Monday, April 29, 2002

Watty says:

Ah, normality.... I missed commuting this morning; the car journey is much less interesting, and I can't get any reading done (I read an entire medium-sized novel last week - must get round to reviewing it.) Overwhelmed by dozens of minor issues which got left for my return, as expected, but generally things are quite calm.

A quick recap: Thursday lunchtime I tore round the Circle to St James' Park - very nice it was, too - I ate my lunch under summer skies - and I made it back in time, to my slight surprise. Friday was the end of summer - cold and very, very wet - good thing, too - I was getting all too comfortable with the whole commuting thing. Friday also saw the publication of the Proms Guide. Summer is here. I could quite happily take the whole 7 weeks off, and buy a season ticket. Realistically, I'll try to squeeze in as many as is practical during my holidays; I'll take a select handful of early finishes (Martha Argerich, for example; having only seen her on TV last year; Mahler 1 / Ives; This whole day (can I last a whole day again?); there's so much.) and I'll be seriously tempted to get digital TV, because a quarter of the programme is being shown on BBC4. But star billing goes to:

This. It's a Sunday; it's the last day of my holiday; it's Mahler 8; It's Rattle doing Mahler 8 for the very first time; it's pretty much everything you could wish for. I'll be there. All day, if necessary. Who cares if it's a digital organ; it'll still be magnificent. Oh, there's loads of stuff I want to see this year...

Off to Lux in the morning; prepare for some hanging-around-airports-bored posts.

Oh, and :
Depression Index:
Haven't been thinking about it, which says it all, really. Yesterday felt a bit flat, though - probably due to extreme tiredness more than anything else...

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Watty says:

Still summer. Well, it feels like it. Took my lunch (pasta salad, pesto & parmesan, since you ask) for a walk today. I can report that the Millennium Bridge does not wobble - there is a slight footstep vibration caued by the stainless steel footway, but nothing more. It's not the most spectacular walk, North to South - all you can really see is Tate Modern - but the payoff comes at the end, when the design forces you back under the footway, and as you turn, you get the most spectacular view of St Paul's. Ate lunch on the lawn at Tate Modern, poked around in the bookshop for all of 2 minutes, walked back across Blackfriars Bridge. Beats my usual lunch-at-my-desk setup. On the way back, I tried to find the outfall of the Fleet River, but to no avail - I suspect it's entirely underwater.

Ah, well, SQL Server beckons...

Watty rants:

I do my best, I really do: We have to go to Luxembourg next week; the boss and I. The only day I can't do is Tuesday, I say - I have to deliver and collect the boys from nursery so that Zoë can do her things: it doesn't happen all that often, to be honest - I probably should do the nursery run a bit more often, but that's another discussion. Now the only day which Lux can do is (you guessed) Tuesday. So, I'm unpopular at work for being inflexible (and that's got me into trouble before); and I'm unpopular at home for having such a demanding job. I can't win, and to be fair, I rarely expect to. But still...

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Watty expounds:

So, I didn't blog today: I went out at lunchtime, and did something instead. I went to find the London Stone (blame Peter Ackroyd - see review). Took the tube two stops to Cannon Street, emerged into the furnace that is the City in late April (no, I'm not kidding, we're having a pseudo-summer) and confidently strode up to the Bank of China.

Well, disappointing would be overstating it a bit. The stone, reputed to be the one upon which Brutus founded the city (hmmm...), but certainly an antiquity of some renown, is entirely hidden by white iron railings and virtually opaque glass. It's also at a quite narrow part of the pavement, so you can't really stop to read the almost entirely useless inscription. The plaque tells you about St Swithin's church, and how the stone used to be on the other side of the road, but tells you nothing about what it is, and what it symbolises. Pah.
Still, I enjoyed the walk back to Blackfriars...

Monday, April 22, 2002


How much later can later be...?

Actually, all has gone quite well today - the course is quite intensive, which is good for me; the commuting is almost fun, really - it takes a whole 15 minutes longer than it takes me to get to work *thinks about that for a while.*  Wonder if I could do it full time? Thing is, I love London so much, I'd just get distracted all the time. When I do get round to my novel, it will, of course, be the tale of the alternative me - you know, the one who didn't get married at 23, and went off to live alone. I'm certain I'd have ended up living and working in London. I even have a vague idea what the story would be...

Depression Index I'm almost scared to break the spell. I'm still up (no giggling at the back, there) and although I've seen a few ripples of discontent, it's pretty much all positive... I wonder if the caffeine experiment is part of the effect? Aside: Damn, it's hard being caffeine-free when on a course in Central London - every third shop is a coffee-house; we break every hour or so for "tea or coffee" - I smell it everywhere I go. I love it so - it just don't love me. I think. So there is still no enumerated poultry around, but I feel good.

Watty says:

Wow, look at me - I'm a commuter...

Spending the week in London, learning how to administer SQL Server 2000, which I'm sure we'll get round to buying one of these days. Pretty relaxed so far * famous last words*

Very pleasant weekend, overall, and I'm still feeling good; and still off the caffeine. Will see how a week of being crammed into trains will help things.

So, there's a branch of Waterstone's across the road, and of course I went in there and got mugged. Mind you, two books for ten quid isn't bad at all - I refuse to pay full price for a book now.
Hm? Which books? Oh, Neil Gaiman's American Gods - It says on the front: "As good as Stephen King, or your money back": I think I might be insulted by this, if I were Mr. Gaiman. Which I'm not.; and a Fi Glover travel book, which I picked up, read the first page of, and had to stop for fear of laughing out loud. More later.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Watty says:

So, where have I been? Well, having a life, mostly. Been very busy - Cameron and I went to watch the London marathon on Sunday, and had a fab time - we laughed and joked all the way home on the train, and it was magical - almost as good as the perfect afternoon we spent last autumn watching the gliders. Being a parent can be blissful, sometimes.

Depression Index:

No symptoms at all at the moment - ever since the weekend, in fact. Work stress? Water off a duck's back. Financial worries? Ah, it'll sort itself out. Not-paying-attention-woman drives into the back of my car on the way home? Hey, it's a Volvo - they don't dent; no-one was hurt, who cares, frankly...
I feel good. Not even thinking 'how long will this last?' Just getting on with things. *hums happy little tune*

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Watty says:

Pah. Haven't blogged for ages, and now the phone won't stop ringing. Too tired tonight; I'll try again tomorrow. Still here, though.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Watty says:

More reviews - OK, one more review.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Watty adds:

Done my first review - linked on the left. I like this game....

In other news, my fourth session of circuit training was my last, as Ruth and Dave can't make it profitable. I am somewhat miffed by this, to say the least - I was just beginning to see the benefits, and am not looking forward to having to make alternative arrangements. If that wasn't bad enough, Ruth put us ( all two of us - I can see that it doesn't pay, but it's still a bit of a bugger) through an excruciating workout - every part of me aches; heaven knows what I'll feel like in the morning...

Watty says:

I want to blog stuff; I do: it's just that I have this life...

So - this weekend I:

Finally finished a book - but haven't quite got round to reviewing it yet. Read almost all of another one ( the Murakami - he's just so damn readable); got splinters from gardening (must buy gloves); refused to worry about things I should at least pay attention to; read the paper; didn't use the PC - Friday nights don't count, right? - except for playing Myst III with Cameron - he doesn't understand it very well, but he thinks it's great...

Actually, scrub that last - I did spend a long time on the PC on Friday night - plotting something to send to Néa (which I didn't finish) and getting the speech recognition software to work. Wow, that's scary. In my mind, speech recognition and production is stuck in 1984, when I last encountered it academically - John Laver, as I recall, was leaving the Linguistics department to set up an AI project aimed at speech recognition and so on - I still have this part of me which does not believe it's actually possible. And yet, there I was on Friday night, talking to my copy of Word, and there were my words (mostly) appearing in front of me... It can cope with basic commands and everything. I am deeply impressed. I might even accept that the technology has, in fact, moved on...

Oh, and we've been watching The West Wing on Sunday nights - it's now the only TV I watch during the week (except if the footy's on) - being Luddites, we are restricted to the terrestrial version, so we're only at the beginning of Season 2, but I have to say that it's significantly better quality than anything else around. And didn't we just love old leftie Martin Sheen grandstanding at the end?. Ah, well, must go and tinker with the code on this page do some work...

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Watty muses:

Film music. Actually, specific music in specific films, but...

Over the last week I have three times been struck by music in films - specifically, films aimed at children; which has led to the hopeful conclusion that all may not be lost in the morass of manufactured pop which is forcefed to our tinies these days.

Last week, while listening to the perfectly pleasant classical selection at King, I suddenly realised I was hearing Bugs Bunny sining Wagner. They were playing - entirely reasonably, in my opinion - the soundtrack to What's Opera, Doc? in which Bugs and Elmer Fudd sing the complete works of Richard Wagner in 3 minutes flat. I was uplifted by this supreme silliness, and reminded of the thankless and awesome task of musicianship carried out by the session musicians in classic cartoons. Many a small child (yours truly included) has been exposed unwittingly to much intricate and clever music through this medium. Next time you see a Tom & Jerry, have a listen to the score - it's very often quite staggering...
On Friday, we settled down with the boys to watch the live action 101 Dalmatians. Quite apart from enjoying Glenn Close's shameless overacting, I was bowled over by the sountrack - proper musicians playing proper music, written to fit the action in a careful and thoughtful manner. Most unexpected, and most welcome.
And then on Monday, we all watched Babe. I could live without seeing that again, to be frank - cloying doesn't really do the sentimentality justice - but I was deeply impressed my the many and varied uses which Saint-Saëns' third symphony was put to. You know, the one which goes "If I had words..." (must find out who put lyrics to it) (does Google seach - apparently Scott Fitzgerald - not that one, I think...) Anyway.

Depression Index:
Pretty good, today; all told - not much of a fun day, but all dealt with rather swan-like. I am pleased with myself. Zoë is going out tomorrow night (to see Gosford Park, boo - wanna see it...) so I will make myself write another chapter; it's long overdue, and I'm pretty sure I'm unblocked now.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Watty says:

Well, where did that weekend go? A blizzard of small children, steam trains and stuffed animals...

I have a rumination on film music nagging at me, but now is not the time or the place. More at a more convenient time.

Depression Index:

Really up and down - Monday was horrible, but I managed to control it (I know why, but it's so daft...); today was shaping to be as bad, but somehow, it came round. But it's bloody hard work sometimes. Oh, sod it - I'll go and see if anyone's in chat, and if not, I'm going to bed. If I don't, I'll end up on the red wine...