Fascinatin' Rhythm

May 28, 2010

What a way to make a living

Filed under: Work — Thurulingas @ 11:57 am
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Had a professional coaching session this morning, part of a leadership course I’m currently doing.  Decided to take up the option of having some coaching, and I have to say, it’s turning out to be really useful and somewhat revelatory.  I have now got some challenges to face over the next few weeks before the next session, but am enthused and motivated about doing so.

Not that I was ever ambivalent about the coaching.  But talking with my coach has crystallised some of my thoughts about work and some other issues.  Actually stating concerns and ambitions to another person makes them real — putting them into words rather than just having feelings makes them more concrete, in some ways.

So, I realised that, yes, I love having many different interests, and I would love my career to enable me to juggle lots of different pursuits or have input into many areas, rather than being a specialist in one or two.  I’m certainly going to investigate Information Architecture more deeply, as I think it is really interesting and opens many routes up to me.  The whole Manchester thing will be challenging but ultimately I am convinced of the rightness of it, and that will help be resist the naysayers.

Of course, the sun helps me to be optimistic, too.  Trick will be to see whether this positive attitude carries on through the autumn and winter.

Post title: classic Dolly Parton!

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May 26, 2010

Nobody does it better

Filed under: Movies — Thurulingas @ 3:03 pm
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Watched ‘The Terminator’ last night.  Never seen it before, though obviously, being a child of the 80s, I have seen Terminator 2 and all successive films, and loved the Terminator: Sarah Connor series that was cancelled recently.  So it was something of an omission in my SF cinematic viewings.  I was interested to see exactly what everyone raved about.

First: excellent casting of Arnie as a robotic death-dealer who struggles to ape the mannerisms of humanity.

Linda Hamilton: excellent.  Can really see where it all began for her with this movie.

Love interest (Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn) is a bit of all right, too.  He can travel down my time tunnel anytime.

In all, apart from the dodgy 80s special effects (wobbly flying machines and robotic claymation a la Ray Harryhausen); terrible Arnie mask revealing the robot underneath; and dodgy 80s soundtrack and hairdos, I was mostly struck by the style of the film.  Loved the flashback sequences, the futuristic terminator ripping through the human survivor settlement, and Kyle’s view of John Connor as a legend.  I was struck by the parallels between T1 and Alien.  The sense of the implacability of the Terminator (and, by extension, the dread felt towards machines) was really heightened, in a classic horror film style.  (I’ve always felt Alien to be a horror movie with SF trappings.)

Great movie.  Deservedly a classic.  Has inspired me to revisit the franchise, but also to look for other classics of the same era.

Post title: Carly Simon’s classic bond theme tune.

May 24, 2010

Sumer is ycumen in

Filed under: Tennis — Thurulingas @ 4:39 pm
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And with summer, comes tennis.  The glorious ochre surface of Roland Garros courts are always stunningly turned out.  The French Open is underway, my favourite tournament of the year.  Clay always sees the best tennis.

Plus, I get to ogle Rafa again.  Life is pretty good at the moment!

May 19, 2010

Is this love that I’m feeling?

Filed under: Gym,Jitsu — Thurulingas @ 11:39 am
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No, it’s pain.  But also love.  Return to Jitsu last night with a proper session, some teaching (nage no kata), but mainly training with a lots of locks and knifework, finished off with a lock circle, two-man attack with knives, and then a three-man frenzy.

I am in lots of pain.  But it’s a good pain.  Didn’t manage to wake up in time for the gym this morning, and now someone’s booked a meeting over lunch — what on earth was he thinking!  Will have to gym before the rehearsal tonight, as I won’t be in the mood after it.

Post title: Whitesnake.  Ah, the 80s!

May 17, 2010

As I look back, it seems like only yesterday

Visited Nottingham Uni for an alumni event on Saturday.  It is such a long time since I visited, but I got the idea (and the invitation) from another event run in London a few weeks ago, held at the Royal Society.

This event was different, in that it was a showcase of projects helped by alumni donations, and a campus tour.  But I got there early, and took the opportunity to walk round the campus.  My heart ached with the memories, it was such a joy to be wandering round the old place again.  A lovely summer day helped show off the setting to its greatest advantage, but I’ll always remember it in autumn at the start of the new academic year, with the leaves on the trees around the downs turning a brilliant crimson.  The lawns of Highfield park set off the lake beautifully on Saturday though, and the rebuilt back of the Portland building is majestic, stunningly fitted into its environment.

We were first given a short talk by the vice-chancellor, and then a series of small expository lectures and demonstrations.  First up was Musicality, the student musical theatre society, performing a medley of numbers from their recent production of ‘The Pyjama Game’.  Some excellent voices, great acting, and you could tell the performers loved the material.  Talking to them afterwards, they made it clear that for them, it was an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with a show they loved, as their performance run had ended in March.  A great beginning.

Next up was qActive, a group set up by students and staff at the QMC medical school to encourage medical students to ‘practice what they preach’ in living healthy lifestyles.  Along with a quick yoga class (most of the Sun Salutation), the speaker talked about how it had encouraged staff of the QMC and students to come together for activities including nordic walking, yoga, and the use of the QMC activities room (formerly the smoking room!).   Most encouraging, and some ideas that I may take into my own workplace.

Next up was a demonstration from the Chemistry department, including a reprise of some of the experiments from their award-winning website A Periodic Table of Videos.  Most bizzare to grab a load of soap suds formed from dry ice and have them burst in a cloud of fog.  Great, hands -on chemistry — and they have quite a following on Youtube!

This was followed by a tour of the campus, pointing out new features.  And then a quick trip to the new Kings Meadow campus, 5 years old and home to the university’s admin services.  Lovely building, and here we also got a chance to tour and speak to students involved in a project from the architecture department: an entry into the Solar Decathlon Europe competition.  Great to talk to the students and see their enthusiasm and commitment to the project (which, admittedly, will take them to Madrid for a month in the summer).

Loved the visit.  Was much too short, and I left with such a bittersweet feeling.  I had a fantastic time at Nottingham, and the memories are so clear and fresh.  I would live and work there in a heartbeat.  Am hugely looking forward to getting involved as an industry mentor for final year CS students in the coming academic year, and possibly even going to speak to them as an industry representative.  Who knows, I may even do some recruiting 😉

The post title is from a great song by Beverly Craven, called In Those Days.  Really sums up for me the feelings I still have for Nottingham.  Ah, nostalgia.

May 13, 2010

Thank you for the music…

Filed under: Opera — Thurulingas @ 3:02 pm
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Just saw my first trail for the new BBC Opera season — very excited!  Big centre-page spread in Ariel about it too this week, with some nice details.  Documentary to be presented by Antonio Pappano; a diva diary following Danielle de Niese around on her global schedule; Gareth Malone taking on the chorus at Glyndebourne; Stephen Fry on Wagner; and performances of Aida, Boheme, Marriage of Figaro, Peter Grimes and Rosenkavalier among others.  Sounds like fun!

May 7, 2010

I’ll do my crying in the rain

Filed under: Politics — Thurulingas @ 2:15 pm
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A hung parliament?  Disastrous results for the Lib-Dems, but it’s looking like Clegg may yet become the kingmaker of the newly formed government, whatever its constituent parties are.  So some good news.

But libel reform has been seriously damaged with the loss of Evan Harris as MP for Oxford West.  And really is worth crying over.  People of Oxford, what on earth were you thinking?

Post title is from ‘Crying in the Rain’ by the Everly Brothers, covered by A-Ha.

May 6, 2010

When two tribes go to war

Filed under: Politics — Thurulingas @ 10:12 am
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Well, not just two tribes, but three (plus a whole host of other spear carriers).  Yes, I voted in the elections this morning, and feel supremely adult.  I also voted as a proxy for a friend.  Fortunately we are of the same mind when it comes to elections, so I didn’t have to fight my conscience.

Will watch the election programme tonight avidly as results start coming in.  Normally only starts to get exciting around 3am, which might be a bit late.  But I’ll stay up to see how the first borough to report their results shows in the polls, at the very least.

It’s been a very interesting campaign, actually.  Tracking the increasing equivalencies between UK campaigns and American, the rise of personality-driven campaigning (wholly embraced by the Tories, to their potential detriment, I feel), and the subsequent measurable increase in interest in the election as a phenomenon has been fertile grist for the mill of our regular lunchtime newswatching ritual and discussion.  And I confess that I shall be extremely disappointed if we don’t now get a hung parliament, with all the hand-wringing that will entail.  Watching politicians squirm with discomfort as they cosy up to erstwhile deadly foes is most entertaining.  Most entertaining indeed.  Like watching the Doctor being served tea by the Daleks.

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