Saturday, 6 December 2014

Just a thought

It must be your skin I'm sinking in
It must be for real 'cause now I can feel
And I didn't mind
It's not my kind
It's not my time to wonder why

Everything's gone white
And everything's gray
Now you're here now you're away
I don't want this
Remember that
I'll never forget where you're at

Don't let the days go by

Glycerine
Glycerine

I'm never alone
I'm alone all the time
Are you at one or do you lie?
We live in a wheel
Where everyone steals
But when we rise it's like strawberry fields

If I treated you bad
You bruised my face
Couldn't love you more
You got a beautiful taste

Don't let the days go by

Could have been easier on you
I couldn't change though I wanted to
Should have been easier by three
Our old friend fear and you and me

Glycerine
Glycerine

Don't let the days go by

Glycerine

Don't let the days go by

Glycerine
Glycerine

Glycerine
Glycerine

Black moon white again
Black moon white again
And she falls around me

I needed you more
When we wanted us less
I could not kiss just regress
It might just be
Clear simple and plain
Well, that's just fine
That's just one of my names

Don't let the days go by
Could've been easier on you, you, you

Glycerine
Glycerine

Glycerine
Glycerine

Monday, 1 December 2014

14 Months of Me



Yes, yes, it can be argued that I already live a life that is all about me but this has not actually been completely true.

Over the last few years, I have spent a lot of time building my network and reestablishing my place in my profession in order to negate the depression destruction of it.

This has meant saying yes to other people and for the benefit of other people. I want to refocus on me.

My goal is to continue to extend my knowledge about a lot of things and also keep improving my brain. I want to write more, read more and sleep more alongside getting fit again.

Since the beginning of November 2014, I have put the following actions in to place and intend to continue this until at least the end of 2015. Yes, 14 months.

Now I do these things without fail...

  • Get in to bed at 10PM and sleep within 30 minutes;
  • Quit Facebook and other useless time wasting activities;
  • Continue with my habit of reading one book a fortnight;
  • Don't use the Internet after 9PM and before 8AM;
  • Say yes to things I've never done before but only if they improve me as a person;
  • Write at least one thing every single week;
  • Have no more than one night out a week;
  • Do at least three sessions of strenuous exercise per week; and
  • Only allow acquaintances in my work life and not my personal life.
So far, so good. I have a lot more time for self improvement and to achieve my goals.

2015 will be fricken fantastic! I will accept no less.

I broke up with the Facebook because it just wasn't useful




A week ago, I looked at how I use the Internet weekly, daily and hourly. It looked like this:


  • Facebook - hourly in that I at least looked at notifications and would share and post a lot other times;
  • Blogger - once a month to post a blog post or two, usually about reading or geek stuff;
  • Twitter - daily in order to find articles on topics I care about;
  • Google+ - every second or third day to read topics I'm interested in and for sharing interesting articles;
  • Flickr - weekly to upload pictures from my life that I want to share with loved ones;
  • LinkedIn - every second or third day to find interesting things to read and participate in discussion groups. Also share interesting reading I have found and think others will like;
  • Work email - week days at work but not outside work; and
  • gmail - once or twice a day max and mainly for dealing with job related stuff.

Then I read a quote from Jason Yip on Twitter that said...

Worry less about "Are my feelings / Is my behaviour justified?"; worry more about "Are my feelings / Is my behaviour useful?".

That one tweet made me stop and reassess so much of who I am and what I currently do. So, I asked myself: When I use the Internet is my interaction useful?
  • Facebook - No;
  • Blogger - Yes;
  • Twitter - Yes;
  • Google+ - Sometimes;
  • Flickr - Yes;
  • LinkedIn - Yes;
  • Work email - Absolutely; and
  • gmail - Yes.
It took me less than ten minutes to then decide that I would do the following things:
  • Stop using Facebook immediately and then delete my account if I didn't use it for 3 months;
  • Remove Facebook, Twitter and Google+ apps from my phone and other mobile devices; and
  • Log out of Twitter and Google+ and only log in when I explicitly wanted to use them.
For the first two days after stopping using it, I kept coming back to the same feelings and asked myself if the resulting reaction would be useful...
  • Should I tell someone what I'm doing or feeling? Yes, but more specific people and not Facebook; and
  • Should I check to see if anyone has sent me a message? No, they will contact me on my phone or via email if they need me.
After the initial habit change left me nervous and a little anxious, it all passed. Yes, I still use all the other sites with more intent than I did in the past but I don't use Facebook and I feel no need to.

Later on, I will write a more detailed post about why Facebook has irked me for the last 6-9 months and how that has aided in my persistence to not return. This is not the post for it. Again, would it be useful?

Wish me luck and if you can't find me online, you can find me on the end of a telephone.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Monogram Murders


Book 21 of 2014 is The Monogram Murders NOT by Agatha Christie but by Sophie Hannah.

This is the first Hurcule Poirot novel that the Christie family has officially approved.

Having read every Agatha Christie novel ever before I was 18, I was very excited about this when I found it in the new books section of the ABC Shop.

Although the story is very much like a Hercule Poirot story, it was told with contempt for the little Belgian detective. Christie described him brutally sometimes but you knew she loved this character. The same love was not evident in this story.

It was ok and did keep me engaged. Each day at work, I'd be looking forward to going home so I could read more of the book. That is a real page turner but not a genuine Poirot page turner unfortunately.

My little great cells give this 3.5 murders in a hotel out of 5.

Should I read this? Absolutely, if you love Agatha Christie's Belgian detective. Let me know what you think.
What did I learn? That criticism can come across for contempt if you don't truly love your character.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Wizard of Oz



Book 20 of 2014 is from the BFI Film Classics series and is a review by Salman Rushdie of the movie The Wizard of Oz. I'd call this an essay, more than a book but my only criteria to satisfy something is a book is if it looks like a book and quacks like a book.

In 69 pages, Salman Rushdie reviews the movie The Wizard of Oz in a way that has changed, ruined and enhanced my view of it.

He does this as the first part of a series of essays commissioned for a project by the National Film and Television Archive in the UK. This was before DVDs and IMDB and was a way of deconstructing and reviewing 360 classic movies by great minds of the time. When Rushdie looked through the list, he chose Oz as one of his favourite places as a child and decided to write about this movie.

Like anything you love that is deconstructed and discussed, some of the magic disappears but Rushdie's passion for the film and shared discovered facts compensate greatly.

The thing I did like the most was finding that this essay inspired Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I love the Oz world and Wicked continued for me, as this essay has extended it for me.

At the end of this essay, the author writes a fantastical story about the futuristic auctioning of the famous and obviously magical Ruby Slippers from the movie. There is a great quote that seems quite apt in this time...

"We, the public, are easily, lethally offended. We have come to think of taking offence as a fundamental right. We value very little more highly than our rage, which gives us, in our opinion, the moral high ground. From this high ground we can shoot down at our enemies and inflict heavy fatalities. We take pride in our short fuses. Our anger elevates, transcends. 

Salman Rushdie. At the auction of the ruby slippers. 
In: East, West. Vintage, 1995."

I give this a brain, a heart and some courage out of 5. Yes, that's a 3.5.

Should I read this? Read this if you love The Wizard of Oz movie. It would mean nothing otherwise.
What did I learn? Toto was female and her name was Terry.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Room of One's Own



Book 19 of 2014 is Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

I've only read a couple of Virginia Woolf books and I love the way she writes. She is a born story teller who paints pictures with words. Now I know that she writes like a "woman-manly." Or was it a "man-womanly"? Either way, it makes her voice unique in a crowd where she is a minority.

This book/essay/speech is one of the most relevant (yes, even now) books that I woman can read.

Of late, life has had me wondering where I belong and what the whole damn point of it is. Belonging is important but it is more than that. The feeling was more about how I belong in a world where I can not see anyone like me. That was my mistake.

There may not be people who look like me everywhere but there are people who think like me, both men and women. This book was like taking a giant sigh after a very long week ends. She said it perfectly.

It is only 112 pages and if you can't do that then at least read the last chapter. She is brilliant. Just that.

I give it 5 revelations without bitterness out of 5.

Should I read this? Women should. Secure men should. Others will not be impressed that someone let her out of the kitchen.
What did I learn? “I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me.”

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being



Book 18 of 2014 is one that i have read twice now. It is a favourite and often fits in to certain contexts in my life.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is the Milan Kundera book that you must read.

I most identify with Sabina and have been told she is dysfunctional. Maybe she is but boy does she look hot in a bowler hat.

I give it 4.5 extra-martial affairs out of 5.

Should I read this? Absolutely. A classic that you must consume, at least once.
What did I learn? Love is totally and absolutely unique to who you are. Let no one dictate otherwise.

Building Scalable Web Sites



The 17th book of 2014 is Building Scalable Web Sites by Cal Henderson.

I read this because a developer I really respect at Thoughtworks recommended it. The reviews I read ripped it to pieces with comments like "I already know this" and "well yeah, duh." I still read it.

Once thing that you have to do as a lead is understand concepts so well that you can explain and teach it to other people. The thing I've seen a lot is that people dismiss the small things, the concepts that matter and talk about big ideas while not understanding where it all comes from.

This book is a great way to understand the basic concepts and teach you how to teach others. It talks about where no mainstream software engineering concepts come from in a way that fills all the gaps.

If you want to claim you are a great senior software engineer then read this with a little humility. I will guarantee you learn something. Or at least learn how to teach it.

I'd give it 3.5 checkins out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. Anyone who intends to lead a software team should read this whether they are technical of not.
What did I learn? Humility and the ability to articulate what is in your giant brain.

A Rightful Place




Book 16 of 2014: A Rightful Place is a Quarterly Essay by Noel Pearson. The Quarterly Essay is a series of four essays a year written by current key Australians.

After reading this, I wrote Noel Pearson an email. It went...

"Hello Mr Pearson,

I have never written to anyone of worth before so forgive any mistakes I make.

I just finished reading your Quarterly Essay. I am not indigenous to this country. In fact, I am half Australian and half Papua New Guinean but I write you all the same. There is something to not belonging that I empathise with when I read what you wrote. Something raw and true.

Having never been a fan of yours, it surprised me how much I understood what you said.

You see, I grew up on Palmerston in the Northern Territory in the mid 80s to 90s. My school was less than a quarter white and that didn't seem odd to me. We used the word budju as a compliment and c*nt as a disgrace. I even still return to my parents house speaking in that manic drawl that is Darwin. There is a part of me that is goanna cooked over a fire and peanut flavoured grubs out of trees.

When I read you essay, I found a way to articulate and (sadly because it is required) defend the people I grew up with. The most amazing and ancient culture we have on earth.

I lost respect for Darwin (again) and Dickens (for the first time) and got teary at your conclusion.

I write this email because I'd like to thank you for saying it so well. For articulating your plight in a way others haven't before or maybe not so well.

You won me over, sir.

I live in Canberra. If I can ever buy you dinner and have a conversation, I would be honoured.

Damana Madden - a black Darwin girl"

I'd give it 4 non-racist remarks out of 5.

Should I read this? If you get a chance, read this. As an Australian, you should.
What did I learn? There is a way to help our first people but it means giving them control over their life and not just participation in the process.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Leave it better than when you found it

I will always post too many quotes, too many pictures of cats doing cat things, too many shots of food as I make people wait to eat, too many posts of shoes and possibly too many photos of myself. You will hear my happiness most of the time but sometimes my sadness, my contemplation, my exasperation and my wonder. There will be inane questions and tipsy checkins. Maybe shallow ponderings and epics revelations. Some days I will make you cringe and other days I will make you smile.

Either way, this is me. We do this once. Just once. Really, only once. I shall do it my way. If you can live with that then... good. If not, so be it. I gave up on cool when I was 12 years old and have been happy ever since. Now, I just want to be kind to myself and those I care about. Let everything be what it is and be ok with that. Own my choices and their consequences. Live the best life I can while treading carefully.

That is me.

The Imagination of Readers

From a book I adore...

“After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer - perhaps more.”

- Jasper Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots