West Wing

Well. I’ve just sat here and watched the two most recent episodes of the West Wing back to back. Most recent in America, that is. Very few people in the UK seem to be watching series six and it’s killing me not having anyone to talk to about it. The events that have just unfolded are storming, the most interesting things I’ve seen on WW in years — and Channel 4 is still on series 4! Argh! I shall mosey on shortly to see what TelevisionWithoutPity thinks of the most recent ones, but they were unjustifiably a little sniffy about the first two, for reasons that I have to be vague about here in case my avid readers construe my pearldrops as spoilers. TWP hits the spot more consistently with Alias, I think.

It’s perhaps not healthy being quite so involved with the senior staffers in Bartlett’s Whitehouse. I spent the first part of today in Long Eaton at a real political meeting; it would be nice if the Regional Exec fired me up as much as the West Wing does. Amongst other things, I was given the planned running schedule of some training I’ll be helping to deliver in the New Year. It’s good to get a chance to put into practice some of what I learned in London last weekend.

What I learned involved some very brief looks at NLP (but didn’t find out what kind (V/A/K) of communicator I am) and some Honey/Mumford Learning Styles work (apparently I’m a ‘top-tips’ kinda gal, a pragmatist). It was an exhausting two day course, with less than ideal chairs which meant come the end of it I was acheing to get out. Literally. Maybe my introvert side was showing through also, having to spend an entire weekend in close proximity to people with no time at all to myself, not even the evenings, since I was cadging a bed from my brother and spent the evenings catching up as best we could before he flew to Stornaway in the early hours of Sunday morning. Introvert, one part of Myers-Briggs INTP, which apparently is me. Google it yourself!

But there were some real high points to the course, and it was certainly useful. I’m strating to have flashbacks to the six months I spent delivering other people’s IT courses and wondering what I put my former students through.

A little technology update: I think I mentioned the new phone, a shiny Nokia 6230, now updated with Shell Island wallpaper and thanks to the kindness of eBay, a swanky bluetooth headset. I was discussing artwork with a PPC whilst chopping garlic last night. Seamless. Although of course reaching to click the button meant I got root vegetables in my hair–something that would not have been a problem only six months ago, but now, with my flowing golden locks, something I should take more notice of. The kind vendors of eBay have also furnished me with some killer Christmas presents, of which more later. ie after Christmas.

I’ve just downloaded a new killer ap — a POP3 client for my system tray, to bolt onto my increasingly complicated mail arrangements. It now sits there, on my permanently connected desktop, flashing in hideous colours to remind me when I should check hit ctrl-U in AMEOL and ctrl-E in Agent on my laptop. Lordy me. Right now, there are 169 mails waiting in three accounts. I’m not even going to mention the 13,000 unread messages in rec.travel.europe that I’m probably never going to read. And now is certainly not the time to do anything about the 120,174 unread messages in 93 conferences on Cix. Oh dear.

And one day, I’m going to get this office tidy enough for me to hoover it.

Book meme

Grab the nearest book.
Open the book to page 23.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the text of the sentence in your journal…
…along with these instructions.

Were Warwickshire’s funerary suppliers capable of a bilingual pun? wondered Pascoe.

Saw the idea in Etrigan’s journal.

London for the weekend

Well, yesterday’s election not so good for us as we lost a held seat to the Conservatives by a fairly hefty margin. Ho, hum.

I’m down in London for a night or two at a Lib Dem training event all day both weekend days, and staying at my brother’s well-appointed digs near Aldgate. Rather nice flat, costing him not more than his last hall of residence did.

Tomorrow is Training 4 Trainers. Oh, joy unbounded.


A very long day spent working at a by-election within the Leicester Stouth constituency.

I really hate polling days with the Lib Dems: they’re always exhausting. Today, like too many days before it, I got up before 5am in order to be leafletting at the crack of dawn. We deliver “Good morning” leaflets across the target area in the hope of impressing the voters on the early-bird principle. It’s our last chance to get our message across, but it does make for long days.

Delighted to learn, on getting to Leicester, that my name was down for being the guy who stayed at the committee room with the computer tapping the information into the voter-ID database, and marshalling the troups. So whilst my colleagues have been freezing their nadgers off a polling stations on the day that looks like it’s going to have the season’s first frost, I got to sit down, all day, with my hands in their default position on the keyboard of my laptop

Today’s committee room was a huge, vacant, furnished house in a nice suburb of Leicester. So being computer guy was better than usual. I didn’t get a desk, but I did get a sofa. Bargain.

I’ve basically spent the day lounging, eating crisps, chocolate and white bread, sitting at my computer. A long day, of course, given that it’s gone 9pm whilst I write this on the train on the way home, and I was at work in Leicester by 7.30am, but it could have been a lot worse.

The work is also sporadic, and it’s important to maintain a presence in the committee room, which militates on the whole against leaving to take number (“tell”) at a polling station, or to chivvy reluctant voters out to vote (“knocking up”) or even to do routine leafleting.

Basically what I’m saying is I got paid to sit and catch up on my news backlog. I must have read 4,000 posts in the rec.travel.europe newsgroup today. If only I’d also had an internet connection… but unfortunately I left my bluetooth dongle at home and the vacant house didn’t have a connection.

I did have some brief moments in the fresh air, spending a nice hour with a charming Tory teller at the Lancaster College, a Leicester boys’ school.

At this point, I don’t know whether my lounging / telling / database work (and of course the much more arduous work of 40 or so activists who have been at schools, churches, and on the doorsteop all day, actually paid off with getting our guy elected. It certainly should do: it’s a ward we’ve held for twenty years, we are defending the seat of a councillor who succumbed to cancer earlier in the year, and we have thousands of registered supporters. But there has been much wrangling in the run up to the fight, the voters can’t support our councillors on a number of issues, and the local Conservatives seem to have learned how to put up a good fight after years of simply dreadful leaflets. Time only will tell whether the neck-and-neck fight went blue or gold.

The reason for the new subscription to rec.travel.europe is that I’m working on an elaborate fantasy for a holiday after the general election next year. A higher number of weeks than usual for a holiday, me, a car, a tent, and mainland Europe. Paul also for as much time as his employers can spare him from work. I’d better get saving now.

Strange times have been how the week has been going: with Tuesday being the American elections, I stayed up til 4.30am Wednesday to see the results come in. Neck and neck all the way through, but with Dubya just that little bit ahead at every step. It was pretty clear from very early on that Kerry just wasn’t gonna cut the mustard. Disappointing. Terrifying, even: what fresh horror will rain down on the cowering world with Bush back in the driving seat?

I carved this in his honour:

Well, I didn’t, of course, I carved it for halloween last week, and just didn’t post the picture till now.

In addition to hollowing out the shell, I made pumpkin soup out of the flesh, slow roasting it for an hourn then boiling with milk and seiving, and dry-roasted the seeds. Whilst the seeds are tasty, I have discovered I don’t like the taste of pumpkin. And that huge great fruit made barely half a pint of soup. PAh!

Focus crazy

A day spent laying out FOCUS capped off with the delight of a group meeting in the council.

30 Euro has bought me a program that will bring together my mobile phone data and my PDA, so now I can have my diary on just the one device — and my computers of course. Wahey.

I’m nearly done with AliasII… 20 mins more and I’ll know everything. They’re assembling yet another Rambaldi device as I type this. No good season is complete without a walloping bitchfight. Go, Francie, go! You demolish that apartment, girls!

I’ve been reading the pages at TelevisionWithoutPity recently — they take the mick comprehensively out of everything I’ve been watching recently. It’s great!

West Wing has started up in the US and I’m trying to keep abreast of the new series as it’s broadcast. 6×02 is very sad — poor Leo! It’s edifying that whilst the real American election is happening, Pres Bartlett appears to be fixing the Middle East problem.

I just woke up in Hong Kong with no idea how I got here.

Ace. Wotta cliffhanga.