Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Today is the 2nd anniversary of my marriage to Mrs A.
To say that I love her more than ever would be a bit obvious, a bit twee and frankly a bit mushy.
But I do.
Thank you Mrs A for the two years so far, you've made me happy beyond words and everything is better with you next to me. Even the cloudy days.
Not a long post I'll grant you, but from the heart nonetheless.
Monday, 22 December 2014
But I think that concept has had its day. Sure, up until fairly recently we were exposed to a thousand social transactions a day, but these were by and large with other human beings who were in the main barely interested in the stuff coming out of your mouth, let alone the thoughts behind it.
Save for a few loved ones and the occasional skilled negotiator no-one would give two hoots what was going on in my head. But then came big data and now every time I pick up my phone I leave a digital trail that Google and their ilk use to understand not what I might say, but what I'm truly interested in.
My phone knows what I'm doing and where I'm going and makes helpful suggestions. It knows when I'm likely to be leaving the office, what the traffic is like and will suggest the best route home. It knows what music I'm likely to want to listen to at a particular time of day and will magically generate playlists to suit.
Of course I know that the reason that big companies pour so much resource into this is so that they can sell me more crap that I don't need more effectively and up until a few years ago the AI was so poor, the suggestions so inaccurate, that I was quite happy to just turn it all off and keep my thoughts to myself.
The problem is now that it's so damn good its actually become useful.
It's probably even written my next post for me already.
Friday, 19 December 2014
After a couple of stabs at examples I came to rest on the act of driving being part conscious, part subconscious.
The Boy Wonder is now under the impression that automatic gearboxes employ some kind of subconscious technology. I think I'll leave that with him for a while.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
This is Liuetenant Murtagh. He appears in the Lethal Weapon series of films with Riggs (AKA Mel Gibson) which was current when I was susceptible to such tosh in the late eighties..
Murtagh was the old-school cop who had done his time with the LAPD at the sharp end and was hoping for a nice steady run up to retirement.
Anyway, I am relating more and more to Murtagh as time goes on. On a regular basis whilst leaping around from one panic to the next at work like a flea on a hotplate I think those very words. Quite often with vim and vigour.
Although the place I earn a crust at the moment is truly fascinating from an engineering point of view, it is unfortunately equally fascinating for its entropic approach to management. It often feels that the decision making process may well be based to some degree on dice or possibly chicken bones and some low quality hoodoo. We have recently had an unannounced rejig in structure that eventually filtered out to those involved, resulting in a new official boss based in Singapore for me and 5 unofficial ones in the UK that turn up at my desk one after another with their own particular bucketful of mayhem.
The delightful Mrs A is getting bored senseless by the ongoing tales of lunacy and is telling me to chuck it in. It's a tempting thought for sure but I'm currently determined to stick it out to the bitter end in March. This point of view is subject to change on almost a daily basis.
So for the next few months I will try to keep my eye on the finish line and do my absolute very best to keep the voices in my head inside my head. After all, it all worked out OK for Murtagh in the end.
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
So whilst eating my cheese sandwich and considering my position I came up with a cunning plan.
As long as the number of people who's day I improve outnumber the ones I piss off I'll count that day as a win.
And today I won. If I count myself in the numbers.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
The last few months have been a torrid time, Circumstances have conspired to lead to me being in a rather interesting position.
I am the master of my own ship again.
Working for The Man has run its course and I am now sticking it to The Man by working for The Man (albeit a different Man to The Man I was dealing with earlier in the year). Following this so far?
No? Here's the simplified version.
I was employed by a company directly up until a couple of weeks ago, but now I am employed by my own company again (although a different company to the one I previously owned after having sold my stake in it) and am working as a consultant at someone else's (entirely unrelated and considerably larger) company.
OK, that's not much simpler, is it?
However, the stuff I'm doing now exposes me to engineering that blows my mind. I deal day in day out with engineers that have brains the size of planets* and commercial nous the size of quarks. It's frustrating and inspiring in equal measure. I suspect I'll be a basket case by the time I'm done.
So I am doing my thing for them for the next few months and then I am onto the next part of the grand plan which involves the cunning trick of making a few quid whilst simultaneously becoming more flexible in my working patterns.
And yes, once I have managed that I will go on to invent the self-replicating tenner.
* - 5 bonus points and a biscuit to the first person who gets the reference.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Friday, 4 July 2014
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Friday, 27 June 2014
Well here it is:
The Mum came over for Sunday lunch last weekend and brought it with her as a gift. She told me the tale of it belonging to my Grandparents on The Dad's side of the family. They had both clocked out before I clocked in so I never actually met them and now I have a battered ashtray that belonged to them.
It has been broken in the past (there's a reasonable probability that I was involved) and fixed with araldite that looks like it was applied by someone wearing welders mitts. Whilst Drunk. In the dark. A finely crafted objet d'art it is not.
So now it's been passed on to me. No doubt The Grandparents had some attachment to it and I know that The Mum valued it as a link to them, but emotional links to objects are conferred by the owner and just aren't assignable. I can't help but feel a lack of much towards it which is a shame but is the truth.
Maybe it's the chasm of years and lack of memories of its original owners.
Maybe in years to come this tale will become part of the object in some way and a connection will be formed, but for now this will just be two pigs facing a broken cone.
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Friday, 20 June 2014
Sunday, 15 June 2014
A couple of months ago I had a strop with blogger, I was upset because the app (which, ironically, this very post is being composed on) wasn't up to my expectations and because blogger doesn't let me fanny about with pictures in quite the way I'd like to when posting from anything other than a full blown PC (which is just so 2013, obvs*). Clearly this was a disaster of biblical proportions and so I jumped ship to WordPress.
But here's the thing.
It's just not the same. Oh I know that I have a million times more control over every little bit of code, I know that the app is a million times better than the blogger debacle (which feels like it was last updated in 2001), but it's just not the same. It feels like renting a fancy penthouse apartment instead of your small basement flat, but not being able to bring your comfy sofa and ask your mates round.
So I'm back. Normal service will be resumed and I'll even try to get the posts I wrote over there back over here (wish me luck!)
But if anyone can suggest a decent android blogging app that'll work with blogger I would be unreasonably grateful.
* - yes, I am fully aware of the irony of this comment on out-of-date stuff, given that it appears in a blog post of all things
Friday, 11 April 2014
My blog is here;
I've moved the whole blog and set up everything so that I still get to read you posts and I'd love to see you over on the dark side, to kick off with tales of travels to sunny climes and more day-to-day claptrap to follow.
Hopefully see you there.
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Thursday, 20 March 2014
- A roll of cream carpet that The Dad found in a ditch (and you could tell)
- A boiler that wasn’t working even when it was put in the garage in the first place
- Several offcuts of timber that were older than me
- Half of a large garden swing seat that last saw the garden in 1978
Thursday, 13 February 2014
However, by the time I hit a largely empty M5 the sun was shining, with barely a cloud in the sky apart from those clipping the tops of The Malvern Hills. I had some tunes on the radio and a road almost to myself.
The sun glistened off the wet tarmac and as I crossed the River Avon (which looked about four times the width it should be) I happened to check my wing mirror as I overtook a slower car. The spray from the surface water kicked up by my car caught the bright sunlight at just the right angle and it looked for all the world like a rainbow was shooting out of my arse.
Days like this can only be good, right?
Saturday, 8 February 2014
This picture tells you a lot about me.
Not in the way that you might imagine - although I quite like a swim, I'm not what you'd call a regular swimmer, I've never been scuba diving in my life (although it's something I've always wanted to do) and I think the last time I actually I put on a mask and snorkel Jacques Cousteau was probably still bothering the fishes.
No, this particular item tells a story about my outlook on life.
The long suffering Mrs A and I were on one of our wandering around the town expeditions yesterday looking for travel guides (for a bit of a jaunt we have coming up very soon, more of which later), when I spotted it in a charity shop window display (not for sale, mind you. Just for decoration). I mentioned that it might be quite a useful thing for me to acquire, Mrs A pulled the 'what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you?' face, and the saga began.
We had a brief chat in the shop itself, I wanted to ask if they'd sell it to me but Mrs A has a pretty low threshold for public embarrassment and asked me very nicely not to, so I left it alone and we headed off to look at floaty frocks and confusing cardigans.
But the seed had set.
After a bit of discussion we arrived at a quite nice compromise - Mrs A would go and look at Nice Lady Things, whilst I went back to persuade the nice ladies in the charity shop to sell me one of their props. We'd meet up in the pub for a bite to eat. Happy days.
The reality of the conversation in the shop itself was not quite as easy as I had first anticipated however. The nice ladies had been replaced by a nice young chap behind the till, who had to get confirmation from the shop manager that he could sell the thing. Once this had been established he asked me to point it out in the window display so he got the right one.
I didn't say that there was only one mask and snorkel in the display so it'd be pretty bloody hard to make a mistake, but you can bet I thought it quite hard.
I played along and pointed it out to him, at which point the lad looked worried and came out to tell me that he couldn't sell it to me as it was part of the display. This was the point at which I realised he had learning difficulties and began to feel hugely guilty about my earlier thoughts. I pressed on regardless and reminded him that the manager lady had said it was fine to sell.
He reluctantly went back to double check, and once he was satisfied I wasn't trying to pull a fast one went off to get the gear from the window whilst I waited at the counter. It was at this point the situation really started to get away from me.
The chap arrived back at the counter with the mask, snorkel, a cheeery smile and flippers.
I told the lad that I didn't want the fins, just the mask & snorkel, but he was not to be dissuaded from his sale now. Each of my objections was met with a big grin and an "enjoy your purchase" statement. I decided that the best approach was to just shut up and buy the lot. My heart sank when he handed over the bag with half the fins still sticking out.
The thought of wandering across a busy pub on a Friday evening in a Midlands town 100 miles from the sea in the middle of winter with a pair of flippers sticking out of a plastic bag was too much even for me, so I headed out and handed over the flippers to a different charity shop 2 doors down the road. I strode up to the counter confidently and said to the nice old lady, in my best 'this-is-not-weird-in-any-way' tones, "Would you like my flippers?"
She took them off my hands, I breathed a sigh of relief and went to meet the beautiful Mrs A for a beer and a bite to eat, which was all rather nice.
This morning I realised that the mask and snorkel is for a child. Every day's a school day, eh?
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
- They aren’t concocted in the alcohol-hazed aftermath of Christmas.
- I can say with honesty that I haven’t given up on any of my resolutions yet.