Wednesday, July 20, 2005

leaving today

time to go. not all of your friends will go with you I'm afraid, but then you've got some friends that are a bit annoying so actually that's probably a good thing that I know you don't really understand but one day when you're reflecting on the last 20 years and those significant milestones you'll think of the time you moved to middle school and actually it won't be that bad because that's where you got all those new friends that you're now going off to India with to do something ultra worthy like working for oxfam or something or the cultural ambassador to lithuania that means it was all worthwhile.

but right now, it's the assembly so you get to sing all those songs you've been practicing all month and doing some kind of maypole extravaganza in front of the massed ranks of tissue wielding 30 somethings who work from home or don't work at all and 70 somethings who have 30 somethings who remember the long hot summer of 1976 and who's that boy on the right, oh, it's a girl, you are just, and you know, so, well, oh, it's not sad but you know they grow up and, booohooohoooo, hoohoo, sniff, bwaaaaaaaahhh. sorry.

Monday, July 18, 2005

harry potter and the thermos of white van


so gaz is back and this time its a multi-function base container with false floor and over pelment with deep battenberg and upside down brackets behind the french-english dictionary and the photo book like what you see in those mockups of casual designs for life in those magazines we buy and cut out little lifestyle pictures that I draw to scale and give back to gaz. we then discuss the merits of 70mil versus 90mil and liberating the picture rail like its been interred in some kind decorative style prison where the hatchet job that now lives in the cellar made out of old shoeboxes and twiddly snippings of ex-shelving units was on day release.

by friday we'll be turning all the lights down and sitting smoking fat old cigars in front of the antiqued features like we're something out of gosford park, except we'll be more like the scrags that shag in the pantry which I guess means we're not quite so crushed by our sensibilities but by our stomachs which is probably a better place to be but it does mean I won't be pontificating about beading and the cables for the aerial, sky and ntl, which is probably a good thing as I have no idea what I'm talking about and for goodness sake, why did I ever think that the vinyl collection would fit into that 1500mil space. you'll have to leave the 12"s out and just keep the road album and mono stuff and by the way I'm just popping into sevenoaks to look at a pro-ject.

so he then goes and sits in the van with cuppa tea and a couple of aspirins cos of this weather, like, and then it'll be a start on the framework, which reminds me I should be finishing the resource list and capital expenditure for FY06 as I have to make a bunch of stuff up tomorrow in order to get the world to turn the other way in product marketing before the globalization schooner reaches the end of the earth and tips over the edge into the pit of sheol that is stuff I was planning to do but never finished the plan so I never did so it must be tuesday and there goes the circular saw and bf2 really makes your small finger hurt. I should stop ducking and start running. straight into an APV probably and get squished by some 12 year old 733t d00d called 5punkYm0nk3y or something that takes me 3 goes to work out by which time they've fixed the artillery and I'm respawning under a hail of shells and ragdolling through the gulf of oman like a deranged motion sickness crash test experiment.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

what I'm trying to do is what I'm trying to do

so there's five minutes left and no questions so I'm gonna just fill in to the end of the hour if that's alright with you. I'm hoping that you'll get embarrassed enough to fill in the gaps and you'll start talking rubbish so that I can respond in a way which makes it sound like I really know what I'm talking about, but actually all I'm doing is having a conversation with you while 20 other people on the call are waiting for me to shut up already because they're going to the gym and they want to avoid the rush when all the fat people go an hour early so that people don't see them on the treadmill getting all sweaty especially at the moment when its 30 degrees and actually I have a condition which makes me smell like this.

great, so, thanks everyone. I guess I'll send you though the business requirements so that you can all review them and then we'll make it kind of ad hoc when we get together because I don't want another meeting and I have to go to the shops on friday and get some antibiotics so if we could engage via email that would be the solution I'm working towards if we're all sweet. Yep, I'll probably be ready with the plan right after the thing I'm doing next week which is really important as I'm going away for a long time after that to chatter with seagulls at a staithe and share one-legged experiences over video with a man from knebworth.

any questions?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

well, don't look at me like that

dammit. had a repeating calendar entry that I didn't repeat often enough and now I'm stuck here skypeing when I should be down there with the ham and cheese and guinea pig circus. its my turn as well, so I should be sat there with a cavey on my lap, cooing like a pigeon, but instead I'm getting my face gently blown by the hot air turbine that is my w2100z in my south facing room that happens to have a 28 degree early evening outside and a small generator in the corner pumping out co2 for christmas. I mean, I know I have to understand about resource bundles and locales and 2 column database queries and all that stuff, but really, I only had dave tellin me that he's got the monkey down from aintree on the other line, so now I'm up a pony, but stuck with a PM doing a clap for the gaff. that's not right, is it? still, when its tomorrow afternoon and I'm sticking one in the ear for demographics, then I be having a right laugh about it, cos he doesn't really get it, and I'm giving it globalization and program boards and global simplification goals but its like "yis, but" so whatever.

so I've set it for the next 18 weeks and arranged for clive to drop the spanners an hour later so we can bang on about the nosh all relaxed without me sticking me hair down like a coal miner and reaching for the lynx. nice

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

when I hear the word democracy, I reach for my headphones

so I have to get back to rating. is that hot or not? is it a bit hot? is my leg moving? now that we've supplanted ourselves with the prosthetics and given up the healy its back to the 40 days and 40 minutes of back catalogue which god knows needs filtering through the doppler. you should have known it would happen like this really. one minute I was ripping it up on a four track fandango, after a chance meeting in the city ended up with a ride to the place we knew we would end up as soon as we stepped out of the door, the next you'd left and made that really quite rubbish effort where you were wearing that new york stylee wooly hat thinking that was the 90s beatnik look but in actual fact it was just the 90s wooly hat look and since you made it permanent I have to berate you now.

not since coventry was flattened has it been mobilized so frantically. I mean, its not like I've needed any excuse to sit here looking at the wall and reminiscing about long coats and spikes in my boots, but jesus, journeyman? where the hell did that come from? time to go pick a carpet and get back to earth. I think its somwhere between the orange and the fawn, but I wouldn't want it to end up as taupe. even with flecks. that would be dreadful.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I don't care, now go away.

I can see one on the road and one on the other side, striding into Victoria like a deranged 14th-century pleb. ooh, that insidious tweak of the heels as they dribble up the path and the ratcheting bones of the spike jones lookalike competition winners who are dragged by their feet through the dogs mess in what used to be my adventure playground. there were nice logs. a rope slide and all sorts. but now I voyeuristically survey the half-life mentalisims that drip into view, sloping their club feet into the nearside and dribbling some kind of ridiculous bile at each other, like some mad old apes in the baboon house at banham. and those dogs.

you see, I've cultivated a particularly offensive highbrow backlash against you all. I see you crashing the handset against the new email client that nobody uses and staggering across my road like some neaderthal. you're headed into the pickwick for one last argument with dave about picking up stuff for the morning job and then you'll be off to costessey for a slap, you idiot. by the way, that shirt is rubbish. they went out in the 90s with those horrible loafers you're wearing

apropos of which, I'm still alive. I did take a couple of days off to just stare at the tv, so I'm late again with the globalization program. but you know, there's some things I really have to get done, and some things that I'll just about get done, so excuse me for a minute, and stop spoiling my view, you cretin

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

I'm not bothered about the noise though

do you mind if I just shut the door on you? is it my singing? no, its your whistling, ha ha. actually its the sound of the circular saw buzzing through the floor of the kids bedroom that's vibrating me across the office floor like davros or whatever his name was from doctor who. I've got a bit of a bad stomach today as well, so I'm probably green too. all I need now is to get my medusa headset on and I'll probably get a free pass to some kind of convention where I can spend my time sifting through back copies of radio times and betamax videos, occasionally looking up and nodding to a cyberman with a sea dragon mask in one hand and a cheque book in the other.

so we agree on a '100 mil' panel and some beading that is apparently called 'ocra' or 'ocar' or something and then gary gets to work on the wardrobe doors. he's going to fill in all the little gaps as well. ah. after that, he's going to start on the shelves in the living room that I haven't designed yet, but all I know is that they have to have one shelf about '800 mil' off the ground that's deep enough to fit a shiny new turntable on so that I can finally, after about 15 years, stack the vinyl underneath and then pull out and dust off my mono copy of piper at the gates of dawn and cue it up and sit back in the leather sofa and relax. its probably at that point I'll realise that piper at the gates of dawn is really a horrible screechy wailing noise, especially in mono, and so I'll whip it off, delve back into the warped back catalogue again and pull out hex education hour or 1997 wtf's going on or something instead and then do some air posturing in front of the telly while I'm reading the sleeve notes on unknown pleasures. I might even dig out who's next and do a spot of windmilling, if nobody's looking

but right now, the sawing has started again. I can't really hear it that much through the victorian walls inside this house and over the fan battle of the w2100z and the 8400 and the bionaire (which the w2100z wins quite easily, naturally) and the passing traffic through the open window because its sunny again and my south-facing office is approaching the volcano zone. but its there. just niggling away like a rat chewing your skull. so I expect to lose it completely by the end of the day and go rampaging down to M&Ms with a sawn-off bike pump or something, demanding they had over the soft rolls before anyone gets hurt. dammit. there it goes again. scuse me gary, can I just borrow that saw for a minute?

Friday, July 1, 2005

that's art, that is

don't make me change that. it took me ages. just because you don't follow that particular product life cycle process doesn't mean you can't understand what I'm saying. I mean, of course its cock full of subsections that I didn't even understand myself, but I filled them in and made them all look like they were valid and important, so you should at least read them. you know you want to. I crafted them lovingly in my usual prose-heavy way so that its less of a program management document, more of a novel, with compelling characters, engaging storyline and a startling and unexpected twist. alright, its only describing FY06 globalization activities and the business process changes and platform enhancements, which doesn't sound very exciting, but don't let that put you off. I mean, Enigma. that was about a typewriter, right? the Da Vinci Code. that's all about puzzles or something. so, it doesn't sound very interesting, but get into it and by page 17, you'll be spilling your coffee into your lap with your jaw hanging open like you've just witnessed the second coming. you'll have some kind of revelation on the path the monetization.

except I haven't finished it yet. naturally. its friday.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

oh yeah, well, that. you know.

I've made a list. I once asked my old manager how she managed to keep on top of everything what with the supersized number of projects she had on the go and all the people in the team. she said it was a juggling act. but not the kind of juggling act where you keep five balls in the air on a sunny day on millennium plain while over-enthusiastic southern european exchange students laugh and point in their dayglo rucksacks. no, its a corporate juggling act. you throw everything up in the air and mostly things come back down and you catch them, add value and throw them back in the air again. sometimes you catch them as they come down and throw them hard at the person sitting closest to you at the time and they have to pick it up off the floor and figure out why the hell you just threw it at them, ribbing their bruise. sometimes you throw them really high so they spiral into the ionosphere of the lifecycle process before crashing down through the rarefied atmosphere of significant milestones. sometimes you just kind of flick them up with your wrist because you know they're just too heavy to launch without hurting yourself somehow. mostly they just kind of circle around in a big arc over your head and its reasonably predictable when they'll fall out of the sky again. sometimes, when you're not looking because you've spend the morning fixing you email account, three of four of them land of the floor at the same time and then you start flapping your arms around uncontrollably like a deranged seagull.

but best of all, and for reasons not really clearly understood, sometimes they don't come back down at all. they just keep on going, up into space, until they collide with a passing beagle or something and all contact is lost, despite the efforts of scientists in beards with optimistic faces. these are the things you've thrown really hard. you did an enormous windmill with your arm like a adrenalin-fuelled pete townsend and fired that project at a million billion miles an hour into the cloudbase. ha. someone else's problem now, I believe.

so that's why I've written a list. I've reached critical mass with all the things I should have already done and the email trails that I no longer understand and its time to get everything into a bag, so I can pull them out one by one, evaluate how heavy they are and initiate the launch sequences. I had a good breakfast and 17 coffees and I'm twitching like a madman, so I'm thinking at least a couple of things will be defying gravity really soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

sports day debacle

it was supposed to be the highlight of the events calendar. for years, the school had been trying to break the developing and lucrative market of 'dads who are at home on a tuesday afternoon, but find a reason not to attend'. over the past couple of years, the supremo of the sports days, bernadette ecclescake had struck many deals with the organisers and sponsors so that now the tuesday afternoon meet in north norwich had become a premier occasion. in reality, bernadette had become the controlling power of the event, making policy decisions on details such as venue, day, time, cake stall management, and even choice of footwear distributors. for years, participants had free choice over footwear and could change them as often as they liked, even up to the last minute, when mum suddenly turned up with a brand new pair of black and white adidas kicks. together with baxter moselyshoals, who was the chairman of the inter-norfolk schools association, bernadette had everything sewn up.

so, the stage was set for the blue riband event - the three-legged egg and spoon dressed up as a policeman through a hoop beanbag on your head relay. the crowds had gathered excitedly in the record breaking heat, their cool boxes and digital video cameras at the ready, beeping like some insane techno orchestra because mums and dads don't know how to turn that beep off. there had been rumblings about the safety of the course this year, as they were doing some building work on the new sports hall at the end of the field, so the last corner needed to divert around a couple of old traffic cones over a bit of bumpy grass. in fact, yesterday, little ralph from class 3b had got a nasty chaff when he careened of the track at the last minute when he had spotted his mum with a mini milk out of the corner of his eye. some parents had slightly raised one eyebrow and muttered some stuff about 'health and safety' and 'what bernie's doing about it', but all team members appeared to be present and correct. the excitement was building, the tension palpable, and nobody in the crowd was really noticing a number of heated exchanges in the sand pits. we're english, we don't notice heated exchanges.

10 teams had made it to the final. 10 teams of 2 runners, tied at the ankle, truncheons poised and footwear carefully selected. it's customary for the finalists to be introduced on the crappy loudspeaker system that's dug out of the store cupboard every year, so they all do a quick hobble around in front of the massed ranks of beaming parents prior to the real business of racing. I couldn't help noticing that some of the finalists looked a bit, well, grumpy. they darted a look across to their mums, who were doing a kind of hand across the neck gesture, like they do on the tv when they want to stop somebody talking rubbish. in fact, more than half of the ankle-strapped youngsters looked like they really didn't want to be there at all, which was odd, but maybe they were just nervous. anyway, the PA crackled the names as they passed and everybody in the crowd settled down to watch the big race.

then it happened. just as the finalists were making their way to the start line, suddenly, 14 mums appeared from nowhere and whisked 7 pairs into 7 waiting vauxhall zafiras and they shot out of the car park and off to Tescos. this bizarre scene took everyone by complete surprise and bewildered, we turned back to the start line to see 3 rather embarrassed pairs of finalists smiling apologetically on the start line. one of the bigger boys, michael surelyknackered had something approaching an evil grin on his face, which made us all do a collective gasp of horror. out of the corner of my eye, I could see bernadette ecclescake and baxter moselyshoals striding into the maths room, waving their arms in the air and saying something about shoe shops, but I couldn't really catch it. and then the flag went down and the 3 pairs hobbled down the track, to some rather ugly scenes on the terraces. disgruntled child minders and dads who had actually turned up this time started throwing hobnobs and cheese sandwiches onto the track, nearly hitting michael on the flaps. the result was really neither here nor there, and most parents had gone home to tidy the garden by that point, but smarmy michael surelyknackered and his partner ruby barnacle hit the tape first. so there.

it turns out that this year, the rules had been changed and last minute footwear changes had been disallowed. a large number of mums with bulging shoulder bags had taken the matter into their own hands and boycotted the event as a result. they claimed that 'sports hall corner' was unsafe and they hadn't brought any extra grippy trainers with them. there were attempts to reach some kind of compromise. they even said they would drive all the way back to sprowston to get the grippy trainers, but baxter said that wasn't fair on the mums who had walked from earlham road with the correct backup footwear and that was that.

in the end, it's sports days that are the loser here and it's difficult to see how they will ever win back the stay-at-home dad audience in north norwich again. they've lost a crucial market segment through the inflexibilty and greed of their own little empires. stupid buggers.

Friday, June 24, 2005

coefficient of alrightness

you can either accept the fact that if you're going to keep the window open, then you are a slave to shuffle and you must suffer the consequences of your actions. if you really do like all the things in your 4 and 5 star rated playlist, then what does it matter that anyone walking past the window can immediately associate you with the 5 second snippet of music wafting out across the 30 degree, slightly smoggy street-level air? I mean, you'll never meet these people or ever talk to them, so what does it matter what they think of you at that moment? nothing. unless you're a half-baked insecure 30-something desperate wannabe who's constantly justifying your validity in a retro culture society that you remember the first time around when you thought you were the centre of it but you probably weren't even then.

so, it matters to you desperately that if ryan adams is trailing off, as a bunch of 20-something ex-university students in 70's elvis shades, just faded enough element t-shirts and fat face flip flops pass by, that it might suddenly cross-fade into wuthering heights and they'll all be swivelling their necks around to see where that stupid wailing noise is coming from. it would be something of a social disaster if LCD soundsystem come to an abrupt end and all too quickly, natalie imbruglia pipes up, just as the heigham park massive are drifting past with their nice white airmax 95s and their evisus hanging the requisite 3 inches below the waistband of their calvins. I mean, you'd be lambasted. you're just so culturally irrelevant. you're just like someone's dad. which you are, of course, but you've just given it all away, you idiot.

you have to develop a contingency. it's slightly extra work, but it'll be worth it in the long run. these are you favourite tracks. you know when they start and finish, but you can't give up the shuffle, no matter how hard you try, so you're caught between the freedom and gay abandon of randomness and the self-conscious straightjacket of predictability. you need broadcast control, but with the flexibility of choice. you like half man half biscuit, godammit.

the answer is the cultural self-preservation equation. it roughly states that the level of saving face is equal to the product of the coefficient of alrightness times the specific relevance capacity over the am I bovvered factor. as the level of saving face approaches 1, the requirement to mute approaches 0 and vice versa. so, for something like lilywhite lilith by genesis, on a nice sunny friday, this would probably look something like:

4 (coefficient of alrightness) * 0.2 (specific relevance capacity) / 2 (am I bovvered factor) = 0.4 (level of saving face)

so, I'd have my finger pretty close to the mute key for that one. however, if it were to be something like black and white town by doves, on a grey wednesday, it would probably look more like this:

15 (coefficient of alrightness) * 0.6 (specific relevance capacity) / 10 (am I bovvered factor) = 0.9 (level of saving face)

which is pretty darn high, so I'd be looking to the whack the volume up key for that one. it takes some practice, but you end up being able to perform this equation on the fly in no time and so within a second or so, you're able to direct your twitchy little fingers to the correct key that will enable you to remain comfortably smug in the knowledge that the most credibility-risky tunes are screened from the passing cultural commentators. at least, it's a bit less embarrassing when sheryl crow suddenly starts blaring out the window and you're able to catch it just before that nice girl with the purple hair walks past. mind you, if she knew about the jo dee messina track I'd have no chance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

what I'm trying to say

I've gained traction today. that doesn't mean I've got an enormous steam-driven flywheel in my garden and I'm sporting a flat cap and coal dust and talking like some bloke from bolton. it means I've spoken to somebody in the engineering team and that we've agreed on something we can actually do. apparently. actually, I've been on the 5:1 surround sound skype phone a lot today and have apparently amassed a sizeable heritage museum with the amount of traction I've gained

I've also been driving accountability. that doesn't mean I've been taking middle-aged men in bad suits around the ring road in a mondeo. it means I've put somebody else's name at the top of the project plan and now its their fault if it all goes pear-shaped. even if the technology stack diagram does actually look a bit like a pear.

the trouble is, amidst all this metaphorical meandering, I completely forgot to push the envelope. which doesn't mean I extended the boundaries of the business processes to enable a full-featured globalization capability. it means I forgot to push the envelope. into the post box. the envelope with my expense receipts in. arse

Friday, June 17, 2005

sniffing the whiteboard marker

aaaaah. thanks geoff

3 discoveries today - skype for 3 hour conference calls, a medusa 5:1 surround sound headset, and idiots who cycle on the pavement are on the increase. I registered for skype a couple of days ago because I wanted to wear a headset to do conference calls. sick of that plastic crab in my ear and a rubber noose flapping around my neck, I wanted alternatives to the land line phones and headsets that I seem to have tried every combination of. The best I managed to do was a dect cordless wired to the BT office line with a mobile phone earpiece. everything else was rubbish. I tried a netcom headset phone but you couldn't get it close enough to your ear without taking the headset apart and wiring the tiny speaker up to your brain. the end of the mic had a light on though. ooh. I tried a jacob jensen über slick handset phone with an amplified input, but the handset rubbed the skin off one side of my face and the blood trickling into the holes in the plastic triggered some kind of continental moodiness and everything went ingmar bergman. I even tried just using the mobile phone but if I said that out loud the telecoms team in EMEA would probably have me sell my body to medical research to pay for the charges. so, I figured I'd be able to use skype, get myself headset/phone/handset combination #17 and crank up the soundcard to 11, so that I can hear how we're deploying the latest fix from SDL for once. no problem. just bought 10 euros of skypeout credit so I just need the headset.

so, it looks like those 'skype ready' headsets are a good bet. hang on. this guy on the 'don't buy skype ready headsets' forum says don't buy a skype ready headset because of course all headsets are skype ready. ok, that narrows it down then. I just want one that looks cool. that one's nice. it's a bit thin though. how about that one? it folds up and everything. no, rubbish. hang on though. wait a good goddam surround sound minute. a 5:1 surround sound headset? that works with skype, and DVDs, and games, and my audigy 2? and looks like you could wear it in a ridley scott film? and its only 40 quid? and is on play.com so postage is free? I think thats' sold, mate!

moment of truth. I've unpacked everything, plugged it all in - nearly lost it in the excitement of plugging new kit into my soundcard - and now I'm ready to go. I got black hawk down from play for 6.99 for the hell of it, just to test these things out, and so its green light, green light to proceed to the crash site and put this thing into action. I get myself into a cinematic shellshock state, just to cleanse myself of mortal insignificances, slide the DVD tray into the dell, place headgear on head, sit back, and get ready to rawk.

bzzzbzzzzckcbzzzz. arse. interference. hang on, I'm going in. interference at 11 o'clock. typical. it's the panasonic dect phone firing a last dying volley of electrostatic at the medusa hub. diiiiieeeeee! panasonic lies shattered in the dust, smoke from a virtual RPG billowing out in a vortex. right. go, go, go, go, go!

I have to say, the sound on this headset has just consigned my existing sony audophile headphones to the 'also ran' pile in the cellar. the eeriness of having off-camera dialogue and whizzing bullets coming at you from the back, front and side of your head is mental. I sit and watch the whole film, laughing like an idiot to myself and sporadically darting a look over my shoulder where I'm expecting to be shot by a somali sniper from the opposing rooftop, which is just the pub over the road, of course, but hell, it sounds like I'm in africa in a hellstorm. ok, so this thing works like it says on the box, so lets get plugged into the world of rebranding post-mortems and kick some project management ass. speed dial through the freephone sun switchboard to the internal routing to AT&T and then its 'who just joined?' and I'm in. and I sound magnificent. and I can hear everyone. and I can turn the sound on this conf call up at least 15 times louder if I want. and listen to robyn hitchcock at the same time without anyone knowing. upmixed to 5:1. genius.

as for the idiots, I've read a couple of others who have commented on the red light cyclist right of way contradiction, but as I rarely leave the house unattended and only then to walk the children to school, I have a different, more blood boiling problem. everywhere I go in Norwich right now, cyclists seem to prefer the path (sidewalk) to the perfectly good roadway 6 inches to the side of them. our house is on a good sized arterial road to and from the city centre. its wide. its nice. you could cycle on it. but no. there is no common denominator or demographic that defines the offenders. sure, they are often hoodies on joke mini bmx bikes that look like circus chimps, but its also middle aged lecturers, 20-something women with afros, anyone, but they all ride straight past our gate, which has shubbery (bring me..another shrubbery!) on either side, obscuring our view until we go through. but then its too late. the kids are young, and still run out of the gate just to be the first. the bikes come down that path at 20 miles and hour. one of my children will get killed one day. and that's why I want to stab these mindless, irresponsible and ignorant people in the eyes with a pencil. I mean, I wouldn't of course, but that's the kind of thing you think when your children are put at risk by others. this happens on many paths, next to many perfectly good roads in Norwich and I'm sure many other towns and cities. there's only so many times times I can spread myself across the width of the pavement as one of these bastards approaches at speed, until I forget my middle class sensibilities and push them into the road, into the oncoming traffic, as they do to me.

face down in the sand dunes

five minutes ago that sky was blue.

planned an excursion to the sea for the weekend so that means I get to do things right this time and behave all grown up. last time I went to waxham was on a 52-seater that somebody had organized from college and being as I had no will of my own at that time I simply booked myself on because there were a couple of people I kind of liked going and I got drawn in by my own shortcomings again. its a very vague recollection, because for most of the night, while those very people were dancing around a campfire to duran duran, I was face down in a sand dune inspecting my internal organs. you have to try these things once, but that was the single moment of clarity I had that night and from then on I've never touched it again. I mean, I've been face down and immobile in plenty of places since, but they were just kind of acceptable because I was a bit older and made my own choices about exactly how much John Bull was too much and then taking it that unacceptable couple of pints further.

so this time I expect I'll be driving the scenic and we'll have a barbeque with andy and helen and the kids will run into the sea with all their clothes on and I'll have forgotten to pack the towel. or the spare clothes. or the kids. my brain is about as useful 25 years later as it was when I was trying to pick out a sandy lung from a sandy kidney in a pitiful mashed up state, except now its just a bit tired. I have a globalization project plan to finish by the end of today so we can tap up the exec sponsors and get commitment to our über plan for the next round of nirvana and I have to make sure that parcel is sent to ockley, I pack the swimming bag and sort out the tea and get the dark washing done and hung out.

but now the sky is black. its june. england's whether is all cocked up. I need a shower, but the kind where I add gel, not the kind where the kids get drippy at breaktime because I didn't take coats to school this morning, dammit. I think I'll just get hard-fi on and sit here gawping at victoria for the rest of the morning. I swear she moved a minute ago. zzzzzz.....

Thursday, June 16, 2005

youth implosion

stifled, disaffected and missed opportunity university town youth - get back in your bedrooms and posture about life, death, futility and raging against the machine again. you with your lacklustre meanderings and your banal life choices make me sick. you're boring me to death. it's like watching a slow road accident, not the creative, exciting, willful collision that you should be. let me know when you're ready to come out again and I'll save a place on the wall outside the guildhall so we can sit and look ridiculous together. but at least we'll be drawing our own conclusions and being the cause that generates the effect, not just the pointless slothlike gang mentalisms that stoop outside Tesco Metro with dogs or shuffling around the doorway of HMV underneath our one big hoodie.

wake up. court a reaction. get out of my way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

voip for thick peasants

that's the guide I needed. until I gave up. after all, I've got a free ear piece that came from a sharp gx10 that happens to work on a panasonic tcd545em so I just use that to conference in to the multitudinous calls we have. no matter that I end up sitting for hours with a plastic crab in my ear and a slightly wibbled rubber cord hanging from my mouth like a black dog dribble. I can hear everyone and they can hear me and the phone line is all paid for.

the thing is, I want to look more ridiculous. I want to look like I've just walked into a call centre in glasgow and sat down at an empty desk with my super skate headphones the size of my own head and a great big protruding boom mike in front of my mouth that looks like I'm chewing a small horse. I want to get a high-end VoIP headset and talk at my PC like its a quiz show. so I need to do some research. which means I have an excuse to trawl around crappy online telecoms shops and PC overclockers to see what the great and good are buying and wearing while they're using teamspeak, windows media player and skype all at the same time while sat in a dark room in yesterdays underpants drinking jolt and sniffing into a mars bar.

turns out you can get rather nice high quality audio headsets are better than the headphones I've currently got and will plug straight into the Audigy 2 and let me crossfade and mix all my inputs and outputs so I can join the platform globalization conference call in the style of a bedroom radio podcast, with SOS by ABBA fading out in the background as I introduce myself and my plans for homogenized transitional deterministics, while Carmina Burana builds excitedly in the background and I announce my climactic project update to the strains of the 1812 overture and a cross-faded Been Caught Stealing. so I gotta get me one of those. of course, I can't have the headset connected to the soundcard at the same time as my 5:1 speakers as the green plug does both front left and right and headphones from the same socket, so I need to get one of these. still, that's more hardware, so it can't be bad.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I had that victoria silvstedt in here the other day

go away, I'm updating the stylesheet. go on, get that face and hair of yours out of my office and leave me alone. I've had enough of you gawping over my shoulder when I'm trying to amend the dynamic press release indexes to incorporate feedback from the central web publishing team, who incidentally are looking for a compelling reason for extra country specific venues to migrate their operations to their centralized model for hosting, maintaining and supporting the business requirements for a worldwide authoring community and so we're trying to meet in the middle with the globalization programs for FY06 based on the common web platform architecture but we can see some potential collisions with field requirements and the approach I'm already taking with the centralized model because we both know the product set we need is ages away and so with 5 staff in iberia where's the value add?

so having you with your breasts and the rest barely contained in that outfit and your holster strapped to your thigh that looks like it must contain an experimental ice ray gun or something, is frankly a bit unnerving. I've spent 9 perfectly good productive months sat in this office with my window on the world unsullied by nefarious distractions or instrusions until the day that some halfwit bill poster decided that actually the ITV celebrity wrestling adverts should go on the side of the phone box that faces directly across the street at our row of genteel victorian terraced town houses, as opposed to the side which faces into the traffic where it didn't matter to me that "he's finally taking her up the aisle", because I couldn't see it unless I popped out to M&Ms for a ginsters and some thai sweet chicken mccoys. but now, whatever I'm doing, whenever I'm doing it in this room, there's always you, victoria, draping yourself over my shoulder like some drunken slapper from down riverside on a friday night, pressing into my back while I'm trying to work out the non-locale-specific version of Logged in as:, or sticking your thigh-length boots into my arm when I'm figuring how we're going to tackle the issue of the syndicated catalogue. I can't even write a meaningful email without your ridiculous hair tumbling over my keyboard while I type. so just go away and leave me alone. get c4 to stick up an advert for cheese or desperate housewives or something instead. I'm trying to concentrate.

get distracted yourself. its friday and you need a reason to look at something inconsequential and rubbish.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

which way round for globalization development?

I'm not sure where this bit goes. I mean, I understand the idea of your über plan and all that, 'cause you've been banging on about that and doing those staroffice presentations with all those circles and arrows and things for years, but what exactly do you want me to do when somebody managing global content deletes a node in the global tree and expects the whole operation to be supported seamlessly across multiple venues and countries and languages?

er, I dunno. I only did the strategy, right? or did I do the business requirements as well? I can't remember. oh, that's what you mean. so what do you want me to tell you? everything we asked you to tell us 6 months ago about how you actually want this content platform to support a centralized content model at a level where we can actually write something approaching a functional spec which we can turn into something we can actually begin to engineer. have you got time to do that? oh, sure! um, but what is it you actually want me do do? I mean, have I missed something out from the globalization requirements that I did last year? well, yeah. you need to let us know how somebody might actually utilize the platform to perform some kind of task which supports the operational model that you put in those requirements so we can work out whether we need to re-architect the system to enable slurping by delta and node deletion and actually what the criteria are for us having actually delivered a globalized platform that meets your needs, which, by the way, are probably not the same as they were a year ago, because everything's changed.

oh, right. hang on, are you telling me that my own business requirements might be wrong? you can't do that, I am the business. there mine. it'll take them home and not let you play with them if you start saying nasty things about them. no, we're not saying they're wrong, they're just not quite, well, right. here's a whole bunch of stuff we noted that you might want to consider, because what you've asked for and what we're doing aren't necessarily exactly converging on a neat path. oh, ok, thanks. jesus! that's loads of stuff! yeah, but we want to make sure we do it right, right?

so we reach an agreement that I pull my dumbass finger out and actually do those process flows n' stuff that I never get round to doing and the engineering team will do what's right, like they always do, and if they need anything urgently to progress the globalization development, they'll let me know, so I can make something up and filter it back into the strategy later. only joking. I'm calling it the pragmatic globalization development chain (because of course, aggressive pragmatism leads us into systemized sticky matrix approaches), which is how it's always been really, except the engineering team know globalization as well as the rest of us these days, so I'm much more deferential when I tell them absolutely positively that global content is US-English and the tiered fallback model only goes 2 levels, because they'll probably be able to point out to me just how that won't really work, even from a business point of view, but in a really nice way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

that's not you, you're an imposter

so I finally meet the team after about 6 months and nobody recognizes me. there I am wondering around BRM looking all english and trying to put faces to polycoms and I'm just looking like a freak in a tube station after I've been kicked out of Ruby's. you, you're, um, you must be, well, you look a bit like Liz, but she's in Burlington. so. no. hang on, you're, no, I know this, you're...Bob! Hey Bob! you look just like you do on the video conference. no, that's a compliment, really. Bob?

hoisted by my own petard. our internal org system means you can look up anyone in the company and get all the details you want, including all the hidden fields they'd forgotten they'd filled in in 1998, which say things like 'clammy' and 'executive'. it also lets you see where people are working, which office they're in, how you get there, what they're doing, what they're having for lunch in Guillemonts and stuff like that. it also has the option to integrate some optional detail, such as your calendar appointments and a picture of yourself. so, calendar, that's genius, right? I mean, we're all over the place, literally, so coordinating the time in 2 weeks when everybody you need to be on the phone at the same time to discuss how you're going to allow someone in france to author a whitepaper that someone in germany can subscribe to without exposing the whole content branch and then arguing for hours about what global content is anyway is difficult, so you look up everyone's calendars and see for yourself that the only time everyone is free is 22:00 your time when you'd planned to go and see Sin City and get lagered up afterwards because its thursday and you never do any real work on friday anyway.

so that's good. what's more revealing, however, is the choice of picture that folks use to let people determine exactly what they are like. mostly people don't do it at all, which is fine, because a lot of people don't have the slightest interest in investing the time to find out how you do it, or more pointedly reserve the right to not not let you know what they look like as that's an infringement of their civil liberty, which is also fine, except that appears to be predominantly the U.S. go to Korea of Singapore and they can't wait to stick in their pictures of them grinning into a Canon that the manager has taken round the office that morning. those that do upload themselves will generally do the 'a bit too close and not very well lit in the office but that will do I suppose, I mean it looks like me I guess' thing. others will play that maverick card and lob in a hilarious offcut from google image search that lets people know the kind of person they are without actually letting you know what person they are. you know, a darth vader, a dilbert, a muppet, a full face blowup PVC gimp mask from a BDSM site they just happened to come across when searching for 'leather cleaner', honest. those kind of things are ok. I mean those kind of pictures, not those kind of masks. or sites, er, anyway.

there is another category of image that occasionally turns up, but you only know if you already know what the person looks like, so its a kind of elaborate vanity test that sometimes you pass, or sometimes you fail to excuse effectively. this is the category called 'well, its always me behind the camera, so there's never any current pictures of me, so I had to use a 10 year old picture, that's all I had'. and that's where I found myself, wandering down the corridors at 5000 feet, blanks looks all around, trying to hide the fact that I might just have added a few pounds and lost some hair and maybe gone a bit gray since that photo you saw of me on the org tool that is 10 years old. my new boss didn't recognize me until the next day and then she said 'you're an imposter! that's not you on the org tool!'. dammit.

so now I'm up to date and look just like I really look, so if anyone looks me up, it's their fault.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

globalization. head. wall.

there's no myths associated with globalization just a simple truth. you've got to change all your business processes mate, cos this globalized solution ain't gonna work if you keep producing stuff like you're in an exam room with your arm over the answers and then expect it to spread the sharing message to where the revenue is, which is not where you are, probably. the burgeoning underclass of globalization managers have been squirrelling around for years, trying to get you in a small room with no natural light just so you can understand how it might actually be possible to transform our beautifully crafted concept album of monetization through pragmatic centralization into a workable, sustainable and accountable framework for managing our messaging and enabling our commerce venues with cascading content inheritance and local value-added content support, like what I just drew on those concentric circles in staroffice, in case you were trying to work out what that was. this projector's a bit rubbish. and I'm in another country, of course.

I mean, it's not like its gonna even cost you a fistful of dollars. you're already building that central web application architecture, right? I just know you're gonna be fully internationalized an' that, and lookit, you got hooks into localization workflows and all that stuff going on, so its gonna be like sticking a lemon on the eiffel tower. easy innit? so why not let us talk to the authors and business owners so we can't just have some sort of arrangement where we give them this lovely globalized platform where localized milk and internationalized honey flow across the plains of centralization and over the cliffs of subscription and into the valleys of unified content taxonomies and they just have to change the way they've been creating stuff for the last 10 years. I think they'll be open to that. I expect they're falling over themselves to break their agreements with their press agencies and design vendors and actually, I bet if we pointed out to them that copy and pasting entire sections of our corporate site into Re: Re: [Fwd: Re: [Fwd: URGENT: Re: [Fwd: emails and then expecting the intern to create the online equivalent of the cistine chapel on 15 disparate sites in 10 languages in flash isn't the most viable authoring solution, then they'd probably have some kind of religious experience and convert wholeheartedly to the church of g11n and succumb to the divine and all-knowing truth of 'the content model'.

so, I'm off down the newsagents to pick up my copy of Marketing Matters - But Not If I Can't Employ My Friends To Do It magazine and I'll leave it to you to arrange the con call that has to work for Santa Clara, Camberley, Singapore and Moscow that will kick this stuff off. but don't do it on Wednesday afternoon, cos I have an appointment with a medico about a collapsed idea.

Monday, June 6, 2005

dripping into the sculpture trail

pandering over a mass of crusts it was really an experimental twitch into tractorland. sue and patrick came and thus stood a ceramic torso and the soup dragon from the clangers on a feline hump. emily and peter were wailing in the bushes with green garden bale straps and harmonicas and everything was in tune enough for jazz. over at number 17, owl was scratching on a willow tree and I peered through a cairn, waiting for the gap.

but then it got apocaplyptic and elisabeth and colin were getting all gothic in the minstrels gallery, so we stepped around 12 kneeling cushions with eyes while josh simply stepped across them and then formed an orderly fish queue for the minibus that would take us to the place we started, so we could go all the way round and sink into the car park. got a call on the bus. they were walking, but they still got there before us and waved through a porthole as we passed the fighting rabbits and flapped over the horizon.

so now its a casserole and we don't have to get ready for tomorrow, we can get ready for the rest of our lives. honey, eggs, prawns and a peugeot 104. cairn.

Friday, June 3, 2005

it's just the same over here you know

Boulder. Norwich. they're just like the illegitimate children of upper-middle class families separated at birth and rehoused on different sides of the atlantic. I mean, the nucleus of these places is like the result of an illicit conflagration between two drugged-up psychology students from the university on the edge of town, but peel off a few layers and progress a couple of miles into the suburbs and further out to the wilderness, then things get much more like the unfortunate in-bred collision of two disenfranchised and disaffected 15 year olds on crack who stumbled out of elementary with a working knowledge of woodworking and a lovebite on the neck. this is where people start building their own houses out of pieces of wood they salvaged from the local authority rather than getting the thursday edition of the local post and leafing through the property pages thinking about the next progression up the stakeholder lifestyle ladder and how much the difference between what they currently own and what they really need to work from home and walk to school and have an acre and have that one extra room that would make all the difference would be.

and there's a great big community of hippies that won't go away. they came to the university in 1975 to study geology and life sciences before there was such a thing as life sciences and they just never went back home. they just moved into the golden triangle with their afghans and tabalas and hung tie-dye on the wall and CND in the window and opened up the alternative pulse shops that Tesco and Walmart are now buying up and turning into drugstore expresses to cater for the burgeoning population of 2005 hippies that come to study, well, geology and life sciences, but have already got cars and mortgages and actually, are soo busy they can't begin to think about the G8 summit or even cooking their own dinners so they congregate at the microbrewery and pretend to like football and try to shag each other, but in a polite way, cleaning up after themselves.

but always creeping in from the outskirts are the indigenous population of the unintelligable underclass that really own the city. they have been here for generations, often never leaving their own self-made house in the country. mostly they've not had any social intercourse outside their own extended family. mostly they've had no intercourse at all outside their own extended family. they suddenly appear over your shoulder when you've been busy checking out kites in the window of 'kites and things', their dribbly grin poking out of their bleached fringe, which is poking out of a baseball hat that you're wondering just how it could get so unclean. they don't want anything. they just do that looking at you thing and then gather together again like some idiot mercury in the middle of the high street and laugh. you're not sure whether it's at you or just in general, but you check your purse and head into a book shop all the same, because you're safe in there, if a little grubby after the experience.

I'm only joking of course. I was born here and I'm quite normal.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

not from round these parts

er, that's a lovely pickup truck you have there. is that a gun in your pocket or are you just telling me this is a really crap place to stop and take a picture? I'm being ironic, you see? look, all this beauty. and then stuff like you. that's a classic juxtaposition, ain't it? it's really purdy an' all, but you ain't from round these parts, are you boy?

well, no. if I was, I would know that you can't get here from Nederland and then onto Denver Airport in 3 hours, but that's where I find myself right now, so if you'd be so kind as to get that dog off my leg I really need to be tearing down the 70 at 80 miles an hour, wishing I'd filled up with gas somewhere closer to civilization.

anyway, the picture is here. it's somewhere between here and here

Thursday, May 26, 2005

twitching in the flatiron crossing

Nordstrom, Foleys, Nordstom, Foleys, erm, left. No, straight on. will they have socks? of course they will. they'll have those thin old man socks that cost $15 dollars and have diamonds up the side. right then, Foleys. Left. No, hang on, I can get presents in Nordstrum too. right, Nordstrum it is. ok, left. I think, hang on, ALRIGHT MATE! I'M THINKING!

stick the ceramic aztec trophy in the boot and swish through the doors, straight into Chan in menswear. "is there anything I can help you with today sir?" erm, no thankyou, I'm just being british and stalking around your footwear in a deliberate fashion while hunting for socks I refuse to ask you to locate for me. these shops are always empty when I go in them. I mean, Nordstrom. it's huge, but there's absolutely noone in here. is that just me? anyway, I don't find socks, but upon realizing that flatiron crossing isn't just 2 huge department stores stuck together in the middle, I head off into the wilderness of thursday evening mall shopping in Colorado. I need a tshirt. I have to fly back tomorrow in a tshirt that was fine when I flew out a week ago but following numerous bar meals in the tap room, with fat tire, slabs of hotel chocolate, lunchtime sushi, nachos, burgers, subways, beer, enchiladas, tubs of lard etc., my uber gut stretches the etnies logo out of shape and I look like I should be sat in a golf cart in florida with a havana in one hand and a colostomy bag in the other. so I just need to scale up slightly for the plane. it's the altitude you see, it adds 20 pounds because of the air pressure or something, honest. right, banana republic. nope. helly hansen. yeah, right, I really need microfibres that stretch to fit and expose every contour. gap. nope. dick's sporting goods. ooh, maybe, lets have a look. eh? there's people wall climbing in here. that's just stupid, get me out of here. hang on, they're playing the carpet crawlers by genesis in a sports store in a broomfield mall in 2005. that's just weird. mind you, I hang on for a couple more minutes to listen and pretend to look at basketballs I've no intention of buying. "you gotta get in in to get ou-ou-ou-ooou-out". nope. abercrombie and fitch. it's too dark in there. and a man just came out with a sideways head, I don't like the look of that. pacific sunwear. sorry, Pac Sun. sounds a bit like Pac Man that martin has in his basement. ok, there's 21 year olds in there I aspire to be like and I desperately want to wear their tshirts and be in their gang, so I'll take a look, even though I've come straight from BRM01 and I'm wearing my meeting clothes so obviously I just look like their dad. or creepy trying-to-be-trendy uncle or something. ah so what. right, over to the shirt rack. ooh, fox, etnies, hurley, mad monkey, wet dog, quiksilver, billabong, rolf harris, and they're 3 for 2. I have to try one on, because I still don't know whether a US medium is a UK large or whether that's just random. "Hi I'm Sara! I'll be unlocking your changing room door for you today and closing it behind you! If you have any questions in Pacific Sunwear today, please give me a shout!". er, ok. in the end, medium is medium, and I really need a fat git size today, so large it is. $42 dollars and a withering smile from me that says please let me be in your gang later and I'm out of there.

still no socks though. but now I have a shopping bag with stuff I've bought in it. that makes me a shopper. that means I can browse around other shops and for some reason staff completely ignore me, like I've been seduced by the dark side and they don't need to pursuade me to part with my money. I've crossed the line. I will spend more, it's the law. so with me bulging comfort blanket in me right hand and me left hand in my trouser pocket, I head back to victorias secret which I passed by earlier but pretended not to be interested in, even saying something like "ah yes, brookstone" out loud to myself so people thought I was intent on going somewhere else. I can now cross the threshold of this place as a shopper, which means I'm not just gawping at plunge bras like a 15 year old, I might actually buy one as well. for my wife. but actually, victorias secret is just so rampant it all gets too much for me and after doing one circuit, humming to myself apparently nonchalently, I try to stumble out gracefully, but I trip over the electronic tag detector in the doorway and set off the alarm with the magnetic strip on my library card. I think I just about hold it together while I crawl around the floor, picking up the contents of my wallet as it slithers away from me across the polished floor and me glasses fall out of my shirt pocket, where I've been keeping them like some professor or something. stand up. shoulders back. walk on. smile. try not to notice the entire staff in there are peering at you around the counter and the stock cupboard door like you're some kind of pantomime freak on holiday who left his costume on. never mind that they're all 19 and called Kirsty and they would have been happy to help you if you had any questions in victorias secret today, it's too late. you're an idiot. a fat idiot who hasn't bought any presents and looks like a stupid dad person on vacation, looking for socks and loitering around lingerie shops.

anyway, I did get some socks. calvin klein, $10 each. then I went back to the hotel and sat in the bar on my own watching tv. I'm going to drive to Aspen tomorrow.

oi

shut it you blart. look, if I say you ave to change your business processes then you aint got a leg to stand on right? I mean, it stands to reason dunnit? you got a lahvly set of content there - oi, dave, ain't that a lahvly set of content? look ere, look. its got tabs and everything, real class, not like that muck you get over at those cowboys down the east end. anyway, here's the thing. I've got a proposition for you which I reckon you might take a fancy to. I just had an associate of mine drop round for a little chat, and we got talking in the back of the jag, see? it only turns out he's got a bleedin globalization strategy for our web venues that massively reduces complexity in our publishing processes, enables content reuse and promotes a consistent, coherent voice to our customers, while providing a feature-rich user experience supporting local business priorities and an extensible content model that integrates localization workflow and plug-in web services on a centralized, internationalized, common web platform, dunnit?

so here's the deal, my son. as I'm feeling generous and I've ad enough trouble with little narks like you today, I'm gonna let you in on a little bit of business. call it a mark of my gratitude for the loyalty you've shown to me over the years. I mean, you're like a brother to me. except of course you ain't, but you know, you're like family, right? and what do families do? that's right, my son, they share things. you share your takings and I share you a slap from ron here, but today it's different, cos today, I'm sharing with you a chance to put all that behind you. what I've got for you today my son is only a bleedin global content model, innit? eh? geddit? a global content model. you know what that means, right? ere, ron, I don't think he's understanding me right. I ain't seeing any gratitude. do I ave to spell it out for you? look, its a bleedin centralized content authoring and production environment with subscription, global tree merge, and all that nice stuff, based on a write centrally, view locally publishing model that supports the research and buy cycle in local language for a local market where we do 60% of that kind of stuff, whatever that is. it even lets you carry on authoring all those things you do youself and then sticks everything together in some kind sepository or something so it all looks like it's supposed to be and not like its just fallen of the back of a virtual lorry and you've got some slave labour at 10 quid an hour to patch it up like a kipper. tell im dave,

look, this offer don't last right? as soon as we're out that door we're off down whitehall to see a man about a bit of trouble with opening sauces or something, and then the offer's closed. all I want you to do, my son, is just make a small change to your business process. that's all. just a small change. all you have to do is stop making stuff that only works in one place and start making stuff that works in any place. then we'll throw in the globalization bits and we'll be laughin. that's gotta be the best deal you've ad all day, right? tell him ron. make him understand the value of localization-readiness in content creation, but don't make a mess, mind. I've already got blood on me Armani from that trip down camberley.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

wake up dammit

19 hours of travelling and I'm sat in front a tv that's 5 feet off the ground trying to focus on re-runs of CSI or something that's got loads of earnest looking americans picking up suspicious objects from the floor of smoky warehouses in slowmotion and then cross fading to a train that goes over your head like what it does in the French Connection until some words or other slide into the frame and then just as I get it the adverts cut in and there's a massive Nissan Globalwarmer driving across a desert with a boat in the back of it and a caption comes up at the bottom saying 'professional driver in a simulated desert thats not real so dont do this at home in wisconsin because itll be all your fault when the chassis falls to bits and a flying camshaft takes out Mrs. Pantiles at number 47'. I must be dead in Colorado.

7 years ago all this was fields, well, probably a golf course, but now it's full of hotels that you can see from 17 miles away but apparently I can't find the entrance to without driving the wrong way up highway 36 and then taking a turning onto Interlocken and then realizing every turning here is called Interlocken so I'm no closer to my bed than I was 18 hours ago when I got out of it at 7 in the morning and said goodbye to my family like it was a trip across antartica but they actually were still asleep and just kind of said 'yeah, er, bye'. in between then and now, which seems like about 5 fat tires and 2 bar meals in the tap room talking to Brad about cutting your thumb and listening to Tom going on about wine which is just a bit warm, but definitely not corked, I managed to squeeze in a bus a plane and a chevy cheapskate. oh, and a taxi to the bus station, where Ron dropped me off as we saw a couple kissing each other goodbye and he said 'youre not getting one of those mate!' and he was right, even if I offered him double the fare. I usually stay in a rubbish hotel in the heathrow flight path the night before flying out, well its practically on the runway, just at the point where they dump 10 hours worth waste over berkshire, but the flight to denver leaves at 15:50, so rather than taking 2 weekends out I decided to take the bus in the morning to the airport, because the bus isn't that bad really. unless it's sunday morning at 7 oclock and the driver has obviously just had a row about eggs with his wife and will happily call the IT specialist an 'arsehole' who just put his bag in the luggage compartment marked in his head as 'gatwick' instead of the secret one called 'heathrow'. that was the longest 4 hour bus journey ever. so I get to heathrow about 4 hours before I need to and because I've checked in online, I can't check in yet and so I have to sit in the pre-departures 'seating area' which is like finding a dry piece of newspaper to sit on at glastonbury - funny for 2 seconds. 2 hours later I can check in, but that's alright, because my online check-in means I 'beat the queues'. apart from the queue that is everybody who has checked in online for British Airways, which is the longest queue of all queues in this collection of queues that is a check in area at heathrow airport.

anyway, as Patricia says, BA's service onboard is impeccable, even thought the 777 I'm sat in is pants compared to a 747-400 and I'm damned if I can work out when Hotel Rwanda is going to start, so I end up watching Hide and Seek instead which has that 6th sense twist that you kick yourself for not seeing an hour before and then de niro goes all cape fear/tribble, which just isn't so good at 60, especially when you can see him in Meet the Fockers on channel 16 on the screen on the seat next door. kind of takes the tension out of it when he's simultaneously wielding a blood-spattered spade and rescuing a toy dog from a toilet . still, dakota fanning was a great dark-haired miseryguts. I managed to squeeze in another film I've already completely forgotten about before we landed and no sooner had I stepped off the Avis shuttle bus than I realized I probably couldn't find my way out of airport in the chevy preferredaccount without at least breathing some real air. I stopped for a while in the car lot and remembered that last time I came here with Chris, Air Force 1 was just landing and we watched it taxi up to the gate where will smith and tommy lee jones appeared from a range rover and we got whisked away to the marriot in Boulder.

having eventually negotiated InterlockenEverywhere I was checked into the Omni and there I sat on the end of the the bed, after a couple of swift ones in the tap room talking with a nice woman from StorageTek about Malcolm Glazer and bikes, flicking through the interactive services menu to see if the bar bill was already on my online statement which it wasn't which I though was interesting but actually soon realized that just meant I should go to bed and stop being so sad. for some reason I woke up on the hour, every hour, until it was time to get up again. I can't explain that, but I'll probably not try and program the radio alarm clock and the p800 and the tv and wake up service all at the same time tonight.

Friday, May 20, 2005

words they mean nothing

so I'm flagging down a peasant with last night's evening news but he's straight past and ducking into the Black Horse for a swift Adnams while Angelique nimbles her way onto the pavement and clatters her joss sticks all over the counter at Dave's place. he's got the arseache cos Andy's meandering over the 3:50 at Ripon with a catflap full of bilge and an uncontrollable mare. while everyone's having a butchers, he pokes the lip of charlotte rampling with a pencil and blarts out some diatribe or other about lost shoe factories collecting dust in the undercroft of the Honiton embassy club.

oi, oi, oi, get off the path. its people like you that make poeple like me that are like you wish you would run over my tractor so I can chase you with a pitchfork down the alley, wailing like edward woodward in the wickerman and stabbing your indulgent rear with all the pent up rage that can be squeezed through my wormhole of injustice. you can see how intolerable you are, right? look, there's another, 26 years old and acting like a parrot on Right Charlie, except those parrots don't hurt when they hit your head, they just squawk a bit and flop into the nissan micra. you, on the other hand, will strike the fish stall of inconvenience and will trip over the sponge of idiocy and knock the wing mirrors off the shoe shop of petulance and will by your actions be made to sing along to eurovision for eternity, snipping pictures of kerry catona out of Now magazine and selling clacton pier to the japanese.

by way of which, I went over to the bottle bank and slipped in a vole, which caused a bit of an overflow into the garden, so I coughed up a monkey and headed back to the office, where I woke up the next morning with ainsley harriot boiling my eggs in a tiny brown bucket.

javaone one. I mean the first one. you know what I mean.

1996. It was the beginning of a short period when I was a really quite bad java programmer. still, I got the JavaOne backpack and realized that its possible to have a garden on top of a bunker in the center of town. well, I say the center, but it's not really, but that means I could park in that garage down the road next to the freeway where I discovered that the rental car had lights that come on by themselves. which is nice, but couldn't turn them off.

I've still got the backpack, but I can no longer overload an operator, unless it's the statusline for BT broadband. I recall that nobody really knew what the hell was going on at the event and just kind of wondered around clutching handouts and pieces of cheese and trying to work out which was the most popular breakout session. which was probably beans. or servlets. in fact, they were probably the only breakout sessions. oh, and Scott held up the 7 inch future of computing and we all rocked.

it was great. I ate Casey Jones for 2 weeks straight, ages before that bloke on the telly.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

no, it's really just rubbish

too bad. 22 years forcing myself to like Barrett, but today I give it a 2, which means I'll never hear it again. stupid tea-brained outcast, whining uncontrallably in front of a fireplace in his bare-floorboards front room while dave and nick bring him soup from the co-op and prop him up on a stool, where he just dribbles into his chest, the spark gone right out. I used to live in the flat upstairs to that room when I was sticking £35 price tags on mono copies of piper at the gates of dawn in the upstairs of the cambridge beat goes on and I thought that was just very cool, but actually neither of those things were and now I'm deleting him from my playlist to make way for The Longcut, so there.

in between sticking pins in my arm to remind myself I'm still here and that I really should be revising the standard templates and indexes for global venues in line with Sun's rebranding and the things I forgot to do in the first place, I'm fiddling with a P800 and pointing a gun at my foot as I think about what to put on the Tadpole to see me through the next week in the land of high-altitude Jagermeister and a big bed at the Omni that I'll probably fall out of at 4 in the morning as I stumble for the hotel ethernet cable that will connect me up to the Sun network to coordinate Japan. I have to use photoshop, so I have to use XP. I need to install JDS, but I really don't have the wit to dual boot and I only have 1 day to sort it out anyway and by the way, if you're thinking of suggesting the gimp, then don't. I'll do the right thing when I get back and then reinstall the entire home network with solaris 10 and get VPN working because chris managed it so I should be able to, even though he's got a Ferrari now like what all them engineers do. you just need to get NAT to point to the right port and apparently a tunnel opens up, like fricken Narnia or something. I dunno.

so i'm going to rip the heart out of an About Sun gateway and stick it back together again with 'I know what I'm talking about, really' glue, ready to hoof over to the development team to do that stuff they do with XML and god knows what and then I'll stick a new stylesheet on the press pages and wrap up the indexes like dynamic fajitas and then I'll ask the lovely people in Australia if they would like to opt in to changing the world and everything in it just by configuring their NSAPI. or I'll have another pie. pie it is. hang on, Spiritualized. blimey, that's a bit rubbish too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I'm the only person in the world and nobody understands me

I'll probably die an herioc/tragic death and will be mourned forever by enigmatic trench coats sitting in underground coffee bars making 50 pence last all afternoon and only looking up from their shoes to check their eyeliner. that's right, 17 years old on a houseboat in Beaulieu-Sur-Mer, writing poems about psuedo-hitlers and jesus incarnate and I'm trying to look insanely mysterious, smoking marlboros which filter through my hair and only giving myself away occasionally when I sneak a look at the 24 year old barmaid who's bringing me another Orangina and giving me a smile I think says she understands the torment of genius, but actually means something like does your mother know you're here.

its 1984 so my walkman DC2 and 5 band SEQ-50 are sat on the table top next to the Pernod ashtray and my book of tortured genius. inside, a UX90 slowly rolls its way from one spindle to another and the amorphous head picks up Atrocity Exhibition and pipes it onto my head, my eyes fixing on an imaginary point in the distance in the hope that that makes me look seriously intense without actually drawing attention to myself, which would just be intolerable. I continue scribbling stuff down about death and righteousness and misunderstanding until the tape starts squeaking with the pressure of over-use as The Eternal comes on and I get that moment of teenage futility where you just look at the harbour wall and consider crashing against the rocks. except we're going to Monaco tomorrow and I'll get to see the underpass and swimming pool where the grand prix goes and where they had that crash in that film once, so I start chewing on a polo, thinking that will rid me of any cigarette smoke and leave 2 francs or something on the table and try and get up and leave without anybody looking at me, especially the barmaid who I've now become obsessed with.

so we go the the swimming pool and I've never been in a salt water swimming pool before and I think it's horrible. the sort of thing I would make my own children do now and wonder why they don't think its really exciting to swim in a pool next to the sea, which is the sea, but is a pool. we also visit some sacred fountain or other and drink water that tastes like nails and I try and scare people with my terrible hair and then we head off to Orange, where I get to scale the walls of the roman theatre and pose like a centurian, but I don't need a helmet, because I've got my helmet hair. genius.

I guess I got to spend about a week of my life being eternally miserable and wanting to throw myself off a parapet and I'm only reminded about that now because its 25 years ago that ian curtis hanged himself in his kitchen, thinking everybody would be better off without him. I'm about to go to the gym and row 5 kilometers to get back to where I started by going nowhere in between, so I guess that's about the same as what I did in that week, and I've still got Closer playing, although it's upmixed to 5:1 surround sound in my office, so nothing really changes, I just don't work in a record store anymore.

Friday, May 13, 2005

wipe it off, before mr elephanthead comes on

wipe it off, before mr elephanthead comes on

managed to squeeze in that conversation about global node deletions and what the process flow looks like for an über publisher in the white walled kingdom of love and how that really makes someone's day in Korea, who just sent out a billion mailshots to everybody on the big list on their head. and so he went off running through the rain forest and dodging the artillery and I hoofed it down to the sportspark to cough up my kidneys on a rotating rubber platform and row nowhere. it was school sports day in the old field and lots of 13 year olds with their jumpers tied round their heads were cavorting around the ashphalt, shouting "Chris! Chris! Chris! Oi! Chris! Go oooooooon! Yeeeeeeaaah!" at a fat kid who was upside down in a bucket.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

think of me when you close your eyes

just past mid-point of a globalizationfest and I've stuck a pin in the calendar at May 30. we'll have China and Japan and Taiwan and Korea and Hong Kong and Asia South and, oh, Russia and the Netherlands. if I could stop flapping about in my Panasonics, nodding dementedly to the dust brothers, I could probably also get all the menus fully qualified on search for all 37 sites and make June very happy. but I haven't done that. I've been pointing sticks at globalization policies for corporately produced features and trying to squeeze an annotated screen shot in there because I have an aversion to just publishing things that do the job, when I could spend a day making sure the font sizes are all correct and I can crowbar in a visual to make it look like I know what I'm talking about when obviously I'm making it up, but I happen to have photoshop and a stack of pre-watershed screenshots.

a get sidetracked though. I have to revise the globalization requirements based on me forgetting what I said in the first place and then work out how that gets mangled up with the standard templates for common content across worldwide sites that will compel local business units to opt in to the platform we promised them 3 years ago but they think looks like the one that didn't work for them before this one and anyway they're all doing their own thing now and anyway it's so far away I won't be able to use that because you can't support me in this timezone with a blackberry and a couple of matchsticks, even if you do have that guy in the UK who fixed my password once and has a nice sofa.

but then I remember I've forgotten to do the things with the globalization forum that would make everything spring back to life and I'll never ever get to talk with the architect about version 6 of the navigational support technology who thinks I have no idea what happens next because that's what I told him and anyway now I'm working from home permanently nobody knows who I am which brings me back to the point I hadn't made yet about being here at 1:10 when I've still got tomorrows packed lunches to make and I haven't filled in the forms about the trip to the fish museum in Yarmouth that will cost me 2x10 quid to let the twins touch a small eel with a pencil and buy stickers of nemo that will make a mark on their antique beds that we can't get off, even with vinegar.

still, I got some nice duffs today and spent the afternoon looking around skate shops daring beeny hats to point at me and at my obviously 38 year old frame and mock me into a corner with some drum and bass and a stonking great spliiiif. in the end, they all just looked up and said 'awright mate' and got back on the moby talking to davo about the blindin' night they 'ad last night down at the waterfront. I skulked around looking for a tshirt that didn't come down to my knees but gave up when one of the d00ds hoofing around behind the oakleys started taking about what to 'torrent' off the internet, saying he only had stills of paris hilton. you see, I was tempted you point them at a place I know in hungary where you can get all sorts of strange characters, but it's been fixed since I last looked so I didn't really have anything to bring to the party.

so as I crash my head against the mac keyboard that laurence gave me in time to pj harvey - which isn't easy, especially with the blood in my eyes and it being 'who the f*' - I'm thinking about the day that stretches out like a pointy daggery knife and I consider whether us to uk is just as valid as us to jp or kr, because, to be honest, it'd be easier. but that's not the point right? that's why sarah chose finnish in 1999 and we all had had to guess what the hell was going on and how you could squeeze Koulutuspalvelut into 47 pixels. just because it's difficult, doesn't mean we shouldn't commit ourselves to defining that perfect strategy and executing beyond everyone's wildest expectations. it's just that, well, we won't, so I'm looking into how we might just get australia to publish a press release and then I'm hoping the rest of the world will just kind of stumble into the trap until those pesky kids pull off my 'mr halloran the janitor dressed up as a content management werewolf' mask and hand me over to a waiting california highway patrolman who will take me downtown where michael douglas will extract from me the gory details of that time in union square where we were so drunk we thought it would be funny to approach the ladies in the street, knowing we had to get up in the morning to demo remote mangement software.

I think I just turned shuffle off by mistake unless it true that they do all sound the same where I end and you begin. the sky is falling in etc.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I look like a pig

I do. Its true. just like an orwellian über pig with a face like a slapped Chesney. every time I breathe in its like a collision at a ratchet factory, but that's alright, because when I breathe out its like a moon landing on a brown field site just outside attleborough. I had to draw myself with my right hand today, so even though I was able to use the left side of my brain, I'd slept the wrong way round and it was just full of chaff. I came out like a satanic peter stringfellow, so I ordered meself a pie and sat down on a peasant. it was better after that, but I've got a stack of standard web templates piled up on the migration roadmap and I've got to pull it all together.

nah. think I'll just get the Talin out and get it all 'Colorado'. It's Japan on day 2, so if I'm not on the overlap, I'll get a load of bother from the pusherman, standing by with his big fat switch. I reckon that'll be an overnight job, upside down in Broomfield, bluffing the lot on a pair of 8s, while droozilla cackles uncontrolably into his ventilator, gibbering something about accessibility. ooh. there goes bob dylan.

Monday, May 2, 2005

but I want to do it another way

just a quick check to see if everythings ok and oh, world of pain. so Tom and the boys are gathered around an Americano, throwing bits of anchovy at a twisted effigy of a marketeer made out old Dreamweaver boxes. it's a public holiday so they've decided to spend all day slumped over a big top, poking at bits of Hungarian until the end drops off and they have to copy and paste umlauts from a transcription of the Sun Web Karaoke '98 event in Copenhagen, where Anna was looking particularly elfin. to make things worse, I don't even have a clue what they're supposed to be doing tomorrow, so I'm relying on Mr. Swindon to perform his usual unfaltering push script fandango, so that kudos flutters from the sky like the dry leaves of a recognition tree and alights on the shoulders of the hunchbacks and misfits that make up this great global brotherhood of monkeys.

meanwhile, I'm coughing up internal organs and getting very cold shoulders because I've not left my crack pit since returning from Andalucia. there's 17 load balancing balinesians to plunder and that's before I've checked in with Marco, who's pointing his roots at the moon, and Johanesjohanusnessunsen who has sprung from an email backup to inform me that everything is alright forever and if they can't find the press section, I'm sure they'll work it out themselves. not to mention that Tanned Guy who is quietly moving up on the outside, finding a space between an un-kerned exclamation mark and a stack of 508 update requests.

The reason I'm doing this is unclear. I've just kind of got stuck in a project plan trap, but I've got so fat I can't bend over to chew my foot off. while I'm simpering into a bucket, various apparitions dance before me, floating around in the ether and slapping me in the chuff with wet gantt charts until I agree to put me arm in the trap as well, ooh, and while you're there, could you just make us a cup of tea? I agree to do this, of course, because I've got Cliff Richard coming round and I don't what him to think I'm a slacker, even though he didn't send me a birthday card this year.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

la la la I can't hear you

oh, that's good. I like that. yeah, do it again. lucky me, BT Business Broadband has gone down on me for the fourth time in a week. They had a run on wet conductive flanges at B&Q this week, so Dave the engineer didn't have anything to stick the 01603 exchange back together again, did he? Well cockadoodle bloody doo. I hit the speed dial now occupied by the BT Business Broadband status line. "Welcome to your internet service status line for BT Broadband, updated at 3:05 Thursday the 28th of April. We are aware of a technical fault at the Norwich exchange, affecting dialling code 01603. Our engineers are currently working on the problem, but Steve had to go and get a Ginsters from the shop, and Darren is currently on his mobile, flogging a Celica to a hairdresser from Penge. We tried Gary, but he got a bad knee, so it doesn't look much like that red light on your modem is going to turn green today. I'd do it myself, but I'm in a lap dancing club in Wapping"

I did make some of that up, but my red light is still on as I scratch these words into my arm with a screwdriver, and I've just thrown a melon out of the office window at two dogs biting their own ears off in frustration. it's the timing you see. I mean, it's only Norwich right? you don't need t'interneht to be in a tractor pull or to just stand on the edge of the village green, slapping yourself in the face with a haddock and mumbling about your sister's mum's boyfriend's Civic. no mate, but I'm trying to publish the globalization development kit for 37 countries you see? they wanted it last week, when your sodding service was disrupted for 3 whole mornings in a row, so now I'm still here, wondering where I go to Read More about Massively Scalable Sun UltraSPARC IV Servers, looking out the window at a recalcitrent hoofer flicking her mane over a lovebite, wondering when you might be so good as to let me get online to see what Olga in the Ukraine needs me to do for her. it's not too much to ask. not at 100 quid a month. I'm not even losing revenue. you're just making me look like a dolt when I have to phone people to get them to tell me the number of the conference call I need to attend where I can't update you on your email because I can't currently read it and the update I sent out earlier isn't there but the stuff you want is here but, oh, I'm sorry, you can't have it because I've run out of pigeons.

there is one part of the message which directs me to the helpful web site, which of course is about as useful as telling me that if I can't start my car I should take it to the garage, but I'm not going to mention that, because it's such a lame horse of a target. dammit! couldn't stop meself. I know, I'll power cycle the modem. that'll fix the exchange. it won't be quite as exciting as power cycling the W2110z, when I put it face down on the carpet, sit a hamster on thegrill at the back and watch it whoooosh out the window as Sun Java Workstation Über Fan kicks into life making that noise for 10 seconds that makes everybody duck. ah, I remember getting Mike's old IPX back in 1994 and thinking that was an object of desire, but that thing couldn't make toast like this brushed-aluminum harlot. ooh, you are awful, but I like you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

what are you doing to yourself?

got one of those things on my face. Zoe got her hair suck in it the other day and it went all 'frizzy'. I also get that look which says it's about as likely as reversing the mantle over a crisp. I got beard. yeah, but hang on, I got bags as well and I got stuff on me that I can scrape off now. it's physical embodiment of markup language and it's flapping about in a carrier bag in the back of the office. shut up. it's not even validated and its poking old photos of Germaine Greer into my foot, like saying 'go on then, go on. you'll never finish me you know. I haven't even been invented yet - it's 1974. HAAHAHAHAAA!'.

so I get on a level, but I'm hoping for some kind of truck to take me away and put me in Northamtonshire or somewhere so I get to see Look East but don't have internet access, because that's doing me in. I should be having a right laugh, I mean, it's not like I've just stepped out a salon or something. I take a quick look at the corner of the trellis and Mr Potter lobs a jam grenade into the sun, which doesn't help at all. if I had a leg of lamb for every time it got throttled on the ring road I'd be blistering into a watery cat flap and shooting up red bush tea. it's not rocket science. just normal science, but with human music in the background.