mr president

Noiembrie 16, 2016

Mr President,

Your words are comforting. You said you will improve relations with Russia.
For my country this can only mean good things. Your military bases are now useless. Can you remove them even if my rotten government will try to do business with you.

One other thing, I was talking with my daughter the other day. She still believes in Santa but she is dreaming about going to New York. I don’t fly; she probably will, so please keep your promise!

no need

Septembrie 15, 2016

Yeah, I’ve always been saying: if it ain’t need it must be greed.

And if it ain’t greed it must be slavery.

summer

Septembrie 12, 2016

Don’t you feel tricked this year? Isn’t she laughing outside your window?

Bitch!

 

quite funny

Februarie 3, 2016

magritte-not-sold-in-belgium

Source: Amazon

 

escape

Ianuarie 12, 2016

your child playing..
it’s a sunny day
in May,
you are one.

troubles dissolve,
no burden
stay where you are
it helps.

O zi

 

choice

Decembrie 11, 2015

I chose not to work today. I blame this sacred force, unknown to the worldly frowns. It is this little whim that distinguishes me from a regular employee. An external, never internal. Contracts, laws and anxiety vanished hand in hand. I chose no legacy; the chasing cycle broken for one more scattered day. Wear no watch today.

lenin-shipyard-gdansk-2014-bw-P5110309

Gdansk, 2014

volatile camaraderie

Noiembrie 18, 2015

It was still dark. I found the park closed this morning so I run around it, between people an lights. Others were doing the same. I felt for them. Did they feel for me? Discontented we circled the iron fencing the black patch of trunks and leaves. Ten chained gates. Ten minutes of camaraderie.

Blue „egg”

Septembrie 23, 2015

Have you found a blue egg? the child asked.

Blue egg - www.nosylens.com - Tiberiu A. Kiss Photography

 

At the playground

Septembrie 13, 2015

As a parent I get to see the playground quite often. More often in the past and not so often now.  „Babysitting” can offer some fun moments if you are into photography. As long as you don’t forget too long about your own child, you can walk away with a few shots from this fast-paced realm.

playground-jump

playground-dogs

playground-bride

(www.nosylens.com)

Uneven ground

Aprilie 28, 2015

Monday, 27 Apr ’15

Two days ago I started to build some steps in the garden. After last year’s leveling work it ended up with a higher patch of ground which needed easier access. The stones I’ve been collecting since November will now get used. Five piles of hand picked stones betrayed some presence during the cold months. There are still plenty of stones lying around waiting to be picked. (Is there a better way to remove stones from a garden?) I regret I did not sort them from the beginning. By shape would have made this job easier. 

I’m standing on the edge of the land. A portion of it started to wear off but it doesn’t bother me. It kind of gives way to nature’s contribution, revealing an enclosure for a little bench. I took my boots off, and my work trousers.  The remoteness  discarded all inhibition.  The dry crumbled ground quickly absorbs the sweat from my feet. The sun feels good. An earthly wind reminds me of the last snow which melted only weeks ago. It’s Monday morning and.. I’m here.

Making steps in the garden

Tuesday, 28th Body aches from digging and shoveling ground from one place to another. It started to rain. Writing.

 

Career evolution

Martie 18, 2015

Programming is hard but:

 

I did it long enough so it began

                         to make sense.

I did it long enough so it begun

                       to be interesting.

Then, I kept doing it until

it bacame easy.

I did it long, very long, until,

it became boring.

Then, I carried on doing it until

it bacame frustrating.

Then, I did it so long that

it became hard again.

It guess I passed my chance to be good at it.

T.K.

Connectors

…and at the other end of the pier I found these colorful padlocks. What do they mean?

Secretele mării

The Pier at Baltic Sea. Sopot, Poland

My new role

Iunie 26, 2014

„If the opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

For some time I wanted to put in practice this quote I found on someone’s desk where I worked before. I think that time has come.

Yesterday I sat down with a colleague trying to solve a problem together. The problem was my team’s problem for he has only been asked to help us meet a deadline. The fact that the task was directly assigned to him it made it… his problem.

I was there to only provide him some background information about the work needed to be done and point him in the right direction. As I sat on the desk at his right observing the work he was doing, moving the mouse and typing the code, thinking what goes where and how, I had a revelation: seeing others doin’ it, ain’t that bad. Felt good not having to write code myself. Good to be able to tell others what to do and then wait for it to get done. It would be great if I could do this on a daily basis. I could save my eyesight.

I left the building thrilled by the possibility of putting in practice my minutes old reverie. This sort of excitement I’d never experienced at 5 pm on a working day.

I spent the evening thinking about the whole new world opening up in my mind. How can I make it reality. Would they agree with what I want to do?

What is it that you want to do?

From now on I will be the person in charge with doing what the developers don’t have time doing. Things like: reviewing the code, re-factoring code, improving communication between developers and between developers and the rest of the world, giving developers a second opinion on a problem or idea, listening to developer’s issues and frustration and funnel them to the right ears. I could be their counselor, I could even wear a red nose in certain days to ensure a smooth running of operatives and generally spreading good karma among developers. I could even do some actual work, programming I mean, when I feel is necessary or I have the desire to do so. Because I know the team very well, being one of them, I could advise the Project Manager what skill set a particular task requires and to whom it should be allocated for a good result. I could also facilitate the communication between the Business Analyst and the Developer. Basically, no more quantifiable work for me. No more tasks!

I want to be able to have the ability to delegate tasks but generally speaking no development task should be assigned to me. I voluntarily assign myself tasks to help the team in critical situations.

I could also run routine checks on the application to make sure no new bugs have cropped up.

I could also create and maintain a Developers Wiki to help communicate good coding standards and provide easily accessible information.

Since developers never have time to maintain the version of the software and manage the repository, I could also do that.

See? There is a myriad of things which do not get done because the developers never have time to do it.

Will you let me do it?

 

 

There are people you simply feel comfortable working with. My manager is one of them. The sort of freedom I have from him suits the way I want to work. But not just that. There is a lean exchange of information and frustration is virtually non-existing. In 4+ years not a conflict. Occasional disagreements yes but those were elegantly solved. Initially I treated the absence of professional tension, usually displayed in private sector, as a missing ingredient to achieve success. Quite wrong. Some people need to feel the omnipresence of a strong leader. I don’t. I’m actually quite refractory to authority. I work a lot better when my leader allows me to manage myself. So, we talk trust here. I met a couple of managers in my working life who were like that. I was lucky I guess.

His blue blood family hit by misfortune, left him with no choice but to work for a living. I don’t care if this is true or not, at least fulfils my needs for stories.

With the whole Agile thing going on at work and the stolen project (this is personal (isn’t everything personal?)) we both face one more challenge. How will we resolve it so I do have a job and he remains as composed and detached as ever.

For the past few days I pondered  on the fact whether I should keep my attention on the changes that are being gradually introduced at my work place or I should embrace (good) change as a principle of life. As with any change they do create a certain level of discomfort.

The management is introducing Agile Methodology and all teams will sooner or later be „affected”. For the readers which are not familiar with the concept of  agile working, the internet is already a good source of information and I will just say that it is an organic methodology to ultimately achieve increased productivity from the team of workers which it is being applied on. It is said to have its roots in Lean Manufacturing (also Fordism). Its strength is in the fact that it deals with changes very early in the project lifecycle and addresses them whilst concentrating on the results. The worker’s tasks should note take longer than 2 weeks to complete. This two weeks interval is called sprint. The completion of a project is achieved after a certain number of sprint iterations.

Four years ago we started the project with a small team of three and 16 months later, a fourth person joined the team to help us tie up loose ends before launch and to improve the response for any issues cropping up during the first weeks of life of our product. The launch was kept low profile and the web application we developed had a steady growth and continues to grow with new requirements coming. However I do not want to talk about the success of the project, I want instead to look at the dynamics of our almost self-managed team. We delivered on time and on budget a working product. Business got confident that we can deliver, the budget increased and today, four years on, we are a team of eight people. In the process some people left, some people came to replace them and there was a moment when the team seemed to have lost momentum and it looked like the project was beginning to drift in some unknown direction. These were actually times when we could invest in redesigning and improving parts of the application with self-taught knowledge or use these quieter times whilst the application was running on autopilot to look into new business opportunities. I prefer the latter but under the current contract this proves difficult. How does one grow if his time and presence are measured?

Agile method of working implies stand-ups, which in our project means we all stand up for at least 15 minutes every day and communicate (report) to everybody else what we are working on, how long we estimate it will take to complete and whether anything is preventing us from doing our work. Besides our project coordinator there is also an observer, a consultant, specialising in coaching Agile. I generally do not have a problem with these daily catch ups but when I am busy and focused on my work I find them an unnecessary interruption. It’s an interference with work in progress, when there is nothing new to report. Ok, I got it, this is not for me, it’s for the manager. Four years we managed our selves, our workload and our time. We worked in pairs, we interacted with each other as when and how we needed. Now this question bugs me: how has the management come to the conclusion that we need to be coached Agile?

It seems to be widely accepted that programming is a science but also an art. Do you see a bunch of artists reporting at regular intervals of time what they are working on or how long is going to take them to complete their work? I find this aspect of agile, and the aspect of obsessive meetings of any work method, quite demotivating.

If they asked me before introducing Agile what was really needed to make our work better and the team more efficient, I would have asked them to introduce hierarchy in the team. Instead of bringing  other senior developers, each of them eager to change what has already been done because his method is superior, a second senior developer would have been sufficient to balance the decisions of the first one and the rest should have been developers of medium experience in one skill (i.e front end development because this is the area were our team lacked strength) and junior level in the other area (back end) where he could learn from the more seniors. (I suppose in the current workforce market place I am too pretentious.) Having too many architects introduced the problem of inconsistency in our code. I would trade imperfection for consistency any time.. In fact, what the new developers did was to almost dismiss the existing work on the basis of self skill adulation. In the domain of building cities you do not have this luxury, you must work with what you have. Follow what you have to preserve consistency then have a strategic approach for re-factoring the product with minimum disruption of services.

I would have also suggested a dedicated tester person moved to our office to continually test and provide immediate feedback to us in order to quickly fix problems.

One other idea which could work for our team is to have a dedicated senior developer which could play the role of an assembler. What I mean is that he/she could be assigned less development work but perform more integration work, a sort of architect who requires pieces of working software from the other developers and then glues them together.

To my colleagues I would suggest each of us should try to make the life/work of other person easier by overlooking minor faults and not clinging on them. This way we will benefit from less friction in the work process.

I think this is what our team needs and I hope Agile is a step in the right direction and will put my observations into the light.

 

02.06.2014 update: Today we had our end-of-the-spring-assesment-meeting.

At the end of every 2 week sprint we meet to discuss what went well and what went not so well during the sprint. We list the good things and also the bad things. Sometimes an item shows on both lists like it happened today, the Daily stand-ups showed on both. :-) We propose solutions to each problem we identify and we bullet point those on a white board with maximum visibility to the team. We then vote. Each team member looks at the list of identified issues and votes according to his opinion and/or priorities which should be addressed in the new sprint. At the end of the voting, the more critical aspects will reveal themselves. We choose three of them and try to address them during the next sprint(s). I think I like Agile but I’m too old for sprints.

The coach said, in Agile we try to make everyone take ownership of the product (the code in our case).

03.06.2014 update: I am not yet convinced about the necessity of the daily stand-ups.

Sometimes they appear necessary but after yesterday’s stand-up and the 1 hour sprint review at the end of the day yesterday, I am really not looking forward to today’s stand-up. I feel demotivated and thoughts of leaving the project started to come back after some time in which I thought we found the right working formula. Do I again kill this miserable soul and go ahead fulfilling the role or do I go where I should have gone a long time ago, my way? Perhaps this is one of the purposes of Agile, to refresh the team with new blood.

Why do workers leave? (06.06.2014):  Because they are not the organisation. Because their will does not count too much and they are expected to leave when disagreements arise. There ore other reasons but they are not worth mentioning here.

11:4o am: working away, Beethoven concertos in my ears (). If you wanted to take the human factor into account, I could do without this meeting due in 5 minutes.

12:00pm: done. deadlines were reminded at the end of the stand-up. I don’t really care too much about those partly because I usually complete my work on time. It takes what it takes, however long is necessary to complete the work without anxiety and enough breaks to make it feel less like a toil. With the amount of work ahead of me I do not think I’ll make the deadline. The challenge is not to give in to this thought, stay serene, keep making my work interesting which means slowing down enough to be able to experiment new things and last but not the least, bogging about it.

 

04.06.2014 update: Could daily stand-ups be targeting introvert-ism?

05.06.2014 update:How long do you think this piece of work will take?

– I don’t know exactly. When you go to doctor do you ask him how long is going to take him to operate your appendix?

 

10.06.2014 update: Lunchtime inter-team work games was announced. The scope is to enhance the collaboration outside the scope of our project. I have the feeling I stayed beyond the point at which dignity is loosing its teeth. Agile is gently becoming aggressive. I feel the need to stick to my self preservation philosophy: I’m an old dog and I don’t want to be re-trained

Why these changes alienate me from my work? Because they are rather imposed on us as ‘good practice’ instead of coming as a necessity from within the team.

After today’s stand up more classical ensued..

And this launches me into strangely remote thought: Do you want to find out if Steve Mc’Queen made it to freedom when he answered his friend Does it matter?” and jumped into the ocean? There is only one way to find this out: I should jump out into the unknown too.

The scene of:

DH:” -Do you think it’ll work?”

SMcQ: „-Does it matter?”

 

 

12.06.2004 update: I did not want to attend the stand-up today. I felt the meeting and the presence of the consultant intrusive. Even more so as I am not an employee, I am a consultant myself. After four years life’s supposed to get better not worse.

Imagine you are at home enthralled in your favourite text and someone rings your bell, every day, at the same time. Except that I sit at my desk with enough work for the rest of the month, which by the way, I just managed to make it seem interesting, and the Outlook Daily Meeting reminder pops up. WTF!

I refused to make myself available for today stand-up and I left 5 min before it started. I returned half an hour later and I haven’t seen the manager or the coach. No one said anything, yet. they will probably bring it out in front of every one at the next stand up tomorrow. Do I give them the chance to do it or do I refuse the meeting again? I am thinking of attending it to see how they deal with my absence today.

 

13.06.2014 update: I spilled the beans. To avoid potential conflict I told the manager I am not happy with the fact that I need to work agile. The reaction was positive. He will raise it to superiors and asked me to wait to see what they will say. It is getting interesting. It will probably be the highway. They will also maybe thinking what they did wrong. Probably nothing. It is just me not wanting to work under current conditions. Not sure about the others but the feeling is that the daily stand-ups seem a bit too much. They do obey them though.

16.06.2014  – 10:35am update: Very early this morning I woke up and it occurred to me that the Agile could have an eavel effect – it turns the managers in control freaks and the developers into quiet puppets or just developers.

In today stand-up, which I attended, it has been announced that it has been realised this is indeed not the right time to have the lunchtime teams game. My reaction had some effect.

17.06.2014 update„I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses…” 

I think I ought to end this post and I think this is a good time. I refused the stand-up meeting today and I returned just in time to bump into the consultant which run it since the manager was not in. We had an amiable discussion standing by the building door. Nice chap which i think he understood my points. I am what I am and it takes what it takes. If they tolerated or liked my work for the past 4 years it’s for them to think about. Obviously not expecting him to stop doing what he is here to do. At least he’s also aware of my position and will not need to wonder in the next meeting if I’m in or not.

18.06.2014 update: Only if you could stop „the windmills of your mind”. I had to come back with this comment.

The team should not care if I care. Each one should care about his work getting done. Working in a group should not result in imposing the group upon the individual. I think this is what Agile is insidiously driving at. Eventually the individual will give in to the group.

Coach, what do you feel? And please don’t answer with the text book, just tell me what you feel Agile is doing. And if you’re not able to feel, it means to me you are applying Agile top-down, which is wrong

19.06.2014 update: Tomorrow stand-up has been cancelled.

Is the Agile gone? Should I call it a victory? Don’t think so. It will probably come back wearing a different hat when the heat of deadlines are way behind. Let’s see what next week will bring.

 

An analyst… more than a year in the project now. Have you come across a left handed communicator?  If we were to fence or box he would knock you out in the first round.

I need to find a way to communicate with him without getting frustrated after the initial verbal exchange. The challenge is to shorten my sentences to such extent so that he does not have time to interrupt.

One method is to wait and not speak until he exhausts his ammunition. Then throw at him the shortest sentence possible. Sometimes a single sound or an and is enough to get him started again. I do this a few times, each time adding an extra sound to bleed his words out. Then, maybe then, I could formulate one full sentence without being interrupted.

(How to make a work environment not laughable? It’s hard when the language does not sound right. (I hope I sound right.))

Very frustrating but I am getting better at it. I am not addressing him any more verbally. Instead, I  send an email and I ask him to write in plain English what he means and I quoted him this: „If you can’t write it, you can’t think it.” or something like this.  This had a positive effect in communication (not sure if for the project as well). At least it created less friction.

As putea presupune ca doua treimi din cei care mai rasfoiesc Jurnalul sunt doamne si domnisoare carora le multumesc pentru vizitele virtuale si le dedic de ziua lor cateva citate dintr-o cartulie achizitionata de curand.Va doresc o zi cu soare si.. La multi Ani!

A woman with a past has no future.

She’ll never love you unless you are always at her heels; women like to be bothered.

One should never give a woman anything she can’t wear in the evening.

If a woman can’t make her mistakes charming, she is only a female.

Women, as some witty Frenchman once put it, inspire us with the desire to do masterpieces, and always prevent us from carrying them out.

Modern women understand everything except their husbands.

A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct about things; what they like is to be a man’s last romance.

Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious; both are disappointed.

In the case of very fascinating women, sex is a challenge, not a defence.

Lady Windermere: I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.”

Texts taken from „The Wit of Oscar Wilde” by  Sean Mc Cann

The Etterbeek Man

Februarie 21, 2014

One beautiful spring day last year, I crossed roads in central Brussels with this man. He was wearing what you see in the image, except his top. He was not wearing a t-shirt either. Bare from the waste up, with his jacket in one hand, he was marching up the road leading into Parc Royal . It must have been around April. People were still wearing coats and hats. The lingering winter gusts didn’t seem to bother him. His full head of hair added to his sphinx like expression. His face was the resemblance of the joint figures of an orchestra director and a former Iron Man contender. One could assume that his sunken cheeks were slimmed by decade-long, persistent city wanders. His image stuck in my mind. He was such a contrast in the habitat of European Commission and Parliament quarters. A random, unexplainable question came to mind: Has he ever used any vehicle for transportation?

About two or three month ago, I was blessed again with his rare appearance. I was walking to the office after a late lunch when he suddenly appeared from a side road and  walked right into the street I was walking. Trembling I reached for the small camera I carry with me most of the time nowadays thinking that this fascinating rare species had to be immortalised. Unfortunately he was quite far in front of me and I could not catch his face. Maybe next time.

The Etterbeek Man

The Etterbeek Man

„Etterbeek man ” on 5th of march 2014

 

 

Waterstons in Brussels'  word of justice

Sunday I usually go for a walk with point terminus Waterstones. Yesterday was no different. From last visit I kept on thinking about a shelf I wanted to check out: the poetry section. A film I watched a while back (Dead Poets Society) brought Shelly and Tennyson to my attention during this mild January. To which conjuncture I owe this delayed reaction I cannot tell because I do not know. This section stands out now if you look down to your right (and most certainly you do watch your steps) when you walk up the circular stairs to the first floor.

The good energy and the soft carpet turn this place into an attractive playground at times, for children and parents alike. With the lunch out of the way, this is the last chance to leaf trough a couple of books before driving back home. Try getting into a recent translation of Ovid’s lamentations in a nursery; beyond me with a mother of hangovers. Before long the books reclaimed the proprietary silence. After about an hour of leafing through the Photography magazines and reading random verses from Tennyson, Nabokov (translations of Russian poetry into English), Rumi, Ovid and the above mentioned, I found something suitable to my rather strange after-party taste: Shelly’s Ode To The West Wind and Other Poems and You Remind Me Of Marilyn Monroe by Steven Berkoff. Two less meaty books aimed at encouraging my culture-consumer appetite, booklets I would call.

It was a time well spent until I felt my legs hurting as I am never lucky enough to find the armchair available so I left the shop with the books in the plastic bag for which I hesitantly gave my consent to the Sunday cashier. The message on the carrier bag did come to my attention quite late, at home – as did anything else during yesterday – „Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically!”. Is this Waterstones’ self affliction campaign in response to the Sterling Books opening a café at their shop on Rue du Fosse aux Loups or Filigranes on Avenue des Arts?

 
 

Away on Christmas Day

Decembrie 26, 2013

There is something oblivious about the days following Christmas. With closest ones around the table you realise you’ve grown astray.
The dead have stolen our lives. To trade an entire year for One Day… What a blunder!

Ozzy Osbourne once said: „Christmas is all about spending time with the family but good things happen too.”
Why does the wisdom (or blasphemy) of this man whose music doesn’t appeal, to say the least, comes to mind?

Alone for Christmas may not be as disconcerting as some may want us to believe. Mainly the ones who ”are not alone” If you are alone the entire year, I bet on Christmas you will look for loneliness.

Christmas… splendour spoiled by familiarity. Why does everyone feels should be at home for Christmas? Why not run away on Christmas day? I’d like to spend the Christmas with strangers, away.

I refused the Christmas meal and went for a long walk whilst dear ones remained trapped around the tree camouflaged in lights, hanging sweets and glitter. A warm day with strong winds resembling April.
I scavenged the only open cafeteria for a latté and an apple cake. Irascible mothers, insecure wives, men void of ideas. A wide screen feeds happiness. No signs of snow in the coming days..

Later that evening. A whole pepper seed keeps rolling into my last spoon of beetroot soup. Would have been easier if I had dolmas.

Bradul de Craciun