Monthly Archives: November 2013

Downsizing harder that it should be

Even though I’m desperately trying to clear out stuff that’s accumulated over the years, it just seems like for every book/cd/dvd I get rid of, 3 more find there way back into the house.  With Christmas looming on the horizon, it’s going to be bad.  I know my mum will (a) buy me “stuff” and (b) throw in an HMV voucher as well, just in case the stuff isn’t enough, ‘cos you can never have too much stuff now can you?

I’d prefer it if she just thought about what I actually like, and gave me a small thing that was suitable, rather than a pile of things that I’ll never use, and have to hang on to for an appropriate amount of time before taking them to the charity shop.

If that all sounds a bit whiney, it’s because it is.  BUT, it’s not all been bad news on the clearout front.  I finally got round to dismantling the Ikea computer desk, and getting rid on that.  I’ve not had a desktop for years now, and it’s been sitting there taking up space, and slowly vanishing under a pile of….. (wait for it)…..stuff.  Well, no more.  That stuff is gone and so is the computer desk.  I’m thinking of recycling the printer as well, since I hardly ever need to print, and can always do it in work if.  The only things I’ve printed out in the last year have been KGB/Wowcher vouchers for meals.  The ink dries up before it can get a chance to run out, and lets face it, replacing the printer is only slightly more expensive than replacing the ink, so it’s not like it will cost a fortune to replace if the need arises.  I’m still swithering on that to be honest, but it’s an option.

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Landscape #2 – Troon beach

Landscape #2 - Troon beach

Second attempt with watercolours. There’s a bit of it I’m not happy with, but other than that, considering it’s only a second time doing a painting, I’m pretty much happy with it.

It’s based on a photo I took on Troon beach on a less than sunny day

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Japanese calligraphy

As if calligraphy wasn’t tricky enough, I thought I’d have a go at Japanese calligraphy, since I saw a book in a charity shop and decided I might try it sometime.  So, one set of brushes and a bottle of ink later (I’m too lazy to use the ink stick.  I know it’s traditional, but I’ll save it for when I’m passable) and yesterday was the day I tried it for the first time.  

What looks simple on paper, isn’t.  The descriptions about how to hold the brush etc are very clear, but damn is it tricky.  I’m not posting any pics, as I spent most of the time practising horizontal and vertical lines, which are hard enough (seriously!!) but the “dot” is really tricky.  

It’s frustrating, but in a really good way, and I had a lot of fun being rubbish, so I’m going to stick at it.  I’d like to be able to do something for the karate club I go to, with the name of the club on it, but like aiming for my black belt, it’s going to be a slow slog.  A work in progress.

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Life of late

So an update.  What’s been happening?

Well, I went out for my first run in about four years.  I managed just over 5k, in just under the time I used to run 10k (40mins – I could never get below that 40 min barrier, and it still riles me), but the important thing for me was that I got out and ran again.  And I loved every painful minute of it.  I even loved the stiffness in my legs that lasted three days and made getting out of a chair an event in itself.  I plan to continue with it.  I don’t think I’ll ever see a sub 40 minute 10k, but then again, I’m doing it for me, and as long as I stay away from clubs and races, there’s no pressure to compete with myself other than running that bit faster and that bit further.

I’ve also had three fantastic days up at Inverness, which we’d never visited before.  We packed a lot in, including trips to Culloden and Urquhart Castle, which at the moment is possibly my favourite place on the face of the earth.

Back in Glasgow, and yesterday we visited the Tramway in Glasgow to see an exhibition of art from prisons, state hospitals, and secure units.  It’s superb.  There’s a lot of talent behind bars.  If you’re in the area and get the chance, it’s called Release, and is worth checking out.

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Simpler times

Posted on Twitter the other day that in some ways I miss the simpler pre-internet days.  What surprised me was that someone favourited and shared it, which was nice.
Unfortunately with only 140 characters, you can’t expand on your thoughts too much, so here’s a longer take on that post.

I miss the simplicity of pre-internet life.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being online, and I love all the advantages that it has – information at the push of a button.  Going for a walk and need a map?  Walkhighlands and print the route map/description and off you go.  Email and messaging, so much better than waiting days of not weeks for a letter that may or may not get lost in the post.

But, here’s what I miss. 

The anticipation of having ordered something and waiting for the mail.  That movie/album you FINALLY managed to track down and order is winging it’s way to you.  When you get it, there’s the excitement of unwrapping it, removing it from the sleeve and playing it.  Now, that same movie/album is just a download away, and that’s if you don’t stream it.  Why bother with the physical tangible item when you can just download or stream?  Because it’s JUST NOT THE SAME.  It’s reduced movies and music to an almost disposable medium.  People just won’t have record collections any more.  I don’t have the physical space for my vinyl and hi-fi in the house at the moment.  It’s all boxed away.  OK, so I’ve got rips of most of the albums, BUT, I miss playing my albums.  I miss the ritual of taking a record out it’s sleeve, placing it on the turntable, put the needle on the record, and that initial silence with maybe a pop or click, before the music starts.

It’s all symbolic of peoples need to have things NOW.  And while life is a whole lot more convenient now, is it better?  People are living life through a computer screen, instead of going out and actually living it.

So step away from the keyboard, close the laptop, and instead of looking at a photo of a mountain online, go outside and see one for yourself.  Yes it might rain, yes you might get cold and wet, but that’s life, and you’ll get to experience the simple pleasure of coming home, cold and wet, and huddling in a blanket to thaw out, maybe with a wee dram in your hand.

Now that’s living.

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