bookmark_borderTCUK – Call for Papers

Call for Papers for TCUK 12

Dear reader,

You are an intelligent person, have you ever considered sharing your knowledge with others? Perhaps doing a short presentation at an industry conference?

Regardless of your experience, or industry, the Technical Communications UK conference wants you!

New speakers and experienced speakers – all welcome

Regardless of whether you want to present for the first time or you are a seasoned conference speaker, we want to hear from you. We don’t mind if you are new to technical communication or if you have worked in this field for ever, if you have something to say to other technical communicators thenTCUK 2012 is your chance to say it.

Industry sectors

Technical communicators work across a wide range of industry sectors, including engineering, aerospace and defence, transportation, services, retail, charities, and government agencies as well as in hi-tech industries. TCUK 2012 is the conference for everyone who works in communicating technical information of any kind.

This year’s specialist stream

Two of the streams are open to topics of general interest to anyone in the technical communication industry. The specialist topic for this year’s third stream is Accessibility and Usability. Proposals for presentations within this area are particularly welcome.

There is one week left before the deadline, so get moving!

More information here: Call for Papers for TCUK 12

bookmark_borderFrom the bottom

It’s the anticipation he fears.




The endless tumble in the pit of his stomach. Not knowing. Giving up everything with no return promised. But it arrives. Always. Regardless of interaction, whether gentle caress, stinging slap, or simply ignored. It always returns.

He yearns. Pines. Flinches. Wants. Adores. Hides. Desire, desire, desire.

There is a certainty of nothing. He wants everything and silently pushes for more. For enough. The junkie fixed on the immediate. More, more, more. Now, now, now. Stop. More. Stop. More. Stop. More. More. Stop. Stop. STOP.

He melts and dissolves, static flows downstream, he gives it all away. Willingly. Wantonly. Wantingly. The nervous calm arrives. At her word he is nothing of himself and everything she commands.

He bows to it. Embraces it. Sinks in to the swirling emotions, chemicals billowing cloud-like through him. Breath shallow. Lips dry. Eyes flickering nervously. Covered. Dark. Isolated. Connected. He touches her soul once more as his explodes. Ka-fuckin-boom.

Darkness amplifies the noises, deafening and shrill in his ears. His brain a hurtling race car, charging through the gears, tyres leaving strict marks as he burns, trying to place the sounds, always in second place.

He guesses anyway. Wrong. Right. Game of chance. Take a card from the Top.

Reactions spark nerve ends before the movement even begins.

New sounds heard through tightly closed eyes, veiled in black. A fist, clenched tight, muscles scream and roar.

Then the chemicals fry his brain.

Inside, through it all, he is smiling.

Happy, content, safe, loved.

bookmark_borderOn ink and needles

I have four tattoos at the moment and I’m scheduled in to get my 5th, and largest, on Wednesday. What would be my sixth just needs a design… and there may be a seventh starting to wander around in my head too; it’s fair to say it can be quite addictive.

Number 6 will also be a cover up of the second tattoo I got about 20 years ago. Back then it was, if I’m honest, more for shock value and the desire to be different and so I wasn’t really thinking about it terms of design or meaning, just something that (at the time) I thought looked ok.

I’ve been lucky in finding, via a recommendation, an excellent tattoo studio that only does custom work. They don’t have flash art on the walls, there are no Yosemite Sam tattoos available, so there is already a sense of something a bit more thoughtful. Any time I’ve been in there whilst other people are talking through a design, it’s usual based on some personal reason, even if that’s just a ‘I like this style of tattoo because’.

Bar my first two tattoos, the first I got when I was 18, the second when I was 19, the others all have some meaning.

Number three, my ampersand, I’ve discussed here already.

Number four was to mark the start of a new ‘life’ and driven largely by my divorce and a desire to re-learn who I am (again, discussed here).

Number five is part of that continued learning and discovery process. It is loosely based on a shape that ‘represents the nature of experience and the intricacies of both the enlightened and confused mind, or “a microcosm representing various divine powers at work in the universe’ with the inner design symbolising the ‘different stages in the process of the realisation of the truth’.

Photos will follow, of course, and I’m properly excited to get this one done!

Number six… well it will be Japanese themed, a style I love and which is definitely influenced by growing up admiring a print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa and two embroideries that my Mum did of Japanese Geisha (must get a photo of those!). It’s likely to be a bigger piece again so I might need to save the pennies before getting that one!

Update: Here it is.

New Ink by Ema @ Custom Inc

bookmark_borderComing Clean

In the past couple of years I’ve spent a fair amount of time in my own head, analysing some fairly basic questions. Who am I? What do I want from life? That kind of thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to find a woman with a similar outlook, and many similar desires, and we’ve talked and talked and talked and now find ourselves in a very good place indeed.

One of the key things that is underpinning everything is honesty. Real honesty, which can be brutal at times but if applied towards the good things and bad things in equal measure can be (has been) life changing.

I’ve mentioned it here before and, if I’m honest (see what I did there), it’s been a bit of a rough ride but it continues to be something I’m striving for. Between us laid out our thoughts and fears, and whilst we may still have the odd little hiccup that’s usually just bad comms getting in the way (and hey, nobody is perfect and neither should they be!).

Being honest, completely honest, is hard. Telling someone you love that they are pissing you off, and being explicit in why and what you’d like to change is not an easy thing. You don’t want to hurt feelings, or cause unnecessary conflict, but the more you do it, the more you tackle these things, the easier it becomes.

It also has a nice side effect of helping you learn more about yourself which is never a bad thing, providing you are prepared to act on that information. For example, I get easily stressed when people are late. Or so I thought, turns out I’m applying MY time/goal focused mindset to their timescales and rarely in any reasonable manner.

So, yes I do have a point, it turns out that what I need to be is be properly honest with everyone.

That doesn’t start with YOU lot though. Not quite yet.

Bearing in mind that this blog has never been 100% open on all aspects of my life I am expecting that the content may change as I start to write about things more honestly. I’d imagine a few people might stop reading but as I’ve always stated I write here for ME, for my own reasons and I need to be true to those.

What will I be talking about?

Not sure really, the most obvious thing, something I’m still exploring and trying to understand, would be my polyamorous relationship.

And for more on that topic, I highly suggest you read (and continuing read, they ain’t finished yet) this series of posts by women living in such a relationship.

Anyway, enough about me.

How the hell are you?



New Rug

I’ll happily admit that whilst I might not be the best at it, I do love a bit of interior design. As such I’ve been trying to find a rug to ‘fit’ my living room.

The main highlight colour of my living room is red, with some red striped cushions (from Next) and a red TV unit (a hacked Lack unit from IKEA) and this is hopefully completed by walnut woods and the brown leather of my sofa. I think it works, which is all that really matters. I might add in a couple of red lamps soon too…

I know, get me!

I’ve still to replace the coffee table, a tricky choice as it’s a piece of furniture that will be central in the room, but the new rug has already brought things together nicely.

The rug came from an online store called Not on the High Street which, I warn you now, will throw up all sorts of wonderful things you will want to buy all sourced from small British businesses.

Disclosure: I received the rug for free in return for this blog post. Regardless, I’ve already got my eye on some other bits and bobs on the website, it’s well worth a look!

bookmark_border60 minutes

Given my previous posts on spending a little more time on me (a photo a day, reading more books, etc), this post really did strike a chord. He talks of setting aside an hour a day to “build something” (he admits the definition of  this is very loose).

Since I’ve started I’ve had roughly a 50% success rate of actually getting to my hour. The excuses are varied, but the data is compelling. Even at a 50% hit rate, I’ve written more, I’ve tinkered more, and, most importantly, I’ve spent over eight hours this month alone exercising the part of my brain I care about the most: the part that allows me create.

For me this is probably more of what I was trying to achieve with my resolved outlook. I’ve stopped taking a photo a day, and I’m still reading but not hitting a book a month but I feel good regardless, simply because I’m doing those small things for me.

I’ve not tinkered with my own websites for quite a while, yet I always have plans to do so. I’ve not really done much new with my flat, despite ideas to do so, all these things I could achieve if I aim for an hour a day. It seems simple, and I’m prepared to fail as I know already I won’t manage it every single day but as a methodology it sits well with me.