Category: Diary

…a king of infinite space…

I am certainly no king this morning as I had a very disturbing dream last night. I dreamt that I was visiting a family, I think they were friends, and their mother warned me that one of their children was special (indicating some disability) but also evil.

For context I didn’t recognise the friend, or their family, and I think I was much younger. Though I seemed to be my height.

The ‘special’ child in question was a girl, maybe eleven to thirteen, who had short dark brown hair and incredibly large round, brown, eyes. (There are likely overtones of watching Wednesday here.) She had a frown on her face and just looked unhappy. She spoke fine and we all talked about school and lessons, the only unusual thing about the girl was that her answers to questions were often abstract and she laughed at the wrong points. This didn’t seem evil, just slightly neurodivergent.

Scene change, hate it when dreams do that. Now I am in the kitchen talking to the friend and his parents. We hear screaming. At this point I discover that the friend is from a large family as there are about ten other siblings in the room we run into. The girl is there. She is wearing jeans and a lime green top and there is a spreading pool of blood on her top and on the floor from the gash where she has cut her own throat. She has a bloodied carving knife in her right hand and she is looking right at me and laughing silently.

This was disturbing enough but the dream then got worse. Another scene change and we are all dressed in black. I am sitting at the kitchen table. It is raining outside and I am looking at the rain through the window. I think it may be after the funeral. I can hear people talking but not to me. I blink and then I see the girl outside the window. Neck torn open. Eyes black and staring at me. The blood on her neck and clothes had turned black. She is grinning and laughing and she points the hand, still holding the knife, at me.

I turn to tell people she is there and they have all turned into her. Her face is on all of them and they are all laughing. As they laugh black blood runs from their mouths and is spat from their lips.

That is when I woke and I didn’t go back to sleep. It was just after four in the morning. The dream was clearly disturbing, but I don’t know what I am most upset about. The fact that someone killed themselves. The horrific style of the haunting. Or the fact that my brain was so clichéd and stereotyped it made the neurodivergent child into some horror protagonist.
I mean ffs brain, that trope surely is something you would normally rail against, it appearing in your dreams is so sad. Could you not have been more creative and less discriminatory? The horror was bad enough without the depressing social fears and historical bigotry.

Maybe they were haunting me because I assumed a role for them? Or maybeI was the only one not possessed because I didn’t give them that role and it wasn’t a horror but a plea from beyond the grave. That makes me out to be a much nicer person.
This was also part of the reason I couldn’t return to sleep…

Rubik’s Cube

In today’s WTF conversation with #1Son we have the following gem:

#1Son: Life is Like a Rubik’s Cube.

Me: (busy reading a news page looks up) okay, I’ll bite, go on, and?

#1Son: It’s ten-sided.

And that dear reader is when he left me and I was left stupified. It’s a new day in the life of a nearly-nine going on 40 year old bar philosopher. Answers to this riddle will have to be determined by the observer as the speaker has left the building.


Pleasantly Surprised

I really want to start with some long rant, a diatribe, a gripe about being forced, nay obligated, to watch my child murder some popular hits and showtunes as part of some gods-this-cost-how-much event.

But I can’t.


I enjoyed it.

Over six thousand children makes an impressive choir.

Over six thousand children makes an impressive choir.

‘Some context if you please, Darling’.

Tonight I attended the Young Voices Choir event at the MEN Arena in Manchester. The event saw 6,000 school children perform hits from films, shows and popular chart. My eldest child was a singer so Leigh and I attended.

I am not normally a huge fan of the music, I don’t actively dislike it, I just don’t run towards it with any level of enthusiasm. Leigh kinda likes it a lot (she is a fan of both show tunes and movie musicals) and for her it was also mega level karaoke (of which she is also a fan).

So Why did I Like it?

Well for a few reasons to be honest.

  1. The atmosphere was good. Parents were having a good time and everyone seemed chipper.
  2. The kids were very enthusiastic and clearly they had practised a lot. In fact they blew the roof off with their performance, real seat-rattling fun.
  3. They had a dance troop to do some in-between pieces that were very well presented.
  4. They had stars, someone from Britain’s Got talent (don’t watch the show and don’t recall their name which I feel slightly guilty about), Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and Sharlene Hector from Basement Jaxx all came on and belted out tunes with the kids.
  5. They got the audience up and dancing and involved which really changed my mood.
The light show was also very impressive

The light show was also very impressive

So I ended up enjoying it far more than I thought I would. the light show was also impressive and the sound was very well balanced for a stadium level show. There was a lot to like.

The best part of all of this is that #1Son seemed to be having a great time. I am writing this as I am on the coach with the parents returning home, the kids coach is meeting us there so i cannot yet confirm that. I will update this post before I publish it so you will not know the difference…

The edit…

A Year of Effort

Over the past year I have been publishing results of my attempts to get fitter. Let’s be honest, tweet, blog, vlog, facebook and all. I have had Zombie’s chasing me around parks and updates in the wee hours from the gym.

It started almost a year ago (I started on the 6th January 2017 but it was as close as damn it to New Year) when I decided 2017 was the year to kill the excess weight I had and look and feel better. It was how I felt about my body and my overall health.

Since then I have lost about 60 pounds (to be fair I lost nearly 70 but have fluctuated up a little in the past few weeks due to lack of gym and running time and holiday over-indulgences). I still have some way to go, about 15 pounds now since I threw some back on. But I am confident that it I can achieve it and I have set a date of 2019 to lose that weight so I don’t have to push myself.

This post is the last time you will see the fitness graphics from 2017 and it shows a general high level of activity. In total last year I did nearly 5.5 million steps which is an average of 448,215 steps each month or 14,736 steps (about 14km) each day. None of that includes the gym time and the efforts to make a better diet.

I was aiming at doing this for a year to make a lifestyle change and I think I have achieved that Where I go from here is about 15 pounds lighter and to keep up the exercise that I do. I will probably randomly keep you informed (unless you follow my runs and I start getting chased by zombies at which point you are going to hear about it much quicker).

A year ago I honestly couldn’t run for 3 minutes without feeling very tired and out of breath and running up the stairs had started to make me sound like a steam train puffing up a hill. Now I can jog for an hour (usually between 6-10Km) and sometimes twice a day and feel satisfied. I am concerned that there is a toll on my knees and back, but for now I can enjoy feeling better.

I also know that I have the ability to dedicate myself to a very strong cause and to carry through with it.

Which means I probably need to find a goal for this year…


2017 Goals and Aims

I have spoken at some length in a previous post (see ) about one side of goals, which i called the ‘me goal’ a form of internal embiggening[1] yourself. Today i am going to speak about my goals for 2017.

Well not all of them.

And this is not a continuation of the previous post just I thought I’d mention it so that you could go and look and I could make some mild link that has no value because the kittens have knitted a jumper.


This year I have set myself a number of challenges to do with personal, professional and family life. I have also accepted a challenge from Leigh (

I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Personal: Been feeling fat and unhealthy and my lifestyle in regards to food and drink has got out of hand. So I have decided to lose weight, exercise more and drink less. I started on the 5th January. I am 2 stone lighter, I am eating better and drinking less. It is a hard regime, I am not massively overdoing it, but I am being firm with myself. So that’s going well, but I need to see if i can mange a year.

Leigh: Leigh asked me to publish a book, I did do one last year and you can find it for free (or make a small donation) on The Dog Ate My Bookshop website. The last book I published was a series of Haiku’s from 2015. this time around it will be a novel of some sort.

Family: Well I have kids and a wife that is devoted to me. I have resolved this year to make the most out of that and to sort out some better way of being a better husband and father. This is not to say I am crap, just that I know I can do better and I know they deserve the best version of me.

Professional: This is a hard one as I am pretty dedicated to my professional work. But this year I am trying to extend the notice that I give to what I, and my work colleagues, do.

We spend a lot of time working with communities in groups both in meat-space and elsewhere. I want to make sure that we get the acknowledgement (this is not respect, recognition or promotion but simply awareness) of what we do. So I have been focusing o making sure I put news on the company website (go take a look if you like) and trying to blog more about the company and the people.

That’s some of the goals I have for the year.

I don’t call them resolutions and I don’t conceive of a fully structured plan. These are changes I want to make or think I need to make and as such they have few requirements or definitive aims.

The weight loss has a general goal, as does the fitness. the challenge from Leigh has an aim but I am not bound to it. And in family and company these are desires to see a change that will benefit a group not an individual-only need.

Hopefully I will report back to you later in the year on how I am doing.

[1] yeah I stole it from The Simpsons


The Prepared Mind

I love this particular saying:

> Chance favours the prepared mind

I love it because my mind is rarely in a state of preparedness, or at least that’s how I feel about it. However this is misleadibng as i know it is, to at least some degree.

take today. After a great week of good behaviour Ben has a mood on him this morning. We ended up rushing out of the door to get to drama on time. Oh drama on the way to drama!

I normally have a laptop, an ipad, a phone and my journal with me. I always use the 90 minutes Ben is at drama to do some writing on blogs and news items. Today I have the bags for them. Today I should not be able to work.

I left the laptop plugged in and the ipad on charge. I went out of the door with the bags but not the stuff they carry. Derp.

But chance favours the prepared mind…

I do have my phone, and it has lots of Apps including two intended to help me blog. I also have my portable keyboard (mini) that I keep in my journal bag.

I got the keyboard out for the first time in three months and discovered I had left it turned on, the battery is dead. No matter as I have a small power brick in my laptop bag for emergency phone problems – I actually have two but one of those is also on charge at home. Derp.

Oh no, I have left the cable in the other one on charge at home. No worries I have spare cables and a spare multi-head cable for those times that I have the wrong cable.

So, while my son is at Drama and I am remembering that I have to re-pack some stuff into bags and re-charge power bricks. I am also still writing articles and news. This was the third.

This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.

Custom Converse Sneakers

11 March 2014

I recently ordered some custom Converse sneakers (Plimsolls to us Brits), some indy-Chucks, from the Converse website and last night they arrived.

I wanna go squeee and cover you all in my squeedom love. They are Batman designs with Batman on one shoe and Harley Quinn on the other, purple laces with green inner for one, yellow laces with red inner on the other, grey stripe on white rubber with a custom ‘mdk’ on the spine of the shoe.

They are freaking ace and I am wary of wearing them too much, except, ace shoes of acedom. Pictures below.

2014-03-10 17.47.18 2014-03-10 17.46.57 2014-03-10 17.46.57 2014-03-10 17.46.44 2014-03-10 17.46.36 2014-03-10 17.46.28

Chicago Hates Me

1st June 2013
Over the Atlantic near Canada

This morning I awoke at four forty to start the long day of travel that would see me arrive at Austin, Texas for this years YEt Another Perl Conference, North America. The journey would be a drive to the airport, Manchester, an eight hour flight to Chicago, a three hour stop over, and then a three hour flight to Austin.

Things started so well. The drive was clear as it was six in the morning, the weather was fair and roads empty.

I got to the airport and it took almost two hours to get past the check in desks and baggage drop off due to the seemingly non working luggage conveyors. Though I overheard a conversation which indicated they did in fact work and someone had just turned them off for some reason.

Anyway security was mostly empty as everyone was stuck at check in and baggage drop so the day seemed to get better again. But, I was elated too soon.

You see Chicago hates me.

Last year flying back from Chicago after YAPC we hit storms, the flight was cancelled, we had a ten hour wait at Chicago, then slept over in Chicago then flew the next day to Dallas and then flew to the UK that evening and arrived home two days late.

I am on the plane writing this. We are not flying directly to Chicago as planned. We are flying to Bangor first so we will have enough fuel to circle around Chicago as the are storms at Chicago.

Once again I am getting delays and I have no idea how this affects my connecting flights…because…Chicago hates me…

…or maybe it loves me and this is a way of getting me to spend more time there.

1st June 2013
At the airport lounge

Arrived in Chicago eighty minutes late, thankfully there was a four hour window between my flights as the immigration – customs – baggage – change terminal – TSA and security dance was again too much fun.

But it looks as if my connecting flight is on time so I have a good thirty minutes to relax before moving on to the next stage of the long haul to Texas.

Another Kindness of Strangers

18 May 2013
On a train from Paris to Marne le Vallee

I am sat here wondering how, aside from using it in the title of this piece, I can work in the line from the Tenesse Williams play:

“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

I guess I just did.

I am in Paris, home to the maligned Parisians, who some would have you believe are the most arrogant citizens in Europe. Some of those who hold that belief are British so the hypocrisy is thoroughly on display as I think we English hold records in the stuff.

I don’t hold that belief about Parisians or the French in general. Aside from knowing many nice French people I have also stayed in Paris more than once and find them easily as polite, if not more so, than Londoners.

So I guess I shouldn’t visit London for a while.

Today was a typical example. We have two small children and are hopping buses in Paris. We have had people help us onto the buses with the pram. Hold open doors. And the one moment than strikes the best, sat waiting at a bus stop and a gentleman gave Ben and Elliott a banana to share.

I don’t rely on the kindness of strangers. I usually plan ahead. But I do so like it when I experience it.

This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.

Today’s fun image



Holy duck look at the size of the crack in the windscreen of the taxi I am in.

This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.