Remembering God

I can remember what I had for breakfast.
Two slices of peanut butter on toast and a cup of tea.

I can remember what I had for brunch.
A bowl of carrot soup and a plate of various fruits.

I can’t remember what I’m going to have for lunch.
And I can’t remember God.

Those things that I remember are things that I have done.
The things I don’t remember have not happened.

How can I remember lunch when it is in the future?
How can I remember God when we’ve never met?

Hey, God – you fancy … erm … I mean … it’s lunchtime – you know?

All I Can Do Is Carry On Being Me

It’s dark outside/ Across the back garden and over the road the windows of other houses spread light/ They are windows to other lives/ I could put on my coat and creep across the intervening space and peek through their windows/ I’d find people/ I’d see their worlds/ I’d perceive their idiosyncrasies and the differences between them and me/ I’d have a glimpse into their lives/ But I suspect that I don’t need to go anywhere to find out what’s in their hearts/ Despite the seeming allure of those lit-up windows and illuminated lives I suspect that those people’s hearts are no different to mine/

It’s dark in WordPress land/ Across my screen and through the comments section the lights of other intelligence shine/ Their words are portals to other lives/ I could click on links and land myself in their blogs/ I’d find people/ I’d see their secret thoughts/ I’d perceive their loves and hates and the differences between those and my own/ I’d have a glimpse into their lives/ But I suspect that I don’t need to click on anything to find out what’s in their hearts/ Despite the seeming allure of those insightful writings and the illuminated lives of their writers I suspect that these people’s hearts are no different to mine/

End of the day, the only thing I can do is to carry on being the best me that I can be and hope that someone, somewhere sees something likeable enough for them to want to look through my windows into my heart, knock on my door, say hi and then to stay for a spell, holding hands with me while the world turns and the stars rush by above our giddy little heads.

Delay your Endless Questions

When I’m busy doing something and I don’t want my mind’s endless comments and suggestions to disturb my business then I make quick notes and get to them later. Here’s the list that my interrupting mind made:

  • How do I make my own pop shield?
  • Why does a yucca wilt?
  • How can I unstickify my mouth?
  • What’s happening in Kazakhstan?

It’s later now and so I’m finding the answers:

  • So, I bought a microphone and I’m wondering if I need a Pop Shield to go with it. The good news is that I can save myself a whole fiver (£5) by using an old food carton, a piece of an old (or new) pair of tights, a length of chicken-wire and some glue. Here’s the (excellent) video that tells you how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr0AOOUoaKk. The result actually looks rather professional but I’m thinking to myself now that if I spend, like, an hour doing this instead of paying a fiver for a new one then effectively I value my working time at £5 per hour, which is way lower than the UK’s minimum wage. Hmm.
  • So, I’ve got this big, old yucca plant in the corner and it keeps wilting. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not watering it enough, overwatering it or just because it’s old. So, I searched the internet … and I’m none the wiser. If you water a yucca too much, the roots rot and the plant can’t take up enought water. If you don’t water the yucca enough then the plant can’t (well, duh) take up enough water. If the plant is big you can try giving it more water and if that doesn’t work then you have to cut a chunk off the top and replant it and throw the rest away (boooo!) It’s a big plant. I’ve tied it to a cane and I’m giving it water carefully. Wish it luck.
  • I was listening to someone giving a talk and the microphone was picking up the way her mouth unsticked itself between pauses. I wondered what was making her mouth stick together. My guess is that she needs to drink more water. I searched the internet for ‘my mouth is sticky’ and hoped that nothing rude would come back (don’t ask) but I was pleasantly surprised when the top result was 4 Causes of Sticky Saliva and Home Remedies. Here, in summary, are the four: stuffy nose, cancer therapy, dehydration and salivary duct obstruction. I hope that I was right with my theory that she just needs to drink more water because all the rest look really complicated.
  • Kazakstan is a huge country the size of Western Europe that has 3% of the world’s oil reserves but that, for some strange reason, ran out of fuel last week. Understandably (yes, sarcasm), the citizenry rioted and spent some time in the capital of the country doing bad things and breaking stuff. By the time the govenment forces (including some they imported from Russia) had done shooting their people almost 150 of them (the people) had died. The govenment claimed that they had ‘only’ killed 44 people. And I’m here thinking WTF! I mean, what kind of … you know? Ah, whatever. There by the grace of Boris go we, right?

So, yeah, that’s my last hour on the internet. I bet you’re glad you don’t have to live in my brain, right?

Buying a Microphone

I know that I go over the top when I research a new, relatively expensive purchase and choosing a mic to use for podcasting and recording my 5 Towns Radio show for broadcasting is no exception.

I recorded a whole show using my Macbook Pro. It’s one with a maxed-out spec and so it’s up to the task. I used Garageband as the software: three tracks: one for the voice, one for the songs and the other for the bed. I used the built-in mics (there are three of them on this model) on the mac to record my voice and I think it came out pretty well, but it’s obviously not going to be top-notch. Hence my search for a microphone.

My initial research suggested a Blue Snowball mic and so I priced it all up on Amazon and, including a suitable adjustable microphone stand, pop filter and windscreen pack and the USB to USB-C adaptor it came to about £75.

I told someone at work about this choice and he said you should go for road. Road? I said? Yes, he said. Turns out he meant Rode. I completely ignored his advice.

Then I got a call back from Rob Godridge, a fellow presenter on 5 Towns Radio, who also records from home. He recommended the Samsung Go. I looked it up and realised that I had misheard him and he was saying that I should get the Samson Go. It’s a clip-on mic (no, not to your lapel, to your laptop or other structure on the desk) and it’s neat and well reviewed. It doesn’t need a stand and so comes in at only £45 (£50 if you include the USB adaptor). So that sounds good.

Then, when I was comparing reviews and looking at other mics, I came across one called MAONO AU-PM421. The reviews looked fabulous and it was promised to be a mic that exceeded the sound and build quality of items that were three times its price. It also came with a stand, a windscreen and a pop filter, all for a bargain £70. I almost bought it on the spot. I didn’t because when I read the reviews on Amazon, then all talked about the amazing sound quality but said that the stand breaks a bit too easily.

So I thought about it over dinner. I realised that, although having a stand for a mic gives a better quality sound, it’s also the thing about working in the studio that I disliked the most. You see, the mic is always in your face and it obscures the screen where the music is and the phone I want to read my stories from and the pad with my notes on. Suddenly it all became clear. Rob’s recommendation of Samson Go was the way forward.

I’ll think about it overnight and order it tomorrow. It’ll be here on Monday and then I can get on with recording next week’s show. I have it all mapped out and I have the music already. It’s going to be a comparison of the top 12 of this year and the top 12 of 40 years ago (1982 for those of you that can’t do maths). And that’s all I know.

If you have any recommendations for mics then let me know before noon tomorrow. Goodnight.


Update: The Samson Go is on order and, as I said, it’ll be here tomorrow. I wanted it in white and so it’s entirely appropriate that the other two colours were out of stock. Here’s what it looks like:

Samson Go Microphone

Five Ways to Wellbeing

From: https://neweconomics.org/uploads/files/five-ways-to-wellbeing-1.pdf

We use these at work. Thought I’d have a go at putting them into practice. So, here goes: I’m connecting by talking directly to you (yes, you!) on this blog. I’m being active by going to wash the breakfast dishes as soon as I finish this ost. I’m taking notice by … hey look – the sun is shining outside – it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day. I’m keeping learning by studying and practising these five ways to wellbeing. And I’m giving by sharing these tips with you.

You’re very welcome. 😊

Mapping Out Your Hero’s Journey

There are 12 chapters in the Hero’s Journey structure:

  1. Let’s start with the beginning of your story. I want you to start thinking about what life was like before a major life event. This is the first step in the Hero’s Journey, The Ordinary World, what life looked like before that happened.
  2. Next, I want you to picture if there was a moment where you felt an agitation, a spark lit that ignited your interest to seek a different path. This is your Call to Adventure.
  3. Now I want you to think if there was any hesitation or resistance on your part for embarking on that journey towards change. This is your Refusal of the Call.
  4. The last part of the setup of your story comes next. Was there any mentor, manager, guide that helped and supported you on the start of your Hero’s Journey? This is your Meeting the Mentor.
  5. In he fifth section, we begin the transition from where we were to where we’re going. What event or experience captures the in-between? This is your Crossing of the Threshold.
  6. Next, we begin the process of things getting in our way, and this step is to do with people. So who were the people in your life, network, or career that proved to be helpful or unhelpful? These are your Test, Allies, and Enemies.
  7. Now we head further in, this time going deep within ourselves and looking for the answers. This part looks a lot like introspection. This is your Approach to the Inmost Cave.
  8. And before we can come out on the other side, there is one final challenge, the greatest challenge of all. The major life event that shakes things up, almost testing whether you’re ready to receive the reward. This is The Ordeal.
  9. After the hardship comes success, though. A goal or something you’ve been trying to achieve finally comes to fruition. This is The Reward.
  10. But despite coming out the other side, there are still a few more steps to go in the Hero’s Journey. Healing needs to take place, and we walk ourselves back home. This is The Road Back.
  11. Once we are in steady footing, though, we are ready to rise from the ashes and reclaim our power. This is The Resurrection.
  12. And finally, we come back from a life-changing journey that has changed us for the better. We are no longer who we were when we started, and we have a story and lessons to share. This is The Return with the Elixir.

There you have it. The 12 chapters in the Hero’s Journey. These were described here by Alexandra Galviz (LinkedIn Top Voice, Keynote Speaker, Consultant) but the concept was popularised long ago by Joseph Campbell. And even then, he borrowed the idea from someone else (who probably nicked if from some classical Greek dude).

I’m going to have a go at mapping stories out for some of the major events in my life. They seem to occur every seven years, with the exception of 2006 in which nothing seemed to happen to me. I’ll have to delve into that year and see what’s going on. Maybe that’s a good place to start. Anyway, watch this space because I’m going to be telling you some stories!

Recording from Home

So, something new. Instead of going into the 5 Towns Radio studio in Castleford to record my show live, I’ve recorded it at home on my MacBook Pro. All it took was three tracks on Garageband – one for my chat, one for the songs and one for the bed. A two-hour show is only 170Mb and it’s easy to transfer that to the studio using wetransfer.com. All being well, the show should be on the air on the 13th starting at 4pm. You can either download the app or listen on the website at https://www.5townsradio.co.uk/

Enjoy!

Oh, here’s the playlist on YouTube:

A Bit of a Rant

Seems crazy to me that things should last for a long time. I mean, there’s so much variety in life that it makes me wonder why would we want to have the same things in our houses, minds, gardens, glasses or cupboards for longer than a couple of weeks. Take people for example. There’s almost eight billion of them across the surface of the planet and so why do we remain friends with specific specimens for a lifetime? Wouldn’t it be better to keep swapping people around so that we let a little bit of variety into our lives? Maybe today it could be a Hindu, tomorrow a washerwoman and the day after that a spaceman!

I wonder if there’s a way that we can search for the exact kinds of people that we want to talk to so that we can save a bit of time. For example, I’ve always wanted to have a deep discussion about Islaam with someone. And actually, when I think about it, I wouldn’t mind a chat about Judaism with someone who knows the subject on a deep level. Similarly, I have an interest in recording equipment right now so where do I find someone who’s into that subject. And Python (a programming language) is piquing my interest and so a person who has experience in that language would be cool. And those just scratching the surface of what I’m interested in.

What I don’t really need is someone who is an expert in all the things that I do wrong. If I sit in a funny way then, yes, perhaps I should improve that, but I don’t find it particularly interesting to be told that. That said, I’ve changed a fair few things for the better as a result of being told stuff. It’s best to tell me when I ask, though because I’m more receptive at that point. It’s, like, I need to go to the loo right now, but I can handle that. I don’t need an alert on my phone or someone asking whether I need to ‘go potty’. I can hold it until I’ve finished typing this to my future self (my primary audience when all’s said and done).

Talking about future selves, I intend to have lots of them. I want to change every few years with regard to the big stuff and every few days with regard to the minutiae. I should really go to live in a different country soon so that I can immerse myself in a new language. I need to change careers to something completely different. I fancy publishing providing it can hold my interest. I need mentors for these things and for all kinds of other stuff. Where are the grand changes in my life going to come from? Me, for sure, so why is change so difficult even though it’s necessary! It’s much too easy to watch movies if I want to know about another place. It’s far too easy to talk to people from all over the world on the internet rather than move from here to there. Telephones have replaced meetings and I’m sure that you can get suits that allow you to be hugged remotely (and if they haven’t been invented, then they will be sooner or later).

That’ll do for now.

Well, there you go – that was a bit of a rant, wasn’t it!