Saturday, 31 March 2012

Of Getting on Ya Bike

I've finally got my new bike on the road. It arrived with flat tyres that needed pumping but with no pump. I had two that didn't fit. I borrowed another two. They didn't fit. I ordered another online. It did the job.
The brakes had locked. A colleague helped. I wrestled with the bicycle lock to change the combination from 0000 to something I wouldn't forget. I only half succeeded. I managed to change it from 0000 but to a strange random number that likely I will forget. Most likely when it's chained somewhere far from home and when I need it most.
The bike has about 4,545 gears that I can tell - one for every possible bit of cycling imaginable and many more as well. The handle bars are shaped in a most unusual way. They look part racer part cow horn and if I didn't know better I would think they are inside out and back to front.
The saddle is comfortable though and that's the main thing. Exercise, as we all know, is best done sitting down.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Of Vodka & Death

I was at the last class of the wine tasting last night only we weren't doing wines but spirits. We had to sniff ten different spirits from the glass and guess what they were. I got 4 out of 10 - and that was with a bit of help from my classmate.
What I did learn last night was that home made vodka in Russia kills or poisons around 3,500 people annually. Apparently, the way to tell whether the vodka came from a distillery or someone's bathtub is to light it. A blue flame indicates a pure vodka. A yellow suggest that you should use the rest to help start a fire or run the generator outside for a while.
I was once invited to try a vodka in Poland which claimed to be 97% proof. I was warned if I didn't get my breathing right as I took it down it might kill me. I politely declined a zipped a bottle of an awful beer instead.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Of Good Day Sunshine

It's amazing what effect the first bit of good weather of the year can have on everyone and everything.
The hens are now firing out so many eggs you're lucky if you don't get plastered in them on the way to the hen house. The neighbours yesterday were all out the back by the river picnicking and drinking and behaving like we were all summer of love hippies (perhaps we were?). One of them even came in and danced with me to the Beatles "All you need is love" as I prepared the Sunday dinner.
The convertible cars are all firing round topless with drivers sporting smiles that say "I told you it was worth waiting for".
Best of all the forecast is that this is going to last until Thursday!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Of Saturday Musing Home and Away

It's a gloriously sunny day today and it's a fight to stay in the office. But I'm managing it. Just.
I'm doing two things today. First, a little bit more work on the web site for the Belfast Speakers' Circle. The aim is that if someone in Northern Ireland googles "public speaking Belfast" they get the Circle's web site up first in the ranking.

The next thing I'm doing is trying to locate someone in somewhere like India who would like to run the diaries of staff here in my company via the Internet. It's a job that would require no more than 1 hour's work each week day and would be simple enough. If you think that's you you know what to do and here's where (

Friday, 23 March 2012

Of Mushie over Ushi

We had some visitors in the office today from the local blind association. They had called round to pick up a cheque we had for them after some fund raising we had done.
There was three of them. A blind lady. Her minder and a gorgeous dog called Ushi.
I tried not to go weak and melt but it didn't work out too well for I was soon squatting down to chat to Ushi to shake her paw and let her lick my hands and arms.
What a darling!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Of Public Speaking

I'm gigging again today and indeed come to think of it tomorrow too. By that I mean I'm speaking in front of an audience. Today, I'm relaying "The Legal-Island story" to junior and senior managers at Omnisoft in Bangor. Tomorrow I'm co-delivering a seminar on mediation with a colleague.
I used to dread public speaking and stutter and stammer at school when even reading out a short paragraph in class. Now, I love it.
I'm not sure what changed for me. Perhaps it's the challenge I enjoy of trying to hold the attention of the audience, the challenge to make them laugh, have them think or simply to avoid a mistake I've already made.
Bring it on!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Of Atlas Shrugged

I think I must like pain and punishment. Isn't there a word for that sort of person?
Last year and by that I mean almost all of last year I read War and Peace. Now recovered, I'm embarking on another tome of a book Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shugged".
This is considered by many to be a classic but it's by no means accessible as a book. It's over 1,000 pages long all very small type face too. The person who put me onto it described it as life changing and that for me is a good enough recommendation for a book.
I'm on the train Thursday to Dublin for three hours so let battle Barry against book begin.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Of Blogging Around the World

This Internet thing never fails to amaze me. It's quite incredible what you can do now; things you would never have imagined possible 20 years ago when, apparently, email was invented.
Today, we have a new blogger at Legal-Island : Beata one of our hens. She's being fronted by a professional blogger living in the Kalahari desert in Africa. Yes, that's right. the Kalahari desert Africa. The link to her blog is here. After four blogs a lady in the USA takes over and who knows where we'll go with it after that.
As one of our staff said "I hope it doesn't go to her head". All we need is a diva on our hands!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Of Poor Customer Service

I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood this morning. I had two experiences of poor customer service in the space of six hours yesterday and I'm still trying to let go my annoyance. I wish poor customer service didn't affect like this but it does. There's no excuse for it in today's economy. It annoys me that some entrepreneur has probably risked a whole lot of cash in a business that is being dragged downhill by someone on the front line who doesn't understand the importance of their role and the disrespect they're showing both the customer and their employer. There! Rant over! I feel better!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Of Bloggers of the World Unite

I think I might be onto something. I posted an advert on yesterday for a blogger to blog on behalf of Britney our top hen at Legal-Island. So far the response has been phenomenal. I've had 18 replies many of them pleading to blog for Britney claiming to have kept hens in their youth and to be able to get in the head of a good hen like no-one else can.
I've had all sorts apply from a published writer in India to a practising minister in the USA. We've had a woman in Educador volunteer and language student in Pakistan.
What would be great is if they could all do it. Each would blog for a month then hand over the life and soap story of Britney to another blogger. Britney you may soon be more famous than you could ever  know!

In fact, if you'd like to volunteer to blog for Britney for between 1 week and 4 (twice a week of about 100-200 words) then leave your details below or email me on telling me a little about who and where your are and what country you're from.

More on Britney and the girls can be found here Legal-Island

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Of Musing About Over the Weekend

I've just launched my first Tim Ferris "Muse" which is quite exciting. It's to be found here in its full glory Best Man's Speech. It's been a great learning curvy working out how to twiddle the knobs and levers of Adwords, Weebly and Twitter not to mention getting the most from such sites as Elance and Clickbank.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Of The Girls and the Boys

The girls are back - or at least they're back in action. It's like they've remembered what their purpose is here on earth. It is not to look pretty. It's not to eat Legal-Island out of house and home but to lay eggs. Ok the eggs aren't huge but they're beginning to pop out again after failing to show for a good few months. This means our egg networking can begin in earnest. In other words when a member of the Legal-Island staff goes out to meet someone they take a box of four eggs with them, often with a personalised label on it.
I've always found it quite amusing how each gender differs in terms of their response when given a box of our eggs. Males look at you with a degree of suspicion at first, like you're challenging their sexuality. But eventually they grow to like the gesture and thank you for it. Women on the other hand appear immediately delighted. They open up the box shut it again and shoot of their chair to go and show a colleague.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Of Engelbert Humperdinck and Blatant Ageism

I awoke this morning to the news that Engelbert Humperdinck has been chosen to represent the UK in the Eurovision song contest. And why not? He's got a superb voice and has had more hits than most individuals or groups that have entered the competition over the many decades that it has been running. I've yet to hear a radio report that doesn't mention his age and many have been either patronizing or damn right ageist.
Google the Susan Boyle video of her debut on "Britain's Got Talent" and the first thing you hear is Simon Cowel demanding to know "what's your age luv" (ageist and sexist in four words - now that takes some beating). Watch "Weakest link" and the first thing contestants are required to do is state how old they are.

Wasn't age discrimination outlawed a good while ago? We're clearly still obsessed with age or at least youth. Now there's something to sing about Engelbert.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Of Quality, Quality, Quality

One of Legal-Island's mottos is Quality, Quality, Quality for that is what we promise and try to deliver on, every time. But we also enjoy quality when we come across it and I did on Tuesday this week. Allow me to share if I may and in no particular order :.
Quality Product One - a first class marketing seminar delivered by Grant Leboff  in London - well done to the guy.
Quality Product Two - Desert Island Discs interview by Kirsty Walk of Brian Moore. That's Brian Moore the English front row forward and star thug who confessed to being both an opera buff and a fully qualified nail technician. Fascinating interview.
Quality Product Three - another Kirsty Walk interview. This time with Lord Prescott who gave some great accounts of his time mediating between two men he described as highly intelligent and able : Blair and Brown.
A more down to earth tell-it-as-you-see it type of guy you're unlikely to meet.
Quality Product Four - yes you've guessed it another Kirsty interview (it was a long flight and train journey and my Ipod kept me sane) this time with Clive Stafford Smith the English lawyer who has defended over 500 people on death row. People have always questioned this guy's motive for doing what he does but I haven't. He found a calling and followed it. His account of how he walks with his clients into the death chamber and says good bye is very moving.
Quality Product Five - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I never understood the fuss about this book at school. Re-reading it now and I can't fuss about it enough.Introducing one of her characters she says of the lovely Diana "Diana had a voice toned, to my ear like the cooing of a dove". People don't write like that any more.

Sometimes life feels good just because of the quality of what you see, read, taste, hear or experience.And to all of those above I thank you.