Thursday, December 30, 2010

That was the year that was... 2010!

Research; research; research! Lest this quickly degenerate into a potentially political rant, let me waste no time and RESOLVE to suggest a context for my opening words without further ado!

Again, once more into the proverbial…

I sit here, late, typing this post, recovering from a bout of some influenza-like compound viral infection and complying – with some degree of similarity to an Arthur C Clarke automaton – with my usual MO: if in doubt about what the content of my next blog post is to be, then research, my dear boy, research; RESEARCH, I say.

So, having sallied forth onto the “www” airwaves, after flu-enforced abstention, I find myself deeply indebted to what I consider the relatively naff levels of journalism to be found on some of the Web’s information superhighway.

A blog about New Year’s Resolutions? Indeed!

Indeed… I do so remember them… weren’t NYRs the things yon adults pressurised us kids to become compliant with? (Auto-suggestion, I believe, is the technique employed in order to suggest the next round of KPIs required in qualifying for the next annual Xmas Santa Sack bonus.) Those resolution thingys – the forerunner of the Hard-Dad School of Management performance management initiatives… Yes, those! Those which were so clearly well forgotten mere moments into a drunken Fête La Nouvelle Année. Such fond memories!

It was with some horror, therefore, that in my research concerning contemporary takes on attitudes to the vexing question of “whether to be or not to be a supporter of the age old tradition of doing something so meaningless as to set plans for the sole purpose of ignoring them”, I stumbled on a list of the Top 10: New Year's Resolutions All Men Should Make. (And I have to admit, it seems to have been published on an English web site!)

Before I go further, I have to state that I do not DO New Year’s Resolutions… If you get to where I’ve got to in life I reckon what you least need to hinder you is a set of expectations! I digress.

So, this week, I shall offer a self-analysis against the Top Ten list (which I happen to regard is a joke – though I will freely admit, with my sense of humour, only I may get it!)
Let’s see how I did in 2010…

No.1 Visit a new destination: In my dreams. Always! The great thing about being imaginative and creative and getting to write fiction is that there are no boundaries or travel restrictions in life. We can go where the hell we please, when the hell we want to and as cheaply as chips! And if, in the great scheme of things, you get the bonus of a day-job and a boss that wants to send you to interesting places like Libya, then that’s the icing, baby! (Score 10/10. Forecast for 2011: Did someone mention Iran?)

No.2 Help someone else: The feel-good factor. Did I? Could I? Let me think… well, there was… (no, that wont wash in public)… there was… (struggling here) …well, I did get a friend of mine a job… I did try to help, honest… In reality, one can spend so much time trying to survive one’s self, that it is difficult to achieve much else. But my advice is always freely and affectionately given. (Score 3/10. Forecast for 2011: At least keep better notes of who I have advised in the past!)

No.3 Conquer a fear: Pardon? Why? Fear is what keeps me alive to possibilities. Fear is a tangible realisation of the acceptance of risk, and without appreciation of risk there can be no appreciation of reward. If I am not afraid when I step into a dodgy taxi cab in far off land, I would never be awake to the possibilities that might unfold… Now where would that leave me as a writer? A severe case of writers block, no doubt. (Score 0/10. Forecast for 2011: Be very, very afraid!)

No.4 Open a savings account: You cannot be serious!!! Why… I’m an author, not a celebrity. I also work for a living and, having been an entrepreneur, have sunk so much into the foundations of my previous businesses that they are now being dug up to support the walls of British and European banks… what chance do I, a mere mortal, have to save a penny? (Score 0/10. Forecast for 2011: 0/10 ’nuff said.)

No.5 Do P90X: Must be a typo… (especially at my age)

No.6 Devote more time to your hobbies: (really? who devised this cr**?) Hobbies? I have tons of those. If I devote anymore time to them I will be in danger of actually becoming good at one of them. They are a diversion. I do not need more time on hobbies. I do need to devote more time to writing, but that is not a hobby, it is a passion… it just doesn’t pay the mortgage (yet!). (Score 7/10. Forecast for 2011: To fail at this even better. Try for a realistic 4/10)

No.7 Go to a career conference: This must be a joke. Doesn’t the originator of this top ten list realise there is ageism in the work place? It might work for a twenty/thirty year old. But, really, what the hell is one of me going to get out of a career conference? How can such a list be applicable for ALL MEN? The arrogance of the writer! Such a blinkered view of the world (must have a part-time role in career counselling). (Score 0/10. Forecast for 2011: Take positive action against career counsellors – sign a petition, join a protest movement or something.)

No.8 Make an appointment for a check-up: Ha Ha! Got you. On top of this one! And its all thanks to our brilliant National Health Service… at my age the good doctors and nurses at my local clinic send for me every now and again, to have a check. Apparently it’s automatic now I’ve matured (somewhat). Well, it wasn’t exactly a full road check this year, but I did visit. (Score 6/10. Forecast for 2011: Not sure. I’ve no idea how the health service works! What is the schedule of tests? I’ll just wait and see.)

No.9 Read a big book: Now this just sets me a dilemma. If I am reading I am not writing. But I must admit that I have actually read some books this year. A substantial improvement on 2009 when I believe I finished at least one book… This year I even managed a full trilogy! No wonder I have just had to recover with a cold towel wrapped round my head and having to lay in a darkened room for a few days. But, in retrospect, having got through it, I enjoyed the experience. (Score 9/10. Forecast for 2011: Not another trilogy, please!)

No.10 Build a shelf: Well, I can finish 2010 on a high. Not exactly a shelf, but I did construct and install a two-metre-fifty, fitted cupboard in my lounge… It took a little while (working at weekends only) but it now carries a ton of cables and audio visual gear neatly out of sight. (Score 10/10. Forecast for 2011: Well, there is that one-meter-sixty space to the right of the fireplace that could take a log store…)

Happy resolution making for 2011. Me? I think I’ll just borrow some when I need to! :)


  1. Proverbial? Naff? Blinkered? one-metre-sixty?

    Are you British?

    That said, those resolutions are interesting. The one about the career conference might actually apply considering the world economy.

    If I were you, I'd skip Iran. After what happened to the American hikers and German photojournalists, I don't think any westerners are welcome.

    I did the P90X. Threw my shoulder out and actually lost more time from exercising because of it. Face it, we'll never have the steroid-induced bodies of those guys on TV (unless we take steroids, but then we'll look like freaks).

    Have a great new year.

    P.S.: You have national health care?

  2. Hi, Greg. Indeed I am (British)... of the Scottish variety (I shall be wearing my kilt this evening to welcome the New Year in!) Is my Britishness that obvious? :)

    I thought the P90X sounded dangerous... I didn't even Google it to make sure (despite my usually welcoming the unknown)

    Have a great one New Year.


    P.S.: We do indeed have national health care - affectionately known as the NHS. We also have private - if I ever make enough from book sales to pay for it!

  3. I agree with you, David - who the heck wrote this list? I have the P90X thing and haven't even attempted it yet b/c some friends told me how hard it was and I knew I'd need to be stronger first.

    Career conference? Read a book? Go to the doctor? Build a shelf? Savings account, travel, help others, hobbies?

    I'd say the only one of value is to try and help others. The rest should be automatic!!

  4. A kilt, David? For a second I thought that was the P90X, or some grinch's idea of an underground line. Sounds more like a torture machine.

    I like your idea of planning to fail even brighter. Warms my drizzly morning here.

    Happy New Year.

  5. Hi, CJ, Sharon, Happy New Year to you both.

    I couldn't believe how bad the list was! I just had to make something out of it! :)

    As for the kilt, Sharon... Born a Scott (not sure if I was made there) and married one, with at least one son born there too. I also drink proper whisky! (I just don't have the accent!) :)

  6. David,
    I am of the McMorran's and Cameron clans. My great great grandfather and his brother were police and fireman in Edinburgh (actually Berwick) and they both joined up the army of the North and became US citizens. General Dan became quite a famous general, fighting for Confederate prisoner's rights, and later went on to help out in the labor movement as an orator.

    And then I married a Hamilton so my fate is really sealed. I used to think Scottish historicals were written for me only. tee hee.

    Saw King's Speech last night. Colin looks pretty good in a kilt. I'll bet you do too...Cheers.

  7. Much success to you in 2011