Posts Tagged ‘off-topic’

16 March, 2017

Financial planning and investing for the future are matters that we all understand are important. Some people are better than others at acting on this knowledge. For most of us, it is a bit of a shock when the future arrives. I used to say that the definition of being old is when pensions start to sound even remotely interesting. For me, it took an “external influence” in 1986 to give the matter some initial thought … Read the rest of this entry »


9 March, 2017

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my challenges with visiting the USA. In summary, I found that I was ineligible to travel using an ESTA and I needed to get a visa. This was annoying, as it resulted in the need to cancel a planned trip, but it did serve to make me think about the implications of international travel. So, I started the process of obtaining a visa. It is very topical right now to think about people gaining entry to countries [like the US] illegally. What is not discussed is how hard it can be to do legally … Read the rest of this entry »


2 March, 2017

When I was in my teens, living with my parents, we had a dog. His name was Monty [short for Montmorency]. We got him as a puppy and were told that his mother was a dachshund and this was borne out by his coloration. However, as he grew and grew, we concluded that his father was probably a donkey. 😃 I used to enjoy him at that time, even though I felt that it was always my job to give him exercise.

Somehow, the idea of owning a dog since then has never really taken root … Read the rest of this entry »


23 February, 2017

There has been much discussion in recent years, in most Western countries at least, about marriage – what it means and how it might be reformed. Gay marriage has been discussed endlessly. Very recently, the topical discussion in the UK has been about whether a heterosexual couple might enter into a civil union; a court concluded that they could not. As I see it, all the discussion has been taking place amid great, heart-felt emotions and has been held back by long-standing traditions. All of this has resulted in the muddled thinking that leads to headlines in the less reputable parts of the media.

IMHO, a simple analysis of what a marriage is all about yields logical answers and the possibility for all parties to be reconciled [though this last bit is a long shot] … Read the rest of this entry »


16 February, 2017

As I get older, I find that I am increasingly susceptible to strong emotions. I think it started 30 years ago, when I first became a parent. Having children stretches your emotions in every direction. I think that emotions are like muscles: the more you exercise them, the more agile they become. I can be moved by so many things – both in real life and movies etc. When we go to a movie, I am often pleased that we watch it in the dark.

An odd thing is that, although sad events can move me, it is seeing acts of kindness that gets to me most of all … Read the rest of this entry »


9 February, 2017

What do you do when you see a rainbow? I will tell you what I do: I just stand and stare. I have no idea how many I have seen in my life – it must be many hundreds – but I still stop. If I am inside the house and observe that it is raining and the sun is shining [and the angle of the sun is low enough], I rush outside to see whether there is a rainbow. Of course, on a good day, I will also see a fainter secondary rainbow. Once or twice, I have seen the faintest hint of a tertiary too. Even though I know that all I am seeing is the physics of light displayed on a grand scale, I still find a rainbow awe inspiring.

Pondering rainbows has got me thinking about colours in general … Read the rest of this entry »


2 February, 2017

A while ago, I wrote about the benefits of saunas. In summary, it appears that regular use of a sauna can extend ones lifetime. Since I wrote that, further research has been reported that suggests that frequent sauna usage [several times a week] can reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 66%! I found the data to be quite compelling and will not let up on my use of saunas.

This encouragement made me wonder what the mechanism is for the benefits of a sauna and, as a result, I have come up with a whole new spa concept … Read the rest of this entry »


26 January, 2017

I have some friends, a couple, who are keen tea drinkers – like many English people, of course, including myself. Whilst I am somewhat conventional and like my tea to have some flavor, they are rather odd and seem to want hot water that is barely stained brown. In a café, they will request hot water and a teabag on the side. The teabag is introduced to the water, but not long enough for a strong acquaintanceship to develop – just seconds. They can use a single teabag for 6 or more cups of tea, which is very economic.

I joked recently that what they drink is “homeopathic tea” and this got me thinking about complementary therapies … Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

19 January, 2017

A while back, I wrote about the Repair Café, which is a monthly event at which a bunch of volunteers endeavor to repair items brought along by members of the public. I have enjoyed being involved with this venture and I am pleased to report on its continued success – we get around 50 “customers” at each session and they report a high level of satisfaction.

However, things have recently taken an interesting turn … Read the rest of this entry »

,

12 January, 2017

I guess that I spend quite a lot of time thinking about Life the Universe and Everything. Starting out on a new year, I always try to be forward looking and positive – even if the state of the world is not so encouraging just now. Overall, I ponder about the fact that we all have a limited time in this world and we should all think about how to use this scarce resource … Read the rest of this entry »


5 January, 2017

We decided that we would like to get away for the Christmas and New Year holiday. We had two objectives: find somewhere where Christmas was, if not ignored, a lot lower profile than it is the in UK; get some sunshine. After some deliberation, we chose Sri Lanka [big island, south east of India – formerly called Ceylon]. On vacation, it can be hard to get much impression of the lives of the local people. Tour companies, hotels etc. provide a significant level of insulation, as they endeavor to provide the comforts and mod cons that western visitors expect.

It is always a great opportunity [for me, anyway] to spend time with a “local”, who is happy to tell you something about their way of life. For a few days, we had a driver – I will call him Mr. C. – who, apart from being a good driver on the rather chaotic roads, with an excellent knowledge of his country, liked telling stories. He had many stories and I was taking notes … Read the rest of this entry »


15 December, 2016

As this is my last “off-topic” posting of 2016 [there will be a techie one next week], I wanted to end the year on a high – of sorts. As I get older, I am increasingly affected – moved, really – by acts of kindness. I am most emotional when the kindness is directed to a stranger and the kind-hearted person has absolutely zero expectation of anything in return. This is a topic that I have discussed before. I am casting my mind back 10 years … Read the rest of this entry »


8 December, 2016

I am generally of the opinion that marriage is a Good Thing, as it is a clear step towards the construction of a strong family unit, which is good for society as a whole. My view is shared by most mainline religions and is espoused by most governments, some of which provide fiscal incentives. [In the UK, there is a small benefit for low income couples, but richer people are likely to be fiscally penalized for being married – go figure.] It has been a while since I last considered matters of marriage and weddings for myself – I wrote about it at the time. But I have been contemplating the matter, as some family weddings are scheduled for 2017 … Read the rest of this entry »


1 December, 2016

I have always found the American Thanksgiving holiday rather annoying. I can never remember when it is and nobody gives me any warning. Then, all of a sudden, the world stops for about a week. Having said that, I am totally in favor of having a holiday in the middle of Fall [we have nothing between the end of August and Christmas]. I also admire much of the sentiment around Thanksgiving, as I perceive it. The focus on getting family together and lack of obsession with giving gifts is excellent. Last week, another aspect caught my attention … Read the rest of this entry »


24 November, 2016

No entry

Posted by

It is my broad philosophy in life to be intolerant of prejudice and bigotry. I endeavor to see everyone as an individual and try not to make any assumptions based on the person’s color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, social status, body shape, intelligence or financial position. I will not claim to be 100% successful with this goal, but I do try very hard. I am very sympathetic to anyone who experiences abuse as a result of others’ prejudices. However, as I am white, male, heterosexual, British, agnostic, middle class, not fat, fairly smart and solvent, I have almost no experience of being on the receiving end of prejudice. This means that I have difficulty empathizing with a victim of prejudice. But that seems to be changing … Read the rest of this entry »

,

17 November, 2016

Not so much of a long, profound blog story today – more of a Thought for the Day.

There is a Chinese curse, a variation of which is “May you live in interesting times.” Looking at the events of the past few weeks, it seems to me that we all are truly cursed … Read the rest of this entry »


10 November, 2016

Like most people, I have a car. I do not mind driving and try to do so in a legal, responsible and courteous manner. I do not particularly enjoy driving, but it gets me from A to B. Some people do get pleasure from driving and I have no problem with that, so long as they do not treat it as a competitive sport. The bit of driving and car ownership that I definitely dislike is parking the darned thing … Read the rest of this entry »


3 November, 2016

Continuing my occasional “Six of the best” series, I want to turn my attention to books – specifically works of fiction. I enjoy reading and always have at least one book on the go. Mostly I would rather read than watch TV. I mostly use my Kindle, which is very convenient. It works well for reading while eating – if I am eating alone. And it is great when traveling.

I read many kinds of books, but do enjoy contemporary fiction. So I have chosen what are probably my favorite six fiction books that I have read in the last few years … Read the rest of this entry »


27 October, 2016

I always try to do The Right Thing. I endeavor to be honest and to be considerate and to generally consider the needs and feelings of others. Although I do not subscribe to any recognized religion, I believe that my personal “code” aligns well with most mainstream faiths. I do my best, but I fail all the time; of course I do – I am human. But I feel that it is trying that counts.

I do sometimes question whether trying to be helpful is always the best practice … Read the rest of this entry »


20 October, 2016

We live in a world of constant change, so it seems. We are no longer satisfied with owning something or receiving a service – we are all told that we need to have the latest and best versions. We need to upgrade. There is much evidence that many people succumb to these demands – look at the lines outside of Apple stores when a new iPhone or iPad is released. I feel that there are lots of reasons to resist or, at least, carefully consider, these apparently inevitable upgrades … Read the rest of this entry »

, , , ,

13 October, 2016

As it is a software tool [or a service, depending on how you look at it], that I use many times every day, it is surprisingly long since I last wrote about Evernote. Overall, the benefit that I gain from using Evernote is a very flexible operating environment. I can work on my desktop computer [iMac] in my home office. Then, without really making any preparations, I can grab the MacBook and continue my work elsewhere. To a significant extent I can do this with my iPad and my iPhone as well. At a stretch, I could even work at any Internet-connected computer using a browser to access Evernote.

There is almost no limit to the number of applications I find for Evernote, but I would like to highlight a few … Read the rest of this entry »

,

6 October, 2016

As I frequently mention here and elsewhere, one of my big interests away from work is photography. I have been taking pictures all my adult life – over 40 years. My enthusiasm waxes and wanes, of course, but overall I take [have taken] a lot of pictures. My Lightroom catalog contains about 21,000 pictures, which span about 15 years. I delete a lot of pictures, that are not up to scratch, as digital clutter can be as annoying as the physical kind. So, I guess I must have shot something over 50,000 images over that time.

Someone recently asked me an interesting question: What do you do with all those pictures? I needed to ponder before I could answer that question … Read the rest of this entry »


29 September, 2016

I guess that everyone has felt anxiety, to some extent, at some point in their lives. For some people, the feelings dominate their lives, which I find quite a distressing thought. However, can anxiety have a positive side? Why did we evolve these feelings if they do not have a use of some kind? … Read the rest of this entry »


22 September, 2016

Most of my male friends – and quite a few females – are interested in cars. They tend to be very keen to see the latest models and, to some extent at least, make judgements about people based on the car that they drive. To me, however, they are tin boxes that take me conveniently [sometimes] from A to B. However, I am interested in technology and cars are certainly a focus of much high-tech development … Read the rest of this entry »


8 September, 2016

Last weekend, my wife and I took a trip onto London. It is not something that we do often, if only because it takes about 3 hours to get there, but we had a specific purpose behind our trip. We were planning to visit two picture exhibitions: Georgia O’Keeffe in the morning and David Hockney in the afternoon. Both of these were enjoyable and enlightening and we were happy that we had made the trip. However, going to a big city can always be interesting in other ways … Read the rest of this entry »


@colin_walls tweets

Follow colin_walls