In case you want to torment friends and family.
Easy it ain’t.
In case you want to torment friends and family.
Easy it ain’t.
I am an HR professional. Not a badge many wear with pride, but I do. I know what my function does at its best, and I’m good at it.
I’m doing some contracting work right now because of life circumstances. Sharon and I move to Oz next year, to a…remote location. I am therefore in the process of looking for work with companies that support remote working*
I applied for a role recently where they had one of those cutesie online application forms. One of their questions was “What makes you unique?”
Now, I’m not good with questions like that. I am reasonably smart, and in the right situation, nimble on my intellectual feet and quick witted. In these situations, I flounder. So, knowing I had nothing to lose, and because my interview chances were slim anyway, I nonchalantly just entered “apart from my mitochondrial DNA?”
Reader, I have an interview. And part of me (only a small part) wonders if I want to work with a firm who likes my degree of snark without having met me!
So: What’s your funniest recruitment story?
*If anyone knows anyone who would hire a shit hot HR Business Partner with USA, EMEA » Continue Reading.
Year: 2019 Director: Bong Joon-Ho
Is it a black comedy? Is it a thriller? Is it a modern parable?
All of these, and none of these. If there is one criticism – and it’s the only one – it’s a movie that never quite knows what it wants to be, and it answers all three of those questions above, moving between them easily. And honestly, a little too easily for me to be able to know what tone the film is setting. How much of that is language and a culture gap (subtitles, in Korean) I’ll never know.
But the positives…God, such a good movie. The juxtaposition of music and light in the house is just beautiful. Absolutely tone perfect in a way that few movies have been. The DP, Hong Kyung Pyo, should be Oscar-worthy for this. He can saturate the picture when he needs to and render darkness starkly equally as well. The plot meanders a tad. But Sharon and I, walking away, discussed it a lot, especially the question of who is the parasite. And it was satisfying to come up with so many different answers, and so many reasons why. All our arguments stood » Continue Reading.
I have come to realize that I like movies that are…well, not deep. But somehow delight and deliver a sense of happiness.
Two key cases here: 1. Subway (video attached). There is no plot. Seriously. None. Don’t bother looking for it. But it looks sooo good and has great energy. I’ve been fond of this since Mr Roberts played it for us during double A level French and the scene with Ms Adjani slowly divesting herself of her clothes imprinted itself on my 15 year old mind. I’ve come back to it several times since, and you know what? I love it. It instantly evokes a warm feeling in me. I know the set pieces, I know the jokes, and it all amounts to nothing. But it is beautiful (like most Besson pics), and Adjani has never been more…luminous. Eric Serra kills with the tune. You finish it, you get up and wonder what you just did for the last couple of hours. Answer comes there none, but what a great void. 2. That Thing You Do. I defy anyone to not feel better after this movie. Surefire cure for the blues. And it is o light a movie. Music, » Continue Reading.
I won’t lie, I love a good Western. Classic, modern, all of them. I’m currently starting Friday evening (Sharon’s away!) with a nice Negroni and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West.
Tell me what else I should watch?
I love the John Ford cavalry pics; John Wayne in just about everything (but GOD The Shootist is amazing); Eastwood; Cooper. Peckinpah.
What am I missing?
A bit niche but…
My son, currently based in podunk West Virginia, wants to go to University in Scotland. In particular he’s looking at Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee.
Anyone got any recent experience with them?
Baseball. Vietnam. The Civil War.
Ken Burns’ documentaries, taken altogether, are the story of America.
Country is as good as you could imagine. It’s narrated by the inimitable Peter Coyote, and filled with all the interviews you could want. We’re on Episode 3 right now, but if you can get it, I urge you to.
Here’s the website: https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/country-music/
I started off with some Susannah Hoffs tracks (no, this isn’t a LennyLaw confessional) and it took me in myriad directions, the GoGos; ver Bangles; Blondie; The Pretenders, TenPole Tudor.
And then it struck me. At the risk of losing my blue (US) passport – the British stuff is just cooler, no? Altered Images, Tenpole Tudor; Haircut 100. ABC
The American mid 80s stuff is safe. Good, but safe.
I meet my wife in a week (long story, hiking, West Highland Way, don’t be stupid) – equip me to tell me she’s wrong.
Post something cooler.
I’m not sure you can. Better? Maybe. Cooler? Nah.
I’ve just – belatedly – watched the Deadwood movie. And I paused to reflect not only on the movie but the series.
David Milch penned Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, and Deadwood. Any arguments about his being in the pantheon of TV greats have surely been put to bed. (I loved John From Cincinatti, but sense a minority opinion…)
Everything about is is just right. The writing, the performance, the sepia-toned cinematography…just. right. It’s not a film of excess, but about staying true to the source material. It respects the aging of the actors and actresses, not least Trixie and Al.
I’m a long standing fan of the series, and if you haven’t seen it, I urge you to do so. Not as flashy and well known as other HBO creations – Sopranos, The Wire – I’d argue it’s just as strong. Aaron Sorkin writes with a rhythm, and there’s no doubt Milch does as well here. There’s a vocabulary and rhythm to what he rotes that sets him, and his performers, apart. It can’t be easy to deliver his lines, unless you’re Mr Wu2, and his cast do him proud here.
This is a great send off to what » Continue Reading.
Runrig performed a farewell concert(s) at Stirling Castle. This is a 3CD and DVD release to commemorate their last ever concert.
Just when you thought it was safe, The Scottish Band are back!
Well, not back exactly so much as celebrating their farewell. A three disc release, which (bar one or two tracks) is their last concert at Stirling Castle. As such, it’s a three disc release that has everything you loved and hated about Runrig.
As a quick disclaimer of impartiality, I got in to ‘The Rig’ in the very late 80s. I generally really like them. I understand that my entirely reasonable position isn’t always shared by others.
Where do you start with Runrig? Earnest. That’s where you start. U2 without the humor. Steely eyed SNP MPs who used to play keyboards. (See: earnest.) Bouffant hair. Rolled up sleeves on leather jackets. But an album that got to No2 in the UK album chart; another that got to No4. Good musicians – you may not have liked WHAT they played, but you could never argue that it wasn’t well played. And yes, it was Celt rock to the power of 10, with a large part of the oeuvre » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It’s an interesting mix of artists, all covering Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight. Some decent names – Craig Finn, Biffy, Sarah Silverman – and an equal smattering of “who the hell are they?”
Everyone’s done their own version of the songs, with very different sounds. Are all of them great? No. But I’d argue none of them are bad.
I was in pieces on the first play through, and by the third was in love with it. It’s bigger than the sum of its individual parts
What does it all *mean*?
Well, it isn’t a tribute album. It was all but complete when Scott Hutchison passed. That said, there is an extra poignancy to it, especially Twilight Sad’s Floating in the Forth.
The original album was a belter – the album that broke them, really. The album that gets played most on “Chuck”, fact fans. So to hear these staples covered by other artists could have been really jarring.
Except…they work. Every one has found something else in the song that may not have been there on the first listen. Backwards Walk, done by Sarah Silverman, takes the original from the female angle and » Continue Reading.
I just heard her cover of Chance, the Big Country song. She’s doing an album of the Scottish Songbook, with all the usual suspects.
If one were interested in her own music, including the early Malinkie stuff, where would one begin?
Ah, such a complex review. I’ll make this bare bones. if you paid what I did for these tickets, and a random band turned up and did what they did, you’d firebomb the venue.
It was, however Kris Kristofferson and The Strangers.
Let me deal with the band first. Solid. Really solid. The two Haggard boys know their instruments, can sing nicely, and on the few occasions they had a chance to do a Merle song, delivered. Okie from Muskogee was really good. The fiddler – and I’m afraid I don’t have the name – was the stand out. Classically trained is my bet, but he played every note and every bow in sympathy with the songs. Vocally terrific, too. I’d go watch him.
And then to KK. His voice is deeper and more gravelly. A little less force, but when it comes with force, it’s effective. One of my standouts was the idea that when he’s delivering the world weary songs (and yes, I think Sunday Morning is one of those) it sounds so…lived in and authentic. The man has lived every word and experience in that song. Bobby McGee sounds like » Continue Reading.
I may have a problem with alcohol.
*whew* OK that felt big.
Ver wife is away hiking again. I’ve had a shit day at work, lapsed into drinking, and then posted a bunch of music videos on my Fbook page. Predominantly this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfMcz34ReFg&t=1632s
Not the first time I’ve done that. When she was away hiking the PCT (a LONG time, fact fans) this happened more than once.
Those of us with memories might remember some of my postings when she was away last year, especially about Scott Hutchison.
I find it SO much easier to…feel my emotions after a drink or two. Or three. I don’t compartmentalize, and I feel freer, and I can talk more about things that touch me or feel personal. When I show up at work, or when I speak to anyone other than my wife, I feel I putting up a HUGE shield. Wit, sarcasm, the usual weapons to deflect the arch sentimentalism that comes up after a decent gin.
I often feel that I need a drink to fully feel my emotions; if I don’t, it feels like I’m blocking things off. Frank Wilson is better after a glass of wine; Frightened Rabbit » Continue Reading.
I was looking back on what and who I’ve seen this year, and what really stood out.
WWPJ were, as usual, immense. Twice. Jim Lovell at the National Cathedral had me quietly crying in the aisles. Lyle and Robert Earl were just..so nice and comfortable. Great music and world class chat. Taking Wee Chris to his first rugby international was a proud father’s day. Podcast recording of The West WIng Weekly cheered me up no end.
But amazingly, for someone whose standby music follows Stuart Adamson’s dictum of “all you need is guitars and drums” the standout was OMD at the 9.30 Club. Few gigs have left me leaving feeling on such a high. It was a completely immersive experience – really well delivered music, great vocals (no sign of let down for his age), great humor, and a vocalist who quite clearly is set out to enjoy himself each night, and a crowd determined to meet him on his quest. All the classics and some of the newer classics. I can’t put into words just how much I enjoyed it.
So who did I miss this year that brightened your concertgoing?
The Birchmere, Virginia
Night 2 of a 2 night stop. Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen (REK) and 6 guitars between them. And that was it.
I forecast to Sharon that the high ticket price (3 figures plus) was not for the music but for the patter. And so it proved. You’d pay the money just to sit and listen to two old stagers who’ve known each other for decades just swap stories and musings, and all done in a East Texas accent. Willie’s birthday…the house being moved by a car…film stars in elevators. I’d buy that podcast.
The music could almost seem like an afterthought. Except you’d pay the ticket price just to listen to them play and sing. Lyle obviously has his own vocal style, but in a venue like the Birchmere he’s able to get every thought and nuance out of the lyrics. REK on the other hand is a bit rougher around the edges in both his playing and singing, but it sounded so genuine that you could live the song.
In short, wonderful. If they’re on tour, go see them. Go see them twice. Support acts like this. In recent memory, it’s » Continue Reading.
Who, you are asking, the hell is Kenneth Roy.
He is – or, rather, was – the editor of the Scottish Review. What, you are asking….It’s a weekly online publication. Been around 24 years and publishes all sorts of stuff. Weekly diaries, Lockerbie investigations, quality investigative journalism akin to PEye at its best, some humor and some idiosyncratic columns. It’s a gem of quality journalism in a low quality world. I look forward to Wednesday morning immensely knowing I can read it over breakfast.
This week’s edition was the announcement that Roy was stepping aside due to a terminal diagnosis. My heart give a little lurch.
I’ve never met Roy, although I have written a couple of acerbic letters to the SR. But he’s long been seen by me as a bastion of decency in journalism. The quality of his writing is excellent, with nary a wasted word or idea. But the causes he’s pursued are the ones that no-one else is touching – unexplained deaths that have been mishandled, serial failures of the legal agencies, jabbing elbows at the Establishment.
There was never a cult of celebrity, just about the story. He always struck me as being a classic » Continue Reading.
A show in two parts.
A half hour of Mr Hiatt solo doing some old and some new (as in, unreleased) material. Then 90 minutes or so of Hiatt, Sonny Landreth and the Goners going through “Slow Turning”, which was released 30 years ago.
The first section was great. One man, guitar, and years of life in a voice. His slightly strained delivery always makes me thing that “yeah, he lived THAT feeling”. It’s something that comes through on his albums as well, and it’s great to hear live.
The second section I’m vexed about. The songs are great. Nary a duff song on the album. Prine is again in fine voice, although not quite at the very rare high notes he’s asked to hit. The thing is, he’s on stage with Sonny Landreth. Two issues here: One, he is great to watch. The he’s all arms and fingers with a curious mix of languid grace and intensity. Two, he sounds so good. The sound is being superbly mixed and you can hear everything.
The end result is that sometimes Hiatt becomes the spare guy who sings the song when Sonny isn’t playing. » Continue Reading.
I just started bingewatching NYPD Blue (Amazon Prime!), and a couple of thoughts occurred to me.
1. David Caruso can act. Forget CSI:Wherever, I’m putting out the idea that John Kelly goes down as one of the best cops on TV; Caruso’s portrayal gives out the complexity of the role wonderfully. 2. Dennis Franz may be a 1.5 trick pony, but he does that trick very very well, and the Sipowicz arc is terrific. 3. Milch and Bocho are up there with the best writing teams. See also Deadwood and John From Cincinatti. 4. NYPD Blue should be up there when we discuss “best shows ever”; Sopranos, Wire, H:LOTS, The West Wing – it’s up there. Sure, some shonky stuff, but did anyone watch Season 5 of TWW?
There’s been some great cops ‘n robber shows. This, Sweeney… Who else is up there?
OK, so my definition of “celeb” is…interestingly defined. But two things landed over the last coupe of days that cheered me.
I wrote a wee note to a historian who wrote a book that I thought was fantastic. Well researched, strongly argued, put Starkey to the sword, and so very very readable. So I told her that, and she wrote back.
And then I signed up for the Saltfishforty email list, which gives you the chance to leave a message. So I did, telling them how much I adore Bere and that their Orcadian music had made it to Alexandria, Va. I got a nice note back as well. Not a form, canned response, but one that actually showed that they’d taken the time to read the note and personalize the answer.
You know, it’s not much. But at a time where simple human kindness seems to be growing rarer and rarer, and at a time when I’m having a wee bit of a down spell, the two things were remarkably uplifting.
So what has a ‘celeb’ done to you that was nice and made you feel good?
We are clearly the epitome of humankind, with all the wisdom of the ages.
So can I ask for advice or experience?
I’m going through a bit of a mid life career crisis. I work in HR, and have done for 20+ years. It wasn’t my career dream, but something I fell into. Nonetheless, I’m generally good at it, and there are some bits in which I excel.
I work in what is usually called Business Partner roles. The poncy version is that I provide human capital advice to CxOs. The less poncy version, right now, is that I have to help people who are so fucking stupid when it comes to people and processes that most issues are a fight.
I’m not sure I like what I do. I think I like HR, but I’m not wedded to it. I’m pretty sure I’m done working with line clients. I like coaching, and I like employee investigations.
I’m 46. I have son for whom I pay a sizeable chunk of child support. It also seems likely that I’ll have to pay for all his college, and that will be a chunk of change too. All that to say the idea » Continue Reading.
I’m shamelessly jumping NiallB’s Gretchen Peters thing, mostly because I don’t wan to hijack an appreciation of Ms P.
As you may know Sharon is away for…a long time (LMK if you want a progress update. Across all her travels in her life, she only has to check off Tonopah, having just left Tehachapi). I’m usually upbea….Nah, that’s a lie.
Sometimes I like to indulge in beautiful songs that are wistful, beautiful, heartbreaking. In Niall’s post, I gave up ‘Woe’. I’m going to lead here with ‘Tender’. It’s a cover, but surpasses the original in every way.
What do you listen to when your heart aches a little? Is it John Martyn? Otr is someone I’ve never heard of?
Give me a melancholy Sunday playlist.
What does it sound like?:
There is so much goodness struggling to break out from this remastered 4 CD set that you ache for it to be set free. Instead, it touches the sky and then retreats. Why? Well, it’s the wrong album.
Different people know Big Country for different things: the “bagpipe guitars” of “The Crossing”; the protests (and Boo Hewerdine’s coke comment) of “Steeltown”; or the rock of “The Buffalo Skinners”; or, and most importantly, the soft country-influenced rock of “Driving to Damascus”.
My point – and I’ll do the Damascene revelation in a sec – is that most every BC album has its own theme and it sticks to them. There are comment themes to most of the albums – lost love, mistreated lovers, political protest – in terms of the lyrics, but the music arrangements have their own integrity. Maybe it’s just me, but each one has its own label for easy categorization.
Every one of them, that is, except Why The Long Face. Part “Buffalo Skinners”, part “Driving to Damascus” and part…well, no thing at all, it’s a curate’s egg of an album. Individually there are some cracking songs. ‘Charlotte’ is for my » Continue Reading.
No. Not those ones. That’s probably a whole other thread.
But what didn’t happen that you wished had, or didn’t try.
When I was young, I wanted to be a fast jet pilot; then I wanted to become an astronaut. Then, I realized as a T1D, that was never going to happen.
But the dream and the longing never went away. I know there are some other astronaut buffs here, and I wonder how much of that dream we shared.
Why? Well, that’s a layered answer. Some of it was just the “cool” of it. Fastest human alive; the take off. Then it was the romance of it. Being in space. Floating. The blue marble (If you don’t know what the marble is, take a look at the photo by Apollo 17). Then it became an appreciation of the sheer skill, technical know how and engineering that it takes just to launch a damn rocket.
But the romance of it never went away. And my wedding reinforced it. I know, you’re wondering WTF? On the way back, we stopped in Houston, and I too my Dad to the Level 9 VIP tour at Johnson Space Center. It’s a dream for » Continue Reading.