Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Today the cat woke me up early, by sitting on my chest and purring at me until I was roused from my slumbers. However, a feline alarm clock isn't such a wonderful thing, because once I'd shuffled various body parts around and rolled over, the cat got up and wandered off, and I fell back to sleep for another three hours.

Since we got back from Malaysia, I'd been rather missing the constant rain, so it was fortunate that it's been chucking it down all day in Hong Kong. When I eventually surfaced at half way through the morning, I took one look at the grey mist and wished I'd stayed in bed. But I had all sorts of important things to do today, not least rearranging my sock drawer and trying to delete all the blurry photos I have on my computer's hard disc.

This second task is actually harder than the first (and I have a lot of socks). I was horrified to find how many out of focus, poorly composed or just plain incomprehensible photos I've been dragging around the world in digital form in the past four years. There is no reason I can think of why I would have a dozen pictures of Japanese railway station platforms, for example. Unless I was trying to disprove the Western idea that Japan is a Zen Buddhist society full of minimalist beauty, rather than (in rural transport areas) a selection of slightly shabby concrete buildings and rather more advertising hoardings than is strictly necessary.

Writing that makes it sound as though I'd actually discovered some things that were at least conceptually interesting, but I'm sad to say that was not the case: even their banality was rather mediocre. After making short work of 2006 and 2007, I reached the 4,500 photos I have from 2008, and was too scared to carry on for fear of what I might find. Or rather, to find that I wasn't as good as I remembered.

Still, in the afternoon things took a stranger turn, when I decided to do something about my procrastinatory tendencies and downloaded a recording from the internet of a class that was advertised as improving your time management and productivity.

I didn't realise until I started listening to it that it was going to be an hour and a half of a woman talking very slowly, which struck me as rather ironic. They could have got me to narrate it at twice the speed and thus save everyone 45 minutes. There were some helpful points in there (don't multi-task, don't spend time on activities that are not valuable, don't try to relax from your job of staring at a computer screen by staring at other things on a computer screen) but part of me felt this was stuff that I already knew, and that I didn't need to be told.

Except I did need to be told, because I was uploading photographs/checking my bank balance/setting up an affiliate store on Amazon whilst I was meant to be paying attention to the time management podcast. Oh, how I sabotage myself.

The thing that stuck with me was the nurturing of beneficial habits: a bit like me trying to improve my writing by writing every day, they suggest that you attempt to do something every day for 4 weeks, after which point it will just be something that you do, rather than something you have to force yourself to do. Many examples were things like getting up at 5am to do yoga, which would be a lovely habit if I hadn't already prioritised not getting up at 5am so I can have some more sleep, but I'm going to see if I can at least do my ten minutes of exercise first thing in the morning, rather than moo at the computer like a confused cow, although when there's so much of the Internet that needs to be read, that is a case of conflicting priorities. But still, do the things you want to do little and often, and gradually do them more and often. Don't try to run a marathon tomorrow without any training, and so on.

But pah! The rational approach is the approach of the coward! Real men don't eat quiche, they throw themselves into things at full speed, and make an interesting splatter patten. So I took myself to the gym for the first time in two weeks, and ran until I felt unhappy, and then lifted some weights until I felt unhappier.

This is something of an exaggeration. I did a few exercises, and then thought there was a big Indian guy looking at me and saying things, and wasn't sure if we were going to have a fight there and then, until I realised that he was actually on the phone. Damn these paranoic hallucinations.

Thusly, nothing much really happened today, although I did watch Ninja Assassins, and immediately afterwards wished I hadn't. So I wonder what next week will bring


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