Material Girl

This PC is many MANY years old and finally I have realised it needs replacing. As my ethical standpoint has issue with buying such things new, I’ve got a reconditioned, older machine waiting for the weekend so that things can be swapped over with the minimum of fuss. It means watching videos on my machine will become viable again, which I miss greatly. A tablet is fine, but bigger screen = WIN.

Whilst we’re waiting for the weekend to turn up, a lot of stuff seems to be causing outrage of late. Gaming companies, police forces, football crowds, awards for books… all of these have caused Outrage Culture to enter my timeline. Once it would have been easy to be Outraged, because there was a right answer and a wrong answer and never the twain would meet.

Life these days however is not so simple.

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It’s never been simple, of course, and seeing the world in grey-scale is, apart from being aesthetically far more pleasing, simplest means by which everything is rationalised. However, in the last few days, something important has altered in my brain. In it’s simplest form, the process works like this:

  1. Read contentious opinion on Twitter
  2. Allow myself to knee-jerk a reaction IN PRIVATE
  3. After doing so, DO SOMETHING ELSE not related to thing that was totally engrossing my mind at Step 2
  4. Completely forget about the contentious thing whilst doing summat I enjoy/gain personal satisfaction from or is useful for someone else’s benefit AND STOP THINKING ABOUT STEP TWO COMPLETELY
  5. Return to Twitter where contention continues, apparently unabated
  6. Give a reasonable opinion based on having had time to allow personal contention a chance to dissipate

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What’s changed since last week? Step 4 didn’t exist. I knew I was getting sad last week, that pressure from the last couple of months was not being properly dealt with. The answer normally would be to throw myself into some pettiness online, or get obsessed with the current Outrage du Jour but not any more. I’m done with allowing others the opportunity to sour my mood. This girl finally got a clue, has other was to fill her days.

It will also provide some important content for my writing blog, which is really what matters more going forward. Before that however I have to work out how to get my D Drive out of this machine and into the new one, whilst ensuring nothing important is lost during transit. I know there are tools for this, but that process always concerns me slightly until everything is working smoothly again…

I’ll appeal for luck when the time comes.

Different Class

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It is well established that ‘people’ are frightened of things they do not understand: that list can become quite long when they put their minds to it. This is apparent every time I strap on a heart-rate monitor and hit the Gym: Complexity is a killer, as is effort expended when all that needs to be achieved is to turn up and break a sweat. The notion of effort’s a curious thing, all told. When do you know it’s hard enough?

Having broken that barrier a while ago, effort’s an ability in flux right now. The unexpected consequence of this extends out into other places too: not thinking twice over activities that previously would have caused all manner of anxieties. When you know there’s a palpable difference between how you react to things as opposed to most others around you? Your world view matters a great deal.

It also affects the amount of energy available to deal with any consequences.

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Mental effort’s a killer for me: ten minutes in certain people’s company is the cranial equivalent of running a marathon. Now this is apparent, avoiding the stress becomes easier with each passing day. The key is identifying what it is that causes such issues in the first place: once it’s clear what or who is causing the issues, eliminating that will entirely depend on your ability to cope with the environment around you.

There’s a realisation this morning that I lied to a lot of people in my past because their negative effect on my well-being was worth avoiding. However, more importantly, I then fail to keep up the good friendships because of the need to feel and act self-sufficiently in certain situations. This life things’ quite a delicate balance, when all is said and done. It can often be exhausting just keeping up with the basic stuff.

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Before you say owt, I know I’m not that different. However, there is quite a gap sometimes between the people around me and how my brain deals with daily existence. This isn’t intentional either: perhaps it is time to use these distinctions as a means to fuel creativity. That is certainly emerging in this month’s poetry project, and in the last week I’ve been able to funnel emotions in differing directions.

Perhaps this is a side road that is at least worth investigation.

The Fix

The poem began on the day I forced myself out of the house and into the countryside (such as it exists here) and that really proves the point that sometimes, external stimulation kick starts writing ability. I ended up with an opening line but no more: this morning after a night full of dreams where getting lost would finally provide inspiration to find the path back to my destination, ending became beautifully obvious.

My subconscious when all is said and done can be very easily read.

There’s two poems for this submission: after going to see the eldest at Uni and having a birthday meal (he turns nineteen this week) they’ll both be finally looked over and then sent. Next week is the re-write of an existing poetry collection for submission again. With the changes to style, content and approach that have taken place over the summer, I suspect little may remain of what is started with. We shall see.


I have a confession to make. I watch very little TV these days. It is therefore a bit of a stunner to have a bunch of things approaching that will be consumed, rather voraciously, leading up until Christmas. The BBC’s adaptation of His Dark Materials begins in early November. Tonight, the first proper TV adaptation of H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds is on BBC1. In anticipation of this, last night, Netflix got fired up, and a new documentary series was begun.

This series is pretty much made for someone like me, and the opening episode did not disappoint. I’ll review it properly once all the content has been consumed, as the range of designers covers a fairly eclectic definition of the word. Let’s hope that the BBC does not shonk Wells’ original vision, and that the good vibes over their adaptation of Pullman’s work with all the contentious stuff left in really is as good as the trailers suggest.

At least it gives me summat to write about in the week :D

Happy

When I began my exercise journey, there were blog posts about it. In fact, if you go search my archive, you’ll find them. Things were considerably simpler back then, which seems quite bizarre right now to say, considering how much fear was felt. A great deal has changed in that intervening couple of years, not just my attitude towards working hard. The most significant change however is an ability to pull feelings from head to page without their inherent substance altering.

Let us begin this new venture therefore by looking at my year thus far using only the monitoring tools at my disposal.

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The Fitbit on my wrist has been on there for 51 of 52 weeks: there’s a small gap at the end of December when the Christmas present failed and needed replacement. That graph tells you when I was ill this year (March and August) and despite its monitoring shortfalls, is a pretty decent record of how hard I’ve worked. Since switching to a heart monitor, the actual scope of effort’s been far better recorded.

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For a time, this Fitbit became no more than a glorified pedometer. Using a heart rate belt for every piece of organised exercise is great for effort, but doesn’t recognise all the times my belt isn’t on. Therefore the concept of Active Minutes is gaining more prominence, especially on days when I’m not on a treadmill or lifting weights. This week’s benchmark therefore is 316 active minutes in the first four days of work. Once we have a seven day total, that’s going to guide thinking going forward.

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Then, there’s that ever-elusive Red Zone in my exercise classes. I tried on Thursday after Wednesday’s success but didn’t get close: it wasn’t a mental issue. I was just fucked. The best chance that exists to pull red minutes is when a) the workout is geared towards things I can get my heart-rate up for or b) I cheat. Wednesday night, that’s what I did. I just ran for 4 minutes and BOOM there I am.

Going forward therefore, it might be time to reassess some goals.

If weight loss is my key, this is probably the moment to start reassessing what my basal metabolic rate is being fuelled by. I don’t like using MyFitnessPal to keep a calorie goal but if I wanna get the weight to vanish, it might be the moment. All those people who tell me that knowledge is power aren’t having to fight nearly as many internal demons as me either, I’d wager. There’ll still be the occasional slice of cake. I’m not an idiot.

Learning to form good habits is one of the things I’ve been subconsciously doing for months. These are the kind of positive steps that need to be implemented as we head towards Christmas… and that’s why there’s a header for these posts. Once a week, on a Saturday, we’ll go through the week’s exercise and look where we are. Yes, there may even be a Bridget Jones’ style weigh in.

It gives me the chance to talk about other stuff in the week than getting fit.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

It’s a tough moment when you realise just how much hypocrisy drives the world.

Yesterday, I got very VERY angry indeed. Instead of allowing it to totally destroy my already fragile mental stability, out I went. There’s a castle not far from here, or at least the remains of one, and it was a perfect day for pictures. It is the kind of day that will stick long in the memory, because of what that action represents. No longer am I tied to my own failings and shortcomings. This is the way to be free.

The plan going forward therefore is about to alter.

Stuff will still be submitted, but there needs to be some time spent on keeping myself happy ahead of everything else. Therefore, I’m shelving a project completely in November, and re-planning the writing website’s content a bit going forward. Plus, it will be the vanity project that gets worked on for NaNoWriMo and not my popular project. I’ll need to fix the website, and it needs a better book cover…

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It gives me lots to do in between being at the Gym and being outside taking pictures, because that’s going to happen again today. It was so beneficial being outside, I can’t begin to express how useful that was during a day when normally a frustrated mind would have just quietly consumed itself. To keep things normal and balanced, there needs to be a counter to this life of constant rejection.

Improvement must always be the priority.

Pompeii

I didn’t wake up angry this morning, which is a pleasant change from the last couple of months. That is because last night many feelings within were successfully translated into words, onto a screen, and that’s a step forward that’s not happened since about August. There was also important confirmation that I’m not alone: others feel the same way. Of course, that’s always been the case, but sometimes it is confirmation in the moment that matters more.

Validation changes everything.

There are countless issues with Social media, so many that you could fill books (which people have) but then you must ensure appropriate balance. One of the countless good things about Social media is its ability to hold a mirror up to privilege. Just because you learnt about something yesterday does not mean it only then began to be a problem. Except, of course, that’s how so much of modern life now seems to play out.

There’s a 2014 film adaptation of the events that led up to the destruction of Pompeii, which unsurprisingly was not a success [*]. The tagline for the film is simple: ‘No Warning, No Escape’ which presumably reiterates the historical facts available surrounding Mount Vesuvius’ eruption: people didn’t have time to escape the incoming pyroclastic surges. There is a lot of data on the explosions, yet little or no idea of the human cost. I think lots of smart people left when the eruptions began.

I’ve often wondered however of the mindset of those bodies forever frozen in lava.

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Why are these two things in the same blog post? If you pay enough attention, natural disasters are becoming a big deal. Once upon a time you got days to prepare for storms: now it can be hours, sometimes less. Suggesting people be prepared for the unexpected is also met with derision or anger: this is never going to happen to us! Why should I care about being prepared when that’s clearly the Government’s task to deal with…

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Are there people in your timelines so resistant to change that they fail to register that not only are they capable of doing so, by that very action they can help and encourage others to think differently…? I know, many people just don’t care. They live in a bubble, confident nothing can destroy them… just like those people who are now lava statues in Italy: all that mattered was life, up close, until the moment of death.

I think we should all be preparing for the unexpected.

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I don’t believe those victims of the eruption in Italy were caught unexpected. Part of me senses they refused to leave until it was too late, that fear of the unknown was the real reason for their demise. There’s enough known about eruptions now to guarantee that there would have been signs and open well before the final destructive denouement. Did you believe the omens? Were you listening to the right people?

There is nothing wrong with being afraid, it is a part of being alive. However, if that fear begins to adversely affect your life… That was me, a few years ago. I’m getting better with each passing day, and with an important Mental health Day coming up tomorrow, we’ll talk about that journey more then. For now, I see you people who are projecting your fear, and I don’t want it. As I said above, you can go away.

Being prepared for anything is a smart way of making life feel more comfortable. When you realise there’s no escape from the inevitability of Mother Nature’s rapidly changing behaviour because you were in part responsible for it taking place? Many things alter forever. You don’t get to go back to being innocent and non-culpable. It’s time to put on the big girl pants and make things better.

Change becomes a necessary part of existence.

[*] Knowing how a film ends can often destroy the immersive experience, and this disaster movie’s conclusion’s been history for centuries… is that why it failed? Nope. It wasn’t very good. Ho hum.

Orange Crush

Tuesday, let us begin.

I have orange hair everybody, making the World considerably less stressed than it was last week. The lovely curls however lasted about five minutes in my Monday Blaze class. Some observations must now be made on that class’ effort graph:

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A phenomenal amount of work took place last night on the bench, but that’s not why it’s more green than yellow. Last night I realised a couple of key things: I’m still not fuelling properly for these classes (gonna be fixed on Wednesday) and the amount of effort expended has a great deal to do with who is teaching. There simply wasn’t enough energy to do what was asked.

If red is to be reached, a good meal will be required a couple of hours before the class, plus snack about 30 minutes before I go in. There’s no peanut butter in the house, which needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency. The snack of choice right now is granary bread, PB and B, where B is Bananas. They used to be something hated for years, right up after Ride London, where they became the Best Food Ever.

How brain finds red minutes is likely to become a topic of discussion going forward.

I am looking forward to receiving my calendar. 2020 is gonna celebrate my consistency, at least in terms of progress on a single goal. This lass can also make in-video adverts into a work of art. Take note, YouTubers.

Right, let’s get started on planning.