Thursday, March 29, 2007

And now, back to the studio

We got to play with video conferencing technology today. The first time was at our computers, with webcams and headsets, as though we all worked in a call centre all of a sudden. For reasons that I won't try to explain, we then did it again with the big grown-up video-conferencing gear in a meeting room. The room had lots of brightly coloured chairs, which made this feel like we were hosting a daytime TV show.

I think I would do this very badly, as I fidget too much.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I should be painting, but it's hard getting started. Which is why I'm writing pointless blog entries and drinking too much coffee. Despite enjoying painting once I get started, and knowing that I do, I do far too little of it. Maybe if I had an assisstant to set everything up and wash brushes it would help. Having a routine would help. In as much as I have one, it seems to be from 9-11 in the evening, which can be a surprisingly productive time. This does mean that painting in the afternoon sometimes just feels wrong.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Friday

Taking the train to Corrour and going for a walk from there is something of a Scottish classic. Odd, then that I didn't do it until yesterday. There was a bit of ticking going on I must confess, Ben na Lap being a famously easy bag. But after I had my pelt for the day, I proceeded up Leum Uilleim, which if I'm honest is the better hill. Being slightly on its own, there are superb views all round, from Schihallion to Ben Nevis. The day was mostly warm and pleasant, rather springlike in fact, although frogspawn doesn't seem to have arrived yet.

The station house at Corrour is now run by a nice lady called Beth who provided coffee and a venison burger. How civilised.

My new rucksack (a Macpac) held up very well. It seems to be what all the kids are using these days, so I thought I should get with it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Funny reading

I'm not exactly a great fan of the BMC's membership magazine, which I was browsing on the train, but I didn't expect to find an article mentioning peak oil. There was even a picture of Hubbert's graph from 1956. You should alway treat fifty-year-old graphics with suspicion. The caption says

"The peak arrived right on schedule in 1970. The peak in global oil production is widely expected between 2010 and 2010."

Yes, those sentences do contradict each other. And just in case you're wondering, world oil production didn't peak in 1970. The article is really a thinly disguised puff for a book by David Strahan.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I insist on Moscow rules

I got to travel to the West coast today, with a meeting in Gourock. As I have been reading John le Carre recently, this felt like a covert operation. The shabby station with the remains of some ornate Victorian ironwork, the bleakly lit main street with a row of cheap shops -- is that one of Toby's pavement artists loitering in a doorway? The cafe is on the front and has a clear view of all the approaches. A good choice, with some background noise, and not-very-attentive staff. Is that small dumpy man polishing his glasses on the end of his tie?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Electronica in the morning

I've discovered that Tangerine Dream is the perfect accompaniment to my morning train journey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Am currently revelling in a new and much faster broadband connection. I've also sorted out my rather old email address so that I can access it without dialing up (like, so twentieth century). This always seemed to involve squatting in the hallway, because the phone cable was a bit dodgy and you had to plug it in directly to the wall, and then you got sore knees after a bit and you noticed all the bits of fluff on the carpet, and forgot who you were trying to get hold of, and laptop screens are hard to read at that angle anyway...

Better now.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Should be better known

Re-viewed the rather fine film Sunshine last night, having found it DVDic form in Fopp the other day. I had a lot of trouble remembering when I saw it first and eventually decided it must have been at the Ipswich Film Theatre. Nearly three hours of Hungarian history doesn't sound too interesting, but the nice conceit of having Ralph Fiennes play three members of the same family across fifty years helps tie things up nicely. More-or-less the same man gets three chances under empire, fascism and communism. None of the incarnations seems very happy, but that's twentieth century history for you.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nice day

A rather peaceful day working from home, thanks to the rail signaller's strike. I must try to do this again. Coffee breaks when you want them, and the journey home lasts 30 seconds. I even felt up to a trip to the library and a quick pint afterwards - wild hedonist that I am. More rail fun tomorrow.

Monday, March 05, 2007


My parents continue to move into the 70s. They have apparently got an electric typewriter. They've been getting into VHS video a bit recently too. Still, it must be difficult if you grew up with wireless and 78s. Maybe when I'm in my seventies, younger relatives will smile and shake their heads sadly over my inexplicable addiction to mp3s and blogs.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fruit ties you down

Somebody was telling me today about a friend of theirs who had an exceptionally minimal lifestyle and avoided all excessive possessions and ties. The most telling fact I think was that he didn't like buying green bananas because he found them too commiting.