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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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Apr. 23rd, 2015

Went to work without my wallet today. Only realised at the checkout in ASDA. Doh.

Had to scrape up £5 in coins out of my car to get some petrol so I'd have enough to get home.



For my Song Hall of Fame.... "Powerman" by the Kinks

Song about power and money and control in the music business. A good song to play at maximum volume. In protest.

Oh Bondage Up Yours!

For my Song Hall of Fame... "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" by X-Ray Spex

Great song all the way thru but I particularly love the beginning when Poly Styrene says "Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard, but I think..." then KA-BLAM... what a song.

It's not about sex or sado-masochism....  it's actually about the bondage everyone is in because of consumerism and capitalism...  living to make rich people richer.

Jul. 15th, 2014

Below I'm pasting something I read on Facebook. I agree to some extent, but I still personally feel conditioned to try to stay on the hamster wheel for as long as possible... :

"I get asked a lot of do I miss being employed?

A: an emphatic NO! Best thing I ever did was give my notice and say goodbye. Don't get me wrong, I was very well compensated, close to 8 years in college, worked with some great people/friends, and even had some fun at work (... some). Doing something/anything that consumes most of our lives just to maintain an unnecessary lifestyle or the status quo because it's engrained in our psyche, is imho a waste of the time we're given. Instead eliminate waste and there's little we need to thrive. Voila, now one has all the time on their hands they need.

Retirement? Another exercise in brainwashing. Experts encourage us to save 10% of each paycheck and pray for the best. Others say we should aim to save eight times our ending salary. Many of us still obsess over hitting that elusive million-dollar mark in net worth, despite the fact that fewer than one-third of Americans have managed to cobble together $1,000 for retirement. Fact is, people grind their life away (working) for something they squander for the most part (money). Thus the hamster wheel. How much do you really need? Not much unless you plan on maintaining an unnecessary lifestyle or maintaining status quo that we did when working. The choice is yours."


Baby You're a Rich Man

For my Song Hall of Fame... "Baby You're a Rich Man" by the Beatles

B-side to All You Need is Love. It's a song about Brian Epstein. Lennon sings "Baby, you're a rich fag Jew" at the end.

Mar. 10th, 2014

I worked today.  But I almost made a pretty bad error early on as I forgot my wallet.  Luckily I realised it before I got too far so I went back.  Otherwise I would have surely run out of petrol in the van and then been in bit of bother.

Work was up near Glasgow... and I need to go back tomorrow as I ran into some pesky issues.

no thanksgiving

I suddenly got asked to go to Belfast, and then asked to stay here until tomorrow just in case.  So after working, I went over to the Titanic museum to have a wee look around.... just the parts that were free, tho, 'cause I'm cheap.

Oct. 26th, 2013

Not a great week off from work... Just doing stuff around the house, mostly... and I've been on a diet. So not much fun.

We chose a new rug for the bedroom today. It'll be installed the week after this coming week, just after the new bedroom wardrobes go in.

This coming week, we have a new boiler being installed... to replace our rather old one. Spending money left and right lately. We also recently got a new living room floor put in as well as conservatory blinds. Jeez. Good thing I have a job.


Car Troubles

Just got an MOT for my old SEAT Ibiza...  but....  I needed two tyres and a half a dozen other things that all added up to a large bill.  Oh well, it's over now.

And then the company van had a punctured tyre, which I went to get fixed this morning... resulting in a new tyre. But I obviously didn't have to pay for that myself. Hassle tho.


Oct. 22nd, 2012

Job search has been pretty slow...  Not much in this area...  I'm pretty confident I could find something suitable SOMEWHERE but I don't want to end up working away from home again (like when I used to work in Glasgow).  For instance, there's a pretty suitable job for me in Kelso, and as it's in the Scottish Borders (the area adjacent to Dumfries and Galloway in the south part of Scotland), recruiters have contacted me a few times about it thinking it's near me and because my past job experience ticks a lot of the boxes for this particular job.....  BUT, it's actually not that near me (65 miles, 1hr 45min) and wouldn't be easily commutable on a daily basis.  Might as well work in Glasgow again (or ANYWHERE) if I'm to consider working away from home.  At this point, I'm not considering it.

BUT, I just recently got my first interview to go to.  Not the best job in the world (ie not the most ideal for my particular skills etc), but it's in Gretna which is only about 20 miles or so east of here.  So we'll see if that yields anything.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying seeing Adam a couple times a week when we babysit.  Not working has its advantages, and we're doing OK without my salary.

Job starting on Monday

Well, this week I finally got the official job offer and employment contract from the local armoured vehicle manufacturing company, and I start there on Monday.  My job title will be "manufacturing engineer" (previously had been told it would be "industrial engineer", and then "production engineer"... not that it really matters as it's all pretty much the same thing anyway... a rose is a rose... just a bit odd that it changed like that a few times during the interview and job offer process).  Another surprise was that the employment contract is for a permanent position, whereas I thought it would be written up for a 3 or 6 month contract to begin with. 

So quite happy that it's a local job right in Dumfries (which is a first), pays a little more than my last job, doing what I like to do and have experience doing... But maybe a tiny bit disappointed that it's not really much to do directly with carbon management / the degree I just got, except for the usual energy efficiency, manufacturing process improvement aspects of the job.  So the MSc degree hasn't really positively affected my career in any significant way.  Oh well, still glad I did it as I enjoyed it.

April 1991

I've been busy, and I've fallen behind in this little project I've been doing of chronicling my life....  I'm going to try to catch up a little today.  First, here's some stuff from about 20 years ago...

April 1991

 - my father turns 51... he had been on a business trip to England before we gathered for his birthday.  He had been near Manchester where my direct line of paternal ancestors are from...  they left there for the Philadelphia area in 1858.

  - I owe the IRS $565 this year.  I sell 8 shares of GE stock @ $71 per share to cover it.

  - "Next week, F and I are taking a week off for a vacation.  We don'r know exactly what we're going to do or where we'll go yet.  The problem is, we don't want to spend too much money.  We have built up quite a debt over the past couple years.  Two car loans, a ring loan, several credit cards...  We kind of spent too much money that we didn't have.  Now it's time to pay up... "

 - GE Somersworth (my workplace, where I am a Technical Supervisor) announces a salaried lay-off, but I'm not affected this time.

  - We decide to drive down to Florida (from New Hampshire) in the jeep for our vacation.  We plan to visit Rudy, F's old roommate), and F's aunt Alice and aunt Tillie.  Our plan is to camp out on the way down.  "I have $299 in my wallet...  I'm going to keep track of everything we spend in a futile attempt to keep costs down."

  - Because of the weather, we don't camp on the first night in Salisbury, MD... our expenditure was $123.94 altogether that day and night.

  - We make it to a campground near Jacksonville on the 2nd night and we make it to our destination, Boynton Beach in the early afternoon.... total spend on the way down:  $236.93.  In Florida, we soon spend the rest and have to get some reserves from the cash machine.

 - We swam in the waves at Delray Beach, also in a pool at Rudy's apartment complex, drove around Palm Beach, went to the Jai Alai where we gamble a little.... I came out $14 ahead.

  - After staying two nights, including visiting Alice and Tillie and staying overnight there, we head back up the highway northwards.  Stayed in St. Augustine and then camped near Washington, DC.  I stopped counting money but we have enough reserves to get home.

  - We stop at New Hope, PA on the way up and found the graves of my paternal relatives.


From the telegraph

Solar panel subsidies to be slashed from next year

Small companies, community projects and social housing will no longer be able to take advantage of solar panels
By Nick Collins, and Louise Gray
Last Updated: 7:18PM BST 28/10/2011

Subsidies for homeowners who instal solar panels will be slashed by more than half in 2012, according to leaked documents published by a government-funded agency.

Cuts to the feed-in-tarriff scheme, which rewards households for using renewable energy, will see the amount they earn fall from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar power to 21p.

Returns will fall from about 7 per cent to 4 per cent, official papers published on the Energy Saving Trust (EST) website suggest, in a move that could make the technology affordable only to the wealthy.

The move would almost double the length of time it would take for solar panels to become cost-effective, meaning it would take homeowners an estimated 18 years to earn their money back rather than 10.

Solar panels have dropped in price from an average of £13,000 to £10,000 over the past two years, meaning the amount consumers could save has steadily risen.

But the documents, which are marked as "under consultation and not final", indicate that th technology could become much less affordable next year.

A spokesperson for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: "We will be publishing a full consultation on changes to the solar PV [photo-voltaic] tariffs in Parliament on Monday.

"EST inadvertantly published a draft of documentation on its website that was neither final nor accurate."

A statement on the EST website confirmed the document had been published by mistake due to a "technical error".

If the rates are changed they would come into force from 1 April 2012, and would not apply to solar panels that have already been installed or that are set up before December 8.

But with panels typically taking eight weeks to install the window for attracting the higher rate is closing fast and households who have already invested in the equipment but not begun using it could lose out.

Jeremy Leggett, chairman of Solar Century, a solar installation company, said: "This is what you would do if you wanted to destroy something.

"Small companies, community projects and social housing will no longer be able to take advantage of solar panels."


Oct. 20th, 2011

Reading the newspaper at the coffee place...

Scotland is teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession... 80 Scots go bankrupt every day. More job losses expected in the coming months.

I've become very interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement lately. There's nothing around here I can do to physically show support to that protest movement, as I'm here in the middle of nowhere, but there are encampments up in Glasgow and Edinburgh... as well as most other major western cities of the world. Being unemployed, I wouldn't mind showing up somewhere and being part of the "99%" but I really can't be bothered going to a city 80 miles away to do it.

There was a TV documentary on the other day about the bailout of Royal Bank of Scotland, which was pretty interesting. Too big to fail, and we all had to chip in to save it from its own mistakes driven by reckless greed.

Money is just shuffled around and markets are gambled on nowadays... not enough things are actually MADE anymore except in China. That's not good for a manufacturing engineer, turned carbon manager... still looking for a job...

I actually don't like to think about money that much... but I feel like my time is being grossly under-compensated as I sit here having coffee in a coffee shop rather than having coffee in an office.

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