Friday, 26 November 2010

Follow the exit signs



QT sat slouched on the couch by the bar considering whether it was an angina attack or indigestion as he watched the colloidal mixture of alcohol and company staff at the Laugh Hotel slosh about the room. It was, of course, the Unlikely Solutions Ltd Christmas social. Christ knows, they were horrid affairs, whose only saving grace was that they came but once a year. He eyed his eggnog: the glacé cherry myocarditis heart pierced by the precision stake of a cocktail stick and partly submerged in a foamy sea of sweet luminous yellow puss.

Hi, I'm Ramona.

QT.

As in cute, extremely?

No, more in the vein of "on the quiet" – hush, hush.

Intriguing.

Only in so far as the dark allure of the hidden is often more intriguing than the shallow profundity of the known.

Sounds like serious business.

Excuse me a moment. Paddy?

Yes?

Who's been wearing Miranda's clothes?

Miranda.

Ask a silly question. So where were we?

Don't you want to know what I do?

Well Ramona, on the off-chance you are versed in the the dark arts of enhanced interrogation techniques. No.

Okay, so let me try a different tact: how do you know Alpha-Alpha?

He's my boss, as I presume - yours?

Would you describe your relationship to him within and without the formal structure of contractual employment as intimate?

No.

Could you introduce me to someone who could?

Oh Ramona, if there was only some kind of future.

I take that as "no" then.

Oh Paddy, I think I've lost my way.

What a fantastic death abyss!

Tell the others.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

You're fired!

"We'll be streamlining the business to better position ourselves to take advantage of these challenging market conditions."

Don't shoot the messenger

But what are you to do if the messenger arrives on your doorstep bearing bad news, you have a loaded gun in your hand and the authorities care little for investigating Mercurial murders - as long as you're willing to spare them the inconvenience of corpse disposal and the mopping of any congealed blood pools that may offended the sensibilities of by-passers?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

006



Viewers/visitors/players ascend towards the artist, seeking wisdom. But he does not yield. They never see the empty coat-hangers and blindly pass us by.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

You don't have to be a crook to run for office, but ...

It wasn't exactly the case that crime had been finally eradicated, rather it had been channeled and refocused - by a crack team of previously pardoned management consultants - to work in the service of global social benefit. To wit: the skills of those with unrepentant criminal tendencies were first wooed; then finally finely honed - be they hackers of the cyber or machete-versus-flesh variety - to systematically poke, prod and pry at the hi-and-low-tech vulnerabilities of the corporate elites. And the stakes were high. While success was handsomely rewarded, failure often culminated in a terminally rapid career decline of the most unpleasant and, often, sadistic, kind (i.e. at the mercy of increasingly lethal, self-styled, crime prevention contraptions).

There's nothing new under the sun as they say and, indeed, there had been earlier precedents for reforming former criminals into security industry experts - who better to prevent crime than criminals? Except, for scale. The savings on scrapping the judicial system were extreme to say the least and the surplus bounty was funneled into substantial bonuses for the successful career criminal. And, in select cases, meritoriously rewarded with dispensation to high political office. That latter phenomenon hadn't gone unnoticed in the higher echelons of the managerial turrets at Unlikely Solutions Limited. It was hotly rumoured that Alpha-Alpha had political ambitions of his own which, to those observing acutely, had seemed extraneous at the time during the events of a hot summer night 2050 AD when there was a security breach of notable proportions.

That summer's night, after the generators - together with their back-ups - had experienced a rare simultaneous failure and the lights wouldn't switch back on, there were black plumes to be observed rising from the pre-set explosives scattered about the perimeter fences which extending like fisted arms clenching the still night air. Munition fire intermittently punctured the silent terror as shadowy figures breached the main compound walls. Such were the security measures at Unlikely Solutions Limited, that only one lone loot laden escapee was captured by the CCTV leaving the premises alive. Did I mention the company was heavily insured?

It was not long, after that fateful night, that Alpha-Alpha ran for office. Where he had secured such exorbitant funds to run such a lavish campaign remained a mystery.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Celebrating Creation Week

It is said the Lord created the world in six days and, on the seventh, rested. Let's think about that for a moment: hell, give it all week if you want. Why six days? Surely the All Powerful could have just, metaphorically speaking, “clicked His fingers” and, in so doing, created it in a jiffy (where “jiffy” informally denotes a non-specifically short period of time). Was there some limiting factor on the creative process slowing it down? Some independently established laws or mechanisms not subject to the hastening of His will? Notwithstanding this “external” context, surely there would be other restrictions upon the creative process, for example, that the world would need to be created according to certain patterns of internal logic, that is, it couldn't just be ad hoc: randomly pulled of a hat. That internal logical dictates, once the basic rules of the game have been established, say like those of chess, the possible movement of the pieces across the board would be self-enforcing. Now while there may potentiality be an infinite number of games to be played, combination of moves, etc., they are not without restriction, that is, subject to laws. Without such laws, the game would no longer be intelligible and, as such, there could be no “players”. Finally, surely in eternity, the notion of a day as a measure is somewhat redundant, unless of course, its measurement is tied to certain relationally defined independent regularities (say, as opposed, merely subjective guestimates); so on Earth a day was based on the apparent rotation of the sun - other periods, the moon - around the earth (though, of course, it was later gallantly determined that the sun's movement relative to the Earth to be the other way around). And why would He need to rest? Restore His energy? Surely it is, by definition, infinite? I don't know. Just asking.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Not too big to flail

I was recently informed, by a terminal watcher, that there was a television show on one of those lesser-watched satellite channels, whose teleological trajectory was premised on discovering the ultimate warrior from across the ages. Now I forget the exact details, but some fighting brand of Native American Indian, apparently, won the deal hands down and, presumable, off at the wrists. Now I disagree, the ultimate warrior is a bunch of - internally speaking - pale, fat, slightly off-white guys who, through agrarian, industrial, then service-based subjugation, managed to bring the entire planet to its collective knees by excessively and successively engorging themselves on the fat of the land in order to ensure they were “too big to fail”.

An announcement

Alpha-Alpha cleared his throat. I have an announcement to make: We shouldn't be afraid to embrace change, even though it's an abstract concept. And I want you to approach that change - ill defined as it is for you at this very moment - and do the reach-around with your mind's eye. Now open your heart values and let the synergy flow to your extremities. Don't worry, this involves no obviously inappropriate contravention of workplace based contact legalities - except to note, QT, by extremities, I meant the four limbs only. That is not a limb: you wont find change in your pockets. HAHAHA! See what I did there? I made a joke by subverting your expectations. Now relax. We must all adapt - myself included - to the march of the micro, as well as macro, commercial environment we find ourselves in, in order to survive and prosper, unless, of course, you have a terminal illness, in which case whatever you do is pretty much futile but, on the sunny side, at least that wont matter for long. Speaking of the terminal, if you'll forgive the segue, I've had to rationalise the business as we enter this new, shining era of austerity and opportunity and, rather like a kindly physician, I have identified the inoperables among you so that the rest should live on in satisfactory health. I shall not name names here, for it gives me no pleasure to axe the deadwood, but needless to say, I have asked security to clear the relevant desks and, when you return to your workspaces, I ask those who find their personal possessions sealed in a cardboard box, to leave the premises with dignity and decorum. For those of you who find yourself holding such a box, I offer you this wafer crumb of comfort: in all likelihood you'll never see re-employment again; you might want to consider adopting one of those religions with an afterlife, as you'll almost certainly die in the poverty of worklessness. I don't pay the kind of wages commensurate to funding retirement nest eggs. HAHAHA! Now, be gone from my sight and, where relevant, site.

Just-is

And as the posh kids did riot
We did know that they were good,
And that the other posh kids
Did have a fight on their hands.

And when they entered the building
They found nothing there
But mirrors and windows
To smash.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Boo-T's work

Boo-T6 was on data watch. Outside it rained. And Boo-T6 observed the rain through the window of his view. And his window and those around him had been built with only one setting. So Boo-T6 did not remark on the rain any further than registering that "outside it rained". The rain greyed the sky and buildings that sat between him and the horizon. More immediately, a grey room where other Boo-Ts worked. None moved much as each were connected to shiny pipes which ran swiftly through the room.

He was not a he. He was an IT. But an IT that could think and look at things and swivel on its chair. Well, his lower body was made from an old swivel chair. He was designed after a retro-chic fashion. All the ITs were these days. Each fashioned after an era. Each ITs' desirability naturally ebbed and flowed with the seasons.

He swivelled occasionally, and not without purpose. Although, he got the most enjoyment when he swivelled without purpose. He wondered about this, but not too often. Similarly, he wondered why he had occasional urges to go and interface with Boo-T69.

He was part of a unit assigned to analysing and maximising the efficiency of the modern use of language: particularly, he had to find ways to cut out the waste. He was trawling through ancient communications and translating them into a modern equivalent. Boo-T6 was an effective, if unexceptional bot who worked steadily, translating 1,200,000 utterances daily. However, he had hit a glitch. He was unsettled. He was stuck as he processed the following:

"Recent research from the Chartered Management Institute reveals that qualified managers are likely to earn £81,000 more over the course of their career than unqualified ones.

So, if you're serious about a career in Management or proving that you're ready for the next promotion, becoming a qualified manager will give you the edge."

ISEATT

There's typically some point in a TV show or movie, where there's a scene that appears to deliberately go out of its way to make a feature of its obvious discontinuity or incongruity by obsessively lingering on some apparently trivial element and/or motif, only later to be validated as a crucial factor leading to the “reveal” or “twist” in the narrative resolution much, much, later on. Such moments have a technical term of art know as the: “It seemed extraneous at the time” as identified by Dr. Raoul Dukeson. It is a device often over-employed by the late director M. Night Shyamalan whose career died pre-post-prematurely.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

After the extraterrestrials landed everything changed. Or did it? Looking back, what appeared to be earth shattering events, somehow, almost imperceptibly, fell gradual into a familiar pattern. Rut-a-tut-tut. Naturally, they had come prepared with a formidable arsenal and, as if by obligation, put on an explosive display of shock-and-awe, predominantly aimed at crippling the manufacturing infrastructure. There was some collateral damage, but too little to make a big-picture, song-and-dance splash in the rain. Or so we were told by the tabloids. They cleared up any misunderstandings by offering generous bridging loans to rebuild and repair the extensive damage. And, indeed, in a stroke of magnanimity, they even offered to buy up key industries, invest their technological expertise and managerial know-how, to get things back on track once again. It was not long before fleets of extraterrestrial migrants came by the interstellar shipload to join the work force. And it soon became apparent that working conditions and practices back on their home worlds, were even more suspect than those on terra firma and, yet again, the standard of living for the many dropped in proportion to the provision of any social safety net. After all, it was only fair. There was unrest. Strikes. Violence. The vast majority of the populace now recognised their new overlords were accelerating and facilitating the practice of “business as usual”. However, the only individuals most vocal in articulating their victimisation, were those ousted from high-profile positions such as executive boards members, regulatory czars and, of course, the odd politico. These fallen elites banded together to create a grass-roots political movement - The After Dinner Party (“Suppers” for short) - to take back power on behalf of voiceless voting public. The extraterrestrial overlords, all too familiar with such self-serving counterinsurgency, offered The After Dinner Party leaders nominally significant positions in key institutions, together generous remuneration packages, in return for acknowledging that significant concessions had been made. So they had, after a fashion. And, once again, everything was back to normal.

Except, another, much larger, extraterrestrial craft landed.

And it began to rain.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Apocalypse soonish

The much vaunted apocalypse of 2012 had failed to materialise, or dematerialise, depending on your point of view (I mean, obviously, since you're reading this). Those that, in anticipation of the end of days - indeed, months, decades, millennia and so on - had released the equity in their homes - might as well spend it while you can - and, in return, handed over their mortgage deeds to the multinational insurance corporations. Of course, the corporations had had a hand in promoting the largely foundationless hysteria in the first place and had promptly cleaned up when the former owners, now rental occupiers, had squandered their remaining funds in anticipation of the now non-event. For those that had lost out, there was to be a rare second chance, for they were then re-employed by the corporations to work - commission only - on selling doomsday equity release plans - for an increased rental fee allowing them to stay in their homes - that now fixed the impending apocalypse in the last financial quarter of 2050 AD, when the mother of all solar storms would finally furnish the Earth with its last taste of the son.