Last day

I didn't post yesterday cos I was busy cooking. The last couple of days have been all about the kitchen (although I did get 2600 words done the day before). I'm going to make someone a great wife one day, as long as all you look for is good cooking and an arsehole sense of humour...

But I digress. Today is the last day of my challenge to write 30,000 words in a month. Did I do it?

Eh, not exactly. I'm at 20191, and I don't think I'm going to get 9k+ done today. BUT. Today I WILL finish a screenplay, and maybe sit by the fire outside when the sun goes down, so there's that. And possibly sign up for healthcare, if I can talk to someone about what to do when you're not in one place and need something other than an HMO.

For now, though, the writing. Once I finish this bloody script today, that's three full length features in the bag. I mean, they still need editing, and I'll have to do treatments for them once they're edited, but it's not the worst start to a writing career, or the worst end to six-plus months of unemployment. Not that I'm starting a job, I'm just now at the point that I should start thinking about getting one. Make some phone calls, send some emails, remind people in the industry that I exist, have passports will travel, that sort of thing.

So enough waffling, I'm getting up, making breakfast (one thing I'll miss about working again is having all the time to mess around in the kitchen), and then I'm finishing this script.

And then, tomorrow, admitting to Tannith I only got two-thirds of the words. Fricking bell peppers.

Downhill Slog

Fourteen thousand words didn't happen. But Ten and a half thousand did. I wrote every day this week, and some days I had to stop myself once I reached the two thousand goal. I don't know if this is good, or I should have let myself keep going, but it's good to get into that habit I reckon.

It's also good for a distraction. Because holy shit the news is depressing right now. I'm trying to wrap my head around what's going on in American Politics, and I just don't get it. I'm angry that one party is allowed to ignore facts, their own words, and scream and shout and deflect to get what they want.

And what they want, it seems to me, is not a good thing. I'd love to be wrong. Let me rephrase that. It would be good for everyone (except my fragile ego) if I was wrong, and their new tax plan did what they keep saying it will. I just can't see it happening. It hasn't in the past, so why should it now? It would be amazing if the huge gaps in income in this country disappeared, money had more purchasing power than it has, wages kept up with inflation, and yadda yadda yadda. If it does, I will (begrudgingly) admit I was wrong, and I'll change my point of view, my economical philosophies, and go forth with a new outlook on financial matter.

If it goes the way I expect, based on looking historically at what's happened before in similar situations, will anyone on the other side change their point of view? It's a hard thing to do. But there's too much of feeling of 'my team vs. their team' in this country. It's hard to wrap your head around, especially with how low the approval ratings are for Congress across the board, on both sides of the aisle. If we collectively hate out elected officials, why do we keep voting the same twats in? Mitch McConnell with his unwillingness to hear things he doesn't like. Paul Ryan with his complete commitment to  deficit reduction... unless it's a deficit his policies will bring about. And Nancy Pelosi with her tone deaf approach to motivating her party's base and what they actually want.

I'd say let's vote all of them out, let's get a brand new crop of Senators and Representatives, but unfortunately I can't not vote for a Democrat, because my only other viable option is a Republican, and I fundamentally believe in marriage equality, access to health care, taxing the churches, net neutrality, science where it needs to be (the EPA, FDA, etc.), and access to decent education for all citizens. Based on those beliefs I can't vote for a Republican, because they don't agree with any of these. 

And this was supposed to be about all the writing I've gotten done this week. Sorry. I did buy a writing chair from Ikea, it's very comfortable.

grumblegrumblewordcountgrumble

So the search for 30k words in a month isn't going swimmingly. I'm just above 2000, and I've got 15 days left. 

Part of the problem, apart from my attention span being that of a cat in a laser pointer testing room full of mirrors, is that there's no structure to my days. Some days I wake up at 5am, some days it's closer to 10. Some days I'll spend all day cooking, and some days I'll pace the kitchen, looking for something to eat, unhappy with everything that I've already prepared (although I have pasties in the freezer now, so I'm good for at least five meals. Always ready for a pasty).

Here's the new plan, attempting to add structure to my life: Awake and up by ten, two hours in which to fart around, run errands, go grocery shopping, etc. etc. Then right around noon, writing time. Noon til Six pee em, bash away at a keyboard, or at least stare at a screen with no distractions on it other than blank or half-filled (hopefully) documents.

Ideally, two thousand words later, that's me writing for the day done. Two thousand, or six o'clock, whichever comes first, because some days I know nothing will come. And of course the only way for me to make all this happen is by keeping track on a conditionally formatted spreadsheet, all done up nicely so it'll follow seamlessly from month to month, totals transferring over. 

It's now 12:31pm on the first day of the rest of my writing schedule, and I've already done the spreadsheet, so all I have to do now is post this bollocks, and get on with it. Two thousand words, here I come. Potentially Fourteen thousand when I next post. 

Wasted Time

It's Wednesday. I was supposed to post on Monday. Sorry. But there's not much worth posting. I'm way down on my word count (still 28000 to go), and I've been dealing with plumbing problems and bashing holes in the wall of the house and horrific facial hair for the last week or so. But the sink is fixed, the hole is made, and the facial hair will grow back eventually. 

I'm really caught up on all the news though. And watched a couple comedy specials. And rewatched films I've already seen. Because there's all this time I have that I seem desperate to use on doing anything BUT writing. But today I'm breaking the back of the bloody thing. Writing and making Tiramisu are the plans of the day. I've got enough pre-made food that I can't even use that as an excuse today...

So I've had breakfast, I'm bashing this out, then I'm going to keep bashing away at this bloody script. Only another 13000 words. And then a second script. Sod. At this rate I'll definitely be eating a damned red pepper in December. 

Wasted words

That's what this blog is. I mean, it's good that it's another Monday, and I'm writing it. Yay commitment. It's just I have a bet on with a friend. The bet is that she can write 50k words of a novel in a month, and I can write 30k of a screenplay in the same time. Doesn't seem fair? 30k is about 2 screenplays, whereas 50k isn't quite a full length novel. 

Anyway. That's why I begrudgingly type this. This could have been a conversation between two characters. Or an action sequence. Probably not description tho. I can't be having with much of that. 

160 words for the day so far. 840 to go to hit 1000, which is what I need to average to do this, win the bet, and not have to eat a fricking capsicum. They're in the nightshade family. Seriously. Sod those things.

And if we both do it? Well, then we both win and end up with a bunch of stuff written that we would probably have dragged arse on writing. 

Now I'm waffling and definitely wasting words. But nightshade!

Decisions

I'm going to have to make some of them soon. Any day now. Maybe at the end of the week. I'll at least decide when to decide by then. Depending on some emails I get. Once I decide to send them. 

Got all that? Good. 

I'm currently in the UK (again), and I really need to be over here when the weather's miserable. Not just cold, but grey for two weeks, damp air, dirty puddles twixt the cobblestones, windy enough that umbrellas are impractical, and so on. Because for the last couple years, every time I come over it's been so much nicer than I have any reason to expect. And it makes me miss living over here more than just the food I grew up with, the access to healthcare, the history and public transport (which today has been shockingly bad but I still love having it) and family and friends.

So the decision is, US or UK? But that all depends on work, and that all depends on where, and that all depends on when I decide I need to start again. But I've got to say, incidents like the Texas church mass shooting, or the Vegas mass shooting the week before, or any of the 28 mass shootings that happened last month, push me in one direction. Then news that the Tories want to cut NHS funding make me wonder what the difference between the two countries are. Then both sides of the Atlantic have small but vocal parts of the population that are afraid of foreigners who are a different colour or religion and want to use that to push an agenda. 

One side has ridiculous University fees; the other seems to be heading that way. Both have incredibly popular TV shows that revolve around people who don't dance dancing. I have friends and family and places to stay in each. I can probably get work in both, or at least work on the road so all I need is a place to come back to. 

Bloody decisions. This blog isn't helping. But at least it gave me an excuse to use the word twixt. How many things have you read this week with that?

An Almost Excuse

Yeah, yeah, I missed blogging yesterday. Apparently I can’t make it more than two weeks in a row without missing one. But in my defence, here’s one, only a day later, so it’s not like you’re missing out on much. And also, I spent most of the day either sleeping or in the air.

Yep, in the UK again. That’s six times this year across the Atlantic. And, as near as I can tell, something around 40 lifetime crossings. 3 by boat. 

Anyway, that’s what I was doing yesterday. And it wasn’t all wasted time. I watched a pretty terrible movie (XXX: Return of Xander), and several episodes of the TV serialisation of one of my favourite books (American Gods). And I also worked on the episode breakdowns for the TV show I’m working on. So there’s that. 

When I first started travelling the Atlantic, I’d sleep. Not the first time; we were headed to Florida, Disneyworld, I was 11, and we were too excited to sleep. But after that, I’d sleep. Holidays when my family first moved over, then trips home once I relocated. And at some point, the sleeping stopped, but I traded it for productivity. I found that something about being on a plane helped me bash away at a short story, or edit photos. 

But at some point, productivity became harder, depending on whether the bugger in front of me put their seat back or not. The seats got closer, and I could barely open a laptop, let alone get anything done on it. And not to worry anyone, but have you tried getting into the crash position on a plane recently??

I digress. These days, crossing the Atlantic is this weird experience, where I’m excited to be going, or sad to be going, but most of the time the only thing I’m going to accomplish is watch something bad, or something good, and if I’m lucky, and the person in front of me doesn’t immediately recline their seat, maybe a paragraph or two. I sure as shit don’t sleep much.

Oh, and the three times crossing it by boat? No watching anything, not much in the way of sleeping, only a little bit of writing, and none of that is going to be read by anyone again, so it doesn’t really count as having been done.

Trains. They’re way more comfortable, even if the one I’m currently on, typing this out for posting as soon as there’s wifi, is delayed by 15 minutes. I wrote a whole 422 words in twenty minutes cos I had space. More, if you count the work on an episode outline I’ll be doing when I’m done with this, to distract myself from going down the carriage and duct taping a kid’s mouth shut…

Done. Ish.

It's this time next week, and I actually get to post about what I said I would... I actually finished the first draft of an episode of a TV show. And built the Lego V Saturn Rocket. So I was actually referring to the episode, the Rocket, the bottle of Pinot, but not the laundry. I'm only 37, I still haven't mastered the art of actually hanging up the clothes...

Now, I'm not going to admit the order I actually accomplished these events, because that's none of your business. And I'm not sharing the script like I sometimes do, because this time it's not just something I'm writing, but a collaboration. You'll just have to wait and watch it when it gets made. But if you'd like, I can post pictures of the rocket??

It's funny how motivation works, tho. Maybe working with someone lit a fire under my arse, and got me to finish the script almost a week earlier than I had to. Maybe I'll have to do that for all the other things that are languishing on my hard drive, or in the dark recesses of my mind, although finding a writing partner or collaborator for some of them might be a bit dodgy. 

For now, though, the TV show. Still have an episode breakdown to do, and depending on the feedback maybe a re-write. I have to get it done by this time next week, when I fly back to the UK again (again). And maybe a little holiday somewhere while I'm in that part of the world...

Me again

Remember me? I'm that guy who writes about how much I've been writing, or haven't been writing, or I'm planning on writing. But I only write very periodically, so you may have forgotten.

Who am I kidding, I don't shut up about it. Except for on this blog, apparently. So here's a quick update. I'm currently not working, taking time between jobs to write. And with all the free time I have, I've done a lot of driving, been back home (to Freiburg), back home (to Salisbury), and back home (to Vegas). I also spent some time in Eugene, but despite it being where my parents and siblings live, it's just never really felt like home. 

And I've done a little bit of writing. Not as much as I probably should, but here's my attempt into shaming myself into writing. I've actually got a solid project to work on, something that involves someone else so it's not just my arse left hanging in the breeze if I don't get it done. First draft WILL be finished this week and sent off, episode breakdown done the following week, and then you know what? I'm just going to go home (Salisbury) again for a little bit. And Iceland, because, you know, I just don't go to enough foreign countries. 

So. Hopefully, this time next week I'll get to post another blog, and confirm that I did indeed stop distracting myself, and finish the episode. Also, I'm not letting myself build the Lego Saturn V rocket I bought until it's done, and I really really want to do it! It comes in 12 bags!

Kay, peace out, just gotta put some laundry on then I'm actually going to write.

One Year On

A year ago, CV 20 motored down the Thames into the heart of London, and back to our starting point 11 months earlier. The race had finished the evening before, and our boat had carried us more than forty thousand miles round the globe, through every conceivable condition (and some we hadn't conceived until we actually went through them). 

Excitement and relief were the two main emotions on board. Excitement to see home, and loved ones. Relief that the race was over, that we'd made it, and that we'd be able to shower, or cook, or grocery shop, or go online, whenever we wanted. No more waiting for scheds, seeing where we were in the fleet. No more poring over weather forecasts, wondering what the next six hours would bring. No more going to our bunks, hoping that there would be no 'all hands' call. 

But also, no more sundowners. No more dolphins swimming alongside the boat, day or night. No more phosphorescence, no more hating the person waking you up for your shift and loving that person when they replaced you on deck. No more exhilaration as the boat surfs down a wave, going faster than anything that size has a right to go under the power of the wind, one eye for the kite and any sign of collapse and one eye for Campbell's cheeky grin on the helm, while Ross's commentary continues ever onward. 

Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been a year. It's been a pretty busy year, for me, until the last month or so. All the time I thought I'd have on the race, well, I have it now. Did I get what I want out of the race? Some. Probably more than I realise. I'd reckon I'm a bit more easy going now, tend to sweat the small stuff less, appreciate what I have more. I learned about endurance, mine and my teammates and the people at home who followed along with us, living vicariously through our blogs and emails and stories and Skype sessions. 

Would I do it again? No. Not the whole thing. There's no point. But I'm glad I did it, I'm happy I was on the boat I was, with the skipper and crew, I'm sorry for putting my friends and family at home through it (and maybe a little my skipper and crew too), and maybe one day I'll be able to wrap my head around what we did out there.

Friends

Sometimes, life plays cruel tricks on you. Sometimes, you're the one who plays cruel tricks on yourself regardless of any other external.... shit, I don't know, thing that makes you feel and think and want something other than what is good and right and necessary for you. My point is, I think that it's partly me and partly life right now that's playing cruel tricks on me to get me where I currently am.

Partly, I guess the way I feel is I re-read my last blog. And what a difference a day makes. 

Okay, that's a song. "What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours." It's in Run Lola Run, right after she gets accidentally shot. Or her boyfriend. Anyway, someone's shot, and dying, and it's all in slo-mo, and that son starts playing.

Turns out, home is not currently what I'd planned, or hoped, for. I'm back in a city I never wanted to come back to, for a reason I always said was a stupid reason, and turns out the reason isn't even a real reason. Not blaming anyone, because blame is easy, but it's really hard to find yourself back somewhere you don't want to be, when the reason you're back doesn't recognise the irony when the might have to spend time there.

But maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's the best thing. Self-Adjudication is not necessarily the worst thing. And holy shit, has there been adjudication going on the past month. Every little thing, I've looked at, wondered 'is that it?,' 'should I have said that,' 'did she really say I was that?'. 

Nah. Self-adjudication is fine up to a point, but the problem with it is it can only go so far. You can judge yourself all you want, you can re-hash the scenarios in your memory and your mind, but at some point you need an outside voice. Sometimes, depending on your situation, that voice may be assembled its the full authority of the legal system and twelve impartial representative of your peers. And sometimes, it might be twelve of your partial peers cos they're the only buggers sad enough to read your wholly irregular blog.

Gods I hope it doesn't come to that. Instead I'll rely on the friends here; the friends I missed but couldn't justifying coming to visit because, shit, Vegas is just a pain to get to (it isn't) and it's always ridiculously hot (it isn't) and the people are shitty and fake (they.... ugh. Okay, sometimes they are, and sometimes they're one but not the other, and sometimes they're both but still delightful, and all the time they're people worth keeping in touch with because you never know if they're the one you need to get you through a shitty breakup, or just the people you need in your life regardless of whether you think you want or need, or even the cautionary tale that cheerfully tells you about all the things they've gotten up to and you resolve yourself to not be like them, and then late night swimming pools happen. 

Shit. Lost the track. I guess my point is make plans. Hope for things. Work to those ends. And if and when they don't work out, talk to your friends. They might give you advice. They will give you a shoulder to cry on, or an anecdote to distract or disgust you, or affirmation, or another drink way past you need another. Regardless all that, enjoy them. Take advantage of them. Call them-- not today, they're busy, but just remind them they're awesome, and have helped get you through some shitty times, and are also the reason you're still awake at 4am. Because they're bastards, even f they are your friends.

Leaving home for home... for home...

And I was doing so well. Three blogs in as many weeks. But then things did get a little crazy. I finished my job and became unemployed. I left my home in Baku, went home to the UK for a week and change, then flew home to Vegas via New York and a dear friend's wedding.

So here I am again. Las Vegas. It's 34 degrees here with winds of 34kph. Ideal sailing weather, except it's Las Vegas and I have no boat. I have a pile of boxes I need to flatten and put in the garage, clothes to put away without enough coat hangers, and a food dehydrator that is begging to be used. I've got a security system to install, and a housewarming with tacos to go to tonight. 

And tomorrow, I'm off again. Driving myself, via Lake Havasu city, to Phoenix. Because I'm home, in a sense, but it won't be home properly until Amy gets here, so I have to go see her. It's about time I took a turn; she's been to Cape Town, Sydney, Seattle, New Jersey, Salisbury, Sheffield, and Baku to see me so far. In my defence, boat. 

Going to Phoenix has a certain kind of poetry to it. It's funny that it should be there I go to see her, because that's where we started dating, two and a bit years and thousands of miles ago. We were planning a hot air balloon ride back then, but it was cancelled on us as we drove out there around 6am. This time of year, the start time is 445am. That's not the sort of thing you surprise someone with.....

What I'm trying to say is, I haven't started writing properly yet. Been doing things, and got things to do. Going to Phoenix is an excuse, but as excuses go, she's a pretty damned good one. And after that, she's my excuse to write. She's my excuse to get back here, finish putting the house in order, then parking my arse in front of my laptop for extended periods of time... and actually accomplishing things. The elections are over. I can stop reading all the stupidity that makes up the politicians we (barely) choose to (barely) represent us. The internet will become a tool for research and blogging about how much writing I've been doing. 

But in the meantime, I should pack for Phoenix.

Hotels

I started writing this blog by trying to list all the places I've been in the last three and a half years. But as the list grew, it started to sound a bit like bragging, and that's not the point of this entry. So instead, I worked out the number of hotel rooms I've stayed in over that time period. To the best of my memory, 94. 

94 hotel rooms. I've stayed in rooms where the bed hits three of the four walls, and apartment hotel rooms with two showers and a jacuzzi tub. Shit, 95, sorry. There's been two jacuzzi tubs. But. But not the point. The point is it's tiring, and getting to the point where I don't even appreciate it any more. I don't appreciate having the possibility of letting someone come in and provide clean sheets and towels. I don't appreciate that I'm not worried about the electricity or water bill. 

And most of all I don't appreciate that every hotel room means somewhere to explore. Sometimes a new city, sometimes not, but always something new to see. I realised it a few days ago when I was lucky enough to go to Tbilisi, Georgia. I got in early, watched the people gathering for the Sunday service at the St. Trinity Cathedral, then checked in to my hotel room. A quick nap, then I wandered round the city, grumbling about tourists blocking the view while they took photos, then doing the same because of course my photos count more (I sincerely believe they do; everyone else is taking 20 selfies whereas I'm just getting a picture of the bloody place, thank you so very much).

Then I went back to my room, and watched a couple hours of netflix. Because meh, I'd wandered, I'd took photos. 

Out for dinner later, then back to the room, and a bit more netflix. 

The following day, I didn't even think about moving til 11 am. I actually moved about 1230, when hunger rather than a pressing need to go see all the cool things I'd researched drove me out. A shawarma and more wondering and pictures and a ride on a funicular, and I rounded off the night with, this time, video on youtube catching up on all the current events I'm going to have to be a part of in a couple weeks.

And so here it is. I've been on the road too long. I'm not appreciating it any more. Some of it has been for myself, to go see new places, and some of it has been for work, and regardless a hotel room for me now is just another place to leave some stuff and get my head down for a few hours and watch netflix. That's not what a hotel room should be for. It should be an adventure, a holiday, a much more rare occurrence than what those of us who live on the road make it. 

I'm looking forward to the end of it for a little while. I've got four more hotel rooms in the next four weeks, and then that's it for a while. It's going to be good. I'm looking forward to washing my own sheets and towels. I'm looking forward to being able to reset my own router when there's an issue with it. 

And most of all, I'm looking forward to trips being events. To going somewhere for the sake of going, and at the end of the day processing all the things I'm lucky enough to go out and see and do. It'll be two months between this last batch of rooms and the next, and I'm going to take the time to learn how to use a couch again.

Bugger. 96, forgot about St. Petersburg. Sorry. 

Is healthcare a right?

Let me bring in to question my liberal, progressive, lefty, socialist, snowflake bona fides for a moment: I'm not sure I think health care is a right. 

Now, this has nothing to do with the constitution. Health, and the maintenance of good health, is something that is universal. Hell, it's not something that just affects us, but we worry about our pets and our livestock health too. Those of us on the left also worry about the health of rivers, forests, oceans, fields, jungles, etc. 

But you know what is a right? The country we live in, that we pay taxes to, that we help elect officials to govern, well, it's my right for that government to protect me. That's literally the only thing I expect it to do. I expect it to protect me from crazy regimes in other countries. I expect it to protect me from shitty people who think setting off bombs and driving cars into crowds and planes into buildings is a good way to get your point across. 

And you know what else I expect it to protect me from? Shitty people who think that making a profit to the detriment of other people is a right. I want them to protect the water I have to drink from toxins, and I want them to make sure the food I'm eating doesn't have noxious chemicals or poo in it. And I want them to make sure that any industry doesn't have players that collude with each other to drive prices up beyond the level of inflation, putting services out of reach of the majority of citizens. I believe that this should be prevented as far as cell phone carriers, cable, electric, food, and transport industries are concerned, and I sure as shit think it should be prevented as far as the health industry is concerned.

When one party is more interested in profits for companies, tax cuts for the wealthy, to the detriment of the majority of citizens, THEN my rights are being shat on. So is it a right that I have health care? No. But it IS a right that the government protect me from the companies making it impossible to afford. It's a right that the government protect me from the arseholes venture capitalists who see nothing wrong in buying a patent on a drug and jacking the price a thousand percent. It's a right that government protect me from a company that cares more about delivering dividends than providing palliative care. 

I don't want the government to fix all my problems. But I want them to provide the environment in which I have a fair shot at fixing my own problems. I want them to protect me from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and right now in the US, the biggest enemies we face are the shareholders of the companies that clamour for their lower tax rate return on investment, and the politicians than enable a culture of greed. 

Lazy, or unmotivated?

Figured it was time for another blog. Actually, it was time about five months ago, but with work and travel and being lazy and unmotivated, I kept putting it off until yesterday I got my domain renewal notice through. 

Actually, I got my domain expiration through. Between new phones and passwords being forgotten and emails just never really checked, I'd missed the most recent reminders it was about to expire. 

So the question was, why bother renewing it? I don't write as much on here as I used to, and when I do it just seems to be making excuses for not writing. 

I mean, what to write about? Of course, for a while I had a countdown to the boat race here. I'd write about what I was feeling in the buildup, what I was buying (all the merino wool) and doing to get fit (absolutely nothing) for the race. Then the race came, and I blogged for my team, and got others on board to do so too, and just... I don't know. Didn't feel like blogging much after. 

Because how to make it different? How to talk about the same old same old in a new, different, interesting way? I burned out a little on the race, thinking about all the different ways to talk about something that is, fundamentally, the same from day to day and watch to watch.  I thought it might be different once I got to land. I would have so much more going on in my life to blab about. I'd be finished with this epic, life-changing event that had taken up so much of my life over the four years leading up to it, there would be months of self-reflection, sorting my ideas and feelings out, and putting them out there for the (minuscule part of the) world to read (that actually reads this).

And the life happened. I got a job (something I wasn't planning on). And then another. Write about the work? The jobs, the people, the things that are involved going on tour through foreign countries, or building and programming and operating a system for two one-off events? Well, between NDA's and the desire to keep earning a paycheque, there's honestly not a lot that's interesting to talk about. Well, there's the travel I suppose, but at what point does talking about all the different places you've been become more like bragging?

Politics? What can I talk about that hasn't already been said? Relationship? That's between myself and Amy. Money? I have some, but not enough or too much to say anything about. Life? still figuring that one out. Technology? I replaced the SSD drive in my laptop, but so? 

And yet I renewed. I renewed, because I like owning the url. It's been my online identity (as a website, fb, email, or what have you) for as long as I realised that one should have such a thing. And because, ultimately, whether I feel the motivation to or not, I need to do this more often. And some days, there's a tonne of people might read what I post (tonnes being an old, imperial measurement in this context, subject to change and the feeling of the person measuring, and being about 45 in this particular case), and that'll be an affirmation. Other days, barely anyone will read. But I need to keep doing it, because the act of writing, typing, putting thoughts down, whether it's fiction, opinion, fact, or a string of words that technically work together but don't appear to have any relationship to each other, well, it's what I'm setting myself up for. 

Three weeks today, I'll probably be drunk. Unemployed and drunk. To talk about Relationships, Money, Life, Jobs, and Technology briefly (after I said I wouldn't), I'll be heading back to Las Vegas to see about making this continent-spanning, time zone-juggling, day-counting thing have an actual shot in a normal scenario. I'll have a chunk of money in the bank. And I'm going to see about changing careers by being unemployed for a bit, and taking the time to actually be a writer instead of talking about being one. Using my laptop. 

So here it is. My oft-repeated, never delivered, promise to blog more often. Once a week. About something. Mostly writing. Hopefully about writing. About how much I have, or haven't done, what's easy, what's hard, what's working for me, and what makes me want to throw my laptop across the room. And if it's not writing, then sod it, it'll be politics, or money, or life, or travel. But not the relationship, because seriously, that's ours to enjoy. 

Politics as (sports as) usual.

I’ve never been a huge sports fan. I’ll watch some of the national stuff, support my country and all (when I can decide which one that is), but I’ve never understood the rabid support that people give to a group of athletes who really couldn’t give a shit about them. When people say ‘we didn’t do so well this weekend,’ or ‘our prospects are looking good,’ who is this ‘we’ they’re talking about? You’re not contributing to their prospects, you’re not helping them get to the championship or face relegation. You’re certainly not getting paid by them; if anything, you’re giving them money in ticket or merchandise sales, you’re paying them for the honour of claiming the mighty ‘we.’

But watching politics, I think I get it now. There’s definitely a culture of ‘us v.s them’ in political discourse. There’s a team mentality that I can feel the allure of. It’s nice to have someone to root for, and like-minded people to share your ups and downs with. And if you’ve read more than one post by me, you probably know which side we- sorry, I- support.

One thing I refuse to do, however, is insult the opposition. If I post about politics, which I promised to do a month ago (and the several unfinished, unposted blogs languishing in the nether will attest to), I won’t call them repuglicans. Or any of the other monikers I’ve seen used time and time again by people I otherwise respect. Likewise, if someone posts something using the phrase ‘libtard,’ then they can fuck off. Coming from either side of the political spectrum, if you’re going to resort to name calling then you’re not interested in having a conversation, you want to win the argument by any means, even if it’s just shouting louder than the others.

And what I think people have forgotten is that politics isn’t about your side winning. It is absolutely not the same as supporting a sports team, regardless of how good that feels. Surely the ultimate goal of politics is to make everyone a winner, not one side over another. A country is strong when all its citizens are represented, looked after, and prosper. While we may differ on the best approach to elevate everyone, past examples prove that neither extreme is going to accomplish that, and that’s why it’s so vital to have our politicians, and our population, work together. 

Or maybe I’m naive. I don’t know. I know I’d be saying the same thing if my team had ‘won’ the last election, because I don’t like what Democrats turn in to after a won election (talking about the elected, not the voters). Sod it, back to the screenplay, where no one runs for election or anything.

I give up

This is a good thing, I promise. 

I've got a bunch of draft blogs that I've written, thinking about posting them and trying to maintain the one a week post schedule I claimed I was going to do. 

But they're never good enough, or I don't finish them in time, or I'm ready to post them at a time that I know most of you buggers are asleep and the links might get lost in your FB feeds and my small audience would shrink to none. Slightly arrogant, I know, but I think there's a certain arrogance that goes along with putting your thoughts out there and thinking other people might want to know what's going on, or what you're thinking. 

Anyway, the whole giving up thing. I'm giving up not writing about politics, or the things that are going on in my life. I thought I could maybe keep things light and fluffy for a while, especially with the shit-show that it turns out modern politics has become. And while the politics is shite, my life's actually going pretty decently I reckon, and the reason I did't want to waffle on about that is I didn't want to come across as bragging too much.

Take away those two things, though, and I've got nothing to write about. I can't even write about writing. I'm plodding along at the snails pace of about a page a week right now, which means the whole series should be done in four and a half years, double the length of time that the series is supposed to cover. 

So politics and personal. And I'd love to have a conversation, especially from other points of view. 

Boning

Why are blog posts so hard?

Okay, so they aren’t, not really. To get one done every week, all I’d have to do is get drunk one night after work and open up my web page. Apparently I can waffle on for hours when I drink (who knew?). But the problem with that is sometimes I’m not appropriate when I drink (but only then), sometimes I can just go on and on about things that are quite unimportant/uninteresting.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote. I almost wrote something about the election last week, but to tell you the truth while I lap up all the news about it (that isn’t made up by Breitbart), I can’t wait until the damed thing is over. The perpetual daily cycle of bullshit that is generated by all involved in politics AND the media has gone on too long and is really giving me less and less faith in humanity. 

So not that. I could have written about London, and how awesome it was to spend a decent amount of time there, even if work gets a little in the way of enjoying myself there as I’d like. But I’d be inclined to mention that if I was going to live in a big city, it would be London rather New York, much to the chagrin of my friends living there who keep trying to convince me of the awesomeness of the Big Apple, and I’m still not biting. 

Instead, I’m going to talk about death. We’re in Paris this week, and having been here before and not overly fond of the place, I was resolved to do no sightseeing. The things I’d seen before I didn’t care to see again, and the things I hadn’t seen didn’t motivate me enough to leave my room… until someone mentioned the catacombs. It’s something everyone says you should do when you come to Paris, and I hadn’t done them before, so why not?

Steps. That’s the reason to not do the catacombs. There’s a lot of steps. But you go down a spiral staircase, along a couple of longish hallways, and then walk under a message carved into a doorway lintel. “Arrete! C’est ici l’empire de la mort.” “Stop! Here is the empire of death.” 

And there is a lot of death through that portal. Or the remains of death. Or the remains of life, and the evidence of death. A metric shit tonne of bones, okay? Lots of bones. The skulls look out at you, some grinning as if they finally get the joke in death, those without their lower jawbone much more solemn. Maybe some of them are nestled together with their own femurs, but there are too many femurs for the number of skulls, we’d have to be some kind of arachnid to have that many leg bones…

Behind each one of them is a life, a story, long forgotten. Maybe they’re the ancestors of some of the people who have been down there and wandered among the bones. Maybe they were friends, lovers, neighbours, enemies. Maybe they never knew one another in life, but now in death they are more intimate than ever. What it would be to know their stories, what they got up to when vital, and what led them to rest as a pile of bones in one of the largest graves in the world. 

I’d hate to get stuck down there in a power outage…

Travel

By now you may have heard that I spent the last year travelling.....

Still doing it, only this time it's for work, so I get paid rather than getting paid. And it tends to be a bit dryer and calmer getting from place to place. But despite going to some new and amazing places last year, Turns out there's some pretty great places closer to home. 

We're in Nottingham right now. Never been before. Never thought about coming here before, but it's actually a pretty decent place. There's a bunch of decent places to eat, it's easily walkable, and some good local brews and places to try them. 

London next week, then Paris, Oslo, Malmo, Stockholm, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Zagreb, Milan, Birmingham, Glasgow, Belfast, Sheffield, and Manchester. Some exotic, some maybe not so much, but funnily enough of all the places I've been, I've never been to any of the stops in England save London. Travelled round the world, but managed to skip Nottingham, Manchester, as so on. 

It was a bit like that when we left the UK and moved to the US. It took coming back to study in Salzburg to actually do any significant travel around Europe. But then it took deciding to leave the US to go on tour and travel around a significant part of it. I guess my point to all this is that if I end up back in Vegas for a couple years, I won't take it so much for granted, or ignore all those places nearby that might be worth a trip- Zion, Death Valley, Pahrump, and so on. Because next time definitely won't be for the better part of a decade, and moving back there a third time might be a bit too much....

Also, this blog is mostly about ignoring the fact that I haven't done much in the way of writing. Editing, some, but it's exhausting when you get a sixth of the way through something, and then start to have doubts. Should I change this part? Do I take that out? Why is that character such a prat? And then the audience, should it be for someone else, or a different format or market, and pretty soon you're spinning your wheels and finding any excuse to not do it. 

Still going to, because I said I would. Still managing a blog a week, despite all the tourism and work, so it's not going to be much more to get the writing done. pst might have to do a couple of different options with it. Bloody facts.

One Year/One Month

A year ago today, twelve boats slipped lines at St. Katherine's Docks in London, went under Tower Bridge a couple times, then pointed downriver on the Thames, and headed away from their families and friends. 

Well, families maybe, but not their friends in entirety. In the past year, some of the people on my boat, Garmin, and some of the people on the other boats, definitely grew to be the latter. Going in to the race, looking around at the crew, some of whom you might know from training, some of whom you might ave never met, I remember that was one of the thoughts in the back of my mind. Which of these people are going to piss me off? Which are going to become good friends? And how will we feel coming back into London in 11 months, the same people but how different?

A year ago I didn't know what we were in for. I didn't know who would make it and who would leave, who would be a part of the team and who would be a passenger, or what I would get out of the race. There's the worry that everyone's going to piss you off, cos being stuck in close quarters for extended periods of time with no privacy in stressful situations isn't the most conducive environment for getting on with everyone. But funnily enough, while we did piss each other off at times, it's exactly going through those situations that enables the friendship. Sometimes on the boat, you want nothing more than to get away from everyone, have a break, and now we've been back a month, well, I kinda miss the buggers. 

I'm lucky in that the work that presented itself has kept me in the UK for a bit. I'll be in London in two weeks, and while they won't all be there, not by any stretch, I get to see some of my teammates. What will it be like now that we've gone our separate ways, moved on with our lives? Will we sit around and reminisce about the things that happened on the race, or trade stories about being back in civilian life, or just sit around awkwardly and have nothing to say to each other? I somehow doubt the last, look forward to the first, and think that the middle will probably highlight how different we all are, and how lucky we are to have had something bring us together from all backgrounds and walks of life, throw us into situations where we bonded as a team and accomplished some pretty incredible things. 

The sad part about it is not everyone will be there. The people who live further afield, well, I reckon six weeks is a little too soon for any sort of extensive reunion. But as soon as the day after the race, there might have been talk between a few of us about getting together in a couple years, maybe around next race end or the following one's beginning, talk about that one time we all decided to spend an inordinate amount of time cold/wet/tired/hot/nervous/exhilarated/tense/shitting at an angle.....