Thursday, 4 July 2013

June 2013 Review

If you had asked me, I would have said that June was the worst month yet. I was tired, very tired at the start of the month. So much so that I brought my first full week of annual leave forward to the week of the 3rd. Good choice! The first and so far only consistently sunny week of the year. I didn't do much, but it was a sheer pleasure just walking round central London or sitting in my garden.

I ended the month benching three sets of three reps of 75kgs (that's 165 lbs in old money) - which is some kind of lifetime personal best for me. The target is now 85 kgs, as that's what my trainer told me she had done (one rep+spot) a couple of days before. Can't be out-pushed by a girl, even if she is a blue-belt jiu-jitsu medallist. Not doing so well on the pull-ups, as I'm still on 50kg of assistance. Six months to go.

I attended the two-day SAS Analytics 2003 conference in Westminster. Excellent keynotes from Tim "Undercover Economist" Harford on Wednesday and Olympic rower Greg Searle on Thursday, followed by a series of half-hour talks covering everything from analytics for beginners, social networks and on to fraud and logistics. It brought together a lot of what I've been reading about on blogs and in articles. The event was refreshingly free of sales pitches and recruiters, though there were a lot of in-house SAS people there. An excellent way for The Bank to spend £900 (inc VAT) of its revenues. (Banks, by the way, don't have VAT-able outputs, so they can't reclaim VAT.)

I saw Fast and Furious 6 (because entertainment), Piercing Brightness at the ICA, Before Midnight and The Iceman at the Curzon. Sis and I suppered at Beagle in Hoxton and took the Overground to Clapham Junction. I read volume one of Prince of Thorns, Neville Shute's Ruined City, Gary Taubes' Bad Science, Dr Robert Lustig's excellent book on diets and food Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, Ian Ironwood's book on the Manosphere, Jim Baggot's Farewell to Reality and William Bratton's The Turnaround. (Ah, so that's what I did in June: read!) Most of those on the Kindle. So far, I'm finding Kindle-reading is more absorbing than paper-reading, but I miss that symbolic act of putting the book up on the shelf after it's read.

I got into the swing of the Riemann-Roch essay, after spending way, way too long on the mysteries of one-forms on Riemann surfaces. I was starting to think I had severe brain rot and would never get it. 

The month ended with a weekend trip to Rome (Ryanair, Stansted) with some of the Lisbon gang. Friday night was supper in a random restaurant in Trastevere, followed by a long visit to the Coyote nightclub in Testaccio. We got back at 4 am the next morning, struggled up to the jiu-jitsu contest oat the Palazzetto dello Sport, had a very late lunch off the Corso and supper at AdHoc on the Via di Ripetta after getting a last-minute cancellation. Two of us went for the seafood tasting menu and pronounced it Yummy, with excellent service. Bed at 01:00. Sunday was a walk in the Villa Borghese and a quick lunch, followed by a ride to the airport. I promised to mention the moment when I walked into my bedroom and found a twenty-eight year old Russian blonde in my bed… but she's my trainer and we're friends. 

What made the month feel bad was a grinding project at work that simply would not go away and required endless reconciliations of this-run-with-the-last-run kind. I suck at those. I hate reconciliations. And it does not help when the IT people change the data codings under you. Once that got out of my hair, everything started to feel better. Also, I started to recruit an assistant analyst. Hard science postgrads with proven SQL ability only, please.

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