In the firing squad when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Writing”

Too Much Thinking

Over the Festering Season, I watched (yet again) Die Hard.  I still like it as a film, even though it is barmy.

But something occurred to me this time that hadn’t before. And that’s this…

Hans Gruber’s plan is absolutely reliant on the FBI turning off the power for the Nakatomi Plaza, in order to get through the final lock.

The FBI are there only because John McClane has called the police, and everything has escalated from that point.


What would the plan have been, if the entire takedown of the Nakatomi Building had worked perfectly? No word out, no hostage situation, nothing – so the police and FBI would’ve known nothing at all.

How would that’ve worked, without that reliance on their plan being messed up, and a rogue operative like John McClane being able to call the police and inform them of the situation?


And yes, I know, I think about this kind of thing way too much. I can’t help myself.

2014-15 Summing Up

This time last year, I made a list of things I wanted to do in the coming year.

So how have I done? Actually, not badly at all.  (The initial goals are in bold, with the results in colour afterwards)

  • Weigh LessKind of. It’s fair to say, this has had its ups and downs. Over the course of the year, I put back on some of the weight I’d lost, and then lost it again. With more regular attendance at the gym, I’ve also changed shape, lost a noticeable amount of fat, but replaced it with a similar weight of muscle, so I’ve maintained roughly the same weight throughout the last six months, despite looking (and feeling) fitter and lighter. It’s annoying, but successful in a way.
  • Write MoreLess successful. I’ve completed a couple of pieces, and got ideas for others. So I guess I’ve written more – and been doing more here – but still, it’s not quite what I’d hoped/planned for.
  • IAM TestKinda. I’ve booked it in, but it’s not happened yet. I’ll write more about that when it does.
  • Ideas for my own businessSuccessful. In the last six months I’ve changed to doing the contract through my own limited company, and dealing with my own accounts and payroll etc. – which is definitely a good step in the right direction. I’ve also got more/better ideas and goals for the coming year, and what the plans will be.
  • Build The FinancesSuccessful. It’s not been perfect. There have been unexpected expenses like the car’s turbo needing replacement, and a few other things along the way. There’s also been that nasty habit of getting out and having a life – some of which hasn’t been super-cheap.
    But all told, I’m coming out of the year in a far better position than I went into it. Not as well as I could have come out of it, but there we go – my choice, my decision, and it’s still a good position to be in.

So all told, it’s been a pretty good year. Most of the plans have borne fruit, or are at least showing growth and promise for the coming year.  Frankly, I can live with that as a set of results.


Stasis – At Peace

While I was wandering around London last weekend, I had the time to do some thinking about the whole ‘not feeling the need to move on’ thing, which was much-needed.

There’s a lot of reasons for not feeling the need to move on at the moment, as I’ve written about already. I won’t bother with all those again, because this one is actually something else, something I hadn’t really looked into massively.

Basically, at the moment I’m really quite content with life and how it’s shaping up.

That has it’s good and bad aspects, for sure. Obviously it’s good that I’m content, that I’m at peace with things, and not yearning for change. It’s not something I’m massively familiar with, it’s all quite new, but I’m not going to complain.

On the downside, it also means I’m not feeling a huge level of urgency about things – certainly not for moving, but also with life in general. It’s kind-of all steady at the moment, which is fine for the time being. I don’t know that I want it to stay like that long-term though.

I am a lot less angry and irritable, though – and that’s primarily a good thing. I’ve noticed, looking back, how much D4D™ has changed over that time, looking back to when I started vs now. Life’s a lot calmer – but it’s also quite a lot duller.

Sure, people still piss me off. Life still pisses me off. But it seems (at the moment) to wash off again pretty quickly. I don’t feel the need to rant, to vent things out when I do get pissed off. (Well, not as much, anyway) But that also makes D4D™ less ranty, less annoyed, and somehow less amusing – both for me, and for anyone else still reading this rubbish.

It also goes some way to explaining (I realised) why I’m having problems getting going on some of the writing ideas. I’m not angry enough, not needing to vent out onto keyboard/paper. I need to find another way to do things, which may take time. We’ll see.

All told it’s a good thing, a sign of positive change – but it’s also going to have some knock-on effects, requiring some though and some further changes. That’ll take some time, and some sounding out of options. But it’s all good, and all entertaining.


From this week’s New Statesman, guest-edited by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer (and read out by Neil at their event on Thursday, which I went to)

I believe that it is difficult to kill an idea, because ideas are invisible and contagious, and they move fast.

I believe that you can set your own ideas against ideas you dislike. That you should be free to argue, explain, clarify, debate, offend, insult, rage, mock, sing, dramatise and deny.

I do not believe that burning, murdering, exploding people, smashing their heads with rocks (to let the bad ideas out), drowning them or even defeating them will work to contain ideas you do not like. Ideas spring up where you do not expect them, like weeds, and are as difficult to control.

I believe that repressing ideas spreads ideas.

I believe that people and books and newspapers are containers for ideas, but that burning the people will be as unsuccessful as firebombing the newspaper archives. It is already too late. It is always too late. The ideas are out, hiding behind people’s eyes, waiting in their thoughts. They can be whispered. They can be written on walls in the dead of night. They can be drawn.

I believe that ideas do not have to be right to exist.

I believe you have every right to be perfectly certain that images of god or prophet or man are sacred and undefilable, just as I have the right to be certain of the sacredness of speech, of the sanctity of the right to mock, comment, to argue and to utter.

I believe I have the right to think and say the wrong things. I believe your remedy for that should be to argue with me or to ignore me, and that I should have the same remedy for the wrong things that you think.

I believe that you have the absolute right to think things that I find offensive, stupid, preposterous or dangerous, and that you have the right to speak, write, or distribute these things, and that I do not have the right to kill you, maim you, hurt you, or take away your liberty or property because I find your ideas threatening or insulting or downright disgusting. You probably think my ideas are pretty vile, too.

I believe that in the battle between guns and ideas, ideas will, eventually, win.

Because the ideas are invisible, and they linger, and, sometimes, they are even true.

Eppur si muove: and yet it moves.

©Neil Gaiman / New Statesman 2015

Says it all far better than I can.  Stored here for posterity, and further referencing as time goes on.

Rationalising Things

Over the years, I’ve had a number of random ideas, and then bought up the relevant domain names.  I’ve done the same with business concepts, and also several writing ideas and the like.

When all’s said and done, that means I’m left with a whole bundle of websites and domains I don’t use – or (worse) that I don’t update, becoming the ‘net equivalent of ghost towns and cemeteries. They’re all started with good intentions, of course – but spreading myself over that many sites just isn’t going to happen.  I feel stupidly guilty when I remember one of them, and realise it hasn’t been updated in a year or more.

So over the rest of this year, I’m going to give up some of them completely, merge others, and really just rationalise things into a shape and state I can manage and maintain. Hopefully that’ll then give me some of the headspace I need – or at least reduce the guilt levels a bit – and I’ll see what progress can then be made.

D4D™ will, of course, survive the cull – as will the sites for my writing, and company.   Other than that, there’s a couple I’ll keep because I use them for other things, but over the next year there’s definitely going to be a reduction in the sites and domains I own and maintain.

Single Life

Just a small filler post for the moment – others in the process of being conceived/written – but it’s something I’ve been bouncing round in my head for a while, so what the hell.

This piece in Standard Magazine by Helen Walmsley-Johnson on Single Life sums up so much of what’s in my own head and heart, I just wanted to bookmark it here.

What Kind Of Year Will It Be?

As regular readers know, I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. It’s partly my knee-jerk response to the whole “Everyone else is doing it” ethos, which means I won’t. But also New Year is just an arbitrary day for making plans – and I tend to do it from birthday to birthday, for no better reason than that it’s an easy day to remember as a start/finish date.

Anyway, with that said I do have plans for 2015. Sometimes plans work better on a calendar year instead of birthday-to-birthday – although there’s also a couple of ideas and plans this time that would also work better to a fiscal year, April to March. But for the sake of argument I’ll stick (for now) to my usual resolution/plan structure, while also acknowledging the whole 2015 thing.

What I won’t do is go into reams of details – I know what I want to do, and I’ve got most of it written down in to-do lists and the like – but it can all be summed up in four key points, which can be summarised as:

  • Create More – includes writing, photography, and web-based work/business plans
  • Do More – includes activities, day trips, longer weekends, and perhaps even a holiday or two.
  • Save More – working to rebuild finances, build up some backup savings, and restore the credit score.
  • Weigh Less – the goal is to lose another two stone in 2015, which is what I also lost in 2014. So it’s feasible.

And that’s “it”. Obviously there’s details, sub-plans and sub-goals in there as well, but they’re the key points. They’ll do me for now.

I’m hoping that 2015 will continue in the positive direction that started in the last quarter of 2014.  I’m quite sure there’ll be some hiccoughs and roadbumps along the way – that’s realism rather than cynicism, my life is never a truly smooth process – but with any luck at all it’ll be a positive year, and lots will get done.

And if not, if things go wrong, then I’ll just do what I can, and keep on in the same way as I had to with 2014.

But I do hope that 2015 is positive and constructive. That’s the intention, at least. But we’ll see.

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