Monthly Archives: November 2011

Man Bites Dog

This headline may have brought you here, but I want it to make you stop and read further for it is as true as the day is day and the night is night.

 

“Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things … well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds … Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.” – Terry Pratchett Through The Character. Lord Vetinari from his The Truth: A Novel of Discworld.

What does this mean, are we all really so pre-programmed, YES we are. This is a further thought to a post a made some time ago called Ideaological Amplification. It’s part of a line of thought known as Confirmation Bias, or rather how we as humans construct evidence, regardless of fact or fiction to reinforce our ideas.
A little food for thought for you.

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Want a holiday in Cornwall?

Of course you fancy a FREE holiday, or maybe a friend of yours does?

Either way some friends of mine have a really neat competition running where you suggest a dish to cook for their Cornish MasterChef Cookoff!

The winner gets to stay in a converted Coach-House near St Ives. Found at the end of a private drive in the centre of an Elizabethan estate, Lanyon Holiday Cottages offer a real taste of traditional luxury with a modern twist.

Piece of cake (excuse the pun) to enter, pop along and have a butchers.

Weekend Breaks Cornwall

Where did “Piss Poor” come from?

I thought you might enjoy this, it’s copied and pasted from an email my Father sent.

Where did “Piss Poor” come from?

Interesting History.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery… if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”. But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot… they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest of the low. The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500s

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.

Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme:

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”.
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status.Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust. Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom; “of holding a wake”.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be,“saved by the bell” or was “considered a dead ringer”.

And that’s the truth. Now, whoever said History was boring!!!
So get out there and educate someone! ~~~
Share these facts with a friend.
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,
‘What the heck happened?’

We’ll be friends until we are old and senile.
Then we’ll be new friends.
“Smile”, it gives your face something to do!

Can Virtual Assistants Make Sausage Rolls

So I’ve been asking twitter about virtual assistants, the type of people who work remotely on very specific tasks that take away the pain. Perhaps I jest when I say pain, though I’m not sure I do really. When you’re juggling multiple projects it really does make sense to call on additional help in order to free up precious time. I have used VAs on a variety of projects and when you think about it it makes a great deal of sense. It makes sense for a number of reasons the main ones really are that you get some specialism along with a guaranteed output specific to your brief at your deadline.

I really do believe that as a business grows it is fundamentally important that you can begin to delegate the technical aspects of particular roles and this is where I find the VAs very useful. So I’m not talking about a virtual assistant that processes all of my communications, emails and handles telephone calls.

No, what I’m talking about is outsourcing very specific tasks. Tasks that can be done remotely by somebody other than myself, and most importantly, at a lower cost than my own consultancy time.

Let’s say that my business is making sausage rolls, of course it isn’t, but let’s use that as an example. For me to run a successful sausage roll making business I need to start by making delicious sausage rolls. I also need to make sure I can market my sausage rolls, have quality assurance in place, actually sell them to people and somehow package them. I’d also need to be able to do the accounts and ensure that my premises is clean and tidy and serviceable. So once I know how to do all of the specific tasks I can find an employee for each specific task. A maker, a seller, a cleaner, an accountant etc. The point is that once I know what the actual task is I can simply find somebody suitable for that very specific task.

Of course in a bricks and mortar business like sausage roll making this is called employing people. In the virtual world, which is where my business operates, I can utilise virtual assistants, or if you like, outsourced employees.

I mean this isn’t rocket science, I’ve been using outsourced experts for many years and my choice usually comes down to a few key things.

1. Cost (Mumbai is cheaper than London, Boston may also be)
2. Efficiency (if I’m paying for 1 hour of work I expect quite a lot of return for that)
3. Ability to understand my brief without unnecessary thinking on their part (this is what I need please do it in the time I set you) – take a taxi driver, I want to go from A to B – don’t take me to C.
4. Have superior skills to my own -more efficient than me at this task and in many cases have skills I do not process.

These are my four key elements and when VAs have those items covered they usually get my repeat business.

What about you, do you use VAs? Maybe you are one?

Either way post a comment, or share the post.

Studio Recording Engineer Forum Reopens

Great news for all my audio related friends! I’ve reopened my studio recording engineer forum with a brand spanking new version of Vbulletin. The forum itself has been around since about 2003 in one form or another, in fact there are thousands of old posts which have now been archived.

The old recording engineer forum was running on phpbb, but in recent months this became a real spam magnet, so something had to give.

I’m absolutely delighted we can now carry on with his beautiful interface and encourage new members and old alike to partake in this great community.

All you have to do to register is pop along to studio recording engineer dot com, create an account, and then just wait a wee while for your account to be moderated.

Why does your account need to be moderated? Well simply put, in order for the spam monkies to be disheartened and to not bother due to inefficiency, we need to make it very difficult for them to spam. Therefore moderating all new accounts ensures that the idiots are left out of the party.

Now can I ask you a favour? Could you share this post with any of your friends that might be interested in music production, studios, making music, recording music, music technology, producers or audio engineering? I’d really appreciate it.

Well, I hope to see you in the forums, all the best for now.