D4D

Swearing is the literary crutch of the inarticulate motherfucker

Bellwether

In a conversation the other day about driving – and motorway driving in particular – I was told I was too callous and calculating. I’m not sure this is true, but I’m interested…

 

So.  When I’m driving motorways, and even more so at night, I usually let someone else go in front who’s driving faster than I am, and let them be the testing point for whether there are any active speed cameras or unmarked police cars around.

My theory is that if [Other Driver] blats past a camera and it flashes (or a car that then turns out to have concealed flashing lights on/in it) then that’s their problem rather than mine. And it gives me time to slow down before getting to the camera myself.

I was told that’s callous and calculating. I think it makes sense.

Surely I’m not the only driver that does this?

Spam Tendencies

One of my geekier interests (and there’s a long list, I know) is that I find it interesting what sort of subjects are used by spammers in their efforts to get people to click on their ropy emails/links.

I’ve got one email account that gets spammed rotten, and I look through it on occasion when I’ve nothing better to do.

In this case, I had a look on Saturday evening, while my brain was somewhat comatose, and found that the following seem to be currently popular…

  1. “You’ve been accepted onto this year’s ‘Who’s Who’ listings – click here to verify your details’ (appealing to the vanity of the vacuous who’ve done fuck-all)
  2. Working from home  (no surprise there)
  3. ‘Super-low’ mortgage rates (again, no real surprise)
  4. And some weird shit about ‘this 57 year-old man cured Diabetes/Alzheimers/Cancer’ which I don’t quite get.

Of course there’s plenty of others, but I’d guesstimate that those four account for about 60% of the shit I receive on any given day…

Signs of Progress

Last week, I had a couple of indicators that things are definitely in a recovery pattern for me again. (And not just that contract offer a month before the current one expires)  This year’s been pretty up-and-down, albeit with more ‘down’ than was feasible or expected, so it’s good that it appears to be closing off on a period of much-needed ‘up’.

The first real thing has been the ability/desire to get out a bit over the last month or so. As already blogged, I’ve been off to Felixstowe and Brighton, as well as two London concerts. That’s a massive improvement over a lot of the year already.

Next was the MK Geek Night last Thursday. I’ve been going to this now for a couple of years, but this year had a couple of wobbles – one where I didn’t want to go because of Too Many People, and one where I was simply too busy/overworked to go (although that one also had the potential for Too Many People as well as A Couple Of People I Really Didn’t Want To See)   Me being me, I usually get myself a bit stressed about it due to the whole lots-of-people thing anyway, but those couple of times this year it felt pretty insurmountable.

However, this time it didn’t worry me at all – just turned up with some other friends, and all was good. That, I think, was the real ‘lightbulb moment’, that showed me I was doing better now than I have been in a while. Indeed, I even commented on it to one of the friends while we were there.  Definitely A Good Thing.

And finally, I’ve started writing again. There’s a couple of ideas on the burners, and as yet I’m not sure if they’ll actually go through to completion – but they’re being written, which is another major sign of things being better.

So yes, it’s all a bit positive.  Of course, the pessimist side of me is now just waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to mess up a bit, but that’s par for the course – and I’m not hiding away or sheltering and trying to avoid the shoe when/if it does drop, I’m getting on with things in the meantime.

Busy Week

Updates have been a bit sparse this week because it’s been chaotic round here.

Monday was working on-site with my current client, and also the phone interview for the new contract

The rest of the week’s been working from home, but has also involved

  • Tuesday : Organising life stuff, doing some shopping, and all that kind of tat
  • Wednesday : Getting notified about the new contract, and doing a conference call with another client
  • Thursday : Signing the new contract, starting to sort out a business bank account, and a bundle of other paperwork. Also, out in the evening for a geeky social event in Milton Keynes
  • Today : Chasing up the poxy GP about blood-test results and the like

This weekend’s busy too – off tomorrow to see War of the Worlds at the O2, and Sunday I’ll be taking dad to see the final Hobbit film.

So yes, fairly busy all round. Kind of scary, really.

 

Progress for 2015

For the first time in a very long time, I seem to be pretty organised work-wise and well into 2015. It’s quite a scary concept.

My current contract runs through ’til Friday January 9th, which is all well and good. I’ve got a lot still to do, but it’ll keep me out of trouble for the foreseeable.

And now as of today, I’ve got a new contract that starts on Monday January 12th – still a month away! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever secured a contract this far in advance before – it’s all a bit weird.

Basically, I got contacted about this new one by an agency, and it sounded ideal. I let them know my timescales – normally, waiting five weeks for a contractor is a definite no-no. But in this case it looks like that worked out fine for them.

I had the phone interview on Monday, and all went well. Heard back today, and the paperwork is all coming through. Based up in Leicestershire, but (as with the current one) it’s going to involve primarily working from home, so that’s not too bad.

Of course, if the current contract wants to extend then it’s going to get awkward/interesting, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to sort things out in that eventuality.

Anyway, it’s all a bit weird, and a bit organised. I’m taking that (for the moment) as a positive indicator for the coming year…

Brighton Images

On Sunday, I trolled off down to Brighton for the day. I haven’t been there in years – the last time was a flying visit five years ago for an interview, and before that it had been a number of years too – but realised it’s just about the same distance as Felixstowe is (they’re both a two-hour drive time) to get to, so what the hell.

I don’t know Brighton as well as I should, and so having a wander around was also appealing. It’s on the list of ‘places I could re-locate to at some point’, so seemed like a worthwhile explore – and I was right on that score.

Being December, it was pretty blowy and chilly – although less cold than a December Sunday would suggest – but that’s never bothered me all that much. I lived by the South Coast for a couple of years before, and have no real issue with cold. That was the flat where the freezer shut off because it was colder outside the freezer than inside it, and where more than once I woke up with frost on the top of the duvet. Sunday, by comparison, was almost summery.

Brighton Beach

As it turned out, the weather made it ideal for what I actually wanted – waves, and the sound of the sea on shingle beach. Walking along one of the groynes/piers (not one of the Proper Piers, but the little jutty-out ones) was a joy, just for getting out to be where the waves were hitting the beach.

Brighton Waves

And then the sun came out, and it was even better…

Sunlight hits Brighton

All told, I think it’s a place I’m going to go back to a lot more in the coming year. It’s an easy run, and I think I could really get to quite like the place.

There’s others still on the list too – something I’ll be writing about at some point this month, I’m sure – but yeah, Brighton is definitely now more of a destination, and pretty high on the possibility levels too.

Two Hours

Over the last couple of weekends, I’ve looked (again) at just where I can get to in a two hour drive from home.  As has been said before, I live between Milton Keynes and Bedford, so I’m sat right between two decent North/South access roads (The M1 and A1) as well as vaguely decent cross-country connections with the A428 towards the West, and the A14 to the East.

What this means is that a two-hour drive covers one heck of a lot of the country, and I decided to have a look at just how far (via use of Google Maps, and their route predictions) I could get in each direction.

Two hours North takes me up to Sheffield, and South gets me to Brighton. That’s a total distance of 225 miles top to bottom.

Two hours West gets me to Bristol, and East gets me right across to Felixstowe and Aldeburgh – roughly 234 miles in total.

The area within that circle comes out as roughly 43,000 square miles (if my maths about area in circles is correct) or 111,000km², which in terms of the UK is just under half the area of the UK as a whole (going by CIA’s Worldbook figure of 243,610km²)

Not bad, all things considered…

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