The Lost Bikes

Lost BikesThere is something about riding to the station in the morning. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it is, since I had that thought as I arrived at the station yesterday morning, and it has since left me.

Never mind, because it did also remind me of another thought about bikes at stations: the lost bikes. Not bikes that are lost, or stolen, from the station (like Holly’s bike was last weekend) but bikes which are just left, and forgotten.

Most of the time, you don’t even notice them. They hide amongst the regular bikes like ninjas, not doing anything to stand out. Unless they’re missing a saddle. Or a wheel. But late at night, or early in the morning, or at weekends, when the other bikes are all at home, they stand out like sore thumbs.

Why are they left behind? Did their owner just forget about them on the way home from work? Did the owner die during the day? Or did they just – as I once intended to do – dump the bike at the station and let it rust?

Of course, if you’re just intending to dump the bike, why bother locking it down? My excuse was going to under the guise of a social experiment, after my old bike had its valve caps stolen whilst it was locked up outside Woking Station. I wanted to see how long it would last locked up with a cheap lock at a busy station. I never did in the end, so I dumped it in a bush, where it could still be to this day.

But the bikes at Twickenham Station are pretty securely locked – well enough that they haven’t gone anywhere in months, if not years. They rust, but otherwise the bikes are fine.

And yet Holly’s bike was nicked after being left there for a couple of days. Hey ho, she now has a new bike, but it is annoying nonetheless.

So anyway, if you’ve left your bike locked up at Twickenham Station for the last few months, it’s probably still there. If you need a bike, I left one in the bushes by my old house in Woking.



Twickenham StadiumWhen, as I do, you live in the shadow of a major national sporting stadium, you end up with usually either one of two opinions towards said sport – either you love it, or you hate it. I still sometimes have trouble figuring out in which category I fall.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy rugby. I don’t follow it as closely as I follow the Arsenal, for instance, but I do try to keep up with things and have been to more rugby than football games in recent memory.

However, when whatever you want to do on a Saturday has to be worked around the presence of 82,000 people who are all wearing silly hats, or dressed like a bee, or are in extreme cases French, then it can be a little tiresome.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy living where I do. I love it here, and when I’m actually going to a game it’s great to be part of the atmosphere. But you have to get used to keeping track of what games are happening when, lest your simple attempt to go home be thwarted by tens of thousands of people heading in the other direction (obviously far worse when you also have a bike with you). And when most people are offered overtime at work (in central London) they have to check with National Rail to see if there’s any engineering works. I have to check with the RFU to see if I’ll be able to get near my flat.

There are perks, of course. We live close enough to get the concerts for free, albeit with a little more reverb than one would like. And, if you’re lucky, the massive Tesco on our doorstep is literally empty of customers when a match is on (well, okay, there were three other shoppers. Quite a lot considering the car park was full, however).

The main problem I find is the police, who generally assume you’re a fan going to the stadium rather than a resident going home. But once they find out you’re a local they’re usually pretty good (they even let us cycle down ostensibly closed roads two weeks ago).

Still, Holly and I find it’s usually best when an England match is on to either hide in the flat, or go far enough away and try not to come back until everyone has at least made it into the pubs – or  when the game is on, when the whole place is like a ghost town.

I only say this because, three hours before kickoff today, I still couldn’t move for people as I tried to get home for work. Still, as I type, I can hear the faint cheers as it all gets underway. If you’re watching the game, enjoy the show.


The One Where Life Caught Up

SlideAs you will probably have noticed, I haven’t exactly posted much on here in the last few days (save for that quick little Beach Boys post). Don’t worry, I haven’t lost the blog bug, I had a very, very good excuse.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at work, some of which has already been documented. The pregnant woman project was actually completed on time, despite the time constraints. What I didn’t mention was that that week, the pregnant woman was one of three projects that had to be completed by the end of that week.

Last week, the Artsy Film. I had to screen that bastard six times in three days. Although, the first screening failed because the 16mm projector had a brief disagreement with me, resulting in something unwatchable, even for a film that I had previously taken 15 minutes to realise was running upside down.

Whilst I was busy with that, the system in one of our theatres (the really fallible theatre that I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere else before, but not sure where) blew up, meaning I came in the morning after to help sort things out, on what was technically my day off (I’m not complaining or anything, this is mainly for context).

Which all brings us round to Monday.

On Monday I interviewed at work for a promotion. Long story short, I got it. Although, as I write this, I can’t actually tell you. Until it’s announced officially, I can’t say anything, so that those I was up against can be informed properly (and trust me, having been on the other side of the fence and discovering my lack of success through the proverbial grapevine, I know exactly what it feels like). Of course, by the time you read this, it will be official, unless I accidentally publish this post too early. [Note: although it hasn’t been ‘officially’ announced, it is apparently common knowledge so I’ve gone ahead and posted this]

The problem with the interview was I had to both endure a 50-minute interview, and deliver a 10 minute presentation, all of which had to be prepared for. So ultimately, the reason why there’s not been much of me around is I spent Thursday writing my presentation, Saturday creating the slides and Sunday actually learning and rehearsing the thing. And Friday in the pub, but that’s neither here nor there.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. I had great trouble shutting my brain up to get to sleep on Sunday, and at some point during the night had a dream that I was in a bicycle race with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who resorted to elbowing me in the nose and leaving my bloodied in the road in order to win. Holly said that was perhaps one of my easier dreams to read, something about competitiveness and people fighting dirty. I dunno, I don’t really do dream reading.

Obviously it was all worth it, and now my brain isn’t chock full of potential questions and answers and the order of presentation slides, I can actually set it back to keeping my blogs updated. Oh, and the new job and stuff.

Fail Life Work

Health and Safety at Work

This should keep those health and safety types happy, shouldn’t it?

Don’t look at me. I didn’t do it.

Related: Oh Dear


On Taking a Step Back from Facebook

facebook logoAs may be coming gradually clearer from the type of posts I’ve made there recently (as well as the existence of this place), for a variety of reasons I’m trying to take a step back from Facebook. Just a step, mind.

Why am I doing this? The main reason is that, although I am not as addicted to Facebook as some people, I still ultimately live my life though it. If go out and take pictures somewhere, or find a funny link, or think of an amusing use of the word cockwaffle, then Facebook is the only place to know. As far as I’m concerned, that’s living my life through Facebook, even if I’m not glued to the computer 24/7 waiting for updates from people I hardly know (although another part of the reason for that is I’m pretty strict about who I actually add as a friend, which is why my friend count is 51, not, er, 60).

So, I’ve decided that Facebook is no longer going to be my life, just a window into it. My photos, videos and ramblings will no longer be put directly onto Facebook; they’ll be put onto this site, or one of my other blogs (listed here), and the link will be put on Facebook (much like I currently do with Instagram).

What good will this do? Well, primarily I believe it will help me keep active by actually updating them regularly. If I don’t put anything on Facebook, it’ll carry on without me; these blogs will not. It also allows me to take a little more pride in my work by putting it on the wider web (suitably watermarked, of course) where I can let anybody see it, and allows me to build up a publicly viewable portfolio of my stuff. It also protects my photography against sudden changes to the terms of use of Facebook, which could suddenly see their copyright whisked away from me (a slightly drastic sounding scenario I know, but Facebook have made several alarming moves in that direction over the last few years).

It also allows me to own and manage my own webspace, albeit one powered by WordPress. I’m still exploring various other ways of making use of this domain which include having blogs as part of the webpage, not the main webpage, but for now this is the way I’m running it, and I like it.

Whether in the future I return to Facebook with my tail between my legs, or drop off from Facebook all together, I’m excited about the possibilities.

Life Writing


My stupid self
Yes, I do actually look like this on a Sunday morning.

One of the reasons for the existence of this blog and its siblings is to encourage me to write more. So far it has worked, I am updating things quite regularly. What I have noticed in trying to write so much, however, is how cripplingly small my vocabulary actually is.

It turns out, I don’t actually know enough words to join everything together. It’s always also this and also that, however here and additionally there.

I don’t seem to have enough nouns either. The worst bit (bit?) of this is the word thing. Thing. What a useless word when you’re trying to get things across. It seems to be the word that slips in more often than any other, such as “One other thing I did…” or “The thing that bugs me the most…” or “I played with my thing too much and now I can’t see properly.” Wait, scratch that last one.

This weekend I attempted, amongst numerous other things (gah!), to write the all-important introduction to the Whimpering Pen, in the hope of actually getting it off the ground instead of being nothing more than an idea (and these days the only blog of mine that doesn’t get a new post at least once every few days – wait, I just repeated days, didn’t I? Damn, bugger and blast). I managed to get a lot if it done, but a lack of quality words and phrases let it down. There was far too many attempts at repeating clichéd phrases like ‘pull you in’ and ‘attract your attention’, and not enough conjunctions other than ‘also’. I also (oh, for the love of…) constantly reuse the phrase ‘of course’ despite the fact that what I’m about to say might not be as obvious as the phrase ‘of course’ would suggest.

I vaguely recall I used to be better than this. It’s not just a shortage of phrases and words, it’s a lack of ability to create new ones. Everything I’m writing seems to be put together from the same short selection of words and, um, phrases (crap), like a Lego set with only four types of brick, one of which is one of those cheap Lego knockoffs your mum found at a car boot sale and thought was a good find (I can’t be the only one to have had that experience. What I don’t understand is, I never threw them away, despite the fact they never fit with anything else).

When I look back over some of the writing I did up to and including my time at university, I only occasionally seemed to have this sort of problem (have? I’m sure there’s a much better word to use there). Of course (I give up), that was creative writing, with a narrative, rather than what I find myself trying to write here, and although the two should ultimately amount to the same thing they don’t seem to in my head. There were a few occasions where entire stories would fail because I couldn’t think of the right word to describe what was going on – not that I used much description in my stories, I used to rely heavily on dialogue, which might be another part of my problem here.

I think the main cause of this problem is a lack of reading. Not in general – I follow over two dozen RSS feeds daily from a variety of sources which between them have hundreds of posts a day. Since some of these are blogs, you’d think I’d learn from them, but I don’t seem to. I don’t think that’s the problem, though. No, the problem is not reading enough books. ‘Real’ creative pieces which usually flow better and have been slaved over for longer.

I know what I need to do. Reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy always helps me out in these situations. I have an iBooks version, but find trying to read it on an iPhone screen, no matter how sharp the text is, is pretty ineffective. No, what I need next is an iPad 2 to read it on…

Apple Life


Although the title of this post (hopefully) conjures up memories of Douglas Adams’ excellent short dialogue about them, which (in my quick search of Google) doesn’t appear to actually be posted anywhere on the Internet, this post is more about my experience with the pesky little buggers.

My experience is more the following: the likelihood of things going wrong is proportional to the proximity of a deadline.

Take my current situation. I’m working to one of the tightest deadlines I’ve ever had; a video that was shot this morning needs to be edited, graphics added and audio post done, and burnt onto a DVD by the end of the day. Yes, this is for the pregnant woman.

Unusually, I am not currently the weakest link in this equation.

Currently, I’m writing this blog, because Final Cut is rendering the almost conclusion of this day. Motion has been throwing tantrums and quitting all over the place, and Soundtrack Pro has spent most of the afternoon sulking in a corner because I asked it to remove the noise from a dozen audio files.

Once Soundtrack has cheered up enough to actually save the work it’s done, I’ll then have to run a second render (the current is for the video shot on Wednesday, that accompanies today’s piece). Then I’ll have to deal with Compressor which has also been very moody lately and been refusing to work.

Most of this, I am very aware, makes little sense to anyone not familiar with Final Cut Studio. Nevertheless, you get the idea: a deadline is very close, thus the technology is rebelling.

Wish me luck. I’m going back in.


Blog Roll

BlogsOf the blogs that I curate, Creative Splurges is my favourite.  I love what it stands for, and what it encourages me to do. I like the idea of The Whimpering Pen too, but that needs work to get off the ground and update regularly (in fact, don’t even bother clicking that link, there is no content there to speak of).

Somewhat annoyingly though, the blog that seems to be getting all of the traffic is Outdated by Lunchtime. Well, in this case ‘all’ of the traffic is about ten hits today, and fifteen on a day earlier this month. I guess this unexpected flow of traffic (for an unpromoted blog) is down to the subject matter; people like to read about technology, and I have made use of tags such as ‘iPad 2’ which must interest people. It is worth noting that most of the hits today seem to have come from Google, although that may be because I almost managed to get a scoop this morning.

It’s not just views, though. ObL has had two mentions elsewhere on the internet; one chap seemed to present the blog as the best source for a roundup of the iPad 2, and the other, apparently a meta-blog, has put the entire iPad 2 round-up post on its site. The latter seems to be spam, the former I can’t really tell.

Having really only just started out with regular blogging, it is quite encouraging that people seem to be visiting the site. Even if it’s just a few spambots, it’s a start, right?


Hang about

I’m still working on this thing. For now, click ‘Creative Splurges’ above and go to where things are actually happening.

Life Uncategorized

The Beginning

This is my first blog.

In many ways, that is a little surprising. Most people who know me in person know that I talk a hell of a lot. Some would say too much. The general consensus is that most of what I say could be categorised as “bullshit”. I also like to write, although – as is often the case – liking to do something and actually sitting down to do it are two very different concepts. I should therefore be prime fodder to have a blog. But no. I’ve been meaning to start one for ages, but never sat down to do it.

Until today, that is. Let’s see how this goes.