Friday, 30 December 2011

Random blogging thoughts at the end of the year

I've not posted for two days; a return to Warsaw - no sunshine, no snow, no major events, no inspiration... a good chance to share with you, then, some thoughts about blogging.

Localism, down-your-wayism - year on year, I'm building a picture of life in Jeziorki; the slow process of development of this semi-rural corner of Warsaw, the capital of the EU's sixth-largest member state. This year, as last year, and next year too, local life has been dominated by the slow progress of the construction of Warsaw's Southern Bypass (which will finally connect us to the Outside World by expressway). The new infrastructure minister's decision to abandon plans for a central Poland airport between Warsaw and Łódź means that for the foreseeable future, Okęcie will remain Warsaw's principle airport, and while we can expect more flights overhead, new developments in and around Jeziorki will be limited by zoning.

Looking a bit beyond Jeziorki, I write about Warsaw as a fast-growing city, getting wealthier, more sophisticated and civilised, a city that's working flat out to get ready to host the Euro 2012 football championships (though I must say I'll not be watching any of it). Over the years, Warsaw is visibly changing, getting smarter, more akin to western cities, though the growth private car use has outstripped the city's ability to deal with it. Commuting from Jeziorki could be better. I look forward to more frequent rail services in and out of town, more Park+Rides, an extension to the city centre parking zone and more bus lanes and cycle paths (especially along ul. Puławska).

The economy will feature heavily in next year's blogs - though some posts may end up here on the BPCC's newly-resurrected blog page (after eight months' hiatus). Watching the zloty slide by 12 grosze against the pound in the first six hours of trading today fills me with apprehension - the markets react too violently and in response to short-term stimuli. I must say, personally, I am in favour of a financial transaction tax, although it should be introduced globally. Raising badly needed revenue for sovereign budgets - but also taking the edginess off those pre-programmed transaction computers that can destabilise companies, currencies or countries all too easily.

Creative writing: I've currently got three short stories and a half-completed novel all gathering dust on my hard drive and no real urgency to complete. This past year, I've written around 12 short stories around the theme 'After the War was Over'. Whereas I feel a pressing drive to blog, to engage with my online readers in Poland and around the world, I can't claim to feel that same pressure to press on with my creative writing. I should do though - New Year's Resolution #1: write more.

Photography: Despite my urges when passing through Dixon's Travel to buy a new camera, I can't really justify it. My brace of Nikons (D40 and D80) are holding up fine, very reliable, and the D40 is light enough to go with me everywhere. One camera that really interests me is the Fuji Finepix X100, the spiritual successor to the Leica. But it still have teething problems (battery life, software, filter attachment); I'm sure - given that the camera is such a hit - Fuji will one day bring out an improved version. Once it gets a full-size sensor, focal-plane shutter and and interchangeable mount that takes Leica-M lenses - I'll have one. And should one or other of my Nikons pack up finally and irrevocably, I'll buy a D3100 or D5100. But at the end of the day, the means are not the ends. The end in my case is to edge ever closer to the realisation of the Sublime Aesthetic.

Ultimately, blogging is the act of offering a personal testimony. My consciousness is present in the here and now, my memory shaped by growing up in England* in the late 20th C and by living in Poland in the 21st C. I've witnessed England's slow (relative) decline and Poland's rapid rise. But my consciousness, as it moves upon the face of the earth, is getting older and wiser. There are so many secrets yet to be uncovered, chief among these for me is the nature of consciousness; the balance between human biology (so many unknowns - especially in the field of neuroscience) and spirituality. Science will shed light on many mysteries, not in dazzling ways, but in tiny increments. Another New Year's resolution - to dive deeper into New Scientist each week and keep up with the latest discoveries.

* Ten years ago, I'd have written 'Britain' here.

This time last year:
Beery litter louts

This time two years ago:
Miserable grey London

This time three years ago:
Parrots in Ealing

This time four years ago:
Xmas lites, Jeziorki

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