Friday, August 04, 2006

Am I Having Fun Yet?

Question 1: Is it really a week since I blogged last?

Question 2: Where would we be without rhetorical questions?

Yesterday, Joanne celebrated her 49th birthday. Unfortunately, both Jenny and I miscalculated how long it would take for the presents we’d bought online to reach this rocky outpost in the Atlantic and for that reason she still hasn’t had any gifts. Poor Joanne! Maybe we’ll get a chance to make up for things at the weekend.

This has been a tired week. Basically, I’ve been going about in a bit of a daze. Oh, I’m not down or anything. I’m still bugged by a bit of pain in my left knee so I haven’t resumed running yet – again, maybe in a day or two – so I’ve been at a bit of a loose end. All I’ve really done this week was visit Bruce on Tuesday night for a little bit of a play on the guitars.

As I was leaving Bruce’s place we had an short conversation which can be summarised thus:

Gordon: I have a problem with my self confidence. If someone tells me they think I’m a good singer I accept it there and then but then afterwards I’m sure they’re only being nice to me.

Bruce: Yes, so that when someone tells you they like you, you’ll eventually convince yourself that what they’re actually saying is ‘you’re crap’.

G: So … next time someone tells us the band is really good, we say - ?

B: - Are you saying we’re crap?

The rather odd flip side of this is that whenever people tell me they thought something I’ve done was rubbish I always take that at face value. Strange that. I’m one of those people who always wants to think the worst about himself. I know I’m not alone in this. I guess I’m just a sensitive soul. Then again perhaps I need therapy.

People tend to think I know all about computers, their intricacies, what to do when something goes wrong with them … I don’t. This myth got about because people assume that because I used to have a successful website that I must know the technicalities inside out. Let me put it this way: I drive a car but I only have a vague idea of what’s happening under the bonnet.

One thing is true: I spend a lot of time either on the computer, downloading stuff to my computer, listening to music on my computer and so on. But when I say ‘I spend a lot of time’ what I really mean is that I spend probably about the same amount of time at the computer as another person might spend watching the television.

For the life of me I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a letter to a friend, put it in an envelope, bought and stamp and posted it. All my written communication with friends happens through the computer. I’ve met people who actually think this is awful but I’m not sure why. Maybe they’re Luddites or they think and email lacks value somehow.

I download a lot of podcasts from the internet, mostly amateur programmes on topics which are dear to me: running and other endurance sports, for instance, or general discussion programmes. I’m a real radio fan and enjoy loads of spoken word broadcasts, particularly the type offered on Radio 4 and Radio 5 but podcasts allow me to zero in exactly on topics which interest me. And the great thing about podcasting is that you can set up your computer to automatically download the latest edition of the programme to your computer.

I’ve ‘ripped’ most of my favourite music in to my laptop. Currently I have about 100 hours of music stored in Mp3 format. This means that when I want to take some music with me on a run or a bike run I just copy the music file in to my Mp3 player.

Then of course there is the internet. I do a lot of shopping on the ‘net but only on sites which are tried and trusted. I’m glad to report that to date I have never had any bad experiences with online shopping. I also keep up to date with news topics I am keen on through Google alerts as well as broadening my mind by having what is undoubtedly the world’s greatest educational resource at my finger tips. That’s not to say that you can believe everything you read on the internet. At least there are so many resources you can pull together when doing any kind of research that you should be able to determine what is true and what isn’t.

Amazingly, someone somewhere is sure to have some kind of an opinion on almost anything you care to be interested in, no matter how bizarre.

A website I’ve been visiting a lot recently is called We Feel Fine is a site/programme which trawls blogs like this and looks for complete sentences which contain the words ‘I feel’ or ‘I am feeling’. Once you’ve loaded up the programme hundreds of dots begin to swirl about the screen and when you click on one of these a blogger’s thoughts will appear on the screen. You will be told when the comment was made (always within the last couple of hours) and where.

For some reason, every time I click on one of the swirling dots I get a statement or comment which somehow strikes me as profound. Probably, if I knew the context of the comments this would not be the case. Check it out for yourself.

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