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Wednesday, August 9

Down Time

Sometimes I blog because I feel I ought to, sometimes it's because I need to. At the moment, I'm having a bit of down time, and blethering about doing nothing seems to have taken a back seat. However, this computer looks like it's going to be busy on my behalf for a few minutes, so there's time to look back on the week so far and ahead to what's happening soon.

Work is proving a bit of a challenge at the moment. My last day before going away is Thursday and I have to leave something of a positive legacy for the 6 working days I'm absent. During my absence they're going to try to deliver the work we've been working on for the last 5 weeks, and I don't want to mess it up. However, I've fallen behind in what I'm doing and this hasn't been helped by the fact that the company I work for has been bought out by a company which was then, itself, bought out. We've been having plenty of "don't worry, everything will be ok" meetings. These take time and, though useful, have contributed to my latency.

I'm not worried about the future of the company I work for. It's now the 10th largest software company in the world - surely I'm in a better position than ever. However, despite a rosy big picture, the little picture - i.e. what's going wrong on my machine at the moment, must be sorted.

Another matter that needed to be sorted was the tyres on my car. I have spent a lot of money since I bought that car and it's an interesting lesson. Should I have spent a couple of grand more on an equivalent car from a dealer, and expected it to start out in better condition? or would that actually have been a placebo and led to a similar number of problems and a sense that I'd wasted the money? No idea. However, I've been driving on tyres, two of which I knew had had multiple puncture repairs on them. In addition, for the last 4000 miles or so, I've been on tyres which the servicing people said needed replacing - all of them.

So, I gritted my teeth, took my 10% discount card, and went to Mr Kwik Fit, who has the advantage of being local to where I work. I was offered 4 Pirelli tyres at £300. I asked if they were the cheapest. I was told that they were "the cheapest named brand" and "the best discount". Then I asked if there were a cheaper tyre and was offered four Arrowspeed tyres at £230. The secret is in how to ask the question. Having established that my 10% discount would work with any offer they gave me, the question was which make to buy.

Given that I spend a lot of time in that car at ridiculous speeds and in occasionally ridiculous road conditions, and given that I have a long journey coming up, I decided not to save £40 on tyres and regret it. The Pirellis were duly fitted. It says a lot about your car, when they can't even recommend one of the tyres you've been using as a spare... however, the spare was so crap, ANYTHING would have been better. It's a tradition that the spare wheel have an inflated tyre on it, apparently.

It's all very well swanning off to Edinburgh this week for the largest period of time I'll have taken off work so far. To date, there have been two half days and I'm about to go away for 6 working days. However, I'm not taking my girlfriend with me (her choice) and we have needed to plan our annual holiday for some time. There's an advantage in doing it "last minute" but not that last minute.

The holiday is now booked. We're going to Kenya. Two weeks. Sorted.

Once you've started getting into Lost, the TV series, it's difficult to stop. Well, it is for me. With mountains of intentionally odd backplot, plenty of pointless questions, easy to spot character journeys and occasionally subtle directing, it's a real grab bag of enjoyment. With the entirety of series one on DVD to watch, there's been plenty of time devoted to the series this week. I can watch 7 a night if I'm not trying too hard. They're written tightly enough that the 40 minutes you get when the adverts are removed pass rapidly.

It's Wednesday mid-morning. On Friday morning, I'm driving to Farnborough to pick up a mate and drive us both to the Edinburgh Fringe. It's going to be a mother of a long journey, but it will be worth it. Between now and then I have to pack, ironing quite a lot of clothes.

I've been keeping a toe dipped in the water of the Fringe by reading reviews and trying to work out what I want to see. I've left it too late to see Bill Bailey - shame. I'll catch him on tour and it will probably be a more polished show as a result... but still...

I'm looking forward to the festival, though I'll miss my girlfriend while I'm away. We've not been apart for more than a few hours all year.


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