Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Net Gain

My computer has been sorted, thanks to a mixture of calm, patience and a couple of long phone conversations with a friend who has the know-how to deal with these things.

It was sorted out pretty quickly in fact - within a couple of days. After that initial feeling of having lost something, however, it's felt more like the converse: I'm now reluctant, at least at the moment, to spend more than a little bit of time online each day.

Not from any sense that I should be doing other things: just that I've almost immediately found that I'm enjoying feeling less reliant on net time.

It's rather nice, in fact.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Like losing a leg

My desktop computer is out of action for the time being. Which is extremely annoying, not to mention anxiety-provoking. Most of the stuff I would rather not lose - if it comes to that eventuality - is thankfully on my external hard drive. Music, photos and so on. Not all of it though: some is on the C drive, but if needs be then of course I'll have to do without. Tough luck.

It's a bit worrying just how much I rely on the damn thing: in the morning catching up with the news and weather; in the evening, blogging (though I've been remiss of late in that respect), social networking, catching up with more news, online debates on the Guardian site, emails, music sites and so on and so forth.

Or just having it there in the background: in recent times, when I've ensured that the bulk of my evening is diverted into other activities, it's still useful. For example, I'm immersed in a historical biography at the moment and I've tended to use the net as a source for additional, relevant information.

I've never considered myself a net addict: give me the company of friends or outside activity any day - and when the longer hours of daylight are here, I'd much rather be making the most of them. Nonetheless it's telling just how much it's become part of the fabric of my everyday routine. Not to mention the basis of a lot of keeping in touch with friends, of the "real" and "online" variety (the inverted commas being for the fact that there's far less of a distinction these days) or if I'm not online, then using the PC to listen to music.

So I'm finding I'm having to make do - I'm not exactly after sympathy by pointing out that I'm blogging from the pub, for example - but I've realized that, until I get the damn thing sorted, then it's necessitated quite a change of routine. Not to mention forced me to pay attention to some things that I've been putting off for some time (eg getting things sorted around the flat, like rearranging and getting some new furniture). There's something quite refreshing liberating about that, and - as suggested above - liberating.

I would like to think that, once/if the PC is up and running again, then I'll not allow myself to incorporate it back into my routine as much as before. It would be nice to have it functional again, but really I should also make the most of it not being there.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Ice cream

I wonder if the ice cream van still visits the street on which I grew up. The street is like the top bar of the letter T, in that it's a dead-end on each side and accessible by road only via the one junction.

The ice cream van would stop at the point in the street near the junction and, upon hearing it approach sufficiently in advance (I'm quite certain that its speaker would blare out The Blue Danube), we'd pester my mum and dad for some change and then run up to join the queue. I associate such memories with bright sunny days for the most part, I suspect that's the rosy glow of nostalgia as much as anything.

I remember one occasion where it was overcast. I maybe hadn't heard the tones of The Blue Danube (rendered pathologically, almost aggressively cheerful in its conversion to tinny ice cream van speakers), and had perhaps just noticed the van halfway up the street as I looked out the window.

I ran to my mum and persuaded a few coins from her, and dashed out of the house. There was no queue - whether nobody else fancied ice cream on such a day, or whether they'd already been and bought theirs, I wouldn't know - but as I neared, I heard the ice cream man start the engine to embark back down the connecting street.

Surely he's seen me, I thought - I got to him just as he was starting to turn and drive away. I put my hand up to wave - I wanted him to stop because I wanted to buy an ice cream. He waved back, smiled a warm smile, and carried on driving down the road. I was left standing there, disappointed and sans ice cream. I trudged disconsolately back home, I may have even felt my lip trembling a little, and I gave the coins back to my mum.

For whatever reason, I've been toying with whether to write/publish the above post for a long time. I've frequently rejected doing so because it feels mawkishly sentimental, and perhaps also because the memory usually recurs when I'm feeling flat (it may be my earliest clear memory that I associate with the experience of disappointment).

Friday, 12 February 2010

Walking Away

I wonder if it's a way of dealing with current uncertainties: I've really thrown myself into doing a lot of walking lately. I thought I wouldn't be fit enough, following a lot of beer drinking in December, and a lot of coughing and spluttering in January.

Last night, for example, I was going out to an event in town, which started around 8pm. I decided I would walk: the direct route would normally take about an hour and twenty minutes. I set off around 20 past six, but I went a hugely indirect route which took me in exactly the opposite direction for a good half an hour or so. Uphill, downhill, I maintained a fairly constant, fast pace: I wonder how my speed compared to those people who do power-walking or whatever it's called, where they look like they're wiggling their hips in a funny way.

At one point I looked at my watch, having walked quite a way since the last time I'd looked: a mere minute had passed, but I'd covered a lot of distance, making it feel like several minutes should have elapsed. Finally I got to the venue, around 5 past 8, having charged along a pied for almost an hour and three quarters: I didn't even feel tired, more like I had enabled the dissipation of nervous energy (or something like that).

Similarly, earlier in the week, I walked a route which normally takes just under 2 hours - I finished it in less than 1 hour 40.

The current uncertainties I refer to are, in the main, work-related. Not negative uncertainties either - it's more about change, which should be beneficial at least to some degree. Nonetheless, the very fact of change brings tension, and I presume such tension is what's serving to propel me.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I may be quiet but I'm still Misreading The Signs

Today's misread sign was

Yoga Thieves

I don't think I even fully registered what the proper words were. Nonetheless, I quite like the idea of a yoga thief.

Monday, 8 February 2010


I get tired of waiting for the bus home from town, it gets more chaotic. People are just so desperate to get on as quickly as possible, it becomes ever more like a scrum.

I heard a phrase the other day which lends itself to this situation in a rather apposite way: as a result, I'm wondering whether to write to the bus company and ask them to change the name of the service to The Last Chopper Out Of Saigon.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


So January arrived and then left again, during which time I plodded on in a low-key kind of way, laid low further by a persistent cough and cold in the latter half of the month. I get annoyed with myself for moaning about the annoyance of having a cough and cold. Meanwhile someone I know nearly died a couple of weeks ago (is on the mend now) which, you might say, puts things into perspective, but it doesn't actually have a direct effect on the annoyance factors of the aforementioned cough/cold combo. It just made me very thankful that said person is on the mend, while still I coughed and strained a muscle in my back.

No doubt the following statements are self-evident to a large degree, but I think I still need to voice them for my own benefit:

Blogs don't, generally, write themselves.

Musical ideas don't, generally, program themselves into my laptop.

Flight tickets don't, in a manner consistent with the above two points, book themselves.

Friends don't phone themselves (erm, if any of them do, I'd rather not know about it thank you very much. Sounds all a bit weird. Why would you phone yourself? No: what I mean is that I won't get to speak to certain friends unless I ring them up rather than just thinking about it. Not that it stops them from ringing me up. Why haven't they rung me up? Bollocks, I'm not going to phone them after all, selfish gits. See if I care)

Friendships don't just maintain themselves.

Sometimes, however, it appears that beer seems to drink itself. I had a few last night having gone out to see a rather fantastic band. My first beers of the year, and I happen to feel better today than I've felt for the last two weeks. Hopefully this is less because of the beer, and more that the cough/cold combo is finally loosening its lemsip-addled grip.

Oh, and just by the by, here's my guide to travel essentials: