Archive for February, 2011

February! You here already? Uh. Bye…

Yeah, everything’s kinda got into a rush. I’m technically working on a write-up of the Wedding for that blog, but I got stalled by Christmas. Betimes, everything around here is looking very snazzy and new! (Unless you’re reading this by RSS, in which case it probably looks about the same as normal).

I’m trying to work out what’s been keeping me so busy since the wedding, but I’m actually not sure.

I’m trying to work out what’s been keeping me so busy since the wedding, but I’m actually not sure. I’ve given over a bundle of evenings lately to training with the Red Cross, who run a Fire and Emergency Support Service – basically the old Secret Society coupled to Ghostbusters; we get summonsed by Firemen in the middle of the night, and turn out in an awesome little mobile home van to make tea and provide clothing and such to people whose houses have caught on fire. I’m finally through the basic paperwork and things, so I get to start shadowing people now (assuming there’s a shout on a day when I’m on the rota, leastways). More information on them here, if you’re interested.

As a side effect, I’ve been poking about on the Internet in a bid to find a ringtone which is liable to wake me in the event I do get summonsed by a Fireman at 3am, and have given myself no end of heebie-jeebies by learning about the HANDEL system.

For example, I have discovered that there were three kinds of Alert that might be given out in or during a nuclear attack: Attack Warning Red (a wavering alarm on the system) All Clear Attack Warning White (a 30 second steady blast on the alarm) and Fall Out Warning Attack Warning Black (Three blasts on a whistle, or gong, or similar, presumably because by the time you need to warn about actual fall out, there’s damn all else left). Creepy. Not Vault 106 creepy, I guess, but still pretty creepy.

Work is pretty frantic at the moment because one of my colleagues is about to vanish away to South Africa for an extended holiday, and various system migrations have been giving us periodic bursts of forced downtime, which has nominally reduced the amount of work we can do (I say nominally, because what I actually mean is it’s reduced the time we can throw at the main profiling side of things; we’ve still been able to run reports and go on weeding expeditions to dig out books that have hidden themselves away. It’s often more frustrating, but I like it when you finally run something to earth: last week I found a 60 page playscript that had gleefully snuck itself underneath a 250-page cased hardback atlas on one of the rearmost shelves in the warehouse. If someone could train sniffer dogs to distinguish by ISBN, they’d make a fortune…).

I’ve also begun learning German – right now I can only really say things like ‘Das is keine kartoffel! Das is ein Fernseher,’ and ‘Der Apfel ist dort,’ but it’s a marked improvement on my previous vocabulary, which was pretty much ‘Anschluss’, ‘Waffenstillstand’, and ‘I.G. Farben’, with a side helping of ‘Ich bin ein Berliner‘ once we got that far through the syllabus (although, now I come to think of it, I.G. Farben was an A-level thing), which leaves me wondering what German kids pick up in the way of course-related vocab.

In order to get to German more effectively, I’ve started cycling again, and am quite enjoying it. Actually I even managed to enjoy it on Friday, when Isis went in for a service, and to get new tyres. I did a bit of calculation and worked out that all things being equal, I could cycle to work in less time that it would take on the bus (Doy. Buses are an appaling way to get around Oxford. Having dropped the car off for a service on Thursday I had to catch a bus home from German, and had just about bought a ticket and sat down in the ammount of time it would have taken me to cycle home. Surprisingly I didn’t miss the delay so much as the actual ride; apparently I didn’t so much stop enjoying biking as cease to have the time to manage it).

I figured that even over a distance of six miles, biking to work would be fairly simple, because Oxford is made entirely out of Flat Bits, but it turns out there’s actually a fairly drawn-out slope between Marston & the Headington Roundabout, which really wore me out. It was better on the way back, though, because I went past a lorry stuck in the queue for the Roundabout traffic lights, and then went past him again when I’d both finally crossed the roundabout, and my cycle path had rejoined the side of the ring-road. I am not sure he liked that very much, because after I’d gone past him the second time, he seemed to drop down a gear and floor it, but there we go. I’d actually forgotten how much fun it is to cycle downhill very fast, but I recommend it. Um.

Oh, yes, and this blog got hammered with spam recently. Started out as a couple of comments a day which I had to come and mark as spam manually, and then it peaked at around 60 comments in three minutes, at which point I got hopping mad with it, and managed to lure Dan into doing some general update work, as a result of which, everything’s looking rather snazzy. A few stray bits of wobbly formatting on old posts, but I don’t mind that much. And I rather like the top photo, which is a view from the Wrekin over towards Wales, which is always nice.

So, yeah. There’s a very brief overview of everything I could think of. More coherent updates ideally arriving in the not-too-distant future…