Uplink

@uplink

The less you know about me the more I reveal. #100days

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2019-05-20 Lost access to Listed

(aaaaand I'm back)

I've lost my access to my listed blog. I uninstalled the extension, but when I re-installed realised I didn't have the unique key to login. Game over. What a shame for that account I was just getting going. Plus I can't go back and edit or delete any of that content. Here's a tip. Don't lose your credentials key you are stuffed if you do. I knew I'd somehow manage to screw something up I usually do.

So it's been a pretty decent day so far. Managed to power through most of my presentation that I prepared for the week. It's looking pretty good. I'm sure J will find a way to tear it apart though. I've put plenty of effort into it and I'm sure that shows. I'm as confident as I can be, I know my shit so will be able to address any tough questions that come my way.

I've gotta have a shave tonight and get the smart clothes out and ironed. In my experience looking the part is as important as what you say. Dress sharp, look healthy bright eyed and it goes a long way to influencing people. That's the thing it is about subtly influencing those people that have flown over from the US to influence us. Take back control by looking great and feeling great. To that end, no booze tonight not even a drop. I'll cook some chicken and some salad - relatively healthy and then get a good nights sleep. Will need to be on the early train incase anything goes wrong.

In other news took B to the vet today. She's not in season so can go to the carers this week. That's great news. Means no 3hr drive down to the inlaws. She is due though so we will see how that goes.

2019-05-19 Bella Season

2019-05-19

It's been one of those days. Our puppy "B" has decided to have her first season. Or at least we think that's what is about to happen. She managed to time it with the busiest week of our year. We had planned to put her into doggy day care. They won't accept here in that condition so it looks like a 3 hour drive to the in-laws to look after. What a right royal pain in the arse. Honestly, like we don't have enough going on, but bless her all the same it's not her fault and she brings so much joy to our lives.

Work wise, why do people email on a Sunday. What wankers. I mean I work hard enough as it is but I'm not answering emails on today. Sunday's are probably the most precious day of the week for me. A chilled time for family and friends before the madness of the week. I shouldn't of checked, but I did. There was the email. An trivial ask, but he can fuck right off. My new boss is already pissing me off. He's just rude. There is no need for shitty emails on a Sunday, demanding information. I'm no way rising to that. He can go do one. I've worked for people like him before. Very Alpha male, likes to call all the shots. I'll just play the game, I always do. I'll get the last laugh as I'm not the one dedicating my time to work on a Sunday. Simple. I only have one laptop that I use for both work and play. In fact it is a company issued laptop. The very one I'm writing this on now. I'll be shutting my email off in future. If he was a nicer bloke I might respond. I just don't deal well with people barking orders at me.

This blog again has the danger of veering off into the negative. Maybe that's not a bad thing. It's good to vent. I'm feeling the pressure this week that's for sure. If you met me in life you'd know I was the most positive person you would be likely to meet. But we all think certain things and like to let things off our chest. I think this lil' blog could be just that. Things will get back on an even keel after next week and become more positive for sure. Normal service will resume. That's a promise.

In other news, C's business is thriving. But she's trying to manage this alongside her day job. I'm massively full of admiration. I couldn't do what she does. Not only is she pumping herself full of drugs to try and give us a baby, she's building an incredible business that she can run from home when she has the baby. If only that last round of IVF worked, we'd be on course for a perfect year. As it is, we are still in total limbo.

Here I am again, not writing articles as such. I really want to write with a bit more meaning. This is just babble as it comes out of my head. No structure, not much considered thinking. I guess maybe that's what I meant by 'uplink' I'm just sending small packets of information to this server, largely in real time. The name is not important, the process is. I have a few predictions for my writing next week. Either:

  1. I will be too busy to write and post - It's crazy busy week next week
  2. I will vent a lot next week - there is a shit load of stuff bubbling to the surface
  3. I won't write because the stuff I want to share is waaay to personal to my work life
  4. I'll write, but I'll write some fluff article about motivation or marketing or something.

I really hope it's number four. I'm being sensible, at least I hope I am. I'm not using real names. I'm trying to obscure the details. I'm also not being nasty, just factual. I expect someone could follow the clues I've left here and likely figure out who I am. Equally, I'd just deny it. But I'm rubbish at lying and getting worse. I'm a natural smiler and as soon as someone accuses me of lying - if I am I'll just smile. That gives it away right away. So I won't be lying here on this blog of mine, but I'll be smiling all the same. It's good to smile. It kinda makes the world go round. At least it does mine :)

2019-05-19 Predictions for next week

It's been one of those days. Our puppy "B" has decided to have her first season. Or at least we think that's what is about to happen. She managed to time it with the busiest week of our year. We had planned to put her into doggy day care. They won't accept her in that condition so it looks like a 3 hour drive to the in-laws to look after. What a right royal pain in the arse. Honestly, like we don't have enough going on, but bless her all the same it's not her fault and she brings so much joy to our lives.

Work wise, why do people email on a Sunday. What wankers. I mean, I work hard enough as it is but I'm not answering emails today. Sunday's are probably the most precious day of the week for me. A chilled time for family and friends before the madness of the week. I shouldn't of checked, but I did. There was the email. An trivial ask, but he can fuck right off. My new boss is already pissing me off. He's just rude. There is no need for shitty emails on a Sunday, demanding information. I'm no way rising to that. He can go do one. I've worked for people like him before. Very Alpha male, likes to call all the shots. I'll just play the game, I always do. I'll get the last laugh as I'm not the one dedicating my time to work on a Sunday. Simple. I only have one laptop that I use for both work and play. In fact it is a company issued laptop. The very one I'm writing this on now. I'll be shutting my email off in future. If he was a nicer bloke I might respond. I just don't deal well with people barking orders at me.

This blog again has the danger of veering off into the negative. Maybe that's not a bad thing. It's good to vent. I'm feeling the pressure this week that's for sure. If you met me in life you'd know I was the most positive person you would be likely to meet. But we all think certain things and like to let things off our chest. I think this lil' blog could be just that. Things will get back on an even keel after next week and become more positive for sure. Normal service will resume. That's a promise.

In other news, C's business is thriving. But she's trying to manage this alongside her day job. I'm massively full of admiration. I couldn't do what she does. Not only is she pumping herself full of drugs to try and give us a baby, she's building an incredible business that she can run from home when she has the baby. If only that last round of IVF worked, we'd be on course for a perfect year. As it is, we are still in total limbo.

Here I am again, not writing articles as such. I really want to write with a bit more meaning. This is just babble as it comes out of my head. No structure, not much considered thinking. I guess maybe that's what I meant by 'uplink' I'm just sending small packets of information to this server, largely in real time. The name is not important, the process is. I have a few predictions for my writing next week. Either:

  1. I will be too busy to write and post - It's crazy busy week next week
  2. I will vent a lot next week - there is a shit load of stuff bubbling to the surface
  3. I won't write because the stuff I want to share is waaay to personal to my work life
  4. I'll write, but I'll write some fluff article about motivation or marketing or something.

I really hope it's number two. I'm being sensible, at least I hope I am. I'm not using real names. I'm trying to obscure the details. I'm also not being nasty, just factual. I expect someone could follow the clues I've left here and likely figure out who I am. Equally, I'd just deny it. But I'm rubbish at lying and getting worse. I'm a natural smiler and as soon as someone accuses me of lying - if I am I'll just smile. That gives it away right away. So I won't be lying here on this blog of mine, but I'll be smiling all the same. It's good to smile. It kinda makes the world go round. At least it does mine :)

/uplink

2019-05-19 Sunday morning musings

Today I have no plans. I have a full on week next week. Some of the senior execs are over from the US. Plus a new boss. This is causing me some anxiety. I've been in this situation a many times before but the pressure is on like never before. I've got to finish my presentation for the meetings. I refuse to work today though. Not on a Sunday. I'll blast it out tomorrow and absolutely nail it. I'll write more on that situation tomorrow.

Today is a new day, time is running away. I've got to get a few things sorted as I'm on holiday at the end of the month. Really looking forward to that. Just some time to decompress and relax. On a beach in Spain. Bring it on. I really need got get in shape for that too. I've not been exercising recently. Mainly because the football season has ended. I'm not training on Wednesdays and I'm no longer playing a match on Sunday. Imma gonna get fat if this carries on. So I'll have to get some biking or running in. Also cut out the booze. Usually I'm not so vain, but we are on holiday with some friends. They don't usually see me topless. There is no way I'm covering up in the sunshine so I need to look at least a little bit trim. I'm not too worried as our main mate T is pretty chunky anyway. Doubt he'll be showing anything off. I'm sounding pretty vain here for sure. I guess we all are in some way. Here's a list of shit I need to get done for the holiday:

  • Order PIN for credit card (I don't use my credit card but need it to hire a car)
  • Order a transferwise card (cheaper for buying stuff abroad)
  • Book hire car

Right, now I've captured that I feel a bit better. Those are the biggies I need to get done. As no hire car and we'll not be able to get where we are going, or an expensive taxi!

MORE ON WRITING

Again my thoughts shift to the writing here. My plans for uplink. I'm still writing this in Standard Notes. Although I'm also backing this up into a single textfile in an encrypted disk partition on my mac. It's nice to have a backup and also have all of my words in one single massive text file. I've kept a journal for a while although always private. It's funny though because it was private I was less enthusiastic about it. I'd just capture the mundane. What I did, where I went, who I met. I didn't capture my thoughts or emotions. The weird thing is with a private audience - I'm opening up more, wearing my heart on my sleeve. Surely that's counter intuitive. Surely a completely private diary would be one where I would be bolder in my prose? I'm a funny old bean, I guess.

I am reading the other blogs here on listed. On the whole I'm fascinated. It's pretty cool to see other people's random thoughts. It lead me to look at other anonymous blogging platforms. One that stuck me as also neat is write.as. I guess it's a very similar model to this platform. I've not signed-up for Write.as and I'm not sure I'll bother. It looks a nice platform for sure, but I'm here now and can't be arsed to sign-up for yet another internet service. How many must I have registered for? Tens of dozens I guess. I'm happy here for now. I just like the feel of it. It feels a little niche. Like a little oasis amongst the madness of the internet. Write.as looks to much like promotion and too feature rich. Maybe I'll love it if I tried, but it's not for me not now.

Since I've been using this platform for notes and writing, I always seem to be drafting. I've got a tag for notes I've stated. These are fleeting thoughts that pop into my head. I'd love to extend these all out to longer articles, and I will. Articles might be too grand a word. These will be small musings - "thoughts on". I usually have these thoughts while I'm out and about so it's great this app is cross-platform. Although I guess I could carry a little physical note book with me. That would be kind of cool. I used to love writing in my physical journal. Maybe I'll go back to that one day. For now though digital is working for me.

Here's an example of some of the "thoughts on" drafts

  • Why google kills innovation
  • Why I love podcasts
  • Why I've stopped taking so many photos
  • Waiting for inspiration is a waste of time
  • Swearing online
  • Keeping a personal wiki
  • Good pain
  • Dreams for rent
  • Avoiding the news makes me happy
  • Connections vs Conversations

What a weird list. When am I going to find the time to write all those out into meaningful thoughts? Especially if I keep babbling none-sense like this post here.

/uplink

2019-05-18 Sometimes we all take massive hits

Dear listed,

I have no idea what the etiquette is for posting more than once a day here. This isn't twitter after all. So I don't really want to turn this into a microblog - tiny little tweets. But why would that matter even if I did? It seems to me that this is a place for sharing life texts. Life thoughts. If those happen to be twice a day then so be it. My own personal 100 days of writing doesn't mean that I only write once a day. (Frankly I skipped a day as work was so busy, I'm not counting) Enough rambling. Enough justifying this text. I'm writing so I'm in control and I can write what I want, and how often I want.

Since I'm in control, I just wanted to say that - everything is ok. Sure we had some rubbish news today. It's a massive setback and I'm absolutely gutted by it. We got on with the day though. Met family, went to a country show, ate some good food, drank some cheap wine. Back for a lovely home cooked Paella. Top notch. Exactly the type of day we both loved. Both will continue to love. But it's sad and it's brutal.

It's brutal because today isn't a normal day. There is no getting around it. We smiled, we loved, we forgot. But the truth is it's still there in the back of our minds. We are back to the start. Trying to build a family. We have the most perfect set-up for that. Lovely home, loving people, time and dedication. Biology has taken it's toll. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it's totally brutal because there is no way back. This is maybe too cryptic, as I'm still learning my comfort level on what to share.

I feel I could be writing a book here. A book of my life. Well not my full life, my life from now onwards. If I think in those terms then I don't mind sharing more personal stuff. One day I won't be here, but these words might persist. Why should I worry about being brutally authentic in these words now, if these words might be the only words that survive my mortal existence. I type therefore I am. At least for now. Enough rambling.

It's pretty clear to me that I'm using this platform to both talk to me and talk to you. Hey you - thanks for reading to this point. It's been a rubbish week for me. I'm generally mr positive; in work, in life, in everything. But not always, sometimes we all take some massive hits. Big ones - massive sucker punches.

Shit news means I'm typing. I've got no idea if I want this place to be a venting place for words. Or a happy place. Or any other number of emotions. Does anonymity get us to rant more? I'm generally more positive online. Almost candy floss positive. I don't swear online. Life is awesome online or so it seems. I really don't want this fantastic platform then to descend into a series of negativity for me. I want this journal - these words to be balanced. Totally balanced - open pure and authentic.

Life today was shit. A really awful day that was sugar coated in the best way we could, but getting out into the world and enjoying what we had. We still smiled and we loved. Sacred are those moments. Take someone you love and just spend a moment to smile with them.

In my last post (are these even posts?) I wrote some seriously personal stuff. Incredibly personal stuff, and everyone is using listed for different things, and what's personal to one person seems trivial for another. It seems I have so much to write about if only I open up. I did open up a rawness an openness and it felt right at the time. I might regret it in the future, who knows. But what is done is done. I'm done, I'm done with today, it's been a rubbish day that we made the best of. Tomorrow is a new day so let's crack on with that,,

Bye and thanks listed.

2019-05-18 The pregnancy test was negative

This is a highly personal note, but this is good for me to share anonymously (why? who knows - I should dig deeper on that).

The pregnancy test came back negative. C was obviously really upset, as am I. We've been trying now for nearly two years and this is our 3rd round of IVF. The chances were always going to be small, but we were hopeful none the less.

I didn't cry, does that make me not care? I'm feeling pretty detached from the whole process. I'm a realist and the chances of this cycle were around 15%. Those aren't good odds. I mainly feel bad for C. Not because I don't want to have a child, I do. It's just this process has been going on for so long I'm done with it. I really am. I'm sad and feel depressed, but I'm not upset. I don't feel the pressure like C, because all of the pressure is on her. I just don't like having to see my wife go through this on endless repeat for two years.

IVF is harder on the woman. Drugs so many drugs. All the bloke does is wank into a pot, then try to offer emotional support. Of which there is a lot to deal with. I wouldn't wish this process on anyone. It's a huge test of any relationship. Worst of all is the feeling of being back at square one. We don't even have any embryos frozen as we are only producing one egg per cycle. This makes a failed attempt a big hit and leaves a feeling of going backwards. A massive feeling of emptiness. I can see why it would really drag a person into the pit of despair. We are stronger than that, I think. But we've not been in this place before. That's the journey of life I suppose. Another chapter unfolding in the book that is yet to be written. The bad times can't take away all the good times we've had together or the good times to come in the future.

Who knows where we go from here. This process is expensive, but the biggest toll is not financial. It's an emotional rollercoaster, except there aren't any highs. You just want the ride to end so you can get off and carry on with a normal life. I've always been pretty level and pragmatic about things. No drama, just chill. But this is definitely getting to the point where we have to decide if this route is going to work for us or if we are just exploiting ourselves for false hope.

Things are pretty raw right now. Perhaps I'll come back to this topic in future writing. Perhaps this will all you will hear on this topic. It does feel quite cathartic to write this down. It feels a little nice to post it out there to humanity and share my story as life unfolds. The good times and the bad times. I want to grow as a person and I'm sharing this pain with myself as much as I am you the reader.

So despite this major disappointing news today. It's Saturday and the sun looks like it's shining in our little part of England. Well not quite, but it's not raining. We will try and have a good day today despite this setback.

On this listed thingy. I'm learning to open up a bit more. The recent FAQ on how this platform is as anonymous (as it can be) is giving me a bit of confidence to share more private thoughts. The whole philosophy of no comments or likes is really starting to feel a lot more natural for this type of writing.

2019-05-16 Why marketing is so difficult

Dear friends, I read this recently:

Marketing is the only field I know where once a new strategy has been tried and is found to work, it completely stops working.

Absolutely nailed it. This is the single reason marketing is tough.

Marketing is all about using channels, techniques and messaging in unique and creative ways that stand out from the crowd to get you mindshare for whatever it is you are promoting. As soon as you find the winning formula everyone knows about it and copy it, so so it's longer effective.

That's what makes us marketers a little bit bonkers. We have to keep trying new things. Doing the same thing as you did before means you are effectively going backwards. Did you ever meet a successful marketer that wasn't trying new things, a bit of a risk taker?

Pushing things forward to try brand new ideas can lead to challenging conversations in a business. How does a marketer build a business case that demonstrates ROI for a brand new marketing strategy or programme? It's not easy and involves some guesswork and intuition. Two words that most CFOs seem to hate. Nothing in marketing is predictable. It sounds unbelievable, but I've been in a meeting where someone has suggested we "create a viral marketing campaign". Yeah, like that's something you can just roll-out.

That said, the challenge of constantly trying to find a winning strategy is is what makes it a such an interesting career choice.

Cheers and all the best - just another of my 100 days of writing challenge

2019-05-14 Time to reboot of SMART goals

Dear friends,

I'm sure you all know about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound).... Yawn, soooo BORING and so late 2000's management speak. Time for a reboot.

I gave myself 10 minutes to think of a better set of words for the acronym SMART goals:

  • Simple
  • Memorable
  • Aspirational
  • Rewarding
  • True

Here's why this SMART acronym is bang on for goal setting:

Simple

A goal doesn't need to be complicated. The more simple the goal, the more powerful. Goals are the end result, not the tactics on the 'how' to do stuff. Here's some simple goal examples. "Grow revenue by 5%", "Run 5k in less than 30 mins", "Generate more pipeline for sales", "Write every day for 100 days". Simple goals may be less specific, but I really believe goals have to be at a macro level. Not everyone will agree with me - but when simple goals are combined with the following four points, they become very powerful.

Memorable

Simple and memorable go together in perfect harmony. The point is this - why have a goal, if you can't remember it? A goal is usually a longer term commitment. Something you need to work at everyday. If you don't live the goal you will fail. You need it etched in your brain, not on a spreadsheet or HR system that you need to look-up. Forgotten goals are a complete waste of time. Make your goals memorable.

Aspirational

Generally we all have daily wins. We are all growing and achieving better things each day. That's capitalism and growth at work, things bubble along nicely and we if we ride the current on the whole we will succeed. But, that's not a goal, that's just the norm. A goal should be a disrupter, that's what I aspire to. I'm not settling for a goal that doesn't push me - no one should. Equally, we rarely, if ever acheive goals on our own. An aspirational goal is something that a team will get behind too.

Rewarding

What's the point in setting a goal if there is no reward. A reward doesn't need to me monetary by the way, it could be in the form of recognition, fitness, more time, love, gratitude,, winning awards. Money helps though, it can be a motivator for sure, but not always. The reward should be personal. So many times, I've seen SMART goals, that just don't reward success. "It's your job" is not exactly a reward for hitting goals, especially aspirational ones. A compelling reward is fundamental to success.

True

True goals, are things that we really honestly want in life or work, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve them. It often takes a huge amount of self sacrifice and single mindedness, but if you truly want something in your life, then you have to do what it takes to get there. If you develop goals that aren't true, you are just setting yourself up to fail.

So there you have it a few more thoughts for my 100 days of writing.

Cheers and all the best.

2019-04-30 Thoughts on Winning the Leage

On Sunday the vets footy team I'm part of won the league title. Currently unbeaten over 13 games with one game to go.
I contributed a this season. Always coming off the bench. Sometimes for only for 10 mins, sometimes longer.

Thoughts on Winning the league

  • A league season is totally different to a one off game. I know that sounds obvious, but it galvanises a team, makes training more fun and provides a long term goal.
  • The comradery in football is second to none. There simply is nothing like it, especially over the course of a season.
  • Playing the arch rivals in the league is proper emotional a combination of nerves, excitement and adrenaline.
  • Although we all take it seriously, some people more than others
  • Watching from the sidelines when you are part of the squad is totally different to watching a team you support.
  • Being part of team over the season gives a better perspective of how professional footballers feel - I know this sounds stupid, but it does give you a tiny perspective into their motivations and fears.
  • Seeing how much a win means to other team mates and coaches is the ultimate motivator.
  • I don't know what would have happened if we lost, I'm in a squad of players that would take it very badly indeed.

Thoughts on 11 aside Vets football

  • Space and time, so much of it, no need to panic on the ball
  • Stick to your job. There's no point trying to be a hero if you can't do your main job
  • As above, work hard to get back into position
  • Pitches are better soft and damp, a rock solid pitch will break your feet
  • Defence is one of the best forms of attack. Work it from the back.
  • Always face the ball if you can, play can start quickly
  • knees and ankles take a beating
  • Just because someone is old and fat doesn't mean they can't play. Underestimate anyone at your peril.
  • Some people take it way too seriously and will kick you and call you a ****
  • Other teams can bottle it all together, which is disappointing. If you are in a league put out a team
  • Keeping the better half happy is key to spending every Sunday playing football

So all in all a great experience and I really hope to be part of something next year. At 40 I'll still have a bit of time before my body starts falling apart.

2019-05-13 Powerpointing should be a verb and require a license

Dear friends,

As a conservative estimate I am exposed to around 2 hours of Powerpoint a week. This varies from weeks where I see zero Powerpoint, to conferences or meetings with up to 8 hours of Powerpoint a day. So during my career I reckon I have watched around 1680 hours of powerpoint. That's a lot of slides. You need 10,000 hours of something before you become an expert. So I'm about 16% expert on watching Powerpoint. Oh the joy!

How has this not become a verb? A bit like "Googling" which is of course a term we all use for searching the web. "Powerpointing" should be the verb for presenting slides. "Good luck with your Powerpointing today..." or, "Did you see Mark's Powerpointing today, it was awesome...".You get the idea. I might try using this and see if it catches on. You heard it here first.

Another thing, with probably billions of hours and dollars wasted in employees sitting through mind numbing Powerpoints. There should be a license to Powerpoint. All Powerpointers should obtain a Class B license to be able to present internally, say in groups of up to 10 people. Class A licenses are required for public Powerpointing or groups of 10+ people.

A final thought, Microsoft are missing a trick. With all this Powerpointing going on in pretty much every business on the planet, can you imagine how much a cheeky little banner ad would be worth?

Cheers and all the best,

More musings for day five of my writing challenge. Hopefully, this injected a bit of humour into your day. You can now proceed to your nearest Powerepointing room for your next meeting.

2019-05-12 The Footy Season Wraps with a win

So the footy season is over, both for me as a player and the English Premier League. There's still the champions league to go and the FA cup, but the league is done.

I play in a vets football team. That is a team of players over 35. That means we are all falling apart physically, but we are all super competitive. We've already won the league, but we were playing Ash a team of physical and tough players. We wanted to finish on a high. We'd won every game of the season so far. We wanted to win every single game. We had a problem today. The ref hated us. He had it in for us from the minute we kicked off. I have no idea why, maybe he was mates with one of the Ash players. Anyway, they scored first. That was a disaster and never happened before. It was a soft penalty, like really soft. All the fouls today were soft 1-0.

We had to come from behind. We pulled one back, but had a couple of bookings. Some for tackles, mostly for dissent. crazy really I've never seen anything like it. The ref was shouting full blast at our players. I think he was a bit out of control. So it was 1-1 still in the running. 1-1 at half time.

Then they smashed one one in after half time. 2-1 I don't really remember the goal, but it hurt. I really thought here we go, we will lose this now. Pulled one back lovely 2-2 more bookings, more dissent. I then get called up to warm up. On I go with 10 mins left. How much I wanted to score the winner. Would have loved it.

Sending off - our keeper only goes and gets sent off! We are down to 10 men for the last 7 minutes. What a nightmare. He deserved it too. Got taken down, then went to go and kick the pplayer back.

Game carries on with 10 men on our-side. I played my part, but didn't score the winner - I did see it bobble in though from a Westy cross-shot. 2-3 game out. We do, we cling on for the next few mins and get the win. Then all hell breaks loose. Swearing shouting, kicking stuff around, going after the ref in front of his kid. Totally out of order. I know he was awful, maybe even corrupt, but don't go after the guy in front of his kid.

I expect we will get a bad match report. We also played a player that wasn't eligiable and so could be in deep shit. Never mind we won the league and won every game. It was hard fought, but decent.

What a season. Absolutely loved every minute. Top bunch of guys, committed to the end.

Bloody loved every second.

2019-05-12 A review of Filth by Irvine Welsh

Just finished reading Filth by Irvine Welsh (spoilers).

This is a good book, and very dark. It lives up to the blurb of having themes of sexism, racism and other pretty offensive topics. The main protagonist is a disgusting human. The crude antics he gets up to involving drugs, sex and other immoral behaviour are pretty nasty. He's a scheming and devious arsehole that you wouldn't want to meet.

Doesn't sound that positive for a role in a book and why read? Well, I like a dark book occasionally and this one is full of dark humour. It's not a warm story, but it is compelling. I blasted through this book in a week. As the story progresses there is a separate monologue from a tapeworm living inside the main characters gut. This worm evolves to have a consciousness and fills in some of Bruce's (main character) past. The reader is then more compelled to feel sorry for Bruce right up to the tragic end.

As I said a good read, which was my first of Irvine Welsh's novels. It was a bit tricky at times due to the Scottish dialect used and lack of quotation marks in the text.

I'd give this a solid four stars, but don't read if you are easily offended.

2019-05-12 Muting Whatsapp tells me it's a social media platform not an IM app

Dear friends,

Most people think Whatsapp is a messaging app. It's not. It's a social media platform.

When I first used Whatsapp (I'm guessing around 2011) here's how I used it:

Whatsapp was a free replacement for texting with some cool multimedia options. I messaged a small network of friends and family when I needed to. A neat instant messenger.

Now it's a fully embedded part of my social fabric. I use it every single day. I use it on my phone and on my laptop, it's always there. It's the first app I install on any new device. It's slowly creeped up to being one of those technologies I can't live without.

But what about it makes it a social media platform and not an instant message app? Ask your self this - if it's not a social media platform, why do I have to keep using the mute feature?

Here's Wikipedia's definition of a social media:

Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

Yep, I guess Whatsapp ticks those boxes. More so that I'm now in a few larger community groups. People share all sorts of content. Exactly the same type of content they'd share on facebook or instagram (and in some cases content they wouldn't!)

Not only had the the group aspect blown up. It's now also used as workplace messaging tool. I'm getting work files sent via Whatsapp and seeing people use it used as a substitute for email. Equally, its now a family hub to share holiday snaps and videos.

I'm starting to realise the power of Zucks grand plans and his huge focus on messenger(s). Whatsapp could turn out to be the most lucrative acquisition of the past decade. It's becoming so embedded into the way society communicates, it is the new telecommunications infrastructure of the digital age. Work life, Private Life, Public Life - all communicated through the little green app with the friendly name.

So what?

It's a good thing and it's free. It's encrypted (if you believe facebook) so your messages are private. All Zuck can harvest is the metadata - which is actually a pretty bad deal for privacy. It's not a problem now, but perhaps tying the way humanity communicates publicly and privately into a centralised, US based tech monopoly with a history of dodgy business practises may not be a great idea in the long run.

I'll keep on using Whatsapp, because it's a great app, and I can connect with 1.5billion users on it. It will be interesting to observe how this social media platform continues to evolve in the future.

Cheers and all the best,

2019-05-11 The art of solitude

When was the last time you were alone? Truly alone?

I'm rarely alone. I'm always filling the void with other people's thoughts.

It all started with my first iPod. Music would fill any spare time I was alone. Other people's thoughts.

This is is even more the case today,

  • Music
  • Podcasts
  • Email
  • Books
  • News
  • Social media
  • TV
  • Gaming

I'm like most people. If I queue for a second I whip out my phone.

Solitude is becoming increasingly difficult in today's world. So what, who cares and why does that matter?

It matters because at what other time do you get reflect on things and think creatively without any outside influence? It matters because without it I'm forming the habit of relying on external things to provide me happiness. Solitude is not loneliness.

“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” Alice Koller

For most people, the only time they have solitude is in the shower. I bet some of your best ideas have been in the shower or whilst cleaning your teeth.

I'm lucky, I was born before the internet. I understand the benefits of solitude, I've just got to find the time and the place to practise it. It's tougher for young people. There's a lot of research that shows that the rising levels of anxiety amongst the iGeneration (born 1994+) can be partly attributed to the fact that these young minds never find solitude. Boredom is not a bad thing.

If that's the case, why not extend these periods of solitude? It doesn't need to be in a remote cabin in the woods, anywhere will do. I plan to re-learn the art of solitude again. It's not that scary to be alone with your thoughts. It's liberating. I'll keep you posted on how this goes.

So stop reading this, put down your phone and rediscover the art of solitude.

Cheers and all the best.

2019-05-11 Why listed?

Dear friends,

This really feels like freedom. This platform.

At least that's what I think right now as I'm kinda happy for a place that I can write and share.

I've been reading a few of the other blogs hosted here. It's nice that I see many are in some ways anonymous. That's the draw for me. Not because I have some clandestine reason to be here. Just the home page rings a bell for me:

You worry less about how others will perceive your words, and more about feeling fulfilled that you shared your experience in its truest form.

That is a truly beautiful statement. What's the alternative?

Well I tweet quite a bit, that's not anonymous, well I guess it could be if opened a new account. I'm not entirely sure this platform is anonymous - hey, it's the web. Also, I reckon this whole platform will be shut down at some point, like so many internet services (maybe it won't but I'm a major sceptic of free internet services - hey maybe I should pay).

There are a few other things I love about this platform.

  • It's totally frictionless. Type - Publish
  • The word count is inspiring. Not because it's a race, but because it's a marker of progress
  • It feels like a hidden gem of calm amongst an increasingly hectic world
  • I'm not creating anything to impress people, it's just raw and authentic

So how am I going to use this? Who knows? By the looks of things so far, quite a lot. Is that a problem? Why do I question how often or how much I post here? Does that even matter? Right now I'm posting several posts a day. In the future I may not post at all. I always have a bit of a fear that a service like this could disappear overnight. It's happened many times before. Or it could just change it's terms. I'm not going to worry about that right now though my words are captured for me, all in plain text. I'll just move on if I need to....That's why I put a date in front of the title of my posts. If I ever decide to port this blog I notes that are dated, which will help. It also means I can sort by date in Standard Notes or any other note taking app.

Maybe for me this is a journal, a blog, a dumping ground of thoughts and ideas. Maybe posting too much will piss people off. Does that matter? Why should I care? I do care, but that's not the point of this place. It's just about being free, free to type and share what's on my mind - with myself.

In other news, I bought the Kindle Paperwhite that I referred to in a previous post. I'm on a mission to try and cut out distractions from my life. Most distractions are in the form of my phone and laptop. My laptop I love, that's exactly what I am typing this on. I love punching away on these keys, but it's also a massive distraction as it's connected to the internet. My phone is a huge distraction too and I'm trying my best to spend less time on it. That's why I could justify buying the kindle. It is one of the best distraction free reading experiences I know of and probably the one device I would take to a desert island. So I've treated myself and it's good to treat yourself occasionally.

What's this new purchase of a kindle got to do with Listed?

I think it's pretty apparent to me that both are linked. Spending more time offline, worrying less about what people think. Philosophising, reading, writing. That's what I'm trying to achieve with Listed and my new kindle. I expect I will write more on this in the future - my workflow, my habits, my endeavour to grow mentally.

Listed could be a game changer for me.

Here's to freedom!

2019-05-10 Gratitude for the guestbook comments

I had two very kind folks comment in my guestbook today. I've only just got started, on this platform so:-

Wow - thank you :)

It gave me an absolute positive lift and confirmed that this is a great place for me to put my writing online. I thank you for your considered kind words. Positive comments, thank you so much, you made my day.

But also, it makes me ponder about what I am trying to achieve here...

It isn't guestbook entries, just because i get a little tingle of love from the guestbook that makes me feel special - that just makes me feel like I should go mainstream. I don't want to go mainstream, I really don't. I want to be authentic and perhaps a little bit edgy - man I'd love that, a genuine place online where I can be edgy and not seek approval though likes, comments and so on.

I updated my "profile" it currently reads: "The less you know about me the more I reveal" I did this to remind myself that I want this new experiment of 'listed' to be just that - a place to share private thoughts. Share them somewhat anonymously, and not try for any feedback, appreciation, guestbook, or love. That goes against nearly everything I stand for, but it could be quite enlightening. We will see.

Thanks for reading, thanks for the guestbook entry. Just keep writing, I'll be reading.

2019-05-10 Tempted to by a Kindle Paperwhite, so why so much internal debate?

I've been struggling on with my old Kindle for ages. It's a beaten up old Kindle wifi. It works a treat though so why upgrade? I must have spent hundreds of hours with this device. Good and fulfilling hours too, not like my phone.

I want to upgrade as I want a backlight so I can read a kindle in bed rather than using my phone (which I use now for either for the kindle app, or just pissing around on the web).

I've seen some Kindle Paperwhites on ebay for around £40. That's pretty reasonable when you think about it for something that can store as much reading material as anyone could read in a lifetime. Has inSaNe battery life and can fit (nearly) in your pocket. I've always ranked the kindle as my all time favourite device man created.

What's holding me back?

  1. I'm a tight bugger and hate spending cash on anything
  2. I've got a perfectly functional device and I hate wasting things
  3. I procrastinate about all decisions
  4. Where the hell did I put that Kindle attachable light thing I had - that would be a solution.

Why wait? I want to fill my life with meaningful information rather than the same old internet shit that I have binged on in the past (instagram was my biggest vice - creating not consuming I might add). A kindle Paperwhite can mean I will have meaningful information in bed. So why not treat myself to this device?

I should wait because I can't just give into every little whim that I have to buy a new gadget. Man, this is an internal termoil I often have going on for the stupidest purchases. Also the research piece. Is a Paperwhite 3 better than a Paperwhite 2 and worth the extra ten quid? Next ensures the review searching, youtube watching 2 hours of wasted time. Totally pointless.

But what about just buying the top of the range model? It's only £120. I earn a very decent wage so why not just get something that is clearly going to perform better than a Paperwhite 2 second hand at £40. Bloody choices. Bloody brain for adding yet another option. What is it about modern times and having so many options on what to buy.

This is why I need to unplug more. This exact scenario. How has the web got me spending a few hours deciding what bloody kindle to buy. I need to be more impulsive or just appreciate what I've got.

2019-05-10 My attention span is awful, how's yours?

My attention span is awful and I think it's getting worse.

I'd say the technology is fuelling this and I'd cautiously say technology may have changed your attention span too. That said, technology isn't the cause it's just the enabler. Technology has enabled the "attention economy" to prosper.

The attention economy is the monetisation of my attention, your attention, our collective attention, converted to real world cash dollar. So it's hardly surprising that our attention is being diverted - everyone wants to monetise it. Every new hot silicon valley tech start-up wants a piece of your attention. When people pay attention, marketers calls it engagement, but the goal is behaviour modification that makes advertising more valuable.

Equally, there is the human condition of curiosity. Evolution developed this so we could discover new hunting grounds or pastures to graze, new medicines or drugs. That feeling of curiosity to find something new is now being satisfied (and monetised) by the mundane such as instagram stories.

What's new, what's interesting? That's what we strive for. Have you ever considered why the need to keep reinventing flight safety videos (comedy is this decade's theme) is it because we've all seen them so many times already, or is it because we are so easily distracted?

What's the ultimate distraction? Well, Ben Shneiderman invented the hyperlink which has to be the ultimate attention grabber. There would be no clickbait without Ben's invention, now there's a thought.

Here's a link: go on click on it, you know you want to

Did you read this far? Happy days! You have a pretty decent attention span, you read (283 words) It's better than mine I was barely able to finish typing th

2019-05-09 One Hundred Days of Writing

One Hundred Days Of Writing

Largely inspired by standard notes and this blog post: https://listed.standardnotes.org/@Listed/5202/100-day-writing-challenge

I've also been inspired by a few others:

  • 750 Words
  • That dude that wrote 1000, 1000 word essays
  • Morning pages
  • Every other site on journaling

I am starting a journey here today of writing every day for one hundred days. Today is day one, let's see how long it lasts. I think I will easily be able to write every day - the challenge will be 1. How much I write and 2. what the quality will be like. On both of these it doesn't really matter. I kind of plan this blog to be semi anonymous and that's the whole point. What constitutes quality and quantity anyway. For me the benefit is to me and written by me.

I've tried this sort of thing before. Setting myself a target of 750 words a day. This was a slightly different mindset than just writing for 100 days. Firstly the quantity seemed daunting. Perhaps for some people 750 words is easy to bash out. For me by day three I was flagging. Sure I could have written 300 words that would have really benefited, but then the challenge would have failed. 100 days seems much more doable. I could write 10 words a day and still succeed in the challenge right?

I still love my rules and here's a few things I wonder about how I will approach the challenge:

  • Will I use this as a journal for the mundane (I kind of do that already)?
  • Will I write about just one topic a day or several?
  • Will I publish at the end of the day once all my thoughts? are gathered or several times a day as I complete my thoughts?
  • Will anyone read this and does it matter? (Why not just publish this privately?

I guess the benefit of just keeping going for 100 days is that some of these unanswered questions will likely pan out in the end. This post (if it is a post) feels a bit like drivel. Which it probably is. It's been nice though to just sit with a coffee and a plain text editor and write out some words. That's why this blog platform "Listed" has appealed to me. Really minimal. Just plain text, exactly my style.

In the day

I've decided that I will write a little about today's musings in an appendix. Why not? It's all writing right? Some of this will be cryptic because frankly I plan to stay a little anonymous here on the web. Some of my thoughts may not be totally inline with the views of others. It's clear that all of us have a "private me" and a "public me" we project different things on different platform.

For LinkedIn: One Hundred Days Of Writing

Inspired by this I will from today write every day for 100 days. Perhaps you think this isn't difficult. After all, we all write every day - emails, tweets, status updates, instant messages. But what is difficult, is to take time out and focus on writing something just for you, offline, simply writing what's on your mind. To you, for you. No audience and no-one judging.

I have been journaling on and off for over nearly two decades (both digitally and with pen and paper). The benefits of this introspective thinking are profound. Not just for today, but for your future self when you look back at past musings. This has been a well recognised benefit by everyone from Michelangelo to Richard Branson. (These are more commonplace books than journals - but still foster the same benefits.)

Setting a writing challenge and finding way to be more committed to journaling is not a new concept for me. I've dabbled with morning pages, 750words, and many other journaling and lifelogging apps and websites. Finally I've settled to just a simple plain text editor. Sitting down with a coffee just typing. The simpler the better. No formatting, no images, no keywords for SEO, no judging, just freeform typing. For me, my 100 day writing challenge isn't about the number of words, or even the quality of those words. It's about just being consistent in taking some time to write and think.

I may chose to publish some of these daily thoughts to LinkedIn or other platforms or not. When one worries about how others perceive their words, they become less authentic. Publishing isn't the goal, writing is.
Anyone else journal daily? Why do you do it and what do you get out of it?

Cheers and all the best,

Mark
[image credit: https://unsplash.com/@andrewtneel]

2019-05-08 First Post to uplink on listed notes

I've been using standard notes for a nearly a month now and really love it. It's secure, encrypted, minimal and just works for me.

I've only just discovered that it has a publishing option too. This is pretty neat. I'm going to give this a bash as a blog or more like a microblog as a way to publish stuff easily.

This is my first post on Listed. It's a place where I can publish a load of text to the web from a note taking app.

I wonder if markdown works?

  • Yep
  • Or Nope

Yes it does.

So this would be a header:

This is a header

This is gonna be interesting if I keep this up or not.

It ticks a lot of boxes.

  • Plain text and markdown
  • Simple publishing
  • Free
  • Cross platform

This works for me so let's give it a go.

https://listed.standardnotes.org/@Listed/5202/100-day-writing-challenge