Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Dump Identity

The Gorse Fox was frustrated yesterday that the local Civic Recycling Centre (known as the Dump) in Buckingham was closed when he had loaded up the car with several huge sacks full of the detritus of every day hoarding and taken them to be “recycled”.

Evidently, the council in Aylesbury who are responsible for Buckingham are not only trying to shut down its bus services, have its bin men police recycling infringements (refusing to take the bins), and shut down the centre used by the old folk – they also think that amenities that service the public should close early. The Gorse Fox is only thankful that he lives in West Sussex where the council seem to remember the concept of Public Service.

Anyway, carting the said detritus back to Sussex overnight, GF has now been across to the local dump where the assistants who work there helped unload the car and sort the stuff into the right bins.

Well done West Sussex – and stuff you, Aylesbury.

Cement

The task identified last weekend has bubble back to the top. The Gorse Fox has now dug his hole, hole in the ground, he was diggin’ it round he was. (With apologies to Bernard Cribbins). Into the hole he has plunged a bucket, and the bucket had gravel ballast before being filled with quick drying cement. That, in turn,  was topped with gravel to make a little less grey.

The Gorse Fox is now allowing it to set. Hopefully, the Washing Line Fiasco (a sequel to the Dishwasher Ultimatum and the Janome Supremacy) is now sorted.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making way

Journey up to the remotest parts of Buckingham was significantly faster than last week. The "de-cluttering" continues. Even this second weekend has only provided enough space for basic clearing. We have had to cart stuff out into the garden to make sufficient space for other bits to be sorted, selected, or discarded.

GF is helping with heavy lifting and shifting, but otherwise staying well clear. He is seriously allergic to dust and rooting through all the bags, clothes, and boxes would render him well and truly useless.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Whew

That was a week. GF is now at the end of his stint as stand-in for the programme director. He didn't really mind the meetings, nor the decision making, but was frustrated by the lack of opportunity to do his own job for the week.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lines drawn

The various battle fronts continued throughout the day – will the various trolls do what is needed (rather than what they think their scope might be), will client meetings go on forever, will we catch up on some of the items that look to be in jeopardy, will we get sign-off from the initial phase of the work.

All things considered it was not a bad day. Most battlefronts remained firmly under control and the Gorse Fox caught up on several areas where there had been confusion – bringing a little clarity and mollifying the concerns that had been raised. With a sigh of relief he left the building at the end of the day and headed back (on the remarkably quiet Motorways) to Sussex.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mr Grumpy

The Gorse Fox has had to resort to an alternate persona today. Today he has (quite deliberately) been Mr Grumpy. It seems that his usual inclusive and avuncular approach was not affective for some areas of the the team. Today, the baseball bat has been swinging and skulls have been (metaphorically) smashed together. Colleagues, as a result, have been giving him a wide berth or tip-toeing around.

Result!



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nailing it

The Gorse Fox has had a busy day. After various escalations, there are new people coming on board tomorrow and Thursday. Hopefully, they will be good and focussed trolls who will get on and sort out the mess that some of their colleagues have left, or at least failed to address.

GF rarely gets cross, but he did have to assert himself fairly forcefully during the day... And despite his dislike for confrontation had resort to using the adjective "shambolic" in one email. He has a feeling he may have to resort to using his old mates network and wield a few GMs and VPs before long.



Telling a Story


Telling a Story
Originally uploaded by Gorse Fox.
The Gorse Fox had to chuckle as he crossed an empty car park near Bristol Docks and near a number of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

It was clear from the detritus that there were stories to tell in this car park!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nostalgia

It is tempting to wallow in nostalgia when meeting up with a friend or relation that you have not seen for many years. Tonight could, so easily, have descended into a series of reminiscences, but Gorse Fox and his cousin Pete walked a fine line between nostalgia, news, and general gossip - and hopefully did not bore his partner too badly.

A splendid evening in the subtle and restrained bright turquoise Severn Shed in Bristol Docks - opposite the Seaman's Hostel (which made the Gorse Fox chuckle, in the circumstances). The odd glass of fermented fruit may have passed the lips along with a fine selection from the menu... but the Gorse Fox was sorry when it came to an end, and he had to stroll through the late evening back to the hotel.

Cuz


Dinner planned with a cousin not seen for several years. Really looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sails

After the late night yesterday, the morning was leisurely. The weather was bright but breezy. This should not have been an issue, but Silver Vixen wanted to hang out some washing. The problem is that the new washing line is slowly digging itself a larger and larger hole and it has now got to the point that the hole is not able to keep the line upright. This is particularly true when sheets are acting like sails and the wind is practising for tornado trials.

GF found his way to B&Q (one of the only surviving DIY shops in the area) and loaded up with gravel, cement, and a bucket. A new base will be constructed at the earliest opportunity.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Clutterday

The roads, at first, seemed quiet – but then the we hit the M25. The M25 was cluttered.The M40 was cluttered, too. The Services station where we stopped for a comfort break was cluttered. Our journey had taken nearly three hours.

Its purpose?

To spend a day de-cluttering the home of an elderly relative. This was quiet a feat as it was virtually a matter hanging onto the few square inches of floor that remain visible, bending from the waist and working outwards and round. The Urban-cub was with us, and she took control of the kitchen, the Silver Vixen was in charge of the living space, the Gorse Fox (ironically) the garden, and the Silver Vixen’s sister managed the bathroom.

A few interesting statistics emerged:

  • Some single people evidently need 17 toothbrushes
  • Best-before dates are for sissies – a date of 1997 is reasonable.
  • Some people need 6 umbrellas
  • It is always worth having a spare greetings card – or 230
  • Stairs are merely offset shelves

The 10 dustbin bags full of material destined for the tip have hardly scratched the task. A JCB and a Skip would have been more appropriate.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hard Week

The Gorse Fox has had a hard week. Since joining Starfleet he has set a rule that he won’t work past six… but is willing to start early, indeed as early as necessary.

This week has seen several days where the rule has been broken, despite early starts, and as the working week draws to an end, he looks forward to a curry and a glass of wine. Well earned.

Gorse Fox notices that he’s missed a couple of calls during the day. No doubt someone from News International will give him a ring and let him know what they were about.

The Silver Vixen had been a bit under the weather when he got in last night, but his positive energy and magnetic personality have obviously helped, as she’s a lot better today.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sharp end

Well first day at the sharp end was no fun what so ever. GF was lumbered with a load of issues that had suddenly leapt out of the woodwork. It turned into a merry-go-round of meetings calls and escalations. The day job had to move to one side for a while.

It was well after five before GF got on the road, and whilst the western end of the journey was slow, the traffic got lighter as the trip progressed and the journey took less than three hours.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harrow

Like the Japanese Ambassador greeting a line of visitors, the Gorse Fox has had a harrowing day. His dearest programme manager had left for vacation and somehow GF has picked up lots of additional work... Client liaison, contract management, steering group, status reports, and a host of other troll tasks.

Twelve hours after arriving in the office (GF is an early starter) he wandered back to the car and headed off to find supper. Chicken would be a more healthy choice than pizza, so he headed for Nandos. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. Arriving at Nandos it was clear that there was a long queue just to get seated. Spinning elegantly on his heels, GF headed back across the passageway and ended up in Pizza Hut. Why is it that every time he actively decides against a pizza, that's what he ends up eating.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wilting

The Gorse Fox has had a good day which could so easily have been rubbish. He had lost his access badge. Now, this can be a pain at the best of times, but GF tends to arrive at work by about seven in the morning. This means nobody there to sign him in. It all worked out, though. Somebody had found the badge and handed it in to security and as GF worked through the door the young lady on reception handed over the wayward card and GF was able to get down to work.

The afternoon differed slightly. GF had to meet up with one of his people for the mid-year review. This meant moving out of the office and driving across to Swindon which was a pleasant change.

Meanwhile back in Sussex, the Silver Vixen was enjoying an all day sewing workshop. She has commented what a great day it was, and how she would not have missed it for the world.



Location:The Ave,,United Kingdom

Monday, July 18, 2011

Troubleshooting

The Gorse Fox had an uneventful journey across country to Bristol. As the schools move towards breaking-up for the summer, the roads get noticeably quieter on the morning trip.

Once at the office it was clear that several further problems had spent the weekend creeping out of the woodwork. These have leapt to the top of the list whilst GF also tries to document the last set of solutions and find some way of getting the trolls to extract their digits and procure the required systems.

GF arrived at Cribbs Causeway only to realise he had lost his Identity card for the customer's offices. Fortunately the card wasn't needed for access to TGI Friday and some salad and some quesadillas. The card will have to wait until the morning.

Silver Vixen had been out for the day and visited Nymans Gardens with a friend. Despite the rain, she said how nice it is at present. GF must admit that he found it to be a lovely spot when he visited a few years back - must be time for return visit.

Location:The Ave,,United Kingdom

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rubble

The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen spent the day as missionaries over in the wildest reaches of Hampshire. Meeting up with Betty and Barney Rubble we had a day of chat and gossip and nice meal at a local eatery.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

It Rocks

The weather was inclement. In fact it was foul. A gale was blowing, hurling rain across the coast with gay abandon. The Silver Vixen needed a new component for one of the sewing machines for use at a class she will be attending. Brighton, once more, was the destination.

This time we would not park up, but rather GF would drop SV at the shop, and then move into a holding pattern. Umbrellas were being turned inside and out, and several had freed themselves from their humans and soared, unfettered, through the rain-drenched sky.

Traffic was slow, but despite everything the tourists were still out in their droves – lines of foreign visitors snaking their way through the streets; hen parties, already dressed up at eleven in morning, determined to have fun; and of course, nutters just wandering about along the sea-front watching the furious waves hurl spray across the unwary.

First circuit complete, GF slowed as he approached the drop-off. The Silver Vixen had been watching for him and appeared seemingly from nowhere. The course for home was plotted and we peeled off into the traffic.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Help

The Gorse Fox is getting a great deal of advice and guidance. Some would say interference help!

Now that the trolls have got involved, they – needless to say – believe that they have answers which the Gorse Fox clearly overlooked. As a result, shield and sword in hand, GF has been fighting a rear-guard action which has involved reviewing additional products and talking to “experts”… only to prove time and again that, strangely GF does know what he’s talking about.

The best moment of the day was when one software salesman, having listened to GFs explanation of the problem, tried to tell him that the whole programme was going about things the wrong way. Taking a deep breath GF gave him a well directed roasting. He conceded, and even sent an email to confess that he had no product that would help.

Meanwhile, back on the pre-election trail, GF finished the last of his weekly candidate preparation calls (at least until next year). Now it is just a matter of submitting them to the election process and hoping they are selected.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mmmm

Is it actually a compliment to be likened to a dead comic?



Town

The Gorse Fox had to get the first train out of the village to get up to London to attend a one day conference. One can get cynical about these things, but actually GF thoroughly enjoyed the day.

During the afternoon there was a session for fellow geeks within Starfleet. This culminated in a presentation and debate between Tech Director Europe, CTO US, and the Gorse Fox. Seemed to go very well, GF being told afterwards tht he should have been a stand-comedian, and likened by our US CTO to the late George Carlin. The important point was that GF actually managed to get several important messages across.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bring me my sword and shield

The Gorse Fox has spent several weeks trying to solve a problem for the latest project. Now that the solution has been found, and several products able to fill the bill, the Gorse Fox has had to involve the Starfleet trolls. Already they are winding him up. A note has come back asking daft questions about why we are not using products that Starfleet usually use for this. Well, strangely, it's because we don't usually do this... There is no usual solution.

GF can feel a frustrating few weeks coming up.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

That's Bellamy

The day in the office was fairly uneventful. As usual, choices had to be made, decisions debated and taken, and possible suppliers interviewed. Nothing of significant interest.

Leaving the office GF headed for Cribbs Causeway and a choice of restaurants. Tonight, GF chose to try Bella Italia and was pleasantly surprised. There is no reason why he shouldn't be, but somehow GF rarely sees Italian as his preferred choice.

Leaving the restaurant a quick stop at Morrison's punctuated the journey back to the hotel. Chocolate sprinkles for the Silver Vixen's coffee now replenished, successfully.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Hello

...my name is Tom and I will patronise you this evening. So started the Gorse Fox's evening meal. (well that may not have been exactly what he said, but it certainly captures the essence of the greeting).

The menu was presented and "can I get you a drink this evening?". a glass of merlot was requested and then when Tom returned he asked if the Gorse Fox had been able to make up his mind and would he like to order. GF was not standing on ceremony. He ordered shrimp and salad. "Shrimp and salad, sir? Can I get you anything else?"

Given that the Gorse Fox had been clear about his order, he was confused as to why the order should be questioned, and could feel a wave sarcasm rising. He remained calm. Somehow.

When the meal was finished, he thanked Tom and asked for the bill. This was not good enough for Tom. He insisted on interrogating the Gorse Fox and checking that a sweet was not required, a cocktail, any other drink, or even a coffee.

Bristling, the Gorse Fox requested the bill once again. Paid, and left before he said something unfortunate.



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ah ha! It seems that the Gorse Fox's "mail...

Ah ha! It seems that the Gorse Fox's "mail-in" setting had been changed in the Blog. This explains several recent problems he's had whilst "mobile".

Hopefully this is now sorted.

It will be nice when Blogger and Google+ are better integrated, and when the native IOS app is available. There are several aspects of the Safari implementation of G+ that the Gorse Fox finds impenetrable.
The Google+ project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. If you're not able to access Google+, please check back again soon.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Playing


The Silver Vixen has been playing with her new toy. Several miles of thread later, she seems to have cracked it and can now do free motion quilting on the new machine. Sorted!
Posted by Picasa

Plus

Well Gorse Fox has been a Google+ member for about a week now. So far, he likes it.
There are Circles. Circles control who can see or participate in particular messages or discussions. Thus he can discuss things with the family that nobody else can see, similarly he can discuss technical issue with fellow geeks, without cluttering the message stream of family members.
There are Photos. The Photos extend the control of the images that you store in Picasa Web (which will soon be re-branded, apparently). Again, different photos can be shared in different circles, allowing significant granularity of control.
There is Hangout. Hangout allows you to have a group video-chat (a feature that GF has observed, but not yet tried).
There is Huddle. Huddle allows simple text messaging from an Android mobile device to members of your Circles. (Use G+ or SMS text messages).
It all integrates quite well with the rest of the Google family of products. All it really needs is wider membership. It is, in the opinion of the Gorse Fox, a much better, more secure, and “more grown up” version of Facebook.

Brighton

Saturday began with a trip to Brighton. The Silver Vixen has been spending time looking for and research various sewing machines that will allow her to participate in some new needle & thread based endeavours.

Having had several machines serviced this week, and confirmed that the techniques in question were beyond them, the research continued with greater vigour. This culminated in this morning’s trip and session in a Brighton sewing shop where the models under consideration could be tried and tested. Sam, the eager and talented assistant recognised a kindred spirit (the Silver Vixen, not the Gorse Fox) and they switched to a new language of bobbins, open toed feet, tensions, stitch lengths, and free motion. The Gorse Fox watched, bemused.

Some 45 minutes later we headed to the exit, a new toy clutched in our hands. The Gorse Fox suspects it will be a quiet afternoon – and may in fact be days before the Silver Vixen emerges again from her lair.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Frantic Friday

Why do Fridays always turn out to be so busy? From the moment the computers switched on it was a case of call after call, and review after review. This was not what GF would consider a quiet day.



Thursday, July 07, 2011

As if

As if the Gorse Fox doesn't have enough to fill the day!

Starfleet take standards very seriously. As a result, even senior (ancient) technical people like the Gorse Fox have to renew their professional certification every three years... This is not just a tick in the box, in fact checking the latest requirements today, GF learned that a 30 page write up is expected.

Pooh!



Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Good

Good day today. Long running intractable problem finally reaching a conclusion. Remarkable how difficult it can be to do something that seems so simple. However, once system security is added to the mix and the chance of replication conflicts, everything becomes a bit troublesome.

Straight from work to the Indian restaurant, and now back in the hotel for the evening.



Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Face to face

Gorse Fox has just been using FaceTime with the Silver Vixen. It worked remarkably well, given that GF was using his MiFi, and was thus using 3G as the carrier.



Depravity

The Gorse Fox has read with horror of the hacking of the mobile phone messages of the missing Millie Dowler, and cannot find the right words to describe the depths of depravity to which our media are willing to stoop. Obviously one individual will be the fall guy as the News of the World tries to limit the damage. But when you whole business model is based on exposing or alleging the most unsavoury behaviour in our society - not to heap opprobrium on it's perpetrators, but rather to lionise them and to titillate the morally destitute.

One wonders how much lower the media can go.



Monday, July 04, 2011

Back

And so we are back from the trip to London. The Gorse Fox has been away from this sort of journey for a while now and realised how he had obviously become inured to sights you see on such a trip. It is clear that many people have no sense of self worth and are perfectly happy to wander round half naked, filthy, or wearing clothes that only have a place in the local tip.



Avoiding the grindstone

The Gorse Fox has a vacation day. Nothing special, but GF wishes to accompany the Silver Vixen to see a specialist in London. Tickets are nestling in the wallet as the clock ticks down. GF suspects it'll be fairly unpleasant on the Underground as it is such a hot day.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Chat

Wonderfully long chat with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit over Skype. Brilliant sound and video quality for a 75 minute call.

Lots of discussions and ideas bubbling away - will be interested to know how things turn out.

How big?

Gorse Fox just linked the Silver Vixen's phone to iTunes and it said there was an update to download. Go ahead, he thought... and 666MB of data started to pump through the network. What a beast!

Fail

The Gorse Fox is, essentially, delighted with his iPad2. It seems to answer each of the "Use Cases" he had defined for it, prior to the purchase.

However. (You knew there would be an "However", didn't you?)

However, GF has noticed a couple of times in the last week that the iPad has been unable to upload photos to his blog either using the blog app or even by email... in fact he had to email the image to Flickr, then blog from there.  Now if these were big images, the Gorse Fox may have a modicum of understanding, but they were not that big.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Lazy

The Silver Vixen was out circling with her coven. The Gorse Fox was left to his own devices and so spent some time catching up on expenses, and preparing for mid year reviews whilst watching This Week in Google.

The afternoon was even more relaxed with some time wandering through the features of Google+ and some time watching the last part of the film "Knight and Day"



Friday, July 01, 2011

Pottering on

The Gorse Fox has had a good day, working at home. The morning was spent going through document reviews, but was interrupted by an invite to the new Google+. G+ is a new social website that has many features that might seem analogous to Facebook. Where it "wins" is that it works with social circles, and allows you to control who can see what and who can participate in what. The interface is nice and clean and the GF thinks it is superior to Facebook in that it protects your privacy, but integrates with all of your Google / Android infrastructure.