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Right, a quick catch-up after another hectic week. Sorry to anyone I… - John C. Kirk

Aug. 20th, 2005

02:15 pm

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Right, a quick catch-up after another hectic week. Sorry to anyone I owe emails to - there just aren't enough hours in the day (although the rest of this post may cast some doubt on my priorities).

Work is going well, and I think I'm getting the hang of this whole management thing. nou commented on how much happier I seem, and I think that's true (although it may not be entirely related to the new job). I wouldn't say that my old job was holding me back, but I basically went there after my MSc because it was convenient (for them as well as for me) rather than because I'd done a search to find out what my best option was. Now that I've moved on, and had the chance to spread my wings a bit, it's doing me good, so I think this has worked out well for everyone concerned (including my previous/current employers).

Monday: I worked late, and got home at about 23:00, which was the start of a trend.

Tuesday: I went off to SJA training in the evening, which was a good session (how to treat people who are in awkward positions, e.g. collapsed inside a bathroom), and got home at about 22:30.

Wednesday: A bunch of us went out to see "Stomp". There's a nifty scheme where your ticket gives you a two course meal at a Covent Garden restaurant as well as entrance to the theatre. Anyway, that was fun. I started out thinking "It's clever that they've found a way to get music from unusual 'instruments', and I can admire the technical skill of the dancers", but I wasn't quite sure how to classify it. E.g. the average play is telling a story, and the actors pretend that they are unaware of the audience, whereas something like "The Reduced Shakespeare" is more like a university lecture. This fell somewhere in the middle, and had some audience participation, which I'm normally apprehensive about (particularly in pantomimes), but worked well in this situation. The idea was that one of the performers would clap his hands, then the audience would repeat it (the number/frequency changed each time); particularly when this came sporadically, I found that it made me pay more attention to the music, so that I could anticipate the next claps (in lieu of faster reactions). This in turn reminded me of when I used to do piano lessons, and the difference between just playing the correct notes and actually feeling the music - there was one time in particular when I relaxed into it, and the teacher was immediately able to tell the difference. There were also some funny scenes in the performance that made me laugh. Got home afterwards at about 23:00.

Thursday: I met up with some friends at the new Fulham branch of TGI Friday for dinner, which was fun; kudos to sulkyblue for organising that. Then back into the office afterwards, and I got home at 07:00 on Friday morning.

Friday: Slept until about noon, then I was able to take advantage of having a few hours actually awake in the flat to do some clearing up. gaspodog and shuripentu came round for dinner in the evening, and we investigated some of the lesser known Sky channels that I never normally watch. In particular, there were some bizarre programs on the Animal Channel, including the world's most pessimistic vet (with voiceover by Simon Cowell) and the Miami policeman who leapt (pole-vaulted) to the conclusion that some local residents were members of a voodoo cult doing animal sacrifices (it turned out to be a convent). Then a phone call from work at 23:15; the joys of being on call...

Saturday: I got up at about 9am, to stop my hours slipping too much. I then watched a couple of films (freeing up space on the Digibox), which both turned out to be rather better than I'd originally expected.

"Dickie Roberts (former child star)" - This is actually quite funny. Not one of your all-time classics, but a pleasant diversion for a couple of hours. If nothing else, it's worth watching the end credits, which have a song performed by various real-life former child stars (e.g. the two Coreys from "Lost Boys").

"Thunderpants" - I recorded this ages ago, solely because it has a character with anosmia. (My "famous people with anosmia" list currently has two people on it - that kid, and Odo from DS9.) I was expecting the film itself to be truly dire, and early on it didn't disappoint, with plenty of fart jokes. The turning point came about half-way through, when I realised that it was deliberately intended to be over the top, i.e. the things that you might nitpick are intended as spoofs. ("You've just completed a twelve year training course in two and a half hours!") After that, there were several scenes that really made me laugh. So, I'd actually recommend this one, although it is something that would work fine as a "background" film (e.g. while ironing/packing). Surprisingly, there was also a scene that I found quite moving, but that's basically because of the similarities to the Challenger disaster. And it was interesting to see Rupert Grint playing a completely different character to Ron Weasley, showing that he has a bit more range than "looking scared". When the end credits rolled, it's probably a worrying sign that I immediately recognised the song ("Going all the way" by Allstars) - you may remember their musical stylings from the live action "Scooby Doo" film ("Things that go bump in the night").

On a vaguely related note, I'd recommend the book "Rocket Boys" (by Homer Hickham) to anyone who is interested in the space program. It's the autobiography of a guy who now works at NASA, talking about his childhood when he made his own little rockets to enter into contests.

Anyway, I'm off to Yorkshire now, for a christening tomorrow morning.