Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's been nearly three years

I'm really good at this, at not writing blogs. It's been nearly three years since I last posted anything here.

Other people seem to have blogs coming out of their ears. I don't know how they do it. What is it that gives them the ability to write, often wittily, about nothing much whatsoever? Why can't I do it? Is wittily even a word?

My employer has gone all social, and we're now expected to blog. We get social points for doing so. We also get social points if we comment on other people's blogs, and again if others comment on ours. My social score is 47. I don't know what that means, other than it's better than that of one of my colleagues, whose social score is 7.

So I need to get more social.

The problem with that is that I'm not convinced I've got anything interesting to say, that people will want to read. This is as true of my personal life as it is of my work life.

I am actually doing something quite interesting in work right now - using IBM UrbanCode Deploy to develop applications for setting up machines for use by build, test, development and service. It's got quite a steep learning curve, and is not a silver bullet, so should not be used for killing werewolves. But for what I want it to do, it does it rather well.

It's also PBC time, which is the time of year we have to try to prove to the company that their assumption that we're shit is unfounded, and that in fact they should give us a payrise and erect a statue to us in front of the building (like they did in the ancient Olympics). For most people it ends up as a compromise - the company agreeing that they're ok, and the people breathing a sigh of relief that they're not going to get sacked and settling for keeping their job and not getting a payrise again this year.

But life stil goes on.

Anyway, it will be Christmas soon, and the new James Bond film (Spectre) and the new Star Wars film (The Force Awakens) will be in the cinema soon. Actually Spectre already is. I must get a ticket.

That's enough rambling for now.

Nôs da.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. My celebrations started in earnest this morning when I decided to go to the supermarket early  to finish off the christmas grocery shopping. We'd already got most things, but there were one or two bits and pieces we still needed. My wife had made a list.

So I got up early and arrived at Morrison's (our nearest supermarket), list in hand, at 8am.

The main thing we needed were pigs in blankets. Not real pigs you understand, nor real blankets. That would be silly. Pigs in blankets are mini sausages wrapped in bacon.

I couldn't find any, anywhere. So I asked one of the butchers, who confirmed that they did have some, and that he'd seen them. So we set off together to find them. We failed. We couldn't find them anywhere. A managet walked past. Apparently they'd sold out. I couldn't believe that they'd sold out in the 5 minutes they'd been open (it was now 8:05am). I was wrong, they's sold out in 2 hours and 5 minutes - they'd been open since 6am.

Not wanting to admit defeat, the butcher went round the back to see if they had any there. He came back 5 minutes later with boxes of them.

How many boxes did I want? Not wanting to break with tradition, I asked for 4 punnets - much more than I actually needed.

I found the remaining items on the list - milk, bread, bacon, sausages, crisps, cereal, sausage rolls - with no further ado.

I got home and put everything away before my wife got up. I left the list in a prominent position, with everything ticked off clearly so that when my wife noticed it, she'd think what a marvellous husband I was.

Did she notice?

Of course not. I finally resorted to telling her.

What's the point of trying to be helpful and making life easier for people if they don't even notice?

Since then we've been out to get the turkey, been to Costa for a coffee, and are now making lunch.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

We're off to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey today.

We're going to see the 3D version, which either means forking out £1 each to buy a pair of glasses, or digging around to see if we can find the glasses we bought the last time we saw a 3D film at the cinema.

This is the first of 3 movies made from the book. Why did Peter Jackson make such a small book into 3 movies. He made The Lord of the Rings into 3 movies - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, but these corresponded to the 3 books that made up the story.

But he's split The Hobbit, a fairly small book, into 3. Why?

One explanation is that there was too much to tell in only 1 or even 2 films; that making less than 3 films would compromise the story.

My personal view is that it allows him to rake in even more money from increased attendances and through merchandising over the next three years.

I don't blame him. I'm sure he's struggling financially like the rest of us. ;-)

What I hate though is being left hanging at the end of the movie, and having to wait a year for the next instalment  only to be left hanging at the end of that one too.

Anyway, let's see what the movie holds. Maybe after seeing it I'll be less cynical, or won't care so much.


Despite my earlier misgivings about the story being split into 3 in order to screw more money out of the gullible, paying public, I have to admit that the first film was fantastic.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was full of action for most of its 169 minutes, and I was not left with the feeling that they'd padded it with unnecessary scenes. I can't wait until the next one comes out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Lunch

My team went to Brasserie Blanc in Winchester for our Christmas lunch today. It cost £26.50 each, but that didn't include service charge, tips etc.

The food was very good. I had pasta with roquefort, sweet chestnuts and braised celery to start; Robert Caldecott of Holly Farm's roast turkey breast, chestnut stuffed boned thigh, slow roasted vegetables, bread sauce and port gravy to follow; and Christmas pudding, rum-scented crème anglaise and brandy butter to finish. I also had a coffee and the smallest mince pie I've ever seen. Ever.

It was all very nice.

We also had a secret santa. We'd all previously been out and bought something silly for under £5, wrapped it, and put it in a box in the manager's office. After we'd finished eating, our names were pulled out of a hat (a very nice Australian hat). When our names were called, we picked out a present from the box.

Here's a picture of what I got.

Hilarious, and a little bit disturbing. Who buys something like this? I thought the people I worked with were normal. Clearly there's a weirdo in our midst...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fizzling Out

This strike is fizzling out. It's easy to be on strike when there's something to strike for, but when that cause goes away, you kind of loose momentum.

Still, if what I'm aiming for is to not be taken for granted, then I can't complain when I'm not being taken for granted.

So the srike is paused, but poised to be reactivated when the need arises. A bit like King Arthur, but without the sword, and without having to sleep in a cave.

We're all going out tonight, to see the school's production of The Little Shop of Horrors. I'm really looking forward to it. I remember the film with Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Bill Murray from 1986, which was very funny. Should be good.

10 points if you can tell me what the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors movie has in common with Red Dwarf...