Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Conduct unbecoming: appropriately sanctioned

I don't feel any sympathy for Jamie Briggs who seems to have had a big night out in Hong Kong and - in a social part of the evening - behaved in a way that some of the people around him took offense to.

I know the culture of state and federal government; the minister is the all supreme boss. The minister is - in a way - appointed by the people and is the top of the tree in public service. It requires the minister to be almost antiseptic in their dealings - especially where personal interchanges in a social setting are concerned. For goodness sake you'll get away with swearing like a soldier in a work setting as long as you're treating your staff with respect - but step outside the office and it becomes murky.

I move in two main circles of life at the moment - universities and skydivers. I can assure you that I cannot take the "out of hours" culture from one of these domains and apply it to the other. I have enough danger of offending even when I'm being very guarded.

Jamie made a mistake. One he should have avoided. And it's part of the job to avoid offending other people. His resignation is appropriate.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stupid hurts. It's not personal.

I like to think that there are consequences for ones actions. I suppose it has something to do with what I hope is my internal locus of control.

If I get caught in a car park for 2 hours at 5 p.m. on boxing day it's my stupid fault for going to the office when the sales are on. If I have a family member who won't speak to me for years then perhaps I had a part to play in that and I just have to live with it. If I go for a skydive and injure myself then perhaps I shouldn't be doing certain things.

Stupid hurts.
It's my dream that other people also take responsibility for their own situation. So some time ago I wore my "stupid hurts" t-shirt into a large room full of people. I've previously noted how I seem to be a form of live rorschach blot.

My little troll really pulled out the insecurities of a few. I've never agreed with the people who say there is no such thing as a stupid question only stupid mistakes. Both exist.

If you are standing in front of a glass door fridge full of beer and you ask me "where is the beer?" then that qualifies as a stupid question. It's not personal but it does wear on me when people ask me to solve problems that don't exist. Where the slightest mental effort on a persons part means that they don't need to ask me to help.

I have had both compliments and complaints over my "stupid hurts" stance. I am mostly around universities and skydiving.

Where would you guess I received the most complaints?

UPDATE: Two days ago a friend dislocated a knee. This is where the theory and the practical don't always line up. Now I hate being the guy who once said "stupid hurts". But my friend is a star. She'll be fine.

Here is a beautiful sunrise.

Monday, December 21, 2015

God give me the strength to be nice

As I get to the end of the year I have some more time to reflect on some of the people around me. But first I"ll reflect on my own challenges earlier this year.

I went to one of the great drop zones of the world to attempt the Australian record big way skydive. That was May and it feels like a lifetime ago. I still carry the emotional scars and the exuberance.

As with all my attempts to get some skills on this I was thwarted by the weather. I was way undercooked when it was time to go for the record.

On the day of the first cut I was so so pleased to be given a position in the base of the formation. It was not a glory slot but man I knew that I was underdone. The organisers threw me a bone and kept me in the game. And I got the Australian record with 118 of my friends. Many great skydivers did not get the mercy I was shown and were cut during the record attempt.

So as the world turns and I become responsible for judging the performance of others I get frustrated quite easily.

I feel like saying "don't you know how bad you are!? I'm doing you a favour by letting you have this [mark position score place]"

When confronted by a person who is oblivious to their own level of performance it's all I can do not to scream. But then, as the people I trust continue to tell me:

"it's not what you're saying Cullen it is how you're saying it"

So I say a little prayer.

"God give me the strength to be nice"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why reinvent the wheel that Google just created?

I work with universities and TAFE colleges quite often. They are always trying to create fancy learning systems for online.

They tried to build video capture and discussion board and blogs all within their own platform. It must cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I have been involved in what they call blended learning since about 2003, I have progressed from recording WMV files of lectures and emailing them to students out to doing YouTube face to face feedback on student assignments.

Everytime I have created some manual system about a year later Google has fully automated it and made it better.

A Blog a website a video diary all of these things are really easily managed by using Google or sometimes Microsoft.

I know if you've spent thousands hundreds of thousands of dollars employing developers encoders then you need to hold on to that resource.

But clever business is everywhere are using the technology that is available to them. Guess which ones are likely to survive in the next decade?

18 Point

A case in Point. Every word of this blog post was recorded using Google voice recognition.

Notwithstanding the minor bug about that pretty darn good.

Um that minor bug above. Clearly some proofreading still required.

Parachutes? I don't see it.

My Nana once told me to blow on a dandelion and watch the parachutes descend.

Even as an 8 year old I could not see any deployment.

Still I did like the idea of a parachute even then.

Hot day harden up

A friend once said that all good sports are weather dependent. Never more true than when you are leaving to go to the drop zone at 5am.

It could be worse. I could be leaving to record lectures for an online course the way that I have been for the last 8 days.

In fact I consider it a privilege to be able to go up and do some work at something I love. Sure I love teaching marketing and research but I love Skydiving.

How good can it be to be paid to teach something that you don't just love but live?

So as we say let's get the dustbuster out and get the sand out of my undies, take a spoon of cement and HTFU.

It'll be a hot day today and all the jumping will be done by 11 a.m.

But a morning of jumping that you miss out on is a morning of jumping you will never ever get the chance to do it again.

Wheels off 6 a.m.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Now I know we're on the run to Christmas. Sure I'm cynical and weary of Christmas. Other people's emotions bore me at the best of times, and Christmas is the best of times.

But as I roll towards Christmas Day, I find the immersion of goodwill and happiness rubs off. As I trudge through other people jostling to make the Christmas period their own version of perfect, eventually I come to this:

"I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart"

And the gun fired early this year, as I just heard this song: