Thursday, 31 January 2008

SAGA SCAN - Is there something I don't know?

Today's post revealed a tastefully assembled, personally addressed invitation from SAGA to enjoy being CT scanned at the bargain (but only if I book within two weeks) price of £530.

A list of possible reasons for taking this bold step is thoughtfully included. Three of the eight reasons apply to me. I have a family history of poor health (well early death actually), I suffer from stress and drink alcohol - and of course I'm over 50, otherwise they'd not have mailed me in the first place.

This all suggests that I've already got one foot in the grave and who knows, a CT Scan might help me predict when the other foot will follow.

SAGA are good at helping the over 50s feel their age. However, as I'm currently training for the London Marathon, manage my stress pretty well and rarely drink more than two glasses (OK large glasses) of red wine a night, it might be safe to keep the £530 and invest it in something else. Some red wine perhaps!

Now if the hospital gave you a CD with images of your guts, brain and breakfast that you could have printed out and mounted on the wall, I'd be there like a shot. It'd be rather cool to have a 3d image my brain peering down at me from the wall.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Always start with something familiar

I attended a meeting of the excellent 'Norfolk Network' last night; something I really should do more often. The speaker was Ben Finn, who with his twin brother created Sibelius software. They then sold the company in 2006 for £13m. No surprise that he was a very relaxed speaker!

I'd heard a number of composers I know talk about Sibelius software and knew that it was used by some of the very best (John Rutter for example). What I had struggled with was to really understand what it did.

Ben started his presentation by describing his product as 'word processing for music'. It was at that point that the penny dropped and I realised what it was really all about. He went on to talk about the functionality of the product in terms I could readily translate into Word functionality. (Furthermore, just as you can convert voice to Word with some software, so too with Sibelius can you input with both kinds of keyboard - either the one with letters and number or the one with musical keys!)

The message I share with you from that evening is this: when describing anything new, your starting point has to be something familiar!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

I've overcome a major inhibition

One of my failings is that I think too much. I delve too deeply into things that frankly are not that important. My brain races round, consuming valuable processing power in trivia.

That said, sometimes this deep thinking helps me banish a spook. This time, I've overcome my anxieties about my beard. Basically I've grown one!

I always thought this was something I'd not be manly enough to achieve and so, apart from a rather sad moustache a few years ago, have always been clean if not recently shaven.

Now I have what started out as designer stubble and has grown - in fact it's taking a life of its own and I can't stop admiring myself in shop windows - much to the amusement of shop workers!

What's really helped me over the inhibition is that someone I know who gets 5 o'clock shadow before breakfast has just given up growing a beard as he said it was too dense and bushy.

Yippee I think, so here is yet another example of the Goldilocks Theory. That is: you can have too little, too much or find that actually what you've got is just right!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Marathon build up

I'm running the London Marathon this April. It's my second time and this year, I plan to be better prepared for those 26.2 miles. It's fair to say that last time (2006) I was not nearly as fit as I am now. It took me 5hrs18mins to complete the course.

James my trainer has written my training schedule on my office whiteboard and it looks daunting. I'll be running at least 22 miles a week between now and April. Some long runs, some short fast ones, plus of course a couple of trips to the gym to work on my core body strength and do some weights.

I'll be raising money for Rethink, the mental health charity. I Chair a regional group for them and see first hand the huge positive impact they have on people living with poor mental health and their families. You can sponsor me here if you would like to help!

There must be something in me that makes me take on these crazy challenges!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Waves of enthusiasm

It's 1030 on the first morning that most people are back at work. My inbox is pinging with invitations to avail myself of countless opportunities. Some are obvious, others obscure. All are intended to get someone else's New Year off to a promising start!

What is clear is that after a week or more of self indulgence and expense, many people are anxious about their ability to earn the money they need to make 2008 a success - in their terms. Of course for those of us who are self employed, January is also the month in which we have to pay HMRC a wad of tax and in my case, it's also the month I pay over all that VAT that has been sitting in my bank account creating a false sense of financial security!

My plan is to let these waves of enthusiasm wash over me. I know where I'm heading and do not want to be distracted by others who see me as a 'hot prospect' for their New Year sales drive. Furthermore I am not going to leap into the fray myself. I've enough on this month without adding to the workload by chasing wild geese!