Since January 26, 2007 you have read a total of 31,463 items.

A small surprise when I found that I had used Google Reader for over five years. Although I have less than twenty feeds in the reader now, I’ve got through a fair bit of reading in that time. I’d be extremely surprised if in the next five years I will have read as many as 15,000 items in Google Reader, let alone 30k.

I’ve seen a natural decline in the number of subscriptions that I follow since G+ came onto the scene. A great number of ‘bloggers’ prefer the conversations they can have on that platform or indeed keep things short and sweet over on Twitter.

But I’m not getting all misty-eyed here. No point getting sentimental over that that doesn’t really matter. Conversation is overrated anyway.


Moved to trash

I wrote myself into a fantasy of music and poetic cul-de-sacs. It was 1989. By trying to rebuild the past into the structure of present living, I’d not see that happiness return. The best I can do is what I didn’t achieve then. I hated my school and its lack of student support. I dropped out of college without even giving it a chance.

2012. I’m two years into my Open University study and with three courses passed, I’m one further course away from CHE in Humanities. The OU has been an excellent path to follow and has built discipline where I had none. The next few steps that I make regarding education and employment will – as I’m in my 40s – dictate a good percentage of my happiness for the remainder of my working life.

Managing expectations

Year on year my expectations tend to shrink back rather more than the spring forwards that I projected as a youth. Maybe it’s a sign of getting older and admitting that although it’s good to have goals, they can’t all be met. Balancing my expectations and of those around me is far harder to do with as each new decade dawns.

Getting older shouldn’t mean that I try to excel less or not have any goals. That would be criminal. But by having excessive expectations placed upon you can ultimately bring about your undoing and when that happens there’s nowhere to hide and no-one to blame but yourself. That feeling of over-reaching is like quicksand – once in, it’s very hard to pull yourself out with any dignity.

If I’ve learnt anything in my time it’s not to try to be everything to everyone. By not allowing others to expedite me into the expectations they believe I should be forging, frees my approach. But then my biggest enemy has always been myself – I dive headlong into the quicksand when I should be skirting the edges. Finding the balance is no mean feat.

Happy? Index 1.15

So the first quarter of 2012 is done. I’ve logged all my entertainment activities from the quarter to give myself an overview  of my personal sanctuary. Something I touched on in my first entry here in March. OK, I’m not naive enough to believe my mental wellbeing can be truly gauged by how much entertainment I’m devouring. What I will concede is if I’m in a period of low mood, I will not be as appreciating the values of comic books, movies, TV shows or videogames. This quarterly index could be an invaluable resource over time.

  • Sites in my reader: Not many personal bloggers in my feed reader. Many have moved over to G+ while others have begun a hiatus. Those that keep me amused still are; Oh you Beauty – excellent observations by Nate on all things LFC and although I’ve read a few other ‘Journal’ type blogs recently there’s nothing I’m really reading from my feed. Real shame that.
  • Magazine Subscriptions: Empire & Edge. With Four Four Two & Wired both expired with no plans to renew. Four subscriptions is definitely two too many. Wired has a website I can read and with the EPL coming to a close I dropped FFT but still follow them via Twitter.
  • Movies watched: 12. Best of the bunch was Drive. I can see Ryan Gosling as an Avenger one day.
  • Comic books: 3 current subs are Daredevil, Saucer Country and Batwoman. The mini-series that is Spaceman only has a few issues to go, yet I still have only read the first. Saucer Country is 2 issues old and has been excellent and well conceived. Mark Waid’s Daredevil is a pure joy and have now read issues 1 through to 10.1. I’ll be reading some Irredeemable – also by Waid – very soon. Batwoman I still have to catch up on with new sub, Mind MGMT, yet to arrive. Very full basket on the comics front! I’ve even polished off Chew volume 2 TPB and The Walking Dead volume 6 TPB with volume 7 waiting for me in the wings.
  • Books read: zero. Am still reading The Host but my reading of it has taken a dip since I’ve caught up with my comic book subs.
  • Music: Slowly treading some old ground here. Went to my first gig in at least 10 years plus an excellent third album by Blood Red Shoes released. I missed out on seeing them live but probably the October show at the Shepherds Bush Empire will be in my diary.
  • TV: Finally watched the first season of The Walking Dead. it got better as it went on and am made up that the second season starts on C5 here in the UK on Monday. Elsewhere Silent Witness season 15 began really well but the BBC decided to mess with the order, dropping the 2nd two-parter of the season due to them wimping out over similarities to a real case. No mention was made at the time and to bolt on a previous seasons two-parter – Bloodlines – at the end of the run is very poor.

And finally…

  • Games: Completed Crysis 2, Mass Effect 2 and The Walking Dead A New Day this quarter. The Walking Dead game was a real surprise. Very endearing and pays close attention to the comic book/TV show. Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3 will be rubbing shoulders for my attention in May. I dare not look further than that for sake of my sanity. I also broke the 20k on XBL. Currently I have a gamerscore of 20044/140555 with 1194/6462 achievements. Buzzzz…

…Time out!

My bones

If I didn’t have my writing then what? Life would surely be unbearable. I’m no musician or artist – I’ve tried both. Words are my Achilles heel, the hole in my dam, they are the unmanned lighthouse set against a raging sea. The more I try to control their course, the darker the path becomes. My bones ache with over-stimulation, eyes lose sight of which of you are still here. Kill me but there’s hope on what I leave behind.

Cosy catastrophe

I’d cheer the apocalypse. If it was to come there’d be no point ignoring or denying it. Of course that only makes sense if I managed to survive when the four horseman show. Couldn’t be a nuclear survivor. No, that would just be too grim an existence.  I’m more a Walking Dead refugee than a Fallout 3 scavenger. Zombies keep you on your toes where as nuclear fallout would surely try to remove them from existence.

I’ve often put together a mental survival kit, items that are sure to be needed in post-apocalypse life. I wouldn’t waste time carrying my family photo albums around with me, even if it did leave a clue to those looking to whether I’d survived. I’d want light and practical over bulk and sentimental. If I held firm and based my activities from home, taking a turn from I am Legend, then that wouldn’t be an issue.

These thoughts haven’t come about just because I’ve now watched the first season of The Walking Dead. No, there’s always been that frill of survival after a meltdown of society within me. Living outside the norms that govern away almost our time sure has a romantic appeal to someone who appreciates good and bad science fiction. But it’s also the freedom this scenario allows, to explore and look at the world differently, that warms my heart when done to near perfection in books, movies, videogames or TV.

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