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Mike Gallagher
01 August 2009 @ 12:08 am
The last one to have been edited - Azkaban.
Happy birthday, J.K. Rowling! Which of her seven Harry Potter novels do you think is the most satisfying read?
Mike Gallagher
10 May 2009 @ 05:01 pm
psychochicken was surprised at the tone of my last post: he thought that earlier, discussing the new Trek in the pub, I'd been more positive about it.

Which leads me to wonder, just why is my praise so damningly faint for the new Star Trek movie? ...Collapse )To me, this is another visual-effects blockbuster; good as far as such things go, but no better. Comparable to the Star Wars prequels, say.
Mike Gallagher
09 May 2009 @ 02:03 am
I saw the new JJ Abrams Star Trek in the IMAX cinema this afternoon. Here are my impressions.Collapse )
Mike Gallagher
06 May 2009 @ 03:22 am
[this isn't my idea originally, a lady on a dating site put up a description of herself that was listed alphabetically and I thought it was only appropriate to reply in kind. Here's what I sent ... ]

Alphabetically , I am ...

Appreciative of alliterative allusions
Barely begun
Currently consulting a compendium of characteristics (looking up a dictionary; cheat? who, me?)
Delighted to make your acquaintance
Enjoying the exercise so far
Flippant frequently
Gently good-
Humoured (couldn't resist)
Infrequently impulsive (but 'what the hell' is always the right decision)
Just, joyous and with joie de vivre
Literate, and I take myself lightly
Mike by name, hello
Not afraid of hard work if it's worth it
Phlegmatic and philosophical
Quebecois originally, but now with a Scottish accent
Romantic? sometimes - remember about 'what the hell'
Sceptical and scientific, but also ...
Tolerant (and typically Taurean, but it doesn't matter to me)
Unwise at times
Vocal on subjects that I care about
eXcellently bad at atrocious wordplay (you already got in xenophilic)

[I liked it, I thought I'd save it here.]
Mike Gallagher
24 April 2009 @ 09:52 pm
I used the LinkedIn system today to grab a bunch of contacts for business purposes and took the opportunity to go looking for some old friends that I'd lost touch with. One emailed me back immediately that it was so nice to hear from me. I worked it out, I knew this lady for about six months, six and a half years ago.

I have described before in this journal how I was unemployed for a long time prior to my current state. Before that, I worked in the Netherlands, and my social life was an ex-pats' organisation (called SMILE, I can't remember what it stood for and it hardly matters). We would meet for dinner and beer around a table in a central Eindhoven pub every Friday and I was one of the more regular attendees.

So much so that when the then organiser retired and moved away, I got landed with being his successor. I decided bugger that, quite apart from the fact that my own job was precarious at the time. I organised a Yahoo group and a rota of regular greeters / table-holders, who formed a committee of people who would take charge of projects. When I finally had to cut and run I left it in good shape.

What I didn't realise and I only found out today was that the few people I stayed in contact with were reporting back to the SMILE table about how I was getting on, and that the club had been cheered that I'd sorted myself out.

People make an impression on me; I never consider that I might make a good impression on them. I'm guilty, as my (best) friend has said of himself, of travelling light. When I had a cat, where I left her was home. Most of the time my social life has been around a place, not necessarily people. I'd be a stranger in town so I'd go to a club like SMILE and I'd form my social life around going to that place and seeing who was there. I've never been good at forming or keeping relationships outside of a framework like that.

So I am totally gobsmacked to find that an entire club of people had been pleased to hear the report that I was doing all right, and that someone I expected to barely remember me was so pleased to hear from me after more than six years.

(She's also doing fine, by the way; private practice as a patent attorney in Munich and married last month, Yay her:)
Mike Gallagher
18 April 2009 @ 04:40 pm
Most readers here will be aware of Satellite 2; a convention in Glasgow on the 25th-26th of July, marking the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing. In case anyone isn't aware, Iain M Banks will be guest of honour.

And I've been roped in to a panel, discussing the moon in literature. Apparently there's homework to do beforehand. Should be fun.
Mike Gallagher
16 April 2009 @ 10:36 pm
Today my office passed its ISO14001 audit!

... And? you say.

And? And! I wrote the management system. I managed it into existence. I'm responsible for it. It's a thing that I've made. Truth to tell, I cobbled it together from parts from other jobs, but it's my baby, all of it.

Here's the thing. I've been doing management systems for clients for about a year and a half, since I had the job dropped on me because our principal consultant quit rather than go with the new masters (whom I for one still wholeheartedly welcome, except when they piss me off). I've had some successes, and some of them have been spectacular achievements for major clients or spectacular saves from the hands of incompetents. But I've never before from beginning to end put a system in place and seen it through to certification.

And I've never been the one being audited. And ISO14001 is the environmental management standard, and me being an environmental management consultant it's something that I'm supposed to actually know something about.

So today was a major professional vindication; I'm actually good at the job that I do (not just competent, that was a glowing audit report), as verified by an external assessor, and it's not a result of taking over the job of someone more qualified and taking the credit for seeing it to completion.

And I did it for my own office. I was mentioned in despatches to the MD and the chairman (whose name is on the company), both of whom got a copy of the audit report, and various other directors.

So, I've got a major confidence boost, a major professional credit and two significant learning experiences all in the one day.

Then I went out for a steak and several beers and came up with a new story. Today has been a good day.
Mike Gallagher
19 February 2009 @ 10:27 pm
One of my favourite web-comic makers has just been burned out of her flat. There are links on her site to a fund-raiser that her publishers are running, and also some amazingly poignant art.

Planet Karen
Mike Gallagher
21 December 2008 @ 05:13 am
This is how the year ends and begins, with good friends, good music, good beer and good whisky.
Mike Gallagher
08 December 2008 @ 12:10 am
I see that Amazon have got around to extending their DRM-free music download service to the UK. So much for my credit card, then.

I'm being good, I've just downloaded John Denver's I Want to Live album. With "How Can I Leave You Again", "Tradewinds", "It Amazes Me", "Thirsty Boots", "Dearest Esmeralda", "Singing Skies and Dancing Waters", and "I Want to Live", it is one of the best folk/Americana albums I have ever heard, and I haven't heard it in a long time.