Day 102: The Doctors on a Vanilla Sunday

February 23rd 2016

Broken handI’m writing this post a little earlier in the evening today, so there could be more that will happen today- if that is the case you’ll hear about it in tomorrow’s post. The reason I’m writing this so early is because I’m going to grab an early night, I need to be up and at the hospital for eight AM tomorrow to make sure I’m there to discharge with Hannah.

She might see this but I don’t really care; part of me wants Hannah, she’s sweet, pretty and smart but she’s too close to Sophie and I can’t help but wonder whether that’s the reason I’m helping her so much. Is it? I don’t know, but it rends into me when she smiles, it’s so similar, so close to the bone… I don’t know how to feel about that. Am I helping her because it’s who I am, or am I helping her because she makes me think of Sophie?

I don’t really know, but it’s only right to continue to help her regardless of my perceived conflict of interests.

With that out of the way, today I did as I said I would and finished reading Hyouka:Vanilla MineSunday (or at least as much as is published as of posting this). My verdict is that it was very good, it isn’t exceptional and has a somewhat transparent plot, but that doesn’t matter, I knew that going in and I elected to go in anyway because I knew that it would do what the writer intended it to do. It would make me forget the world and feel good.

I don’t know how many of you who are reading this can remember your first love; not your first crush… your first love. I do and this fiction portrays the confused mess of emotions a teenage couple no doubt fumble through should they be ‘lucky’ enough to fall in love. It’s like reading an excerpt from my own love life, erotica and all.

Perhaps that’s a little too much information to simply hand out to near strangers, but if that’s not what this blog is for then I really don’t know why I’m writing it. This fan fiction comes highly recommended if you’re interested, at all, in a piece of highly emotionally evocative writing that accurately depicts the turbulent discovery of love and sexuality in a teenage couple’s life.

10/10 – Without a doubt, stunning and earnestly heartfelt

After finishing reading this I decided that I should ring my GP and get an idea of when she can look at my knee; since the physio that she prescribed me has only aggravated the injury I can only assume that it’s not working. The official date for the appointment is the tenth of March, so I’ll make sure that I keep that and fill you guys in on what happens.

Other than that I’ll keep reading, keep writing and keep reviewing fan fiction, it could be a nice little supplement to this blog, don’t you think? I do.

Goodnight.

Day 101: Starting Katakana & Reading Fanfiction

February 22nd 2016

It’s fair to say that I couldn’t think of a witty or even a brief title for this post, so everything that follows is going to be in line with that title. The day started out pretty slowly, but at a rather unsociable hour; I woke up at six AM, on the dot, and immediately grunted out in pain. I don’t know what had happened, whether I’d slept on it funny or whether I’d pulled something during the day but it felt like my arm had been clean wrenched out of its socket- the pain was unbearable.

Whilst it was easily one of the most painful things I’ve experienced in the past year or so the pain disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared, but after that jolt of pain and the accompanying influx of adrenaline there was no way that I was getting back to sleep.

I felt tired all day, as if i wasn’t run ragged enough. Despite my obvious fatigue I managed to sit down and idly pan over some Katakana, since this was my first encounter with the writing system I learned the five most basic symbols and they were.

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In the words of my friend and tutor.

They’re basic, but they’re a start.

Bearing in mind that the only thing on my mind at this point was collapsing into a heap on the sofa and sleeping off the rest of my doziness, there was very little else that I had the energy for, but one of the things I could do was read some fan fiction.

I’m picky with what I read and I’m picky with the anime that I watch, but there is one show that holds a special place in my heart, an anime by the name of “Hyouka”. It’s a slice of life, mystery novel based around the ‘average’ adventures of four high school students: Houtarou Oreki, Eru Chitande, Mayaka Ibara and Fukube Satoshi- with the first two names being the main protagonists.

I feel as though there’s something to be learned from Oreki’s personal mantra.

If i don’t have to do something, I wont, if I do have to do something, I’ll make it quick.

I didn’t say it was a good saying but it’s one that resonates with me on my lazy days.

 

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Were it not for Eru’s inability to deduce almost anything, this picture sums the show up perfectly.

The fan fiction that I got so engrossed in is called “Vanilla Sunday” and it’s seven chapters long, just over forty two thousand words and, unfortunately, I fell asleep before being able to finish the story, so whilst I can certainly state that what I’ve read so far is very enjoyable I can’t give my final verdict- that will come tomorrow.

Thank you for reading.

Day 100:Dates

February 21st 2016

Dates are of crucial importance for me, perhaps even more so than to the every man you see on the street, because, whilst I use them much like any other person, to mark down days where I need to do things, I also use them as metaphorical ‘signposts’ for my memories- the good and the bad. For example, a good memory is, remembering when I started this record and the circumstances for that.

It was November the 14th and something caused me to snap, I’ve tried to put my finger on just what that was but it’d be more accurate to say that it was a number of things all at once, and that caused me to desire a severe change not only in my life in general but also in who I am as a person. Thus this blog was born.

Much like anyone though, I do slip up, I get dates wrong and I confuse the events of one day with another which, ordinarily, wouldn’t be an issue but it does defeat the point of this blog if I’m happy to transcribe one days events into another day’s synopsis. If you couple this with the fact that, like anyone else, sometimes I have busy days and can’t publish a post or sometimes I simply forget and have to play catch up (like now) it means that the arbitrary title of “Day <Insert number here>” can be more than a little confusing.

To combat this I will be adding dates to the top of each post and will be posting two days later than I usually would, i.e: a post for January 1st would go up on January 3rd; my reasons for beginning to post like this are two fold.

  • Number one: Since I’ll still be writing the posts on the day that they correspond to it will mean that, should I be otherwise indisposed, all I would have to do is press ‘publish’ and the post for two days ago will go up, meaning I’m not playing catch up- posts go up on when they’re supposed to go up.

 

  • Number two: I’m not perfect, far from it and having these extra two days to hold on to a post will mean that not only can I iron out ant wrinkles in the text, but I can format it with time to spare as well, making it more presentable and a better overall read.

Having said that, this is the hundredth day and I’m actually rather proud to have made it this far; this blog is firmly part of my life now and it’s an excellent place to vent my frustrations, chart my progress (or regress) and to pen plans and make goals for me to achieve. It’s taken me about a hundred days to get used to the formatting and to get into the swing of things with it but that’s only to be expected when emerging from a period of lethargy in life. I’m proud of this blog, and of myself, though there’s still work to be done on it.

A hundred days! Here’s to a hundred more!

Day 99: Hannah’s Hand

I was roused from my sleep today at the ungodly hour of five in the morning by a surprising text message from a friend; as I rolled to my side and dragged the leather clad phone from my bedside, too lazy to lift it up, I thought to myself.

“What is so damn important that someone has to get my attention now” Though, perhaps not in so many words and perhaps I’ve chosen to omit some vulgar language from my tail as well. Eventually, after fumbling around in the dark for a minute or so, I managed to unclasp my phone’s case and read the text. Usually I’d have scanned the message and then dropped my phone to the floor, resolving to deal with whatever it was when I woke up, at this time I’d only been asleep for about an hour or so, however this was different… the message read as such.

Zach fallen down stairs my hand hurts whenever I move it come help NOW! Broken?

Without wanting to sound patronising, Hannah is a bit of a wuss- particularly when it comes to pain. I did, I admit, consider going back to sleep, but something didn’t feel right about that so after two minutes of vying with my own conscience as to whether she did or didn’t need my help I ‘eventually’ slung my legs off the edge of the bed and began to get dressed.

I still don’t understand why she didn’t ring the ambulance there and then, I even remember thinking it as I jogged over to her house but, then again, I didn’t have the broken hand, she might have been scared and wanted a friend there- I honestly don’t know, I’d have just rang an ambulance.

When I got there the door was open and when I walked I found her at the base of the steps cradling her hand like it was a broken baby bird, delicate and in pain. I must admit, I thought that she might have embellished the facts but, no, it was broken and with the way that two of her fingers were I’m surprise that A: she managed to grin though the pain and punctuate her text, and B: that the text ended with “Broken?” as if that was even a question.

After calling for an ambulance and accompanying her to hospital I stayed with her until my mind gave out and I collapsed, I woke up some time later, at about three in the afternoon and found that she was asleep having gone through minor surgery in her hand; bones had to be reset and pinned in place but the doctors say she’ll have full range of movement which is good.

I rummaged around in her personal effects and got her phone and rang her parents. When they showed up I offered to stay, but they insisted I should go, but I made sure to be there when she woke up. At least her family are aware of her state and I’ll check back whenever I can.

I called her a wuss at the beginning of this post but, in all honesty with how she handled it all, she’s worth her salt.

Tough lass.

(I’m sorry for the lack of pictures, but it seemed a touch invasive on this one)

Day 98: Induction Day

Today I was invited to my local college campus for my induction day, one of the benefits of actually having my GCSE grades as opposed to a student with predicted grades is that a college or university can deal with you at face value and they know that you will be able to do the course you applied for. With that in mind I was invited to an induction day thanks to a successful application I launched some time ago.

When I arrived there was a small selection of young adults waiting in the foyer, they had donned name tags and all looked suitably uncomfortable at the prospect of striking up a conversation with their potential peers- I’d be lying if I said I felt any different. I was however one of the few people who tried to have a bit of a chat and eventually I did get a rapport going with a Lithuanian fellow, he was nice and was a successful engineering student who was looking to try his hand at a different field (English literature).

It was a welcome distraction for the thirty minutes I was waiting around waiting for the tutors to come and pick up their respective students, which they eventually did; after a short walk through the campus they eventually gave us a small literacy and numeracy test (which I aced) before pulling us in, one at a time, to chat about what we wanted to do after college.

mechatronics_armsI told them that I wanted to study mechatronic engineering, which they wholeheartedly supported and readily suggested the best way that I could go about reaching that goal, I also told them that I intended to make use of the Monbukagakusho scholarship which, again, they supported though pointed out the glaring difficulties with my plan.

Number one being that and Access Course is a course that prepares you for entry into a UK university, it’s tailored towards learning the skills required to excel within a domestic university setting, however, the wording of “embassy recommendation” for the Monbukagakusho scholarship is worded as.

monbukagakusho MEXT

An applicant must be eligible for university entry in their own country.

It’s a grey area and I will be contacting not only the Japanese embassy in London in the coming weeks, but will also be contacting the JASSO organisation (which offers advice to foreign students looking to study in Japan) and MEXT (the ministry for education in Japan)

That’s all for today though, so good night world.

 

Day 97: Finished Hiragana

Hiragana is complete, finally after a little over a month of study I’ve finally managed to learn and retain every single symbol within the Hiragana writing system. It’s been a rough few days as I’ve tried to power through the final thirty three symbols and I must admit, I’m rather ashamed to say that in the process my anger may have gotten the better of me on more than one occasion.

It’s exceptionally easy to mistake one symbol for another, so many of them look almost exactly like one of their sister symbols, for example take the symbols for “ha” and “ho”.

Apart from a single stroke atop of the right most pictograph these two symbols are exactly the same and at a glance it’s very easy to see ho as ha and ha as ho which can change the meaning of a word completely.

That being said the last thirty three characters of Hiragana don’t, in fact, bring anything new to the table, they only use symbols you’ve learned before hand but in a slightly different way.

 

For Example.

All of the final set of symbols follow this rule, they are all part of the “i” column and the sound that they make is completely determined by the second part of the symbol, a ‘small’ icon that determines what vowel sound will follow the first letter. The only notable distinctions are “Chi”, “Shi” and “Ji” which turn into Chu, Cha and Cho, Shu, Sha and Sho and Ju, Ja and Jo respectively.

This does however mean that this miniature series on Hiragana of mine has officially come to a close, for some that will be a godsend and for others it will be a major blow, but, it does now allow me to move onto learning Katakana, which I will start learning later in the week.

For now though, I’m just about ready for a nightcap and a warm bed. Goodnight.

 

 

Day 96: JSA

Perhaps today was a blessing in disguise, it’s hard to tell, it felt more like a slap around the face than a backhanded compliment. Today I quit my job, the reasons behind my departure revolved, predominantly, around their reluctance to pay me what was owed to me; I will state however that, whilst a discrepancy with my pay could have contributed to this, I probably left because a combination of: the job, the people and my manager really made me feel undervalued and unsatisfied.

This leaves me in a peculiar situation and, more notably, one that is extraordinarily JSAunlikely, I’m now in the position to earn far more money that I was before, for doing significantly less work; I now qualify for job seekers allowance. To most people this is the last resort and in a way it is for me as well, to the rest of the population JSA is a sharp fall in pay but for me the inverse is true, I’d earn more money.

It’s a matter of principle really, I’d rather earn less money and not be on job seekers allowance than earn more on it, however that’s an idealistic point of view and, A jobunfortunately, since I’ve not been paid for three months,  I now ‘have’ to apply for this government support in order to make ends meet. There was a time that I’d have been too proud to accept something akin to JSA, but, needs must and I need that cash injection. In truth I know that I would rather be in work, earning less money, than out of work, earning more; it’s an odd sentiment to hold, but it’s one I’m certain many people can relate to. Principle is king.

Principles aside however I know that I have basic needs, I need: a house, food and drink (and most importantly, internet), and all of these things cost money, money I don’t have.

So today was a blessing in disguise for two reasons.

  • One: I’m in a position to earn more money, potentially more than double what I was earning before.
  • Two: I’ve got a chance to actually try and find a job that I can stand for a year and one that will allow me to earn, both, more money and wont make me want to jump off a bridge.

So, we’ll see where this takes me, but I suppose all the travelling I’ll be doing around town should at least allow me to make a dent in my new choice of book.

Small graces.

Day 95: Murder on the Orient Express

After feeling, and deciding, that The Analects of Confucius would be a rather tough read for me after facing a rather severe panic attack this evening I’ve decided to put it aside for a while and, whilst the depression that always follows these panic attacks subsides, I’ve elected to pick up another book.

Murder on the Orient Express.

MOE

The Murder on the Orient Express was written by Agatha Christie whom, as the above image indicates, was the queen of mystery, and was originally published by the Collins Crime Club on new years day nineteen thirty four. Met with critical acclaim the, now classic, book received rave reviews from such sources as the Times Literary supplement and the The New York Times Book Review which read, as follows, respectively.

“The little grey cells solve once more the seemingly insoluble. Mrs. Christie makes an improbable tale very real, and keeps her readers enthralled and guessing to the end.”

and

“The great Belgian detective’s guesses are more than shrewd; they are positively miraculous. Although both the murder plot and the solution verge upon the impossible, Agatha Christie has contrived to make them appear quite convincing for the time being, and what more than that can a mystery addict desire?”

As stated in the second of those praising quotes “The great Belgian” detective does it again, this is in reference to the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, who stars in thirty three of Christie’s literary works and in over fifty of her short stories before finally shaking off his mortal coil in Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.

DavidSuchet_-_Poirot
David Suchet as Poirot.

Seen as a rather short fellow, Poirot is a detective of the highest calibre and, whilst not as eccentric as Holmes (who Christie was still writing in the style of),
is shown to have a certain flare for exercising his ‘little grey cells’ bordering on prideful arrogance that one would associate with an Arthur Conan Doyle book.

Whilst I have very little knowledge of the book’s contents myself, other than that which I gathered on a very brief skim read in a train station, I do believe that I understand the source material of Christie to begin to understand the logical deduction I must exercise myself in order to, quote, beat her and figure out the murderer before he, or she, is revealed.

That, for me, is the ultimate enjoyment one can derive from reading a murder mystery, weighing up your own mental skills against that of the detective and thus trying to deduce the culprit before they do, elementary really (something Holmes never said by the way); fortunately for the reader, unlike many other authors of the day, Christie doesn’t cheat.

What I mean by that is, she doesn’t have phantom clues, she doesn’t allow the protagonist to see a clue that she doesn’t show the reader, even if it’s simply a passing phrase on one line, if the detective can see it so can you, it’s up to you to decide what is useful, what is not and what is a red herring.

But I’ve rambled on enough and am in dire need of some sleep, no matter how unlikely the prospect of rest is. Good night.

 

Day 94: The Analects

 

Today marked the start of a new book for me, one that was recommended by one of my mason friends, Jamie York, people join the masons for all kinds of reasons, some join to help the less fortunate and others join for a sense of fraternity and one mindedness, I however joined with the idea that it would be a step towards becoming a better person. With this in mind Jamie put forth his recommendation of “The Analects” by Confucius- since I already owned a copy and I’d yet to read it I didn’t really have an excuse not to give it a go.

confucius

Initially I believed that he might have had a passing interest in philosophy and recommended the book on the grounds that I was simply trying to become a better person, however I now realise that the book seems to fit me perfectly.

The highest edict in Confucian philosophy is that “The most noble thing a man can pursue and attain is the betterment of the self, this much not be pursued with either success or failure in mind and must be undertaken for its own sake” Does that not sounds ‘exactly’ like what I’m striving to achieve?

The copy of the book I have is printed by the firm “Penguin” and is part of their Penguin Classics range, they’re perfect for the scholar who needs to write about the books in great detail as they have a hugely expositional introduction at the start of each book that extrapolates many key points and gives them context, written by a highly qualified and experienced expert on the subject.

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The downside to that is that if you’re just reading them for a passing interest there introductions tend to be roughly fifty pages long and worthy of a documentary novella, so you feel somewhat obligated to drudge through the, sometimes long winded, exposition before actually getting to the book. Sometimes the wordy introduction can leave you somewhat at a loss however and you can read a good two or three pages without taking in any information at all and will sometimes spoil revelations that you might otherwise discover on your own.

It’s a double edged blade, sometimes it’s good that it’s there and other times it’s best to skip to the actual book itself. Just something you’ve got to decide for yourself, though I personally tend to favour skipping to the book myself and then returning, rather oddly, to the introduction at the end to get context on what you’ve read whilst it’s still fresh in your mind.

The goal for reading this book still stands at reading twenty pages a day, hopefully with a little effort this should enable me to get through the book with relative speed whilst still managing to retain the teachings; fortunately for me this translates to reading roughly one book a day with regards to The Analects as it is a compendium of all of Confucius’ works- this should split it up into easy to digest chunks.

That’s the blog for today though, things are still slow around here and whilst I do in fact have an induction at college in three days time it’s still difficult to get the ball rolling without any form of income. Hopefully when I acquire some more money I will be able to splash out and give this blog some more colour.

The clock is ticking and I, in stark contrast to the teachings of Confucious, need to make myself look good for universities in a year and a half, the clock is ticking.

Tick Tock.

Day 93: A Lull

Over the past few weeks I’ve begun to notice a lull in tangible progress and it is deeply unsettling to me; whilst it is fair to say that yes I’m still new to the world of blogging I am rapidly approaching the end of that grace period and am increasingly accountable for the poor content I am posting in this space. I would like to use today’s post to analyse why this lull has occurred and what I can do to move past it.

This lull, almost certainly, is partly the result of a desire to not post similar content every single day, this includes things like, getting up, cooking food and bathing in general. Such topics are fine to include every now and again, under special circumstances, for example: no one wants to read about me cooking bacon and eggs for my breakfast, but, it would be reasonable to assume that some people may find interest in my creation of eggs Benedict or a home made breakfast pasty.

To proffer forth another reason, the blog has most likely ground to a halt due to, well… nothing going on. I’m currently out of a job, thus lack the funds to do much of anything and, consequently, this means there’s less to write about. It’s a source of shame to me that this is the case, but it’s understandable that this works very much like a snowball effect i.e: the more you do, the more you get to do and the more there is to write about.

I did touch on this matter not long ago and upon a review of the blog’s content I found it lacking, it does much to assess what I am doing wrong but puts forth only one possible route to remedy this issue, the summaries. This will not work, they are a tool, a means to an end, with which I can assess progress.

My idea is really rather simple, and there’s no way around it in reality. I’ve got to get stuck in, endeavour to find another job and put myself out there, especially in the areas that I’m interested in pursuing, namely: Piano, Krav Maga, Archery, Kung fu, Wine and Literature. It’s an uphill battle and I’m rapidly discovering for the first time in my life that sometimes there really are no short cut to earning money and developing skills.

For someone in my position, it’s a matter of owning my mistakes and using them as fuel to forge a brighter future. Believe me, I’ve plenty of fuel.

We will of course see how this goes, but in failing that I’ll simply have to put out shorter blogs with less content in order to avoid repetition and tedium in the immediate future until life takes its course.

Thank you for reading and being patient with me.

It means a lot to me.