Tuesday 31 May 2005

Sunny bank holiday weekend

I had a relaxing bank holiday weekend, due to some nice weather, and several spontaneous outings, so here's a spontaneous diary entry to match.

On Friday evening Gillian and I went for an early dinner at the University Club restaurant, where they have recently started offering some more modestly priced menus at different times of day. It was quite a nice meal, and was accompanied by complimentary glasses of wine (as part of an introductory offer), but suffered from the Club's usual problem of the food being quite oily, and not being served with that much in the way of vegetables.

After that we went to see Episode Three at the Ozone (the second time for me). Since most blogs I read seem to have mini reviews/rants about this, I'll be brief. It's an entertaining film; some of the action sequences were stunning; I enjoyed the gratuitous Yoda light sabre scenes; some of the dialog was absolutely appalling, and some of the fight scenes went on for rather too long. Now I just need to see Episode Two...

Saturday started off with some geek-related tedium: Stanley, a Compsoc server, crashed overnight, so I had to ring Energis to get it rebooted again (which they did very efficiently), and then I went chasing TNT up for a missing delivery of a machine for a new incarnation of Urchin (on which this web site is hosted). I eventually drove down to Didcot to pick it up, and duly took the lid off.

Saturday was the final day of Eights Week, and I wandered down to the river mid-afternoon (taking the scenic route via the towpath off Osney Mead and through Grandpont nature reserve) to meet Gillian, Nick, and others, and cheer on Hilary, who was rowing for Linacre. After a while by the boathouses and wandering up and down the towpath to watch races, we retreated to the Isis Tavern. I took a few photos of the day.

On Saturday evening Dave and I went to see A Good Woman at the newly refurbished Phoenix. This was, of course, a completely different style of film, and very enjoyable. The script was well-adapted and funny, and the acting was superb throughout.

Sunday was reasonably quiet, but we had a double round of dancing in the evening as Niall came to Oxford to dance in the beginner's ballroom class; then we all got to do some Latin afterwards.

After some cake-making, Monday saw us celebrating OULSC's tenth anniversary by punting up the Cherwell with a plentiful supply of Pimms, lemonade, cake, and other assorted munchings. A quiet evening at home followed catching up on a few episodes of 24, and generally being sleepy, as sun and punting tends to bring on.

Posted by Dominic at 00:47 | Comments (0)

Friday 20 May 2005

New job

Yup, this is my other big piece of news. After getting on for three years at Astrophysics, I'm off to new pastures. From the middle of July, I'll be working for Black Cat Networks in a fairly mixed role including sysadmin, user support and project development. They are a small ISP dealing in all the usual bits and pieces (web/mail/dns hosting, ADSL, colo, dedicated servers) and although they are a small company (just two people at the moment) I know that they have a solid business that has been expanding steadily for six years now.

This should be a really good move for me, because it's a much more open-ended job than my current one, and they still have plenty of new directions to go in (and me with them). I'm excited about being able to grow with the company and move into an area within the business that ends up suiting me.

The job'll be initially working from home, with maybe one visit to their facilities in London a week, which should be a good mix, although working from home will, I suspect, feel very odd to start with. I think I'm likely to cycle into town lots to meet people for lunch and going to the pub and so on, so I shouldn't be completely devoid of exercise.

Posted by Dominic at 00:38 | Comments (0)

Thursday 19 May 2005

Dancing and romance

So, some of that other news I alluded to in my previous post. I suspect most of the people who read this already know, but it really should be recorded here.

I've been lucky enough to meet a wonderful girl — Gillian — and for the past month or so we've been going out. I met Gillian in December 2003 at an Eddie Izzard gig that Nick, Hilary, Gillian, Niall and I went to but we didn't really get to know each other until October last year when (largely thanks to Nick and Hilary :) we started learning to ballroom dance together, which was great fun. I decided not that long after meeting her again that I was really interested in her. We'd been good friends, and had been dancing regularly, but being my typical self I didn't summon up the courage to say anything. Finally, after months of angst, she asked me out (yes, I know) after dancing one evening. That now seems like a lifetime ago; we're an item, and have truly fallen for each other... She's finishing up a Masters degree here at Oxford and (hopefully!) will find a job in Oxford.

I've been allowed to put some photos of Gillian online. Attentive readers will notice certain similarities to an aforementioned couple.

Posted by Dominic at 17:44 | Comments (1)

Monday 9 May 2005

Since September...

It's been far too long. For posterity, and because I've been hearing rumours that people actually want to read about what I've been up to, here's a very brief summary of my life over the past few months.

Whoa. Back to last year: Life was continuing much as normal then. The Oxford Bach Choir had a successful series of concerts (though they have acquired a new, less useful web site despite my offers of help and protestations...) Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time (actually in March) was an amazingly emotional performance. The rehearsals had been quite technical in the main, and it wasn't until we performed it through on the night that the full majesty and meaning of the piece came through.

The December concerts were good too: Bach's Magnificat being one of his many masterpieces, and the Christmas concert wasn't that sickeningly predictable.

In November I visited a new continent, thanks to my uncle who has a house in Cape Town, I spent just over a week there with mum, staying at his house and taking in the sights. It was a woefully inadequate amount of time, but great fun nevertheless. And I have, in theory, to design a web site for him in return for the trip, but he doesn't seem to have asked me yet...

Christmas was a quiet affair as usual: after another infamous Astrophysics Christmas Party, I went home to Stevenage and London, and was back in Oxford for New Year (NB: I take absolutely no responsibility for the outrageous geekery displayed in these photos!).

Ah yes, on the subject of geekery: February saw, again, a weekend jolly to Brussels to the Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting. Much beer was consumed, and we even went to a few talks. Also in February I went to Tristam's stag do, and then, in March, Tristam and Angharad's wedding [reception].

Workwise, things have been much the same, and I'm finally making progress migrating all the desktops to a new distribution (Debian sarge, for the interested). It was fun to get my teeth into a project, and I spent a while making a nicely streamlined installer using the new Debian Installer.

More on work... and other things... in a future post or two.

So, in summary: I'm still alive, and stuff happened.

Posted by Dominic at 23:00 | Comments (2)

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