Categories
Life

Another Lap Around the Sun

Here we are again. The end of one lap, the beginning of another. I started thinking about it last night – this is my 49th lap now, isn’t it. I’m 48. Ancient. Old. Falling to bits. I wonder why humans began marking time in terms of our rotation around the sun? It’s easy to think of the seasons as a contributor, but that only really applies since modern farming appeared (which is very, very recent in terms of the history of “us” as a species). Maybe people didn’t celebrate birthdays in the distant past.

Celebrating the day of your birth is a bit odd really, isn’t it. You’re neither celebrating that you made it into the world in one piece, or celebrating that you’re still here (unless you’re a hundred years old maybe).

Anyway. I’m officially 48.

When I woke up this morning, my sixteen year old daughter was standing over me brandishing a birthday card. I was then expected to drag myself out of bed immediately – to join the rest of the family (minus our eldest, who seems to be the living embodiment of the older sister in “Zathura”) and open presents.

I’ve been sitting here for a few moments debating if I should share the things I got for my birthday, because I’m always aware that some people don’t get anything, and the last thing they want to read is some idiot saying “look at all this stuff I got!”. Except it’s not really a lot, and it’s not anything expensive – because we’re not like that.

I got books, socks, underwear, a nerdy t-shirt, an Amazon voucher, and a gadget to attach a mobile phone to a telescope eyepiece. Oh, and I got several bottles of cider.

The books are really quite marvellous – mostly from my Amazon wishlist:

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

Life 3.0, by Max Tegmark

I still have to decide what to spend the Amazon voucher on. The immediate thought is another book, just to make the tower of unread books really quite dangerous.

(and hour passes, while I dip back into work, and then a flag is waved in the back of my mind, reminding me that Amazon often has deals on Kindle books. Guess who just had about ten more books land in his Kindle? Perhaps the most famous – that’s been on my wish-list forever – is “The Bell Jar”)

At least the kindle can’t fall on me, and kill me.

I requested pizza for my “birthday dinner” this evening. I’m not entirely sure where the pizza is going to be procured from yet. Let’s hope I don’t have to walk to the supermarket in the rain (yes, it’s raining – again).

This post first appeared at jonbeckett.substack.com, where you can read and subscribe to more of Jonathan’s idiocy.

Categories
Life

The Unexpected Parcel Conundrum

A large parcel arrived on the doorstep this afternoon addressed to me from Amazon. I lugged it into the kitchen and rested it on the floor – the rest of the family quickly congregated around it – asking each other if they knew what it might be.

After a fight with some sticky tape, there were lots of frowns. The parcel contained a “Boom Box” – and not just any “Boom Box”. A quick search online determined it was £400 worth of bluetooth speaker. It’s huge, and probably very impressive if you like bluetooth speakers, and don’t mind carrying around a piece of hardware that looks like something you might see on World’s Strongest Man.

The cogs started turning in my head, and I sat at the computer – trying to figure out what on earth was going on. There was no suspicious activity within my Amazon account – no orders, no external access either (I have two factor authentication on every account possible). I popped open a chat window with customer service, and copied down all of the tracking information from the box.

Apparently we can keep it! They are running an internal investigation that will remain confidential to them – I asked if they could tell me who ordered it, and they just assured me that the internal investigation would be thorough.

After shutting the chat window I did a little digging of my own, and discovered that receiving random parcels is a known issue. Apparently online retailers sometimes send people parcels that they have sold to themselves in order to leave generous feedback. While you might think “how can they afford to give away products that cost that much”, you have to remember we don’t know what they paid for the items they give away.

Anyway.

Amazon invited us to do what we like with the speaker. Here’s the thing – we don’t need it. We do need the money though, so today the unopened parcel was listed on eBay. Somebody is going to get a bargain.

This post first appeared at jonbeckett.substack.com, where you can read and subscribe to more of Jonathan’s idiocy.

Categories
Life

Cancel Culture

Sometimes while browsing the social internet I notice names that have been absent from the algorithmic timeline for quite some time. Names that have cancelled me for daring to question — no matter how quietly — their soap-box tirades. Obama’s words at the youth summit come to mind;

There’s more – visit jonbeckett.substack.com to read it.

Categories
Life

Exiled for an Hour

My other half is taking part in an online Yoga class in the lounge. For the previous two weeks she has failed miserably to stream the session. Therefore the entire house is now banned from the internet for an hour on Monday nights. It doesn’t help that the TV – which she insists on streaming the session onto – is at the far end of the house from the router, and that the range extender we bought to solve this problem will only allow a random assortment of devices around the house to connect to it.

There’s more – visit jonbeckett.substack.com to read it.

Categories
Life

Best Laid Plans

Somehow it’s already the last day of February. How did that happen? It feels like Christmas was only five minutes ago. Sunday morning has been all about chores so far. We’re now nearing lunchtime, and I’m wondering where the morning went too. I wonder about a lot of things at the moment.

There’s more – visit jonbeckett.substack.com to read it.

Categories
Life

I Can’t Feel My Toes

It’s been a strange sort of week. I’m just beginning to wind down – looking forward to a fairly quiet weekend ahead. Of course I know a “fairly quiet weekend” won’t happen. There are already rumblings about another trip to the dump. The rubbish dump has become our “go to” day-out throughout lockdown. We lead such an exciting life.

Read more at jonbeckett.substack.com.

Categories
Life

From Vadsø to Kautokeino

This evening I distracted myself with a flight in the simulator – accompanied by my middle daughter – along with a group of similar escapists. We flew from Vadso, northern Norway, along the coast, and then on to Kautokeino – a remote airstrip in the middle of nowhere. The photo accompanying this post was taken during the second-to-last leg, after departing Hasvik. My word, the northern stretches of Norway are desolate.

Read more at jonbeckett.substack.com.

Categories
Life

Hitting the Ground Running

It would appear the world has woken up – and then some. After being partly furloughed for several weeks, and taking holidays while it has been quiet, I logged back in this morning to a succession of back-to-back meetings. I can’t decide if I’m relieved, excited, reassured, nervous, or filled with dread.

Read more at jonbeckett.substack.com.

Categories
Life

Tea, Leftovers, and Future Plans

It’s my last day off work today – the end of an attempt to use up a few days holiday while the kids were on half-term. The weather has been despicable throughout, so we’ve gone nowhere and done nothing for the last week. My other half works in a school so she was home too – she almost became nocturnal. We wondered if it was her body’s way of resetting after a pretty stressful term through the second lockdown.

I just ate leftovers for lunch – we had sausage casserole for dinner last night. Best leftovers lunch ever. There is still a huge tub of leftover vegetarian bolognese in the fridge – that might make it as far as tomorrow lunchtime, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

In other news, an email arrived this morning from WordPress – informing me that my account is up for renewal towards the end of March. I’m pretty certain that I’m not going to renew it. I’m not going to stop writing – I’ll still post to substack – I just won’t be cross-posting to WordPress and Tumblr any more. I guess in some ways it’s a reaction to WordPress’ gradual change of course, but also that we are actively avoiding spending money, and that I need to stop distracting myself quite so much. Having a finger in every pie is fun, but you end up getting nothing done.

I killed my homepage on the internet last night, and redirected the domain to Medium. Again – simplifying, reducing, and hopefully helping me focus on one or two things instead of five or six. You never know – I might even start writing the novel I’ve been promising myself for the last decade.

I’ve had a few ideas for young adult novels up my sleeve for years. It’s about time I started doing something about them.

This post first appeared at jonbeckett.substack.com, where you can read and subscribe to more of Jonathan’s idiocy.