Website Design and Content

Since you’re reading this you’ll probably notice the new theme on the website provided by Graph Paper Press and that I’m trying to introduce a more visual, reader friendly view to almost everything I run, including my Portfolio site.

I’ve actually used GPP before, for this site even, as well as my portfolio site over at thelongmile.com, and since I’ve clearly long since been a fan of Graph Paper Press, they were something of a natural choice going forward as I start not only these websites again, but getting back into all my photography and undertaking the arduous task of re-editing almost everything I’ve ever shot. (I’m going to need a much, much bigger hard drive)

So why the change? And why can’t I just use the inbuilt theme?

Well, there are a few different reasons. First of all, really? The inbuilt themes might allow me to throw an image in here or there, but this lets me make something with a little more visual focus. I have no need for various widgets and fancy word clouds anymore, but I also want to take advantage of the fact that I and everyone else over the last ten years have had a web capable smartphone or tablet. None of the themes I had really looked good enough on mobile, much less a desktop.

Plus, I wanted something that presented each post as a page without going through the weird and wacky way of actually doing that in wordpress.

So stay tuned. Everything is under reconstruction right now. It’ll look better soon

The greatest thing about Texas is…

It’s been five years. I should have experienced enough of Texas to sufficiently hate it all by now, right?

Nope! While it’s true that the longer you spend somewhere the more you come to resent it, I’ve still not gotten tired of the seemingly endless heat and the sheer variety of places to go and things to do. Nor have I ever gotten tired of the endless food options – 43lbs kind of shows that off.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are things I hate. You know how in the UK we say that there are only two things certain in life and that they’re Death, and Taxes? Well in Texas it’s Death, Taxes, and Tolls. If you want to get anywhere in Dallas, you’re almost certainly going to be on a toll road one way or the other and NO, it’s not any faster, it’s not any better, it’s not any easier to take the toll roads versus the free ones, and in many cases it’s simply unavoidable.

This being said, there’s plenty to love about Texas. The aforementioned food being one of those things, and the generally friendly nature of the people around you. But there’s one thing to me that stands out, and that is the abundance of parks and waterways.

BUT HOLD ON!” I hear you say, Britain is full of parks. It’s even home to The National Forest, hundreds if not thousands of miles of canals, an endless coastline that you’re never more than a few hours from, the Scottish Highlands….

I know. But I still stand by my point.

Combined with the truly beautiful weather, Texas makes all of that better. True, there are some places of outstanding natural beauty that simply can’t compare to places in the US including some of the Welsh Valleys, but what you don’t realize about Texas and America in general is that the sheer scale of the land mass made for some incredible landscapes that you simply can’t see or get in the UK.

We all know about Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and We all know about the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but do you know there’s a Canyon in Texas? How about Big Bend National Park? One of the largest National Parks in the USA (About half the size of Yellowstone at 1500 or so square miles) – How about just around Dallas? Lewisville Lake, Lake Ray Hubbard and Lake Ray Roberts. All Gigantic, and Ray Roberts has the benefit of being one of the Texas state Parks, offering even more hiking, kayaking, trails and so much more and it’s 20 minutes away from where I live.

Yes, I could have driven to Brecon back home, and I frequently did. But it was always a toss up between finding natural beauty and feeling at peace while it was cold and raining, versus staying home and doing nothing. The beaches were a mix of frighteningly cold water even in the summer with hundreds of cigarette butts sticking between your toes growing up while loudmouthed individuals drank Stella Artois by the 6 pack.

Here, there is so little of that. Here, the vast majority of people seem to actually treat the countryside with respect. Here, I actually feel like I can be at peace.

The Greatest thing about Texas is Texas itself. And I truly mean that.

Oh, that didn’t work out

Oh boy. How do I start this entry when it’s been 4 years and 9 months since my last one, and you might notice a new face on the site as I move it more into a blogging platform rather than a media platform.

Stuff changed. And by stuff I mean me. Nearly 5 years on and no, I’m no longer married.

It’s somewhat strange to put that in writing. The divorce itself finalized last year and It was many moons before that when things actually happened. I guess it’s strange then to try and bring up the past for the purposes of parading my life online, but bring it up I shall so that you, dear reader, can understand that I am still a complete person, that I’m still alive, and despite the fact that I’m divorced I’m actually doing ok!

So where do I start on this update while still remaining tasteful? I own a house, I have a car. I have cat’s now. Two of them (Stop laughing – I know), but perhaps most importantly of all of this, I still live in the USA.

So why the hell did I stay?

Work, and people. (yeah, yeah I know, cliche answer) The last 5 years have been something of an obvious emotional roller coaster. I’ve made friends, I’ve lost friends, I’ve moved around, moved jobs, moved up and down the ladder, and found out more interesting things about myself. But, the people are ultimately what kept me going,
That, and as my father said on his last visit : 

I don’t think you could go back home, you’ve adapted too well

Quite a statement, but it’s true. And I had the weight to prove It! (Though I’ve since lost about 40lbs)

I’m busy trying to get this site back in order and intended for a wider audience so stay tuned for some more updates soon!

Expatriate

Well, I made it.

It’s been just under a month since I arrived into the ‘Land of the Free’, ‘Home of the brave’ and the state that despite being ranked the “Third worst in the nation for healthcare”, is home to two cities which according to Money Magazine are the best places to live in the USA, home to the safest city in America (forbes) and The best city in the USA to get rich (Dallas Business Journal) and coincidentally, where I now live.

Yup, I’ve made it to the 28th State that was once French, Spanish and Mexican in that order. Texas. Home to some 25.5 million people and me and yet despite the French ancestry I still cannot find a decent croissant. (Well, ‘Crescent Roll’. Apparently croissant was too complicated)

Despite the tearful goodbyes that were had at 2am when I left the journey itself was relatively smooth sailing. Security at Heathrow paid no attention to my envelope, and security at the gate thankfully left me alone. Despite horror stories of long wait times, I was in and out of Dallas Fort-Worth airport in a little over two hours (trust me, that’s quick for DFW).

So far, things have been smooth if rather busy. Everyone is friendly and BBQ really is everywhere. Fortunately I have a lot to carry on with in the run up to the wedding before an entirely new visa process and more moths of waiting begin. Hopefully though, this one will be a little easier to cope with since I won’t have to be alone for most of it.

For now I’m off to enjoy a little more of the weather. It might be cold for Texans, but it certainly isn’t for me!