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Friday, 25 October 2013

And . . . relax

To borrow from Gorse Fox, "ah, Friday".  Yes indeed.

Having been to bed every night early, I am starting to feel like the old Scobi, which is still far from perfect (don't get me started on my current aches and pains) but at least it is normal.

The fact that this is my last working day for a week is also pretty neat.  I will probably work next Friday, since LO is doing so and it gives me a day of holiday to use elsewhere, it also helps me to tame my Inbox without too much impact to me being there or not.

Plenty has been written about email, and how it has become a victim of its own success in a way, and such success has rendered it an almost unbearable burden to everyone, perhaps for remote-working knowledge workers the most.  In fact, the leader on my current account is planning, rumour has it, to try a No Email Tuesday.  I am tempted to say "good luck with that".  I can see that I could ring you rather than email you, that is cool, however I am not really hooked in to all the other business-focussed social media gizmos, so do not regularly post a spreadsheet on the team's shared area in the ether, my first thought is still to email it out.  I understand all the benefits of not emailing, it is just that the habits and lack of familiarity of the tools is inhibiting me.  The small fact that most of the tools available in Starfleet are hosted over the pond means that they are slow in the morning, and excruciatingly slow in the afternoon.

Anyhow, today will be mostly about closing all the lose ends that I can, and documenting those that I cannot to be shared with my cover for next week, which due to a number of factors will be three different people in my team.

One of these three is actually a very vocal person.  In fact, a colleague has asked me to "have a word" coz his loud outbursts in the open-plan office are bugging the locals.  Anyway, this person is very vocal, as I have said, and one of his stronger themes at the moment is that he does not believe my role needs to exist.  he likes me as a person etc etc, but the role is redundant.

A chap could take offence, but working on the principle that there is truth in everything, however small, and that every such situation is a chance for a chap to take a good long hard look at himself to see whether what he is doing is right, I have given it some thought.  I come out of that piece of self-analysis being comfortable in my skin and my role, but it has made me ponder a little.  This particular person is very self-reliant, and needs minimal, if any, management.  His view is "I get my solution, I manage details and dates with my customer, I don't need your help unless I ask for it, and if anyone on the account wants to know anything about it, don't ask you, ask me".  For him, the role is all about the solutions, and nothing else, and for him that is just about true, if you can ignore the various organisational challenges we have been set, such as doing 40 hours of training, which I have just feathered in to my year, but he has chosen to leave until now, and he is now bleating about needing to have a week off from solutioning to get his training done.

But I digress.  For him, the solutions are everything, and there is nothing else but unnecessary conference calls and meetings.  He is not sighted on all the other stuff I do, and I am pondering whether we can swing it for him to shadow me for the day, so that he either things "crickey, he does a lot" or "I told you his role was not needed".  Hmmm.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy next week whilst I am away 'vannin'.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


I am so very tired.  I think it is my age, and I should probably desist from doing stupid things like the party on Saturday.  It was fun, but knackering. 

We have actually been to bed each night since at 9pm, just coz we are so very very tired.  And perhaps a bit down after the business and fun of the build up to the party, and the party itself of course.

We are away for 5 days from Saturday, in the 'van, to London, for Half Term.  We had planned a number of days out, but I will be gently, but firmly, campaigning for less days out and more days in, so that we can chill and recover.

Maggot 2 has a disco tonight.  As a year 3, he can choose to go to the early Year 2/3 disco, of later to the Year 3/4 disco.  It appears that he prefers the older woman, because he is going with to the later one, mostly because tonight is the night that he asks out Abby, apparently.  He explained to me this morning that his friends had said to her friends that he fancied her, or something similar, and in his eyes they are all but married.  I suggested that perhaps he should wait until he has spoken directly to her, and she has agreed, before he jump to too many conclusions, however the recklessness of youth prevails, and he is now saving for the dowry (I may have neglected to tell him that bit, and the way he is with his money, that may change the complexion of things).

Maggot 1 is away at a school trip to the Isle of Wight, lasting three days and two nights, and covering lots of activities.  It is a Year 7 bonding session really, and one that, based on previous years, is pretty successful.  I hope he comes back happy, and not too tired. 

I would like to stay and chat, but my bed beckons.  Oh, forgot to say, LO had a dual-zone, super fluffy electric blanket for her birthday from her folks.  She is loving it for her side, making a not that warm bed stupidly warm.  I plan to wait until it is much colder before I consider having mine on, though I do think that come the cold months, having my feet get in to a warm bed might be very nice, me suffering from cold feet (but a warm heart) regularly.

Until tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Saturday morning

"A small party last night for LO's actual birthday, for family and close friends".

I think that is broadly how I reported it yesterday.

This is what really happened.

All arrived when they should have, presents from Nic's folks were opened, I also got a dressing gown, and a measure of my age perhaps, but that was just the ticket.

Once everyone had arrived, E and I started setting up the sound system.  This consists of gear very reminiscent of my gigging days, with a large Bose speaker in each room, and a 05m square amp and effects box under the food table.  By the end of the evening, it was on quarter volume, and the foundations were shaking. 

We had food.  We had drink.  Then we had dancing, with Gee Gee even getting up for a dance, being led astray by A who, as hoped, was the dancing life and soul, giving Samantha a run for her money.  In fact, the "dance off" between A and Samantha was quite something to behold*.

At around 10.30pm, we decided drinking, music and other excesses needed to end so that we could preserve our energy for the main event tonight.  It was at this point that mother-in-law's glasses were discovered as missing.  Much over-dramatic searching later, and all guest left, they were still not found, then suddenly father-in-law remembered he had them in his pocket.  The air went blue, so we rushed the Maggots up to bed, and the in-laws left with much raising of voices, and one can only imagine the atmosphere and words in the car on the way home.

Bring on this evening.

* if you have heard of twerking, that will paint the picture.

Friday, 18 October 2013

And . . . relax

A big weekend ahead of us.

LO is celebrating a significant birthday.

Tonight we have a small, informal gathering for family (those onshore) and a few friends.  Low key, not late, not too much to drink, which always has the potential to turn in to something that is anything but.

Tomorrow will be spent doing the finishing touches to the party preparations, before we then go and have some fun.  8-10.30pm includes selected children, and the special guest*, they the in-laws and children depart and the party starts.

We have E's sound system, which is a mini PA system bigger than many of the venues I played in my band days, so while the volume does start at 1, I fear that certain individuals (not least my little Welsh friend who is a fiend for sneakily turning up the volume) will ensure it is on its way to 11 later on.

We have a bar, and a food selection area, and 2 waitresses to collect coats and to distribute nibble and drinks.

We have enough booze to sink a battleship.

And we have our costumes.

Let the festivities begin.

Have a good weekend, will update you on all the shenanigans on Monday.  Or Tuesday.

* it is secret, so more on Monday

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


A nervy but ultimately successful final game seems England top their group, guaranteeing us a place in the World Cup next year.  It was my birthday yesterday, and in lieu of any other presents, it being agreed (happily by me also) that I would not be having any particular day due to the extensive event schedule for LO's major event party, this was not a bad way to spend an evening.  We are not, so the commentator told me, seeded, which means that things will be tougher or something, but regardless of any nay-sayers, I am happy, and it must surely be nothing more than a mere formality before we are lifting the cup.

We are at Wednesday, and the party to-do list is getting there.  Snooker table and football table in the shed.  Check.  Clothes rail down from the loft.  Check.  Decs and lights up.  Check.  Just awaiting the arrival home of LO so we can go together through any other activities that must be completed this evening.  Then it will be last night's curry remains for tea.  Lovely.

Monday, 14 October 2013


I am currently testing a theory that all the wisdom you need in the world is contained somewhere in song lyrics.

My testing methodology will be to attempt to provide advice and guidance using only the power of the lyric.  My conclusions will be published in Unscientific Weekly for peer review.


Friday, 11 October 2013

And . . . relax

Another week is over, and looking back:
  • I've lived a life that's full
  • I traveled each and every highway
  • And more, much more than this, I did it my way.
I have also had a success this week.  My process improvement project, the thing that may we define my tenure (as long I keep all the other aspects tamed), has delivered its first tangible improvement.  It is for a revised process for doing something that our competitors have always been willing to do, so in that sense it is just catching up with the pack, but for Starfleet, and for our account, it represents a real improvement.  This process was used in anger on a recent bid and we got a "thanks" from our customer, which is fairly rare, and more importantly a "to turn that round in a week is a game changer", which is much more profound.  The fact that that latter comment was delivered last night by our Starfleet account leader was the icing on the cake.

We are also up to see Brad and Angelina this weekend.  Very much looking forward to seeing them, indeed this is the first time since Riverside Lakes, but, much more importantly*, we will get to see their new kitchen.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

* A joke, perhaps of the smaller variety

Monday, 7 October 2013

New machine

My new machine is now fully up to speed with how I like to do things, and I have to say I am liking it very much.  If I am brutally honest, there is not a lot different from the old one, except it is cleaner, faster, the USB sockets all work and can sustain as main USB devices as I plug in, the volume bar shows on the screen, the applications open a lot quicker, it goes to sleep quickly, it wakes up quicker, and it is quicker overall.  I guess I am feeling the need for speed.

We had a busy but fun weekend.  LO went to Southampton to buy a dress, which took all day and was anything but fun.  On Sunday was Maggot 2's birthday celebrations, which started with a trip to Planes at the local cinema, the plane version of Cars, which was actually much more fun than I had expected.  Whether Kermode was wrong, or his poor review set my expectations very low, I am not sure, but we found it thoroughly enjoyable.  To be sure there were bits when I thought "that is just a plane version of the ??? car character", however there was plenty of funny moments, for us at least, including "for flying out loud!" and "you just crushed my FlyPad".  "Don't worry, there is a new one being released in 2 weeks".

We then had 2 hours of tennis.  This was an interesting time, with varying degrees of capability all vying for attention, but we had fun, and ended up with the "how high can you hit it?" game. 

Part three of the day was a late lunch at the Smith and Western restaurant.  Not surprising considering the name, but this is a cowboy-themed restaurant doing the pretty standard burger/ribs/onion rings/fajitas fare, but all done with great service and, to be honest, we always have a good meal at the place.

Then it was a matter of getting everyone home before returning to base for chores and snores, all to a backdrop of Strictly, X Factor and Homeland.

Next week we are off to Brad and Angelina's for the weekend, which will be fun.  We have not seen them since Riverside Lakes, so have a bit of catching up to do, and some planning for LO's up-coming "significant birthday" party.

Have a good week, speak later.

Friday, 4 October 2013

And . . . relax

Another week under the belt in the new job.  My own school report makes the following comments:
  • Improvement project - Scobi makes a positive contribution in all classroom discussions, is making good progress.  A-
  • Team management - leading the team will take some time to bed in, but making good progress.  B. Management of team's workstack and priority still needs work.  I fear that Scobi does not enjoy this part of the role, so comes to it reluctantly.  He needs to get stuck in and get a grip of things, or be seen to not be in control. B-.
  • Stakeholder management - Scobi is well engaged with his immediate manager, able to support him as required, and maintaining a good communications channel with him so that they are acting cohesively.  B+.
Head's comments: Scobi is [doing well/not so well/terribly], and [needs to keep up the good work/work  harder/take a long hard look at himself].  he's a terrible singer though.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ooh ooh ooh

Oooh, I have a new machine.  Actually spent since 5pm last night getting it up to Scobi standards, which are very exacting standards, I have to say.

It is good to have a machine stacked with memory, for once, and also one that is shiny and new.  Actually, it is matt and new, but let's not split infinitives.

I have all my data over, I think, and have just about installed all the apps I really need (rather than a whole heap of junk that one time or another I thought might be useful).  I have even tweaked all the little tweaky bits that make my machine just that little bit different from everyone else's, in a good way of course.

The only bit that is not right is my login name.  I created the same one as last time, which I thought was standard, but while it is a Administrator, it is not THE administrator, so things keep defaulting to the "elevated Administrator" user - a couple of apps used the My Documents under that user as their default for example.  I need an expert, and luckily I know a few of those.