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Nom Nom Nom with a side salad

In Food, Life on January 2, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

In 2012 I decided to get fit. I hit the gym, I drank protein shakes and I stayed away from fast food as best as I could and I cut my alcohol intake down but towards the end of November I re-tore my rotator cuff in my shoulder with a nasty 6mm tear.

I also discovered I have calcific tendinitis in my shoulder. I’ll need to get some cortisone injections soon and if they don’t destroy the calcium build ups then I may need some shoulder surgery to get rid of them.

My asthma has been slowly getting worse over the years although my lack of fitness was probably to blame for part of that.

So I decided not make any resolutions this year and simply get on with treating my body the same way I treat most of the material possessions I own.

Over the past few days I’ve watched some interesting documentaries including Food Matters followed by Hungry for Change and lastly with an Aussie documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Each of them has opened my eyes a little bit more each time to how badly I’ve been treating my body – alcohol doesn’t count cause that shit is awesome – but mostly with kebabs, processed foods, Maccas, the dirty bird and more.

So, the time has come for me to try something new and I’ll be publishing a lot more this year with this blog to kinda keep a record of how it all goes.

I’m gonna juice shit.

I’m gonna eat a bucket load of vegetables and fruit and cut soft drinks and fast good out of my diet (unless I’m slightly tipsy after a night out). I’ll also be cutting out some booze but not all but I’m gonna try and create a life with balance rather than looking at the scales tipped over on one side.

It should be fun but with 40 a couple of years away I figure it’s about time I actually did something about my body rather than pumping my lungs full of steroids to fight my asthma and rather than eating crap most of the time.

I fully intend to stop using my inhalers as much, get back to the gym when my shoulder heals and get fit for fitba (soccer) season.

So, feel free to give me any advice you have or encourage me or simply tell me to stop writing abut this stuff and go back to ranting about shit 🙂

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The story of Jack

In Friends, Lessons, Life on June 3, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

I guess this is a simple blog post about love. Love of family and love of a pet.

You see my cat Jack died yesterday. He was at my parents house back in Scotland and my mum phoned to tell me and I’ve been a bit of a mess this weekend because of it.

Never mind me though let me tell you his story…

24 years ago when I was in my teens my mum came home with her green cardigan in her hands.

It turned out my mum spotted something moving in the snow when she was out for a walk one day. A tiny little black and white ball of fluff. It was meowing quietly and lying next to his dead mother. She had been hit by a car and there he was lying next to her.

My mum took off her green cardigan and wrapped the little guy up in it.

She named him Jack after Jack Frost cause he was found in the snow.

We took great care in feeding and caring for him because he was so small. The vet gave us special stuff to give him to help him grow.
Our Springer Spaniel Cara was a loving dog and looked after the wee guy. She was incredibly gentle with him even when he was clawing and biting her.

Jack grew up into a chilled out, pretty lazy cat. He ate, he wandered and he slept. In his youth he would wander but never too far. Sometimes we’d see him a few streets away and occasionally in the field across the main road but he was a survivor. He was never hurt. He never cried and he always came home.

He was smart and gentle and nice to the other neighbour’s cats. Even the nasty ones. Two of the neighbour’s cats would sometimes come in and eat his food. He didn’t care. He didn’t complain. He just lay against the radiator cosy in the heat letting the world go by.

But the thing that made him the happiest was the green cardigan. He would walk around the house with the cardigan in his teeth dragging the rest of it between his legs. He went everywhere with it. He slept on it every night. Carried it around during the day. Ate his food with it in his eyesight.

He loved that green cardigan.

We always felt that he thought it was his mum. It was always with him and I guess it loved him unconditionally. That love plus the way we looked after him probably helped him reach the right old age of 24!

However, a blood clot on his spine meant a visit to the vet to be put down. The vet said the blood clot could happen at any age and apart from that he was in great health. He could have kept going if it wasn’t for that clot.

Poor wee old guy.

I’ll miss him.

Here he is getting his tummy rubbed by my big sister:

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The lone keyboard warrior

In Life, Social Media, Technology on February 10, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

Last night I had a strange incident and normally I would leave it alone but not today.

While on Twitter I noticed someone saying that Australia’s NBN is already outdated. I wrote a small note back explaining they were incorrect.

And their response? The lovely gentleman (whose Twitter profile says: ‘Father of 5 kids, Loving Grandfather of 10 Grandchildren,and 2 Great Granddaughters. love to give heaps to Pollies and Poofters) said to me: ” Go and lick Gillards C*** out U commie Prick” (I’ve edited the swear word but they didn’t)

Yup. They seriously wrote that.

In four years of being on Twitter it’s the first time I’ve been visibly shocked by a tweet.

I never mentioned politics.

I never mentioned communism.

I never mentioned sex.

Oh yeah and I’m Scottish and not a citizen in Australia so I can’t even vote here!

Yet there they were attacking me for correcting them. Which brings me to the world of the lone keyboard warrior. I spend a lot of time online and more and more I’m seeing this kind of thing. I’m used to it on forums where long-term friendships and hatreds are born. I’ve even been a moderator on a gaming forum where daily abuse was the norm but Twitter – where people are more likely to use their own names – I’m noticing a marked increase in the attacks.

Maybe it’s because I’m spending a lot more time looking at certain issues which people are passionate about but even then the debate should be cordial and without personal attacks. But on Twitter the area I have noticed the most hatred and vitriol is from the political area. It seems that when people start talking about politics there are those online who revert to the most vile and disgusting abuse … but only behind their keyboards.

I’ve never really had the urge to troll nor attack people online. I’ve occasionally defended myself but I see online and offline as two worlds that have less and less of a gap between them and people at some point will have to stop being keyboard warriors and start realising that what they say online can and will have repercussions for them offline. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in a street then don’t say it online.

Have you had any dealing with any crazy keyboard warriors?

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Public Speaking

In Digital, Life, Social Media, Technology on December 1, 2011 by kiltforhire

If you met me and spoke to me at work or in a bar or randomly while waiting for a train you would assume me confident, out-going and very talkative. My father, genetically and informatively, gave me a tad of his charisma and I use it wisely – a bit like if I had The Force – however one of these days I will have to confront my fear of public speaking.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being invited on the ABC’s Big Ideas show to take part in a debate on “Is the screen mightier than the sword?” and before the show I was absolutely bricking myself that I would freeze, swear, kick over the lectern or simply strip off my shirt shouting “I’m Spartacus”.

Thankfully I didn’t do any of those things. Well except from swear. I may have done that by accident. Oh and I may have also froze. And I did think about kicking the lectern when I said something totally and utterly dumb.

I don’t know where my fear comes from. I have acted on stage and never really got butterflies and always enjoyed it but there is something about public speaking that freaks me out.

I used social media examples as a way to prove the screen was indeed mightier than the sword and I believe that as technology increases we will enter a better world for all mankind. More communication is no bad thing.

But while talking at the event my hands were shaking so I grabbed on to the lectern to try and stabilise myself only to find it was a it wobbly – so if you do watch the program feel free to not think I’m drunk. I’m just sober and unstable. Not mentally unstable. Well maybe a little.

My throat dried up as I was speaking.

I blabbed on in my Scottish accent throwing words out as fast as that General Electrics M134 mini-gun in Predator shoots bullets. The one that Blane uses.

My timed nine minute speech was suddenly over in seven minutes.

Maybe it’s better to say less than more but what if you said more but in the less timeframe??

I didn’t know what to do. Do I stand there and keep making my point? Or do I walk away and run back to my seat crying Freedom!!

I did neither of course. I said thank you, looked sheepish and stealth’d back to my seat.

Doing the talk reminded me that I should stick to talking to small groups and generally hiding in the background rather than being the centre of attention. I don’t like it when people focus on me – maybe for fear they will see the real me? An over-weight, greying, stubbly, short Scotsman with a wonky eye.

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Some handy iPhone and iPad tips

In Lessons, Technology on October 10, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

These tips are current as of iOS4 and I’ll update them once I get access to the new operating system.

1. If you have scrolled down your contacts or while using an app or reading an article etc all you need to do is tap the top of the touch area of the phone to return to the top of the page (called the status area)

2. If you need to search the app or doc you are in on your phone simply pull down on most apps to bring up the search function

3. Hold down the .com button while using a web browser and it should give you a list of extra options including .au and others

4. Double tap the shift key till it goes lights up blue to gets caps lock. If not working go to settings > general > keyboard > caps-lock

5. Screenshot. Simply press the home button and the off button at the same time to take a pic of whatever you are looking at on the screen

6. You don’t have to type www when typing in web addresses

7. Double tap text on a webpage for the screen to fit to size on screen

8. If you use accents in your writing you can hold down any of these keys: e y u i o a s l z c n to get access to them

9. Also if you swipe up on the comma you get an inverted comma. Same with full stop key. If you swipe up you will get quotation marks

10. Tap and hold a link to get more options. Such as email, read on instapaper etc

11. If you have an image on a web page just hold down on the image and you will get some more options including saving the pic

12. If you use the Calculator app turn the phone sideways and it will give you a scientific calculator

13. Creating folders. Many people don’t seem to know this but if you hold your finger on an app till it shakes and then drag it onto another app then it will create a folder. You can name it whatever you want 🙂

14. You can sync all your notes and have them sent to whatever email account linked to your phone. Just click Settings > Notes > Default Account and it will automatically send to the account you choose including Gmail or MobileMe or simply store on your phone as usual

15. With your iPhone you can lock the orientation and stop it moving around by double clicking the home button and bringing up your multitasking dock. Swipe left rather than right to get to the iPod section and next to it should a lock button. If you have your iPad set to lock using the mute button as orientation then the mute button will appear next to to the iPod section on the multitasking bar

Hope this helps 🙂

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Apple Focus

In Digital, Lessons, Marketing, Media, Technology on October 10, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , ,

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about Apple since the death of Steve Jobs. He got me thinking about the meteoric rise of the company from it being months from collapse to where it sits today – a technological marvel and marketing maestro that seems to be ahead of the game against their competition.

It seems like many others have also been thinking about the company recently but one person’s comments really stood out to me – William Gibson.

Now there are obviously many people who have helped influence my life but both Steve Jobs and William Gibson are up there pretty much close to the top along with my parents, my Uncle Kenny and my best mates who I grew up with.

And I’ve spoken about Steve Jobs recently in my blog and what he meant to me.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer took me to a new world and made me see the future was cyberspace. I talked about it in school. I talked about it to everyone but no-one really understood what I was saying – this was late 80s remember and technology wasn’t as big as it is now.

And he recently spoke about Apple and why he has used their devices.

In an interview he said:

“I was never interested in getting any more intimate with whatever made my computer work. I wanted the most transparent interface possible; that is, that least required my personal attention. I wanted my personal attention to be elsewhere, focused on other things other than my computer. Design at that level kept me at Apple…”

And that sums up my relationship with Apple.

I love their equipment because it allows me to quickly pass through the fact I’m using a device and simply allows me to do what I need to do.

I have a number of friends who love to tinker with things, they want to know how things work and the majority of them are all Android users or PC users. They want to find out more about their devices and really dive deep into their software and what is possible with them – which is great but for me I want a device that lets me do my job as quickly and efficiently as possible without reminding me I’m using it.

Many Microsoft products drive me barmy because they have a habit of taking my attention away from what I’m doing (and I can be easily distracted at the best of times) and cause me to focus on the program and not what I’m using it for. I always felt that way with PC running Windows – and still do to be honest.

To me Apple computers remind me of my body (work with me here). I don’t stop to think about how I breathe I simply do. I don’t stop to think about how my muscles work and allow me to type it just simply happens. So my relationship with my body is the same as the one I have with my Apple – it exists and allows me to do what I need to do without thinking about all the stuff going on inside it.

And it was Jobs attention on getting the user-experience right that makes them so damn useful to me.

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My eyebrows are a fascist regime

In Life on October 9, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

In the last year my eyebrows have taken on a life of their own.

They grew in size.

They started going in all different directions.

And now they are starting to occupy nearby territories.

My eyebrows have become Nazi Germany and the area around them seems to be Europe.

I have no doubt they will invade my ears next. They will start growing there and suddenly start sprouting outwards so it makes me look like I’m thinking about becoming a cat.

And at the same time the damned fascist regime is secretly stealing hair from my head. Every year it seems like I have less there and the bastards have done some kind of chemical warfare on me which seems to be making my hair grey.

I’ve been trying to battle them for a while now but it’s so damn hard. My body seems to be in cahoots with them. I’m hurting more after football. I wake up with a twinge in my shoulder and they have developed some new sonic weapon that kicks in at night and wakes the neighbours up – SN0R-3-000 I believe it’s called.

What’s even more annoying is that I watched a show the other day that said your cells can only replicate 50 times and that’s it…click…click…click…then that’s it. Game over. They also said that after 35 your body starts to deteriorate.

Great.

I’m 36 at the moment and the great fascist horde gave me one year before they decided to invade and attack.

I’m trying to figure if I should contact the United Nations and ask them to get involved. Maybe they can loan me one of those blue berets, some scissors and some of that hair re-growth stuff.

I don’t think I’ll ever dye my hair though. I don’t think anything will combat the nasty chem warfare stuff they have pulled on me – not to mention the fact that everyone I know will suddenly realize that I’m being attacked when they see the grey turn back to brown.

So yeah, if you have any advice for me to fight the attacking hordes feel free to let me know 😉