webcowgirl: (Default)
I was feeling fussy because I hadn't seen enough shows lately to have anything much to write about for my blog - only one entry last week though I saw a second show (it was bad). And my stats are suffering: they've been averaging around 200 a day lately, really poor. But I'm catching up a bit this week, with Peter Brook's Magic Flute last night and a triple bill at the Royal Ballet tonight (which I may or may not write up), plus Eight Women at Southwark Playhouse on Friday. And as a reward for my one post, my stats went up to over three hundred today. Really, the writing is a cruel taskmaster; if only I were making money off of it or creating something I considered to be of lasting value the time I spend on it might make some sense rather than seeming like a strange obsession.

Work is going well. I had an all-day training session with my staff today, and when it wrapped I had a meeting with my boss to go over the week. He told me his boss had expressed her take that my team was incredibly effective and the "unsung heroes" of our group; he said he told her it was really all due to me and not him. I have to admit, that unexpected praise made my head swell up. In fact, when I got back to my desk I sat and looked at suits on Ebay for a while, thinking maybe this manager lark thing is going to stick. After all of the struggle and strife I've had with my various jobs over the years, to be somewhere where I'm praised more than once in a blue moon is actually a bit hard for me to process.

The rest of my life continues to be rather a minefield. I'm faced with a bunch of cold hard facts making it kind of clear what I ought to be doing with myself but I'm not being disciplined enough to take the hand I've been dealt and (if I'm getting the metaphor right) fold. I'm sure it's just weakness on my part, and that I'll be kicking myself later for not taking strong action earlier rather than later; I frankly have little idea which monkey is driving the tiger right now. And I don't know where the tiger is going.

Is there a final thing to say on this post? Oh yes, my weekend in Inverness with [livejournal.com profile] noirem and her fella has resulted in some of the most porcelain like complexion I've experienced in ages. Something about the whole thing, whether it was the weather or the food or the incredible spoiling (so much wine!) or hanging around people for four straight days (I was never alone and let's just be clear, that's how I like it) really worked for me. She's coming down tomorrow and I'm really regretting I won't be able to spoil her as much, but still; Scotland appears to be good for my skin.
webcowgirl: (Status report)
So all energy has been sucked out of work since this summer, when we started getting going on this reorg that's cost 30% of the workforce their jobs. Morale has continued to be down. In addition to all the people that are going to be leaving still hanging around (they're making them work out their three months notice, it's inhuman), we also have a serious problem with not knowing what projects are coming up and just having a general lack of vision about where we're going. The new way of work? We don't know what it is. Yesterday, I looked at all of the people shuffling around and I felt like I was in the middle of a zombie attack.

"Morale is low," we say every week at my Thursday meeting. Nobody knows what to do. But get this: we're having a desk move on Monday, and because we don't have the money to pay the folks who do our IT stuff, everybody is getting a new phone. I can accept you have to push your tiny filing cabinet to your new desk, but the fact that everyone is expected to call the operator so they can figure out what their new phone number is just flabbergasts me.

All those years at Tripadelic, I hated how we handled reorgs and how often they happened. That said, Tripadelic looks like a model of efficiency and good management compared to how Il Postino is handling things. Dragging it out for six months? Insult to injury? Thank God I'm going on vacation at the end of this month, I'm probably not going for long enough!
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
Well, my Pilates class was canceled tonight. They offered me a free class in compensation (ace as I'm perennially broke these days), then [livejournal.com profile] wechsler invited me to do the "hanging out after class" thing without the class, which meant going over to his, both of us leaving work early so we could actually get on the Tube. We bought groceries and I cooked a big dinner: roast chicken & garlic sauteed greens & corn on the cob & mashed potatoes and gravy. YUM. Then we watched Where the Wild Things Are, which I meant to see in the theaters but kept missing. Same problem with Pan's Labrynth. Some day, you know? Anyway, it was fun and got better as the rain started pissing down but we were comfortably sat on the couch. I left at 10 and made it back in very good time, with easy connections in a spookily deserted Clapham Junction.

So adding the latest book I finished reading to my "Books Read" list, I see I'm just one book away from having the number of books I've read equal the number I've bought this year (in part this is due to getting lots of free books; my book acquisitions have actually been too great for the space available for said books). The question is: what do I read next "to restore balance," as it were? Here's some options:

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eyes - A.S. Byatt
The Female Man - Joanna Russ
Across the Wall - Garth Nix

And with that, I'm going to bed. Working from home tomorrow, yay!
webcowgirl: (Theater)
I'm trying to dial it down, way down, this week. What does that mean? Getting home before 11 every night; getting home by 10 most nights. (Small steps, eh?) This should slowly add to my candle even if both wicks are still lit.

Last night I went out to see a really lovely little "circus" called "Le Cirque Invisible" at Queen Elizabeth hall: the whole thing was not performy but more spectacle-y and reminded me of City of Lost Children. It was entirely too slow to be a circus; I was happy to relax and watch the pretty pictures unfolding before me.

Otherwise mostly this week has been about Pilates, lots of Pilates. In fact, there will be Pilates three times before the week is over, in no small part because the Y is having a half-priced Pilates promotion this month. But in addition to Pilates, there is Going To See Toy Story, which W and I did tonight. I enjoyed it and cried just a tiny bit, mostly because I was dying of cute at the very end.

Then I got home and discovered I'd left my keys at work, and happily I did not cry.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the meeting I had today (at work of course) in which we watched a safety presentation and the whole thing became like people reading out their fortunes from Chinese cookies with everyone adding "in bed" on the end. The woman doing the presentation was literally in tears at the end. What horrible people I work with! I mean, you know, because they all laugh so hard and are so very silly. Anyway, with luck, more about this tomorrow.
webcowgirl: (Crowned T)
I am having a work from home day because I am meeting the landlord so that he can look at the dead tree in the middle of the backyard (and hopefully decide it's time to cut it out instead of just letting it fall down over my head). It's raining impressively outside; I looked out and discovered that all of the mail I settled down to read in the backyard when I came home Sunday was left outside and is no soaking wet. Bad me! When I picked it up, I found another Guernsey pound note. Man, why did that wallet have to have useless money in it? I want a 20 pound note to show up in my back yard - that would be great!

So the one thing this day needs to be a perfect stay at home day is MORE SPRING WATER because without it I am doomed to not have good tea to drink. However, there was enough for one cup, and after the landlord has gone I can go to the corner shop and buy another giant bottle of it.
webcowgirl: (Theater)
I went out last night to see The White Guard, which I had high hopes for but ultimately disappointed me. In retrospect, I suspect the audience enjoyed it because of the so-called translation, and this is likely why I did not. It was a Russian situation told by decidedly English people. It did not seem like Bulgakov at all.

I then rushed home and wrote up my review as fast as I can, which wasn't nearly fast enough even though the play started at 7. As if it wasn't bad enough that work is getting its pound of flesh out of me (yesterday: more reviews and financial stuff then 3 hours of me doing and listening to presentations followed by three more hours of reviews), this writing is eating into me and leaving me wiped. But I've got three more shows this week (ballet tonight and Friday, dance show Saturday), and if I get behind I won't catch up.

And, you know, of course, I'm being paid so much money to do this. That is, none at all. I never got paid for the gig in February. Grr. Not like I was really expecting to ever be paid for this; I'm the one driving myself.

Anyway, 'nuff said for today. Off to my real job.
webcowgirl: (Status report)
I did not get my week off to a great start by rushing home from the Nureyev Gala at the ballet only to stay up late writing my review. The event was fun, though I wish it had started on time and the interval had either ended on time or maybe even a little earlier (half an hour is a long time to stand around). I especially like that I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] pimm2005, someone I'd been stalking on Twitter for a while.

I also got my review of Friday night's Macbeth by Cheek By Jowl posted. I'd finished writing it already, but the extra time to post was time I could have spent in bed.

So I started yesterday off a little tired, then proceeded to have it WHOOSH by me. We're doing personnel reviews, and I spent at least three and a half hours working very hard on writing them and talking to people about them. At one point I realized I had no one hanging over me and whipped out a quick but unnecessary overview of the Oliviers, the UK version of the Tonys. The big surprise was that The Mountaintop, a play about Martin Luther King's last night, won best play; I had enjoyed it a lot and was really pleased.

Then it was a quick trip to the gym, discussions about staffing, more reviews, my review, discussions about budget, and WHEW it was 5 PM and I had a special triage meeting for a project I said needed triage meetings. One of the guys in it was so good I went and congratulated him afterwards for skill in being tough with whiny developers. Then it was reviews and a quick visit to the presentation I'm giving today and WHEW there was my phone call from J liberating me.

Off we went to the Pho restaurant for a nice bowl of soup, perfect on the chilly, wet day Monday had somehow turned into. Then it was off to the Barbican for the Magnetic Fields. I hadn't expected that it would be a show with a zither, a cheesy electric piano, a guitar, a cello, and a ukelele, but suddenly the sound of the band made sense. And the lead singer, the man who croons to me with the deepest voice ever used for pop songs, well, he's a man probably in his late 40s who looks like a cabbie. And the music was wonderful.

But still, back home at 11, and tired again today. White Guard tonight at the National; since it's the official opening night, it's starting early. Thank God. I need the sleep.

Oh yeah. Results of three posts in 12 hours? HIGHEST HITS EVER on my theater blog. You know I'm excited about it.
webcowgirl: (Tiara)
1. Had a female person who works for me say (when asked if my hair was okay), "All I can see is how good your skin is." Aww!

2. Had a near total stranger tell me in a "how to give a presentation" workshop (in which we gave presentations and were critiqued) that I was inherently interesting to listen to because of my accent. Well well!

Also I passed probation (an official step at work in the UK, after which you get "full benefits" and are much more difficult to fire, only I don't get "full benefits," ie retirement plan and sick pay, until I've actually been here for a year) this week and had the boss say all sorts of nice stuff about me, like maybe I should consider aiming for a director position. I wrote about a lot of that on my Twitter feed, so all old news, but really, this has been a good week at work.

And look at that sunshine. Why am I inside again? Oh yeah, paycheck. Work. Being responsible. Bleah.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Our March came in like a lamb yesterday, a dry, sunny day that heralded warmer temperatures to come. In fact, it wasn't even that cold - I was able to go to work not wearing wool for the first time in months.

I can see the light bouncing off fo th white window frames of the houses across the street right now which means more of the same today.

Sadly, yesterday I was only out of the office for a grand total of 15 minutes during the work day, which means I totally missed the sun - well, except for 15 minutes - and I stayed too long, getting one thing after another done after 5 PM, so no sun on the way back home for me. It was a silly day. I had dropped everything to prep for a presentation at 1 PM, and as I was heading out the door to the conference center we use for things like this (a 20 minute walk from work), I ran into the girl who was organizing the event - who told me we were only meeting to _talk_ about the talk at 1, and we were meeting in our normal offices. So I didn't get done nearly what I wanted to as we pretty much plunged right into discussing the talk I'd prepared and then getting into this long discussion about how our teams could work together to improve project quality by "driving quality into requirements," going straight through any lunch hour and beyond. Truth be told I would have loved the walk to get there, but I'm glad I got to do something productive with the rest of my day.

But ... I am wanting to do some gym time. And some sun time. Today is all meetings, mostly, from 9-noon and then from 1:30-4:30. I think I can get some gym time in, and maybe even a walk if I try. Then it's dinner in Streatham. It should be a good, if busy, day.
webcowgirl: (Status report)
I have a presentation at 1. I also have an (obligatory) class on how to give presentations on Wednesday. Part of the prep work is taking an online class on how to give presentations - only I'm too busy prepping for an actual presentation to do that. Ah, the irony. Since when is so much of my work "presenting?" I mean, thank God I have no fear of speaking to others, or this would be insufferable. However, I think I could use a suit, but my goal of getting one from Talbots seems to be impossible as they seem to be running out of my size in all of their sale lines. Time to buy off of Ebay, I think.

Books on the train today: a man was reading Crime and Punishment, and a woman was reading an Ian Banks book about Crows. I forgot to write its title down but those of you who know the author will know immediately what I mean. Me, I'm reading Charlaine Harris' last Sookie book, Dead and Gone, and feeling very sorry about it because I'm already 2/3 done and I think I only started on Friday in a blatant attempt to pick up a book so absorbing I'd get stuck in right away. I'm also kind of poking around with Cold Comfort Farm, which, I'll admit, is quite funny. I love that the cows on the farm are called Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless.

It was, in fact, so crowded on the ride that it was almost impossible to read at all. We were leaving people behind at every station, though folks were really doing their best to crowd in all the way along. Stockwell was a huge blessing. It's a mystery why some days it's so crowded and somedays it's not. Maybe it's because the weather is so good today: our March has truly come in like a lamb.

I was hoping maybe to see [livejournal.com profile] ergotia tonight (though really I ought to do better when trying to see people than just send them a response on LJ), but as thing are shaping up and per a recommendation from [livejournal.com profile] zygopetalum on another post, I think I really just ought to go to Pilates after work. I've got my workout clothes with me, so it just might happen.

AAAND 28 things on my todo list, including a presentation at 1 PM. Time to get cracking!
webcowgirl: (Tiara)
OOOH yesterday was quite a day. I was scheduled to train/lecture my team for four hours in the afternoon and, despite spending two or three hours prepping for it on Sunday (and another two hours on Friday), I was still galloping to meet my 1 PM start time. Part of this was because of my home computer saving my presentation in PPTX instead of PPT (our computers are locked down so tight here we can't even download the viewer - why the hell doesn't MS build in backward compatibility for their own products?), then I realized about twenty minutes beforehand that I needed to create a quick presentation on the projects coming up in the next (fiscal) year. EEP.

Anyway, 3 1/2 hours in, I was exhausted, and we'd had such a long discussion on one topic that I'd decided to cut out the final (40) minute presentation and save it for the next time (in 2 months). But instead of leaving early, I wound up having an impromptu one to one with someone (who works for me) that I don't get to see in person much. SO TIRED.

I'm still exhausted today. And what do I have in my email? Two more requests to speak at OTHER teams meetings. So I ask myself - is this a reward or a punishment?

At any rate, I'm off to the gym.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Well, I gotta say, what with working 8:30-6 and eating at my computer so I can read more emails, this job is making it damned hard to keep up with writing about the shows I see, much less having the energy to actually make it in the theater in the first place. Still, I've finished my review of the ballet Mayerling which we saw last night (for 20 quid each courtesy of the Sun), and yesterday's lunch I devoted to writing my Annie Get Your Gun review. I've been shamed in my writing this week both by the West End Whinger's Annie review and Clement Crisp's review of the Scottish Ballet. The Whingers spent far more time being brilliantly funny about what was wrong with Annie; Crisp just shatters me with his concise, perfect words that capture so much better than I can what was happening. I mean, basically, he and I felt the same way about the show, but he expressed it like a Japanese bento box and my review was like country fried steak and gravy ... from the cafeteria.

*sigh*

Anyway, I continue enjoying work, and today I think I made a friend with a guy who's a test manager in a sister company. But mostly I still have too much to do and not enough time in the day and just getting enough sleep is a bit of a challenge. And I'm totally disappointed that this country doesn't have brownies that come and clean your house for a bowl of milk, cause I sure as hell could use some right now and there is plenty of things for the to dig into in the kitchen right now. That said ... must have bed now. [livejournal.com profile] varina8 arrives tomorrow and I will need to be perky for the next ten days. Aaargh!
webcowgirl: (Tiara)
Yesterday was a great wrap up to gardening leave. I got a solid 9 1/2 hours of sleep (this just wasn't happening in Penzance, don't know why but I was up at 7:30 daily), did a bunch of stuff around the house, then went to meet [livejournal.com profile] bathtubgin for lunch at Fujisan and had a tremendously overdue catchup about everything. Then I went off to Maidenhead/Taplow to visit the Lands' End Factory Outlet, where I bought three new work shirts and a skirt (but not the trousers and shoes I was hoping to find).

I then raced back to London and fairly successfully made it to Assa on time for a pre-theatre dinner with [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug. The three of us then toodled to the Vaudeville theater, where we were suprised to run into [livejournal.com profile] djm and [livejournal.com profile] thekumquat also going to see Alan Cumming's one man show "I Bought a Blue Car Today," which I really enjoyed (my review here). I was really psyched because basically I'd bought the only tickets I'd thought I could afford when they went on sale, 15 quid super cheapies, and then it turns out these were for the second row. Yay!

Home after the show and sad about not getting in until 11 PM and having stuff to do - getting the wet laundry hung up, uploading my review (written on the tube), figuring out how long it was going to take for me to get to work, putting away the new clothes I'd bought. The new job is going to require my getting into work earlier and my 11:30 bed time was not going to get me enough sleep for my first day - but, as expected, it took me forever to drop off anyway (still some coughing going on but having a hard time distracting myself properly to surrender to Morpheus) so it's not like I would have been sawing logs during the half hour I imagine as missed shut-eye.

So I'm up and I'm out in 30 minutes. I'm still sick and I haven't had enough sleep. We've got new neighbors next door and can now hear their radio and even their alarm clock going off in the morning; joy. My plan for the new joint is that I won't be online fooling around during the day though I might check Twitter from my phone; expect a lot less activity from me. This is part of why I wrote my review on the train - I'm not going to be able to do stuff like this on the job anymore. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Time to put the new work clothes on. Catch up with you all later for a series of locked posts about the new sitch.
webcowgirl: (Status report)
I don't agree with everything this woman says about the difference between men and women as managers, but I do agree with her on what makes a good manager. Well worth reading.

I have accepted the job offer after negotiating a salary rise. Next step: negotiating a leaving date. Current step: across the street to get a nibble.
webcowgirl: (London Biker)
Today I spent my time inside a building in the cool old heart of London, being trained in the use of a content management system. It's knowledge I hope to not really have to use. As I was getting through the lessons pretty quickly, I was able to spend some time writing up my review of Forbidden Broadway, which I went to see on Tuesday with J and [livejournal.com profile] booklectic and [livejournal.com profile] wechsler. It was really just a grand time and I'd like to go back.

View from St Michael's Churchyard, while on my back in the gr... on TwitpicAfter killing a bit more time at St. Michael's Churchyard (next to the site of the first coffee shop in London, a deliciously old part of town), I headed over to Waterloo and thence to Worcester Park, where [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and I enjoyed a meal made by [livejournal.com profile] adjectivemarcus and then watched True Blood with him and [livejournal.com profile] booklectic and [livejournal.com profile] dr_d. It was a really good evening and we even made it back home before 11 PM. I want to watch some more of it soon; we only got to the middle of the second episode. But we had raspberry whirl ice cream with fresh, delicious strawberries so I thought it couldn't be seen as anything other than a great evening. This means I'm four for four this week; except for the sleep, things are definitely going well, though it's actually still running rather warm for London. Remember, there's no AC almost anywhere, even in most offices, people don't have it at home, and the tube gets up to 100 degrees and more - it was at least 95 on the Central line around noon on Monday and Tuesday, and when you're commuting for an hour it can get brutal.To this I say, "Moo." on Twitpic
webcowgirl: (Default)
I dreamed last night I worked for the Obamas. I was going out to the Smithstonian Institution with them and Sasha and Melia. We ran into my brother and sister in law on the way, and when my SIL was introduced to them, she fainted. I wanted to ask Mr. Obama to find a job for my brother, but I figured I'd wait for a while rather than be pushy.

I spent this morning in training in the City, then spent my lunch hour walking around Holborn looking at "very old buildings." Tonight J and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary (two days early) by going to see Giselle. It will be the first time I have ever sat in the stalls at the Opera House, and I'm kind of excited about it.

As for right now - I'm just kind of sleepy. It's a deliciously quiet Wednesday afternoon, of the sort that would be enhanced with a cup of tea. Too bad I can't make a really good one.
webcowgirl: (Wristband)
For the employed and hating it, and the unemployed and hating it, I have these quotes from Alain de Botton about work:

"There is one difference between 'labour' and other elements that conventional economics doesn't have a means to represent or give weight to but is nevertheless unavoidably present in the world: the fact that labour feels pain and pleasure.

When production lines grow prohibitively expensive, these may be switched off and will not cry at the seeming injustice of their fate. A business can move from using coal to natural gas without the neglected energy source walking off a cliff. But labour has a habit of meeting attempts to reduce its price or presence with emotion. It sobs in toilet cubicles, it drinks to ease its fears of under-achievement and it may choose death over redundancy."

And this: "The most remarkable feature of the modern workplace has nothing to do with computers, automation or globalisation. It lies in the widely held belief that our work should make us happy. All societies have had work right at their centre; ours is the first to suggest that work could be something other than a punishment or penance."

Morrisey summed it up nicely: "I was looking for a job and then I found a job/And heaven knows I'm miserable now ..." Basically you lose, employed or not. My goal for years has just been to find the least miserable-making job I can get; today I looked the fact that I'll probably never be anything other than mediocre in the face and it didn't do much to lighten an already gloomy day. Gotta rely on art for that - hope Jordi Savall has really got it happening tonight, as I need whatever cheering up my ill got gains can provide.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
I'm on the train to King's Cross right now, arriving in London in about 2 1/2 hours. It's a holiday in England today, "May Day" bank holiday. I have no idea what it's supposed to be celebrating, really (much like Labor Day in America, which is a day that's all about not working), but I'm not one to turn my nose at a free day off work. My computer is really open so I can work on my resume, which I will be doing for a good hour at least. I've got a cheese scone, a muffin, some really nice cheddar, and some water in my bag, but I'm not the least bit hungry as of yet since I've had another huge breakfast (bacon and scrambled eggs on toast plus lovely thick yogurt). My suitcase itself is overhead, and it's become very heavy, what with the beer, lemon drizzle loaf, and antique plates in it - but it was heavy beforehand anyway as I've got several books in it. As it turned out, we had great weather this weekend so I spent almost no time reading at all.

The landscape rolling by is full of sheep and horses. There are lambs everywhere. The horses seem to be of a much heavier stock than I'm used to seeing - probably better suited to the weather up here. It really is quite a bit colder than it is in London up north.

I wound up reading the "Little House on the Prairie Cookbook" this weekend and it has got me thinking: I really could make my own cheese. I'd have a hard time getting a cooling room set up, but I just bet I could do it. Maybe in the fall I'll check it out; my house gets really cold and the guest room is probably the perfect temperature for aging cheese properly.
webcowgirl: (Default)
This week seems like it's going to be all about holding patterns. At work, I'm holding waiting for some more work to come in from my team. In the meantime, I've volunteered to help another team. This means I spent the morning waiting for them to get their deployment together. When they deployed, I got right on my work, then had to wait for an image file to be mailed to me that supposedly was in the original work request so that I could verified it matched what was deployed. Now I'm waiting to hear if the bug I found is something they're going to fix.

In the meantime, I've been popping over to my theater blog to keep editing a post on cheap restaurants near Covent Garden (or the West End or whereever you're going to the theater in this town) that I've been working on in my head for about a year now. Oddly, it's the anniversary of my most popular post ever, "12 best ways to get cheap theatre tickets in London." 2399 people have viewed that post (as of 5 minutes ago) and it just keeps rolling. I hope it enjoys its new friend. I've still got a lot to add to it to make it look right and to add in all of the restaurants I want to talk about - I figure it will be two more weeks before it's really done (or "done done" as we say in Agile-speak).

I'm also in a holding pattern with what I'm doing this week. I only have solid plans for Tuesday, when [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and I are going to see "Les Sept Doigt du Main," aka Traces, a circus performance. I'm also interested in seeing "Eonnagata," "A View from the Bridge," "The Pitman Painters," and "War Horse," but only if I can get cheap seats. We'll see if I actually do anything this week (besides see Salome at the BFI this Saturday and Beginning Reformer Pilates on Wednesday).

And I'm in a holding patter waiting for payday. Four more days ...
webcowgirl: (octopus)
Meanwhile, my horoscope is rather sadly in line with where things stand in my life:

"If you don’t change with the times at work today, you could be left behind. Never mind that you think they’re doing it wrong. Never mind even if they are doing it wrong. Do it wrong with them if you still want a job."

Do it wrong with them. Man.

(This was pointed out to me by [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy, as I don't usually read this claptrap.)

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