Friday, November 04, 2005

Bark: Training

As you'll have noticed, I've been rather quiet this week. This is because I've been in Reading for most of it on a Lotus Domino training course, and I haven't had time for cavorting around on the internet.

The course itself has been fabulous: the pitched level was absolutely perfect for me, and I've learnt a hell of a lot over the last three days. It also represents the only classroom training course that I've managed to drag (kicking and screaming) out of IBM in the five years that I've been working for them; so a seminal week indeed.

The week didn't start out very auspiciously, despite completing Civilization 4 sometime late on Monday evening. Overnight between Monday and Tuesday, I fell victim (again) to The Mother Of All Stomach Bugs, and consequently spent pretty much the whole day in bed, missing out on a visit to the Official Xbox 360 Magazine in London, which I'd been trying to arrange for weeks. A total waste of a holiday day, as well, which was most unfortunate.

Things didn't get much better first thing on Wednesday morning, as I was still feeling a little groggy, and consequently got lost in Reading's labyrinthine one-way system, got very stressed, and almost exchanged bumpers with some poor chap dropping off his daughter to school, in my haste to make a three-point-turn and get back on the right track. Several minutes worth of profuse and abject apologies later, I made it to the training facility with about three minutes to spare.

As I said, the course itself was brilliant - perfect technical level, a low number of students (so plenty of instructor help) and a very good structure. Unfortunately, my Wednesday went even further downhill when I went to the toilet during the mid-morning "comfort" break and my trouser zip suffered a Janet Jackson-style "costume malfunction". I spent most of the rest of the day with my legs firmly thrust deep beneath my desk, trying to conceal my damaged flies with my shirt tails... Plus I got lost AGAIN going home, thanks to picking the wrong lane again in the absolutely nonsensical one-way system. Not exactly a day to remember.

The rest of the week has been okay, barring the traffic getting in and out of Reading (on Thursday it took 45 minutes to travel the two miles from Reading Station to the junction of the A4 and the A329(M) - I could have walked it quicker!). If I ever do a training course there again, I think I'm going to park up the car at Blackwater or Sandhurst and just take the train. The traffic's almost as bad as Central London and Reading town centre has very little to otherwise redeem it, either.

But the course was great (did I mention that already?) and should really make my life a heck of a lot easier over the next few weeks as I build the Notes front-end for this Information Warehouse that I should be doing next at work. I'm almost looking forward to going back to work on Monday. Almost. In the meantime, I have about half a dozen reviews to write... Civ 4 is the definite pick of this week's releases, by the way. Expect to see my review on Pro-G in the next week or two.
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