Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Why be an Administrator

I have noted that there is no Academic Admistrator linked in the faculty at Crooked Timber , and my discipline doesn't appear either. We also appear under-represented at this site that Prof G led me to. So accept my lone voice, crying in the wilderness (and Prof B this is all your fault).

It is just that I am more and more coming to the conclusion that every faculty member should be forced to be an Administrator for at least 5 years, just to understand the absolute frustration of the job. Now I will admit that it is a Friday evening, and I have enjoyed the fruits of a Cline "Ancient Vines Zinfandel" that was much better than the Keenan Merlot at twice the price that I enjoyed last week, but even so!

Consider this, it is 1:30 pm and at 11:30 am you had meandered down and talked to individual A about an ongoing project. The individual was waiting for individual B who had just gone to lunch before doing something. At 1:30 you meander back and A is still waiting. You meander across the hall (this is the normal academic hall) and there is individual B. Who has been there for over an hour, working on "important stuff." So you very gently suggest that A is waiting and act as escort across the hall. You wait until the current issue is resolved, and go back to your office. An hour later you wander back down and lo you have to do the same thing over, but in the other direction.

This has been going on for over a week. The two individuals were both eligible for the retirement meeting earlier this week. And I have been doing this "disinterested interlocutor" role for about a week now. I got mildly irritated at this process mid-week and B disappeared for over 2 hours in a huff. (They are jointly supposed to be getting this project completed).

I am going to retire from this position ere long, and these folks, who have worked together for over 20 years, need to recognize that I am not going to be around to handle this effluvia much longer. But it is, forgive me for mentioning this, an ongoing problem in trying to do the "herding cats" job that pretends to the current requirements of Academic Administration at the lower levels.

So midway through this I get a little e-mail that no-one has seen the presentation I was supposed to submit for the Conference in a week (it needed to be loaded on the CD). Now that could not be because I had not submitted it - perish the thought. So I wheedle and beg and get an extension until 5 pm. And then ubiquitous student shows up and takes half an hour while I let him convince me that the experiment he wants to run is valid (actually its obvious but never mind, he had obviously spent a lot of time preparing the presentation). You may have noticed I haven't had lunch yet.

Then another student team come in and their results were "unexpected", I gently take a few minutes to explain why (and 15 minutes later in the day to do the same thing to their faculty mentor).

Ah, and then I get the third frantic call from our contractor in Indiana. Where is the response that they have to have in today to their award of contract? So I call around - whaddya mean that most of our contracts folk took off at 3 pm - so we have to send someone over to hand carry the printout around for the acceptance signatures (this is the last day of the month you understand).

Chest pains, whaddya mean chest pains, I'm not allowed to have them, the faculty have to have answers (actually it's called indigestion and them purple pills sort of work most of the time - but it helps to have lunch).

And you know what? After I wrote the memo, no-one responded until the Dauphin did, and then there were several comments, but no initiative. So then I suggested a path, and lo the Dauphin is leading a charge. Doesn't it make you feel proud.

Actually, no! I have gone looking for the green bottle, I am sure I had it up here somewhere . . .

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The green grass in the other field

At the discussion on retirement this morning there were probably at least four staff members to each faculty member present. I don't think that there was anything new said, though Specialist, on the way out, realized a question it was too late to ask.(It related to how unused sick days count toward length of service. Three different folk had heard three different answers from the speaker). A colleague asked if I had calculated my pension "I have a spreadsheet" I replied, "and after a lousy meeting with the upper Administration I usually come back and look at it." At a certain point when you discount from your current salary the pension you might be making, the pay seems awfully low. What was also eye-opening is how many of my group are thinking about going, or at least starting to make the calculation.

Today saw more efforts to try and get a couple of contracts finished close to time. Since there is little I personally can do it is more talking to the folk involved and making sure that there are no bottlenecks. In which regard one of them called for use of the toy, and disconcertingly it failed to do what was expected. It took a lot of the day for Specialist to realize why, and it may take all day tomorrow to fix, and it was just one of those - who'd a thunk it moments. But the monitors will be here next week and they all have to be running. A couple of folk were in most of last night, and we may get one ready to rumble, if not both, tomorrow.

So after a fairly fraught day I sat down to catch up on e-mail etc. The Dauphin responded to the memo. But sadly only by defending what he took to be a negative comment on a trivial part of the overall. That is not going to help, but increasingly I begin to feel that he does not have an overall sense of the situation.

Then as I downloaded the 97 pages of homework for the other blog I realized I had forgotten to have my door closed at day's end. In strolled a faculty member that should have been getting one of those two contracts finished, but who had been on vacation for a couple of weeks. For one reason or another there went an hour and a bit, and then a second faculty rather shamefacedly shambled in. His particular sin (as it had come to me in fragments over the day) was that there had been a significant issue early this morning. He had apparently done, shall we say a "Bolton" and had been heard throughout three floors of the building. So that took another while. Oh I also spent an hour with a visiting ex-student grateful that we had helped get him a new job, and helped him with some needed information. And so that was how my day went, a little advice here, a litle chastening there. There was also watching and realizing the problem of an ageing and possibly ailing staff person, and trying to assess how this will change things. And trying to decide how to handle it.

So needless to say when I eventually did get home, ol Jimbo's AU's were immediately necessary. And, rather nicely, the Nurse had sent a shirt to go with the full kilt (though I did not think I was quite that large). I also have the large shoulder pin, and so I guess that I am running out of excuses as to why I can't wear it.

Hmm, I have been waiting for the Congressman from Maryland who is supposed to talk on energy for the past hour, while watching CSPAN with the sound off. The chamber has about four folk in it apparently. Maybe it's time to try and finish the "Bean" story (Shadow of the Giant) by Orson Scott Card instead, and where did I put that little bottle?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Transitions

Not all of life is pleasant. As a team, some of my research staff and I have worked together for a very long time. But after watching one of the team work for the third day on something today, I suggested that perhaps we had better bring in the graduate student to finish it. The suggestion was not taken well, but reflects, sadly, that loads are going to have to be redistributed and I will need to monitor that situation a lot more closely. We are getting older, and our capabilities change.

I sent the memo last night. It spelled out in some detail some of the negative impacts on productive faculty when negative decisions are made by the Administration. While it would be interesting to have a reaction, given the current state of things it may well just quietly sink into the water, like a well cast stone, without a ripple. Except that this was not the intent. On the other hand I may wander into a meeting next week and be given my head on a plate, we will have to see.

Three people have asked if I am attending the retirement counseling session tomorrow, and a couple of other casual acquaintances across campus have also asked if I am going. I must be showing my age more this week.

Having closed down the tape transfer for the summer I was planning on getting into modelling the 2nd Battle of Ypres, using the four programs Strata, Poser, Vue and Bryce to develop bits and views. I even bought the new book (which one week later Poser is giving away if you buy the program - rats!). But so far I have managed barely Chapter 1. The calendar is already filling up for the next month and then we start travelling for a bit. maybe if I retire I could do that?

Ah, well dream time is over, its back to grading, and planning a conference session, and doing a bit more of the "managing by walking around" that seems to be my main function these days, just to keep things close to being on schedule.

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

You're Number Three

In talking to Mum today she began by asking about my hip, which apart from a trick habit of occasionally twinging and a couple of unanticipated collapses when I've stood, afer sitting too long, hasn't really been much bother. Well she had her hip replaced (privately) in the UK about a couple of years ago. Now she tells me that the Traveller will get his done (also privately) on May 9th. So she expects I will be third. I must see what can be done to postpone that as long as possible.

The reason that I mention the privately is that in both cases had they gone the the British National Health there would be for her no relief (she was too old and had had a stroke) while for him the wait is about 18 months to 2 years. The joys of heredity.

I am currently re-reading the "Ender's Shadow" series by Scott Card again, so that I can bring myself up to speed to read the latest one. I think that they started out a bit better than the original "Ender's Game" series but the standard is not really holding up.

In the passing of the season I am also putting away the tape transfer system until next winter. I cleared one drawer (with three left) so there was some progress, but there are too many other things to do in the summer.

I'm still pondering about the memo - I have to write it tomorrow or it becomes a non-issue and irrelevant for this year.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Strop! Strop!

While I did not notice any Pink Hair at our social event this evening, and, without such witnesses, could thus pretend to be sober, there was the occasional use of the appropriate social lubricant to get one through this evening. It was the second consecutive night in the start of the social season that winds up our semester, and year. And so I sit, contemplating a little administrative seppuku.

We, in common with many other places are being hit with more budget cuts. Very often when these things happen we pretend that we can cope and find a way of being as productive as we were before but with less resource. Except that sometimes we don't. And this is very rarely documented. So I thought I would.

It is somewhat dangerous ground to tread. and a simple example at the low end of the scale might explain why. Some time ago I got a campus parking ticket, it infuriated me for a variety of reasons and kept me mad for about 3 days. During that time the deadline for submission of a proposal came, and went. The proposal was drafted and we had a reasonable chance of getting the award. The proposal was not submitted.

Over the course of my career and for a number of reasons, largely morale related, I have not submitted, or not fought hard to get, a number of awards. The potential loss of income and opportunity for growth has, in some cases, been significant.

If I say nothing then my career will likely soon end in any event, but if I confess to this attitude it may be slightly accelerated. Why do it? Because the hard financial costs of neglecting faculty morale, often in trivial ways, are rarely shown to be significant in actual financial cost. This might give some numbers. On the other hand it seems remarkably childish to say "you gave me a parking ticket and it cost you $x,000, Nyah, Nyah! Nyah!"

So I will think on this some more, but I have now been thinking about this for two days and am still inclined to write the memo. (And I think I may now have that nightcap that might really move this into drunken blogging -Grin - and so I will return to silent contemplation).

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Housteads Camp


Housteads Camp
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
With the wall on the top of the hill, the military camps, such as this one at Housteads, were on the south slope of the hill. The remains are largely covered in grass, but the outlines of the fort still remain. (Being cheap and it being late, I did not go closer to view them).

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Hadrian's Wall bit


Hadrian's Wall bit
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
One of my pet peeves with the movie "King Arthur" was that it suggested that Hadrian's Wall ran along the valley. This shows a bit of a remnant rebuilt and as you can see it runs along the crest of the hill.

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The Kirk from grave


The Kirk from grave
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
And this is the view from the family grave up to the Kirk where my parents were married.

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Dalry main street


Dalry main street
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
As you drive down the hill into the village, this is the view down to the bottom of the main street, from about half-way down.

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Across the Valley of the Ken


Across the Valley of the Ken
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
OK, here in quick order are five photos from the trip. This first is from the top of the hill overlooking Dalry and down to the river Ken

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The second day back

This is generally my lowest day, when the loss of sleep and time-sense wreaks the most havoc. Today that was over-ridden by an almost frenetic level of activity, just trying to stay in one place. First half-way through the Admin meeting I was called out, to be reminded that in my absence someone had promised I would give a tour directly after the meeting, which meant I could not stay to finish the raging debate about where we were going to cut our budgets.

Then after getting back to the office we were blessed by a visit from a company that we are trying to get into a research partnership, so there went another couple of hours. Straight after that was the need to get a presentation together for some wheels we will be meeting with all tomorrow (though I won't give the talk - sigh!). Then a quick read of a student paper before a meeting on that, and where it needed to go. These were all interspersed with urgent talks about a piece of equipment that has broken at the worst possible time, it seemed to be fixed by the end of the day, but as I left it failed again.

We get another VIP visit on Friday, and the net result of all this is that we are making zero, nada, nothing in the way of getting two research efforts finished. In fact most of today things seemed to drift backwards.

Tomorrow is completely out, which means that the only time I have to really work on anything will be Thursday, and I am not sure yet whether I need to be in on meetings then.

It was interesting at this morning's meeting we were discussing how to keep our most productive researchers motivated, and to extend that energy down a level. Given that I have previously made many of the mistakes that the Dauphin is currently apparently making I tried to suggest another approach. Unfortunately I suspect that it will not be until the Prince Regent cuts him off at the knees that he will realize that arguments about theoretical outcomes rarely are effective when money is needed, and you have the only sizeable remaining pot.

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I'm also surprised

In conformity, and following Jimbo, Dr. C, New Kid, to name but three, I was quite surprised to find



Your Linguistic Profile:



50% General American English

30% Yankee

20% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


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Monday, April 18, 2005

Not a happy welcome

Ah, me! Yesterday was not one of the better days. I had looked at my ticket and read the wrong line, so that when the flight actually left London at 8 am I had read it as four hours later. Thus I was still at breakfast when, checking to make sure we had plenty of time to get to the airport, I suddenly found I had missed my flight.

Things ultimately worked out, though I did not sleep on the plane, and ended up not getting home until around 10 pm, rather the worse for wear.

As a result today was supposed to be relatively quiet. Except that I had forgotten we had agreed to give an external group access to the lab this week, and so I had to pay the gracious host for an hour or so this morning. Then some of the work done while I was gone was not acceptable, and it was easier to go down and redo part of it myself as a way of motivating folk to get it right. Then we had to correct the computer restrictions on my class for next semester which was again telling folk it was full before it was. Fortunately this year, embittered by my experience last summer, I noticed the problem early and hopefully got it fixed.

In the greater scheme of things I am again trying to stay awake until reasonably late as a way of coping with the jet lag, and did video chat separately with the Advocate and the Engineer tonight (while trying to work out why we lost sound on one line for a bit). Roll on the end of the month when we can collectively do this at the same time instead of only one-on-one.

The brain is slowly falling asleep so I will let the body follow its example.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

The joys of English Pubbery

After leaving the North I have come to visit Friends, and must be nice since they comprise 60% of those who know my real identity. I stopped off on the way at the Marriott Marble Arch, initially with plans to meet up with relatives or friends, but the whole hotel experience there was in the end not pleasant, and thus I left earlier than planned to come down here to the relative quiet of Marlow.

By wandering around with the camera I can pretend I am working at getting textures for castles and buildings in Strata. And to justify it I can show the picture from below (the roof texture of which was pinched from a barn outside of town). But it is really just a time to escape, and to pretend to smell the buttoned-down roses.

Mainly however we reminisce, drink the local beers, of which there are many. I also listen to his sound recordings, going back to WWII. It is probably going to be wise not to blog too much, given our afternoon activity. So we may be on hiatus now for about three days (Grin).

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Burning Bush


Burning Bush
Originally uploaded by Heading Out.
This was the day to go back to the small village that Mum came from, and chat with her sister. So taking the new road from Newcastle west toward Carlisle, I turned off, through Brampton and Longtown to Gretna (the home of another family story).

Then after stopping for gas at Dumfries (home of Rabbie Burns) I took the Stranraer road to Castle Douglas and then north to the village. Coming in I saw this new monument - which only went up last year.

It turns out that Dalry was one of the sites where the Covenanters objected to some of the implications following on the presumption of the Divine Right of Kings. In this case it resulted in the king's representatives roasting a man in Dalry with branding irons. The king (as alas has become the habit with a number of rulers whether regal or elected) felt that since God obviously had chosen to have him born to the monarchy then his wish was sort of the way it was meant to be. When others objected, his followers did such interesting things as chaining young girls and old women to stakes in the tidal foreshore. Then sitting in boats as the tide came in, they patiently waited for their victims to recant as the water inexorably rose. They didn't.

Which leads me to muse that it is the Jewish faith that has ten commandments, those who are true Christians must surely count (and logically similarly obey) eleven. But, sadly, the eleventh is the one most often overlooked - as it clearly was in this case.

So, having run out of memory card this picture comes from the digital video and to my ancient eye seems to have the relevant bits. The names of local victims of that period are cut into the leaves of this Burning Bush.

After taking my Aunt out to a pleasant lunch at the Clachan, I then chatted about the usual sins of the rest of the family, before climbing back into the car for the return journey to this lobby.

Coming back I went past the memorial to Old Mortality in Balmaclellan. He spent the last 40 years of his life finding the unmarked graves of the Covenanters that had been slaughtered and erecting monuments to them.

Then on down to Brampton and Greenhead, where I turned off the new road and onto the old Military Road as it paralleled the Old Roman Wall. Cunning new owners, however. When I got to Housteads, the main Roman camp, things had changed. The site used to be clearly visible from the road, looking across the valley.

Can't have that! Bad for business! So in the intervening years since the last visit, they have planted trees on the downslope right beside the road, and these trees now completely obscure the view. Parking alone is 4 English Pounds. Yikes!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Sidetracked on a Sunday

On the one side of the family we had been coal miners as far back as history would be tracked, which, in this case, was to a fellow born in the 1690's. He was employed at a small village called Tarry, which sits up on a hill overlooking the small village of Eglingham midway between Alnwick and Wooler. Since another branch is rooted in Wooler a pleasant day could be spent driving first up through Alnwick to Tarry, and then on to Wooler to tape Humbleton Hill (where once there was a battle).

But pulling into Alnwick there was a note that the Castle was open. Aha! This is the first time I have had a chance to get there, and while I was vaguely interested in the Castle since I could get good textures for the Castle behind Mousetrap Farm that I am trying to recreate, that wasn't why I wanted to go.

The Castle houses the Museum of the Northumberland Fusiliers, and if you go up to the top floor of the museum there is, on an alcove window, a painting of the 1st Battalion marching through Flanders in the fall of 1914. There are two rows of drummers, a couple of rows of fife players, two mounted officers and then the file of troops. The interest ? Well about 7 months later the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions marched to the same Flemish town (Ypres) and my Grandfather was the drummer on the front corner of the 7th. The story is much more complicated than you likely want to know, but in essence this first Brigade of the Territorials was thrown straight into the 5-mile breach the Germans had just created by the first use of gas in war. Two thousand men did not come back from that afternoon, and as a bandsman my Granda had to go drag back the ones he could rescue.

Any way I wanted to see what was in the museum and was quite surprised to learn more in the Ducal apartments. First there was an explanation as to why our earliest known ancestor had married a girl from Shipley (in Yorkshire). It seems it was due to the arrival of the wife of the first Duke, who brought her husband up from Yorkshire, and between them they got the mines organized. And since they presumably brought a household and servants, and Tarry is but 8 miles from the Duke's Castle . . . .

The other enlightenment was the Fenwick name in the family, through my Great Grandmother. It turns out that this was a noble and military leader of these parts back when, and the way the name can be traced, at one time one of them must have married one of us.

The day was spent, therefore, wandering around the Castle, and the new Gardens which the current Duchess is installing for someone said around $30 million. The Percy family have been around since 1066 when the family arrived with Willie the Conk and took their share of the spoils. They are obviously not hurting for the occasional crust.

But after tea and wandering about the Treehouse they have just built that could have easily come out of the first Myst, and from which I stole more textures and shapes for my castle, it was time to go on to Tarry. The road is a one-way street that runs up the hill to a copse that I had assumed was where Tarry used to be, since there is still a bouse there. But when I got up there the house was relatively modern, and since the road was single track I drove on to the edge of the moors higher up the hill looking for a place to turn.

Parking looked over the dry stone wall and there was this band of green going up the hill, and what looked suspiciously like an old pit heap. So I wandered around in the bitter wind finding grass and gorse covered outlines of what I suppose were the old houses and mine offices, the likely yard area and the tip (which had the characteristic red inside). It almost looked as though someone had been doing a little archeological work in the way some of the edges can been cut to expose the sub-surface. But the most critical finds were looking at the debris thrown out from the rabbit warren than now covers the site. Old bits of glass, plates, and other small items, and bits of coal and ash.

At peace and happy I wandered gently back to the hotel and after dinner started gently blogging, and discovered that we had achieved a certain exposure for the Oil Drum. I was somewhat surprised and mentioned this when, in practice for today, the Advocate called to check on the arrangements for today. So now he knows whereof I blog. (Which makes 3).

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Not so foggy now

The movie on the way over was "Sherlock Holmes and the Silk Stocking" which kept me awake too long for a decent sleep. The plot involves, in part, London being a foggy town in Dicken's time. But it, and the North of England were still foggy in my time. And it wasn't the mild benevolent type of fog seen in the movie. I can remember walking to college through a park, and holding my hand up in front of my face - just to say I couldn't see it, and I couldn't. Those were the days of the incredible Smogs that lasted days and were almost impossible to get through (and which killed many people).

And then, after a quick change in London, on up to Newcastle, where the land of my birth made me welcome by snowing. It melted fairly quickly and by the time I had dropped off the cases, and gone to see Mum it had all melted. She had got the dates wrong and had been dressed and waiting for me to show up from before lunch, which she had not had. But I got there after dinner and they had just given her a very large curry, so I was partly forgiven. I'm afraid in future I must also send a message to the staff so that everyone knows the plan.

We went out the next day for lunch, again bitterly cold and the restaurant was up on the edge of the moors so while the view was pleasant, we decided, instead of driving around for the afternoon we would go back to her room. This could also have been driven by the fact that she had taken a certain pill that morning which made long travel times embarassing.

So we went back, just in time for the Royal Blessing - I thought the Russian diva sang a wonder Credo, and must see if it can be found on a CD. Then we watched the Grand National, since Mum had a horse, though sadly it finished something like 17th (but, given that 19 out of 40, didn't there was some measure of rejoinder).

And so back to the Holiday Inn where, despite all the commercials in the US, there was only dial-up, a too costly choice, and so the search continued for a new hotel.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Travelling Light

Sorry, couldn't resist, but it is one of the Cliff Richard songs that burned a hole into my head while at school.

It is the generally considered opinion of my friends, family and co-workers that I go sort of nuts in the 24 hours before I fly overseas. Well we're there, so I guess I had better shut up. (As in the twins from the Victorian - or was it Edwardian - House). In which vein I wonder if there will be a 49-up ere long.

As you can see, all those opinions can't be wrong. But in company of Jimbo and Dr.C, not to mention Mel and Dr B's input I have done a little for the academy today myself, and finally got the revised paper uploaded and off in final form. Doesn't it make our Victorian hearts proud that one of my colleagues took the electronically revised copy from two earlier sets of electronic inputs, printed it and sent me his corrections meticulously and editorially accurately marked in with a fountain pen.

By tradition we go out to eat steak tonight,since I try and eat local food wherever I end up. And since I am going home to English breakfasts and things it's probably an indulgence, especially with the rude note from the medic, but life is how you live it.

Depending on where I come to rest there may or may not be more of this in the next week, if not sleep well, smell the roses and enjoy the last relatively carefree summer of your life.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Corporal and other Punishment

There are a number of ways to describe being worn out but after the conversation at New Kid I should probably not say that I feel "whacked" which was a descriptive phrase of my youth.

Thinking of which I wonder where I read that article today about having someone take a cane to your posterior to make you feel better. Having gone to one of those minor English boarding schools (remember the song?), there were more occasions than one should admit to where, after Wednesday lunch, one "assumed the position." And it is supposed to be the "English disease", but something must have missed me because it was the very opposite of pleasurable in my case. (Which might lead on to the question as to why it happened as often as it did, but we don't need to go there).

Speaking of punishment, burning CD's for a DL class has to be in there somewhere. I try and send them out for the month at the beginning thereof, but taxes and a couple of social events got in the way of that at the weekend. So today I prepared a guest lecture for the Duchess's class this evening and burned CD after CD after CD - four per person, 2 lectures per CD.

Poser 6 showed up today in all its "Winter Queen" glory - sigh! I leave on Thursday and can't decide whether to load it to play with, or to explore Vue 5. Such decisions. For now I just stare at the examples and dream.

G'night, y'all.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Winter of Cheating?

Back last summer I had a nice little exercise routine going in which I did a couple of cardio tapes and a couple of weight tapes each week. It seemed to keep me in reasonable shape, but then I started travelling, and then there were more meetings early in the day (and lots of similar excuses). So I dropped back to the 30-minute exercise tape that I used to use only when I had been away for a while as a break-in back to the routine.

Thus all winter instead of doing the 45-min and 50-min tapes I have been doing the shorter, easier (Crunch Turbo Sculpt) one. Today it was time to get back into a better habit, and so I went back to the 45-min Firm (Maximum Body Shaping) tape. Not for the body shaping - I am doomed to pear I suspect - but it does give a better workout and 15 more minutes should be doable. Of course I make the change just before I go on travel.

Which means I absolutely must do the taxes today, beautiful though it is. But first the call to England . . . .which went well. Mum was delighted to hear I would be there on Friday (though I have told her this for the last two Sundays). The Traveller was there yesterday and took her out for lunch, and to see the displays of daffodils in the surrounding villages. I will probably do the same. The display outside our window here is a suggestion that next year I plant more outside the front as well as the back of the house.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Ups and Downs

The meeting in Oklahoma seemed to go quite well, though the key presenter for our team had to cry off since he was too ill to get out of bed. My little bit seemed to go over well, and we did present the "problem solved" slide, though I spent more time explaining why we could not tell how we did it, because of patent issues, than I probably should.

And so in a mild state of euphoria I travelled back, the mood was downed a little by finding my car with the back window down, since the cables (it turns out) had become tangled (a mere $330 I am assured). And then I made the mistake of checking e-mail one last time. None of the 3 White Papers sent to Ohio had survived the cut. Rabbits !

So it ended as a bit of a dismal night. Then I came in this morning for a meeting on another proposal and found that IT had "delivered and installed" my new iMac by setting the box beside my desk. Someone said that I looked as though the world had just settled on my shoulders. No it was just the futility of relying on parts of the infrastructure for help, and the realization that we are, if anything, too busy since we can't put enough time into some of the efforts to make them work. And yet, with lots of possible funding, we can't afford to neglect any avenue that might keep everyone well fed next year.

So I, discouraged, spent the day moving stuff from one computer to another, reloading programs, chasing down procedures and passwords to transfer some obscure files, etc etc. Now I have to tidy all the mess revealed by moving to this smaller footprint machine (even though it's the 20-inch monitor).

Time for a night off - methinks!

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