Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Beyond The Wall of Sleep 1

It occurred to me this morning... because it was mentioned on the
Today program.. that I've not heard the Shipping forecast for at least
six months

the daily routine for the last 15-20 years has been
asleep at 10-11pm
woke up between 3.30-5am
then hours listening in the dark to
Shipping Forecast
Prayer for the day
Radio 5 5am news bulletin
Radio 5 5.30 Wake up to Money (Wake Up to Monetarism would be more accurate)
which gets me nice and angry for

Radio 4 Today show at 6am

and if I'm really lucky I get a ten minute late snooze in at 7ish
which makes me late for work

so for the first four hours of every morning I was incredibly
depressed. This was such a drag I was thinking of creating a website
called Hour of The Wolf that people could refer to instead of lying in
bed thinking of suicide options at the start of every day
In contrast, what a difference an Ipod, good Seinhauser inner ear buds
and some free podcasts have made.

Last night I slept heavily from 9.45 to 6.45 with three ten minute breaks
12.45am woke, put Ipod on The Times football podcast with 15 min sleep
timer, I was out in ten minutes
2.00am repeat of the above
3.45am same as above but 30 min sleep timer (lasted 15) and ESPN
soccernet podcast
woke at 6.45 not thinking about soccer but Fantastic Four comics

I've found that playing the podcasts through a speaker is less
effective than inner ear ear buds as they also cut out the outside
noise. Also routing the earphone cables around the back of your neck
helps prevent snags that can wake you in the night.
I've trained myself so well in this I've actually taken my favourite
podcasts off the overnight routine because I keep sleeping through
them! I've also become so dependent on great sleep I carry two ipods
around with me and two sets of headphones in case of problems.

and also worth mentioning.. I wouldn't sleep at all without some form
of 10-30 minute walk every day

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Blog update

Where have I been? Not anywhere too exotic - Croydon and Kings Cross

Who have I been working for? Therein lies a tale..

Before Christmas the last contract in Leicester was driving me a little crazy, and after two interviews in London in one day I was given a straight immediate choice between two new contracts in the new year. 

AIG (Croydon), the huge insurance conglomerate formerly specialising in credit default swaps and bailed out twice by the US taxpayer


The Guardian Newspaper (York Way, Kings Cross)

I would have taken the latter immediately but was asked to go for a second interview, and desperate as I was to get something nailed down (in the face of what looked like imminent global economic meltdown) I accepted the AIG offer to start in the New Year.

Forced to start first day back, I sat in post xmas traffic for six hours on the A303 and began to have second thoughts about that Guardian second interview. When I got to AIG Croydon and found, such was their rush to get me in, that there was no actual written contract in place.. I arranged for that second interview. For a while it looked like I would have to go for a third interview and when AIG caught on it seemed like I'd end up with no job and subsequently blacklisted in the industry, but luckily my new employers, Guardian Media Group, were able to give me a month at AIG before I needed to start. This took a great deal of the heat out of the situation and I was able to leave Croydon after a month with some happy people (though I've not been paid yet)

So whats the Guardian like? Well I'm up on 2nd Floor with the IT Crowd. The journos are down on 1st and it all looks very open plan and fragrant but a bit sterile. Wierdly with it's business, friendliness, general activity and slight scent of dried sweat 2nd floor seems more like what I expected from a real newspaper office.

Like being in the design museum
Meeting rooms that can't be booked - one person meeting room that looks like a sensory deprivation chamber

Only thing wrong so far is that the nearest Pret isn't as friendly as the one in Croydon. Croydon was a lesson worth remembering. First week or so felt like living in London post industrial collapse, but after very slight move to different accom across town (South Croydon) it all end up very pleasant. Nice people too. I'll miss it.