Friday, 7 October 2016

Just testing

<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Qwigley" rel="stylesheet"> 
I just want to see if this works.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Clutter

I have a clutter problem. Hard to admit as someone who thinks they're intelligent and capable with a track record of huge filing missions in work. But I have what has been called C.H.A.O.S. - Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.
There are countless sites online with advice on clutter.....
Clutter.co.UK
ZenHabits.net
Home-storage-solutions-101.com
FlyLady.com
Etc etc etc......

They all tell you to declutter with a timer or in small stages or by category or by space.

I think one problem I have is that decluttering is not creative. Bunging stuff in boxes or bin bags is a subtraction and I find it really hard to see it as positive, constructive or as adding something to my home. I know I should see it as creating calm, cleanliness, clear space and so forth but just can't frame it that way. Do you know what I mean?

Friday, 17 January 2014

The competition

I've been looking at the websites of a few jewellery makers. I have a lot of work to do to get to that stage.
I also need to improve my photography.

I would also like to discourage my lovely kitty from attempting to knock all the beads onto the floor.

Please have a look at my beads on my Pinterest board... See link in the column at left or click here.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Has it really been that long?

Well, I don't feel as though I have been that busy but I have been taking an adult education class and I started a new hobby.
I've been making some jewellery.
If you would like to see some of what I made please have a look see at Pinterest... Click here





Monday, 26 August 2013

Tweeting and Twittering

I've opened a Twitter account for me, myself, as opposed to some of the websites I've built and been tinkering with.

If you are interested in the sorts of things I will post, which may end up being quite similar to the sorts of things I put on Pinterest, point your mousey thing at

@MyPortfolioMind


I'm having a little difficulty with my profile image at the moment, I'm trying to sort it out via the Android app and not getting very far. Does anyone have any tips?

So that's two blogs, two websites, one Facebook account, a Pinterest account, LinkedIn and three Twitter pages. Am I missing anything? 


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Creative classes

I definitely recommend taking classes in all sorts of subjects.
Just recently I did a class on beading. It was a lot of fun, it got the creative juices flowing a bit and gave me a few more skills.
If you want to see what I made go to my Pinterest board.

Do you take classes?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

I'm back, but I still haven't found what I am looking for.

I've had a funny half year, after losing a pet and then some big changes for my family, somehow I really lost my way and track of time. The last few weeks have been focused on making some organisational changes in my home; moving furniture, repurposing storage, failed DIY and generally trying new arrangements. As well as repeatedly thumping my computer which is being REALLY slow.

Making the best use of intelligence, being smart and using your mind.
Unlocking brain power
Now I am watching a film called Limitless in which a man takes a new drug that brings him absolute clarity, his deductive reasoning increases more than tenfold. I've yet to see the part where he finds the drawbacks but he is able to connect ideas, memories and patterns from his life to create new solutions, and a lot of money, and it is making me think.

I know I am smart, I was always smart, but I've been a bit unlucky having worked for companies that either went broke or had some other issues, so I have never really had a chance to prove myself. I've also been somewhat let down by my health which is a nuisance and doesn't really help.

I am very aware of things around me, like the guy in the film. I'm good at putting ideas together and creating new ideas from them but I am not so good at how to connect to the right people to put them into practice. I've been burned a few times; shared an idea, heard nothing back then one day the idea is on the shelves. Twenty years ago at university I wrote an essay predicting that the music business would come to see the live experience as its primary income stream, and now with the rise of filesharing my theory is proving quite accurate. There are even businesses based on people sharing the experience.

I know that in the right situations I am quick thinking, able to spot trends, aware of potential pitfalls and capable of asking all the questions that get the information needed at that moment. A little bit like the man in the film who's brain starts working at full capacity.

But somehow I can't get that on a CV and prove to a decent employer that I am the person they need.

I know that 'the right situations' are ones where I am stimulated, required to stretch my mind, a little under pressure and where I have some incentive to solve the issues at hand. I.e. situations that are not a lot like most of the paid employment I have had.

It is partly bad luck that I found jobs in the wrong places, partly a distinct lack of self belief and the confidence required to get my foot through the right door (I am most definitely an introvert), and partly a serious distaste for the mundane and repetitive. Not that I can't knuckle down, I've cleared rooms piled high with junk and turned them into orderly and accurately mapped file storage spaces, but when you keep being asked to do those tasks but have the brain power for so much more it gets to be entirely disheartening.

I've always had the sense that the solution for me is just a tiny bit beyond my reach, that if I could turn a little quicker that idea I glimpsed would come into full focus or that if I could just connect couple of dots I would have all the answers.

So the little pills the man in the film takes to make all that happen sound very appealing. Except now the film is over, I really don't want to deal with some of those consequences.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Reality blogging

Scribbler Maxi has nominated me for a Reality Blogging Award. Thank you, Maxi.




As part of accepting I have to answer a few tricky questions:

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

Well I guess, and judging by Maxi's answer, that means something about myself. I think one thing I would change in a heart beat is the lack of romance in my life. A Mr Right would be a very nice thing to have around.


If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

The Elizabethan age, bring back Shakespeare and those fabulous skirts. 
I think I am supposed to refer to a period of my own life though. In which case I'll go for my late teens, I would make a few changes to my school life but would also enjoy discovering all the music I love all over again.


What one thing really scares you? 

Regretfully I have to deal with Thanataphobia.


If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?

There are two ways to go with this.

One option is pure fun and for that I would love to be Jasper Fforde for a day and find out what it is like to think and work like a genius and successful writer - though I would need to sort of piggy back his life so I could see how he works, not just how I would work in his place.

The other is less fun; I would like to be some one like the Prime Minister or a Cabinet minister to get just a glimpse of the things that are really considered and have an impact in the running of the country.


------------------------------

And now it's my turn! And, I suppose, I can't nominate Maxi back. So, the blogger I nominate for this is one I read but I don't actually know her:

Debbie Golec

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Bard of Avon, confimed

I have written here before about my conviction that one William Shakespeare was the true author (maybe with some help) of the plays we attribute to him.

Now a book is about to be published by a number of scholars who agree that the man from Stratford not only could be, but most likely is the writer of those great works.

William Shakespeare, the true Bard of Avon
Championing The Bard
What better birthday gift could the Bard ask for?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

News about Google Reader


If you use Google Reader for reading and collating blogs such as this one you may be interested to know it will be shutting down in July.
Changes to Google Reader

Click here for details and how to work around it. I personally have decided to try the Feedly extension. It is a bit more complicated than Reader but looks quite elegant and is easily customisable. (I did have to have two attempts to add the extension to Chrome though)

If you don't use Reader, have a click any way as you may be interested in learning how to collate blogs you like.

Or click here to find out about protests and petitions to Google.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Writing

I think it is high time I try to focus and get some serious writing done.

Writing should be a pleasure but can be a chore if you don't organise a little bit
I love the feel of a pen on paper
I have folders full of handwritten text that I need to sort through to decide what to work on, or if any of it is worth dragging back to life. I have notes on stories from a number of genres so I might need to start by narrowing down to a theme I want to develop. Do I want to do modern day or fantasy? Prosaic or epic? A novel or short story? I think I may have had too many ideas for my own good!

But I think step one needs to be to get a bit organised.

I have read about all sorts of methods for making progress on a story. I have generally stuck to just writing it out almost as a stream of consciousness..... although as yet none of my projects have reached completion so clearly I need a new approach.

I think this idea from Emma Darwin is a great way to track characters and events against a timeline and even allows for non-chronological plotting. To save paper or if you prefer working digitally you could create a simple spreadsheet to do the same job. I remember a girl on a Creative Writing course I once took had a spreadsheet with different fonts and colours to represent different people or places.

I love looking at MindMaps and think the theory is inspiring but I just can't get them right myself. I find they all end up the same shape, perhaps my thinking is too rigid.

When writing/re-writing on the computer I stick with good old word. I like to start by altering the page margins to be as narrow as I can make them, except for the left one which needs to be wide enough to punch holes in a printed sheet.
Then I add page numbers (in new versions of Word that's in the Insert tab) and line numbers. (See below - you can see that an edit is required on line 4)
Line numbers in Word 2010
Line numbers  in Word 2010 on NetBook
(If you can't read it try zooming your browser window)

So, with a plan and a document set up ready to write I'm going to try to get some of my writing sorted out.

Are you a writer? Do you have a tried and tested set of tools to help you get from idea to oeuvre?



Saturday, 9 February 2013

It's the little things

I like this
sometimes the little things occupy the biggest part of your heart

It is a part of why I like to pass on information I find, you never know how sharing something might make a difference to someone's life and all it costs is a little time. The rewards could be lifelong.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

The future of the world

I read this fascinating article on The Guardian website.

Do the roots of humanity stretch around the world?


Food for thought for sure but it invites as many questions as solutions at this stage.






  • First up is the thought 'how many times has something similar been said in the last century or more?'
    • I can imagine that there have been many great thinkers from Adam Smith to Jeremy Bentham and even Malthus who have posited that profit can not be the only aim of business in a civilised world.
  • Then, is there any real way to get all the world's business and political leaders around the same table to make it happen?
    • In a week when the London Underground proposed later running tubes only to be shouted down by the unions, people whose livelihoods depend on the same system in the same town, can the diverse interests and fields of all business and communities really be brought under one umbrella set of regulations?
  • Can we ever reach a point where all the experts agree?
    • Even today there are people in power and experts who can't agree on the realities of climate change. Some are absolutely convinced it is not happening, others believe mankind has had a huge and continuing impact.
  • Can we be sure that any ideology proposed by any one nation or company is not imposing something entirely alien on others?
    • The simple idea of consuming horsemeat has this week shown divisions in Europe that are cultural and historical and that neither side would view as being wrong or negotiable.
It's a noble idea to make the world run on more ethical terms and one I wish more people subscribed to, but is it realistic to expect so many diverse interests to be able to come together and make it work?

How would you change the world for the better?


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Goodbye my love

Today I have had to say goodbye to my beautiful cat, Sixx.
When my friend told me his cat was going to have kittens, I decided for the first time to have a pet. I went to meet the litter when they were very tiny and was told that one of the cats didn't like people.
I went in and sat on the floor and this little black and white kitten came over to me and crawled on my leg, he was the one who had refused to meet anyone else.
I sat and got to know him and his sister who I was also taking home. I had planned to call them Tyler and Perry after Aerosmith, but as I played with them I knew they were Sixx and Kije.

Despite being named for a rock n roll bass player, Sixx was always calm and affectionate. He would follow me from room to room and was always there when I came in. He loved to cuddle and would climb on my lap in the evenings and would snuggle on my bed at night. He rarely objected to being picked up for a big hug. Every day when I woke up he was there, or arrived when the alarm went off. Tomorrow morning is going to be hard. He was so very handsome and so loving.

At 14 and half he had lived a long and comfortable life. I wish things could have been different and he could have come home today but it was not to be. I hope he knew how much he was loved and how much he will be missed.

Goodbye my love. Sixx - July 1998 - January 2013.


Monday, 14 January 2013

Gainful employment

As you know I am a bit of an information junkie. I love to look up the answers to anything and everything. Whether it's how particle physics works, who Prince Blucher was, how to make sure a guitarist doesn't get his cables trapped under the drum kit or who needs to know about that recipe for jam roly poly, I want to know and share as much as humanly possible.

Looking for the right job
If you have seen my other blog you might also know I am in search of my dream job. The major obstacle being that I don't know what I want to do with my life and have no clue what job would be a dream for me.

I am, therefore, trying to imagine ways to combine the two. My craving for answers (and disseminating them) with my search for the perfect work.

I'm a bit late to create Google unfortunately, and am not that interested in programming search algorithms anyway.

Please do let me know if you know of a job that sounds like it would suit me to a T!



Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year

About five or six years ago I made a resolution to stop making new year resolutions. So far I've done a good job of sticking to it.
No more stress about breaking new rules, no more angst over a new status quo.

Do you make resolutions? Do you set goals for the year ahead? Do you stick to them?

Whatever you do in 2013 I wish you all the best.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Cooking?

I'm a huge fan of North African food, which means something a lot of people seem to really hate: meat with fruit! Why is pork and apple OK but lamb and apricots or prunes is frowned upon?
sausages, mash, gravy, delicious
Other favourite cuisines are Mexican, Italian, Greek, French, Polish and Chinese. Of course I adore traditional British food, a roast with Yorkshire pud, parsnips and carrots  roasted with honey, toad in the hole, minted peas, really thick gravy and of course, really good bangers with mash. I also love Mountain food: tartiflette, steak hachet, raclette - any cheesy potato combination.
I don't do fish though. Anything that swims, I don't want to know. Who knows what it's been swimming in!


pasta, fresh pasta
I don't cook though. Well I heat food and occasionally do a pasta dish with fresh filled pasta and a simple tomato passata.











I do however have a bit of a flair for taste combinations.
I recently got my mum, who is a great cook, to experiment a bit. She'd made some cherry shortbread biscuits which were lovely. I suggested she try them with mincemeat instead of cherries and they are now going to be part of our Xmas day.
Then I persuaded her to make apple pie with cardamoms, something she would normally only add to pears. We loved it.


I also like to really go mad and mix up things no one else would ever dream of. My favourite was minced beef with Cinzano.

Globe artichokes




If I had to choose one food that I love above all others it would be globe artichoke, boiled or steamed and served with unsalted butter. Heaven. (Don't bother with tinned or artichokes in brine. Total waste of delicious food!)

What flavours do you love to experiment with?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What do you read?

What do you read? Do you have preferred genres? 

Looking at my book shelves I have quite a lot of sword and sorcery, several sci fi (I recently got into Philip K Dick), lots of spy novels from Bond to Bourne and a variety of crime fiction. I also like Alexander McCall Smith's and Ian Banks's Scottish stories and humour; Pratchett, Fforde, Idle etc,.

I also have a lot of non-fiction. Some autobiographies - Jackie Chan, Billy Connolly and a dozen or so rock stars.   There are lots of reference books and a huge pile on esoteric subjects from space-time to the history of learning! 

What I don't have are any books written between 1700 and 1900 except Conan Doyle and Gothic novels. I also have no chick lit. 

How are your bookshelves weighted? 


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Social media



I've just signed myself up to Google+. Since I already use Google email and Google Blogger to write this blog it seemed like a natural next step. So far though I'm not finding it quite as intuitive as I'd liked.


So if anyone has any tips or knows of good places to find advice please let me know in the comments below.



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

It drives me crazy



Are there everyday niggles that make you disproportionately angry?

The on that gets me yelling at inanimate objects on a fairly regular basis is a box of eighty matches that has a strike strip that gives out after about forty matches. My guess is that they are designed for eighty strikes but since no match ever lights first time those eighty strikes are up before the box is half empty.




I remember many a day as a kid where the loud and very rude words emanating from the kitchen or bathroom that were a clear indication that Dad was trying to do some plumbing!

What drives you to distraction that really could be walked away from in peace?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Music Formats

As a teenager I was obsessed with records. I am sure most of my pocket money went on buying albums, usually at the local Our Price store.

Once I was old enough to be allowed to go to London on my own I discovered a fantastic little store inside Kensington Market where I would spend hours just flicking through their vinyl trying to pick a couple of LPs to take home. I would wander round the whole market looking at shoes and coats, candles, scarves, models of dragons and wigs in neon colours, and I would often grab a jacket potato as well. But the majority of the time I was in that record shop.

I would also spend a couple of hours a week putting collections of songs on to cassette tapes.

Record sleeves even got books dedicated to them
Then at the end of my teens the Compact Disc began its rise to ubiquity. In a record shop rack they just don't flip in the same satisfying way, a rack would only stack them two or three deep because of that. The case art work was tiny compared to the twelve inch square glorious design you got with an LP. Album art designers (Storm Thorgerson, Roger Dean, Derek Riggs to name just three) would never have achieved such fame as CD artists.  The disc claimed to be unbreakable so there was never the same sense of care of and reverence as there was with a vinyl disc which could be ruined with a single scratch. As long as I still had a working turntable I was reluctant to replace my vinyl albums with CD versions.

CDs were easier to tape from though and I still have boxes of my compilations, and copies on tape for playing in the car.

At University I wrote a dissertation on competing music formats, describing the rise of CDs and going on to debate the relative merits of DAT (digital audio tape) and DCC (digital compact cassette)  - a debate similar to the VHS and Beta wars of a few years earlier, based as much on the access the patent owners had to recordings they could sell their formats with as the technical benefits of either.

At the end of the 90s I bought a MiniDisc machine and spent many a happy hour recording digital compilations from my CDs.

Unfortunately it was not a format that lasted and before long the MP3 took over. A music format with no physical substance at all. Artwork has to be viewed on a computer, there can be no reverence or fear of damage to something that has no form. Consequently record stores are fast disappearing or becoming game stores. My small collection of LPs, though, has become more valuable to me and I am increasingly reluctant to risk damaging them.

The march of progress moves steadily onward but those little  moments of pleasure that are gone forever are memories I cherish.

How is progress changing your world? Are you at the forefront of technological advances or do you cling to the old ways?