Flying Pigeons, pop-stars and the last Don…

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Mario Puzo wrote in the Last Don, “What is past is past, never go back. Not for excuses, not for justifications, not for happiness. You are what you are, the world is what it is.” I find the turn of a new year to be the perfect time to jettison the old and bring in the new and improved. Normally I view the end of the year as metaphorically ending another chapter in my book of life. This year, though, I’ve decided that I’m done with volume one of the book. This year, it’s time to start a new book of my life, the Book of Clay volume II.

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I’m on the road this week. I arrived at the Premier Inn in Crawley just after 9PM. The lady on reception as I arrive looks bored. She’s using her hand and arm to prop up her head. As I come closer, I see that she is doing Suduko puzzles. “Trying to the pass the time,” she says.

“I can understand that,” I try to reassure her that life isn’t that bad. What good is life, if you spend your time trying to distract yourself from being present, from being here now. She smiles. It’s one of those nervous grins, you know where you can see the person trying to determine if you’re some kind of nut bar. “The restaurant is open until 10 if you want to grab something. The bar is open until 11.” I nod that I’ve understood. And as much as I could use a beer right now, I have to be up early tomorrow. No restaurant or bar for me. I just want to get to my room, unpack shit, and chill out. It’s been a long day.

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Once I get settled into my room, I plug my iPhone into my SoundLink Mini. I want to try out a new music app I downloaded called Free MP3. It’s one of these apps that allows you to stream unlimited songs. You don’t get to choose the songs, instead the app has 14 playlists. It’s a bit of a pot luck. You don’t get to see what songs are on the playlist, but after a song a two you can tell what genre of music is on that playlist.

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There’s everything from Rap, Pop, Dance, Hip Hop, Techno, Trance, Soft Rock, UK charts, and USA top hits. The playlists are updated everyday and there’s no additional cost. The music starts playing as soon as you load the app. The app can play in the background, which is a cool. The pain in the ass part though is all the advertising. Every few seconds an add pops up asking you if you want to download a free game.

Tonight, I’m partial to playlist 2, which is kicking the tunes that take me back to a time when I was young and idealistic, songs like Shelia E’s A Love Bizzare, Kenny Loggins I’m Alright, After the Fire Der Kommisar and Milli Vanilli Blame it on the Rain.

If you can deal with the constant bombardment of advertisement, it’s good app to use if you’re just wanting to put some music on in the background while you’re doing something else like trying to write up your notes into a coherent blogpost.

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Crawley. Mention the name to a Brit and they’re likely to respond, that’s near Gatwick isn’t? Crawley is one of these stop over towns where you stay the night to catch an early flight from Gatwick airport. There isn’t much else here. Unfortunately. I’m not here to catch a flight. It’s business that brings me here, which of course is a good thing starting January off with paid work. I’m running a two 2 day workshops for a client. This is my first business trip of the new year. Good times, yo.

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Every hotel should strive to have the best shower in the world.  I am tempted to skip breakfast and just hang out in the shower all morning.

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What is that Hunter Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Things have gotten weird for me.  Is it true…win at all cost? I read article exposing the illegal practice of doping pigeons in the obscure and bizarre sport of pigeon flying.  I struggle to find the point of 1) flying pigeons as a sport and 2) doping said pigeons so you can win.  Really?

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Place…I’m sat in a cinema Starbucks. It’s a transient crowd of movie goers either getting a coffee to take into the theatre or  Killing time over a cup of coffee while they wait for their movie. There are five of us who using space as a place to meet a friend for coffee or in my case, a writer needing a place to write that’s not alone in his hotel room.

It was the final day of my two day workshop. I’ve enjoyed this group. They have been enthusiastic, engaged and pleasant. We bonded. And now in that bonding we part, and tomorrow, I start the process all over again with a new group – the process of initial meeting a group, establishing my credibility as trainer for them, building rapport, and relaxing their preconceived ideas so that they approach the material with an open mind conducive to learning.

I’m up for the challenge.

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