reprioritising

Last night I sat down at the piano for the first time in about 1-2 months. Before that, I had been practising less and less due to a combination of being busy with other things and being lazy. Last night I decided that I had to recommit.

I’m certainly not at the stage of being able to return to piano after a long absence and pick it up again easily. Indeed, I’m not sure that I’ll ever get to that stage, since I don’t have a natural aptitude for music, but I’ll be darned if I don’t try. I hadn’t even looked at sheet music in these last several weeks, so I had to start from the start, playing scales to become reacquainted with the notes.

What I realised last night — or re-realised, because this is certainly nothing new — is that I need to be more consistent with my piano practice if I want to improve and be able to play with any level of proficiency. It’s a thought that has been gnawing away at me for a while, but I’ve been sweeping it under the proverbial rug instead of doing something about it.

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disgruntled workers

A thought occurred to me earlier in the week: You can not get rid of disgruntled workers.

This could be taken two ways. The first, perhaps more obvious, is that no matter what employees come and go from a workplace, you will always have disgruntled workers. That is, there will always be people who are unhappy with the work and/or the workplace. It almost seems part of human nature to be constantly discontent at something (well, for some people, anyway).

As a colleague of mine once said, everyone wants the money, but no one wants to do the work. (He was exaggerating and oversimplifying, of course.)

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R&R

I had a bout of food poisoning this week, and I feel like I’m still recovering, so I’m going to take it easy this week-end. On the worst day, I was basically in bed, asleep, for most of the day, except when I got up to have meals, and go to the bathroom, shower, etc. 

Today I’m feeling much better than that, but I think it’s best to not move more than I have to. Unfortunately, housework is unavoidable, and maybe a bit of gardening won’t hurt, but there’ll be nothing more adventurous than that.

Oh, except saving the galaxy.

Not literally (unless you can count, in some roundabout way, my reduction in activity having some kind of reduced impact on the environment, which results in some kind of ripple effect that could, in combination with the inactivity of other recluses, somehow contribute to the salvation of the galaxy. But I don’t think that would really be “saving” it — only minutely slowing the downward spiral)

Umm, anyway, not literally, just virtually in a game called Mass Effect.

The game is like a lesson in history and astronomy, as well as diplomacy, cartography, languages and problem solving. Not to mention the coordination required to drive the “Mako”.

Yes, I know I said I was going to take it easy, but despite all the cognitive processing required to play this game, it is a lot of fun (or perhaps it is precisely because of all the thinking involved).

Anyway, much to do (or not do), so I won’t linger here any longer. 

the outsider

Last week I finished reading The Outsider by Albert Camus. It’s quite a short novel (technically a novella?) but it took me a while to finish because I was reading it only occasionally when taking a break from War and Peace, or when I needed to take a book with me somewhere, and obviously W&P is too big to lug around (and I never got around to getting an e-book version of it).

I don’t often go for short books like this one — possibly because when I was a kid and progressed to longer chapter books, I formed in my mind the notion of the “ideal” size of a book, and constantly wanted to flex my reading muscles by tackling longer and longer novels. Possibly also I’ve had some bad experiences with novellas that left me feeling like it was a bit pointless. Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t enjoy Catcher in the Rye at all, and I only have a vague memory of reading other novellas because I guess they just weren’t all that memorable.

But I’ve had The Outsider recommended to me a few times before, so I had to give it a go. Having finished it, I completely understand why people think this is the kind of story that I would like — it’s very thought-provoking, and is written in a very unique way, unlike anything else I’d read before.

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discarded and decayed

It’s been a bit of an odd day. I was going to write about something quite different, but the way the day has turned out has got me feeling like writing about it.

About a month ago, I got a flat tyre on my bike. It had happened before, and DL helped me replace the inner tube, and it was all good for several rides before it went flat again. It was a bit unusual because I had cycled in to work with no problems. I locked my bike up in the allocated cage in the car park, and didn’t notice anything amiss. Yet, when I returned to my bike later that day, the front tyre was completely flat, and couldn’t be inflated.

Annoying, yes, but not a major problem. I caught the train home that day, and figured I could replace the inner tube again — perhaps there was a tiny rock or bit of glass lodged inside the rim, and it would be a simple fix. However, week-end after week-end passed, and it was either raining (I don’t have enough space in the garage to do work on the bike inside), or I was too busy/tired (or both). So I put it off, and ignored it, and thought about it, but didn’t do anything.

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war, peace and philosophy

This week I got up to Volume III, Part II in War and Peace, and at the start of this section, Tolstoy enters into a bit of philosophising — or I should say re-enters, as he sort of went over this in an earlier section. In this part of the novel, Napoleon is invading Russia. His army is far superior to that of the Russians, which appears to be in comparative disarray as they are lacking a strong leader.

Tolstoy posits that everyone involved in that war believed they were acting for themselves, according to their own will, but, in reality, they were all “involuntary instruments of history”. In an earlier part of the novel (I forget where, and the book is much too big to go searching for this one particular chapter), Tolstoy wrote something about the great cascade of events that must take place for a war to start, and claims that it cannot be pinned on any one event or person.

If I remember correctly, the main gist of it was that no matter who insults who, or who wants to go conquesting where, there cannot be a war if great masses of people don’t enlist to become soldiers, and there is a great deal that must happen to lead to that.

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