Category Archives: writing

The Enemy Within

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The Enemy Within is the first Star Trek episode to include a transporter malfunction. This would become a staple of the Trek universe. In this story Captain Kirk is split into two halves his good and bad sides. This story requires a hefty suspension of disbelief.  It also requires Shatner to over act so he is right at home.

That might be a bit of a cheep shot but Shatner does have a well earned reputation for over acting. In this episode as evil Kirk he has to yell ‘I’m Captain Kirk.’

As well as the dilemma of Kirk being split in two there is also the problem of the landing party being stranded on the planet. Watching this now the obvious question is why not use the shuttle? There is only the out of universe explanation that they didn’t yet have a shuttle to use. Even so they could have rescued them off screen and done so without need of a new set.

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I have seen this episode before but not for a long time. This time I found myself identifying with Kirk’s predicament as he sees the other him – the savage him.

I feel that way sometimes of having a part of my being that I can’t, or don’t want to, face a lot of the time. For me it is not about evil and good – rather it is happiness and sadness.

I have days when all the weight of life feels too much. I feel a sense of hopelessness. In those moments all my life goals feel far away and there seem to be no possibilities for change. Then, sometimes, I feel happy without specific stimulus. In those moments everything does seem possible – although still far far away.

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So when Kirk sees this mirror of himself – this violent man. I believe I can almost understand. When I am in a state of being alright the great sadness is alien to me and I cannot imagine how it feels. It makes it hard to seek help because it is like describing a sunny day in the park to an eyeless fish in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Star Trek is well known for these types of stories. It often uses science fiction to try and explore an aspect of humanity. That aspect could be internal and emotional or external and dealing with important issues.

We have another incident of violence against woman. Evil Kirk assaults Yeoman Rand.  This is made even worse considering what happened to Grace Lee Whitney in her real life. That scene made for uncomfortable viewing and Spock’s last line of the episode, where he suggests, obliquely,  that Rand might have liked it is disgusting. It is stuff like this that makes me unsure of TOS as a whole. The 1960s seem so alien to me a lot of the time. We have a long way to go in treating all people with proper respect but I think we have come a long way too.

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I am going to come up against heavy topics a lot in this show it seems. The past really is another world.

In conclusion though this was a good story. It explore the concepts of the two sides of humanity quite well. I do wonder if they would have been better off removing the landing party plot to focus more on the main plot. We do get a nice moment with Spock where he talks about the two sides of his being and how he has to balance them.

We are only a few episodes into TOS but I will be back with the next episode which is: Mudd’s Women – which is also fairly anti-women. I am sensing a theme here. I am so looking forward to reviewing my favourite TOS episodes. We have a little way to go yet.

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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.

I now have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Paper

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Note books are a weakness of mine. I often go into Paperchase in town just to have a look at what they are offering.

There is something magical about a pen and paper that just does not exist with a computer. I may be a bit Giles like when it comes to books. While I wouldn’t want to give up on my various computing devices I know what he means when he he talks about books being smelly.  There is something singularly wonderful about paper.

I have spent a long while trying to find the perfect app to help with my productivity. The answer all along was a note book.

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In a note book you don’t have to worry about formats, like not being able to put the date into DD/MM/YYYY for example, instead you just write. It is freeing. Even for someone, like me, who’s handwriting looks like it was done by a spider who fell into an inkwell and the marks on the page were the result of its death throes.

Which is why for anything long I am continuing with some piece of technology. My morning pages will always be on a computing device. Otherwise if I ever looked back at it it would be like trying to decipher some hidden code!

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I would never attempt to write a novel long hand. Have you ever read The Woman in White? It is an excellent novel, one which I should read again soon, but to me it is even more amazing that it was written long hand. That must have been an incredible strain on the hands. I remember how bad it could be during exams. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to write a novel of that size long hand.

I don’t think that paper will ever truly disappear. Even if we are living on Mars I think many people will still want to pick up a pen and write – or sit in a chair and read. You can’t curl up and read in quite the same way with an ereader.

I want to close though in asking you a question. What is something low tech that you appreciate?

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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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Brain Like a Sieve

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The last post was bang on time. It was not late at all. Except I did the internet equivalent of putting in a locked filling cabinet in a part of an office building where nobody goes.

And the reason you have a lovely picture of a sieve to look at is because the idea I had has taken a holiday. Write stuff down my friends.

I hope that things are going well with you. I am continuing with Morning Pages and I think it is useful. If nothing else it gives a space to vent every morning. Never underestimate the value of a good vent. Just sit on your bed and pretend that your teddy bear is a very good friend of yours.

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He may not be able to offer advice but he will really listen. And sometimes that is what you need.

Writing this post is a little strange for me. At the moment I am feeling fine. Normally I write about depression on the bad days but today was good.

I had the opportunity to work in a different department at work. (I am keeping where I work secret.) So I have had an early start today and an day of lots of activity – moving stock from shelf to shelf and generally trying to get the shop organised.

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And now my brain has found the key to the locked cabinet, I have fought off the leopard, and I can tell you what I was going to tell you.

On my last day off I got a lot done. I timed myself and it was five hours. There was exercise on that day, reading, writing. meditation, and house work. And you know what? It felt good.

I have this mindset of needing to have fun. The problem is I don’t even know what that is and in fact it is so simple. Fun is just what makes you happy and apparently, for me, fun is marking off stuff on a self created to-do list.

It is another example of Idea vs. Reality. The primary one being food. How many of you I wonder have had this happen: I think I will buy that thing…doughnut, burger, sausage roll, ect, and then you eat it and are disappointed. The idea was marvellous the execution not so much.

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I was accused of being dull the other day. Well it is all relative. Last weekend millions watched a bunch of guys kick a ball around. To me that is dull. If you like football that is great! I do mean that. To me it is dull. (And growing up sports on TV meant my shows were bumped!) I have discovered that productivity is actually fun. Knocking out a few items on my list and then trying to think of what is fun is not fun.

Maybe, by the national average, I am dull. I don’t care.

This post was written when I have had a good day and thus it is bright. I know the dark will come again. That is just how it works. For now there is this blog post… and cookies… there are always cookies.

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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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Morning Pages

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I have been writing Morning Pages for the past few days. Basically this is 500 words first thing in the morning. The clue really is in the name!

The idea is just to write whatever it is that is in your mind as soon as you wake up. I have mentioned it here before, I believe, but I have just got back into it.

I have heard it said that handwriting is the better way to do it. My handwriting is probably out done by some trained monkeys so for me using the iPad is better. I can dictate to that for one thing.

I have been writing about some sad things. The first part of the day is always my lowest point. I have looked for an app called Evening Pages – I think book ending the day that way would be of use.

If you struggle with depression or dark thoughts it might be of use to you. Why not give it a go. 500 words on paper, on the Morning Pages app, carve it in stone if you like! I would be interested to hear how you got on.

Well it is nearly midnight and I have work in nine hours so bedtime for me. And, by the magic of a scheduled blog post, by the time you read this work will be over!

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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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The Cage

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I am never going to be super fit. I know this because of two pieces of evidence. Who am I kidding it is more than two. The two I was going to go with are that I am currently eating a chocolate chip muffin and drinking a chai latte – and that I have to practically drag my ass to the gym when I go.

I did go to the gym yesterday – really yesterday this time. I am writing this only a few hours before you will see it.

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I did about 55 minutes on the treadmill. I wasn’t doing an intense work out but I was exercising so I’m glad about that. While I exercised I was watching The Cage. Yep the first, and rejected, pilot episode of Star Trek.

It is difficult to put myself in to the mind of the executives that rejected it but over all I think this episode stands up pretty well.

The character of Number One is a wonderfully strong character. It is such a shame that we didn’t get her later on. I have nothing against Spock, of course, but Number One staying would have been groundbreaking.

One of the strangest parts of the episode was at the very beginning. Captain Pike considers retiring and thinks about a new career. This is strange for two reasons. Firstly since this is a pilot it seems obvious they will not be writing the lead out so why is this here? And secondly one of the jobs he considers is being a slave trader. You think I’m making that up don’t you? Go watch the episode it is all there.

On the subject of Orion slave girls there is something a bit strange about that scene. And I don’t just mean the green woman. One of the men who sits next to Pike is wearing a Starfleet uniform. Which is weird as it was implied that this fantasy was drawn from the idea that it was something Pike could never do. That has just always struck me as strange that’s all. I know Starfleet wasn’t said in the episode but we all know what it was.

Spock smiles. This is because they hadn’t completely figured out the character yet. Those plants must have a weird effect on Vulcans and Pike was nice enough not to say anything.

Spock uses the term Class M. I mention this as the geek in me loves that that was present from the very beginning.

The story itself was a little on the simple side. I feel though that it did its job well in showing what the show would be like. Each week traveling to a new planet and having an adventure.

The characters are not that well defined. Spock would be the only one to continue. Pike does appear again but the less said about that the better. The beeping thing has always struck me as stupid.

As to the other characters, with the exception of Doctor Boyce, they are not even named. Boyce comes across as a proto-McCoy. He has a friends with the captain and seems to believe in the medicinal qualities of alcohol.

The Cage is a good solid pilot. The problem is it is effectively for a show that never happened. Although this was rejected the second pilot was accept and, to end on a cliche, the rest is history.

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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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Brain and Brain, what is Brain?

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I used Twitter to keep people updated about what I am going to post here. So it might be a little meta to talk about Twitter but that is what this post is about.

One reason I got a smart phone, in the first instance, was because of Twitter. I remember being out and about and thinking of cool witty things I could tweet. I was going to be funny! I had no illusions of this making me popular but I liked the idea of regular tweets and the weirdness of my brain seemed like a good place to mine for content.

Then something weird happened. When I got a smartphone ideas for tweets seemed to leap from my brain!

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My brain and I don’t have the best of relationship. If we were on Facebook it would probably be labelled ‘It’s complicated.’

Luckily I can wrestle it into submission when I sit down to write and sometimes ideas come out of nowhere and I am grateful. And sometimes ideas come out of nowhere and I want to give myself a good talking to because they are too weird.

I have a Google home and it is wonderful to be able to say: ‘Okay Google: Play ‘Bring it all Back’ and have it respond with. ‘Playing Baby got Back’ – not a real example but sometimes what it does bears as much similarity to what I asked for as an omelette does to a pizza!

And I remember long before Google home was a thing that I wanted this kind of thing. I wanted to listen to music and at the end of each song being able to give a verbal command and pick the next track – scrolling is such a bore. Now that I can do that my brain seems devoid of thoughts and can’t call to mind another song.

In conclusion my brain seems to have been rotted by technology. It is so easy to be over stimulated by all the stuff of the internet. Sounds, visuals, even words on a screen. It is only a matter of time before we start to have little computers embedded in our brains. Resistance is futile.

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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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The Finishing Line

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In the background, behind what you see, I have a secret. And it is a shameful secret. I’m talking about the unfinished blog posts. The drafts.

You will notice the plural form ‘posts’ yes I have a couple of blog posts, one of which has been in draft for… lets just say a while. Will you let me get away with that? Thank you.

It is one of the problems when you don’t have a set deadline. I have though, for sixteen weeks, posted here consistently and I am quite proud of that. I can’t technically say it is a success of my resolution, as I missed three weeks at the beginning of the year, but it is still a good thing. And that post will see the light of day sooner or later.

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We can only do so much. And there is a self-imposed deadline of Sunday at 1800. The only thing to do with longer posts is to nibble at it until it is finished.

And now for the awkeard segue part of the post from nibble-to-food-to-diet.

I am attempting intermittent fasting. The idea is to only give yourself an eight hour feeding window. And no that does not mean that you get to eat constantly for those eight hours.

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What it means is that you skip one of your meals. So as I write this it is 1201 and I have been up since 0600. Since I last ate last night at 2020 I can’t eat again until after 1220.

I’m choosing to skip breakfast because it is not that special to me and I can save the calories for later. Not all the calories. Doing that would rather defeat the purpose. However, for me, there is certainly merit to the idea of waiting till I am really hungry before eating.

Everyone’s body is different, and I know less about dieting than I do about football, but I like this idea. There is another version of the diet, The warrior diet, in which only one meal a day is consumed. This would be too inflexible for me. I would want to eat in the evening and when in work I only have twenty minutes for dinner. And trying to eat my one hearty meal in that time would be bad for the stomach I’m sure.

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I haven’t been doing this for long enough to see results but, so far, I want to keep with it. Even if I am checking the clock every so often to see if I can eat yet.

The thing with diets is that the common wisdom seems to be that the best strategy is to make a lifestyle change. I was calorie counting before but didn’t have the will power to stop when I hit the limit. I would try to balance food intake with exercise though. Also it is not always clear what calories to write down. I can’t take a weighing scales into the staff canteen and weigh all my food. All that counting calories is tedious in any case.

There is not finishing line when it comes to diets. The body requires constant upkeep. The time just crossed into feeding time but I have just under thirty minutes on my pomodoro left so no food yet. Soon though, grumbling belly, soon. And now I will go away and nibble at one of those longer blog posts.

I hope you have had a wonderful Sunday.

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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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