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I’ve been taking a leisurely stroll around Blogland again today, having a sneaky peak into other people’s worlds and liking the occasional post that has ‘spoken’ to me. I’ve found some blogs that I will be adding to my recommendations page some time this week… well I like them, so why not? I always ask the blog author / owner / creator/ artistic director (or simply, blogger) if they mind me adding them, not only out of courtesy to them, but to also make a connection with them.

You can never go wrong with good connections.


Although I was watching a programme on TV last night which kind of highlighted connections, and more so subliminal suggestions, in a way where the desired result of the connection was not at all what the person expected. Last night’s TV was devoted to a selection of shows for a particular magician-type-hypnotist. The show was very good, but I have had a slightly disturbed feeling with me ever since I watched it. Not a bad feeling, but more of a cautious one.

The chap I’m referring to is Derren Brown, and one of the shows was ‘The Heist’. He gathered together several business people of different ages and underwent a training programme with them which gave them some tips to improve their thought processes, memory, confidence levels (that type of thing). He was also suggesting prompts to them, by using certain key word triggers, or a particular piece of music, a certain colour that ‘activated’ them to work in a different way. His intention was to see if they would participate in a bank robbery, on their own accord, after going through the training process. Some of the delegates were eliminated along the way, and four remained. On the final day, he told the four they had one last seminar to attend, and a car dropped them off at a certain point in London and they had to walk the rest of the way themselves to this ‘seminar location’. Just around the corner was a parked security van (the ones used for transporting very large amounts of money) and a car was primed to drive past them, playing a certain piece of music loudly. The security van was green, the trigger colour. The music was ‘Can You Feel It’ by The Jackson Five, the trigger music.

During the course of the training sessions, the group had been given other ‘triggers’, easy to remember quotes which became embedded in their subconscious. Each person was also given a toy gun to signify something to each of them – possibly something to do again with the triggers… and they were told to bring their toy guns with them to the latest seminar.

The producers did not know how the event would turn out, but were prepared to show four versions of either nothing happening if that was the case or the events as they happened. Three of the four responded in the intended way, and used their toy guns to take the cash from the security guard who was meant to be loading the van.

The four people did not know this was the real reason for the training sessions, and they were understandably confused when they were met by Derren and a hoard of other people further along the road, after ‘robbing’ all of the money. They were completely de-programmed afterwards, including the one who didn’t take part in the robbery, so any underlying criminal intent had been removed.

It was this that disturbed me. Just how easy it is to be influenced, without even realising that any kind of influence is taking place. I suppose this is hypnotism, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it has got me thinking as to just how much we are being influenced in our thinking by everything that goes on around us.

I saw another of Derren’s shows last year (I think it was) again on TV. This time he was influencing the audience to be stuck in their chairs. The show itself was from within a packed theatre, but this influence also worked over the TV broadcast too. Several people in the audience were not affected, and could stand, but many more could not get up. They could move. They could lean forward as if trying to get up, but their backs would not move away from the back of the chair they were sitting in. Unfortunately for me, I was in the same situation as these and I could not get up from my armchair. I tried many ways to get up, but I was stuck. I could feel the material from the back of the chair moving forward with me, but it would not move away from me (or rather, I from it). I was by myself as well, so thought “Oh, dear” or words to that effect. Luckily, Derren then sent out a deprogramming message and we were all released. That was a strange night.

All in all though, connections are good. I think the triggers are good too – anything that will help me to improve my memory has got to be worthwhile having a look at. I will remember though to be on my guard at the next seminar I attend, just in case I notice flashes of the same colour throughout the course, a powerful piece of music and I’m handed a toy gun. And for some reason I do not think I’ll forget this in a hurry…

Air raid sirens and Monday mornings

Crikey! I’ve just heard the air raid siren sound. I hear it very often at work, and, thankfully, it is shortly followed by the all-clear siren. Today is the first time I have ever heard it in Aquatom mansion. The wind must be blowing in my direction. Which is a little frightening if they needed to sound a real air raid siren and the wind was blowing the other way. I suppose though they will probably turn it up a little so the whole town could hear it if it was needed for real. Which is hopefully never again.

I know it will need to be tested, so it makes sense to test it at a regular time, but I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do if it was real… or even if it was a real test (you know like sometimes in work they test the fire bell, and other times they test the evacuation process) – but I’m sure we would be told well in advance of a real test where we would need to go. At least, I think I’m sure. I’ll probably just have to follow everyone else running randomly around if not. Eek.

Years ago, they used to test the air raid siren at 11 o’clock at night. That used to always worry me. It was always eerie how it could just be heard within the silence of the night.

I think it is strange how some things we hear are eerie, and other things are simply things we hear. Take a school bell – a hand-bell. Ding-a-ding-a-ding-a-ding. Nothing eerie about that, unless you hear one on a Monday morning when there is no school in the area. Even more eerie when you hear children screaming, laughing and playing and then nothing after the bell. The wind must have been blowing in my direction that day too, when I heard it. Do schools use hand-bells nowadays? I thought they were all on the electric alarm bells now. What makes it even more eerie, is that Aquatom mansion is built on the site of an old school. Oooh…

I’ve had a quick look at ‘air raid siren’ on Wikipedia. I was taken to the page for ‘Civil Defense Siren’ and read that the alarm is used as an air raid siren, tornado siren, tsunami siren, fire siren/whistle, flood siren, weather siren, time/curfew siren, or other outdoor warning siren. I think the only reasons why it could be used now, apart from the test, is possibly the fire and flood warning, but every Monday at 10am indicates, thankfully, that it is a test. Or that we may have high tide every week – some parts of the town are prone to flooding. Due to the bizarre weather we experienced toward the end of last year (2010 sounds so old news now, doesn’t it?), the tornado siren could be included now, but it looks nice and still outside. Well, apart from the wind that blew the siren in my direction in the first place. Wind. Eek.

On the subject of air raids, a memory has just popped into my head. I remember looking out of the window in work one day, when a Stealth Bomber flew past, it looked just beyond the building opposite. That wasn’t something we saw every day in the office, and a couple of colleagues were commenting on it. I can’t be one hundred per cent sure, but it may have been on a Monday, at 10am. Oh ‘eck…

But… but…!

It is day two in my challenge to post every day. Day two. Three hundred and sixty three days to go. And my mind is blank. Arrgh! There is nothing in there at all. Nothing. It is completely empty. Hollow in fact. It makes a nice change, to be honest… No! Think about this post…

Yes, I’m aware that I’ve posted today already. That was my normal post. This is my postaday2011 post. I did say that I wanted to post more, and expected to be able to do just that until February at least, and I will. February and beyond. That sounds like the next Buzz Lightyear movie, ‘To February and Beyond!’ It is bound to be a rip-roaring success if ever they make it. If anyone from Hollywood is reading this post, I can do an excellent dashing hero voice if you are short of anyone to play Buzz. Do actors ‘play’ the animated characters they are adding the voices to? Before you say “but, but” and then quickly make up a reason for not hiring me to play the part, I’ve been told that I sound like Brian Blessed at times. Well, once, and that was when I got a little over-excited on a phone call in work. Well, it was the salutation and I wanted to make an impression on the caller.

That has reminded me of my first job, when I worked on the telephones. I developed a really ‘plammy’ accent whenever I answered a call. All of my colleagues were doing it too, it wasn’t only me, so I was just keeping up with the Joneses. Thinking back, I don’t know why we all had these posh telephone voices – we were speaking to local people, so we would have had the same accent as them anyway, but we ‘had’ to speak differently on the phones. We weren’t trained that way, or even asked to do it, we just did. I don’t know if the people who called Directory Enquiries even realised we were doing it either. We do some weird things at times, don’t we? I think I started to tone it down slightly after a couple of years as I started to speak that way in real life.

Accents are funny things too. You wouldn’t think it would be possible to say a word so differently to a person from another town or country, and some, I’m sorry to say don’t even sound like the word should sound. And speaking of countries, I can not speak another language other than English. I can say the odd word in French (avec, moi) but that wouldn’t get me very far if I found myself lost in France. Ooh, another movie – Hollywood, I’ll be no good for this one. I can say a couple of words in German, Welsh and Spanish too, but again I’m appalling. If ever I find myself in conversation with a French, German, Welsh or Spanish person, I find myself speaking in very slow English. That’s fine if they can speak English, but not much good if they can’t. Luckily for me, most can. I mean to say though, if they spoke to me in, say, very slow French, I’d be none the wiser. I remember being in Canada once and I was asking a shop assistant a question, in my slower and not plummy accent. I don’t think she understood me and she spoke English. Accents!

I’ve just found out an interesting fact about the word ‘accent’ though. The Latin version is ad cantus, meaning to (ad) and song (cantus) – which makes sense really. When we speak I suppose we are singing. And no, Hollywood, no amount of money will pay me to sing for you! Voice-overs are one thing, but to ask me to appear in Mamma Mia 2 is taking things just a little bit too far…

Ambling aimlessly

In Thoughts and moving forwards I was working out the types of posts to keep within my blog, and those not to use again. By the end of the post I had decided not to use anything that I would class as a moan. I’d actually decided that at the beginning of the post, and everything else I was going to keep in. I was also thinking about adding some kind of structure within my blog, meaning that I’d add a certain category of post on a Monday, a different one on a Tuesday, and so on. I’ve decided to scrap this idea too. I think sometimes not having a set structure breaks things up a little and allows for more freedom. I have a set day to day structure with work so this dictates the times when I can post, so having the category dictated as well would actually make things a little more difficult for me. Plus I’d possibly have to wait a whole week before I can write about what I wanted to and with the way how my memory works this isn’t a good idea.

At present, though, everything is staying as is. Well, without the moaning.

I’m reading through a lot of blogs to add to my recommendations page – there are thousands of them, and I find lots of them really interesting. Some I have found are very good, but haven’t been updated in a while, so I don’t want to add these, unfortunately. I still visit them, however, and will add them if the author starts to post again, but sometimes we move on to other things. I like different blogs that look at things in different ways. The reason I add a blog to my recommendations page is mainly to go with my Feel Good theme, but also for me to have my links all in one place. I suppose that I could subscribe to the blogs, but I really want to share any good blog that I find with the visitors to my blog. To use a certain advertisement tag-line ‘Life is for sharing’, and this seems as good a way as any. Again with the structure. Do I sort them alphabetically or randomly? In date order or any old way? At the moment they are not in any order at all, but when more get added I will need to look at this again.

The reason for this post? To add a little clarity to the chaos! It may appear that I am ambling aimlessly through my writings and findings, but I’m not. Really, I’m not! I’m ambling aimlessly through most other things that I do – things that I haven’t got a clue with (but I still get them done anyway!) – but this blog is an idea in motion. Like a river it flows. In some places, it flows faster than others. In other places it branches off into little streams. And in other places something stops the flow. Unlike a river, my blog flows in every direction. It can flow through time and space, imagination and reality, rhyme and reason, art and design, and fact and fiction. It is my mind in written form.

Imagine a very long corridor with doors all along each side. The corridor is my mind and the doors are my thoughts. Some doors are more open than others, and others are completely closed. The closed doors hold the secrets and surprises. The open doors allow me to see ideas, memories, dreams and other ‘flashes’ as I amble passed them. I can choose which doors to open or close when I concentrate, but sometimes the doors open or close themselves when I forget or get confused. Now imagine other corridors alongside, above and below this one. Each corridor is connected, so they are still my mind, but sometimes I find myself in two corridors at the same time (you can do things like that in your imagination!), so I’m ‘physically’ in two minds about something when I experience this. And if I am thinking deeply about something, I’m in a corridor way down in the basement somewhere.

Which is where I am now. I was only writing about structure and went completely off track. With a mind like that is it any wonder I can’t have a set structure? No, I’m happy with randomness. Happy makes me feel good. Feeling good is one of the main themes of my blog. A new theme is ‘No fuss’ which was revealed to me last night, so a set structure is also fussy. Randomness is fussless.

So, I’m not ambling aimlessly after all.


I’ve just played a quick game of chess against the computer, and won. I needed to sacrifice a lot of my key pieces in order to win the game, and it got me thinking that perhaps the main aim of the game is still to win, but with the majority of the pieces still in play. I’m not an expert chess player or anything – I just about know which way each piece should move, and I understand the checkmate rule more than the stalemate rule, although in a way they are similar… the king can’t move!

When I had won the game, a thought came to me about the real world, and how much do we really need to ‘win’? And which chess piece would we be in relation to everyone else. Are we a little pawn, or the king or queen? Or maybe we are a rook, knight or bishop… it is difficult to choose, because in the real world so much is going on that we are in fact every piece, although at (possibly) different times.

Sometimes, we need to sacrifice a pawn part of ourselves when we cancel an idea because something of greater importance has come up. At other times, we need to promote our pawn side to a queen to take control of a situation, usually if our main queen side is already dealing with something else. Occasionally, we become a knight and leap over others around us, achieving greater things – but not in a direct route. And sometimes, we sacrifice any one of our pieces by making a wrong move. So I guess that means that the main piece within us all is the king. The king can never be ‘taken’ but can give up. Giving up is a last resort move, and there are always other options to follow before making that decision.

Getting back to the chess world for a minute, I tend to back-track if I make a move I don’t like, and make another move. I can do this against the computer, but usually I find myself in a similar situation again a few moves later. I don’t think it is as easy when in a ‘real’ chess game. Or in real life, for that matter.

The best thing to do when making a mistake in the real world is just to learn from it. Accept that the mistake was made, and move on. Try not to make the same mistake again, but if it happens again, try to learn from it again. That’s the good thing about being human; we are allowed to make mistakes. We just tend to judge ourselves a little too harshly. And others too.

Sacrificing a certain part of ourselves for the greater good is not a bad thing. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to do so to be able to move things forward, but there is no need to sacrifice everything. No need to give up. We just need to weigh up the options and try to cross the board by a different route.

Real life isn’t a chess game, so in that respect it is much better! We still need to use strategy at times to get through certain situations, but we have far more pieces within us than what is on a chess board. We have more pieces to be able to sacrifice if needed. We have more than one king too, so if we do decide to ‘give up’ with one of them, it isn’t the end of the world. We can start again using another king!

The fun part isn’t in the winning, it is in the playing.

Yes, it is good to win, but we can’t win everything, every time. Knowing this makes losing sound a lot easier to take, and if we have fun in the process, it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose… Or draw – end up in stalemate! However things turn out, we have reached the natural end of that particular process. We may have won, we may have learned something, we may think we have made the wrong decision, we may have discovered something new about ourselves, we may have seen something in a new light, we may have given up – but we have had fun in the process up to this point, and that is the important part. Having fun = feeling good. And feeling good = winning anyway, so it doesn’t really matter when you think about it…