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The Daily Mumble has moved!

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Daily Mumble has moved - Please update your bookmarks

Tuesday the 10th of February 2009 will make the 7th anniversary of the inaugural edition of The Daily Mumble.

In those 7 years, the only significant change was the switch (in January 2006) to using to write, marking the end of my use of static html pages.

The design never really changed, and some would say that the content didn't either :-)

Recently, I've grown only too aware of the limitations of publishing via Blogger, and simultaneously amazed by how incredibly good Wordpress now is.

I've also felt a need throw off the old design ...and bearing in mind what I wrote in my previous post, it seems only appropriate that now be the time to change it.

So, The Daily Mumble has moved. This version will stay here as an archive copy, but will no longer be updated.

The new version can be found at

If you are reading this is an RSS feed reader, you probably subscribed to the Mumble a long time ago, and need to update the feed.

The Feed is now

The new site is deliberately simple. It's going to get more exciting and colourful over time, but that's not a priority at the moment.

So, bye bye little blue Mumble, thanks for letting me scribble on your walls for the past 7 years.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Time to grow up?

bogey changing belarus 05
Changing the bogeys - crossing the border from Russia to Belarus, Sep 2007. Photo taken from an adjoining carriage that's also jacked right up.

Listening to Branson's autobiography again today has really hit me hard.

That, and talk with my colleague George (who is rapidly becoming an entrepreneur extraordinaire) regarding several ideas for ventures here in Tokyo that is pushing me to face my fears and get on and do what I need to do.

I've come a long way I know, but I still see myself being held back by a big nagging doubt about whether I can suceed in business or not.

The balance between talk and action in my life is way out. Look at me now. I'm blogging, not acting.

Ok, so I've created a (yet to be launched) website for my venture, but I can feel myself resisting stepping forward and acting to do what's needed in the real world. I tend to do things bit by bit, avoiding looking the plan in the eye, skirting the edges. I've built websites before, I can do that. They're within my comfort zone, no matter what the content (within reason).

By going out there and interviewing people, networking in real life, actually producing something other than a website - this is outside of my comfort zone and the fear is only too apparent.

There's never been a better time for action though. I've met someone who shares my passion for my idea, and will make a great co-producer. As of today I'm hooked up with a couple of entrepreneurial networks (via Linked in), and have been invited to speak at an upcoming event for the sake of furthering my idea / carrying out research.

We have no dependents, we can afford to take risks (within reason) - without some risk nothing will change.

I spoke with *Twinkle* tonight about this strong feeling that things have to change - her reaction was one of delight. 'It's about time you grew up' - exactly what I've been thinking myself all week.

She has been concerned that Joseph would never grow up sufficiently to be a father - she's not said this before, but I'm not surprised. I identify wholly with what she is telling me. (I hope you see the irony following my privious post.

It's time I assert myself. Remain humble and eager to learn from others, but stop kowtowing to fear, and stop thinking that everyone knows better than me.

I desperately want to succeed in the business realm. I'm not motivated by money (although the need for money by those around me does motivate me to a certain extent). I'm motivated by wanting to create something amazing that makes a positive difference to others in some way, by the idea of doing what I love every day, being free to put my precious limited time towards what I consider to be the most important thing that I can put my time towards.

It really is time I grew up.

I'd like to express my thanks to my family, friends and Mumblers who have consistently expressed their belief in my ability to realise my dreams. I invite you to continue to stay tuned and see what happens here over the next 1, 3 and 5 years.

Ok. So let's do it.

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Teddy on the slopes

When coming to Japan last year, I had to make some harsh decisions, such as what to leave behind.

One victim of BA's baggage limit was Teddy. Not wanting him to get lonely, I left him in the very capable hands of mum #2 in Monmouth.

Since then he seems to have got up to all sorts - including getting drunk at New Year and having an affair with another teddy.

His latest escapades have seen him out in the #uksnow - a setting that I think suits him pretty well.

Thanks to Mum#2 for looking after him - and sending the photo!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The thrill that is life

Feeling really gripped by life at the moment. The feeling of adventure is almost tangible. My desire to make the most of every moment has resulted in my feeling like I'm sitting in the front car of a rollercoaster. It's a fantastic ride - what will the next corner bring? Excitement as we persevere in climbing the incline, imagining the view that awaits us above. Reaching the top, excitement is replaced by joy as we see the sun-drenched landscape way below us, giving us an idea of just how high we've climbed. Then comes the thrilling descent - we're moving forward at tremendous speed, propelled by the result of all our hard work up until now.

Just as we get used to the incredible cruise, a violent corner sees us lurch to the left, stomachs left behind. Nauseous, wanting the bend to end ...but OK as we know the bend will end.

This is how it feels.

Just walking back from the station, I felt as if I was moving at 100mph.

Home. Our new England-themed business cards have arrived - these are joint cards featuring both *Twinkle* and I: fifty of my photos on the front given new acquaintances a choice, the same shot from our wedding on the back of each one so people remember who we are - how many times have you found yourself with a stack of business cards trying to put names to faces held in your noggins?

I love these cards, and I'm excited by the idea of giving them away.

I've spent the last two days attempting to transfer a completed wordpress blog from my local server (Mamp on my MacBook) to a live server - crikey o'Reily, will I ever figure it out?! I'm new to sql databases, and somewhat confuzzed. Will feel good when I do eventually succeed though - and I WILL succeed.

Really starting to feel the benefits of the sub-experiment which I began in 2006/2007, that of accepting that there is a good reason for everything that happens, although I may never know what the reason is. Only this week I marvelled at how much better I was able to deal with some interpersonal conflict. Two years back I would have been knocked for six by energy-sapping negative feelings directed towards myself and the other, but instead I was able to look on the bright side of the situation before the badness even kicked in, trusting that this was the right thing to happen. What a powerful thing thinking is.

I am fortunate in that there are very few negative people around me. I wonder if that's a coincidence...

I should add, I am yet to be truly tested here. My life has been pretty blessed these past, er, 31 years.

Crikey. I'm 31.

My love goes out to Mr. Indi, and his wife. If you have some spare positive thoughts, I'd encourage you to subscribe to Is This All There Is? and send them their way.

It's an emotional journey, and I'm not even the one living it.

The getting-up-at-6am thing is going really well. I whole-heartedly recommend it for anyone who doesn't like mornings. It can make you super-productive, get your day off to a gorgeously satisfying start, puts you in sync with the natural cycle of the earth. (It does require going to bed before midnight though).

Going back to the power of thought, I've just been listening to The Field by Lynne McTaggart, as recommended by my mate Stuballs.
Based on interviews with today's cutting-edge scientists, investigative journalist Lynne McTaggart wrote The Field, a compelling presentation of the theory that there is a measurable "life force" in the universe.
She cites some pretty interesting scientific experiments in which the power of thought to influence both people and machines is demonstrated. It's not a great book in terms of writing style, but very interesting nonetheless.

I'm also still half way through Bill Bryson's A short history of nearly everything.

I am forever more convinced of the power of thought when it comes to shaping our lives, yet remain a poor practitioner. There's always more work to be done! Incidentally, whilst on the subject, I recommend Walking Through Walls by Phillip Smith - thanks to orchid64 for gifting me a copy (which I am loving, at the rate of about one chapter a week!)

Recently I have purposefully subscribed to a lot of blogs written by expats in Japan. It's incredible to find this thriving community, where everyone 'knows' everyone else. There's a real feeling of friendship, much of it revolving around Twitter - are you on Twitter yet? If not, you will be, so you might as well sign up now... :-) (I'm @tamegoeswild).

Japan Soc is another major gathering place. If you blog about Japan you might be interested in participating in a new effort to build a mutually beneficial community here. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Speaking of which, I think I'll have a cup of tea.

Ok, I needed to say all that. Feel relieved now. On with the ride.

much love xxx


Friday, January 30, 2009

Earthquakes and iPhoto09

joseph at Zieteil
Random image: me at Zietal, the highest monastery in Europe (nr Savognin, Switzerland), age 10-ish. I was in a real strop that day, running off ahead and refusing to speak to mum and dad!

Earthquakes really do give me the jeepers. I think the fact that I'm currently listening to Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything doesn't help - in that he talks of the earthquakes that are way overdue in Japan, including the one centred on Tokyo which will no doubt see a lot of people killed and injured.

It got me thinking though. I tend to have this idea that great cataclysmic events (ice ages, meteor strikes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions etc) are all in the past, a part of Earth's history before it settled down and enabled the current eco-system to develop.

But listening to Bryson reminds me that the Earth is no less active now than it ever has been. It still has a molten core that lets off steam now and then, it still has an atmosphere that's changing in its composition (now more than ever of course), it still suffers from tectonic shifts. We're still in this 'historical era of cataclysmic events' - it's just one of those little quiet periods at the moment.

I find this fact useful. It reminds me how important it is to live for today, and to not focus on how much 'stuff' I own. If our house comes down in rubble and goes up in smoke, the only thing that will be left is relationships with others (and a backup of my hard drive that I have permanently attached to my inner thigh, updated hourly by bluetooth). Ultimately, nothing else will matter but preserving life itself. And when life itself is finally extinguished, as it surely will be, there won't even be relationships with others to get hung up about. Best not be overly obsessed with them either then.

On a sidenote, and I forget whether I blogged this before, when we were re-negotiating our contract on this apartment, we voiced our concerns about its age and earthquake-proofness. With a smile, the agent told us:

"Well, when the big one strikes most apartments will come down anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that".

Well, that's reassuring.

The two blessing we do have is that we have a park in front of us with a huge lake (useful in case of fire), and no buildings immediately to the east or south of us, thus reducing the risk of fire and giving us soft ground to jump on should we need to. In fact we're kind of ideally situated, as the park compost heaps are directly below our balcony - perfect for soft landings.

I do love being married. Things are really good. *Twinkle* is such a blessing in my life.

As I write, iPhoto 09 - one of the applications contained in Apple's brand new iLife suite - is trawling my collection of 30,000 photos searching for faces. It's been at it for over 6 hours now, and apparently will take at least another 3 hours to pick everyone out. (That includes YOU if I've ever taken a photo of you!).

It'll then ask me to name people, and will 'learn' what people look like, the idea being that when I add new photos in the future, it will automatically identify whose in them, and apply the appropriate tags. These can be synced to and from facebook - clever huh? If someone out there tags a photo of me in Facebook, my photo library on my Macbook will be automatically updated to include it.

[Update: The facial recognition thing is pretty damn good. Having labelled about 10 photos of *Twinkle* it came up with another 900 images that it thought contained her face - and was only wrong about 30 times. Not bad for a beginner!]

The ability to group photos based on their location is also pretty nifty. If your camera is not GPS equipped, you can tag your images by searching for a place name, or by dropping a pin on the built-in Google Map. The place index is a bit too US-centered for my liking, with tonnes of results coming up for American cities, but only the 'big places' listed for other countries. No doubt that will change.

Anyway, best get on. The earthquake has inspired me to look for an Earthquake app for the iPhone, which I now need to blog about.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

After one week out, MacBook goes back in for surgery

I don't really know what I do to my MacBook to cause it so much damage. It's already had 2 new displays, a new keyboard, new bottom case, new dvd drive, a new hard drive and a new fan - the last repair having been completed last week.

Tonight the DVD drive that was replaced last spring packed up (just as I was about to install iLife09, grrrr!), so tomorrow lunchtime it's off to Apple once again to drop it off.

At least I'm getting the most out of my extended warranty...


I made a mad dash to the Apple Store (Shibuya) at lunchtime, and was assured that the drive would be replaced by 7pm - which it was. iLife09 now installing :-)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Taking positive action to bring about change

As many of you may know, I'm an audiobook junkie. Due to my attitude towards the use of time, reading physical paper and ink books is difficult. I feel uncomfortable using my time in that way. If friends give me books, I start to read them, but usually by the time I reach page twenty I've either decided that the book is not worth my time, or that the book is worth getting on Audible. If an audio version is not available, I either pass the book on, or keep it for those rare occasions when I feel comfortable with the idea of reading.

Anyhow, I'm lucky to have a fellow audiobook junkie here in Tokyo - someone with whom I can swap recommended listens. Recently, he recommended 'Manage your tune, Master your life' by Robin Sharma, a very short audiobook that had helped him make some positive changes. I downloaded it this morning (in addition to Obama's speech which is available for free), and listened to it whilst on the train to the city office.

In brief, Robin points out just how precious our time is, and how important it is that we do not postpone the things that matter most to us. He gives practical advice - one suggestion being to join the 5am club. Having started my own 6am club last week, I can vouch for the amazing difference it makes to have an extra hour in the morning. Whereas many people wake up and find that they are chasing their day before it's even started, if you get up that little bit earlier, you will find that not only can you get a ton of stuff done before the daily routine begins, but also that you entire day will be more orderly and productive. From experience, I'd say that's very true.

Listening to Robin's session today, I was finally compelled to do something that I've been wanting to do for about a month now but have been lacking in courage to face - quit one of my part-time teaching jobs. I love the students (and judging by the emotional scenes tonight the feeling was mutual), and found myself learning a lot through working there. But (as I mentioned last night) I've got other projects that represent my passion, and the feeling of frustration in not being able to make time to pursue them has reached epic proportions.

It was funny though. When I gave them notice this afternoon, I felt compelled to re-write my email and explain why I was quitting, and pass on some of the advice from the audiobook. I talked about 2009 being the Year of Change. I wasn't entirely sure why, I'd only ever exchanged very short emails with them about scheduling. But next thing I knew, the member of staff who deals with foreign teachers was asking me to come in a bit early - they needed to talk to me. It turned out they since last week they have been at exactly the same crossroads as me. There were further emotional scenes.

I think we humans are pretty good at knowing when we're not acting in harmony with spirit. If we practice being in touch, we can tell if a job is no longer in congruence with our true paths. But taking that next step - causing inconvenience and possibly upset, stepping into the unknown in the face of (sometimes strong) opposition from those around us, is incredibly hard sometimes. But it has to be taken if we're to move forward.

I'm glad I took that step today. In the grand scheme of things it was insignificant, but carries a lot of meaning for me as I continue on my journey.

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