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Mmmm… Shiny

I’ve been battling (mostly without success) a particularly severe bout of Shiny New Idea syndrome this week. You might recognize this affliction even if you don’t know the name, the chief symptom being a recurring, non-evidence-based, productivity-crushing conviction that your latest scheme out-glistens all the older projects you had on the go, which now seem as dull as dishwater by comparison.

Coupled with chronic perfectionitis, this makes for a perfect storm of Not Getting Anywhere Fast (NGAF).

The origin of the current outbreak (only the most recent of a very lengthy series) is the all-new website I’ve been building, to be launched some time soonish, maybe. Though rather more ‘maybe’ than ‘soonish’, I fear, for I’ve been simultaneously laid low by a near-terminal bout of perfectionitis.

Problem is, I find the designing bit – choosing layouts, colours, plugins etc. – so much more fun than the writing (which I’ve barely started). I’m starting to think I might have missed my vocation many years ago when I chose to work with words, not pausing to consider that I might like pictures better.

But now I’ve descended so far down the NGAF rabbit-hole, I’m thinking of declaring a moratorium on tweaking the visuals until I’ve forced myself to generate some content. I want to attract actual, real people onto this new site (unlike the present one, obviously), so ‘all style and zero substance’ just isn’t an option.Ì

Forever And Ever

Sit back, watch this video (for at least a week or two, if time allows), and experience the infinite…Ì

A Little Knowledge…

I found this image on Facebook. OK, I know it’s a bit simplistic and Matrix fanboy-y, but it’s still good PR for science (and it is science that got him to the top of that tower – he’s looking at the stars, not Heaven).

So which one is the happiest? Not the middle (Red Pill) guy, obviously. There’s a case to be made for Blue Pill guy, but Science Guy undoubtedly has the best view. What colour pill did he take, I wonder?Ì

Those Who Will Not Hear…

I’ve always (since the invention of cameras in phones, anyway) had an urge to collect and curate odd/unhelpful/incomprehensible signage. It’s right up there on the must-have-a-go hobby scale with collecting images of White Plastic Chairs Of The World (of which more anon – maybe).

So to kick things off, here’s one I made earlier. The photo below was taken last year at a Hans Zimmer Live on Tour concert at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Note the word “concert” here. Concert, as in music. Music that might be quiet at times, loud at others, but mostly in between, probably.

The Big Question: Who pays good money to go to a concert, then sits through it wearing earplugs? (Though actually, the rest of it does sound pretty dangerous.)Ì

Time For A Change?

I’m becoming royally pee’ed off with my job. Well, it’s not my job exactly – it’s what I do for my (very slender) living. Freelance science and medical editing. For someone with my outstanding social abilities, it’s pretty much the perfect occupation. Work at home, hours to suit, safe from the Hell that is Office Politics… And with copyediting, I get to indulge my OCD tendencies, too.


The older I get, the more I struggle with even this, most basic level of professional interaction. They email me work, I do it and email it back. When I check my inbox and see an email without an attachment, I know I’m in trouble because if they’re not sending me work, they’re pointing out my mistakes. A different kind of Hell: Quality Control.

“You just won’t be told!” (as my mum might have said, had she said things like that).

But isn’t it considered bad (wo)man-management – communicating with your underlings only to tell them the bad stuff, never the good? Or maybe freelancers’ feelings don’t count?

And then there’s the whole cognitive dissonance thing. Suffice to say, much of the work I edit is diametrically opposed to my dearest-held values, and I know that, in helping these people get published, I am effectively condoning what they do.

In the past I’ve tried to ignore the obvious; someone’s got to do it, I have to pay the bills somehow, etc. The justifications get weaker all the time, though, and taking such a mercenary approach to the way I spend a large chunk of my waking life can never be good for morale, or self-respect.

All of which makes me think it’s high time for a change. But how? And to what?Ì

Pitcher Perfect

Just when you thought it was safe, etc… here’s more from last week’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival. I’ve saved the best until (possibly) last: now feast your eyes (ho ho!) upon these stunning carnivorous plants.

Apparently the larger ones eat not just insects, but small vertebrates, too. Eeeeek!

I don’t know about you, but there seems something particularly horrific about the idea of a plant eating a mouse or frog. Like a bird-eating spider eating, well, a bird. Kind of goes against the natural order of things (except it doesn’t, of course – but let’s leave that for later).Ì

Flower Power

We went to our first-ever flower show yesterday: the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, held at the Three Counties Showground near Great Malvern in Worcestershire.

I may one day tell the story of our epic journey home (courtesy of Great Western Railway – now there’s a surprise). But meanwhile, see below for a few floral and other highlights from the show itself.Ì

Thrill A Minute

I love chasing down the Wikipedia rabbit-hole: wasting a few hours following a link from the day’s Main Page and seeing where it takes me.

The other day, via “The Devil of Christmas”, which I haven’t seen (despite Reece Shearsmith once sharing a school Xmas-play stage with my sister), arrived at “Thriller (UK TV series)”, which I most definitely did. Those 1970s Saturday nights, that title card, the spooky theme music…

I don’t remember much in the way of the details of the stories, save the one where every resident of a strange village has his or her left (or right?) foot wrapped in bandages. (SPOILER ALERT: They are all Spawn of Satan and the bandages conceal a cloven hoof.)

The Wikipedia entry didn’t enlighten me, giving only a list of the episode titles and actors.

Which got me thinking…

Intriguing titles, zero distracting plot information, suggestions for character types from the cast list. These would surely make fantastic writing prompts for someone. Maybe even me.

It’s got to be worth a go.Ì

Khufu Goes Fishing

Further to my last post, here’s what Khufu fetched home last night.

Neither Hubby nor I can swim, so maybe he heard us planning our trip to the Lake District this summer and is dropping us a hint?Ì

Khufu’s Latest Catch

Khufu’s prey of choice is usually long and thin – think ribbons, shoelaces, plastic seals from around the lids of hummus pots… the more two-dimensional the better. And being sentimental types, we save each and every one of his prizes when he’s finished playing with them and store them all in a keepsake box.

I’m just thankful we don’t have snakes in the garden. (Our earthworms, however, must live in perpetual terror.)

The other day our cuddly nemesis of all things extended presented me with what appeared to be a bit of leftover frankfurter sausage. Which presumably was once much longer and thinner than it appears in the video above. Though maybe it wasn’t left over at all, and Khufu had nicked and eaten most of someone’s lunch. Whatever, this was one ‘kill’ that didn’t make it into the box.

Note that this a pedigree Burmese we’re talking about, reduced to grubbing around in people’s bin bags.

I blame the parents.Ì