First Day Of Contracting

First Day Of Contracting

0822: I think I was a little over-cautious regarding my travel arrangements. I'm supposed to be pitching up at the office at 0930 for my first day, yet here I am already, killing time by having a coffee a few hundred yards away. In my defence, I blame the media, whipping us all into a frenzy with warnings of the worst storm in the winter, and disruption to travel, power, and communications - maybe this is true in the exposed regions of Cornwall, Devon and Wales, but here in Leeds city centre it's just another rainy Monday morning.

In preparation for this brief period of offline downtime, I finally installed Google Gears last night, so that I could read my Google Reader subscriptions offline. It's a very clever bit of technology, but there are some limitations:

  • No Images - lots of my favourite feeds, especially the ones that I'd like to read on a dreary Monday morning (I Can Has Cheezburger, Fail Blog, XKCD) are predominantly hotlinked images, which aren't downloaded by Gears for offline viewing.
  • Non-Full-Text Feeds - I've always found it really annoying when RSS feeds only show the first few sentences of a post, and expect me to navigate to the original site to read the full article, but when you're offline such feeds are almost useless.
  • Posts which comment on an online article without giving a summary - OK, I've probably been guilty of this myself, but it's amazing how many blog entries refer to other online content solely by linking, without giving any summary - e.g. "The Sunday Times has this piece today, under a headline that is eerily similar to the one its sister paper used about me a couple of years ago." Not being able to get online, I have no idea what either linked article refers to.

Other than those minor niggles, it's very slick. Still, I might try to chill instead on the train, and catch up on some iPod action.

0839: Music bought recently - Rockferry, the debut opus by hotly-tipped Welsh 23 year-old Duffy. Brilliant, utterly deserving of the praise that has been heaped on her. Nice and tight, just ten tracks, and so soulful. Also last week I bought the first Billy Bragg album in six years, Mr Love and Justice, which by contrast sounds rather unfocussed and lacking in hooks. Yes, the usual witty and acerbic lyrics are still there, but it's lacking a certain something - tunes, perhaps.

0842: I wish I felt more awake. Ben, our wonderful seven month-old boy, has a rotten cold at present which has really knocked the stuffing out of him, hence none of us got very much sleep last night. In an effort to cheer him up yesterday, we took him to The Deep in Hull (he loves watching the fish). Outside, my eye was caught by the appalling grammar in this advertisement:

"Who's Eye?"  Er, what?

For a few seconds I was really confused, and wondered if it might be some intentionally cunning marketing trickery. I ask you, how many people must have seen those words between the idea's conception and the eventual installation of the sign? Surely one of them must have had the presence of mind to think "hang on guys, this doesn't actually make sense.."

0847: Also on the subject of language, across the street from here I can see a salon which is advertising itself as a Hair Cuttery. I like that! I'm trying to think of other possibilities along a similar vein - perhaps a dentist could be a Teeth Fixery, an accountants could be a Figure Fiddlery, or a butcher could be an Animal Killery?  Then again, perhaps not..

1250: Stupid Subway guy!  I quite clearly said I wanted "everything except onions", so what has he given me on my Italian BMT?  Nothing except onions! Honestly, what suit-wearing type would want a lunchtime sandwich stuffed to the brim with pongy onions?  If I were American I'd take it back and complain.

1645: First day over. That was painless enough!  Actually it was pretty easy compared to my days as an FTE. No phone calls from business types, no helpdesk calls from users, no need to plan my next career move or worrying about office politics. Just sitting and coding, using the skills that God gave me, and earning more cash into the bargain. I should have done this years ago.

1704: At the station, waiting for my train, listening to 1973 by James Blunt.  Yes, I know it's James Blunt, but it's a melancholy song, and I love all melancholy songs. Plus, it reminds me of relaxing in a coffee shop in Bratislava with my wife and son.

1730: Listening to the Andromeda Heights LP by Prefab Sprout. Evidently there was a reason I hadn't obtained a copy of this sooner - not their finest hour, is it?

1807: Walking home from the train station, catching up on some recent albums. Enjoying Challengers by The New Pornographers. Myriad Harbour is great, undoubtedly the best thing I've heard all week! :-)