Two Years Blogging On WordPress

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WordPress sent me a notification that I have reached my two year anniversary of being a WordPress blogger. During that time I’ve seen some amazing photography by my peers, followed some awesome blogs from awesome people around the world, developed a new online community, taken advice about what camera would be better for my long term development, and some how I have 1,919 people follow my blog.

WordPress has been a wonderful platform for me, my prose and my photography.  I’m most grateful.

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You Can Take Action Man Out Of The Army, But…

… you can’t take the army out of Action Man.

Richard has taken it easy today. He’s wanted to rest a bit. He doesn’t fancy running around like a tourist at the moment, but that’s no excuse to not have fun.

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So I thought I’d check out the terrain, and create my own party atmosphere. Just coz it’s a sober Christmas doesn’t mean I can’t let my hair down. Not that these Forces hair cuts leave you with much hair.

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If there’s been a wall to climb then I’ve climbed it, the opportunity to hang around, well, it goes without saying.

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I just had to take the opportunity to get as much exercise in as I can. I didn’t realise I still had it in me to do this stuff. Not much of a travel Blog, but I can only present what the day brought to me. I’ve been hanging around by the front door just incase, maybe we’ll get out tomorrow.

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Until then I’ll keep being my angelic self. Watch out Cork, here comes Action Man.

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Action Man’s Travel Blog

Hey, I’m back.

Richard’s taking me on holiday again so I thought I’d get back on with me travel blog. Last time was great, but it was a shame Richard had to come back home early. I’ve been cooking for him and he’s doing better.

Not only is he getting well, I am too. I haven’t had a drink since London. One of my army pals came and did an intervention. I have started going to and Richard’s started going to a 12 step group for anorexia.

I’m still better looking than he is, even though he does look well now. A long day ahead. Catch you later.

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Exercise 5.1 To Exercise 5.4 – Setting Up And Using A Blog

This section is in entirely the wrong section of the coursework. It needs to be at the beginning, and I have expressed my views about this to my tutor.

I am competent in using my blog, resizing photos for it, connecting with other students and creatives, and commenting upon others blogs and welcoming critique from anyone.

I will, in time, create a portfolio site, but not just yet.

I’m not going to re-analyse the work of Sophie Calle. I have done so previously and that can be seen here.

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1,500 Reasons To Be Grateful

Today the 1,500th person followed my blog. I’m feeling very grateful. I’m aware that people follow me for different reasons. I hope that I continue to create posts that you enjoy it relate to, as well as my studies.

I’ve also made some friends by following you and engaging with you via your posts. It’s wonderful to have friends from around the world.

I welcome any ideas that you may have so that I can create meaningful dialogue.

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I thank you all and I’m feeling very grateful.

Decidedly Chilli On A Hot Summers Day – Richards Anorexia

Another morning where I woke Richard up early. Our day started at 2.30 am, oops and ha ha ha.

We went over to Vauxhall because there was meant to be a 24 hour Tesco where Richard could buy a “safe food”, it’s a Polish chocolate and coconut sweet. It wasn’t 24 hours!

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On the subject of his anorexia I’m feeling most impressed with him. He’s stuck with his meal plan to the letter, a bit late most days but he’s done it. How cool is that? The downside is that with carrying his laptop, camera and lenses his back is now in so much pain. He struggled yesterday and I felt guilt for not carrying his bag, even though he wouldn’t let me.

We went to the Chelsea Physic Garden, nice play but too many plants, trees and shrubs for my liking. I wanted to see more flowers, they have more insects.

Some lovely chilli peppers though. Bring on the heat.

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Another bloody Rhino near the Saatchi gallery. Feels like I’m on a damn Safari. Richard was happy though as he was able to fulfill his book addiction. There’s a Taschen bookshop outside of the Saatchi and he’s brought Salgado’s Genesis. I’ve never seen a book so large, I could fit into it a million times, so he’s asked the shop to post it to him. I’m so impressed with them.

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I forgot, on the way back to Sloane Square we discovered the National Army Museum. Had a drink with my buddies (any veteran or person serving in the forces is a pal).

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After Taschen Richard was in so much pain that we went to sit down near the theatre he was going in the evening, and we accidentally found Trafalgar Square. The most amazing thing was that despite so many, many people there’s also lots of space. The second best thing is how pretty the surrounding square and architecture is. Another effing Rhino. I say that but I like what Tusk are doing to raise awareness of, educate about and protect rhinos throughout Africa. Check them out here.

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Richard then went off to see Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre, it’s about the former refuge camp at Calais, the complex relationships between people of different races and nationalities, the abysmal living conditions and the refugees resilience and ability to create a community, the complete and disgusting failure of the United Nations, the EU, The French and British Governments, and the West’s racist and self centred failure to protect and provide. A bit too much for me, and I’d secretly planned to go to the pub with me mates from the Army Museum. I didn’t drink as much so I’m feeling good day. Flowers at Kew Gardens is on the agenda.

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Blood Test, Justice, Who Ate All The Pies

When Richard told his eating disorder team about our holiday he had to promise that he would have his usual blood test whilst here.

I can’t stand blood at all, so I had to wait outside of the hospital.

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Hospitals can take so long to see people so I went for a walk around Hampstead. It’s a lovely place and has a large parkland called Hampstead Heath, and there’s Hampstead village. I’m a bit to common for this boutique gentrified place. Found a nice sweet shop though.

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We were meeting family at the hospital, Richards cousins L and K, and once they had finished their appointment we went into London and had a look at some churches where family members had been baptised and married, going back 200 years. L is a family historian and is a treasure trove of knowledge.

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On the way to the churches (on the Strand and Fleet Street) we walked past the Aldwych Courts of Justice.

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Now this is where I come into my own. The legal system in the UK is a tripartite system.

  • Those that make the law
  • Those that uphold the law
  • Those who try the law.

This translates as government, which creates legislation, the police who detect crime and bring charges against those suspected of breaking the law, and the court system tries the law, through hearings or trials.

The courts system has magistrates court, crown court, county court, high court, court of appeal and supreme court. It seems complicated but it’s just a hierarchical system. The courts of justice hold the high court and appeal court, both of which are used to either appeal a decision made by a lower court or to examine more complex aspects relating to the meaning and implementation of legislation.

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What a mouth explaining the law is, but not as much as a mouthful as the pies.

Time for me to trapes behind Richard in the flower gardens, so love to you all and I’ll be back tomorrow.

A Big Thankyou To All Of My Followers

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Yesterday afternoon I had the 1,000th person follow my blog. Thank you so much for choosing to view my photography and read my posts. I’m just a guy with a camera, finding my way through the complexity of life, and as such I find it quite humbling that you want to share my journey.

I’m very grateful for your support.

Photography Competition

The Photo Sociology “I can do better than a Turner” Photography Award (see here to enter) has had its third entrance today (see here for the gallery). The competition is open to anyone over 18, it’s free to enter, and there is a £50 amazon voucher for first place, and £25 each for two runners-up (or the equivalent currency value of Nation were the winners reside). Why not pop over and enter the competition.

Sunshine Blogger Award

The logo of the Sunshine Blogger Award

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The Sunshine Blogger Award is awarded by bloggers to other bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
Once nominated (and if you accept the award), a blogger is required to 1) write a post in which they thank the blogger for nominating them and link back to their blog, 2) answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you, 3) nominate eleven other blogs and 4) give them eleven questions to answer, 5) notify your nominees and display the rules and The Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

I have been nominated by Chloe from PearshapedLondon – one of my new followers and also a new blogger. I think its good to follow and support new bloggers, help them to grow their followers and motivate them to continue blogging. Chloe weaves her experience of living with a disability through her blog, and has an amazing story about a drunken night that led to employment in Sri Lanka. I clearly need to start drinking. Thanks for nominating me Chloe.

Chloe’s questions and my responses

what is your most embarrassing moment?

I am in my mid forties now so I have had way to many embarrassing moments. The one that always brings a smile to my face though is falling out of a tree as a teenager, whilst my cousin and I were playing. I landed upside down on a barbed wire fence and my trousers were snagged so I couldn’t move. My cousin was in hysterics. She was my closest friend, and we could honestly read each others minds. It used to scare our families.

how long did it take you to set up your blog?

Half an hour, but to be fair it’s because I began to study with the Open College of the Arts, and they have a blog theme that you can paste into WordPress. Although I have added menus of my own. The Open College of the Arts offers foundation level and under-graduate degrees across a range of creative fields. They welcome UK and international students, and as their courses are online/distant learning, which means that you can begin a course any time of the year that suits you. You don’t need to wait until a traditional term begins. If you think you cannot afford the fees, then be aware that you can apply for a bursary to cover part of the cost. Check out OCA here.

how long have you been blogging for?

Just over a year now. I can’t believe that it has gone so quickly. Through my studies I have developed creatively with photography, and also in other areas. I have developed an online community where I feel that I belong. But more than all of this, studying with the Open College of the Arts has improved my confidence no end. i have been able to ask people if I can make their portrait, go to events and photograph, and this has helped my mental health.

a sentence that describes you?

I do not live alone, I live with myself.

three words to sum up your blog?

Photography, Mental Health, Creativity through shared experience (eek – more than three words).

your favourite place in the world?

Redcar, Cleveland. More specifically the beach at Redcar looking at the wind farm. I love wind farms.

why is it your favourite place?

My mental health has been bad for a number of years and I found life incredibly challenging and frightening. I went to Redcar, maybe a year to 18 months ago, and I felt safe. That’s priceless. I couldn’t remember when I had last felt safe.

what did you want to be when you were a kid?

Somewhere and someone else. I have found life hard from an early age. I never felt that I belonged and I inwardly gave up on life early on. I self harmed and developed an eating disorder as a teenager. I didn’t have hopes/dreams or aspirations. To have found a passion in photography is such a blessing and it brings me so much pleasure. Its incredible.

do you still have a cuddly toy in your bed (I still have my blanky)?

No, but I do have four in the corner of my bedroom.

dogs or cats?

I don’t have either but I love both. However, I am allergic to cats, which makes them hard to be around cos how can you resist stroking a cat? (and then sneezing repeatedly for hours).

if you had to move country where would you go?

India, maybe Sri Lanka if you can get me a place to stay there Chloe.

My Nominees

I have had the pleasure of being featured on discover.wordpress.com recently and this has brought several hundred new followers to my site, of which I find humbling and awesome. So I have decided that I am going to nominate a few of them.

My questions to you are going to be the same as Chloe’s questions to me.

  1. what is your most embarrassing moment?
  2. how long did it take you to set up your blog?
  3. how long have you been blogging for?
  4. a sentence that describes you?
  5. three words to sum up your blog?
  6. your favourite place in the world?
  7. why is it your favourite place?
  8. what did you want to be when you were a kid?
  9. do you still have a cuddly toy in your bed (I still have my blanky)?
  10. dogs or cats?
  11. if you had to move country where would you go?

A R Jung from arjungwriter.com

Arts love of anything and everything

Marcus Antoninus from Sunshine upon my garden

Ali from the mindful gardener

Brian from Brian’s blog

No Filters Pics

The soulful empathiser from Multitude of my thoughts

Cosmic Purpose

Flores Photographic

Cathy from Wander Essence

Open Discussion

The Liebster Award 2018

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The Liebster award is a peer nominated way of discovering new blogs and bloggers, increasing traffic to your own and other bloggers sites, and potentially a marketing tool as well. I have been nominated by The Everyday Alternative (Janine). The everyday alternative is a gothic journalism student, with a fascinating taste in heavy rock and metal. She is gothic, it’s in her blood, it’s a significant part of who she is, and therefore lives the lifestyle, rather than being a “hobbyist”.

My blog has developed because of my study with The Open College of the Arts. I study photography online with them, and they ask students to set up a blog as a way of keeping track of coursework and to submit assignments. As well as making use of my blog for these purposes, I have a personal photo gallery and write some poems from time to time, with recovery from poor mental health featuring heavily.

I have an interest in people, sociology and society. If I find something that I would like to learn about, then I research and write photo essays, either alone or in collaboration with others, so there are a couple of photo essays on my site as well.

Anyhow, enough about me and more about The Leibster Award. After the Leibster rules I will answer the questions that The Everyday Alternative has set for me.

So for those who don’t know about the Liebster Award, here are the rules:

  1. Give some recognition and promotion to the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Create a post about the award on your blog.
  3. Give a reason you are passionate about blog posting.
  4. Answer the 10 questions you were asked.
  5. Nominate 5-11 other blogs.
  6. Inform those bloggers you nominated them.
  7. Make sure you put these rules on your post so everyone else knows what to do!

So here are the 10 questions I have been asked:

1. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

I will not go to the one place in the world that I want to go to. The Galapagos Islands. I choose not to go because of the impact of tourism on the natural environment and wildlife. Carole Cadwalladr wrote an article for the Guardian about this in 2012. I would love to go, however I will stick to documentaries.

2. If you could visit a fantasy land from one of your favourite films, TV shows or books where would you pick?

Middle Earth from J.R.R.Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. I cannot say how many times I have read the books from being a youngster until the last time just under three years ago. It is a retreat, a place of safety in a crazy world.

What food do you crave most often?

Ummm… this changes so often. Chocolate, jam roly poly, Dime Bar cake (still frozen not thawed).

What job would you be absolutely terrible at?

I couldn’t work on the bins or down the sewers, massive respect to those of you that do, thank you for the service that you provide us.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

Lemon Curd. The CO-OP (UK supermarket) make their own brand. Its yummy.

What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?

Become a zombie (death would be an awfully big adventure). I can’t run, I get paranoid about my own reflection, I’m prone to anxiety, panic and tears. Lets face it – I am zombie meat.

What song would you pay money to never hear again?

I genuinely do not have an answer. I have an eclectic taste in music:-  House of the Rising Sun by Five Finger Death Punch (heavy metal), True Friends by Bring me the Horizon (Rock, Death Metal), Holy Driver by Killswitch Engage (metalcore), Beethoven VS Chemical Brothers – Symphony Number 5 VS Galvanise by DJ’s from Mars (Electrodance, mash), Dark and Long Train by Underworld (Electronic), Jump by Girls Aloud (girl group, pop), Walk This Way by Elle and the Pocket Belles (a capella), Potiphar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (musical theatre), The most haunting symphony that takes me on an emotional rollercoaster (if you want me to cry play the whole of this to me) Dvorak’s 9th “New world” symphony, played here by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (classical). I could go on forever.

Is there a quote you strive to live by?

Not a quote, but I do believe that we are all human, no matter where in the world we live, or what our gender, class, ethnicity, status, wealth, poverty – We are all human, from earth, deal with it and stop fighting, tear down the barricades that we all use to be special and different, to protect whats “mine”. It’s not “mine” it never has been, never will be, it’s all “ours”. Rant over. I also believe that we are all capable of making grave mistakes, of gettings things badly wrong, and being able to move beyond and back into our strengths.

Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?

Fly. I love birds. I could be a black basa, a yellow wagtail, a greater racket tailed drongo, a blue footed booby, an Indian Roller, an ostrich or a firecrest.

If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

Existentially there is no past or future. They are memories or dreams, either way they are imagined. They don’t exist. Quantum physics supports this, although I dont have the space to write about that. What is self? Is it what I think I am? what you think I am? Conditioning and memory? I believe that “Self” is a construct and also has no basis in reality. However, I will play the game. Too my future self – “How soon will it be before I am free to die?”

 

I have to make my nominations now and create 10 questions. Please be assured that you do not have to accept the award or answer the questions if you don’t want to.

My nominees are:-

Chloe’sLenscape

TickTalkSite

LouisDallaraPhotography

Irenaaleksandrova

Aquibview

Mindfump

Agrandaizharahap

Tanya Keane

StreetsofNuremburg

Archna Singh

Your Questions – should you choose to accept them:-

1 – If you could walk in someone else’s shoes for the day, so that you could understand their outlook on life, who would it be and why?

2 – A genie grants you three wishes. What would you wish for?

3 – What does “mental well-being” mean to you?

4 – Name three things that happened today that you are grateful for?

5 – If you could achieve one important thing during the course of the year, that would make you proud, what would it be?

6 – You are granted a superpower (like batman, not the cold war), what do you choose?

7 – If you could be told the answer to any of your deepest questions, what question would you ask?

8 – Your given the ability to play a musical instrument fluently, what do you choose and why?

9 – If you had the time to write a book what would you write about?

10 – If a photon travels at the speed of light, and the laws of special relativity mean that time stops when travelling at the speed of light, how much time has passed for the photon, compared to the time since the big bang?

Whether you choose to accept this award or decline it, I know that you are amazing.

For more information about the Liebster Award, check the webpage here.