My office is a few footsteps away from Old Compton Street, heart of London's gay district. So I walk up and down it a lot, to and from lunch and when out with friends. Often, as I walk down this street, lined with bars and shops full of gay people and images, seeing gay couples strolling unselfconsciously hand in hand, and in fact just seeing this huge mass of people who look entirely ordinary in every way, but I know they share my sexuality and as a result many of the same concerns and experiences and history, I'm struck by a pleasant, fuzzy sensation of belonging, of ownership. The glimmerings of that feeling of the "gay community" that everyone mentions but never really exists anywhere except for a few hours at a Pride march. It's a lovely feeling of freedom and openness and comfort: it feels like the safest street in London, a big street full of friends. And I wonder: is this how it feels to be straight? Do straight people feel like this all the time, and just don't notice it? Is this just the...

Agreement in Principle

Yep, it's official: some crazy, misguided man from a reputable brokerage has agreed to lend myself and housemate A an absolutely obscene amount of money, that we may begin the long process of hunting for a location between Clapham Common and Stockwell, so we can then start throwing our money at a heartless bank instead of a landlord. In the eternal struggle of the smug and the damned, I am in the process of switching camps. For the first few years, as is the nature of these things, we will be paying more in interest than we would have in rent, so it's sort of a voluntary increase in rent, which sounds sort of stupid. But we will also be putting a certain amount into equity, so it's a savings vehicle, and the bet is that the property will increase in value by more than the extra rent we're paying, so it'll be at worst no worse than renting for that period and any better will make some money. That sounds dicey, but actually the sums say that anything more than about a 2% annual increase in value will...

The start of a story

Everything works better when run by smart people. Therefore, smart people are in a lot of demand. Because of this, it's often too expensive to hire large groups of smart people: it becomes more cost effective to hire one extremely smart person, and get them to produce a system where a bunch of dumb people can perform the complicated task. This principle of increasing productivity -- specifically, increasing the productivity of people who aren't otherwise very productive -- is pretty much the foundation of economic growth. Therefore in order to continue to grow, it was not just desirable, but necessary that ever-smarter people be produced in order to continue to produce the ever-more-complicated systems of automation required to continue economic growth. Luckily, humanity was quite capable of producing this new breed of smarter human: the intelligent tended to seek out the intelligent, producing even more intelligent children. At the same time, economic growth allowed ever-larger numbers of people to...
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I do the web

Somebody asked me recently: when asked about my job, I tend to say I "do the web". And what does that mean? Well, the web is lots of things. There’s the act of surfing around it and finding funny stuff and cool videos. I do that. And there’s using it for social networking and jobfinding. I do that. And there’s using it for communicating with friends and strangers, via blogs and comments on other blogs. I do that. And there’s using it as a research tool, for learning about trivia and self-training in your job. And I do that too. There’s also the act of creating it: not just writing a blog, but writing blog software, writing content management systems, e-commerce websites, neat little web-based tools that let people get their jobs or their life done easier and faster. I like doing that part a lot. And finally there’s the theory of the web: its current form and technical architecture, the technologies that make it up and how they fit together and how to use them to meet the future needs of the...
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Thiiiiings... can only get bettahhhhh....

So, I've had a pretty shit week so far. On Monday at 5pm, I was unexpectedly made redundant -- along with the rest of my department, going up two levels of management -- from my dream job. At 10am this morning, as per previous scheduling, I had a wisdom tooth extracted. So now I sit here, jobless, unable to eat solid food, bleeding profusely. I think we can all agree this week can only go up from here. Oh, and believe me, the irony of the post immediately preceding this one is in no way lost on me.
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When it rains, it pours

Oh, and it's been raining for 24 hours and I've caught a cold. Okay, now things can only get better. Unless a tsunami hits London.
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Five things

Will had a good idea: make a list of five things you've not done that you intend to get done, with a hard deadline. Rather than moping about recent crappy events, here's mine -- all to be done by October 16th 2007. Replace this bloody blog software with something that, y'know, works. Walk the Thames Path as far as the barrier at Greenwich, as it's so often recommended Visit the London Wetland Centre because the ads look cool See Evita (tickets booked!) and Chicago live on stage. Have dinner at The Ivy. I'd have put "get a new job" on there but it seems giving myself a twelve-month deadline to do that would be tempting fate somewhat. I want a new job by tomorrow, dammit.
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Panic over

I have a job again. Details soon.
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Saaan Fraaaan-cisco

The silver lining on the cloud of my recent unexpected change of job is that, as part of the shutdown work on my now-doomed former department, we are heading over to Yahoo! HQ in Sunnyvale for handover work. So if you, dear reader, are in San Francisco, I'll be there from the 30th the 27th until the 2nd of November (Halloween in SF!) so get in touch. Update: as noted above, I've moved the flight forward (yay business flights!) so I'm now in SF over the weekend. Do get in touch...

Oh, man

I'm going to California! This was not high on my list of things I was expecting to do 2 weeks ago. I need to be up in 5 1/2 hours, I should get some sleep...
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I ass-cone SF

(Etymology: "I love SF" -> "I heart SF" -> "I "I less-than-three SF" -> "I cone-ass SF" -> "I ass-cone SF") The reason I'm loving SF is that somebody made that joke and everybody in the car got it without having to explain. Also, nice weather and good food.
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