Anaphylactic shock from walnut-based sandblasting

When I first heard this news

I was shocked and horribly sadden by the nature of what happened.

An Edmonton man died of anaphylactic shock after being exposed to a walnut-based product being used for sandblasting in the same building where he was testing air quality. On Oct. 2, David and Mabel Mathews received a call that their son, Justin Mathews, 33, had been taken to the University of Alberta Hospital.

When they arrived he was unresponsive, on a breathing machine and in a coma. “The doctors said 80 per cent of the brain is not active at all,” Mabel Mathews said.

Then came the tough decision to take him off life-support, as doctors had suggested. He died after being taken off a breathing machine five days later. Walnut dust prompted an anaphylactic reaction, causing Mathews’s throat to swell up and leaving him short of breath.

I always worry about being in a small room with any nuts, but to imagine the room being sandblasted with nuts is frankly terrifying.

MCR Talks: Neuroscience of Decision Making with Gabija

Dr. Gabija Toleikyte

Last time I went to a Funzing event I wasn’t that impressed (talk was good but the setup was a bit crappy) but I thought I’d give it another try as the Neuroscience of decision making is too good a talk to miss. I find the Funzing weird as its promoted through Facebook and after clicking the link you are led to the funzing site which isn’t as smooth as Eventbrite. Especially since you finally get your ticket only a hour or so before the actual event via email or text (which leads you to a funzing microsite)

The talk was in Texture (the cool nightclub venue in the northern quarter). The place was full of chairs and most was already sat on. Interestingly I would say its about a 65% female audience. Grabbing a odd chair with a drink after not spotting anyone I recognise (this is a good thing, getting out of your comfort zone).

Just before Dr. Gabija Toleikyte suggested, a early warm up exercise encouraging us to talk to the people around us and ask what brought them to the event. The woman behind me, was generally interested but not so interested in chatting. I turn to the woman in front of me and we talked for a while about her thoughts on the illusion of reality. I threw in my thoughts on memetics and we chatted for a while.

We also briefly talked about my brush with death,  and how I have  found a stronger interest in how the brain works and how we use.

When Gabija started with a proper warm-up she asked us to greet people next to us with a gesture of 1, 2 or 3 fingers. 1 being a hand shake, 2 being a bow and 3 being a hug. On giving the gesture, you have to pick the lowest number between the two. Most of mine were hugs and bows.

When Gabija started she ran through a lot of things in a short amount of time but broke it down in a easily digestible way. It was a good talk and based on a number of things I had heard or read but not really connected in this way… Here are the books I read which she mentioned.

Something new for me was the Triune Brain model

  • Lizard brain – lowest level regulates breathing, heartbeat, digestion, etc.
  • Mammal brain – system 1 regulates emotions, memory, habits, etc
  • Human brain – system 2 regulates rational thinking, learning, problem solving, assessing pros and cons

There is different decision making systems in the brain: slow (rational, system 2) and fast (intuitive, emotional, system 1) its about deciding which system is best as rational decisions with system 2 require a lot more energy. While system 1 is prone to the unconscious biases as its using pattern and basic logic. Emotions are important so we don’t get stuck with indecision; and understanding our emotions can help us to make better decisions. However emotions are quite different from mood which can distort decision making.

Lots to think about and well worth the money and time, thank you to Gabija and hope to check out her next talk about productivity.

Airbnb is weird because people are weird?

Stay wild stylised

Reading the guardian’s recent piece about Airbnb, I was taken by this paragraph.

No matter how glossy and cool the Airbnb advertising is, with all the shiny shots of people staying in Airstreams in Texas backyards or converted air-conditioned food trucks in New Orleans, staying in an Airbnb is weird because people are weird, and their lives are complicated, their routines idiosyncratic and their bookshelves are windows into their souls. Conversations are curious, and awkward silences are things to be negotiated. You cannot be on automatic pilot at an Airbnb because strange things happen in other people’s homes, on their patch, across their kitchen tables.

As I have written about previously, I have had my ups and downs with Airbnb. Mainly ups but also some weird experiences too, including 2 experiences with cheese in my fridge.

Its certainly makes for a interesting life.

Another busy period

Ordinary life does not interest me

For the next few weeks I’m pretty busy. My calendar looks like I may have eaten something I’m allergic to and threw up. Leaving you with that pretty nasty thought.

Some of the highlights include…

Its not so much that I’m doing lots of big stuff, rather all the little bits in between some interesting events. For example getting Visual Perceptive Media on BBC Taster in a sensible way. Writing a paper for TVX 2017, arranging DJ Hackday 2017, etc, etc…

The amount of blogging and tweeting might drop as a result. Sure my 5.5 tweets a day has seriously dropped, but I’m blaming Twitter for that.

I always said an ordinary life does not interest me, and there is a certain amount of hustle involved with this all.

Ordinary life does not interest me

Ordinary life does not interest me

I wrote a blog about neurodiversity after Kate included me in a tweet about a mother and daughter talking on the listening project. My blogs are shared into Facebook and Marie added a comment, which was simply a picture.

That picture (same as above) spoke volumes. After looking it up, I found the source.

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.”

Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

This is something I absolutely subscribe to. You only have to ask friends about my dotted past and look at some of the friends I get up to shenanigans with. I never seeked to fit in or follow other people’s limited constructs of what I should or not do; and to be fair I’ve never been very apologetic about it. Of course it’s not all tea and honey, but it’s just the way I am. Said on the eve of getting undressed on TV.

Finding your passion & purpose?

I’ve recently been talking to a few women via some dating sites and I got into an interesting conversation about passion. I asked one woman what she was really passionate about? She had a hard time deciding what. So after a long time chat, I sent a link to Steven Kotler on Forbes. I was kind of surprised I hadn’t written about it previously. Although I do share 8 traits to be great with friends.

My simplistic view on it is…

  1. Make a long list
  2. Search for overlapping items within the list, those overlaps are hints to your passion
  3. Indulge yourself and be public about it

Its interesting stuff and I still think Google Schemer was way ahead of its time on this.

I also got talking about my work/life balance and reflected on the fact I don’t really have a work/life balance because what I do is what I love. People recently have asked me if I’m going to Berlin, Bucharest, etc for work or pleasure? I usually ask, is there any difference? Although I guess at the customs gate, I have to be very clear and questioning about this all.

I found this video kind of sums up my feeling on this.

The problem with work-life balance is that it traps us in a career or job-oriented mindset, working for either a paycheck or purely to climb the latter. Find purpose instead, says Dan Pontefract. Pontefract’s latest book is “The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization

Theres tons of junk and hookey out there (just have a look through thoughtcatalog) but I found these things pretty reasonable. I guess part of the problem is stopping enough to think about all this stuff. Its certainly not something most people think about.

Important Milestones for life

My first diabolo
Yes thats me with my first diabolo at school

Another one of those thought catalog pieces, this one about important milestones you can have in your life besides getting married. There is 40 of them but reading through them got me thinking…

Going through a painful breakup and refusing to let it drown you; instead, deciding to find growth and strength from it.

Absolutely… They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would certainly say my painful breakups have made me a much more resilient person. I kind of feel sorry for those who haven’t been through such a breakup. Its when you really find out what you are made of. Its also a reality check on had bad things can go.

Taking your parents on a vacation. Or even just out to dinner, because this is finally your chance to be the one who can treat them to something, rather than the other way around.

Love being able to treat my parents, looking to do it more in future. But its wonderful. I know many people who unfortunately can’t do this for different reasons.

Reconnecting with an old friend that you’ve always regretted losing touch with. Being the first one to reach out, to tell them you miss them, to make an attempt to see them again.

Its so great to catch up and talk over experiences and changes over time. Its also great to reach out and break the silence with more than a like or a +1. Real human connection.

Giving a heartfelt, well-written, meaningful speech as the Best Man or Maid of Honor at the wedding of someone who is very special to you.

Oh yes… still remember doing a adhoc speech at a wedding and later the grooms father came up to me, telling me I was such a good influence in his sons life. Even I was blown away by this.

The first holiday you spend with friends instead of family.

Oh I remember this well, holiday in Ibiza with friends in 1998, kind of hated the holiday but it was a learning experience. I went back to Ibiza 3 years later under my own steam.

Going on your first vacation with a significant other – paid for by you two and you two alone.

Indeed, spent much time going to different parts of America and Europe with my partner at the time. By this time I was already living in London alone, so it wasn’t such a big thing for me.

Having certain luxuries that you like to spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine.…And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.

Absolutely… this is something I have been thinking about a lot. I have got to a point where I can afford more of the things and experience I would like. But something stops me and I think it is my inner compass about being financially reckless. I would like a pair of the Nike Air Huarache (Triple black) but at £90-130, it feels reckless and reminds me of the kids who’s parents bought those ugly Rebook Pumps at £140. And then go their trainers stolen (if you not heard of this, where have you been?)

Telling someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

Oh yes… dare I say it… The fear of rejection, something I got over a long time ago. Life has gotten better since that day. Can I remember the first time? Maybe when I was 13 years old, I said I loved her without really knowing what she would say and to be honest really knowing what it really was about.

Traveling to a city you’ve always wanted to explore, and paying for everything on your own dime.

I have no idea where to start, so many cities. I think going to Cardiff was the first city where I wanted to go and I went complete on my own steam. I went clubbing in Cardiff at the forum, to the sounds of speed garage. Since then I obviously moved to London and to Manchester. But more to the point I went to international cities alone and explored under my own steam. They include Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, Chicago, Paris, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Barcelona, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Hamburg, Warsaw and of course Tokyo!

Finding that one book that changes your life, even if it’s in the smallest way possible.

We were talking about this one just today with something I’m collaborating on with some great people. There are so many great books I have read. This is a hard one as there is many. I guess the big one is Derek Powazak’s Design for Community. Reading that book and following the links lead me to meet my ex-wife online. But there are many other books including free culture, strange attractors, rebeccas world, emergence, the long tail, the tipping point, the art of deception, paradox of choice, no logo, smartmobs, hacking the xbox, we the media and so many more…

 

Being ENTP, dyslexic and there effect on relationships?

The Breath of God

I have drafted this blog for a while now and rewrote it a few times, then I read Chris’s blog post about Aspergers and decided it was time  to post it and be done thinking about it. I’m going to split the big post up. This one about relationships. The other about what its like being dyslexic and daily life. Of course they both intersect.

Now to be absolutely clear I’m talking for myself, but doing some very basic research online, its clear there is a trend. But, outside peoples first hand written accounts I can find little academic research.

I’m also going to refer to the myers briggs personality indicator later, feel free to rant and rave about how much bollox it is but I see it as a useful frame for reference purpose.

I’ve had a lot on my mind. Some of it was slightly upsetting, some best ignored and some best forgotten. But out of it came the thoughts I’ve been thinking for a long while.

  1. Do I actually want to meet somebody and settle down (or similar)?
  2. Being incredibly social, confident and regularly meeting new people how am I still single? (said without sounding like a douche bag)

The answer is yes I do want to meet somebody and maybe settle down (if thats how you want to put it) but being very social seems to get in the way of  love, some say to me. This is why I kind of went with the sapiosexual term (although I do appreciate, its not really a sexuality – thanks Tom Morris for the long blog hammering this home – I hear you).

Ian Forrester

About me (cheers Adewale for the picture)

I am quite extroverted, charismatic and a slightly charming ENTP. Looking at the traits which seem to be associated with dyslexics who have made it into places and positions which best suit them, this seems quite common. Its hard not to fall for the charms of someone with such traits. Most people only know, dyslexia traits in relation to learning, education and perceived notions of intelligence. There seems to be far less about other aspects of being dyslexic.

My hypothesis is there is a strong link between dyselxia and the personality types ENTP and INTP.

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crack-pot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.

– Thomas J. Watson

Being extroverted, I enjoy the company of people a lot. The feeling of connectedness is comforting and enjoyable. I feel enriched by people. I can spend time alone but I feel bored after a while, maybe this is why I spend so much time in the bar/cafe downstairs and work best out of a busy environment like a coffee shop.

This is why my holiday in Tokyo was always going to be amazing for me. Even with its culture shock, I loved it. Somebody at work went to Tokyo at the same time as me and described it as one of the most loneliness places they have ever been. I was slightly shocked by this although I can understand where they were coming from.

People have commented that maybe the reason why I don’t need/can afford to be so picky, is because I  fill my time with the company of other friends. For some reason the percentage of female friends is higher than most men I know too. Don’t ask me why, but I have thoughts (for another blog post maybe)

So what about intimacy? Of course I would argue the time shared with certain friends can be pretty intimate, but if you mean sex… well thats a different kettle of fish and been redacted.

The fear of missing out

My life is a blur of work/personal/social, I couldn’t really imagine it any other way. I’m unsure if this is a dyslexic trait or a personality type as I haven’t seen this in a lot of other dyslexics. But its clear I tend to get bored if I’m not working on one of many personal/work projects. There is a slight fear of missing out but really its about as Jason Silva comments, about choice collapsing possibilities. I love and work in abstracts and linked possibilities. This practically makes me slow to pick from a menu (a very basic example) as collapsing the possibilities is a pain.

I fill my life with stuff to do because I really do enjoy it. I know for others it sounds like a nightmare. But I admit there has been times when its impossible to get a date in the calendar because I’m so busy.  I did try and leave spare time in my calendar as a new years resolution one year, but failed.  It wouldn’t be totally wrong to say I might too busy for love but not in the crappy way that article says. Heaven knows what would happen when/if I have children. Although I’m sure things will just change as they do.

Diabolo

Defining my own reality

ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions.

I define my own reality, this can be seen as quite arrogant but frankly I have tried to live by what society and others suggest. I  recognise patterns which work for a while then breakdown. This isn’t to say I’m not willing, can not compromise or change. But there are some things which I know can’t be easily changed from previous experience.

Sometimes life isn’t about chasing love. It’s about creating it. And that’s what I’ve got to do now. I’ve got to create my own love so that future love has a fighting chance. I owe myself that much…

I certainly think this is true hence why I persist. I’m carving out something unique by spreading some love around by sharing my reality with friends and family, you only have to look at the amount of parties, BBQs, etc I do and have done. My hope is I’ll share it with someone who understands and loves the way I view the  world.

one thing ENTPs are good at, it’s coming up with a never-ending stream of innovations and ideas to keep things moving forward, and this is evident in their romantic relationships as well. For people with the ENTP personality type growth is key, and even before they’ve found a dating partner, they imagine all the ways that they can experience new things together, to grow in tandem. This can be an overwhelming process if their partner doesn’t match up, but when ENTPs find someone who shares their love of intellectual exploration, watch out

Limits of growth

Continuous growth comes at a cost

Continuous growth is something in economics I’m unsure about because of the sustainability of it. How ironic I worry about the sustainability in economics when the endless learning and intellectual exploration is a goal I pursue.

ENTPs see either growth or stagnation and don’t buy into the idea of a happy status quo, making them demanding as much as they are exciting. Some may tire in the face of this constant improvement – while ENTPs’ vigor can be attractive, it can also wear down even the most patient partners.

I’m consistently doing, trying, achieving new things/projects and to be honest I can see how tiring it is for some of my past partners. Heck its even tiring for me sometimes (rarely) It takes a lot make me super excited but the idea of improvement, sharing and exploring ideas certainly excites me no end (literary! )

…ENTP personalities may even ignore their partners’ feelings altogether, instead immersing themselves entirely in some distant idea or opportunity, inaccessible.

I am known to be distant or too busy doing something else, not only physically but mentally. I’m unsure why but I just seem to disappear elsewhere. Like when I was young, I would daydream about linked concepts and opportunities. Its weird because I seek the flow state but its like I’m bored or something? This obviously seen as a reflection on the partner and therefore you can only imagine the chaos this causes in relationships.

Of course I battle with myself to try and turn things around but honestly I have tried so hard over time and its just me, I accept it as a weakness and my greatest strength. We all have our issues, deep down that nobody wants to talk about. I try to be up front and honest about stuff but so far its not really worked out.

Rumi - What you seek is seeking you

What I’m seeking?

Knowing myself, I tend to look for something quite different in potential partners. Its certainly not about the looks, with a understanding of how I think, its hardly surprising I’m about what goes on in the mind. Lots of my friends laugh as I tend to pick personality over beauty. Not to say beauty doesn’t factor into things but its not my primary focus. Confidence, independence and geeky passion for growth and improvement are super sexy to me.

I need lots of space and freedom to explore, I would hate for my partner to be waiting for me to get home, especially when I get into something. The ideal partner would be out doing her own thing too, when we come together it would be special. This isn’t what everybody sees as a healthy relationship but looking around, I know it can work. I have friends in serious committed relationships who spend much time apart for various reasons.

There is a theory that the ideal person for a ENTP would be a INTJ

The ENTP and INFJ were meant to be together because the ENTP shares his intuition all the time. Most people do not like to hear intuitions and theory they don’t understand in conversations. The INFJ has the same skill at idea generation that the ENTP has. When the ENTP talks, the INFJ can listen and understand his very advanced intuitions. INFJ’s and ENTP’s both like systems. The INFJ finds people systems more interesting; the ENTP systems of things. When they communicate something special happens. The ENTP talks and the INFJ comprehends and listens automatically. That means the ENTP feels listened to and completely understood.

I have no idea if this is really helpful as its unlikely that I would ask women for their personality type. On top of that, as we already know, love is far more complex and unquantifiable.

Flowing memories

So why am I sharing this all?

I don’t know, I guess there is a feeling that being open and honest may explain some of the relationship breakdowns or why I’ve been dating quite a bit. I of course hope it will make it easier for others to come to terms with there own quirks and intricacies.

It certainly feels like the longer I wait the easier it is to be honest about this stuff. Although I’ve already said maybe too much. However its worth noting this post was about twice the size with many more spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Its hard collapsing all those possibilities, taking opportunities to flow with people and balance them with traditional notions of relationships. I say traditional because I’m very happy to see things changing for the better, changes which reflect the diversity of the people within it. Maybe one day I won’t be that unusual, till then I guess I live up to my personality type and hope some lovely independent, geeky, feminist women read this and think oh yes I the sound of him (I joke).

Ian and Tara

But seriously, some of this sounds quite emotional? I’m really fine with everything, I edited out a lot. This is more an acknowledgement of the tricky reality I will always face when it comes to having a long meaningful relationship.

Forget the pecking order, collaborate

Simon Lumb while talking about leadership in the northern quarter today mentioned.Margaret Heffernan: Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work

Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because as Heffernan points out: “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people do.”

Even before I watch the video I’m in agreement. This reminds me of my favourite cluetrain rule.. #7

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy and the result of which heterarchy

I’m sure one day I’ll bring all my favourite management and leadership clues together into some kind of manifesto or at least a blog.

Dyslexia the reality of daily life…

IMG_1425

I had drafted this blog for a while now and rewrote it a few times, then I read Chris’s blog post about Aspergers and decided it was time  to post it and be done thinking about it. I’m split the post up. This one about daily life. The other about love. Of course they both intersect.

I am a proud dyslexic, I came out (as such) along time ago and even have it in my blog subtitle. I write openly, hoping this will encourage the many other dyslexics and generally more neurodiverse people to come out (in lui of a better word).

From the start

I always knew I was different when I couldn’t spell short words, the lessons made little sense and I was easily distracted by other stuff. The words had a code/pattern which made no sense to me. By the time of primary school, it was clear something was different about me.I couldn’t follow peoples voice directions without translating it into a map or something visual.

Tying laces, ties or knots was a small nightmare mainly due to trying to remember which hand is left and which is right. Because of this I became slightly ambidextrous which would confuse things further

My primary school  did send me for dyslexia testing but I never finished it and so my dyslexia wasn’t officially diagnosed till over 10 years later at Ravensbourne College while trying to write my final year dissertation. This means I had no help, allowances or support all the way through secondary school and most of my college life.

Reading was also difficult for two reasons. The line lengths and the words. My mum would regularly take me and my sister to the local library and I managed by reading lots of non-fiction.

In that period of time, the seed was set in my mind and I read up about dyslexia and found coping mechanisms which centred around using computers to remember everything I couldn’t remember or spell. I bought a  2nd hand HP 200LX pocket computer with my saved up paper round money and used for lots of things. That was my first and I followed that with the Compaq Areo and Ipaqs.

Time management

I am notoriously bad with time. But thats only half the story. The reason why I’m so bad is because I tend to pack a lot in. To give you an example.

I live all of about 10mins walk from the Piccadilly Station (the major station for Manchester) Knowing its only 10mins away I tend to leave about 15mins before the time of the train leaving, I should really leave 20mins before to be sure. But what typically happens is knowing I can make it in 10-15mins, I end up doing stuff right up to the last minute I can leave. Maybe I can send off a few more emails, put bleach in the toilets, empty the recycling, etc, etc. With that I end up rushing to catch the train.

The way I see time is more elastic than others and this does seem to be dyslexic trait.

Time management is very difficult, if not impossible for many Dyslexics.   This is not due to them being lazy, thoughtless or uncaring. Dyslexics are right-brain dominant thinkers and live in the present. The past and future belong to the left-brainers.

A Dyslexic tends not to look at their life in any kind of a systematic way. They are often called “free spirits”, “flighty” , “unfocused” or “easily distracted” .

Welcome to the flow

I also tend to get fully immersed  in things and tend to forget about time as I enter the flow state. Luckily the flow state tends to be with other people as we bounce ideas around.  So its not directly responsible for missing the train most of the time but there are many times when chatting with somebody or some people, that time will just slow down and I wont even realise what time it actually is, meaning I’ll miss the last train or bus home.

Flow is a interesting state and there are certain people I feel the flow with more than others. The other night at a party I was pleasantly surprised to meet a women who I suspected was dyslexic but look through her book shelf confirmed it. We talked till 3am and to be honest could have talked the rest of the night easily. Insert joke about two dyslexics in a cafe never leaving.

I’m curious about everything and find creative people  quite attractive (this is where the sapiosexual stuff comes). I do find people concreted in reality a bit boring and tend to ignore them a little. I find these people too straight-laced and too conformist for my thoughts. I am not conformist… I’m black, I’m dyslexic and a self confessed geek. I have found my as a bit of spokesperson for the all of those things at times in my life. People come to me with stereotypes in mind and I break them in half. I won’t lie, I kind of enjoy the look on their face when I challenge their stereotypes.

Know thy self is what they say, and to be honest through my life experiences I do know who I am.

Working with dyslexia

I feel my mind is consistently on the go, bouncing from concept to concept. A few people in the organisation, have said “we pay you to think” and I frankly that plays to my strengths.  I am so grateful to be in a job which fits but I know so many dyslexics people who struggle with their job positions.

BBC R&D is very academic and frankly I haven’t chosen a  academic course for my life. Luckily the research world is in the middle of being radically changed by the internet (like most things) and this means conceptual thinking and collaboration is better treasured. If I had applied to join the department in the past, my cv/application would have been binned. But I was adsorbed into the department with my position as BBC Backstage.

I find work is full of people who are bound by the tangible and my unique selling point is the intangible, forward thinking and the essential need to collaborate. This why I partly find academic papers interesting (building on other ideas) and ever-so backwards (why are they so hard to write?)

I have little time for non-collaboration, I actually think every project I have ever done in BBC R&D, have been done with an external organisation of some kind. Information security love me, as I use tools which have collaboration baked in. They must have a fit every-time I try something new but I do take security seriously and struggle through end user licence agreements to understand whats really going on.

Literacy, language and memory

This is the stuff everybody thinks about when they think about dyslexia but there’s other elements which you may not think about. Consistent with most dyslexics my short term memory is bad. Trying to remember a phone number, ip address or email is a little nightmare. I changed my voicemail to reflect this issue.

Reading out-loud from a book or text is a nightmare I don’t have to visit too much since leaving school. Sometimes I forget the problem till I get up and start reading. For example I read a chapter from my book in a get together and the feelings of trying to do it came flooding back. Its the reading and speaking outloud, its not being in front of a small number of people or talking. I do that all the time and learned to ditch speaker notes and find my own style which just happens to be best practice for presentations.

Learning a different language is painful to say the least. I don’t know if its a dyslexic trait but I have such a hard time trying that it seems almost pointless. Thankfully the technology has my back, as I found out in Tokyo.

The future is intangible

I am seriously blessed to born in a age where whats in your head isn’t a sign of intelligence. However not everybody has got the message yet.  The nature of business has changed and being authentic and collaborative is key. Its also very clear a diverse workforce is better than a monolithic workforce.

I met a woman once who wrote a academically sound paper as a series of videos. She passed her PhD with the series of videos and her fight to get it accepted is something I’m not unaccustomed to.

I’ve had to fight for many things in my life and to be honest I will never go down without a fight. Being dyslexic is a card which I was dealt and there are advantage and disadvantages. Especially when it comes to my social and love life…

Could I imagine life not being dyslexic? Heck no!

(To be continued soon…)

…fund a lifestyle that makes everyone insanely jealous

Tokyo tower

Yeah I hate that title too but its worst than what I wrote… The full title is What it takes to get paid… and fund a lifestyle that makes everyone insanely jealous.

As I read the post recommended by Dave, not sure for ironic reasons or what. I pretty much hovered over the delete button but I did find a few things which I thought was actually interested.

“What you seek is seeking you” – Rumi

In other words… Imagine if what you really want, deep down – is actually seeking you out at the same time…

It’s a nice thought to hold as you go through tough times because it gives you faith to keep pushing through.

Ok I think this actually nice to remember and think about.

Designing your life so that everything is a pure delight to use

See the most exciting thing about lifestyle design for me, is treating the world like a giant smorgasbord of delicious options. You pick and choose the stuff that RESONATES with you the most. And discard the stuff that doesn’t vibe with you.  I believe in making every single area of your life, from the time you open your eyes and wake up to the moment you go to sleep – an absolute DELIGHT to use.

I quite like this outlook, it makes it loud and clear you are somewhat in control of your own destiny. You need to design/craft your life. The choice about people, places, things and activities is quite key.

When I asked people what I should do in Japan, I included a list of conditions.

  • I speak little or no Japanese, so best not recommend somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
    Very true!
  • I’m also not so big into the traditional culture (don’t hate me, just being honest!) so you may want to limit the amount of shrines.
    Indeed, only went to one.
  • I love metropolis cities, so I’ll spend all day at markets and cafes soaking up the modern culture.
    Oh and so I did!
  • I’ll spend most of the time in Tokyo because theres so much to see…
    I wasn’t wrong there!
  • I also love modern art, manga, people watching, amazing architecture and great landscapes like Mount Fuji.
    Certainly did a lot of these…
  • Love theme parks! and amusements.
    3 theme parks and lots of rides
  • I don’t have a problem just wandering around suspect locations like the red light district in Amsterdam.
    Well I did rub shoulders in Roppongi and Shibuya
  • I’m going in mid April for 2 weeks, so it will be coldish and maybe wet
    I was right at first then it got really hot, sometimes up to 29c!
  • I will get a JR pass, so the trains should be fine
    Well in theory yes, but I wasn’t prepared for the changing of
  • I’m terrified of dying from eating fish, seafood, nuts, beans or peas. So don’t recommend a fish restaurant 🙂
    Enough said…
  • Actually if you can recommend places where they do lovely meat, I’ll be very happy (heard the Korean BBQ’s are perfect for me)
    Enough said once again.

You can look at the list as restrictions on myself but I don’t see it that way, I see it as myself designing my holiday by removing the things which don’t resonate with me.

When I moved to another place when my airbnb screwed me over in the 2nd week. It was important to me, because I just knew it was going to upset my holiday and I wasn’t going to let that happen!

Tokyo… So what did I think?

shibuya crossing

On reflection on this post and all the posts I did during my time in Tokyo starting with I’m dying to experience Tokyo by 2016.

Forever I have wanted to experience Tokyo. For me its always been a place of technological progress. I know its not for everyone, but the culture is so wildly different and technology is at the core.

I wasn’t wrong there.

So why have I not already been?

Well its bloody expensive and to be honest I have this vision of going bankrupt just searching through the market bins of Shibuya

I lived with a Japanese lady for a while and we would talk about me going to Tokyo. She always pleaded with me, please go with someone who can speak Japanese because my allergies will kill me.

Technology like Google translate really made the difference on this front.People have asked what my high and low points were in Tokyo/Japan?

Low point’s

The Airbnb for the first week was fine, it was quite nice having a place with Rebecca. But the second week when Rebecca went off to western Japan, I moved to a smaller shared airbnb apartment. What I didn’t know was how small it really was. There wasn’t enough room to get out the door as my suitcase blocked the very narrow walk way by the futon. I did wish I had taken photos but I was so worried about it ruining my whole holiday, I went looking for an alternative hotel straight away. Luckily I met  Alexandra after Herb Kim told me she recently moved. And she was able to help me find a great room in Nippon. I did finally get a refund from Airbnb, although they thought I was in the wrong?

After reviewing the details of your situation, there is no clear violation of our host standards and we won’t be able to retract the payment from your host. However, because this was the first time you were experiencing Airbnb as a guest, I decided to refund you the amount you requested…

Trying to get to Nagashima Spa Land the first time and standing on the wrong bullet train between  Nagoya and Yokohama for over a  hour, was also a pretty low points too.

High point’s

There were so many…

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Right from the flight on the Airbus 380 to Dubai with USB, mains power and wireless internet to each seat. Also nicely got the exit row at the very front with more than enough room for the tallest NBA player.

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Meeting up with Andy Budd and Alice who happened to be in Tokyo too. Having sake in Shibuya with them and the rest of the UX workshop, then seeing the sights and sounds of Shibuya. It was exactly how I imagined Tokyo would be like and it didn’t disappoint at all. I couldn’t walk down the street without taking pictures every few steps.

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Experiencing the insanity of the Japanese passion for the make believe in Anime and Cosplay in real life via the Robot Restaurant and Harajuku. The Robot restaurant was totally mind blowing. It was a real world anime with every move being better with a bigger and better come back. Honestly nuts and the audience were loving it. I kept saying only in Japan would this work.

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Shibuya crossing I visited about 3 or 4 times at different days and times. Each time it was an experience. I didn’t bring my GoPro but I really could have done with it, to show how many people cross at the same time. I did shoot some stuff on my phone (uploaded to youtube 1st here, 2nd here, 3rd time and 4rd here.) but its not so great. Especially like my video from the mid point. I’m still working out what to do with all those pictures (I have about 120!)

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The many theme parks I visited including Tokyo dome, Nagashima Spa Land and Fuji Q highlands. Thunder dolphin at Tokyo dome was frustrating due to the crazy following of every single safety rule but when I was on, it was surprisingly fast and the drops were pretty epic.

Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima

Steel dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land was the winner of all, having me grab the rails on the first and second drop. After that one time I was back to my usual hands up when the G force wasn’t so great.

Fuji Q highlands

Fuji Q had some great rides but if I hadn’t been on Alton towers smiler I would have enjoyed Takabisha more (which is very similar, understandable knowing the maker)

Riding the bullet train (Shinkansen 新幹線) was quite an experience. At first I thought it wasn’t much faster than most of our trains at full speed. But then it got out of Tokyo and suddenly you can feel the gravity pushing you into the back of your chair. It really shifts!

Tokyo from up high

The Olsen (Japanese Spa) I went to in Tokyo dome was great, yes it was very weird being naked and having to wear their clothes (which didn’t quite fit) when moving to the mix floor. But even with the weird looks from the also naked Japanese business men. I found the whole experience pretty good and I enjoyed it enough that I stayed from about 2230 till 0230! My experience was so rewarding that I’m going to seek out one in the Manchester area and visit at least once every 6 months.

Akihabara, Tokyo

Shopping and browsing in the electric district of  Akihabara. I spent quite a few half days there and it blew me away how big the district really was. I explained it to friends as the size of Manchester’s shopping centre but all electronic markets and shops. I also went looking for Nikon lens (where else better than Japan?) for my aging Nikon D40X DSLR and ended up finding a basement the size of my apartment in Shinjuku, stocked full of second hand lens which ranged in price from cheap (£15) to stupidly insane (£3000+). It was called Chuuko Box, the tip was to go downstairs, this place is a treasure trove! I was so blown away, I decided to duck out and learn more about lens because I was obviously out of my depth – in a way I’ve not experienced in a long time!

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I did Karaoke in Tokyo with Alex and Len after I moved out of my terrible Airbnb. I don’t usually like Karaoke because I don’t know most of the songs and never had much of a singing voice. But singing away while drinking sake after the nightmare I almost had, was such a great relief…  It was of course also great being able to share experiences to date.

As I spent 2 weeks in Tokyo, I also quantified my walking and sleep. Here’s the numbers from my fitbit.

  • Steps: 121,531
  • Daily Average: 14,504 steps
  • Best Day: 18,961 steps
  • Total distance: 86.05 km
  • Daily average: 10.86 km
  • Best day: 17.95 km
  • Total floor climbed:183
  • Daily average: 23 floors

The sleep quantified data is under lock and key but generally I slept less and less over the holiday but I spent more time in deep sleep than REM sleep.

Talking of sleep, it was scary how many people I caught sleeping in public. I assume its something to do with the very work loaded culture.

In other fun quantified numbers…

  • Saw one Shrine
  • One allergic reaction
  • Went up 3 tall buildings/structures in Tokyo
  • Went to 3 theme parks
  • Went on 26 rides. (rode 13 times at Fuji Q Lands, 9 times at Nagashima Spa Land and twice at Tokyo dome)
  • Visited Shibuya crossing four times and crossed it 12 times.
  • Went with 26kg of luggage and came back with 30kg + 11kg
  • Visited the beach
  • Had 9 days of sunshine
  • Hottest day was 32c and coldest was 9c
  • Eat roughly 16 boiled eggs
  • Eat goodness know much meat!
  • Went one weight and came back 2 pounds lighter!
  • Took 989 photos and uploaded only 628 to Flickr.
  • Tracked over 500miles over Japan (difficult to get the exact amount from google)
  • Took 4 taxis
  • Rode the bullet train 4 times

I was wrong on many counts with Japan but I’m happy to see the techno-wonderland I thought it was going to be. There are scary tales of where the technology unchecked will take us.

I will go back to Japan because it is unique and theres so much left to try and do. The culture is insane, lovely and weird all in one massive gulp. I’ll be interested to see what effect the 2020 Olympics has on the Japanese culture, I’d like to check it out a few years beforehand and maybe afterwards. There are some frustrating things and some wonderful, wonderful things. I’m going to watch Lost in translation again real soon…

People who are afraid of death are scared of life

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Disillusioned with the tedium of his existence, psychiatrist Hector (Simon Pegg) confesses to his girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) that he feels he is a fraud for dispensing recommendations to patients who never seem to improve or get any happier. He considers breaking out of his lackluster routine. Summoning up some courage, Hector gives his starved curiosity free rein and embarks on an international quest to find the right formula to bring him joy and vitality

Like About time, this film has a really good film with a core message.

People who are afraid of death are scared of life

With that message in mind, I’ll be experiencing the joys of Japan and hopefully avoiding death.

When not to pay as you go…

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Ziferblat opens on Edge Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, I guess its so new that its not even on the website it seems.

I’ve heard of ziferblat from London. To be honest I’m not big fan of pay as you go services, especially when it comes to things I treat like leisure time.

So why am I not so keen?

I like to relax, I find the idea of paying for time to access a space or time a little upsetting and stressful. Life is busy enough, why put a clock against the time you want to enjoy and remember?

Having a time limit induces a state (trance) which is not consistent with relaxing and pleasure. The kind of things we associate with leisure or social time. How many times have you booked a restaurant and they have given you a set time and you thought that’s fine? To be honest the only places which I know does this and gets away with it is the all you can eat buffet places! 2hrs to stuff you’re face and then walk/roll out. Do you ever feel happy once you come out of these places? I doubt it!

How very apt to compare the all you can eat buffet places to the pay as you go model. I’m not saying ziferblat is necessary a all you can eat buffet, but I would say it could encourage overindulgence and  selfishness.

I mean you are paying by the minute, so better make sure you get what you need. Screw everybody else, where’s my coffee? What I have to wait for the toilet, don’t they know who I am?

Some things take time and time is there to be enjoyed… Some of you will say, ian’s gone off the deep end but I’ll leave you with a quote…

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
Steve Jobs

Poor Si Lumb almost got it in the neck from me… Little reminder about Phoneshop’s view on Pay as you Go!

Learning from nature with biodiversity

Biodiversity

I had attended the Manchester girl geek barcamp (aka BraCamp) on Saturday at MMU. It was well attended and great to see so many people and it really makes me think there is till room for another Manchester BarCamp?

There were a range of good talks and I did a few myself including one about diversity which was a bit of Blaise’s amazing talk from Thinking Digital and my thoughts from Singleblackmale. I thought I didn’t do a good job explaining where I was coming from, but I left enough room for debate afterwards.

I got speaking to Laura Gordon afterwards to see what she thought of the talk, see if I drew enough web between the two (on paper) quite distant subjects. Laura said something so profound that I was scrabbling to write it down in Evernote afterwards.

She basically said, yes… In biodiversity in life/nature/tech is essential. Then proceeded to give examples of what happens when there is little or no biodiversity. One such example was what happens when you get pure bred animals.

I had never really thought about diversity in these terms before, but I was aware of biodiversity however hadn’t linked the two in such a way. Thank you Laura!