Springingtiger's Blog

It’s Funny How The Time Goes.

In NLP there is an hypnotic phenomenon called ‘Time Distortion’. Richard Bandler did a great tape on the subject. Yesterday I had the opportunity to spontaneously experience time distortion.

My patio is about three feet lower than the beds that surround it. I was working on the narrowest of the beds clearing the neighbour’s Clematis from my climbing rose when I stepped back into empty space. I don’t know how long it took me to fall, but it felt like a long time. It was long enough for me to realise that with my right foot still on the wrong side of the patio wall I could not prevent myself from falling. I had time to reflect that I could not roll out of the fall and to focus on breaking my fall so that my head did not hit the concrete slabs of the patio. I moved my left arm to protect my head and moved my right across my body to help absorb the impact. I landed on the side of my left foot, then my knee, but my head remained off the ground until I ceased to fall and lowered it to the ground where I lay for a while unable to move. I am not glad I fell, but the experience of time distortion was interesting. 
Now I am finding that time is moving more quickly than I. Unable to place weight on my left ankle every activity requires planning and movement is agonisingly slow (what an appropriate expression!). Today I am resting with my somewhat swollen ankle raised, doing as little as possible and experiencing a strange sense of timelessness as I observe the world. It is of course another time distortion, the sense that time itself is illusory or perhaps this is reality and time is the illusion.
I have a Werner Erhard tape in which he postulates that there wasn’t time as we know it until religions needed to divide the day so they might pray at regular intervals. For centuries  all time was local, based upon the passage of the seasons and the movement of the sun. Most people had no need to divide time with any accuracy. It was the requirement of ocean navigators for accurate time keeping upon which to make their sextant observations that led to the development of accurate timepieces, chronographs. However for most of us local time, even accurately measured local time, remained local. It was the advent of rail travel that ended local time in Britain. In order to catch scheduled rail services it was necessary for the time in the stations on a route to be coordinated otherwise people in the west of the country would always be late for a train coming from London, whereas those travelling the other way would arrive early at the station and have to wait. More improbably the journey west would appear to be slower on the same route as the journey east.
Everything in creation has its own pace. The planets orbit the stars, chemicals react, materials degrade and rot, seeds germinate and grow, leaves fall, seasons change in sequence, we are born, grow old, and die. All of this is natural. However time with its seconds, minutes, hours, and days; with its weeks, months and years, and the labels we place upon these divisions is made up. Humans created time and then subjugated themselves to its tyranny shackling themselves with clocks, diaries, schedulers, Filofaxes, appointment books, year planners, all made the more tyrannical with the advent of personal computers and smartphones. It is true that we need all this for an ordered society, but sometimes it’s a relief, a necessity to stop time and live the timeless life. The worst time distortion is the distortion we allow time to inflict on our psyche, our values, our peace of mind. Stress is a function of time, deadlines can empower us, but equally destroy us. We complain that we have ‘no time to do anything’ today I have NO TIME and so I can do anything I choose.

Newsletter Time Again

Now blogging must be put to simmer gently on a backburner. My writing focus for the next couple of weeks must be upon the editing of the second edition of the Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society Newsletter.

What may readers expect this time? Hopefully there will be reports from the Society’s Officers (as yet zero received). There are TWO workshops, one on Steampunk goggle customisation from the Sky Captain, the other a fascinator by Ambika of Sundara Run. A review of what members have been up to over the quarter from Comic Con and acting as extras in July through to MCM in September via  another ‘Walking Workshop’. There will also be a report on the Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln. There are also articles from Karen McKay and Iain Cameron and we have been promised a page of Steampunk humour (no I don’t know what that means either!).
I have a GUESS leaflet signed by all the members of Steam Powered Giraffe to be given away as a prize along with a voucher to spend at our favorite Steampunk stall, but a prize for what? You will have to wait and see or, to put it another way, wait until I’ve set the competition!
I hope the newsletter will be released by the end of October before NaNoWriMo begins in November. So no time to chat, I’d better get on with it!

GUESS Who Was At Rai Con Winter? 

The answer of course, is  GUESS: the Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society. The great thing about Rai Con for provincial Steampunks is that it is another opportunity to dress up and raise the profile of Steampunk in Scotland. This Rai Con like the one in spring GUESS hosted a Steampunk Cosplay competition.

I know Rai Con isn’t as big as the MCM Comic Con, but I actually prefer it. It doesn’t have anywhere made as many vendors, nor does it attract such big names, but it has a more intimate and friendly atmosphere. The other thing  I like about Rai Con in common with the Glasgow Comic Con, also held in the Royal Concert Hall, is that it is so much easier to navigate. At MCM we missed things…most things because we didn’t know what was on where. It didn’t stop us having fun, but we might have had more. 

Rai Con is aimed primarily at Manga and Anime fans, many of whom come dressed as characters from their favourite Anime. What makes any Con memorable is above all the cosplayers, both for each other and everyone else. The program is very much aimed at promoting Cosplayand I went to two good panels: Mitch Gardiner on body painting and Nonas talking about wigs. 

Also on the schedule was our Steampunk competition sponsored by Victoriana for the Voluptuous Vixen who had a stall at Rai Con. I had the privilege of judging the competition and it was not easy because there were some great cosplays and outfits to judge. The last winner Mitch Gardiner reprised her ‘Rabbit’ from Steam Powered Giraffe, Iain Cameron another GUESS member’s outfit  featured his own craft work and custom paint work. I was torn, but in the end the prize went to ‘Steampunk’ Sally from Night Before Christmas whose cosplay had taken months of sewing and also featured body paint. However Steampunk is not only cosplay, but is also about a state of mind, a different way of relating to the world. Our two first prize winners so far have been cosplayers so this time we awarded a special prize to someone who is enthusiastically Steampunk and probably deserves a prize for fitting ridiculous numbers of goggles on a bowler hat, two and a half…well two pairs and a Steampunk monocle: Robert Alerdice. If anyone needs a stovepipe hat it’s Robert! 
Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society would like to thank the organisers of Rai Con for inviting us to hold the competition as part of a great event, Victoriana for the Voluptuous  Vixen for providing the prizes, the contestants and all those who came to watch. Next time it will be bigger and better just keep an eye on the Rai ConVVVIXEN, and GUESS Facebook pages.


wpid-captured_by_snapseed_2_2_1.jpgFor the last two Novembers I have embraced the National Novel Writing Month challenge. One month, one novel of at least 50,000 words. The first novel grew far beyond November and requires some topographical research before I can complete it. The second, ‘Brianna: A Life Between Lives‘ I self published and is available on Amazon. It is an exploration of the underlying metaphysical realities of existence as they are revealed to a woman whose post mortem status is to be determined by a tribunal. In the meantime she is guided in the Astral planes by Caraid whose identity and status remain somewhat of a mystery until the final denouement. Having completed Brianna I crossed off another item on my bucket list and thought this year I would just kick back and enjoy November. At this point the only things in my diary are a trip to Inverness and a gig in Edinburgh on the nineteenth, to which I have yet to buy tickets.

Writing is addictive and so are writing challenges. A few days ago Sarah, a friend of mine, announced she was going to do NaNoWriMo again this year. This is October and as November approaches I have found myself increasingly inclined to give NaNoWriMo another go. I have an idea sloshing around the troubled waters of my mind, actually several. However one idea is pestering me more insistently than the others. I can see and hear the protagonist Cain and he refuses to be silent. He invades my dreams and my quiet moments. I have had to tell him that I will not write his story until November, otherwise I will not be eligible for the challenge. And so I wait patiently, he less so irritatingly. Today I committed myself publicly again to NaNoWriMo. On the first of November I shall begin writing ‘Cain At The Edge Of Space’ (a working title, it may change). This year instead of blogging in November I am going to post an uncorrected instalment of ‘Cain At The Edge Of Space’. Whether I will be able to complete it on November the Thirtieth is another matter.

To anyone who has never participated in National Novel Writing Month, but who has an idea for a novel floating around in their head, I say this could be the kick-start you need. A month of intensive writing probably won’t leave you with a polished work of art. However it will leave you with something you can polish. At the very least, if you complete the challenge, you will be able to enjoy a sense of genuine accomplishment. I am actually beginning to look forward to November where I can see Cain sitting on his horse, or not quite a horse, on the ridge waiting for me, his hat pulled low over his eyes. I know he sees me. He misses nothing and I mean that in the worst ways you can imagine…

After Victoria

After Victoria what? The Twentieth Century, I suppose. The first series of Victoria on ITV has finished and I’m going to miss it. On Monday the latest series of Ripper Street ended on a cliff hanger. Now where will I get my weekly shot of Victoriana? I could watch The Victorian Slum, but I watch for inspiration and uplift and I suspect the slums will not provide that, Ripper Street was gritty enough for me.

I have loved the costumes on Victoria as the Hanoverian age gave way to the modern age of Victoria. Having seen Jenna Coleman in contemporary dress as Clara Osborn I am firmly of the opinion that the dresses of the Victorian era were much more flattering to women. Of course, never having had to be laced into a corset myself, that’s an opinion I can hold without discomfort. The flattering elegance of Victorian clothes is, for me, one of the main attractions of Steampunk. Many women in the Steampunk community prefer to wear outfits drawn more from the shady side of Victorian society, it’s all about self expression, but I personally prefer decorous elegance.
I also enjoy the male attire of the period, I think I need a stovepipe hat…I know I need a stovepipe hat! It is in menswear that it is most obvious that the Hanoverians are the recent past. Much of the neckwear is the same as one would see in a Recency romance. When we get to Ripper Street set in Victoria’s later years the men’s clothes prefigure men’s clothes of today. Again this shows in the neck ties, but also in shorter jackets than the earlier frock and tailed coats and in suits whose jackets and trousers match. However the dress of any era carries over into those that follow and so even today we see men occasionally in frock coats or tails, and frequently in the case of Steampunks.
As for me I shall have to fill the vacuum left by the absence of Victoria and Ripper Street by watching Oscar Wilde DVDs. I may even go back further and indulge in a bit of Jane Austen (I don’t care what anyone says, Matthew McFadden is the best Darcy on film!). Perhaps a few westerns, I’m thinking of The Iron Mistress with Alan Ladd. I am looking forward with eagerness to Victoria’s return.

The Past Is Another Country
October 8, 2016, 23:04
Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In two consecutive television programs tonight the quotation, “The past is another country.” has been used. Its a country where I have spent much of my evening.

I am drinking tea, eating Garibaldi biscuits and thinking of my father. He loved Garibaldi biscuits and I can’t eat them without thinking of him. At the same time I was watching Michael Palin interviewing Jan Morris who as James Morris has covered the first successful conquest of Everest. I was watching film of the year I was born and it really doesn’t feel so long ago.
I was amused by the next program with Boy George talking about his childhood in the seventies as if it were long ago. I was in my twenties, left-wing, politically active…I am still left-wing, but far less active in every way. 
Both programs were much about gender identity and sexuality. Jan Morris talking about transsexuality and transitioning said “Everyone’s doing it now…” I think not, however I suppose we are all much more open these days. It’s certainly true that in the days when I wanted to be a ballerina, it wasn’t generally possible. My mother told me kindly that I couldn’t be a ballerina, but I could be a ballet dancer like Rudolf Nureyev. I didn’t want to be Rudolf Nureyev, I wanted to be Margot Fonteyn. I am glad now because I’m a happy grandad and about about to celebrate my thirty fifth wedding anniversary. 
Thirty five years married to a wonderful woman who is also my best friend. I have always struggled to make sense of the world and my place in it. She actually can explain me to me, and I love that she embraces my fluidity and eccentricity and loves me anyway. I think we could have at least another thirty five years together, I hope so.

Cold Food, Warm Glow.
October 7, 2016, 23:13
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, Health, Steampunk, Travel | Tags: ,

20161007_175135-01Had I had a plan for today, today would not have gone to it. I suppose I had a sort of plan, but it went no further than going to Ayr with my wife to have lunch and then collect our new spectacles from Jordan’s Opticians.

The day started somewhat more slowly than anticipated and by the time we got to Ayr lunch was long passed and so we did not get the Macaroni Cheese to which we had been looking forward. However we did go to the Cookery Nook to buy the Gripper (jar opener) that they didn’t have in stock when we were last in Ayr to have our eyes tested. We might not have got our Macaroni Cheese, but coffee and home baked cakes and scones in Book and Bun was a happy alternative. Needless to say we ended up buying books…some habits are hard to break.

We collected our eyeglasses and went for a wander through the town rather than risk the rush hour traffic. As we rested a while on a bench some yards from the Gaiety Theatre a young woman asked to take my photo for an art project. I was not wearing Steampunk so it was a wee bit of a surprise, but I’m always happy to help. We set off about the time I had anticipated being home to watch Strictly It Takes Two and after driving around the streets of Ayr for some time we found ourselves on the road home. It’s nice sometimes to explore new places, unfortunately I’m not sure where it was we were exploring, but it’s an attractive town, on the whole.

Our timings were by now well adrift and so rather than cook we decided to buy a takeaway on the way home. While I waited for our food to be cooked Neelam went into Asda for some shopping. We had intended to get home and eat our food while it was hot. However when I got to Asda I discovered my wife helping an old Indian Woman packing a trolley-load of fruit punnets into bags. It turned out the woman seeing another Indian had asked Neelam if she might have a lift to the bus stop. She said she was going to near Lidl. Now there was no way Neelam was going to allow an ould woman who walked with a stick to struggle with five heavy bags on the bus. So it was we decided to run her home which turned out to be in Garnethill. We were somewhat later home with our food less hot than anticipated. However with the warm satisfaction of having used our time well we enjoyed our meal.

The funny thing is that although almost no part of my day passed as planned or expected and I’m later to my writing than I’d like I am well content. Some days are good days even though they are full of surprises (I don’t like surprises) and today was a good day. I think I will sleep well tonight.