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Spinner


So I bought a fidget spinner the other day. I’m spinning it periodically while I write this post.

I guess I wanted to know what all the fuss is about. There is something fun about it spinning. I know that that is a very simplistic statement – but, as General Hammond once said, ‘Spinning is so much cooler than not spinning.’

As to whether it is actually going to beneficial to me in some way… to be honest I’m not completely sure. I certainly think that there is something about its simplicity that I appreciate.

It is so rare today to have simplicity. Games, tv shows, books, get so complicated. I have been working on a novel for so long now and the reason is that, while I think I know where it is going, it is perphaps too complex. So I am putting it aside for a while and focusing on simpler things.

If only for a little while.

‘I’m the General. I want it to spin.’

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‘Chevron seven – also lit up.’

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Books

At the beginning of the year I set myself the task of reading 47 books this year. I have only read 19 – and so I am quite far behind. I suppose you could say I am a little liberal with my definition of ‘reading’ –pexels-photo-247899 as I count audio books as a part of that target.

Nevertheless even if listening to the book rather than reading it I am still experiencing the story so I don’t see it as being all that different.

Audio books can be something of a minefield though. Sometimes I play the sample and realise that I don’t want to hear another word out of that person.

And other readers of course are absolutely magnificent – like Brian Blessed reading his autobiography – and when it comes to autobiographies who else would you want to read it except for the person about whom it is written.

I may be able to reach my target this year. It just means reading a few smaller books. I don’t see that as cheating. After all books range in size from something relatively small like Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – to huge words like War and Peace. No prizes for guessing which of those I have read.

So as well as reading many proper novels there will be a few short stories thrown in there too.

Reading is some thing I think everyone should do – and it always surprises me when I discover people who don’t read.

Currently I am listening to Thunderbird by Chuck Wendig – and reading 2001 a space odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

Happy reading.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nitpicking and Reviewing

I like to watch television shows analytically. pexels-photo-143714 I enjoy the process of seeing more than what is there. Some people, citation needed, have the attitude of: ‘It’s a TV show you’re thinking too much.’ – or words to that effect.

I know fiction is fiction. Yes here at Unstable Orbit – we state the obvious! I don’t know who we is!

What I mean is I know that fiction isn’t something that matters in the grand scheme of things but analysing it is fun to me. Again some people say that picking it apart ruins the fun. I disagree.

For a few years I have been watching SFdebris. He does reviews of various TV shows, with Star Trek being his flagship show, and I find these reviews fascinating. He has wonderful insights into what works and, more interestingly, what doesn’t work.

When something doesn’t work in fiction it is interesting to discuss it – and also what could have been done differently. What is most infuriating is when an episode has a flaw but also an easy fix.

I have been thinking for a while of doing reviews on this site. If I did I would probably start with Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager is an interesting series to discuss because, while it isn’t actually bad, it could have been so much more.

I have also been watching ruminations by a You Tuber called Lorerunner. I have been watching his reviews of Voyager too and Babylon 5. Since he is a big fan of Babylon 5 it is very easy to gush over the series. There is still a lot to say about a, for lack of a better word, good series but it is more fun to talk about a flawed series.

Speaking of Babylon 5 reviewing like this is what Captain Sheridan would probably call ‘Armchair quarterbacking’. Although, unlike the strict interpretation of that phrase, I actually have some writing experience.

Experience is a curse sometimes because you can see the gap in fiction and reality. Does that make sense? Let’s say you’re a cellist. If a character is playing the cello you would immediately know that it wasn’t real.
Similarly with writing I can’t turn off my brain so I will  Woman Playing the Violoncello notice when things go wrong in fiction. These can be big nitpicks or small nitpicks.

Small nitpicks are not an issue to me. If the Enterprise fires a phaser from the torpedo tube it is just a goof doesn’t effect the story. However if the Enterprise is suddenly able to beam through shields that is a problem because of how often that has been relevant to the stories.

Since procrastination is my middle name I don’t know when I will get to reviews. I already have a lot of projects I am interested in doing. However if I don’t ultimately end up doing this I want to leave you with this final thought.

Picking apart a TV series doesn’t mean I don’t also like it. Some series have gaping holes in them and many a head scratchier moment. However if the story is well told we can ignore these flaws.

Amongst Star Trek fans Threshold is often seen as one of the worse episodes. While it is bad it can still be enjoyed – just not, necessarily, in the way it was intended.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

 

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Calories

About a month ago I started to count calories. pexels-photo-298217 Some of you reading this are probably already thinking I’m nuts.

Maybe I am. I’m using an app to count calories. You didn’t expect me to do something like this without an app did you?

It has been quite an eye opener. Sometimes I will still eat something even if I don’t actually have the calories left in my daily allowance. However I have actually found myself thinking, on occasion, that a certain food isn’t worth it.

Pizza is not one of those foods. pexels-photo-473650I will always want to have pizza. Being on a diet, or counting calories, doesn’t mean no pizza. That is no way to live.

It just means occasional pizza or maybe even a gym session to try and burn some of the calories! Or just go to a pizza place approximately 5 kilometres away and walk.

Perhaps not.

Weirdly I’m rather enjoying counting calories. It is useful to see my food intake in black and white (and green and red in the app). My weight seems to be going down so something is working.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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I’m Pretty Sure I Had an Idea a Second Ago

light-bulb-current-light-glow-40889 A few minutes ago I had an idea for this post. I know I know – it is not good to have two posts in a row that talk about ideas or lack of same.

Actually in general ideas are fairly easy to come by. I think if you’re serious about writing you will probably find this to be true. Of course having an idea, or a concept, is no guarantee of turning it into a workable story. Sometimes when writing I hit a brick wall pexels-photo-207142 with writing because I lack a certain piece of knowledge.  And finding out some information can be very difficult.

I’ll tell you one idea I had a while ago in a bit – but first let me destroy a concept that some people have. Giving a writer an idea does not mean you have done a significant part of the job. It is the tiniest part of the whole thing. For instance the concept of a TV series like ER or Casualty is quite straight  forward – the drama of hospitals – life or death – and the drama of the staff too. To write that? You have to lean so many details of diseases, treatments, and so on and so on.

When starting to think of a TV series I have heard two, in a broad generalisation, ways a show can be pitched. The first is to say that your idea is this meets that. Deep Space Nice could, arguably, be a western meets space opera. A workable metaphor. Sisko is the mayor, Odo the sheriff, Quark runs the saloon/brothel, you get the idea. The second way to pitch is the what if question. The TV series The Man in the High Castle, based on a book, is: ‘What if we last the war.’ It is a quick way to explain an idea.

So here’s my idea: What if a Roman Legion, or other primitive society, discovered advanced alien technology.    pexels-photo-339805

To me this idea has great potential. Romans were advanced for their time and it would be interesting to explore what they would do if the galaxy was opened up to them.

However to write this story would be so difficult. I know very little about Roman culture, tactics, cuisine, and so on. I think the Legate, in charge of the legion, discovered this technology he would probably use it to take over the Empire.

This could be an excellent story, if I do say so myself, but writing it might be beyond me.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe there is another way. Maybe I don’t have to be historically accurate. Maybe I could invent my own pre-industrial society and work with that – but an idea does not a story make.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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The White Page

Isn’t it funny how ideas can sometimes escape you? There are so many things that I could talk about here. I don’t want to get into light-bulb-current-light-glow-40889anything too depressing. And that would be so easy right now.

It feels like there is always something terrible in the news these days. We might as well keep our flags at half mast all the time.

There are flags outside the place where I work and sometimes, when I see them at half mast, I have to wonder – is that for that thing that happened – or is it for some new thing that I have not yet got caught up on.

So it would seem that I have chosen this as a topic despite saying I would not. That is what happens when you start to think out loud in this manner. It’s like asking your mother to help you find something.  As soon as the sentence passes your lips you will no doubt find whatever it was you were looking for.

So yes it does seem like things are bad at the moment.  Are things really that bad or is it just that we hear about tulips-bed-colorful-color-69776 everything going on in the world?

I’m just a blogger and I don’t expect to give any concrete answers. I do know however that too much following of the news can lead to great sadness.

There are times when ignorance really is bliss and, usually, information will trickle down to us eventually. That just seems to be how it goes.

As I right this I am feeling very tired and it is not even half twelve yet. There are times when the weight of things seems to get to me. So perhaps adding the weight of worry for terrible news is a bad idea.

I’m afraid I have no particular wisdom to impart here. So I will close by saying smile. Maybe it will help. And try not to think too much.

Thinking too much is the curse of my brain. How wonderful it would be to feel able to slow down now and again.

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A Political Post – Sorry

business-cash-coin-concept-41296 This is going to be a political post which I know is probably a bad idea.

Why?

Because when it comes to politics there are, broadly speaking, three types of people.

  • People who don’t care.
  • People who agree with you.
  • People who disagree with you.

In the case of the first one a post like this isn’t going to make them care. And if they don’t care they may not even be registered to vote.

In the case of the second there is little need to do anything.

And in the case of the latter it isn’t going to effect them.

So why am I doing this?

In spite of the fact I tend to agree with Kent Brockman … that democracy doesn’t work not that we’d be better with insect overlords – I still make sure to vote. I did miss a vote a couple of years back I seem to remember – I can’t even remember what that was for.

And speaking of missing things I had planned to post this before the election – I guess I just treat deadlines the same way that Douglas Adams does.

This general election was a very important one.  Before the election it was important because it gave us the rare opportunity to evaluate a government midterm – given the brexit vote I believe that was important. In retrospect it was important because it showed Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, as a credible opposition. I know he lost and I am not going to say otherwise but some people are now predicting he will be Prime Minister – and that it is only a matter of time.

I hope that everyone reading this from the UK got out to vote. People often say that all the parties are the same. I’m not so sure it was true this time around. My philosophy with elections is to take each one as it comes. I don’t believe that one party is the best. I have voted for different parties at different times. Unfortunately the nature of our system necessitates tactical voting.

I am left wing. I believe that services like the NHS are extremely important. It makes me so sad, and to be honest a little angry, when I hear about the state of health care in the US. Some people are in crippling debt and some die simply because of the cost of health care. Free health care is a basic human right and the Tories are in danger of destroying it. To quote Aneurin Bevan: ‘No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.’

Obviously the NHS isn’t ‘free’ per se it is paid for my taxes. Now it may be that I live my entire life without any major medical expenses. If that happens then my money has just gone to help someone else – to me that is the only way to do health care.

Some people seem to hold the ‘everyone for themselves’ view. That, at least, is my bias opinion based on what I observe in the world. However give that the Tories are so well know for cuts I believe it has some merit.

I don’t know why people vote Tory. And I am not going to try and understand. That is their right but I will never vote Tory. As said above I am on the left and I think I will be to the day I die – even if I did become a millionaire who would be effected by a Labour tax policy.

Labour lost the election and I won’t try to argue differently. However I think it is important to look at ideology. Labour, Libdems and the SNP, broadly agree on many issues. In terms of votes the left got more collectively than the Tories. Which indicates that that ideology is what people want but the Tories get in because of how the system works.

This video explains the problem far better than I could.

So, for now, we shall see how things go with this government. I just want to end with a reminder, paraphrasing Ian Hislop, that just because you loose it doesn’t meant that you don’t go on making the argument.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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