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Global_Highway_Man's Achievements

Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.10.03:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Donate, give away or sell items you don't need.

Yesterday, my wife and I got rid of various items, including an old dvd holder, clothes, ornaments and an unused cat house (Cordelia really is rather stubborn when it comes to where she wants to sleep - normally in places where she's told she shouldn't, yet continues to try out!).
There is actually this show we're watching at present, which says anything you haven't used since last Christmas to consider flogging away to make money. Apparently, people have the oddest taste in collectors items: Someone collects toilet rolls - well the cardboard bit inside. I am guessing it's for some arts and crafts thing, but it's amazing what people would give away or collect!
Now we have one less cardboard box half blocking one of the lounge doors, and some stuff that should hopefully be finding a new home.

  • +300XP
  • ENV +8
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.10.01:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Visit a museum.

Last week, a few of us decided to visit Cambridge as part of work (highly recommended by myself, of course!) and took clients around the centre. One client and I split off from the rest to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum. This museum houses a vast array of different artefacts and artistic works. These range from ancient Greek and Egyptian sculptures, through to such subjects as Ming dynasty, French and Italian art; jewellery; weaponry; modernist and post-modernist art … there are so many topics of interest that there ought to be something for everyone! It is gigantic, and the scope is really impressive! If anyone is going by Cambridge at any time, I would strongly recommend a visit to here. It's also free to enter.
Afterwards, we caught up with the rest and walked along the River Cam to the Fort St George for drinks. Great day out, and I was happy to see that both the clients and co-workers who had never been there before were so impressed. It's nice to be proud of my birthplace. :)

  • +150XP
  • INT +8
  • CUL +8
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.30:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Go to the symphony.

Yesterday it was my birthday, and in spite of my continuous preference to not celebrate it (due to historic reasons), my wife said she wanted to make it a little special. So, she booked a symphony night at Ely Cathedral. On the 29th September - 100 hundred years ago - the first ever performance of Holst's "The Planets" was performed. Even as a kid, I always enjoyed the movements of "Mars" and "Jupiter", and said on a few occasions that I'd like to listen to the entire piece, so I got to do this live in a huge cathedral!
The acoustics in there were brilliant! Sure, I enjoy concerts and bands and such, but I do have a varied taste and inquisitiveness in pretty much everything! "Saturn" was actually an unexpected favourite, even though it was perhaps the most depressing piece, focusing on the horrors of old age from every avenue: In youth, it is feared; in adulthood it becomes mundane, and as an elder it becomes complete greyness. But there was some hope at the end as well.
It was an enjoyable day (also pootling about the town, and definitely getting far more "Happy Birthdays" than usual - as if the universe was trying to tell me something. If people believe in that kind of thing. But I feel better now. The new meds have been going for 5 days now, and therapy has had a huge breakthrough, so I am hoping to carry this on. Oh, & I shall be starting some new hobbies soon too (or, in some cases, revisiting them). Time to push forwards.

  • +770XP
  • CUL +13
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.20:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10


Custom achievement

I'm going to take some time out for a while to deal with some personal issues. However, I promise I will return. Just that there are some pressing concerns in real life I need to deal with. Hope you're all well & speak in a while.:)

  • +70XP
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.18:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Buy a new album.

I've bought a few albums recently. Charity shops are a great resource for them, but of course there are newer or lesser known albums that need to be found elsewhere. Currently, I'm looking for "Eva Plays Dead"; "Jess Glynn" and "Pale Waves". Anyway, this album is none of these.
This American band was formed in the 1990s, and took their names after the basketball player "Luscious Jackson". Although they weren't as well established, they created some of the more inventive music of the era. A bit like Beck, they merged various styles into one song, and their albums often dabbled in different genres. Alternative music was the key though. Anyway, this album was released in 1999, and their last until the greatest hits release in 2007. It was packed with songs, and I've given a brief description of the listing below:

1. NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGH: A blub track a little like "Groove is in the Heart", with brass section and rapping.
2. LADY FINGERS: Mellow track with glimmering guitars, sugar-sweet harmonies and squelchy synths.
3. CHRISTINE: A rhythm like "Sound of the Underground" by Girls Aloud, under a darker, melodic track not disimilar to Smashing Pumpkins during "Adore". Decks are also prominent towards the end.
4. ALIEN LOVER: Space pop mixed with 70s funk. Probably the most 90s sounding track.
5. SUMMER DAZE: Hip hop track with milky guitars and a rare addition of male harmonies.
6. SEXY HYPNOTIST: Probably my favourite - rattling steel guitars, train-like drums and a song which sounds like a roulette wheel, as they sing about travelling along the strip.
7. FRIENDS: Chilled, alternative rock with very chilled rap parts. A little bit Red Hot Chili Peppers.
8. DEVOTION: Garage fuzz rock, mixed with a little country and 70s psychedelia. Awesome brief organ solo!
9. FANTASTIC FABULOUS: Heavier guitar riff this time around over skittish electronica and a sarcastic-sounding vocals. Almost as if they're purposefully singing worse than normal.
10. GYPSY: Pulsing, sexy track with sweet piano in the background.
11. BELOVED: Relaxed acoustic track with subtle hip hop background. Probably the most pop-sounding piece.
12. COUNTRY'S A CALLING: A cockerel starts a country music track with strong Beck influences.
13. SPACE DIVA: Starting on a spaceship, the track goes into a rockier Portishead style with sapce-age guitars.
14. FLY: Spaghetti Western track with a 60's inspired production value. The song sounds tired, but in a good way.
15. LOVER'S MOON: Country western track with violin and acoustic guitar short ending track.

Overall, this is a good album, with a fair bit of variety. Hip hop is the overall backing theme to this, but their creativity and vision is worth the listen.

  • +70XP
  • CUL +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.16:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Do something that makes someone else really happy.

So, this was approximately one week ago, when I was chatting with an old friend I've known since my university days. Now, she lives in Spain, but we do keep regular contact. Unfortunately, E. has had a rough time of it. Well, rough years, which have ended up with a strong depression and agoraphobia. Yet she consistently tries her best to be as positive and outward-looking as plausible. There is much to admire about her tenacity.
She's been struggling in recent days, and especially about not finding her special someone. Often putting herself down as a result. Many years back, I did develop a crush on her, but those years are long past. However, she seems to think nobody ever liked her, or if they did they were with someone or gay. So, having never admitted this to her before, I admitted in the past I did have a period of time I crushed, although was also pointing out that she need not worry now since I'm married and that was a long time ago. However, I felt it important that she knows this.
As it happens, she has been in an absolutely enlightened mood ever since! Sure, s never had feelings for me, which I suspected back then anyway, but the thought that someone could be interested in her seemed to really make her happy, but what was more was that despite all this we stayed friends. She did then start to apologise for talking about guys she liked back then and I helped her, but also admitted I hid it extremely well (I'm pretty good at that :D). But her confidence seems to have improved, and she says she does feel very happy for knowing that. Sometimes, a boost like that is important for people to feel they're worth something. I'm not suggesting for one moment people start to randomly say they crush on people, but sometimes being a bit more complimenting - like new shoes, or a job well done, or achieving something … these little acts can mean a great deal to someone, so don't be afraid to be honest. :)

  • +150XP
  • CHA +8
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.11:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Floss your teeth every day for a week.

Once again, the ongoing teeth hygiene has not been neglected, and they are brushed, flossed and washed within an inch of their existence!
To be honest, I am probably running out of things to say about flossing teeth, so thought I'd put a few terrible puns down here instead:

A dentist was found dead with a hatchet in his head. Police are treating this as an axe-I-dental death;

Why did the patient refuse a root canal? He found it unnerving;

My toothache is driving me to extraction.

The dentist approached the customer and said "Say Ahhh!". The patient said "Why?". The dentist replied "My fish died";

Did you hear about the fight between the dentist and manicurist? They fought tooth and nail;

I got kicked out of a dentists because I used all the nitrous oxide. Looks like I had the last laugh!

I'll be here all week. :P

  • +200XP
  • STR +3
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.10:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Play a board or card game.

I have played many games of cards over the past week! "S**thead"; "Rummy" and "Speed" - all with rather mixed results:
"S**thead" has been an absolute nightmare for me! I played D. through several plus rounds, and I just could not beat him! He was saying he had a similar problem facing J. earlier on. Considering they're related, maybe it's some bizarre hereditary ability between them for passing on a curse of card games! Even spreading my wings further with S., S. and J. did not help further my cause. The loser has to shuffle, and frustratingly I'm becoming somewhat of a professional at this! Many further fails, and I could become a dealer in Las Vegas … or maybe Blackpool. Don't want to aim too high.
"Rummy" was a better experience. Sure, two days ago I wasn't as decent, but most other times I had a good mix of luck and tactics to win. Oddly, the aim of getting straights, rather than identically numbered cards, wasn't my best strategy this time. It's much more of a tactical game than "S**thead" though - or at least against the "children version" we play - 2 = restart; 8 = miss a turn and 10 = wipes the deck. I prefer it when the 7 means you have to get lower. Makes one think a bit more.
"Speed" is probably my most successful game. I don't necessarily have the fastest hand, but I'm good at spotting patterns or anticipating moves, which helps a lot. Whilst others happily smash the cards down at a rate of knots, I just like fluid motion. Seems to help! S. couldn't beat me, despite her being perhaps the most sadistic card player I've known - She would easily destroy someone's hand if they weren't fast enough to retrieve it before she slams her play down!
Whichever game to play though, it's always fun! :)

  • +70XP
  • INT +1
  • TAL +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.09:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Put something decorative on display in your home.

Maybe 1-2 years ago, my mum bought my wife and I a couple of presents for our wedding anniversary. Both were outdoorsy items: One was a plant holder, designed like a bucket and tap; the other was a wall mount which looked like a bike, and had both a clock and a barometer where the wheel spokes should be.
The latter was a little bent, which may be due to the design, but also perhaps caused in transit. Both gifts were lovely and very much appreciated, but for some reason, whilst the former object quickly found a use, we never got around to putting the cycle on the wall. Other things happened, and it wasn't a priority. Eventually, days turned into weeks, and they in turn into months. It lay in the spare room - safe but unassuming and forgotten. We returned to the idea once in a while, yet these were only fleeting thoughts.
This week, we finally got around to putting the offering up. It's place is in the back garden, and thanks to a little manipulation, the shape has been perfected. Not quite a 100% fix, but enough to make sure it doesn't appear jarring to anyone who sees it. Our embarrassment was not having it up for so long. Our mum has visited a few times, and though nothing was said I do wonder what she pondered when not seeing it about, even if it ever crossed her mind at all. Best not point it out to her. I think we'll allow mother to discover it on her own accord!

  • +100XP
  • ENV +4
  • CUL +4
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.08:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Plant some flowers that are native to your location.

This was done last week when my wife and I had taken a trip to Ely for the day. In the centre of the town they often hold a market with an assorted selection of stalls. One of which is a regular for us. It's a larger tent filled with a range of flowers and plants, whether for decoration inside, or for plating outside. The prices are good, and apart from once where some flowers we bought died much earlier than expected, their goods have been top notch! Upon reflection, those daffodils which didn't last probably were from an unfortunate batch. We weren't too fussed.
Anyway, we bought some different plants this time: A wild sage and tobacco plant! The latter isn't the smelling kind - merely from the same family. However, the sage has that really strong peppery smell. Considering we like to buy all kinds of flora, these were nice additions we hadn't thought to add before. So, in they popped!
We managed to find some room, although the fact we planted so many bulbs and admittedly did not memorise where they were put, we did end up accidentally unearthing some of them in the process. Still, there are many more, and some of our plants have naturalised anyway. Still, it looks lovely!

  • +275XP
  • INT +5
  • ENV +11
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.06:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Read an article on something you don't know much about.

I cannot remember who it was, but a couple of weeks back someone on this site mentioned "Anne of Green Gables", and I made a decision to look into this further. Am unsure as to why, but maybe it was a promise to look into it? Enough to make me write it down and come back to later.
Anyway, after reading about it, it seems quite revolutionary and a strongly feminist book about an orphan adopted by a couple initially wanting a boy. Despite the initial attempt to send her back, Anne remains in the family and has to deal with a number of adverse conditions and situations. Being red-haired and pale skinned was abhorrent to her, yet despite this hatred of her appearance she was very talkative, imaginative and ambitious.
Anne's free spirit and refusal to be bound down by her status and gender in a time when being an orphan and female were oppressed was a heroic and inspirational tale for many people. In fact, the story has been translated into 36 languages, and 50 million copies sold world wide. The Polish army were all given copies prior to World War 2, as the tale was seen as an expression of freedom, and it is also especially popular in East Asia, where an anime has even been made from it. It's been a part of the Japanese curriculum since the 1950s. The influence of the book still resonates today.
One thing about school when I was there actually was very little (if any) literature depicting feminism. At university, this is brought up more, as well as focus on prejudices on many other fronts. Hopefully now, schools focus on these approaches at earlier ages. It may encourage others to gain more confidence much sooner, rather than gossip magazines telling people to look, talk and dress in certain ways. I like the idea of individuals evolving through their own directions and inspiration from worthy role models.

  • +85XP
  • INT +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.06:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Accept one of your faults and work to improve it.

Due to the nature of the situation, I cannot go into great detail, but during my sessions I've been dealing a lot with intrusive thoughts. These are ruminations which, as a general description, everyone gets throughout the day. For example, when looking down from a balcony, someone may have a sudden thought of jumping; or wanting to punch someone in the face for no apparent reason. There are worse variations of these, yet the vast majority of people understand these are just errant thoughts and know not to act on them. The same with me, as I'd never consider them a choice of action.
Nonetheless, because of my condition, I can become obsessive over these thoughts. Though they are little more than brain farts, OCD makes me pontificate over the meaning. On these occasions, I do understand they are not about any individual concerned, moreover facets of my personality. They are like dreams, in so that they appear to me as meaningful, when my therapist says they really aren't. However, to me they are inexplicably obtrusive, and cause much distress. Overwhelming, even!
The funniest thing I find about these reflections is they are experienced by all the populous at one time or another, but exceptionally few people discuss these thoughts. Perhaps because of society's pressure, and a fear that this may be taken for proposing an actual act of violence. This may be repeating, but what would happen if people openly discussed them, and both sides comprehend that they are not intentions or plans, but merely misfires of the brain. Perhaps these daydreams are what inspires some of the great works! They might be all around, whether in films such as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; artwork by Francis Bacon; or even the sordid storylines of various soaps! These ideas may come out only as creative or therapeutic outlets.
Some academics have stated these thoughts may be the embers of the origins of man, and the more primal desires: A reminder of what we once were. A suppressed section of our feral beginnings. I'm being aided by redirecting focus, and not feeling guilty or embarrassed over the thoughts - ideas, which most people can easily toss aside. Ultimately, I need to think a lot, lot less!

  • +550XP
  • INT +5
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.05:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Tell someone an interesting story, either true or fictional.

Sometimes, therapy can produce some interesting "games" to participate in. I wasn't quite sure how to start this achievement, but last week I was chatting with S., and the subject matter fell on to remedial treatment and the different ways a therapist will attempt to aid the client.
One way I was happy to share - mainly because it felt a bit like going to drama class - was when my clinician asked me to write down up to 12 different aspects of my personality. It's reminiscent of the video game "Persona", where people have masks they don to deal with certain situations. An angry character, a depressed or suppressive individual, for example. So I did this, including names for each facet. What the therapist didn't expect was how much into acting I was! She demanded I be as honest behind each mask (public or private), and I did let it take over. When asked to put on the dark shadow self, I was extremely venomous: Cussing at her and even daring her to try her best to get rid of me. I called her the "C" word a couple of times, considering she wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Calling her various names and trying to outwit her (which, to her testament, she kept extremely professional and was not baited whatsoever), she admitted afterwards I was the best out of all the clients in performing this, as I didn't hold back. Well, I did as it was purely verbal, but it helped me to understand just how nasty parts of me were. Obviously, I won't go into details here. I know what all the conversations were. But this game was actually quite fun to do, but genuinely productive! Needless to say, I was extremely apologetic afterwards, but she said this was what was needed to be shown, to comprehend how strong each part was.
This came about during the plethora of subjects we normally cover, and also about intrusive thoughts, which I'll cover another time. However, this did make me think more about all the hidden going-ons within every person's mind, and what really is happening underneath the fleshy protection. All those people on the street, and the hidden secrets, facets and thoughts everyone has. Also, the masks they wear to deal with everyday life or specific situations. Each person is a puzzle, within a riddle, inside an enigma. What would happen if people did give in to their deepest impulses? What stops them? Where do they come from? I'm becoming more intrigued by this aspect of humanity.

  • +125XP
  • TAL +2
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.04:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Explore a trail or path in your area.

A week or so ago - to be honest, I've lost track of time - a few of us took a trek along the River Lea, through Ware. It originates in the Chiltern Hills, goes through the East of London where it meets the River Thames, and finally ends in Essex. The walk was thoroughly enjoyable, as it was a lovely, bright day, and only had a couple of dog walkers to interrupt what was otherwise a tranquil and blissful couple of hours along the banks.
A couple of facts about this watercourse: Whilst the lower Lea is quite badly polluted, the upper estuaries flow along chalk beds and provide a large chunk of London's drinking water. The chalky bedrock, along with limestone, is what causes the hard water in this region of England. The liquid does feel harsher, and kettles and showers develop limescale faster than any other region. Seriously, in this area, to make a decent cup of chai you really need to acquire a sieve, so as to block the white flakes from invading the tea!
Also, the "River Lea" is also the name of an Adele song from her album "25". Although I've not heard it, the description says it's a ghostly, gospel track about her changing from when she was younger; walking along the River Lea, with a lot of guilt emphasised.

  • +85XP
  • ENV +2
  • STR +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.03:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Spend a day acting more confident than you usually are.

Ever since coming back from holiday, I've been more assertive at work. I think this is partially due to becoming a little fed up with the lack of communication and the "cliques" forming. It's difficult for me to deal with unfairness or not passing on information, and recently my actions are turning into making sure work is properly organised, anything needing any loose ends tightened pushed by myself, and also trying to encourage people to become more firm themselves.
One colleague is well-meaning, but not an individual who likes confrontation. Admittedly, not many people do enjoy it, but one main reason is not knowing how to bring up a sensitive subject, without hurting the other. Ironically, this then turns to gossip - a colleague today said "a problem shared is a problem halved": Not in the case in a work complex, where a problem shared is a gossip multiplied. I spent some of this afternoon doing roleplay with E. on how best to approach speaking with this other individual. It seemed to help. They were going to do what another colleague (the one who said "a problem halved") does, which is to say "Well, I wouldn't have done that", but I convinced them that this can come across as condescending. Sometimes, it pays to just be very inquisitive. Plus, it catches people out more if someone is hiding something, but that only depends on the questions used.
It's felt rather weird to be in control, but again I'm coming into that area I was concerned about, which was rising above my station. Am I doing it again? Am I imagining half the problems, because they're being amplified in my mind? Or am I just resolutely fed up, and just wanting people to work together. There's nothing wrong with that. But there's a wrong way of going about it. I really am going to have to keep that in check. However, what if this is all right, but I bottle out when there could be a real breakthrough? I'm uncertain.

  • +125XP
  • CHA +7
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.02:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Do jumping jacks.

Throughout last week, at home, I've been doing 100 jumping jacks once awakened to warm me up, instead of coffee. Well, that was the aim, until I started drinking that bitter caffeine beverage after the second time. However, that didn't stop the exercise.
My aim is to continue this activity for another week, before starting on something else. My health really needs to be improved, as my constant tiredness is just one big frustration to me. There are probably a plethora of alternative actions I could be achieving, if it weren't for the fatigue. It's getting slightly better. More than my physical health needs looking at all the same.
Howbeit, waking up this morning, I discovered my shoulder blade was achy, and this has spread to my arm and chest. Moving my neck also hurts, so either I slept at an awkward angle, or it's a virus targeting the muscles. So, no jumping jacks today! The body can get a rest, and with luck tomorrow will have me back to normal. :)

  • +150XP
  • STR +6
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.01:

Global_Highway_Man leveled up to lvl 10!

Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.09.01:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 10

Watch a documentary.

Last week, I came upon a documentary entitled "Blitz: The Bombs that Changed Britain", with this episode focusing on the Bristol bombings of 1940.
From what I remember of the documentary, the damage was extensive, and not just structurally or taking into account death tolls. Morale was also hit harshly. The attacks by the Nazi bombers devastated large areas of Bristol, including St. Peter's Church, where the heat from the fire was so intense that the lead roof melted, and onlookers described a river of molten lead seeping through the streets. The firefighters spent nearly 24 hours straight putting out the flames - one of whom wrote an account where, once he had completed what was needed to be done, returned home and burst into uncontrollable sobbing. The ruination must have been absolute and harrowing.
On that same night, Coventry was also heavily laid to waste. After the attacks, the government wanted to portray the English stiff upper lip and resolve in their propaganda to show Hitler's airborne invasion had not hindered the nation's spirit, but focused all this positivity on the people of Coventry. Whilst this is deserved, the citizens of Bristol felt shunned by their own heads of state. There was much despair and frustration on being missed out, and this also asks questions about whether the country was all united, or whether rifts were still within due to bad choices and resentment.
As the raids continued, underground tunnels were discovered, where the people could shelter from the storm of bombs, and soon people became used to the standard assault patterns of the Luftwaffe, but the feelings of being forgotten still remained.
This was a fascinating piece of history, which opened up my eyes to realise that perhaps not all of England was united and felt safe behind their leaders. Not a time I would have liked to have lived in, but in such situations it would be hoped people could work together. Am unsure about everyone.

  • +70XP
  • INT +2
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.31:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Do something you find relaxing.

It's been a very hectic recently, and because of doing extra shifts at work, I haven't really had much of an opportunity for relaxation. Being introverted, this is doubly-difficult, since I can get tired out so easily whilst in constant social company.
Thankfully, there was an evening of respite that did appear, so I caught up on some YouTube videos. Specifically, a couple of early gameplay of "We Happy Few" by ChristopherOdd, and "Remothered: Tormented Father" by MissScarlettTanager".
The first was a definite buy, which I hope to have a go on this weekend. The game centred around a dystopian Britain, where the Nazi's took over, and the populous now take a drug called "Joy" to help forget a terrible past. The crafting system seems easily accessible, and the fact that starvation of tiredness causes debuffs and not death takes away a tedious problem in the first release a couple of years back. Graphically, it's similar to "Dishonored" or "Bioshock". I'll see how it goes when I get my hands on it.
"Remothered: Tormented Father" is a Clock Tower-style game, relying on stealth and wits to avoid a mad naked man in an apron and worse as the game evolves. It was tense, and I'll finish watching the walkthrough, but not sure if this game would be for me. I do like games which leave you defenceless: "Haunting Ground"; "Alien: Isolation" and "Silent Hill: Shattered Memories" are all up there as my favourite experiences, and that's not even counting "Amnesia" and others! But this game seems better to watch than try out.
It's great to have some respite, but my head is currently thudding like a sod, so am desperate to enjoy this weekend and get some time to myself, although being away at work for long means also spending time with my wife, which I enjoy, but still not quite what I need in terms of just having my own time. I hope I can scrape some of that "joy" this weekend!

  • +70XP
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.28:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Tell someone an interesting story, either true or fictional.

This was last week, when A. and I at work had some time to settle down, we started to talk about travelling. A. has toured extensively around the globe, and her children have explored even more, so she's very well versed in different cultures. Not that I'm a slouch in this field neither, but she's had many opportunities to traverse. One place she hasn't visited though was Canada, and I've been fortunate to go there a few times, mainly because I dated and lived with a Canadian for a number of years. Anyway, this led on to a story of the first trip to North America, and an experience I had there:
I met M. in Canada the first time, where she took me around a town called Dryden. It's a small burg, about 4 1/2 hours away from Winnipeg, and the nearest major community to it is Kenora - about 1 1/2 hours away. It's here that I learnt they do stock up on food: the size of tomato soup tins were incredible! But that's not the main point of this tale.
Dryden has a large paper mill as the main source of employment. Practically the whole township works there, and those who don't labour in any of the smaller shops. Very few venture outside for business, albeit I did meet one who travelled to Winnipeg. So, we were walking around the lakes near to it, and M. was showing me the area. Of course, thinking this to be a perfectly normal question to ask, I inquired whether the paper mill had had any leaks or accidents. "Never" she replied, giving me a look reserved for someone dressing up as a cockroach to a black tie event. Fair enough! My inquisitiveness had been satisfied, and thought nothing further of it.
On the penultimate day, we were watching a "Resident Evil" movie from the nearby rental store, when M's mum suddenly came into the lounge saying "Close the windows. Close the doors now". M., her sister and myself were puzzled and started to ask why. Her response: "There's a chlorine gas cloud coming from the paper mill. Close everything". It was then I looked over to M., and in typical English fashion focused more on feeling justified in asking that question at the start of the trip, than fixating on the possible impending death cloud. The fact we were watching a film about a virus that turns humans into zombies hadn't lost its irony.
Fortunately for us, the wind blew the nebulosity away from the burg. But that didn't prevent the fact that the mill's first actual leak had happened on my watch. I felt rather privileged! Nobody was hurt, thanks to the good fortune of weather. But things did get rather exciting for a while! :D

  • +125XP
  • TAL +2
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.27:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Complete some household chores or cleaning.

So, finally, back to reality … should it really be a good thing? :P Well, cleaning the cat litter isn't the most gracious of jobs, albeit still miles better than the amazingly clogged-up toilet which took me 45 minutes to unblock at work (seriously, what type of turd causes that much damage!!!), but recycling and putting the washing away was fairly straight forward to do. Not to mention less stinky... Although, any disturbingly occluded loo can be fixed with the right amount of hot water, bog brushes (yes, plural), elbow grease, a dulled sense of smell and the ability to envision a meadow of the most fantastic scenes and scents!
Fortunately, I'm not so oddball to take pictures of it, although S. did and I think she's almost as fascinated as someone I used to know!
One other thing I did do that day is take a journey with my wife towards a nearby town to pick up a large cd rack from someone selling on Facebook. Picking it up was fine enough, although we must've had short memories: Despite us understanding what height we required, both of us still managed to get something way bigger than required. After folding every seat down in the car to fit the bugger in, and me cramped in the back like 1 of 12 kids shoved in the backseat, we drove back - the offended furniture kept in by rope tying the open boot down and me holding it in place. We got back to discover our new family piece did not want to fit. It's now propped up by our wall - yet not appearing too out of place, really!
My father-in-law and brother-in-law are finishing a better-suited structure now. Not sure what we'll do with this, but I'd probably like to keep it somewhere … just not sure where.

  • +100XP
  • ENV +6
  • STR +4
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.27:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Visit somewhere you've always wanted to go.

This isn't an exotic or far-flung destination, but in Bournemouth there's a suburb called "Tuckton" - a rather well-to-do area, which was formerly a hamlet until 1894. It's possible to walk from there to Christchurch, along the River Stour, where there are offers of taking a boat ride, or even pilot a boat of your own to the nearby towns.
My wife and I spent some time at Tuckton Tea Rooms: A café set amongst the local gardens, hosting a plethora of differing plants and flowers. It had a crazy golf course and a slightly overgrown putting green - the latter we played on. To be honest, I think it was purposefully lengthy grass to make it trickier than the former! The day was beautiful and sunny. Perfect for a nice stroll!
Followers of Leo Tolstoy, headed by Vladimir Chertkov, took up residence in Tuckton house around 1900.Exiled from Russia, these individuals enjoyed the freedom of press available to them in England, and produced many English versions of Tolstoy's ethical and religious works. In 1908, most of the followers returned to their homeland, and the house was later turned into a nursing home, until it was demolished in the 1960's.
Tuckton is a very relaxing and quaint suburb. Certainly somewhere to lose yourself after any stressful event.

  • +250XP
  • ENV +2
  • CUL +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.26:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Drink eight glasses of water in one day.

I did lots of this last week, but this week it's been much less. Felt like I drank so much that I could be squeezed and water would rinse out like a damp flannel! The main reason was to try to make my skin better. Not that it's bad … just could be much better. Health in general, in fact! Granted, the regular trips to the loo could be tailored down a little, but that's the only negative towards it. Flavoured water is delicious, especially the peach flavoured one!
Why I stopped drinking so much on a regular basis is unknown. There doesn't appear to be any reason I can make out as to why this ceased. However, this habit should be restarted as from next week. I seem to function well on starting dates, rather than spontaneity - even though that's pretty much the opposite of what was happening early. Not sure how to combine planning and immediacy at present. In honesty, it's a little sticky at present! More drinking required though, and that is not to say chocolate milkshakes!

  • +125XP
  • STR +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.25:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Spend some time outdoors.

My wife and I spent a whole day last week getting lost within the New Forest in Hampshire. This vast expanse of woodland, moors, heaths and coastline covers a sizeable chunk of the county, and has much to discover, whether someone was to stick to the roads and paths, or wonder into the unknown.
It's a really picturesque and unwinding area to discover. Hidden within and around are all sorts of interests, whether it be deer sanctuaries; Wiccan shops; hidden artefacts and buildings; towns; landmarks and manors. The main dwelling areas include Lyndhurst (which houses a lot of quaint, independent shops and a Ferrari car dealer), and Ringwood at the centre.
What makes it most intriguing is the plethora of wildlife that roams free. Not only that, but they are protected. A multitude of wild horses parade throughout the landscape. A lot of them are brave and some even approach humans of their own accord. We saw a herd enter a car parking area and seemingly undeterred at the number of humans about - even apparently greeting them! They also have a habit to walk alongside and on the roads, as do the wild cows which also roam. Not only that, but some horses think nothing of going into the middle of the road and standing there for how ever long they like! Speed limits and clear signs help avoid any disastrous collisions between metal and flesh fortunately. I like to think they know full well what they're doing, and enjoy every moment of it. But to get close to these magnificent beasts - waiting a few minutes for one to decide to stop being a plonker is one of our nicer problems! A true place of wonder, and highly recommended!

  • +70XP
  • ENV +3
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.24:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Accept one of your faults and work to improve it.

My obsessive desire to plan things in advance and carry them through, in spite of any obstacles that get in the way, has been a major origin of self-made stress. At the start of the year, I went through a strenuous phase of being healthy and exercising. For three months it worked, but all that meticulous planning, alongside a stubborn urge to not change, regardless of any giant obstacles that would befall the day, took its toll. Each day became so tiring; slept during the daytime; overate; became too obsessed and single-minded. Eventually, the lifestyle ceased, but that desire for forward planning continued, as it had done for many years before.
On holiday, my wife and I took a different pace to life. We just decided what to do on the day, in a far more spontaneous manner. To start with, my anxiety spiked, but after one day in, the benefits started to show. Taking life at a comfortable pace, rather than creating weeks of schedules, felt more fluent and achievable. After this, I decided to take this on board towards work. It felt much easier to tackle challenges that were unexpected, and less squeezed in fitting a ridiculous amount of work in. I work fast and efficiently, but it's tiring too. This new manner is something I'll continue to do moving forwards. It still feels unnerving, but breaking out of my mould may result in an increase in confidence. Fingers crossed!

  • +550XP
  • INT +5
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.23:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Mail someone a post card while traveling.

So, like most of my recent achievements, this was done on holiday last week. It's not really my thing to do postcards, but as my wife mails about a dozen to her large family, it would be quite pathetic not to send two to mine. There's a certain expectation, I think, that needs to be fulfilled.
Unlike what I can remember from before, there were surprisingly none which reflected the borough we were staying in. Usually, the Post Office there would hide a stack of them behind the counter (why they won't display postcards from Southbourne is a bit beyond me! They have smegging London there!). On this occasion, they were sans any local missives. All that remained were a few with Bournemouth pictures, thus the choice was minimal.
A short while later, whilst my wife wrote what felt like "Middlemarch" on every billet, I decided to keep it short and sweet. Four lines later, and my work was finished! After all, I can tell them much more in person or over the phone than on an A6-sized piece of cardboard! It's most probably laziness, but on holiday that's one of the items on the itinerary that's necessary! Nonetheless, it's what's required to escape the hectic work schedules many people endure. At least my family will feel good to be thought of. Certainly, none of them told me off after having received them.

  • +85XP
  • CHA +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.22:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Read an article on something you don't know much about.

Whilst on holiday last week, we had some chill time back at the room, and I downloaded an app called "Endless Quiz" - a decent, ongoing selection of multiple choice questions based on a large variety of subjects. It's quite fun, but another great thing with respect to it is the ability to find out more concerning the answers afterwards.
One question was about an individual called Valentina Tereshkova. I got the answer wrong, and decided to find out more. It took me to a Wikipedia article on her. Valentina Tereshkova is a retired cosmonaut, engineer and politician, and the first lady to have flown in space. Selected from more than 400 applicants, she launched in the Vostok 6 in 1963, and orbited the Earth 48 times, spending almost 3 days in space, and yet clocking more hours than all the American astronauts had prior to that date.
She was also a well-known representative of the Soviet Union abroad, decorated with the Hero of the Soviet Union medal (the highest accolade for the USSR), and played a critical role in the socialist women's global agenda for peace.
Valentina is seen as a hero to many. A crater on the moon has been named after her, and in popular culture she has had footage shown on "Call the Midwife"; mentioned in "Orange is the New Black" and the name of a fictional star system in "Mass Effect".

  • +85XP
  • INT +2