31 October 2008

Things I would love to do this month*

1. Write a 50,000-word novel as part of NaNoWriMo

When I can't get beyond a few blog posts each month, I suspect this one will have to remain a pipe dream.

2. Bake more cakes

This might avoid the situation last night at 10.30pm when we realised there were no cakes or biscuits in the house, and for some reason, chocolate buttons just wouldn't do. There was no other option for it - I had to bake some scones (well, one rather large scone round, as it turned out). We demolished most of said large scone round at 11.10pm with lots of butter and jam. And yes, we did feel like fat pigs afterwards, but we were very smug and happy piggies.

3. Watch more telly

Aside from an episode of Merlin (which was mainly just an excuse to lust after JRT), all I appear to have watched last month was a couple of episodes of West Wing (yes folks, it is indeed the year 2000), some appalling kids' nonsense called Space Pirates, and the sainted Shaun the Sheep (please let there be a new series soon as the DVDs are about to wear out). It might be time to broaden my horizons.

Right, that'll do for starters. I'm sure there's more that will occur to me, but I can't stop - I'm off to eat the last bit of scone before Orb nicks it.

*UPDATE: I've just realised it's still October, isn't it. Especially as it's Halloween and all that. If you're halfway through reading this, just put it off until tomorrow - it'll make far more sense.

30 October 2008

Work-related stuff: networking

In a bid to make things even more confusing, I've installed Blog Link on my Linked In profile, which in theory will automatically post updates from here to Linked In. I'm not sure quite what the people there are going to make of the adventures of Captain Jack and the random musings that usually ensue, but it's an interesting experiment in social networking/marketing (insert any current buzzword except 'credit crunch' here).

It might actually force me to focus on posting more work-related stuff to the blog, rather than pictures of a small, rather scruffy cat. Then again, perhaps not.

29 October 2008

Up a bit...left...left..

I've spent the evening at the 'does what it says on the tin' Climb Newcastle, in the middle of the Byker wall. It's rather exciting being in the middle of a swimming pool (with the steps down still there at one end), especially now the walls are covered in handholds, and you can clamber about to a fair old height.

There's some great pictures of the construction on their website, together with some shots of the abandoned swimming pool. It's nice to see a building that's been out of use for so long (15 years or so) coming back to life.

27 October 2008

In which the death defying Captain Jack joins the circus

The long winter afternoons are definitely drawing in.

23 October 2008

Work-related stuff - survival

There's an interesting post here from Getting Ink on how journalists can survive the recession. (As a complete aside, isn't the phrase 'credit-crunch' the most hideous thing anyone's dreamed up this year?)

I particularly like point 1 - write about something boring. I quite agree. I never bother pitching for anything remotely 'sexy' like travel or arts-related material, as it's (a) appallingly paid and (b) overwhelmingly oversubscribed. I suspect I've probably wittered on about this before, but you can't go far wrong with government departments or higher education, in my opinion.

I also like point 6 - diversification. It's important - and also avoids you being pigeonholed. I write/research/edit/proofread/create web content/nitpick with the best of them. Preferably all at once.

16 October 2008

Captain Jack travels back in time...

...and spends a while in his cat moses basket, complete with mobile. His street cred may, I fear, be at an all time low.

12 October 2008

Alnwick Garden

I had a go at sidling between the metal slabs, which is harder than it looks - they're covered with a sheet of water. It's much easier when you're three.

The main cascades were beautiful, as ever. One day I will either (a) remember to take the proper camera or (b) get a better one on my phone.

10 October 2008

Work-related stuff - academics and blogging

Really interesting post here, on the subject of blogging in higher education - academics, not students. It's not something I'd ever really thought about much - and now I know why. There's hardly anyone doing it.

"It has not reached the kind of critical mass that it has among US
academics...you are very much at the cutting edge if you are doing it at the

Odd really - blogging doesn't feel remotely cutting edge these days. Even Downing Street has a fairly rip-roaring website, complete with blog-style news, flickr photos, YouTube videos and a Twitter feed. And it's not as if it's a 'yoof' thing (god only knows what's current with the 14-year-olds) - those silver surfers are everywhere you look.

07 October 2008

I'd forgotten...

...how much fun blackberrying is (especially when you get to play hide and seek in the woods, and are pelted with shells by squirrels scoffing nuts).

...how ridiculously funny Green Wing is. We've just sat in front of the telly eating tea and watching the deleted scenes from series 1. The carpet now has a light scattering of couscous, which blends perfectly into the pub-floor-style design.

...how much I like researching in libraries. I spent the morning perusing the stock at Newcastle City Council's Local Studies collection, for information for a project on Blyth - you can't beat the musty dusty smell of the old newspapers. It's one of the reasons I did a history degree, I suspect.