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Unplanned Hiatus

27 Aug

Sometimes there just isn’t the hours in a day to do everything you plan. I just realized that it’s been some time since I last posted an article on my blog. I’ve had plenty to talk about, and also a few points to comment on.

But they’ve all fallen by the writing desk trash bin as I’ve recently started a new job. It’s a huge improvement, working with a high level of autonomy in a motorcycle dealership managing the website for parts sales…far more stimulating than endlessly staring at a computer screen all day and night….wait a minute. Nope still doing that.

The other reason for my lack of posts is that I’ve started another job, well a self-appointed one. I’m currently trying my hand at writing a novel. I’ve always felt there was a story to tell inside me, however it’s always been an intimidating prospect to get past the first couple of pages. Not this time. As I write this i am currently some 11,500 words into the story. And the path hasn’t strayed, the tale is still clear and the characters are coming to life

I’ve got a couple of close friends who are acting as proof readers, but I may post an excerpt from it once I’ve reached about the mid way point.

So please, accept this short update as an apology, I will return; just as soon as life slows down once again.

 

The rare chance of a rest.

25 Jul

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new piece, however it’s not for a lack of writing that’s for sure! I’ve taken it upon myself to have a try at writing a novella/novel. I’m not sure of how long this tale will be, but it’s developing nicely and I’m finding I’m not short on ideas or direction.

As a result I’ve found myself with little thought for points to rant about; ponder on or philosophise about. I’ve debated if I should perhaps post some excerpts from my w.i.p and allow my blog readers/followers to offer some opinions? I’ll admit I’m cautious of people plagiarizing it if I put it out into the web at this stage. I’m fortunate that I’ve some good friends and a patient partner who are acting as ongoing proof readers, so I’m not bereft of critique and guidance.

And the title? Well I recently had the good fortune of being offered a new job, one in an industry I have a passion for, so I’m no longer going to be a servant to the public for the governments agenda,a reformed civil servant. This for me is such fantastic news as my office life has been the cause of many health issues for me over the years, but my understanding GP signed me off sick for the last 3 weeks as I saw out my months notice-period. Good fortune does indeed come in a rush, and I’ve been using this time to try to heal, relax and prepare for a new time in my life, happier times.

Hmmm, happier times… that’s actually what’s been resonating around my mind a lot this last month. You see for the last 7 years+ I’ve worked a job I hate, living a repetitive life that on many occasions I’ve alluded to Groundhog Day, and nearly every aspect of my life has been one of compromise. Well this new job has been like having my shackles broken! I’m now going to be living with some element of unpredictability; I’ve no idea if my new job will be a success, of course I’ll give it my all, but I don’t know…
I’m also working closer to home, so I don’t have a 50 mile round trip every day. I can look at cycling to work! Something I’ll be doing each day it’s dry.

I’m fully aware how disjointed this post may read, it probably seems slightly incoherent, almost stream of consciousness…well that’s how I’m able to kick-start a new wave of happiness in my life no more endless days of repetition and dull predictability. And I wanted to share that with all of you.

I’m returning to what’s left of this rare rest period in adult life, and continue with my novella. It may be quiet here for a little bit, but hey; that’s just because I’m happy.

What do you see Nurse??

5 Jul

This poem needs more exposure, a thought we should all spare to those in the twilight of their lives,

Expressions

Found this poem while on placement, I’ve seen it before and it really hit a nerve then.

After working within the care community and now going through my nursing training, you see so many terrible attitudes towards the elders in our communities. Abuse, neglect and ignorance run riot while people live their lives non-the-wiser. It’s disgusting and things need to change. I say this knowing it will not. With the growing population and advances in medicine, our lives are lasting longer. I dont know that this is a good thing. Personal opinion? I do not want to get to the point where I require the aid of a carer. I’ve done it myself and knowing my luck I’d end up with the pleb who doesn’t know her arse from her elbow and I’d die, alone, soiled, in the dark with pressure sores. An advert to drink, smoke and do all…

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Duck Tales: The real Scrooge McDuck.

30 Mar
disney_company_ducks_scrooge_mcduck_walt_donald_duck_desktop_2288x2824_hd-wallpaper-935575

(c) Disney Company

 

How much money is too much? £1. £10. £100 or £400? How much money is enough? I’ve never been one to be penniless or broke, I was a fortunate child born into a family that had a reasonable level of disposable income and being essentially an only child, I was spoilt. As you may imagine I grew up with a distorted perception of material worth as in if it broke, no bother, we can just get another.

There’s always going to be a point though when the value of possessions becomes apparent, that mistaken purchase comes with no option of return; you didn’t maintain the serviceable parts correctly? Too bad, you’ll have to pay for a replacement. For me that came about in my 20’s, too old perhaps? Not really for a child of the early 80’s, we and all subsequent generations have enjoyed longer stay in our parents nests than they dreamed of, and the way things are going, our children will likely be living with us into their 30’s. At least I finally knew what it was to value what was mine past the instant gratification and fun. And it was at that point that I was able to see the lack of value in money. No matter how much I needed or had, it never was enough to be free. Free from the responsibilities I had gained as an independent adult in the working world, and as a co-dependant to my girlfriend living with me and sharing the cost.

Money has a knack for finding ways to spend itself. You save for that rainy day, the heavens will open. Want to be prudent and save for servicing costs on your vehicle? Shhhhh! The car IS listening and will soon blow its gasket. And all the while you’re planning and saving; the world keeps rolling, life keeps on ticking. As I read in a recent Blog entry in Gonzaro: why postpone your gratification?

Please excuse the slight mental meanderings; I’m trying to give you some background on my views on money and material possessions. So you may ask why the reference to a slightly obscure Disney character in the title? Well this stream of conscious pondering came about thanks to a close friend of mine. He too had a privileged upbringing. In fact he was born with the silver spoon firmly in his mouth and wrapped in a silk shawl. His parents both have a good career. Daddy was a building contractor director, caravan park owner and is now a managing consultant for various firms. Mommy is the head of radiology at a local hospital. Regardless of what he does in his life, he will be taken care of. He will inherit a large property with land, a stable business to live off. And this is before any potential cash windfall.

I’ve known my friend since my mid teens, and he is a very dependable soul, a good man to his friends and trustworthy. He is simple in his manners and straight talking. When we were younger, we both used to tear around on motorbikes, having parents that paid for us to have scooters, moving onto small cc sports bikes and up into larger sports bikes. They covered our insurances, our fuel and gear. you get the picture. We played computer games (always the latest) and went out a few nights a week to the local nightclub.

Now as a teenager and into my early twenties, this was the normal. And because neither of us had any real financial worries or responsibilities, we rarely talk about money.

Not so now. Both of us work for the same central government agency, and are in regular touch each day. And the topic of money issues comes up on a regular basis.

Me: I’ve a mortgage, finance on a vehicle to get me to and from work, and pretty much make just enough cash to live my life; not enough to be carefree, but I’m not poverty stricken. I’ve adapted over the years to be able to live, as I like within reason. Thanks in part to a girlfriend who is completely in tune with me and we are open with our finances.

Him: He rents a small ground floor, self-contained annex to a house. His rent is minimal (less than 1/3rd of his wage. We earn the same), he has no debt-and I mean zero, the man doesn’t even have an overdraft. He is careful to the point of tight-fisted resistence to spending his money, yet he bemoans the many things he wants. With every potential eventuality he tries to plan the financial path laid before him and the outcome of any spends. You might think this is a prudent outlook; prudent if it was due to him steadfastly saving for that specific goal. Not so much when he will say he is skint at every opportunity.

I struggle, truly struggle with every fibre of my being to be able to comprehend the mindset of a man so considerate with his money, so free of debt and financial constraints and yet he is bound by these hypocritical feelings of poverty.

Ok. Enough background, and admittedly this will sound one sided, but please hear me out. It’s no secret that the capitalist ideals of the western world have been falling on hard times as of late. The UK is in a recession, jobs are rarely offered on long term, full time contracts are hard fought when applied for and the cost of living is forever increasing. For the last 5 years since I’ve been a self sufficient home owner I’ve witnessed my bills increase in steady increments on average twice a year, sometimes more, and it’s been little comfort when I’ve managed to either rid myself of an ongoing finance obligation, a fixed term bill etc, only to have it replaced by either the original item having worn out or simply exhausted its usefulness; replacing it with yet another part to keep the endless finance machine whirring. I’m not naïve in expecting to reach a point in the near future when I’ll suddenly have cleared all my bills and can rest easy thinking that all I need do now is enjoy working for just the money I need to feed myself and keep my mind entertained.

Yet I believe that is what my naive yet well-heeled friend expects. He’s had that kind of gilded start to life that means it is almost incomprehensible to consider a cyclical life as befalls most of us. And his ongoing bleating about his struggles to make ends meet has also taken on that cyclical routine. It goes a little something like this: He gets some extra money saved. He then gloats and mentions about his plans. He then has some catastrophe in his life and the money gets swallowed (sound familiar to you dear reader?) And then the moans about being skint begin. He will then manage to save some extra money…and thus the cycle is complete.

I’ve tried to explain many times that unless you are still blessed with a life that is bankrolled by a well off relative, have a high paid job (this one is no guarantee) or have won the lottery, then this is simply the grind of a consumerist led society, and one we’re not supposed to be aware of or mind.

And this brings me back to my original get to point of these thoughts put to pixels, and that is: the more money we try to accumulate, the more materialistic goods we acquire, the further we can find ourselves from happiness and a stress free life. My friend is always stressed over having money or being in debt-and he is always delaying gratification due to his self-imposed ideas of poverty. I started to act a similar way, when I first started living on my own finances; first got my mortgage; first had to replace my worn out vehicle that got me to my first real job. It was an endless cycle of stress.

Now I simply treat each day as it comes – if I’m of the mind I want to do something now, I do it. I may not be lucky enough to have a tomorrow thanks to a million and one freak occurrences that could end my days on this planet. And despite being in and out of debt, I’m a happier and stress free individual. I’ve achieved this with the added help of losing interest in most all forms of modern, popular consumerist goods. I’ve learnt what I really need to keep my mind happy and entertained, and most of those goods I’ve already obtained over the years.

Find happiness in what you have. Don’t turn into a Scrooge  and waste the days and years away hoarding money and possessions in an endless cycle.

Bad Days

18 Mar

Bad days: that quintessential collaboration by anything and everyone to just make your day go wrong. I’d go as far as to agree that all gods or spirits must enjoy a laugh at the expense of us humans; but why must they choose a Tuesday?

I guess you could say I got out of bed on the wrong side, however that would technically prove impossible as to my right is the small walkway I have between a wall that cries and my bedside junk depository, and to my left is my darling muse, usually a sweet thing, but liable to flinch and swing with a sleep empowered strength impossible to come from one so dainty. So to say I got out of the wrong side would be to suggest I always get out on the wrong side.

Bad days can usually follow bad dreams or indeed bad nights. Now were getting somewhere- I had a bad night brought on by the realisation that a hobby and source of fantastical escape no longer held a special place in my heart.

I’ve played video games since I was old enough to hold a pad and realise which of the bright coloured dots on the television set had to be stomped on, shot at or raced past, and that initial foray into the fantasy land stored on those first few cartridges had me sold. As I got older and the years brought new advances from the land of the rising sun, I got sucked deeper down that green pipe, swept into cosmos where I was saving the world from the cyborg menace and getting to defeat the evil mastermind with a final dragon punch- uttering the immortal cry “ shoryuken”; the result was more time spent in these lands of fantasy, because what hope did reality have of offering me excitement on par with this? To an overweight yet hyperactive child suffering from asthma, what chance did reality have to entice me back into the daylight?

Zero. Sure I loved to run around with my friends (run, wheeze, stop, click, suck, run-repeat), I had a fearless nature as a cruel blessing so I always wanted to try out any new craze-roller-skating and roller blades, BMX and mountain biking- you name it, I was eager. But though the will was strong the flesh was weak- I tried all manner of different exercise: ranging from weight lifting and aerobics to martial arts. But these all brought me little in the way of a solution. To my mind video games were the answer!

I played them endlessly with my friends; all of who was into video games, so the habit wasn’t just a private thrill, it was a social experience. Multiplayer was where it was going to be at.

This love followed me like my asthma (and weight) into my teens and early twenties, still the games were played, new galaxies were saved or pillaged on my whim, or with the help of my close circle of gaming friends. Technology advanced at a rapid rate and the improvement of the visual L.S.D we were consuming got stratospherically high. Thanks to the rise of the Internet and online gaming services you didn’t even need to interact in person with your friends, you only needed the game.

From around 7 years of age to 29 years of life, I spent far too much of my free time in the fantasy zone, and the dawning of the online age broke that spell. It hurried in a rise of popularity in the games industry, and with it the corporations smelled money. Sure they financed and drove a boom in new technology, creating cinema quality stories, epic firefights and musical scores worthy of savouring in their own right, but they also homogenised the experience. It turned what was once the outcasts favourite respite from reality, once the elite club of space cadets of the mind: the excuse to socialise with friends, into a soulless and mindless ram raid on the senses. Television reinvented for the techno generation. You no longer had to learn any real skill or use your imagination to abscond from reality for a few hours, your now shovelled it to your ever twitching fire button as you rattle off your 8th consecutive hour on Modern Warfare 12. Oh did I mention that’s with your twenty-four hour friends across the globe.

Twenty-nine years of age I finally realise how much apathy I’ve been slowly festering inside for this once loved hobby, gestated on a decade of bitterness and nostalgia. I’m no longer the fat, wheezing (for the most part) and excitable dreamer, I’ve a passion for motorcycles that has been steadily nurtured into an all consuming addiction (don’t we all trade one addiction for another); I’ve a steady girlfriend of 9 years and a creative side to myself that won’t stay subdued any longer. But it still came as a shock last night. I’ve built a lot of my friendships around videogames, and now I need to take them forward with less emphasis on fantasy and more in reality.

Bad nights dreams always follow into bad days. So Tuesday has been one grumpy lurch after another.

Here’s to Wednesday-also known as ‘Hump Day’. Get over that and it’s all about the weekend baby!

Conversations

16 Mar

Conversations; these segments of thoughts we have woven together with cheap fibres, once highly tensile strands of nylon that as we age and our minds accumulate more of the saline waters of memory, become ragged whips of Hessian suitable only for casting as nets to capture migrating shoals of information we all gain the urge to share.

I’ve had many conversations-aggressive bouts of twisted insults wielded with a flick of the tongue, dagger sharp into the emotions of a friend or family member. Tender conversations touching on the love I’m feeling for the gentle soul kind enough to share their body and amorous raptures with mine. Introspectively insightful dialogues are often found in the silenced night, when the seas of the mind, stilled by clarity like that of a full moon…a calm all too eerily preceding the truths that have remained locked in their cupboards beneath stairs climbing high from denials decades old.

The friends we have that hold our counsel dear, and those lovers who will always accept all told to them as truths, and family whose silent judgment we perceive with good grace like a lawyer views the defendant. There are few better ways to being a worthwhile human  than providing conversations of substance, good or bad, that weave together each others exploits.

Yet they seem to also dredge up a disdain and isolation for our fellow-man, pushing us further into the night to explore oceans of the mind. We reach out with conversations intent on converging another to our way of thinking, with open arms we seek to break bread and share our harvest of the soul, however…as we are all blessed with the individual mind , convergence turning to insurgence, as the tide of one mind flows opposite to the other, creating a whirlpool that sucks the hopeful merging of two into a void.

Introductions not necessary

16 Mar

Welcome all, as the title said I don’t feel a long-winded introduction into who I am or my past accomplishments are necessary in order for you to seek some enjoyment from my corner of the web. The coming posts, short stories and thought based articles will hopefully tell you more about your writer than any amount of proclamations here will.

These are the inner views of events from my life shackled to the often held observations I have enter my mind after speaking to the people I’ve met or know.

Oh and there may be a biased article or two on motorbikes. On account of me being an all year round 2 wheeled rider.

On that final brief note welcome and I hope any readers gain some enjoyment and the odd pique of thought from my writings.

JWH.