Little Wing

When you are tired of Olivia Coleman you are tired of life. THAT IS ALL ON THE OSCARS.


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This week’s a monthly crossover, but I’m giving serious thought to taking some time off. By that I mean that I know mentally there’s not much left in the tank, because I’ve been writing poetry pretty solidly since September. I’ve promised my daughter a birthday playlist (14 on the 5th) but apart from that there is very little actual desire to do anything but re-write a particular piece of fiction. The enthusiasm for that is very great indeed, so much so I was planning the re-write in bed last night.

I’ll work out the details on the writing site, suffice it to say I wanna be walking everywhere as much as possible in the next few weeks. I’d record the steps too but last night the Fitbit became a brick. This is the second time in three months a device has effectively died: it is hard to tell whether software is at fault or if the build quality of these devices is the bigger issue. Either way, free replacement is inbound.

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After that, and an edit on this second collection of poems for a March 1st deadline, it’s building furniture, recycling shit we don’t need and generally clearing the decks so that the next project (front room redecoration) can begin in earnest. It might happen at Easter, or it could take until the summer. Either way, it will allow me a custom area to work and create within, and I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect.

Eat to the Beat

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Today, someone took the time to explain to me how one properly flosses teeth. I realise that this has never been pointed out before, and understanding WHY something happens is probably more important than the fact it is done. Sometimes, that extra step is hard when everything else matters. I’d never visited a hygienist until today either, so please feel free to chuck a disapproving look this way. However, I made sure to tell her how gentle she was, how nobody else had ever taken that care before with my teeth, and that being willing to learn brings great reward.

Remember to tell someone today how important they are, and how much they matter.

Last night, I rented a movie as I was alone in the house: Dr Strange now explains a lot of the motivation in the Marvel universe, the location of one of the outstanding Infinity Stones, and that however much I love Benedict Cumberbatch he’s fucking wasted as badly constructed combination of Tony Stark and Star Lord. The cut of the film feels horribly off in places too, and the effects sequences… it was like watching a migraine. However, I may yet give it a second viewing to see if stuff improves. This does mean however that two of the best British male character actors of a generation now hold significant store in a Comic book Universe. There’s always a bright side.

Last night was also my first lesson in what my body enjoys digesting post operation and what is unacceptable, and an important correlation was made. I understand why a certain Chinese dish makes me unhappy: it’s not the fish, but the batter they’re coated in. Sadly that means last night’s chicken also makes it onto the ‘avoid like the plague’ list, which is sad as it was lovely at the tastebuds stage. There was a warning I might also need to lay off trigger foods that were an issue pre-Operation, but as yet I think I might yet get away with going back largely to normal.

Today is the last day of playing with back end stuff for the other sites. Starting tomorrow, it’s T Minus 15 days to full-on Patreon awesomeness. I’d better get on with my to do list :D

Design for Life

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Yesterday, I went out with husband and daughter for my first meal post-operation. I played it safe: nothing overly fatty, healthy choice, and only a single beer, and woke up at 5am with a hunger I can’t recall for quite some time. Yesterday’s PT was all that was hoped for too: weights were utilised, exercises suggested that put no pressure on my healing umbilical hernia, and once my daughter’s packed off for a sleepover with a friend, I’ll go and do 5 miles on the Octane. When I do that tomorrow it will be with press ups, TRX rows and single arm rows as accompaniment. This is maintenance mode for two weeks, so that the hernia gets a full month to heal. Then, we’ll go back to where we were.

I’ve put on half a kilo at weigh in time, which could be as much about the Gym clothes I was wearing or the fact I didn’t use the loo before I stood on the monitor. What matters below the weight, as I have discovered in the last few months, are the important details such as the percentage of my body that is fat, and how exercise translates to general body health. In that regard, owning the body of a 40 year old is something to be pleased about, and having lost 4% body fat thanks to the operation? Yeah, let’s take that as a win. The trick now, of course, is to make sure it stays that way. Doing the work has never been a problem. My PT yesterday made the point that she wasn’t surprised I was back in and exercising less than a fortnight after the operation, that was ‘just the way you are.’

You bet I’m going to take that as a compliment.

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We also went as a family to see the installation of poppies that has been adapted from the original art at the Tower of London. Hopefully I’ve done the magic with the URL from my Flickr account to link that here so you can take a look. It’s on land that the MoD sold to developers about a decade ago, and the original Barracks were converted into housing. Needless to say, it was a lovely evening and very moving when, at 7pm, a lone bugler came and played the Last Post by the wave of poppies.

Without further ado, let us get on with the day.

Look out Any Window

Life is measured in great moments, seismic shifts in political and social structure that are only often ever truly understood decades after the event. Next week, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will literally send a letter to the European Union to inform them that in two years time, my home intends to remove itself from a political framework that has been part of my existence since childhood. When I voted in June of last year, it was to remain within this framework, but 52% of the people who did the same decided they didn’t like being homogeneous, and wanted again to stand sovereign.

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Integrity is a difficult word to grasp in the current climate: on one hand I need to be honest and principled for the sake of two children’s futures. However, I’m living in a country which, like it or not, has been divided almost exactly in half. Left/right, red/blue extreme/tolerant… the list goes on. On the basic day to day level of things however, you’d be hard pressed to see that anything has altered at all. I’m supremely lucky to own a home, have a job and not want for either food or comfort. For all the other people who aren’t those things, life is undeniably the toughest and most brutal it has been for many years. If I am to maintain integrity as my country finally acknowledges it’s post-Brexit status to the World, do I also need to accept that unity is the only way forward?

What concerns most of all right now is the way that truth and facts are being ignored by people who seem to believe that the audience they’re talking to isn’t capable or willing to think for themselves. Integrity has been sacrificed by individuals, organisations who should know better than to try and pretend that our climate isn’t altering for the sake of their profits. They try and assuage the fears that people will be worse off by straight out lying, because the truth has somehow become bad and wrong. Sending people who legitimately work hard and contribute to a multicultural society away because they don’t look or sound like you is not the right answer. Telling me you are a Christian when you refuse to allow women the most basic of bodily rights is never, at any point anywhere, going to be either acceptable when your own basic perceptions can be so outraged by honour and dedication.

Half of the world has lost basic integrity. Many of them, I think, don’t even realise this has happened.

My biggest concern is climate change, a concept the President of the United States seems to believe is some kind of fantasy invented by organisations intent on stifling his family’s long term profits. Half my home town could be under six feet of water just like Evangeline was in 1927 if the polar ice caps keep diminishing: even if we can halt the damage done, there’s some very real and pressing issues with feeding a growing population, millions of whom are now starving or without clean water. These issues are what should really matter, but instead extremism and punishment are the current mantras, as if either of these things are really significant concerns when placed beside the planet we live on. After all, if there’s nowhere on Earth that can sustain life long-term, all those other issues become largely irrelevant anyway. Integrity dictates we should stand united on important issues, yet nobody seems to be able to grasp what really matters any more.

It is therefore really easy to see why cat pictures, memes, stupidity and tackyness are as popular currently as they undoubtedly are: it’s the antidote to serious thinking that everybody needs but no-one will admit they indulge in. It also explains the current obsession with self many people have, that you can at least change what you have direct control over. For me, at least, that focus is as much about having the mental and physical strength to survive whatever the next ten years may now throw at me. Being a minority is going to be a tough gig going forwards: everybody’s going to be fighting each other for the chance to establish a benchmark for integrity using a great many new and interesting definitions. Moral principles, after all can come in a great many different flavours, colours and sizes.

I’m looking forward to next Wednesday because then, finally, everybody gets to move on. We have to hope our Government is capable of doing the job they’ve been told to complete. There’s still hope for the future, right up until the point where everybody else decides you’ve failed. As long as integrity can be maintained? Anything is possible.

Now, all we can do is wait.

Big Time

Welcome to the first day of a new world. I’ve been promising myself that at some point I’ll stop fucking about, simply pretending to do this writing lark. Inspired by various friends who are making significant life changes and forging new careers for themselves later in life, I knew this was the moment. I think we’re in a position to make something stick.

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I’m never going to be a streamer. You and I both know I do my best work when not stuck up the front, after consideration and planning is allowed. Therefore, I’m pushing the personal agenda to the fore for the first time in eight years. There’ll still be Warcraft posts, but I feel that maybe if I stop lying to you that’s what I’m really here for then it will be easier to cope with life myself. That means this place and my writing is getting sold more, and I’ll be pushing my remit further afield. You’ll see absolutely no changes on the Twitter feed however, that remains exactly as is. It’s simply a redefinition, albeit subtly, of the rest of the stuff behind it.

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That means, going forward, I’ll be rearranging a lot of the back end, shifting project priorities and generally having a tidy up. This place, however, is now the key focus. I’m still writing a weekly Warcraft column and my stuff for the Community Mag but there will be days now when there’s nothing on Twitter from that Blog except a link to a previous post. The biggest trick in making time to write is prioritising what matters, after all. It also means I’ll be considering what is placed here with a bit more care in the months that follow, and to that end there’s already a boatload of planning to my right to support the change. However, for those of you who think this might mean there’ll be skimping on the fiction front, I’m here to reassure you that’s most definitely not the case.

The novel remains a major project and one of the reasons all this stuff’s being moved is to give me more time, not less. I’ve got my version of the book cover’s main graphic ‘in production’ right now and as soon as my commissioning artist is done I’ll be launching a section dedicated to it on my writing site as I go through the process of completion, editing and then attempting to find a publisher. That’s one of the goals from last year I’ve not hit, and until I do, we’re pushing forward with all speed. There will also be other projects: I’ve got a number of things sitting on the sidelines, I just need to organise myself away sufficiently to get them all moving, plus completion on the stuff that’s already started.

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There you have it. Most people who are only here for the Warcraft jazz won’t take a blind bit of notice of this, and that’s just fine. If you want to support me in my venture? There will be ways and means going forward, but not just yet. For now, we’ll do this for a while and get everything established, and once that’s done?

Anything is possible if I can do the work.

All of Me

I’m currently in the process of getting life insurance, because now I’m a lady of a certain age, it is sensible to provision for the kids should it all go BOOM unexpectedly. All those adverts which state ‘no medical needed, just a few questions’ have no chance of ever giving you a decent lump sum, so I had to do the entire ‘just fill in these 35 pages and don’t you dare lie’ application and when they sent me back the answers, it transpires I missed a fairly vital piece in my family puzzle. My father’s had Type 2 Diabetes for a while, and was diagnosed (I believe) before he was 50, but as to when, I don’t know (and to be honest I doubt he could tell me.) The fact I have no desire to ask is neither here nor there, but for honesty’s sake I declared this.

Then, on Friday, I got a text message: CALL US NOW. So I did, and a lovely lady took a load more questions (plus checked I’d not lied on my form by double-checking some other answers) and then informed me if there were any issues, I’d speak to someone else before the cover was finalised. On Monday a letter arrived stating that I’d admitted an issue and that I needed to call them, but if this had already happened I could ignore this waste of postage and trees that was legally required to confirm they’d contacted me in writing. I assumed I was done, until the lovely lady who’s helping to complete the cover phones me and stated she thought I needed to call the company as well.

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It is staggering, considering the world in which we now live, that it takes so long to get basic stuff done. It should not need two phone calls and a letter to confirm a simple change, but it does because all these people need to be employed doing something. If computers did all this with a 30 second algorithm there’d be cries of fowl and that you need the people in the equation for checks and balances, but that doesn’t happen. Nobody talks to anybody else, and if your computer system only updates once every 24 hours? WTF are you doing? That’s 23 hours of the day that everybody else ends up wasting and nothing happens. Woe betide you have to work out how to do stuff from scratch. You only have to look at the car-crash that is the Brexit ‘plan’ to understand what happens when you just decide to do something without organisation. The problem, of course, is that it’s either too much, or nothing at all. Middle ground, where everyone is helpful and happy, just doesn’t seem to exist.

It’s been two months and I’m still not covered. Maybe they’re hoping I die and then they won’t need to pay out. Perhaps nobody’s prepared to insure anything any more because of the volatile nature of society. All I know is that I’m getting fitter every day and this is becoming progressively more ridiculous, and I sure as fuck am very glad I didn’t leave this any later to sort out because honestly, what a fucking performance.

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Talking of performances, was dragged by husband to KT Tunstall at the local venue. No, that’s not fair, I went willingly, mostly because I’m a great fan of anyone who can singlehandedly sound like a complete band with minimal effort. Last night I’ll admit I enjoyed her angsty styff more than her ‘I’m over my breakup here’s my cheery stuff’ but the audience were all up by the end so really, my opinion’s just that. I’d kind of hoped she’d do ‘Default’ by Atoms for Peace because this, without doubt, was the highlight of her last gig for me, and I’m a sad woman who knows what she likes.

At the end, my husband began acting a bit oddly, and I couldn’t work out what was going on, until it became apparent that the Scottish songstress had hurled her guitar pick into the crowd and it had hit him on the hand. A lot of frantic scrabbling then resulted in him picking it up and proclaiming a victory. This of course had to be Tweeted about, because well why not.

To explain: KT explained how she’d hurled various items into the crowd at previous gigs (including a kazoo and a drumstick) and managed to hit people in the process, and that legal action was always a concern. My husband’s hand is uninjured, hence the assertion we won’t be contacting lawyers, because they’re even slower than the bloody insurance people. It took a while, but I’m glad to see that the good lady responded.

This yet again proves my assertion that if you talk to your heroes, you’re always in with a chance of a response.

The future isn’t instant communication or days waiting, it remains somewhere in between. If you can maintain that balance, then you’re doing it right.

Broken Wings

Occasionally, admitting you need medical help is part of life. Yesterday, the itch from two mosquito bites became impossible to ignore, especially as my hand was finding typing difficult. So, off to the chemist I went. I have to thank the random old bloke who suggested using the back of a silver spoon on the bite itself (sliver = anti-inflammatory, heat = breaks down proteins the mozzie injects to de-coagulate your blood) which was great until I needed to go out to train. Then I used a thin layer of Hydrocortisone in an attempt to make life easier, and everything went Pete Tong, as demonstrated above.

The biggest casualty was my elbow, which I couldn’t move at all for large parts of last night. The joint pain has gone now, fortunately, but I’m still incredibly uncomfortable, itchy in my own skin. On the bright side I had the best night’s sleep for coming up for a month.

Everything has a silver lining, after all.