Liam Robertson
Home life
I currently live in the village of Rostrevor on the shores of Carlingford Lough. I am married with 4 children.
Background
I have a genuine passion for technology, actively following emerging technologies and trends. In my line of business I have refined my ability to quickly learn new technologies and/or business Applications with little to no supervision. Working within Ireland, the UK and the US I have developed a broad infrastructure background covering networking, operating system and application topologies. As for interpersonal skills, you will have to judge that for yourself.

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Skills

Information Security Architecture

Security Architecture Analysis
90%
Business Continuity Planning
80%
Network Security
80%
Communications Security
80%
Cryptography
90%

Software Development

Java / J2EE
80%
XML
80%
Ruby
70%

Systems Administration

Database Administration and Configuration (Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL)
70%
Apache Web Server Administration and Configuration
80%
Linux/Unix OS Administration
70%

Blog

My inane dribblings.

Barbecue Night

“Daddy this coal tastes like chicken”

“Off course it does dear. Just eat it and don’t choke on the bones”

It was barbecue night last night. A chance to release that inbred urge to set things alight.

The previous night as we sat round the dinner table eating anaemic bacon, insipid cabbage and tasteless potatoes, we listened to the news on the radio, numbed by the bland, dull, humdrum that passed for life in our little country. The weather forecast started up and there was an easily detectable change in tone. The following day was to be beautiful, fine, dry and sunny, altogether unexpected and for once they spoke as if they meant it.

The kids eyed me from across the room, their cute little faces full of hope and longing.

“Can we Daddy? Can we?”

I turned towards my wife, my cute little face full of hope and longing, giving her the same look that
seemed to work 9 months before each of my children were born.

By coincidence, as on the night of each child’s conception, she was on her second bottle of white wine and as on those nights she nodded resignedly and gave me that “alright if you must” look.

I beamed from ear to ear and my kids beamed back at me.

“Right empty the freezer”

“Chicken Teriyaki thighs, Mexican chicken drumsticks, honey glazed chicken thighs”

“What’s the best before date on those” my wife calls out.

“Doesn’t matter, they’ll be fine, the barbecue will sort them out”

Released from the permafrost at the back of the freezer, tomorrows offerings were left out to thaw.

The fridge was emptied of vegetables and after a quick visit to the off licence filled with beer and white wine.

We all went to bed happy that night, content to know that tomorrow would be the day.

I spent the morning in Portadown, where a lot of my male brethren were preparing for their upcoming barbecue night. Theirs is more of a collective arrangement, all the males come together build a massive fire, bring their sofas, drink eat and burn Mary.

Me, I’m more of a loner; my burnt offerings are made over a smaller fire.

I drove home windows down, already smelling the scent of charcoal drifting through the country air, either that or the sun melting the tarmacadam of the road.

I made It home before the family. This evenings meal wasn’t to be cooked on our South African Barbecue, as recommended by the Hairy Bikers, but to be a more primitive effort. I wandered around the garden picking up rocks and built a primitive stone circle. I filled the circle with sticks and charcoal, took out a chair and a primitive bottle of Budweiser squatted in deference before the stone circle and made fire as my ancestors did with a lighter.

Once I had stopped retching from the smoke that had followed me around the garden, I wiped away the tears and sat down beer in hand and waited for my progeny to return.

My kids returned prostrated themselves before the beloved barbecue, and wandered off to play on computer and Xbox out of the hot evening sun. My wife disappeared in to the kitchen to do the less burdensome work like prepare the food that would accompany the cooked chicken. Me I lovingly, tenderly, took Moy Parks finest Brazilian/Thai chicken thighs and drumsticks, Teriyaki, Mexican and honey glazed flavour and placed them on the grill over the fire.

I sat back drank another bottle of beer and waited. After a while it became a bit more difficult to determine which were the Teriyaki and which were the Mexican flavoured. Indeed as time and beer bottles progressed it became more difficult to determine which were the thighs and which were the drumsticks. That didn’t really matter. The important thing was to be sitting outside on a summers evening, beer bottle in hand watching stuff burn. This is what life is really about.

My wife came out, everything was ready inside. She looked at the fire and my lovingly tended cooked meats. She smiled at me patted my head as she does our six year old daughter. Placed the cooked chicken on a tray and taking my by the hand steered me towards the house, calling at one of the kids to put the bottles in the blue bin.

After all that effort, the meal itself was a bit of a blur, what with all these types of salads and humus things that accompanied my meal. My wife had also cooked extra chicken just in case there wasn’t enough for all the family.

Once finished I got up from the table. I was happy and content, a mouth full of charcoal and teeth full of chicken strings. I smiled at my wife and made towards the back door.

“No Liam” she said.

“But it’s a family tradition.” I replied.

“What’s a family tradition” piped up the kids.

“Well, when I was young, me your uncles and your Granny and Grandad camped every summer down in Cavan fishing on the lakes.

Every evening we would cook over a fire. It kept us warm once the sun started to go down and kept the mosquitoes away. Before bed each night me and your three Uncles would line up by age behind your Grandad and take turns in putting the fire out.

You see, that stream of liquid hitting those hot stones was a test of manhood. There would be shards of stone flying through the air. One of them could easily of had your manhood or in your Uncle James case one testicle. So that is why it is now a tradition.”

“That is also the reason we no longer get invited to any of the neighbourhood barbecues anymore.” My wife sang out, as I grabbed a bottle and stepped out into the garden.

Aloco-Pop

al•co•hol•ic \ˌal-kə-ˈhȯ-lik, -ˈhä-\

Saturday last, my number one daughter suggested I was an alcoholic.

Now that did grate a bit. I closed my laptop, set my glass to one side, cleared my throat and locked my gaze upon hers.

It was a bad idea to try and stare down an eight year old. Those dark beady eyes showed no fear and glared straight back. I felt my sphincter tighten, as I peered within that little mind, knowing that in its depths a series of questions were being prepared, sharpened with a surgical precision and carefully laid out to inflict painful incisions aimed at cutting me down to size. First win to her.

She broke her gaze and glanced to one side.
“A win for me”, I crowed within.

She made eye contact again. “What is an alcoholic daddy?”

I relaxed. It was just the paranoia kicking in on a Saturday morning. Just because she sews her teddy bears together as conjoined twins, removes limbs from her dolls and has an unhealthy interest in road kill is no reason to be worried. “She might not turn out like you.” I thought.

Calm down and take a deep breath. In…., Out…. Now count, One, Two, Three.

“Where did you hear the word alcoholic?” I asked back calmly locking my gaze upon hers once again.

“I heard Mummy say it. She said you were an alcoholic and had polished off a bottle of whiskey. What does it mean?”

“No, No, No, My Dear.” I replied, sphincter tightening again. “You picked it up wrong. No, No, your mummy was just asking about me polishing the drinks cabinet. No, No, that thing about the whiskey bottle, that’s just to do with my work. Do you see the way your mummy is a teacher and I’m a writer, well an Alcoholic is a special type of writer.”

I reached out and took a sip from the glass. This had better be good.

“Some writers have to spend ages thinking about a subject before they can write about it. Others, the best ones, their minds are always full of great ideas, always so sharp and funny that there isn’t enough time in the day to get these ideas down on paper. That is why there is whiskey. Whiskey helps your Daddy get his ideas down.”

“Does it not just get you drunk?” she asked coming out from behind the couch.

“No, it only gets you drunk if you use it wrong. For writers it’s a tool, just like a notebook, a pencil, or spending your day lying in bed thinking.”

“But Daddy, when you are lying in your bed, you’re sleeping. Sometimes even, when we come home from school we can even hear you snoring when we are doing our homework down here.”

That one did cut a little bit.

“But munchkin I do most of my work when I’m asleep, I’m not wasting my day, I’m researching, honestly, I am working.”

“When you get older you will understand. There are some people who never look up at the sky, never look at the stars, and never think. They get up trundle off to work come home and go to sleep. They never think of asking the important questions in life like.

You know, like “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?” Thinking about questions like that takes so much out of you. It’s much more difficult than the type of work they do. That is why we have writers and that is why we have whiskey.”

“What does the whisky do?” She asked, coming closer.

“Look, when I wake up after a night of thinking hard, I have to start writing down all the stuff that is racing around in my head. For that I need the whiskey or as I prefer to call it the slow me down juice.”

“Slow me down juice?” she asked, with a hint of a smile.

“Yea, it’s a bit like a medicine. It turns all those streaming, racing thoughts in my head into a nice gloopy porridge. You like porridge don’t you?”

She nodded, with a widening grin.

“What’s your favourite bit of the porridge?”

“The raisins” She shouted, skipping towards me.

“Well once my thoughts and ideas have been turned to porridge then your daddy can start digging through it picking out all those lovely raisins. Well the lumpy bits anyway, some might turn out to be raisins, some might turn out to be twigs, that up to the reader.”

“So you see, an Alcoholic is a special type of writer, one of the best types, searching for what makes us happy searching for what makes us sad but mostly searching for what makes us want to shout out at the world.”

“Like Mr Smith” she cried climbing up on my lap.

“No, not like Mr Smith. He’s a drunk. Swinging pissed from our garden gate and shouting at the passing cars and buses, doesn’t count.”

“Us writers, we are the voice of those unable to speak up for themselves. We’re here to help them express their thoughts, tell them, what they really think, and to do that your daddy needs whiskey.”

“Look, come on now, back to your dolls, I’ve work to do. My blog isn’t going to write itself you know. Now keep quiet and let daddy work”

She reached out behind me, took a bottle from the cabinet and handed it over. I smiled back at her and stared lovingly into her dark beady eyes. Somewhere, in there someone was taking notes, version 2.0 of a writer in the making, an anal retentive, gathering material, filing it away for another day.

“Have some slow me down juice” she said petting my head. She slid off my knee and walked towards the couch. “My little alcopop” She giggled to herself.

I took another sip.

Game, set & match to her.

Contact

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information about my work. I am available Mon – Sat, Sunday is a day of rest.

Email: liam.robertson@gmail.com
Phone: 078-2481-1502

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