Friday 21 November 2008

A time to reflect

That's two good Fridays in a row. I once again achieved something unprecedented - though it occurs to me that if I've done it again then there is a precedent. There I am speeding through my work in a not-quite-unprecedented fashion, going so fast that I move ahead of schedule and have time for a little reflection. Not of the contemplating life variety unfortunately; nowadays when I attempt such a feat the result is something akin to tumbleweed being blown across a deserted office floor. This 'reflection' was of the type used to access private methods of a public class and, since I was feeling particularly cocky (but mainly because I had to), access public methods of a private class within a public class. I know what you're thinking… where can I find me a man like that?

xkcd Goto

Actually I must own up. You'll find this difficult to believe but I had to google 'how to' and found out... er... 'how to' on a site page published FIVE YEARS AGO. This shocking lack of knowledge on the inner workings of the Microsoft .NET framework probably explains my lack of success with gorgeous attractive women, or indeed any kind of women. There could be other factors involved, such as being married and in my forties, but I doubt it.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Disappearing up my own behind

Marley and Marley. A Muppet Christmas Carol.One of the problems in withdrawing from the real world, besides the realisation that the fridge isn't large enough to hold that many pizzas, is that it's possible to lose your sense of proportion. For example, since returning to civilisation (I work in Newport, Wales) I have had to concede that the contentious issue of cutting Belle's song, When Love Is Gone, from the DVD version of The Muppet Christmas Carol didn't perhaps warrant the hours I spent researching why it was done, and whether a 'complete' version was available.

I blame a friend for this; it's far easier than blaming myself. A chance comment on the weekend reminded me of this omission and sent me into a downward spiral of nerdy behaviour. Like many of my kind I have developed an obsessive-compulsive nature when it comes to deciding on the definitive version of something. As it turns out, because if you've read this far you either want to know or you've nothing better to do (I can guess which), the definitive version isn't as clear-cut as I thought. The song was originally omitted from the theatrical release but when they released the film on VHS (remember that?) they either added the song back in or (and this is what I suspect) they couldn't be bothered finding the final cut of the film and just released what they found. Having reviewed the missing scene on YouTube (God bless 'em) I'm not sure we're missing much but I can imagine all that mushy stuff appealing to a lot of women, and even a few men. Real men however, such as me, are too busy eating their eggs, cream and bacon pie... and enjoying the scary moments…

Thursday 13 November 2008

Ever decreasing

What makes a hero
The word or the deed
Does a gift to inspire
Impart all that we need

When will you heed
The requirement to act
To disappoint many
Whilst others you back

Where is the money
For payments not met
Will saddle our children
With mountains of debt

How will you set
On the hardship we owe
To move us away
From the life that we know

What makes a hero
The word or the deed
Can your gift to inspire
Impart all that we need

Saturday 8 November 2008

Half man, half machine

Half man, half machine
I had a very strange sensation late Friday morning; for some inexplicable reason, and despite a hard week, I was full of positive energy and really enjoying myself at work. In fact I was so "in the zone" (now that we all like America again it's O.K. to talk like them) I even began to overheat. I couldn't pace myself at all, my mind raced ahead of my body, my typing couldn't keep up and neither could my breathing. I was a machine; not really functioning correctly but it felt "awesome".

Or maybe I was having a panic attack.

Anyway, during those moments where I was able to coordinate my mind and body, I managed to get a fair bit of work done. Scraps of paper, pieces of code, cobbled together sequence diagrams - nothing complete but I'm close to identifying all the pieces and I've even a notion of how they all fit together. I'm still a little behind schedule but it's become one of those things where you go past the point of being able to do anything about it; you let people know and do the best you can. I'd like to worry but it's not in the (project) plan.

I do have three glorious days off work next week, in the plan, and I plan to make the most of them. Mind you, I'll warrant my idea of 'making the most of things' is different to the norm… as I'm not really sure 'do nothing' counts?

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Hail to the chief

Barack Obama
It is one of the great political ironies of the late 20th century that the 1st female leader of a country in the western world was not from the political left, who spent a great deal of time preaching equality without ever practicing it, but the political right. Margaret Thatcher made those in the Conservative party that had gone before look positively pedestrian, and reduced many in the Labour party (women included) to hurling sexist comments at her in desperation. She was loathed by the opposition, the old guard of her own party and the establishment in almost equal measure; but she was a first.

It is one of the great political ironies of the early 21st century that the 1st black leader of the western world is not from the sophisticates of Europe, who still have a problem understanding equality, but of the 'dumb-ass' United States. A continent consisting of more than a dozen elected governments, many of whom in private (if not in public) have always looked down on their North American counterparts, has not once come close to achieving such a historic event; a continent that was no doubt prepared to ignore it's own history and proffer 'racist America' headlines had the Democrats failed to win.

Whilst much of Europe remains shackled to the core socialist belief that a (presumably benign) state is more important than the individual, America understands that to create true opportunity for all and thus for a nation to grow, individuals must be given the chance to excel. Barack Obama is that individual. Never has the phrase "Only in America" been more apt.