Monday, 22 September 2008


On the whiteboard which sits on the wall across from my desk at work is written the following:

"Striving for consistency in our wrongnitude"

and the eternal question:

"product dependency map" or "product dependency network"?

and the most recent addition:

What does 'methodology' define which isn't defined by 'method'?

To the best of my knowledge, the whiteboard has never had anything useful written on it.

The first statement was an attempt to define a mission for the pedants who make it their work to stifle progress by imposing endless 'controls' programme assurance function. The second is an example of the sort of question which keeps one of the afore-mentioned function awake at night. The third is a challenge posed by the latest, and quite possibly the greatest, pedant to set foot on the 20th floor. He's certainly the most entertaining.

It's a good question, though, and I may think twice before using the word 'methodology' the next time I'm bid-writing. Having said that, using the word 'method' where 'methodology' would be expected would probably sounds wrong to the recipient's ear. Can't be having that...

It has been a dull day in the office. It was the sort of day which would be more productively endured at home, with my head down in my laptop bashing out the bits of work which had to be done. Unfortunately, my customer doesn't like the idea of contractors working off-site. This is a pity. I miss having the odd work from home day.

Having said that, had I have worked from home today, I would have missed the following humdrum-breaking highlights:

  1. A woman cycling down the road holding in her left hand the left handlebar of her bicycle whilst with her right hand she supported the frame of a second bicycle over her shoulder. I assume one or other of the bicycles was a recent illegal acquisition. On possibly both. Either way, I was impressed with the balancing act. It can't be easy to cycle whilst carrying a second bike.
  2. Bearing witness to a thirty minute conversation on 'ologies', mostly centred around 'methodology', but branching out into arachnology, entomology, enigmatology, and other such 'ologies'. It may have extended beyond this period, but by this time my brain was melting and I had to excuse myself from my desk and instead have an equally inane but grace-savingly work-related conversation on the science or lack of it in applying RAGs to stakeholders (This is not as invasive as it might at first sound. It's also rather more fun as it gives me an excuse to marvel at the fact that jobs such as 'stakeholder engagement coordination administration manager' exist - a fine example of job title inflation if ever there was one...)

Yes, those were the highlights of the day...

Pedants are fascinating things. What two pedants in close proximity can find to argue over is amazing, and is certainly worthy of study. (There must be at least enough material for a good few PhD theses...). Watching the pair of them go at it today, it struck me that the encounter would stand comparison with some of the most memorable bouts in the ring, or matches on the field of play. I can't believe that they don't have to practise to get as skilled as they are... I'm rather pleased they were just arguing over a couple of words - I dread to think what might have ensued had they have been attempting literary criticism.

...and before someone points this out, I know pedantology isn't a word. It probably deserves to be. It's certainly more deserving of existence than, say, algology. Heck, I can barely believe just how much extra useless information I have assimilated today. It's almost certainly made the stagger to and from the office worthwhile.

Monday, 15 September 2008

It will be one of those days...

It's not yet 8am, and already I've tried to put soggy tea bags in the dishwasher instead of the bin, and tried to put the washing machine on before putting soggy, Thames-infused kit inside the machine. No doubt I will be using shower gels, shampoos and conditioners in the wrong places and in the wrong order, and this after getting dressed before realising I hadn't yet showered.

I expect that if I carry on in this fashion, I will be out of a job by the end of the day, having arrived late after going to the river instead of the office, then turned up to work at the wrong building, and on eventually arriving at my correct place of work asked the Director to do my admin, whilst sending reports for authorisation by the chap who usually picks up my admin and keeps me well-stocked with drinks throughout the day.

Perhaps I should go back to bed and stay there? It's a most appealing idea...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

New Toy!

I've bought a new toy. I was feeling both the need and justification to treat myself after a trip to the Lakes got called off and I had my appraisal last week. Having found myself in London for the weekend, I went shopping, online. My new toy's actually an old toy which has been around for a couple of years (old technology, that is), and which I've been coveting from a distance until I had an excuse to get myself a present and was doing enough activity to warrant the purchase. I have as yet no idea whether a pay-rise will be in the offing following the appraisal, but on the off-chance that one is, I thought I'd spend the extra cash in next month's pay packet on a new heart rate monitor.

I do already have a heart rate monitor which I love very much. It tells me my heart rate. What it doesn't do is store the information so I can check it out at my leisure when I've finished my workout. It also won't give me my time-resolved location via GPS and tell me how far I've rowed/run, and at what speeds, and what my heart was doing at any particular moment. It doesn't make coffee, either.

My new toy does all* of these things.

It's the Garmin Forerunner 305. There's a spec-ed up model, the 405, which has better battery life and looks, but the reviews I've read haven't convinced me that the additional £100 would be money well spent, and I have a watch which I wear all day anyway, and it looks a damned sight better than the 405...

Here's some of the output on SportTracks (a very nice bit of free kit). Click images for the full geeky glory...:

And here's my first attempt at landing on the flood tide:

Perhaps that should have read "first, second, third and fourth attempts at landing".

It's going to be a useful little gadget, but I'm a bit concerned that I may be unable to stave off the need to play with the toy for long enough to recover between sessions. (It even makes running fun... I wonder whether it can work the same magic for circuit training?) I suppose I'll find out soon enough - training kicks off in earnest this weekend, leaving just three more days to enjoy pies, pizza, beer and chocolate.

Is that the time?? Must dash - the chippy will be open...

*I lied. It doesn't actually make coffee