Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dream car of my youth

On my way to the supermarket today a shiny silver 1980's BMW 535i pulled in front of me on a roundabout (note that the picture on the right is just something I picked off the Web). It was beautiful, almost mint condition. I checked around and found that some of these beauties are selling for less than $10,000. But the one I saw today looks like it's had at least that much on top of that in repairs and improvements.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another crap meeting to go to

God, I gotta go into another frickin' meeting in about 15 minutes. I'm currently in the middle of writing up some project documentation and because part of that work involves distilling, interpreting, and paraphrasing bits and pieces of information scattered across emails and hare-brained PowerPoint "communication packs", it takes quite a bit of concentration to perform. So that is why after coming back from lunch and with fifteen minutes left 'til that meeting, here I am writing a blog instead. It doesn't make sense to me to get a train of thought going only to be interrupted by having to go off to that crap meeting.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Entourage withdrawal

In the last couple of days, I've read quite a few news snippets (most recently this one) about people suffering emotional distress after watching Avatar. If I recall right, there was even one that committed suicide shortly after seeing it.

I can relate to all that as Avatar provides its audience with a dreamy alternate universe. Hmmm, ok, what fantasy movie doesn't, anyway? The Ugly Truth was a gem as far as making us believe that acting like a complete buffoon still gets you the girl. Those Twilight movies, for their part, show us how wit-challenged humourless forever-brooding (literally) pale stiffs (also literally) routinely make nubile teenage girls crazed with lust.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In transition

I'm struggling here. Recall I mentioned earlier how I've accepted a role in another division. Well, this week and the next two or three will be the period that I hand over my portfolio of work to my colleagues. This means doing up generic templates of my spreadsheet models and updating my procedures documents for the benefit of the poor sod who will be running with my stuff.

Trudge. Trudge. Trudge.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Into the salt mines

Last month, a friend of mine had recommended me to the head of a division within the company I work for. They are in the process of recruiting people to staff a big project they are kicking off this year. I sent them my resume and hadn't heard from them until a couple of days ago when I got a call from HR informing me of the interview they were scheduling for me.

This morning I was in that interview. I had a nice informal chat with the head of that group and one of her managers. Turns out they had already checked out my resume, liked what they saw, and just had a few formality questions to ask me. So, yeah, I got the job. First thing I did when I got back to my desk was tell my boss. I think he was a bit relieved as well. My boredom in my current role has probably become quite obvious to him in the last couple of months. In the last six to eight months in this role, I managed to turn what was once a suite of tasks that took the full 40 hours a week to do into one that pretty much takes up one fourth of that. Same (if not more output) for less effort.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My five minutes of fame

I don't know if anyone of you have noticed but lately there's been a glitch in the "Next Blog" functionality of Blogger. For some reason a small handful of lucky blogs are referred to by that function disproprortionately to the rest of the millions of other Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

After seeing *Avatar*...

I finally got around to seeing Avatar last Sunday. Nice. It came across to me more as fantasy than science fiction. For me there is a big difference between the two (and using the mashup term "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" is a cop-out) for the purpose of this exercise. Science-fiction as the term implies explores possibilities grounded on reasonably plausible conjecture. Fantasy, on the other hand makes use of, well, fantastic concepts, settings, and characters as literary devices for telling stories or delivering messages. I guess in a sense, science fiction is a fantastic story built upon scientifically or logically plausible conceptual underpinnings.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Going ga-ga over Polaroid

I read recently that Lady Gaga was appointed Creative Director at Polaroid. Actually it is supposed to be a "strategic partnership" between the fashion icon of today and the iconic brand of yesteryears (or maybe even more appropriately, yesterdecades). As if that weren't bizarre enough, according to the Herald,

The partnership is designed to help Polaroid appeal to a younger demographic after its technology was rendered obsolete by digital cameras offering a more effective form of instant photo gratification.

And here I was thinking "I wonder what Polaroid's been doing since the 70's when they did instant film photography...". Turns out that they are still doing instant film photography!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: we should have been travelling to Jupiter by now

One of my favourite movies of the 1980's is the film 2010. It is the sequel to the classic Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey which ended with its lead character Dave Bowman uttering the words "My God, it's full of stars". If I recall right, those words were said as he approached that big black alien monolith that he, his crew, and the self-aware computer HAL-9000 were sent to investigate aboard their interplanetary space ship the U.S.S. Discovery. I've seen 2001. The novelty of space travel at the time the film was made is quite obvious in the way the minutiae of such things as the dynamics of moving in zero-g or the architecture of spacecraft and space stations were highlighted and focused on.

Yakkity yak all around

Several years ago, a consultant was employed by my previous employer to conduct one of those Myers-Briggs personality profiling tests on us. The test determines what sort of person we are inclined to be, presumably if removed from the pressures of stepping up to (and in some cases stepping down to) a particular archetype required in your chosen line of work. As expected, one of my parameters showed that I tended towards introversion. No surprises there. I didn't really need a test to tell me that. In fact, I was a consultant myself for most of my career, and I needed to step up from my introversion to succeed as a consultant. So I did. But that did not change my inclination to introversion. That's what off-duty hours are for, aren't they? They're for us to spring back to our natural selves.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to enjoy *Avatar*...

I haven't seen Avatar yet. But what I have seen thus far is a flurry of great amateur reviews about it, mostly on my Facebook newsfeed, some on the odd blog or two, the rest on various channels of the hype machinery of Big Media.

Then I read Miranda Devine's review on the Herald...