Day 160: All Nighter

April 22nd 2016

Well, it’s happened again…

I’m not sure whether I’m naturally a night person or whether me being awake through the night sometimes is a result of my: lifestyle, diet, routine etcetera, but I always seem to gravitate towards spending at least one or two nights a month wide awake and, as a result, throwing my sleeping pattern so off track I usually have to take the long way around and spend close to forty eight hours awake in order to get my routine back.

That happened again last night.

But, rather than suffering through another day where all I want to do is fall face first into my bed sheets and hibernate for the winter I’ve decided that I’ll try something different today. It will disrupt my schedule, of course it will, but I’d rather take a day off and get my sleeping pattern back on track than try to soldier through it and potentially do more harm than good to my academic and physical endeavors.

When I do collapse today I’ll try to even sleep for the minimum amount of time necessary to see me through to at least midnight. It’s a simple task, but a difficult one.

Bearing in mind that this is all I really have to talk about it would be fair to say that nothing out of the ordinary happened today and I don’t really feel like documenting what I had for breakfast lunch and dinner, describing my adventures in the division or monologuing about my thougts, this is where I’m going to end this post.

Thanks for reading.
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Day 159: What Is A Hero?

April 21st 2016

Two days ago I said that I would discuss this notion I’ve been carrying around with me for the past five years about what a hero is; I intend to be very candid in this entry so if it perhaps doesn’t align with your views on what makes a hero a hero, or if you feel it, in any way, belittles the selfless acts of people you know…

Suck it up, or get out

Now that I’ve prefaced this with the ‘parental advisory’ warning, we can rip of the PG13 sticker and really take a swing at this bitch of a notion.


This is simple. To me a hero is a person who goes above and beyond what is expected of them, someone of outstanding moral character who will willingly place themselves in danger for the betterment of others. They’re not perfect, they’ve got their own set of vices but they always put the wants and needs of others before their own, they’re indomitable, adamant in their resolve and belief that: it is the duty of the strong to act as guardians for the weak and stand in the defence of those who cannot protect themselves.

Or put in other words:

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the will for persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. -Christopher Reeve
And
I believe a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people. -Maya Angelou

Simple really. It’s perhaps a bit cut and dry for some, but not for me.
To earn the mantle of ‘Hero’ necessitates the assiduous adherence to upstanding morals, the courage to push forwards despite being afraid and never, ever, giving up so long as there’s hope to help a single person.
I aspire to be a Hero!

Day 158: Steady Going

April 20th 2016

As far as days go, today was pretty standard fare. I woke up at half past twelve and went downstairs, cooked some Irish stew for breakfast come lunch and sat down to write my blog for a good hour with a nice pot of coffee; all in all it was a pretty standard morning.

The division logoOne of my friends is a supply teacher and has recently landed a job teaching at my local college, go foggy! The reason this is important is because he only worked until midday today and then he came online to play some games with me. Our gaming tipple as of recent is the same as it’s been for the past few days, The Division.

Those of you who are more acquainted with this archive of my day to day life are probably noticing a pattern as of late; the pattern that, when I get a new game, I’ll play that game to death.

You’re not wrong.

Playing this game almost all day certainly isn’t good for my productivity, but since I’ve been playing it I’ve had contact with friends I thought I might never speak to again, so it’s certainly good for my social life at least and, hell, me and Foggy are going out for a few drinks at the weekend too, so that’s a bonus as well.


 

Given the lateness of my waking, I skipped lunch, which isn’t good, I should be focused on eating three meals a day of decent quality, not just two big ones with everything rammed onto a plate. Still… I did have some tea and some cheese on crackers but that was more of a snack than anything else.

Following this I returned to the PC and talked through some things with my friend, erm… we’ll call him Dutch to protect the innocent; I’d had a rough day and he’s always been there to help me through the tough times, heh, glad to see that holds as true now as it did when I was sixteen and by the time we’d finished talking it was realistically time for me to go to bed. So I did.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more exciting.

Day 157: Musings

April 19th 2016

Over the past few days, and indeed today, I’ve done almost nothing but play The Division and, until I really sat down and thought about why I’ve been doing that, I didn’t really understand why, but now I do. Along side it being a game based on numbers and the fact that the games mechanics are stunningly refined and polished, it makes me feel like a hero.

The game makes me feel like a hero, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and that I’m making a difference, which couldn’t be farther from the truth regarding my own life right now. Even though I’m sleeping better, I’m steadily learning another language and I’m slowly, but surely, beating depression back one day at a time I just feel like I’m stagnating.

I’m not really going anywhere, which is only made more troublesome by the fact that my plans and aspirations, that have yet to take off, would make all the difference in both making me more mentally stable and furthering my future. What I’m trying to get at, in simplest terms is that:

It’s been over 150 days since I started this archive and I’ve not really gotten anything done.

The idea of starting this archive was, in and of itself, a scary notion for me. It’s been three years since I put anything out there for public viewing and that includes stories, art and yes blogging…

It was scary, but it was the right thing to do, an archive of every single day, is a good way to chart progression or regression; it’s just a shame that this little project of mine has gone a little of the rails, becoming more a sounding board for my thoughts than an actual archive. That’s not inherently a bad thing though, sometimes you can glean more about a persons current welfare and mental state from their thoughts than you can their actions, but it becomes more of an issue when it’s happening every day.

With that in mind, for future reference, I’ll write down here ‘what makes me tick’, what makes me so driven to become better and why, it’s just a shame that it’s not very pleasant…


What makes me tick?:

Put simply, I hate myself, that much is true. Over the years I’ve watched myself fall from being an overachieving student with a bright future and numerous interests and side projects into a lethargic, under-achieving coward who shuns friendship and has become afraid of the outside world.

The key word in that paragraph is ‘coward’; there are two kinds of people in this world I detest: betrayers and cowards. Being afraid is fine, everyone is afraid of something and if your fear overwhelms you and you feel compelled to run, that’s fine too, but when it’s not fine is when your fear overwhelms you so completely that you forsake your friends, you forsake people who are counting on you, who need you, just because you’re scared, that’s what cowards do! I’m not a coward…

Confucius said that: To better yourself for no other reason than to be a better person is an act of great wisdom and moral good.

I feel as though I’ve lied to myself, I once thought that I wanted to become better because of some innate drive to simply be a better person, and whilst my motives for ‘wanting’ to be a better person are altruistic (something I’ll talk about tomorrow once I’ve compiled my thoughts), the reason for what ‘made me’ start this personal quest in the first place are as such: I HATE myself and I can’t look myself in the mirror, everything I’ve become, I detest and I want it to stop… I want to help people and be ‘good enough’ to help them.

Because often, the ‘want’ and the ‘actual cause’ are different all together.
Sometimes, they just work towards a common goal.
I want to be a hero.

ztoh

Day 156: More The Division

April 18th 2016

And so another day was lost to…

the division

I can’t say I’m surprised in the least really and anyone who knows me well enough shouldn’t be surprised either; I always was the kind of kid who’d play with a toy until it broke- it’s good to see that’s continued into adulthood (if you can call it that). I purchased The Division two days ago, so I can see me playing it pretty heavily over the next few  days, especially since a good proportion of my friends have the game too.

During my adventures I stumbled across the edge of the dark zone, the area of the game world where PvP (Player vs Player) is enabled, and being the inquisitive sort I naturally had to stick my nose where it didn’t belog and take a look inside. It was hell…

The division logoIn my mind the dark zone would be an area that behaved much like Day Z, shoot on sight, no nonsense, no talking, just bullets. I was wrong. In actuality the dark zone was nothing like that, sure there were hostile players in there, but you get what it says on the tin, I knew that there would be, with that in mind, there are ‘vastly’ larger amounts of friendly souls willing to help you out.

The real problem with the area is that all of the enemies possess armour and they’re all crack shots; if you’re not in full cover you can expect at least one bullet to come and mess up your day. It did teach me that there are two cardinal ways that you can play in the dark zone and one is further divided into three subcategories.

You can either be a ‘Rogue Agent’ (Player killer) or a ‘True Agent’ (NPC killer) with the True agent being further subdivided into a build with purely offensive abilites, one with pureley defensive and one with half and half- I tend to favour the defensive build. The ability to ressurect fallen comrades from range is too valuable to pass up.

My friends seem to be grateful of the additional health I can provide as well but this wasn’t the only thing I did today. I woke up decently early, some time around ten, and then proceeded to fire up Memrise, I nailed down five or ten more words in japanese and ‘then’ swapped to The Division and spent my sunday relaxing with friends, so today was a good day all in all.

I hope to see you tomorrow.

Day 155: The Division

April 17th 2016

I got nothing done today and, unlike most days, that’s not such a bad thing. As you may have gathered from the title, the reason behind my lack of productivity was solely because of a newly acquired piece of software, more specifically: The Division.

The division logo.jpg

For those of you unaware of the most recent itteration from the (post humous) mind of Tom Clancy, The Division is set in New York after an outbreak of weaponised small pox, nicknamed ‘the dollar flu’, that was spread by contact with money on the busiest day of the financial year Black Friday…

The city rapidly declines into chaos under the harsh hand of a strict quarantine and the ever growing pressure of gangs roaming the streets; Out for blood and unafraid to kill anyone in the way of what they want it is these gangs which the story mostly focuses on. With the virus restricted to all but the most heavily contaminated areas and with the ‘good guys’ of New York taking a beating, The Division is activated.

The Division is an Elite group of highly trained operatives from all walks of life who, empowered by Executive Order 51, act as an autonomous group of peacekeepers that fight for the people of the city, rather than the ground on which it is built. You are one of these operatives.

I know why this game resonates so well with me; it affords me plenty of opportunities zero to hero2.jpg where I have access to what I call ‘Hero Moments’, these are the kind of moments in real life where you go above and beyone what anyone expects of you, sometimes placing yourself in danger because of a want to help others for nothing more than altruistic reasons. It’s sort of what I hope to become, a hero.

Of course I don’t hope for a setting so dramatic as The Division, but I do want to become a person with the moral character to put my own safety on the line fo others, at the moment I’m just not that, I’m weak and, if I’m being honest… sort of a coward…

I hate myself for it, I really do and I’m working to overcome that personal weakness, marshalling myself so that I wont runt and leave those who need help, trying to forge new strength from a desire to be better and I think that this game today has been a good sounding board for what… for ‘who’ I want to become. I’ll probably follow up these thoughts tomorrow, but for now…

Thank you for reading

Day 154:Memrise

April 16th 2016

Today I downloaded a new app onto my Ipad called Memrise; Memrise is an app that uses easy to solve puzzles and questions, and pairs them with spaced repetition theory. This theory works as thus.

memrise.png

Pretend that on day one I learned the Japanese word: Abunai, which translates to danger. After learning the word on day one I would be quizzed on it the day after, pending that I got the word right I would not see it for two days time. The same thing happens on day four, I see abunai and know that it means danger, so I don’t see it for a week but on the eleventh day abunai comes up again and I don’t remember it, if this happens the word goes all the way back to the beginning and the process starts again until you’ve mastered it.

I was skeptical at the start, like most people would be, because I was one of these kids growing up that never took to mnemonics or to games that would help me remember facts, I simply remembered it as easy as that. When faced with a new language however, one that’s logo-graphic and has over two thousand unique symbols to boot, I desperately needed some way to remember these words and this seems to be fitting the bill quite nicely.

From what the app is telling me I’ve mastered sixty words and I’m in the process of learning fifteen more, pending my ability to master fifteen words a day this should mean that I’n a hundred days I should have learned 1500 words! Quite a feat but I understand that there’s more to it than that; just like any language, knowing the words doesn’t mean that you can read, write or oven speak it with any degree of fluency.

Almost every language on earth has a different grammatical system and god knows Japanese does, to a westerner like myself it can appear strange putting ‘subjects’ at the end of statements or having to specify certain intricacies through different ‘particles’ and don’t get me started on putting words in ‘the wrong order’, but I’m sure the feeling is mutual from language to language.

With that in mind it’s good that I got Memrise when I did, Genki is doing a great job of teaching me about how to use the words, how to arrange them and alter their pronunciation as the tense they are used in alters but, it’s a but of a slow road for actually learning the words. the book relies on you to create mnemonics to remember them and offers little help (Memrise does the opposite however, so they compliment eachother nicely).

But that was the largest part of my day, so…

Thank you for reading.

Day 153: An I.O.U

April 15th 2016

Today didn’t go as expected, I was ‘supposed’ to go and visit Hannah this morning, apparently she didn’t feel too comfortable about answering some questions about her hand to a doctor that was visiting. I’m not sure why he was visiting though, as far as I was aware doctors haven’t done house calls since the eighties.

The operative word in that last bit is: supposed. I was due to be down at her house at around ten O’clock but following a late night I completely forgot and slept through it and, to make things worse, when she rang and called I gave some bull shit excuse out of awkwardness- how pathetic is that?

I know she’ll be reading this and Hannah’s not dumb by any means, heh she’s arguably more switched on when it comes to people than I am, but perhaps that’s just me trying to butter her up.

I’m sorry Han, I overslept and I’m sincerely sorry about the discomfort I caused you, it wont happen again.

To make amends I’m going to offer her an I.O.U; I hand them out to a lot of my friends whenever I cock something up and the house rules for them are as follows.

This I.O.U is valid for anything at any time (pending emergencies) and can be used once for a past transgression or slight.

Aside from that, today has been pretty quiet. I’ve mulled around the house, learned some Japanese and still have no idea on how to use the particle ‘no’. I’ve played some games, mostly DOTA 2 and Killing Floor 2 and generally relaxed; today’s been another scorcher so it’s nice to just unwind in the heat whilst it lasts.

Other than that, sadly I don’t really have much to tell you. I worked on my fiction and started looking at twenty four hour gyms that I could join but, aside from all of that today has been pretty quiet.

Thanks for reading.

Day 152: Productivity

April 14th 2016

I’m writing this late at night after a productive day, it looks as though the schedule, when coupled with a bit of effort from myself actually works and here’s why.

I woke up later than I should have at around eleven O’clock, I was already behind schedule it seemed, so not a very good start to the day. I opted to skip the shower and breakfast and dive straight into blogging, I released a post earlier in the day that accounted for yesterday though I’m still leagues behind on my posts. Today I’ve managed to write two blog posts, I really need to work on getting back up to date over the coming days ,but with an hours blogging to myself every day I can’t see that being too big of a task.

wine and patio
In my dreams

With todays post edited and up I decided to take a bit of a break and made my way up the garden to the patio; the sun was out and there wasn’t any wind at all, the perfect day for a little bit of sunbathing (and a nice glass of merlot to boot). I could have stayed like that for hours but in time I decided that there were better things I could do with a day like this- with that in mind I went for a bike ride.

The ride can’t have lasted more than thirty minutes in total but, being that I’m terribly unfit, it was enough for me. What really got my goat was mountain bikethat it wasn’t even that hard of a bike ride, there were some hills and rocky terrain but most of it was on the flat but it still made my heart pump- I thought you had to be fat to get tired this quickly. It doesn’t help that my bike is a mountain bike and it is ‘HEAVY’, it’s not built with biking down roads in mind but I would have imagined that I could have handled two miles without my legs turning to jelly!

Armed with a new idea of ust how unfit my body was I returned home and started a game of Rome II: Total War, I quite fancied a change and ended up spending about three hours playing as Sparta. It was fun, it’s interesting playing as a faction that is based around spear infantry as opposed to one that’s based around swords- the playstyle is ‘staggeringly’ different.

Following this, in the evening I decided to settle in for about two hours worth of study on japanese-languageJapanese; the first hour was spent on the app ‘Memrise’ learning some new words and phrases before I reverted to the old fashioned book method where I learned that I truly do not understand the use of the particle: no. It’s something I’ll be looking into over the next few days.

Now here I am at a quarter to midnight writing this blog, in truth I’ve been compiling second lifethese blogs and keeping them on a seven day haitus, hoping that I could return to them and edit them as needs require, but I’ve come to realise that what makes a daily blog good is that it’s current and no one wants to read about what you did last week! With that in mind I’ll be releasing two a day until I’m back up to date where I’ll continue to release them one day behind the current date, in the morning.

But for now I’m signing off, am going to go spend some time on Second Life and am going to write a few more paragraphs of my fanfiction. Goodnight and goodbye.

Thanks for reading.

 

Day 151: Revisiting Church

April 13th 2016

steepleToday I returned to church, it’s been in the back of my mind ever since I last attended; the ceremony means little to me, it holds no place in my heart of mind and to me the words in the bible are just that, words. There’s no holiness to them, they’re simply a collection of stories penned down in ink by men over the years. To me, there’s nothing divine about them and they mean little more to me than the story books I read as a child do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their beauty (all of Leviticus notwithstanding).

It occurred to me as I was sitting through the ceremony that over one billion people live by the edicts and rules set out within this tome, but out of those one billion people I would wager that less than a tenth have read the bible cover to cover. I have read the bible, along with the Koran and the three baskets of the Tripitaka: the Vinaya, the Sutras and the Abhidharma. This gives me a very unique view on religious teachings.

As you might expect I went for the post sermon theological discussion, I have very little else to do on my Wednesday mornings so I might as well do something interesting with them. The topics we discussed today however were pretty close to home for one of the members and, considering I know she reads this blog, I won’t discuss them out of respect for her.

I’m sorry if that makes this first part a little redundant.

Following Church I returned home; the weather has been taking a turn for the better as of recent, though I suppose it’s the right time of year for it, It’s been pretty chilly, and now in mid april I’m finally seeing the signs of summer approaching (or at the very least the signs of late spring). It’s nice.

forestI feel like I’m one of those people who suffers from seasonal depression, not all the time mind you since I adore winter when the ground is frosted over and there’s a bite in the air; I realistically just hate it when winter turns to spring, when it’s still ice-cold out but there’s no frost and all you have to remind you that you’re in seasonal limbo is harsh wind and rain- not fun!

Of course the adverse holds true too, when the sun is out and i get the pleasure of seeing greens and browns mixed in with the lighter hues of flowers and blossom it really gives me a lift; I suppose I’ve been riding that high today. Couple that with the fact that my fiction is now progressing pretty regularly and I’d call today a success!

Thank you for reading.
I hope to see you again tomorrow.