Preparing for parental sleep-deprivation

Buzzfeed rounds up how horrible being sleep-deprived is for you:

When you get consistently bad sleep, your brain suffers. You can experience impaired learning ability, poor judgment, emotional problems, poor motor skills, and more, Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, tells BuzzFeed Life.

Yikes. That’ll be fun in a few months. It brings back memories of how uh, confused, I got back in 2012. Luckily, io9 has a guide to good napping:

Not all naps are created equal. Some naps have been shown to rejuvenate where others boost creativity. What’s more, when you nap can be as important as how you nap. Here’s how to nap like a professional, nap-taking machine. Here’s how to nap like you MEAN IT.


Sometimes you just have to start writing.

I’ve barely written for over a week now. My blog(s) lie fallow, writing project are stalled – and I’m frustrated. Sure, I’ve had a serious amount of admin and organising to do – and plenty of student contact time. I could say that I have writers’ block – but that would be a lie. I don’t really believe in writers’ block as an idea. It’s just procrastination or distraction wearing  fancy suit and showing off its delusions of grandeur. I just haven’t been writing.

But I need to write. I need to blog. So, this morning, I’ve set aside the whole morning to just do writing tasks. Admin can wait until later. For now, I need to just start writing things.

And this is a start.

Into the Auto-Awesome Woods

The woods above La Taupanne
The way through the woods

I’m not long back from a week’s extended family holiday in France, at a lovely chateau available at very reasonable rates*.

Poking around in Google+ on my return, I found it’s done some interesting things with some of my photos from the trip. Google+ Photos adds “Auto-Awesome” effects to photos uploaded there, and your phone can be set to automatically upload images. The results can be unexpected, to say the very least, but this once, they’re beautifully atmospheric…

*I may be biased – I know the owners very well… 🙂

Summer’s start on the Beach

Summer finally hit the south coast over the weekend, and I was fortunate enough to spend a good section of my three day weekend with my daughter on the beach. Friday was a quiet day, as you might expect, with Hazel enjoying exploring the abundant plant life that grows on Shoreham Beach’s rare shingle habitat.

By Sunday, the little one was quite surprised when she toddled onto the beach. She’s used to us having it largely to ourselves, bar a few dog walkers (“doggies!”), and the beach, while not packed, was certainly busy. Quite a few of the visitors had decided to take advantage of the weather by stripping off to shorts to swimwear, which led to a lot of pointing and cries of “rudie nudie!” from the little one. Toddlers lack social graces, it appears.

Still, an idyllic couple of hours, exploring the Beach, throwing pebbles into the water and watching the boats go by. While pointing out the “rudie nudies”, of course.

Nostalgia, saturation and digital photography

Two walkers in the hills near Hay-on-Wye
On a long, long trek, a long, long time ago

One of my projects this year has been to get on top of my digital photograph archive. Up until recently, it was across several libraries on different computers. I’ve been busy consolidating and de-duping those libraries, and the properly processing all the photos within.

Right now, I’m working through 2002, my first full year of digital photography. I’m really enjoying two things: culling the photos down to a tight selection, and improving them with modern technology.

The culling just makes for better albums. You look through, and photos which seemed so important at the time, clearly don’t work with a decade’s distance. Chucking them away makes what’s left stand out so much better. But it’s the latter – bringing new tech to bear on old images – that’s really making things fly. It’s become clear that the Minolta digital impact I was using back then fairly consistently undersaturated the images. That, along with some careful exposure work, is making images which I thought fairly average really come to life, despite the low resolution by today’s standards. Here’s another example:

The hills above Hay-on-Wye in 2002

Nothing earth-shattering, but pretty impressive for a digital camera that’s 13 years out of date by today’s technology.

The shots are from a walk in the hills around Hay-on-Wye that Lorna and I embarked on with the London Mountaineering Club back in 2002. It was both a wonderful and disastrous weekend. Wonderful because the weather was great, the scenery stunning and the company great. Disastrous because the the organisers were rather too ambitious. Three of us sensed we wouldn’t make the entire route – so turned around at the lunch break – while the rest eventually ends dup calling us for a pick-up to get them home.

But it was still one hell of a walk.

Walkers on a bridleway in Herefordshire

We never managed to go on another walk with the club, which I regret to this day. But it’s lovely rediscovering these images after over a decade, with the pain and exhaustion long forgotten. It makes me itchy to put my walking boots back on…