Pumping Iron

Recently I’ve started going to the gym regularly, and I’ve started punishing my weak flesh by lifting heavy pieces of metal. I know, I know … it sounds like the Body Snatchers grabbed me, and now someone else is inside Thomas. I am by far the most comfortable person I know, and I am lazy to a fault.

But the fact of the matter is that in the last three years I’ve managed to pack on 40 kilograms more than I’m supposed to be lugging around. It’s not all due to sloth, though. That year and a half where I was completely sidelined because of stress and anxiety certainly didn’t help, and the amount of comfort eating I did in that period exacerbated an already shitty situation.

So here I am, lugging my fatty corpus to the gym on a regular basis. I plan on dropping the first 30 kilogram in about a year and a half. If I can keep it up. Cross your fingers, eh?

On being alone

I fucking hate being alone, and with the way my brain is wired, I am very good at ending up feeling alone. I can sit in a room full of people whom I know and with whom I share a common interest, and feel absolutely 100% disconnected from them. Yay. Awesome.

So, a couple of months back I ended the relationship I was in. From where I was standing I thought we were working together to try and fix the problems we were having. I thought we had made a commitment to give it an extra shot and work on our communication issues. I was wrong.

So, here I am again. Or … I’ve been here all along when I look back. I don’t feel like I’ve been in a relationship for the past two years. Maybe the first one. Maybe only the first half of the first year. There was certainly a distinct downward trend from there.

I’d like to say I miss her, specifically. But that feels disingenuous. I don’t feel I was treated fairly or even well at the end. And so it’s hard to be too sad about a relationship ending. It had run its course (Christ, I hate that phrase … it’s also a lie; one of us took a hatchet to it and didn’t try to resuscitate). Good riddance.

At the urging of some of my friends and an effort to prove to myself that I am not completely unlovable, that some person somewhere might find me attractive, I tried my hand at online dating (Tinder, OkCupid, etc). That was a total and utter slap in the face with a wet Sunday newspaper.

I see my friends enjoy intimacy (not sex necessarily, but physical closeness) and getting the attention that is not around in my life. And I can feel that need growing.

All of this is bullshit of course. I know this from an intellectual standpoint (or, I tell myself that’s the case anyway). But I don’t feel it. And that’s really the important part.

Based on my own history that means it’ll probably be another four to six years before I see anything of the sort again.
If I ever become well and truly depressed, this is the reason.

Work & Play

On and off (more on than off) I’ve been running my own business since 2006. I’ve never been much for formalized things, and so I’ve never really maintained an actual office for my business. It was never my idea that it was something that should grow into a massive corp, and so being just me suited me just fine.

It, however, also meant I worked from home when I wasn’t on-site with a client. And that, my friends, is a world-class grade A shitty idea.

The problem that follows with working from home is not really having clear lines of demarcation between work time and free time. The life as a freelancer is already guilt-ridden enough (should I read that new Scalzi novel, or should I not really rather be working on that new client project).

January last year I took over my first company lease. There were several reasons for this. I had moved in with the Doctor, and her flat is super tiny. Combine that with the fact that she would come home after night shifts and need to sleep, and suddenly working from home was no longer feasible. The lease was, fortunately, located in the same building as the Doctor’s flat. And so I took over the first official office space for my company, a full 80 square meters in the basement of the building.

That worked well for a while, and it was awesome to have an official home for Campground, it quickly became untenable. The offices were in an old building, and the landlord hadn’t been good with upkeep, which meant a lot of work needed to be put in to make it into a viable office space. Still, I signed the lease, with the promise from the landlord, that they would get on fixing the problems swiftly. They never did.

Frustration grew, and I have ended up terminating the lease. Instead, I have now moved into swanky offices in the heart of Copenhagen, in Jorcks Passage, where I’ve sublet some space from some old clients, Cape CPH. Things are finally looking up.

Unexpected productivity

For Christmas Liv gifted me a calendar. This particular one was a collection of daily strips from Ekstra Bladet, a publication I would usually avoid at any cost. But, y’know, it was a gift from a dear friend and so it has a space on my desk.

Up until now, I’ve been occasionally pulling strips off the calendar to keep it updated. Don’t ask me why. But yesterday I started something new.

I’ve moved into a new office (which I’ll get around to writing about soon, I hope), and I’ve added a new item to my routine. I pull off the day’s strip, flip it over and use it to make a to-do list for the day. If the list can’t fit, items get pushed. It automatically limits the number of tasks I can commit myself to in a day, and gives me a physical list on my desk where I can cross off items as I complete them! Score!

Being a Blood Bowl beginner

In my neck of the woods playing one or more of Games Workshops (now renamed Warhammer to make everything stupid and confusing) games has been a hallmark of the nerd.

It’s worth keeping in mind that GW’s games are not so much games, as they are reasons for boys of many ages to collect small figurines of fantastical characters and then painstakingly paint them. The games are merely an incentive to buy the required collectibles.

I’ve never actually played many games. When I was a teen and Warhammer 40.000 was all the rage in my circle of nerds I had amassed the figures of two not insignificant armies (Imperial Guard and The Eldar, if you’re interested). Guess how many times I actually played any of those armies? Yup, that’s right. Zero.

To me, it was the universe that really roped me in (they know what they’re doing at GW … the bastards). The story of the Horus Heresy, and the mighty Astartes (Space Marines, if you want to be colloquial). Absolutely fascinating, and it still is today. For something as weird as the 40k universe, it has an uncanny ability to draw me in.

Now, considering that I never really got around to playing the games, one would suspect that I’d be somewhat inoculated against their charms now that I’m older. And I am, somewhat. But I have also been looking for something I can spend time on that’s not in front of a computer. Because I spend way too much time in front of the computer. Like, really, way too much. And it would be cool to have something that I could also bond with friends over. So when Troels asked if I wanted to join an informal Blood Bowl league (appropriately named “The Old Farts League”) I figured why not? I’d get out of the house and see other people, and when at home I could hunker down with paints and what not and make my new figurines look all pretty and shit.

Orc Lineman

Orc Lineman

Tonight I played my first match (and also my first GW game) ever. It was fun. I played a friend of a friend named Kasper, and he was super chill and cool with teaching me the ropes. And so, now, the Kan of Whoopaaaaaaaaggghhh has been born. They’re not very frightening. In fact, since I don’t have my own miniatures yet, they exist only on paper (and on our league website, but yeah, shut up).

What I like about Blood Bowl (which is essentially a fantasy version of American football where orcs, elves, dwarves and humans all have their teams) it’s as much about winning by scoring touchdowns, as it is about beating your opponents players into a bloody pulp on the pitch. Who cares whether you make a touchdown if nobody has any legs left on the opposing team?

I’m already looking forward to my next match. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

New York, New York

So … it’s 6.30 AM (cuz, ya know, America). I’ve slept for about five hours. Local time back home is a bit after lunch. I think my internal clock is fucking with me.

But … I’m here in New York. Which is kinda weird. Landed late last night, and didn’t get to the hotel until 10:30 PM. And that after a 7-hour flight, and a full day of work I was kinda bombed and figured that I’d be able to sleep as much as I wanted. Haha! Nope!

But it was so cool watching the skyline when I drove into the city last night. I haven’t been here since ’97, and I have no real memories of the city as such. Only single highlights like running into a classmate on 6th Ave, or the hotel we stayed at.

I’ve also already had my first culture shock. Getting in late, being hungry as hell I walked down the street to a Wendy’s figuring some junk food would be okay right about now. Was asked if I wanted to upgrade the meal to a “large”. Said yes because, again, famished. Large in America is not large. It’s fucking humongous. My arteries were screaming just by looking at the drink (40 oz of Dr. Pepper, for those interested, because, ya know, America).

Also, the hotel (Hudson Hotel) I’m staying at, these first few of days … boy, oh boy. I did not see that coming. First, of all, the room; it’s very nice, clean, modern. It’s also tiny. But it’s got everything you’d need. Nice clean shower, a small desk, and comfy bed.
But the lobby. Wow. That was a “treat”. Basically, the lobby also serves as a kind of bar/nightclub pumping out terrible and loud techno music. I’m not all about that bass. Also, get off my lawn.

Today is a relatively light program. A bit of sightseeing (Museum of Natural History, because dinosaur bones), a bit of shopping (MOAH T-SHIRTS) and so forth.

Emotionally fuelled vitriol

(This was originally posted to Facebook. I post here because I want to keep a copy where I can easily find it).So… the last 12 hours have been … interesting, judging by my inbox.

Just to be clear no-one close to me is a complete and utter nutcase who believe that a fun and harmless game about a song really killed a pop star. There are a few people on the fringes of my social circle who seem to be of the opinion that our “negative vibes certainly contributed to his decline in a cosmic way” (direct quote).

But the game did have far greater reach than I had anticipated (more than 120.000 people visited the website during the last three weeks), and when something tragic happens, the backside of that reach rears it’s ugly nasty head.George Michael wasn’t old by modern standards. 53 years in all. My mom is older than that. Your mom is probably older than that.

And he’s been not only a pop icon but also a forerunner for LGBTQ rights. He was a hero to that community, and the loss of a hero always hurts. That pain is real and it will often make you behave emotionally and with anger, as you try to find a reason or justification for the loss. A way to explain away the hurt and the sorrow. And it’s always, always, always easier to manage grief when you have somewhere to place the blame.

But sometimes that grief and pain also lead you to become a nutter. And on the internet where anonymity is easy to come by and it’s even easier being an asshole because it’s just text on a screen, and not a real person … well, the vitriol flows freely.

Here’s a short selection of the things I have been called in the last 12 hours, in no particular order:

  • a murderer

  • neo-Nazi

  • a gay basher

  • dogfucker (O.o)

  • a part of the NWO

  • a compound-dwelling kook (I kinda like this one)

  • a bible thumping ignorant (Hah!)

  • a knuckle dragger

  • sexually insecure boy toy

The common denominator is that behind most of these messages and emails I see a tiny bit of grief and sorrow. A searching for a place to put a loss that they might not fully know how to deal with. And if being angry with me for a few days makes it easier for them to bear it, well, I guess that’s going to be okay, too.

It would be a lot worse if I were to get DOX’d or Swatted because of this, but that would mean that 4chan or #gamergate suddenly felt sympathy towards the LGBTQ community, which in that case I’d be fine bearing the brunt of as well.

Right now, it’s just words on a screen from people who are upset and distraught.

A lot of you have written me and expressed support. Thank you. It means a lot, because even though it might just be words from random strangers it’s never nice to be told to go stick your head in a wood-chipper for the sake of humanity.

It has been demanded that a public apology be made, which is not going to happen because of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.

Now, it’s obvious to anyone who knows me that you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger sucker for sappy and glorious pop music than me (though the 90’s are my preferred decade). George Michael was a musical staple in my childhood home and I fondly remember dancing with my mother to many of his songs. A mom, who by the way, introduced me to the awesomeness that is G’n’R and Bon Jovi.

If you don’t mind, I’ll go put on some pop music, and boogie around the apartment while I get dressed for Christmas lunch with my family later today.

Day out with an old friend

Today I spent most of the afternoon with Erik. He took the picture at the top. He’s an old friend from way back when I lived in Aarhus, and since he relocated to London we don’t get to hang out nearly as much as I’d like to.

We went to Christiana, and despite Erik being Danish-American and having spent most of his adult life in Copenhagen, it was also only his second trip to Christiana. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a conservative ponce. We had lunch at Morgenstedet, which is a fine vegan spot a bit back from Pusher Street. Then we strolled around Christiania for a bit, taking in their Christmas market while catching up.

Erik is peculiar build. He thinks in ways that I don’t and sees the world through some decidedly different lenses. I like to think that we challenge each other, while still encouraging one another to try and find that little light in life. And he’s one of the few people that is capable of being more inappropriate than me; a trait I treasure highly.

No longer on the left

So, how about that US election, huh? That sure didn’t go as we expected it to, huh?

I wish I could say I was surprised. I really do. I woke up Tuesday morning to the news of President-Elect Donald J. Trump, and it felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Not disbelief as such, but fear.
For the first time in my life, I am genuinely concerned for the future. I cannot imagine how people who are not white and cisgendered feel. I imagine it’s pretty fucking awful.

But the more I think about it, the more I realise that this is the most natural result. I hate that the world works this way, but … ya know … hell is other people.

In the end, the last many elections across the west have been dominated by fear, frustration and anxiety. Those emotions easily translate into hate and bigotry. It’s always easier to lash out at “others”. But it’s based around the basic idea that for many people around the world, they can no longer go to sleep at night comforted by the idea that tomorrow will be better. They’re losing their jobs, their homes, and that creates a huge bubble of fear and insecurity. Things are continually becoming worse and worse for them.

So when a person comes along and says “this is the problem, and this is how we’re going to fix it” it can’t possibly be a surprise that people listen.

And yes. Trumps rallies were chock-a-block full of bigots and racists. Absolutely. But I maintain that that is likely a very vocal minority that, much like Trump himself, understood demagoguery and spoke to people’s fears and baser instincts.  But for the vast majority of these people, I think they would have voted another way if they felt they weren’t being ignored.

But that’s not even the bigger problem. The real problem is that the Left can’t see how they contributed to the divide. I mean, they’re so inclusive and with them, there’s a safe space for everyone.

Unless you disagree with them, that is. In that case, there is no limit to the amount of vitriol that can be thrown your way.

The Left has become so enamoured with the idea that they are right (and for the record, I think they are), that they don’t have to be polite or respect differing views. And that’s all across the Left, from the feminist movement to fucking Greenpeace.
It has become a fundamentalist movement, so convinced of its own ideals, its own virtues and its righteousness that any attempt at measured and open discourse is seen as a weakness in their enemies and as acquiescing to the enemy in their own ranks. Even acknowledging that you might understand where a racist person comes from automatically labels you as someone who endorses and encourages their point of view. This sort of absolutism is never healthy.

Considering all this, how can it possibly come as a surprise that those who feel disenfranchised and ignored turn to a man who speaks to our baser instincts? Who at least to some degree owns his own monstrosity?

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re right if you can’t get people to listen. It doesn’t matter if your cause is just. This is not a Machiavellian tragedy. It’s just the way humanity works.

No one will listen to a person who has just accused them of being the worst kind of human being there is. It’s just not going to happen.
And until the Left wakes up and realises that, nothing is going to change.

We made this mess. Now we get to fix it.