Tag: EVER

I was in Edinburghertown

I’m alive!

Speaking of which, who sings that song? The one in the Five Alive advert with the Dodo? Anyone? CBATG…

Having been and went and done Edinburgh on Sunday, I had planned to write up some blog posts but, alas, I’m old now and an entire day drinking takes an undue toll and leaves me moulded to the sofa with only enough energy to make toast and coffee every couple of hours.

That said, it was fun, as it usually is, spending a day in the mania that is Edinburgh at festival time and, amongst several pubs, many beers and a rather delicious burger in Holyrood 9A, we even managed to catch a short comedy show, Ronna and Beverly which included Mike McShane as one of their guests and even he seemed a delightfully bemused by the two bickering Jewish Matriarchs. Thankfully, despite pointing out the “Three young gentlemen” at the start of their show, they didn’t pick on us. They did, however, mention a sexual practice called “Dog in the bathtub”, which was new to me.

Yeah, I wouldn’t google for that at work though.

Also don’t google “one man and a jar”. EVER. I’m serious. Just hearing about it… ohhh no I can’t even think about it again… *barf*

I’m serious, I know you are all thinking… ohh it can’t be that bad, I’ll have seen worse. Trust me. Don’t do it. And yes, I should probably not even mention it here but part of me is interested to see which of you perverted sickos will go and look at it (apparently a couple of people I follow on Twitter made that mistake. To them I apologise, but I DID WARN YOU!!).

Anyway, the ‘we’ in question was myself and my best mates Stuart and Keith, unfortunately the other two usual suspects, Ian and Bill, couldn’t make it. Bill lives in Holland now (yes, I know, I WILL VISIT SOON!) and Ian was working in Ireland. So, being the type of good friends we are we shared some of the joy of drinking beer outside in the sunshine by emailing pics of said beer to Ian. He really, really did appreciate it. Honest.

The advantage of having friends you’ve known for a long time is that some things never change. We’ve many good shared memories, despite the fact we all tend to forget things, like each other’s birthdays, the fact my Dad had a heart attack several years ago (“Your Dad had a heart attack? When?” “Ehhh like 6 years ago” “ohhhh, ohhh yeah…”) amongst others. And one advantage of having a mate who works at the festival every year is that he knows all the little pubs that sell good beer and are never that busy. Hic.

Always good to spend time with my friends, just chilling out and talking bollocks. As friends are wont to do. It’s also good to revisit many of the old jokes and, as usual, make drunken promises of holidays and visits knowing fine well it’ll likely be Christmas before we are all together again. Yes, yes indeed, a good time was had.

Lessons learned

It’s all go at McLean Mansions but that’s nothing new for the first week in May with my sister celebrating her birthday on the 5th and my sister-in-law celebrating hers on the 7th. Of course that means presents and nice meals in restaurants, so we were out for dinner on Monday evening, and we’re back out tonight. Twice in one week! I know, I know, such a heady life I lead.

It’s not all fun and games though, I’ve spent the rest of my evenings either watching football, working on a client website, and royally screwing up my Windows PC (thank heavens I have a Macbook as well). Add in a fairly mental week at work and a rapidly filling list of things to do and I’ll admit that I’ve not really been fully concentrating on some things.

In other words I’ve fucked up a couple of things. But hey, a wise man once said you “learn by your mistakes”, although this stupid man is wondering how many more mistakes I need to make before being granted “wise” status.

However, in the spirit of sharing, here are a couple of the lessons learned.

* Geek warning active *
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Floored (plus other items of note)

I’m lying on the bed, laptop perched on a tray, watching TV. It’s a little tricky to type because I’ve got a cut on the middle finger of my left hand, and my arms and hands are sore. Why? Laminate flooring.

Previously the laminate flooring ran from the hallway through to the kitchen, it’s a galley style kitchen so was the easiest way to get some cheap flooring down when we moved in. The new kitchen meant new flooring to compliment it which meant lifting and cutting the few boards that span the doorway. Not a simple job, as it turned out, particularly when you have a bad knee which is something I hadn’t really factored into the work. Meh.

However that’s the hall all done, and the kitchen floor shouldn’t be too bad. I’ll maybe tackle a little of it tonight, see how my knee is I guess.

I’ll happily admit that I don’t really understand why a man would want to dress himself as a woman, but frankly I don’t really care, each to their own and all that. I’ve been reading Becky’s blog for a couple of years, and it’s been interesting to hear about her life, how she came about and how Simon lives his life.

So I was thrilled to read a well researched and thought out piece on Becky and Simon, which featured in the Norwich Evening News (another joy of the internet, who’d have thought I’d EVER link to a newspaper from Norwich). You can read Simon’s thoughts here.

It’s well worth a read.

I occasionally link to Wikipedia. If there is an obscure topic that I think you might need some more info about then it’s a fairly reliable source (with the usual caveats of course). So, it’s interesting that Encyclopedia Britannica has opened access to bloggers, which I guess is a move to try and re-establish not only the Britannica brand, but it’s place as THE source of reliable information. However I think they might be too late…

Contemplating upgrading our Sky system to HD. We’ve started watching movies again, started with some old favouries (Matrix, Face/Off and so on) and if the trend continues it’ll be worthwhile. Mind you, I might need to start saving up to get an iPhone if the much-rumoured new version is announced in June.

Time will tell.

Regress my tech

Danah Boyd has been reflecting on her long lost handwriting skills.

“My ability to communicate without editing has decayed. My patience for creating text at a rate slower than I think has decayed.”

Are we getting lazy? Are we too reliant on technology or are we simply adapting how we work and think to match the new capabilities we have at our disposal.

Personal computers have been around for long enough now that they are a standard, obvious, piece of kit for a technical communicator. I’m 34, and those of you from my era probably won’t EVER have asked whether a PC is part of the provided tools or not, it’s just something that is presumed (asking for a particular spec is different).

So, whilst I still use pen and paper to jot down notes, I don’t ever write anything of any length that way. Contrast that with some letters I stumbled upon the other day, written to my Gran when we had moved to the South of England (there are few in number but her replies are treasured). Written in one go, by hand, I was obviously still capable of editing my thoughts before committing them to ink. These days my tendency is to write first, edit later, publish quickly.

Everything you read here has passed through that (somewhat wonky at times) filter, and it’s a luxury I’ve become so accustomed to that I no longer really consider the process. Editing is such a key part of my written communication, regardless of where it is manifest, that it is now just something I do. It wasn’t always so.

Writing notes at college required on-the-fly information structuring and text editing, due to the simple premise that the less time spent scoring through lines of text the better. I have notes from early training courses which show I still adhere to that principal for at least the first couple of years of being a professional, entire sentences written out by hand with nary a score or embellishment to be found.

Fast forward a few years and my notes quickly descend into random words and scribbled quotes. If I don’t type up my notes the night of a conference, training course or meeting then they take on the cryptographic qualities.

And I guess this is one reason why the prominence of laptops in meetings and at conference venues has slowly risen over the past few years.

The odd thing is that most people acknowledge that note taking works best when pen on paper.

So I’m making a concerted effort to rediscover my inner editor, to take a few extra milliseconds when jotting down notes and thoughts to make sure they mean something. It will take some time but, in the long run, I think it will be worth it.

Technology is wonderful, it has many benefits but sometimes it’s good to step back and rediscover the abilities you used to have.

Decluttery

Well I didn’t get half the stuff I’d hoped to get done but made a start at the “Big Declutter”. Two bin bags for the skip, one for the charity shop and I’m not even halfway through.

The whole thing has come about because of the big smile that now appears on the face of my wife. Now that I am no longer worrying about her state of mind I have had time to take a step back and take stock.

The year started well for us, a new job for me certainly got me more motivated professionally, and that new found enthusiasm rubbed off at home. I got more organised, more focussed and started some of those long standing little projects that every homeowner has, the kind of thing that isn’t a big job but just needs done, you know the sort.

It is amazing how the human mind works. At her previous job… well I don’t want to say to much, but let’s just say that I think things were going downhill a little (a dip at least) and the management didn’t really handle it all that well. But then, if you don’t realise that the people who work for you need to be encouraged, motivated and treated like adults, then you deserve all you get. Treating any employee like a child and then falling back on that age old “bad manager” trait of blaming things on one person (when is anything EVER the fault of one person?) whilst willfully ignoring the flaws of others and.. well I’ll stop there as it’s not really my place to say anything else (suffice to say that I was very closing to popping in to the office on more than one occasion).

Anyhoo.

So, with Louise now working for a company that appreciates her hard work and honesty, and returning home with a smile on her face, we are both taking this as an opportunity to start over… a little. First steps are to clear the house of unused and unneeded ‘stuff’, part of that includes finally ripping the rest of my CDs to MP3, and the rest of it will go to charity, onto eBay, or to the dump.

I quite enjoy this kind of thing, it can be hugely liberating clearing out drawers and possessions. Shelves will be tidied, cupboards re-arranged, and I might even have a go at clearing out the loft (rather than just shifting everything up there). I may also consider clearing out some books… but still not sure about that, that may be a step too far.

12 + 12 = 24

Thank fuck I’m on holiday for the rest of the week. Two 12 hour days and I’m done in.

So it was great to come home tonight and find a parcel of goodies waiting for me, specifically some yummy fudge (VERY yummy) and some salt water taffy!

Now, I’ll happily admit that my only experience with salt water taffy was that episode in Friends, the one where… something ‘zany’ happened no doubt. So it was with some trepidation that Louise and I unwrapped the little chunks, popped them in our mouths and slowly started to chew.

And whaddya know, they’re delicious! Slightly sour/salty sweet chewy things, very hard to describe but very more-ish. If it wasn’t so late I’d probably just work my way through the lot!

So, many many thanks to the lovely, and very cute, Calista. A package of tablet is almost complete but I really want to wait until Sunday to get some from the farmer’s market as it’s the BEST tablet I’ve ever EVER had, ohh my mouth is watering already.

Why I worry

Yesterday I was a tad worried about my post. Apparently I shouldn’t have been, and that’s all well and good but it does bring to mind a pet hate of mine.

I don’t think I have EVER posted something that was deliberately inflammatory or overly opinionated. Now that’s mainly because it’s just not in my nature but also because, frankly, I don’t see the point. It may sound awfully “right-on” but life really IS too short to waste any of my time and energy trying to berate and antagonise others. Don’t get me wrong, I have had fallings out with people, and have been asked not to comment on certain blogs but that is usually down to my (mis)use of sarcasm.

This is not to say I don’t have opinions, nor that I will not express them if I see a need or opportunity to contribute to a discussion, and I can certainly point you to several occasions when I’ve been a little hot under the collar about a particular topic. However, I’d challenge you to find anything I’ve written that deliberately sets out to shock and I’d warrant it harder to find proof of me ignoring a well reasoned argument/comment. I’m a tolerant guy but even the most laid-back person can be provoked.

My dislike of the loud and arrogant, issuing forth their proclamations and shouting down others, is not limited to blogs. That kind of loathsome individual may think they are ‘winning the argument’ because they made the most noise and that may be true in the political sense but as far as I’m concerned it spanks of insecurity. The worst mix is the overly intelligent which, when coupled with a presumption that they are correct and their opinion SHOULD be held by others because (after all) they’ve spent years studying the topic (which makes the rest of us no better than uneducated oinks), can lead to an obnoxious mix of overbearing pomposity from which I rarely hide my displeasure.

And of course the single most annoying thing about the overly opinionated is that they remain so blinkered to others views that they don’t even realise how disgustingly gross their company can be.

The simple fact is that no-one is right all the time.

Not even me.

She did it!

Just a quick note to say Congratulations to my sister-in-law Claire. She’s been studying hard all year and passed all of her exams to earn a place at University studying dietetics.

To put it in a little perspective for the rest of you, she’s a single mum with four kids – she’ll hate me saying that, as she never EVER mentions it but them’s the facts.

I’m dead chuffed. We’re both so happy for you, you worked hard Claire, roll on the holiday when we can REALLY celebrate!!

Whinge, Moan

Everywhere you go someone is complaining about something. It seems that a lot of people only EVER complain. Take any piece of nationally (internationally) reported good news and you’ll find twice as many people ready and willing to run it down.

Well I, for one (and probably only for today) am sick of it.

So, today’s challenge is to say something positive. Doesn’t have to be anything uplifting or spiritual, just positive.

I’ll start, shall I?

The government’s “pay as you go” driving scheme is a good thing. The positive impact it will have on the environment is a good thing.

The Live 8 concert is a good thing no matter who performs at it.

See, it’s easy. Now, your turn.

TBD

What we really owe Big Brother.

The scarce commodity in our society is not privacy but meaningful recognition. That is why people put weblogs on the internet, exposing themselves for peer review by a trusted community of co-bloggers.

So, finally, an explanation as to why we all do it (this thing called blog).

Except it’s not, is it.

I was going to write about this in some length, taking the article and offering my thoughts on each salient point, but I’m not going to do that. Instead I’ll just offer this.

Some of us are as intelligent as journalists, in fact several of us are more intelligent and when I say several, I mean several hundred thousand (natch). Some of us have the same concerns over privacy, some of us protect ourselves using silly names, some of us make up the story altogether (and get book deals!), and some of us had nowhere else to turn when we need someone to talk to… at.

That’s the thing with an outlet, sometimes it’s just that, a tap, a waterfall, always moving away from the source, never looking for, or wanting, the flow to change direction.

And for others it’s just a bit of fun, and sure, we use our own name and talk about friends and work and stuff but life’s too short and please don’t EVER use me in an argument concerning Herr Blunkett and ID cards.

Or am I wrong?