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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Reflections 2018 w04

“I am Lucky Because…” has been the last entry in my diary for the last three weeks, a trial on changing my mindset. It has been, on average, like trying to get the last drops of ketchup from the bend of a bottle neck – with a knife.

One is pretty certain the mindset change was not supposed to be forget the diary entries altogether so as to avoid the statement, alas that has been the outcome.

I don’t feel lucky.

That is what the above statement is supposed to be about changing, my perspective to one of viewing life with actual positivity.  It became a chore very quickly a depressives trait for sure. I have been told that it takes more time and energy to view things negatively than to view them positively, but I did’t believe him. Ta dum. The theory actually makes sense in all seriousness.

For some reason we take all positive things as though they are common place, like breathing, but in actual fact they are few and far between, we live in a wide area of neutrality for most of our time. Sub-consiously we know this, so our brain tries to narrow the neutral area down by taking quite neutral things as being positive at times when we need a boost. But our brains like balance in its ‘normal’ state so it makes quite neutral things negative as well, thus making the positive seem more ‘rewarding’ because there is a lot of negative that ‘could’ happen.

Eventually the lie we are telling ourselves is broken and the line for the positive actions is returned to its rightful place. The line for the negative does not however move so easily back, and may even move up with the top line to keep the same area of the neutrality range intact and thereby increasing the amount of things to worry about even more. Plus the worrying then overshadows the positive due to the fact positivity is never fully enjoyed in the worrying moment. The whole thing sounds like a joke but for millions of people this is an area of our minds that we cannot see the way out of.

So focusing on the positive of our daily lives is supposed to take away from the focussing of the worry. Taking control of the focus is supposed to be the key lesson I think here.

One still has a ways to go yet.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

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Reflections 2018 w03

I know now what it was that I jointly won in December for the writing competition. We will be getting book vouchers. I wonder if this was the original prize as its identity was kept secret for so long. The announcement, officially, has been held back by sick leave(s) but will be in the customer created newsletter next month, along with the printing of the winning stories.

There is supposed to be another taking place later in the year, and by those I have spoken to, it aught be for a larger word count. 500 it seems is not that popular. Ironically this number was selected as to not put off people writing a story as it was not that many, 250 word stories are an art in themselves, easily passing the count if not careful and cutting the story out in the editing to get down to the count. I think they aught try 750 next.

Can it still be called a win if both the entrants win because of the lack of turnout? There is certainly no sense of victory, I recognise the achievement – I entered, entering another will be easier now, but victory? The worst thing is that others may be inspired to enter the next one because they perceive it as being one, which is good, but we are looking at a totally different side of a box and if my attitude does not match their perceived competition success then I could come off looking aloof or ungrateful. Or even have them giving up on the idea of entering at all if I come off dismissive. For some in the clubhouses entering could be a big self esteem boost, as well as a major talking point for weeks.

Why should ‘I‘ care?

It has been noted that I am ‘popular’ within the framework of the mental health groups/clubhouses, and that is not by chance. It has been hard work. Interacting with others outside of the groups, even passing through a room, especially when I don’t want to, has been an uphill struggle. But I read a psychological study somewhere that stated we as a race seek positive social interactions, so much so that we receive a chemical reward when we have them, I admit I was very sceptical, it’s not like we liked World Peace 1 and World Peace 2 that much we are now eagerly awaiting for the start of World Peace 3. But what had I to loose? If coupled with the smile theories also read, it had heaps of potential reward for only the cost of time.

And this is why I should care.

The work that I have done to try and improve my condition, if only in these settings, is by choice. My interactions with these people is by choice and in the same setting their interactions with me is by choice, whether they know it or not. Sometimes one choice is easier than than another, sometimes we do it automatically, not really knowing why. But for whatever reason we all have chosen to spend time in those environments and should we not be looking to make those environments the best that we can? Finding a different viewpoint for the perception, to make it more positive, improves the environment that I share.

Is it manipulation?

If giving someone time, a smile, an ear when needed or even encouragement for no advancement or direct gain is manipulation then yes. If having your positivity towards someone reflected back to you is manipulation then yes. Yes I gain from it, but only as much as what I have put in to each person, it balances out, like the pendulum of a clock.

Who knows, maybe one day I will really need that positive greeting just to get me through it.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

Reflections 2018 w02

The b-well group started this week with some of the usual suspects, one was not expecting anyone that had not heard through the mental health groups as the advertising has yet to start properly. They also are at the moment using the Blobby tree, anyone that does not know of this series of pictures can easily google it, but in short it is a series of non sexed blobby people that are in differing ‘scenarios’ that can lead to a person opening up and talking. I have been led to believe that it works quite well.
I however have for some time been drawing my own scenarios, in my own sense of humour, mostly never including the tree at all. This week was no different, and the drawing done was voted to be turned into a poster and I was commissioned by the group to do my own version of the tree with my drawings on it, or off it.
My brain at times is like a tearaway pup, it gets hold of something and just runs away with it. This simple picture became a painting, which then became a series of drawings as I perfected the original sketch, which then became the tree wanting me to tell its story – in the old school cartoon way to create an animation. I don’t animate, but I have this story in my head and it wants to get out. It’s doing my head in; I know I will be doing the animation in the end just to shut it up.
Not knowing if the ‘blobby people’ are copyrighted or not I thought I would go a little more realistic in shape but still as simple as the blobby’s. This led me to ones looking like the change4life, so a no go there. Eventually I found my little people’s shape, next was their face or lack of it. Several faces later I had the one I liked, front on. But what for the side view? Nose or no nose? What size/shape if there is one? More sketches, a slight alteration to the frontal picture to match and I have my little people’s face.
Now the picture for the poster/painting is entering its final stage of putting it all together and it has definitely progressed from the original. And part of that progression is all down to the future animation attempt. This picture is a close up of the final tree picture, because it has yet to grow to fill the space. A bit like how the seed was planted in my mind for the image idea, and the way mine shot off it must be well fertilised.
I have spent 2/3’s of a day on the sketching alone, a part of the process that many do not even see nor understand. To be fair many that paint do not do the processing of the pictures the way I do, they would have just used the original sketch and painted. I do not want to be seen as copying someone else ideas. Influenced by someone – yes – everyone is in some form or other, but I do not want to just copy. So I go through this process to make it my own.
One may even start to paint tomorrow.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

The Korean Kimchi Experiment

I have been watching a channel on Youtube called Future Neighbor, a homemade Korean cooking show. One has to say every meal watched so far is tempting, but I was intrigued by Kimchi. What it was was explained in one episode, and how to make it, but that did not put me off – one was intrigued.

It seemed like the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut, something else I have yet to try. On the plus side it is supposed to be filled with goodness. A jar was bought, and a couple of weeks went past before it was opened, it was almost a dare to open, even though tI had  no preconceived ideas towards it.

The lid came off…

By christ I was not expecting the pungent odour assault to my nasal passages, in a word it stinks. Not in a negative way, but rather in the way that the smell of grilled sardines stink out the house, I will not be cooking them indoors again, they positively make mackerel seem odour free. One cannot even describe the smell of kimchi, it is – unique, but somehow appetising *. Nothing like the western food I usually eat.

Not put off by the smell I took my first bite, my gag reflex kicked in slightly, the same happens when I start drinking Kefir after a break from it, must be similar probiotics, however I liked the taste – not so much the texture, it was too soft. The next day I took some with my sandwich and salad, it juice ran all over my celery, spring onion and purple carrots. The people around the table kept pulling their face at an unusual smell, eventually, I owned up that it was my dinner. Note to self…not to eat in public…Still put off by the texture but loving the taste of the juices and the kick of the chillies I decided to try it one of the other ways I saw it served – with rice.

The next day one placed a large dollop of kimchi in a cup of hot rice, stirred it in, and let it sit as I ate through my salad. Once I thought that the kimchi would be sufficiently warmed I tucked in. What a difference it made to the sensation of the texture, when it was mixed with the hot rice and had warmed a little, my mind registered it as being cooked soft. It worked wonderfully with my salad and will be my go to way of eating it as a side dish.

So if you fancy something new and spicy, cook some rice and crack open a jar of Kimchi, ignore the smell and dive right in, you may be pleasantly surprised by this little pot of Korean goodness.

I was.

* The smell becomes less overpowering by the time the third jar is opened, at least for me it is 🙂

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk

Reflections 2018 w01

canstockphoto8630797

I have just watched a film about a man that got cryogenically frozen and reanimated, well, about 25%, the rest was grown from DNA samples and mechanical adaptions. At one point they brought in a machine that recorded memories, overall the film has been interesting, and the growing of a new body that works symbiotically with a machine does seem realistic, it is half available now. But I have an issue with the cryogenics. That issue is all about memory.

Whenever the subject is approached upon the screen the struggleis all about the reanimation of flesh. Growing a new body covers that subject, except for the brain. This is most commonly just implanted, and away the person goes, memories and all.

This, in my mind, then places the brain as a organic hard drive, in as such the memories are just stored in a segment to be accessed when needed. In principle that is acceptable, when the brain is alive, and I have yet to hear about how it does the storing. I have heard how this memory gets this part of the brain working and that memory the other, but the actual storage and the management of that ‘data’, I don’t think we know yet.

If we don’t know how it is stored whilst the brain is working, how then do we get it to work after the electrical impulses have stopped? Can a persons memories be stimulated after death now, whilst experiments on the brain are being done?

On a side note, could your memories be used as evidence in court after death if the process to read these memories is ever found?

Also, the brain is organic and as such their is, even in cryogenic status, a decay of the matter. Effectively creating bad sectors on the ‘hard drive’, and with the lights turned off, there is no disc management available. One bit of damage, in the wrong place, and the disc drive won’t work, you don’t know until the booting up sequence.

So then, the recording of the memories will be the answer for immortality – grow a new body, transfer the memories over.

Lets say that the essence of a person is the unique data processing and logical algorithms for a particular outcome. And our emotions are just a chemical response to that processing conclusion. Both of which could be replicated. 

Could you then be completely be replaced by a fresh new you?

But if a person is just what is in their head, a steady stream of data. Why do we need to bother within the body?

And could multiple copies of a single identity be made?

And what would it be truly be like waking up in a new body? Or even one that may not even be your own, even if it is the one you asked for?

I don’t believe in a soul. But I do believe that person is more than just memories and chemicals, and when we die ‘we’ die. Even if physically the person is brought back to life with all memories intact. The spark that made us – us is too unique to be replicated. Would you have then condemned yourself to an eternal prison upon being awakened?

I don’t think cryogenics is for me!

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

My First Writing Competition Entry

Carousel

The sun shined down on the sand of this little cove, seagulls screeched overhead, joyous chatter of children and adults alike mingled with gentle music piped from the carousel as it spun around. The smell of the sea, chips, popcorn and candy floss waft around the rides and stalls of chance. Fond are the memories from when I first arrived.
Now the music is of a blaring kind, each of the rides trying to compete with one another for the attention of the modern youth. The smells wafting around the stalls are still the same, but not – the chips don’t smell as good as they did and the aroma of overdone burgers has been added, along with the odour of sweaty onions; progress smells like grease. The games of chance have been changed to games of luck, tat replacing the goldfish that once did hang from the beams.
The rides themselves have changed from gentle, simple, fun rides for the family, to stomach churning thrills, their sole purpose to bring back up the burgers quickly scoffed before going on. Somehow I missed the transition, or maybe it happened that slowly I failed to notice, but in any case I did not see it till I was old.
Age itself is not to blame for the outlook, it has changed. Greed has set into what was a business for family pleasure. The old rides pushed to the side, or replaced altogether.
One thing that has not changed with the passing of years, that is the season itself. Three quarters of the year the fair stays open, with the rides spinning and blasting out their music for most of the day and all of the evening. Then the holiday makers call it time, too cold, too wet, only the few dare to brave the coast in the latter months, or those of the winters end.
The fair takes on an eerie feel in the season known as closed, the sun oft hidden by huge black clouds, perhaps with the flash of light and rumble of thunder. Even the sea takes on a more menacing look, waves get bigger and carry the sand in the water, making their soul look dark, as they roll and crash against the shore. With these storms come sinister shadows, jumping from whence they hid with each flicker of light from the sky. I look upon them glad to be hidden under this big heavy canvas, sheltering from the whipping wind and driving rain. This is my home for the night, my refuge.
For many a year I have hidden here, out of mind, peaking through the hole in the canvas. My colours have faded, my paint chipped and now cracked; the rain runs like tears down my cheek.

 

I was pretty once, the star of the show.
With my piped music, small faces would glow.
But now I’m forgotten, cast to the side.
Oh how I would love it, once more, on me ride.

A§M

500 words, rather journalistic, Influenced by Bill Bryson? But it was a start. My next story written is more flowing and at 250 words was more of a challenge, it missed the deadline for the competition entry it was written for, so will be saved for another.

This is the start of many one thinks, clunky it may be, but one hopes it will inspire others to give writing competitions a go, especially free ones.

Just have fun.

Reflections…Week Fifty One

canstockphoto8630797This is the last blog of 2017, and for my part I have completed my goal of blogging on a weekly basis for the entirety of it. One has even surpassed what I thought was a challenge by doing multiple blogs in a week and in doing so surprised myself with the gusto one has approached it. But not so much with this one.

Yesterday I went sea fishing with my brother, it went less than planned. The tackle and bait shop we go to is no longer there, it is being replaced with flats, this caused a diversion to an alternative. Time seemed to be slipping away as the journey progressed, to the point that we changed destination for the fishing to suit the tide time.

This is a place I like going to and although the pier was in no fit state to be walked upon it somehow had sentimental value for which one cannot explain. However when we got there the pier was no longer in the sea, rather it was on the coast line piled up behind railings. After talking to a local fisherman we discovered it was pulled down for safety reasons about three weeks ago, thus making it a sombre visit, and at the moment un-fishable.  One hopes that the spider crabs that the locals catch won’t be negatively affected.

The weather was also making a turn for the worst, with an ice cold nip to the increasing wind. This was not the warm sunny day forecast.

We headed back the way we came. Checked out a new spot, ruled it out, went to an old spot that has been good for bass before ruled that out due to the exposure for the wind and decided to cross back over the peninsula to get some wind defence.

We looked and looked for a new spot and eventually ended up, at the place we originally went for bait, at Rhos-on-sea, sheltered from the wind. Halfway back home. Eight hours of driving to get an hour and a half away from home, you could tell my brother was not pleased.

Spot got to run on the beach for a bit, and we ate with a cuppa before even thinking about setting up, as high tide was another hour away, and by then we could not be bothered to be tide chased with our equipment. So we just waited.

This spot has been a poor show for fish before and we had almost given up on the location. It was chosen for the shelter above all else, just so we could fish.

It has been ages since last having a day out to try and catch dinner for the next day and as Spot and I played on the beach I asked the sea to be kind to my brother and let him catch some fish. It was less of a thing for me as being at the coast was allowing me to chill for just a little while, as the coast always does, and Spot loves the beach.

So as the tide came in we got ready, spot for a nice change, was able to stay in the car as it was parked right next to us, curled up in the footwell, where the heater had warmed her towel and the carpeting.

First cast had been in the water less than five minutes when my brothers rod stated to nod up and down violently, not one on the line, but two. Next cast he did was pulling a fish up within a minute, and the same again with the next.

As he took the fish down the steps to the water to release the fourth fish, they were undersize, I thanked the sea for visibly cheering him up. Then my rod started…

For the next Five and a half hours we had fish after fish, the best session ever, even beating some boat trips. True we returned over forty, but we came home with five whiting each, enough fish for a couple of meals.

My arms and shoulders at the end were aching, my nerves on fire and lacking strength to real in two small fish on the line that should have been done with ease. I had to stop with them as my arms went numb and the fireworks started in my legs. My brother called it time when he reeled in the next fish. We packed up and headed home, straight into the wind, and now heavy rain, we had earlier left behind. Somehow it had missed our little spot.

The concentration on the rod tip light now over, my body could release the headache for the trip home. Today I have been in pain and struggling to stay awake. I hate what is happening to my body right now and the way it seems to be punishing me for doing things I like to do. But it’s got another thing coming if it thinks it is going to make me stop. All the doctors want to do is increase what was my anxiety meds, as it is also a pain medication. It’s funny how I am going to be over the maximum dosage for the anxiety it’s not working for, because it is now for the pain. The pain it may very well be causing. And the medication I wanted to stop, because it’s not working.

The merry-go round of the doctors continues…

Oh, an update on my story that was entered into the Brighter Futures writing competition that was scheduled for America’s Thanksgiving day, that was then altered to the Christmas Party, that was then, I would say delayed again due to there still being only two entries, I would say delayed as the winner was not declared, Is a winner!

Not quite, so is the other one as well.

I wonder if my request to withdraw my story if it had been cancelled again, so it could be entered into another competition, had anything to do with the decision?

At least the disappointment of the whole affair is over now, and the story will be published in the next couple of days. I hope all who read it find some enjoyment in it.

If you don’t, tuff, I am still proud of my first writing competition entry.

The fireworks of the new year have been going off as this long winded entry has been written, so it is with love and peace that I sign off the Reflections of 2017.

Happy New Year!

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017