Saturday 31 October 2015

#127 Turtle doves

Out in the suburbs of Chicago, a thirty year old guy with scruffy blonde hair and a slightly creased shirt collar crunches his way up the driveway to his home. We see him unlock his door and go inside. He pulls a vibrating phone out of his jacket. "Hey, it's me" says a female voice. "Hey sweetie, how're the drones?" Cut to a suited woman, early thirties, better kept than her boyfriend. She's at a work party. "Ssh, they'll hear you" she says "but they're fine, which is more than I can say about this weather. Actually that's why I called, honey the trains are all cancelled, I know I was going to come over tonight but there's nothing running and I am way too hammered to drive." The camera pans to him from around the room. "It's... ok" he replies, clearly bothered. Cut back to his girlfriend. She's being handed another drink and the music's a notch louder. "Listen so I'm gonna stay over at Suzy's" she says "are you sure you'll be ok?" "Can't control the weather" he says, a toughness to his voice. "Kevin... love you". "Love you Sarah. Ok. Ok bye".

He goes over to the couch and flicks on the TV. A movie. Changes the channel. A baseball game. Changes it again. A news reporter reading "...that not everyone will see this as a Christmas gift, the notorious wet bandits have broken out of the metropolitan correctional facility. News of the escape was released by the facility at 2pm.." the report trails off as the Kevin's phone shakes again and he answers. "Mr. McCallister, divisional detective inspector Brian Fomer here, we're not sure if you've heard..." "I just saw the report". "I'm very sorry about that Sir" offers the inspector. "While we're doing everything and I mean everything we can to locate them, I'm sending my sergeant over there tonight just as a precaution" "that won't be necessary" says Kevin. "Sir these men are highly dangerous and..." Kevin cuts him off, angered. "Inspector with all due respect, think about it. Me, the only person ever to have caught these guys, taking protection from you guys, the ones who can't even keep the prison door closed?... I don't think so." He hangs up the phone, looks straight into the camera. He's not smiling, just looking at us. For a second or two.

Saturday 24 October 2015

#126 The deficit

Earlier this week, one of my Facebook friends posted that she wanted to understand more about the deficit. How and when did it become a problem? Does it need fixing? This isn’t something that I know a lot about. In fact, I don’t know a lot about anything. I just enjoy blogging.

My first thought was to do some research and then write a blog post on the deficit and whether I personally felt that it needed reducing. I immediately ran into complications and then continued to run into them non-stop for about three hours. When people talk about the deficit, oftentimes, they’re not really referring to the deficit in a strict sense. They’re talking about government borrowing. The government does borrow to cover the deficit but it also borrows to invest. Borrowing does help to cover the deficit but so does a growth in GDP. 

The UK does have a government deficit but it also has an overall deficit in its cash imports and exports. The latter is consistently regarded as one of the main risks to the country’s financial stability in the Bank of England’s financial stability report. The former doesn’t feature in the report at all. All economists know things like this but when they are interviewed, some of them ignore it in order to propagate their own political viewpoints and some of them just won’t go into detail on it precisely because their account of the situation would quickly become more complicated than most people would understand, imagine or have time for.

The Wikipedia entry for the term “balanced budget" shows varied schools of thought among economists on whether having a deficit is good or bad for an economy. It also explains that in the US, there is some form of ban on running a deficit in every state except Vermont. This doesn’t necessarily mean that such bans would be right for the UK. One of the main reasons UK voters dislike deficit reduction is because it is seen as a justification of austerity. It’s difficult not to sympathise. Of course, reducing the deficit isn’t about reducing government spending down to zero. It’s only about spending less than the government is earning in taxes. As a long-term strategy, I think most people would agree that absent any other form of contributions to the government, this is sensible behaviour but given current austerity, it seems right to ask whether now is the right time.

Friday 16 October 2015

#125 JC

Where there's bitter on tap and the music's on, if there's people around then you'll find Jon. He cycles and runs and spends time in the sun, he's been going bald since about thirty-one. A father of two and a good friend to all, I look up to him even though I'm so tall. In a day he gets more done than most of us could, if you order dessert he'll want some of your pud. A musician a banker an athlete a dad, he cycles so far that they say "Jon, you're mad" Il parle Francais si on leur donne une demi-chance, we all met him tonight for a drink and a dance. It was great fun tonight, hope that you're not too pissed. Maybe soon we cross poetry off of the list.

Sunday 4 October 2015

#124 Various goings-on

Lately I've been drawing thought maps with coins. I put a coin on a piece of paper, draw a circle around its edge and write a statement inside it. Then I do the same, about a centimetre next to the first one, with a connecting line in between the two. Then I draw another one and so on. It's quite a calming way of writing down thoughts that follow on from one another because it slows the mind down and crystallises a sequence of points into a story.

On Thursday, we had a staff day at work, where we talked about 'building relationships', a topic which people seem to prefer over 'networking', despite the similarity between the two. We also talked about the book Strengthsfinder 2.0, which was the subject of one of my earlier blog posts. It's a book about how to do more of what you're good at. How fitting for me to be reading it the year that my sister and brother in law got me a sign, which now sits in the middle of my bedroom, which reads "do more of what makes you happy". I had just taken it to mean that I should eat more bacon and had no idea that it could ever have any commercial application.

This morning, Marc, MattChris and I sat in the lounge and I helped them click for Glastonbury tickets. It was kind of fun. MattChris is Marc's friend whose original identity in name has undergone a rare phenomenon of being merged together with another name, to form one long name. I might try and interview him (them? it?) one day about the experience. 

If Naino goes to New Zealand, I will be mostly responsible for Keira.

Having recently shown improvement at work when it comes to prioritising and keeping people up to date, I'm falling short when it comes to critical thinking, specifically, multi-dimensional thinking. 

Marc got the festival tickets and then we had fun reading all the tweets from people who have been trying for years to get them and never manage it.