Sunday, 14 February 2016

Gravity, Grit and Good Times

The word of the week is yearning.

Feb 8 – Improvement

I'm feeling better this week, less anxious.

Maybe it's the St John's Wort helping to sort things out, or the fact that it's actually getting brighter out earlier every day and staying light longer; both could be true.

It could also be the talks that I've had with others, as well as myself, about the various things that have been bothering me of late - again which surprised me, as I thought things were going great here in these first few weeks of 2016.

Just goes to show what I think I know about my life...

I'm still having some difficulty being in bright, crowded places; they make me anxious. Work is becoming less problematic in terms of anxiety attacks, as my thoughts are less circular-logic-loop traps thanks to the efforts I made to think things through and talk them over with others.

Checking off things on this list has also helped a good deal.

One of the things I'm doing is to cut back drastically on my caffeine intake, more so than I have been previously. This week I'm down to a small( 350ml ) cup of tea in the morning and one when I get home from work; that's a far cry from the 4-5 cups( or more )I was consuming on a daily basis six months ago.

I really need to continue compartmentalizing my priorities, ensuring that what I need to work on soon gets done and not worrying about whether I have time to get to all the unread books / unwatched movies that I have in my possession. Those things are for regular downtime and occasional inspiration only, for now. Those will still be there once I have checked off the more important things on my list for 2016.

My anxiety is transitory, and my life is waiting for me to pick it up again soon.

Feb 9 – Old Times, Good Times

It's like 1992 all over again, but in a good way.

Back then, Windows 3.1 had just been released, one of the first graphical operating systems for computers that were still based on MS-DOS. For those of you that remember, this was a big step up from having to type in commands letter by letter in complex ways. With Windows 3.1, all you had to do was click on an icon and that was it.

Of course, I'd been doing that for a few years with my Amiga, but that's beside the point; Windows was the de facto OS of the 1990's, bar none.

A slew of software was released for Win3.1, including hundreds of games, many of which I recall fondly if somewhat fuzzily. I do remember SimEarth, which was released by Maxis in 1990 and worked perfectly on Win3.1 - I even used it as part of a class project in my last year of high school.

This week, over 1000 Win3.1 games were released to the web by The Internet Archive, along with hundreds of other pieces of software from that era - all free, and all legal to play in your favorite web browser... which back then, were still as primitive and slow as DOS itself, in many ways.

Just like it was 1992 all over again. Enjoy.

Feb 10 – Sisters

Once again, it's my sister's birthday today.

Unlike me, she has made it a point for many years now to take the day off, very similar to my writing idol, Michael J Straczynski, who takes his birthday, New Year's day and Christmas day off every year from writing.

Good idea, that. By having your birthday off, you can do whatever you like.

I'm grateful to no end that my sister and I get along so well; I shudder to think how we'd both have struggled to make things work while sharing space if there is any sort of animosity between us, as is quite common with siblings.

As she's my younger sister, there's always been a protective older brother element to our lives, one that I still feel and probably always will.

She definitely past the point where I'll give her most kinds of advice, however - she's good there, though I think I still have the edge when it comes to financial acumen, as laughable as it sounds given my current and past situation.

There's not much more to say about today, save that I'm happy that she could give herself such a great Me Day living here in Victoria. I am again grateful that she decided to move here a few years ago from Alberta to make our family whole again by living in the same city once more.

Here's to you, sis: Happy Birthday!

Feb 11 – Gravity!!!!

What an astounding day for science!

Albert Einstein's century-old theory about gravity waves was proven true today by scientists, using the LIGO( Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory )after less than six months of experimentation using a new, upgraded array.

This is a science game-changer, folks.

Until now, gravity has been one of the least-well understood aspects of our physical universe. We know it's there, and we can theorize about how it interacts with our universe, but we don't actually know how it works.

With today's results released to the world, scientists now know how to 'listen' for gravity waves: the LIGO detectors actually produce the sound of gravity waves when they detect them, which sounds like this:

While where many years away from practical applications for today's discovery, the implications are staggering. Like many new discoveries, it will take time to propagate throughout the scientific community and we'll discover new things in related fields that we might never have imagined before today's news.

It's a great time to be alive!

Feb 12 – Pedal Plan!

Part of my plans for 2016 arrived today.

Well, I had to go pick it up, but that's beside the point: I now have an exercise bike in my apartment that I can use daily and which folds up out of the way when it's not needed.

The plan is to start slowly, with a 15 minute daily ride at one of the lower tension settings and work my way up from there to longer, more strenuous workouts over the next few months. Here's my setup:

As you can see, there's plenty of videos out there on YouTube to simulate cycling around various cities. I'm actually looking forward to touring places I've never been on my stationary bike while slowly working my way back into better shape.

Considering I used to cycle 30 minutes every day to work and back in all kinds of weather and racked up an average of 400 km cycling distance per month, I've a ways to go this spring.

Getting back into a middling sort of shape will also, I hope, assist me in dealing with my anxiety and irregular lack of energy some days.

Round and round it goes...

Feb 13 – Ready Player One

Why did I wait 5 years to read this book????

I picked up a copy of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One on super-sale last week, and sat down before bed to read it last night at my usual time, between 9 and 10 PM.

I couldn't put it down.

My eyes were practically squeezed shut by the time I put it down well after midnight; I didn't want to, but I needed the sleep.

It's been a long time since I've devoured a book so eagerly, and couldn't wait to read it some more! Being a child of the 80s, Ready Player One is a tailor-made nostalgia trip that tweaked all the right switches in my brain. Reading it today, I had a Best of the 80's playlist going on Google Play the entire time.

It was heavenly.

Finishing the book this evening, I almost began to read it again, but stopped myself. I had a good think about why I enjoy this book so much, and the timing of it especially. Is it a coincidence that I waited five years since the book's release to read it, until a low point in my recent life to encounter such a perfect codicil of the 1980's, so beloved to my inner child and so formative to my g33k personality?

Timing is everything, as they say. All I know is that after reading Ready Player One, I am far more in tune with the things that drive me creatively. I think this was the perfect time in my life for me to have discovered it, to put in perspective some of the things that bring a smile to my face whenever I think of them.

Thank you, Mr. Cline; I only hope my first novel can be as successful as yours, personally and critically!

Feb 14 –Two Chairs

I spent Valentine's Day alone.

Yet, not really; my girlfriend is away on a trip with her family and returning this coming week. I've already given her a wonderful card that I'm sure she'll love, one that took me some time to find but I instantly knew said was exactly what was in my heart. Sometimes the words are there, waiting to be found.

Love is funny that way.

You have to leave room for love, no matter how long it might take you to find it. I consider myself lucky that, having waited more than half my life to find someone, that I chanced to encounter my lady, who is more fantastic than any dream I have ever had about finding that Special Someone.

I liken my years alone to sitting in a chair, one of two.

The other chair, of course, is for that Special Someone, and was empty for far too long. But I kept the chair there, regardless of all the other craziness in my life, certain that as long as I ensured it was present, then it would be filled somehow, sometime in my life with the right person.

It wasn't easy keeping it that empty chair there, but I persevered.

Some people don't; they fill that chair with other things in the hope that such will become the Other that they haven't yet found. Friends, family, work, hobbies; all of these things can fill up your time, but they'll never really take the place of the person that chair was meant for. Getting on with your life, being the best person you can be on your own means that when the time is right, someone will see the magnitude of your worth and that chair will be filled in good time.

You can only wait, and hope, like I did.

February got off to a rough start, coming out of January, but I think I'm on track again. Thanks again to those of you who does it here on a regular basis to check in on me; knowing that you're there keeps me blogging.