Begin Again

Yesterday was a revelation for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I stuck a ton of clear air between me and my future. If all this is going to work, there needs to be an acceptance not simply of responsibility but focus. Sunday was supposed to be a bike training day, but instead there’s understanding I’m already capable of the physical goals that are being presented. I can do the rides being asked of me, without a problem, but the writing and planning goals that are important need work.

Sunday was when everything changed for the better.

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There’s still tons to do, but now I’m not stressed or worried about running out of time. I have plenty of hours left, if they’re used properly, and I don’t allow the bad things to consume everything else. It’s the same mantra I repeat every few months, but this time there’s a tangible difference.

I like this feeling.

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Last night’s dream was good enough for the Twitters:

It also marks the first time I’ve been able to keep the dream running in my mind whilst aware and at least semi conscious and return to it for a conclusion. I take this as a really good sign that the brainmeats are functioning at optimum capacity, and although I may have trouble stringing sentences together without at least three cups of tea, the subconscious is sorted.

ON WITH THE DAY.

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BOY did I need that lie in.

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Next week is last five days of School runs, which is already being looked forward to with an enthusiasm that has not previously experienced. I’m not knackered per se, and suspect I’ll still be working at the same levels during the Summer Holidays, but there won’t be the same set of peculiar stresses at play. What it does mean is the opportunity to go take photographs during the day, and to do much needed organisation and back end faffing that won’t get done otherwise.

For now, however, it’s time to put my England shirt on and go to the Gym.

Third or fourth, it doesn’t matter. I’m very proud of the National side. They’re my team again.

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There’s an increasing trend amongst the writers I follow on Social media: people turn up and use the immediacy of the platform to deliver negative reviews, and it’s not going down well. This is not how books work, after all: a writer tells a story, and you accept it. By purchasing their book, you are entering into a social contract with the author. This exchange is a willing acceptance of their ability to alter your reality with an opportunity to be convinced it works. If it doesn’t, put the book down and move on. You don’t pick up a pitchfork, light a torch and then tell the writer how they should have written it, because that is not how art criticism works.

Except there’s an increasing number of people who need to attack the source material with everything they own, because it’s how they can make themselves briefly famous.

The subjectivity of enjoyment is, well… a very personal thing. I LOVE this Bond movie, but this person knew full well that if they sat and picked it to pieces, someone would be interested. If enough aggrieved individuals share the notion their favourite franchise has been ravaged? We get the whole Star Wars groupwank that appears to not want to go away, with EVERYBODY and their idiot brother deciding they know better than the people who made the movie.

No, this isn’t film criticism when you start verbally abusing stars or threatening directors. That is vandalism and verbal assault. There is no way to justify any of it, and yet by dissecting these theories ourselves, by discussing them in our own spaces, we simply keep chucking twigs on the fire. As long as something is around to burn, the conflagration never goes out, which seems to be a point many well-meaning people simply overlook in the clamour of being noticed. Your attention seeking, however passive, is still that.

There’s been a bit of a hoo-hah on Social media this week after an American decided to wade into a cave in Thailand with his own solution to a problem that was, at that point, pretty much under control. Many have suggested that this was a bit of an attention-seeking move on the philanthropist’s part, after a period of bad publicity… but undoubtedly, this man thought he was helping. The guys who are telling Disney to remake The Last Jedi are exactly the same, like it or not. Their view of the Universe is different (see yesterday) and it’s a place where people like me aren’t welcome.

That’s not the only reason why I’ve finally lost the plot with a lot of genre content.

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My daughter is a massive Steven Universe fan: this show should be the default state of ALL genre content going forward: nothing is wrong, everything is potentially feasible, and anything can be written without fear it might offend someone. The message of love, and why it matters, may not be very palatable to those who feel stories must use conflict differently to be satisfying, but it proves that you don’t need negativity to either create interest or drive narratives forward. The biggest issue, in all of this, is quite simple. Some people are more worthy than others. 

Except, of course, they’re not.

That’s not how art criticism works. That’s not how movies work. It’s not how Social media or journalism should work either, but the people in charge seem a bit reticent to change what makes the most money: right now if you’re not being contentious, you’re not doing it right. Except this is the absolute best way to make people like me decide that you know what? Life is too short for your bollocks, this repeated wanking over sacred cows you feel have now been destroyed by intervention, when the reality is far more simplistic. This stuff was never meant to be bled dry. It was a product of its era, and can happily be left there. It should be consumed, before moving on.

The best art stems from conflict. The conflicts that matter most are those with relevance to the largest sections of society. The last time I looked, approximately, 107 boys are born for every 100 girls. I think it is high time that life reflected a far more balanced outlook than is currently the case.

This really isn’t too much to ask.

Strange Days

About once a week I think, perhaps a bit less, someone who I know is fairly prolific on Social media will vanish. If they’re a sensible type, there’ll often be a précis to this along the lines of ‘I need to take a break.’ It is becoming the norm, rather than an exception, and denotes that an individual has, quite sensibly, grasped how much of a controlling influence this medium can become. There’s a reason you take rest days in exercise, can’t eat the same junk food for months on end without at least injecting some healthy food groups. Everything in excess is dangerous.

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However, this may not help solve that persistent unhappiness that’s experienced via Global group interaction. Social media is neither soft drug nor cranial stimulant. It is the equivalent of talking to someone for an hour whilst simultaneously doing something you either love, hate or really aren’t that fussed about. If you’re in a bad place, there’s a 50/50 chance it won’t improve your mood, and then you have another important decision to make. Should you rely constantly on virtual encouragement when, if the power went out, you really would be on your own?

Why do I see people constantly using it as a crutch when in reality a ball and chain is the more realistic metaphor?

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There’s the key: appearance. What you see as one thing is completely different to someone else. That’s why we no longer just have glasses of water in the future, you’re either full or empty and let that be a lesson to you, young lady. Do NOT stand in public places and decry anybody else’s opinions as shonky, lest ye be judged as shonky yourself, for the future is being listened to only if your follower count is over 9000 and you’re a registered Opinion Haver. We are approaching the last days of independent thought: algorithms are already blocking your Tweets as noise to the people you really care about. They’re already leaving Social medias because grown men can get them the sack just by having a Reddit group.

Seriously, this is the future of the Internet?

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We dodged the bullet in Europe in the last week over copyright, but they’re already reloading the gun. People in the US are already seeing their net being throttled and metered: it is just the beginning. We will look back on these glory day in a decade’s time (assuming we’re all still here of course) and wish we’d stopped wanking amongst ourselves far sooner. This will be a place where you need to pay for an opinion, and then negotiate the various paywalls in order to have any chance of being heard. If you want emotional support from friends, you can bet it will come with a fee and conditions.

The Data Apocalypse is coming: don’t say you were not suitably forewarned.

Run to the Hills

The biggest single problem I possess right now in terms of exercise ability is stamina. HIIT routines are now just that, but anything over 90 minutes and I will summarily wilt. What is required is an understanding of what my limits are, how to play to them and then finally exceed them.  Fortunately for me, Zwift has the means by which I can deal with this issue, and still keep myself sane.

Welcome to the Alpe du Zwift.

It’s a bloody big hill, when all is said and done, and I can’t climb it in two hours… but one day, I will. This morning was the reconnoitre to see how far up I could get without busting a gut. I paced myself, bought snacks and extra water and for 110 minutes it was doable. Those last 10 minutes lasted about three lifetimes.

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Before on long rides my brain has stopped me, or my legs and (on a couple of occasions) a combination of both. Today was different. I needed to get used to the heat, and how body operates when energy is low. It was a massive learning experience, and slow realisation that, for many years, it has been my brain which prevented any kind of tenable progress. Now that’s under control, the only obstacle to progress is my own ability to put in the effort. That’s slowly getting fixed. I’ve been at this before Christmas, and only now is progress becoming apparent.

One day I will climb the Alpe du Zwift, but with England v Sweden imminent? It will not be today.

You Wear It Well

DAY FIVE of the Exercise Regime. Wednesday was a rest day, because exhaustion. That means today fitting in both a Gym and Cycling session. The changes to body are already obvious, and yes, having got on the scales this morning, there is a weight change. It isn’t much, but is undoubtedly there. Yesterday’s session in the Gym was so tough I was sick afterwards. This was not planned, but does show there’s effort being expended.

Low carb is as horrendous as was remembered, but the results when it was adhered to  last time were significant. That took ten days to kick in. I can do this.

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Tea (normal and green) has become my unexpected saviour. I drink not to eat, and it is working surprisingly well. However, today I get a treat, even if it is only 150 calories. Once everything is written and scheduled, it’ll be the Gym, followed by the second half of the England game as cycling accompaniment. I’m beginning to look forward to it, oddly, the effort is now equalling reward whereas before, it was all a slog. If the future of existence is heat and sweat, there needs to be a body capable of coping with those changes. Getting fit now is becoming a necessity and not a priority.

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Okay, less procrastination and MOAR WERK.