Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Much as I enjoy the chance to get away from the office with all the interruptions, phones ringing and so forth and much as i enjoy learning new stuff I can categorically state that today was a pain in the backside and an almost total waste of time. We were out (at the Novotel again! Slightly better lunch than last week but still nothing startling) for the second phase of training on the mPLAN software that is supposed to revolutionise our lives if we ever get a working version. But of course the data still isn't ready to go in to it (and won't be until September or Christmas depending upon who's estimate you believe) and even the chap from the firm who wrote it didn't seem to know what parts he was trying to demonstrate were intended to do. Really fills you with confidence that does. Plus with the first session a couple of months ago now the morning was further wasted in going back over what we covered then, with the afternoon deviating from plan when we started picking holes in things and wanting more detailled explanations than were probably expected. I think we were all pretty fed up by the end of the day (especially when the expected 1615 finish turned in to a 1730 one).

Must think positively about what it will do if we ever get to use it.

Add to that the late finish meaning I wasn't able to get back to Felixstowe in time to pick Joan up from work (and the message I left her got garbled so she stood around for 20 minutes waiting for me in vain) and I was not a happy bunny. Especially as she is now out at a hen party for someone who works with Helen (the wedding is on Friday and we should be at the reception later in the evening - depending upon what time they get finished at Argos as it is Catalogue launch time again). Would have been nice to unwind with her company tonight but I shall just have to do the best I can alone.

So, what else has been going on? Well, as mentioned Joan was working all weekend so I didn't really stray very far from the ironing and shopping and stuff. And then more sorting of timetables and so forth at work. Chris and I had our first operator negotiations meeting for all the new timetables on Monday, but I'm not sure if we have any feedback from it yet. I think they were pretty receptive but we shall have to wait and see. Of course there could be stuff in the in-box that arrived while we were out getting frustrated today... We are out again on Friday so hopefully some good results from those. Thrills galore with the ususal mix of emails and stuff otherwise.

Saturday also saw the last page being turned on Harry Potter 5. I definitely enjoyed it, and less of a cliff-hanger than the end of the last one, but I still want JK to get the rest of the series written please. Wasn't all that impressed with the much vaunted tragic death either - both in the way it was engineered and how the aftermath was handled. Or indeed the actual event. OK, I know the series is intended for children but I think a bit more drama could have been put into that scene. Last night saw the close of another book read since Saturday - a collection of questions and answers from the Last Word column in New Scientist magazine. Things like Why is the sky blue? (Because of the way light is scattered by the atmosphere) and Why doesn't superglue stick to the inside of the tube? (It needs damp to set). Interesting stuff in the main and looking forward to the second volume I also got at the same time.

Have now started on Sprout Mask Replica by highly recomended teller of tall tales Robert Rankin. It has been a good few years since I last read any of his stuff and I've kind of missed him. Very strange stories mixing the mundane with the ridiculous - every day meeting elements of the fantastic and science fiction but not really categorisable with anything else I've ever read. Good stuff though and I really must get round to picking up all the books he's written since I last bought one...

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