Sunday, December 31, 2006

Darwin Awards 2006

Ah the annual Darwin awards always make me smile.

Stuck in the middle

I felt like crap all day, mostly hung around the house playing counter strike. I did spent some time helping my dad work on his project but we didn't really get far. Sometimes I think he wans to fail, he just never seems to want to try anything always finding reasons it wont work rather than making it go. We got a couple of bits working but it need a lot more effort to get the whole deal sorted. I have not idea whether it will get any futher.

This evening I went for a quiet drink with Bruce and Phil. We went to the Unicorn, it was quiet and relaxed we talked about a few things had a couple of pints and came home. I tried to have a game of Counter Strike but a there were a load of idiots stacked on one team trying to improve their rank. Their act of all assigning onto one side unbalanced the game making the game unplayable for others.

I will never understand the rational of playing a game were the odds are so stacked in your favor losing is all but impossible, it just seems boring you need an element of competition to make it worthwhile. I guess some people just prefer to see their name at the top of a board rather than actually experiencing the actual play needed to get there.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Climbing up the walls

Not a lot has been happening in the last few days, yesterday I managed to get to the gym for an hour I doubt its really going to offset all the damage done by Christmas excess but I guess every little helps.

Last night I went out to Wilmslow with Paul and Ian, we headed to the Bollin Fee. Its not really a place I like these days and it was no exception. I felt like about 60% of the people could die and it would make the world a better place. I guess its pretty bad to feel that way but they are just arrogant ignorant idiots. Of course the fact they are able to score with chicks while I am single also raises my ire.

To be honest I left my house feeling tired and a little bit unhappy and after a few drinks I felt a lot more unhappy. Christmas is not a good time for singletons like myself. Happy couples seem to be everywhere laughing at me, I realise that is paranoia but it is still the way I feel. To be honest I should not have gone out I just went under felt very self conscious and out of place.

Still it was not a total blow out Ian had a perve, Paul had a dance and I got very drunk on red bull and vodka.

Today I felt in a daze, hangover are definitely getting worse or I am getting more soft or a combination of the two. I spent the morning, well what was left of the morning after getting up at 10.30; watching Pulp Fiction, its a film I love but haven't played in ages. The characters are just so real and the dialog is incredible. Such a great film, I think its probably my favorite film of all.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Shirk

I spent most of today trying to learn some thing new, yes its true I have become something I always despised. When not at work I have begun to seek out work like tasks to do in order to keep myself busy. Amazing it has only taken 2 years and I am completely conditioned to work. I heard the other day that people how carry on working are happier and live longer than those who give up. I wonder if it is an emotional thing (needing a job to feel useful) or a monetary one, the extra cash from a job helps to afford the things which keep you going? I guess a bit of both is true people are not totally motivated by any one thing, with people things are anything but clear cut.

My mum' friend came over she is obsessed by a neighbours cat she took care of for a month, its all she seems to want to talk about. I kept thinking there must be hundreds of rescue cats who need a homes.

This evening I was meant to go for a drink with Nick but true to form he changed his mind about 10pm, I ended up going to Jono's house for a cup of tea. In fairness to Nick his girlfriend Becky has had a bereavement in her family so she need plenty of tlc at the moment.

Had A moment of weirdness, well almost deja vu as I walked out of Jono&¢39;s house I could hear loud dance music coming from somewhere, I walked to the end of the road and it was coming from the Fairhurst' barn, how random made me thing of the old days. I wonder if the youngest sister has now reached the partying age?

I still have no idea what to do on new years eve, the latest plan is to go to the Bollin Fee, its in first place as its local cheap and should have a reasonable number of women for Ian to weasel on. Ali is going to the Braz but at £25 just for entry and then having to battle with the pretentious more money than brain cells lot doesn't really excite me. I mean an old guy I used to do some work for goes in there trying to pick up girls younger than me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Just a shot away

Some night I feel a little like I am not actually quite there, I am with my friends I am sat talking and listening, yet I have this weird sensation I am not entirely part of the group. This feeling might have been due to the fact I am tired or that I wasn't drinking with the others so they were drunk to my sober.

Regardless tonight was one of those evenings for me. I went out with Paul, Pippa, Woller and Phil to the Kings Head in Cheadle Hulme. Paul and Pippa seemed to inhabit a separate world, mostly self-absorbed in a subtle subtext I could only loosely follow, Ian was obsessed with the women, Woller seemed tired and withdrawn and Phil was on a mission to be drunk.

The situation made me start thinking about an article a read recently, a psychologist suggested that our mind is like an actor on stage. To all the people watching the actor seems to live the role. The people behind the scenes are the ones really directing their actions. Perhaps I am not really in-control maybe my free will is really an illusion like the matrix, it only works when people believe they have a choice even if the choice is obscure.

Paul seems to think it would be a good idea for me to write a book. In truth I would love to, the idea of something with my name on sat in a bookstore would be incredible. I have enjoyed writing this blog even though the quality is pretty variable and [in its very nature] self obsessed it gives me pleasure to be able to release some of the ideas in my brain. The problem is I find it hard to keep onto on message. Anyone who has read a few of the blogs will posts I have written will have noticed a mix of feeling, comment, ideas, and dreams. The idea of focusing everything on one piece of text is somewhat scary, what if no one liked it? An even worse thought, what if I hated it?

Actually, I am being slight hard on my friends they were all in a good mood this evening, we had some good laughs mostly at each others expense. Ian did his best to chat up a rather beautiful young woman. We thought Ian was going great guns, if a little conservatively. After a little banter and a botched attempt to go over to further his mission the girl in question left. Silly girl!

I have a dilemma about new years eve I still have no plan, I have been invited to two house parties, one at Martins and one at Pippa's. I can say the idea of going to Martins house and watch him have fun with Charlotte and be boisterous has little appeal. Going to Pippas has merit, nights with Paul are always fun and Pippa is lovely. Unfortunately last time I went to her place I made a complete fool of myself. Getting far, far too drunk and generally not ingratiating myself with her friends, I am not entirely sure its the best way to go especially as I would have to make it back the next day from London and be in work on the 2nd.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day Bordom

I found it very difficult to wake up this morning, I really did not need to last few drinks, I even remember at one point thinking about stopping even talking to Ian about it but I carried on regardless.

After a large coffee, some juice and toast I felt able enough to tackle my presents. Bruce and Phil bought me an I-Pod shuffle its really rather small and nice perfect for the gym. Becky had hand made a rather beautiful card. Paul got me a Rakes cd which is very good.

I spent today eating, Christmas lunch was amazing, sausage meat, stuffing roast potatoes cooked in goose fat mmm. I spent the afternoon feeling overfull and playing counter strike source.

By the evening I was very bored and ended up watching Rushmore on TV drinking whiskey and retiring to bed.

Christmas Eve 2006

Ah, Christmas the season to be jolly, eat too much and drink even more. Other the last few years we have had a tradition of visiting the Rectory in Wilmslow. This year was no exception, a group of us met in the queue outside the Rectory. Danny, Ian, Nick, Phil, Bruce, Becky, Paul, Pippa and Myself. We met up with Paul's ex step sister Emily her boyfriend and some of her friends who were already inside.

We had to queue up to get into the Rectory and when we finally managed it the place was heaving. Undaunted we headed upstairs found a spot round a table, ordered some drinks and got into the Christmas spirit.

I proceeded to drink a lot chat to everyone, ogle girls, and catch up with people whom I haven't seen in years. Harsh moments included sitting next to Becky and Nick when they had a domestic. I worry about Nick he always seems so tired, I wonder sometimes if his pursuit of housing empire has become an end in itself rather than the means to become rich. Another difficult moment occurred later. I was cornered by Dan, he started giving me a talk about my blog and proceeded to list off my faults including the fact he thinks I 'try too hard', while I appreciate his concern it was maybe not the best moment. It is nice to know people care though, and in a quieter moment (or one when I wasn't completely sizzled) would have been more appropriate.

It was nice to see Woller he popped down later on in his car to say hello I guess, it was nice to see him. He seemed to have quietened down a lot recently still a funny and welcome presence though.

After we finally left Ian and I came back to my house for a couple more drinks and some setting the world to rights discussion.

Xmas Spirit

Picture of a crashed car
I apologise for the poor quality of the image. What you are looking at is a car crashed though the pedestrian Island outside the Bollin Fee Pub in Wilmslow. I was waiting in a queue to get into the Rectory pub across the road when it happened. I did not want to lose my place in the queue in order to have a closer look.

The scariest thing for me was that only about five minutes earlier Phil and I crossed the road at that very point heading to the Rectory.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Old School

As usual with Christmas time I have been trying to balance commitments between family and friends. This morning my dad brought my great aunt round for tea. She was in the Christmas spirit seemed happy to see us all.
I went to the gym for an hour did some cardio work. In the afternoon I went down to Ian's lockup to be the official photographer for the gypsy's playground revival. It was weird but fun to hear Ian, Paul, Berger and Paul R play together again, there seemed to be a lot of creative energy. I took about 200 pictures wading around snapping people with the flash turned off. The are some really great pictures but a lot of chaff to be weeded out.

This evening I went with Phil, Nick, Becky and Martin to Jo and Holly's place for a pre Christmas party. It was very grown up with conversations about marriage, children and life. There was also beer to be drunk and fun to be had a nice warm up for Christmas Eve.

Becky seemed happy apart from the usual fighting with Nick, she was talking about what to wear tomorrow. There were no single ladies at Berger's shindig so I was asking Becky whether any of her single friends would be joining us tomorrow. More important though is whether she will be kind enough to introduce to them!



It was good to see Holly in a positive mood New Year new job really hope things work out well for her.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Amy hit the atmoshpere

The osteopath made my back and neck crack in interesting ways I felt slightly bruised afterwards. He believes he has freed some fused joints so it should improve. I will have to go back in a couple of months and I have some stretches to try. I hope that by changing my posture and workstation along with the exercises I will be able to avoid any long-term RSI effects, fingers crossed.

This afternoon I spent looking at the photos from last night. Unfortunately, the sound on the film recording I made turned out pretty poor the bass notes were so loud they rather overwhelmed my camera and resulted in clipping. Same as the video itself is good.

I watched Futurerama and read some of my economist double issue, the theme is about quality of life. It's a scary statistic that in all countries that have grown in wealth the proportion of people that say they are happy has stayed static. It seems we are our own worst enemies we only feel good when we do comparatively better maybe that is why we are driven to keep up with the Joneses. It's something I can definitely understand succeeding in a lot of ways, but I cant help comparing myself to my peers. In that comparison, I could make some improvements. This drives me to try to improve. The only problem is other people compare themselves to me and will also try harder it's a rather scary cycle really. As Bill Bryson says 1950's America used its increase wealth not to increase leisure but to work harder to buy more.

My mother's friend Michelle came round tonight so we had a huge beef bourguignon it was very tasty. No one I spoke to wanted to play out so I stayed in played counter strike source and listened to music. Tomorrow is Jo's party so I am sure I will make up for staying in tonight.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sandbox Xmas

Yesterday was a good day, I mostly relaxed finished Bill Bryson's book the Thunderbolt kid. Its actually a really decent read for his take on 1950's America. In the afternoon I went for a job it was cold but I made a decent distance travelling into Bramhall and back.

My parents and I went to the Lai Quila for a Curry, I had my usual Chicken Tikka Sizzler with jalfrezi sauce it was extremely tasty and I didn't feel too guilty eating it because of my run, I am sure it helps ;)

The evening activity was really the high point, it being Sandbox Xmas party at Jabez Clegg. I went down with Ian Phil and Bruce, Phil being kind enough to drive us into Manchester. It was quiet a reunion with all the usual suspects present. I even remembered to take my camera out so there are photos here. It was wonderful that everyone turned out, I am sure Paul and Sandbox appreciate the support. It was really nice catching up with Emily its been six months since I last spoke to her, she was looking well and seemed really happy about the way things are going in London so I am very pleased for her.

Paul's set was first, he accompanied by Jo Berger on bass. It has been a while since I saw Paul play so it was a nice pre Christmas treat. His set included my personal favourite of his tunes, right side of the tracks. I think Woller's new girlfriend was amused that we were all singing along. The addition of the bass added a nice extra dimension to the songs and was good to hear, he seemed to be enjoying it too. The set culminated with an awesome rendition of peculiar way.
Jo Berger and Paul Aiden Playing
After a brief paused for a few drink's it was time for Sandbox to play their set. It was a more acoustic ensemble with Andy playing a drum kit cut down to a shaker and cymbal, Greg on an acoustic and Will playing a Piano (well a keyboard with a Piano sound anyhow). The Christmas songs were a nice touch and they sounded good in this cut down sound working pretty well with Lennie's singing. The crowd seemed to enjoy it too.
Sandbox playing
I had a great evening; it was relaxed and happy with so many friends about. Though I feel I might have got a little too drunk too quickly, I started drinking with my parents before heading down to the gig so I was feeling a little cooked by the time Sandbox were on. A vaguely remember chatting to Emily's friend and saying goodbye hopefully I was well behaved. Next thing I remember was getting a Berger from the Godfather then some haziness, then bed. Next thing was my dad waking me up to head to the osteopath for 9.30.
Group shot around table

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Steady, As She Goes

After doing well not very much today over than tweak Becky's website which is looking a little better but I still need to add something to make it more pleasing on the eye. I am not terribly sure about the colour scheme either.

I spent some time talking to Becky she seemed reasonably pleased though suggested a few things which I will add. I front 'splash' screen with a bigger logo and a picture of the horse box.

This evening went out with Bruce Phil and Nina to the Unicorn. Nina was showing off here diamond engagment ring its very pretty square cut one. She was in good for we had a chat about their plans for Christmas. Looks like I will continue the tradition of going to Bruce's house on boxing day for more eating and playing monopoly. It was a fun evening we were all in Christmas moods laughing and joking a nice evening.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Secrets and Lies

Something I was reading reminded me of an interesting conversation I had with my friend about how to lie successfully. Now I like to tell stories and one of the most important things about stories is manipulating the information to present it in a meaningful and hopefully interesting manor. To often people add too much detail or conversely too little. If information is too sparse sometimes things have to be added to spice the story up.

Anyway I digress, basically it is easy to lie. Most of us lie frequently either by embellishing reality of inventing it. For example most people would blaime traffic rather than admit they overslept. The trick of course is not the lie itself but whether the other party believes it.

My friend believed women are better at telling lies because they are more imaginative and therefore able to invent better supporting stories for the lies, and are better able to remember the details of the lie allowing it to endure, and as we all know lie to yourself long enough and you start to believe the lie.

For me there are several things important in not being detected. Most important people must trust you. It might seem obvious but we naturally distrust people unless they are 'experts' like doctors. However we implicitly trust a lot of the people in our lives and that means its easier to swallow their lies. Details are important, but more important is sticking to the story. Often especially with big lies people use a series of lies though all seemingly innocent present a conflicting argument sometimes ever contradicting the earlier lies. This will undoubtedly lead the recipient of the lies to question the evidence (unless they are particularly trusting (or dim :P).

I am not great at telling lies, though I will often lie or avoid telling the truth in order to avoid conflict or just out of laziness. Sometimes I lie to people for amusement either to see if they will swallow or question. I found a site which purports to help one lie better but I disagree with one of the major points. Part of their argument is avoiding people you have an emotional attachment with as they know your baseline behaviour and because you have an attachment you will not be able to lie as easily. I think the opposite is true you can only tell big lies to people who trust you like a partner how else do people live double lives and cover huge secrets in families over generations even? I am also sure I remember reading a study which proved its easier to lie to your partner but I cant find any reference on the internet if anyone know about it please tell where I can find a copy.

Baby Gorilla

I spent the last couple of days visiting a friend. Yesterday we spent wondering around Bristol trying to do Christmas shopping but not really doing very much.

This morning we went to Bristol Zoo where they work. I haven' been to a Zoo since Toronga in Australia. I didn' get to see the Lions they were hiding probably due to the weather but I did see some very cool animals my favourites were the penguins and the monkey island.

All of the monkeys apes and lemurs were fun, but the gorillas were something else, one of the females had just given birth on Friday and had a little baby gorilla he was so tiny and cute. His little body made a sharp contrast to the full sized male or even the 1 year old boy. The Zoo is well worth a look if you are ever down in the Bristol area.

This afternoon we sat in a cafe, and talked amongst other things what happened with Maia. It made me pretty sad going over it to be honest, not really because of Maia anymore more the situation she was another in a very long line of failed relationships well worse really a completely one sided relationship. I am having difficulty finding any answers I need to change and adapt but to what? Answers to that on a postcard if you have them!

Lately I have felt more and more detached from my life its so unfulfilling only glimpses are enjoyable the rest utterly forgettable.

I guess I am tired done a lot of driving the last couple of days I will sleep on things see how I feel tomorrow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

No Surface No feeling

Today I was lazy, I stayed in last night watching a series of terrible films Bruce had acquired and steadily drinking lower grades of beer. We finished the bottle of Vodka I started after coming home from Belarus I think it was the final nail in my coffin.

I spent the morning watching grand designs by the fire then reading the paper letting my body recover. This afternoon I wasted playing Counter Strike thought I did manage to fit in a jog into Bramhall. It was cool not cold though bit of my body were sure freezing by the time I made it home.

This evening I went out with Martin Charlotte Simon and Phil; we went to the Unicorn, the normal staffs were out partying in Wilmslow. Blond girl was in I noticed a ring on her Finger, she must be getting hitched. Marriage seems like it's in the air at the moment. I was quiet nice to see Martin and Charlotte I don't seem to mix with them very often we had a chat a few drinks. X-Factor was on tv and it totally captivated Charlotte and Simon I cant say it does anything for me. I feel a little drunk now just topping up from last night I guess. I had an interesting chat with Charlotte about race and sense of place. We started talking about how basically Europeans are a mix of eastern African and Celtic people. Then got talking about how Australia as basically a country apart is so differnet with its huge number of marsupial creatures in stark contrast to our own. I tried to make the point that the Dingo a symbol of Australia is actually an introduced species its only existence in Australia for about 4000 years, whereas people have been there for 30,000. The Tasmanian devil a marsupial is closer to a native dog than the dingo, though the dingo itself is probably the closest wild Dog left, wolves are wild but not really dogs and the thanks to the long domestication of dogs the rest are feral rather than wild.

I came home to find videodrome is on TV David Cronenberg is sure one sick puppy but a genius in film. His ideas are so lucid and inventive such a break from the generic Hollywood fare.

Friday, December 15, 2006

One day left

Only one more working day until I finish for christmas, I have 4 days holiday to carry over whihc I need to use in January I might try and have a long weekend break somewhere.

I did some more work on Cheshire Horse box hire it is still far from finished but there is now an enquiry box I found the php in one of my dads books. I alo also used CSS styles to apply virtually all of the design. In fact its taught me quiet a bit about css, not that I have become a guru overnight it you take a look its still very basic page.

Went to the Unicorn with Phil this evening, had drink and a chat. Julie was working the bar havent spoken to her in months. Phil was telling me the story of his wireless installation apparently Dan nearly got trapped in a roofspace, there was a few minutes when they were seriously thinking about calling the firebrigade, and Phil nearly demolished the mens toilets. I the end the job seemed to go pretty well.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Presents from afar

I got home from work today to find a package from China, Lulu card and present had finally arrived. She sent me a card and a really wonderful copy of a famous Chinese painting. It is massive I was going to photo it but its too big, I am reallly impressed such a lovely item, I hope it wasn' too expensive.

Anyway thanks very much for such a wonderful gift. It is a shame it took so long by the looks of it the package did not leave China until 1st December.

This evening I made it to the gym for a jog my arms are still too sore for weights. Tried to do some more work on Becky's website managed to get the enquiry form working. I am still not happy about the design but it its good as a starter for 10.

xargs

Found a really useful tool today call xargs used it to copy a list of files, I had a file "static.list" which had a list of files which I needed to copy one per line.

Running the following

cat static.list |xargs -t -i rsync -v CB_DATA/{} rsync://192.168.0.226/opt/advancesbak/CB_DATA/

Run the rsync command

rsync -v CB_DATA/filename rsync://192.168.0.226/opt/advancesbak/CB_DATA/

for each filename listed in "static.list"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Amelie

I was tired this evening so after Japanese class I stayed in and watched TV and caught Amelie a film I haven't seen for years. I forgot just how well films acted and truly beautiful this movie is. Ameile is a confused young waitress living in modern France (warning it's a subtitled film), she has lived an dysfunctional and introverted life. Basically she comes to the realisation that she can improve the lives of those around her and that helps her to feel happy. This vicarious life helps many people in her life (and by dint makes the world at large a slightly better place). Along the way some of the people who's lives she influence learn to love her and herself find love.

It truly is a wonderful film full of hope, the sadness of isolation the discovery that interaction can be fulfilling. The cinematography is simply amazing there are so many visual tweaks hart-warming moments. They all contribute to the film as well not just special effects for the sake of it.

Perhaps I am being overly sentimental but it really cheered me up if you have never seen it RENT IT NOW. I wish one day I could work on something so beguiling, so wonderful.

I missed out on going to see a concert tonight I was meant to be doing a remote in overtime for work but things changed at the last minute and it was cancelled I left my phone at home and missed my opportunity. I still owe Jo for the ticket as well.

As I missed out on the concert I went to the last Japanese class of the year, it was pretty hard had the first proper listening exercise. I still barely know Katakana andAmelie / being sentimental next year we start learning Hiragana. I guess in time things will come to me.

I was thinking today three people I know who are about my age have decided to get married this month, Mo a girl used to work with, Maia and now Bruce. It is strange how things can change so suddenly. I messaged Maia to tell her the irony and had a bit of a chat. She will keep her name as that is the Italian style apparently. Initially they are going to live with his mum until they find a place to live. I guess that means there is hope for me if he is thirty.

Yes your right I am stupid I should not torture myself speaking to her its never going to happen I know. I would not be the nice guy you all know and love/hate/feel ambivalent to if I did not remain friends with people long after I should leave well alone. It is the part of me that rushed into a breaking up someoen else fight that just cant stop sometimes.

I have been trying to work on a website for Becky, www.cheshirehorseboxhire.co.uk. Its still in the early stages, I hope I can achieve what she wants I am not really a very good web designer, I just tried and do something to give her a presence.

Congratulations Bruce

Bruce dropped a bit of a bombshell this evening he proposed to Nina on Sunday and suprisingly she said yes ;) So congratulations Bruce and Nina. After Maia this makes two of my friends soon to be married. I am very happy for them and wish them all of the best but at the same time I am worried that I havent even had a girlfriend for god knows how long. I worry that I won't ever meet anyone.

Ungrateful


The massive upgrade on Sunday I arriced at work at 7am and worked until 1pm. I rolled out a number of big upgrades onto the system but for all my effort rolling out a big upgrade with very few hitches did I get any thanks? No of course not! I had thought stupidly after such an intense few weeks getting things ready it would calm down a little but the intensity was still there. I am just glad I have holiday next week need a rest.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wasteland

Today was a day of nothing much read the economist, it had an incredible article about organic food and "fair trade". Their points were in brief, organic food is terrible for the environment as it uses whole lot more land to produce the same amount food. Farmer's markets and local production might be worse for the environment after all which is worse full loaded trucks carting well packed food or lots of people making trips in their cars to pick up a salad?

Fair trade got the biggest hiding. In short the author felt Fair Trade is basically a tool supermarkets can use to add onto the price of good without passing much benefit onto farmers. According to the article usually only 10% or less of the extra cost is passed on so if you pay £ extra for a tin of coffee only 10p extra goes to the farmer and maybe 60p extra to the supermarket. Fair Trade is also in its simplest form a subsidy on production its effecting proper markets. For example coffee is overproduced so its too cheap however does giving handouts to farmers encourage them to diversify?
Obviously it is a much more complex issue and I have only briefly outlined some alternative arguments however its very interesting to look at the other side of the coin I think, I will definitely think twice next time I am in a supermarket.

This evening I headed out to the comedy night it was hilarious best one I have been to in ages even if I did get ripped into by the compare. Debra Jane Appelby was particularly funny she really got everyone laughing. There was also a dizzy blond women in the audience who was almost a comedy act in her own right!

Work in the morning 7am start for a software roll out so I better get to bed night night.

No more lonely nights

Everyone made an early dart from work today as the Christmas do was happening this evening at the Belfry. As everything is static for Sunday's upgrade I worked on a few little pieces of work it was actually quiet a productive day I managed to blast through several of the low priority bits of work.

I called up Paul this evening, its been a awhile since we last spoke. He seemed in an upbeat mood was talking about a new possible record deal. It also seems there might be a revival of Gypsies playground I remember going to see what I think turned out to be the last proper gig at Marple College so it would be great fun to see the rebirth. Especially as they have all been working on their own talents since those days.

I talked to Paul about Maia, I guess it's hard for him to understand me. Its not that I have something for foreign girls its just I seem to live a lot of my life vicariously and sometimes the people I meet online are more interesting in that I can actually talk to them then most of the women I meet in the UK. I spent many hours talking on the phone and online to Maia before I ever agreed to go and see her in Belarus, I won't deny I liked her and nothing really changed. We just were not right for each other she wanted to be in Italy and she has found someone she likes who can get her there anything else is between them and I wont speculate. I don't know whether I will go to her wedding though.

I could talk all night about how alone I am and how I feel but I think I have already been over it, I liked someone they felt differently or I missed my opportunity that is the story of my life I cannot change the past only work on improving the future. Perhaps one day I will meet someone who lives nearby and find me attractive maybe not such is life.

Tonight I stayed home and watched a film with Bruce it was a trash horror called "see no evil" about a killer who takes peoples eyes (geddit!). It was pretty awful formula stuff with toe curling violence thrown in. It didn't really shock me though I guess it wasn't real enough or I am becoming hardened to it who knows?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Heart Shaped Box

I went for lunch with my parents today, originally I offered to buy it for them as a treat following my bonus last month. By the time I made it there though they had ordered and wouldn't take my money. Oh well Ill have to find something else nice to do. I still need to buy them a Christmas present but I have absolutely no idea what yet I will have to look around for inspiration. Lunch was nice once we found a table the Couch and Four was incredibly busy, I had a Club Sandwich always tasty :)

I did managed to sort out Bruce Nina and Phil out with tickets to see Regina Spektor in February at the university. I saw her there last January and it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

Just got a link from Phil, Chad Vader day manager very funny

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Student Moan

I am vexed! I went home for lunch to find I have received another statement from the student loans people today depressingly payment of £1000 has only cleared £600 off the debt and my previous interest charge has been revised upwards. Thanks very much SLC!

Opening the rest of my mail provided further annoyances, the inland revenue has rejected my corporate tax form they want to see more documents quiet why I have no idea the idea of chasing my for documents when I owe nothing seems quiet absurd however that's what they want so will have to compile something for them more work. I make so little of my hosting "enterprise" I cant afford to hire an accountant to put all the figures together. The government really must hate small businesses because they pile on a lot of needless paper work.

At least work is going well I put my changes on to the training system and it all seems to go pretty well.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I saved the world today

I am wiped out tonight I have been really busy this week getting everything ready for the big software upgrade on Sunday. It has been pretty manic trying to knock off remaining issues. Unfortunately working fast and on several things at once has introduced nearly as many bugs as it cleared. I made a real effort today spending the day trying to debug everything. I think it was worth it as it finally looks as if we are ready to go live, as a bonus it also helped me to ignore the news from Maia. I started to put together an implementation plan and realised I have modified a rather large number of programs tables and data its going to be a big upgrade indeed.

I felt so tired after work I just could not find the strength to get to the gym, instead came home watched 4400 pilot warmed by the fire. Raining and wind are pounding my room, its dark and horrible outside it only makes my mood more dark.

I am getting a bit worried having major wrist and elbow pains I think it might be some sort of repetitive strain injury. I think its because I use a laptop for work its going to be a real problem if I wasn't able to work. I guess maybe it could also be I overdid it at the gym and using a keyboard makes it worse. I am really afraid to go and see a doctor but I am not really sure what else to do. What if they said I had to stop using a keyboard I would lose my job my career. I also am rather afraid of doctors irrational I know but I am a plenty irrational most of the time.

I am off for two weeks for Xmas I might hold on until then take it easy on the PC front give my arms some rest. I know its stupid to blog when my arms hurt but hey what difference will a few minutes writing something I enjoy make when the damage is already done.

Paperback writer

Just had a text out of the blue from Maia, she wanted to tell me shes getting married. I replied and told wish her congratultatons. When my ex and longest term girlfiend Jenny told me she was engaged I felt almost entirly without emotion. I had not even thought about her for a very long time so I hardly was a surprise she was moving on with the life. In this case though this one text message caused me almost physical pain. I thought I was over her, well not over we never existed as a couple only a strong link. Clearly my heart is ruling my head on this one, my head know sit would never work and there plently more fish in the sea but still I feel why not me?.

Oh well back to work, back to trying to forget.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feature creep

Its taken a couple of days to get over Barcelona, arriving back from that sort of trip at 10pm and getting up in time for work at 8am the next day are totally contradictory. I have been a little in a daze and there has been so very much for me to do. The last few months we have been slowly improving a number of aspects of our software culminating hopefully in an upgrade on Sunday, however people seem to keep finding last minute tweaks its not good I would have put a moratorium on if I could however the choice is not mine so new changes keep going in. It's really hard to stay on top of things

I have tried my best to keep everything maintainable and well documented but the pace is so quick so shortcuts have had to be taken. We did a load test today it the changed held up a heck of a lot better than last time however a few new bugs were discovered I hope I can fix them quickly.

Japanese was fun tonight we tried doing some speaking / listening exercises pretending to be someone else so I was a female Belarusian quite funny really. I have enrolled for next years term so looks like this is going to be a long term thing. I am enjoying it but I its hard. Tonight the college had a kind of gathering afterwards I tried to make a Crain but it was a bit of a mess really it was nice to have a chat with some of the other people from the course though.

Viva Espania

All good things have to come to and end and this was our last day in Barcelona. It was only a short trip after all. We had been saving the best for last after though. After packing and checking out we headed off to waterfront for a final and very tasty tapas lunch sat out in the sun. It was lovely just sat there eating watching the waterfront and the people we took it leisurely and drank a local beer with the food.

IMG_0158.JPGSaving the best for last the next destination was Sagrda Familiar. This place just truly blew my mind.  Firstly the sheer size is mind boggling then I started to appreciate just how ornate and intricate it is. I think if I didn't have a plain to catch I could have stared for hours as it was I managed a walk around a few photos and we had to leave for home. A walk, metro to the train and we were back at the airport headed for home.

Saturday in Spain

The weather took a slight turn for the worse (you can see in the washed out photos) the temperature dropped to 16c and there we some small showers at lunch.

Undeterred Phil and I headed off to Montijuic riding the metro to Placa d'Espanya. We then went on a very long walk indeed from there up the many steps of the Font Magica. IMG_0120.JPG
stopping at the top for the most expensive can of Pepsi ever 2.50 Euro! Then round the rounds to the Olympic plaza and stadium stopping to look at the massive communication tower.

Finally we headed up to the Castell de Montjuic which we walked all the long way round opps. The view from the top (when we finally found it) was spectacular, you could see the port on one side and the whole of the city on the other. Certainly worth the walk.

The cable car we intended to catch down wasn't running so we had to walk some more down to the Metro station. Feeling tired we went for a few hour Siesta then out for a Japanese meal then on for drinks at you guessed where Margarita blue ;)

Monday, December 04, 2006

More Barcelona Tales

Friday the weather was nice (by English Standard) sunny and about 19c. After getting up late with hazy head Phil and I explored the remaining part of the Ramblas and Gothic quarters. We grabbed a sandwich from a little shop neat the hotel, it seems rather than butter/spread they Catalan spread tomatoes on their bread. It is actually very pleasant especially with Iberian ham (a little like Parma ham).

Consulting the guide I read that the Picasso museum is the single biggest attraction in Barcelona so we decided to go and take a look. The museum occupies several old buildings knocked together to form an impressive space, its laid out in chronological style so you can see Picasso go through many styles from more traditional through to cubism. You get the feeling he just never stopped painting three is just so much work there and you can really see the different styles combinations and influences. The only negative is that there are none of his really famous works and the layout can be a bit confusing several times I wasn't sure which room was next. It is certainly worth looking around you see a lot of excellent artwork.

In the evening we went for probably one of the best Thai meals I have ever eaten at a little Thai place neat Estacio de Franca. After which we walked down to Port Olympic to check out the night-life. I don't know if it was the time 11pm or because it was off season but it was dead most of the bars empty and lots of aggressive sellers trying to push is in. We had a drink in the Irish Sailing club watched some boxing then headed back to Maghria Blue. It was heaving the barmen were working together in a production line to make enough Mohitos!

Back from Barca

Had a great time in Spain, they just have so much more of a relaxed culture. Enjoying good food, excellent drinking and plenty of fun this city is simply a joy to get around. There is always something else fun around the corner. The pics are online here

Lost Passport

Phil and I arrived at Barcelona after two hours a cramped but quick Monarch flight, he was mumbling and fumbling around in his bag as we approached passport control, I went through he stood there for a few minutes fumbling then ran back to the plain, a few minutes later he sidled up to passport control looking sheepish the women sighed closed her booth and disappeared off with him. After 10 minutes he finally got through. He left his passport on his seat but by the time he got back tot he plain the door was closed!

Trains to Barcelona

We decided to grab the train into the City it was only 4.40euro for the both of us it was pretty quick two we were in the city in about 30 minutes. Things started to go wrong here I got confused about the stations we got off at the wrong place wasted a ticket on the turn style stupidly before finally working out the blindingly obvious underground map. Fortunately we kept our cool and made it to the hotel. Very well placed on Via Laietana, right on the edge of the Gothic Quarter.
After a checking in we went exploring the Ramblas, which are the old part of the city full of narrow streets populated with shops bars and restaurants. We had some excellent Tapas for lunch then wondered around some more winding our way round and round the streets not quiet lost but not entirely knowing where we were.

Evening

After a siesta shower and change of clothes we went out for a meal and quiet drink. We eat a rather nice Paella and drank the local beer, then we tried out a number of the tapas bars eventually finding our way to Margarita Blue. This was a cocktail bar Ian would have been proud of and was our last stop every night. Located a short stomp away from the hotel. It offered great Mohitos on tap and measures that cheered our hearts. On the first night we chatted to some English girls who were studying in Barcelona to be honest Phil did most of the chatting I was feeling pretty drunk at this point. We made it back to the hotel at 3am and slept in late Saturday. I got woken up by the cleaners hung the DND sign on the door and went back to bed ;)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quest Complete

I spent most of the day lost on the final journey towards the dark tower, after reading 7 books and investing so much time in Roland's journey I was eager to see how its ends. To find out whether in fact he ever reaches that tower. I think King himself sums it up best it7's the journey / quest which is the story not the ending which I think comes too fast several plots are dispatched quickly in a clumsy finish to what has become an epic journey. I will have to find another story to get lost in.

This evening Phil, Bruce and myself went out to watch Snow Patrol at the MEN arena, it was the first time I have managed to get standing tickets there so it was a bit of a treat. I have really enjoyed Snow Patrols last couple of albums and they didn't disappoint playing all their hits and a few less known songs like star fighter pilot. They sounded great and had a wonderful lighting show. Snow Patrol are less of a jump up and down band they I have seen recently (except for Regina Spektor) they still managed to get the crowd going especially with the more well known numbers.

I am off to Barcelona in the morning I am very excited about it cant wait o go wondering around. This will be the last post until I return late Sunday, but never fear Ill make sure I get plenty of photos and stories posted on my return. Until then as Roland would say "long days and pleasant nights”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

1 Million Marlboro Lights

I didn't do much with my afternoon though I did find that thanks to the glacial progress of electronic funds transfers I have doubly paid my credit card this month, once from my savings account then they direct debited the full amount because despite it being 5 working days later the fund have not cleared. To be honest I despair the system is so slow but what can I do I will be bit short this month only the fact I got paid a bonus has really saved me.

This evening I went to Japanese a few little things there are starting to fall together I can ask an answer a few simple questions and even read a little now though I am still a long way from fluent. At the end we had to pretend we were someone else and give their details so I pretended to be my Belarusian friend interesting pretending to be a girl. Considering the others included Peter Pan and David (the only gay in the village) it wasn't such a strange choice.

After Japanese Phil and I went to see Sandbox at the Night and Day cafe Manchester, we just arrived in time to catch the start of their set. It was pretty good I thought they all looked a little flustered it was hot inside the place. I suggested to Lennie they have a range of Sandbox branded fans to help them cool down as this isn't the first toasty gig they have done. I managed to finally catch up with the chief for a short chat. The next band was a bit crap and the pa was hurting our ears combined with the fact Phil is working tomorrow we decided to make a sharp exit.

On holiday

I have the week off so basically I am kicking back relaxing and enjoying myself. So far today I have watched a film, sat by the fire then read some more of the Dark Tower, its really sad two of the characters have just died strange after spending so much time with them (this is the 7th book) they had taken on lives of their own. I must be getting old being affected by characters in book book eh!

I guess th dark tower is a metaphor for life the struggle, happiness loss all in the pursuit of a higher purpose. I guess most of us would like to be like Roland to feel as though we have a higher purpose to serve, well at least would. So often I think what exactly is the point.

Oh well got a few fun things to do tonight, first Japanese class, then going to see Sandbox play. Been a while since I last saw them missed the last gig / ep launch thanks to the lan bash so it will be great to see them again.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Complicated

On the way home from my time out at the Bulls head I got a text from Maia, first one in weeks it woke up all the stupid feelings I had one part of my wanted to message back and tell her where to go the other was so excited to hear from here. I really need to learn to live without. I sent her a message along those lines and did not receive a response I guess it wasn't what she wanted or expected to hear.
I am pretty much over her now but still alone so pitifully alone i just hope some time soon there will e someone who actually wants me.

Lunch at the Bulls Head

 
I went out for lunch with Ali Mike, Nick and Becky, it was great to to see them again and Isobell shes grown so much I can hardly believe its been close to two years since she was born, time really has flown.

Mike and Ali are close to moving away which is a shame I guess it will mean I see even less of them :(
Becky was making me lauch you can see how much see loves Isobell and wants her own children I don't think Nick feel exactly the same way though I am sure one day he will at the minute he is occupied with empire building.

Myself I would like that sort of closeness you only get with a strong relationship but at the moment its seems just a dream but hey be positive I am sure one day it will happen better to wait than to rush into things right Posted by Picasa

Numb / Encore

It was my 27th birthday yesterday I had a very enjoyable and relaxing day reading by the fire sat next to my cat. In the evening I went out to Rusholme for a for a curry with a few friends. Namely Nina, Bruce, Jo, Holly Nic Becky and Phil, of course I took my new camera out though Holly wouldn't let my photograph her, photos here. It was a pleasant evening relaxed chat nice food and a few pints. After the meal Bruce Nina Phil and myself went for a few more drinks in Varsity. I kind of felt like heading into town but no-one else was really up for it so I decided to save the money for Barcelona next weekend.

So another year has past bringing into sharp focus the fact the am aging. In just under three years I will be 30 a very scary age. What will change in that time? Will I move out? Change jobs or even meet the girl of my dreams? In truth I don't have a clue nobody can predict the future. Sometimes I feel like I haven't done or don't do anything with my life time passes but somehow things don't really seems to change. This is of course not true. I went for a jog this morning, it was a beautiful autumn scene the sun was shining highlighting the colours on the leaves I felt quiet alive despite being out of breath as I was jogging past Jonsey's house I thought about my past the years spend in the barn drinking and smoking my life away. I could be still working north miles away, in some horrible relationship worse than being alone. Really I have a lot to be happy about its just sometimes it hard to see the good when everything feels so dark. So here is to a year of being happier and enjoying life more.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bonus new toys and fun nights in

Hurrah got my annual bonus today, well I say I got the tax man took rather a large proportion so it wasn't entirely mine. After the tax what seemed like a great deal of money transformed into just over a months salary so it was like being paid twice.

I decided bugger it I have already bought my holiday so I went al out today went out and bought a lovely new camera, had to do a bit of haggling but managed to get hold of a brand new Ixus 900ti, it's 10mp. Though I had to take the first model back as it had a fault with the zoom after getting a replacement I must say I am impressed its faster, lighter smaller and has a better screen and quality than my old Ixus 330. It definitely paid to haggle, I paid a heck of a lot below the sticker price, still more than the internet but I guess thats the price for ability to walk into a store it wasn't so bad to pay a few pounds more. I decided against paying the premium for a memory card from them. They wanted £49.99 on the internet I have seen £9.99 in the end I paid £14.99 from the computer store across the way just to save time.

I spent the rest of my bonus paying off a few little debts and topping up my isa not most money i have spent in a day since I bought my car I think, felt kind of good it a little excessive.

This evening I had a night at my house watching dvd's films and eating pizza it sounds fairly pedestrian but I had good company with Nick Phil and Bruce. I kind of wanted to go out but it actually was a fun evening to spend with friends chatting laughing and enjoying crap films. It even made up for the rubbishness of Miami Vice, Its terrible I am not even going to bother with a break down its too long lazily directed, I think the best thing this film had going was the advert featuring the JZ Linkin Park mash up numb encore nuff said!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Espanol

Bought myself a birthday present this evening a short break to Barcelona :) Should be a great laugh. Phil is coming with me, I did invite a few other people but they either didn't have the money or the time. I managed to get a hotel in the near to the Old Town which my guide book has me believe is pretty central. Its not exactly hot there but BBC weather shows it as a lot nicer than cold rainy Manchester so should be a great trip really looking forward to it. Think Ill have to dig out my teach yourself Spanish CD!

I watched a great film this evening called matchstick men starring Nicolas Cage as a jittery con man who discovers his 14 year old daughter (and himself) whilst pulling of a series confidence tricks.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

New keyboard

There was a delivery waiting for me when I got home, unfortunately nothing really exciting. I bought myself a new keyboard. My Microsoft natural has finally come to the end of its life many of the keys are sticky including the space bar. So I have upgraded to the modern version the natural ergonomic keyboard. It was £14,99 from Savastore.

The keyboard is black and a lot more fancy than the original natural it has extra media keys a padded wrist area. The only media key I might conceivably use are internet and calculator but I guess they are nice features to have.
The most striking feature is the raised natural it sits about an inch in the air with a huge curtain under the keyboard elevating it from the desk. The keyboard is very tactile and responsive with the naturals distinctive split center, the keys are shaped wider in the center and do feel well positioned though its going to take a bit of getting used to. I am tempted to bye another for work its an excellent bargain for the money so long as you can deal with the naturals layout a lot of people hate it.

Hax

Someone tried to hack my photo gallery last night by creating a user account and uploading a tainted php file embedded in a rar archive. I looked up the details on coppermines website.
They seemed to spend a long time crafting this attack though I dont think it worked due to my using the latest version of Coppermine. I checked in a few other areas also and found nothing so I think no damage was done however as a precaution I have disabled new user registrations.

Details below

Referring Link http://www.google.com/search?q=Powered by Coppermine Photo Gallery register.php .info&hl=ar&lr=&start=30&sa=N
Host Name 58.29.2WAYS.client.divona.net
IP Address 195.78.29.58
Country Monaco
Region Monaco
City Monte-carlo
ISP Provider
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 1 hour 33 mins 38 secs
VISITOR SYSTEM SPECS
Browser MSIE 6.0
Operating System Windows XP
Resolution 800x600
Javascript Enabled

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Venue hunting

Had a crap day at work wont bore you with the details but it sucks when people keep chaning their minds and thus cause more work. When colleuges are unsupportive or even downright idiots.

I spent two hours at the gym after work cooling off it acutally it propelled me to do some extra difficult weights so not a total waste of engery.

Bruce I and spent the evening hunting for new possible venues for the lan bash, we needed somewhere cheap not to far and on the ground floor. I dont fancy lugging alll that computer equipment upstairs. We tried a number of places in Bramhall Handforth and Cheadle Hulme. Mostly they were shut but a couple we managed to get into and have a chat even found one possible. Met some interesting people, its only a certain type of person who drinks in a memebers only bar like a legion. The owners seemed pretty colourful people too!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Smash it up

Saw this on the register it seems some Canadian guy's queue up to buy a Play Station 3. Only to take it outside and sledgehammer it to death in front of waiting crowd!

Its not the first time either they have done an ipod a xbox and a Nintendo Wii

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Bad Dream

I felt very depressed at work today; felling bruised there has been too many days of frustration too little praise. In truth I am afraid my upcoming birthday has highlighted the fact that another year has passed and I haven't really done anything with my life. I mean ok I faced some of my fears and went to Belarus where I made some new friends. The bad news is that I still live with my parents I am still single still working the same job unsure where my life is heading.

So that's the bad news what's the good? I am in a better position than I have been for years I am no longer in debt, I have learned to save and am slowly building up a deposit for a place of my own. Only two years ago I was spiralling into the modern debt trap of credit cards, loans and ever spiralling debt for life that's all behind me.

I'd say I dream of meeting someone who would make it all worthwhile, but I know that I need to feel I am worthwhile first. I am getting there sometimes its hard to look up and see all the wonderful things around us so often it seems everything is dark but really a lot of the world is bright and alive just need to open ones eyes look past the cold and rain at those autumn colours, at friends and fun times.

This evening I caught the 157 to Cheadle and had a few drinks in the Hesketh with Bruce. The place has changed immeasurably since it was my old stomping ground in days long gone by. At Ridge Danyer's College drinking with Ed Trinder underage getting fat and really wasting my life away. I like to believe I have come a long way since those days.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Steven King on DID

My parents were listening to the Radio this morning and on the Desert Island Disk program Stephen King was being interview. He even choose a Beatles song you can check it out on radio 4 listen again :)

The Names Bond

Did almost nothing today, had no energy at all very bad must go to the gym tomorrow. I helped a friend with their Uni work, it was actually quiet interesting to argue a few points I guess its one thing I miss. They are writing a thesis about the changing population dynamic in the UK something which is kind of in the news by proxy at the moment thanks to the pension's debate.

I did manage to get my haircut and to start reading the final novel in the Dark Tower series I can't wait to find out how Steven King wraps it all up. I might even read a couple of his others to see how the different stories intertwine. The end of Song of Susannah had a lot of notes from Kings Journal I don’t know if it's real or just written for the book but it was interesting to see where some of his ideas had come from. He seems to be really good at taking themes maybe even just a sentence and using it to build ideas round all very clever.

Caught the new Bond film this evening it was very popular had to catch a 22.30 showing as all the earlier ones were sold out, and the 22.30 showing was pretty full.

I was a little worried about Daniel Craig as Bond but after seeing Layer Cake I though it might work. I have to say he did an excellent job, more like Connery he reintroduced an animal instinct but tempered with a more human side. Gadgets had a much toned down role in this much more physical film. The opening sequences were stunning and whilst the action gets a little stayed in the Casino and the ended was a cop out I still think this is the best Bond in ages.

It cold tonight and I am tired so that's all he wrote.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Confusion

Had a productive day at work though found out the people working round me are mostly pedants who what everything just so.

I had the opportunity to meet Jo and Ian in Fallowfield but I felt so tired after work I just didn't have the energy. I also want o go away for my birthday so I need to be a bit conservative with my money. Looks like Phil is the only person that wants to come with me. Its s shame I have asked quick a few people but money seems to be the obstacle.

Tonight I went round to Phil's house for a chilled out one, watched three films and drunk cans. Deuce Bigalo Europe was unspeakable bad. Duke's of hazard was a little better but nothing like the show which wowed me when I was a kid. I can remember running round excited because it was about to come on. Even ignoring the arrival of my cousins in my excitement.

I guess I have either outgrown the feeling or the movie just did not push the correct buttons.

I was speaking to the girl I am interested in, well in a textual way. I was there was a way to meet her but there seem so many barriers not least my feeling that its impossible for her to really like me. I wish I could spend the evening or better the weekend with her.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Where is this going

Just got back from a quiet evening at Phil's, we were looking to book an away adventure for my birthday but couldn't agree on destination the choices on offer seem to be Prague Barcelona Milan or Belfast. Personally I would like to get to Barcelona or Milan I haven't been to either yet. I will attempt to book tomorrow when my head is clear.

Originally a load of people said they would come but everyone but Phil has cried off for various reasons, mostly money. It’s a shame I would have liked more people to come. My first trip to Prague was extra good because so many people came too.


Tonight sat at Phil's I realised despite everything my life is the same as it always has been while in some way I have challenged myself I still rely on my parents, I live an easy life in their house the same one I have my entire life. It is amazing really I can offer no end of excuses the high price of property my single status or simple fear uncertainty and doubt. The real reason might simply be its too easy to be here perhaps it is my aspiration which are low, or maybe societies are too high encouraging people into debt and bondage to the government.

I am convinced that the government are encouraging debt as a tool, as once we have the monkey on our back we are forced to tow the line. To keep the crappy job to follow the rules not to get fined. Why is debt encouraged (taxt free) whereas savings are discouraged (taxed or needlessly complicated like ISA's). I worry about society forever becoming more litiguous, more restrictive less individual yet at the same time we have never had less of a communal society. Ruled by tabloids easy solutions to complex problems which are usually just a band aid on a broken arm.

How much does this cost

I have just been adding some calculations and there was one that might be useful to anyone getting a loan. Forget APR its too easy to hide costs instead.

TAR (Total Amount Repayable) = Monthly Repayment * Term(in months)
Cost of Credit = TAR - Amount Borrowed

Example

Principle loan amount£5000
Term 5 years (60 months)
APR of 7.5 (this takes into account £150 fee).
Monthly repayment is £99.56
TAR = 99.56 x 60
TAR = £5973.60
Cost of Credit = 5973.60 - 5000

So you can see the cost for borrowing £5000 is £973.69. Lenders are obliged by law to print cost of credit onto loan agreement but some of them do funny things with fees and ppp so I would run a quick calculation of your own. This gives you a realistic figure by which to compare loans with.

Fax Machines of evil

It took me ages to get to sleep last night I laid in bad few ages listening to the wind and rain pounding walls. When I finally did drop off I feel into a really pleasent deep sleep only to be rudely awoken at 3:20am by my phone ringing and ringing. I staggered out of bed picked it p only to hear the bleeping of a fax machine :S Stupid fax spammers arghhhh

Blue

I fancied a change of colour so I changed my blog template it still dosn't show the profile image though. I am not sure yet to be honest so it might change again before too long. The aim was for something a bit lighter I think the contrast is a little low on the black template for some screens.

I went to Alliance and Leicester at Lunch to open an account I had to fill out some forms and be given a load of prompted information (ironically the sort of messages I have been adding to Advances). She also tried to give me the hard sell on income protection, I am not quiet sure what use for that I would have I have such little outgoing but anyway. I now have to wait for some sort of credit check then hopefully I can be free of First Direct before I have any charges to pay.

Headed to the gym after work I am starting to get back to where I was before Belarus and a month off its hard work but a few more session like that and i will be back on track I think.

I had a chat to Lulu earlier she was interested to see my pictures of Stonehenge and Bath and the explanation of Stonehenge itself amazing to think it was build over thousands of years by different people probably for different purposes.

Just watched a rather terrible film National Treasure I guessed it would be poor but it really is terrible.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arghh First Direct of EVIL

I heard something very annoying on the news today first direct are going to introduce fees for current account holders who deposit less than £1500's a month (or who hold a balance of less than £1500's. Two things very much annoy me about this the first is that the news appeared on the news before First Direct told me about it. The second thing is that according to first direct because I earn slightly less than £1500's a month I am a "dormant" customer. I always felt that having my wage paid in monthly and using it as my current account was pretty much active use.

I decided some time ago to be proactive with my finances, that is how I ended up moving from Barclays to First Direct. So I have just taken a look on uswitch and on the fool a few accounts spring to mind. Namely Smile Alliance and Leicester Cahoot and HBOS. If anyone has any recommendations please comment!

Bears

image0.jpg

Bruce scanned in the photo of Maia and I with a bear

Cheers mate!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Starlight

Japanese class was actually quiet good tonight, there were a few people away and that seemed to help people along a little. Also for the first time really I felt like a few of the sentences were coming together a little. Though I am still at a very basic stage its pretty gratifying for me to start to understand a few basic sentences something I have never been able to do in anything other then English before now.

If like me you spent a load of time randomly surfing the net I have found one way to make a little back from the time invested. I have been doing a lot or surveys recently I am signed up to several survey websites. They are pretty easy usually only taking a few minutes to fill in just ticking some boxes.

There seem to be a lot of websites which will pay for you opinions either in money or in reward points (like I-Points). Over time I have signed up to quiet a lot of these companies with varying degrees of success. I have accrued load's of I-Points and hi points which I find to be fairly useless. On the other hand I have had real cash payouts from at least three agencies. I think probably about 60£'s which is not much but basically money for nothing.

In my opinion the site who give away points are fairly useless, cash really is king. Aim for sites that offer real financial incentives, like Ciao or yougov.

They both have restrictions in that you need to earn over a threshold before you can claim (£ for ciao &50; for yougov). Both yougov and ciao have sites have regular paid surveys. Others like Pure Point pay cash but rarely seem to have surveys, or like harris have lots of surveys but only give points and prizes. I have done loads for Harris but all I have is a heap load of Harris points which can get my some cheap tacky crap.

In other money related news I finally decided to Cash out my mutual.net shares I got them for free and they are now worth £100 give or take. I decided to take up the reduced dealing fee £12 instead of £20. On the face of things it’s a growth company making a profit. However its in a really competitive market dosn't pay a dividend and has a difficult to follow business all the sorts of things a value investor should shy away from. As I already have a lot more speculative cash tied up in other areas I decided to take profit on this nice freebee cash and pay off some debt.

Boring Monday

Somehow I managed to get through work yesterday by the time I got home dreams of going to the gym were forgotten though. Instead I spent my evening filling out a VAT registration form. Which I must say was far easier than I expected. By the end of the month I should have a VAT number so I can sort out all my accounts in time for filing them in December.

Then I watched the next couple three episodes of lost I am upto episode six now. The story lines seems to be opening up and improving a little but its nowhere near as compelling as the previous series.

I only have about 1/4 of the Song of Susannah left to read and as I am still waiting for the Dark Tower to arrive I have somewhat slowed down my reading speed, I don't really want to be left on a cliffhanger. Stephen King has been pretty clever in drawing in threads from his other books it makes me want to read them as well.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just Friends

Last night I went round to Ian house to watch a DVD, I feel awful this morning. The day was innocent enough I spent time chatting on the net, moving some more photos from web album to my gallery. All of the return to Australia ones are now there.

I even managed a trip to the gym, did my leg weights exercises which make my legs feel rather jelly like this morning. I was a bit bored in the evening my parents were hogging the lounge so I was pleasd when Nick invited me over to watch a film. Ian and Bec's were there, and Ian and I headed out to get a film, collecting Phil on route.

Nick surprised us all by asking us to buy wine and pizza but and I quote "not the cheapest one". Wow I never thought I would hear him say that. Fortunatly for us Tesco had an offer on margaritas which we spiced up by adding ham and Salami.

As Becky was about we decided to rent a comedy and choose Just Friends. This is a comedy about a guy who spent his high school years in the friend zone. Years later he is successful, thin and popular however a return to his Jersey home and a chance encounter with his old flame lead to hilarious consequences. It turned out to be surprisingly funny (especially after several Carlsberg's).

After the end of the film Becky and Nick went to bed and Bruce (who arrived in time to catch the start of Just Friends) left. Ian, Phil and I stayed up drinking and watching Fearless. Which is an excellent Jet Lai film (beware it in Chinese Language so if your like Phil and hate subtitles this might not be for you). We chatted and drank some more I ended up home about 1:30 half cooked after drinking so much cooking lager. It was an enjoyable evening though relaxed and fun for a change :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Crystal Ball

"Hear my song, fading out everything I know is wrong"! It's hard to follow milestone posts I almost feel like I have reached there so what next what new lets do something different. However being a creature of habit here I am again writing to the world + dog.

I had a chilled out day today tried to get on top of some work started writing a cocktail generator for Ian using PHP so far its going slow but its fairly new to me, hopefully soon there will be something to show.

I started to write a new guide I thought as my DHCP guide is fairly popular I would produce a short article on how I created the loopback DNS for the LAN bash. Hopefully it will prove useful to somebody.

I managed an hour at the gym dispite the fact I felt completly drained today, funny how simply sitting trying to get bits of software to work as required can be so draining.

Tonight went for a curry with Nick and Becky, I had failed completely to get Nick computer back on the internet for some reason his pc no longer wishes to connect to my wireless network I think it's a radio issue but why its decided now I cant explain. Becky is starting her own company and apparently wants me to help her design something. Fortunately she has some concrete ideas so hopefully I will be able to put something together. I felt kind of weird being out with them thought they are my friend and I enjoy their company I cannot help feeling I am doing the job of two people when I am out with them. There is someone I would have loved to introduce but she is far away, why cant things ever be simple?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post 300

This blog has been going since July 2005 and has just reached a milestone 300. I originally started to help my Chinese friend Lulu keep up with what I am doing with my life. Over time I have gained a few readers god know why you keep coming back but like any author (am I really allowed to call myself that) I enjoy that fact other people enjoy my work.

I noticed something amusing about that first post, other than the fact I am still talking about the same people I was even then talking about buying a new camera and though I enjoy taking pictures so much I still haven't. I think I will get one for my birthday.

Today is another red letter day I finally after months and months have my living room back the decorating and finished I even have TV again Wahoo. Actually the thing I enjoyed most was sitting on the couch enjoying the warm from the fire just relaxing drinking a beer, that is what living rooms are for.

Bruce came over he and Nina have enjoyed their stay in Prague by all accounts, he brought me back a Matushka which featured Prime Ministers of England very funny response to the Matushka I brought him back from Belarus. We were going to catch up with lost but Bruce accidentally deleted the ones we wanted to see so instead ended up watching the world is not enough. The last time I saw this was on my birthday a few years ago with Phil. We watched it and had a massive curry at the Garam Massala ended up being too full to go out anywhere.

I spoke to the girl whom I argued with the other night this evening. I think we ironed out a few things. I apologised for taking things too far and being far too unhappy the other night. I think I even managed to repair some of the damage. Unfortunately despite a mending of things events have conspired against us. We talked of plans but I think in reality it is unlikely (though it would be pleasant) if we see each other again. I think that it is a shame, but it seems like I am doomed to like people that I don't really have a future with, perhaps thats part of the attraction?

Call Centres

I managed to reinforce my view that all centres a waste of time by phoning Standard life. I had been reading their website, in particular the section about divideneds. There is a paragraph which states.
We currently intend either to offer shareholders the opportunity to take their dividends in the form of shares rather than cash, or to reinvest their dividends in Standard Life plc shares. If you would like more information please contact your local shareholder helpline.

So I contacted the helpline only to be told I new more than the operative, sigh. One wonders which bright spark on the internet team decided to invite people to phone up without training the people on the phones. Oh well so far my shares have proven a good investment regardless of the quality of phone line support hopefully this will continue.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another brick in the wall

I did something quiet funny but slightly dumb today, I was playing around with a stress ball bounching it off the wall I got a bit enthusiastic and launched it a bit too hard it bounced off the wall am smashed a roof tile oops! I was so shocked I just looked at it whilst the people opposite me laughed. Fortunatly it wasnt really broken just dislodged, I ended up covered in dust for the priviledge though.

It reminded me of a game I used to play in my youth. Back then I used to play Rugby and when visiting opponents especially dirty ones (as in playing tactics not standard of hygine) I and some of my teamates would leave a mark by knocking a hole in the oppositions changing room roof. Naughty but extreamly funny, once nearly got caught left a white tray in the hole and nobody noticed.

I went to the gym after work and now my arms ache I always seem to overdo it though while I am there I often feel I am not pushing myself hard enough. Hard to find a compromise I guess.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Clearing up

Had a weird day at work today a different senior programmer turned up, apparently he is taking charge of development. I think I can learn something from him but at the same time I find it pretty daunting to have to show yet another person that I am worthy or merit. In fact I almost feel like I no longer have the energy too act like a circus animal again. We shall see how things pan out.

It was a little annoying once again I could have done with staying late to make a good impression and finish things off but I have to leave for Japanese class after work. Its the only night I really have to leave on time typical!

Japanese was really hard I am not sure I will ever manage to understand Katakana it seems to make sense for a few seconds when I learn then when put on the spot it all floods out of my head.

I feel fucking useless this evening I can' seem to do anything, I wanted to make a few changes to Ian's site but I just ended up making a dogs dinner of my test site. After having a colleague giving me the third degree all day it really was not what I needed.

Got a text from Maia the first one in a month to tell me the her boyfriend had come to visit her. I know its terrible to be jelious but I cant help it I wish it were me, but it isnt and never will be. I deleted her number off my phone least I do something stupid when I get drunk. Straight afterwards another chat person started talking to me shes always been a bit hard to deal with at times but tonight it was too much I was probably a bit unfair to her but who is she to always judge me? Our conversation reminded my of Friday night I remember chatting up some girl things were going well until I mentioned some throwaway line about not enjoying the place because it was a bit cheap (it is a weatherspoons cheap as chips) I think she thought I called her cheap and started into a tirade about her coming from Lacey Green (a council bit of Wilmslow). I guess thats like me this chat partner just brings out the worst in me its like she knows exactly what to say to dig the knife in, its a shame at one point I thought she was actually going to end up being a friend of mine for real.

I just want to go get on a plane to somewhere, anywhere just away from this place anymore. From all the people telling me what to do and how to live. Away from conflicting ideas, wasted days, feeling washed out, inadequate, unloved and pointless. There must be more to life than this?

These thought's and the strain I am under

Work was really annoying today, in the works of Dante Hicks "I'm not even suppose to be here today". Originally I had booked a holiday that I had to cancel for something which was meant to occur but didn't actually happen.

I am only just debugging a project which has been in the testing phase for over 6 months the people who requested it have only just got around to testing it despite it being marked as high priority on the project plan. That damn plan laughs at me evertime I look at it the works stretches well into next year and its not getting any shorter. More requests are coming in all the time most marked high priority or ASAP. Well currently ASAP is months not days or weeks. Its all very frustrating, already the weekend feels a very long time away.

After work I went for a run it chilled me out a lot, as I arrived home I saw Martins 4x4 outside. He had come around to help my dad fix the radiators back in place. It looks like the decorating is nearly done might even get to use the living room in time for my birthday that would be nice. Hats off to Martin he certainly seems to know his stuff when it comes to heating systems.

Phil and I practised Japanese for an hour I am finding it so difficult I guess I need a lot more practise. We had a gander at Alison's web page it sounds so cool to be on a cruise ship diving all the time and having fun with the crew.

Ian came over later we did a little work on his website its running a bit behind schedule I am going to try and put together a cocktail generator for the site. I am hoping it will teach me a bit of PHP and make Ian's site more desirable.

I got a bit of a shock I found out the while we were out drinking in Wilmslow on Friday night that there was a mass braw in which one person was stabbed and killed just down the road. Very scary stuff I have never thought of Wilmslow as a dangerous place but I guess that too much alcohol causes people to do crazy things. I do not really want to speculate on the why I dont know any details I just thinks its terrible someone life can be taken away for what some stupid argument the world is a savage place at times. It made me think about what would have happened to me if the young kid whos blood ended up all over me during the fight in Cheadle Hulme we broke up had a knife I might not be here now scary stuff.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gunpowder treason and plot

I arrived back from Bath about 6pm just in time to get changed and make it to Woodford fireworks display. I went with Nick Becky Mike Ali and daughter Isobel. I haven't seen Mike and Ali for ages for it was a really nice treat. Isobel has grow, she seems so changed from last time I saw her. She was dancing with Mike it was very cute.

The fireworks were really good though a little short, there were a lot of people there so hopefully it was successful for the community.

I met up with Phil afterward he watched the fireworks from the Legion this saving on the entry fee. We popped round to Martins he was having his annual fireworks and BBQ. Given the good weather for November and the amount of fireworks he managed to procure. The display was pretty funny especially as Si kept aligning them under Martins tree causing unexpected trajectories.

Was good to see Martin and Endo Si and the rest don't really see to much of them these days.

Its been a pretty hectic weekend for me I am feeling tired but happy I saw a lot and enjoy my time I hope to see some more soon.

On another note I finished the Wolves of Calla only two more books of the Dark tower remain I cannot wait to see how it all ends. Stephen King's imagination is truly awesome, I only wish I could have such an insightful mind.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bath

On the way back from Stonehenge I decided to stop off in Bath and have a look around. Bath is a lovely place, I found it lovely had a walk round the abbey acress the Pulteney Bridge which has shops on either side like the origonal London Bridge would have done.

Saw some fantastically expensive houses in a place called the cirus. Its like a big roundabout with a grassed area in the roundabout and a circle of houses round the ourside. They look nice have to be really to justify the £650,000 asking price.

I walked into the Jane Austin museam and the baths but they were both (in my opinion) too expensive so I just walked round some more saw a couple or parks then ate a rather nice Thai meal and headed home, mmm tom yum soup is so tasty.

Salisbury

Salisbury is a little Market town city near to Stonehenge I spent the night in the youth hostel. The YHA is a short walk from the town centre pretty well placed really.

On driving up to the youth hostel set back in a tree lines area on the outscirts of the city. I was on a high, feeling good after seeing Stonehenge. The YHA's main building is a beautiful place old structure. I was ecpecting a lot, unfortunatly the actual rooms were in a wooden building around back. Not quiet so nice but it was a warm bed.

After checking in I went walking around the town. I soon got a feel for the place its a very pretty market town city. I went in a few bars but did not really feel like drinking. Almost by chance I found a cinema and decided to catch a movie, Borat.

The Salisbury odean inhabits one of the old buildings. I guess that limits what they could do with the place, I found it one of the most uncomfortabe and frankly weird cinemas I have ever been in. The couple in front of my were cuddling except his arm was resting on my leg as the legspace was so limited, this was on the main screen as well I dread to think what the others are like.

Borat was very funny mostly, complete car crash tv in some places. I personally was a little scared by the naked chase bits.

On Sunday Morning I visited the Catherdral which it very big and impressive. The spire is truly missive but dignified with its pretty stonework. Unforutnatly there was a service so barly saw the inside, and part of the outside was covered with scaffolding.

The final picture is of an ancient market place.

The anonymous poster really must not have a very fulfilling life if they spend their evenings correting peoples blogs!!

Stonehenge

I decided that I want to see more of the UK so today in my slightly worse for wear state I drove 5 hours to see Stonehenge. Photos here

The drive was long but not too bad really only a few minor Birmingham related badness moments with roadwork getting onto the M5. Once I started getting close to Salisbury the drive started to become really fun, driving along A roads is more exciting for starters. The weather was good the sun by this time shining and the sky clear autumn colours in the leaves open fields and picturesque scenes.

The first sign of the Henge was a car park; you see that about a minute before the place itself. On arrival English Heritage are firmly in control everything is managed, access is buy a tunnel under the road then you walked slowly round the perimeter of the site. You can get close enough to touch only gaze from a distance. You do get to listen to a rather patronising talk for example at the end of one seciont I was informed "press 44 that's 4 and 4" in case I didn't know!

The stones themselves are impressive you can easily imagine how ancient people would have been awed by the site as the made there way to it I just with it wasn't all so stage managed.

After walking round the stones I went to walk round the barrows which are ancient graves not far from the stones walking though friled round these and staring at the henge from a distance gave me a much better feel for the site then the English Heritage tour.

Friday night at the Bollin

Another Friday Night, Paul is in town, he is staying at Ian's this time. The group ranks were swelled with the addition of Phil, Woller, Danny and his new lady friend Jen. After much confusion about transportation we eventually taxied ourselves to trooped off to the Bollin Fee in Wilmslow.

Drinks were cheap and boy did we consume plenty of them. It was a fun evening I got to know Jen a little which was nice she seems like a lovely person I hope she and Dan are happy together. To me so far she seems a more outgoing person than Lyn.

I made a fool of myself trying to dance and drinking too much but I had a fun evening.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stupid Blogger

I am going to avoid work today least I fall into the trap of work becoming my touchstone its getting close but I am still enough of my own person not to be overwhelmed for now.

Three people this week have all told me they read this blog, so sometime in the future they are going to pass over these word's I am typing into my screen right now. It is quiet a strange feeling for me I have never really felt interesting enough to imagine people actually listen to anything I have to say. I hope in some small way I provide enjoyment for people out there (you can always comment ;). Strange really this all started out as a bit of a vent, in fact my Chinese friend Lulu was the one who perswaded me to start writing. Thanks to the wonders of Google most visitors stumble upon is via a search rather than direct route. I certainly never imagined anyone would ever read it seriously excpet maybe Lulu its all her fault really.

I have also slowly climbed up Google's page rank, I used to sit several pages down behind the sites dedicated to John Cooke Bourne or one of the other more famous John Cooke's. At the moment I am riding high appearing close to the top. I guess this is my 15 minute moment.

As usual in blogs I have been side tracked. What I wanted to talk about is the forces of chaos. Tonight I walked into the John Millington and saw Victoria loitering at the bar. My first thought was how strange, but then I realised its not really so strange. She initially contacted me after noticing a post about that very establishment. A part of me wanted to go chat to her when I saw her at the bar but I wimped out instead went and to get some cash.

I had gone to the John Mill with Nick and Becky I hadn't seen them in ages we have both been away and had plenty of stories to tell each other. Becky was quizzing me about Maia and other details of my non existent love life. It looks like she is about to start her own business, I think I might soon be trying to bodge together another website for her. Nic seemed pretty tired it seems he hasn't let up in his relentless desire to own most of Manchester; indeed he has bought a transit van to replace the mini van I went to get with him only a few months ago.

I am tired and probably typing rubbish time for bed, night

Fun in the sun

I received an email from Alison this morning, she updated her blog. Its pretty sporadic thanks to the fact she is on a cruise ship. Her photos make me incredibly jealous its looks so wonderful out there its been so long since I went diving must be amazing to get paid to visit these amazing places i think I am in the wrong career.

Talking of wrong careers something I didn't mention yesterday was my horror in hearing that some council employee from Birmingham earned £90,000's including bonuses and overtime allowance whilst off on long term sick. So whilst the government are hassling me for extra taxes they are wasting money paying light bulb replacement men (he worked coordinating traffic light repairs. I despair about the world when I hear things like this).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Waiting for the sun

Its gone cold today, almost without warning the temperature has gone from mild to sub zero. Walking out of work to my car I felt a chill in the air, but after a gym session I walked out to very chilled air and steadily freezing windows on the car.

I saw one of the managers from work at the gym; I was running round the track I think he said more to me in those few minutes than in the last few months at work. I managed quiet a reasonable cardio session tonight 5KM round the track 20 minutes on the new step machine 15 minutes on the x-trainer and some abs work.

I got home to find another letter from the Inland Revenue, now not only to they want extra taxes off me they also want me to complete a tax return. This is a most upsetting occurrence as tax returns are rather long complex forms and I really have better things to do with my life. I would like to say I cannot think of reason why they are picking on me, but in truth I can think of at least three without even trying.

  1. (Paranoia)I once got a tax rebate for £1500 and they want it back!

  2. (Burocracy) Thanks to me getting free medical cover I didnt pay enough tax (by £105.16)

  3. This is the mostly likely. I run a very small web hosting company. It is run as a company to limit the liability. The made a profit of £180 last year I have a feeling that the tax people think its some sort of fiddle.


In order to make up for my tax troubles I went for a pint with Bruce he has been in Gloucester this week and is going to Prague on the weekend after his cousins wedding (on a separate trip his isn't going ton the honeymoon!). Makes me kind of wish I was going in a way but hopefully I will still enjoy myself in the UK.

Had a pretty stupid argument with someone online last night I haven't exactly got over it yet, sometimes I just let things get to me I can be pretty argumentative and I usually see the worst in things so when faced with someone who has equally as strong opinions things often end in conflict. I often had the same problem with Jo B though we are good friend's these days. I guess I need to learn to be more patient and to not see the worst in things thought that is not too easy when all too often the worse happens.

To end on a positive note though I feel good this evening I have had an enjoyable evening I am looking forward to seeing Paul Ian and the others Friday night then seeing Stonehenge on Saturday.