Having My Head Examined – Part 1

So, you know that 10-day trailer holiday we just had? … well, I came home to a way too long list of friends who were at the very dire end of cancer diagnoses. This, as you might’ve guessed was firmly in the ‘not fun’ category of ‘things to learn immediately after one returns home from holidays’.

However, this sort of thing gets one to contemplating Mortality and the Universe, and Everything … especially when one has a CT scan scheduled a mere ten days later.

Migraines and vertigo do not friendly bedfellows make, and my GP and I, (said in a very proper British accent) … my GP and I, had decided that an elimination process was in order, so off to hospital I headed last Saturday (10th) for a CT scan of my noggin.

I’d like to think the inside of my brain looks something like this …

An Owl-ish laser-like focus

An Owl-ish laser-like focus

… but it probably looks like this …

Demented flea, on speed

Demented flea, on speed

… back to my story …

The last time I had a scan of a part of my body, a mere ultrasound of my shoulder, I ended up discovering I had cancer. (in my case, thanks to that non-related shoulder scan, my cancer was caught early, surgically removed, and with a hefty dose of radiation, never-no-more was see  again)

That series of fortuitous events, combined with my friend’s recent dire news got me to wondering … in just a little hyperactive (and somewhat hypochondriac-al) part of my mind … what else, completely unrelated to those migraine/vertigo bedfellows, my CT scan might reveal.

After restraining the urge to roll my eyes, I tried to calm that wee bit of my psyche down by telling it that all the scan will show is what’s already there, or not there, as the case may be … which didn’t help … so we overindulged in Mrs Widds absolutely most fabulous pumpkin pie … which did.

So, my friends, in these times of momentous (some good, some not-so-good, and some terrible) changes, when all else fails to soothe the savage psyche, eat pumpkin pie.

-oOo-

If there was something serious I would’ve heard from my GP by now so I’m not too concerned.

-oOo-

As always the images I use are my own, or are clipart, are otherwise attributed, or are artist unknown. These ones are ‘artist unknown’.

Cue The Sheepish Puns …

The Epitome of, ‘If It Ain’t Broke’, Has Finally Arrived

Yes folks, the ‘new and improved’ WordPress block editor has finally been imposed on my dashboard. (I’m just very glad I got my last post published before they did the deed)

I will now go forth and joust with this new beast until I get it to work how I want it to work. (because sooner or later it will be the one we’ll all have to be using) I did say at the beginning of this whole affair, and after initially checking it out, that I would wait until this moment to go anywhere near it … and here I am.

In the meantime, there are still a couple of workarounds out there that will enable me to post as I normally do while I figure this shit out.

Chris, at The Story Reading Ape has a post up that spells it out. Go there, and if you need ’em, see if the workarounds work for you.

2020 is the year the entire world had to change what had gone before. I guess WordPress didn’t want to be left out.

I leave you with the immortal words of this cute kitten I found in my ‘Clip Art’ file …

UPDATE: Beetlepete has some more info on workarounds

It’s Not Personal, It’s Not Personal, It’s Not …

Do you know the very best night to be able to see the shooting stars from the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Tonight. the 11th August.

Do you know how many years I’ve lived here on Widder Island?

Eight.

Do you know how many years the night sky has been cloudy on the 11th of August, here on Widder Island?

Eight.

Am I taking this personally?

BREAKING NEWS! … ABBA Wins the Eurovision Song Contest, Again!

How, you might ask, did this miracle of miracles occur?

The answer is the answer to a great many things occurring in the world at the moment.

The Eurovision Song Contest is held every year with a different European country as host. This year it was going to be in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, in May, then Covid-19 happened, and that was the end of that.

Not to be deterred by this dastardly virus, the BBC decided to commission a ‘Eurovision Broadcast’, to decide which was the best Eurovision song, ever.

Here’s the bit about the selection process, but the most salient point about this whole story is that “Wateloo’ by ABBA won!

One of the best things to come out of 1974, in all it’s original glory …

CoT = EU + TP + TR

Yes!!! (cue mad scientist chuckle) I have invented Unobtanium!!!

Mine! All mine!

Mine! All mine!

 … I am now and forever famous!!! … and filthy rich beyond the dreams of avarice!

Also, I may or may not have turned myself into a rodent

Also, I may or may not have turned myself into a rodent

Hah! … t’would that it were so.

Lets break down this fabulous formulae, shall we?

CoT  – Completion of Task

EU    – Energy Used

TP     – (not Toilet Paper) Time Perception, or how long we objectively estimate the task itself will take to complete, including set-up (before) and clean-up (after)

TR    – Time Resistance – when we go into resistance to doing the task (also includes, distractions, avoidance, deflecting, etc)

Here’s an example of how it works …

The other day Mrs Widds and I had to take a trip to our local landfill-and-recycling-depot. (we don’t have a council garbage service here on Widder Island, unless we pay for it, and after we did our due diligence we decided it was easier and cheaper to run our minimal amounts of garbage and slightly-less-than-minimal recycling to the depot ourselves)

All we had to do was gather the stuff together and toss it in the back of our truck. The garbage was in a single container. The recycling, I sort and bag as we go. Odd bits and bobs that don’t fit in either category were stored in the fabulous tin shed we built a couple of summers ago.

All an all it probably would’ve taken us two hours, (at the most) including the 40 minute there-and-back trip, to do, but we both dreaded that it would be an exhausting trip, and take hours, and hours, and hours, and …

It was time to put the kettle on, make tea, and discuss the matter.

We started the conversation thinking it was a matter of managing our time better, (aka, Time Perception) but that didn’t quite fit. ‘Time’ is immutable, (unless you’re moving at time-warping speeds, in ships powered by the afore-mentioned unobtainium) therefore it can’t actually be managed at all.

What ‘Time Perception is really about is how we perceive the amount of time a task will take.

This perception is influenced, (mostly) by information, (or lack of it) about the requirements of the task, how important (or not) is it to complete the task, and what our expectations are once the task is completed.

Having invented the formulae I used in the title of this post, Mrs Widds and I happily loaded up the truck, had a wonderful drive through some beautiful mountainous scenery, and rid ourselves of our accumulated garbage and recycling.

The Troubling Dichotomy Of The Time We Live In

Last Friday I stubbed my little toe, (well it, and the one next it, as it turns out)  and now, they and that part of my foot, has turned a lovely purple/green colour and are very, very, sore … probably some cracked, if not broken, bones.

It’s funny isn’t it, that until we do even the smallest of damage to our appendages we don’t fully appreciate just how much we need ’em.

I’m not going to get my foot x-rayed, or go anywhere near our regional hospital at the moment. For one thing there’s nothing the medical establishment can do for my tootsies that, with a modicum of common sense, I can’t do for myself … and …a local outbreak of Covid-19 was traced back to the hospital and until they get a clean bill of health, I’m staying away.

In the early days of the known outbreak, I say ‘known’ because the more time goes by the more we learn that the virus was out in the world earlier than first thought. Current estimates have it hovering somewhere around December of last year.

What were you doing in December of 2019? I bet you weren’t social-distancing, or wearing a mask, or self-isolating if you felt a bit ‘flu-y’.

Anyway … In the early days of the known outbreak, I started keeping tabs on the global confirmed numbers registered on the John’s Hopkins website. In hindsight it was a way for me to make sense of the horrific tragedy that I knew was coming even back then. I check, every night, around midnight.

The first date was the 8th March – 103,369 confirmed cases, an increase of 3,923 from the day before. (those numbers seem almost like a fairytale now don’t they?)

From there it took 23 days to reach one million. Yesterday (Monday) the total was nine million, and only 7 days before it was eight million. The average infection rate, at the moment, is about 150,000. Per day. (the actual rate of infections is probably ten times those ‘official’ figures)

When you look out your window, does the world look normal to you?

The view from my desk is still of the Summer Tree, the green grass of our front yard, (which in this humid weather we’re having right now is growing like gangbusters, and isn’t going to get mowed any time soon – see above-mentioned broken toes), and the wee lad across the way who has progressed from trotting to a flat-out run-waddle.

The global climate crisis hasn’t gone away. Once things get back to ‘normal’, pollution, sea, and temperature, levels will continue to rise, and ecosystems will continue to experience catastrophic collapses.

I can walk out to the garden and pick strawberries that are sweet and juicy, and know that in a few weeks the blueberries too will be ripe for the picking, and we’ll go ‘hedge-harvesting for blackberries along our road (my toes better be all healed up by then!) after that.

Will we experience food shortages in Autumn and Winter? Not here, perhaps, but what about countries where people are already running drastically short of food, medicine, fresh water, etc?

This dichotomy troubles me. Not all the time, that way lies madness, and no-one can hold the enormity of what we, as a species, are facing, for long and stay sane.

It troubles me because there are times I don’t give a flying fuck about the enormity of what we are facing. All I want to do is nurse my broken toes, make something nice for dinner, read a book, write some words in my next story, and forget that anything else exists … but, thankfully those times don’t last very long either

Is this denial, grief?

We strive for balance in our lives, don’t we? Balance between things, whatever they may be, that are important to us. And yet on some level we know that that balance, once achieved, is fleeting. It never lasts, then we teeter off in another direction, perhaps far, perhaps not too far at all.

So, I teeter this way and that, and thus far, I haven’t stubbed my broken toes on anything else.

Can’t Talk Now, Busy Editing Previous Posts, However …

… here’s a little something I came across to brighten your day …

The Latest Discovery In The Penguin World

The Bird Is The Word

What does a parakeet, a pierce of string, an empty soft-drink bottle, and a bit of PVC pipe, have in common?

You are so not gonna guess.

This is beyond cool

And my brain is already constructing all sorts of versions. I mean, what if I used several different types of string?

Or a stick instead of the pipe.

Oh, right, yes, the video.

Coming right up…

 

(I discovered this video via ‘Instructables‘, which is a truly fantabulous place for anyone who’s ever wanted to make, well, anything really!)

And now, you know why this post is called what it is …