As with the fictional post, the day-job's beginning to pall somewhat. Bluntly, it takes too much time for what it pays, and while there's the odd bit of potentially profitable part-time stuff turning up occasionally, I don't seem to have the time and energy to do much about it. I am starting to get emails and the occasional phonecall from agencies again, so things are getting better in that direction, but it's still all either short-term stuff or back down south, and very little of it would still be there when I factor in the delay for a month's notice.

I spent most of 2000 contracting in London, staying with [ profile] the_magician. Some good companies (Honda, Brand New Media/Fi System, SCEE), some dodgy (the one that's not on my CV that kept me hanging around for a week in their office with no work to do, and then tried to sack me for not doing anything - guess who hadn't noticed the notice clause in the contract!). Portsmouth for the bicentenary of the first meeting between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Beltane as a torchbearer (Honda let me take the time as a "religious holiday"). Dental Hell. Stewarding the Solstice at Stonehenge. Glastonbury with [ profile] atropinesulfate. More dental Hell. An incredibly international GBBF. A pretty good year all round, really.

"The Scottish Con" dominated rather more of 1995 than was quite right. But apart from that.... At the start of the year I'd been back up in Edinburgh for about three months, with about four more to go before Jenny and the family moved up. Work (in the Pharmacology Department) was interesting - a mix of molecular modelling-related stuff, LIMS stuff, and doing work-related webby stuff for the first time. It looked like I'd a fairly long term position in the department, with the odd trip or extended visit to Japan lined up, but the Kobe earthquake a year later put paid to all that.

I'm going to swap the next two snapshots around: they cover the longest period of least change I've had, the decade and a bit down in Leeds.

Ah, yes. It was good to be alive in 1985. Almost at the halfway point of my first post-doc (modelling collagenase inhibitors by the method of receptor fit: which meant lots of playing around with fancy molecular modelling kit and rather a lot of number crunching), settling into our house in the Aviaries (not yet the millstone referred to as Schloss Asbestos), and on the point of discovering that SF conventions did indeed happen in the UK.

High points of 1990? The Dutch worldcon, attended en famille. Non-con memories include the nightly fireworks, and discovering on arrival at Hull that we'd tickets for the wrong ferry. Oh, and as the only bearded person on the return ferry with a passport indicating birth in Norn Iron, being held back until every single other passenger was off the boat. Con-related memories included hardly any programme and spending far too much time at a desk in the ops room. This should maybe have been a warning for Intersection... Before ConFiction, the kids stayed with their grandparents, while we'd a week or so travelling round Scotland visiting various SF groups: most spectacular low-point being the bottle of Halley's Comet whisky smashing on an empty Old Peculier bottle and scenting Jenny's rucksack for the rest of the trip. Earlier that year had been Chronoclasm in Derby, which went well, but maybe not as well as Iconoclasm (tissmws), and before that had been a couple of months working in Nantes on molecular modelling of sulphated carbohydrates (I think this was the trip that I stayed at [ profile] brisingamen's when passing through Kent - a very pleasant evening, and then a lift to the ferry the next morning). Oh, and we were still doing Matrix back then, so there were bimonthly all-nighters and occasionally hitching down to Guildford to drop the masters off (and wandering into the ULCC computer room near Lambs Conduit Street to get almost a full day's work done before hitching back in time to meet the boss in the pub).

Just back from visiting [ profile] tigermoth's sister and her family in Morocco, and settling down into my final year project. The main events on the horizon were our wedding (in the Potterow Chaplaincy Centre on the Saturday of the Spring Equinox) and my finals -- it really did seem sensible to get the wedding out of the way before starting to revise.

Spring term, 1975. Mock O-levels and suchlike. School about as nasty as it could get -- I thought. Being called out of class and similar for drunken phonecalls from Dad. I don't think any of us knew just how bad things were, then. He'll have been dead for thirty years at the beginning of April, and it still doesn't feel right that I'm older than him.

From: [identity profile]

Collagenase inhibitors? I was working with collagenases and collagenase inhibitors once upon a time, in my lab-rat days.
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From: [identity profile]

Yeah. Specifically inhibitors of the Zinc-containing collagenase and the related angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). We had sequence data for those two, plus structures of some of their inhibitors, and sequence, structures, and inhibitors for carboxypeptidase and thermolysin (which was a better match, structurally). Basically the trick was to match the fit between an enzyme of known structure and a moderately good inhibitor to the fit between the enzyme of unknown 3d structure and an analogous inhibitor (helped by the existence of families of inhibitors that'd block both sites, which allowed us to kinda-sorta work out the shape of the various hydrophobic cavities around the site), and then use this to design something that makes a better fit.

Funding for most of this work came from GD Searle, but they were taken over by Monsanto near the end of the second year of the project, and almost all Searle-funded research in the UK just stopped. There were a lot of unemployed scientists that year (Naturally, Monsanto kept up research on aspartame, but that was about it).

From: [identity profile]

Nifty! (Not the downsizing, but the rest of it.) I was working on the wetter end of things, helping assess the roles of collagenases and collagenase inhibitors in bone growth and resorption. Lots of LC, HPLC, radioscintillation enzyme assays, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), et cetera.

I rather miss the intellectual end of things, but not the 80-hour "35-hour" workweeks spent standing in the lab.
ext_8559: Cartoon me  (Default)

From: [identity profile]

Down south ...

... thank you for the snapshots, so many of the 1985-onwards have memories for me too!

And if you do get a good offer down south, I've been tidying up the house and you'd be very welcome! I miss our trips to the Greek restaurant (he asked after you last time I went).
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From: [identity profile]

Re: Down south ...

Indeed - I think we first met at the Adelphi in 1986, and an awful lot of my pre-1995 social life was on the con/fannish circuit.

There are definitely times when the idea of just a little bit more contracting in the Decadent South seems like a nice idea. I'm also rather missing the mezes, so do please pass on my best wishes should you be there again!