Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I know, I'm not the most reliable blogger of late and maybe my powers of observation aren't what they once were, but how long has the "Monetise" tab been a standard addition to the Blogger editing page?

Now I've never been too convinced that blogs contain much of value to justify the addition of advertising (in fact you could probably stop that sentence part way through), but more than that, it's the word.


I think the people at Blogger need to go and sit on the naughty step and think about what it is they've done...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just a Formality

On Friday I worked with Tony, Jon, Chris, Debbie, Oli, Ronnie, Matt, Mike and Andy.

This morning I find I'm working with Anthony, Jonathan, Christopher, Deborah, Oliver, Ronald, Matthew, Michael and Andrew.

A rather unforeseen side effect of our company's switch of email systems, has been the reformalisation of our names in the address book.

One of my colleagues, Dave (or David as of today), is delighted that he has been vindicated in his long standing habit of calling me E1iz@beth.

Suddenly, it's not just him and "my mother when I'm in trouble".

Whilst this has introduced a humourous formality to our day, it's caused more of a problem with the suprisingly high number of my colleagues who use their middle names instead of their first names.

To email those folks you have to remember that D@n is really Edw@rd, Deni_s is really Jo_hn, Alu_n is really Willi@m, Gl@dwin is really John, and so forth.

It's a weirdly common practice in this office, which bears little correlation with common sense or expectation. A former colleague, just a few years older than myself, went by his middle name of Granv1lle in preference to his first name of Rich@rd. Whilst, Ronnie you would think had more cause than most to put distance between his first and last name; his surname being M@cDonald...

Mind you, you have to have some sympathy, for the first 30 years of his life it wouldn't have had the burger selling clown connoctations, which some have opined removes his parents from blame. I'm not so sure; after all, it was always a rhyming name and that's never a good idea is it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Despite an early start, despite a bit of tension re keys and a detour via Sheffield, despite an all day meeting on a Saturday, sometimes I remember why I do this mad festival thing.

The people are great and it is a total pleasure to work with them.

Well most of them...

...most of the time.

But hey, today was one of the good days. We caught up with progress to date, we planned and plotted and found a way forward, we dropped the Support from Venue Management Support, we welcomed two new members on to the team and it all happened beautifully.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I appreciate that losing the power to the kitchen over the weekend in the course of some electrical work at the office, is one of those things that happens.

However, on behalf of those of us who spent the morning in meetings, perhaps a note on the fridge might have been more useful than an email?

As it was, I headed straight to the kitchen once the meeting finished, heated my lunch, happily ate it and then wondered why my stomach was rather grumbly.

Thankfully it was vegetarian, so hopefully the results won't be too dire...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

12 again

I can't remember the last time I wore earrings. In fact I can't even recall how you spell the word - earing? earring? ear-ring? Must be at least 10 years.

But the other week a pair of amazing peacock feather ear errrr adornments, with matching necklace caught my eye and got me wondering.

And so I found myself in the bathroom, needle in hand, reopening the hole in my left ear, which, unlike the right, had partially closed in the intervening years.

I catch my own eye in the mirror - "what are you? 12 years old again?"

Still, seems to have done the trick...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Farewell Drinks

After an easy afternoon of recovery, it's time for another night out.

This time in Didsbury, where G, A and myself bid farewell to K as she moves back north.

I wisely stuck to the vodka, giving a wide berth to floral based alcohol experiments; still did the trick though. Ah, the joys of binge drinking for the normally temperate.

Top night, much laughter.

Everything's coming up roses

I'd been looking forward to last night for a while, a long awaited visit from "the one from Bolton, who leads us astray".

Work continues to be manic and my plans for a prompt getaway were thwarted by my boss popping down for a chat. My text to G explaining that I'll not be home until 7.30pm now, receives the wonderful reply "so I won't have to go down the sorry I'm late line then...". So many reasons why we're friends.

A trip to Chinatown is agreed upon and rather than go to the same old 'safe' restuarants we pick one at random (well almost, I have the basic minimum requirment that a place knows how to do proper dim sum).

One banquet and many rounds of vodka later, we end up on a strange Chinese liquer. The maitre d' had attempted to describe it to us and the word rose seemed to feature strongly.

He wasn't kidding. The first impression is that it's a sort of clear whiskey, but as the heat explodes in your throat, your head fills with the most amazing bouquet of roses. Not at all unpleasant. My best way of explaining, would be to say it was a bit like being punched in the throat by an Interflora delivery.

The kind man writes the name down for me and tells me where I can buy bottles - I feel this is an experience I'll be wanting to repeat...

Back home and the Archers is opened and flows freely as we make the most of a night to catch up, which for once isn't overshadowed by the prospect of an early morning deadline.

Quality. We need to do this more often.

Friday, March 20, 2009

They tried to make me go to rehab...

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of the second rehab workshop for my back.

Over a year on from sustaining the injury, regular chiropractor sessions and dutiful completion of daily exercises have seemingly done the trick and problems are rare and easily fixed (hmm those exercises are supposed to be daily you say?), so now we’re working on properly sorting out the underlying problems rather than just keeping the symptoms at bay.

See how I’ve got on board with this whole chiro thing – verging on the convert evangelist me...

The rehab workshops have introduced a Swiss Ball into my life.

Can’t say I ever thought there was a Swiss Ball shaped hole in my life.

More pertinently it turns out there really isn’t a Swiss Ball shaped hole in my house.

At one point the trainer clocks that I’m looking rather perturbed at the latest exercise she’s just demonstrated.

I have two concerns, I can’t figure where in my house there’s a long enough straight space to replicate this particular move and the eng1neer in me just feels that any move that culminates in you resting your weight through your arms, with your head pointing downwards and your legs tucked up under you with your feet perched on the top of a cylindrical device is just intrinsically unwise.

Certainly the last thing it would be sensible to do at this point would be to then stretch your legs out straight and then bend them back up, rolling the ball forward and back. Madness.

I only share the first of the concerns, this is not the place for cynics.

Anyway as it turns out, despite initial appearances, the move is actually one of the easier in the set of ten. Lord only knows what the third and final rehab workshop will bring.

I just can’t quite shake the feeling that this is all very unwise and likely to end in injury. Possibly to my nose - did I mention I have very thin carpet on concrete floors?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Gift of Stones - Jim Crace

It wasn't uniformly liked, but neither did it attract the vitriole of the last book.

Personally I enjoy Crace's writing, but I can relate to opinions that it was a little dull in parts and felt a little distant and unengaged.

I have a feeling though that it's a story that will stay with me for a while and it certainly chimed for me as a technical bod, regarding the nightmare of what happens if your area of technology becomes obsolete.

One word of warning if you do read it. I was very glad I hadn't read the synopsis on the back cover - talk about giving the whole story away!

Btw - many thanks to the lovely Caroline for lending it to me :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This afternoon's management meeting somehow transformed into a health and safety pro-forma top trumps game.

Surely it shouldn't be this hard?

And if it really must, then can someone else be the person who has to brief the staff? Please?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Really, the pattern of meeting in London on the evening of every second Tuesday of the month, followed by a meeting first thing in the morning in Kendal every second Wednesday of the month (having first called in at the Warrington office), is just not funny.

I was almost too tired to appreciate the cows at Low Sizergh...

Yet again the meeting comprised one Kendal local and numerous folk from the Manchester and Liverpool areas. Logistical and environmental madness.

Hopefully it seems our client is at last open to questioning the wisdom of this. I'll miss lunch with the cows, but that's a small price to pay.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Well let's just say, I was glad I hadn't travelled far...

Post meeting beers and curry were very enjoyable however, which is some compensation.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I don't think I can recall a book group choice being so universally hated.

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull was fairly painful (trite, new-age hippy tosh), but Illusions - Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah had more than one of us screaming at the parchment; begging the amoral, individualistic, egotistical nonsense to end.

Do yourselves a favour - avoid like the plague.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


One of things I love about living where I do, is the diversity.

As I arrived home tonight and put the car in the garage, I enjoyed two separate conversations with neighbours.

At the garage a catch up and general pleasantries with my conservative Muslim neighbour.

A minute later, at my front door, another neighbour asking me if I'd keep an eye on his place as he was off for a couple of days looking after his friend/housemate who was recovering in hospital from a gender reassignment operation.

That's what I like about this neck of the woods, everyone fits in because nobody fits in.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In a cabin in a wood...

After a mix-up at the weekend, Stuart and I have rearranged our PrOps Mtg location scouting for a quick lunchtime dash today.

It seems to tick most of the boxes.

Hardly the Ritz, but good enough...heck there's even a dedicated camp-fire area...maybe we've found a new home?

Stuart seems impressed.

Though slightly less impressed with my intimate knowledge of the s_ewer_age arrangements of a neighbouring village, which we drive through en route.

Funny boy.