Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jumping ship - UPDATED with pics

"Day One" of the IBM acquisition is coming closer and people are starting to jump ship left, right and center. Two weeks ago one of the guys in my team handed in his resignation, prompting my boss to hand over the entire company's telecoms responsibilities to yours truly. Now, I don't mind a good challenge and I quite enjoyed getting a good overview of the whole phone system even before I was chosen to take over this particular part of the IT department. It is a mighy feat though. The knowledge gap this guy leaves is HUGE. Of course, once the acquisition is complete everything will change which is the reason why he went out looking for another job in the first place. So starting Monday, I am in charge of anything to do with telecoms. Should be interesting because no way can you learn two years' worth of experience in two weeks. But I sure gave it a good try ;-)

On top of that another one in my team just landed another job so he will be leaving in two weeks too. That leaves me and another guy in our team and he's looking and interviewing too. I rest my case. My boss told me today not to worry, that I won't be left alone to carry the help desk on my own but I've worked long enough in the IT/software business to know that that's most likely what will end up happening anyway. Maybe I'm just negative because of the bad experience I've made in my old support job but let's face it - they won't hire new people to do a job that will disappear within 9-12 months. So - Maky to the rescue! LOL
I'm a bit surprised that I take everything so lightly. Either I've completely lost the plot or I'm really confident that I can
1. manage the situation and
2. trust that everything will fall into place one way or another.
So either way - challenging times ahead which are made stressful by only one thing: my final Uni project which I've yet to finish!
Talked to my supervisor and he suggested either pushing to get it done by the end of October, or defer it to next year yet again! I can't even say how much I want to get this finished now so I will attempt to do it but realistically speaking, with everyone in my team leaving and the bigtime tasks of changing the entire company's computers over to IBM's laptops, this seems almost ridiculous. On one hand I want to say "Fuck the damn job, I need to get this degree done once and for all" but on the other hand I want to be in the midst of the transition and help where I can for as long as I can. We shall see how things develop - from a selfish point of view I shouldn't give a damn about bloody IBM and just make sure I get my life sorted out.

Other people have already left and others have handed in their resignations, it's only a matter of time until whole departments will be totally gone. Of course this is happening when I've finally started making friends here and enjoying work. Oh well, I can't say that my life is boring. Oh and at least I've got a fairly good raise of about $3000/year. So at least something. Considering the fact that I'll be holding the fort I should really make a lot more money but hey, it's enough to keep me happy for a while, I can shoot for more money a few months down the road provided I still have a job by then!

On a non-working note I went to New York over the weekend and OH MY GOD, that city is totally insane!!! I can't put it any other way. Everything is so incredibly HUGE, it's crazy! I did a lot of little films which didn't come out nearly as nice as I'd have hoped with the new camera but it's better than nothing. I'm aiming to buy a really good video camera next. Anyway... New York was in a way very surreal, I can't imagine living there. Whilst London is beautiful but small and bursting with people, New York is mesmerizing but big, yet still bursting with people. There's none of that rush that you come across in London though, at least I didn't experience it. I can't forget how I used to get off the train at Waterloo station in London and my slow state of mind turned into this frantic, rushing state of mind that I wouldn't be able to get rid of until I'd gotten back to Woking. New York just isn't that rushed it seems but then again I've only seen it on the weekends so maybe weekdays it's different.
I spent a few hours on Sunday vising touristy sites such as the Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station and Times Square (I'm obsessed with the Lehman Brother's building which has these cool screens on the outside walls where they constantly play commercials for their company and it's SO COOL!). And then I went up on the Empire State Building. WOW. I mean, WOW! The view was spectacular. Even though it wasn't exactly a sunny day, you could see for miles and miles. Truly stunning, there's just no other way to put it. It was VERY windy up there but thankfully not too busy so I spent a good hour up there, taking pictures (the 35mm kind, not digital kind), filming and just generally staring out into the distance thinking that I would ADORE working there (well, working would probably be an overstatement as there's no way I would ever get any work done with those kind of views outside my window!). I didn't have much time to see a lot more but I will be back sometime soon, that's for sure.
So, I'm sorry I have only got a few digital pictures as I wanted to save my SD card's space for little films but here's the few I took with my digital camera.
Enjoy!

8th Ave



Rockefeller Tower (well, half of it anyway... the rest didn't fit into the picture!)



Grand Central Station



Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty (to the right) from the Empire State Building

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Music, sweet music...

It's funny how long I can sometimes go without actually taking music in for real. I don't mean just the listening to the radio on your drive home kinda taking music in. I mean the kind where you put your headphones on, sit yourself in the middle of the room, put the newest CD you've bought on and just spend the next 45-50 minutes immersing yourself in it.
I haven't done that in a very long time... there just hasn't been much out there that I could get excited about.
And then just as the saying says "when it rains, it pours".
Out of almost nowhere music has found me again and I'm remembering what it's like to anticipate a new CD and look forward to some real good music time.

The first CD I got a few days ago was Steven McClintock's new CD. I adore Steven. From the moment I first heard his voice when he was singing background on Victoria's tour I fell in love with him. What an incredible talent, what a VOICE!
He and an old friend of his finally got their act together (literally, in this case, as they actually were an act that was signed by a record label many moons ago) and recorded a brand new CD with some killer songs on it. "After all this time" by Fertitta and McClintock is another piece of masterful songwriting and beautifully blended vocals. If you want to hear bits and pieces from this record, go here - Fertitta and McClintock - I highly recommend it!
I've been dying to hear Steven's voice on anything new again as it just evokes something in me that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm finding it hard to compare his voice to anyone else's because he's truly unique.

Another part of my musical journey of the past few days was going to New York to see Victoria Shaw play at Joe's Pub on Saturday night. She did a songwriter's "In the round" with Bob DiPiero, Gary Burr, Chely Wright and Don Henry. I'm not even going to attempt to list all these amazing songwriter's number ones - I'd be spending an hour doing just that. In an intimate setting, those five played song after song after song and never gave you a chance NOT to shake your head and wonder "HOW does anyone have so much genius talent to write something as fabulous as this???"
There were sad songs, funny songs, fast and slow songs but they were all absolutely unique and made me remember what it was that made me want to be a songwriter so badly. If there is even the slightest chance that by writing something not nearly as good I could make someone smile/cry/laugh/shout/FEEL anything close to what I felt throughout the night, I'd die a happy woman. I was there to see Victoria and my main focus was on her but there is no way you could not sit there, jaw dropping at the amount of talent that is unfolding in front of your very eyes. The best news of the evening came from Vic herself when she said she's recording an album (after the gig she actually said she was recording TWO!). I know the gig was just a little taste of what's to come from her and I can't wait :-)

And then there's Amy. Amy Grant, who with her soothing voice makes all the pain and hurt and anxiety and stress go away. I've yet to come across a female singer that gives me as much peace when I listen to her as Amy does.
I had ordered her new Live CD and DVD a few weeks and when I got home tonight after choir rehearsal I found the package at my door. I ripped into it and have just finished watching the DVD. I can't even put into words how good it feels to listen to her, she has a magic in her voice that is hitting bull's eye in my heart. Like she knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. I've yet to uncover how she does it but any day listening to Amy is a much, much better day than one without her.

At this very moment I feel very peaceful and happy simply from having that music around me. And I keep trying to remind myself that I should remember this feeling later, when the new CDs aren't new anymore and I go through my day to day routine without giving music a second thought. Because it shouldn't ever even be a second thought. It's way too special for that...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Out of this world...

... That's what New York is. There's just no words to explain this
place. More when i get back.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A bit of reality

Have a look at this - scary or what?
 

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11

The day has almost passed and I barely even had the time to think back 5 years ago. In a way, I didn't want to so I avoided turning on the radio or looking at news websites all day.
It's funny - I remember feeling so alone back then when I saw everything happen on TV. I wanted to be with people who could feel my deep pain and understand why and what I felt. 5 years later I AM where those people exist and yet I didn't want to relive that day again. I still can't think about it without welling up and choking.
In my entire life I have never felt as alone as I did that day. I remember standing in the living room of the house I shared with 3 other girls in Watford and trying hard to keep my tears back while those idiot girls started arguing about politics and whose fault this was. I wanted to kill them. I wanted to grab their necks and strangle them until they understood that none of the crap they were uttering mattered. That there were people dying in front of their eyes and they didn't even care. Again... the intense feelings I had were never something anyone outside the US could understand. I wouldn't have hurt this much if it had happened somewhere else, no matter how ridiculous it sounds even to my ears. In my mind and heart, to this day, that attack was a personal one. An attack on me. And in the midst of this I was all alone, having just moved to the UK with nobody to call my friend. I remember desperately needing someone to just hold me and tell me it woud be ok. The closest I came to that was when I went to put some flowers down at the American Embassy in London two days later. I sat on a brick wall in front of the statue there, tears streaming down my face, looking at the mountain of flowers, people kneeling down to pray, two girls starting to sing "America, the beautiful". A minute later this guy sat down next to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He introduced himself as I can't remember who, from the Samaritans. All I ever said to him was "Will we ever learn?" and he just was quiet. But that hand on my shoulder was the closest to comfort I ever got to feel during this horrible time.
I guess no matter how hard we try to escape it, that day will simply always be there in our memories. And if there was no TV, newspapers, internet to ever remind us of it again, we still would.
So here I am, having sucessfully avoided this all day, only to break down now and waffle on about it here. Go figure. Granted, it wasn't made easier by singing a beautifull arranged version of "Amazing grace" at my first rehearsal with the Nashua Choir. I had good fun, the new director is a lovely lady and full of enthusiasm and the people seem nice. It's not Woking though, of course. I miss my sopranos, Eileen and Marlie and Ingrid... and of course most of all Sel. We had such fun together, this will be very different here without a sidekick to comment on every note and song, make fun of this and that. Either way, it should be an interesting experience and more importantly, it didn't take me another 4 years to make up my mind to join. So it's good to know I'm not too old to learn from past experience ;-)

Off to bed now - let's hope the sexmaniacs above me will take it easy tonight.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm seriously...

... hacked off. Bigtime.
I've been trying to make fun of the whole neighbour sex situation but this is getting out of control. Since the last time I posted I have not been able to sleep through a single night due to that insatiable git and his ridiculously moaning Myrtle upstairs. It's gone as far as actually waking me up in the middle of the night too, not just preventing me from sleeping.
I'm seriosuly considering moving out - and paying the $2000 penalty for breaking the lease. But the situation is too absurd. Not only do I hear their sexcapades every goddamn night, I also hear every step they take during the day plus their loud TV. If there is something that I need more than anything else in this world it's peace and quiet and at the moment I ain't getting any of those things.
I feel stupid going to the apartment complex management to tell them that people's sex is aggravating me but on the other hand - IT IS DRIVING ME NUTTS!!!!!!!!
So, I don't know what the solution to this problem is. Maybe just wait another few days and see how it goes. I'm guessing it's all so obvious now because I've moved into the bedroom - when I was sleeping in the living room, the sound didn't get through to me. So, I don't know. I'm just really, really annoyed. I shouldn't spend an entire weekend fuming and breathing fire. I should relax. Bloody stupid neighbors. I hope he becomes impotent and that REAL SOON!!!

On the upside - I'm starting choir tomorrow! YEY!!! At least I haven't waited 4 years this time, like I did in Woking :-) I shall report back if it's anything as fun as my old choir.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What a MOVIE!!!

I have just finished watching "The Terminal" - I'd wanted to see it since it came out but never got around to it.
I can't believe the genius that Tom Hanks is, the genius that came up with that idea and the way the film ended!!! From start to finish, it was PERFECT. I completely and totally dislike C. Zeta-Jones so she was the only minus in the whole movie but she wasn't cringeworthy like usual.
All in all, this one has got to be in my overall top 5 favorites. What a worthy way to spend two hours :-)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

1 minute

1 minute - that's how long last night's romping session lasted. I suppose I should be glad since again, my neighbor started going at it just as I was about to fall asleep. I think moving into the bedroom wasn't such a good idea after all... *sigh*
I actually felt like starting to scream and moan loudly myself, maybe that would shut them up but I somehow doubt it... *more sighs*
I'll keep you updated on the rabbits above me ;-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Birthday sex

... well, no, don't worry - I didn't suddenly run into my knight in shining armor last night and made use of that bed and some handcuffs as my sister suggested.
However, my upstairs neighbour got some just as I was trying to fall asleep. And I am sorry to say that his sexual prowess seems to be declining - the good man only laster three minutes this time but at least the female moans and screams sounded the same so I'm guessing he has a steady girlfriend. Oh joy. I can only hope that next time's performance will only last a minute and then after that it'll completely cease.
Well, at least someone got sex on my birthday...
 

Musings at 30

Well, it's the big 3-0 today. Can't say there's any difference in me or in my life so there's not that much to tell.
Had already started feeling "old" a few years ago but even so, I don't feel old old, if that makes any sense. It's just spooky that I can now look back on my life and say "when I was younger". Couldn't have done that at 18 LOL
It's Labor Day today so at least I had the day off from work, which was nice. I didn't do much though... woke up aggravated by that goddamn neighbour above me who didn't have sex at 7.30 in the morning but proceeded to walk around in the bedroom for a good half hour. Good grief, what do you walk half an hour in your apartment for, for God's sake??? Seriously. Have already decided to move out of here once my lease is up - can't STAND having people around me, hearing them all the time. Of course the cardboard buildings in this country don't exactly help.
I did some shopping, bought myself a nice office chair with wheels and all that, it's really comfy. And I bought myself a digital video camera - well, nothing spectacular, I just spent $100 on it but it's gotta be better than the one I currently have. It has a 4x digital zoom so that's all that matters for now. It plays mp3s and can do voice recording AND it takes pictures as well. So it's all good.
Stuffed my face with ice cream and fried chicken, neither of which was too good. Should've listened to Caroline and gotten Krispy Kremes. Believe it or not though, the nearest KK store is about an hour's drive away. Blows my mind that I now live here in the US but it was easier for me to get KKs when I lived in Woking!
Another sign that I need to move South (up here Dunkin Donuts is EVERYWHERE). I don't get the vibe here that much either. The people are different from what I was used to in Nashville. There's still no denying - it's where I wanna be, I just gotta find a way to get there.
See, I'm telling ya - not much has changed with that number. I still ramble on about complete crap in this blog ;-)

Thanks for reading though - and keep those comments coming!!!! (nice to see you again, -mc!)

Off into the new decade now! :-D