All 28 entries tagged Diary

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November 01, 2007

A new old sock

Busy day, into work first thing then off to Stoke-on-Trent. I checked the traffic report before leaving but still ran into the queue from a traffic accident at Spaghetti Junction. I did what I hate: drove up the outside lane when most other people had already merged across but I was late and I needed to have my meeting.

I met with Rob at Stafford services for a quick catch-up on the main issues then on to Stoke. Meeting a success -although I have committed to some modelling that will be a challenge. I’ll need to buy some special software but the project budget can take it.

Straight back to Warwick afterwards and yet again a hold up on the M6 due to an accident. Can’t people keep their bloody vehicles out of the back of each other!!!

Did a couple of lectures and by 6 I was ready to head back home. Opened a bottle of Rose – very nice – strawberries.

Sock of the Day? Found at the back of my sock drawer this morning – A new old sock.

October 31, 2007

Don't pick them in future.

After the rather miserable weather over the weekend it was great to see some Autumn sunshine. Driving through the country lanes between Birmingham and Coventry was a joy with rays of sunshine streaming down through the rapidly yellowing leaves… does this mean I’m a romantic? How great it would be to just stop and take a walk…. if only.

I’ve been busy rewritting some notes for a lecture on Thursday, having spent a wasted 1/2 day earlier updating an old presentation and getting very frustrated that the message just wasn’t clear enough.

Skipped lunch (again!) but didn’t really miss it, this is possibly because I am making porridge in the morning and it keeps me going (No! not in that way). How long I manage to keep this up I don’t know, every year I do this and after a few weeks can’t be bothered with the hassle and go back to toast.

Sock of the day just got smaller:
I’m going off these socks, I’ll try and put them to the back of the drawer so I don’t pick them in future.

October 30, 2007

wait for it… wait for it!

Today (actually yesterday but it is only 8am) was a good day on the whole. I left work on a real high after managing to do something in the DMM lab that I’d been hoping to do for what seems like ages; it made my day.

In the afternoon I managed to replace the dipped headlight bulb in my Focus. That is two bulbs in two weeks, I think I may have an electrical problem, do you think it could just be chance? Anyway, those design engineers at Ford – do you think they have ever tried to change a bulb themselves?... The manual makes it look easy but the retaining clip for the bulb is practically invisible and is tucked away in a corner. The real problem is reseating this: it just doesn’t clip back into position with a positive ‘click’ so you are just not sure whether the bulb is fixed or not.

... I was teasing you, holding off the moment when sock of the day is revealed. It is…. “wait for it… wait for it!”...

October 28, 2007

What socks shall I wear tomorrow?

I’m lying on the sofa watching Johnny Depp in The Ninth Gate as a distraction from the distraction I’ve been feeling all day. In everything I’ve done since going to the airport at the crack of dawn, through doing the food shopping and some gardening this afternoon, I’ve been distracted by thoughts that I just can’t let go. This is most unlike me: my distractions are usually only short fleeting ones that switch from subject to subject. This is a sustained preoccupation with unknown consequences… RANT or RAVE? – only time will tell.

I’ve decided to blog regularly now and to include as part of this some nonsense: Sock of the Day.Sock1

Finally, returning to The Ninth Gate … as I read the credits at the beginning I was surprised and excited to see that it is based on a book by Arturo Perez-Reverte, one of my favourite authors (see my book reviews). Anyway, so much for my day … I wonder, what socks shall I wear tomorrow?

May 17, 2007

My Desk is a mess!

This is a copy of a forum posting for my 3rd Year Lean students, I’ll bring my camera in an photograph my desk before and after (when I can get round to it!)

In response to a reply in the MURA 5S thread from Matt here’s how I would go about Standardising my desk. First a review of what the presentation I gave highlighted:
Objective – To consolidate the first 3 S’s by establishing standard procedures. Determine the best work practices and find ways of ensuring everyone does it the same ‘best’ way.
Key Techniques
  • Visual Management.
  • Shadow Boards

In terms of the objective I must realise that desk organisation is a personal thing and only I sit at my desk[1] – just reminds me: have you seen the film Equilibrium ? there is a scene when the hero (Bale) rearranges his desk and this is a signal that he has started to question the opressive regime in which he is involved.
Well, assuming that I had cleared out all the junk and identified a suitable layout I would:

  • Photograph my STRAIGHTENED desk and pin the image to the wall or even set it as the wallpaper on my computer
  • Stick some paper shadows of things like my phone, recharger, pen holder, mugs etc onto the desk surface. I would have to stick to a policy of never putting anything other than the specified item onto or overlapping the ‘shadow’.
  • I need to instigate a regular (weekly) audit of my desk to SORT any new categories of item and to confirm that I am not falling back into my old ways.
  • The hardest part will be to avoid putting paperwork into piles or at least limiting the size of the piles. This I could do by investing in a stack of in trays that would prevent over-filling.
  • I need a policy for dealing with the “that might come in handy” category of item.
  • I need to 5S my filing cabinets
  • I need to 5S my computer desktop which has become a virtual extension of my over-crowded and disorganised physical desk. (Like many men however, I know where everything is but no-one else would have a clue)

perhaps you could do the same for yours?

[1] If I were hot desking with colleagues this would not apply. A simple solution would be a clean desk policy

My Desk is a mess!

May 10, 2007

So that makes everything all right does it?

Over the last few nights I seem to have developed a taste for – or should I say rediscovered the taste of – vodka. I had been missing a late night Whisky, having run out recently, and remembered that we probably had a bottle of Wyborowa in the freezer. Rummaging around in the glasses cupboard I located a Chopin glass and poured myself a nice thick shot of ‘medicine’ Mmmmm.

Here is a photo of some Wyborowa in my Chopin shot glass on our Polish table (made for Gorecki but not collected by him, so we have it, Bardzo Dziekuje Pan Stanislaw)
Vodka shot

Why Chopin? you ask… He was Polish and they are very proud of the fact.

Here are two more raves for this week:
1) The people of Northern Ireland finally seem to have worked it out, good luck to them.

2) At last, he has gone, but so sad and disappointing that our ‘glorious leader’ felt the need to last 10 years in office so that he can satisfy some vain need to appear in the list of PMs that made a decade in their innings – FEEBLE AND POINTLESS – or perhaps he just wanted item 1 above to offset Iraq in his place in history.

On the BBC News website the banner runs

Hand on heart I did what I thought was right.

- This seems to be a consistent theme of his reign, but I can’t help asking So that makes everything all right does it?

April 08, 2007

Windows On Warfarin

Follow-up to I'm feeling rather thirsty from 353 Rant and Rave

As a follow up to a comment from Chris let me just add that Vista (even if it didn’t I am prepared to blame it for everything now) managed to screw up Firefox just now – it may have been the installation of the Flash plugin but I couldn’t get an error dialog to close. Fortunately I am not the first to get this as it appears at the top of the list of problems on the Firefox website so I managed to recover after some faffing.

It may cheap and somewhat simple but it came with my Mesh Computers desktop and the license covers 3 computers – so Chris, its Bullguard. I have no idea how much juice it uses but it doesn’t seem to knock my resources enough to notice.

My shoulder did casue me problems and I had to retire from the competition today after 54 arrows – I’ll take a week off and hope it recovers.

Finally, I now understand that the Vista WOW is Windows On Warfarin

April 07, 2007

I'm feeling rather thirsty

Having posted almost every day while I was in China, I've been on a break from blogging. I guess I've been feeling a sense of anti-climax and  nothing has seemed particularly good or bad. Well 3 weeks is enough for me to recuperate so whatsup.

Inspiron 640m

A real rave has to be the thing I am typing on now. I'm sitting (lying with my feet up) on the sofa, waiting for the golf highlights with a pint of Martsons Single Malt ale by my side. This I can do because MDW is 1000 miles away visiting family in Warsaw. I digress, I'm using our new Dell Laptop (Inspiron 640m) that arrived on Thursday - I am very pleased with it, the screen is very good and it has 2Gb of memory, and all for less than £600 (and this included an all-in-one printer).

Of course every silver lining is accompanied by a cloud (ok, a stretch I know): I am now using Windows Vista (Home Premium edition) - I am underwhelmed, If Bill thinks that this is WOW then I think he should retire. I wonder if he drives like an old man as well as thinking like one? For the few graphical niceties - and these aren't a patch on OSX - there is a big learning curve. Overall I'm left with the feeling " Is that it?". Now, its not just the interface but clearly the roll out planning has been a farce. My internet security software is still being ported to Vista and this is months after the launch and years after the beta programme, I doubt that the fault is with the security software company.

Next rave: Fantastic weather over the last three days so I've been shooting as much as I can, I've got a slight pull in my shoulder and I hope that doesn't cause me a problem tomorrow as I am shooting in a competition.

Well that better be it as the golf has started and I'm feeling rather thirsty. 

March 13, 2007

2 weeks in China – Frustration, Friendship and Flying

Home at last, my flight arrived on time at Heathrow this morning and by 6:45 am I was at my parents having a cup of coffee. I got back to Birmingham around 9:30 and have been doing my washing and relaxing since then – what a contrast to the last 2 weeks.

My last post was rather brief as, if you recall, I left my power adaptor in Chongqing and my batteries were flagging. So, let me fill in some of the details.

Thursday (8th March), Shanghai: Since my last visit over 7 years ago like all cities in China (especially the first tier ones) it has grown, upwards. Before, there was just the Pearl Tower – a futuristic looking TV tower with a large sphere like structure half way up – think Flash Gordon and you’ve got it. Anyway, when I last saw it, it was sitting on its own on the East bank of the Huangpo river. Now it is just one of many in the Pudong district, a huge area that strectches to the sea around 30km to the East of downtown.
Pudong (East Bank of the Huangpo river)

As I mentioned previously I was given a tour in the morning, and lunch in the YuYuan old town area which, rather disappointingly in some ways, is actually a facade: behind the carved wooden exteriors lie buildings of steel reinforced concrete – you could blame the Japanese but it didn’t have to be reconstructed in this manner. In the afternoon we visited some agents, the best of which was a guy called Colin who actually has offices in the UK. Nice bloke but we turned down his offer of a meal and ate instead in the trendy Xintiandi district. Now, normally I hate the fat on meat and like a pansy have always cut it off, much to my mothers dismay. I hope she is not reading this because Grandma’s Braised Pork Stew was fantastic and the fat, of which there was a lot, was firm, almost rubbery but absolutely delicious. We grabbed a cab back to the hotel afterwards, the female driver was listening to rock music, was small and dressed in a way that made me think of Blade Runner. In fact, Shanghai conjours up many images of Blade Runner in my mind; at night the roof details of the many skyscrapers are really futuristic.

Wuhan, Friday/Saturday: Arriving in Wuhan wasn’t quite a shock but the contrast between this second tier city and Beijing, Shanghai or even Chongqing was quite obvious… things are generally shabbier, businesses spilling onto the street, more bicycles. Nevertheless Wuhan is still a big city, you could easily fit Birmingham inside it. The exhibition was very well attended and for once Warwick had a good position and the stand had busy trade all day. As has been the case however, so many of the prospective want Business and Finance and the engineers we saw were few and far between. For some reason there were quite a few materials science peeps.
Central Wuhan is off to the right on the far bank of the Yangtze

We were late getting to the restaurant on Friday evening and so had to queue – we’d been warned but couldn’t avoid the traffic jams. After waiting for around 40 minutes we decided to leave… we were a few paces down the road when one of the floor managers (in a long black skirt and elegant hat) caught up with us and showed us to a side entrance where we were told we could have the next table. There are some advantages to being a ‘Ghost’ even though it did mean that I am still feeling a little guilty about being a queue jumper (well, not that much). Amongst the various dishes were and amazing sweet and sour fish and a surprise vegetable dish: crispy shredded potato, or…...french fries.
Crispy Shredded Potato

The restaurant….
The restaurant in Wuhan

Back in Hong Kong on Sunday evening Wing and Euphemia took me out for a hot pot. I must remember the place and go there with a colleague next time I’m in HK.

On Monday evening I presented a seminar at the British Council on Hong Kong, by now I was prepared for the relatively low turnout.
The prospective students that turned up all seemed nice and had engineering backgrounds. I hope we get to see a few of them in October. I caught a train out to the airport around 10pm, had enough time to down a pint in the Sports Bar before getting on the ‘Lump’ and flying home. Oh Yes - my power adaptor/charger did make it to HK! – 2 weeks in China – Frustration, Friendship and Flying

March 10, 2007

my charger will arrive in HK on Monday

Its now 11:30pm , just arrived in Hong Kong after a flight from Wuhan that nearly didn’t happen and a drive from Shenzhen via two very slow border controls.

Today’s recruitment exhibition in Wuhan was really busy. Its a shame that a great many of the potential students won’t be able to afford the cost. Thanks to Alan and Shirley from the International Office (China staff) and of course to Euphemia who deserves more money, more time off and more of everything.

Going back in time to my last posting … Friday was a flight from Shanghai (Pudong airport is a ridiculous distance from downtown and is served by a super fast, super expensive MAGLEV that doesn’t go anywhere useful, so isn’t used – Taxi is the only option but the roads are incredible congested so you should allow over an hour to be on the safe side…. In the afternoon visited some agents and in the evening went to a popular Wuhan restaurant – more to come in a later post.

Back further… on Wednesday in Shanghai was given a tour by a nice lady called Jaimey and in the afternoon.. guess what?..... agents. Finished up in a restaurant in the chic eating dining/bar area.

Must finsih now as my battery is fading fast. Hopefully my charger will arrive in HK on Monday

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