Over the last few weeks I’ve been helping setup a workshop as part of a local event called Suffolk Skillz (with a Z to make it hip). As part of the event, local companies and organizations such as Milsons, the Police, NHS, fire service and CSD have all setup 45 minute sessions which are aimed at school kids and trying to teach them about erm… stuff. CSD’s contribution (ie our team) was web design and the theory behind it all. Originally it was going to be four people at the even but fate (and a few other things) intervened and we lost one guy from the list last week as he was overloaded with work meaning it would be me and two non-tech staff helping. Both of them are great people but probably know less about web design than me and then after a far too early start, I got up to the business park to be greeted by the news we had a second member of the team drop out, also due to work issues. So it left me to bound around, hopped up on caffine and lucozade like some hyperactive Nesquik rabbit, and try to get groups of year 7 kids to understand the basic theory of web design. The other guy with me was a massive help, but was struggling with the design software we used (not his fault, just not his area) and I freely admit to panicking slightly when the first group heaved into sight but we tackled it well. After several of the 45 minute workshop thingys it was the end of the day, only broken up by free sarnies (dry), more coffee (bitter but caffeine full) and a set of blocked toilets and I’m shattered. Its hard work keeping youngsters entertained en mass.
Tomorrow is day two of Suffolk Skillz (with a Z to make it even hipper)….
Oh and the washing machine backed up and i had to drain it. Sadly it drained all over the place and we now have a whiter than white kitchen floor.
I’m going to break a rule I mentally promised I would stick to when I started this blog. I told myself never to blog about work, but today was one of those random days which needs to be written down so I can try to understand what happened.
Its the phrase of the year and as I’m part of the agile web team its only fair we actually do some form of training. As this was the first one that was setup we all got together to take part in what was being described as an informal kick off. I could only live in fear as I kept thinking back to a video I had once edited which involved a man in a bright orange waistcoat who got groups of managers to build small bridges of Lego between tables while shouting about ‘team building’ and ‘logic’. Its supposed be about team building I think…
Anyway, today’s training kicked of with being told more about agile development and then the dreaded phrase ‘we are all going to play a game’ was uttered. Not once but several times. My spine was packing up and getting ready to leave at this point but the quick coffee break before starting to design a ‘better mouse trap’ gave me a chance to mull it over. I made a quick joke about using cats and even Galactapuss to catch the mice and back we went, only for someone on the team to actually go with the idea of normal (although better trained) cats. The way agile works is you work with the client at all stages and produce versions for the client to check. They then either tells you to take a hike or asks you to change the colour scheme (sometimes both), so we kept feeding ideas back to our mock client who kept firing feedback at us and we went through three iterations before the final presentation. I have to say I wasn’t overly convinced with our idea at first as I would have happily had my original idea of a nuclear powered atomic robot with the brain of a cat built by exiled Russian scientists but the final idea of a cat genetically modified to like water so it could hunt mice in a swimming pool was outlandish enough to tick most of my boxes. In the end it was more Bruce Banner than Reed Richards and could have quite easily had some laser beams on the side of its head to hunt the mice with. If only we had got one more iteration in…
On a side note, for some reason i’ve been listening to a lot of Chinese man’s groove sessions 1+2 lately and can’t get the tune from Ordinary Man out of my mind. The intro is from “My Fair Lady” and actually helped me remember the name of Eliza Doolittle while taking part in a pub quiz over the weekend. Who says French trip hop can be useful in the strangest places?
Judging my the wave of mental power felt around the world last night (like a collective sigh) it seems that St Steve of Jobs has reappeared. Bizzarly enough Hermit has commented on the Apple cult and this, mixed with something I spotted last night on the way home from work, has stirred my Cthulhu gland.
I spotted this in a window on the way home and noticed something
Now is it me, or does it look like a touch like one of these?
The second image (for those who don’t know) is an Elder sign from the Cthulhu Mythos. They are protective wards against the dark shambling things which erm…. shamble around in the dark. Quite apt for a Criminal defence place.
Anyway, i had Cthulhu shuffling around in my brain for a few hours last night then spotted on the news that old Jobs is back in town and it sparked a thought about another character from the Cthulhu mythos.
Nyarlathotep’s first appearance is in the eponymous short story by Lovecraft (1920), in which he is described as a “tall, swarthy man” who resembles an Egyptian pharaoh. In this story he wanders the earth, seemingly gathering legions of followers through his demonstrations of strange and seemingly magical instruments
Blimey. How about this then?
Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences – of electricity and psychology – and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of a nightmare.