Angels

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Today is one of those glorious November Sunday’s where the light’s perfect and air is cold enough to snatch breath from your lungs, and where I’m currently walking around dressed for July on the top half of my body. The Menopause, everybody, which decides that on the coldest day of the year so far the top half of your body will boil and your feet will freeze, meaning I’ve stolen a pair of my son’s ski socks to stop toes from becoming ice-blocks.

Apart from this, bodily health’s pretty smashing: filling breakfast, my third bucket of tea, a decent night’s kip. I’ve got a ton of stuff to do for the well-being of family, but then day is mine to do with as I choose, which will mean some running and probably a lot of writing. I’ve sated my gaming desires for a few days too, with a whole night of playing around and fucking about online. There was also an interesting conversation with my husband over how he may go forward doing the same.

PIES!

So, if you’ll excuse me, it is time to get started.

Somebody Told Me

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Today is a catch-up day for a lot of outstanding work. I’m already behind, but not enough to derail a run at the Gym. I can prioritise pretty well of late.

I’m also in no need to rant, expound or even rage. Today, I am calm, happy and well rested. So, once my son gets home, there will be Gym time. After that, I’ll work until I’m done.

See you later.

Rain

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Something significant has happened this week. I decided not to enter a poetry mentorship. Even though I’m writing it, and will continue to do so, I don’t feel this is something that would benefit being focused on right now. In all honestly, it is time for storytelling and to experiment with that. Also, confession time; I’m not a great fan of a scheme where you are effectively expected to pay for your own tuition. So, a long term plan of editing stories and entering poems for contests seems to be the most appropriate path forward.

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I went to bed at 9pm last night with the reminder that, on days when I’m driving and exercising, six and a bit hours sleep a night is just not enough. Yesterday’s Push Day at the Gym has left arms aching, which tells me I’ve done some good on the muscle front. This weekend’s bike ride won’t happen because Mr Alt’s doing Hockey umpiring on Sunday: so, I need to find 24k steps from somewhere, and probably throw some extra steps in there if possible. Whether I run or not I don’t know, but I’m tempted to walk the distance normally ridden tomorrow and take a camera with me. Husband will be up stupidly early, so that would make sense, that I could do all my exercise before the kids are even awake.

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For now, I have an afternoon of laundry and chores, before I go out (either gym or woods.) Today is a boring, mundane Saturday and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Get Off

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I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I can now state I’m loving the mountain bike.

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The thing about exercise is that it is addictive, but not in a way I’d recognise from previous flirtations with obsession. Yesterday was a glorious Sunday afternoon, out on the 2012 Olympic Mountain-biking track built just down the road from us. There’s impressive views of the Estuary, some absolutely bonkers mental downward runs, and a sense that when this country bid on the Legacy Olympics ticket, they really meant to inspire future generations and not just line the pockets of the already rich. In fact yesterday reminded me of what a thoroughly amazing place this town is to live in.

Yesterday also made me realise that FUCK ME LOOK I HAVE TRICEPS. The sun-cream makes arms all shiny, I know, but seriously people… MUSCLES!11!1!!1 I can now hang comfortably for 20 seconds on the monkey bars, once I hit 30 then its time to start considering how pull ups fit into my exercise routine. Monday PT today is the last for a week, and I won’t be exercising in the Gym after Wednesday for at least a week. This means doing workouts where its just my body as resistance: squats, push ups and probably some running. The seafront where we’ll be staying is lovely and flat: I’m sure I could do something with that. In fact, I think it will be time to start exercising outside.

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Today’s liberating start will be part of a week where lots of stuff ends up, I suspect, a massive disappointment. I’m confident I’ll fail to get a Mentorship I applied for, that the poetry contest I entered will show me not as winner or indeed worthy of notable mention. However, unless I keep applying for this stuff, I’ll never move forward as a writer. Failure is a very important part of the writing process. It gives me incentive to move forward, keep trying, and not lose hope. All these things matter too. You just need a sense of proportion, and understanding that if the momentum remains forward, then that’s better than nothing.

You just need to keep moving, and never stop.

Audacity of Huge

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This morning I was reminded of how Twitter, like it or not, is just as manipulative as all other forms of social media. That’s not the fault of the platform, has very little if anything to do with the people who use it. What the above graphic reminds me is that how we as individuals perceive ourselves is often radically different to the view others hold. This ‘meme’ above doing the rounds right now is a case in point: you know how much I like a decent .GIF, but I’d NEVER ask other people to use one to describe me.

That’s because I understand that if I did, there’s the chance someone’s going to tell me the truth.

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The main reason why ‘abuse’ is categorised as such by people is the level of hurt it is able to inflict. If you’re Twitter, for instance, for every 1000 ‘shut up and fuck off’ account abuse reports received there’s probably one that will be considered as a credible threat. The difference between casual abuse and a potential court case will also depend on the type of person being threatened, and I suspect it will take a high profile Twitter stalking (plus fatality) of a ‘normal’ person for that to change, if it does at all. The issue is simple: what you will class as an insult someone else might regard as funny. If you’re stalked obsessively for months, only then is it likely anyone might care. However, if you want it to stop? Evidence will have to stand up in court, and that could take years.

What has all this got to do with a harmless meme, I hear you ask? It is potentially more damaging when someone you trust posts something you don’t understand, or more significantly doesn’t post anything at all to a participative event like the Meme Game. You hope someone will, and then if that response is not what you’d hoped or wanted then BOOM it all goes Pete Tong in short order. I realised quite quickly as this meme gained traction that I couldn’t get away with just posting the .GIFs I wanted without explaining them to people who I know, after extended periods of interaction, don’t think the same way I do. I’m very big on .GIF use, but also like the moral ambiguity an image can bring, subtlety involved in being able to ‘read’ the visual in different ways. As soon as I realised the images I wanted to use could end up being considered as less than flattering?

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Here is the inherent issue that has existed back since Usenet opened up the World to ‘group’ discussion: ambiguity. It will also have a lot to do with the intelligence of the person you’re posting to, their current mental status… and a ton of other stuff that you’ll never be able to understand until you’ve been a victim of abuse. That could be as simple as complimenting your breast size to threatening to set fire to your car. When those are the extremes of what is considered casual abuse on the Internet? You can see why a simple image suddenly gains a great deal of power. It is also undoubtedly true that however ‘good’ a friend on the Internet says they are, however close you might feel the connection, everybody has the potential to wake up and fundamentally change forever. Yes, this happens, people, and more often than you might believe.

Everybody has the potential to become a toxic maniac that stalks you.

There are an awful lot of assumptions about how you control what appears in Twitter, and many of them are not sound. This is not a place where you get to pick and choose what goes on unless there’s a lock on your account. The only means to ensure true privacy is by removing yourself from mainstream/public eye completely. Sure, you can choose to ignore people who don’t provide a phone number, but most victims know their attackers. Random is very rarely the problem. If you have to ask people to explain why they do things, it could well be that your actions also require assessment, and that’s a blog post for another day. In short, shit like this might start innocently enough, but in the end somebody always gets hurt.

If you really want people to describe what you are, just ask them up front.