Thursday, June 30, 2005

going... going...

That's that then: I don't work there anymore.

Last night I celebrated leaving with the coincidentally timed anual staff dinner... It was a strange evening for me full of conflicting feelings about the place that's been work for the last four years. Plenty of little reminders of why I'm leaving, but also a lot of reminders of what (and who) I'll really miss.

For one reason and another (mostly I think down to the relative natures of myself and the job) I've never felt like I was really part of the school. I think in many ways I quite liked to feel apart from the place: its rules often frustrated me and my own values and principles are fundamentally at odds with many of the school's. Don't get me wrong: It's been a really friendly and welcoming place to work, and I was delighted to get chance to say a proper goodbye to some of the really great people I've gotten to know over the years... but when the guts of your working day consists of sitting in a silent room making sure it stays silent, and such breaks as you get fall at different times from those of most of your workmates... lets just say it's been hard to get to know people as well as I'd have liked.

That said I've managed to make some good friends there in the gaps between the silences - Projects for example (the recurring highlight of my working years) allowed me time and space to genuinely get to know some of the friendly faces from the corridors, and some of those showed up last night which was great... a couple of others I'll have to track down myself I think.

I really felt like 'part of the family' when it came to my own department. Over the years I've grown to love and respect my closest colleagues, and it was wonderful to spend my last evening with the two people who've made work more than just a four letter word for me, day in and day out since June 2001. Leaving the school at the end of the night felt entirely right - it is after all a move forward for myself that's long overdue - but leaving my two friends behind on the steps was gutwrenching.

I know that I'm going to miss a lot of the people I worked with at GWC, and I hope that many of them do manage to stay in touch, but I know that I made at least some friends for life there and it's sad to think I'll no longer be spending my days with them.

Monday, June 27, 2005


... meanwhile I've finally called in the accidental damage insurance on my poor old battered laptop Sparky the other week after his most recent and near fatal fall...

Since Apple just effectively announced they're never making a PowerBook G5, I don't mind too much... though frustratingly if it weren't for the physical damage, that laptop would have happily gone on for at least another couple of years.

So it's a fond farewell to Sparky after four years of stirling service he's being sent away to the insurance company who either decide to repair him, or they'll send me a cheque and send him to live on a farm for retired laptops.

After passing the gauntlet this afternoon, Sparky's given way to Flash (the "aa-aaah!" is optional... really) a shiny top-end 2005 model PowerBook G4 who cost less new than Sparky, and is a smidge more than four times the speed...

Yes it would seem like an extravagance to anyone who didn't know me and how pivotal a part of my life my computer is. You lot all know better than that right?

ok, so not that one then

Didn't get the job in the end... probably for the best since the commute would have been awful and (given the person they did appoint) I get the impression I might not have enjoyed it as much as I thought after all...

on to the next thing then: thanks to everyone for the good wishes and positive vibes - I'll keep you all posted on developments from here on

Friday, June 24, 2005

no news...

... has to be good news: "the end of the week" has been and gone and I've not heard anything, which seems to mean that they've not yet decided.

I hate waiting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


OK in case I hadn't told anyone, I had an interview today for a job that I really really really want. I just got home from it (it was an all day thing) and am exhausted so this is a brief post but I think that in spite of a couple of stupid gaffes it went pretty well... I'll know by the end of the week so expect a post about it then.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

mmm Dark Knight-ey goodness!

Tonight a bunch of us went to see Batman Begins. Brilliant film! Cinema generally falls pretty low down on my list of personal priorities. For one thing (thanks to the house's resident videophile) I have a really nice TV at home hooked to a TiVo which spends every hour of every day busily sifting through the hundreds of channels being broadcast at it wading through the dross for stuff I might like to watch. After all that electronic effort it seems rude to ignore the results in favour of something else. Also if I'm going out with friends I prefer being somewhere where I can actually interact with them (that being half the fun of friends) and if I'm by myself I'd rather just go home, or up a hill.

That said something about the advertising for Batman Begins perked my interest and I'm glad it did because I've not been so gripped by a movie in ages. I suspect it is one of those films you need to see on a big screen... preferably close to. That's exactly how we did see it thanks to a school party thwarting Liz's usual preference for middle row seating. I really like being at the front for action movies (I find it adds to the immediacy of action secuences if they fill my field of vision) but not enough to make a point of it when most of my friends really prefer sitting further away from the screen...

Anyway the film was stunning - instead of being the kind of dried-up franchise-wringer it could so easily have been, it re-engages with everything I find appealing about Batman (and darkly-brooding-troubled-comic-book-heros-with-big-arms in general) presenting the whole thing in a completely fresh and yet thoroughly familiar way that I just loved: Gotham City feels real and yet still legendary and 'other' - this isn't just Comic action set in familiarly real surroundings (ala the excellent Spiderman movies) it's a place out of a whole other reality, but one you could perfectly picture yourself walking though.

Better still there are people in it! The acting is only 'holywood blockbuster' but that can still be good, in this case it really is... 'course when you're dealing with a cast that includes names like Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine you'd expect good things, but I've been disapointed before - not this time though: characters like the setting feel solid and believable while still approriately removed from the mundane... this is comic-made-real, or at least as real as it gets on screen.

...and of course it didn't hurt at all that Christian Bale spends a fair amount of screen-time without his shirt on* ;) Seriously though if you like comic book movies at all and have (for whatever reason) been holding off seeing this one then (in my opinion) you should go see it. now.

* Bale's never really seemed like my type before and to be honest he still isn't outside the context of that film, but for 141 minutes there he was absolutely magnetic! ...must be a Batman thing: the same peculiar phenomenon happened with Val Kilmer iirc

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

unexpectedly beautiful

As a rule I do not like two wheeled road users. Cyclists (with a couple of notable exceptions) are inept wankers with no road sense whatsoever, and motorcyclists... well the less said about them the better (although again, there are always exceptions eh Steve?) but to reiterate, as a rule I do not like two wheeled road users (and anyone who's driven with me more than about twice knows just how much of an understatement that is. Even when it's said twice.)

All of the above makes the following even more amazing.

Tonight I was driving home at the end of a long-ish but rather lovely day. Work hadn't been especially anything - the school is approaching the end of term and I'm approaching the end of the school so between us both things are pretty wound down at this point - but the day had. My walk at lunchtime was through an almost perfect image of early summer (or late spring for those who live further south). I walked through the elegant and dappled leafy shade of Morningside, down to the banks of the canal where tiny flecks of sunlight played in the ripples and a family of swans alternately charmed and intimidated passers by. Even being indoors most of the day was actually pleasent: the vaultlike nature of the Library meant I could enjoy the warm sweet air as it swam past through the open windows, but that I wasn't bothered by the heat (yes I know it wasn't that warm, but my internal thermostat is long since set to 'Scottish' and anything over about 22 ºC makes me I feel like I'm being slow cooked)

All in all it was a playfully lovely day and though I was very tired from staying up late with Liz the night before, and in spite of still having no firm news about any of the jobs I might be going to do next, I was in a very good mood. I've blogged at length about my drive to and from work, so you all know how beautiful the landscape I drive through can be and how much joy I get out of the driving itself. Other road users however are seldom a source of joy - in the city (and in Scotland generally in my experience) they're unusually courtious by and large, and that often makes me smile, but out on the open road they're either just in the way, or else they're in a near-suicidal rush* and I'm in theirs which is stressful. Cyclists are almost always the former and motorcyclists are invariably the latter. I wouldn't have expected the sight of either would make me happy let alone both!

So I reach the start of a long downhill slope about half way between work and home. Down near the end of said slope a motorcyclist who overtook me about two corners before has met a cyclist and pulled alongside. Perhaps they knew each other, I'd actually rather imagine it was just something about the atmosphere, but as I drove down the hill toward them I could see that each rider had their head turned to look at the other. Perhaps words were being spoken but again I'd rather imagine not. After a few moments they joined hands and rode like that for a while: hands joined and looking at each other. It was a long straight stretch with plenty of visibility and completely clear ahead (otherwise I'd have been furious at the obstruction and recklessness) but as I swept past them and onward toward home I was really struck by the unexpected beauty of it. Two people out enjoying the road and the sun, meeting briefly and taking a moment to share it.

I think I'm going to hold onto that mental image of them and try to recall it the next time some two-wheeler does something infuriating.

* Anyone who wants to drive faster than I do on that road (or indeed anywhere!) is insane. I probably drive too fast on it most days (cue uproarious laughter and accusations of understatement from those friends who've commuted with me) so the amount of overtaking which still happens is a source of genuine amazement to me

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Something is wrong: I feel sluggish and grouchy for no good reason (persistent bad weather not being enough of a reason imho) It could be a lack of direction, anxiety about this whole work business, or possibly it's down to a spell in the doldrums... Ha! yet another reason I need a dog.

*For those of you who've never read, or can't remember the Phantom Tollbooth Tock is a watchdog, and just now it feels like I could use his help.