Archive for November, 2001

all nighter

Wednesday, November 21st, 2001

I’m currently at a client site (described by someone here as “one giant Murphy’s Law”) at 4:15 am doing an all night testing shift, after having worked 12 hours during the day. We’re waiting for some stuff to finish running and someone’s playing TV themes off the internet. Fantastic.

working hard

Thursday, November 15th, 2001

Amidst being worked off my feet at the office I have lots going on in the choir at St Mark’s. Apart from the day-to-day things, we’re working on Handel’s Messiah. I’ve never done it all the way through before, but it’s actually rather fun, not least because we’re doing it at baroque pitch, so it’s a semitone down from how it looks on the page, so slightly easier. But only slightly. There are several different productions going on around the Twin Cities over the holiday season, but I (and the Star Tribune) think that this one is going to be a bit special as it’s being sung with a small choir and hopefully a bit more subtlety than the big overdone versions.

One of the choruses features the unusual word burthen which was my friend Richard’s word of the day a while back. It is a good word, that’s for sure

rude food

Wednesday, November 14th, 2001

I was taken out for lunch today to a seafood restaurant which probably should remain nameless. One of the choices on the menu was meatloaf with “Fanny gravy”. I have no idea what that could be, but being British I could not bring myself even to ask what it is.

‘Boozing? It’s Practically Therapy,’ Men Told

Tuesday, November 13th, 2001

I feel that it is my duty to spread this story as far and wide as possible. Vital for the survival of our species. Emma’s not so sure.

In other news, my friend Robin is working on the new website for one of the churches I used to sing at in London, St John the Divine, Kennington. It’s a lovely place, and a nice website too.

ports of passage

Saturday, November 10th, 2001

Just had a slightly traumatic week. At work we’re winding up a big project for a client in England, and it seemed that they wanted a couple of people from Minneapolis to go over – me being one of them. However, when I called Emma on Wednesday to ask if she would mind if I went, she (very kindly) said no, but did I remember that we don’t have our passports?

I’m working here in America on an H1b visa, which you initially get for 2 1/2 years, and then renew for up to a total of 6 years. Em and I renewed ours in March this year, so we’re all set to continue living and working here, but there’s a separate step if you want to leave and return to this country, involving sending your passport to Washington DC with the renewed visa documentation. We did this early September, as we knew we’d need them back for our trip home at Christmas. However, it had been two months and we hadn’t heard anything. Plus the Department of State only has a fax number, no phone to get status updates. So I faxed them on Wednesday but didn’t hear anything back, and someone else went over to England for me. However, when we got back from coffee and shopping today, an envelope had been pushed under our door containing our passports, fully stamped! Hooray. I’m actually quite impressed that a big government department could get that sorted so quickly, and it’s also a big relief to have my passport back. I may yet have to zoom over to the UK, but we’ll see how things go.

speed

Saturday, November 10th, 2001

This is great, in a very geeky way. I was tipped off by my friend Paul that Office Depot are doing very cheap memory upgrades – $20 for 128Mb, with a $15 rebate. So I nipped along after work last night and got two. Just installed them, which fills up my computer’s memory slots (I already had 128Mb) and the difference in performance is incredible. I’m guessing that Windows 2000 uses a bit more resource than 98 did (although it still ran much better) but things are just zipping along now. Word took under a second to load. I know it’s really geeky, but I’m quite pleased with myself.

touring

Saturday, November 3rd, 2001

Emma’s friend Helen is over from England for a week, which is fun. We’ve been doing our best to look after her, including taking her out to the pub last night after the service we did at St Mark’s – a Requiem Mass, with the DuruflĂ© Requiem, which went well and is a v yummy piece of music.

Today we drove out to the little town of Stillwater, which is on the bank of the St Croix (to rhyme with Troy) river. It’s mostly antique stores, but there are a nice couple of food places too. It’s an unseasonably gorgeous day which helped – sunny and fairly warm. Then we went a bit further up the river to Taylor’s Falls, which is a bit less scenic in the actual town, but does have some nice places to walk on the rocks by the river. It’s notable for amazing potholes which were worn out of the rock by the river in days of yore. They’re often fairly deep – up to 60 feet – and many of them are almost perfectly round. There’s also a rather bonkers Christmas store in the town, where Emma finally found a nice (not-tasteless) nativity scene. We’re thinking that as we’re going back to Britain on Christmas Day, there’s not a lot of point having a tree, so a nativity scene would be a nice wee decoration.

Anyway, tonight we’re going to take Helen out for a good American burger. Yum yum.