Saturday, April 08, 2006

It went well

The service was exactly the right kind of thing - non-religious and simple. His preference would have been for us not to bother at all, of course, and just get on with our lives, but this was the best compromise to keep everyone happy. So we had a small gathering - me and my brother, my mum and her partner, uncles Syd (eighty-something) and Cyril (seventy-something) and a couple of cousins (his other six brothers, aged between 66 and 85 and all with the dodgy legs and other ailments that run in the Pridmore family, couldn't make it, but they're all of course shocked to have lost their baby brother like this), plus a couple of good friends and a group of his workmates.

The minister, or whatever you call them when they're a humanist, was excellent, summarising my dad's life very nicely, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' on the organ and a Don McLean song to finish. Then to the pub over the road for food and drink and a lot of reminiscing. And I got on just fine with my mum all day. Great to see the relatives, too, since I practically never do. He wasn't that close to his army of older brothers, a couple of whom had married and left home before he was old enough to notice they existed, but my latest vague resolution is to catch up with all of them and work out exactly how many first, second and third cousins I've got out there. Talking to Syd and Cyril today was like hanging out with two carbon copies of my dad - exactly the same sense of humour and fun.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My Personal Vision

It's getting round to time for appraisals at work. We've all got a form to fill in and guidelines to the company's Performance Appraisal System. Apparently this is considered a good thing: "Purpose of the appraisal is to achieve a balance between your performance in your current role against your career aspirations and development needs."

I don't have career aspirations and development needs. All I want out of a job is something that gives me money to finance the things I like to do with my spare time. If it involves juggling numbers, so much the better, and since my current job does that, I'm fine. Perfectly happy. I don't want to develop. I'm sick and tired of being given promotions and pay rises, because whenever I am, I end up in management rather than number-crunching, which is what I'm good at and what I enjoy doing.

And the horrible jargon and psychobabble this thing uses gets on my wick no end. Not only do we need to focus on 'development objectives', but they need to be SMART:
 Specific
 Measurable
 Achievable
 Realistic
 Time-bound

With bullet points, for crying out loud. And it gets worse. The form itself has a whole freaking page about Personal Development and Mastery. It seems that 'The purpose of this exercise is to help you identify what personal goals you want to achieve that enable you to deliver your Personal Vision, and to understand how these overlap with the Company Vision and your departments goals.'

Capital letters for Personal Vision and Company Vision, just to stress what big, important concepts these are. And no apostrophe in 'departments'. I've got this from my dad, I know, but people who can't use an apostrophe right irritate me. My boss's grammar and punctuation are just awful, and it makes it hard to respect her like I should (she's not responsible for this appraisal thing, I should make it clear - we pay someone in human resources ridiculous amounts of money to come up with rubbish like this).

And I'm sorry, but I just don't think in terms like that sentence does. Has the rest of the world just gone mad? Does everyone else go around thinking "What can I do to enable me to deliver my Personal Vision?" One of the questions on this form is '2. What do I do, as your manager, that gets in your way' (without a question mark, I notice). I'll tell you anyway, manager. You make me go through stupid appraisal processes like this rather than letting me get on with my work. For Pete's sake.

Sorry, enough ranting for the moment. It's the weekend! Granted, a weekend that's mainly going to be occupied by a funeral, but that's better than worrying about my DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES (including Functional Capabilities & Management Skills)...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Legal queries with Horace

Every week, Horace Fish, a man with various fraudulent legal credentials, answers your questions about the law.

Dear Horace

My neighbour recently broke into my house and stole my television set and antique sculpture of Cleopatra fighting Napoleon. I have also seen him shooting dolphins in his back garden, mowing the lawn and eating 'Birmingham confectionery'. Do I have any legal recourse against him?

Gavvvin Trelllllis

Gavvvin - due to a loophole in the law, a person is legally entitled to steal his next-door neighbour's television. And while the consumption of 'Birmingham confectionery' is of course illegal, the police are unlikely to do anything about it unless they've really got nothing better to do. Your best chance of getting your neighbour banged up is with the dolphins - although it is perfectly legal to shoot the things in your own garden, to do so outside the boundary of your home carries a minimum sixty-year prison sentence. I suggest that you go round to his house in the middle of the night and move the garden fence so that the dolphin pond lies on the other side of it.

Dear Horriss

My employer has recently given me the sack, claiming among other things that I 'treat sausages as if they were cuboid rather than cylindrical'. I don't even know what that would involve, and I fail to see how that could have any bearing on my job as a street sweeper. Do I have the right to take my boss to court and/or throw a brick through his window?

Gottfried Wheelbarrow

Gottfried - my name isn't spelt that way, you fat berk. What is wrong with you? Can't you read? What's the point me replying to your stupid letter if you can't even read? Get lost, and don't ever write to me again. In answer to your question, you do have the legal right to take court action, or smash up to three of your boss's windows, whichever would give you more satisfaction. I would recommend court proceedings, because although there is no chance of you being awarded any kind of compensation, your employer might be embarrassed into apologising for the comment about sausages.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's at times like this that I consider getting Sky Sports

Admittedly that isn't a feeling I have very often - I've got more TV channels than anyone needs already, although I could always do with more cartoons. But there's a really good football match going on at the moment between Arsenal and Juventus, and I can't watch it without going out to the pub, and I can't be bothered to do that.

If I did splash out on Sky, I'd hardly watch the sports. A football match here and there, and maybe a bit of wrestling (I've become quite a WWE fan lately, thanks to Paul O'Brien's previews of every PPV. Paul is one of those people who can write about anything and make it compelling and entertaining. But reading those and then the WWE website to see what happens is as far as my fanhood goes at the moment. It might be good to actually watch a show some time and see what it's like.

And yay, Arsenal are through to the semis! And also yay, a court has thrown out Time Warner's attempts to claim that Smallville doesn't infringe Superboy's copyrights and therefore they don't have to pay Jerry Siegel's estate any money. I know I try to avoid just commenting on news stories here, but I'm very happy with both of those.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Alas, poor bike

A few months ago, the bit that holds the rear wheel in place went missing off my bike. I don't know if someone was trying to steal it but gave up halfway, or if it just fell to pieces the way my bikes generally do, but rather than doing anything about it I kept riding it around in faith that my weight on the saddle would hold the wheel where it should be. And it worked fine up till tonight, when the stress on the axle finally bent it to such an extent that the wheel won't turn round any more. At this point even I have to admit defeat and concede that the bike isn't rideable.

This is a great inconvenience, because it means walking to work from the train station, which means having to get the earlier train so as to arrive on time, which means getting up half an hour earlier. And I don't know when I'm going to have the time to get a new bike, either, what with the funeral on Saturday and everything. It's a real drag, all round, and not just in the literal sense of the only way to move my bike from A to B with a non-working wheel...

Monday, April 03, 2006


I'm going about my everyday life, but I still find myself thinking about my dad all the time. Kind of makes it difficult to think of a subject for tonight's blog, so I'll just leave it at that.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Okay, I've been googling myself again

And yes, there are many more useful and productive things I should be doing with my Sunday afternoon. But I was deeply fascinated by this page.

Notice the 'Prime Numbers' section halfway down the page:

Prime numbers

3 – Number of plague-infected mice that a New Jersey biomedical research center says cannot be accounted for

32.13 – Number of seconds required by Ben Pridmore to memorize a shuffled sequence of 52 playing cards without error, a world record

14 – Number of new nuclear power stations China plans to build in the next 28 years

104 – Number of commercial nuclear power plants in United States, the last licensed in 1996

0 – Number of applications pending for new American nuclear plants

So... is there a reason why the writer felt that I fit in with the rest of these statistics? Am I the kind of person you naturally associate with plague-infected mice and nuclear power?