bookmark_borderResolved to be new

I lied. I know I wrote previously about not having resolutions but (as Blue Witch points out in the comments) I did have resolution. I am determined to make this year a good one.

However I’m very goal oriented so I did, quietly, set myself the following goals:

  • Read one book a month.
  • Take a photo everyday.
  • Lose at least 8kg (aiming for 95kg, just under 15stone).

Progress so far:

  • I’ve read one book (Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy), and halfway through a second (Oryx and Crake).
  • I’ve almost managed this one (the day I missed I remember but then forgot again! gah!)
  • I’m cheating a little, but over the course of last year, I’ve gone from 111kg to 103kg.

I’m quite happy with my progress and here’s the thing, I realised recently that I am prepared to fail at the first two; If I don’t read a book every month, that’s OK, so long as I’m making the effort to read more (which is actually about taking a small amount of time here and there for myself). If I don’t take a photo everyday that’s OK too, it was more aimed at getting me to slow down and look at the world around me.

Losing weight is, unfortunately, not something I can ‘fail’ at. However as that’s more about eating healthily and being more active, it too is something I’m learning to accept small failures in. If I put on 1kg over a weekend, then that’s ok, I just need to adjust over the following few weeks.

I’m enjoying eating more fruit and veg, enjoying the after effects of exercise although it can still be a struggle to get moving, and slowly the weight is dropping. And yes, I bought Withings scales (and the blood pressure monitor too as that’s the main driver behind my weight loss).

All of this is helping me be better at taking time for me, and that has in turn lead to some other discoveries about myself. Things that have always been there but have lain dormant, things that I am now starting to explore and question, everything from my sexuality, through religious beliefs and on to politics.

I am also much more confident in being honest. That will include here in time (it’s still one thing to tell family and friends, quite another to spill with you lot), but by now the people who need to know already know.

One thing I am carrying over from last year is removing as much negativity from my life as I can. I wasn’t the happiest person (particularly at work) in the latter half of 2011, but I’m rectifying that. I have so little to complain about I really should just get on with living my life.

bookmark_borderA good society

I love you guys. Seriously, you continue to inspire and provoke and without YOU (yes, even YOU) then this blog would have died a long time ago.

Specifically looking at the comments left yesterday, I’m dead chuffed that you took my somewhat hastily written post and turned it into a discussion about the current decline in social values. Take THAT Jakob!

OK, platitudes out of the way, I wanted to pick up on something Blue Witch said, namely that the internet is creating a largely insular society:

Isn’t it a pity that people have time to spend on things like this, but not on befriending, for example, the lonely old person who lives next door but one to them?

Just *think* what could be done with the combined amount of time that is spent every day on things like this. *sighs*

Part of me nodded along in agreement whilst I read this, but then I’d suggest that if part of me didn’t agree with this then I am in danger of becoming a very sad excuse for a human being. Without social interaction, physical and emotional connections with other human beings, society would cease to exist. Or something like that, I need to re-read my Plato or Marx … or some other person who probably spent most of his time huddled over a manuscript.

However, in trying to find a balance to this discussion &emdash;as is the wont of a Libran&emdash; I wonder if the reality of what we have now should even be contemplated against the society we think we used to have.

Is it possible that the main reason we have more consumers, and a decrease in the value of our society*, is purely because there are more things to consume? The internet has allowed many many more people to contribute, so obviously the number of people, and the time they spend hunched at the computer, has grown.

Does that automatically mean that society is now losing out?

I’m not convinced. I guess it comes down to how many people have switched modes, changed how they live life from being a contributor to being a consumer. Of course we need to define what a contributor does, but from personal experience I think that people contribute for very personal reasons, and I doubt the people who have volunteered their time in the past, would stop all of a sudden. That’s not to say there isn’t a slow drain going on though..

It’s hard to judge, especially as the news is full of evidence that society is on the decline.

There are, of course, measures we can take but those, in turn, beginning to edge us towards discussions of 1984. Another question would then be how far we can hold civil liberties, as those very “liberties” may be bringing about changes to our “civility” that need addressed?

It’s a complicated matter, no doubt.

So, with all of that in mind, come back tomorrow for a post titled “My Mother is an idiot”. And don’t worry, she’s already seen it… I’m not that daft, or brave.

* broadly speaking I think we can all agree that a “good” society has less crime, and a more civil attitude towards our fellow (wo)man, etc etc.

bookmark_borderI'm not blogging because…

… I’ve got a new camera to play with. A belated birthday present from my darling wife.

… I’m burning CDs for my father-in-law in Spain. Hopefully I can delete them afterwards but Louise has similar tastes in music so I fear that Shakin’ Stevens and Showaddywaddy will be appearing on my account at some point in the future.

… I’m finalising a letter of complaint to the Bank, to be posted tomorrow. Thanks to Lyle, hans and Blue Witch for their help.

… I’m waiting up until midnight when our cheque finally clears, so I can shift the funds about where they need to go. OK, so I could just do this tomorrow but I’ve waited this long and it’s getting done ASAP.

… I’m trying to dry out after my run this evening – chucking it down it was and I loved every damp soggy (twenty) minute(s) of it! I’ve not got the Nike+ setup yet though, gonna try that on holiday I think. Yes, I’m going running whilst on holiday.

… I need to remember to get my suit dry cleaned. Er… just because.

… I really should’ve hung the new blinds in the kitchen. We bought them about three weeks ago and they’ve slowly migrated from the kitchen, to the dining area, and finally upstairs to my ‘office’.

… I’m typing up answers to those questions from a while back so that I’ll have stuff here for you to read, whilst I’m lazing in the sun on the roof terrace next week. Chilled beverage in hand, trashy thriller cast aside, iPod blaring out “Best of Bananarama” (which was the first CD I ever bought).

Of course this post is completely usurping my non-blogging. But we’ll ignore that.

bookmark_borderBlogging Type

via Blue Witch

Despite only have a few questions, it does seem to be accurate (check out what it made of Blue Witch, sounds spot on to me). Mind you, maybe I’d be better leaving that for YOU to judge…


Your Blogging Type is Confident and Insightful
You’ve got a ton of brain power, and you leverage it into brilliant blog.
Both creative and logical, you come up with amazing ideas and insights.
A total perfectionist, you find yourself revising and rewriting posts a lot of the time.
You blog for yourself – and you don’t care how popular (or unpopular) your blog is!



New Road Tax Rules (via Blue Witch).

If you are a driver, you know about this already. I wasn’t going to comment on it but it makes my blood boil and it’s my site and you can’t stop me and… ohh hang on I don’t need to revert to school ground antics, do I?

Essentially the new rules state: “If you don’t tax your vehicle on time, you will receive a penalty of up to £80. And if you continue to drive without a valid tax disc, you could be fined a minimum of £1,000.”

The DVLA will use it’s computers to check up on you, and if they don’t have notification that you’ve purchased a new tax disc when you should them – SLAP – £80 please.

Seemingly “The new rules are aimed at cracking down on individuals who do not tax their vehicles.” Errrr how is that? The people who don’t tax their cars WON’T be in the system will they?

Ohhh and if you can find any information that pertains to appealing against a fine, please let me know as it doesn’t seem possible.

There are a myriad of sub-issues with this, but ultimately I don’t see it as anything other than a method of getting more money from law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

Or have I gotten it all wrong.