Message Of The Day

Sun, 03 Apr 2005

04:59 [zork(~)] cat badgers.txt

North of the Border

I'm back. I spent last week house- and pet-sitting for Scott and his family who were away on Easter vacation. They live about 35 miles north of work, about 50 miles north of me, so I lived up in Cheese Land for the duration. Apart from Friday evening, when the rain lashed down, the commute wasn't bad at all. Scott had stocked the fridge with beer and has a medium-huge DVD collection (even excluding those owned by his kids) so it was more like a vacation. The downside was being woken at 5:30 am each day by the cats yowling for food and then taking the dog, Gus ("prince of flatulence, king of drool"), out for his morning constitutional. Gus also demanded a regular rubber bone tug-o-war and wrestling match each evening.

I had to attend the local church in Racine for the Easter service. This turned out to be considerably more well-to-do than my local hang-out. Uniformed ushers kept the mob in order and I felt rather underdressed. The choir was well drilled, although probably not quite as good as ours (we have a professional opera singer in our ranks). They performed a nice rendition of Vivaldi's Gloria in D. Thankfully they stuck to the first (Gloria in excelsis Deo) movement as if they'd continued to Et in terra pax I would have started daydreaming about the ending of Runaway Train;

"No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast."

The odd thing that was that the choir were supported by a couple of trumpet players so it sounded more like "Cake plays Vivaldi".

Not much else to report here. Zhiwen is still trying to improve my listening comprehension and because I had raved so much about 《苏州河》 she loaned me 《美人依旧》 (a.k.a. *Fei*) which also stars Zhou Xun (also in 《荊軻刺秦王》 and 《十七岁的单车》). I was surprised to find that it had been directed by Ann Hu as the style was so different from 《西洋镜》. I didn't like the current fillum very much as the plot was annoying although it did partly redeem itself at the end.

At Scott's I watched We Were Soldiers (good) and Ferrous Primate (mediocre). I then re-watched Galaxy Quest and Ice Age.

The new manager is gradually approaching the end of the honeymoon period so the mutterings are starting. There have been a few good things happening but basically they are trying to recreate the same structure as in their last position at $HUGEPHARMA so meetings a'plenty and a new policy that means that all communications to the rest of the company have to pass through them. They are also demanding one day a month be entirely devoted to a meeting intended to keep them abreast of all the projects. The first one will be on Tuesday and will actually take two days. We just don't have the time or the number of people to cope. Hopefully compromises will be made. The industry-wide shake-up means that jobs elsewhere are in shorter supply. I have received some replies but things are moving very slowly.

What is keeping me interested at the moment is my attempt to automate the unautomateable. I tested some scripts that managed to generate an intelligent summary of a heap of information that would have otherwise taken weeks to do. I also received praise for using some rather novel algorithms (actually they were more like formalising how I approach the subject when I do it manually). The eventual aim is to provide the functionality through a web page.

J.P. II R.I.P.

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