Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Explanation here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A bit of fun 

According to the typealyzer, my current writing here in this blog is representative of
ESTP - The Doers
“The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

”The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.”

I can identify with the stuff about outdoor activities and not sitting still, but playful? Talking and joking? Nah… that’s not me.

Although the site doesn’t say so explicitly, the categories used appear to be the Myers-Briggs types, derived from Jung’s work. Last time I did a Myers-Briggs, I was an INFJ – the exact opposite of the above.
"Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perserverence in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following."

Intrigued, I decided to try putting some archive pages through the test. The first came up INTP – half way at least to an INFJ. I tried some more archives – and was surprised by the consistency of the result - INTP 7 times out of 8, on archives from 2003 to 2008

INTP - The Thinkers
“The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

”They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.”

Still not really something I’d recognize as being me. At any rate, I hope those occasional bouts of insensitivity are indeed only occasional...

Curiously, my long-abandoned but not deleted other (anonymous) blog comes up with INTJ “The Scientist” – which is what my Myers-Briggs type used to be 20 years ago, until I lost faith in analytical thought and began to trust my feelings more - which makes me wonder whether, were I to do a Myer-Briggs test today, I’d have reverted to the INTJ type, having now seemingly abandoned feelings.

Now, I don’t suppose there’s really very much to read into a machine-based interpretation of a small sample of writing, but the consistency of the results suggests that maybe it at least isn’t totally bogus.

If nothing else, it’s prompted me to think once again about how external behaviour reflects the inner self, and to wonder whether I put too much control on my external behaviour, and don’t allow full expression to the inner self.

Hat tip to Andrea for the link.

A beautiful line… 

…from today’s posting at Panhala, a line from St Thomas Aquinas:

“Our hearts irrigate this earth”

Update: I was so entranced by that line, I completely missed the significance of the line which follows it:
"We are fields before each other"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Okay, I lied 

I have been many people. The one I seemed to be becoming when posting here, or when scribbling in my journal (neither of those increasingly rare activities could I class as writing) was not much to my liking. But I have been others; I could be others again. Like I could be one who says one thing on Saturday and contradicts it on Tuesday.

I realise now that I wanted to see what it felt like really to say those words “I quit”. At first, it felt good – free, at last. But then something was missing.

I could just ditch this blog and start a new one, but that’s too much effort, and there ought to be some continuity.

I could resurrect my other, anonymous, blog, but that doesn’t feel right either. I don’t want to be nameless; I want to find a better name. Or my real name (one or two long-time readers might recognise that long-forgotten theme).

I don’t have the energy right now to Write. Not Properly. Not even the energy to write badly. So I need to figure out once more what this space is for.

For now though, the new job is keeping me busy. Starting bad habits – bringing work home. Best get on with it then. See you around?

Oh yeah, one more thing. A few months back, I put a note in my diary that today marks the point where I have been blogging for exactly 10% of my days here on this earth (calculated courtesy of Excel’s goal seek function). It seemed noteworthy. Not sure why exactly, never having been one to worry about anniversaries and the like, but 10% feels like a sizeable proportion. Not something to be dismissed so lightly.

Did I put that note there knowing that I would need it to tie me to this space a while longer?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I quit 

at least for now. Maybe I'll be back if this depression lifts.

In the meantime, a shot from a few years ago:

Friday, November 14, 2008


If only

Hat tip to Chris

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So much talent 

And for an encore, something a little more modern...

Saturday, November 08, 2008


It was never my intention to abandon blogging in favour of twittering (and still isn’t, although on the face of it, the evidence would seem to point to a contradictory conclusion). But twittering requires little in the way of deep or structured thought, which makes it a much better match for my current mental modus operandi.

Brought together and grouped, the first couple of weeks of twitterings do I suppose reveal something of what goes on in my head; a shape and structure, if you can call it that, which analytical thought would pass by without noticing.


• I don't mind doing the shopping, I quite like doing the cooking - but I have no imagination when it comes to figuring out what to eat

• Sensory stimulation: It's nice when there's too much washing up for the dishwasher and some has to be done the old-fashioned way :-)

• Parcel delivery man arrived at the door wearing shorts. It's 3 degrees C out there - what's he trying to prove?

• Rescued a tiny mouse the cat brought in. Seemed barely alive indoors but perked up when it sniffed fresh outide air.

• Trimmed the low-hanging elderberry branches where they were rubbing on the felt of the shed roof as they move in the wind

• Really ought to give my blog a makeover - it has the feel of a room in an abandoned house, full of stuff that hasn't been touched in years

• Cat is head-butting my hand on the mouse, wanting strokes, while her tail tickles my chin

New job

• Counting down the days... start a new job (albeit in same dept of same employer) next week. Out of the frying pan into the fire?

• Totally knackered. Intense week of finishing Excel mega-workbook before new role starts on Monday. Square eyes and brain dead.

• New role, new responsibilities, new people, new location = 100% CPU usage = stress

• Huge widescreen monitor in the new office = total immersion computing. There's a world outside this screen??

• 'New' office has old-fashioned aircon - opening windows. Half of body nearest centre of room too hot, half next to window too cold!

• This wide screen is so wide I keep losing the mouse pointer!

• If you've got to work in a city, working in the heart of one of the world's great capital cities ain't such a bad option (W1 better than W12)

• Only been here 3 days, and the lady in the canteen smiles, says hello and knows I have a black coffee :-)


• Grey skies depositing their load on the road - not my favourite motorcycling weather :-(

• Clocks back = riding home in the dark :-(

• 2nd morning of the season for winter motorcycling gloves. Roads quiet tho 'cos it's half term

• 2mrw's weather: "cloud will bring showers becoming increasingly heavy and wintry. It will feel cold". Ah, the delights of winter motorcycling

• First frost of the season - thank heavens for heated motorcycle handlebar grips!

• Icy road means no motorcycling today :-( Pain, because it's only the 300yds to the main road which is impassable. Clear after that

• Mind you, people-watching on the train can be fun. The novelty soon wears off though

• Is it going to thaw tonight, or do I shovel the ice off the drive so I can get the m/c out & not endure the tedium of public transport tmrw?

• I shovelled. It was a mistake putting a coat on though...

• Bright sun, dead ahead, low in sky = monochrome 2D world = rather less than ideal conditions for motorcycling

• Left untinted driving specs at home today. Bugger. Hate using varifocal specs for motorcycling - peripheral vision is crap. Glad to be home

• Scanning through my first 50 odd tweets, motorcycle related matters top the charts. Is that really the most noteworthy feature of my days?

• Switching from riding a motorbike in traffic lanes to between lanes is like dropping an X-wing into the equatorial trench of the Death Star

• Route to new office is same as I used to cycle a few years ago. Reminds me of the fun I used to have playing in traffic on a push-bike.


• Ooooo... just discovered Canon flash (without a Canon camera) I have will work as a slave with the Olympus 8080. Creative possibilities...

• Oh for image stabilisation - even at 1/200s, handheld macros at arms length still suffer from camera shake

• Went to look at the Panasonic G1 DSLR http://tinyurl.com/4ral4f Very compact, nice to hold, still can't think of it as a 'real' DSLR though


• Listening on headphones to Bach (English Suite no 4 played by Andras Schiff) as I work. Or not work - totally in awe of Bach's genius.

• Ah, boy's toys - a new pedal (chorus) for my bass pedalboard, arrived yesterday, fitted today :-) No space for any more :-(

• Just playing along to a CD I'd forgotten I had, by a Canadian Band by the name of Dyad. Nothing lifts the spirits like good music :-)

• Favourite Bob Dylan track - Tangled Up In Blue

• ... or maybe Jokerman...

• Jamming along to Joe Jackson (love Graham Maby's bass lines). Fingers still working even if head isn't

• Finally got around to hooking up PC, CD, FX, pitch shift, bass, all via mixer for an instant jamming set-up. Cool, if I say so myself.


• Wonder why Gmail gives me this quote in the context-based link at the top - "If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style." :^)

• A day of half-hearted nothings so far

• Waiting... for nothing. For inspiration? For someone to find the on switch? Filling time with doings and nothings

• Oscar Wilde, paraphrased: Work is the curse of the thinking classes

• The world seems a friendlier place this morning, knowing that several tens of millions do have some sense after all

• The main reason I'm blogging less and less is that communication is just so darn difficult

• Is there a point?

• - a point to whatever I happen to be doing at the time?

• It is possible to go through every day without really thinking. It's habit-forming; I do it all the time.

• Coming to the conclusion I just don't do social in any way shape or form. Solitary, that's me.


• The sky mutates slowly from the faint orange glow of reflected street lights to a grey autumn dawn. Time for a shower

• @euan ooooh, snowing here too - if you can call this wet soggy stuff snow! Actually, pretty big dollops of it coming past the window now

• snow's settling on the grass now

• more snow on Friday, please - maybe it'll keep the bloody-US-import-trick-or-treaters at home. Bah, humbug

• Power failure last night plus circuit breaker trip when it came back on in the wee small hours equals no heating this morning. Brrr!!

• Still a thin patch of snow left in a shady corner of the garden

• Still and quiet outside. Must have had a lot of rain in the night - the garden pond is full to the brim. The air too is heavy with moisture


• SMS working again from/to my son Paul in Zambia - technology out there is all a bit flakey - good to feel that contact alive

• Practical recycling: helping my son sand down an old sideboard he got for nothing via Freecycle, ready to stain and polish

• Only primitive internet connections in Lusaka so it's great to see pics and news from my son in Zambia: http://ourafricanlife.blogs...

• I wonder if I'll ever go rock climbing again? All that gear sitting in the garage just waiting to be used; I miss it.

• Up at sparrow-fart to drive 200 miles to my daughter's graduation

• Back again, 15 and a half hours later. Long day; need more caffeine

• looking at pics of my daughter's graduation yesterday. Mine was a lifetime ago (or several) in another world

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Letters from Africa 

Who remembers Alistair Cooke’s ‘Letter from America’, broadcast weekly from 1946 until Cooke’s death in 2004 at the age of 95? As a teenager, I used to listen to them sometimes on Sunday evenings, delighting in his gift for moving effortlessly from the specific – some personal experience during the previous week – to the general - informed and insightful commentary on America, its politics, or on humanity in general.

Now there are letters coming from another continent. My son Paul and his wife Rachel have started blogging their experiences of teaching in Zambia.

It looks as though he faces ‘interesting times’ ahead, whatever the outcome of the Zambian presidential by-election:

“If Banda does prevail, and that is the result most White Africans and foreign nationals are hoping for (many justify their preference with a catalogue of clichés: better the devil you know, the lesser of two evils), then with Sata’s overwhelming support in Lusaka there is likely to be trouble in the capital. If Sata is victorious then, in short-term at least, problems are less likely. But in coming years White Africans and foreign nationals might find Zambia an increasingly difficult place to live and work.”

Pleasure though it is to read them, and much as I wish him every success in both his teaching and his writing, I rather hope his letters don’t span the half-century-plus which Cooke managed - we’d rather like to see them both again somewhat sooner than that!