It’s All Kicking Off

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s been a while since I last blogged. Possibly that is due to a certain amount of blogging fatigue accrued during the ‘200 posts in 200 days’ marathon of blogging that preceded this latest hiatus.

Or possibly I had nothing to say.

Then again, having nothing to say has never been a particular barrier before.

So maybe it was blogging fatigue after all.

Anyway, I appear to have been inspired to post something today.

I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the World Cup started today.

I always enjoy the World Cup, although I’m not entirely sure why. I wouldn’t class myself as an aficionado of football, or sport in general for that matter. I’m definitely something of an armchair fan though.

I’ve always been a big fan of armchairs.

But I do like watching sport a bit, even though I play very little sport.

The World Cup has attracted some controversy this year, what with it being hosted in Russia, a country with a questionable human rights record.

I’m currently watching the opening game. Russia are playing Saudi Arabia, a country with a questionable human rights record.

It’s hard to know who to support really.

Then again, that sentiment could be applied to the whole tournament.

My own beloved Wales will not be there, having failed to qualify, which is not an unusual state of affairs.

I usually default to supporting England, but they never do that well either.

To be honest though, I generally enjoy watching all the matches, regardless of who is playing.

Mrs Proclaims does not share my enthusiasm.

In that regard we very much conform to stereotype.

I’d like to think that in other ways we don’t, but I’m struggling to come up with any good examples of us defying stereotypes.

It’s probably because I’m watching the football.

 

 

Multiple Milestones

James Proclaims (4)

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This post, the one you’re currently reading (if indeed you are reading this) is the 524th post to appear on James Proclaims. Which is not hugely significant in and of itself, but back on October 30th 2017, I had only written a measly 324 posts. On October 31st, I wrote a post about Halloween. Little did I know it at the time, but with that post I was embarking on a blogging odyssey. But I was, and I did and this, my 524th post of all time, is also my 200th post in 200 consecutive days.

It’s a journey which, as the mathematically more astute of you will realise, took me past the milestones of my 400th post and my 500th post, as well as my three year blogiversary. The end of April also saw me complete six months of consecutive blogging, which seems noteworthy for some reason, but probably isn’t.

It started out as me just trying to achieve the feat of writing 30 posts in 30 days throughout November, in an attempt to complete National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo). At the time I thought I’d struggle to even accomplish that, but now that looks like a miniscule achievement. As well as NaBloPoMo, I also wrote 24 Christmas(ish) themed film reviews in a sort of Advent Calendar  throughout December, and in April I partook in the A-Z blogging challenge, writing mostly about the cartoons of my youth. The other 120 posts have consisted of slightly rubbish poems, even more rubbish doodles, some lamentably pointless reviews of 90s era movies and a few short stories, which aren’t nearly as clever as I thought they were when I wrote them. I’ve also introduced two never-seen-before features to my blog – the utterly inexplicable ‘James Explains’ and the entirely self-indulgent Magic Penguin stories, which are just a bit weird.

And I will continue to post many more unfathomable utterings to these pages for the foreseeable future. This is not the end of James Proclaims. I will proclaim again and I will proclaim soon.

But not tomorrow.

Because while I’ve enjoyed the last 200 days, I really do need to stop posting everyday. I have other things I need to do. They aren’t really things I want to do. A lot of them are beyond dull. But I’ve been putting them off for far too long. About 200 days if I’m honest.

For this has been the ultimate exercise in procrastination.

In the event that anyone is disheartened by the news that I will no longer be blogging on a daily basis then I would like to point out that no-one in their right mind should be at all bothered that a mediocre blogger decides to blog a bit less. But if that news still fails to console you, then rest assured, I’ll still be pedalling my prosaic prose in the blogosphere, just on a slightly less regular basis.

But probably still multiple times a week.

If, by contrast, the news that I’m not giving up blogging is the thing that disheartens you, then I would also point out that you really don’t have to read this stuff. No-one is making you. Unless you’re Mrs Proclaims, in which case I admit that I do make you read it, but you knew what you were getting into when you married me.

Anyway, the point of all this really is that in order to produce my 200th post in 200 days I had to write something.

So I wrote this.

Which is probably something of an anticlimax all things considered.

 

 

A Triennium Of Proclamations

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is my third blogiversary. That’s right, I’ve been doing this blogging malarkey for three whole years now.

Which seems like a respectable amount of time to have maintained a blog.

It’s probably worthy of some kind of recognition.

I should at least get a certificate.

Maybe even a laminated certificate.

I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot in the last three years.

But I haven’t learned a thing really.

Still, after three years, you might think that the novelty would be starting to wear off a little.

But I still enjoy the satisfaction of writing a good post.

Obviously this isn’t a good post.

But I have written some good posts in the last three years.

Or at the very least I’ve written some adequate posts.

I mean they’re not all bad surely?

Anyway, as is customary when celebrating a blogiversary, I will now eat some cake.

It was ‘cake day’ in work today. Every Thursday is cake day. But I was in a meeting when the cake was being served so I missed it. All I got in the meeting was some water. Which is not the same as cake.

So I will have some cake now instead and celebrate my blogiversary.

Feel free to join me.

Although don’t actually come to my house because that would be weird.

 

Thawed For The Day

James Proclaims (4)

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I was struggling to think of what to write today, and almost didn’t bother posting. But I’m on such a hot blogging streak at the moment (this being my 133rd post in 133 consecutive days) that I was reluctant to not write anything. I feel the run is likely to come to an end soon, but I think if I can get over the hurdle of today’s apathy, that I’ve got a few more posts in me before I run out of steam.

On the other hand I didn’t want to just stare at a blank page for hours on end, waiting for inspiration to find me. I have better things to do than that.

Like eating the rest of that ice cream that’s in the freezer.

And watching the next episode of that box-set.

And preparing for that presentation I’m meant to be doing in work tomorrow.

Well I’ll do the ice-cream and the box-set thing anyway. I expect I’ll be employing my usual ‘winging it’ strategy for the presentation.

So, in the absence of any genuine inspiration, I’ve imposed a ten minute time limit on myself to write today’s post.

Why ten minutes?

Well that’s the optimum time from taking the ice-cream tub out of the freezer to allow it to thaw sufficiently to transfer it to a bowl without bending the spoon, but not thaw so much that it loses its delightful ice-creamy consistency.

So, while this may not be the best post I’ve ever produced, I will get to enjoy a bowl of ice-cream at the end of it.

And that’s got to count for something right?

Ninety-One

James Proclaims (4)

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Do bloggers blog about the very act of blogging when they can’t think what else to blog about?

Perhaps so.

I know I’ve been guilty of that before.

And perhaps I’m guilty of that today.

I’ve got loads of things I want to blog about though, so this post is not entirely about a lack of other topics.

For example I could blog about the time, recently, that I won a massive cake in a raffle. Or how Mrs Proclaims and I survived in near arctic conditions when we thought our boiler had broken, but in fact our boiler was fine and it was our gas meter that had broken (oh the hilarity of going for three days without heating only for the wrong kind of repairman to turn up!)

Or I could brag about how I totally won an argument conducted through the medium of email in work today.

Because I owned that email exchange.

But today I want to blog about this very blog.

Because I have been something of a blogging machine of late. Yesterday I posted my ninetieth post in ninety consecutive days. Today is my ninety-first post in ninety-one consecutive days.

That’s a pretty good record by anyone’s standards.

And I’ve brought some new stuff to the blog too. Like my slightly rubbish film reviews. Or the genuinely perplexing ‘Magic Penguin’ stories. Or the utterly unhelpful ‘James Explains’.

But some of the ninety-one posts have, I think, been quite good.

Not this one obviously.

But some of them have been.

And now I find myself a mere nine days and nine posts away from hitting a century. A hundred posts in a hundred days.

Will I make it?

Who knows?

Who really cares?

I mean I care a little bit. But it’s not really going to change my life. I won’t even get a celebratory t-shirt.

Maybe I should make a celebratory t-shirt.

That would be cool.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because I’m not there yet.

Today I’m at ninety-one.

And ninety-one does not make for a cool t-shirt by anyone’s standards.

 

Let’s All Just Take A Moment to Acknowledge My Momentous Achievement

James Proclaims (4)

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This month I have derided, mocked and otherwise made-fun of various November ‘traditions’. Many of my posts this month have been mock-ups of potential novels in an affectionate sendup of National Novel Writing Month, while I have also derided (at times with a touch less affection) such November notables as Movember, Black Friday (and it’s even stupider sibling ‘Cyber Monday’) and World Sandwich Day.

All the while though, I have been participating in the bloggiest of all the November novelties. For I have been ‘secretly’ participating in National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo) for which the goal is to produce a blog post for every day of November. That’s thirty posts in thirty days.

As a writing challenge it’s much easier than NaNoWriMo, but it’s still no mean feat I can tell you.

I haven’t been this productive on my blog since I did the same challenge two years ago.

Back then I swore I’d never do it again, because it’s really hard think of sufficient things to write about in order to produce that many posts.

Out of desperation I did stupid things during my 2015 NaBloPoMo challenge, such as writing a post on November 5th saying I couldn’t think of anything to write about. This was ludicrous for two reasons, firstly the ‘I can’t think of anything to write about’ post is all well and good later on in the month but using it up on day 5 was throwing away a potential lifeline very early on. Also, it was Guy Fawkes Night, so I should have just written about that. You’ll note I did not make the same mistake this year and Mr Fawkes very firmly had his place within my 2017 November challenge.

Anyway, today marks the day that I have achieved the thirty posts in thirty days challenge. It’s a day before the end of November because I posted on the last day of October.

Because that was Halloween, which seemed an obvious thing to blog about when trying to generate lots of content.

However, in the spirit of this being a November-specific challenge I will post something tomorrow too.

It will be an explanatory post about what will be happening on this blog during the month of December.

Because I’m extending this blogging party right up until Christmas and possibly beyond.

Do try and contain your excitement.

A Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars

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If you’ve clicked on this expecting a well-thought out classification of all the different chocolate bars available in the UK then you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Also, what is wrong with you?

Seriously, who needs to know about chocolate bars to that extent?

I mean I am reasonably well-versed in chocolate. I’m certainly no expert, but I know my Double Deckers from my Lion Bars and my Twirls from my Twix.

But this post isn’t really about chocolate bars.

Although if you’re in the mood for one you could do worse than any of the above.

But really this post is, as with all my posts, about not very much at all.

Normally I have no difficulty coming up with creative ways of writing about nothing, but recently I’ve been struggling.

Today I had a particularly bad bout of writer’s block

Indeed I have been sitting on my sofa for the best part of an hour starting, and subsequently deleting, various attempts at a blog post.

And even by the particularly low standards I set for myself, I was coming up with nothing that I considered acceptable for these prestigious pages.

And then Mrs Proclaims appeared.

I mean she came down the stairs, she didn’t magically appear in front of me like a genie.

Or someone off of Star Trek.

Upon her entering the room, I implored her to give me an idea to write about.

She looked at me suspiciously, as if having walked into a trap.

And rightly so, for I am not known to solicit suggestions when it comes to content for this blog and I can be more than a little ungracious when unsolicited suggestions are made. (This a particularly blog-specific failing on my part and should in no way be used to judge me in other areas of my life and is certainly no reflection on the state of my marriage…)

“I mean it,” I said in an attempt at reassurance, “I really can’t think of anything.”

Still with a slight sense of mistrust she pondered the situation for a moment.

“Why don’t you write a Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars?” she suggested.

I congratulated her on her brilliance and she returned to the upper rooms of our abode feeling pleased with herself.

Obviously I haven’t written a taxonomy of chocolate bars.

It’s too varied and controversial a topic for me to be able to do it justice.

But I did think it would make a good title.

And I have just eaten a chocolate bar.

It was a Lion Bar if you must know.

I’d have preferred a Double Decker, but we didn’t have any of those in the cupboard and the nearest shop is all the way across the road.

We did have Wagon Wheels in the cupboard.

I’m not sure if they count as chocolate bars, because of their shape.

If only someone had written a thorough and complete taxonomy of chocolate bars so I could find out.

Something About Nothing

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A few weeks ago, in order to maintain a regular blogging schedule, I committed to regularly writing short posts about ‘not very much’, instead of longer posts that pretend to be about ‘something’ but aren’t really about anything.

Since making that pledge, I have written anything much.

So the plan didn’t work.

And now I’m reduced once again to writing about how I’ve failed to produce any meaningful content for this blog, aside from a couple of poems, one of which was a Haiku that I wrote ages ago and the one I posted yesterday, which was about Bovril.

Bovril!

Who writes poetry about Bovril?

Anyway, I’m really just posting this as confirmation that I am still alive.

I have just been occupied with lots of stuff lately.

Some of that stuff is work related and it genuinely makes me sad that I have to spend good blogging time working on paperwork that no-one is ever going to read but nonetheless needs to be completed so that I can answer honestly when people ask me if I’ve done it.

I’m not above answering dishonestly about completing paperwork and I have employed that strategy many times in my life to get people off my back, but it generally is prudent to complete it anyway, at some point, because even though most of the time no-one bothers to read it, it only takes one excessively keen and enquiring person to start probing for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

I feel there are some of these overzealous vultures circling at the moment so I’m being particularly careful to “dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s” in my professional life.

However, all work and no play would make James a dull boy so I have also been quite busy filling potential blogging time with other fun stuff.

I could write about that fun stuff here.

But I won’t.

Because that might create the illusion that I lead a vaguely fulfilling existence.

Which might even be the truth if I really think about it.

But I think a sense of satisfaction with my lot in life would be setting entirely the wrong tone for my blog.

James Complains About Not Having Written Anything

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It’s the first Monday in September and like many teachers I’m obliged to go back to work after a six-week hiatus.

Obviously, I expect very little sympathy from the non-teachers out there. Clearly, it’s hard, if you don’t get six weeks off, to sympathise with anyone who hasn’t had to go to work for the best part of the summer (I mean it was definitely the best part of my summer anyway).

Fortunately, I know there are quite lot of teachers who read this blog.

So, it’s perfectly fine for me to have a moan about having to go back into work.

And regular readers of these pages will know I’m not a huge fan of the whole work thing anyway.

I’d much rather sit around in my pants all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

But there are bills to pay.

And no-one is prepared to pay me to sit around all day watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

So, to work I must go.

And to be fair, the education profession does allow me numerous holidays throughout the year when I can sit around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream.

Obviously, I don’t spend all my holiday time doing that. Mrs Proclaims tends to frown upon that kind of behaviour.

Also, it’s apparently not good for your health to spend most of the day sedentary whilst consuming large volumes of frozen sugar and fat.

Anyway, after a six-week break in which I haven’t exclusively sat around watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, I’m back to work today.

Normally I’d be dreading it.

And today is no exception

But it’ll be fine. I’ll struggle through the first few hours, as I remember that I’m contractually obliged to do stuff and not all of that stuff will be interesting, or even worthwhile. Some of it will, frankly, be a complete waste of time. At first, I’ll want to resist, but eventually I’ll settle back into the same, slightly numb, reluctant acceptance that this is my life until Christmas.

And that’s fine, because they pay me just about enough to meet my mortgage commitments, pay my utility bills, and do all the other essential things I need to do to exist.

Like eat.

And pay my Netflix subscription.

So, while it’s fair to say I’m reluctant about going back to work today, I do understand why I have to do so, and on balance, I can’t complain too much about having to work when I’ve just had six weeks off.

But the trouble with having to work is that it tends to get in the way of blogging.

It’s hard to maintain a blogging schedule and do all the stuff I need to get done in work.

Sometimes I manage it, but there are often times when I go missing from the blogosphere for weeks, even months, on end because I’ve got too much to get done in work.

So you’d think, with six weeks off, and an unstated but implicit understanding with my lovely wife that I would not spend all of that time sitting around in my pants watching box-sets and eating ice-cream, that I might’ve had time to pen a few missives for this blog.

To get me ahead of schedule.

You’d think I’d have at least written today’s post in advance of today.

And although I did technically write this last night, it was so close to midnight as to barely count.

And I certainly haven’t written anything else in preparation for the coming weeks.

I meant to get ahead during my time off.

But I didn’t.

So, this could feasibly be the last thing I post for a while

Which, when you consider the quality of this post alone, would clearly be a tragedy for all humanity.

So let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that I churn out another one of these soon.

The Elephant In The Room

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Hello people of the blogosphere. I’m back after something of an unplanned hiatus from the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this post – on the one hand my first post in a while ought to be a spectacular affair, both witty and profound, irreverent yet informative, offering reassurances to my regular readers that I’ve not lost any of my trademark humour while ensuring any new readers who happen upon my blog might want to stick around and read more of my ramblings.

On the other hand, sometimes you can put a bit too much pressure on yourself, and when you’re out of practice, sometimes it’s better just to post something – anything – even if it’s a bit rubbish just to ‘get back on the blogging horse’ so to speak.

I’ve got a few posts in the works, some of which will see the light of day on these very pages soon, but for this post I’d thought that the best thing I could do was to address the elephant in the room.

Because it’s not often you see an elephant in your front room. Continue reading The Elephant In The Room