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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Embracing variety

So, good news re. the Business Competition - we've made it through to the next stage with our publishing company. We're going to need to put a lot of work into preparing a full, detailed plan for submission in April to ensure we make it to the final in May - but it will all be worth it. If things go according to plan we'll be in the first stages of testing the website by then, making it all the more 'real'.

In other news, I'm liking this idea of Ubiquitous Capture, whereby I simple write down any and all substantial ideas / to do's as and when they occur, and later action them (whether that be upon return to base or at a later date having added them to Omnifocus, which I'm very much in love with), thus leaving my head clear and me de-stressed in order to deal with the here and now. It's working. It's good. we like it. We'll like it even more when we have an omnifocus-enabled iPhone, if *Twinkle* lets me get one.

The photo shoot is finally over, and the clients are very happy with the 10GB of results. As am I actually. Food is quite tricky to photograph so it doesn't look flat and lifeless. But, with the aid of a magic red blanket, numerous spotlights and a local community centre I think we did quite well. Got to eat all these amazing Japanese dishes too!

I really enjoyed it actually, as on Sunday nights the community centre plays host to a local jazz band - wow, they are sooooo good. What was their name...? They had me singing and humming along to all the classics such as Take Five and The Girl from Ipanema. I've been a fan of Getz & Gilberto for about ten years now. Used to listen to it all the time when working as a barman in the hotel in Switzerland in 1998ish. Happy memories of a very difficult time.

Painful times too. The old stereo system wasn't earthed properly, and if you touched it and the stainless steel bar on the other side at the same time, you got a huge bolt of electricity pass through you. I only found this out when my alcoholic manager suggested I try it to see what happened... Funny, I still feel very fond of him too, much grief though he gave me.

Congrats are in order for Will and Xinxin on your engagement (OK to mention you by name now!). Although asking me for advice on how to propose was perhaps not the best idea, given how much I struggled to ask *Twinkle*! But yes, we are delighted. Been waiting for that for a while.

Whoever said that marriage is going out of fashion?

Had a really productive day today, starting with yet another call to try and get our boiler fixed. Two days without heating or hot water in temperatures that never really lifted about minus 4. Slept in my 4 season sleeping bag last night in all my clothes, with wooly hat on. Woke up with a frozen nose.

Coming back home tonight I found that they had still not come to 'fix' the 'broken' boiler.

It was only then that it struck me that maybe I could 'fix' it myself. So I gave it a go. I opened the flap to reveal the controls, and pressed the button with the picture of the gas flame on.

The boiler started up. It was 'fixed'.

It struck me how living in such a nanny environment (where we are told to call for help from the university when a light-bulb goes) makes one forget that one is actually perfectly capable of doing things oneself. I mean, if this had been my house, my boiler, the first thing I would have done is taken a look at the control panel. But here - it never occurred to me. Thus, two days of cold.

(As it happens, the central heating pressure is way too low and so that does need 'fixing'. I'm reluctant to try turning one of the internal taps myself in case it is connected to the outflow for the Atlantic Ocean.

Productive meeting just before lunch discussing plans for the CILASS website, then final prep for tomorrow's (assessed) Japanese language presentation. Looking forward to that. Following a mad couple of hours trying to tie up all sorts of loose email ends, it was time for the School of East Asian Studies Open Day. I love these. I've loved them since the first time I attended one myself as a student, way back then... Good old (young) Dr. Siddle doing his bit, me so excited and asking questions in the boardroom, meeting Susie and co.

As mentioned on a post last month, these past few years the 'talk with real live current students' bit has got a bit longer, and I've started taking along examples of homework at all levels along. I love meeting prospective students and telling them how great (and how hard) it is, and answering all the same questions I had myself. Good crowd today - over 90 of them apparently.

I was in a bit of a quandary though: I had a training session at Sheffield Hallum University (our rival down town) at 4pm on web marketing ...but the open day didn't finish until 4pm. I do make an effort to not be late as I think it shows a lack of respect for the other's party's time; what to do? In the end, it was a case of weighing up priorities - SEAS had given me so much, and the least I could do was give a little back with the open day.

Turns out that despite being half an hour late for the web session, I'd made the 'right' decision as they'd started late. That was pretty interesting though, and made me see online advertising in a whole new (negative) light. You won't see any major changes round here though as a) this is not a business site and b) current ads are pretty unobtrusive.

Back home and the chap arrives to pick up my DVD music collection (freecycle frees me of crap), then a Japanese friend calls for the 3rd time in a week. They've just got a job at a travel agent here in the UK and can't get their heads around the ridiculously complex small print on various airline tickets. So they ask me, and I sit there, wondering what it means in English let alone Japanese!

I attended the university's Travel Roadshow yesterday, having been intrigued to learn more about our local car club. Sounds fantastic, and I'm delighted to learn that it is getting lots of city council support (thanks to the council's goal of lowering local CO2 emissions). I'm more and more of the opinion that I don't want to own a car - unless it has zero emissions. Ideally, I would have a car powered by compressed air, with the compressor running off solar panels and a wind turbine at home. It is a goal of mine to be self-sufficient energy wise, and to have a carbon footprint of zero.

Looks like it'll be a busy Thursday and Friday too. Tomorrow I have an 'induction' to our new office located on the roof of the local cinema, and on Friday a training session on being a case study - what that entails I don't really know!

Okey dokey, time for a cuppa.

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