Did It Again

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The company who make my porridge do it in ‘instant’ sachets, with dried fruit to make the whole thing a little less… well, just oats. A while back they stopped making my favourite flavour combination. No more Apple and Cherry for me. Except, a few weeks after the announcement some extra stock appeared in my supermarket of choice. I probably looked a bit strange with the last six boxes of the stuff at the till, but I didn’t care. I’ve been slowly eating my way through them ever since: a packet every couple of days, and using my mindfulness ‘training’ to fully enjoy every bowl. Yesterday was the last sachet.

Sometimes, you don’t realise what matters most until it is too late.

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The World right now provides a very skewed perception if you stare at it continually via the same lenses. By that, I mean using social media as the sole manner of assessing news, or using exclusively as a means to make important decisions. I am genuinely concerned at the number of people who seem to live their lives here, and am all too aware that I am one of them when it comes to promotion of my new venture. There needs to be some changes therefore, and I couldn’t do that without talking time away from the format that is at least part of the problem. So, yesterday is going to be written down to ‘Mental Health.’ It included a PT session (lots of boxing, upper body really hurts) and another 10 miles of cycling. There was also a lot of… well, not very much at all.

Doing nothing is really good for your soul.

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Once I’ve written this there will be a list, as has become de rigeur on a Sunday. Then, it is just a case of getting as much as I can done in the day with a session of cycling inserted in between. There’s a lot of personal stuff to discuss next week, but for now I need to be focussed, organised and just get the stuff done.

Let’s go.

The In Crowd

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I used to find excuses to stay at home. Gaming was a great one, absolutely cracking means by which I could avoid Reality, in all its forms. Now, I need excuses not to go out, and rarely find them. Today however I am at the beck and call of the Amazon delivery bloke, which is fine because there’s stuff needed for the rest of the day. However, as soon as the three parcels are signed for, I’m outta here. A lot of the chores are out of my hands: two bodyshop visits, dry cleaners, supermarket. However today I not only get to try and beat my best time for 10 miles on the bike, but it is Running Day at the Gym.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about my competitive urges in the last few weeks: I realised quite early on in this adventure this is not about using other people’s benchmarks to measure my progress. Weight’s also hugely unproductive to use as an indicator of attainment (as we have already discussed this week) and as I’ve put on muscle weight AGAIN this week thanks to increased leg and arse use? The only real indicators of progress I have are times and frequency. The first two days of cycling were pretty much minimum of effort to adjust to the process. Yesterday evening, I pushed. It wasn’t even that: the occasional burst of power, sprint section of the Track. However, there was undoubtedly more energy in my legs than has existed. This morning, with the benefit of a lie in?

I want to get out and exercise before I do anything else.

Although the markers are, in most cases, against other people (virtually) or a ‘good time’ (depending on my age) the only person I am ever competing with is myself. I don’t require  a race or medal to prove hard work or validation. I suppose that is why finally that gaming no longer has its compulsive claws fixed into me, because however many carrots may be dangled from sticks I’m just not hungry any more: desires have subtly altered in the last couple of years. I’ll have plenty of time to play once I’ve done all the other (far more important) stuff that needs doing.

Oh, there’s the doorbell.

All or Nothing At All

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This morning has been all about Patreon, and the realisation that at least once a month I’ll need to sit down and spend time organising how this project evolves going forward. I’ve amended prices for Tiers, added a new one plus a Contest to keep content moving through to people. I’ve also gotten distracted by making new logos but this has shown up that the stuff I’m currently using isn’t as great as I’d like, and therefore there will be more design faffing once I’ve written this as I amend the IoW site for a more ‘cohesive’ look. I already know this will be needed if I start boosting my posts using Twitter’s Promote feature. It’s not like this is a surprise. However, having to do all of this is tough to get my brain around, until everything gets slotted into the plan.

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I’ve also added summat extra to the exercise routine: I’m paying for Zwift every month and not using it nearly as much as I should, so yesterday I did 10 miles around the ‘virtual’ Ride London circuit. The plan is to try and do 70 miles a week, if only to get my legs into the routine of riding, and my arse an opportunity to adjust to the saddle. This will work until we go away for a mini break in the later part of the month, and I can at least get myself mentally settled with the idea. PT’s been organised to cover holidays for both myself and my Trainer, and I’ll have used up the last of my outstanding vouchers from the operation period by the end of August.

However, I’m not going anywhere today until I get this massive To Do List knocked off… ^^

Bad to the Bone

People don’t like being told they’re wrong. Speaking as ‘people’ as my own example, I’m terrible when I make mistakes. Traditionally my brain and mouth run at differing speeds when flustered or frustrated, and so typing gives me the vital time required to think before I ‘speak’ and that’s probably why I prefer this medium now to communicate over everything else. It is my own self-woven safety net. I’ve learnt a lesson this week in how not only I use the words but on directing intent, and grasped that sometimes, like it or not, you’re just better off not talking to some people at all. You’d think I’d learn after each time I interact with certain individuals, they treat me like the shit they just scraped off their shoe. You hope that maybe it’s a bad day and perhaps they’ll be nicer, but nope, still a total twatcanoe. Then, I end up asking the same question.

Is it me that’s the problem here, or is it you?

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The reality, of course, is that it’s a bit of both, and unless parties involved are prepared to reconsider terms and engagement, it will always be this way. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and eventually a point is reached where if it matters enough to everyone involved, you will find a way. That’s the key: however, the reality is more often that one party’s completely unaware of what a twat they are until someone informs them of this whom they trust. Again, this is personal experience speaking, and I can be completely clueless sometimes. I’m therefore extremely grateful for everybody I know who chips in or points out I might have made a misstep along the way. Nobody said that communication was ever going to be simple or without potential misinterpretation.

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I’ll make an effort with difficult people, but there comes a point where I just stop listening. This isn’t because I’m unwilling to communicate, anything but. It is inevitably because I feel that, like it or not, what I’m saying isn’t being given the respect I’m being careful to demonstrate with the other person. After a while you shouldn’t need to be formal, it should just be a relaxed and comfortable relationship where dispute or conflict is dealt with sympathetically. However, if the other person refuses to allow you that intimate access (and I mean that in terms of emotional trust, not physical closeness) there will never be the opportunity to forge a real and meaningful relationship. Ironically I’ve seen people claim that I’ve done this with them, that by the action of simply talking to them we are somehow fast friends. That’s not how this works, guys.

It takes two people to build a friendship, especially on the Internet.

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As I become more political and less personable on Twitter, I have noticed people drifting away with whom I had decent bouts of communication in the past. These people showed me respect and understanding, but when it becomes apparent that my reaction to the Real World events at present is… well, volatile, they choose to step away, and I find myself amazed that this is a surprise. If you claim to know me as well as I suspect you believed was the case, this should not come as unexpected… yet it does, and ironically that lack of tolerance is the problem more people are having with social media. The ultimate tool to bring people together is in danger of disintegration because individuals are now realising that maybe they don’t want the whole World in their inbox. Many can’t form meaningful relationships in real life, and ultimately that matters far more than your virtual accomplishments.

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I’m not alone in thinking this either: Mark Zuckerberg spoke to the BBC yesterday and vocalised many of the concerns that the more open-minded of us hold that creating a global community is being threatened by xenophobia, fear and distrust of our fellow man:

There are people around the world that feel left behind by globalisation and the rapid changes that have happened, and there are movements as a result to withdraw from some of that global connection.

Getting high profile personalities to mention specifics is, of course, never going to happen because the moment you do, that’s all that anybody else talks about for months (you just need to look at the US President for ample demonstration of that.) When Zuckerberg refers to ‘movements’ I find myself thinking about the F-word. That’s fascism, people, but by thinking thus I also excludes a whole spectrum of other extremist viewpoints, which are just as dangerous and exist on the far left of a political spectrum that doesn’t currently know it’s arse from a hole in the ground. Wherever you pitch your tent, these are difficult times we live in, and being able to communicate successfully is absolutely crucial going forward. Pretending all this isn’t happening is a coping strategy, I’ll grant you, but not the one I’m going to work with.

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What bothers me most of all, at the end of all this, is people being honest. Not with me, although I’d love you to possess the balls to admit you left because I make too much noise, or that you don’t care, or that you think I’m wrong. That at least gives me an opportunity to say thank you, or argue to keep you around, or express disappointment that yet again, when presented with two options, you took the easy way. With the chaos around us all, and considering this is only the Internet, I don’t blame you for making a run for it, on reflection. The arsebiscuits have a reason for believing everybody is out to get them too, because in certain cases that’s spot on. If it’s easier to deflect attention away from yourself by being rude, but you don’t want to rock the boat or cause too much trouble because you’ll be labelled difficult? Newsflash, you’ll get caught out eventually. When you do, it might be time to ask the question: is it always other people who are the problem, or am I contributing?

Admitting you’re wrong is often the first step towards redemption.

Under the Bridge

Hello Trolls.

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How are you doing today?

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I really appreciate all the extra hits you gave me in the last week, its making my Twitter metrics look particularly healthy \o/

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It also gives me a chance to explain to other people what Trolls are and how to avoid them.

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So I’d like to thank you for your continued efforts in helping me educate, inform and entertain the masses.

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Mostly, it warms my heart that you take all this time and effort to communicate so eloquently. No spelling mistakes, grammar and presented so perfectly. THAT’S the way you set a good example.

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I hope you have a lovely weekend. Take care now :D

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