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Bloomin hacked off


..the Ivy not the Icy that is.

The gardener came in today, and did his deed with the clippers. Totally anihilating the Ivy that has been adorning the house for over 10 years! The problem with Ivy that big is that its branches mature and get rather thick. This in turn results in less of the fancy stuff and more of the overgrown stuff.

I thought I'd have a go at it previously, but after two successive Saturdays of disaster, I did my best, and went for the roots. I hacked some key thick branches at the bottom, especially near the garage, and left it to nature to do the rest. Obviously it didn't work, and over the next four weeks, the Ivy took over the garage, and the side of the house.

The gardener had a mission, and he accomplished it. Alas so did I. The roots I hacked have resulted in some seriously dead Ivy in the mix. I've stuck up some pics for you to see that we did, in honesty, hack the Ivy and not the dearest Icy.

What remains to be done is for me to now pluck up more courage and take this on myself, now that we've handed over WADS of money to a guy to do the real hard work. Truth is, I'm not entirely sure if I've got green fingers. We shall see.

The lack of blogging is restricting me to just furious amounts of work, lots of abuse from the client when at work (its normal apparently for this to happen so I'm not overly upset), no time to do anything other than go to work, come home from work, eat and sleep (by midnight) only to awake at 5.45am to do it all again. Its great. I love it. Can't think of any better way to spend 5 days a week (5.5 if you include the dread that approaches on Sunday afternoon due to the impending need to, you guessed it, go to work).

In other things we have a raft of guests coming to see us on Sunday, including my parents, who have not seen the house since the day after I bought it. So they saw an empty shell of a building. On sunday they will see it as it is now, hacked off Ivy and all...

I will catch up with the blog world you all create so well on Saturday, until then, I better do some...you got it. Work.

Please excuse the rotation, this silly mac software refuses to properly save the rotated image in universal format - all the iStuff shows it properly but any browser and other software shows it as unrotated. Crap apple - just like their lower dimm slot failure...



Oh boy what a week!
Another example of planning and politics gone wrong in the office place. The whole work situation for me begs attention with some careful strategic planning, where I decide ultimately what I want to be doing when I am 40 years old. But that is something i have to do in my own time. Build my own rainbow as the famous book suggests.
I'm going bowling tonight with family - let me rephrase, with my mother's side of my family tree (Dad was the only child you see) and with those persons who are single, in the UK and of young mind and body - i.e. not OAPs :) We did this last christmas and had a great time. I'll be rather tired since I've had a lot going on but there's nothing like a pizza hut to get my attention piqued.
Speaking of being tired - I've been amused over the past few months by icy's total inability to wake up before 8am for more than one day on the trot. She was lucky enough to not need to commute as in adult before, living at home whilst studying and working downstairs in the office block. Now she has a 90 minute trek each way to get to work and back, on a train (which I must admit is far far nicer than the shanty trains I took for 4 years from Southall). I guess i am used to it due to waking a 6am every day whilst at uni to go for a daily run, so a later wake for me is a blessing, whereas a 6am is quite normal.
In comparison, my dear Icy has barely managed 4 days of a 7am wakeup on the trot. Its amusing but also worrying. Hopefully She'll get the desire to pick up the pace, as ultimately we live in an area where it is absolutely fantastically quiet and dark at night, so a good nights sleep is easily possible - plus I've bought us an air purifier to ensure the upstairs has nice clean purified dust free air for us to breath at night - I must look into a small bonsai to help suck up some CO2 also.
The house is coming along slowly. We're going to get the garden sorted soon, got a chap coming next week to hack away at the Icy in the front garden. And there is the huge burden of arranging our finances looming this wekeend.

Life just gets more and more complicated. I wish they reminded us of this at school. Don't move on to the next level of complexity until you have mastered the current. That way its more manageable. So for us right now, I'm just making sure we can manage living where we are, how we are, without any additional stress of inabilities, before we decide to make any further drastic changes that change a routine.

On a final note - Gadget friday has died a slow death, due to my inability to find time to devote to sharing what I read about and my opinions on stuff. I am rather pleased that through the course of its existence, it has made some really good heads up pointers to technology that I thought would make headway and has! There is a slow and steady growth of the new SonyEricsson phones around, including the Walkman phone, which has got my own personal attention as well - since I shall soon be moving my mobile tariff away from the incompetent O2. And my final departure from the attempted regular slot is to give an update on my Panasonic HDD/DVD machine - its bloody fantastic. I would still recommend the Sony kit, its far superior, but I've got 400GB to play with, and the thing is capable of some fantastic quality and a huuuuuge library of recordings. Love it. Shame its only got one tuner...and makes a noise...and takes ages to boot up...etc.



I hate exams. I've always hated having to revise for exams. I loved practial work, the hands on demonstration of the skills being taught. The revision, well you can keep it.

Right now, I'm revising for another exam. An exam that will help me get another certification on my lapel, something to help in the long term career. 2 chapters read this morning, about 60% absorbed. A long way yet to go.

At least there isn't any cricket to distract me. I admit, at one stage yesterday morning, prior to nipping into town for meetings, I felt England had lost their chance. Ian Bell, such a class player, way before his time, showed the great spirit that alas Flintoff decided to emulate. Woe, I thought, seeing Pieterson at the crease and dropped twice. We're gonna get a great Average out of him, much like out of Vaughan, about 70-80%, but he'll not last. That is what I thought - then whilst emerging from my last meeting, I checked the score on the P900. Blimey! Pieterson still battting and over a 100 runs. I looked at Collingwood, and blimey, he had absorbed dozens of balls like a sponge, but Jones couldn't match that. Giles was in, I thought there was a chance, and my flip-flop proved right.

England walked away with a draw, after a momentous total of another 300 plus runs. Thank the selectors for Pieterson and Bell. Great players. Now I'll see how India fare against Zimbabwe - once the perpetual bridesmaid of ODI finals, and rivals to Australia as the best batting side around, the reached their prime in two series against the Auz and their defeat of Pakistan in ODI and Tests. Then, it went downhill - largely due to the fall of Tendulkar and Ganguly doing bugger all with the bat. They have talent in abundance in the squad, but their mental state leaves a lot to be desired. A bunch of Bells I'm sure.

Right, time to continue reading - another chapter on UML awaits!
todays post was sponsored by Get everything done and still have time to play!

Saturday Comic Strip


Pontificating like Ponting


I'm stuck right now.....
But before I continue, let me clarify, people usually think I'm a grass-is-greener person, because I become quite vociferous when things are brimming away at my psyche. I recall the times when I have felt like this before. Some may say (that sunshine follows thunder...) that I've been feeling this since 2001, but that was different, that was like a bit of a feeling, this is a proper feeling. Each time it happens, I put my head down and build a new phase of my life in one way or another.

I'm stuck with regards to my career. We were talking at lunch today about some of the senior positions on our project, and how old the people are who hold them. It was suddenly very scary to learn that at 38/39/44 these people were doing what they were doing, in the same environment as me.

I'm a down-to-earth guy, and I don't expect everyone to be a superstar (I'm certainly not), but there is a difference between those who do what they can to aim a little higher, and those who don't. There is no way on earth that the people we were talking about were not ambitious - no siree, they could outambition me with a graceful fart (pardon the french). But the shocking truth was that I wasn't sure I wanted to be doing what they were doing when I am 44 (god allowing).

I don't know about everyone who reads this little here rambling blog I post out almost daily, but I'm sure I'm not alone with this fear. What the heck am I going to be doing at 44? If I don't take some sort of initiative and ownership of my life again (I have done so in the past) I will end up drifting to where I am pushed by circumstance and at 44 I might sit there and suddenly crack!

So its down to this question for me. What is my ambition? Its very clear to me my ambition is currently radically different to my peers where I work. They would have one such as 'to make a senior position in the next x years and deliver x revenue etc.' If you asked me what mine is, it is 'to deliver very large and complicated systems that work and can run without inordinately large hands-on involvement'. Notice the difference? Some might say I'm not seeing the bigger picture. The truth is, I do - but my ambition is tied to what I am doing and relates to the effectiveness of my delivery, not my career.

Do I need to evolve a new career ambition? Sure as heck I do. I've been harping on to Icy about a 5-3-1 plan that I made many years ago, and how it came to pass, and how I should really do it again. But the problem is, I can't pluck an imagined role out of my head yet. I used to dream of being a CEO, running a bloody fantastic company that people loved to work at, that made enough profit to just keep going and not worry about folding, but wasn't concentrated solely on profit - concentrated instead on providing a great service to customers and a great place to work for employees. You know, the kind of place we all want to work for! But I don't know if I am a good CEO person. I shun project management (though more qualified that most project managers), and I hate selling (rather sell a short and feeble truth than a large lie). So I'm stuck.

I might need to consult my fellow London T.I.C. folk, from my previous place, a very fine group of minds and hearts indeed. But most importantly, I may have to reach out further, and ask friends and strangers just what I should be doing. Because for once in my life, I don't have a dream. :-(
Today's post was sponsored by Take Yourself To The Top home of the 5-3-1 career plan

Knee Jerk Jerks

I'd like to comment on knee-jerk reactions that people make. This is largely within the context of England's defeat to N.Ireland in last night's World Cup Qualifier game.

What was expected to be a walk in the park win for England, turned out to be a bit of a humiliating parade of multi-millionaire show boaters who couldn't string together a decisive attack against an international team that really shouldn't have posed us any problems.

Of course much will be said about the manager, ladies man Sven. Now in most cases, managers are ultimately to blame for a botched strategy and/or team selection. However, one has to ask the following two questions:
  • In a game like last nights, surely the millionaire gentlemen playing could have upped the tempo somewhat and really turned the show on to walk away with a deserved win against a comparitively weaker team?
  • What exactly did three-girls Sven do wrong, and does this really deserve a sacking from his £5m-a-year job?
My answers to these are as follows:
  • Yes, damn right they should have turned on the show and won. They can do it, they've shown they can do it, so why on earth didn't they do it?
  • No. He's done alright as far as English coaches go.
Now, the vampyric press are baying for his blood right now, swede vs turnip etc. However, look at it this way. The loss against Denmark wasn't too much of a shock - they are recent European Champions are they not? And didn't they play some outstanding football in Mexico 86? I certainly remember wanting to be Laudrup in the playground as much as Platini/Maradonna/Zico!

Losing to N.Ireland though, is not good. It shows that there is something wrong with the morale and determination of the team. A loss against a minnows is a demonstration of a lack of concentration. It's not a good sign at all.

So my question to the world of media and football fans at large is - do you really think a knee-jerk reaction is the right thing to follow at this moment in time?
Lets address the more critical issues of:
  • improving our grass roots acadamy system to encourage better growth and emergence of talent for the senior team
  • lets instil a better work ethic into our players, reminding them that millions are better spent for pension and retirement than ferraris and lavish diamonds for earings
  • lets get a system that the team believes in, and play it like the grand executioner would in medieval times
  • lets get the coaching system in England revamped so that we GROOM successors whilst the current incumbent is still doing a great job
  • lets not get carried away with a single defeat - after all, winning a world cup is the ultimate aim, and you can still win that if you lose a group stage game!
Todays post was sponsored by Backfire.

Comictastic + News?


Following up from my previous post about online comics, here is another one about the transfer of comics to film.

Marvel has raised $525 million to independently finance 10 movies based on its comics over seven years. The titles named are Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi. The company's also changing its name from Marvel Enterprises to Marvel Entertainment

Sounds good doesn't it? I do like the recent transfers, with Tim Burton's Batman/Returns and Batman Begins, plus the Spider-Man and Hulk ones. They were very good indeed.

Haven't seen Fantastic Four yet, just haven't had time to go to the cinema with Icy. Though we spent her birthday (yesterday) together and we had a great time :)

On another note, New Orleans is dominating the news right now. But I am wondering - what exactly is happening in Afghanistan (new era), Iran (new leader), Iraq (new freedom), and SE Asia (recently flooded)? The news is very particular - so its a question of 'where to go to get REAL news' rather than the stuff they want you to read?




Go Green -- Recycle!



I've been paintballing today, with Crucifer, WB and S.A. Brett. After the fantastic fun at my Stag Do, where we spent a lovely sunny day shooting zombie chavs and having a wonderful time, Crucifer, WB and myself got a little hooked to the paintballing thang. So when the opportunity arose to go again with C's workmates (of which S.A. Brett was one) I jumped at it. An ungodly 6.30am wake up call on a Saturday followed by a drive into town to pick em up and then off to High Wycombe. The Paintballing place wasn't anywhere as good as the one we had on my Stag, but you get what you pay for really. At least this time the only opponents were fellow workmates of C's, and so there was little or no zombie action. What there was, alas for me, was a hyped up young chap who was so high on adrenalin that he rushed round the side to shoot me 5 times in the back at close quarters at the end of a game. I think I introduced him to the fine art of the French language for a while. He was ever so apologetic, but I now sport 5 very large and painful bruises on my back. Not very good. Otherwise the day was fantastic, and a huge slap on the bruise-less back of Cruicifer for the invite.

I got my HDD Recorder today, quickly set it up, and tested it out. The timeslip fucntion is fantastic. I can record something, then watch it from the beginning whilst it continues to record. Fantastic. I need a TV Aerial booster though, the signal in these here parts is weak due to the copious amounts of trees, I believe its called a forest but I could be wrong ;-)

Oh, and one final thing, Icy had me worried sick on Friday evening after telling me she cut herself cooking and it wouldn't stop bleeding. After a tense 45 minute commute home I found that the cut was indeed deep on her thumb, but it was small and nowhere near an artery. So, thank God for that!

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Weekly musings from a confused mind. This blog, and all posts within it, are just ramblings. They are in no way affiliated with any past, current or future employers. Neither do they represent my deep felt views, or those of my friends or family. Really, its just a blog, which is a new thing, and has new dimensions. So please, dont take anything seriously. If you do, contact me via a comment, and I will get back to you to resolve the situation. Seriously, enjoy life, ignore this blog, and views within it.


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