Mar 11

The Blogger’s Disco

Looking for my suggestion for the Blogger’s Disco, I asked my colleagues at work. I wish I could say that it took some debate, but no, they were straight in there with their choice – I’m in the Mood for Dancing, by the Nolan Sisters. They’re in the picture below…- I’m having nothing to do with it!

(However, I would be up there dancing along with them)

Mar 10

Oyster Cards

So one problem with owning a travel card is that you don’t actually get to travel for free when the whole system goes down as it did this morning. And because everyone had to go through the same exit, the queues were longer 🙁

Mar 08

in house entertainment

My neighbour upstairs plays in a band and practices a lot from home. Most of the time this does not bother me – I’m not here that much, butover the last few days I have noticed. The music he plays is not too bad, sounds like original rock stuff. However, practice seems to involves playing the same line again, and again, and again. Not quite sure what level of perfection they are after, as it all sounds the same to me…at least the song does vary everyday

Mar 08

slowly going insane

I’ve spent the last 4 days in the house with this cold….although I’ve spent the last 2 days sort of working, or at least attending telecalls with a croaky voice. There’s definitely only so much I can spend here..time to go back to work 🙁

One thing I have been doing is looking at holidays…definitely thinking about Thailand for some diving

Mar 06

Second Geek Dinner

Went along to the second Geek Dinner, organsied by Lee Wilkins, in London last week and had a great evening. The venue this time was a lot more casual, the Tapas bar Salvador and Amanda’s, near Leicester Square.

There were fewer this time, with 8 people, some new ones and some returnees. But that meant there was far more possibility of actually talking to everyone there, especially with a little shuffling around. Talk as usual covered a wide range of topics, from wireless connections, through community involvement to superstring throery. The latter was the subject of an indepth conveersation between David (the star guest from Microsift) and Andrew, whose phone is loaded with pictures of the universe. As an astrophysisist, Andrew has been asked the same questions at both dinners to date – next time we need an animated slide show I think! One other thing that was mentioned was a BloggerCon…we got as far as proposing a venue (Imperial College), so maybe that can be a topic for the next one.

The food was good, typical Tapas fare, with plenty of sangria available. It was a lot lower cost (10-15) so a lot less hassle with counting up the contributions. I enjoyed the place so much, I went back last week with friends from work. And I see the next dinner is also going to be there.

Mar 06

it is spring really..

Despite the snow and cold weather in the last week, my one gardening effort (a window box) has decided it is spring. Bright yellow daffodils to cheer me up.

daffodils.jpg

Mar 05

Winter Colds

I feel miserable today. I started a cold on Wednesday and it’s following it’s usual path, just slightly worse than normal. The first day i get a runny nose and a cotton wool head. It then progresses to blocked sinuses and a cough. But today, i’ve got a sore throat, glands swollen so I can’t move my head without pain, headache and chills. Nothing to do except keep warm, drink fluids, keep taking the pills and suffer.

But it is the first cold I’ve had this season, so not too bad.

Mar 05

Ice and Snow

As noted below, the snow melted quickly and I did not have to watch it go grey and slushy. By the time I got out of the office it had all gone. as the sun had been shining most of the day. The clouds had gathered, slightly warming the place, but by the time I was going home tonight, the skies were clear and everything was frozen.

Tonight was a late night, a girly night with friends from work. A wonderful Tapas bar just off Leicester Square (Salvador and Amanda’s) at which we had good food and even better wine. I’d been there the week before as part of a geek dinner (for which I still owe a write up for Lee) and it was even better on a Friday night – a fun place for gossip and dancing.

I must have got the last tube home. As I came out of the station, there must of been nearly 30 workman, ganging together in groups of 3-5, bright yellow jackets, waiting for the passengers to get off the trains and for them to start work.

As they start work, I get home to start a weekend of not being at work – which mainly means sleep. And I got sort of lucky this weekend – it’s my Dad’s birthday tomorrow and Sunday is Mother’s day…but the parents have gone on holiday to Cuba so I do not have to visit – instead they are comeing to see me in 2 weeks time

Mar 03

Hospitality

Came into work this morning to an email from a colleague – ‘Help’ – it said. ‘I’ve arranged a whisky tasting session this evening, there are 30 people turning up and I’m not there (he’s currently in Miami)..can you do it?’. Given the numberof favours he’s done me in the past I had to say yes. So 5 hours entertaining a group of wine and spirit traders after a very long and hard day. They seemed to enjoy it – me, I’m going to regret this.

Mar 03

Working Late

I’m going to have to stop working late. Working late means that it takes me a while to wind down, therefore I watch TV, therefore I end up watching random Channel 5 shows on the US porn business and Floridians who do extremely silly stunts to try and get themselves killed!

Mar 02

BBC

Onthe news it’s saying the BBC license system looks like it will be extended for a further 10 years. Count me as someone who is perfectly happy paying this fee to allow me to get advertising free viewing. Saves me keep hitting the fast forward button to skip the ads on any commercial channel I watch.

Mar 02

More airports

I was in Dublin yesterday for a meeting, just a there and back trip. The Irish airport security have big signs up and procedures and have people helping you get things ready for the Xray machines. So why can’t the US.

I keep intending to spend some time in Dublin, as over the last few years I’ve just been going across for a day at a time for meetings. I love the place, it could be time for long weekend

Feb 27

Shoplifting

Went up to the High Street yesterday and went to get some food in M&S. As I was trying to get some veg, I was blocked my a couple who were also grabbling something fromthe shelf.. they then turned away and hiding behine a column, shovelled all the stuff from the basket into the guys bag. The woman then walked the opposite direction, the man left out the front door, then the woman followed. This was all done so very quickly that it was only as I the woman left that I realised what was I happening – I was still trying to choose tomatoes!

So I went to inform the staff, and got a reaction of..so, they’ve left we cannot do anything…and they went back to what ever they were doing. So that’s why you pay a premium, they don’t care about shoplifters. But, funnily, I do.

Feb 27

Travel and Airports

I was in the US earlier this week, staying in New Jersey and Connecticut. I flew in to Newark for the first time – quite impressed with the airport. Only took about 30 minutes to get to where i was staying – Summit. A colleague of mine had landed at a similar time but at La Guardia airport; he hired a car and then drove to the hotel. unfortunately it had started snowing at this point and the last 30 miles were covered at an average speed of 10 miles an hour – next time he’ll ask for a 4WD! Needless to say we did not end up meeting for a drink, but met up for a late breakfast. There’s been 6 inches of snow over the night, so a late start after the snowplows was the best course of action.

I spent the next 2 days up in Norwalk, Connecticut. The company has just moved from Stamford, so there is a brand new office, very nicely put together. However, the hotels are not as good and I’ll have to see what the local restaurants are like the next time I visit.

I flew back through JFK – and security there just drives me crazy everytime. In the UK, there’s usually a person at the start of the screening, making sure you get the boxes, do the right things, take off your coat etc. At JFK, I think they expect everyone to have telepathy and be able to intuit exactly what set of rules they are follwing today. Coats on or off. Laptops out of bag or leave it in. Shoes on or off. There’s no guidance and as there’s never anyone at the start of the process, no one to ask. So if you guess wrong, you go back to the start, holding everyone up, causing longer lines than they have already. I always come out of that process feeling completely pissed off, even though I know it’s going to happen. So I scream silently to myself, smile at the security team who only seem to have half an eye on proceedings and just carry on to the plane where I can finally get some sleep

Feb 20

Wireless?

I finally got round to plugging in the new modem/wireless connection. Previously, the USB modem I had would not work with the work PC, so I was restricted to dial-up only for this; in addition it’s set me up to network the TiVO (when I get the right parts for that). So a wireless network..doesn’t that mean less wires? Not really – it’s only allowed me to remove 1 cable, whilst adding 3. The biggest number are power cables – there’s the printer, speakers, 2 PCS, monitor, router and modem. Then I throw in charges for phone, camera and media player – I’ve run out of plugs and have to get yet another externsion cable. I need wireless electricity!

Meanwhile, I’ll continue packing…off to Connecticut for a few days for meetings