Sunday, 31 July 2011

Catching Up

I must say, whilst internet downtime is probably a good thing, it is pain trying to catch up with everything in life that revolves around it. So, in catching up, other than my 365, I'm calling quits and starting afresh. I'm pretty sure I've missed nothing essential to my well-being.

That said, I am awash with new insight into how the internet plays such a large role in the lives of people today. What do we do without google, without wiki and without the simple inspiration that the internet provides? Not so much. There was an article on the BBC recently about how memory today is changing to reflect that fact that we do not need to store information, simply because we know how to access it immediately across a variety of web platforms. That is fascinating. We are actually changing our brain patterns because the internet is there to act as a huge, joint, storage facility for us. This really is the future huh!

So, what have I been up to since being internet free? Not as much as I would have liked, being primarily involved in working, working and well, more working. Then nothing more than eating and sleeping when I get in!

The quilt top is STILL not finished. I am in a ten round battle with my sewing machine. It's finally stopped eating thread so much, but now is refusing to make even length stitches, or just completely skipping them. I've tried everything the manual suggests with no luck. It's irritating as all I have to do to complete the top is sew seven long strips together and ta da, it will be finished!


I did successfully read a large quantity of books, and am continuing to trek through Owen Meany (and really, it is a trek), whilst at the same time reading some more light-hearted material.

I have watched many films (no tv, and no internet remember), purchasing £3 DVDs from the supermarkets to enjoy. Such films include Invictus, RED, and Pan's Labyrinth. On a huge Morgan Freeman kick at the moment.


Pip and I have also been working through Pirates of the Caribbean Lego.

Finally, I am also learning to play the Ukulele. It's a cute, cheap purple one and I can play 5 cords. It's horrendously un-tuned as I tried to do it from a CD playing notes. But still, it's fun and something new to me as I have never picked up a string instrument before!

Here is me with it:

Right, I'm off to make a cup of tea and sit with a good book for a while. I only wish I had a garden in which to enjoy the moment of sunshine we are having today!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Back in the land of the internet!

I'm back! Finally. At least 2 weeks after I should have been. There have been nothing but screw ups on the part of open reach (excluding the lovely engineer today who fixed it all and gave me back the internet!) Sure, I've had my phone, but the screen is broken and it's a pain to do anything with. Give me my iPad anyday. (Should have gotten 3G but nevermind.)

Either way, I'm sat here uploading 34 365 shots, and I just posted some blog posts I wrote over the last month. I think I screwed the dates up a little, but they are just about right.

I'll be back after I've tagged what feels like 20 million shots.

Friday, 22 July 2011

 This weekend was full of death.

Firstly, Friday night, I learnt of the horrors in Norway.

The bomb does not shock, does not scare, does not horrify as once it might. We grow immune to bombs in the news. A part of life now.

The shooting. The horror of that though, that sticks to you. Makes you think, makes you wonder.

They were children in a summer camp. They were young, innocent of anything other than youth. They were gunned down like they were in a war zone. Peace turned to bloodshed. Shot as they fled. Shot down like retreating warriers. Unable to fight back. Not standing a chance.

Who does something like this? It is beyond my comprehension and I cannot wrap my mind around why someone would act in such an act of cold blood. I suppose the answer is that it is not someone who is sane, not someone who thinks like you and me.

The question remains though. Why? What was the result intended? Just simply why.

Finally, in amongst the stories of death, came the news that Amy Whinehouse had been found dead. 27. 3 years older than myself. Joining the list of the dead. We still don’t know how, but there is the assumption that it was self-inflicted. There is no surprise, and little sympathy for a singer gone chaotically out of control.

Should there be? I think, yes. What she fought, the addictive personality, was something that she is not to blame for alone. She needed help, she rejected it, she took it and seemingly rejected it again. I am sure it is not that simple. I am sure that she will be missed, both for her voice and because to her friends and family, she was theirs.

Tonight, I find myself listening to Frank and thinking about death and callousness and love and peace and war. Her voice sings to my thoughts. It sends shivers down my spine.

Tonight you’re mine, completely. You give your love so sweetly. Tonight the light of love is in your eyes. Will you still love me tomorrow?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Stuck on Standby

Lost. Lost. Lost.

If only life had a map.

I feel like I am travelling unguided, unsure and undecided.

Everyone seems to be passing me by, my lack of success a sharp contrast to their motion forward in life.

I am stuck. In neutral. Stepping sideways.

If only I had realised how true those words were when I started this blog.

It’s been almost a year since I finished my dissertation and I am  nowhere.

I have gone nowhere and achieved nothing in my working life.

I need to get out and start doing something I want.

I dream of being my own boss. I dream of an office someplace with a desk and a pile of paperwork. I dream of being able to have satisfaction from my work.

Is this an impossibility? Am I never going to get a foot in the door somewhere?

Note: I'm feeling better about it all now. This was a couple of weeks ago. Just thought I would post it as a part of stepping sideways!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

An Eclectic Week in Literature!

 Having no internet over the past week, coupled with having a week off of work, left me with a lot of time to spare reading. It was though, a very eclectic week of reading.

It started with my re-reading of the Twilight saga. It would probably have been a Harry Potter re-read if only my copies of the books were here and not in a loft someplace! Not that i’m trying to get out of the shame in reading (and enjoying) Twilight. I’ve always had a thing for trashy teen literature with a twist of the supernatural.

So that was the light-hearted chill out, brainless reading. I then moved on to the other hand by Chris Cleave. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It is about a 16 year old asylum seeker in Britain from Nigeria. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, and there is only a limited amount of things I can say without doing so. So, tone, style and content had me continually thinking and I didn’t stop to put it down. If you can get a copy, do so. It is intriguing and really captures you into the story.

Moving on, I went for something a little more light-hearted and read Number 10 by Sue Townsend. This was an amusing romp through Britain but I’m not sure it doesn’t suffer by being slightly dated by a new political administration than the one it parodies. It essentially follows a Labour PM dressed in drag around the country whilst his high profile wife has a breakdown. A lot crazy but at the same time it captured me enough to keep reading!

From this I re-started A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I bought this about 4 years ago for a bargain price but never got more than 30 pages in. This time I have got 200 pages in and I am enjoying it, for all the problems I have with some of the approach taken (possibly a problem between myself, religion and the differences between American and British literature). The premise is fabulous and the characterisation has you seeing them clearly in your mind; always a bonus in a 600 page tome. So I will continue with this and see where the story goes.

At the same time as I have been plodding through Owen Meany I have been reading a variety of what I call trash literature; what is probably more commonly called chic lit, or romance. For me comfort reading here comes from Susan Elizabeth Philips. I read First Lady and Ain’t She Sweet, both distracting and light hearted from the depth of Owen Meany.

I think that was it in terms of reading material although I feel like I am missing something from the list. I’m sure it will come to me. 

Friday, 15 July 2011

What to do with all this stuff?

I’ve moved a lot over the years. In my life, this is I think, somewhere around move number 9. Most of these were during university where moving every year is commonplace. Packing your life up into countless bags and boxes, trying to find a home for all the stuff that one has, is tricky, demanding, and downright frustrating at times.

After this move, I took a week off work to get as much done as I could. Finally, 9 days after moving in, it is in a place that is liveable, fairly easy to find the things you need. It is by no means perfect, but it will do.

The stuff though is primarily what I want to debate. I have a lot of ‘stuff’ I guess. At least compared to other people.

I have a thing for stationary and paper stemming from my childhood. I don’t think that this will ever change. Even if I use pens and paper less and less, sometimes scribbling in colour is rewarding. Sometimes you need to write something down that is tactile. If I ever kept a private journal it would be paper based. I love the feel of a notebook and pen. Wouldn’t change that! I have quite a lot of sewing stuff now as well. Fabric, a sewing machine, the quilt that one-day will be completed (when I can sort out my sewing machine and its incomprehensible issues.) I have photos in boxes; I have scrapbooks and memories all over. I have books coming out of every room. Not including those that live in the loft. What I wouldn’t do to have them all in one place. A history of my reading diet, from teenage angst to Victorian erotica to the classics and the not so classic!

This doesn’t include the stuff that is contained on my computer and my iPad. The virtual stuff that I have acquired over the years; hard to get rid of. Although, at least this, is contained!

Does everyone else have this kind of trouble with things building up? Is it just a part of life today? Books and DVDs and computers and papers? Maybe I just have a hording mindset?

I’m not saying I want to change. I don’t think. I love my books and my stuff. I just think that maybe this moving lark, this storing things situation, would be a darn sight easier if I didn’t have to account for the boxes of books that seem to amass once a year.
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