T’was The Night Before Christmas…

It was the Night Before Christmas and with the click of my mouse
I had turned off the lights throughout our wired house
We don’t have a chimney so in case someone cares
The kids had hung stockings on the backs of their chairs
They’d gone upstairs early and rushed off to their beds
To dream of tablets and consoles which spun in their heads

And Mother in her Pyjamas and I stuffed in mine
Had demolished the mince pies and drunk all the wine
We were in bed watching the telly and having a natter
When out in the garden there came such a clatter
The lights were switched off so I took a swift glance
Through a crack in the curtains to see whats askance

There in the moonlight in the middle of the lawn
Sat a fellow in a red suit looking lost and forlorn
He seemed to have dropped something he was groping around
And he was trying to retrieve it without making a sound
After fumbling and stumbling he located his sack
And he swung it quite high and over his back

Now the garden was dark and it was getting quite late
and I’d locked all the doors and padlocked the back gate
So I wasn’t quite sure how this round fellow in red
Had landed in our garden and got me out of bed
So I put on my slippers with the holes in the toe
And descended the stairs to confront whats below

I unlocked the back door with some trepidation
And went outside to the poor fellows consternation
He was rounded and chubby and stretched out his suit
And he had this red hat and a white beard to boot…
He was most apologetic and “I’m Sorry” he said
he was embarrassed, his cheeks were quite red

I said “Don’t worry old fellow we will sort you out”
So I unlocked the gate so I could let the chap out
then up the side passage I showed him the way
But stopped in my tracks when I bumped into a sleigh
I suddenly realised this was no drunken lout
But the real St Nick who was out and about

He spoke to the reindeer gave reassurance and chat
Then straightened his suit and re-seated his hat
Then Saint Nick came up and said “I’m not sure…
why my Fat-Nav brought me to your back door.”
I said “Its probably the software on your particular device
or it could be electronic caused by the snow and the ice…”

It was clearly apparent from the Fat-Navs display
That its outdated software had caused this delay
I updated all his software using our wire less device
And made sure his antenna was free of snow and from ice
He climbed gratefully on board his updated sleigh
and shouted “Donner and Blitzen… Up up and away..”

and as he flew over Bridport and away out of sight
He said “Merry Christmas to all and Blessed Good Night!”

Peter Roe
All Rights Reserved
December 2016

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First Bytes in Computing

I bunked off school at age twelve to watch a crane install a computer through the roof of a local hauliers. Ever since I have had an unending attraction to all things technological.

Later in Computer Studies we still learnt about punchcards but 1977 was a year of change. The first microprocessor computer I actually touched was nothing more than a circuit board and processor. When one of the other kids managed to make it smoke by giving it a divide by zero command I was hooked.

So at sixteen I did a brief stint as a lab technician before joining the Air Force in Air Traffic Control. This brought me into contact with computers in the workplace and this amazing contraption the size of a wardrobe called a MuFax. We used to have to test it everyday but you could send an A4 page of words, a photo or a diagram in something less than newspaper quality but it took up to 10 minutes. It was mostly ‘tested’ with funny drawings or inspirational quotes, I think these were the early memes of our military network.

We also used a computer system for other purposes but on the over night shifts we sometimes chatted with other operators at bases in Scotland. This was by means of a simple line of text typed into the bottom of the screen and their reply displayed at the top. I am not sure if it was even stored anywhere but it was an early prelude to things like Instant Messengers.

Concurrent with this there was a micro revolution and Sir Clive Sinclair brought us the ZX81 and The Spectrum. I remember a crowd of us around a 16k ZX81 playing Football Manager. Every so often one of us would go off to perform his guard duty or other task but always straight back to have one more go! The Cold War wasn’t quite so hot anymore but that would have been a good summer for the Russians to invade!

I taught myself Basic and then took a couple of RAF computer courses. I came out of the Air Force and managed to get a place on a TOPS computer training course in Manchester where I learnt about boring business languages like COBOL and RPG2. Actually the whole school algebra thing suddenly made sense. Now I even knew how to apply it in the real world.

So jobs came and went but my one constant was computers. As a hobbyist and as an operator, implementor and champion. Through vocational computer courses over the years I finally found myself applying my knowledge as web-designer, a trainer and network manager at a University in The Netherlands.

Whilst working there just before the millennium turned over, I started a degree in Computing and Media and one of my elective courses was Poetry. Something I had played with for years but my professor lit a fire underneath me. I was revisiting old stuff, rewriting, creating and renewing my passion for poetry and writing.

What did I write about? Things that amused or inspired me, technology, peoples relationships with computers, the internet and random stuff.

Later on my return to the UK, I became involved in Secondary Education in film making and media but particularly in a project  with a colleague that we called Films for Learning. Some of the articles I wrote at the time may be included in this collection. Not poetry but an insight into what I was seeing and how inspiring it was to work with creative students.

I shared a chapbook of my poems with my Father and he said I reminded him of Ogden Nash. “Who’s Ogden Nash?” I said. Later I went off to the bookstore and found a suitable volume and this interchange with my Father was the trigger that started a real War of Words. An exchange of poetastery where rapid fire poems were exchanged through email that dragged many of my siblings into a Poetry War!

Thats just about it, I have always had a passion for poems and technology and hopefully I managed to light some fires of my own along the way. This collection is a glimpse inside my head and I hope it surprises some of those people who only ever knew me as  ‘The Computer Guy’ who came to sort out their computer problems.

March 2016
Peter Roe

Hard Driving

I am the Techno-Shaman
I live in  a Haych-Tee Tee-Pee

Got myself a dotcom internet Address
Got myself some of that Eee-mail
Got myself an Eye-Ess-Pee
With loads of Kay-Bee-Pease
I’m rammed up
Turned on
High on E
Hard driving on the information super highway

Cruising for a link
A HOT HOT You-Are-ELL
My Eye-Ess-Dee-En is running hot
My Pee-See-Eye can really fly
My hardwares hard
and my softwares NOT

Got myself a dotcom internet Address
Got myself some of that Eee-mail
Ee-chat, Eye-See-Q
I’m ‘virtually’ yours
I’m rammed up
I’m turned on
I’m high on E
I’m Hard driving
Cruising on the information super-highway

Peter Roe
All Rights Reserved

Information Overload

I’ve got me a tablet with a wire less contraption
that gives me the internet and network interaction
and a Hi Deff Tee Vee with digital information
that dishes up soap using it’s satellite connection

I’m integrated and interfaced and wired to the hilt
I get all the gadgets just as soon as they’re built
I’m hip and I’m cool and I’m trying not to get old
but really I’m approaching information overload

I got me a smart phone to keep me connected
and an alarm for the house to keep me protected
And a microchip for the cat to keep him located
and an XBone for my kids to keep them placated

I’m integrated and interfaced and wired to the hilt
I get all the gadgets just as soon as they’re built
I’m hip and I’m cool and I’m trying not to get old
but I think I’m approaching information overload

I’m targeted with adverts from morning till night
‘Hey… Buy this for a dollar’ or ‘Buy this Cheap Flight’
or ‘Bulk me Ups’ and  ‘Niagra’ and ‘Hot Totty’ too
or a ‘Cruising Holiday’ or a “Day Trip to the Zoo’

I integrated and interfaced with digital communication
but all the gadgets gave me was information saturation
I’m not hip and not cool and I’m definitely getting old
and I have finally reached information overload

Peter Roe
All Rights Reserved

Miss Information

I was surfing on the net like I usually do…
A window popped up “A Message For You!”
I clicked on the button with some anticipation
It opened right up an E-mail communication

It was a message from you saying “Hello it’s me
please write me straight back and then we shall see
if we can conduct this affair in a meaningful way
or we should stop it right now and call it a day”

I stop what I’m doing and think for a while
then start to write and begin with a smile
You know what I mean… a little emoticon
that signifies a mood or a hat you have on

:o)

I send an e-mail back with my kindest salutations
and a quick fire answer to your hot propositions
“Just check your recipients before you click send
to direct mail to your lover and not to your friend!”

Peter Roe
All Rights Reserved

Spams Off!

I seem to remember, when I was a lad
Sitting in a caf’ with me dear old Dad
and fag ash Lil with her face so hard
slouched on over and gave us a card
covered in stains from the greasy food
and an attitude that bordered on being bloody rude

She’d get out a pencil and her little notebook
she’d scratch her nose and give you that look
that says “I’m busy, I haven’t got all day”
then she opens her mouth and what does she say?

“You can’t have breakfast it’s long past ten”
so we look at the card to start choosing again
“Ketchup is extra and we haven’t any hake…
and you’ll have to wait ‘cos cooks on his break”
she interrupts herself with a delicate cough
“Oh and by the way… the spams off!”

Peter Roe 
All rights reserved

Spam Too

I don’t really see how you can
Accuse me of sending spam

I’m pretty sure and I think you’ll find
That spam’s a tin with meat inside

And furthermore what’s even better
There’s no calories in an e-mail letter

How can you treat my odes my brother
Like some junk from a faceless other?

And if you feel your mailbox is replete,
then don’t read the stuff just hit delete!

Alternatively for a sense of humour bypass visit
http://www.wheresyoursenseofhumourman.com

Peter Roe
All Rights Reserved