Archive for the ‘Admin’ Category

No more landline

October 31, 2010

I no longer have a landline. If you have my mobile (cell) phone, you are welcome to call me or SMS. Otherwise email. I will be using Skype more.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

The problem was that I was spending too much on landline fees and also had a pay as you go mobile which cost barely more for roaming as for local calls.

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Back (again)

August 4, 2010

Well, I’m back.

I did manage to keep some flow on Twitter but otherwise, I guess its just you, a couple of spambots, and me.

A few words of explanation: from March until July, I was doing a job that involved irregular hours and a ban on signing into a blogging platform, email, or a social media site. The result was that this site lost out.

Sorry.

For now, I’m doing a job that I’m not allowed to discuss in detail – YET. But hopefully that will change soon as the start up project I’m working reaches a couple of targets.

In the meantime, there’s work to be done and fun to be had.

2009 and all that…

January 1, 2010

Every year since 1997, I have compiled a list of 100 New Year’s resolutions, spread over such areas as my debt vs savings, reminders to keep in touch with various family members, an income target, commitments on fitness, reading, study, hobbies and travel. It’s about as personal a document as I ever produce so don’t expect me to broadcast it. I look at it roughly once a month, to keep some track of how I’m doing.

Originally, I started with 56 things I wanted to do in 1995, then a few more got added in ’96, before I found myself with a list of 97 items in 1997, at which point I thought of rounding it up.

I don’t have an easy way of getting a list of all the things I did do, and some are repeated each year, but it now stands at 218, though only nine were successes in 2009.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few definite things I wouldn’t have done without the list: flying to New York in Concorde, visiting a new country each year (Greece, Ireland, Egypt, the Netherlands, and I’m not counting years where I went to several others [e.g. Italy, the Vatican, the Czech Republic since it split from Slovakia]) and taking part in the Hastings Christmas Chess Tournament (where I won a prize).

I might never have enrolled on my MBA course in 2008 (I’d been toying with the idea for many years), would not have moved when I did in 2003 or bought a camera last May.

On the other hand, I have only once exceeded my income target, in 2003, which I hope reflects the high bar I set myself… For better or for worse, my strategic direction for the year is set with my resolutions.

Perhaps it’s me, but yesterday I found myself asking “where does the idea of New Year’s resolutions come from?” Is it modern, like Mother’s Day in France or turkey for Christmas lunch? Is it ancient, like the seven-day week?

Wikipedia was surprisingly vague on this topic, and most of the claims of antiquity are not well documented (astrologers claiming a Babylonian origin [link in French] are not entirely without an interest in talking up that culture).

The reason I doubt the ancient world as being the original source of the NY resolution custom, is that it seems too modern a preoccupation to think about “must write to mother more often” or “must go to the gym more often.”

There were Jubilee Years announced roughly four times a century by the Popes since 1300AD, which included releasing people from their debts and making pilgrimages, but the NY resolutions seem more personal, more of a form of self-development.

Fortunately, Fugitive Ink had some leads, after I’d suggested that diarists would provide a good starting point:

Possibly, though, I’d start the research slightly earlier than you would – amongst the puritan diarists of the mid-17th century, both in England and the American colonies. They were, after all, great makes of ‘resolutions’ and no slouches when it came to making self-improving promises to God.

When I first started thinking about this, I worried that such pious folk might find the secular New Year insufficiently significant to be worth much in the way of resolutions. But then I had a swift glance at Ralph Josselin’s diary. (He was an Essex clergyman, 1616-83, of broadly puritan inclination, although remaining in Anglican orders.) Look at this, from 1653:

http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/diary/70006970.htm

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly a ‘resolution’ per se (despite the odd fact that the word ‘resolution’ occurs in the next sentence), and Josselin is always asking God to do things like that, but all the same, Josselin is evidently using the occasion to ask God to give him ‘a new holy heart’, which in some sense comes rather close to the ‘make me a better person’ end of the contemporary NYR scale, if not the ‘lose a stone’ end of it.

It strikes me therefore that there is no obvious answer to my question, but that the habit of making commitments for the coming year (whether praying for help in achieving them or not) is a reflection of the emergence of a belief in the possible redemption of Man on Earth.

If it did date from Babylonian times, and if it really had persisted through the ages, I wonder if it could be considered one of the most enduring expressions of individual self-development?

I’m talking at the Putney Debates tonight

January 11, 2008

The topic is ‘Change at the Top: How the US Election Process Works and What are the Opportunities for Ron Paul?’

My audience will mostly be British so it’s mostly about explaining just how decentralized the U.S. electoral system is. Because anyone turning up is likey to be a Libertarian, I shall be concentrating on Ron Paul’s campaign and what he can realistically hope to achieve. I shall try to post a summary of the talk somewhere. Details from the LA Blog.

[cross posted from Antoine Clarke’s Election Watch]

10,000 not out

January 25, 2007

Last week I hit 10,000 hits on Antoine Clarke’s Election Watch.

It’s a milestone. And I’m happy about it. I once set up a newspaper with a circulation of less than 100, so a trickle of readers does not bother me.

I realize that the key to better visibility is more writing, more often. It took from 13 July 2004 to 17 January 2007 to hit the 10k mark (visitor #6,969). We shall see how long it takes to hit 25k.

Blogroll…but

December 6, 2006

I’ve got my elections blogroll [see sidebar], but I can’t do others for my other areas.

My Clippings: Live

December 5, 2006

You wouldn’t believe how long it’s taken… but it’s finally live. My news aggregator clippings can finally appear on my blog. Now all I need is to figure out how to display them by category.

Welcome to my blog

November 30, 2006

The reason I’ve started this blog is to provide me with one platform for all my postings, on blogs and elsewhere.

I shall also be using the blogroll feature and splitting my writing into categories: elections, health policy, politics, interesting stuff I come across.