Category: Life

Finished Rebooting

Finished RebootAs I blogged about a bit over a month ago, I started a Juice Reboot. A few weeks ago I decided to finish it, just because I felt like eating again, which means that I did a reboot for 3 weeks. This wasn’t due to any “bad stuff” / withdrawal symptoms as you get past those is the first week or so. It just felt right.

I’d originally targeted 1-2 months, so am I disappointed? Absolutely no way! I achieved what I wanted which was to lose a bit of weight – I don’t know how much as I’m not in to weighing myself*, but I can say that I can fit in to t-shirts, shirts and Jackets I couldn’t fit in to a month ago… Way more important than that though, is I feel like I have rebooted my metabolism and have certainly rebooted my “food habits”. I no longer crave for carbohydrates or overeat – I’m probably eating around 1/2 of what I used to eat as I’m still having a few juices per day and will continue to as they’re just so yummy and healthy :-) Even better, the food I’m eating is better quality and contains a lot more raw vegetables – Salads Rule! I will still be eating meat though, but again it will be better quality and way less – i.e. a few times a week rather than per day.

So overall, how will I change my diet / lifestyle?…

  • Banksy - Street Art - Lifestyle Out of StockI’ve never been in to breakfasts, but I’ll start the day with a fresh fruit juice – it gives you a whole bunch of fruit sugars to attack the day with and keeps you pretty full, especially if you put a banana in it
  • No more coffee – that was probably my one last “addiction”. Now, I just don’t need it. I’m sure I’ll have a nice one occasionally, but no longer regularly
  • Lunch may sometimes be a juice, but more likely to be a salad, sometimes with some sort of meat or fish mixed in (in Thai cuisine this is quite common)
  • Dinner may be a juice, but probably just a “snack” – a bit like some European cultures where it’s not a meal, but some meats, cheeses and in our case fresh vegetables
  • Minimum carbs – we’re having the same meals we used to, just without any pasta, potatoes etc… If I do have bread then it’s some sort of sourdough and very rarely
  • I’ve cut down drinking alcohol. The UK is well know for it’s drinking culture, as is Australia so up until now that’s been quite “natural” for me. Gone now is the regular drink with a meal, especially during the week. I’ve also discovered that it’s possible to go out with colleagues and not drink (i.e. just Juice or Soda Water+Lemon) after you get the obligatory ribbing ;-)
  • Exercise – I’d stopped exercising seriously many years ago and pushed on by the weight loss, have decided to start exercising regularly, mostly by walking which I’ll probably do a post on as it’s easy to take up excising if your reasonably skinny, but if you are overweight (which I still am – just less than before :) then you really need to ease yourself back in to things.

Antique cash registerI think this is really a microcosm of our consumerist society and it’s approach to buying as much or even more than you need and consuming it just because you can! I think there’s also an element of “comfort eating” (I know there was with me) due to stress. I’m sure most of us don’t do this consciously, but I’ve come to realise that this is a message that is programmed in to us from so many angles and via so many channels** that it’s very easy to fall in to the trap – not for this little duck any more…

person underwater at deskOh yeah – you may be wondering why I’m blogging about this, especially since this blog is mostly about software and architecture…

Simple – I think I’m a pretty typical example of someone in their 40’s who works in a passive job and really just let things get out of control. At one point I knew things were bad but just never got around to doing anything about it. Finally, spurred on by a documentary as I blogged about earlier, I decided to do something about it and have now started some new behaviors. So in that vein, to be a bit cliched about it, if any of these posts somehow inspire even one person to eat more healthily, lose a bit of weight or get a bit fitter, then they’ve done their job :-)

* Much research shows that you should set quantitative goals. For me, especially at my weight, it’s pretty obvious if I’ve lost weight and I didn’t want to get caught up in a whole reward / punishment cycle as to whether I’ve met some quota. It’s working for me, but others may want to use different methods… Furthermore, I reserve the right to change strategy on the fly as needed ;-)

** When you’re fasting for weeks – boy, do you notice the food and drink ads and that there are so many of them!

Jennifer Sertl on Hope

  1. Hope - Emily Dickson - smallHope by Emily Dickinson
  2. How Optimism Creates Resilience via @bigthink
  3. Video: Abundance Is Our Future by @PeterDiamandis
  4. 5 Mantras For 2013 (or anytime!) by @faisal_hoque @FastCompany
  5. Instead of Making Resolutions . . . Dream by @johnsonwhitney
    ♫ Video: Natasha Bedingfield – Wild Horses
  6. Videos: The Porcelain Unicorn & A Piece of Chalk #poignant.
  7. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
  8. Social Entrepreneurship, CSR & the Imagination by @nigelcameron #cpet
  9. The New Triple Bottom Line by @ReachScale via @CSRwire
  10. Video: The Empathic Civilization by @JeremyRifkin


To make a difference in the face of all that stands in the way of making a difference
~ Don Michael

Campus PARTY!!!


Last week I managed to attend the Campus Party on Friday. And boy, am I glad I did – not exactly what I expected, but in a good way. It’s an interesting combination of Open Source, Geekiness, Corporatism, Art and Health. As a result, there has been some criticism of it along the lines of organisation and some of it’s rules, but I don’t think that’s bad enough to rule out attendance at it.

I didn’t take a lot of notes as I was just soaking up the atmosphere but below are some outlines of the sessions I attended along with a few resources and comments. If you have a day spare and can attend one then I’d definitely go. A week is another question – that’s a long time but who knows? Only one way to find out…

11:00 Mark Townsley – Rebuilding The Heart Of The Internet Without Missing A Beat

World Display IPv6 Prefixes Data

Mark is a Cisco fellow and was talking about the Internet Protocol, IP and how the world is transitioning from v4 to v6

  • Overall, the transition of IP addresses and their usage has been from:
    People -> Process -> Data & now going -> Things

Atari_logo12:00 Nolan Bushnell – Success And Failure

Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and scientist. Often cited as the father of the video game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater.

“When you create an idea tha is revolutionary, no one will tell you you’re right” ~ Nolan Bushnell

The Spring Project

These people had quite a strong presence at the conference and ran a number of workshops, one of which I attended.

It certainly sounds interesting, having a formula, which they call “the human source code”, of

brilliance = (integrity + responsibility) x curiosity

14:00 Workshop: Integrity

This started out with a short video on integrity and then jumped straight in to some story telling from the facilitator along with some body-work which related to this and was tied together by some gentle NLP. I think everyone emerged from this energised and in a new frame of mind.

15:00 Andrew Armes – Unlocking Brilliance: A Technology Of Body And Mind

Andrew co-founded The Spring Project – he introduces the history of The Spring Project, what it stands for and aspires to, whilst pulling together all the elements of The Human Source Code discussed at workshops and events throughout the week at Campus Party

  • Spring Project was 5 years in development
  • The Human Source Code – unlocking Brilliance in people
  • Goal: To liberate people from fear
  • And Create: Concious & Connected – Sustainability

“The best way to introduce a change is to create an alternative and make it work” ~ Andrew Armes
Note: That’s almost a hacker ethic!

john-maddog-hall16:00 Jon ‘maddog’ Hall – How To Optimize Your Code: Opportunities And Examples

Many people teaching programming today think that knowing a high level language is “good enough”, that programmers are “abstracted away” from being able to optimize their code.  This, of course, is rubbish.

In this talk Jon “maddog” Hall will talk about a lifetime of optimization issues that have allowed him to either increase the performance of code others have written by up to 220 times, or allowed him to put code into very small address spaces, or (in a lot of cases) made code both smaller AND faster.

  • In Japan, they can predict earthquakes 30s in advance. So what? This means they have time to shut down infrastructure which minimises damage
  • Adapteva – supercomputer on a card – “Raspberry Pi for Real Programmers”
  • Writes a Blog for
  • On Programming Languages:
    • 1st Programming Language should be shell
    • 3rd Programming Language should be some assembler
  • Book:  21st Century C – C Tips from the New School
  • Beowulf Clustering

“Real Computer Programmers should be Computer Engineers” ~ John ‘Mad Dog’ Hall


  • Sirius Programme – aims to attract the brightest and best students and graduate entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in the UK
  • FI-WARE – Interesting initiative by the EU

Starting a Reboot

Start RebootFollowing on from my previous post of Time for a Reboot, as it’s been a week since I started I thought I’d jot down a few notes on my experiences and some more links to resources

I’m assuming that you’ve watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead or have the basic information contained in that and therefore think that a Juice Reboot is interesting…

Before I get in to my experience it should be mentioned that you have to be “healthy” to do this. Also, you shouldn’t be doing it if you’re diabetic or have a yeast type infection or any type of temporary sickness or permanent medical condition without consulting a doctor.

My Experience

Although we didn’t do a “juice prep”, which is quite often made up of a week or so with a raw food or near vegetarian type of diet, we did simplify and minimise our diets during the previous week on holiday.

Actually starting is easy – just juice! The tricky bit is to keep juicing and not “fall off the wagon”.  If you do need a “snack”, try  something like a berry, grape or two so you get the sensation of eating, don’t beat yourself up about it and just keep going with your reboot. During the first few days we both got mild headaches sporadically throughout the day – I’ve since read this is due to the spikes in (natural) sugar levels in your body which come with the juices. I also found my energy levels all over the place, feeling great one hour and like snoozing the next (which I did :). Finally, I also got some joint pain that is due to the toxins working their way through or out of that area of your body.

This brings me on to another point – I started this during a break between contracts. I’m not really sure how you could get past at least the first few days and be working, so if you’re really serious about this like me (i.e. aiming for 30+ days) then I’d recommend to take a week off so you can ease in to this. It may sound strange, but when you consider that you really are rebooting your body and it’s systems I’d say it’s a small price to pay.

You don’t have to do 30+ days though. If you want, you can do anything from 3 days upwards. The basic plan is always the same: prepare (vegetarian/raw foods), do and readjust (vegetarian/raw foods). After even a few days of juicing I realised I’d been eating so much crap and that whatever happens I’m going to radically increase the amount of fresh or juiced vegetables or fruit in my diet and decrease the amount of junky carbohydrates and low quality meats, fish etc…

In some ways, I found the experience similar to giving up smoking as you are giving up your addiction to fat, carbohydrates and whatever other “bad things” you’ve been eating.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I won’t be blogging on this much more, except for a post at the end talking about how it all went. Hopefully this has helped you work out if this is of interest to you. If you do decide on any form of Juice Reboot, remember that if for any reason you stop it, you can always do another time when it’s more convenient.


What Juicer do we use? Just a generic “high power” 2-speed juicer. If you search for “Powerful Professional 990W Whole Fruit Vegetable Juicer Extractor” you’ll get a good list from Amazon or eBay and you should only pay around £40-50.

Where do we get our fruit and vegetables? In the UK, a combination of Abel and Cole, who have a good range of juicing ingredients and organic from local supermarkets to fill the gaps in the A&C order.

How much does it cost? About £15-20 per person per day. That may sound pretty expensive, but how much of a cost do you want to put on your health?


The best starting point is Reboot with Joe that is a great follow on for the film and wealth of resources, FAQs, recipes and much more information

Other great starting resources are Juicing Basics from and this great “Juicing Mistakes” video:

Time for a Reboot

rainbow-juiceIn amongst my tweetstream about a month ago was one about a brilliant documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s a film about a guy of who has a fairly similar build to me at the beginning of the film and by the end (after 60 days on just juice) is much healthier.

So after my holiday and before my next contract I’ve decided to kick off (which is the hardest part) a reboot. Not sure if it will be 60 days – we’ll see how we go…

Just Juice? Are you Crazy?

Nope :-) When I was younger I used to do occasional fruit fasting, but usually just for a week or two and never had any problems. So this is really just an extension and should be even better as you get to include vegetables.

I won’t be blogging extensively on this (unless I suddenly acquire super-powers or something ;) but I started on Tuesday and am just coming out of the “adjustment stage” which happens when you go on any sort of radical dietary change like this. I know from fruit fasting that it’s now just downhill from here as once your body has adjusted you just get positives around increased energy and focus.

For those that are interested though, I’ll do another entry soon on my experiences along with some tips and resources. In the mean time, if you want to get more info, then the best thing would be to watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Youtube below and if you like it, I’d encourage you to go to the movie site and buy a DVD or something.

Back from a break

Madeira Panorama

Madeira RockI’ve recently finished up my current contract and in the Northern Hemisphere it’s pretty much holiday time. So apart from just returning from a wonderful Fly & Flop at Madeira in the capital Funchal last week, I’m returning from my break from blogging.

A lot has been happening in the interim and I have big plans for the 2nd half of this year which I’ve already started on, but I just thought it was time to say “hello again” – it’s been great to see that people are still checking out my previous posts

Renault Twingo

Whilst there, on one of the two days we actually left “the village” we hired a Renault Twingo for the day from City Bubbles in Madeira  who I’d encourage people to support if  in Madeira or later (probably next year) in Lisbon on the mainland. I have to say that it was great fun and I felt really good knowing that I was cruising around in a pretty carbon neutral way.

Anyway, stay tuned for lots of fun, facts and frivolity – Richard.

Jennifer Sertl on Resilience

Jennifer Sertl ResilienceWe all want Resilience, but how do we get it? Look at the photo – that’s Resilience!!! The ground has literally shifted beneath the tree, exposing it’s roots. Yet it’s alive!

It’s adapted – seems like there’s quite a bit of flexibility involved too, as it’s probably about 20 feet below all the other trees…
Over to Jennifer now:

  1. Jay Forrester’s Shock the System… by @ArtKleiner via @MITSloan HT @EkolojikZeka
  2. Self-Determination Theory… by #ROC treasure Professor Edward Deci
  3. Treasure trove of article references from military resilience training…
  4. 10 Principles for a Swan Proof World… by @nntaleb
  5. Trajectory Shift Request: At Davos: Why U.S. companies fail to innovate | via @TIMEBusiness
  6. Mastering Risk… … via @gbntweets
  7. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s search for meaning . . . perhaps the most important read in your lifetime: Man’s Search for Meaning
  8. The Stockdale Paradox + Optimism…
  9. Resilience is to the 21st century what growth was to the 20th (treasure trove) via @auerswald
  10. Pure gold: Resilience + Knowledge Management… HT @toughLoveforx

Violence, Silence and Non Violent Communication

I was pointed to this (most appropriately :) by my wife yesterday morning. I’m very much in to TED talks, but not so much her, so I was a amazed that I’d not come across this talk before. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a game-changer and I’d put it in my Top 10 TED Talks ever!

After talking about this quite a bit I then showed her the Marshall Rosenberg series of introduction videos which follow quite nicely from this.

Wrapped up by one of his famous “puppet sessions”

If you want to find out more, the obvious place is The Centre for Nonviolent Communication. If you’re in the UK, then it’s worth looking at Nonviolent Communication UK. Finally, if you want some great information along with one persons journey in to the land of NVC, I’d highly recommend Bob Marshall @flowchainsensei‘s blog with has Many great entries on Nonviolent Communication applied in a Corporate and Organisational context.

For an even broader context, @AndreaChiou recently did a great post about Book Dreams

The Parable of “The Happy American Train Conductor”


Last Friday started with the following tweet:

@RiczWest: And today we have an American train conductor. Wow, what a positive difference to the announcements. Know I’m going to have a GREAT DAY! :-)

The reason why I tweeted this is that in Britain, you’re lucky if the conductors, which we have on Javelins, sound at all happy. I’m talking about 10-20%. The rest seem like they’d rather be somewhere else and don’t sound much more animated than the automated announcements that the trains have.

Before we get in to my FANTASTIC FRIDAY though, a bit of background. I had been assigned to a “compressed project”. It was budgeted by the Sales Guy – let’s call him Old School Political Bully Boy for short. Technically, it was so easy, but thanks to him and another member of “the old guard” it was getting very political and negative very fast. I managed to keep myself clear of this, but I didn’t like the effect it was having on my Project Manager (who was quite good and resigned 3 weeks after starting with the company – still has one month to go though, so luckily I get to finish the project with him) and the rest of my team. On the close of Thursday, we’d had a meeting with OSPBB who had made it clear that he had targeted his Blame Bazooka at the PM…


So on Friday, that was where I was coming from. But this train guard was just so damn novel and cheery on the way in, I couldn’t help but start feeling better. Then, as we approached Stratford where I was getting off at the end he said “… and for all those people who are going in to work, TGIF!” I got off that train feeling ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, grinning like a bit of an idiot, but I didn’t care – I was FEELING GOOD!

On the way to work, stopping off at my usual coffee place I happened to mention the great conductor (but not his nationality) and the Barista asked “Was he American?”. Wow! It turns out that everybody (except me until that day ;) seemed to know about “The Happy American Train Conductor”. This guy was a legend, literally! On the rest of the way in I remember thinking “what if we could all be like The Happy American Train Conductor?”, how good would work be then?

At work, I was still feeling good and did a run-through of my Solution with offshore to make sure nothing was missed. In the mean time, my BA and PM were meeting with “the client” and everyone was thinking it wouldn’t end well. But it did go well! Very well in fact, with the client turning to the BA and saying directly to her “I really appreciate the work you’ve put in to this, you’ve done a great job”. This was GREAT NEWS! No crazy changes in spec, so the Solution and current Estimates would be aligned – everybody happy :-)

My day just continued to get better with every little step, to the degree that I even went out with “the youngn’s” to a trendy cocktail bar and had a few before heading home. HOW GOOD WAS THAT?

PS We had fantastic “beginning of spring” weather this weekend too

Jennifer Sertl on Valentines Day

Update: JS has just posted an aggregation herself: Love Mosaic

Just finishing up Valentines Day here in the UK and found a great series of tweets on Love by Jennifer Sertl. I know she sometimes curates and comments on them, but I found them so inspiring that I wanted to get them out there asap :-)

  1. Why We Need Each Other Daniel H Pink: employees are faster and more creative when solving other people’s problems – Telegraph via @DanielPink
  2. 9 Rules for Creating Passionate Work Culture  via @FastCompany
  3. Perspective with @TeresaFritschi : A Thousand Years, when love isn’t a smaltz-y commercial event
  4. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  6. The Empathic Brain  by Christian Keysers
  7. Love is the Killer App by @sanderssays
  8. Lethality of Loneliness: How it Can Ravage Your Body and Brain by @JudithShulevitz – HT @ManieBosman

PS Apart from Jennifer, I have to give a shout-out to @tetradian @ArtBourbon @RuthMalan and @flowchainsensei also today ♥