Frosties Mk III is en route, another shonky dog's breakfast of a site utilizing stone-age technology, hosted from a half-stolen lappy with the processing power of a 1970s Casio.
12/16/05 Disco Frosties
Embrionic alpha-beta next-gen frosties is down the pan! Disconnected by Monsieur Campbell, who's decided another Blighty winter is not for him & is badgering off to Tahoe for the season, leaving new frosties hanging by a thread, cut on a vmware cd. So I'm in search of a new host, probably right here when the house is insulated against freezing/bursting/pipes & a suitable ISP has been tracked down.
"Introducing" the golden badger
Peripatetic life continues, nay intensifies. A few days here or there in
NYC/Boston/Maine/Carmel/Tahoe/SF/Marin, loosely based in the latter. Kansas next, Dorothy, then roadtrip onto Denver and back to the Bay Area. These are truly the days of
Proper website updatage to return when some stability is established...I appear to be the Atlantic mirror image of Bazza, exploring the correlation of work and non-work productivity.
3 months later...with a raft of worldtrip
photos to post I'm still wiping the techno-sleep
from my eyes. Looking at my calendar,
I see it's time to address the Bazzaslur
and create a data-driven website with as little
effort / in as little time as possible. Then
again, Soulseek & Wimbledon are calling...
Atos, Hello World
After 18 glorious months of contracting with
Aunty Atos in Blighty, the gig is finally up. Lowlights
have included; wearing suits daily, diminished
power from contractor status, commuting (6
months), combating negativity. Highlights have
been; earning GBP as the dollar tanks, bringing
mates to Blighty, working with phenomenal
people, being outside IR35 with CXC, learning
different parts of the software business,
redundancy cheques, visiting excrement digestion
plants. No flowers.
It feels as though it's
August 2003 and I've just woken from a vivid
dream of being back in England. As a way of
ducking out of dealing with what comes next, a
round-the-world trip has been hastily organized.
Flexible dates & route add more haze to the
journey's purpose/duration, but currently
penciled in are; Denver (tail-end of ski
season), Fiji, Sydney (Flangezone, Sun Office
for Kt)/Queensland (surfing), Bali/Lombok (time
permitting), Cambodia (Bob/Riffy)/Thailand.
with a faint interest in footy and/or
time-on-hands needs to follow the Beeb's Robbo
column. Does such a character exist for American
Some hurriedly-published piccies from
the last 6 weeks; one of the finer Karaoke
evenings of late (gratitude to Barrett for
organizing by way of this),
the abuse that was Bob&Riffy's
going-away bash, and the return of the NorthEast
Sad to relate that due my ineptitude/laziness
there will be no updates until return from
aforementioned journey in two or three months
-- Gulf Stream
Perhaps my view of Blighty is rose-tinted,
but nowhere in the recesses of my brain do I
store memories of daily snow during the
wintertime in SE England. Until now. For nigh on
a month the white stuff has been fluttering in
the sky. Perhaps this is a 1961/2-style end to
the season, or maybe all that stuff about
climate change isn't baloney and Kyoto was a
progressive step ignored by shotbix regimes?
Having watched Chelsea sneak past Barcelona
in the Champions League last night, I thought
"what better way to celebrate than seek out
the newspaper in Barcelona and read about their
pain?". So off I trundled to Google, which
reported that El Periodico, rather than El Pais,
was the paper to concentrate on such Catalonian
matters. Great! Google offers a translate
service. As a quasi-software engineer it is
profoundly reassuring to see what a comically shonky
effort it made of it. Back in those lofty
corrugated iron towers of Middlesex we pretended
to study a compsci module called 'artificial
intelligence'. Central question was 'Is AI
possible? If so, when? Within the next 50
years?'. Well, not 12 years, that's for sure.
Which is why we're all still in jobs
Scrapheap o' life
New Year's Resolution; maintain website.
Sadly, like my flailing career, this wish has
gone to pot, got the munchies and snarfed 5
bowls of cereal & a packet of hobnobs. Fear not,
reader, imminent changes in my working status
should at least make for some good frostytime.
eve of my 10 years anniversary as a wage slave
is up (March 1, 1995), as is my contract at Atos
Origin. The latter has been brought to bear by a
set of dodgy circumstances, the usual tragi-comic
events of an IT project going astray. Lessons of
self-preservation are there to be learnt
somewhere, some post-match analysis will occur
when the last hours have been billed. In the
meantime, effort will be made to dust down the
old resume/cv, and some
sort of oh-badgers-time-to-relearn-computing
activities -- maybe a .NET exam or two. With any
luck this old creaking website will finally be
transformed from the Front Page embarrassment it
Have we not been here before, Monsieur? A
year ago Frosties was ravaged by drought, caused
by the onset of a new job/location and its
consequent disorentiation. Back in summer I made
the first moves towards a post-Defra
"career" move. Lured in by working
with such ex-cvg luminaries as Adrian Oxbrow and
Graham Morgan, plans of Costa Rica surfdom were
usurped by another gig on the GIS rollercoaster
(er, slowboat). Just one last hit, just one last
gig and I'm outta here. Thames Water ahoy!
months later I find myself taking a commuter
train 100 miles each day, the highlight of my
morning being grabbing the grub-slinging Metro
on the way to the platform. Yes, it's a reverse
commute and yes, there's no underground/a clutch
of RLR Parcels (fields) on the journey but
b'jaysus, how did it end up thus? Reading takes its toll, sinking its grey gums
into all aspects of life; social life, London,
music downloadage, mornings,
evenings and worst of all, that most precious of
commodities -- time.
Still, on the plus-side
are the ol' contracting wages (outside
IR35...taxation at a less hectic pace),
the ability to live in a gorgeous flat and I've
learnt what an excrement digester is. So I find
myself authoring another fictitious
"Solution Architecture" a year on from
the last one. But, much as I would love a GIT-style
reunion, it appears as though the forces of 'offshoring'
have caught up with IT/GIS/me. These are strange
days of teleconferences +5.5 hours (Hyderabad).
Light-saber fights, long lunches, mates and
computer games have been replaced by suits,
early starts and endless meetings. Owwwwwww.
The Green Card Permanent Residency thing has
rocked up, a mere 5 years after applying
("it'll be 18-24 months", so said the
lawyer in those heady Clinton days); another
spanner in the wobbling spokes of my turbulent
existence. The impact is being dissected by a
team of, erm, top immigration attorneys as I hit
this very keyboard in the hope of postponing a
full-time return to the States for wee while.
This was not the week to give up
A mighty thanks to Barrett/Shiv/Sarah for
graciously hosting me during this interim
period. A mighty farkyou to the elephant
herding, well-equipped amateur dentists who
reside upstairs. The same goes to the
Macarena-loving nightclub whose grooves cause
Shiv's windows to reverberate at night. [Advice
to Sarah: apply large clumps of plasticine to
Perhaps it's the onset of autumn, perhaps the
year anniversary of Blightyness, possibly the
lack of vacation. But a change is in the air.
Yep, the lucrative London contract is drawing to
a close; a year of Esri Noakes, Genesis geezers,
former Cvg software development language
(parental advisory), Sainsbury's Jacket
Potatoes, Regent's Park strolls, Euston Tower
Square wind & Pret Sandwiches. The flat
lease is over, Baker St has been swapped for
Bayswater temporary accom as it's time to
consider "Next Steps".
But a dilemma
is presenting itself. To continue the moneyed
life of stressful city living, or to jack it all
in and follow hippy instincts to a blissful
existence of exploring personal boundaries?
Another gig for ol' Atos Origin is on the cards,
with a backup plan of learning to surf/draw in
either Costa Rica or, if that pesky Green Card
gets in the way, Hawaii. What to do?
Last month on the Gloucester Place Runway, an
end to flashing endless fleets of double-deckers
at 8am. Homelessness awaits, or JB's
A record time away from
updating the old website. Haven't been slacking tho'.
Time has been spent going to Wimbledon
and getting badgered
at parties. Glasto pix may easily offend,
while the results of a quick trip to Denver were
documented in detail.
People often ask is america any good, why go
back, why go there in the first place etc. Need
you look any more than this email from a friend
some time back? Ave
email from a concerned friend. u know who u r
Just a little motivation sent to enlighten and
elevate for infinite purpose...
Although what others view as negative avoidable dramatic events, I ponder the influence meant to challenge the success of my life positively and
I continually learn who I am, as well as extend myself to a higher state of being.
I am finding myself returning to these experiences, mostly by chance, as a reminder of the work I still need to accomplish. I humbly regret that I have not become all that I want to be.
With a heart large enough to support the world and a charisma that is captured in a picture, I feel the confidence I exude derives from past challenges that have set me back momentarily.
With this in mind, I have made a choice toward the positive, refocus my reactions, opening new doors for inspiration, and directly closing the past.
I am waving goodbye at judgmental underlying expectations of dysfunctional relationships that decrease my energy and set me back from achieving my purpose. I would like to share with the world the gift of my achieved happiness. This peace may help just a few, and like a second in time, it completes a full minute. I have stumbled over rocks set forth in my path, unaware of the fall that would bruise my knees and break my bones. Fortunately I have the healing power to remain strong and pick myself back up in order to trip on another rock, only thanks to insight, I view it as small as a pebble. I do not throw rocks, kick them out of the way, place them in sight of another path, or enlarge them for my advantage.
If anything I stumble more frequently due to the attempt to kick rocks out of the way for others.
So my question is, with all this in mind, how can I justify the scrutiny and undeserving conclusions of negative
judgment I am faced to overcome daily....FAITH!!!!
Fugit (and so does Bovril)
It has been just about 6 packs of peroxide,
201 litres of wine and a couple of thousand
pints ( a year, roughly) of Blighty livin' and
the contract is up next month. Al Brown left
Denver in 2002, the first of an eventual exodus.
In (possibly) the same fashion Shannon is off in
August. Is she the next canary, or does the
arrival of David 'mad4it' Campbell nullify the
result? Time to figure out what next. Objectives
are being set, with "learning to surf very
well" leading the list. The debate is
"where?" The answer will depend on the
continuing validity of my Green Card. If it's
still a goer then Hawaii, otherwise Costa Rica
leads the list. Thirtynothing it is, then.
the last couple of weekend killer couple of
events, which only living in London can really
afford -- Glastonbury and Wimbledon. In true
Britstyle, both were hampered by the weather. In
the case of the latter, it worked to the
advantage (effortlessly breezing onto Court No 1
for the men's' semi-final). Glasto, however,
turned into a marathon sludgefest -- 15 hours of
standing up (not done since working as a
bag-packer for Sainsbury's), dodging the
"mud". Lazing around in the sun with
beers on the grass turned into an
avoid-the-toilet-at-all-costs kinda thang. Thank
gawd for the music, which rocked in that
Just took a tube trip back after watching
England be dumped out of Euro2004. A group of
girls walked by and one stopped to ask, nay
threaten "Isn't Beckham shit?"
Encouraged by this aggressive quasi-abuse I
responded to the Marylebone train station's
homeless geez with an authoritative "Don't
even start, mate". Trust the Beeb (and 22
years of consistent results) to pull me through.
I'm now watching a program about corruption and
despair in Nigeria; things are coming slowly
into perspective. So, Henman, feel free to crash
out in the second round. Glastonbury, let the
rain gods spew forth (if the wind ever dips
below 40mph). It's all good.
The love affair with footy deepens, as a week
today commences the bi-annual Henman-esque quest
for soccer greatness (i.e. going to end up in
heroic failure, snatching defeat from the jaws
of victory). Still, to be back in Europe for
such Diana-style outpouring of grief will be
superb. Forza Azzurri! (well, one has to have a
backup & it could hardly be Les Bleus)
Congrats to Giles &
Jackie on the latest Penn arrival:
The Eagle has landed
The nest has been invaded, nay inhabited, by
I see ol' Rob Smithson has started up his
amoral.org thing, on weblog lines. Not bad but
do you really need a job at home? To
answer your question about the PennChart, it is
a stillborn project from several years ago.
Stillborn until last summer, when a band of
brothers were going to take it forward
seriously. Came up with an architecture and
beat us there, though, and the only reason I
haven't started using it is because it doesn't
support my MP3 Player of choice (the
update on the weather
forecast from last week. Neil has stopped
downloading music in the US of Attorneys -- must
it really come to this?
A damp Saturday, huddled together in a Marylebone flat overlooking the traffic
as it thunders down Gloucester Place.
Cooleditpro downloaded, rudimentary thoughts
assembled. ("You need a hobby", as one
of the brothers Penn derisively
commented). But lo, more laughs than a bag
of Camden goodies. A unique child, born from 3uniquemuthaz.
Where to start? With a desperately unoriginal
hodgepodge of Avalanches/FBS aspirations.
With regard to the latter I was predisposed to
go & nab a copy of the British
Hit Singles, and start trawling through
Soulseek in order to swell my library with tunes
ripe for sampling. Thankfully, someone has taken
the tedium out of that job with the wunderbar Easyhit
-- vielen Danke, whoever u r.
While we may console
ourselves with climatic tales such as these,
weather.com says it
all about London...
Even as I get sucked in by a Liverpool loss,
a documentary about the excavation of Troy &
a Tom Baker-narrated expose' on the travails of
a restaurant opening (makes IT seem like a
dream), I can't help but say; British telly
rocks. Bill Bryson has it right; it's the small
things about Britain that make it so special. My
commute over the park may not seem overly
exciting, but where else do I get to watch
bizarro duck-geese things fight it out over
their patch of turf (larger than my flat, the
What Mr Bryson didn't have
was RyanAir. The ability to escape, for the cost
of medium night out, to the Alps/Med. One may
not have quite the same climate-based desire to
do that in the States but it's just as well 'cos
no es possible -- flying in the US of Walmart
costs 3x the equivalent of a Sleasyjet sojourn.
Wake up, America! I want to come back to $5.99
flights, won on the back of a packet of crisps.
from a weekend in
Dublin. All the key ingredients were there;
Badger patrols, a class (A) JB vanishing act,
pavement pizza and dazed Americans.
How could I have forgotten Aussie
all these years?
12/3/04 No more
feeling -- work hangover
Having worked through the weekend, losing an
insane 70.5 hours to the gods of projectsaviour
& moneylust (for the first time since the bad
old days of CWIM '99) I am qualified to say;
dinnae do it, jimmy. To all people infected with
the disease I say; cease & desist. It is
debilitating, demoralizing and dehumanizing.
Worst of all, there's a sick addiction to it.
The first day of release from this hostage
situation, I found myself at a loose end,
longing for my captors. 11 consecutive days at
work has rendered me vegetable-like, a
chocoholic quaffing cappuccino topping behind the
An evening-only frosties piccy
update (documenting an American invasion and
the return of Ron). Oh, London, you are haunted
by the Ash prophecy yet.
The UK is being dragged into the 90s --
Meester Bob has Soulseek, Ron is being made
aware of DSL and, whoa, frosties is in the,
erm, Old Persean.
Whatever next, a corking R'n'Brittrack?
overdue naffo links
page. Almost a proper personal website now,
evidence of the wake caused by Lindsay &
her motley croo on their was-it-only-a-week-i-thort-theyd-never-leave
trip. Real winter is best served by a short trip
to the North East,
27/2/04 In the
company of badgers
After 5 long, protein-deprived months I have
discovered Edamamme. Well, Milo, to be exact. I
have to get the players thing going again, if
only as gratitude for that one act.
first evening of Baker
Street Boozery has been documented in multi-coloured
glory; frosties idiocy is alive & kicking.
to a party
as a badger (actually, part of a badger patrol.
Yes, yes, it's not a honeybadger but I'm trying
to blend in) and thereafter onwards to Dublin,
where a night of trying to avoid arrest awaits.
into the groove
Barrett & Shiv have been safely landed
& installed into Al/Jane's fantastic flat
and the Schlumber, oops, Atos Origin UK HQ atop
Tottenham Court Road. As faceless, grey,
corporation-mandated anonymous workzones go it
does at least have a not-too-shabby
Hecticity from the first Pearl
St Reunion caused something of a week-long
blackout. Impromptu flat party, strolls across
the park into Camden, adventures in tuneless
clubland, crashing out at JB's, the usual Boxer
Short Barry, 99 pence beers, detox chez Bob,
crippling costs of champagne at Tower 42 and a
mid-week dawn finish.
I have once more chosen volume over quality,
getting something out the door over technical
purity. Some day I will be punished for not
separating content from presentation in this
website but right now it's back to basics.
Rather than meticulously fix up a bizarrely
mixed- up batch of photies (how do digital
photos get scattered around your hard-drive in
an unsortable fashion?), here are some photies
from the October-December timeframe -- Photies
from the old country, more
yet (and initial touchdown in UK), Autumnal
Halloween,twolots of the JB
pubcrawl, and a couple
of jumbled up
assorted xmas ones.
25/1/04 Let the
Golden Age begin...
After killing off Convergent Group, Schlumberger
kept a few hapless souls around in an attempt to
man the mailroom & empty the remaining
cubes. 4 months after the epoch-defining
layoff day, Tonks & Ozzie join the
sacked-with-severance club, which was probably
some SLB attempt to prove the half-life of a
decapitated company. But I digress. Welcome aboard,
chaps. It filled me with infinite sadness to
miss that Potts day/night. Long live contracting
/ Enspiria / the
real estate business, and may rumour-filled
lunches continue evermore.
Meanwhile, in other news, the drudgery of
doing the architecture part of the project I'm
on has drawn to a close. Backup is arriving. About 4 months late and
after endless wrangling with SLB/visa
places/contracting agencies/INS, the formidable
posse of Nixta/Shiv/Barrett are moving to London
and joining the project. Barrett, bring the UT
disks. We're gonna need 'em. Muhahahaha.
Now that I have a router and a diminishing
schedule, frosties stands at least a badger's
balls chance of being updated once more. For
nights out there have been aplenty, from
Double-Oh-Flannery nights in Kensington to Caber
tossing in Camden...
where's me time machine?
Xmas eve, still at work with a major present
purchasing trip on the cards. Plus ca change.
I've realised that in London there seem to be 3
things people do:
3) Rush, by tube/taxi/nightbus between (1)
Merry xmas/happy nye, any frosties readers
still out there. A flat in central London (Marylebone)
has been acquired, DSL activated &
squillions of photies
have been taken; a recipe for the return of
frosties if ever there was one.
Hang on, I've just got to run over to the
Some time ago Chris Ash predicted life in
London as being flanked by living in an
overpriced shoebox on one side and
daylight-free, soggy climatic conditions on the
other. As water has fallen from the skies for
six straight days & I remain on JB's sofa it
appears as though Ash was actually talking
through his mouth.
Frosties is being held hostage by
homelessness. Only a home & DSL is going to
restore it to its natural state. I'm not sure if
it's a London thing to feel constantly late,
rushing from one place to another, but I long
for a return to the Caribbean ways of Pearl St.
So I've decided to go on the hunt for a flat.
$2k/month will get you a flat of 40-odd square
meters (!) which may or may not; have natural
light, be subterranean, have 5 foot ceilings, be
above a curry house. Truly a depressing pursuit,
designed to flush the weak out to the suburbs --
where you will get an extra 10 sq meters in
exchange for having the life sucked out of you
by a head-crushing daily commute.
No sank u! So the search continues in the
W1/NW1 zone of London, preferably close to
Regent's Park. The easy life will return, oh yes
it shall, doubting Australians.
Hobophone to Hobophobe in 31 days
As I skipped out of Pearl St with no more
than a couple of suitcases and my yoga mat on my
back, I felt that sense of freedom that comes
with losing the shackles of ownership. It was
beautiful. I can out-hobo Shiv right now. No fixed abode, none in sight, staying wherever I can.
But no more. So thanks to
Steph/Bob/Riffy/Hezz/Al/Jane/Shannon/JB for putting me up over this
exhausting, illness-inducing month. Having lived
in a sunny, people-less state for so long my
immunity to lurghy of the blib-blob-bleeb
variety has been all but destroyed and I have
been consumed by weeks of perpetual sickness.
And not just of the physical variety. Watching Kill Bill the other day also
sparked a sharp sensation of "home"
sickness for America. Damn that Tarantino
Having no scanner and having lost my katiecam
USB cable, the frosties photy library is
currently frozen in time. So I cribbed these pub
crawl snaps from Neil & Sean. Just as frosties is entering a slow-down phase, caused by overwork, job-change, country-move and a general lack of scanner/home-based DSL, the competition is breathing down my neck.
Hats off to theboylard,
resurgent nixta and even the reheated, refried beans of a site that is
You can all try, but you really can't put a good
phoenix-badger of a site down. I vill be
back, this ain't no Michael Howard selection.
If anyone is out and about on Friday (10/3)
then drag yourself along to Colfax for one final
What was the best day of the last 12 months? Layoff
Perhaps people felt this harangued when they were
leaving London for the countryside in the blitz
of 1940. But I doubt it. The pressures of
finding another job, moving country &
remaining legal in the eyes of the INS/BCIS do
not hold a candle to the mammoth operation that
is moving out of Pearl St.
Watched a top notch flic, Thirteen,
'tother day. Absolutely fantastic journey into
developing yourself (albeit within the heavy
of doing it too young). Such discovery was more
like thirty for me. Speaking of youth, a couple
to the players page.
Is there anything wrong with stealing other
people's photies, only to slyly post them on
your own site? Given the impermanence of
everyone else's site (Nick's offline for
donkey's years, Shiv's GORN, Tartley site hacked
by kiddy, Erica GORN etc etc), I think not. In
this vein some
shots from the last 6 weeks, plus some black&white
shots of the same old same old.
Another cache of photies from
university circa '91, including the ponciest
set yet discovered -- predating the AshGQ thing
by nigh on a decade.
Frosties.com -- end of the road?
For a smidgeon over 4 years frosties has been
out there, causing congestion on, and generally
adding pollution to, the web. It has saught
to detail the events of a few eejits in
Colorado, with something of an
Anglo-Saxon/Commonwealth tint. However, as has happened with another
corking Colorado publication, the flighty
critic, it seems as if this particular tale
is coming to an end. Or so I thought. For, in
coming to clear out Pearl St I have discovered a
bunch of photies from '91 & '94 which would
appear to be the precursors of frosties. Dossy
as a vacation, excessive
wastage & poncing
out., From other scradgers.
"Jeremy" from Right Management (aka layoff outplacement organization) just called me with a kill-myself message, along the lines of
"We understand that you might not want to face up to being jobless, but come in here as soon as possible so we can face up to the tragedy, together. You're not alone, keep hope."
I wish to buy a gun and mow the place down. Probably a typical reaction for which they have an equally sad response.
Jaysus. Is this the point at which I chuck a JB/Shiv,
and declare employment to be for the weak of
heart? I have one employment possibility. If it
happens, it happens & London will be home
for a while. If not, then the labour market
& I will part ways after 8 mostly amusing
years. The surf beaches of Queensland/Indonesia
will be the new office, joined by Al Brown &
Revoked & the road to
Upon hearing news of being laid off, there
was a part of me which said "I don't
believe it". How prescient that turned out
to be. The reason was not my undoubted
brilliance, nor even the fact that I have a
stash of incriminating photos of senior SLB
management. Nope, the cause behind receiving 12
phone calls from my former workplace two days
later was the fact that the blighters had
managed to lay me off while I was in the middle
(more the beginning) of a real, live project.
And so I blagged my way back into the office for
some pseudo-contracting action. Just as well,
since former roommates have left enough of their
shoddy belongings to Pearl St to give its
miserable remaining inhabitants cause to hire a
afternoon things took a turn for the bizarre.
Hunched over my desk and contemplating the lack
of computer games action since people were axed,
I was summoned to the HR office. What had I done
now? <anyone adjudicating my unemployment
claim can desist reading now>
to unlay you off. Come back to work as an
"Hmmnn...let me think
about that, you want to hire me back because you
value me? Because you realized the crazy mistake
you made?" Er, no, because you think it may be
cheaper that way. A swirl of emotions whipped up
around me "Am I crazy?" "Take the
severance and run!" "What if you can't
find another job?" "It's the last
opportunity to leave Denver" "What
about learning to surf?" Epiphany:
time to prove Nick wrong, I _will_ leave Denver
without being fired (although I was fired, but who
some Ash-Tonkin soul seeking, the layoff (&
and my journey to who-knows-where is underway.
Bring it on! Snaps
from Blighty, including some of the fabled hottest
ever day, as well as some steamy pix from
the new stock of JB birds.
Vidi, Laidoffi, Bloggi
Commencing in December 2000, Convergent Group
started downsizing. We had the Van Larson round
(idiots only), the Roger Wilde round
(eccentrics) in May 2001, and rounds for
JB-Stoppenhagen (slackers please) in June 2002,
Gurner in October 2002 (bye bye dot com-era
hires), Shiv in April 2003 (adios UT stats
manglers), Lance June 2003 (hardworkers) and
finally Ash-Penn-Mertz-Scott-Steklac 2003
(heroes & CEOs). A company purchased by SLB
for $400m in 2001, now worth <$5m, having
required several million to keep it afloat in
the interim. 450 to 50 employees. An investment
blunder of impressive proportions (even by
dotcom mistake standards).
So the documented case
of the curse of the Vail house has claimed
its latest victim: yours truly. 8 years,
commencing in GDS, Cambridge in '95, moving onto
ArcSystems, Melbourne and EDS, Lakewood before
pre-dotcom Convergent Group, post-dotcom
Convergent Group and SchlumbergerSema, before
Convergent was reformed & finally killed off
So layoff Tuesday (always a
Tuesday, according to urban psychiatry myth and
Cvg experience that is the day people are least
likely to go Postal on) commenced with aplomb at
Potts. With the laid off outnumbering the
remaining Schlumberger employees, an atmosphere
of all-day drinking quickly set in. At 330pm a
group of us were whisked away in a limo to see
Radiohead at Red Rocks amphitheatre. Speeding
across the foothills, consuming Absolute
Shambles on the way to see a band at the top of
their (live) game gave the afternoon a surreal
feel. The evening, or what I can remember of it,
was a top 3 concert and no mistake.
of euphoria had indeed evaporated by 9am this
morning, replaced by a heavy hangover and
nagging doubt of "what now?".
Naturally, as JB & Shiv can attest, such
negativity is greatly assuaged by the powerful
effects of the intense Colorado sunshine.
Apparently being laid off is meant to cause a
rainbow of emotions from ecstasy to insecurity.
Anyway, the day has been frittered away trying
to rebuild JB's linux machine with Windows. A
plan is beginning to be formulated, which will
either involve contracting or surfing in
Indonesia/Australia. More as it happens. A week
ago I said I wanted to buy a pint for this
laptop, on which most of frosties was written,
scores of lines of code were composed and
squillions of tracks downloaded. Adieu, ppenn2.
Tu me manqueras.
8/25/03 London, land of global culture, global warming and globally warm drinks. I want in.
Initial reflections on my extended
trip to the boozing capital of the world
seem to be verified everywhere I turn. Most
Times. In a not so unconscious gesture
to justify life in the outdoors, in the week
since I've been back I have; swum, played
tennis, jogged, bikram yogad, hiked outside
Boulder and biked down Keystone mountain.
Radiohead at Redrocks tomorrow, and a similarly
frenetic week/end lies ahead.
remember the start/end date of WWII/I, or pretty
much any other date in history. 22nd of August
1485, however, sticks out in the mind as a
teabag to a bin liner. Where would we be had
Henry VII not prevailed that day? What shape
would religion have taken, would Blighty have
been ruled by the Hun, or (worse still), another
couple of centuries of the French? All of
which makes the first weekend of trip the
majorly historic zone of Market
Bosworth (where the devastating Wars of the
Roses were concluded) all the poorer for not
making it out to the battlefield itself.
see the RIAA's outrageous attempt to sue the
kersquillions of downloaders out there is
running into its first (hopefully insuperable) hurdle:
the law. In the meantime, like the cowardly
dog I am, I've disallowed the "supernode"
capability in kazaa and am increasingly turning
to the frankly more reliable soulseek. Having
paid $50 for a Radiohead ticket, after
downloading their album FOC presumably I should
be sued on that alone. The 'head will make
approximately $20 from my live show ticket,
versus the $1 on the album I (never) bought.
Logic over. Unfortunately, no matter how many
times I listen to the 'thief' album it still
seems like utter pants in comparison with the
Bends-OK Computer era. But I digress.
8/18/03 What a
Yep, all predictions of England having the
usual shoddy summer were obliterated by an insane
heatwave. Still gathering my thoughts on the
whole affair, so what better shots to
display, therefore, than some bollards
from the west coast of North America?
Escaping the dog days of a Denver summer
Just got back from a couple of weeks of Mexico/San Diego, sun & surf blighted only by having to stand in the company booth for the ESRI conference and confront the nerds. Proof,
as if it were
needed, to jump ship from IT. The only interest we had was from Indian IT
shops sending their scouts around soliciting us for work. Luckily we have no projects anyway.
has been wretchedly, relentlessly hot. The
choice not to get air conditioning has proved as
wise as Schlumberger's efforts to get into the
IT business in North America. How apropos,
perhaps*, that I should be about to head back to
what will undoubtedly prove to be the wettest
August on record in ol Blighty. Yes indeedy, a
month or so in Regent's Park is on the
of a backlog building up, but in spite of that
here are some shots
of a Wash Park picnic, as well as some more
quality photies of a brief
trip to England. Meant to post something in the
height of Wimbledon but time did not allow. Also
wanted to discuss "staring at the fragility of life &
the precipice of death from the sinking ruins of a burst inner tube"
but perhaps that says it all. No photies were
recorded, little but adrenaline-soaked horror as
Kelly & I fought for our lives in the
snow-melt of a raging river while Seanie laughed
on. Made for something of a corker of an evening
out. These, it could be argued, are the days of
Watching the telly at midnight -- a distinctly unAmerican time, perhaps -- the Craig Kilburn show comes on. Old
Kilbers is actually the most sarcastic chap on telly. He's interviewing equally dry, wry Dennis Miller. The topic turns to sport, and the topic of the Lakers comes up. Not only do I not know whether they are basketball/baseball/football/hockey, I care not. Today HENMAN scammed his way into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.
Go Timbo! In a homogenized, 'globalized', Starbucks spewing, web-wide world it appears as if sports continues to stir up feelings of affinity for Blighty like little else. Wey-aye!
* purely for the pomposity
Balls: Nick Furness, je t'accuse
Yep, another 16 people march onto the Denver
labour market (albeit with a fat redundancy
cheque in pocket), flung from the rapidly
diminishing ranks of Convergent Group/Schlumberger.
The augurs for the day were not good. In the
absence of Blighty I have been thrown onto the
mercy of friends for lifts to work (Vielen Danke
nach Tonks/Seanie/Derren). As someone who prides
himself on waking up without an alarm clock,
it has been a (pardon the pun, which in American
English translates loosely as
"literally") rude awakening to cob a
lift from someone who leaves before milkmen have
brushed their teeth. I have been suffering at
the hands of this maniacal insomnia all week,
slowly acclimatizing myself to this
sleep-deprived existence. Imagine the delight
therefore, when, having dragged my sorry post-shiv-birthday
arse into my clothes, only to receive the
following txt msg:
AdamT Mate running late. One hr?
Jun 26 07:30AM
Some old todgeslap photies mercilessly
wrenched from Seanie's
site. Apologies to Nixta for copying files
from one side of his machine to the other, but
an unshakeable infestation of trouser weasels to
him for his recent, inaccurate tales
of noncery. Am I afraid to fly in the face
of my sponsor's latest rants? Ich denke nicht.
Do we at frosties.com regard it with the same
level of seriousness as the RIAA's latest display
of impotence? Do we scoff at his inability
to form the phrase "World's most pompous
prat" without a) omitting the apostrophe b)
capitalizing the first letter of each word in
the style of Tom Bannon? Ich denke so. Of
course, old cadger only brought his website out
of somnolence to produce page headings such as
"Bloody 'ell", "Rants" and
"Slaggings". Clearly the irony of an
accusation of perma-negativity is a) projection
of self or b) post-modern pontification dripping
in irony. Assez.
(frosties.com is a nixta.com enterprise)
Blightymobile est mortus?
Or at least in a deep, Hans Solo-style coma.
Is it about to move on to the list of trusty ex-steeds?
Je pense que oui. And neverevereverever take
your vehicle to PepBoys, not unless you want to
be confined to taking a lift with Tonks at some
ungodly hour each morning. Could there be a more
obvious sign of 'move to a place with public
And so draws to a close the second period of living alone (the first being 6 months in '96, this being a mere 3 weeks). People have consistently told me that living alone is the zenith of their
existence. While it is true that it extends nudity, permits still-louder music and leaves the house feeling inexplicably cleaner, I can't quite jump aboard the
hermit bandwagon. I just have to think to
myself: what would Christopher Alexander think?
Was the solo-life part of primitive society, or
did it form part of Marx' utopia? Je pense que
It didn't help that I was haunted not only by the guests of the Kentucky Inn (Denver's sleaziest, just a few steps away from the Pearl St Palace. The sort of place that has its rush-hour between 7&8am as its clientele are coming off the shift. But I digress, and in a snobbish way), but the true ghosts of the house were roommates past. Showers were
taken (LC), keyboards tapped on (MM), hair dyed,
couches slept on (MM, NF), pans banged around
(LC), duplicitous double door slamming (JB). Worst of all: NO ONE TO BARRY AT. The lesson learnt is that one needs an outlet for negative energy. Of course, all that was restored when a bearded Shiv returned from an American-style tour of Europe (21 countries in as many days) and decided to move the spare key to the house (er...the only key to the house) from its position of the last 16 months
without telling me.
Some antics from Sea
Ranch and, erm, Twa's. Recovery at last?
My gauge will be David scoring a job...although
some say that Rachelle is already in employment.
Meanwhile our company is allegedly on the cusp
of setting another 50 unwitting souls free. Bonkers
Beeb article of the week. Genug.
6/12/03 Get a
pail, IT's time to bail
Lots of doom & gloom articles about the
sorry state of IT and how things can only get
worse. The prevailing school of thought espouses
the old Ash argument that all tech jobs are
moving to India. Only face time will save us. Scradgers.
Notice to Travis -- they're coming for financial
Still, not all is wrong with the world --
this is the most hilarious thing I've heard
since that stormy Saturday night in that
cosmopolitan centre of culture, Indianapolis. Events
of a tamer nature from Lindsay departure night
-- the camera failed to snap the 2am ralph-onto-the-front-lawn
Looks like I'm making some progress on trying
to return to Blighty, which is only enhanced by
reading a load of old badgers,
including the following insight into business in
One older worker complained bitterly to researchers that 17-year-olds "have fairy hands, they don't want to graft" and said younger workers would be turn up with debilitating hangovers or take sick days "because it's raining".
Went to see the Matrix Reloaded last weekend.
I have recently become somewhat obsessed with
the first one, which can only mean that I'm a)
philosophically challenged (or not enough) b)
I'm trying to identify with the geek-as-hero
image or c) the film really is something of a
Fightclub-style perfect blend of thoughts/action
. Any road out, it (the sequel, not a patch on
the original but an interesting advancement of
the plot) has become the first flic that I've
downloaded from Kazaa. I felt that sense of
naughty, semi guilt-laden exhilaration that I
experienced 3 years ago with my first MP3 from
I used to think that moisture fell from the
skies every month or two. This year it seems as
if Colorado is rivaling the west coast of Scotland.
To that end, went camping/rafting
on the weekend, where the water seemed to form
itself in walls. Crashing, face-smashing,
boat-tipping walls. Probably had more adrenaline
flowing than Uma Thurman in Plup Fiction after
the needle-in-chest incident. Yikes.
Fotes taken from a hitherto lost disposable
at the time of JB's going-away pub
sprawl. Gives some meaning to the term
In a (day-long) fit of boredom, I reluctantly
signed onto friendster this week.
The basic premise seems to be listing your
friends, who list their own friends, who list
theirs etc. So for example on my list is JB, who
lists the slappers of south London, who list
their tennis partners', who list their
STD-yielding ski fling in Val D'Isere and BOOM!
everyone's snogged everyone anyway. Still, it is
faintly intriguing to know how the whole world knows is inter-networked.
Quite a funky thought. Of course, as Maura
points out, it's really more of a match.com-lite.
With a strong flavour of classmates.com /
friendsreunited, it's probably just
another one of those things you may sign up for
and then forget about.
MauraMail.Subject: What in the hell is this, Phil? I'm appalled. Date any of your friends? I think not. And it's called
stolen snaps from Rannery of a couple of
recent happenings: more people leaving the
world's most transitory city.
<GeekWarning>After years of struggling with PL-SQL and its poorer cousin T-SQL, I found myself down the pub with a a dodgy mate of Ash, Campbell. Turns out said horse humper workded for Oracle. On a whim I mailed him' and tried out SQLJ. Holy cannelloni! A 'real' programming lingo, and it works on the client & server -- with jdeveloper it even debugs. On ne peut pas demander de plus.
TonksMail.Body: Quote from myself after the first drink at about 9.10pm last night....... "This night sorta feels like the night Iro and I went to Potts one time, y'know, a little tired, middle of the week..... then we went ahead and drank 29 Jack and Cokes between us".
So, we only did 39 last night (plus Phils girly vodkas) but not bad, all told. Thank fark there were Hot Pockets in the fridge and Advil in the cupboard.
Nope, haven't done any research on slashdot about it but my machine has been recently running like a dog (and a dead one in a ditch at that) recently. I found a google_dcc process (actually, 3 of them) consuming over 50% of the cpu. Having killed them and deleted the executables I thought no more of the matter. But lo, they reappeared. After repeating the exercise and removing the directories I thought, "surely they're gone now". But like Matrix/Terminator-style self-creating, indestructable creatures they just came back. Presumably "dcc" stands for "diabolical cloning clusterfark".
Then I uninstalled the google toolbar and it all went away.
Ability to see my frosties.com google rating 0, Ability to listen to music once more 1. Result.
5/6/03 Madonna Mia!
Oh, Madge, did you really have to go and try to flood the internet with
profanity in the name of making yourself even richer? Still, there is
the challenge of downloading the non-counterfeit album (is there irony in an
artist spreading a counterfeit version of their recording? penso di
si'). Such effort is making up for the fact that most reviewers seem to think
Ms Ciccone has produced another Bedtime Stories, so maybe she's
out-Petshopboysed the PSB themselves.
Speaking of music, 102.x bites the dust -- another nail in the coffin of
Some photies themselves illegally posted before
their time by Flangey. Where is the PIAA when you need 'em?
Everything's gone green
When I arrived in the States I was shocked by our then-CEO and his blunt
approach to motivation. Money. That was the beginning and end of the matter --
issues such as the people you worked with and the the interest of the job were
barely (if ever) mentioned. Now that the recession has brought my career down
to its knees (wage slave), I figured "why not concentrate on that aspect
of the job?" 'Introducing' the
frosties money clock -- watch your wages accumulate before your very
eyes (the salary is entered in password format so as to prevent straying eyes
from figuring it out). And, for the hell of it a second salary level can be
entered so as to exacerbate tension/soothe your worries away.
A little over a year ago I moved out of the Vail house. Let's take a peek at
people in on that jaunt who've subsequently lost employment; Michael Ellis, Jay
Fishel, Kevin Terp, Elizabeth Sargeant, Bitsy Schneider, Steph Reed. Working in
the cushty area of healthcare, I'd always thought that Renee was insulated from
the rigors of the IT slump. Apparently not, as she becomes the latest statistic
in the 100,000+ layoffs of the past month. As I see JB planning bicycling
adventures around the UK I ask, when's it all going to end? Casting my frazzled
memory back to the last recession, which began 1990 and didn't really finish
'til 93 I fear that even if we're on our way out, statistically, the employment
sitch is gonna be screwed for at least 12-18 months. Ho hum.
SBL Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf tells remaining staff that
lay-offs did not happen. "No, there weren't another 30-something people let go,
and the office has not shrunk from 430 to 100 since acquisition. Exciting new
projects are starting daily, brought to us by our talented team of sales
Responding to allegations made by remaining employees of the influx of
cardboard boxes recently ordered by HR he retorted "They (the remaining
employees) are going to surrender or be burned in their cubes. We made them
drink poison last night and the CEO's soldiers and his great managers gave them
(the employees) a lesson which will not be forgotten by history. Truly."
He brushed off an institutional investor's suggestion -- reflected in the
sinking share value -- that it was time for the management to surrender. "God
will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of these dissenters. Faltering
forces of infidels cannot just enter a company of 70,000 people and lay besiege
to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege."
Reporters had seen outplacement agencies lining up for the juicy contracts
brought about by the degenerative state of the company. "Don't believe these
invaders and these liars. There are none of their forces in the office. Never!"
the minister told reporters at an impromptu outdoor press conference.
Finally, answering the charge that oil companies should not dabble in IT he
concluded "Please, please! The... (critics) are relying on what I called
yesterday a desperate and stupid method."
We found that views differed with so-called former employees. "We discovered
that all that the SBL information minister was saying was all lies," said Ali
"Shiv" Hassan, an SBL employee in Cairo, Egypt, gazing into his severance
package, estimating the number of Jack & Cokes he could purchase from the
final cheque. Kris Prohbsh A-shhmysta was heard to be giving advice of the
"don't chuck a Hartley" variety. We sincerely wish Mr Hassan all the best in
his traveling & tennis careers.
A couple of years ago I tried the web browser Opera. Nasty UI, dog-slow
performance and embedded adverts caused me to run for the uninstall option
(which probably crashed). It sort of reminded me of then Jon Hartley --
bloated, bumbling and bally useless. But so sick of popup adverts for
classmates.com & 'security' cameras designed to scroll down cleavage, a
never ending stream of Alt+F4 clicking for sites like eonline, msn and any
newspaper led me to interrogate Tartley on the state of the non-Mickeysoft
browser market. I can't believe I waited so long.
Mozilla is not in the same league as IE -- it does have History and
Alt+D puts you in the address bar (listenup, Netscape), but Ctrl+Enter is
farked, the middle mouse button doesn't bring up the multidirectional cursor.
And a few sites it doesn't seem to work on. And the annoying non-background
print dialog. But the freedom of never seeing scores of cheapflights windows is
exhilarating beyond belief. I feel as though I've cheated the internet of her
great scam, as though somehow I'm flying through the web. Or something.
Some fantabulous black & white Coral room photies,
as well as some previously lost skating snaps from Nikki's b'day.
Moore On at the Oscars
While there was some value to his statements, Michael Moore's oscar outrage was
just that. Condensing the themes of the Bush (s)election, war with Iraq and the
exaggeration of terrorism into 45 seconds didn't really deliver any message
beyond Moore-as-politician. Isn't that sort of thing meant to be debated in the
nation's political institutions? Maybe that was the point. Even though I was HP
to see Nicole Kidman take home the Best Actress thingy did she really have to
blubber like Gwyneth Paltrow? Bad things really do seem to come in threes --
queen of egos (Julia Roberts) was there yet again.
Guestbook, courtesy du Nixta, which is
Biggest snowstorm in 20 years or some such. It began on St Patrick's Day after a
rousing Coral/Supergrass gig at the Bluebird. Strolling down Colfax at 1am in
search of the ever elusive Denver taxi was not the perfect introduction to the
storm. But lo, our gracious lords & masters have allowed us to
"work" at "home" for a 4 precious days. Work has included
shovelling, sitting around, snowballing and snowfort construction. But mostly
sitting around. Cabin fever has been combated by wandering out onto Washington
Park, watching surreal telly and caning various bevvies.
Just got back from a lame-as anti-war demonstration. OK, a candle-lit vigil was
never going to be a radical, stirring, politicized rally designed to make a
difference. But after listening to a few hundred people sing Michael Jackson's
"We are the world" I was ready to leave. As I cycled away some
articulate, courageous chap floored his SUV past the flock screaming "F***
you, Bomb Iraq!" Not a good advert for middle America.
Hmnn...I see George Bush invited
Gerry Adams for dinner at the Whitehouse the other day. Not sure where
that fits in on the 'war on terrorism'.
5 long years have JB &
I been housemates in Denver. Every emotion, from elation to exasperation,
has been experienced in the Knackers(Breakers), Gaylord & Pearl St. Fare
thee well, JB. With layoffs coming at the end of this very week and/or a
transfer in the offing it may be a short period before I'm back in the U of K.
A traditional Colfax-based pubcrawl was thrown
on the last snowy day in Feb. One suspects that there are many more photies to
come, and perhaps one could argue that my library is turning into nothing more
than a Rannery-redux. Care factor is, predictably, low.
Whammy the Grammy
Sorry, but if rehashing a well-worn 60s formula (see Dusty Springfield's
"Breakfast In Bed" for a better version of "Don't know
why") wins Norah Jones a Grammy over Eminem's "Without Me" then
the recording academy (or whatever it's called) needs a boot up the harse, as
well as a reminder that innovation and, frankly, a good tune should provide the
bedrock of such an award. Cue "Spiderman" to win Best Picture.
Crazy, crazy night for Nikki's b'day commenced with a BYOB at
Asian Cafe. as well as antics from a farewell to the Gurner.
So Joe Millionaire es finito, gone in a mélange of forced fantasy and financial
fecundity. The cultural glue which bound my existence together to everyone from
taco DJs through aspiring actors is no more. Wherefore Monday nights? Back to
another teevee thang or time to learn the conversational arts?
The Vietnam Inn, depicted in a joyful moment mere days before its demise, is
depicted within, as are scenes from layoff Tuesday and the ever
Jerry Maguire meets Bridget Jones
Debate of the week, or my life right now: which
book to read next, Don Quixote or 'What colour is my parachute?'.
More photes from tail end of last year and the
noo year. Still figuring those resolutions out.
Congrats to "Big" Andy D
Is this the first engagement announced on frosties? Credo di si'. Well, wherever
in Connecticut you may be have a goodie...
Pictures from the tail end of the last year,
including a Thanksgiving in SacTo and CatieB's b'day.
The DigiElph bought it last week after only one week in action. How to take
Amazon's increased profits and self-congratulatory stance on the 'customer
Frostless New Year
Frosties has been taking a back seat to the nascent
spainisfun website (a parental venture which is teaching me CSS/ASPX)
and, for the first time in a long time, work.
Yet in spite of said pick-up, lo, more redundancies are in the (lay)offing. I'm
getting back to that real programming man's man's programming language, C++. It
is surely a matter of time before I morph into one of the
scary characters who adorn the sleeve of the book I've had to read
And so it came to pass, that after 40 days and 40 nights, the great
Snowfighter beast was slain, SQL Server examinations were smoked and
Thanksgiving celebrations were attended to.
The snow has been decreasing in quality but many ski trips have been had. Dodgy
night out in Lime, weekend up in
Vail to celebrate the birthdays of Ash/JB/Kelly. As Mr Ellis has
scathingly commented, these piccies could have come from any time in the last x
years (although these particular gems came from Percy's camera, through the eye
of the Flange).
Finally got around to scanning in the houseboat
pictures, whose quality is an advert for buying a digital camera, or
any sort of camera. Even sketching would be better. While scanning the puppies
in Kraka was doodling -- his mind is
messed up. Suburbia beware.
The INS, in their efforts to ensure that I am genetically pure enough
for assimilation, have sucked my blood. No HIV for me.
Dani MullOfFurnessCintyre has pointed me in the direction of
popbitch. Speaking of muzak, I see the Mercury Prize has gone to Ms
Dynamite, rather than the fantabulous Streets. The same prize-giving
institution that awarded "M" People's Elegant Slumming over Blur's
The photies of the houseboat are so shockingly bad that I can't be dealing with
scanning 'em in right now. But here's
I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go and retrieve my cellphone from
YellowCab's HQ up in the northern suburbs. It may as well have been Fort
Collins, such was its distance from Denver. Perhaps they UPSed it there. Still,
got a tour of their office including the call center, where 20 women were
cooped up like chickens (albeit phone-answering chickens with desks and
chairs). People in really shoddy jobs share a camaraderie that the rest of this
shark-eat-shark world do not understand.
This is rude, but
not as rude as
this. Mr Furness would be proud.
for Ballgame, in search of Glenn Hearse. He's the bloke with the moustache.
Webcam in ashes of Phoenix shocker!
It's back. Well, not exactly back full-time as we've lost the extension cord,
but whenever I can be arsed to connect it with the lappy the page should be
back. Check out its reincarnation.
230pm on a mid-week afternoon. NME/Dotmusic/BBC/NYTimes/WashingtonPost have all
been thoroughly examined. You wander onto MSN from a link on your (s)hotmail
browser. What are you rewarded with? Utter