Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gettin' froggy with it

It must be spring. It tipped down with rain yesterday, and it's sunny today.

Also, the circle of life continues.

But this guy here, and his fat friend? They'd better not be eating my frog spawn.

Because there are some things I simply will not stand for.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What exactly you DO here

So, the job.

I work in London, in the eighth-floor (I know -- there's a lift and everything) offices of an American firm that provides real-time data, news and analysis for various financial sectors. Earnings reports, corporate announcements, that sort of thing.

I'm a copy editor, which means I have responsibility for fact-checking and copy-editing articles in my particular areas, which are European banks/financial services firms/insurance companies and international (Europe/Asia) real estate. In other words, things I don't necessarily know all that much about -- though I know more than I did last week.

The demands are pretty high -- there's a highly automated system of error-checking and a built-in rating system that has me both being rated and providing ratings, the latter mostly for the extensive numbers of writers on which the company relies in India and Pakistan.

It's a good office to be in -- I'm the only copy editor, and a good number of the people in there (who number 15-20) are sales guys. There's a handful of Americans, a handful of Brits and a handful of folks from various other places. The guy who sits next to me is Dutch, and the guy who sits across from me is French. (They're also both younger than I am, as are a lot of the rest.)

My boss and the rest of the copy editors all work in the U.S., mostly in Charlottesville, Va. (where there is, incidentally, an outside chance I'll be sent for a quarterly new-employees meet-and-greet type thing. I asked jokingly if I could go and was told it's entirely possible. So ... yeah, that's kinda neat.) That means for the first five or so hours of my day, I'm pretty much on my own with copy editing.

The offices are in London, and that does mean a couple of hours on the train each morning and a couple of hours each evening. So far I use the morning to read the entirety of a newspaper and the evening to read one of the free evening papers that you can't walk five feet without someone trying to hand you. I need to be slightly more productive with the evening time, but I'm finding I get to work in the mornings feeling pretty awake. My colleagues all think I'm nuts, but for now at least, it's the best thing. Cheaper than rent, and I actually know people here.

So far it's just been training, but as of tomorrow I'm expected to be able to jump in the deep end and swim, as it were.

It's definitely a good opportunity, though, and one that seems to have been worth the wait. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to wait for a good job to come along. Given that the clientele is mostly American, however, it does render all that practi(s)e I did on writing in British kind of ... well, useless.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Well, that took longer than expected

But I finally have a job!

I won't go into any details just yet, because there's a contract to sign, so I don't want to hex anything. If you want to know, I'll happily tell you. Or you can just ask my mother.

Who, by the way, still possesses the gift of British understatement. On being told I'd gotten a job, in the same week that my first niece -- and her first grandchild -- was born (to my stepsister, lest anyone be confused), she responded 'this is becoming quite a good week'.

I told her it had been a good week BEFORE I got a job.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Making Atlanta's coping skills look positively Wisconsin-ite

This wasn't in the brochure.

Geographically speaking, England -- even southern England, -- lies to the north of virtually the entirety of the United States. And yet when it comes to winter, it has all the coping skills of the average Floridian.

In fairness, snow and other harsh winter weather are relatively uncommon, for a variety of geographic reasons that I won't bore you with, mostly because I can't explain them all.

But nevertheless, you would think that 4, 6, 8 inches of snow wouldn't cause quite the incredible anguish that it does. Just now, I'm being reminded by the BBC news that hundreds of people were stranded on the A3 road, just a few miles from here, where it's been snowing -- off and on and relatively lightly -- since yesterday. Such was the chaos that the MILITARY had to be called out.

That is one weak solar effort.

For me, meanwhile, this is turning into a disturbing pattern. Nearly three years ago, I moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where I was assured that winters weren't that severe. And the first winter I lived there, sure enough, was 'much worse than usual, no really, we promise.'

Now this.

I'd move back to Florida, but it's boooooooorrrrrrrring. This is much more entertaining. And, well, I don't have anywhere to go, which enhances the entertainment factor.

You just stay right there, Red.

(Oh, and now there's some reporter who lives in Yorkshire bragging about how wonderfully they cope up there. She's gonna have people throwing things at their TVs at this rate.)