Meat is murder . . .

. . . tasty, tasty murder.

So, as I alluded to in my comeback post, I’ve started eating meat again. I don’t mean for every single meal; maybe once or twice per week at most.

I’m not going full-Zuckerberg and only eating animals that I’ve killed myself, but I am trying — as far as it’s possible — to maintain an ethical approach; keeping sustainable British produce and animal welfare in mind.

When bottle-feeding lambs as a child, it was definitely compassion that led me to stop eating animals in the first place. However, as an adult, I realised that environmental factors were also an issue.

“About 2,000 pounds of grains must be supplied to livestock in order to produce enough meat and other livestock products to support a person for a year, whereas 400 pounds of grain eaten directly will support a person for a year. Thus, a given quantity of grain eaten directly will feed 5 times as many people as it will if it is eaten indirectly by humans in the form of livestock products.”
— M.E. Ensminger, Ph.D.

The oft-quoted health failings stereotypically associated with vegetarians isn’t a reason I’m switching back. I’m fortunate that I know a bit about nutrition and how to plan a meal. I’ve been able to maintain a healthy enough diet to be approaching the 50th blood donation I’ve made over the years.

Neither was it the smell of grilling bacon — the apophrycal downfall of many a vegetarian — that got me eating animal products again. The first impression of bacon I had (eating it as an adult) was an overpowering taste of salt. I thought that it definitely smelled better than it tasted, but I’ve persisted!

Rather it was my daughter’s fault. Maybe “fault” is the wrong word here; although she’s definitely the reason behind my dietary change. I don’t want her growing up with a ready-made excuse not to try something; like many other areas of her life, I want her to make her own decisions rather than foist my own opinions upon her. When she’s old enough to appreciate my reasonings and make up her own mind, I may switch back to meat-free meals — and I would be very happy if she made the conscious choice to do the same.

However by that time it may well be that lab-grown meat is economically viable and socially accepted, meaning that we can have the meat without that animals.

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Pastures new

I started toying around with HTML at university in the mid-90s when Yahoo still indexed the World Wide Web by hand. Little did I know.

After university and from responding to a job ad that nobody at Whitespace ever remembered placing to where I am today via a couple of months initial freelance work. That’s just shy of 13 years — very nearly a third of my life. I’d say that I’ve easily racked up my 10,000 Gladwell hours and it’s time for me to move on.

I’ve seen Whitespace grow from a handful of staff in the basement of (the now defunct) 1576 ad agency, having no account managers, coding in Perl and PHP 3 on Windows XP — without version control — using a dial-up connection to where we they are today; one of the best damn agencies in the country. I’ve been through two office moves and worked with well over 100 people — and that’s not including myriad student placements. I’ve had some late nights at truly epic parties and occasionally even later nights burning the midnight oil when the need arose. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve made some life-long friends in my time with Whitespace.

My friend Darcie makes the point nicely: you’re going to have to work so you might as well enjoy what you do. I love the ever-evolving nature of the Internet; there’s always going to be something to learn. I’m still working in the sector but I’m no longer in agency land.

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Remember me?

Okay, long time no post. Not that I have a massive readership or anything but I find that blogging can be quite cathartic. I’ve started countless posts over the past 20 months or so which I’ve abandoned. I hadn’t written anything meaningful or of great length so I just moved them to the trash.

There have been some big changes. If you don’t know the main one that I’m talking about then you needn’t worry. If you do, then thanks for being there for me.

After almost 30 years I’m no longer pescetarian. Also, I’m no longer working at Whitespace where I’d been for 13 years. These are things I’ll expand on in time.

Other, smaller, things changed. For example, for a while I stopped wearing a watch. It wasn’t due to the false reasoning that I carry my phone around and hence have no need for one. I mean, why ferret around in my pocket to find my phone, turn it on to check the time and then put it back in my pocket when I can just glance at my wrist? No, I stopped wearing it — and sharper cufflinks — as I was frightened of scratching my daughter when I picked her up. Now she’s properly mobile — and heavy — I don’t carry her around quite as much.

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That was the year that was

So, in a word, wow — with the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, UK riots, Arab Spring uprisings, dictators and terrorist leaders executed, tabloid hacking scandals, Euro crisis and a Royal wedding, 2011 was a momentous and tumultuous year to say the least. It’s all over now bar the party: Google and Twitter have published their year-end reports, the fizz is in the fridge and the antipodes have seen in 2012 already.

On a personal level, this year was truly life-changing.

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Translations for the nations

I just don’t understand the outcry about the Patois Bible. How people can get upset about the translation of something that was originally translated itself from Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic — passed down via word of mouth for centuries before being selectively written down by different people with varying vested interests.

This is why I can’t abide biblical literalists. Apparently it’s possible — and indeed common — to attend Bible Study classes and not emerge any more enlightened.

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Way of life

“A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.”
- Ferris Bueller

Some people may frown on this as being the kind of self-serving attitude that has led to the materialistic and hedonistic modern way of life. David Cameron certainly appears to think so.

An inate moral code is within pretty much everybody, although maybe it’s hidden really well in some people. The Christian Church would like to think that this moral code boils down the Biblical Ten Commandments, handed down by God to Moses in tablet form. These are predated by the 42 Negative Confessions from The Egyptian Book of the Dead by thousands of years.

Whatever the base of our morality, essentially it boils down to one simple thing: The Golden Rule or in the more familiar form, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

It’s probably obvious that I’m not religious in any way, shape or form.

I’m not an atheist.

I’m not even an agnostic.

I’d describe myself as an proud apathist; a rationalist aligned with humanist values.

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Perks of the job

One of the things I love about working for a design agency is the annual Secret Santa. Instead of the random £10 piece of quirky tat which have given rise to campaigns that ask people to consider a charity donation in the name of your colleague instead, I have the good fortune to work with brilliantly creative people who often put together a highly individual, thoughtful gift — complete with custom packaging and personalised wrapping paper. Of course, this does lump some pressure on those of us who aren’t necessarily as talented in this field but at least putting in the effort is appreciated.

This year I received a personalised “New Dad Kit” containing The Baby Owner’s Manual, ear plugs, a can of Red Bull, a KitKat, a whisky miniature and a condom.

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Chances are slim

“Nature finds a way”
Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Stop and think for a moment about all of the things that had to happen in history for you to be here today reading this. Think about all of the coincidences, what-could-have-beens and chance meetings in your ancestry.

This infographic attempts to calculate the odds.

The chances of Anoushka being exactly who she is are practically zero and yet, she is.

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Welcome to the world!

This then, I guess, is the digital equivalent of Rafiki holding Simba aloft in The Lion King.

I’m delighted to be able to announce that Anoushka Cameron Stokes was born at 23:30 on the 1st of November, weighing in at 9lbs 12½oz (4.44kg) and measuring 22.4" (57cm). Now — a week later — the grandparents have left, we’ve found our feet and carefully choreographed visitors have started dropping by.

I honestly couldn’t be more proud of Juliet — and Anoushka is proving to be an absolute delight. And long may that last.

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Give it up

Planking, Owling, Horsemanning, Batmanning, Tebowing, Big Bad Wolfing.

Depending on where you work that last one may be deemed inappropriate — you can safely Google the others if you don’t know what they are. All of these things have been declared as being the new thing “to do” on the Internet.

Whoever is coming up with these things please stop; we’re bored.

I hereby declare the new thing to do be called “Newing”. This is the practice of giving a name to the latest stupid thing you’ve just snapped yourself doing and trying to go viral, thus ensuring it immediately jumps the shark while nuking the fridge. It’s especially pathetic when a brand tries to force a meme or implement something that is already established and has been doing the rounds online for months.

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