Thursday, December 27

Take every opportunity...

I found out this afternoon that my dear friend Gwen died yesterday. She was the kind of fun, loving person that touches many people's lives. I'm really glad that after many heartaches and setbacks, she found such great happiness with her husband Mark.

I'm also glad that I told her I loved her many, many times.

" In a man's life, his time is but a moment, his being a mere flux, his senses a dim glimpse, his body food for the worms, and his soul a restless eddy … the things of the body pass like a flowing stream; life is a brief sojourn, and one's mark in this world is soon forgotten."

Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, December 23

How to cook a Polar Bear

My lovely friend Annie sent me a hot pet for my birthday. At first I thought it would be mean to heat him in the microwave, but a nasty cold (nearly gone thanks) soon put paid to that. My 'hot husband' tends to squeal when I place my cold paws on him!

[Global warming notwithstanding, it does seem rather gratuitious, to make a hottie out of an Artic animal!]

My granite heart melted somewhat when I shut the door.

But what the hell - in for a penny...fry Knut!

Don't worry - he survived, and got to sleep with me lucky beast!

Tuesday, December 18

The Joy of Lego

I'm full of cold and feeling very sorry for myself - and our washing machine has broken down and we can't get a new one 'til the new year. However, a friend at work has passed on a really nifty site, where you can make your own Lego avatar. I think the smile is just right!

This time of year always makes me think about Lego, as my bro. always used to request some huge set or other.

My Uncle found some of our Lego behind his sofa a few years ago. The pieces has telltale bite marks on them. Jerry used to hate me doing it, but how else do you get the damn bricks apart?

Wednesday, December 12

A little note about anger

Hmm - this rational honesty stuff is difficult. According to the book, one is supposed not to supress anger, you acknowledge it, feel it and move on. It's OK to be angry - so it looks like the tourette chef is very psychologically healthy.

There is an exercise in the book about dealing with supressed anger with a person (which is for one's own benefit, not their's):
  • Have a dialogue with them in your mind, say what you want to say, and let them talk back.
  • Ring them up and arrange a meeting. Explain that you want to clear the air.
  • Read the rest of the chapter before the meeting.

You turn the page, and the author says "Bet you didn't do it!" - and you know what? I hadn't!

There is someone I have a lot of anger towards. It all built up inside me and I ended up leaving a very angry and upset message on their mobile phone, and I haven't seen or heard from them since.

Am I brave enough to call them and arrange a meeting? I can't help feeling that it would just rake over old coals and do more damge than good. And yet, the anger and hurt I feel gnaws away at me like a sore tooth and comes up at the strangest times.

So watch this space...


I sent this card to the folks at work via email. I'm going make a donation to Oxfam. Part of me would like to stop sending cards altogether. However, I have a fair amount of relatives and friends who aren't on email. Plus, I can't help thinking that it looked like you couldn't be bothered to make an effort.

What do you think?

Monday, December 10

Radical Honesty Conti.

Lots of peeps have asked me how I'm getting on with the whole radical honesty thing, so I thought I'd blog a bit. Having read a bit of Brad's book - I think he's a bit of a tosser, but it's stimulated a lot of thought.

As previously blogged the push behind radical honesty isn't a moral one, but rather a psycholological/health one. Interestingly, like the meditation techniques I learnt (and have let lapse!) last year, it anchors you in present experience - training you to ignore the evaluative voice in the back of the mind.

In trying to tell the truth at all times, it's made me evaluate why and when I lie. It's always because of how I THINK others are going to react to the truth, whether it's my slightly 'sexing up' an anecdote or trying to hide the fact the reason I'm not hungry is because I've been stuffing chocolate all afternoon. I want/need people to like me, to approve of me. And in the past that's meant my trying to hide my struggles, until I can't hold on any longer and break down or blow up.

So, in order to avoid the anticipated bad reaction (even if it's not an angry outburst, just a change in their view of me) - I blurt out some lie, which most of the time is so poor that it's seen through at once. Leading to guarenteed bad reaction/relationship breakdown. Or in order to make sure that people continue to want to spend time with me, I feel that I need to supply 'material' to keep them amused and to ignore my needs and feelings.

My plan, such as it is, is to keep on with the radical honesty, and monitor the consequences.

Sunday, December 9

Deck the Halls..

We've put up our Christmas tree far earlier than usual this year. For some reason, I'm really excited about Christmas this year.

The ellie isn't on the top of the tree this time. He didn't look very happy last year!

I'm not sure if the addition of Father Christmas does THAT PICTURE any favours.

There is a Dansk corner of course...

I fell for this string at the Eynsham Emporium.

Now I just have to find a Father Christmas hat for the cow.

Thursday, December 6

I sold my soul to the IEEE

Many moons ago when the issue of fibre networking standards (now replayed with WiFi of course) was boiling away nicely, I remember a colleague remarking: "Ah standards, if you don't like one you can always choose another". This has been on my mind of late, as the product I am validating at the moment is part of an Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). After years of avoiding it I've been plunged deep in to MS SharePoint2007. However, the real jungle is e-learning standards.

In theory it would be nice if all content/software/hardware was compatible with each other - hence standards. But who decides? We mainly have to think about SCORM - there are a number of different standards bodies fighting it out, including the US Defense Department, before you even think about all various interested parties in the industry. My friend Andrew chairs and industry software standard committee and I really feel for him. I need to understand this stuff to test if our products are compliant, but as no-one has yet agreed what they have to be complaint with, it's all a bit Kafkaesque.

In the meantime I'll listen to the nice CD I was given as a late birthday present and devise tests to make sure students can't do evil things to each others avatars.

Note to self: Don't listen to Johnny Cash singing 'One' at work - audible sobbing tends to spook your colleagues.

Wednesday, December 5

There once was a Lucy in Old Amsterdam...

The Boy was in Amsterdam last week and I went along as a WAG. I'd never been before, and I was suprised at how pretty it is.

There were lovely things to look at everywhere. However, the weather was atrocious, so I didn't take many photos.

I was rather taken by this owl.

This ex-Lutheren church was Adam's conference centre. It was fun to have a window onto The Boy's work world, and put some faces to names...aah Bob Buckingham, you are a god...:-).

While The Boy was working away, I was on the culture trail. As well as having a very nice Indonesian meal and finding a little beer place, I took in:
And no, I didn't go to a 'Coffee Shop'. In fact, there was one afternoon when I desperately want a cup of coffee and a sit down - and all I could find were sex shops and spliff emporia. I got quite grumpy!
I can't wait to go again!