Hello! Yes Half Bananas is back from the dead, or at least a rather long hiatus. This may be my first post in a while, but hopefully not the last.
So, what’s been happening in your world over the past few months? I hope it’s been full of fun, adventure, and at least a few nice surprises.
Of course most of us don’t lead lives full of fun, adventure and surprise. We may try to, but somehow we seem to end up with days that mostly consist of routine, frustrations and lots of annoyances we could do without. Perhaps we need be on our guard and challenge ourselves to avoid those ruts, brighten up our dull days and boldly go where no one has gone before. Or at least where we haven’t. Easier said than done. But this year I have been making an effort to ring the changes. And if the changes are not answering, well I’ll just leave a message.
But then again, boredom can be a great motivator. It is, after all, thanks to extreme boredom with his humdrum job that Albert Einstein dreamed up the revolutionary recipe for making Marmite. Although sadly for him, some other scientists had the exact same idea and he had to be content with the theory of relativity and all that other sciency stuff. Poor Albert.
Something I read recently set the creaking gears in my mind to whirring and grinding: it was a reminder that each of us was the author of our own lives. Not an Earth-shatteringly new idea perhaps, but it had me pondering both the degree to which it is true, and also the implications of such a role.
There are numerous factors that make us the person we are: our genes, gender, sexuality, race, upbringing, social position, wealth, education, and the chance circumstances of one’s early life must all play a part.
Clearly an orphan, growing up in poverty in some war-ravaged corner of the globe, will have a very different experience of life and very different opportunities to the privileged offspring of comfortable upper-middle class professionals in a sleepy Surrey village. So we are certainly not all starting from the same place and with the same degree of literary freedom, when it comes to the authorship of our own tales.
After something of a hiatus, during which blogging time (and the muse) have been sadly lacking, I thought I’d try and get back to a weekly schedule of posting. Maybe.
In the few weeks that I’ve been absent from the blogosphere, I’ve managed to part company with a small lump – aka mystery spot – via a minor procedure. The test results identified it as a basal cell carcinoma, one that is thankfully no longer around to cause any mischief.
I now sport a fine scar, although sadly on my back, so I can’t show it off like those famous German duelling fanatics.
I’m also on the brink of a new business partnership, but more on that another time. And of course I’ve managed to miss out on all the great posts by my favourite bloggers too. Sorry guys.
I would try to catch up by speed reading everything I missed, but the last time I attempted that I simply gave myself a headache, blurry vision and an inability to say the letter Q. Continue reading →
The agonising wait is over at last! Here are the winners in the very first ever halfbananas awards.
There are so many amazing blogs out there, it’s hard to keep up. I hope you enjoy discovering some great new ones, and if you’ve won a coveted halfbananas award, congratulations!
The dedicated awards committee have tried to recognise the best examples in various categories, but inevitably there will be lots of other fabulous blogs that missed out this time around. But never fear, there will be more awards, accolades and virtual pats-on-backs coming soon. Let’s spread the love people!
I look forward to seeing all the lucky winners and honourable mentions, at the lavish Hollywood party I will be hosting, assuming awards condition #3 is met (see below). Continue reading →
On the way to work I found a sports bag, filled with cash. Overjoyed, I decided to quit and went straight to see my manager. She looked shocked. “Holy shit, you found it!” Dazed, I handed over the bag and spent the rest of the day quietly weeping at my desk.
The week my wife left me, the cat disappeared too. I kinda imploded and hit the booze hard. I felt like ending it, till that stray mutt showed up. One day, he bit a postal worker. Luckily she was the forgiving type, and single too. Things are finally looking up. Continue reading →
David focused his thoughts for the crucial penalty kick. At the last moment, a vivid butterfly landed on the ball and the shot went sailing wide. The howls of disappointment from the fans were somehow softened by a profound sense of relief as he watched the colourful insect flutter by.
“You lazy shit!” she yelled, “You’re manipulative, messy and just lounge around the flat all day, eating. I don’t think you give a damn about me Tom.” He gazed sleepily into her eyes and stretched out languorously. “Okay, I’ll get your dinner. But first we take care of those fleas.”
As a kid I fell playing football and cut my knee. After stitches, the nurse gave me a lollipop for being brave. Now, on those rare occasions when I’m brave, I crave a reward – usually something sweet. But I’m married and the nurses seem unimpressed by my old scar.
We strolled across the meadow this afternoon, mesmerised by the abundance of wild flowers and butterflies. Pairs of Magpies engaged in crazy aerial displays, and a flock of sheep lazed in the shade. One of them sneezed, breaking the spell. I’m not sure if the sheep laughed, but we did.
It is written
In my story, an author in a parallel universe is writing a story about a writer who imagines authors in other universes. He wonders if they are also writing about authors and writers in other universes. My head starts to hurt. Maybe I’m someone’s fictional character? Maybe you are too?
For people of a certain age, being disciplined invokes a trip to the headmaster for punishment, while for others something rather more kinky. Or perhaps both.
But I will leave any salacious discussions of corporal punishment or saucy S&M shenanigans for another time. Here I want to try and get to the bottom of the mental discipline we apply, or fail to apply to ourselves.
Self discipline: The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses. OED
Self-discipline seems to be fundamental to success. Pretty much any type of challenging endeavour requires it, unless you join the military services and let someone else impose their discipline upon you.
I can see the potential advantages of having such a well-structured life: a clear set of rules and goals, strong motivators and the fellowship of comrades in arms. Not to mention the simplicity of wardrobe choices. But personally I would rather be skinned alive, lightly seasoned and fed to wolves than submit to such an authoritarian way of living.
It was almost a year to the day since Peter Pike – AKA Procrastination Man – had last donned his ill-fitting spandex outfit and battled the forces of evil. But Peter had not been idle, far from it. In that time he had thoroughly reorganised his cutlery drawer, joined a gym (although not actually visited it) and made detailed plans to re-decorate the lounge and repair the kitchen window. There had even been a few half-hearted attempts to start writing his autobiography.
He had also, much to his surprise, found a partner, Melanie Grant, with whom he had made some exciting and probably completely impractical plans. An attractive, if slightly geeky young science graduate, she had been inspired by the press coverage of his earlier adventures and had responded to his online quest for a partner:
WANTED: SMART, KICK-ARSE PARTNER FOR A UNIQUE CRIME-FIGHTING OPPORTUNITY! NO TIME-WASTERS PLEASE.
Their first meeting at TheBlack Crow pub hadn’t gone quite as well as they’d hoped. A nervous Peter had arrived late as usual, and then managed to spill his pint of beer all over their table. Melanie had ended up trapped in the women’s toilet cubicle, a faulty lock requiring intervention from the local fire brigade. But they had been able to laugh about it afterwards, and their disastrous evening had eventually ended on a unexpected high note.
As they had slowly gotten to know each other in the months that followed, the future suddenly seemed to be full of promise and adventure.
After a long planning phase, they were determined not to let any more grass grow under their feet. It was time for action, just as soon as they’d saved up enough cash to advertise their services in the papers, and whipped themselves into shape at the gym. And paid off the credit card bills. Yes, quite soon they would be ready to unleash the force of THE PROACTIVATORS upon an unsuspecting criminal world.
There seem to be a fair few awards flying around of late and I have been nominated a few times myself. (The best of breed at Crufts dog show was certainly a surprise)
I always feel chuffed to get nominated, until I remember that some blogging awards require one to nominate up to fifteen other blogs, in the form of a sort of chain letter (or pyramid scheme?) deal. Of course unlike a pyramid scheme, nobody is scamming people to get rich and the intentions are honourable, as far as I know.
This leaves one torn between the nice ego boost of a nomination and the realisation one has to actually find that many other blogs to nominate and contact them all, as well as answering a series of searching personal questions (Favourite Italian biscuit? Most used Klingon curse word?)
I seem to be running low on cash and have begun wondering where exactly I slipped up in my cunning plan to relocate and start afresh in a new country. Who would have thought that employment, contacts or a sensible career strategy would have been so necessary to make it work? Surely just turning up and waiting for opportunities to come knocking is a reasonable alternative? After all, it’s always worked out so well in the past…
Perhaps it’s partly to do with the fact that the term ‘career strategy’ fills me with a sense of nausea, not unlike the words ‘merchant banker,’ or ‘leveraging your personal brand to facilitate an ongoing financial remuneration paradigm.’
Maybe I can drum up a few quid with a bit of genre fiction, and solve my ongoing lack of a financial remuneration paradigm. Maybe.
Looking around at what’s popular recently, I’ve narrowed my options down to writing a story about a girl wizard who grows up and falls for a charming but rather kinky vampire, with whom she must join forces to save the kingdom from a horde of zombie dragons. And have lots of mild S&M sex.