Eat to the Beat

Thank you to everybody who donated yesterday, thus paying for hosting for this site for the next 12 months. I promise when the Patreon happens you’ll be very clear where all the money goes, and the rewards will be worth your time.


An awful lot of other stuff happened yesterday, which will take me some time to process properly and pass on. Needless to say, it will be worth the wait, and is tied to what happens with all my sites going forward. Therefore today, be assured that I’m all over everything but a bit emotionally fragile. The best cure for this is being outside. Once I’ve sorted the bits of my life I’ve had to shove aside since Monday? We’ll move on.


I am producing some of the best work of my ‘career’ thus far, by some way. I think this means that not only is progress happening, but there are positive and worthwhile consequences to that development. Long may this continue.

Home Again

Without wanting to jinx it, I seem to have adjusted back to UK time with considerable more ease this time around than I did last year. I’m aware I owe you coverage of the last two days of Holiday, but I’m still processing a lot of that anyway (because content made me shift in thinking), and pretty much as soon as I got back there was throwing myself into gaming, tidying plus scrambling back on the fitness wagon. The best news I could have had from the scales this morning was what I got: I’ve lost weight, despite doing about 10% less exercise over the last 10 days than I do normally. Exercise and heat will have a lot to do with this, plus I maintained the 36 push ups a day regime throughout.

Needless to say, I have a ton of new headers to make tomorrow, plus a lot more besides and I’ll be starting early. I’m back, and you’ll get normal service again starting tomorrow :D

Quiet Life

There wasn’t really a plan yesterday, and so that meant a fair bit of wandering about, but as it transpires it ended up as one of the best days of the holiday. We again set the task for the oldest to find us a restaurant to eat in for the main meal of the day, and he picked what I thought by name might be a problematic suggestion. However, I should have more confidence in my son’s choices. The Times Square Bar and Grill was a triumph of 1970’s design, and served possibly the most amazing Vegetable Quesadilla I have ever tasted. In fact, I’ll freely admit I’ve been searching out recipes to try and repeat this when I get home.

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Design wise, I’d love to know who was responsible for the construction of this place. It was so 1970’s but utterly beautiful despite that. That made eating a pleasure and people watching even more so, and the place was far enough off the beaten track to mean we were able to eat quietly and not worry about the excessive tourism that Times Square produces. Of all the places we’ve visited this holiday, that’s one I will not miss one iota when we return home. It’s the most touristy of traps, packed with people and ways to separate you from your cash. It was horrible, and I hated every minute we were there. So, while Mr Alt went to buy a guitar, the kids and I went to Battery Park, which has free wifi and therefore became a couple of hours of hardened gaming in the sunshine.

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All told, being able to ‘play’ outside was fantastic. I’m close to L20, have a spare Americas-only Pokemon to trade with once they open that ability, and have been able to watch my kids have a great time doing something they enjoy in a completely different environment. To be honest, the app’s been a godsend when both youngest and oldest have bored of us dragging them about, and for me yesterday it was hugely satisfying to be able to complete evolutions and get XP, and at the same time sit and watch Battery Park move past. More importantly, a remarkable number of other people were playing, across a vast age range. It was a revelation for my husband, who finally grasps just how significant this phenomena has become.

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Then, as the sun went down over New York, we found ourselves at Ground Zero,and the Twin Towers Memorial. Seeing it at twilight was all the more sobering, and as I watched people taking selfies at the monument, I couldn’t help but think this was inappropriate. I understand the need to record holiday memories, but not like that. My son asked me where I was the day it happened: I told him I was with him, ironing in the front room of our house with him in his baby chair, when I saw the first plane hit. There were a lot of tears, especially when it became apparent that white roses are left in the names of each victim on the day of their birthdays. It is a very sympathetic and moving monument, and I’m extremely glad we went. Then we made our way home, via the new Westfield Shopping Centre built next to the site. It is a stunning building, which from the outside looks like the wings of a dove.

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I’m also not 100% comfortable with the Twin Towers site becoming a centre of mass consumption, but as has been established I am not the target audience for such things to begin with. There’s no argument however, America does large and showy better than just about anyone else: whether it is Times Square or shopping complexes, you’ll be hard pressed to better them.

The Big Sky

Words are curious things, when all is said and done. The ability to wield them well takes a phenomenal amount of effort. I don’t care what anyone says, to produce decent fiction requires a measure of skill that demands more than a passing dose of application. I picked up a book to read on holiday, the novel that Showtime will be adapting into 22 parts which will feature that bloke that used to be Bond. The problem is ‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen is a horrible, frustrating and frankly depressing piece of literary deception. I know my opinion matters not one jot in the greater scheme of things, but if this is what passes as the pinnacle of achievement for a long-form novel?

Just NO.

My biggest problem is that the characters I’m supposed to care about I have absolutely no affinity towards anyone whatsoever except themselves. They’re all beautifully realised and I can see them in my head, but this is a world where all anyone does is fuck up. The characters, their circumstances and motivations are all sexually-driven, which should be reason for celebration, but instead it’s all for the wrong reasons. The backdrop of the narrative, in a post-Wikileaks world where secrets are the currency of the age, should also be a major hook but instead none of this matters next to the brittleness of the protagonists. I am desperately trying to care for a brace of female leads who should, by rights, appeal to exactly my sensibilities, except all I want to do is shake them and ask why they keep expecting anybody else to be either noble or caring when they’re acting like idiots. In fact, when all is said and done, it is the point where the character who Craig will be playing turns around and shows his true colours  for the first time that I just want to throw up my hands and walk away in disgust.

I will never write a critically brilliant novel, because if this the benchmark, I’m so not ever fucking going there.

What this novel has achieved, however, is make me realise where in the literary world I’ll want to sit. I’m never going to produce this kind of behemoth. I’d frankly never want to. If success is to be measured on the length of the critical plaudits, the Franzens of this world can keep them. If this is how you win awards then fuck that for a game of soldiers, I don’t want to be known as the woman who came to writing late in life and managed to pull it off. Forget anything except the desire to tell a story with at least one foot in my own reality. I need to feel I was true to the heart and soul of my narrative. Trying to be clever is a mug’s game, especially when you’re attempting to produce a notional version of a world where women’s motivations matter as much and often more than the dominant alpha male.

Purity’s not a bad story, at all. That’s the point, I suppose: it is clever and brilliant and seductive in the plotting and makes you engage with the characters. I entirely understand why it is being adapted, but I’d not want to do it because making the narrative make sense in visual terms is going to be a hard ask. What I wanted for my holiday was a story I could get lost in, instead all I’ll end up doing with this is shouting at the characters for fucking up their lives. That’s not engrossing for me. It’s just depressing and too much like life for comfort.

In the end, I like my stories written a  different way.

It’s Probably Me

No, I really don’t see the problem.

I’ve watched people *all day* try to explain to me why something is bad and wrong, and I can’t see it. I’ve listened to angry ranting, and indignant argument, and yet I am unable to grasp the issue. No, I’m not being narrow minded or stupid. I’m intelligent and articulate, I get why you’re upset, but honestly? Not this. I’ve wanted this for *over a decade* and as soon as it becomes obvious someone objects? Hating is the default. It’s like getting the present you always wanted and watching people tear it up and stomp on it in front of your eyes. Yes, I could very easily lose the plot, but no. Just NO. I’m better than that.

Sometimes, you have to do stuff that’s difficult. Often, choices aren’t a simple yes or no, there is grey to consider and different variables. Then, there’s the moment when you sit back, look at something and say ‘this is brilliant.’ That was me, right up to the point where people completely and utterly overreacted. I could piss on your fireworks but honestly, there’s no need or point. We just disagree. I love it, you don’t, but I’m not going to put you out to dry. However, please don’t think this means I don’t get to have an opinion or a point of view, because I am allowed both, and will present my side with a dispassionate air just because I see no problem with what’s being asked.

If I don’t see an issue with your point of view, it doesn’t make me bad or wrong. It just makes me different.

That’s all.

Coming Around Again

There was a momentary period of panic when it became apparent that no phone signal at my current location equated to no code for my two step authentication, but fortunately I have a list of codes to hand to negate the technological shortcomings. WordPress’ app, although beautifully simplistic, lacks a lot of the charm of the web-based version, most especially the ability to use your own images. That’s quite a big draw in itself, and I’d be lost if I didn’t have a fully functional browser to compose on. Mostly, what this shows is just how horrendously awful Blogger’s entire interface is, either web-based or otherwise. Mostly, I am again reminded of just what a fabulous idea it was to move everything away with Google and settle here.

Traveling was not particularly problematic, even with the blow out on the M1. My other half maintains his 100% unblemished record as Best Husband EU and had us up and running within 30 minutes of the incident. I used an emergency telephone for the first time in 20 or so years, and fortunately there was only 15 miles left to crawl on the spare. Mostly, it was just one of those things. Now we’re here? The weather looks horrendous for the week but no matter. I did seven miles on the site before dinner (salad, no dessert) and suspect I’ll do about the same every day, mostly because my back is playing up and walking is the only sure fire way to ensure I’m not in agony.

It should also help me sleep.

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Bring on the next four days of exercise, more exercise, occasional food breaks, exercise and probably lying in a pile going ‘BLEURGH.’ Welcome to what passes for relaxation for me, and it does, because I’ve never been the kind of person who can just lie on a lounger and get a suntan. Holidays mean making the most of every moment, not eating too much and burning more calories away than I do at home. Yes, I am probably doing this wrong, but I can’t help what I am.

Time to sort out the swimming costume for the morning.