Sunday, January 29, 2006

3 Films

Stayed in tonight and watched movies, its cold and I am poor so I decided to have a night in save cash, so went straight out and rented movies, oh well cheaper than the pub.
First film was a Korean anime called blue sky. It was fairly entertaining, in a post apocalyptic world (Anime and the end of the world seem to go hand in hand don't they) one city remains surrounded by a rag tag of oppressed people called the diggers, has the time come for a revolutions. Then rendering and mixture of traditional and modern graphics were in places breathtaking. As usual from anime though I wasn't sure which side was really correct the decadent citezens or the peasant diggers anime alwyas make me think even if all them films end up being so abstract they are bearly followable.
The second film was “Made in Britain” in which Tim Roth plays a young nationalist youth trapped into a steady decline highlighting some of the social problem in Britain had in the 70s. Its a rather grim look at the UK kind of in the same vein of Romper Stomper in the UK
The third film was one I watched on tv, Phil went home before the end of Made in Britain and when it finished I kind of flicked over and started watching TV, just caught the start of Best Laid Plans, it then got into the twisty plot in which Resse Wetherspoon was excellent, as the long suffering girlfriend prepared to do anything for her man, its also a film that demonstrates how white lies spiral out of control.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday night

Once upon a time Friday night used to mean party night each one spent at the footage or 5 Avenue or 42nd street. Recently Friday night means a break from work, too tired or cowardly to still make it out into town.
Nowadays I seem to be lucky to make it out to the unicorn for a few drinks before tiredness overtakes me. Lucking at the girls I will never have, feeling more and more alone and wondering why nothing ever happens for me.

Tonight I chatted about money and the FTSE because its something I know a little about I guess I am becoming more divorce from what "normal people" are interested in. I hate evening they always seem t hold a mirror up to me which reflects back all my faults, why do I always go to sleep alone is their no one out there that could love someone like me?

Nick invited me over before but I went to the unicorn instead I wonder which would have been more torturous. Being with Nick and Beck as a gooseberry, or sat at the Unicorn watching Claire. Academic anyway, I feel so dark tonight. What is the point of this sort of life? There is no future, no love only existence. I am I coward for continuing or is it the right thing to do?

What's a pound of flesh between friends?

I wanted to post last night but for some bizarre reason I couldn't get onto blogger.

Last night I went to see Regina Spektor at academy 3 in Manchester it was a truly amazing event Regina was completely captivating, vocally brilliant and talented piano and guitarist. She did a pretty great set mixing old of new from the sublime carbon monoxide to out There was a phenomenal crowd all in all on of the best gigs I have ever been to. If you're wondering the title of this article is a line from one of the songs. I really hope she is successful, and comes back to Manchester again soon.

I am so glad this week is over my head has been taxed to the limit by long days and complicated programs; I think I am finally getting to the bottom of things.

As I write this there is a program on channel 4 about pensions it's made me quite angry according to the program council tax rises are mostly to blame on central government putting the pension black hole onto local government causing council tax rises. Over 26% of council tax goes to pay civil service pensions!!

Right I am off out for a drink with Phil and Bruce laters all

Thursday, January 26, 2006


finally got your letter! sooooooo happy this morning~
i love that goat and that lovely chinese character, really a good job, where did you get it by the way? n__n
thanks so much i like your letter, i'll keep it and lets see if we exchanged one letter every year how many of them i would get from cookie... hehe, maybe you can even improve your handwriting gradually ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Longs days and Computer repairs

Today was an up and down day, good things included getting an email from an old colleague it was great to hear from Becky M. Also went round to the chief's house Emily Chiefs girlfriend is having Pc trouble, managed to save her data even though I think the pc is a total write off, either a motherboard of CPU failure. At least I managed to save her university work and get Andy's PC on the net so at least its all usable.

Work was a real pain today I went in early so I could leave and be in Manchester in time for the British Computer Society, Turing lecture. However thanks to a business reorganisation which wasn't even mentioned until 3.30 I had to make a series of quick system changes and left late, I also have to go in early tomorrow 8am in stead of the usual 9, at least the changes fairly straight forward hopefully won't be too difficult to

I have just installed the Mac version of Google and have been looking at Shanghai on Google Earth (whist listening to the latest c64 takeaway podcast) I wasn't able to find the address of Lulu's work, perhaps if your reading this Lulu you can post me a place location? I must say the Mac version is very slow. My Powerbook not very powerful but then again neither is my work laptop and that runs Google Earth without any problems.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Most Depressing Time of Year

Apparently scientists believe this is the most depressing time of year, a number of factors including financial (Christmas overspend), psychological (new years resolutions broken) and environmental (bad weather) combine to make January a very dull month. I think this effect might have aught up with me I feel irrationally depressed at the moment, on the face of it I have had a pleasant evening with Mike and Ali. After going to the gym I popped over to install some software on Mikes PC, I was invited to dinner, and had a tasty meal. I got to see Frank the Dashound, who is pretty cute, but somehow I came away feeling upset. Somewhere at the back of my mind the darkness inside pushed it way to the fore drowning out my feelings dulling logic until all I felt is alone.

I left and came home alone to sleep alone, in my little corner or my parent's house cold tired unfulfilled and uncertain about the future. The darkness and paranoia worsen did he invite me because I am cheap, is my worth only measurable by the favours I can do for people. The more agonising why do I fee like this?

Now I sit alone and cold wondering what is wrong why can';t I find happiness am I strange or worse am I crazy I am not sure I even know who I am anymore. I have always worked towards a goal now stuck in a job with seemingly no future, as my friend are finding who they are and who they want to be with I am more alone than I have ever been. I think about the people I chat to online and realise only a couple I have ever met in persons. Some refuse, and yet I do not more on, with others seem like we are close but when it gets down to it we could not be further apart.

I must change I must find a new way living like this is tearing me apart each day I step further into the machine just another pawn another cog in the machine. I was never popular at school in fact other than Phil I no longer am in touch with anyone from school or college, neither do I see anyone from university, Salma talks to me sometimes but it always seem like she wants to get away back to her friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crash Screens

Found these whilst going through some photos I found these amusing crash screens photos by myself and Bruce. Unfortunatly they were all taken with camera phones so please excuse the poor quality.

The first photo was taken at Manchester airport by Bruce looks like they use Mandrivia there.


Photo 2 is of a Nationwide cash machine. It looks like somethings gone wrong.


I took this one at a service station was amausing walking to be confronted by in on the big plasma.

More Linux, and Lost

I felt so tired waking up this morning; fortunately to cheer me up I received Lulu's new year card today, was such a welcome surprise hiding in amongst my junk mail. It was lovely to read and made me smile a lot. I wish I had been able to put the same level of sentiment into my letter t her I guess I am just not as good at expressing my feelings as she.

I decided to do something productive with my, so I read some of my latest buy does anything eat wasps a book published from the last word articles from the back of New Scientist. There are some really freaking / interesting questions and answers well worth an afternoon read. I also managed to clean the layer of dirt off my car its black again now!

After that I went to the gym for my first weights routine of 2006, a month off weights certainly makes a massive difference I was a lot weaker, hopefully I should be able to build back up fairly rapidly though.
I the evening Bruce and Phil came over we upgraded the memory in the terminal tournaments server and also built a new Linux kernel optimised for the server. Hopefully this will give a significant performance benefit. I also started downloading a fresh steam installation in an effort to fix the weird start-up issues we had at the last Lan. The next one should probably be the biggest yet with a load of returnees who couldn't make it to the Christmas bash and some of the new Christmas players coming back for more. I can't wait!

Whilst it was downloading we watched episodes 10 and 11 of lost series two, I know I have said it before but lost is getting more and more weird diverging from what I liked about it in the first place. It's still enjoyable to watch just not quiet as cool as series one. We also watched a bizarre Japanese film called Dead or Alive it was violent weird and visual Phil's going to have a great time when he visits there in March.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Martins PVR

Its been a long, long week at work. I have been trying to decipher a lenders calculations. It has kept me very busy both at work and some nights at home. My January of cutting down drinking meaning I have been going out much less.

Today was successful in a couple of ways, firstly with Keith's help finally managed to get my APR to match the banks so hopefully that can be tested next week. in parallel we have attempted to tick off a couple of annoying bugs for the workflow project..

Then in the evening went round to Martins house to have a look at building a PVR. Some time last year we stared installing SuSE on and old AMD 800 with a Hauppauge PVR 350, at first tried SuSE 9 which for various reasons never really worked since then about 5 months ago its sat in the corner of Martins lounge. He has been rumbling about installing media centre so I decided fuck it I will get Linux working especially after recent successes with SuSE 10 on my laptop and Debian on the various servers.

So one SuSE installation later and hours spent pissing about with various guides found ivtvs own install guides the most useful. Unfortunately SuSE 10 comes with old ivtv drivers which didn’t work with the extracted firmware, and worse SuSE 10 comes with GCC 4 which wont compile ivtv new drivers, so after several hours I gave up on SuSE as a bust. Fortunately Januarys edition of Linux format had a Mythtv special and they recommended knoppmyth a version of Knoppix especially configured to run myth tv. One download later and it was installing, the install is a little rough round the edges simply wiping out whatever is on the driver (which was ok in our case). The system installs runs through a series of configurations dialogues which guide setting up Mythtv. The setup is mostly command line based, but fairly straightforward. A couple of bugs later and I was in the myth setup I chose the card and the TV guide feed restarted the interface and hey presto working myth. Event the remote that came with the card worked yay!

There was an issue with the XML download for the TV guide not working but given it was 1.30am and I was tired I decided to call it a night. At least the PVR works recording pausing live TV and all that.

Whilst that was going on Martin Jim (Phil's Brother) and Endo were building and testing Endo's speakers with Clio what a weird program it does various tests on speakers all very cool.

Friday, January 20, 2006

funny dressing link ;-)

have to post a new blog as i couldn't do the comment for no reason :"(
just read your "Coding Hell" and clicked into that dressing room link, it was pretty funny. that dance was okay but now it has become a tool for creating the image of my prince charming, like his hair, eyes, nose, lip and what he dresses~~~ so interesting! :DDD

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Coding Hell

Sometimes the world can be a very weird place, In my function as a code monkey I have dome some pretty boring stuff. This week I have mostly been busy writing a system which calculates apr and repayments changes them in fact so they are much less accurate! Believe it or not one of the lenders systems it actually less accurate than ours and they refuse to believe our figures so I have been copiing their web calculator which as far as I can see has three major areas in which mathmatically it is far less preceise than advances. Apart from the fact its very difficult to follow the mess of java script and bizzaro way in which they round figures or choose not to round others; division by 12 on a number which is not divisable by three leaving trailing 3 or 6 into infinty is not smart.
Anyway I am fed up this has taken so long and my figures still don't match they rubbish its driving me to distraction. Add into that the volume of work sat for me to do and its not a very happy John writing this.

Rant over, Liz sent me a funny link to dressing room website which made me smile, thanks.

Other amusment includes my boss and his son also on staff entering the London marathon, I hope theyy make it must be some serious training going on they neither struck me as the marathon type, but I wish them luck wish I was fit or motivated enough. Even the Manchester 10k seemed scary to me.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Becky's Birthday

To celebrate Becky's 24th birthday (pictures here) we went to the Merlin bar / restaurant in Alderley Edge. It was a great evening, eating too much, drinking too much chatting and generally having fun. The food was excellent; I had a Salmon Wasabi dish, and a Chicken and Spice ham pasta dish with were excellent and I feel well stuffed now. It's a good job I managed to get to the gym for a run today. Hopefully the intake / output evens out somewhere…

Becky Nick's girlfriend has been talking about how she loves the Caribbean for a while. So I bought her a Lonely Planet Caribbean guide and highlighted the Antigua section, she was amused and liked it I think. Nick on the other hand thinks it's going to cause him to spend money. Personally I don't think Nick needs anymore reason to hoard money, he needs to learn to enjoy life a little more.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Website Madness

Spent the evening working on Ian website, Zanshin (in case you are wondering it Japanese for "fighting spirit", the business is mobile bartending and flair hence the spirit ;-) I think it looks a lot better now some subtle changes and a load more images. So its not all text now, please give me your thoughts.

Work dragged today got a problem hidden away in the depths of the system, the lenders have started to introduce deferred products in which you get a holiday period before repayments begin, unfortunatly as usual each lender does it in a slightly different way causeing me headaches.

Posted my return letter to the sudent loans company and a begging letter to Business Link to see if they will confirm my payments, I really think it should be the SLCs responsibility but hey who am I to comment just another government shambles.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Men are from Mars

Ah blogging, I dont think I have ever done anything as contnsious as starting off this blog. So far I have managed to upset two exs, a friend, and even some random weirdo off the net who took exception to something I said.

Tonight I spent a good hour talking to one of the exs (via msn) it was a very long drawn out and painful conversation, of which there was no real point. Whilst we might have esablished she was out of order, that niether of us communicated and that I cannot read directions, it just added to the misery. I didnt want to go over those feeling again, I felt angry and upset enough at the time without having to remind myself about it all, at this later date.

I guess maybe I am just not meant to be in a relationship, when look at Nick and Becky or Bruce and Nina I can see all the great things about relationships but could I really compromise so much? I have done the dutiful boyfriend stuff and had it thrown in my face far too often, I am not enough of a bastard to treat someone else like crap (though from what I have seen a lot of girls confuse this for love go figure!) . I suppose time and space and maybe losing a few pounds will help me feel better, I also really would like to get my own place so I dont have the embarressment of telling people I live with my parents, its not really cool at 26, but thats a whole other blog in itself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Back to the Gym

Finally managed to get back to the gym=, only did a cardio session but its a start. I can't believe how busy it was, I know I say so each year but really this January is the busiest I have ever seen the place I almost had to queue for a running machine!

Work has been going quiet well touch wood, look like I am finally getting into the flow properly it only taken 18 months. Only problem is the imminent switch to ProvideX might put me right back to the beginning again. Today I got my Basic to XSL stylesheet program working it should plugin to Mikes webservice and make quiet a competant little system for exchanging data.

Bruce and I did some work on a database design for a new Sirco system, I think I proved once again I am actually quiet good at designing databases ;-)

More John Cooke Madness

In this mornings email contact from another John Cooke

Hi John

Isn't it amazing how many John Cooke's there are in the world! Maybe we should start a club and hold a convention in Australia one year? It wouldn't matter how many beers were consumed, no one would forget anyone else's name, or variations on it - Cookie, JC, Cookster, Cookemeister etc. Keep up the good work Cookie!


Sounds like a plan to me any excuse to go to Australia and get drunk

Monday, January 09, 2006

Student Loan Woes

In response to my letter asking where the money taken out of my wages is actually going, the Student Loans Company simply wrote back and asked me to confirm the information by sending my payslips. Strangely enough I thought they would offer to do their job and sort out the mess with the inland revenue, No such luck! Now I am forced to write back to the SLC with copies of the payslips I have, and the inland revenue as they hold some of my payslips due to a prior cock up (on their part). As a precaution I have also written to business link to see if they will detail my payments whilst in their employment. Oh well hopefully work wont mind me photo coping a years worth of payslips.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Post 100

Todays post is a milestone, I am amazed at myself sticking at this for so long now, 100 posts its incredible normally I lose interest and stop after a couple of goes. Spurred on by Lulu, and a few other people I have tried hard to put some real emotion enrgy and I hope some decent writing onto the my website.

Phils Despair calendar lasted only one day by Wednesday morning it had been quietly taken down and returned to my desk. Nevermind everyone was amused by it and we all had a look at the funny items on it before I took it home and put it up in my bedroom. Andrew has the daily dilbert calendar which is equally as good and allowable in our office.

I finally got an interesting piece of software to work on abiet briefly Mike D has designed a web service to allow xml results to be pst and results returned from advances to the outside world this is vastly superior to the current clunky interface. I got to write a basic stylesheet outputter which was actually kind of interesting a lot more so than fixing bugs in the archaic notes system.

Its satuday and one week on I still feel rough as hell worse both my dad and Bruce have succumbed to the mystery illness its a real pain. I am really missing being able to exercise and I could very much do with getting into it soon, Christmas was a bad time for my diet and I have put on a few kilos. I did manage to eat pretty heathly this week though so that is a bonus. I have replaced chocolate and chrips with fruit and nuts so that should help a little also I have cut down meal portions and snacks its actually easier at work not to snack on things than whilst I am at home.

Today I got totally ripped off by my local pet store I had to replace some of the filters on my fish tank, it wa quiet urgent I do not want to let the tank get behind the cleaning schedual its very bad for the fish and plants in their so I paid twice the normal price from the internet shops to by the carbon filters :-S

Phil came over last night, we were both feeling under the weather still so we rented a few films including land of the dead (pretty good) Napolean Dynamite (offbeat American humor) and the excellent hotel Rewanda. After seeing Don Cheadle in both Hotel Rweanda and Crash I must say he is a really excellent actor. As I write this though Phil is off skiing with his dad in Austria lucky sod.

Hope you enjoyed post 100!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back to work

Today wasnt too bad I mostly worked on some documentation rather than coding got a project to docuemtn how a group of programs works. Its actually quiet a large program and might take some time.
I am still feeling under the weather my throats still really sore no fun at all I hope that it will start to clear up in the near future. Chatted to a my German bloke this evening he icq me I have no idea why, to be honest he was by far the rudest german I have ever met whilst I was travelling I met some really great people from Germany, I really hope the level of racism he had isnt indicative of other it was really rather nasty. I guess you do meet a lot of weirdos online me for example ;-) I also managed to catch Sweeny Todd, pretty nasty slitting peoles throats a good dramitisation by the BBC though.
Right I am off to bed I try and get rid of this cold.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Student Loan :-S

Today I decided I would finally do something about my student loan problems. I gathered together all the information I had and contact the student loan company (SLC) with my figures.

The last statement I had from the SLC was in 2004 Nearly two years ago before I started making repayments. Since then I have started working and have had payments deducted from my wages. Both whilst I was work for Business Link and later at Tbred. I decided to try and work out what I had paid off
In the last few days I have phoned the SLC several times to ask how much they thought I currently owed. One time I tried to phone the operator hung up on me after I had been waiting for absolutely ages. Again I had to wait eventually getting put through to someone who said she couldn’t quote over the phone but would send out a valuation.

The valuation arrived in the post a few days later it showed no record of any payment so I phoned up to query this and was told the Inland Revenue has not passed any details of payments on. Personally I think this is appalling I dread to think what sort of punishment the FSA would hand out to one of our lenders if they told a customer that they were waiting for a third party before they could record details of payments.

I decided to work it all out for myself and send them a littler with all the details in. I had to work with slightly incomplete records as the tax office never returned some of the pay slips I sent when they were calculating my tax rebate. Tto make matters more confusing business link I made several payments based on the old threshold of earning over £10,000 not the current £15,000 threshold.

Regardless when I totted up what I have paid it equates to about 10% of my total student loan. I would say is a significant chunk, given II am being charge about £30 a month interest and this is compounding upwards I am losing out heavily for there mistakes in effect currently I have paid extra tax which has had no benefit whatsoever on my financial position.

I have forwarded a letter with photocopies of my remaining payslips and P60's in the hope it will help them sort out the problems. If not I will try writing to my MP as a Liberal he should be against tuition fees and this is a nice case against them I think. I mean what the heck sort of system takes money out of people's wages specifically to pay for their loans and the money never arrives.


Today was the last day of my Christmas holidays tomorrow I return to work, I feel quite a lot better today thankfully, though I could use another week off. I have defiantly put n weight the end of my holiday mean the start of my diet, I doubt I will be well enough to hit the gym tomorrow and its probably best given the gym will most likely be packed out with people who want to lose weight for New Year, it usually calms down by March.

Today I spent my time watching the first series of The Shield which is pretty damn good I mean its just the same old cops show but with very strong casting and characterisation and a couple of twists take it further down the trail blazed by NYPD blue, Homicide life on the streets and Hill Street Blues but with a post modern look at the characters take VIC he is a bad cop who at the same time has a sense of justice so strong that when the strike team set up the wrong guy Vic goes to any length to sort the mess out.

Tonight rented crash from the video store, it was third time lucky the last two times I have been to get a movie crash has been fully rented out tonight in fact I got the last copy. I can see why it is so popular its in the magnolia style of blending stories from different characters together, it main focus is the complex nature of people racial beliefs, with a subtext of how our actions cascade and affect other peoples lives. I wont try and break it down any more than this phenomenal quote from Matt Dillon "You think you know who you are. You have no idea." Its an excellent watch though one which requires a little attention defiantly needs focus, but worthwhile.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ill on New Year :-(

I get ill quiet a lot I clearly my immune system is not my greatest asset that being said I wasn't really surprised to fall ill on new years eve. In fact I have been surprised I wasn't Ill earlier the number of people I have been around with colds and the flu recently.

My original plan had been to go to London with Paul. That fell through then the plan was to go down to Leamington Spa and spend New Years with Paul, unfortunately I felt too ill to drive and checked on the price of a train ticket which turned out to be £68 far too much to shell out for one ill night at Paul's given I can drive to Leamington and back on less than £40 of diesel.

Instead I spent New Years Eve 2005 at home after having a rather pleasant curry with my parents, watching TV and for the actual midnight moment I watched the fireworks. I have to admid any fireworks show after the millennium is always going to be a let let down, but it was an impressive sight. The whole sky lit up by thousands of fireworks pops and bangs continuously exploding all over the sky. Even the sentimental I sat outside for about 15 minutes watching it all, I guess its as close to a war zone sound effects track as I ever wish to get.

I did manage to get quiet drunk on Martin Christmas present of grolsh beer, and managed to text virtually everyone in my phone, an annoyingly small number of people replied. It was nice to hear from Bex even though it was only to tell me how happy and in love she was. Pleased as I am for her, its sometimes hard to hear other people are so happy when you are feeling sad. Given she was by far and away the nicest girl I met on internet dating I would prefer to be the one making her happy oh well she was out of my league anyway.