Getting Better All the Time

After work this evening I headed out with Miss 19 and put another few kilometres in the bank. I’m not sure what she’s been eating – it might have something to do with her being nearly thirty years younger than me – but she FLEW tonight. Of course she complained that this hurt, or that hurt, but she FLEW.

So. Running done. Kitchen cleared up. Kids ominously quiet. Time to sit in the junk room listening to spotify and attempt to come up with a few insightful or entertaining words. Except of course I don’t really do insightful or entertaining any more – it’s more humdrum, chores, frustrations, and the struggle is real.

I sometimes look at other people’s blogs, and think “how do they DO that” – and then I realise they don’t work, and appear to have a magically bottomless bank account, which funds restaurant meals, endless clothes shopping expeditions, and a camera that cost more than our car to take photos of it all – filed everywhee with a “#nofilter” tag.

I’m not bitter. Just jaded I suppose. Cynical. Tired.

No matter how hard I try, I always seem to end up back where I started. Getting ahead is temporary – I have learned that now. It always seems to involve luck rather than hard work. Maybe the world just works that way – some people work their arse off and get nowhere, whereas some people fall on their feet continually. Maybe that Bruce Willis movie “Unbreakable” was right – balance extends to everything.

Spotify just stopped. I wonder if that means I’ve listened to all of it now ?

(a few moments pass while I pick another playlist)

I just noticed the “Favourite Coffeehouse” playlist has vanished. Dammit. You know sometimes you just want a not-too-terrible playlist on in the background that you don’t hate too much? That was the favourite coffeehouse playlist for me. What am I going to do now? I’m not sure I can be bothered to curate anything.

In other news, I downloaded all of the old Infocom text adventure games to my laptop at lunchtime. I’m about to go sit on the sofa in the living room with it and open the mailbox to the west of an old white house. If you guessed the game, you win the nerd lottery.

Sunday Night

I went out running with my eldest daughter again this evening – another ten sets of two minutes running, one minute walking. Our next run will be on Tuesday night at the running club in town – heading out onto the streets with the unlikely band of “Couch to 5K” runners. I still feel a bit like a fraud, given that I can probably run 5K now at quite a clip – I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not doing it for me.

I haven’t told my daughter that she ran considerably faster tonight. As predicted, being thirty years younger means she’s getting better remarkably quickly. It will be interesting to see how her will power is when the run lengths increase.

What else has been going on today?

I wasted a couple of hours playing Minecraft this afternoon. After getting the chores done around the house I vanished into the pretend world, and completely lost track of time. Falling into lava by accident and burning to death served as a wake-up call of sorts. I haven’t logged back in since.

(When you die in Minecraft, everything falls out of your pockets – so anything your character had about their person can be retrieved. Unfortunately if you fall in lava, everything burns. Ergo – I lost quite a number of imaginary things that are of no consequence to the real world, so I don’t know why I’m even telling you).

How on earth is it 10pm on Sunday night already ? Where did the weekend go ? I’m tempted to stay up all night playing retro games – I installed a number of emulators for long-forgotten systems on my old laptop the other night. I got them working, but didn’t get around to playing any games.

I think perhaps before I do that I’ll go make a coffee. Coffee always seems like the best way to start any damn fool activity late at night.

Retro

In-between washing clothes, tidying the house, and achieving very little of consequence today, I happened upon a rather pointless exercise that ate much of the evening.

At the click of an icon, my laptop can now transform itself into a PC from the late 1980s, running all manner of text based applications – many of which cost significant sums of money thirty years ago, but are now regarded as “abandonware” – meaning you can download and install them for free (if you know where to look).

After a little digging I re-discovered ancient versions of Microsoft Word, DBase, Norton Commander, Norton Utilities, WordPerfect, Wordstar, and numerous other programs that I had forgotten for more years than I ever used them.

You know the funny thing though? After opening a thirty year old word processor, and typing a few lines of text, it occurred to me how little distraction the old word processors offered. All you get is a plain screen with your words on it – no choice of style, size, or anything else – just your words. It was a light-bulb moment I suppose – realising why George R R Martin has held on to WordStar for so many years.

Of course I didn’t stop with making the computer think it was a 30 year old PC. I also made it think it was an Atari ST, a Commodore Amiga, a Nintendo, a Super Nintendo, a Sega Genesis, and several other games machines that I spent far too many hours sitting in front of during my teens. Mostly because I’m an idiot.

16 Days

I’m officially on holiday. Two weeks off. Sixteen Fifteen days until I return to the office (I began writing this post late last night, but didn’t get around to publishing it). A couple of weeks to try and forget about work and relax. Of course before any relaxing happens I need to attack the garden, attempt to rid the house of fleas again (tip – NEVER get a cat), book somebody to fix the satellite television, and a hundred other things.

I cut the lawn this morning – no small feat when I’ve been flat out at work and home for the last couple of weeks, and when I have been around, the skies have dumped on us spectacularly. It appears – given perfect conditions and house owners that run themselves ragged to do everything for everybody else – that grass will grow about an inch every 24 hours. It’s probably worth mentioning that we have an old push-along lawn mower, so I’ll probably end up with triceps like Lou Ferrigno if this weather keeps up.

There is some method to the madness in the garden – our youngest is having several friends for a sleepover on Monday night – they are sleeping in a tent in the back garden (because we’re not stupid). The tent is already up – in preparation for Monday – our “family” tent from camping holidays when the children were young. It’s ENORMOUS. At least each girl (or group of girls) will get their own zipped off bedroom, should they all fall out with one-another.

In-between cutting the lawn, grocery shopping, and putting tents up, I’ve been helping myself to a bottle of wine – proving that if you drink on an empty stomach, it goes straight to your head without passing go.

Anyway. Time to go sit quietly and play video games. I’ve installed “RetroPie” on the Raspberry Pi – meaning we can play pretty much any game that came out in the last forty years – and I’ve downloaded most of them from archive.org (or at least, the ones for the NIntendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Sega Master System – oh, and the Atari 2600, MSX, and a few other systems). I’ll be busy nerding out with Jet Set Willy, Mario Brothers, Q-Bert, Space Invaders, Galaga, and Asteroids if you want to find me.

Changing Things Around

In something of an experiment this evening, I’m writing this post on the old Apple iMac perched on the spare desk in the junk room at home. The last time it was used “in anger” was for NaNoWriMo last year. Following in the footsteps of several notable writers, writing on the iMac divorces me from the distractions of the internet, on account of it not supporting the newer SSL protocols (the magic that causes the padlock to appear in your web browser).

Granted, this isn’t quite as extreme as George R R Martin writing Game of Thrones in Wordstar on a DOS PC entirely disconnected from anything and everything, but it’s pretty close.

Did I mention that the iMac uses ZIP disks to save backups ? I had a look through the collection of ZIP disks earlier, and came across a backup of the writing site I started in the autumn of 2000 – 19 years ago. After grinning at my own writing (some of which I may re-surface here at some point), I found a number of posts by my future wife – we would have been going out for about five months at the date of the backup. I wonder what has happened to the other writers? I’m tempted to search their names on the internet, and see what I turn up.

The method by which this post will make it from the Mac to the internet is perhaps worth a few words. I’ll save the text file to the Mac, then scoot across to the PC (running Linux), open a command line, and connect to it via SSH – which will give me access to the text file. After retrieving the file, I’ll open Firefox, past the words into WordPress, and voila – you’re reading them now.

In other news, I shuttered Substack this morning – the email subscription thing I have been playing with for a while. I figure it makes sense to have one version of my words in existence, rather than many. I’ve also stopped cross-posting these long, rambling posts to Tumblr too. If nothing else, it means I only have one version of a post to fix when I notice a typo, or grammatical error (usually immediately after posting, then again a few minutes later, then again a day or so later). I really should try to get into the habit of proof-reading posts before dumping them onto the internet.

Anyway. I’m tired. I always seem to be tired at the moment. I’m not sure why. Another early night beckons, and a few minutes reading before I inevitably conk out, and wake up in the early hours with my face in the pages of a book.