Tuesday October 2, 2018 – Shannon, Ireland

Last night I discovered Jameson has a blend of whiskey called ‘Blender’s Dog’ which must be tried out before I leave.

The office has a little ‘take one, leave one’ book exchange in an employee lounge area. Yesterday I found a book there called ‘If You’re Not in Bed by 10, Come Home’.

Errol used to say that a lot. “If you’re not in bed by 10, you might as well go home”. Too funny. I thought it was an Errol original but here it is showing up in Ireland. Of course his last name was Green and Green’s are all over Ireland so maybe it’s a distant relative. Although the author has a Swedish name. The dude was apparently some bankrobber turned private security guard turned this and that and now lives in the cabin in the hills near Cork and apparently writes books. I haven’t read it but I did borrow it. I left my iPad in exchange since I didn’t have a real book with me. Ha-ha.

I worked on budget stuff last night until 10:30 and then took a sleeping pill Sjoerd had given me in Italy and slept straight through until 6:00am. Now I have that heavy feeling that comes after deep deep sleep. I needed it so hopefully today will feel better. Yesterday was bullshit. First day of testing did not go particularly well here—I skipped the 10:00pm call with US to see how their day went as I had to get that budget in before my bosses meeting today with his boss. There are multiple indications that this program is going to get delayed. Too much bad shit going on right now to get this thing live I think. We shall see, but that’s how it feels.

Since I was up early I was able to read for 20 minutes or so in the reading room while having a second coffee, after a short breakfast of cereal and a small toast. The author has returned to his boat after visiting England for some weeks to first visit, and then bury his aging father. In the scene he drifts along quietly on an ebb tide, stopping to photograph two foraging black bears and finally ties up at Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. I looked it up on the map; it looks to be the final stop in the protection between Vancouver Island and the mainland and he will now be exposed to the sea. He is taking on water, diesel, stores for the next leg of the journey.

For my part, I must dress and get ready for the artificial world in which I live for most of the daylight hours.

Evening now.

I’m catching a ride from my hotel to the office each morning with a colleague. Nice guy whose name I shall withhold in the remote case he discovers this little corner of the digital universe. But I will call him Hakam for convenience. I’ve gotten a little obstinate over the years and don’t hire a car unless I have no choice. I prefer to Uber or taxi than deal with looking for parking spots and generally dealing with the hassle of getting the car picked up and returned and, parking validations, and playing the drinking and driving game after a couple of wines with dinner.

Anyway, this colleague is a horrible driver. And not used to driving on the left side of the road it seems. Our hotel is only 3 miles from the office, but death stalks us the whole way as he is constantly changing lanes without signaling and cutting someone off or getting confused and coming out on the wrong side of the road.

This morning we got to the office at 8:00am, having survived the 10 minute journey with only a few scares. There were 9 or 10 cars in the parking lot that had perhaps 1,000 spaces. Hakam chose to park between two cars in a spot that even with our little Kia was tight. Why he chose this spot I do not know and did not ask. He pulled in but was unsatisfied with the result. He backed up, nearly running over a warehouse worker who was walking behind us. Pulled back in. Back, in, back, in. 5 or 6 times. Meanwhile, all around us, two acres of empty parking spaces beckoned. Finally, we were satisfactorily parked. When we got out and started walking to reception, he suddenly stopped to look back at the car. I don’t know if he was admiring his parking job or debating a final adjustment. But, apparently satisfied, he turned and walked on to the building. Nice guy. Shit driver.

The business team here in Ireland have done little to prepare themselves for where we are in the program. We had some difficult moments yesterday when a couple of their key people kept wanting to delay getting started because of ‘inadequate training’ and ‘they were not sufficiently consulted in design’ and ‘the system just isn’t ready’ and lots of other bullshit. I gently had a bit of a go at them and told them to get their shit together and move things forward. I think it came off okay as the teams dug in and started testing and things seemed fine later when we spoke. This office apparently has a bit of a reputation and I was forewarned before coming. In my limited view, after only 5 months here, the entire company seems to have weak middle management—they are used to being handled with kid gloves and many don’t seem too inclined towards accountability or problem-solving. Some of the testers here seem more inclined to dive in and get started and generally are less whiny, but it seems they also have not done the training that was made available and are behind in their level of familiarity with the new application. But the situation is not straightforward–this is a company that cut staff deeply just last year and lots of people have had to change roles and take on additional work, so there is some legitimate reasons why they may not be as prepared as we would like.

This morning, past 9:30am, everyone disappeared for the canteen because it opens from 9:30 to 11:00 for breakfast. Imagine that. In the US, most of the office based restaurants open by 6:00, but certainly no later than 7:00 for breakfast. When I was in Tokyo, Starbucks did not even open until 9:30. Funny the cultural differences. I am not a fan of course of working all the time and there is a side to me that applauds the ability of some cultures to resist the passive aggressive attempt of American companies to force our habits of being available 24/7 on them. But it is annoying to me that they have not done their training or familiarized themselves with the application or new processes but they do always have time for coffee and biscuits and two meal breaks each day. This group definitely trends toward victim mentality. They want me to solve every problem that arises and give them step by step guidance on what they should be doing and when. The manager guy just keeps asking me to schedule meetings with the whole team to discuss. I fell for that yesterday. I scheduled a meeting at 2:00 at his request but then when we assembled he just looked at me as if I had some magical way of getting the work done all the teams needed to perform. He looked at me for some sort of agenda. I just re-iterated that we had met at his request and if he had nothing to say we would just get back to our groups and get to work. So that is what we did.

I finished this day respectfully. At the bar, with my book. I read and had a couple of glasses of white. Caesar salad starter and a really nice Teriyaki salmon with noodles and vegetables for dinner. After, I had a glass of the Jameson ‘Blender’s Dog’. With a name like that, it had to be tested. It held up well.

I got some good time in with Jonathan and ‘Passage‘. I am including a couple of pages here to demonstrate the elegance and subtlety of his writing.

Tasting the ‘Blender’s Dog’. It held up quite well I must say
Cool ass cow head hanging on the wall of the pub

 

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