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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Digital Memory Bank

I recently watched a video by one of my favourite video makers. The basic idea behind the video was that, if something isn't documented, then it never really happened. I guess the argument being, that you have no real proof, if the documentation doesn't exist?
Now, i don't want to go into any big philosophical arguments about this topic & whether this idea is correct, or not. But, it certainly got me thinking. As Margarets videos usually do.
My initital thoughts, which i included in a comment on the video, were that sometimes we do need that documentation & for various reasons.
Our memories can often be selective & that's just the memories that we can recall. We often put things out of our mind, because we want to forget them. How many times have you been reminded of something you'd rather forget, or had put out of your mind? Quite a few i'd guess. We have all cringed at the sight of an old photograph, video clip, or even the verbal memory of a friend, or relative.
But, this can of course work in a positive way as well. Documentation, in whatever form, can help us to remember things that we'd like to remember, but had forgotten. Basically the opposite of what i mentioned above. That cringe could well be a smile, under different circumstances.
Documentation can also be used to correct a persons memory of an event.
Our memories can often play tricks on us, for many reasons. Causing us to remember things differently to how they actually happened. There is also a criminal, or deceitful angle to this as well, of course.

But, my main thought was about whether this worry about documentation will shortly become a thing of the past.
I have been, intentionally or not, documenting aspects of my life for the past 3+ years. Whether that be on YouTube, via blog posts, or just generally on the many Internet & social networking sites that i use.
I have made several YouTube videos about just this topic. We are creating a Digital Memory Bank. Everything that we do online, is stored somewhere. That is something that many people fail to realise. Until, that is, their boss finds that inappropriate photo of them on Facebook & decides that that isn't the sort of behaviour we expect & then sacks the unsuspecting person.
That is the negative side to this online documentation. But, there are many positive sides to this as well. Especially, if you control what you put "out there", as i try to do with my videos & blogs.
I am also leaving behind a record of my recent past for anyone to see, myself included.
I am very pleased that i started making my YouTube video over 3 years ago. It's great to be able to look back on them, just as it is an old photograph. For as many times as i might think, "did i really look like that, actually say that, or think that way", there are many more times when i'm just so pleased that i took the time & trouble to record it all in the first place.
Samual Pepys had his diary. I have my computer, video camera & an Internet connection. My own personal diary might not include the Great Fire Of London, as Pepys' did. But, it's still history.
We are all making history & now we all have a way to record it for the future. I, for one, intend to make full use of that opportunity.
All of this will help to prove that i did indeed exist & i now have the documentation to prove it.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Jog Blog No.2

As promised in "Jog Blog (Well, sort of)" here's the second installment detailing my recent running progress. Or, more accurately, the lack of it.
As mentioned in that first blog, I had finally started running again, after a 4 month lay off.
The first run went very well and i felt a great deal better than i thought it would. Those first few runs are always a bit of a worry. You are never quite sure how your body will react to that sudden exertion. And, let's face it, I'm not getting any younger!
Three days later, Wednesday, I went out for another run. A run of similar length, approx 3 miles. As before, I took it all pretty leisurely. After all, the object is for this to be enjoyable, isn't it?
I guess I'm lucky in that I've always enjoyed running. I feel very sorry for those people who feel that they "have" to run, for whatever reason. I know of many people like that. I can think of nothing worse than having to do something that you really don't enjoy. Especially, when it involves exercise.
I've also been lucky in that I actually enjoy running on my own. This is fairly unusual, from what I can tell. I've always been happy with my own company and use the time to think and generally, just enjoy the view and the experience. I've also never used an iPod, or similar, when running either. This is partly because I think they can be dangerous. But also because I've just never felt the "need" to. I like to enjoy the natural sights and sounds, as I run along.
Anyway, the run went well, as before.
After 20+ years of running, I have got used to listening to my body and can tell if there might be a problem. With my legs, or body for example. Throughout my running "career" I've suffered various injuries, as is to be expected. Hence that listening process. Especially after such a long lay off. I was even encouraged that my legs had not ached afterwards, as much as I'd feared that they might.
All was looking good, Or, so I thought.
Thursday morning dawned bright, sunny and very normal in the leg and body department. No aches, or pains and no signs of any after effects from my recent runs.

By now, anyone reading this, must have realised that something is going to happen and you'd be right.

Well, as with all the best incidents, it all happened so suddenly and unexpectedly.
I tried to get up from the armchair and felt my right knee "go". Now I realise that 'go" is not really the most descriptive word to use and it's certainly not a medical explanation. But, it's the best I can come up with to try and explain what happened and what it felt like. The sensation was as if my leg could collapse at any time.
Now, I've had things like this happen before, as I suspect a lot of people have. Usually, my knee will sort itself out after a bit of walking around, or stretching. But, this time was different. All my normal methods of trying to sort it out didn't work and as the day wore on, my knee felt worse and worse. It also started to swell up. Which has not happened before.
By the end of the day I could hardly walk and was having to be very careful when trying to move around.
As you'd expect, I went to the Doctor on the Friday, to see what they could do and to ask what might be the cause. Unfortunately, because of the swelling, the Doctor could not give a full diagnosis. So, here I am, a few days later, wearing a knee bandage and taking anti-inflammatory tablets to try and reduce the swelling. I have a further Doctors appointment, next week, when he hopes to finally figure out what the problem might be.
In the meantime I'm still hobbling around. As it happens, the swelling has gone down a lot and my knee feels a lot better than it did. So much so, that I can walk fairly normally, albeit slowly. I'm taking this as a good sign. When the injury first happened, I couldn't straighten out my right leg. Now, at least, I can do that and it feels far more comfortable. Thankfully.
But, now my thoughts are turning to the future and they are rasing many questions.
Is this a permanent injury? and will I ever be able to run again? being just two of them.
As somebody, on Facebook, said to me the other day. Maybe this is just a case of my body telling me that I'm not getting any younger and that i need to slow down a bit. Or, at least, start to think a little more about what i actually try to do with my body?
And that's a fair point. Hmm....
To be continued...

Sunday, 27 June 2010

2010 World Cup - England & Technology

Another video about the 2010 World Cup & a bit of a rant too.
Here's a link to the blog post i mentioned:

Friday, 25 June 2010

Death As A Career Move - Jacko, one year on.

Glastonbury, the BBC & TV coverage.

Well, it's that time of year again.
The Glastonbury Festival has just kicked off at Worthy Farm down in Somerset & it finally feels as if the Summer is really here at last. So much so that it's not even raining!
As usual, the Glastonbury Festival is being covered extensively by many media outlets. But, especially by the BBC. I'm just sitting here wondering what that coverage will be like this year. The BBC probably has more ways of trying to cover the festival than anyone else. But, it's how they use them that interests me the most.
Like the vast majority of people, my way of accessing & hearing the music is usually via a TV screen. Yes, i could listen to the radion, or use the Internet. But, i always seem to go back to the good old TV. After all what i really want to see are great bands playing music & the best way of trying to get a little bit of the whole atmosphere of a festival is visually. Radio just doesn't, in this case anyway, do quite the same job here.
This all sounds great & quite often it is. But, i usually end up getting very, very frustrated watching the TV coverage of Glastonbury & more often than not, i end up shoutng at the screen.
Why is this? Well, as i said, what i want is to watch great bands, playing some great music. But, what i so often get instead, are the presenters talking about themsleves & what they've been up to, who they've seen & who they've met. Rather than seeing the actual music being played.
So often, whilst a presenter is talking, you can hear your favourite band playing in the background. Either that, or you get a completely un-needed acoustic performance, played out in the BBCs own studio. Instead of a "proper" performance from one of the many stages at the festival.
Now, i'll admit that it's not just the BBC who are guilty of this. Recently ITV "covered" the Isle Of Wight Festival & made exactly the same mistakes. Although i didn't see very much of their coverage & you can probably guess why i didn't watch more. It was the same old problem. Presenters talking amongst & about themselves, whilst the music played on in the background.
For a music lover like me, this is so very frustrating. As with many big festivals, some of the biggest bands in the world are playing there & yet you get to hear so very little of it.
I know that there are restrictions, often placed by the bands themselves, on how much they will allow the BBC etc to show of their live performances. But, with 45 stages, at Glastonbury anyway, & hundreds of great bands playing. Surely there is no excuse for not concentraing on the music, instead of anything else?
I do realise that it is not possible to capture every single performance, by every single artist. But....
The BBC are making a very big thing about the amount of coverage they are giving to this years Glastonbury Festival. In fact, so much so, that they have been accused of effectively advertising the festival.
So, surely they have no excuse whatsoever for not producing the goods?
I'm hoping that this year will see a different attitude to the TV coverage & that we will see more of the actual music & less of all the other "stuff". And by "the actual  music", i don't mean that i only want to hear a band play their "hit" song & nothing else. We don't all have the attention span of a goldfish you know.
Anyway, rant over & here's hoping that i'm proved wrong & that i will have to eat my words, come Monday morning.
I'll not be holding my breath though.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Game on & on & on.....

Although most of the sporting world has been focussed on the football World Cup recently & especially yesterday, as England played their vital qualifying match against Slovenia. A lot of people may have overlooked the fact that the Wimbledon tennis tournament started on Monday.
But, as if to remind us all that Wimbledon really is underway, the tournament suddenly produces one of the great sports stories of, possibly, all time.
At around 9pm last night, play was suspended for the day, because of the light & it brought the curtain down, for the time being at least, on one of the great tennis matches.
The match between John Isner & Nicolas Mahut, two relaitvely unknown players, is delictaely poised at 59 games all in the fifth & final set. Yes, that's 59 games all!
The match has now broken just about every tennis record in the book. It is now the longest ever match, at over 10 hours played, so far. In fact, the fifth set itself would qualify the match as the longest ever played.
Both players have now served very close to 100 aces each, yet another record & still, they will have to come back & try to complete the match today.
Like a lot of people yesterday, i was watching parts of the match, in between the World Cup football. Every time i switched the tennis on, the match was still going on & it became the subject of much conversation in our house. Partly because nobody could quite believe what was happening.
The previous longest match at Wimbledon was between Pancho Gonzales & Charlie Pasarell in 1969 & i can still remember watching that match on TV. The reason i remember it is precisely because the match lasted so long. It just never seemed to end. Maybe when you're only 11 years old time works in a slightly different way? I think this match will live long in many memories for exactly the same reason.
Of course, this match has opened up a debate about final set tie breaks & should matches be allowed to continue for this long? Personally, i think that this shows all that is great about sport. Here we have a match, between two, obviously, very evenly matched players & in my opinion this match should be allowed to take as long as it takes. It has become almost like a gladitorial contest. Two players fighting it out to the death. That is a little dramatic maybe. But, isn't that what sport is all about?
But, the other reason i think that this match is so amazing, is that is shows us ordinary mortals, just how fit the modern sportsman, or women really are. We all sit at home, in the comfort of our armchairs & shout & scream at "these overpaid & pampered" sports people. I'm as guilty of that as anyone. And we all think that we could do better & now a match like this shows us that in actual fact, no, we couldn't.
I would find it hard to stand up for over 10 hours, yet alone play world class tennis for anything like that long. These guys are amazing athletes, as are all those other professional sports people around the world. Yes, some sports are more strenuous than others. But, ultimately, could any of us match that stamina, mental strentgh, athleticism, fitness & sheer determination? I know for sure that i couldn't.
So, John Isner & Nicolas Mahut, i salute you. May the best man win, eventually.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Jog Blog (Well, sort of)

As I've mentioned in blogs before, I have been running, on and off, for over 20 years now. And after yet another lay off, this time for around 4 months, I've finally started again.
Well, I say I've started again. What I really mean is that I've actually got off my backside and gone out for a run. One run. So far.
As they say, the longest journey starts with a single step. So, I'm trying to be positive about this.
There is a reason why it's been around 4 months since I last ventured out in my running shoes. So, I may as well relay that reason/excuse (delete as applicable) here.
For those reading this who happen to live in the UK, you probably remember that we had a pretty bad Winter in 2009/10. By our standards anyway.
In February, we had another, short lived, burst of snow, here in the South east of the UK. As so often happens though, this snow fell over night. Why is that?
So, I awoke to find the streets covered in around 6 inches of undisturbed snow. I know that some people would have taken one look out of the window and thought "There's no way I'm going to try and get into work today. It's just not worth it" But, stupidly as it happens, I thought i'd give it a go.
So, I dressed up to protect myself against the elements and ventured out. There were some tyre tracks in the road, so I thought that would probably be the safest place to walk. As I could see where I was putting my feet. As opposed to the path, which was totally undisturbed.
This idea worked pretty well for a few yards. Yes, it was a little slippery in places. But, nothing that I couldn't cope with. Or, so I thought!
It was at that moment that I did one of those classic, cartoon type, slips and falls in the snow. My feet went from under me and I went up into the air and then crashed back down to earth, on my back, with a bang. It must have looked pretty spectacular. But, thankfully, for my own personal pride at least, nobody was there to winess my fall from grace.
As I landed in a great heap. My right foot ended up underneath my body and at a strange angle too. I am convinced that I was very close to actually breaking my lower leg and do consider myself to have been pretty lucky. As it happens, instead of breaking my leg, I "only" either sprained it badly, or pulled a muscle down there.
I got up, brushed off the snow, looked around to make sure that nobody had witnessed my accident and then tried to walk. As can be imagined, this was not easy. I was very tempted to turn straight around and go back home. But, I decided to press on and 'walk off" my injury. By the time that I got to the train station my leg didn't feel too bad. As with all these type of things though. As the day progressed, I started to find it increasingly hard to walk.
To cut a long story short(ish), my injury, although pretty painful at times, didn't stop me from going to work, or getting about generally and required no medical attention. Well, not in my opinion anyway.
My leg gradually started to improve, although I could still feel the injury if I pressurised it in any way. Hence the fact that I didn't even try to run on it. Even on the short bursts of jogging that you tend to do in life, I could feel a little pain at times. So, I decided to  just let it heal itself and hope for the best.
I was tempted to try running on again before my trip to the USA in April. I was planning to run with a couple of friends whilst in the USA. But, I decided against it. Just in case it flared up and ruined my whole trip.
So, that's the reason it has taken me all this time to work up the courage to actually go out and run on it properly. And, wouldn't you know it? It felt fine!
I'll admit to feeling pretty apprehensive when i took those first steps outside my door, the other day. But, I soon realised that it was going to be ok. It was all the other muscles in my legs that hurt instead!
Having the experience of running for those 20 years and also of having started running again after multiple lay offs. I realise that I need to take this all fairly slowly. So, that's what I fully intend to do.
Hopefully, I'll be able to document my running recovery, if that's the right expression, here and maybe even on YouTube as well.
As with all of these things. It's great to be able to look back on these events and remind yourself of what happened. I have old running diaries from many years ago and it's sometimes good to look back at them and remind and even surprise yourself, of some of the things that you did, or experienced.
So, watch out for "Jog Blog No.2"

Saturday, 19 June 2010

World Cup 2010 - Week 2

My second video all about the 2010 World Cup. This time i talk about England, Wayne Rooney, play acting & using video evidence, amongst other things.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Vloggers Caravan 2010 - Seabright Beach, Aptos

One, of a series of videos. All of which were recorded on a Road Trip along the California coast, with some fellow YouTube friends.
Please see my YouTube channel, for the rest of the videos.

2010 World Cup - My thoughts so far.

Recorded on Sunday, 13th June. Obviously, things have moved along a bit since then. But, not by much!

Books & Reading.

How do you read

Beachy Head. From a different angle.

A walk to Beachy Head lighthouse. But, not by the normal route.
Enjoy nthe scenery. I certainly did.

Hastings Rock 2010

A view into the Hastings Rock studio during our broadcast in May 2010.
A good time was had by all, as you can probably see.