Monthly Archives: February 2013

Threads: The Musical

Original Cast Recording of Threads: The Musical

Side 1

  1. They’d Never Do It
  2. Emergency Powers (You’re Coming With Me)
  3. Protect And Survive
  4. They’d Never Do It (Reprise)
  5. Milk Bottle Melt
  6. Sheffield Ain’t There No Mo’
  7. Lootin’ ‘n’ Shootin’

Side 2

  1. So Much For The NHS
  2. Getting Kinda Chilly Up In Here
  3. Back To The Land (Scratchin’ In The Dirt)
  4. Dead Sheep Song (Should We Shouldn’t We)
  5. Love Theme
  6. Non-viable Offspring Blues

Threads makes The Day After look like A Day At The Races

Pay Checks and Pay Packets

During the switchover period from one job to the next, my direct deposit for my salary is not yet set up, so I’m in the weird (for me) position of getting a physical pay check every fortnight. Since moving to the US, my banking has involved going to the bank a lot more, because checks are still commonly used. Not for groceries, thank goodness, and not for most bills, but I feel like I’ve written and cashed more checks in the last couple of years than I have in the previous decade.

Luckily the fascinating modern world we live in provides me with the ability to take a photo of check, and deposit it immediately via smartphone. My pay check, however, is over the limit on the amount I can pay in that way, which is nice of course, but also a colossal PITA. I have to go to an ATM and pay it in physically. Funny how technological advances make me think that going to an ATM is a hassle. Imagine if I had to go and queue in a bank! It reminds me of friends who used to complain that their parents made them load the dishwasher. My parents didn’t get a dishwasher until I had left home, which says something, I think.

I mentioned the pay check thing to a colleague (also a Brit) and we reminisced about getting paid in cash. My first job (Superdrug, Harpur Centre, Bedford, 1988) was paid in cash – I’d get a little brown envelope, with payslip and the notes and change I had earned. I’d go straight to the Post Office to put some in savings, and then to Andy’s Records. The records made up for spending part of my day actually standing in a bin, stamping down the cardboard.

One record-buying trip I picked up Tom Tom Club’s second album, Fear of Music by Talking Heads, and Armed Forces by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Point? None I can think of. Gettin’ paid.

New Job, Simpler Name

And so it came to pass that after 14 years of exemplary service (if I do say so myself), I left engineering and consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and joined engineering and consulting firm Parsons. It all happened pretty quickly. I got a message through LinkedIn at the begining of November (who’d have thought it could be so useful?), went in for a chat, got an offer, thought about it, got an increased offer, accepted the offer, and started on January 14th, ten days after my 14-year anniversary with PB.

That means I’ve left the California High-Speed Train Project, and I’m now doing Systems Engineering and Requirements Management for the Caltrain CBOSS PTC project. I didn’t leave for any particular reason – I like to say I moved towards another opportunity, rather away from my old one. Certainly any doubts about my loyalty or gratitude (they did bring me to the US, after all) would be dispelled in any rational mind by the fact I worked there for 14 years, 4 of them on the last project. In the end, it was just a business decision in favor of my family.

As far as High-Speed rail is concerned, I wish that project all the best. California, the US, and the world needs it. It’s expensive, but well worth it. People who disagree are wrong for many reasons.

It also means a move from IBM Rational DOORS to IBM Rational RequisitePro, which is a chance to learn a new tool, but sadly still means I’m subject to the IBM sanity tax.

The new place will be easier to tell people about, certainly. Just “Parsons” instead of “Panarsons Bricknerhoof(sp?)”. And of course they use a variant of one of my favorite typefaces, Microgramma, as used by awesome things like the late Gerry Anderson’s UFO, the current Iain M Banks book covers, and HAL 9000’s displays in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its derivatives.