Monthly Archives: September 2006

Halo, I love you (won’t you tell me your name)

master chiefThis is a geek bulletin.

First, if you were excited by the news that Peter Jackson is all over the Halo film, you will be encouraged and all-a-tremble reading both his thoughts and the director's on the path they're taking.

decepticonSecond, the TRANSFORMERS posters are starting to appear in cinemas. The known facts about the film are being collated. The bad news is that like Star Wars ep 1, the kiddies (and more specifically Hasbro, the toy manufacturers) are looking like the top priority. Aging, dysfunctional Gen 1 fans like myself will likely be copiously pished over.

Remember: this is not really Optimus, and neither is this (though it is hilarious).

a tale of two visas

dollarIn working terms, I've been riding the Clockwork Logic horse for over two years, and it's been very successful. Remember when we picked the company name? Ah, memories. OK, the business cards got more distribution in bars and at parties than in corporate settings, but networking for girls is still networking.

So I got paid silly money. I was able to take months off at a time and invest it all in memories, banter and far-flung friends. I got worried about IR35 like everyone else; then learned to forget about it like everyone else. I revelled in the absence of performance review and SMART objectives.

big appleThe recent Tokyo trip to visit Danieru was genuinely life changing though: my mind was made up to go somewhere else. And as of July this looked like it was really going to happen: my current investment-bank employers stepped up with a fantastic offer of a permanent job in New York. Bona fide, right there, ready to go.

The only problem: US immigration. There are two visas I am eligible for, and neither is available in my case until late 2007. Go straight to Glasgow, do not pass GO, do not collect any dollars at all. The opportunity right there, and I am unable to take it and finally kill Caitlin with alcohol abuse.

So putting thoughts of hawt dawgs from my mind, the next best thing (well, apart from Tokyo) was a job in London. And today – after months of negotiation – I finally got a final offer that I'm happy with. I'm going permanent with Friendly Investment Bank PLC, at a relatively high level, to do my stuff. I start in October, and should be daan saaf certainly by December.

Recommendations for places to not get shot live and drink and eat all welcome.

little bit of politics

So Bush's 9/11 speech was as politically cynical as feared. I'm in frank amazement that a new low point was reached – the invocation of Godwin's Law instantly renders the whole rhetoric worthless.

Keith Olbermann gets expressively upset about it.

With regard to the admission of US torture, this was interesting as the most coherent I've seen Bush, actually talking off the top of his head. Repetitive and evasive but almost like a politician. Most world leaders don't appear to be inches away from punching the interviewer though. Look how intensely he threatens the interviewer's family with terrorist death. The government's message of fear in microcosm.

If you haven't watched Ze Frank yet it's worth picking up an unrepresentatively sober snippet on this topic.

For a final dose of rationality, go watch Jonathan Miller put together the History of Disbelief and the Atheist Tapes – no torrenting required.

don’t talk to me I’m quiet in the morning

A tough 4.45am start. Taxi driver persists in breaking the Headphones Rule – I do not feel in the slightest bit chatty. I am flying to Southampton. Yes I am coming back Monday. Shut your lonely taxi driving face.

A layer of cold mist hangs chest height over the fields. Thankful not to be a hunter-gatherer, shivering and dreaming of fat rabbits. Sun is only a threat under the horizon. Hedgerows in dark tones fade in grey steps further away, just like they taught you in Art.

Into the airport for belt and shoes off, no beep from the metal detector but the over-perfumed security guy frisks me for laughs. A quick finger run round the inside of the waistband, interesting. Somehow get through unsodomised.

The coffee gets working and the shufflepixie in the iPod demonstrates an excellent mood. The stewardess puts the batteries in our primitive aeroplane and I’m off again.

From high in the air, the mists lying in valleys below look like spider webs in the morning dew. Vast spider webs tended by slow spider gods with legs a mile long.

Morning sunlight on the rivers below like slivers of spilled gold.

eno in the morning

So the London interview probably could not have gone better. As Stu points out, it’s essential to maximise the pre-interview banter to get your talkbox in gear. Some leftfield questions were thrown in but I was on form and whacked them all back.
I should hear back with the final offer this week. The end of Clockwork Logic? Maybe for now.

Post-work, couple of London Pride ales in the sun outside Blackfriars amid the screeching scooters and sewage breeze.

The hotel looks over the Thames, very pretty in the morning. In the hotel lobby they are piping in a soothing abstract loop, a Brian Eno opiate for suited men. Concierge in a top hat. Off to my future office.

Cjupdate

If anyone is interested in my current work project, there is a documentary on our architect on BBC2 this Sunday.  I, for one, cannae wait, as I already feel like I know the guy personally. I also get fiercely defensive of him.

Sounds like there will be some vintage demolition footage, followed by a more positive reappraisal of the architect's other buildings.

Bring on the Brutalist revival!

stupdate

I’ve been incredibly neglectful of this page recently and this is something I shall try and rectify. Reasons for this could be lack of web connection at home (fucking wireless networks) or maybe lack of time in work – a seconded colleague means extra responsibility coming my way along with eager, inquisitive eyes of more senior colleagues who are interested to see how yours truly fares. The word promotion has been mentioned here and there so wish me luck as I struggle to decide whether or not it is actually time to grow up and accept I’m no longer a young whippersnapper with idealistic hopes and dreams of not having to bust my ass working for The Man.

In other, more exciting, not-working-for-The-Man related news, I recently undertook my first ever rock and roll tour of Scotland with the mighty Dripkock and our lovely pals Attic Lights. This deserves its own post so I shall endeavour to throw something together along with incriminating pics. Watch this space.

stuck in the morning with you

Today I travel to London for a ‘workshop’ (management-speak for ‘overlong meeting’) and HR interview for a permanent job. The flight is at a punishing 06.15.

I climb into the 04.15 shower with darkness outside the window for the first time in months. Again I have remembered the shave gel but not the razor. I attempt brushing my teeth (the Nat Strategy) and rinse under the shower head. Quite effective.
My eyes sting badly in the water, simply from lack of sleep. I think of Mr Brown in Reservoir Dogs:
“I’m blind…”
“You’re not blind – you’ve got blood in your eyes.”

I climb into the sullen 04.30 taxi and the radio is playing Stuck In The Middle With You. Paranoid schizophrenics love this kind of thing.

Coffee into sleeping stomach at the airport and The Empire Strikes Back on headphones. Don’t attempt 05.45 banter with colleagues and discussing SEDA architecture even less likely.

An important day though, will update later.

summer ends with artillery

This morning feels cooler. The wind blew the ivy outside my open window with a constant rushing last night, bringing good lucid dreams. It's an amazing feeling: to be in awe of the impossible things happening (speeding in escape from sinister helicopters, clinging desperately with injured hands to a tiny floating machine), and with enough of your higher function awake to be astonished at the complexity and detail the mind can conjure with no input. Metadreaming can be awe-inspiring, and often terrifying.

The sky above Haymarket is glowing cotton smeared regular over blue, indistinct. Exactly like someone has gone enthusiastic with Deluxe Paint IV on an old Amiga.

The same glow is evident in that Salvador Dali painting of Jesus, a print of which hung prominently in our house and oversaw our childhood. I finally saw the real thing on Saturday in Kelvingrove Museum. I was impressed. You fully expect stilted elephants to come stalking over the horizon in the background. I suspect that is not part of the Scripture.

A small boy asks his dad who is in the painting. "That's Jesus, son" he replies, with only a trace of unease.

After that was Indian Summer, to see The Fall riffing incoherently into the damp air. The Yeah x 3s still invigorate but were to my eyes trying valiantly to amuse themselves after over-touring: the drummer eschewing the use of one arm completely for the challenge; the singer frantically working through her props as though each might lend energy.

I also felt the old frustration of a student budget in the absence of ATMs: "we can either have two more drinks or something to eat", with 6 hours to go.

Sunday saw a Spanish film (Volver, a Penelope Cruz-fest) and the festival-end fireworks ("the castle pishing sparks"). A good weekend.