I just got back from a meal in an Italian Restaurant in Swindon. It was okay. The service was better than the food….
It was owned by a guy who is just about hanging on by his financial fingernails.
A perfect example of a local business person trying their best to survive. I sparked off from him the second he showed me to my seat. His waiter had not turned up, and he was keeping the flag flying….
I got my brandy in a Whisky glass – no big problem. The first botle of wine was sour – the second (which he didn’t charge me for, was smooth…)
We got chatting, and we both told of our backgrounds. Turns out he is wanting to do different things…
I said that the Internet was a possibility for him to make some money in these difficult times. What he replied made me smile and give a boost to the human race – that’s you. No, he’s not a multi-millionaire….
He bought up a stock of used FIREDOORS, and sold them online to businesses and made a decent profit. Put the darned things up on Ebay.
How do you get the link between an Italian restaurant to firedoors?
I’ve no idea, but it’s a great example of thinking outside the box. But it shows more than that. In an unstable world – there’s always a market for something.
I can remember an earlier boss of mine who that said the Second World War in the UK made him vital income – money – he bought cars from folks who couldn’t get petrol, and selling them to folks who could. And that was in an environment where 1000’s of poor folks were loosing their lives…
If you are worried about your financial future, would you pay precious money to find a way that would keep the roof over your head?
Of course you would. You’d sell yer granny…..That’s The Business I’m Moving Into.
It’s as old as Egypt’s Pharos …
If you have a product that others want — you’ll certainly make some money.
But if you have a product that lets OTHER People Make Money – then you are already financial independant.
You just don’t know it yet. It’s the Online Secret That Now One Dare’s Whispers Its Name…
You really should want to learn more about this, and I show you how I do it HERE!
Check out countries that are looking for skills that you have (even if for a temporary time).
My clever-dick nephew just moved to the USA, in advance of his move he put a few “feelers” out regarding the fact that he was pretty darned good at a certain IBM system. He arrived in the USA and within 1 week had a well paying job in a “backwoods” part of the good ‘ole USA. He’s not in any way affected by the Recession – even though it originated in the USA…
Suppose you are currently in the UK. Your Job is on the line or has gone. Consider the following options:
1. Claim redundancy (do it – you’re entitled!)
2. Get on whatever job-seeker initiative you can
3. MEANWHILE. Use the internet and Google to market yourself.
4. Do you have anything of value to sell? Use Ebay – a few hundred may keep the wolf from the door for a month…You will be surprised what others value…
5. Have a reasonable reputation with a Bank? Pay off all your high-interest-rate credit cards by taking out a bank loan at a sensible rate over a reasonable period of time.
QUESTION. Would you be prepared to spend each week away from your family and home to keep paying your mortgage?
Think outside The Box. So you are unemployed – too proud to stack shelves, deliver letters, become a labourer for a few weeks…keep your loved ones in a home….Of course you would.
Don’t be a victim — be a survivor–don’t blame others (banks, etc) —ACT
A buddy of mine has taken a job away from his family in Dubai (did you know India is growing like crazy right now – particularly in IT?), and meets up with his wife and child every few months – but his house, his mortgage, his family, his life is intact.
What a Hero — What a Free Thinker.
Well Done Les.
Surviving is not living in poverty – it’s Changing Your Perspective And Changing Your Perception – even temporary…
Stop reading Newspapers and turning on the TV news. Just focus on what skills you have or potentially have, and keep flexible.
Think of your day as having a money value, and what activities have a money value.
TV = zero.
Reading the daily Paper – let’s say the Daily Mail.
Getting irate over unfair taxes, immigration, unruly teenagers, politicians getting unfair advantages, pop stars sleeping with everyone, sports stars earning millions, local councils screwing up, political parties opinions, etc…..it’s all a smokescreen for the next generation of “sheep” that’s you brother and sister…!!!!
Notice when it’s a slow day for news – articles and pictures from their archive fill the blank pages. Notice how much “OPINION” they give – rather than “News”. Just like Banks and politicians – they are just there to influence your life.
Back to you.
Make a list of your life skills, knowledge and experience = £££$$$priceless!!
Be prepared to temporary work harder and longer at a lower wage if necessary. The only folks who will fail are those who roll over and play dead….
And by the way. Read my previous Blog entry for those who are *really* flexible…..
And if all this sounds like so much horse manure – then just change the way you think and act in the light of your current situation.
Huge change comes as a result of Huge Problems.
This Recession Is A Human Soup Of Potential – Go Find Your Recipe….
This Could Be Your Moment — And Mine.
PS. X Factor is playing in the background. I’m not watching it. Notice the Opinion. The Passion. The Mindbending. Your Mind and Emotions Being Bent.. Influence on your life = ZERO.
I’m writing this moments after my last blog entry.
Because I’m on fire, that’s why. You may have to wait for days before I blog again.
Because I’m not a machine. and I refuse to write about “anything” just to keep my blog active. This is NOT a diary – it is a communication.
I’m on the cusp of a tipping point. All you KNOW of the recession is what the “Media” are telling you.
They are only telling you the bad news. I’ll bet right now you think the whole world is going down the toilet.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
Not a single Government is burning money right now.
Not a single person is storing money uner their mattress. The money is STILL THERE.
All that is happening, is that RICH FOLKS are holding onto their money and only spending it when a bargain comes along.
When you read “$$$Millions Wiped Off The Stock Market” what it really means is that “$$$Millions Exchanged Hands On The Stock Market”
You see, the stock market is a Zero Sum Game. One mans loss is another mans gain (ditto ladies!)
Recession Is Only Folks Keeping Their Cash In Their Own Pockets
So your bank is asking why you can’t pay this months mortgage?
Me Too. Sheeshh am I frightened. Do you feel trapped? Me Too. But – no – not really.
The only thing that separates me from you, is that I think I can change the way I put food on my families table.
Crazy? I don’t think so. Let me give you some ideas (don’t stop at my list – keep writing……)
Do you have a set of Life Skills? Have you “Googled” to see if there is a market for your “part-time” skills
Don’t stop at skills, what about knowledge and experience? What could you bring to the table?
Do you have any computer skills? I’m talking the ability to use Microsoft Word and email for example?
Are you prepared (even ‘between jobs’) to earn money on-line?
No, I’m not selling anything!
Do you have a hobby that others would value your knowledge and skills?
Have you had a career path with knowledge and skills?
Do you have an interest area that you would find easy to add knowledge and skills?
Do you have information that others may value?
That’s enough for now…
Put your search in quotes ” ……”
Type in “How to…..” then insert your piece of life’s experience. And note top left how many searches have ALREADY occurred.
What if you knew how to put together a Microsoft Word Document, Video, etc….and folks would pay a measly $10/£6 for it…Would this …..Could This….Might this …….be a way to supplement your life — or like me, start turning your life into an independant financial machine…
If you are juiced up right now….go to Google and let your mind wander. Grap a sheet of old-fashioned paper and take notes. Go to sleep….chew on it…look some more….
Did you know JOB stands for Just Over Broke? Be your own boss – get a payrise when you need and deserve it.
We humans seem to be driven by keeping our “truths” at the expense of learning the truth.
But I’m open to learning.
Take religion, my sister is a devout “xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx”, and whenever we discuss this, it ends up with “Well it’s my faith”. I respect her for that, yet see it is also the very thing that stops her from reaching her full potential while on earth.
If faith means “belief without proof” then we are screwed.
To losely-quote great thinkers before me (take a bow Bertrand), if I believe there is a tea-pot circling the earth – and you have not discovered it – the reason is , you were looking in the wrong places!”
You may conclude that I am a non-supporter of any organised religion.
I have just had a drink in the bar of the hotel where I am staying (that’s my weakness too!), and the bar staff were glued to a popular UK soap on the TV.
In that instant, they were living their lives by the fantasy that played on-screen. Hey, it is more safer than hard drugs!
But probably is just as responsible for slowing humans from reaching their full potential.
Grown men (usually) are passionate about their football team — a bunch of multi-millionaires who are really in the “money-making business”. And the fans keep themselves trapped in mediocrety – while the players move their lives to optimise their existence on the planet…David Beckham will not spend a single moment worrying about UK fans who can’t pay their mortgage right now……nor will his rich wife…..
Readers of “Hello” magazine – please keep buying it and putting £1000’s into these mega stars social moments…
Here is my point.
Whether there is a God or not – I only have an opinion. Whether the soap is adding to their lives – I only have an opinion.
Whether you “religiously” read your favourite Newspaper, and get emotional on the opinions presented – I only have an opinion.
Whether you watch the evening news on your favourite program – and see it as a balanced view – I only have an opinion.
If you are passionate that a political party has all the answers – I only have an opinion.
We are creatures of habit. And in this communication-rich world of ours we are bombarded by a sea of opinions. It is easy to see why we are biased. And these biases are constantly being added to, re-enforced if you will….
As we reach a ‘mature’ age (whatever you think that is…), we are the subject of the sum of all the ‘input’ we have received over our lifetimes.
It has NOTHING to do with our “real” opinions. Fatally – not the real answers.
That’s why young men have killed hundreds of innocent victims as they have in Mumbai.
Simple Answer. Don’t have one. Be open to Changing Your Mind.
Listen – without aching to insert a ‘yes but’
But I’ll tell you this, the main sources of our “world-opinion” are slowly morphed into our conscience by a variety of sources:
Local Area Culture
All are given by people who “know” the truth.
People we trust and are seen as experts.
The school-teachers I had were mediocre by any standards – yet I was brought up to respect them. It took me a lifetime to gradually realise – they were only giving an opinion….
Including me – the author of this blog….
Be careful who you let into your life.
Stop voting (it only encourages politicians)
Stop reading newspapers (it only encourages them to colour and bias what you believe)
Don’t assume there is a God. Treat fellow humans with respect – not out of fear, or a better “after life” — but because you value and love yourself and your short life on this wonderful planet.
It is no accident that the world’s wealth gravitate to a select few – call it natural selection if you will. Apart from your family, friends, neighbours, relatives, peers, colleagues, etc – everyone else that has an impact on your life is after two things – POWER AND INFLUENCE.
If you don’t grant them that by laying down and believing in them – THEY ARE POWERLESS – You Now Have The Power To Enrich Your Own Life.
Yesterday Was A Good Day. It was a Catharsis, a Tipping Point. Whatever. I get so used to giving advice that sometimes I forget to take it.
Enter my clever nephew (Nick of https://www.projex.com). He must be one of the best IBM/AS400 consultants on the planet.
And we were talking of some web site changes I needed, and the conversation turned to what the heck am I doing, which direction am I heading, etc, etc.
So here I was, back in my beloved Spain for the week, my wife packing and ironing for another intensive set of training seminars in the UK – Kent next week, then London, then Leeds, then……eventually crashing into Christmas…
I’ve got 4 or 5 website projects in various states of completion, and my mind was flitting from problem to problem.
As a project manager, I should have known better…Oh, I had the “To Do” Lists going on – but I haven’t made the time recently to sit down and devise a strategic plan.
Simple stuff here really.
Mentoring is getting a much needed revival on the Internet right now, the global financial situation is causing much change in peoples lives – some for the good, some for bad.
As my nephew gave me a gentle bit of “advice” as well as swift action I might add….I sudenly realised I was being “mentored”
It’s not that the mentor is clever and you are stupid – just that a different perspective can be determined.
Also remember the old saying “a trouble shared is a trouble halved”? Yeah – it still works. I’d swap a pound of knowledge for an ounce of common-sense any day!
There are some interesting pieces of software out there that can help you “project manage” your life. One you should install right now – even if only for a week or so is HERE.
This little gem logs how you spend your time on the PC – so you can become more effective. Too many hours on CNN or answering email? – cut down on the time-stealers!
There’s other stuff too – you need to decide, but to get you started, how about:
You don’t get wiser as you get older – you just see things a little clearer – at least – life-stuff-things. For example, when much younger:-
School and Religion were mandatory.
Later Politics and Government were added -also mandatory.
Respect of anyone in Authority became hard-wired.
What were you good at when in School? I remember topics that I liked – but I really only remember a constant stream of what I failed at – or needed to “improve”.
School Reports were judging the individual against some totally artificial “average”. No one noticed I had a natural skill for observation.
That was not a subject being taught. I was thrown out of Art because I loved drawing cartoons – not wood carvings…
Even physical education – unless I was good at football – I was always the buffoon in baggy pants that no-one else wanted on their side. Did the teacher encourage me? Nope teachers just worked hard keeping the good ones better.
Just think about the educational subjects. Okay, I’ll give you being able to read and add up – even being able to express yourself in writing (but even that was turned into a grammatical mumbo-jumbo). These are life’s key skills.
Learning to write in the same way as you talk is an incredible skill. Grammar gets tossed. Just Like That. I was never tested at communication.
School should be about teaching folks how to think, to ask questions, to wonder, to experiment. – it should never be about “learning”.
I left school with bugger-all. I was good at reading, but writing a simple letter would be a challenge. Spelling was awful. I could only just express myself – any character-building had been beaten out of me.
I was just thankful I had a job.
The best 10 developmental years of my life – wasted in classrooms – taught by frustrated teachers.
But I was A Good Sheep. Well prepared to be fit into my lower life. Get married, believe in God, Vote regularly, Pay My Taxes. Work Hard.
At 61 I realise it has taken me 45 years to find my true self.
I am becoming more free – in body and mind. I think outside the box.
I stare at the evening sky and wonder at the universe. I ask “why do clouds exist – and why do they float at a certain level?”
I find my own answers.
Oh yes, I went back and studied my own thing later – got an Honours Degree Too. I Became a Chartered Engineer. Don’t be impressed – I had to work hard – and I learned some fascinating stuff.
At last I was taught to think – and express myself.
I Question the unthinking notion of God. Faith = Belief without Proof.
I question Government and its value to Society.
I question Society.
I never vote. I don’t read Newspapers or watch TV News
Not because I don’t want to – but because I wait to be convinced that they add value to my life and others.
I seek out information of my own choice, validate it, and form opinions.
It seems safer that way – rather than trust a self-seeking government.
Public Servants? – Public Masters more like.
Try not paying your taxes and see how kindly you are “served”!
All Authority figures are in it for Power. Knowing that gives you a sharper focus on reality. And allows you to see what They Really Are.
I had a coffee in a bar yesterday, and started a conversation with a very ill looking guy next to me. He has been let out of hospital with 6 weeks to live. He wanted to be with normal folks for the life he had remaining.
He had lived for 10 wonderful years in Spain he said, he was Gay – he advised me.
No place for petty prejudices when you’re that close to life’s’ end.
As we finished our coffee, We embraced and I shook his hand warmly – wished him the very best for his next precious few weeks.
Kind of puts it into perspective doesn’t it?
Back to GCSE’s. What a bunch of confused topics.
Pulled together for the next generation of sheep. If we are to be all measured against the same knowledge – then we will become sheep. How could we be any better?
I was taught logarithms back in school – but ONLY how to use them.
So today – who uses Log Tables? No-one. Well mathematicians do.
Wouldn’t it have been better to teach me what logs are, why they work, how to APPLY them, and only then a quick run-through of how to use them.
Fast forward 45 years. Did you know that ALL the senses of a Human Being are Log-based? No-one told me that – I just thought it through.
Music is Log based. Scales and Keys only work because of logs. Our ears work on a log scale of loudness. Our eyes too. Touch as well. The movement of the ocean is log based – as is the sun, the earth’s movement, the…well you get the idea.
Fascinating stuff Eh?
When will someone come up with a more meaningful range of Life Skills, and insist they are taught in schools. It’s not so much about knowledge anymore – Google can give you information – but it’s ALL about teaching folks how to think.
Our children are taught to do assignments – but have no understanding of SCOPE. Look it up.
Tell your children to find out what they are good at – or passionate about. Tell them to put all their energy and focus into becoming the best they can at those things only.
Ask them what they hate -or are not good at (providing it’s not the basic reading. writing, maths).
Tell them to dump that stuff. Don’t waste their precious lives Drowning In Hurt.
Think History is crap? Dump it. They’ll come back to it under their own terms later in life – and find it meaningful.
As they get older they will be able to do that in a more sophisticated way – and they’ll lead far more successful lives because of it.
Society is confused – it is focused on us all becoming average. We need people to fail and people to win – how else will we measure success?
“The gap between rich and poor is becoming wider”
What a bunch of crap. Of course it must.
Do you want the difference to be zero? Why?
So we all sit around becoming average?
God or Nature Help Us.
Back On Your Heads Everyone.
Well, not YOU – I have a solution I think you will like….hop on over HERE!
Since moving to Spain, I decided to eat healthier and to “eat what the locals eat”.
It occurred to me that being a post-war baby, my earliest memories were from the 1950’s. Looking back, it seemed an age of innocence then. Well, innocence in terms of our daily lives.
When the weather was bad Mum had a regular meal roster from Sunday to Sunday. She always overcooked the meat and vegetables.
Sunday was beef and yorkshire pudding, Monday was reheated beef or “bubble and squeek”, Tuesday was….well I’ve forgotten – but I know, being a good Catholic, that Friday was always fish with vegetables.
I remember with sharp images and emotion the warm summer days. We ate salad then. Or if my infinite supply of uncles and aunts (they all lived 20 miles away in a town called Reading), came to tea – then salad was on the menu.
Potatoes and bread were fairly cheap so I was raised on ’em by the bucket-load.
So what did our salad consist of? well, lettuce of course, tomatoes cut up into quarters, sliced spam or luncheon meat, or (my favourite), corned beef. Radishes with salt on the side (my Dad grew ’em), Boiled New Potatoes, a mountain of half-sliced bread and butter slices……
….and a big pile of Branston Pickle.
…..and…..the whole thing liberaly doused in Heinz Salad Cream….
I never thought about it, but I suppose the Heinz stuff was mayo, mustard, and suger – or similar. In short – it dominated the flavour. To this day, eating a raw tomato tastes boring to me. (Can I get Therapy?).
Get the picture? fork up a pile of Heinz-soaked salad, and follow through with a half-slice of bread and butter.
Breakfast in the UK for me was ALWAYS the same. A cup of strong tea, cornflakes with milk and sugar – AND a round of marmalade sandwiches.
Come to think of it, evening meal was marmalade sandwiches – or (get this…) crisp sandwiches. Dad had Rice Pudding with custard and tinned fruit. Or Rhubarb and custard.
Now, as for fruit, since all long as I can remember, Mum would give me a whole orange with the top peeled off, and two or three sugar cubes stuffed down inside. Heaven forbid I should get used to natural flavours!
Fast-forward half a century and here I am in Spain. Most days are warm, and the Spanish will always have a shared plate of salad – with full-grain bread and a mayo/garlic dip.
This serves as a pre-starter dish. They will dose their salad in vinegar, olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste. Delicious!
A meal I love is Lamb. Over here it just falls apart on your plate – you’ll likely get a leg for yourself. But only a half a potato. No more piling up the carbs…they still have a tendency to over-cook your greens though…..
I eat often in the local bar-restaurantes in my local town of Pego. They are full of the locals – and I seem to be tolerated – liked even! It’s buzzing, lively, the food is simple, healthy, and delicious. And a bottle of smooth wine thrown in.
It’s like being taken back to the 1950’s UK. Only Royalty drank wine though!
Life Is Simpler Here. And life is all the better for it.
They seem to be restoring my diet and preferences into a better life too – a better balance between meat and potatoes – and bread.
Sunshine, olive oil, fresh meat and vegetables – plus vino – they may give me a few extra years on this planet – providing my awful 50 years of UK diet hasn’t done too much damage!
UPDATE. I am on a strict KETO Diet and shedding pounds..
At 61 years old, a guy or gal has to watch their health more than when they were younger – and my middle-age spread seemed to have taken up long term residence!
But it’s not just the extra weight. I felt bloated, I didn’t enjoy my meals so much, So much so that I was convinced my smell and taste buds had stopped working – I often got stomach ‘pains’ – often just discomfort at night. Indigestion – well that’s a topic for another blog!
Come to think of it, my problems probably started when I was a very much younger man…Yeah, come to think of it, I could have done with this in my teens and twenties!
Then, I came across this amazing Doctor quite by accident – Thank the Good Lord I did!
I bought her deluxe package for the price of a cheap meal, (well worth the small extra), and I’ve started following her advice.
It’s not a diet – more of a subtle lifestyle change – I’m eating great right now – it’s not a Doctor Atkins either – no unatural imbalance of food for me….In fact the food part is not the whole problem – no, not even exercise…
I’ve talked too much….As always, the Good Doctor says it so much better.
Read on My Blogging Friends……….
A new breakthrough secret is all you now need in order to forever shed countless pounds, stay healthy, and add many years to your life!
A lady doctor from Arizona has blown the lid off the best-kept secret in weight loss ever discovered — and this has the whole diet food and drug industries turned upside down and in nothing less than a torrential uproar.
Her name is Dr Suzanne Gudakunst, and she’s marching to the beat of a different drum.
And no, nothing about her “secret” is difficult — nor does it require that you do something completely out of the ordinary or anything unnatural.
Instead, the Arizonian boasts proudly “…this is something that I caught onto just before 2002 when there was so much research and exploration going around concerning the human colon and digestive system working in harmony with nutritional absorption, and I started doing independent studies just to test things at first … but which I later expanded on after seeing some fantastic results.”
This same woman medical practitioner went on to accurately determine a definitive correlation between harmful plague and parasitic infestations of the human bowel tract, and people suffering chronic obesity — and who despite intense diet and exercise appeared to be unable to lose any weight whatsoever.
Over the course of six years the Arizona doctor developed a number of natural treatments for the removal of these same harmful, even life-threatening plaques and rapidly reproducing digestive parasites — and when applied to even worse-case patients suffering extreme obesity (98% of which were in immediate danger of dying) she saw a 100% effectiveness and success rate.
She then borrowed from her research on the severely obese, and applied the same strategies on milder cases of overweight persons — only to find the same effectiveness and quality results as described above (although the individual weight loss per subject wasn’t nearly as much as those obese patients 100 lbs to 200 lbs or more overweight).
So powerful is her secret that she’s able to reverse diabetes, rid illness altogether in people suffering from cancer (linked directly to poor diet and overweight factors), as well as an elimination of an entire spectrum of serious and otherwise life-threatening diseases.
Nearly 100% of all her case subjects were told in the alternative by “conventional doctors” that they either had just months or years to live, or they would never live a life anything resembling remotely a “normal” existence — yet after applying Dr Suzanne’s treatments saw a complete contradiction to others doctors’ prognoses.
Again, nothing about her secret is unnatural or requires someone to do any major action or modification in their lives.
In fact, her entire treatment is based completely on built-into-nature ‘protection agents’ scattered throughout the world in the form of select herbs, extracts, and organic constituents, and which can be found in a variety of plants — but when combined in specific combinations and carefully chosen amounts make for a solution to what is perhaps the world’s worst ever plague: OBESITY (and the illnesses and diseases resulting from it — or at least severely aggravated or exacerbated by it).
Now to everyone else’s great gain, whether suffering from just a few extra pounds and inches, to those extremely fat and overweight, this brave, bold lady doctor is releasing to the general public her secret for forever destroying the tight unrelenting closed-fist of obesity’s stronghold over the now more than 40% of Americans labeled obese, and others worldwide.
But she’s not promising any of us for how long.
Some experts and sociologists suggest that in the bigger scheme of things, the world will never tolerate a discovery of such magnitude, any more than it would be realistic to expect a car that runs on water (even if very real) to ever become commercially available to the general public for day-to-day use.
One well-respected and famous diet & wellness author wrote years ago that if anyone ever “truly unlocked the keys to permanent fat loss, they may actually suffer the same fate as JFK.”
You won’t believe the pictures and videos at her site – but it will explain alot about how you feel right now….
…so you may want to head on over there now and get it and before someone or “something” gets it forever yanked out of ever getting in YOUR hand at least.
It’s in a very easily readable format and is quickly and readily understood and mastered by anyone with even a 4th grade reading level.
While you’re there, why not scroll down and review for yourself the huge successes others are now having with this incredible breakthrough in rapid, massive weight loss and extremely improved and enhanced health, now made freely available to the rest of us?
I remember the early days of my guitar infatuation. Back then (circa 1960), the only places you could hear live guitarists was the local ‘youth clubs’. These were often a local hall hired out for a few hours and a small charge at the door to let you in.
At the time, most groups just played instrumentals – although the odd small group would have a singer who would step up and do a few rock and roll or chart songs. Things were simple back then, but because the advent of groups were new, they were incredibly exciting.
There were bigger and better local groups with exotic names like
Phil and the Stormsville Shakers – and boy did they sound great!
Early guitar instrumental hits like “Apache”, “Walk Don’t Run”, “Guitar Boogie Shuffle”, “Telstar”, and numerous others became the standard repertoire for local groups. After WWII, most guitarists were ex-dance band – so our parents were well catered for at dinner dances and the like.
But for us spotty teenagers there was little in the way of music and social life. We chatted up girls at bus stops, took them for a coke (the drink variety!) or coffee at the various coffee shops, and met up at the above ‘youth clubs’
But where is this nostalgia leading you may ask?
The dear friend who helped me on the way to getting my first guitar, Derek Lee, had a “Bird” amplifier with built-in reverb. So even my early fumblings sounded spacey. I was always around his house learning to play on his guitar – trying to play a few notes from say, a Duane Eddy tune (remember ‘Because They’re Young?). He taught me the first 3 notes to the main theme of Apache – boy – was I hooked….
Yeah! Sandie Nelson “Let there Be Drums”, “Red River Rock”….sigh…
Anyway, Derek showed me a few simple tunes and chords, and generally helped me in many ways too numerous to mention. He sadly passed away at the young age of 23 years from throat cancer – and he didn’t even smoke.
I got my Dad to buy me an early Vox Ace guitar (red, of course, two pickups and a wang bar), which looked to my eyes like a sort-of Fender Stratocaster (although I didn’t even know what a Fender was back then – but Hank Marvin Had one – and it looked hotter than girls!!)
It must have been a couple of months later when I turned up at Derek’s house – and he had a Watkins Copicat Echo Unit!!!!!
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! It made me sound like Hank (and helped cover up a few ‘bum’ notes too). That was it – I had to have one. Fast forward two months, and with help from my Dad again (“This is just a craze – it’ll never last long – you’ll get bored….etc”)
I had a Hire Purchase agreement for a second-hand amplifier and a new black Watkins Copicat…..I used that darn thing right through the sixties and half of the seventies, when I finally replaced it with a small pedal along with a host of other effects units.
I know, the Beatles came along in the mid sixties, and echoey guitars went out of fashion, but you could still use a little echo to ‘lift’ your guitar sound.
If you read my blog, you’ll know at the ripe age of 61, I’ve rekindled my love of the guitar, and started investing in some new guitar equipment. Isn’t life tough eh! When I needed good gear I couldn’t afford it, now I’m just ‘doodling’ for my own pleasure – I’ve got enough money to buy stuff that I ain’t good enough to play on or deserve!
A few weeks ago, I’m doing a little work in London UK, in Denmark Street to be precise, and I went into Regent Sounds. The Sales guy is I believe, Canadian – and real friendly and helpful. I tell him I’m looking to update my old 70’s echo foot pedal, and I’d recently seen a great review for an expensive digital delay unit.
Well to cut a longer story short, he gave me an A/B demonstration between that unit and an ‘old fashioned’ bucket-brigade’ echo unit. I’m darn pleased he did. The Bucket-brigade technology knocked the latest state-of-the-art pedal into a cocked hat (it kicked it’s a*se!). The digital unit sounded harsh, tizzy, weak, clinical.
Round of applause please for my new Electro-harmonix Deluxe Memory Man echo unit. Yeah, you may remember the name from way back – but don’t let that put you off. The echo is full, woody, dynamic, squashy, warm, whatever…it sounds great. I’m plugging it directly into my vintage re-issue Fender Blues Deluxe. Sounds great on slow blues stuff too….
It cost half the price of the latest and greatest digital echo, and you know what, you can also get great (non-digital) chorus-vibrato sounds out of it.
It occurred to me that since birth, most of us have been “task-driven”, and so it was natural that we should take that concept into our adult lives.
As such, it’s not a bad thing, since it is tasks that drive our daily lives – both personally and professionally.
But here’s my point. Take your weekly shopping run for example. How many times do you return, un-bag all your items, only to discover that you’ve forgotten something?
So you end up going to a local shop because you’ve forgotten to buy salt, toothpaste, or something…
Go back even further. When I was a kid I was told “David – clean up your room”. I did as I was told; tidied up my clothes, put my toys away – Yep! Job done!
Next I know, Dad’s yelling at me “Get up here – I thought I told you to tidy your room”! It turned out that Dad had a different specification for a “Tidied Room” than mine. Looking back, we should have got a mutual understanding of what a tidied room looked like.
Dad had this crazy idea that it included picking up all the comics from the floor, taking down the week-old soda bottles, making my bed, staking my record collection back on the shelf….etc…etc..!
That’s the problem in a nutshell with using ONLY task based planning as a project manager – we have missed the first step out – Product Based Planning.
I’ll use the example of having your back yard cleaned up and landscaped. Let’s imagine you’ve just moved house, and your new plot is covered in weeds and rubbish – not a good situation to have a BBQ with your new neighbours is it?
Being busy at work, you hire a local landscaping service to carry it out for you, and they’ve sent their project manager to discuss and understand your requirements.
If you had got straight into task-planning you’d be discussing picking up all the rubbish, laying down some lawn, planting trees etc….
Put instead, let’s start by thinking of the PRODUCTS.
You are focussing on the end-deliverable. Right away your describe a built-in barbeque feature, the new path, the type of trees and shrubs you need and where you need ‘em….
Their project manager can now envisage the best sequence of how all these Products are to be created – and only then, consider the tasks, their durations, the resources needed, etc.
A simple sequence of planning steps would look like:
Create and agree a Product Description for the end-product (deliverable).
Determine the lower-level Products (such as shrubs, bbq, etc). It would be helpful to create a hierarchical diagram – here called a Product Breakdown Structure – to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Create Product Descriptions if needed for these lower level Products.
Create a diagram showing the sequence of creation of all the products – with the final one being the end-product. This will clarify the dependencies – some products will need to be created one after another – others can be done at the same time, in parallel.
In summary, Product-Based Planning should be done first and task-based planning second.
It’s been a heck of a year for this particular middle-aged baby boomer. I awake each morning and feel confused. What have I been? What am I now? What should I be now? What do I want to be after today? Why do politicians look so young ? …well, compared to me.
Sometimes I want to be 5 years old again. So much, that it physically hurts.
Then I remember that I hated every day of school. I seem to have been worrying about what I should be just about every day of my life – and yet looking back again, realizing that it really didn’t matter.
So now I’m 61 years old. Fairly successful by most reasonable standards. But that’s not what it’s about – is it?
We ‘boomers’ really are the butt of most jokes – check out these wisecracks:
“These days, I’m build for comfort not speed”
“I’m now upside down – my nose runs and my feet smell”
Younger ladies. “My mind is writing checks that my body can’t cash”
“I even ache in places that I didn’t have when I was younger”
“I still get excited – but I can’t remember why”
“That’s not a beer-belly – that’s a fuel tank for a sex machine” (yeah, I wish!!)
And why the heck am I losing hair off my arms and legs, yet growing a forest out of my nose and ears. If we are creatures of evolution – then what’s all that about?!!
Okay let’s get serious. I was inspired to write this after reading a beautifully written article by Peter Aspden in the Financial Times today (don’t get impressed – I’m holed up in a hotel and the FT came free with breakfast). It struck a chord though.
The Who Rock Band came to mind (are we boomers allowed to like that stuff – my dad did wood carvings in old age….)
Young Man Blues – “it’s the Old Man who has all the money”
My Generation – “….hope I die before I get old…”
Stuff you Mr Townsend – my definition of a middle-aged baby boomer is that I wanna live a little. Anyway, the article went on to explain that we baby boomers can’t do a thing right. The world likes to laugh at us. If we fall in love – it’s absurd. If we buy a sports car – it’s really a penis extension. Wearing jeans shows you’re childish. The list is endless.
Apparently, middle-aged men run the world. And the more powerful you are – the more amusing your plight when you suffer a set back. The article quotes Bill Clinton and Monica….
My Dad passed away last year. Since then, I have often quietly sat and considered his life. And for his many positive ways, I realised that he NEVER admitted being wrong. He would turn around any criticism with uncanny skill – time and again. On reflection, he must have had some terrible demon going back to some childhood event. I think fear of failure does continue in each generation. But I’m getting off track.
The FT article closed so many loops for me. My Fathers generation fought in a terrible war – I have never served. They grew old wearing suits and acted very conservative as it seemed to me.
I was doomed to become like my Grandfather, or so I thought. Staying indoors for the most part, falling asleep in front of the TV, reading the newspaper – and believing everything in it. Drinking countless hot beverages. And taking a quick walk everyday to the local shop for some mints. That was it. Life in retirement as he knew it.
We cannot rely on the way our fathers acted their age, for we are fundamentally different from them. A quote from the FT:
“Today, a 64 year-old rock star still sings that he cannot find any girlie action and we wryly appreciate the irony, not because he is no longer capable of it but because he arguably suffers from a surfeit of it.”
So that’s it then. I’m no different to you if you’re a baby boomer, and it’s okay for me to live and feel different to how I thought 60+ should be.
So what is the characteristics of a middle aged baby boomer? I would say that a fundamental trait is that we dare to be different. The last generation – probably due to the two world wars, were trained to conform.
So It’s okay that I’m now self employed. Okay that I live in another country half-way up a mountain. Work for me is many cities and hotels on an as-needed basis. I don’t read newspapers (unless they’re free), I don’t watch the news channels, I don’t vote, I hate politicians and their parties, I stay away from organized religion.
I teach project management. I write books. I do stuff I want. And I pay my own way in society.
And my birthday present to myself? A $3000 guitar. My grandad would have asked for slippers. Self-centered you say? Yeah, so I’m feeding my Ego, enjoy the challenge of learning new songs and licks. I feel young again and vibrant – even though I know I’m not.
Yet I’m not a hermit. I love socialising. And I love my quiet times. I sit on my own sometimes, but I am not lonely. I get drunk sometimes. I laugh a lot. I get mysteriously angry and don’t know why. But it soon passes. I look at others who are rich and famous, and I get jealous (If only I’d……). But then I remember I see the sun set each evening and the stars, and a valley view, and….
I have a loving wife. She is my third wife. I’m not proud of that, but it must be a trend of the way we live today, and the different standards we expect as humans on this planet. Not better. Not Worse. Just Different.
And You? Probably totally different to my list above. Feel comfortable with that. Only conform if you really, really, wanna.
It is impossible to Grow Old Disgracefully. Why? because you’d have to define disraceful to whose standards? I skinny-dip in my pool and take Jack Daniels with my morning coffee (when not working). I’m fat and ugly – compared to Brad Pitt. I wear jeans and funky T shirts. I play loud country rock at 2 in the morning (no-one lives next door). And these are only my conservative traits!
Going back to the start of this article. When I arise from bed each day, my head is buzzing. I certainly do a lot more of self-talk these days. Yes I get a little confused, and need some quiet time to sit down and collect my thoughts. But I am more excited when I get up these days, than at any other time in my life.
I am able to draw upon a wealth of living experience, knowledge, and learnt skills.
I see the world in sharper focus. I see it for what it really is. I can steer a shrewder path through the hype and control the need of others to exert their power over me.
But best of all I am more optimistic. I know what I don’t know, and this blog is a proclamation of my new future. One that will enable me to lead a fulfilled life into my seventies and beyond.
My fate, like all of us, is to eventually turn back into stardust, but until then, I’ll enjoy each waking day – even though my feet ache, my back hurts, and my chest now occupies my upper waste-line!
Check out Peters’ full article – I dare you to read it without a smile:
As I play my very expensive PRS Johnny Hiland – I found myself thinking about the first musical instrument I ever owned – a guitar. I made it myself. Back then, parts for guitars were hard to find, so I had to be very creative.
It was certainly an easy to make homemade musical instrument – but it took many weeks of my time. All it needed was care and attention to detail – any home hobbyist would easily have the skills to do what I did…
The body was made from an old scrap post-war kitchen table. I copied the shape from an early Fender catalog of the Stratocater model, and scaled it up using graph paper. I cut it out very slowly using a fret saw (I broke many blades!).
The neck was a real challenge. Even back then, I knew all about bowing – and needed a very mature and stable piece of lumber… Lucky for me, the kitchen table legs were square mahogany – so I cut one in half lengthwise from top to bottom, and using my dad’s set of chisels, carved an approximate shape.
Several trips to my local music shop with a hidden tape measure gave me some basic dimensions.
I knew that the fret relationship was logarithmic, and with careful measurements and a metal two foot ruler the job was done. Boosey and Hawkes ordered me some fret wire – and I was on my way!
At the time I had started my training as an apprentice electronic engineer – so the electrics were fairly easy to fabricate. I bought a strip of 1/8th metal bar and magnetised it with an old and large magnet I had as a young boy. I made a plastic bobbin and glued the magnetic pole pieces into place with araldite.
I seem to remember I made the body of the pickups with plastic strip glued together. The scratch-plate was white plastic, with the controls (1 meg taper for the volume, and 500K linear for the tone control with a suitable capacitor for the top cut tone control.
The bridge was made filing and drilling out from a brass block, along with the string bridge pieces. The tuners I bought, and I sprayed the body using a pinky-red colour. I must have used 4 or 5 car spray cans.
I remember making music on that old lump of wood, and the first tune I learnt was Apache and Peter Gunn.
What a Great Day! My wife just learned to swim. In her late 30’s and from the Philippines, she never had the opportunity to swim as a child. When we married a handful of years ago, I was determined she should learn.
Twelve months ago we moved to Monte Pego in Spain, and when not on business trips, I got busy helping her to gain confidence in our pool.
Now let’s get this straight, I was a guitar geek in my youth, and never learned to swim until I was 22 years old. But that was my advantage. See, I know how it feels to be nervous of water. Although a mediocre swimmer, I can jump in and swim a breast-stroke, float, and swim under water.
Looking back I can see that learning to swim is a mental challenge – not a physical one. The trick for me was getting the brain to acknowledge you can float. Going back millions of years, I guess there must be something hard-wired in our brain – that once in the water, some form of swimming stroke kicks in. Doggy paddle or whatever…
But I’d like to share with you some ideas that seemed to work in getting Jude swimming…
1. Buy a pair of goggles – the ones that also cover your nose. Sit your pupil in the shallow end and get them to dip their head underwater – get used to submerging their face.
2. Hold onto the edge of the pool and submerge their face – encourage them to feel how naturally buoyant the human body is.
3. If possible, get them down onto all fours – then in their own time try to spread-eagle themselves (and thus float). In shallow water they will have more confidence to try to let themselves go. I found that the more I tried to ‘teach’ Jude the less she did. So let them ‘play around’ with some of these ideas.
4. I still remember my unorthodox way of learning to swim. I got into water up to my shoulders – and did mini jumps bring my legs and feet up under me. They were only jumps in the sense of bringing my feet under my rear – I didn’t raise my self out of the water. After a few I tried to start a pedaling movement with my feet and arms – so I then started to feel the buoyancy of my body. Soon I began to ‘tread water’ – I was swimming!
5. Yes, get some arm bands or a small polystyrene float, and encourage them to use their legs to get around – all the usual ideas. She them how to use their arms and feet for a simple breast stroke.
Well, I could go on, but this is not a blog to learn to swim – just some simple ideas to get a novice started
I’ve just had set up my new Content Management System – courtesy of my clever dick nephew – Nick Litten.
Now me, I’m computer illiterate. Okay so I know all about project management, but I still think Java is coffee. Get my drift?
Put it this way, if you had toothache, would you get a book on it, get a pair of pliers out and start extracting?? No, you would go to the dentist – an Expert. So why would I want to become an expert in IT stuff? Best use my valuable time doing what I do best.
And let Nick do what he excels at. Check him out soon. Real Soon.
I went from a one web page painful newbie to a fully configured operational professional. Nick set it up so my newbie interface does fantastic complicated stuff – without me having to know or care how.
My Project Management Training Systems are now streaming at The Projex Academy Talk about painless and perfect… it really is the dogs.
Now all I actually need to do is focus on building my online business.