Happy Birthday to Me! Birthday 43! A strange one with this pandemic. No celebratory drinks in the pub or even a work day off since it falls on a Sunday. Still, a few nice cards through the post, a bottle of Islay whisky from some close friends, a good run, a birthday haircut from my wife, a few calls with friends and family, and a takeaway dinner will do nicely!
Another three runs (Mon 4th, Weds 6th, Sat 9th), this time six repeats of 90 secs running with two mins walking between each, 5 mins brisk walk at start and end. I enjoyed stretching my legs a bit further on the runs. The second one in particular felt more energised. The last one a little less so but by then I'd started a diet plan to loose weight as well!
I started writing this post before Christmas but in light of this week's events in the US the title has become somewhat more emotional and expletive. See if this reminds you of other examples in history. An ego driven leader riles up his followers with a confrontational, sabre-rattling speech after feeding them a steady diet of BS for four years, building on their disaffection and perceived marginalisation, presenting himself as their champion when all he cares about is himself, giving them target groups who are responsible (basically “foreigners” and “liberals” in this case), eroding their trust in conventional national and international institutions, re-writing facts and narratives to suit his purposes. The rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims escalate in the last weeks in a desperate attempt to hold onto power and, hey presto, a deplorable act of violence erupts!
Three runs, all the same (5 mins brisk walk at start and end, 8 repeats of 60 secs running with 90 secs walking between each). The first time out (Monday 28th Dec) sure felt a bit rusty, with various aches and pains but by the third run, I felt ready to progress to Week 2. Bring it on!
I've now done my second run of the official UK “Couch to 5k” programme, using the podcast rather than the app. I used to run but it's been over four years now since I was a regular and since then I've put on 20 lbs due to middle age finally catching up with my once fast burning metabolism. Although my mind remembers many 5ks, 10ks and even two painful half marathons, my body will appreciate the slow pace of the 9 week gradual build up to 5k!
I just read Scott Nesbitt's latest Weekly Musing, and it definitely struck a chord with me. He was writing about embracing your inner geek but in a way that feels right for you. My career in academia has given me the opportunity to research specialist subjects to the edge of current knowledge and beyond, which in many ways is making the inner geek an outer geek. However, what is really fun is indulging my inner geek in an amateur rather than professional fashion. There is a heady freedom in this, as it allows me to pursue an interest flexibly, or drop it when my focus changes.
Spoiler – it's trickier than installing it! Back at the start of lockdown, I distracted myself by installing Kubuntu as dual boot alongside Windows 10 on my wife's Dell XPS 9360. Then I went and bought my own little Linux laptop instead. Fast forward half a year and my wife was running out of space on her hard drive and was getting fed up of having to restart the machine when she forgot to select Windows from the Grub start menu. So, the mission a few weeks ago was to upgrade the SSD and get rid of Linux from the machine. Right then!
When I started this blog, the “100 Days to Offload” challenge of 100 posts in a year seemed like a good target and it still is! It is an aspirational target and it doesn't really matter whether I hit it or not, what matters is that it has got me blogging again, putting words down on virtual paper. I've been having fun with it, typing out blog posts that range from serious to light-hearted, journal-style to the odd poem or two. It's been an outlet in a year of global lows with the pandemic and personal highs with the birth of my daughter. Still, let's see how I'm doing with the challenge itself!
Behold and rejoice! The vaccines are coming! Spread the good news in this season of joy and hope! The roll-out will soon start in the UK and across the world. One vaccine first then others to follow. It'll take time, starting with our most vulnerable and our front-line workers, then reaching the rest of the population as logistics allow. We will see how different countries proceed (e.g. China and Russia with their own parallel programmes), in the same way that they all responded differently to the global march of the pandemic.
It's been a year and a half now since my last trip to Islay and my whisky stocks are starting to run low. Well, the no-guilt bottles anyway! Those are the ones I can drink without needing to consult The Canadian first! This time I've decided to buy something not distilled on that wonderful Scottish island – shock, horror! My aim with these bottles is to have some undemanding but interesting bottles for more regular consumption. OK, let's go then!