A baby was born

It’s pretty much a non-event really though seeing social media explode from comments of a fake Professor Snape account commenting on it being a half-blood prince or a fake Prince Charles account making puns like ‘heir it comes’ alongside pictures of the baby presentation from The Lion King and Michael Jackson’s infamous window scene has been phenomenal!

I did write something on a blog I contribute to about how to childproof your garden if you’re not part of the royal family. It’s nowhere near as good as the above tweets though!

Google Reader replacement

As always I am leaving things to the last minute. I have less than two weeks left to find a Google Reader replacement, despite knowing I would have only until July. I suppose a large part of me was hoping that Google would reverse their decision, but it’s not looking likely.

I think the difficulty is that the way I read feeds is a bit different to most – I read on three different devices which is the mobile web on my phone, the app on my Nexus10 and within the browser which can be Chrome or something else. My phone, due to an issue, can’t be upgraded beyond 2.1 so most Droid apps aren’t available. Plus most apps wouldn’t let me have the small font I like and it’s mostly taken up by white space or other fancy stuff. I would say I use each of the three methods equally.

Additionally I don’t care about trends in feeds. I have my subscriptions because I like to read them or at least want to know if there’s new content and couldn’t care less if a hundred people or people in my circles have recommended something. That’s what Twitter and Facebook are for. I also have my now 321 subscriptions in folders and have over 2000 unread feeds per day which sort of get read in an order with some folders generally marked as read or just glanced at.

All of the above makes finding a replacement more difficult thank it should be. The Feedly app comes highly recommended, but doesn’t have a mobile site and doesn’t work on my phone. The Old Reader is slow. Nevibes is confusing.

I hate change.

What would you do if you had a pet and it suddenly spoke to you?

This question came up in a conversation with a friend last night and, out of curiosity, I posted it both on Twitter & Facebook to see what replies others would give.

For what it’s worth – my immediate reply was: ‘I’d stop drinking’ as I took another sip from the wine glass in my hand.

These are the responses I got:

  • I’d make sure the cats understood the need to check left and right before crossing the street!
  • I’d stop drinking.
  • Change the shit your smoking.
  • Sell tickets.
  • Go for a brain scan.
  • Reply, of course.
  • Get an agent.
  • Depends what it said.
  • I always wonder what if the Hindus are right about reincarnation and my dog is a 60 year old guy watching me shower.

Best idea ever (maybe)

What I want is an electronic photo frame with silly/funny pictures off the internet plus plenty of cute cat pictures to put on my desk at work to get me through and entertain me on days like today.

Not that I’d need an excuse really, I love the idea regardless!

(FYI, my birthday is May 15th and it’s now on my Amazon wishlist!)

Catfish

After looking at your profile picture I had no other choice but to send a compliment. You are such a pretty woman..i liked your profile so much and i am interested in knowing you better..

Looked at my ‘other’ messages on Facebook for the first time in, well, probably ever and found the above message from a man living in the US. His profile is pretty much locked down so I don’t know if we have any mutual friends, but likewise my profile is pretty much locked down.

I’m currently watching the Catfish TV show so this feels very apt.

I also didn’t reply..

Google Reader

Google Reader is shutting down. It has been my daily routine since 2008 and I am genuinely sad about losing it. There are a bunch of petitions around, but why would Google bother to listen.

In the meantime I’ve been recommended these links and will need to check them out soon:

Hopefully I’ll be able to find a home for my 316 subscriptions.

Gmail stats

I was looking round the Google dashboard for the settings of a service when I stumbled across these stats:

  • Inbox: 3936 conversations
  • All mail: 58113 conversations
  • Sent mail: 5290 conversations
  • Saved drafts: 185 conversations
  • Chat history: 4740 conversations
  • Spam: 234 conversations

I have had my gmail account since 2005. I receive around 100-150 spam emails a day. My saved drafts is sort of my ‘to read or action later’ folder only I don’t really follow that up much and it’s gotten a bit out of hand. I’m pretty sure there are some actually important and time-specific things in there.

I guess I chat a lot, too.

19 days later

It has been 19 days since I’ve had the first symptoms of my illness which I’ve had diagnosed as bronchitis with whooping cough (pertussis) last week. The symptoms initially started with a cough on a Thursday and by Saturday I was very ill with what I thought was just a strong cold.

The week following I continued to go to work, but also had two days off to look after my friend’s children during half term. On the Tuesday, just five days after the symptoms first started, I lost my voice and it hasn’t returned so far – two weeks later. It makes this even more isolating than any other illness.

I am unable to leave the house or even the bed/sofa without feeling even worse or starting a long coughing attack. I can’t talk as it leads to coughing, even if I’m whispering. I have chest pain, issues breathing, general pain everywhere that doesn’t go away with any painkillers and a lot of other symptoms.

I was happy last week when I finally made it and got it diagnosed thinking that with antibiotics it would actually be over soon, but now, a week later, there has been no change asides from no longer having a stuffy nose which was never an urgent problem with all the rest going on. I struggle with the basic day to day stuff – going to the ridiculously close local cornershops is a mission and turned into a nightmare last week when I had a coughing fit so bad I fell over inside the shop and then had some lovely students just step over me. Not one of my happiest moments.

Of course I don’t have any housemates that would help me as seemingly all the nice ones moved out last year. Yes, I knew I didn’t really get along with the ones I’ve got or gained recently, but I am quite obviously very ill and not only do they not help, even when asked directly, but also all the inconsiderate actions they usually do now feel like a direct affront to me. One of them has now stopped talking to me entirely for reasons beyond me, and constantly food, washing powder or anything else not attached goes missing which is really helpful when I’m too ill to actually be able to leave the house to get more.

Additionally being ill is expensive – as I have no mode of transport I have had to rely on taxis plus of course pay for prescriptions and all the other ibuprofen and so on. So far I have spent around £180 just on being ill which excludes any food. I have also not been at work for seven working days (and counting) and won’t get paid for those though I will need to work out how to get SSP which is less than £90 a week. Yes, I know, I should be happy I live in a country with medical care and so on and so forth, but clearly I am not feeling very positive right now.

I was given new antibiotics today and I am worried about taking them as the common side effects actually scare me. I know they have to list every side effect ever uttered in the same room as someone who has taken the pills before, but the talk of fatal liver failure, panic attacks, change of sense of taste and so on isn’t appealing. Whilst more than 1 out of 100 people is still random and unlikely I am worried what would happen if I was one of those that got something that will cause long-term problems. Seeing how well I am coping with this and how well I am coping with being ill now the thought of any long-term problems actually terrifies me. Everyone I have asked about this has called me unreasonable, but whatever, clearly this has frustrated me enough to make me unreasonable.

I am getting more and more frustrated with the entire situation. I hate I can’t be at work when it was just coming up to some exciting projects for me. I hate that I am letting two friends down with some work I promised them. I hate the treatment of housemates and this whole living situation. I hate that I am so ill and not getting any better. I hate waking up each time having problems breathing. I hate that I haven’t actually had a conversation with anyone in over a week who wasn’t a medical person. I hate every single doctor’s appointment or pharmacy trip. I hate that a couple of close friends haven’t visited me despite me asking because I actually needed company. I hate that I am too ill to even hold/concentrate on my phone or tablet so I can’t even talk properly to friends further away (this post has taken hours with all the breaks). I hate this isolation.

I hate the fact that I am really restless and in more pain than usual tonight.

I need a hug.

Nexus 10!

On Saturday I took the plunge and ordered a Nexus 10. It arrived yesterday.

This post is written on it.

So exciting!

Not quite so secure

From time to time I need to set up a new payee on my online banking.

Setting up a new payee involves entering all the details and the amount. The screen then transfers to another screen with a four-digit number and calls the mobile associated with the bank account. Following that I need to enter the number and hang up after with it will be confirmed. So far so good.

A few minutes later I will receive a text to that same mobile:

Confirmation: You set up a new recipient on XX/XX at XX:XX:XX from account ending XXXX. If this wasn’t you please call 08453000000 or +441733347007 from abroad.

In order to set up the payee I need my phone – I cannot do it another way. If it wasn’t me then surely texting that same number isn’t going to change anything as my phone will not be by me?

Tuesday was weird, Wednesday will have to be better!

Tuesday has been a weird day:

  • A chance encounter with a former colleague which goes to show just how small this world is.
  • A rushed day at work, as so many have been recently.
  • A bank error putting me -£844 over my overdraft and I have no idea how to get to work in a few hours as I now can’t take money out..
  • Finding the perfect house to move to, but knowing it wouldn’t work out.
  • Spending the evening at my friend’s house where I’ve spent over half of my time in the past two weeks.
  • Persistent earache that’s been plaguing me for over a week.
  • Worrying about potentially having to make a big decision soon and already dreading it.

Wednesday will have to be better!

Edit: This was post 800!

Snow, glorious snow!

On Friday snow hit the UK with more snow than even in 2010 so we did the only natural thing and built a snowman at work. As you do.

Following that I had the first free weekend in two weekends which doesn’t sound so grand, but considering the hours I’d been working plus spending most of the time on the weekends out of the house I really needed the break. I didn’t switch on my laptop from Friday evening until now, Monday evening and spent most of my time reading and falling asleep on the sofa.

Just as well as it was far too slippery and icy outside as evident by me falling over on my brief trip to the local shops on Saturday evening.

I need more relaxing time like this!

Facebook targeting fail

Working in marketing – which still sounds oh so pretentious – I deal with Facebook advertisement amongst other things. As such I know of all the targeting options available from the usual age or gender to the more unusual and somewhat creepy others. They’re outlined in this article, but here is a list of the ones I find more worrying:

  • Recently moved
  • Away from family
  • Away from hometown
  • Interests -> Charity/Causes
  • Engaged or married [with various timeframes!]
  • Baby boomers
  • Parents [with various options for the children's ages]

I have limited information on my Facebook profile. For example I don’t have my hometown listed, never listed my relationship status and my profile is barely filled out. The pages I like are varied and don’t contain any that would assume I have children. I update my status about 1-3 times a month with things about me or what I have done.

For all those reasons I find it odd that lately I have been served an increasing amount of pregnancy, baby and toddler related ads with some specific ones related to childcare or weddings. I know this is just to do with the bad targeting, but sometimes it makes me wonder just what Facebook is telling me.

The following is just a very small selection:

No longer nomadic?

My blog has been called carocat.co.uk – tales of the nomadic cat for quite a few years now. It’s been like it for at least four.

I used to live a quite nomadic lifestyle – moving from house to house and even country at one point, as well as moving from online community to online community or switching my hobbies around a lot.

I have lived in my current house for 21 months now which is the longest I have lived anywhere since making the decision to move back to the UK in 2003.

I don’t really have the time nor energy for online communities any more. I am still just as active on Twitter as I have ever been, but asides from that I barely visit any forums or anything else any more.

My hobbies are much more tailored around my lifestyle – in weeks that I am more social I can be found knitting more than on weeks I spend at home which is time put aside for knitting. Gaming is still a major loss, but eventually I will have the time to get back into it.

Overall though it’s to do with an attitude change. I feel more settled and happier with where I am in life, even if it doesn’t even seem it to me most of the time.

So I suppose I am no longer the nomadic cat and this can’t be tales of the nomadic cat any more.

Bowling!

Went bowling for a friend’s birthday on Thursday. Due to some mix-up we couldn’t play when we had reserved lanes for and had to wait over an hour which led to a couple of beers and several games of pool.

I can’t actually remember the last time I played either pool or went bowling. Bowling was at least before 2003, but I do believe pool was more recent, perhaps six years? As such I didn’t do very well – lost all the games of pool, much to the chagrin of my team mate who is also one of my current housemates. Whilst I won the first game of bowling – with what I’m told is a very respectable 120 points – I lost all subsequent ones with scores below 60 which the competitive me didn’t actually mind.

Most of all it was an usual activity and fun. Well, fun for the most of it.

Despite always needing to convince myself to make the effort to go, I generally enjoy social situations even if they’re larger groups. On Thursday I knew most of the people as they are close friends of my friend’s whose birthday it was, but never spoke much to them before with the exception of awkward smalltalk. That night was no different and I found myself far too often standing with people not knowing what to say or saying too much too fill uncomfortable silences. That part wasn’t fun.

No workplace disgruntlement here

I read this article over a week ago and have had mixed feelings about it. Whilst reading it I thought that I wouldn’t be able to recognise myself in an article called ‘Workers face ‘hard year of slog’ in 2013′, but as I got towards the end I found this paragraph resonating in me:

“Workplace disgruntlement in the private sector will instead take the form of simmering distrust of bosses, especially those who adopt the trendy management speak mantra of ‘employee engagement’ while piling the pressure on overstretched staff,” he said.

I like my job. I like the company. I like the colleagues. I enjoy the actual work. After ten months I still don’t hate going to work or getting up in the morning though flexible working hours definitely help as I sometimes go in rather late.

However, in the last months my team and particularly me have taken on a lot of new responsibility which has taken a lot of my time and most of November and December I felt pretty stressed most of the time. The only reason we have taken on these new responsibilities is because the people that were in charge before left and weren’t replaced.

Every day is a new challenge and I haven’t found myself bored in the job yet. Could I do with less work? Of course. Would I trade it for less variety? I don’t think so.

Three player chess

Today I learned that there is such a thing as three player chess.

Having not played standard chess for years and playing with two people who also hadn’t it took us all a lot longer than probably an advanced player to understand the rules and the complex moves with crossing the board. Quite often we had to reverse a move when we realised that a player would have put themselves in check as there was a queen somewhere across the board.

I am happy to say I didn’t lose, but at the same time also didn’t win. Initially me and my friend subconsciously both attacked our other friend which I ultimately beat before then turning on each other. My final loss was due to stupidity and a complete accident.

I would love to play it again at some point.

My personality type is “Groundbreaking Thinker”

personality

Creative, resourceful and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues and may be into “one-upmanship”. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive. They enjoy people and are stimulating company. Excellent ability to understand concepts and apply logic to find solutions.

Careers that could fit you include:
Entrepreneurs, lawyers, psychologists, photographers, consultants, sales represenatives, actors, engineers, scientists, inventors, marketers, computer programmers, comedians, computer analysts, credit investigators, journalists, psychiatrists, public relations, designers, writers, artists, musicians, politicians.

Link to test.

Came across this test through @jamileh.

It’s surprising how apt some of this is. I would consider myself to be resourceful and I am definitely into one-upmanship, even though I’d probably not admit that outright if challenged! Whether or not I am assertive is another thing – it led to my downfall in a previous job role.

Talking about jobs, all but two of my jobs have been one of the ones listed in that list and my life in the past seven years has been very much geared towards marketing and public relations.

I also like to think myself as being creative though I know I pale in comparison to many of my friends.

All in all it’s pretty accurate!

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