Journal

Searching for the perfect side project

I seem to keep running around in circles looking for the perfect side project to work on. I just cant decide on which direction to go – and once I think I have I’ll end up doubting myself and changing my mind soon after.

I am a Web Developer by trade and, like many other developers, love the idea of having some sort of side project I can work on and potential earn a second income off.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I keep writing on here, my personal site. It sort of is a side project, except one that I’m not building as such – merely writing on it every now and again.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this post to be honest with you. It’s sort of me working it out in my head as I write, in a vein effort to try and make a decision.

Even if I do make a decision I’ll probably change it soon after. Also it’s possible that… damn my dinner’s burning!

Journal

On blaming others when you’re feeling down

Starting the day in a down sort of way

Feeling out of sorts, for whatever reason, is never a nice thing – especially when it’s the first day back at work after a four day Easter weekend. This is how I found myself today.

It didn’t help the fact that I’d had nothing to eat either until 7pm, except for a sausage roll from Greggs. This wasn’t out of being too busy or choice; I simply didn’t feel hungry.

As a result of my mood and lack of food I ended up feeling lackluster and hazy.

Reflecting back through the day

On reflection, during the train journey back home, I replayed certain points of the day and realized just how much of an ass I must have come across. I mean, I pretty much kept to myself and just cracked on with my work. But when I discovered someone had played an innocent prank on me I think I took it a little bit to heart. Miserable bastard, I think the term is.

There were other little moments too, which I wont go into specifics about, but let me just say that I was a bit of a “cranky-pants”, as my lady would say.

I can only put it down to a mixture of a lack of sleep the night before, lack of food and knowing that my hamster Moomin is approaching the end of his little life.

Do better next time

This is no excuse however. I can simply learn from this and do better moving forward.

I write this not only because I have promised myself I’ll blog every single day for a year, but in case there are any other people out there with similar experiences. This life is, if nothing more, a string of experiences and knowing that others have similar issues from time to time can help us all through.

Journal

Productivity and breaking out of prison

More running tonight down the same canal route as Tuesday. I think I’m getting back into the swing of training again. Just need to start making a habit of getting back down the gym three evenings a week.

Been looking at productivity tools today too. I think i need to start organising my life in a structured way to actually get the things i want to get done, done.

Got to see the second episode of the new Prison Break series too. Some classic Scofield moments in there – it’s good to be back on the break train. 

Journal

Achy thighs and inappropriate gym clothes

After my initial moan about being confronted with Elasticsearch yesterday, today i have actually been looking into it – learning it in order to get the job I’ve been tasked with finished.

I don’t know why, but i tend to get that gut reaction most times i am confronted by something foreign to me. I think it may stem from a frustration of not knowing something and then, within a work context, worrying about how long it’s going to take me.

No running tonight, which I’m thankful for. My thighs are aching slightly from yesterday’s 2.5 kilometre jog. Yes, I’m that unfit. It’s hard to think that I’m actually going to be doing a full Marathon in October – or at least attempting it.

At the time of writing this, I’ve just seen a guy wearing a gym training hoody that reads “Train Hard, Fight Easy”. I’m not sure it’s wise walking around Birmingham with that printed on your top. You’re just asking for trouble from those looking for a fight, surely?

Journal

Stretching before running

One of the annoying things about web development, is having to learn completely new paradigms every now and again. I’m all for improving my skills and being more efficient in my work, but when i have to halt to have to learn a whole new separate thing, it grinds my gears a bit.

The idea I’m talking about today is something called Elasticsearch. Yet another data access methodology and one that I’ve never had to mess with before. Don’t get me wrong I’m not hating on the technology, I would simply rather not have to learn this whole new way of searching data.

I’m easily confused.

On a more positive note i have started taking steps towards actually building my first online product / service which i think could be very handy for a lot, if not all, bloggers. It’s something I built for myself and thought about how others could benefit from it too.

Stay tuned for more info as it develops.

Tonight I’ve been enrolled into a run up the canal by my lady. Although i felt a sudden drive for it this morning, that has since passed after my tiring over one of the most boring tutorial videos I’ve ever watched – about the aforementioned Elasticsearch. I’m sure she won’t let me shirk my running responsibilities and I’ll be jogging round the block in no time.

Journal

A quarrel of rooks and first world war pigeons

Where most people tend to enjoy the sun’s hot rays on days like today, i tend to get a little bit crabby. My girlfriend refers to me as a Honey Badger. It’s not intentional, i simply am not one for heat. I’d rather be colder than warm.

This year however we have bought some sun lotion, so as not to have a repeat of my horrific ordeal of extreme sun burn last year.

We thought we’d go for a quiet afternoon at Middleton Hall today, however hundreds of other people had the same idea. Turns out there was a plant fair on, which meant my lady was in her element.

After being allowed 2 entry tickets for 1 due to our lack of physical money, we took a wander through the hall on the way to the fair. En route we wound up talking to a nice elderly man who was running a nice display of World war one memorabilia. Now i was in my element.

I find the subject of World war one both interesting and humbling. The man had lots of interesting information about the articles he had bought with him including a spiked item designed to puncture horses hooves on the battlefield​. Pretty brutal. Other interesting information included the other animals used during the first world war – including pigeons. In fact they even created a medal specifically for them – the Dickin Medal – which 32 of them were presented with.

After meaning to do it for a long while, we also finally joined the R.S.P.B. Down at the Middleton wildlife reservation a helpful lady helped us join for just £7 a month. It’s feels nice to be giving something back.

Apparently also otters are now on the incline – no longer as endangered as they once were. So that’s good news. We didn’t spot any however. I guess they’re all tucked away in their homes.

Journal

A day in the sun and a hamster in transit

Today we were hit by a surprise bout of heat and sunshine so i did something i haven’t done in a long time – sat out in a garden in a recliner chair.

I’d forgotten how nice it is to actually have a garden.

I thought this was well deserved as we had been on the go all day up to that point. This included me moving a load of my stuff to my lady’s for my week stay. Included in the move was Moomin, our little hamster.

Moomin hasn’t been well recently but today, rolling around in his ball in the garden, seemed to cheer him up. If you have a hamster you should get him / her out when you can and let them explore. There’s nothing Moomin enjoys more than running around freely in the living room; exploring the furthest reaches of his home.

I read an article this morning about a guy who blogged every day for a year and how it had accustomed him to noticing more of the smaller things in life. I have decided to try the same – this is actually my third day in a row so far so that’s good.

Some days the posts may be mundane while other days may have items of interest. However i will endeavour to find some nuggets of interest in those days that tend to be rinse and repeat, i.e. work days.

All the best,

Dave.

Manga

This cat has a cursed face

Junji Ito’s work was my first taste of manga – and what an introduction! Grotesque body horror and the creepiest stories you could imagine. So imagine my surprise when I heard that he had written a story about his cats.

That’s right, you read that right.

“Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu”, is an autobiographical Manga story about him and his wife and their two cats, Yon and Mu. However he has drawn it in the same style as he draws his main body of work – in a true horror fashion. The cats and the story lines are fairly common for most cat owners: The cat running out the front door and the owners having to find them; taking the pet to be castrated; playing with the cats with a cat wand. Except he manages to imprint his own unique style into every frame of the story.

The story also had a really moving end to it, as he incorporates the true events from his and his wife’s adventures with Yon and Mu. This is a Manga I can highly recommend for all to read – its light subject matter and idiosyncratic art style make it a great gateway drug to the world of Junji Ito.

Journal

No hay Scofield. There is no Scofield.

Mulholland Drive is a dream i often like to get lost in. It is one of my top five films and is a film where i am happy to be led into the darkness of David Lynch’s genius.

A friend of mine and me were lucky enough to get tickets to the first showing of the newly-restored version of this film as part of Birmingham’s flatpack festival.

It was everything i imagined and hoped it would be. Key scenes were even more powerful on the big screen; Rebecca Del Rio’s a cappella version of Crying; the leading up the secret path; Betty’s audition with Woody Catz.

Not only was it immersive behind the screen, but so too was the crowd that i found myself fortunate to sit with. This was the first time in all my cinema-going history where i have taken part in a full-on applauding for the film in both it’s starting and finishing.

The trip back home proved annoying as my main route was closed and had to follow diversions for an extra half an hour. My arriving home at half twelve in the morning didn’t mark the end of my day however. You see, it was also the day of the Prison Break season 5 premiere and I wasn’t gonna miss this one for the world.

I enjoyed the new episode. Of course it didn’t have the wow factor that the revealing of the tattoos did at the end of season one’s premiere, but i guess it’s hard to recapture that. I wasn’t disappointed though. I enjoyed seeing the old characters back and look forward to seeing where their paths take them.

Journal

A lovely belated Mother’s Day outing

Today I took my mom to Middleton Hall for the afternoon and had a great time. After lunch in the small cafe, within the old stables, we ventured around the Hall itself and surrounding gardens.

It’s amazing how much interesting history is right there on your doorstep. For example the Middleton estate was leased to the Knight’s Templar in 1185 by the owners at the time, the de Marmion family. Also one of the commanders at the largest naval battle of World War One, The Battle of Jutland, was from the Willoughby family. The Willoughby family owned the Middleton estate for about 500 years.

Those are just two snippets but you can find out more on their website. Also one of the ladies working there was very knowledgeable on the whole subject. She gave us loads of facts and figures but I can’t lie – there was simply too much to take in during one sitting. But very helpful nonetheless.