Blogcast Episode 1: Starting a Podcast (with Anchor)

My first full-length podcast has just gone live on Anchor (and, subject to distribution times, tonight or tomorrow on iTunes and Google Play)! And, as soon as Anchor’s embed feature gets whitelisted by WordPress (or I discover an alternative way to embed my audio without uploading it to both sites separately), will be posted straight here so you can listen from within an associated post (which would be perfect for discussing photos in future shows, for example).

Anyway for now please hit one of the above links to listen to me discuss, as meta as it may be, the process of starting one’s own podcast or web radio show, and the benefits and downsides of using anchor.fm’s services. Of course, I’m far from an expert on the topic, but hope to help out people who, like myself, would enjoy dipping their feet into the world of podcasting and have a little fun with it.

Feel free to share your own methods and podcasts in the comments, drop me a line either here or on anchor to suggest improvements, topics for future shows, or just to say hi, and if you enjoy it please do follow my show on Anchor and subscribe to the podcast through your distributor of choice!

See you next time,

X.

 

 

Vegan-friendly hunting

Not long ago I found myself sitting in the reception of a police station in Scotland, nervously awaiting a criminal intelligence analyst job interview. A poster on the wall depicting a man with empty hands raised as if shooting, demanding people either apply for an airgun license or surrender their weapons caught my eye. It turns out that as of the very last day of last year, air weapon law has changed north of the border, and even simple possession of an air rifle (which in England can be legally used by an unsupervised fourteen year old on private land) could potentially put you behind bars.

Seeing this poster reminded me that an air rifle of my own, bought fairly impulsively by sixteen year-old me (and scarcely touched since), lay stowed away in a corner of my bedroom in my dad’s house. Now, back in the south, I thought I’d dust the old thing off and see if it works at all with a little target shooting:

Turns out it does. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting such a powerful discharge for something I remember thinking of as a toy when I first bought it nearly a decade ago; I had walked into a local shop and asked for something cheap and cheerful for precisely what I did today: shooting targets in my garden (a practice which came to be known as “vegan-friendly hunting”), as an alternative to darts, which my friends and I had been obsessively playing at the time. And while the craze for target-based games passed fairly quickly, we had a lot of fun with it back in the day.

I have never aimed a weapon of any description at a living thing, so I have absolutely no idea the potential for damage or injury that a gun like mine presents, but having seen it tear through both sides of a can and into the plank behind it, I wouldn’t much fancy being on the receiving end of a shot. I have really enjoyed a little target practice (as I did together with my dad this afternoon), but also understand the Scottish authorities’ desire to limit the availability of such items to youngsters who may not appreciate the damage they could cause. Either way, today was both an eye-opener and a spot of light fun (with a healthy dose of nostalgia), but now the gun lies back under the wardrobe, likely to be forgotten once again (particularly if work calls me to Scotland…).

Truthfully, more than likely due to having grown up in the UK, firearms very rarely come to my attention, save the odd (usually negative) news article, so I would love to hear your opinions on the topic in the comments below (though please exercise restraint and respect for the opinions of others)!

X.

Everything You Thought blog! (What’s the deal?)

Just under a year ago I decided to take the plunge and jump head first into blogging. I set up a blog because I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading blogs, and for a couple of months I posted daily (if you want a trip down memory lane, check it out). I started out writing about whatever had gone on that day, how I was feeling, or what was on my mind, and I loved it. At first.

I fell into a new job, which despite seeming promising as I sat with contract before me (not my dream job, but putting that BSc to good use and paying as well as someone freshly graduated could possibly ask for), presented long and thankless working days, expectated to work far beyond the contracted hours for no overtime pay, beside tired and grumpy colleagues living in constant terror of being fired. I was back living between my parents’ homes in the town all my closest friends have left (it’s too expensive to live in on a starting salary, so unless you’re happy living at home you’ve got to fly the nest). I became exhausted and demoralised. It became increasingly difficult to find something new to write about every day as I had when I started (my intention was to write a “daily vlog” – yes, I love watching those on youtube – style blog). This only served to make me aware that I was working more and more, and living less and less. Things got in the way and I’d miss a post, then have to write two the next day. It became stressful. It sucked.

I now find myself, around a year later, in a similar position, but this time I’m doing it right: I’ve recently been through some selection interviews and am hoping to start a new job, but I’ve taken my time applying to hundreds of dream jobs, ones could imagine enjoying and would like to try (no more taking any old thing), and only in locations I’d like to live; and I really want to blog again, but am setting realistic goals this time and have a focus in mind this time (I’m not doing anyone else’s shtik, but my own thing). I still love listening to and making music, taking photos, watching movies, reading, exploring, skateboarding, but a lot has changed, too. I’ve taken time to travel, spending the last four months abroad taking photos and giving myself a real holiday; I’ve taken the time to visit and catch up with my extended family and some old friends living abroad, many of whom I hadn’t seen for years; and I’ve finally knuckled down and polished off my debut EP, going ahead and releasing it independently earlier this summer (more about that later).

My plan for the blog is to focus on the things I love the most: music, photography, film, skateboarding, and science. This isn’t to say I won’t talk about anything else, but most things in my life relate to one of these five topics in one way or another. My plan is to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, plus an audio podcast on Saturdays. This should permit me the time to produce quality posts even once I’m working full-time again, and to avoid falling into the trap of trying to think of something completely new to write about each day.

So, I’m back, and here to stay!
See you on Wednesday,

X.

The “Everything You Thought blog show” (Podcast)!

I have decided to venture into the world of audio podcasting as an extension to the posts I will be writing here, so give me a listen, get involved (leave a comment!), and get to know me!

Find episodes here:
https://anchor.fm/everythingyouthought

here:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-eyt-blog-show/id1288753571?mt=2

or here:
https://play.google.com/music/m/Ier2mb7nzj4n7ykz5vdo5l34ttu?t%3DThe_EYT_Blog_Show%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-a 

Until next time!

X.

Sevilla tiene un color especial…

Whilst I wait for my film photos to be developed (I love shooting analogue 120 film), here are twelve quick iPhone pictures from yesterday with Gloria in Seville.

I love taking my time with my film shots to find a moment, sight, or ambiance I want to capture, taking care not to waste any of the 12 photos I get out of each film. Yet sometimes it can be nice to sit and look through the photos I have captured that day on my phone; spontaneous, unplanned, and authentic. The moment is what counts, not the framing or composition.

Therefore it seems natural and fitting to present these photos description-less, unedited, and raw. Enjoy.

Fixing my smile.

My pearly whites, actually looking white…
I’ve been very lucky with my teeth so far in my life: no braces or retainers, no fillings, and – save for one small chip on the edge of my right maxillary (or “top”) central incisor – no tooth-related injuries to speak of!

The only thing I’ve ever been less satisfied with is the whiteness of my teeth; some had become yellowed (I blame my fondness for coffee), and others had what I supposed (correctly) was slight plaque buildup between teeth and leaving some hardly noticeable – yet unsightly – streaking. Therefore when Gloria told me she could help me get an appointment for professional tooth cleaning with her hometown’s best dentist, I jumped at the opportunity!

Here in Spain to become a dentist you used to have to first complete a medical degree, before specialising in dentistry (impressive, right?), and so their family dentist studied alongside Gloria’s father (who went on to become a GP). As a result, when Gloria’s mum called him the day we arrived I was given an appointment for the next day.

The experience of having my teeth cleaned was entirely new for me, having had nothing more than general tooth health check ups done before (and too long ago at that). After some questions about my general health (in case I’d need antibiotics), I was told to rinse my mouth with a disinfectant and anaesthetic mixture, leaving my mouth feeling completely numb; my tongue feeling particularly strange (I will admit that the sensation unsettled me a little at first). Next, the dentist took a look at my teeth and told me that they, aside from the aforementioned cosmetic complaints, were looking nice and healthy.

Then the clean itself began. First plaque was removed from between the teeth and my gums, and between the teeth themselves, with a drill, before polishing and cleaning with a rough paste, and ultimately flossing, following which I was told to rinse and saw my new smile for the first time. Whiter, smoother, and “gappier” (I suppose the plaque buildup was worse than I’d thought, as particularly my bottom teeth were left with gaps larger than I thought they were) than they have looked for a very long time.

All in all, the experience was quick (about an hour in total), comfortable, and completely pain free, but most importantly of all my teeth look and feel amazing. Plus, I was charged mate’s rates, which is always a positive…

X.

Flight or flight.


It turns out the key to enjoying a flight (for me anyway) may be as simple as not fighting it…

As I write this, I am sitting in seat 18b of a Boeing 737-800, beginning our descent somewhere over the south of Spain, and despite all expectations, I am feeling fine. No, in actual fact I am feeling good. I am enjoying the flight, the views, and Gloria’s company (even if she appears a little less keen on the descent than I am).

I will not pretend I haven’t had a stressful morning, or that I was comfortable during takeoff – undoubtedly my least favourite part – or the majority of the flight, but for the first time in a long time I find myself excitedly peering out of a plane window at the lands below.

Early on in the flight I found myself unable to relax, my every sense sensitive to any change, my heart stopping at every noise, every movement. We’ve above the clouds, the seat belt signs are off, hostesses are going about their work as if they were waitresses in a bar; I begin to relax. Turbulence.

I reach for Gloria’s hand and turn to face her, wide eyed, adrenaline beginning to rush throughout my system. She then says:

“Shut your eyes and imagine you’re on a train. Feel like much movement now?”

And she is absolutely right, on a train this wouldn’t be cause for concern, perhaps reaching for a handle if standing, but nothing more. The fear starts to fade, and I think of my destination and the adventures ahead… I can’t believe what I’m feeling: excitement.

And so, the man who previously couldn’t sleep because closing his eyes made him too aware of movement (and scared of missing a sign of danger like smoke or flames, despite being powerless to stop either), found that by doing precisely that he could relax.

And he’s even relaxed enough to write!

X.

Airplane!

 

My next adventure is taking shape! But before I can let myself fully slip into adventure mode, I have to tackle undoubtedly my least favourite part of any trip: flying.

On paper, I am a seasoned traveller and no stranger to the phenomenon that is aviation. Throughout my life, I have clocked up an enormous number of hours above the clouds (often pushing three digits in a single year). I have though, unfortunately, spent a significantly greater number of hours fretting about this facet of journeying.

Flying is the safest form of travel. We’ve all read the statistics – or anyone also afflicted by a nervous disposition when confronted by air travel likely has, anyway – and if you haven’t… But fears don’t need to be rational. And for this reason, no amount of flying or number of comforting statistics has ever totally eased my nerves (although both undoubtedly help).

Lucky for us aviophobes, it is by no means a rare or embarrassing fear (just have a look at the number of famous actors, musicians, athletes, business people, and even world leaders who have openly – undoubtedly a tiny fraction of the total – discussed their fear of flying if you don’t believe me). This is truly a blessing; nothing is worse than suffering in silence. If fact, writing this in itself helps me process my thoughts and rationalise my fears.

Unfortunately I have no real solutions to offer you, but one thing I’d recommend to anyone is to never let your fears control you. Unless I am actually on a plane (where ironically I tend to relax a little, until I- “What was that noise?” “Why did the plane move like that?” etc…) I have only a toxic way of thinking to blame for my anxieties; I often let myself obsess over the process of flying itself, instead of the adventures to come, the reasons I am flying in the first place, and the fact that I am fortunate enough to have both the freedom and means to afford the luxury of travel at all. Ultimately, I suppose the truth of the matter is that for flying to genuinely be of such concern to me, I must have it pretty good.

And with these things in mind I start to relax, and look forward to touching down in Malaga tomorrow after a brief 3 hour flight from London.

Anyway, got to go: I’ve got a bag to pack.

X.

One way adventure (España)!


As a dual national (British and Spanish), I have spent a lot of time travelling to and from Spain. Most of the time, my base during these trips is with family and friends in Sabadell (my mother’s hometown), some 20km from Barcelona. As a result, my adventures have focused largely (but not entirely) in and around Catalunya, and more generally the North-East of the country.

Around a month ago I renewed my Spanish passport at the consulate in London, and it occurred to me that I have never obtained my DNI, the Spanish national identity card. It isn’t essential, and as far as I am aware does nothing that my passport cannot (and in fact, living in the UK as I currently do, can likely do significantly less), but is a more practical size than lugging around a passport and so I figured was probably worth having. I obtained all the forms necessary (all of which bear expiry dates, and one of which can only be obtained once), only to discover that the card itself can only be issued in Spain. Upon explaining this to Gloria, she immediately suggested we head out together and make a holiday out of it!

This trip will be very special for me, as we will be heading to Andalucia (in the very south of the country), her home region (and one I have fond, but distant, memories of visiting many years ago). In addition to the procurement of my DNI, we have planned to visit: Cordoba, Sevilla, Malaga, and many of the surrounding towns and villages. As we’ll be staying with G’s family and have access to a car we’re happy to turn down our planning and turn up the adventure! In fact, our plans are so open that today when booking our flight there, we decided not to book our return leg yet!

And so, in under 48 hours, I’ll be in the sky flying out, one way, to my next adventure… And whilst for now I may know little about what exactly lies in wait on this trip, what I do know is that an adventure it will be.

X.