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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Clearing the backlog

I am now part of the backlog-clearing team.  When I was flicking channels earlier I caught a bit of Grotty Britain, or whatever it is called, narrated by John Sergeant, which follows the dirt-buster team of Birmingham.  The scene showed one of the stars using a long stick to clear down the machine that removes the lumpy bits from the sewerage, so his day was a bit like mine.

I have just finished my meal, humus followed by pizza all washed down by a couple of diet cokes.  Not bad, not good, but not bad.

I shall now spend the evening chilling out, and will catch the documentary on Scientology later.  I read an article about this in the Sundays and it was fascinating.  I shall refrain from giving my opinion lest I offend any readers, but I have to say that I think they are an evil bunch.  I had an experience of them when I was in Australia.  Having just completed six months as a telemarketer, I guess me and my girlfriend at the time were a bit more open to street sellers, so when some people asked us if we wanted to have an assessment, we said why not.  We were taken upstairs to a room, and were shown a video for about 15 minutes together, before we were separated and taken to two separate tables for our "assessment".  We did a questionnaire and we were then give some counseling on the results.  I was able to baffle my assessor with gobledegook, whereas my girlfriend was given a really hard time, so hard in fact that I went over to sit with her.  Several times her assessor asked me to take a seat at the other end of the room but I declined, and once I realised how distressed my girlfriend was getting, I grabbed her arm and we left.  She was in a real state, feeling really concerned that the assessment had uncovered some real personality flaws.  When we compared our two graphs, they were almost identical, and that made her feel much better.
Later in our hostel, we were relaying the experience to the owner, and she told us of a couple of friends of hers that had also had some negative experiences of the group.  Now, that is only one experience, however it does seem similar to other stories I have read from others who experienced their recruitment techniques. 

Monday, 27 September 2010

Another day...

... another dollar.  I am going through a bit of an introspective phase at the moment, that started around the time I turned 8, and shows no signs of abating yet.  That was obviously an extension of the truth for an easy laugh.  The truth is that I am pondering the meaning of life, whether I work to live or live to work, whether money drives me or I drive money, whether I should run it up the flag pole to see who salutes, and my personal favourite, definitely no point running up the rhododendron tree until the rats have fled.  The latter, Google informs me, does not existing in any of the squillions of pages out there, but it was nevertheless a popular saying of any old manager of mine.  Another of his was, as he walked in to the office, "Do we like the wizard?", to which we all had to chorus "Yes we do!".  Strange, but true.

So since I am on a cliche thread, here are a couple of old ones:

  • All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday
  • As much use as a yard of pump water
  • As welcome as a skunk at a lawn party
  • Do I look like a turnip that just fell off the turnip truck
  • wetter than fish spit
  • lower than a snake's belly
  • as black as Newgate's knocker (thanks Gran)
  • like a bag of sh!t tied up (thanks Gran)
  • If dumb were dirt, he would be about an acre
  • If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck
  • It's autumn in her mouth and all her tongue can do is rustle
  • Lie down with dogs and wake up with fleas
  • Speak softly and carry a big stick
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease
  • Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow
  • You never miss the water till the well runs dry.

I believe the whole of humankind's learning and wisdom can be found somewhere in a cliche.  And that's a fact.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A weekend of quality time

LO is off with, um, can't remember what pseudonym I have previously given to her, so let's call her Female1.  Anyhow, LO is off with Female1 to a day cookery course in Corfe Castle, to learn to cook fresh pasta.  I cannot wait to be the guinea pig for all her experiments.

I am therefore looking after the maggots.  I intend to meet up with Male1 later for lunch, then swimming.  Prior to that I will be taking Maggot 1 to tennis, and nipping in to town with Maggot 2 to get his nursery picture, which is in for mounting and framing, and to get me a pair of swimming goggles.  My last pair got lost at the pool.  I can only guess that there is a fair old current in the pool and they are, as we speak, blocking some outlet vent, or more likely being worn by a pool cleaner.

In the meantime, us lads are all together, and planning maybe a quick game on the Wii.  The game chooses itself really, since it is one of the few that meets the requirements of a) being playable by 3 people, and b) not causing massive arguments.  Actually b) is always touch and go, so we will have to see.  Anyhow, the game will be Fifa 2009, although we actually play a secondary game on there that is 8-a-side football with little kid-like characters, mostly because we can play on opposing teams, and that does reduce the arguments by an order of magnitude.

In the evening, Male1 and Female1 are coming round for dinner.  That even could mean a lot of work for me, but actually Male1 has cooked a thai curry that they are bringing round for us all to share.  If he can only bring round 2 crates of beer and a couple of bottles of red, he will officially be the most perfect guest of all time.

Have a good weekend, enjoy any sunshine you can find, and speak again Monday.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Time for the little ones

I spent the first part of this morning taking the maggots to school, and attending a "Six Weeks In" session for Maggot 2's reception class parents.  And much fun it was too.  A few "games" to break the ice, and give us parents some of the key messages about partnership.  The presenter was an amazing woman, who I just happened to be married to.  She does this as part of her job, but for another district, so as a Parent Governor she gives her time for free to run a similar session for the Reception year.  What a woman.

We then went to see our maggots in their native classroom habitat, and that was fine until we had to leave, when Maggot 2 had one of his world-famous paddies, and had to be gently restrained so we could beat a hasty retreat.  Having been the restrainer on more than one occasion, I know it does not last long, and in fact his teacher, the fabulous Mrs G, has just rung and all is well with the little one. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

What's in a day?

I may start to purposely invent obscure and abstract titles for my blogs, since I sure as hell can't think of an obvious and concrete one.

What my title was trying to get at is a reflection on my day.  Please feel free to let me know via the comments whether you think I succeeded*.

So as late as this afternoon, I was working 80% on one account and 20% on another account.  Now I may be a pale shade of green about the gills, but even I know that that kind of arrangement would probably turn in to 100% on one account and 50% on the other, but that is the peril of continuing employment - they just simply cannot get enough of you, which is a compliment if you think about it**.

By the end of the day, it has all changed.  I am now only 100% working on one account, and 0% working on the other account.  And in this instance, due to the fact that I have been told I am working too many hours on the first account***, I am actually likely to be only working on it 100-120%.  I also have to reduce my expenses, and at the same time be in the office every day.  Had this message not been communicated to me by two colleagues, both of whom are usually sane, sensible and honest, I would have imagined that they had actually walked in to the first reading of Catch-22 - the stage play" by a number of commanders who had nothing better to do.  Such is the conflicting advice that is dished out on a daily basis.  To illustrate further - we have just finished a six month process to remove those who could retire early, and then those who had had enough, and finally those who of whom Starfleet had had enough.  The remaining troopers are feeling bruised and battered, and in need of a little tlc.  However, this week they published a news item distributed to all UK employees offering us the chance to earn a bonus if we recommend a friend for a job in Starfleet.  Now what is that all about? 

* I hardly think I need to remind you, but working on the principle you are both simple and have poor memories, I wanted to remind you that the usual rules of commenting are in place - keep it real, and there are two S's in to$$er.

** I know, I have been over-dosing on that NLP again.  I just cannot get enough of it.  Actually, that is not good, the brain does not hear "cannot", so I should instead have said "I can get an infinite amount of that".  There, that's better.

*** Those of you who like to be logical about these things may well be thinking that if they didn't keep coming up with stupid bits of work to do, I may well have been able to do less hours.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Have you seen this?

Have you seen this? 

The guy is nuts, obviously, but he is also quite incredible in his understatedness.  I get the impression that Jeremy is genuinely in awe of his guest.  See what you think.

Also, have you also seen this?

The is guy is nuts, obviously, but he is also really rather funny, and does have something in common with nuts guy number one in that he has also done mountaineeringy type things.  

It makes you proud to be British.

Monday, 20 September 2010

On the edge

No, not some caffeine overdose, unlike dear old Golfy who needs to watch what he is ingesting.

You know the feeling.  You are on a roller-coaster of some persuasion, probably best if it is somewhere hot like Florida, or California, or maybe even west of Paris, or somewhere else altogether.  You are at the start of the ride, and everything is pretty straightforward, but you are right at the top and just about to go over the edge in to the first and biggest drop.  

Well, that is where I am just now, on Monday evening just waiting to go over the edge in to Tuesday morning, when I shall be in London and probably getting all the roller-coaster stomach in mouth sensations as well.  

Am I building it up too much?  Of course, where would the fun be without a bit of imagination.  Fear is false experience appearing real and all that, and anyway, I have had a sense of how normal life can be so I have a right to be a bit concerned about how things will go back on the old account.  And I have a tricky solution that should have been done months ago by others, but has not for many good and bad reasons, and right now I only have half a boozers what is needed, and I know that I will need to speak to my customer to get the other half, and that will require the eating of a large slice of humble pie, and also with the expectation that I might get shouted at a bit.  

I hope your day is going well, and that tomorrow follows the same pattern.

Ta ta for now.

That Madness song

I am a bit of a believer in bits of NLP, especially the stuff that says if you spend your day saying "today is going to be miserable" then the forces of a yet to be defined piece of physics work to try and make a day that would have otherwise have been average, turn a little the worse.  

And this is why I am not prepared to name the Madness song about how they expect their day to start.  Needless to say that my stint of being "emergency re-prioritised" is at an end and today sees me back at my old account.  Off to London tomorrow but today at home, wondering the best (i.e. most effective for my contribution, sanity and general usefulness to the account) way to re-engage with my colleagues.  I think the next couple of week will be instrumental in determining my true "status", as anyone who has yet to cancel their Facebook account would put it.  In fact, it may well be the period when I start humming the Clash song "Should I stay or Should I go?", which will probably bring a smile to the inside of my face.  It may also be a variation of that mind trick you are taught that when faced by an angry or unreasonable person, just imagine them naked and you cannot then take them seriously.  Having tried this once or twice, I can report from the front line that it can be in equal measures effective, vomit-inducing and utterly discomforting to do this, the precise mix of that heady cocktail depending on the attributes of the person to which you are applying the technique.  i.e. your fifty-five year old male boss engenders a different internal response than a young (that is, younger than me) female colleague.  The latter of course could be construed as both sexual harassment and "typical man" depending on the extent of the imaginings.

In case it is occurring to you like it is just occurring to me, I did watch, for the first time, the film Up at the weekend, so I may have unwittingly recharged my squirrel gland.  As for the film, rather good actually.

I also watched Ghost, which has Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan and was also a pretty good film, with one of those trying-not-to-be-predictable endings that are almost too cool for their own good.

So, another week, another chance to shine, and to become the fulsome human being, reaching my potential and at one with my spiritual and physical being.  Think I may have gone too far this time.

Until next time.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday morning

It is, as the title suggests, Saturday morning.  Maggot 1 is on cub camp for the weekend, Maggot 2 has a bit of unwellness going on, which led to the usual bed swapping routine at an unholy hour of the night.  Today we are hoping to do the rounds of some establishments to get paint charts (for a repaint of bedroom) and to visit reclaim yards to see what the market has on offer in the reclaimed doors front, an external door to replace our front door with something that has stained glass, and an internal door for the new extension, which, I should add, is potentially several months away from even starting, but us Librans, apart from being very sceptical about astrology (you've used that one before, but I guess the old ones are the best. Ed.), do like to be organised early.  This will unfortunately depend to a certain extend on whether Maggot 2 is still ill today, since we do not want to drag him round the countryside if it makes him iller, since we have a rather tight schedule next week.

We watched a video last night called Unthinkable, with Samuel L Jackson as a sort of good guy, playing a Black Ops specialist whose main skill was the art of torture.  It was shocking and unexpected in several parts, and actually for a plot that read as "another one of those Armageddon-countdown thrillers" was, for me at least, pretty good.  I think it was dealing with the "ugly side of the war on terrorism" or some such thing.  It certainly was not comfortable viewing, simply due to the extreme violence, but enough said in case I be accused of spoiling the plot.  Would I recommend it to you?  To be honest, I am not sure.  Probably yes just so we can discuss it a bit.

We did a three for a tenner deal at Blockbuster, and with a free weekend for the first time in about four months, we will be watching that one with Clooney as a guy who flies all the time giving people the sack, and thinks he is happy but we know different.  Can't remember its name, and to be honest the case is over the other side of the room, and I cannot be bothered to get up and read it.  I should add that I am currently snuggled under a duvet watching CBBC with Maggot 2, and do not want to destroy the cozy situation.

So I shall bid you a happy weekend, and let's catch up next week.

Friday, 17 September 2010

What's for tea?

Fish pie, apparently.

I did read the Gorse Fox's post on the pope, and I like the tone.  I did however follow the link to The Gray Monk and I did rather find his views on the extreme end of what I can get my head round.  I think peace to all and minimise the use of history as a way of making a point, as they did in the 1825 rebellion of York.  Or was it Canterbury?

Have a good weekend.

A chat with a Bad Man

I finally caught up with a Bad Man for a chat and it was good to catch up with all his news.  We chewed the fat over a number of subjects, most of them to do with Starfleet, aka Dante, and it was, as always, very informative.

The Bad Man has changed his pips at Starfleet and it was interesting to hear how it is going.  It is a bit of a baptism of fire, but he is enjoying the challenge and it certainly keeping him busy.  It seems to me that it is suiting him, and it definitely seems to me that for him, a change really is as good as a rest, which is just as well since he has been doing a lot of resting of late ;-)

Anyhow, I shall be keeping in touch with him just so I can what life is like outside where I am at the moment.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A meeting of minds

So I did in the end manage to attend the afternoon sessions of the technical conference, and it was great to catch up with Grinderman and get an update on the London situation, and of course Golfy and Stretch, as well as a number of other colleagues, friends and ne'er do wells.  

The planned Ruby had to be called of due to a number of factors:
  • Stretch had to wax his legs or something, and some other stuff about getting plastered
  • Golfy just could not be bothered.
So Kenobi found himself driving home at the normal time to spend a rather pleasant evening with his family.  We had cous cous with roasted veg, feta and a delish harissa source, the remainder of which I shall be taking to work today for lunch.  If you are in the Horsham area, drop by and marvel and the wonderfulness that is my lunch.

Back to what might just be nearly my final day today on my current short-term assignment, so may well be back on London duties by the end of this week or early next, which means back to the train commute and overnight stays, which do not fill me with much pleasure.  Maybe it really is time to make some positive noises about moving on, to lay down the seeds of an exit.  Should give me time to leave my mark without it leaving its mark indelibly on me.  If you know what I mean.

Have a good day . . . until the next time . . .

Monday, 13 September 2010

What do you call the absence of anything?

The Scobi Wan Kenobi blog?  The janitor?  Could be.

I realise by my dwindling readership that I ain't blogging like I used to.  In fact I ain't blogging much at all.  So I thought I would write a blog and in the press of a key and the firing if a synapse, I can put right a wrong.  Now all I need to do is think of something to write about.

I am watching "My Family's Crazy Gap Year" where a family spends a year on a catamaran sailing round the world.  They are currently on a South Pacific Island, the precise name of which I have forgotten, but it is a pretty damn long way from anywhere.  Dad is currently snorkeling for lobster, and now the kids are playing with it like a toy.  And finally they have now caught what I thought was a Red Snapper, and are cooking it.  Having seen the trailer, I am pretty sure that the Brown's will be speeding to the coast real soon now.  Dad has tingling in most of his body, his throat is numb, he is getting hot and cold.  They have eaten a Paddle Tail, which can cause convulsions, vomiting and death.  Boy they is ill.  Cut to the adverts, so that we can return to hopefully a bit better news.  

You may have heard on the news, or read in the paper, that the optimum salary to earn is £50k.  Any less and you are allowed to be unhappy, any more and you will be unhappy, but feel deep down that you really should not be so unhappy coz you is loaded.  Hmm.  I was discussing with Brad and Angelina at the weekend about this principle and we concluded that Channel 4 should do a documentary experiment with us, giving us too much money to measure how truly unhappy we can become.  Now to really make this experiment work, I think we need to be given an obscene amount of money.  And it should be in Russian Rubles, provided via a bag switch manoeuvre at Euston Station.  I am going to ask Golfy tomorrow what he thinks.  

Which reminds me, I hope to go to the ITD Technical Conference tomorrow, maybe only for the afternoon depending on my work commitments, where I hope to see a number of people who I have not seen for a mighty long time.  Including Golfy.  And Stretch.  And maybe even someone else.  And if the day is going well, we may even go for a Ruby in the evening.  Result.

I shall bid you farewell for now, and hope to meet again very soon.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Park at the Centre

Me and my family and my family's family spent a rather splendid time at a place that I shall not mention due to advertising limitations, but if you can read, and you can think, then the clue is in the title.

I have to say that we have a great time.  The service was absolutely fabulous, the accommodation was splendiforous and the experiences were vertiginous.  The latter is a reference to "The Treetop Challenge".  All I can say is that I was shamed by a four year old girl, several boys under ten and, to cap it all, my very own maggot spawn aged eight. 

The Treetop Challenge is pretty well named, although I have written on my feedback form the suggestion that it be re-named the "Why the #### am I in the Treetop Challenge" since I was absolutely petrified.  The single rope bit was just the most frightening thing I have done except for when I stupidly jumped out of a plane, but that is another story.  The final bit of "fun" was to be attached to a decending machine and told to jump off the platform from about 25 metres up, with the mechanism of the machine slowing you down as you neared the bottom, but not doing so much for you at the top, with the heavier you are meaning the faster you fall.  I did make a personal pledge to shed a few pounds, and I was also unable to stand up when I hit the ground, and "hit" is not too strong a word for it.  Nevertheless, I shall never be doing it again.

We are hoping to see Brad and Angelina next weekend, when I intend to share in very great detail the pleasures of the treetop, and also to get their view on the said holiday destination, since they are themselves fans of it.

Until next time.