noideadog: (Default)
Life, in several sentences:

Our cat got lost during the week but I haven't had time to write about it. Short version: we found her again, but, despite concentrated efforts to reassure each other that cats get stuck in places sometimes and it's not a big deal, you just have to go get them, we were pretty anxious about cars/dogs/poison/voodoo/whatever. It meant we got to talk to our intimidatingly laconic Italian neighbour though, and he was helpful, if gruff.

The taxi commission lost property site didn't find my phone. Actually, they didn't even look; they automatically close your ticket without telling you unless you know the medallion number of the cab. Useful service. Their site lists a phone number for the police precinct that deals with taxi lost property, so I guess I go there next. In the meantime, The Company's phone people issued me a new sim in under a minute and I've got a borrowed G1. Tiarnan warned me that I'd have about two hours of being happy about knowing what time it was again, and then the old technology would start to be unbearable. He was wrong. It was more like an hour and a half.

I went for a run this morning and it was pretty cold and my legs just weren't into it. I need to either get better at warming up or get used to the idea of being in a gym all winter. Sometimes running is like "FUCK YEAH LIFE IS GOOD!" and sometimes it's like "I could be eating chips right now. Why would anyone do this ridiculous torturous thing?". Today was the latter, but worse.

Cycling home last night was pretty nice though. Manhattan's much easier on the way home because there's a bike lane and no construction. Brooklyn seems to have bike lanes and excellently marked paths in only one direction though, so coming home was a symphony of "What do I doooooooo?"s and "Am I supposed to be... oh shiiiiit!"s. Manhattan's the scary part though, so I'll swap being lost and confused in Brooklyn for a clear run across the city any time.

We're going to DC this evening for the Rally To Restore Sanity. We've watched a lot of West Wing recently (thanks for votes on my poll a while back by the way!) and so I have Expectations of what DC will be like. They're unlikely to be correct. The cat's locked in the house while we're away (this is a direct consequence of the aforementioned lost-ness) and she's already crabby about it.

Work has been unusually busy, and for the last three weeks everything I touched turned into three other things that were pretty broken and pretty urgent, but it's calming down now and I've left a good trail of fixed stuff behind me. Or a trail of hairless yaks, if you subscribe to the industry terminology.

I'm about half way into Gödel, Escher, Bach, the Ulysses of computer science (there's an argument that that's Knuth, but I know several people who have read all of Ulysses. Go on, fess up if you've read TAOCP.). It's astonishingly good, much more witty and linguistically delightful than I'd expected and of course as clever as a clever thing on a particularly clever day. It's brilliant fun actually. I find myself exclaiming and laughing out loud on the subway. Highly recommended if you like thinking about things.

It's 12:38 and I should go to school.
noideadog: (meerkat)
This weekend I: was uncharacteristically social, ran in the Hudson River Park, planted sage, repotted tomatoes (when the root structure is perfectly spherical, it's just possible that it needed more space), played too much Dragon Age, got a lot of work done, went to a birthday party, did some of the Gruyere codelab (it's fun!), watched Billy Connolly, got a haircut and ate all of the jaffa cakes. You didn't want any, did you?
noideadog: (meerkat)
Tonight Diane and I are going to a pirate burlesque cabaret show called "Waylaid & Hornswoggled". Did you even know that pirate burlesque cabaret was a genre? I did not. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the show which promises to be "a once-in-a-lifetime theater-in-the-round-and-under-the-stars pirate show onboard the oldest wooden square rigger in the United States still sailing - the Tall Ship Gazela". It's on a boat!

http://cabaretredlight.com/sevenseas/home.html

Today I have a head full of wool, a brain full of grump, and a nasal passage full of more snot than I knew a human could produce. Snorg. Grar. Grumble. Yesterday was almost as bad and the whole week has actually kind of sucked, not in an obvious "I am sick" sort of way, but in a slow, seeping, insidious lethargy that wouldn't go away. I realised I was maybe not on top form when, having extra-thoroughly watered the garden and sent a few emails and done the washing up and sat in front of the light box and read a Wolverine comic, I found myself standing in the bathroom doing a second, better floss: at some point you have to accept that you're finding excuses to postpone dealing with real life. And as always happens, I didn't connect this with anything other than the FUNDAMENTAL EXHAUSTION OF JUST BEING ALIVE WOE WOE until I heard someone on the subway talking about how bad the pollen is just now. Oh... my head hurts because I have allergies! I always forget about pollen. Check out how yucky it is right now:

http://www.pollen.com/forecast_print.asp?zip=11231

(I can't figure out how to link to the 90 day history widget on that site, but it's the worst its been in 90 days.)

Anyway, I just took some anti-histamines or something and hopefully my mojo will reassert itself soon. And I signed up to get email alerts when pollen is bad in my area, so I'll know to take some drugs next time before I get too stupid to figure it out on my own.

[Two hours pass]

As I wrote the last lines, Sam said "Want to go for a run?" and I realised that the thing I wanted most in the world was to go for a run, so we did three sweaty miles in the hot hot sun and it was fantastic. By the time I got back, the allergy meds had kicked in, my brain was working again, and my team were sitting around at our desks drinking rye whiskey and debating the future of the internet. Normality resumes.
noideadog: (meerkat)
I was crushed yesterday morning to find that my courgette-zucchini (courzini?) plant had mostly died overnight. Yellow leaves, drooping stalks, flowers collapsed into mush. What the goddamn hell? This is a plant that has been quietly rewarding the careful attention I've bestowed on it: it had three fruits, three flowers and a healthy demeanour. It's the golden child of our garden, easily outperforming the slovenly cranberries and the frankly incomprehensible beans (what's with all of those runners? Where are you going?). The pride of my garden just giving up? I was bewildered.

Later, looking out the window, I saw a little asshole squirrel sitting on the side of the pot, chewing at the roots. Chaw chaw chaw [pause to get a better grip on the pot] chaw. Perfectly at home and relaxed. Brooklyn grey squirrels are not the delightful little woodland creatures you might imagine, but dirty, fearless little thugs that scamper along cable lines, hang upside down from bird feeders, and are near impossible to keep out. Our top-apartment neighbour Julie has had an exterminator in a bunch of times to clear them out of her ceiling, but they always come back, eating through the ceiling. A creepy thing to wake up to, I think.

Of course I defended my property and the invader retreated all of two feet, chattering and waiting for me to let him get back to his breakfast. Can I win this fight? I'm not sure yet what to do about it, but my dreams of home-grown courzini bread are dashed and my stance on gun control has become 10% weaker.

Amanda at work has suggested that we install falcons (for the pigeon menace, but maybe they'd eat squirrels?), but I'm not sure you can get them over the internet. Between pigeons and squirrels and mosquitos and ants and invading bugs in general (and the immediately-above neighbours have mice too, but so far they're leaving us alone), I'm feeling under unfair attack from urban nature. Burn the building to the ground and start again?


Today (and every Thursday) is No Meeting Thursday, a work initiative where you can block out your calendar for the day and nobody's allowed interrupt you. "Make time", some people call it, because you are able to spend the whole day creating stuff without being interrupted and losing your place. Is it awful if this is the highlight of my week? Anyway, I'm going into The Zone now. Laters, internetfriends!
noideadog: (buttercup)
Things, things, stuff.

I have a callus on my engagement ring finger where my ring rubs a bit when I go to the gym. This is SIGNIFICANT and SYMBOLIC and I like it a lot, because I'm a sap.

I watched the available episodes of Glee and I thought it was ok, though drowning in obviousity and Hallmark life lessons. It is important to be true to yourselves, my friends. Ah the music is a lot of fun though. I'll keep watching, but I'll do something else at the same time.

Back in college, exam time of year meant that everyone would make vast advances in how effective their .vimrc and .procmailrc and .muttrc files were (these are the settings for your editor and email if you're a nerd). You can tell that it's a busy time of year around here, because all sorts of cool little applications and changes are getting sent out, and everyone's window manager is looking really good. People will work on anything to avoid thinking about the difficult approaching deadline. As for me, I found an important business reason to go looking at old geocities pages to find animated gifs, so I could hilariously embed them in an automated daily report, and demand doughnuts from my team in exchange for removing them. God, so much to do, but it was funny (if you find that kind of stupid thing funny, which of course I really do.)

I went to the climate change flashmob at Union Square at lunchtime today (see?). It had a small turnout (around 30 people) so wasn't much of a mob, but it went off ok. There were events going on all over the world today, so it probably doesn't matter that there weren't many people at Union Square. I wonder how the other New York events worked out.

I don't know what else. Here, have a caterpillar.

noideadog: (monkey!)
The English Blokes shop had jaffa cakes, and now I have jaffa cakes. Yum! I'm sharing them with my class^Wteam.

God, I've been so "but I don't wanna go to school today" pretty much every morning this week. I'm usually like that at this time of year -- in fact, I don't think I've ever had a high-achieving fourth quarter -- but it's much brighter here than at home, and I haven't been wallowing in the corresponding OMG FUTILITY OF IT ALL. I guess I need a new theory for why I find it so difficult to get anything done at this time of year. The lower availability of fresh vegetables, maybe? The pressure of the list of things one should have done by now or else Christmas will be ruined? Who knows. Whatever it is, being a bit useless is much better than being a bit useless and also hating life. I expect it will pass soon. In the meantime, I'm entertaining myself by singing this at top volume:





My arabic exam went well. I'm trying not to obsessively reload the Grades page on the NYU portal, because (a) the teacher came out for dinner with some of us after the exam, so she couldn't possibly have graded the papers by now, (b) she indicated that the grades for the course are low on her priority list, and (c) the results don't matter for anything other than feeling successful or not. I've already paid for semester two. But still. You know? One likes to have affirmation, even if it's affirmation of knowing the alphabet and successfully being able to say "Here is a tall chicken", or whatever. Nonetheless, onwards to the allegedly "more action packed" semester two. Momtaz!
noideadog: (monkey!)
I got promoted. I'm happy about it, but it was hard to know what to do to celebrate.

Joel went into seclusion earlier today with Fallout 3. He said 'See you tomorrow' and I waited calmly until he revised it to '.. I mean, later?', so I don't entirely expect to see him again before I sleep. And tomorrow we have work drinks to celebrate someone leaving, so tonight's a good evening to stretch out at home with books and music and red cow pyjamas, right? But on the other hand, one should do something to mark the occasion, and I didn't know what. And I was sitting in History of New York Architecture trying to decide whether I'd like Romanesque churches more if I didn't feel such ancestral loyalty to the irish-built Gothic Revival ones (because, did you know?, the Irish and the Italians didn't exactly love each other when the latter arrived here in the 1880s, and the irish (or at least Patrick Keely) were putting up Gothic-style churches like you wouldn't believe and the Italians didn't want any stinky irish architecture thank you very much, so they started building Romanesque instead.) when I remembered the taste of toomuchsalt and the texture of grease-on-greaseproof and the spicy anticipation of a hot bag of chips and god it was a challenge not to leave the class at that exact moment.

A Salt and Battery is one of three English establishments in a row on Greenwich Avenue: There's Tea and Sympathy (think china teapots and scones and pictures of the queen), then a sweet shop whose name I forget, which is enthusiastic about opal fruits and lion bars but had never heard of Taytos, and then ASaB, with its menu of chips, sustainable fishes, and various other deep-fried things all picked out on a black rubber board in slightly irregular white stick-on letters. I hadn't been in there before, because I do try to eat semi-healthily, (although you would know it from the fortresses of cake I've demolished recently), but I've passed it and foodporned at the menu, which, btw, includes deep fried mars bars, a delicacy I've never tried.

It's probably redundant to say that haddock and chips from a chipper in New York don't taste right, but they were delicious all the same. Walking down the street in the rain and the wind and the cold and the winter eating chips out of paper, I was in my element (and the element was salt, and life was very good indeed).



On Saturday I had a great time apple picking and tree peeping at [somewhere upstate] and [somewhere in Jersey]. I love road trips of any kind anyway -- sitting in a car with people I like (John and Amy and Joel and Fisher-the-small-dog in this case) and drizzly windows and music on the speakers and good conversation is exactly what I enjoy -- and this was one of those times where the journey is perfect and then when you get there the destination is just as good, and you have a whole lovely journey back ahead of you.

We bought hot apple juice and petted scruffy-fringed bison at a farm that didn't have any apples and photographed ourselves with oversized pumpkins at a second. The third had big "pick ur own apples" signs and oddly-wattled goats (I tried to find a picture of an oddly-wattled goat, but instead found this useful goat vocabulary page that explains that wattles are 'goat jewellery'. Also, giving birth is "kidding" (if you're a goat). There's a "baby goats.. just kidding!" joke in there, but I don't know exactly), so we petted goats and picked Empire variety apples. Empires are delicious eating apples, and empirical evidence shows that they're good cakeing apples too. (I ended up taking the cake to work, because I was having thick slices of it for every meal. (Also, six meals a day.))

Everyone writes about how amazing the leaves are at this time of year, but I still wasn't prepared for the reds and pinks and oranges that flooded the sides of the roads with colour. Honestly, it's just stunning.

We went to a winery (my first winery experience!) where we paid $5 to taste six wines and.. actually they weren't up to much at all. The place we were at (started with a B, maybe? Sorry, I'd write the worst tourist guides ever) had a bunch of plaques showing awards they'd won for their Best Hudson Valley wine, and I was surprised, but Amy explained that Hudson Valley wines are basically not any good, and I felt conspiratorial having this explained to me inside a Hudson Valley winery, like someone parodying the awful choir in a church, or holding forth on silly pretentiousness at an art thing. ("Heeee... shush, they'll hear!")

'Art thing' reminds me: at I reached home, a dude was walking down the street here shouting loudly into his mobile phone about how he'd "FOUND A CURATOR FOR HIS ART SHOW!", and it was pretty funny (if you're mean) because the person on the other phone couldn't really hear, so he had to keep repeating it, and his tone went from "I found a curator it's so cool!!!" to "ok.. my art show? right? you know my art show? you know I have an art show? I found a curator. A curator. For the show." and so on. I was entertained by how, for all its bells, whistles and fancy graphics, mobile technology continues to suck.

My blackberry is a fine example of this phenomenon. It's currently crashing around twenty minutes into any phone call, or any time I need it for anything. Today I wanted to be HILARIOUS when some girls on a (mostly sales) work list were exchanging tips about "cute shoes that are suitable for work", and... actually, as an aside here, I hate the word "cute" applied to clothing or accessories or anything other than babies and bunnies (and -maybe- teenage boys if the speaker is a teenage girl), and someone saying "I saw such a cute purse!" moves me to levels of irritation I really can't explain.. but anyway, I wanted to send a picture of my feet up on my desk as an illustration of how suitable for work my omg-cute shoes were, but my cameraphone failed me, so I had to link to an internet picture of blue doc martens instead. MY CREATIVITY IS BEING CURBED BY MOBILE TECHNOLOGY.
noideadog: (brain)
My major objective for Q4, 2008 is decrease my rate of telling inanimate objects to fuck off to no more than one per day. It's a stretch goal.
noideadog: (coffee)
Today was really nice, not for any sensible reason but just because I made a lovely monitoring console with sans-serif fonts and it looked clean and attractive and when I showed it off to Joel, all of the bits worked and nothing did a spectacular demo-mode FAIL. I guess it doesn't take much to make me feel accomplished, but that and some hanging-out with work people and good pasta for dinner and small things like that added up to feeling like the boss of the world this evening. I told the world to take the evening off, but it said it was having a good time and could it have time in lieu later instead, and I said that was fine.

I read some Persepolis (god, but it's very good; god, but it's very sad) and now.. I don't know, I don't want to go to sleep, because it's been a good day and what if tomorrow is less good or differently good, and today won't be here any more, and what a shame if I slept through the end of it. Do you know?

Today I also renewed my account for redbrick, which was our old college networking society. I logged in and had a dig around at files I hadn't touched in years, like vim swap files that had half-written emails in them that I didn't remember writing, and notes on things I cared about in 2002 and 2005 and it was like excavating and finding little remnants and fingerprints of civilisations gone by, except that the civilisations were me in the past. I found a hey (like an IM) I had saved from Dave Jolt saying that he'd gone out to buy snapple but they didn't have any, so he was thinking of getting tropicana instead, and wasn't that living in the fast lane, and it was a strange sort of happy nostalgia about him doing such a normal thing as wanting snapple and about how it's funny that thinking about someone who has died can be so warming and pleasant, when really you'd think it should be just sad. But after a while it becomes lovely instead. I wouldn't have predicted that.

I miss people in Dublin, but Christmas is coming and I'm looking forward to seeing people then. I was thinking today about an article someone posted that I wasn't able to find again afterwards, about not saying the thing that is most obvious to say. In that spirit, I was considering we on the lj make a deal whereby you don't say "I can't believe they're talking about Christmas already; wow it's not even Hallowe'en; decorations are up already and the world is mad" and so on, and in return I promise not to say "Valentines Day is for lamers, seriously, why can't you be in love all the year round; look it's February 15th, go get someone you love some flowers today just because; Hallmark is made of lose" next February, and we can both think it all we want, but it'd be a good deal, right?

It's 2:08am and the world is ok and I hope you are too.
noideadog: (drum)
The brown noise generator on http://simplynoise.com is the most effective work tool I have. Recommended if you work in a noisy office and need to tune out whistling and idiots on phones.
noideadog: (coffee)
At the office. Phil and Sam want to go for burgers. They're waiting for Tanya to finish up work. Tanya is almost finished.. almost finished.. really, nearly there.. Sam yells "NON MASKABLE INTERRUPT!". Tanya walks away from her screen. They all go for burgers. (Non-nerds, this is pretty funny, trust me.)
noideadog: (comics)
Stan Lee was here yesterday to promote his new book, Election Daze. It didn't follow the normal authors@google format (author stands at a lectern, talks for 30 minutes about their book's subject, and maybe reads from it, and then there are questions). Instead he and some other dude sat in front of the room, and the other dude interviewed him a bit, asking him pre-submitted questions from the audience, and getting him to talk about the new book, before asking for questions from the floor. Here are a representative sample of the questions he was asked, scribbled down from memory after the talk.

[Who would win in a fight, Spiderman or the Black Widow? Like, they're both spiders.]
This was the first question. The moderator read "Who would win in a fight..", then paused for the enthusiastic laughter, then continued. It was great. The answer was "It depends on whether the writer's a man or a woman."

[What non-Marvel characters do you like]
He doesn't read non-Marvel comics. He don't even read Marvel much any more. But if he had to pick, he'd say DC's Lobo who was "a bad guy, and -beautifully- bad".

[Do you mind when people do things with your characters that aren't how you imagine the character?]
Sure, this happens all the time, but when a writer takes over the character, they should make it their own. He talked about the X-Men and said "I wish I'd written.. what's that wolf character called?" [Response from crowd] "Yes, Wolverine. I didn't write him and now he's everyone's favourite character. I can't believe I didn't think of him"

[On writing process].
He said that he's a hack. He doesn't have ideas for stories he might want to write. Back in the day, someone would say "We need a story for [whenever]" and he'd just sit down that evening and write it. He has never had writer's block; he can produce a story on demand. His other books are mostly collections of amusingly captioned pictures, which sell well (which he likes) but which basically just require him to think of funny captions. He finds that very easy to do.

[You do a lot of cameos. Who would you love to play?]
He wanted to be J Jonah Jameson, who is the character he's most like, but by the time the movie was made he was too old.

[What character didn't turn out like you expected?]
Once he had to write a story and needed bad guy at short notice. He decided the bad guy was called Diablo, and Jack Kirby drew a perfect Diablo, and they both loved the character and were excited about using it. But he couldn't think of who Diablo was -- what his motivation was, why he was evil -- and he couldn't make him interesting in the short time they had. They wrote the story, and it wasn't any good, and to this day he doesn't remember anything about who Diablo turned out to be. And that's his most disappointing character story.

[Will Gambit be in any movies?]
Probably not. None currently scheduled anyway.

[What happened with Jack Kirby?]
Jack said he was going to DC. Stan offered him partnership and asked him to become the art director of Marvel on the same salary as Stan. Jack went to DC anyway. They were still on good terms, but Stan doesn't know why he went. Thinks Jack reckoned he could make more money freelancing. Thinks it didn't work out. Seemed a bit sad about it.

[Advice to wannabe writers?]
Write stuff you'd enjoy reading. Don't write about something you find boring, just because it's more likely to sell, because it'll probably suck.

[What do you think about the influence of the internet (or some vague question like this)]
"Why do people always assume that once you're a bit famous you suddenly know things. I'm probably the least qualified person in this room to answer this question. [tells anecdote about something else]"

Anyway, he was a delight. He's less bombastic than I'd expected; instead you get the impression he's still a bit surprised that people are interested in what he has to say. He was a bit bewildered that people had video conferenced in from all over the place to listen to him, and actually the VC process itself was a source of fascination to him too, and he was never sure which way to face when responding to someone in another office. It was all rather charming. I hope he comes to talk to us in nyc some time.
noideadog: (Default)
Things that I like today
- Chelsea. I went to get takeout Italian last night, and on the way home passed a dude giving out free samples. I was in a hurry to get pasta in my belly and I didn't stop, so it was half a block later that I registered that he was saying "Try the new KY!". I love living in Chelsea :-)
- Kindle. the Kindle is so great. It's a fantastic purchase. I read all of Making Money and I'm now halfway through Lord of the Flies. It seems like it's faster to read than paper, but that might just be the novelty of a new toy meaning that I read all the time. I certainly read for almost all of yesterday. Only bad point so far: if I read in public, someone always asks about it, and I get into a conversation about its merits, and I think that could get old. But the Kindle! The screen saver is a different line-drawing each time, and it looks like it's drawn on paper. It's hard to look at these pictures and remember you're using a screen.
- Ashes to Ashes. From the people who brought you Life On Mars comes a similar idea, a few years later. Everything that LoM did for cop shows of the 1970s, A2A does for 1981. The shots, the theme tune, the music: it's perfect. I love it so much. Potentially more than LoM, in fact, since the cultural references are my cultural references. Episode two has George and Zippy from Rainbow. So good.
- Family. My sister's wedding grows ever closer, and the excitement in my family is a lovely thing. I was the the phone to home as she was asking a cousin to be a bridesmaid, so heard enough background shrieks of excitement and joy to keep me in a good mood for weeks.
- Family again. My mum and dad went out with friends last night, and my dad almost had a small accident when he missed a step and stumbled. But he landed in the lap of some (very amused) beautiful blonde woman, so he didn't mind, my mum said, pretending to be indignant.
- Coffee. Freshly ground Costa Rican something something. God, that's good coffee.
- Being oncall. Well, so long as I continue not being paged, it's great to have an excuse to laze about the house all weekend, reading and relaxing and for once not feeling guilty about wasting precious free time.

Things that I don't like today
- Dark clouds. Enough rain. Let's have some daylight please.
- Gardening failure. The wilting lemon tree loses two or three leaves every day and is showing no signs of thriving. Tell me how to help you, lemon tree! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
noideadog: (meerkat)
Things that I don't like today:

- trying to buy a Peters Projection map of the world that is in any way attractive. They're all labelled as "laminated" and "educational tool!", and all the blurb is about how the Peters Projection is very exciting and mind-changing and new. So, ok, I already knew all of that. Let me buy one that doesn't look like it belongs on a classroom wall.
- searching for things on amazon.com and getting three pages of "out of stock" and "unavailable". Is there an option for "just show me stuff you are actually able to sell me"?
- forgetting to use the gift voucher that was the reason I was buying my gardening supplies from amazon in the first place.
- neck ache. Something ergonomically bad seems to have happened to my desk, and I don't know what it is.
- sloppy focus. I keep accidentally jogging the mouse and typing random shite into vim. Stay where you're put, mouse.

Things that I do like today:

- Salman Rushdie in the office talking about his new book. He's an entertaining speaker and we all sat there with glowing faces, fankids that we are. It was great.
- buying a Meyers Lemon Tree online. Apparently it'll grow indoors and produce lemons for me. I'm excited about this and I hope it's true.
- being oncall but not getting any pages. Hurray!
- Tortoise
- having a new volume of Fables to look forward to. Fables is the second best comic ever, after Alias.
noideadog: (natural dancer)
The little plastic tub I bought in Balducci's has a label. The label says

"Pine nuts.
Ingredients: pine nuts
Contains pine nuts"

It has green beans in it. (It doesn't really.)

I'm drinking a decent, refreshing and tasty Sauvignon Blanc. What makes this worth mentioning is that it was made in Ireland. You wouldn't think, would you? And I don't mean it's some mystical irish celtic hoy-begorra alleged mead made by alleged monks in an alleged town I've never heard of. (Violins. Ancient celts believed it had life-giving properties. Contains water from the purest irish spring. Picture on the front in dusky blues and silver of a high cross and a girl with improbable hair.). This is actual, good, yummy wine.

There's an article about the man who makes it, so maybe everyone else already knows about it, but it was new to me at the Temple Bar food market when I was in Dublin a couple of weeks ago. His name's David Llewellyn, and he has a stall there every week, selling apples and a hot apple cider that's just about the best thing about a cold Saturday morning in the city center. When I was home he was also selling wine from his vineyard in Lusk. I was sceptical, but of course I bought some, and it's very fine indeed. I wish I'd bought more. A nice thing: his phone number's on the bottle, and he said to send him a text saying what I thought of the wine. I'll do that when it's not 2am in Dublin.

Sitting in my apartment drinking wine is very pleasant. The work I've been doing for the last two days has needed a lot of concentration, and my neck muscles ache from leaning towards the screen, peering at rows of data and making sure I wasn't about to break everything. I'm super-tired. I never feel honest claiming "I worked hard" though: I messed around with computers and thought about things and typed some things and sent some emails. It's not really -work-, is it? Not -really-.

Can you sense a looming parental comparison? Here is it: my mother's a nurse, looking after old people who are going to die soon. She got a qualification a while back where the coursework included a project on geriatric incontinence. Not for a million euros would I do my mum's job. And my dad's a builder. When I was a kid he always had deep cuts on his hands from lifting concrete blocks. (Which he'd show us with some glee, I remember, because my dad's basically a twelve year old boy). He lifts heavy things all day. Real work.

Anyway. In as much as what we do is work, I feel like I've worked hard. I have various forms of RSI in my shoulders and arms and back and eyes and brain, and it's nice to be stretched out at home with wine and the paper. I've booked a massage at work for monday (see?) to see if it will stop the clicking noises in my neck. In the meantime, I'm glad it's the weekend.

Btw, are other people not getting any comment notifications from teh ljs right now, or is that just me?
noideadog: (insomnia)
For over a week now I've been in a frame of mind where I have to force myself to work. I'm not even that tired, just.. meh. Weak. Lazy of brain. Slow of thought. Infirm of purpose. This was my default state for most of autumn/winter in Dublin, and I'm not excited about it coming back. It's been really overcast recently. I wonder if I'm not photosynthesising enough.

I still have a sort of a cold, but it didn't turn into glandular fever, so that's good. Sometimes I wish I would just once get a proper, knockout, two weeks in bed illness, rather than these lame sort of dreary things where I'm probably well enough to go to work, and would feel guilty not doing so. Whine.

What I am excited about is going home in three days. Anyone up for a pint in Messers on Sunday night?
noideadog: (insomnia)
When I'm the omnipotent ruler of the universe, I'll fix it so that whistling can only be done outdoors. Like, there'll be some acoustic science that means that whistling just can't be heard indoors. I think this is kinder than my original plan of setting fire to people who whistle in the office. It goes. Through. My. Head. It also goes through my Sennheisers, unless I turn the white noise up really loud. I think it's the most irritating of all the irritating office noise behaviours, easily beating the other front-runners:

- leaving your phone/pager on your desk to ring while you're not there
- using speakerphones
- bringing your child to work and talking to it in a stupid, cutesy voice
- calling your child at home and talking to it in a stupid, cutesy voice
- playing music too loud
- singing along to bits of the music in your headphones

I suspect that the most annoying one of all is coughing, which I do for about three months a year, so I could probably get off my high horse here.

I didn't get enough sleep. Joel's sick again, poor boy, this time with glandular fever, which is called "mono" in the US. It's not dangerous, but it's an uncomfortable thing to have, and he's not sleeping well, which, despite his best efforts to not disturb me, means that I'm not sleeping well either. There's no quick fix for mono; you can treat the symptoms, but to make it go away, the only cure is rest. So it's not entirely good timing that the next two weeks are when we move house, and go to Dublin and Rome.

I lay awake until after 5, glaring at the ceiling and thinking Dark Thoughts, and was woken before my alarm clock by the cat headbutting me. Actually headbutting. She's gotten over the angst, now that Joel is back, and she's reclaiming her position as the Keeper of the Schedule. I should have asserted my authority, but I got up and fed her instead. This is where it all goes wrong, I think.

Yesterday we saw Fight Girl Battle World, an amazing play by the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company. It's every sci-fi movie ever, stuffed full of fun and in-jokes, montages, puppetry and choreographed fights and it's the funniest thing I've ever seen on stage. Put this together with the very clever special effects, and you end up with one of the most perfect pieces of theatre you'll ever see. But only if you're a nerd.

I skimmed the last few days of my friendslist, since I haven't been online much. Usual request for notification of anything good or important that I missed, please.
noideadog: (coffee)
My social security number arrived today. It's nice to be a number at last. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference to my employment status (as far as I know), but it feels like a milestone. The main change is brings to my life is that I can plug it into our HR data-eating robot, which (if [livejournal.com profile] yellowpigs and [livejournal.com profile] dbrane have been feeding it properly) will go CHUG CHUG CHUG CHURRRRRRRN WHIIRRRRRR CLANG BAM...*click!* and spit out a token. And then I can exchange that token for sweets health insurance. I'll feel good about having health insurance again.
noideadog: (shutup)
Breakfast is served in the office until 9:30. I usually arrive in at 9:35, missing pancakes and delicious delicacies, and make some toast just before the bread's taken away. Joel left the house around six this morning to catch a flight to Las Cruces, and I came in here, content in the knowledge that today, if no other day, I could not possibly miss out. And I did some work, and I did some IMing, and I read some internets, and I played with wordpress, and I just checked the time and it's after 10am.

I don't know quite how that happened. (I like the internet.)

Edit: And then I thought maybe it was lunchtime, but it was 2:40pm and all the food was already gone. Today is weird
noideadog: (shutup)
I just bought white noise online rather than ask the people over there to be a bit quieter. When I write my memoirs, this is where it all started to go wrong.

Also, it's 10pm on a friday evening and I'm figuring out monitoring rules. And enjoying it. God. I used to be.. no, ok, that's not true either.

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February 2014

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