Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

Addressing each of my life choices one at a time

Tag Archives: Google+

Where the heck have I been?

That really is the question, isn’t it. Why have I been largely absent from WordPress, Google+ and Twitter for several months and, perhaps more importantly, what changes have I made to my life to prevent this from happening again in the future?

There are three reasons for my dismal level of social media interaction over recent months:

  • A lack of personal organisation

  • Suffering from ‘flu for the first few months of the year

  • The recent demise of my ageing budget laptop

All of us are given twenty four hours every day. Whilst some people use the time to create business empires or to be active within civil rights pressure groups, I was somehow struggling to even find time to vacuum the car on a regular basis. So, come October when I needed to find extra time for some studying on top of the tasks I was already failing to fulfil, I put myself under unnecessary pressure.

Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods - Casual Gods

Even Amazon struggled. They took six weeks to deliver my Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods CD

I needed to organise my time much better. After a lot of soul searching, I have (in theory) managed to find the necessary time to do everything. I listed everything that I need to achieve and now have time slots for all necessary tasks during the week. It means that WordPress and Google+ will get my attention on a Saturday, around the time that I back up my computer files to my external hard drive (I also sync to an online encrypted cloud account). I’ll delve into the Twitter account whenever I get a few moments during the working week.

Last year my health was great right up until November when I started to catch every cold or bug that was doing its rounds. Boxing Day was when I succumbed to one of the strains of ‘flu that ravished Britain last winter.

I had trouble to get the help that I needed from the NHS which I am certain lengthened the time that I suffered.

I was even sent back to work too early by one doctor and within two days was back off work worse than ever and needing another course of antibiotics to treat the return of the secondary bacterial infection that for weeks had taken my left lung hostage.

I never want to go through that again.

My fruit and vegetable intake has since vastly increased and I have promised myself a ‘flu jab every year. Paying about £20 a year is a small price to sacrifice if I can avoid a repeat. I know that it isn’t likely that I will catch ‘flu every year but avoiding one future battle with that virus is something I am desperate for.

I need to lose some weight again now. After the ‘flu went, I started eating more and exercising less; but I have started to turn this around.

And finally, my ageing budget laptop had become increasingly temperamental over recent months. (Can laptops catch ‘flu?) Eventually, a fortnight ago with two study assignments due within days, it stopped effective service. It logs in but stops working within about fifteen minutes. I could get it fixed no doubt but it looks to be a three figure sum repair bill, so a new machine became a reasonable option.

Anyway, I mentioned that I started studying and any delay would prevent submitting my final assignments whose deadlines were only days away.

I bought a cheap Windows laptop for immediate use and this will become my wife’s main laptop in the next few weeks. Gloria’s been after her own laptop for quite a while and so is looking forward to sole use of the PC. This will be her’s on receipt of the much beefier laptop I have treated myself to, which will come with Ubuntu-Mate installed as the operating system. Man, am I looking forward to that.

(Incidentally, I found that my old laptop running Ubuntu worked better at connecting to Adobe Connect rooms than some of my fellow students’ Windows machines when attending online study meetings. Linux is more software friendly than you may think.)

So, there were three reasons that affected my output to which I have sourced three solutions: planning how I will use my time better, an annual ‘flu jab and a new (as yet undelivered) Ubuntu-Mate laptop which should last me a decade or more with careful use.

I just hope no-one cursed me too much these last few months whilst I was mostly absent…or, maybe, these events were due to someone’s curse on me.

The Return of the half-Jamaican blogger

This past year has been a disappointment for many.

You may be tempted to muse on what are the tragic circumstances to which I allude.

Is that Harry Scriven chap acknowledging one of the various referendum or election results that have occurred around the world over the last twelve or so months? Are these the source of tragic disappointment that this blogger is referring to?

Or maybe, you might think to yourself, Harry is completely mad and is crying over the sporting failures of some sporting hero of his?

What if Harry’s favourite television show stopped transmitting and he has trouble coming to terms with this loss?

The first thing for me to write here is that I should stop speaking about myself in the third person. It’s annoying to read if I do it too much, I suspect.

And anyway, the answer is no to all three of these possibilities. Sport and television don’t bother me too much, and referendum or election results need to be accepted whether you agree with the results or not.

So what is the cause of this disappointment to the masses?

Well, of course, few people have been able to cope with the absence of my once regular weekly blog posts.

Okay, I am joking about the importance of my own blog posts.

me again

My return is complete – let’s all drink to that!

I was a little nervous about the quality of my first posting on my return to regular blogging.

Although I have kept myself connected with social media through sporadic Tweets or the odd Google+ output, I especially worried about the quality of my first longer weekly social media posting for several months.

Will I be able to post something remarkable enough to announce my return to the regular blogging world?

I am confident that this post will result in one of the following three scenarios:

  • This post will become an essential text to the British English Literature school curriculum
  • This will be one of the written outputs leading to my being short listed for the Nobel Prize for Literature
    or
  • This post will get a few likes and maybe a comment or two

In a number of ways, life for me is the same as it was last year when my posts started to become less frequent. My family situation is the same as it was then and I’m still driving the same beaten up third-hand car. A few of my life priorities have been amended over this time but you will find me much as I was before.

I write that little has changed, but I also think that I am more reliable now than then.

And how do I quantify that my reliability has increased? Well, now I am starting to feel that I can rely on myself which is something that I have ever felt previously in my life.

So, I might even spend the second half of my life actually liking myself.

Maybe that will be reflected within the contents of my future blog posts.

Una taza de café, por favor

Okay, enough Spanish for now – the title is as far as the Spanish goes for this blog post.

I thought I’d share this with you all on WordPress with you this week.  I’ve already bored everyone about this on Google+ so I thought that I’d spread the joy far and wide 😉

DSC_0002

My imitation Moka Pot in action

Inspired by one of my Google+ friends, I purchased an imitation Moka Pot to make some espresso coffee at home without having to pay a big price in a café for some.  So, I also grabbed some Fair Trade coffee and home I went.

DSC_0001

Some Fair Trade coffee

The instructions that came with the pot were very scant and so it was a good job that the internet could provide me with the finer points of using such a coffee pot.

It was good but Gloria is not too keen on espresso.  She loves cappuccino though and I determined to get a coffee frother.

Coffee frothers are hard to come by in Britain unless you are buying one of those mini handheld whisk type things.  The shops that do stock the nice frothers also charge a big price.

Eventually, I found one at a reasonable price.  That night I frothed up some milk and made some hot chocolate.  It was good for a quick frothy drink.

the frother 1

The milk frother – it can froth and heat milk or just froth cold milk

This week I combined the two.  My stove coffee pot and the milk frother to make myself a cappuccino in the comfort of my own home.  I prefer cinnamon on top rather than chocolate and so I was able to make a cappuccino how I like it.  Few coffee shops seem to have cinnamon.

The mug was bought for me a few years ago by Yasmin.  She was eighteen years old at the time and it was a reference to a place where she worked at weekends.  It was called Cheeky Monkeez and she dressed up as a monkey during children’s parties.

cappuccino 2

The cappuccino in all its glory

A year mostly absent of social media

Hmmm…I’ve been a naughty boy, haven’t I?  All of my internet stalkers must have hated me over the last year as I haven’t left much of an internet trail.

Yes, I’ve logged into my bank account and paid my bills (well, most of the time) but I’ve not done too much on WordPress, Google+ or Twitter.  In the last month I’ve done a little bit on Twitter and in the last couple of weeks a little dash on Google+ because the posts on these two places are only a few words (usually).

So do you want an explanation?  I won’t give too much in that regard; only that there was a big issue that I needed to deal with in the family and I didn’t feel much up to social media.  All of my posts would have been quite depressive – and that’s not the way I wanted to go.  I’m no Robert Smith or David Byrne – The Cure are quite good at songs of depression and Talking Heads are phenomenal with music describing about nervous breakdowns (“The Overload” from the album “Remain In Light” springs to mind).  Anyway, the good news is that I didn’t feel that I needed to listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of The Moon” that often.

My life now is…oh, I don’t know.  Remarkable?  Boring?  Insignificant?  Yes, all of those and a few other adjectives.

Financially, I don’t feel like I’m living hand to mouth so much any more.  What I mean by that is that it takes me the whole month to spend my monthly wages at the moment.  This is wonderful progress for me and for that I am thankful to God.

Chicken and Chorizo Bulger with Flat Peas

Chicken and Chorizo Bulger with Flat Peas

So, what has changed?  I bought a cookery book that specialises in simple recipes.  I cannot cook at all (remember my MyOpera confession that I set the smoke alarm off while making a salad?) but this book has enabled me to turn out things that are reasonably tasty.  All you do is slice ingredients up and through them into the pot in the right order and – like WOW! – out comes something really nice.  I suppose a quick plug for “One Pot Wonders” by Lindsey Bareham is in order.

My car, oh yes, my car famed throughout the MyOpera years.  My old Honda Civic became quite a feature of my posts for a time.  Unfortunately, it is no longer in my possession.  When I had my MOT in 2013, I was given a list of advisories that filled the page.  I knew from reading them that these repairs all needed to be done within three years at most if I was to continue driving the Honda Civic – and they all looked quite pricey.  Also, the last Labour government had increased the age that a car needed to attain before being exempt from road tax.  No longer would a car get that treat at the twenty five year old mark but now needed to be forty.  The last Labour government had, in effect, billed me over £100 in August 2014.

So, I bought a new car – sorry, I mean a newer car.  I trawled the basement priced used car adverts and telephoned after a cheap looking thing from a nearby dealer.  That car had gone but he said that I might be interested in something else that he had.  Where was he?  Well, down this side alley near the train station where a taxi firm traded from years before.  Their battered old sign was still hanging off the side of the building.  I turned up and was greeted by a locked gate that held back a ferocious barking dog.  A tough guy walked up and asked who I was.  He wasn’t the dealer but he called through to the guy who was.  The dealer was another tough looking dude.  He put on a tee shirt and showed me two well used motors.  I grabbed one of them that had a sunroof (yay! A sun roof!) and he then agreed to take my car the next day as part exchange.  I gave him £50 deposit and then went home and ran a check on the car.  If I was to pay for the car, I wanted to be certain I was not taking on something with outstanding finance or was written off in an accident years ago.  The car was legitimate and so the next day I was driving a green Vauxhall Astra.

Well, that’s enough excitement for today.  I know for sure that this bedtime story will help me sleep well tonight.

From MyOpera to where?

‘Bye ‘bye, MyOpera.  For a few years MyOpera has been the place to be.  It was there that I posted into the World famous “Depressing Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts”.  My elderly Honda Civic became an international star and I topped the Google searches for slot-o-bronze arcade machines.  It was there where I both blogged and enjoyed some very entertaining blogs from a group of witty and humourous people.  However, recent months has seen the MyOpera platform wane until the inevitable announcement came that Opera have given up on us.  They will shut MyOpera in March 2014.

Well, they can take our blogging platform…but not our souls (or something like that).

So, here is the initial post of my new blog.  Not very exciting yet as this first blog is not very much more than a place marker.  Hopefully, a few of my old buddies will find me on WordPress or Google+.  For the time being I will be publishing much the same thing on both platforms.  After that…we’ll see.

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