Someone that’s not in your state/country

Dear Joe,

How goes it? This is the second letter addressed to you, so you must now realise how special you are to us all up here. Maybe if you lived closer you’d get on my nerves like every one else does. But distance means I won’t get to find that out. Well, maybe I will eventually. 😉

I’m made up that you’re getting on well with your life and have finally escaped the night shift life-death that you put up with for five years. Well done. I mean that, WELL DONE for having the guts to give up what you knew well and were comfortable with to take a chance on something else. That takes balls. Serious balls. I think people do not see the courage that people who make a life changing decisions. It is not as easy as it looks from the outside. I’m proud of ya, sunshine.

I just wish that there was not this distance, you know? I mean, I’d be quite happy have you get on my nerves a little bit, and for me to get on yours, haha. It’s a good thing (sometimes). It means that you’re actually spending good time with each other.

The house business is still frustrating, and the mortgage company keep asking us for more information then more information. We’re still hopeful to get moved in the next month or so, but we now have to wait for some information from one bank before we can send it to another bank for them to verify we earn what we say we earn. What bollocks! They have our payslips already!

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with life’s mundanities. See you soon yeah?

Al

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.

WEAR SUNSCREEN

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

 

Embarrassed about my career, or lack of…

Yesterday I was sat at Exhaust-a-fix getting my car seen to, and saving £350 from the price originally quoted to me, it must be said, when an old guy sat down next to me. He was one of them chatty people. I was happy to sit staring at the one & half inch screen on my Blackberry, he wanted to gasbag. I’m not ignorant and I was drawn into the conversation with him.

We shared car anecdotes. I told him about the crazy learner driver I encountered on the way to Whitby, and he told me how he scared the Bejesus out of his partner on the back roads to Aycliffe. He told me about how he fell off a ladder and hurt his arm I told him about how I fell off my bike and broke my wrist & elbow. The conversation ebbed and flowed, and I found myself warming to this guy. Then he said something which J said is typical bloke.

We were discussing what they could do at Exhaust-a-fix and he said, ‘they do their thing and they are good at it, I do my thing and I’m good at it, and you do your thing….’

I nodded and made a ‘hmmm-mmm’ noise.

‘which is?’ he persisted.

‘I work at ______’, I said, ‘yeah I spend my day being nice to people who I don’t like all that much. But hey, it pays the bills.’

Man, I was embarrassed to tell this guy what my job was. He was a real man’s man. Work boots, electrician by trade; and we’re sat in one of the manliest of places, a garage with real mechanics. And I have an awful job.

I could have crawled back under my rock and died. Right there.

I talked to Chris at work this morning and she said there is stigma attached to call centre work. It’s a decent job in that it pays decent money with decent benefits and a decent environment, but I could not have felt less of a man that evening talking to an electrician.

I’ve been miserable all day as a result. I desperately need to get out of there and get something worthy of me. It’s frustrating because I can’t just find something on the same money in this area. I’m stuck where I am until I either take a hit financially to reskill, or until, by some goddamn miracle, the police recruit this year and I get through.

Ever felt that you’re trapped with no means of escape? I’m like the proverbial fly in the spider’s web…

And it ain’t pretty.

Your favourite internet friend

Ahh Kory,

You’re my internets bezzie and I kinda miss that we don’t spend as much time chatting as we did. Of all the people I’ve met online, you’re the only one that I wouldn’t be totally freaked out meeting; in fact I think it would be quite cool. I know you’ve mentioned several times about coming to the UK, but I have always wanted to come back to Canada, so I promise you this. Before we’re both dead, I’ll come see you. We’ll have some beers. Shoot the shit. Get wasted.

Sounds like a plan?

Tidy.

Alan

A Stranger

Dear Stranger,

Yes you, I’m talking to you. The chances are I don’t know you, and you don’t me, but you’re here and that means we have a chance to not be strangers, but to instead be friends.

If you would like to no longer be that stranger, please leave a comment, just saying hello… or say hi through Twitter.

Or you can just send me money. That’s cool too.

Lots of love,

Alan

Blogboards.net

One of the important things about having blog is, I suppose, about readership. I write my blog primarily for myself. There is almost six years of history in here charting my relationships, by job, my family and friends. There is a hell of a lot of stuff written, and committed to these pages that could not be committed to memory. Reading back over entries from the past is sometimes pretty cool, other times gut-wrenchingly embarrassing, and often insightful. But, back to readership. I like to read (say it; reed), and I would like to be read (say it; red). Other than the few people I know who blog, which isn’t very many, my chances of finding good reads is dependent upon the Gods of Google, or the ‘new posts’ section in my WordPress dashboard. I would like to find a place to find other bloggers who have interesting blogs that I might be interested in reading, and I’d like to find a place to find other bloggers who might be interested in reading mine.

To this end I started up Google and started looking for blogger forums. Somewhere people can go to talk to other bloggers and to start cross-blog relationships. Link exchanges, subscriber exchanges, tips and ideas exchanges. I found one forum that was being plagued by spam, and I found another forum which was dead in the water. I found many domains parked, for sale, empty, blank. What I did not find was a dedicated forum for bloggers which was active, well managed and current. I admit I didn’t look far, and I admit there are a multitude of webmaster forums which will cover this angle in some shape or form, but all-in-all the market stands open for a forum dedicated to blogs.

I thought that maybe I can fill that gap.

A further cruise through the Godaddy domain search tool landed me a cheap domain which would work as a forum for bloggers. blogboards.net was born in a moment of madness and the throwing down of a few pennies this evening.

If you can’t find what you are looking for; build what you are looking for. Over the next few weeks or months, as well as doing my 30 Day Letter Challenge, I’ll make an effort to launch a new forum dedicated to blogging and bloggers.

If this sounds something you might be interested in, drop a comment on this post.

Highly Strung

I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do right now is to not be so highly strung. At the end of the day, it’s really not all that important, and if someone is tired then they should sleep. Getting angsty about it is not going to solve anything, and falling out about it is at the very best, childish and immature.

Instead of ranting and arguing I should be sitting down and discussing. That would be the progressive, mature thing to do. That’s what I’ll do from now on.

In other news, the diet is going well. I’ve put on a pound since last week. I’m not gonna worry about it too much though. Plenty of time to lose some chunk.

Domestic bliss

Whilst it may seem that things are going great on the surface, the reality is often something totally different. All signs point to the house sale going through without a hitch and she is very excited about this move. But beneath this veneer of wonderful unity, she is really pissing me off.

I talked to her today about us spending more time together. Every night for the last week or so, she has been in bed before nine. Sometimes earlier. Last night, half past seven. I’ve moved my main evening entertainment from the PC upstairs to the laptop or kindle downstairs so as to be able to spend more time in her company. I’ve never been a big lover of Emmerdale Square or Eastenders Street, but I still sit through them, pay cursory attention so that a conversation can occur, and I’m either twittering, facebooking, or generally fooling around on the internet; or reading. All healthy pastimes. Even if I do say so myself. I can’t play Age of Conan on the laptop because graphically it cannot handle it, so I forego my Hyborian Adventures and opt instead for something slightly more sociable. But it isn’t enough. Not only do I need to be in the same physical space, it would seem, but I also have to be engaged in the same activity; even if this activity is something as banal as keeping up-to-date with the latest baby-killing-plane-crashing-gay-bashing escapades of a fictional London Borough. I’m not fucking interested.

Despite this effort on my behalf to spend some time together, she’s still heading up to bed as soon as the final episode of Weatherfield Farm has finished leaving me to my own devices. I am beginning to wonder why I made the effort to move my evening entertainment downstairs. I prefer my widescreen beast of a machine to the laptop. I’ve taken a hot for marital unity and it’s not being appreciated.

So, today she told me the reason why she is going to bed so early is because she is tired. There’s a no brainer if ever I heard one.

And, the reason she’s tired is because (and allow me to embellish and paraphrase to a degree):

I am a lazy, boyfriend who does nothing around the house meaning has to do every thing and is therefore always tired.

Ahh…

Let’s for moment forgive the blatant inaccuracies in this statement. My chief concern isn’t around the overlooking of what I do actually do and instead is related to why this wasn’t raised before. Why wait until I try with a positive statement of intent (I want to spend more time with you) to drop a negative statement of objection (you’re shit and I hate you)? By all means, if you feel that you’re getting bogged down with housework then tell me about it, but can you tell me about it before it becomes too much of a problem? Maybe I should just know. Maybe I should be able to look around and see that things need doing. Maybe i do, but they’re just not as important to me as they are to you. As long as things are tidy I’m not anal about clean. This is the nature of things when you have a young family. Stuff gets messy. You learn to get over it, or you wear yourself out trying to keep up with it.

I guess I’m just pissed off that my bold attempt to spend more time as a couple in the context of full-time work and full-time family has been turned from something that could have been good into a bitter argument about who does what. House work is fucking dull. That is the brutal and obvious truth. I’m not adverse to it, I just prefer to avoid it as long as possible. When that becomes an issus it needs to be discussed rather than hiding away from the subject and hoping that it will go away.

Of course, I’m not perfect when it comes to discussing things that bother me. But I do try to make an effort to fix them. More on that another time.