How strange is it that, after all the studying, working, and striving, the most incredible achievement I've ever had is being her daddy.

The bins have to go out the night before.  So tonight, before I locked up, I trailed the black and brown bin from the far side of the back of the house, around the side and up the driveway, and left them outside the wall at the front.  This might not sound like much, but sometimes the brown bin feels like there's a dead body in it.

The bin lorry normally comes at about 10am, but once in a while its before 7am, which is why its not worth the risk of putting them out in the morning.  I'm usually in a mad rush in the morning as well, if I'm going into the office, and I would forget about the bins in the morning anyway, so its best that they go out the night before.

I'll be in the office every day this week.  Everyone in the office gets a turn at being the person who fills and empties the dishwasher and who cleans the big, mad coffee machine.  This week its me so I'm in all week.  I don't know why they have a rota like this, and why the cleaner doesn't do it, but if they want to pay me my salary to empty a dishwasher then fine.  The coffee machine I don't mind cleaning.  This is because the coffee tastes better since I've started cleaning it.  On the first day it became clear that it hadn't been cleaned properly in some time.  People sometimes do the minimum they can get away with.  The coffee machine should be secretly checked for cleanliness and people's bonuses worked out with that taken into consideration.  If you're a "do the minimum" type of person then it will show really quickly.

I cannot believe that, after not blogging for ages, I write one about cleaning coffee machines, emptying dishwashers and leaving bins out.  Such is my life now - I am domesticated!

I am inching slowly backwards into my own little world; a world where my inner voice is loud and the effort to harmonise, with the rest of the society, need not be made.  Enveloping myself in the comfort of my inner realm is not a conscious act; rather it is the consequence of living how I currently am.

I am under immense pressure to deliver technical goodies to other people in a timely manner.  I can do this, but I can't do this whilst simultaneously focusing on social graces and maintaining a casual, friendly relationship with those around me.  I can do this, but I have to revert to true form in order for it to be a success.

Much of my youth was spent in the beauty of true form.  I would spend entire days deeply immersed in learning, solving and understanding.  Hunger would come after periods of time and I would have to drag myself out of my little trance so I could eat.  I often resented eating because it was difficult to find my way back to the same place in my trance.

So here I am again, slipping into this world in the same way that someone would return home after a day's work.  I believe I subconsciously direct my life so I can work like this, in the undiluted solitude of my mind's little Hobbit Hole, and with the voice of my mind coming through in perfect clarity.

I can confidently state that some of my happiest moments have been when I've been alone.  This is true for days where I've simply happened to keep my company, like the Sunday years ago when I had a Father Ted day.  Its also been true for times when I haven't been in a relationship and was able to live life how I pleased.

Being alone is great when there's nothing wrong.  If you're heart broken, or in financial difficulties, or ill in any way then its not good at all.  If you can remember a time, then, when you were alone and happy then its a reasonable assumption that your life was fairly trouble-free at that time.

I once broke up with a girl and was so relieved afterwards that my time alone felt like a holiday.  I spent a fair period of time enjoying the lack of her in my life.  Sometimes a person can alter things and it happens so slowly that you're not consciously aware of the change.  My life had become a warped version of itself and I didn't know how much it had warped until she was gone and it de-warped itself.

I can remember someone complaining that he had put on weight and he found it impossible to shift.  He was overweight for a long time until he, in an unrelated move, split up with his partner.  Within a few months the weight was gone and he'd not even tried to lose it.  Being in the relationship had changed his routines, exercise habits and diet so much that he had become overweight and unhappy.

Now, I'm not suggesting that your partner is to blame for any negative situations in your life.  Nor am I implying that your quality of life will improve if you end your relationship.  In fact quite the opposite might happen.  What I am sure of, though, is that sometimes its good to be alone... even for just a little while.

I fixed a hefty automation design problem while I waited on my car getting new tyres today.  I took my work MacBook with me and worked while I waited.  I was surprised that I was able to work as well as I did and something, about fixing the issue in that environment, has stuck with me.  I think I've realised that I can be truly agile with my work and that I don't have to be rigid with my environment - progress can happen anywhere at any time.  Maybe that's it - any place and any time is an opportunity for good things to happen.

An old man was there getting new tyres (or something) and he joked with me that the waiting room was a work-free zone.  We got to talking and he showed me his 1994 Jaguar out in the shop floor.  He then told me that he had to get to Hillsborough by 5pm.  He didn't know the best route, so I looked it up for him on Google Maps.  He was pleased.  I was pleased, and I still got a ton of work done.

I hope tomorrow is as good.  I might climb one of the trees in the garden tomorrow and see if I can make progress from there.

Elvis had some killer moves.  I watched some videos of him on YouTube and he wasn't always the overweight, jumpsuit-wearing joke he was in his final performances. I can imagine he'd be vexed if he knew that he'd be remembered for being obese and dying on a toilet and not as an extremely talented singer and performer.  That's how it goes though - you can't control these things.  People stick to the last memory they have of you, be it good or bad.  If you have a falling out with someone, you'll always remember them on those terms.  If you part on good terms then you'll be thought of fondly, no matter how much of a turd you normally are.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a time machine and to be able to go back and meet my great-grandfather.  I imagine all my ancestors as great people, filled with kindness and wisdom.  The reality is that at least some of them were, at some times in their lives, insufferable gits.  How depressing it would be to find out that you're descended from a load of boring, disagreeable, irritating individuals?

Better to think well of them then and be optimistically ignorant.  In fact better to think of pleasant times with all the people from our pasts and try to remember them fondly.  Thinking badly of someone does them no harm, especially if you'll never see them again.  All that is achieved is that part of your brain is used to store negativity.


I've been on a lot of work calls over the past few weeks.  The calls are almost all in American time zones so they tend to be in the afternoon, from about 1pm until maybe 6pm.  I'm on one now to Peru, where most of the conversation is in Spanish and I'm trying to work out what they want and how that can be delivered.  Given that everything is in Spanish, I might as well close my laptop and sit here whistling Christmas carols.

I didn't think, a year ago, that I would be sitting in my office listening to South Americans discuss a technical issue over Skype.  If you'd taken me and said "hey, you'll be working for a huge company and sitting in your office on a Friday afternoon listening to a long conversation in Spanish", I'd have said "no way!".

Anyway, that's how life goes and its all good.  Mad stuff can happen and, very quickly, it becomes normal.  Its incredible how much a human being will accept as being normal and how quickly that can happen.

In other news, my van is still with the mechanic to be MOT'd.  There's a MOT backlog and its been gone for months.  I'm converting it to a day van / camper van when I eventually get it back.  I cannot wait to do this.  Its the next project after my office conversion is (finally) completed.  I'm going back to kayaking and mountain biking over the autumn months.  Life is short and we should enjoy our free time.

How cool is this.  I don't know how practical those huge tyres are, but they look good.