28 March 2009

Security, Grumpiness and Not Much Else.

After a week-long course on Information Security Management Principles, I am now completely devoid of the ability to think. My mind is something of a blank.

Although my day job is 'security advisor' I specialise in policy, awareness, and physical/procedural security. I will regularly lead out-of-hours security sweeps, the occasional training course, and act as mentor for ISMSs (Information Security Management Systems). However, I wasn't prepared for precisely how much this weeks course would involve the dreaded 'Information Technology' or 'Information Systems' or whatever the hell we're calling it at the moment.

I think it's fair to say that once I'd managed to make the 7 levels of Network Communications (of which there are, bizarrely, only 5) stick in my mind, my cerebral cortex was already so far gone that, medically, I could have been pronounced braindead.

Including walking in to work, I pretty much did 12-hour days all this week. And, of course, there was the absolute pleasure of the exam yesterday. I was the first to finish, but that is no indication whatsoever of how correct my answers were. In a multiple-choice exam, the best method of attack is 1) answer all the questions that you easily know, 2) Go back and spend a little more time on the ones you're not sure about, 3) Guess randomly at the ones you simply can't even begin to understand. Reading some of the questions, I had a look on my face like a dog who's just been shown a card trick.

Results are due next week but, frankly, I'm so far beyond caring I could officially register as a nihilist.


An unexpected side-effect of all this activity, is that by the time yesterday evening arrived, I was an empty shell. You know that kind of detached, unemotional way that you can sometimes sit there and want nothing more than silence and a complete lack of psychological input? That was me.

There was nothing on the TV, I didn't want to watch a movie, I didn't want to do anything. All of which caused me to feel so incredibly grumpy that I wouldn't have been surprised if my foul mood actually physically manifested itself as a thunderstorm or small earthquake.

Imagine an elderly man whose wife is long since dead. His children don't bother with him now that they have their own families and, in any case, his general demeanour doesn't particularly endear him to them or his grandchildren. He has a dog but, instead of providing some measure of pleasing company, it does nothing more than eat, sleep, bark at stupendously aggravating times, and leave coarse, difficult to remove hairs on his furniture and clothing. Imagine that he has been to the shops, discovered that the supermarket is out of Warburton's Toastie bread, there's an extra ten pence on a box of teabags, and 2 out of the 4 onions he has bought have unpleasant brown discolouration in their centres. Trudging home through a fine drizzle which has soaked into his shoes, dampening his threadbare socks, he arrives indoors, takes off his coat, and removes his shoes and socks. Walking into the living room to have a sit down and eat a small beef paste sandwich, he then proceeds to put his bare foot into a cold, wet coil of faeces that his annoying dog has left in the middle of the carpet. As the excrement squishes between his toes and wriggles its way like four slowly waving flatworms through the gaps, he drops his sandwich in horror and the dog, moving with uncommon speed, pounces upon it, tearing into the soft white bread and licking the beef paste from its hairy chops.

Imagine that. Imagine the man. Consider, if you will, the absolute soul-rending hatred, the crushing sadness, the sheer unadulterated fucking grumpiness. Now multiply that by, let's say, infinity. That's how grumpy I felt yesterday.

I'm a bit better this morning though.


Lots of ideas for Mortal Remains, still all tumbling through my head, although they have been somewhat sidelined because of the course.

However, in an exciting development, I will be meeting up with Mike, the author of the screenplay, to talk through some of the thoughts I have. Hopefully, we can piece together something resembling a structure, allowing me to carry on with the rewrite.

Nothing else to add at the moment on that subject, but I expect there will be plenty to say by the end of this week.

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