So, the twins turn 47 today. Happy birthday, girls! You don't look a day over 46. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I was just 19 when you were born. We were so poor. But we all survived together. And it was good, really good. Things were much simpler then. Not necessarily better, just... simpler. Do you remember making all of the decorations for the tree at Christmas from old Holiday cards? Stringing popcorn and fresh cranberries to drape on the branches? The smell of the wood fire and your mom's fresh bread baking? I do.

We had to work hard but, even with all that hard work, we still managed to spend quality time together. Reading stories or just talking. I look forward to the family all getting together this weekend for some quality time. I missed that last year.

This new development, the upcoming appearance on an international show featuring the shark bite incident, has had me thinking about the good old days even more than usual. I know it wasn't always easy, but I find myself missing the simplicity of the way things were back then. We have to figure out how we can spend more time, quality time, together! I know it sounds cliché, and I know it is challenging but, hey, I'm not getting any younger and, apparently, neither are you.

The above may make more sense if you also read this.

I beat this (that's not me in the video, I'm not that good) level in Beat Saber on Monday night which is something I've been working on for at least six months. I've remain slightly in awe of how fast I'm able to improve in that game. I'm pretty sure that I've got less than one hundred hours on the game and I've turned into a machine. I tried the same thing in Dance Dance Revolution and I plateaued and never really got anywhere with it.

I have a real love/hate relationship with rhythm games. I like fast twitch muscle stuff because it forces me into a flow state and that has this weird meditative quality. I've notice that when I'm playing a very hard level any attempt at consciously choosing an action degrades performance. The one thing that remains in conscious control is how frenetic I am. I always have a single tiny bit of will holding the metaphorical dial that makes my movements more spastic or more languid. What consciousness is actually doing in us is almost as interesting a question as how it got there in the first place. People can have reflexes and reactions that they don't know about; the body carries out actions that the mind never conceived of. I feel like I get to peek behind the curtain from time to time when I find these points of separation between reflex and choice. Ironically, I'm not sure how much of my desire to play these games is that and how much is just the pretty lights.


After six hours of completely absent consciousness I woke slowly to the radio, someone was talking about Nadine Dorries being made Culture Secretary or something, possibly a bad dream but it was Radio 4, so more likely yet another nail in the coffin of Englands dignity. Another normal day then. I remember thinking that everything seems so polarised, so eventful, so bloody crucial that I could just fancy writing a truly trivial account of life as it really occurs, the comfortable mediocrity that most of us live through but feel isn't worthy of note, as if to prove that only extraordinary lives matter. So here at the end of my day is a detailed account of the start of my day, to me it is an average day, I wonder if it resembles yours.

Finally awake enough to swing my legs out of bed I do just that, untangling my earphones from the sheets as I go. The bed in this room leaves about 1.5 feet of space all round to get out, a Persian rug and bare floorboards help my bare feet wake up on the way. 10mg of Amlodipine swallowed dry and I get a pair of socks and some underpants get chosen from the sticky top drawer of the Georgian chest of drawers that is the only other thing in the room. I wish Jane a gorgeous day and thank her for the cup of tea that I slept through.
The bedroom is about four paces away from the bathroom at the other end of the short upstairs hall, but I don’t make it all the way, I nip into the other room to grab my trousers and a tee shirt, its cold enough today so I put them on straight away and follow them up with a body warmer and a heavy check shirt with fleece lining. I stood for a moment and surveyed the mess that is euphemistically referred to as my office, but is actually my wardrobe, my library, my computer room, and a small light industrial workshop complete with electronics equipment, and light metalworking machinery, although more recently it has become the archive for the remnants of my last 7 or 8 jobs and the bathroom remodelling last spring.
A moment of reverie seeing all that mess, all so familiar and critical at the time, slowly becoming a heap of objects, like domestic compost or archaeological strata in formation. I’ll blitz the place soon I lie to myself.
Into the bathroom, electric toothbrush out from behind the mirrored door of the cupboard and a gob of toothpaste on it, I stick it into my mouth and press go. The toothbrush has a timer, a judder every 30 seconds, then at 2 mins a double judder. By the time the thing judders twice I have managed a piss and got hot water to make it to this tap from the combi boiler downstairs, so a few spits and rinses, a splash on my face and Im done. Oops nearly forgot the deodorant, a solid block of patchouli rubbed under each armpit under the layers.

There are 13 steps down the narrow staircase into the equally narrow front hall, a double back leads to the kitchen and scullery where my shoes are. I grab my keys and my mobile phone and stick them in my pocket.

This is when I check the time thanks to the kitchen clock, it’s 8:45 and Im due at work at 9:00. I have been out of bed for 15 minutes and I’m about ready to go. I love it when that place gives me a job to do.

When I step out the front door the smell of newly delivered ash logs that are stacked up in our porch is like perfume, especially when it mixes with the 20 foot long hedge of lavender that separates our terraced house from next door.
Our front garden is small, roughly 20 foot square, not quite big enough to park a car on, although that hasn’t stopped every single one of our neighbours paving over theirs, thats why we feel compelled to have a wilderness of shrubs in ours, the postgirl is only half joking when she says she needs a machete to get to our door.
The snag with having the only natural garden in the street is that every dog has to stop there and not every owner clears up after them, so I walk carefully across the garden to the pavement.

This is when I often get attacked, I always know when it is coming but it surprises me every time, it begins with a distant screech that gets louder and more crazed until impact. Impact can be just a swipe of a wing or a stream of hot wet shit or, more rarely, a bloody scrape across the scalp from a sharp beak travelling at speed. We have been doing this for about 10 years now, me and the seagull that nests on our chimney, every year it raises its young and fears that I want to kill them, every year I rescue its young from premature flights or drops down the chimney. Herring gulls live to be about 40 years old and have been here since long before homo sapiens existed, I like our interaction.

This morning I didn’t get attacked, I carried on past my next door neighbours house towards where North Street meets South Street and on that corner there is a gateway. when I pass through that gateway, from then until I leave I am selling my time.

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