September 2003

Back to school

by Suw on September 30, 2003

This given to me by a mate who reads the Mirror (I never touch the filth, myself):

Pet groomer Glenda Johnson, 42, is learning Welsh so dogs in Llangybi, Carmarthenshire, can understand her commands.

Seems ludicrous until you remember the case of the farmer who bought a load of French dairy cows and then had to hire a French cowherd because they couldn't understand English.

I know for sure that Fflwff is multilingual – she can ignore me in pretty much any language I choose.

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Celeb infiltration continues

by Suw on September 30, 2003

Last night it was Bill Gates. Eurgh. He was a computing professor at the university I was studying at, and I liked him…

My subconscious is just winding me up on purpose now.

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Somebody, please, just give me a damn job

by Suw on September 30, 2003

Looking for jobs again this morning. Still not finding anything at all. So far I've had not even so much as a snifter of interest from any agent – they all keep telling me that the market's quiet, and what am I doing in Dorset if I want work up north?

Towards the end of last week I nagged one agent about a specific role I'd hoped they'd put me forward for – a project management job in Leeds which I think I could have done with my eyes shut, both hands tied behind my back, standing on my head in the corner of the room humming the Marseillaise. I was told, however, that my CV wasn't 'strong enough' and that although I was willing (nay, eager) to relocate, they still thought I was living in the wrong place so wouldn't be bothering to put my CV forward to the client anyway.

This whole process is soul-destroying. I've now spoken to 25 different agencies, not one of whom has had anything even vaguely encouraging to say. Every time I do ring up about a specific job, I find that I'm just one key skill short (usually 'Prince 2 Certification'). It's like continually sticking your head above the parapet just to have some bugger put an arrow through your hat each and every time.

Part of me wants to take a risk, to just get on a train and go up north and bang on people's doors until someone gives me a job. Of course, I have no money for the train fare, nowhere to live once I get up there, and a little voice in my head that says, 'For sake of the little fishes, you're supposed to be finding a way to make your life easier, not making it harder. Just bloody wait.'

I've never been patient, though. It's one of my more endearing traits. I want action, and I want it now. Sod the cost.

But I keep telling myself to wait, that something will come up eventually, that this whole poxy situation will get sorted out in the end. Just keep looking, keep applying and at some point someone will look at my CV, think 'Wow, this girl's exactly who we need in our company!', and things will all pan out ok.

Someone please tell me that's true.

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Limited Edition T-Shirt

by Suw on September 30, 2003

Book of Kells Dog t-shirt, sweatshirts and hoodies.
From ?15.50.

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From five to one

by Suw on September 30, 2003

Upon closer inspection, four of those jobs I printed out turned out to be actually the same job, just advertised by different agencies and using slightly different descriptions. I wish they wouldn't do that. Still, it's a job I can do with both hands tied behind my back, standing in the corner… ok, you get the picture. I've applied and we'll see what happens.

The fifth required a knowledge of web back ends that I don't have, so a non-starter really.

But anyway, that's one job applied for and one new agency contacted. Not so bad.

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Recently I noticed on Friendster that my network of people appeared to include a Rather Famous Musician (although he seems to have gone now). I was linked to this person by one of my friends, who had written a testimonial for said musician, so I'm pretty certain it was him. I found myself bemused to be so close, cyberly anyway, to this particular person as he is someone I admire immensely. Despite, or perhaps because of, that admiration, I doubt very much that I would ever have contacted him if he'd stayed around, even though it would have been easy to send him a little message.

This particular musician has in the past, though, turned up on his own messageboard in order to dispel rumours. When he did, the debate raged long and hard as to whether it was really him or not, although sadly he didn't stick around long enough to enter into any sort of real conversation.

Another Rather Famous Musician, Frank Black, recently had similar problems verifying his own identity on his own messageboard, as this great post on Idle Words recounts. (Via the rather wonderful Tom Coates.)

Btw, I now have 45,424 people in my Friendster network. That's slightly scary.

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Well, just sitting on the platform at Arundel station, waiting for the train to Chichester and the beginning of my journey back to the deepest, darkest depths of Dorset. It's been a lovely weekend, full of not very much except a little shopping, a little fixing of computers and a lot of Robin of Sherwood.

I did astound myself on Saturday by buying a Christmas present for a member of my family. What I bought and for whom shall remain unstated in this blog, just in case, but I almost went into anaphylactic shock when I realised what I'd done – I never buy Christmas presents early. I'm usually still shopping on Christmas Eve, and if I actually send my cards out before New Year's Eve then I consider it a job well done. Needless to say, I feel that this sudden hiccough of organisation is seriously letting the side down.

I just pray I'm not turning into my mother.

It's been another gloriously sunny weekend so a walk around the waterfowl centre here seemed like an astonishingly good idea, once we'd brunched at Swanborne Lodge. I now have a new favourite duck. I'm particularly fond of ducks for some reason and my favourite has always been the gaudily over-dressed Carolina duck. But the Common Scoter – basically the Neil Gaiman of the duck world, dressed as it is in the very blackest of blacks – is now definitely my new favourite. Ok, so technically a scoter isn’t a duck, I suppose, but where’s the joy in splitting feathers?

One day when I grow up, I want a house with a big pond with lots of ducks, three of which shall be called Peking, Crispy and Fried.

I'm now sitting at Chichester, waiting for the train to Southampton. It's 15 mins late.

Kate asked me to give her a hand putting a new CD/DVD drive into her computer, something I've done recently with my own. I told her it was easy, but I can understand her trepidation as regards actually opening up one’s own computer and rummaging around inside when one doesn’t really feel like one knows what one is doing.

I could tell she's never actually been inside her own computer as we couldn't get one of side panels off, so I couldn't remove her old CD drive. No problem, thought I, I'll just slot it in to the spare rack. Except her computer is so old that the fascia is just a touch too narrow to slot the CD drive snugly in. Instead it protrudes a little, and she'll have to be careful not to tip the box forward lest the whole thing slide out.

Other than that little problem, the whole thing went without a hitch and I gave Kate a guided tour of her puter whilst we had it open so that she know what each bit is (other than 'old and fucked').

Often when I get together with Kate we huddle in front her tv and sneakily watch old Duran Duran videos in the hope that Steve won't come in and take the piss out of us. This weekend, we watched old episodes of Robin of Sherwood instead, with the rather lovely Michael Praed and the an awful lot younger, thinner and cuter Ray Winstone.

I don't think I've seen many episodes since 84-86 when they first aired, apart possibly from one or two back at uni in the early 90s. Having recently watched seminal mid-80s eco-political thriller Edge of Darkness with the late Bob Peck (about which I blogged here, here and here) I was at least prepared for the difference in pace between 80s tv and the stuff I'm currently used to. I was also prepared for the sound track, as I used to be quite a major Clannad fan and can probably still hum pretty much the entire album.

What I really wasn't prepared for was how much I'd enjoy myself watching Robin beat the crap out of the incompetent Sir Guy of Gisburne (sic), humiliate Robert, High Sheriff of Nottingham and generally ponce his way through the forest as if he owns the place. And all this, despite Praed's dubious acting skills (if that's not an overstatement).

Looking at it a bit less romantically, (when I was 13 I really, really wanted to be Marion, dresses, curly hair and all. Especially the curly hair. I blame her for all those awful perms, myself), and with a little more knowledge of screenwriting, it's again interesting to note the slow, quiet scenes, ones with no incidental music at all, which would either be cut from TV today or swamped by the score. Episodes seem to have more changes of pace, more dynamic, fewer soundbites, more 'white space', as it were.

I shall have to get a hold of some of these episodes and do a compare and contrast with Buffy.

The other notable event this weekend was the comprehensive infiltration of my subconscious by various celebrities. I don’t know what the hell they're all doing in my dreams, but I wish they'd bring some friends and stay around for a bit longer.

Since Thursday I have had two dreams featuring James Marsters (one including Buffy and Willow although technically James was always James and not Spike); two including Johnny Depp who spoke with a French accent and told me that I was a good actress and how he loved the two films I'd been, in particularly the scene where I nearly drowned in that lake (please, no interpretations of that one – I think it's clear enough!); one cameo by Neil Gaiman which sadly I cannot remember in detail; and this morning's really very cute dream in which Alan Davies, who was working in an art shop where I had gone with Kate to buy paintbrushes, rather nervously asked me out on a date.

I'm not sure why I should suddenly find my subconscious crammed with celebs, but usually when my dreams become so vivid and detailed, it indicates that I'm sleeping too much. The more I sleep, the more dreams I remember – the ones I have between about 5am and waking are the more detailed and vivid and, obviously, the ones I'm most likely to remember.

Southampton Central now. Next train also about 15 mins late.

You know, I really should have spent this journey working on SP2 instead of writing this blog entry, but well, you know me and procrastination. Despite the fact that I have a whole load of ideas for scenes to add in, none of which will be particularly difficult to write, it seems like too much of an effort to work on it right now. I think it's just the hassle of writing them on the Velo, then having to cut and paste them into the right place and making sure all the scene headings are consistent and all that.

I'm a lazy bint at times, really I am.

But that said, writing this now means less to write later which means I can just get on with the SP. I'm not going to make my end of September self-imposed deadline for finishing the first draft. At least I have the good excuse that I have had other things to deal with and research to finish up first, but once next week is over, (I'm off to New York for a few days next week, thanks to the generosity of my family and Virgin Atlantic employee friends. It will be the first time I'll have left the country since 1992), I shall have no excuses.

First draft of SP2 will be completed within the next four weeks. Let’s say I’ll have it done by Samhain, 31 Oct. That’s a good, strong deadline.

Another thing I need to do, which I haven't been doing since things started to go arse up with the business, is get my beautiful Takamine out and start playing again. Kate has her guitar, left-handed like mine, on a stand in her tiny office so I couldn't help but pick it up and have a fiddle with it. I was disappointed, but unsurprised, to discover that I couldn't remember much at all of what I used to play.

My callouses are, of course, long gone, so I foresee much pain in my immediate future. In fact, my fingertips are a little tender now from the twenty minutes I spent plucking random chords last night. I did eventually trawl up from the depths of my memory a couple of songs – Elliott Smith's Rose Parade (sans twiddly bits) and Duran Duran's The Chauffeur. Although I did mangle both pretty much beyond recognition.

Well, that’s it for this blog entry. I’m on a slow train, stopping at almost every station between Scumpton (I wonder how long it will take for Southampton to become either Scumpton or Soton on the maps) and Bournemouth. I think I shall spend the rest of the journey reading Story by Robert McKee, kindly loaned to me by V. Good read so far, I'm much enjoying it.

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Slow blogness

by Suw on September 29, 2003

Just FYI, if you've been finding CnV a bit slow lately, it's cos Blog-City are doing updates. They should have them done by 14 Oct, so please bear with them til then.

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Finding Nemo… Nemo Found

by Suw on September 26, 2003

I steal so much from Jonathan at A Final Analysis. This time, I'll just send you his way instead of appropriating his post as my own…

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New limited edition t-shirt now available!

by Suw on September 26, 2003

I'm happy to say that Chesney the Dog won the poll and that now I have available in my online shop a range of limited edition t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts for you to order featuring Chesney's lovely image. We take credit and debit cards, as well as cheques, and will ship anywhere. Order now to ensure you get one!

(Note: we promise not to charge your card or cash your cheque until your order is despatched.)

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Off for the weekend

September 26, 2003

No more blogging now til Monday when I get back. Btw, yesterday was fantastic – Chris Sheldon's just a lovely guy and had lots of really interesting things to say. I spent most of our two hours meeting in stitches. The guy sure knows how to tell an anecdote! Whiled away the rest of the […]

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Many a true word spoken in anagrams

September 25, 2003

Discovered the Internet Anagram Server today. Apparently, my little blog here is a DATA CHOKED VOLCANO, which is interesting as I myself am an ASTRACHAN MAGMA NURSER. Well, that explains it then.

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Tom Coates nails the David Blaine thing

September 24, 2003

Why do the Brits hate Blaine? Let Tom tell you because I really couldn't have put it better myself.

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MSN to close all chat rooms

September 24, 2003

The BBC and The Guardian report on MSN’s decision to close all their UK chat rooms from 14 October because they are being used by porn spammers and paedophiles. Chat rooms in the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and most of Asia are also for the chop. Rooms elsewhere will remain open […]

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On the job front

September 24, 2003

I sent my CV off to another eight agencies today, one of which actually had a job for me to apply for – a web project manager position in Leeds which would do me quite nicely. So fingers crossed. I am, however, a teensy bit worried – most of the agents I’ve spoken to have […]

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