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As those of you who read my LoudTwitter LJ posts will know, I've been commuting to Nuneaton/Hinckley for the past three weeks for my job. I'm doing some release management and quality assessment work for a large utility. Interesting stuff, but it does leave me pretty exhausted at the end of the day. I am getting behind in my email reading, my LiveJournal reading, and in my life in general.

I have, however, discovered the value of Twitter in keeping a record of what's happening in slices of 140 characters or less. This is quite useful, and I am becoming more enamoured of it the longer I remain in Nuneaton.

The highlight (or lowlight) of this week was yesterday, when my taxi driver failed to show up at the site to take me to Nuneaton Station in time for the 4:35 train to London. I called Sandeep (we are on a first-name basis now) and he told me that he had asked a friend of his to pick me up in his place because he needed to take his family somewhere. The friend had gone to another site in Hinckley, TNT (the delivery people), and picked up someone else for the train station. Sandeep had sent someone else to TNT, and he returned empty-taxied because the other driver had picked up the fare that he was meant to pick up.

Sandeep was in his family car with his family, and turned around and came to Hinckley and picked me up, with wife and son in the back seat, and took me to Nuneaton, not in time for the 4:35 train but what could one do? I thanked him profusely and didn't become depressed or annoyed about it, as there was nothing that could be done. This is good for me, as I tend to become nervous and grumpy when transport doesn't work out well. I think it's the beta-blocker, which makes me more mellow, on the whole.

So I went into the coffee shop at Nuneaton, bought a few train-related magazines and a mug of coffee, and whiled away some pleasant time reading about American trains. Got the 5:35 train, which stopped at Rugby and Milton Keynes, and got home around 7:30 pm.

I hope that things will be much more pleasant next week.
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I apologise for not blogging much lately. I suppose I should be blogging on the train going to Nuneaton, which is where my current assignment is. Once we leave Euston Station and I have read my email, I usually slip into a reverie and don't bother to do much until I get to the office, where I am fully employed doing some process improvement and release procedures. When I get home, I'm usually exhausted so I just read everyone else's blogs and fall asleep, to dream of really weird things such as people who walk around with pantographs on their heads drawing power from overhead lines just like trains do.

The Pendolino trains that ply the rails between London and Nuneaton (ending up in Liverpool) are quite good, actually. They get up to pretty good speed, and lean into curves mechanically, allowing for faster speeds overall. The cost for a day return ticket is £107 (that's about $214 US) but I prefer that to staying in Hinckley (which is where the office actually is) as there is nothing to do there and I like sleeping in my own bed.

We had an interesting weekend. Our friend M was staying with us Friday night and then coming to Brighton Pride with us. I left my mobile phone at home that morning, so I didn't find out that we were meeting him in Chinatown at 6:30 PM until I got home at 6:20 PM. An irate phone call later I ended up getting to the Korean restaurant on Charing Cross Road at 6:55 PM. The food wasn't really great; I liked a kimchi pancake, but my beef hotpot was not overfull of beef. We went to Costa for a coffee and dessert and then home to bed. I couldn't sleep very well, so woke at 4 and stayed awake. Rats!

When slicing a bagel for M at breakfast Saturday morning, I managed to slice my right thumb up as well. This was not very bright. It bled like a stuck pig but I managed to staunch the blood and put a dressing on the wound. It still stings a bit this evening, and I managed to get it to bleed a little when adjusting my backpack at Nuneaton Station this afternoon, catching the dressing and opening the wound. However, I think it'll be OK.

I wore the kilt I bought at Brighton Pride last year. Here's a picture of the three of us at Preston Park later on:

The kilt was surprisingly comfortable, fit well, and was air conditioned (of course). I shall wear it when appropriate. It's a very heavy denim from Union Kilts, and I think it was a good buy.

HWMBO, M, and I went to London Bridge Station and waited for [ profile] dangtri, Alex, and Bob. [ profile] dangtri arrived well in advance of our departure for Brighton, but Alex and Bob just made it. We got on the 0911 to Brighton, and we all got seats. My seatmates were a couple, one a bear the other a hunky Brasilian or Portuguese man. They ended up stroking each other's feet once our party consolidated itself and they had privacy.

We got to Brighton, had a pastry, and repaired to the waterfront. It was pissing down rain as only England can piss down rain. It wasn't big drops, and it wasn't torrential, but it was steady with enough wind to make it unpleasant. Alex and Bob were going to march, with Alex doing his usual acrobatics (he was gymnastics champion of Singapore in a bygone time) but it was too slippery and wet, so they didn't march. The rest of us repaired to Harry Ramsden's for lunch. At least it was dry.

We then took a shuttle bus up to the park, where it had begun to clear. We walked around the stalls, not buying much but looking. I bought two pair of Havaianas in green and yellow (Brasilian colours). We did not admire the Conservatives' float and booth. I was flabbergasted to see a full-fledged float in the march with people partying on it that was labelled "The Conservative Party". The denizens of this float were wearing wife-beaters that said "I came out. I'm a Tory". No eggs or other missiles were thrown, as far as I am aware. Brighton is a Labour stronghold, I believe.

We got a couple of glasses of Pimm's and a Kronenbourg for M, who promptly spilled HWMBO's Pimm's on our beach blanket, which we had spread on the ground to sit on. [ profile] dangtri promptly fell asleep, we drank our Pimm's or beers while Alex and Rob joined us. Many hot men were spotted, but as it was kind of chilly there was less overall nudity than there would normally be (no backless chaps that I could see, for example).

We walked to the railway station, encountering my former yoga teacher, Kym, on the way! I was so glad to see him and got his email address. I may join one of his other classes, as I think I did much better during the classes than I had before or since.

Sunday was quite quiet. His Reverence the Rector is on holiday, so we had Archdeacon Stephen from Nigeria to celebrate and preach. He went on for 25 minutes but I can't remember a word, both because of his heavy accent and also because he treats his sermons like an adult Bible Study rather than sticking to the readings set for the day. HWMBO went jogging with a former co-worker (straight) and had lunch with him. We stayed in for the rest of the day and retired early.

So that was our weekend and welcome to it.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
Thanks to Across the Board for this one.

Why I fired my secretary today...

Last week was my birthday and I didn't feel very well waking up that morning. I went downstairs for breakfast hoping my wife would be pleasant and say, "Happy birthday!", and possibly have a present for me.

As it turned out, she barely said good morning, let alone "Happy birthday". I thought... well, that's marriage for you, but the kids will remember. My kids ate breakfast and didn't say a word.

So when I left for the office, I was feeling pretty low and somewhat despondent. As I walked into my office, my secretary, Jane said, "Good morning boss, happy birthday!" It felt a little better that at least someone had remembered.

I worked until one o'clock and then Jane knocked on my door and said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day outside, and it's your birthday, let's go out to lunch, just you and me".

I said, "Thanks Jane, that's the greatest thing I've heard all day. Let's go!" We went to lunch. But we didn't go where we normally would go. We dined instead at a little place with a private table. We had two martinis each and I enjoyed the meal tremendously.

On the way back to the office, Jane said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day... We don't need to go back to the office, do we?"

I responded, "I guess not. What do you have in mind?"

She said, "Let's go to my apartment".

After arriving at her apartment Jane turned to me and said, "Boss, if you don't mind, I'm going to step into the bedroom for a moment. I'll be right back". "OK", I nervously replied.

She went into the bedroom and, after a couple of minutes, she came out carrying a huge birthday cake... followed by my wife, kids, and dozens of my friends and co-workers, all singing "Happy Birthday".

And I just sat there...

On the couch...

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It started out like all my workdays...I bought my newspaper and walked to Waterloo to take the Jubilee Line. Nothing unusual. However, when I got in the queue for the front door, I noticed a short pudgy guy next to me. Obviously, he was someone who didn't realise the unspoken rule that, at these Jubilee Line stations (the ones with doors) you get into a queue, one at each side of the door, to wait patiently for the train.

The train arrived, and we politely let the passengers off, as we are constantly being reminded to do. Then we began to file onto the train. There was some kind of holdup in front of us, and the woman in front of me stopped. I stopped too, and suddenly I was violently shoved from behind, and the short pudgy man, who was doing the shoving, said, rather loudly: "Come on, don't stop, get on the train!" I gave him a look, put my hand out, and shoved him right back on the platform. I was hoping that the train doors would close, but unfortunately, they didn't. He then got on behind me. The rest of the journey was very tense; he seemed to think that he'd "won", but shouting loudly at a stranger in the Underground is Just Not Done.

I have since thought about a few ripostes, among which the best (IMHO) is "Well, I see that you're quite eager to get into work to continue embezzling from your employer while your wife is cheating on you." Unfortunately, I didn't think of that one until I had nearly gotten to the building in which I toil for my crust.
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I figured I'd stay home today and take care of HWMBO, as he has a slight cold, while staying in touch with the office via my laptop. Well, all hell broke loose at 9 am when I set up the laptop and discovered emails sent long after I had left for the day Friday--I was to start at Big Investment Bank (subsequently BIB) this morning at 9. It was a bit embarrassing but I made it.

Meetings for the rest of the day. At least now I can't say that I am not making any money for my employer.
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Well, we bade farewell to Marta at the office yesterday. She is one of the few bright lights there, and unfortunately, for family reasons she has to move back to her native Australia. The company, however, transferred her to our Melbourne office, and yesterday was her final day in our London office. We went to a bar around the corner and were very convivial--I had a martini with olive, which was marred only by the fact that the olive was unpitted, and I missed the pimiento. Goodbye, Marta! I hope that someday HWMBO and I will visit Melbourne and see you again, and I hope that your move goes well.
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I have now figured out why people don't look me in the eye when we pass on the pavement. They're looking at my bow tie. As a woman passed me this morning, she looked at my face, then her eyes dropped down to my neck and stayed there. I now know what buxom ladies complain about.

The pet suitcase season is in full swing. I had to dodge three or four this morning. Why can't people gauge where they are when carrying or pulling large suitcases?

A huge marquee is being erected in the south portion of Eaton Square Gardens. There are even posh portable toilets at the west end of it.
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The assignment with the big investment bank has come through; the official word will be in on Monday, according to the client manager. The first move in this project will be a trip to New York for me. The tentative schedule is 24-28 September, Monday through Friday, with possible arrival on 23rd September and departure on 28th.

So, New York lj friends, you going to be around that week? Anyone want to suggest a restaurant for dinner (no fish, please, but vegetarian or carnivorous is OK for me)? I would love to meet y'all.

Comment on this entry and we can get cracking.


Sep. 10th, 2007 01:41 pm
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After my usual jacket potato, I ambled into Boots and bought various things, then dropped into Body Shop for deodorant and shave balm. The minion showed me some sort of vanity case, and said, "If you spend £25, you can take this case home for your wife." I laughed and said, "I'm sure my husband would have no use for it." She was Middle European and her English skills did not extend to a man having a husband, so I had to repeat it.

When my bill came to £24, she asked me again if I wanted to spend just one pound more. I declined and got out of there without a vanity case.

I have often complained before that people ask me for directions willy-nilly. However, today I understood why the lady stopped me and asked directions to Boots: I was carrying a Boots bag. Luckily it was easy to direct her.

The office is nearly deserted today as most of my confreres and consoeurs are off at a "bonding" week up in Peterborough. I have evening meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, so I cried off and am glad I did. Those events are dreadful, involving as they do falling backwards with your eyes closed and hoping that your workmates will catch you. Five days of this!! They will all return to work manic on Monday. At least, they'll be more manic than usual.
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The Cutty Sark being torched is a great loss. I was quite sad to wake up to the news. I was even sadder that BBC News 24 was showing sport when I turned it on rather than perhaps the biggest UK story today. Of course, since I have no interest in sport perhaps that coloured my reaction. The latest stories say that it's probably not a total loss, but of course it will take more cash to repair and restore it.

I went to Victoria Place for lunch today, thinking that I'd just go to the bagel shop and get a filled bagel. However, when I got there, I decided to try this place instead. Eating a baked potato (US)/jacket potato (UK) with stuff like coleslaw in it might sound a bit bizarre, but it was curiously filling and, more important, there was no queue at the stand. It was quite tasty, probably good roughage too (I ate the skin along with everything else), and not messy. Unfortunately, their website is a tip: they really need some help. They don't seem to have much of a clue about how to navigate, and I got to a place where I couldn't click on anything and had to use the backspace key to go backward. All the links had disappeared. I shall eat there again. I shall avoid being anti-social in the office by not having it with a baked-bean filling. I am avoiding cheese as well. So we shall see what wonders await tomorrow. I would remark that they offered me lots of side dishes and cheese on top. It is kind of like going to a candy store and being offered all sorts of forbidden goodies with the malted milk balls you bought. It is sad that I have to forego almost everything that's tasty, sweet, or in the middle of two pieces of white bread. As my mother said the week before she died, "You wouldn't want to eat here anymore." in reference to the diet the doctor warned her to go on before he would refer her to a cardiologist.

According to the message that just boomed over the tannoy, there is a security alert on two sides of the building. I do hope we won't be blown up and that it will turn out to be someone's discarded lunch in a bag.
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Got up, everything was fine. Left the house at 7:30, that was fine. Got on the Underground and got to Embankment, where I normally change for the District or Circle Line. Oops! Someone jumped in front of a westbound train at Temple Station, so no westbound trains. I walked up to Charing Cross and took a cab to work from there (GBP 8).

Now, two things irk me about this. First, why oh why do people use trains as suicide enablers? The poor train driver is traumatised, the entire network is affected, and it's a messy death (which sometimes does not work!) And, of course, people invariably do it in rush hour--perhaps to spite the world.

Second, why oh why didn't the Underground say something about it before I got on the train at Elephant and Castle? I could have taken the Northern Line southbound to Stockwell and changed for the Victoria Line there, thus avoiding the problem and saving £8. Nothing was said until I was out of the Bakerloo Line train at Embankment and on the escalator to Platform 1, which as I passed by going out of the station was crammed full of people who obviously were paying no attention to the announcements saying there were no Westbound trains.

Now I hope that things are better when I go to St. Thomas's this morning for my cardiology checkup; I expect there will still be delays as this kind of incident usually causes hours of problems. And, of course, I hope the cardiologist finds that my heart's still beating and that I'm doing fine.
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I realise I haven't been updating as often as I really should. The new job has taken up much of my time, of course. I'm posting from work in an experiment.

I installed a Netgear wireless card in our living room laptop last night. The one we had (not Netgear, but another model which shall remain nameless) only gathered a Low or Poor signal from the router in the study. The Netgear immediately got a "Very Good" signal and continued in that vein. Success!!

The only trouble with these wireless cards in general seems to be that the native software controllers that come with them do not generally work very well on this laptop. They can't control the card even with the correct keys and the like entered in. When I change them to be controlled by the Windows software, everything falls into place and it works.

Now I might find this to be a conspiracy from Redmond to make its own software triumphant over all. However, I'm wondering whether other people have had the same problem with their laptops and wireless cards (if any). Anecdotal evidence supporting (or to the contrary) would be welcome. If it's the laptop, we can ditch it for a better one, I think. If it's just a general problem with wireless network cards and their idiot software packages, then we just live with it.

I'm well on the way to getting my Sun Ultra 10 working on the same monitor, keyboard, and mouse as the Windows desktop in the study. Leg room is severely limited under the desk as the Sun is to the left and the Dell is to the right. Will try to work on that over the weekend. I've got a patch box on order that will take the Sun KB/mouse plug (one 8-pin mini-DIN) and split it into two 6-pin mini-DINs that are the same as a PC. This will let me ditch the Sun keyboard (which is pretty much a pain) and the mouse (which looks like a bar of soap on a steel plate, as it needs a dedicated mouse pad to work), and not have to change the kb/mouse combo when switching boxes.

One final thought: I was complaining that my online time had shrunk compared to my jobless bliss before 18 September (I've been employed one whole month now). I have successfully contracted my online life so that I can barely keep up with it. I need to contract it a bit more (but probably not livejournal) and I'll then have time to have a real life.
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I'm still finding it difficult to adjust to 5-days-a-week 9-to-5 working. I have cut down my online presence to the bone, even to the extent of removing Overheard in New York from my friends list. Very sad, as I always get a laugh out of it.

Last night I started looking at my friends list, not having done so since Tuesday evening because of my Lodge meeting Wednesday night. I had four pages (about 200 entries) to plow through. So, I have to figure out what to do. I fear that some friends may have to be temporarily sidelined. But, I cannot continue to spend all my non-work time on the computer, then watch the 10:00 news and fall into bed. I will continue to adjust until I get the balance right.

Farewell to those whom I've friended but will have to un-friend--you'll mostly be those who are syndicated from other blog sites or whom I haven't encountered in a while. No hard feelings, I hope.

On another note, I decided to walk to Subway for lunch this noon. I was going to get my favourite, a BMT, and decided impulsively while on line to get a foot-long as I was hungry.

The person taking orders gabbled something at me out of which I got "free drink". "Gabbled" is the only word I can use. He was not a native English speaker, I believe, and his accent was quite heavy. So I said "OK". Who wouldn't? I just wanted my sandwich.

As they put the meat on it, I realised what I'd agreed to. Double meat. OH. MY. GOD. When you get double meat it makes a pleasant, filling sandwich into a cholesterol bomb that is, really, so unpleasant to eat it makes you ill. But I didn't realise it until it was too late to stop them.

(PS Double meat, even though it gets you a free drink, also costs you nearly double the regular price: £6.70, or more than US$10.)

So I took it, got my drink, and attempted to eat. I had to remove some meat in order to choke it down, and the sandwich was so full that the sides were disintegrating along the fault lines baked into the bread.

So, never again. I looked on the menu board before I belched my way back to work and there was no mention of a "double meat" sandwich, nor its price. I'll still go to Subway, but my faith in it has been severely (burp!) shaken.
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Once you've been footloose and fancy-free for a while (a year and a half in my case) you find that adjusting your online life to your real life is very difficult indeed.

I have filled my livejournal friends page with lots of syndicated stuff that I need to stop reading, because I no longer have time to do so. I don't think that I'll have to delete any real friends, but all the syndicated stuff is going out the door, I guess.

I cannot take two hours a day anymore to read mail, USENET, and live journal before taking a leisurely shower and toddling off to the gym.

Right at the moment, it's cheesing me off; however, I believe that once I get into the swing of things at work this will cease. At least, I hope so.

Otherwise, I'll have to play the lottery more often in order to be able to live in the style to which I wish to become accustomed.
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...for two reasons. First, HWMBO returns from Singapore tomorrow morning very early indeed. I've been pretty lonely but thanks to the many friends who've gone out to dinner or lunch with me, especially c-in-b and [ profile] spwebdesign, as well as Mark. It made it easier. Not sleeping, of course (especially when alone with only the stuffed teddy bears and dogs for company.

Second, I begin work tomorrow morning at 11 am. The contract that they said was "in the post" is still in the post, thanks to Royal Mail in SE1. But I have confirmation that I should turn up at 11 am. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work full-time again.
chrishansenhome: (Default) HWMBO has commanded me to come up to bed, but the two further two-day gigs I had in Lancashire have now been cancelled. I know it wasn't my teaching, as the evaluations were uniformly positive. I believe that the customer decided that they really didn't want the training that we were providing. This means GBP 1600 has now flown out the window. I had to cancel two additional sets of train tickets, and will have to cancel two hotel rooms as well. What a pain. I just hope that the customer doesn't try to pin the blame on me.
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Forgot to tell everyone: got an assignment for 6 days of work in the next two weeks. It's in a town called Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, and it's very near Blackpool. Three 2-day courses, introducing software testing to developers for a company up there. It's the same course I taught a few weeks ago, but abridged to delete the quizzes, exercises, and exam, plus a couple of other extraneous items. I've never been to Blackpool before, so I'm looking forward to that.

If I could get six days' assignment a month, we'd be doing OK on the money front, and I'd still have lots of time to spare to do all the things I should be doing but aren't at the moment.
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Regular readers of my lj may remember that I conducted an ISEB Foundation Course in Software Testing in Wiltshire a few weeks ago. I had doubts as to whether the majority of those in the course would pass, judging from their responses in class and the results of their mock exams. Well, I got their results today, as well as the results at Searchspace. In Wiltshire, 11 out of 13 passed; at Searchspace, all 8 passed. So my lifetime "batting" average is 90.6% (58 out of 64 delegates to my courses have passed). I am really pleased for all the delegates who passed and hope that my good lifetime pass rate will continue. Good pass rates mean more work for me. The agency that developed the course and also delivers it has about a 76% pass rate overall. Congratulations to all!!

What's new

Oct. 27th, 2005 09:52 pm
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Today I attended Richard's funeral. I had only known him for a few months; however, he volunteered in June to become Treasurer of our Deanery here in Southwark. We don't have a lot of expenditures, but we haven't had a functioning Treasurer for a couple of years. So we were delighted when Richard volunteered. He was only 31, but was a registered financial adviser as well as being a busy volunteer at the Cathedral, which was his parish.

He warned us that he was undergoing treatment for cancer of the testicles, which was dealt with through surgery, but which also needed chemotherapy. However, he expected to come out of the chemo OK and regai his strength and life.As I mentioned in a previous post, he had a massive stroke in reaction to his last bout of chemotherapy. He died a week and a half ago on Sunday without regaining consciousness. We were all shocked and sad. The funeral was good (as such events go)--the Cathedral was about 3/4 full, which is pretty good for a regular person's funeral. He was much loved, had many friends and a large family. He had married only in January of this year, too. Such a waste of a wonderful life.

So George Bush is in trouble yet again. Not only is his brain about to be indicted (oops, I meant Karl Rove), but his nominee for the Supreme Court has withdrawn her name in the face of a barrage of criticism from both sides. I think this will be quite a bizarre time. If he nominates a diehard conservative, he may have some trouble in the Senate. If he nominates a middle-of-the-road person, he'll have some trouble with his conservative power base. How sad for him. I'm crying. Can't you tell?

Charles Clarke seems to be having some trouble with the Terrorism Bill 2005. Good for him. Half-baked ideas make bad law. As many people have observed, no law against terrorism or terrorists is going to stop 100% of the terrorists. Thus, every time there is a problem, the government will cut down on our civil liberties in order to try to stop the next attack. We will end up in a police state. While my friend Samantha was killed on 7/7, and I take buses and the Tube regularly, I would rather have civil liberties than absolute safety; there are civil liberties but there is no such thing as absolute safety and the Government is wrongheaded to try to say that there is or might be. We are led by a bunch of dunderheads. I hope that I can still say that publicly without being charged with some offense under the Terrorism Act.

Almost November. That's a bad month for me. My birthday's in November. Both my parents died in November. The best teacher I ever had died in November, as well as a very kind priest from my childhood. I often get bronchitis in November. Thank God it's only 30 days long. I don't know whether I can take any more of it.

I've finally gotten possession of the domain "". You may or may not know that the founder of Integrity, Dr. Louie Crew (another one of my heroes), also founded an email discussion list called Luti, after one of his many writing personae, Quean Lutibelle. The domain was registered by a former owner, but at the time the former owner became "former", I was not savvy enough to figure out how to deal with domain name registrars, so I didn't bother. However, I finally figured out how to do it, and am now the proud owner of and, as well as I am hoping that the transfer of registrars from the US to the UK will happen soon; I want them all under one roof. Then, I'll transfer my website to (making it better in the meantime, I hope) and make a webpage to encourage people to join Luti. I may even put some list management software on the server and take the hosting back from Yahoo!, which is not terribly good at hosting nowadays, in many respects.

Had lunch with my chum Steve yesterday. Looks like there is a good chance that I'll have a permanent job in March 2006. Not that I'm looking, mind you--even the recruiters have stopped calling!!! But, he's working with an exciting product (a tool to assist software testing) and an exciting company. It's German, however; I may have to learn some...oh well, I hope one can teach an old dog new tricks.

Another chum, Mike, is arriving here for a weekend jaunt from Chicago. Nice to see him again; we haven't seen him for almost three years. He's bringing gifts (although not Greek): Irish Spring soap, lots of chunky peanut butter for HWMBO, three copies of a picture I retouched of my parents' wedding. Two will go to Marblehead as gifts for my sister and brother. I'll keep the third. He's also bringing some 8-1/2 x 11 picture paper so that I can print that size myself in the future. Remember, we're benighted here and only have A4 size paper. HWMBO is taking tomorrow off, bless him, as he's been working his socks off at the shop. We'll be picking Mike up then going to the Tate and God only knows where else.

Half the results of the ISEB courses taken at Searchspace have come in: all four reporting so far have passed, most with very good marks. I'm quite chuffed: it's a tribute to the good staff Searchspace have recruited for their testing department. Steve's wife Anne, the head honcho of Electromind, the consultancy that I work with and for, also passed with flying colours. She isn't even a software tester or programmer. Well done, Anne! I wonder how many of the people in Wiltshire I taught the previous week passed. I may or may not find out. It's too soon for last week's crop.

Enough for this entry!
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As I got off the Underground train at Paddington station, I realised that I'd forgotten to pack dress shirts. GBP 77 later, I had 4 Van Heusen shirts. What an expensive omission.

I'm currently sitting in my hotel filing this on the hotel's broadband. The hotel in Trowbridge had no internet access at all. I got on a train yesterday and had four seats all to myself. However, I wasn't prepared for Cardiff, where I had most of the downtown main train station to myself at 7 pm. Ate a quick dinner in the only cafe that was open, then got on the train to Ystrad Mynach. It was a two-car puddle-tracker. When I got off at the station in YM (It's too tiring to write the entire name), I called all three taxi companies in YM listed on the notice boards at the station. One was now a fax number, another was non-working, and the third was only able to send a taxi in two hours' time. I called the hotel and pleaded for a taxi, and they sent one in about 25 minutes. Meanwhile the local teenagers were congregating nearby and, the night being dark, I was a bit worried, but I got here in one piece.

The hotel is a combination hotel and country club, with a leisure center and a golf course. Too bad that I think golf is human fetch. They do have broadband access (GBP 7.50 for 20 hours) and the TV is quite posh (flat screen, lots of options). There is also a TV over the bathtub, oddly enough. No mints on the bed. I miss mints on the bed.

So I got up and, after being told it would take 1/2 hour to get to the customer site, asked for the cab at 8:00. It took 5 minutes to get there. The site is a high-security one, so they took my cameraphone off me and I had to be escorted whenever I went to the loo. What a pain. The class is mostly motivated, with a couple of old hands who know everything. Old hands are difficult to teach this stuff to, because they believe they know everything. If they don't pay attention, they'll miss some stuff and get hauled up on the exam. There was also building work going on in the next room. It sounded like a combination blast furnace and a horde of mice scurrying up and down the walls. At one point one of the ceiling tiles disappeared and a face appeared in it. We did our best but there were no quiet times to be had.

So, now we'll see what the dinner is like here. There is no place else to go so I shall just have to take whatever I can get. Breakfast was a rather hurried affair (it'll be much more leisurely tomorrow because the taxi won't be here until 8:30) and the food was kind of sad--one might expect that kind of English breakfast in a seaside b&b.

Anyway, cheers to all and hopefully I'll be home on Thursday but reading all your blogs in the meantime.

Addendum: I tried to file this from the hotel using its broadband. Unfortunately, while I could see my blog I couldn't post to it. So I'm posting this on Thursday night, with addenda.

The dinner was quite good, but of course while they needed reservations, it didn't say so anywhere. So I had to sit in the smoky bar waiting for a table. The steak was very nice, but they put me right under the tv. Everyone was watching me eat.

The delegates at the site were a bit too laddish, I'm afraid. They were all nice guys, but I think that probably only 6 or 7 of the 8 will pass the exam.

This evening when I got home I saw my emails (750 or so of them) and one was from someone who wanted me to fill in for an ISEB course tutor who had to take one day off during a course. I said, "Why not?" and called him. It turns out that he got my name from a Google what took him to a reference on my online CV. What a surprise! More money!

August 2017

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