blarg?

But Then I Lolled

It’s widely understood that when people say that something is shit, as in “this is shit”, that it is clearly very bad, whereas something described as being “the shit”, as in “this is the shit”, it is in fact extremely good. In the last few years I’ve periodically noted that the phrase “this is pants” has the same negative connotations as “this is shit” but I haven’t seen its obvious (and I would say inevitable) corollary in the wild.

So it falls to us, loyal Cult Following, to fill this void. Being a just and benevolent leader I do not ask much of you, it’s true. But I direct you now to do two things:

  • The first is that you start, in casual conversation, occasionally employing the phrase “this is the pants” in some obviously complimentary context. Later, when you hear it (from somebody not obviously one of us), report back with where it was said, and in what context. And ideally with a Google Maps URL, so that we can evaluate our progress.
  • Secondly when you finally do hear it in the wild, you will quietly acknowledge (possibly with smug or ironic affect) that our reach is long, our powers subtle.

Also I’m thinking we should have a secret handshake or sign. Good cult followings usually do, you know? It would totally be the pants.

I understand that Microsoft is now thoroughly committed to search, and has been for some time. You know, catching up with Google, Bing and so forth. So can anyone tell me why search in their flagship products, on an OS they completely control, is such an astoundingly miserable experience? Because right now, if I have a PDF of some document somewhere on my hard drive or in my mail, it’s often faster for me to Google it and download it again than it is for me to find the one that I already have.

There used to be an Outlook plugin for this that helped a lot, but Microsoft bought it and, in their ongoing commitment to improved user experience and better search, buried it. And now the situation is so bad that people write howtos telling you how to download copies of it from warez sites and hack it up to make it work again. It’s seriously just that bad.

I’d really like to know.

This Is What I Think Of Your Idea

Confidential to the entire world, and a certain young nerd who should know better: if you are always, always willing to work sixty, eighty or hundred-hour weeks for no overtime pay or comp time, then the managers you work for will never need to hire the people they actually need, ever.

I have more to say about this (among other things, about how “expected mandatory overtime” is a visceral affront to basic human dignity, rots organizations from the inside out by letting incompetent management flourish, and fundamentally undermines the rule of law) but I want to get this out quickly, so let me say just this: yes, there’s a distinction to be made between “this is a labour of love for a cause that I believe in” and “I am being taken advantage of”, but you do not want to gloss that distinction over until after it costs you your relationship.

Exhibit 1:

More than 2,000 10 and 11-year-olds will see a short film, which urges them to tell the police, their parents or a teacher if they hear anyone expressing extremist views. The film has been made by school liaison officers and Eastern Division’s new Preventing Violent Extremism team, based at Blackburn.
It uses cartoon animals to get across safety messages. A lion explains that terrorists can look like anyone, while a cat tells pupils that should get help if they are being bullied and a toad tells them how to cross the road. [...] The film is being shown as part of Lancashire Police’s Streetwise campaign.

Exhibit 2:

BNP leader Nick Griffin has been elected to the European Parliament as the party won its first two seats. Mr Griffin was elected for the North West region while Andrew Brons picked up another BNP seat in Yorkshire and Humber, where it won 10% of the vote. Mr Griffin said the BNP was not racist, but won votes because it “spoke openly about the problem of immigration.”

Those kids’ll be busy!