Monday, September 5, 2011

Do as I say and not................

A chap who's opinions on all sorts of things often hit the mark with me advised a while back that doing less was a good thing when one felt a little overwhelmed. I have found this to be good advice but recently have been studiously ignoring it. Busier than a one armed paper hanger and it is mostly of my own making. There is very little that really has to be done now; like this minute, hour or even day. Getting off the train tracks as the 0814 bears down on you would qualify but most of the 'really important' stuff we surround ourselves with is no such thing and can wait. And wait with advantage as I am finding that doing things after a bit more thought generally ends up with a job done better. This doing less has to be tempered by the temptation to drift into doing absolutely nothing mode but there in lies another truth of life; balance.

Well I have been particularly remiss on this front over the last month and I will try and make September better. Going from Point A to Point B in a completely straight line is as dull as ditchwater but the amplitude of the sine wave that describes from absolutely nothing to far too much must be damped down to just enough to stay awake to pleasantly busy. Note to self.

What has been happening whilst I have been consuming myself with things that don't matter nearly as much as I can make them appear? What has been going on whilst I worry unnecessarily about things I can do nothing about?

Absolutely the last application of digits to keys concerning the blasted penguin. A pox on the bird. Now he has been at last unceremoniously biffed off the back of a ship in a suitable cold place may he be eaten by a pelagic animal forthwith. May the GPS superglued to his feathers stop bleeping within the day indicating his totally ridiculous profile has at last been snuffed out. I cannot get my head around the world wide (no less) fawning and cooing this stupid orthine animal has generated. When he eventually left the land of the Long White Saccharine it was in a specially constructed 'enclosure' (read cage) on the back of a NIWA research vessel accompanied by a farewell card signed by hundreds of people (read idiots). Did the damned bird put down his collected works of Voltaire to peruse his greetings card? Nero fiddles? Deck chairs on the Titanic?

In a few (four if the 'Countdown Clock' before the 6 o'clock News is to be believed) days a sporting tourney will kick off (literally) here in NZ. We are told that the country is in the grip of 'World Cup fever'. Really? I am looking forward to six or seven weeks of good rugby, but fever?. Well I am not looking forward to six or seven weeks of it and am not going to regard Georgia vs Russia as 'good rugby'. In truth there are going to be a handful of matches I'll watch and that will not be Scotland vs Canada. There are 48 games (as the drill sergeant on the Sky ads has been barking at us for months) and about eight of those will be worth watching. What to do with forty games of dross? The organisers have lots of cunning (sic) plans. They get small towns to 'adopt' teams of no hopers. So we will have something like Paeroa adopting the USA. No idea what this means. The good ole boys get invited around for a cup of tea and a home made slice behind the net curtains? But they have to do this or an ersatz 'World Cup' will fall flat. This is a World Cup much like the Cricket World Cup represents the world. Go look for wall to wall (or even any) TV coverage of this in the US (even thought hey are competing) or in China or India. I'll not be holding my breath as you'll be gone a long time. This is a World Cup just as much as the World Series in Baseball represents the World.

Still it is the best we can do with the resources available and despite all of the above I am looking forward to it. As a country we have prostituted ourselves to the IRB and will run this at a loss. We knew this when we signed up for it but I still don't understand how it all works. I do know that for a month the stadiums have to be 'clean'. Not litter free, you understand, but advertising free in a regard that does not offend the official sponsors. Thus the Westpac Stadium in Wellington is no such thing for a couple of months but is the Wellington Regional Stadium. Buy your hot chips there with Mastercard or cash only. No Visa, Amex or even EFTPOS cos they are not kosher brands. Even the Ambulances that transport Heineken altered punters to the cooler have had to have their ACC sponsored minute logos painted out. All this advertising cleanliness apparently has a geographical fallout zone around the stadiums as well much like that accompanying a thermonuclear device; within x metres of the stadium no Steinlager. Daft - but then I don't work for Heineken.

iPad update. This is an intrusive device and my opinion that I will still be buying a MacBook Air next year may well be revised down. The iPad is by far the best way I have come across for browsing the web. I now even prefer it to having a wander around on a 27" screen. Flipboard is the best way to base one's web wanderings and has to be the best value for money (read free) software about. I would even pay money for it. StumbleOn is not bad either but is a real time waster. I have frittered away hours (literally) reading the stories behind seventies hit singles, watching videos of 1950's Austin Healeys, trying to learn the real names of heroes of my youth (I really didn't know until yesterday that the totally gorgeous Grace Slick was born Grace Wing) and confirming that perpetual motion machines don't work (and haven't done since the thirteenth century). I Have made a presentation from the iPad both round a table to two people (good) and to a room full of people via a projector (so so). I am a convert to eBooks. Reading in seat 1C is a positive delight when one doesn't have to carry a separate book for the purpose. Kicking off with Stephen Fry's autobiography. A little surpised by this; a fairly dark read and self flagellatory almost to excess.

If the iPad is fast becoming my favourite device for getting information out of the world it falls well short on the getting information back in the other direction. Fine for a one paragraph email but I would not be writing a doctorate on it; nor for that matter composing this blog post. Proper typing (if what I do can be described as that) is impossible and I am not going to buy a keyboard with blue teeth; I already have a laptop. You can make presentation slides in Keynote in the iPad (and a fully fledged presentation program at NZ$15 is a snip) but you wouldn't want to. Make the slides on the iMac or MacBook Pro and then flick 'em over to Dropbox (or the Cloud next month) is the way to do this.

We'll make an assault on September, armed with an iPad, a healthy regard for sorting the good rugby from the crap and no bloody penguins.

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