D4D

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Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Planted

Since moving to the new place, I haven’t had a garden – although that’s fine with me.  What I do have is a small yard, which I’ve sorted and improved over the time I’ve been here. None of it is permanent – although some of it will likely stay as and when I move – and it’s been enough. I’ve got a number of pots with stuff in, some of which have lasted a fair time, and some of which have changed each year so far.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been changing over the things that didn’t work for me last year – some that actually worked too well, because they took up too much space, and some that just didn’t work out, didn’t grow, or didn’t suit what I wanted.

This time round I’ve got rid of things like the flowering redcurrant bushes that grew way too much, and the raspberries that didn’t grow at all. (That was more down to a mistake when I planted them – I didn’t also add in something round the edges, so the cats treated those two pots as pissoirs)

The redcurrants have been replaced by small salix willows, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work out. I replaced the raspberries with new ones, and planted some supporting/cover stuff round the edges as well, which should deter the cats.

It’ll be good to see how these things all grow and work out, and then next year replace the stuff that hasn’t worked out this year. Always fun, always changing.

Married At First Sight

Following on from Valentine’s Day, Channel 4 has a documentary series going about people who have allowed themselves to be paired up by scientists and specialists, signing up to meet on their wedding day. (It turns out that this is actually the third series of it in the UK – and the results on the previous two series haven’t been all that promising!)

They’ve done it with some run-up in order to do all the stuff like declarations of intent to marry, telling family and friends, and make all the preparations. So they get told that they’ve been paired up (and are now ‘engaged’) and then six weeks later they’ll meet for the first time and get married.

Thursday’s episode was the first one, and basically all the set-up and preparations. From there I assume it’ll be about the aftermath, and how they work out once the wedding is done.

Marriage is something that, to be honest, leaves me cold – it really hasn’t ever appealed to me at all, and it’s never been on the list of Things To Do. And so far, there’s never been anyone I’ve been with who’s changed that opinion, or made me think differently about it at all.

But I do still find it an interesting concept, and the whole arranged-marriage type thing, of seeing how people handle that and so on.  Whether I continue watching the programme or not is a different matter, but for now it’s at least vaguely interesting. We’ll see.

Post-Valentine

As usual, I did absolutely sod-all for Valentine’s Day.  (A revelation that comes as no shock at all to anyone who knows me)

However, I am glad it’s over and done with. To me, it’s the end of the really useless marketing cobblers for a while, all the materialistic shite about presents, cards, gifts and the like.   Sure, there’ll still be useless marketing cobblers about other stuff – Easter, Holidays, Hallowe’en and whatever, but at least that’s all at a greatly reduced level than the shite that goes around the Festering Season and Valentines.

Onwards and upwards, and all that piss.

Writing Tools

At the moment, I’m waiting for some new tech stuff to arrive, that will (hopefully) enable me to do more writing while I’m out and about.

All my current easily-portable tech is either too big (laptop-sized) or has a shitty on-screen keyboard, which is OK for small amounts of typing (email etc.) but bloody hateful when it comes to writing larger amounts of text.

Weirdly, two are keyboard/typing alternatives, and the other is a new device that I’m pretty excited about, and hopeful for.

The first of the keyboards is the WayBlade – what looks like a really nice keyboard, and I’d like to finally get my hands on it. However, as I ordered it three fucking years ago, I’m not holding my breath for it to finally arrive.

The second one is a typing device, rather than a keyboard. It’s the Tap, a wearable device that appears to use chording as a typing method. It’ll take a bit of learning, but I had a device back in the 80s (the Microwriter AgendA) that also used a chording keyboard, so it shouldn’t be too unfamiliar.

Both of those will be useful to have (assuming they actually arrive) regardless – well, it’d be nice to have one or the other, but knowing my luck, both will turn up within a couple of days of each other. But whichever one works best will stay, and be useful with the phone at least.

The final device though is a bit different.  Way back when I wrote about writing tools before, I waxed lyrical about the old Psion devices, the 3a/mx, the Revo and the Siena, that were tiny devices with brilliant keyboards – and how it was surprising that there weren’t any similar things around currently.

And now, there’s a new device coming, the Gemini. They’ve obviously worked from the same kind of viewpoint I had, including partnering with the people who designed the Psion devices. They look really promising, and I hope it’ll be as good as it appears to be.

So hopefully, going on the evidence of preview reviews and so on, the Gemini might just turn out to be a decent replacement for most of the stuff I currently use the phone for. It’ll be interesting to find out, anyway.

 

Booking Time Out

At the end of 2017 (and of 2016, and of 2015 – I know, I know) I said about needing to take more time out, take some breaks from work and so on.

I am rotten at taking time off – it’s never been high on my driving factors, and really it just ends up being expensive, and me just spending time on my own somewhere else.  And with all that, I find it way too easy to put off booking holidays and time away, it’s such a low priority that it always falls off the bottom of the list of things to do.

So this year, I’ve booked stuff already. I’ve got three breaks locked in, booked and paid for.  One in February, one in May, and one in November.

It’ll be interesting to see, come the end of 2018, whether I feel better for having those breaks or not.  I’m not sure, but I’m going to give it all a go, and find out.

Friendship Gap

Something odd occurred to me the other day, and it’s been bouncing round my skull a bit since.

Basically, it’s pretty simple – I realised that I don’t have any real friends or connections still in my life from the time I was with Herself, or her successor. Nothing. It’s like there’s this eight year hiatus, from 2004 through to 2012.

Plenty from before 2004, plenty from after 2012.  Just a complete blind-spot over those years.  In some ways it’s like they simply never happened.

I find I feel like that with a lot of the stuff that went on – a lot happened, a lot changed, and by the end of it, there were very few positive memories at all.

Of course, hindsight has shown that period proved to have some massive mistakes in it – but at the same time, it looks now like I sort of knew that even while they were going on, even while they were good (or at least OK) I wasn’t leaving any anchors or connections to it all.

What annoys me most is that I don’t quite know why or how that happened.

Reducing Caller Spam

When I moved to the current place, I got a new phone number – not surprising, as I was in a new area, and a new (to me) house.  As always, I registered that number with TPS and so on, and made sure it was ex-directory.  I usually only use landline phones for broadband purposes – although it turns out I also use it here for some calls, as the mobile coverage inside the house is shockingly bad.  So I have a phone landline, and a phone connected to it.

Unbeknownst to me, the number I got had obviously been owned by someone else before me, and that person was the type of fucking moron who’d sign up for all kinds of promotions, and ran up all kinds of debts.  So right from Day One I was getting a couple of calls a week looking for the previous occupant. (Well, the previous owner of that phone number – it wasn’t a name connected to the house at all)  And because they were for a previous person, it turns out that TPS doesn’t really apply.  (Which is an interesting, and fucking annoying, loophole)

Even so, I re-registered with TPS, and put a spam-calls block on the line. (Which was absolutely useless, and so came off again) It was only a couple of calls a week, and usually while I was out at work. *shrug*

Over the last two years though, it got worse.  The phone’s call log would get filled up in the course of a week, all with “Number Withheld” and “International” numbers, along with the ones who didn’t conceal their numbers, who left messages and blocked up everything else.  I used a couple of other number-blocking services, none of which did much good.  Hell, if I were cynical I’d say they were the ones who sold the number on and spread it ever further. Not that I’ll ever know for sure, one way or the other.

Late last year, the situation was ridiculous. We’d gone from a couple of calls a week right up to filling the phone’s call log every day.  Nothing was working to prevent the calls, and it was just getting stupid.

So I bit the bullet, and changed my phone number. I explained to BT why I was doing it – in the hope that they now blacklist that number completely (although I doubt it, they’ll just have farmed it off on some other unsuspecting sap) – and got a new number allocated to me. Same set-up, it’s ex-d, and registered with TPS.

The big difference though, is that in the three months since I got it changed, I haven’t received a single solitary spam call. My phone call log stays blank (as I said, I don’t use it that often) and it’s lovely.

Sometimes these extreme measures are the ones we need to take. I wish I’d done this one two years ago…

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