, and the days off work. I imagine I’ll end up cutting the lawn, and repairing the bike shed roof while I’m off. Fun times. We have a new (to us) lawn mower – we don’t know if it will work yet – we got it free from another family that had replaced theirs a few months back. It has rained ever since – this week has brought the first successive dry days since before Christmas.

At the beginning of the week I was put in charge of the work “social” video call. We started doing the social calls after the office closed – so we don’t feel quite so remote from each other. I had to think of something to talk about – to go around everybody asking. I went with “what movie, board game, or book have you most enjoyed during lockdown?”. I wrote down a huge list as people reeled off their favourites. I suppose the biggest take-aways were that everybody loved “The Queen’s Gambit”, and those that had read “Ready Player Two” thought it was pretty awful.

In between working and doing chores this week I’ve begun to reach out to one or two old friends on the internet. I’ve been absent from just about everything for months – it’s nice to find out how people are doing, and to catch up a little.

Anyway. Time to go make the two hundredth coffee of the day. Yes – I’m back on the coffee wagon. About my third or fourth since breakfast time – not two hundredth. I’ll be fine.

p.s. one more thing – in the interests of ruining everybody’s day – Unsplash (purveyors of “free” stock photos) were acquired by Getty yesterday – so say goodbye to free images eventually.

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Life

Four Hour Comic Book Movies

The weekend was pretty quiet. My other half was sick – the side-effects of the covid vaccine. She tends to get floored by colds, so it was no surprise she had such an adverse reaction. I’m hoping I’ll be ok when my turn arrives. She has improved each day, and is back at work today.

In-between working I’m throwing load after load of washing through the machine, trying valiantly to burrow my way to the bottom of the washing baskets. You realise just how boring your life has become when the appearance of sunshine and wind makes you think “I could get quite a bit of washing dry today!”.

I outmealed the Zack Snyder Justice League movie over the weekend. I’ll be first in line to buy it when it’s officially released – although very long, it’s by far the best comic book movie so far. It’s a huge shame that Warner Brothers have no interest in making any more. Henry Cavill is Superman. Ben Aflek is perhaps the best Batman there has been so far, and Gal Gadot is… well… she is Wonder Woman.

I do have some good news to share. My eldest daughter has a new job! She will be starting at the local outwards-bounds centre in a few weeks – helping with coordination, planning – that kind of thing. She’ll initially be in charge of COVID measures. I imagine after Easter the world and it’s dog will be itching to get back to “normal life”, so activity places will suddenly be overrun. I’m hoping she enjoys it.

I think it’s time to make a cup of tea.

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Life

Finishing Early

I’m struggling to stay awake. I was up at 3am. My other half had her first COVID injection yesterday, and woke up in the middle of the night shaking like a leaf. She’s been in bed all day. Apparently the shivers and flu-like lethargy are the most common side effects of the vaccine, and it looks like she’s been hit pretty bad. I bought lucozade, paracetamol, and soup to get her through the next 48 hours. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Miss 17 has got dinner planned already – potato waffles, baked beans, and chicken nuggets. Not exactly the most healthy dinner ever, but nobody is going to complain.

The builders finished yesterday – we finally have a presentable house. We are no longer the slightly tatty looking house in the corner of the green. I can’t call it “The Burrow” any more (the Weasley’s house from the Harry Potter books). We just need to pay the bill now. There’s a part of me that feels sorry for the birds that had been attempting to set up home in the eaves, but I also know there will no longer be any strange noises coming from the roof in the early hours of the morning.

I’m hoping this weekend will be quiet. A weekend filled with movies, books, and music. As the world wakes up, there are already rumblings about rugby practice – we need to enjoy the quiet while it still exists.

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Life

One Foot in Front of the Other

I headed into this week with quite some trepidation – unsure how I was going to make it through the mother of all task lists. Two days in, I’m starting to relax a little. The road ahead doesn’t look quite as precipitous as first imagined. I do this a lot, by the way – stressing over things that I haven’t started, and then switching into “one foot in front of the other” mode in order to cope. While others complain, flap, or question, I find putting one foot in front of the other tends to serve me well.

Tomorrow will be more of the same – more plodding, more furious scribbling in the bullet journal, more attempts to ignore the builders working on our house, and more wondering what the future might bring.

Earlier in the year I toyed with some online to-do-list applications, but ended up running back to the bullet journal with my tail behind my legs. I don’t have to think when using a paper notebook and a pen – I just write things down – apparently more neatly than most. I’ve always found it quite surprising when others remark at my notebook pages – it’s only writing.

I remember once while running a training course, somebody held my notebook up to the class and said “why does my writing not look like this?” – and a lady across the room quietly said “because he cares”.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I suspect there might be half a bottle of wine hiding in the fridge, and some rubbish TV that needs watching. Time to switch off. Time to slow down.