here are my thoughts
54,948 words

Note 33

Listening to: nothing. I've recently learned that creativity comes from being bored and thus I aim to.

Drinking: Cinnamon tea from my thermos that I prepared yesterday night. (it's still steaming hot). I miss the cider vinegar that I normally add.

Hello.

It's 7:33 and I woke up at 7am. My eyes are only a little bit tired. And my left shoulder is still bloody painful

Outside of saying goodnight and good morning, I didn't text S at all yesterday. This felt good as I wasn't having to wait hours for a reply from her. It also means I'm looking forward to our next chat.

In the afternoon I had a long chat with A. He's still talking about wanting to start an internet business. Currently he has his eyes set on starting a blog that will serve news about technology. He plans to eventually introduce revenue streams by getting commission on specific device sales. The two main problems I see with that is, a: that is much much much too broad of a topic for one man to cover. and b: that market has been saturated since 5+ years. With prolific niche content creators such as linus tech tips likely still struggling to think of new video topics, I don't see how A can compete. I didn't go into depth about why it was a terrible idea because I don't like soapboxing and telling people about how they're all idiots and I'm smarter than them. Instead, I explained that for longevity of any sort of project, you need a reason why you do it. It has to be a bloody good reason. This is because, for any project, there will be days where the colour drains from your window. Days when you hate your project and never want to write another word in your blog again. Nobody reads it, so what's the point anyway? Days when your enthusiasm has run dry and your motivation has been exhausted. On these days, you need a deeper reason that keeps you going. As much as I am conflicted about it, Jordan Peterson still gave me good advice that I hold to to this day. One of those is to align yourself with a purpose. If a captain of a ship decided on his course of action based on what made him the happiest, he would not be useful in a brutal storm. In the same way, when your ship hits inevitable storms, you have to have a system to navigate it.

So my advice to A, was the same as each time I've talked to him lately. Look to those around you. See their suffering and see how you can help. As much as you need money, the process of helping and serving others in need will fill a greater need within you. And over time, if you commit yourself to a project, you can establish yourself as a man of your community. One of the greatest ailments he sees in his community is that everyone around him is depressed and rarely leaves the house. This condition existed prior to the social isolation requirements of COVID-19. And so, he stumbled across the idea of a comedy theatre production. People need to laugh when they are depressed he believes, and so he should let them. When he mentioned the theatre idea, I immediately had a hundred ideas rushing about in my head: the production that a community centre in Iraq put together with the threat of ISIS ever looming, my experience for 3 years as a member of a performing arts society whilst I was at university and how healing it was for me to, the memory of hearing Adam Driver discuss his relationship with acting and theatre after returning from a tour with the military and how it helped him heal. After coming back down to earth I explained what I could of the thoughts that came to me. And although he considered it useful, he believes that the people in his area are not theatre type people, and would not act nor pay to see others act. Secondly he could not see how he could make money through this.

Furthermore, he also told me of his difficulties with women in his local area. When I met him in London, I was still enamoured with the streetattraction school of thought in pick up and immediately introduced him to the basic tenets. Since then he has held those dear and tried to practice them in his area. He had a certain amount of success, dating a woman he met in his local gym. But since a while now, they broke up and he has become cynical about women. I believe that if he does this project, he shall be seen by his community to be working hard on realizing a goal that will help others. This will attract people to him, to help him on his goal. Furthermore my understanding is that women want a man who has a purpose. The stereotype of the failson who lives in his parent's basement, playing video games and watching porn all day is the definition of man without direction or purpose. Furthermore I have often heard that you meet the love of your life when you are not looking, whilst you are focused on other goals. These two ideas gel well together.

Although I did not have satisfactory answers for hime, I have faith that if he were to pursue this, he would eventually improve his social and financial wellbeing.

Note 32

Listening to: Soundcloud, Sunday Music and Hot Coffee

Hello,

It's 7:40 now and I woke with my alarm at 7. I decided to browse the internet a bit before writing today as I found my brain to be more awake after giving it some time to do so. My eyes don't feel that tired today, which is nice. And my body feels like it wants to be stretched out. My left shoulder still has a dull throbbing pain. Maybe if it hurt more, I'd be more inclined to get it sorted. Who knows.

Yesterday was nice.

In the morning I listened to a talk on the current rent strikes and it got me thinking.

The talk was by David Rovics he's both a renter and a landlord so there's a bit of internal conflict. For a long time earlier this year I had been inculcated in left-wing memes and discussions on reddit by my own hand. The most hard-core subreddit I viewed was chapotraphouse and chapotraphouse2, communities so extreme that the podcast around which they formed has officially disowned them. Much of this was depressing art made by and for other depressed people. Similar to incels and redpill content. As is the way for communities that define themselves on the burden of knowing the painful truth of the world, the cynicism runs deep. After taking a self-imposed sabbatical from this content form March 2020, I found my mental health improving, found myself wanting to hang out with people rather than the internet. It was a dark time for me when I submerged myself in that community. I was depressed due to my personal circumstances, and found a community online with a cause important enough for me to put all of my energy into. This meant I had none left for me.

Furthermore since my time on chapo and similar subreddits, I have accepted the idea that a landlords function in society is parasitical by nature. A house is currently one of the most valuable resources in todays economy. The gap between the have's and have-nots is stark and clear. This is not to say that everyone who owns a house or is paying off their mortgage is doing particularly well. But the simple matter at hand, is that when you either have a house or are paying one off, all of the value of the money you put, stays in your pocket. Over time this investment will compound and become greater than the sum of its parts.

In contrast, when one is to rent, there is no choice of getting equity in exchange for their monthly payments. This is absurd. Especially when considering that many landlords decide the price of rent by adding the cost of the mortgage and the cost of maintenance. This means the tenant is pays for the house. They are offloading all the risk and cost to their tenants without sharing the rewards. In the words of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the landlords "have no skin in the game".

Rovics talked extensively about his own personal situation. He has been renting a flat from an investment company called the Randall Group since 2007. This company has been steadily increasing the rent that their tenants need to pay whilst not increasing the service that they offer. This is a strange situation . If it was any other goods that were being sold, this behaviour from the vendor would be cause to getting called out on twitter. If I bought bread from Tesco. And every two weeks they added 20p to the price, over a year it would go from £1 to £53. For the same loaf of bread, that's not right. So why is that OK for landlords to do? For Rovics personally, his rent has increased by ~150% since 2007, from $500 to $1250. However recently there has been a tilt in the balance of power. As many people across the world have lost their jobs or income, they cannot pay the rent. If they cannot pay, and no-one else can who could replace them can, it makes no sense to demand payment. Furthermore many cities, states or countries have enacted a temporary ban on evictions due to the special circumstances of COVID-19. These two factors together have given cause to many groups of renters to band together and enact a rent strike for those landlords who still demand their tithe. Rovics and many of his neighbours are participating in one such rent strike and it is heart-warming to hear.

Of course it seems hypocritical for him to be participating in such a movement, when he himself is a landlord to another family. In response to the crisis, he has stopped asking for rent for the time being. It is this very process, by which the exploited gain the opportunity to exploit others, that keeps this grotesque system steadily marching onwards. It is this network of family and friends in which both tenants and landlords exist, that prevents rent strikes from occurring more readily and consistently. If it were simply the 1% owning all the land and apartment blocks, it would be very easy to band together to fight the common enemy. But when your sister is $200k deep in debt to to the bank on a house she took a mortgage out on, it would be akin to fratricide to corral your social network to take part in a rent strike.

There is some hope however. He told further about people that he met whilst touring to perform his music in Denmark. Whilst talking to an old friend of his there, she told him about the difficulties she was having with her mothers house that she had inherited a few years ago. She had rented it out in the last 2 years, however due to the law, she must now sell it or face a significant fine. This mechanism is in place to prevent the above detailed system from forming. Specifically it would prevent the housing market to fall to the Pareto principle and create a dire concentration of wealth. An example of where this happened is Italy in 1906. In this year, Pareto himself observed that the 80% of land was owned by 20% of the population. I know nothing about Denmark's housing system outside of the details Rovics imparted, but it does make me hopeful for the future.

As others have said in the past.

You cannot change the future without imagining it first.

Note 31

Listening to: Radio 1Xtra

Hello.

It's 6:25 and I woke up 15 minutes ago. Yesterday was a mixed bag for me. Everything went well, except for one thing.

I got up at a good time. Spent a good amount of time on a blog post. Played Shattered Pixel Dungeon for an hour and a half (45 minutes each on phone and laptop). Revisited some old favourite subreddits (oneyearon is a particular jewel). Upheld my tradition of texting S good morning and later on, picture of the breakfast I cooked. She didn't answer. Later after lunch I went for a walk. There was a particularly beautiful bough of blossoms that crossed my path, so I wanted to share it with S. I sent a short video showing it, telling her what I'm doing and asking how her Sunday's treated her so far. She didn't answer. Each of these she saw as I learnt from the blue ticks on Whats'app. So I continued on my walk, and later on had a particularly gratifying conversation with an old friend of mine. I was still stressed out about the radio silence from S, but I didn't want to dump on her as she's probably busy with her own shit.

When I returned home I played Pokémon Mystery Dungeon for 2 reps of 25 minutes back to back. I then turned it off and put it away as I didn't want to get sick of it or rush playing the game. Afterwards, I started writing on a 5 year plan. It began with a simple set of prompts of who, what, why, where; when. I then pasted in an article I read that detailed further ways on how to flesh out my ideas. It was this article that I pasted in https://everydaypower.com/how-to-create-a-5-year-plan/. The core of it is that you write a short piece of prose as if you are at the end of the next 5 year period. In this potential future things have gone well in many areas of your life. You then reverse-engineer from there about how to get there. Begin with the end in mind, as Stephen Covey said. I started off by listing how old I and those closest to me will be at the end of the period. I then fleshed out where I imagine they would be in their lives. I resisted the temptation to be heavy handed in writing how my family members will magically overcome their bad habits. After writing a few people, I started fleshing out the situations some more. I then started writing in the present tense.

Afterwards, I finally began to write myself. It felt fun writing speculative fiction on my own life. It gave me a real solid feeling of the inevitable passing of my time. Until yesterday it never felt that I would turn 30. So that on its own forced me to consider what it would be like, who I would want to be, where I would want to live and how I would want to live. Most importantly, who I would want in my life and how they are doing. The document is coming together slowly and I plan to work on it a bit more every week to allow it to breathe through the iterations.

One of the main points that I'm working on right now is how to write about S. I would like it very much if we were officially together and had built a well established life like my sister did with her spouse. But that may well not happen. After talking to a friend of mine about this dilemma, he suggested I write multiple possible futures, one where we're together, one where we're platonic friends and one where we have taken separate paths and split up. I think this is a really healthy and beneficial exercise that will allow me to breathe a bit. S often tells me that I give her too much control over my emotions. Yesterday was a perfect case in point for that. Hopefully this exercise will give me the requisite distance and perspective to consider things outside of her.

In addition, this made me think of the Stoic practice that Tim Ferriss rebranded as "fear setting". The exercise at its core is to concretely write down in a structured manner what would happen if specific fears came to fruition. Really leaning into a fear and within reason allow yourself to wade into that so that you can use that part of your brain to your advantage. The problem with normal rumination on dark possible futures is that the process of thinking on these things is painful, so you only ever get to the surface level and the discourse only ever happens in your head. By bringing it onto paper and being detailed in the description of what you are afraid of, you bring clarity to it as you have to write it down. Furthermore, after doing so, you can then share it with loved ones to allow them to give you advice and their perspectives.

So to crystallise the fears and anxieties I have with S, I wrote down what her thoughts may have been after seeing my messages. This was a compilation of my greatest fears. A look into the abyss within myself. Its not pretty and its too personal. So I won' share it. It was good to write it down though. I think I'll do that more often. Later on I could share them with her and we can have a nice and meaty chat about them.

The main fear that I have with this visualising the future is that I'm afraid that it will help bring it into my reality. A few weeks ago I watched a video from Harris O'Malley from Dr NerdLove, a multimedia brand of dating advice from a holistic perspective. The video talked about the importance of visualising the steps you need to take before you take them, to allow your brain to prepare for the real thing. One of the assertions that he made that I heard in other places was that the brain doesn't know the difference between visualising an action and performing that action in reality. I personally find that hard to believe as it seems like rubbish. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of not visualising the steps to failure as that will have the same effect on you as doing those steps.

I think I'll discuss this further with friends to see how best to let the two concepts gel and coexist. Today I took an hour and half break in the middle of writing the blog post. It seemed to work pretty well although I dragged my heels a bit before resuming my work.

For now though, I should see about my breakfast.

Note 30

Listening to: Radio 1Xtra, Weekend Breakfast show: Mahalia -BRB, Ciara & 50 Cent - Can't leave him alone, Alana Maria - Happier

Hello.

It's 7.06 and today I went back to sleep after getting up and turning my alarm off that went at 6 O'clock. I'm proud of myself. My eyes don't feel tired or sore either. It's a world apart from many previous days.

Yesterday was an interesting day. In the evening prior to the day, I was ambiguous about whether or not I wanted to take the weekend off. So I made assertions to my dad on what work I would do to try to lock myself in and thus remove the ambiguity. This didn't really help, as when I was texting S a small bit in the evening and morning she made an impression on me. She impressed on me the importance of taking care of myself and taking time off. I've been being particularly strict with myself with the new habits I've been trying to bring in and I think I've done so at the expense of myself. So with these thoughts swirling through my head, I decided to take the weekend off. It felt good to do so. My actions were congruent with my thoughts.

One of the habits I wanted to start was working out. As of yet, I haven't continued since the beginning in which I did a fair bit of groundwork. I'm scared that I'm going to drop it as it feels so natural to do so at this point. The main reason why I haven't continued was because of the pain in my shoulders. Even as I type this, any time I raise my arms at the shoulders, both of them hurt. It frustrates me. I often feel like if I don't continue doing a habit every day, it shall eventually leave my life. However this wasn't so with salsa. I did not practice every day, but instead I had 2-3 evenings a week of 3-5 hours of lessons + social dancing. I was progressing significantly. But then I had to stop due to COVID-19. At the beginning this fear was pronounced and a large part of me wanted to practice at home in order to level up outside of people's sight and surprise them on our return. However after talking with S I felt at ease and the anxieties regarding salsa ameliorated. I now have faith that my abilities won't leave after this period of self-isolation.

Furthermore this desire to practice consistently in isolation has its own set of risks. Namely it's quite possible to become an absolute master at shadow dancing a rather complicated routine. However once you try to bring it to the social dance, or even just dancing it in practice with a partner, things fall apart. This is more likely to happen when I've spent multiple weeks in isolation with no chance to practice with IRL partners. During normal weeks of lessons, there are opportunities for me to touch base with my partners and adjust the routine to make it work with them. Through this process of trial and error the routine grows straight and sound. However, that is not to say that ones developed without are useless. A tree that has not been tended to in many years likely has grown into a bad shape. Once a person tends to it regularly it can flourish and regain vigour and beauty. In the same way a salsa routine that has grown into a bad shape simply needs regular love and attention. Then it too can flourish.

Overall I think that it will be good for me to take a break from the intensive salsa study and then come back to it in time, bringing in new perspectives from what I did in between.

One of the things I did in between is likely not going to give much of a new flavour to my salsa routines. Namely I played Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team a lot recently. I only bought it 2 days ago, but in this time I've played it for more than 6 hours. I'd never played it before but I have an extensive education in roguelikes in general via my long-term playing of Shattered Pixel Dungeon. As PMD:RRT is one too, this gave me a certain edge over a complete beginner. Another thing that helps, is that the game is designed for 7 years olds, so is decidedly easier than SPD is. That said there are some features from SPD that I'm missing in the Pokémon game. One of the main ones is the lack of autopathing. A frustration of mine since a long time with game boy games, to get anywhere, you have to navigate to it manually. When I experienced the autopathing in SPD it was a bit of a revolution for me. It saves time and it saves my thumbs. I tried playing another similar roguelike last year, but it's focus on twitch reflexes and manual navigation wrecked my thumbs so I uninstalled it, even though I paid for it.

Aside from playing the game, I went for a nice walk in the morning. Whilst I walked I felt like having a video chat with S. I tried calling her over WhatsApp, but she offered a phone call instead. It was a nice call, albeit small.

In the evening, I scheduled to watch a film with my dad,as I haven't spent much time with him recently outside of work. The film we watched was Fences. I had a few different waves of wanting to watch this. The first was when it came out in 2016 and had a big promotional push for Oscar season. Then a few weeks ago, I was reading about August Wilson and found his life story both fascinating and inspiring. Whilst reading his wiki page, I read that the film Fences was based on a play of the same name that he wrote. Based on this and the small clips that I saw in the first wave, I decided to ask my dad to buy it off of EBay.

The film is about a man living in a poor area of a city. He used to be a well performing baseball player however he was never given the opportunity to make it properly in the sport and felt hard done by the white men who managed and owned the team. Since this point in his life, he has worked himself every day to provide for his wife and two sons. The first son came from a relationship that began shortly after he left home at 14, whilst the second is from his current wife. For many years now he worked as a garbage man, a position in life both of his sons do not envy and instead feel shamed by. His first found himself a career as a starving artist. As routine as clockwork, he would only visit his parents on his father's payday, and ask for a loan. Up until recently he never paid his "loans" back, and because money is tighter for the parents, the father is increasingly unwilling to indulge his son in this way.

One payday things go differently. His son comes along and for once pulls out a stack of bills and duly pays his father back. There were news stories about fellows who attend the same venue as the son who recently got caught in crime. The question is raised of where the money came from. Furthermore, Rose, the mother, repeatedly asks the son to bring his wife to dinner the next time he visits. This is quickly brushed off and I wonder why. Perhaps he has estranged his wife. The second son has a different path in mind. He wants to fill his fathers shoes, so seeks greatness through sporting achievements. To do so, he has been working diligently on his highshcool football team. So diligently has he worked that a recruiter for a college football scholarship has been looking to bring him into the fold. However his father with his cynical view of such men and the professional sporting institution as a whole, bars this from his son's life.

Although the father can be seen by many as a wholly unlikable character I found myself drawn to him and his relationships. Each of the characters that he seeks to set straight have agency in their lives and push back against his doctrine when they consider it necessary. The father too has a drinking habit, and it is clear that he behaves entirely differently when he has his whisky. I am sure that this will be brought into the mix as the film draws onwards. Generally, I am of the opinion that this film is a tragedy. We've watched one hour of it so far and it has a lot of foreboding throughout this time. The latest that has happened is that the father has finally achieved a great goal of his. He has risked his livelihood in order to do what is right. And it paid off. He has been offered a coveted promotion to a garbage truck driver. However he has no driving license, and is reticent about telling his manager of this detail.

So as you may see through this, the film is feeling like it's drawing it's fist back for a suckerpunch. I do not know what will happen next, but if I were a gambling man, I would say it's going to get worse before it gets better.

But I am looking forward to it.

Note 29

Listening to: Radio 1Xtra: Snow Allegra,tiana major nine think about you, Lloyd banks + Avance

Hello.

I woke up a while ago today. It's 7:36am and I woke up at 6:50am. In between I played a new Game Boy Advance game called Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red version. I played it for half an hour or so yesterday maybe an hour. All I know is that it's bloody easy to let 2 hours run by you when playing the game. It's very cute. It feels like a Zelda game because it looks similar in the graphics and the light novel feel with the strong focus on the characters of the Pokémon.

Yesterday I woke up on time, which was nice. For breakfast I had the usual eggs and veg. For the vegetables I had sautéed a pack of button mushrooms that I had pickled the night before. They turned out really nicely. I served the mushrooms with a bowl full of whole-wheat couscous that I made up with half a teaspoon of miso paste, dissolved in boiling water. I added some cider vinegar and soy sauce to the couscous and I really like who it all came together. I also added some grated carrot and cucumber. It was a very wholesome and satisfying meal all in all.

For work I started off by finishing painting the ceiling in the through-lounge downstairs. This took a bit of time, but overall was a very speedy process. The next thing for me to do was to give the upstairs bathroom ceiling a coat of basic white paint. Prior to my painting, the ceiling was unadorned plaster. There had been wallpaper on it before that, however the glue for the wallpaper had packed up due to a consistent damp problem. To address the damp problem we shall install a better trickle vent. The paint went on the plaster really well. I enjoyed how smooth it felt as it went across the surface. However, I needed to apply 2 coats in one go to give it an even depth of colour otherwise it looked too patchy for my tastes. This took me an hour and a half to do. After this, I went over to the back bedroom and realised there is work that still needs to be done there.

The work I realised was that there still exists debris clinging onto the ceiling when I painted it a few weeks ago. As I had experience in scraping this off ceilings whilst I was worked downstairs, I made a good job of it, systematically moving around with a wood chisel and lead light.

After work we went to tesco, which was very satisfying. It felt like we were very rich men when I looked at how nice and full our fridge was afterwards. I had planned to talk to my friends at 8pm so I chose dinner to meet that deadline. We had sausages fried with peppers, couscous with pesto stirred through and bread and butter.

The call I had with my friends was gratifying. I think I'll try to keep the tradition we have going of a weekly call. This consistency is something that I've been aiming for in most things I do recently.

I think it's going well.

Note 28

Listening to: The Who, Endless Wire

Hello.

It's 6:14 now and I woke up to my alarm at 6. I'm still rather tired but I'm happy that I didn't wake earlier. I was chatting with S until 22:45 last night so I would have had a rough go of it if I were to wake at 5 again. Overall, yesterday was pretty nice.

I had my usual breakfast of an omelette with sautéed pickled vegetables. This time the vegetables were carrot batons. The omelette turned out really well. Prior to cooking, I spent an hour and a half working on the month end review blog post. And in between the work pomodoros, I spent time trying to do Sudoku. It was a frustrating time playing the game because I was trying to use a new solving technique. However all it ended up with was an incorrectly filled Sudoku puzzle. Annoying.

After breakfast, I made my way to work and had a short chat with dad. I then spent the next half an hour systematically scraping away any lumps and debris that was stuck to the ceiling. When I had completed that half of the ceiling, I informed dad, and we spent the next half an hour spot painting any thin parts of the coat on the ceiling. The next stage in my work was to do the same to the other half. It took me some time to prep it as the pieces on the ceiling were not as obvious as on the other section. Afterwards, I informed dad, we had a look at the ceiling and he suggested I simply do a strip of priming it 2 inches in from the cornice. I agreed and got to work. The next stage was for me to give the entire ceiling a coat. This was logically simple to do, but physically demanding and often easy to lose track of where you've been. Furthermore I had another problem to deal with. The daylight was quickly dying. After struggling for some time I decided to turn the ceiling light on. Although this helped to a certain degree, it came with its own challenges. Now the natural shadows and differences in tone of the old and new paint were entirely blown out by the lighting from the ceiling.

Whilst I was doing this work, I kept myself entertained by listening to a rather fascinating audiobook that I terribly enjoyed. The book was called The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K LeGuin. Although I had seen an anime movie adaptation of it. I remembered almost nothing of it, although I am sure that the similarities that remain are few and far between. The book was right up my street. It had all sorts of cool elements that I'd come to enjoy since experiencing it in many stories. A believable magic system, the standard hero's journey, interesting characters, a hogwarts type of school but more like Eton, raging rivalries, riffing between friends, honest wholesome flirting. It was a wild ride. One of my favourite things about the main character, Ged, was how consistently he made bad decision. He chose not to continue his apprenticeship with his original master, who would have taken him on the slow journey toward mastery. He chose to give in to his pride when at his wizard school and trying to show up his nemesis Jasper. There were a few more bone-headed decisions but those were the ones that stung me the most. I'm looking forward to listening to the next book. It was a really satisfying story and had an unbelievably talented storyteller who narrated it.

After dinner, I had scheduled a call with S. It ended up being around 7pm that we started talking. Oh wow. I think we talked for the best part of 3.5 hours. I can't believe that. It felt like 2 at most. Man. That feels good to think about. Well anyway we had a really nice chat. For the longest time I was just lying in my bed pretty much as I would when I'm sleeping. It was nice to chat to her till I slept. I won't really go into our discussions here as I think some parts I shouldn't share.

When it came to the end of the chat, we said goodnight and goodbye and hung up. Shortly afterwards I was fast asleep.

Note 27

Listening to: Sand Thom, Smile It Confuses People, Coldplay, A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Hello.

It's 5:14 and I woke up about 7 minutes ago. My eyes are tired but my body is awake. As today is the last day of the month I shall do a reflection on the last 30 days. I had planned on reading other people's month end reviews to get a good grasp of how to write it and suitable questions to pose, however to do so had slipped my mind. Instead I shall have to think for myself. Because of how much depth I could go into a single point, I shall limit myself to 3 answers for each question.

Good decisions

To start writing this blog

I've often romanticised writers. I write today and I still romanticise them and my own actions. I would dream that they sit under parasols in great well kept British gardens with a lemonade on a coaster on their great Oak writing tables. With all the time in the world, they would write what comes to mind, and paradoxically without any mistakes or frustrations over a few days work, out comes Anna Karenina. As I write this I find it cathartic to pop the bubble of the idea/ I'm sure it had stayed in my head since I was a child. I have long since learned that many a writer are as neurotic or more so than I myself. And many of their lives are trouble and hurricanes. This isn't to say that I want to be Hemmingway or Bukowski. But rather that I understand that more exists of them than what they put down on the page. As there is to me. To de-mythologise them. Bring them back to earth. For myself the process of writing this blog every day was not what I expected at all. I expected a lot more unwillingness. But almost every day I have woken up yearning to write. And furthermore I have almost never run out of things to say. More often than not, I have to manage my time so that I don't start writing something I cannot finish. As I am now.

Listening to Thich Nhaht Hahn's book on communication.

As evidenced in my first post, I have long held a false belief that I am good at communicating. When I can only communicate in easy situations, that is no proof of mastery. An expert martial artist cannot be so if he cannot defend himself in a fight to the death. However it was only in listening to the soft words of Thich Nhaht Hahn did I realise my fundamental lack. I could talk long and deep about any topic except myself. That was "dangerous". I could not say when I was suffered or was angry. I lacked the language and reference experience to do so. But thankfully the book I listened to was rife with perfect examples. But that was not to say that it was an easy read. Oh no. I had a bloody awful time. A lot of existential crises.

"Only at one's lowest point can one truly change." Tenzin, Legend Of Korra.

In a way it is a perfect example of the following decision.

Talking to A about fitness and learning of his journey with coaches and humility

Over the years when talking with A, I had normally related with him over our shared love for all things geekery. However recently I opened up to him about my desire to begin a journey of self-transformation through fitness. He was incredibly excited for me and contrary to me expectations had a lot of things to tell me about it. He told me that when he was 16 years old, he had fully swallowed the belief that if he had a 6 pack women would be lining up at his door. And so he drove himself until he was a shredded 17 year old. However the doorbell did not ring. Above all, he impressed upon me how crucial it is to find a coach. He told me that without one I will be doing myself an injustice as I will not reach my true potential. I pushed back against his statements, but over time I softened to them as I knew my position to be ignorant.

Bad decisions

Getting pissed off at S

When S texted me a week back trying to tease me by callously rejecting my suggestion of a walk together. I was livid. I documented this when it happened. And I swore at her in my rage. I have since apologised to her. But she was rightfully hurt. And the only true apology is changed behaviour. And so I am working on checking myself and checking in with myself to make sure I'm okay and expressing myself when hurt. I was incredibly hurt when she said those things. But a large part of my reaction was my assumptions that all of my worst fears were coming true. That it was as I had "prophesised". She could very easily have just meant that she had no interest in having walk but would love to watch a film together. She could have been on her period. Or any other of a myriad of reasons. And I assumed that everything up until that point, all of the phone calls until late in the evening were all a lie. Yeah I'm a dumbass sometimes.

Gamey techniques with S

Throughout my teenage years and the subsequent time at college and uni I gradually learnt more about sociology, psychology and related areas. This was mainly through self-help books, however over time and via desperation I looked to online dating forums where other desperate men hawk their "get-laid-quick" schemes. Many of their maxims and aphorisms have been very useful to me in the intervening years. However when talking to S, I have been going to great lengths to minimise my use of the more manipulative methods. This is difficult because it involved making myself vulnerable on a regular basis. That said I still catch myself doing these things I'm trying to avoid. I'm probably being overly self-critical and using particularly loaded language. But I have a certain image of myself when with her. And trying to trick her into loving me does not belong in that image.

Continuing to watch Blacklist with Dad

Over the last few months, I have repeatedly found myself viscerally upset when watching the Blacklist TV show. It frequently features and romanticises awful people doing abhorrent actions: throwing people into acid baths, shoving people into wood chippers. I have voiced this when it happens, however I have not stopped watching it. This in large part is likely because my father enjoys watching it and wants me to watch it with him. This has been bad for me. I had found myself romanticising the actions of the main character and the unparalleled agency he has within his own life. But he does this through unsavoury practices. I don't want to be him, but I'm afraid of the effect on me were I to continue watching it. In response to this, I have taken a break from watching it since a particularly harrowing episode. My dad is upset at my choice but he can lump it tbh. I've repeatedly made myself clear that this isn't a show I enjoy watching. And yet he kept buying the next season.

Unexpected events

Opening up to friends and family about my project to fork Shattered Pixel Dungeon

A year and a half ago, I read a book by Tim Ferris called Tools of Titans, it's a terrific book and probably the definition of a king maker now that I think about it. One of the people he showcases was Robert Rodrigues, the director of amongst other films the Spy Kids movies. Unlike many of his peers, he was not born into money, easily affording him opportunities and resources through which he could create a career in film from. Instead he had what was probably and average lower middles class upbringing and family in Texas. He had family and friends of varying income and resources but that was it. As he did not have the resources or connections to bring a film shoot together in the traditional way, he instead focused on those around him and what resources they had that he could leverage. One relative had a small land holding not too far away. Another had materials that he could use. A friend had a pickup that he could borrow. And bit by bit he stitched a film together with a bunch of friends family and locals.

This has long been an inspiration for me on the importance of not overlooking how good my situation really is. And in spirit of the man himself, when I was thinking of my project, I realised that many of my friends will have interesting perspectives with new information that I can plug into my plan. So, I slowly started introducing the topic into our one-on-one chats and asking what sort of hurdles they can see on my horizon. This has been incredibly beneficial for both me and for my friends. They get the chance to help someone and utilise experience and knowledge that rarely gets asked of them. And for me I learnt a wealth of new perspectives and it has allowed my project to mature from a pipe dream into a tangible entity.

How much I would enjoy myself when painting all the time during the work day (first week was 50:50)

When I initially arrived in Norfolk I was not sitting well with myself. I had ideas and priorities and needed to prove myself. Not that any of those statements are not true now. However seeing as I have already gone through the arduous process of negotiating working conditions with my dad, I now have it relatively easy. In the first 2 weeks of labouring here, I had set my sights upon doing gardening for 50% of my working hours . This rankled my father as he considered it top priority that we commit all of our times to decorating the new cottage in preparation for a new tenant. We had a fair few arguments about it. I explained that for me it is a question of agency. From his perspective he has full agency as he chose the extreme hours that he took on. I however did not choose it, and instead he is trying to impose his priorities and decisions upon me. And that is not acceptable. I think I would have ameliorated more stress at the time if I had already started writing daily.

How easy it was to fit the window on the first floor

When my dad first told me that he wanted us to fit a window, just the two of us, I was bloody apprehensive. Having never done it before, my first thought was that it was going to be awfully heavy and cumbersome to carry. Secondly that in order to mitigate the risk of dropping whilst we carry it up 2 ladders, we should really have a some sort of rope harness for it from which two string comes off with an s hook secured to the end of each. From these hooks I had planned we can carry them directly, and then hang them off the ladder rung when we need a rest. Luckily, my dad adopted an earlier idea of mine instead, whereby I suggested we carry it from the inside up the stairs and fit it from the bedroom. Initially he said one cannot fit a window that way round. However upon further thought, he realised it is not only possible but the best solution available. Secondly, although the window was heavy, the weight was bearing primarily from the panes fitted within. When we removed the first pane, the weight of the overall item reduced significantly.

For the first review. This has gone pretty well, I've got about 5 minutes left of the hour I have been writing. I shall run through a spell check scan and finish up. Later on I shall do a reading allow myself to see the problems in the writing before publishing.

A lot has changed in these past 4 weeks. A lot more than I ever considered possible.

What gifts and trials holds May?

Note 26

Listening to: The Pigeon Detectives, Wait For Me

Hello.

It's 6:07 now and I woke up at 6, with my alarm. Yes! The last time this has happened was likely at least a few months ago. For the longest time, I shunned the idea of waking to an alarm clock because of I believed that it messes with the body's natural sleep cycle. But now I'm seeing things in a bit more nuance. Also my left shoulder hurts again. It's always specifically in the morning when it hurts the most.

Yesterday was a relatively hectic day. However the second half of the day was pretty neat. From 9:30-12:30, we had to put the house and van in order to prepare both for our stay in Norfolk. Normally I want to have my bedroom really nice and tidy upon leaving, so that I can reap the benefits of it upon my return. However yesterday I had gotten it into my head that I should sacrifice this ritual in order to leave earlier. This probably isn't a good idea as general block of reasoning. Most of the times that I have chosen to sacrifice something special to me in order to appease someone else without openly discussing it, I simply get resentful of the other party. So, this time, whilst preparing my room, because my dad told me that I should take my time, I decided to resume my ritual and give future me some love.

The idea of future me is something that I've adopted from the schema laid out by /u/ryans01 in his seminal post (l) that spawned the subreddit /r/NoMoreZeroDays. In it he breaks down a life strategy that he recommends for the OP who has lost direction in his life. One of the columns of this strategy is that of the 3 you's. He explains that there is in fact 3 of you, past you, present you and future you. The aim of this mental schema is to allow you to forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made in the past "forgive past you" and to make good decision for the future "screw you potato chips, I'm gonna cook some sautéed broccoli for future me!".

A second column of his strategy is in the name of the idea, "No More Zero Days". He explains that no matter how depressed and broken you feel today, it is really important and helpful for you to do one thing that helps move you to who you want to be. For example: It's 11:37pm, you're home alone. You haven't left the house all day. The curtains are still drawn. The sounds of your neighbours having a party is pissing you off. And of course, you're in bed. You have left your bed technically. This was in order to eat microwaved Ginster slices whenever you were hungry. It doesn't help that they subsequently burnt the roof of your mouth. The laptop has been sitting on your lap for the whole day, since you woke at 11:17am. You can't remember what the hell you spent the last 12 hours browsing, but it was definitely punctuated by porn. You remember that feeling of grossness when you think back to what you watched. And now you're not feeling good. You're feeling like sod everyone else. What did they ever do for you. Why didn't anyone call to see how you were doing? They never cared about you. ugh. May as well just keep browsing until I'm sleepy and then just wake whenever. Fuck it all.

It's exactly at this point, that you should have a system in place. A very small mechanism that will still function when the rest of your life does not. And to facilitate it's continued existence, it is going to be as small as possible. The suggestion from the post is to do a single thing that moves you to who you want to be.

You want to be an athlete, then you can do one squat.

You want to be a writer: write one sentence.

You want to improve your diet: eat one piece of fruit.

That's all. No, don't try to do loads. Don't try to make massive changes in your life at once. Because if you don't get used to it and become comfortable in the changes you want tomade, at the first point of stress you will run back to whatever does make you comfortable. Whatever from the above paragraph made you squirm when reading. The problem is people become used to their suffering, it feels safe. But going to the gym every day with all the strangers and untold risk isn't safe. So you go back to the old way. And then you rationalise dropping other good habits because "you've already failed this attempt, so I may as a well....". This is whack. Don't do this. Read the post he wrote and read how people are navigating it and integrating it into their own uniquely difficult lives. I don't always pay attention to it when I'm depressed. But I aim to.

The driving yesterday went nicely, all things considered. It was raining the entire way up and I was fairly tired. On the plus side, I communicated effectively, and listened to music that I enjoyed listening to throughout my turn. I also made good on my promise to myself that I would only drive halfway. After getting on the A11, I took the first service station I met and bought myself a pack of graze snack food for lunch. It tasted pretty good, albeit too salty to eat all at once (although I did). The rest of the journey was a mix between talking with dad and telling him about interesting facts I was learning from a book I was reading at the time. The book was about allotment gardening. I realised just how much I prefer the modern publishing habits of clear even space and plentiful pictures to supplement understanding in the reader. I learnt a lot about keeping grapes in good condition, and different ways to keep soil healthy, including double digging. The whole book feels like one I've been waiting for for a long time. For years now, I have clashed with my dad on his preferences in how and why to garden, and I've never had anything to back up my assertions. And finally I have a book from a professional horticulturist that I can point to and say. Actually so and so says that what you're suggesting will compound the damage done to the soil, why don't we try doing this instead? I'm excited to finally have some movement in that regard.

After arriving, my number one priority was to have a rest. So after having lunch around 3:45pm, I went upstairs, made my bed and.... played Shattered Pixel Dungeon for half an hour. I know I still haven't got my habits in order. I forgive you past me. After that though, I napped. And it was a good nap. I think I slept for more than an hour.

For dinner we prepared a simple sauce of courgettes mushrooms and onion, lightly sautéed with a stock cube and a teaspoon of jerk paste, and then simmered with a tin of tomatoes. Served with rice and peas. It was bloody good food.

After dinner, I spent half an hour or so downstairs and went to bed 9:30pm or so.

I then read for a bit and slept.

That was a good day.

(1) https://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1q96b5/i_just_dont_care_about_myself

Note 25

Listening to: Amy MacDonald, This is the Life; Sandi Thom, Smile It Confuses People; Fall Out Boy, Infinity On High

Hello,

I just woke up 10 minutes ago. It's now 5:56am. I'm getting closer to my aim of waking at 6am, which is exciting. I've got a fair bit to do to today, but I'm going to try to pace myself and prioritise what I want to do now and what I can do when I get back. Normally I like to get my room nice and spick and spam when I leave for a while. But this time, I think I'll leave that for the time being. Also whilst driving, the last 2 times I had decided to drive the whole hour and a half. Each time I did this I found my nerves raw and in desperate need for a break once arriving. To help future me, I'll commit to only driving half.

Yesterday I woke around 5:20. Around 9am I made a fantastic stir-fry for breakfast. I started with garlic, ginger and miso paste. I then added half a bag of prepped stir fry vegetables. For once I made an effort not to put a lid on it. Instead I added a teaspoon of veg stock mix to the veg and folded it in to distribute it. 8 minutes or so later, after infrequent stirring, I added a tablespoon of cider vinegar to balance out the heaviness from the fat. Overall I'm really happy how it turned out. I was so happy with it, I decided to level up the photos I take of it. Normally I just take a few photos of it with my phone and send it to a friend of mine. However today, I decided to use my mirrorless camera and take some proper glamour foodie shots. I'm bloody chuffed with how they turned out. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say if I'm more chuffed with the photos or the food.

After breakfast I helped prepare the van. It involved a fair bit of basic tidying and redistributing tools and materials according to where make sense amongst the shelving. Also necessary is considering which of the specialist tools and materials will not be needed according to our schedule of work for the next two weeks. We then started loading up bulky itemsn. We started with the two plastic bins (boxes) and then loaded on the barbecue. I'm excited to bring it up as we are likely to get a lot more use out of it. I'm generally trying to transfer most of my outdoorsy stuff to live up there for the time being. A lot of it I only use once or twice a year. So considering my general philosophy that possessions need to earn their right to live in the most high value cupboards, it doesn't make sense to keep the barbecue and related items down here, clogging up the shed.

At some point during the day, I played Shattered Pixel Dungeon for 1:15 hours: 30 minutes on my phone and 45 minutes on my laptop. It's truly shocking to me how frustratingly slow the frame rate is for some pokemon fan games that I've played recently when I compare the experience when playing shattered. Other things also come to mind when I see them together.

Automation: espec autopathing.
"If he just spends enough time with me he'll have to like me"

A large part of the time required to complete a Pokémon game is the mind numbing hours you put in for grinding. A lot of this is because how much you have to repeat. Going through the same animations for the encounter, each attack, clicking the same three buttons to choose the same attack. At it's core it is as if they baby you through it as if it were your first pokemon battle each time. If a certain amount could be delegated to the game to automate, this would be a lot easier. Of course there would be down sides, like less emotional investment into the game simply from hours spent together. But if you're forcing your players to be attached simply by making everything slower, then you're a bad dev. One of the easiest improvements that can be made in this regard is autopathing. By allowing the user to say that they want to travel to this point on the other sided of town from their position, the game can automatically walk them there. There's no reason why the user should have to shred their thumbs whilst walking around the same patch of grass manually.

Depth of gameplay available:
"Deep as a puddle outside of the battles"

When I started playing Shattered Pixel Dungeon (SPD) I was awful at it and had no idea about the possible strategies. I would waste scrolls of upgrades. I'd upgrade a tier 2 weapon as soon as I got it. And then I'd drop it when I'd find a tier 3 weapon. There are so many things I didn't know about when playing early on. And the vast majority of my ability now, from traversing the dungeon safely, to dispatching the bosses, to doing trickshots, were all learnt from others on the subreddit /r/pixeldungeon. And the point I'm trying to make is that there is this massive wealth of information that isn't spoon fed to the user through the first run. The more the user invests into learning how to play the game, the more satisfying their experience with the game shall be. Although I know there is significant depth in the battling experience within the pokemon games, IMO that is where the depth ends. You cannot use your knowledge of IV breeding to more satisfyingly and creatively traverse the map. To tweak this by introducing depth outside of the battles would be a massive improvement.

Iterative learning:
2 hours tops compared to 30 hours minimum.

I'm a grown man. I don't have the time I did when I was a child (and it could be argued that I didn't have the time I spent then either). I could easily sink 100+ hours into a Pokémon game over the course of a few weeks. Nowadays I normally work full time. As previously pointed out I limit my gaming hours to 1:15 a day. To get the same amount of time as I could knock out in 14 days would take me 87 to do so. Also I'm not interested in playing a traditional Pokémon game and playing it for 30 hours only to realise my starter Pokémon has the wrong nature/EV's/IV's/moves etc.. These wrong values make progression past a specific point (especially for fan games with competitive builds on Gym leader's teams) nigh on impossible without retraining another batch of Pokémon up to lv 70.

To compare this to Shattered Pixel Dungeon, I have played at least 300 run on the game over the last year and a half. And I've spent at least 300 hours on it. Which is an awfully large amount of time. I'm not suggesting anyone follow my footsteps. However, each game can be short. Shockingly short if you're not used to the system. As it is a rogue-like, permadeath occurs. There is no to poke-center. Once your hero dies, it's dead. So this means that a game can be as short as your stupid. For me that's easily as low as 2 minutes into a game. Other times I could spend 2 hours on a run before an evil eye fries me with it's deathgaze, or I accidentally drink a potion of paralysis and get beaten up by a group of warlocks and monks without being able to respond or I'm drinking potions to identify them and I end up drinking a levitation followed by a potion of flame resulting in your floating above water whilst self immolating. It's bloody annoying sometimes. But the point I'm trying to make is that I enjoy the flexible time frame of the game. Specifically the mechanic of learning through dying. Like Dark Souls, you often learn the best when you've just lost a lot of progress. This iterative process of learning is what makes it satisfying for me. Combined with the depth of abilties I can attain, it makes it quite addictive.

One fan designed rule variant in the Pokémon ecosystem is that of Nuzlocke. For the uninitiated the main part is that when your pokemon faint, they die. It comes from this comic and my favourite one that I read is the utterly brutal and harrowing It's a hard life . This artificially gives a similar mechanic where your choices matter because your mistakes have consequences.

I discussed my plan to create a Pokémon themed fork with a good friend of mine that happens to be a massive Pokémon nerd with a fair bit of experience with digital art. She had an absolute wealth of information to share with me on the topics I had raised. I'm truly grateful that I'm friends with her as she's really supportive and kind. Through the conversation I learnt that a lot of the mechanics within the shattered pixel dungeon is present in actual mainstream Pokémon games called the mystery dungeon series. As my aim was to introduce Pokémon sprites and similar mechanics into the Shattered Pixel Dungeon, it was incredibly eye opening how much already existed in this game from 2003(?). I think I hardly stopped taking notes through the chat. Although I have an even longer list of possible features to add or repurpose, I shall generally aim to pace myself and do the groundwork necessary to not mess up relationships or my mental health in the process of the project. But for the time being I'm excited. Through one phone call, the idea transformed into an completely uphill depressing slog, or an utter pipe dream, into something tangible. I started thinking about how other teams function when developing fan games. I started considering time frames. Recognising the need for marketing and beta testers. Looking at it less from the Hollywood frame of having one genius developer wearing all the hats. And instead seeing the help that is out there.

I'm excited.

Note 24

Listening to: James Blunt, 1973; Kina Grannis, Stairwells

Hello.

I just woke up about 10 minutes ago. It's 5:32. I set my alarm for the first time time in a week and a half last night. I set it for 6am as that was when I wanted to wake. Sadly, I still don't have a standard clock in my room @. So at 5:15, I had just had a dream that it's 7am, so excited, I wandered over to my phone at the other end of my bedroom to pick up my phone and start the day. It was still 5:15. I went back to bed.

My left shoulder bloody hurts. I still haven't done any rotator cuff exercises. It was on my to do list yesterday. I don't know why I didn't. I think it was because I felt sated after stretching out my calves a few times after a hot shower. This was the first time I did that, so I told myself that that was enough. It sort of was. The hot shower and the way I stretched out the calf was on the advice of the physio friend of mine.

For breakfast at 11ish, I had left over stir fry, a 2 egg omelette, 3 slices of bread, a banana, a handful of blueberries and two slices of turkey. Oh, I forgot to have any tea. Damn. After breakfast, I texted more with my physio friend. I sought advice on a headache my mum had had for months now. She suggested that my mum go for super-hydration for 3 days and see what happens. I forwarded the advice. However, it would probably make more sense if my mum explain her situation directly to her. I really don't want that to happen. Because of boundaries and fear of repercussions.

Whilst texting on and off, I was playing Shattered Pixel Dungeon on my laptop. As I had already used the Sunday quota of 45 minutes on my phone, I decided to use my gaming limit on my laptop on the same game. However after a while of playing it, I was certain that I had spent more 30 minutes on it. I checked and lo and behold, the daily quotas for my laptop (on browsing and gaming) had expired the day before. Bugger. This is a problem as when the safety guards are removed and I am able to use as much as possible, I don't want to reinstate them. Therefore, I used a phone call with a friend of mine as the necessary distance needed in order to set up the limits for the next 2 weeks. I set up 2 hours a day for browsing and 45 minutes a day for gaming. This was increased from 1 hour a day and 30 minutes a day. I don't know why I increased the latter. And I'm apprehensive about the former. But I'll see how it goes over the next 2 weeks and document the effect here. For context, I played the SPD game for 107 minutes yesterday. It also says I browsed for 115 minutes. However I think much of that was whilst I had the laptop half closed so I could listen to Soundcloud whilst doing other things.

I had a chat with physio friend for an hour around 12:30 and had a bit of a late lunch. The lunch consisted of 2 slices of rye bread with hommous and tomato. The hommous was standard tesco hommous that I improved with fancy olive oil, mace, garlic powder, smoked paprika and sumac. It tasted bloody good afterwards. I will probably eat it a lot quicker than normal. After lunch I returned to my bed once more, however because of the new limits I had set up, I couldn't resume playing Shattered Pixel Dungeon. I could browse some more, however I only had 27 minutes left so I didn't want to waste that.

Later on I helped mum with her computer some more. I installed MalwareBytes Pro to give a fighting chance that her laptop wouldn't get infected. I also set up a restore point, however I have no experience with rolling back to old restore points. I should probably look that up soon and test it out. @ The symbol to the left is to remind me to do the task to the left of it. After working on the laptop a bit, around 4:30pm, I texted another friend of mine that I hadn't talked to in 3 weeks, to see if he was free for a chat. He told me he wasn't because he was preparing dinner with his family. So I said ok. Around 7 I asked him to give me a shout when he's free. He didn't reply to that at all yesterday which upset and annoyed me.

For dinner we had a variety of different foods, There were 3 ready meal single person portions (2x beef in gravy with suet dumplingss, 1x Japanese hotpot style dish with beef) 1 veg ready meal side and prawns fried with egg noodles. As I was busy editing the last 2 days posts at this point I asked my mum if she could cook the prawns with egg noodles. She was happy to help and it made her feel good to do so. Although I love suet dumplings and the meat was gorgeous, I wasn't that satisfied with the seasoning of the ready meal I had. It was just lacking in salt and any strongly pronounced herbs or spices. That's the problem I find with a lot of these ready meals. Because they're cooked for the lowest common denominator it is spiced as safe as possible. It has to make as many people not unhappy as possible. It's playing not to lose, rather than to win.

After dinner, it was around 8:30pm. In about half an hour I started getting myself ready for bed. This was with the aim of sleeping at 10pm. Normally I like to be in bed an hour prior to when I sleep. I then did the reset ritual (add link) and filled out my meals for the day

That was a nice day.

Note 23

Listening to: Lucy Rose, Like I Used To; BIG K.R.I.T., King Remembered In Time

Hello,

I just woke up. It's 5:49! This is so much better. I specifically only had a bit of 1 curtain open instead of 3 of them. I also went to bed at 10pm. So I slept around 22:20. That's a good amount of hours. In general I'm not too sleepy, even my eyes feel well rested. So this is what that feels like. Awesome.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had 2 really nice chat's with a good friend of mine. One starting in the middle of a walk in the local town centre and ended back home. The second started after she wanted me to tell her a Naruto joke I was workshopping whilst I was shopping in Tesco and ended before I left.

I woke up before 5am yesterday. I sure felt tired after waking. Looking back, I'm surprised that I actually spent 50 minutes writing in the morning. I think it's likely because a fair bit of that time was in a tired stupor and not consistently writing. Not that this is wholly a bad thing. In a book I read called "This Year You Write Your Novel", from Walter Mosley, he specifically prescribed that I should set out a specific block of time every day for writing. He further goes on to say, that it does not matter if you write terribly much during this time. The main point is that you put the hours in. This reflects the point made in the book Atomic Habits, wherein he emphasizes that for a habit to form, one has to pare it down to it's minimum for it to take root. Like the running shoes.

Around 9am, my dad suggested that we go out to pick up the new laptop we purchased for my mum. I spent a couple hours researching the laptop the day before. I found the research phase terribly stressful as I do with many things. But in the end we found a satisfying one, I made myself clear about what factors of it would be beneficial for my mum in her daily usage. So that makes me feel good. Once we returned home with it, I suggested that my mum open her new laptop out of its packaging. This also felt good to suggest and see. Afterwards, I went through the setup process. This was relatively easy. The next thing to do was go through my list of suggested changes and software to install. I got through a few pieces and then my timer went off saying that it was time for my break. I had a good and long break before I resumed working on it. This was because the very process of setting up the laptop was stressful for me. I believe this is because I don't know the best practices about how to set it up to balance usability and security. Specifically how to minimise the risk of infection from malware or similar whilst being minimally intrusive on her browsing experience. Secondly, I wouldn't know how to remedy the situation if there were malware on her laptop. If I learn more about it, this might alleviate these feelings of powerlessness and ambiguity.

After this, I had a nice chat with an old friend of mine from Germany. We hadn't spoken since the UK first enacted their lockdown measures in early March. He was telling me that he hadn't really had any one-on-one chat's with anyone since I last spoke to him. He's had other things, like talking with groups of buddies over Discord, but nothing like what was happening then. I highly recommended maintaining a schedule and culture of phoning friends for extended periods of time. I'd been doing it since I had last spoken with him. In fact I first started doing it when I was on holiday at my Grandmas in Germany. Because I could call people as if I was in the UK, I would spend a good hour or more at a time catching up with individual friends, whilst I was winding down for the night. It helped that I was an hour ahead of them. So when it was 11pm for me it was only 10pm for them. This way I could talk till I sleep and then it would only be 22:30pm for them.

After we finished talking, it was still 20 minutes before I needed to call the friend I mentioned in the first paragraph. So because I can be stupid sometimes, I decided to go for a walk. I planned for it to be a long walk because I wanted to walk whilst talking to her. My local town was a lot more full of pedestrians than I expected. Almost everyone was wearing the facemasks. It was weird and unsettling. The talk, however was really nice. We talked for an hour and discussed all sorts of things. She was walking to her local park as I was walking home. There was a certain poetry to it that appealed to me. I had to cut our chat short as I had to go to Tesco's. Rather than make it awkward where I leave her on the line and ask my dad if he wanted to leave for the shopping trip soon, I decided to simply text him while still on the line with her. He replied in the affirmative, and so we left.

After some standard shopping, whilst I was texting that same friend of mine, I mentioned a joke I was researching. She wanted to know the joke, because she liked Naruto, which it was about. I was apprehensive about telling her, because my throwaway one-liner was suddenly becoming a "thing". I browsed the aisles whilst trying to workshop it in my head. Eventually I texted it to her, she didn't understand so she called me up. I hate explaining jokes; I explained it to her. This time wasn't quite as painful as she's easy-going. That was nice. I then had a first. I travelled around the store whilst talking to her the whole time. It was a gorgeous experience. There were so many things to talk about. I really want to do that again sometime. The time just flew by. Before I knew it, I had spent an hour talking to her, missed a few calls and texts from my dad and it was 20:30. Absolutely worth it.

Today, I haven't decided what I want to do. I'm trying to ratchet down the intensity of my tasks whilst I'm here in London. The whole point of being here is supposed to be for us to rest. So my intense drive to undertake large projects works against my best interests. The one thing on my to do list is to do some rotator cuff exercises. I'm not really excited about doing them. Which is strange because technically it's foundational strength building exercise for my shoulder. I think it's because it doesn't have the layers of story's and mythos associated with it as there is with pull ups and push ups. I'm apprehensive, but I understand the importance of doing the work.

Not all work will be fun.

But all work must be done

Note 22

Listening to: Urthboy, Smokey's Haunt

Hello,

It's 4:54am. I just woke up about 10 minutes ago. The first time I felt like it was time to wake was around 3:30am. This wouldn't be a problem if I simply had a clock sitting on my bedside table that I can blearily look at and collapse after seeing the time. The only clock's in my room are on my digital devices. So I wandered over 3 metres in order to check one, thinking it was the right time to get up. Naturally it wasn't , so I went back. But that whole process of up, walk, check, blue light, makes it really hard to fall back asleep. Luckily I went back to sleep fine, but I won't be able to each time.

Yesterday was a really nice day. After waking up 5ish, I wrote for an hour, typed up quotes from my phone for half an hour, and a few other things. I can't how I spent the time at the moment. For breakfast, I made myself a nice omelette with soy sauce and vinegar once again. For vegetables it was courgettes and cabbage sautéed. The omelette was rather successful. Because my mum was round, and she hadn't tried one like that before, I offered her a fifth of it. She really liked it

Here's how I made it:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Set the pan on the hob, turn it to medium heat, add some butter and oil to the pan and allow it to heat.
Mix the ingredients well.
Add the mix to the pan when the fat runs smoothly
Lid the pan
Keep an eye on it and check it from time to time
If it needs it, add more fat
When the bubbles have cooked through and the top looks cooked, add some more fat and flip the omelette
Relid,and allow it to brown a bit on the new bottom.
Serve when it's cooked to your preferred doneness

It turns out the vinegar acts as a sort of raising agent within the eggs. I may have to read more about it to understand it better. I had been experimenting with vinegar and adding it to everything recently. That's how it ended up in my breakfast.

After breakfast I can't remember much of what I did. I think I rested more in my bed while browsing the internet. After lunch was interesting though. My mum is not a computer person. Although she's perfectly smart and would have the capability to understand it if given the opportunity, she simply hasn't had many so far. But recently we've come to the understanding that she has a deep need for a home computer. So after a false start, wherein I tried to buy her a laptop I wanted, I remembered who it was for and lead with kindness to find what she wanted and needed. The laptop we chose completely blow my laptop out of the water. Which is quite funny. Even after a few hours of talking about it, she's gotten comfortable roasting how slow my laptop is. It's quite satisfying.

My main fear is that she's going to browse it brazenly and pick up viruses from all sorts of sites and downloads. Naturally, any virus or malware can be eventually removed. However, I don't know how. And this lack of knowledge is what makes it unsettling. For the time being, I will do what I can to protect it. I may eventually set up a whitelist system. I should probably catch up with the current best practice for home computer browsing.

Later on after preparing a casserole with my parents for dinner. I decided to finally get out of the house and walk around my local area for a short bit. When I went out, I wore a red vest, dark gym shorts, a grey baseball cap, aldi birkenstocks and my overhead headphones. I felt a bit underdressed as I never leave the house like that normally. After walking for a few minutes, I realised that I could stretch my legs some more so I decided to jog for a bit. Besides, I already look like one, why don't I just do the final step. So I did. I jogged for a while until I couldn't because I was getting the beginnings of a stitch developing. To reduce the impact on my non-trained cardiovascular system, I walked after that jog. Once I felt the stitchness subside, I jogged some more. This FARTLEK style system was the closest I could get to a proper system for the day. I don't know how far I ran, but I would say that normally, it would take me 15 minutes to walk that distance. So 15 there and 15 back.

For a first jog/run, I'm pretty happy. I tried playing with my gait and form a bit. I tried to integrate the disparate bit's of running advice I'd picked up like pocket lint over the years. Recently I saw a video from Bart Kwan of the Barbell Brigade, on how he's training during the sself-isolation period of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things he mentioned was his general philosophy for his fitness process. He said that when he considers how he wants his body to develop, he aims to "build an athlete from the ground up". For him this meant having a strong focus on one's functional capabilities below the waist. This was an eye opening moment for me, as very few fitness gurus that I have been exposed to talk about a holistic approach to fitness like understanding how the lower body and the posterior chain have an impact on one's daily life.

Although I'm excited to learn more about this and slowly integrate it into my life, I have been frustrated recently. My shoulders have been taking turns to hurt. Most frequently directly after waking up. After mentioning this to a physio friend of mine, she recommended I pause the full body upper body workout's I've been doing, and begin rotator cuff exercises in order to allow the shoulder to heal. I've done a small amount of research on the topic and found a good collection of rotaotr cuff progressions. From stretches to strength building exercises. I haven't started yet and I don't really know why. I think a part of me is still upset I had to pause my negative chin-ups and push-ups. I really just want to get bigger and stronger. If left to my own devices I'm sure I would walk into a life-ruining injury in the pursuit of gainz.

In related news, I had recently looked up another one of my fitness role models' youtube channel, THENX. I really look up to Chris Heria and empathise with his story. In addition, the content and instruction he offers on his channel feels well thought out, educational and inspirational. Naturally I can't really comment on the accuracy of said instruction as when it comes to workout advice I'm a layman. When I went onto his channel to shortlist some videos for future watching, I got pissed off because of the thumbnails he uses. I've been on a journey to remove porn from my life for many years. For some time I would go cold turkey and not need or seek it for 6 months when terribly busy, whilst other times I would find myself using it multiple times a day many days in a row. I don't have any solutions for myself there. However for the time being, I'm focusing on keeping track of when I used it and when I saw or used similar content, like when there's adult content on a TV show or film I'm watching. Or when I come across erotic writing.

The reason why his thumbnails pissed me off is because half of them look like they would fit perfectly as a thumbnail for a porn video. As a porn addict, it is unbelievably frustrating to see this when I'm trying to learn about fitness. It's completely counter to the kind of legacy I would expect him to want to develop. And furthermore, it will encourage and enable his followers to objectify women in the same way that the pictures dictate. I plan to send him an email and make a case for him to tone it down. I just haven't decided what tack and frame I want to use within.

I'll find out soon though.

Note 21

Listening to: Big K.R.I.T., Return Of 4Eva

Hello,

It's 5.02. I woke up 12 minutes ago. I'm not too tired but my eyes certainly are. Maybe that's a sign I am, but it is difficult to tell. I should probably start waking later. 6 sounds nice. Yesterday should have been a good day, but I was irritable a lot because I hadn't enough sleep, and didn't manage myself well.

I spent the morning working with my dad on a neglected bike of mine. I spent like 2 and a half hours under the sun, working on the stiff joints in the bike chain, teasing it along and unstiffening it with a pair of pliers and a can of WD-40. Whilst I was doing this I went from listening to a wide mix of film score music, to select songs of the Godfather film score. Although it felt weird listening to the music from such a brutal film, it did feel like I had been transported to an Italian Summer. Music is pretty magic. Half way through the chain-teasing process, I went round the corner to pick up some vinegar for a cleaning task. I bought 2 litres of distilled malt vinegar. When I got home I filled a stainless steel bowl with the first litre and placed a rusty axe head into it. I then added some so that it was properly submerged. I lidded it with an old slate and left it in the garden to attend later.

After a while my mum came round. It was the first time I'd seen her for 2.5 weeks. We missed each other. It was good to catch up. That said, time alone doesn't dissolve calcified maladaptive conversational patterns. For lunch me and my mum had sandwiches. I bought some wheat and rye bread from round the corner. Separately she had bought apples, pears, tomatoes and sliced ham. I made a spread of the sliced tomatoes, with sliced cucumber and mandolin sliced carrots, all seasoned with salt. We then made our sandwiches out of a combination of the above. It was really nice food. And it felt good for me.

Later on in the evening, I took the axe head out of the vinegar. With my fingers I rubbed the surface to loosen the remaining rust that had been softened by it. After washing it off, I further loosened the rust structures on the surface by systematically rubbing it with a steel wool dish scrubber. I then placed it back in the vinegar for another hour. At the end it looked gorgeous. I'm excited to sand it with various grades of sandpaper.

In the evening I had the option to browse the internet on my laptop. This was something that I recently have been trying to hedge against happening as it works against my interests and sabotages my sleep schedule. For the last 5 days, I had set up an internet quota on my laptop through the Cold Turkey software system. I had made it so that I can only browse the internet for one hour per day. However yesterday at 11am, the system had reached it's end point. I had chosen that it be a time limited block in case it's too draconian. The problem, naturally is that once I had the option to be able to browse infinitely again, I was unwilling to put myself back in the "prison". This lead me to browse the internet for more than 2 hours (check) yesterday. Compared to the hour a day for the length of the experiment.

Today I had begun another system in the same vein. Although I hadn't started another quota system, I had set up book ends to when I can use web browsers. I blocked games before 8am and browsers before 7am. In addition I blocked browsers after 10pm. I didn't block games yet, as most days I would have spent my quota long before this time rolls round. That said, I'm considering increasing it to an hour a day. I know, it's doubling it. But I recently downloaded some really fun, gorgeous, cute looking games from Relic Castles game Jams. These are primarily Pokémon games, however one is not. I also downloaded a extensively built Pokémon fan game that has more content than a main series game.

The following are the games I got

Latent, prologue
Pokémon Insurgence
Attack on the space station
Hitmon! Jam

The last one is so wacky I love it. You star as an abrasive Machamp who decides to undertake a famed fighting challenge of travelling up a mountain and facing off the 3 greatest fighters of the land, amongst many other challengers. I'm looking forward to playing all of them, although I'm more apprehensive about the Pokémon Insurgence game. It's famed for a certain amount of difficulty and I'm not a good strategic Pokémon player yet. I normally get attached to random Pokémon rather than having favourite sweepers or tanks that I use in every run. In addition, I set the game up as a nuzlocke, so it has an extra layer of stress. One reason I did so, is that playing Shattered Pixel Dungeon made me more comfortable with the impermanence of progress. That said, it would be more suitable, if the Pokémon game was structured to be played like a roguelike.

Today I only have two items on my to do list. Although this is the same number as every other day, today's are particularly easy: Have a group chat with my best friends, and call my grandma. The corona pandemic has caused me to be more afraid for her health, but luckily my aunts are both living with her and keeping her well and happy. Aside from these 2 items. I would like to set myself a tangible item to do. Something physical. I should probably chill out and not try to do so much. But it is difficult, when I'm only here for 5 days at a time. It makes any time not spent working feel wasted.

I guess that's a good thing about all of this writing.

I meet myself.

Note 20

Listening to: Jorja Smith, Lost and Found

Hello,

I just woke up like 15 minutes ago. It's now 4:58. If you told me this time last year, that I would consistently wake up at 5am, he would call you a liar. Yesterday was a pretty nice day. I didn't talk to my friend much, and she pointed out a problem with how I interact with her. Which left me with a fair bit to think on for the rest of the day.

I had woken up around 5 again yesterday. I wrote from 5-5:35. I can't remember much of what I did in the morning on the computer after writing. Although I do remember I played Shattered Pixel Dungeon for half an hour on my Laptop and half an hour on my phone. In addition, I know that over the whole day, I could only spend 1 hour using Internet browsers on my Laptop. This is because I set up ColdTurkey to block it afterwards. I think I'll push it to an hour and a half. I don't want to double it yet. As I got a lot of other stuff done yesterday. And having the option of browsing the internet for another hour wouldn't have made it a better day. At most, it would have reduced the stress from browsing with a focus on minimising time in browser. So, pointless.

Whilst I was in bed I had an overriding urge to start tidying up and organising an area in the house. This may be because I suddenly don't have a system of work in place like I had in Norfolk. And without a system, I'm suddenly subjected to my whims. Luckily I had remnants of the habit of browsing until breakfast when in Norfolk. So I decided that I shouldn't do any physical work until after breakfast.

For breakfast, I had braised vinegared cabbage with jerk paste. As I way overdid the jerk paste, it became excessively spicy. To reduce the impact on my body, I added a good amount of thick coconut milk and a handful of basil to cool the dish down overall. This worked to a certain extent, but I don't know the technical impact on the body of watering down the spice this way.

After breakfast, I went downstairs to extract a box of barbecue materials from the back room for us to take back to Norfolk next time. As it took some effort to remove the box from the masses of other boxes, I started organising others. One thing lead to another and I had spent 2 and a half hours comprehensively organising the back room. I am proud of the progress I made, but I'm more proud that I didn't do so at the expense of my mental health. Often when organising, I only work to maximise the metric of work done. And wholly ignore managing myself, and my wellbeing. For me, I need to be able to put a full stop at the end of a tidying session. It needs to look finished and not like further work should be done. With that end in mind, I have to consider how long it would take me to put the strewn items and boxes in a suitable layout for the time being. I would then work to stop at a specific time with that as the goal.

In the evening, I had a really inspiring conversation with a dear friend of mine. I offhandedly mentioned to him, that I have recently begun the journey of physical fitness. Upon my mentioning of this, he impressed heavily upon me that without a doubt one of the most important things I do, is get a coach. This is for the purpose of removing the ego to allow one to reach one's physical peak. Although I'm uncertain about wanting to reach peak physical fitness, he effectively persuaded me on the mechanics that a coach can bring into ones life.

Any idea where I can get one?

lol

Note 19

Listening to: Kina Grannis, Elements

Hello,

I just woke up about 10 minutes ago. I'm still bloody tired. Yesterday was a lot of stress and a lot of rushing around. I woke up before 5 and from 8am to 3pm I was constantly moving and working. This was because we had a long journey to make and had to pack everything up that we needed whilst we were out of town. I had hoped to go for a video chat walk with a friend of mine once I arrived, however I put a rain-check on it as otherwise I would have been taking on too much for the day.

The album I'm listening to right now, is one that I haven't listened to for a few years. It's the second major album from Kina Grannis. I remember when it came out, I was apprehensive about it. I really connected to her first album and I thought the significant rebranding and completely different haircut was wayyy to different. The change was a bit much. It's funny listening to it now as it hardly feels different to the first at all. Although I'm only a few tracks into it. I'm not entirely sure yet.

I'm back home in London now. It's strange being back here after a few weeks in Norfolk. I had gotten used to the rhythm of life there. And now that I'm here there are a few things that I had been taking for granted. My bedroom in London faces the street, with street lights streaming in at night this causes it to be significantly brighter than pitch black. Due to this, I have blackout curtains. This is great for the evening and getting to sleep, but they are awful for the rest of the day. If I want to wake with the sun, I have to not close them the night before. If they're drawn, they will block the sun entirely. But if I leave them totally open, my room isn't as dark as I want for my sleep. I'll have to start brainstorming on a good solution with my dad or my mates.

Over the next 6 days, I shall not be doing any work with my dad. However I shall not be resting either. This is because I have many many tasks that I had thought of as beneficial whilst I was in Norfolk. Now that I am home, I can finally do all the things that I wanted to do. However if I do not prioritise my tasks and focus on 2 or so main things, I shall just get frazzled, spread myself too thin and burn myself out trying to be over-productive. I think I shall utilise the same to do list system that I had when in Norfolk. I shall plan 2 small tasks for a day. No more. Afterwards I will add any other significant things that I did to the notepad. This way, I don't overload myself, but I still get the happy chemicals from doing productive things.

For today so far I have planned to take the barbecue box out ready to take to Norfolk. I need to start implementing more systems to prevent burnout and overworking myself. Foundational health things. Like, blocking internet after a certain point in the evening. Or watching films earlier in the afternoon to prevent excess stress before bed. Or preparing breakfast the night prior to minimise friction in the morning. I would rather like to see other people's systems that they have used in their own life. However I find it difficult to do so as I don't know they keywords to find this content on the search engines.

Aside from that, I have a few friends to call and catch up with. I've been making more of a consistent effort at keeping in contact with friends over the phone. Although there is certainly a bias towards some friends more than others. I think it's natural.

Currently I'm drinking a very nice tea. It's one of those fancy herbal teas from Pukka. Although I rail against there awfully high price tag, I think it's more important that I drink these often enough and enjoy the process. The one I have right now is lemongrass and ginger. To add more flavour, I added rice wine vinegar and cider vinegar. These turned out really nice. The rice wine vinegar is particularly smooth and together it makes it particularly drinkable. I found that I've gotten bored of straight herbal tea with no vinegar.

I'm apprehensive and excited about the coming days. It feels a bit like I'm about to go Sky-diving. I know I'll enjoy it, but I recognise the great risk depending on my choices. I don't know exactly what I'll do, but I will try to pace myself. It's the only thing that I can think to protect me from myself.

Slowly.