Wonderland

I’m sorry to keep going on about this but FUCK ME MY TEETH ARE PISSING ME OFF. It isn’t the one that they filled that is the problem right now, it is everything else in my mouth that has now become hyper sensitised as a result of the nerve damage. The dentist did give me this as the worst case scenario: if it’s too painful, they either have to take the root out or remove the tooth completely and right now?

I don’t care what you do just make the pain stop.

If painkillers are taken, it does go away. The problem is, I don’t want to be mainlining paracetamol long term, and trying to live without them for extended periods of time has variable results. Right now, for the first time today, the offending tooth is what hurts. It’s a dull ache at jawbone level, which is undoubtedly less pain than existed on Tuesday. It has only been four days, after all, and I am sleeping.

Who knew time was running so slowly this soon before Christmas?

Oh fuck this, I’m taking painkillers.

Yesterday’s Men

Wednesday is normally a bit teeth-grindy. I can’t do that really right now, though this morning it must be said the pain has reduced from yesterday so maybe I should just shut the fuck up and wait to heal. The Bond 25 trailer dropped, and despite best efforts I could not escape it: it even turned up on the electronic advert screens at the Gym. Still not going to the cinema to consume, it can wait for a DVD release.

However, it looks like an improvement on Spectre.

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I’ve not really hit my writing targets this week, mostly because of pain, if truth be told. However, there’s been some major exercise developments, which included me being able to get on a bike yesterday afternoon, do approximately thirty minutes and feel as if it worked for me. It also sets a notional benchmark for the rest of the month. Same course, same time, and if I feel like doing more, I can.

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There’s also been a bit more of a focus on stretching, plus trying to ensure thirty press-ups a day are done regardless of whether I’m resting or not. Stamina doesn’t just come from longer workouts and harder training, it has consistency at its core, and this is a part of the equation I have failed at quite a bit across the years. Things feel like they are coming together too, this is the new status quo.

Yay.

English Tea

Four days into the TEA ADVENT, and now I realise there’s just not enough enthusiasm in me to be an influencer…

Sure, I can do the pictures and make things look cool and interesting but honestly, I’m never going to like ROSE TEA. It brings back disturbing childhood memories of Turkish Delight and my Great Grandma, who I think died when she was having a leg amputated… or something, it’s all a bit hazy. Needless to say, this is not the stuff of lovely Instagram layouts. I’m too honest to be an Influencer. I’m not lying for cash, sorry.

This form of bloggin also brings into sharp relief what exactly people will believe and/or swallow in the name of ‘paid promotion’. It is, in essence, the same as the Avon lady who’d come round our house once a week when I was a kid wearing all the products my mum would then purchase, which I’d have a slight interest in. It’s only pyramid selling in a different guise, and that seems to be back.

In the end, however, I am a creature of habit. Give me tea I genuinely like (Earl Grey above) and the World is a better place and there’s no need for dishonesty. The bigger issue, ultimately, is that consumerism will destroy us all unless it is seriously curtailed in the next forty years and all some people seem to be interested in is buying useless crap they don’t need. Tea is a staple for me, I don’t need 30000000 flavours. Just tea works.

The problem then arises that the World isn’t like me, again. They do want Rose Tea and little strings to hang their Air Pods on so they don’t get lost and all the Funko Pops in the world… no, this is not the future. I’ll keep posting the tea reviews, but it’s time to drop the hashtags and the @ to the company who make this stuff. Sorry people, there’s better people to throw money at.

I’ll be over here, just drinking.

Just Like Christmas

The sun is coming up and I’m in the kitchen, making my first cuppa of the day. On the radio Low’s ‘Just Like Christmas’ begins to play. There’s a moment of irrefutable resignation: this song has altered in resonance from the last time it was heard. It will now be forever associated with someone who, this year, was sued over something that was said on the Internet.

Let me tell you the story.

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I’m not even sure where we first met: was it Usenet? Possibly, it could also have been LiveJournal, but that would have been during its very early days. At that point he was living in the South West; we regularly emailed each other. They were funny, interesting and enjoyable communications, yet the truth was very apparent. His interest was, it transpired, only relevant until I was married. Then, silence.

In the midst of what I thought was a friendship, he sent me a Christmas CD. It was, it must be said, a work of utter genius: songs I’d never heard before, impressive pieces including Low’s song, which immediately became synonymous with him. It was only years afterwards that the truth became apparent: it was not a hand-picked, curated selection. He’d copied it from someone else. Melody Maker.

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When his name turned up in my Twitter feed this year I won’t lie, it was a surprise. Looking to see what had caused this, then it wasn’t. He was always unspoken, edgy, set in his ways, even back then. We were friends because he let me, I realise now. If there were any genuine care and sentiment that existed, I’m not sure I’d be able to judge it as such. Suddenly, knowing this past made an immediate connection with the moment.

What this makes me grasp is that having fulfilling friendships with anyone online is dependant on two way honesty. If you’re not regularly communicating with someone, like every day, yes you can be friends, but… it only works if you’re giving as much as the other person. If all that happens is taking, if that relationship is largely passive? No, they don’t care about you unless you see them do it.

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Sure, you can meet IRL once a year and it will be as if nothing changed, but to do this there is a fundamental part of yourself which needs to be given away, willingly. You can’t do it in letters, or emails, or blog posts. It doesn’t happen on Facebook or in Tweets. I’d need Skype and just you, tea and cake, actual physical interaction to move friendship past words on a screen.

I never met him IRL, and know why. If it had mattered, we would have kept in touch, and if that had happened there’s a better than average change I’d have distanced myself from him a while ago. In the end, his intractability was attractive as a discussion point but impractical as a basis for friendship. I’ve met people across all sexes who are like this. Sometimes, like it or not, you have to yield, or nothing is possible.

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I hope, by writing this down, Low’s song will stop giving me a burst of melancholy every time it’s heard from now on… but maybe that’s a good thing. It can be the warning that occasionally, stuff just isn’t meant to happen, however much you’d like that not to be the case. You won’t be friends with everyone, and it’s a waste of effort to try.

You accept the loss, and move on.

A Quiet Place

I’ve worked my arse off this weekend, I really have, and there’s so much left to do. Fortunately for me the organisational side of things is not too big an ask now the backwork’s done, and it’s just about keeping on top of maintenance for the rest of the month. I’ll do a His Dark Materials catch up in the week, and then start working out what I’d like to watch from the pile of TV I’ve not seen, plus a fair few DVD’s.

After that it’s this week for Christmas Gift making (plus the odd few that need buying) and organising selling some stuff on Ebay. I have shabby alts to level in Warcraft. There’s that dentistry appointment Monday and then the start of the new exercise regime. How does this all fit into a week? I dunno, but at least the majority of things are organised in my favour. That feels good.

Then, there’s this microphone that needs setting up… ^^

Right Said Fred

Those of you who regularly frequent this space will know I quite enjoy a cuppa. For the last few years I’ve seen other people expounding the joys of a TEA ADVENT CALENDAR: considering my dietary restrictions at present, this is an idea I was really ready to get behind. Therefore, starting tomorrow, I’ll be using Instagram to record my experiences, and this blog for some reflection.

It’s also going to be an obviously blatant exercise in brand awareness.

This presentation box was not cheap, and was bought using the last of my birthday cash. However, it has the potential to be recycled after use on my bookshelf as storage as part of one of the New Year Endeavours (more on that in the week) so in that regard, it is already paying for itself. There’s already been a sneaky peek into Drawer One and the surprise I didn’t realise existed is that there are other gifts than just the teabags.

We’ll be employing an ACTUAL MARKS SYSTEM too for this exercise: these are Whittard’s teas (in the interests of full disclosure and use of their Twitter tag on Social media) and will be considered on a number of Laughing Geek criteria:

Drinking the Tea Advent

LOOKS: To be fair to the experiment, and as there’s two teabags per day to work through, we’ll brew one the way the experts do (nice white cup so you can see what the stuff looks like) and drink it without milk. However, as a rule, I’m a milk gal (with the obvious exception of herbals and greens) so if I can stick the second bag into my daily routine with some semi skimmed and honey, I will.

SMELL: I have sniffed a fair few teabags in my time, and this for me is a decent indicator of whether any enjoyment will actually follow via drinking. Smell will be important. I’ll have to see if I can work out exactly what’s in a blend… and then whether that smell translates into something I would actually consider drinking.

FLAVOUR: Some of these teas are gonna be stuff I’d never normally consider quaffing, and that is where I suspect flavour will really come into play. There will be lots of open-mindedness too: just because I’ve never considered a blend should not exclude it from fair and objective consideration. Most importantly, as I’m not doing this for advertising or promotional purposes, there will be honesty. If it’s awful for me, I’ll say so.

RESULT: Would I drink this again? Is it worth buying a whole packet? Those are the two questions to be asked first, after which I suspect there’ll be some thoughts on mood, productivity and satisfaction. All these thoughts will, unsurprisingly, be recorded on PostIt notes for your perusal on Instagram, and I’ll do a slightly longer write-up here. If anything, it could work as decent feedback to Whittard on their current range.

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We’ll start on Monday, with posts Wednesday and Friday. It grants some much needed regular content into my month that isn’t exercise (more on that later) and is a nice side project away from writing.

You never know, I might even enjoy it.

Borderline

The airport’s quite close to my Gym. There isn’t a day where I don’t end up stopping to watch planes either take off or land, and it is always with the same thought: HOW DOES THAT STAY IN FLIGHT? Explaining the science is all well and good, but when I stare at a massive metal structure that is able to use air currents and propulsion to remain above ground… nope, does not make sense. My brain cannot cope with reality.

This is a pretty decent metaphor for my life right now. The logistics have been explained, there’s a plan and a direction… except, how does it work, exactly? Sheer force of repetition will ensure certain portions of the game-plan happen with minimal stress. For others you need to identify the flashpoint and then develop a coping strategy to address it. It takes time, effort and patience to cover them all.

The problems occur when you’re caught unprepared.

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This however does not make for a very enjoyable and spontaneous approach to things. So, occasionally one accepts that shit just happens and hopefully all the bits where planning supported you before allows an ability to just enjoy the moment. Amazingly, this does work. Leaning into stuff helps a lot. Not being up your own arse is a distinct advantage, and that gets easier over time.

There are days when I wish this wasn’t so mentally draining.

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Last night’s exercise was undoubtedly tainted by mental exhaustion. However, looking at other people who did the exact same percentage of effort, mine seems a lot more controlled and stress-free. It certainly felt that way, and a very important realisation came to light post-workout. Working to my capacity is beginning to matter far more than pushing myself past it. This is no longer an incentive to try harder.

In fact, the feeling today is not unlike the day when it became apparent I didn’t need to play a certain game 24/7 to maintain the illusion of being relevant. Reality and time both came together to demonstrate the correctness of this decision, and it continues to be a distraction for the satisfaction of true progress. Therefore, if I want to play, that time needs to be earned. Right now there’s not nearly enough work being done.

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As time marches on, the priorities keep changing. Ironically, as I alter, a worrying amount of stuff remains exactly the same. There’s not time to worry about that or the mechanics of flight. These things will continue onwards without me, as they have for decades previously. What matters most is making changes, working on that ‘transforming idea’ portion of my journey out of the hole.

Let’s work.