A Reflective Morning

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Well folks, it’s been another little while. No story this time though, my wanderings this morning covered topics like love, wandering, figuring out the puzzle of a Love. What is it exactly that makes people think about in terms of either a) Loving someone or b) Not loving someone?

To me, that concept seems overtly simplified. To me it seems like a far more intricately weaved puzzle than anything either A or B.

I am married, but married to a man who seems very distant emotionally but whom I cannot help but want to love, he’s a rogue, scoundrel and every bit the chivalrous gent, when he wants to be. But I’ll admit 😉 that’s not very often!

But there’s another side to him I can’t see, can’t feel, he keeps it very well buried, and no, I’m not talking affair here – it’s something he would never lower himself to doing without telling me, as I understand it from his personality anyway. After 10 years, you can’t help but feel you know these things, but I digress.

Nope, the puzzle I’m talking about is the parts sometimes we cannot face up to, truths we wish did not exist, or that we cover up. An emotional black hole that’s rent so many of us into so many tiny fragments that makes us hunt franticly for those little bits we’ve lost along the way.

Perhaps love is like that, two (or more) people hunting for their little fragments and  finding them, sometimes within each other.

The perfect relationship is perhaps not  at all like you see in the movies, perhaps it is far more nuanced than we typically give ourselves credit for.



NaNo NaNo

Thursday Oct 20 2011

A short while ago, I reported on my Twitter feed that I had been bludgeoned into joining the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short, it is a 50,000 novel challenge in November where the idea is to "Write First, Ask Questions Later" in order to get the creative juices flowing at full-pelt so to speak. Initially I was sceptical that such a challenge would be doable for me and, in fact, I’d only signed up on the website to find out more – but as it turned out, the act of signing up actually made me a participant.

I was orginally planning to just ignore the fact that I’m a participant this time around and just look around anyway, but the idea itself actually seeded in my mind. There was that story I was thinking of writing for the #FlashFriday event, and I really started to think about actually trying NaNo out. Oddly enough the thought is like a virus, floating around, multiplying at an exponential rate before it evolved for me into a full-blown obsession!

So the idea started bobbing about with the NaNo virus and itself mutated into something tangible. It even got to the stage that my fingers were itching to put the first words to paper(they still do 🙂 ) but I’m holding out for the onset of the NaNo virus 😉 thankfully, it is just a week away and I’ve managed to find some wings for my idea and even got down an outline, a plan and possibly a plot, that is, in my head. But I need to actually sit the fudge down and start bringing it to life.

Which leads me down the garden-path to the concept of NaNo write-ins, a regional breakdown of NaNo participants that would usually meet during November for their regular write-ins. Another viral idea!

So I’ve now joined the regional writing group for Edinburgh, in Scotland for those that don’t know and I’m looking forward to meeting the others from the region to see and hear what their thoughts are.

This question has been eating at me for some time, ever since I started studying
C G Jung, great guy maybe you’ve heard of him?

Maybe not, but your sure as heck to have heard of Sigmund Freud – yup that weird psychologist guy with a fascination for regression therapy and fixated on assuming that everyone who has a problem is sexually repressed. I have no idea why he has such recognition, but then its hard to argue he was one of the original pioneers in Psychotherapy and worth the recognition for that alone.

Which leads me the C G Jung, his work is used all over the world and not many know about it, perhaps you’ve heard of the infamous Polygraph test/lie detector that the Americans sometimes use on people charged with crime? or indeed the words Extrovert, Introvert and Psyche?

Well, these were established by Jung. The polygraph test is based upon the original word-association test used by psychologists today to ascertain where a particular psychological problem exists, based upon the time you take to respond to each word in kind.

But, I do digress a little from my topic – I am writing from the reading halls of The National Library of Scotland with “The Living Symbol” by Gerhard Adler, and “The Psychology of the Unconscious” by C G Jung. These are texts I’m reading in order to launch myself into the knowledge of psychology.

You might then ask, “What course are you studying?” and, the rather shocking answer, is that I’m not. This study is on my own initiative and follows my heart and it all started with one small book, “An Extremely Short Introduction to Jung” by Anthony Stevens, which I read from cover to cover whilst I was studying an Introduction to Person-Centered Counselling at college, which has now completed.

From there, I discovered a veritable Bread-Crumb trail of further reading, which started with the most widely quoted book in the introduction, “Memories, Dreams Reflections” by C G Jung. Now as I’m not working at the moment, I snatched the opportunity to register at the library, and get that book. Again, I’ve read it cover-to-cover and following the trail again.

Which led me to consider the topic of the blogpost, How Often Do We ask what we are looking for?

In itself that question seems fairly simple and easy to answer, but then I considered the much deeper meaning it implies, both in terms of our physical reality and our mental reality. The truth of the matter is that I don’t think we really do in life. We do what is required of us to survive in today’s world, and do what is expected of us in society, often at the expense of our inner-selves. When was the last time, for example, that you listened to that little child’s voice inside that says “Mummy, I want to draw”, “I want to write”, “Tell me a story.”, “What’s that?” all fairly simple questions but have such open ended connotations. Very often we are more used to hearing them from our own children than that of our inner-selves.

Food for thought then, until our next blog post which I will try to have soon, more about my colourful journey’s of late.

Recently, my husband dug out his old Amplifier and Record Player (Turntable) and set it up once more. The Turntable is a Garrard SP25 Mk III and the amp is a NAD 3020B both apparantly were the upper end of the budget market in the 1970’s.

Don’t let the word ‘Budget’ put you off, they still beat the socks of anything we might call ‘Budget’ or ‘Value’ today, heck even the NAD 3020B still beats some of the most expensive equipment available today.

I was sceptical at first, having not myself heard a vinyl record in a very long time (hey, its old hat, right? old and not worth the time) until that was I heard a record being played.

The record itself was Neil Diamond’s The Jazz Singer album, it is the soundtrack to the classic film of the same name.

Naturally, being the curious cat I am, I decided a little impromptu comparison would be interesting to carry out between the digital version of some of the album tracks I had on my computer. The first thing I noted about the digital tracks, was the volume of them (both aurally and visually in the waveform) were incredibly high indicating some sort of Dynamic compression was employed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression) which basically means that the audio waveform has been processed to ensure that all high volume levels of the track waveform are hovering around the outer limits of the range acceptable for the audio production. This was great for loudness but not so much for the quality and ‘feel’ to the music and the compression makes it sound almost metallic. The digital version was sharp and clinically clear with little depth to the environment being portrayed in the music.

With the vinyl versions of the tracks, instantly you note the more detailed nuances of the singer and the instruments without very loud or very quiet segments. The track feels more balanced and you get a sense of exactly how the audio should have sounded in the studio. The reason for this is in fact that the records hold an exact mirror copy of the original waveform produced by the artists at the time of recording, essentially the audio is natural and unprocessed analogue signals – just like you would hear if I were actually speaking to you now. Digital was applauded for it’s bright, clear sound but it came at a cost of depth and ‘feeling’ of the track and since the audio in a Digital format such as a CD or MP3 track, the natural analogue sound has been ‘approximated’ – from that you can read ‘best guess’.

Initially intrigued by the amazing difference between the two versions of the songs, I started researching – and discovered something rather surprising in today’s digital world, Vinyl is making a big comeback in the face of falling CD sales (http://iamalaser.com/2009/05/01/vinyls-here-and-she-wants-you-back/) largely, this is due to the MP3 / Itunes download market getting rid of the need to carry a disk with you. Why? Well the simplest answer(audio quality aside) is probably two-fold, on one hand people seem to be wanting to build their home collections up again and the mediums used no longer need to be small or portable. Secondly, there is no real way to physically recreate or copy a vinyl disk that is widely available to consumers. This fact will only help the record labels regain a hold on the music market, which, in itself has been slipping due to the Itunes generation of legally and illegally downloaded music.

The discoveries I have made these last few days have really kicked my inner Audiophile back into the stream of concious thought and have me fascinated with audio once more, I used to have an interest in the audio engineering aspect of technology when I was in school and that was before I had any sort of income to make use of in pursuit of the hobby. Now though, I’m married and working I am starting to stare with wide-eyed curiosity once more at the wonderful world of Audio Tech.

Its been over a week since my last blog post *slaps own hand* sorry about that, not sure if anyone actually reads it – but sorry anyway!
I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and it has almost caused some health issues. Let me explain, I’d like to talk a little about ‘Stress Biology’ now it is directly related to the world we live in today. Where we move less and have easy ways of getting almost anything we need, I’m not talking fat lazy couch potatoes here, that’s the extremes of an easy life. I’m talking just the regular people, not overweight just a little more idle than we would have been say in the stone age.

Stress is a natural human cycle, its been around since we started walking on the earth, it’s the thing that gives us the ‘fight or flight’ strength and speed to respond to life/death situations. In today’s world however, there are relatively few ‘life/death’ situations and our bodies don’t know the difference. Society’s expectations on each of us is enough to evoke the same feelings though, we must reach a deadline, our work will be under a magnifying glass, our money can’t meet the bills etc. our body’s response to the worry and anxiety following any similar feelings however is the same as it was when we were running away from that big animal that wanted us for dinner, and releases the Adrenaline needed for that extra strength and speed.

The sharp end of the sword however, is that we are not in a situation in today’s world where we need the Adrenaline very often and a side-effect of the stuff if it sits too long in the muscles is that it will cause the muscles to stiffen, like a board. The result of that is that our heart then has difficulty pumping the blood to where it needs to be and that, in turn causes the heart to beat faster pumping more blood under higher pressure and the build up in the already-stiff muscles causes pain.

It’s a rather scary feeling, and I can tell you that from experience – I felt that something was wrong that my heart was in trouble for some reason. If it happens, the best thing to do is exercise to get rid of the Adrenaline and do some deep relaxing(meditate) to ease the pain and the stress. I did that and it helped, I also slept an inordinate amount of time at the weekend, which put my writing attempts to the back wing again.

Twitter …. and Spam

Saturday Jun 13 2009

So now its been over a month since I started my new Twitter account and even since I updated this thing 😉 time for that to change!

I’ve had lots of fun with Twitter 🙂
I think you really need some followers to really enjoy it though, and better yet, followers who like what you say and relate to it. The best way to get that is to keep your profile active and updated regularly.

Then people who search for certain things like, for example, ‘podcasting’, ‘writing’ or ‘games’ will see your profile and may follow you after seing what you have to say about those subjects. The use of the ‘followfriday’ hashtag is good in some ways, but wouldn’t really draw many who might actually be interested in what you say.

I’ve managed to keep my profile semi-active, I don’t tweet every day but do try to at least once in two and more at the weekends. As a result of that, I’ve had a fairly steady amount of new followers, almost one every week or so in addition to the first dozen or so followers I received when I first started, thanks to Tee Morris(see previous post).

Of course, as a nasty side effect from keeping your profile up to date is that you will also get what I call Spam followers – where the persons/machines that have decided to follow you have nothing better to do than follow others so that people will see random links related to porn/sales or other some such nonsense.

The psychology behind it is quite simple, if you follow someone with relaively few followes(aka the ‘normal’ twitter user) the first thing you’re likely to do is check their profile – and ‘voila the spammer has instant eyes looking at the links they populate their entire feed with.

It wouldn’t work for those ‘super’ twitter users who have perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of followers (read ‘celebrity’ users) – in such cases the spam follow is useless as this user has so many followers they simply cannot keep up and typically will just ignore any new follows.

A quick glance at any new followers profile will usually tell you if they’re a real person or someone just hammering links, quite simply you’ll see more of the conversational type updates including a few @replies to people, so be careful who you choose to follow :).

Okay, so I joined the masses of the maritally joined on the 3rd Oct, the Wedding itself went really well actually, surprisingly well – usually, there will be something that goes wrong. Not on that day though 🙂 Before you go harping on about having a positive outlook on life, consider that having such a sceptical approach to things allows you to be pleasantly surprised when things go well, rather than unpleasantly disappointed when things didn’t go as well as you’d hoped.

So, having been married almost 2 weeks now I can tell you nothing changed – hehe life carries on as it did before we were married, very much as expected really – he and I had been living together for a year and had no arguments or serious troubles at all.

Some people asked if I was excited before the day, well I wasn’t really. It was one of those situations where you don’t know what to feel/expect or think. I knew inside we’d be fine, marriage was just the final tying of the knot, kind of like putting the last piece of our jigsaw in the middle. The picture as a whole was largely there and recognised as the final stage, that last piece just confirmed it.

So is it a Blessing, or a Curse? Well – to be honest it’s early days 🙂 I can’t tell you it’s the greatest thing since fire and a cooked meal nor can I tell you it’s the worst thing since the meteor that wiped out the Dinosaurs. All I can tell you, is that the trust between James and I is stronger than it ever was before, we both know we’re now married and have a true and unyielding commitment to each other. That, in itself, eases some of the points where our relationship seemed a little strained – I talk more of James in this respect, he’s never been one to solidly plant his feet until he knows exactly where to plant them and that it would be safe. His overprotection of his feelings often led to my feeling cold, but never unloved.

That’s not exactly the clearest explanation, but certainly the one that best describes some of the situations we were in before. Now that we’re married – that aspect seems to have all but eroded away.