Decisions, decisions ...

Tonight I'm headed down to my parents' to have a look at a pair of cars.

An astonishingly cheap '03, 2 litre MG ZS which has barely ever been driven.

Or an apparently gorgeous, very much reduced, XJR that was apparently once owned by Jeff Banks and has had a very nice custom finish to it.

I'm looking forward to a bit of a spin around ...
  • Current Music
    Take Me! by The Wedding Present

What shall I get, my pretties?

Ok, so, having decided not to go with the flash, expensive car this year, I need to choose something to tide me over from giving back the company car to buying something nice in a year or two.

There's not a lot of criteria, but I'm looking for inspiration/stupid suggestions.

So, the criteria:
  • should cost a couple of grand
  • 4 (or 5) seats. Real seats only - I put the kids in the back as often as not.
  • fun to drive
  • not stupidly expensive to insure
  • er, that's it

It's barely ever going to be used (I shall be cycling to the station when I switch jobs), so it doesn't have to be terribly fuel efficient. I'd rather not need a second mortgage to drive more than a hundred miles or so, though, so not too thirsty. I have a contact in the trade who's at auctions once or twice a week, so I'll be choosing a model, price and feature set, then waiting for the call to come and pay for it.

So, what should I be looking for?

  • Current Music
    Free Nelson Mandela by Special A.K.A.

I'm outta here ...

Notice handed in this morning. Last day is the day before I take Viki to Kenya for her birthday present.

I haven't (fully) made a decision yet: agent is currently negotiating on my behalf. I'm out of holiday though, so I had to quit today or get into sticky negotiations to try and get away for Viki's birthday. This is cool as far as I'm concerned - I wanted to quit nearly two weeks ago, once it was clear I'd get a job. A few days (or weeks) lounging around between jobs suits me fine ..

Boss is being very cool, we'll see how HR handle things.

ETA: Negotiations shifted nothing. I wasn't sure I even wanted to try, the offers were generous enough, but shy bairns get nae sweets, and all that. I've accepted the UBS offer, which I was always going to do, until I spoke to my sister last night, and she nearly talked me into taking the GS job.
  • Current Music
    This Cowboy Song by Sting


Finally got the official call from my agent this morning. Offers are in from UBS and Goldman Sachs. Helpfully they've offered roughly the same. UBS is more cash, GS has better benefits, but they're close enough that I can make the decision purely on which job I want to do more, rather than being influenced by the money.

I shall spend the weekend obsessing over the decision, make my mind up, tell the agent, then spend the next six months second guessing myself, if history is anything to go by. Still, I'm confident I'll enjoy either job, so maybe this time I won't fall into self doubt (I know, even I don't believe it).

Made a hard decision yesterday. Obviously the company car is going back, and I have a invite from Mazda to buy a brand new car for £99 over cost (with interest free credit) before they close on Sunday. I so badly want a shiny new RX 8, it was torture, but I bought Viki a new car in December, and I probably can't afford the repayments on a car I've been waiting 6 years for. Yet. I shall probably end up picking up a scrappy little runabout to tide me over for a year or so. My salary is about to go up, but so are my out goings ...

Oh, and:


  • Current Music
    On My Radio by The Selecter

What, a meme?!

Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.

* No captions. It must be like we're speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.

* They must ALREADY be on your hard drive - no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you've saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.

* You do NOT have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don't want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you want to.

Collapse )


Wife and sprogs are away for the week (at her parents), so I've been making the most of it. Went out to the eXtreme Tuesday Club on Tuesday (after a couple of job interviews in the city). Met some cool people, had some good chats, including one chap who might we want to offer me a job. Must get round to sending him my CV.

Last night I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Edgar Wright is a fucking genius. If you like comics or video games, just go. If you don't, go anyway, you just won't like it quite as much.

So why oops? Two reasons:

Yesterday I went to an interview with a cool company (Empora) in Notting Hill. A day early. Yes, a day early. They didn't seem to mind, and it all went well, they want me to meet the directors for drinks some time, so no harm done, but I did feel a bit of a muppet. In my defence, I had told the agent Thrusday and he'd said Thursday (I'm sure), even if the email confirmation had the 27th. Besides, I couldn't have done this afternoon, as I'm in two other interviews this afternoon.

This morning I was having a proper buzz. Overslept til 9.00, but working from home for the morning with the afternoon off, so no harm done really. Mumford and Sons blasting out of the PC, I skipped (yes, skipped, did I mention I'm feeling pretty good this week?) into the kitchen to fry up some sausages for breakfast. Grabbed the frying pan off the cooker, as it needed washing after I used it last night and twirled my way across the kitchen to the sink. Then wandered what the funny noise behind me was, and glanced down at the pan with a sinking feeling. It was now dirty and empty, but last night I'd put some water in while it was still hot to lift some of the cooked on muck. Turned round and yup, dirty, greasy, sausagy water was now dripping down all the units.

For those of you not following on twitter, this afternoon's interviews are at Goldman Sachs and UBS, and if I understand correctly, both are final interviews. By this time next week, I'm expecting to have two job offers to select from, although I'll take one, as it makes deciding easier. If I'm wrong, well, there's the chap I met at XTC ...
  • Current Music
    Mumford & Sons: After the Storm

Busman's holiday

For some bizarre reason, I appear to be writing software for odyssey. It's odd, really, cos I'm pretty sure I normally do that sort of thing during daylight hours, and get paid for it ...

After having an appallingly unproductive night last night, where everything looked like shit, so instead I wasted it pissing about on oxfordgirl's live journal, I had some overnight inspiration, a 30 minute burst of productivity while waiting for my performance test to run at work, and an evening of quiet progress.

kneeshooter has seen the static mocks (now nearly complete) and appears not to hate them. The backend is mostly done (apart from the bit where he just massively changed how something worked - probably my misinterpretation, but there's some nasty implications to handle in my code). Converting the static mocks to ones which are plumbed in to the backend should take me an evening. Migrating from my working schema to whatever the hell Matt wrote will take another evening, unless it's completely batshit crazy, which it might be, but he's better at databases than me, so I shall suck it up.

All of which means I should have the arena management software (and tribute collection as a result) done with ample time to spare.

Unfortunately, it also means that the chances of me implementing even the slightest bit of Vince's (he has a livejournal account, but I can't remember it or be arsed to look it up) World Forge software are at best minimal. Still, it's his own fault for making it stupidly complex. Plus he's already coded it in Excel, so what does he need a real, working, sensible, integrated with the database solution for anyway?

For some reason, steve_c refused my kind offer to let him write the web pages for me. He seemed quite blunt about it ...

Oh, and speaking of getting paid, I appear to have a job interview at Goldman Sachs next week. Not the most ethically sound thing I've ever done, but I really need to get out of this shit hole, and I could use the experience I'll undoubtedly get there (and the money).
  • Current Music
    the pitter patter of the rain

Why do I play this stupid game?

I seem to have hurt myself playing cricket again. This time I dug my heel in hard trying not to crash into the umpire scoring the winning run off the last ball, so at least it was with good cause. Problem is my heel hurts a lot. Sufficiently enough that I've been considering whether or not I ought to pop into the hospital for an X ray. It doesn't hurt when there's no pressure on it, but when I stand on it, it seems about as painful as it was when I fractured my ankle, many years ago.

I am a muppet.

In other news, I've started the technical blog I've been meaning to start for about 6 months. The first post is here. It is technical. If you have no interest in seeing code, you may want to give it a miss, although I will no doubt talk about process at some point. I chose blogspot because it seemed fairly convenient, I already had a google id, and it isn't hideously ugly. I picked Gist for the code because it's far and away the best option, short of formatting it yourself, which I'm far too lazy to do ...
  • Current Mood
    sore sore

(no subject)

Last night I couldn't sleep, my brain was fizzing with things I was considering writing here, so it seem somewhat inevitable that, having the time now to compose something, it appears to be mostly blank.

Given that, I thought I'd hurl a question out into LJ land. I've been meaning to start up a technical blog for some time now. I do a lot of thinking about coding, development practices, the software craftsmanship movement and all that shit, so I feel I ought to inflict my opinions on the world in a fashion slightly more coherent than twitter. This Livejournal account seems singularly unsuited for such musings, so I ask you, people out there in LJ land, what would you consider a sensible way to go about this?

I could, of course, pick some blogging software and host it myself, but I don't feel terribly inclined that way. So, given the technical nature of what I'm planning to write, what service do you recommend? Do you read technical blogs? If so, which ones do you like, and why? Which ones make reading code extracts pleasant?

In other news, the Thoughtworks job having come to nothing (they decided that I was of a particular level. That level did not pay what I need to cover the mortgage, so they didn't offer me a job at all, but did encourage me to come back when I was better), I've kicked the job hunting up a gear. It's still not exactly what you may well call a massive effort, but my CV is out there in front of a few agents, and has had a nibble or two. If you are or know anybody looking for a senior Technical Architect/Java Dev that's commutable from Bedford, please drop me a note.
  • Current Music
    Sanctified by Nine Inch Nails

Just whining, Skip it and read something more interesting

This evening I head of to Maelstrom. This should be a good thing.

Except last night I completely knackered my knee playing cricket. It's swollen up quite nicely. Painful enough when I sit completely still, moving is more painful. In fact, it's painful enough to blot out the pain from my elbow, which appears to be lacking nearly all the skin one would normally expect to see there.

Plus my right hand man is sick enough that he may not be able to come at all: queue more crawling around on the floor trying to fix computers than usual. With a knackered knee.

And I haven't cleaned the mud off my boots from the last event yet, let alone oiled them so I can expect a small measure of waterproofness.

And I forgot to stop by the brewery yesterday and pick up a barrel of beer.

And I forgot to go to the pharmacy yesterday, to stock up on chemical weapons for my ongoing war with the flora of this fine country. A war which I note that they appear to be winning this morning.

We didn't even win. I didn't even stop the ball in question.

I am a tit sometimes ...
  • Current Mood
    self indulgent