Thursday, June 26, 2003

Started dull but today is turning out hot again. I do so resent being stuck at work on days like this but not really much we can do to avoid it - the bills won't pay themselves after all.

Still, I have been out in the sun already today having wandered down to Ipswich Buses to sort out the specification for the Martlesham P&R buses. I think they will be rather nice and I can now start thinking about livery designs and do some playing. All I need to know is if I need to make room for adverts or not this time. I do hope not as I have a few ideas to make them look a bit better than the other current fleet. And as they are adjacent to where our new office is I timed the walk back from there to town and the vitally importatnt threshold of out, shopping and back withing 30 mins still seems possible. Certainly it only took me 10 minutes to get to Smiths! Of course who knows where we will end up withing the building and how convoluted it will be to get in and out?

Will get some more semi-fresh air later when the books finally arrive - they are due at 2 and hopefully we will be able to get some around town before going home. Then tomorrow, sat, mon and tues at least out and about across Suffolk in the van.

Seems I was wrong about the flowers at the roadside being from both funerals as the second one isn't being held until today. So I guess there will be even more bloomage when I head home tonight. Still can't say I understand it though.

Other than that we are plodding on as usual. Joan is having to go to Bury St. Edmunds on the 8th of July for a meeting about why the shop is not meeting targets for Argos cards, insurances etc. Not really much more they can do I would have thought - its not like you can force people to take them up. All sales managers are having one so she shouldn't feel picked on or anything. I have booked the day off to take her and I guess we can claim the mileage!

Still hooked on Big Brother - especially since the double eviction last week and housemate swap with Africa this week. Not sure what it is that makes the show such compelling viewing, but I tend to find myself with a big smile for the duration of the show, which is worth a lot in my book.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Turns out that today is the Centenary of George Orwell. Born Eric Arthur Blair up the road from here in Southwold. And he seemingly hated Southwold but was obviously enamoured enough of Suffolk in general to take the name of the river flowing through Ipswich here when it came to choosing a pen name. One of those authors I've never really dug into very much. I had to read both Animal Farm and 1984 at school but not touched anything else since. Very well regarded but too bleak for my normal taste, plus I'm not really much of a fan of hidden meanings and deep political criticism dressed up as fiction - I like my stories to be just that and if I want the other I'll find it elsewhere. Maybe I'll give him another go in the future.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

So the one to one went pretty well. No unexpected big jobs as a result of it and a bit of a clearer idea of what my targets for the next year are going to be. Plus yet another teensy insight in to how his mind works which may be of value later...

Still, must get round to sorting that Police Application form before the end of the week. You never know after all.

In order to speed the distribution effort we are going to do some on Saturday (well it was cheaper to book the van for the whole week rather than a few days!) in return for another day off in the week sometime. I guess I will take that on a day Joan is off so as to spend some time with her. She is working Saturday anyway so it won't make much difference me being out and about rather than in the house.

Today's quote from a WH Smith carrier bag is this: Read the best books first, or you may not have time to read them all. As related by American Author David Thoreau (1817-1862) which makes a kind of sense. But how do you know which are the best books without reading them first? After all, reviews are only a subjective view from the reviewer who may see things very differently from you. And even if half a dozen reviews all agree on the worthiness of a certain tome, what happens when number seven disagrees violently? As is likely to be the case if the original are in the specialist press and the pther in the mainstream (or, indeed, vice versa). I think I shall continue to stick with my own opinions but take note of what people recommend.
Unbelievable. I thought that perhaps now the two funerals had taken place for the lads who were knocked down over the road from here that the council would start to clear away the flowers. Wrong. They have in fact been added to - all the ones from the funerals themselves. Including the wreaths, floral names etc. Now that I really can't understand and smacks to me a bit of publicity seeking on the part of the families. I could be wrong and they may just find it a good way to let go, but the mere thought of making something as heart rending as losing a child so public just strikes me as very odd.

But then, grief is a funny thing. Joan has had to go back to the Doctor and is now in the process of sorting out some formal grief counselling now the anniversary of her Dad is approaching. I am trying to be as supportive as possible but I think this is a lot deeper than I can comprehend. Whatever, I'll be there for her.


So, final thoughts on the whole Tad Williams Otherland experience. Overall, a very good read. Quite deep in places with much to think about at the end. I can see how he must have had the same sort of fun as I mentioned back whenever for the Clarke/Baxter collaboration (The Light Of Other Days) in deciding which bits of history and other literature to use in the numerous virtual worlds encountered by the protagonists. Some of the settings were just brilliant, and very well described to really get a feeling of being there in the thick of the action. Some of the ending seemed a bit rushed/compacted as the myriad of story lines were all woven together again and I think perhaps we could have done with following a smaller number of people so as to get a better understanding of each, but then that would have lost the enormous scope of the plot. I dunno. Let me just say I enjoyed it and will no doubt enjoy it again in 5 or 6 years time.

New book to be started later today is: A History Of Engineering In Classical And Medieval Times by Donald Hill which looks fascinating and might just explain lots of old monuments and stuff.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Stone me, Thrash from The Orb/Fortran 5 has joined the Llamasoft forums. Another person who inspired me joins the fun! And he has stuck up a whole album's worth of stuff based on the files Madonna "leaked" to the internet in advance of her latest album coming out to try and pre-empt the pirates. Some of it is quite good and also funny so I think it will end up on mini-disc for further listening. Heck, he even provided cover artwork which is always nice.

It was only a week or so ago I was sorting out copies of a Fortran 5 track for Mr Minter himself then this happens. I wonder if I can "arrange" for any other musicians to sign up.

And stone me again, while I couldn't be bothered to go out this lunch time, Richard did and bought three second hand games for the Cube which obviously are sitting with me for the time being. So I think I will be exercising my thumbs tonight with Super Monkey Ball 2 if not the other two as well. Hopefully he will keep putting off getting his own system for a few months longer.

Sonic has gone off to a meeting in Lowestoft this afternoon and half the rest of the office has vanished too so once again all is quiet here. So I am sorting out some bits that should impress him (and keep him off my back for a day or two) in advance of tomorrow morning's 1 to 1 session.
So it rained all night, has been wet on and off so far this morning and still looks grey and threatening now. All of which can only mean one thing. Yes, today is the start of Wimbledon fortnight. Not sure if I will get to see any of the tennis again this year (work and Big Brother will no doubt take precedence) but I will have a stab. And of course it also rained a fair bit yesterday which totally changed our plans to get out and about for the day, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Saturday we did the mundane shopping for food and stuff in the morning. And also popped in to Smiths to NOT buy the Harry Potter book. Yes, Joan had pre-ordered me a copy but I persuaded here not to go through with the actual purchase (and indeed we got her deposit back) as (a) they were selling the book a couple of quid cheaper elsewhere and (b) as I said at the time I'm quite happy to wait until next year for the paperback. After all, I have plenty of other books sitting unread on the shelves to keep me going until then. In fact the biggest decision will be whether to re-read the first four, or perhaps just the ones not turned in to films as yet, before diving in. I used to do a lot of that with some series when there was a gap between volumes appearing but haven't over the last couple of years - mainly due to the vast numbers of books craving my attention. Whatever, it is a stonkingly huge book which will no doubt last me a day or two when I do get round to it!

In the afternoon we both crashed out in the Garden to catch up on a bit of lost sleep and some sun as well - it was wonderful weather with just enough of a breeze to keep us cool while still getting some colour from the sun (but not enough to burn). Quite amazing that we did manage to sleep so well really under the circumstances - not only was Steve up to his usual Saturday sawing, hammering and drilling (it must be two years now since their extension was finished. What can there be left to do?) butthe chap next door to Jerry was out in the Garden. With a mechanical digger. Not too sure how he managed to get it in to the garden, but he must have had fun using it as the thing could be heard working away all day (and also yesterday) and they have filled a skip up with junk and soil. I know the place was in a bit of a state before they moved in so it will no doubt be interesting to see the finished article, but I just wish they could be a bit quieter when working there.

Saturday night we were round to Ma & Pa for a summer solstice dinner. First time they've ever done anything to mark the longest day that I can remember, and very tasty it was too. Their next door neighbours were also there and a splendid time was had by all.

Yesterday, as mentioned, the rain stopped our picnic plans so we stayed home and blitzed the house instead. Which now looks pretty tidy in most rooms. I wonder how long we will manage to keep it that way. Joan always gets upset that "museum perfect" conditions don't seem to last very long, but we do live in the place rather than just visit from time to time so a little bit of putting things down and not picking them up is inevitable. Plus we do seem to accumulate junk without trying - especially pens. Where do they all come from? In between working we found the time to watch the last in the series of Casualty (and once more a gruesome cliff-hanger for us to ponder) and do some general sitting around and reading.

Now have only a few pages of the whole Otherland saga left to read. In fact I am past the end of the "plot" so to speak and in to the winding down tying up of loose ends de-briefing phase. I will reserve the passing of judgement until tomorrow though as I want to be sure of it all before commenting fully. All I will say for now is that although I was keen to know how it all winds up, I don't particularly want to say goodbye to most of the characters yet. But can't think of any excuse for a plot that would bring them all together again sometime.

Also fitted in a play of the last Chumbawamba album Readymades over lunch yesterday. Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but what a superb album that is. So far removed from their spiky punky origins but still very politically motivated. The musicianship is just sublime, to the point that I am sure if I were to listen to the whole disc under the right circumstances (i.e. focussed and with no distractions rather than in the car or while eating) then the moment in the last track when the guitar kicks in would probably move me to tears. It really is that good. Go and get a copy.

And so we are back to work for the week. Plenty going on to stop me going nuts with tedium this week so details of those when they happen. Fort now I have some timetables back from Pindar to be going along with.