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Perspective

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Englebrit

No i’ve no idea who she is either. However it seems apt, for my post.

So let me tell you about my last few days(please stay with me, there is method in my madness.)

So the other day I got rejected for a job. Now there is no shame in that, It happens to the best (well worst I guess) of us. A few days later I hit a pheasant (it survived) and wiped out my wing mirror.Today I came home to a flood in the bathroom and then had to shoot off to a meeting about the future of my rugby club, which I wasn’t looking forward to. And I haven’t even mentioned the Gloucester rugby result….

In short, I was in a bad mood and my tolerance and understanding was being stretched to breaking point.

Then I looked at the BBC news website and these are the headlines:

  • 58 Dead in Vegas Shooting
  • 1900 lose jobs as company go into Administration
  • 2 dead in stabbing in France

My natural response is “What kind of world do we live in” and “someone has to do something.”

And you know what someone should; me.

Now I’m just some wurzel from Gloucester, i’m never going to stop a terrorist, or lead in Government. However, I can reject the trope that the world is an inherently horrible place. I can stare back at the cynical eyes that stare back at me in the mirror that lets a day like  today get to me and spiral down and be all “sorry chap not today.” I can smile like an idiot. I can say hello to people, hold the door, let cars out and not get grumpy if they they don’t thank me. I can hold my hand up and volunteer to do stuff, i can keep fighting to keep my rugby club going, and not do it for personal gratification or expect anything in return.

Will that save lives? probably not. Will it make governments change unfair policy, fuck no! But will I feel better than if i’m defaulting to self pity. Probably. Will I at somepoint slip from this holier than thou attitude? Hell yes? But as the great philosopher Alfred Says.

“why do we fall Master Bruce? so we can pick ourselves back up!”

So yes In spite of the shite that has tried to make monday suck, i’m going to keep plugging away at being a nice person. In spite of someone senselessly gunning down people, i’m going to be polite to those around me. Cause I don’t know what else to do.

Now to bring this back to topic, I’ve always been a pessimist, a cynic. But at the same time I’m a massive sap. I cry at Disney films, i see the good in people who have been awful to me. All this I got from Dad. And sometimes I lose my way. But he asked me to make him proud. I don’t have a way of knowing if I can ever accomplish this, but I think he’d be proud if I refuse to give up on this world. One day I want him to be a grandad, and to do that I need to believe this is a world to raise a child in.

And often an overlooked person in this story of mine, is my amazing mum. And when I first opened up to her about Dad dying I remember telling her how unfair it all felt; Her response “Russ life will always be unfair, don’t let it beat you. And remember this is the worst day of your life, if you want it to be life will be better.” As always she wasn’t wrong.

So on reflect. I had a shit day, that wasn’t really a shit day. Inspite of this I need to be positive and be happy. Cause, Bombs will still go off, people will still get sick, Governments will still be bastards, but I’m not letting the bastards get me down and that counts for something right?

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25 Years

Wow, its been ages hasn’t it.

So what’s new?

And more importantly why am I back.

Well a while ago I went on a journey a long journey. From one end to the country to the other. For Winston Wish. And I raised some money. More then I though possible. And for a while I felt complete and content.

Then time passes and we come to a moment in time. And in the past this is where we’d cut to a phone call and a moment that set me back down a path. This time its a tweet. And its from Winston’s Wish.

Its telling me its been 25 years since the charity began and they need someone to talk about it on the radio. Would I do it it? And without hesitation, i’m in. Later there’ll be nerves, worry, self doubt, panic. But in the moment, this amazing charity can get some help and I’m there.

And if you jump to 2 hours and 7 minutes of this clip you’ll see, or rather hear how i did:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05dwdmb#play

And if it ended there, i’d have been happy and gone on with life quite contently. The charity got some love and awareness.

But it didn’t.

The next thing is, i’m being asked to go on Local tv and tell my story!

21686817_10159420420325338_1678528278000660411_o

 

And of course, I’m going to do it. So as part of this I’m digging through old photos and reconnecting with parts of my past i’d long forgotten. And you know what its tough, raw wounds are scratched at again, but its ok, its part of the journey and in the sadness i find solice and happy memories like seeing the reason I love cycling so much:

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and finding the last photo of me and dad: 21741289_10159404899235338_8862302125445032001_o

And i’m happy. I smile. Cause I’m in a place where I can look at that pic and it not make me fall to pieces. And again I remember just how much I owe the charity.

The story goes out on Sunday as it stands but here is a link to it:

Talking Dad

And again that could be the end of it.

But it isn’t

Something niggles at me. Cause yet again the charity has given me something and as always I’ve never even had to ask for help they’ve just been there.

See i’m an overthinker, I dwell, I reflect I question. And there is always an unanswered question throughout my life:

“Would my dad be proud of me?”

And seeing the amazing comments people have said to me through all of this, I can answer, probably. And that’s enough.

I never set out to do this stuff for me or to have people blow smoke up my backside but that’s what I’ve got. I did it so that a charity that has given me so much, got some help and interest.

And it return its helped me even now, 25 years after I was a sobbing, blonde mess who couldn’t comprehend.

5 Years ago, they got me to get on a bike and really test myself for the first time in my life.

So now.

Its time to get back on the bike.

So next July, i’m back to being a middle aged man in lyrca and doing the Ride London for Them. It seems a long way off, but between now and then I want to do more, to find more challenges, to test myself, to give back.

So if you want to help me, the link to my donation page is:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/russell-brookes4

And i’ll do what I can to sufffer and earn the donations, any ideas for events i should do let me know. But they need to be one dayers really and if you suggest it, don’t be surprised if i try and rope you in!

So thats it for now.

toodles!

 

Getting back on the bike or the rugby pitch for 26 hours plus….

So for the last few years i’ve probably dined out on the fact that I cycled from Land’s End to John O Groats and then played rugby for 25 hours. But something has always bugged me about it, the fact that we didn’t officially get the record recgonised. Since then i’ve talked about the idea of doing it again but that’s all I’ve done talked about it. Since then i’ve got comfortable and fat and lazy. Something has taken the drive away to do it and i’ve finally figured out what. Its fear.

See its easy to sit back and say we gave it are best, and then see others come and actually take the record do what was needed to get that record. I’ve seen 3 teams break it and now it stands at 26 hours. I keep waiting and waiting. I got to the point of setting a facebook group up but not doing much about it. I’ve been half assing a lot of things lately, and its been knawing away at me, i’ve been pissed off with myself and not sure why. It took getting married for it to make the penny drop.

Getting married felt right it felt easy and its made me happy. I love my wife so much and i feel more complete since. Its made me grow up and want things in life, i want to grow fat and old with my wife and live a long and happy life, for myself, for Em and for the dad who sacrificed so much i can have that. Its that that makes me look back on my life. I’ve made mistakes, i’ve cocked up but we all have but i’ve always looked to learn from them. There is little in life i regret or would change. The rugby record is one of the things i’d change and i think its that which makes me freeze in fear.

See what happens if we can’t change it. Scottys Heros raised 60 grand and had Welford road as the venue. I can’t live up to that. i’m a fat bloke who plays local rugby in front of 5 people, i don’t have what it takes to do that to put on a record that will do the charity justice. What if i can’t organise the event properly, what if i let the lads down again, what if we don’t get the record, what if, what if…

Its that which has held me back the what ifs. Its taken a while but i’ve got to the point where i just think, fuck the what ifs. well not that far but instead what if we pull this off, what if we go out give it are all and raise money for a fantastic charity, what if we smash the record, what if we can look back in 30 years time and know even if it was just for a year we were world record holders. for a fat bloke from gloucester with little rugby talent id live with that. But most of all, what if i made dad proud?

So thanks to having a wife who has more faith in me that i deserve its time to put the south doubt to one side, ignore the what ifs and get planning. I don’t know how soon it will be, how big it will be or if we can do it. But i’m going to not regret this, i’m going to look back and think 2015 was the year i put a regret to bed and believed in myself.

We’re coming for you….

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-3000/longest-marathon-playing-rugby-union/#

For now that is all, but i’m buzzing.

Explorer activity 1.5: Are you ready for online learning?

There are a range of questionnaires and instruments produced by universities and online learning providers which claim to predict whether you are ‘ready’ for online learning – see the sample list to be provided. e.g.

Complete two or three of these questionnaires depending on the time you have available and make a list of the characteristics they have in common. Publish this list and add a short comment/reflection, considering how the questionnaires:

  • If they can help us plan to introduce learners to online learning and TEL,
  • accurately identify your readiness, and
  • how you might use them with your own students.
  • if you have come across other such questionnaires that you would recommend – please share these too via the communication and publication channels

The first test I completed was the Penn State University test, achiving score of 53 :

https://esurvey.tlt.psu.edu/Survey.aspx?s=246aa3a5c4b64bb386543eab834f8e75

I also took the San Diego test, getting a score over 45:

http://www.sdccdonline.net/feedback3.htm

Finally, I took the University of Huston test, achieving a score of 178:

http://distance.uh.edu/results.html?c1=5&c2=5&c3=5&c4=5&c5=5&c6=5&c7=5&c8=5&c9=5&c11=5&c12=4&c13=3&c14=4&c15=2&c16=4&c17=4&c18=4&c19=4&c20=5&c21=4&c22=3&c23=4&c24=2&c25=5&c26=5&c27=2&c28=4&c29=4&c30=1&c31=5&c32=4&c33=4&c34=4&c35=4&c36=4&c37=1&c38=5&c39=5&c40=5&c41=5&c42=4&c43=2&c44=4&c45=4&submit=Get+my+scores

I think the Huston test is the most comprehensive seeking further detail than the other tests and had me thinking the msot about what i wanted from the course and what i would devote to it. It made me consider my ability to get sidetracked and not necessarily focus on the task at hand, and a need to avoid multitasking.

I think it would work with students in much the same, highlighting to them, issues they may not have considered in order to succedd online. It would be important to ensure academics are aware of the results so they can detect any trends among the student cohort. 

I feel the surveys can help plan for online learning, but you are reliant on students completing them honestly and understanding what the levels are. Often students will overstate their skills and this can impact the results.

Righting a wrong

I’ve been very lame with my blogging as of late. But the truth is I’ve not really had anything to say. For a while I’ve not been doing much that I’ve thought worthy of blogging about and I don’t want to be one of those people who has nothing to say but still says stuff.

But lately I’ve been getting some energy to do things back, The desire to push my self has returned and the hunger to succeed at it is there also.

Long and short of it, we didn’t get the 24 hour record, I feel I let people down by not getting it. Its a wrong I intend to right, how long it will take I don’t know but we will do it this time.

So more news to come I hope but for now its time to get off my arse and have some actions speak louder than words.

Challenge confirmed: 10,000 miles in one calendar year.

http://www.justgiving.com/Russ-Brookes1981

So that’s it now, I’ve set up the just giving page and confirmed I’m challenging myself next year. Yes, I also have a wedding to plan, yes I am probably mental. Yes I know most people don’t expected me to do it. No I didn’t give a fuck what they think. I want to challenge myself, it will be tough, if I don’t do it I don’t do it. But I’d rather say I gave it a go and come short, than having sat back and never tried.

So the rules are simple:

1) I have from the 1st Jan – 31st Dec 2014 to cycle a minimum of 10,000 miles. To do it I will have to average 27 Miles a day
2) I will use Strava and a new cycle computer to measure the distance, so if its not recorded on the computer it doesn’t count.

And that’s pretty much it.

So from here on out I need to get serious. I need to get fit and focus. I have a wedding to plan and rugby to play. In between that and work I need to devote time to cycling wherever possible. My diet is going to have to be spot on and I’m going to have to keep my fitness up to a level I am happy will sustain me through the challenge.

At the moment, I am a mixture of nerves and excitement. Can I do it? Honestly I don’t know, its going to be a big ask. It will mean getting out on my bike on days when I really, really don’t want to but I know from past experience with both the LEJOG and the 24 hour rugby match I can push myself further than I thought in the past, and its that mental strength and hunger I am going to need to get back.

So wish me luck and I will check back with an update soon, I’ve got a bit to prepare and a Christmas to enjoy before I get started!