Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One more sleep

Apologies for the slightly cryptic post but this:

Happy making grapefruit

makes me very happy. The fact that I get to take a break from work for a whole 11 days tomorrow also makes me happy - I need a break.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Today at work I got a rather exceptionally nice bottle of whisky from a client, by way of a "thank you" for helping them out with a couple of tricky last minute design jobs this year.

This means I now have seven single malts in my drinks cabinet, five of which are from limited runs of varying degrees of exclusivity, and two of which are older than I am.

Sometimes I really like being a grown-up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Karting rocks!

Today at work I went Go-Karting.

Working in marketing is great. It's not usually quite this great though. We had out whole company xmas bash today. I was only able to go to the day bit, but the fact that there were bits rather than just a meal out somewhere* is quite something I guess. "Day part" was a Go-Karting grand prix in West Yorkshire. So the first part of my day was spent chatting on the train. Then (after lunch) I was assigned a co-driver from the rest of the company at random (we were scrambled** into teams of two) taught some stuff about karting and rules, and then set loose on the track for a long-ish race.

Glee ensued.

My team came third. My boss' team came first which (since only two of us from the Edinburgh office were able to go) means the Edinburgh office is infinitely better at Go-Karting than the Leeds lot. Hurrah!

Also I got a trophy.

Oh and if you're prepared to wade through all the nested footnotes you might detect a hint that some of my colleagues played less than fairly. I don't think I'm endangering my job any by mentioning that - of the podium finishes - mine was the only team who played by the rules. A Pyrrhic victory for us perhaps, but one we cherished nonetheless.

*Not to say there's anything wrong with that - There's a meal out somewhere for just the Edinburgh office next week and I'm really looking forward to that
**The colleague who organised this shindig cheated a little*** in "randomising" the teams, and selected my boss as his co-driver, because she is a: tiny and b: awesome at Go-Karting
***and a lot on the track! Not that he was the only one...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

little & often...

I love living in the city. Left work (a mere 30min late!) got home and discovered I hadn't got 1: tinyNiece's birthday card 2: paper to wrap tinyNiece's birthday presents, 3: food to feed Keith with (having invited him to pop by and hang out later).

Barely 25min later I'm home again having sorted 1 & 2 at a proper card shop and 3 at a little supermarket.

Yup. I love living in the city.

Did I mention I'm moving?

That's not as perverse as it sounds. OK, I will be more than doubling my current commute, but that still only makes it a pleasant 15 minute walk, and for that (and some more cash each month) I get to keep my excellent flatmate (Hame's moving too,) but lose my dreadful noisy neighbours, cramped street parking (new flat has a garage! oooh!) and falling-to-pieces kitchen.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved living here in this little place, but it is... little there's the garden of course which in theory offsets the smallness, but it's north facing, which at this latitude makes it useful as a place to be for only about 45 minutes of the year. And they're usually minutes I'm at work.

So we move! The new place is bigger, has two bathrooms (YAY!) and at least as much oddball charm as this place. But with thicker walls.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


hm, 5 weeks since I last posted... need a distraction...

quick, look over there


Actually it is a fascinating little snippet of test they have if you have 10 mins spare (I'd have a pen and paper handy though). I got 13 out of the 15 right. Two of the mathier ones floored me.

The only annoying thing is that it didn't tell me if that meant I would or wouldn't have gone to a grammar school - anyone know?

Monday, November 03, 2008


OK I am a bad blogger. The other night my brother was teasing me about there never being anything new to read here anymore, and I thought at the time that it hadn't been all that long since I posted... Last post was the 22nd of September Patrick, that's not recent. Thing is though I keep thinking about blogging because there's always so much going on, so it's always current in my head even if I've neglected to actually type any of it up.

So what's new in the land of splat? Well I got promoted at work about a month ago - pay rise and new job title and everything! Most exciting. Work generally is exciting, if a little busier than would be entirely comfortable. I'm not complaining you understand - what with all the talk of economic downturn and recession* it's very reassuring to be enjoying our own little boom time at the office. Long may it continue!

Working too hard is getting nicely balanced out as always though - for one thing I'm still basking in the happy afterglow of a week's holiday up in Sutherland with a bunch of friends. Way back in January 7 of us rented a large-ish house on the coast above my favourite spot on the planet: Oldshoremore beach. A stormy week in October up there is a surprisingly soothing experience**.

Most of the week was pleasantly lazy, but Justin and I togged up in our winter walking gear for one glorious day and climbed Arkle which was stunning. Chris joined us for part of the hike but was let down by his rather less weatherproof walking gear, and very sensibly retreated with wet feet before we left the path to clib the peak. Opting to go take stunning pictures in the valley instead some are already up and he'll probably post more before I get round to sorting my album (not to mention being a far better photographer than I) so if you're keening for some stunning highland scenery keen an eye on his flickr stream. Hamish also took some great photos***, as did Liz... Anita also took pictures which I'm sure are lovely, but I've not seen them, and Keith took no photos because his camera charger stayed in Edinburgh. I took some photos and I will post them soon because apart from anything else it's been far too long since I updated the pictures section of this place.

Speaking of updates to splateagle.com - there's a minor overhaul in progress, and if I tell you all that I'll have it done by next weekend there's an outside chance it'll be finished before next year :D. Nothing links-and-RSS-feed-breakingly drastic - the structure and look/feel of the place won't change - mostly I'm just doing a bit of tidying up in existing sections. I'm also adding a new bit to cross-reference all the other places online where I occasionally make an impact (for when things go all quiet here) watch this space, but not with baited breath please: I don't want to be held responsible for any asphyxiation.

What else? Oh I've managed to rack up around 8,000 miles since May in that car I bought for driving at the weekends... oops. It's been great though! Right now Hobbes is away on a long visit with his mechanic. On holiday an (already known) oil-seal related fault saw him chug through over four litres of high-grade engine oil, before finally blowing his turbo. Happily even in smoky sans-turbo form he's a hoot to drive and the turbo is under warranty... also I seem to have found a great mechanic for getting him sorted when things like this happen. Part of the ownership experience of Italian performance cars is getting on first name terms with the fellas who fix 'em I guess.

* Edinburgh's local economy still seems to me to be holding up better than most, but on the other hand I don't think the repercussions of HBOS and RBS faltering have fully trickled down yet...
** surprising to anyone who's not been there that is.
*** though if you're reading this more than 30 seconds after I've posted it, don't be surprised if he's revamped his site again and broken all my links! ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


What a busy day/week/month/year!

Good though, all of them. Very good.

I'm 31 now. I like that.

Will post properly soon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

of RSS and netiquette

To say that my friend Hamish changes his electronic particulars as often as he changes his socks would be unfair, he doesn't go through socks that fast. ;) OK that's a gross exaggeration: He's had the same domain name for as long as I've known him, but he does like to fiddle with the details. I've long since lost track of the number of things which have appeared before the @ as his email address, but I'm pretty sure it numbers in the double digits which is impressively inventive! Periodically he also likes to tear down his whole website to start over. I get it, that kind of a striving for perfection... but it also highlights how much of a house of eCards our modern interconnected existences are, because changing the details of one's online presence invariably breaks a bunch of the stuff that other people had built up to keep in touch.

So Hame's just completed one of his 'tabula rasa' reworkings of his site, and in doing so he borked the LiveJournal friends feed I (and assorted other people) used as a convenient way of keeping in touch with his blog. Bit of a nuisance but for the time being it just meant I wasn't reading his blog and, lets face it, he's only across the hall so I'm hardly out of touch with what's going on in Hamsterland. Anyway it came up last night in one of those "I blogged about..." conversations. He mentioned something he'd mentioned online, and I fessed up to having stopped reading since he'd pulled the feed I was using.

Just to be clear, I don't mean to suggest there's anything wrong with Hame changing his stuff - it's his stuff after all - but it got me thinking about how I relate to all this virtual-self stuff.

Personally, whenever I've made significant changes here at splateagle.com I've been meticulous about ensuring that - as far as possible - they don't wreck the way people use it for keeping in touch with me. That is the point of the place after all. For example when I changed the site structure to its current form a few years back I moved the blog page to a new place. So I told people who I knew had the old location bookmarked, left a note up at the old location and checked my referrer logs periodically for the next few months to check the move hadn't thrown people too much. That just seemed natural and polite to me, an extension of telling friends and family your new address when you move... but with all the myriad ways other people now connect with each other where does our responsibility for this stuff end?

Most people abdicate responsibility for managing their online self by using a pre-packaged platform like LiveJournal or FaceBook, where someone else decides what does and doesn't get supported, arguably better solution until the 3rd party you've entrusted your stuff to moves/loses/changes that stuff and you have no say in it...

Later in the evening Hame prompted me to try Safari's RSS handling feature again, and it turns out that - since I last looked at it - it's matured into a better way of pooling the various friends' blogs I read, than the LJ solution I'd been using. It now seemlessly finds and compiles the broadcast feed on everyone's blogs... except mine!* Drat. Need to fix that as soon as I can work out why...

*for some reason the feed for my page only appears (in Safari) if you point the browser directly at it here

Friday, August 29, 2008


Right. I promised to blog about more interesting things than my tech-woes didn't I? ...then I buggered off and spent a couple of weeks with assorted visiting guests, doing bits of The Festival, playing tourist in my home town, occasionally hopping in the car* to belt off around the highlands, and hanging out in pubs with friends quite a lot. Plenty to tell you about then. Where to start though?

Well, Festival stuff seems as good a place as any: What have I seen? On the good comedy side it has to be Aeneas Faversham Forever which was - predictably - brilliant, but no gamble as I've been a fan of theirs since back when they were just Improverts. Flip side of that coin would be The Big Value Comedy Show which was a gamble... and not good - one of the four acts didn't show, of the remaining three, we kinda wished two had taken the fourth's lead with only the first being actually funny. I wish I could remember the compere's name as he did a (frankly) heroic job of keeping the night from simply being unpleasant. Away from comedy, I saw a compelling performance of On the Waterfront, (attended by its 93 year old author, which was kinda neat) and then there was the powerful-if-perplexing experience of Dorian Gray which genuinely surprised me since I don't think of myself as a ballet person (let alone a contemporary ballet person) and the whole idea of basing a ballet on the work of an author whose greatest strength is dialogue seemed perverse and fundamentally flawed. It's not, it's genuinely brilliant.

That about sums up my Festival so far, off to something at the Portrait Gallery tonight with the gang, and might catch a last fling show on Saturday night if the mood takes me, then it's Fireworks time Sunday (unless I decide to skip them) and then we start to get our city back from the bloody tourists**

... speaking of <Aussie accent>bloody tourists</Aussie accent> my mate Eric was staying with me for most of the last week, and a very welcome tourist he was too. It's a little inconvenient having such a good friend who lives on the far side of the globe but unsurprisingly we picked right up where we'd left off as soon as he made it through the arrivals gate at EDI. I managed to make a start on returning the favour of playing host/tourguide and flatmate from my month spent in Perth, we did assorted tourist stuff in the city and managed to almost overdose on castles on a whistle-stop tour of the Highlands. Also unsurprisingly Eric got on famously with my crowd here*** which made for a hectic but really fun week socially.

I took a long weekend the weekend before last too, this time so I could hang out with my big bro. We bolted off up to Sutherland and got some implausibly great weather for the few days up there while we alternated between visiting old childhood holiday haunts, and playing in my car, which my brother is now insured on and fell for almost as badly as I have :D I like sharing my toys, although there are a vanishingly small number of people I'd trust behind the wheel of Hobbes.

So that's a skim-reading version of my past couple of weeks, I need to cool off on the car trips for a while because between the Highland trips and my two week road trip round France last month (did I mention that?) I've spent a small fortune on petrol and oil. Actually I'm looking forward to a less hectic few weeks anyway, maybe even getting to spend the odd evening in doing nothing****. Right now though I need to go and get changed for tonight...

*I'm still giddy every time I go anywhere near my car - I'm grinning like a loon now at the thought that it's actually my car... can't imagine that feeling going away any time soon. ...that said nothing has gone expensively wrong with him yet either ;)
**OK, that never actually happens. Tourists are a constant here, but the human tide ebbs significantly after the Fringe ends, though to be fair it's already noticeably less congested around here since the Tattoo finished
***I beamed when on his last day he said: "I don't think I've stopped laughing once since I got here" I really love the way that (on the whole) my friends get on with my other friends
****The other night at the pub Liz paused mid conversation to try and recall when she last did nothing, and realised that it was back in June sometime - I've not been quite that busy but not far off!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

did I say two months?

124 days!! Time Machine popped up this morning to tell me it was worried that it hadn't backed up in 124 days, and was there a problem? I thought it must have been confused so I double checked, and my Sad Mac post was back at the start of April... my 'puter broke a third of a year ago.

Anyway seems the brain surgery was a complete success and Flash is back to his old self, so all's well and I can start posting about something more interesting than computer problems. Promise.


Monday, August 11, 2008


Ahh ahhh!

He's got a new logic board!


</geeky 80s scifi & Queen reference >*

My beloved 'puter is finally fixed and back with me in full working order. 's got about two months worth of software updates, application patches and back email to download though and I need to sleep so that's all the posting for now.

*unless you got it of course, in which case that song will probably now be stuck in your head all day - a fitting fanfare to my Mac's triumphant return dontchathink? :D

Friday, August 01, 2008



Yes I know I've gone all rubbish again with the posting (or lack thereof) but I'm still missing a limb without my 'puter. The short version of that saga is that so far eBay has failed twice to deliver a replacement, first one turned out to be the wrong Mac and went back, second one never showed up at all (PayPal have my refund listed as "pending") however yesterday an unexpected glimmer of light appeared at the end of the tunnel so fingers crossed I might have Flash back to his old self soon.

In other news I've been on holiday - two weeks' road trip through France with a long stay in the Vendee with Mum & Dad, some floor tiles, a little too much sun for my shins, a long awaited trip to the Marais Poitevin, and of course a visit to the chateau for pancakes! I also stopped off in St Malo all-too-briefly and in Cambridge to see some very good friends I'd neglected, who nonetheless kindly made me barbeque dinners and took me round their lovely city including an evening at an excellent outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I have some pictures of my travels and I'll post some of them when I get my life back Mac sorted.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Bombskare have a single out. Just got home from the launch gig (where - as usual - they rocked) with the CD in my sweaty mitts. Will post more when I've listened to it through a few times (live music doesn't always translate well to recorded... but so far so good) but had a great night!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Blame Liz

...also it's been ages since I posted a meme

My personality type: the spontaneous idealist. Take the free iPersonic personality test!

As these things go I'd say that's a pretty accurate character sketch except for it being overly preoccupied with me getting "bored", which doesn't happen. Otherwise though pretty close.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


1,000 apologies for having been an absent blogger of late, been busy playin' with my new toy.

So a brief cheating update (mostly by way of linking to friends' blogs). First full weekend with Hobbes I went adventuring in Dumfries and Galloway with Liz, we stopped in at Roslyn Chapel (since it's pretty and neither of us had ever been) and then spent most of the rest of the day playing on the B roads, except for about a half hour spent sitting at a junction somewhere in D&G watching every horse in the world trot past. No really, all of them. Liz took pictures (of assorted pretty things, not of the horses) and they can be found here.

Bank holiday weekend (so not last weekend but the weekend before) Liz joined me again this time for a trip up to the west coast just north of Arisaig, we took a tent and an instant barbeque and had a lovely evening on the beach on Saturday. Then on Sunday the implausibly good weather we were enjoying tempted us into a quick jaunt over to Skye (making me late back for plans with Nete and Keith - sorry again guys!) Once again Liz did a better job of documenting our travels than I and her words and pictures are over here.

This weekend just gone, Justin invited me along on his friend Toby's stag weekend in North Wales. I'd met Toby a couple of times before and enjoyed his company immensely so didn't feel like a total gatecrasher. I did however feel just how out of shape I am the day after we climbed Tryfan. Note to self, get into the hills more often. Justin, like Liz, has been a better blogger than I of late and posted about the trip here.

So yeah, that's pretty much what I've been up to - driving my fantastic new car all over the country with friends. Bliss. Must stop going away every weekend though because I can't really afford to be buying that much petrol and oil... That said next weekend I'm dashing down to Doncaster to visit friends and family there. Then I'll give it a rest for at least a week or two... unless the weather's really good...

In other news Flash turned out to be terminally broken (or at least in need of an £850 repair, which on a 3 year old laptop amounts to the same thing) so via the great consumer continuum known as eBay I'm selling off two laptops (one working, one not) and some other odds and ends to pay for an almost identical (but working) replacement for my broken PowerBook. Flash is dead, long live Flash II.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I found my car!

On Saturday my lovely friend Phil helped me drive all the way down to Oxford where there's a garage who specialise in FIAT Coupes, and who had a low mileage 20v Turbo in Broom Yellow with the various options I wanted and comfortably within my price range... The car turned out to be exactly what I was looking for (unlike the others I've been to see which all seemed right on paper but were disappointing in person) and so I bought it.

Driving back up I discovered that he's definitely a he, and - later on - that his name is Hobbes (like Calvin's Tiger.) So far we've been very happy together.

I'm too tired to write more just now because I spent my lunch hour going to the Council for his parking permit and then after work we went to Halfords and I bought a stereo (the previous owner took theirs out which, given other indications of their idea of good taste, is probably for the best) and some other "essentials" (like leather upholstery cleaner, a fire extinguisher* and a first aid kit) which I then spent the last few hours fitting and using to clean Hobbes interior... now I'm tired and hungry but before I go here's a picture of my new friend for anyone who's not yet seen him(clicking will get you a bigger version):

Hobbes looking all clean and shiny

handsome devil isn't he? his FIAT badge is missing because some oik in Halfords car park pulled it off while I was inside shopping, but a replacement is on its way.

Right. Dinner...

* every car I've ever owned has carried one and thankfully I've never yet had cause to use it but it's one of those things I think every car should have, just in case.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sad Mac

Flash is poorly. Yesterday I picked him* up to write an email and found that the screensaver had frozen** and the machine wouldn't respond to any input. I forced a restart and within a few seconds was back up and running, then a few minutes later he froze up again, screen still fixedly displaying the open desktop but nothing responding. Another forced restart and the same result so I shut him down and left him be for 24hrs in the vain hope he might sleep it off.

Today he made it as far as the login window before locking up, when I made a second attempt at starting him he just sat with a blank screen angrily whirring fans at me. I think that means he needs to go to the doctor's and since I didn't get AppleCare that's likely to be expensive. Bugger.

Happily I am really bad at getting round to things. For the last month or so one of the two bargain PowerBooks I bought on eBay - when Iain commissioned me to find him a new laptop for going back to Japan with - has been sitting waiting for me to get off my arse and put it back up for sale. Iain went with the newer of the two - a mid 2004 Aluminium PowerBook G4 (spruced up by yours truly and christened Rerun). The other machine was a late 2002 Titanium G4 which had no battery and which I've called Ariel (after giving her Sparky's old NewerTek high cappacity battery which I removed before sending him to the insurance company 3 years ago and have had kicking around ever since meaning to put on eBay... like I said, bad at getting round to things)

Anyway I was going to sell Ariel back on eBay after doing a little work on her with some other spare parts I had kicking about, including (if I could coax it into working) Iain's discarded PC wireless adaptor... but I've been kinda busy and poor old Ariel has just been sitting in a corner doing nothing but occasionally charging and discharging her transplant battery (which seems in good order if a little eccentric after spending 3 years in a cupboard)

When I was forced to admit that Flash is not well, I decided to dust the old girl off and set to trying to make her talk to the Belkin wireless card, and after a bit of scrabbling about forums and support pages, (and an inexplicable 15min where the card was installed, apparently working but not connecting to the router) I have a usable stand-in for my poorly laptop (and a much more saleable prospect when Flash is all fixed)

Fingers crossed it's nothing too serious.

*Yes "he" I'm an anthropomorphist when it comes to computers and cars. In the unlikely event that that's news to you, you'll just have to deal with it
**on a picture of Ben Browder. I'm not blaming him

Monday, April 07, 2008

YAY Sci-Fi!

I just got round to watching Friday's Torchwood... anyone else reading this who cares probably already watched it but just in case I won't risk spoiling anything. Suffice it to say I'm impressed that they did something that drastic to the story structure, and can't wait to see how the next series shapes up.

Happily (because the BBC's scheduling got all mushed up) Doctor Who follows right on its heels (there'd usually be a gap) and (judging by Saturday's offering) Catherine Tate's presence might not ruin it completely... and BBC4 are showing an old William Hartnell story which I've never seen, and when all that's done there's a stack of episodes of that Terminator spin-off to fall back on...

...and I stumbled on an Iain M. Banks last week which I'd not yet read and which I'm loving!

So yeah: Yay Sci-Fi! Handy too to have lots of this stuff around to unwind with after yet another hectic day at work (work is all good by the way, there just aren't enough hours in the day is all).

<poddles off happily to geek out on the sofa some more>

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I'm pretty sure I've posted about this before in a way but I had a quick scan through the archives and can't find anything* relating to it. Ho hum. Anyway I've been thinking about brutalist architecture a lot today, partly because the desktop picture preferences on my Mac at work are currently set to shift at 30min intervals through a folder of images called "structure" which is a grab bag of architectural photos, some my own, some which just moved me. Amongst them are some of this gentleman's excellent photographs of the (then doomed, now gone) Tricorn Centre.

I remember being deeply saddened at the time by its demolition and by the reported jubilation at the centre's destruction. It was a unique and (in my opinion) beautiful example of an architectural style now long gone, but which embodied an (also long gone) optimistic view of the future and of ourselves... Celebrating the erasure of that seemed wrong somehow.

Demolition went ahead in spite of some protest, and the Tricorn now exists only in memory (sometimes electronic). The good burghers of Portsmouth reportedly rejoiced, and (since I have no desire to live in Portsmouth, Tricorn or no) many would say I have no right to censure them for that... the same could I suppose be said were the residents of Rome to decide to demolish the Forum, or the Parisians to tire of Eiffel's tower... to my mind the only significant difference is historical perspective. Incidentally Portsmouth was (as far as I can tell) rewarded with this in place of their detested "concrete carbuncle". I hope it pleases them, but I can't imagine it ever making anyone's soul soar in quite the way its sculptural predecessor irrefutably could.

Anyway, Garfield's photographs (at least the versions stored in my collection) are of a resolution which pixelates somewhat when displayed full screen on the state-of-the-art MacBook Pro I'm privileged to use all day, and being of a graphical bent this bothers me. So in a (rare) free moment I stopped to look for some other higher resolution photographs of the Tricorn to replace them**. In doing so I found myself reading a lot of articles about the impending demolition of another of Luder's grand works, the Trinity Centre in Gateshead, aka the Get Carter Car Park.

I'm not really sure why I'm so moved by the destruction of these gargantuan concrete sculptures, but I am. The same short sighted, small minded rhetoric keeps being spouted to justify removing these (intentionally) run down buildings from these (intentionally?) run down communities which they were designed to reinvigorate. It genuinely makes my heart ache... but I can't in all honesty pretend to care a great deal about either Gateshead or Portsmouth. I think what gets me is the loss to the world at large, and the rejection of that optimistic vision... sure it was flawed, neither the Tricorn nor the Trinity ever really worked as originally envisaged, but both are/were beautiful and inspiring spaces with real potential.

Moves are afoot to limit this kind wanton destruction of our unfashionable architectural past. They're primarily motivated by a recognition that knocking down and starting again, makes sense only by our existing unsustainable economic model's standards. Re-use is a far more environmentally responsible approach to buildings which fail to meet their initial remit (for whatever reason) and/or fall out of vogue. I hope that out of this necessity a happy side effect might be that the future suffers fewer of these cultural losses at the hands of fashion. I'm a naive optimist you see... which might be (in part) why these structures speak to me in the first place.

*incidentally the archives are getting somewhat unwieldy now that there are almost 5 years' worth, so next time I have time I'm going to look into revising the page to deal with them better... if anyone has a good suggestion for a neater archive solution feel free to email me on the usual address or comment

**I succeeded thanks to flickr. Anyone who's interested should look here as there are some genuinely stunning shots

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

never had to knock on wood...

... that's a lie. It's also a lyric from a cracking song which I'm listening to just now. ... actually now I come to look the lyrics up I notice that reading it (if you don't know the Bosstones) the song sounds a bit grim. It isn't when you're listening to it.


All is well in my world except that I don't seem to have enough time to be in all the places with all the people that I want to... If only I didn't have to spend quite so much of my time working. Mind you I'm really enjoying that at the moment. Mostly. The getting up in the morning part is still not something that comes naturally. I suspect at this stage I'd better resign myself to never being a morning person.

I'm really missing having a dog of late. I can't have one of course but I miss Jet a lot and would welcome another little brush-brained fuzzball of a companion. Maybe one day.

Spring seems to be... springinging. The garden is a joyous cacophony of colour every morning as I leave for work and has (so far) not failed once to raise a smile in those all important first few moments of really being outside and inescapably in my working day (instead of my bed). That little boost makes for a good start to the day, even when I then have to stay at my desk until 7pm (which doesn't always happen, but happens more often than I'd like considering I don't get paid for overtime... we could really do with an extra body in the office). Better yet it's no longer always night time when I get home - daylight has returned to my out of office hours!

Oh yes, and I have plans! I have plans to buy myself a big present this year and if I've already bored you rigid with it then you'll be tuning out about now (sorry) but if I've not then this might convey a tiny smidge of the glee I feel thinking about my plans. I'm saving up, (sensible-ish grown up you see) but come summer hopefully I'll be a car owner again. Environment and practicality be damned (they both were anyway after all)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I'm in the paper look:

scrap of paper

The Drum do a "new appointments" bit* where they ask you questions and do a page of the answers, I'd forgotten I'd done it until one of our suppliers emailed me a scan of the page...

Questions were: 1: What attracted you to the post? 2: What company did you previously work for? 3: What was your first industry job? 4: How did you find your current post? 5: What's the most annoying noise in the world? 6: What's the best way to get what you want? 7: If you were famous, what would it be for?

I think my answers should still be legible in the picture above for anyone who's interested. Questions 1-4 are kinda dull but I liked 5, 6 & 7, and it makes me laugh to see me in print so I thought I'd share.

* yeah, I know, I've been there almost a year now so hardly count as a new appointment. However our marketeers only just cottoned on to this and we figured it was worth doing even though I'm actually old news

Monday, March 10, 2008


I had a great holiday this weekend, hot on the heels of two days's training I went to Dublin with Justin, Liz and Marja, we explored the city together, saw some cool stuff and spent a fair amount of time just goofing around together too which was good. Liz had found us a great little hotel which also helped make the holiday.

I arrived early coming straight from work in Leeds and beating the other three there by around four hours, settling into the hotel solo was surprisingly easy, it helped that I not only arrived in time to get dinner (just!) but that the hotel's excellent little glass-house bar was playing host to these guys who kept me tapping my feet while I waited for and ate my hotel dinner. Excellent blues guitar work.

Just, Liz and Marja made it to the hotel just after midnight, we caught up and made plans for the weekend and then retired to our beds ready for a big day exploring. Morning came with clear skies and an excellent breakfast on Friday and Saturday, both days spent exploring the city and laughing a lot. Sunday morning rolled around all too quickly though (with attendant bad weather) and it was time to come home.

I'm reminded how good it is both to travel, and to travel with my friends, they're a great and varied bunch and I never cease to be amazed how great sharing the rich and varied world we live in feels.

Today (also on holiday) I spent catching up on the more mundane aspects of life, haircuts and replacement shoelaces... Tomorrow will be back to work and I fully expect it will be Friday again before I blink: there's plenty happening in my world just now. All of it reminds me how good it is to be alive though and I'm pleased (for various reasons) to find myself smiling, a lot, at how lucky I am to have the time I have.

Monday, March 03, 2008


My Dad pointed this out to me in an email a wee while back and I've only just had chance to follow the link. I am intrigued. I'm not quite sure what to make of the site yet but also certain I'll be exploring it further. So far what I like most about it is that it describes itself as "like Flikr without the photos"

Saturday, March 01, 2008

this != that

A new friendship got cemented today. Sometimes there's an identifiable point when someone goes from being a new friend (compelling, engaging, pleasant company, but ultimately an unknown quantity) to someone you know that you really admire and respect. That's not always how it works of course - people all being different and everything, but there often has been that moment for me with people and today was one of those days.

I'd been hoping that maybe there might be more going on here than a new friendship in the making: You see this guy's smart, funny, talented and very sexy* and we'd both been playing with the idea that maybe there was some mileage in our being more than just mates. There have been plenty of moments when I could imagine just that, but things have never really bubbled up past the 'nervously optimistic' mark, and today he gently but directly addressed that. The chemistry isn't quite right.

It's good to acknowledge when 'this thing' is not 'that thing'. It's not easy, because there are feelings involved and nobody likes being the one to pop the bubble, but it was nonetheless a brave and kind step. With the bubble popped, excited but awkward anticipation gives way to an ease and comfort. I'm disappointed that things aren't working out that way but I'm also very glad to know this person and that's the part that will last.

*a list which describes most of my friends now I come to think of it

Monday, February 25, 2008

don't let your indecision take you from behind

Most people who know me will probably be utterly unsurprised to learn that I am loving this, not least for its excellent sound track. OK so the title isn't a good example of said excellence: "Bucks Fizz" and "excellent" don't even sit well together for me and I like 'em (I couldn't resist though: like most of their lyrics it makes me laugh out loud now*) But so far the show's soundtrack has been cracking! The thing that really floors me about it though is the art direction: I still can't get over how sharply they convey a very clear sense of time with a colour palette! That's a kind of genius to my mind.**

Anyway it got me thinking about all the little signifiers we don't consciously register, which make up our sense of time and place. For the most part they're much more subtle in real life but you only have to flip through some old photos to start seeing them from the past... the thing is though that I can't think what any of the ones for "now" might be. Any thoughts?

*That one's not the best example but I was limiting myself to that band and 1981 and the next best candidate I could come up with was " 'cos everytime you take me I'm sleeping" which I doubt many people would recognise... in fact I'll buy a drink for anyone who can name the song (I've given you the band) without using a lyric search... thinking how much Bucks Fizz I listened to growing up, I can't help wondering what the long term effects on my developing psyche were... and yes, I know I've mentioned this before
**...which we have already established may be is more than a little warped

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm such a softy, this really makes me want to give him a hug

Sunday, February 17, 2008

wandering and wondering

What a thoroughly lovely day I have had today.

First part of the day, because it was sunny and warm and spring-like, and because neither of us had anything very much else to do, Liz and I went for an aimless amble around the city. We walked a lot, found some bits of city new to both of us, met a very nice old dog and ate some pastries in the sun (not in that order). Liz took many excellent pictures some of which you can see if you go look at her blog. I especially like the Shadow one.

Second part of the day I caught a train and pottered over to Glasgow to spend some time with a man who I like a great deal and very much want to get to know better. I came home just now having done some of both of those things (though there is plenty more of both to be done) and generally feeling happily bemused. The world is an amazing place, full of things to discover... I must remember to go exploring more often.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Been doing a lot of tinkering over on Wikipedia of late and finally got round to making a start on my user page so that other contributors can see who I am.

's kinda fun, the wikitext markup language is very flexible and does some neat tricks... even if sometimes the result can be a little visually haphazard (The vestigial librarian in me loves the "userbox" idea - a kind of visual shorthand for cataloguing users' interests, abilities and such - but the resulting cascade of multicoloured boxes kind of offends my graphic designer sensibilities :D )

Anyway I should stop playing with it now and make some dinner but wanted to point people here at it to see what you all thought so far?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

YAY for weekends!

I'm a fan. There should be more of them though... by which I mean that I'd like them to be longer, not more numerous.

Spent Friday night mostly hanging out with Liz We watched Die Hard, I had egg and chips for tea, she had cereal, then we went to the pub where we met Justin and Karen and had a great time until they made us leave (because it was closing, not because we'd been bad, we hadn't). Simple pleasures. Saturday Nete and Keith came round to geek out with me and play a LAN game of StarCraft*, before we got to the "MashMashMash KillKillKill" part of the evening though we had Chinese take out with Hamish and his new friend Mark (who is cool!) Food was good (and cheaper than expected, partly I think because it was late and I'd called them back and used my work "bad supplier" routine on 'em he he)

Yeah. Weekends are good.

As are holidays! I'm plotting some of those with people, Mum & Dad have kindly invited me to join them for a week in the South of France this summer, I'm thinking I might try and make the travel part of that into a big train journey, possibly stopping in Paris on the way and then go on from there for a week in Greece (near enough Athens to explore it but not in Athens...) afterward as a big summer adventure... would probably have to fly home, but the idea of a long train journey across Europe really appeals. Then in October a bunch of us are planning to go back up to Sutherland and (hopefully) stay just up the hill from my favourite place on the planet. Before all of that though there's a jaunt to Dublin in the offing... Planning holidays is almost as much fun as going on them...

Not a lot of other news really, usual burbling of the social life and plans for later in the year, that's sort of how things go at this point in the year though. It's still very much winter here (even though no snow has yet blanketed the city, boo!) and everything feels kind of hibernate-ey, wound down and slow paced. It's nice but I think I'll be ready for spring when it gets here.

...oh and I know I said I'd stop it, but then Lucy and Justin sent me theirs and they both rock so here are a couple more album covers:

album cover

album cover

I just love how different they all come out and how every one of them has a sound.

* James, you are much missed at these LAN parties, you should come up for a weekend soon

Monday, January 14, 2008

a few more album covers

I really liked this meme and a few other people seemed to have fun with it too, one or two have sent me theirs so here they are, you can hover over each to see who did what:

album cover

album cover

album cover

There, I'll stop it now. But aren't they good? I can imagine exactly what each one would sound like too which is fun.

Monday, January 07, 2008

album cover meme

Blame Owen but it's a good one and dead easy. Here's mine, below is how you do it.

album cover

1: Use Wikipedia's Random page selector; the article title is the name of your band.

2: Use Quotations Page.com's random quote generator; the last four words of the very last quotation is the title of your album.

3: Use Flickr's "interestingness" search; the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover, (I reckon cropping to a square is allowed since it's supposed to be an album cover.)

4: Use your graphics program of choice (Owen reckons Paint will do but I don't know anyone who still has Paint! use Photoshop Elements, Fireworks, or whatever you have handy) to throw them together, and then post 'em (or email 'em me if you don't blog but still want to play).

Saturday, January 05, 2008

where did my snow go?

Happy New Year everyone, OK so it's almost a week into 2008 but in some cases this will be the first you've heard from me, and it's my first post of the new year so it seemed apt to start with that.

I had a brilliant Hogmanay - Al and Steve (my little sis and her fella) came to stay and we went sightseeing round the city together before spending the night itself with some of my Edinburgh gang, ending up on Princes Street for midnight. The fireworks were good until the smoke obscured them and (with the exception of one dozy fifer woman being incredibly rude) the whole evening was a friendly and happy experience. I love getting to share this place I've made my home with people I care about and I was really pleased that Al and Steve could see what I see in the place.

The rude woman upset me... Leaving Princes Street we all had our hands linked in a long chain so as not to lose anyone. Part way through the crowd this woman came staggering toward me shouting Happy New Year with her hand out wanting to shake mine. So far so friendly, and I smiled acknowledging her as best I could (without letting go of anyone who might have become lost in the heaving crowd) I nodded and wished her a Happy New Year back... at which point her face screwed up as if she'd smelled dog shit, and she started yelling "English!" as if it was an accusation... I so rarely encounter anti-English sentiment that it shocks and upsets me when I do, especially since I consider myself more Scottish than English*, place of birth notwithstanding. That this brainless drunkard took offence at my accent and decided to make me feel unwelcome in my own home city put a smudge on an otherwise shiningly happy day. It also embarrassed me in front of my guests (who are both very English and quite happy about that thank you) Still other than that it was the usual happy friendly New Year crowd I'm used to.

Anyway as I said it didn't really spoil the evening, just smudged it. So far the new year has been pretty good, the past few days there's been snow reaching into the city centre and for the first time in years I can just enjoy that rather than having to worry about the conditions on the A70 over the Pentlands... sadly not enough has yet fallen and settled for me to make a snowman but I'm optimistic.

I realise I've said this before too but I will endeavour to post more regularly this year - the tail end of 2007 was pretty hectic one way and another and while I'm sure I could have found the time to post, some of the time I couldn't have reasonably posted what was on my mind, and others I simply didn't make the time. Hopefully this year I'll get better at making the time, for myself as much as anything: I've really been enjoying re-reading my Australia posts recently... It's incredible to me that it's now a year since I came home from my adventures down under, and much as I love life here I really miss some of the people and places I discovered there...

2008 seems to have very little in it as yet - this point last year my head was crowded with things I had to do and find, this year things are much more settled... at the start at least! (doesn't do to take these things for granted) I'm really looking forward to finding out what this year holds, and as I said I'll try to do a bit better at documenting it.

* Because I chose Scotland as my home, rather than winding up her by an accident of birth. I've been living here for well over a decade, pretty much my whole adult life, I'm a Scottish tax payer, a Scottish voter and a borderline Scottish Nationalist. If asked where I'm from my instinctive reply is "Edinburgh" because this is the place my soul feels at home.