Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GSOH, likes nights by the fireside, moonlit walks on beach...

What did SW do at his management and leadership training retreat? For a start, he did the Belbin profile. And what is SW's Belbin nickname? HIDDEN TALENT. That's right, you fuckers who wrote me off for a talentless drone. IT'S THERE. It's just hidden. And in what areas did SW score highly on his Belbun profile?

  1. Plant: creative, imaginative, unorthodox. Solves difficult problems. Ignores incidentals. Too preoccupied with own thoughts to communicate effectively.

    SW didn't rate himself highly here, but his 4 observers did. WHO IS CORRECT???

  2. Teamworker: Cooperative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic. Listens, builds, averts friction. Indecisive in crunch situations.

    Hell yeah! That's more like it. All agreed there. Do you like stuff? You do? Wow - I like stuff too!. Oh, not that stuff? No, me neither!

So SW confirmed that he works best in teams, with people, but has a job where 90% of his time is spent alone in front of a computer. NO MISMATCH THERE.

What did SW like best about his Belbin profile, given that he works in a job that is littered with tight deadlines? He liked this: "Should not be involved in work where a sense of urgency is important."

Hell yeah. Now, when things go pear-shaped, I can stick THAT to the man.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

take me to your leader

Tomorrow morning, at the aburd hour of 5am, I get on a bus with a couple of dozen of my workmates and head to a rather nice-looking resort for a 3-day "management and leadership training retreat" (I do have a bit of managerial responsibility, though "leadership" is a bit rich). I've NEVER been on one of these things before. As long as I'm not swamped with work, I quite enjoy official reasons to slip away from the grinding tedium. The program for this one looks interesting and useful -- management in a cross-cultural context / Asian vs Western management styles, decision making, etc (and god knows I need decision-making skills). One can only hope that this is all a ruse, and all we're really going to do is some sort of lame obstacle course wearing shit-looking helmets and the "trust" game, where someone closes their eyes and fall backwards into the arms of their colleagues.

go to your rooms and don't come out until you can behave yourselves

Re: Pope’s comments angering Muslims.

I’m sick to death of it. Humanity can do some great stuff but, fuck, we’re a moronic bunch of fuckwits. When will this bullshit bickering and fighting end? I can’t stomach it.

Regarding this specific incident: irrespective of what the Pope actually meant, if he didn’t think he’d piss people off, he’s an idiot. And the people protesting: stop being so insecure about your damn religious beliefs.

Replace “Pope’s comments” with “cartoons about Mohammad” and the above paragraph remains the same.

All this crap for beliefs that I believe are based on fiction and myth. One can ask why my beliefs should be more valid than anyone else’s. That’s a whole other debate (a DEBATE, NOT a war), but it would be silly of me not to think they're more valid, or I wouldn’t believe them. My point is that, from this position, the fighting etc is just so damn absurd. If people are going to fight, the least they could do is fight over something that exists.

I don’t care if all this sounds intolerant and simplistic. And I'm tired of trying to reassure myself that the problems -- on any side -- come from an extreme minority. Maybe that's valid, maybe the majority of members of all major religions are moderate and tolerant. Whenever this rubbish happens, though, it's hard to feel reassured.

I’ve never let anybody’s religion colour my opinion of them as a person (there’s so much more to people than that, no matter how much people might think it defines them). That won’t change. But I’m so fucking sick of this crap. Grow up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

music and wrestling

Just spent the last half-hour watching videos of live Mountain Goats gigs on YouTube. It reaffirmed that I REALLY want to see them live. I think if I were ever to do something genuinely, extravagantly impulsive, it would be to fly half-way round the world just to see the Mountain Goats. Because I’m not likely to happen in the Philippines. Avril Lavigne is about as edgy as it gets here. I’ve seen some cool local music, especially at Conspiracy in Quezon City (studenty area of Manila). The only foreign performer I’ve seen in my 3 years here was Norah Jones. I wouldn’t say I’m a NJ fan. I’ve heard a few songs and some were really quite pleasant. But watching her at Araneta Coliseum – the country’s biggest venue, where the thrilla in Manila took place in 1975 – was a little like listening to a radio in a stadium.

So who else tours here? The BIG names in the past 3 years have included:

  1. Air Supply
  2. Toto

Yes, Toto. (I SHOULD have gone -- really, how many chances does one have in one's lifetime...?) I have a vague and disturbing recollection that Michael Bolton might have been here too. Little else needs to be said. It’s not all bad, though. A quick look at Araneta Coliseum’s upcoming events tells me that the WWE Smackdown Survivor Series is coming my way…

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Two sort of depressing things that were briefly on my mind today

I half-read a New York Times article about the increasing prevalence of diabetes in India as diets become Westernised and more sugary. This is a big problem here in the Philippines too. (The article is here, but I think you need to register to see it.) One line, which wasn't directly related to the main thrust of the article, really struck me:

“For the world has now reached the point, according to the United Nations, where more people are overweight than undernourished.”

I guess this could be interpreted as a positive thing, but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the surge in the number of overweight people than with a large decrease in the number of undernourished people.

The other thing was to do with Australian politics. I can’t be bothered giving any background, so for the 10-or-so people who read this regularly, apologies if you're not Australian have no idea what I’m talking about. Basically, Kim Beazley’s tripe about visitors to Australia signing a commitment to “Australian values” (which we kid ourselves revolve around “mateship” and “a fair go”) made me despair for the state of the ALP and, consequently, any chance of deposing Howard in the near future. It reeks unbearably of an attempt (a very poor one) to woo the xenophobic crowd that are Howard’s domain (and which, in my unresearched opinion, has become larger and more vocal under Howard’s leadership). If Beazley/the ALP can’t do better than that, they deserve what they currently have. Unfortunately, I guess, so do I. This blog captures my feelings well.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Last week, a man with a cycle-like contraption turned up at my apartment block. He was sharpening knives. Sharp knives are excellent. I paid him 20 pesos (roughly 50 Australian cents or US$0.40) for each of 2 small knives and 30 pesos for each of 4 larger knives. They are very sharp now indeed. A simple joy, but pure.

Monday, September 04, 2006

crocodile tears

The crocodile hunter is dead, long live the crocodile hunter. And all that. Premature death is generally sad, but I won’t say anything more about the event itself. I knew very little about him and never watched one of his shows. It’s for his family, friends and, I guess, his fans to mourn him, not me. One thing I will comment on: the way Australia continues to seem so obsessed with what the rest of the world thinks about us (especially when it comes to celebrity and sport). Maybe all countries are the similar in that regard – but I don’t think all countries would have features like this one in the Sydney Morning Herald: i.e., screen captures of websites from around the world featuring Steve Irwin’s untimely demise on their homepages.

Maybe it’s an objective look at the international phenomenon that was Irwin – the cult of the croc hunter (which is pretty amazing, it seems). But maybe not.

We’re down here! Look! See, he was one of ours! Thankyou for noticing us!

Friday, September 01, 2006


From today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Devil in the detail: Vatican exorcises Harry Potter

THE Vatican has never been a fan of Harry Potter, but its chief exorcist has gone one step further and condemned J. K. Rowling's fictional boy wizard as downright evil.

"Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil," says Father Gabriele Amorth, the Pope's "caster-out of demons".

The books contained numerous positive references to the satanic art, falsely drawing a distinction between black and white magic, he told the Daily Mail in London. In the same interview, Father Amorth said he was convinced that Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler were possessed by the devil.

Do we really have to pretend to take this seriously enough that it warrants a news report? I despair. I really do.