October 26, 2004
It's being said in many other places I'm sure, but Goodbye Peely.
Very sadly missed. And I look forward to the Home Truths where people send in stories about how Home Truths changed them.
Meant to post this yesterday, but it's wierd to think that nine months ago vicky and I were becoming parents. Nine months in, nine months out. A strange journey, but one that has been so worthwhile - getting to know a truly fabulous little person.
October 19, 2004
Never mind the bright-red branding or floods of cards on display. I have my own personal, happy, way of knowing that Christmas is coming...
As of 9pm last night I can report that Satsumas are now on sale in Sainsburys.
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong
So apparently lemon-sucking donkey-faced defence secretary Geoff Hoon has said that we have to send Our Boys into help in the north of Iraq because "We have a duty to the US".
Er, no, we don't.
Geoff, as a politician, you may feel you have, but we the public don't, and neither do the army.
We sent them in there, if you include all the possible excuses, to either keep Britain and their forces in Cyprus safe, or to create a new democratic Iraq, or to stop those international terrorists.
So the army have a duty to either the British people or to the Iraqi people. They certainly don't to the US government.
Please come back when you've thought it through properly.
October 12, 2004
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland
From this morning's 'Today' programme:
The Maze prison is a powefully divisive symbol. Some republicans want it turned into a museum, while some loyalists want it bulldozed. A compromise solution is being investigated.
What's that going to be then? Turning it into a museum and then bulldozing it? Or perhaps a museum for bulldozers?
October 11, 2004
What would Nigella do?
So, imagine the scene. It's been a lovely weekend, and you're reclining in the living room with the fabulous party episode of 'Green Wing' on for the second time. There's some great food on the table, and you're settling back with a nice glass of red.
But disaster strikes!
An unforeseen and ill-timed coughing incident (or was it a cat, or just plain clumsiness, I can't remember) means a huge great glop of red wine leaves your glass and lands on the sofa cushions.
(Actually, this isn't a complete disaster. The sofa is red. Our cream rug would have been a disaster.)
But you're not fazed. You know what to do. There's already some sauv blanc in the fridge so a quick slosh of that goes over the top. Just time to drop some salt on and you'll be fine.
And then, with a sinking sensation, you realise just how deeply middle class you've become.
Rock salt for salt mills - check.
Maldon sea salt - check.
Bog standard bucket of Saxa - um, nope.
And so for five minutes you would have been party to the sight of me frantically seasoning our sofa from a beautifully designed brushed steel salt mill, while desperately trying to get the screw at the top done up tight enought to produce fine grains.
As they say, never forget where you've come from...
October 07, 2004
The list of 'essay' style posts that are in my head at the moment is getting longer and longer, and yet I still don't have time to write any of them. For goodness sake, I've still got pictures of lovely evenings with Ben and Mena Trott and Doc Searls back in July and earlier - both courtesy of Euan - that I haven't put live.
Anyway, for now this Fermat-like 'but the margin is too narrow' will have to excuse my lack of an elegant proof for any of the following.
- Chinese is a fascinating language to learn. Particularly if you decide to make it hard for yourself and learn to *read* it too. However the little Flash cards you use to learn the characters are a very valuable use of standing time on crowded tubes.
- The world economy is driven by markets. Markets, it is claimed, are a very efficient way of coordinating resources. However, I'm concerned that the macrodriver of economics is itself a case of market failure. Why else would a company be under pressure to lay off staff to maximize returns for instutional investors, who need to maintain pension funds, that fewer and fewer people are able to carry on paying into. My pension company wants me out of my job, for my own sake. How crazy is that?
- House prices going mental - it's because people started having kids later. Starter homes used to be affordable because they were bought by people with only one income. We could be considered well off, but the combined costs of childcare and mortgage means we have virtually no disposable income. The ecomony will recover, but only through an entire generation of tightened belts. It'll be a very slow catching up game indeed, because in our need to earn more we've postponed the wisdom and market rebalancing that next generation will bring even longer.
- Carrying an extremely heavy A-level textbook on economics and a laptop on your back while pushing a pram is more effective as a way of losing body fluid than weight.
- Damn. Grumpy Old Men is becoming increasingly enjoyable
- I now have a second party trick. Not only can I do a very good impression of Mark Steel, but I've found out I can dance like C3PO as well. At will, he said pointedly.
- I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Tim Wright's Oldton last night. A hugely inspiring talk about interactive narrative first, and then the utter depression of seeing the actual project and realising just how far ahead of your own thinking he is. It was like a compact version of the crushing blow when Robert McKee destroys two days of inspiration by sitting you through the perfection of Casablanca. Anyway, make sure you go and play, and go and sign up for a deck of the Oldton playing cards - a snip at 7.99
- I'm going to have to admit I'm going a bit deaf. I spent some very pleasant time talking to a chap called Lloyd from a company called Guido. They seemed really large, so I was amazed I hadn't heard of them. I still feel amazed that, over the course of the twenty minutes between the start of our conversation and my realising he worked for Guardian Unlimited, I didn't at any point drop myself in it. In some ways it may even be scary - do I manage to say that *little*?
- My talk 'Shit I'm A Manager' is now being cited as a source of great wisdom on the BBC's Leadership Course at Ashridge. I feel rather vindicated as a result of this, but not for the reason most people would assume. Some revenge can be served very very very very cold
- Blimey, I've been online for over ten years now. I have pictures of the moment of my Damascence conversion. Danny O'Brien and Ben Moor look much younger. And I had short corporate hair. So nobody's seeing those thank you very much.
- Two wonderful friends are getting married soon, and I'm hugely looking forward to their wedding
- A business opportunity I'd been looking forward to feels somewhat more unlikely, but four others have appeared in its place. Damn. This means I'm going to have to decide.
- Developing applications for mobile phones is uncannily like developing for interactive tv. Millions of slightly different devices, clunky limited user interfaces, UI usability on that opening screen is everything, functionality needs to be locked down ages in advance, and you spend most of your time managing bandwidth. But at least they're not under threat from the PVR
- When is someone going to have the sense to store the latest traffic reports in a cache of memory in your car stereo, and then play them in the gaps between tracks?
- A terrifyingly true quote from the fabulous 'Rogue State' by William Blum:
It's that our leaders are cruel because only those willing and able to be inordinately cruel and remorseless can hold positions of leadership in the foreign policy establishment; it might as well be written into the job descritpiont. People capable of epressing a full measure of compassion and empathy toward faraway powerless strangers - let alone American soldiers - do not become president of the United States, or vice president, or secretary of state, or national security adviser or secretary of the treasury. Nor do they want to.
There's a sort of Peter Principle at work here. Laurence Peter wrote that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. Perhaps we can postulate that in a foreign policy establishment committed to imperialist domination by any means necessary, employees rise to the level of cruelty they can live with.
I wonder if business sometimes is heading the same way.