Sunday, 23 November 2014

Lewis again, six years on

Fifteen laps to go.

I'm sitting in a friend's apartment in the East Midlands of England, watching Lewis Hamilton cruise towards his second formula one championship, the TV showing the glitz and lights of an expensive, oil-funded, middle eastern circuit at dusk.

Nine laps to go.

Six years ago, I was sitting in a hotel room in Chicago. The conference I was presenting at, in the same hotel, had just started. Prensky was the keynote speaker. Despite it being on games, this wasn't the most attractive - for several reasons - of speakers to go downstairs to listen to. I passed, and followed the race - also in a distant and hot land - as best as I could from a hotel in the USA.

Seven laps to go.

That race, six years ago, was epic and tense. Lewis was in a position to lose, giving Massa the championship, until the last corner of the last lap when he overtook Glock. Lewis finished fifth. That was enough - just - to take the championship. I screamed. (Also, I won some money for an added edge).

Five laps to go.

It's now six years on. Lewis hasn't won the championship since, but is so close now. He's leading. Even if his car stops in the next - the last - five laps, he'll still probably win the championship as his only challenger, Rosberg, is struggling in a wounded car, too far back down the order.

Four laps to go.

Places, in order, I've lived in for at least a month during those six years:

The Outer Hebrides - Evesham - Detroit - Birmingham - Toledo - Birmingham - Ohio - Iowa - Birmingham (six different places) - Loughborough.

Rosberg is slowing down. He's in 13th place. It's as good as all over.

Three laps to go.

Relationships and family and friends and other people over those six years:

{thinks briefly} Yeah, let's not go there.

Two laps to go.

Things achieved over those six years:

{thinks briefly} That's not a long list, either. But, I have a notion of what I want to do, and what I can realistically do, and what I want to achieve in the short, medium and long term. And that is good enough.

One lap to go.

Rosberg's car is creeping home. It really is over.

I'm healthier, in mind at least. And partially in body. The older you get, the less you can do there - but you can still do things - and the more your body runs on a combination of things you subjected it to in the past (which you can't alter now), the health and exercise you do, the care you can give it and afford to give it, and sheer luck, good or bad.

The checkered flag.

Lewis wins. World champion again, the second time. Six years, and Chicago, seem a lifetime ago.

Well done, Lewis.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Time-lapse of Earth. Lovely, though you might want to mute the overdone sound in this particular case.

As ever with good time-lapse, or timelapse, videos - watch in the highest resolution and full screen.

Monday, 18 August 2014


August Sunday nights are firework night in Animal Crossing New Leaf. Screenshot of me pottering earlier in the evening.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Twitter accounts

So, this tweet went up just now, from my oldest Twitter account which has seen a variety of changes over the years.

Which doesn't mean anything to most other people, but is exciting for me as it means I've reached the next phase in sorting out my online work and life components.

As of now I have three active twitter accounts, all near the end of the alphabet:

  • Twelve Badges: Digital games in learning and health, badges, and Animal Crossing.
  • UKOLN: Occasional tweets about UKOLN staff, past and present.
  • Wordshore: Occasional random and wordy tweets; not as active as it used to be.

There's a fourth twitter account which is now 'parked' and not in use, namely Geoshore.

And also a sockpuppet account, which is occasionally used in a benign way. But that's my sum total of twitter accounts as of now.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Happy in Los Angeles

As usual I'm six months behind the curve, but watched the Happy video last night for the first time. And the first thing that struck me was - this is people walking around my favorite city (Los Angeles) again, isn't it?

Which reminds of...

Saturday, 26 July 2014

On writing

It's very meta to write about writing instead of, y'know, actually writing. A diversion. Or procrastination. Maybe a meta-procrastination.

It's also pretentious to start a book, a chapter, a story, or even a blog post with "On ...", implying that there will now be authoritative words, only mentioned once before moving on to the next subject for regal analysis.

Again, whatevs. But, while I'm here, "On life" boils down to just "Do the best you can".

Speaking of boiling down, and writing. "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." allegedly said Ernest Hemingway. Then again, he also allegedly said "Write drunk, edit sober" but that turned out to be someone else.

Quotations about writing, from proven writers - the people who aren't meta but have actually published books and stuff - are two a penny. After spending far too much time reading these, instead of ... you've guessed it, they seem to boil down to five things:

1. Read a lot. Books, novels, stories, posts, comic books, ephemera, digital game text, anything with words on it. Do this for life; rewire your brain to understand how everything can be conveyed in words.

2. Observe everything. In whatever states of mind and body you need to be in to observe everything. You've signed up to be an anthropologist of the human condition now.

3. Be selfish with your time. Write when you need to. Ignore people who interrupt you. Cut off people who repeatedly interrupt you.

4. Write a lot. Just, write. Figure out what to keep hidden, what to edit, what to delete, and what to make public.

5. Publish. Whatever that means, nowadays. But basically let random strangers discover, and choose to read (or choose to ignore), your writing.

That's pretty much it. Write yourself to contentment, inner peace, to home. Write to set the record straight, make the record or fix the broken record. Write to inform or misinform, to encourage or discourage, to prove or disprove. Write to stop the fragment of history that sits in your soul from slipping into an eternal night. Write yourself to California and Los Angeles, or Lapland and Rovaniemi, or a cornfield in the middle of the midwest. Write so you can buy cheese for yourself, games consoles for your partner, nice meals in revolving restaurants for the two of you and perhaps not-so-nice food at state fairs. Figure out your personal meaning of "home" and write yourself there.

Just write.