The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Fife Ness, Scotland

An update my friends is long overdue!  I am currently editing a vlog on my recent trip to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.  I was fortunate to be able to do the North Harris Snorkel trail while on a holiday with the Perth British Sub Aqua Club.  We had a fantastic time, the weather was 15 degrees with a mixture of sunshine and rain most days.

I have submitted an article to the British Sub Aqua Magazine with photos and that should be printed in  a future publication.

I continue to enjoy using my new found format – the Olympus Pen and have been enjoying doing some Monotone Street Photography with the Kinross Camera Club.  It’s great to get out into the Scottish countryside or coastal areas and take photos with other enthusiasts.  I also enjoy doing macro photography of flowers and insects I find in the Fife and Lothians areas.

The Kinross Show will be on next month and I’m looking forward to getting some shots of the Vintage Tractors with the Pen.  So, rather than rattle on about the Harris trip, I’ll upload the video(s) when edited shortly.  Watch this space!!

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Edinburgh Glamour Nights

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The Golden Era of Edinburgh’s most glamorous Business Networking nights seems like a distant memoir.  Classy venues such as Bonhams, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Divino Enotica, Gusti, Hotel Du Vin, The Old Waverley are to name just a few of the night spots where Edinburgh’s most stylish clientele did the Business.

Two ladies ran the glamour roost in my opinion – Fiona and Gordana.  I did some of the photos for their events to help promote what they were doing and I even managed to gain some clients myself.

Taking the photographs didn’t feel like work, more fun and a chance to socialise with a variety of people from diverse business’s and backgrounds.  With these events there was no entry fee, you just payed for your drinks and the networking was up to you.  At many of these events drinks and nibbles were provided free of charge by the venue hosts.

Fond memories indeed.  These events happened in the  early millennial era and now that it’s 2019, they seem so distant.  I now network in rural Kinross-shire – early mornings!!  A different networking experience altogether – our venue is Loch Leven’s Larder and once the sun is above the horizon, you’ll hear cocks crowing, tractors happily plough the fields while your doing your 60 second elevator pitch.

The business breakfast networking is organised by the Kinross-shire  Partnership and for a small fee you receive a hearty cooked breakfast with tea coffee and orange juice.  I of course supply photos for the business section of the Kinross Newsletter glossy magazine.

Event’s photography is one of my favourite types of job, there’s usually a positive atmosphere in the room.  Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city  and so you get to meet such interesting people from all different parts of the globe.  Kinross is central Scotland and you never know who you’ll bump into in this secret beauty spot.

But what of the golden era of Edinburgh’s Classy Business Networking Night scene? Who knows, maybe a revival is in the pipleline?! Maybe glamour Networking will be resurrected!!

Mine’s a Martini on the rocks, shaken not stirred…..

Killer Products

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This Plastic is Killing our Sea Wildlife!!

You may mistakenly think that the above title is about amazing products however you couldn’t be further from the truth.

Investigative Journalism is my favourite form of work and the following blog has been inspired by reading the book Thanks for the Memories by Brice Taylor.  I paid £140 for this book which is possibly the most expensive book I’ll ever buy.  A copy of this book is now available on Amazon for $1300!!  The information in the book is explosive.

The following blog is not particularly on the above book but is related, and all the information is in the public domain.   It is a blog on the subject of health and wellbeing which was recently blocked from being published by a local journal, the editor being afraid of being sued!!  

I also write about this as I have personal experience of a run in with secret societies with regard to their media industry which is very much controlled, full of occult symbols in movies and pop videos galore.  At the young age of only 26 (1996) I had researched and written a synopsis for a movie script on the Story of St Joan of Arc and her body guard, and made the mistake of handing a copy to a member of an esoteric society I was a member of.  Before I knew it, the movie appeared on the big screen, directed by no other than the famous Luc Besson, starring his x wife Milla Jovovich, A list actors Dustin Hoffman (who Played St Michael) and French actor Vincent Cassells.  

I watched the movie in horror during its release in a French Cinema in Northern France, my mouth gaping open as my plot that had been in my original manuscript manifested before my very eyes.  The chances of myself and Luc Besson having exactly the same ideas??  Not possible, unless there’s some form of universal telepathic system in place – and which by the way, I don’t believe in ESP – I enjoy reading books by the Great James Randi.

Nicking Movie Script ideas is nothing new and since this episode in around 1996 my emails have been tapped (even to this day) – of course the thiefs who stole my Joan of Arc synopsis didn’t want to miss out on any other potential movie ideas I may have so foraging my emails for more information would be a covert way to milk the movie business cow without the cow being aware.

I have taken the liberty to safely store all my original 3/4 inch floppy diskettes and dot matrix printed synopsis’s of my Joan of Arc script work, should I ever require it in evidence.

Let’s begin at the beginning.  In mediaevil times, say 14th century, wealthy land owners farmed animals.  As time went on and populations started increasing it became necessary to start farming people, that is keep them in order.

One way to keep control of the populus is to control food supplies – what the masses can eat and what goes into their food.  Most of us don’t own allotments and can’t really be self sufficient.   I certainly find that I spend enough hours during the summer months in the garden just keeping the grass cut and doing the weeding.  I’d like to grow my own vegetables but realistically I can’t put in the hours – or I’d have to give up my weekend sub aqua hobby.

I first found out about the chemical Aspartame after reading The Robot’s Rebellion by David Icke who is a former BBC tv presenter and now public speaker and author.  I met Mr Icke in 1995 while filming part of his Uk tour at Edinburgh’s Assembly rooms, round about the launch of his book of which he has written several.

Icke was recently banned from speaking in Australia and his current materials focus on the dangers of  globalization covering subjects such as creation of a one world bank, government and army.  The horror is that this dystopian ‘New World Order’ has been designed so that the world’s richest families will ‘inherit the Earth’ (the Earths remaining resources), carrying out uninhibited bohemian ritual acts, while the prolotariat (you and I) are simply culled, the remaining spared to carry out menial tasks.

Conspiracy theories are not new and indeed are now filtering into the movies – perhaps one that springs to mind is Mel Gibson’s ‘Conspiracy Theory.’  The Bourne Identity Trilogy concerns the illegal black projects carried out by the CIA to create a ‘super soldier.’

Take a recent Conspiracy Theory I had read about in the 90’s – this was that in the USA prisoner of war camps based on the Auschwitz model,  were being built to hold the population for culling.  I didn’t believe this – at the time.

What actually happened was that camps were indeed built in America to hold illegal Mexican immigrants after the dawn of the Trump administration.

Back to Aspartame.  Here is a quote from David Icke’s website:

What is aspartame and why is it bad for you? 

A popular type of artificial sweetener, aspartame is often used as an alternative to table sugar. Since it is at least 160 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose, you’ll use less aspartame when preparing food. Some people mistakenly believe that this means they can use as much aspartame as they want, especially if they have a sweet tooth. 

In the 1970s, a study revealed that an artificial sweetener called saccharin caused cancer of the bladder (urinary) in laboratory rats. 

But the studies that followed suggest that the use of saccharin did not have the same results in humans. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the safety label of saccarin from “hazardous” to “generally recognized as safe.” 

While this seems like good news, take a moment to reconsider the use of any artificial sweetener. In a separate study, Dr. Robert Walton reviewed various research studies conducted on aspartame. The findings showed that out of the 166 studies analyzed, 74 were funded by companies that produced aspartame. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the results of all 74 studies say that aspartame is safe for human consumption.’ 

I decided to do my own market research for this article and found that every popular brand of fizzy drink being sold to the public contains Aspartame or its alernatives called: sucralose, Acesulfame, Saccharin, Xylitol, and Sorbitol.

Some effects of Aspartame on the human brain:

Aspartame can cause cellular effects on the brain causing mood disorders in sensitive people including headaches, insomnia,  and seizures.

Mental disorders can be caused and can cause learning and emotional disorders.

Cancer and birth defects are also symptoms of killer chemicals in your food.

Now I’m no megalomaniac,  but If I wanted to take control, I’d try to make the population brain dead so they can’t think for themselves – keep them in a stupor.   Why not help them on their way by putting the right type of chemicals in their food and produce massive media campaigns encouraging them to consume it.

And the truth shall set ye free – you have the power – it’s called consumer power.  You can choose healthier alternatives if you really want to.  Never before have we had so much choice.  People can start to take their power back from the 1% who own 99% of the planet’s wealth.

In our wellbeing classes, we won’t dictate what you should and shouldn’t eat, but we will teach you how to be aware of your mind and body.  The more you develop this skill, the more you will become aware of your environment.  Classes are Mondays and Friday’s, 7pm to 8pm, Kinross Community Campus.

Recommended Reference Books

David Icke – The Robots Rebellion, The Biggest Secret

Brice Taylor – Thanks for the Memories

Cathy O’Brien – Trans Formation of America

William Cooper – Behold A Pale Horse

Cat Therapy

darcy-mind1Today 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues.  Depression and Anxiety are two of the commonly known conditions.  I’ve spent many months finding out the best way to deal with stress and anxiety as it can cause us to stop living life to the full.  There are commonly agreed ways of dealing with anxiety and depression.  I’ve found that getting out the house helps.

I’ve tried Going to yoga and sports classes with some walking each day.  Practising meditation each day is also a useful method of reducing stress.  The benefits are not instant but over time they start to manifest.

I decided that I wanted to do some voluntary work with my local cat shelter and offered to do some photography, to help their cats find new homes.  I find this work very rewarding and when I see these homeless cats, they make my problems seem totally insignificant in comparison.

As well as photographing the cats I decided that I’d also like to visit them and give them some attention.  I find this incredibly therapeutic – it’s almost magic the effect the cats have on me.  I leave the cat shelter after only an hour feeling much better.  I actually believe they will help improve my wellbeing.  Cats are great teachers, they teach me what life is about and to appreciate being alive – something I often forget.

So if you are someone suffering from anxiety or depression perhaps you might consider helping out at your local cat or dog shelter and see the benefits you’ll experience of getting involved.

Drysuits vs Semi Dry Suits

me angus wide2 - Version 2As a keen member of Perth SubAqua club I have spent most of my 23 dives to date in the cold Scottish Lochs on the west coast.  I have dived in Ballachulish, Loch Fyne, Skye, Oban, and Ullapool which is one of the top dive sites in the world (sea horses can be seen here.)

For the first year my diving was hampered due to starting off my training using what’s called a Drysuit that was several sizes too big.  The drysuit doesn’t let water in, so the diver stays dry(er) however, if the suit is too big it can fill with air pockets which cause the diver to shoot up to the surface – this can be dangerous by causing the ‘bends’ condition where nitrogen forms bubbles in the blood stream.

My diving started to improve when I had the opportunity to purchase one of my club member’s Scubapro Novascotia Semi Dry suit.  At the time I didn’t even know what a semi dry suit was, however the first time I tried it at the Farne Islands last September (2015) I saw a dramatic difference in my ability to stay under the water.

Semi Dry suits let water in much like a Wet suit does, however the semi dry keeps that water in via the seals on the neck, wrists and ankles.  This allows the body to heat up the water to retain a liquid layer of insulation.

The advantages of the semi dry are that it’s cheaper to buy than a drysuit.  The semi dry clings to your body, eliminating air pockets.  It’s also simpler to dive with as there’s no chest valve to inflate – you can only inflate your BCD / stab jacket – so less technical bits to worry about.

The disadvantages – WARNING – semi dry suits are not designed for diving in the Scottish Winter months!  Due to my passion for diving I have used the Novascotia in temperatures down as low as 7 degrees centigrade.  The feeling is quite unpleasant and often I am shivering, so that after 30 minutes, I don’t want to be in the water.  I think I am one of the few club members that still dives with a semi dry.  I later was given a handy tip from one of the more experienced club members and discovered that wearing a wool jumper underneath helps a little, to retain some warmth in a semi dry.

The other disadvantage of the semi dry is that it’s made of neoprene which tends to tear more easily on rocks.  The new Novascotia 7.5mm suit has much more protection on the knees than my older 6.5mm version.  However saying that, Scubapro kit is award winning, so it’s a very good standard of  dive suit.  Semi drys are much more suited to water temperatures of 12 degrees or above, as I discovered in the warmer Farne Islands dive.  If you’re not cold you’re going to enjoy the dive more.  No matter how hard you try, if you start shivering the dive becomes a chore and that’s a shame.

Here’s an excellent  video review by Jeff Goodman on the new N0vascotia 7.5mm Semi Dry Suit

 

Maintenance:  after a dive I can spend up to over an hour and a half rinsing and cleaning my diving kit.  I invested in a bottle of McNett suit shampoo which I use to wash over the Novascotia, my Stab Jacket and well, pretty much most of my kit.  I realised that I spend the same amount of time cleaning my diving kit as I did cleaning my motorbike.  (I decided to get rid of the bike as I much prefer my diving.)  It’s worth it though, to keep your kit nice and clean after being in the sea lochs.

It takes approximately 4 to 5 days for my semi dry to dry out, so at least in theory, I could use my suit every Sunday if I wanted to.  Last Sunday myself and two colleagues from the club set off from Perth to Furnace quarry near Inveraray on the Scottish west coast.  We always dive on the west as the water is usually warmer and calmer, getting some of that gulf stream flowing in.

This was my second dive at Furnace quarry – the first time was in December last year and I remember it was so cold that I was shivering when I still had my clothes and coat on!  This dive is a cold and dark one, although there’s enough visibility at 24 metres to see some Wolf fish that look like mini sharks.  One of our colleagues had a problem with his chest valve leaking so he was out the water before getting in.  It was then that I realised the advantage of the semi dry.

The temperature was COLD!  Eight degrees and after 15 minutes I was shivering and wanting to just get to the surface, however, I persevered to the end and felt much better after completing the dive safely with my dive buddy.  I often check the water temperature online and I think the sea temperature has now gone up by one degrees since the winter.

I look forward to the day when I will be able to go to Malta to dive in the warm water, just wearing my Scubapro Everflex wet suit.  Meantime, I will persevere and look forward to updating you with another blog on my next dive – and more often too!

For more information on semi dry suits available check out Simplyscuba’s website.

Mindfulness

path1.jpgMindfulness is the new buzz word on everyone’s lips, but what is it exactly?  Well it’s a series of techniques used to help keep us in the present moment and these practises have been know about for thousands of years by Buddhist monks.

Mindfulness is a great way to de-stress your life, especially if you suffer from anxiety and depression.  ‘Mindfulness on the Go‘ by Padraig O’Morain was recommended to me and I am now working my way through the exercises.  It’s a great book for people who are busy and would like to practise Mindfulness but just don’t have time.

The average human has 70 000 thoughts a day.  I know that most of mine are about the past, fantasies and possible negative future situations.

One exercise involves spending only 20 seconds concentrating on breathing in and out of your nostrils.  The idea is to focus on your breathing rather than the thousands of thoughts being processed by your brain every day.

There are now classes in Mindfulness and you’ll be able to find some tutorials on Youtube too.  So when I’m next photographing or filming, I will be doing it ‘mindfully.’  I have already noticed a huge difference in my own stress levels after trying some mindfulness meditations for a couple of weeks.

I especially like going for walks by Loch Leven and walking ‘Mindfully’ focussing on the present moment, the feeling of the soles of my feet against the ground and trying not to let thoughts wander in.  It’s almost impossible to stop thoughts but the whole point of mindfulness is that it’s a training to allow you to be aware of your thoughts and that they are separate from the real ‘you.’

Mindfulness on the Go will be available from some public libraries.

Community Spirit

When I first moved to Kinross last year, I had the immediate impression that this was a place where I could be a Community Worker, perhaps a place where I could contribute to the local business economy.  Kinross is a thriving town with regeneration of the old town centre currently being carried out.  The old library and council offices are being renovated into luxury retirement flats and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the old high school building (which is an eye sore) gets converted to serve the  much needed housing crisis demand.

My first thoughts were to create an Animation Workshop, but this will require funding which will require a fair bit of my time which I don’t have just now.  Since graduating from the University of Highlands & Islands this year, I have now started developing my media business.  The new flyers and cards have arrived and I have been delighted to discover that Kinross has a very glossy looking newsletter which is more of a magazine and this is accompanied by a sister website run by the Kinross Business Partnership Association.where local business’s can advertise for free – yes free.  I have yet to come across other towns that offer so much help to local small business’s.

I now have my wee ad online and I hope in the not too distant future I will be working with clients in Kinross as well as my clients in other parts of Fife, Falkirk and the Lothians.  My hope is that I’ll be able to help local business grow through the use of increased Visual Communications platforms that they may not have even considered or been aware of.

The local website is kinross.cc

Back to Skool

After recently graduating from the University of Highlands & Islands I was in a positive mood, feeling a rare confidence I have not felt in such a long time.  I had thought about applying for jobs and did manage to get one interview – however, I decided that after much internal debating for weeks, that the way forward for me was to stick with being self employed.  I wanted to work only 16 hours a week and earn a respectable income.  Easier said than done.

However, I am finding to my delight that I currently do 16 hours a week working for two clients, in the here and now.  I would not be able to cope with taking on any more work.  For hundreds of years, it has been in the collective consciousness that a successful person is the one who works hard and long hours – I disagree completely – to me the successful person works less hours for more money and has more time to spend with friends and family.  I am finding that I really enjoy helping people solve their Communications and Information Technology problems so it’s more of a fun challenge than working.

Perhaps I can only claim this after having just spent almost 3 years in full time education, studying subjects and courses I would not really feel comfortable studying, sometimes feeling a bit out of my comfort zone.  I’ve studied Metallurgy Theory, dark room photography theory and Art & Design Concepts – all subjects I’d rather not delve into too deeply.  However I feel that this time has not been wasted – in fact, these subjects I believe, have activated part of my brain that’s been dormant for decades – that part that allows you to grasp a problem and find a solution almost immediately.

I feel like I am living with an extra new dimension to life that I’ve been searching for.  So, for anyone reading this who may be ‘stuck in a rut’ of some sort – perhaps they could consider going back to school, and learning new subjects – even if the subjects seem irrelevant or unnecessary.  Full time courses and night / day classes should start in your local area round about September, and your local council will most likely put a flyer or news pamphlet through the door with information about courses.  I think for me, I’d like to try an evening class in Gaelic or Italian – but this time only a leisure class – my full-time studies are finally over!