A long week

I can’t believe this working week has only been four days! It’s felt like forever. Geth and I have both been really busy and the weekend is very welcome right now.

I’ve had a bad hip all week and so have only been doing short runs. I’ve done a lot of yoga to try and sort it out, and it is getting better, but only gradually. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do my planned weekend running and walking but we’ll see.

I’m thoroughly ensconced in the coding for my next game, which is really, really enjoyable. It’s a fairly big project though and I’m already looking forward to going back to experimenting with smaller games over the summer.

Still doing a fair amount of day job work too. Lots going on at the moment!

Local elections 2021
COVID-secure polling station selfie! It had just started to hail…

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Haul Away Joe’
Bee Gees – ‘First Of May’
Duran Duran – ‘Burning The Ground’

Sunday

Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’
Michael Land – ‘The Brimstone Beach Club’

Monday

Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Sailor Ain’t A Sailor’
Aloe Blacc – ‘I Need A Dollar’
The Running Channel – ‘Run With Me’
Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Haul Away Joe’

Tuesday

Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
The Undertones – ‘My Perfect Cousin’
Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Sailor Ain’t A Sailor’
Michael Land and Clint Bajakian – ‘Monte Carlo Hotel Entrance’

Wednesday

Levellers – ‘Julie’
Eric Hammond – ‘Into The Catacombs’

Thursday

Michael Land and Clint Bajakian – ‘Barnett College’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’
Eric Hammond – ‘Berlin (Königgrätzer Marsch)’

Friday

Fisherman’s Friends – ‘Bully In The Alley’
Michael Land and Clint Bajakian – ‘Opening Credits Part #1’

Finishing off the month

A fairly hectic week this week as I’ve had a lot of things to get finished before the end of the month. My ear is feeling a lot better after finishing my antibiotics course, and my energy has seemingly returned, so I’ve been able to start improving my running speed again.

My main focus this week has been getting the bulk of the work finished for my current Adventuron jam game. I’ve spent this week finishing off the coding and am looking forward to getting stuck into the graphics over the weekend. I’m really excited about getting everything put together and spending a few days working with playtesters before the deadline!

I’ve also been continuing with my long walks and increased-distance runs, which are really nice now that the spring weather has arrived. It means that I’ve pretty much doubled my pace on the LEJOG challenge I’m doing and should be well on track to finish by the end of the year!

There’s been quite a bit of day job work this week too. Business has picked up a bit recently after last year’s slight COVID slump and I’ve got some important plans for going forward that I’m going to start implementing soon.

Finally, I’ve made sure to get some quality downtime with videogames when possible. I’m still really enjoying Bravely Default II and expect it will take me a good couple of months to finish. So many games on the list afterwards that I can’t wait to play…

I would say I’m hoping that next week will be quieter, but there’s a Camp NaNoWriMo month starting and I expect I’ll end up doing something for that! Maybe not with a super high wordcount this time though…

Jesmond Dene
Still enjoying my spring return to Jesmond Dene!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Bucks Fizz – ‘My Camera Never Lies’
Sting – ‘Englishman In New York’
Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz – ‘Talk Dirty’

Sunday

Camila Cabello – ‘Liar’
Captain Ska – ‘Liar Liar Ge2017’
Kevin Gillis – ‘Run With Us’

Monday

Lauv and Troye Sivan – ‘I’m So Tired’
Revo – ‘Savalon’

Tuesday

The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Because The Night’

Wednesday

Revo – ‘Savalon Desert’
Kirsty MacColl – ‘Days’
Lauv and Troye Sivan – ‘I’m So Tired’
Coldplay – ‘Fix You’
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Because The Night’

Thursday

Demi Lovato – ‘Heart Attack’
Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz – ‘Talk Dirty’

Friday

Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’
The Proclaimers – ‘Make My Heart Fly’

Up and down energy

It’s not been a bad week. The only thing slowing me down has been an ear infection that I picked up last week (god knows where from given that I never see anyone at the moment!). Following a phone appointment with the doctor, I’ve managed to get some antibiotics, but so far I’ve been up and down with them – hoping it settles down over the weekend. I’ve also been feeling a bit stiff and achy again, so there’s been a fair few evening yoga sessions over the last few days!

Work-wise I’ve been trying to do focused days this week rather than trying to do a small amount of ten different things every day. I feel like it works a bit better when I can just sit down and concentrate on one thing for most of the day rather than chopping and changing and trying to squeeze everything in.

I managed a day off on Wednesday, which was great, as I wanted a bit of time to sit down and play videogames (I’ve not had the energy for it in the last couple of weeks, which is usually a bad sign). Wednesday is a good day to take off if necessary, as it’s the weekday when I’m least likely to have urgent work from clients.

I’m playing the Fetchpoint game on Fetch Everyone again, which is kind of like virtual geocaching and involves collecting lots of invisible tokens around my local area. This is getting me out walking more often (and helping to vary my running routes), which is a good thing as we move into spring.

I’m mostly concentrating on the Adventuron jam this month, but in April I’m hoping to have a bit of time to work on my business website – I’m going to be changing a lot of terms soon and need to revamp the site accordingly.

A big week of game-creating ahead as we’re reaching the final push of the current jam. Fingers crossed I can carve out lots of time to get it finished!

Jesmond Dene
Geth and I went to Jesmond Dene for a walk last weekend. It was so nice to be back in the Dene for the first time after the winter.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Simply Red – ‘Money’s Too Tight To Mention’
Kanye West – ‘Stronger’

Sunday

John Newman – ‘Love Me Again’
The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’
Frankie Miller – ‘Caledonia’
Girls Aloud – ‘Sound Of The Underground’
Matthew Wilder – ‘Break My Stride’

Monday

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton – ‘Islands In The Stream’
Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’

Tuesday

Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
Muse – ‘Feeling Good’
UB40 – ‘If It Happens Again’

Wednesday

Joe Hisaishi – ‘Battle’
Cheryl – ‘Call My Name’

Thursday

Bros – ‘I Owe You Nothing’
Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – ‘Human’
Let Loose – ‘Crazy For You’
Demi Lovato – ‘Heart Attack’

Friday

Revo – ‘Halcyonia’
Kesha – ‘Tik Tok’
J Balvin and Willy William – ‘Mi Gente’

Tenterhooks

The usual mile today…

…but of course the main running focus has been the nailbiting wait to find out what’s happening with the London Marathon rescheduled date. A few media outlets have picked up the story this morning as it seems to have been leaked that the mass race will be re-postponed to the spring and the October date will just feature a few elites running laps of a London park (which would make good TV but won’t really be the London Marathon in my view, so if that’s the plan I hope they call it something different!). Some sources are suggesting that the official announcement will be made this evening, while others are saying it’ll be 7am tomorrow morning.

Either way, I’m finding it very hard to be productive today, because waiting for this announcement is very distracting!

My ears are doing a bit better today. Last night, I tried the drops that came with the pack Geth bought from the chemist a couple of weeks ago, and they felt a lot more effective than the oil, so I’m going to switch to those for a few days. After that, I will have a go with the bulb syringe from the pack (gently!) if my ears haven’t fully cleared from the drops.

I’ll be spending the rest of the day further trying to distract myself. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be.

London Marathon 2019
I will be back on that start line… but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that it’ll be this October.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Rio’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’

Underwater

I managed two miles for my Wednesday run today…

…which is still not very far, but it’s more than I’ve managed on a Wednesday for weeks, so I’m quite happy about that!

I’m having a really bad time with my ears at the moment. Since I had to have them syringed eighteen months ago, I’ve been using oil once a month to try and keep them unclogged. However, about three weeks ago, they very suddenly became badly blocked (requiring my hearing aids to be cranked up to max volume and even then feeling like I’m underwater), and so I’ve been using oil in both ears daily to try and improve the situation. Some days have been better than others, but on the whole it’s not working and is really starting to make my ears itch.

As such, I called the GP this morning to see if there was any chance that I could come in and have them syringed again. They said that they can’t do that at the moment due to COVID (and have no idea when that will change), so I’m at an impasse, and I’m really miserable with these blocked ears.

Geth bought me a home syringing kit at the chemist the other week, but I decided at the time not to use it because the first three items on the ‘DO NOT USE IF…’ list printed on the back were:

  1. DO NOT USE IF you have a history of ear problems
  2. DO NOT USE IF you are inserting anything else into your ears, such as hearing aids
  3. DO NOT USE IF you have ever had a damaged eardrum

I’m normally a bit devil-may-care with these lists as it’s just medical companies covering themselves, but I know I do have to be careful with my ears as they’re in such a mangled Frankenstein’s monster state after everything that happened to them when I was a kid. However, I’m at my wits’ end, and so I’m tempted to have a go with the kit anyway – after all, it can’t be any more damaging to my ears than having them painfully powerwashed out with saline solution as part of the ear irrigation process at the GP clinic.

Another option I’m considering: Geth’s mum has suggested heating the oil before putting it in my ears as this ‘activates’ it. I’ll probably try that tonight, though I am getting really, really sick of putting oil in my ears now.

Anyway, in non-medical news, I was able to wake up early-ish again today, so I’m hoping to get all my work done in good time today and relax with some videogames this evening. I started playing Beyond A Steel Sky last night – it’s got some tough puzzles and I’m still on the first section, so I expect it will keep me occupied for a week or two.

Two more days until I will know for definite about the London Marathon, which is both nervewracking and exciting!

Paper Mario origami sheets
I need to find some time to make this Paper Mario origami – it looks like a nice relaxing project.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The ‘Sheila’s Wheels’ advert music from the ’00s
Duran Duran – ‘The Reflex’
Michael Jackson – ‘Smooth Criminal’
Duran Duran – ‘Rio’

Bonus hours

A slightly out-of-pattern day today. First of all, I was up at six, which is extremely rare for me – I’m (a) a self-employed person who sets her own hours and (b) not a morning person. However, Geth had an early hospital appointment for a sleep-deprived EEG, meaning he’d had to stay awake all night, and so I was up and about early so that I could drive him to the hospital and back.

This meant that I didn’t go for my run until we got back…

…although the hospital appointment had been so early that I still managed to get out for the run about half an hour earlier than I did yesterday!

I’ve spent the rest of the day doing day job work and a bit of coding for a fun side project game. The plan is for the same again tomorrow… and then the new Paper Mario game will be showing up in the post, which is my weekend sorted 🙂

I’ve also got a hairdresser appointment tomorrow morning, for the first time since Christmas. It’ll all be very masked and sterile, but I’m so looking forward to having my lockdown hair sorted out!

Adventuron blank screen
A blank screen in the Adventuron editor, ready to code. I’ll see a few of these over the next few weeks as I have a lot of short, fun games planned for the rest of the summer.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Jennifer Lopez – ‘Louboutins’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Temple Of Chaos’
The Beatles – ‘Drive My Car’
Beach Boys – ‘Sloop John B’

Still not firing on all cylinders

Just another mile today…

…as I woke up with a slightly sore shoulder (I had planned to do closer to two miles today but decided to keep it short and gentle again).

I’m still not sleeping well, and I don’t feel productive at all this week – I’m a bit slow to get going with everything. Still, I’m managing to get a bit of work on my current writing project done every day, which is great.

Despite the uncertainty about absolutely everything at the moment, I am 100% certain that two things will be the case by the end of 2020:

  1. I will have made a significant dent in my videogame backlog. There’s no way I’ll have cleared it completely, but there will at least be light at the end of the tunnel…
  2. I will own enough leggings to last me for the rest of my life, and yet I will still want more. So many shiny patterns!

Everyone needs a hobby, or twenty in my case. Especially at the moment.

Videogaming tonight, running in the morning, writing during the day, rinse and repeat.

Computers, 1980
I’m running out of pictures that I can take during lockdown, as my world is obviously a bit samey right now. As such, I’ve been going through the family archives for old computer pictures. I love this one from 1980.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Yell’
Revo – ‘Ship Upon The Open Skies’
Thought Beings – ‘Shakedown’

Two metres, please

I managed a slightly longer run this morning…

…and felt so much better for it! My shoulder pain seems to have subsided for now, although I will be putting it to the test with a bit more yoga later today. I’m hoping to get out for some longer runs over the weekend as well.

It’s a bit busy inside my head at the moment, and I feel like my creative ideas are not keeping their two metres of social distance apart from each other (or, you know, two centimetres, or whatever the correct scale is for inside your brain). I’m not working on as many creative projects as I usually am – I’m having a few months’ break from prose fiction writing in order to refresh (and it’s probably working because I miss my characters BADLY); I’m not writing as much poetry as usual due to poetry night having gone virtual like everything else (although I did enjoy writing my short verse today for the group poem we’re doing this month!); my adventure game creation process is currently in a drawing-bad-graphics phase rather than a writing-interactive-fiction phase; and I’m not actively seeking out writing competitions and submission requests and the like because it was starting to stress me out by the end of last year.

It’s good to take a semi-break, especially in the current circumstances (many writers have blogged more eloquently than me about the fact that a pandemic does not actually make for an efficient writing period, despite all the additional free time, because the ever-present sense of dread is something of a distraction). However, I’ve always found that if I don’t get my ideas out, they rattle around in my brain, and at the moment there are a lot of them in there.

I think I just need a couple of days to write freeform and see what happens. Maybe next week, if work is still quiet.

I’m looking forward to the weekend (such as it is) now. Geth and I will be doing the parkrun quiz tomorrow morning and taking a trip to the now-reopened B&Q on Sunday in order to get more gravel for the garden and stretch the car’s wheels (I’ve not turned on the engine since we returned from Inverness last month, and I know it needs to be done every now and then). I’ll be doing a couple of scenic runs and not thinking about the parallel universe and my parallel self’s trip to London. And, of course, I’ll be playing a lot of videogames.

As I mentioned last weekend, I won’t be doing diary posts tomorrow or Sunday – I’ll be sharing my running vlogs, though, and I’ve got a couple of review posts that will be going up. I’ll be back on Monday to update you all on my continued lockdown adventures 🙂

Cherry blossom
Today’s run was another sunny adventure with bright blue skies and beautiful blossom everywhere. This spring has been so good to us weather-wise.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Toto – ‘Africa’
Pulp – ‘Common People’
Survivor – ‘Eye Of The Tiger’
Timecop1983 and Primo – ‘My DeLorean’
Yasunori Mitsuda – ‘Elysium, In The Blue Sky’
Chaka Khan – ‘Ain’t Nobody’

Lists upon lists

One last recovery mile this morning…

…because I was still being careful regarding my shoulder. It feels a lot better now though, and I also managed a fifty-minute YouTube yoga session at lunchtime, so I think I should be able to go for a longer run tomorrow.

I’ve spent the rest of the day editing, writing, and getting on with admin stuff. Sometimes I feel like I’m making progress with my lists upon lists of things to do, but most of the time – even in these quieter lockdown days – it seems as though I get one thing done and then several more get added to the other end of the list! At least I’m never bored…

Looking forward to another good few hours of videogaming this evening. Geth has finished work early so has started his XCOM session already!

Washing line
Geth was rather taken with the colourful-ness of the washing line yesterday and asked me to take a picture. To be fair, I am amassing an extremely good collection of funky-patterned running tights.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Main Theme’
Ben Haenow – ‘Something I Need’
Lucy Spraggan – ‘Lighthouse’
The Wonder Stuff – ‘Don’t Let Me Down, Gently’

Waking up

Another recovery mile today…

…because I’ve had a bit of pain in my back/shoulder over the last couple of days and it’s irritating me when I run. As such, I’m keeping my runs short until I feel better. I had a really good go at it with the foam roller earlier today, and it does seem to be loosening, so hopefully it’ll be fine again in a few days’ time.

I feel a lot more awake than yesterday, and so today I’ve been able to get on fairly quickly with my to-do list, which has been the usual: small amount of day job work, another graphic drawn for my next adventure game, various bits of housework and admin, that kind of thing. I really appreciate being able to stay in the house and get on with all of this stuff at the moment, even if the sunny spring weather is making me think about beaches and tropical islands and so on.

I think 2021, if we’re allowed out by then, may involve a bit of travel. Just a bit.

In the meantime, the only tropical islands I’ll be visiting are the ones in my videogames. But that’s okay.

Foam roller and spiky ball
The foam roller and spiky ball are tough going on the muscles, but they do work the knots out.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Yasunori Mitsuda – ‘Where It All Began’
Yasunori Mitsuda – ‘Elysium, In The Blue Sky’
A bit of royalty-free Christmas music that loads of companies use to accompany videos and games at Christmastime but which I have never been able to find the name of (you can hear it in the opening of this Dice Tower video)
The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’