Thursday, November 29, 2007

Traffic jammed

I had a meeting to go to in Glasgow last night. I and my colleague Guillermo set out from work at just after 5pm, reaching the Edinburgh City Bypass (A720) at Straiton Junction just about 5.30pm. The meeting was a stone's throw from M8 Junction 16 and, even at that time of night, shouldn't have taken more than about an hour to get to.

It was slow on the bypass, but within about 15 minutes we were onto the M8. Here we hit the first queue. I know it often queues between Hermiston Gait and Junction 2 at that time of night, so I wasn't too bothered. However, the queue extended the whole way to Livingston at Junction 3. So we passed Livingston at about 6:15pm, knowing we'd be a bit late for the meeting, but not that concerned. Then we hit what turned out to be the big queue. From Junction 3A to the middle of the roadworks after Junction 5 (about 10 miles) took about an hour. My new car can tell you all sorts of information about your journey - as we passed Harthill I noticed that my average speed for the whole journey was only 17mph. At Kirk O' Shotts the traffic flow stopped altogether. For half an hour. Average speed for the trip reduced to 13mph.

About 10 cars ahead of us, two 'motorway maintenance' trucks blocked the road. It turned out they had been repairing a hole in the carriageway which had (obviously) been slowing the traffic down for hours. So, at ten to eight, we emerged from the queue onto a totally clear road, but there was no point in continuing to the meeting. We were still 25 minutes away from the venue and there was only about half an hour of meeting left. So we went home.

And as if that wasn't enough, my digibox failed to record Heroes on BBC3 last night (or rather it mysteriously stopped recording about 10 minutes into it), so I've a whole week to wait for the next episode. Bah!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank you for smoking

Interesting film. Intriguing without being gripping, consistently entertaining without being laugh out loud funny. It was one of those films that keeps you watching because you just have no idea where the story is going to go.

The film is basically a character study of Nick Naylor, the 'face' of the big tobacco companies. His job is to defend the tobacco companies in the public arena. And he is very good at his job.

As is usual in these sorts of movies, we see things going well for him, then things going badly, then a couple of unexpected twists and finally he is faced with a decision that could change his life. Does he repent and change his ways? Well, that would be telling.

This is not a 'must see' movie. But its quite far from being a 'must avoid' movie too. Its quirky and entertaining with a darkly comic edge. If you like that sort of thing this is well worth a look.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My chart

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No music day?

Today I have listened to two and a half CDs worth of music, so far. I have just now discovered that this is No Music Day. Guess I missed that boat!

I do like some of their reasoning though:

"No music day exists for various reasons, you may have one"

Um, but I'm quite enjoying this CD, so I'll just keep listening. Sorry. Maybe next year.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Not SAD Birthday

Its at this time of the year that some people in this hemisphere start to get SAD - seasonal affective disorder. I am not one of them.

I love the autumn. I love it when it gets cold and crisp in the mornings. I love it when it gets dark in the evenings. I love it when the leaves fall off the trees and rustle around the pavements. I love it when the shadows are twice as long as the things which cast them and the light has that peculiar golden quality it only has in November and March.

Today was a lovely day. There was a clear sky, a fresh breeze and a light frost on everything this morning. My weather station tells me that it got down to -3.3 degrees last night. Even the leaves in the garden were slightly frosty. Beautiful. My favourite kind of day.

I got to wrap up warmly and wear a cosy hat and scarf on my way to the train this morning. Excellent.

I was heading into town to have lunch with a friend. It was a lovely day. It was also my birthday. All was right with the world.

Well, except for Scotrail cancelling the train I went for...


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Bourne Supremacy

I finally saw the 2nd part of the Bourne trilogy last night. With all the hype surrounding the Bourne Ultimatum a couple of months back, I've bean meaning to catch up.

As you probably know, its very, very good - if you like that sort of thing. Car chases, fights, lots of running about, the odd twist, a few unpleasant deaths, a bit of intrigue. Well worth a watch, if you like action films.

I wasn't sure the original movie actually needed a sequel (even though I knew there were a series of books). OK, Bourne has lots to find out about who he is, but he actually doesn't find that out through much of this film. So what we have could have ended up as just a run-of-the-mill amnesiac being chased by people he can't remember type film. So top marks to the makers for turning that basic premise into an interesting and gripping film.

I want to see part 3 now.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Called by the fuzz

On Thursday I bought a new (to me) car. I traded in my old Mondeo as part exchange. Last night (Friday) I went to bed early. About an hour and a half into my sleep I was rudely awakened by a noise which I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I listened for a bit before I realised that it was actually the phone. I must have been in a deep sleep. It rung off before I got there, but started ringing again before I got back to bed.

"Good evening sorry to call you so late is that Dr Carvel and are you the registered keeper of X-ray 7-9-8 Romeo Sierra Sierra?" came the punctuationless stream of words down the phone.

"Erm, huh?"

"X-ray 7-9-8 Romeo Sierra Sierra?"

"Yes, that was my car. I traded it in on Thursday..."

And so on. It turned out that this was the police and that my car had been stolen. My old car, that is. Which had probably been sitting out the back of a garage in central Edinburgh, probably with the keys in the ignition. The police had pulled the car over and - for some reason - were suspicious that the driver was not the owner. But did they really have to call me after midnight to find out if I was the owner?

So I went back to bed. And lay awake worrying, quite irrationally, that my new car was somehow more at risk of being stolen... Thankfully its still there this morning.

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