July 26th, 2011
Forgive me dear readers, for I have sinned. It’s been almost 6 months since my last confess…. I mean post. Amazingly the stats still say there are visitors to this little slice of mildly mentally sprained wryness, so thanks for sticking with me!
Interestingly the top search term is no longer “iced tea party”. Nope, it’s been trumped by “Jaffa Cakes”. It’s okay people, I forgive you. I’m a recovering Jaffaholic too! The first step is admitting that there’s a problem. I’m afraid I cracked just last week and ended up falling off the wagon with an emergency backup pack of Burtons Jaffa Cakes… obviously it should have been McVitties, but sometimes you just have to make do.
So what’s been going on?
Well crazy mixed up turbulent life is the short answer. Let’s call it a challenging couple of months of work based stress triggered by an office move, a company restructuring and a promotion and leave it there. Dilbert cartoons are now too close to the mark and I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Office Space might have been a documentary. Ok, really leaving it there now…
The biggest change there is now that I’m a team leader. It’s not something that came with a “how to” guide so I’m hoping I don’t make a mess of it. A few months ago I gave the new Matthew Perry comedy “Mr Sunshine” a go… In case you haven’t, don’t! The only good part about it is Allison Janney (used to play Press Secretary CJ Cregg in The West Wing). For some reason her character’s guidance on being a boss sticks in my mind:
“”in order to be boss who is liked and to get the most out of your employees, you need learn the basics: Say hello; learn their names; and every now and then, throw them an ice-cream party”…
Probably shouldn’t do that right?
There have however been some great trips to Savannah in Georgia, home to Britain, and back to New York. Of course the company I was with had something to do with that too. I will get photos up of the highlights, but I’m still getting back into the swing of this posting, so baby-steps!
So what else has a bee in my bonnet this week? Well I don’t know if you heard about that tiny journalistic ethics story? Brooks and Something Murdoch? Actually it was a Jon Stewart’s take on his wife’s scowl during his questioning in Parliament that was the most entertaining. It’s not just “The Look”, but somewhere between a Vader “I find your lack of faith disturbing” and a Men Who Stare At Goats heart-stopper:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Accountability in the U.K. – Rupert Murdoch’s Crime-Fighting Wife|
Otherwise, like most of America, I’ve been trying to fathom what the devil Congress and the President are up to with the debt ceiling thing. Apparently the country’s in deep debt doo-doo. However with all the talking heads you’d think that Obama had sold the country to the Chinese to fund his re-election campaign and that Republicans were paragons of virtue… The question that keeps coming up in conversation is if America is a fiscal delinquent, Britain is mortgaged to the hilt and don’t even mention Greece, who has all the money?
Then I saw this CNN article and it seems that only 8% of that $14 trillion national debt is owed to China, (2.4% to Britain, so cough it up Uncle Sam!) but that nearly $10 trillion is owed by America to… America…???… what?…. Now I’m a passably intelligent fella, but I think it was at this point that the explanation and panic lost me and that I feel rather like Austin Powers trying to make sense of time travel:
(you’ll have to follow the link through to Youtube…)
After this week I shall find myself the only Brit in the village – I mean office, obviously!
After 5 long years all my fellow British expats will have gone by week’s end, leaving me to fend off by myself the questions like “do hobbits live in England?”. At times it can rather make one feel like the court jester or the village idiot. Just as well I’ve seen this important instructional video!
Any-hoo best take this idioting malarkey seriously: Oooo arrrrr oooogly oogly ooo!
February 7th, 2011
Apparently there’s an appetite for a savage post-Limeys red carpet fashion analysis. Always being one to give the people what they want I leave this to an expert (plus I was paying more attention to the Super Bowl and Little Miss Shouty – Christina Aguilera – being angry at the US national anthem)… Anyway over to Joan:
Here’s a question: how comes Ricky Gervais gets lambasted for a few close to the bone remarks and Joan Rivers gets to be a national institution?
Finally, here’s another sartorial disgrace, courtesy of a Culturally Discombobulated Clueless Immigrant.
January 8th, 2011
Start the New Year with a little Curtis Mayfield I reckon! I’m starting this post on the plane back from dear old England. Hopefully you’ve had as great a Christmas and are all set for the New Year too!
Quite determined that this year should be better than the last! My resolution is to try a little less over-thinking – there’s a first time for everything after all, so we’ll see how that goes.
To be honest I’ve been a shade lax in the writing department over the past couple of months. Plenty of distractions, and I must confess to being a tad burnt-out by the time I got on the plane home. I’ve been very good (or bad, depending on the point of view) and have not so much as opened up my work e-mail in 2 weeks!!!! I was tempted a couple of times near the end, but only for about 10 seconds. No idea what awaits me, but first I need to get past customs, having been packed off by family and friends with 135 McVities Jaffa Cakes… The one Jaffa Cake to rule them all!… sorry British Airways on-demand Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers got the best of me for a moment there… Anyway, they’re all for personal use officer, honest!
I’ve still a few photos to sort out from recent trips to Philadelphia and Oxford. Hopefully I’ll get them posted soon, but in the meantime…
Tomorrow will be the jet-lag, but that should counter the “Social Jetlag”. Apparently this is the new term for the post-Christmassy-after-New-Yearsy effects that make it difficult to get up and go to work after we’ve all been enjoying lazy lie-ins and late nights with family and friends. The time difference back to Tampa means that this should either cancel out, or the rest of the office is in for a blindingly fun day with this particular Limey!
While I was enjoying lazy late breakfasts at home, I quite enjoyed flicking through the paper. A simple thing I never really do anymore in America. One of the best stories for me was that researchers are working on “Emotional Satnav”. Now I’ve already fallen out with my Tom-Tom two or three times this last year. You see, Tom-Tom-John has misdirected me on more than one occasion; not least the discovery that he was near useless in the city of Hull. On seeing this story I could only assume that somebody had finally created a system that would apologise for leading you up the garden path (almost literally on my way to my Grandad’s place!).
It turns out that what they’ve created is a system that will speak in a soothing tone and will deliberately keep quiet when the driver is about to lose the plot in more tense situations. Now I don’t know about you, but this strikes me not so much as “Emotional Satnav” as “Patronising Bar-steward Satnav”!
I’ve been wondering what kind of instructions it might give? Am I the only one wondering if it means my next Sat-Nav might channel Michael Winner with a soothing: “You’ve missed the turn, but calm down dear! It’ll be perfectly alright if you take the next one”.
Heaven help us if they bring this technology into the work place too. Once upon a time, Apple gave us the “sad Mac” face when they crashed (or the “I can’t be arsed anymore so leave me alone!” message). Microsoft instead gave us the “you did not shut your computer down properly last time” message; guaranteed to wind you up after Windows 95 and 98 had crashed of their own doing. Can you imagine the next time your computer goes down at work, quite possibly corrupting a day’s work in the process, only for it to come back with a: “There, there. Worse things happen at sea!”.
I think I’d have to take the advice of the IT chap at my last company: “take it over to the window and let gravity sort it out!”.
Finally, before Christmas I was asked where the “Ci Barone” in a lovely Spanish accent came from that I occasionally utter when summoned to a colleague’s desk. I had to explain Danger Mouse… It’s a little aged now, but it was a very British kids cartoon with some rather good writing. I found this to help explain; ironically about some funny business abroad!
Crumbs DM! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore!