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Friday, April 27, 2012

Disintercombobulatory Dinner

The Badman has had his new desk delivered. Well, I say new, what I mean is old. This monstrous piece of Victoriana is his inspiration, his muse if you will that is pushing him forward to write his tome, his novella, his life's work in a sort of steampunk / H.G.Wells kind of way.

Anyway, I'm hoping he gets a shift on as he has the New West Midlands Dictionary to get written before Monday and words don't just make themselves up you know! They have to be clearly defined and go through all manner of intradecatagorisationary processes - as any dictionary compiler worth their salt would know.

I, on the other hand have far less lofty aspirations for this weekend. A Friday night Chilli for Mrs G and son (daughter is off out gallivanting with Auntie S) and a whole lot of what ever is on the telly (or visualguesstiamation) will start the weekend off. Washed down with a bottle of red, but not a late night (or reduced imbibery-regenerisation as its more commonly known round these parts)

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I have to get a decent amount of sleep tonight just because in the morning I have a stupidly early start to go and play golf with the Alleycats Golf Society up in the clouds near Cheltenham. Not only is it at a ridiculous time of the morning to be getting up on a Saturday but the weather forecast is horrendous. Worse still, I'm paying (quite a bit) for the privilege - clearly I must be insane (or just entraframilliond whilst at rest)

That said, a day out with the lads, taking the pish (urinaryextradition) out of eachother, trying to win slightly rubbish trophies and then enduring a kangaroo court with alcoholic charges in the evening is actually a great way to spend a good few hours. This will all be over during the wee small hours of Sunday morning, and so you can't expect me to be up particularly early on Sunday morning.

Not wishing to make life easy for myself though, Sunday morning will be all about prepping for Sunday lunch with the outlaws (boeuf a la fogey) Roast beef I think, so shouldn't be too much of a hassle and perhaps it won't be quite as much of an early start as I imagine, but time will tell.

Before you know it, it'll be Monday again and back to the "wondering what we'll be doing next" job. I'm already sprandled at the thought of it.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let them eat cake!

A couple of recent Dilbert's have been particularly pertinent to the Badman and myself... He'll understand:

I recognise that grey carpet from somewhere I'm sure :-)

In other news, the cleanup from the party continues, albeit slowly. For example, we found a huge pile of loose change down the back of the sofa yesterday. Always useful but we've done the decent thing and handed it in to the police.... Well, we coughed to it... Ah well, we'll get it back somewhere else I'm sure.

Aside from that, Pooh and I are keeping our heads down and trying to avoid being dragged into some of the bollotics that are floating around the 100 acre wood assisted and nurtured by "one of our number". Pooh has done a great job of informing "one of our number" what he and I have been doing, in a series of meetings that have taken place at least once a day every day this week. It really seems that "one of our number" wastes an awful lot of everyone's time. It does seem to be getting worse. Strange times.

Today was also the big day, but the day of reckoning is a way off yet we believe.

At home, daughter and I made cake. Nothing more to say on the subject other that "We lurve the cake!"

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Tomorrow is Thursday, and as such will hopefully contain an outing of the WTC. We've had some sad news of late, with the unexpected passing of the mother of one of our members. We've all been doing our best to help him through, but it must be a very difficult time for him and I can only hope that things like the WTC provide some relief from the stress of it for him.

In the blink of an eye the weekend will be here, and that means a game of golf... In the rain... :-(

Still, it could be worse, we could be in a recession..... D'oh!



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Redecorating

Having had a tough couple of weeks it's always odd to hit a quiet patch at full pelt.  

It's a bit like showing up to a party when everyone's gone home.  You know there was something big and busy going on - but now there's just empty bottles of beer / vodka / various beverages and discarded paper plates with half eaten beef burgers on them...  (worth noting that there are no "cheese and pineapples" left - and equally no pork pies - all the good stuff gets eaten first).

However - someone has to clear all this mess up and put the dishwasher on - so Pooh and I pretty much get on with that.  To be fair, pooh sits around in his smoking jacket with a fat cigar while I wander around throwing cans of carlsberg filled with dog-ends in a black plastic bag. It was his party after all, and bears don't handle their drink all that well.

The party in question was actually more like one very long News Years Eve....   In Europe, we didn't hear how the Asia/Pacific party went - mostly because we were too busy buying in beer and snacks, and rigging up fireworks on the London eye in preparation for our own party. One assumes that it  went well and happened in the wee-small-hours with fireworks on Sydney harbour bridge and all that clap-trap.  At some point in the future the US crew will stand around watching a ball drop, so right now they're busy setting up their fireworks for that. As a result they're asking us a few questions about some of the larger pyrotechnics - but between you and I - it's magical smoke and mirrors. Well, you've got to put a show on haven't you?
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In other news - there's been all sorts of tech malarkey going on.  I'm just going to mention a few of the highlights that have caught my eye.

Facebook bought Instagram for $1bn.  What a bunch of idiots. It's clearly awesome, but not worth a billion dollars. At that price, it must be a "strategic only" purchase, and I can only surmise that Zuckerberg has bought it to stop someone else getting their hands on it.

I've stumbled on a new (to me) method of syncing calendars and contacts across multiple platforms. If you're interested you might want to try http://fruux.com 

Google have rolled out the new "Blogger" interface to everyone. To be honest, I knew it was coming having had it on the beta trial, but I use it so rarely now-a-days that I'd kind of forgotten all about it.  Posting to posterous.com means my posts just automagically appear without the need for me to intervene.  anyway, I've had a bit of a poke around in there, and decided I just redecorate - so here's to the new wallpaper, and quick drying gloss at http://golfs.blogspot.com (which interestingly redirects to .co.uk nowadays as well)

And finally - here's some music that was left in the CD player at the party - sort of....  It's not a song I love - although it's a song you can't avoid, but it is a "supercut" of awesomeness and it's something to listen to while I fish the upstairs TV out of the swimming pool (it was a hell of a party).

Oh, look at this - I've found a couple of un-opened cans of Red Bull - just what Pooh and I need - I think he's fallen asleep in his white plastic garden chair by the pool.  I'm going to start calling him Hugh Heffner....

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Very very hard work...

Sometimes, it is just that. This current time is one of those. We (Pooh, the bear of little brain and I) are in the peak opposite our trough.  That's not to say we're about to chow down on some lovingly prepared scraps - wrong sort of trough - but more like reaching the terrifying uppermost point of the rollercoaster we're on...  and neither of us are sure if the seatbelts fit properly.

If you've been following his posts you'll know how horrible it's been. Sure there's been some relatively pleaseant coffee on occasion, and of course we are both known to have a good laugh at the most inappropriate times (thank god for small mercies) but that's about the best it's been.

I'm really not complaining - I actually really enjoy my job and working with Pooh is as much fun as I could have and still appear to be professional. I'm sure he feels the same. However, some elements of the work are beyond comprehension in thier levels of stupidity. It seems that no matter how often they're referred to, they always will be.

In my rapidly aging mind, it has now become clear to me, that the same is true in every single job you could ever hope to do. I don't mean to be cynical and dampen the fireworks of the youth (hell if you're just starting out and the only way is up - everyone above you must have got it spectacularly right.... right??)  but believe me - every company (and for that matter, every employee) on the planet does dumb things sometimes - even the really clever ones.

Our constant slog this time is pounding the stuffing out of both of us, but we carry on undeterred. We WILL make this thing work, no matter how broken it might appear to the outside world. In another TV Show, we would have been the mice on the mouse organ.

Heave

In conversation with Pooh today, the folowing sentence was heard:

"The problem is these SMI's don't think like we do. Actually that full stop could come a lot earlier in that sentence, just before 'like'."

Given the week we've been having, I suspect the full stop might be a better fit just before "don't"



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, April 09, 2012

I'm coming home, I've done my time.

Once more it's 5am - this is becoming a habit - and I'm on the phone to blighty. In all honesty I'm done with it. I need some decent sleep, I need something that isn't cheese and eggs, I need something that isn't the size of a small family sized meal for 15! Pah! In short I need exercise.... I also need to have a word with myself and stop complaining. I mean apart from it being hardwork, and several thousand miles from my loved one's, and ropey beer, (thank god for Guinness) there are far worse places that I could be.

With that in mind, no sooner have I finished the jobs that were needing to get done for the UK team, I was out of the door of the hotel and yomping towards the park - It was 11am, I needed some food, the UK folks were off on their holidays, I need to be at the airport by 5, so one last hurrah at der grosse appfel - as they probably say in Germany. Central Park is an oasis of peace in the centre of the Manhattan hub-bub. The difference a few paces makes is astounding, and a huge pleasure. The zoo is just awesome, and while I didn't have time to pay a proper visit, and I'm not particularly a fan of zoos, I will make the effort should I get the chance to pass this way again. The other place to see for me will be Lady Liberty, having missed her on Sunday due to the insane queue to get on a boat.

Before I can blink though, the hour is fast approaching and I have to get a ride off the island and over to Newark for my flight back to good old England. It being Easter weekend, that's far easier said than done, but after much shenanigans I found someone happy to go that way for 80 bucks... 20 less (must be down hill on the way back). Worth noting that Manhattan taxi drivers can charge whatever the hell they like to go to Newark due to it being in New Jersey. Get a fixed price up front, which is what I did. I'd also suggest that should you be using JFK, you should take the "E" train into or out of Manhattan. 40 minutes and a bargain - or so I'm led to believe. Fight was delayed by half an hour, but other than that an uneventful escape if you exclude the view. I looked back as we left. I miss you NY, but I have a piece of you with me. (I managed to steal a traffic signal..... Of course I'm joking)

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I dozed in and out of sleep on the red-eye flight home. So much so, that I failed miserably to watch the following movies: War Horse - which while filmed in Castle Coombe (in some very strange light) seemed to be a film about ploughing fields in Devon... Very confusing (6/10 until it gets a proper viewing). And the Descendants, most of which I saw while we were still sat on the tarmac at Newark. I secretly really enjoyed this and managed to pick up a copy of the book for Mrs G, because it's just her cup of cocoa. (8/10 might be more if I watch it fully awake).

Mrs G was at the airport where I fell.... In this order into, her arms, the car, a light sleep, bed, a deep sleep. I did manage to wake up in the end and very pleased to be back home I am.

Until later...



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

The final stretch... Almost.

All very strange, the way this process seems to work. Now, whether it's because it's in the United States or perhaps it's because of who the customer is (and their ultra annoying helper) or it might even be "the way this is done" and I'm just not very familiar with it. Whatever it is, it's very strange. in summary it seems we listen to a lot of half truths and inconsistencies and then have a bother guess at how much it's going to cost to do stuff. All a bit nuts if you ask me. In fact, personally I have a much better approach to the entire thing in mind.

A 12 month contract, where our clients contract with us with a view to contracting with us. Now of course this sounds a little insane, and would need a whole bunch of intelligent verbiage wrapped around it to make it more saleable. It's just something to consider. Wednesday saw me once more awake at stupid o'clock to manage the UK team. Last nights "couple of beers" to celebrate surviving our client facing period was really just two pints and a bit of nosh, but it was all still most acceptable. In the office the "what happens next" question is greeted with a few "not really sure"'s. one question in particular is "when" and the deafening silence that's surrounding this one is for me the most disturbing.

I really really need to know if we're going to make changes to the when. The UK team will have to make changes to their numbers if the when is going to change, and the general consensus is that it is going to change, but no-one is prepared to say to what. Frustrating to the max. We are all frustrated, including the lead who it's become apparent has to suffer the same pain that we do. Waiting and chasing those who think they know best.... Not fun.

In the meantime I've put the EMEA team on hold. I don't like it, but I don't want them doing it all twice. By the time we leave the office we have some direction. I pass on the info via various emails and head out for dinner with the most senior member present to try and find out what's really going on.... A New York Curry? ... Interesting times.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I'll be heading home. I love New York, but I miss Mrs G and Daughter so it's definitely time.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, April 06, 2012

The whites of their eyes....

The day of reckoning is upon us, and for the rest of you, that means its Tuesday.

Plans have been laid out, ideas have been kicked around, questions have been answered in a way that we all think the client would like to hear them answered. All that remains to be done now, is actually meet up with them and answer them.

In the event, it was all a bit of a damp squib. The customers team where led by a helper, who really didn't help much. Our team spoke a lot and explained a lot, very little of which was of any great consequence to anyone who doesn't have a team in World Series Baseball. I did however get to spend at least two minutes having a conversation with one member of the customers team. When I say conversation, What I mean is that I asked a very simple yes / no style question and then listened to a convoluted answer which in short was a yes. The strange thing about this, is even though I was there in person stood in front of this individual who is responsible for actually doing the thing that I'd questioned him upon, I simply didn't believe a word he said.

In summary I've travelled three and half thousand miles to be lied to. By a very very individual. Nuff said.

We trundled back to the office and de-briefed a little, then we managed to grab a bite to eat and a couple of beverages to round off the day. And just like Monday, that meant that it was another bloody long one. The problem with managing a European team from America means a very early start to at least get something done in the blighty. The problem with working in America (at least this week) is that we've been working late into the night to get things prepared. Combine these two problems with a body clock that's only functioning 95% correctly and most of time I'm not sure whether I'm coming or going... For all I know I might even have gone already!

Still, this why we would get paid the big bucks if we got paid big bucks. Ho hum. It still beats my old job by a bazzilion miles, so I'm only moaning for the sake of it.

Adieu



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Monday

Monday went exactly like this.

06.00 Alarm
06.15 Shower, Dressed, Coffee
07.00 Conference Call
07.30 Commute
07.45 Work
12.30 Sandwich (at work)
12.45 Work
15.00 Coffee (at work)
22.00 Food
Midnight Sleep

ZZZZZZZzzzzzz - Now that was a long day.... Tomorrow will be interesting.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

The calm before the storm

Not what was expected then really. Sunday started at a more civilised time of around 9am and I dragged myself up to hunt down breakfast. This is a very easy task in New York, because there is food everywhere. Every couple of doors there seems to be a cafe or a diner (although these are far less frequent than they used to be apparently) or a deli. Food is plentiful and generally very good - but, (and it's a big butt) it's mostly not healthy. As long as you like eggs, cheese, meat and anything fried, you have nothing to worry about. If you want vegetables, you have to look a little harder. That's not to say its not out there, it's just a bit harder to track down. A deli is the only real place to get it sorted. Regardless of my intentions of finding something healthy, I went for the omelette with bacon in a bagel. Thank god I don't live here because my waistline would not be able to cope no matter how much walking I put in.

Instead of a long walk downtown,today I went for the subway to deliver me back down to the financial district and in time for my visit to the 9/11 memorial. This isn't something that I felt I had to do, but in the interest of all things humanitarian, I was quite happy to pay my respects. The tragic events of 2001 left a hole in the heart of New York, a scar in lower Manhattan that slowly but surely is healing. Over the last 10 years, the land has been cleared and Is slowly being reclaimed by the city. The memorial preserves the space immediately around the twin towers in a fashion that is wholly appropriate and befits an area of the city that still demands a stillness and respect of those who visit it.

The two infinity pools that cover the footprint of the North and South Towers have the names of all those who lost their lives engraved around them and the space also includes a museum, gardens and the Survivor Tree. The site is overlooked my the new Freedom Tower which is currently under construction and rises into the skyline with a mirrored glass finish making it imposing and yet invisible in the right light. I was there for an hour or so. It was a warm sunny day. It felt like sitting and watching and listening was the right thing to do for a while. I spoke to a couple from upstate New York who were visiting while they had a free day - they were quietly respectful, slight concerned at the height of the new tower, but overall very approving of what has been built in remembrance of those who died. I watched a woman weeping as she read some the names. In amongst the tourists taking pictures and the school trips following a guide, I saw some younger kids running and jumping around the survivor tree. It all felt right. And sobering. The memorial is not somewhere you should be visiting for entertainment, but you should be visiting it for the education and the respectfulness to the lost. I'll visit again when it's completed.

In a couple of days I'll be back in the financial district for more work related shenanigans, but for now, here's a view of the Freedom Tower from Battery Park. The structure in the foreground is the artwork that was originally in the plaza between the World Trade Centre Towers. It shows the marks of the damage inflicted upon it and has been relocated to the Battery.

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Sunday night saw my frolleague, the captain arrive back in the city, so he and I went and found a place to grab some food and a couple of Guinni (Octopus / Octopi and Guinness / Guinni ). He's a good guy and we have quite a bit in common. He too is a geek and a nerd, and he knows who Moss is. We have a laugh.

Monday morning will be an early start with a call for the EMEA team now that the badman is off on his hols.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Walking

Walking... And walking and walking and walking and walking.... Oh and a bit of walking too.

That's been the shape of Saturday. A far more sensible nights sleep still managed to get me up for 7am local time. I wandered out of the hotel and found a place for breakfast. The thing about New York eateries is, while their food is almost always excellent, it's rarely healthy. That's not to say there is no healthy food available, but you do have to hunt for it and the fatty more interesting foods are always at the front.

Luckily I've been on a bit of a health kick with the fruit and veg at home, so I'm happy to let myself sin a little while here and lets face it, sausage, egg and melted cheese in a bun is something to lust after.

The best way to deal with such stodge is of course to exercise and so I set of for a full blown home of the island. By lunchtime I'd made it all the way downtown to the southern tip of the island and to be fair, my feet were killing me. I should know better having had to buy ultra lightweight and comfy crocks last time I was here. They might look dumb, but they're easy on your feet. Note to self: NYC requires comfy footwear.

I went straight down 5th avenue, across Washington square and then it all changes into a more villagy feel as you pass through SoHo (not like the London equivalent - SoHo in this instance stands for SOuth of HOuston street) with some interesting little shops and far less commercialism than is found up in midtown.

The sight of the freedom tower emerging from the old World Trade Center site is most impressive and dominates the area to the West of the financial district. I'm pre-booked a slot at the memorial for tomorrow so didn't spend too much time looking today and instead hopped on the Subway to get back uptown and save my aching feet.

The NY Subway is a doddle to use and 2 dollars will get you a ride anywhere on the system. I choose to by a card with 10 dollars on it, so I guess that means five rides, but we'll see how that works out.

In the evening I collected the obligatory M&Ms from M&M world and managed to grab a couple of pints of Guinness and a cracking slice of NY Pizza. Tomorrow, will be hunting for sensible footwear, presents for Mrs G and Daughter - although daughters largest gift has already been acquired - and the visit to the memorial. I can't decide on exploring the East or West village on the way back up, or if the weather holds perhaps a run to the Top of The Rock, for some great views of the city. However, this evening I'm planning to be getting myself back into work mode with some prep for Monday's 6am (EST) start and planning for the big event on Tuesday. The only potential show stopper here is that some of my colleagues will be back in town this evening and there was talk of a meet up. New York is a fantastic city and I do love it very much, but it's not the same when it's not shared. I'm missing Mrs G and Daughter, but don't tell them I said that (they'll think I'm soft or something)

Today's picture (and I'm trying not to spoil it for the batman) is the view from a nearby terrace bar...

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This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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