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Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog – and for helping me to hit 100,000!

 

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Hands off cyber thieves

I have to quickly write this, because right now I am seething and spitting and at risk of exploding all over my office walls. It would not be pleasant, it would not be pretty and quite frankly I just don’t have time to clean up the extra mess.

Now everyone knows that the Internet means it’s impossible to protect your own work. And it’s a given that some lazy sod is going to come along and simply lift stuff straight from your blog to put on their own. This I accept, and for the most part I don’t really care – that is if they at least have the good manners to acknowledge where the words have come from and preferably link back to the original site.

So when I sit down at my screen and see that only hours after posting a new post, some thieving blog has already come along and taken my post for not 1 but 2 of their magpie filled sites. And when I say taken, I mean copied the lot and posted it as their own work… I could quite happily reach through the screen and ring the neck of ‘admin’.

To add insult to injury, when trying to leave a comment on my own article to suggest a link, I found that conveniently for them, this was not even possible to do.

Why am I so mad? Because I have little enough time as it is to write on my blog, fitted in as it is around my clients work, kids and life. So I really don’t appreciate having my time, effort and words robbed right off the screen.

Stealing is stealing, whether it’s with a ski mask, shot gun or a mouse. Why can’t people respect other people’s work, or better still, make the effort to write something for themself.

Grrrrrrrr…..

Life’s too short

Today I sat down at my desk and stared at my computer screen. It stared right back. I rearranged some files on my desk top, re-potted all my pens and wiped the dust from the glass table top.

I then stared at the screen again. Still nothing. Though this time I’m pretty sure the screen stared back with attitude.

My keyboard mocked me. The cursor blinked on the screen as if to say “Come on, write something. Write anything.” My mouse even gave up taping his foot out of sheer boredom. He shimmied down the desk leg and went off in the direction of the kitchen, presumably in search of a piece of cheese. Needless to say he’s extremely grateful for being wireless.

And this is the part that I find hardest about my job. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t wake up at the same time as my body. It stays, curled up under the duvet, along with any inspiration that I might actually be needing to get the job for the day done.

Still shouldn’t complain I know, there are far worse jobs in the world to have…

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An email from President Obama

This morning, as I do every morning, I sat at my desk, opened my email and waited to see what tripe flowed into my inbox.presidentobama

I was expecting the usual of course. A chance to buy some alarming looking apparatus to improve my love life. An invitation to view photos of some ‘designer watches’ or my future mail order bride. Perhaps a heart wrenching story that I had to pass onto 10 of my closest friends within 5 seconds, or risk being struck by a falling meteorite the moment I set foot outside my front door. Even an email from a long lost Nigerian relative, letting me know that I was but only a set of bank details away from inheriting my rightful fortune.

Any of these would have been right about the norm. But this morning threw up something a little bit unexpected.

An email from the most powerful man on the planet – President Barack Obama himself.

Yes, I did do a little bit of a double take I have to say, especially when I realised the email address was legit and he wasn’t trying to sell me little blue pills – with worldwide shipping and a discount programme.

Obviously I know the President didn’t actually sent it from his own Blackberry, as he wondered through the hallowed halls of the White House. And yes, I accept that it wasn’t written specifically to me, but hey, his name is in my inbox and that’s good enough for me.

So why did I deserve the honour? Probably something to do with the email I sent him, asking what he and his administration intended to do about the growing problem of childhood obesity. A problem which, I believe, stems in part from the many fast food companies who market their products directly at the young.

The companies who use cheap plastic toys as a lure, in order to put a colourful box full of salt, sugar and trans fats in the hands of hungry young children. The sort of companies who are, for all intents and purposes, aiding and abetting those parents who slowly murder their kids everyday with an unhealthy diet.

Hopefully such an intelligent and forward thinking man, with 2 young daughters of his own, will acknowledge the issue and give it the attention that it deserves.

And now that The President is in my address book, I will certainly be keeping an eye on any new health care reforms he passes, and hope that at some point he finds a way to put some form of media gagging order on those who profit off the greed and ignorance of the young.

I’ll give him 6 months, and if I don’t see anything happening, I guess I’ll be forced to drop him another line..

For those who might be thinking that I imagined my email, here it is.

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Thanks!

These are by way of a thank you, to all those who have visited my website and helped me to reach my first 10,000 hits in the 4 months since I started writing this blog.

If you are warily eyeing up what’s on the plate or think it’s too early in the day for a sugar rush, then have no fear. These biscuits are of the 100% fat free variety, with a secret ingredient that actually works to shed fat from your thighs, boost your metabolism, increase your libido and give you salon perfect healthy hair.

And no, I haven’t forgotten those of you with fragile digestive systems. They are also gluten, carb, sugar, shellfish, egg, wheat, soy and nut free. They contain zero calories and best of all, if you hold one close to a boiling kettle it will, believe it or not, make you a cup of tea.

Please help yourself (be sure not to get any crumbs stuck in your keyboard or chocolate on your mouse), enjoy and make sure you come back soon…

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Definitely NOT a morning person

Sitting on the train at 5.58am I have to wonder what on earth I am doing here. I am not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. My idea of morning is the last snooze on the alarm, before it becomes so insistent that it vibrates itself off the bedside table.

Yet here I am, getting up in the dark, getting dressed by feel and actually leaving the house by moonlight. Even the dog was surprised to see me emerge from the bedroom. He came out barking at what he must have thought could only be an intruder and then sat watching me, head on one side, as I tip toed about gathering my thoughts and things and making a cup of tea that I didn’t even have time to drink.

And for what reason am I now sitting on the train, my head still spinning and marvelling at how many cars are actually on the road before sunrise? That would be an early morning ‘Business Chicks‘ breakfast in the city. I ask you, what was I possibly thinking a month ago when I said I’d love to go. The idea of having to travel for an hour on public transport for my breakfast is unusual enough. The fact that I’m doing it for business even more so.

I’d better quickly add at this point that horrible timing aside, it was a really well spent couple of hours and listening to the highly motivating Naomi Simson, Chief Experience Officer RedBalloon Days made it well worth the trek.

As a freelance writer, I rarely have the need or the desire to travel far from the safety of either my home or my slippers. The capacity of my wireless pretty much dictates how far I go. I deal with clients from all around the world and work with a companies across the country, yet as a general rule, I rarely mingle with ‘real’ people. Networking these days exists in a mainly cyber based capacity and that’s just fine by me.

There are of course plenty of perks to the sort of ‘workstyle’ that I choose. For a start I can be here for my children – a mixed blessing some days, as previously written about. The best part is I can schedule my day around what I feel up to doing when I wake up. Well, apart from that is the daily breakfast time at the monkey enclosure, the panic stricken school run (with run being the operative word), frantic toddler playtime around the entire house, a lunchtime battle to get soup into a tightly closed mouth, a second trip back to the school, combined with a quick walk to pacify the dog and keep him from chewing my slipper and that final dreaded 2 hour kiddy count down, from dinner to bath to bed.

Yes. Apart from all of that, I think I can say that all in all, I absolutely get to plan the day around myself.

It’s hard to believe I know, but in between all of the above (and let’s not forget the additional cleaning, cooking and ironing) I do actually manage to get a fair amount of work done. The freedom of wireless allows me to move from one crumb and jam infested surface to another, as I watch Lego being flung far and wide out of the corner of my eye. While it’s certainly not an ideal environment for the creative process to evolve, it’s as good as it can hope to get for now.

So, what are the upsides of working for yourself?

Well firstly, there’s the joy of being able to wake up in the morning, feeling and looking like something that fell out of a nappy and not having to go through the croaky voice ritual as you call in sick. There’s the right to wear slippers with your chosen work outfit and the ability to stay in your dressing gown if everything else you own is still creased beyond hope in the ironing pile. There’s the absence of any vicious office gossip or water cooler politics and no need to be nice to a boss who’s plainly incompetent at his job, hygienically challenged or prone to making completely inappropriate personal comments. There’s the freedom to come and go as you please and stop for as many lunch breaks, tea breaks and ‘lets see what’s in the fridge’ breaks as you wish. And of course there’s the advantage of working next to the kettle and within easy reaching distance of a packet of Tim Tams at all times.

Now I won’t lie. Of course there are downsides to this solitary existence.

It can sometimes be incredibly hard to get your brain cranked into gear first thing in the morning. Especially when surrounded by last nights dinner plates and a train set. It’s even harder to get it started again when you’ve stopped for your 3rd tea break. A lack of intelligent adult conversation can leave you unable to string anymore than 5 words together. Being your own boss and leaving a job until the 11th hour does mean you often end up working while you eat your dinner and through your favourite TV show. Days when you never make it out of your pj’s or near a hairbrush can leave you looking like a homeless person. And then of course there is always that worry, that if you can reach a packet of Tim Tams, they have a nasty way of all ending up in your mouth and then moving south onto your thighs.

All in all, if I had to weigh up the Yin and Yang of self employment, then personally I’d say it beats having to haul yourself out from under the duvet every morning and catch a train in the dark. The novelty of wearing non fleecy clothing and high heels instead of Crocs did make the 5.15 alarm call worth all the effort. But it was the smile on my little boys face and hearing an excited cry of ‘Mumney’ when I came back into the house that made me realise nothing would ever make me want to go back to wearing matching clothes and working 9 to 5 again.

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Thinking and Sleeping

Why

Why is it that my most insightful time of the day are the final few minutes before I fall asleep?

During this time of nocturnal limbo, the ideas flood in and life suddenly becomes crystal clear… occasionally I even make notes to try and record my startling insights for the morning… by the morning I can’t even read my own writing.

Granted, this is certainly not the most handy or productive time for my brain to finally switch on for the day, but hey, you have to take it when you can get it!

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