Thursday, December 20, 2007

That's all folks!

Just a quick note to say that I'm winding-up this blog for an indefinite period of time. If you're a regular visitor, thanks for stopping by. I'm leaving it online, so articles will still be 'findable'.

I will be continuing my online presence via my primary blog and my Flickr site.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas holidays

I used to think that the Christmas break would be a brilliant time to 'get things done', read that novel, write that article.

It never happened. The things didn't get done. The novel wasn't opened. The article was not typed. And I got frustrated.

So now I 'go with the flow'. I eat and drink too much. I talk with friends and family. I watch TV. I get a lot of sleep.

I enjoy Christmas a lot more and enter the new year recreated and refreshed, with 5 pounds of good reasons to get back to the gym.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Avoiding stagnation

Without mental and physical challenge, humans become enervated and depressed. But a surplus of either can lead to similar symptoms. Maintaining a cycle of various kinds of activity and rest will help to keep your body and mind working efficiently.

When our muscles and bones are stressed beyond their usual capacity, minor damage occurs at a cellular level.

When we are mentally stressed, whether emotionally, or by being forced to learn something new, our brain responds to the stimuli, processing and storing the new data, and adjusting our metabolism.

After muscles have been stressed, changes are made that cause them to become stronger, with a larger supply of blood. Bones respond in a similar way, increasing calcium concentration and blood supplies to the stressed regions.

No-one seems to have any idea of how rest, and in particular sleep, works. But we do know that people who get plenty of it cope better with stress than those who don't.

And repeat...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keeping up with the news

The Week reports:

"Few of us have time to read one newspaper from cover to cover, let alone the hundreds of newspapers and magazines published in the UK and overseas every week. Britain's daily and Sunday newspapers amounts to around 5,800 pages. Almost ten million words. Every week.

"So, keeping up to date with what's happening - and understanding all the issues behind the headlines - is difficult, if not impossible."

"The Week distils the best of the British and foreign press into 35 pages."


I find it an excellent way to keep up-to-date with a wide spread of world issues. There is a 6-issue free trial on the web site, and various subscription offers.

Me, I get them for free by taking them off my best friend when he's finished with them.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Don't multi-task, switch

Whenever possible, prioritise the jobs you have to do, and do them one at a time.

You'll do them better, quicker and with less stress.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In search of the perfect pen

My favourite writing implement is a battered old Sheaffer fountain pen. I've got other more expensive fountain pens, but none of them have the correct 'balance', write as smoothly or deposit such a heavy density of ink.

The problem with the Sheaffer is that (like most fountain pens) it requires regular refilling and cleaning. And it doesn't enjoy travelling. It can also be temperamental in its ink delivery. And even when working 'properly' it usually leaves ink stains on my fingers.

A few years ago, Conrad Gempf gave me a 0.7mm Zebra Sarasa gel pen he bought while shopping in London. He was impressed with the ink colour (as I remember, a rich yellow), but what I liked best was the way it wrote. I now keep stocks of them in blue, red and black. My only reservation is that the line thickness is a little too thin for my writing style.

While shopping in Staples last week, I came across 1.0mm versions of the Zebra Sarasa, and it is now my 'new favourite pen'. I'm writing all this year's Christmas cards with them. My journal may be next.

The Zebra Sarasa 1.0mm pens are available in blue or black, for around £1.25p each.