Monday, July 31, 2006

Recommendations


The Gorse Fox is staying in Tewkesbury for a couple of nights. The virtual
reality rain of Sunday has turned into real reality rain here in
Gloucestershire... it does not encourage an early evening stroll.

At the Grey Monk's recommendation, the Gorse Fox went to the Rajshaji
Indian restaurant for dinner. Nice staff, and strangely Tudor decor set the
scene for a great curry. (No, he never learns!)

Nobody expects...

The Spanish Inquisition were around last week. It appears that their main weapon was Ignorance; ignorance and ... their two main weapons were ignorance, lack of attention and... their three main weapons were ignorance, lack of attention, and an almost fanatical bunch of irrelevant questions.

A formal review of "the programme" took place. What interested the Gorse Fox, was the apparent lack of preparation, the evident self-importance of the reviewers which seemed to prevent them from listening to, or understanding what they were being told; and the week of adversarial yet increasingly irrelevant questions they came up with.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Forecast

The Gorse Fox expected rain.

The weather man said there would be rain.

The online weather said there would be rain.

The Gorse Fox is sure it must be raining, they all said it would.

Now that he has completed his wiring for the new fridge, he has ignored the forecasts and been sitting out on the deck, in blazing sunshine with a jug of Pimms with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. There's a Force 6 blowing along the Sussex coast, but it is still very warm and there is not a cloud in sight. He's sure he must be getting wet, but hasn't noticed yet.

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Whitehall Farce

The Gorse Fox likes the opening paragraph of the Telegraph's commentary on John Prescott:
The longest-running Whitehall farce of modern times continues to provide fresh twists in a plot that would be highly amusing if the central character were not paid, handsomely, by the taxpayer to run the country when the Prime Minister is on holiday.
That about sums up this odious man - "the longest running Whitehall farce".

Why this is a particularly apposite description, is that whilst farce is genereally there to entertain, the Gorse Fox has never enjoyed farce - in fact he finds it excruciatingly tedious, and believes it panders to people with limted intellectual capacity. Direct hit - John Prescott. The article continues:
He was never fit to run a large, sprawling department, or any department for that matter

Well, Gorse Fox doesn't believe there can be any argument wit that.
The results, in terms of wasted billions and institutional ineptitude, have long merited his removal.
Absolutely, and he should be personally liable for the money he has stolen from the tax-payer to finance his ludicrous, failed schemes. We have seen ex-politicians from other countries being prosectuted for committing crimes against humanity. Is the a case for a prosecution for "crimes against the taxpayer"... or actually maybe it should just be fraud. He has, after all, fraudulently been claiming to run a major government department.
How much more evidence of his unfitness for office is required before he is removed from the stage completely?

Tony? Hello! are you there? Gorse Fox knows he sacked you and John Prescott last week, but really...
put the politics of the Labour succession aside and lower the curtain on Mr Prescott's antics for the sake of the country.


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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Visitors

Gorse Fox poked his head up from the computer to find that he had some visitors in the garden.

He assumes the long pointed beaks are a real benefit when the ground is this hard. Posted by Picasa

Local democracy - Government Hypocrisy

The Gorse Fox has found and interesting article in the Daily Mail. It's all about local democracy.

First a little history:
1998  Ruth Kelly objects to attempts to sell off land intended for a car park for the railway station
1999RK rejoices at the failure of a scheme to build 1100-home estate - "a victory for people power"; "We must savour this sweet victory over developers"
2000RK praises campaigners for stopping a 600 home estate
2003RK opposes new housing on hospital site, she's "particularly concerned abou the impact this proposal will have on traffic congestion"
2003RK is praised by residents for help and support in defeating a plan for the building of a five story block of flats and two house in a conservation area
2004RK supports residents in opposition to a plan to build 30 new flats - due to over-development
2004RK supports the opposition to plans to build homes on the site of an aerospace factory; tells planners they "should enhance the green belt by replacing the old works with open space "


So, Ruth Kelly is a real champion of local democracy and fights for the local community against bad developments. Right?

Yeah, right!

In an act of breathtaking hypocrisy, she is now threatening to withold government money from councils who fail to build the houses she wants. This will push up council tax for the local residents. This is the government trying to blackmail and bully local councils in the south and ensure that local planning committees comply with the will of the soviet government. This is RK's attempt to root out objections to large scale development in an area that has too little water, transport, and space (and probably doesn't vote labour anyway, so won't cost them votes).

Interesting how this ignores the advice of the governments own (non-democratic) quango the South East Regional Assembly. the Gorse Fox cannot adequately articulate the contempt he holds for this self-serving, soviet regime that was placed in power by a minority of the deluded, intellectually challenged, or naive electorate of this country.

[File under: ]

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cool

The new fridge has arrived. With it came a thick instruction manual. Why do you need an instruction manual? Let's check:
  • Open door
  • Put in food
  • Close door

Then of course there's the Troubleshooting guide. This contains the helpful hint:
Fault: If the temperature in the refrigerator compartment is too cold.
Possible Cause: Temperature is set too low.
Remedial action: Increase temperature.


[File under: ]

Fraudulent lessons

The Gorse Fox has just been subjected to mandatory Financial Integrity (fraud prevention) education... (could be useful for the current Government). This course wasted 45 mins and was conducted as a series of "podcasts" and tests. GF makes the following observations:
  • Why are the actors used in training so bad
  • Why are the case studies so ridiculous
  • Why don't they let you skip the education by taking the test first... thus saving your time if you already know the details


[File under: ]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Turning into Gramps

The Gorse Fox is concerned that he is turning into his grandfather. (Not in the motoring sense, you understand).

As he matures, GF is finding it increasingly difficult to eat late in the evenings. If the meal is spicy, it is even worse. This is a problem. Gorse Fox loves spicy food... but also loves a good night's sleep. The two now seem mutually exclusive. This was brought home (again) last night when the Gorse Fox joined the Abbot, Mother Superior and a couple of other colleagues for a fine curry.

It was a fine meal, though it must have been close to 21:30 before we started... and it was midnight before we got back to the hotel. This is late for GF... and a good night's sleep was called for... but failed to arrive.

[File under: ]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quite Right, too

According to BBC Online Led Zeppelin rocks Britain's MPs

The Gorse Fox rarely arees with politicians... but hey! there is hope for them after all.
When asked by the British Library to name their favourite number one album, rock veteran's Led Zeppelin's 1969 classic Led Zeppelin II came out top.
Lembit Opik said (who ever thought GF would quote Lembit Opik?)
"Zeppelin made a new kind of music. They created a genre many have copied but no-one has equalled. And Whole Lotta Love is the greatest rock song ever."
No Country, no Western, James ;-)

Just great music.

Pounding

Oooof!

Looks like the Sussex coast is taking a pounding from a big electrical stormPosted by Picasa
It's Sir Lancinglot's birthday... Happy Birthday.

[File under: ]

Glaxo has bird flu 'breakthrough'

In the article Glaxo has bird flu 'breakthrough', BBC online reveals that the threat of global pandemic as a reuslt of an H5N1 mutation or species-transfer, is lessened by the possible availability of mass vaccination.
"All being well, we expect to make regulatory filings for the vaccine in the coming months"

Well that's good news.... let's hope the fast track regulation works.
Glaxo said its new vaccine would give limited immunity to bird flu in the event of a pandemic. A second shot would be necessary for complete immunisation, the company said.

If there were a pandemic outbreak in the early autumn, mass manufacture of Glaxo's vaccine could probably be started quickly through collaboration with rival pharmaceutical companies.


[File under: ]
A hot and steamy night in Worcester. As the Silver Vixen is back in Sussex, this was purely a by-product of the weather. The hotel in which the Gorse Fox stays is warm at the best of times... but in the hot summer weather becomes quite stifling. Even with windows fully open there is little or no air flow.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flash, Bang, Wallop

The Gorse Fox has just been sent a great link by the Mighty Atom. Always fascinated by thunderstorms, conversation turned to the storms at the weekend and the incidence of lightning strikes near Worthing. Apparently there is a website provide data on current lightning & thunderstorms.

Fascinating

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Play Misty for Me

The Gorse Fox left West Sussex just as the sun exploded into the eastern sky. The brilliant sunrise bathed the coast in warmth and light, so it came as a bit of a surprise to drive into thick early morning fog once the route headed inland. All is clear again now that the Gorse Fox is in Worcester, and the temperature is rising steadily.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Sack sloth and

Gorse Fox noticed Prescott was on Andrew Marr's politics show. He couldn't, however, be bothered to see the show.

Did anyone hear whether he mentiond that the Gorse Fox had sacked him?

[File under: ]

What is SO difficult?

The Gorse Fox wonders "What is SO difficult about making a commitment, and keeping to it?

He has just been let down by the trolls once more. They made a clear commitment to the client to deliver something last Friday... and failed. They claim they need additional information. This request for further information was obviously transmitted telepathically as no phone calls or emails have been received by any interested parties.

The Gorse Fox is not a happy bunny. A troll is about to get happy-slapped. (i.e. He will be slapped, and GF will feel happy about it).

[File under: ]
A stunning day here on the South Coast... The Silver Vixen has left for Buckingham to see Aunt P and Jimmy's Place. Gorse Fox was settling down for a quiet day, when Urban-cub turned up to make use of the washing machine for laundry, and the garden for sunbathing. Maybe it won't be quite so quiet!

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sad Passing

Sunday has seen the sad passing of an old friend.

The gas Barbecue that the Gorse Fox has so lovingly nutured and cared for over the past six or seven years, has decided it is time to revert to its component molecules.

Sir Lancinglot & Cousteau-cub had valiantly fought to pump further life into it, and suggested that we "pimp my bbq". However, despite the wonders of modern paint, and GF's skill with metal plastics wood... ok scratch that thought. Basically, there was no way to save it.
Bit by bit it was carefully dismantled (well, torn apart and hacksawed). Piles of rust began to gather where once had stood the barbecue.

Now, there is nothing.

Gone. (Thanks to a trip to the tip recycling centre) Posted by Picasa

Expenses

Sunday has proved to be expensive, so far.

Sir lancinglot has a brirthday coming up this week (Yes, another one! It was only last July he had the last one). So the Gorse Fox spent some quality time with Mr Google, Mr Amazon and several redirections to find a suitable present. All being well, that should arrive on Tuesday. Gorse Fox called to the Silver Vixen to explain what was on order and when it should arrive.
"While you're there, I'm rather worried about the larder fridge; I think we need a new one"

A chill ran up the spine of the GF, and he wondered if that had been the fridge's last gasp. Mr Google, Mr Pricerunner, Mr Kelkoo and several other joined forces and the Gorse Fox immersed himself in cold white goods. Eventually, a suitable candidate product was found... and the search started for the suitable vendor. One candidate after another raised their hands to be torn down by poor customer write-ups. Eventually a vendor from Reigate was chosen... and now we wait.

[File under: ]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hybrid car sales stall as cost of going green is turn-off

The Times Online tells us today that: Hybrid car sales stall as cost of going green is turn-off
Cars such as the Toyota Prius have gained enormous publicity amid soaring petrol prices and rising concern over global warming. However, in the first six months of this year sales of hybrids in the United States have fallen. Sales of the Prius in Britain have also stalled.

It ratytles on with various statements and statistics, then states:
Hybrids have both a regular petrol engine and an electric engine, which adds to the cost of the vehicle. Power alternates between the engines, allowing hybrids to do 50 to 60 miles per gallon.

Gorse Fox would point out that he gets between 50 and 60mpg with a standard Golf 2.0TDI and really doesn't see the point until the hybrid can radically improve on that. What about emmissions? Well GF's Golf does create emmisions, but the Government reckons they are pretty low, so he gets cheap road tax... and he does try to keep the windows closed!

Mr Blobby - the sack

Tony Blair has been warned not to take the risk of leaving Mr Prescott Mr. Blobby holding the reins of power during his summer holiday next month.

As one of the poor saps that pays both of their wages... Gorse Fox hereby sacks them both.

[File under: ]

Another Prescott fiasco

Gorse Fox read in the Telegraph:
Plans by John Prescott to concrete over large areas of the South East should be scrapped and millions of new homes built instead in London and along the Thames, a Government adviser said yesterday.

It goes on
Labour had a background of wariness of big, wasteful projects from its last long period of office in the 1960s, he said.

"This time they have not got the hang of what the public and the private sector do."

Yes they have. The private sector MAKES money, the public sector then TAKES that money and wastes it... but then GF guesses that's the bit that John Precott knows most about, as he is one of the most evident wastes (waists?) of private money in the public sector. His only real value to the country is comedic.

[File under: ]
Gorse Fox is home again in Sussex... after a long board meeting and rather unpleasant drive yesterday evening. The night was punctuated by an impressive, brief electrical storm, and short sharp downpour. The garden looks refreshed this morning as the sunlight sparkles in the drips that hang from the foliage.

[File under: ]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Aaaargh...

GF has spent the last hour or so listening to discussions on dependencies in a project. Most of this was a philosophical debate regarding a minor task that is not on any critical path...

This is where GF shows signs of attention deficit syndrome. Back of the neck is tightening. Throbbing behind the eyes... and an almost irresistable urge to do a Zidane Posted by Picasa
The Gorse Fox is on the last day of this three week planning exercise. Next week it is back to normal. Some observations:
  • This has been a good team building exercise
  • Everyone now has a view of what needs to be done
  • It will be nice (at some time) to get on and get started
  • Gorse Fox now understands where the sand and gravel of MSP (governance, process and government) gets into the well-oiled engine of delivery


[File under: ]

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And here is..

Masterfully, one of the project managers takes his turn in charge.

"See this space here? We have to filli it"

Hampered by the fact his light sabre's battery had run out, he fought on regardless. He hadn't noticed that his opponent had given up and sat down.

Posted by Picasa

Collective Nouns

The Gorse Fox just walked back into the workshop. Brain immediately started defining collective nouns:
A blockage of Project Managers
A chatter of consultants
A worry of technical architects


[File under: ]

Zen and ...

The Gorse Fox has just received an email from the Abbot. Not sure of the original source but it may amuse... (usual acknowledgements to the original, unknown author):
  1. SAVE THE WHALES. COLLECT THE WHOLE SET.
  2. A DAY WITHOUT SUNSHINE IS LIKE, NIGHT.
  3. ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE'S FOUR FINGERS AND A THUMB.
  4. I JUST GOT LOST IN THOUGHT. IT WASN'TFAMILIAR TERRITORY.
  5. 42.7 per cent OF ALL STATISTICS ARE MADE UP ON THE SPOT.
  6. 99 per cent OF LAWYERS GIVE THE REST A BAD NAME.
  7. I FEEL LIKE I'M DIAGONALLY PARKED IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE.
  8. HONK IF YOU LOVE PEACE AND QUIET.
  9. REMEMBER, HALF THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE BELOW AVERAGE.
  10. HE WHO LAUGHS LAST, THINKS SLOWEST.
  11. DEPRESSION IS MERELY ANGER WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM.
  12. THE EARLY BIRD MAY GET THE WORM, BUT THE SECOND MOUSE GETS THE CHEESE.
  13. I DRIVE WAY TOO FAST TO WORRY ABOUT CHOLESTEROL.
  14. SUPPORT BACTERIA. THEY'RE THE ONLY CULTURE SOME PEOPLE HAVE.
  15. MONDAY IS AN AWFUL WAY TO SPEND 1/7 OF YOUR WEEK.
  16. A CLEAR CONSCIENCE IS USUALLY THE SIGN OF A BAD MEMORY.
  17. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, EXCEPT FROM VENDING MACHINES.
  18. GET A NEW CAR FOR YOUR SPOUSE. IT'LL BE A GREAT TRADE!
  19. PLAN TO BE SPONTANEOUS TOMORROW.
  20. ALWAYS TRY TO BE MODEST, AND BE PROUD OF IT!
  21. IF YOU THINK NOBODY CARES, TRY MISSING A COUPLE OF PAYMENTS.
  22. HOW MANY OF YOU BELIEVE IN PSYCHO-KINESIS? RAISE MY HAND.
  23. OK, SO WHAT'S THE SPEED OF DARK?
  24. HOW DO YOU TELL WHEN YOU'RE OUT OF INVISIBLE INK?
  25. IF EVERYTHING SEEMS TO BE GOING WELL, YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY OVERLOOKED SOMETHING.
  26. WHEN EVERYTHING IS COMING YOUR WAY, YOU'RE IN THE WRONG LANE.
  27. HARD WORK PAYS OFF IN THE FUTURE. LAZINESS PAYS OFF NOW.
  28. EVERYONE HAS A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. SOME JUST DO NOT HAVE FILM.
  29. IF BARBIE IS SO POPULAR, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BUY HER FRIENDS?
  30. HOW MUCH DEEPER WOULD THE OCEAN BE WITHOUT SPONGES?
  31. EAGLES MAY SOAR, BUT WEASELS DO NOT GET SUCKED INTO JET ENGINES.
  32. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET SCARED HALF TO DEATH TWICE?
  33. I USED TO HAVE AN OPEN MIND BUT MY BRAINS KEPT FALLING OUT.
  34. I COULDN'T REPAIR YOUR BRAKES, SO I MADE YOUR HORN LOUDER.
  35. WHY DO PSYCHICS HAVE TO ASK YOU FOR YOUR NAME?
  36. INSIDE EVERY OLDER PERSON IS A YOUNGER PERSON WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED.
  37. JUST REMEMBER - IF THE WORLD DID NOT SUCK, WE WOULD ALL FALL OFF.
  38. LIGHT TRAVELS FASTER THAN SOUND, WHICH IS WHY SOME PEOPLE APPEAR BRIGHT UNTIL YOU HEAR THEM SPEAK


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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The evening was spent with clients and colleagues at a BBQ in the grounds of Warwick University. Clouds bubbled up, and as the evening progressed, lightning could be seen in the distance and thunder rumbled around.

As conversation ranged back and forth a new pseudonym became evident for Gorse Fox's troll-fighter... From here on he will be known as the Lettuce Hunter.

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Media to the Rescue

The Gorse Fox has just left the restaurant. Passing(1) a TV, he noticed the ticker at the bottom of the screen:
People advised to keep drinking water

What would we do without such advice? Gorse Fox is worried he might have forgotten.

(1) As in "walked past"... just thought it should absolutely clear!

[File under: ]
The walls are covered with Breakdown Structures, Product flows, dependencies, post-it notes, and project definitions. The floor is a spaghetti of power cables and ethernet cables. Laptops litter the desks.

The beat goes on.

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Cross Country

The Gorse Fox loves it when a potentially tedious journey turns out to be trouble-free, quick, and only remarkable becuse of the stunning sunrise, and glorious blue skies that bathed the countryside as he cruised through Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and West Midlands.

[File under: ]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Life's a ...

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen have just followed supper with a leisurely stroll along the beach, watching the sun dip towards the horizon. The tide had turned in the last couple of hours and the sand was beginning to show beyond the pebbles. A few neighbours swam, whilst other walked their dogs, or even jogged.
We are very lucky.

It seems strange that tomorrow GF will be in Warwick again which is just about about as far as you can get from the sea, in England.

[File under: ]

Care of your Zombie

The Silver Vixen has just returned from the fang farrier. On her way back she stopped at Sainsbury's in order to replenish diminishing stocks of this and that. She commented on how cold Sainsbury's always is...

Gorse Fox had to explain that this temperature is maintained to stop the zombies who clutter the aisles from smelling as they decay.

[File under: ]

Heat

The Gorse Fox is not one to complain about the weather. There is nothing he can do about it(1) so sees little point in complaining. He would make a few observations, however. (Well, he would, wouldn't he).
  • Gorse Fox loves this weather.
  • Today it's about 30-32C.
  • Blue skies (hot or cold) always make you feel joyous.
  • Why do people complain about the cold, then as soon as it gets hot complain "It's too hot". Just shut up.
  • Why do the weather presenters warn of the heatwave and advise us "Keep cool!" - Don't they think we might have thought of that?
  • Why do people believe an electric fan cools an empty room?
(1) As explained before the Gorse Fox does not dance... so rain is unlikely

[File under: ]

Deliberations

Wedding anniversary coming up next month.... Gorse Fox is looking for inspiration. (With urban-cub getting married later in the year he must not be too extravagant).

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Day's done

The sun, having surpassed itself for the past 14 hours, has decided to slink down behind the distant hedgerows.

Kingston Gorse moves towards darkness.

Silence.

Tranquility. Posted by Picasa

Searching for what?

Gorse Fox has again had a wander through the search arguments that have brought people to his blog lateley.
  • Loch Long - Glad to help
  • Worthing Fish Factory - Well worth a visit
  • Baloo's Restaurant - Excellent restaurant
  • George and Dragon Burpham - Great pub, great walks
  • Sally Traffic - Has rescued the GF from many a jam
  • Aunt Ethel's Tuna Press - Again! GF didn't understand last time!
  • John Prescott - Well, it was inevitable. GF Guesses MI5 will be knocking one day.
  • Home Made Blue Movies - I'm sorry... Have YOU got the wrong site!
  • Larry Pistol and Pawn - No, me neither. Not a clue.
  • Gay Fox - I don't thing so!!! (and nor does the Silver Vixen)


[File under: ]

For Browsers

If you are serious about your computer's security, and like good performance, then you have long ago ditched IE(1), and use Firefox. Gorse Fox has been wandering through Google Labs, as is his want, and found a series of Firefox extensions. The extension that he really likes is Google Browser Sync which allows your browser setting on one compute to be kept in sync with those on another.

If, like the Gorse Fox, you switch back and forth between several computers, this is a great feature as it maintains (in an encrypted form) all of your bookmarks, cookies and other settings across all of your computers.

Great tool. Have been using it during the weekend and found that the standardisation of bookmarks alone makes it worth using.

Update: (1) Gorse Fox has just checked the statistics of visitors to this blog. 59% are still using IE. Shame on you. Go to the Firefox page and download immediately... you don't know who may be hacking you.

[File under: ]

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Time for a Pimms

The perfect Sussex morning was spent sorting out an irrigation system for the plants around the deck. A system that we cannot use at present, due to the hosepipe ban; but at least it's ready for when the ban is lifted.

Then it became clear that the SV and GF needed irrigation... and what better than a jug of Pimms, with strawberries and rasberries, plenty of ice, and the tranquility of summer in Kingston Gorse.

The jug took an hour or so to empty, but GF suspects that little will be achieved this afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Caravans Beware

Gorse Fox (and the Gray Monk) has recently indulged in the fantasy of mounting a plasma cannon on the front of his car to deal with a) caravans, b) slow moving motor homes, and he would add c) lorries that play leapfrog on the A34 without the wherewithall to affect a successful passing manoevre.

He's checked the Highway Code, and there appears to be no regulation the explicitly prevents this... and in today's magazine from the Sunday papers, he notices (and brings to you attention) this Jaguar that has obviously beaten him to it.

Ok, technically it's a Gatling gun, not a Plasma Cannon, but you get the drift. GF wonders if this is a standard feature on a particular model, or just a optional extra.

 Posted by Picasa

Things you never knew you wanted

Under the heading "Things you never knew you wanted" comes this item from the inserts in the Sunday Papers.

Now, universal mobile phone holder - yes. Solar charger - yes (well, possibly). But Portable Shower?

I'm sorry, but the thought of the Gorse Fox stopping the car (I assume you have to stop?) for a shower in the car seems a little bizarre. Where would you keep the soap? Where would you hang the bath robe? Do you need special floormats? Duckboards? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sit and Relax

As repoted below, the initial plans were for lights... but somehow that got translated into a table, and chairs during the day. Posted by Picasa
The Gorse Fox has been busy. Plans were clear. A stunning day would start with a brief trip to Lancing to get some lights for the deck, which would then be fitted....

Well, that was where the plans went wrong. The Silver Vixen accompanied him to Lancing. The intended shop was located and we spent some time browsing and comparing the various offerings. In the end we decided on the size and hue that we wanted... only to find they had run out of that particular selection.

"We ought to look at BBQs while we're out" the Silver Vixen announced. As Cousteau-cub illustrated in her blog, the old one is well past its best. The next part of the quest took us to a large, local garden centre.

Walking in we had to pass the garden furniture to get to the selecton of BBQs. "These are nice" said SV as she sank into a chair which was part of a £1500 set. After trying each of the sets we arrived at the BBQs and decided there was not a suitable candidate. But, now that we had thought about it, maybe some furniture for the deck would be appropriate.

We headed off to another garden centre and selected a nice table, parasol, and six chairs, which we then had to get home. The Golf could only carry the chairs, and a second trip was required in the RAV4 to collect the table. Needless to say everything was wrapped in cardboard and foam, and the table need assembly... so that meant a trip to the dump to dispose of the cardboard (now flattened for recycling, of course).

Ultimately it was all worthwhile, and the GF now sits at the table on the deck, with the laptop on his knee, reporting on how he failed to fit the lights in the deck.

[File under: ]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Patchworkers

The Silver Vixen has taken her broomstick and gone to meet with her coven. Not sure quite what they do at these meetings, but there are a few blind newts, limping frogs, shivering bats and dogs going "Mark, mark" in the back garden.

[File under: ]

Google Notebook

You will know, by now, that Gorse Fox tends to like Google software... and is an avid user of:
  • Google's search engine
  • Google customised home page
  • Gmail
  • Calendar
  • Picasa2
  • Google earth
  • Google Maps

Now there is a new addition to the stable... Google Notebook which allows you to clip information into notebooks as you browse.

GF suspects he will make a lot of use of this.

[File under: ]

Appropriate dress

Gorse Fox was just reading "'Horror' at Prescott as acting PM". He stalled at the sentence:
Mr Prescott was reportedly given a "cowboy outfit" during a visit to the ranch of Philip Anschutz, the US tycoon who wants Britain's first super casino to be at the Millennium Dome.

Maybe Philip Anschutz is a smart cookie. Maybe he was telling John Prescott exactly what we all think of him.

Tim Collins continues:
"A man who on the BBC last week by his own admission struggles with a paper and pencil, and is incompetent by his own admission with technology, running two complex wars, and a number of other complex issues in the nation leaves me wondering who actually is running the nation.

"Is it the civil service behind the scenes? Or... this man who by his own admission is not up to the job? "
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Insomnia

The Gorse Fox assumes he has been found to be useful as a cure for insomnia. He is pleased that some people read this blog... but was amazed when a visitor yesterday viewed 199 pages of it!
Whoever you were... welcome to GF's life. You probably know more about it now, than he does.

[File under: ]

Breakwater

The groynes take such a battering at high tide (particularly in bad weather)... yet somehow look almost soft during the respite of low tide. Posted by Picasa

Riders

Gorse Fox is not a horsey person. He can imagine, however, the exhilaration of trotting along the sand at low tide.

These two riders hadn't got as far as a trot, at this point, but they did seem to be drinking in the beauty of the morning, and the tranquility of the beach. Posted by Picasa

End of the the Line

Several boats are beached on the strand.

This sad specimen looks as if it has reached journey's end. Posted by Picasa

Perfect Start

Gorse Fox had to drop his VW Golf at the garage this morning. There is an ongoing, niggling problem where it seems to surge and fall-back repeatedly when ticking-over at 30mph. (GF doesn't often have to do 30mph, so it is not a major issue). Whilst at the garage he checked the Authorised Accessories List ... no Plasma Cannon available for this model.

That's by the by.

Gorse Fox decided to walk home along the beach. It is a stunning morning. Blue skies, slight breeze, and the tide was low. Looking eastwards towards Worthing and Brighton, the sun turned the beach to quicksilver.
Despite the perfect conditions, there were but a few fellow souls making the most of this. A few dog walkers, clutching their plastic bags; a jogger or two... but that was about it.

The Ferring-Goring gap looks deserted as the Gorse Fox walks along the median that separtaes the sea from the land.

Crossing towards Ferring, a few padlocked stands show where fishermen can keep their equipment.

A rainbow of colours and textures are layered to the horizon.

Down against the breakwater, a large fishing net has become entangled, and is draped in a huge swag against the protective wood. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

In Praise of...

Fish 'n' Chips.

After several days in the workshop at Warwick, the Gorse Fox headed back to Sussex... and some simple food. You can have too much of a good thing. The continuous peddling of exquisite breakfast buffets, three course lunches and three course dinners can overwhelm after a while.

The Shepherdess bottled out on Wednesday and went home to her sister for beans on toast. "Give me anything as long as it isn't drizzled, garnished, decorated or formed into an artistic shape" were her instructiuons.

As the Gorse Fox approached home, those words echoed in his mind and the thought of Fish 'n' Chips, at first just a passing thought, became an obsession.

They lived up to expectations and the Gorse Fox can go to bed, content.
[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox is convinced there must be a simple way of generating an hierarchical diagram from an xml datastructure... such that a "bill of materials" can be illustrated from a textual list. He has spent much of the day chasing elusive concepts and products that don't quite do it.

The PMs GF is working with are working from a huge diagram that needs to refelect a number of changes and cascading sequence numbers need to be managed automatically to reflect the changes. GF feels sorry for them... so has been looking around. (But he doesn't feel sorry enough to write the solution himself).

[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox looks forward to another fruitful day... suffering, as he does, from "the eternal sunshine of an addled mind".

[File under: ]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Scale

The Gorse Fox has been pretty scathing about PRINCE2 MSP. He does not retract a single word of it. What he has recognised, however, that it a problem of scale. This is a system that would be perfectly adequate for the planning of a programme to build a power station... but is spectacularly overkill for even a large IT Programme. Next time you see the headlines reporting failure of a Government IT Project, ask how much of total spend went "project management" and how much went on solving the actual problem.

Now, GF is sometimes dismissive of project managers. That s not to say he does not recognise the valuable role they play in a well-run project. Every project should be managed by a good, PM... but not hordes of them. A good PM recognises the the correct outcome of a project is product that meets the client's requirements, on-time, and on-budget. It is not a sheaf of project management reports.

[File under: ]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Peace

Walking back between the buildings at Warwick, the Gorse Fox noticed (in the upper-centre of the picture) this heron keeping a silent watch over the lake. Posted by Picasa

World Cup Diving

The Gorse Fox has received a weblink from the inestimable David Hadley. He refers the Gorse Fox http://www.informationbuilders.co.uk/ontheball/wcuk.htm

It seems that, according to these statistics, Italy did win after all, although Portugal look like runners up.

Now Gorse Fox sees the value of this league, but does note that it is based on the judgement of the author. Gorse Fox believes that the author has missed a vital measure... that of quality. Italy may well have dived more times than Portugal, but when it comes to the sheer panache of the dive, Portugal scream (and roll across the floor clutching their, head, leg, face, and foot) aheadand take the Golden Scuba Tank.

[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox sits quietly in a room. Around him is the soporific tap of keboards as ten people sit round typing in descriptions of work that needs to be done. Now he knows why they pay consultants so much... to stop them topping themselves on days like this!

It has actually been quite a fruitful day.

[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox is back in Warwick University. A further week of the workshops.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

The Gorse Fox has solved a problem with the Firewall on his laptop. This has been bugging him since a recent upgrade... and was prevented uploads to Flickr and from Picasa to this blog from the laptop.
Cure was easy.
  • Shut it down.
  • Delete all the existing policies.
  • Start it up again
  • Apply policies when asked

"Et voila" as Zinedine Zidane said to Materazzi. Not subtle, but effective.

[File under: ]

Awards

Gorse Fox notes that Zinedine Zidane has been voted best player of the World Cup tournament and received "The Golden Ball". Quite fitting. He was superb, and even his head-butt was classy (maybe a Golden Helmet would be more appropriate?).
What really amused the Gorse Fox, however, was the statement:
And semi-finalists Portugal won Fifa's most entertaining team award.

He assumes this is "entertaining" as in "hilarious". After all, a charitable person would claim all of the dives and histrionics were for our amusement as they couldn't possibly have been taken seriously. GF wishes therefore to rephrase this as:
And semi-finalists Portugal won Fifa's most entertaining comical team award.


[File under: ]

World Cup Diving - The Final

Gorse Fox has been considering the recent World Cup, and decided that the traditional Final and 3rd-place play-off only tell part of the story. What people really want to know is which team were the biggest cheats? Here are the results:
  • Portugal
  • Holland
  • Argentina
  • Italy
and who should get the Golden Scuba Tank? The award goes, unanimously, to
  • Christina Christiano Ronaldo


[File under: ]

The Press

There were comments at the weekend from some of John Prescott's supporters accusing the Press of "being out to get him". Gorse Fox would like to add a few words of clarification.

In the old days, Ministers had sufficient personal integrity to resign when they had failed, or made a serious error of judgement. As such integrity does not appear to exist in the current Government, then it is beholding on the Press to drive such action.

Sleaze and slime characterize this bunch of power-crazed politicians. The latest idea of a tribunal is pointless... it will be another whitewash.

[File under: ]

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Howdy Pardiner, VI

The party thundered on into the night. There was a superb band playing everything from recent hits, to classic blues standards.

As the food was digested people headed for the dance floor and dispoted themselves in the most outrageous ways. (This would not have been allowed in Rome).

The bar somehow managed to keep up with the consumption and everyone was having great fun. A speech from the ageing hosts reminded us (and more importantly, them) why we were all there.


As the evening continued it seemed that the mixture of food and alcohol, when jiggled about and mixed was causing some interesting effects. Gorse Fox was not sure exactly what competition was being held here, but decided it would be impolite to ask.

Private Ambulances Taxis started to arrive for the cousins from Essex, and we bade them goodbye. Soon after Caesar wrapped Cleopatra up in her rug cardigan, and they too left.

It had been a super evening, and great fun.

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Howdy Pardiner, V

No. It didn't fool Caesar when your elderly sister tried this disguise... and it won't work for you. (Though it was great source of amusement !)

Maybe it's time to go an invade Gaul again. We seem to be running out of wine.

Lawrence of Arabia had laid on an exceptional spread. There was a hog roast (one of her own pigs), there was lamb, salads, quiches, swans in aspic(*), rices, and so forth.

At one point in the evening the salad had run out out, so they picked more fresh from the garden. Gorse Fox noticed the lambs were looking a little nervous as the meat was nearing the end!

(*) Ok, there were no swans in aspic.


[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Howdy Pardiner, IV

Trying to disguise herself as Cleopatra's grandmother didn't fool Caesar for more than a few nannyseconds.

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Howdy Pardiner, III

As the evening drew on, and conscious of the proximity to the Ides of July, Caesar could not help but notice conspiratorial discussions across the table.

Keeping his wits about him, he took this photo in case evidence would be required later.

Note to self: Avoid the Forum.

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Howdy Pardiner, II

The Gorse Fox Caesar suffered several indignities throughout the evening. There was no couch upon which to recline while eating; nobody made any attempt to speak Latin (despite most of his ageing cousins being contemporary with the Roman Conquest); the Vestal Virgins must have been stuck on the motorway (because they never arrived); and one cousin greeted Caesar with the words "Your face has filled out". Given that it has been over 30 years since we had met, that did seem cruel!

At one point Caesar was approached by a man in white (an angel? Brutus? Graham Norton?) and asked "Are you Caligula?". Gorse Fox explained he'd "never been very good with horses... I am Caesar". Quick as anything, White Suit responded "You've got too much hair for Caesar". This took the Gorse Fox aback... it is indeed rare nowadays for anyone to imply anything other than loss when referring to his thinning thatch... "Caesar in his younger days" replied GF, and the White Suit wandered away happy. Gorse Fox checked the plastic knives. They were still on the table, not stuck in his back... White Suit had not been Brutus in disguise.

At this point Gorse Fox would point out that it had become clear to him why togas had gone out of fashion in the British Isles - the constant Devon rain, and the breeze up the valley effectively lowered the body temperature, but resorting to the warm leather jacket that awaited him in the car would be out of character - so he threw another slave on the fire.

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Howdy Pardiner, I

They Party as held at an ageing cousin's farm in the sumptuous folds of the Devonshire countryside near Crediton. The sunshine of Sussex had melted away become overcast and light rain splashed against the marquees.

Silver Vixen Cleopatra was greeted by a cluster of the Gorse Fox's ageing relatives. With a couple of exceptions (Lawrence of Arabia & Bill Oddie) they had bottled-out of the dressiing up by claiming to be "Press". Large quantities of alcohol were consumed, so they obviously took the role seriously.

The observant amongst you will notice that Cleopatra is in fact wearing a cardigan (as was traditional in Ancient Egypt)

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Unusual view

This was an unusual view for the Gorse Fox. As a rule, when out, GF tends to do the driving. For the journey down to Devon, however, we split the task.

GF made the most of this by fidgeting, stretching, turning round to look in the back and generally looking at things he would never see, as the driver.

The journey went smoothly, though was lengthened considerably by hordes of people trying to block the road with caravans and motorhomes. GF is sure that a law allowing the use of explosive projectiles or rocket propelled greades would do a lot for reducing congestion.

A break for some sustaining victuals added to the journey, but we eventually arrived at a small Travelodge near Okehampton, and made ourselves comfortable.

[File under: ] Posted by Picasa

Just Musing

As Gorse Fox prepares for the trip and potters about the lair, a light breeze off the sea rustles the curtains. The evocative smell of the sea has been tinged with the faint perfumes from the garden.

It is heady.

The Gorse Fox breathes deeply.

He is again thankful for this wonderful spot. God bless us all.

[File under: ]

All roads...

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen will be making their way to Devon today. A cluster of ageing cousins hit 60 this year and are holding a party at one of their farms. As explained a few weeks ago, this is a "themed" party... with guest coming as celebrities, or characters from the films. This is, of course, difficult for the Gorse Fox and the Silver Vixen as they have to disguise their natural film star looks in order to appear to be someone else.

Should be fun!

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Predictions

The Gorse Fox wishes to nail his colours to the mast... and wishes Germany to overcome Portugal in today's game. Why? Because Germany play the game as it should be played. Hard, fast, enthusiastically, and essentially fairly.

More worryingly, GF wishes to see France (yes, you heard!) win the World Cup over Italy. Why, it would be a fitting end to Zidane's career, and the France players dive less, and are less cynical than the Italy players.

So, based on this GF expect Portugal to win & Italy to win... as, so far, almost every team he has supported in any game has lost.

[File under: ]

Friday, July 07, 2006

70% of British Residents(*) hold driving licenses... Gorse Fox expects most of them will be on the roads he wishes to use tomorrow.

* ONS

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Irony

Gorse Fox loves the irony of a report in today's papers. The report was discussing the disgraceful diving that has blighted several of the World Cup games. There were quotes from Franz Beckenbauer, Gordon Taylor, and (wait for it) Arsene Wenger! Apparently Arsene Wenger said:
"These things must be looked into after the match for retrospective action"

The Gorse Fox could hardly contain his breakfast! Cousteau-cub phoned up, in tears of laughter, to read the same quote from her paper. This is like John Prescott saying "People should be above reproach in public office" (which, to be fair, he didn't).

Just to remind those who may not be familiar with English football... Arsene Wenger is manager of Arsenal The Forces of Darkness who have
been one of the greatest proponents and practioners of the black arts of diving, referee intimidation, whining, and whingeing that we have seen in the Premiership. The ridiculous part about it is that they do not need to - they can actually play good football, but still let themselves down time and again.

(There were rumours that they were installing a barometric chamber in their new Emirates stadium to help them recover more quickly from all the diving, and GF believes that they have a special order with Nike for Football-flippers).

[File under: ]

Swamped

GF is swamped... will try to get back later.

[File under: ]

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Gorse Fox has noticed an increase in traffic today, looking for comments on the Odious Deputy Prime Minister. Because GF has been busy, he has been unable to construct a suitable and pithy comment...

However, if this latest problem over the Dome brings hiim down.... then the Dome was worth every penny we spent on it.

[File under: ]

Bambi

The Gorse Fox has had a good day. Bambi was not here today, and progress was swift and sure.

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World Cup Diving

The Gorse Fox was pleased to see the Portugeses National Diving Team eliminated from the World Cup last night. What an utter disgrace. They take the concept of gamesmanship and cheating to a whole new level.

[File under: ]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Gorse Fox thinks a camel is in development.

He concludes that techies and project managers are actually separate species. 6 lines on a spreadsheet... task is to say Yes or No to each.... one hour so far... and counting.

Head, meet wall. Wall, meet head.

[File under: ]

Above & Beyond

The Gorse Fox sat with a bunch of vets over dinner(*). What fun we had! Discussing interval testing of cattle, managing outbreaks, farmers who do not welcome inspection (and what they do about it), giving evidence in court and on, and on. It was just non-stop fun (ok, that's a lie) and meant that the Gorse Fox missed most of the Germany-vs-Italy game. (He thinks that this was above and beyond the call of duty).

(*)GF noticed that they stuck to fish, or eggs... no meat. Asks, should he be worried?

[File under: ]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th July

The Gorse Fox wishes his American friends (and cousins who live there) Happy Independence day

[File under: ]

Managing Projects & Programmes

The Gorse Fox is involved (in this workshop) with "Managing Successful Programmes" (part of PRINCE2)... Those that known him, will know that this does not fill him with enthusiasm.

What is already interesting (after half a day) is that this approach drives a type of behaviour. The behaviour is that the "process" is the end... not a means to an end. This is the wrong behaviour for any programme... and explains why Government IT projects fail. GF could comply with every process, to the letter, yet never deliver the project...

GF looks back at a crusty old project manager of his... His view was that the project management process should be invisible, unless things were going wrong. GF never knew a single project of his to fail (and he played a mean harmonica).

So what do you need?
  • A clear (common) vision
  • Clear business requirements from an empowered, small, business expert - with a common understanding on between business and the project.
  • A plan that shows the interlocking components
  • Some resources who are skilled and dedicated and understand the vision
  • Good communications
  • Good change management to control impact of late changes to requirements
  • Test management (involved from the beginning)
  • Configuration management
  • Talent
  • Sufficient budget
  • Realistic timescales


[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox is attending a 3 week workshop in Warwick University. Should be interesting (no, honestly!)... and possibly fattening.

[File under: ]
The Gorse Fox wishes to make known to the guy idiot in the Mazda 323F that is is not considered good driving technique to be talking on your bluetooth headset whilst reading a book propped up against your steering wheel, and travelling at 70mph in heavy traffic.

[File under: ]

Monday, July 03, 2006

Addicted to Space

Gorse Fox is not sure if there was tip-off, but according to the BBC: "Crack found in shuttle tank foam".

He hasn't had a chance to read the article, but it just goes to show these dealers get everywhere.

What? Could the headline mean something else?

[File under: ]

Critics and Pundits

Gorse Fox took a few minutes to look at the statistics regarding the England football manager. Sven-Goran Ericsson, who is being so widely villified in the press, is the 4th most successful of the last 50 years.
  1. Sir Alf Ramsay - win rate 61.06% (over 113 games)
  2. Glen Hoddle - win rate 60.71% (over 28 games)
  3. Ron Greenwood - win rate 60% (over 55 games)
  4. Sven-Goran Ericsson - win rate 59.7% (over 67 games)
and just to remind you that our knowledgeable pundits can't snipe from a very strong position...
  • Sir Bobby Robson - win rate 49.47% (over 95 games)
  • Graham Taylor - win rate 47.37% (over 38 games)


[File under: ]

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Photogenic Family

Going through some photos taken by the Gorse Fox's brother-in-law (the Sausage-man) he found this gem of an image featuring his Nutty Cousin.

All being well, she is down in Westport for the 4th July Celebrations. Let's hope the Americans are understanding. Posted by Picasa