Sushi LVI

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Sevens are powerful.  Seven is the building block of the calendar, the week has seven days.

There were seven wonders of the ancient world.  The seventh son of a seventh son has the healing hands in Ireland, becomes a vampire in Romania.  Seven virtues and seven sins.  Highly effective people have seven habits.  Seven is the most significant number in the septet of Harry Potter books.

Multiple sevens birthdays are important and I celebrate one today.

My wife decided to make sushi for the first time ever and the result is delicious.  It is also extremely pretty.  I have never made sushi and I love it, and Louise is a vegetarian so on all levels I am impressed.  But then she is a great cook as my waistline can attest to.

Take more exercise you say!  I heard the best quote today “You can’t outrun a bad diet”.  Exercise is great for your heart, it reduces cancer risk, it reduces risk of dementia, it makes you feel good both physically and mentally, but the sad truth is it does almost nothing to make you lose weight.  The way to lose weight is eat less.

But today is my birthday and its my party, I’ll eat if I want to.

Now I remember this song so well.  It came out the year I was born.

Party Planning

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My daughter Esha is 21 in July.  Today she is online shopping for the tat to fancy up the barn for her party.  It will be the last party we have in this house so it is poignant but also great fun.  As I type this we are listening to her “Arrival” playlist, the music that will be playing as the guests assemble in dribs and drabs and before the serious party playlist kicks in.

Playlist 2 is entitled “now we’re drunk” and is for when everyone has a drink in their hand before the band kick in.

Headlining for the party we have booked the legendary 5Day.  If you have not heard of them here is your opportunity.

5 Day Album on Spotify

5 Day on Soundcloud

Then there will be further playlists, but the party will probably move down to the firepit.  We are going for a music festival vibe.  Tents in the garden.  Craft beer and cider.  Beer pong.

Don’t even think about coming, the tickets are all sold.  The security have a clipboard and a list.  We will be releasing the attack chickens.

 

 

 

Another Year

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Another year slides away.  If my life is the Samuel Beckett play, “Breath” I am on the exhale.  I intend to squeeze every drop of juice out of what is left.  If fatalism teaches you anything it teaches you to treasure the moment.  Just treasuring Dublin retaining the Sam Maguire at the moment.  Full time for Dublin, and I am (hopefully) still in the third quarter.

 

For a Birthday: by Thom Gunn

 

I have reached a time when words no longer

help:

Instead of guiding me across the moors

Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors,

Or like dependable friars on the Alp

Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs,

They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp

Biting my trousers, running round my legs.

Description and analysis degrade,

Limit, delay, slipped land from what has been;

And when we groan My Darling what we mean

Looked at more closely would too soon evade

The intellectual habit of our eyes;

And either the experience would fade

Or our approximations would be lies.

The snarling dogs are weight upon my haste,

Tons which I am detaching ounce by ounce.

All my agnostic irony I renounce

So I may climb to regions where I rest

In springs of speech, the dark before of truth:

The sweet moist wafer of your tongue I taste,

And find right meanings in your silent mouth.

Half Century

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We celebrated last night to mark the passing of 50 years for one of our peer group.  Happy Birthday Andrew!

We danced to tunes that were hot stuff when we met in College back in the 1980’s.  We were the DCU Business Studies class who graduated in 1990.  Simple Minds, Don’t you forget about me, The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys, Morrissey and The Cure, David Bowie and even some Johnny Cash.

It’s great to relive the sense of your youth.  And at the same time we can’t forget our ages.  We may have adopted smartphone technology, but half of the gang can’t read a funny text because they forgot their reading glasses.  The music is too loud for good conversation.  What hair remains is either gray or is growing in the wrong places.

The dancing was great, but this morning I have a swollen knee.  There was a remarkably high water consumption going on, as old heads assessed the prospect of a Saturday hangover and took steps to head it off at the pass.

Back in the good old days we drank like fishes and could resurrect ourselves for a Saturday morning Rugby match.  That’s really what I miss!  The recovery powers of a 25 year old body.

 

Dance Hall Girls; by Robert William Service

Where are the dames I used to know
In Dawson in the days of yore?
Alas, it’s fifty years ago,
And most, I guess, have “gone before.”
The swinging scythe is swift to mow
Alike the gallant and the fair;
And even I, with gouty toe,
Am glad to fill a rocking chair.

Ah me, I fear each gaysome girl
Who in champagne I used to toast,
or cozen in the waltz’s whirl,
In now alas, a wistful ghost.
Oh where is Touch The Button Nell?
Or Minnie Dale or Rosa Lee,
Or Lorna Doone or Daisy Bell?
And where is Montreal Maree?

Fair ladies of my lusty youth,
I fear that you are dead and gone:
Where’s Gertie of the Diamond Tooth,
And where the Mare of Oregon?
What’s come of Violet de Vere,
Claw-fingered Kate and Gumboot Sue?
They’ve crossed the Great Divide, I fear;
Remembered now by just a few.

A few who like myself can see
Through half a century of haze
A heap of goodness in their glee
And kindness in their wanton ways.
Alas, my sourdough days are dead,
Yet let me toss a tankard down . . .
Here’s hoping that you wed and bred,
And lives of circumspection led,
Gay dance-hall girls o Dawson Town!

 

Digital Junk Mail

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In the world of digital marketing there is a fine line between annoying people and communicating your brand to them in an engaging manner.  Are you interacting with your customer, or intruding?   If you get it right you build customer loyalty, get it wrong and your customer may cut you off from further contact, or they may even leave.

Too often the designers of digital marketing campaigns do things just because they have the information and the can physically do it.  You know it, the customer knows it, and it is lazy marketing.  Quite simply it is the digital equivalent of junk mail.

If you sit down and think about what you are doing, and think about it from the customers viewpoint, you can come up with something better.  But it is really worth putting some thought into these issues.  If you are not prepared to devote marketing resources to digital campaigns you may be better off not doing anything.  At least that way you don’t annoy your customers.

Case in point, it is my birthday today.

I got a text first thing this morning from my brother saying ‘Happy Birthday’.  That’s nice, warm, engaging.  He ain’t heavy.  I smiled, I texted back a thanks.  It’s what families do.

A short time later I received another text saying “Happy Birthday from O2! We hope you have a great day and thanks for being a loyal customer.  From O2.  Opt out 1800 946102

I thought to myself “Screw you.  You don’t give a rat’s ass about me or that it’s my birthday.  You took these details from me when you created my mobile phone account and you have a computer routine that automatically tosses this garbage out“.  So guess what?  I took their advice and opted out.  Now they have lost this communications option.  Why?  Laziness.  This is not an engaging customer communication.  This is digital junk mail.

I opened up my email and found another “Happy Birthday” greeting, this time from Topaz, who give me prize competition entries when I buy Home Heating oil.  Topaz sent me a song, “She Loves You” because that was the No.1 song on the day I was born.  “Yeah, yeah, yeah” it’s already in your head.  Ear worm for today.  I played the song and had a smile.  Then I picked up the phone and ordered oil for the winter.

Somebody in Topaz is doing their homework.  They are trying to figure out what kind of birthday greeting will engage their customers.  Both O2 and Topaz have pretty much the same data.  One company failed miserably and the other succeeded.

Something interesting happens customers when they get into their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  They become more and more self-assured, frank, outspoken and they really know what they do and do not want.  If you want to be critical you could say that we become demanding and opinionated, grumpy old gits.  Well, here is a message to all you young digital marketers out there, it’s only going to get worse.  Because now the digital savvy are becoming grumpy old gits.  The computer literate generation, the A: prompters, the pre-windows users have come of age.  You have nowhere to hide.

On Aging; Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly, like a sack upon a shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering. I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it, otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching and my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor: Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy and every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then, a little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.