Alex Armstrong

A putter togetherer of words & code

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How to get started with meditation: A brief guide on how to build a consistent mindfulness meditation practice.

Recent blog posts

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22 October 2019 • 3 min read

Yet another meditation guide

I’m a meditator. Which simply means I’m someone who practices meditation regularly, rather than someone who has anything particularly profound to say about the topic.  Knowing that I’m a meditator, friends – and, occasionally, strangers – ask me how to get started with…

4 September 2019 • 2 min read

The wisdom of humility

One of my favorite poetry collections is T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which consists (as its title hints) of four long poems. I first read it around the age of twenty, after I became infatuated with Eliot in a literature class at university. I owned1 a slim, second-hand paperback…

Photo of green and red fireworks

26 December 2018 • 5 min read

Reviewing your past year: Accomplishments, experiences and ambitions

Every year around New Year’s day I dedicate an hour or so to review my past year and look forward to the year to come. I’ve done so since 2013. It’s a wonderful exercise which always leaves me feeling gratitude — and sometimes relief — about all that is past, and hopeful for what…

6 December 2018 • 1 min read


Walking along the waterfront, I stopped at the stall of a lady who handmakes jewelry. “I’m looking for a necklace,” I said. “For you?” “To gift.” I looked over her merchandise. “This one is nice,” I said, pointing to a silvery necklace with a little heart. “This is tight,”…

30 October 2018 • 2 min read

Quickly create new Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms

I suspect there’s a vanishingly small audience for this tip, but this has never stopped me writing about something before. If, like me, you have to create new Google Docs and Sheets all the time, you might be tired of having to navigate to the approriate Google site, waiting for…

29 October 2018 • 2 min read

A better number

The Cretan greengrocer weighed my items, bagged them, and now he was tapping sums on a calculator. “Nine euro,” he said. Opening my wallet, I saw that the smallest bill inside was a fifty. In small shops like this it’s considered discourteous to use large bills, as you will…

11 October 2018 • 2 min read

Greeks and books

It’s commonly held in Greece that Greeks don’t read books. Anecdotally, it seems true. I live in Thessaloniki, the second most populous city in Greece, and work remotely, spending about half my working hours in cafés. I choose quiet, smoke-free, tastefully-lit cafés with…

21 August 2018 • 2 min read

We refugees

Living in Greece, where many folks have become stranded on their way from violence and persecution to the safety of Europe, the topic of refugees is often in the news and on our minds. You hear about the horrors of the journey, the squalor of the camps, the violence inflicted by…

14 August 2018 • 5 min read

More often than not

I took some time off over the last couple of weeks to spend time with family and friends, go camping, and attend a meditation retreat. I’m now settled near Athens, by the sea. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been writing here. The other is that I’m suffering, once more, from…

Marr (left) and Morrissey from The Smiths pose together in the store room of Rough Trade records in London, January 1983.

28 July 2018 • 3 min read

The Smiths

We were having a perfectly fine conversation until she said, “I love this song!” She tugged my arm, not the one holding the drink, the other one, towards the center of the club, where folks sloppily danced. I looked up at the rafters, like an animal sniffing out its prey. I…