Today, In 1996. They Struck Again…

I’ll never forget the moment it happened, as I’m sure no one else can.
I was typing some homework on an electric typewriter that we had acquired somehow. I can’t remember where we got it. I only remember that you could type so many characters and then had to push enter for the line to be printed on the paper. I remember how frustrated I used to get when I made a mistake.

I remember the night being shattered by a noise so loud that my curtains shook and all the car alarms in the neighbourhood were set off. I jumped but can’t remember much else about the moment. It was so sudden, as if it didn’t even happen. Such a surreal moment, where I looked out of my window, staring blankly, not really knowing what to say or do, if there really was anything that could be said or done. That was until I heard one of the neighbours, “Sounded like a bomb…”
“But they’ve been quiet for so long”, I thought.
Realization sunk in like a harsh sobering pill, as a never-ending flood of emergency vehicles made it’s way past my viewpoint of East India Dock Road, London, towards South Quay. The IRA did it again… A friend from school lost his Dad that night…

It’s a strange thought to know you’re a 15 mins walk away from an act of terrorism, aimed at causing mass disruption, with the loss of innocent life worthy collateral for promotion of a cause those lives know nothing about, by a person who knows nothing about the lives he is bringing to a sudden, cold close. It just so happens that this time the collateral wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But this is loss of life. What’s a scale…?

You can find further information about the attack HERE

In the years I’ve spent travelling since then, there is one thing that has stood out to me. Terrorism just isn’t terrorism unless you are deemed to be Muslim or from the Middle East, specifically. Pretty sad, really.
When I have conversations with people I meet now, about the unrest caused, all-round, over the politics of Northern Ireland, I’m met with gasps of shock and horror and “I never knew that!” Then you break the news that terrorism has impacted all continents throughout history, by individuals claiming to be from all slices of the religious pie. The way people respond, as though ‘terrorism’ was added to the world’s vocabulary and dictionaries just yesterday, based on acts of atrocity by men and women from a single geographical place, is just beyond me.

Terrorism is a world problem and it’s going to take nothing less than the world’s people to put an end to it.

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BBC News: Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Dictionary of dead language complete after 90 years – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13715296

This is old news, dating back to June 2011. I still find it fascinating, though.

Sometimes, it’s as if scientific breakthrough today is a regurgitation of ancient news, dating back to pre- ancient Egypt. I ask myself if we ever were the cavemen that some claim. With the Assyrian language brought into context, we are now that much further back into time and still appearing as smart, if not smarter than we are now.

BBC News: Face of Orkney’s St Magnus reconstructed

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Face of Orkney’s St Magnus reconstructed – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-38892669

This area of forensics and DNA really fascinate me. It’s good to be able to add a further dimension when reading historical documents of people and events.

Sometimes, I read about how we lived historically and think about how easy we have it now, with everyone trying to have their feelings catered for. Nowadays, you upset someone and find yourselves unfriended on Facebook. Back then, you were executed with an axe blow to the skull!

Runner Profile – Darren Robinson

I was interviewed regarding my track training. Here is the blog.

Thanks!

Run856

Darren took me through a track workout on a brisk February morning, and then we sat and chatted about his running and athletic career and future goals.

Before I tell you about Darren, I should tell you a little thing about me: I was not in the least bit athletic until I hit my early 20s.  So I have no experience with high school or collegiate sports, so the kind of track workout I did with Darren this morning was completely new to me.  We started with a few warmup laps, then went into a five minute AMRAP of pushups, pyramids (going from a plank position to a pike position), and squats. We did about 60 meters of walking lunges that burned enough the cold no longer was a concern. From there, we moved into a few rounds of high-knees, butt kicks, and track skips. Then, we moved on to…

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Back On Track!

This week, I signed up for my new track team, the Garden State Track Club, and this morning was my first training session with them. I’m BRIMMING with excitement!

I hadn’t trained in a competitive group since leaving the UK in January of 2012 so I was definitely rusty, especially getting out at the start of runs, but it was good to be in the mix of like-minded athletes and pulled along by guys that are a lot more on point.

It was a cold morning at Highland Park High School, with the temperature down in the 20s, but it was good to slip straight back into that winter training groove that I know so well. I had missed it! I felt at home, which is something I wasn’t able to find when I tried to establish myself as an Obstacle Course athlete. I speak about this in a previous blog, where I discuss how everything isn’t for everybody.
It was pleasant to hear small jokes and laughter, as we went through some dynamic stretching and mobility, where I quickly discovered that my hip joints and muscles probably demonstrated rustic pulleys on a pirate ship in stormy seas, as opposed to someone wanting to return to the world of track and field, with the intention of doing well in competition! LOL! Then we moved into some strides where my hamstrings and glutes responded with a “Wait… What?!” yawn, stretch and struggle! They woke up, though – eventually!

Today’s session was a time trial over the 300m, 200m and 100m. Yeah. Only I disappear from the track for a few years and turn up to day one for a session like this! But, guess what? The Winter Wizard is back!
There’s something sadistic about the 300m distance. You can pace a 400m and you can push a 200m but there’s something about the 300m that means you can only tackle it by exerting a lot of pressure and experiencing a lot of pain. On top of that, being rusty meant I didn’t get out as quick as the guys I was running with so, heading into the first bend, I lost a lot of ground but I felt strong. I even kicked into the back straight, holding on about 5m behind the two in front. Then we got to the top of the back straight and, with 50m to go, I thought, “Let me kick again.” My hamstrings, however, were screaming and my glutes had retired to the couch of my pelvic bone like Jabba the Hutt. I pretty much marched on the spot to the finish. With a respectful 41 seconds, though. The excitement of the time and the rush I just experienced, at being back at it, kept me bouncing around, waiting the 7 minutes for the 200m.

As a 400m hurdler, the 200m, regardless of the position you finish in, is very much so an “I’ve got this!” distance. It doesn’t require too much strategy. Focus on getting out the blocks and rely on that quarter-miler strength coming into the home straight. Today, I learned that it just doesn’t happen when you haven’t been on a track in so long. In fact, I felt like I was running backwards for the last 20m, as I came through in 25 seconds! If I hadn’t concentrated on keeping the hips high coming off the bend, I’d probably have just run into the ground, literally! I was ready for the 100m, though.

Every athlete knows what it is like to have heavy legs, where it feels like your feet just fall to the floor as you move into the next stride. However, there is a new level of comedy reached when there is zero generation of power behind produced behind the body. You may as well be running on a treadmill, angled at a decline! I felt ridiculous but did what I could to claw back the front-runners (This just doesn’t happen over 100m, though!), after they all got out like hares from traps. Only, they weren’t being chased down by greyhounds. More like Beethoven, the St. Bernard! LOL! This is the beginning, though…

I’m so happy to be back at it and I’m looking forward to spiking up to race again. I’m not sure when that’ll happen but definitely at some point this year, and probably over the 100m and 200m, with one or two outings over the 400m. Starting from scratch but, as I said, I’m BRIMMING with excitement!

You Are Not Alone…

I had a conversation with a friend the other day, regarding something I’d mentioned in an earlier blog of mine. It was an issue for him and I was able to talk with him about how to tackle his issue. It was good dialogue and great to talk to him outside of a social media forum. We were able to share ideas, share experiences and even disagree in gentlemanly manner. There wasn’t a real ‘outcome’ of our conversation but, by the time we came off the phone, we were both smiling and it was great to know that I hadn’t been in a boat all by myself.
Earlier in the conversation, he’d asked why I comfortably put myself on blast. In fact, he isn’t the first person to ask the question and the title of this blog is the answer. You are not alone.
Not being alone isn’t the ONLY reason but it is definitely the KEY reason. Regardless of what you are going through, Good or bad, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Over time recent, I’ve been learning a lot about Love and relationships and it’s given me such a shift in perspective when I see how the world works.
This ‘developed’ world we live in is designed to make us feel like our own little island and it shames us for being human. It shames us for not being financially comfortable and it shames us for being overweight. It shames us when we try to fight through addictions and always finds a way to keep us attached to the ‘shames’ we work through.
While shaming us, it promotes using the easy way out and then provides the easy way out of our ‘shames’ by thrusting social media into our faces. Both of us may be struggling financially but we’ll only ever post those pictures of us smiling with our Joker Face, living in the house we can barely afford, driving the car that we can barely afford. We lie to each other because of the shame we feel, when the truth is, just ONE open and frank conversation about the truth could set us free. You know, there are times when I put myself ‘on blast’ and actually feel better for it after. Why? Because ‘on blast’ isn’t a broadcasting of failure. It’s an honest statement of position. A position I’ll, with 100% certainty, share with someone else. This raises a question. How genuine are our relationships? Are you embracing your relationships or clasping them? I often look at how our society interacts and all I see is a sombre masquerade ball. We move so well, and in time with the music but that mask… Tears, hurt and social slavery.
If you want to get a little deeper, we could say that hiding our flaws and keeping silent about them, as we project our Joker Face through the windows of social media, is killing those we profess to love and those we profess to be friends. As the toxicity of our ‘failures’ and ‘shortcomings’ mounts up, clogged inside by the choke-hold of mass and social media, and by our own pride, we end up killing ourselves. Emotionally, psychologically and, for some, physically. There are so many of us that, behind closed doors, are hurting. So many of us crying into pillows at night, shedding tears over mounting bills and debt, struggling as single parents with growing children, unhappy in our jobs. Some are in that dark space we call suicidal. There are those among us, beating themselves up inside as they inject escapism into their veins or read the label on jars of sleeping pills, asking themselves “Why can’t I stop doing this”? My friend, you are not alone.

It’s sad that the systems we live within, claim to be for the people while making us feel lonely and then ashamed for not being socially good enough. A system that will break you financially, emotionally and physically and then blame you for not surviving the social onslaught of life. “You didn’t return from the suicide mission and it’s your fault…!”

The way forwards is to cultivate our personal relationships. Take a few minutes to develop or create a friendship, before telling someone they need to ‘unfriend’ you, based on their political standpoint. You could be the very person an individual needs. A person that will be there long after one or two terms of a Presidency expire. Within the same remit, how about having political debate face to face. See how easy it is to state your opinion, over a cup of coffee, across the table from the person you’re talking to, and then tell them to unfriend you while walking off. Awkward to picture and uncomfortable to imagine yourself there, isn’t it. If social media has you comfortable enough to cut everyone off, because they disagree with you, you may wish to question how in touch with reality you really are. But, even in this flaw, YOU are not alone.

I’m a listening ear for anyone that needs it. Whether it be for advice, to just listen or even to discuss the many flaws we share. We can even find solution for disagreeing points of view. Also, there needn’t even be only room for “Help me!” support. Success and happiness shared can have just as powerful an effect as help and support for those less fortunate.

We are surrounded by 7 billion stories of success and flaws. 7 billion different life experiences. Thousands of years of documented history. There can be no shame in being human. You are not alone.

 

Is The Sun Electric? An Interesting Theory

Coming to a realization that the presence of God is like that of plasma (Ezekiel 1:4 et al), and understanding, from Genesis 1-2 that he somewhat ‘birthed’ creation from himself, I found this video to be very interesting.

Biblical scholar, Doug Hamp and SAFIRE Project scientist Dr. Ken Wheeler discuss the theory of an electric universe.

For the non-believer, this is astounding scientific theory, well-presented and supported. From a believer’s perspective, this is an awesome perspective of how God and Creation fit in to scientific theory quite comfortably. I often feel that, as Christians, we tend to lean towards refuting scientific theory without seeing, or attempting to understand, where our beliefs, scientific theory and the natural universe actually marry up.
On the flip-side of the same coin, Dr. Wheeler makes a good point. An electric sun is a well-tested theory that supports, from a scientific perspective, a 6-Day Creation, regardless of how that creation came about. For me, Biblical testimony and scientific theory marry up here to support my belief. Not just regarding Creation but also regarding the physical existence of God and His presence.

When watching this video or commenting, keep in mind that this video is a scientific video and not a discussion of morality. Watch/Comment accordingly! 🙂