I really pissed myself off today. I responded to someone in a way that I didn’t want to and as a consequence it resulted in further ways to be annoyed with myself. It was a minor thing, really minor, but when anxiety and low self-esteem accumulate years of dictating how I respond to some situations, it’s really difficult to catch myself before I do the thing I don’t want to do.

I was listening to an interview with Stoic philosopher Piotr Stankiewicz earlier this week talking about narratives, the stories we tell ourselves. It got me thinking about, or perhaps a better way of putting it is observing, the stories I tell myself. Realising how instantaneously the negative inner voice responds to events. It’s straight in there, even over the very minor things, chipping away. Colin Walker talks about ‘negative feedback loops, plummeting into downward spirals.’ I can relate to this. If the stories I tell myself get the better of me I can find the hours, days and sometimes weeks get eaten up by a barrage of what I can only describe as psychological self-harm.

The thought of trying to rewrite those habits is daunting. And yet spotting them is part of the battle. I’ve certainly found with other aspects of mental illness that having an awareness of what’s happening goes a long way to reducing the effect of them. That moment of ‘Aha, I know you and what you do’ helps to mitigate their potency.

I did spot them today. Yes, my response to the situation pissed me off, but I was also able to recognise a little of what was going on. And it was probably listening to that interview that reminded me about those pesky narratives.

Just discovered I can run Obsidian via Linux on my Chromebook. I’ve wanted to have a Zettelkasten-type notes system and two efforts have fallen by the wayside due to changing platforms and such. I knew of Obsidian but had never really taken a look before. I can run it on Android and the aforementioned Chromebook and I love using text files.

I’ve managed to spot C/2022 E3 on two nights, but neither occasion have I been able to see a tail. Assuming I was looking at the right object. More of a fuzzy blob than a classic comet shape but the clarity hasn’t been at it’s absolute best so perhaps that’s why.

My one months subscription to Disney+ expires today. I don’t find there is enough content to interest me, or that I can sustain interest for, to warrant a continuous subscription. And in these straitened times the expense would be another unjustifiable, if small, outgoing.

I paid for the subscription to give us more viewing options over the Christmas break. We watched Rogue One, my son’s favourite film, and as such viewing it has become a regular occurrence. We all agree it’s one of the best films, if not the best, from the Star Wars universe. In essence it’s a war film and I forget what age he was when he first saw it, but it interests me that he loved it straight away.

I’d say the only thing that lets it down is the uncanny valley CGI appearances of Tarkin and Leia. I’m sure they could’ve got around that somehow else.

Another film I watched is Monsters. I first came across this via the soundtrack done by Jon Hopkins. The main theme makes a regular appearance on my playlists. The premise of the film – couple thrown together attempt to cross alien inhabited zone – appealed and it’s been on my watch list ever since. The chemistry between the two protagonists didn’t entirely convince me but it has a good atmosphere, a building Heart of Darkness tension and nicely handled visuals of the ‘Monsters’.

What I had forgotten was that Monsters was the directorial debut for Gareth Edwards, the very same who went on to direct Rogue One.

It’s good to be delving into Stoicism more deeply again.

There are some aspects which I don’t have a good grasp of, and others the logic of which makes a lot of sense.

One question that has been going round in my mind is if my actions are characterised as either virtue or vice, to use the Stoic nomenclature, do I also view other people’s behaviour as virtue and vice? If so, how to square that with the concept of externals or indifferents?

I was talking with someone about travel writers today. I was going to mention Jonathan Raban, one of my favourite authors within the genre, but the conversation moved on.

I haven’t thought about him in quite a long time, so it was quite the coincidence, and obviously sad, to see just now that he has died this week at 80.

Passage to Juneau is particularly good. One of those books that stays with you for an age.

A change in the weather today to cold and dry. Just perceptable that its light a little earlier and a little later. All enough to lift my mood from the dogged and make me feel like I have more energy.

Somewhere along the way I stopped using Literal to log my reading. I didn’t look at it that much and it’s a tad clunky.

Going to try doing it here instead. Creating a tag for books will help.

Listening to Philosophy as a Way of Life, a quote from Meditations really stuck with me.

‘Do not make more of things than your senses report. For instance, you are told that such an one has spoken ill of you. Right; but that you are really the worse for it is no part of the news.’ 8:49

This idea is reiterated throughout Meditations but somehow this particular version presents the idea more clearly.

I like the prompt to look at things just as they are, not to add a narrative on top, particularly one of ‘I am harmed’.

Having mentioned the BBC radio production of The Dark is Rising, I completely failed to listen to it as it was broadcast, each episode playing on the same date as the events in the book.

I often have great plans for all the things I will do over my time off during the winter, forgetting that often I just need to stop and rest. Usually I give myself a hard time about this, but somehow managed to be a lot more forgiving toward myself and accepting of the fact that a break, particularly at this time of year, is just that.

And as the series is available as a podcast or on BBC Sounds I can listen to it anytime I like.