Posts Tagged snow

Sunday Column (479)

6.52 – Monday – my train is leaving my local station to get to Victoria for an 8.30 meetings. It is minus degrees, and bitterly cold. As I am waiting for the train I reflect a bit and realise that I should have taken a woolen hat and some gloves. But no, I never really think about this. As most of my readers know I am an early bird. I lost over 10kg a few years ago and ever since had to bake in exercise into my daily routine. The only way it works for me, given I have a 90 minute door-to-door commute, is at 5 am routine in the morning. So despite people asking me if I am mad, I am not, I am just scheduling things so they work. 5 am wake up, about 45-60 minute exercise, 15 minutes meditation, getting ready, breakfast and out of the door by 7ish. Simple, isn’t it?

Having done some research recently into my sleep pattern, I realise that I have been waking up earlier than 5 am. What happens is, as my body must have got used to getting up between 4.45 and 5.15 every morning for the last 6 years, that the sleep cycles, the 90 minutes cycles, kind of start messing up my sleep. So what I noticed recently, going to bed around 9:30 pm, that I wake up at 3.30/3.45 fully awake. This suggests a theory I have been following by someone who only sleeps about 6 hours (4*90 minutes cycle) and gets up at 3.30 am, yet goes to bed at 9 pm. The theory is that if you get 4 good sleep cycles, that is all you need, rather than 4.5 cycles which leaves you actually more tired. Or you go for 5 of course, e.g. 7.5 hours sleep, about 8 hours in bed. You could argue if I go to bed at 9 pm, I should get 7.5 hours, getting up at 5, but it seems not work like that for me. So I shall continue to experiment, and maybe go to bed around 11 pm. The challenge is that I do not want to compromise on sleep and definitely don’t want to run around like a zombie. Just planning 8 hours for sleep seems a big ask on my time I find, that’s ⅓ of the day. But if I get 4 full cycles, e.g. 6 hours, and wake at 5 am, then 11 pm seems to be the right time to go to bed.

What do you think? Are you an early bird? What works for you? Please reach out to me and let me know. If you read that and have done some studies, please let me know, I am curious on how to master this.

Now the #uksnow – panic set in from Monday yet most trains were running as normal on Tuesday. I was impressed. And pleased. Good to see that the system works and that enough preparation didn’t kill the infrastructure. Well done Southern and Thameslink. I wore my old Navy boots to town, yet changed into more formal shoes once I got there 😉 It is a shame that the UK seems to normally collapse under an inch of snow, the more I was delighted to see it didn’t. And the boys loved it, they haven’t seen proper snow for a while. Personally, I love the cold weather. A few weeks of bitterly cold weather, snow and chaos sometimes doesn’t hurt. But then again…..it is easier without, isn’t it?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I decided to stay at home. Weather was ok-ish on most days, but deteriorated on Friday. So I postponed a meeting I had to go in for on Friday but thought it’s better than getting stuck on a train half way home. A Skype call worked just as well, and after all, the trains were running fine. I actually enjoyed the cold snap and having the fire on most days, getting cosy and drinking wine, and maybe taking it a bit easier, was actually rather nice. Cheese boards. Oh yes, I love a good night in. I have a busy week ahead next week. Fingers crossed I will be getting closer to making progress towards finding a job. I keep saying that every week, but I feel like things must come to an end before Easter. Fingers crossed, I keep you posted as always.

So not a hugely eventful week but with the snow and all, that’s what happened. For a few this was the perfect excuse to not do any work on Friday at all. It is wonderful for the kids and only ever happens every 5-10 years. So not a big deal but disruptive. It slows down a lot and given it was MWC this week in Barcelona, half the industry was out of the country anyway. Easter is getting closer with 3 weeks to go, so let’s see how things plan out. I definitely enjoy being out there doing some contract work, being busy and having a purpose. It helps not going stir crazy.

Additionally I booked a few new podcast guests in, and almost filled the schedule until the end of the year. I finally got some women committed and also started having some guests that are not in the adtech industry. We are moving in the right direction and I enjoy listening to my guests, discussing the Stories of Success.

Apologies for a rather diary like column. My focus at the moment is on the job hunting, the contract job and juggling a few things on the family side. Life never stops.

Have an amazing week ahead,
Volker

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

connecting dots

Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

mondeo

We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot 😉 After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

, , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (203)

A week that finished with SNOW! Yes, the white stuff. Colin loved it. I haven’t seen him that excited about anything lately. Maybe the puzzles. But he loved the white stuff, playing in it until he was really cold. I tried to explain to him that if it melts it turns into water. Not sure if he understood. Whilst he was apprehensive when I didn’t pick him up from school with the car, he loved the snow the whole way home. Also, Rohan loves the snow. Not as enthusiastic as Colin but just loves to be outside. The overall state of the country is the same as ever, little or no snow: the train system had problems, flights got cancelled, and I am about to fly to Germany tomorrow. Or do I? It was a wise decision for me to stay at home on Friday. Most colleagues left around lunch time as the transport system, once again, collapsed. London in the snow. Nothing new there.

I am going backwards. Saturday night I spend a night out in Hassocks! Yes, a whole night in the local pub. That was a first. We enjoyed ourselves and Sunday was a bit slow because of that. No regrets though. Next night out is planned for in 2 weeks time already. Time to meet the locals…or for the locals to meet me 🙂 I love living down here and be in my own little space. I sometimes cannot believe how lucky I am. Not only the spacious house but the space for the kids, the schools, the countryside. Everything really.

IMG_1144

Looking into my German heritage: Colin started gymnastics again and absolutely loves it. My grandparents met whilst doing gymnastics back in the 1920ies. “About” a hundred years ago. I wonder if that has anything to do with it? Or that he watches daddy doing weights in the garage? I am not sure but love the fact that he does like it, and love the fact that it is continuing with a tradition. Long it may last. Rohan with his blond hair and blue eyes is called a “German baby” by some, so there must be something shining through. It is amazing how they grow, interact and engage with you. Particularly this weekend with the snow and cuddles on the sofa, I would love that time to never pass. But someone has to be the bread winner. And actually, I don’t mind it. Still missing them though 🙁

Rohan’s chicken pox are more or less gone. We are waiting for Colin to have his. Can’t be long now.

Then I spend a lot of time this week catching up with industry friends. Drinks, diner, coffees. I love the relationships I have built over the years. I am connected, and enjoy the exchange to find out what is happening, what the gossip is and how the industry ticks. You get the odd tip on what to do or how to handle some problems of your own, but you also can give some advice to people at the same time. Give and take I suppose. Great to have friends in the industry you work in. I love this industry! I love the people!

So overall life is great at the moment. Time with the family, a great job and good challenges. It drives me on. I also started looking for the next challenge. A hobby for me to have. A charity yet personal development. Business yet non profitable. I keep you posted. A club. A membership for life maybe. Similar or just the opposite to my German fraternity. I haven’t decided yet but evaluate as we speak.

IMG_1175

And, in line with clearing out my life, I went through a box of letters I had for ages. You wouldn’t believe it. Some letters from people I had forgotten about. Old flames from holidays, my exchange year in the US, ex US high school people, friends who stayed the summer with friends of mine and moved away. There are a few points and memories here:

– letters: I kept letters. Paper with ink on them. Pictures, drawings, pencil, smell, old post codes ones (new ones were introduced in Germany in 1993), so some letters were over 20 years old.
– no Facebook, emails, digital stuff
– we used to spend the whole day in the swimming pool, no iPhone or internet, exchanged names, addresses and sent letters to each other, apologising if there was a delay of 2 weeks to answer them
– we tried to meet up at a certain place and time we agreed in letters, spoke maybe on the phone (but that was awkward as one had to ask for the parents and there was only one phone in the hall way), but then you missed each other: times before mobile phones
– we sent letters to impress, we sent letters when we were angry. By the time the letter reached the recipient, the mood had changed. Emails are instant. SMS are instant.

Times have changed. Obviously. People are coming into your life for a reason. Some never hung around. Some even were forgotten. Apologies. Then not really. Every now and then one of those old connections comes back. Coincidence. Some people just manage to show up in your life every few years to mess things up and disappear again. It isn’t them that mess things up. It is something that you haven’t solved with them. Today I believe I closed a few more chapters. Looked back a bit more and drew another few lines. Today I lived in the past for a couple of hours to further look into the future. Does that make sense?

It is time to publish the post. One of the few ones that are written on a Sunday night. My wife is out, the shopping just arrived and the boys are in bed. I will soon retire in my “grand dad chair” and put my feet up.

Good night. Good week. Safe travels.

Volker

, , , ,

No Comments

Hassocks in the snow

20130118-202759.jpg

20130118-202807.jpg

, ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (92)

Another one of those weeks. Monday started with a “busy end of month finishing it all off” day and a forecast for SNOW. Snow really determined the rest of the week. On Tuesday I was snowed in and worked from home, Wednesday I tried twice to go to London but failed, Thursday was even worse and only Friday I made it to a meeting but decided to work the afternoon from home.

Wow, I feel like living in a third world country. As soon as we have about 2 inches of snow, everything seems to come to a standstill. Firstly the transport system, e.g. the trains, as their electricity supply is next to the tracks. No connection, no electricity, no train service. Then Royal Mail, promising next day delivery but cannot get through even after 3 days. Our lovely Bromley council decided to not collect the trash but also not informing us when or if collection will happen anytime soon. Lastly, Tesco where we ordered delivery early this week to ensure we didn’t have to get out in the snowy weather, decided to not deliver, and not to tell us either. Shit customer service and people not willing to deliver or at least telling you that they make alternate arrangements, seems to be everywhere.

Of course my paper didn’t arrive on Saturday either. And, discussing this issue with our neighbour, he said that him being self employed he couldn’t just “not turn up”. He cancelled meetings but just not telling the customer and pretending they assume things are not moving forward, wouldn’t be an option. However, the big companies really don’t seem to care at all.

What doesn’t go into my head is that we had snow for the last 3 years, and no lesson seemed to have been learned by the authorities. The council doesn’t clear the side roads or pavements. Pregnant women like my wife or people with buggies have difficulties getting anywhere. Older and vulnerable, disabled people would not be able to leave the house. I should probably be glad of the situation I am in: I can drive places, have fantastic neighbours, our heating works (fingers crossed), and we are happy despite my moaning. But the authorities and bigger companies just don’t seem to be able or willing to spend more money to cope with the chaos. Hence I wasn’t surprised to hear in the news that older people died as they fell over in their garden during this weather. Disgusting thinking we are living in a civilised world.

Colin in the snow

I truly believe I am up for challenges at the moment. As they say in Buddhism that you sometimes come to the same problem over again until you solve it. Here we go: I really get annoyed if I pay for a service and don’t get it. And, whilst I understand the above weather might cause some delays, I cannot understand people using this for a permanent excuse. I for my part worked from home. The same amount or even more than in the office. No problem. I cannot afford just sitting here doing nothing, why does Tesco or Royal Mail think they can?

Enough about the weather, the same challenge I seem to get away from the snow. We needed a new lock mechanism for the front door: great, friendly service and the company came out in the snow. Wow, perfectly done. Bromley Security Locksmith are the ones to go for. However, you might remember our hassle with the kitchen. Tiled, re-grouted, re-tiled…I asked the nice lad whether he was confident he would be able to fix it the 2nd time around. He promised me he could do it. However, more tiles are moving and I am now asking for the money back. It is ridiculous people offering a service and cannot deliver. I think that is something that I need to work on.

Cat watching me work, sitting in a box 🙂

Trying to do a reality check whether I am wrong I find that I get a lot of support. You pay for a service or product and you expect it to work. My problem is that I get really wound up with it, get stressed and just would like to get it done properly. I have to come to the conclusion that I cannot influence those things and they are out of my hand. And if I want immediate results I have to do it myself. This isn’t easy. It means that I can rely less on others and have to spend more time doing it myself. Time I don’t have, time I don’t want to spend.

Alright, enough for today. Despite working from home I didn’t have a great deal of time playing with Colin, nor did I have too much time with my wife. Our weekend was quite busy, with us visiting our friends’ 4 weeks old baby which was a great Saturday afternoon. The moments you look at babies and realise how calm they are, unwound, unstressed just relying on you. These moments you cannot describe. You start realising that you cannot change the world and that you should enjoy every moment.

Hence apologies for the rant but I think I am NOT wrong!

Once my new phone, a HTC Desire Z, arrived I will write a review and let you know how I like Android. If it arrives that is.

We also went to Ikea to get more drawers and a new cot for Ballueder’s baby number 2. And of course a play rug with roads on.

Have a great week, mine is going to be very busy, we are going to have to do a lot of work in the run up to Christmas. So fingers crossed Christmas comes soon.

Love and Kindness from my little world,
Volker

, , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (3)

What a week. It went so quickly that I don’t believe it is Sunday again.

After us renovating the hall last weekend, the dust was still settling all week. However, it is nice to see what we are capable of doing in the house and how we can improve our living space with little effort.

Also, I am getting quite excited about my veggies and hope I can put them out in the garden soon. It is amazing how much they have grown already!

On Tuesday I went to the Social Media World Forum in London. An interesting show and conference but we only went for a few hours to listen to some seminars. Social Media Marketing is still not the biggest part of Search or Online Marketing but a growing sector. With Twitter being ever so popular at the moment, Social Media is becoming more important for the marketing mix. But, will it ever be a part of the marketing that takes off on its own? We will see what 2009 brings.

I keep reading the Razorfish Digital Outlook Report 2009. Ad Exchanges and Social Media are still the most interesting and the most to watch areas for 2009. Definitely something to watch out for in the future.

On Thursday I flew Ryanair to Oslo. We had our International Search Summit there, the first one outside London. Btw Ryanair, the flight was not too bad. However, the 2 hours to Stansted Airport and then 2 hours from the airport to Oslo in a bus were annoying.

The Summit however was great. What a great event. Good speakers, interesting discussions and good to see the Buzz in the Norwegian/Scandinavian Online and Digital Marketing world. Great to be connected here and we are all looking forward to the next event on the 14th of May in London.

From Oslo we took off to the North to Norefjell, about 1.5 hours drive. Admittedly, I had to look at a map to see where I am, so here we go:


View Larger Map

Scary 😉 I like Norway though. Not that I have seen too much, but the people are very friendly and the scenery is nice. And, we have snow here. Lots of snow. It is amazing. And, they can cope with it, not like in London, lol.

Here is the view outside my window, early in the morning:

snow-in-norjefell

I was supposed to go skiing this morning but think I opt for the safer option, e.g. to go for a walk. Not that I do downhill skiing anyway, but cross country skiing would have been good. The place we are staying is great. a nice little flat with a fireplace, our own sauna and self catering – ideal for a group to chill out in the snow!

What did I miss this week? Honestly, besides my wife who stayed at home, my cats. They have been cute lately and I have to say, they really grow on me. They are growing anyway but they get really pally at the moment. Hansel more than Gretel, she seems a little bit shy.

My wife sent me this picture whilst I was away:

hansel

And, she sent me a picture of our baby – the latest scan. Everything seems to be ok with it. We cannot wait!

baby-scan

So, summa summarum, a really nice week. A tat busy but overall really nice. Have a great Sunday night, good to be back home, sitting on the couch and chilling. Let’s see what next week brings.

Cheers
Volker

, , , , , ,

No Comments

some pictures of snow in London

Btw, if you open the picture you can see my head 🙂 Sorry, still learning how to use the wordpress.org CMS properly.

Volker

, , , , ,

No Comments