Professor Lewis: It’s in this twilight period of transition we can see the magical significance 14th-century mythology attaches to things which are themselves symbols of transition.
PL: The edge of a forest, or twilight itself: that dusk before the day has really ended, but nor can one say it is yet early evening.
H: Of course.
PL: And that’s your bedtime, that is. That’s your bedtime on Friday nights.
–Rob Newman & David Baddiel’s “History Today” sketches, The Mary Whitehouse Experience
Despite a few low points, 2013 has been a good year for me: however, it’s been more of a period of self-discovery and evolution, as evinced by all the changes I’ve effected in my life. With all the hard work I’ve put in, it seems I’m ready to move on to the next stage… especially in the view of my personal trainer, who has started pushing me even harder (due to the apparent ease with which I’ve faced all his previous challenges), getting me to warm up for TEN MINUTES on the rowing machine instead of the 5’30” I’ve been used to for the past few months. He’s also got me doing Olympic weightlifting — including “dead lift”, “clean and jerk” and “shoulder press” — but reckons I mastered it faster than anyone else, and only the fact that I needed to work on my press-ups a bit stopped me from feeling like some kind of fraud who had somehow been hustling him all these months!
(I’d still like to send some business his way, but obviously I can’t use his real name here; however, if you go to the Castle in Manor House and look for his poster in the mini-gym, you’ll see his first name is that of the character in Ghostbusters II played by the guy from Ally McBeal, and his surname is a kooky protein-heavy diet… tell him Dave-ros sent you!)
And from my physical health, we proceed to my mental health, or at least that aspect of it concerning my romantic life, which of course is the only bit that matters to a male with a fully-functioning libido. I’ve mentioned my dating coach before (the woman whose professional name is very similar to the Joker’s psychiatrist-turned-sidekick in the Batman franchise); she thinks I’ve made enough progress to go on one of her dating programmes, and although this will inevitably cost money, it’s something I’m considering, as it’ll hopefully benefit me more than just meeting her for 90 minutes on random Saturdays (usually on the exact weekends I’ve decided to visit my folks in Worthing, but fortunately I have next weekend clear to see her one last time in 2013). It’d be a bit of an investment, but I know shouldn’t let that discourage me: I was worried about spending money on a personal trainer, and look at how far I’ve come in that respect, so why not give it a try? She said I’d get a discount because I “make her smile”… and no, she’s not single, so please cancel that train of thought!
Speaking of cancelled trains, it’s clear that we’ve entered a new phase for the Northern Line: no more weekend closures (or at least none that would prevent me from travelling to central London) until mid-February! Thus I feel I can actually plan to do things at the weekends other than get the bus over to Arnos Grove and travel via the Piccadilly Line (a line I honestly wish would vanish from the Earth, after Friday evening, but that’s another story), and I don’t need to force myself to do things on weekday evenings in order to make up for sitting at home on Saturday and Sunday. It’s too soon for me to make a prediction, but the TfL website seems to suggest that the weekend after the one in mid-February will have no closures on the Northern Line at all — not even the usual “no service until 9am” on Sunday thing — and so I dare to hope that this will be the final end of weekend disruption and rail “‘”‘”replacement”‘”‘” buses (yes, I really put five levels of scare quotes on that word, that actually happened).
A new phase in my IT studies? Not yet, I’m still in the same place as before, studying Windows 7, but am at least getting on with that reasonably well, despite the boring Canadian guy who keeps saying “let’s go ahead and…”, and can’t seem to pronounce the “D”s or “T”s in words like “advantage” (maybe he’s part-Cockney?). However, I do have to attend another “open day” on Friday, which is a bit annoying because it means taking yet more annual leave, not to mention having to do my “pitch” yet again (one day I’ll just stop being afraid of public speaking, possibly at the point where everyone tells me to shut up), but at least I’ll get it over with. If I study over Christmas, I should be ready to take the exam in January, at which point I can progress on to the Server 2008 studies…
The weather, alas, sucks, because we’ve reached that time of year where I have to dress extra-warmly outside, and feel cold in the mornings — not to mention unwilling to get up, due to sunrise occurring around half-an-hour after my alarm goes off. Yeah, other people cope with blah blah blah, don’t care, I’m not them, and I didn’t say I couldn’t cope, I was just complaining idly about the fact that I live too far from the equator to avoid the existence of winter. At least we’ve entered a phase of relatively mild weather, which I describe, in an Orwellian-sounding manner, as “uncold”, which means the heating actually has an effect in my room and doesn’t just mean the difference between 14°C and 16°C. Having less fat on my body (thanks primarily to my personal trainer) obviously means I feel the cold more, but hopefully I can toughen up and withstand it through sheer force of will (and hey, it’s an incentive to exercise).
What other changes are in effect? Well, the usual, that I’ve been ripping DVDs to a hard drive, a project that’s mercifully coming to an end (though I’ve got a lot of 24 to take care of, and one episode of season 3 really didn’t want to come off that disc!), and I’m planning a big trip to donate to charity, to give away loads of stuff. I’ve also downsized my monitor to a 1080p LED one, and will be trying to sell my (heavier) 1920×1200 LCD one, perhaps for a credit note at the shop from which I intend to buy a “phablet” after Christmas so I can read e-books, having given most of my current clutch of paperbacks to a library. And there’s hopefully more desk work and less archive work to be done in my job (I’ve still got my desktop computer and haven’t fully switched to the laptop yet), though my boss’s boss is going on maternity leave for the second time, which will throw everything into confusion…
And, of course, there’s Gwar. What, you thought I’d get through a whole post without mentioning everyone’s favourite heavy metal-playing alien barbarian rockstar demigods? It’s a relatively minor transition, but since I’ve finished their back catalogue up to Violence Has Arrived, it occurs to me that the next album, 2004’s War Party, will be the first featuring Cory Smoot on lead guitar (in the role of Flattus Maximus, a character that was retired upon his death in 2011). This is a phase of my life I will save for 2014, however, as eight albums in one year is quite enough even for a bohab like me! I predict I’ll have reached their recent release, Battle Maximus (a tribute to Cory Smoot), around the end of next year, depending on how fast I get them and memorise the songs.
But don’t worry, I’m still an Eminem fan as well, and got his recent album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (I forgive him for the title, because the original MMLP was the first album of his I got, a worrying THIRTEEN years ago). In fact, it seems from one song in particular that he’s reaching the next level as well, just as he hits 40…
(Watch out, explicit lyrics! Well, hey, what were you expecting from His Royal Shadyness?!)