Monday, September 29, 2008

Portsmouth this last weekend

My word, how remiss of me. It's taken until September for me to post again. Oh well, I can only apologise for me tardiness.

TBQH - to be quite honest (I'm trying to popularise this as an internet abbreviation!), one of the reasons for my long absence from blogging has been due to my previous employer's obsessions with secrecy. Let's put it this way, there are people I've formerly worked with who didn't dare to even post *where* they worked, and there were rumblings as to whether the NDAs we'd signed actually allowed us to belong to Apple-related groups on Facebook. All of this while being treated as quasi-retail employees. People were fired for lesser things than discussing their jobs on the internet, I can tell you!

Well, although I'm sad to no longer be employed directly by one of my life-long-loves, I am delighted to be still doing many of the same things (and many more) in my new role as SysAdmin for the London Knowledge Lab. It's a very different environment, where I'm predominantly here to support academics coming on and off a corporate network, but I'm learning a lot, and people are friendly and respectful here, and it is quite relaxed. I'm also managed by a really good guy from whom I'm sure I'll learn a lot. This is a breath of fresh air.

Having worked for just over a year in each of my last two jobs, I'm very much intending to stay here for the long haul.

The title and original reason that I wanted to write this post was following a fantastic DIY all-dayer put on by L Morgan and the other guys who do Southsea DIY shows at the Fawcett Inn in Southsea, Portsmouth. At this one, we played with Beat the Red Light, Gramercy Riffs, OK Pilot and a host of other really awesome bands. But what really moved me to write was just how much there was a sense of that independent DIY punk spirit which is so often talked about but too-rarely seen. Many different bands playing many styles of music but each with a common thread of musical and ethical non-conformity. One of the best days I've had in an age, and I very much look forward to the next one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

... and eight

Ooh, first post of the year.

Life's been carrying on in a fairly stable way since I last wrote. We haven't yet exchanged contracts for our house, but that should happen in the next month, all being well.

If there's one thing I would say, it's that I'm pretty warn out. In its own way this is a really good thing. I get to work hard five days a week doing something that I enjoy, and I'm usually also able to see the fruits of my labour. I get job satisfaction from what I do at work, and therefore I don't mind feeling exhausted at the end of the week. If there's a particular downside, it's I seem to spend such an inordinate amount of time dealing with computers that I'm sometimes reluctant to use them much at home. However, I am finding the cataloguing features of both Delicious Library (for books, DVDs, games) and Yep (for my pdfs of various receipts, software serial numbers etc) valuable, in that they make my life a little more organised.

Organisation: that brings me back to some realisations I've reached over the last couple of months. I happened to be visiting Winchester on a day off in later November, and spotted someone who I used to work with - she was about to get onto the train I've disembarked from. Now, this woman worked in the admin office for the Hampshire CC building I used to work in, and was always a pleasant, positive force in the workplace. Nonetheless. when I saw her at the station, I had no desire to go over and say 'hello', and it was this that led me to realise just how much I'd hated working there. Here was a very helpful and genuine person whom I'd spoken to on many an occasion, but by association I couldn't bear to say hello. This failing was all mine, but it did help me to put my year of local authority work into some perspective. It wasn't the right environment for me, and the nature of the organisational structure meant that it was hard to do anything well, and more importantly I wasn't in a position to make any meaningful decisions at all. I've come to realise over time that not earning as much as you'd like is one thing, but not being able to gain any sense of satisfaction through what you do, or having the necessary support and tools to perform your job is quite another proposition. I'm lucky to have escaped that now.

Part 2

Well, I return to writing this post, having been off work ill for a couple of weeks after injuring my head while at work. It's been an interesting period - never before have I had a head injury and never before have I seriously worried about the repercussions of an injury. Broken arms are one thing, but broken heads are quite another. You know, my brain is really quite important to me! I went to see a really good neurologist last week. He was really from the old school and I was reassured by his thoroughness and interest in the symptoms I've been experiencing. I'm going for an MRI this week too.

The whole house-buying process has dragged on. We're not there yet, but should be in situ at some point during March, God-willing. Ooh, and another Psyche Out / Action and Action tour late March. Two big things to look forward to.

Will post again soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 07 update

Again, lots of things have happened since I last put blogging fingers to keys! Naomi and I are close to buying a house in Basingstoke (aka Amazingstoke, Basingjoke, Basinggrad), which is exciting - and we should be able to buy a nice house for our money there.

On top of that, I'm still loving my job even though it's busy and the late shifts wear me out. Incidentally, I'm posting this from N's iPhone.

[.... this post ended up being short, but I had lots of other things I'd intended to write, so thought I'd add them on now, while I have a bit more time to write]

edit - - so, by now we have actually had an offer accepted on this lovely place

The location is beautiful, and it's going to be a stretch affording it, but y'know, it's going to be great.

On top of that, there were 2 other things that I thought to myself that I must blog sometime.

1) that I had a conversation with Naomi where we were trying to think of who Jesus would consort with in the modern age (the equivalent of tax collectors, prostitutes etc). I suggested people who put wheelclamps on cars and those people who try to force you to take the free newspapers at rush hour in London.

2) It was raining so hard last night that it _rang_ our doorbell! Twice!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hella update

So much to write about. I got an admonishment from my good friend Richard Dixon, now in California, for failing to update my blog in months, though in my defence I've been sans ADSL at home since June, and I rarely find time to use the internet at work nowadays.

Enough excuses. Well, it's been a great few months. The big day was splendid, and really exceeded my expectations in every way. I've yet to update the site with pictures, audio recordings etc, but promise to do so as soon as we have broadband at home again. Yes, I know, another promise! Until then, there are lots of wedding pictures of Facebook, if you use that.

In other news, I'm really enjoying my new-ish job. There are lots of good people here, and the work interests me. Exactly what I've been looking for for a while. Things have become a bit complex for Naomi in terms of her department, but I'm sure they'll settle down in due course.

Lots of exciting things over the next few months, including starting to look for a house to buy. Promise I'll post again soon.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Split 7 Inch

Collides with 7 inch

This is the first occasion on which I've felt inclined to post a picture in this blog for ages - actually, since I got locked out of my flickr account when Yahoo bought flickr and I had to create a Yahoo account to use it, which I promptly forgot!

Anyway, with a little fanfare, here's our new split with The Psyche Out Musikland Big Band. I'm really very pleased with how the record turned out, after a few hiccups and delays caused by the Czech pressing people the record itself came out really well, and Dave did a sterling job on the artwork. The Psyche Out song is absolutely brilliant - certainly the catchiest thing they've recorded yet with some impressively technical guitar playing.

The pressing is on heavyweight, and I mean, heavyweight vinyl. Each record is hand-numbered and has a slip inside so you can claim 320kpbs LAME-encoded mp3s of the same tracks. We're all about bridging that digital/analogue divide.

The idea is that this will be the first of a split 7 inch series, so we designed the packaging in such a way as to be extensible to additional releases by changing the colour scheme and the image on the front. There are a few bands who we've encountered in the last year who we'd love to put out on the label in our first non-Actions release, and let's face it, it'll be a lot easier to boast about how good something is once it's not (partly) our own music. Exciting plans ahead.

If you're interested in purchasing one of the 300 copies made, we're selling them for a mere for £3, so drop me an email to (firstname)dot(surname) and we'll sort out paypal.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Did it

Good news to report. I've landed a job with a certain computer company of which I'm a lifelong devotee, and will be starting in 4 weeks. This also works out well, as it'll allow me to tie up various loose ends in my current job. I'm really looking forward to the new job, though!

What does complicate matters slightly is that the work will be in London, so Naomi and I are going to have to look into moving somewhere closer to London, so I can get in for those all-important early shifts. We're thinking of Guildford or Woking, as they offer the right commuting options in both the directions. We also have a decision to make as to whether we move my stuff/Naomi's stuff before or after the wedding in July! Still, these are trivial problems in the bigger picture.

Wedding arrangements are occupying an increasing amount of my time now, though Naomi has done a lot of the hard work already. That reminds me that I need to finish that wedding web site.

The main thing to report is that life's pretty good, and things are falling into place. We're also looking towards the next tour with Action and Action in the autumn. Get in.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tick ... tick

Well, it's been a month since I last blogged. Slack.

Job-wise things are still up in the air. It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, actually. I need to find the right thing, and I need to find it soon!

The tour was wonderful fun, and I think it'll be easier to organise the next one, now that I have the experience of having done it once. We're already talking to a couple of other bands in preparation. Psyche Out were tremendous on the tour, and constantly raised the bar on themselves. They're undoubtedly one of my favourite bands, and it was an absolute joy to hear them over the course of the 8 days. I think we were pretty good too. I think touring with a band you're friends with helps you to become resilient and pull off a decent performance wherever you are, and whatever the odds. That's what I had hoped for, and I think it worked out well. I'm not sure which was the best of the gigs overall, but I enjoyed the last night a lot, playing in the cramped basement of Law's house in Portsmouth. The noise abatement people wrote to him last week.

I've watched a few good films recently, too. Apart from missing Inland Empire when it was on in Southampton, Chris VS lent me his DVD of Pan's Labyrinthe, which I thought was solid, and I've also watched both of the Exorcist prequels (one of which was far more coherent and well-realised than the other).

There's lots going on for me at the moment in terms of the wedding, obviously. We ordered the designed our invitations last week, and ordered them today, and I'm also working on a simple iWeb site to answer any detailed questions people will have.

More news soon.