OK, we have another of these memes going round. This time I have been tagged by Luis Suarez to expose my media consumption. Now I am not sure about these. I did the five things you didn’t know about me and conference chairpeople have enjoyed themselves at my expense since. There is also a tendency to strut one’s ego in the responses. Either way here I go (with a bit of ego deflating honesty about my Charmed addiction). I am using the same headlines as others in the chain, although I have added Radio. I am meant to order these in importance but have decided that to do so is impossible so have settled for an alphabetical list. I think these memes are really a form of after dinner conversation, creating more social interaction in the blogosphere. You should therefore only read on if you are interested in that – otherwise ignore it. I plan something major on project management tomorrow using the Cynefin Framework. Its been in preparation for a month now, but I should make it for tomorrow.
In my turn I nominate Jon Husband, Shawn Callahan (although I will be interested to see what happens to his daughter stories when she adds four years to her age), Dave Pollard, Patrick Lambe and David Tebbut. (This is also a test to see if they check this blog). Oh, and just for the record, I do not like the term memes or its originator, but more of that in a future posting.
Books: This is still the most important for me. I have to own books, partly as I need to write in them and mark them up, partly because I am poor at keeping notes. I normally have three on the go at any time. One science fantasy, or modern novel together with something in History and a text book relating to my work. My study is half science fiction/fantasy and half philosophy/cognitive science etc. In those fields I have just finished the truly wonderful Cryptonomicon and have moved onto a poor sword and sorcery trilogy which will not be memorable, but is at least putting me to sleep at nights. In history I am immersed in the Baroque after a sustained period in the 12th and 13th Centuries (I like periods of major change). In the serious stuff I am just about to start Mary Douglas (the best of all anthologists I have ever read) on Thinking in Circles which looks at ring composition in the Books of Numbers, the Iliad and Tristam Shandy and will follow that up with her anthropological reading of the Bible Jacob’s Tears both small books but they are going to take a long time to read properly.
Communication: E-mail is the bane of my life, filling the work load every day, providing a work avoidance excuse. But is is a necessity, and a good-bad film and a gin an tonic aid its evacuation (yes it does feel like that) on a daily basis. Skype is an essential part of my life, both a necessity and a distraction. I also use the telephone – although mainly through text to stay in touch with my daughter. I also take part in various list serves, but will admit that writing and reading blogs is proving more rewarding these days. Most list serves seem to reward bland consensus rather than stimulation. The KM List serves are really going back to basics these days and I am not sure how much life they have left in them.
Films: I have changed the meme here, I refuse on linguistic grounds to call them movies. I watch most of my films on planes, which also means you get to see things more than one (often in patches if you fall asleep in the middle). I will not forget the time when I had to watch the Spice Girls Movie twice as I had finished my book, could not sleep and had watched everything else on offer four or five times – that is sad. My preference (in shame) is romantic comedies which I don’t understand, but will confess. On the serious side I find art house movies too hard. However my all time favorite is Cabaret, which is one of the best portrayals of the collapse of the Weimar Republic and Clockwork Orange (along with the whole series of films starring Malcolm McDowell such as If and O Lucky Man which for me epitomise my formative years. One of the great pleasures of having kids is that you get to see films that you would otherwise not go to. In current release I can strongly recommend Hot Fuzz (probably the funniest film out at the moment and much better than Shaun of the Dead but you need to like the sight of blood ….) and Flushed Away which is a delight at many levels. I am waiting on the film of Philip Pullmans
Magazines: I tend to read these more in the US as they provide material normally found in the broadsheet newspapers in the UK. I have two magazines on subscription, the New Statesman for politics and Planet to keep in touch with the arts and politics from a Welsh perspective. I have made several (failed) attempts to read the Economist on a weekly basis. I have piles of journals which thanks to editorial positions I do not have to pay for, but which I at least skim everyday. I pay for the HBR as knowing what is going on in that space is important, its a lot better since Tom Stewart took over and more of it is interesting as well as important (the two are not the same)
Music: The iPod has more or less all my collection stored and goes most places with me. I also do my best to get to most performances by the WHO ROH and the ENO. I also seek out Opera Houses when I am abroad. I am a confirmed Wagnerian, I like Mozart’s one tune but find the repetition boring. Of recent years I have discovered a love for the minimalists. I need music to work and tend to choose different pieces according to what style I want to write. Aside from Opera and Symphonic music (I avoid the Piano which I have never liked) I also have the music of my youth: Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who. Queen of course transcends generations. I also have a liking (not shared by anyone else in the family) for Leonard Cohen and Sinead O’Connor for reasons I don’t understand but should probably worry me. Finally I have a growing collection of indigenous music that goes with my collection of indigenous art by modern interpreters.
Newspapers: This is were I really feel home sick when overseas. No one else does broadsheet newspapers like the UK. You know, papers that take time to read, have news, sport and commentary. UK Newspapers occupy much the space taken by magazines in the US. At the moment I read The Guardian, but go in and out of that and The Independent. At the moment The Guardian has it, as the Berliner format is better, their leader columns are less polemical and their sudoko is harder. Overseas it is difficult. I like the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (the nearest the US has to a UK newspaper) but hate USA Today. The Sydney Morning Herald has seen better days but is still worth a read. I do not see myself replacing newspapers with the web – it is just a different experience.
Radio This has always been important to me and still is. I find Radio 4 one of the most useful sources of knowledge and entertainment and use my widget to play Radio 4 when overseas. I have to keep up to-date with the longest running soap opera in the world (The Archers). When driving I listen to Radio 4 almost without exception. Radio 4 gives you a constant diet of history, news, intelligent debate and seems to be a uniquely British institution. Public Service Broadcasting in North America comes close and the ABC late night stuff (such as Phil Adams) is great in Australia and deserves a wider audience.
Television: I belong to the generation for whom television was a new discovery. I still watch it a lot when home. I am writing this in the Sitting Room watching the BBC morning news with the Welsh regional variation. Last night my daughter and I were working on her history essay (the English Civil War and the role of religion) while watching episodes of South Park which I must admit I enjoy. I am a sucker for comedies both British and American and enjoy the contrasts. The Office (I prefer the US version), Coupling V Friends (Coupling has more bite). I have become addicted to catching up on back episodes of Charmed (sorry but one has to be honest)., Otherwise CNN and the BBC World News are on in hotel rooms in which I stay throughout the night to help me fall back to sleep when jet lagged.
The Web: I use this for ad hoc searches, mainly the Wikipedia (where I actively watch and am involved in two sites (Knowledge Management and Wales) although I monitor several with the odd intervention. I get increasingly irritated by the time spent in correcting vandalism and blatant self-promotion. I use Blog Bridge for my RSS feeds and try and keep it to under 100. However it allows me to hold entries off line which is very useful given my travel schedule as I can find and reference things without being on line. The blogs provide stimulus, the net overall access to fast access to a range of information but not for deep learning.
OK, that’s it now back to work, clearing the email, in front of a back episode of Charmed …..