Meta

My grasp of the English language isn't as wide, deep, or rounded as I'd like it to be. I know lots and lots and lots of words but occasionally some have meanings that elude me. Some long, some complex, some ridiculously short but tricky as…

'Meta' was one such word.

The current Wikipedia definition states:

"Meta (from the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μητά-) meaning "after", or "beyond") is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter."

It's a small thing in a big thing, which makes reference to the big thing and which makes the big thing complete, but without which it wouldn't be.

This post, for instance; it wouldn't be complete without a reference to…

But no, I'm not going to. For that would be very silly indeed.

Mortality

"Simple life good."\*

Er… I shall stop talking like the village idiot now.

'Life' is now too complex for me, has been for quite some time, and it frustrates all my efforts to simplify situations.

Borrowing from a previous blog post, 'Paris':

"Life is complicated. Living it is easy. Put one foot in front of another, breathe in, breathe out, drink, blink, eat, pee, poo, sleep, work, play, laugh, cry. And then it's over.
>
> There is more, of course. Aspiration. The latest smartphone, TV, games console, car, a house, family, friends, safety…"

I wrote on for a bit in a similar vein. Heck, there may even have been a point to it at the time, but all that's forgotten already - and by pretty much everyone who 'lived' the events of the day the post refers to.

Luckily for me we live in an age where life-expectancy is great enough that, for quite some time to come, I will be yearning for an age that might have existed before even I entered this world. I'm in my forty-eleventh year in this planet dontcha know!

It's an age of simplicity, this thing in my head, but one in which even the now-simplest-to-treat ailment (scurvy, for instance) could have propelled me in particular headlong into the cart on the way to that pauper's grave.

One small positive here; we have the choice where we end up nowadays. Ok, we've the illusion of choice; the family's wishes will surely trump mine. Whether it happens or not I've at least asked to be burnt when it's my time.

No cart for me!


\*A conversation with myself, sparked in part by @tomas here on 10Cv4.

Hawaiian

\\ Newsflash!! \\

Dateline: Right now!

We have a simply great work custom: anyone having a birthday brings in food and shares it with all. Today, 4rthur\* (thanks 4nne\* for cooking & laying it all out) brought a particularly rich spread, pizzas, cake, pork pies, some, er… tasty things…

I just ate a couple of slices of a Hawaiian pizza.

(pause for effect…)

And again I liked it.

To recap; if you read my recent 'Pineapple' post, you'll see I introduced a foodstuff (pineapple) positioned diametrically opposite to my views on the addition of fruit to savoury meals.

I'm not averse to foodstuffs prepared in challenging ways but pineapple is one of those polarising fruits; tolerable in isolation, downright wrong on a pizza. Or with gammon.\\

Or so I thought.

My palate must be changing with age; after all I eschewed the pepperoni pizza, picking up the Hawaiian in preference.

It would appear that 2016 is indeed a year of experimentation, compromise… If only my attitudes to other deeply entrenched beliefs could be moderated in a similar fashion.

Perhaps I need to go around licking stuff - you know, to test if my attitudes can be modified according to taste?


\*Names have been changed to protect even the generosity of those wonderful individuals here.

\\Gammon with egg FTW!

Rule 34

Yesterday I created and posted (if that's the correct term) my first podcast. (It at least looks and sounds like one.)

Today, whilst I was sat at my desk, a colleague approached and… "48 seconds" he said.

Despite the fact he'd earlier mentioned listening to the audio, and alluded to the (unfortunately fictional) Chorley FM slogan "Coming in your ears", my expression must have conveyed my abject lack of understanding.

He proceeded to explain, "[REDACTED]"

"Ah," I replied. Take a look at this.

But it's not really appropriate to search too deeply for a definition of Internet Rule 34\* on a work PC, is it.


\*Potentially NSFW link; be careful what you click, children.

Test: audio file

A test audio file - attached by the magic of 10C's menus to this post.

I've already uploaded it once but cannot find the URL to link to it, nor can I see the file from within (or without) 10C.

Here goes!

Test Markdown headings

Test for @phoneboy.

heading2

  • Without space between hashes and heading text.

heading2

  • With a space.

Developing

I may have mentioned my programming days are >30 years in the past? Well they are. It's not to say I haven't dabbled in the last few years. Because I have.

My GitHub Pages site is a prime example; personal, trivial, offering not much mass-appeal; yet requiring a fair degree of time and patience to create.

And I've learned new skills too!

My pages are hosted at GitHub.com; the design (the technical aspects, not necessarily how pretty it looks) is based on a forked version of the poole/hyde repository (repo.) This is where the more in-depth instructions are located. Essentially it's a Web site in a box, free from the shackles of self-hosting and server security concerns.

Getting it personalised in the first instance was surprisingly easy. Take a look at http://github.com/bazbt3/bazbt3.github.io for my site's files.

I'm assuming here that you want to create a new site and want to do it the easy way, as did I. There's a learning curve of course, but there's no compelling reason to step outside the GitHub.com site along the way.

The executive summary:

  1. Login to your GitHub.com account. You may need to create one for this step to work best!
  2. Find and fork the 'poole/hyde' repo, calling your fork [your GitHub username].github.io -
  3. Remove the entry (all the text) in the CNAME file and save it back to your repo. This forms one half of a redirect from a domain external to GitHub Pages.
  4. Customise the fields within the _config.yml file and save it. This effectively personalises the new site.
  5. Edit the post within the _data folder. This is to test whether the basics are working.
  6. Browse to '[your GitHub username].github.io' - and you should see something superficially like poole/hyde and my sites, but with your content.
  7. Fix anything that doesn't quite work.
  8. Success!

If you don't see what you like, it's not a massive amount of work for anyone with any previous programming (at any level) or HTML background to work stuff out. Knowing a bit of Markdown - to edit and format your posts - will help.

I've changed stuff and added a few things to the basic 'framework', such as:

  • Changed the site name font (I know a tiny amount of CSS, not enough to break stuff, but I always do and have to revert.)
  • An 'Archive' page, basically a copy and paste from the jekyllrb.com site, but formatted to add post excerpts.
  • A 'Reading list' page, a simple loop reading data from a .csv file.
  • Other stuff.

Once you get into this, the ideas flow quickly.

But, despite all this enthusiasm, faffing about… my primary blog still resides at Jason Irwin's 10Centuries - here.

Why?

Because there's more to blogging than fiddling with site nuts and bolts, SEO, testing, etc. - it's all about the writing for me.

Besides, 10Centuries v4 is due soon (currently in invite-only beta) and that's an entirely different ballgame!

Despite my what it states in my App.net bio I am \#NotADeveloper.

But it helps to have a basic understanding of what it takes to be one.

A clear mind.

Ruby dog

If you're not following me on App.net you're missing out on the occasional post about Ruby - our dog.

Ruby's lovely. Approaching her first birthday, as she's grown she's lost none of her puppy enthusiasm; as she's become more accustomed to our commands, we've tempered none of that quivering anticipation of awesome things about to happen.

Here's a flavour of her impact on our lives, just my posts:

Planning required:

"@pme Aren't the little buggers great? A good thing it's nothing like Ruby 'Chomp-all' Dog. The rest of my family hadn't quite understood the importance of putting things away. But there is an expectation that adults can put stuff in a safe place, right?"

Not quite according to plan:

"@indigo @rabryst I made sure that, if my wife was going to get a dog, said dog would be hypoallergenic, smart, and would not shed fur. Ruby has not let us down once, she's awesome. A mutant compared to all the others round here, but awesome. :)"

Conflict:

[email protected] The cat woke me, I went downstairs to feed him and his sister - and Ruby dog - only to find she'd emptied out the contents of a box all over the living room floor. Hairbrushes, broken crayons, spectacles, pencils, paper, card, sticky tape, lipgloss…
>
> … a plastic troll too! All chewed, damp. :/
> My wife can sort it out when she comes home from work; she's the one who leaves stuff out, allows the girls to, then complains when the dog chews.
> Yeah, I just threw it all back in & stomped upstairs. :/"

Striving for an uncomplicated existence:

"@hazardwarning @hutattedonmyarm I didn't go looking deeper, Ruby dog wanted me to play with her ball. Simple things… :)"

And, this self-referential \#QuoteSunday post:

'"Ruby dog, GET OFF MY PENIS!!!"\
> - @bazbt3
>
> Slightly\
disconcerting #QuoteSunday quote.
>
> \*I mentioned my hedonistic lifestyle earlier in the evening, never thinking it'd come to this!'

True joy arrives unbidden in life, often unexpectedly, and in many different forms. Whilst bent over cleaning the cats' litter tray, wearing a gaping dressing gown with the dog nuzzling one's man-bits, trying to not startle Ruby 'Chomp-all' Turner though‽

Yeah, why not.


FYI: I am @bazbt3 on App.net.

Sock monster

My youngest daughter is a Ladybird (a member of the local Rainbows - pre-Brownies.) Every week her mummy takes her down to the church hall, she participates, and then I collect her at the end of the session.

Just like did with her sister, now a Brownie.

She's usually made something, like a hat or a hanging thing, or a paper plate with paper poppies stuck around its periphery - for Remembrance Sunday.

This evening the things on the table at the end of the room defied my attempts to categorise. Unusual.

The leaders explained, for the benefit of the more dim-witted parents, what they were.

Sock monsters!

Not one alike, each the product of a child's imagination, all amazing.

Ah, but glittery glue. Lots of it.

It gets everywhere, no matter how carefully it's applied. I hate slimy sticky viscous things. But the inevitable beckoned so I picked the thing up, and immediately an antenna dropped.

Oops! I never was the most graceful individual. Clumsy, though age is improving me.

I was more circumspect when we left for the car park, not trusting my littlest offspring with the task of moving the monster from hall to car.

Me: "Er… can you please reach into my trouser pocket and get my car keys?"

We chose a safe spot on the back seat for the glue and sock, and waited for her big sister to finish Brownies.

All the while I gave a running commentary, ostensibly for my daughter's benefit but a safety blanket for me. The pressure inherent in such situations is probably beyond the understanding of a non-parent. I'm sure it would have amused any adult within earshot.

We always chat about stuff during lulls between life and life, my daughter's and I. Stars & planets, cars, condensation, school lunches and their friends and creations. Today not much chat, aside from a few words about her new thing. It's got rice and lavender inside it and smells lovely. We'd best not let Ruby dog anywhere near lest…

Daughter 1 emerged a few minutes later, we buckled up and drove home.

Home, tea, change, ready for bed, tidy, teeth, night-night…

Though I know she wants to take it to school tomorrow, I'd forgotten if she'd told me the most important thing, so I just woke daughter 2 to ask her what the sock monster is called.

A frown, obviously. "I haven't named it."

And that was that.

Todo list

Where do I start?

Perhaps I need a list for that.

I've had list managers, todo managers, GTD task managers and have even flirted with full-blown project management software. In all-but-one case I've eventually and habitually snoozed, or edited-to-postpone, tasks.

That one piece of software: Omnifocus for iOS.

I slated its developers for a bug-ridden update after the transition from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Every piece of useful software eventually breaks, but…

On Android now after a sidestep to Windows Phone, I must say I miss Omnifocus with its rich feature set and calendar integration.

Thats my personal productivity mentioned, there's something important to note…

I use no productivity software at work.

I have a yellow Sigel Conceptum A5 squared notepad in which I write important things using a Fisher Space Pen. But the writing thing and the thing on which I write aren't that important; what I write is.

I have a system.

From the top:

  • The year,
  • Week number, month, date,
  • Date entry with date.

Entry, left to right:

  • Priority: only a '!' - used sparingly.
  • An arrow-of-sorts indicating moved from a previous day.
  • A checkbox, triangle or 'clock' indicating respectively: todo, done; a required change; or a time function such as late for work, a vacation/holiday.
  • A descriptive line indicating what I must do, who asked me, and job/task reference numbers.

I recently started allowing entries to span lines. It took 5 months; I was afraid of compromises, dilution of effect.

(Formatting required; for a better-rendered post look here.)

2016

2 January 18th

↪[ ] Tidy desk

[✔] SolidWorks Vault deletions

[ ] Catch up with previous tasks

! /\ Change (size on component)

(clock) Sick: 11:35-

I've been using this system since June 2015; it's a keeper!

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