sawyl: (A self portrait)
While I appreciate that R3 have to trail their programmes, I can't help but feel they're guilty of overuse and lack of variety. A couple of weeks ago, it felt like every single trail spot was used to tout an upcoming performance of Rusalka in Opera on Three; while this week, it feels like we've had nothing but trailers for the Uproots Festival in Hull.

As I say, I can understand the logic of it, especially for expensive outside broadcast recordings or big on-off events where they obviously want to maximise the audience. But the sheer lack of variety hasn't worked for me: by the time the programme eventually comes round, I've become so inured to the snippets of music included in the advert that I have no interest in listening to the thing itself...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Got out of bed on the wrong side this morning, with a general grouchiness that precipitated into full-on grumpiness as the day progressed.

I was less than delighted when someone managed to obliterate part of my stuff — my production stuff — by accidentally copying over it. In fairness, it was at least partially my fault for not fulling synchronising things, but I'd naively assumed they were going to confirm the changes rather than simply overwrite everything with another copy. But no. And of course I got to be the one to clean things up when we discovered what had happened...

After struggling through the day without losing my temper, I went home early, pottered around and went for a run mid-evening. I'd hoped that a nice, easy 10K in the warm evening sun would do the trick and set me back on an even keel. But no. It was a horror from the start. I discovered that it was windy, I found that my reserves were still low after the weekend, and the entire run felt like a massive slog.

I decided to truncate the route rather than push myself for the full distance, arriving home after what felt like a total disaster. But when I checked the distance I got a pleasant surprise: I'd actually managed to sustain something very close to my best 5K pace, despite suffering for every single second of it.

Turning to R for sympathy, I got some practical advice instead: go to bed early, increase my intake of tea and cake over the next few days, and things should start to look up...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
It's been a few weeks coming but I finally had a mini-meltdown after being dragged off to yet another meeting just when I was in the middle of chasing down yet another urgent problem for someone, arriving to find that it was only being held to discuss the non-events of a test the previous day and that a couple of the key people involved either hadn't come or hadn't even been invited.

At which point my patience finally wore thin.

Instead of opening with platitudes, I started by complaining that while the rest of them might not have anything better to do than sit around for an hour and discuss something that had worked, I had a thousand things on my to-do this, that this meeting was thing a thousand and one, and I really didn't have time for it, not least because the rest of my week was slowly being eaten up by meetings. Then, when someone tried to make light of it, I said that while they might think I was joking I really wasn't and while I might not have a thousand things to do, I probably had at least a couple of hundred on the my list.

After a few moments of somewhat shocked silence — although by my normal outside-work standards, it was so mild as to barely qualify — the person in the chair decided that discretion was the better part of valour and, after a cursory few minutes of conversation for the honour of the flag, they wound the meeting up after five minutes and we all went back to what we were doing. Which, in my case, was trying to work being interrupted; this time by people now wanting to check whether I was OK after my minor lapse in temper...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Pretty miserable day all things considered: I was still very tired despite not getting in to work until the shocking late hour of 7:45 and the rest of the day, while relatively productive, dragged very heavily; I managed to pick precisely the wrong time to go home, got very wet and cold waiting for the bus, only to end up sitting uncomfortably close to a rather fragrant group of individuals. All of which, combined with some bad news from elsewhere, left me so out of sorts there was nothing for it but to go to bed early with a book, in the hope that things will be better tomorrow...

A mea culpa

Aug. 7th, 2012 08:37 pm
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Feeling oppressed by the urgent OS upgrade I've been working on, I was distinctly snippy with one of my colleagues this morning. Unprofessionally, I ran out of patience after being interrupted for the hundreth time with a trivial query that could easy have been solved with a bit of independent thought — it's my curse that people find it easier to outsource their thinking to me rather than doing it themselves — especially after they excused themselves from thinking by saying that they didn't have time — because, of course, I have nothing but time on my hands, don't I? So I snapped back,

I can't believe you're asking me this now! You've had six months to work on it and suddenly you want me to drop everything and sort it out! If you can't get it done before you go away, just tell me what you want done and I'll do it!

I apologised almost as soon as I'd had a chance to take a deep breath, but still. I shouldn't have done it and wouldn't have done it had I not been in the middle of a complicated and stressful bit of work that absolutely has to be finished and working by the end of the week.

sawyl: (Default)
When your work largely of a series of tasks that require intellectual engagement, imagination and prolonged concentration, a calm and quiet working environment is a real help. What isn't a real help is a group of workmen trying to haul a huge mains power cable up three floors with nothing but muscle power and a very loud chant to aid them. But perhaps I should be grateful they weren't singing Haul Away Joe...
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When the Guardian ran their April Fools piece last week, I found myself complaining to my father that, so flaky has the Graun been over the last year or so, it wasn't much of spoof, so similar was it to some of their genuine articles. So today's editorial on Martin Rees and the Templeton prize, a piece so bad it would embarrass a Sixth Form philosophy student, might be disappointing but it isn't exactly surprising.

Detailed complaints )

Perhaps I'm being unnecessarily grumpy. I don't agree the basic premise, but that's fine. I don't expect to agree with the Guardian's editorial pieces. I do, however, expect them to at aspire to cogency and properly reasoned argument otherwise I might as well be reading the Mail...

sawyl: (Default)
Dear newspapers. I know it's hard coming up with new recipes week in and week out. And I know Shrove Tuesday is nigh. But do all your cookery contributors have to use their columns to tell us how to make pancakes? (OK, I know Dan Lepard didn't, but that's because he is made of awesome).
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This is a total doosey: God botherers of all demonimations are claiming to be offended by the Atheist bus adverts. According to Stephen Green of Christian voice, the statement that, "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life", fails because:

"It is given as a statement of fact and that means it must be capable of substantiation if it is not to break the rules.

"There is plenty of evidence for God, from people's personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world.

"But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it."

Um, proof of God's existence? Proof good enough to convince the Advertising Standards Authority? Really? On the basis of his two examples — personal experience and the tedious argument from design — I suspect he's going to struggle. And so to do the British Humanist Association. Their response to the complain seems to be "bring it on, baby!":

Hanne Stinson, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association, which launched the campaign, said she "pitied the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of god's existence. However, if they do investigate we will be very happy to respond".

But what really intrigues me about the whole religious complaint is the idea that it might be possible for me to complain when I next spot an odious religious advert on public transport. I'll admit that I hadn't thought of doing so until now because, y'know, free speech and all that, so instead I've taken to glowering in irritation at banners that tell me I need to accept a religious truth — in the two thousand years since Pilate posed his question, we still haven't got a decent answer, or at least, one that might convince the ASA, so I think I've probably got pretty strong grounds — but, inspired by the religious lobby, I think that, next time I find myself offended, I might just fire off an email complaining about the rudeness of it all. After all, you never know what might happen...

sawyl: (Default)
I've wasted the bulk of my day after spilling coffee on my computer keyboard. After the initial mop up failed, I left things to dry and went to a security seminar — which turned out to be surprisingly good, despite a thirty minute adjournment when the PC in the lecture theatre went for a burton. When I got back things still weren't working so I reluctantly ordered a replacement from the desktop people and in a mere three and a half hours, it turned up. Talk about totally not speedy.

So, instead of doing anything productive, I spent most of my afternoon reading philosophy, waiting for my new 'board to arrive. And when it did arrive, I discovered that it sucked — the blips on the home keys aren't big enough; the action isn't clicky enough; the keyboard is too light so it slips around; and the space-bar protrudes, so that the front isn't straight, which means that it doesn't sit up against my wrist rest properly.

Bah. Maybe the time has finally come to buy myself a decent ergonomic keyboard...
sawyl: (Default)
Today's Graun featured a coruscating article by Tom Hodgkinson detailing the evils of Facebook and the neocon libertarian agenda of its owners. The piece concluded with a rousing call to reconnect with the real world: may decide to send genius investor Thiel all your money, and certainly you'll be waiting impatiently for the public flotation of the unstoppable Facebook.

Or you might reflect that you don't really want to be part of this heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic, where your own self and your relationships with your friends are converted into commodites on sale to giant global brands. You may decide that you don't want to be part of this takeover bid for the world.

For my own part, I am going to retreat from the whole thing, remain as unplugged as possible, and spend the time I save by not going on Facebook doing something useful, such as reading books. Why would I want to waste my time on Facebook when I still haven't read Keats' Endymion? And when there are seeds to be sown in my own back yard? I don't want to retreat from nature, I want to reconnect with it.

Amen! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go, for my copy of Endymion is sitting ready and waiting to be read...

sawyl: (Default)
Didn't have a terribly good swim today. The pool was full of people trying to work off their Christmas excesses and, because the children's lessons had restarted, one of the lanes had been closed off making the place doubly crowded. Perhaps, for 2008, I should resolve to take some lessons to improve my rather hopeless crawl to the point where I'm not intimidated by the prospect of swimming lanes with the rest of the people who swim serious crawl. Hmm...
sawyl: (Default)
Despite my misgivings, our works outing, held jointly with the iron mongers, passed off tolerable, thanks to some clever seating arrangements. High points: not being outstandingly rude to anyone; quoting Clausewitz; and escaping before half past four. Low points: neurotic, retentive planning; and pretty much everything else.
sawyl: (Default)
Never mind a DNA database that holds the genetic fingerprint of every human being in the UK, what we need is a database of canine DNA. That way, the police would be able to track down the errant dog owners who allow their pets to crap all over the pavement and crucify them. The whole system would be funded, Brazil style, by selling off the offender's possessions because, let's face it, they're not going to need them after they've spent a few hours nailed to a cross.

Phew. Now that I've got that off my chest, I'm off to clean my shoes...
sawyl: (Default)
Walking through the Guildhall Centre today, I noticed some people putting up something that looked depressingly like Christmas lights. With more than two months to go. How awful.
sawyl: (Default)
I'm beginning to remember why I didn't bother to catch The Return of the King when it first came out: too little Schopenhauer, too few Nietzschean nitwits who enjoy setting bears on their surrogate fathers, a shortage of valkyries and no incest whatsoever. What's with that? Couldn't just one of the principles have managed to impregnate his own sister so that the child can marry his own aunt. I mean. They're just not plausible as characters...
sawyl: (Default)
Tonight's edition of Front Row featured Andy Kershaw on scathing form, reviewing A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. Appalled at the effrontery of some of the covers and the pretentiousness of the liner notes, he said that some of the featured who couldn't sing and that some of the associated comments were bollocks.

The whole thing had me on tenterhooks — I kept expecting Andy K to succumb to a fury induced aneurysm live on air. In the end, thanks no doubt to an iron constitution, he managed to make it to end of the interview without dying of indignation. What a relief.
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Today I noticed a flyer for internal presentation which was said to be being given by the secretariat team. How exactly can that be? Surely the fact that both secretariat and team are collective nouns renders the statement totally tautological.

Gosh, I'm feeling grumpy and green-ink-tastic...
sawyl: (Default)
For the next six days, Radio 3 are running something called the Tchaikovsky Experience, not something that augurs well for someone who's not at all fussed on his music. It's not all bad though: they've decided to leaven the interminable Pyotr Illyich with some Stravinsky, but even so I'm not sure I can be bothered to try and split the wheat from the chaff.
sawyl: (Default)
Today's Guardian featured a pretty funny article by Emma Brockes on the dangerous uncoolness of loving musical songs. My favourite moment? Being interogated by Lemmy during an interview:

He sipped his bourbon. "Oklahoma!?"
"South Pacific?"
"The Sound Of Music?"
"Sort of."
Lemmy looked at me, a long, hard look. "You deserve to be nailed to the fucking cross."

I also like the idea of using lines from Mary Poppins as a game of top trumps, if only because it's the sort of stupid thing my sister and I did, and, being honest, still do given half a chance.


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