Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Right brain left brain

Not convinced by this. I can't make her go anti clockwise and can't even imagine that anyone can - but see what you think.,21598,22492511-5005375,00.html

Also, from the description I am definitely more left brain, yet it insists I am more right brain. How about you?

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Broken Chipolata

I have broken ANOTHER finger. That's all of them at least once, and some of them twice. Did it playing hockey and now it's bent. I suppose I must go and get it seen to tomorrow.

It certainly reminds you of how handy a hand is. It really is amazing. It's funny to think of someone thinking that for the first time and then describing something else as 'handy'.

I have cunningly taped (see below) said finger up with sellotape and - symbolism alert - my old Serco work pass. Very professional job is what you're thinking. So the tattered remnants of my career as a consultant continue to support me, but soon they will be taken off for good and my finger will have to fend for itself.

All I have is myself, a few possessions and some talented and generous friends and acquaintances.


Sunday, 28 October 2007

An historical documentation

Here is my desk on my last day.

Historians may wish to note the Serco mug ('bringing service to life') usually filled with lukewarm tea and a sweetener. Fairly cluttered, but not without some structure. Lots of wires. An ipod charging and pen on left hand side. There would be a twice weekly to do list with reasonably high level tasks rather than the 'Call Sylvia' type. Don't even know who Sylvia is.

The phone - I never did work out how to transfer someone or make it accept numbers for those wretched automated switch boards. So I just held on, driving the system mad and eventually you get through to a person. I wonder if this is how Buddhists feel - so in tune with their powerlessness they regain all the power and control. A wallet falling beneath my papers. Twice I left it on the desk for someone to hand in.

My PC. Lost its ability to go left and a little grubby, but served me well. God knows what I'm working on there. I wonder if life for anyone, anywhere would have been any different thanks to my efforts. Probably not.

Outside, the lovely tree mocking the impermanence of management consultants. At lunch time I'd go out and agree with it.

Things I'll miss

The view from my desk at Richmond.

The Friday feeling. The first cup of tea of the day, before anyone else arrives. Meetings which you feel achieve something. The money. The feeling of belonging. Some of the people. The spam (I love spam, I quite often read it and find it hilarious). Erm. The times when the sandwiches come down from a meeting. The times when you're busy but know you can do something. The times when you're not busy so you can look out of the window.

The times when you look back on 10 years and think well, that was OK, but now I am shutting my PC down and leaving it here on the desk and walking outside to go and do something more than OK.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A door closes

After 4 years slogging away for Serco - I was 8th in and maybe 208th out - I left today. My ten year career in consulting is now over and I embark on a new adventure tomorrow.

It was a funny way to go. I was the last one to leave the office, after a really hectic day. I simply logged off, left my PC and pass on a desk, and walked out the door.

It was dark and cold when I left and the door locks behind you when you leave. I stood outside the locked door for a second, thinking about what it all meant. I wandered past the wooden submarine that sits outside our offices, which has come to symbolise my escape.

I walked along the river and on to the tube. It's the picturesque route. I hadn't taken my coat, so it was really cold and I felt my first shiver in months.

But I no longer felt tired, and I began to think about what tomorrow might bring.

The centre of my own universe

It's a bit like when you go away on holiday. Those last frantic few days before you leave, which culminate with you saying to someone - 'call me if you need to, I don't mind'.

No one calls. What's worse, when you return you ask how everything went and people barely look up from their desks to say 'Fine'.

I expected some form of recognition today. Men to be staring aimlessly at their laptops, women to be wailing and perhaps grabbing on to my ankles begging me to reconsider.

But no one did. And tomorrow no one will notice. And that's why I left.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

It's business time

Tuesday is the day you should be tuning into Flight of the Conchords.

But Tuesday is also nearly Wednesday.

And Wednesday is Business Time.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Back to stats...

And how I feel their icy grip, like a recurring nightmare I am frozen by piercing glare. How they mock my pleas for clemency, my half answers, my tentatively remembered threads of understanding.

Tell me again (suppressing a smile) what do you understand of one way ANOVAS?

Remind me why I'm doing this to myself again?

(Mockingly) No, do continue...

Is it something to do with analysing variance....?

Mwah ha ha ha ha ha! You are a fool! How can you ever tell whether there is a difference between 3 or more levels of an indepdendent variable without knowing of the one way ANOVA?

So I dust off my Quantitative Statistics books, and turn to look them in the eye once again. Soon we will be grappling in the snow for supremacy.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Football vs Rugby

Truly, this is heresy to say coming from Liverpool, but (whispers) watching the Premiership after the rugby feels so...insipid.

The players' tricks, the lack of guts, the lack of respect for anything, all combined with the knowledge of their huge wealth. It just feels a bit fake - god knows how it feels for Chelsea supporters.

Feels like the difference between watching panto and the RSC.

Springbok Class

Our papers were simply outstanding today on England's defeat and the RWC in general. Sandwiched in the middle of yet another outstanding article on the RWC was this brilliant story I hadn't heard before:

After Fiji went down to South Africa in their quarter-final in Marseilles, they marked their exit with the longest lap of honour of all time. They wandered slowly around the field, apparently acknowledging each of the 55,000 crowd individually, full of Fijian ritual and thanks. It must have been about 45 minutes after the end of the game when they came back to the top of the tunnel. There, still waiting to clap them off, were the Springboks. That was class.

I also noticed that the Springbok bench stood to applaud Jason Robinson when he left the field. That's class too, and I suspect that a lot of it stemmed from their dignified coach, Jake White.

Civil Partnership

I wore a nice suit in the end. And for the gift?

A top of the range robot dog.


England probably deserved more from last night, but probably didn't deserve to win. South Africa were the best team in the tournament, and they made fewer mistakes than we did last night. It was their mental calmness (and Percy Montgomery) which was the difference, dare I say, as predicted.

South Africa did exactly what we did in 2003.

Despite some of their supporters, I'd prefer to lose to the Boks than anyone else to be honest, because I love the country and they need these things more than the snivelling antipodeans. That's enough now though - they can't keep claiming it. And Thabo Mbeki being lofted on the team's shoulders, despite not acknowleding the threat of AIDS and being mates with that nice chap Mugabe? People have some strange ideas of 'the moment' of the tournament. Mbeki is not Mandela.

But above anything else I feel so proud about the performance of England. We were magnificent, decent and brave. Now please, take that example and build.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Nearly forgot....



This World Cup has been incredible, and it continued last night when Argentina beat les Frogs. Unbelievable.

This evening's game asks the following quesiton: is this World Cup about upsets, or is it about logic? If, ultimately, it's about logic then the Boks will win. They have been the best side in the tournament, they haven't lost and they've already beaten us. If however the narrative of the tournament really is about spirit and momentum and passion then we have a chance. It would be the biggest upset of all in an incredible tournament though. For this reason, I just can't imagine us winning.

I always set a lot of store on the psychology of sport, and had a sneaky feeling that we'd beat Australia and a strong feeling we'd beat France because we had so little to lose. However, I can't imagine any situation where we can beat the Boks. I just can't see it. They seemed too strong physically and especially mentally last week. There, I've said it.

The only sliver of hope is the Boks haven't really played anyone decent during this tournament. But honestly, I can't see another surprise. I think it's about logic.

Thankfully, it isn't me that has to believe in a different narrative, it's these guys:

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Flight of the Conchords

So now I am almost begging you to watch Flight of the Conchords.

It's about 2 boys from New Zealand (Brett and Jermaine) both in a band, living in America.

In this scene Brett has a new girlfriend, Coco, who he is on a lovely special date with. And he has written Coco a special love song.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Banana SKIN

I bought a lamp that gets turned on by my touch. Not like that. It actually lights up when I touch it. Oh, stop it.

I have been experimenting with other materials and the only other thing that turns my lamp on is banana skin.

I therefore conclude either:

1. That banana skins are real skin; or
2. We are all made of real bananas

Thank you.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

This is the England I know...

Proud. Self deprecating. Silly. Serious. Ridiculous. Committed. Loyal. Decent. Defiant.

And the big one; finding humour in funny pants.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Enter the King....

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's a Civil Partnership Ceremony!

My first ever - it's like knowing Elton John! The question is, what do you buy for a gift? Ideas please. Oh and what the hell do you wear? It's a brand new minefield. Must it involve animal prints?

Monday, 8 October 2007

America: what happened to liberty?

What the hell is going on here? This is shocking.

I can't help seeing a link between this sort of disturbing repression and the ongoing flouting of human rights at George Bush's fun factory, Guantanamo Bay. And whilst I'm at it, what have we, the British, done to protest at the real travesty of this war?

Happy viewing / reading.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

No, I haven't finished

This is just sheer joy.

To explain this rapture, Australia spent the whole of the week before trashing England, its players, its people, its spirit. Their winger, Lote Tuqiri trashed our back line. Their press invited us to lose with dignity and accused us of arrogance (!). Their Chief Executive of Rugby Union even admitted that he 'hated' England.

I know I should be rising above it all, but I'm having too much fun. So I'm reading the Sydney Morning Herald. They seem to be a bit off colour!

Oh dear, and it's raining in Sydney too! Chin up!

Saturday, 6 October 2007