Once upon a time, getting up was easy, a well-defined pleasure. It was a simple matter of arising before anyone else, making a huge pot of tea and sitting in darkness listening, and every so often cursing, at the radio. Grumpy man. Lacking a cat.
And then two things happened. We bought an iPad.
And Osbaston, a tiny suburb of Monmouth was hit by a wave of burglaries. This was great news for our local paper, The Beacon. With over 28 burglaries in just a few months in said tiny Osbaston, it positively salivated with headlines like Terror Hits Osbaston. Burglar alarm companies salivated even more, selling their products like hotcakes.
And yes, we are now the proud possessor of a burglar alarm. If a mouse twitches in our house, all of South Wales knows about it.
Problem is, getting up in the morning. I'm usually halfway down the stairs before a ferocious beeping warns me I have only 15 seconds to switch the damn thing off!
Then there is the aforementioned iPad.
This has changed my morning routine completely. I still make the huge pot of tea and sit in the dark with the radio, but now I'm scanning cyberspace as well--- the early morning mail, one or two select blogs and online news sites, and the Devil's own timesink---Facebook. And all the time the radio is weaving in news. A sensory duelling banjos, a rich and diverse pattern of neural activity, synaptic overload - it's a fine balance, but the tea helps.
Inbetween refilling my cup I'm flipping through cartoons, pictures of cats, online campaigns, people selling their books, things friends find funny (and many of them are) And then the Scylla and Charybdis of 'Waking Times' and the sciencey '109'
I've forgotten now how they came to be on my Facebook page, but get sucked into them, and your doomed, your brain reduced to that of a magpie.
Waking Times is preoccupied with GM foods, the effects of fluoride. (apparently it's very bad for the pineal gland, and in consequence your spiritual growth, which is all part of an establishment conspiracy) They're very big on 'The Establishment':
"Being considered 'crazy' by those who are still victims of cultural conditioning is a compliment." Gave me a warm feeling until I realised Jihad Johnny would probably agree with that, too.
And all the time my half-awake brain is oscillating between radio news: events occurring in Greece or Iraq, who's to blame in the Ukraine, Ed Milliband's promise to posthumously pardon every homosexual breaking the laws of times past, (but not presumably past victims of witch-trials. He may be saving that for next year)
And Waking Times.
The finger hovers over hidden warnings:
Ten top eating myths you probably believe.
Are smartphones becoming a substitute for thinking?
Leavened with Fridge Magnet nuggets of wisdom:
Are you really going to let fear control your life? Easy to give a firm shake of the head in Monmouth, perhaps not in downtown Miami or some parts of London.
Where attention goes energy goes.
A book is like a garden carried in the pocket
Wherever you are, be all there.
It doesn't like organised religion but wallows in a weird mix of yoga, paganism, eastern mysticism and exhortations to fight the dark forces wilfully cloaking our minds.
It has pictures of penguins in sweaters, tells you what your sleeping position reveals about your personality, how to use mathematics to find your true love on Valentines Day, how to choose your genes
I skip an interview with a reptilian being. The thought of listening to two sources of noise frightens me. Instead, I move on to a question: Do I realise time has three dimensions?
Waking Times is bursting with answers to rhetorical questions.
I stop, with relief, at this last little pearl:
'Silence is loaded with answers.' On that basis, Waking Times must be the most silent site in all of cyberspace.
In comparison the site 109 is positively prosaic with its best cos play costumes, its regular sci fi 'spoilers' its attacks on sexist tropes in the genre. Today I saw a video of deer eating birds, learnt how Charles Babbage attempted to summon the devil, and how CGI added pubic hair to Fifty Shades of Grey. And then an item on women's football on radio.
By 9 am I've slipped into aboriginal Dreamtime that only a brisk country walk will wake me from…after I've put on the burglar alarm.