Technical help…

I am starting to post exclusively now at this new site, and had planned on shutting down the old blog over the coming weeks. Now I’m in two minds… the last two days have been my best ever for follows, and every single one is following the old blog! (These all came immediately after I’d transferred all my followers over to this site.)

Were people waiting for me to finally shut up for a minute before they decided to follow me??

So, I’ll have to think about that one. One thing I did want to flag and get some feedback on is about comments. My WordPress reader seems completely thrown by the new website. Not all of your comments appear in my reader… a number get quarantined for no reason (even when you’ve previously commented successfully)… none of my replies appear in my reader… and now, even my comments on your websites seem to be disappearing too.

Blogging is all about interacting, and this isn’t making things easy (for me, certainly).

My questions to you are twofold:

  1. Have you been experiencing similar problems with making comments on this site, or picking up my replies?
  2. Does anyone have any technical insight to steer me towards resolving this?

Grateful for ANY help that you can offer, even if it’s only feedback to say that you’ve not had any problems! 🙂

Thank you!

Batman v Superman: Partners in Rhyme

I wrote this a while back, but it seemed to make sense to dust it off now…

I’m a super-fan of Superman
But I need some answers please.
Flying around is all very well,
But where does he keep his keys?

– I’m also batty about the Batman,
– And he’s sussed the answer to that:
– Keeping his keys upon his belt,
– In a pouch (predictably) shaped like a bat

Saving the world is fine and dandy,
But what’s with Supey’s underpants?
Bright and red and on display,
Does he think it’s the fashion, by chance?

– By contrast, Bats takes a classic approach,
– And always dresses in black.
– It’s far more practical for working nights;
– He’s hidden ‘til POW!-THWACK!!

How does Superman prioritise?
He’s too many problems for one.
He can’t save everyone all of the time.
Can he ever have any fun?

– At least the Batster knows his limits,
– Focusing on Gotham town.
– Setting his sights on their crime lords,
– Determined to bring them all down.

And does Supe think that we’re too stupid,
To see through his Clark Kent disguise?
All he does is add some specs,
It’s clear to everyone’s eyes!

– Bruce Wayne makes more of an effort,
– Covering all except that chin.
– Cloaking his body in armour,
– Hiding the human within.

So I’m becoming less enamoured
With this fussy and flawed “super” man.
His costume’s frankly impractical,
Though he’s come far from where he began.

– Batty, though, has the gadgets and tricks,
– That are so much cooler than powers.
– And he prefers to party hardy
– Than moralise for hours.

So, in the end, I’m a “Bat” man
He’ll never let me down.
He’ll always be my favourite…
‘til Wonder Woman swings into town!

 

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Haiku – Shower & Play

It seems fitting that my first posted poem on my new site is for Ronovan’s haiku challenge. This weekly challenge has really captured my imagination, and got me hooked on haiku… in April, you’ll be getting daily zombie haiku from me for the A to Z Challenge, as well as me trying to complete the regular weekly challenges. I owe it all to Ronovan! (You can blame him too if you think my stuff sucks. Swings and roundabouts 🙂 )

Anyone else recognise the truth in this one?

Annual routine:
Child showered with Christmas gifts…
Child plays with the box!

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/pixydust8605/1415161624

Welcome!

Hello, hello!

I’ve been blogging for a while at https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/ but have decided to make the jump to a self-hosted website… so here we are!

I can’t pretend to understand most of the technical ins and outs of migrating from one site to another, but I am hoping that with sufficient warning and a bit of a handover period anyone who was following my old blog will find out about and follow this one too. And if you were having second thoughts about me then now’s your chance to cut and run! (I plan to mothball the old site at the end of April, and focus everything through this site.)

I have plans to develop and to branch out a little more than I did with the old site – just learning as I go. So what else can you expect?

1 – I am taking part in the A to Z Challenge again this year, running throughout April. My theme will be … survival in a zombie world! And because this is me and that’s not enough of a daft challenge, I’ll be doing it in my inimitable haiku style too (because who has time for lengthy survival tips when you’re running from the undead?).

2 – As well as “more about me”, I also want to get to know you better… well, some of you anyway! Starting in April, I want to run a regular Sunday interview feature called “The Dirty Dozen“… details to follow.

As this is all new and shiny, please drop me a comment to let me know any thoughts on this new site, the layout, etc, or any ideas that you want to share for taking this forward. And if you fancy a go in the hotseat for the Dirty Dozen, then let me know below!

Thank you for joining me on this new leg of the adventure! 🙂

Monday Musing… The Worst Day…

Everyone has a bad day from time to time. Maybe not “attacked-by-a-bear-then-left-to-die-in-the-woods” bad, but everyday bad. Even those we see as being particularly blessed will have a shocker now and again. Bill Gates will get his wang caught in his fly. Dave Grohl (“nicest man in rock”) will accidentally drop a “c-bomb” in front of his mum at a family dinner. David Beckham will get completely ignored in public, while his son gets spotted and subjected to trial by selfie. Donald Trump will accidentally put the hamster on his head, while his wig is being cleaned…

Yeah, I’m keeping this build-up light. Last Thursday was a shocker for me. And that saying about things coming in threes? Yep, that too.

Thursday morning, out of the blue, I got told at work I’m going to be made redundant. In the afternoon, a serious health scare for someone very close to me, that will need surgery.

These are both major shocks to the system, but it was the one that happened in between that made me break down and cry like a baby.

I saw my cat die.

While getting changed out of my work clothes, brain whizzing about with what I’m going to do next, how we’re going to pay the mortgage/ feed the kids/ get through this one, I watched my cat die on the bed, right next to me.

With no warning, she lay her head on its side, and just curled up like a leaf closing, pulling in on herself. The air slowly leaving her body. A balloon silently deflating.

I patted her and stroked her, saying her name over and over, but there was no reaction. I patted her a bit more urgently. Nothing.

Her heart wasn’t beating.

Her lungs weren’t working.

Nothing.

I started blubbing like a baby, sobbing her name.

Maybe ten seconds later, she lifted her head up and let out a couple of angry mews (pain?).

I went to stroke her, but she ran off and hid downstairs. She was a bit skittish for the rest of the day, but otherwise acted the same as normal. A bit mental, a bit stand-offish, very demanding about food. You know, like a normal cat.

I know my cat, and I know how she reacts to things. I am absolutely certain that she died. And yet here she is now, nuzzling around my feet, acting within her normal parameters of strangeness.

Maybe her throat closed or something. I don’t know. Do cats suffer from anaphylactic shock?

So with those big three things happening on the same day, the one that made me really cry, and is making me well up recalling it, was my cat dying. For a bit.

Go figure.

 

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My cat. Definitely just napping this time.

So, er, this is awkward…

Yesterday was a real rollercoaster of a day.

Having psyched myself up for surgery, following all the advice on what I could and couldn’t eat and drink at the relevant times, I kissed my family goodbye and caught the bus to the hospital… where I sat around for several hours, fully gowned-up in finest hospital-style, before being told that an earlier emergency surgery had over-run, and that my operation would have to be re-scheduled.

Bugger.

It’s one of those annoying annoyances that you can’t even really be annoyed about. As babbitman put it, it’s “someone having a slightly worse time of things that slightly inconveniences you”.

I now await the call – hopefully on Monday – to reschedule. Obviously I’m hoping that it’s not too long a wait. Thank you to everyone for your lovely messages. I will re-read them once the op has actually taken place <3

As a little postscript, I had gone into the hospital without wallet, keys or phone, anticipating being collected by my wife post-surgery, and not wanting to risk losing my valuables. She was spending the afternoon taking our eldest to a climbing centre with his Beavers group…

The hospital let me call my wife on her mobile after giving me the news, but the only information I managed to get from that short, crackly call was the name of the venue, and that it was “somewhere near the Victoria Centre” (a large shopping centre).

I had a bus-pass, £2 in change, and no real clue where to go…

I set off, determined to be as resourceful as Jack Bauer, and find this venue within the hour (before they finished and moved on – no phone, remember). I even had the “24 beeps” in my head. I used my bus pass to get me near the Vic Centre, and hotfooted it across town (for two reasons – 1 – the clock was ticking, and 2- I was wearing “loose fitting hospital wear”, and looked like a hobo. I didn’t want to bump into anyone I knew!)

So anyway, I thought I’d be clever and ask at the information desk at the Vic Centre… they’d never heard of it. Nor had the cleaner. Nor had some random guy walking by with his kid. Dammit! So I turned to a basic GCSE-level knowledge of Central Business Districts, and thought about the areas of the city centre most likely to house a climbing centre… then basically wandered around a bit until I found it!

How on earth did we survive before we had mobile phones, complete with maps of everything and everywhere in the world? Did we just wander around like this all the time, muttering dammit under our breaths??

 

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This was just like me, apart from the gun. Guns kill people

Powering down…

As well as it being my weekly “offline Saturday”, this week I will be shutting down in a more literal, medical sense. As this is posted, I will be under general anaesthetic for an operation to hopefully cure the issues that have kept me off work for three of the past six months. Post-op recovery is likely to be painful, for at least a few days, possibly weeks.

As a consequence, I may be around less in the coming week… it is also possible that I’ll go the opposite way, and plug myself into the matrix completely, as other options will be limited.

On the bright side, there’s only a one-in-50,000 chance that I’ll actually die, as my doctor cheerfully informed me.

Never tell me the odds!

I’m sure, with trademark Lane optimism, that it’ll all be alright.

I’ll just park this here in the meantime…

 

Unplugged Saturday

I mentioned in my Friday list post that one of my New Year’s Absolutely-Not-A-Resolution (But-Kinda-Is) was to spend one day a week completely offline. Well, I tried it yesterday for the first time…

In a normal day, I spend hours checking and replying to emails, checking Facebook, scrolling through Twitter, refreshing news pages, looking at rugby scores… Even if I’m watching a film or a TV show with my boys, chances are I’m on my smartphone at the same time, giving each half of my attention. Sound familiar to anyone else?

Well, not yesterday.

I went completely cold turkey.

COMPLETELY.

Now, as a smartphone user, this meant pretty much hiding my phone away all day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist the little counter at the bottom of the screen telling me there were 15 or whatever new messages to check. I turned off automatic syncing, so the numbers stayed silent, and temptation wouldn’t flash before me.

Then, just to make sure, I turned the ringer volume up and left the phone in a different room.

(I contemplated hiding it under a cushion, but thought that might be going overboard.)

We had no big family things on yesterday – the youngest went a birthday party, the oldest to play with his friends down the road for a couple of hours, the usual weekend parental taxi-ing – but unusually I did get an hour at home to myself. Prime Facebook time…

But I decided to read instead.

Crazy, right?

I’m always complaining that I don’t have time to read, so I thought this was a golden opportunity to put my money where my mouth was.

I’d started Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover the night before… I finished it yesterday afternoon. I can’t remember the last time I got through a book so quickly. The book’s amazing, and a quick read… so there I was, on a Saturday afternoon, in an empty house, crying at the end of a book for the first time in … a very long time.

After tidying myself up, I picked Louis Sachar’s Holes from my reading pile, and started on that… another great choice. I’m halfway through it already, completely hooked.

Better than Facebook anyday.

The flip side of this day offline is (a) not having any phone to distract me while we watched an awful film for Film Night (The Little Vampire)… and (b) having 205 new emails to catch up with on Sunday morning… but an hour on the laptop to focus on those saw to that (and write this post into the bargain).

Batched living. It’s the way forward!

So, it may take me longer to reply to emails and messages, but you know what… it can wait…

Enjoy your Sunday. And whatever your doing, give it your full attention 🙂

 

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