Saturday, 11 January 2014

Two In The Bush

January 11th 23:15 Saturday.

Today I went out for a meal with my family, to celebrate my Dad's birthday which is tomorrow. Earlier in the day I had gone out with him to take his computer to Novatech to upgrade the memory.

His computer was beginning to struggle a bit, Windows being the memory hog that it is, as well as all the other crap that your PC loads up these days. To be fair, he has had it years, and he is still running Windows Vista, and until today only had 1 gig of RAM. I've gotten this upgraded to 4 gig for him, I did offer to get the hard drive done at the same time, but he said there was plenty of space left on it.

He did say that he was getting annoyed with the wireless keyboard that he has as it keeps running out of battery power just at the wrong moments and he has to change the batteries. With this in mind we also picked up a new keyboard and mouse.

Felt quite the role reversal, me taking his computer to be worked on, and getting his (combined Christmas and birthday) present. Although he was good, I didn't suggest that because of this he can have an ice cream.

With the arrangements for the meal out today being made the day before, I had asked my daughter if she would want to come up early so that she could come, and she had agreed to do so. This was a pleasant surprise. After all, hanging round with friends is the thing that most fourteen year olds want to do the most, for her to change her plans to come out with us is just really nice. We had a good time.

We went to the 'Bird In The Hand' in Lovedean. The food was bloody amazing. Lots of it (although to be fair was not cheap) - it was worth the money though.  You really did feel that you got what you paid for.

Everyone enjoyed their meal too. Even Chloe, who at times can be a fussy eater, although she has gotten better in the last couple of years. I think going round her friends, or going out with them has given her a chance to explore different foods that she may not otherwise have tried.

I know it sounds mushy, but I am really proud of my daughter. She's going through that horrible teenage stuff, all the pain and stress of school as well as growing up, and she's still a reasonably well rounded and sensible person. Sure she has her moments, but I know I can count on her to do the right things when it really counts.

I have some overtime tomorrow, to bolster the post Christmas paypacket. I also need to get my arse in gear learning lines of Prime Directive, the second act of which we start filming next week. Eeek.

Learnt my lines ? Don't be ridiculous.

Show me the vodka

January 11th. 00:45. Saturday.

Getting to be a habit that I end up writing an entry in the early hours, when I should be getting some sleep. Also getting to be a habit that I leave work late due to something happening.

To be honest, if stuff is just 'happening' then it means that I'm not managing it properly. Little victories today in some of the conversations I have had with people. Getting them to see that when we have meetings together, it's not helping anyone to sit there going on about all the things that we think are shit, or anger us. Just depresses other people and doesn't make anyone feel any better what so ever.

Little victory with one of the people that I struggle to get engagement out of. Just struggles to take on board things that I've shown them or things that they need to do. This sometimes causes friction, and with someone that doest a very good job of coming across like they are fighting what you are doing or saying this very quickly gets very hard in deed. Some people can be so good at presenting the aura of 'leave me the fuck alone', or 'I don't want help' that people actually stop trying to help them. Fortunately, or unfortunately I don't give up on them. No matter how hard this can be, for both of us.

They may be too stubborn to accept or ask for help. I'm too stubborn to let them struggle along without it.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sleep ? Who needs sleep ?

Friday January 10th 2014. 00:24.

Can't get used to this sleeping lark. My body is tired in the morning, my mind wide awake at night. If only it were possible to rest them in turn, at different times.

Perhaps I could take to watching soap operas. After all, I would then be able to rest both my body and my mind.

I worked a late night at work on Wednesday night. I ended up actually getting to leave the building about twenty to nine in the evening. Despite the slight frustration at being kept back so late, I did actually rather enjoy the walk to the bus station (and back home after getting off the bus) in the crisp, damp, winter air. The stars were out. It was just nice to get some fresh air.

The other thing that worked out rather well was that leaving that late, but not late enough to miss the bus that I needed to catch home. I actually only waited at the bus stop for about three minutes before the bus turned up.

The light alarm that my Mum and Dad bought me for Christmas has meant that I've gotten up much more on time each morning. It would be wrong for me to say that this means I am leaping out of bed every morning with a zest for everything that the new day brings.

Talking of which, I need to get some sleep. I really do. Damn you awake mind.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Hurry up, it's nearly here.....

Thursday January 9th 2014. 00:23

Funny how we spend the latter few months of any year, eagerly counting down toward December 25th. All that build up, all that stress, all that shopping. All that wrapping.

With all that lead up, you eagerly wait in anticipation to see the smiles on the faces of your loved ones when you give them the gifts that you really hope they will love.

And within the space of less than an hour, the unwrapping is done.

With all the muscling through the supermarket to fill your cupboards, fridge and freezer with enough food to feed every person in your extended family. Completely lost is the realisation that if every one in the family is spending all this money in case the related hordes descend on them, surely the whole family can't go round everyone's house ? If we're all round someone else's house eating all their food, I'm not at home eating mine.

In any event, no amount of sweating over exactly how to cook the perfect Christmas Turkey, or discovering the latest new and entirely secret way to roast potatoes (a secret that the whole country is party to I might add) even though roasting potatoes is something most of us do every Sunday without a second's thought. It's all over and done.

Stomaches are full to bursting. Wallets are empty. And still it is all over. So we then start looking forward to the inevitable slide into the New Year.

Excitedly recanting the events of the year gone by, and daring to suggest or guess at the new opportunities the next 365 days will bring. THIS year will be different, we tell ourselves.

Resolutely we commit to changes that we can barely remember, let along keep to a week later.

Now, a week into the New Year itself what are we doing ? (well, okay, I mean what am I doing). I'm counting down, wishing the time flies past until my next pay day.

That date, now two weeks away feels a long way away in deed.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Where the wind blows

January 6th 21:52. Monday.

Is it really Monday ? Only Monday ?

Can't it be, well. Thursday or something ? Friday ?

No ?

Oh well.

Like a good Englishman, I'm going to talk about the weather. It's been raining and howling with wind for about two weeks now. The storms that brought disruption, damage, flooding and power loss to thousands of homes before Christmas don't really seem to be abating.

The storms in the United States of America have had wind chill temperatures drop to -50 degrees. It's like the film 'The Day After Tomorrow'. Apparently it's been the windiest December since the 60s and the wettest since the 50s.

Yeah, and global warming is a myth.

Something interesting to say ? Don't be ridiculous.

Sunday January 5th 2014. 23:56

I am resisting the temptation to commit to, or hint at any New Year resolutions this year. If memory serves - and it doesn't really need to serve, I can just look back on blog entries for the last two or three years - making such commitments has failed in the past. I also note that not making those commitments has failed in the past.


So hard to know what to do. I know. How about, not using some arbitrary date in the calendar to prompt me to change something in my life that I've put up with or been too lazy about for the last x number of days/weeks/months/years/decades.

I am really getting to old to play all these silly psychological games with myself, and I suspect that anyone (I am sorry if you are) reading this will be bored to tears to read about yet another person promising themselves, and the world (because the world really gives a rats arse about what I do or don't do) that they are going to eat less / exercise more / be more creative / get out more.

My great plan for 2014 ? I plan to be more spontaneous. There. Ruined it already, but planning it, I'm no longer spontaneous. Shit.

While one part of my head folds in on itself in what can only be described as an angry though paradox, the rest of me will just sit here typing random stuff until it either makes sense or stops pouring out of my head via my wrinkly hands.

Wrinkly ? No. I'm not THAt old (and don't get me started on the concept of age) I've just gotten out of a two hour bath. So I'm wrinkly. Time for some chocolate milkshake I think.

Desk and lamp. Christmas presents to myself
Desk. The desk was a good idea. It lends an air of 'sit up and pay attention' to what I'm doing when I'm on my (lovely new Macbook) computer. The table lamp also serves me well, by literally illuminating the area of focus.

The cats on the other hand, think that this means it is a sun bed for them. The fact that the lamp is fitted with an energy saving bulb, so therefore does not radiate heat seems to have been lost on them entirely. I don't know if cats need vitamin D, but they sure as hell aren't getting it, or any comforting warmth from the lamp.

2013 has been a year where I went from struggling to get by on what I earn, to becoming comfortable (but not to excess), by a slight raise in my earnings and by doing a butt load of overtime.

The Christmas period has been marked with many things, but it's also been marked with me doing even more overtime than usual, and that being on the bank holidays will be really nice when that hits my pay toward the end of January.

I may have earned more in the last year, but I have also not been as restricting on outgoings as I should have. I have spent too much on 'things'. Gadgets. Although I don't regret the bigger purchases (new TV, new laptop). I am aware that I have not made anywhere near as much of a dent in my credit mountain as I would have liked.

2014 has to be a year of spend less, earn more. Have fun, but rein in the spending.

I am fortunate to be in this situation. There are lots of people in very bad situations, where they are struggling to make ends meet. The politicians will argue, and will blame each other, and will point accusingly at one another, but that doesn't really do fuck all for the poor families trying to keep it all together.

I've found also in 2013 that I have drifted even further away from one of my friends. I had mulled a fair bit during the year about how this person, who has been a constant in my life for the last twenty years is now such a distant part of it. I have seen them about three times all year. Communicated online a few times, but that was it.

People drift into and out of your life, it's an ongoing process. Times change, we all change. Some people are bringers of change, some people don't happily fit into the change in direction. This friend has found something that really makes her happy, and that makes me happy. Something that really gives her comfort, in dealing with the hardships that she and her family are facing. She has found religion. But she has found it in such a way that I do not feel I can  talk to her really anymore because she will bring it up, and as much as I respect her views, and her beliefs, I really don't agree with them.

Because this creates a thing that we cannot talk about, without fear of one of us being really upset, we now no longer seem to have anything to talk about. So it's easier to not talk. Somewhere inside me I feel that this is me failing her, and me letting her down, maybe even that I am prejudiced toward her faith. What I do know, is that it was easier to ignore her spouting on facebook about ill informed political issues - where everything was something personal for her. This is more intimate. I feel I cannot say anything, because what I will say will offend. And I don't want to offend her.

Life moves on. There is nothing any of us can do about it. It would be pointless to try. Everything has it's time. I feel that our friendship may have had its time. There may be a time in the future when our paths phase back into one another. It's just that right now, I can't see it.

In line with me making my life the way I want it to be (instead of it being the way someone else wants it to be, or even what I think someone else wants it to be) I am aware that some things I do, will help me be who or what I want to be. Other things won't. So I will want to, stop spending time and energy on them.

It works the same for people. I am tired of the distracting bullshit of social media. But that's not social media's fault is it. It's mine. I'm the one being distracted. I either take control of that, or I don't. I either learn to ignore it or I live with the constant doubt and nagging feeling that I am missing out on something.

And I'm right. I am missing out on something. I'm missing out on life, being too absorbed in sitting on my arse watching other people talk about how little they are doing in their lives also.

I'm an englishman. So I'm going to make a cup of tea. Anyone want one ?