“Lets go Exploring.”

It was my birthday on Tuesday: moving inexorably towards mid-40s-dom.

I had a quiet day, which quite frankly is how I like it. I had a normal day, one that involved not going to work (I always take my birthday off as a holiday). i didn’t overdo things, and just chilled out.

I got quite a good present from my brother: “The Complete Calvin & Hobbes”. It has the entire output of Bill Waterson’s comic strip. You know Calvin & Hobbes – the young 8-year old with a toy tiger which becomes his companion and comes to life throughout Calvin’s  trials of being an eight year old.

calvin9It’s quite an extensive collection; quite heavy too. When I opened the present, I was surprised at the weight. I wouldn’t like to drop that on my foot any time soon.

Bill Waterson decided that on 31st December 1995 that that day’s comic strip would be his last. He’s a quiet individual (not a recluse), but he must have felt he’d either had enough, or just took it as far as it would go. I suppose you have to respect him for that.

There’s a movie out that I still have to watch, called “Dear Mr Waterson”,  about various fans, famous or otherwise.  I may watvh it eventually.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now

I don’t quite understand the Facebook thing anymore.

I was relaitvely late in getting on, as there were one or two questions I had that were bugging me for ages, mainly on the privacy side. Those were addressed (but not satisfactorily, I may add). And I’ve been on for about 4 years now.

About 3 years ago, I went to a surprise famiy birthday with my brother. A few cousins, the majority of which are/were on Facebook. One of them was at the bar when I went up to get drinks. It wasn’t “hello”, or “how are ya?” it was:

“You’re not on Facebook all that much, are you?”

Apart from being taken aback at how stupid the remark was, I answered the bext way I could:

“I’m on it when I’m on it. I’m not on it all the time.”

That’s my cousin told straight.

The majority of people I know are on Facebook now. There’s a group set up which keeps all the residents in the estate we live in, in contact about such things as crime, and things in general. That’s where Facebook comes into it’s own.

But otherwise, I’m becoming a bit cheesed off with the “suggested posts” which come in every now and then. Like, “Oh, look what this celebrity’s done. OMG!!” and “So this person wrapped his kid up to go to bed. What they did next will make you cry.”

I’m not interested in this type of bumpf. It’s always and still is an advertisers dream.

I should really “de-activiate” my profile, but it keeps me in touch with people I wouldn’t ordinarily be in contact with (like school mates who still live 6000 miles away). It’s addictive too.  Even though I hate it, I look on the site every single damn day.

Damn you Zuckerberg. Damn you!!

Are You Healthy?

I’ve ony just realised that it’s the end of October next Friday, and the crazy American pastime called Halloween (where all things scary are celebrated) is coming up, and then Bonfire night (where a failed terrorist attack is celebrated) five days afterwards.

I realise the year is nearly finished, and I’ve not done half the things I wanted to do this year. True, I’m watching my weight, what I’m eating and fairly conscious about things like bood sugar and blood pressure, as a result of my diabetes diagnosis last year. My blood pressure has been steadily on the rise over the last 3 months or so, going down to tolerable levels when I was on holiday. I do my tests every Saturday morning, and, sure enough, after 6 days of the week of being at work on shifts ending at 9pm, my blood pressure is back up to high, but just about safe, levels.

There are three parameters I use: weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. I have a spreadsheet going back to May last year, about 6 weeks after I got the diagnosis. So you could say that can see how well I’m doing. I sometimes surprise my doctor(s) by showing them the figures I’ve collected. Possibly because many people in the area where I live don’t take an interest in how well they’re doing. It’s something I feel I have to do. I mean, I don’t have an illness as serious Swisslet’s MS, but I have to watch what I do all the time.

One of the things I have to look out for is Christmas. I can’t overeat at all. I managed to survive last year by not going to the same place the same as every year. (We go to my Uncle’s house for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, a throwback to when everything and everywhere was closed on Boxing Day). It’s an eating fest. I’m lucky in that the Rota Gods at work have allowed me to have Boxing Day off again this year. At least I’ve got that to be thankful for.

I have things under control, but Christmas always is worrying. Christmas is coming and Threelight may get fat (again).

TIme To Make A Change?

I have just come back from a holiday in Spain (well, not exactly just back, I came back last Thursday). Since then, I have had three shifts at the helhole I call work. Two of those shifts were over the weekend, which was hell, and today, which was even more hell.

It’s got me thinking though. When the recession was first announced, the previous owners of the business thought it wise, maybe a bit too readily, to close the office where I was, move the work down to another geographical area, and make the people in that office redundant. I had the offer of going to a new department, learning new skills, and generally have a job during the rough times,

Things are beginning to pick up now, I think, and as a result, I’m wondering what to do next. I’m getting restless. I have a job which has the maddest hours ever, and I work two out of every three weekends. It’s a mad job, but it helps pay the bills so to speak.

The thought of spending the rest of working career there fills me with dread like you wouldn’t believe. I mean, I’m no spring chicken, I’m 44 next month, and I know that I may not get a better well-paid job doing something different.

I could change, I am unhappy where I work, but what can I do? Looks like I just have to soldier on.


The Discontinued

So Apple announced the new IPhone 6 to the usual fanfare and sxreem of “Ooh, I really need the new IPhone, I really do. When can I get it?”

What hasn’t been widely reported, and certainly not on the launch day, is that the Ipod Classic has been discontinued. I didn’t know. It wasn’t until I read it when I was looking through my Google News page. And sure enough, if you go to the Apple home page, you have the support for it, but you can’t buy it, at least not on the website/

This troubles me a bit. Yes, you guessed right. I have an Ipod Classic, and even then I was a late adopter. I went years without an Ipod, and then the MP3 players I had kept on breaking, so I decided to take the plunge. That was about 6 years ago, and I haven’t looked back. I have the 80gb version, I have yet to fill it entirely. I have 23gb left/ It’s taking time.

What my main worry is, is that Apple withdraw all support for the Classic, and I’m not able to  transfer my music to it. I suppose I have nothing to  worry about, because the Classic has probably been a cash cow for Apple. They can’t be as evil as Microsoft can they?

Can they?

New Home, New Book

Oh well, had to change.

I just want to try something different, and this seems to fit the bill. It  seems quite easy to manage, this new theme. And I’ve also got the side bar for my Twitter posts going, which meant sorting out something called APIs with Twitter. I think it looks okay.

Oh look, I’m reading “Game Of Thrones” again. I got to page 160 last time, but I seem to be in the right frame of mind to read it.  Before, I just lost interest quickly, mainly because I was thinking of other things.


“The Boer War”

Seen as I’d lived in the country for 15 years, and knew a lot more about the Zulu War than I did about the Boer War, I thought that it was about time I read about it.

This is where the problems come in. Yes, it looks to be meticulously researched, but some of the geography, especially in my “home” province of Natal, was plain wrong. Also some of pronunciations. But I can forgive them that. There was a lot say about the battles, which was good.

Two of the most controversial incidents of the war are of course discussed: the scorching of the Boer farms and also the concentration camps that were set up by the British. That was part of the British strategy, to get the Boers into an ever decreasing area to fight so eventually they would surrender unconditionally. The scorched-earth policy was dealt with quite well.

I was expecting the authors to be vitriolic towards the British regarding the concentration camps, given their role in World War II. And I expected a whole chapter or two about this subject. Nope, how wrong I was. It was just described, to me, as just another tool of war, that any of the participants of any war could use. That’s where I have a big problem with the book.

There is more said in the book about the fact that the non-whites were not given the vote, and were naturally treated badly by the Afrikaaners. But surely the point is this: based on what happened before and afterwards, it was always going to be an issue. But treating the concentration camps as just another tool of war, which could be seen later on in 20th Century history as genocide, was treating like it was some sort of everyday occurance when two countries go to war.

I know that the Afrikanners, especially after 1948, got and still get a bad press, and for good reason. I just feel that the authors portrayed the use of concentration camps as a way of saying, “Well, there’s 3000 less Afrikaaners.”

Old prejudices die hard, don’t they.

Time To Relax

This last weekend I went with my parents to spend the weekend in Sheffield. We have old friends (friends for 31 years and counting, and a friendship forged 6,000 miles away as next door neighbours). Their parents live in Blackpool, and they live in Sheffield, or more to the point, their daughter does.

She has a terrific family herself, and has three adorable daughters. One is growing up quite quickly, one is a creative sould who likes playing the guitar, and the other is an aspiring gymnast, and winner of quite a few medals.

So, the grown-ups drank, ate a good meal and talked some more, until about 1am on Sunday. It’s the old cliche, talking can be therapeutic.

A fantastic weekend.

Write, Damnit!

Wow. Another couple of weeks, and no progress in increasing the number of posts…

I’m not as prolific a poster as I can be: after all I’ve been paying for the website where threelightsnews lives. I know I may not have a lot to write about, but I want to write.

To me, my writing seems clipped, like I’ve lost interest half way through writing. It’s true I’ve got loads of distractions when I write, but not that many.

It would be an easy excuse to blame the hours I do at work, and I suppose, in a way it is correct. All I would write about is what happened whilst I was on my shift, which would be really boring.

Maybe I should just write…

Indulge me. Life is not a popularity contest