This one isn’t about BT

This week, the last seven days ending tonight, Friday 25th February 2011, has been a week of weird and a week of same; I’m not sure how those two ‘weird’ and ‘same’ sit quite so comfortably in my world – and in my head – but they do.

I have drunk far too much tea in the last seven days. And no alcohol. I have also eaten very well and badly, but in uneven measures, with the scales of healty gastronomy tipping firmly in the direction of good eating.

Preparing and cooking good meals is such a faff, isn’t it?

Two Chinese meals, one of them prepared and cooked by me. But chips. Twice.

And an artery-hardening slab of pizza. Three oranges, about half a kilo of pineapple.

And chocolate. Many, many chocolate things.

Eggs and bars.

Actually, not so many chocolate things, just lots of chocolate in those two forms.

And the healthy, good food, obv.

Work has been absolutely manic.

I can’t, and don’t, write about my IT-related work – writing work goes by a whole different set of rules! – but this week, in the day job, I’ve covered so much ground, ticked so many boxes and moved so many things on to so many different levels that, frankly, sometimes it’s been hard to know where in the air all the juggling balls were.

But I just keep on juggling.

On the couch at home, we’ve been discussing going to Austin, Texas, for the 2011 South By South West (or SxSW if you can handle your abbreviations).

Because, surely, it would be so sensible to just drop those work balls and run to Texas for a week, to get completely involved in a whole new set of things.

I don’t have enough ‘things’ to keep me busy here.

Which is plainly untrue.

But, the thing about SxSW is, I’d get paid for it.

Oh, not NUJ rates, but I have offers from people who want pieces written, recorded or videod.

And edited, obv.

It would pay the hotel bills.

Or maybe the food bills.

And going to SxSW would be a massive opportunity to network and maybe promote the podcast and both of these things are very attractive.


Away from the ‘day job’ part of my life, I want to build the side of my life where I deal with the writing, audio-, video-production and editing work.

I want to do more of these things for longer periods of time than the ‘several hours a week’ – where ‘several’ means anything from 0-18.

I want to do it better.

i want to add more value to it.

I want to be cleverer at it.

I want to earn more from it.

I want to learn to enjoy it even more than I already do and that, my friend, is a challenge of massive proportions in itself!

To help push these things onwards, I’m making tiny changes here and there.

I think I’ve carried the video editing as far as I can in the current config; given that every piece of video I’ve edited has been produced with a limited-functionality piece of freeware.

I’m going to move the video editing to a higher level with a piece of ‘proper’ video editing software.

This will help me produce more, much shorter, tighter films; that’s my primary objective.

Making this change would be the same kind of improvement that moving audio production from Audacity to CuBase gave me.

In the text-based world, I’ve stopped writing in Word.

I don’t know why, but I have found writing in Word to be increasingly difficult.

So I’ve taken the retrograde step to WordPad.

No spell-checker.

No word-count.

No page-break views.

No thesaurus.

None of the tools that, frankly, we use so much and so often, that they actually get in the way.

I find it easier to write in WordPad than Word.

It’s more basic.


Less cluttered.

And I like that.

I have also played far too much Spider Solitaire in the evenings of the last week.

At the time of writing, we are moving towards our fourth week without broadband.

This has presented us with a few difficulties.

Being without internet banking has been awkward, but we’ve been able to cover that at work.

But getting the weekly podcast prepared and put on the server for our listeners to download has caused me some extreme difficulties.

I’ve been using an hour of free internet access every Saturday at the local library to write the website for each show.

But the library’s infrastructure doesn’t allow FTP transactions – the protocol which sends the audio file to the server.

So I’ve been using a little bit of Latte-and-toast fuelled internet access at a local cafe/restaurant/bar, to get the show up to the server, for iTunes to distribute outwards.

I’m actually a little bit proud that even being denied broadband at the home/in the studio hasn’t stopped us from maintaining our 100% show production record.

We’re approaching the show’s third anniversary and we haven’t missed a single weekend.

That’s not bad for a couple of enthusiastic amateurs.

So yes, as well as trying to boost my writing, audio and video work, SxSW might be a good place to also do a little networking on behalf of the podcast.

And there are a couple of bands and recording artists I’m involved with; they could do with their word being spread too, while we’re there.

If we can get time off from our day jobs.

That’s a pretty big ‘if’.

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4 Responses to This one isn’t about BT

  1. Bulldog says:

    The HQ of the company that fucked me over in ’01 used to be in Austin, and I spent a lot of time there (a story for another time). Most of the conference is right in the middle of “Happening” Austin. The 6th Street corridor and the surrounding area used to be full of eclectic clubs and restaurants. I assume it still is.

    Austin is a great town – that is if you like a town full of drunken college students and raving left-wing lunatics.

    If you want a piece of Americana, try Hut’s Hamburgers 807 West 6th Street.

    You simply must go watch the bats fly from the Congress Street Bridge at sundown. It’s an amazing sight.

    Don’t stand under the flight path, though. If you don’t know exactly what a bat does to “lighten the load” on take off, flying guano shold be a sufficient hint.

  2. If you go to SxSW I will be extremely jealous.

  3. Clare says:

    Oh… jealous (if you go that is)… I wanted to go to Austin last weekend for our wedding anniversary.. but beach won out.. never mind , there’s always SxSW!!

  4. Christ yeh, preparing meals from scratch is a pain in the arse, which is why I always go to M&S on a sunday and buy 7 ready meals for the week. Sorted!

    So what is the SxSW then? It sounds cool, and from what you said, you should definitely go. Be reckless!

    P.S. I don’t know if it is related to your lack of internet, but loading your blog, and then the comments takes AGES…. i.e. a minute plus. But I perservered…. because you are worth it 😉