QUICK READ – Who moved my cheese – Dr Spencer Johnson

We’ve a new starter at work (seems lovely) and during the whole ‘getting to know you’ chat she asked me ‘which mouse are you?’.

And then stared at me expectantly. Like it was a perfectly normal question.

From my entirely blank expression, she breifly explained that it was a book about decisions that you could read in a half hour then could change my – …and didn’t get much further due to work and all that.

The following day, I arrived in to find the above book on my desk with a note – ‘Read this and let me know which mouse you are!’

BLURB (from Amazon)

It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organisation you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem is that the cheese keeps moving.

In the story, the characters are faced with unexpected change in their search for the cheese. One of them eventually deals with change successfully and writes what he has learned on the maze walls for you to discover. You’ll learn how to anticipate, adapt to and enjoy change and be ready to change quickly whenever you need to.

Discover the secret of the writing on the wall for yourself and enjoy less stress and more success in your work and life. Written for all ages, this story takes less than an hour to read, but its unique insights will last a lifetime.

This is a very quick read – a simple analogous story that focuses not on how you feel about any given decision, but on how you react to changes.

The Cheese is any desirable state – whether work or personal life – and in this story, it has been moved.

There are 4 characters – two mice – Sniffy and Scurry – and two little people – Hem and Haw. Each demonstrate an aspect of our decision making process and reaction to change. The mice are non-judgmental and adaptable and quickly seek out ‘new’ cheese. While the little people are more analytic – with their lives and personalities derived from ‘the cheese’ – therefore they react far more emotively and more slowly – if at all – to the event that has created a moment of change.

So which  mouse am I? Well…as you might have guessed…I’m all of them!

In (aspects of) my work life, I tend to be the mice – sniff out change then make it happen, not tied down to any particular system or protocol.

In my personal life, however, I’m far more likely to Hem and Haw. I have been far slower to recognise that change is inevitable and that attempting to cling to old cheese rather than embracing a new way  will only hold me back and hurt me.

While I completely appreciate that this story isn’t for everyone – and in a few cases will likely get people’s backs up – I am pleased to add this into my mental repertoire. Hopefully being aware of my own responses to change will allow me to navigate life and evaluate change a little more effectively.


NOW READING – No one is too small to make a difference – Greta Thunberg

Just finished this micro book, with a big message.

Which is that we need to act now, to effect the necessary changes to prevent a global catastrophe.

Great Thunberg has become the unexpected spokesperson of the Climate Change movement. She is 16 years old, from Sweden and adamant that ‘our house is on fire and we need to panic’. By panic, she means react.

This short collection of speeches places great emphasis on our capacity to effect great change…but only once we decide to.

And Ms Thunberg is becoming increasingly stressed by the current political failure to focus on climate change, instead wasting our limited time and resources arguing whether racist language denotes racism or the merits or lack thereof regarding Brexit.

As someone who wastes far too much time and energy on both, I heartily agree.

This is a call to action, but not a prescriptive list. I’m with Greta, we need to change. I need to change.

And I guess I need to start reading up on the science to figure out how exactly. But I need to start soon.

Greta Thunberg Ted Talk


BLOG – A visit fromWatcher Mark!

My convention buddy and occasional podcast co host @WatcherMark popped down for a flying visit on Saturday.

Us in 2014, photo by Grant Gowdy

It’s been a few months since we last met up in Durham, so we’d a ton to catch up on & I couldn’t wait to show him my little house.

You can imagine my consternation when the first message I received from him was

We have a problem. This bus driver has reversed the bus I was getting in onto a railing and smashed the back corner so everything is held up.

Thankfully, the delay was only for an hour and we used the time wisely, to plot our 8 hours together.

First – a cup of tea. Duh. I’ve lived here long enough to know that.

Second – a swim at the Hilton leisure centre (other pools are available).

As Mark and I are both water babies – discovered during a convention in Birmingham a few years ago – we’ve tried to incorporate a swim into our meet ups ever since.

Also, Mark was testing out his waterproof camera.

A lot! 😂

Third – grub at the Geek Retreat Cafe. There was an event on, so the place was buzzing and the atmosphere was terrific. The food was less exciting (though Mark’s hotdog made it onto Instagram!) but did the job.

And I learned what yu-gi-oh is.

Forth – and go forth we did, back to mine, via the works for me to pick up Harry Potter trivial pursuit.

Which we then played.

As a drinking game.

With a bit of ‘truth or truth’ thrown in. (Neither of us were prepared to move so dares were out of the question!)

It was tremendous fun but what was revealed is never to be revealed 😂😂😂

Before hopping onto the bus to head back to the coach station.

Can’t wait to hang out again soon!

Oh and next time I’ll get round to actually showing Mark the house!

SONGS – haven’t I heard you somewhere before?

Taylor Swift’s latest song owes quite a lot to Lorde’s Royals, to my ears anyway…

You need to calm down

And Royals

WALK – Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

This evening I typed ‘parks’ into my map app and discovered a hidden gem right on my doorstop (well…up the canal).

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BOOKS – Non Fiction (but I wish they were!)

I’ve been reading a bit more non-fiction books across the book clubs in the last few months (to be fair, 2 of them were my suggestions!).

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LBC White Swan is tonight 👍

Looking forward to donning my @LeedsBookClub cap this evening.

Am meeting up with the #LBCWSwan crew to discuss Canongate Myth book The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino.

Equally thrilled that I’ll have a bestie from home with me. Huzzah!

(Still feeling guilty that my other Irish friend who joined us at book club last year had done the reading…but I hadn’t! 😱)

The saga of Mrs Thom

Posted on Twitter this morning were a half dozen variations of the following:

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MUSIC – Current TV Theme Songs 

As a bit of TV nerd, I’ve written before about my love of soundtracks – in particular theme songs (see various Playlist pages if you don’t believe me!) – previously. Personally, I find the un-theme of Supernatural – Carry On Wayward Sons by Kansas – to be one of the most effective defacto TV theme songs EVER. I’ve even blogged on some seriously dodgy soundtracks just because they thematically tickled me – Stalker – take a bow!  Recently,  I’ve been blown away by the brilliance of the music utilised in Fargo (especially season 2), Justified and Sense8.

So naturally, I’ve purchased some of those ‘music from TV’ cd’s and found myself disappointed at how dated they all are. No Orphan Black, Game of Thrones or Utopia (not a huge fan of electronic/house/dance/whatever that was but it was a REALLY effective soundtrack!) – in fact the most recent additions are usually Dawson’s Creek and Ally McBeal; which – no offence to the respective artists involved – hark back to my school days and are therefore more antique than cassettes*

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VIDEO – Horny Robot

Apologies for poor light. 

The original video of a Balancing Robot…balancing on a lap

A ‘sexy’ edit by my friend Mark L (you’ll need sound)