Tag Archives: blogging

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Hast Thou Been

I’ve not written anything for over two years now.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and apparently it flies when you aren’t.

Through 2013 and 2014 my posts were getting less and less frequent, but I was still trying. Then 2015 came along. My role at work changed, mostly because had I asked for it to. They asked me would I be interested in working for our UK Finance Department, and I said yes. This meant that my boss was now in Edinburgh, and I had to travel regularly to visit both her and our office in Lichfield.

I had 30 flights during that year. Very glamorous, very exciting, very look-at-me-I’m-a-proper-high-powered-business-executive-at-last.

Or not.

Each of these involving getting up at 3.20 a.m. to catch the 4 o’clock Aircoach, to get me to Dublin airport in time for a 6.30 flight on a tiny propeller-powered plane to Edinburgh or Birmingham. Each two-to-three day trip involved me eating dinner in Burger King in Edinburgh or McDonalds in Lichfield every evening, because I’m not the kind of person who sits alone in a restaurant. I am, however, the kind of person who sits alone in a bar, so that’s what I would do, buying a different newspaper each evening and marvelling at the blatant bias, in both directions, of the UK press.

It might all have been great if I’d owned the business, or if I’d been in sales and felt that I was achieving something, or if I really wanted to be a proper-high-powered-business-executive, but I was just an office worker with a really long commute. Add to that the fact that there were problems adapting the way I’d been doing things in our Irish office to the way they were being done in the UK, and I quickly realised that I’d made a mistake.

Well, I would have quickly realised if I’d any sense, but this is Tinman talking, so I just thought things were a bit challenging.

Then, on January 18th, 2016, I had to fly to Edinburgh, where our auditors were waiting to begin our annual audit. At 3.20 a.m. I sat up in bed, then lay back down again. I didn’t go to work for another eight weeks.

The office were great. I met with the CFO and the HR manager while I was off and we agreed that I would come back three-days-a-week, and that I would do only the payroll, the only part of my job that I believed to be really important.

So that’s what I’ve been at for the past year. I’m happier at work (I was astonished at the number of people who commented on how rested I looked, and how much colour I had in my face, when I came back, so I must have looked really shite during those last few months) and I’m slowly getting used to having four days a week off. (During my first month back I felt guilty at how little time I was spending at work, and kept thinking “how are they letting me away with this?” and then the first payday came along and  I thought “oh, that’s how, they’re paying me sod-all”).

I’ve spent the extra time off going to the gym, and reading an awful lot, concentrating on books that I’ve always wanted to read but never got round to (I got 130 pages into Ulysses, which is 80 pages more than my previous record) and every now and again I’ve sat in front of my laptop, determined to write something, and have spent two hours instead reading stuff about the Kardashians.

But slowly I’ve got back in to it, half-writing stories, or writing half-stories, never finishing anything in a way that I’m happy with, but getting the urge back.

So I’m giving it another go, not trying for every day, but just trying to get back to doing the thing that I love doing best.

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever It May Take Me

It’s 6.30 on a Sunday evening.

Most people are relaxing before work tomorrow, splodged in front of the TV watching something mentally untaxing, usually involving judges telling somebody that they are useless at something.

Not me, because I’m starting to write again.

So I have the TV off, and am sitting in front of the computer, looking up stuff about camels.

Blogging takes me to strange places.

Daily Post Challenge: The Sound Of Blogging

(*Silence*)

(*Sigh*)

(*Silence*)

(*Deep, soul-felt, bottom-of-the-depths-of-the-abyss-of-the-pit-of-the-stomach sigh*)

“What are you doing?”

“Blogging.”

“Is that all? You sounded like you had constipation.”

“In a sense I have. I have constipation of the mind.”

“Is that the kind of tripe you write on your blog?”

“No. Well, sometimes.”

“What did you write about yesterday?”

“About how Rome became a city.”

“Oh, I didn’t realise you did interesting stuff.”

“Sorry?”

“Er, I meant, factual stuff. How did it become a city?”

“I don’t really know. I just made it up.”

“I see.”

(*Longer silence*)

“What are you doing today?”

“Going to visit my friend Claire in hospital. Do you want to come with me?”

“I can’t. I’m working.”

“That’s not working. That’s blogging.”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”

“I could say it louder.”

“What happened to her?”

“She bought a treadmill to help her get fit, and she fell off it and broke her ankle.”

(*Tapping*)

“You’re not writing about that, are you?”

“Er, no.” (*Silence*)

“What does that Daily Post crowd suggest you write about this week?”

“The Sound of Blogging.”

“Good luck with that.”

The Spotless Mind

*

I have discovered over recent days that I have a readership that I never knew about.

Members of my family including my dad, my brother and my niece have started reading the blog, and while they probably don’t hang on my every word, at least they don’t hang the posts on a nail as toilet paper, though this may simply be because we no longer have outdoor loos in Ireland (you should all come here, we have street-lighting and stuff as well).

They have also told friends, who have told friends, who have told friends.

Using the Six Degrees of Separation Theory, Barrack Obama should be a keen fan by about next Tuesday.

Needless to say I am thrilled by this. And needless to say my brain has frozen, and not in a whole-tub-of-ice-cream-in-one-go type of way.

I am conscious that the friends told by the friends told by the friends will come here, see that I have started skipping days and that on the days that I do write I write riveting articles about my eyesight, and that I may soon be reduced to writing eye-catching articles about rivets.

Using the Six Degrees of Separation Theory, by about next Tuesday Barrack Obama will think that I am an idiot.

Doing What You Do

I’ve posted this post after the one before it in the hope that you will read the one before it after it.

No, my medication is fine, thank you, I just reckon that most people will start reading a blog from the top post downwards, so I’d like say this about the post that will come later, or did come sooner (look, if George Lucas can do it with the Star Wars series then so can I).

I made a mistake over the last couple of days. I believed that I was too depressed and unhappy to write, which is what I most love doing.

Then I realised that doing what I most loved doing would leave me too happy to be depressed.

So this morning on the bus I took out my netbook and started on a story for Sidey’s weekend theme. I had no idea where it would go and I didn’t care. It ended up surprising me, as many of my stories do, but that wasn’t what mattered. It took my mind of my (needless) stress and it made me happy.

This is what is important. This is me.

Well That’s Just Grand

It’s all fine reaching one thousand posts, but what do you actually say about it?

I’m glad I did the 999 post yesterday, because it’s a more interesting number, with its connotations of emergency services, its subliminal programming that you’d really love nine 99-ice creams right now and the fact that it’s the number of the beast upside down.

One thousand, though, lacks the same interest.

Look it up in Wikipedia and you are told that it is the number between 999 and 1001. This is impeccably factually correct, though unlikely to come as news to many people. In any case, anyone who has doesn’t know what 1000 is probably won’t know what 1001 is either, so the above information will be of little help. It’s a bit like telling you that an aardvark is “an aardvark with a hat on, but without the hat”.

The article goes somewhat downhill thereafter, difficult though that may seem, and in this way it does perform a service. If ever you are feeling down about your blog, or believe that your writing is dull and uninteresting, read Wikipedia’s article about One Thousand and gleefully tell yourself “well, what I write is more fun than that”.

The only thing of note in the article is that it reminds us that there is a phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. If this is true then I’ve pretty well wasted the last four years when I should have taken up art instead , so I’ve decided to disprove it. I have counted and read (1000 posts written and still as thorough in my research as ever) the first one thousand words of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (up to the word “him” on the third page, in case you’re interested).

We meet Mr and Mrs Dursley, we learn that Mrs Dursley has a sister that she pretends she doesn’t have, we meet the delightful Dudley, and an owl flies past the window. Dudley throws cereal at the walls, Mr Dursley drives to work, passes a cat reading a map and thinks about drills (it’s because he works for a company that makes them, not because he’s mental). He sees a lot of people in cloaks, goes into work, yells at five people, makes phone calls and decides to buy a bun. He walks back to the office with his doughnut (they must have been sold out of buns), overhears a group of people mention the Potters and their son Harry, is flooded by fear (I’m hoping that’s not a euphemism), hurries back to his office and snaps at his secretary not to disturb the one-thousandth word, him.

Try getting a picture to paint all that.

Anyway, to mark the milestone:

(You can see why I didn’t take up art, can’t you?)

Dial 999

As I was approaching my 100th post I got the idea from Jo of using that post to list one hundred things that I like. I started work on it at about the 70-post mark, making my choices, deciding on a running order and (sorry SOPA) picking photos that I would use.

I’m not going to link to the list, but it includes things like cricket, Star Trek, Big Brother and (sigh) women’s bums (with a terrific photo of Yelena Isinbeyeva to show what I meant, in case any of the four readers I had at that time didn’t know what a woman’s bum was).

Eventually I decided that the post was finished and ready to go, but obviously it was number-specific, in that I could only use it for my 100th post or it was pointless. And I had only written 95 posts.

Oh, how I limped agonisingly towards the target. My 96th post was about cats or something, the 97th was as exciting as watching paint dry (it may well have been about watching paint dry), the 98th was written in Urdu.

For the next one I wrote a post called “Stuck on 99” in which I confessed that one of my first loves was Agent 99 from the original “Get Smart” TV series. I reported how as I got older I moved on to Emma Peel from the Avengers, then to Purdey from the New Avengers. I showed a photo of each of them, meaning that SOPA now have a file on me an inch thick (that’s true, I’d show you a picture of the file if they’d let me).

That was over three years ago, but each week I get three or four visitors here who arrive having typed “Agent 99” or something similar into Google Images. This is because, if you try it, the first picture of her brings you to my blog, so complete strangers hoping to read about her get instead  to read some bloke constantly writing about how he can’t think of anything to write about. I’d imagine few of them come back.

Thus my 99th post is more famous than my 100th, and that is why I have decided to make a bigger deal of today’s post, my 999th, than I will of tomorrow’s (yes, it will be tomorrow, anyone who has to skip a day because he can’t even think to write “today’s is my 1000th post” really does have Blogger’s Block).

It is possible that the title of this post may cause inconvenience to some people, but I doubt it.

Anyway, anyone who types “Dial 999” into Google instead of actually dialling 999 possibly deserves to have their house burn down.

Different Lives

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “an alternate reality”. I haven’t come up with a story for this yet (though in an alternate reality I have, of course, already written it) but I promise that I will, though when it might appear may stretch the definition of “weekend” about as far as it will go.

Because today is today, though, I want to write about alternate realities anyway.

In an alternate reality somewhere my heart is fine. I would not have gone through 18 months where my heart-rate would drop suddenly to zero causing me to drop suddenly to the ground, invariably hitting my head or face against radiators, corners of walls or any other hard surface available on the way down (though falling forward to the ground and having my face land on something soft would probably have involved dog-shit in some way, so on balance I came out of it pretty well).

Alternate Me does not have no feeling on the right side of my forehead and scar tissue on the left side that will not tan, though since I live in Ireland this is rarely a problem (though Alternate Me probably lives in Bali and is the colour of caramel).

One theory about my derealisation (which incidentally is really bad at the moment)  is that it started as a defence mechanism to protect my mind from the fear that must have been going on inside it during this time, while on the surface I was quite calm and even joking about it. If that was true then Alternate Me does not suffer from it, though we will give him depression since that started before any of the blackout episodes (in an alternate alternate reality there is a Me who doesn’t even suffer from that but we’re going to ignore this Me, since there is no way that I can get to him to punch him in the face).

To sum up, Alternate Me is as fit as a fiddle (why “fiddle”, by the way? As fit as a chair, or a lampshade, or the left-rear door of a Nissan Micra would make just as much sense), tanned and fully mentally alert. He is a smug , jammy git.

But is he a blogger? Or is he too busy running in-and-out through the X-Ray machines at airports just because he can? Would he have been able to think up a suitable blogname? Does he have blogger friends all over the world?

Does he have a Tinman tattoo on his arm? I think not.

My pacemaker is four years old today, and I’m happy with the life that it has given me.

Quiet Afternoon

It is Sunday lunchtime.

It is cold outside, the weather is if not frightful then certainly something that rhymes with it, but here indoors it is lovely and warm. On the radio in the kitchen a lively and interesting conversation is taking place among the guests on the always interesting Marian Finucane show.

In the sitting-room the press of a button on the TV remote would reveal not one but two Premier League soccer matches, one after the other. Saturday’s newspaper is only half-read, you still have Terry Pratchett’s latest book to finish and Game of Thrones to start. The couch is stretched out along the wall, waiting for you to stretch out along it and have your customary Sunday afternoon snooze (no, you’re not getting old, you’re just getting tired).

And where are you? You are sitting in front of an ancient computer that has less memory than a politician at a corruption tribunal, and because you can’t remember what its called you are typing the words “Davy Crockett’s hat“ into Google.

Blogging leads you to the strangest places.

Loving and Giving

They say that Friday’s Child is loving and giving. I’m a Friday’s Child, but strangely Friday is normally the only day of the week when I’m not lovingly giving the world a post.

Perhaps it doesn’t apply if you’re a Friday the 13th’s Child, as I am (just for a second you thought “oh, it must be his birthday today so”, didn’t you?).

But I just had to come here today, to say thank you to all of you for your kind words and thoughts over the last few days. I’m feeling a lot better now and I cannot tell you how big a part you all played in that.

Last month I wrote a post about the fact that there are currently seven billion people on the planet and that on the day before just 21 of them had visited my blog. Patti commented  “But just think of how amazing it is that of all those billions, people from around the world found you!

And it is amazing that people all over the world, most of whom you will never meet, care about you and help you through the bad days. People who think that blogging is a lonely hobby (they’re wrong about it being a hobby, it’s an obsession) never seem to understand that.

Thank you all again. I’m the Friday’s Child, but it is all of you who did the loving and giving.