Ravings From The Bog


Failed, sort of!
October 1, 2009, 12:23 am
Filed under: Family, Life, Stress, Thoughts, Work Life Balance | Tags: , , , ,

Mr Blobby

Yeah, it didn’t work! Still 276lbs… At one point during September was 272, but also at one point was 280!

On a positive note though, found more time to read, definitely felt a lot less frazzled and more relaxed and had more time to spend with Sophie (8), who is my personal de-stresser. (previous post)

What else happened in September?

Got an exercise bike, a rowing machine and dusted off my mountain bike. I was off for a week and had a great time traveling down to Mayo and Galway, took oodles of photographs and had my quarterly review which went very well, thank you! So not all bad news. Also, decided on a new blog format which you can find at This Sedentary Life. Not a terribly optimistic title, but we’ll see what happens on the exercise front over the coming months. 😉



Sabbatical

749px-I-276.svgI’m taking the month of September off. Not off work, but off Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Flickr and the many other distractions that have kept me from proper family/personal time over the last few months. I’ll still be checking my email and perhaps be online for five minutes at a time checking bank balances and cinema times, etc, but that’s it.

It’s an experiment of sorts. I tend to be easily distracted and lose myself for hours on teh internets which has created not a little tension at home, but I also feel that my thought processes are actually being affected by the flittering about that this fine Apple iMac allows me by having so many programs running at once!

So, from tonight at midnight, I intend to use the time saved to do the jobs that have been left undone, to spend more time with my wife and kids (!) and to fix various broken things, and cut the grass rather than pay somebody to do it twice a month, and get moving on a number of things that the “internet inertia” has stopped me from doing.

Now, I could be smart and say that the graphic above represents me “hitting the road” from the internet, but I’ll be honest instead and admit that I weigh 276lbs. My intention in being that honest is to force myself to be looking for a sign for Interstate 256 to post on 1 October – in other words, get off my arse and get some exercise. I intend to take seriously the idea of eating properly (not just my Branflakes) and losing some weight and keeping it off.

I have various other similar intentions for the month of September, regarding work, finance, leisure time, etc.

Wish me luck!



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



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!!!



Thieving Toe-Rags!
June 2, 2009, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Belfast, Books, Entertainment, Life, Society, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

Along with a few hundred other Wire, Corner and Generation Kill fans, last Sunday evening, I attended an interview with David Simon, at the Ulster Hall which was a Guardian Hay Festival event.

While waiting for the event to start, Glenn Patterson, local author, came on stage to introduce the interviewer and interviewee. During this intro, Glenn mentioned that David Torrans, owner of local independent bookshop, No Alibis, had his day’s takings of £640 stolen from him by some “toe-rags” in the Ulster Hall that evening. I have known David for many years as a customer and he is a decent chap and has been responsible for bringing some “big names” to Belfast for literary events and social evenings at his bookshop.  After a chat on Twitter, some of us thought it would be right to have a twhip-round to try to offset at least some of David’s loss. If you’re interested in throwing in a few pounds, and have a Paypal account, please send your contribution to colinparte@mac.com as soon as possible. As I type, the fund is sitting at £30. Not sure yet how to collect any cash offerings, but I’m confident that some arrangement can be made.

Running any business in the current economic climate is fraught with difficulty, without opportunist thieving. No business can afford such losses, especially those independent traders whose perseverance allows us some variety of choice in the marketplace – let’s support them and in this particular case, let’s support David!

Thanks to @blackconfetti, @keithbelfast and @szlwzl for the initial contributions!



PSNI in Ballyholme Parking Scandal
February 17, 2009, 5:02 pm
Filed under: Fun, Life, Society, Thoughts, UK | Tags: , , , ,

Stop Me And Buy OneNo not really! I noticed that our local plods are making an effort (in darkest Ballyholme anyway) to become neighbourhood police. They have a sign, similar to that which sits outside shops advertising ice cream etc) that sits outside their paddy wagon asking for people to come and talk to them. I took them up on their kind offer asking if thought it might be more neighbourly if they didn’t take up two parking spaces rather than one. In reply to the charge, one officer shrugged and said “I don’t know…”

Some way to go yet then! 🙂



Real-Time GPS-Based Gadget Geek Heaven!
February 2, 2009, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Fun, Life, Technology, Thoughts, UK | Tags: , , , , ,

Ship Ahoy!I love this! I stumbled across it via @yellachinook,  a friend on Twitter. I’ve always been curious about shipping. The comings and goings of ship which appear and disappear over the horizon have always been fascinating for me. Now, when I’m out for a walk with the dog or driving past Belfast Lough, I can get real-time information about the ships and their destinations, when they were built and what type of vessel they are. The site this information comes from is linked below. My Dad will also enjoy it as he has a huge front window view of the Irish Sea just north of Drogheda and the shipping fairly whizzes pasts between Warrenpoint, Greenore, Drogheda and Dublin. Now, if only I could GPS tag my seventeen year old daughter with similar technology, so that I could know where she is all the time, I’d be even happier!

www.shipais.com

Marvellous!