Dynamic diabolo pictures at dusk

I have been filming my diabolo tricks since the very start of the pandemic. Every once in a while I stop on a frame and just think wow that looks so great. Today at dusk while doing a new trick – Spinning top to vertex whip to vertex suicide to vertex around the legs.

Nothing better than filming this at dusk.

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This is the Islington Wharf update you have been waiting for

Double rainbow in Islington Wharf

For many years I have written about the problems at Islington Wharf. Part of the reason for writing about these flats is to force some change in my way, while others try other things. A lot of people don’t like its all out there for all to read but frankly its been out there for over a decade. The most important thing is to get the latent defects fixed to the comfort of all the people like myself who bought or are renting. Its been way too long!

Following on from this large post and the last post. Things have changed again…

The temporary aircon solution

…This time for last time hopefully

Waterside places came to the Islington Wharf committee with a proposal after the last one with Laing O’Rourke which was awful didn’t pass. It took some time but after the meeting in April, we were all ecstatic. The next day a email was to everybody

In short all the work which was planned with Laing O’Rourke would go ahead but with Morgan Sindall Construction. They will not use the garden as their workers yard instead use part of the old central retail park and phase 4 space, which is next door. They will do all the latent defect work in 18months instead of 2 years and the best part is they are going to replace all the glass, not stick a film to the outside. The cost of this all to the residents? Zero! Yes no cost. Lets be frank Islington Wharf has a ton of glass, so this is no cheap operation but was always needed. It would likely be easier if done years ago because now phase 2 & 3 makes access much more tricky.

Islington Wharf
Imagine replacing all that glass

Now you can see why we were ecstatic! This is a massive win and I find myself very fortune I am in the position where this is a option when so many flat owners are having to pay to replace their cladding.

The next part is to get agreement from all the flat owners they will allow access. As you can imagine with support from the committee and mailshots, emails, fb, etc. We have pretty much everybody in agreement. Although some haven’t replied back, likely forcing Waterside places to consider legal action to gain access.

Heat check while working
28c while working away with two fans and window wide open

This is most likely the last summer of heat (hopefully), which would be great as I’m experiencing 28c heat while working at home and its 24c outside.

Once things get going, I’ll start updating the older blogs as I do get the occasional press attention, which was the point of writing.

Update (Monday 14th June)

I was prompted to wrote this blog just after being interviewed by the Times journalist Emanuele. I had meant to write it for a long while but being interviewed pushed me to do, mainly to set the record straight and give a fair update of where we are now. I see the article went live in the Sunday Times thanks to a friend’s mum.

Although not quite what I said, its mainly there and glad the last part was included about the developer (Waterside places) agreeing to fix the latent defects.

Lost connections: What the best science really says about depression

I read Lost Connections a while ago and was quite blown away by the hypothesis/result. I have recommended it many times, not just to people who have/been depressed; but generally.

Theres a lot of controversy about the book, quite a few people disagree with Johann Hari.

What ever you think, its worth reading and considering.

Photo in the Manchester Evening News

Manchester City stadium with Lasers

This photo ended up in the Manchester Evening News, of course they didn’t tell me and it took a google alert to notify me.

Not that I really cared too much but Chelsea won, so there was no light show afterwards.

2 jabs and a blood test

My vaccination card, lidocaine cream and headphones

Its clear 2021, is going to be the year of 2 covid19 jabs and a blood test. 2 more jabs that I would expect and 3 more than I would actually like. Certainly not a good year for me, someone with a extreme needlephobia.

The one thing which clearly has changed is using lidocaine cream. Its a real game changer for myself. I’m not saying it makes things easier but the instant pain of the prick is less intense, making it less likely for me to react.

1 jab to go…!

My Trypanophobia and my first Covid19 vaccine

My vaccination card, lidocaine cream and headphones

I got my first Covid19 vaccine shot today.

I wrote about this in my last blog because I wanted to provide some helpful support for people who have trypanophobia/needlephobia. Here is how my day went today.

Feel free to skip to the vaccine centre part by the way

Setting things off in the right way

I packed my bag yesterday night and booked myself a early massage to get into the right frame of mind.

Today I spent most of the night not dreaming which is odd because I usually dream a lot since I started gong to bed later. My Oura ring said 77/100 and Sleep as Android said 92% shut eye. Although to be fair I did go to bed early (12:20am) and wake up early (8:50am). After the hot oil massage at Manchester massage (don’t judge me, it relaxes me and its just a massage, not what you are thinking) I went for breakfast at Ezra & Gil outdoor (it didn’t rain which was great). I applied the Anbesol to my left arm in the toilet and then I walked up to Sports city (Manchester City’s stadium where the vaccination centre is. I was running a late, so walked very quickly building up quite a sweat with my winter coat on.

The Vaccine centre

After finding the centre which is in the tennis centre I entered the reception space had to clean my hands, change my mask to a standard issue surgical mask. This was a pain as I hadn’t wore one in the pandemic and found them awkward. This didn’t really help the levels of anxiety to be fair.

When it came to giving my information and checking I am who I say I was, I told them about the allergies and also my trypanophobia. This is when things massively changed. The man asked me some questions and asked if it had taken a lot to come forward to this point. I said very much yes, giving a summary of my experiences with injections. He jumped up and said he will happily fast track me through the lines to make sure I get my injection rather than let the time build the fear in my mind and I get up and leave. I was shocked but knew this the right thing to do. As trying to block out what was happening around me would become increasingly difficult, even if you can’t actually see whats happening. Fear does a great job of clouding the mind.

The actual moment (Trigger warning for my fellow needlephobic)

The man stayed with me all the way through another ask of my details, another clean and I remembered I need to apply another lot layer of Anbesol to my arm. So we stopped while I did that. Next stop was straight into a booth. He handed me off to the staff and I sat in a chair talking with a nurse who did one more check (they did offer if I wanted to lie down on a bed too). I don’t think I thanked him because the adrenaline was going, but he explained my fear and disappeared.

Sat in the chair, 3 people (2 women and another man) were in the booth explained to me what was going to happen. One sat in front of the computer screen and asked my details. The other woman stood in front of me and asked which arm and explained when I can put my headphones on. She explained the vaccine and needle will come in from the left side and I will never see it unless I look over. It will be given to me by the man. Once I removed my shirt, I put my headphones on and the woman stood in front of me distracted me by gesturing to focus on her and not look around. She could see I was trying to tune out but there wasn’t quite enough time.

I did feel the needle in my arm but the distraction of the nurse gesturing, the soothing sounds of Tears (Protoculture remix) by Dakota running through my head and likely the Anbesol. I had no idea how deep it was or anything, I didn’t count the seconds but it was over before the beat started (so roughly 1 minute). It was quick not painless but manageable for me. I thought a lot about the holiday I already booked and being able to go see my parents soon. I never once saw the needle or anything medical, except the bed. This includes those yellow used needles bin, which usually freaks me out massively.

Afterwards

Afterwards I was given a tissue to wipe my hands is they were sweaty (which they certainly was but I didn’t notice till they passed it to me). Afterwards they gave me water, chatted for a while, explaining some of my previous experiences (even they were shocked by one of them) and then one of the women took me outside for fresh air. We stood outside for about 5mins before I made my way home.

On the way home via Asda to use the toilet and pick up a few things. On the walk home, I had to stop for a short while and have a quick cry (i’m not going to lie). The tension was too much and finally the feelings came out.

I would say as a whole the experience was Good (thats what I pressed on the way out) I think it was great compared to what I was expecting in my head. There were a few things which were not clear to me for example I only knew it was the Tennis centre because my friends had mentioned it before. It also seemed very geared up for car drivers not people walking or using public transport. The fast track was a great move and the distraction was a good too. I like I never saw anything even when leaving.

I am looking forward to part 2? No but I’m more ok with it, although I’m already feeling the flu like symptoms and had to pop a flu pill, drink some tea and might start on the oranges for sure. The plan of rewarding myself with some ice cream has gone out the window (or is still in the freezer).

Hopefully this will be helpful to some?

Lets talk about Trypanophobia and Covid19 vaccinations

So this week I’m having my first Covid19 vaccine injection (jab if you prefer).

I have trypanophobia (the fear of intramuscular and intravenous needles). I have talked about it many times before including how I was able to find a coping mechanism. Looking under the hashtag #trypanophobia and #needlephobia on twitter, there are many more.

Its clear the Covid19 vaccine is affecting a lot of people like myself (15% of adults have some kind of needle fear)

In my case (like many others), I want to get vaccinated but had to massively balance the positives and negatives in my head. The fear of needles is insane and that fear causes me to fight or flight. I really have to fight my mind and body to stop from leaving. It wasn’t till I finally had hypnotherapy, when things really changed how I felt with my absolute fear. It doesn’t work for everybody but it helped massively.

Most people can’t understand what its like and comments like, just look away, its quick, it will be over in moments, its a little prick, its painless; are deeply annoying and very frustrating to hear! Don’t say it! Its a deadly serious fear and as I explain to friends in the past. If there was a decision of having a injection to save my life or dying, in the past I considered the last option (I’m not the only one). Thats how serious it can be! Lets be deadly honest, its a piece of metal stuck in your arm and into your muscle. Its not natural and the terrible situations people like myself have been through will make you pass out if I told you them in full.

What am I doing to make things better for my vaccination?

I have spoken to my doctor about that can be done, short answer not much as the roll out is being done outside of the usual GP circuit. But I will fully tell the vaccination centre everything about my fear.

Zone out with loud music on headphones

I have a few people offer to hold my hand, which sounds silly but part of my coping mechanism is to wear headphones with trance music playing loud. I’m trying to zone out and giving my information pulls me back into the room, so someone else giving my info would be great. So less hand holding because last time a nurse offered, they told me to let go as I was crushing their hand. I was only 13 then, so imagine what would happen if I was holding someones hand now!

Do stuff which is the upside of it all

I booked myself an holiday in Lisbon, Portugal as a treat for getting the vaccine. I always knew vaccine passports were going to be a thing of some kind. Rewarding myself with a holiday for having 2 injections is a nice reminder of why I am putting myself through this. I’m also considering a massage just before too.

Thinking about it and visualise it

One of the things people always say to me is, don’t think about it. For me I have to so I can get comfortable with the fact its going to happen (been thinking about it for the last 2 weeks). When I have blood tests I have to watch it as I don’t want that surprise which puts me back at square one again. As its a shot rather than blood test, I’ll likely look away but visualise whats going on, counting the seconds.

Try lidocaine gel/cream again

A long time ago the doctors would apply a gel patch to my skin for 30mins before to help with the pain. I now know the patch contained Iidocaine. Without going into details, I didn’t find it helped much but I’m willing to give it another try. I’m heading to boots and superdrug looking for it now. I will rub it on my upper arm a few hours beforehand hoping to num my arm for the injection.

Hopefully these 4 things might help others having the Covid19 vaccine. Everybody keeps telling me how awful they feel afterwards but I can deal with that in my rational brain no problem.

I added a few links to some news stuff about this all, I also snatched the last Anbesol from Boots in the Arndale. My nurse friend, gave it the thumbs up and suggested applying it a few hours before then again while I’m waiting for my jab.

Updated visited countries

Countries in 2021A while ago I did a count of the countries I have been to. I know I’m privileged to have visited a lot of these countries. It was always strange to me because its not like I planned to do it, till I started putting in my new years resolutions visit a new country.

I updated the list to 2021 (although there’s not going to be much updates for a while I suspect). Its strange looking at the map because there is whole continents I haven’t even crossed on a flight.

South America, Africa and Australia. All I’d like to visit sometime, for example South America, love to visit Argentina, Brazil and Chile. In Africa Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Finally Australia is a strange one for me, as I’m not so focused about Australia but I’d like to see Tasmania and New Zealand mainly to visit people I know. I was considering Singapore for a holiday as its in the UK green list for travel and I have always wanted to check it out (you know how much I love cities) but decided not being able to go into Malaysia would be disappointing with Kuala Lumpur being a few hours away.

Of course this may all change in the next few months but I decided to revisit Lisbon after my brief stop over 3 years ago.

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Gates divorce after 27 years

Bill and Melinda Gates
This photo was taken by Kjetil Ree. © 2009 Kjetil Ree

The news has been full of discussion about this and being the Gates, its popped up in my news feed now and then. One thing I find annoying about the opinions I’m hearing, is how can they be splitting up after 27 years?

The romantic notion is sickly and although its always sad to see a couple split up, I have seen people say after 27 years they should stay together. Really?!

There is so much to say about our Disney view on love and relationships, but Alain de Botton and the school of life says it in much better than I ever could.

Time to get real people!

Mozilla Explains: Dating apps, AI and collaborative filtering

Ann Marie Carrothers from Mozilla is absolutely right, its something I have mentioned many times and recently decided enough is enough. Weirdly I have never had the discussion with Ann-Marie in person?

I avoid all dating apps and services which don’t allow me to search my own way through the people. I’m so sick of the systems forcing one way of interacting usually the tinder swiping.

For example OKCupid on the mobile app won’t allow you to search for people who use geeks in there profile. I can hear people say, “why on earth would you want this?!”

Uniqueness!

I’m personally not interested in generic people, I’m after unique people.

Uniquness in dating

Instead of searching through millions of profiles, why not cut through noise by finding someone who cares enough to add it to their profile? For example geek with my other filters in the website (like gender, age, distance, etc) got down to two women.

Uniquness in dating

My search for feminism got down to one woman.

Its not for everyone but thats fine, because the notion of swiping left and right looking at profile pictures isn’t for everybody either.

Embedded Inequality in the vaccine development process

I knew it was bad, but Vox spell out the embedded inequality. Remember for all the people being vaccinated in one country, it will never be over till most of the world is vaccinated. Vaccine nationalism needs to end!

In related news I got my call up for the vaccine… I was thinking it would be interesting if there was a system like the OLPC (remember that?) get one, donate one. I know it wouldn’t scale but it would at least focus us away from vaccine nationalism.

https://mas.to/@cubicgarden/106137630859489518

Chilli Chocolate showdown: Carolina reaper vs Instant regret

Carolina Repear vs Instant Regret chocolates
Its the Chilli-chocolate-faceoff

I said I would film a video of me eating the some of the hottest chilli chocolate. So here is the video complete with my nose slightly running from the chilli. Not so pretty.

With some further time, I decided Instant regret was pretty horrible chocolate and I actually had some more Carolina reaper to try and remove the taste of instant regret. It just didn’t have anything about it, maybe a hint of chocolate which disappeared quickly and you are left savoring chilli. Not exactly what you want to savor…

Another thing I didn’t get around to saying on the camera was the chilli was quite different like the difference between Tabsasco and Sriracha. I guess thats due to the different chillis which are used.

If you want something which will make you have some regret, then look no further than instant regret. However if you want something which actually tastes good then Carolina reaper is calling your name.

Where I’m reading information about allergies and the vaccines

Covid19 vaccine

I have mentioned a few times previously about allergies and covid19 vaccines. A few people have asked me about my sources, so I’d thought I’d share the biggest ones.

Anaphylaxis.org.uk’s Covid19 vaccine update is a good overview and not too difficult to understand. The site is gear for people with severe allergies for many things including different vaccines.

The NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service is a very technical detailed site including the exact ingredients and some terms I needed to be looked up. But it cuts straight through the noise.

Hope these are useful to people too.

Excessive energy drink use, symptoms include…

Caffeine under a microscope
What Caffeine looks like under a microscope

There was a time when I would consume upwards of 5-14 cans of redbull every night on a weekend, while going out clubbing and raving. So many I would add Tabasco sauce to slow me down if I was in a bar not a rave (imagine trying to smuggle in Tabasco sauce into a rave!). At the time there was no sugar free redbull and I was aware of the threat of diabetes.

I never touched any illegal drugs although I was surrounded by them, nope my drug of choice was caffeine (it was useful for those 12 hour raves, although I was wide-awake on the coach home when most were coming down). In retrospect maybe I would have been off with ecstasy (I half joke) Reading about the student who had heart failure from excessive drinking of energy drinks, I got away lightly, even with my brush with death.

For two years, the man drank four 500ml energy drinks a day, according to the BMJ Case Report. He spent 58 days in hospital, including the intensive care unit which he described as “traumatising”. Before the hospital admission, he suffered with shortness of breath and weight loss for four months.

Doctors treating him considered a number of diagnoses, but concluded: “Energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity was felt to be the most likely cause.” An organ transplant was considered after tests revealed both his heart and kidneys had failed – with the kidney failure linked to a long-standing but previously undiagnosed condition.

My hope for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is put on hold it seems

My hopes of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the UK seems to be on hold. Like the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been a very very tiny amount of blood-clots which are not clear are caused by the vaccine or are coincidental.

Every life is important and blood clots can be lethal, however we got to look at the statistical amount of risk. I’m personally still keen to take the J&J vaccine over the others right now.