Everything seems to be on countdown

Mon 22 – Sun 28 March 2021

I’m not talking about Countdown the programme

Though it is a programme I really enjoy, I would never bother going on it; what is the point when all you can win is a teapot? Bit like Pointless where the top prize only ever seems to be a couple of grand. Or Bargain Hunt where you may win Β£35! The countdown I am talking about is where things have to be done within a set time frame. And / or the clock is ticking down.

What I am talking about

The obvious countdown at the moment is to the gradual end of lockdown. Tick, tick, tick, tick – alarm goes off; everyone can live like we used to. Well, probably not totally normally. I look forward to galleries, museums, bars, and coffee shops. Being able to do more than just go for a walk (though I love walking). But will my gym reopen, and what about saunas and spas? The countdown to total normality is probably going to last for a longer time.

Countdown to new employment: 2 more interviews and a rejection

Doing an assessment or interview

I actually do feel like I am on countdown to when I get a new job. 2 more interviews last week (so 4 in the last fortnight). One was the 4th for the same company, the other would be the first of a two stage interview for a new organisation.

Though another rejection on a 1st interview from the week before but with excellent feedback. So nice that people can be bothered to give quality feedback – one thing I will remember when I am recruiting in the future.

Another application, creating the ultimate CV, and being cheered on

And another CV / tailored cover letter submitted. Indeed I changed my CV based on tips I got from watching a webinar on the theme of ‘Creating the Ultimate CV’. If you kick a door enough then eventually it will give way and I think that is the same with getting a job. Caught up with my Job Centre Plus support worker on Friday and she was suitably pleased with the effort I was making. Absolutely vital to have someone keeping your morale up through all this.

Personal Development

A common negative theme of my recent blogs has been how job search in particular is crowding out time for PD. True again last week though also the countdown pressure of getting books read and films watched before deadlines hit – see below.

Languages

Carried on with my language learning but at no way the speed I would want. Always try to do at least a daily Duolingo exercise in both Russian and Greek as they are so wonderfully different to English. And I’ve had some language boosts (particularly German) though some of the foreign language films watched in Flare.

Tech

Again, not as many tech lessons done on Free Code Camp as I wanted (ideally minimum of a couple each day) but at least some achieved. Did manage to catch up with that webinar on creating the ultimate CV. I really do enjoy having webinars to dip into particularly as you can multi-task and do other things whilst watching / listening to them.

Sustainability

How to create a win, win, win, win situation

recycling symbol

Another aspect of countdown was my need to finish reading a couple of books that had sold online faster than expected – see Books and Reading. I am still powering on with offloading and selling stuff as I need to earn money and as my personal attempt to help halt the countdown to the climate crisis. To stop us getting to the point of no return where the damage done cannot be undone.

If I can be not so materialist by owning less, encourage secondhand consumption, find people to re-love things, and still earn some money then that is a win, win, win, win. πŸ™‚

Books and Reading

2 books read on countdown as I needed to complete them to get them to the people who had bought them within the agreed time-frame. Got another countdown as I write this blog: I’ve just sold the collection of writings by Simon Raven so must finish reading those quickly. πŸ™‚

‘Queer. A Graphic History’

Queer

A book that tries to simply explain ‘queer’ theory through text and illustration. I like queer theory as it challenges heterosexuality as the norm for everything. But it also says nothing should dominate in its place, that there is no such thing as ‘normal’, and that difference and variety are to celebrated.

However, it is also sometimes a very academic theory, can feel remote from everyday life, and can get lost in its different varieties clashing with each other. A nice book to set the scene though even in its easy form, I still found some of the thinking hard work.

‘Dr Who Short Trips #3: A Universe of Terrors’

Doctor Who's Tardis

3rd volume in this series of short stories, each book based around a theme. This one is about terror, primarily monsters in different forms (which is the basis of most Dr Who stories). Not as good as the first two Short Trips books I have recently read. But always fun to have Dr Who in your life and a real collector’s item for Dr Who fans so hopefully the new owner really enjoys it.

Don’t forget, you can always view what I have read on my website here.

Art and Culture

Flare

A complete countdown on this last week. Flare (the London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival) finished midnight on Sun 28th. I had bought a Β£10 ticket for a film that I needed to watch. And all the shorts were available for free before that deadline. So lots of watching stuff on the laptop.

‘Enfant Terrible’

The film I bought a ticket for. And good to practice my German. It’s a film about the life of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Info about him here. The film and his life are a complete assault on the senses. Someone who it was very hard to like because of his bullying manner. But someone who was incredibly driven, prolific, and produced some fantastic films. Some crap as well but I suppose that shows you should always shoot as many arrows as possible so you have more chance of hitting a bullseye. His life (OD’d in 1987 aged 37) also suggests that you can’t be a genius and do amazing things without being controversial and upsetting some people.

β€œThere is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Aristotle

Shorts

Illness - death heads

Rushed to get through all the free short films. Particularly over the weekend once I had my interviews out of the way. Good though also some crap. Shorts by their nature are wonderfully experimental which often means they can be fantastic or dire. The latter are the ones that put the people making the film at the centre rather than the audience.

David Robilliard – my surprise discovery

My favourite surprise in the shorts was a very short film of just 6 mins called ‘Baby Lies Truthfully’. Voiced by Russell Tovey, it is a celebration of the art and poetry of David Robilliard, info about him here. I had never heard of him and don’t really like poetry. But this stuff from the 80s (he died of AIDS in 1988 aged just 36) really resonated with me. Discovering him is my memory of Flare 2021.

Health and Efficiency

Weight

Good news in that I seem to have dropped a little bit – down to 13 stone, 3.5 pounds. Still in my ‘safe zone’ of 13-3 to 13-5 but at the lower end. πŸ™‚ You can see my weight pattern here.

Exercise

Weight loss was a bit surprising as I only did 2 long purposeful walks between Dave’s and mum’s in our support bubble last week as opposed to my normal 4 long walks. However, I did manage two days when I did more than 20,000 steps on each day. First, on Tuesday when I went on a big long walk around the Royal Parks as it was such a nice day. And then on Sat when I had to walk there and back to the nearest police station to hand in a wallet (see below) – further away than expected. πŸ™

No slow jog-run – lack of time with job search stuff and to not aggravate my knee. Though perhaps just one short jog-run per week might do it good?

Family and Friends

Mum

She continues to be well though dealing with the aches and pains of old age. Something I can empathise with especially around my knee which seems to be able to be painful at any time now including just on waking up in the morning. πŸ™

The wallet

Found a wallet on the pavement as I walked back from mum’s place to Dave’s. Cards and money in it. That classic dilemma of what to do? Obviously couldn’t just leave it so took it to the police station nearest to Dave’s and handed it in. A long walk away; amazing how many stations aren’t open for walk-in any more. They seemed quite non-plussed, perhaps expecting many people to keep the money and chuck the rest. Apparently they will try to contact the person to return it. I got a receipt and that was it. I’ve lost 2 wallets and never had them returned so, hopefully, I’ve created some good karma if it happens to me again. πŸ™‚

Ruth

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Great to catch-up with my old boss. She’s also on countdown to when she leaves Comic Relief and starts her new exciting job. No tension between us about the restructure and redundancy, we still respect each other.

Indeed, interesting that the revolution has eaten its own children with nearly the whole management team being replaced. Be fascinating to see what happens next with the org but neither mine nor Ruth’s problem to worry about. Let it go, let it go. πŸ™‚

Phyllis

The normal weekly check-in went slightly awry as it was the day of my 4th interview for the same org and I was really tensed up such that I completely forgot we were supposed to talk. An hour and a half late, I phoned noting there had been no call from him. Even stranger, no answer when I phoned. Turned out he had been out for a drink in the sun and crashed out on his return home. All is good in Torremolinos with everything being allowed to open now until 10.30 pm. Don’t believe that things are worse abroad than they are here. πŸ™

Time to Change

Not all friends are human nor physical. And last week I joined an online event to mark the end of Time to Change. This really is on countdown as it finishes at the end of March. I was involved with funding this groundbreaking work to challenge stigma around mental health. So much has changed since it started and what it did is now pretty mainstream so mission achieved. But lovely to be with people who were also involved in this and to be proud together in what we created. πŸ™‚

The Week Ahead

  • It’s Easter! One of my favourite times of the year as it signals that summer is coming – warmth and light. Though normally I’m in an excited countdown to 4 days off work…
  • Pretty sure more interviews and more applications πŸ™
  • Must get back into my stride on languages and tech learning. Latter may include Heritage Digital Now conference on Thurs morning
  • Tech for Good meet-up on Wed evening and Velvet Page on Thurs though haven’t read the book
  • Gonna carry on with my win, win, win, win situation on Sustainability πŸ™‚
  • Finish the Simon Raven book and start on a couple more new ones πŸ™‚
  • Will start back on catching up with the classic 1970s post-apocalyptic TV series ‘Survivors’ πŸ™‚
  • More long purposeful walks than the week gone
  • Zoom with an old colleague and my weekly connect with Phyllis

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