Friday, August 29, 2003


I had my first rejection of the current job-hunt this afternoon: an automated response from a recruitment agency telling me thank you for the email I sent them detailing how precisely my skills match those for a job they're advertising, but that my skills don't match their clients specifications. I'm miffed 'cus it's a job with prospects that I could do in my sleep, and my skills really are a perfect match with what they've advertised for.

Three possibilities exist:
1) I'm over qualified/looking for too much money - I currently earn marginally more than this pays but it's a pretty wide jump away from what I do now (in the right direction) so I'd be OK with earning a smidge less for a year or so
2) They mis-advertised the post
3) the recruitment agent didn't actually read my cover letter and only briefly scanned my CV before sending the pro-forma rejection.

I'm guessing it's most likely 3 and will be ringing her this afternoon to check. It's worth a shot at least.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

splatblog != splatblog

I just noticed (with the help of Google) that there exists another splatblog! and that worse yet it pre-dates mine :(

I find myself driven to point out that splatblog is most emphatically not in any way connected with splatblog (which for those of you unfamiliar with logical notation is what the oddball punctuation in the title of this post means)

It turns out my namesake site is a "slash fiction" forum, something I've stumbled accross in the past because my (otherwise entirely lovely) housemate indulges in this particular vice: slash (in this context) is a kind of "creative" writing which essentially involves writing down one's erotic fantasies about characters from someone else's original work (usually Sci-Fi TV shows). I won't get into what I think about that: to each their own, but suffice it to say there won't ever be any such content appearing on here.

Magic Mountains

There's something magical about my commute into work - each morning I drive thirty miles or so over the Pentland Hills into Edinburgh, it's an isolated road that really just passes through open countryside for most of the trip and in about 18 months of driving it regularly I don't think I've ever seen it look the same twice.

This morning it rained which seems about right for the end of August here, but there was a quality of light I'd never seen before. Not the dramatic postcard scene variety (although I expect we'll have plenty of that as Autumn settles in) but a kind of cool softness, as if the sky knew the kind of hurried morning I'd had so far (almost overslept: left the house within fifteen minutes of getting out of bed) and was letting the day in gently so as not to dazzle me.

I'm looking forward to the colours changing and the nights drawing in: it's been an exceptionally good summer and I'm confident there are a fair few good sunny days left in the year (the clouds parted about half past nine and it's warm and sunny again outside now) but Autumn is my season and I've missed it. Yesterday I caught sight of a few leaves beginning to turn and had to smile: There's a sense of movement and change to Autumn that sits well with me right now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


I have a confession to make: I have a huge and incapacitatingly awful crush on one of my colleagues. He first crossed my consciousness way back when I started here in 2001: in amongst a bunch of the usual settling in stuff I found myself having a conversation with this particular guy and finding it difficult to think straight (pardon the pun) or form complete sentences, or even breathe. Standing accross from this engaging friendly bloke with his warm grin and aircraft carrier shoulders I found myself physically stunned: as if he were emitting some kind of strong magnetic field and screwing up all my instruments...

In the usual course of things he and I never cross paths, let alone have any context for talking - that conversation was a short one off thing entirely to do with my being new to the place, but it burned itself into my memory with a sodium flare intensity that still leaves me just a little dazed every time I think of it. I doubt I made any kind of impression on him at all, and as I said he and I are rarely in the same building and never really have any occasion to talk... all in all the chances are that he has no idea who I am.

Anyway, just now, for (as far as I know) the first time since I started here, he came into the library. Not to borrow anything, or ask anything, oh no! the Gods aren't kind enough to give any kind of an opening like that: he just came in to sit somewhere quiet for a while and get on with something or other. If it had been anyone else I probably wouldn't even have registered their presence, and there wasn't any kind of interaction - he wasn't even in my line of sight for more than a few seconds - not even any way I could have engineered a casual "hello", or offered a smile, no, he was just sitting in the same room totally unconscious of this inexplicably powerful disruptive effect he was having... He's left now, I'm closing up ready to leave for the day and my insides feel like they've been turned inside out... it's awful in the archaic sense of the word in that (as an experience) it inspires awe. I couldn't say if it feels good or bad, just that it feels: as if every single fibre of me has been set vibrating slightly, and each at a different pitch.

Rationally I know It's all kinda pathetic: I mean I'll be 26 in a couple of weeks - this kind of thing is not supposed to happen past adolescence, is it? That said part of me can't help wondering if there's something I'm supposed to do about it... I mean if all goes well I won't be working here much longer and I don't want to leave regretting anything, but then again what could I do? Walk up to the guy some time and say "hey there, how's things? you almost certainly have no idea who I am, or that I even exist, but your very presence in a room scrambles my soul" It's hardly acceptable socialised behaviour now is it? Nope. I think I just have to take a deep breath, lock up, and go home.

Monday, August 25, 2003

fruit machine

What a weekend! myself and a few friends spent the last couple of days down in Manchester catching up with other friends and soaking up the closing weekend of europride 2003. Since (unlike almost all the friends I spent the weekend with) I don't get bank holidays off work, I had to drag myself out of bed and back to reality with a bleary eyed bump this morning.

Friday afternoon four of us (me , Anita, Philp and Graham) set out from Edinburgh under a brilliant blue sky which happily stayed with us for the duration. By about 10pm we'd navigated our way safely to the student halls we were staying in, convinced them that we really did have a reservation, settled into some remarkably comfy rooms (which we had to trade for more modest, but still comfy accommodation the next morning when they'd finished sorting out the mess of our booking) freshened up and hit the town.

For the duration of europride Canal Street and the surrounding environs (which make up the Manchester scene, or 'the Village') have been cordoned off much like Princes Street here is at Hogmanay, we handed in our tickets and got our embarrasingly spangly gold writsbands which acted as our passes into the festival for the whole weekend. I took a few pictures of the street which will be going up soon, until then if you can picture a pretty cobbled street by a canal, under a warm summer night sky, trees festooned with lights, and then fill that picture with thousands of people, you'll get some idea of where I spent the weekend.

The atmosphere of the place is hard to describe: I've been to Manchester for the weekend before and the city as a whole, and the Village in particular, has a wonderfully relaxed and diverse feel to it. This weekend it was very much like that but with the volume turned up. Friday night after we'd wandered about a bit, the four of us settled in at Via Fossa and spent a happy evening talking and drinking and dancing until the small hours came and we variously disentangled ourselves from the place and the people and made our ways back to our beds. Saturday was spent in and around the city, This was Anita's first time down there so we had lots of exploring to do before we met up with the Manchester crowd in the afternoon.

At about 2ish we made our way to the edge of the parade route and watched a bewildering array of floats and marchers trundle past - probably the most lasting image was the two enormously long rainbow banners which flowed down the street like a multicoloured silk river at the start and end of the parade. Sadly I'd left the camera behind, but I expect that photos wouldn't have done it justice anyway

All in all it was a great weekend, Saturday evening we returned to the Village en masse. Since most of our friends in Manchester come in pairs I enjoyed the dubious honour of being the conspicous single: couples seem to have a need for vicarious single-dom and whenever I've been out with this lot they seem to spend the whole night trying to set me up with people, which is fun even if it's invariably fruitless (pardon the pun)

Sunday was spent basking in the sun and the scene again: I scoured the stalls for a tee-shirt in my size: amazingly the Pride tee-shirts came in yellow as well as the obligatory white and black, but all the smalls were long since gone (almost certainly to be stretched over bulkier frames than mine judging from the number of well used gym memberships in evidence!) so I had to settle for a slightly baggy medium, which is still yellow so I'm happy. Then at about 4pm we wrenched ourselves away and drove our tired and happy selves back home to Scotland leaving the rest of them standing by the canal in the sunshine where I expect they're standing as I type... I don't hope it's raining on them, really I don't ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

holly crap...

... where did August go?

OK, a quick update, job-hunting continues apace, (online CV coming soon) it's official now since I've had the conversation with my boss (who's being wonderfully supportive about it all, which is great) now all I need is the job to move to! fingers all crossed please.

The weekend away camping with Hamish was great, he's put up a photo album of the trip which is mostly an excercise in proving to sceptical canadians that there really is blue sky and white sand to be had here in Scotland... albeit not often.

My house has had a coat of much needed paint which took forever but looks stunning, look for an update to the house pictures album before the end of the week.

Term has resumed at work, reminding me of all the reasons I want to leave, but actually not being as insuferable as I'd feared... I can cope with wearing a tie again and there are things about term time that I enjoy, like catching up with friends on the teaching staff and having time to myself during the day...

um. that's about it I think, I should be back to posting fairly regularly again.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

... oh yeah

nearly forgot, the archives are finally working!


I just finished my lunch break, a quiet part of a very quiet working day, but a part which was all mine. Me and a fork messily attacked a large Pot Noodle (leave me alone: sometimes I feel like being grotty) while I read a friend's work and laughed and listened to "Blind" by the Sundays.

Outside the sun is shining in that after-a-thunderstorm way it does this time of year. The Library is a bit vault like really, with the only windows being at least ten feet up the walls, but today that filtered contact with things kind of works for me. There's almost nobody else here and the school feels vast and empty. Being by myself in a closed in corner of all that emptiness feels comfortable, although I'm glad that it's only until Friday because I expect it would wear on me after a while.

Next week is a little escape: my friend Hamish and I are heading off for a brief camping trip at the weekend, and then I have the whole week off work with no plans. The timing couldn't be better - my vague feeling of late that I should be moving on (career wise) has coalesced into active job hunting this week (with a little circumstantial prodding) and I think me and this place need a Time-Out if we're going to get along for however long remains of our time together.

Monday, August 04, 2003

time marches on

I'm stuck with archival cataloguing at work at the moment: it's one of my least favorite jobs and one I don't see the immediate value of given the raft of other things that need doing about the place before term starts again, but ours is not to reason why and all that.

Anyway, right now I'm archiving a bunch of old school photographs from the middle of the last century, starting in the 30s and going through to the 70s, there is an endless procession of Rugby 1st XV, Prefects, Athletic Team and Cricket 1st XI group photograps, each with a different group of kids staring out from under the silver oxide.

The Cricket photos have taken on an odd quality for me here and now archiving them: back in the mid 40s the school seems to have appointed a professional to come and coach the team, and he stayed, appearing in each photo, each successive year looking a little older and a little more faded until finally in the 66-67 he's aged himself out of existence.

Working on the archives is a constant reminder that this place, the school I work for, swallows people sometimes: the archives are full of 'lifers' - names that crop up again and again for decades before disapearing suddenly...

I have colleagues approaching retirement who were pupils here once, and the thought, today, here in this empty library, rings out like a warning bell over an empty sea: The time is fast approaching for me to come ashore from this part of my own voyage and begin a new part somewhere else, somewhere that people don't get washed away into history with their old school tie still firmly round their neck.