Monday, 28 May 2018


Very happy to be writing this post on a bank holiday, as it means that I'm not at work, and as much as I enjoy work I'm really not up to it today - over the past 3 days I've been up and down a hill (a relatively big one), burning myself because I didn't put sun cream on so that I don't dare move my neck in case it rubs against my clothes, been to A&E (not for myself and everyone is fine), lifted heavy things, and been to a tattoo studio.

I'll come to some of the other stuff in future posts because it's probably too much to cover in a single one, but lets talk tattoos.

I've always quite liked the idea of a tattoo but I've not really seen any that I would want to have on my body, and naturally with it being permanent I wanted to wait until I could find (or design) something that I really wanted.

That was until I saw one on this page (third picture, not sure if I can share the image so doing this link) which I did really like, of an arm with hexagons down it.  I think it's the geometric shape, the uniformity of the tattoo, that I like.

I then developed the tattoo with the idea that it'd be cool to put inside the hexagons symbols denoting things that I like or are important to me - one way of thinking of them is that it's a bit like game achievements?  I've basically gamified my arm. Anyway, it means that in the future I can get more of the hexagons filled with other symbols.

So, I went to Namaste Tattoo in Hull a few weeks ago, armed with sketches and images, to talk through what I wanted, and with their advice I altered some of the designs to make them black and to simplify some of them as originally some were really detailed and the risk is that over time the designs wouldn't look as good.

Waiting to be tattooed #SlightlyNervous

Getting tattooed is a really interesting process, if you've never had it done. One thing I had in the back of my head was a question as to how they would manage to get the tattoo even doing it by hand. It turns out that what they do (or at least what my tattoo artist did) is they print out an ink template which is then applied to the skin, so that they have a template to tattoo on.

Ink template applied

Once the ink template was dry it was time to begin the tattoo, and as I sat in my chair, arm resting on a little table adjacent positioned for Holly, the tattoo artist and owner of Namaste, to start, I did wonder at that point how much it was going to hurt.

Well, it's not painless, but it's not bad, it is bit like having repeated pin pricks in short order.  I think that I had maybe picked a good pattern in that it was lots of short bursts to do all of the lines of the hexagons so there was lots of little breaks in between as Holly repositioned herself, and when she was working on the inside of the arm that was certainly more sensitive, but it was alright.  It's surprising how relatively quickly into the tattoo you find yourself playing on my phone with your free hand while your other arm is being impregnated with tattoo pigment inserted directly into the dermis.

Holly in action

And I have to say, it was a fun day.  Holly and the other tattoo artists at Namaste are all really nice and friendly, and I had a great time the 6 or so hours I was there, it was just a really nice chilled day. I did wonder how much of the tattoo would get done on the day, in the end Holly got absolutely loads done which I'm over the moon with.

I'm now in the aftercare phase, which means keeping my tattoo covered up away from the sun and making sure that it's well moisturised, and 2 days on I'm barely getting any pain from the tattoo, just the odd twinge or two in a couple of spots. I'm using antiseptic tea tree cream on it several times a day to moisturise and to make sure that it doesn't get infected.

Plastic wrapped once finished

So in summary I'm really pleased with it and I'm certainly planning to return to get more of the hexagons filled in over time.  I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you've got a tattoo or if you're thinking of getting one, and feel free to ask any questions!

Sunday, 20 May 2018


News - I've been exercising.

I've noted a slow but undeniable increase in my waist size, particularly over the past few months, which I've been thinking about tackling for some time.  My argument to myself for not doing so is that I'm really at my best in a morning for exercising, and I don't have time in a morning. However, it's got to a point where I need to do something - one, because I really don't want to go up yet another clothing size, and two, I'm supposed to be taking part in some walking challenges this summer and I'm concerned that I won't manage it.

I've been discussing with my wife going back to the gym a couple of times a week on an evening, but I'm reluctant to because my past experience of taking out a gym membership consist of signing up, going three or four times, and then paying the membership for a year for no benefit whatsoever.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps the best training for walking would be to... go for a walk.

My trusty hiking boots, that cost all of £15. So far they've worked.

So my plan is, after my son goes to bed, to go for a walk for an hour or so round the streets near me. The trick is making sure that I ensure to do this repeatedly for enough weeks into it becomes a habit and it feels weird not to go for an evening stroll.

Starting off I seem to be able to do about 5 kilometres (a smidge over 3 miles in real money) in an hour, which seems a reasonable starting benchmark.  I've been pleased to discover that my phone (a Huawei P10 Lite) has a Huawei Health app which is actually pretty good at tracking your exercise.

Typical evening view on the mean streets near my house.

It's also giving me a chance to fire up the podcast app on my phone - podcasts are really something that I've not experienced sufficiently in the past, and I'm at a bit unsure what podcasts to try. So far I've sampled Adam Ruins Everything with Adam Conover.  I first saw Adam on the College Humor YouTube channel and really enjoyed his stuff, and I'm pleased to say that his podcast is well worth a listen. The other one I've tried is ID10T with Chris Hardwick and again I've really enjoyed it, although it's very different to the other podcast. If you've got any suggestions for podcasts let me know in the comments.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Make Fake News work for you and get tomorrow off work!

This could be you. Well it can't because it's me, but you know what I mean.

Fake news. All we hear about on the media is people talking about "fake news". This news isn't real, but that news is real. How can we tell?

Truth is in the eye of the beholder these days, it seems.

So why not make it work for you?

Here in the UK (and apparently, according to the internet at least, in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bulgaria, Dominica, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kygryzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney, Isle of Man, Sri Lanka, and South Korea) we're just coming to the end of a public holiday. A delightful three-day weekend, which I've spent packing boxes, going to the park twice, trying to get to the pub and failing because it was too busy, and going to the beach and getting covered in sand.

And getting a haircut.

But the weekend is at its end, a return to work for millions of us across the globe is imminent.

Or is it?

If enough of us make the assertion in a co-ordinated manner that tomorrow is actually Monday, and we commit by putting on our social media channels tomorrow morning messages about how it is Monday and a public holiday, I submit that there is every chance that our managers will come to think that it is Monday also, and fail to go in to work themselves, and by the time all of the confusion has been sorted out we've all managed to swing an impressive fourth day to the three day weekend.

A number of phrases are listed below for use on social media, feel free to use or amend as you see fit.

Ah, I love a Monday on a public holiday! Going to sort out the garage today #determined

Really glad no one's at work today, I need a lie in!

It's Bank Holiday Monday, going to get up early and take the kids to the beach before it gets too busy!

It's Monday, it's a holiday, and I'm going to play World of Warcraft ALL DAY!!!!

Does anyone know if Domino's deliver on public holidays? I really don't want to cook today!

Extra marks go to people who tag their bosses in a status, asking them if they fancy going for a beer with it being Monday. A risky strategy, but one that could potentially pay off.

So, share this post, spread the word, and get ready to enjoy a super-extended weekend!


Disclaimer: Don't not go into work, this idea isn't going to work and you'll get in trouble. Plus you have to weigh up, do you really want to not go to a job that you probably actually like, and spend yet another day with your family???
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