life

Poem: Complication

Are you happy?
Does the face looking back in the mirror smile,
Or frown?
Do you ever feel down?
Can you feel yourself drown?
When you are gasping for breath,
Take a look see who has their foot on your head.
And who is on standby with a towel,
Mopping you down,
Take a jump,
Take a chance,
In control,
End the frustration,
ComplicationIMG_0178

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Poem: Save Me From Silence

They’ve gone,
Alone now,
Beautiless, Ugly reality left,
Progress a distance memory,
A cruel reminder of what has past,
Save me from silence,
Save me from still,
Save me from what might return,
But i know never will.
Never too good at standing tall,
But now a part of me is gone,
The silence remains.
Taize-Silence

Foxtrot Oscar

Ahh Hollywood the glitz, the glamour, the scandal, the dresses, the guys, the dolls. Hooray indeed for Hollywood and it’s annual backslapping contest The Oscars. Well thank god that’s over for another year.

A contest where the academy made up of white 60 somethings judge to see which film they liked the best. Do they not know it’s a democracy now, we the people demand to vote on an industry award. We also demand that the awards be voted for from a diverse field of individuals.

Who would have thought that an awards ceremony for people talented in filmmaking would need diversity rules. Shouldn’t any contest be judged based upon the merits of the art produced not the ethnic origins or sexual orientation of those who made it. If you have a movie nominated for best picture purely because the director meets the correct race or gender quota doesn’t that devalue their nomination.

“It’s just not fair” people exclaim. White men judging movies made by other white men to give awards to white men. Life isn’t fair you know, since when have you been under that illusion. One man’s injustice is another mans moral victory. As it is, as it forever will be.

People of all types win Oscars and recognition from their peers and the public. How do they do it? By being good. Do people from certain groups have to try harder to be deemed “good” yeah of course they do. Is that fair? No probably not, but it’s an arts competition, judged on opinion, so like life can never be “fair”

Where do we stop in the pursuit of fair? “A black actor isn’t nominated” “A woman from Virginia Beach has never won” “No nominations for anyone over 90 years old” “No nominations for disabled people” “No nominations for one armed orphans named Archibald” Think of your own catchy hashtag for that one.

Wanna win an award? Be exemplary
Think the competition is biased against you, 1. Make a good product make them notice or 2. Excuse yourself by pulling whatever minority card you have, it wasn’t your inability to make good enough thing to turn people around. They hated you anyway.
3. Don’t do things to win awards. Do things you are proud of. If industry awards come great. If not you still did something you love.

Frazerbrown

Would you take your child to an Orgy?

Probably not right? Why not? I mean you discovered the feel good endorphins from your very first one twenty years ago and your friends will be impressed that you have shown little Johnny a healthy option. He needs to know that just like you everything is better in a group of at least 5. Everything is amazing, little Johnny will feel the same self esteem boost you do when you step into your latex thong, meeting strange people, boosting his confidence well at least until Big Shaun gets here but then no-one feels too confident next to him, but it’s a life lesson.

But you wouldn’t. And people don’t. Because it is entirely inappropriate for a child to attend such a thing, because the child cannot possibly comprehend what is going on or even made the choice to attend such an event. Yet you, a parent, have a whale of a time and are happy and healthy because of it. This is because you, made the journey to the destination, you made the choices along the way, discovered new details with your peers, lived the values, extolled the virtues and decided to enter the foam room with Big Shaun.

As parents we have a great deal of influence over our children’s lives. They join our lives after a set of choices have been made or reactions to circumstances have been hoisted upon us. If you are a hippie or a media mogul and you have a child you don’t stop being these things. If you are religious or a football fan these things about you don’t change the second you hold your shitting screaming bundle of joy.

As such your child will share experiences and begin to share some belief systems with you. In the interest of balance however and sometimes health it is important to introduce alternative viewpoints than your own. This will help your offspring on their journey and encourage them to make reasoned choices rather than following the crowd.

I read today that a Italian politician is proposing to make it illegal for parents to give their child a vegan diet. Should this be illegal, no. Does it raise a valid point? Yes.

Like it or not a vegan lifestyle is a choice. A choice at which adult vegans have arrived at, they have been on the journey and decided that veganism is the best route for them. Fair play. Should vegan parents feed their child exclusively vegan food before that child has had an opportunity to discover and assess the reasons behind the ethics? Surely that’s missing the point. (The need for vitamin supplements aside. Oh and yes I know vitamins and minerals can all be provided via plant based, but have you ever tried to make a child eat a whole plate of anything everyday.. to achieve this in plant based you need quantity, kids don’t eat quantity you will need to supplement)

Same applies for religious families, or football fans. Half the passion of a belief is in the journey of arriving there yourself. If it is hoisted upon you with no option you will always wonder “What if I supported Swindon…”and your belief will never be as strong because it simply isn’t your belief.

Your life is yours, your childs life is their own. Give your child the tools to make good choices.

Poem: Descent

I look in the reflection and try and find me there,
All I see looking back is a strangers vacant stare,
It’s almost like he knew me,
Back when long ago,
My legs were standing straight, well as straight as they could go.
He looks on disapproving at the husk I have become,
How the tyre has grown around my waist were once there was none,
He looks out from inside,
With energy, some ambition,
But I know with any action, now follows a long long intermission.
Frustration. The worst pain to bear.
As my body is ever failing.
That forever there.

SLNSW 13858 Ornamental mirrors for catalogue

Don’t Panic

Easier said than done eh Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army.

I have lived with panic attacks now since my early teens, for the most part I can deal with the signs of them impending and head them off at the pass with not quite consummate ease. Except of course when I can’t and it all goes horribly wrong.

Case in point, work conference 200 miles away from home, so a double overnight stay. Didn’t sleep a wink despite driving and being tired. Cue the panic, cue the nausea, cue the sweating, dizzy spells. My hands are tingling now just thinking about it. Lucky I have a very supportive set of colleagues at the moment who were able to talk me down from many a metaphorical ledge that I’d reached the edge of at approximately 3am in the cold morning light.

The conference itself went fine. Of course it did. Will that stop me panicking at similar events going forward. Probably not no. Why? I can only venture a guess that when things get that bad and the physical and mental combine to give you the “night of your life” the rational becomes like a mythical dragon that was banished long ago. So you can’t say “Well it was fine that time before” because your internal arsehole mind replies back with “But what if it’s not this time”

Real Ramblings of my Arsehole Mind in panicsville:-

“What if I piss myself in front of everyone?”
“What if I shit myself in front of everyone?”
“What if everyone hates me?”
“What if I don’t know anyone?”
“What if there is someone there I know?”
“What if they find out I’m dumb”
“What if I never sleep again and crash the car?”
All these hits and many more….

I have further challenges in the next few months and in a effort to quell the Arsehole Mind I know I will have to consult tutors and managers to tell them of my fears for situations. I figure its best to be upfront so that people can at best help or at least be aware. However its a double edged sword because these consultations will almost certainly be my first communications with people. I want to convey enthusiasm, interest hell even talent. The Arsehole Mind forces me to display weakness, self involvement and a lack of confidence, straight out. The social equivalent of meeting the girl of your dreams and crapping your kicks before you’ve said “Hello”

Maybe thats a real worry after all.

Hurry up and Weight

Greetings lads and lasses and welcome to my first blog post in an absolute age. Is this a new dawn, is this the start of more regular postings. Who knows!

Now is around about the time lots of you will be giving up your New Years resolutions, dry January or Veganuary. Popping corks and heating up those frying pans for a side of something dead and delicious. For those people, enjoy. You gave something new a try for a bit. Bravo.

Some of you are still going. The lure of your old ways not strong enough to pull you back. Some of you trying to lose that Christmas weight are still going to the gym or doing that latest and utterly pseudosciencey detox. Some of you will be unknowingly starving your body and losing weight because of it too. Because that is the goal isn’t it, weight loss the body beautiful and guant.

Well no not really.

Most of us could probably stand to lose a few pounds. I know as I veer towards 40 the only six pack I’m close to is the one in the fridge. The idea though should be I want to get healthy, not I want to lose weight. If you get healthy any excess weight will shed slowly and naturally it’s not actually a complicated premise. Eat right, exercise and hydrate and eventually things will slowly happen.

Heres the rub though. The eating right is hard. Exercise is hard. Hydration should be easy but even that takes more time than it should. A grande latte is better value and tasty, bottled water (because taps aren’t available most places on the go) is not.

Think of the time it took you to get out of shape. For some it was just over Christmas, for others it will be a lifetime’s work.

Why do you expect the healthy you to appear overnight?
Why bother putting time limits on things?

This change is to get healthy, not to lose weight. It’s not a diet. 30 days and then I can go to KFC and eat 20 buckets of chicken! Diets, fads and detoxes (not the rehab programs for substance abuse) encourage binge and purge behaviours and make you think about food the whole time. Experiment with me:-

Say “cheesecake” 20 times (if you don’t like cheesecake, replace with something you like)

Hands up who fancies cheesecake!

To anyone who wants to get healthy. Well done, me too! Steer clear of quick fix, pseudoscience and diets. Eat healthy have something you fancy once in a while (good for the mind) stay active and have a good hearty laugh at those saps inserting bananas where the sun don’t shine cos “Dr” Boz says it will be good for you.

New York's best... the cheeeeeese cake..

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

When I started writing these i only ever envisaged doing a working week with them. Why? Because I’m lazy and no-one cares what I write!!

So day 5 has to be some kind of conclusion. Well here goes:

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch is truly great at what it is, people have accused Apple of taking other peoples ideas and claiming them as their own. Well watches were around long before Steve Jobs looked like a geeky Ashton Kutcher. So yes they took this and improved on it.

As a smart watch, fitness tracker, style icon (for the “look what I got” people) and remote for the third gen Apple TV it is second to none. If you are far more active than I and already have an iPhone it’s a no brainer.

That said, I’m not that active and although notifications were nice to get, I’m not comfortable with dictating messages via Siri so I always reached for my phone to reply to messages and pretty much everything else. It is nice to be able to look at the time on my wrist. But a cheaper dumb watch will do that.

I think the cost is a factor for me. If someone got me a Apple Watch for Xmas or it was 50% off on Cyber Monday I would be grateful/tempted. Because I have enjoyed it, I can now put it on at the first time of asking, and it is a very nice object, I like the chunky design. However I would bulk at paying Apple Watch money for something I’m not going to utilise fully.

Of course.. unless my friend actually asks for it back…. no rush eh!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 3, Smashing through the boundary lunacy has found me..

If you’ve read the two previous blogs i’ve written this week (who hasn’t!) you’ll know I thought I’d give the battery of my loner Apple Watch a bit of an unscientific test. Now I love my iPhone. I’ve had jobs that made watching paint dry interesting, I still miss my colleagues at Dulux.

I have had jobs that have so much down time it’s lovely to be able to escape the tedium and play a game or email people. So over the years my iPhone’s battery has been known to be dead by the mid-morning.

Apparently I am “king of the notification” (this from a man who wants to live in a yurt) so Apple watch was gonna get a fair real world test.

It passed for two days use. It was down to 8 percent just before i got in my bath. So i put it on charge, it charges like magic with the things that take your heart readings doubling up as some power connectors. It’s witchcraft! There is a low power mode which you can activate to prolong things even further. (Like the teenage me trying to think of Bruce Forsyth squatting on a glass table…: sex joke)

Things of note. I reached one of my health targets. I was rewarded with a trophy that looks like an old 1980’s hob element. But yay trophy.

When you set a timer, (for my damn pizza) on the phone it vibrates the watch. Pretty cool if your phone is on silent and you’ve gone for a cheeky (insert vice here) No excuse for burnt anything anymore. Except crumpets… overdo those.. go-on.. then top with cheese.. try it.. go now..


 

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

I said yesterday I didn’t set up the fitness elements of the Apple Watch right from the get go. Two reasons for this, I was short of time as I said and also I’m hardly “Mr Five-a-Day” healthy. I like to keep myself active, but I also like a full english breakfast from time to time. But its a feature and I thought it might be fun to actually see what gets my heart racing.

Like the set up of the watch in general the Activity monitor is easy to set up. Tell your watch how tall you are (short!), how heavy you are and how active you are (not very) and you are good to go. The watch then displays 3 worms. Red for Calories burned (actively) Green for exercise and blue for how long and how often you have stood up. The more you do the more achievements you unlock.

It did occur to me that wheelchair users may want to use this to track exercise and calories burned. To be told to stand up every hour would be a trifle annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off in the settings. Not that I have.

The daily goals are attainable and the watch will display words of encouragement to get you moving even a little more. Which has to be a good thing.

So thats the Health, what of the efficiency. Well I’ve decided not to charge the watch tonight and see how it does. It’s on 51% now so I’m not holding my breath.

IMG_3372

This woman is wearing an Apple Watch on her right wrist.