Ravings From The Bog


Good Weekend

ef75-300_is_usmI have had a pretty good weekend. I treated myself to this little beauty on the way home from work on Friday. The weather being what it is at the moment, I haven’t had the chance to use it at all, but I’m hoping to get some practice shots tomorrow as I am off work. It’s a Canon 75-300mm IS USM lens. I have a Canon 350D DSLR that I haven’t been using much lately as I’ve been bored with the 18-55mm standard lens that comes with the body and I’ve been using the Fuji Finepix A5800 much more (see the Flickr link to the left of this post). I’ve always thought that Jessops were pretty expensive but having priced this lens in various photography mags and on Amazon, I got it cheaper at Jessops.

What else happened over the weekend? On Saturday, apart from the usual workday, three things.

I got a telephone call from a friend telling me she’s expecting a baby next March. I am delighted for her and really pleased that she took the time to let me know.

I also ran into my aunt and uncle in work and I haven’t seen them in a few years. It’s mainly weddings and funerals in my family but I’m always delighted to see family I haven’t seen in some time. My uncle has been made redundant after thirty years with Easons – I didn’t know this when I started talking to them – which is really sad. It would appear that Easons made some unfortunate investment decisions and as a result have moved from a very strong position in the Irish and Northern Irish markets to being perilously close to the abyss. They saw my picture in a mail-shot brochure advertising the recent changes in my store and decided to try it as a result. They’re in a strong position so there are no worries from that angle but I can imagine how I’d feel in a similar situation.

A few hours later, I’m heading towards the staff restaurant and I recognise a face I haven’t seen in at least twenty five years. He recognised me too – we both had a “double take”. He is the older brother of a girlfriend I “courted” from 1981-1983. We spent twenty minutes talking about old times and catching up on family news. His GRANDCHILDREN were running about while we were talking. Last time I saw him he was twenty two! He introduced me to his wife and I gave him my mob number. Really nice to see him!

Today, the news is good also…

My daughter’s boyfriend has returned home to Sussex after two weeks staying in our house. I finally get my house back.

I made a decision today to sell my Land Rover. More to follow on that one.

I went to see Inglourious Basterds – lots of hype about this movie, most of it true. Enjoyable, but as I’m not really into fantasy cinema, I cannot enthuse about it too much. As I described it on Twitter earlier this evening, it’s like a story from Commandos magazine that’s been written by someone on crack!

Lastly, my friend @Braziel re-blogged on his tumblr page this evening a post by Merlin Mann. It inspired me to get the laptop out and write something, anything, as I’ve been neglecting this blog for some time. The link is at the bottom of this post. It’s worth a read. I love Mann’s directness and the passion in his writing. I’d love to write something with such emotion some day, but for the moment, you’ll just have to put up with this!

Braziel\’s Tumblr

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CupCakeCampNI
August 16, 2009, 1:49 am
Filed under: Belfast, Blogging | Tags: , , ,

CupCakeCampThe long-awaited CupCakeCampNI event took place today at Blick Studios on Belfast’s Malone Road. Despite clashing with Belfast’s visit from the Tallships, the event sold out well in advance.

Twitter pal, @doorofkukondo, (also known as Ciaran Madden) was the organiser of the event and through his energy, drive and enthusiasm, everything went swimmingly. Such was the interest in the cupcake phenomenon, that space soon ran out for displaying the hundreds of cupcakes that the various professional and amateur bakers brought along. Disaster was averted when permission was given to tuck in and space was quickly found!

Freshly brewed coffee was supplied to wash the confections down by @grib and his lady wife, with their @beanandgone business, and the posters (above) were designed and created by @davymac – both top men in their respective fields, thanks guys.

Many volunteers were on hand to support the endeavour, including @goodonpaper, @stuartgibson, @mynameisciara, @Peek-a-Bo0 and @bardsrad et al.



Grrrrrrr!
July 16, 2009, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Podcasts, Stress, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

Recent frustrations with my wireless connection at home resulted in me getting not a little miffed and, after trying everything else, resetting my router. This had the effect of wiping out the settings for my connection and I have been unable to reset the wifi for the last two days.

This has had a number of impacts on my life:

  1. I find myself with “time” on my hands. No constant browsing, Twittering, or gazing at a screen has resulted in a startling realisation that I need to find something else to do, like read, or watch TV, or God forbid, exercise.
  2. I spent yesterday evening in the front (TV) room of the house from 1915 until 2230. This is unheard of. I was receiving strange looks from my wife and son who were unsettled, to say the least.
  3. Yesterday, I bought a Belkin router. Sadly, the CD within was only for Windows XP and older (!) Windows systems – thwarted! This evening, I’m typing this into Word to copy and paste onto WordPress when I finally get my wifi restored.  So this is like a computer fix….
  4. I also bought a T-Mobile laptop dongle thingy which cost £29 plus change – and it’s really crap and intermittent. I also unfortunately spent £30 on airtime, which I’ll use up before I bring the dongle back for a refund. Fucking useless piece of shit.
  5. I’m starting to run out of podcasts! I’m finally catching up with Fresh Air podcasts that I downloaded as far back as last year. This is good news but they’re a little out of sync when I’m listening to pundits etc talking about how they think Obama will fare when he’s finally inaugurated!
  6. Yesterday, I drove a 38 mile round trip to pick up my Macbook so I could use it in an internet café at lunch time to send an email and follow up on some tweets on Tweetdeck and get an internet fix – how sad am I?

So, tomorrow, on my day off, I’ll be visiting Carphone Warehouse to see what they can do to restore my sanity. If their broadband was all it is cracked up to be, I wouldn’t have had to reset the router etc, bastards! I think I’ll go a little postal on their asses!!!



Off to Marbella tomorrow!
June 14, 2009, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Foreign Travel, Stress, Thoughts

I’m off to Spain for a well-earned five day break tomorrow. I intend to spend the time de-stressing by walking, sleeping, photographing, reading and sleeping some more. Really looking forward to it! My flights at 0625 tomorrow morning so I’m off to my pit! Should be able to post some nice pictures when I get back. Might even try to blog from Marbella if I can get the MacBook fired up out there.



25,000 Hits! Time For A Break.
March 3, 2009, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Blogging | Tags:

My blog hits reached 25,000 today. I’m going to take advantage of the milestone to consider a few other things I have been thinking about for a while.

Bye for now!



Struggling…To…Sustain…Interest…..
February 24, 2009, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Thoughts | Tags: ,

Blog Stats!I’m struggling to find the time and motivation to maintain my blog. This is the first time since starting last July that I am having difficulty finding something to blog about and the motivation to do so. 

I’ve started an anonymous (for obvious reasons) personal finance blog to chart my path through the current economic situation and this has had an impact.

Not sure how long I can keep this one going…but you never know!



Twitter – It’s A Way Of Life
February 21, 2009, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Society, Technology, Thoughts, UK | Tags: , , , ,

picture-2I’ve been using Twitter since August last year. I cannot remember why I signed up to use it and I’ve only a vague recollection of it’s existence before then. Since then, the phenomenon has grown greatly, particularly through some celebrity endorsement from Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) and Jonathan Ross (@wossy) here in the UK. The premise if simple. Upload a message of up to 140 characters, which can be all text or can include a link to a picture on Twitpic or another service, or a link to a web page. I can vouch for it’s addictiveness – I would rarely take a bathroom break now at work without checking in on my iPhone! 

Twitter’s uses are as varied as the messages and content that Tweeters put on it. It can sustain a direct conversation between two Tweeters who follow each other. It can be a marketing tool. It can be just a way to vent on some subject that is vexing you at the time. It can be a means to share good or bad news instantaneously – reference the aircraft crash-landing into the Hudson River recently. It was news across the world via Twitter long before the news services got to the story. And many, many other uses, such as organising people quickly and easily for political or charity-based events. A recent world-wide Twestival was held to raise money for the charity:water organisation – over $500,000 was raised in one night across 175 cities.

For me, however, it provides a sense of community, some great links to information I wouldn’t normally get and humour. That human relationships can develop on nothing more than 140 characters at a time, is the best testament for Twitter.   

The montage above shows my “followers” a few days ago. It gives a flavour of the diversity of the users of this tool. Try it, you’ll love it!