I’m still rubbish at this stuff.

Here’s a question for you; how many times have you signed yourself up to something online, only for you to rarely, if ever, use it?

I’ve probably done it more times than I can remember. It often starts when I see some website promoted on social media or in a magazine (Web User FTW), thinking it sounds interesting, getting as far as logging in and setting up my profile. I’ll then probably log in about three times after that and then just completely forget about it.

The latest one of those sites I signed up to but haven’t really used is a site called vocal. It’s a “social publishing platform” – I guess that’s what they call websites that you can write and post articles to. I thought that it could help in getting me writing more often, but I still haven’t come up with anything decent. I guess if I’m not able to come up with any regular content on here, I don’t think that there’s much chance anywhere else, but it was worth a try.

What really did it  was when I saw the categories that articles on vocal are put under. There’s a number of sections, including a section for video games, pop culture, even one for poetry and while I know I could write something related to the topics on the site I don’t know how anything I write about could fit in. I should mention here as well that vocal is one of those sites where you can earn money for the amount of clicks an article gets and while my reason for joining was in no way at all to do with that (it would most likely be crap money anyway, if you earn anything at all), I was still interested to see if I could learn or gain any particular skill or feedback from doing it.

I might still go back on there and give it another try, until then maybe I should try to concentrate on upping my blog game.

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Pigeon crap.

This morning I turned up to work to find a load of pigeons hovering above it. There’s often one or two sitting on the roof between my workplace and the takeaway next door, but this time there must have been at least eight of them.

They all landed on the ground as I went to open up. They started pecking at the floor. It was then I noticed that the ground around me was covered in breadcrumbs and that the person dropping them was in the flat above the takeaway.

Needless to say, I was pissed off.

Here was this individual, leaning out of their window, throwing huge wads of breadcrumbs to a bunch of feathered rats with wings. To do it anywhere would be stupid but YOU LIVE ABOVE A TAKEAWAY! YOU KNOW, A PLACE THAT SELLS FOOD! AND PIGEONS ARE A FUCKING HEALTH HAZARD! I’m sure the owners of the aforementioned establishment would rather you not encourage the little shitting machines to hang out at their place. I would also rather not have them around either, seeing as the last time someone attracted a bunch of them to there they made a nest in a hole in the takeaway’s shop sign and crapped everywhere. You’d come to work in the morning and the ground would be covered in pigeon shit as well as all over the padlock for the electric shutter panel. Yours truly had to unlock it nearly every day holding it with a tissue and sterilise it the moment I got inside. At the end of the day, you’d be closing up trying to avoid one of the little blighters dropping one on you (they dropped one on my hand as I was putting the shutters down twice. Another colleague just missed getting it in their eye).

I’m not a violent person by any means, but I see that person trying to feed the birds again I will tie them to the roof and let the flying vermin eat off them and shit all over them.

Scorchio.

There’s a heatwave over here at the moment and like many people, I can’t handle it. I mean, this is not the kind of weather we are used to getting. Even when we get over a week of it we’re not used to it. The longer it lasts, the more I want it to rain hard. No doubt this hot spell will end in a raging thunderstorm like it nearly always does (they’re already forecasting it). In the meantime, all we can do is keep hydrated, as cool as possible and avoid getting sunburn as best we can.

Oh and also resist the urge to hide out in a walk in freezer because that rarely ends well.

Spotified: April and (the start of) May

I came on here to write another thing, but I forgot what it was, so I thought I’d do that thing I do every now and again where I make a spotify playlist and share it. Here’s the latest one I put together. Includes a winner of The Voice, a few legends, a couple of legends in the making and stuff that reminds me of my student days, among other things.

The playlist will probably get bigger as I go along, which means I might end up renaming it again at some point. Feel free to keep coming back to it and/or follow it if you like.

 

 

Bulletin

I’ve been trying the bullet journal thing for a while now. I’m not very good at it. I’m not the artiest of people and my “bullet points” are more whole paragraphs. You look at all those posts on Instagram and Pinterest where people show off their well laid out pages and how pretty they’ve made them. My pages are nothing like that at all. But what they lack in style they make up for in that they pretty much include everything that I want to include in them. It includes reminders of things I need to do, places I need to be and stuff. It also includes a hell of a load of thoughts of mine. I find myself scribbling into it when I’m down, or when I suddenly have a brainwave. Sometimes I can get about three full pages worth of writing. It’s not always brilliant; in fact quite a bit of it can be random nonsense, but it feels good to get something down on paper.

Sure if people want to share their bullet journal pages then cool if it helps people who want to create their own. I however, choose to keep the contents of mine to myself. At least until I find something in it that is blog worthy.

The will of the people.

Last  night I was once again debating whether to carry on with this blog or allow it to drift away into cyberspace. I ended up asking Twitter to help with my decision, using the poll function and the result was 100% that I should keep going. Cheers to the five people who voted, by the way. I’m not sure who you are because twitter doesn’t give those stats but I appreciate you for doing so.

OK, so after deciding to go with the will of the people I am now trying to work out how to make it a bit better. I’ve been doing a bit of maintenance over the last day, including getting rid of some of the old blogs I don’t use any more (most of these cropped up when I was struggling for ideas for this one).  For the first time I’ve been thinking about the direction I should take with this blog. In the beginning when I first started this I wasn’t too bothered about concentrating on any particular theme apart from everything that interested me and/or came into my head when I wrote it, but now I’m wondering whether to leave certain things out and put more focus on posts about others.

I’ve already thought about cutting back on the more personal posts. I never really intended this to be a moanathon about the crapness of my life because I wanted to look like I enjoy writing, but I realised that the worse writers’ block I had the more I strayed into that territory. I will probably end up looking back on nine years worth of posts (yes I have been on here that long) in order to decide what else to post more and scale back on. Any other suggestions from readers are most welcome.

Anyway, enough of this rambling, I’m off to find out who Balaclava Man is. (Line of Duty reference. Don’t tell me you haven’t been watching, unless you’re not in the UK).

Going Lomo

About a year ago (well probably just over a year ago now tbh), I decided that I wanted to have a go at film photography again. I’d been seeing a lot about Lomography cameras, and in particular the Diana, a plastic, basic but really rather nifty camera capable of some great shots.

After having a look around the interwebs, I bought a Diana Mini, a smaller version of the camera which takes 35mm film. I also bought a multipack of Fujifilm 35mm rolls from Amazon, as I thought that if I didn’t go through the rolls quickly from taking snaps, I’d probably go through them from messing them up trying to load them and stuff. It must have been well over ten years since I last took a photo with a film camera and I’d long since forgotten how to put a roll of film into a camera – and how fiddly it was to do it. However once I had got it in, I was away, pretty much shooting anything I thought was photo worthy and anything that wasn’t. My first roll was basically just me trying out the camera, getting used to it and using film again. I wasn’t holding out for any spectacular shots to come from it, but I was hoping that at least a quarter of prints from a 36 roll came back ok after processing and that there weren’t too many limbs or heads cut off.

Getting used to the Diana Mini in the first instance was tough. Most of the film cameras that I used growing up wound on automatically after taking a photo and wouldn’t let you take a shot if the lens cover was still on. With the Diana you can take a photo or two only to realise minutes later that you forgot to take the lens cap off.  I know that at least three of my photos on my first roll will have ended up completely blank because of my forgetfulness. It is also very easy to forget to wind on the film before taking a photo, or to wind the film only part of the way before shooting, thus resulting in a number of double exposures and photos infiltrating other photos. In many ways however, this is a good thing, as you can get a lot of interesting photo effects from it. In fact, the booklets that come with the camera encourage you to experiment with the cameras.

I finally got my photos from the first film developed last week. Out of a 36 exposure film, I got twenty prints back, which I was pretty happy about seeing as I’d spent all week before they came back worried that I might have ruined the film taking it out of the camera, or that I’d wasted money on developing a load of photos that hadn’t come out. Here’s a few of them (note: when I said I was only testing the camera I meant it):

So that was my first experience with shooting film in years and I have to say, it’s got me wanting to stick with it. I’m not ready to ditch my DSLR or the camera on my smartphone just yet, but it’s a fun alternative. Plus there is no need to stick a filter on any you scan and share on Instagram or whatever as film photography was pretty much IG before the creators of the aforementioned app were twinkles in their mothers’ eyes. However if you are thinking of having a go, here’s a few pointers.

  1. Get a flash – I realised very early on if you are going to be shooting a lot indoors, even if it’s in a room that is really well lit, you will need a flash. You can buy a Diana camera that has the flash with it, or you can get one separately for around £40-£50 depending on where you look. The Diana’s flash also includes a pack of small coloured filters that you can put in the flash to give your photos a colour effect.
  2. Buy a multipack of films – I got a three pack of Fujifilm films for a good price from amazon when I bought my camera. Failing that, good old Poundland had some individual 35mm Agfa Vista Plus films available when I last went in there for…you know the price.
  3. Just have fun with it – shoot whatever you like, wherever and whenever. Don’t worry about how they’ll turn out, be excited to get the prints back. Yes you can’t crop or delete your photos like you can with your digital one but you’ll soon find out that that is a good thing. A REALLY good thing. Have a play with it, enjoy it – just remember to take the lens cap off before you shoot, yeah?