43 Things

I got all depressed this morning for 2 reasons. Firstly I got the bill for next year’s maintenance charge on my mum’s place and it’s estimated at £1016 – that’s almost $2,000. Can you believe that?? Secondly I can’t figure out what the hell all this crazy Windows stuff is all about. It’s like genetically mutated C++, and my reference book for Windows programming (from a course I did last year), is 5,000 miles away in a box somewhere in my rented storage room. Sigh.

I went to a yoga class at lunch with a girlfriend from work (how brave are we?). It’s a 30 minute session and is part of the corporate gym membership, so it’s free, which given this mornings’ news, is doubly good. It’s about time I got off my backside and used my body for something it was designed for (ie not sitting in a chair all day). And it cheered me up a bit. It’s good preparation for when Steve and I get home and de-suspend our gym membership…

Anyway, this afternoon, while my old boss wandered in and out of our office singing Birdhouse In Your Soul over and over again, I found this great website called 43 things. You put in your goals, and then can update each one with news and photos on your progress.

Not only that, but you can link it to your blog if you have one, so that the entries you put in for your goals also appear on your site!

Not only that, but you can also add places you want to visit (it’s joined with www.43places.com).

Not only that, but when you enter somewhere you want to go, or something you want to achieve, you can see how many other people have entered the same goals.

Cool eh? You can visit my starter list (43 things came to an end), and keep track of how I’m progressing.

All Good Stuff

Work has suddenly become a bit more interesting. I’m getting set up for a new project, which is going to involve Windows programming (a far cry from Linux-land, where I have been for the past year or so). I’m really pleased to be working on something meaningful at last. Steve is also happy too, as he is moving onto a new lower-level project that will be all his own work. Again, a far cry from the huge team we’ve been in for the last couple of years. New boss seems ok so far, and has been v. helpful with getting everything I need (although I did have to prompt him with a “give me something to do now” email on Monday morning). I have a piece of software to deliver by end-March, so am expecting the next 3 months to be busy.

Only three more weeks left in the US before we head home. Steve and I had a look online at flats to rent at lunch and it seems as though the rental market is much better value now than it was 6 months ago when we first looked. Am v. excited at the thought of moving to a new place and finally getting all our stuff out of storage. It also means I can scan in all my old photos and add them to the site. Lots of yuk pictures of me at 15 with dodgy hair and bad fashion sense (whaddya mean not much change there then?).

I’m feeling all Helen Mirren today, so might have to buy wine and go home and watch Prime Suspect.

A Mostly Pointless Post

For the first time in ages, I’ve actually achieved something today. I have:

a) Finally got round to uploading a long overdue photo assignment for an online course I’m taking.
b) Finally bought some new make-up to replace the stuff I threw out a couple of months ago that was 2 years old.
c) Done two loads of washing!
d) Tidied the whole flat, including scrubbing the horrid granite counter that is a mottled brown pattern that disguises everything that gets dropped on it. This may sound good, and it is – if you don’t care about how clean it is. Someone could vomit on it and it still wouldn’t show up – it’s the worst counter top I have ever seen in a kitchen anywhere.
e) Started my Christmas shopping (huzzah!).
f) Bought some bunk beds for the spare room at my mum’s house (technically I did this yesterday, but I’m still counting it).

And tomorrow is my first day working for my new manager at the Company of Chaos. So much excitement, eh?

The Trouble with Blogs

A long time before blogs were “invented”, I used to like to go to Yahoo Geocities, look at people’s personal web pages and be amazed at the kind of stuff that people would post about themselves. It was always the cringe-inducingly embarrassing personal home pages I liked the best. And not in a mean or nasty way, I just loved the fact that there were people out there who wanted to put so much personal information online.

Now the world of weblogs has exploded into existence, I no longer loiter in the Geocities directory looking for the ultimate “My Home Page”, but instead take a wander through the incredibly vast and diverse selection of blogs online. This manner of surfing means you inevitably encounter the crappest of the crap, so I just have to get this off my chest: here are the things that make me screw my eyes up and alt-tab to a new window when a blog opens in my browser.

1) Black backgrounds
Unless you’re a photographer or an artist, a black background makes your blog painful to read and is the equivalent of Adrian Mole painting his bedroom walls black in a fit of teenage angst. It’s not stylish, it’s not sophisticated and no matter how interesting the content, it doesn’t matter, because no one can read it for more than 3 seconds without getting a headache.

2) Cheap advertising
If it flashes it’s even worse. Selling out to ads like this makes your site look like a gateway for Viagra and valium.

3) Massive picture headers
I just love it when I have to scroll down to get past a big fat picture of something I don’t even want to look at just to see if you’ve written anything that might indicate you actually do have a brain in your head.

4) Political blogs
I don’t give a damn if you’re a neo-quazi-fascist or a molten-antisocialist-leftlaner, and neither does anyone else. There’s enough politics in enough well-respected news sites already to keep everyone happy. Seriously, unless you’re an aspiring MP, it’s just unforgivable.

5) Bitch blogs
Ha ha ha, it’s so funny to read yet another woman’s attempt at vitriolic humour. As if we don’t all get enough crap from just leaving our houses every morning and having to deal with the general public anyway. An occasional rant over something that’s really p*ssed you off is amusing. It makes me smile and sometimes even laugh, because I’ve probably been annoyed at the same thing at some point in the past. Doing it for a living because you can’t actually think of anything else interesting to say is b.o.r.i.n.g. and fuels the misogynistic, all-women-are-bitches stereotype An amendment here. After some research on the subject, these women aren’t really mean. They adore their babies, and husbands, and pet cats/dogs/hamsters. They just like moaning a lot. Which is kind of funny really, because they’re trying to emulate Cruella DeVille and ending up more like Pauline from Eastenders.

And that’s enough of that. In light of point 5, I don’t want to be seen as some kind of crazy hypocrite. In case you’re wondering, here are some things I like:

1) Being able to find your RSS feed easily.

2) Everyday life stuff – I’m nosy and so are lots of people. You went to the shops with the back of your skirt tucked into your knickers? You lost 5 pounds and told your idiot boyfriend you were leaving him? You cooked for 6 and want to share the recipe for the best dessert you’ve ever made? Tell me more – I love this stuff, it makes me feel normal.

3) Frequent posts. I get so disappointed when I visit to see what’s happening in your life and there’s no news.

4) Goal oriented writing. I don’t care if it’s get your book published, get super fit, or get pregnant. It’s inspirational to read about and I want you to succeed. Even though I’ve probably never met you.

5) Unexpected humour. Some people write about misery and angst with incredible talent. I laugh out loud at some stuff I read and I think that’s great, because humour is a better antidote than violence, drugs or suicide. Please keep it up.

I feel better now I’ve said all that.