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