Category Archives: 2012

Woody’s Finest Analysis of Life

woody-allen“I wandered for a long time on the upper west side, it must have been hours. My feet hurt, my head was pounding, and I had to sit down.

I went into a movie house. I didn’t know what was playing or anything I just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and be logical and put the world back into rational perspective. And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and the movie was a film that I’d seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and I always loved it.

I’m watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film.

I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself, I mean isn’t it so stupid. Look at all the people up there on the screen, they’re real funny, and what if the worst is true. What if there is no God and you only go around once and that’s it. Well, ya know, don’t you wanna be part of the experience?

You know, what the hell it’s not all a drag.

And I’m thinking to myself, Jeez, I should stop ruining my life searching for answers I’m never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts.

And after all who knows, I mean maybe there is something, nobody really knows. I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that’s the best we have.

And then I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.”

Woody Allen – Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

The people who surround us

So I’ve turned 30. I’ve changed decades.

It’s remarkable really, how little difference it actually makes.

We’ve all done it, we’ve all freaked out at the prospective of getting old. Hell, I did. In June this year, it was made clear that I was freaking out. I’d found a grey hair, I was feeling archaic.

Approaching the big day, I was worried that this was it. This was the end. This was the last time I could enjoy life, feel young (ha!), feel alive.

Looking back, how farcical this really was. It all feels a bit silly. For one thing, nothing ever really changes. Waking up at 30, you don’t age excessively, you don’t lose your hearing or sight, you don’t go a little loopy. Not much changes.

Something amazing DID happen on my birthday though.

When you look at life, it’s so easy to analyse your life based on the following:

  • Love Life
  • Career
  • Money
  • Legacy

This is all very well & good, but what being 30 showed me was that whilst 2 & 3 aren’t that important, the 4th doesn’t need to be a physical item.

It’s weird, I’d always thought “Let’s create that book, let’s write that novel”. I still want to do that, but I know it isn’t the be all and end all anymore.

In the end of the day, the most amazing thing is the realisation that you’ve had an effect on someone’s life.

On Friday October 12th, 15 people appeared. From all walks of life, it’s amazing that so many arrived. It was brilliant.

In the end of the day, you might write the worlds greatest novel, you might build a building, when you’re gone, it’s not you they remember but a misrepresentation. Family & friends keep you alive in ways a novel never can.

That’s kind of comforting when you think about it.

Age & Direction

I found a grey hair today.

It’s not the first, and I doubt it’ll be the last. For some reason though, this one has got to me. It feels a bit like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I know billions & billions of people have been here before, and billions will be afterwards. I also know that everyone feels old sometimes and that with one exception, there’s always someone older than you.

On a side note… World’s oldest man is Jiroemon Kimura of Japan. Here’s the Daily Telegraph coverage of his 115th Birthday.

Lately though, I’m beginning to feel increasingly old.

Whether it’s the impending 3-0, or the fact it is starting to take me 48 hours or more to recover from a night out, lately everything feels run down and run out. Many things that used to appeal to me in the past have began to bug me. Life is beginning to feel positively claustrophobic & uninspiring.

I’ll need to look into this. Maybe it’s time to do an audit of my life, decide what I want, where I am and where I’m going.

This needs to change…

NB: Interestingly, the average age in the UK in 2010 was actually 40.5. So there’s still a long way to go yet.

Sobriety and an alcohol dependent society.

It’s been a long few months. There’s no point denying it.

Today is aiming to be the third consecutive day without beer

When I say that it’s been 2 days since I last had a beer, people laugh like I’m overplaying something, but if you look at the facts, it honestly isn’t something to ignore. Three consecutive weekends away in France, Vienna & Bournemouth, each more drink fuelled than the last. I can’t name the last time I went two days without beer & subsequently the last time I was this sober.

Now before anyone makes a suggestion, let’s set the facts straight, I am NOT an alcoholic. I don’t feel a craving the second I wake to drink heavily. Frank Skinner the Comedian, for example, used to wake & then drink a bottle of whatever spirit he could find. That’s not me.

What IS true however is that even the smallest drop of alcohol can affect the system. In a city like London where the entire culture is based around alcohol, you really are going to struggle not to drink. I know people who might have only 1 or 2 beers in a night, BUT they’ll do that every single night. At some point, they must surely realise that never fully sobering. It takes 1 hour for every unit to leave your system. So 2 bottles of 5% lager will take 10 hours. If you drink 6 or more pints, effectively you’re always topping up.

For my part, I feel a bit like Father Jack in the TV Sitcom “Father Ted” when the last of the alcohol leaves his system & he states “Oh God, tell me I’m not still on that bloody island!”

I seem to have woken this morning to a quite frankly disgusting bedroom, brought on by weeks (months?) of neglect & a suit jacket bought a few weeks ago with insanely long sleeves.

Not quite sure it ended up this way, but it’s time to sort things out.

Mixed Emotions

I’m in a quite frankly terrible mood.

I’m writing this from a bar imaginatively entitled as “Bierodrome”, it’s 1:15 local time, the Sun is shining & oh yes, I’m in Vienna!

Let’s be honest, I should be in bliss right now, and I’m sure once my mind gets active, I will be happy again. Right now however, three things are bothering me.

1) I’m homesick

What I mean by this, is I just miss the English. I miss familiar faces. I miss my normal life.

Last week I was in France for my Dad’s 60th. This in itself was great, but exhausting. Sometimes relaxing is exhausting in it’s own right, and whilst I did shut off last week, it was socialising. It was communicating with people, and occasionally it was accepting my own linguistic limitations with the realisation that aside from ordering a beer, I know little French (the same is true of German too by the way).

This week, I’m in Vienna for work. Whilst I’m obviously proud and happy to represent the company here, I’m tired of German. I’m tired of sitting around and occasionally being involved in a conversation, only for someone to check the subject and the language. I want to be somewhere where everyone speaks English as their first language. I want to be able to walk into a coffee shop and know that we’re talking in English as a default, and without effort.

I’ve had to change that text. Waiter just served me with perfect English. However it justifies the explanation when he walks off and the conversation in the background is between his boss & another waiter in German. God help me, I enjoy eavesdropping. I enjoy listening. Talking is tiring, sometimes it’s nice to just sit & listen to a conversation in English.

I can’t get back to British soil fast enough.

2) I’m feeling like shit

I’m spending lots of time in a Casino. Whilst I was able to check out Vienna on Friday & it was beautiful (I think I used the word “Wow” about 100,000 times), most of the time, you need to be in or near the Casino.

This in itself is okay. I find the sound of poker chips actually unbelievably soothing. It’s like one of those rain stick things. It’s just nice.

The problem with a casino, especially over here, is the smoke. Everyone smokes. I’ve taken to getting out of the casino at every opportunity. It has to be done. I need to be able to breath, and I swear that if I see one more cigarette, I might stick it where the Sun doesn’t shine. It’s a disgusting habit, and this weekend has reminded me just how much I hate it.

I feel like utter crap because of it,  how the hell must regular smokers feel. It raises serious questions.

That sided by late nights, a few too many beers and a bit too much weiner schnitzel and my body is screaming at me to stop.

Maybe later today I’ll go back to the hotel & work out. I think that’s the key. There’s a gym and I’d be an idiot not to use it. That’d sort out the physical side of problem anyway. Besides, in theory healthy body, healthy mind.

The other thing I need to do is accept my situation, and this brings me to number 3.

3) Harlequins

I must be mental. Harlequins are my rugby team. I follow them across Britain and Europe. This season alone I’ve been to Bath, Wycombe, Leicester, Galway, Toulouse, Toulon, Northampton and many many more. I worked it out that for the 1st team, I’ve been to 71% of their games home AND away in all competitions.

Yet what was yesterday? It was the Final of the Premiership. The best two teams in the League. Us & Leicester. And we won! We actually bloody won 30:23. We’re Champions! We are officially the best team in the whole of England. For a team that was in the Championship (the 2nd tier) in 2005, that’s nothing short of amazing.

So my team, a team that I’ve seen on a regular basis through the past 12 months (consistently for 6 years if I’m honest), wins the League. Where am I?

I’m in bloody Vienna!

As a VIP summed it up yesterday, “I’ve never known someone more pissed off to be in Vienna”.

That does sound unprofessional, but it’s worked out well as they all see you as a normal person and that connects you to them. You need the personal touch. So I’m not concerned by their view.

Anyway, I’m actually unbelievably gutted. I feel terrible. I’m really, really fed up that I’ve missed it. To sum it up, I watched the following video and almost could have cried earlier.

I can’t believe that I actually missed it if I’m honest.

I knew this would happen. Farcically, part of me even wanted them to lose yesterday to make it easier on myself. You should never want that. Never.

Still, I’m only writing this so that if anyone says “why’re you so down” I can give them the link to explain it.

I honestly don’t want to talk about Quins anymore. I’m done. I’m finished. I’m tired of seeing them on Twitter. I’m tired of seeing them on Facebook. Blanket ban, now in force.

Conclusion

I’m in a bad mood.

It won’t last. I’m getting happier just be writing this. I believe it’s called venting. 😉

I’m just done with Vienna now. I’m done with Poker. I don’t really care who wins the tournament anymore (although it’d be nice if it was one of my VIPs, or the one remaining English player).

I’m ready to go home.

Danke schon. Auf wiedersehn Vienna.

The Slow Life vs The Fast One

It’s Monday lunchtime…

I won’t lie, normally I hate this time. The first day back from the weekend, everyone is knackered & doesn’t really want to be there. Yet, come lunchtime, productivity has been variable to put it mildly, and subsequently lunch is sometimes seen as a sort of undeserved, guilty pleasure.

Yet this Monday, it’s different.

Probably helps that I’m sat on a sofa in France watching the cricket.

Yep, yesterday May 20th 2012, the old man turned 60.

It’s a good age, a dignified age, one he saw in with a hangover, and one which has left him drained.

Well… saying that, he’s playing with a toy helicopter right now, so he can’t be that drained.

Anyway, it’s got me thinking about the nature of how we spend our life.

The way I see it, there seems to be two ways of life:

The Fast Way (also known as “London Life”) – Where everything is savoured at break neck speed & everyone has to be consistently busy.

In London, nobody takes their time. Whether it’s rushing for a tube when there’s one a minute later, or throwing yourself into work, or simply drinking at pace because you know that in a few hours the last orders bell will ring and the drinks will stop.

People thrive on the fact that in a short space of time, something new & interesting will happen and subsequently a lot of the time, it does feel like the joy of an event, the gradual savouring of a moment, it is lost.

There’s too much to do, so you need to rush, you need to fit it all in.

The Slow Way (also known as the “France Life”) – Where there’s little to do, so you spread out the smallest task over the maximum length of time.

It’s true actually. Over here, everything takes longer. Normally because there’s nothing else to do. You don’t feel the urge to rush anything because you don’t need to fit it all in.

In London you might have 5 tasks on a daily goal list, in France you might have 1 (if you’re lucky).

It means that even the most basic task can actually take on a greater significance.

Hoovering the pool? Well that’s a 30 minute job that you can squeeze into a 4 hour slot. Finish that? Take a swim & then relax for the rest of the day.

Things just take longer, and are savoured. That’s why lunch seems to take 3 hours. Why rush it? Just take your time, savour a bottle of white with your hearty meal, then go for an afternoon kip.

I suppose when all is said and done, the fast one has major benefits. With so much available to you, it’s good to be kept on your toes. Sometimes though, it’s amazing to just have little to do.

It’s a hard life… 😉

WordPress – A Crash Course…

It’s March 10th and I’m on a WordPress Course!

About WordPress (thanks to Wikipedia)

WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet‘s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.

It was late November and our SEO Guy was leaving. He got a discount offer from LivingSocial and offered me the course. I’d have been mad to say no.

So here I am!

I’m actually very impressed so far. The guy who runs it is a guy called Toby Thomas (good name… obviously). He’s a good presenter.

I wanted to try to add some notes, so let’s see how we do…

FYI – These links might cease to be as the course progresses…

1) Google Trends – Search for WordPress, Drupal, Joomia & Dreamweaver. It’s a fascinating combination.

NEWS: There are notes! He will be sending them! OH dear… Let’s keep trying…

From the beginning…

Start: 12pm

Lunch: 1:30pm

Finish: 5:30 (he has an area reserved in the pub!

—————

My page: http://wp346.wp-multisite.co.uk/

  • Apparently today is going to mostly be about Google & SEO.
  • We’ve just created a new page on WordPress! (12:20)
  • Local sites local hosted (for local people?)
  • This guy must be a saint… Someone just failed to create a new page. She couldn’t find “Add New Page”
  • To get WordPress working, you need… website host / domain name…
  • Approx £10-£20 per month for shared server
  • Script library installer
  • Youtube clip!!!
  • User
  • Writing
  • Reading…
  • Discussion – Comments! We’ll be removing old comment sections later (WOOOO)
  • Privacy
  • Permalinks (an app… I don’t have it…It’s a pain for the Poker Heaven Blog though)
  • We’re going to remove spam 🙂
  • Pages / Quick Comments… How to lose the comments box! I think you can add a password to. That could be useful.
  • Posts / Quick Comments…
  • Showing how we add lots of new pages. Looks good.
  • Trying new pages… It’s kinda fun…
  • Fonts
  • Services
  • Product – Featuring one of the most noticeable facts of the day so far.
  • A realisation that my links page does NOT have target=”blank” in my html code. 5 minutes later, job fixed.
  • Realisation 2, you can paste as plain text. That’ll avoid all the Russian text problems going forward.
  • <!—more—> becomes increasingly relevant. We don’t use that on our sites. A good way of developing the blog?

It’s now 1:20pm… I’m hungry…

  • A realisation that the permalinks aren’t working on the Poker Heaven blog… Time I fix it.
  • Fixed…
  • Apparently StudioPress are the best. Thoughts?
  • How does this site look on other browsers? I use chrome…
  • Mobile phone… Good
  • Internet Explorer… Good
  • Themes!!!
  • Free hosting with Toby for a year… Sweet! 
  • After that, £8 a month.
  • Lifestyle theme (on page 2). Not sure about this choice. First disagreement with a so far superb course.
  • Oh dear, Internet problems. Not enough bandwidth. And NO I am not using it all up on Twitter. Guess I won’t be streaming the rugby either.
  • YES! We’re going to add videos, store and more later… #excited

It’s 1:45pm, I’m getting fed at 2pm! Bring on the sausages!

OR, it’s ready now!

Back later…

—————

Just ended up chatting to Toby about SEO, WordPress & everything else in this world.

There’s also a lady here trying to start a Poker Affiliate site. I need to remember to point her towards Heaven Affiliates before this ends tonight.

Ended up talking to another random lady about her chocolate company La Sagra.

Bloody good stuff actually!

And we’re back…

  • I really need to get that “Genesis” app.
  • Widgets, we’re going to add stuff.
  • Might need to add the Paypal & Social Media Widgets
  • There’s different widgets on these sites to what I have!
  • I need to get the following – “Social Media Widget” [PERFECT for Poker Heaven]
  • Interesting… Email addresses are bad for SEO. I best chat to Stu/Barry/Dan/Leslie about that.
  • Blog time…
  • Add, categories, etc, etc
  • Toby is looking gradually tired. He was out with people from Vietnam last night. Coincidence?
  • He really is rather good though…
  • The difference between pages (Permanent) and posts (temporary)
  • If a blog is rubbish, don’t write it… OH HANG ON!
  • Two types of SEO
  • White Hat – Follow Google’s rules & guidelines to achieve your goal.
  • Black Hat – Spam, robots, non-Google, etc.
  • WordPress Courses vs WordPress Training. SEO is pointless with bad key words. Wonder what PH’s key words are…
  • SEO plugin later.
  • He’s clued in this bloke.
  • Why is that American woman on Facebook?
  • How to get more plugins! WordPress.org/plugins
  • On website -> Go to “Plugins” and “Add New”
  • WP TOUCH – DOES POKER HEAVEN HAVE THIS?
  • How to backup… Tools/Export (bit obvious really.
  • I can see Monday being fun…
  • Google XML Sitemap
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • WP Super Cache
  • W3 Total Cache [php coding needed]
  • We should hire this guy to do our SEO.
  • What the hell is Poker Heaven TV?
  • And who are GlobalMaxer?
  • Who decides the SEO for our site
This is beginning to drag. I need a beer. Or a kip.
It’s 3:40pm
  • Contact Form 7
  • ahhh Nice!
  • Growing tired now. It’s been a long 15 minutes…
  • And 10 minutes of it were a break.
  • Can export, etc
  • Effectively things like Contact 7 are useful if you don’t have SQL.
  • Interactive map in a contact page!!!
  • MapPress
  • Cool… I can see London!
  • He lives near Stamford Brook tube…
  • It’s Paypal time…
  • Wonder what their view is towards online gambling.
  • Could be quite easy to fit Paypal into Winner Heaven Live
  • No need for the Paypal plug Toby, we all know they’re good!
  • Wonder if I should add paypal to this site…
  • Pay £5 for weekly emails featuring thoughts/bullshit of the day.
  • Uploading pictures – Never upload huge numbers of pictures, they slow sites down.
  • Sounds like Sky Sports!
Wrapping up time…
Or maybe not, it’s Youtube time!
  • Bandwidth suddenly goes slooooow as every person starts browsing YouTube for appropriate videos.
  • Wonder if opening Twitter will ruin the bandwidth even more.
  • Best not.
  • Put as much stuff as possible onto youtube basically.
  • It gets hits.
  • Might try to record the company freeroll in future.
  • People still having jpg problems.
Final piece now… Legal footer & site map.
  • This is where it gets interesting
  • Genesis / Simple Edits
  • Add New Page, add “footer” info into html page.
  • Into draft
  • WP-Insert / Manage Privacy Policy
  • Assign. Don’t save. Create
  • Same with T&C
  • Assign. Don’t save. Create
  • Link in page
  • Click on html
  • Erm… Do a Alan Nevison and nick the html code.
  • sitemap = page/sitemap
  • Fascinating…
I think Toby needs a beer too.
I think we’ve finished.
There’s little point denying that towards the end, the course has dragged today. It’s still been VERY useful & interesting. I’m certainly very glad I went on it.
I have to say that I think it’d be of more value to Colin than me, but there’s certainly things that I’ve picked up which will be of use.
I wonder if they’ll let me play around with the company Homepage.
If you want to check out the course & I would definitely recommend it, you can find details on Today’s WordPress site here.
Now I’m going for a beer.
P.S. He’s going to email people HOW to set up your own domain. More info to follow…

Questions for Toby:

  • Permalinks – Why does it not always work for the Poker Heaven Blog?
  • Missing Widgets – How do I get some of them on this page OR on PH? SOLVED
  • Why do I not have plugins on this blog?

Scotland

And so it came to pass that the Scottish would have a referendum. Three hundred & five years after the Act of Union and the Scottish get a chance to escape from the grasp of the “evil” English.

I admit that that there are potential major benefits from the breakup of the United Kingdom, and if Scotland wants independence, then I’m fully in favour of them getting the opportunity. It is their Democratic right to vote that way.

Having said that, I really hope it doesn’t happen.

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when all is said and done. Whether it has merit or not, I generally tend to hold to the theory that if something has been in place for hundreds of years (Union, Monarchy, etc) then there’s a reason for that and it should continue.

It’s a complete game changer if the Scottish leave, and let’s be honest, it’s effectively the start of the end. If they go, the Welsh will want to go next. It’s a precedence, and an unnerving one at that.

One type of person mind, that would majorly benefit from the breakup would be flag makers. I never really imagined that it’s a high profit industry, but think of the money made if they ended up having to completely replace ALL the Union Jacks.

I did wonder what the alternative might be. Here’s a few suggestions:

1) Keep the Union Jack – Well, why not? The blue would not be relevant, but it would make life a lot easier. And it IS a pretty flag after all.

2) Give the Welsh their due and let their national colour replace the Scottish. Again, not a terrible idea, but if you think about it, the flag would have a certain blood like quality!

3) Welcome the Irish back – Well why not? I mean, the economy is screwed, maybe a merger would be a good way around this…

4) Sod them all – In the end of the day, England was & is the majority holder. We could just have one obvious solution!

 

There’s many options, but which is the correct one? Answers on a postcard please…

Disclaimer: Drunken Rubbish.

Do you ever remember a time when the worst thing you ever did when drunk was to “drunken text”? Part of me misses those days.

It’s too easy nowadays to pick up the phone, have a few beers and pick up tweet, comment on Facebook OR even post the most bizarre, drunken blog post ever. We’ve all done it.

As such, if I EVER say something drunken on here, please do forgive me. I try, but sometimes it just happens…

My favourite blog

It’s easy to pretend people read this, but for me, the key is to write and gradually build up content.

In the end of the day though, I know that I’ll never be the most interesting person on the internet. One of my favourites is by an English girl called Katie. An old friend of mine, now married with 2 dogs in Texas, her blog is heart felt and often interesting. Recently she’s also returned to the photography that she used to do regularly. It’s great to see, and hopefully a hobby she’ll continue to do regularly. Check out “An English Girl In Texas“. It’s well worth a read.

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