Friday, March 30, 2007

A good start to finding gainful employment...

Blimey! I posted an online CV to Monster last night and I've already had 2 emails and a phone call this morning before 9am!

I can see the Word version of my CV is going to become hot property in the very near future. May have found something not-too-dull (I'm not really fond of desk jobs, remember) in Henley which actually talks about there being limited office space so working from home is de rigeur(!) - you only go in for design meetings or to meet customers! It's a development job though, not testing... I wonder if they'd take me on...

Must dash, have to produce that Word CV now. Actually, have to take lunch now. Seen "Flushed Away"? It won't be a french lunch. Heh!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ebay... when it is at its worst...

Ebay can be pretty crappy, can't it? I'm in the worst situation at the moment - goods not as advertised, plus a vendor who won't respond to ANY messgaes. Where do you go from here? I presume you report the vendor... if he won't talk, you can't do anything about it.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mornin' all!

Ah, the joys of home. It's been a quiet week really... caught up with the guys at Panasonic on thursday lunchtime down t'Berkshire Arms (a friendly if clinical theme pub on the A4 near thatcham - try it, the guest ales are pretty good) and found out pretty much everything there is the same, bless 'em. I enjoyed the Gallows humour as much as ever but found myself curiously detached from it - and then realised it was because I don't work there any more!

When I left everything happened in a blur (and really, us moving in was part of that blur, that whole month was manic) so now I'm back it's not just about readjustment from entertaining merry snow-lovers in Soldeu, it's about adjusting to how my life altered before I left. I actually don't know where most things are in the Kitchen, as if we'd just moved in! One thing has changed for the worst (it's sunday morning as I write this and Nic has become re-addicted to TV a bit while I was away) - Hollyoaks is now officially abysmal! I've never seen a worse mixture of "I won a school competition" scripts, wooden acting (wooden??? I'm ga-vomiting here! (ta scrubs))... this is the most dismal pile of crap I've ever seen on TV. When it was self-effacing and funny it was light relief, but you can't marry a lack of acting gravitas with these miserable storylines - you end up with the UK equivalent of Spanish Soaps (minus the crash zoom addiction perhaps).

BTW, as an aside, Alison (bless you hen) informs me that it's done nothing but snow in the Soldeu area for the last 4 days and shows little sign of stopping! That big powder dump, and it happens DAYS AFTER WE LEAVE... typical!!! Still, I guess the silver lining is that I didn't shell out for a season pass - this laptop was about the same price - so it did save me some cash. I think in the 10 weeks I was out there I got out on to the slopes maybe 10 times, which it roughly how many times I'd be out there in a two week holiday :)

Anyway, after that little bit of wrap-up... "what I done this week"...

I've managed to get some cash changed back at Marks n Sparks - I can recommend them over the Post Office, MUCH better rates! I've done a lot of tidying up, unpacking and hoovering... got to be a good house husband.

I'm skirting around here :) I haven't done any CV work yet! Actually, I haven't really had time yet. I've got a ton of address changing to do, financials to sort out... etc etc. No excuses though, next week is the big CV write and post. I've been compiling a big list of recruitment agents from the emails I've received recently, and I'll be posting it all over the place.

No worries, I've been back to the practise schedule, exclusively on the 5 string Streamer Fretless! My intonation is improving (those 3 octave major/minor arps all the way to the top of the board help) and I'm back to jamming along with the iPod to help out feel, etc. My hands are the strongest they've ever been - the automatic pilot on them is wicked - and I feel like right now I have to get a really funky act to show off these chops!

Life is good: it's full of possibilities. God bless the last 10 weeks: it's shaken things up nicely.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The unbearable wierdness of not gigging...

Wow, it's odd being back at home. Plusses include:
  • My other basses - I'm playing nothing but 5 string Warwick Corvette Fretless and carver acoustic 4 string at the moment
  • Nic on tap without a 15 hour journey (she'll kill me if she reads that but it's meant in a nice way :)
  • Mogs - the three terrors who scamper about trying to kill each other during the day, missed that while I was away
  • Not having to climb the hill back up to the flat :)
  • Living in a big house with 2 showers, 3 toilets, a music room, a pool table, a stocked fridge, a dishwasher.... the list goes on :)
  • Having my car back (I know Alison will appreciate that one), although I need to tax it at the moment
  • More chance of snow (that's not fair really is it.... nah, it's true though)

Minuses include:

  • No gigging 5 days a week
  • Snowboarding chances pretty limited (although this isn't the wrench I thought it would be, given the season in Andorra I've had... lol)
  • Got to get another desk job (although I'm actually looking forward to being able to choose something this time)

I'm really missing the gigs. This time around, I got a taste of being up front, and I liked it: I was chatting to Nic the other day and realised that I may be ready to start another band - not since the Apostles of Funk in St Andrews have I really managed the activities of a band (I was writing out brass parts for that band) - I think I may be ready to really want to make something work again. The usual dichotomy though: to work, or to play? If it's a hobby, there's only so much you can do... there's always my Myspace site I guess, for the solo stuff... where did I leave Cubase...

Heh heh watch out for some warped live bass electronica people

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wow, what a couple of weeks...

Well, the last week was mental. No posts on here as Nic came out and I didn't need to get down to the brussels to talk to her! But I can relate some of the highpoints of the final week.

In a minute :) got to go unpack the board and ski bags right now, just making sure the place looks good! So good to be back home, wierd too - in 11 weeks Soldeu almost started to feel like home (ish!) - but the flat definitely didn't ever feel as good as being here. Back home to Nic, the mogs, and all the basses I left behind! I'll be playing nothing but 5 string fretless Warwick for the next few weeks, for sure :) May even play an O'Neills gig with it...

Back in a tic. Just wanted to make sure y'all knew where I was.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friendships - are 99% of them real or not???

Now I've had a slightly strange upbringing. I moved about a fair amount, owing to the dictates of where I ended up going to school. While I can say I did have friends at school, I have no idea of where they are, and in most cases I've actually forgotten their names. Friendsreunited didn't spark my interest in getting in touch with them either!

At Uni, I pretty much got into being in one place long enough to make friends I knew I could call on to come out to the pub, got into a lot of bands, and generally had a great time. I was there long enough to see several years of student friends come and go, and I still had a great time every year.

But time has taken its inevitable toll on those friendships, until now we rarely see each other - even the guys from the last band I was in. Our lives step in to take people we felt strongly for from us, and communication seems to inevitably die with geographic isolation. Here, the internet cannot help: it's just not the same.

With all the moving around that Nic and I have done in the last 7 years, we've never really spread roots anywhere: all I can hope is that my friends have found their place and stopped frantically trying to move up, on, and out... and perhaps come to rest somewhere where they can actually be happy. Me? The only real friend I can say I truly have is Nic, because she's always with me (OK, except for the last few weeks). When you see someone every day, it's that human interaction, the face-to-face, the shaking hands, the contact... these are the things that bind people. Cyberspace is cold, compressed, blocky, with voice calls that break up like daleks and juddering video. Improving these quality of service issues might help, but there'd still be a lack of human touch.

Did we really do ourselves any favours at all when we stopped being agrarian and living in one place our whole lives? I feel lost and if it wasn't for Nic I'd definitely feel alone and isolated! Thank god for the one true friend.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Positivity of personal stocktaking!

People, you must make sure that at regular intervals you do the horribly cliched american thing of telling yourself how useful and good at stuff you are. Don't do the standing in front of a mirror and verbalising roten cliches like "I am a valuable person and I love myself" - that's frankly bullshit and only works if you think Disney is a model employer and George Bush is a great human being - but actually write down some of the good stuff you did recently, and maybe how it helped someone or got something done, and what the skill was. Don't turn it into a full CV, no need, but give it a whirl.

I mention this because I was looking at my old CV from 2005 which doesn't contain anything from my job at Panasonic during "the wilderness years" when they gave me crappy jobs (apart from the automation system stuff which was a blast). I had thought those years were lost time, but after sketching out all the things I did on the automation system alone I realised I had actually done one hell of a lot in that time.

And just writing this has reminded me of something else I did that I can stick on there - not just an empty "I did this", but "I did this and it proved this and saved this amount of money, etc" - just the sort of positive linkage of thought-deed-outcome that CVs need, rather than dry fact stuff.

It's been a positive experience and has actually built my gumption for the task ahead. BTW, read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for a great description of Gumption: spot on.

Go on, do youselves a favour and give yourselves a real lift.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Age hath its privs...

BTW, took a while to get online in the Brussels today - Regis has fitted a new router (A D-link, like mine) and the onboard DNS routing is totally screwed! In the end, he gave us the address of the STA DNS server and a static IP address (which I'm holding on to, def!) and I'm back on again. It showed me once again that embedded software is gravely in need of my services everywhere... I HATE bad software. I live to prove how awful it is. The satisfaction in watching developers and project managers running around like scalded cats after you tell them they can't ship a product because this problem will happen a lot and they'll look like prats is pretty cool :)

Last night's gig was OK - I decided not to take the usual plethora of gear and left the POD behind, just taking the 6-string and a cable to see what the "pure tone" of the bass was like through the Trace V4. I have to say, I was impressed - Jamie even asked for a solo, so I quickly tweaked the preamp dirty channel on the thing and got one hell of a racket out of it. Total anarchy, I just let rip and didn't give a shit what I played, and it seemed to go down well. I'm pretty sure I deafened at least the first three rows of the audience.

I'm 36 and I can see what I used to be like when I was in my 20s... I'm really happy with all the stuff that has happened to me, and where it has brought me. This trip has taught me many things about myself, including that I am through playing covers - I will never play cover music on stage again after this is over, I have had enough! I've spent half my life playing other people's music, and this has to be the end of it. I might pick up the odd technique from some track, but I won't play covers to audiences any more.

There, I've said it. You can keep me straight if you see me playing anywhere :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Anyone know a good cure...

for sinus infections? Sorry to ask... but this one's been with me the whole time I've been here, and it's come back with a vengeance! Steam bath this morning definitely helped, but "that smell" is still up my nose and the headaches are bad in the mornings!

If anyone's got any good remedies which don't involve antibiotics (I've already got those) give me a shout with a comment on this post.