Fiction: The Project

Gordon O’Dowd waited outside the management offices of Universal Consulting. He’d been with the company since he left school. As he sat in the ornate hallway with wooden panelled walls and golden lamps that barely lifted the gloom Gordon felt every inch the schoolboy. He remembered when he got sent to the Headteachers office for gluing a mirror to his shoes and using it to look up girls skirts.

Happy days, he thought.

Mr Murphy was running late. Gordon had been waiting a full thirty minutes, unless the large clock at the end of the hallway was wrong. The thing ticked so loudly that Gordon was pretty sure he would be able to hear it back at his desk even behind the soundproofing effect of the paperwork walls its was buried under. Gordon could have done without this today.

With a creek befitting the finest cheesy horror flick, the door to Gordon’s left yawned open. Ms Murphy the bosses daughter and secretary, (No-one, including her, was sure in which order that was) beckoned Gordon “Dad.. oh no.. Mr Murphy will see you now” she said. Grinning at her non-corporate slip she pulled the door back so that Gordon could walk through the door out of the gloomy hallway into the modern open plan style office that was home to Mr Murphy.

Murphy bounded over to see him like a happy puppy and shook Gordons hand.
“O’Dowd” he boomed. “Thanks for coming to see me, I know you are extremely busy”
“Well when the boss calls you gotta go right.” Replied Gordon trying to match the light-hearted bouncy dog.
“Right, right. Please take a seat” Murphy himself drew back a big old leather chair from behind his glass desk. Gordon selected a rather more modest affair and sat, not relaxed, although trying to appear so, across from his boss.

Ms Murphy meanwhile had been busying herself with making a fresh pot of coffee which she placed down on the glass desk along with two unbelievably small cups. In the brighter light of the office Gordon noticed she was wearing a bright green dress, almost too short for office wear, the evil part of Gordon’s mind longed for his mirrored shoes.

As Ms Murphy walked away Gordon’s brain was awoken from it’s sleazy state by the echoing tone of her Father. “I’ve called you here today to discuss project 82734.”
“Oh the Arrde project?” Gordon replied.
“Yes that’s the one.” Murphy said, pushing the plunger down on the coffee pot. “How do you think it’s going?”
“Arrde, well like all projects there have been issues we have had to overcome but I think it’s on track. The current stage of development has been prone to scope creep, but that is expected on a project of this size.”
Mr Murphy sighed and poured himself a very small cup of coffee. “Want some?” he offered.

Gordon shook his head.
“I’ve been in this line of work a long time.” Murphy continued, coffee cup dwarfed in his hand. “Spare me your models and ‘scope creep’. What in the hell is that anyway?”
“Well Sir, its where..”
“Don’t tell me son I just don’t care.” Murphy interrupted. “The result is the same I’ve seen the files. It’s a fucking mess.”
“Sir with respect, that is a little harsh.” replied Gordon on the defensive, “More people are alive than ever before, I have enabled the use of cutting edge technologies. Over 3% of clients absolutely love the project.”
“Gordon, we both know the clients don’t know shit about the project. The 3% are so rich they don’t know their arse from their elbow.”
“Ok, ok.” insisted Gordon. “I know there are problems but look at the healthcare people benefit form.”
“People wouldn’t need healthcare if they didn’t get sick from your mistakes. Babies die Gordon. Fucking babies.”
“People love me.”
“Thats the other thing O’Dowd. Other agents on projects have not used the projects to self promote them or their families. There are statues of your son everywhere.”
“Branding, easier to market if there is a clear brand. You told me that.”
“There is branding and what you have done. Your name is everywhere, on money on buildings. It’s just overkill.”
“My name is nowhere Sir, look at the file. It’s just initials.”

Murphy stood up from behind his desk.
“Gordon, I like you. But you have fucked up bad. Everywhere I look in this file there are diseases, wars, famine. Instead of sorting this out you have promoted yourself, not even the company. ‘In God we trust’ people have that everywhere. They trust you Gordon O’Dowd, they think you have the ability to help them. Yet time and again you have failed. The project is a disaster. I’m gonna have to let you go.”

Celestia earth2

The idea for this piece was taken from this Reddit post from the Writing Prompts subreddit and from u/LSDbag.

Fiction: The Project

Would you take your child to an Orgy?

Probably not right? Why not? I mean you discovered the feel good endorphins from your very first one twenty years ago and your friends will be impressed that you have shown little Johnny a healthy option. He needs to know that just like you everything is better in a group of at least 5. Everything is amazing, little Johnny will feel the same self esteem boost you do when you step into your latex thong, meeting strange people, boosting his confidence well at least until Big Shaun gets here but then no-one feels too confident next to him, but it’s a life lesson.

But you wouldn’t. And people don’t. Because it is entirely inappropriate for a child to attend such a thing, because the child cannot possibly comprehend what is going on or even made the choice to attend such an event. Yet you, a parent, have a whale of a time and are happy and healthy because of it. This is because you, made the journey to the destination, you made the choices along the way, discovered new details with your peers, lived the values, extolled the virtues and decided to enter the foam room with Big Shaun.

Shaun Williamson
Big Shaun
As parents we have a great deal of influence over our children’s lives. They join our lives after a set of choices have been made or reactions to circumstances have been hoisted upon us. If you are a hippie or a media mogul and you have a child you don’t stop being these things. If you are religious or a football fan these things about you don’t change the second you hold your shitting screaming bundle of joy.

As such your child will share experiences and begin to share some belief systems with you. In the interest of balance however and sometimes health it is important to introduce alternative viewpoints than your own. This will help your offspring on their journey and encourage them to make reasoned choices rather than following the crowd.

I read today that a Italian politician is proposing to make it illegal for parents to give their child a vegan diet. Should this be illegal, no. Does it raise a valid point? Yes.

Like it or not a vegan lifestyle is a choice. A choice at which adult vegans have arrived at, they have been on the journey and decided that veganism is the best route for them. Fair play. Should vegan parents feed their child exclusively vegan food before that child has had an opportunity to discover and assess the reasons behind the ethics? Surely that’s missing the point. (The need for vitamin supplements aside. Oh and yes I know vitamins and minerals can all be provided via plant based, but have you ever tried to make a child eat a whole plate of anything everyday.. to achieve this in plant based you need quantity, kids don’t eat quantity you will need to supplement)

Same applies for religious families, or football fans. Half the passion of a belief is in the journey of arriving there yourself. If it is hoisted upon you with no option you will always wonder “What if I supported Swindon…”and your belief will never be as strong because it simply isn’t your belief.

Your life is yours, your childs life is their own. Give your child the tools to make good choices.

Would you take your child to an Orgy?

Poem: Descent

I look in the reflection and try and find me there,
All I see looking back is a strangers vacant stare,
It’s almost like he knew me,
Back when long ago,
My legs were standing straight, well as straight as they could go.
He looks on disapproving at the husk I have become,
How the tyre has grown around my waist were once there was none,
He looks out from inside,
With energy, some ambition,
But I know with any action, now follows a long long intermission.
Frustration. The worst pain to bear.
As my body is ever failing.
That forever there.

SLNSW 13858 Ornamental mirrors for catalogue

Poem: Descent

5 Mistakes We Make as Aspiring Writers

If you look at the date of my last posting you will see that my once quite regular postings here have dwindled. Number of reasons for this. 1. I’ve started a new course and don’t have so much time and 2. The main one I start and go “Nah this is crappy” so this is where I think I’m going wrong.

1.Comparisons to our bestselling favourites

If you are an aspiring sportsman whilst you are aware of Lionel Messi you are also aware that although you might make the team, Lionel will always be a class apart, because he is a “once in a generation” type talent.

Why then do we (or me at least) compare ourselves to the masters of the art, Stephen King’s of the world. I have read numerous articles and books on how so and so Mr Bestseller wrote by candle light inside a cardboard Pringles tube, whilst his family lighted their own farts for warmth before his big break. He still writes in the pringles tube by the way, his family is a lot warmer and less smelly.

Whilst Mr Bestsellers approach obviously worked for him, he’s not you so cut yourself some slack. Otherwise it’ll put you off writing anything.

2. Devotion to the craft

Similar point, but… some are able to be “devoted to writing” writing 8-12 hours a day everyday. Some of us have families and bills to pay. Granted to write an 1800 page opus you are going to need time. But you have a lifetime. Write when you can, enjoy it. Enjoy life

3. Forgotten why we do it

I have always written. It’s been for me always, for fun. I would hope that even at the very top with contracts and book deals and movie screenplays it’s still fun. I started this blog to show people what I write, I welcome comments but I don’t really care what anyone thinks. It’s for me if anyone else likes it it’s a bonus. If they like it so much they’ll pay me to write it, happy days.

4.Meh, It’s been done

Everything has been done. Everything. That brand new fresh original is a copy at least in part of something else. There is even a very similar list to this somewhere in the world. As long as you don’t rip it off entirely, copy, rewrite, rephrase. Do it better, make the starcrossed lovers divorce, kill the good guy. “It’s your world” to quote Bob Ross, so write about a happy little tree.

5. The search for perfection

We all have standards for ourselves. Whilst these can encourage us to reach for the stars and be the best it can also encourage us to throw away a potential masterpiece. The beauty of being a blogger or “amateur” writer is that it doesn’t matter overly what you write. Get it done, get it out. You can always amend it later or it can serve as an inspiration for someone elses number 4!

5 Mistakes We Make as Aspiring Writers

Don’t Panic

Easier said than done eh Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army.

I have lived with panic attacks now since my early teens, for the most part I can deal with the signs of them impending and head them off at the pass with not quite consummate ease. Except of course when I can’t and it all goes horribly wrong.

Case in point, work conference 200 miles away from home, so a double overnight stay. Didn’t sleep a wink despite driving and being tired. Cue the panic, cue the nausea, cue the sweating, dizzy spells. My hands are tingling now just thinking about it. Lucky I have a very supportive set of colleagues at the moment who were able to talk me down from many a metaphorical ledge that I’d reached the edge of at approximately 3am in the cold morning light.

The conference itself went fine. Of course it did. Will that stop me panicking at similar events going forward. Probably not no. Why? I can only venture a guess that when things get that bad and the physical and mental combine to give you the “night of your life” the rational becomes like a mythical dragon that was banished long ago. So you can’t say “Well it was fine that time before” because your internal arsehole mind replies back with “But what if it’s not this time”

Real Ramblings of my Arsehole Mind in panicsville:-

“What if I piss myself in front of everyone?”
“What if I shit myself in front of everyone?”
“What if everyone hates me?”
“What if I don’t know anyone?”
“What if there is someone there I know?”
“What if they find out I’m dumb”
“What if I never sleep again and crash the car?”
All these hits and many more….

I have further challenges in the next few months and in a effort to quell the Arsehole Mind I know I will have to consult tutors and managers to tell them of my fears for situations. I figure its best to be upfront so that people can at best help or at least be aware. However its a double edged sword because these consultations will almost certainly be my first communications with people. I want to convey enthusiasm, interest hell even talent. The Arsehole Mind forces me to display weakness, self involvement and a lack of confidence, straight out. The social equivalent of meeting the girl of your dreams and crapping your kicks before you’ve said “Hello”

Maybe thats a real worry after all.

Don’t Panic

Hurry up and Weight

Greetings lads and lasses and welcome to my first blog post in an absolute age. Is this a new dawn, is this the start of more regular postings. Who knows!

Now is around about the time lots of you will be giving up your New Years resolutions, dry January or Veganuary. Popping corks and heating up those frying pans for a side of something dead and delicious. For those people, enjoy. You gave something new a try for a bit. Bravo.

Some of you are still going. The lure of your old ways not strong enough to pull you back. Some of you trying to lose that Christmas weight are still going to the gym or doing that latest and utterly pseudosciencey detox. Some of you will be unknowingly starving your body and losing weight because of it too. Because that is the goal isn’t it, weight loss the body beautiful and guant.

Well no not really.

Most of us could probably stand to lose a few pounds. I know as I veer towards 40 the only six pack I’m close to is the one in the fridge. The idea though should be I want to get healthy, not I want to lose weight. If you get healthy any excess weight will shed slowly and naturally it’s not actually a complicated premise. Eat right, exercise and hydrate and eventually things will slowly happen.

Heres the rub though. The eating right is hard. Exercise is hard. Hydration should be easy but even that takes more time than it should. A grande latte is better value and tasty, bottled water (because taps aren’t available most places on the go) is not.

Think of the time it took you to get out of shape. For some it was just over Christmas, for others it will be a lifetime’s work.

Why do you expect the healthy you to appear overnight?
Why bother putting time limits on things?

This change is to get healthy, not to lose weight. It’s not a diet. 30 days and then I can go to KFC and eat 20 buckets of chicken! Diets, fads and detoxes (not the rehab programs for substance abuse) encourage binge and purge behaviours and make you think about food the whole time. Experiment with me:-

Say “cheesecake” 20 times (if you don’t like cheesecake, replace with something you like)

Hands up who fancies cheesecake!

To anyone who wants to get healthy. Well done, me too! Steer clear of quick fix, pseudoscience and diets. Eat healthy have something you fancy once in a while (good for the mind) stay active and have a good hearty laugh at those saps inserting bananas where the sun don’t shine cos “Dr” Boz says it will be good for you.

New York's best... the cheeeeeese cake..

Hurry up and Weight

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

When I started writing these i only ever envisaged doing a working week with them. Why? Because I’m lazy and no-one cares what I write!!

So day 5 has to be some kind of conclusion. Well here goes:

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch is truly great at what it is, people have accused Apple of taking other peoples ideas and claiming them as their own. Well watches were around long before Steve Jobs looked like a geeky Ashton Kutcher. So yes they took this and improved on it.

As a smart watch, fitness tracker, style icon (for the “look what I got” people) and remote for the third gen Apple TV it is second to none. If you are far more active than I and already have an iPhone it’s a no brainer.

That said, I’m not that active and although notifications were nice to get, I’m not comfortable with dictating messages via Siri so I always reached for my phone to reply to messages and pretty much everything else. It is nice to be able to look at the time on my wrist. But a cheaper dumb watch will do that.

I think the cost is a factor for me. If someone got me a Apple Watch for Xmas or it was 50% off on Cyber Monday I would be grateful/tempted. Because I have enjoyed it, I can now put it on at the first time of asking, and it is a very nice object, I like the chunky design. However I would bulk at paying Apple Watch money for something I’m not going to utilise fully.

Of course.. unless my friend actually asks for it back…. no rush eh!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!