Tag: OK

One day I might learn

Like many people, I like to ponder self-improvement, how I will read more books, learn to play the guitar, exercise more and invest in myself more than I have.

However it seems that deep down I’m actually not that bothered, that I must be happy enough with where I am in my life at the moment. I know this because I keep on booking events, planning nights out and trips, and leaving myself with little free time to do much of anything.

OK, this is a bit of an excuse, I’m sure I COULD spend my free time NOT sitting on the sofa but rest is important too, right?

This is a bit of theme with me, all of a sudden I’ll realise I’m massively busy and overcommitted, that doesn’t seem to change but my attitude towards it certainly has. What I am finding, as I mentioned before, is that I’m putting more and more onus on how I spend my free time, making sure I get the most value from it, regardless of what it is I’m doing.

Looking ahead at my calendar for the next few months has me:
– in Birmingham this coming weekend
– in London at the end of November
– in Manchester at the start of December
– attending two comedy shows; Scott Capuro and Ada Vidal
– attending five gigs; Coheed and Cambria, Band of Horses, Band of Skulls, Simian Mobile Disco and Elbow – and it would’ve been six (Grizzly Bear and The Villagers) but we double booked the trip to Birmingham
– attending two ISTC events (one is in London, hence the trip)
– attending a few (five) other events

And that takes us to the second week in December.

Still, I’m managing to fit in a weekly game of basketball, work on the ISTC website, and so far I’ve managed to do a little more writing than I’ve managed all year so it’s not that I’m not getting things done!

Importantly I do feel like my work/life balance (and my life/love balance) is back on track, I’m enjoying being me!

A letter to my blog

Dear neglected blog,

I’m sorry I struggle to find the time to talk to you these days, I really am. I don’t do much writing elsewhere either so please don’t feel I’m cheating on you, although.. well that saucy minx Twitter is always good for a cheap thrill but I know that is just a bit of fun and won’t last…

OK, the truth is I have been writing somewhere else, somewhere more private, and I guess that’s distracted from what I’d usually talk about here.

Don’t worry, whilst life continues to have ups and downs I’m taking care of myself and fundamentally I know I’m a very very lucky guy. I’m happy and glad to be here on this thing we call Earth. After all, as you already know, there are many many things in my life to be happy about and only a few things that aren’t quite so happymaking. I’ve got good friends, the circle of which has recently increase, a well-paid job that I don’t (always) loathe, and a wonderful woman in my life. I’m also using the word OSSUM a lot, that can only be a good thing (apart from the fact it’s not actually a word but I’m not going into that now).

I could tell you how I’m enjoying using my MacBook Air (it’s still all new and shiny), or how badly my efforts at teaching myself guitar are going, I could waffle on about my recent weightloss/fitness regime changes, or about how the acquisition of the company I work for might be a good thing for me in the long run. But I won’t cos they are just things that are happening. Just life.

Ohhh and I’m off to Singapore soon, that’s good but again, just another thing that is happening. OK, I’m excited about that one but it’s still just a thing, just another transient event in my life.

The thing is, I’m increasingly I’m finding my view of the world becoming that of a journey. I know that’s cliche but it is what it is. I’m still doing my best to be positive, or to at least bow out of negative situations with a little humility and my (admittedly shaky at best) integrity intact. I’m letting go of as many worries as I can, even though some flutter back to annoy me from time to time. Life continues regardless, so what’s the point in placing value on things that skip past in the blink of an eye.

The bottom line is that life is good and whist I know I’ve neglected you in all of this, I know that deep down you understand why.

Your erstwhile owner,

G

Resolved to be new

I lied. I know I wrote previously about not having resolutions but (as Blue Witch points out in the comments) I did have resolution. I am determined to make this year a good one.

However I’m very goal oriented so I did, quietly, set myself the following goals:

  • Read one book a month.
  • Take a photo everyday.
  • Lose at least 8kg (aiming for 95kg, just under 15stone).

Progress so far:

  • I’ve read one book (Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy), and halfway through a second (Oryx and Crake).
  • I’ve almost managed this one (the day I missed I remember but then forgot again! gah!)
  • I’m cheating a little, but over the course of last year, I’ve gone from 111kg to 103kg.

I’m quite happy with my progress and here’s the thing, I realised recently that I am prepared to fail at the first two; If I don’t read a book every month, that’s OK, so long as I’m making the effort to read more (which is actually about taking a small amount of time here and there for myself). If I don’t take a photo everyday that’s OK too, it was more aimed at getting me to slow down and look at the world around me.

Losing weight is, unfortunately, not something I can ‘fail’ at. However as that’s more about eating healthily and being more active, it too is something I’m learning to accept small failures in. If I put on 1kg over a weekend, then that’s ok, I just need to adjust over the following few weeks.

I’m enjoying eating more fruit and veg, enjoying the after effects of exercise although it can still be a struggle to get moving, and slowly the weight is dropping. And yes, I bought Withings scales (and the blood pressure monitor too as that’s the main driver behind my weight loss).

All of this is helping me be better at taking time for me, and that has in turn lead to some other discoveries about myself. Things that have always been there but have lain dormant, things that I am now starting to explore and question, everything from my sexuality, through religious beliefs and on to politics.

I am also much more confident in being honest. That will include here in time (it’s still one thing to tell family and friends, quite another to spill with you lot), but by now the people who need to know already know.

One thing I am carrying over from last year is removing as much negativity from my life as I can. I wasn’t the happiest person (particularly at work) in the latter half of 2011, but I’m rectifying that. I have so little to complain about I really should just get on with living my life.

How to embed linked images in Word 2010

One of the most popular posts on my blog was written a few years ago but still gets a lot of visits and comments; How to embed linked images in Word 2007.

Some of the comments have offered better solutions and one in particular I found myself searching for today. Having upgrade to Office 2010 I’ve realised that Microsoft has, again, “improved” the user interface by moving things around!



So, courtesy of Sarah, here are the updated instructions for how to embed linked images in Microsoft Word 2010:

  1. With your Word document open, click the File tab, top-left of the window.
  2. On the left-hand side, select Info.
  3. On the right-hand side, near the bottom, click Edit Links to Files.
  4. In the dialog that is displayed, select and highlight the images you want to convert from the list.
  5. Check the Save picture in document checkbox.
  6. Click the Break Link button.
  7. Click OK to confirm.

The links are removed and the images are now embedded in your Word document.

A quick check of the filesize of the Word document should show a marked increase and you can now distribute the Word document, and the Word document only, safe in the knowledge that the images are embedded.

One for my Dad

Apparently I’ve not been blogging much. My Dad commented on this last night when I phoned so I thought I’d post a wee update for all my tens of avid readers.

Not much is happening.

I’m working.

I have no internets. I will not have internets until November 23rd. In a royal cock up between O2 (with whom I’d like to have both my home phone and broadband services) and BT OpenReach (the engineer part of BT, the only people allowed to touch the exchange, apparently), I managed to have my new home phone number wrongly allocated to someone else (by BT).

That bit was funny actually. I got a txt from O2 to say my phone line was now connected and “here is your new phone number”. I thought I’d test it by phoning my landline from my mobile. It’s a weird thing to be staring at a phone, as you dial the number that should make it ring, for it not only to not make a sound but for someone to pick up and say “hello?”. Freaked me out that did!

Upon reporting that error, O2 said (after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) that they’d have to cancel the order and set up a new one (which is where the 23rd November date comes in). I was supposed to have an engineer out today but O2 said, no, it’s cancelled now.

So when a BT engineer phoned today to say he was on his way … I was a bit perturbed. Nevertheless I went home, he fixed the line and got the phone number allocated to me. I happily phoned O2 to tell them this, presuming that as it had been sorted then they could just turn things back on at their end (or whatever it is they actually do) only to be told that as the order had been cancelled yesterday there wasn’t anything they could do and that they would, yes really, have to disconnect that number and issue me a new one (and a second wireless router for the broadband connection too. Yes, really).

Which all seems a bit fucked up and which will be the subject of a detailed complaint to O2 wherein I will ask for compensation as I have websites to fix/design/build and I’m losing money all the time I’m not doing those things!

OK, so strictly speaking I will have internet access via a USB dongle which O2 issued to me but it’s not quite the same!

Aside from that, nothing much is happening. The flat is slowly taking shape (the purchase of some new furniture will help), and I’m reasonably settled into my new routine although I’ve yet to add “going to the gym cos I’m a fat bastard” to that yet so we will see how that goes.

Ohh yeah, and I’m off to Bristol on Friday for a wedding. I fly down Friday morning and, thanks to EasyJet who only do one flight back on a Saturday, I’ll be getting up at 6.15am on Saturday. The day after a wedding. Where they will be serving alcohol. This strikes me as “not fair”. On the other hand I am getting to meet a lot of blogger-type people who I’ve never met before and that’s ALWAYS fun.

Mechanics Weekly

You’ve heard of coincidences, right? Well sometimes when those coincidences are a little too unbelievable, our family (OK, mostly Mumsy) says they are “spooky”. So it’s safe to say that when I found out the name of our solicitor was Louise, that was just a coincidence, but when her legal assistant is called Linda (my Mum’s name is Lynda), well then, that’s just “spooky”. With me?

Look, this is my mother’s thing, I’m just relaying it.

That said, now and again there are some genuinely weird coincidences that can, and should, be correctly labelled as “spooky” or as I may have uttered on this occasion, “Ohhhhhh spoooooooooky!”.

This is a story of one such occasion.

A couple of weekends ago my family came over to help me move some boxes into my new flat. My Mum and Dad helped a lot but unfortunately my sister was taken very ill that morning but, bless her, she struggled from her sick bed to offer some moral support (and some vomit, which was nice).

Now, it would be unfair of me to suggest that her illness had any relation to the amount of alcohol she had imbibed the night before but I suspect that, and I’ll let the irony of this linger a moment, … it was just coincidence.

I digress.

Frequently.

See, I’m doing it again.

Now, where was I? Ohh yes…

Once we reached the flat and had unloaded both cars we decided to head to Byres Road for lunch. I noted that my sister perked up considerably after a large chicken burger but decided it best not to mention this. As it was a nice afternoon, if a bit brisk of wind, we took a post-prandial, and ended up stopping in on a junk shop I’ve mentioned here before. I bought a mirror, and my Dad, after much huffing and puffing about the place picked up an old car magazine (I think it was printed around 1967).

We departed the junk shop and wandering back to the car I asked my Dad about his purchase. He said it was a little bit of reminiscing on his part and also that he knew a mechanic that would appreciate it and anyway, it was only £2 for a wee trip down memory lane.

As he was telling me this he turned the magazine over to show me the price label and there, written in pencil along the top of the front cover was a name. I presume the magazine had been delivered when first published, or perhaps picked up in the local newsagent by the man who had ordered it, hence why it had a surname written on it.

I do hope that “Mr. McLean” enjoyed reading the magazine when he first received it all those years ago.

Say it with me now, ohhhhhh spoooooooooky!

Miscellany

Random thoughts of a Sunday morning.

And yes, I’m sitting waiting to get through to buy my ticket for Glastonbury next year. No, the website won’t load, yes the phone line is constantly engaged.

You know you are bad at packing when you have several open ‘I’ll-just-take-them-in-the-car’ boxes.

Anyone else on WordPress seeing a lot more spam in their comments? Thank the lord for Akismet! By the way, does anyone pay for that? Is it like Xmarks, something you’d pay for but don’t?

Speaking of which, if you use Xmarks and want to, maybe, see if you paying for it would keep it going (it’s folding up), then go read this!

Sorting through boxes that have been unopened and in your loft for several years isn’t all that fun. The reality of what is happening is writ large in the memories we will always share.

I need to buy a new kettle. Must remember to write that down somewhere.

Music wise I seem stuck in a bit of a BBC Radio 6 place, all new bands, luscious sounds and the odd blast from the past. Where did all the rock music go?

Quite excited to go to Glastonbury next year though, never been and will need advice on what to take and what NOT to take. Also where the feck to sleep, in a tent? Off-site somewhere? And, of course, there will be endless rounds of “right, I’ll go and see them and then head there to see her, and then I’ll… ohh, wait no. I’ll go and see him, and then her, then I’ll go there to see… no… right. OK, this time… I’ll start here and…”

The cat likes boxes. Specifically, sleeping in them. Specifically, one that almost got taped shut as I presumed from the weight that it was as full as it could be.

You know how I have that other blog, well I wondered why I hadn’t had any comments on it and realised I’d turned them off. Only thing is, I turned them back on but they don’t work. I’ve decided this is for a reason and I’m leaving them off.

It gets really boring sitting watching a website NOT load, hitting F5 over and over and over and over…

Ohhh and applications that popup a dialog and steal focus, with OK set as the default button so, when I’m typing and glance down at the keyboard, the dialog pops up just as I hit the spacebar… in other words, I don’t even see anything except a brief blip on the screen then something starts up, or shuts down. Yeah. I DO NOT LIKE THOSE!

I have a lot patience threshold. 45 minutes sitting waiting and I’m at the “you know, if it’s this bad getting tickets, what is it going to be like at the fucking thing? It’ll probably rain anyway… shall I even bother?”. Then I think of the alternatives… T in the Park, and decide, yeah, I’ll hang in there a bit longer. Note to T in the Park, up your prices! (in the hope of weeding out the dickheads).

Hmmmm yes, yes I am a snob. This fact doesn’t really bother me.

It’s amazing what you can achieve in one room whilst waiting on a website to load. That’s my little office ready to be moved.

And yes, this is what Twitter is like. Except those big long sentences obviously.

Hoping for Mental

Ahhh yes, it makes perfect sense now I’ve realised what is going to happen. There is nothing I can do to stop it, so, as I have before, I’ll just go with the flow whilst the madness unfurls around me.

If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs…

We are waiting to hear if the people who viewed our house a couple of weeks ago are going to make an offer. They are waiting on an offer being made on their property and are expecting it this week.

Which, if we are lucky, will mean that by this time next week we will be agreeing moving dates and so on. All good.

That is until I realised that September is already a very busy month for me. I’m speaking at a conference in the middle of September, have several things going on at work that I can’t drop out of at this point, not to mention a few birthdays to remember (my parents both have birthdays in September). I may also be needing to find somewhere to live, pack the house into boxes, get a van and a man service to help us move, deal with the cancelling of accounts, paying off of debts and everything else that goes along with selling a house and splitting up.

Of course, it might not go that way. It might fall through. I’m trying my best not to get my hopes up.

But.

I’m fairly optimistic. Particularly given previous experiences when life has conspired to bring several things together into a mad mental stramash. But I’ve gotten through those times OK, so I’m sure this will be just the same.

So, if it does all happen, it’s fair to say that September is gonna be just a LITTLE BIT MENTAL! You have been warned.

First things first

I’m in the midst of interviewing to fill a vacancy for a technical writer in our team. I’m also thinking ahead as to how to get them integrated into how we do things. And then I remembered what we have done previously.

“Hello, welcome to our wonderful company. Here is a copy of the software, and the installation guide. Go!”

OK, it’s not quite like that but it is a good opportunity to check over a part of the documentation that is crucial but can be neglected.

Product installations come in all shapes and sizes, from those simple wizard driven screens to systems which require all manner of pre-configured and pre-installed supporting applications. The latter can be the trickiest as often there is a myriad of possible, valid, scenarios, and can lead to a lot of presumption.

Regardless, the installation is the first time the real users get to get their hands on your product and so it’s a good place to get reviewed by the closest person you’ll have to a new customer. A new member of your team.

Drink!

I had an appointment with the nurse this morning, to get my blood pressure checked. Currently at 147/71 which I’m quite happy with. The second number is the important one, it’s down from 86 at the previous reading, and as I started with 196/122 (eek!) then it seems the pills and exercise and trying to be more careful about salt in my diet is helping.

After the nurse had taken the reading she asked me a few questions about my drinking habits, part of a new health push she said. Do I consume more than 8 units of alcohol in one go? Weekly? Fornightly, Monthly?

To which my answer was, no.

If I’m on a night out then yes, I will consume more than 8 units of alcohol but as they are less than monthly what else could I say? She agreed it was a bit of a nonsense and is more aimed at people who regularly consume more than the recommended units.

One interesting question was whether I’d ever failed to meet my duties the day after consuming alcohol. To which I asked “What? Like not cutting the grass?”.

So yes, I’m a binge drinker. I drink to ‘excess’ on a night out. Yet I don’t see that as a problem as, like most of my friends and acquaintances will know, I rarely lose control and only twice in my life have I ever woke up and had a few moments of discombobulation (aka, where the FUCK am I??).

In fact my next night out will be in London, at the Groucho Club, no less, although having checked the price list, this Scottish drinker is already considering a tee-total night!

OK. Not really.