Happy NOT doing

Bit of a manic weekend that, although it is nicely aided by the fact that, as we are owned by a French company, we get the English bank holidays, I have today off. As always I had a few vague notions of things I wanted to get done today. Nothing major, a bit of a potter in the garden to tidy up, maybe catch up on some TV from the weekend, nip to the shop and maybe even check up what is happening online. As it stands I’ve done a bit of that but not much else. It’s been good NOT doing stuff. And everybody needs some down time, right? Now, I might go and put on a fresh pot …

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When not to laugh

You know those things you already know, that you don’t really need a lesson about? Yeah, those things. The things life sometimes likes to throw at you, like that annoying teacher who would randomly ask you a question just to make sure you’ve been awake for the past hour. That. Hmmm I should maybe be a little more polite about teachers, they do an amazing job, are hugely underpaid and undervalued and all round wonderful people (hey Mum, hey Dad!). Anyway, this is a brief tale about one of those types of lessons. I’ve been managing to keep a fairly regular schedule at the gym, visiting 3 times a week, and concentrating on cardiovascular exercise as I’m still focussing on …

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About blogging

If you were attending a conference, and specifically attending one of the sessions that was going to be covering “blogging”, what questions would you want answered? No, I’m not being completely lazy, I already have a good outline of what I want to cover (why, what and how) but it’s always good to get some “pre-emptive feedback” as a colleague of mine once stated. On the flip side, those of you who already blog, any pearls of wisdom? Any information you wished you’d known before you started? I’ll be publishing my presentation at the same time as I take to the stage at the Technical Communication conference in September and will update it based on any questions or comments raised …

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What is the word?

There is a word for everything, and if there isn’t then the English language is quite happy to go and steal one from somewhere else (hello, schadenfreude). So maybe someone can tell me what the word if for when, all of a sudden, everything seems to happen at once, like all the strands of your life conspire to make the coming weeks frantic. It’s not coincidence as these things don’t necessarily occupy the same space and time, and they aren’t accidental they are all planned, but they do seem to fall into one block of time. September will be a busy one and before it has even started it is showing no sign of slowing down. So, all you smartypants …

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Coming Soon

A few months ago I was asked to speak at a conference in Nottingham. A few months ago I bought tickets for a couple of gigs, one in Manchester (Elbow), one in Glasgow (Massive Attack). I didn’t really think about these things much until this week when I realised they were all coming up in the next month, all within the same two weeks. I travel down to Manchester on a Friday, back up the next day. Tuesday the next week finds me hopping on a plane down to East Midlands airport for a few nights in Nottingham, back up on the Friday, and then on the Monday evening following that I’m in Glasgow for the Massive Attack gig. Funny …

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Funny's Cousin*

I am hilarious. I frequently crack myself up, and the bemused looks of co-workers and general passers-by only add to the hilarity. My humour is largely sarcasm based, with a tag of “friendly banter” and I can be fairly merciless when it comes to teasing people but hey, it’s all (hilarious) good fun, right? A small example from this evening may help you better understand the depths of my witty reparte; my sister, upon arriving home during a complete downpour, remarked that her legs were wet. To which my instant, and hilariously witty, retort was to imply that she needed to improve her bladder control! HA haaaa!! Maybe you had to be there. I thought it was very funny. Mind …

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One Minute

My current role is changing a bit, with some additional responsibilities being added, specifically around line management. As such, I’ve been reading The One Minute Manager and have to admit it’s given me a lot to think about. The basic principles are to instill any team members or staff with a simple structure in which they can operate by breaking down the main management tasks of praise, reprimand and goal settings, into one minute activities. The one minute goal setting helps set, review, clarify and agree on (SMART) goals. One minute praising and recognition makes sure you are rewarding people as soon as you spot a behaviour you want to encourage, which in turn help set the expectation of how …

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How to write an instruction manual

BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting a 30 minute show on this topic. Engineer Mark Miodownik presents an instruction manual on how to write an instruction manual, exploring the history and the future of product guides and how they chart our changing relationship with technology. He looks at how product guides have changed over the centuries, from the very first examples, written by James Watt on his new ‘copying’ machine, to the latest Ikea pictograms. In the first half of the 20th century, manuals not only described how to use your television, but also how to fix it. Now, the first few pages of any TV manual contain stern health and safety warnings about the dangers of tinkering inside the TV. …

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One & Other

I know what I like. It’s a phrase I use quite often when discussing art, mainly because it’s not an area I’m all that familiar with having never really studied it other than the odd wander round a gallery or two. I’m quite open to most forms of art, and I’ll happily wander round an installation and see if it has any impact on me and, digging into my opening phrase a little, if something manages to illicit an emotion from me then it falls into my definition of ‘art’. I don’t limit that statement to a specific set of emotions, there is much beauty to be found in disgust, as there is horror in the mundane. But sometimes I …

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On getting older

I am middle aged. I am in the middle of my life, the young foolish years are behind me, the more sensible, thoughtful years, lie before me. Or so says convention but, you know what, I can’t say things like convention have ever bothered me all that much. Don’t get me wrong, I am very conventional in all the nuances of the word. I live in a semi-detached house, in a cul-de-sac. I have a sensible car, I have a good job, I have Sky+ HD and many other trappings of middle age, middle class life. Oh dear, did I just say I was middle class? Anyway, none of that is really what I was going to discuss. Instead I …

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