Monthnotes: February 2024

After an awkward January, I had my mojo back for February. Work and writing flowed well, and I got to catch up with some people. I had a trip to Sheffield with Katharine, as well as a gathering in Hebden Bridge to see double-drummer dance band AK/DK. That was a highlight – a load of people meeting for food at my house before going out dancing. I’ve not done that since pre-pandemic. I ended the month with a business trip to Gothenburg.

The big news is, I think I’ve got to the bottom of what is causing my headaches. It seems to be dehydration, although the underlying problem is that, apparently, some people are not very good at knowing when they’re thirsty, and I’m one of them. It’s a little like when I destroyed my first car because the oil light didn’t work. I did have a couple of headaches last month, but they’ve not been severe, so drinking more water does seem to be the answer. What’s weird is that the headaches seem to come on Tuesdays.

A steps competition at work has encouraged me to do more walking, and my total for the month was 483,139 steps, the most since May last year (when I walked part of the Coast-to-Coast). That’s an average of 16,660 steps daily, with my largest total being 26,616 from the day I saw AK/DK. I am getting a little fitter from this, as measured against my climbs of the hill behind my house. My weight is still high, but it’s trending downwards, with 2½ pounds coming off this month.

My new approach to writing continues to go well. I’m deleting lots of old notes (18,000 words on the Souths Downs way in one day) and it feels like I’m making space for new ideas. I wrote two new stories for the Wednesday Writers (Shivers and Wabi Sabi), and another story came to me almost complete before work one morning (Don’t Just Bury Your Trauma). In the past I spent too much time writing notes rather than actually working on stories. Warren Ellis linked to a good piece discussing this: On notes, outlines, and somehow cobbling a script together… I’m more excited about my writing than ever before.

I watched 10 movies through the month, including 6 Best Picture nominations, three of them at the cinema. Zone of Interest was by far the best of the nominees. I also saw Wild Water at the Hebden Bridge cinema, a lovely documentary about Gaddings Dam. My favourite movie was All of Us Strangers, which might have been the best-looking film I’ve ever seen – all those gorgeous sunsets and dawns. I’m impressed I made it out to the cinema for 5 movies in a month.

I only read two books this month, one of them a re-read of Ben Graham’s excellent Electric Tibet. I also read Jess Richard’s memoir Birds and Ghosts which was beautiful and heartbreaking. Something to focus on in March is ensuring my reading is less chaotic. I’m trying to absorb more media than I have the capacity for, and I need to get a grip.

Work has been fun. My current client project hit a big milestone, with its first production transaction. Travelling to Sweden was fun, although my experience of Gothenburg was airport-hotel-office-dinners, although I did snatch 30 minutes to see Lou Ice. I gave a talk on Spring AI, which went well. I’ve been trying to write up more about the things I’ve looked which is proving helpful. There are a few new posts on my programming blog:

With all the walking, I’ve been listening to many more podcasts than usual. I worked my way through ODB: A Son Unique in a couple of days, and loved it. Also excellent was the Subterraneans podcast (which I’m almost up to date with) and Joseph Matheny’s appearance on The Long Seventies podcast.

Is it possible to change from being a cat person to a dog person? I still love cats, but I really want a dog. But I can’t see a way to fit one into my current lifestyle.

A found this amazing cake at Clouds In My Coffee with Jude
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