Heaven or Hell? Rollercoasters

You would be forgiven for thinking me a little negative yesterday. Adversely affected by the book that I told you about, maybe? So, I thought I’d set the record straight (should I need to). I took a lot of positive messages from the book that made me cry (as it shall now be known). Messages, which I’m sure will become the subjects of blogs to come.

For now though, I thought we’d talk about fun stuff! One of the key metaphors running through the book was the fairground where the main character, Eddie worked. I’m sure we can all see the metaphor in the Roller Coaster for life. Ups and downs. Thrills and spills. And it got me thinking… I haven’t been on a coaster in years!

I’m a Roller Coaster person. Or at least I think I am. Not so much the Oblivion kind (where they lift you up and drop you 180ft) more the “old fashioned” Space Mountain kind. Although I have to say, my favourite ever fairground ride is the Waltzers. The speed, the spin, the lights and the music. I generally wobble off one of those with acutely painful chops because I’ve laughed so hard!

But, is it weird that some of us love to scare the living daylights out of ourselves? Is it rebellion against an otherwise mundane existence? Is it the surrender of control? Is it the physical sensation when the coaster drops and you feel your stomach rise to your throat and then fall to your knees? Is it an assertion of our youth? our strength of mind? our courage of heart? Who knows? Who cares? I love them!

Though, I’m not sure even I’d be brave enough to tackle Kinga Ka!! Must be getting old…. 😉

88 miles per hour, Marty!

Well, today is a long day. There are 29 hours in today, in fact! How have I achieved this? you’re wondering… did I stumble into a wormhole on my way to the supermarket? Did I bump into Doc Brown or the other good Doctor? and borrow their rides? Well sort of.
I did go back in time today. Twice.

Time is a funny thing. We have been watching and measuring time since the 3rd Century BC (probably longer). In fact, it’s another one of life’s little conversational obsessions (see earlier post re: the weather!).

Time can be simultaneously snail like and faster than Mario Andretti, yet always constant. “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C.S. Lewis. Some people never have enough, others have way too much.

The spooky thing is, though, we know how long time takes, but none of us know how much time we actually have. It’s like having a bank account that keeps giving you cash until one day it stops without warning. We can read the statements of how much we’ve spent and what we’ve spent it on, but we have no idea what the balance is! And yet, with what is definitely a finite, and possibly for some a rare, commodity, how much of it do we waste?

So, what have I done with my extra hours today? Have I achieved something positive for the world? Have I improved myself as a human being? Nope. Not really (though I am still working on Instruction #1). I’ve spent my extra hours researching and writing my blog and now I think I’ll wander down to the bar and quietly take in the view over the river, with a wee nightcap.

You’ll have to excuse my existential musings this evening. I read a book on my travels today called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. It made me cry (actual tears)… and it’s clearly got me thinking…

OK, OK, I’ve milked it enough… Time; we shouldn’t waste it “we get it!”

Back to the subject of my 29 hour day…

You’ve probably already worked it out for yourself. But in case you haven’t, here’s an explanation:

Firstly, along with the rest of the UK I gained an extra hour as the clocks changed, marking the end of British Summertime, at once a sad and happy event. Sad because, no more summer – boo! And happy because, an extra hour in bed – yay! And then I got on a plane and landed 4 hours in the past, whilst my loved ones remain in the future. I just hope I can get back! Now where did I put the keys to the Delorean?

Life's Little Instruction Book

One of my good Twitter buddies @Stephen_OConnor referenced an intriguing book in one of his tweets about a month ago – “Using my “life’s little instruction book” for my tweets today” . Now being, as I am, an interested party in the meaning of life as well as the continuous improvement of myself, I thought – this could be a useful tool, or at the very least an interesting read. So, I promptly navigated to Amazon and bought a copy.

The book arrived 2 days later, complete with 2 volumes of hints and tips to live a good life… 1,560 of them! Not so little, I thought. But having skimmed a few pages, I started to think, hey! this isn’t such a bad idea… It may not earn me a Sainthood, but it might just help me to expand my horizons a little and I may well learn a few things. After all is learning not what this blog is all about for me?

So I’m going to give it a try – I’m going to try out some of Life’s Little Instructions and I’ll let you know what happens.

Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.

Heaven or Hell? The Gym

I’m writing this in dread… very soon my other half will come bounding through the door full of energy and, in true Dr. Awesome fashion, cajole me into going to the gym. That’s partly a lie…  he won’t be full of energy, he’ll have had a long and hard day but he’ll be determined that a good workout is what we both need.

So my question is this; the gym… heaven or hell?

For me it’s hell… give me a dance floor (or even a rug in a living room) and some cheesy pop music or happy house and I’ll fling myself around with wild abandon for hours on end. But “the gym”… man! it’s worse than house work, which itself only gets done to avoid doing homework (or at least it used to when I was 15). I don’t know what it is about those machines. Even with the distraction of TMF videos in front of me and the cheery sound of the latest Ibiza “choons” compilation bouncing all around me I feel like I’m wading through mud… up a hill… with a gradient of 1:6.

Having said that, once I reach the top of that hill and even before I start the long meander home I feel like I’m in heaven. I feel like a Super Hero. Like I could do anything. Yeah man! I feel amazing!

Maybe that’s the point… no pain, no gain. Still… I’m sitting here quietly praying for a reprieve. Just for tonight. Honest!?

Lovely weather we're having

Thought I’d start with a classic conversation starter… the weather. It’s turned very cold today. Winter’s coming for sure!

A while ago I tweeted “touché! “Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.”~Kin Hubbard”. Frank McKinney Hubbard (a.k.a. Kin Hubbard) was an American journalist, well known for his humorous cartoons and quite a few observationally funny quotes.

But this blog isn’t about Kin, it’s about the weather. He’s right though, weather conversations are dear to our hearts (well, in the UK anyway) and I know I’m one of the nine-tenths! I have a friend who lives in Mallorca and I’m endlessly envious that she lives in (what I imagine to be) a permanently warm and sunny climate. Hence, most conversations include the staple question “how’s the weather today?”. The reality is that Mallorca is not permanently sunny nor permanently warm and my friend gets equally as miserable as I do when it rains or it’s cold. Which is surprisingly often, between October and March (well, surprising to me, anyway!). Apparently it’s cold now, but the tourists are still wearing shorts. Go figure.

The subject of British weather is critical to a proficient conversation between neighbours, strangers on buses and BFF’s. We think it doesn’t change that often – “raining again” – cue dramatic rolling of the eyes and an “hmph!”. We think it rains a lot! And now for the science bit… Actually, average precipitation figures in the UK this year are down 25% to 50% on the average for the last 30 years (with the exception of July & August, but I guess global warming is a whole other blog subject!)

So, if we think the weather doesn’t change much… why discuss it on a daily basis? A common denominator. With so many different people in the world each with different lifestyles and different problems, the weather is one of the few things that genuinely binds us together as a “human race”. Weather doesn’t discriminate, it affects us all. And so, in weather we have a common friend or a common foe. So Hurray! for the weather, I say. Anything that helps us come together, even if only for a brief conversation is worth celebrating.

And, as I’m sure you’re desperate to know, at the time of publishing; it’s cold, quite windy and raining again!

Theme Shmeem!

Theme Shmeem!
So, I’ve been thinking about a theme for my blog. I won’t pretend that I’ve just started thinking about it today… I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
I’ve looked at lots of other blogs to see what people blog about. I looked at “mommy blogs” but I’m not a mommy (unless you count my cat, who I talk about like he is my child when conversing with my mommy friends – and, come to think of it, everyone else I converse with, in all honesty). I thought about writing a blog about sex and relationships, but I’m no expert in that either. I could write an experiential blog, but my teens seem so far away now and I’m not sure I’m brave enough, yet, to re-visit my twenties online (or indeed that I could revisit them even if I wanted to, due to a few – not entirely unsurprising – memory black spots! Come on, admit it – we all have them!).
I checked out problogger.net and read “How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog” (very helpful series, by the way). It mentioned a guy who, having had little success in blogging about gadgets, turned his attention to lawnmowers and now has a massive following. (The lawnmower guy wasn’t the focus of the article.) But I’m not very green fingered nor have I any clue when it comes to power tools!
And then I had an odd thought… do I want a gazillion readers? do I need a theme? My life hasn’t really had a theme. I suppose unless you always wanted to be a surgeon or an air force pilot or a movie star and you became one, most other people’s lives haven’t really followed a particular theme either. So, should I throw out the advice to find a niche subject, the “next big thing”? Maybe not, but then again, maybe I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself and allow this blog thing to grow organically. I spend my whole day planning… and the one thing I do want to achieve with my blog is some creativity (if I have any?!). So, I say Theme… Shmeem! Let’s play it by ear (or keypad…) for a while.

So, I’ve been thinking about a theme for my blog. I won’t pretend that I’ve just started thinking about it today… I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

I’ve looked at lots of other blogs to see what people blog about. I looked at “mommy blogs” but I’m not a mommy (unless you count my cat, who I talk about like he is my child when conversing with my mommy friends – and, come to think of it, everyone else I converse with, in all honesty). I thought about writing a blog about sex and relationships, but I’m no expert in that either. I could write an experiential blog, but my teens seem so far away now and I’m not sure I’m brave enough, yet, to re-visit my twenties online (or indeed that I could revisit them even if I wanted to, due to a few – not entirely unsurprising – memory black spots! Come on, admit it – we all have them!).

I checked out problogger.net and read “How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog” (very helpful series, by the way). It mentioned a guy who, having had little success in blogging about gadgets, turned his attention to lawnmowers and now has a massive following. (The lawnmower guy wasn’t the focus of the article.) But I’m not very green fingered nor have I any clue when it comes to power tools!

And then I had an odd thought… do I want a gazillion readers? do I need a theme? My life hasn’t really had a theme. I suppose unless you always wanted to be a surgeon or an air force pilot or a movie star and you became one, most other people’s lives haven’t really followed a particular theme either. So, should I throw out the advice to find a niche subject, the “next big thing”? Maybe not, but then again, maybe I shouldn’t put too much pressure on myself and allow this blog thing to grow organically. I spend my whole day planning… and the one thing I do want to achieve with my blog is some creativity (if I have any?!). So, I say Theme… Shmeem! Let’s play it by ear (or keypad…) for a while.

Learner blogger

So, this is my first post on my first blog. My learner blog.

Not a massively interesting opening statement, but then this is all new. To me anyway.

My first goal, is to work out how to use the technology! So, don’t be surprised to see a couple of weird things happening on screen for a while till I get used to it.

Goal 1A (alternative first goal)  but of clear equal importance (if not more importance)  is to work out what on earth I’m going to blog about. Can’t promise anything earth shattering – but as a learner, am very open to the teachings of my more experienced peers…

In the meantime… how do I make this thing look nice?