There are three main Bahá’í-related items that might be sought from a jeweller, they are “Ringstone Symbol” rings (or pendants), prayer beads and possibly burial rings. I have recently been thinking of replacing my Ringstone Symbol ring, which I lost when it flew into the English Channel with an oyster that I threw back into the sea from Brighton Beach many years back. This prompted me to look at Bahá’í jewellers on-line and so, in addition to a little extra information about the three items I have just mentioned, the results of my search are below.
Last year I traded in three old mobile phones that had been sitting in a drawer “as spares”. Television advertisements kept telling me that I could help save the planet by recycling my old phones, and earn a fortune in the process, so I visited the website of one of the most frequent advertisers and, carrying out the simple instructions, I swapped my phones for a grand total of £15.00, not quite the fortune the adverts had implied, but at least the drawer is less cluttered. Continue reading Mobile Phone Recycling
23rd May is the anniversary of the event that marks the starting year of the Baha’i Calendar, the Declaration of The Báb, the moment that the fore-runner of Bahá’ú’llah first revealed His station to somebody. It took place approximately 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset on 22nd May 1844. As with many episodes from the history of the Bahá’i and Bábí faiths, the story of the events leading up to that moment makes good reading. I will not say much more here, rather I shall link to this much fuller article I posted here some years back
I always like to pause and savour the moment, or reflect, on anniversaries -including those from other Faiths and significant past events – when I am aware of them. I find it particularly potent to do so when these events have a time associated with them. Interestingly, while with most events in the world we take the anniversary as being the time that corresponds to when it happened in the place that it happened, Bahá’í anniversaries tend to be remembered at the local time that matches what the local time was in the place it happened. The result of this is that, rather than everyone in the world marking the moment at the same time, there is a 24 hour wave of events and inidividual remembrance that circles the planet with the sun (or with the time zones).
While it may have been about 2 hours and 11 minutes after sunset that The Báb declared Himself to be a Prophet, the whole day is considered to be the anniversary (the Bahá’í day being from sunrise to sunset) and so many Bahá’í communities hold their celebration at a time that isn’t so late at night. As Newcastle community has a Bahá’í Centre adjoined to residential property we have to hold our event early the following evening (so ours is at 6:30 tonight).
At 17:32 GMT tonight (20th March) the sun crossed over the equator into the northern hemisphere. This event, called the vernal equinox, marks the beginning of springtime in the northern hemisphere and, in many traditions, the beginning of the new year.
“James Herbert is writing a blog entry.”
Does that interest you? In fact, since you are reading this entry, I can give you an update on that:
“James Herbert has now published a blog entry.”
Perhaps you would be more interested if I told you something you couldn’t work out for yourself:
“James Herbert is looking forward to enjoying the culinary skills of Ladan’s aunt this evening.”
I have always had the feeling that blogging one’s daily thoughts on a blog, tweeting one’s moves on twitter and updating one’s status on Facebook is to presume one’s life to be fascinating to a significant number of Internet users.
For this reason the bulk of my blog posts, when I was more active as a blogger, leaned more toward being news stories about the Baha’i Faith, but then the number of people and sources providing such news increased and, again, I found myself asking why people should find my version to be worth reading when there are now several official versions available at the same time.
I want to start bogging again, about life, Ladan, the Baha’i Faith, and technology, but have a hesitance about being too presumptuous that I have a voice worth hearing, that others will be interested in what I am interested in. I also do not want to write things about circumstances I am in that upset other people for the wrong reasons, as has happened with my Ladan updates in the past. So, I am coming back, but this is why it has been a slow and sporadic journey.
I have wanted to write an update about Ladan, but it has been hard to decide what to write with a varied audience. Currently Ladan is in a stable condition not disimilar to that which she has previously been in when she has been stable before. In December Ladan was subjected to a hospital stay following an asthma attack with the possible complication of a chest infection, hospital stays are always fairly traumatic, this time Ladan was admitted following a day of notable improvement but her improvement was slowed by the stopping of all food and medicine while the hospital doctors assessed the situation, on each of the three admissions to hospital that Ladan has had for potential infections over the years there has been a deteroraton in this early stage, which is very worrying when Ladan is admitted while she has been improving, retrospectively it is generally agreed that the last two hospital stays might have been avoided by simply continuing with the prescribed course of action in the nursing home. It did not help that I had popped out when a doctor visited last time and so family observations and formal information relating to improvement in her chest were not communicated to the GP effectively. When Ladan is not well we try to be with her all the time, and when Ladan is in hospital where they do not know her at all this becoes even more important. Even after nearly 3 years in the nursing home most of the staff would be unable to distinguish between the different reactions that Ladan has to various forms of distress, and so for hospital staff who have never even seen Ladan in a relaxed and stable state the task of recognizing her needs is virtually impossible, at least in the nursing home most of the nurses will recognize if Ladan is particularly distressed and can then try to take an educated guess as to why. I never feel particularly comfortable being sat on a female ward all night long, even with the curtains pulled around. We spent the last part of our stay on a very friendly and efficient ward at the Freeman Hospital where, after a few days they managed to find Ladan a cubicle which made life more comfortable.
Although Ladan has remained healthy and stable it took a couple of months for her to return to her best. Meanwhile I am still looking for a flat or bungalow to take Ladan back to (which, although there are plenty of suitable places for sale in todays market, will have to be one already belonging to the council or a housing association for now), when we do that Ladan will be able to have a much better, personalised, environment and level of care, and things will hopefully also be much easier for the rest of the family for the most part too.
During the aforementioned hospital stay I was not able to get Internet access to update the blog (Facebook worked in a simple form), I am now set up to write articles from my phone (this is the first one I am doing this way) so that I will be able to update the blog under such circumstances.
In my last update about Ladan I mentioned that I was hoping to try a Parkinson’s medication called Levodopa with Ladan because it has been found to reverse minimally conscious state in a number of people around the world. I had managed to find somebody who served on a coma recovery board in the United States who was a consultant in Argentina with experience in using the medication and this consultant was kind enough to give me recommended doses and other relevant information. When we came to starting the trial our doctor pointed out that the doses were higher than anything she had seen recommended for use in Parkinson’s disease and so, in case of any problems, we would not be able to go higher than half the recommended dose. We decided to continue as sometimes the lower dose has the desired effect, today was the last day on that dose and we are now back on a lower dose for a few days before stopping with the medication completely. I will write in more detail about this when the medicine has been stopped, and I will include mention of some encouraging observations, but there has been no obvious major change in Ladan’s condition as a result of the medicine to date.
Friday, just gone, was an important day for me. It was exactly one year on from Ladan becoming very ill, which turned into one of the worst events of my life. The following day, the 18th October, Ladan was rushed to hospital and was clearly struggling. Her condition worsened over the next 20 hours and the doctors where doing nothing at all. Eventually, after a lot of talking about whether they should do anything, they stepped in and prescribed a medication that she has an allergy to. It took a while before Ladan was on the right medicine and recovering… and even when her chest started recovering her treatment was such that she had terrible pressure sores all over the back of her body… and this was with myself and my mother-in-law being there 24*7 and pressing for Ladan to get the care she needed when required. There were other factors that made it an even worse day, and ironically the date had a personal significance which meant I wanted to spend some of it very peacefully relaxing with Ladan while enjoying my favourite soft drinks… but Ladan wasn’t well enough for it to be relaxing in the end.
This year, then, I wanted the day to be something more special, so I arranged to take Ladan back to the flat (where I sleep a little at night) for the afternoon. It was just the two of us this time. It was so peaceful. No mater how quiet you try to make things in the nursing home there is always a tv or a loud conversation, or some rushing in the hallway outside, keys jangling, trolleys rolling… always something you can hear… and the chair I am sat on right now, next to Ladan, is functional but not good for really relaxing in. Being relaxed with Ladan by my side, listeneing to some favourite tunes, looking through a few old photos, it was relaxation like I had not had in a very long time. The staff at the home also commented on how relaxed Ladan was when we returned.
The cold weather is setting in now and I am really hoping we don’t have to face another hospital nightmare this year. Right now, Ladan thankfully seems well and settled.
I pride myself on choosing exciting topics to write about and this time I feel I have really hit the nail on the head… a few techy notes I thought might help others having just set up a newish Acer Aspire 3680.
Basically, this article is unlikely to be of interest to many regular visitors to my blog, but it might help people who are running into similar issues that try searching the web for the answers.
- “A program needs your permission to continue”
- “Windows Live Messenger has stopped working”
- Don’t install your friend’s copy of Microsoft Office
- Bluetooth and Memory upgrades
I have an administrator account in Windows and I start a program, apparently that does count as consent for that program to run, I have to confirm it has my permission. When setting up a computer and launching numerous processes this is very frustrating. There are two ways around it.
a) When launching a program, right click on it and select “Run as administrator”
b) Disable User Account Control. Go to Control Panel, Click on “User Accounts and Family Safety”, click on “User Accounts”, click on “Turn User Account Control on or off”, remove the tick from the check box where it says “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer”, click on “OK”. For the change to take effect you need to restart the computer, you will be offered the choice to do it ‘now’ or later. To re-enable User Account Control go through the same procedure and return the tick to the check box at the end.
Thoughts… User Account Control is annoying in two scenarios, firstly when you are setting up or maintaining a machine and making lots of changes in the process, and secondly where you have a program that does not install itself well under Windows Vista which needs permission to run every time it is launched. It would be ideal if we could exclude certain applications from User Account Control but, as far as I am aware, we can’t. As annoying as this security feature is, it offers a high level of protection against harmful software installing itself without your knowledge as a result of a maliciously coded web site or an email virus being opened. For this reason I would recommend leaving User Account Control switched on for general computer use, and possibly disabling it for maintenance and upgrade work.
There is a known problem for users of Acer computers running Windows Live Messenger. The Acer eDataSecurity software causes Live Messenger to close. An immediate fix is to run Messenger by right clicking on the icon and selecting “Run as administrator”, but this is not very user friendly and does not work if you want Windows Live Messenger to be able to start when Windows starts.
The solution is a patch to Acers eDataSecurity software, it can be found on their web site here: http://global.acer.com/support/winvista/t-faq.htm. The European link is not clear on what you should do, the Pan American one is clearer. Basically you need to download the latest version of eDataSecurity for Vista and install it. (links correct at time of writing).
Don’t Install your fiends copy of Microsoft Office
Why not? Because license restrictions have become quite tight and when you come to activate the software it may fail, and if it doesn’t fail it may fail next time your friend needs to re-install the software. If you are the friend that everybody borrows from, be very cautious about sharing, it may cause both you and your friend problems with using and upgrading the software.
You may be thinking you can use a dodgy hack from the Internet to get around activation, and they are easy to find, but you will be using an old version of the Office software that probably has security risks which need updating, and you wil not be able to update your hacked version.
There are a few alternatives to Microsoft Office, standing high among them is the free OpenOffice.org suite of programs. Unfortunately this does not offer a replacement for Outlook, for that there is Thunderbird, with the optional Lightning calendar/task manager add-on. Or Windows Live Mail and the Windows Calendar (installed with Vista). That said, Outlook is probably the least-rivalled element of the Microsoft Office suite and the pricing of the different Office versions reflects this.
So let’s say you cannot carry on living without having access to Microsoft Office, at least in the short term, perhaps all your email is in Outlook format and you need to use Outlook before you can export your mail into another program. If this is the case hen you can download a free trial copy of Microsoft Office and use it for about 60 days, before which time you will either have to migrate to alternative software or find the funds to buy a longer term license. You can grab a trial copy of the suite from here.
I was pleased to see that my Aspire had a Bluetooth switch on the front, but disappointed to find that there was no hardware behind the switch. The connector for the Blutooth is just under the central memory cover. A custom made Bluetooth module can be found on ebay for about £20 (I won’t translate that into other currencies the way the financial markets are right now) or, if you are feeling adventurous, you could modify a simple USB or other Bluetooth module to work with the help of the information in this forum discussion.
Memory upgrades could not be easier than with the Aspire 3680 and similar models as both memory bays are accessible from the bottom of the computer. To get to the memory you simply undo the two small screws holding the large central memory bay in place, the cover has some plastic fingers which make it a little tricky to remove, gently move it around as you try to lift it up.
I do not recommend you do these by yourself if you are not familiar with hardware upgrades, bribe a friendly computer geek to help in return for some human interaction.
That’s it for my tech notes…. any questions feel free to ask…. next time I’ll return to something much more exciting, like global financial melt-down or comas. I know how to keep my readers smiling! 🙂
My blog has become a little geekish over the last couple of posts, and I may have another very geekish post up my sleeve soon too, so I thought I should jump in with an update about Ladan as that is, after all, one of the main things for which a lot of people visit this blog.
The summer, if we are still calling it that, has been a very stable time for Ladan, no real fears of infection or other problems. It would have been nice to get Ladan out quite a lot but it has been a very wet summer, finding a good day has been difficult. There have, however, been about three trips out this summer, two to the flat where I spend some of the morning sleeping and one trip – a tiny bit further afield – to Ladan’s uncle’s house in the north of Gosforth. Ladan’s uncle Shahram and his family regularly host Bar-B-Qs and meals at their home for the family and Ladan would often go there while she was living in Newcastle before we got married, indeed I visited there quite often while visiting Ladan up here. It was, therefore, a familiar environment to take Ladan to and also presented an opportunity for the family to spend time with Ladan in a more natural environment.
We are taking small steps forward toward getting Ladan out of the nursing home and into a normal house or bungalow, but things cannot move forward properly until we have a property, and that probably involves a wait of indefinite duration for a local housing association to have a suitable property available. Our case manager is fixing up a meeting with somebody who can help talk me through the various other options that might exist and their consequences.
A long while ago I mentioned a medicine called levodopa which I was hoping we could try with Ladan some time. It is normally used in Parkinsons disease but has been found to have a dramatic influence upon a small number of people who are in a minimally conscious state. There have been a few barriers to trying this medication, including a lack of clear information on how to use the medication in this situation and questions over Ladan’s stability. Ladan’s GPs have been very positive in this matter, as they have been over moving Ladan into home environment, and we now seem to have overcome most of the barriers, so it looks promising that we may be trying this medicine very soon. I will, of course, update this blog with the results of the trial… I might also write a fuller introduction to what it is all about in the next day or two… encourage me to do so if you would wish to read it.
The colder autumn and winter months are, generally, the ones where Ladan is at greater risk of developing chest infections. Over the last few years I think Ladan has had to go onto anti-biotics at least once during this period, last year we ended up in hospital twice and so I am hoping for a smoother ride through this winter.
I remain aware that many people are keeping Ladan in their thoughts and prayers and this a blessing for which I am truly very grateful and am deeply moved by. Ladan has remained very strong through this ordeal, rather than deteriorating she becomes increasingly stable, so please do keep those prayers coming if you can. Thank you.
It has been so long since I posted to this blog that I had forgotten how to do it. My apologies to those of you who have been checking regularly for updates.
Thank you all very much indeed for saying prayers two months ago, I was very touched by the response. Ladan has remained stable, and there is slightly increased activity toward getting Ladan and I into a bungalow together so that I can be the one primarily looking after her (which I am to some extent anyway, but not at home).
I have been trying to start up a small business offering some web, internet and multimedia services, I’m still working out how I can best use the gaps of time between the interruptions that come from being with and caring for Ladan, this will become easier when we live together properly but even now I am optimistic that I am getting there slowly.
I have had Ladan back to the flat I currently sleep in a few times, and then we had quite a few trips to the local park, Jesmond Dene, where Ladan took me for a walk the first time I came to visit her in Newcastle. With summer looming, albeit the cooler Newcastle version of summer, it was decided that Ladan should have a daily tablet to prevent against hay fever, unfortunately this knocked Ladan for six and made her much sleepier, since then we have not been out, Ladan has stopped taking the tablets as a daily medicine, there have been a couple of other medicines that Ladan has had over the last few weeks too and I am hoping that soon we can be back to our normal regime and I will be taking Ladan out again a few times over the “summer”. When we go out we do not take any nurses or special equipment with us, so I prefer to have Ladan a state of medical fitness and awareness that I am familiar with. We have yet to have the first non-family member come to visit us and spend time in the flat with us, which will feel like a big step toward normality.