Tuesday, November 01, 2011

.....And we're back!

The last few months have been ridiculously busy for me, and I haven't updated this blog since late May. However, things have settled down a little, and I'm going to try get back into the habit of blogging (also of exercising, and few other things that I've been a bit slack about lately).

The key events, and things that took up the time:

Editing a book: The First Donegore Story, by Donald Alexander, is out and available from Lulu. I'm really pleased with the result, and the finished book looks good - if you have never used Lulu, I'd recommend them. The final bit of work was the cover.

This was constructed using images from the book, the cover of an ancient dictionary that I have in my study, some old paper from a handwritten recipe book that belonged to my grandmother, a scanner and extensive Photoshopping. I'm sure a professional graphic artist could have done better, but I was satisfied with it as my first foray into the field. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a few things doing it, particularly about handling very large documents in Microsoft Word, and about Photoshop.
The official launch of the book is next Tuesday: if you happen to be in Donegore, the details are here.

I changed jobs: I now work for NetApp. Starting this job has been a bit like coming home: the office is right across the road from the building that I worked in while I was with Sun Microsystems, and many people who I worked with at Sun now work for NetApp.

Steve and I also had a three week holiday, two weeks of which we spent in Japan and Singapore. We had organised the trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and we had a fantastic time. The weather was good (mostly, better than we had expected), the hotels were lovely, the people were nice, and we saw (and took photos) of all sorts of things, from Himeji Castle to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore (Steve wants to stay there next time). A small selection of our photos is on Flickr: Japan here and Singapore here.

American Express made all the travel arrangements, and they appear to have told all the hotels that the trip was for our wedding anniversary: all three hotels (Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Hyatt Regency in Kyoto and Mandarin Oriental in Singapore) made a special effort to help us celebrate. Flowers, special deserts, personal greetings (and wine!) from hotel managers: it was great, and made the whole holiday extra special. We went to Chateau Restaurant Joël Robuchon for our anniversary dinner (which was fantastic); the Park Hyatt sent a photographer to our room to take our photo before we went: then they presented us with the mounted photo as a memento the next day. On the morning that we left Singapore to fly home, the restaurant staff served us champagne with our breakfast. All nice touches and lovely memories.

However, we are now back at work, and on the run up to Christmas. I'm establishing a routine in my new job, and preparing to get started on my next personal project: the creation of a map of Sydney "underground", using the floor plans of all the interconnected shopping centres and arcades. If you spend a lot of time in the city, you work this out from personal experience, but for people who only visit occasionally all the convenient short cuts are a mystery. I've drawn enough maps for imaginary cities in FRP campaigns, I should be able to draw one for Sydney.

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