Sunday, 30 September 2007

Perfect Paterson

Scotland 18 - 16 Italy
That was close.

Good thing Chris Paterson was a reliable as ever with his right foot. And he's fairly easy on the eye for all the close ups when he's eyeing up the posts before kicking.

I (with no bias whatsoever!!) thought the Scots actually played a pretty decent game. Remember the lads were out there against SIXTEEN players and not the usual fifteen. And one of the players on the other team had a whistle and was allowed to make important decisions about the game. Such as not even giving Masi a talking-to after his rather late tackle on Rory Lamont. The poor guy really landed with a thump on his face. That could have had terrible consequences. He could have been badly injured or even lost his good looks! That would have been dreadful.

Other strange refereeing decisions included sin-binning Nathan Hines for a high-ish tackle in the second half having allowed Troncon to attempt to decapitate Dan Parks in the first half without so much as a stern look. I feel like trying to decapitate Parks at times too, but that's no excuse! Oh and ignoring much tripping by his fellow team-members. Er, I mean by the Italians.

That said, Scotland really do need to get their act together because they won't be able to muck around like that against the Argies and get away with it. The Argies have one thing the Italians didn't. No, not a referee, but discipline. And if I set aside all national affinity, I have to say them Argies are looking like a good rugby team. Hopefully they'll be feeling very unlike a good rugby team next Sunday, eh?

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Overstretched

On Friday I did something rather silly and cried at work. It was Hubby's fault. He rang me just as I was looking at my Inbox and thinking I probably wouldn't be able to escape until the following Tuesday. I had to scuttle off to the ladies' and dry my tears and blow my nose.

It's been a tough couple of weeks. Work is stacking up in all quarters. There is the day-to-day work, then the project work on top of it, and the emergency can-you-squeeze-this-in work. Plus the other person in the team was off three days in the last two weeks. I'm not blaming her, everyone has times when they need 'unplanned' leave it's just the way things go.

I'm debating whether it's worth discussing it with my manager. She'll almost certainly blithely tell me that I don't manage my priorities/workload properly, and that's why I'm overstretched. I beg to disagree. When someone asks on Thursday morning if you can fit in a job which, after examination you will take less than an hour and can easily be fitted in along with all the other stuff, for Friday end of the day, you say yes. When at ten to five on Friday that same person sends you the documentation again saying "we made a few changes" and there is 50% extra work, it's not my failure to manage my workload that's the problem.

Also, when I plan priorities and work to come, I do so on the basis of available resources. When 50% of your resources are suddenly removed, it kicks your clever and careful planning into touch, somewhat.

Ach I dunno. My manager is a very insightful person who brings a lot to our activity, but she doesn't understand the nitty-gritty of what we do and is given to flippant remarks like "you're so lucky, you can outsource your work". Riiiiight. But when I do I have to triple-check it because no matter how much care I take in referencing my suppliers, they don't know the company the way I do and sometimes just don't "get" the content of documents. So I have to check and correct. But if I say that to my manager, I'll be told I need to get new suppliers!

I'm really very lucky because I have a job I really quite like. But sometimes it expects too much of me.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

A little corner of Murrayfield

'Moan Scotland!!! We're no scared o' them All Black poofs. Stick it up them eh!!! Send them homewards tae think again and aw'.



And back in the real world... Let's hope we can improve our rucking and try and keep the points difference damage down.

Pleased but hacked off

I'm pleased because it would appear my laptop won't have to go to laptop hospital after all. A couple of weeks ago, the screen started behaving oddly. It looked like somebody had drawn on it with a fluorescent felt pen. I was getting odd vertical blocks of bright pink on the title bars of windows instead of the gentle blue-fading-to-lighter blue we Windows slaves know so well. The clouds on my desktop wallpaper picture had lost their fluffy whiteness and were becoming a garish red around the edges.

Hubby (on my nagging instructions) called Dell and the bloke made him go through the usual IT quick-fix of updating every possible thing there is to update. It seemed to work. But then the fluorescent felt pen came back and it was worse than before. I was deeply distressed. My laptop would have to go to laptop hospital. I was to be deprived of blogging, the interweb... And how long would it take? I mean, I can use Hubby's computer for a couple of days in an emergency but it's not nice like my laptop. What was I going to do??!!!

Hubby sent another email to the man at Dell saying we had a relapse and things were looking critical. Dell-man wrote back with a last resort repair plan to try to keep my laptop out of after-sales service hell. Plug in an external screen and see if the same problem occurs (why didn't we think of that d'oh!). Everything looked fine on the external screen. Well, it wasn't the graphics card, but it was the screen. Oh no, repair gloom loomed... But wait, one last thing to try. The other IT stalwart of "unplug it and plug it back in again". This involves open-keyboard surgery on the laptop, to get to the bit you have to unplug and plug back in again. And it was there we discovered the source of the problem. A dog hair.

"Suction, nurse," commanded Hubby as he prodded at the innards of my laptop with a screwdriver. And no, it wasn't some odd new sex-game we have going on. My laptop was infested with little white dog hairs. Now this is something you can't use a Dyson for. Too much suction. It would have sucked up all my keys. Lucky we still have the ancient cleaner with adjustable sucking speed. Cleared up the dog hairs and put the laptop back together and the felt pen has gone! Hurray!

So why am I hacked off? Well, my new toy is broke. Proper broke. I've only had it for a month. Don't buy a Sony digital camera is my advice! So it has been shipped off to after-sales service hell and won't return for at least 3 WEEKS! How long??!! And what really made me fizz was that if it had gone broke two weeks ago, they would just have replaced it pure and simple. That'll be the fantastic statutory consumer protection in France then. Grr.

They're back

Comments are back - it is a miracle.

Well, less of a miracle and more thanks to some code-twigging. Thanks to the person (people?) behind this blog, who are there to help when the folks who are actually on Google/Blogger's payroll don't care.

Thank you, mystery blog-troubleshooters.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Tag cloud

I have a tag cloud. Good, innit. If you want one, and your blog is hosted by Blogger, you can get one here. You have to tweak your template code a wee bit, but you get a tidy tag cloud for your effort and it's ever so easy really it is.

That has quite cheered me up considering Blogger is being bloody useless. Still no comments.

What on earth???!!!????

Anyone else having Blogger trouble at the moment? As you may have notice, the comments link has disappeared from this blog (I didn't do it!), and no amount if unticking and re-ticking the Allow comments box will bring them back. Blogger Help is sod all use too.
Half my Dashboard is now in German, response times make me wonder if the data transmission is going from my ISP to Blogger's servers via the moon, and I occasionally am treated to a page of javascript code instead of the Manage posts page.
You can still comment if you so wish, just click "Links to this post" and that leads you to a page with a Post comment link.
I might take my blog elsewhere sometime soon. Any suggestions? Wordpress is OK but not enough widget options...

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Oh, bad luck France

In my post on things I'd miss about France, you may have noticed I didn't mention the nation's fine sports teams. I can't fathom why I omitted to include them in my list ...

Ah yes, France. They get done over at rugby by a great footballing nation, and done over at football by a great rugby nation. And you want to watch out, Les Bleus, getting beat by the Scots might become an embarrassing habit!

Oh I'm only mildly pleased to see two of the biggest and most irritating prats in the country brought down a peg or two (yes, I mean you, Laporte and Domenech).

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Gi'us a job

Hubby applied for an exciting job on Friday. Well, exciting if you like designing data networks I suppose. Hubby says it's the best match to his skills and experience he's seen, and we ran it by Matt who said it looked like a good find too. The salary definitely sounds exciting in any case.

It's in Bristol. Not sure how I feel about Bristol. Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves, he only sent in his CV and the recruiter didn't immediately summon him to interview (or, even better, promptly offer him the job). He also applied to a position in Livingston yesterday. Very little chance of that going anywhere because in the ad there's that usual list of "must haves": excellent knowledge of [insert name of some fibre networking technology here], and Hubby says "um, I've heard of it". And anyway, do we really want to go and live in Livingston? I mean, I know I'm no angel, but I don't think I deserve to live in Livingston... !

As for me, a chap from a recruitment firm phoned on Monday, he wants to set me up a telephone interview with a company in Yorkshire. Crikey, a telephone interview. Err...

Not sure how I feel about it all. I am homesick and want to go home, but I have been shifting all the "responsibility" onto Hubby. He's the one applying for all the jobs, I just stuck my CV on a job website to see what would happen... Also, I am (mostly) happy in my job. He is miserable in his. But I have minimal career progression possibilities. He could be earning big bucks and being a high-flying senior engineer.

Sometimes having to make grown up decisions and choices is hard. I wish I could just ask Mum.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

I'm really pretty useless you know...

That lovely girl Despina has been inspiring us all with tales of her summer in Prague, and has been duly recognised for the entertaining way she shares it all with us. And strange as it may seem, she has rather kindly picked out little tubby old still young-ish me for a:

Bless her darling little heart.

So, according to the rules, here are five blogs I think are worthy of some shameless patting-on-the-back and general congratulations. Here goes:


Jo is most definitely a charity blogger. She has even published a book of poetry, with all profits donated to Cancer Research.

Zhu in Canada definitely qualifies for Creative. I mean, just look at her blog. I love it, it's so distinctive and, well, creative.
Also, Ghosty's blog has such a neat look. Only a creative mind could have thought that up! Plus he once wrote a poem/song using the subject lines from the spam in his inbox. I think that is the most creative thing anyone has ever done with spam.

Jane easily qualifies for this one. And I'm especially well-placed to decide on this because I'm lucky enough to know her in real life(TM). And she's a great wee lassie.

Just go to Rachel's blog to find out why she so very much deserves this!

So there!

ooosh!!

My nephew, who let's face it is the cutest, dearest and cleverest nephew around, is at the age of the rapidly expanding vocabulary. Obviously even he is not at the stage of fully formed sentences, but he babbles away with his many words. Just the other day, as Bro was reading him a story, he pointed eagerly at the picture of a camel and declared "mamal". Bro thought, naturally, crikey what a clever lad. "Yes, that's right, the camel is a mammal. Clever boy." To which super nephew replied "camal". Oh well, thought Bro, maybe not got a child prodigy on our hands just yet...

Another favourite word is "puppy". Rest assured his auntie Lis will be putting all her energies into teaching him his first sentence, thus: "I want a...".

But the best word of all is "ooosh", which he repeats enthusiastically, whilst pointing at his feet and holding his shoes... Awwwww.

"Pedal faster", she said

And I thought "I'm going as fast as I can here!". And she said "Turn the resistance up further!" And I thought, "no flippin' chance, my thighs are protesting enough as it is!".

So yesterday I finally remembered the way to the gym and even persuaded Hubby to join me for RPM (you may know it as spinning). It is over a year since I last did any serious sport, and my little legs pedalled and pedalled and my little heart pumped and pumped. And today my little bum is saddle sore. Hubby said he really enjoyed it but I think this is more to do with the lithe and sculpted fitness instructor than the actual cardio workout. I could be wrong...

So anyway, feeling quite pleased with myself as I'm finally getting myself organised and back into a fitness regime. And quite honestly, while RPM makes you all hot and sweaty and feeling like you might just drop dead off the bike, suddenly it's all over and you're doing nice stretching exercises to warm down. And you also observe that everyone else is looking hot and sweaty, even the girl with the perfectly toned derriere and that guy who looks like he's a Tour de France pro racer with his enormous musclely thighs and calves. Yes, OK, they probably turned the resistance up all the way, but never mind. It's not like step where you're the only one who can't get the routine right and are constantly two steps behind everyone else. In fact, I quite like RPM. Maybe I will succeed in saying au revoir to my disgraceful pot-belly by the end of the year... Wish me luck.