On Monday evening I waited until kissycat1000 had taken Jordan for a drive and then tried to show her how to encode a DVD into DivX.. not sure how much she took in as she was so tired. She even fell asleep before I finished encoding the short snippet that Jordan likes from the Cats and Dogs DVD..
Tuesday I mulched around and then got dropped at the train station by kissycat1000 to get the train into London for the project meeting. kissycat1000 had lent me a book called Slugs to read.. I can't remember the whole of the author's name. It was a horror book which is not my usual style. It was quite a short book - easily finished on the train there and back. Was mildly disappointed by the book - quite formulaic (and predictable) and didn't go into much depth with the characters (well it was short). The writer obviously got a kick out of sex scenes where the couple die gruesomely, often in quite violating ways. Still, it helped pass the time on the train which was good.
I was a bit worried about going up to London because I have basically not done any of the work I should have been doing (mainly the XML presentation) due to lack of motivation. Luckily I didn't get asked about it, and slipped in that I had found it very hard to work at the moment due to lack of motivation on a number of counts - but I should get on and do it soon before they start asking about it. Which I will do - sometime.
Anyway the highlight of that day for me was an old friend from my college days getting back in touch with me - he also knows cryx and may well be getting a journal on here. What's more, he may be coming to Alton Towers with some friends of his, and I'm hoping he'll make it for the motorbike ride I'm planning (more details on that later). Also hope he'll be able to make it to Bristol sometime soon so he can see his brother who lives here and also to catch up with me and do geeky stuff and possibly ride bikes too :)
I checked the balance of my account and was rather startled to discover I had more money than when I last checked! It turns out the refund from the car insurance went in, which was nice.
Soo, the project meeting. Well, they're stopping the internal charge code for the CofE project that I'm on so that people who don't have work are properly off-charge as in a divisional overhead.. mixed feelings about that but understand the reasoning - ie. crap market conditions and no work. Still at least we're free to persue projects at normal charge rates which will make things easier. Apparently the project is not being disbanded just changing slightly - we're still supposed to do all the mentoring and stuff behind the scenes. We've been told that if we act more like consultants we'll get the time away from normal project work to do all the other stuff alongside it - well, we'll see when the time comes aye?
Two senior people were at the meeting, including Isobel Voyles the HR Director of Telecoms Division. Isobel imposed herself as usual. I plucked up the courage to ask about team cohesiveness and staff retention and she went off on one about training and that we should look to take the place of the people that have left. She didn't answer my question and managed to make me feel like an idiot (as per usual) which annoyed the hell out of me.
Went to the pub afterwards with just Nitin, Dave, Vernon and Mark in the end. Nitin kept the tab open long enough for me to squeeze 5 pints out of him but having not eaten I couldn't manage the last of the fifth pint and sensibly left it when I left shortly after 9pm. The conversation was good - I enjoyed seeing them all again so that was nice. The usual pub gossip - politics, geekiness and merriment.
Before cathing the tube back to Paddington I stopped in on the local Sainsbury's metro shop and got munch food - a criossant, doughnut, big bag of crisps, carton of Ribena and cheese and onion pastie. At Paddington I had to wait an hour (until 11pm) for the next train back to Bristol (luckily I had that book of course). An older woman sat down next to me and being fairly drunk I started a conversation with her and she responded well, so we got chatting. It turns out she worked for a bank I think and had worked with Logica before - rated their technical people highly but heavily criticised their management. Sounds familiar; nice to know it's not just me.
So I didn't get back until late and caught a taxi home (which I'll put on expenses of course), getting in at gone 1am. Drunk water and crashed :)
This morning (Wednesday) the bike refused to start as I had feared. I don't think it likes being left for 5 days - it wasn't so much the battery but that did die after it failed to start for about 3 minutes. I had to go to the local garage and borrow their jump-start kit again. This slim girl with short black hair bounced into the garage chatting away to the garage owner - I think she might be his daughter. She was very nice and I couldn't help staring at her as I strode back out to the car in my leathers carrying the jump-start kit. I did notice she stared back and her talking slowed.. interesting.
Anyway, the bike.. even with the jump-start kit it had trouble starting. After it had started I left it for a while, killed it and tried to start it again - not a problem. So I took the jump-start kit back, and the same girl was just pulling up in her old-style Beetle. For some reason I waved at her and I think she gave a little hesitant wave back - not sure why I did it - instinctive I guess.
On the way in I had to wait as this car jumped the red lights on the roundabout. Typical. Later on I (unintentionally) pulled a wheelie as I left some lights needing to make sure I cleared the traffic. I only realised when the wheel skipped along the ground. I dropped the bike back down, changed up a gear and then restarted breathing before continuing on. The reason I was a bit scared was that it wasn't a perfectly straight bit of road either...
Anyway, I'm going to call up the dealer and see what they can suggest about the bike.
Just before lunch I went to put the cheque for £1450 that finally arrived from the insurance company for the theft of my old bike last November.
I'll hang onto that money until next month or until I get the other money coming through, then I'll give £1500 back to my mum as part repayment in addition to the monthly sum I give her for the new bike..
Have been at a pub lunch today, finally shook the last of my grogginess left over from last night. Chatted more online to my old college mate; it turns out he has a bike battery conditioning pack so I might borrow that and use that on my battery; see if that improves things.
So now I'm going to sort out expenses, call the bike company oh and of course the parking ticket people. Remember I got that parking ticket in Oxford? Well I got a letter from them stating that it had gone up to 40 pounds and would go up again to 60 if I didn't pay it soon. I think I'll have to ring them and tell them I did in fact send them a letter. Oh well. Wonder if I'll end up having to pay something?
Onwards and upwards, people... ;)