Thursday, June 29, 2006

The week in review

It's been an interesting week. I finally received a written offer for the job I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I also had two interviews for a business researcher position at one of the Magic Circle law firms. After two very long and positive interviews they finally decided I wasn't suited to the job, but also decided they really liked me and they have created a position as a litigation researcher. I received the offer today and have said "yes, please!".

The second of the interviews was with another researcher, the head of the LIS (Legal Information Services) team, and the HR manager, and was much harder and more formal than the first. You know, one of the ones where you come out and then you start thinking of all the answers you should have given... one of those answers for me was to the usual (and horrible): why are you the ideal person for this job? Now let me explain a couple of things. The position is a maternity replacement contract as the EU research specialist in the business research team, and they had been trying to fill it for 3 months. I've done next to no EU research and much, much prefer legal research to anything even remotely approaching business research. So the answer going through my head at the time was something along the lines of "in your ideal world you would have found someone with much more relevant experience than mine, and in my ideal world you'd have a legal research position going, but since neither of those is true how about you just give me this job". I think I managed to say something about how in such a setting you needed both legal and business research skills and although I had no EU experience I have experience in other jurisdictions and was confident of my ability to learn quickly. Still, I'm very glad they've found room for an extra legal researcher. Business and tax research are two areas I've been avoiding for years.

Having some time on my hands last night I logged into Flickr to reorganise our site there, and managed to successfully and unintentionally delete all our photos. You might think that unintentionally deleting photos would be difficult since they warn you not once but three times that the deletion will be permanent and irreversible, but I managed it. Clever, huh? I'll try to reload them at the beginning of next month, when hopefully our quota will have been renewed.

But the best news this week was from Aja (the wonderful singer from our wedding) and Al (Aja's incredibly tall and lovely husband) who wrote to say they're coming to visit over Christmas - New Years. Hooray! We can't wait to see you! Below is a couple of photos from the night before Aj & Al's wedding last year.

We've also heard a rumour that Maris and Sarah are now engaged. Congratulations!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Greenwich and Docklands Festival

Last weekend saw the Greenwich and Docklands Festival here in London, and us checking out as much of the totally free festival as we could get to. As the name might suggest, activities were located around the Docklands area (Mile End, Canary Wharf, Bow) and Greenwich, and they ranged from spectacular to disappointing. My favourite events were an interpretive bungee dance, an Australian theatrical group doing their thing from the top of very tall poles, and a female acrobatic trio. There was also "Les Roues de Couleurs", guys in body paint and not much else rolling very large multicoloured wheels down the road to very loud techno music, a "tiger" and a bunch of other street performers.

On a separate topic, I've started posting some photos to Flickr. There's not much there yet, so far only part of our Hong Kong trip last year, but hopefully the monthly quotas renew on calendar months and I'll be able to post some more soon.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Here it is in writing: Vaughn was right and I was wrong. About this one thing. I was, in turns out, overly optimistic hoping we'd get jobs in the first couple of weeks. It's now week six and quite a bit later than the second week I was hoping for, but I have a job. Well, a job offer. I'm waiting on the contract but we've agreed on salary and a starting date and assuming it's not a Mephistophelian contract I imagine I'll accept and will start work at the beginning of July.

In the meantime we've been getting out and about a bit more now with bikes and the promise of an income. We ventured out to Acton on Saturday for a BBQ at a friend's place, which turned out to be a big old UQ reunion with a bunch of people who also spent too many of their undergrad years in the refect playing cards.

These same people explained some of the rules of soccer to us the next day when we went to see the Australia-Brazil game. There'd been some research involved in choosing the bar since we were going with a bunch of Brazilians and wanted a "neutral" bar. So we didn't go to a Walkabout with decently priced foods and drinks, but to an incredibly large sports bar in Piccadilly which promised neutral territory. Neutral my foot! We were outnumbered about 50:1. Being Australian, and a Queenslander at that, I assumed that Australians generally were pretty sports proud and rowdy supporters of their teams. Let me tell you, we had nothing, absolutely nothing on the Brazilians! While they cheered madly (he's got the ball, another one's got the ball, ooh look he's kicked the ball, oh hooray we've still got the ball, oh golly we missed the goal but hooray anyway for trying), we clapped politely at any good play or when the Aussie goal keeper kept the ball out of the net. Towards the end of the game I think we were matching them, at least person for person, but it still sounded embarrassingly feeble. And when the Brazilian team scored (only twice, I think we did well), the noise was incredible! There were cheers and chants and drums - really, there was a drum - and I was just a little worried for the floor. I had images of the whole place collapsing under the force of half of
Brazil jumping in time.

And to finish off our action packed weekend we met up with some Canberran friends, Julian, Gerard and Gerard's girlfriend Annie, and went to a bar just near
Old Street that has open mic every Sunday and listened to some pretty cool freestyling. The only rules were that it had to be positive and laid back, and it was. Really cool.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

BMX Bandits

We bought bikes the other day. We figured riding around London would be a good way to get some exercise and save the money we'd be spending catching the tube each day. And it certainly is both those things. Its also seems to be a bit more than that. As riding in London means riding on the roads (cyclists can be fined for riding on the footpath), riding in London seems to mean a whole lot of different things. It means learning to weave through traffic. It means placing your faith in the drivers of the cars all around you that they are vigilant enough to be aware of where you are and not squash you. It means watching other cyclists get clipped by cars and convincing yourself that's not going to happen to you. It means working on your ability to make it clear to the bus in the next lane that somehow it will be just as detrimenal for it as for you if it decides to come across into your lane. (Actually I guess that really the lane belongs to the bus more than to us as most of the time we are riding in a bus lane, but I'm doing my best to pretend that isnt the case.) It means coming up with a strategy to deal with kids standing by the side of the road shooting spit wads at you as you ride past. (My zen teacher chooses to take the good old "throw the bike on the ground and abuse the kids until they get uncomfortable and ask her to leave them alone" strategy. This is apparently a tired and tested technique of hers, and has been used effectively when kids have thrown sandwiches, rocks, and soccerballs at her while she was riding along. (in different incidents - they weren't all thrown at once.) It means becoming acccustomed to breathing in large amounts of exhaust fumes or coming to terms with the fact that you're wearing face gear that you never thought you'd be wearing unless you we robbing a bank or about to land on the moon.

And it also means seeing a lot of great old buildings and interesting people doing interesting things, and getting some fresh (if somewhat gritty and exhaust fume scented) air.

Also, I imagine that for 9 months of the year it means getting wet, but I'll have to report back on that one.
Choose the correct caption:
-Vaughn comes back hot and sweaty from a bike ride
-Vaughn prepares himself for a daring bicycle mounted bank raid

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The modelling career is starting to take off...

Thanks again go to our super talented flatmates.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Perhaps we should consider careers in modelling

See above for our first foray into what I have always considered my life long calling - modelling. This was taken and put together by our incredibly tallented flatmates. Go here to see the full sized version, and while you're there check out the rest of our flatmate's online portfolio. And while you're at it, you might as well go here too, and check out our other flatmate's stuff. No more photos of us there yet, but not to worry. Once our international modelling careers take off, I imagine you'll be seeing photos of us everywhere you look.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

These crazy Londoners will do just anything when it's sunny!

Seriously, it was only mid-20s and people were just stripping off all over the place! Walking through the park there were glowing white tummies everywhere. And that was before we got to the nude bike ride! We saw ads for the ride a couple of weeks ago, and thought we might contemplate joining in if we had bikes by then. We didn't so you're all safe from an image I'm sure you could live without. I should probably explain, there was some reason behind the ride:
it was to protest oil dependency and car culture. Anyway, having convinced ourselves we had a good reason for not joining in, we went along to gawk at those braver, and take photos. Hundreds of people in all shapes and sizes, including a grandma who must have been pushing 80, baring their bits and pieces on a ride along Oxford St, Regent St and Hyde Park.

Next on the list of things to do this weekend was a trip out to Greenwich to see our friends Paul and Siobhan and wish Siobhan a happy belated birthday. We've been to their place quite a few times now and have never really taken the time to look much around the area while we've been there, which is a bit silly since it takes a good hour and a half to get there from our place. This time, however, our normal shortcut was closed and we were forced to take some photos of the Cutty Sark on the way back to the DLR. St Peterites will remember the song at least, but if you're at all curious about why a big old ship is propped up on dry land for all to admire, there's a website by people much more dedicated than I to the topic (thanks to Siobhan for the link).

Some of you know Nicole and Russell, and others may remember from our wedding (mine and Vaughn's) the very pregnant woman in green. Well, it's mid June now and about the time for Nicole to doing some pushing and convince the rest of us she hasn't just been hiding a watermelon up her top all these months. Good luck, Nicole (and Russell)! We're expecting lots of baby photos once you've finished with the pushing bit.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A big hi to Granny and Paddy

and kudos for braving the internet! We got your letter the other day and will try to call you Monday morning your time if we can stay awake that long. Lots of love from us both!