Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Exodus Advent: 87 Days To Go   Leave a comment

Burn, 12 hours later.

 

Injury of the day: Got out of the shower and towelled off; then, bending to pick up my underwear I burned my butt against the towel heater/radiator.  That’s my world: I need a Safe Word for my fucking house. (FYI: In real life, it’s “Oxford,” because if you’ve arrived at “Oxford” the fun is over.)

Sent 200kg of parts and derelict equipment saved for parts to the skip, today.  Very satisfying although I would take a lot of it with me if I could; no one here is ever going to use any of it (they’ll need it, but they wouldn’t recognise that fact nor even that it is something that would fill that need).  Also, started bringing boxes into the house for early packing.

 

 

 

 

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Posted September 25, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in work

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Exodus Advent: 88 Days To Go   Leave a comment

Monday 24th September and there are 88 days left until I am furloughed.

Walking past a glass wall on my way to the lab, I saw a pigeon fall to the floor near a dying tropical plant.  It must have flown into the side of Chemistry Research Lab unaware of the mistake it had made.  Metaphor.

Also, got a firm start date at the new job of 3 January, two weeks short of the 10th anniversary of my start at Cambridge.  Spent most of the day clearing out instrument spares no one will ever use here once I’m gone.  Catharsis.

Posted September 24, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in work

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Exodus Advent: 89 Days To Go   1 comment

Crossed the 90 days remaining mark yesterday.  We didn’t have Dom Perignon (↑), but they were better bubbles than usual.

Started a massive To Do list to try to keep focused and productive this final stretch.  Edited Jackie’s citizenship forms and booked in a final checking service appointment.  Awaiting confirmation of start date to see when to move from here.  Can’t stop thinking about boxes — where to get them, how much to pack away now, etc.  All is chaos.

Nearly cut my left thumb off whittling last night.  The blade is sort of a surgical blade, curved and larger than the ones at work but essentially a scalpel.  Shouldn’t do pull cuts on such stiff wood (some really old rosewood from the arms of the Chinese Sex Chair) nor when the hands are really tired (I had been hacking away for 4 hours by then) nor, especially, when I’m that high.  It was not at all difficult to dislodge the blade from the bone but it definitely was stuck into it, about a midway between the knuckles.  A deep cut, it is only about a cm long so I’m not too bothered.  The sculpture is planned to be a hare in full flight and finally starting to assume shape close enough for me to start the fine carving.

 

Posted September 23, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in work

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Farewell to Oxford   2 comments

 

Or should that be, “Good Riddance?”

Regardless, it’s a long goodbye.  I’ve been tunnelling out of this dump for more than 3 years and I’ve still got a 3 month notice to work out.  But, “up here, I’m already gone”:

 

 

 

 

Posted September 20, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in work

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This Week I Have Been Mostly Reading …   1 comment

 

I don’t have many people at work I consider friends and one of them left the labs for good, yesterday, frustrated by the nonsense in the University, the Department, the lab and his research group.  He lasted nearly 2 years before The Great Funk (not the good kind, either) set in.  The brightest burn out the quickest (while a dim bulb like meself carries on toward the 10 year mark).  We didn’t have many conversations but every one of them was engrossing, intense, and completely free range (not free ranging, but free range, like chickens pecking at the soil).  During one of these, an offhand comment about acid during a longer discussion of one of my frequent head injuries (the one where I was struck by a falling tree whilst running in a snowstorm near Athens, Georgia) stuck with him; not a tripper himself but open to it, he applied his freakish eidetic memory to a choice of parting gifts and presented me with Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics.  I am touched by this unusually thoughtful gift and I hope he knows how much I will cherish it (not least because I was going to buy it for myself when it comes out in a trades/paper edition).

I have also been reading my twit feed fairly regularly and recently added Existential Comics to list of followed accounts.  This is a recent one, typical of the genre:

 

 

Group Christmas Dinner, Exeter College Oxford   2 comments

 

The enforced jollity of the office Christmas party is worth avoiding but I feel obliged to show up at least every other year.  There’s always the opportunity for the Dutch farewell, the Irish goodbye, the French leave … pissing off before the games get started, essentially.  This year, I pulled more of a Northern Irish goodbye: this is where you tell a few key people in advance to limit any loss of life.

 

This year, our research group had the do in Exeter College which has one of my favourite chapels at the University.  Since this is almost certainly my last Christmas at Oxford, this was a nice surprise and blunted the edge of the generally shit situation.

 

 

Our Professor’s P.A. chased up our RSVPs diligently and also checked for any dietary requirements or prohibitions.  I replied, “I don’t like things with mayonnaise in them. Other than that, if you consider it food, then so do I.”  It was more a joke than anything, but as the starters were doled out one of the servers stopped by my assigned seat to ask, on behalf of the chef, if it is because of eggs that I don’t want mayo. “No, I just find mayonnaise an abomination.”

 

 

So, the assigned seating resulted in bespoke treatment from the kitchen.  Fantastic attention to detail, there.

It was surprising, then, that I was seated only one space away from the shithead who’s continued residence in the lab has prompted my efforts to find other employment (which has, finally, come to fruition albeit delayed until the early Spring while the folks at the new site write a position for me).  This particular dickhead is a complete sociopath and unwilling to take a hint, a request, or a direct order to shut his fucking mouth and leave someone the hell alone.  It isn’t a secret that I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, so this seating arrangement is especially egregious (or, maybe the boss just wants to hurry me along — this is the sort of move to encourage it).

As a result, I cut the evening even shorter than planned and skipped coffee and pudding.

 

Just as well, I reckon.  The next item on the agenda would be the distribution of Secret Santa presents.  I find the joke gifts insulting and tiresome so I only ever give these to people I find loathsome.  One year, I drew the name of an especially arrogant sack of shite and bought a presentation-style wine box and stuck a bottle of Buckfast in it.  The box was more valuable than the bottle, and his disappointment at the contents was worth going over budget.

 

 

 

But, generally I try to give thoughtful treats even though I have never received anything useful, beautiful, or even slightly amusing.

I plucked the name of one of the new DPhil students and did a bit of cyber-stalking to find that he is a classical music buff.  I really don’t know anything else about him, so I decided I’d just get him some music that I would like for myself.

The record store I went to had a really limited classical music selection so my first (the recent re-release of Glen Gould’s Goldberg Variations) and second (Beethoven’s 7th, especially for the 2nd movement) choices were not in the bins.  I settled on Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (#7) as a piece of music with a moving story of its premier performance.   Besieged and starving, under relentless Nazi bombardment in Leningrad the musicians — drawn from troops and the citizenry — broadcasted the piece from a bombed out hall to loudspeakers across the city and down the defence lines.

An appropriate piece for the start of any doctoral programme.

[UPDATE: Someone dropped off my Secret Santa gift and I re-gifted it to a colleague.  “Don’t you want to know what it is?” he asked and started to open it.  “Get that fucking thing out of here.  I mean, ‘no, no thank you.'”  I am quite sure it was shit, figuratively or maybe even literally.]

 

 

Posted December 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in work

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Edward VIII Postbox #6 and other Birmingham stuff   7 comments

 

I went to Birmingham for a job interview because I am sick to my fucking gills of one individual at Oxford who will neither fuck off nor die.  Announcing my intention to leave was supposed to encourage our boss to get him to do the former.  He’ll have to go to the wrong (or right) part of the States for me to have any influence on the latter.  But, a job I could do came up and I put in a half-assed performance today in case neither preferable opportunity arose.

I was also pretty sure the trip would mark my 2000th pub and, while walking toward #1999 I glanced over and spotted the most pristinely preserved Edward VIII pillar I have yet seen (that’s 6, so far).  This MUST be an auspicious sign (but of what?).

 

 

I really think I would like it here, too.  From the massive market between the main rail stations to the University was about a 30 minute stroll along the canal.

 

 

Obey!

 

 

The job, which I have serious doubts I will get, is in buildings either side of the walk from this sculpture to the tower in the background:

More Brummie stuff in the pub write-ups when I get to them:

The Anchor #1999

The Woodman #2000

The Square Peg #2001

The Peaky Blinders #2002

 

Posted November 28, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Tourism, work

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