Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday night @ Home

All four of us at home on a Friday night for once.

Well... almost...

Jessica has a math test tomorrow which she perhaps isn't 100% prepared for. She called me in the afternoon to see if we could get her in to a class at Assistance Math Physique in the evening. We found out later that they weren't doing classes tonight. She called her tutor, Hugo, and set up an hour of private class for 19:00.

As it turns out everything and everybody was running late at home anyway so we didn't sit down for dinner and TV until about 20:00. Desney got home late from work and I was having difficulty finishing my work as well.

Tomorrow was supposed to be our annual International Meal at Jessica's school. This is when the families of the international sections get together to eat, drink and socialise. Each family prepares some food, hopefuly of their own international origin, and brings it for everyone else. It's an absolutely wonderful day and a truly valuable part of the international school experience. Desney had bought a ton of apples and was going to be spending this evening making apple crumble for everyone.

However due to the school protesters this year's international meal was cancelled, for the first time ever, at the last minute (18:00 this evening).

Some time when I have time I may put down in to words my opinions as regards the school protests going on and the CPE contract. I most probably will not. For those of you who are interested however I can summarise: I agree that the children should have the right to protest like anyone else; I agree that if a majority votes on a strike they should be able to strike even if they are minors; however that's striking and protesting. I do not agree that any group of students should be allowed to block the school and interfere with the other students' right to an education. I do not agree that the public services should be able to handicap and cripple the country with strikes or protests which completely remove public services (transportation, post, education, ...). I do agree with the CPE contract as is and, from a more radical point of view, feel it should actually be the normal way we hire and fire in this country. I have not hired anyone in this country since 1994. I only work with subcontractors. The notion of employment precarity has never seemed like a negative aspect to me. Losing your job is not the same as losing your health. I still believe one can find a job. It may involve a compromise that it appears most people are not willing to make. But the job is there. I do not feel that employment is a right. It is something you work for and earn. That's why we say you "earn a living" or "earn your salary". In France it is generally looked down upon as negative if you have changed jobs 2 or 3 times in a 10-year period. In many other countries, such as the anglophone countries I've worked in, it is looked up upon as positive that you have proven mobility and flexibility by changing jobs and that you have a more varied experience of employment and the type of work you are looking for as part of your career. Just to really upset more: I actually do feel that the employer should have more rights than the employee. The employer pays. The employer therefore pays for that additional power and rights. An employe can lost his job. An employer can lose his company which can entail much greater consequences than just losing a job.

After having written the above paragraph I better feel, although I already understood, the positive feeling of being able to vent ones opinions.

Tonight we didn't order out for food. No pizza. No Japanese. No Chinese. Tonight Desney prepared a whole bunch of tiny foods for us to eat (chicken wings (tasty), flammenkuche (delicious!), fresh raw vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, ...), crisps, pretzels, nuts, ...

Desney drank our house wine: Maison de Fleurie - Fleurie.

I had a beer which I felt would go better with what we're eating.

TimelineAs it's my birthday weekend I decided I would choose tonight's movie. Amazon recently had a sale on DVDs, many of which were only about 2.99 €, and I bought quite a few. One of the ones I bought however was not on sale but a movie I personally have wanted to see for quite some time. It's a movie which just did not get any marketing support whatsoever and did not do well at the box office. However I had read, and quite enjoyed, the book by Michael Crichton. Timeline is the sort of movie that proves yet again the classic point: the book is always better than the movie. I knew the kids would like spotting some of the actors in the movie. There were many well-known actors but not real stars. Alexandra spotted David Thewlis from Harry Potter III; Jessica recognised Paul Walker from The Fast and Furious films and both of them immediately recognised Gerard Butler as Lara Croft's boyfriend/partner in Tomb Raider II. Strangely enough Jessica didn't recognise him as the star of The Phantom of the Opera which is a film she adored. Desney immediately recognised Billy Connolly but couldn't remember his name... With Richard Donner directing it had to be explosive to say the least. The family adores all of the Lethal Weapon movies so I thought it couldn't go down all that bad.

A good time was had by all...

Alexandra went to bed, as she has school tomorrow, and Jessica went up to study (hopefully) for her test tomorrow. I sat around watching the Making Of for a while...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cancer on the net

After finishing this latest software release I felt like doing something else.

I don't really know why but I started looking at cancer on the Internet (again).

This time I checked out some of the newsgroups and eGroups to see what people were saying. I am constantly amazed at how different each cancer victim's experience is while still remaining strangely familiar.

There is an eGroup specific to Throat Cancer which I find particularly interesting as it tends to feel closer to home than the more generic cancer groups which discuss the much more popular and widespread cancers such as breast, lung and colon cancers.

I've added links to the groups on the links section of this blog in the lower right. At the same time I also just spent some time updating our movie collection and my books collection which are also in the links on the right.

I particularly like the sites, mostly American, which give the various stages of cancer and then the 5-year survival odds. I keep expecting to be able to find myself listed somewhere on Betfair. You can be on just about anything else there. I spend enough money there that it would be interesting if I could bet against myself. In that case if I won my family would actually get some money! Probably the first time I'd be hoping NOT to win a bet!

I don't know why I'm still fascinated with the subject of cancer. I just know that several hours don't go by without my still thinking about it.

Do I still have cancer in me? Is it still spreading? If not... will it come back?

What will I do, or what am I willing to do, if it does?

Another release

I finished the last part of this stage of the programming project. This last part allows that remote department to print out all of the information they need with various combinations of columns and calculations.

I uploaded it to the client's server, sent out a release explanation e-mail and leaned back feeling extremely pleased with myself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Health Status...

I don't know if it's since I've stopped my beloved magic mouthwash, or just coincidentally this stage of the evolution of my recuperation, but my mouth and throat have certainly been worse lately.

My mouth is much drier than usual, my voice is much cracklier and painful and my throat hurts more often than it used.

This may also be due to the fact that I've been working quite a lot lately. When I work obsessively, which is generally the way I work, I tend to forget the biological basics. Generally I stand up from my chair at some point and realise that I haven't been to the toilet in many hours and probably should have. More importantly however I am probably not forcing myself to drink water half as often as I should. Generally I open my mouth to speak and suddently realise my mouth and throat are extremely dry because I haven't lubricated them for over an hour. For most people, with normally functioning salivary glands, this isn't a big deal as nature provides them with natural lubrication. But for me that water is vital and I have to get used to forcing myself...

Every night I massage ointment (Ultralan) in to my zapped skin around my neck and specifically in to my scar. This tends to relieve the tension and constricted feelings for quite some time. However over the past few weeks I've definitel been having more and more moments of pain either around the scar directly or more generally at the back of my neck above the scar, or along my left shoulder and sometimes down my left arm. The pain comes and goes and is not debilitating or incapacitating at all. It's just annoying and not enjoyable. I am amazed how accustomed to pain I have become since September 2005. I live with a certain amount of pain every day and throughout the day and have learned to just not think about it and get on with my life when possible.

My last appointment with my surgeon / throat doctor was in January and, as I recall, did not go very well. At the end of my appointment he told me to see him again in mid-April. I called today and made myself an appointment for April 19th. He will most definitely show his probes up my nostrils and down my throat and let me know if that area is entirely clear which will obviously be good news. But I am actually hoping that he will prescribe some form of scan (maybe PET) or other tests to ensure that I am currently cancer free.

It's going to be a long wait...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Soutien scolaire

Soutien scolaire, or scholastic support, is the generic term in French for things like private tutoring, afterschool classes or other means of additional schooling.

I spent a good portion of the morning looking for soutien scolaire possibilities for Jessica and even a bit for Alexandra.

We had already tried sending Jessica to one of the places where they give classes over the holidays (Objectif Math) last year. However we were certainly unimpressed. We had signed her up, and paid for, two weeks of classes over the holidays. We were actually quite upset when we found out that the second week they did exactly the same class they did the first week. Jessica had gone with a friend which may have made it a bit easier but it we weren't pleased with the investment and choice.

Later in the year, and actually for quite some time, we used some private teachers who came to the house for a individual classes one or two times a week, through a different company (Keep School). We were not happy with the first teacher they sent us. But afterwards we were actually quite lucky and found a very good teacher who worked with Jessica throughout most of the rest of the year and Jessica's work and self-assurance both improved greatly. Unfortunately this year that teacher is no longer teaching.

We have been working unofficially (under the table) with another "teacher", who is actually a prépa student, who has been coming to help Jessica with math a couple of hours a week. Jessica's quite pleased with him. I recently learned he can touch his nose with his tongue and he's double-jointed in many of his fingers. For some reason I did not find these aspects of their learning experience particularly valuable.

We have been receiving a flyer from a local outfit which provides extracurriculum classes just up the street (Assistance Math Physique). I contacted them and have set up a meeting, with Jessica, for tomorrow night at 20:45 which is after their last class (18:30 to 20:30).

I also found an intersting online system with classes, exercises, course material, dictionaries, encyclopedia, calculators and such directly on the web. The content of the site is based on what grade the student is in and follows the national curriculum. The fee is a monthly subscript, with unlimited use, per student. I signed up for an account both for Jessica and for Alexandra with Maxicours. One of the more interesting aspects of Maxicours is that Desney and I can also follow what they are supposed to be doing in school as well as find the "official" explanations for the various subjects. Because it's been many years since either Desney and I were students makes it sometimes difficult for us to remember all of the various subjects and explanations we studied. However the fact that neither of us went to pre-university school in France means that there are many subjects for which we are completely ignorant and clueless. I personally never did French history in school, for example, and am unaware of most of the relevant dates and events. I also never did math in French. Although I am quite comfortable in math I do not know most of the French terminology nor the French methods. Desney and/or I try and read the same books the kids have to read in school for literature (French or English) to allow us to be able to discuss the books with them (admittedly Desney much more than I). But with this Maxicours site we will hopefully be able to find the explanations and exercises for each of these other classes our kids are going through. It will hopefully help both the kids and their seemingly ignorant, but well-meaning, parents.

A release

What I had not mentioned in most of my previous blog entries, and part of the reason why I'm typing the last few days' entries up on March 30th, is that throughout the days I've been programming like a madman.

I have been advancing constantly in my programming project and I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel since at least last Wednesday. I knew I could do it. I therefore set the goal for myself that the latest version would be ready for release on Sunday morning so the client would have it waiting for them when they arrived to the office on Monday morning.

After days and days of programming as much as possible I was able to release the new version last night. It was an absolutely wonderful feeling of accomplishment. But also a great reminder that I can still be quite useful and am actually, at least in my opinion, quite special. Most people who know me will find it difficult to believe that my ego would need any form of assistance or reminding. But the pleasures of releasing this particular piece of programming was actually much more than I would usually have expected.

Due to confidentiality, which is of more importance to me than most other aspects of my work, I can't actually explain what the programming entailed. But I knew that part of the functionality of this new release was both revolutionary and long-awaited in this client's specific circumstances. There is a department within the client company which is normally remote, separate and therefore not connected to the specific database. However they are responsible for a certain aspect of the figures which are stored in the database. They keep these figures in their internal "database" and the two departments sents printed reports or spreadsheets back and forth with data changes. Humans being humans obvious discrepancies occur. This new release allows this separate department to directly access and modify the relevant portion of the data in the database. It works!

Now I am going to feel so much better when I prepare my quarterly programming invoice at the end of the month!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday night dinner

Tonight it was my turn to cook. Actually it probably is my turn to cook quite a lot more often than the number of times I cook. Tonight I actually cooked dinner.

I made a roast ostrich with some olive oil, herbs and mustard. I accompanied this with some steamed potatoes and then some steamed broccoli.

The ostrich was going reasonably well. But when it came to get it out from the roasting pan in to the service dish everything went wrong. I was, stupidly, picking it up with a meat fork and as it stuck a bit to the roasting pan the entire ostrich fell off the fork knocking both the ostrich and the rest of the contents of the pan to the floor. Luckily, thanks to Desney's endless and impeccable cleaning, I had no qualms about picking the ostrich off the floor and serving it as is. However the rest of the oil, herbs and mustard made a huge mess of the floor and I still had to get the potatoes and broccoli out before I ruined them. Desney was therefore cleaning up the floor and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off...

What else is new?

While I was cooking I had decided it was time to move up to trying red wine. I opened up a half-bottle of Mme Thevenet's Fleurie (Les Déduits --- 2001) which went down quite well along with the standard apéritif fare of crisps, cashews and such. The red wine certainly has a bit more sting to it in the throat. But it is still delicious. As the flavours tend to be a bit stronger in the reds than the whites, certainly amongst those that we have, the tasting was actually more frustrating as the strength of the flavour that I was able to taste was the same. But I knew from the nose that I was actually missing out on more. Along with dinner, once we finally got it on the table, we had a bottle of my favourite Languedoc-Roussilon red (Granoupiac). The strong fruit went quite well with the dinner and it was a great pleasure to be able to eat and drink with my family. The kids seemed to appreciate the meat more than the previous day's fish. However this is probably due more to the fact that the day was much more relaxed and less eventful than the previous.

The end of the mouthwash

Every night, since my second surgery, I rinse my mouth out with a prescrbied magic mouthwash before going to bed. This mouthwash has a bit of antifungal stuff in it, some bicarbonate of soda and a bit of xylocaine (local anesthetic) which is the part I like most. After the mouthwash my mouth tingles a bit. My throat is numbed a bit for quite some time and even my cheeks and gums get numb for a shorter period of time. This last feeling tends to remind me of the more enjoyable effects of other chemical substances I used to partake in during my early adulthood. All in all the mouthwash has been an enjoyable part of my neverending treatments.

Last night was the end of the mouthwash and the end of my prescription. I don't know if the ensuing reaction was more than partly psychosomatic. But I had a slight coughing fit in the middle of the night which I had not had in quite a very long time. I then woke up with a mouth much drier than usual and quite a few gagging episodes when drinking my first glasses of water in the morning.

I miss my mouthwash already...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday night dinner

It was just the three of us as Alex had been invited to a birthday sleepover party from an old friend back in the XVth. Desney had taken her during the day and I'll be going to pick her up tomorrow...

Dinner: Desney prepared an entire dorade (fish - sea bream), with broccoli and rice. We opened a rather nice bottle of Ehrhart's Tokay Pinot Gris (not Grand Cru)which I was able to share and enjoy with everyone else. Dinner was delicious. But the Jessica complained about having to eat fish and how disgusting it was to have entire fish on their plates. Desney and I have both learned that the kids' opinions as regards specific food is generally more based on the specific emotional mood(s) at the time than the actual food itself.

I personally was just pleased to be able to drink the wine with the food. The wine doesn't quite sting any more. But, unfortunately, my taste buds still aren't up to actually tasting the nuances of the wine. My nose works perfectly fine so I know exactly what the wine should taste like. I therefore know exactly what I'm missing. Mostly I can't taste the wood and earth aspects. The fruit comes through, albeit more faintly than it should, and the tannic feeling of dryness on the cheeks and gums appears. But the sugar and sweetness comes through rather bitter or acidic. This is all obviously frustrating... but it's still a whole lot better than not being able to drink wine at all.

Parents - Teachers meeting @ Balzac

I had to get up relatively early this morning and get my act together quickly enough to leave the house for about 10:15.

Today is the Parents / Teachers meeting at Jessica's school. This is when we parents all get to go to school and meet with our child's teachers. We have a scheduled meeting with the student's primary teacher (homeroom teacher) who in turn hands us the child's report card. Our primary teacher had scheduled the meetings in reverse alphabetical order. I was actually lucky as our meeting was scheduled for 10:40 rather than closer to 08:30 when she started.

Jessica and I got there on time (actually about 5 minutes late) and stood on the queue outside the teacher's room for a good 15 minutes before being allowed in. As usual the queues outside each room were a completely unorganised mess. Each room had anywhere from one to four teachers in it and people would queue up without knowing which teacher the other parents were queueing for. In our specific case parents would be queueing up for this specific teacher without knowing that there were other parents who actually had appointments. I still suggest the classic New York delicatessan approach of taking a number outside each door and for each teacher.

Eventually we saw the teacher, who was very pleasant, and were graced with Jessica's report card. Jessica's been working very hard lately and it shows in most subjects. She's doing quite well in literary subjects like French and English as well as History/Geography in English and, of course, Art. However her grades were more than problematic in such vital subjets as Math and History/Geography in French. Both of these subjects are vital for the particular Bac (diploma) she is targeting for at the moment (Bac ES).

I soon realised that I was going to need to see more than just the primary teacher. After much waiting in the halls, which was accompanied by the opportunity to meet and greet tons of other parents from our section, we finally saw her Math teacher and her SES (social and economic studies) teacher. That took already an hour and a half and we didn't get to see the other teachers I wanted to see (her History/Geography teacher or her Italian teacher) as they had already left.

Everyone agrees that Jessica is wonderful. No one needed to tell me that. But it's always a pleasure to hear it from someone else who may be less subjective than myself.

However everyone also agreed that Jessica needs to work on her math before the end of the year to prepare herself for next year. She has already been having private tutoring at home on weekends and some evenings for a few months now. But it was time for a more classical approach.

We came home and had the heated discussion about grades and the report card which ended in the now typical heated argument and separation.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday night...

Jessica was out at the theatre with her class so it was just the three of us for dinner.

We decided to have Japanese (sushi) as it works out so much cheaper with just the three of us.

I went to go rent a DVD, as usual, and we had even agreed on two possibilities before I left: Mr. and Mrs. Smith or La Marche de l'empereur. Neither was available. All of the copies of Mr. and Mrs. Smith were already rented and La Marche de l'Empereur wasn't on their list of DVDs for rent. I therefore stood outside in the rain, under a cover, on my mobile phone in front of the DVD machine reading off the DVDs which were available. After quite some time we finally decided that there were no DVDs which were available which we were either interested in or could agree to.

I came home and we let Alex decide out of the DVDs we already own. Her choice was actually quite predictable. The newest member of the Daniel Radcliffe Fan Club chose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It may very well have been the first or at the most second time Desney had seen it. It was at the least the second or third time I had seen it. However it was at least the fifth time Alexandra had seen it and she was, rather annoyingly, telling us what was going to happen next throughout the movie.

As Alex had school the next day she was supposed to go right to bed after the movie ended... This did not happen, as usual, and after much yelling and screaming things finally quieted down. We had to take her Harry Potter book away from her, as usual, or she would have been reading in bed with a flashlight until all hours.

In recent days her room has been stripped of more and more distracting objects: even though I turn off the Internet access on both of the girls' computers at night Alexandra would be playing Sims on her computer non-stop so finally her computer was confiscated; her mobile phone was confiscated as she had been making calls late at night from bed and had also been using it as a flashlight to read with (!); her stereo was then confiscated, by Desney, as she was playing it so loud and so often that she couldn't hear when she was being called or spoken to.

This may all sound quite strict to those of you with issues as regards confiscating childrens' possessions as punishment. However I can assure you that even with this reduced quantity of technological equipment, constantly referred to as "useless expensive gadgets" by my beloved wife, Alexandra was still able to live a full life and most certainly still able to maintain a most definitely rebellious mischief level.

Late in the evening Jessica finally arrived home with a friend who was staying over for the night...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A major breakthrough

At the end of the day, after running out and getting some more odds and ends for the basement room, I made dinner.

Normally on Friday nights I try and sip of Desney's wine to see if I can somehow manage it. I optimistically think positive each time and each time it burns going down. After so many weeks of disappointment I didn't even try on Friday.

Tonight I had to use white wine in the sauce. I opened up a lovely bottle of Chablis Premier Cru (Les Vaillons 2001) from our favourite winemaker (Moreau-Naudet) and measured out enough for the sauce. I poured a glass ready for Desney as I knew she wouldn't say no. It smelled wonderful. Before bringing the glass out to her I thought I'd try a sip. ... The smile on my face must have been pretty amazing. I thought I'd try another sip... then another...

That glass never made it out to Desney. I poured another glass and brought it out to her. I then sneaked mine from behind my back and did "cheers" with her glass. It was a great feeling!

I can now drink wine without any great discomfort. It still tingles a bit going down. But it doesn't actually burn and it's not uncomfortable.

Unfortunately I still can't really taste it however. From smelling the Chablis I know very well the sort of flavours I should have been experiencing. I wasn't getting any of 'em. I got a bit of the fruit in the beginning. But none of the wood, no length in the mouth and nothing after. I made sure with Desney... it wasn't the wine... it was me.

I can't taste the wonderful aspects of wine that make it enjoyable... yet. But I can drink wine again which is certainly a major step in the right direction.

I might open another bottle just to celebrate!


Desney has been working mornings, afternoons, days, nights and weekends redecorating the heating room in the basement. She redid the cement in the walls; treated places with special anti-humidity chemicals (which sent me running away as my throat didn't like them at all); fixed holes; replastered; repainted everywhere (ceiling, walls, floor, beams) with special paints (ceiling and wall paint, wood paint for the windows, iron paint for the beams, terrace and balcony paint for the floor)...

After months today was the day when the rest of us were called to help. We actually started putting things back in to the room today. Jess and I took apart a cupboard, dragged it out to the garage in pieces and put it back together again. That was about the extent of our assistance.

The room looks pretty amazing. But there are a few odds and ends to finish up on the electronics front which I am currently working on. As soon as that part's finished I'll post a photo or two...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Late night...

I spent most of the day programming... I know I should have been doing other things... enjoying the sunny cold weather... but

I'm really enjoying the projet I'm working on and progressively moving forward... It feels better than playing outside with this body that still doesn't seem to do what I want it to when I want it to.

In the evening I kicked back and watched De-Lovely which I had rented from DVD Fly (the French version of Net Flix). The movie was ever so slightly above average but enjoyable. Kevin Kline was better than the movie. The idea was to kill time until I had to go back out.

I knew I was going back out after midnight as I was going to pick up Jessica from a party she was going to in the 10th. I left home a bit after midnight and his road works and traffic through the 19th but got there for abou 00:45. Of course I sat around in the car a bit as it obviously took a while for her to actually leave the party. Then I found out that I had been drafted in to late night taxi service and I took home two of her friends. The three of them gossiped and giggled throughout the entire drive which should have kept my mind off the traffic. Got in at about 01:30 and was in bed 15 minutes later...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Liane Foly

Back in December I bought 2 tickets to see Liane Foly at our local theatre here in Asnières. I wanted to set myself a goal at the time: feel well enough to go out to a concert and to enjoy myself. Although I am constantly frustrated by my condition I have to admit that I have met and surpassed the goals I short-sightedly set at the time.

However I had forgotten that no one else in the family is a fan of Liane Foly. We therefore had been discussing all week about who would accompany me. The entire family hoped that my friend Robbie was free and woudl be willing. Unfortunately Robbie has to work. Jessica therefore reluctantly agreed to accompany me.

To attempt to compensate Jessica for accepting the torture of coming out to the concert with me I wanted to offer her a better dinner than just the local Italian restaurant around the corner from the theatre. I was therefore pleased when we found a lovely little French restaurant not far from the theatre. What I had obviously forgotten was how long dinner takes in a "normal" restaurant. Nearly all of the time this is just the way I like it and one of the major reasons I live here. However we were in a bit of a rush to get to the theatre... We still managed to have an entrée and a plat... even though we had to forsake dessert and didn't even have time for an after-meal coffee. The meal was better than average without being extraordinary...

We ran to the theatre and got there at about 20:15. Unfortunately this was one of the rare evenings when the seats were not numbered: first come first serve. And the place was already packed! We got seats pretty far up but at least a bit centred.

She started at 20:40, about 10 minutes late and with the entire theatre clapping to call her out. We were walking out of the theatre at 23:40! Except for a 15-minute intermission she had given us 3 hours of a true "show"!

I had heard that she does a bit of impersonations and jokes in between songs. I didn't realise just how much of an integral part of the show that is. She sings 2 or 3 songs and then she does a few impersonations and stories. Her impersonations were absolutely excellent! Jessica was a bit lost every now and then as she didn't know some of the references or characters. But cutting up the pure singing with stories and impersonations made for an even more interesting and varied evening.

We left there singing songs in the street and were still singing when we tiptoed in to the house as Desney and Alexandra were already in bed. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the evening as the concert was actually much better than I had expected. I knew that I would enjoy it... but I did not expect that much quality or quantity.

Jessica was full of compliments and actually said she was glad she came!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Back on the road

Another long day but probably the most enjoyable. It was split nicely by a nice long lunch at a local pub. I was able to eat the inside of a steak and ale pie, as it's made with a lot of sauce, but I couldn't handle the chips and pie part without embarassing myself. One wonderful discovery I had already made on Wednesday, at lunch, is the fact that British real ale goes down oh so very nicely. Not the slightest bit of stinging, pure pleasure and quite tasty. I had a pint on Wednesday and had two pints today. I found that if I didn't really nag myself I could have gladly spent the rest of the afternoon in the pub.

At the end of the day I took the taxi back to Waterloo, waited on queue with the standard Friday night queues for at least a half an hour and finally back on to the Eurostar home. The stewardess looked at me funny when I refused the free Champagne and the meal was certainly strange without wine but I sat back and watched Hotel Rwanda on DVD and got home before midnight.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

A long day

Worked a bit in the morning before having breakfast in the room. Got to the office and tried to get to work on the new server we were installing. Unfortunately quite a lot of users had their own problems that needed dealing with, one after the another, and the next thing I knew most of the morning was gone. Spent the rest of the day installing the server and, of course, anything that could go wrong did go wrong. But, as always, everything worked in the end. But I didn't get back out of the office until about 19:30.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Room Service: The Workaholic's Diet

I called up room service for dinner, as always, ate it rather quickly in front of the television, and got back to work. I programmed until about 23:00 and decided I should try and get a good night's sleep before another big day of work.

Back to work

I was up early having not slept that well. I did all of the things I have to do in the morning and was hooked up and doing e-mails and such before 08:00. Breakfasted and off to the office for 09:00.

I spent literally the entire morning just saying hello to everyone. Going through the building and seeing everyone one by one. They were all really very pleased to see me and they made me feel both welcome and wonderful. They all went right to my vain streak and told me I looked great. What more could I ask for?

I finally sat down and started to get to work and actually didn't get out of the office until about 18:00. I got back to the hotel room and found I had two options: work as usual or watch television. I decided to force myself and try and watch television. Unfortunately there just really wasn't anything worth watching on. This was also a bit affected by the fact that I had programming ideas in my head that I just had to get in to the machine... I spent the next two hours programming...