Catch-all category for anything and everything about my daily shenanigans or quotidian experience. Warning: may be very out of date and/or contain stuff only interesting to me or people who know me.
Dec 31, 2009 4
- Update this site generally
- Update this site specifically with something other than a post saying “argh, sorry, busy, more soon”
- Do Dan’s site
- Do something with the FOUR creative and interesting side projects (with four creative and interesting individuals) which are currently languishing unattended to
- Properly back up my computer
- Create a photobook covering my adventures in 2009
- Buy some new trainers
- Assemble all the squares I’ve been knitting into a blanket
- Move house
- Have a proper holiday
Bugger. Here’s hoping that 2010 will contain at least some of the above. I certainly plan on it.
But in the meantime, I hope the coming year is interesting, fruitful, peaceful and memorable; full of creative and enriching challenges and relationships for us all.
Dec 23, 2009 Comments Off
Because I’ve been asking people to sum up their year in just a few words via The Mayfly Project since December 2000, I’ve been able to look back at the last decade of Mayfly entries (via the Internet archive as well as prodding old sql tables until they regurgitate their goodies) to see how things have changed, and what’s been notable or characteristic in each year.
I talk a lot about love. That’s good. You can tell when I met the lovely P, because everything changed.
I talk a lot about work. That’s partly because whatever I do for a job ends up being somewhat all-consuming. That’s both good and bad (in a stressy unhealthy way).
I travel more than I thought. Or rather, the moments of travel are significant when remembering a year. You can see the unfolding of years on a map.
I used to worry more than I do these days. That can only be good.
Started blogging. Found a groove. Found friends. Much laughter with flatmate. Secret squirrel at work. Living a London life. Good.
working, moving, flirting, lightning, loving, loving, windows painted shut, frustration, illness, love, islands, work, worry, enormous stress, but love throughout.
New beginnings – excited yet anxious. Irrational worries. Learning about control. Usual work stress: need something more. Changing, growing. Home = Love.
Stress, moving, noise, mistake, moving again, hotness, swimming in a warm sea (twice), confronting illness, lifestyle revolution, promotion, onwards, together.
Chilly walks, wedding, work, sea swimming, view of Africa, anxiety, old/new job, driving lessons, cat, more love than ever.
Adopted cat. Passed. Conquered London, England, Scotland, Wales. Took many pictures. Drew on many whiteboards. Became increasingly creative/neurotic. These attributes not necessarily connected.
Frustration, uncertainty, idiots, “just a bit longer…” Meanwhile, focused on photography, windswept places, friends, cat, love, decluttering. Resolved not to wait. Bollocks to them.
Goodbye old, hello new job. Commuting underground, overground, mind wandering free. California dreaming. A series of hospital waiting rooms. Profile building. Camera shutter clicks.
Lots of killing time in hotel rooms in interesting places, as well as meeting nice people. Had operation. Worked hard. Created things. Pondering move.
Didn’t buy a house, but tried (repeatedly). Still trying. Travelled a lot (mainly for work). Embarked on a significant journey. Enjoying it.
This blog, as I’ve always said, is a record of life, unfolding. And nowhere more-so than in the flight of each year’s mayfly.
Dec 22, 2009 Comments Off
Just a quick note to say that the Mayfly Project has buzzed in for another year.
Can you sum up your 2009 in 24 words?
Nov 27, 2009 5
I find myself thinking that if I can’t find someone on the Internet, it’s like they’re not real somehow.
Or I get suspicious that they’re hiding for some reason. Why? What have they got to hide?
Further to this point, I can’t believe how many people I once knew are internet-invisible. What’s wrong with them?
(Note: I’m on a somewhat delayed train travelling from Edinburgh – London, I’ve finished my book, my headphones have died, and there’s free WiFi, so I’m obviously doing the next-best thing: googling people who used to feature somehow in my life. What do you mean this isn’t normal? Don’t lie. You do it too.)
(For those with a sense of humour failure – there are several who have taken the time to find an IP anonymiser and send me hatemail related to the above: thanks! – I’m not suggesting that everyone on the planet should be online and findable via the internet, nor that I choose not to befriend anyone who isn’t visible online. That’s a gross oversimplification and deliberate misunderstanding of my post, above. I was merely musing in a late Friday night kind of way about my disappointment on googling old friends, contacts and colleagues that some seemed to have disappeared from view, which makes re-establishing contact with them tough. Clearly, that’s my problem, not theirs. PS: calm down, it’s only a blogpost)
Nov 18, 2009 3
When forcing someone to set security questions/answers in order to log in to a Y!Group, don’t ask them a name-based question (last name of first boss/first name of oldest cousin etc), allow them to provide an answer (sue, kim, ian, bob, tom, sam, jim, ann, etc) and then throw a strop that the answer needs to be at least 4 letters long.
With respect, if that was the case, you should have informed the parents a while ago, because you asked me for their name and THAT’S THEIR NAME.
Alternatively, you could always specify the minimum length requirement at the time of providing security Question/Answer couplets, instead of telling users they’ve done something wrong.
Oct 24, 2009 5
As part of Quadriga’s Online Communication 2009 conference, I was invited by the organisers to present some reflections about how to communicate with people online, drawn from both personal and professional experiences, in the form of an after-dinner speech. This was a new experience for me: I’ve never done an after-dinner speech before. Lots of presentations, lectures, debates and panels, but nothing in quite this format before, with no visual aid, nestled in between main course and dessert.
Rather than just post my notes, here’s a fully-written up version of what I said, including links to sources, resources, inspirations and further reading. Forgive the slightly odd formatting, with so many paragraphs – it’s structured this way to reflect the emphasis and pauses and topic sections as I spoke.
If anyone wants it, I was thinking about making an audio version available to download, because this is fairly long (about 25 minutes) – let me know if this would be interesting to you. And if you’re interested in me giving this presentation (or one similar) at an event you’re organising, do get in touch.
When I first told my friends I was coming to Amsterdam to speak to a room full of online communication executives, they asked me why I had to fly to Amsterdam to do that. Why do we all need to get together in one room? Couldn’t I just do it by email, maybe in a newsletter or a series of tweets?
Well, maybe – but if that had been the case, I wouldn’t have got to enjoy such a delicious meal and wouldn’t have met so many of you face to face. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that.
Actually, yesterday I asked my Twitter contacts whether there’s anything they’d recommend to a room full of the best and brightest communication professionals in Europe. I got a lot of interesting answers, many of which I’ll draw on later, but I particularly liked this suggestion from a contact who said:
“Just tell them they should promote the juniors for two months and let them run wild over the internet.”
Well, it’s an idea. Not sure it’s the first thing you could do, but still…
When Quadriga were putting together the conference programme, I was asked to present my perspective on online communication from “both sides of the wall” – as a keen online user both personally and professionally.
I’s just like to note that that implies the wall is somehow this insurmountable, divisive thing which is rarely scaled. In fact, the walls are coming down. I think it’s remarkably easy – and getting easier – to hop from one side to the other, and in fact the boundaries are blurring for many of us every day. I count myself as incredibly lucky that my professional life draws on my personal experiences and passions.
As part of that, I have a confession to make.
Read the rest of this entry »
Sep 29, 2009 9
Keep meaning to carve out some time and download some of the stuff going on in my head at the moment. There’s a lot swirling around, about various topics.
So more as a note to self than anything else, I want to write about:
- My talk from Interesting 2009 about social rituals of drinking
- My interruptable face
- Photographic games and play
…but not necessarily in that order.
So please feel free to tell me which (if any) you’d like to hear about first – or some other topic, if there’s something you’d like me to wibble about. The weight of public expectation might actually gird me into doing it, you never know.
In exchange, there’s something you can do for me: I’m due to talk to a group of Communication Directors in a few weeks about how (/not) to communicate with bloggers and communities of social media users. I’m doing it without slides and in a relatively informal way, but I’m keen to incorporate as many blog readers/writers voices as possible in order to keep it provocative and (maybe) fresh.
What would you tell a communication director about interacting with the blogosphere? What are some of the home truths about their activities which we can reveal?
I’ll summarise after the event, of course. (Feel free to mail me if you don’t want to leave a comment)
Sep 2, 2009 2
Yesterday, a new empowering climate change campaign called 10:10 launched with the aim of encouraging as many people, companies and institutions as possible to sign up to a pledge to cut their personal carbon footprints by 10% during 2010.
Here’s a chunk from one of the articles from yesterday’s Guardian G2:
The 10:10 campaign, which is launched today in partnership with the Guardian, is designed both to answer the call for immediate action, and to offer individuals and organisations a meaningful way of taking it. It is the brainchild of Franny Armstrong, the irrepressible film-maker behind The Age of Stupid, a powerful docudrama about our failure to tackle climate change. The idea is compellingly simple: by signing up, individuals and organisations from multinational companies to schools and hospitals commit to doing their best to cut their emissions by 10% by the end of 2010, precisely the sort of deep, quick cut the scientists say is needed.
You can read much more about the initiative, the launch, the philosophy behind it and the difference that such an apparently small commitment would make here on the Guardian environment site (The Guardian is a supporting partner of 10:10, though this probably earns it a higher place on the IoS’s smuggest Britons list – this year we were included for being “Patronising toffs, taking their revenge on the world after being bullied at school.” Does that mean the IoS are pro-bully? Or just bitter? Most confusing. Anyway, I digress.) or at the official campaign site at http://www.1010uk.org.
I signed up yesterday:
10% is a very achievable reduction for the vast majority of people, and can be made through a small number of very simple (and not too hairshirted) actions (which we should all be doing anyway and which take very little effort)..
I’m inspired to think that a committed movement of people making small, personal but significant actions might be able to make a real difference. What was it Margaret Mead said…?
I hope you will consider signing up, too, and encourage your friends to do likewise, even though I know that many people try to live in an environmentally-sensitive way already, for lots of varying individual reasons.
Proselytizing aside, I went along to the launch event yesterday at the Tate Modern on London’s south bank, and had a few thoughts and experiences there that I wanted to jot down while they were still in my head.
Read the rest of this entry »
Jul 29, 2009 Comments Off
Before you do anything else, listen to this:
Richard and the Young Lions – Open Up Your Door
Even if it’s not strictly your kind of music, I defy you not to have shimmied your shoulders a bit, or bobbed your head fractionally, or tapped your feet. Some kinds of music just make people feel like dancing. In fact, I’ve been listening (and deskbopping) to that song on a loop all day since my friend, neighbour and co-conspirator in localised pub quiz glory Dan Maier posted it to Twitter earlier. Good, innit?
Dan’s hosting the fifth birthday of his 13th floor club – a 60s (garage, pop & psych) music event – this Saturday night (1 August 2009) downstairs at the Albany, which is a pub and music venue opposite Great Portland Street tube station.
I don’t know all the details, but it’s about £5 in after 10pm (FREE before) and it goes on until about 2am. It’s only a small venue – maybe 100 people can fit in? – and thankfully it’s dark enough in the club that you can dance without people thinking it’s weird. Unless that’s what you want, of course… In fact, sometimes people dress up specially in keeping with the era, and I understand that this weekend, the the Actionettes will be appearing, which will be awesome.
In case that hasn’t convinced you to make plans to come along on Saturday, I asked Dan to bung me links to some of his favourite tracks, exactly the sort of thing that might be played on the night. Here are a few, with more after the jump…
Cindy & Bert – Der Hund Von Baskerville (1969
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Hold Tight (1965)
Jul 25, 2009 34
Over the last 9+ years, it’s become a bit of a habit to record the passing of the year in this blog via the medium of when the flying ants come out to play. It’s the closest we get to a nature diary round these parts, and is still the best reason I’ve got for keeping this blog going for such a long time.
As in previous years, the date seems to be geographically clustered, and after an early flurry of early risers at the end of June, I can now confirm that it does, indeed, appear to be Flying Ant Day in London.
In fact, so confident am I now about the timekeeping of the little winged bastards and their habitual parade, during yesterday’s torrential rain I Twittered that I confidently predicted that today would be Flying Ant Day in London – it’s the right date range, they usually come out on a hot day after rain – and lo and behold, I was right. Woo!
|Year||FAD London SW14||FAD elsewhere|
|2004||22 July||6 July (West London)
17 July (West London, Hackney, Manor Park, Roy Bridge)
27 July (Didcot)
|2005||29 July||12 July (West London)
2 August (Mill Hill)
|2006||12 July||12 July (Enfield)
17 July (West Sussex, West London)
26 July ILondon SE14)
|2007||19 July||8 July Nottingham
13 July (West Sussex)
14 July (East Sussex)
15 July (Portsmouth, Harrow, East London, West London, West Berkshire, Oxford, Verwood, Dorset, Kent, Crawley, Reading)
16 July (Romford, Dublin)
17 July (Heysham, Lancashire)
19 July (Derby, Derby, Walsall, Bermondsey, Marlborough)
|2008||22 July||22 July (EC1 – my workplace), Kent – via Hg, Wood Lane W12 – via Cliff & lmg, E11 – via tomskerous, NW5 – via Girlwithaonetrackmind, W14 Barons Court – via ChrisL|
|2009||25 July||SW13/SW14, Finsbury Park|
So we can see that the slight anomolies of early sightings we experienced in the last few years have now been corrected, and we’re back in the range of 2004.
This year, as last, I’ve been tickled by the number of people who IMed/twittered/emailed me directly to let me know when they saw the little flying feckers, because (in the words of one) they now associate FAD with me. Thanks! (I think)
Let me know if you’ve seen them in your area and I’ll update the table…