Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oh, yeah. Google have done something unthinkable. They've made the personalised home page actually look nice, if you really want. See
It has been a strange week, particularly on the job front. I had to finally get into gear and sign on so I telephoned the number I had been given and arranged an appointment for the next day. I was told to be there at 9:45 so I could start filling in the forms because their computer system was down and they could not do it for me. I turned up but the office does not open until 10, which was a bit frustrating. I had to agree my contract for getting back to work, to apply for so many jobs a week and so on, and then my application had to be sent off to assess my eligibility because I had been out of the country for a year, in case I might be foreign or something. I was also given a few jobs to apply for that they found for me on the computer. Apparently they can only look locally but if you go to the website yourself,, you can do a national search. One of the jobs had to be applied for that same day so I emailed them my CV. Got asked to come for interview the next day (in Reddish, near Stockport), which I thought went pretty well but I always feel the pressure on the technical side because I simply haven't done any programming for a year. And yesterday they phoned up to find out if I would be interested in taking the job. Nothing has been absolutely confirmed yet but it looks very positive. Good opportunity, good salary. Should find out more details the start of next week.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Recently finished Nova Swing by M John Harrison, one of my long-term favourite writers. No surprise, then, that I really enjoyed it. It's a brilliant piece of writing mixing noir tropes a slightly surreal sf story about a group of people whose lives are affected by the site, a kind of quantum interzone where the rules of our universe are broken. The writing is amazing, filled with light, drawing characters that whose motives are often difficult to perceive but are never less than real. In short, do yourself a favour and buy it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Seems hard to believe that we have been in the UK for three weeks already. One question that keeps coming up is how weird is it being back which I never really know the answer to. In the first few days, still jetlagged and ragged, it was a bit weird but, for me, it's also coming home. I've done it several times before and I know that it is going to be weird. Probably the strangest thing so far has been standing in the cheese aisle in Sainsbury's paralysed by the sheer amount of choice. Just how many types of cheddar does one person actually need?
Spent the second weekend back visiting various friends in Chester and Leeds. It was nice to see everyone although I did drink rather a lot both times. Cheers to everyone for making us feel very welcome everywhere we've been. Other than that it was mostly just looking for jobs and brushing up on some of my skills.
Last weekend was the time of the move. My parents had agreed to exchange houses with my aunt and her family. My parents had a small, three bedroom terrace just for themselves while my aunt had a large two bedroom flat and two kids so the exchange seemed a fair one. The flat also backs on to a really nice park so it should be a good place to live... once it's been sorted. There's a lot of work to be done and both Zak and I have spent a lot of time cleaning, scrubbing and moving stuff around. Still, it's about at the point where it's livable now and the real work can begin once the windows have been replace. Noddy, our cat, arrived yesterday and is a bit freaked out by it all but he came out to play this morning. He's sulking under the bed again now.
Job-wise things are progressing slowly but they do seem to be progressing. I've had one interview and have another next week so I guess will have to see how it all goes.
It was also really nice to see Interzone with my story in it. It looks really cool and I'm very happy with it. Have to get on with some more now.
Favourite meal so far is probably the grilled wensleydale sandwich I had yesterday with tomato and fresh basil on ciabatta.