Walk the Line

Progress is never an easy ask. A lot of the journey is adaptive reasoning: I can work harder, how do I work harder, this works, push here.Β Undoubtedly strength and body condition are crucial factors. However, when all is said and done, if head says nope, nothing will happen. This isn’t about being shouted at in a class for 45 minutes in the vain hope something will stick.

Last night my husband turned around post session and told me how proud of me he was: the biking exercise being used currently has a sliding scale of difficulty. That means it can be performed at between 90 and 110% of you calculated power. He’d seen me adjust that halfway through last night’s session, assuming I’d gone down. The last 20 minutes were pushed up, not down.

For the first time since starting this there is yellow zone without prompting.

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My sleep’s shot as a result, and it will take some time to get that bit of the equation back to normal, but this daily burst of exercise has effectively replaced walking, which needs to change. I have to go out today, and record it, plus every day going forward. Air pollution should really not be a problem either, the world around here is mandated silence. The only flights left leaving our airport are freight.

Today I need to organise a proper workout too: the weather is a bit pants here at present, so that means inside, with a couple of videos as accompaniment. I have a 12kg kettlebell with which to do some weights too, so there will be some time spent pulling together a single weight workout. Last week I burned as many calories without the Gym as I managed the last full week there was access to one, so effort’s not an issue.

My problem, undoubtedly, is planning.

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It’s not like I don’t have the raw materials at my disposal to make all of this happen either. As with everything else, planning is the key. It is also important I don’t let things like *cough* video games *cough* distract me from the path, which would be pretty easy right now. The hard work needs to be done first, and after that we’ll work on the other, more enjoyable things.

I’m planning to come out of this fitter than I did coming in.

Living on an Island

I have a house on a virtual island, that for a couple of hours each day I slowly update. I regularly contribute fish, insects and fossils to the local Museum. I’ve helped encourage new people to settle. I’ve been building fences, and today I bought a sink unit for my home. It is all unbelievably relaxing and enjoyable, and absolutely nobody’s going to criticise my life choices, except my 15 year old. I’m used to her by now.

Really, this is the relaxation I’ve been looking for over the last week.

I haven’t forgotten about Pokemon, but it’s been a week now since I walked further than the back of the garden. I might be in range of the nearest Pokestop when doing that, but will have to check later when it’s not hailing outside ^^ Once that’s back in synch, all my gaming needs should be adequately covered. It is a massive step forward for me, believe it or not, to have been able to find new ways to relax like this.

There was an enormous temptation to go back to a game in which I have invested literally years of my life. However, yesterday, the book I used to use to keep my lists of things to do for that game was thrown away for good. The final straw for me yesterday was hearing that there’s talk of further breaking down that game into pieces, effectively negating years worth of playtime when the content was new.

I would have written about it at length before. Now, it’s not worth the effort.

I can’t blame them for wanting to try anything possible to keep their customers. All the things I ever wanted from that game are in AC:NH now anyway: truly customizable items and housing, no need to beat anyone else or win at anything other than my pace. In the end, as my husband occasionally likes to remind, you need to be the one defining what constitutes the end.

It’s ironic of course that we’re living in the virtual world where gaming has become a lifeline for many. It’s the ultimate in distancing, yet at the same time allowing you to feel social. That’s not the half of it: when you’ve hidden somewhere for years because reality is a tough ask, that last thing that’s really helpful is to return to that state. It’s why playtime is being strictly limited. Priorities have altered.

The real world, even now, is more attractive than escaping back to gaming long-term.

Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II)

Situations are being judged right now by what I see and hear first, ahead of news and scaremongering. That meant on Thursday taking the cue from youngest’s school on her trip and latest advice, before it became apparent of the wider issues at play. Shelves were full this morning (with the exception of items that still have not been restocked after the first round of panic buying) but it didn’t stop the supermarket car park being half full at 8.30am.

The till assistant looked tired, in need of some support, so as a Mental health Champion that’s the job I’m supposed to be doing right now. I told her people are already thinking about the consequences on mental health. It’s not fair that customers get angry at staff (I saw it happen ten minutes previously) when they’re doing a job that is going to become increasingly grim as this all goes on. It’s up to us to be thoughtful and decent.

It’s not difficult to think about others as well as ourselves.

The reality of course, is that loneliness will start doing horrible things to our brains as time goes on, and it is vitally important that there’s support for each other and those we know are vulnerable. Watching the videos from Spain and Italy of community singing and exercise, there will be some who’ll just assume this is some kind of flashmob or publicity stunt. People can’t come together and do stuff like that.

Except they can, and will. The biggest single measure of Community in the next three months or so will be how the Brits cope with COVID 19. All that guff about ‘Blitz Spirit’ is complete bollocks if at the first sign of a crisis you bulk buy like a sheep and shout at staff just there to help you. We’re all scared and uncertain, it isn’t just you. If that’s not your mindset right now?Β You are part of a problem that needs to be addressed.

Selfishness has destroyed the world before.

We already know people like this in our own personal circles. How you deal with this level of selfish entitlement is, I think, entirely up to you. Personally speaking, if these people aren’t listening now one can only assume they’ll continue not to give a fuck going forward, and so are largely a waste of time and effort, right up to the moment when they do something dumb, thus allowing you the opportunity to politely put them right.

It is people like this that will make containment impossible, put huge strain on the health services, and ultimately will complain for years afterwards that they didn’t get sick, so what was everybody else making such a fuss about?Β The personal reality that keeps coming back to me, again and again, is that some people really care about themselves more than they’ll ever do about you. These people are NEVER worth your time.

In that respect, not much has changed in 2020 at all.

All Together Now

It is becoming apparent that many of you operate in a WIN ONLYΒ environment: that is, unless you have a loser, plus the obviously ecstatic victor, your Thing is not worth doing.Β You people have learnt nothing from the 52/48, clearly. This was, and will never be just about coming out on top. If you’ve never been a minority, or genuinely subjugated for the entirety of your existence, this shit never makes any sense.

That’s what it is, in effect: a load of bollocks. It wouldn’t matter if positions were reversed, with women as dominant sex on the planet. There’d still be a loser, because that’s how nature and evolution ensures we have to look after each other, because without both sexes there is no reproduction and the human race is extinct. Of course, it might not be long before sex will be irrelevant if science has its way…

Once reproduction is weaponized, nobody’s safe in the pecking order.

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My husband this morning was marvelling at some piece of random video on Facebook where a bloke in a small car attacks another bloke in a bigger car, culminating in him driving into and ripping off an open driver’s door before exiting, finger aloft from his window. If this is the kind of shit blokes are inflicting on each other in the name of evolutionary supremacy, I want no part in your fucking stupidity.

It’s been happening since we all came out of caves, undoubtedly. That other bloke’s wearing a nicer fur than me, and he’s never cold. I’ll kill him, steal his fur and that attractive female he’s been hanging around with is free for me to claim. It only worked back then because most females were kept subjugated for a reason… then I write this and accept just how little has changed in human evolution.

Many of us are still in caves.

Today is always sobering, because giving women just one day will always be too much for some men. It’s the extra inch of rope that ties the planet closer to chaos. If women are allowed any freedoms, the World will end. Instead, of course, it is old white men who have strip-mined the planet, destroyed systems to support and help the most needy and exposed, and who continue to give no fucks about anybody except themselves.

At some point, the conceit will collapse, and one has to hope it happens before the world spontaneously combusts. Until then, if more of us acted as if every day was for everybody, including the people we detest, at least there’s be the chance of some improvement. The key, of course, is harmony.Β Thinking other people are less equal than you is not harmonious. It’s a lie, we see all of you twats doing just that.

Come out of the caves, then start learning how to be better human beings.

Lucky Stars

It is 1977: I am 11 years old. I hear a song on the radio that I love: Ariel.Β It’s by a bloke called Dean Friedman: an American singer-songwriter for whom that is his only ‘major’ US hit. However, his quirkiness catches the ear of a Radio One DJ I listen to obsessively: Noel Edmunds. Thanks to him, I buy Friedman’s second album ‘Well, Well’ Said the Rocking ChairΒ and become obsessed with a particular track.

I am still carrying it with me to this day.

It is a quintessentially perfect piece of narrative storytelling: it’s the breakup song to end all breakup songs. It’s uplifting and smart and has the most killer saxophone solo, but what keeps it in my head after forty years are these four lines:

Take a look at the place you call your home
you’re reflected in all the things you own
and the seeds of reason you have sown
they’re a measure of a part of you that’s already grown…

Not gonna lie: for a good few years I carried those lyrics around with me, in a tea ball locket. I am happy to reveal that to you, dear readers, because I know we’re at that stage in our relationship.Β It’s still on a playlist that gets listened to weekly, and it was stuck into last month’s Internet of Words #Soundtracking2020 playlist… and that’s when things get funky.

Monday, I’m sorting stuff out online post PT, and I get a notification: Dean Friedman liked my use of this song, in that playlist.Β I think to myselfΒ  ‘nah, can’t be the real fella, it’s gonna be a robot or a fan account, coz that’s how social media works…’ So, I went and took a look. I didn’t believe what I saw. So, I had to go check the account. IT’S THE ACTUAL REAL DEAN FRIEDMAN. No, really IT IS.

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I’m not gonna lie, this is a MASSIVE huge deal for me. This song is so significant that it is indelibly threaded through my entire life, I could not separate me from it if I tried. Were I a singer (no I’m not, don’t worry)Β and there was a set list of covers I’d play, this would be the first song on it.Β Therefore to have the person who wrote it FOLLOW ME FIRST (I didn’t even know he was on Twitter ^^) is a massive deal.

It would be like Daniel Craig reading my Bond Fanfic and then chucking me a respective follow. It would be Guy Garvey knowing how much his lyrics have altered my life and doing the same. This is THE MOTHER OF BIG DEALS and let’s be honest, two days on, I’m still quietly revelling in the wonderful nature of social media. It also means that something has to happen as a result…

I am already writing it, despite the fact I planned other stuff this week. I suspect it will come with me doing an audio reading of it, when the thing is finally complete to my satisfaction. The title alone is the stuff of childhood dreams and aspiration, just beyond your creative reach. If the guy who wrote the song that altered my perception as a 12 year old can turn up and remind me that people do listen, anything is possible.

Needless to say, this is the beginning of a VERY interesting journey.

[EDIT: He now follows me on the Work account too… \o/]

Fragments of Self

Yesterday, lots of stuff got fixed. Some of it is permanent, other bits are just beginning. My exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt is now well on the way to being far less of a problem: this will help enormously with benching the weights I want to be playing with in the months that follow. The exercise that fixed this is the reverse crunch, which I cannot do successfully as yet, but am well on the way to achieving. It’s all in the plan.

The PostIt notes on the wall from January, finally, have been cleared. Tomorrow we start afresh: 30 pushups, 30 roll-outs. Zero to just fruit sugars. Lots of focus on technique, and a metric shedtonne of exercise. Rest days that matter, and a measurement of vital statistics. It is time to stop fucking about with this whole weight loss gubbins and get down to 75kg. I know it’s there, inside me. It just needs a good talking to.

Then we need to talk about making money.

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No, this isn’t going to happen, and actually these are not my aspirations either, which should come as some surprise. However, there needs to be a living.Β So, I’ve created one that I really want to pursue, whilst at the same time poking the other stuff. It’ll all launch in 10 days from now. Never launch anything on a Monday, I was once told, and I grasp this implicitly.

The Patreon is made, but there’s a problem setting it to UK currency, so 10 days of letting that get fixed is a good idea. It gives me time to sort out other things. I have the site graphics for the Webpage organised, and a long-term plan on how I shift everything to one, central organisational hub. Should Patreon take off, there’s a YouTube Channel waiting.

It always helps to future-proof where you can.

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This is my life now, and I’m really rather looking forward to it. What needs to happen now is for me to stop procrastinating and get on with the nuts and bolts. There is a PHENOMENAL amount of work to do, and sitting here, staring at it, will not make any of it do itself. That means it’s the moment to crack out a pencil and some paper before poking menu structures.

Let’s work.

Titanium

Yesterday was really hard, but at the same time extremely helpful. The one poem that had not been sitting right in my collection submission got re-written at the hairdressers. It’s now at least 500% better than it was, and the whole thing, as discussed, is now done and dusted. It doesn’t get fiddled with again, either, that’s it.Β For the first time in my adult life here’s something that needs to remain untouched.

The next time anything happens is publication.

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What happens now? That’s an extremely good question.Β There’ll be some yoga this morning, plus the arrangement of my PT schedule and exercise classes for March (gotta love some planning.) I need to work on channeling anger into more productive avenues. There needs to be an apology on the writing site about overreaching before I was really ready (looking at you, video content.) There’s stuff to do.

I need to relax a bit as well. The stress of holding onto something for three months, after a pretty emotional re-editing period, needs to be let go. It’s why last night’s exercise session was less than optimal, because honestly what is needed right now is not more of the same stuff. It might be the moment to re-organise things completely. My PT is on holiday at the end of next month and here’s a good place to switch things about.

Taking March ‘off’ looks like a very good idea.

Back to White

It also gives me time to play with poetry and photography and templates, which is the side hustle that appears to be working out really well right now. Graphic design skills are becoming the ability I didn’t realise was needed but which really is sticking me front and centre. However, I’ve managed only two follows this month. Nobody said this would be either instant or easy. Time to reassess the hashtags and reboot.

Everything is in a continuous state of flux…