Year: <span>2008</span>

He may be a new addition to our house but little Ollie is already well settled. We understand his moods and wants, and he’s already squirmed his way into our hearts.

Which made leaving him at the vet this morning all the harder, doubly so as, when I bent down to say goodbye he stuck a little black paw through the railings of his carrier cage. Bless.

Ahem.

In other news, the Conservative Party plan to make people to ‘community work’ if they have been unemployed for over two years. If they don’t do it, they don’t get their benefits.

I quite like the sound of this, given that the perception is that a fair number of people who are claiming benefits are doing so with no good reason and are quite happy leeching off others and not contributing to society then I welcome this kind of scheme.

Yes, yes, of course there are people who are genuinely unable to work, and I’d hope this scheme deals with such cases, but I like the sound it! Let’s get those lazy buggers contributing to society!

But, of course, this is likely to be an infringement on their civil liberties, human rights, or somesuch. In other words, there will be some way of getting out of this scheme as well.

And finally, I am still without Wii, thanks to Amtrak courier services for not allowing me to specify a pickup time, and as they only allow you to pick it up from their depot after TWO failed attempts, I won’t get it until Wednesday at the earliest.

Still, I’ll have a poor wee cat, tottering about with a cone round his head for the next few days, so I guess I’ll have my hands full as it is.

Cat Life News

In the coming month I’ll be migrating some content from FrameMaker to AuthorIT and, whilst doing so, I’ll be taking a little extra time to re-write the content to be as re-usable friendly as possible, mainly because it’s likely we’ll be starting to localise our product at some point this year.

I’ve a good idea of what is required when it comes to engaging a translation agency, I was involved a little in this area at a previous company, but have to admit that I’ve not really given the writing style required as much thought as I should’ve.

Still, hindsight is 20/20.

A phrase which, of course, would be hard to localise… ironic.

So I’m doing a little research but thought I’d ask here to see if anyone has any pointers (I’m going to be asking more questions here than I have previously, and I’m also going to steer clear of mailing lists a little, too much noise these days).

Writing for translation then, any top tips? Suggestions or advice?

Work

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Back after a couple of weeks of merriment, over-eating and general lazing about. Hopefully the festive season was as good to you as it was to me.

But enough looking back, this time of year is all about looking forward. So what is coming up in the next 12 months?

Well, I’m hoping to start migrating some content from Structured FrameMaker to AuthorIT, having decided that the overheads required to get DITA up and running just don’t stack up against the cost of ownership of AuthorIT. I’m a big fan of the principles behind DITA, and I will keep up-to-speed with progress, but it doesn’t suit our needs here.

I’m also hoping to post a bit more often here, and I’m also toying with writing up an article or two for the ISTC magazine, Communicator. As ever, those will be the first things to go when project deadlines need to be met, but I’ll give it a try. One thing I won’t be doing is undertaking an MA in Technical Communications. The course starts this month and there is just too much going on in my life at the moment… maybe I’ll join the September influx. We’ll see.

I will, of course, be expanding on the themes I’ve been posting about recently, specifically the role of the modern Technical Communicator in a forward-facing software company. I’m hoping to make some strides in this area and I’ll be sure to write up my thoughts on a variety of topics. I’m also hoping to hear more from YOU, dear reader. Whilst I did start this blog as a way of getting my own thoughts straight, it’s been great to read your comments over the past year. Blogging is all about the conversation, so please, don’t be shy.

Here’s to a wonderful year!

Right, I’m off to write up that article I had completely forgotten about.

Work

Back to work in the morning and I’m quite looking forward to it, be good to catch up with people, and start the new year with enthusiasm.

Or am I just saying that?

And, even if I am just saying it, is that enough to actually make me believe it?

You see, despite coming across as a fairly happy kinda guy, and whilst I have nothing to complain about in my life, I do tend towards morosity (if that’s a word), pessimism, cynicism and down right dour-facedness. It’s just that I tend to keep that part of me bottled up.

In fact, I am so conscious of the fact that I tend to over-compensate and that leads to my current state of mind where I find myself managing to affect my thinking simply by suggesting what I want it to dwell on.

So, instead of pondering the awfulness that is my first 6am rise in just over 2 weeks, I am focussing on what I have to get done in the next week and wondering about what other people have been up to, and with that I find myself looking forward to the first few days back in the office.

It’s the same with the whole “Humbug” thing. I’ve been actively fighting that mindset for a couple of years now and have to admit that, last year, I embraced Christmas a whole lot more than I have done previously.

I guess, after going through a (thankfully) short bout of depression several years back, I tend to find the good in situations and people because, if I don’t, I ended up all gloomy and morose. I’m not forcing myself into any sort of false cheeriness or anything, but I do seem able to better control my moods these days.

Although that does mean that I’m in danger of turning into one of those awful people who is constantly cheery about everything, all the time. I went to school with a guy like that, couldn’t stand him.

Anyone else do this kind of thing?

Personal Musings

Moving away, briefly, from cat related news, today has been a busy one.

Four new tyres on the car (thank you blackcircles.com for screwing up the original order), and… yeah ok, I think everything else is cat related.

Booked Ollie into the vet to get jagged, snipped and chipped. Bought some “cat grass” and a fab new toy, a little laser pointer which kept him amused for about 30 minutes until, eventually, I got bored. Then headed to IKEA to buy a HOL unit in which he’ll have a nice secluded place for his litter tray (see the second part of this post for my inspiration).

A quick visit to Aldi scored me a nice cheap thin ski jacket, just in time for all the snow outside, and I’ve finally, after playing several different games over the past few nights at different houses, succumbed and ordered a Wii. Should arrive tomorrow, fingers crossed. Will need an extra controller and I already have Mario Strikers, still to get Mario Olympics and then some others before I splurge for Guitar Hero. I played that for the first time on Hogamany and got 93% in my first go (helps when you know the tune, Sunshine of your Love by Eric Clapton).

Also managed to get a little work done, and have started picking photos to put up on the wall once the Christmas decorations have come down (on Sunday). I’ll pull together a longlist which Louise will narrow down to the final 12 (9? How many frames did we buy?).

That aside, the past few days have been largely focussed on the new addition to our home. It’s been a learning experience, which is still continuing, but we are loving every second. Ollie is settling in well, and aside from the odd scratch on a wall here and there, he’s been good as gold. We’ve just started worming treatment though, as he’s “dragging” across the carpet. Still, it’ll take a little time but we’ll get him in tip-top condition soon.

I am NOT looking forward to work on Monday, but I’ll worry about that, on Monday!

Life

Ollie at the window

Other photos will, of course, follow. Including one of him asleep next to me on the couch.

Cat Photos

No, this is not a kitten post. We are not getting a kitten, there will be no cuteness here, well maybe a little for we are getting a cat in a week or so, more specifically we are getting a 1 year old, jet black cat called Ollie.

My nephew and his flatmate have to give up their flat and rather than have the cat go to the local cat rescue centre we thought we’d take him. We both work all day and decided that it wouldn’t be fair on a kitten, nor a puppy and so other than getting a goldfish we kinda thought we’d remain petless for a while.

However Ollie is a housecat, well trained and v.friendly, so it’s a great opportunity to get a little black ball of fun into the house. He’s getting all his jags and ‘stuff’ sorted out before we get him, and we’ve already got a cattery sorted out for when we go to Spain in February.

There is just one thing though, we both grew up with dogs (Golden Retrievers) so whilst we know the basics of looking after a cat, well any advice or tips would be welcomed. Particularly on making it at home and making sure it’s well entertained during the day.

Over to you, cat lovers, what can we do to make Ollie feel at home? Should we let him out? Any good websites for cat related information? We are both complete novices, other than having played with a few cats now and then, so any advice is welcomed.

Cat Life

2008.

No resolutions from me as I don’t bother with them, and also because I decide what mine would be back in November. That said, the traditional “must lose weight” makes an appearance, as does “must read more”. The former is largely down to the fact I’ve not been running… and because I’ve been using that as an excuse to eat everything in sight with the proviso that “I’ll diet in the New Year”.

The latter is mainly because I’d like to get away from BUYING books that go unread until I take a holiday.

So, really, 2008 will be the year of “NO”. I need to protect my waistline and my freetime!

Ummm, right. Two resolutions then.

What are yours? Do you bother with them? Is the whole thing just a sham? And, this might just be, why is the room spinning? Is it anything to do with staying up drinking until 7am??

Life