michaelhodges3

Diary, Tuesday March 10th, 2015.

I have decided to blog on a regular basis, and today is blogging day.  I suppose that generally, I prefer writing a straightforward diary of events, but I get the impression that a lot of blog readers prefer a more poetic style, so that’s what I’m going for today.  Any thoughts, opinions and feedback are welcome.

I am sitting at my window, at my desk, looking outside.

The sun is shining, with white clouds and a blue sky.

My heart is full of sorrow; secret pain caused by selfish suffering.

Suffering focused on ‘what if?’

‘What if this has  happened to me?’

‘What if that has happened to me?’

I’m connected to millions of people, but at the same time alone.

The yard opposite is still full of hedgetrimmers.

I went for a reflexology session in town earlier.

Walking along, it felt like spring.  For the first time this year.

There’s a graveyard beside the High Street, and as I went by, it seemed quiet and peaceful.  One new grave, the others old.  Sunshine on short, trimmed grass.

I want to write something inspired.  Something genius that gets people to see things from my point of view.  Something that will get people to help me.  I know it’s a long shot.

It feels like the kind of day that is good to spend beside the sea.

Winter’s cold has lost its grip, and the flood of tourists is still just a trickle.

Who are you, watching me?

Do you have pain, like I do?

Do you have memories of good times?

We’re connected, but a thousand miles apart.

This is more difficult than I thought it would be.

Because I’m not a hero.

Because I don’t know what I’m doing.

But then who does?

I hope that the world will become a better place, but maybe you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

We have to help each other, but our track record is poor.  Good things do happen, but at the slow pace of history.

Doesn’t matter if we fail, as long as we keep going.  A worldwide group hug, standing on the edge.  Our feet are near the precipice, but there are stars above our heads.

What am I saying?  I don’t know.  I guess I’m saying we have to help each other, and to not give up.

Weekly diary, February 24th, 2015

This week has been a funny old mixture of things.

A lot of stuff happening inside my mind; not so much happening to me in the outside world.

I live in Honiton, a market town in Devon, south west England.

I’ve just returned from a stroll to Mind (a drop-in centre run by MIND; officially the place has its own name, but seems to be referred to by its patrons by the name of the parent charity).  The weather is cold but, unlike yesterday, sunny and bright.

There seems to be a stereotype of the British as being obssesed by the weather.  There may be some truth in this stereotype, but a concern with the weather makes sense if you have a climate like Britain’s; i.e. a changeable, maritime one.  Especially in the olden days when most people worked in outdoor jobs, and their living depended on agriculture, which is dependant on the weather.  Also the fact that Britain is an island, and so a certain percentage of the population was dependent on fishing and shipping; activities where weather could literally be a matter of life and death.

Anyway, I’m sitting here looking out of my window at a sunny scene.  I’m looking at the yard of an agricultural engineer/ machinery merchant.  There is a large number of bright yellow McConnel hedgetrimmers there at the moment, waiting to be sold.  The yellow colour reflects the sunshine, and I’m staring at it in the hope of some kind of literary inspiration.  Sunshine, yellow, shadows; a tall, stalky plant nodding in the breeze.

[Goes downstairs, eats an orange].

I’ve just eaten an orange.  I’m now feeling less hungry, and more creative.

Honiton is an old town; the high street was once part of the main highway from London to Exeter.  There was a damaging fire in the eighteenth century; most of the town’s old, important buildings date from the rebuild.  Maybe Honiton looks like an old town in the eastern United Staes – as I’ve never been to the states, it’s hard to say for sure.

Down one side of the high street is a kind of iron water-channel, maybe eight inches across, that dates from at least the early eighteenth century, when (I think) it was commented on by Daniel Defoe, the writer/journalist.  I noticed today that part of this channel was broken – it looked like a heavy vehicle may have driven over it.  I wondered when it would be mended.  Not for a while, I guessed – it might involve some specialist engineering.

On the way back from Mind, the High Street headed down and to the west.  An echo of an ancient routeway maybe, travelling towards the setting sun.

Anyway, as I said earlier, this week has been a week of anxiety for me, a week of worrying.

If you get involved in the mental health system as a patient, and are labelled as suffering from ‘Anxiety’ (or even if you’re not), chances are, sooner or later, someone will try to get you to engage in ‘Mindfulness’.  It’s hard for me to explain exactly what this is, as I’m not sure myself, but it’s something relating to the mind.

I’ve had reflexology (foot rubbing) from three different practitioners, and the most recent one (based at Mind on Tuesdays) tried to get me to practice mindfulness while she was working.  I did, but it wasn’t doing it for me, and so the last time I went, I let her talk about mindfulness, while I just lay there and relaxed.

I’ve just been down to the kitchen for another snack.  While there, I was reminded of something I read recently, that claimed that a small amount of coffee can actually be good for you.  So maybe tomorrow I’ll start a new habit.

Blue sky, white and grey clouds, a townscape with a church tower on the horizon.  Tomorrow I’ll drink coffee and everything will be OK.

I hope that things are going well for you, and I’m sorry if they’re not.

As always, constructive criticism, feedback or advice relating to the blog are welcomed.

Take care,

Michael

Weekly spying diary, January 20th, 2015, no.2

Spying again.

Why should you be bothered about it?

Well, I suppose that one reason is that, as a human being, I have certain rights.  And the ‘spying’ is trampling on those rights.  And if one person’s rights are trampled on, it sets the tone for other people’s rights to be trampled on.

Also, there is the effect it has on society.  Societies are shaped partly by popular entertainments and pastimes.  It doesn’t look good for society if spying is a popular pastime.  In some ways, it reminds me of some of the entertainments from the bad old days.

However, I realise that, even if you recognise spying as a bad thing, you will probably not want to stick your neck out too far for my sake.  The point to remember though is that this thing is about much, much more that just me.  It’s about the whole world.

I suppose there is an argument that the spying is actually a good thing, because it brings people together, from around the world, as customers. It’s difficult for me to have an objective judgement on this, but it looks to me, at this point in time, as though the bad of spying outweighs the good.  Maybe we need to come up with new ways to bring the world together, ways that don’t have such harmful side-effects.

What can you do about the spying?

One thing that anyone can do is to stop subscribing to the app, or whatever it is.  Just don’t bother with it.

If you’re not intending to stop subscribing, one thing you can do is to be as open and honest about things as you feel able to be.  Its not about what someone else is doing, its about you.  If you only feel able to talk in code about what’s happening, maybe that’s better than keeping quiet.

What I’m talking about is a gradual change towards more openness and honesty.

I suppose that I have to be a part of this.  I suppose that I have to be as open and honest about things as I feel able to be.  And that partly relates to how I respond to people.  Maybe I need to be better at responding to people.

If people are open about what’s happening, will they get into trouble with the authorities?  The honest answer is that I don’t know.  My guess is that, given the numbers involved, and the backgrounds of many of those involved, they wouldn’t get into serious trouble, but I don’t know that for certain.  Someone, with a legal background, once told me that the police would be unlikely to push for prosecution of people helping them with their enquiries, in this kind of case.  However, I’m not a legal expert, and so I can’t comment on that.

Constructive feedback is always welcome, so if you have some, please let me know.

Take care,

Michael

Weekly spying diary, January 20th, 2015

Spying again.

Why should you be bothered about it?

Well, I suppose that one reason is that, as a human being, I have certain rights.  And the ‘spying’ is trampling on those rights.  And if one person’s rights are trampled on, it sets the tone for other people’s rights to be trampled on.

Also, there is the effect it has on society.  Societies are shaped partly by popular entertainments and pastimes.  It doesn’t look good for society if spying is a popular pastime.  In some ways, it reminds me of some of the entertainments from the bad old days.

However, I realise that, even if you recognise spying as a bad thing, you will probably not want to stick your neck out too far for my sake.  The point to remember though is that this thing is about much, much more that just me.  It’s about the whole world.

I suppose there is an argument that the spying is actually a good thing, because it brings people together, from around the world, as customers. It’s difficult for me to have an objective judgement on this, but it looks to me, at this point in time, as though the bad of spying outweighs the good.  Maybe we need to come up with new ways to bring the world together, ways that don’t have such harmful side-effects.

What can you do about the spying?

One thing that anyone can do is to stop subscribing to the app, or whatever it is.  Just don’t bother with it.

If you’re not intending to stop subscribing, one thing you can do is to be as open and honest about things as you feel able to be.  Its not about what someone else is doing, its about you.  If you only feel able to talk in code about what’s happening, maybe that’s better than keeping quiet.

What I’m talking about is a gradual change towards more openness and honesty.

I suppose that I have to be a part of this.  I suppose that I have to be as open and honest about things as I feel able to be.  And that partly relates to how I respond to people.  Maybe I need to be better at responding to people.

If people are open about what’s happening, will they get into trouble with the authorities?  The honest answer is that I don’t know.  My guess is that, given the numbers involved, and the backgrounds of many of those involved, they wouldn’t get into serious trouble, but I don’t know that for certain.  Someone, with a legal background, once told me that the police would be unlikely to push for prosecution of people helping them with their enquiries, in this kind of case.  However, I’m not a legal expert, and so I can’t comment on that.

Constructive feedback is always welcome, so if you have some, please let me know.

Take care,

Michael

Weekly diary, January 13th 2015

I would like to express my sympathy for the victims, and their loved ones, of the recent events in France.

And I hope that the rest of you are doing ok.

Until next time,

Take care,

Michael

Scientists can now explain why the first half of the 20th century was so cool

Quartz

Chemical clues in skeletons produced by coral growing at Kiribati contain a newly discovered warning. They caution of a global climate system that’s capable of drawing decades’ worth of hoarded heat out of the Pacific Ocean, and belching it back into the atmosphere.

A cryptic chemical weather log kept by Tarawa Atoll’s stony coral in the tropical Pacific archipelago has been cracked, helping scientists explain a century of peaks and troughs in global warming—and inflaming fears that a speedup will follow the recent slowdown.

Added to a growing body of research, the newly published findings indicate that all it would take to trigger what could be an historically unparalleled period of rising global temperatures would be a shift in the winds. And that type of change in the intensity of Pacific trade winds appears to happen every 20 to 30 years or so.

The coral-based findings, published Dec. 22 in Nature…

View original post 1,305 more words

Season’s greetings

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year

Spying journal, 15th December 2014

Hello.  It seems like its time for me to blog about spying again.

You know, it can’t be a good thing for society that the spying is being allowed to happen.  It goes against human rights.  In a democracy like Britain’s, the rights of the individual are supposed to be protected.  And society is like a huge, living organism.  If something goes wrong in one part, it can spread to other parts.  The spying sends the message that some seriously bad things are actually ok.  Spying is slowly and subtly corrupting society.

Realistically, I’m not expecting any one person to stand up and deal with everything on my behalf.  However, in an organism, the various parts work together.  So if people in general become less and less careful about maintaining secrecy, slowly and gradually, spying will gradually drift out more and more into the public arena, as something that people can talk about.

It is the kind of thing that needs to be talked about.  I don’t see the spying as a ‘war’ between ‘stars’, or as a popularity contest.  I see it as a set of things that have gone wrong relating to an individual, but also to human rights and society.  Things that, realistically, have to be put right.  Things that have to be put right because what would it mean if they aren’t?  Would would the effect on society be?  What would it mean for individuals?  How will the history books of the future judge us?

Take care,

Michael

P.S.  I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some feedback on how I’m doing at ‘campaigning’ on this issue.  Because it’s sometimes hard to tell.

Weekly diary, 25th November 2014

Hello.

This week has been pretty much par for the course.  Some good things, some bad things.

I’m questioning whether it’s a good idea to commit to trying to write a spying-related post (or any post), once a week.  On the one hand, it’s a good self-discipline, and I suppose it helps to keep my case in the public eye.  On the other hand, if I don’t have anything to say, people will pretty soon get fed up of hearing about the same old things.  I once worked for a cheque-cashing business, and one of my occasional tasks was to hand out leaflets about the company to passers-by.  The owner of the company asked me to write a report on marketing for that branch, and I wrote that there was a danger of the public feeling hassled and annoyed if we overdid the leafleting.  I think in hindsight it suited me to say that, because I hated doing the leafleting, but I also think there was some truth in what I said.

So I think I’ll pretty much leave it there for today.  Please stop watching/listening to this thing that Shehrbano has allegedly created.  It’s wrong, and I’m pretty sure everyone knows it’s wrong.  However, if you don’t bring yourself to stop, at least have the courage and the decency to be open and honest about what you’re doing.  At least that.

‘Til next time,

Take care,

Michael

Weekly diary, November 7th, 2014

This week, I have been settling into my new home.  Inevitably, part of this has been agonising over security threats or potential security threats.

Part of it, however, has been tidying up, and deciding what things to throw away.  As a bit of a hoarder, I generally tend to keep things.

Why are some people like this?  I like to think it’s based on having love and affection towards inanimate objects.  If something has been a part of your life for some time, inevitably, it will have certain memories for you.  Even if it’s something you’d forgotten about, you may still feel that you have some kind of responsibility towards that object.  And maybe some people feel that kind of resonsibility more keenly than others.

It can be a difficult thing, letting go of the past and moving on.  Because the relationships we have with other people and things aren’t necessarily just harmful feelings of ‘attachment’, in a Buddhist sense (if I’ve understood the idea of attachment correctly).  They may be feelings that mean something.  Feelings that go deep within us.

At the moment, my feelings of loyalty are divided between the place where I used to live, and the people I knew there, and the place where I am now, with it’s new people.  I tend to take longer than most people to adapt to new circumstances.  Maybe it has something to do with thinking too much.  I don’t know.

Take care,

Michael

If anyone wants to comment (properly, not using a disguise or talking in code) on this, or any other of my posts, please do.  I need feedback to know how well I’m doing at blogging.

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