Sunday, 4 June 2017

Wages, WIP and Wonder Woman

The word of the week is enthused.

May 29 – Portland

The world makes me weep sometimes, and that's not easy.

Today in Portland, I cried to see what racist violence is capable of. Three strangers stood up against a man threatening two teenage girls, and two of the men died for their troubles while a third came within a millimeter of the blade killing him too:

Ricky John Best, 53, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23 and survivor 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher

What's the takeaway from this? Should people just step back and call the cops?

What if there was no time, and the attacker drew his knife to use on the girls? His statements( rants, really )to the police show his mental fixation and prejudices starkly, which I won't repeat here - he's a monster.

In my opinion, this can be laid at the feet of Trump with his Islamophobia, his racist views and his anti-immigrant policies. It's a dark time to be a minority in the USA, as this unprovoked attack shows, especially as anyone with a knife who knows how to use it is as deadly with a man with a gun.

May 30 – Action!

In a time when we need more heroes, I give you: Action Figures come to life!

Stay outta my litterbox!

Simple, yet effective: these are the photos of Japanese Photographer HotKenobi, using some of the most recent HotToys superhero figures on the market whose realistic details add so much to the images. Here's another great one:

Stark as Hamlet?

This one's my favourite:

Iron Lee - wachaaaa!!!!!

May 31 – Early Routine?

Oh, that truck guy with a wonky muffler...

Thrice this week, he's woken me before 6am... which isn't so bad, since between him and the lady upstairs, I've modified to my normal waking time for the summer.

Still, why does he have to park his tailpipe twenty feet from my window so often lately?

Earplugs, closed window and heavy drapes: nope. Still VROOM!

In any case, I'm still falling asleep around 11pm regularly now, which is a good thing, and waking up around 4am for micturations, which is okay too, I guess.

I'm using the time to write, not just waking up and checking FBook, which can suck you in and waste an hour so fast it'll make your fingers cramp. As I don't have to leave for work until 8am, that's two solid hours of quiet time a day I can get in( and have been! )for my writing, minus 15-30 minutes for breakfast and ablutions, tops.

Looking at the daily routines of famous creatives gives me a better sense of where my own habits are, and that they're fairly decent despite a day job cutting into my time for 9 hours, 4-5 days a week. The chart below( check the website for the interactive version! )shows that most folks there with day jobs didn't work that long, but that's a reflection of the modern day - I'm heartened to see that Kurt Vonnegut was a 10pm-6am sleeper, as he's an idol of mine as a writer.

Regular sleep, regular work, regular writing, regular exercise, regular eating... all these things and more, in moderation, gives the mind a steady platform to base its functions, and its creative play, upon.

Stability, not stress, in other words: I'm getting there, by degrees!

June 1 – Minimum Wage

This week, Ontario announced that it will be raising its minimum wage to $15/hr, which I think is fantastic.

I'm lucky enough to have been working a good full-time job now for 3 years, and while it's not enough to get me ahead, it's a far cry from a few years ago. As most of you know, I made a career change for health reasons in 2012, and spent the next few years on minimum wage, because nobody would hire me, despite my skills, experience and excellent customer skills, among other things. I wanted to work for my bit of bread, and not take handouts... though I probably should have.

What about people who aren't earning a living wage, just a minimum wage?

I say to those of you thinking it's a bad thing: put the shoe on the other foot. There are tens of thousands, likely hundreds of thousands, of Canadians who just want to get paid what they're worth. If employers must invest in their employees, they'll stop treating them like they're disposable, despite their resistance to unions. It's frightening how many people work awful jobs to hang on to a paycheck, scared that if they don't bow to the boss, they'll be replaced by someone else eager to work - I have seen it again and again in my working life.

Have a look at the positives, not the negatives: change is inevitable, and if businesses are crying foul, it's not because of their concern for others, just the padding of their bottom line.

June 2 – Paris Pratfalls

Trumpet's done it again... he's backed out of the Paris accord.

I'll spare you from linking to the dozens of articles stating that this is a stupid idea( and even a few too many praised it! )by just leaving you with this one from The Washington Post, which simply fact-checks Trumpet's speech... and as you all know( I hope )he got far more wrong than right.

Insanity, and transparently obvious to serve his own greedy ends:

It's crazy to think that, among MANY other failings, the current President Of The United States doesn't believe in climate change, despite the evidence. Madness, and bad news for the planet.

Still, there's hope, as Trumpet can't quickly or easily withdraw from the Paris Accord:

It's still up in the air as to what OTHER damage he'll do in the meantime... and that's presuming that he doesn't get re-elected. *shudder*

June 3 – Steady On!

Things are getting better this summer for me.

The eating, regular walking and conscious efforts to reduce stress are working, though my right leg is still twinging, possibly due to my chair at work. I'm trying to see that I get up and move every 20 min. as well as being conscious of how I sit, as it also affects my weakened core and abdominal muscles adversely.

I spent most of today editing, bright eyed and bushy tailed from when I woke up in the morning until I stopped in mid-afternoon, with a few brief breaks in between. The Flow was happening today, and I'm quite pleased with how my writing is going, and the last month especially.

Part of what I've done is consciously limit my time being spent on other activities. This comes down to simple focus, and I've even changed my( still-wonky-but-whatever )phone's wallpaper to reflect that:

I've also taken steps to limit my time spent on social media, such as FBook, going so far as to block it from my phone from 6pm-10pm weeknights and from 8am-4pm on the weekends. In doing so, I discovered that I tried to check it far too often( 3-4 times an hour! )but otherwise I'm pretty good about reducing my other distractions, as I'm not active on other types of social media like Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram and the like. I rarely even play games on my phone, given its tendency to overheat and drain the battery precipitously.

For the next long, I'm determined to get into a Flow state daily while I'm editing, which I think is achievable by continuing to focus just on my health, work and writing...

June 4 – Wonderful!

After spending more time than I should in the morning posting links about climate change to refute a few wrong-headed forum posts, it was time for...

My sister, my girlfriend and I all went to see the noon 3D showing downtown( in the reclining seats - love those! )and I was quite happy to go in with NO spoilers taking up space in my head. All that I'd heard is how GOOD the movie was from many sources, so I went in with high expectations.

I wasn't disappointed: Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman - she inhabits the role!

To wit: the movie wasn't perfect, but it was a solid 2h21m of well-paced plot, great characters and BOY was there action. The much-touted "No Man's Land" centerpiece of the film was, um... wonderful to behold. The hidden island of the Amazons, Themyscria, was a lush CGI paradise and the amazons themselves gave us the full experience of what immortal female warriors who continuously train for battle are capable of... wow!

Not once did my brain lurch and think "Hey, that's the female take on things!" as some critics have pundited. The story was immersive, through and through, and took no shortcuts or cheap cop-outs to call out male / female hypocrisies: it charged at them with a full-throated battle-cry and dared them to stand their ground!

*deep breath*

So, in other words: I enjoyed it immensely, and can't wait for the next WW film! Go see it!

Swimming's back to once a week, given that my right leg is still being obstinate and I don't want to push things into a relapse. Staying healthy and flexible while sitting down to write or work for up to 12 hours a day isn't easy and by anyone's measure, but I'm doing my best to stay aware while I stay focused. Given that I've missed my self-imposed novel editing deadline is May 31st, I'm determined to use as much of the month of June as possible to write this rising wave of writing Flow to its conclusion: finishing an exemplary final edit to complete my fourth draft.