Tuesday, 30 November 2021

End of work year 2021

Listen attentively first

It has been a wonderful work year with much to celebrate even if the challenges and the frustrations that seemed to greet one at many turns. The job of being a subject matter expert in a big team of long-staying members who are steeped in the traditions and culture of an organisation whilst being hardened by their experiences along with the histories that have defined their presence or absence of amenity to change can be interesting.

Someone like me is supposed to visit first with a good pair of listening ears and a fresh pair of eyes long before I have a compelling speech to review the long-held perspectives, persuading colleagues, partners and hierarchies of alternative methods and best practice. It is more a battle of wits than anything else, the encounters can be bruising, yet necessary.

Make your footing sure

My view is, I am engaged to challenge the orthodoxy, expose the dogmatic and align towards the pragmatic, shepherding change, not as a hard choice but a progressive march which is rarely at speed but at snail’s pace with the purpose of incremental and beneficial improvements that the managers can highlight as big successes.

Sometimes, I cannot get in edgeways, all arguments deployed, most debates exhausted, glaring evidence presented that it is literally incontrovertible, but the political climate will not budge a nanometre.

It is usually political

You begin to learn to choose your battles carefully, find where you can build agreement, move that towards a consensus, manage the compromises well, so the main thrust of your ideas are not lost, then bring forth the benefits and the gains whilst assertively debunking woolly thinking, needless experimentation and pointless solutions crafted from the poor use or knowledge of the tools available to fulfil the requirements.

This, I aver is the bane of being in a technical role at a high level, it is usually more political than technical, and it is where you have to master the art of communication. How to point out bad practice that it becomes a learning opportunity rather than it being taken negatively as criticism. Accord praise liberally and acknowledge fully ideas proposed and activities beautifully performed by others even if you wish you had that idea first.

Be dependable more than indispensable

Win confidence and trust, not so much to make yourself indispensable but valuable and dependable, this is what 33 years in the field of computer information technology has taught me, 26 of those years, I have mainly been a freelance consultant. I don’t get moved along like I am part of a glacier, I have to earn my place and prove my worth constantly through continuous learning and practice, education, excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity, and grit.

My work year 2021 is now over for me to go and deal with the essential matters of the heart. A stand-in has been invited to provide support to my standard of expertise and know-how, whilst I am away. I did not achieve everything I hoped I will in the organisation in the year past, but I think there is enough understanding that I can be helpful in matters of architecture, policy, implementation, and administration.

To the coalface of the work front, I wish you all a wonderful yuletide season and a more rewardingly, prosperous and fulfilling New Year, maybe, just maybe, we would also see the back of this global pandemic and launch into a new life of cherished experiences and exciting adventure. 

Of dreams and battles in other tongues

I dream active dreams

Vivid dreams find a landscape in my sleep, and I cannot account for when they occur apart from when there is too much fat in my food close to when I take my pills, that the interaction between the chemicals allows for that side effect.

At other times, it is a busy day that leaves me so utterly exhausted, once I fall asleep, there is a kind of incapacitation that helps my relaxation, but I get any sleep I can whenever I can, for there is a tendency to insomnia that I try to arrest before it takes hold.

One apparent sleep disorder I have endured is parasomnia, where undesirable and physical events occur in my sleep that I am punching out or kicking out, at other times, I am talking in my sleep and rarely in typical conversation but in serious confrontation with people or situations that occasion possible or imminent harm.

Winning in all fights

From deep within my psyche, I find myself engaged in some sort of spiritual warfare, speaking out against assailants to the scheme of the Acts of Apostles. Fundamentally, I am a man of intense spiritual persuasion and belief that some realms in which I dwell are multidimensional and needing of presence in attention, observation, assertion, understanding, engagement, and conflict where you should triumph.

One other peculiarity is whilst English is my mother tongue and Yoruba is a learned language, my dream language is usually strongly Yoruba than English, I seem to be more assertive and sure of myself and what I determine to do in that language with a lot more clarity and forcefulness. I marvel at the power of dreams and what many victories I have been conferred with when met with an attack.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Thought Picnic: In writing to get it right

Writing to a sort

Sometimes I wonder if I would successfully fill a month with its daily quota of blogs as both the exercise of discipline and the demonstration of consistency that I occasionally fail to achieve. It is not for the want of determination or the absence of material to write about, the unintended along with the unexplained just seems to invade the appearance of order leaving one thinking things are spiralling out of control.

Then you assess the point of necessity, for none of this is done under any duress, it is just the willingness to act and the preparedness the perform that dictates the frequency or the lack of it. I enjoy this activity and it is not done for the purpose of monetisation as I was asked of recently. I guess when that comes to mind, you acquire both duty and responsibility with the pressure that could portend avoidable anxiety.

Remember to relax and learn

If the themes of some recent blogs are anything to go by, the circumstances I create for myself are ones in which I seek to thrive rather than suffer. Even when I consider the idea of resting on laurels of blogging for almost 18 years, I am no less enthusiastic about blogging which ranges over a broad spectrum of the serious to the unserious, opinions that I once spelt opinono in a primary school spelling test, perspectives, experiences, and reports.

What surprises me as I write is the things I remember, it is like an active archiving and searching operation is going on in my brain and there to type out at this moment are times when I did not know how to pronounce bronchitis, yacht, quay, beau, or Islington, and then I knew. The blog presents opportunities for learning and learning afresh. Now, what did I start this blog for?

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Let's do basic Greek indeed

All Greek in our romance

In the quandary of names or naming, the unintended occurs with the need to avoid unnecessary conflict that some are wont to stir up for it is in confusion and confrontation that they find every sense of satisfaction, you almost voice a silent prayer that peace would never find a home with their kind of hospitality. [UK Today News: Donald Trump Jr, Ted Cruz troll WHO for skipping ‘Xi’ in naming omicron variant]

Much as we have adopted the Greek alphabet as the nomenclature for the variants of the Coronavirus we could as well have used Roman numerals. However, if you thought you could learn the Greek alphabet as the pandemic reveals new ways to remain part of our globally contemporary news stories, you will be on to a bad education.

Know beyond the popular

Having done engineering subjects, many of the units of measurement or formulas for equations have Greek nomenclature, many of which I cannot care to remember at this time. The new Coronavirus Variant of Concern (VoC) has been given omicron, after we have seen through alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants, some Variants of Interest (VoI) were given lambda and mu. It would appear some designated variants just never reached the popularity stakes and so did not become global news. [WHO: Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants]

To help understand the situation, I have shared the Greek alphabet; alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, xi, omicron, pi, rho, sigma, tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega.

Names to make trouble with

The WHO skipped the 13th Greek letter, nu just not to give the Coronavirus the moniker of new, the decision to skip the 14th Greek letter xi can be termed political and diplomatic as it would have sent us looking east to China where the first indications the Coronavirus emerged from and it just happens to be the surname of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. The surname is first when referring to Chinese names.

I guess we would have been met with the same dilemma if Roman numerals were used, for at the time we had lambda in the Greek alphabet, it would have been XI. The WHO depends on global consensus and cooperation, which can entertain the risk of favouritism and/or bias in trying to serve all interests without offending any principal participant.

Get a piece of the pie

It might have hamstrung the WHO in tackling the Coronavirus with alacrity and most especially in determining the true source of this global pandemic, yet everyone needs to be kept on board.

One can only hope that with the emergence of the omicron variant, world leaders can come together to address the appallingly disgraceful state of global vaccine inequity and along with relaxing patent restrictions to allow the Global South to produce their own vaccines to local distribution too. In a sense, we might with that agreement finally have got a piece of the pie, to get this Coronavirus out of circulation that we would no need to get to a Coronavirus variant called pi.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Moments of senior and tiresome abandon

The irksome numbers of time

It has been a rather hectic week, by which I mean, I did not notice the difference between 9:15 PM and 19:15 when I booked a restaurant table a few days ago, all the while thinking I had an early time slot until, in conversation with a friend, I noticed my error. I called the restaurant and was able to reschedule for 17:00. I must have been having a senior moment, for time is rarely something I get wrong.

It was a date in honour of a friend, one of my many exes I still have a good friendship with, though I have friends with literally all of those I have had affairs with if they have not withdrawn their friendship. By the time I was through the main course, I was drifting away, shutting down and dozing off.

I was both aware and tired that keeping up with the conversation was not getting any easier and he is hardly a slow talker, even under the influence.

A week of small crazies

It is the little things that have laden the week with apparent lethargy, the weather has taken a turn for mercury descending to zero and visiting a bone-chilling cold to anyone who ventures out, this along with the wind that lowers the temperature even more. My ordeal with the laundry service which started last week Thursday ended on Monday evening.

Calling the matriarch to celebrate her birthday started off nicely before it became distressing for both of us, an issue that needed my intervention beyond the activities once undertaken by an interlocutor, the delegation of responsibility had created an uncomfortably inadvertent and unexpected power dynamic that was difficult for my sensibilities.

At work, there was flux and in the things that demanded an interjection of wonder and surprise, it was not that which was in a particularly positive light. That with developments in South Africa that had me fielding calls and concerns along with the danger of scuppering plans. You do feel you want to lie down.

To listen beyond the hastened

An opportunity came to vent my spleen, I was being listened to for my perspective and view of things without the cloud of familiarity that excused a deeper understanding of things people assume are of no concern because they deem me unflappable. I could be my own greatest enemy, if I am read as people presume, without them asking to be certain of their conclusions.

When I got home, I was ready to crash, and I did take a picture to show I was not alert for serious engagement; it did not suffice, the phone rang, the sound awakened me, their satisfaction in seeing me was another half hour of working myself back to the stupor and sleepiness I thought I had a grasp of when I got home.

Not acting on what is remembered of them

We see only the good

Through affinity and familiarity, we acquire the kind of subjectivity that blinds us to certain characteristics of personality and integrity. The people we seem to know by whom we have determined they can do no wrong, we hoist them on plinths of adoration, unimpeachable and perfect despite their flaws being evident to others.

The searing truth of the character of our somewhat familiars escapes scrutiny and challenge, we are left totally unpersuaded of the truth and maybe that is necessary for the kind of relationships we need to maintain for the respect or the mystique the person presents to our opinions and adulation of them.

Speak the truth always

Yet, I am of the rare disposition of not speaking ill of the dead whilst not supporting false encomiums and epitaphs that suggest a life lived differently from the knowledge we have of such persons. The needful must be done, to bury the dead. However, to praise them beyond their lived human expression is to at once attend to falsehood and do them an injustice.

The evil men do remains the evil they have done, just as the good they have done is the good for which they should be lauded and appreciated.

Do well with all

In the many stories I have heard of people who have heretofore seemed worthy of praise because their deeds are concealed in the secrecy of acts that others remember them for, I have been astounded.

All I can say is that for all that they might have done wrong, we should find it in our better selves not to act as they have done to us and so become like them, but to rise to a standard for which we might be found good, faultless, and exemplary.

The sands of time will always archive the record and in the way we have been made to feel, by those who have contemned us, if we cannot forget, we can attempt to forgive.

The sin against urinals

Nature is a persistent caller

The fundamentals of nature and quite possibly the accumulation of years registered as age imposes on the person the need to answer the call of nature at inopportune moments far from the comfort of a home commode.

You get to a public urinal that is describing itself with odours most foul but have to abide it and as you release yourself with the effortless ease of bladder affirming aplomb and notice the debris of discarded chewing gum in the urinal receptacle.

Dissolution of gum

Now, there might be a lot of applications of urine that I would not care to list here for the sake of polite discourse, but I have not found any study that suggests urine can dissolve and decompose chewing gum.

Which leads me to ask the question why anyone with a remotely functioning cranial capacity would think the urinal is the best place to spit out their chewing gum? We all know that chewing gum is probably one of the most annoyingly difficult substances to dispose of.

Nascent gum archaeology

It is spat out to the ground, on pavements where they can stick on the soles of your shoes, on the under seats of benches or the public armrests where you can only wonder after that mangling with the saliva of strangers, it becomes a vector for the unimaginably unspeakable and disgusting germs.

Yet, it happens so much that I wonder if DNA markers should not be harvested from chewing gum discarded in public places other than bins for analysis towards seeking out the antisocial culprits for prosecution.

Just a thought, and I think it might be a good one too.