Alternative Facts About Kids These Days (…or any day for that matter)

(Social Media, before Insta-book)

According to an article in the Guardian, young adult fantasy films were all the rage a few years ago but that times had changed and teenagers no longer had a taste for such things. What? Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange will always be my #1 favourite “Y.A.” fantasy film.

The article was of course referring to Harry Potter & Co. and yes, times have changed but teenagers today are the same as when The Who sang “The Kids are alright” in 1968, The Offspring sang The Kids Aren’t Alright in 1998, and they’re the same as those streaming Aggretsuko in 2018.

They all have the same problems, the same battles, the same dreams. They have the same life challenges like eating disorders, bullying – mobbing*, studies, exclusion, depression, money, parents… parenthood, it’s just they’re going about it differently, using today’s tools.

* Mobbing? Let’s see… Aged eleven, I got sent to a secondary school in London, with my posh private primary school accent and shiny shoes I was meat. One day in class the Alpha lad got the other boys to walk past my desk and hit me over the head. I waited until it was the Alpha lad’s turn, stood up and swung a punch. I knew I was in for a beating, the others knew I was in for a beating but apparently, it was some sort of test. They weren’t expecting a posh kid to fight back and I became one of the lads after that.

The second and last time I remember standing up to a mobbing was when I was 14 or so. I worked in a grocery store near home after school, filling shelves and delivering small orders to nearby clients. One day, leaving the shop through the back door I suddenly found myself surrounded by several boys who worked next door. Outnumbered but very pissed off, I ran home, just up the road, picked up an empty glass milk bottle and ran back down to the shop. Two things then happened: 1) my brother saw me and took the bottle away from me (said I had to settle things without the bottle) and 2) a big kid who worked in another shop stepped out and told the kids to leave me alone or else. Surprised that a kid like me knew how to look after himself and had a karateka friend the lads left me alone after that… just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving.

Dispelling Myths and Legends

Wanting to show that things weren’t any easier today The Guardian, them again, published an article about how being single today in the UK was tough. The journalist wrote and I paraphrase, “…ordinarily, we like to scare the hell out of our youth by claiming that Sex is bad, don’t do drugs and Rock’n’roll died with Amy Winehouse – here’s Ed Sheeran!*…”
*Really? Ed Sheeran? And who’s “We”? Millennials? Adults? Journalists? … Millennial Adult Journalists? Personally, the only people I want to scare off are those who try imposing alternative facts or disrupting personal boundaries.

OK, so the journalist was making a point but take a minute to think how teenagers, Gen Zers, read that message? I know how I read it. a) It forgets that reverse psychology is water off a duck’s back to a teenager, b) It perpetuates, not bridges the “Us & Them” chasm-like divide between teenagers and adults and most importantly, c) it ignores the fact that most teenagers don’t give a *Hoot* what Main Stream Media in general or the Guardian, in particular, have to say.
(For the record, Rock’n’Roll didn’t die with Amy Winehouse, it died with Elvis, everyone over 40 knows that.)

But here’s the thing. Events in the US are showing that teenagers are stepping up and speaking out against the failings of a system driven by short-term corporate, political and journalistic gain. They always have done but now, instead of writing their anger on walls, virtual or IRL, they are taking it to senators and representatives and are being listened to. It’s a shame it took a mass shooting in a school to be heard. It also dispels the myth that wisdom comes with age and that the media, established or otherwise, channels unbiased, agenda-free information.

Speaking of myths, and legends. Personally, music was always and still is my special universe, a secret garden filled with demons & wizards, eagles, echoes, silver machines and stairways to heaven. That said, and according to this one particular article, it seems I’m reaching the age where because a fair number of my teenage Rock idols are, for various reasons passing away (Chris Squire, Lemmy, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Leonard Cohen, Gregg Allman… to name but them) my secret garden is slowly but surely, even inexorably disappearing into some black hole leaving me mourning my own mortality (seems I also have to throw away those pictures my son drew for me at school). Thankfully we live in an age where 60 is the new 40. Yes, my LPs are all beat up now but on the other hand, my digital library is very healthy and rather heteroclite, thank you.

Fight the Power

But why peddle the myth that Classic Rock is dead or will die out with its heroes? As long as the inspiration is there and the technology allows, Classic Rock will, like most other types of music, live on beyond the current crop of stars, musicians or paladins.

As Amy Whitehouse proved, Rock isn’t the reserve of 60+-year-old, male, white “Baby Boomers” or pseudo-intellectuals. It also proves the same problems exist today that got kids listening to Janis Joplin in the 60s, Lou Reed and Nico in the 70s, the Dead Kennedys in the 80s, the Nine Inch Nails in the 90s and Coldplay in the 00s.
Conclusion. Nobody is interested in the whole white male, pseudo-intelligentsia Rockism versus Popism thing. No really, who cares? Certainly not the kids. They have more important things to worry about, like being the adult in the room on more serious debates.

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Posted in Everyday life, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zeitgeist

Checking the news on Twitter one morning, skipping over the latest op-ed from a named author about the March Hare and his Washingtonian rabbit hole, I got side-tracked into reading an article from The New York Review of Books. Essentially all about passports and freedom of movement I was about to close the web page when I noticed that the article was using the film “Casablanca” as a backdrop.

““Casablanca is more than seventy-five years old. If released today, it would surely be criticized for its moralizing American nationalism, as well as for celebrating French colonial rule without featuring a single Moroccan protagonist”
The New Passport-Poor
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian”

The film itself was in turn contextualized, the real antagonists being French Colonialism, Fascism, and American nationalism, not Rick or Ugarte or Signor Ferrari. What’s more, the article, in my mind, rightly confirmed that the morals and moeurs of an epoch should be seen through the eyes of that epoch.

I’m convinced that “Casablanca”, like “Gone with the Wind” or “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, reflected the Zeitgeist of their times, as have a multitude of works before or since that might look so out of place today. That said, I was intrigued to read on Twitter that JK Rowling could never have showcased Dumbledore’s homosexuality when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published otherwise the books would never have got published and that was just twenty years ago.

(It never occurred to me that Dumbledore’s homosexuality was relevant or even intrinsic to the story as JK Rowling wrote it but diversity is part of today’s Zeitgeist, and rightly so. It’s also commercially profitable, not so rightly so… I just hope there’s no remake or solo sequels of The Hobbit just to bring out the diversity of specific characters to make them more appealing to certain market segments today.)

Illusions

Not content with being side-tracked once already that morning, another article caught my attention. Like the first, this second article reflected on how today’s society, with today’s standards, is looking at past cultural moeurs differently.

If the previous article referenced Casablanca this article was using the Wild West for context referencing not just any cowboy but John Wayne himself! If it had been Star Wars, Star Trek or LoTR and if you are of a certain age and education you might not have reacted but I heard you there: Wait, what, John Wayne? The gatekeeper of American culture, with films such as Arizona, The Cowboys, The Alamo and The Green Berets? Holy Moley. Is nothing sacred?

Apparently not. Everything needs looking at with today’s values. Gone are the days when cowboy films were just that. Yes, John Wayne films conveyed a certain message to foreign audiences but then so did Blazing Saddles or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (read the quotes for both films, I’ll wait…) not to mention M*A*S*H*.

Sound Bites and Memes

In one episode of the OK-ish TV series CSI: Cyber, while researching a Person of Interest, the character Brody Nelson commented on how he couldn’t find anything online concerning his fellow Gen Z/colleague/nemesis, Black-cum-White Hat colleague, Raven Ramirez. Raven Ramirez responded, approximately, “You won’t because I don’t post, I observe” which in this day and age is pretty unusual, given that the major preoccupation on Social Media these days seems to be that selfie, that meme or that mic’ dropping one-line burner that gets everyone wanting to be your friend.

No estoy en Facebook

Call it fatigue or saturation but, with the exception of my favourite Professional SoMe platform and for reasons talked about in a previous blog, chasing after social media glory has lost it’s attraction. Cultivating a few choice contacts and drawing from a few select and objective sources of information, pretty much whatever the pro or the contra, is way more engaging and inductive than being force fed a selection of “Best Of” sound-bite politics with their threads of expletive loaded whataboutism comments and comebacks with attendant Willy Wonka or Pepe memes.

Free Willy

Following the introduction of the EU’s GDPR late May (2017) the EU’s Legislative Committee had, June 20 (2017), voted on the EU Copyright Directive, and will vote the directive into law in July this year. This measure will effectively redefine online copyright protection in the EU and by extension the way we currently use the internet, content, streaming, and even memes.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this develops because in spite of coming into being for a good reason, the protection of copyrighted intellectual property, the challenge is going to be respecting and monitoring it’s application.

It’s going to be interesting to see who will or who is big enough to take on analyzing the wealth of content circulating on the internet and enforcing copyright adherence. One thing is for sure, the copyright trolls are going to have a field day.

Lastly, it’s going to be interesting to see how potential conflicts with the GDPR will be dealt with. There’s no doubt that companies in a position to analyze all the content, e.g. Google, will have the infrastructure to do so and avoid any conflict with GDPR but what about all the other platforms and sites that until now have exploited the doctrine of “Fair Use”, e.g. for genuinely non-commercial purposes?

What’s sure is that leveraging news reporting is going to be closely monitored as will most certainly using copyright images, parodying, criticism and commentary, with or without memes and ultimately that might not be a bad thing. It might make content creators, carriers and consumers a little more attentive/ circumspect about what’s going online.

Posted in Everyday life, Social Media, Society

Why Argue On The Internet

It’s difficult arguing with people whose sole objective seems to be to refute, refuse and confound established facts. Even when presented with what is generally considered to be the truth arguments are brushed aside with either scorn or sarcasm (or both) to make the calmest of people want to go and kick a dustbin. Prove that the footprints and waving flag thing weren’t fabricated in some film studio lot. You can’t. You weren’t there. You lose.

Edit

Dealing with such a rationale requires special skills such as the ability to think and debate analytically even critically with split second mental agility. You could even be one of those mercilessly sharp tongued people who relish going head first into such debates with a troll but for the others, the rest of humanity, getting haplessly involved in such exchanges often ends confoundingly in bruised egos and blocked connections.

So what’s the solution? How do you reason with such logic without sacrificing firmly held beliefs? How to get out of it? Well, you could try psychology but like with teenagers it invariably backfires, antagonists are obtuse but not systematically stupid.

You could also try philosophy but again, you never know who you’re really up against and unless you know your Zeno of Elea from your Zeno of Citium it invariably ends badly.

You could also try neutralizing the Troll by letting him know you know where he lives/works, as one English rugby player did, which is OK if the troll lives down the road… You could try figuring out how you got there in the first place and discreetly leave the forum, comments section or thread. That usually works on Social Media, unless they know where you live.

Why Share Opinions On the Internet?

A wise person once said, “I’d rather be in trouble a safe distance away, than to die here for something stupid.”… Someone else said if you want to get out of trouble don’t get into trouble in the first place!

So why share opinions on the Internet? Why get drawn into a debate with a total stranger about something that isn’t worth it, that you have nothing to gain from – no really, you don’t – and no time for?

Is it because people think the Internet offers a safe haven in which they can create an avatar and be bolder, freer … more vitriolic, more aggressive in their opinions than in the real world?

An article in the Irish Times offers some insight into why and while yes, I was often mad at my parents it was a long time ago and I just don’t feel the need to rant and argue the whole day (and night) long with some stranger, surrogate parent or partner to exorcise some demon. But then, that’s what most rational people say.

So how do you explain why a nominally rational person gets all irate when a conspiracy theorist tells you that Apollo 11 was faked? Why? Mind games could be one reason. Some people just live for getting under other people’s skin and dangling a bait in some Twitter or Reddit thread is their idea of fun… Mind you, there really are people who believe the earth is flat or hollow or maybe both and that Chemtrails really are biological weapons or NASA geoengineering the weather.

Apples & Pears, a question of context

Following yet another shoot up at an American school, one social commentator, “thought leader” and prolific author commented on LinkedIn about the number of shootings in the USA comparing it with equivalent data on mass shootings in other countries. The use of statistics here was demonstrative, it was also, as one person pointed out, flawed cherrypicking, apparently lacking data on rapes in Sweden, stabbings in London and bombs in Paris.

I don’t know if the author had given any thought to comparatives, I imagine he had but his article didn’t reflect it. It would have been even more powerful, more demonstrative had he presented a complete set of statistics (Apples for Apples). It may also have neutralized the critics and deniers, although in the words of one manager from a previous job: Statistics show what you want them to show.

Fuzzy context and cursory research invariably lead to an unconvincing outcome, not to say the mother of all “pig in the muck” fights on Reddit. This is not how you are going to convince any Flat Earther, supporter of the US 02nd amendment or Ancient Alien theorist that their theory is hairbrained, faulty and debunkable.

Also, be very wary of Confirmation bias, cherrypicking and comparing Apples with Pears. Context, parallels, comparisons, and data go a long way towards shutting down bias.

But the Internet, cyberspace, is more than reactions to some biased thread or some bot generated fake news article. To the joy of Internet utopians everywhere, serious, productive, altruistic, exchanges do happen, and while Master Yoda might say “For the dark side it will find you, if you look” he might also say “Others to promote good on the internet, encourage

Yodish translations courtesy of http://funtranslations.com/yoda

Posted in Everyday life, Social Media, Society

Obscured by Clouds

Sometimes something happens that gets you thinking not so much about what might have been, if only… but rather about what might not be and it’s then, at that point, that you realize that the niggling feeling you’ve been experiencing is in fact the recurring dream you’ve been having squeezing its way through the more immediate problems that fill a day.

It’s a bit like the broken light bulb/Feng Shui theory – if it’s not working, fix it – except that here your subconscious is telling you there’s a problem, that there’s possibly a solution but what it’s not yet telling you is what the problem is, where to start looking or what the solution is, you’ll have to figure that out for yourself.­

My wife says that if a dream is trying to tell you something, as recurring dreams tend to do, more often than not it’s a light bulb moment waiting to happen and when on top of that you have that niggling feeling compounding things it’s time to do something about it.

My wife also says that, even if you don’t see it, every dream has a meaning and a purpose. Find what it is, know how to read it and above all, retain it – if need be, by writing it down – because there’s nothing worse than having a “Eureka” moment then promptly forgetting about it.
By the way, yet another of my wife’s aphorisms is “Don’t sleepwalk your way through life” which I tend to translate into “Don’t wait for life to happen”. Life happens anyway but nothing is stopping you from giving it the occasional nudge.

Jack Who?

Dreams are generally two things. They are either stories or they are messages. They might even be treasure chests buried on some Jack Sparrow-esque Caribbean island waiting for you to come and dig them up but there’s one thing they are not. They are not the reserve of the romantics (no offense meant, a “been there” experience of a 20 year old, entranced by Francis Lai’s OST Bilitis).

Dreams are catalysts and valuable sources of information, they are also indicators so take a minute to look at where they are saying. For example: Have you ever frequently dreamt of standing by an open window, in an elegant English country manor house and looking out over an impeccably kept garden, being able to see the grounds albeit quite a way off into the distance but never beyond because the view was Obscured by Clouds. And then one day, you had the same dream only this time the clouds had parted giving you a glimpse of what was beyond? Speaks reams doesn’t it?

Rationale and quant by day…

When your day job is to be rational and focused on specific problems, requiring immediate solutions you tend to forget the vast quantity of information the brain actually puts to one side because it’s not needed right away. The fact is though the information is being stored in the subconscious waiting for the right moment… the right stimulus… to resurface and you’d be surprised, no, wait, on second thoughts you shouldn’t be surprised by your brain’s inherent – read ancestral – faculty for regurgitating the most aimless of images at the oddest of times for no obvious reason, and being “ancestral” they may not be totally aimless. One plausible explanation might be that tired of being jumped on by predators our ancestors learnt to act on cerebral alerts to avoid ending up in some sabre tooth tiger’s stomach.

There are ways of recalling information from the subconscious and tapping into the images your brain captures. For me, this usually, but not only, happens between two sleep cycles. It can also happen during one of those “Déjà vu” experiences and exceptional as they are, these experiences are not revelations in themselves but the hosts for something a lot more phenomenal.

So you see. You don’t have to be a Nikola Tesla or a Srinivasa Ramanujan nor draw on synthetic stimuli to have a revelation and access the wealth of valuable information your brain processes. Giving sense to a dream and finding unexpected, even unhoped for solutions to problems is a process within the reach of all… you just have to give it some thought, and, oh, good music helps too.

Posted in Everyday life, Society | Tagged , , ,

Alexa! Give me 4 Ways To Get Rich… Quick.

Scrooge McDuck meets LaLa lands

Someone once said the thing about making money is you have to be smart & lucky. Getting off your butt in the first place helps as well.

What follows is a tongue in cheek look at getting off the butt and finding ways of getting rich like those household name billionaires we all know (but without taking 30 years to build an empire or worrying about minor details such as jail time if things don’t pan out as expected). Believe me, finding the content was the easy part. Finding the title was something else.
For example, I hesitated between “Teach a man to fish, like Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos” and “How to be bigly smart & rich, like, uh, say, Bill Gates” but found the one too obscure and the other too Trumpian and Valley Girl-ish… Me (waking the Amazon Echo device): Alexa! How’s this for a title…? Alexa: Euw no, are you serious? No, it had to be pithy and profound, like “Rise And Be Healed”, something that would get the initiated nodding their heads. Sharing my plan for getting rich is good but if the title’s not right who’s going to read the post?

Interlude with a friend

Friend: Why Bill? The Gen Zs don’t know who Bill is!
Me: I know,  I’m sentimental. But Bill and I go back a long way, since ’98, or was it ’95 and with all the time, money and effort I spent on Bill I feel that, like a million others, I have a special relationship with him.
Friend: And Jeff?
Me: It’s complicated. Jeff has had a growing influence on my life in recent years and the fact that he’s sitting on top of a huge and growing pile of cash is rather motivating.
Friend: and what’s with “Give a man a fish…“?
Me: oh, you mean “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. It touches me. I once had a business associate who one day asked a local magnate how he got so rich. The magnate pulled out his wallet and handed my associate a big bill, they were in a bar so the guy probably had something else in mind. Anyway, my associate handed the bill back saying that he didn’t want the money… he did, but, well… he said he wanted to know what it takes to get rich! I don’t know what the magnate said but shortly afterwards my associate liquidated our business partnership, a restaurant, and went back to running a Pizza truck.

From Drumpf to Dumped

Streams and Mining

I think it was Warren Buffet who said, if you want to get rich don’t rely on your salary, have multiple income streams, which brings me, at last, to my own innovative plans to get rich.

Already a successful writer with two books to my name, Destination Bishkek and Twelve adventures, one journey writing is a parallel revenue stream for me, even if sales aren’t on a par with the “Da Vinci Code” or the latest pulp-fiction biography about some scurrilous 71 year real estate tycoon in Washington.

So what else is there to boost a working wage and get rich without working 24/7?
Let’s see. Running a Restaurant? I once co-owned a restaurant but honestly, the ROI is close to zero so no. Manual production? I’m not manual and anyway the bots are coming so I’ll wait and see.

What else? Ah, yes. Mining cryptocurrencies. OK, so I’m not a Sophomore with unrestricted use of campus utilities but it does sound like something potentially worth looking into, if I can convince my better half that the environmental footprint is minimal to non-existent. That said, I could try and argue that mining cryptocurrencies is less of a risk than certain other energy intensive home-grown commercial activities.

Being entrepreneurial minded and in case I can’t convince my better half that my cottage industry style cryptocurrency mining enterprise is really the way forward, I have a plan B. Besides, market studies are showing that between the utilities and the volatility of its market value the ROI on cryptocurrency mining isn’t guaranteed so maybe I’ll put that plan to one side. Anyway, remember those 19th century gold rush stories? The only people who made a fortune from gold mining where the brothel owners and the merchants, rarely the miners… besides, to paraphrase T-Boone Pickens, who, apart from funeral parlours would ever consider using “Crypto-whatever” in a marketing strategy?

Finally, I‘ve been considering trying something quite a few self-respecting suburban wannabee entrepreneurs are into: Creating an e-business, thinking up a product, inventing a brand, building a website then an e-commerce service, doing some social media marketing and then waiting for fortune to come knocking. I might just give it a try, I mean what could possibly go wrong ?

Posted in Everyday life, Publishing, Social Media, Society, Work

Ancient Alien Theories: The truth and the theory

In this post dedicated to understanding why “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel is so captivating the science fiction and Michael Moorcock fan in me thought it time to take a closer look at a couple of theories that while “entertaining” can quite easily be debunked.

Being a reasonably open-minded person and having already, as a teenager, read a selection of legends, from ancient Hindu legends to the “Chariots of the Gods”, I’ve learnt that it’s always wise to cross-reference one source with another and much as the thought of Maths being the answer to some of the greatest feats undertaken by man may seem an anticlimax in comparison, the fact is, it’s true.

As a native Brit, I could willingly support my standpoint using Stonehenge as an example but let’s take the pyramids of Giza instead, although according to some ancient alien theorists there is a (Galactic) connection between Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

Ancient aliens theorists suggest that perhaps the Annunaki descended to earth and bestowed upon the ancients the necessary wisdom, knowledge and the technical ability to, not only, build the pyramids but also to conceive, calculate and construct them in such a way that not only do they look awe-inspiring, serve as resting places for Pharaohs but they act as astronomical beacons, interconnect with a network of civilizations thousands of miles apart, in the Americas, India and South-east Asia, and perhaps serve as portals, Wormholes, for visitors from other universes* but the fact is the Annunaki didn’t intervene in their construction. Some very astute and educated men did.

* NB. To be fair, I do like the “Wormhole” theory, possibly because I read so much about it in Michael Moorcock and other authors’ works but the fact is scientists and theoretical physicists have theorized on the possible existence of a Multiverse, reachable, for example via Time/Space wormholes, ever since Einstein first introduced his concept in 1935.

The Case of The Golden Ratio

Taking a break from all this Science Fiction & Fantasy I sat down one Sunday afternoon and watched a documentary about Athens and specifically the restoration of the Acropolis. While I will happily tour a museum, stare at the work of any Florentine Renaissance Painter or visit the Amphitheatre of El Jem in Tunisia I am not a romantic nostalgic of the 17th & 18th Century “Grand Tour” , nor am I an architect, an archaeologist, an academician, a mathematician or even overly interested in stone and mortar so what piqued my interest about this particular documentary?

The easy answer is I love antique History, well actually History in general but more than that I love antique stories with a twist, stories of epic battles, Heraclian labours, golden fleece and of course, wooden horses, Homer’s the Odyssey and the Iliad saw to that. But more than that I’m interested in engaging, inexplicable stories that need some thinking about to understand and, yes I see you coming with “Here we go, he’s twisting it back to the “Ancient Aliens” thing” but bear with me.

In circa 450 BC the ancient Greeks set about constructing the Parthenon, a building worthy of a goddess with a certain Pericles as “Project Manager” and like the Egyptians, the Greek architects used a technique that eluded architects, archaeologists, and academicians until a mathematician stumbled upon the answer when renovation of the Parthenon started some 30-40 years ago.

As with the Pyramids, the architects drawing the plans for the Parthenon used a calculus later made famous by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio and of course Leonardo da Vinci, to not only assure the precision of the construction but also assure the optical aspect of it, i.e. assuring the appearance of a perfect symmetry when in fact the top of the columns curve inwards.

And the technique used? The Golden Ratio! Explanation. According to one ancient Greek mathematician, the Golden Ratio is, and I quote “nothing more than a straight line that is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the lesser…” You can’t get much simpler than that.

But as I said, I’m no architect, archaeologist or academician and was more interested in literature than maths at school so what made this subject so interesting? It was the way in which everyone involved was amazed at the precision of the angles, curves and dimensions and how they must have kicked themselves, more than once, when the saw how ingenious the ancient Greeks needed to be to get the job done. Yes, it was hard labour but it would have been much harder and taken a lot longer to complete had they not used the Golden Ratio.

As with the Pyramids or Stonehenge, it wasn’t the Annunaki, the “Greys” or Nephilim giants who built these edifices and perhaps other sites, such as the ancient Bolivian ruins of Tiwanaku and PumaPunkus, but a group of inspired and erudite men, every bit as intelligent as we are today, with an abundance of material, and labour, but little time and no other data processing technology than a ruler, string, pens, geometry and perhaps an ancient calculator of some undocumented but completely human design.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank all the sites I’ve linked to in this post for the wealth of information I could have got from Wikipedia but found more fun and more educational on their sites.

Posted in Everyday life, Myths & Legends, Society

An evergreen from 2009: Squaring up for things to come

Isn’t internet an amazing place? This is an old blog I wrote in 2009 using another avatar… once on the web, always on the web.

Starscreamer133

A black hole into which all matter be sucked.

Squaring up for things to come

July 25

Strange how time works! Summer holidays now seem like a long time ago… whereas it only seems like just a year ago, not two, since I got married but there you go and here I am, busy living life today, neither overly thinking of the past, nor musing over the distant future. Starting back at work in June, after a month’s absence, was more like picking things up after a long weekend. The problems were still there except that what had seemed way off in the future before the holidays, with bags of time for thought and preparation, was now much nearer… and decisions, hard ones, would soon have to be made.

Coming back and knowing what was in store got me thinking about my own immediate future as well as that of my team. Would the team still be there in 6 months? Would I? Should I anticipate or even precipitate? Rather rhetorical and philosophical questions because being responsible for a team of ±10 culturally different, free thinking, free speaking members I am supposed… no, it’s expected of me, and rightly so… to anticipate and know into what we’re heading and gently nudge the team there… Nudge them there? Yeah! Get to know my team!

So, in all logic, I know the time is coming when I will have to face up to some lively meetings with my team, notably when the axe finally falls and it certainly will. I also know the fore-coming announcement will confirm them in their conviction that, like lambs to the altar, they are being offered up in sacrifice to improve cost optimization, “re-equilibrate” off-shoring to “Right Shoring” and shore up stock options. Then, at that precise moment in time – and with the selective and retentive memory I have – I will not fail to recall certain recent events to their instigators, instigators who had along the way tried and failed to destabilize me, failed in their actions because of misinformation and misconceptions, failed for the wrong, misguided numbrilistic reasons.

While on holiday, and free of day-to-day work problems, thought was given to my current position and alternatives. I’d initiated contact with a company in Beijing and although it wasn’t so much a serious contact as a trial to refine my communication – from the decisive “Elevator message” to the more “expansive” résumé (Where I am coming from what else would you expect?) – for future contacts… who knows it could have come to something and if it had, with wife and furniture, I would have been off in a flash… but it didn’t and I’m still here, browsing through other potential contacts and eyeing network feeds because like a lot of my peers I believe in being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right person.

So. With that thought in mind, and my eye on the network discussion feeds, I’m squaring up for a stormy autumn and believe me, whatever may come and from whatever direction it may come from (to paraphrase a famous Swedish singer talking of his divorce to his no less famous Swedish singer wife) it will all be experience and useful matter for a Blog!!!

Posted in Everyday life