Forgotten milestones, unexpected positives and 2012 reading

Amidst the bedlam that was a return to work after almost three weeks away, I completely forgot the small matter of having passed the second-year anniversary of my starting at my current job.  The lads at HR though were not exactly keen to let me forget ; and I was suitably reminded via a letter in my home post box advising me of my eligibility to enrol on the company enhanced pension plan. Bar a few moments of drudgery,  it has never really felt like I have been stuck out here for the past two years, even though I’ve twice come close to leaving; once to Nigeria, and the other time to our biggest competitor across town.

For one, the two lasses I have had to share Room 3.26  with for all of a year and a half –  the Irish drinkard-swearer  Si and her not quite prim and proper Glasweigian side kick –  have provided me with invaluable insights into the minds of women. Having to over hear conversations about repairing broken nails, spray tans, weight watcher points, trips to the hair dresser and excited squeals over scoring a pair of Louboutins for 900 pounds is about as mind numbing as it can get. Thankfully, these conversations have not segued into the murky waters of bikini waxes and other more quintessentially feminine matters, yet. My timely offshore trips and a six month period spent working at a different site appear to have helped maintain my sanity.  I suppose in some dark, murky parallel universe out there, some inertial frame exists within which there are positives to all these. If in 2015, that all Nigerian chic decides that her bedside prattle will consist in its entirely of the highs and lows of the not all together trivial pursuit of getting a broken nail fixed, I suspect that I will merely smile smugly to myself and zone out, thankful that between a feisty Irish lass and her side kick I have heard it all.

Mid way through January I am two books to the good and a good way through the third. A re-reading of Jeffrey Archer’s Shall We Tell the President was quickly followed by Drew Dyck’s Generation Ex-Christian, an evangelical’s attempt to unpack the reasons why 80% of children reared in church disengage by the time they turn 29 [I appear to be a classic ‘drifter’ by the way –  adult PK, single and firmly in the throes of a cognitive dissonance I seem unable to escape. 😦 ]  Mid way through Binyanvanga Wainaina’s One Day I Will Write About This Place, I am increasingly enthralled by the self deprecating wit which he pens this memoir – but then since Open City and  The Sense of an Ending I have been on a one man crusade to devour everything written that explores the conflation of memory and reflection that is a well written memoir.

I am hoping that my reading will cover a lot more genres this year  – worldviews both Christian and secular, memoir, business, the usual fiction and which ever book wins the Booker this year. Given the way my year in books has started off, it might yet be a good one.

Web Reads.. 1April2011

Quick reads….

  1. On-the-job relationships come back into the limelight – one Police Unit seems to have fallen apart over the Team Leader’s dalliance with a female team member.
  2. On paywalls, one of the more rational arguments I’ve read. (HT – The Daily Dish)
  3. Artificial leaves currently in development may one day power an entire house by electrolysing water and providing hydrogen for fuel cells.
  4. Robotic bird flying becomes a wee bit more realistic.
  5. The genetic basis for loving working out.
  6. Sounding a note of caution for using GPS-aware apps indiscriminately. Color gets another (light) bashing.
  7. Slick sleaze, or ill advised expenditure? A short history of the bomb-zapper that never was.
  8. Google aims to turn phones into credit cards.
  9. App of the Week? Social Media meets  shopping for dresses – an app for your friends to help you select a dress.
  10. The boobs have it. Apparently, there is a connection between length of time spent breast feeding and brain size. However there is no guarantee that breast milk is all that, especially when the mother isn’t eating well herself after all.

Web Reads… 27Feb2011

  1. The Queen advertises for a dish washer to come on staff… My local MSP wonders if they’ve not heard of a dish washing machine.
  2. The WHO drills down into the alcohol stats.. Apparently alcohol killed more people than AIDS or TB in 2010.. Sobering..
  3. Understanding the story.. Thirteen perspectives….
  4. Brain chemicals and dating.. A primer.
  5. Teju Cole’s ‘Open City’ hits the shelves… The New YorkerThe Daily Beast and The Apostrophe weigh in with reviews.
  6. The kid named Facebook..Ostensibly its a testament to the impact FB had on the Egypt Revolution.. Hopefully, the kid doesn’t get a lot of stick for the name though..
  7. There’s an app for that… Tracking relationship changes on Facebook gets the Web2.0 makeover….. SMH..
  8. Web mourning?
  9. Help for the blokes – wristbands that warn of potentially PMSing partners.
  10. Bringing faiths together by cuisine.. The Faith and The Hot Dog show..

In praise of 3.00pm….

If clocking in at 9am is the final act that seals my very own Faustian exchange, 3.00pm heralds the first faint sniffs of a coming salvation.

Each day, a Bloke must lay the gifts of his time and skill on the altar of Mammon slaving away to earn his sustenance. Cups of coffee, endless trips to the loo, inane spreadsheets, chats with the intern and the occasional hard shift are all tools in the Bloke’s arsenal as he strives to make time pass quickly to justify the day’s pay. If the Bloke is lucky, make that uncommonly lucky, he finds his daily grind slightly more than remotely interesting. If he is like the rest of us, sometimes work is a long drawn out struggle with boredom.

After a break for coffees at 10.00am and lunch at 12.00 noon, I find that 2.00pm can often seem like the low point of the day. The conjoint action of a rush of blood to the stomach – especially if a heavy lunch was involved –  and the usually mind numbing meetings with clients typically leave me struggling to stay attentive.  Enter 3.00pm, an unlikely hero to the rescue. Maybe it is the fact that just after 3.00pm freedom from the drudgery of work suddenly seems a less elusive proposition,  or that other blokes are more likely to stand around and chat, or that we as a collective subconsciously switch into coasting down mode.  Day after day I have sensed a lift in my spirits and attention levels as the clock has chimed 3.00pm. Bar 5.00pm then, 3.00pm is my favourite time of the working day…

I wonder if the 3.00pm thing is a me-only thing?

Web Reads… 11Feb11

  1. Personality tests go a notch up – this site offers personality tests based on your blog.
  2. Automating war? Danger room reports that one in fifty ‘combatants’ in Afghanistan is a robot.
  3. The key to snagging the dream girl appears to be acting uninterested. @JangleLegJones thinks differently, sadly I couldn’t convince her to write a 4000 word essay deconstructing the research.
  4. Tim Challies offers the chance to pre-order his new book, and get a signed copy.
  5. Apparently, even sex is a matter for IQ these days.. Sigh..
  6. There’s an app for that. Confessionals go electronic.
  7. Sleepwalking may be in the DNA after all.
  8. A kiss too far?
  9. Much ado about farting
  10. Potentially crappy valentine weekend coming up? Try these books to get you laid..

2008…. Again..

I suspect that the truest measure of how sensibly one has aged is how well one is able to take a long hard look at choices –  and their potential long term effects  – before acting. Time, that most elusive of customers, respects no one. From the day that we are born, our share – ladled without so much as an explanation lobbed in our direction – ineluctably runs out like sand in an hour glass. Each passing second once spent is lost, left to float in the seething morass that is  the conflation of opportunities missed, acts of omission and of omission and perhaps on the odd occasion windows of opportunity fully utilised.

It feels like 2008 again in my head… There is that feeling of restiveness – the source of which I cannot lay my finger on. A niggling feeling seemingly urging the need to ring the massive changes. The last time I felt this way, I quit my job and went back to full time studies… This time there is nothing that radical to do.. That is a wee bit worrying..

Web Reads: 10Dec2010