Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yes we have no alcopops...

Shocking news from those charged with planning our office Christmas party (yes that is now being planned !).

At a manager's meeting this morning the secretary responsible for the planning told us about the venue. Overall it was a nice establishment in the City, quite close to the office.

"The only problem is that they don't do alcopops. We know that not everyone drinks wine or beer so we've got to work out what they will drink".

A less tolerant contributor said "I think the answer is lemonade or coke".

Since when did alcopops become a necessity ?

The authentic voice of 2007 London ?

Well so my colleague Barry, aged 46 thinks. Katie Nash was born in 1987, which makes me feel rather old.....

Luis "Junior" is doing well and maybe I will be back with something more thoughtful soon......

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A grey Thursday of Subprime

Subprime woes continue across the world and London is no exception. It's not a very cheerful time in the City.....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Negotiating with Squirrels

I have been enjoying some reruns of "Saxondale" starring Steve Coogan (best known as Alan Partridge) as Tommy Saxondale an East Midlands former roadie now working as a pest controller in Stevenage. It isn't quite as side-splitting as Alan Partridge (that would be hard) but still has moments of real humour in a slightly more low key way. Sometimes the joke is on Tommy Saxondale while at other times the joke is on those who fail to understand him.

Here he is at an anger management class discussing the concept of negotiation. The class leader takes his squirrel analogy a little too seriously:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=E11epT9z1Eg (the beeb has disabled embedding so you have to click on the link)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blog Rating

My blog is apparently suitable for general audiences......


As seen on Iain Dale http://www.iaindale.blogspot.com/

Subprime reckoning

I am not a financier but I do work in the City and next door to Bloomberg in London.

A few weeks ago I had never heard of the "subprime" mortgage market. This, as far as I understand it, is low grade lending- to poor people i.e. people less likely to be able to pay back. Eventually a peak was reached, too many people had overstretched themselves and the US property market started to fall. Then last week a major US subprime lender got into trouble.

Now it seems to be spreading accross the pond. The European Central Bank today pumped £63 billion pounds into the lending market in a bid to make more money available to squeezed lenders.

The stock market has taken a battering as a result. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aaoIf.bbBn.8&refer=home

These are uncertain times in the financial world and the financial health of all of us depends, to some extent, on the outcome.

Look out for subprime ! It is a reminder that ultimately lending and property prices do have to bear some resemblence to the income of the people borrowing and living in the properties.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Please reboot the servers, a typhoon is coming

No sense of irony from our IT department. In exactly the same format as they announce virus threats, slow email and server downtown they inform us today that our Hong Kong office may be closed tomorrow- due to a typhoon. The "Why is it happening?" box normally reserved for a geeky IT explanation is particularly redundant in this case !

To all Partners and Staff

What is happening? Hong Kong has been issued with a Typhoon weather warning for tomorrow, Thursday 9th August 2007. This may result in closure of the Hong Kong office.

Why is it happening? We will update you as soon as we have any further information. In the meantime, please access http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/tc.htm for more detailed information.

If you have any queries about this please do not hesitate to contact your regional IT Helpdesk, the London IT Helpdesk on +44(0)207 *** **** or email 'Helpdesk'.

Kind regards ________________________________________________
Service Level Management Team

Monday, August 06, 2007

Life's a beach

Guess where has a wide empty sandy beach, warm(ish) water and an air temperature of 30 C (86 F) ?

The answer for this weekend at least was Kent and along the coast at Greatstone the beach did not need to be shared with too many people.

I guess that's what Mr. Gore and co would class as a "low carbon" holiday (while of course he remains free to travel the globe.)

Still Mr. Gore I can give you some comfort. With a new baby boy we are unlikely to be venturing too far too more so will be visiting the Kentish costa a bit more for a while.

I think it's nice to find out that you don't actually need to travel the world to have a nice time. You can call that "low carbon" or just common sense- less time travelling, more time on the beach.

Trust No One

A case of paranoia from the world of the office.

Barry my long established colleague has a position on the "Staff Social Committee" which aims to promote the interests of staff. Standard issues may involve variously:

- the state of the staff cafe- lack of choice and high prices
-the state of the staff restaurant- lack of choice and high prices
- the state of the toilets - "outdated" roller towels (a success of the committee was getting a cleaning register attached to the back of the toilet door to ensure cleaning can be monitored. Barry was not particularly welcome when he went to check in person that this innovation had been "rolled out" in the Ladies !)
- cycling facilities- where those who cycle to work can store their bikes.

On more adventurous days it may even delve into issues such as pensions, sabbatical opitions and beyond.

Barry's chief adversary, in his own mind at least, is our relatively new CEO.

Barry credits him with everything wrong in the Firm and for opposing everything good in the Firm.

Barry has long suspected a personal campaign by the CEO to eliminate him.

Today an electrician was fitting a new light.

Clive, our Finance Director, was passing through.

Barry exclaimed "Jason (the CEO) is getting new camera's to spy on us again".

Clive looked bemused.

I explained "Barry thinks his desk is bugged".

Clive rose to the occassion with "Oh yes, Jason has got pictures of all social committee members on the wall in his office".

Barry without missing a beat replied "Yes, he's trying to find a way of eliminating me".

Barry enjoys this work fantasy where he is the top of the CEO's agenda. Barry has done roughly the same job for over 20 years. This is somehow overlooked when he imagines his elimination by the dastardly Jason.

Barry enjoys the subject so much that it is easy to entertain him with ever more elaborate plots in the battle. Casting Jason as a global villain and Barry as James Bond is his favourite.

Recently Barry was speaking ill of Jason and I warned that Jason had bugs in place and would release a leaver emptying Barry's chair into a hidden shark tank below our office.

Barry then went off on a mental undersea adventure as he battled Jason for control of the world.

In the world of offices, sometimes it's a case of "whatever gets you through the day" !

As Barry would say "Trust no one".


Allegedly low energy version of Google http://www.blackle.com/ so if you want to "save the planet" or save electricity may be worth a go......