Showing posts from January, 2012

I little example of how my procrastination costs me

So I am determined to do better with the procrastination - I'm a good way through the book about it now which I've been reading in small chunks whilst reading a novel which I've just finished so now I intend to finish the procrastination book before I read anything else. I will come back to a more complete review of the book and keep posting about my progress (hopefully) as it'll keep me honest in my endeavours.   But here is a great example... I received a letter - I know it was dated 18th November because I kept looking at that date figuring how long it was before I was compelled to respond to it.  Why was I delaying?  It was from HMRC - the Inland Revenue (UK tax service).  It was a nicely worded letter asking whether I was sure I was paying the right amount of tax.  Of course I didn't want to contact them thinking - they must be onto me somehow and chasing me over some unpaid tax bill.   How ridiculous I'm pretty much totally PAYE (Pay As You Earn) so un

How the other half live

Well maybe the other 1% given the current terminology.  I was just reading a short story post on Shrinkies blog.  Her setting is a million miles away from my reality... however once some years back - about 15 I suppose I was asked to work on a specific project by the big, big boss.  It was a very politically exposed position within the company.  Anyway after some combative moments there was a period of enforced harmony dictated by the really big big bosses - we were spending millions on some stuff and they wanted it to work after all.  In part of that I went to a series of meetings in New York - I was regularly there for a while.  As part of the harmony the group I was working with decided to continually show us the best New York could offer and we were taken off to various posh restaurants littered with various celebs - all of whom I didn't know apart from one guy I'd seen who was a USA Americas Cup entrant I believe. Anyway - we are sat for the meal.  I scan the wine list -

A funny old weekend

It was a funny sort of a weekend.  Started same as ever - well a bit differently for the first time in several weeks I accompanied Daughter-of-Furtheron to swimming training, for a bunch of reasons I've not been on a Friday with her for a while now.  Saturday started with me running her about to go out with a friend shopping heading to pick up some wallpaper - we are in preparation stage for an assault on the master bedroom of the house over Easter and Mrs F had seen some she liked and I thought we'd best order it and get it acquired instead of leaving it and finding that style having been deleted from the catalogue. I spent a lot of Saturday in the studio recording All At Once which has been around a while even having had at least one live outing but I'd not got the chance to record it.  Mrs F and Son-of-Furtheron between them had bought me a Behringer C1 Condenser Microphone for Christmas - it has been something on  my "to be bought" list for ages as many have

A New Song - All At Once

New song - recorded using my new Behringer C1 Condenser Microphone which was Mrs F's Christmas present to me.  I was really impressed with the quality I've got off it for the guitar and the vocal sounds.  I think this'll be the only mic I use at home in the studio from now on!

Gratitude list

My "Things I am Grateful for Today" list thing on the right stopped working.  I couldn't add anything to it - I wonder if my list of gratitude got too big for Blogger to cope with?  Shame as you can't have too much gratitude surely?  Anyway after several attempts, browser swaps, deleting things out of it etc. I decided to take the technical blog crowbar to it and deleted and created a new one!  Solved! Okay the one thing any sharp eyed readers will notice is that after yesterdays procrastination update in which I had to admit that the book I'd bought (and by the way I deliberately bought the one that was the shortest pretty much of those recommended to me by various people on the basis that that would make me read it!) was still "sat on the shelf" (well the to be read list on my Kindle) - anyway I started it yesterday!  Hooray! Hmm just thought of something to update my gratitude list and that is that I'm still keeping up the swimming regime - I&

Life continues including an update on the procrastination

Last week I posted about my chronic procrastination issue...  it has been better this week.  I've been trying to make lists and do stuff on them.   This morning at work I'd ticked off a reasonable number already when I looked at my watch and thought - "blimey and it isn't even 10am yet".  That is good stuff.  It was one of the themes of a "round robin" share meeting I was at this week - it is one of my home groups and is normally a speaker meeting but the speaker didn't make it and as it was a small group of all regulars we all shared in turn.  Procrastination was a theme - not I hasten to add led by me but others.  The post last week also told me that many people suffer this - I am not alone - that is comforting.  Also I've bought a book about it - but I've not started reading it yet... I know there is a gag in there but it is the truth! Exams - life seems a bit dominated by exams in our lives at the moment.  My daughter is doing some more

Book Review - The Pirates! by Gideon Defoe

So the reason I bought this at all is that this series of books is the basis for the next Aardman animated film due in the cinemas in March this year.  In the end I bought The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Whaling in one bumper dual edition for under a fiver!  Bargain and a useful purchase with some of the WHSmith voucher I got for Christmas from my mother-in-law. So The Pirates! are a madcap crew headed The Pirate Captain and none of them have names other than things like The Pirate with the Scarve or The Albino Pirate except Jennifer who joins the crew during the first adventure. The first adventure finds the crew capturing The Beagle and Charles Darwin when they think they'll capture a load of gold but only find Darwin and his clever monkey and they help him take on his arch nemesis The Bishop of Oxford back in London.  The book is a light read with plenty of slapstick gags and loads of pirate puns etc. The second book sees

Music Review - Sixx:AM

The immediacy of the modern age - could be the sub-title for this post.  Early on Saturday morning PlanetRock was playing in the kitchen whilst I was on the computer in the adjacent room.  I heard a track and thought - that was good who was that.  The playlist on the station web site told me it was Sixx:AM.  I went to Spotify and found their first album on there so listened to that.  I thought it was really good.  In no time I'd found it for only £4.49 on HMVdigital and it was bought, downloaded and onto my MP3 player.  I also bought their latest one at the same time. I had a long drive Sunday to an AA regional assembly so had time to listen to them both a couple of times.  So... The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack is the first album.  It is based on a 13 month diary written by Nikki Sixx during Dec 1986 - 1987 when he was fighting his heroin addiction.  Lyrically a lot of the material I can directly relate to as a recovering alcoholic.  Also the music is really good, very soundtrack

I don't get Twitter

Twitter doesn't work for me - I don't mean I have some bizzare cookie issue or the fact I sometimes use SeaMonkey as my browser causes  it to have issues - what I mean is I just don't get it. You seem to have to live your life constantly in Twitterland and have multiple conversations going on left right and centre.  I struggle to post anything in 140 characters or less, no doubt some would say that is because I use verbose language and style. Guilty as charged probably however for me the setting of context before saying "this stinks" or "this is great" is important.  Just look recently at how many people have got into trouble with "out of context" tweets - the Diane Abbot one recently was an interesting example.  Personally Diane in isolation your comment was offensive to me.  You say it was taken out of context - but you only have 140 characters, the conversation flow in Twitter is difficult to see and anyway you still implied that White pe

Avoidance and Procrastination

(Inspired by another persons honest post on their blog.) Honestly one of my major problems.  I avoid things that I don't want to do, or am not sure of how to do, or will make me feel bad in some way.  I avoided recontacting the bus company about the refund we were due after the great bus ticket scandal I blogged about last year.  Why?  Because I knew it'd bring back the anger and I don't like that feeling.  I did email them, with no response and in the end the ever marvellous Mrs F called them, twice, and we finally got a cheque for all of £6.70... but no apology! I'm bad at it at work at the moment.  I'm giving myself all the excuses under the sun... "I'm new to the organisation and don't know who to contact"... well ask someone dummy!  But then I'll possibly look daft... etc.  Also the reorganisation of the division is not complete and I am not totally fully in post.  So I use that as another excuse.   But they are excuses I'm just av

Book Review - Conqueror by Conn Iggulden

I've loved this series since the start with Wolf of the Plains which began with Gengis Khan, then just known as Temujin, as a young boy being abandoned by his tribe in a power struggle after his fathers death.  That book and the two that followed took us through his entire life and the remarkable story of him pulling the Mongolian tribes into a single nation and fighting back against their oppressive neighbours the Chin.  After his death however the empire stuttered and the previous book in the series Empire of Silver chronicles the amazing push West into Europe that Ogedei Khan inspired.  However his death stopped the marauding hordes and they return to Karakorum the new capital that Ogedei built. This is the setting for the beginning of Conqueror when all the nation are waiting for a new Khan to be selected.  At this point the level of political and family intrigue is amazing in the Mongolian royal line and Conn makes good use of this to weave plenty of inter family rivalries i

It's the economy ... stupid!

Remember the Clinton slogan?  Well it still is, actually it is more important now than then.  The dip at the begining of the 90s is looking like a equivalent of an economic trip rather than a full flat of the face smacking the pavement we seem to be in now. Two things in two days have got me thinking (I know, I know it isn't good for me). Firstly an interesting article in Vanity Fair of all places - I'm not a regular reader someone had the link somewhere I so read it ... it is here if you are interested.  It was written by Joseph Stiglitz who was Chief Economist for the World Bank.  I thought therefore I'd swtich off as this would be another article telling me little - I was wrong.  Mr Stiglitz speaks tremendous sense and is one of the few "up there" that seem to actually be able to sort out the wood from the trees.  In the article he compares the current economic situation to the great depression of the 30s - the setting is different, the industries involved


My daughter doesn't like Maths.  She has this bit of a block with it, when she sees something new or a little twist to the sequence of questions is added to stretch you she freaks-out and a mental brick wall goes up.  She has been like this since junior school as I remember us discussing it with her teachers in year 5 and 6 definitely.  For a short time we even employed a friend as a tutor to help her prepare for the Medway Test - for those who remember that is what we now have to call the 11plus and don't get me started on that crap, divisive, anachronistic piece of nonsense we still have to suffer in the last bastion of selective education that is Kent. Anyway she got a Level 5 in her SATS towards the end of year 6 - which is above where expected.  She is actually good at Maths she just has the block and she simply doesn't like it.  From entry at the secondary school she has been in the top set - which in some ways hasn't helped that mind set as she has always been

Gratitude in a sunrise

I was privileged to witness a beautiful sunrise over Kent this morning whilst sat on the 7:20 to St Pancras.  The sky we a collage of orange, blue and pink.  At one point on the journey, whilst in a cutting you can just glimpse the Shri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara at Gravesend if you look up out of the window.  As I saw that amazing sunrise behind the temples turrets I thought to myself  "People will travel half way around the world for the seek out sites similar to that, and here it is on my doorstep". I often forget to be open to seeing what is around me on a daily basis and being grateful for that.  It is constant work trying to banish the feelings of resentment and ingratitude for the things I think I don't have.

Almost normal

I had to go to the doctors today - my annual "chronic condition review" was needed.  That's a horrid thing to call it, sounds like you are one step from the knackers yard.  Actually mine is for Hypertension as I used to pompously refer to it as - High Blood Pressure to the non-pompous of you out there.  Actually I've not taken medication for it for many years now... er... actually since I stopped drinking.  I'd taken drugs to lower it for years before then. So roll up your sleeve and they pop on that collar thing that self inflates and deflates a couple of times whilst asking you the questions... do you smoke?  Ever smoked?  When did you stop?  How much alcohol do you drink?   This is always where the conversation deviates from the norm I think... "Nothing" I reply.  "Nothing at all?"  says the nurse raising an eyebrow.  "No I don't drink".   "Nothing at all?"   Look is it that unreasonable for people to not drink?  Sh

Book Review - The Cobra Fredrick Forsyth

I have in the past generally like Mr Forsyth's work.  The Fourth Protocol was a brilliant book of it's time for example, the film adaptation with Pierce Brosnan however sadly was the worst let down of a dramatisation of a book I've read ever!  The changed ending made no flipping sense and the acting... Anyway to more relevant matters.  This book takes a couple of characters already familiar to readers of The Avenger.  Now that was a really good book again. This book however sadly is only a moderate single thumbs up from Furtheron.  It is OK but there is very little expansion on the characters from the moment you are introduced to them.  There are elements of the plot that are frankly beyond fanciful and put it just out of believability space for me. The basic tenant is that the President of the USA is implored by a grandmother of a boy recently killed by cocaine.  He decides pretty much on that single thing to go to war against the cocaine industry.  He decides to sec

Back at work, The New Year etc.

So back at work now and the Yuletide celebrations are already heading to the distant recesses of my memory banks.  That will no doubt be hastened after this weekend as my son will be heading back to university and we'll be back to the regular three of us at home and back to the normal daily/weekly pattern. 2012 - the end of the world... or so some say.  Where is the guy who keeps predicting the rapture - does he have another date yet?  The Mayan calendar thing is another red herring, it is just like us turning a millennium  or what ever I think from my limited understanding.  Still if none of us are here in a years time you can tell me then that knew not what I was talking about... :-) So I'm back to work, my daughter is back at school readying for the onslaught of GCSEs she has this year and she'll soon be up against deadlines for deciding on A levels.  Just all a bit same old, same old at the moment really. I often find January a bit of a dull time, we've had th

Book review - Flying V, Explorer, Firebird: An Odd-Shaped History of Gibson's Weird Electric Guitars by Tony Bacon

I'm on the last couple of pages of this book now so I'll give it a review. I have several of Mr Bacon's books, one is signed by him after I met him at some guitar show some years back.  He researches well and writes in a good manner and normally they are excellently illustrated. This is a good read even if it is a bit jumbled as it is simply a timeline of these guitars starting from the birth of the idea for the "modernistic" trio in the mid/late 50s as Gibson looked to fight back against the fuddy-duddy image that it had from it's association with flat top acoustics, mandolins and archtop jazz guitars.  You have to say that the flying V and Explorer must have seemed like something from another planet when they came along. Whilst focused on the Gibson roots there are several off-piste points talking about the "lawsuit" Ibanez trilogy in the mid 70s and the many offshoots that have come from the Gibson pointy boys lineage, so reference to Jackso

Toothbrush rant

Funniest thing I saw on TV over the holidays... Rhod at his ranting best!  

Happy 2012

Hello - first post of 2012 - I hope you all have a great 2012!