Month: August 2007

Medical Reviews of House

Medical Reviews of House A doctor examines the medicine behind the episodes “The patient was low on clotting factors because of her liver failure therefore so she bleeds too easily. If her blood is so thin, then how did she develop the blood clot?” (contains SPOILERS, duh) (via)

Welcome Home

Been meaning to post this for ages.

Our nephew recently spent 6 months at sea, returning home a couple of months ago. He joined the Merchant Navy student programme last year and this was his first time away (I’m sure there is a proper navy term for that mind you…). He spent most of his time shuttling between the UK, the north-east coast of Africa and Brazil, criss-crossing the Atlantic many times. We’re all very proud of him, and very happy that he is loving every minute of it, well almost…

And you know what else I am? Jealous. Very jealous.

I feel bad even admitting it, to be honest, but it’s true. I told him as much and he nodded along politely as, no doubt, I’m not the only person who’ll have said this to him.

He has seen things I will likely never see, been places I’ll likely never be, and has caused me to ponder my own life. Do I want to spend it sat behind a desk? I’ve got another 30 years or so before I retire, and that presumes I’ll retire early, but I can honestly say the thought of sitting at a computer for all that time fills me with dread. There is so much more to life than this.

And so the pendulum swings again. A few months ago I was revved up, career-focussed, and planning on an MA of all things! What folly. Yet, as I sit here looking out over back garden as the rain drizzles down, I find myself daydreaming and plotting. What WOULD I do, what COULD I do?

As ever, reality nags at the back of my head. Bills to pay, the lifestyle we enjoy isn’t the cheapest, and being constantly stretched is now a way of life. We have debt, like most, but it’s controlled and lowering all the time. One distant day we’ll have none but the mortgage, and the car probably, and then what? Is that the time to pursue something new?

But what? I have many skills, I know my capabilities, and I know I’m smart enough to pick up most things. But that only broadens the scope.

I could write for a living perhaps? Go freelance, and pick and choose my jobs to fit round other activites, new hobbies, or perhaps new studies for a new direction.

But that still leaves the what.

And then, after some time, I realise that I’m actually quite happy with my life and my job. Whilst I would love to be in a position to travel more, things aren’t all that bad, and I still have time on my side.

Count your blessings and all that.

But don’t stop dreaming…

Small things matter

I’ve been pretty good about not fawning over my Mac too much, right? I mean this hasn’t turned into a fanboy style homage to Steve Jobs and all things Apple. Well, no more so than usual… I don’t think.

This does mean that I’ve had to fit the strong urge to blog about the myriad of small things that I’ve noticed when using the Mac, the myriad of things which go to show that attention to detail and spending time on small issues IS important. Of course the fact that the Mac software is pretty robust in the first place allows the developers at Apple a little more time to worry about such things but that just means that it’s good for the user.

There are many little things that make using a Mac fun. They are all simple and some would say pointless, but watching the screen rotate like it is on the side of a cube, spin round and stop at another desktop (when switching users) may not be necessary but does add to the overall experience.

As I say, I’ve not mentioned most of these as many other people have waffled on about them at great length.

But last night was the straw that broke the dromedaries back.

There are two user accounts on our MacBook, one for me, one for Louise. Similar to Windows XP you get a login screen when you first startup the Mac and as it is a laptop we have passwords on the logins.

Last night I was half watching the football, whilst the laptop started up, so wasn’t really paying attention when I typed in my password. It was then, with a sense of some disbelief that I saw the login screen shake its head at me.

Yes, that’s right. When you enter an incorrect password, the login screen shakes from side to side briefly, just like it is shaking its head.

Intrigued I entered another wrong password, and watched it again, and after the third try was even more impressed when the password reminder I had entered when I created the user account slide into view under the login screen.

THAT is attention to detail.

Yes a simple “sorry that’s the wrong password” message would do the same but that’s what makes using the Mac much more fun, much more engaging. I know the naysayers will say “but it’s a computer, it needs to be functional” and as I’ve said before, if that’s the way your mind works then fine. But you are missing the point, and no amount of explanation is going to convince you. Am I right?

Searching for focus

I’ve hit an unexpected problem with this blog, one which I didn’t think I’d hit for quite a while, if at all.

I can’t seem to find a focus.

Now, considering that this blog has the breadth of topics that the umbrella of “Technical Communications” covers that really shouldn’t be possible. But that isn’t really where I’m falling down.

I’ve long since held the belief that you don’t, ever, blog about your workplace. Confidentiality issues aside, it just doesn’t seem very professional to have a second dialogue, in a remote location, that discusses either colleagues, working practises, or general morale issues so other than some very “good day/bad day” hints, I’ve tended to steer clear of it altogether.

Which, for a blog that is centred on my professional life, makes things a little awkward.

Of course I don’t need to look too far for plenty of topics that aren’t directly related to my current employer but as there are already many blogs out there that cover general ‘tech comms’ news, it was something I deliberately veered away from.

So I now find myself searching for a focus for this blog, and until I hit upon a formula that works for me, as the writer, I’m afraid that you, dear reader, will need to put up with my tried and tested “if in doubt, blog” methodolgy. Of which this post is a shining example.

I guess it’s akin to writers block. The best way to break it is to start writing, about anything. I remember reading about one writer that, when “the block” descended on his writing, took to writing out his shopping trips in longhand. Pretty soon he was back in the flow, and found it much easier to switch back to his day job.

I do the same, although I guess blogging is a little different. At least I find one aspect of it different, namely the title of each post. I know that I can go back and add a title once I’ve finished but it’s not my habit, just yet, and so I find that a vague idea for a blog post is stated in the title but what follows, what flows when I start to type, is rarely what I thought I was going to discuss.

Ultimately I’m not searching for focus at all, I’m trying to kickstart this blog by forcing my own hand. If I keep writing the content will come, and so, I hope will something of use to anyone who reads it. It may just be that summer lull that all bloggers go through, but despite my best efforts, I’m finding posting here harder than it should/needs be.

I’ll keep bashing away at the keyboard though and hopefully things will start to take shape here. Ohh and that reminds me, there are some design changes needing done, so if things look a little wonky (or completely different) over the next couple of days, then don’t panic. It’s me, not you.

Phew. Post finished. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

A very lovely weekend

Blimey, time truly does fly when you are having fun. So please indulge me a little whilst I recap the past few days in an effort to try and remember some of the highlights, which will be hard as there were so many.

The weekend was focussed on the civil partnership of my friend Stuart and his partner Alan. They’ve been together for over 9 years so it was a real honour to be asked to be Stuart’s Best Man. Not that any of the weekend followed much in the way of tradition but.. well let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
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I know I'm busy when…

I start to lose focus.

I was going to write up a post about why I think this happens and how generally ‘meh’ I’m feeling about.. well.. everything, right now, but I can’t even manage that. I’m not unhappy, just tired. I think.

I wonder if it’s just because I’ve not been for a run for almost a week.

I’ve hardly commented on any other blogs recently, which isn’t really like me, so I’m taking that as a sign. Of what, I have no idea.

The annoying thing is that I’m not short of ideas, just short of the inclination to do anything with them.

Maybe I should just list the ideas and be done with it.

I’ll be changing a few things (not here, elsewhere) to make things a little easier on myself, so I’d expect either complete nonsense or complete silence from me until next week.

I’m three chapters into the final Harry Potter book. I’m sorely tempted to just skip to the end.

I wonder why I always want to change things despite the fact I’m quite busy enough as it is, why do I heap more pressure on myself than it seems I can handle? I generally get there in the end but it would be much easier if I stopped adding more things to my list.

Ohh and I’m not down or fed-up and shouldn’t really be moaning at all I know. I’m very lucky. I know that.

The inability to concentrate is a bit of a bother though…