D4D

Life Jim, but not as we know it.

Moving On

At the same time as I’m deciding on staying put domestically, it’s definitely time to move on again workwise.

I’ve handed in my notice, so now I’m going to be looking seriously. Who knows where/what I’ll be doing, but it’s for certain that a change is going to come. It can’t come soon enough.

Staying Put

In other news, it’s the time of year again where I renew (or not) the tenancy agreement on my current place. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here two and a half years now, but that’s how long it’s been. Time flies when you’re having fun, and all that.

As always, I do some thinking when this comes round, deciding what I want to do, where I want to be, all that tat.

I know that at some point I will want to be moving on, going somewhere new, doing all that stuff again. But the time for that isn’t now. In some ways I really do want to move on, but the time isn’t right, and I don’t know where I want to be. So this’ll do for the time being.

I’m signing up for another year. By then, I’ll most likely have decided what’s next. Or I might stay another year. I don’t know. There’s lots can change in that time.

By the time of the next renewal, this will have been the longest I’ve been any one place in a very long time. And yet I don’t feel settled – and I don’t quite know why. I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point.

Speeding Up

Over the last few months, I’ve had some significant issues with my broadband and phoneline – most of which are still unresolved, due to BT’s insistence on blaming the customer rather than the infrastructure.  Some of the issues have been down to the distance I am from my ‘local’ exchange – right on the border of even being able to have broadband at all.

This week, though, BT have finally activated their fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) product, Infinity, on my exchange. It’s been “in the process” since March, with promised date after promised date, but it’s finally here.  And I’ve signed up to it.

The difference promises to be stunning – a 75-78mbps connection, instead of my current 2 (on a good day)  That’d be worth it on its own.  Hopefully there’ll also be improved stability – if it’s as dodgy as my current connection, I’m going to be having serious words with the shysters at BT. And happily, it’s not going to cost me much more. On current evidence (and I’ll wait for the first bills to know for sure) it also won’t cost me much more – by my reckoning, less than £10 a month extra.

I hope it’s worth it.

Publicity

Over the last few weeks, there’s been a whole load of stuff talked about IS (AKA Islamic State, Isal, or ISIS) – both stuff about hostages held by IS (and the killing thereof) as well as politicians saying how people who go to fight for IS in Syria and the like are just Wrong.

Maybe I’m missing something, but surely if you don’t want people to go and fight for IS etc., there’s a few things that could be done ?

  1. Don’t keep feeding them the oxygen of publicity. The more they’re mentioned, the more they’re talked about and covered in the media, the more they’ll be seen as an attractive option by those of a certain persuasion / defective nature.
  2. If you feel they have to be publicised, you do the same as happened to the IRA, where no spokesman was allowed to be broadcast, any statement was done by an actor’s voice, so on and so forth.
  3. And make sure you don’t show anything but disgust for them. Fuck impartiality, allow presenters etc. to show what they think. Make it clear, say “The terrorist organisation IS has done this, but that’s the most we’ll say about it”.

If you take away the glamour of the organisation, stop feeding them airtime and headlines, they’ll stop being popular.

Of course, the other thing that can be done is to stop focussing on, and alienating, those sectors of the populace, making them feel that the country is against them.

As an example of that, I’ve a colleague who happens to have the surname Ahmed. He flies a lot for the company at the moment, and has been told – in no uncertain terms – “Oh, your name makes sure you’ll never be on the accelerated access programme to get back into the UK”.  That’s a completely law-abiding, tax-paying, UK-resident, UK-born person, who now feels more victimised than he has any right to.

But of course as a nation, we’re not letting terrorists win.  Riiiight.

Peaceful

Today at work was likely to be pretty nightmarish – lots going on that the existing codebase was never written to handle, and which has been hacked and kicked into place by Yours Truly.

Thankfully, it’s all gone pretty smoothly – far, far better than I was expecting it to in some ways.

Mainly though, the reduction in stress levels has been more about the fact I had the office to myself all day, leaving me to get on with stuff without constant distractions and inane conversations.

So while it’s good that the day’s gone well and so on, I can’t help but think it’s probably not a good sign that most of the reason for that was about not having my colleagues around…

10km

Over the weekend, I took part in a 10km (6 mile) walk to raise funds for Marie Curie cancer care.  They’d done it as an evening thing, round a local(ish) stately home.  In my case, that meant Boughton House, near Kettering in Northamptonshire.

As it was, I just fancied doing it – it seemed like a fun alternative to the whole ‘fun run’ (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) and just something I wanted to do, so I signed up ages back, and did some (very minimal) fundraising with friends via Facebook.  I raised enough to be able to do the walk, so there we go.

In the meantime, life conspired to make sure I had no practice or ‘training’ whatsoever – with the icing on the cake being the fact that my decent walking boots fell apart the night before the walk. Ain’t life grand?  Still, it wasn’t a major issue – I walk everywhere in boots anyway, so sod it, just use my everyday ones. At least I know I won’t get blisters!

Fortunately, Saturday evening was dry – the limit of my preparation was a vaguely waterproof jacket (well, more fleece than anything) but by halfway round I was sweating like a perv in a playground, so it got taken off and carried the rest of the way.

I wasn’t really in the mood to be sociable, so didn’t actually speak to anyone else on the walk. Chatted briefly to some of the marshals, but nothing else. I was doing it more for the walk, the fundraising, and just to be doing it – plus plenty of time for thinking/planning, of which more another time.  I could’ve strangled a few people – particularly the dog-walkers, with their extendy-leads that conspire to try and trip people at every opportunity – but for once I was fairly mellow. Mind you, one of ‘em nearly ended up with a boot up the arse.

All told, I did the 10km in 1hr 50 mins, which I was really quite pleased with. It wasn’t super-quick, but at the same time I was also surprised by how many people took a lot longer to do it. It wasn’t competitive: no names, numbers, or times, but it was still interesting. I didn’t set out to be first, or to do a blistering time, but managed to end up in the first third of finishers, if not the first quarter. Which surprised me, but anyway.

And then just the drive home. I could’ve stayed for some kind of concert and fireworks, but again, I wasn’t really in the mood.

More importantly, I was quite chuffed that I’d done it, and while my feet were sore afterwards there’s been no lasting pain, blisters, or anything. All told – and bearing in mind how little preparation I’d managed to do – it went pretty damn well.

Who knows, I might even do it again next year. After all, I’ve a time (and financial) target to beat now…

Scottish Independence

In a few day’s time, Scotland will be voting on whether they should become independent from the United Kingdom.

Personally, I don’t give much of a damn either way on this one, if I’m honest.

However, I do think it would be a more interesting referendum if it had been a UK-wide question, rather than asked just to the Scots.

Anyway – regardless of the outcome, what I hope is that there is a clear and large margin between the Yes and No votes.  I don’t want to see it being 49 to 51 or whatever – because then it’ll just end up with more fighting, that the people who are in that ‘minority’ (that’s still just under half, and thus makes for one heck of a lot of people) feel they’re being forced by the other half to do what they don’t want to.

If it’s a 75 to 25 in either direction – maybe even a 60/40 split then it’s harder to argue the toss at all.

Mind you, the cynic in me really wants to see it split 50/50, and see what happens then.

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