Friday, 27 March 2015

Falling in love

It's like a song that doesn't seem to start
but past the quiet gentleness
An anthem will arise
Let the melody unfurl
Let it build
Find the triumphant chorus
declare with passion
your true heart
make your statement
stnad your ground
don't lose your chance by bending now

It might be a mistake
It might be painful after all
But it isn't wrong
To wait
is not the bad thing to do

For now the bass is thrumming
the drummer stills his hands
the singer croons
the audience shift restless in their stands
now is not the time
not the moment
you can't make it be
let it come

It might be a mistake
It might be painful after all
But it isn't wrong
To wait
is not the bad thing to do

don't take your stand too early
don't choose before the chord is played
take this time
join the dance
learn the steps
and find your place
then as the chord builds
you will turn
you will step
you will toss your head
and the right partner
will have been there all along

On that note
with that chord
as all the power is released
in the right time

The real moment will be worth waiting for
There will be no compromise
For one moment
There will be no doubt
There will be other dancers
In the mediocrity of the chorus
in the impulse of the bridge
in the lull of the breathless pause
between notes
anticipating that this might be it

But the real song is playing onwards
it carries the moment
The crescendo is coming

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Martian years

Let me take you back a decade to my halcyon youth. Picture a girl sat on an old sofa cushion on the floor, with her back to a wall. Ahead of her is a young man using a desktop PC, in a large desk chair and two other similarly aged youths, using laptops perched on their knees as they earnestly discuss some aspect of Artificial Intelligence for a project due in a week or two.

The girl contributes, but is clearly somewhat distracted and after an hour the two laptops are packed away and she is left alone with the desktop user. She continues giggling through several website pages for the next few hours as the young man plays World of Warcraft.

That was me the week I discovered Casey and Andy.1 It's a webcomic named after the author and his best friend full of dark humour, physics and (it has to be said) dreadful art work. I loved it. I read through the entire thing. Then I revisited a few strips to read the attached blog/ news posts and realised that the author of this webcomic was my kind of person. I trotted over to the forums to lay down praise and adulation whereupon I discovered (shockingly) that this author - this super awesome, funny, crazy cat man - was actually active on his own forum!2

Anyway. I was starstruck and promptly became very shy and when you're in a community of nerds that works very well. So for some years I mingled with this group - reading Andy's continually developing work as we went along. I even went out to the States to visit the main cast: Casey, Andy, Mary and Cujo.3

You should by now have a picture of how biased I am towards Andy's work and it will therefore come as no surprise that when he began releasing The Martian I was instantly addicted. The first few chapters were released on a monthly(ish) basis and I waited eagerly each month for the next instalment. I have never before been abusive to an author but I must confess that when the gaps between chapters became longer I began to harangue him. I emailed him demands, threats, ransom notes; I cajoled, demanded, begged and harrassed until he eventually sent out the next chapter. On occasion I sent him a thank-you for doing so.4

Therefore I take full credit for completion of the novel. 

The Martian became massively successful. Ridley Scott is currently in post-production of the film version and I'm expecting it to be fabulous. What I really want to hear now is that it's the biggest Oscar winner of all time.

I dream big.

But while we're on the Oscar bandwagon: since I have a feeling you wouldn't object to there being a shiny man on your mantlepiece, I have a new request to make of you.

Josh, please would you write and perform the 2016 Oscar winning "Best Original Song" for The Martian? You have until October to get it done.

Given your successful completion of my previous request, I have very high hopes for this now.


1My understanding of AI seriously suffered as a result. 

2I didn't understand "fame" back then. As far as I was concerned, all famous people were superstars. All people whose work I liked were famous and therefore superstars.

3It was well worth the trip.

4I'm British, after all.

Friday, 20 March 2015


Today I tried on two pairs of trousers. One pair was grey and the other red.

My history with these trousers is complicated. The red pair I purchased when I was losing weight as an incentive to continue dieting. I got home, tried them on, and the tightness of the waistband created such an unpleasant appearance I comfort ate for days. The grey pair I purchased long before. When I originally had them they fit in the leg, and created a significant belly bulge/ muffin top. Nevertheless I wore them with baggy jumpers and occasionally a corset. What can I say, I'm committed. Or I need to be. It's 50:50 at this point.

So then I put on weight and couldn't pull the grey trousers above my knees. I comfort ate and became too scared to try again (hence the purchase of the red pair - which are the same size so lord only knows what I was thinking).

Those trousers have resided in a drawer in my wardrobe. Lurking, waiting for their day in the sun. Right now I'm in the middle of a process. I have banned myself from the scales more than once a month and I am eating healthily and exercising regularly and above all talking incessantly about it.

This morning I needed a reward and the scales were not an option. So I pulled both pairs of trousers out of the wardrobe. I checked the sizes to make sure I wasn't going to torture myself by trying to squeeze into a skinny fit size 10, but sure enough they are both size 12.

I wasn't expecting much. I hoped I could pull them all the way onto my legs, but I know I really let myself go recently and this might not happen. I also know that my leg muscles are bigger, more visible and defined and while the fat could have been squished into submission the muscle would not allow that.

So on went the grey pair. Almost to the top of the leg, maybe a cm off. This is great! They were so close to fitting me on the leg that I thought "I really need to check the waist, and they're sort of on." So I wrestled with the fastening. And it was wrestling. I mean there was twisting, grunting, stretching, the works. But it fastened. I braved myself to face the horror.

There was no need.

Those trousers do not fit. There is no denying that. But the exercise I have been doing lately appears to have redistributed my squishy bits. Instead of the majority of it being around the belly, it must be dispersed across my back, chest and legs because there was barely any muffin top in those trousers. Even being hyper critical, I can honestly say that those trousers fit me far better than they ever have before.

So then I tried on the red pair which have a lower waist. Again I was worried because of the belly hang potential. And there was definitely some over spill there, but the truth is that those trousers will fit me very, very soon.

And the best part about all of this for me is that the only issue I have had with my body in my life is that I dislike my belly. I will never have a six pack, I'm just not that committed. But the fact that re-sculpting my body appears to be addressing the one thing that has upset me in the past is blinking marvelous.