Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My workgroup asked me to write an office-buzzword compliant email. Er, for fun, I hope.

I’d like to kick-start a bluesky iniative to start an end-to-end process re-imagineering of how we do our client-centric enterprise software deployments. There’ll be no gold-plating at this webinar. Nothing but down to the bone, boots on the grounds, eyes on the level thinking that’ll paradigm shift how we do our outside the box creative restructuring (creatucturing!).

Think of it as a way to touch base with all stakeholders, so we can go forward while keeping everyone in the loop without having to run a flag up the pole. A solid group meeting where we can all re-integrate our pro-active thought showers and our reflective extra-norma revolution memes.

This is a heads up.

At this moment in time it’s just a call to arms to get us all singing from the same sheet. If we really want to push the envelope and get 360 degree thinking involved in our dynamic work flow processes, this is the only way to get all our ducks in a row.

If we find some vertical shift-progressions to be taking a wide arc in our time box, we can, of course, take it offline. It’s just a time to ping and incent everyone to really drill down and delayer our improvement portfolio.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Borrowed Culture

I was at my friend's baby's birthday. Those bastions of parenthood where nobody is having a riotously good time but most everyone is having a pleasant time and small talk is kept to the same subjects and nobody imbibes too much alcohol. Good times for parents comes down to how much you can proffer your child to someone else and perhaps relax your brain muscles and worrying bones for a little while. The plus side is that the blissfully unaware toddler/baby neophytes think that chasing after alarmingly fast and danger-oblivious children is fantastic fun, at least for the 1-2 hours they do it, so it's really a win-win.

Anyhow, my friend had some memorabilia from the company they work for, from when they had business in India. Let's call it MegaCorp. So MegaCorp has an India branch, and they use a tiny cricket bat to symbolize this. That is, cricket = India. Which got me thinking to how so many cultures take various things from other cultures, and over time, decide that this borrowed thing is really The One Thing Of Which We Are All Very Proud Of And Certainly Not From Another Country. Like, say, England and tea, or curry. India and pretty much anything from England. Philippines and corned beef and spam (yes, nice choices there). Finland and tango (another head scratcher). Japanese and baseball. Swedes and hockey. French and jazz. Russia and ballet.

It's a weird amalgam where fierce national loyalty adheres to something completely foreign. Maybe it's a testament to how meaningless nationalism is, or what a strange illusion it all can be. I remember a discussion with a coworker and talking about curry, they quite strongly identified with it, him being English and all, this made less than no sense. But I suppose there is little sense in fierce loyalties. Doubly so if they are mixed with nationalism.

But I repeat myself.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Closet Trekkie

During a backyard chat with one of our neighbours, the new Star Trek movie came up. Me, being a resident nerd, was naturally prodded as to my undying excitement and unfettered joy regarding it. I'm not a huge Trek fan. I watched The Next Generation with my family when it first came out, it was like Family Ties except with less cunning and more phasers. I skipped most of the other series except for a bit of Deep Space Nine, and then only because it had Hawk from Spencer for Hire (he was one bad ass mofo (possibly more than Tubbs)).

So, obviously, in revealing all this, I suppose to the average normal (non nerd), I am a Trekkie. But us nerds know what a real Trekkie is. They have memorabilia, they go to conventions, they know at least a few passing phrases in Klingon. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I'm not a Trekkie.

In any event, one of my neighbours looked at me slyly and said, "You're a, a 'Trekkie'", as if accusing me of harbouring a harmless if slightly disfiguring form of hepatitis. She has this light European accent, and said it with such pitying derision, I felt my cultural wherewithal being challenged; although, to be honest, I've been upfront to my neighbours about my utter lack of cultural knowledge, a ponderous adversity to culling any sort of zeitgeist or being hip with who the Algonquin [sic] Five [sic] are, and why they are important, and why the name just makes me think of the Council of Elrond. Nevertheless, I will not be accused of something I'm not.

It's a cross, that us nerd, us introverted elite, bear. Yes, we are socially awkward and avoid any undue social gatherings. Yes we have odd and vaguely childish preoccupations which, if you really cornered a normal and asked them about it, they'd have to confess it was pretty rad. But we like to be derided and ostracized for things we really are into.

We take an odd pride, I think, in these impolite and outlandish hobbies. It's not that someone cosplaying Babylon 5 is without social awareness. It's not that two people re-enacting the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail think it's hilarious to the general public. We love it in spite of the normals. In spite of being called odd and weird and chronically virgin. In spite of being pitied and pidgeon-holed and generally laughed at.

Like, I'm terribly into PC gaming, or odd web comics, or software engineering practical theory (yes, yes, I know, oxymoron). I don't mind being avoided at cocktail parties for this. I don't mind my parents trying to veer any conversation in polite company in a wide berth around said subjects. I do, however, take umbrage with dealing with the normals baggage about stuff I'm not particularly into. I think that's fair.

It was hard to convince this neighbour. I decided in the end it didn't really matter, a nerd is a nerd is a nerd, I'm sure they think. Besides, anyone who knows that the serial number for the Enterprise was NC-1701 isn't entirely innocent of Trekkie-hood.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Update On The Brood

Owl Jr. is now 4 months, so he really doesn't have a lot of interesting things going on. He eats, he sleeps, he evacuates his bowels. He is of the age where he has just discovered his hand, so most of the time he's sitting in his seat, watching his hand move in front of his face like a stoner, and you just know he's thinking 'Whoaaa, did you guys see that? It just like-- whoooaa there it goes again.' His expressions are limited to glee, probably from passing gas; devious scheming, I don't know why; and his usual expression of deep, deep depression. Yeah, I don't know what's up either.

Owlet has become more vociferous and independent as she's gotten older. She's now the ripe old age of 2 years, 9 months. She absolutely must do everything herself, even the things that might get her maimed or killed... especially those things. I try and keep her from doing those things. Mostly.

I cede to simple, non-lethal things she wants to do herself.

After getting her ready to bed one night, I'm carrying her to the bathroom for a tooth brushing and she says "ME WALK! ME WALK!" then proceeds into a semi-meltdown. I drop her faster than Fox drops a promising and innovative new TV series. We're halfway down (a very short) hallway, and she insists on taking a few steps to the doorway of where we started and only then walk to the bathroom. In my mind I start to think "What are you, a chil-- ohright."

She has few silly phrases. These might be sacharrine on honey on sugar sweet, so, read at your expense:
  • On seeing Molly (the dog) curled up sleeping, she'll say, "Molly's a circle!"
  • Anytime she sees something that she knows she's not allowed to do, she'll get super expressive and say, "When me older, me do that!". I was cutting vegetables for dinner, she said, quite eerily, "When me older, me have knives." Uhm, kay.
  • I must use this phrase more than I think I do, because she's started saying, 'Oh good LOWD', quite often.
  • When stalling to postpone bedtime, she'll exclaim "Me need water! Me need crackers!", etc. She was caught in the act of just making stuff up when one night she said, "Me need... uhmmmm something..."
  • If you ask her the time, it's always 'Six twelve'.
  • The bottom lip of pout comes out at the SLIGHTEST provocation.
  • Thank god she has a fervent imagination. If she is really upset, or near meltdown, all I have to do is point somewhere, make up an animal, a colour, a name, and say what it's doing. For some reason she utterly believes me, and looks over, and starts chatting with it. For example, "Owlet, look over there, it's a blue elephant, and he's got a banana cake, he's asking if you want some." Man, imagination bordering on hallucination must be aweseome.