A minute here, a minute there

I continue to struggle finding time to write. A window of opportunity opened at lunchtime, but before I knew it one thing after another conspired to slam it shut.

I’m not sure I have much to write about.

I was programming all day again. Working on a project that will hopefully see daylight in the new year. I missed lunch again. I really need to start taking lunch breaks and going for a walk. Either that, or going for a walk either before, or after work.

When I worked in Germany I would go for breakfast as soon as the hotel restaurant opened in the morning, and then head into the city for a walk – watching the bakeries, cafes and newspaper shops opening for the day ahead. I would pass endless runners alongside the river – stomping out a rhythm as they passed me.

Perhaps I need to do something like that – breakfast in town. I wonder how much it might cost? Maybe not every day – but once a week?

We all know I’m going to wake up, look at the clock, and disappear back under the bedcovers, don’t we.

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Norma Jean and the Butterfly Effect

This year I’m taking part in “Bloganuary” – a series of writing prompts published throughout the month by Mindy Postoff. Today’s writing prompt is “If you could, what year would you time travel to, and why?”


I imagine we have to ignore the conservation of mass law if we’re going to consider time-travel as a valid possibility? Have you ever thought about it? If you go back in time, you are potentially there in parallel with yourself – so the mass of atoms you comprise of just got multiplied – how did that happen? It’s not you plus the version of you from the future, because the version of you from the future IS you.

I suppose we’re also going to ignore the butterfly effect – the combinatorial explosion that happens in response to even the tiniest things we might do to affect the past while there. I remember reading a wonderful book called “Golden Apples of the Sun” by Ray Bradbury years ago – that gave rise to the term “Butterfly Effect”. A man goes on a time travel journey into the distant past  and is warned to stay on the path, lest the future be altered. Quite how they built the path is another thing, but of course he strays from the path and steps on a butterfly. When he returns to the present, the first thing he notices is some of the letters of the alphabet are now reversed on signs.

Anyway.

I guess we’re going to pick something that happened in popular culture, and go into the past to watch it happen. Something significant. That turns us into Sam Beckett in a strange sort of way, doesn’t it.

Let’s go with the first person that springs to mind – the first celebrity I wish I could have met. It’s got to be Marilyn Monroe. I’m not quite sure when I would have liked to meet her though – before she was famous, during her fame, or towards the end?

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be at the scene of a significant event unfolding, with full knowledge of what was about to happen, and to redirect history in the most subtle of ways. Perhaps to be wandering on the beach on the same night Marilyn took photos with George Barris – to make friends, go for a coffee, and just be there at the same time everybody else was trying to take a piece of her. To support her. To look over our shoulder at the future with a raised eyebrow, and say “not this time”.

Advice to my Teenage Self

While wandering the halls of WordPress late last night I stumbled upon Bloganuary – a series of writing prompts that will be published throughout the month. I’ve decided to take part. I’m a day late, so playing catch-up already. Enjoy!


This letter has travelled 30 years into the past to find your hands. At the time you read this you are single, you still live with your parents, you have just left college, and you are working for the family business.

You better sit down.

At the moment you’re pretty consigned to always being everybody’s best friend – to never meeting anybody. You couldn’t be more wrong.

In 30 years time you are married.

You met a girl in Oxford one Sunday afternoon in 2000. Neither of you thought it would go anywhere at first, but you saw each other again, and again, and nature took its course.

Months from now, your entire family will scatter across England. You will find your career a couple of miles from the girl you’re going to meet near London, and will work as a software and web developer. Code you are going to write will be used by big companies all over the world. Thousands of people will rely on the things you build to do their job every day. You will be regarded as a pretty good software developer by your peers, and a great web developer.

You’re going to love the web.

The next one is huge. You’re going to have three children. Three little girls. They will be fantastic, and will make you smile, laugh, and occasionally shout. The eldest will be just like you, the middle one will have the loudest voice in the known universe, and the youngest is going to be all sorts of trouble (and will have no idea).

You will write a journal.

Compuserve – that you’re thinking about joining at the moment – will not last for long. The “internet” will replace the various BBS and subscription services that you’ve just started using. The internet will be generally available to everybody, and will become everybody’s primary means of communicating. It will not be owned by anybody.

Your mobile phone will do everything your current computer does, and much more. You will use it as a camera, to listen to music, to watch movies, to play games, to send and receive emails, and to chat with people all over the world.

You will make friends across the globe. You will become closer to some of the friends you make through the internet than those in the real world, and will catch up with each other almost every day.

Your life is going to change enormously.

You are going to be happy, have a wonderful family, and many friends. Its all good. Look forward to it.

Long Time No Write

Somehow a week has passed since the last blog post. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I suppose I should really fall back on the John Lennon quote – “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. I sometimes wonder if the quotes you commonly see attributed to various people are true – if they really said what people claim.

Anyway.

There’s not much to report, which perhaps indicates why there have been no blog posts. Work has continued as it always does, the chores have continued as they always do, and our family is largely surviving from day to day as it always seems to. I sometimes wonder if there might be some value in inventing a time machine, travelling into the past, and telling myself “one day you will have a family, and will struggle to make ends meet for several years in a row – but don’t worry – you’ll always manage it somehow”.

This morning my middle daughter took part in the 5K “Santa Fun-Run” around town, and then continued on to play rugby where she scored a try. I on the other hand stood in the cold to watch her run past while minding my younger daughter who is on crutches at the moment (long story – read the blog a few weeks ago). My other half wrapped up like an eskimo and waited in the park for middle daughter to finish the run. Our eldest holed herself up in the junk room at home playing a bizarre Manga inspired video game called “Catherine” about a guy having strange dreams about girls trying to kill him – or at least that’s what I could make of it.

The clock just ticked past 10pm and I’ve switched the dishwasher on for the second time today. In a few minutes I’m loading the washing machine for the third time today. It just seems to be like this at the moment. I get a few minutes – usually after getting into bed – to catch up with friends inside my mobile phone.

Hopefully the world will slow down soon. I woke up the other morning with a stiff neck, and a book propped on my chest.

The Productivity Trap

For years I tinkered with all manner of productivity hacks – paper task lists, apps, websites, and so on – I even read some of the more famous books, such as “Getting Things Done”, and “The 24 hour work week”.

I spent years finding ways to fit more into each day.

It never occurred to me that I should have been looking for ways to do less – to achieve only what I needed to, leaving the remaining time free.

I think perhaps the lockdowns of the last year have brought into focus just how crazy the world we knew really was. We never stopped to consider that we might do less, because we never had time to – we were too busy running like mad to keep up with everybody else.

Remembering the Rubbish

Tomorrow doesn’t start until I wake up in the morning. The clock might have ticked past midnight a few minutes ago, but I’m going to claim it’s still “tonight” – “tomorrow morning” doesn’t arrive for several hours.

Welcome to my ever-so-slightly illogical mind.

I’m playing the age old game of “staying up late to avoid tomorrow”, which is ridiculous because there’s nothing I’m particularly avoiding. Perhaps I’m just holding on to today – making the day last longer – enjoying the last few minutes in front of the keyboard emptying my head.

I’m trying to warm back up after venturing outside in the dark to put the bins out – the refuse collectors pass our house in the morning. Have you ever tried to drag a wheelie bin down your driveway in the dead of night? They transform themselves into mobile speaker stacks – amplifying every bump in the driveway into a cacophony of crashing and crunching.

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person that puts the rubbish out at midnight (or rather, that only remembers at midnight). I’ve never seen anybody else tiptoeing around while dragging the bin down the driveway. Perhaps the rest of the world is far more organised? I don’t know.

Anyway.

It’s getting late. I should probably go brush my teeth.

Minutes

One more day until the weekend. Twenty four hours. One thousand four hundred and forty minutes. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – it’s already heading towards midnight, so maybe eighteen hours. One thousand and eighty minutes. I’ll stop now.