Friday, 27 July 2012

proof were it needed

So there's a thing.

Yesterday I wrote two blog entries - one to post on Thursday itself and one to post today.

Only it turns out that I've posted both yesterday.  I guess that proves just how confused and dazed I was!

And it's not improved a whole lot today as I woke up in the middle of the night sweating like a pig.  It was really hot and sticky and I had to turn the aircon on again, which is impossible to sleep through, so I've basically been up since about 3AM.

Quite why it was too hot to sleep last night but not earlier in the week, I'm not sure, but I'd guess it's something to do with the fact they're forecasting a dip in temperatures and a return of the rain today.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

hungry for hungary (sport-bonkers)

I think I said I was going to do a post with some photos in it from Farnborough.  I'd hoped to put the photos together over the weekend, but with the cold it basically didn't happen, although I did figure out how to get the photos off my phone.  There are some other photos on there that I had planned to blog about so I've got them off too.

It really is sport bonkers this summer.

For those who are general spots fans we've had the Six Nations, Euro 2012, bloody Wimbledon, the Open, one of the best f1 seasons ever and The Olympics have started... before the opening ceremony.  I thought false starts were illegal?  Ho ho ho.

The sport that's kicked off is football and it's fair enough because there are so many teams involved (both lady's and men's) it seems like they basically wouldn't fit into the two weeks that the Olympics basically last.

I've mentioned before that I'm not really into the Olympics, but there are some sorts in it that I could get interested in, I think.  Particularly things like Archery and the Shooting.

I'm not sure I'll watch any of it, though.  I might watch the opening ceremony, which is on this Friday evening.  It's apparently quite surreal.

The BBC has - as you might expect - gone a bit sports bonkers, in that several of their channels (including the channels used for the red button stuff) are basically going to be dedicated to showing Olympics events.

What I'm hoping all this really means is that I'll get a chance to catch up on telly I've either missed or recorded with the aim of watching during the Olympics.  I may even watch some DVDs and anime.

Indeed I'm hoping this applies for the whole of august, since this weekend is the Hungarian Grand Prix and marks the start of the mid-season break, so there's no Grand Prix at all in August.

Hungary is apparently a good one for spectators at the circuit but I think it tends to be a mixed bag for race quality - some good, some bad.

confused and dazed

I'm absolutely shattered.

I started this week with a stinking cold and so much sleep that my body seemed to get bored of it.

It's now Thursday and I feel like it's a Friday after having worked for 2 weeks straight.  In fact, as I write this it's early Thursday morning, so there's actually 40% of the working week left.

I'm also sat in the middle of the classic British weather with exclamation points.  Not a week ago it was rainy and I was still regularly flirting with the idea of wearing a jumper to work.

Now I'm sat in the office with both my fans on full blast all day and my air conditioner going full blast in the evenings.

Apparently things will cool off next week a bit, so that should give me some relief.  Bloody jet stream - make up your mind!

I've also had a headache since... ooh, Sunday?

I think it's a combination of the cold and the weather, but also I know that the fans and my aircon tend to give me dry eyes which then tend to give me a headache or at least make any headache worse.

Hopefully next week I'll be back to feeling a bit more normal.

But on top of that I'm totally and utterly skint.  I've made a bit of a mess of my finances this month, having forgotten about a payment I needed to make and essentially spent that money.

I also got my maths wrong on one of my credit cards and it went over its limit.  I corrected it right away, but it means I was using this month's money where I thought I'd been clever and made enough space using last month's money.

It also appears I'm about to run out of electricity.

Just recently I've been letting the amount of money on there run down, since I was expecting to take a new job and therefore be moving - I didn't want to leave it with loads on there so I was just topping it up by little bits.  Trouble is it's now a month where I've run out of money so I can't top it up and it's getting very low.

Part of the trouble is I have no idea when I'll get paid.  Most companies have fixed days they pay you on, but mine it's basically just towards the end of the month and could be any day - I might not even get paid until next Tuesday as that is the end of the month.

You can now kinda see one of the motivators for me having wanted to get a new job - a need for cash.  Unfortunately my new salary doesn't kick in until next month (end of the month) so I'm also likely to have a "hangover" effect from cock-ups this month to deal with.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

2001 nights (TO)

Well this was something a bit different.

2001 nights actually turned out to be more along the lines of hard science fiction than I was expecting.  I think what I was expecting was something a bit more action-heavy.  Which isn't to say that what I actually got was bad, it was just not what I was expecting.

The original novels that TO was adapted from appear to cover a very large period of time.  They're essentially about interstellar travel, but as the stories progress different technologies are invented that change how things are done.

The stories are therefore separate for the most part, although they also follow along in the sense that they're about the same things, as I understand it.  For this adaptation they've taken two of the stories which are separated by a chunk of time so the plot of the first revolves around one level of technology, but the plot of the second half revolves around a much higher level of technology.

I won't go into too much detail on that front, since as I say it's hard sci-fi and the technologies and what they are are integral to the actual stories.  What I will say is that I also wasn't expecting this two-story portmanteau sort of a thing.

I generally like a good portmanteau, but here I'm not entirely sure it works.  I'm also not 100% that I'm fully representing it properly - it's not really a portmanteau because the two stories were released separately in Japan as OAVs.  However, here they're really presented as one complete package and expectation leads you to expect they will follow-on directly, but that's not what you get.

What you get are two hard sci-fi stories that are both completely different and loosely connected.

Now I hope you get the feeling that I quite liked that side of things.  I quite enjoyed that they were interesting stories.  I also quite enjoyed that they were fairly gently told (deftly told might be a better phrase - they're not slow as such, but are certainly told at a moderated pace).  And I definitely enjoyed the fact they were hard sci-fi.

However, what I didn't enjoy was the user of CGI animation.

For me it would have worked much better if they were real actors - even real actors plopped on only relatively good green-screen backgrounds.  If it had looked like Babylon 5 and had real actors I think it would have worked.

However, it looks like a game FMV sequence and I have to say this ruins the effect.

I mean, we're talking high-grade FMV sequences, but it just didn't work for me.  As with all good sci-fi fundamentally these come back to human stories and they needed human actors in them, not CGI ones.

If I'm honest the first story is better than the second.  The second suffers from being a bit too predictable and a climax that doesn't quite make proper sense, but I'd say it's well worth giving both a go.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

new job... same as the old job

Well, the whole job thing has resolved itself.

Basically I'm staying exactly where I've always been.

As expected there was a counter-offer from my current employers and I fully expected that they would not be able to meet the offer I had received.  There was a caveat to this in that the offer was for London so that adds more to cost of living, etc.  In other words, to be a comparable offer it didn't need to be the same, but even with that I didn't think they'd match it.

And they didn't.  Not in terms of the pure offer, anyway.  However, there was a "cake later" part to the offer (the majority of both offers being "cake now") and it could, in theory, be a significant slice of cake.

When I started on this road my main drivers were that I didn't feel like my "career" was going anywhere.  In other words it felt like I'd hit a kind of ceiling and being a small company I couldn't go anywhere.

A big part of this was because the person who owns and runs the business would need to retire for anything like that to happen.  Well the cake later relates to the fact that the boss is retiring.

However, the down side to this whole thing is that we're talking about something that will happen in 4 or 5 years and this is the build-up to it.  In other words, by staying, I'm committing to that period of time or I get no cake whatsoever.

How big a slice of cake is the gamble - the risk is that it turns out to be a tiny bit of cake so I'd really have been better off leaving.  This seems unlikely, particularly for me.  I'm the longest serving member of staff outside of the boss and therefore in theory my slice of cake is bigger than anybody else's just be default.  This is counter-acting a bit by the fact I'm technically middle-management, but it's a pretty flat management structure, tbh.

Details of cake small or large are pending, so for now I have simply accepted the counter-offer.  It's a good offer and puts me in the right ball-park of jobs similar to mine.

I've also gotten them to agree to send me on some courses and also to put in place some of the tools and processes we need.  These were basically conditional on me accepting.

Now I just need to come up with a plan for it all!

Monday, 23 July 2012

german grand prix

I have struck down with a disease.

By which I mean I have a cold.  I am pretty sure I picked it from a meeting I went to last Wednesday.  I developed a bit of a headache in the days after the meeting, but then the cold only really hit on Saturday.

I had therefore wondered if maybe that wasn't the source, but I've encountered no other diseased people (someone at the meeting had a cold) and my work colleague who also went to the meeting has gotten a cold.

Anyway, impact of this was not particularly bad on Saturday, I could just feel it coming on, but then Saturday night was terrible and I got next to no sleep.  Sunday I was therefore zonked all day as the cold really hit me and I was horribly tired.

I basically stayed in bed all day watching TV and even then I went to bed super early and ended up getting something like 12 hours sleep.  Today I therefore feel like the worst of it is over, though I still have a runny nose and clagged up throat.

So my TV watching included the German Grand Prix.  I think it was an okay one.  Lewis unfortunately had a puncture very early on and it destroyed his race, though both cars looked quick in practice and Jenson qualified sixth and ended up second after Vettel had a penalty applied after the race.

It's difficult to tell if the upswing in form is genuine though - the bit I don't like about this season is that the tyres just seem to produce too much random-ness.  For example, Webber won in Silverstone but finished 8th in Germany.

I also have to confess with the cold and feeling tired I didn't really quite get into the race as much as normal.